Garruk Wildspeaker Shifts into High Gear

So far, I’ve been talking a lot about Saheeli, Sublime Artificer [] (the fastest deck?), but that’s not a fair representation of the format nor of myself. It’s high time we move to something completely different. Today’s deck breakdown will focus on the classic example of good Planeswalker design, Garruk Wildspeaker [].

Garruk is a strong contender among Oathbreakers, because he adheres to the principle all competitive Planeswalkers do: he protects himself. His -1 ability to make an adequately sized blocker should never be overlooked. However, that’s not all he can do. A rarity among Planeswalkers, Garruk actually has two ways to protect himself, assuming you can cast anything with the extra mana his first ability provides. His ultimate, the iconic spell Overrun [], is a great help to creature decks pushing for lethal, and it is relatively easy to activate. Personally, I find Garruk Wildspeaker [] to be the strongest among all mono-green Oathbreakers. Today, I aim to prove this statement.

If you hadn’t guessed from the title, our signature spell for this deck is going to be Scapeshift []. An iconic combo-in-a-can Sorcery from several formats, Scapeshift [] lets us do all sorts of fun things. It can find Dark Depths [] and Thespians Stage [] to create an easy 20/20 Marit Lage token, or go for Gaeas Cradle [] and Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx [] to convert a board of dorks into a ludicrous amount of mana. Eye of Ugin [] can put that mana to good use by searching for and casting any of our Eldrazi friends, while Strip Mine [] and Wasteland [] prevent our opponents from ever being able to match us in resources. As icing on the cake, if using landfall creatures like Rampaging Baloths [] or Avenger of Zendikar [], the sheer act of casting Scapeshift [] matters just as much as the lands you choose to find.

Normally, the one weakness that Scapeshift [] has is that the new lands enter the battlefield tapped, limiting the immediate impact. However, Garruk Wildspeaker []‘s first ability solves this problem quite effectively. The new talk of the town might be Wrenn and Six [] with Crop Rotation [], but Garruk’s been capable of similar tricks long before Modern Horizons.


In its purest form, there are three routes to take with the deck, all of them defined by what you tutor when casting Scapeshift.

  • GO ALL IN ON MARIT LAGE with Thespians Stage [], Dark Depths [] and Ancient Tomb [] if necessary. You want to cast Scapeshift [] without having to use Garruk’s ability, then untap the Tomb and Stage afterwards. At the last end step before your turn, use the Ancient Tomb [] to pay for Thespians Stage [], copying Dark Depths []. After losing the original to the legend rule, the copy with zero ice counters is sacrificed to create the infamous 20/20 token (and everyone already picked up their foil tokens at Modern Horizons events, right?). Ideally, you want to have a card like Crucible of Worlds [] or Life From the Loam [] as a back-up safety net in case this plan falls through, but neither card is necessary for the strategy to work.
  • GET BIG MANA with Gaeas Cradle [] and Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx []. This play is better the more creatures you’ve cast beforehand, obviously, but even a moderate boost to your mana pool is enough thanks to Garruk’s ability to untap these two spectacular lands. After these hit the table, the game is going to feel like you’re playing stompy with the banned Primeval Titan [] in your command zone, which seems totally fair and reasonable.
  • BE THE BIG GREEN NO-FUN MAN as long as you have Crucible of Worlds [] active by searching for Wasteland [] and Strip Mine []. This is enough to keep one player out of the game, but if you want to make sure an entire table is locked down, Azusa, Lost but Seeking [], Oracle of Mul Daya [] and Exploration [] are happy to help. Life from the Loam [] can replace Crucible in a pinch, but be careful that you don’t dredge away any Eldrazi and reset your library, as that will force you to recast Scapeshift [] to get your lands back.

As you can see, the power and flexibility of Scapeshift [] is clear, especially once Garruk’s +1 is factored in. I encourage everyone to give this list a shot, since it’s as dangerous as it is a blast to play. As always, be sure to let us know in the comments and on Twitter if you play the deck or something similar, and I hope you’ll return next week for another exciting brew.