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.

Home Forums Garruk Wildspeaker Shifts into High Gear

This topic contains 5 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Xai Lo 1 year, 10 months ago.

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  • #1852

    Community Member

    So far, I’ve been talking a lot about (the fastest deck?), but that’s not a fair representation of the format nor of myself. It’s high time we move to
    [See the full post at: Garruk Wildspeaker Shifts into High Gear]

  • #1853

    Community Member

    Nissa , Who Shakes the World + Genesis Wave would like to say otherwise

    *My friends list, more or less, he’s updated since Modern Horizons

    Glimpse of nature
    Finale of Devastation
    Garruk wildspeaker
    Chrome mox
    Mox diamond
    ezuri, Renegade leader
    Craterhoof behemoth
    Rofellos, llanowar emissary
    Fauna shaman
    Survival of the fittest
    Wirewood symbiote
    Chord of calling
    Eternal witness
    Staff of domination
    Sylvan library
    Llanowar elf
    Crop rotation
    Boreal druid
    Elvish Spirit guide
    Paradise druid
    Collected Company
    Elvish visionary
    Devoted druid
    Nettle sentinel
    Elvish archdruid
    Scryb ranger
    Sylvan ranger
    Heritage druid
    Joraga treespeaker
    Quirion ranger
    Elvish mystic
    Arbor elf
    Priest of titania
    Fyndhorn elves
    Dwynens elite
    Green sun
    Concordant crossroads

    Dryad arbor
    Gaeas cradle
    15 Forests

    • #1854

      Community Member

      Not a bad approach, but what does Nissa get you in the command zone that Garruk doesn’t? The list you post here plays very few lands, and the mana you can gain from untapping a cradle is far more than what you get out of Nissa. On top of this, Garruk is easier to cast, can make bodies, and has a relevant, easy to achieve ultimate. Nissa’s static becomes more relevant after casting a wave or two, but at that point you’re in win-more territory. Getting to cast a big wave the first time around is the important part, and Garruk can set that up just as well and in some cases better. I would argue that this deck is a good Garruk list with the wrong walker in the command zone.

      I will point out that my preferred list for elfball is not mono-green, but Samut, Tyrant Smasher. Samut being a built-in Fires of Yavimaya is a fantastic enabler for mana-farting dorks, which may or may not end up the subject of a future article.

      • This reply was modified 1 year, 10 months ago by  MistahBoweh.
  • #1857

    Xai Lo
    Community Member

    I use Nissa Who Shakes the World.  She generates a lot of mana for a big G.Waves yes,  but I’ve found even faster and more consistent wins with Green Sun’s Zenith.

    You ramp out Nissa on turn 2 or 3,  and she untaps a forest that can then tap for two which you use to GSZ for Magus of the Candelabra.    If Magus has haste (Concordant Crossroads, Thousand-Year Elixir, or Lightning Greaves) you go to town.  If not, you wait a turn and then go to town.

    Land Enchantments like Wild Growth, Utopia Sprawl, Overgrowth, and Elvish Guidance help with ramp (these will also do really well with your Garruk) Arbor Elf also does well here. And if you have unlimited budget,  throw in a Candelabra of Tawnos.

    Nissas lands also turn into creatures so Mobilize, Vitalize, and Benefactor’s Drought are great. Earthcraft is awesome too.

    Umbral Mantle pretty much wins instantly, but if you don’t have that you simply pump out some mana, and then GSZ for Wirewood Symbiote to untap Magus,  then GSZ once more for Temur Sabertooth to flicker Symbiote and keep untapping Magus.

    Infinite mana comes on turn 3 or 4 (occasionally turn 2 if you get lucky with Lotus Petal, Chrome Mox, Gemstone Caverns, or Elvish Spirit Guide.)  And once you have that you GSZ for Elvish Visionary and then flicker it with Temur Sabertooth to draw the deck.  E.Wit is there to recur things,  (sometimes you can combo just with Sabertooth/E.Wit/Vitalize)  and Finale of Devastation is our finisher to pump everything to infinity and swing with haste. (Finale, Chord, and SumPact are also here to tutor combo pieces in case you don’t have enough mana for more GSZs,).

    After 100 goldfish sessions my average win turn was 3.56 but that was without any moxen, earthcraft, Survival of the fittest, Gaea’s Cradle, burgeoning, exploration, or candelabra.  Any of those should help.  Also I didn’t have any fetchlands which could be used to help thin the deck.

    I’m also trying out Rings of Brighthearth now which goes really well with Nissa or with magus.   Highly recommend it for your Garruk build.

    I challenge you to goldfish your build and see if it can beat 3.5 average turn win.

    If I were running Garruk Wildspeaker I might use Crop Rotation for my SS and go straight for Nykthos,  and then Deserted Temple to untap Nykthos.   I’d made sure to run Arbor Elf, Voyaging Satyr, Magus of the Candelabra,  and at least Wild Growth, Utopia Sprawl, and Overgrowth.   Hope Tender, Argothian Elder, and Ley Weaver, will all combo with Maze of Ith for infinite mana in combat,   so maybe that could be a thing.  Although I think I’d just focus on Crop Rotation into Nykthos.

    I think the bottle neck is going to be infinite mana without enough card draw.  G.Wave or GSZ or even Harmonize might be better but now you aren’t grabbing the lands you need so….  all of this is why my Nissa WStW with GSZ is better 🙂

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 10 months ago by  Xai Lo.
    • #1859

      Community Member

      And what happens when Magus gets bolted? Don’t get me wrong, I like the sound of this route, but it sounds fragile. The deck might be a consistent and relatively fast two card combo out of the CZ, but a vacuum is never going to tell you how good a deck is. My Garruk list has a handful of different strategies in order to accommodate for disruption and continue playing the game. Which works best depends on the level of disruption being played in your meta.

      Also, I will suggest you run Finale of Devastation and not GSZ. Finale costs an extra G, but can fetch from the graveyard so exile is now your big weakness instead of any spot removal, and with infinimana, has the added bonus of giving infinite damage to all your creatures.

    • #1861

      Xai Lo
      Community Member

      If Magus gets bolted I have several backups.  As it is 20% – 30% of my goldfishing sessions didn’t go infinite with Magus,  they went infinite with Priest of Titania,  or Rofellos, or often just by bouncing Symbiote to untap a forest (which is also a creature because of Nissa).    One animated forest, enchanted with Overgrowth taps for 4 mana which is less than it costs to flicker Symbiote.

      Anyway your point is still valid because animated lands are also fragile and can be targeted just as easily as Magus or Priest or Rofellos.

      Another 10% – 20% of my comboing out came from flickering E.Wit to recur Mobilize, or Vitalize, or Benefactor’s Draught or Early Harvest.    E.Wit can also recur Summoner’s Pact which is nice for building a combo.

      Temur Sabertooth is pretty robust,  it can bounce other important creatures to my hand to protect them,   and in doing so makes it indestructible so exile is really the only worry there.  All of that at instant speed and without needing haste because it’s not a tap ability.  But my lands and dorks and untappers are all small dudes so that is a concern unless Sabertooth is out.

      At the end of the day you are correct when you say that goldfishing won’t actually give a good idea about how a deck performs.  I just know that without removal I have the potential for Turn 2 wins and almost a 50% chance of Turn 3 wins. I just need to find a playgroup to really test this thing out!

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