Casual Encounters – The Good, the Bad, and the UGLY!

gitrog monster

    I love it when a new set comes out.  There are so many new and interesting options available.  Can some cards be used in Modern?  Can that card there be a sweet new addition to an existing Standard deck?  Is a whole new archetype going to emerge with some of these new cards?  There are just so many possibilities and that is a truly exciting prospect.  Old cards and new cards can combine in ways that make for some terrific new options to get my brewing juices flowing.

    Like many players I have turned my attention increasingly to playing EDH or Commander and am starting to like the idea more and more.  I have two decks built already that I play with a friend when we get together once a month and have found the format to be very engaging and lots of fun to play.  I can certainly see the appeal for so many players. However,  when I saw the full spoiler for Shadow over Innistrad I got excited to see one new card get spoiled. This guy!

This is one UGLY dude, but it is in one of my favorite colour combinations. There is just so much text that you can’t ignore it.  I think perhaps the best part of this card for Commander is the fact that you can sacrifice your land to keep him in play, but if you need to you have the option of NOT paying the upkeep, losing your Frog Horror, and having the ability to replay it later when you are comfortably back on top of the land situation.  That just feels like a very powerful choice that can be leveraged by a clever player and is part of the game inside the game with this card.  

 I have to say, it has proven to be a big relief that this guy has been printed. In the last several sets there haven’t been a ton of good G/B commanders to choose from.  There’s Pharika, God of Affliction and she’s pretty solid. There’s  Meren of Clan Nel Toth who is very strong in her Commander 2015 supplemental product.  Anafenza the Foremost gets you Abzan colours, but to get a real nasty G/B commander in a new set is pretty fun and exciting.  It opens up a whole lot of possibilities and blows new life back into this colour combination and gets everyone all excited about building a fun new deck with lots of new treats from the latest set.

    Now, anyone can build a list for a G/B deck. Heck, you could just borrow the G/B decklist from the Commander 2015  product released last fall.  However, sometimes what makes Commander decks fun is when you have a fun theme. The Gitrog Monster lends himself to a very easy theme…and that’s UGLY.  I wanted to build myself a Commander deck for the Gitrog Monster that is using all the most ugly cards I can find. And by ugly…I.mean stuff that is as ugly as we can make it.  Now, my list isn’t perfect and it can’t JUST be ugly cards because it does still need to be relevant and able to get a win, but when it came down to a tie breaker I would pick the uglier card in order to stay as true as possible to my theme.  Here’s the list I’ve put together.


Gitrog Monster EDH- G/B

The game plan for the deck is pretty straight forward.  You want to self-mill to improve your card quality, play gross creatures,  play gross removal and out gross your opponent to victory.  I think the real trick is really in The Gitrog Monster because it is not only huge, but it can be a major source of card advantage once you start grinding away.  Each and every land that you sacrifice to appease Gitrog is an opportunity to draw another card.  Coupled with the fact that you will be dumping things in your yard, have a mild amount of Delve to fuel, can Scavenge up a few other targets or just reanimate them with a number of other spells and you could have something extremely fun to play.  

There is no doubt that this initial version is very budget conscious because I can immediately think of a number of very expensive additions.  Tarmogoyf and Scavenging Ooze both seem like very strong additions to this sort of deck.  Also, Life from the Loam would be a fun addition to this sort of deck as you move get back some lands to keep feeding Gitrog.  Verdant Catacombs and Overgrown Tomb would also be nice additions to the deck. I’m sure that there are a few other things that I could find to help spice up the deck without going overboard and going from being fun to being oppressive and uncool for my friends to play.

What new Commanders are you excited for coming out of Shadows over Innistrad?  Are you stoked for The Gitrog Monster like me? Do you have your eyes on another sweet prize?  Let me know what has got your attention by leaving a comment down below or by finding me on Twitter.  Also, if there are any sweet or ugly cards that I’ve overlooked, let me know.  I’m always on the lookout for cards that are cool or underplayed and might fit the bill.  

Be sure to stop by next time for another Casual Encounter!


-Bruce Gray

@bgray8791 on Twitter