Because of course you have a Commander deck with The Gitrog Monster (and if not why not?)
Ever since The Gitrog Monster has been spoiled I’ve been going on and on about how much I want to make a Commander deck based around this goofy frog thing. To start I’d like to talk about The Gitrog Monster itself.
When this card was spoiled for the first time I heard the term ”pushed” being thrown around a lot. Having experience designing card games myself (although only small ones) it’s very rare for something to be purposefully designed in a way that makes it better than every other card of the same rarity, as making a meta game is something that designers try to avoid as much as possible so that there can be as much variety in the game as possible, and as we’ve seen from the first two weeks of Standard this claim that The Gitrog Monster had been pushed to be a powerhouse in these formats is not 100% accurate. However I think as the Standard scene develops this card will see more play.
Now more about the actual card itself. The first thing you notice is that it’s a 6/6 for 5 mana. This already makes it a powerful card in it’s own but then you start getting into the nitty- gritty of what makes The Gitrog Monster so good.
- Deathtouch – This is not super relevant as The Gitrog Monster is already large being a 6/6 and deathtouch tends to be better on smaller creatures (especially those with flying) but this can still block obnoxiously large creatures pumped by Xenagos, God of Revels or something like Terastodon.
- ‘At the beginning of your upkeep, sacrifice The Gitrog Monster unless you sacrifice a land’ – This immediately looks like a negative, having to pay a land every turn just to keep your 6/6 alive? That seems like a bit much until you see…
- ‘You may play an additional land on each of your turns’ – And this starts to make up for the previous line of text. Allowing you two lands per turn means that you’re probably never going to fall behind on land (unless you get very unfortunate), this also synergises really well with landfall abilities. Looking up again!
- ‘Whenever one or more land cards are put into your graveyard from anywhere, draw a card’ – This is it. This is what makes this card silly. This card works so well with itself, forcing you to sacrifice a land but also giving you a card back for it, but then also has so many absurd combos that you can run with it; from Dredge to Discard outlets to basically anything that gets your lands into your graveyard.
After reading this card, seeing the fantastically dumb (but also hilarious) art and just generally getting giddy over this card I decided; as soon as it’s released I’m going to make a Commander deck with this thing at the helm. So I did, and here are (in my opinion) the best 12 cards you can possibly put into a deck with this stupid thing as its general. Lets go!
12 Best Cards To Put Into Your The Gitrog Monster Commander Deck
If you’re one of those people who play Magic: the Gathering for fun (pfft, as if) then you might like to make your Commander decks based on a theme and you also like frogs then rejoice! The Gitrog Monster is the first legendary frog creature to ever be printed. So now you can make the frog tribal deck of your dreams. You can use everything from Chub Toad (also known as baby Gitrog) to the pauper affinity staple Frogmite.
Even though I would argue that the Dredge is the mechanic to use with The Gitrog Monster it’s one of those interactions that everyone saw and therefore isn’t particularly exciting. That being said, it is still the best way to abuse this big dumb frog so I figured it’d be important to at least mention it.
10. Yawgmoth’s Will
A card that I’ve had fond memories of playing ever since I dipped my toe into the ocean that is 1v1 competitive Commander (I played a sweet Ad Nauseam deck with Sidisi, Undead Vizier let me know if you want me to talk about that) and it was even jammed into my Commander storm deck to some very explosive results. This card works so well with the Dredge cards that make this deck thrive and even without them it can often just be a 3 mana way to put two lands into play from your graveyard. If you do abuse the Dredge however this card suddenly becomes ”pay 2B, play any cards from your deck” which is going to win you games more often than not.
Oblivion Crown is one of those cards that you probably won’t have heard of unless you were playing when Future Sight was released, and even then it was something that saw tiny fringe play, if any. Even in Commander where these fringe cards often thrive I personally have never seen this card before… Until now. Oblivion Crown is an insane engine in this deck allowing you to Flash it in at the last second and then pump your creature for a ton by discarding lands, drawing more cards and repeating. This could easily be a way to punch through that magic 21 with your giant dumb frog, and who knows maybe that arm hanging out of The Gitrog Monster‘s mouth will be your opponents.
This is a card that I was not 100% sure about including. As much fun as I had playing that Treasure Hunt & Zombie Infestation combo in Modern I also feel like a lot of spots where you would play this card in Commander that Pack Rat is simply a better option for putting creatures with much more potential into play (not tokens that just die to Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite). The one benefit of playing Zombie Infestation over Pack Rat is that the Discard effect is free meaning you can discard more lands to draw more cards. And everyone loves drawing cards.
My favourite thing to do in Commander is find places for junk Rares and Mythics in the decks that I make, from Mercurial Chemister in my old Zedruu, the Greathearted to Deadbridge Chant in this deck. Thanks to the relatively high land count that my Gitrog deck has (and I recommend other people building around this fat frog have as well) Deadbridge Chant will hit 4/5 lands when you play it, making it a 6 mana – draw spell that also allows you to play some of the big haymakers in your deck for free.
Since it’s a Golgari deck it’s only right that we include the guild leader himself, and oh boy is he a spicy card in this deck. I’ll work through why he is so good one step at a time:
- “Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord gets +1/+1 for each creature card in your graveyard.” – Whilst this isn’t incredibly relevant in my version of The Gitrog Monster as I don’t run many creatures, it is is still relevant as I am hoping to have as much of my Library in my Graveyard as possible thanks to Dredge. It is also possible to run a much more reanimation focused version of this deck where you dredge or simply discard a ton of creatures into your graveyard to make Jarad huge or even to fuel something highly potent such as Rise of the Dark Realms.
- “1BG, Sacrifice another creature: Each opponent loses life equal to the sacrificed creatures power.” – Another effect that could be made better with a lot of creatures and Lord of Extinction (which I do not run) this also synergies incredibly well with Centaur Vinecrasher which I will talk more about later.
- Finally, “Sacrifice a Swamp and a Forest: Return Jarad from your graveyard to your hand.” – This is what makes Jarad an auto include in the deck. This effect allows you to effectively draw a card and put Jarad from your graveyard into your hand, which is insane.
With two powerful effects and the ability to put land into your graveyard to fuel Dredge or to simply draw more cards Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord is an incredibly powerful package that is worthy of a spot in the 99 of any Gitrog Monster deck.
5. Death Cloud
Anyone that has read any of my previous articles (especially the one about Daretti) will know that I am a sucker for Land Destruction. Unfortunately Green and Black are not well known for their board-wide land destruc — wait, what’s that? Death Cloud? What’s that? Death Cloud is the corner stone of a Modern deck that I’ve been looking at playing for a very long time (if only Liliana of the Veil wasn’t a crazy amount of money) and I finally have a deck that it fits very snugly into. Not only does this card let me clear the board of my opponents pesky creatures and lands, but it lets me empty out their hands too. The cherry on the top is that any lands that I have to sacrifice or discard simply let me draw more cards. In the end this card was just too perfect to leave out and it fits my playstyle incredibly well.
Ever since the release of the 2015 Commander product I’ve been trying to find a place for Centaur Vinecrasher. All I was ever able to work out was that he was good at squeezing extra value out of cards like Evolving Wilds and fetchlands but he never quite fit into anything I built and would always end up getting replaced by something that was just better. Until now. Centaur Vinecrasher is a perfect fit in this deck alongside the numerous ways of dumping land into your graveyard from dredge to The Gitrog Monster himself and then using this card alongside Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord as a finisher to kill everyone sitting at your table simultaneously.
This card was made for this deck.
Another card that I hadn’t even heard about until I started looking around at other people’s lists for what I could use for this Gitrog/Dredge mishmash is Constant Mists. You like Fog? How about a Fog that you can use every turn, and also you get to draw a card. Yeah I though you’d want that, and so did I. There isn’t much more I can say about this card other than it’s great for durdling your way to a huge Centaur Vinecrasher.
Yet another unknown card (at least to me) that I’d never even heard of before making this deck. Nantuko Cultivator has two very different modes.
- Mode 1 (this is the mode where you have several lands in your hand): This card is absolutely insane.
- Mode 2 (no lands in hand, rares but it can still happen): This card is unplayable, discard it to something else.
If you ask anyone that I play with they’ll often say I “don’t have an off switch”, which basically means that I don’t know how to kick back and have fun with Magic and I am always trying to win. On the one hand I agree. This is a competitive multiplayer game and you should always be trying to win. On the other hand I play a lot of cards in my decks like Nantuko Cultivator that can potentially be a 4 mana 2/2. In other words terrible. But the hilarious and explosive potential of this card is worth it for that risk.
1. Worm Harvest
Finally, another card like Centaur Vinecrasher that I simply could never find a place for in anything I built. Worm Harvest is not quite as hard to slot into decks as the Plant Centaur as it can fuel itself with Retrace, however I could never find a way to abuse it (or I’m just terrible at deck building and I never saw the ways to abuse it, in which case let me know please) however in this deck, just like its Centaur brother it can quite easily be fuelled to a point where it is generating 15-20 tokens with ease, and of course replaying it with retrace and drawing cards is just icing on the gross worm cake.
So there they are. The best cards you can run in a Commander deck built around everyone’s favourite giant fat frog. This is of course my own opinion and I’d love to hear what you think, or if there are any weird combos or interactions you want to share involving The Gitrog Monster. If you want to keep up to date with my Commander ideas as they come to me, follow me on Twitter @_Paulsicle, otherwise I’ll see you in my next article.
Thanks for reading.