Anyone who has played against Muldrotha in Commander will know her power—she’s not so much a value train than a value battleship, leaving opponents in the dust very quickly when unanswered. Of course, the challenge is finding the best cards to utilize alongside her—you want a variety of permanent types, and they have to want to go to the graveyard as part of your natural game.
At its core, this deck has a lot in common with Golgari Midrange, but the key difference is that while their value engine slowly grinds out incremental advantage, untapping with a Muldrotha immediately provides you with more immediate value than that time Screwfix listed everything—everything—on their website for £35. Here’s the list!
Muldrotha, the Gravetide
As with most midrange decks, your initial game plan will vary dramatically depending on the matchup. You want to play defensively against aggro decks and be proactive against control decks, and this list allows you to play both sides of that particular court. There are a few things to remember. No matter what you’re up against, and no matter how you’re seeking to win, there are two principles you should always attempt to stick to.
The first is to trade off your creatures very aggressively. Rather than race, you want to use your creatures as pseudo-removal spells. Use the relatively high power of cards like Merfolk Branchwalker and Jadelight Ranger to trade up, where possible, as your creatures are generally worth a lot more than an opponent’s when in the graveyard.
The second is related to the first—always look for ways to increase the size of your graveyard. You want to ensure it’s nice and full around the time you might be deploying Muldrotha, so get those Sagas down early, sacrifice your artifacts, and preserve your life total with chump-blocks as necessary. Do this well, and after untapping with Muldrotha, you’re essentially drawing three or four free cards.
An unanswered Muldrotha will win most games, and not just because she’s a 6/6. Recurring cheap cards like Dead Weight, fetching lands with Evolving Wilds, even just casting a Plaguecrafter every turn—these loops make it very difficult for an opponent to keep up. They’re going to have trouble attacking through a 6/6, and when the time is right, you can turn the team sideways yourself and get the job done.
Given the length of the list, it’s hardly possible to go over every single card in detail. In broad strokes, however, it’s very easy to see the type of card we’re looking for here. We’re on the hunt for permanent cards that impact the board and can either sacrifice themselves for value or trade off for opposing resources. Ravenous Chupacabra is the perfect example of this. It comes down, munches on a creature, soaks up some damage, then returns from the dead in the later stages of the game.
Vraska is a great engine, sacrificing permanents for value so they can be recycled by Muldrotha later on. Similarly, the Sagas all feel great, and I’d like to find room for more. Phyrexian Scriptures is criminally underplayed, and always feels great. You’re in such a good position when it blows up the world and leaves you with a lone survivor, and then you get to cast it again later? Amazing.
Fountain of Renewal continues to impress me enormously, and its use here as a 4 mana cycler with Muldrotha is terrific. Cheap cards are the name of the game—Dead Weight is another all-star, as it’s easy enough to slam a Muldrotha in the late game and get immediate value with Dead Weight. Conversely, Pilfering Imp stinks, and I’d much rather cut it.
This deck could bear a fair bit of improvement, honestly. All the scattered 1-ofs are cute, but they probably aren’t close to optimal. Initially, we played around with Stitcher’s Supplier and Glowspore Shaman, but found them to be too low-impact. Perhaps there is a better way to tune the deck to exploit the graveyard more meaningfully (especially with Journey to Eternity). More research is required!
Given that this is a somewhat modular midrange deck, sideboarding is a lot less black and white than it can be with other decks. Of course, we’re looking to play as many permanents as possible, but you’ll notice the inclusion of Negate in the sideboard here. Generally speaking, I’m a sucker for that card, but I think it’s exceptionally well-positioned in Standard and if you’re playing blue you need a good reason not to run it.
Apart from Negate, it’s all permanents, all day. Thrashing Brontodon shines against artifacts and enchantments while being a good blocker against aggro (rather than a clunky card like Izoni). Karn and Vivien diversify the threat portfolio against decks where it’s not so important to contest the board, and help to win a drawn-out game.
Plague Mare is there to beat out Adanto Vanguard decks filled with x/1s. It’s particularly good against Selesnya. I talked about how good the Sagas are, and both The Eldest Reborn and Phyrexian Scriptures are great ways to generate real value and beat difficult cards like Carnage Tyrant. I’d like to find room for these in the main deck.
Finally, Fountain of Renewal is just so good against red aggressive decks on turn 1 that I’ve included a few more copies here to help shore up the aggro matchup. A single Fountain can gain you 5 or more life and help bridge to those critical big plays that put the game away, and then it cycles away! Fountain of Renewal just does it all.
Next week, we’re rounding out Guilds of Ravnica Standard with one more list: Sunsong and Firespeaker! We’re playing it alongside Star of Extinction, and—because why not—Truefire Captain. Join us next week as we try to 20 our opponents out of nowhere!