Pioneer - Gitrog Presence

17 32
22 13 0 25
Midrange Combo

This is a really nice example of an archetype I like to call "soft combo." A hard combo deck will try to win in only one or two explosive turns with an alternate win-con, an infinite combo, or overwhelming damage, but a soft combo deck is fine with spreading the hurt out over time, as long as it still gets there. It's not really a midrange deck - it's midrange-y, playing cards for value and trying to stay on curve - but it wins by establishing an engine and feeding that engine, not just out-valuing the opponent and eventually winning with efficient creatures (though it can totally take a game or two that way, too). It lacks the explosiveness of hard combo, but it's much more consistent and significantly harder to disrupt.


Any combo engine in MTG consists of value and payoff, and in this deck the value looks like [[Dryad of the Ilysian Grove]] and the payoff looks like [[Dread Presence]]. As you play lands - and with the Dryad, you're gonna be playing a ton of them, and they're all gonna be Swamps - you can drain things for 2 (including your opponent) or draw cards for a little life, which before long should overwhelm your opponent, drowning them in damage and card advantage. [[The Gitrog Monster]] and [[Multani, Yavimaya's Avatar]] are the closest things this list has to midrange win conditions, but in this deck that more or less just means that they provide both value and payoff. Multani's payoff is just being a really big creature, of course, but it's still a welcome addition to the deck, especially given that its ability to come back from the graveyard in exchange for bouncing lands is just upside for more upside here. [[World Shaper]] is a bit smaller itself, but it still provides value every time it attacks (this deck really loves having a yard well-stocked with lands), and when it dies with a [[Dread Presence]] out, that can just be game.

[[Courser of Kruphix]] is a really nice value engine here (or in just about any green deck that cares about lands, but you already knew that), and it tends to synergize really nicely with a [[Dread Presence]] and [[Dryad of the Ilysian Grove]] already out. The one-drops are all-stars, too: [[Deathrite Shaman]] is only not banned in Pioneer because the absence of fetch lands make its uses more narrow, but it's ridiculously strong here, and [[Elvish Reclaimer]] is frequently a 3/4 for 1 that provides all kinds of repeatable value and a place to spend the extra mana that a deck like this tends to make. Plus, if you think about it, both it and Deathrite are just one-drop mana elves with extra steps, and that makes me happy.


[[Crucible of Worlds]] is probably the elephant in the room here, since it's tough to justify a $20 card - a $20 card from M19, no less, and at two copies - in the list if it's just a 3-mana artifact. The degree to which this deck benefits from playing lands from the graveyard, though, is impossible to exaggerate - it turns a well-oiled machine into a whizzing turbine of value that's almost impossible to contain. [[Crop Sigil]] is another noncreature permanent that can hit the battlefield turn 1 and start printing out value, and if you can trigger Delirium, which isn't too hard in this deck, it can pull just what you need back into your hand later in the game. [[Drown in Filth]] is value and extremely strong two-mana creature removal, [[Fork in the Road]] is a great land tutor that stocks up your hand and your yard, and [[Grisly Salvage]] rips through your deck for your best creatures and lands. Just be careful not to deck yourself out!


The land base in this one is pretty simple. Four each of [[Overgrown Tomb]] (as much for the Swamp Forest type line as the fast mana), [[Woodland Cemetery]] (because everything here should be a Swamp or a Forest), [[Fabled Passage]] (amazing for obvious reasons in a deck that interacts with lands in the yard), your basics, two of [[Field of Ruin]] (which is incredibly useful in this list), and a single copy of [[Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth]] (just another way to turn everything into a Swamp for [[Dread Presence]]). Easy, breezy, beautiful, [[The Gitrog Monster]].


The sideboard is divided between more big creatures - [[Polukranos, Unchained]] because it's really efficient and can come out of your graveyard and [[Prowling Serpopard]] because this deck has some trouble with counter magic - and more removal. [[Fatal Push]] is just a great spell overall, especially in a list with lands leaving the battlefield regularly, [[Broken Bond]] removes artifacts and plunks down another land for you, [[Golgari Charm]] is super versatile and can even protect your creatures in a pinch, and [[Casualties of War]] is an excellent mass removal spell that can be brought in to take out pretty much anything thatt can be dealt with at sorcery speed. [[Assassin's Trophy]] is just a great card for 2 mana, but you already know about all that.


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Last Updated: 30 Mar 2020
Created: 25 Mar 2020
219 14 0

Mainboard - 60 cards (20 distinct)

Creature (22)
Instant, Sorcery, Enchantment, Artifact (13)
Land (25)

Sideboard - 15 cards (7 distinct)


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Main/Sideboard Rarity Count
19 4 31 6 0
3 5 6 1 0