The Scoop: Casual Contemplation – Deck Surge

The Thanksgiving weekend caused a little more trouble than expected with my schedule, but we’ll be doing two Scoop posts this week to make up for it, starting with today’s Casual Contemplation deck based around using your library as your hand!

The deck concept began with the goal of making a viable use for Primal Surge. But what the deck quickly became was a self-contained “surge” that functioned better without the card it was initially designed to use. This is my second-oldest deck that has gone through several upgrades as new cards have come out.

The deck is designed to get creatures and lands out at an alarming rate to overwhelm the opponent. I was committed to three things with the deck, to a fault; it would be creatures-only, it would stay mono-green, and it would be committed to using the top of the library as “hand advantage”. So let’s take a look:


  •  Creatures
    • Omnath, Locus of Mana x3
    • Vizier of the Menagerie x4
    • Oracle of Mul Daya x4
    • Courser of Kruphix x2
    • Predatory Ooze x2
    • Skinshifter x3
    • Dungrove Elder x3
    • Elvish Mystic x4
    • Craterhoof Behemoth x1
    • Khalni Hydra x1
    • Ulvenwald Tracker x4
    • Soul of the Harvest x3
    • Garruk’s Horde x2
    • Scute Mob x2
  • Lands
    • Forest – x22

At one point, the deck’s mana ramping didn’t begin until turn 4 when Oracle of Mul Daya was cast. Now, it’s been repurposed to be more effective and aggressive earlier. Elvish Mystic sets the mana growth early, then Omnath helps keep all mana used.

Oracle of Mul Daya, Courser of Kruphix, Vizier of the Menagerie and Garruk’s Horde all feed off the top of the library, providing extra mana constantly and extra creatures to choose from. Soul of the Harvest is mid-to-late-game assistance in hand advantage and keeps the top of the deck cycling.

Predatory Ooze, Skinshifter, Dungrove Elder and Scute Mob provide early aggression with viable attack power and protection in the mid and late game. They are further assisted by Ulvenwald Tracker, who provides “removal” when needed.

Khalni Hydra and Craterhoof Behemoth are the win conditions, providing the ammo necessary to finish off the opponent…if they aren’t already dead.

Ideal Scenario

  1. (Forest) Elvish Mystic.
  2. (Forest) Skinshifter.
  3. (Forest) Oracle of Mul Daya.
  4. (Forest, Forest) Dungrove Elder. Predatory Ooze.
  5. (Forest) Omnath, Ulvenwald Tracker. Add 3 mana to “Omnath pool”.
  6. (Forest) Scute Mob. Craterhoof Behemoth. Skinshifter into 4/4. Swing for lethal (with Trample).

In this scenario, the deck’s true power doesn’t shine, but only because it doesn’t have to. Oracle and Vizier out at the same time allow the deck to be constantly flowing out land and creatures at an ever-accelerating rate. Because the deck is all creatures and land, the entire deck is playable. Your deck, essentially, becomes your hand.

I’ve kept the creatures cheap, but they are mostly resilient and powerful. I’ve found Dungrove Elder to be particularly nasty with the mana ramp of the deck and Predatory Ooze is a versatile blocker/attacker that pairs well with Ulvenwald Tracker. Omnath and Soul of the Harvest provide backend support for mana and hand advantage when necessary. Soul is no slouch on the stat sheet and Omnath can function like Dungrove when needed. Skinshifter is, in my opinion, an underrated mono green creature. It’s great in the early game and is versatile in its support. It can be a heavy-hitter on turn 3 as a 4/4 with Trample, it can be a chump blocker against flying, or a sturdy wall against late-game dangers. I think its cheap cost and versatility serve this deck well.

I’ve found this deck does well against most other styles of play. It’s vulnerable to a deck with a committed set of field wipes, but that’s a rarity. It does fine against removal and control because Dungrove Elder and Predatory Ooze hold their own. Elvish Mystic, Skinshifter, Scute Mob and Ulvenwald Tracker provide plenty of early game assistance against red aggro, and usually this deck surges past RDW when it survives the initial onslaught.


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