Trust in Gargaroth
Today I wanted to talk about one of my favorite cards and how to play more with it in Explorer. Today I want to talk about Elder Gargaroth.
Elder Gargaroth was released in Magic 2021 and interestingly at first it didn’t play as well as it promised. That’s because the first field where the letter was answered with great ease, was the metagame of Teferi, Time Raveler, Elpseth Conquers Death and Brazen Borrower. In fact, Elder Gargaroth started out playing in Modern, in a version of Gruul Ponza, which with him, Chandra, Torch of Defiance and Seasoned Pyromancer, turned the deck into a powerful midrange, which did great results in online tournaments.
But Elder Gargaroth’s time would come, as soon as white and blue fell into power in Standard, the green creature started to appear in several lists and became one of the most played cards in the format, and even in Pioneer it appeared a lot in Mono lists. Green Devotion who had him as their safe haven when facing aggressive decks.
In the Explorer once again Elder Gargaroth waited for his moment to shine. Winota’s metagame was pretty bad for anyone wanting to make a five mana creature, and even when Greasefang decks became the norm, he still needed to find a home to put himself in the format. Gruul, which manages to be an aggro deck but can also use a midrange approach, is the house this card deserves and today is about that.
Playing Gruul in Explorer has three justifications, all of which have the same base, Explorer is a format where grinding resources is important. In my last article I talked about Rakdos Midrange and how the deck is well positioned in the format, especially since Green Devotion in Explorer is slower. Being able to trade resources well with opponents is important in almost every important match in the format and this Gruul list has three cards that do it well.
Another thing is that Gruul is a deck with the color green, so he puts his card advantage engines faster, and that’s why I think it’s important to use maximum acceleration on the list. You want to make Fable of the Mirror-Breaker earlier than your opponent and take advantage of it sooner. In the same way you want to make Chandra, Torch of Defiance, Glorybringer and Elder Gargaroth sooner. These three cards are good sources of card advantage, but above all, they are well positioned in a format that has more and more Fatal Push and Bonecrusher Giant and fewer removals for bigger cards. That’s because the format is still aggressive and it’s more important to respond to low cost creatures, which, in addition to justifying smaller removals, also helps a lot with the three cards I mentioned.
Glorybringer is good in a metagame where I can attack Exert multiple times, but in that same universe, Elder Gargaroth is amazing. I do it fast and lock the aggro table and each turn I only increase my advantages. And the same goes for several other matches where removals are slow to arrive. As a planeswalker, each turn with Elder Gargaroth on the table is a bigger, harder snowball for the opponent to resolve.
The power trio, Chandra, Glorybringer and Elder Gargaroth is the basis for playing Gruul and wins most of the format’s matches, with the exception of Greasefang decks, which have moves to go over our monsters. But overall, doing it in sequence, and accelerating with mana dorks, the trio wins the matches.
The sideboard of this list was where I most wanted changes, that’s because the Explorer metagame has been changing. It is necessary to use graveyard hates and Gruul is the deck that best does it in this format, since Scavenging Ooze and Unlicensed Hearse cover what you need very well. It is also necessary to beat aggros, something that the deck already does well in the maindeck, but with Abrade it gets even better. And finally, as I said, you need to know how to grind. A lot of people use Nissa, Who Shakes the World on the side to win the match against Azorious Control, and I consider it the correct approach, as well as using Chandra, Awakened Inferno, however, on the ladder I have been facing an abysmal number of Rakdos Midrange, a match where I want to generate more resources, which Chandra and Nissa fail, so I prefer Vivien, Monsters’ Advocate, the type of card that if I untap, the game is over. I even thought about using Vivien Reid, as she responds to Fable of the Mirror-Breaker, but she is very vulnerable when using the second skill and I just have to endure a long game with my planeswalker on the table, which Vivien, Monsters’s Advocate does very well.
The resilience of Gruul has pleased me a lot and I recommend the deck for those who want to farm their points in the events to play the Qualifiers.
Until the next text!