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Deep Tracks: Night Soil


Oh Saprolings, what a long, strange journey it’s been. And here we are; it’s 2018, we’ve returned to Dominaria, and I’ve got Fungus on the brain! With all the new Fungi related goodies we’ve received, I'm reminded of Magic's past, and I simply can’t pass up an opportunity to travel back to Fallen Empires! For this edition of Deep Tracks, I’m going to try my hand at building some Modern decks that utilize new cards from Dominaria! But first, if we’re going to explore the true essence of Saprolings, we really need to hit the loam here and start from the beginning:

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Night Soil, it’s a simple Magic card, but totally classic. It’s true, Night Soil wasn’t the only Saproling related card that spawned from Fallen Empires, but for me, Night Soil is the most symbolic. It’s always been there as a reference point to when Magic first grabbed a hold of my interest. I was just a young lad back when Fallen Empires was released. I had no idea how to build a real deck, and I didn’t have a lot of extra money laying around to invest in my hobbies. Nonetheless, I definitely burned up some of the little cash I did have at that time on Fallen Empires Booster Packs. And I still have my good ole Night Soils tucked away in my collection.

Twenty-Five years have passed since the days of Fallen Empires. I have a copy of Night Soil in my hand, and I’m thinking what can I do with this thing? The card is actually quite restrictive and not the easiest to work with when trying to design a deck. Among other setbacks, the biggest conditions to note are the double Green casting cost and the fact that we need creatures to be in a player's graveyard for Night Soil to be useful. Also worth noting, Night Soil’s effect is one that we don’t need redundant copies of after we have one on the battlefield.

The first reasonable idea that popped into my head was to try and brew up some kind of “aristocrats” style deck, with Night Soil playing a supporting role in the late game once we’ve stocked our graveyard with creatures. Here’s my ode to Night Soil:

Did you notice? I managed to sneak a copy of Slimefoot, the Stowaway into this… Legacy Decklist!?

Although Legacy is a format near and dear to my heart, I’d like to shift our focus over to Modern, and see how creative we can get with some of the new Fungus and Saproling additions from Dominaria. The first thing I’d like to point out is that we have somewhat of a callback to Night Soil:

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Fungal Plots operates on a slightly different axis than Night Soil, only allowing us to exile creatures from our own graveyard. However, Fungal Plots has the bonus of enabling life-gain and card advantage if we can get a Saproling engine going. Also, the casting cost is less restrictive than Night Soil, requiring only one Green Mana (plus one generic Mana).

So, taking this “virtual” reprint into consideration, my first idea for Modern was to build something similar to the Legacy list above. And yes, you’ll get some Slimefoot love here as well:

I’m a big fan of aristocrat style decks. The basic idea is to jam the deck full of creatures that offer value through ETB and/or death triggers, and also have enough “sacrifice” outlets to make use of them. It’s an archetype that’s usually too slow for high level competition, but it’s definitely one of the most fun strategies to play. It’s very liberating to pilot a deck in which you don’t care if your creatures die; in most cases, their demise will actually benefit you! This particular list plans to survive the early turns by gaining life, and then out-value the opponent in the later stages of a game by cashing in a creature-filled graveyard with the help of Fungal Plots! The primary win condition is Blood Artist and Zulaport Cutthroat draining the opponent's life total, and we also have our buddy Slimefoot, the Stowaway to further support this plan. Alternatively, with the deck packing a total of 31 creatures, we can simply win the old fashioned way by attacking our way to victory.

Moving in a different direction, I found myself very interested in the new Fungi “lord” from Dominaria:

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Sporecrown Thallid got me thinking about not only Saprolings, but the Fungus Creature type as well. While analyzing the pool of Modern-legal Fungus available, I noticed that a large chunk of them are quite similar in terms of what they bring to the table. For example, take a look at these Fungi, and tell me if you see what I’m talking about:

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Interestingly, the cards above (and many other Fungi) share a common thread: they all produce Spore Counters, and they all have the ability to create Saproling Tokens. Counters and Tokens… Hmmm. Any lightbulbs yet? What (notoriously Overpowered) Modern card deals with both Counter placement and Token generation?

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That’s correct; we’re looking to create a team of massively pumped Saprolings with a little help from Doubling Season! Here’s a Decklist I’ve assembled:

The primary goal of the deck is to keep the early game in check with a variety of interactive spells like Thoughtseize and Fatal Push, stick a Doubling Season, and then watch the fireworks begin! In fact, if we land a Doubling Season with at least one Utopia Mycon and a support creature or two on the battlefield, things start to snowball out of control real quick.

One of the first things I noticed while testing this deck is that Fungus creatures, in general, seem to be one of the more underpowered tribes in Magic. That being said, I had to limit the number of actual Fungus monsters in the deck. Utopia Mycon plays a key role in the deck and can often help us ramp into Doubling Season or Parallel Lives. Sporecrown Thallid and Metallic Mimic serve as lords to help pump our creatures. I most often name Saproling when playing Metallic Mimic, but there are corner case scenarios in which it would be correct to name Fungus ​instead. To top off the creature package, we have a couple more Thallids, a lone copy of Scatter the Seeds, and a playset of one more new card from Dominaria:

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I can't help but imagine that scenario where we Kick ​a Saproling Migration with Doubling Season in play. Yeah... that's the good stuff :)

Well, that’s going to be a wrap for this installment of Deep Tracks. Let me know what you think! What are some other unique ways we can put the new Fungi from Dominaria to use? How about Fallen Empires? I always enjoy a good tale from the early days of Magic! As always, all comments are welcome, thank you so much for reading, and have a great one!
 

Twitter - @WallofOmens

Email - mtgelixir@gmail.com

- John

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