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Upgrades of the Spark: Gruul and Sultai

Welcome back to another article for Upgrades of the Spark. We're going to be going over a ton of rough drafts of cards and things I'll be brewing and playing with but these lists aren't final and just here as a starting point for everyone!

Wow, green got a ton of sweet new cards to boost it's power level in #MTGWAR, so in this article we're going to talk about some rough builds for you Sultai and Gruul mages out there! Let's look at a few of the new toys that green mages got this set.

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Vivien, Champion of the Wilds is a flat out amazing planeswalker for the cost. Her passive is amazing. You give all your creatures flash and this includes the creature you get from the -2. The +1 allows you to protect her with a blocker while also being able to get some chip damage in. The -2 is why we're in business. I think the -2 and the passive ability on its own can be pretty brutal. This allows us to play around a board wipe like Kaya's Wrath or any other sweeper effects as we can just get some damage in with Jadelight Ranger or whatever creatures until our opponent is forced to clear and then we jam more threats. Another wonderful thing about Vivien is that she starts with 4 loyalty and then goes up to 5 right off the bat so she'll be a tough walker to down in the early turns and definitely a card I'm looking to add to both Gruul and Sultai.

Another powerful planeswalker is Nissa, Who Shakes the World

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Do not sleep on that passive ability. The value of adding additional mana from cards like Breeding Pool or Overgrown Tomb will be huge when paired with cards like Hydroid Krasis. The +1 is also huge when you get to untap the land and make a 3/3 with Vigilance and Haste for the rest of the game. Often times, people will be a bit more generous with their health totals when playing against green but now that we have a way to produce a haste threat, people will need to be careful as Nissa can get the jump on them if they go too low. The -8 is absolutely bonkers as all the lands you've made to this point will be hard to kill. This will definitely be a powerful card to grab post board.

Here is a card that I think is a bit of a sleeper and I only have it in the sideboard but I definitely seeing Vivien's Arkbow making its way into the main deck.

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This makes attacking for your opponent a nightmare. This card will turn our dead land draws into potential threats as the game progresses. Now maybe this card might be too slow in aggressive matches but in any midrange or control matchup, we will be able to grind our opponents out of cards as we'll be able to dig for a solid threat every turn at instant speed. I think we're also going to have to play around with this card to get the perfect number to make it so we don't miss too much.

Now let's take a look at a few lists

Gruul has been pretty popular towards the end of Ravnica Allegiance's standard life and for all the right reasons, you've got big beefy threats that can Gruul smash quite well. With #MTGWAR on its way out, Let's see what upgrades we can make.

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Chandra, Fire Artisan gives us a chance to go through our deck while punishing our opponent for attacking our Chandra with the passive ability. The ultimate is obviously going to be good as it gives us the chance to hit our opponent for 7 damage while also looking at the top 7 cards of our library so this card should be huge in a deck like Gruul and Red Deck Wins!

While we're discussing planeswalkers, let's discuss the other one I think could be worth a shot in a deck like Gruul. 

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Sarkhan the Masterless allows us to drop 4 power on board while also threatening another 4 if we include Sarkhan. Heaven forbid we have any other planeswalkers because if we do, then it's going to be a ton of damage to the opponent's face as Sarkhan will turn all our other planeswalkers into a 4/4. I chose to shave a few Skarrgan Hellkite for this card. Even though Skarrgan does offer us that haste, I think the fact that we're threatening 8 power next turn is just better.

That's about it for Gruul in the terms of upgrades from #MTGWAR but let's take a look at the Sideboard. I have the aforementioned Nissa, Who Shakes the World. She seems great but might not be needed. Another planeswalker I'm not too hot on is Domri, Anarch of Bolas.

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I'm going to try out Domri a little bit but I'm not entirely sure Domri is much better than a Rhythm of the Wild other than the fact that it's a planeswalker that can become buddies with Sarkhan. The +1 can be ramp but if we're bringing this in for control and its "can't be countered" clause, I think Rhythm might just be better. However, -2 does give us another form of removal in other matches as our creatures will usually be beefier than our opponent's creatures. We'll see how this performs with the weeks to come.

How About Sultai?

If I were to play Sultai with the coming weeks, I'd look for something like the list mentioned above. The deck gets upgrades in the form of these cards:

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This card is absolutely nuts. Its passive ability keeps us in the game and is a constant way to produce value while also serving as removal. The -4 will be absurdly helpful in dealing with opposing Carnage Tyrant and help us catch back up on board if we're too far behind on board. This will also make any board wipe coming from control decks a way to refill our hand! Outside of that, there wasn't too much for Sultai upgrades.


Though Sultai didn't get a ton of upgrades, Gruul definitely got a solid amount. Not saying Sultai is bad but it's just good the way it already is. Gruul however just got a huge bump in power level and I can't wait to see how these lists do!

See you at the next one!


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