I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but it turns out I have quite the collection of Magic: The Gathering cards. Obviously I am aware of having bought said cards on a multitude of occasions over the course of the last four years, but I didn’t realize that I could literally create a handful of decks with cards I had sitting in boxes. There have been times where I have purchased chunks of cards, either via booster boxes, buying multiple commander precons, making a large singles purchase, or even that time when I bought a bundle of guild kits. Despite having a large box full of EDH “staples” and also several large boxes of common/uncommon bulk, I didn’t realize that I could make playable decks with what was there. There are multiple reasons for this discovery, the main one being that I have been playing Magic several times a week via the PlayEDH Discord channel, and because I’m getting in so many more games I’ve been inspired to brew and deck build more often than I already had been. Another reason is financial. I don’t have the same disposable income I once did, so I haven’t been able to buy as many cards of the newer sets, and I’ve only made one singles purchase over the last few months. I’m happy with this situation, mainly because it forced me to look at what I already had and upon going through and sorting cards and other projects, I’ve managed to build out deck ideas I already had using cards I own instead of buying more expensive versions that I had initially brewed.
My typical brewing process is finding a commander or theme I think is interesting, and then going online to MTGGoldfish where I keep my decklists and building it on the spot. I will take into consideration cards I know that I own, but will oftentimes find cards I don’t own that would be integral to the deck. However, upon reflection it has turned out that oftentimes I can still make a solid mid to mid-high deck without spending money, mainly because I have so many staples. This has had the unfortunate effect of blowing up some of my already established decks and borrowing cards from others though, so in effect I’m borrowing from myself in order to make a new deck work, but will have the hassle of swapping out cards when I want to play others, or eventually I’ll have to put together a list of cards that are being shared and buy extra copies, or I’ll have to bite the bullet and make a staples binder and just proxy the more expensive cards to use among multiple decks. Cards like Sensei’s Divining Top are useful in more than one deck, but then it’s a $40 card and I don’t think I want to buy another copy. With all that said, I have been building new decks quite regularly over the past couple of months. As you can see in the picture above, there’s seven new brews there since the end of January, and of those I’ve managed to make six playable and fairly focused decks that have seen success in multiple pods. Today though, we’ll be talking about one deck that I didn’t expect to be as much fun or as effective as it is. Today, we’re talking about my boy, Yorvo:
When this cycle of new legendary creatures from Throne of Eldraine was spoiled, I thought to myself that the only one I found even remotely interesting was Torbran, but I already have a mono red deck helmed by Krenko and Torbran fit right into that one. I never paid attention to Yorvo, but eventually played against a few different players that were running mono green decks that just did crazy things. I attempted to build a mono green ramping deck helmed by Molimo back when I first got into EDH, but it wasn’t very successful. I’ll attribute that to not really understanding how to build good decks and other factors of being “green” to a subject. A couple of weeks ago, the Jumbo Commander YouTube channel posted a video featuring a $35 budget build of Yorvo and upon finishing that video I was sold. Upon looking through my collection of green cards, I knew I could build a solid deck and it ended up being worth about $170. Though dollars don’t necessarily equal success, in this case I think I’ve made the deck even better than the budget build and it has had nothing but good games against decks I would think should beat it pretty handily. So what do we want to do with Yorvo? Well, he’s a creature that enters the battlefield with four +1/+1 counters on him, so he is essentially a turn 2 or 3 beater that just gets bigger over time. That doesn’t meant that we’re going for a full on Voltron build though, despite the fact that it could be effective. Instead, I’ve built a deck that ramps quickly, has a ton of utility and can smash with big beaters, or can go wide with a Craterhoof Behemoth finisher. Let’s first look at our ramp package:
We have mana producing effects in every slot possible. There are mana producing creatures, spells, artifacts and enchantments present. Each of these cards has synergy with green/forests because obviously that’s the only color we’re playing with, but some of these cards can interact with other cards in the deck as well. For example, Gyre Sage comes in as a 1/2 elf that does nothing. However, when you play any 2 power or 3 toughness creature, it will then get a +1/+1 counter put on it due to its evolve ability, and then can be tapped for mana. If this comes down early and you are casting creatures on curve, you might be tapping this guy for 3 or 4 green mana a turn for a low investment. Playing out creatures with Growing Rites of Itlimoc on the field will result it it flipping, and being the budget Gaea’s Cradle it was always meant to be. Next up, creatures that we are ramping towards to pressure our opponents:
These creatures serve as our beaters and our enablers to wipe the board of threats or to finish off opponents. In total there are 18 elves in the deck, so finding Ezuri in the mid to late game while you have a solid board of elves can lead to the victory if you have the mana to pump up your elves via his ability. On the flip side, if you have several 4+ power creatures then Goreclaw can help them out by making them bigger and giving trample, similar to Ezuri’s ability. You can also drop a Thunderfoot Baloth or Craterhoof Behemoth to grant big boosts to your team along with giving trample. Loyal Guardian can give our team +1/+1 counters while Trollbred Guardian will then give everything with counters on it trample. You can see what I’m going for here. Either go wide or go tall, but either way smash through with trample damage. Next, let’s look at our removal package, because we can rest assured that others will take notice of our board and try to stop us, so we should do the same to them.
Unfortunately green doesn’t do much in the way of board wipes. They do however have an amazing suite of artifact and enchantment removal effects. Since we’ll be developing a creature heavy board, our biggest vulnerability is to board wipes. I’ve included Spore Frog for those times when your board has been destroyed and you need to prevent that crack back. Otherwise, most of these effects target artifacts or enchantments. Beast Within can target anything but comes with the downside of giving that opponent a 3/3 beast. Kenrith’s Transformation does the same, though the 3/3 is an elk, and can only target a creature. It’s still worth it to knock out a problematic commander. Lastly, let’s look at some of the other utility within the deck:
Here we have a selection of cards that do stuff we want to do. Fierce Empath will tutor up your big beaters/finishers. Brawn hits the graveyard and gives all of our creatures trample. Genesis will give us some creature recursion. Sandwurm Convergence gives us tokens each turn, but also stops flying creatures from attacking us (and this is literally all the protection we have from them). Others will let us draw cards for sacrificing creatures (like those tokens?) or just in general. There are a few others here that I didn’t highlight, but you can see the full decklist over here. Overall the deck has performed well in every game I’ve played. I’ve regularly out ramped my opponents and typically have a more threatening board state faster than anyone else. Drawing cards is regular. Manipulating +1/+1 counters is often. Swinging for tons of damage and eliminating multiple players has happened as well. I believe it’s won or nearly won most of the games it’s been played. It’s also resilient, because board wipes do happen, yet I seem to still rebuild faster than others. If you want a fast and fun (and kinda dirty) deck to play I’d recommend something like this, and honestly this shell will probably work for most mono green commanders with some minimal tweaking. I’m surprised by how fast and consistent and fun it has been.