Don’t Worry, Be Sappy

Saproling tokens? Give me more. And then I’ll find some way to break the fuzzy little suckers.

I have to say I love the Saproling Revival we’ve been experiencing over the past few sets. I’ve always liked the little 1/1 green token creatures. Fallen Empires, one of the dredgiest of the dredge sets, provided me with tons of Saproling Fun.”Thallid Salad” was one of my friend’s nicknames for the deck I had back then; it was all about pumping up those 1/1’s. I’d use Goblin Kites to give one flying, hit it with a Pendlehaven, pump it with a Celestial Sword, and glide upside my opponent’s noggin with a 4/6 evasive Sap. Maybe I’d throw a Giant Growth and Berserk on it for fourteen points of damage, and then sac it to Skull Catapult at the end of all that. I mean, they may just be little 1/1 dudes, but they can sure get mean. Just take a look at the artwork on Spontaneous Generation if you don’t believe me; that hoe doesn’t look like it’s gonna help much.

The deck was fun, if a bit slow. Thallids, Thallid Devourers, and Elvish Farmers generated those dudes pretty slow, even with a Fungal Bloom on the board. Night Soil was nice, but for some reason my opponents were always Disenchanting that bad boy; hey, fellas — you didn’t need those dead critters, did you?

Things were pretty quiet on the Saproling front until Verdant Force came along and made a big splash thanks to Jamie Wakefield. Unfortunately, there weren’t any other Saproling cards at the time to make use of the mass of little green men dropping from the Force like beads of sweat. You really couldn’t call Secret Force a”Saproling Deck.”

Urza’s Saga nosed around in Saproling Land with some pretty bad cards like Sporogenesis and Greener Pastures. I noodled around with both of them, and was quite unimpressed, especially when other colors were getting things like Yawgmoth’s Will, Time Spiral, and Wildfire. To even compare in power level, those cards needed to read something like this:

SPOROGENESIS, 3G, Enchantment

When Sporogenesis comes into play, put three +1/+1 fungus counters on target nontoken creature. During your upkeep, you may put a +1/+1 fungus counter on target nontoken creature. Whenever a creature with a fungus counter on it is put into a graveyard, put a Saproling token into play for each of those fungus counters. Treat these tokens as 1/1 green creatures.

So the card mutates target creature, making him large and infested with Saprolings that burst out upon that creature’s death. That would have been a nice card and might have even held a candle to some of the other power cards in the set.


During your upkeep, if you control more lands than any other player, put a Saproling token into play equal to the number of lands you control. Treat this token as a 1/1 green creature.

Say, this makes all the land acceleration cards green has gotten good all of a sudden. Hey, R&D, if you need some help designing good Saproling theme cards, call on me!

Actually, starting with Mercadian Masques, Wizards has been making lots of Saproling cards. Here’s a list of all the ones currently available in Type 2:

Aether Mutation, Artifact Mutation, Aura Mutation, Death Mutation, Last Stand, Nemata Grove Guardian, Rith the Awakener, Rith’s Charm, Saproling Burst, Saproling Cluster, Saproling Infestation, Saproling Symbiosis, Spontaneous Generation, Verdeloth the Ancient.

Wow! Fourteen cards. Of course, some of them are really bad, especially Death Mutation and Last Stand. While Last Stand is a funky domain-type card shouldn’t be considered a Saproling card so we can forgive its design, why the heck does Death Mutation cost eight mana? Prophecy’s frickin’ Winds cost one mana more and have infinitely more powerful effects. Why couldn’t Death Mutation be something like this:


Destroy target nonblack creature. It can’t be regenerated. Lose X life and put X 1/1 green Saproling creature tokens into play, where X is its converted mana cost.

Playable, not broken, and in keeping with the colors’ themes. How hard was that?

Anyway, back to reality. Thanks to Fires, Saproling Burst has been getting plenty of press as one of the”Oops, I win!” cards in type 2. Aura Mutation and Rith the Awakener both enjoy their time in the sun. But what about some of the other cards?

Reading over the Nationals Coverage, I stumbled across an interesting deck by Ben Romig that used Spontaneous Generation and Saproling Cluster to power his Opposition/Orb prison deck. Here’s the deck listing:

Saproling Burt by Ben Romig (61 cards)

4 Counterspell

3 Thwart

3 Foil

4 Opposition

4 Spontaneous Generation

3 Saproling Cluster

3 Static Orb

3 Gush

3 Fact or Fiction

4 Opt

4 Accumulated Knowledge

15 Island

7 Forest

Now poor Ben finished something like 100th place or so, and I don’t know whether he did abysmally in the Rochester part, or whether this deck just got crushed. But it seems like an interesting innovation and has some fantastic synergies. However, I do note a few cards that don’t work well together —namely, Spontaneous Generation and Saproling Cluster. Cluster itself is a bit suspect, though with an Orb on the board you can break the parity. What’s really cool is how well Gush and Thwart work with Spontaneous Generation. Man, that’s a lot of dudes for four mana!

Anyway, the tinkerer in me wants to mess around with this deck, especially since Apocalypse brings a few options to the board. Here’s my version:

Saproling Opposition

4 Counterspell

3 Thwart

3 Foil

4 Opposition

4 Spontaneous Generation

2 Wash Out

3 Aether Mutation

3 Coat of Arms

3 Gush

4 Opt

4 Accumulated Knowledge

15 Island

4 Yavimaya Coast

3 Forest

I decided to do away with the Orb part of it in favor of Coat of Arms. Why? Well, Coat of Arms is gonna end the game quick. Just simply abuse Opposition a little while until you drop the Coat and win. Coat of Arms also negates Juntu Stakes which could be a problem. Aether Mutation seems to be a natural for the deck; return that mean ol’ nasty Spiritmonger to your hand, make five dudes, and tap down your land with Opposition so you can’t recast them.

Of course, there is the Blastoderm Problem. Hmm. Counterspell? You hope! There’s always room for Saber Ants in the board…

Wash Out is the questionable card. I wasn’t sure what would be better. Rushing River? Boomerang? You’re probably screaming”what about Fact or Fiction, ya moron?” Well, between Opts, AKs, and Gushes, I think the deck has more than enough card drawing/filtering, and I like those cards better than FoF in this deck. Would we be better served with Saproling Burst here? I’d love to drop a Burst with a Coat on the board. At the end of your turn, make six dudes. Remove a fade counter and attack with six 6/6 saps. Talk about good beats.

In closing, I’d like to present with a fun little casual deck that uses some of the Saproling cards we’ve had over the years for anyone who might like to play with such a deck.

4 Birds

4 Elves

4 Elvish Farmer

2 Thallid Devourer

1 Citanul Heirophant

1 Keysa

1 Nemata Grove Guardian

2 Verdant Force

1 Crop Rotation

1 Malachite Talisman

1 Regrowth

1 Night Soil

4 Survival of the Fittest

4 Fecundity

4 Spontaneous Generation

2 Reincarnation

2 Desert Twister

3 Gaea’s Cradle

18 Forest

Around these parts, Elvish Farmers are generally marked for death. I guess I’ve abused them too much with the mad Saprolings you can generate (along with Fecundity, you can gain lots of life and draw lots of cards). Malachite Talisman is a card that’s probably leaving you scratching your head. It’s an Ice Age artifact that lets you untap a permanent for three mana whenever someone casts a green spell. With a Cradle on the board producing Saproling-fueled mad mana, the Talisman can give you a huge mana boost.

Will Odyssey have some more Saproling Goodies to add to the mix? Obviously only time will tell, but I’ve got my fingers crossed.