Gingerbrute Is One Tough Cookie

Part cookie, part brute, all awesome! Gingerbrute could be an essential part of Throne of Eldraine Standard and Ari Lax has a few thoughts on what those decks could look like!

I could have written about a bunch of cards that play similar roles to
Gingerbrute that have slightly more raw power. But I’m writing about

Gingerbrute isn’t going to be the best card in any deck it belongs in. But
I’m writing about Gingerbrute.

Because the best card in a Gingerbrute deck goes in exactly that deck. The
slightly better than Gingerbrute cards go in that aggro deck that can cast
them. And Gingerbrute goes in all of them. There are tons of different
angles of attack in Throne of Eldraine Standard that need a
critical mass of one-mana creatures, and Gingerbrute helps all of them
across the playable finish line.

One big thing driving me to look at Gingerbrute is the mana in Throne of Eldraine Standard. You just can’t build a two-color
aggro deck with enters the battlefield tapped duals like the Temples. At
most, you can build base one color, splash a second, and definitely not
with good one-drops. It’s not like multicolor blocks are quite known for
their exceptional one-mana cards, since those all have to be hybrid costs.
The exception to the mono-color aggro rule right now is some Knights deck
with Tournament Grounds, but I think building a tribal deck without the
full Throne of Eldraine card list is not something I want to spend
time on.

A 1/1 haste with minor upsides isn’t the most exciting card, but the mass
pump in this format is great while the small ball support within a single
color needs all the help it can get.

I don’t think you can really avoid this issue either. This strength tension
between go-wide aggro payoffs and enablers is something I think aggressive
players need to solve in this Standard format.

I talked at length last week about how Food tokens completely upend the
idea of playing more traditional red aggro decks in this format, and that
the text on Oko, Thief of Crowns forces players to thread the needle with
this go-wide style of aggro. You need your aggro deck to be able to see its
opponent gain three or six life and just laugh it off.

So, with that in mind, let’s start with a red deck that tries to do that.

I didn’t play a lot of the Core Set 2020 queues on Magic Arena,
but when I did, Cavalcade Red continued to beat me up every time I ran into
it. This is my first pass are replicating the things I was losing to.

The interaction between Cavalcade of Calamity and Chandra’s Spitfire is
extremely wild. Each attacker for Cavalcade is a unique instance of damage,
so each one-power attacker does an extra four damage and your opponent dies
on the spot. It’s also the reason I’m playing Torch Courier, because adding
haste to this makes your deck an actual combo deck and hasting up a Legion
Warboss is also a considerable damage upgrade. If you can’t find a
Cavalcade of Calamity, Mask of Immolation can do a reasonable job as a
backup damage source and even makes the equipment text on Fervent Champion

It’s weird to kick off a Gingerbrute article with a two Gingerbrute deck,
but red has so many great options for this exact slot. Scorch Spitter is
miles ahead of the rest since it just attacks for two and enables Chandra’s
Spitfire, Fervent Champion is clearly the second best as it gets huge in
multiples, Torch Courier is your combo enabler, and there are just more
haste creatures than defenders in Standard making Tin Street Dodger a more
reliable evasive option. The life gain ability on Gingerbrute is nice in
specific matchups, but I’m starting with the cards that deal the absolute
most damage.

As per my previous comments, I’m not even trying to play the burn spells of
the format. Shock is just there to kill creatures and trigger Chandra’s
Spitfire. I don’t want to pay three mana for anything along those lines,
and I certainly don’t want to burn my opponent after combat in my Chandra’s
Spitfire deck.

Red has several reasonably exciting, more expensive payoffs in this
Standard format, but I’m not about that right now. Chandra’s Spitfire and
Cavalcade of Calamity lose huge amounts of equity for each card you draw
that doesn’t enable them, and that means each Experimental Frenzy in your
hand that isn’t an attacker by Turn 4 is a huge cost.

That’s not even counting the fact that Experimental Frenzy pushes your land
count even further up, resulting in weird midrangey flood-screw issues. I
think Frenzy is a powerful sideboard tool for when you need to go over the
top of a bigger deck, but it isn’t a card I’m interested in just dropping
into a cohesive shell. I’m already playing twenty lands in this deck
because the three drops are so important to have on time, I don’t want to
be tempted to play more.

On the flip side of the deckbuilding spectrum, we have a deck that has
always tried to do the go-wide thing. Mono-White Aggro plus or minus a
light splash has been around since Guilds of Ravnica just doing
its thing. The core one-drops of Legion’s Landing, Dauntless Bodyguard, and
Skymarcher Aspirant are all gone now, and I have a couple ideas on how to
replace them.

Both of these decks are short a solid creature, but we have a lot of cards
left in the set to find one. The normal aggro deck needs a Knight to shift
Venerable Knight counters onto, and the Rally of Wings deck needs a
creature with flying that costs less than three. The best option not
already in there is War Screecher, but please just give me a two mana 2/2
flyer. You can even hide it in the Planeswalker deck like you did last

The selection of one-drops in the Rally of Wings deck doesn’t all have
flying, but the aim is to have none of them bricked by ground bodies. The
number of tappers is probably excessive, but what is a 2/1 attacker going
to do besides get blocked by their doofus that wasn’t doing anything else?
At least Gingerbrute sneaks through, and Venerated Loxodon carries the
Faerie Guidemother adventure like a champ.

I utterly despise Unbreakable Formation, but you probably need to play it
if you aren’t playing Rally of Wings. This also might force you to play
Hanged Executioner as more three-drops regardless of what deck you play
since Formation is a trash rate until you reliably get four power from it.

While I have doubts there are enough lifelink creatures to play actual
Ajani’s Pridemate, I love planeswalkers that churn value. Since the fifth
through eighth splash lands for Experimental Frenzy and Negate enter the
battlefield tapped, I think you have to go with on-color alternatives
against sideboard sweepers. Mobilized District makes jumping to four drops
much less painful, especially if you get Tomik, Distinguished Advokist into
your deck. Tomik even dodges Cry of the Carnarium, so maybe it deserves a
spot even if you are playing the non-flying version.

The final deck today is taking a look at the other card type on
Gingerbrute. What can we do with a one-mana artifact creature?

Whenever there’s a confluence of powerful artifact payoffs, it’s worth
trying to just jam all the reasonable artifacts that support them into a
deck and see how it turns out. Steel Overseer is good, Emry, Lurker of the
Loch is absurd, and Animating Faerie was impressive enough in the Brawl
Challenge on Arena to be worth a look.

My initial list of this deck was Mono-Blue, but I struggled to find the
support for Animating Faerie as well as the last few playables that tied
into everything else. I was even playing Chamber Sentry as a bad Fanatical
Firebrand, and there was a chance a full four Corridor Monitor would make
the cut. Even with the ability to untap Emry and Steel Overseer, you don’t
want a playset of a two-mana 1/4.

The obvious answer was to use Food tokens as the noncreature artifacts, and
that just lets you add three extremely powerful cards to your deck. Oko,
Thief of Crowns is especially notable as a way to boost your low impact
bodies into attackers, and Once Upon a Time in your “blanks and broken
cards” theme deck is basically cheating. Gilded Goose even lets you live
the Chamber Sentry dream sometimes, and by dream, I mean playing a
three-mana 3/3 instead of a two-mana 2/2.

A few weird tips for the cards in this deck. OK, it’s just weird tips for
Oko’s suite of absurd abilities.

  • Exchanges need both targets to be legal on resolution, so you can’t bin a
    Food token or a Chamber Sentry in response to your own Oko, Thief of Crowns
  • +1/+1 counters apply after Oko’s Elk effect, so Chamber Sentry just flat
    out gets +3/+3 from it.
  • Activating Gingerbrute’s evasion ability before Oko’ing it to a 3/3
    leaves it still evasive, but no longer an artifact or Food.
  • It’s kinda boggling to me that the only mention I’ve seen of Feasting Troll
    King was
    Sam Black’s Emry, Lurker of the Loch article
    last week. Didn’t we just go through this? Free trampling 7/6s from the
    graveyard are pretty not OK. With Emry as self-mill and Food via
    Gingerbrute, Gilded Goose, and Oko, Thief of Crowns this deck feels like
    it’s a graveyard enabler away from yet another supremely broken payoff, but
    for now I think the Troll King is just a sideboard option when you need a
    larger body.

    That’s four colors and three fairly unique shells trying to utilize
    Gingerbrute to carry some powerful payoff home. Coming off of eight set Core Set 2020 Standard, a card like Gingerbrute might seem absurd
    to even consider as a valid attacker, but five set Throne of Eldraine Standard isn’t that format. In a world of
    limited options, having some universal cog like Gingerbrute goes a long way
    to making everyone’s dreams come true.