Random Commander: Verdeloth The Ancient!

Abe Sargent returns with his trademark random commander series! Today’s entry is an old favorite with an underrated tribe or two behind him!

Are your Commander decks starting to look a little similar? Are you looking for a bit of inspiration? When you are looking for a fun way to stretch your
deckbuilding muscles, what do you do? I like to force myself to build a deck around randomly selected cards. How hard would it be to use a random legendary
creature to build your next Commander deck around? All you have to do is hit random card over at Gatherer until you get a legendary creature.

Are you ready for the fun?

Gatherer, here we go…

Well, I was expecting it to take a while, but this time, it didn’t! I hit random card and got my legendary creature after three hits. Say hello to your new
treefolk overlord!

He’s the sort of sexy legendary card I can get behind, ladies and gentlemen. He’s flexible, he’s fun, he’s tribal, he makes tokens. I mean really, what’s
not to love?

So let’s take look at the deck that ol’ Verdy inspired in me. He’s such a sap!

And here we are!

Now, when you build a Commander deck around a fun and flavorful guy like Verdeloth, where do you take it? One obvious direction is to push saprolings,
since your commander both makes and pumps the little dorks. Because saprolings were a theme all the way back in Fallen Empires, we’d had tons of saproling
producers and enablers over the years. You could toss in old school Fallen Empires cards like Fungal Bloom, Thallid, and Elvish Farmer. Then you simply dig
into latter stuff like Sporoloth Ancient, Sporesower Thallid, and Vitaspore Thallid. Thallids were in Ravnica block (the first one) and have seen entries
such as Fists of Ironwood and Sporemound down through the ages.

So just push the saproling theme, and you have yourself a very fun tribal deck using Verdeloth. Yay!

On the other hand, Verdeloth is a treefolk, and he pumps other trees. So you could use him to make a treefolk deck. There haven’t been too many treefolk
enablers outside of Lorwyn-Morningtide. So toss in that Timber Protector and Bosk Banneret. But going the treefolk route allows you to dig into some fun
cards, as well as some classics of the format. Woodfall Primus suits the theme and the format. You can unearth some old classic fun stuff like Weatherseed
Treefolk. Build yourself a nice little treefolk deck and then call it!


Well, Verdeloth actually pumps both saps and trees. Why stop at just one? Why not have both in the deck, just like our commander – let’s push both themes!

So there’s a place for Timber Protector and for Jade Mage.

Now, the first place to look is my creature base, since this is a deck that has a powerful tribal mindset.

There are some strong treefolk that intrigue me.

Take a look at Wickerbough Elder. It’s a Hill Giant that becomes a 4/4 after you spend that mana, and it does its best Seal of Primordium impression. I
like it because it doesn’t sacrifice or shrink to use its ability, and it has a powerful rattlesnake effect. I can use it to ward off potential folk by
threatening to take out their great artifact/enchantment as punishment. Just keep that green mana open and you are in business.

Since this is a mono-green deck, we’re running a lot of Forests naturally. That makes a card like Kalonian Twingrove awesome. In addition to being
specifically referenced in a recent South Park episode, the Twingrove gives you two creatures that scale in size to the number of Forests we’re rocking.
Speaking of which, might as well run Dungrove Elder and Dauntless Dourbark for the same reason. Note that Timber Protector also protects your Forests, and
Treefolk Harbinger will fetch one up for you, so we have some enhanced Forest lovin’. (Everbark Shaman will exile a dead tree into two Forests.)

Check out Deadwood Treefolk as well. It arrives, brings a dead creature back on arrival, then repeats that upon death. That provides a nice, on-theme body
that can dole out some creature-returning fun!

There are some fun treefolk I didn’t run too. If you have an artifact-heavy metagame, where folk usually run tons of the artificial stuff, you can toss in
Gaea’s Avenger. Meanwhile Ghoultree is a 10/10, and Heartwood Storyteller would improve if I added a high enough creature count to the deck. Orchard Warden
has fun pro-treefolk interactions as well.

Now that we’ve wrapped up that treefolk section, what about our saproling friends?

I began by tossing in folks that make saprolings. Nemata is perfect as an entry that intersects treefolk and saprolings. In heads Jade Mage and Thelonite
Hermit. Verdant Force has been spewing saprolings all over the board for an incredibly long time!

After those places though, where next? I think Thallid Shell-Dweller is a good choice. It’s an early play, so you can build your fungus counters over time.
Plus the 0/5 wall gives you some strong earlygame survivability. It also tends to keep your fungus-maker alive longer, since people usually don’t send
their Terminate and Swords to Plowshares towards a Thallid Shell-Dweller.

The next set of Thallids I considered were those that could sacrifice a saproling for a useful effect. Thallid Germinator can sac one to pump someone else,
while Elvish Farmer turns them into life. (By eating them I suppose). But Psychotrope Thallid is your secret weapon. Spend a mana, sacrifice a saproling,
and draw you some cards baby!

Now my core was set. I decided to push my theme even more by adding in fungus and plants. After all, just because a card like Singing Tree is not a
treefolk is no reason to keep it out of my Verdeloth deck, right? Verdeloth is not that picky! So in went Wall of Roots, Wall of Blossoms, and Vine Tellis.
All give me more early things to do, some accelerate my mana and help me survive until my deck can play the bigger stuff.

Oh oh, how about Vinelasher Kudzu? And Avenger of Zendikar? We are bringing the plant love now!

The last few creatures that were included were ones that helped the whole team. Perhaps we can give them indestructible (Soul of New Phyrexia) or trample
(Nylea, God of the Hunt), or just plain bigger (Kaysa, Paragon of the Eternal Wilds).

Why yes, that is a new and sexy Shamanic Revelation from Fate Reforged looking all ready to rock! Thank you for asking. Hey, with Verdeloth doing his best
saproling-spew, it seems like a pretty strong card to rock the deck. You might even gain a spot of life with the ferocious angle as well, right?

Besides the Revelation, I wanted my spells to be on-theme as well. I knew that Rootgrapple and Lignify would make the cut. You know what? Might as well
toss in that Reach of Branches as well while we’re at it. This gives me a bit of removal and fun. Creeping Mold, Rain of Thorns, and Crushing Vines add in
flavorful ways to blow stuff up as well.

There are tons of saproling-producing spells out there to consider. I felt Sprout Swarm gave me some long-game and post-mass removal options that were
vital. Because it can be played as an instant, Saproling Symbiosis is a great opportunity to make a bunch of creatures quickly in order to deal with
attackers. Play it at the end of someone’s turn, untap, and then swing with your enswelled army.

Verdant Embrace will do its best Verdant Force impression. You can fight graveyard abuse with Night Soil while also contributing to your cause. And then we
have stuff like Bow of Nylea and Gaea’s Anthem to amp your team’s volume level.

Up until now, we’ve been building a fun, low-powered, but highly thematic deck. So let’s have, “the talk.” I know that it’s the obvious way to go. I know
that it might seem a bit blatant. I know it might draw hate. I know that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. But this is a great place for Doubling Season and
its best friend, Primal Vigor. The benefits this deck rocks from these cards far outweighs the baggage. If your take is different, that’s fine. You can
look at Parallel Evolution or dig into some other ideas.

After these fun cards, I wanted to toss in some useful adjuncts. We’re playing mono-green, so we don’t need as many mana rocks. It was going to be just Sol
Ring, but the more I looked at Unstable Obelisk, the more I liked it in this deck. The sacrifice is just one more mana than Desert Twister, and adds to our
removal capabilities. After that I tossed in a few mana fetchers (Cultivate, Myriad Landscape) and felt our mana was good from that angle.

Overrun was interesting; alpha strike someone with trees, plants, fungi, and saprolings. You can use Garruk Wildspeaker in a similar way, or just untap
some lands to amp your mana production. You can even beast the field up if you want the extra critter.

Because we have emphasized Forests so much, Nissa, Worldwaker is an obvious powerhouse to include. For real flavor, how about Lost in the Woods? If someone
wants to attack your tree army, can’t you see them all freezing and trying to get the person lost? You have a great chance of flipping that Forest as well.

Vines of Vastwood can pump a dork and/or protect them from some targeted crap coming your way. I wish we had more mono-green ways to give something
indestructible to help survive mass removal. I would have tossed that thing into our Verdeloth deck in an instant.

With my last few cards, let’s give our big guys some haste and protection with Lightning Greaves and Swiftfoot Boots. Actually, while we are at it, another
interesting equipment might be Konda’s Banner. It does pump opposing stuff, which is annoying. It’s fun and fits our theme of churning out critters and
pumping them to boot.

After that I tossed in some obvious stuff and called it a deck.

Again, there’s a variety of ways to take this sort of build. If you want to explore stuff, consider Vitaspore Thallid and Tree of Redemption. Utopia Mycon
and Entangling Vines. Rampant Growth and Verdant Touch. Maybe you can suss out Life and Limb.

Have fun with it!