You Lika The Juice? – EDH Deck Clinic: Baru, Fist of Krosa

Grand Prix: Oakland!

Friday, February 5th – Welcome back a semi-regular feature here at You Lika The Juice—the EDH Deck Clinic! I’ve got a few emails in the docket for upcoming Deck Clinics, but feel free to keep sending them in to the email address posted at the bottom of this column (make sure you put “EDH Deck Clinic” in the subject).

Thanks everyone who fueled a lively discussion on the forum thread from last week’s column, The State of Green: Worldwake Edition. It has inspired me to dig deep and write a comprehensive look at the issue of Cleverness, Instants, and the color pie. That’s going to take some time and some homework, so it’s on the back burner for now but I anticipate bringing the discussion again real soon.

In the meantime, I wanted to get back to what I had originally intended to be a semi-regular feature here at You Lika The Juice—the EDH Deck Clinic! I’ve got a few emails in the docket for upcoming Deck Clinics, but feel free to keep sending them in to the email address posted at the bottom of this column (make sure you put “EDH Deck Clinic” in the subject).

To pivot off my topic from last week — Green – let’s pop the hood on a Mono-Green EDH deck built around Baru, Fist of Krosa.

Dear Bennie,

My name is Ronald, and I play in Hong Kong. I have been a long time reader of your columns, first time e-mailing to you. I love the idea of an EDH Deck Clinic.

EDH hasn’t really taken off yet at the store where I play Magic. There are at the most, 3 of us playing EDH when we run into each other at FNM.

This is my first EDH deck, and I decided to keep it simple at Mono-Green. The General I chose is Baru, Fist of Krosa.

The reason I am playing Baru is because I never played him in Standard when he first came out, but I thought it was a great card, and I also think he’s a great general flavor wise, leading the charge into battle. My deck tries to generate as many creatures as possible, making them larger with enchantments and other spells. Basically it brings the beats to the opponent, and who doesn’t like attacking your opponent for the win?

I think the deck is okay, but it could definitely be improved. As a Green player, I am sure you have some suggestions for cards that I missed out on or would be better alternatives to what I am using right now. It’s all very casual play for us, and we haven’t banned any cards yet. It’s all a matter of actually having the cards to play with. Lastly, I haven’t looked at Zendikar yet for additions to the deck. I missed out on the Prerelease due to travel for business.

Here’s the decklist:

1 Baru, Fist of Krosa
28 Forest
1 Gaea’s Cradle
1 Llanowar Reborn
1 Okina, Temple to the Grandfathers
1 Pendelhaven
1 Snow Covered Forest
1 Treetop Village
1 Wirewood Lodge
1 Yavimaya Hollow
1 Ant Queen
1 Birchlore Rangers
1 Boreal Druid
1 Bramblewood Paragon
1 Chameleon Colossus
1 Civic Wayfinder
1 Cudgel Troll
1 Eladamri, Lord of Leaves
1 Elvish Archdruid
1 Elvish Harbinger
1 Elvish Piper
1 Elvish Visionary
1 Eternal Witness
1 Glissa Sunseeker
1 Great Sable Stag
1 Heritage Druid
1 Imperious Perfect
1 Kodama of the North Tree
1 Krosan Tusker
1 Llanowar Elves
1 Masked Admirers
1 Nettle Sentinel
1 Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary
1 Skyshroud Poacher
1 Spellbane Centaur
1 Troll Ascetic
1 Viridian Shaman
1 Wellwisher
1 Winnower Patrol
1 Wirewood Hivemaster
1 Wolf-Skull Shaman
1 Wren’s Run Packmaster
1 Wren’s Run Vanquisher
1 Lightning Greaves
1 Skullclamp
1 Umezawa’s Jitte
1 Garruk Wildspeaker
1 Blanchwood Armor
1 Fertile Ground
1 Gaea’s Anthem
1 Pattern of Rebirth
1 Rancor
1 Utopia Sprawl
1 Creeping Mold
1 Gaea’s Blessing
1 Gift of the Gargantuan
1 Harmonize
1 Howl of the Night Pack
1 Hurricane
1 Into the North
1 Journey of Discovery
1 Overrun
1 Plow Under
1 Rampant Growth
1 Regrowth
1 Rude Awakening
1 Sylvan Scrying
1 Tooth and Nail
1 Wurmcalling
1 Chord of Calling
1 Krosan Grip
1 Reclaim
1 Stonewood Invocation

Okay, let’s take a high-level look at what Ronald’s got going here.

36 lands, 34 creatures, 30 spells
Average converted mana cost 2.97

Here’s your mana curve:

CC1 (9 cards)
CC2 (16 cards)
CC3 (15 cards)
CC4 (12 cards)
CC5 (6 cards)
CC7 (3 cards)
X-spells (3 cards)

Before I get started, let me say Ronald’s build is pretty solid, chock full of quality Green cards with a pretty aggressive early game obviously built to finish off your opponents quickly with boosted, trampling weenies. So how would I go about improving the deck?

First, let’s take a close look at the general.

Baru, Fist of Krosa
Legendary Creature – Human Druid
Whenever a Forest enters the battlefield, green creatures you control get +1/+1 and gain trample until end of turn.
Grandeur – Discard another card named Baru, Fist of Krosa: Put an X/X green Wurm creature token onto the battlefield, where X is the number of lands you control.

As I talk about in my EDH Primer, it’s important to remember that your general provides you with the most consistent card in your deck. Outside of “tuck” effects (spells and abilities that put your general into your deck), you’re going to have access to your general whenever you need him and have the mana to cast him. What does this mean to you?

Unfortunately, in EDH Baru’s awesome grandeur ability won’t apply, but that’s okay—Baru’s other ability is pretty awesome by itself. Basically he’s got a built-in mini-Overrun whenever a Forest enters your battlefield. Luckily for us, Green’s got lots of ways to keep Forests entering your battlefield whenever you want to, and often more than once a turn.

So would be the overarching theme of a Baru deck? We want lots of good Green creatures, and we want a steady supply of Forests entering our battlefield. One thing I noticed in Ronald’s build is that there are a lot of spells in the deck, which could possibly end up leaving you with just Baru and not a lot of friends to Overrun with; keep in mind that 100 card singleton is inherently inconsistent if we don’t slant things in our favor. Another nice thing about Green is that it has a lot of creatures that do spell-like stuff, so I’ll look to swap them in for spells as we go along to make sure Baru’s got a lot of friends in play for the big plays.

CC0 (2 cards total)
Added: Claws of Gix, Zuran Orb
Since we’re going to be leaning heavily on Baru, we want to have some protection from tuck effects and anyone stealing him from us, so Claws of Gix is a must. Also, since we’ll be putting a lot of Forests into play, Zuran Orb seems like a natural to pad our life totals to keep us in the game longer than we would otherwise.

CC1 (9 cards total)
Cut: Boreal Druid, Nettle Sentinel, Rancor, Utopia Sprawl, Reclaim
Keep: Birchlore Rangers, Heritage Druid, Llanowar Elves

Added: Essence Warden, Greenseeker, Joraga Warcaller, Quirion Ranger, Wirewood Symbiote
If I were building a Baru deck from scratch, I probably would focus more on high power creatures or creatures that do good stuff if they hit your opponent, both of which can benefit from Baru’s ability. Ronald’s build seemed to have a strong Elf element to it, and if I were to go with my first instinct, I’d end up cutting a ton of his creatures from it. Rather than doing a complete and utter overhaul of the deck, I decided to try and keep and strengthen the Elf theme. At one mana, a few of the elf choices aren’t as good as other options, so I added Essence Warden for more lifegain, Greenseeker and Quirion Ranger to keep a steady supply of Forests, and Joraga Warcaller from Worldwake for it’s awesome kicker ability when you’re playing a bunch of elves. Wirewood Symbiote does lots of neat tricks with Elves that do stuff when they come into play. I’d typically add Sol Ring and Sensei’s Divining Top here, but I presume if Ronald had them he’d have them in his list already.

CC2 (13 cards total)
Cut: Bramblewood Paragon; Eladamri, Lord of Leaves; Wolf-Skull Shaman, Lightning Greaves, Fertile Ground, Gaea’s Blessing, Into the North, Rampant Growth, Sylvan Scrying
Keep: Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary; Elvish Visionary, Wellwisher, Wirewood Hivemaster, Wren’s Run Vanquisher, Umezawa’s Jitte, Regrowth
Added: Scryb Ranger, Nissa’s Chosen, Priest of Titania, Wirewood Herald, Sakura-Tribe Elder, Budoka Gardener

There aren’t enough Warriors to make Paragon good in this deck, and without deck manipulation I don’t think Wolf-Skull will hit enough to make it worthwhile. Scryb Ranger, Sakura-Tribe Elder, and Budoka Gardener give you Forest manipulation, and Wirewood Herald helps give a little resistance to board sweepers (something that you need to worry about with so many weenie elves).

CC3 (15 cards total)
Cut: Great Sable Stag, Spellbane Centaur, Troll Ascetic, Winnower Patrol, Blanchwood Armor, Gift of the Gargantuan, Journey of Discovery
Keep: Krosan Grip, Civic Wayfinder, Elvish Archdruid, Elvish Harbinger, Eternal Witness, Imperious Perfect, Viridian Shaman, Gaea’s Anthem, Krosan Grip
Added: Caller of the Claw, Wood Elves, Farhaven Elf, Yavimaya Granger, Yavimaya Dryad, Jagged-Scar Archers, Thousand-Year Elixir
Ronald mentioned his EDH playgroup is small, but if one of his opponents likes to play blue bounce and tuck effects then Spellbane Centaur would be worth the spot. Otherwise, I wanted to make room here for elves that come into play and let you put a Forest into play. Also, Caller of the Claw gives some additional resistance to sweepers and Jagged-Scar Archers should give ample ammunition against fliers. We’ve got plenty of guys that tap to do stuff to make Thousand-Year Elixir a fantastic card here.

CC4 (11 cards total)
Cut: Cudgel Troll, Elvish Piper, Glissa Sunseeker, Garruk Wildspeaker, Pattern of Rebirth, Creeping Mold, Stonewood Invocation
Keep: Chameleon Colossus, Masked Admirers, Skyshroud Poacher, Wren’s Run Packmaster, Harmonize
Added: Nissa Revane, Nullmage Shepherd, Scapeshift, Hunting Wilds, Greater Good, and Skyshroud Claim
Nissa is better than Garruk in an elf-themed deck, especially since we’ve already an Overrun effect whenever you need it in Baru. Nullmage Shepherd and Greater Good give excellent reusable utility and card draw. Skyshroud Claim doubles up the Forest hits, Hunting Wilds does the same thing and with kicker gives you two 5/5 tramplers. Scapeshift is positively explosive with Baru in play, letting you trade in every land in play for a Forest, +1/+1 and trample.

CC5 (8 cards total)
Cut: Ant Queen, Kodama of the North Tree, Overrun, Plow Under, Rude Awakening
Keep: Baru, Fist of Krosa
Added: Kaysa, Genesis, Caldron of Souls, Lifeline, Seedguide Ash, Indrik Stomphowler, Acidic Slime
At five mana I wanted to add in some more help for the weenie horde, with Kaysa (now an Elf thanks to errata) for boost, and Genesis, Cauldron and Lifeline giving nice resistance to sweepers. If you can sac on demand, Seedguide Ash puts a whopping three Forests into play. Stomphowler and Acidic Slime are just high quality utility Green creatures.

CC6 (2 cards total)
Added: Rampaging Baloths, Urza’s Blueprints
With all the Forests hitting play, we gotta work in Rampaging Baloths—its landfall ability plays perfectly with Baru, making lots of beast tokens that can use the boost and trample. Urza’s Blueprints is a solid card-drawing machine that goes in any EDH deck.

CC7 (1 cards total)
Cut: Krosan Tusker, Howl of the Night Pack, Tooth and Nail
Added: Allosaurus Rider
Since you’re putting a lot of lands into play, Allosaurus Rider is gonna get huge and can really use the trample ability.

CC8 (1 card total)
It’s huge, really can use trample, and the utility he provides is awesome in EDH! Don’t forget you can spread out the elephant tokens so they can’t gang block Terrastodon.

X-spells (2 cards total)
Cut: Hurricane, Wurmcalling
Keep: Chord of Calling
Added: New Frontiers
While it’s not quite as awesome as Scapeshift, New Frontiers can provide a game-ending Baru-boost that can kill everyone before they can untap with their newly found basic lands (and heck, in EDH some opponents might not even have that many basic lands to take advantage of this).

Okay, so without further ado, here’s my proposed improvement on Ronald’s Baru, Fist of Krosa EDH deck:

1 Baru, Fist of Krosa
1 Claws of Gix
1 Zuran Orb
1 Birchlore Rangers
1 Heritage Druid
1 Llanowar Elves
1 Skullclamp
1 Essence Warden

1 Greenseeker
1 Joraga Warcaller
1 Quirion Ranger
1 Wirewood Symbiote
1 Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary
1 Elvish Visionary
1 Wellwisher
1 Wirewood Hivemaster
1 Wren’s Run Vanquisher
1 Umezawa’s Jitte
1 Regrowth
1 Scryb Ranger
1 Nissa’s Chosen
1 Priest of Titania
1 Wirewood Herald
1 Sakura-Tribe Elder
1 Budoka Gardener
1 Civic Wayfinder
1 Elvish Archdruid
1 Elvish Harbinger
1 Eternal Witness
1 Imperious Perfect
1 Viridian Shaman
1 Gaea’s Anthem
1 Krosan Grip
1 Caller of the Claw

1 Wood Elves
1 Farhaven Elf
1 Yavimaya Granger
1 Yavimaya Dryad
1 Jagged-Scar Archers
1 Thousand-Year Elixir
1 Chameleon Colossus
1 Masked Admirers
1 Skyshroud Poacher
1 Wren’s Run Packmaster
1 Harmonize
1 Nissa Revane
1 Nullmage Shepherd
1 Scapeshift
1 Hunting Wilds
1 Greater Good
1 Skyshroud Claim
1 Kaysa
1 Genesis
1 Cauldron of Souls
1 Lifeline
1 Seedguide Ash
1 Indrik Stomphowler
1 Acidic Slime
1 Rampaging Baloths
1 Urza’s Blueprints
1 Allosaurus Rider
1 Terrastodon
1 New Frontiers
1 Chord of Calling
1 Baru, Fist of Krosa
1 Gaea’s Cradle
1 Pendelhaven
1 Snow-Covered Forest
1 Treetop Village
1 Wirewood Lodge
1 Yavimaya Hollow
29 Forest

35 lands, 42 creatures, 19 spells
Average converted mana cost 3.05

We’ve got a better mix of creatures to spells here, and we kept the mana curve very reasonable. The elf synergies are potent and there are a lot of cards here that powerfully play into Baru’s ability. I hope Ronald and other fans of Baru found this helpful; if you have any other ideas for the deck, please share them in the forums!

Take care…


starcitygeezer AT gmail DOT com

New to EDH? Be sure to check out my EDH Primer, part 1, part 2, and part 3.

My current EDH decks:
Jacques Le Vert (lots of legends, good stuff)
Tibor and Lumia (copy copy copy copy)
Baron Sengir (Evile Vampires!)
Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary (huge creatures, big mana spells)
Sharuum the Hegemon (Kaldra Lives!)
Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund (DRAGONS, RAHRRR!!)