10 MTG Cards You Need For Your Hugs, Grisly Guardian Commander Deck

Bloomburrow is right around the corner, but Chase is already excited for a particular cuddly fellow!

Hugs, Grisly Guardian, illustrated by Steve Prescott

Hugs, Grisly Guardian gives a whole new meaning to the term “group hug”. His affection is lethal! But who is he?

Hugs is one of the new legendary creatures from the upcoming set – Bloomburrow. This beefy Badger is a wall of muscle that can crush skulls with his bare hands and not think twice about doing it to you. His name is definitely an ironic little joke (similar to naming a bear Tiny or a mouse Bubba). Nonetheless, I find Hugs to be an incredibly interesting amuse-bouche for Bloomburrow.

Right now, we are in the weirdest of in between times. MTG – Assassin’s Creed has just been released and previews for Bloomburrow don’t officially start until July 9. We have only a small handful of cards previewed so far, and it is not a lot to go off of, and yet, I want to already take the plunge. Let’s be honest, Wizards of the Coast knows how to get me. Badgers are like catnip to a zillennial’s brain like mine (mushroom, mushroom). That being said, I thought it would be interesting to take a stab at some pieces I think would find a nice home in a Hugs deck (and no, I’m not talking about Kynaios and Tiro). I am interested in seeing the upcoming synergies Bloomburrow has to offer us, but until then, let’s get to brewing!

Delayed Blast Fireball

Starting out, we have everyone’s favorite piece of synergistic removal – Delayed Blast Fireball. This is a tiny piece of removal that deals two damage to each opponent and each creature they control. This can take care of a few smaller creatures, sure, but this spell gets even better when cast from exile. Instead of dealing two damage, it does five instead. That borders on a sweeper in the right deck. Every time I have seen this card played, it has popped off and put many players behind. I think this would fit perfectly in a Hugs deck!

Faldorn, Dread Wolf Herald

Faldorn was practically made for Hugs. Seriously, the synergies between these cards are amazing! Hugs gives you stuff from exile and lets you play additional lands, while Faldorn gives you Wolf tokens whenever you cast spells or play lands from exile. The synergies here just feel really good and in honesty, the commanders could be interchangeable in this kind of deck. It also feels like a nice nod in Faldorn’s flavor text. I think Hugs would appreciate her appreciation of nature. 

Flaming Tyrannosaurus

I fell in love with this card the moment I saw it. The MTG – Doctor Who cards never resonated with me, but this one was too cool to ignore. Flaming Tyrannosaurus deals three damage to any target whenever you cast a spell from anywhere other than your hand – the kind of payoff that Hugs adores! Fun fact: exile is anywhere other than your hand (duh). It’s like a bigger, beefier version of Memory Worm. The thing that sets the Dinosaur apart from the Worm, however, is that when Flaming Tyrannosaurus dies, it deals damage equal to its power to each opponent. Since it gets a +1/+1 counter every time you cast a spell from anywhere other than your hand, this damage isn’t a small ping. In fact, it’ll deal five damage at minimum! In a deck like Hugs where you will be consistently casting from exile, this Dinosaur will be sure to make a splash. 

Graham O'Brien

You’ve heard of such creatures as Griselbrand, Nicol Bolas, and Kothophed. Now, get ready for Graham! I swear it kills me to have regular-named dudes in Magic. It makes me chuckle (then again I am easy to please). Much like the Flaming Tyrannosaurus, Graham is from MTG – Doctor Who and also has the Paradox ability, which means this chap cares about casting spells from anywhere other than your hand. We love to see it. Instead of dealing damage, Graham is a gentle man who makes food for you. Seriously. Whenever you cast a spell from anywhere other than your hand, you create a Food token. When researching exile synergies for this article, too many of them were mono-red, so Graham was a welcome sight. Hugs will definitely get hungry and tired after his many bouts of skull crushing. Good on Graham for packing provisions! 

Keeper of Secrets

Let’s stay within the realm of Universes Beyond and mosey on down to Warhammer 40K and chat up Keeper of Secrets! Keeper of Secrets likes pain. In fact, she likes it so much, she has an ability called Symphony of Pain. Much like our friend Flaming Tyrannosaurus, this Demon deals damage. However, this damage is much grander! Whenever you cast a spell from anywhere other than your hand, she deals damage equal to that spell’s mana value to target opponent. While it may only be to one target and not each opponent, I find this ability to be stronger because you can really shoehorn some high-mana value spells in a Gruul deck. Heave ho, there you go (and by you, I mean your opponent’s life total)! 


Don’t ask me to pronounce this card because I am going to 1000% butcher it (or make it sound like a sneeze), but next up is Nalfeshnee. I hate hate hate this card. Not only does the art disturb me, but the ability is an absolute nightmare. It is the bane of my existence in every game I see it in and will always be my go-to target for removal, but it copies spells that you cast from exile. If it’s a permanent spell, you get a token copy that gains haste, but must be sacrificed at the beginning of the end step. Imagine every card on this list, but doubled. For the Hugs player, it sounds amazing. For the defending players, it sounds like a nightmare. Either way, what bliss! 

Party Thrasher

Lizard Wizard is such an underrated creature type that I am desperate to see more of. Punny wordplay aside, Party Thrasher is one of the smaller creatures on this list that does just as much as its larger counterparts. This Lizard Wizard gives non-creature spells you cast from exile convoke – turning your creatures into mana and streamlining your play experience. He also has the fun ability of providing you consistent access to casting cards from exile. The best part about this ability, is that it’s not mandatory, meaning you don’t have to jeopardize your hand. I prefer having the option of choosing, rather than being forced to, making this creature a great early game piece to help fuel late-game hitters like the Tyrannosaurus or Nalfeshnee. 

Savvy Trader

WOOH! Another mono-green card! Savvy Trader is a new addition to the Gruul “from exile” strategy, coming to us from Outlaws of Thunder Junction. He is a form of recursion – exiling a permanent card from your graveyard and allowing you to cast it as long as it remains in exile. It’s a run around piece of recursion for sure, but recursion nonetheless. This bad boy is also a cost reducer – making spells you cast from exile cheaper! It’s very no frills, but a beneficial addition to Hugs. He isn’t a flashy card, but he gets the job done, and sometimes a deck needs just that. 

Sisterhood of Karn

We’ve reached the final green card on our list. It took me forever to realize that Sisterhood of Karn wasn’t referencing the planeswalker Karn. Despite the misunderstanding on my part, I find Sisterhood of Karn to be a fun little creature that gets bigger the more spells you cast from exile. Each spell cast from exile doubles the counters on the Sisterhood, meaning that your early game body can end up being your late game powerhouse. It is a simple, elegant card that feels like it was made for Hugs. Maybe putting him into a Sisterhood will soften him up!

Unstable Amulet

Lastly, we have an uncommon artifact from Modern Horizons 3 – Unstable Amulet. This artifact deals in energy, which we are going to completely ignore. Sorry energy lovers, but this isn’t your time. One day I will cover energy… one day. Unstable Amulet is the baby, baby, baby version of Flaming Tyrannosaurus, as it deals 1 damage to each opponent whenever you cast a spell from anywhere other than your hand. Early game damage is just as important as late game damage, plus its recency makes it incredibly easy to get your hands on. You probably have one in your bulk right now! While it might not be the most optimal piece, it’s one that brings me a lot of joy, so I hope it finds its way into your Hugs brew.

Death by Affection

Hugs is just one of the handful of legendary creatures previewed to us from Bloomburrow, and it was this big guy that jolted me back into July and out of September (I am way too excited for Duskmourn: House of Horror). Hugs is a new way for us to explore casting cards from exile, and I am more than certain that more of those synergies will present themselves further down the line in preview season. Let me know if you’re excited for Bloomburrow and if you plan on brewing something from it.

Happy hugging, deckbuilders! 


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