Commander Deep Dive: The Goose Mother

Honk! Bennie Smith takes a Commander deep dive into building around The Goose Mother from Wilds of Eldraine. Food? Artifacts? Tokens? Birds? Why not?

The Goose Mother
The Goose Mother, illustrated by Jesper Ejsing

Wilds of Eldraine Prerelease weekend was our first chance to get our hands on some of the physical cards. I was fortunate enough to be invited by Wizards of the Coast (WotC) to take part in the free Early Access event on Magic Arena, so I got in a few hours of games with the new cards. One of the cards I gave a whirl was Eldraine’s homage to Mother Goose fairy tales, The Goose Mother!

The Goose Mother

Unfortunately for my play experience with The Goose Mother, I kept running into control decks that would constantly bounce or counter my big Bird Hydra, so I’m not sure how much play it will have in the new Standard environment, but I do think it’s a really cool card for Commander. I imagine it will be a slam dunk in the 99 of Zaxara, the Exemplary decks, but it’ll be a fun card to brew around as the commander for your deck.

What’s cool is that there are quite a few different ways you could go with this—obviously you could make a Food-themed deck, or you could build a deck that takes advantage of artifacts entering and leaving the battlefield. You could build a deck that cares about tokens or have a bunch of +1/+1 counter synergies. You could even build a typal deck built around Hydras or, more off the beaten path, Birds.

Let’s dig in!

Food Synergies

Tireless Provisioner Academy Manufactor Gilded Goose Witch's Oven Peregrin Took Trail of Crumbs Killer Service Feasting Troll King Feasting Hobbit Elanor Gardner Motivated Pony Wicked Wolf Night of the Sweets' Revenge Tough Cookie Welcome to Sweettooth Provisions Merchant

The Food synergies are likely the most powerful cards you can add to the 99, especially since the mechanic got a big boost this year from The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth and of course Wilds of Eldraine. Elanor Gardner is awesome here, since each time The Goose Mother attacks and sacrifices a Food to draw a card, Elanor triggers and lets you search your library for a basic land card and put it on the battlefield tapped. Extra ramp will be excellent when your commander has X in its mana cost, and also helps pay future commander tax.

I really like the new card Provisions Merchant for this deck.  While it eats Food tokens just like The Goose Mother, it pumps all your attacking creatures and, most importantly, gives all of them trample, an ability that can be crucial for pushing The Goose Mother through flying blockers.  

Artifacts Matter

Kappa Cannoneer Emry, Lurker of the Loch Inspiring Statuary Trading Post Urza, Lord High Artificer Thought Monitor Kuldotha Forgemaster Cyberdrive Awakener Shimmer Dragon Whirler Rogue

If you want to lean into artifact synergies, there are a ton of cool options in Simic. Kappa Cannoneer can grow to huge size with multiple Foods entering the battlefield, and until the end of the turn, it can’t be blocked. Inspiring Statuary lets you tap those Food tokens to cast nonartifact spells—such as The Goose Mother if it gets killed or exiled by an opponent. Cyberdrive Awakener can turn all of those Food tokens into 4/4 flyers until the end of the turn, flapping alongside your commander The Goose Mother to crash into your opponents’ life totals.

Thought Monitor can take advantage of the all the Food tokens with affinity for artifacts, drawing you two cards before you attack with The Goose Mother, sacrificing a Food to draw another card. Shimmer Dragon can tap two Food tokens or other artifacts to draw a card, and so long as you control four or more artifacts, it has hexproof.

Then there’s Urza, Lord High Artificer, which we all know is bonkers in a deck that can spit out a bunch of artifacts, supplying extra mana that you can, again, use to recast The Goose Mother to pay for commander tax and an even bigger X value in the mana cost. And luckily for us, Urza was reprinted in Commander Masters, so it’s pretty reasonable to pick up these days.

The more I think about it, the more it looks like merging together Food synergies and artifact synergies probably makes for a wild and explosive new deck!

Tokens Matter

Syr Ginger, the Meal Ender Doubling Season Parallel Lives Esix, Fractal Bloom Adrix and Nev, Twincasters Troublemaker Ouphe Jaheira, Friend of the Forest Junk Winder Second Harvest

Another approach is to lean into tokens-matter synergies.  I mean, Doubling Season is going to be bonkers for both sides of The Goose Mother, making double the Food tokens and doubling the number of +1/+1 counters on your commander. Doubling Season has been reprinted in Commander Masters and it’s in the Wilds of Eldraine Enchanting Tales list, so while it’s still expensive, this year it’s likely to be as accessible as it’s been for a long, long time, so pick one up if you can!

At the very least, I’d find a slot for Syr Ginger, the Meal Ender!  Each time you sacrifice a Food to The Goose Mother you’ll get a scry 1 trigger and put a +1/+1 counter on Syr Ginger. Plus, in a pinch, Syr Ginger is a Food too. Jaheira, Friend of the Forest is like a green version of Urza, letting you tap Food for mana.

Esix, Fractal Bloom could add an interesting twist. When you would make those Food tokens, instead you can choose to make them copies of some other creature instead—say, Kappa Cannoneer?  That just sounds like too much fun not to find a slot for it!

I was curious what sort of new cards with the bargain mechanic might be available in Simic, and sadly there aren’t many that would be worth the card slot in Commander, except for Troublemaker Ouphe, which is adorable, and its exile ability can be clutch to get rid of something like The One Ring.

+1/+1 Counters Matter

Branching Evolution Zegana, Utopian Speaker Tanazir Quandrix Kami of Whispered Hopes Forgotten Ancient Master Biomancer Inspiring Call Herald of Secret Streams The Ozolith Ozolith, the Shattered Spire Kodama of the West Tree Biophagus Hierophant Bio-Titan

Decks built around +1/+1 counters are extremely popular, and you can certainly go that route with The Goose Mother. You could easily toss in The Ozolith and Ozolith, the Shattered Spire to go along with the artifact synergies we went over above. Biophagus provides mana ramp and extra +1/+1 counters to creature spells cast with it. You’d definitely want Kodama of the West Tree to give your modified creatures trample, and when they push through damage, you can ramp for basic lands, which will help you cast more and bigger spells.

By the way, I loved Hierophant Bio-Titan the first time I played with it, and I definitely would find a slot in this deck if I’m playing enough of these cards in there, especially Forgotten Ancient. Remove five +1/+1 counters among creatures you control, and you can cast this for GG, getting a 12/12 with vigilance, reach, and ward 2 that can’t be blocked by creatures with power 2 or less.  Boom!

Hydras Matter

Gargos, Vicious Watcher Benevolent Hydra Unbound Flourishing Nexos Kalonian Hydra Hydra's Growth Vastwood Hydra

There are a ton of Hydra creatures available in Simic to go full typal if you want, and I won’t list them all here.  I will point out some that you might want to put in your deck even if you’re not fully typal, such as Gargos, Vicious Watcher, which can help you cast a huge The Goose Mother. Benevolent Hydra plays great in an overall +1/+1 counter theme, as does Kalonian Hydra. If you’re playing plenty of basic lands, Nexos might be an option for big Hydras or other X-spells.

Birds Matter

Animal Sanctuary Radagast, Wizard of Wilds Raven Guild Initiate

Simic Bird typal might be a fun off-beat deck to go for, but these three are cards you might consider playing even outside of a full-on Bird deck. Animal Sanctuary can keep growing The Goose Mother at the cost of a land slot. Raven Guild Initiate can be cast as a morph creature, and no one will suspect that it will turn face up to save The Goose Mother from a creature removal effect or if you just want to recast it to get more Food tokens.  And if you happen to have a fair number of Beasts or Birds in your deck, you might consider Radagast, Wizard of Wilds.


Exploration Wayward Swordtooth Kodama's Reach Cultivate Open the Way Skyshroud Claim Inga and Esika Ashaya, Soul of the Wild Urban Evolution Titania's Command Awaken the Woods

The more mana you have, the bigger the value of X when you cast The Goose Mother, and luckily Simic has a ton of great options to flood your battlefield with extra lands. I’d lean towards the bigger bang for your buck like Cultivate, Skyshroud Claim, and Open the Way. Also, with The Goose Mother and plenty of other effects in Simic that draw cards, you can take advantage of Exploration and Wayward Swordtooth to make bonus land drops as you get infusions of cards. If you’re playing enough creatures, I’d definitely find room for Inga and Esika for extra mana and extra card draw.

Gain Trample

Garruk's Uprising Rancor Scepter of Celebration Shadowspear Duskshell Crawler Surrak and Goreclaw O-Naginata Hero's Heirloom

Even though The Goose Mother has flying and will often be able to sail over the defenses of some of your opponents, there will be times when simply having flying won’t be enough to connect.  Given the size of The Goose Mother a lot of the time, trample is a great way to punch through, and Garruk’s Uprising seems like the perfect card for this, given its ability to draw cards too. Scepter of Celebration might be a solid choice as well, since it can potentially create a bunch of token creatures that can hold down chump-blocking duties and play well with your token synergies.

Extra Attacks?

Savor the Moment

Since The Goose Mother’s card draw ability triggers during your attack step, we would love to have extra attack steps. Unfortunately for our purposes – but probably pretty good for the health of the game – Simic doesn’t really have any options here other than Time Walk effects that I typically don’t like playing in Commander. I might make an exception for Savor the Moment, though, which is like a cantrip extra attack spell if your creatures have vigilance—another reason to play Inga and Esika!

What cards do you think will be awesome with The Goose Mother that I overlooked?  Which themes would you put in the deck?

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And lastly, I just want to say: let us love each other and stay healthy and happy. 

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