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Magic Commander Deep Dive: Kirri, Talented Sprout

Bennie Smith is all about Plant power as he takes a Commander Deep Dive into Kirri, Talented Sprout from MTG’s Outlaws of Thunder Junction Commander.

Kirri, Talented Sprout
Kirri, Talented Sprout, illustrated by Simon Dominic

I’m a little surprised Kirri, Talented Sprout is the least popular commander from Outlaws of Thunder Junction Commander, according to EDHREC. It’s the first “lord” for Plant typal decks, and the new set has some sweet Plant creatures to juice up this little-seen creature type focus. Do Plants not generate the sort of excitement that other creature types do?  I mean, look at the art by Simon Dominic – Kirri is so cute!

Kirri, Talented Sprout

But wait, Bennie, you may be saying, couldn’t Kirri, Talented Sprout lead the charge for a Naya Treefolk typal deck?  You are correct! But Wizards of the Coast (WotC) has given us plenty of cards to build Treefolk decks around – I myself have a Doran, the Siege Tower Treefolk deck – so I find that angle a bit less interesting. I will grant that Kirri could lead the way for the subset of Treefolk that don’t fit into the “toughness matters” that so many Treefolk tend to work with—things like Timber Protector; Quickbeam, Upstart Ent; and Rootless Yew. But since Kirri itself isn’t a Treefolk, my inclination is to explore the Plant typal side instead!

Besides being a good lord for other Plant creatures, Kirri has a sweet triggered ability that lets you “draw” your best Plant, Treefolk, or land card from your graveyard and put it in your hand. Sure, you may need to prime your graveyard a bit to get this working, but there are tons of ways to do that. You can play lands that sacrifice to search out lands from your deck, or you can play cycling lands, or you can play Plants or Treefolk that cycle. There are other ways to stock the graveyard with juicy targets too, so let’s dig into cards to consider for your Kirri deck!

Plants

Dune Chanter Rumbleweed Bristly Bill, Spine Sower Cultivator Colossus Phytohydra Genesis Hydra Bristlebud Farmer Topiary Stomper Hardbristle Bandit Sylvan Caryatid Vinelasher Kudzu Wall of Blossoms Aloe Alchemist Briar Hydra Jaddi Offshoot Cactarantula Phytotitan Raucous Entertainer Prickly Pair Tinder Wall Wall of Roots Creeperhulk Topiary Panther Centaur Vinecrasher Bloodbriar Tree of Redemption Bloom Hulk Floriferous Vinewall Carnivorous Plant

Dune Chanter is a sweet new card that works great in this deck even if you don’t play a bunch of Deserts. It fixes your mana colors; it’s a Plant, so it gets the power buff; it’s got reach to protect you against small flyers; and its mill ability is a perfect way to prime the graveyard for Kirri. Rumbleweed is a powerful new Plant creature, but I probably wouldn’t play it here unless I was playing ways to put a lot of lands into my graveyard, since Kirri is potentially bringing back a land each turn.

Bristly Bill, Spine Sower is obviously awesome in a heavy landfall deck or a deck that cares about +1/+1 counters, but it’s perfectly fine as a two-drop Plant that can grow stuff each time you play a land. I’m always looking for a place to put Cultivator Colossus because its effect is so awesome, assuming you’ve got a couple of lands in hand to start the chain; Kirri brings back a land at the beginning of your postcombat main phase, so that could be the perfect time to cast the Colossus.

Genesis Hydra is a powerful card that doesn’t see play in Hydra decks because there are too many X-spell hits that are really misses, but luckily Genesis Hydra is also a Plant and is awesome here!  You can cast it early, and once it dies, you can get it back with Kirri and cast it for bigger and bigger values for X.  Tinder Wall is a Plant that just costs one green mana, and you can sacrifice it for two red mana, so it’s a way to squeeze an extra mana on your turn, and you can get it back to do it again with Kirri if you need to.

Shout-out to Topiary Panther, which can cycle early to fix your colors, and then return with Kirri if you need a 6/5 trampling Plant, with +2/+0 thanks to Kirri’s boost. Also, think about tossing in the old-school Carnivorous Plant, especially if you have the sweet original from The Dark, and be sure you say, “Feed me, Seymour!” when you cast it.

Treefolk

Reach of Branches Rootgrapple Lignify Great Oak Guardian Generous Ent

Even if I’m playing a Plant typal deck, I think a few Treefolk might be worth considering. Reach of Branches and Rootgrapple are kindred spells that count as Treefolk, so you can use them over again if there’s not something better to get back with Kirri. Lignify is too, and a great way to neutralize a commander that is otherwise problematic to deal with. Then there’s Great Oak Guardian – expensive as a combat trick, but it can certainly be a surprise the first time you cast it, and once it dies, you can snatch it back with Kirri to press more damage. Generous Ent is another creature you can cycle for a land like Topiary Panther and get back with Kirri, though Generous Ent will only search up a Forest card.

Changelings

Crib Swap Blades of Velis Vel Realmwalker Mirror Entity Taurean Mauler Masked Vandal Irregular Cohort Chameleon Colossus

Cards with the changeling ability can be retrieved from the graveyard with Kirri, and Crib Swap is an awesome choice as a removal spell you can get back if you need it. Irregular Cohort and Chameleon Colossus are excellent in this deck since both take great advantage of Kirri’s power boost.

Creature Type Matters

Shared Animosity Herald's Horn Vanquisher's Banner Roaming Throne Metallic Mimic Mana Echoes Molten Echoes Kindred Summons Kindred Charge Conjurer's Mantle Heirloom Blade Folk Hero For the Ancestors Cryptic Gateway

For typal support cards, I really like Shared Animosity, since it uses Kirri’s already aggressive boost to your Plant creatures, and lets Kirri get in on the attack. Kindred Charge can also lead to a huge attack!  Roaming Throne is great in any typal deck, so if you have one, slam it in here and let Kirri get back something from the graveyard twice each turn. Don’t forget about Folk Hero, which makes the first Plant spell you cast each turn a cantrip draw spell, so long as you control your commander.

Sacrifice for Profit

Constant Mists Greater Good Pyre of Heroes Portcullis Vine Vegetation Abomination Overgrown Arch Ashnod's Altar Birthing Pod Eldrazi Monument Tyrite Sanctum Myriad Landscape Fabled Passage Windswept Heath Wooded Foothills Cabaretti Courtyard Krosan Verge

Effects that sacrifice lands or creatures for profit can be mitigated by Kirri’s ability; I particularly like Pyre of Heroes and Birthing Pod for this since you’re not losing battlefield presence. Vegetation Abomination is a Commander-legal card from Unfinity that is a Plant in addition to being a Mutant and a Food, and it makes a mighty fine blocker thanks to its deathtouch, but if you need life, you can sacrifice it. Tyrite Sanctum can eventually make Kirri an indestructible God Plant, and then get Tyrite Sanctum back for more +1/+1 counters.

Discard for Profit

Demand Answers Thrill of Possibility Cathartic Reunion Thrilling Discovery

Red has ways to rummage draw, discard to draw two or three cards, and Kirri can eventually get the cards you discard back if they’re of the requisite card types.

Self-Mill

Smuggler's Surprise Wreck and Rebuild The Mending of Dominaria Monster Manual Grapple with the Past Druidic Ritual

While looking at ways to self-mill for profit in Naya, I ran across a card that would be nice if it was the right creature type.  Which leads to a burning question: why isn’t Blossoming Tortoise a Plant Turtle?  It’s a tortoise with blossoms on it, right?

Smuggler’s Surprise is an awesome new self-mill card with an excellent mode for putting up to two creature cards from your hand onto the battlefield—at instant speed! Wreck and Rebuild is an interesting modal spell that I haven’t really found a home for yet, but here the choice to self-mill and ramp is awesome.

Lands in the Graveyard

Waves of Aggression Reality Scramble Throes of Chaos Decaying Time Loop Yuma, Proud Protector Vengeful Regrowth Realms Uncharted Splendid Reclamation Worldsoul's Rage Scapeshift Zuran Orb Desert of the Indomitable Desert of the Fervent Desert of the True Hashep Oasis Shefet Dunes Ramunap Ruins Glacial Chasm

If you really want to lean into putting lands in your graveyard for profit, there’s a lot you can do there, starting with the incredible Scapeshift, and then quickly add in Worldsoul’s Rage and Splendid Reclamation. Once you’ve got three or four lands in the graveyard, Kirri’s good buddy, Yuma, Proud Protector, becomes a solid inclusion, especially if you’ve got a good number of Desert cards in your deck.

Realms Uncharted becomes an amazing land tutor spell, since you can pretty much get all of your chosen lands back to your hand eventually with Kirri. Stocking your graveyard with lands unlocks the powerful Vengeful Regrowth, ramping you three lands from your graveyard and making three 4/2 Plant Warrior tokens that are particularly fierce with Kirri on the battlefield.

I don’t usually play retrace spells in Commander because I’d rather play lands to the battlefield each turn rather than discard them to recast a retrace spell, but with Kirri, you can do both! Waves of Aggression is sweet with Kirri’s power boosting ability, getting two attack steps each turn can wear down opponents’ life totals.

Lands Matter

Beanstalk Wurm Exploration Case of the Locked Hothouse Druid Class Rites of Flourishing

If you’re drawing lands and getting lands back from the graveyard, it might be beneficial to be able to play more than one land a turn. Beanstalk Wurm is a Plant, so we can take advantage of the Plant Beans Adventure and then get a sweet Plant creature later. I really love Case of the Locked Hothouse and would definitely jam it in a Kirri deck.

Power Boost Matters

Cactusfolk Sureshot Rampant Rejuvenator Ilysian Caryatid Mosstodon Shamanic Revelation Garruk's Uprising Tribute to the World Tree Bolt Bend

I really like Cactusfolk Sureshot in this deck, since Kirri’s power boost can push Plants large enough to gain trample and haste. If you’re playing Bristly Bill, you definitely should play Rampant Rejuvenator; between that and Kirri, it’s going to have significant power, and when it dies, you’ll get to ramp for basic lands equal to its power.

Ilysian Caryatid is already a solid card, and it’s a Plant. When you control a creature with power four or more, it will tap for two mana!  Bolt Bend is a great card if you can guarantee a four-power creature, and Kirri helps ensure that’s the case.

I’m not sure Mosstodon is good enough, but it is a Plant Elephant that hits pretty hard with Kirri. Could be one of those cards you put in your deck just to make your opponents read the card!

I have to say, after digging into all the angles you can build into this deck, I’m excited to give it a try! What other awesome cards would you consider adding to your Kirri deck? Are you going straight Plant typal, or will you split it up between Plants and Treefolk?

Talk to Me

Do me a solid and follow me on Twitter!  I run polls and start conversations about Commander all the time, so get in on the fun!  You can also find my LinkTree on my profile page there with links to all my content.

I’d also love it if you followed my Twitch channel TheCompleteCommander, where I do Commander, Brawl, and sometimes other Magic-related streams when I can.  If you can’t join me live, the videos are available on demand for a few weeks on Twitch, but I also upload them to my YouTube channel.  You can also find the lists for my paper decks over on Archidekt if you want to dig into how I put together my own decks and brews. 

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

Visit my Decklist Database to see my decklists and the articles where they appeared!

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