Budget alternatives to Tarmogoyf.

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Ok, we all love, or love to hate Tarmogoyf. It is a supper efficient creature capable of putting on maximum pressure the minute it hits the board. Unfortunately this is reflected in the price tag, around 70 to 80 dollars per card. For a lot of player, like myself, that want to play modern this is a high barrier stopping them from playing most green decks, because the goyf has a place in almost all of them. The question then is, is there a good substitute for Tarmogoyf? The answer really is no, no other creature with a CMC of two matches the power of goyf or its splashability. However there are some contenders that at least won’t get you laughed out of the room for your goyfless deck.


The common ones I have seen are: Stormblood Berserker, Jotun Grunt, and Kavu Predator with all three finding places in Zoo decks. Each of which comes with unique advantages in the right deck or against the right deck. However as mentioned, I’ve only seen these substitutes in Zoo decks.


What decks use Tarmogoyf and what creatures could successfully be used in Tarmogoyf’s place? What creatures in general could be used in place of Tarmogoyf’s but haven’t gotten any place in the spot light?

If you're playing competatively you either play him in the deck that needs it or you don't play the deck.  It's that simple.  Don't look for alternatives to good cards when you're trying to win the PTQ.  It won't work.  But if you're just looking to play casualy then you have a tone of choices. 
Some budget goyfs include: Putrid Leech, Skinshifter, Vinelasher Kudzu.
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Cylian Sunsinger - 2/2, 5/5, 8/8, 11/11, and only gets better in multiples. Too bad you have to spend to pump it.

Doran, the Siege Tower - If only it didn't benefit players using Kird Ape, Loam Lion, and Tarmogoyf.

Jotun Grunt - 4/4 for that can shrink Goyfs and hate on Living End decks.

Kavu Predator - For those of you who are willing to shell out $80.00 for four Grove of the Burnwillows.

Keldon Marauders - It's decent sized, only needs one color of mana, and burns stuff.

Knight of the Reliquary - Really should be used alongside Goyf.

Plated Geopede - See Steppe Lynx.

Putrid Leech - Will get you killed with the lifeloss. Not a good option.

Quirion Dryad - It starts small but it can get big fast, especially if you deck packs a lot of cheap burn.

Sheltering Ancient - Bad against things that don't use creatures. Bad against things that use creatures. Darn.

Steppe Lynx - Could be a great option.

Stormblood Berserker - Thoroughly average option. Not bad, not great.

Talara's Battalion - Probably too fragile. I miss the days when 3 toughness was good enough.

Vinelasher Kudzu - Likes fetch lands.

Watchwolf - Can you believe a 3/3 for just doesn't cut it anymore?

Woolly Thoctar - A 5/4 for that ignores Tormod's Crypt. A decent option.

All of these are options that are outclassed by Tarmogoyf, which was rather obvious but it should be mentioned anyway. If I had to build any sort of green deck that isn't 12-Post, Elf, or Melira Combo (let's say Zoo) without Tarmogoyf I'd either,

A) Suck it up and buy Tarmogoyf anyway,

B) Give up and find something that doesn't use Tarmogoyf,

C) Go for a more all in aggro approach and use lots of one mana cost creatures and burn,

or D) Run only two Tarmogoyf and use Green Sun's Zenith to fill in for the gap (it'll slow you down, but it's cheaper).
don't play decks that need goyf, no good budget replacements.  not worth trying.

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don't play decks that need goyf, no good budget replacements.  not worth trying.



Nonsense. Bant can get away without using goyf. Zoo is making the burnwillows/punishing fire relatively rare right now, and bant relies more on utility dudes anyways.

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If you're playing competatively you either play him in the deck that needs it or you don't play the deck.  It's that simple.  Don't look for alternatives to good cards when you're trying to win the PTQ.  It won't work.  But if you're just looking to play casualy then you have a tone of choices. 



No it isn't that simple. You can successfully play a zoo deck without him, competitively. He MIGHT be a bomb, or a dud. He might not even ever get drawn in your game. Zoo is not Goyf, it is a bunch of solid creatures. You can replace any of them with another solid creature, and I would even argue that some other staples to zoo are a lot more important to include.

You could always try running at least 2 or 3...thats what one of the top decks at philly had, 3 goyfs instead of four which wasnt a problem because the player had four kavu predators  and ran oust as an alternative to path to exile. 

I mean if you're serious about playing Zoo in modern, then I would start small. Can you afford at least a single copy?  Can you maybe get another in a trade etc? 
To be honest, as the game is, you either play Goyf or you don't. It's simply one-of-a-kind which is a 4/5 for 2 mana most of the time (it really should have been banned by now). Boneyard Wurm looks like it's going to be an alternative, but it requires creature sacrifice. Wild Nacatl is the next best, but usually zoo runs both. Kavu Predator is a great alternative, but only if you run the like of Nature's Claim
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You could get a 5/6 for 2 mana, faster,  if that is really what you want to do, but goyf is only ever a 4/5 mid-game. Zoo is about speed, so I can see running faster stuff in goyfs place successfully.
You could get a 5/6 for 2 mana, faster,  if that is really what you want to do, but goyf is only ever a 4/5 mid-game. Zoo is about speed, so I can see running faster stuff in goyfs place successfully.


Goyf is the perfect contingency plan for a deck like Zoo, and single-handedly dictates how the deck was built. I appreciate your optimism, but Tarmogoyf isn't a $100 card because he's just kind of nifty or simply exchangable with another  creature. Goyf puts all other bears to shame, because it doesn't have a conditional summoning, it's power and toughness scale quickly and if it's unanswered it ruins games. Wild Nacatl can do it's share of damage on the fly, but the threshold between Goyf and Nacatl (among Nacatl's alternatives) is what makes it so overbaring and oppresive (even moreso than Umezawa's Jitte, Sword of the Meek, Golgari Grave-Troll or Stoneforge Mystic). It is simply the perfect storm of value-green small creatures.
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You can sing the praises of goyf all you want, but that doesn't mean a zoo deck without him can't compete. I can have a myr on the board more consistently than you can have a 4/5 goyf, and my myr will beat your goyf up. Think outside the box sometime. Netdecks win because most of the meta is netdecks, not because there aren't better choices.
You can sing the praises of goyf all you want, but that doesn't mean a zoo deck without him can't compete. I can have a myr on the board more consistently than you can have a 4/5 goyf, and my myr will beat your goyf up. Think outside the box sometime. Netdecks win because most of the meta is netdecks, not because there aren't better choices.


I'm going to call shenanigans on this entire paragraph.

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You can sing the praises of goyf all you want, but that doesn't mean a zoo deck without him can't compete. I can have a myr on the board more consistently than you can have a 4/5 goyf, and my myr will beat your goyf up. Think outside the box sometime. Netdecks win because most of the meta is netdecks, not because there aren't better choices.


I'm going to call shenanigans on this entire paragraph.


This.

Goyf is just one of the best 2-drops to ever be printed. It's possibly the single best one in the Modern format. Myr Superion, on the other hand, is pretty bad and inconsistent.

One *can* argue that in a combo-based metagame, raw aggro power isn't enough to win, however. I *could* see some lists opting for a large number hate-bears in certain metas - possibly even complimenting their 2cc-hate with Bob rather than Goyf to draw into them more often.

That, however, would be a very drastic metagame call. Overall, Bob and Goyf go very well together, because the Domain Zoo decks capable of playing both usually top out at 2cc anyway, so there's still room for Meddling Mage or Pridemage or Teeg or whatever hate-bear you want to play.
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grizzly bears

you're welcome.

Eh, Runeclaw Bear looks more intimidating.
You can sing the praises of goyf all you want, but that doesn't mean a zoo deck without him can't compete. I can have a myr on the board more consistently than you can have a 4/5 goyf, and my myr will beat your goyf up. Think outside the box sometime. Netdecks win because most of the meta is netdecks, not because there aren't better choices.




This is going to be to sound mean and all but really, we don't care at all what rogue deck you are ranting and raving about and why your myrs are oh so great. And the reason why is because that Myr has never won a tournament on the other hand goyfs have carried many things on this disproportionally costed backs. So yes your Myr may be better(it's not by the way, but who knows maybe one day you will come up with some awesome tech) but it hasn't won any tournament and has no standing in the meta and I can assure you it's not because no one has ever seen the Myr it's because it's bad.

Netdecks are something that have gone through extensive testing and have proven to be consistent something your Myr is not.
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niche's solution to everything is always MOAR BLACK! "ok, my legacy mono black control deck is getting hated out by light of day..." "MOAR BLACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
You can sing the praises of goyf all you want, but that doesn't mean a zoo deck without him can't compete. I can have a myr on the board more consistently than you can have a 4/5 goyf, and my myr will beat your goyf up. Think outside the box sometime. Netdecks win because most of the meta is netdecks, not because there aren't better choices.




This is going to be to sound mean and all but really, we don't care at all what rogue deck you are ranting and raving about and why your myrs are oh so great. And the reason why is because that Myr has never won a tournament on the other hand goyfs have carried many things on this disproportionally costed backs. So yes your Myr may be better(it's not by the way, but who knows maybe one day you will come up with some awesome tech) but it hasn't won any tournament and has no standing in the meta and I can assure you it's not because no one has ever seen the Myr it's because it's bad.

Netdecks are something that have gone through extensive testing and have proven to be consistent something your Myr is not.




Well we're talking two extremes here. Myr is extremely bad, goyf is extremely good, but I would say one doesnt have to copy a netdeck in order to win a tournment, either. I mean someone posted above about some alternatives to goyf and I said that maybe you dont need to run the full playset for the deck to be competitive. My point is that netdecks are overrated in alot of people eyes because some rogue decks do win tournaments(though obviously not myr decks).

Yes, you can win a tournament with a homebrew. However, by trying to replace a strong card in a net deck with a weaker card is not homebrewing, it's bugdeting which makes your list worse. IF you're looking for a better two mana beatstick, you won't find one, so no, you can't replace it.

You can build a very different deck that doesn't need it, Kavu Justice springs to mind. But trying to cut and paste somethign for goyf is a fail.

Goblin storm is a budget alternative right? :P
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grizzly bears

you're welcome.

Eh, Runeclaw Bear looks more intimidating.



Forest Bear is more hilarious, however. Looks like you caught him going to the bathroom.

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Cylian Elf, strictly better.  clearly.

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B_F, i thought you played blue. Ashcoat Bear, simply the best.
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No, this is clearly the best bear RAWR.

Or maybe this is the best bear, the bear that isn't a "bear."

Actually... I think I'll just go with the best bear of them all.

Though honorable mention to this bear.

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[c]skinshifter[\c] is by far the most versatile 2 drop that can be substituted for goyf....
For some of my casual decks I use Knotvine Paladin, because of the raw speed it gains the same kind of power and then some, but the problem is that you can't trade with fatties under normal conditions. So Knotvine produces more pressure on the attack, but the trade off is that it loses potency against larger creatures who are on the offensive. It probably could be a Goyf substitute (especially with Noble Hierarch).
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I often just go for Terravore, sure it's one mana more(dodges spell snare), but it's bigger than goyf and has trample, it's also bigger than knights.
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I wish Terravore was modern legal.

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I wish Terravore was modern legal.




I wish Loam we had cycle lands so I could play loam.
And it's said that youth's ,well only tragedy Is being unoriginal
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niche's solution to everything is always MOAR BLACK! "ok, my legacy mono black control deck is getting hated out by light of day..." "MOAR BLACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
Innistrad gives us Splinterfright. I don't think it's one of the better replacements, but it does have trample and it feeds itself.
I wish Terravore was modern legal.



Indeed. Quirion Dryad is another replacement that used to see a lot of play, in a world of snapcaster mage and gitaxian probe, this might not be a bad shout.....

Although it's probably better suited to legacy where snappy is good.
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I'd suggest that quirion dryad is probably the closest in functionality to goyf for a zoo type deck. It was *the* staple beatstick in u/g Miracle-grow back in the days before goyf was printed...
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If you're playing competatively you either play him in the deck that needs it or you don't play the deck.  It's that simple.  Don't look for alternatives to good cards when you're trying to win the PTQ.  It won't work.  But if you're just looking to play casualy then you have a tone of choices. 


No, you play him or else you have a slightly lower chance to win (and I mean very slight).  Considering someone going for PT money wants to have not even the slightest thing increase the chance of a loss, they will spring for them as it is a good investment.  For most competitive players less is on the line, so it really comes down to budget.  If you own Goyf there is no reason why you would not include it, but if you have to obtain it then it is reasonable to weigh the cost vs benefit  It really depends on what deck you are playing when judging how important Goyf is to it, but a goyf-less Zoo build could easily win nearly as many games as one with goyf because Zoo has such a high concentration of amazing creatures.  I played against a LOT of differnt Zoo builds last week, and by far the greatest threats were Nacatl (early and repeated beats) and KotR (big finisher).
Goyf isn't even good enough to be played in the format really. Vanilla big bear just is not the threat that it is in formats like legacy were stalling out the board after slipping him through is possible. In this modern your turn 2 goyf is likely to be completely invalidated by a turn 2 Knight of th Reliquary, or a turn 3 Titan, or deciver exarch. The card is not just replacable, in a LOT of instances he is actually suboptimal.
Goyf isn't even good enough to be played in the format really. Vanilla big bear just is not the threat that it is in formats like legacy were stalling out the board after slipping him through is possible. In this modern your turn 2 goyf is likely to be completely invalidated by a turn 2 Knight of th Reliquary, or a turn 3 Titan, or deciver exarch. The card is not just replacable, in a LOT of instances he is actually suboptimal.



Debatable. Teeg and pridemage definitely have valid reasons to be run over goyf, but it's still quite important to have a 2-drop in an aggro deck that can survive firespout or slagstorm. The next large modern tournamant should give us a better idea of what threats are ideal. For all intents and purposes, the new round of bannings is just another "reset button" on the format.

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