Gruul Aggro

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Hello once more! My playgroup has been experimenting with different tournaments, one of which where we all draw a guild name out of a hat and have to make a deck for said guild by the end of the week using only standard cards. I happened to draw Gruul. If you fine fellows would be willing to help me out and thus win the prize of a few boosters, I'd be quite grateful. Without further ado, here's what I have so far.




As I said, standard legal. Thanks for the help!

For the most important cards in the decklist I would play 4 copies This includes rancor, burning-tree emissary, and ghor-clan rampager

The burn spell of choice I think should be searing spear

I would drop the 7 CMC spells and shoot for a lower more aggressive curve.
Don't be too smart to have fun
since this is aggro i would suggest taking out cards like pit fight (aggro has weak creatures, fighting other creatures would probably kill your own) ground assault, and volcanic geyser...instead put in more madcap skills (this should be a 4 of in my opinion). mark for death can easily win you the game, so i suggest adding more of those too. also, i would consider throwing in cheaper bloodrush like skinbrand goblin...he isnt that great, but when your casting creatures every turn you might not have enough mana left open to bloodrush the swine or the lizard

~Your either my puppet or my matchstick~

color preferences (1st is fav and so on):

198732583 wrote:
Oh Ajani seems to like Elpheth's milk, meow.
ok, I'm gonna have to disagree with the other guys at least on some points.

I'd keep both gruul ragebeast and giant adephage as 1 offs. I play the ragebeast, he has saved me a few late games. to be blunt you've posted a deck thick with singletons in a casual format forum, I think we can assume that your play group isn't dedicated to a turn-4-win-or-bust mentality. this means that by either draw or design the game will probably last till turn 7 (at least part of the time) and you want nothing more than to have something to spend that mana on other than skinbrand goblins.

I strongly recomend no less than 3 madcap skills in your build. gruul has access to a lot of very cheap pump, you want it to hit the player as often as possible. the other tricks you have, to make sure you hit, suffer from a severe case of diminishing returns. unblockable effects simply don't stack very well in most cases. it is simply more useful to remove the enemy critters than it is to sneak around them but leave them free to hit you back. as such both searing spear and ground assault are needed (unless you add other colors; which I doubt you will).

you could also use some more blood rush critter to play. yeah... it can run you out of critters very quickly, leaving you with a very real need to have more to play. look for something to get you're cards out of your graveyard too, that will also save you in a lot of games.

after all this if you're deck plays with a fair number of counters on your critters, look into getting some bioshifts in there. I know it's simic but you've already used golgari, so I don't see a problem. in fact there is a fair bit of simic you could use to great effect, if you'd care to.


I'd keep both gruul ragebeast and giant adephage as 1 offs. I play the ragebeast, he has saved me a few late games. to be blunt you've posted a deck thick with singletons in a casual format forum, I think we can assume that your play group isn't dedicated to a turn-4-win-or-bust mentality. this means that by either draw or design the game will probably last till turn 7 (at least part of the time) and you want nothing more than to have something to spend that mana on other than skinbrand goblins.



In an aggro deck playing 20 lands whose only ramp is 3x arbor elf somehow he's going to be able to play a CMC 7 spell? I don't see it happening. A CMC 7 spell in this deck will not be played on turn 7. Average turns it will take to get 7 mana in this deck is more than 10. It really doesn't matter what the "environment" is, if your aggro deck doesn't win in 10 turns or less then it needs some serious tweaks.

If the OP really wants to play CMC 6+ creatures there are a few options;
1st cards like rubblehulk which have alternate casting costs so you can use them as needed early, middle or late game even if you don't have the full 6 mana to pay for the creature.
2nd adding ramp spells such as farseek and adding more lands will change it from an "aggro" deck to a "midrange" deck. It would allow for consistently dropping the fatties turns 4-8 when they will still be relevant creatures.
Don't be too smart to have fun
fair point. I forgot to look at the mana base and you're right he needs more than 20 land with no ramp to play the big stuff. that being said, I have trouble seeing gruul do well in a mana tight agro anyway. it's not white weeny, it's not boros, it's not even black weeny. bloodrush, the core mechanic, has you sacrifice board presence for bursts of power. in mid to late game while pretty much every other deck is still building power gruul runs the risk of having most of its critters in the graveyard instead of the field.  so the only thing I can really suggest is to slow down enough to make that sacrifice count and plan for the now inevitable mid game rounds.
2 more lands and 4 caravan vigils should be enough, but I'd need to playtest to be sure.

and please don't put wrong ideas in people's heads. rubblehulk has no business being in any deck that averages 5 mana in the course of a game. for 1 thing zhur-taa swine is empirically better at lower mana turns. for another rubblehulk has enough trouble justifying itself next to dungrove elder and primal bellow without being hamstrung by a lack of lands to power it. doing so is a blatant violation of the first rule of green; go BIG or go home.

also act of treason is easily 1 of the most profitable forms of unblockable you can get, and you want more vipers.
ok, I'm gonna have to disagree with the other guys at least on some points.

I strongly recomend no less than 3 madcap skills in your build. gruul has access to a lot of very cheap pump, you want it to hit the player as often as possible. the other tricks you have, to make sure you hit, suffer from a severe case of diminishing returns. unblockable effects simply don't stack very well in most cases. it is simply more useful to remove the enemy critters than it is to sneak around them but leave them free to hit you back. as such both searing spear and ground assault are needed (unless you add other colors; which I doubt you will).


madcap skills has won me several games. several. its fantastic early on and even makes things challenging for your opponent when multiple creatures are enchanted with it. yes, your likely to take some hits from your opponent, but if you can't swing back harder then they can, you don't have a good gruul deck at all. since this is aggro you shouldn't be running a lot of land, so ground assault really doesn't belong here (you should be winning by the time ground assault does 6 damage). more lightning bolts would be a good idea or even stuff like arachnus web so you can still get your lethal damage in

~Your either my puppet or my matchstick~

color preferences (1st is fav and so on):

198732583 wrote:
Oh Ajani seems to like Elpheth's milk, meow.
madcap skills has won me several games. several. its fantastic early on and even makes things challenging for your opponent when multiple creatures are enchanted with it. yes, your likely to take some hits from your opponent, but if you can't swing back harder then they can, you don't have a good gruul deck at all. since this is aggro you shouldn't be running a lot of land, so ground assault really doesn't belong here (you should be winning by the time ground assault does 6 damage). more lightning bolts would be a good idea or even stuff like arachnus web so you can still get your lethal damage in




allow me to clearify. I believe madcap skills wins games for you, it certainly has bagged a few for me. heck as far as I'm concerned it's pretty much a staple for any agro deck that runs red, and a strong reason to add red to such a deck.  and while you can play alpha authority on the same critter as madcap to make it completely unblockable, you could also drop any kind of lightning bolt spell to maintain the same blocking state AND prevent damage in the next turn.

and I don't suggest ground assault so you can deal 6+ damage. heck cast it for 2 damage for all I care. the point is the deck needs removal cards to assist madcap skills. ground assault is 1 option with both flavor and flexibility to its credit.
fair point. I forgot to look at the mana base and you're right he needs more than 20 land with no ramp to play the big stuff. that being said, I have trouble seeing gruul do well in a mana tight agro anyway. it's not white weeny, it's not boros, it's not even black weeny. bloodrush, the core mechanic, has you sacrifice board presence for bursts of power. in mid to late game while pretty much every other deck is still building power gruul runs the risk of having most of its critters in the graveyard instead of the field.  so the only thing I can really suggest is to slow down enough to make that sacrifice count and plan for the now inevitable mid game rounds.
2 more lands and 4 caravan vigils should be enough, but I'd need to playtest to be sure.

and please don't put wrong ideas in people's heads. rubblehulk has no business being in any deck that averages 5 mana in the course of a game. for 1 thing zhur-taa swine is empirically better at lower mana turns. for another rubblehulk has enough trouble justifying itself next to dungrove elder and primal bellow without being hamstrung by a lack of lands to power it. doing so is a blatant violation of the first rule of green; go BIG or go home.

also act of treason is easily 1 of the most profitable forms of unblockable you can get, and you want more vipers.



I think it's true that gruul fits better as a midrange kind of deck but I could see a gruul aggro deck being possible.

I chose a bad example in rubblehulk. My point was to use spells of variable casting costs. zhur-taa swine and primordial hydra are more powerful examples of a (potentially) high CMC card that would fit into a decklist at variable mana costs and/or functions. Cards that can fit into an aggro deck and still provide a giant threat if the beatdown slows down and the opponent stablizes with some bigger creatures. Cycling creatures and creatures with kicker are other examples.
Don't be too smart to have fun

Sorry it took me so long to respond, here's the updated list.



I'm planning on cutting the 3 Disciple of The Old Wayses for one more of each of the other 2 drops when I can. I threw in the noble just because I had him laying around and not in a deck, plus he seems to work fairly well here. I cut out the big guys because as most of you said they're too slow. How do you all feel about Domri Rade in this? The Zhur-Taa Swines are in there only until I can get 2 more Ghor-Clan Rampagers.

4 Wasteland Viper
4 Flinthoof Boar
Skarrg Guildmage
3 Burning-Tree Emissiary
Slaughterhorn
4 Ghor-Clan Rampager

3-4 Signal the Clans


This is just a start; the idea is to Bloodrush the Viper and Boar with Slaughterhorn and Ghor-Clan Rampager. Signal the Clans lets you pretty much filter out whatever you need to get the ball rolling.