This is the first in a series of what I’ll be calling “Retro Reviews.” I previously reviewed this event deck on my old blog, Elspeth for the Win, and am now taking an updated take on this deck, which even with the looming release of Magic 2015 in August, still has some amazing value!
As of Dragon’s Maze, Wizards of the Coast decided to only do one Event Deck per set. The Dragon’s Maze deck had decent value in it, even if only for the [mtg cardname=”Lingering Souls” setname=”Dark Ascension” linktext=”Lingering Souls“] and [mtg cardname=”Godless Shrine” setname=”Gatecrash” linktext=”Godless Shrine“]. Event Decks have been great value items for some time and are fantastic for newer players getting into the game! The only trouble has been that Wizards used to do two Event Decks, one of which has always been strictly worse than the other. Now that there’s only one, all the value can go into one deck.
There’s something also very different about “Rush of the Wild.” Not only does it provide the building blocks for a competitive Gruul Aggro deck, but it had zero cards that rotated out of Standard in October 2013. Oftentimes, the more “valuable” event deck had cards rotating out of Standard just months after the deck’s release. But with this deck, if you paid $20 USD or less for it, you basically made your money right back.
Let’s take a look at the creature line-up.
2 [mtg cardname=”Burning-Tree Emissary” setname=”Gatecrash” linktext=”Burning-Tree Emissary“]
1 [mtg cardname=”Deadbridge Goliath” setname=”Return to Ravnica” linktext=”Deadbridge Goliath“]
2 Dryad Militant
4 Elvish Mystic
4 [mtg cardname=”Ghor-Clan Rampager ” setname=”Gatecrash” linktext=”Ghor-Clan Rampager”]
2 Kalonian Tusker
1 [mtg cardname=”Ogre Battledriver” setname=”Magic 2014 (M14)” linktext=”Ogre Battledriver“]
1 [mtg cardname=”Pyrewild Shaman” setname=”Dragon’s Maze” linktext=”Pyrewild Shaman“]
2 Rakdos Cackler
1 [mtg cardname=”Rubblebelt Raiders” setname=”Gatecrash” linktext=”Rubblebelt Raiders“]
2 Skarrg Guildmage
1 [mtg cardname=”Wild Beastmaster” setname=”Return to Ravnica” linktext=”Wild Beastmaster“]
1 [mtg cardname=”Wrecking Ogre” setname=”Gatecrash” linktext=”Wrecking Ogre“]
Right off the bat, we have six rares! However, also remember that [mtg cardname=”Burning-Tree Emissary” setname=”Gatecrash” linktext=”Burning-Tree Emissary“] is a money uncommon. Dryad Militant isn’t money, but it’s a fantastic and playable uncommon in a wide variety of decks, even if its exiling spells ability was not quite as relevant in Standard after the rotation of the Innistrad block. Elvish Mystic is Llanowar Elves 2.0, and a full play-set is always welcome to see. [mtg cardname=”Ghor-Clan Rampager ” setname=”Gatecrash” linktext=”Ghor-Clan Rampager”] is another “money” uncommon that sees Modern play as well, and there’s a full play-set of them in here. Other notable uncommons are Rakdos Cackler, Slaughterhorn, and Kalonian Tusker.
We haven’t even discussed the rares, and frankly, they’re not at all big money cards, but worth a look. [mtg cardname=”Deadbridge Goliath” setname=”Return to Ravnica” linktext=”Deadbridge Goliath“] is a 5/5 for 2GG, which is in itself good value. Its Scavenge ability, while expensive, is also quite useful considering that you have some sweet combos with it within this pre-con (give the counters to Wild Beastmaster and swing out with a +6/+6 bonus?) Wild Beastmaster is a very nice aggro card, and while she is fragile on her own, she can Win Target Game for you if she’s big enough. She’s been a 3-of in top-tier mono-green decks, and she’s still considered a “bulk rare.” Rubblebelt Raiders is a card that I personally am a fan of, but it hasn’t seen play because it’s a 4-drop and there’s a card called Hellrider. But Raiders is a card that can get scary in a hurry, especially if you have the ability to give it haste with a card like [mtg cardname=”Ogre Battledriver” setname=”Magic 2014 (M14)” linktext=”Ogre Battledriver“].
[mtg cardname=”Ogre Battledriver” setname=”Magic 2014 (M14)” linktext=”Ogre Battledriver“], while we’re on the subject, is a card that I’ve always felt was underrated. However, he himself not having haste really dissuaded aggro deck-builders from wanting to play him. Still, having the ability to give any other creature that hits the board gets +2/+0 and haste until end of turn is pretty significant. Meanwhile, Pyrewild Shaman and Wrecking Ogre are okay Bloodrush creatures that are great for casual and Limited play, but not really the best options for competitive play.
Next we’ll look at the non-creature spells:
1 Armed // Dangerous
1 [mtg cardname=”Clan Defiance” setname=”Gatecrash” linktext=”Clan Defiance“]
2 Flames of the Firebrand
1 Gruul Charm
1 [mtg cardname=”Mizzium Mortars” setname=”Return to Ravnica” linktext=”Mizzium Mortars“]
Armed and Dangerous is a nice little Fuse card, especially considering that the two halves can target different creatures. Give your best attacker +1/+1 and double strike and make your opponent’s army block an Elvish Mystic. LOL. Mizzium Mortars is a fantastic burn spell, even if it’s sorcery speed, mainly because it does four damage for only one and a Red. Plus, Mortars has a sweet overload ability that can murder an opponent’s board. Gruul Charm is a nice little utility charm, even if not the best of them. One of its options makes me scratch my head: gain control of all cards you own? Huh? But the other two are nice. Deal 3 damage to all flyers and make no ground forces able to block for a turn. Pretty solid card, honestly.
This is then where I get sad. Flames of the Firebrand and Shock are the best burn removal this deck has to offer. Fortunately, Theros brought back [mtg cardname=”Magma Jet” setname=”Theros” linktext=”Magma Jet“] and also provided us with Lightning Strike. But anyway, Flames of the Firebrand, despite costing 2R, can ping up to three things, which against the right board state, is pretty devastating. Shock is only 2 damage, which doesn’t kill a lot of the things you would need to kill with it. So this is one of the places the deck can very cheaply be upgraded.
Lastly, I would like to make an honorable mention for a rare that I particularly love, [mtg cardname=”Clan Defiance” setname=”Gatecrash” linktext=”Clan Defiance“]. I know, it doesn’t get much love because a sorcery speed burn card doesn’t really fit into an aggro deck. However, it can kill three things! The best part is, you can do just one or two of those things. In the right situation, this card can kill two of your opponent’s best creatures, AND hit them in the face! I’d play one or two of these just to win out of nowhere. It’s a very underrated card, but it’s really only ever seen play in Commander, where it’s actually super powerful.
Now the mana base:
4 Gruul Guildgate
1 Rogue’s Passage
1 [mtg cardname=”Stomping Ground” setname=”Gatecrash” linktext=”Stomping Ground“]
OK, Guildgates are neat, but in aggro they are not exactly what you’re looking for. [mtg cardname=”Temple of Abandon” setname=”Theros” linktext=”Temple of Abandon“] from Theros, even though it comes into play tapped, at least gives you the Scry 1. The [mtg cardname=”Stomping Ground” setname=”Gatecrash” linktext=”Stomping Ground“] is awesome value, though, and making it a bit easier for players to get is always nice (that and it’s kind of good in Modern Jund!) Rogue’s Passage is also a sort of neat tech to slip one of your double striking bit guys in for the kill.
2 Act of Treason
3 Annihilating Fire
2 Gruul Charm
1 [mtg cardname=”Savage Summoning” setname=”Magic 2014 (M14)” linktext=”Savage Summoning“]
The sideboard is solid, if not incredibly inspiring. The [mtg cardname=”Skullcrack” setname=”Gatecrash” linktext=”Skullcracks”] are obviously amazing against life-gain effects, Annihilating Fire is extra removal. Naturalize is, well, Naturalize. Enlarge is not as good as Overrun, but played on Wild Beastmaster is pretty fun. The extra Gruul Charms may come in handy, as well, and Act of Treason can steal your opponent’s best creature to use against them in an alpha strike. The most interesting card here is [mtg cardname=”Savage Summoning” setname=”Magic 2014 (M14)” linktext=”Savage Summoning“], a card that received tons of hype upon its release, but has only seen some fringe play since. Still, it has a nice effect that can be useful in control match-ups. Also, flashing in a [mtg cardname=”Wild Beastmaster” setname=”Return to Ravnica” linktext=”Wild Beastmaster“] on their turn is always useful. Flashing in, anybody, really, and it is a nice little trick… But yeah, it’s best against control decks, not really much else.
Overall, if you’re just looking for a shell for a red/green aggro deck, or you’re a newer player, it’s best to just hold onto the stuff. You could easily hold onto just the Stomping Ground and sell off the other pieces of the deck, though, and make your money back and then some. This is one of the best value Event Decks Wizards has printed since Verdant Catacombs was in the Vampire Onslaught Deck! This is a playable deck out of the box, but better if you buy a second copy to supplement the existing Dryad Militants, Burning-Tree Emissary, and additional copies of Wild Beastmaster, Ogre Battledriver, and of course, Stomping Ground.
If you can find this deck for a relatively low price, it’s worth buying simply for the [mtg cardname=”Stomping Ground” setname=”Gatecrash” linktext=”Stomping Ground“] and value uncommons. It’s one of the best value Event Decks around, without a doubt.
~ Elspeth for the Win