Grand Prix Champion Simon Nielsen takes a Walk on the Wilgrowth side today and guides us through three different deck approaches that feature the explore payoff card. Get ready for a trip through different color combinations that will show you how diverse Standard is right now!

I don’t know exactly what caused it, but Wildgrowth WalkerWildgrowth Walker all of a sudden is seeing a surprising amount of Standard play. I believe this might be due to rotation, as the powerlevel of Standard has dropped significantly. Now, we look to Merfolk BranchwalkerMerfolk Branchwalker for our green midrange decks, and Wildgrowth WalkerWildgrowth Walker slots in perfectly with these explore creatures!
Specifically against the popular red decks, they will have to just remove Wildgrowth WalkerWildgrowth Walker on sight, even if it disrupts their curve, as the threat of curving into a Jadelight RangerJadelight Ranger is just too much to handle. If they don’t watch out, you’ll have an almost impossible to kill 3/5 and have gained 6 life, with the threat of growing even more next turn. This threat exist as soon as you play Wildgrowth WalkerWildgrowth Walker, whether or not you actually have the Jadelight RangerJadelight Ranger in hand.

Now, the format is no longer overrun by Mono Red and Selesnya Tokens. Instead Black-Green decks seems to have taken the throne and they are hotly contested by a bunch of different Jeskai Control lists. Even if Wildgrowth WalkerWildgrowth Walker doesn’t strike me as the most wanted card against a Jeskai deck, it already dodges Justice StrikeJustice Strike and with just one exploration it’s also out of range of their primary sweeper Deafening ClarionDeafening Clarion.

Wildgrowth Walker
Merfolk Branchwalker
Jadelight Ranger
Doom Whisperer

Black-Green is already an excellent shell for Wildgrowth Walker, as we see in the most recent PTQ-winning list by frenchman Eliot Boussaud:

BG Midrange by Tixis

Creature (28)
District GuideDistrict Guide
Doom WhispererDoom Whisperer
Golgari FindbrokerGolgari Findbroker
Izoni, Thousand-EyedIzoni, Thousand-Eyed
Jadelight RangerJadelight Ranger
Llanowar ElvesLlanowar Elves
Merfolk BranchwalkerMerfolk Branchwalker
Ravenous ChupacabraRavenous Chupacabra
Seekers’ SquireSeekers’ Squire
Wildgrowth WalkerWildgrowth Walker

Spells (9)
Vraska, Golgari QueenVraska, Golgari Queen
Vraska, Relic SeekerVraska, Relic Seeker
Find // FinalityFind // Finality
Assassin’s TrophyAssassin’s Trophy
Lands (23)
ForestForest
Overgrown TombOvergrown Tomb
SwampSwamp
Woodland CemeteryWoodland Cemetery

Sideboard: (15)
Izoni, Thousand-EyedIzoni, Thousand-Eyed
Wildgrowth WalkerWildgrowth Walker
Find // FinalityFind // Finality
Arguel’s Blood FastArguel’s Blood Fast
DuressDuress
Moment of CravingMoment of Craving
The Eldest RebornThe Eldest Reborn
Vivien ReidVivien Reid
Vraska’s ContemptVraska’s Contempt

 

With 11 explore creatures, Wildgrowth Walker is a perfect fit for this deck. Yet we still only see a couple maindeck, as well as an extra one in the board to bring in against red decks. I believe the reasoning is that it isn’t the most valuable card for the mirror, and that drawing multiples in a hand that doesn’t contain any explorers is catastrophic.

The big thing to notice here is that Eliott goes all-in on Doom WhispererDoom Whisperer. This demon is very impressive, dodging red removal spells, flying over to kill planeswalkers and can act almost as a Vampiric TutorVampiric Tutor in case it’s hit by a removal spell immediately.

Doom WhispererDoom Whisperer also works well in tandem with Wildgrowth Walker as the little tree-person-thingy will give you a nice cushion of life to use Doom WhispererDoom Whisperer multiple times. Sometimes you get to dig your way to an Izoni, Thousand-EyedIzoni, Thousand-Eyed while simultaneously filling up the graveyard for it. And sometimes you’ll Find Finality (see what I did there? ) to get your Doom WhispererDoom Whisperer right back!
Actually, Find // Finality is another power card from Golgari that should be highlighted here. As your Wildgrowth Walkers tend to die a lot, and you can easily trade of any explorers or Ravenous ChupacabraRavenous Chupacabra, Find is sure to easily generate you a clean serving of card advantage for very little mana investment, while also performing as a catch-up against the GW Tokens decks. That sort of versatility isn’t to be scoffed at!

Merfolk Branchwalker
Plaguecrafter
Jadelight Ranger
Gruesome Menagerie
Wildgrowth Walker

If you aren’t that much into whispering doom, however, there’s another 5-drop that works amazingly with Wildgrowth Walker.

BG Menagerie by _Shatun_

Creature (29)
Doom WhispererDoom Whisperer
Jadelight RangerJadelight Ranger
Llanowar ElvesLlanowar Elves
Merfolk BranchwalkerMerfolk Branchwalker
Midnight ReaperMidnight Reaper
PlaguecrafterPlaguecrafter
Ravenous ChupacabraRavenous Chupacabra
Seekers’ SquireSeekers’ Squire
Wildgrowth WalkerWildgrowth Walker

Spells (8)
Find // FinalityFind // Finality
Gruesome MenagerieGruesome Menagerie
Path of DiscoveryPath of Discovery
Lands (23)
ForestForest
Overgrown TombOvergrown Tomb
SwampSwamp
Woodland CemeteryWoodland Cemetery

Sideboard (15)
PlaguecrafterPlaguecrafter
Cast DownCast Down
Deadeye TrackerDeadeye Tracker
DuressDuress
Kraul HarpoonerKraul Harpooner
Thrashing BrontodonThrashing Brontodon
Vraska’s ContemptVraska’s Contempt

 

Can you imagine returning Wildgrowth Walker and Jadelight Ranger on turn 5 with Gruesome MenagerieGruesome Menagerie? As the red decks tend to Lightning StrikeLightning Strike your Walker on sight and it can be hard to actually get a trigger from it. Well, this set-up gives you two triggers right away!
Gruesome MenagerieGruesome Menagerie also works wonders with PlaguecrafterPlaguecrafter, and since this deck is so full of creatures it gets to include the full 4 copies of Find/FinalityFind/Finality, a card I think will end up seeing more widespread play over time.

 

Experimenting with other builds

Wildgrowth Walker inspires deck-brewing frenzy

Travis Woo was the first person from whom I’ve learned about the awesome interaction between Experimental FrenzyExperimental Frenzy and Wayward SwordtoothWayward Swordtooth. Experimental FrenzyExperimental Frenzy has already been acknowledged as a ridiculous card, not only to sideboard in against control but in virtually every match-up. The biggest Achilles heel to the card is that once you hit your 2nd land on top, your chain will stop.
Well, Wayward SwordtoothWayward Swordtooth gets around this very neatly, lets you keep going, quickly achieve city’s blessing and gives you more land drops for future turns where you can play even more stuff. Combine this with Dryad GreenseekerDryad Greenseeker, Treasure MapTreasure Map or explore creatures you get to clear even more lands away from the top and can keep going seemingly forever.
Different versions of this deck have popped up online, but I’ve yet to see someone tie in the Wildgrowth Walker package even though it seems perfectly suited here. Explore creatures help out Experimental FrenzyExperimental Frenzy and Experimental FrenzyExperimental Frenzy helps you find more explorers for Wildgrowth Walker.
Sadly we are off-guild for Guilds of Ravnica and don’t yet have access to Stomping GroundStomping Ground. This means our manabase is worse than for other guilds, but with some taplands we still get to the required amount of sources. Evolving WildsEvolving Wilds can even help out our Experimental FrenzyExperimental Frenzy!

Experimental Frenzy
Wayward Swordtooth
Wildgrowth Walker
Merfolk Branchwalker
Jadelight Ranger

RG Exploriment by Simon Nielsen

Creatures (22)
Siege-Gang CommanderSiege-Gang Commander
Wildgrowth WalkerWildgrowth Walker
Wayward SwordtoothWayward Swordtooth
Rekindling PhoenixRekindling Phoenix
Jadelight RangerJadelight Ranger
Merfolk BranchwalkerMerfolk Branchwalker

Spells (13)
Experimental FrenzyExperimental Frenzy
Path of DiscoveryPath of Discovery
Fight with FireFight with Fire
Treasure MapTreasure Map
Lightning StrikeLightning Strike
Lands (25)
Evolving WildsEvolving Wilds
ForestForest
MountainMountain
Timber GorgeTimber Gorge
Rootbound CragRootbound Crag

Sideboard (15)
Fight with FireFight with Fire
Lava CoilLava Coil
Thrashing BrontodonThrashing Brontodon
Carnage TyrantCarnage Tyrant
BanefireBanefire
Fiery CannonadeFiery Cannonade
Deathgorge ScavengerDeathgorge Scavenger
Vivien ReidVivien Reid

 

I think Rekindling PhoenixRekindling Phoenix is very well positioned right now, as most of the Golgari decks have taken out Vraska’s ContemptVraska’s Contempt and just have a really hard time dealing with the fiery bird. I’m excited by the opportunity to play that and Experimental Frenzy in a functioning green midrange shell.

I’ve also decided to run Siege-Gang CommanderSiege-Gang Commander as a pay-off for ramping up your lands and simultaneously a way to immediately get to ascend your Wayward SwordtoothWayward Swordtooth. Fight with FireFight with Fire fills up a similar slot of being a pay-off for having tons of lands in play while not being useless when you don’t.

This deck also includes Path of DiscoveryPath of Discovery to supercharge the Wildgrowth Walkers as well as do all sorts of nonsense. I’m entertained by the idea of Rekindling PhoenixRekindling Phoenix leaving behind an exploring ash token, potentially dodging Goblin ChainwhirlerGoblin Chainwhirler this way.

 

Bugle up!

Recruiting a Wildgrowth Milita

I don’t really see the potential for a good Simic-shell for Wildgrowth Walker (unless maybe we brew up something with Growing Rites of ItlimocGrowing Rites of Itlimoc and Tishana, Voice of ThunderTishana, Voice of Thunder) so let’s explore what white has to offer this shell.
I think the biggest selling point is Militia BuglerMilitia Bugler. This card has already proven itself in Modern Humans, and is starting to creep into Standard. I like how it finds both Wildgrowth Walker as well as the explore creatures to go with it. I also like that it can hit cards like Knight of AutumnKnight of Autumn and Trostani DiscordantTrostani Discordant that secretly have more than 2 power.

Militia Bugler
Knight of Autumn
Jadelight Ranger
Trostani Discordant
Wildgrowth Walker
Merfolk Branchwalker

Let’s put it all together!

GW Explorers by Simon Nielsen

Creatures (30)
Wildgrowth WalkerWildgrowth Walker
Jadelight RangerJadelight Ranger
Merfolk BranchwalkerMerfolk Branchwalker
Llanowar ElvesLlanowar Elves
Trostani DiscordantTrostani Discordant
Thorn LieutenantThorn Lieutenant
Militia BuglerMilitia Bugler
Knight of AutumnKnight of Autumn
Shalai, Voice of PlentyShalai, Voice of Plenty

Spells (9)
Conclave TribunalConclave Tribunal
Flower // FlourishFlower // Flourish
Ajani, Adversary of TyrantsAjani, Adversary of Tyrants
March of the MultitudesMarch of the Multitudes
Lands (21)
Temple GardenTemple Garden
Sunpetal GroveSunpetal Grove
ForestForest
PlainsPlains

Sideboard (15)
Knight of AutumnKnight of Autumn
Ajani, Adversary of TyrantsAjani, Adversary of Tyrants
Conclave TribunalConclave Tribunal
Path of DiscoveryPath of Discovery
Lyra DawnbringerLyra Dawnbringer
Bounty AgentBounty Agent
Deathgorge ScavengerDeathgorge Scavenger
Vivien ReidVivien Reid

 

I like how well Ajani, Adversary of TyrantsAjani, Adversary of Tyrants works with the Wildgrowth Walker, as Ajani can bring it back straight after dying, or can bring back a Merfolk BranchwalkerMerfolk Branchwalker to trigger the Walker once again.
I’m unsure if March of the MultitudesMarch of the Multitudes is actually good in this deck. We lack the wide amount of bodies that Selesnya tokens produces, but we are very good at hitting land drops, so I suppose we can just see it more as a regular x-spell. March of the MultitudesMarch of the Multitudes does work very well with Flower // Flourish which we run anyway to strengthen the mana base.

It’s worth noting that this deck gets completely wrecked by Tocatli Honor GuardTocatli Honor Guard, a tech card that has picked up play lately as it utterly destroys most GB lists. Hopefully you’ll dodge that one!

 

These are the lists I have been exploring with the beloved Ixalan uncommon. May your explore triggers be plentiful and may you always hit what you want when trying out these lists.

 

This article was written by Simon Nielsen in a media collaboration with mtgmintcard.com

Simon Nielsen

Author Simon Nielsen

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