It's a Gruul, Gruul World
|Oath of Nissa x4|
Harnessed Lightning x4
Servant of the Conduit x3
Longtusk Cub x4
Voltaic Brawler x4
Lathnu Hellion x4
Bristling Hydra x4
Multiform Wonder x4
|Arlinn Kord x2
Chandra, Torch of Defiance X1
Nissa, Vital Force x2
Aether Hub x4
Game Trail x4
Cinder Glade x4
Kaladesh has brought back Gruul beats in a very interesting way with energy. I really like that this time around Gruul has more to it than just playing huge dudes. There’s actually quite a lot of choices you need to make to sequence your energy correctly or efficiently.
All of the creatures in this list make energy when entering the battlefield with the exception of Longtusk Cub which gets a +1/+1 counter at the cost on two energy. It gains two energy when it deals combat damage to a player. Longtusk Cub can easily take control of a game by itself if left unchecked.
One of the best sequences is to play it on turn two. Then play another creature on turn three that makes two energy. This threatens a 3/3 that makes two more energy if it connects.
Your other two drops are Voltaic Brawler and Servant of the Conduit. Both of these make two energy when entering the battlefield. Brawler gets bigger on attacking and gains trample, which can put your opponent on a fast clock.
Servant may not be correct for this deck. However, having the ability to ramp into your larger creatures and Planeswalkers, or to just fix a low land hand, seems to make the deck run much smoother. At worst, it’s a 2/2 that gives you two energy to make your other creatures stronger.
Since we have a ramp creature, this allow less three cost cards. The one we have though is a beast! Actually it’s a Hellion, but Lathnu Hellion is a scary creature. A 4/4 with haste for three is way above the curve but comes with the cost of having to pay two energy a turn or sacrifice it.
It gives you two energy when entering, so it gives you the choice to keep it around for at least a turn. Often times this will allow you to swing past a 2/3 creature with your Longtusk Cub or make your opponent have to think real hard on what he wants to let you do. Sometimes just keeping the two energy is the correct play depending on the deck you’re playing against, since the next creature on the curve has a costly but very good ability. Bristling Hydra allows you to pay three energy to gain a +1/+1 counter and gain hexproof until end of turn. This is going to be great against any control matchup since you can just keep growing it.
The other option in the four cost slot is Arlinn Kord. Arlinn hasn’t seen any play since she came out, but I believe this deck will change that. Giving +2/+2 to a Longtusk or Brawler is pretty good, and, in the worst case, you make a 2/2 Wolf, flip her and Bolt something next turn. Hopefully, that’s not the case and you just pump a flying Multiform Wonder.
Multiform Wonder is the card that most decks online are leaving out, but I’ve found to be an absolute beating. Once again, coming in with three energy greatly helps the creatures we already have in play. The following turn it can swing in as a flying lifelinking 5/1, energy permitted. It gets even better with Arlinn because he can swing in as a 9/1 flyer the turn you play it.
Add Nissa, Vital Force for free 5/5 haste lands, recursion, or card draw. Nissa lets this deck go long in the midrange or control matchups giving you an out to Fumigate.
At the moment, I’m only playing one copy of Chandra, Torch of Defiance. I’ve found it to be sort of a bad fit for this deck aside from being a 4 mana kill spell that gains some life when they attack into it. Now, that’s not a bad thing since they have to attack it leaving less blockers for you to worry about, but, for now I think Arlinn is just better for the deck.
The only spells in the deck are Oath of Nissa and Harnessed Lightning. Oath is the only good one drop, and it smooths out your land drops and curve amazingly. Harnessed Lightning is exactly what a deck like this wants. It basically can kill any creature or can be used as a trick to pump a creature or give your Hydra hexproof, so it’s never a dead card.
The last card I want to talk about is Aether Hub. In a two color deck, it’s not doing a lot to fix your mana base, but what it does do is give you an energy. Most of the time, it’s not very relevant, but the extra energy can be very helpful from time to time. Although, the more you play the better that single energy becomes.
I tried Fleetwheel Cruiser. This thing is really good on curve the turn after the Hellion. It’s more of a “Surprise, your Planeswalker is dead” and may not be the best fit, but I’m having fun with it. I also tried out Architect of the Untamed, but it’s just completely wrong for this deck. At the time, I felt I wanted one or two more three cost cards to smooth out the curve.
I think this deck is going to be one of the decks that shapes the meta. If you’re not prepared for it then it can simply run all over you. What are your thoughts on this deck? What would you do differently? What do you think decks will have to play to adapt?