Friday, June 17, 2016

Funky Deck Friday - Gettin' Froggy Wit' It

Na na na na nuh nah naaa
Hey duders and lady dudes, it's Dan, and I'm here to bring you a very special Shitty Deck Sunday. Mainly because it's Friday. But Shitty Deck Sunday is always special - special used in the same way as that the one kid's mom would use to describe him as he ate rocks on the playground. Everyone knew that kid, right? Anyways, the moral of the story is that this deck is stupid, but kind of endearing.

The deck we're taking a peek at here is a masterpiece of Standard technology; deftly crafted by professionals taking care to ensure maximum jank for the frugal wizard.

First things first: Yes, this deck can actually win games. Yeah, it surprised me too. But it turns out some decks aren't equipped to fight a deck running about 40 shocks. We'll delve into the matchups against tier decks later, but for now, let's have a rundown of the cards shoved into this pile. I'm going to highlight the use of each card, and along the way give you some gameplay tips so that you too can live the dream with the Molten Frog Tornado.

How Enchanting - The Enchantments:

The enchantments are the meat of this deck. You know, meat, like Heavy Salami (nice plug, Dan). Half of the deck's name, and its main win condition, is a cute little enchantment from Origins.

If you can't take the heat... get the fuck out of my FNM, ya goober.
Brace yuhselves, cause this is the only time you're going to hear this: Molten Vortex is a crazy powerful card. Yeah, that's right. This trash bulk rare makes every land in your deck into a shock, and in a deck with forty lands and ways to abuse lands going into the graveyard, things get silly quick. You want to aggressively mulligan to try and snag a Vortex in your opening hand. It's very important to get one down early, though not the end of the world if you have to wait until turn two or three, and that's where our next enchantment comes in.

Reveal the top four and confuse target opponent when it's just four Mountains.
Vessel does it all in this deck. It digs up our Vortex, it can find a utility/multicolored land, it puts land into the graveyard for our creatures, it can grab one of those aforementioned creatures, and it can even dig up another vessel in case you want to roll like that. You probably shouldn't, but you know, desperate times and such. I should be running four of these, but in my testing I often would snag one of these when I really needed a land or something back from my GY, so I replaced the fourth with Reclaim, which I'll talk about later.

Crawling Sensation is a chill one-of in this deck. It's not super necessary in most games, but occasionally a steady stream of bugs as you remove their threats can give you enough pressure to close out a game early. We have a second in the board in case you find yourself in a match that needs infinite chump-blocks, and if your shop has a lot of decks that run non-evasive creatures, you may want to up the mainboard number.

The Critter Crew:

This is the most beautiful and simple creature base I've ever got to use. Four Frogs, four Groundskeepers. It's like a rich person's estate party in the spring. Each of these guys are vital to the deck, and without one or the other, chances are you won't win. I mean, you can, and I have, but it doesn't feel as good, and we're all about the good feelz here at team Heavy Salami.

O land wizard, embrace me in your leaves.
Groundskeeper is our early-game engine, but he also scales into late game very nicely. He's simple - a wimpy dude who lets you pay one and a green to return a basic from GY to your hand. Noice. Early on you can return one if you have nothing else to do, and late game you can often recur several of them to reload your Molten Vortex railgun. Most decks would never need this utility, but this deck often finds itself with over 10 or 15 lands chillin' in the yard. But instead of lands, they're shocks. You like shocks, right? Well GroundsMcGee here does too, so he'll help you recur the same Mountain as much as you please so you can throw it at your opponent over and over.

The Gitrog Monster is the card that flips this deck over the edge. Up until turn five this deck is running at like quarter throttle. Once you get a Frog on board, and if you're able to untap with him, you're running at like... two entire throttles. I don't know how motorcycles work. There are very few things that can screw with Gitrog's groove in this deck, and he isn't the easiest thing to kill outside of exile effects. Let's take a look at what all the Gitrog does.

So majestic.
  • First off, he's a 6/6 deathtouch. This frog fucks. He can block World Breakers, Oblivion Sowers, Sylvan Advocates, Kalitas, and most other dudes on the ground and live to brag about it to the lady frogs.
  • Saccing a land on upkeep sounds bad, but is it really? Frog lets you play two per turn, so you don't fall behind on lands, and if you're sacrificing a basic land, then Groundskeeper lets you just return it back to hand if you need it.
  • Playing an additional land keeps you from screwing yourself over as you eat up all your lands, so good foresight R&D.
  • Whenever one or more lands hits the GY, draw a card. Oh sweet lord, let's talk about this.
So in this deck, lands are hitting the GY like it's... I dunno, something hittable.

Let's go with this guy's face.
Molten Vortex has you discard a land to shock something, and if a Frog is on the field, it's a shock that draws you a card. Vessel of Nascency puts the three cards you didn't pick in the yard, and if one is a land, you draw another card off that. Tormenting Voice and Magmatic Insight offer you the ability to discard a land (and therefore draw a card) in order to draw two more cards. Build your own Ancestral Recall! Hooray! 

'Trog Frog is the biggest, scariest engine in the deck. If you ever untap with a board of Molten Vortex, Groundskeeper, and Gitrog Monster, you have to really screw up to lose. For an example of how dumb this can be, I'm going to share a not-so-humble-brag story from my last FNM.

I was in very late game, a minute or so left until time, against a guy with a board of Duskwatch Recruiter and Loam Dryad. He didn't have much since I had been removing every threat he played all game, though not without taking quite a bit of damage on the way. My board was the dream: Frog, Keeper, and Vortex. I was at 3, he was at 23, and I was a little sad. But I had ten red sources on board, so I went for it, and the magic happened. Shock Recruiter, draw a card, shock Dryad, draw a card, swing for 7, he's at 16. I had two mountains in hand, and I just repeated "Pay red, discard mountain, draw a card," and since I'm running 40 lands, every card I drew was a land, which meant it was a shock, which meant I drew another card, which meant I ended up burning him from 23 to 0 in one turn. Felt great, man.

Other Dumb Spells:

We only have five other spells in the deck. Two Tormenting Voice, two Magmatic Insight, and one Reclaim. Voice and Insight early game help you to dig for whichever piece of the dream board you're looking for. Late game, if things are going according to plan, Voice can become a way to get value out of unused Vortexes in your hand, or to pitch a land to feed the Frog, and Insight ends up playing the same Frog-feeder role.
Actual picture of a Frog being resurrected.
Reclaim is a nifty card, and I rarely find myself sad when I draw it. It might even be worth playing two. Our combo is pretty vulnerable, as removal or enchantment destruction makes us sad. Reclaim is a dope way to just recycle the card back on top. Sure, you miss a draw step, but G at instant speed to bring back a Gitrog Monster who just ate two Fiery Impulses isn't a bad rate. It also helps to make sure you can get a Vortex back after a stupid Dromoka's Command. Have an extra Vortex you don't need in hand? Pop that Tormenting Voice back on top so you can pitch the Vortex. You can bring back a Vessel to dig four deeper, or you can even put an Evolving Wilds on top before you shock with a Frog on field, that way you draw the wilds, play it, and when you sac it you draw yet another card off of the Frog! #value

Land, ho!

So there are some lands. Forty of them, in fact. The lands are also spells, and that makes me a tiny bit aroused. You know, not much, but at like the level of a mid-nineties teenager who just stole his mom's Sears catalogue.
Different era, but just as sexy.
I'll give a quick rundown of the other two thirds of the deck, since it's fairly simple. Game Trail is the most important land, by far. Turn one you want to be able to play either a Vessel or a Vortex, and then drop the other one turn two. If you drop the Vortex turn 1, well, now they know your deck. Can't just feed them information like that as we make our way to the pro tour. If you drop the Vessel it's less suspicious, and then you follow up with Vortex turn 2. Without a Game Trail, though, you had to play a Forest turn 1, so when you use a Mountain to play Vortex, you don't have the red mana available to shock something if needed. This can be the difference between killing a Thraben Inspector with one Mountain when he's only at two toughness, or needing to blow two on him after a Thalia's Lieutenant hits the board.

Hissing Quagmire is the next best, cause opponents will often be in such awe of the number of lands you're throwing at them that they'll forget you have a sneaky dutchtouch land. Cinder Glade, Foreboding Ruins, and Smouldering Marsh are just for fixing, and while they're good, Evolving Wilds and basics will be able to get the job done if you want to save cash.

Most importantly, I put 40 lands in here with 21 spells for a total of 61 cards. Why? Well, mainly to screw with people when you have to register a deck list. Very vital meta-game play.

Sideboard, and the Matchups:

So my sideboard isn't set in stone. There are a lot of strong cards in it, with a few irreplacable ones, such as Clip Wings and Radiant Flames. There are also some that probably aren't great, and some others that are should probably be on there, such as Reclamation Sage. Rather than just spell out the sideboard, I'm going to talk about the matchups and offer sideboard ideas, and then you can customize the board to your shops meta.

G/W Tokens - This may surprise you folks to hear this, but the game one matchup isn't bad. If we get a decent draw, a Groundskeeper+Vortex combo is enough to keep their early plays in check, such as Nissa, Hangarback, and Gideon. Once we land a Frog, if they don't have a Declaration ready to roll or a sufficiently huge dude to Dromoka's Command (Frog still kills them all but Gideon, thank you Deathtouch), then we can run away with the game.
Post board it is much worse, as they'll know to bring in all their Declarations, Evolutionary Leap, etc. I recommend bringing in Virulent Plague to deal with tokens more efficiently, Fall of the Titans to pop planeswalkers and creatures with one card, and Devour in Flames to melt walkers at higher loyalty. Some on-the-fence cards are more Reclaims to bring back Vortexes that have been sacced to Dromoka's Command, Clip Wings to kill Avacyn/Sigarda/Linvala, or Bonds of Mortality to nullify the Avacyn ETB effect. Bonds is a low-cost include, as you draw a card when you play it, and also offers some protection against Dromoka's Command, since you can sac that rather than your vital Vortex.

Bant Coco/Humans - Coco is an annoying matchup, but not unbeatable. Duskwatch Recruiter, Tireless Tracker, Thraben Inspector, and Thalia's Lieutenant are all easily burnable with a Vortex. The three toughness creatures are a bit more of an issue, but with an early Groundskeeper are quite manageable. Their removal consists of Reflector Mages and Dromoka's Command, so try and save your Reclaim to grab back your Vortex after you have to sacrifice it. Rather than pro-actively burning out their creatures, your best bet is to wait to respond to a Thalia's Lieutenant trigger or Dromoka's cast.
Game two the matchup doesn't change a ton, but chances are that they'll bring in Declarations for the Frog, and Gideon to be annoying as hell. Radiant Flames is a house in this match, and I'd definitely bring it in. Fall of the Titans is sweet, some extra Reclaims to recover from Dromoka's is nice, and Crawling Sensation is a good way to get chump blockers so they don't run you over.

2/3/4/5/80-Color Rites - They just keep adding colors to this deck, but it's basically the same thing. And that thing is a sweet matchup for us. The fewer colors, the better, as Reflector Mage's three toughness is once again a problem. Against the strictly G/B deck, where there are a lot more 2 toughness creatures, this is an excellent game one for us. In case you're wondering, always blow up the Loam Dryad, as you don't want them to get extra mana.
After board this match is a little tougher. Reality Smashers are big, but not as big as the Frog, so your best bet is to hope to stick one of those and stonewall them. Transgress and Matter Reshaper are a huge bummer for us, as one exiles our Frogs in hand, and the other just replaces itself if we kill it. You'll want to bring in Radiant Flames and Kozilek's Return, as those cards are gold up until Smashers come out. Fall of the Titans is good again, and Crawling Sensation can give you chumps for days. Some other possible swaps could be bringing in Reclamation Sage or Caustic Catapillar to take care of Rites, Virulent Plague if you're afraid of the Brood Monitor combo or think Blisterpods are annoying, and Clip Wings if you think a flipped Abbey is likely.

R/G Ramp - This is basically a race-Ulamog situation. If you land Frog on curve and have a Vortex, you can usually launch lands at their face and kill them before they can hit the 10 mana they need. Having a backup Vortex in hand is very useful in this matchup, since World Breakers can and will exile them, and it's annoying.
He ceaselessly hungers for Frog legs.
Post Board, Gaea's Revenge is the biggest issue. All we can do is chump with Insects, or trade our Frog for it. A second Crawling Sensation helps a lot, as it can chump a Revenge or World Breaker forever, and give us an alternate win-con when not on chump duty. Other than that, Clip Wings is nice for Atarkas, and a Reclamation Sage might be nice to hit a Hedron Archive. They also get Jaddi Offshoots, which really harsh our mallow and slow our plan a lot, though I don't think they merit bringing in Radiant Flames. Fall of the Titans could be nice, as you can pop a Jaddi and Chandra, or Chandra and their stupid ramping face.

Mono-W, U/W, G/W Humans - Congrats, you are probably going to win. Seriously. This is by far your best matchup. Almost every single one of their creatures dies to just a single land until they get Always Watching down, so you just wait until they play a Thalia's Lieutenant, Always Watching, or whatever, and in response blow everything up. The Frog also blocks everything that doesn't fly, and will be able to swing in with blatant disregard. The only two boogeymen are Declaration in Stone and depending on the build, Archangel of Tithes or Avacyn, though by the time they come down they're fairly easy to burn out if you have a Groundskeeper.
After board the matchup really doesn't change a lot. They might bring in Stasis Snare, so I'd once again pack a Reclamation Sage or Caustic Catapillar to blow up that or an Always Watching. Bring in all the burn, too. Kozilek's, Radiant, Fall; all of them will kill multiple things. Pulse of Murasa shines here too, as it lets you trade a Groundskeeper for a 2/1 early on, and then bring it back later along with a chunk of life to stabilize. Crawling Sensation is a maybe, since chumping is nice, but Gryff's Boon can quickly ruin that. Overall, your odds are still good with an early Vortex, so you want to do all you can to get one in your opener.

Control - This is bad, people. Control absolutely fucks this deck. Like, real badly. Anguished Unmaking thoroughly unmakes this deck, as it permanently removes any of our win conditions. Ruinous Path and boardwipes are some of the most efficient ways to deal with Froggy. Counterspells are backbreaking. Planeswalkers are annoying. This is a really, really bad matchup, and if your store is full of control players, I don't highly recommend trying this out.
Post board it goes from bad to badder (shut up thats a word). They get more exile and removal, and we don't get a lot. Reclaim is good against non-exiling removal, Crawling Sensation gives us a repeatable threat that can be tricky for them to deal with, and Display of Dominance can be a massive blowout.

I also guarantee that your opponents will ask to read this card because they've never seen it.
So all in all, the deck is alright. Some matchups are better than others, but other than control, you actually have a fairly good chance in most matches. If your shop is heavy on weenie decks and agro, this can clean house, and costs only a bit over $50 or $60.

You can save even more money if you drop out some of the duals. Smoldering Marsh and Foreboding Ruins can pretty safely be swapped for Swamps and Evolving Wilds, since you don't need any black until turn 5 at the earliest. Cinder Glade is nice, but Mountains and Forests will do the trick. The man-land is also helpful, but in the end non-essential. Game Trail is really the only necessary dual, as having the option to put out a Vessel or Vortex on turn 1, and then follow with the other while still having a red to shock is extremely strong. But that said, if you go budget and play with just basics, this deck will do some stuff and only run you around $25. That isn't too steep of a price to pay for some delicious salt from players who are used to winning in five minutes with their agro decks.


So there it is, guys, the Molten Frog. It's... something. Seriously, though, if you're looking to take a break from spiking hard and jamming Top 8 decks, you know what they say: Grab life by the Frog.

- Dan

Heavy Salami has a sexy new look! Rather than a picture of meat, we are now a picture of meat with sunglasses. Let us know what you think!

Too cool for school. Also, meat doesn't go to school.

Like the Frog? Have your own Lands deck brew? Do you hate the Frog? Well, then you can just leave, but for everyone else, leave a comment or send us an email, we'd love to hear from you!


  1. 1) I hope you have custom sleeves made with the new "Poochie-style" Heavy Salami logo. It is sweet.

    2) Gitrog is the truth, I ran him once in a draft with some Fork in the Roads and minor land jank and it never stopped being hilarious.

  2. I'm gonna be running a modified version of your list this Friday at my LGS. There is a regular there who usually goes 4-0 with his Mono U Prison deck. This deck kinda trashes that deck faster than it can trash us. Wish me well and I wish you well at your future FNMs

    1. Dooope, GL man. What changes did you make? Be sure to let us know once you win. Or, you know, go 0-4.

    2. So here is the deck
      4x Groundskeeper, 4x The Gitrog Monster
      4x Molten Vortex, 4x Vessel of Nascency
      4x Kolaghan's Command, 3x Pulse of Murasa
      3x Magmatic Insight, 4x Cinder Glade,
      2x Evolving Wilds, 2x Foreboding Ruins,
      6x Forest, 4x Game Trail, 11x Mountain,
      2x Smoldering Marsh, 3x Swamp.

      3x Sinister Concoction, 3x Virulent Plague,
      3x Clip Wings, 3x Duress, 3x Radiant Flames.

      I went 2-2 at my FNM, now don't get excited, one of them was a buy. First round was against RB Vampires, both close games, but couldn't keep up against the cheap vampires, plus not drawing Gitrog is a fell bad.
      Second round was a blowout, didn't draw into Magmatic Vortex and for some reason, even got mana screw, in a deck with 34 lands. I was against a WB Ally Lifegain deck, so it was pretty rough.
      Third round was a buy, which might seem like a win on paper, that is a round of Magic I didn't get to play so it was a loss in my books.
      Last round though, I lived the dream, my opponent got land screwed twice in a row, and I got all of the pieces out, Gitrog, Keeper, and Molten. It was a holy trifecta of burn. It was great. He was playing a Jund good-stuff deck with Kalatis, Arlin Kord, K-Command, and other nasty things.

  3. You guys need a TCG player link, so when I waste my hard earned money on a deck starring Frog from Chrono Trigger barfing mountains at people, you at least get a cut.

    And I'm on record for losing all my FNM games, but at least I lose with style. This deck looks right up my alley.

    1. Man... now I wan't an alter of Gitrog featuring Frog. And a Robo Karn while we're at it.

      Hey be careful though, you might actually win a game with this deck. Don't want to ruin that perfect record.

    2. Any thoughts on Alhammarret's Archive or ramp cards like Explosive Veg? I haven't played this yet but I'm wondering how often you burn out of mana when you need it. I imagine cards aren't a huge problem.

    3. I think if you wanted to try some ramp something like Pilgrimage would be stronger. Sure, it only grabs forests, but it puts lands in hand, which is basically like tutoring for shocks. Plus then you could up your Insight count to four and use them to dig for whatever card you need. I honestly need to test it with tweaking the numbers more, and there's quite a bit of flexibility, since you really only need to have at least 35 or so lands to function. Adding another 6 cards in exchange for some basics could probably work well, it'd just hamper the "combo" aspect of it that you get on turn 6 or 7 with a frog and vortex.

  4. Any changes you've made with the moon releasing ? Splendid reclaimation I'd imagine?

    1. I haven't really played around with this in the new set, though I imagine it'll be fairly solid since it doesn't care much about Spell Queller.

      I think Reclamation would be sick, the issue is what to actually do with the mana. Maybe Decimator of Provinces? It'd pair insanely well with the Crawling Sensation tokens. Who knows. I've been busy testing with my U/G Ramp and Mono-Red burn, but I'm sure I'll revisit this at some point, cause this deck is so much fun lol

    2. I'm running it with a Retreat to Hagra for maximum jank and hilariousness. Nothing like having a really stupid finisher after you threw mountains at them the whole game. Pulling 10-15 lands from the yard for a 20-30 life swing (or just straight up winning) is hilarious.