Return to Ravnica Casual & Commander Review: Golgari Swarm

I’m a late convert to the Golgari guild. While I’ve been a Naya player at my core since it was called Thornscape, the Izzet vs. Golgari Duel Deck was something I found beyond fascinating. I love reanimating and find the graveyard an underutilized resource in casual Magic, so Scavenge got me excited.

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Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord

A lot of Jarad’s thunder is already echoing in the distant thanks to the fact that people have had a few weeks to play with him. In multiplayer, this guy is excellent. He’s big and just keeps getting bigger as the game progresses. His activated ability can rapidly end games as everyone else’s life totals get ground lower and lower. And he’s recursive! Sure, the mana cost is clunky as can be but it is worth it.

Deadbridge Goliath

Remember when Blastoderm was an awesome creature? Well, now you get a 5/5 with a bonus when it dies! How is that possible? While a 5/5 isn’t the most exciting creature, he’s big, he’s cheap and you can easily cast him turn 3 without fail. When he dies, you can scavenge him to make any creature on the battlefield into a giant.

Abrupt Decay

Another piece of the uncounterable cycle, Abrupt Decay is a near perfect piece of removal. Being an almost Vindicate doesn’t hurt one bit, but this is an instant that can’t be dealt with in Commander. It destroys so many cards it isn’t even funny. If you’re playing black-green in Commander, you need one of these. If you’re playing any kind of casual deck at the kitchen table, you’ll need four of these.

Corpsejack Menace

My love of doubling is hardly new. While Planeswalkers effectively made it so we’ll never see Doubling Season reprinted again, this fungus (does the creature type confuse anyone else?) is pretty close. The combination with scavenge is obvious but this is a card that can get deadly in multiples. And on top of his combo-riffic nature, he’s a 4/4 for 4!

Jarad’s Orders

I love my reanimator deck, even if the other people in my group don’t. But I’ve been looking for a way to slow it down since people are often frustrated by turn one swamp, ritual, entomb for Akroma, exhume. Jarad’s Orders is a great tutor that combines the fun of reanimation with excellent tutoring. In Commander, this basically reads “tutor for two creatures” and in 60-card, it just reads “enable your combo.”

Lotleth Troll

Remember when Wild Mongrel was the best creature in standard alongside Pyschatog? Those days are long gone. As a two-drop, they don’t get better than this. It tramples, it’s regenerates and it grows. It’s basically a miniature Spiritmonger! Oh, and it’s discard ability is hilariously broken with cards like Basking Rootwalla.

Deathrite Shaman

First, this is a 1/ 2 for one mana. That’s awesome. Second, this card turns everyone’s graveyard into your resource! Need mana? Exile a land! Need to deal damage to everyone else? Exile an instant or sorcery! Need some life in a pinch? Any creature will do. This card is a beautiful Swiss Army knife of abilities that does whatever is needed, whenever.

Overgrown Tomb

Like all the Ravnica dual lands, this is amazing. There really isn’t anything to say about these you haven’t heard already. These are the second best lands ever printed. The only card that could ever top these would be Snow-Covered Duals.

Zanikev Locust

Just like Terrus Wurm, this card isn’t amazing but the lower Scavenge cost is a nice touch. While the 6 mana casting cost is way too high normally, this is still a card I can see getting played in specific decks.

Golgari Decoy

This guy will die, I can guarantee it. The built in lure is nice, and the scavenge isn’t awful. But the overall package feels a bit too expensive.

Dreg Mangler

Another reprint from the latest Duel Decks, Dreg Mangler shows a great take on the color wheel. Red and black getting trample in Rakdos felt unique, so black and green getting haste is equally interesting. A 3/3 haste for 3 is a great deal and the scavenge is just icing on the cake.

Golgari Charm

The charms are great, but their individual value changes a lot in multiplayer. Shrinking all creatures is handy, especially against tokens or combat you aren’t involved in. Destroying enchantments isn’t awful, but it really depends on your playgroup. The final ability is decent too, especially as board sweepers are getting weaker against regeneration. As a charm, this isn’t awful but feels a bit lackluster.

Korozda Guildmage

Another card previously released, this guildmage isn’t bad but it is expensive. Giving intimidate and +1/+1 is decent (and has helped me win a game or two), while the second piece is a nice sacrifice outlet but very expensive. Late game, it allows your creatures to explode into an army of tokens and remember, this one is an elf.

Rites of Reaping

I have great issues with this card’s name. It isn’t a Rite! It’s decent as a one-of in Commander, especially as an upgraded Consume Strength. But six mana is a lot for a swing of six power and six toughness.

Treasured Find

I don’t know any Commander player who will say no to a second Regrowth, even if it is one-shot only.

Slitherhead

I’m not sure this is a zombie. I think it’s a plant hiding in a skull, but the important thing about this card is the fact that it scavenges for free! It’s basically madness. If you need a way to fill out your deck to 60 cards, here you go.

Golgari Keyrune

As a mana accelerator, this is fine. As a giant rattlesnake, it is even better. Having a single card that sits around deterring people from attacking you is great, but getting too aggressive with it will probably spell your doom.

Terrus Wurm

The common scavenge cards are clearly made for limited, but knowing that your graveyard contains essentially an assortment of flashback pump spells nice. Terrus Wurm isn’t amazing, but if you need to fill a Commander dredge deck, you could do worse.

Drudge Beetle

If Grizzly Bears were awesome, this would be their insect king.

Korozda Monitor

Another scavenge card built for limited, this isn’t awful but needs a very specific home.

Stonefare Crocodile

If this card gained deathtouch, I would like it a lot more. Paying 3 mana for lifelink isn’t a deal in either of these colors.

Grisly Salvage

While this card doesn’t do anything new, I love the potential of it. Mulch, Gift of the Gargantuan, Tracker’s Instincts all do similar things, but this has two big changes: grabbing a land or a creature makes it a versatile filtering card and it is instant speed. Black and green don’t often get filtering like this, but when they do it is just begging to be abused. A casual dredge deck is going to love this.

Sluiceway Scorpion

Deathtouch and scavenge makes for an awkward pairing – provided you aren’t the one controlling it. The natural combination forces tough decisions either as an attacker or a defender. While not a groundbreaking card, I could see this working.

Trestle Troll

I see myself hating this card for years to come. Defender, reach and regeneration on a single card? I would expect this from Azorious, but not Golgari! If you’re playing a slower black-green deck, here is your board staller.

Golgari Longlegs

Have you ever thought to yourself in the middle of a game “I could really use a 5/4 right now?” I haven’t either.

Golgari Guildgate

Like the Izzet Guildgate, the value of this one is much higher since we’ve never gotten enemy colored taplands before. It’s simple, it’s cheap and it’s exactly what casual players need to make more consistent mana bases.

Top 5 Golgari Swarm Cards for Casual & Commander
5. Corpsejack Menace
4. Grisly Salvage
3. Lotleth Troll
2. Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord
1. Abrupt Decay

As a guild, I am loving Golgari. Almost all the cards ooze with secondary benefits. Turning the whole graveyard into a resource is a thing of beauty and plays so well with Innistrad and Dark Ascension. But what makes this guild so much fun is that it also has such potential as a political guild as it gives out counters and exiles graveyards in trades. And that is what multiplayer Magic is about.

Return to Ravnica Casual & Commander Reviews
Azorious Senate  | Izzet League | Cult of Rakdos | Golgari Swarm | Selesnya Conclave
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