Gruul Adventures Deck Guide – Throne of Eldraine Standard – November 2019
Introduction to Gruul Adventures
Welcome to our guide to Gruul Adventures! Not too long ago, I wrote a deck guide about Gruul Aggro but I was always anxious playing it in a meta filled with Oko Food decks and felt like a lot of my games were relying on topdecks, perfect draws or winning the dice roll to play first. After hitting a plateau with the deck at 19-11 (63% win rate), Mythic Championship VI had started and decklists were made public.
I pushed through the ladder climb with Rakdos Aristocrats by Pascal Maynard and pushed through to Diamond at 17-8 (68% win rate). After this time, another deck caught my attention and this was the Gruul Adventures deck that only Javier Dominguez, Martin Muller and Seth Manfield brought to the tournament. When I first looked at the decklist, I was in love.
During the tournament, the deck’s record was 12-3 and 10-3 against Oko decks. I then took the deck for a spin in the ladder and hit my hot streak to finish at #73 Mythic with a total of 17-4 record. This deck feels like it will be one of the contenders in Standard after the ban announcement. Without further ado, the here is the deck below!
Gruul Adventures Decklist
Gruul Adventures looks very similar to the the traditional Gruul Aggro and the principle still holds true in that there are efficiently costed big creatures that hold Embercleave well and can end games out of nowhere. The deck’s fundamental difference in that it plays the Edgewall Innkeeper Adventure package, makes the games play slightly different. The card advantage the innkeeper provides gives the deck a massive opportunity to come back from behind, and the Adventure creatures on their own inherently are two cards in one. Lovestruck Beast is also a prime target for Embercleave (in addition to Questing Beast, its best target) that many decks will just not have an answer to.
The deck can naturally curve out as an aggro deck would, or you can play more patiently as even one or two of your creatures can apply enormous amounts of pressure backed up by Domri’s Ambush and Embercleave. We will explain this in more detail below in the card choices section.
- 4 Edgewall Innkeeper: The powerhouse himself. Unlike the Golgari Adventures deck, we don’t have a one mana cost Adventure creature so it is harder to keep it in your hand until later. Since we are also more of an aggressive deck, a lot of the time it is best to get it out as early as you can even if it may be vulnerable to removal spells. Remember that the card activates on merely casting the spell.
- 4 Rimrock Knight: The pump is great with Embercleave and the fact that it has 3 power is great against many things in the meta such as Oko, Nissa and Wicked Wolf. Be careful of Massacre Girl!
- 4 Lovestruck Beast: The best card in the deck, it is your prime target for Domri’s Ambush (6 damage kill kill Nissa and Oko) and Embercleave (12 damage!). Being stuck to blocking duties does suck sometimes, but an innkeeper or another copy off the top will surprise your opponent when it can suddenly attack.
- 4 Bonecrusher Giant: This card becomes much more important in this deck than in the ordinary Gruul Aggro deck. Since we have Lovestruck Beast in the three drop slot, this card is reserved for later on in the game and you can play it for full value – that is, dealing two damage as well. This can be for finishing off a Teferi, killing Gilded Goose or dealing the final 2 life.
- 4 Kraul Harpooner: This card is still here to hunt Gilded Goose. It gets a little bit worse on the draw since it won’t be able to stop a turn two Oko. After the banning, these can be replaced by something else, perhaps Pelt Collector or Zhur-Taa Goblin.
- 4 Questing Beast: This card will likely deal the final blows, being the most expensive creature in the deck. As explained in the previous article, giving a deathtouch creature trample via Embercleave allows you to deal all but one damage over to the opponent.
- 3 Embercleave: The best targets are Lovestruck Beast and Questing Beast, especially with the buff from Rimrock Knight.
- 4 Once Upon a Time: You want this in your opening hand to find a Edgewall Innkeeper, smooth your draws or fix your mana.
- 4 Domri’s Ambush: This card is back in the main deck to combat the planeswalkers prevalent in the meta and opposing creatures. Combined with Lovestruck Beast, it can deal 6 damage – a very relevant number for Oko and Nissa. Don’t forget if you cast it on one of your 1/1 creatures for some reason it will turn off your Lovestruck Beast’s attack.
As a Food deck values the first turn Gilded Goose, the same is true with Gruul Adventures and Edgewall Innkeeper. You want to ideally have a Once Upon a Time or the innkeeper himself in your opening hand, though you may be able to get away with having a your first play of Kraul Harpooner or Bonecrusher Giant against Food or aggro decks if you are playing first. Especially in an unforgiving meta where even a slight stumble won’t get you anywhere, aggressive mulligans may be required.
Matchup and Sideboard Guide
The main deck is already tailor made for Food decks, and not much sideboarding is actually required here, if any at all. Veil of Summer is decent against the Sultai version of the deck against Noxious Grasp, but it does not stop Wicked Wolf which is your worst enemy. You may want Sorcerous Spyglass as minor disruption against Oko. The singular Veil of Summer is useful for the occasional disruption.
In: 1 Sorcerous Spyglass
Out: 1 Kraul Harpooner
Versus Golgari Adventures
This match is about trying to outgrind them and protect your valuable assets from Noxious Grasp and Murderous Rider. Unfortunately I was not able to face this match too often, so will update this accordingly if I get more experience in the matchup.
How you play depends on their strategy. You want to end the game as soon as possible and take advantage of the fact that with Fires of Invention out you can Embercleave as you please (make sure Teferi is off the board first). Domri’s Ambush is great against both the planeswalkers or Cavaliers strategy. In either cases, you are playing around their Defeaning Clarion and avoiding getting Bonecrusher Giant into it.
Versus Aristocrats / Sacrifice
Witch’s Oven and Trail of Crumbs is very annoying to face against with the new Sultai Sacrifice deck but going too high on artifact and enchantment hate does not seem right as they can still function decently without them. Remember that trample still works for creatures that block and become sacrificed.
Versus Azorius Control
The deck feels very straightforward to beat with Edgewall Innkeeper and the sideboard cards. Cindervines deals with all their enchantments that remove your creatures and Experimental Frenzy helps you come back from board wipes. Veil of Summer is probably a bit of an overkill here and gets worse with Teferi in play.
Versus Temur Reclamation
You are trying to kill them as soon as possible, before they can combo out. Cindervines makes this much harder for them as it closes the window pretty fast. Leaving a single copies of interaction cards just in case Niv-Mizzet pops up.
Depends on the deck you are facing, but you are favored against aggro decks that use smaller creatures. It will be very hard for them to get past your big creatures, especially Lovestruck Beast.
Embereth Shieldbreaker is for the opposing Embercleave and an additional way to trigger Edgewall Innkeeper. This matchup will be all about who can trade favorably with the combination of removal spells they draw and who can draw the most cards off Edgewall Innkeeper.
If you have any questions, need help or if there is a specific topic you want to see, please let us know in the comments below or contact me directly on our Discord server!
- November 12, 2019: Solving Standard – Gruul Adventures by Seth Manfield
- November 3, 2019: Gruul Aggro Deck Guide by Terence
- October 29, 2019: Mythic Championship V Champion and Gruul Deck Guide by Javier Dominguez
- October 24, 2019: Believe In the ‘Cleave: A Guide to Gruul Aggro in Standard by Martin Juza
- November 11, 2019: Deck guide added.