Gruul Adventures Kaldheim Standard Deck Guide: February 2021 Update

Hello everyone! I’m back to bring the update to one of the most popular decks coming out of Zendikar Rising Standard, Gruul Adventures! Anyone who plays Standard regularly should more or less be acquainted with the base list, so we can jump right into what my version looks like.

Moist Gruul

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Creature (27)
4
Bonecrusher Giant
4
Brushfire Elemental
4
Edgewall Innkeeper
1
Embereth Shieldbreaker
2
Goldspan Dragon
4
Kazandu Mammoth/Kazandu Valley
4
Lovestruck Beast
2
Questing Beast
2
Scavenging Ooze
Sorcery (4)
4
Shatterskull Smashing/Shatterskull, the Hammer Pass
Artifact (6)
3
Embercleave
3
The Great Henge
Enchantment (1)
1
The Akroan War
Land (22)
4
Barkchannel Pathway/Tidechannel Pathway
4
Cragcrown Pathway/Timbercrown Pathway
4
Fabled Passage
5
Forest
3
Mountain
2
Riverglide Pathway/Lavaglide Pathway
Cards 60
Sideboard (15)
1
Island
1
Klothys, God of Destiny
4
Negate
2
Ox of Agonas
3
Scorching Dragonfire
1
Shredded Sails
1
Soul Sear
1
The Akroan War
1
Wilt

Gruul still has the same core as it functionally always had. Using a combination of Adventure creatures and powerful cards in Embercleave and The Great Henge to create a fast, resilient, and extremely strong deck. 

The deck has changed very little from it’s Zendikar Rising days, but does have 2 important additions. One, Goldspan Dragon is a very powerful threat that can put you up on mana the turn it comes down which can allow double spell turns. Goldspan has a distinct advantage over something like Questing Beast since it has Flying and accrues added value if targeted with any spell which ensures you’ll always get something out of it.

The second addition to Gruul has been the utilization of the Blue splash for Negate in the board. Negate seems out of place in a deck like Gruul, but it’s actually slotted better than initially expected. Sultai Ultimatum, although no longer the most popular deck, is still alive and kicking which can be a very difficult matchup for Gruul. The main issue is that Ultimatum decks are becoming more and more polarized to beat the aggro matchups which puts Gruul directly in the crossfire. With that, it’s not necessarily the wraths that Gruul struggles to beat (although it does), it’s the combination of wraths into an Emergent Ultimatum which is the problem. Negate allows you to stop them from wiping the board or resolving an Ultimatum, both plays that can easily win you the game assuming you have any semblance of a board state. If Sultai trends way down, you can probably eschew the Blue splash entirely, but I have a feeling that likely won’t happen over the course of this metagame.

MATCHUPS AND SIDEBOARDING

MONORED AGGRO (FAVORED)

INOUT
+3 Scorching Dragonfire-4 Brushfire Elemental
+1 Shredded Sails-2 Questing Beast
+1 Wilt-1 Embercleave
+1 Soul Sear
+1 The Akroan War

This matchup you want to take on the role of the control deck, using your creatures and spells defensively until you can set yourself up in a winning board position. Try to save your hard removal spells for important creatures like Anax, Hardened in the Forge, Bonecrusher Giant, Torbran, Thane of Red Fell, or Goldspan Dragon. We have a split of Shredded Sails and Wilt as Wilt kills Anax and The Akroan War while Shredded Sails kills Goldspan Dragon. If you think either is more important, you can change the board to reflect that.

MONOWHITE AGGRO (EVEN)

INOUT
+3 Scorching Dragonfire-4 Brushfire Elemental
+1 Shredded Sails-2 Questing Beast
+1 Wilt-1 Embercleave
+1 Soul Sear
+1 The Akroan War

Same boarding and general game plan as Monored. You want to use your better creatures to stall them out and ideally land The Great Henge as they have no means to deal with it.

MIRROR (EVEN)

INOUT
+3 Scorching Dragonfire-4 Brushfire Elemental
+1 Shredded Sails-2 Questing Beast
+1 Wilt-1 Embercleave
+1 Soul Sear
+1 The Akroan War

The same sideboarding for 3 different matchups should make it easy enough to remember! You are both going to try and control the other one so use your spells to their full value as often as possible. For example, running out Edgewall Innkeeper earlier and not getting a draw out of it is generally something you wouldn’t want to do. I also hold Wilt and Shredded Sails way longer than a lot of my opponents like to, only cycling when I’m starting to get desperate for spells.

SULTAI ULTIMATUM (EVEN)

INOUT
+1 Island-1 Embereth Shieldbreaker
+4 Negate-2 Scavenging Ooze
+1 Klothys, God of Destiny-2 The Great Henge
-1 The Akroan War

Sultai is going to try and stall until they can Ultimatum so do everything in your power to either kill them before that or have a Negate ready to stop it. Keep the aggression on, but don’t overextend into a board wipe as that can leave you too few resources to close out the game quickly. Negate and Klothys, God of Destiny will be your best friends in this matchup so utilize them wisely.

ROGUES (EVEN)

INOUT
+3 Scorching Dragonfire-1 Embereth Shieldbreaker
+1 Klothys, God of Destiny-2 Questing Beast
+2 Ox of Agonas-2 Embercleave
-1 The Akroan War

Rogues was a very good matchup for Gruul in the past, but this list has significantly less board cards for them and Rogues is much more teched against aggressive decks due to the current meta trend. With that, you still have a good amount of removal and back-breaking cards in Klothys and Ox of Agonas to help pull through. Keep the pressure on Rogues and don’t give them a good opportunity to Into the Story if you can help it (like don’t make a weak play a turn they can Into the Story).

TIPS AND TRICKS

  • If you have a good curve with an Embercleave or just want a strong start, running out Edgewall Innkeeper early is fine. 
  • This deck is very mana hungry so don’t be afraid to run out Kazandu Mammoth as a land if you need to. Too many Gruul pilots don’t want to use their MDFCs.
  • Try to save your Fabled Passages for your Landfall creatures if you can help it. They can be used as extra bursts of damage or even protection against damage based removal
  • If your opponent is looking to Stomp a creature of yours, Stomping your own creature in response could be a really strong play. It all comes down to if your Stomp is worth their Bonecrusher.
  • This is extremely niche, but you can use Shatterskull Smashing as a weird ramp spell with Goldspan Dragon. If they have only one creature you want to kill, you can invest enough mana to kill that creature and target your Goldspan Dragon for 0 damage.
  • When in doubt whether to go for Embercleave or The Great Henge first, if it’s a creature matchup The Great Henge, if it’s a slow matchup or they’re almost dead, Embercleave.
  • Play your Basics out first so you can choose the color you need on your dual lands later.
  • If you’re boarding in Shredded Sails and/or Wilt, try to hold them as long as you still have plays to make. As mentioned earlier, most players are too eager to cycle them.
  • Sequencing can be difficult for this deck, but just remember what you’re trying to accomplish. Getting a Lovestruck Beast out against creature decks should be priority number one where killing the opponent quickly in a matchup like Sultai Ultimatum can be more important.

Thank you for reading!

DoggertQBones

Robert "DoggertQBones" Lee is a streamer and high ranked Arena player. He has one GP Top 8, has 3-0d 3 professional draft pods, and loves writing and teaching!

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