Ryan Grainger | 16th October 2018
Hello everyone, and welcome to this week’s Tribal Tuesday!
Tribal cards and decks have been around for donkey’s years, the OG 3 (Goblin King, Lord of Atlantis, and Zombie Master) were printed right at the beginning of magic history in Alpha! We’ve even had entire sets with a focus on tribes and tribal cards including the Onslaught, Lorwyn, Innistrad and Ixalan blocks.
No matter what format you play there has always been tribal decks running around. Commander is great for people who want to play tribes (‘Gisa and Geralf’ for Zombies, ‘The Ur-dragon’ for dragons, there’s even a cat commander with ‘Arahbo, Roar of the World’)! being able to have access to so many different sets, I myself started very early on in my Magic lifetime building a Goblin tribal deck in commander (Decklist here if you’re interested). We’ve seen Goblins compete in the legacy format, Merfolk and Humans in Modern, and even Zombies somewhat recently in standard, all competing at a pretty high level.
With these few tribes doing very well, it’s very easy to overlook some of the lesser-known tribes, and that’s what this series aims to fix! We’ll be going through the tribes on a weekly basis, doing a somewhat deck tech so you guys can learn a little more about their play styles, and the possibilities each tribe contains! So this week, I thought we’d try and take the Giant tribe for a spin!
So I assume we all know what Giants are, the big tall humanoid looking things that are generally portrayed as being pretty dim-witted. Turns out they’ve been apart of magic since Alpha! They are associated with all colours, but primarily red. The Lorwyn block added quite a number of Giants to the tribe, and with this set being Modern legal, I thought that would be the best format to start!
As most Giants share the same attribute of having high CMC, I decided to go with a Naya build, allowing us access to some mana ramp. I decided to go with Birds of Paradise and Llanowar Elves, this allows us to start playing our Giants earlier before getting overrun by what our opponents are doing. Being R/W also gives us access to some of the best removal, we’ve got Path to Exile, Lightning Bolt and Lightning Helix to play in the early game, once again allowing us time to start dropping the Giants.
Now onto the Giant cards themselves! Turns out Giants actually have two tribal cards that work really well in a Giant deck (who would have thought!) ‘Crush underfoot’ gives us another pretty effective removal spell, providing we have a giant in play, that hits creatures that may have escaped our bolt range.
‘Favor of the Mighty’ can also be a powerhouse, whilst you do have to be careful playing it early and giving opposing creatures protection, once you drop a Giant, it’s almost definitely going to be the highest CMC creature around, making them very hard to remove!
Our Giant lord is the ‘Sunrise Sovereign’, it doesn’t give Giants +1/+1 like most lords, it gives +2/+2 and Trample, and I should hope so for 6 mana. This makes any Giant a threat if they weren’t already.
‘Thundercloud Shaman’ is our one-sided sweeper on a body which helps fighting back for the board and whilst we only run 2, we can tutor for them.
Which brings us onto ‘Giant Harbinger’, remember that these can also fetch for the Giant tribal cards, need that protection? Go fetch it! Need a sweeper? Go fetch it!
The last card I’ll talk about is ‘Stinkdrinker Daredevil’. So we know the main disadvantage to Giants is their High CMC, this little goblin reduces their cost by 2 which can help massively before we fall behind! We’ve got some good finisher Giants to close out the game, but I encourage you to check out the list and see!
The main game plan of the deck is pretty simple, remove opposing creatures whilst we’re building up enough mana and then cast our Giants. Once we’re at this stage it’s all about making effective trades and chipping away at life totals. This sort of deck would be well positioned against other creature decks as our creatures are generally bigger than most and our plentiful remove also helps. We may struggle against certain combo decks, by not having much interaction with counterspells and what not, but what deck doesn’t have some weak matchups?
So, what have we learned? Sweepers? check! Tutors? Check! Cost reduction? Check! Protection? Check! It seems Giants have something for everything, just waiting for some decklists to be made! What do you guys think of Giants? Anything I missed? And what tribe should we cover next, got any underloved favourites? Let us know!