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By: olaw, Oliver Law
Aug 07 2012 9:25am
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Welcome to another edition of Becoming A Modern Man, in this article I will be looking at the Dungrove Aggro deck or DungrOverrun as I like to call it.  This deck came to my attention thanks to Chzn8r who has taken various versions of the deck to 3-1 in recent Modern Dailies.  The first time I saw the deck it looked like this:

This version splashes White with Temple Garden, which is also a Forest for the purposes of Dungrove Elder.  The version I chose to play was the Mono-Green version, largely because it didn't involve buying a playset of Temple Garden, that Chzn8r took to another 3-1 finish in a Modern Daily:

Dungrove Aggro
3-1 Modern Daily #4081201 on 07/13/2012 by Chzn8r
4 Arbor Elf
4 Dungrove Elder
4 Leatherback Baloth
4 Llanowar Elves
4 Scryb Ranger
4 Strangleroot Geist
24 cards

Other Spells
1 Beast Within
3 Dismember
2 Garruk Wildspeaker
2 Harmonize
2 Mortarpod
2 Overrun
3 Revenge of the Hunted
15 cards
19 Forest
2 Treetop Village
21 cards

Dungrove Elder

I was really excited by this list.  It plays a lot of cards that you won't see in any other deck but can still be successful.  I basically ran this list except I was missing a few of the sideboard cards and just ended up sticking in a couple Naturalizes, I mention this as you might notice in the gameplay videos.


Dungrove Elder
Dungrove Elder
Dungrove Elder is the main reason to be playing this deck.  An untouchable creature that gets progressively bigger as the game goes is great.  Delver of Secrets has trouble racing with this guy and that's a pretty big deal.

Leatherback Baloth
Leatherback Baloth
Leatherback Baloth is actually pretty good in this format.  A 4/5 for 3 mana is a pretty big body and very difficult for your opponent to block or remove with burn spells etc.  I've been quite impressed with this guy whilst playing the deck.

Strangleroot Geist
Strangleroot Geist
Strangleroot Geist is a nice aggressive threat that is very difficult for your opponent to deal with.  The fact that he blanks board sweeping effects is really nice, particularly as most of your other creatures are pretty vulnerable to that kind of effect.

Scryb Ranger
Scryb Ranger
This is my least favourite card in the deck at the moment.  It can do some cool stuff but whenever I draw it I'm usually wishing it was something else.  Scryb Ranger is useful in that it can untap your Llanowar Elves and Arbor Elf to make additional mana.  Also, if you're missing a land drop you can tap your Forest then return it to your hand replay it and tap it to make another mana.  Both of these are interactions that I haven't found myself using much.  I think Scryb Ranger's real strength is that is a flying creature with protection from blue, which means that it can block oncoming Insectile Aberrations and kill Snapcaster Mages and Vendilion Clique.  If this card is to be played in the deck I don't think it deserves to be a 4 of but personally I'm tempted to cut it altogether.

Possibly replacements are Kitchen Finks, Silhana Ledgewalker if you want to go all in on hexproof, Rancor now it's legal, some number of Swords or maybe just some additional lands.  Worth having a bit of a brew with this list I think.

Llanowar ElvesArbor Elf
Llanowar Elves/Arbor Elf
These are your mana dorks who help you pump out your big spells and also improve your Overrun effects.  I'm not sure that one of these shouldn't be Noble Hierarch if possible.  Trading 1 power for Exalted seems well worth it from my time with the deck and the added enhancement to any splashes you may want to make is good.

Beast Within
Beast Within
The one of Beast Within is in the deck largely to deal with non-creature threats that might cause you a problem, for example Planeswalkers, Artifacts or Lands.  It's a nice one-of that can provide an answer to a wide variety of circumstances.

Obviously in a Mono-Green deck you have limited options for removal.  You can either splash a colour or play cards like Dismember.  Dismember can kill pretty much every creature in the format, except the hexproof guys.  The 4 life loss is usually worthwhile but is definitely a drawback against aggressive decks or burn decks.

Mortarpod is an interesting inclusion in the deck. I don't think it's an essential card in this deck but it is a nice way . You can kill off a lot of powerful creatures in the format, including Delver of Secrets, Steppe Lynx, Dark Confidant and Vendilion Clique. It's also a useful thing to do with your mana dorks once they aren't so useful to you.

Garruk Wildspeaker
Garruk Wildspeaker
The original Lorwyn version of Garruk hasn't seen much play for a long time but it works pretty nicely in the deck.  The land count in the deck is kind of low, which I'm still not entirely sure about when we are running Dungrove Elder, and Garruk's untap ability can be very helpful for playing more expensive spells.  Equally, you can tick Garruk down and add to your board presence.  Garruk's final ability is an Overrun which is a nice finisher if the board ends up stalled.

The green Concentrate is a very nice card in this deck as being able to restock your hand is very important.  This deck is at its worst when it's forced into top deck mode and Harmonize helps a lot in that department.

Such a simple effect but one that is very powerful, especially due to the lack of toughness on creatures in Modern generally.  Five mana spells are somewhat taboo in Modern and I think that's one of the things that makes this deck so intriguing.  It takes risks on this kind of thing and sometimes they pay off quite handsomely.

Revenge of the Hunted
Revenge of the Hunted
It's a miracle! Literally!  Revenge of the Hunted comes from Avacyn Restored and is a really fun card to play with, especially in conjunction with Dungrove Elder.  A +6/+6 and trample bonus for a solitary green mana is excellent off the top and even after that the 6 mana price tag isn't ludicrous in this deck.  It's quite interesting that Revenge of the Hunted also has a Lure ability, something which I didn't initially notice, this is good because it can lead you to kill your opponent's entire team and allows you to attack with any other creatures you have out. 

Obviously, the other side of the coin is that sometimes you draw this card too early or after the board has been wiped and it's just useless.  However, I think it's just about worthwhile for the bonus you get.

The Sideboard
The sideboard choices in a mono-green deck are a little limited but Chzn8r chose some very interesting ones.  Let's take a look at the sideboard choices:

Arashi, the Sky AsunderCloudthresher
Arashi, the Sky Asunder/Cloudthresher
Arashi and Cloudthresher seemed like interesting choices to me.  I assume that they are primarily designed to take on the WB Tokens deck and may also have utility against Faeries decks and other decks that have a lot of flying creatures.  I haven't actually played against WB Tokens whilst running the deck but I guess it probably is a bad matchup.  They can generate a lot of chumps and eventually overpower you so I guess that explains these guys.

Plow Under
Plow Under
Plow Under is a very interesting inclusion.  ChannelFireball.com recently included Plow Under in a list of powerful cards that aren't currently seeing play in Modern.  The fact is though I really don't think this card is very good in the format.  There are far too many fetchlands in the format that can simply shuffle the lands of the top of the library if the opponent doesn't want them there.  When Plow Under works it is very powerful but Tron seems to be the only deck that is particularly susceptible to it, and even then they have ways to draw cards and shuffle their library (e.g. Sylvan Scrying, Expedition Map).

Obstinate Baloth
Obstinate Baloth
Baloth helps out against burn decks though if you are really concerned about those I would probably try running Kitchen Finks in the main.  A nice big body though which helps keep you out of burn range.

Creeping CorrosionKrosan GripNature's Claim
Creeping Corrosion/Krosan Grip/Nature's Claim

If there's one thing that green is good at it's destroying artifacts and enchantments.  This sideboard takes good advantage of that with a range of different options for doing this.

Relic of Progenitus
Relic of Progenitus
There are a number of decks in the format that are trying to abuse their graveyard in one way or another.  As a result, Grafdigger's Cage and Relic of Progenitus are prevalent sideboard cards.  Relic helps stop Gifts decks, decks using Snapcaster Mage, Reanimator strategies and is even good against Storm decks using Past in Flames if used appropriately.

Torpor Orb
Torpor Orb
This deck doesn't have a ton of ways to interact with combo decks which explains Torpor Orb in the sideboard.  With Kiki-Jiki/Restoration Angel being the new favourite combo this stops that nicely.  Torpor Orb also negates the effects of other enter the battlefield effects, which is certainly good against Birthing Pod decks but also can stop Snapcaster Mages and Kitchen Finks in other matches.

Ok, so let's take a breakdown of the cost of this deck. 

Main Deck
3 x Dismember= 6.33
4 x Dungrove Elder= 5.60
2 x Garruk Wildspeaker= 2.78
3 x Revenge of the Hunted= 2.22
4 x Strangleroot Geist= 1.00
1 x Beast Within= 0.51
2 x Harmonize= 0.48
2 x Mortarpod= 0.48
2 x Treetop Village= 0.34
4 x Scryb Ranger= 0.32
4 x Arbor Elf= 0.32
4 x Leatherback Baloth= 0.12
4 x Llanowar Elves= 0.08
2 x Overrun= 0.06
Total: 20.64 tix

3 x Torpor Orb= 8.19
2 x Plow Under= 2.00
1 x Arashi, the Sky Asunder= 0.30
1 x Krosan Grip= 0.25
2 x Relic of Progenitus= 0.14
2 x Obstinate Baloth= 0.10
2 x Creeping Corrosion= 0.10
1 x Cloudthresher= 0.09
1 x Nature's Claim= 0.04
Total= 11.20 tix
Grand Total: 31.84 tix

So there we have the cost breakdown.  A pretty budget deck with the main deck only costing around 20 tickets, also if you tweak the sideboard a little (like I did) then you can reduce the cost for that quite a lot, since Torpor Orb is quite expensive and not strictly necessary.

As usual I took my version of the Dungrove Aggro deck in the Tournament Practice Room and see how it goes.

Our first matchup is against RDW.  This was a really close matchup and seems like a pretty good one for our deck.  Our creatures largely overpower their creatures and your deck can throw a lot of damage their way due to their lack of blockers.

The second match we have is against a UW Faeries deck.  Your creatures are a lot bigger but they have counter magic and draw spells, which means they have a better ability to get ahead if the game stalls.  However, if you can drop big threats early you're in with a good chance.

The final match we have is against Death & Taxes.  Fortunately the griefing of the Death & Taxes deck isn't all that effective against our deck.  We aren't running fetchlands and our manabase is almost entirely Forests so it makes their attempts to disrupt us pretty poor.  They don't have a ton of removal and our creatures are generally just bigger and badder.

Dungrove Aggro is a fun deck and a very interesting attack on the format.  Ultimately I don't think it does anything special enough to be a new format staple but it certainly does things differently to the other decks in the format.  Playing big creatures and playing spells that cost 4+ mana isn't something that is all that common in Modern, so it's refreshing to see a deck that breaks the mould in that regard.  I think there is a lot of room for tweaks and changes in the deck list and I'd like to see the deck evolve into something a little more cohesive.  However, as it is this deck is a pretty cheap competitive list and one that you can build upon if you're willing to invest in it.

Coincidentally, whilst I was writing this article another writer on this site published an article on Dungrove Aggro, or Get 'Er Dungrove, in Standard.  We even both went with a Dungrove Elder picture as the lead in to our article.  If you want to check out Dungrove Elder in Standard I recommend you read that article here.

Next article I plan to look at Boros!  Land will fall!  Hope you can join me then.  In the meantime, you can go back and read the other articles in this series.

Thanks for reading,

Oliver Law (olaw on MTGO)