Sometimes, a deck list is a finely tuned machine from top to bottom, with a commander that plays perfectly into every aspect of the list and vice-versa. Other times, a Commander deck is a pile of cards you like, helmed by a legendary you enjoy in the colors you feel like playing.
This is definitely the latter – a Gruul stompy list packed to the brim with Dinosaurs and cards to lean into them, while eschewing the typical white in favor of a somewhat more streamlined build, all helmed by Grand Warlord Radha. Sometimes you just want to slam big beaters down and rumble, and this is just the list to scratch that itch.
The Dominaria version of Radha does a great job helming any Gruul deck that just wants to turn creatures sideways. She’s at her best when there are plenty of creatures to attack with and plenty of outlets for the mana she generates.
This deck doesn’t leverage both to quite their fullest potential, but that doesn’t make her any less useful. She still frees up your mana to advance the board while either jumping you ahead a bit or allowing you to fuel other abilities at the same time.
Grand Warlord Radha by Lee Livingston
This deck is simple and straightforward. There aren’t a whole lot of noncreature spells, focusing instead on Dinosaurs and other efficient or synergistic beaters to show up alongside them. It’s convenient that a majority of the dinos are, themselves, pretty solid at doing just that.
Pretty much every role the deck would like filled, from protection to removal to card advantage, is able to be filled by creatures first and foremost, ensuring your board is always full to utilize the Warlord’s mana production. The removal options, in particular, skew a bit toward utilizing the fight mechanic thanks to its synergy with all the different enrage effects in the deck.
At its core though, there isn’t anything fancy with the list. It smashes with big dinosaurs and other beasts early and often.
Quartzwood Crasher is a prime example – a slightly undercosted beater with trample that hits hard and starts creating other big dinos to join in the fun. Garruk’s Uprising plays particularly nice with the Crasher, ensuring everyone has trample to make the biggest tokens you can and to draw some cards off them too.
It doesn’t stop there, though. Burning Sun’s Avatar and Territorial Allosaurus are just a few of the many massive minions you can utilize to clear the way for your squad, picking off utility creatures or pesky flyers, whatever you just want gone.
Though, that isn’t to say there aren’t a few knocking around for pure beef purposes. Ghalta, Primal Hunger is just that: big, hungry, easy to play out very quickly and above all, ready to hit faces.
The prehistoric bend to the deck means that a huge portion of your creatures have some form of enrage.
Apex Altisaur can just go ballistic on a board of small utility creatures, chaining the fights together as long as you need and leaving behind a huge threat.
While it’s not as targeted, Silverclad Ferocidons’s ability can start to really turn the screws on the rest of the table once a few activations go off.
Ripjaw Raptor is a more efficient beater that can range all the way from replacing itself up to drawing you handfuls of cards over the course of a game. Even at the low end, Ranging Raptors help ramp you into your bigger threats, Snapping Sailback can get huge and so on.
While the deck has a few ways of just spreading damage around to trigger enrage, there’s also a swath of fight effects to use enrage while also removing threats or utility creatures.
Domri, Anarch of Bolas adds a little power to your creatures, some ramp with the ability to force creatures through countermagic and a semi-repeatable fight effect.
For repeatable fights, Ulvenwald Tracker really takes the cake, offering one at instant speed every turn.
With all of this rumbling going on, it only makes sense to take advantage of that as much as possible.
Neyith of the Dire Hunt is a Jumpstart legendary that helps keep your hand stocked as you fight, while also having plenty of synergistic targets for her other ability. Doubling the power of an Etali, Primal Storm and rumbling in while forcing a block can just be gravy.
Foe-Razer Regent throws his own weight around a bit, but also rewards all your fighting dinos with some extra counters at the beginning of the next end step. This can really stack up, especially on something like your Apex Altisaur, who can trigger it multiple times.
Rite of Passage doesn’t buff as much, but does trigger immediately, on all damage. This can get downright out of hand in no time.
With all these big ole beasties running roughshod over your opponents’ faces, Grand Warlord Radha should be pumping respectable amounts of mana into your pool every combat step.
Something like Wolfbriar Elemental is a great place to dump a bunch of that, resulting in a whole bunch of bodies to generate even more mana next time around.
Ursapine and, to a lesser extent, Nylea, God of the Hunt, are some of my favorite places to use Radha’s mana. The threat of activation alone with either of them puts opponents into tight places when trying to work out how to block. Often, you won’t even need to actually use them and can instead use that mana to develop your board further and leave lands up to protect your crew.
Finally, once your board is sufficiently built up, Hellkite Charger can take you right over the top, feeding into multiple or even endless attack steps.
Season with a bit of ramp, from a cadre of mana dorks to Sol Ring, and add in a little bit of extra removal and ways to keep your team safe, and the deck list all comes together. It might not be the most efficient or effective use of the commander or of the creatures in the list, but it’s great for a fun time at a more mid-level table and that’s all you need sometimes. So, grab some dinos, set them loose on your foes, and ride into battle with Radha!