I was browsing through Primal Surge decks recently – any strategy that plays Avenger of Zendikar plus Craterhoof Behemoth has my immediate interest – and it was wild seeing some of the ridiculous stuff you can get away with. There are combos: we’ve all seen Kiki-Jiki plus Zealous Conscripts, but what about Old Gnawbone and Hellkite Charger for infinite combat steps? There’s interaction: everything from the noncreature removal you’d expect in a green-based deck to actual, factual removal “spells.” And, of course, there are a lot of big, dumb monsters.
The list that stood out the most to me was built by a mighty wizard going by the name of Narwhal, and is rather more… sensibly built than some of the other lists I saw. Despite playing just creatures, lands and a single Primal Surge, Narwhal has found room for interaction, tutors and a couple of very neat and tidy one-card combo finishes with Primal Surge.
Nikya Primal Surge by Narwhal
Firstly, here are some elements you don’t necessarily expect in a deck that only plays creatures and lands. Tutors? There’s Farhaven Elf, which tutors for half your deck, along with Woodland Bellower, which tutors for… well, not quite the other half, but you see what I mean. Card draw? There’s Toski, Bearer of Secrets, Beast Whisperer and Soul of the Harvest. Interaction? Manglehorn and Reclamation Sage for artifacts and enchantments, Duplicant and Ravager Wurm for creatures.
Even without staples like Cultivate and Kodama’s Reach – or mana rocks, for that matter – there are still plenty of ways to ramp your mana. It starts with Elvish Mystic, and goes through cards like Burnished Hart and onto Solemn Simulacrum. Not to mention the commander, Nikya, which is a one-sided Mana Flare!
The top-end is very much as you’d expect. Powerhouses like Avenger and ‘Hoof are headline acts alongside things like Archetype of Endurance and Vorinclex. Classic Gruul stuff, here, nothing too spicy – until Primal Surge is involved. I know Primal Surge is essentially an “I win the game” button, as a 10-mana sorcery should be (especially one you can’t cast if your commander is alive), but the ways this deck goes about closing out the game are all very sweet.
Firstly: Terror of the Peaks. A classic. Each creature that enters the battlefield alongside Terror is good for a bunch of damage, especially when combined with Omnath, Locus of Rage – Omnath will churn out a ton of 5/5s thanks to all the landfall triggers, all of which will trigger Terror of the Peaks for five damage. That would be more than enough, you’d think, to end the game on the spot.
Failing that, however, all you need to do is either have Purphoros out, or kill your own Anger (how very zen), and give the team haste and get in there. What’s that? A single combat step isn’t enough? What about… 15 or 20? Unless I’m mistaken, Moraug’s extra combat steps stack with each land Primal Surge puts into play. What’s that? They have a ton of blockers? Just use the infinite treasure tokens from Dockside Extortionist plus Temur Sabertooth to pay for Mina and Denn to give them trample (assuming Craterhoof Behemoth hasn’t already done that).
Some green mages don’t just want to win the game – they want to win the game by a margin of thousands, and Primal Surge is definitely the way to do it. Especially when you’ve got a Vexing Shusher out – nice counterspells, nerd!