This entry is part 2 of 10 in the series Cooking With Oats

Posted by Mike aka Mightily Oats

Mightily Oats

One morning, not too long ago, I walked into my living room and stated to my wife matter-of-factly “Honey, it is awesome being me.”

Not looking up from one of her smutty chick books about romance and pirates titled “On the Origin of Species”, she asked “And what makes you say that?”

“Being me is just awesome. Not just being me in particular (though that is awesome in it’s own right) but being a ‘Mike’ in general. Did you know that there is an entire branch of science devoted entirely to the study of ‘Mikes’ and all things ‘Mike’ related?” I queried.

“Oh, really?” she asked archly, putting her book in her lap.

“Yup, it’s called Mikeology!” I stated authoritatively.

“Mycology?” she asked.

“Is there an echo in here?” I asked, looking around for where it had come from.

“Mycology is the study of fungi.”

“I know! I’m that fun guy they are so interested in!”

After nimbly dodging Charles Darwin’s tome of lusty romance on the high seas as it was sailing toward my head, I suggested perhaps my wife might want to soothe her fevered brain by ceasing her pursuit of fictional 17th century swashbuckling -titillation by hopping into the kitchen and fixing me a sandwich.

A very eventful ten seconds later I was locking the door to my den while a full third of the 1976 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica smashed into said door at just a smidge over the speed of sound. Every time I hear a sonic boom I’m reminded of how much I love my wife.

I flopped down into my desk chair in a hopeful attempt to get my heart rate under that of an aroused humming bird. When I was finally able to regain my eye sight that had inexplicably fled me, I was greeted by the sight of my desk. Tiny towers of Magic cards had sprung up like a miniature Brazilian favela, leaning precariously into each other, forming dark little alleys were miniature tourists can get mugged.

Perhaps building a new deck will calm these tremors that my hands have mysteriously been afflicted with in the last few minutes. But were to start? I need some inspiration… and something else. Getting out of my chair and tip-toeing to the door, I opened it just enough to peak outside and said in my most ingratiating tone, “Honeeeyyy? How much longer on that sandwich?”

The last thing I remember is “Vol. M” flying toward my face.

I awoke some time later with “Vol. M” sitting heavily on my chest. Not having mustered the fortitude to sit up just yet, I started leafing through “Vol. M” in search of Mikeology. I felt it was my duty as a loving husband to educate my woefully misinformed wife. Strangely I was unable to find it anywhere, but this was printed in 1976 and science has surely made great leaps since then. I decided this was a job for the 21st century and typed Mikeology into Google and it impertinently asked “Did you mean: Mycology?” As it turns out both of us were right which leads me to believe that homonyms are one of the leading causes of marital strife.

Fungi… very interesting… and very tasty. It has been my experience that there are very few dishes that aren’t made better with a heaping helping of mushrooms, especially Shitake (Hee hee! Shitake!) mushrooms. It was then that lightning struck my brain, “If mushrooms make a meal better, then it stands to reason that a meal made entirely out of mushrooms would be the best.”

Leaping to my feet with renewed vim and vigor I started looking for a general that could lead this delicious horde to victory. Ghave, Guru of Spores looked like a great option but I have to admit, I am a card carrying Thelonite, so I just had to go with Thelon of Havenwood.  Sure, you lose access to white but I am a fan of flavor and he is featured in the flavor text of so many cards from the past that it just boggles the mind. His ability to pump fungus by just being there and watching fungus grow is ripe for abuse. His activated ability won’t be wasted either as mushrooms are usually pretty squishy.

So with Thelon firmly in control I needed fungus that makes spore counters. I think this is the one time in my life that I am actually happy to have a glut of Fallen Empires cards in my collection. That set is just dripping with fungus and fungus related accessories. My gut is telling me that this should be an aggro deck with tokens as a fall back option. According to Imshan (aka Sinis), one of CommanderCast’s resident “people who actually knows what they are talking about”, a good aggro deck needs about 35 creatures in it to do well. That means I’m going to have to pack this deck to the gills with creatures.

The bad news is there are exactly 14 fungi that produce spore counters, which is not a lot by any stretch of the imagination, but all is not lost. The Sporesower Thallid will give EVERY fungus you control a spore counter, even the ones that normally don’t produce anything. So all 14 spore producers go in the mixing bowl, including tasty treasures like Sporoloth Ancient, Psycotrope Thallid, and Deathspore Thallid.

The Sporoloth Ancient will give me 50% more bang for my buck by letting all of my fungi remove 2 spore counters rather than 3 for a saproling, Deathspore Thallid could live in harmony with Vhati il-Dal, combining to reduce any creature into a gelatinous heap of quivering pudding, and the Psychotrope Thallid will cause anyone tasting him to spend the next two hours having a heated argument with the lawn mower and a one-eyed, undead gnome named Hector as to the feasibility of erecting a bridge composed entirely of lollipops and unicorns over the River Styx and then find themselves balled up like a spider in their houses’ heating duct-work completely devoid of pants.

In the best case scenario we have 11 other fungus that fit in the black/green color confines of which I only had Fungal Behemoth, Fungus Sliver, Fungusaur, Mold Shambler, Tukatongue Thallid and Mycoloth. That bumps me up to 20 toadstools, still not enough for a full meal. It then occurred to me that Changelings are fungus as well and black/green has some brutes. Chameleon Colossus has protection from black and can be pumped over and over again, Cairn Wanderer that can steal all sorts of keywords from your opponents inhumed creatures, and even the Changeling Titan who can trade a 1/1 saproling token for a 7/7 death machine.

Throwing all of them into the mix still only nets me 28 fungus, which is pretty far off of the mark I had set for myself. Since this deck is pretty heavily green it’s not too big of a stretch to put in some quality green beaters that will also help the rest of the mycoid crew.  I might as well put Mold Shambler’s big brother, Woodfall Primus, in to help smash troublesome non-creature permanents. Primeval Titan, though predictable, is still powerful as all get out, so I’m gonna cram him in there as well. Verdeloth the Ancient, with his pay X and vomit saprolings could be a nice addition the the secondary token strategy. Craterhoof Behemoth and Baru, Fist of Krosa are great for their Overrun-on-a-stick features. I felt like I was getting pretty close.

Now that I had my mushrooms in the pot it was time to look for seasoning. Doubling Seasoning, that is. Doubling Season will double my spore counters, my saprolings, my planeswalker counters, and my fun. And then there is proliferate to add more madness to the mixture. Contagion Engine with double proliferation (LET’S DOUBLE EVERYTHING!) and the added gut punch to one opponent, Contagion Clasp with it’s straight forward and easy application, and Plaguemaw Beast, because it’s awesome. Other fun counter/token shenanigans can be had with Sprout Swarm, Door of Destinies, and Rings of Brighthearth. And no self-respecting, fungally-themed deck should be caught without a Fungal Bloom.

The final bit of fungal flare that I threw into this deck came in the form of graveyard-munching Night Soil and Necrogenesis.

With the addition of a few more green and black staples I was ready to hit the town with my tasty treat. Here is what I ended up with.

Thelon of Havenwood

Deathspore Thallid
Feral Thallid
Psychotrope Thallid
Savage Thallid
Sporesower Thallid
Spore Flower
Sporoloth Ancient
Thallid Devourer
Thallid Germinator
Thallid Shell-Dweller\
Thorn Thallid
Utopia Mycon
Vitaspore Thallid
Fungal Behemoth
Fungus Sliver
Mold Shambler
Tukatongue Thallid
Cairn Wanderer
Chameleon Colossus
Changeling Titan
Ghostly Changeling
Game-Trail Changeling
Moonglove Changeling
Skeletal Changeling
Woodland Changeling
Baru, Fist of Krosa
Craterhoof Behemoth
Plaguemaw Beast
Primeval Titan
Verdeloth the Ancient
Vhati il-Dal
Woodfall Primus

Doubling Season
Fungal Bloom
Night Soil
Phyrexian Arena
Wild Pair

Demonic Tutor
Natural Order
Patriarch’s Bidding

Krosan Grip
Sprout Swarm
Squall Line

Garruk Wildspeaker

Contagion Clasp
Contagion Engine
Door of Destinies
Lightning Greaves
Rings of Brighthearth

Forest x 20
Swamp x 12
Ebon Stronghold
Golgari Rot Farm
Havenwood Battleground
Llanowar Wastes
Overgrown Tomb
Tainted Wood
Tectonic Edge

I never really won any games with this deck but I never really lost any either. It felt like the bronze medal, it felt like the middle of the pack, it felt like the height of mediocrity. Even with everything in the deck trying to speed things up it just felt slow, like it was an engine that wasn’t firing on all cylinders. Thelon really is the lynch-pin of this whole deck and if he gets tucked or otherwise incapacitated this deck will grind to a slow crawl.

It’s too bad really. I love Thelon so much and I love fungus even more. Some of these cards have been with me for more than half of my life, which is probably the longest commitment I have ever made. It felt like I was really on to something and I’m sure that there is a sterling deck lurking under all of the muck but I’ll be buggered if I can find it.

After the last game of the night I was gathering up my deck and one of my friends sat down beside me.

“The fungus thing is a cool idea, it just seems like it needs work. Something… more, you know? Maybe a dredge mechanic and then focus on a few fungi instead of an army?” he suggested.

“Yeah, maybe I’ll give that a try.” I said.

“One more thing, what’s up with your forehead, man?”

“My forehead?”

“Yeah, what does ‘M .loV’ mean?”

“It stands for my love of mycology, my friend. To play fungus in Commander you have to love ‘em because, if you don’t, what’s the point?”

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