The Commander’s Chair – Magical Mushrooms

Last week on twitter, I asked which tribe people would like to see as an example tribal deck. The twitter community answered back with a wide variety of suggestions. These suggestions ranged from the commonly known elves and goblins to the more obscure tribes such a Homarid and Unicorns. The tribe that got more than 5 times the votes of any other – Fungus.

Tribal decks are unusual, in that they are not completely an archetype on their own. Tribal decks work by choosing a tribe, and then working with the natural archetype that goes along with that tribe. For example, Azami decks are wizard tribal decks. Most people do not think of them as tribal, since they play like either tradition control or speed combo decks. Still, they play almost exclusively within the wizard creature type.

The advantage to building a tribal deck, is that you do not need to know the secondary archetype to build your deck. As the deck comes together, the tribe will push you into an archetype that it fits with.

The Chieftain

Every tribe needs a leader. The choice of commander is going to be one of the main driving forces in what kind of deck you will be building. A lord will push you into one of the aggro archetypes, while a recursion, draw or tutor general could push you into the control archetypes. In a perfect world, you can have a leader of the people. In the world of Magic Mushrooms, there is no legendary fungus to lead your troops. In fact, there is only one legend that has anything to do with the Fungi tribe;

Thelon is most like a lord Commander, although he only helps a specific subset of the already small fungus tribe. Choosing him as the Commander means we will be building with mostly Thallids that produce spore counters. My initial instinct is that this will develop into an aggro / themed deck.

The Tribe

The most important aspect of a tribal deck is the tribe itself. You want a tribe that can all support each other and work for a common cause. For normal tribes this means selecting tribe members in the same fashion that you selected your general. For fungus, this means selecting Thallids and other saproling and spore counter generating creatures. The spore counters will act like +1/+1 counters with Thelon and generating saprolings will let you choose which ability is best for each situation.

  • Deathspore Thallid – If you have enough saprolings to sacrifice, you can use them for spot removal.
  • Feral Thallid – He doesn’t create saprolings, but the spore counters can make him huge. There are not a ton of Thallids, so we will take what we can get.
  • Mycoloth – This guy can get pretty amazing. He pumps out a gross number of saprolings to keep all the thallid abilities running.
  • Psychotrope Thallid – Drawing cards is good.
  • Savage Thallid – This is like Feral Thallid, but he can help everyone and produce saprolings, which makes him much better for us.
  • Sporoloth Ancient – The Ancient speeds up the saproling production and lets cards like Feral Thallid produce saprolings.
  • Thallid – The basis for all other Thallids, he will get his spot in the deck.
  • Thallid Devourer – Devourer is a basic basher that can end games if things get out of control.
  • Thallid Germinator – Germinator is a combat trick fungus. It allows you to swing with all your saprolings and sacrifice the blocked ones to get in for additional damage.
  • Thallid Shell-Dweller – Shell-Dweller is a decent sized wall that can pump out a small attack force. Not much to be said here.
  • Thorn Thallid – Thorn Thallid is not as bad as it initially looks with Thelon. He swings in for damage. Then, he empties himself of spore counters to finish off a player.
  • Tukatongue Thallid – “Jund’s thallids tried to disguise their deliciousness by covering themselves in spines harvested from the tukatongue tree.” Mycoloth is coming for you Tukatongue!
  • Utopia Mycon – We are getting to the real deal with this one. Using saprolings for mana acceleration can be very relevant. There is a combination with this that can win the game. It is unusual to get going, but it can work.
  • Vitaspore Thallid – I like haste, haste it good.

Tribal Basics

Choosing almost all cards from one tribe can have some benefits. Wizards has printed several cards that give you an incentive to stick to your tribe when building.

  • Brass Herald – A lord and a herald. This guy can go into every tribal deck. If your tribe is low on lords like Fungi are, he can fill in the gaps.
  • Door of Destinies – Your creatures get bigger as you get more of them. That sounds like a good thing.
  • Chameleon Colossus – He is an excellent fungus. Changeling cards are good for filling in the gaps in your tribe. Not every tribe has a good number of strong creatures. The changelings can give you those strong creatures that you are missing out on, while still working together with your tribe.
  • Patriarch’s Bidding – Get all of my creatures back? Don’t mind if I do.
  • Steely Resolve – Everything having shroud is kind of nice. It can hinder some of the Thallid abilities, but not enough to take it out of a tribal green deck.


At this point in the process you should have a good idea what your tribe wants to do. Whatever that happens to be, you want to help your tribe be better at it. This deck wants to add spore counters onto Thallids and pump out saprolings. So, I found some cards that will it do just that.

  • Contagion Engine – This card is just what the Thallids need. It turns them from producing a 1/1 every 3 turns to producing a 1/1 each turn.
  • Doubling Season – If there was ever a deck that needed Doubling Season, this is it. It fulfills the same function as Contagion Engine without the constant mana drain. You have Thallids that produce 2 1/1s every 2 turns instead of their normal sloth like pace.
  • Eldrazi Monument –Thallids continually produce creatures, so this is good for them.
  • Fungal Bloom – No Thallid deck can function without this baby.
  • Melira, Sylvok Outcast – Doubling Season doubles all counters you have placed on your permanents, so you need a way to prevent -1/-1 counters from touching your creatures.
  • Necrogenesis – Graveyard disruption and a saproling generator. .
  • Thelonite Hermit – You have a second tribe in this deck, whether you like it or not.


Commander is a singleton format that makes it difficult to have a consistent deck. Tutors are how you can get around the restrictions. For smaller tribes, tutors can be added to flesh out the deck and insure you get enough of your tribe on the field.

  • Chord of Calling – Chord of Calling can be free if you have enough creatures to tap. Since the deck revolves around pumping out little creatures, this spell fits in perfectly.
  • Defense of the Heart – I just really, really love this card.
  • Demonic Tutor – I try to not say that certain cards are auto includes, but I will include this in every black deck I play.
  • Diabolic Intent – This is not as good as demonic tutor. However, in a deck that produces a lot of extra tiny creatures it fits in very well.
  • Survival of the Fittest – It was banned in legacy for how powerful it is. It is an incredible search engine in creature heavy decks.
  • Tooth and Nail – This is another one of my favorites. I try and include this in all green decks I play.
  • Vampiric Tutor – Why not?

Mana Ramp

I always include some level of mana ramp in any deck that I build. A green deck is more interesting than most for choosing if you should go with artifact ramp or extra land ramp. It is a sliding scale where the more basic lands you play, the less artifacts you play.

  • Azusa, Lost but Seeking – I add life from the loam + fetch lands to get the most out of Azusa.
  • Coalition Relic – This can work out really well with cards like Contagion Engine and Doubling Season.
  • Everflowing Chalice – See coalition relic.
  • Golgari Signet – I figure we should include the one accelerant that is specific for Thelon’s colors.
  • Primeval Titan – He will be grabbing Cabal Coffers + Urborg or Phyrexian Tower + Volrath’s Stronghold most of the time.
  • Sakura Tribe Elder – I like rampant growth with a body.
  • Sol Ring – Wizards of the Coast says one of these goes in each Commander deck. Who am I to argue?
  • Yavimaya Elder – I like to have blockers in the early turns that I do not mind losing.

Good Stuff

Most tribal decks will not leave you with much room to throw in a lot of random good cards. Whatever room you have left in the building process, you can throw in cards you just like to play with. For fungus, this leaves me a lot of room to play with.

  • Fecundity + Mortuary – Fecundity is good on its own, since you sacrifice a lot of little creatures for this deck. When you combine it with Mortuary all your cards go straight back to your hand rather than to the graveyard.
  • Butcher of Malakir – Every time you sacrifice a saproling, they lose a creature.
  • Crucible of Worlds – I think I might have mentioned that I include this card in almost every commander deck I run along with fetch lands, strip mine and wasteland.
  • Decree of Pain – This card is great. I like it better than damnation. I would gladly pay the extra mana for the added benefit of drawing cards.
  • Eternal Witness – Great in almost every green deck.
  • Genesis – This is a survival target alongside Eternal Witness to make sure nothing stays in your graveyard for long.
  • Greater Good – This is a sacrifice outlet and a way to draw a large number of cards later in the game.
  • Life from the Loam – I play crucible of worlds in every deck, so life from the loam makes it into almost every green deck I play.
  • Life’s Finale – I like to have a few sweepers for when my opponents get out of control. This is a great cheap alternative to Damnation that works well with the card below.
  • Liliana Vess – Doubling Season lets you play her ultimate ability as soon as she comes into play.
  • Pernicious Deed – I like to use deed as a rattlesnake effect.
  • Phyrexian Altar – Over the top combo for the deck: Fecudity + Mortuary + Phyrexian Altar + Tukatongue Thallid = Infinite creatures and infinite mana. Otherwise, it works to turn saprolings into something useful.
  • Phyrexian Arena – Card draw is worth losing some life.
  • Puppeteer Clique – I am trying to sneak some Melira shenanigans into this. Sometimes, you just want to play a graveyard Insurrection.
  • Sensei’s Divining Top – Top is good in most Commander decks. If you do not have one, Sylvan Library and Scroll Rack are your next best choices.
  • Sorin Markov – All of his abilities are good. He can make short work of someone all by himself.
  • Woodfall Primus – This card is really good with Melira. However, I would not lean too much on the combo or games could become repetitive.

The deck with lands can be found here:

I have not seen a Thelon deck before, at all. So, I will be putting this together in the next week or so to see how it runs. I expect that it will be a purely casual deck that is fun to play but rarely wins.

With the release of the commander products, I foresee changes to all decks and an influx of new players. I am looking forward to the new blood being pumped into the game. In preparation for Commander Summer, I am sure many of you have topics you would like to see discussed. You can contact me at if you would like to see a topic discussed. You can also message me @swordstoplow on twitter:!/SwordsToPlow or add me as a friend on Facebook.

Thank you for reading!


About SwordsToPlow

I like building and tuning decks to make them more fun and more effective.

Posted on June 7, 2011, in The Commander's Chair and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. Contagion Clasp

    I feel left out. =(

  2. SwordsToPlow

    aaawww. Now I feel bad. What would you like me to remove to make room for you?

  3. contagionclasp

    If I were you I’d get rid of Melira. She stops you from adding counters to things. Why wouldn’t you want to add counters to things? Counters are great. I like counters.

    • SwordsToPlow

      She only prevents the -1/-1 counters. She lets Woodfall Primus and Puppeteer Clique live forever. What about Steely Resolve? it won’t let us target our creatures with the proliferate mechanic.

      • Proliferate doesn’t target.

        I agree that Clasp seems nice. You should drop one of your staples. You have too many staples anyway…branch out a little!

  4. SwordsToPlow

    We can replace Yavimaya Elder with the Clasp. Yavimaya is in a lot of the green decks I have posted, and he doesn’t go as well with the theme.

  5. I think Sylvan Library is as much an autoinclude as top, because in desperate situations the drawing extra cards is nice. Plus it’s singleton so having multiple top type effects, esp in a tribal deck seems good. I would even consider Mirri’s Guile also. I like the approach you give for a tribal deck being sort of top down from a general and then getting more broad!

    • That is a great point. I have actually taken top out of several decks that I include Sylvan Library in. In any deck that plans on drawing more than 3 cards a turn, and doesn’t play many instants, Sylvan Library gives you more value than top does. For some reason, I had it in my head that sylvan library cost more than Top, which is only true for the legends library. Sylvan Library, Mirrari’s Guile and Abundance should be strong considerations for every green Commander deck.

      • Library does cost 2, but the return is greater, and no real mana commitment later on in the game. Also I wanted to comment on the use of the changelings in tribal. I find it great to fill out those smaller tribes and when I built a Reaper King deck I saw how powerful some of these could be (in particular Chameleon and Mirror Entity)

  1. Pingback: CommanderCast S4E8 – Crossover Month, Part The First « CommanderCast

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