Andrew Jackson Highlander – Goreclaw, Terror of Qal Sisma

Bears, Beats, and Battlecruiser Magic

Welcome to Andrew Jackson Highlander special project. AJH is a series where I build and share Commander decks for twenty dollars. This week, we find out how Goreclaw, Terror of Qal Sisma got her name.

I knew that I wanted to build Goreclaw for AJH as soon as she was spoiled. Then, as I started looking through cards, I knew I wanted to build this deck in paper. Goreclaw is fantastic in the 99 of any creature based deck with green as she makes your fatties cost less and stronger on offense. Those same qualities actually make her a fantastic commander. There are plenty of 4+ power creatures in green and her cost-reduction effect is so much stronger than it seems on paper.

This is a great on-ramp for new players because it is a deck that rewards Timmy’s/Jenny’s for doing their thing: Casting big creatures and turning them sideways. Mono green is a strong mono-color choice, offering a decent array of spot removal, strong draw, the best ramp, and great creatures (utility and finishers).


 


 

Play Style

This is a typical mono green stompy deck. Spend the first few turns ramping, drop Goreclaw, and then start dropping undercosted fatties. There are some really good, if conditional, draw options to refill your hand and enough removal to deal with any must answer threats. But the name of the game is play fatties and swing with fatties.

Goreclaw allows us to build up a wider board than most big, dumb creature stompy lists because of the discount of 2 on each big creature plus green ramp. And then she rewards us for the wider board by pumping most our team and giving them evasion. The other nice thing about the green ramp we’re running is that even if Goreclaw is offline for whatever reason, or we are priced out of her thanks to removal, we can still afford to cast our big creatures.

Once we get our board established, we protect it as best as we can and just keep punching into our opponents. The few overrun type effects this runs can help us push the extra damage to finish out a game.


 

Notable Cards

Terastodon- Gotta love Nasty Terasty. This is a great budget green top end card. 8 mana for a 9/9 that deals with 3 problem noncreature permanents, turns our lands into extra bodies, or a combination of the two is a great card. Now, let’s cast it for 6 with Goreclaw and have it gain trample from Goreclaw and this card is absolutely insane.

Conclave Naturalists / Indrik Stomphowler- With Goreclaw out, these cost the same as a Reclamation Sage and leave behind a much more impressive body.

Temur Sabertooth- This is a great candidate for the most underplayed green card in EDH. This protects our best creatures while protecting itself and allows us to reuse ETBs. Fantastic card that also happens to get Goreclaw benefits.

Adventurous Impulse / Commune with Nature- These green cantrips are strong in a threat-dense deck like this.

Creeperhulk- A well-costed evasive beater that can pump our dorks into Goreclaw benefit range.

Bellowing Tanglewurm- Evasion for the whole team on a body that gets Goreclaw benefits.

Trolls of Tel-Jilad- A bit expensive to cast, but a repeatable way to regenerate your team is very strong, especially since the body gets Goreclaw benefits.

Paleoloth- Really cool recursion engine for a big Green stompy list.

Nessian Game Warden- With all of the quality draw options like Elemental Bond, Garruk’s Packleader, Primordial Sage, and Soul of the Harvest you’re probably wondering why I chose this card to talk about. This is a really cool budget card draw option that I have just never been able to justify sticking in a deck. But, with the body getting Goreclaw benefits, I think this card finally found a great home.

Colossal Majesty- I actually don’t think this card is good. You have to wait way too long for a conditional draw and I think that the cards I listed above (and even Drumhunter) are better options. However, I am willing to be proven wrong so this seems like the right place to try it out.


 

Possible Upgrades

Archetype of Endurance / Spearbreaker Behemoth- Big creatures that can help us protect our other big creatures definitely fit into this deck.

Heroic Intervention- This is honestly the first card I would pick up to upgrade the deck. It is green staple for a reason.

Prowling Serpopard- 4/3 body with anti-control tech is an auto include for this deck.

Rishkar’s Expertise- This card can draw an awful lot in this deck and the free cast is awfully nice too.

Song of the Dryads- This deck could use a few more ways to deal with creatures and Song of the Dryads is the best answer green has. Lignify is a great budget alternative.


 

Weaknesses

Wraths– We are a creature deck, so losing our board is really rough for us. I would prioritize the upgrades I listed above if your meta has a lot of wrath effects running around.

Spot Removal– Spot removal can really blow us out too, by taking Goreclaw offline or knocking out a big beater we just invested a lot of resources into.

Pillowfort Effects– We want to be using all our mana to be dropping fatties, so while we don’t go that wide, pillowfort cards like Ghostly Prison can slow us down quite a bit.

Hard Permission decks– We have some uncounterable cards but we invest a lot of mana in our big creatures and permission decks can very efficiently answer them, putting us on the back foot.


 

Closing

This is a strong beatdown deck. Yes, it is a big, dumb green deck. Yes, this deck just wants to turn creatures sideways. Most importantly, yes, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. This deck is good at what it does (I have played it a few times since I put it together and it definitely competes). Plus, turning the Mama of all bears sideways and finding out why she got her name is a lot of fun.

This deck can claw its way to victory right out of the gate and turn you into a real terror at most tables!

Brody is a desk jockey for an auto insurance company raising three children with his wife and he thought he couldn't afford to feed his deck brewing habit. That all changed when he realized you don't need a ton of money to compete and he began brewing $20 Commander decks to share with fellow low budget Magic players. You can check all of those decks out here: https://deckstats.net/decks/112260/?lng=en Get in touch with Brody on Twitter and Instagram. Feel free to contribute to my Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/AndrewJacksonHighlander