Forgotten Harvest – Tapdancing Radha

(Copperhorn Scout | Art by Shelly Wan)

I Got Rhythm

Friends! Romans! Countrymen! Welcome back to another Forgotten Harvest, where we put on display the hyper-underplayed cards of EDHREC by brewing up a fun and extra-janky deck. As promised in the last article, this week we’re diving into a Gruul deck. However, in a bizarre twist, this combination of red and green is going to be focused on doing something very blue. We’re tapping stuff like crazy!

I know this may seem a little daffy, but red and green used to have loads of options related to tap effects. We can see small hints of the remains of those abilities in current Magic. Green, forexample, which used to tap or untap things more regularly, now has the vigilance mechanic (such as on cards like Greenwood Sentinel). Red, meanwhile, moved from tapping permanents into just preventing them from blocking (see Siegebreaker Giant).

We’re going to dip heavily into the past for some of these tapping cards, and pair them with current bombs to create some very unique interactions. Since we’re talking about removing opposing blockers, it just makes sense to go with a commander like Grand Warlord Radha. This deck should be doing a lot of attacking, and what better Gruul legend capitalizes on that?


A Horse is a Horse of Course of Course

The idea behind this deck comes from the recent printing of Ilharg, the Raze-Boar. As has been covered in endless deck techs by now, this card pairs very well with Thundermare. Swing in with Ilharg, toss out Thundermare on the Raze-Boar’s attack trigger, then the horsey taps down the field and allows your team to shoot right through any defenses. Thundermare only sees play right now in 138 decks, but this is definitely an awesome combo.

Some friends of Thundermare can also join the party, and they’re similarly underplayed. Shrieking Mogg is a Goblin version of the mass-tapper, and is in only 90 decks. Green can provide Timbermare (97 decks) as another Elemental Horse with the same ability. Who cares about Echo when Ilharg returns the creature back to your hand at end of turn? With these additional creatures to extend the theme, it’s important to include an alternative to Ilharg, which is why Elvish Piper makes the deck. Use the Piper’s ability after attackers are declared to throw a Shrieking Mogg onto the field and tap down the opposing team!


Tapped or Untapped, Either Way…

While some may say I was inspired while brewing this deck, others will say that’s a terrible pun. Either way, when creatures are regularly getting tapped and untapped, those with Inspired abilities will help us maximize the effectiveness of the theme. Pheres-Band Tromper gets bigger and bigger with each untapping, and only sees play in 45 decks. While it’s not a great card on the surface, I expect its power to grow quickly, given the tappy shenanigans flying around in this brew. Plus, there’s no need for evasion when all potential blockers are getting tapped down.

Instead of going tall, there’s also the option to go wide. Pheres-Band Raiders and Satyr Nyx-Smith help with that by providing a token when they untap (for a small fee). Both are heavily underplayed, only appearing in 37 and 40 decks, respectively. I’m not too psyched that the tokens cost mana to generate, but these cards definitely fit into the overall plan for this deck. They felt like an auto-include to me.

The other side of this coin are the creatures that trigger abilities when they’re tapped. Going back to my heyday in the Urza’s Saga block, Goblin Medics (23 decks) is a neat pinger that will go off when one of the Mares taps down the board. Similarly, Spireside Infiltrator is a more current pinger that only hits players, but shoots all opponents instead of targeting just one. Despite being a newer card, it’s only in 77 decks at this time.

I’m shocked this next card, which only gets better upon tapping, sees so little play – only 154 decks. Centaur Omenreader is incredibly versatile for any creature-based deck, and will come in handy here to help drop the cost of some of our more expensive cards (End-Raze Forerunners, for instance). With the return of snow permanents in Modern Horizons, I expect the Omenreader to become a more popular option when fleshing out that theme, and hopefully this number will go up.


Support Spells

Enough with the creatures. Let’s look at the spells that’re going to help us tap down blockers in case Ilharg and friends are still buried in the 99. First up is a favorite of mine from Exodus called Onslaught. This enchantment lets you tap down a creature whenever you cast a creature spell. This is great for removing potential blockers, but also can be used on your own Inspired creatures to save them from the dangers of combat and still get their untap effects. It only sees play in 45 decks, and I think that’s very low for the effectiveness of this card, especially in red.

Last printed in 5th Edition, Winter Blast feels very blue until you get to the second sentence about damaging flyers. Frankly, though, we only care about abusing the first sentence. Knocking off some flying baddies is just icing on the cake. It’s only being played right now in 18 decks, which is understandable given the low power level of this card, but I’d argue that this is a very unique ability for green to have access to, and that the number should therefore be higher.

Also only appearing in 18 decks, Deadshot is a form of red removal that potentially removes two creatures from combat in one shot. This card gets even better as the number of players in the game increases. There’s nothing sweeter than using one opponent’s creature to remove another.

In any other deck, Blockbuster comes off as pretty humdrum. Seven mana to deal 3 damage to everything is quite a bit. However, if you’re able to manipulate the battlefield appropriately, this enchantment turns into a one-sided board wipe. The separation of the cost (five mana to cast but two mana to activate) means that you can tag this onto the tail end of a Winter Blast fairly easily. Similarly, you can always wait until after an untap trigger from your Seedborn Muse or Paradox Engine to leave your creatures unscathed.

I’m wary of encountering any of the God-Eternals that recently made their debut, and have been adjusting my decks to accommodate. I’m leaning more heavily on Arrest-type cards that keep the creature on the board, but nerf it to a great degree. In this vein, I’ve included Entangling Vines in the deck. Currently only seeing play in 12 decks, I expect the numbers for all of these arresting Auras to go up as more War of the Spark cards make it into decks.

Finally, Mudslide (145 decks) is an excellent enchantment that can really dirty up the board. Using our untap engines like Seedborn Muse or vigilance granters like End-Raze Forerunners, that Mudslide shouldn’t be a problem for our side of the field. Given all the excess tapping going on, it should be quite the pain for everyone else. It’s a very unique card for its color, and I think it has a lot of use in decks like Zedruu, the Greathearted where pillowfort is valued highly.

How about we look at this deck, eh?

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All Tapped Out

Well that’s it from me on this edition of Forgotten Harvest. I’ll see you all in the comments section to take in your questions, comments, and snide remarks. Maybe you want to ask me why I’d waste Paradox Engine in a non-combo deck. Or maybe we can debate about the awesomeness of Magmatic Core. Or, perchance, you’d like to make a hyper-underplayed suggestion for a future article. Whatever you’d like to talk about, I’ll see you on there. Until next time, keep on tappin’!

Midwest transplant to the Pacific Northwest, Kyle has been playing the jankiest of decks for nearly 20 years. He loves non-lethal combos, obscure deck themes, Cloudstone Curio, and winning with Coalition Victory. When he's not tapping lands or brewing decks, Kyle is enjoying his other ridiculously expensive hobby: building with Lego.