Conditions Allow - Gluntch, the Bestower EDH
(Gluntch, the Bestower | Art by Olivier Bernard)
Coming in Gluntch
Hello, and welcome back to Conditions Allow, the series where I take commanders with a drawback and try to turn it into a strength.
Dominaria United has just released, but I'm still sifting through the many offerings of Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate.
Gluntch, the Bestower was one of the legendary creatures from Baldur's Gate that immediately grabbed people's attention. A flying Jellyfish commander, perfectly designed for group hug strategies? What more could you ask for?
During each of your end steps, Gluntch lets you choose three players to receive boons ranging in usefulness from two +1/+1 counters on a creature to two Treasure tokens. While you can choose yourself as one of the players, you will have to let one of your opponents draw a card or create two Treasure tokens. You could use this to keep the game as balanced as possible, making sure everyone has mana, cards, and creatures to attack or block with. Selesnya even gives you plenty of tools to make sure that creatures attack your opponents, and that they hit hard when they do. While I am going to include some of those cards, I want to focus on Gluntch, the Bestower as a Treasure-producer.
As controversial as it may seem, green has been getting a steady supply of cards that make Treasures. Gluntch fits perfectly among them, capable of catapulting you from turn three to turn six. It also combos well with Smothering Tithe, since forcing an opponent to draw a card potentially lets you create three Treasures. This huge mana advantage is worth letting your opponent's draw a few cards, especially given the spells you get to cast two or three turns early.
Are Jellyfish Fast?
In order to go as fast as possible, you're going to want to cast Gluntch, the Bestower as early as possible. To that end, all of the ramp in the deck can be played on turn one. Every Llanowar Elves variant, plus Wild Growth and Sol Ring. If you wanted to really lean into this, you could include Lotus Petal, which has some extra synergy with some Treasure cards as well. For now, though, I'm making do with Gilded Goose and the Food tokens it can create.
This brings us right to the payoffs. Casting Gluntch, the Bestower on turn two lets you immediately jump to six-mana spells on turn three. Gargos, Vicious Watcher synergizes incredibly well with Ram Through to kill two creatures at once, while Elspeth, Sun's Champion starts to swarm the battlefield before your opponents will be able to punch through and remove her easily. Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider also has some interesting interactions with Gluntch's effect: because you choose an opponent and they place the +1/+1 counters on their own creature, then number of couters will be halved by Vorinclex's effect, while any that you might choose to place on your own creatures are still doubled.
I'm also including a suite of strong five-mana spells. Not only are Elder Gargaroth and Kalonian Hydra perfectly capable of taking over a game on their own, they let you keep mana up to protect your early threat from any removal that you've helped your opponents draw. Tamiyo's Safekeeping and Blacksmith's Skill are both excellent for stopping pinpoint removal and board wipes. Some of these creatures also take direct advantage of your opponents casting extra spells.
I've been including Sunscorch Regent and Managorger Hydra into more of my Commander decks recently, and they nearly always overperform. They both grow incredibly quickly while slipping under your opponents' radars early on. Thundering Mightmare is the newest version of this creature, and Soulbonding it with Gluntch, the Bestower is very strong. Gluntch doesn't have defender, which makes it a sneakily powerful attacker if you can buff its power.
In addition to powerful creatures, you're going to want to take advantage of buffing your opponents' creatures. White has a lot of tools to encourage your opponents to attack each other. My favorite is still probably Duelist's Heritage, especially because it makes Gluntch significantly more dangerous. Most people won't be expecting you to attack with your Jellyfish, so stacking a bunch of counters and double strike on it will usually catch them unawares.
This isn't to say that Duelist's Heritage is the best option. Combat Calligrapher is quickly rising in the ranks, and Nils, Discipline Enforcer takes direct advantage of the +1/+1 counters your commander provides. Buffing big creatures like Gargos, Vicious Watcher and Vorinclex while preventing your opponents from attacking you is a powerful combination. Skyboon Evangelist is also a great incentive, while also granting Managorger Hydra and Kalonian Hydra flying, which is a terrifying concept.
The Real Treasure
Of course, I set out to build a Selesnya Treasure deck, so we've got to have a few ways to use them as more than just ramp. Idol of Oblivion and Trading Post help turn them into card draw, but the card I'm most interested here is Ellyn Harbreeze, Busybody. She pairs the card draw of Idol of Oblivion with a little card selection for a potentially much more powerful effect.
Molder Beast fits into a slightly different category. With a little help from Gilded Goose and Academy Manufactor, this Beast can get seriously huge, and with all the ways this deck has to make creatures indestructible, it can usually attack fairly safely. The real powerhouses here, however, are All That Glitters and Michiko's Reign of Truth. This deck can put a lot of artifacts into play, and these make your big creatures into real problems. They're also the primary way to turn Gluntch, the Bestower into a legitimate Voltron threat. And, of course, making Kalonian Hydra or Silverwing Squadron significantly more powerful is a solid plan as well.
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Besides having an incredibly fun name to say, Gluntch, the Bestower has a lot of potential as a commander. I leaned into an aggressive version here, trading cards for a mana boost to close out the game quickly with bigger spells than your opponents are casting. You could even push that further by including seven- and eight-mana bombs, like Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite and Avacyn, Angel of Hope. I opted instead to include some of the group hug elements from the more typical Gluntch deck on EDHREC. The hope is to still have a gameplan if a board wipe does get through and you need to change tactics.
How have you tried to build around Gluntch, the Bestower? Let me know what cards I've overlooked.