CUT #20 - Rankle and Torbran vs. Yargle and Multani vs. Goro-Goro and Satoru

Travis Stanley • April 7, 2023

The year keeps marching on with March of the Machine and March of the Machine Aftermath coming down the pipe! After the Phyrexians seemingly took hold of the multiverse, the multiverse has fought back, and, well, [spoiler]won?[spoiler] I think what we care about as players, though, is how many of these cards will march right into our decks! I know for me I am super excited about the new sword, Sword of Once and Future, and all of the "team-up" legends across the multiverse. My favourite team up has got to be Zurgo and Ojutai, I just love the idea of Ojutai begrudgingly letting Zurgo ride on him into battle. Speaking of teams, let's get to this week's CUT!

Here are the challenges our deckbuilders had to face this week:

  • Must use a commander from March of the Machine

  • You must play at least 5 other legendary creatures, 3 planeswalkers, 1 legendary Phyrexian, 1 Saga, and 1 "Team-Up" Legend not included in the aforementoned 5.

  • Cards in the 99 must be Modern-legal

Starting us off, we have Jubilee Finnegan! Jubilee is a writer here on Commander's Herald; they pen the fantastically flavorful article series called Welcome to Flavortown. Let's see what they brought:

Ran' and Bran' Have a Plan

View on Archidekt

Commander (1)
Artifacts (5)
Enchantments (4)
Lands (37)
Sorceries (9)
Creatures (28)
Instants (13)
Planeswalkers (3)


Buy this decklist from Card Kingdom
Buy this decklist from TCGplayer

My first Magic set was Throne of Eldraine (Yeah, quite the introduction), so when I saw Rankle, Master of Prankles and Torbran, Thane of Red Fell had a card together, I had to take it on for CUT. At first I looked at exile-cast matters in the vein of Prosper, Tome-Bound so I could do adventures, then I tried a Dwarf/Faerie creature type matters deck. None of these really did the trick, though, and I wanted to do the characters justice. Then I read their ability a bit more closely: "If a source would deal damage to a player or battle this turn, it deals that much damage plus 2 instead." I realized if I gave the flying dwarf double strike I'd be boosting myself to +4 damage! But why stop there? What if I built Extra Combat Burn

Rankle and Torbran are a pricey commander, but once they hit the battlefield they can mess folks up. I've included the usual ramp package with a bit of a Treasure subtheme. Cards like Professional Face-Breaker and Xorn make Treasures to get out our commander and profit off the Treasures they make as well. I'd originally worried about evasion, but their built-in flying does a lot of work (Rankle must be pretty strong if he can carry a dwarf...). But just to make sure opponents don't have creatures on the board, their edict ability works as nice removal. We'll need something to sacrifice ourselves though, so Dreadhorde Invasion, Jadar, Ghoulcaller of Nephalia and Bitterblossom help keep us full of fodder. Plus, if we have a surplus of tokens we can sacrifice them to cards like Village Rites for draw or just swing in for more damage.

The goal is to use their damage-boosting ability to threaten our opponents in combat. Whenever they deal combat damage, we can stack an additional two damage on every single source. Relentless Assault is a cheap extra combat that can help us swing in a second time. Fury of the Horde is a nice emergency finisher for when you've tapped out. Some extra combat cards even throw in a nice bonus payoff, such as Savage Beating. If we Entwine it, we get double strike for the duo's buff ability to trigger twice. That means even more fae devastation!

Since we have so many boosts to our damage, let's add in some payoffs. Go-wide tokens do really nicely with these damage-increasers. Particularly, ones with attack triggers, combat damage triggers, or start-of-combat triggers do nicely. Goblin Rabblemaster and Legion Warboss make a Goblin during each of our combats, giving extra value to extra combats. The pinger Devil tokens from cards like Tibalt, Rakish Instigator also really help here. Remember, the damage boost counts their ping ability. Burn spells also can pull a lot of weight. End the Festivities will bolt your opponents and their creatures with one boost, only getting better with each combat! Finally, cards like Browbeat tend to underperform in EDH due to high life totals, but with a few Torbrankle pumps, these just read as three-mana Ancestral Recalls.

As far as win conditions go... it's an extra combat deck. We win through extra combat. Our combat token-generators will grow our board and their power with each combat, letting us knock out opponents. Because of all the Treasures we run, Reckless Fireweaver can pull out a win. If we choose to make a Treasure and boost our damage, the Fireweaver's trigger will go on the stack after the boost, meaning we can profit off of each swing of Torbran's axe. That means Goldspan Dragon gets to shine like it's 2021 Standard.

I built this deck thinking it would only be for this contest, but in the process, I got to jam some of my favorite cards, the ones that make me love playing Commander. These two might have to make the jump to paper. I think there's no better way to honor the set that got me into this game.

Thanks, Jubilee! Not the first time we have seen a fairy and a dwarf work together, it's such an Improbable Alliance. Go and say hi to Jubilee over on their twitter @FinneyFlame or over on instagram @JWFinnegan.

Next up we have Arnaud! What did he bring to the table?

Commander (1)
Lands (35)
Artifacts (11)
Creatures (16)
Enchantments (11)
Sorceries (15)
Instants (8)
Planeswalkers (3)


Buy this decklist from Card Kingdom
Buy this decklist from TCGplayer


In my many years of playing Magic, I tried pretty much all the usual strategies, from combat tricks to heavy control to powerful combos. In the end, however, nothing has given me more joy than smashing a ridiculously big creature in my opponents' jaws, so when I saw this beauty of a Frog Spirit Elemental, I knew I would have to take it for a spin.

I set out my build process trying to stick to three main goals. First, I wanted to do something easy to play, fit for a newcomer. Then, I wanted to send my regards in the form of huge damage tallies. Finally, I wanted this to be easy to tweak with budget options (more on that at the end).

The goal here is quite simple: ramp up to reach a significant amount of mana, keep your hand full, play biggies, make them bigger and evasive, kill people. Keep an eye out for removal, as your opponents will likely be ready to pounce on any huge menace.

The curve is definitely higher than your run-of-the-mill deck, standing at a proud 4.28 on average. This is why I have included no less than 16 ramp spells to make sure you can actually cast those massive monsters. As tempting as that may be, you don't want to rush any of the big boyos out. Instead, wait until you have a haste-enabler, some protection, and/or a Fling outlet. Then play either your commander or another huge beast, feed it hormones, swing in, and then sacrifice it to finish someone off or draw an obscene number of cards.

Now that we've covered the general outline, let's dig in a bit deeper.

Since the deck doesn't run many creatures, you really need to make those count. As such, the beaters are huge juggernauts that will often boast 10 power and more and/or act as both cleavers and enablers. The star of the show is obviously our commander, but his friends have nothing to be ashamed of. While obviously far from optimal here, I had to include the original Yargle as well as the most recent iteration of Multani. Flavor, right? Don't underestimate their power though, they could very well take down an opponent by themselves and have the good taste of being fairly cheap to cast.

Next up is haste and evasion. In these colors, trample and flying reign supreme. Therefore, I added spells that are fairly cheap (except for Eldrazi Conscription, obviously) and can give your creatures the extra oomph they need to strike true. Rogue's Passage is the best solution but is a tad mana-intensive. In order to maximize impact, I also crammed several haste outlets. Again, you want to hit big and fast. No Lightning Greaves though, as shroud can be an issue. I really like Mask of Griselbrand, a sadly underrated Equipment that can save your life and draw you a bunch of cards as a bonus. Speaking of which...

Since our actual threats are far and between, you need a solid draw package. This will ensure your hand remains full to ensure continued ramp and available resources to widen your options. These are split in three categories: unconditional draw (Night's Whisper, Read the Bones), creature-dependent draw (Momentous Fall, Return of the Wildspeaker), and graveyard recursion (Regrowth, Eternal Witness) to make sure you can say hello again and again.

Finally, the cherry on top: Fling effects. Four spells and an Equipment to drive the point home. Wound Reflection will make matters worse and is more likely to be lethal as the game drags on. I'm also quite fond of the planeswalker package, which will either provide ramp or spew out yet more big meanies.

Before we round this up, a quick word on the budget. As it stands, the deck costs a hefty $376.33. However, 61% of the price tag lies within 11 cards, most of which are easy replacements.

On the left, the most expensive cards, on the right budget suggestions to replace them, all legal in Modern !

The Great Henge - Migration Path

Boseiju, Who Endures - Forest

Chromatic Orrery - Circuitous Route

Worldspine Wurm - Impervious Greatwurm

Damnation - Deadly Tempest

Heroic Intervention - Golgari Charm

Overgrown Tomb - Woodland Chasm

Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger - Carnage Tyrant

Eldrazi Conscription - Fully Grown

Wound Reflection - Warlock Class

I hope you enjoyed this journey into beatdown madness and look forward to hearing from your experience!

Thank you, Arnaud! Yargle and Multani will hopefully mulch up a victory for you and move you onto the next round!

Lastly, we have Joshua! Joshua is a writer over on EDHREC, perhaps you have seen his article series, Nearly Identical! What have you brought for us, Joshua?

Goro-Goro and Satoru, Air Strike

View on Archidekt

Commander (1)
Creatures (24)
Instants (9)
Sorceries (7)
Enchantments (9)
Artifacts (12)
Lands (35)
Planeswalkers (3)


Buy this decklist from Card Kingdom
Buy this decklist from TCGplayer

Goro-Goro and Satoru offer the chance to make three 5/5 Dragons a turn, but with a huge restriction: they only trigger when we deal combat damage with a creature that entered this turn. The first route I think we go down is Ninjutsu because these are our Kamigawa pairing, after all. The most notable Ninjutsu creatures I've included are Ninja of the Deep Hours for card draw, Moonsnare Specialist to return one of our own creatures back to hand, and Thousand-Faced Shadow, which synergizes beautifully with our commander since we can hit two opponents and get two Dragons.

Of course, I've included the suite of creatures that naturally can't be blocked: Slither Blade, Triton Shorestalker, and my personal favorite, Ghostly Pilferer. Not only do they let us Ninjutsu in creatures, but if we give them haste when they come in, then they're the cheapest way we can trigger our commander. But I wasn't convinced that Ninjutsu was our only way to trigger Goro-Goro and Satoru.

I want to look at all the ways we can make tokens that we can give haste with Goro-Goro and Satoru. Bitterblossom and Chandra, Acolyte of Flame allow us to make creatures each turn that will generate us 5/5 Dragons if we connect with them. Elemental Mastery is possibly one of our best token-makers in the deck. We can play Goro-Goro and Satoru on turn 3, then enchant them with Elemental Mastery to make three hasty attackers. And the Aura gets better if we enchant it with one of our 5/5 Dragons. Given that our list must be Modern-legal, we'll have to exclude all-stars like Loyal Apprentice and Rite of the Raging Storm.

Jaxis, the Troublemaker and Delina, Wild Mage will allow us to copy any creature we control and be able to attack with it. Delina is really exciting in this deck, as we could potentially make multiple copies of our Dragon tokens and deal a ton of damage on a single swing.

Next, I've included ways to bounce creatures back to our hand. Cunning Evasion and Grazilaxx, Illithid Scholar bounce creatures back if they've become blocked. This forces our opponents to be careful about how they choose to block since we'll benefit from being able to replay creatures. I like Familiar's Ruse, Unsubstantiate, and You Come to a River as they offer us ways to bounce our own creatures while also being pieces of interaction.

Our wincons are simple: Swing for Lethal. Shared Animosity will give a massive boost to all our Dragons. Plus, there are enough type similarities across all our creatures that almost any of them could benefit from this. Between Humans, Rogues, and Ninjas, we'll always have a scary board, especially with all our unblockable creatures. Or, if we cast Cosmotronic Wave, then we won't even have to worry about blockers to begin with. We'll rain fire over all our opponents' creatures and fly over them with our massive Dragons.

And speaking of Dragons, since we have the potential to make three 5/5 Dragons each turn, Terror of the Peaks will be able to dish out an insane amount of damage each turn. Our main wincon may be through combat, but Terror will certainly help deal the final blow to our opponents.

Goro-Goro and Satoru offer a unique way to amass a terrifying board, and there are so many build paths that players can take them. Here I tried to fit as many options I could find while still having a functional deck, but you could really hone this deck to being a Ninjutsu theme, a token deck, or a reanimation deck. Very excited to see how people build them.

Thanks Joshua! Ninjas, Goblins, Samurais, oh my! Hopefully they'll be enough to get you to the next round! Go and check out Joshua over on his twitter @JPWood_.

That's all of our deck builders for this first round of CUT #20! Remember to vote for your favourite and for who you want to see in the next round! Thanks for reading and remember, if you don't love it, CUT it!

If you or someone you know who would like to participate in a future CUT feel free to email me at or reach out to me on twitter @chipman007!


Poll Closes: April 16th