I hate fungus. True story. While growing up across the street from a popular bar, the only way I would eat mushrooms was to deep fry them, and then cover them in ranch dressing. At least the hot oil, salt, and ranch made them taste like something. As I grew up and experienced new foods and cooking methods and diets mushrooms would find their way in front me of me. From the “steak” like portobello (which is not like a steak at all, but I can imagine someone who equated middle class meals with a giant hunk of meat, and needing a vegetarian option would assume that a hunk of grilled portobello would be the same thing) to the exotic shiitake mushroom, recipes would insist I use these objects, as something to add umami to dishes. My final encounter was years ago and came over a Thanksgiving where I was vegan, and instead of trying to make a “traditional” dinner, I decided to try a new recipe, using Shirataki noodles, which are less noodles and more nightmare fuel, and tofu mushroom mixture as part of the “sauce”. I took a bite, retched, went to the bathroom, spit out this foul mouthful of food, hit my head on a cabinet, and watched my glasses fall in to the toilet as it was in the middle of flushing.
I survived, the glasses did not.
I have not had any fungus since then, to many bad memories, and would still be on my full and total boycott if it were not for a new card from Dominaria, Slimefoot the Stowaway. Slimefoot is a really fun guy (get it?) and plays incredibly well with other saprolings, as when they die, they trigger the ability of the stowaway, which causes the opponent to lose a life and you to gain a life. It also is a nice mana sink for when games go long, adding more saprolings to the board for four mana. For a three mana 2/3, this is a super strong uncommon!
Another fungus in the deck is Yavimara Sapherd. It’s a 2/2 for three, but adds another saproling to the board. The final creature that does things with saprolings in the deck is Tendershoot Dryad, a five drop that with the help of Llanowar Elves can come in to play earlier, generates a saproling during each upkeep and has Ascend. When you have the City’s Blessing, all saprolings you control get +2/+2. That quickly makes a monster out of your 1/1s and getting the City’s Blessing should be very easy considering how many token producers you have the decks.
Other than Sapherd, Slimefoot and the smaller, but somehow with upside new Verdant Force that is Tendershoot Dryad, the deck pumps out tokens. You get three at instant speed for four mana with Spore Swarm, while Saproling Migration gives you two for two mana, or four for six mana at sorcery speed. Not only do these tokens block well, help you get ascend easily, they also play well with the removal spell in the deck, Vicious Offering. This is premium removal in a format where Fatal Push sees a lot of play. Because it gives -2 (or -5 if you sacrificed a creature) Vicious Offering is great in this deck. Being able to kill things that Push can’t like Glorybringer, Hazoret the Fervent, The Scarab God at the cost of two mana and a creature seems like a pretty good deal to me!
The tokens in the deck also play super well with Bontu the Glorified, which, when combined with Slimefoot sees us sacrifice a creature to Scry 1 and deal two damage while also gaining two life for the cost of three mana. Great deal!
Growing Rites of Itlimoc finds us an important creature, then with the help of our saproling army, flips to turn in to Gaea’s Cradle, well Itlimoc, Cradle of the Sun rather. This mana boost makes a top end threat like The Immortal Sun a lot easier to cast, and has the possibility to abuse Slimefoot or Bontu.
The final card in the deck, Song of Freyalise does incredible work as well, letting our saproling team tap for mana, which just adds more a board presence for us. When the Saga is over, it grows our team, and it makes the absence of the two drop saproling lord, Sporecrown Thallid, a little easier to stomach.
Is this a strong contender in the new Standard? I do see the tools for it to compete, but I think the deck needs a little more in the way of numbers. The sideboard seems to be super strong though, but easily modified enough to deal with what you might expect.
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