Failed Resurrection?

nimble mongoose banner

A while back, I wrote a post regarding the demise of Nimble Mongoose as a competitively viable creature in Legacy, due to Treasure Cruise‘s superiority as a graveyard-based one-mana spell. With the latter now finally banished from the format, things are looking up for our Mongoose friend again, no? Maybe not. There are more contenders for his spot in Canadian Threshold than ever – primarily, in my opinion, Hooting Mandrills. Thus, I feel the need to as objectively as possible compare the candidates with each other – bearing in mind Nimble Mongoose is one of my favourite creatures of all time – and lastly present a list with the new candidate included.

The similarities:
+- Both creatures are green, which means neither pitch to Force of Will, but neither dies to Pyroblast. There’s not much more to say about it, really.

+ Both creatures cost one mana to cast. This is a modified truth, really, since Hooting Mandrills might cost slightly more, but shouldn’t for most of the time.

+ Both creatures are quite large by Legacy standards, but Hooting Mandrills is larger which matters quite a bit, as we will see.

– Both are susceptible to graveyard hosers, but in slightly different ways. Hooting Mandrills won’t care if someone resolves a Rest in Peace after it has hit the battlefield, but Nimble Mongoose can be cast in an emergency even if Rest in Peace is in play.

Nimble Mongoose:nimblemongoose.hq
+ Immune to spot removal in all shapes and forms. This is especially great against decks like Miracles who will have to use Terminus to remove the threat, and can’t rely on building card advantage through Swords to Plowshares + Snapcaster Mage. Miracles is one of the best decks in the format, and I predict it will remain so after the bannings, meaning this upside is not to be underestimated.

+ Casting two is almost as easy as casting one. Multiples of Nimble Mongoose is just fine, and as long as there are seven cards in the graveyard, they all benefit, contrary to Hooting Mandrills.

+ Easier to cast on turn one and two, which means it might be better against decks like Goblins who will want to swing with a Goblin Lackey on turn two. Granted, this is a small upside, since Goblins are rare these days, but if you attend a large tournament without byes, you might just run into it in the early rounds.

– Dies more easily to Pernicious Deed, Engineered Explosives etc. Admittedly, this is a minor thing, since these cards are quite rare, but there will be match-ups where it’s relevant.

– Will need seven cards in the graveyard to be fully powered up.

Hooting Mandrills:hootingmandrills.full
+ Is bigger than Nimble Mongoose, and that extra +1/+1 matters quite a bit in Legacy – it won’t be chump-blocked to death by a flipped Delver of Secrets, it will trade with a Batterskull token in an emergency, and so on.

+ Trample is extremely relevant for playing the tempo game, since Hooting Mandrills can’t be chump blocked effectively by tokens, or random x/1’s and x/2’s who populate the format.

+ Only needs five cards in the graveyard to be cast initially, and is always fully powered when in play.

+ More or less immune to the sweepers mentioned above, though again, it’s a minor thing.

+ Might make opposing Deathrite Shamans and Tarmogoyfs worse, in rare cases.

– Loses to Swords to Plowshares, Maze of Ith and other targeted removal not named Lightning Bolt or Abrupt Decay. This is quite relevant, since it turns quite difficult match-ups (Miracles, Death and Taxes, Lands) into nightmarish match-ups.

– Multiple copies in hand are more or less useless. This is also quite relevant, since Canadian Threshold generally wants to play spells reactively and save Brainstorms for as long as possible – using one to shuffle away chaff is fine in most cases, but having both extra uncastable creatures and extra lands in the deck as dead cards seems bad to me.

– Can potentially be awkward with your own Tarmogoyfs, but it’s unlikely.

There is no clear winner between these two, and testing is surely needed. I don’t want to play the full set without cards to specifically fuel the monkeys, but adding a 19th land, a fetchland, to the standard list and augmenting the creature base with True-Name Nemesis is appealing to me. This gives us the following list:

9 fetchlands
4 Wasteland
3 Tropical Island
3 Volcanic Island

4 Delver of Secrets
4 Tarmogoyf
2-3 Hooting Mandrills
1-2 True-Name Nemesis

4 Brainstorm
4 Ponder
4 Stifle
4 Daze
4 Force of Will
4 Lightning Bolt
5 flex slots (Forked Bolt, Spell Pierce, Spell Snare, etc.)

I think adding another fetchland to help with both padding the graveyard and cast True-Name Nemesis is the way to go with this creature base. Testing will tell if it’s better than the old version of 4 Delver of Secrets, 4 Nimble Mongoose, 4 Tarmogoyf.

What do you think of these green beaters? Which will come out on top? Leave a comment!

Leave a comment


  1. Grim Lavamancer

     /  February 3, 2015

    Well, as Spinal Tap once taught me, it’s always better to have one more when it comes to power. I like Nimble Mongosse, but it seems like the Baboons are the superior card. Of course, shroud may really save it against the majority of removal out there, but the Mandrills are tougher to crack with creatures, will always be strong once you’ve managed to cast them and hit harder. If you never had any problems casting Treasure Cruise, I doubt you’ll get much trouble from the monkeys either.


  2. psykopatmullvad

     /  February 3, 2015

    I hope the moonsgoose will win this. That shroud seems so good to me. It has stopped me from killing it more times than I can count. Sure, I cant kill the monkeys with a Lightning Bolt either so, but at least i can target it.


  3. Wannabepurgatog

     /  February 4, 2015

    I like the little mongoose but i think power is what rug delver is missing so a 2-2-2 split between the baboons and TNN is the way to go. The first creature you want to drop each game is delver anyways


  4. randomName#359 aka Nargluj

     /  February 7, 2015

    While I have not played the deck, is it not a really big thing that mongoose can be cast on turn one and monkey comes down turn three at best?


    • It is a thing, yes – as I stated in the post itself, it could come into play against Goblins for example, but otherwise, RUG is a reactive deck and the only creature you want to drop on turn one is Delver. Playing a turn two or three Mongoose is often fine against most decks, since it’s a 1/1 anyway and won’t do much damage that early anyway.

      I really want Mongoose to be good again, but I’m not sure that’s the case yet.


  1. Mokeying around at local FNM | Goyf Wars

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