Deck spotlight: Grim Lavamancer’s Surrak Dragonclaw

surrak bannerIt’s time for yet another of our featured decks, this time a deck played by our own eminent Grim Lavamancer, who draws our local comic strip Mana Burn! He features his Surrak Dragonclaw deck. Below you will find a link to his list, and his own words about the deck.

Temur Fight Night, on


What does the deck do? How does it win?surrakdragonclaw.full
Think of this deck as you’d think of an action movie. You got Surrak and a couple of his pals taking names and throwing punches, then you add a few explosives and other treats, maybe a couple of twists and turns, perhaps a car chase or two and try to have as much of a good time as possible. Shuffle your deck and make a bowl of popcorn while you’re at it, because things are about to get good!

… or you could (and probably should) think of it as your average aggro/control deck. It has a couple of good beaters, some nice spells, plenty of ways to refuel your hand and as well as a few surprises. The objective is to beat down an opponent from 40 to 0 with raw brute force, and then have the juice to keep doing so to whomever remains at the table.


What made you build this deck?savagepunch.full
This deck actually has a rather long history. It began it’s days as a Gruul midrange aggro built from what I was able to scavenge from couple of Gatecrash drafts. It was a real labour of love that was built mostly from cards I got from drafts and a few oldies I had lying around. Unfortunately it started to lag behind the rest of my playgroup after a while and I ended up losing most of my games due to my inability to recover after trowing the first few punches. I began toying with the idea of adding blue to the deck for more utility but I also wanted to keep the general Gruul feeling to it. Enter Khans of Tarkir and Surrak Dragonclaw, the guy who punches bears for a living, and I was able to do so without sacrificing too much of the decks soul.


Did you consider any other commander in the available colours?
Actually, yes. It’s a bit of an internal conflict for me. On one hand there are several RUG commanders that would end up doing a better job in this deck, such as Riku of Two Reflections. But on the other hand I’m an unapologetic Timmy, and well, this guy punches bears – I cannot stress that point enough.


What are the best cards in the deck?
The best cards are probably Prophet of Kruphix and Consecrated Sphinx, especially when the two of them are working together. They are so good that I actually feel a bit guilty playing them. An honorary mention also goes to Xenagos, God of Revels, since he’s been able to help me squeeze a victory form even the grimmest of situations.


What are your most favourite cards in the deck?
That would be the venerable Kamahl, kamahl,pitfighter.hqPit Fighter. He’s there for mostly sentimental reasons. I began playing the game when Odyssey had just hit the shelves, and while I never was able to get him in a booster pack, I remember seeing him as one of the ”highlighted cards” on wizards home page and thinking ”Whoa! This guy is the shit!”. He mostly doesn’t do much, but every once in a while he inflicts quite a number of damage which always brings a tear of joy to my eyes.


Any changes you’re looking to make?
This deck’s roots as a thrown together pile of good stuff still shines through, and there are a lot of cards that could be switched to better versions of themselves. Like an old house there’s always something that needs fixing with this deck. But I’m in no hurry, this is a deck that’s meant to last and I’m currently perfectly happy with adding a few cards every time a new expansions comes out.


How does the deck handle 4/4’s?
Two bears? DOUBLE PUCNH!


And there you have it, folks, Grim Lavamancers very own take on Surrak Dragonclaw, “Temur Fight Night” indeed. As a last treat, I will leave you with an anecdote from way back to our first Khans draft. Grim Lavamancer wanted to build a RUG deck out of his Gruul deck, but we didn’t open a Surrak Dragonclaw. No problem, he made a proxy – but unlike some (most), he didn’t just scribble the name of the card on a basic land, he made this. Until next time, folks.


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1 Comment

  1. Grim Lavamancer

     /  October 13, 2015

    To this day that proxy version of Surrak is the single most beautiful thing I’ve ever created. He may have access to trample that he shouldn’t have, but he pities the fool who tries to point that out.



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