Muldrotha, the Gravetide

For today’s article we’re going to be talking about a Commander who is very near and dear to my heart: Muldrotha, the Gravetide. She’s my favorite kind of commander; when she’s on the battlefield, cards which are normally unplayable in Commander become powerful tools.

Mother of the Grave

As a Commander, Muldrotha, the Gravetide‘s power relies entirely on the other cards in our deck. She costs six mana, she doesn’t impact the board on her own, and she doesn’t have any combat abilities, so the deck needs to be able to hold its own until we can cast her. However, once we’ve got her on the battlefield, our entire graveyard becomes a toolbox where we can find anything we need.

Muldrotha’s ability allows us to cast up to four spells from our graveyard per turn (assuming we have access to the necessary variety of cards), and allows us to play a land. In order to maximize this ability, we’re going to want our deck to have a good mix of Artifacts, Creatures, and Enchantments. Artifact Creatures and Enchantment Creatures are extra valuable in a Muldrotha deck, because on a given turn we can cast them from our graveyard after we’ve already cast a Creature.

Mom’s Best Friends

What’s a Kelpie, you ask? Well, “Kelpie” is Old Kithkin for “angry ball of teeth and weeds”

River Kelpie is an incredible value with Muldrotha on the battlefield. If we cast a permanent from the graveyard, Kelpie will trigger when we cast the spell and when that permanent enters the battlefield, letting us draw two cards.* Secrets of the Dead is an enchantment that’s basically half of a River Kelpie, but half of a Kelpie is still very strong for us. Mulldrifter is another great card draw spell in a Muldrotha deck; evoke is an alternate cost, not an ability, so we can evoke from the graveyard. With a Kelpie on the battlefield, that’s four cards for three mana!*

*Special thanks to reader Florence for pointing out my mistake: When a permanent is cast from the graveyard, it goes to the stack before entering the battlefield, meaning we don’t get two triggers. Good catch!

Sakura-Tribe Elder is a major player in lots of Commander decks, but for Muldrotha it gains a whole new level of usefulness. With our Commander on the battlefield, we can cast and sacrifice Sakura-Tribe Elder every turn if we want to. An extra land every turn is no joke, plus if we’re playing effects that trigger when a creature enters the battlefield or dies we’ll get those as well. Solemn Simulacrum can’t get to the graveyard on its own, but if we can get it there reliably we can get a lot of advantage out of replaying it. Plus, if we’ve already cast a creature from the graveyard, we can cast it as an artifact for the turn!

“A little cyanide, a little pig’s blood, all my memories of granddad, some oregano…”

Sinister Concoction is a card that sees very little play (because it isn’t very good), but with Muldrotha on the battlefield it becomes a high-value removal spell. For just two black mana and one life, we can destroy any creature on the battlefield. Sure, we have to discard a card and put the top card of our library into the graveyard, but if we already have Muldrotha out that cost is negligible. Keeping Sinister Concoction on the battlefield as a deterrent is a good political move, and if we ever have to cash it in to make our point it will be right back on our next turn.

In much the same way, Seal of Primordium can deal with any artifact or enchantment on the battlefield, and it can come back again and again as needed. Once it’s on the battlefield it can be used at instant speed, so it makes a good political tool as well. Caustic Caterpillar costs mana to activate, but serves the same purpose.

Y O U C A N ‘ T S E E M E

Swiftfoot Boots, Lightning Greaves, and/or Whispersilk Cloak are important in a Muldrotha deck because our cards rely on her ability to become a value engine. If she’s constantly being removed, our “powerful value engine” of a deck becomes a collection of cheap, under-powered cards. Giving her shroud or hexproof won’t protect her from board wipes, but once we recast her she will help us rebuild quickly.

Kaya’s Ghostform is another great way to protect Muldrotha; if she dies or gets exiled, she will come right back to the battlefield. Then, we can recast Kaya’s Ghostform from the graveyard to keep her safe again! It keeps us from casting any other enchantments from the graveyard that turn, but keeping our Commander well-protected is very important in a Muldrotha deck.

Dice Factories

The most smug snake I’ve ever seen

A “dice factory” deck is just a cute name for a deck that puts lots of counters on things, which are usually represented by dice. For a Muldrotha dice factory, we want to use all the usual dice factory tools, but with a few special additions.

We should start things off with the “usual suspects” for a dice factory: Winding Constrictor, Vorel of the Hull Clade, Deepglow Skate, and Pir, Imaginative Rascal (and of course Doubling Season, if money is no object) form the core of the deck. We could take all the white out of an Atraxa, Praetors’ Voice deck and call it a day, but there are a few cards which Muldrotha can take advantage of that other Dice Factory commanders can’t.

First off, let’s talk charge counters: Everflowing Chalice, Astral Cornucopia, and Empowered Autogenerator add mana for each charge counter on them. Lux Cannon can destroy any permanent for three charge counters. Darksteel Reactor just wins us the game if it gets charged up! There are many ways to boost the number of charge counters we have, but there’ one card that Muldrotha can use better than anyone else: Coretapper!

UNLIMITED… POWWWWWWWERRRRRRRRRR

This little guy taps to put a charge counter on target artifact. We can also sacrifice him to add two charge counters to an artifact, but with Muldrotha, it doesn’t stop there! We can cast Coretapper from the graveyard as a creature, sacrifice it for two charge counters, then cast it again as an artifact. Doing this, we can add up to seven charge counters to artifacts in a single turn. Plus, with Winding Constrictor or a similar effect, we can add up to eleven counters in a turn! That will get a Darksteel Reactor up over twenty counters in just two turns if we play it right.

Factory Workers

He just wants to work, unfortunately his job is to die

If charge counters aren’t your thing, or “you win the game” effects aren’t welcome at your table, try modular creatures: Arcbound Worker enters the battlefield with a +1/+1 counter on it, and when it dies we get to put its counters onto another artifact creature we control. If we have Winding Constrictor, the Worker will instead enter the battlefield with two counters on it, and when it dies we can put three counters onto another artifact creature.

In order to take advantage of this interaction, we just need Muldrotha and a sacrifice outlet. Viscera Seer and Carrion Feeder will work just fine, but Extruder really takes the strategy to the next level: Let’s say, for example, we control a Winding Constrictor, Muldrotha, and Extruder. We cast Arcbound Worker, which enters the battlefield with two counters thanks to the Constrictor. Then we sacrifice the Worker to Extruder, which puts three counters onto an artifact creature thanks to modular and puts two counters on any creature thanks to Extruder’s ability. Now we can repeat the process two more times by casting Arcbound Worker from the graveyard, thanks to Muldrotha; that’s fifteen +1/+1 counters in one turn, for just three colorless mana.

We call him Mr. Handy

There are plenty of cards which can enable this combo, as well as tutors to find specific pieces. In fact, Scrapyard Recombiner is a modular creature and a way to get Arcbound Worker out of our library. It can also find a ton of other important cards, like Walking Ballista, Foundry Inspector, Hangarback Walker, Crystalline Crawler, and Triskelion.

Never Pay Full Price

Don’t lie to me, now… Is that a real bird?

Speaking of Foundry Inspector, it’s a part of the final category for the article: Cost reduction. Paying less mana per spell becomes extra-powerful in a Muldrotha deck, when our entire graveyard is at our disposal. We can cast up to four spells from our graveyard each turn (Artifact, Creature, Enchantment, and Planeswalker) and that means we will be using all the mana we can get. With a Foundry Inspector on the battlefield, we can cast Arcbound Worker for free twice every turn! The same is true if we have Jhoira’s Familiar, plus it gives us a discount on Planeswalkers, Sagas, Muldrotha, or any other Legendary permanent we want to cast. Semblance Anvil and Ugin, the Ineffable are great options as well.

There’s not much more to say about “Muldrotha’s Dice Factory.” The “combos” aren’t infinite, and it takes several pieces to pull them off, but there are a ton of cards that fill each role, and there are many ways to find the parts we need. The only thing that isn’t replaceable is our dear leader, our Commander, Muldrotha, the Gravetide. I hope you see why I like this deck so much, despite its inefficiencies, and I hope you had a good time reading about it!

To Be Continued?

That’s all I’ve got for now, but I still have a lot to say about Muldrotha! She’s one of my favorite Commanders, and I have built several decks around her. Keep an eye out for another Muldrotha article in the future, because I’m sure I’ll be writing one. In the meantime, thanks for reading, and tune in next time when I use Muldrotha to cast the following from my graveyard, in one turn: Biovisionary, then Phyrexian Metamorph copying Biovisionary, then Oko, the Trickster, activating him to copy Biovisionary, then Metamorphic Alteration to turn Muldrotha into Biovisionary.

2 thoughts on “Muldrotha, the Gravetide

  • I don’t think River Kelpie will trigger twice when we cast a card with Muldrotha – the creature would enter from the stack, since it goes graveyard > stack > battlefield. That first ability on the Kelpie is meant to trigger on stuff like Persist/Undying or stuff like Animate Dead.

    • You’re totally right, I’ll make an edit ASAP. I can’t believe I missed this, thanks for your response! Looks like I have some apologizing to do in my play group (I’ve won at least one game with extra Kelpie cards).

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