Selvala, Heart of the Wilds - Illustration by Jack Hughes

Selvala, Heart of the Wilds | Illustration by Jack Hughes

Selvala, Heart of the Wilds isn’t the most popular mono-green commander, but it is classically the most powerful. Although for years Selvala was a top tier cEDH deck, in recent years the deck’s ability to win on turn 3 is just not quite that special in the cEDH meta, and mono-green’s lack of cheap, early interaction choices hurts the deck against the emergent top tier decks.

That said, Selvala will still win some games at high-powered tables and it’ll likely win too many games at higher power casual tables. This is a scary deck to face, and I wouldn’t play it casually unless your EDH meta is filled with high-powered sandbaggers claiming their Kinnan, Bonder Prodigy deck is a 7!

The Deck

Hyrax Tower Scout - Illustration by Micah Epstein

Hyrax Tower Scout | Illustration by Micah Epstein

The Commander

Selvala, Heart of the Wilds

You’ll find that most decklists with Selvala, Heart of the Wilds have substantial similarities, with only some differences due to pet cards, adaptations to local metas, and maybe some attempts to power the deck down. That’s because Selvala wants to do one thing, untap and throw down huge bodies. The deck is classically and unfortunately called “Brostorm,” and the idea is that you’re kind of storming off with your, um, “bros.”

The Untappers

The most important parts of the deck are the cards that allow you to untap Selvala to start chaining off spells. Some of these are creatures, but many are various other kinds of spells:

There are other cards that can go in this section, but it’s a question of the balance between cards in the deck, and you often want to untap Selvala into a big card draw spell or tutor.


High-powered decks often make use of tutors, and green has quite a few good creature tutors. These are sometimes used to find untappers for Selvala, sometimes a creature big enough to trigger their card draw, sometimes a finisher, but most commonly Phyrexian Dreadnought. You can tap Selvala with its trigger on the stack and you’re off to the races!

There’s also Crop Rotation to get a busted land.

Card Draw

In addition to the commander, the deck has a lot of card draw, a lot of which is based on creature power, synergizing well with the aim of the deck:


The creatures need to go up the ladder in terms of power. And there needs to be finishers like Great Oak Guardian. So in addition to mana dorks and some utility pieces ranging from Allosaurus Shepherd to Kogla, the Titan Ape, the bulk of the deck is filled with creatures that are cheap but powerful, usually with some sort of drawback you don’t want the game to go long enough to matter:

The newest addition to the list is Bighorner Rancher, which can give you a bit of the Selvala experience if you need it.


There isn’t a lot, and I’ve seen lists with more fight spells, but we’ve got a few Tail Swipe sorts of things, a few Nature's Claim effects, and a few interaction spells like Veil of Summer. Two of your key cards are Allosaurus Shepherd and Sylvan Safekeeper, which you can tutor for to help offset opposing interaction cards.

The Mana Base

We’ve got some expensive mana rocks here, but remember that many cEDH decks use proxies. And we’ve also got the typical suite of green mana dorks. We’ve also got some super expensive lands if you’re not proxying, especially Gaea's Cradle. But otherwise the lands package is reasonably simple, as you’d expect from mono-green.


There’s the slow path and the fast path.

The fast path is when you have a dork, play Selvala on turn 2, drop one of your fat Phyrexians on turn 3 to tap for 8 mana, dropping an untapped finisher and storming off from there. The plays can be tricky as you use your card draw and tutors to get the pieces to keep the mana flowing so you can draw through your deck, but then generally good Great Oak Guardian gets you over the top.

The slow path is when you don’t have the untapping pieces or a large enough creature to really pop off. You can also end up here when they kill your commander on sight or you’re slow to play Selvala. Then it comes down to deciding how to use your tutors. You’re looking for cheap cards that keep your stuff castable with Allosaurus Shepherd and safe with Sylvan Safekeeper. Once there, you’re using your Selvala taps to cast big-mana spells like Return of the Wildspeaker to dig for your combo pieces, since many of them are artifacts and you don’t have a way to find them otherwise.

Once you start doing Selvala untapping things your goal is to win the game that turn, and it takes a bit of practice to see how you can get there with different mixes of cards, so this is the poster child deck for goldfishing. Play it out solo a bunch of times so you know what you’re supposed to do in certain circumstances, when to tutor, when to draw cards, etc. A few dozen reps will get you in shape for not getting lost in the weeds as you push to victory.

Combos and Interactions

Selvala itself is a bit of a combo. It’s all about understanding where things are on the stack. The classic example is Phyrexian Dreadnought. You may do a LOT of actions with its sacrifice trigger on the stack. You can also sometimes do an awful lot of work with an actual removal spell on the stack, as well. So knowing how the stack works is kind of important!

Maybe you don’t want to use reminder tokens in an actual game, the way I see some people using cards to keep track of storm count or floating mana. But when first start practicing with this deck it might help to make some “Untap Selvala” tokens for yourself, especially if you literally stack spells in a paper stack, as putting permanents in there is just wrong and confusing, and you can sometimes put multiple untap and tap triggers on the stack.

Rule 0 Violations Check

Did we say the word “stack” enough there? If the above paragraph sounds more like doing your taxes than having fun playing Magic, this isn’t the deck for you!

It also may not be great for your playgroup. Your deck does have an infinite combo, if that’s a Rule 0 issue in your group, though you’ll still have to attack to win most of the time. So there’s always that Fog deck to think about.

And the lines we do have aren’t deterministic. It’s still possible to brick a giant block of lands on your mass card draw spell at the wrong time and fizzle.

Staff of Domination

Note that you also have a pretty basic infinite mana combo with Staff of Domination.

For some groups, that’s actually worse than running a deterministic infinite combo! If I have to watch you take an annoying 10-minute turn, I expect you to win at the end!

Just because this deck will no longer reliably take down cEDH tables doesn’t mean that it’s fallen so far as to lose easily to high-powered casual decks. So this may not be the deck to play.

Budget Options

If you’re playing without proxies, the deck’s easily at almost $3000, half of that on Gaea's Cradle and the Mox Diamond alone! Even if you power down your lands and artifact mana suite, you’ve got more than $100 in tutors and card draw spells. And you can’t really do without the $100+ Phyrexian Dreadnought in this deck.

That said, if you want to sit down and tell the table you’re playing a tutorless Selvala deck with budget lands and artifacts, assuming they believe you, that’s a thing. In fact, that may be the only way your buddies let you sleeve this up!

Other Builds

Aside from budget-oriented lists, I’ve seen a few other versions of this deck, all of which I think are a bit worse than builds like what I’ve presented. One adds a few more wincons aside from Great Oak Guardian, including cards like Pathbreaker Ibex and Craterhoof Behemoth, or even Overrun-style spells. Another adds a larger suite of untappers, including cards like Benefactor's Draught or Sword of the Paruns. And I’ve also seen decks that toss in a different set of expensive creatures, like Impervious Greatwurm and Ghalta, Primal Hunger.

Wrap Up

Woodland Bellower - Illustration by Jasper Sandner

Woodland Bellower | Illustration by Jasper Sandner

This isn’t a deck for every table, but it’s a fun one to learn how to play. It’s especially fun if you’re introducing a younger or newer player to cEDH. Every cEDH deck is challenging to play, but mono-green is often where we start new players, and so ramping their skills up to higher-power decks can often still benefit from mono-green’s clear direction. But you probably want a proxied deck if they’re so new they’re iffy on shuffling your expensive deck!

I also like to have a deck of this power level in my bag for when people want to have a more powerful experience. I don’t usually find myself at those tables, but because those tables tend to be fine with proxies, this deck isn’t too terrible to pull together for those environments.

The bottom line is that everyone who loves Commander should have the experience of running the table with “Brostorm” at least once. It’s a unique combination of the goofy stuff that attracted you to Magic in the first place and the complicated stuff that kept you playing all these years.

Are you all Selvala fans? Have I undersold their standing in cEDH? Is there another build that could elevate them back to the upper tiers of that format? Let us know in the comments below or on Discord!

Sometimes it is easy bein’ green!

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