Tuesday Night Takeover

Sharktocrab Counters Pauper EDH

“Douse ’em.”

Art:Sharktocrab by Jehan Choo

Sharktocrab is an absolute legend, and honestly a little bit terrifying, but hey that’s how simic experiments go sometimes. Sharktocrab is a very strong commander and has quite a bit of representation within Pauper EDH, which I am not surprised at all. They give us a ton of utility, and being able to lock down multiple creatures in a turn not only protects us while in combat but also allows us to swing pretty freely when we want to attack. This deck is as midrange as they come and features most of the elements that you would expect from a deck like this including a ton of different +1/+1 counter payoffs like Longshot Squad and Duskshell Crawler as well as some amazing attackers like Battering Krasis and Fairgrounds Trumpeter. Being able to proliferate is a huge part of the deck as well and allows us to trigger our commander and make our board better overall. I am super excited to showcase this one, its been in the lab for quite a while. Without further adieu lets get it!

The Deck:

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Sharktocrab Counters!

Commander (1)

Creatures (25)
Elvish Mystic
Fyndhorn Elves
Iron Apprentice
Llanowar Elves
Duskshell Crawler
Guardian Gladewalker
Pollenbright Druid
Battering Krasis
Deepwood Denizen
Fairgrounds Trumpeter
Vigean Graftmage
Bloom Hulk
Crowned Ceratok
Saddleback Lagac
Sporeback Troll
Urban Daggertooth
Caldaia Strongarm
Helium Squirter
Kiora’s Dambreaker
Cytospawn Shambler
Dread Linnorm

Instant (13)
Arbor Armament
Arcane Denial
Essence Scatter
Eureka Moment
Fuel for the Cause
Gaea’s Gift
Growth Spiral
Hunger of the Howlpack
Lifecrafter’s Gift
Snakeskin Veil

Sorceries (12)
Atraxa’s Fall
Borrowing 100,000 Arrows
Broken Bond
Contentious Plan
Courage in Crisis
Ent’s Fury
Kodama’s Reach
Smell Fear
Soul’s Might
Stealth Mission

Artifacts (6)
Implement of Ferocity
Armory of Iroas
Moss Diamond
Sky Diamond
Wedding Invitation
Bonder’s Ornament

Enchantments (8)
Forced Adaptation
Predatory Hunger
Witness Protection
Security Bypass
Fall from Favor
Master Chef
New Horizons
Lands (35)
Captivating Cave
Cave of Temptation
Evolving Wilds
13 Forest
Forge of Heroes
10 Island
Lonely Sandbar
Remote Isle
Slippery Karst
Tangled Islet
Terramorphic Expanse
The Hunter Maze
The Surgical Bay
Tranquil Thicket

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Why Sharktocrab?

Sharktocrab is a huge part of our deck and I card I cast as early as we possibly can. While we don’t often use them for attacking and mostly use them for blocking the tap-down ability is quite easy to trigger for us. Sharktocrab does have adaptability, which is a great way to give it counters if we don’t have a great hand, but most often, we have multiple ways to proliferate or give it counters. Sharktocrab is a huge part of our deck and a card we want on the field as much as possible!


Our overall gameplan is pretty simple: we want to establish a decent board as quickly as we possibly can, as well as run our commander out as soon as possible. Beyond that, we spend our turns continuously buffing up our board and triggering our commander, and swinging hard. When looking for an opening hand, I tend to lean towards two or three lands, an early game creature or two, and some form of protection or removal. This usually lands us in a pretty nice position throughout the beginning of the game. If you know how to turn your cards sideways the overall gameplan for this deck is pretty simple.

Deck Matchups:

Since this is Pauper EDH, there are an absolute ton of things that can tip a game in your favor or out of it. While an archetype may seem favorable, there are absolutely good and bad commanders for our deck to go up against; I have included both these, which were all played among my testing groups using various decks, and I have included the sample size for clarity purposes. This is just meant to be a guide after testing a bunch of games with this deck!

The information below is notes about specific decks that were featured in our testing pods!

Commanders that we have a favorable matchup against: Corpsejack Menace, Rishkar, Peema Renegade, Kutzil, Malamet Exemplar.

Record against Corpsejack Menace: 12-3

I like this matchup a lot and found it very favorable. Corpsejack Menace is no doubt a great commander, but Sharktocrab and their ability to tap down creatures shuts off a lot of the value the deck generates while we continue to build up our board, being able to counter their single-target removal while tapping down their biggest creatures allows us to maintain tempo and have a pretty big leg up.

Record against Rishkar, Peema Renegade: 9-1

Rishkar is another deck that is quite similar to ours; while it mostly tries to spread its counters to gain the mana advantage, they do have a bunch of proliferate effects and creatures that do get quite big. Since they spread their counters around so much, we can usually win against them in combat and, with the help of our commander, just take over the game.

Record against Kutzil, Malamet Exemplar: 4-1

I actually love this matchup; they just don’t do much that we care about, and not being able to counter spells during that player’s turn isn’t great. We can get a lot of value out of our fighting effects and take out pretty much whatever they have on our turn. I like this matchup a lot, and in all of the games I played, it often came down to a damage race, which was a race we were pretty good at winning.

Commanders that we have a tough matchup against: Winding Constrictor, Botanical Brawler, Ruthless Deathfang.

Record against Winding Constrictor: 5-10

Winding Constrictor is very similar to the corpsejack menace, but with a very key difference: Winding Constrictor is much quicker and can come down super early, disrupt us, and start hitting before we can even get set. This matchup is not unwinnable by any means but they certainly have a headstart against us, casting our commander as early as we can and countering their key creatures/proliferation spells are the biggest keys to victory here. While our commander does help a lot in this matchup, unless we can remove their commander pretty much instantly, they typically out-value us for much of the late-game, and they also scale very well into the mid-late game. This is a very tough matchup for us. ‘

Record against Botanical Brawler: 2-8

Botanical Brawler can be a tough matchup for the deck; while they mostly have small and efficient creatures, their commander is great and passively gets insane; it also does not help that many versions of the deck run a lot of extra equipment/auras and they can easily pull off the commander damage one-shot. The best way to beat this deck is to tap down their commander as much as we possibly can and counter any aura’s or equipment that can allow us to be one-shotted.

Record against Ruthless Deathfang: 3-6

Any deck that makes us sacrifice creatures is pretty tough, and most builds of this deck feature that an absolute ton; there aren’t enough counterspells in our deck to stop all of the sacrifice effects from their creatures or their spells. This can be a tough matchup but it is certainly not unwinnable, I was able to squeak out three games mostly by just out racing them.

Deck Overview:

This section contains information about cards in the deck and how they function within the deck! I also highlighted some of my favorite cards in the deck!


Since we are hyper-focused on +1/+1 counters, I think it’s quite important to showcase some of our best payoffs. Longshot Squad helps a ton with flying-focused decks, and having reach is pretty good against any deck, as there are a lot of flying creatures within the format. Crowned Ceratok is one of the most effective payoffs we have, not only are they decent in combat giving all of our creatures trample allows us to be devastating in combat. Fairgrounds Trumpeter has to be one of my favorite creatures in the deck, allowing us to get a benefit from buffing up our commander and our other creatures. Helium Squirter is a little expensive but being able to graft counters to other creatures and make our creatures by giving us evasion and allowing us to hit our opponents much easier. You absolutely can’t run a +1/+1 counters-focused deck without including Deepwood Denizen. This is a consistent and very often cheap piece of card draw for the deck; while sadly, Denizen doesn’t have amazing stats, it’s still pretty strong. Thrummingbird is one of the best blue cards we have access to and in most games I played this was a consistent source of proliferating which helps us snowball our board like crazy.


We have quite a few awesome counterspells, with my personal favorite being Fuel for the Cause. While it is a little expensive, countering a spell and proliferating is just amazing for the deck and really does fuel the cause. We also have some pretty amazing counterspells like the namesake Counterspell and Arcane Denial. While we are great at stopping what our opponents do we are pretty strong at stopping our opponents from stopping us, like Gaea's Gift and Snakeskin Veil, which are both super cheap, a great little buff and more importantly protect our creature from removal which can be super helpful.


Soul's Might has to be one of my favorite sorceries; not only does it allow us to make any creature huge, but if we use it on our buffed-up commander, we can tap down an absolute ton of our opponent’s creatures, and clear the way for us to hit hard in combat. Stealth Mission is a card that provides us a ton of evasion and allows us to get a free hit in combat. Since we spend a lot of our cards and counters to trigger our commander we can get a ton of use out of payoffs like Borrowing 100,000 Arrows which is often a huge source of card draw from the deck which can help an absolute ton because we tend to empty our hand especially if we ramp with cards like Cultivate and Kodama's Reach. Broken Bond is a very cool piece of ramp that we can use to blow up any artifact/enchantments. This is super nice against decks that focus on artifacts/enchantments, and because of the high density of valuable artifacts/enchantments within the deck, there is just a ton of artifacts/enchantments floating out there.


Implement of Ferocity is a true home run for our deck; for very little mana, we get an extra counter on any creature; most often, our commander and the supplemental card draw makes this a great card for very little investment. Armory of Iroas is a very sweet card that snowballs very quickly; being able to get an extra counter every turn consistently allows us to get bigger and better on pretty much every turn, it is also able to come down quite early which helps a lot as well. We are running some mana-rocks that help to cast our commander early, like Moss Diamond and Sky Diamond; while these can be a little slow, more mana is more mana, and that is pretty much always good.


Predatory Hunger is an example of the gift that keeps on giving because we can get a counter every time an opponent casts a creature; a hand with this that’s even halfway decent is pretty much an auto-keep. Especially because of the high density of creatures within the format. Ferocity is another example of a card that is pretty strong. It makes us much stronger defensively in combat and is absolutely perfect for our commander. Master Chef is another extremely strong enchantment for the deck; giving everything a buff just helps the overall gameplan and can drastically increase our damage output, it also works great with all of the proliferation effects within the deck. While we do have a lot of offense, we have some very strong defensive enchantments like Fall from Favor and Witness Protection. Both of these can take the best creatures our opponents have, and completely negate their effect on the game.

Land Base:

Being in Simic, we don’t have a ton of interesting things going on in our landbase but we do have some non-basics that provide a decent amount of utility that can help us, like Captivating Cave and Cave of Temptation which are both amazing ways to buff up a creature or more importantly get two counters on Sharktocrab which can be a great way to take their best creatures out of combat for a turn. Forge of Heroes is another very cool land that can help sharktocrab hit the ground running as soon as they come out; being able to tap down a creature immediately is pretty strong. We also have all the on-color cycling lands we can play which help a ton with supplemental card draw and turning a dead-land drop into a productive turn. I like this landbase a lot and think it is strong and effective for the deck.

Strengths of the Deck:

  • Our commander positions us quite well against creature decks since we can often tap down the best of the best our opponents have.
  • We have a sort of best of both worlds situation which makes us a true midrange deck, a ton of great creatures and some controlling elements as well.
  • With all of the proliferation effects and extra counters from our deck we can easily race opponents and often win those races.

Weaknesses of the Deck:

  • Our deck is considerably weaker if we can never resolve or stick our commander.
  • We do have some counterspells, but overall, we are pretty weak to creature hate, especially mass creature hate.
  • We do have some card draw, but we can have games where we empty our hands pretty quickly.

Deck Stats:

Sample Hands:

Main Win Conditions:

There are no infinite combos or loops in the deck. We are all-in on combat and swinging as early and as often as we can. We have cards that get better and better as the games goes on, like Fairgrounds Trumpeter, which snowballs very hard as the turns go on. We are also bolstered by a lot of proliferation effects which allow us to continuously get bigger and better, like Kiora's Dambreaker and Pollenbright Druid. One of the biggest advantages of this deck is being able to build up a very strong board within the first few turns and use our commander and some of our more controlling spells to keep our board full and stop our opponents from doing shenanigans.


Thanks for coming along on this journey with me! I like this deck a lot and find it to be very fun to play while being smack dab in the middle on the power level. There is no doubt that this deck will not do well at a CPDH table, but at a table full of lower-mid power decks, I think this deck does a lot of work. Sharktocrab is just a fun and cool commander as well. I hope you all enjoyed this one as much as I did! Thank you for reading to the end and for all of your support!