Magic: The Gathering – Bristly Bill, Spine Sower Commander Deck Guide

Prick your opponents with this mono-green Commander deck.

Magic: The Gathering – Bristly Bill, Spine Sower Commander Deck Guide

It makes sense for a Wild West-themed Magic: The Gathering expansion to have a race of cactus people, and Bristly Bill is the perfect name for a cactus person. What Bill does in the middle of the deserts surrounding Thunder Junction isn't particularly understood. What is understood is that Bristly Bill is the perfect commander for a monogreen +1/+1 token deck.

Green is a great single color to make a Commander deck out of as it has access to all the removal, ramp, and card draw you could ever need. With Bristly Bill at the head, you'll have an army of angry creatures that just get bigger and bigger with every turn.

The Commander: Bristly Bill, Spine Sower

Magic: The Gathering – Bristly Bill, Spine Sower Commander Deck Guide

I've always loved cheap commanders, and it doesn't get much cheaper than Bristly Bill. For just two mana, you get a 2/2 Plant Druid that places a +1/+1 counter on one of your creatures whenever you play a land. If that isn't enough, you can tap five mana (three generic, two green) to double the number of +1/+1 counters on every creature you control.

Most decks want to play land every turn, and given how green is the color of land-fetching, it shouldn't be too difficult to ensure Bill is being fed a constant stream of land to trigger his Landfall keyword. Then, once you've got an army of critters with +1/+1 counters on them, you can double them every turn after you hit five mana.

Since Bill costs so little, you'll basically always play him on your second turn . If he dies, so what? You'll be able to cast him again and again relatively easily given his low starting mana cost.

All you need to do is support Bill with spells that fetch lands and a few cards to get your oversized army over the top in the late game. Throw in a few big-mana bombs to use up all those lands you've been fetching, and you'll find Bristly Bill is a prickly pear indeed.

Building Your Bristly Bill, Spine Sower Commander Deck

Magic: The Gathering – Bristly Bill, Spine Sower Commander Deck Guide

Bristly Bill wants a few things to function. First, you'll want to draw extra cards to ensure you've always got a land to play every turn. Second, you'll want some spells that fetch lands from your deck to get even more value out of Bill's Landfall ability (given your playing monogreen, that shouldn't be too hard). And finally, you'll want creatures, enchantments, and artifacts that take advantage of all those +1+/1 counters you'll be generating.

Throw in a few green staples like Heroic Intervention and Green Sun's Zenith, and you've got yourself a fine Commander deck.


Green is the color of ramping, so there's certainly no shortage of options here. On the creature side, Sakura-Tribe Elder, Springbloom Druid, Azusa, Lost but Seeking, and Kodama of the West Tree all help get land out of your deck and/or hand and to put into play, while cards like Elvish Mystic and Kami of Whispered Hopes provide a direct injection of mana.

On the non-creature side, Crop Rotation, Nature's Lore, Cultivate, and Kodama's Reach all search out extra lands to put into plan. Sol Ring is still so good that even a mono-green deck shouldn't go without it, while Sword of the Animist turns any creature into a constant land generator. And for the low cost of one mana, Exploration will also allow you to cast an extra land every turn.

+1/+1 Counter Enhancements

Getting lands is great, but the main thrust of Bristling Bill is getting the most out of all those +1/+1 counters you'll be making. For that, you'll need a bunch of creatures to put those tokens on. Bill isn't the worst critter to turn into a gigantic monster, but there are certainly better options.

For example, Gyre Sage and Kami of Whispered Hopes both produce more mana with every counter they get. Champion of Lambholt can make all your creatures unblockable once it achieves sufficient power. Ornery Tumblewag doubles its counters whenever it attacks, and Armorcraft Judge draws a card for every creature with a counter on it.

Besides creatures, Hardened Scales, Branching Evolution, Tribute to the World Tree, Court of Garenbrig, and Ozolith, the Shattered Spire all give you more +1/+1 counters (sometimes a lot more), while The Ozolith ensures all those counters never go to waste even if the creature they're enhancing dies.

Card Draw

Drawing more cards is a great way to ensure you've always got lands to play. Toski, Bearer of Secrets, Armorcraft Judge, Tireless Tracker, Inspiring Call, Return of the Wildspeaker, Tribute to the World Tree, and Guardian Project all help keep your hand full.

Green Staples

Historically, green has struggled to respond to threats as they arise, but these days, green has an arsenal of answers to unleash. Archdruid's Charm and Smuggler's Surprise are fantastic spells with the flexibility to respond to a variety of situations. If all you need is some removal, Bushwhack, Beast Within, and Khalni Ambush (the other side of Khalni Territory) are here to help.

Heroic Intervention has been a staple green card ever since it's been printed, and for good reason. It can effectively function as a counterspell when your opponent casts a board sweeper, or it can just give you the edge in combat. And if you can't afford Heroic Intervention (due to its high monetary value), we'll discuss budget substitutions below.

Game Winners And Big Bombs

Simply having an ever-growing army of creature can be enough to win games on its own, but sometimes it helps to have things that can tip the scales in your favor. Goldvein Hydra, Herd Baloth, Nissa, Voice of Zendikar, Nissa, Who Shakes the World, and Return of the Wildspeaker can help either expand your army or make it temporarily more powerful.

There's also Bane of Progress, Rampaging Yao Guai, and Perilous Vault to help clear the board when things get a little bogged down.

Don't sleep on Woodfall Primus , either! With a constant stream of +1/+1 counters, it will keep destroying permanents every time it dies.

Bristly Bill, Spine Sower Commander Deck List

Magic: The Gathering – Bristly Bill, Spine Sower Commander Deck Guide

Here's a sample decklist for a Bristly Bill, Spine Sower Commander deck.

Bristly Bill, Spine Sower Commander Deck

Commander (1)

Bristly Bill, Spine Sower

Creatures (36)

Elvish Mystic

Quirion Ranger

Sylvan Safekeeper

Sakura-Tribe Elder

Cathedral Acolyte

Scavenging Ooze

Gyre Sage

Evolution Sage

Springbloom Druid

Champion of Lambholt

Tireless Tracker

Predator Ooze

Courser of Kruphix

Ornery Tumblewag

Azusa, Lost but Seeking

Scute Swarm

Kodama of the West Tree

Kami of Whispered Hopes

Toski, Bearer of Secrets

Armorcraft Judge

Forgotten Ancient

Railway Brawler

Kalonian Hydra

Herd Baloth

Bane of Progress

Ancient Greenwarden

Defiler of Vigor


Goldvein Hydra

Rampaging Yao Guai

Woodfall Primus

Planeswalkers (2)

Nissa, Who Shakes The World

Nissa, Voice of Zendikar

Sorcery (5)


Nature’s Lore


Kodama’s Reach

Green Sun’s Zenith

Instants (7)

Smuggler’s Surprise

Crop Rotation

Heroic Intervention

Beast Within

Archdruid's Charm

Inspiring Call

Return of the Wildspeaker

Artifacts (6)

Sol Ring

Ozolith, the Shattered Spire

Power Fist

The Ozolith

Sword of the Animist

Perilous Vault

Enchantments (7)


Hardened Scales

Branching Evolution

Roaring Earth

Tribute to the World Tree

Court of Garenbrig

Guardian Project

Lands (36)

Bala Ged, Sanctuary

Khalni Territory

Turntimber, Serpentine Wood

Rogue's Passage

War Room

Karn's Bastion

Arid Archway

Oran Rief, The Vastwood

Blighted Woodland

Jungle Basin

Myriad Landscape

Boseju, Who Endures

Forest (24)

Budget Substitutions

We get it; some of these cards cost more than a family combo meal at your local Arby's. If you'd rather save your money for a sandwich, consider these budget substitutions.

Sylvan Safekeeper

Llanowar Elves, Experiment One, Cankerbloom

Kodama of the West Tree

Undergrowth Champion, Arwen, Weaver of Hope, Fertilid, Augur of Autumn, Rishkar, Peema Renegade

Kalonian Hydra

Feral Hydra, Hooded Hydra, Steelbane Hydra


Avenger of Zendikar, Kodama of the East Tree

Ancient Greenwarden

Multani, Yavimaya's Avatar, Sylvan Primordial

Goldvein Hydra

Genesis Hydra,

Green Sun’s Zenith

Chord of Calling

Heroic Intervention

Tamiyo’s Safekeeping, Wrap in Vigor, Gaea’s Gift

The Ozolith

Fractal Harness


Rites of Flourishing, Druid Class, Dryad of Ilysian Grove

Tribute to the World Tree

Garruk's Uprising

Court of Garenbrig

Court of Bounty, Hydra's Growth, Case of the Trampled Garden

Boseju, Who Endures

Llanowar Reborn, Escape Tunnel, Cabaretti Courtyard, Temple of the False God, or a Forest

Tips For Playing Bristly Bill, Spine Sower In Commander

Magic: The Gathering – Bristly Bill, Spine Sower Commander Deck Guide

  • Bristly Bill should always be your second-turn play. The sooner he gets onto the field, the more value you'll get out of follow-up cards like Kodama's Reach or Springbloom Druid.
  • It's a good idea to give Bristly Bill a few +1/+1 counters to make him harder to kill, either in combat or via direct damage spells.
  • Herd Baloth, Champion of Lambholt, Forgotten Ancient, Kami of Whispered Hopes, and Gyre Sage are all excellent targets for +1/+1 tokens.
  • Blighted Woodland, Jungle Basin, Myriad Landscape, and Quirion Ranger can all help ensure you've got a land to play every turn.
  • Combine either Gyre Sage or Kami of Whispered Hopes, Quirion Ranger, and Azusa, Lost but Seeking for a huge amount of mana to pour into either Goldvein Hydra, Rampaging Yao Guai, or Green Sun's Zenith.
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