Samut, the Tested was one of those cards that had to be read multiple times. Unfortunately, we were reading it multiple times to confirm this new mythic Planeswalker was... bad? That couldn't be right!

Alas, dear reader, the initial read was correct. Samut, the Tested was mediocre at best.

Unfortunately for us, it wasn't even subpar in an interesting way. Granting double strike is ok, but kind of a shallow space. The minus ability is both expensive in loyalty and not terribly impactful. I guess the ultimate is pretty neat, but there still isn't a terrible amount of direction there. All in all, kind of a dud.

Luckily for us, opportunity knocks!

See, because there's almost nothing to go on here, Samut, the Tested gives us a total freeroll. We can do anything! And I had just the "anything" in mind.

I wanted to do Kicker.

Kicker is one of my favorite mechanics in all of Magic. It's such a great idea: you can have this basic thing now, or this rad thing later when you can afford it. There's a flexibility to it that allows players to sculpt the game around them and be judicious with their deployment. There's some fun judgment calls to make about which spells should definitely be saved for later versus which ones should be played right now—it's just so satisfying to land a huge kicked spell. Kicker rules.

I didn't get to play Dominaria limited much because of my job at the time, and I really wished I had, because obviously kicker was a big part of that format. And red/green seemed to be the main color pair for it, highlighted by the gold uncommon Hallar, the Firefletcher. Green also got some shine with the recent return to Zendikar, so there's plenty of fairly recent additions. I felt comfortable it was a full enough theme to build around.

Time to get kicking:

Magic: The Gathering TCG Deck - Samut, the Tested by Andy Hurst

'Samut, the Tested' - constructed deck list and prices for the Magic: The Gathering Trading Card Game from TCGplayer Infinite!

Created By: Andy Hurst

Event:

Rank:

Freeform (Casual)

Market Price: $15.76

Cards

Torch Slinger

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/104249_200w.jpg

Kicker {1}{R} (You may pay an additional {1}{R} as you cast this spell.)
When Torch Slinger enters the battlefield, if it was kicked, it deals 2 damage to target creature.

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Mountain

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.35

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/235546_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {R}.)

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Taunting Arbormage

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.03

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/221857_200w.jpg

Kicker {3} (You may pay an additional {3} as you cast this spell.)
When Taunting Arbormage enters the battlefield, if it was kicked, all creatures able to block target creature this turn do so.

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Shivan Fire

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.03

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/164777_200w.jpg

Kicker {4} (You may pay an additional {4} as you cast this spell.)
Shivan Fire deals 2 damage to target creature. If this spell was kicked, it deals 4 damage instead.

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Thicket Elemental

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.30

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/122272_200w.jpg

Kicker {1}{G} (You may pay an additional {1}{G} as you cast this spell.)
When Thicket Elemental enters the battlefield, if it was kicked, you may reveal cards from the top of your library until you reveal a creature card. If you do, put that card onto the battlefield and shuffle all other cards revealed this way into your library.

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Overload

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.17

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/7576_200w.jpg

Kicker {2} (You may pay an additional {2} as you cast this spell.)
Destroy target artifact if its converted mana cost is 2 or less. If this spell was kicked, destroy that artifact if its converted mana cost is 5 or less instead.

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Roil Eruption

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.01

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222015_200w.jpg

Kicker {5} (You may pay an additional {5} as you cast this spell.)
Roil Eruption deals 3 damage to any target. If this spell was kicked, it deals 5 damage instead.

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Gruul Turf

Color Identity:G,R

Market Price: $0.20

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222708_200w.jpg

Gruul Turf enters the battlefield tapped.
When Gruul Turf enters the battlefield, return a land you control to its owner's hand.
{T}: Add {R}{G}.

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Magma Burst

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.07

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/7823_200w.jpg

Kicker—Sacrifice two lands. (You may sacrifice two lands in addition to any other costs as you cast this spell.)
Magma Burst deals 3 damage to any target. If this spell was kicked, it deals 3 damage to another target.

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Mold Shambler

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.21

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/79974_200w.jpg

Kicker {1}{G} (You may pay an additional {1}{G} as you cast this spell.)
When Mold Shambler enters the battlefield, if it was kicked, destroy target noncreature permanent.

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Gnarlid Pack

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.07

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/98838_200w.jpg

Multikicker {1}{G} (You may pay an additional {1}{G} any number of times as you cast this spell.)
Gnarlid Pack enters the battlefield with a +1/+1 counter on it for each time it was kicked.

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Grow from the Ashes

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.52

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/164701_200w.jpg

Kicker {2} (You may pay an additional {2} as you cast this spell.)
Search your library for a basic land card, put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle your library. If this spell was kicked, instead search your library for two basic land cards, put them onto the battlefield, then shuffle your library.

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Forest

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.37

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/235548_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {G}.)

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Grunn, the Lonely King

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/162228_200w.jpg

Kicker {3} (You may pay an additional {3} as you cast this spell.)
If Grunn, the Lonely King was kicked, it enters the battlefield with five +1/+1 counters on it.
Whenever Grunn attacks alone, double its power and toughness until end of turn.

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Territorial Allosaurus

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.38

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/162248_200w.jpg

Kicker {2}{G} (You may pay an additional {2}{G} as you cast this spell.)
When Territorial Allosaurus enters the battlefield, if it was kicked, it fights another target creature.

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Bloodstone Goblin

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.01

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/162155_200w.jpg

Whenever you cast a spell, if that spell was kicked, Bloodstone Goblin gets +1/+1 and gains menace until end of turn. (It can't be blocked except by two or more creatures.)

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Vines of Vastwood

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.95

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/98856_200w.jpg

Kicker {G} (You may pay an additional {G} as you cast this spell.)
Target creature can't be the target of spells or abilities your opponents control this turn. If this spell was kicked, that creature gets +4/+4 until end of turn.

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Gift of Growth

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.04

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/162227_200w.jpg

Kicker {2} (You may pay an additional {2} as you cast this spell.)
Untap target creature. It gets +2/+2 until end of turn. If this spell was kicked, that creature gets +4/+4 until end of turn instead.

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Oran-Rief Recluse

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.15

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/79982_200w.jpg

Kicker {2}{G} (You may pay an additional {2}{G} as you cast this spell.)
Reach (This creature can block creatures with flying.)
When Oran-Rief Recluse enters the battlefield, if it was kicked, destroy target creature with flying.

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Elfhame Druid

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.07

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/164485_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {G}.
{T}: Add {G}{G}. Spend this mana only to cast kicked spells.

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Ramunap Ruins

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.51

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/135091_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {C}.
{T}, Pay 1 life: Add {R}.
{2}{R}{R}, {T}, Sacrifice a Desert: Ramunap Ruins deals 2 damage to each opponent.

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Mountain Valley

Market Price: $2.48

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/171237_200w.jpg

Mountain Valley enters the battlefield tapped.
{T}, Sacrifice Mountain Valley: Search your library for a Mountain or Forest card, put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle your library.

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Hallar, the Firefletcher

Color Identity:G,R

Market Price: $0.09

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/162136_200w.jpg

Trample
Whenever you cast a spell, if that spell was kicked, put a +1/+1 counter on Hallar, the Firefletcher, then Hallar deals damage equal to the number of +1/+1 counters on it to each opponent.

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Skyclave Sentinel

Market Price: $0.01

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222416_200w.jpg

Kicker {4} (You may pay an additional {4} as you cast this spell.)
Flying, defender
If Skyclave Sentinel was kicked, it enters the battlefield with two +1/+1 counters on it.
As long as Skyclave Sentinel has a +1/+1 counter on it, it can attack as though it didn't have defender.

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Skizzik

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.06

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/162181_200w.jpg

Kicker {R} (You may pay an additional {R} as you cast this spell.)
Trample, haste
At the beginning of the end step, if Skizzik wasn't kicked, sacrifice it.

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Wolfbriar Elemental

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.45

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/132222_200w.jpg

Multikicker {G} (You may pay an additional {G} any number of times as you cast this spell.)
When Wolfbriar Elemental enters the battlefield, create a 2/2 green Wolf creature token for each time it was kicked.

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Baloth Gorger

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.02

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/162218_200w.jpg

Kicker {4} (You may pay an additional {4} as you cast this spell.)
If Baloth Gorger was kicked, it enters the battlefield with three +1/+1 counters on it.

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Sparkcaster

Color Identity:G,R

Market Price: $0.20

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/7881_200w.jpg

When Sparkcaster enters the battlefield, return a red or green creature you control to its owner's hand.
When Sparkcaster enters the battlefield, it deals 1 damage to target player or planeswalker.

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Gnarlid Colony

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.01

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/221792_200w.jpg

Kicker {2}{G} (You may pay an additional {2}{G} as you cast this spell.)
If Gnarlid Colony was kicked, it enters the battlefield with two +1/+1 counters on it.
Each creature you control with a +1/+1 counter on it has trample.

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Desert of the Indomitable

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.16

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/134865_200w.jpg

Desert of the Indomitable enters the battlefield tapped.
{T}: Add {G}.
Cycling {1}{G} ({1}{G}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)

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Shivan Wurm

Color Identity:G,R

Market Price: $1.01

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/7869_200w.jpg

Trample
When Shivan Wurm enters the battlefield, return a red or green creature you control to its owner's hand.

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Urza's Rage

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.03

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/191624_200w.jpg

Kicker {8}{R} (You may pay an additional {8}{R} as you cast this spell.)
This spell can't be countered.
Urza's Rage deals 3 damage to any target. If this spell was kicked, instead it deals 10 damage to that permanent or player and the damage can't be prevented.

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Wild Onslaught

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/164717_200w.jpg

Kicker {4} (You may pay an additional {4} as you cast this spell.)
Put a +1/+1 counter on each creature you control. If this spell was kicked, put two +1/+1 counters on each creature you control instead.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/dominaria/wild-onslaught

Skitter of Lizards

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.09

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/83286_200w.jpg

Multikicker {1}{R} (You may pay an additional {1}{R} any number of times as you cast this spell.)
Haste
Skitter of Lizards enters the battlefield with a +1/+1 counter on it for each time it was kicked.

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Untamed Kavu

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.12

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/164489_200w.jpg

Kicker {3} (You may pay an additional {3} as you cast this spell.)
Vigilance, trample
If Untamed Kavu was kicked, it enters the battlefield with three +1/+1 counters on it.

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Fight with Fire

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.09

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/162158_200w.jpg

Kicker {5}{R} (You may pay an additional {5}{R} as you cast this spell.)
Fight with Fire deals 5 damage to target creature. If this spell was kicked, it deals 10 damage divided as you choose among any number of targets instead. (Those targets can include players and planeswalkers.)

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/dominaria/fight-with-fire

Samut, the Tested

Color Identity:G,R

Market Price: $1.04

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/132234_200w.jpg

+1: Up to one target creature gains double strike until end of turn.
−2: Samut, the Tested deals 2 damage divided as you choose among one or two targets.
−7: Search your library for up to two creature and/or planeswalker cards, put them onto the battlefield, then shuffle your library.

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Vine Gecko

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.02

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222025_200w.jpg

The first kicked spell you cast each turn costs {1} less to cast.
Whenever you cast a kicked spell, put a +1/+1 counter on Vine Gecko.

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Murasa Sproutling

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.03

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222098_200w.jpg

Kicker {1}{G} (You may pay an additional {1}{G} as you cast this spell.)
When Murasa Sproutling enters the battlefield, if it was kicked, return target card with a kicker ability from your graveyard to your hand.

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Desert of the Fervent

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $1.00

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/236224_200w.jpg

Desert of the Fervent enters the battlefield tapped.
{T}: Add {R}.
Cycling {1}{R} ({1}{R}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)

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Burst Lightning

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.30

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/98810_200w.jpg

Kicker {4} (You may pay an additional {4} as you cast this spell.)
Burst Lightning deals 2 damage to any target. If this spell was kicked, it deals 4 damage instead.

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Scorch Rider

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.02

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222061_200w.jpg

Kicker {1}{R} (You may pay an additional {1}{R} as you cast this spell.)
When Scorch Rider enters the battlefield, if it was kicked, it gains haste until end of turn.

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Hashep Oasis

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.11

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/135086_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {C}.
{T}, Pay 1 life: Add {G}.
{1}{G}{G}, {T}, Sacrifice a Desert: Target creature gets +3/+3 until end of turn. Activate this ability only any time you could cast a sorcery.

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The Game Plan

Kick spells! Based on our opening, it'll be important to determine which spells can be cast plain, and which ones will require waiting for the extra juice. We're most excited to see key enablers like Vine Gecko and Elfhame Druid early—they can get the kicker train rolling ahead of schedule. Hallar, the Firefletcher is another great asset if it can hit the board early and grow as the game progresses. Shout out to Dominaria for essentially two different downshifts: Skizzik, which very possibly would've made the cut as one of the rares out of nostalgia alone, and Untamed Kavu, which is actually better than the one time format staple Kavu Titan. It's amazing how far creatures have come in the last 20 years.

All things being equal, we will generally want to prioritize the green spells if we can't get to the kicker. Although not the most impressive, cards like Gnarlid Pack, Murasa Sproutling, Baloth Gorger, and Grunn, the Lonely King are totally acceptable creatures on their base rates, and most of what we'd get is a size increase. Some of the red spells go from ok removal to insanity, and creatures like Torch Slinger or Skitter of Lizards are really only good if we can kick them—so try to do so when possible.

Speaking of the red spells, I find it kind of endearing that over the course of 20 years of kicker spells, it's pretty much always been "the fire gets bigger!!!" model for the red cards. But we've got some goodies here. Obviously Fight with Fire and Urza's Rage are the two we'd most like to kick. since it will likely end the game, and keep in mind that the Shivan Fire / Burst Lightning / Roil Eruption package is totally acceptable when unkicked. They will usually trade for something. Magma Burst is an excellent removal spell, but take care when playing it. We're playing a kicker deck after all, so in an ideal world we're totally happy to have as many lands on the battlefield as possible, and Magma Burst runs contrary to that plan. Still, it's so devastating that it will often be worth it.

The Rares

Our most efficient Rare. A 5/5 for 4 is great! We'd happily play this without kicker, and I imagine we often will. But, if we're able to wait, the kicker is very useful, and a "free" removal spell is always great to have access to.

I remember gleefully casting this in the days of Worldwake / Zendikar Limited. Let me tell you, if we can cast this at six-seven mana, things will be looking up. An Elfhame Druid BFF.

It's totally possible this will disappoint us, "cascading" into some bland Gnarlid Pack that comes into play unkicked. But it's still two bodies in one card—at least one of those bodies is pretty reasonable—and I've always liked the card despite never having a home for it.

When I started playing competitively, Shivan Wurm was a colossal beating. It was massive, it wasn't terribly expensive for the body it provided, and its "drawback" of gating a creature (at the time, gating was the informal name of Shivan Wurm bouncing mechanic repeated on a cycle of Planeshift creatures) was actually a benefit, since it allowed its controller to mitigate the danger of board sweepers or reset the almighty Flametongue Kavu. We aren't abusing it in quite the same way, but the Shivan Wurm does allow us more freedom to deploy those early kicker creatures without fear, as we can pick it back up again and then re-cast it for some benefits. I imagine Torch Slinger, Murasa Sproutling, and Taunting Arbormage will be the most enticing companions for the ol' Shivan Wurm.

Unsung Hero

Another nostalgic success. When I got started at FNMs and the like back in the day, Urza's Rage was a huge chase rare. It probably retailed for more than a Scrubland. In the days where it felt like Counterspell was at its zenith in Standard, Urza's Rage was the ultimate trump card. You gotta understand—it was very possible for the dominant Psychatog or Nether-Go decks of the day to play more than a dozen counters, sit back and just (sometimes literally) foil everything you were going to do, and kill you after you weren't able to play the game for like half an hour and decided that Magic wasn't fun anymore.

Urza's Rage was so glorious. Its presence meant, "Ok, you want to wait around forever? I can do that too, except when I decide to pull the trigger you can't do anything about it." And that was so empowering in that era for the players who weren't interested in waging counter wars.

Nowadays, the Urza's Rage is merely fine. Three damage for three mana at instant speed is a little below par, it's cool that it can't be countered, and the kicker is awesome but a tad lofty. I'd prefer the art featuring the Pacific Rim-esque Titan Engines, but thanks to its Modern Horizons downshifting, I'm just glad we get to play it at all. If any of you out there get to play this deck and you win with a kicked Urza's Rage, just revel in it.