Green: Post Odyssey?
There is one good thing about holding an article until the last possible moment… You get to find out if you were right or not very quickly. Last time, I ranted on about how R&D didn't really understand how to treat green. No idea how to design cards for a purely beat down strategy. No idea how to design cards for green.
That was before I had a copy of the official Odyssey spoiler in my hot little hands. Since I was able to get the spoiler within hours of having sent off my last article to Ferrett, I was able to start gauging the accuracy of my comments regarding the future before the article was even posted. Now I'm back, using the Odyssey spoiler, to see how I did.
Based on the spoiler, it looks like R&D is learning how to design cards for a green beatdown-style deck. I'm not going to look at blue until I start opening cards. I don't want to know that while green got some really fun stuff in this set - blue got better. I don't want to know that while green got some really good critters, red, black, and white got better. I want to live in my little bubble of euphoria for a little while longer before reality sets in.*
Or maybe I'll get lucky this time, and green will finally get a chance at being the broken color. The color everyone plays at the tournaments. The color you have to be ready to beat or plan on losing the tournament.
But I'm not going to think about any of that today. I'm only going to think about the green cards I'm looking forward to seeing in the packs that I open.
With that thought in mind, here are some of the green cards I saw on the spoiler that I think look interesting. Did I miss your favorite? Did I like something you think is stupid? Do either of these things matter? Nope; all that matters is that we're having some fun thinking and talking about Magic... And especially, green Magic cards. (Well, I'm having fun anyway - and I hope you come along for the ride.)
Elephants, Tigers, and Bears, Oh My!
Beast Attack and Elephant Ambush are instants that create elephant tokens. If you follow other Magic-related websites you've already seen these, as they were part of the pre-prerelease teasers that WotC gives us to whet our appetites. Putting a creature into play at the end of your opponent's turn or as a surprise blocker is always a lot of fun - not to mention that the possibility messes up your opponent's combat math. These will definitely see play once Odyssey hits store shelves. By December, we'll know whether or not these are the powerful cards some think that they are.
If you are playing a lot of cards that depend on threshold or have flashback, you really don't want to use this enchantment. Unless your opponent is playing a card that empties your graveyard… I haven't read the rest of the spoiler, but I can avoid all the buzz over a new set… At least with Bearscape in play, they can plan on facing some angry bears as a result of their obnoxiousness.
If you are not using threshold or flashback cards and are routinely filling up your graveyard, this is a potentially good way to repopulate your army. It also provides blockers at instant speed.
Probably not a top 10 Constructed card, but should see some play and it looks like fun. (Gasp! Fun! What kind of crack is this guy on? Well, if all you're interested in are the top pick tourney cards for States, you'll have to go read somebody else's article… Me, I'm having fun today.)
Now this guy sure looks interesting. A critter that just grows and grows and grows. I attack with my 2/2, 3/3, 4/4…you get the idea. Gee, I think I'll just sit behind my walls and chump blockers and wait to see how you deal with a 10/10 serving it up!
Look, ma! An untargetable beastie that tramples. His casting cost makes him come out late enough that threshold is likely to be in place when - or soon after - he comes out. Definitely worth trying out against the evil blue mages.
You just know that U or B is going to have some way to clean out your graveyard to mess with your threshold critters and effects. Fine; put an 8/8 trampling beastie on the table to punish them. Even if he only sits around as a warning, he is useful. Or, better yet, play him with Bearscape… Turn the gorilla into a monster by giving him a herd of 2/2 bears. This could be fun.
"Hey guys, look at the silly green mage with like twelve mana and nothing to spend it on. Oops." Kraklin didn't make much of a splash back in the days of Tempest... But back then, by the time you got to five mana the game was pretty much decided, if not over already. In a slower environment, this guy might just have a chance. Only time will tell for sure. But you have to admit that the thought of tapping out twelve mana and putting an 11/11 beastie on the table sure would be fun… Especially if there were some way to give it trample…
Don't play with Bearscape or flashback cards, and then you get a 7/7 for five… Can't beat that deal.
Roar of the Wurm, 6G, Sorcery. Put a 6/6 green Wurm creature token into play. Flashback 3G.
Oh yeah! A 6/6 for four. Okay, you have to get it into your graveyard first, but that can always be arranged. (Can you Duress yourself? I guess not… Have to find some other way… Give me a bit more time… It'll come to me.)
I just love this threshold thing making my critters grow. Lookie…a 5/5 for four... Maybe.
Stone-Tongue Basilisk, 4GGG, 4/5. Whenever Stone-Tongue Basilisk deals combat damage to a creature, destroy that creature at end of combat. Threshold - All creatures able to block Stone-Tongue Basilisk do so.
Basilisk/Lure is an old trick that hasn't been used in years. Looks like R&D is trying to tempt us by building the lure effect into the creature via threshold. Given the casting cost, I don't think this guy is going to get played very much, but it will change the outcome of games if it does. A silly card to play around with.
Let me think, let me think - this card just screams multiplayer. It also looks like an interesting addition to land destruction decks. Hmmm, can we say"Global Ruin?" Add a little Wrath of God and some Still Life…Could make trouble for somebody.
Squirrels, Squirrels, And More Squirrels
This bunch of cards will have you digging out those unglued Squirrel tokens. If you don't play ‘em, somebody you know does and will be looking for more.
Chatter of the Squirrel G sorcery. Put a 1/1 green Squirrel creature token into play. Flashback 1G.
Or for 1GG, you get two 1/1 tokens. Not too bad, and it goes well with the other Squirrel-generating or -enhancing cards.
Druid's Call, 1G, Enchant Creature. Whenever enchanted creature is dealt damage, its controller puts that many 1/1 green Squirrel creature tokens into play.
Gee, if I only had some sort of a fatty to put this on…oh yeah, there's a bunch of them in this set including…
A Squirrel Beast instead of a Squirrel; guess I'll have to check the FAQ to see how this is counted for"all Squirrels get…" effects. (It counts - The Ferrett) Without threshold, a waste of space; with threshold, a force to be reckoned with.
Nut Collector, 5G, 1/1. At the beginning of your upkeep, you may put a 1/1 green Squirrel creature token into play. Threshold - All Squirrels get +2/+2.
An interesting critter. I really like the Verdant Force effect. I also like the threshold effect that makes all those cute little Squirrels into moderately sized killers. But, at 1/1, he's going to be very, very hard to protect, and at 5G very hard to cast. Overall, worth watching, a lot of fun if you get him out, but don't expect too much.
Yes, this card is looking to be abused… Maybe with Chatter of the Squirrel or…
Squirrel Nest, 1GG, Enchant Land. Enchanted land has"Tap: Put a 1/1 green Squirrel creature token into play."
With Nut collector in play, this reads Tap: Put 3/3 Squirrel token creature into play and give Squirrel mob another +1/+1. If you manage to get two or three of these in play at once, Saporoling Burst looks positively tame.
Not bad at all… Now if I can just find those darned Unglued cards and silly Squirrel token cards. (Oh yeah, I'm going to build a Squirrel deck…I may not play it in a tournament, but it's just too fun of an idea to ignore.)
Pump You Up
As always, green gets a chunk of creature-pumping spells…these are the ones that looked interesting to me.
Diligent Farmhand, G, 1/1. 1G, Sacrifice Diligent Farmhand: Search your library for a basic land card, and put that card into play tapped. Then shuffle your library. If Diligent Farmhand is in a graveyard, Muscle Burst's effect counts it as a Muscle Burst.
Now strictly speaking, this starts off as a mediocre creature that lets you block something big and ugly for a turn and go fetch another land for the sacrifice. What gets my attention in this case is the Muscle Burst effect.
Now things are getting interesting! Muscle Burst all by itself is an overpriced Giant Growth the first time you play it, but it gets better with time and has the potential to be underpriced with enough Muscle Bursts and Diligent Farmhands in the graveyard. These two together has to equal some fun for the green mage. (Now where did I put my Thorn Elementals??)
Nantuko Disciple, 3G, 2/2. G, Tap: Target creature gets +2/+2 until end of turn.
This guy is cute a critter and mini-Giant Growth all in one. He blocks 3/x critters all by himself. He kills x/4 critters all by himself. He makes your opponent's combat math a little bit tougher.
Overrun, 2GGG, Sorcery. Creatures you control get +3/+3 and gain trample until end of turn.
I don't care what anyone says, I just love this card. I didn't get to play it very much when Tempest Block was Type II; things were just too fast in those days. But now it might just work. And when this guy resolves, it is just too much fun watching your opponent realize that all of those 1/1 cuddly little critters have gone on steroids and are about to kill them. Gee, what if he were to come into play when Nut Collector and a bunch of squirrel tokens were already out? A mob of 6/6 tramping beasts…. Oh yeah, that feels good.
Seton's Desire, 2G, Enchant Creature. Enchanted creature gets +2/+2. Threshold - All creatures able to block enchanted creature do so.
Hey, look! A Giant Strength for Green. Wait, nobody plays Giant Strength = why would they play this? Because of the Lure effect. Giant Strength and Lure are not particularly powerful effects individually, but together, attached to a 4/4 or larger beastie, you can clear out a lot of blockers in a hurry.
In another theme of green, there are several ways to get extra land into your hand or play. Here are the ones I thought were worth thinking about.
Cartographer was around during Tempest block, and it seemed to me that it should be good for something. But with all of the mono-colored decks and efficient critters that were available at the time, he just never saw much play. In today's multicolor world, he looks a lot more interesting. I've also heard rumors that land destruction is going to be making a comeback; this guy makes the land destruction a little less effective. (Does it really say"target land" and not"target basic land"? It must… I took this directly from the spoiler. I'll bet that this is important.)
Rites of Spring, 1G, Sorcery. Discard any number of cards from your hand. Search your library for that many basic land cards, reveal those cards, and put them into your hand. Then shuffle your library.
Hmm... Another card to be watched in this day of multicolor mania. Is it better or worse than Harrow or Lay of the Land? I'm not sure, but it will get a lot of colored mana into your hand in a hurry, thins your deck, and dumps useless cards out of your hand.
Other Stuff And Small Critters
Ground Seal, 1G, Enchantment. When Ground Seal comes into play, draw a card. Cards in graveyards can't be the targets of spells or abilities.
Look, a card drawer for green. Oh, yeah, it might just protect your graveyard long enough for threshold beasties to do you some good.
A little spendy, but blocking flyers is always a good thing. The discard helps you reach threshold.
I like regenerators, and regenerators with trample just have to be good.
Leaf Dancer, 1GG, 2/2. Forestwalk
Green is being splashed in lots of decks these days, and it now seems likely to me that this will continue. Leaf Dancer is a problem for those decks... If you can protect her. The nice thing is that with GG in the casting cost, she isn't going to be easy to splash. She requires a major commitment to green.
Nantuko Elder, 2G, 1/2. Tap: Add 1G to your mana pool.
A Llanowar Elf with a bigger butt, bigger effect, and bigger cost. All things considered, I don't think it will see a lot of Constructed play, but keep an eye on it just in case.
Comes out faster than the Blurred Mongoose, still can't be targeted, and he gets big later in the game where the Blurred Mongoose stays small. Possibly better than the Blurred Mongoose, and he's an uncommon to boot. I'll be trying him out.
It kills fat Moti for only two mana…what else do I need to say?
Spellbane Centaur, 2G, 3/2. Creatures you control can't be the targets of blue spells or abilities from blue sources.
Yes…A sideboard card that messes up blue mages!
Zoologist, 3G, 1/2. 3G, Tap: Reveal the top card of your library. If it's a creature card, put it into play. Otherwise, put it into your graveyard.
Some interesting late game potential. Got enough mana? At end of your opponent's turn, check the top card in your library to see if it is a critter or land. If it is a land, you've just thinned your deck. If it's a critter, you've just added an attacker for your next turn. Probably not good enough to warrant constructed play, but it is about time that green gets some sort of effects that it can use on the end of its opponent's turn.
No, this isn't a complete review of all of the green in Odyssey…I only looked at the cards that I thought have some tournament or fun potential. Look how many of them there were!
From the prerelease reports I've read so far sounds like I may actually be playing a lot of green at tournaments for the next few months. Better yet, I might be winning with primarily green decks.
* - I've had one email, and I read Mike Mason's article. Both told me that blue got hammered. Oh, I hope it's true.