Last week my Golgari heart cheated on Jarad with Trostani in Commander and in honor of Selesnya Week I'm going to continue the affair with green/white in Standard. There are so many deck ideas I've got whirling around in my head now that we've got Return to Ravnica and a brand new format and I'm just dying to share them with you to see what you think. Yes they're raw and untested but once I get these cards in my hands this weekend I'm going to get a green/white deck sleeved up to go alongside a green/black brew. I hope you can help me decide which of these ideas has a shot at competing in the new metagame at least at the Friday Night Magic level.
Before I jump in though….
Return to Ravnica Prerelease
Did you go? I thought it was an awesome promotion and I wasn't alone. The game shop was stuffed to capacity for the midnight Prerelease! I really liked having the guild pack (Golgari of course) to ensure I had enough goodies to build a guild-centric deck of my choice and that I was able to actually play with the Prerelease card. Plus the spindown die was a nice bonus.
I ended up with what I thought was a solid but not especially potent card pool. The rares I could play were either going to be great or mediocre depending on the board state: Cryptborn Horror and Desecration Demon. As I stared at my deck and the cards I wasn't putting in hoping for something potent I was missing I realized that Grove of the Guardian—which could potentially be stellar—could be added to the mix relatively pain-free. I'd opened a Temple Garden that could take the place of a Forest and could add a Transguild Promenade to the mix. Grisly Salvage could even set up Deathrite Shaman to produce a white mana for me. This is what I ended up running:
5 casting cost: 2x Golgari Longlegs
6 casting cost: Rites of Reaping
7 casting cost: Terrus Wurm
Artifact: Street Sweeper Tablet of the Guilds
Nonbasic lands: Izzet Guildgate
Round 1 I got paired up against a Golgari player who'd actually opened a bunch of good Rakdos stuff in his booster packs and basically built a Rakdos deck that splashed a little green. He crushed me the first game and the second game he had an awkward draw that let me leverage in enough damage to steal the game before he could really get a board presence down.
The last game was epic with him scavenging a bunch of counters on to his life gain Imp with his Corpsejack Menace in play sacrificing a creature to tap down my Demon and getting a huge swing in life. I struck back for six and he didn't chump block saving it for the Demon. I then dropped Cryptborn Horror with my own Corpsejack Menace in play making it a 12/12 trampler. When he attacked with his Imp again sacrificing his last remaining creature (the Corpsejack Menace) I untapped the Demon with Savage Surge ate the Imp and crushed him with the next two attacks.
Round 2 I got paired up against Selesnya and watched in absolute horror as he went buck wild with populate his army of Centaurs growing every single turn. I had Sluiceway Scorpion and Corpsejack Menace in play and a handful of cards—potential tricks—that scared him away from attacking a lot longer than he should have but eventually he started swinging and I lost. Game 2 he got a slow start and I had removal for his first Centaur token and was able to beat down quickly with Desecration Demon. Game 3 was a slugfest that went to time and instead of getting a draw (which is as good as a loss in Prerelease pods) I gave him the win.
Round 3 I got positively crushed by Izzet. It seemed that every move I made played right into his fiendish plans. It was 3 AM so I don't remember too much about it other than just feeling totally outmaneuvered. I suppose that's the flavor the guild is supposed to have and my opponent certainly had all the right answers.
I'm curious if anyone thinks I could have built the deck better?
Now on to Standard!
One of the cards I'm most excited to play with is Angel of Serenity. I mentioned a couple weeks back that this time around I've decided to buy several boxes of Return to Ravnica rather than just buy singles but I made one initial exception—I went ahead and preordered three copies of Angel of Serenity. I can't imagine not playing with her a ton in Standard maybe even in Modern and tons in Commander and since her initial price point seemed reasonable I snagged her.
- 3 Angel of Serenity
- 4 Azorius Arrester
- 4 Borderland Ranger
- 3 Fiend Hunter
- 3 Requiem Angel
- 2 Serra Avenger
- 2 Sublime Archangel
- 3 Sigarda, Host of Herons
First in the mix is (of course) a midrange take on Selesnya with a strong Angel theme. There are some really good Angels available to us in Standard right now with good enough mana to make me want to consider Seraph Sanctuary over Gavony Township. One of the biggest problem creatures of the format is also an Angel—Sigarda Host of Herons—and I want nothing more than to power her into play with Cavern of Souls slap a Rancor on her and make my opponent frown in beatdown town.
It's hard not to put Armada Wurm in here at six mana but since I'm already running Sigarda over Thragtusk I think I want to stay on theme with Requiem Angel giving me some resistance to mass removal. And with Rancors those Spirits left behind can do some good work.
Garruk Relentless is another good card against mass removal and its transformed ability to sac a creature to Tutor up a creature is the perfect way to get the Angel of Serenity chain working. There's been chatter about it over on the Premium side but if you haven't seen it yet basically you play an Angel of Serenity and exile two of your opponent's most threatening creatures in play and one of your own creatures in your graveyard. If your opponent kills your Angel you get your dead creature back and your opponent has to spend mana replaying his creatures. If you then play another Angel of Serenity you exile the first Angel along with two of your opponent's most threatening creatures. Now if your opponent kills your Angel you get to do it all over again. It's brutal slow-grind midrange inevitability that I just love.
Azorius Arrester is there to buy time though I may end up swapping it for Elvish Visionary. The two Serra Avengers might look strange but I think they're decent mid game draws that you can play and still have mana for Selesnya Charm or Rancor or if I decide to run them Gavony Township.
At three mana I'm torn between Borderland Ranger Fiend Hunter and Intrepid Hero. Intrepid Hero is a big question mark right now given that we really don't know what to expect in the coming weeks though I do love the idea of using Rancor to super-size smaller creatures to gun down with the Hero. For my first version of the deck I'm sticking with the tried and true Borderland Ranger and Fiend Hunters. Thoughts?
Sublime Archangel complements the four-mana slot with her mass exalted working well with the air force. It's rather sad that the very best four-drop Angel we have can't really be used very well in an Angel deck…
Speaking of Restoration Angel another midrange approach might be to just jam pack value creatures out the wazoo! Enough incremental advantage can turn into a game-winning avalanche and we can leverage it with the nearly always good Restoration Angel along with some other more conditionally good cards: the tricksy Cloudshift and the value-rific Conjurer's Closet!
Conjurer's Closet hasn't gotten a fair shake yet since people have been packing plenty of artifact hate even in their maindeck to handle all the sweet artifact cards from the Mirrodin block that just rotated out. Cards like Conjurer's Closet tend to be overlooked because they will usually trigger during your next upkeep but the triggered ability on Conjurer's Closet has "haste" in that it'll trigger at the end of the same turn as you play it letting you get immediate value from it provided you have a creature in play you want to Blink.
And boy do we have creatures we want to Blink! Elvish Visionary Azorius Arrester Centaur Healer Thragtusk Armada Wurm Angel of Serenity! We'd very likely play all these with Restoration Angel even without the extra Blinky-Blinky stuff but I'm looking forward to pushing the value button hard here. I'm really looking forward to turn 1 Pilgrim turn 2 Visionary and then when I chump block with the Visionary casting Cloudshift on the Visionary to draw another card and keep the body around for another turn. Of course all the value shenanigans are just buying time to get to the ultimate value shenanigans of Angel of Serenity!
If you've been reading my column regularly this year you've probably seen a couple of my takes on Feed the Pack. It's another interesting card with "haste" in that you can sacrifice a creature at the end of the turn to get 2/2 Wolf tokens equal to the creature's toughness. As of this summer I had Tree of Redemption and Rhox Faithmender in the four casting cost spots cards that worked great with Feed the Pack…but were less than stellar on their own.
Then along came Trostani Selesnya's Voice! While she's harder to cast than Faithmender she's got a bigger body and will likely gain you more life more consistently than Faithmender. The legendary status hurts just a little bit but we're playing Feed the Pack! Any extra copies drawn and you can just sacrifice the first one to Wolves and play another one.
Next I was wondering about Tree of Redemption and then it occurred to me that perhaps Sublime Archangel might be better in the four slot. She's got evasion and her mass exalted applies right away potentially giving a creature played earlier size enough to push through. And if you've got Feed the Pack in play those exalted triggers can be cashed in for extra Wolf tokens at the end of the turn!
Grove of the Guardian does some good work here by helping to make sure you've got a creature to populate. Here's what I've got currently:
I've seen a few new green/white aggro decks running around but I don't think any look quite as scary as this:
Nothing too fancy here just hard-hitting brothers with lead pipes and blow torches looking to get medieval. Arbor Elf and Avacyn's Pilgrim provide acceleration Fencing Ace and Silverblade Paladin provide the mad double-striking skills and Rancor Sublime Archangel and Wolfir Silverheart provide the beef. Selesnya Charm's +2/+2 and trample mode can offer up a really nasty surprise for blockers when targeting a double striker.
Let's walk through a line of play:
Turn 1: Avacyn's Pilgrim.
Turn 3: Play Sublime Archangel swing with 6/4 trampling double striker.
Turn 4: Play Wolfir Silverheart pair up with Ace and attack with 11/9 trampling double striker.
Now that's medieval! I'm not one to usually play beatdown but that's pretty vicious!
I also have a deck idea built around Seance and Trostani Selesnya's Voice—I have visions of endless Thragtusks and maybe even Craterhoof Behemoths—but I don't think I can make it work and stay only green/white so I think that's probably a deck for another day.
What are your favorite green/white strategies in new Standard? Which of these decks do you think I should focus on?
starcitygeezer AT gmail DOT com
Make sure to follow my Twitter feed (@blairwitchgreen). I check it often so feel free to send me feedback ideas and random thoughts. I've also created a Facebook page where I'll be posting up deck ideas and will happily discuss Magic life or anything else you want to talk about!
New to Commander?
If you're just curious about the format building your first deck or trying to take your Commander deck up a notch here are some handy links:
- Commander Primer Part 1 (Why play Commander? Rules Overview Picking your Commander)
- Commander Primer Part 2 (Mana Requirements Randomness Card Advantage)
- Commander Primer Part 3 (Power vs. Synergy Griefing Staples Building a Doran Deck)
- Commander Starter Kits 1 (kick start your allied two-color decks for $25)
- Commander Starter Kits 2 (kick start your enemy two-color decks for $25)
- Commander Starter Kits 3 (kick start your shard three-color decks for $25)
My current Commander decks (and links to decklists):
- Trostani Selesnya's Voice (new player-friendly)
- Jarad Golgari Lich Lord (drain you big time)
- Nefarox Overlord of Grixis (evil and Spike-ish)
- Yeva Nature's Herald (living at instant speed)
- Johan (Cat Breath of the Infinite)
- Riku of Two Reflections (steal all permanents with Deadeye Navigator + Zealous Conscripts)
- Phelddagrif (Mean Hippo)
- Sigarda Host of Herons (Equipment-centric Voltron)
- Bruna Light of Alabaster (Aura-centric Voltron)
- Niv-Mizzet the Firemind (Chuck's somewhat vicious deck)
Previous Commander decks currently on hiatus:
- Ruhan of the Fomori (lots of equipment and infinite attack steps)
- Phage the Untouchable (actually casting Phage from Command Zone!)
- Ghave Guru of Spores (Melira Combo)
- Glissa the Traitor (undying artifacts!)
- Grimgrin Corpse-Born (Necrotic Ooze Combo)
- Damia Sage of Stone (Ice Cauldron shenanigans)
- Geist of Saint Traft (Voltron-ish)
- Glissa Sunseeker (death to artifacts!)
- Jor Kadeen the Prevailer (replacing Brion Stoutarm in Mo' Myrs)
- Thelon of Havenwood (Campfire Spores)
- Melira Sylvok Outcast (combo killa)
- Konda Lord of Eiganjo (The Indestructibles)
- Vorosh the Hunter (proliferaTION)
- Progenitus (Fist of Suns and Bringers)
- Savra Queen of the Golgari (Demons)
- Uril the Miststalker (my "more competitive" deck)
I am Golgari Swarm!
I was born into Magic a green mage.Summoning gigantic monsters to fight for me was the ultimate rush!And yet time after time my opponents would slay these magnificent creatures and leave them useless rotting in the grave.That's when a friend suggested I add black magic to the green so that death was only a temporary inconvenience and I realized – life and death aren't points along a journey but a cycle of power that never stops!
My Darkness.My Horde.MyGuild.Golgari!Join me won't you?