I've been playing a lot of Standard this week with various Green-White decks. The version that has performed the best for me so far is based on the deck Devon Paynter made the top 8 of the SCG Open with last weekend in Indianapolis. I made a few changes to the deck and recorded four matches I played with it this week. I would like to share these matches with you today.
Here's the list I used for the four matches:
And here is the deck tech portion explaining my card choices:
The gist of the deck is to play creatures and attack. Selesnya has some of the largest creatures in the format at each spot on the curve (Fleecemane Lion, Loxodon Smiter, Advent of the Wurm), and this deck aims to play those creatures as early as possible.
Elvish Mystic is the only one-drop, eschewing Experiment One, Soldier of the Pantheon, Dryad Militant, Judge's Familiar, and any other reasonable one-drop in favor of more cards between two and four mana. Aside from the Mystic, which accelerates me into Smiter and Advent, the next best thing I want to be doing on the first turn is playing Temple of Plenty to smooth out my draws so I can curve out from two to four mana.
Selesnya Charm (exile mode), Banishing Light, and Polukranos, World Eater help clear out blockers while Ajani, Caller of the Pride allows me to fly over them. Boon Satyr and the Charm (+2/+2 mode) help to grow our creatures in combat since our primary plan is to dominate combat.
Post-board we have Celestial Flare for Hexproof decks as well as for Stormbreath Dragon, Blood Baron of Vizkopa, and whatever other creature is causing us problems. Mistcutter Hydra is for the Monoblue Devotion matchup but can also come in against the Azorius and Esper Control decks, dodging Detention Sphere and Azorius Charm while also getting an attack in before becoming vulnerable to their sorcery speed removal.
Setessan Tactics is great against other creature decks, especially when on the play, and can answer cards like Master of Waves that would otherwise be difficult to answer. Unflinching Courage is our ace in the hole against red decks, and I'll sometimes side in a few of them against non-red decks if I feel like the game will come down to a race. Lastly, Scavenging Ooze is great against Dredge and also strong against any deck trying to kill our creatures (see black decks).
Now that we have a grasp of how the deck works, let's take a look at round 1. (And if you listen closely you can hear my Birds of Paradise producing mana in the background).
Round 1: BG Constellations
Game One I wasn't sure what I was up against. It looked like Black Devotion splashing green, but Doomwake Giant revealed it was BG Constellations. Turn 1 Elvish Mystic ended up going the distance, killing the opponent all by itself!
…Well, I suppose Ajani, Caller of the Pride helped a little (a lot), but he dealt the full 20 himself!
Game 2 was a little more typical, with the opponent starting off with Brain Maggot to take our Ajani and then Abrupt Decay killing our Fleecemane Lion. Advent of the Wurm did some damage while bestowed with Boon Satyr before eventually receiving the same fate as the Fleecemane Lion ( Abrupt Decay). We continued to trade resources until Polukranos, World Eater came down, immediately becoming monstrous to kill Brain Maggot. This finally freed Ajani, Caller of the Pride, who jumped the Hydra for 12 points of lethal flying green goodness, sending me into song and dance as we took the first match!
Round 2: 4-Color Control
Game 1 started out Street Fighter style as we mulliganed to a decent six card hand and opened with Fleecemane Lion, immediately followed by a flurry of bad jokes and a Loxodon Smiter.
A somewhat intricate play involved sending Fleecemane Lion at Xenagos and Loxodon Smiter at the opponent, enabling us to trade Selesnya Charm for the Satyr Token and the Planeswalker while still dealing four to the opponent that turn. This extra damage allowed us to set up an attack the following turn that forced a chump block with Courser of Kruphix and closed out the game before Elspeth could hit the battlefield.
Game 2 began exactly the same way game 1 began – with more bad jokes. We ended up land light for too long and Elspeth hit play before we ever drew our third land, at which point we were too far behind to recover.
Game 3 we had plenty of lands and a timely Advent of the Wurm on turn 4 was followed up by a turn 5 Boon Satyr on the wurm for exactly lethal.
It seemed the key to this matchup was killing the opponent before they were able to resolve Elspeth.
Round 3: RBW Control
Game 1 our draw was spell-light, which is fairly common given our high density of creatures in the deck. I was hoping the opponent would choose Loxodon Smiter with their Thoughtseize, but no such luck. Instead we had to play the Elephant the hard way, and his brother the following turn. All the opponent had was Desecration Demon, which was not enough to prevent lethal the following turn.
Game 2 he killed our second turn Loxodon Smiter with Mizzium Mortars. He then cast Dreadbore on our Advent of the Wurm and another one on our Polukranos, World Eater. He then played Warleader's Helix on our growing Scavenging Ooze, but a pair of Boon Satyrs were able to close things out.
In hindsight, this match was quite a beating! I curved out both games, fought through multiple pieces of disruption, and still managed to amass enough pressure to win the game before ever getting into stage three (aka Elspeth stage, which I'm sure he was holding).
Round 4: White Weenie
This round we fought against our most worthy adversary of the day, a mage by the name of FisterRoboto piloting an aggressive white weenie deck very similar to the one Adam Yurchick talked about in his article this week, a deck that placed well in a major Japanese tournament last weekend.
Game 1 I started out on the back foot but was able to turn the momentum by chump blocking a Precinct Captain with Voice of Resurgence, forcing a return block that crippled the opponent's board presence and allowed us to finish him off with a mid-combat Boon Satyr bestowal on a Fleecemane Lion.
Could we do it? Could we defeat FisterRoboto and his army of white weenies? Up a game, all we had to do was win one of the next two and the victory would be ours!
Game 2 he blazed out of the gates with Soldier of the Pantheon, Dryad Militant, and Boros Elite followed by a Hall of Triumph. This forced us to trade our lone creature (a Fleecemane Lion) for his Dryad Militant. Then Banisher Priest on our Voice of Resurgence put the game out of reach, leaving us with a hand full of stranded cards and not enough time to set anything up.
The weenies were too strong for us that game!
So it all came down to a game three…
In game 3 we are on the play, but we also had to take a mulligan. All was well though as we opened on Elvish Mystic into Fleecemane Lion. The opponent again, however, came out of the gates fast – vomiting a trio of one-drops onto the board in the first couple turns. We were able to recover with Setessan Tactics to kill two of his creatures, but this put us all the way down to just 8 life.
That's when some real wizardry started to go down!
My cowardly Fleecemane Lion mustered Unflinching Courage before getting exiled into oblivion by a topdecked Banisher Priest to seal a game that would have otherwise been won by the Lion and our giant Hydra. What a match!
In the end the deck played out rather well, but I couldn't quite beat white weenie when it counted. Still, not a bad run - and I can handle losing to white weenie.
After recording the videos I played a few more matches and implemented some changes I'd been thinking about. The following is my current list, post-video recording:
The first change I made was to add 3 copies of Brimaz, King of Oreskos. I felt like I wanted another three-drop alongside Loxodon Smiter that was good against the more aggressive decks while still being able to pressure the control decks. Boon Satyr is great against Azorius and Esper Control but pretty bad against any deck running a Grizzly Bear. So I cut 2 of them and the Scavenging Ooze, the worst performing card in the deck, for the 3 cats.
To accommodate 1WW I had to up the white mana count, which meant sacrificing the two Mutavaults in favor of two Plains. I think it is a worthwhile exchange as Mutavault did not really do much for me in the games I played. I also replaced the sixth Forest with a Selesnya Guildgate, but I'm still on the fence about whether this is correct.
The other main deck change was to replace the third Banishing Light with a third copy of Polukranos, World Eater. The hydra exceeded expectations and in a field full of Thoughtseize and Lifebane Zombie, I wanted more haymakers. Banishing Light was the clear place to cut since I was already feeling like three copies was too many for similar reasons: getting stuck without a creature in hand and instead holding reactive cards like Selesnya Charm and Banishing Light. Polukranos can kill stuff too with his monstrous ability, so it's not like I'm skimping on my removal by replacing a Banishing Light with a third copy of him.
While the main deck mostly just changed to accommodate Brimaz, the sideboard underwent a few more changes, most notably the addition of 3 Glare of Heresy. It's obviously great against the White Weenie deck that beat us in the final round, but it's also the card I want against Esper and Azorius Control decks. I want to efficiently kill their Detention Sphere, Banishing Light, and Elspeth, Sun's Champion. I like it over Banishing Light in this matchup not only because it costs one less (which is sweet) but also because it has a lion in the artwork Banishing Light can be removed by an opposing Banishing Light or Detention Sphere, potentially unlocking an Elspeth or Oblivion Ring effect. I think it's worth the extra sideboard spots to play the overall stronger card for the matchup while also improving our White Weenie matchup. I also board in a couple against the Boros Red Devotion decks that run Chained to the Rocks and Boros Reckoners.
Most of the other changes involved moving things from the main deck to the sideboard (Boon Satyr, Banishing Light, Scavenging Ooze). I went down to just 2 Setessan Tactics because I found that three was generally too many and I mostly only wanted them on the play. Mistcutter Hydra underperformed in this deck, even against Monoblue Devotion. I found that I would rather just bring in a pair of Setessan Tactics and a couple more Banishing Lights for that matchup (and a Glare if they are the white version).
Overall I'm pretty happy with this deck and where I'm at with the list. I've been doing reasonably against Black Devotion and the Azorius control decks, which together comprise over half the field right now! I plan to try out a few more strategies this week in preparation for Grand Prix Chicago in two weeks. So hopefully I'll have something new to share again with you next week.
So what did you think of today's video article? Would you like me to do more video articles? What did you like about it specifically? Send me a message or comment below. My goal is to make the video articles instructional and entertaining, so any feedback for improving in either (or both) of these areas would be appreciated.
Until next time, domo arigato!
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