Welcome back to my favorite Casual Fridays tradition! Every two expansions, we reset the Multiplayer Card Hall of Fame so that it reflects the latest and greatest additions for the group player.
For those of you new to the Hall of Fame, this will take a few weeks. My goal here is to celebrate the best cards Magic has to offer those of us who play with our friends around the kitchen table. Even cramming into a month, the articles will be long. I do not apologize for this: I spend a lot of time on this and do everything I can to include reader input on what cards belong where, and what interactions are most noteworthy. I also try to include fun experiences and observations where possible (and where I haven’t already beaten it to death in past versions of the Hall). In addition, I have once again increased each color’s list by five entries; so we’re at thirty per color this time. (Lands and artifacts will stay at ten and twenty-five, respectively.)
We will start with gardeners (green) as our tour guides this week. In future weeks, I hope to have the time to do two or three colors at a time. For each card, we will look at the following:
- What the card does,
- Any similar cards (within that color only),
- How it rates along”animal” elements (see below), and
- What interactions are most or least productive.
The animal elements are as follows:
Rattlesnake, for its ability to warn off opponents;
Gorilla, for its ability to impact the entire board in one punch;
Spider, for its ability to bait and surprise into the card advantage that group players need;
Pigeon, for its ability to feed off of large groups of people; and
Plankton, for its general willingness to supply the entire animal kingdom with sustenance.
Yes, plankton is a plant. How very Biology 101 of you. They’re still animal elements, because I say so.
The ratings will be words, rather than numbers, since I feel using numbers last time gave an illusion of precision that shouldn’t really be there. The ratings are based on a basic high-low scale, with variations for unusual cases. Every once in a while, you’ll see an”ultimate” rating; I give this to the cards in each color that express a specific element best. So for example, in red, Radiate might get the”ultimate” rating for gorilla, while Pandemonium might get the”ultimate” rating for rattlesnake. This capping off of the rating system helps me avoid grade inflation, which is much easier to do than you might expect when you write stuff like this.
Each version of the Hall of Fame introduces something a bit different. This time around, I will be forging fine haiku for the cards. Sometimes those haiku will discuss card interactions, sometimes countermeasures…and sometimes, nothing in particular.
And now we will start
Our grand multiplayer tour:
These trees stand tallest…
When looking at the list below, one of the first things you ought to notice is how often green is willing to help just about everyone at the table to achieve its ends. No other color holds the kind of”parties” that green does. Revelation, Hunted Wumpus, Liege of the Hollows, Eladamri’s Vineyard, Veteran Explorer, Concordant Crossroads, Awakening, Aluren, and Oath of Druids are only the most obvious; even cards like City of Solitude can often benefit other players who share your goals.
And what are your goals? To get out one of the top two entries on this list, or something that looks an awful lot like them.
An advance honorable mention will go to Gurzigost, the latest variant on Thorn Elemental. While this card does not directly benefit (or benefit from) a multiplayer environment, it does give you a vehicle to prevent decking yourself. This is important in more games than most of us would care to remember.
30. GAEA’S BLESSING
1G Sorcery. Shuffle three target cards back into your library. Draw a card. If Gaea’s Blessing is put directly into your graveyard from your library, shuffle your entire graveyard into your library.
Similar cards: I’ve noticed recently that we’ve been pelted for several expansions with inferior versions of this card. Anyone care for Piper’s Melody, or Rooting Kavu? Dwell on the Past is the latest variant. Gurzigost and Anurid Scavenger are very distant cousins.
I’m keeping this on the list because many readers still find it useful… And so do I. But I don’t find it useful as a multiplayer card in and of its own right. So I’m bumping it down as the list gets larger, and may do away with it altogether next time. I am more enthusiastic about #27 below for this kind of strategy in multiplayer.
Gaea hates millers,
which can also mean a moth
with powdery wings.
1GG Enchantment. 1G, Remove two cards in your graveyard from the game: Put a 2/2 green bear token into play.
Gorilla: Very low
Spider: Very low
Plankton: Very low
I’m testing Bearscape on this list to see what folks think. Bearscape feels like a nuance card in multiplayer; a card that can find resources for you in the late game. When your graveyard is full and your options are limited, the ability to put out an army of 2/2s can be very useful.
This is the sort of card that will keep me revisiting the animal elements. While I haven’t seen the suggestion that makes me want to add a sixth element, I’m always open to suggestions. (“Bees” probably come closest to the highly cooperative strategy element I have in mind.)
From Wild Mongrels
Comes the meal for larger game.
“Traumatize this, punk.”
G Enchant World. All players play with their hands revealed.
I always like green cards that act a bit like blue cards. It feels like the fattie generator is mocking the control mage:”This is what I have coming. I see you have no counterspells. Very well, I will play it. Do you have any response?”
You’ll see Telepathy get rated higher in blue than Revelation does in green; the fact that the controller’s hand stays hidden with Telepathy makes a big difference – and also fits blue’s criteria for high-quality multiplayer cards better.
As hands are revealed
Use the information well,
and pack red instants.
27. HOLISTIC WISDOM
1GG Enchantment. 1, Remove a card in your hand from the game: Return target card in your graveyard to your hand if it shares a type with the card removed this way. (The card types are creature, artifact, enchantment, land, instant, and sorcery.)
This card combines the two features I like about both Bearscape and Revelation: it adds a late-game touch to your strategy, and also mocks the blue mage. The perhaps-technically superior Nostalgic Dreams would rate as a similar card… But everyone’s talking about the Dreams, dammit. Holistic Wisdom is one of those gems you have to polish.
I’ve tried really hard to find a card with more than two types; but so far, you can’t be wordier than”artifact creatures.” (Creature subtypes, of course, are irrelevant.) That ought to be enough for a casual deck alone; but if you need more, consider that green is getting closer and closer to the all-instant option. And there’s always the overly creative path…
Every mage tries,
at least once, to build the dream:
the Killer Land Deck.
26. LLANOWAR SENTINEL
2G, 2/3 Creature. When this comes into play, you may pay 1G. If you do, search your library for another Llanowar Sentinel card and put that card into play.
The only creature that can automatically find every copy of itself and put them directly into play, the Sentinel is a fan favorite. It’s not always a good idea to find all four at once; watch carefully for white and red mages capable of sweeping the board for four mana. (I suppose black mages can do this now as well, with Mutilate. For heaven’s sake, have your Sentinels pay attention to what’s going on out there! That’s what you pay them for.)
The Aluren trick with this card still requires you to pay two mana to get each of the last three copies, but 3GGG for four 2/3 creatures at the end of your last opponent’s turn is a fairly tight deal.
The elf sentinels
Prefer a Symbiosis
to plain Giant Growth.
25. NANTUKO MENTOR
2G, 1/1 Creature. 2G, Tap: Target creature gets +X/+X, where X is that creature’s power.
Similar cards: There are several different”pump” permanents that sit on the table. One is coming up separately in this Hall, since Mentor works a bit differently from most. I’ll list the rest there.
Mentor works in a different way than, say, Nantuko Disciple, because the X is adjustable, and favors larger creatures. What also sets the Mentor apart is that it is a fairly fragile creature for green: Three mana for a 1/1 that a well-timed Searing Touch can deal with. So I don’t put it too highly on the list.
It has still earned its own place on the list, because of the way it rewards large flyers (or other evasion creatures). While Nantuko Disciple or other, perhaps more lasting pump permanents only increase power a bit at a time, the Mentor delivers a finishing blow, when and where you choose. Please don’t forget that the Mentor can take your opponents’ creatures under his tutelage, and teach them how to finish the game quickly.
I’m toying with this:
Mentor, Ghitu War Cry, and
24. NESTING WURM
4GG, 4/3 Creature. Trample. When Nesting Wurm comes into play, you may search your library for up to three copies of Nesting Wurm, reveal them, and put them into your hand. If you do, shuffle your library afterward.
Similar Cards: There are a couple of other creatures out there, such as Howling Wolf, that share this search dynamic.
The first green card on the list to get a strict”high” rating for an animal element, Nesting Wurm is a formidable warning to the table that you are building up your resources. Who will stand in line to kill the first one, when everyone knows there are three more coming soon? Players who have only one spot removal in their hand will wait until it attacks them before acting; and players who have sweeping removal will hang onto it until they are absolutely forced to blow the board.
Expensive and strong,
These creatures should be the first
for Tsabo’s Decree.
23. INVIGORATING FALLS
2GG Sorcery. You gain life equal to the number of creature cards in all graveyards.
Pigeon: Very high
The first unabashed”pigeon” on the list, Invigorating Falls is what Congregate should have been: Reasonable and slow. I still don’t like it very much; but it rates at least a quick mention on this list, since it does have Lhurgoyf-style synergy with a group game.
Life gain always fails.
I don’t care if you just won.
It fails to impress.
22. HUNTED WUMPUS
3G, 6/6 Creature. When Hunted Wumpus comes into play, each other player may choose a creature card in his or her hand and put that card into play.
This is a good way to show folks what I mean by a good multiplayer card: it’s not always good for you. But this is a really fun creature to play early, because you get to see what comes out. Believe me, I’ve been on the receiving end of some bad mojo as a result of popping one of these babies out. It still makes a multiplayer game great.
Anyway, make sure you have lots of removal before you ask this dog to hunt.
Wumpus on turn four.
What’s the best play for turn three?
Easy! Seal of Doom.
21. LIEGE OF THE HOLLOWS
2GG, 3/4 Creature. When this is put into a graveyard from play, each player may pay any amount of mana. Each player puts into play a number of 1/1 green squirrel creature tokens equal to the amount of mana he or she paid this way.
Before there was a Nut Collector, before there was a Squirrel Wrangler, before there was even a Deranged Hermit… There was a Liege of the Hollows. This is not a bad champion at all for squirrel decks. But you don’t need to run that theme exclusively, if you’re just looking for creatures to sack to stuff like Wayward Angel or Devouring Strossus.
More often than not,
The Liege warns of ugliness:
Ashnod’s Altar combo.
20. ELADAMRI’S VINEYARD
G Enchantment. Each player adds GG to their mana pool at the beginning of their first main phase.
Plankton: Very high
It’s always a blast to watch players in the mid- to late game try to figure out how to use the Vineyard mana as they run out of cards and options. Mana burn on control mages is a beautiful thing.
This is also a terrific way to put everyone back in the bad habit of playing out their creatures and permanents before their combat phase. How nice that Torment just came out with a green creature sporting haste! I’ll write my haiku about him, since I’ve said plenty about the Vineyard in the past:
The Centaur Chieftain
Gives you Overrun burger
without all the cheese.
2GG Enchantment. At the beginning of your upkeep, put a wind counter on Cyclone. Then, you may pay G for each wind counter on Cyclone. If you do, Cyclone deals damage equal to the number of wind counters on it to each creature and player. If you don’t, sacrifice Cyclone.
Pound for pound, a high gorilla or rattlesnake rating means more to me than a high pigeon or plankton rating. The first true gorilla on the list, Cyclone is an old-school card that doesn’t see much play because (a) it’s old-school, and (b) it requires upkeep. But very innovative things can be done within green when you add creature and player damage without adding another color.
Black Pestilence decks
Can’t really go creatureless.
But Green Cyclone can!
18. CREEPING MOLD
2GG Sorcery. Destroy target land, artifact, or enchantment.
Similar cards: Green has many tools to take out any one of the above permanent types. Only Desert Twister gives you as many options (in fact, more).
While any card’s elements can be rated”conditional” depending on how and when they are played, Creeping Mold and other spot removal for permanents (e.g., Disenchant) are in a bit of a special category. They are capable of smashing half or more of the cards in the Hall of Fame – and as such, are near-automatic staples in any deck that has room for at least one. Not every game is fun when enchantments or artifacts dominate. Creeping Mold and its kin smash through the less bearable locks, and keep the group happy by getting the game going.
I used to have this rated in the top five, but my philosophy on spot removal for permanents has changed over time. For non-creature permanent removal, I think it’s even more impressive to have lasting effects that warn off, or downright halt, stuff like artifacts and enchantments. You’ll see what I mean down below, toward the end of the green list.
17. BEAST ATTACK
2GGG Instant. Put a 4/4 green beast token into play. Flashback 2GGG.
Similar cards: Odyssey came with a set of flashback”creature instants” (and no, you may not use Holistic Wisdom to call these”creature instants” just because I did!). Chatter of the Squirrel, Call of the Herd, Elephant Ambush, and Roar of the Wurm can all get you two tokens each. King Cheetah and Simian Grunts are example of older cards – actual creatures – that you can play as an instant.
Rattlesnake: Nonexistent before first cast, very high after
Spider: Very high before first cast, nonexistent after
I think one of the niftiest things that Wizards has ever done with green was give the color instant creature removal in the form of a creature… Now if they’d just do one that can block flyers. (And if I could take a moment to use my forum here to push”You Make the Card” voters on magicthegathering.com for an efficient green creature that you can play at instant speed to block flyers, I would like to do that. There are – admittedly small – jumping spiders in real-world nature that can do that sort of thing. And who doesn’t love spiders?!?)
(The Ferrett is arachnophobic – The Ferrett, doing a very poor Rikki Tikki Tavi impression)
Beast Attack has very different stats before and after its first cast. I like the way the card plays off of both”rattlesnake” and”spider” elements, and I like the fact that green has a real gun in its arsenal without resorting to massively overcosted fat.
You attack me once?
Shame on you. Attack me twice?
Shame on you.
2G Enchantment. G, Discard a card from your hand: Target creature gets +2/+2 until end of turn. Sacrifice this: Target creature gets +2/+2 until end of turn.
Similar cards: This and Nantuko Mentor are the latest evolutions in Giant Growth tech. The best-known permanents that lend this kind of recurring pump are Deepwood Drummer and Nantuko Disciple.
This has all of the advantages of reliable, recurring pump – far less vulnerable than the Nantuko Mentor – and the advantages of being able to finish the job in one swoop, if you have both the mana and the cards to discard. Add the madness mechanic of Torment, and you have one sick (but very large) puppy.
If you can continue to draw cards aggressively, and if you have at least a couple of creatures back for defense, you can push the board to your whims. Narcissism is the kind of card that wins multiplayer games without always getting noticed. It makes a fairly aggressive statement, yet it provides its own solutions to the inevitable backlash. I like it a great deal.
I’m a bit sad that green’s Odyssey and Torment contributions peak here. Don’t get me wrong: Format-neutral cards like Wild Mongrel and Basking Rootwalla are just as spiffy in group games as duels. But there are no cards in this block that gain any additional qualities from being in a game with three or more players.
Thus ends the new guard.
Every green card from here on,
A Hall veteran.
And speaking of veterans…
15. VETERAN EXPLORER
G, 1/1 Creature. When this is put into a graveyard from play, each player may choose to search his or her library for up to two basic lands and put them into play. If he or she does, shuffle that player’s library afterward.
Rattlesnake: High (but”in reverse”)
I am hard put to think of a creature – or indeed, a card – that everyone is happier to see than this one. (Perhaps blue’s Noble Benefactor, which was built on the same principle.) Even Howling Mine often has a sinister, ulterior motive to it. But how can this be bad? How can you possibly abuse a Veteran Explorer to everyone’s detriment.
Oh, wait, hang on…
The perfect setup:
Let the lands flow, then kill with
14. CONCORDANT CROSSROADS
G Enchant World. All creatures have haste.
Starting with this card, the green Hall of Fame starts to truly take off. High along three elements, and perfectly capable of surprising players through a fourth, the Crossroads is fundamental and elegant in its instruction. Removing summoning sickness removes a fairly basic rule of the game, and most players are not immediately ready to think about the consequences. With a well-prepared deck, you should be able to outrace everyone.
Defend the crossroads,
Have your removal ready:
Instant speed, of course.
13. PENUMBRA WURM
5GG, 6/6 Creature. Trample. When this is put into a graveyard from play, put a 6/6 black Wurm token with trample into play.
Similar cards: The Wurm has two penumbral cousins, the Bobcat and the Kavu.
Perhaps the best warning signal green has, the Wurm is a true answer to global or spot removal – something that green rarely gets, beyond regeneration. In fact, playing the Wurm often signals that you have global removal and intend to sweep the board of everything except for a lonely, black, 6/6 Wurm with trample.”Hey, folks, nothing to worry about here!”
Not too many creatures rate above”low” or”medium-low” for gorilla impact.”Medium” is high praise for a single creature that, after all, can’t kill anything that doesn’t get in its way.
Why does blue have bounce?
For tokens and fat creatures.
Boomerang that Wurm!
XG Sorcery. This deals X damage to all players and all creatures with flying.
Gorilla: Very high
A long-time resident of the top ten, I’ve been feeling of late like this card is too one-dimensional to stay up there. It’s a killer finisher, and one of the few mana-efficient sources of direct damage that green has. In addition, it’s the most reliable and flexible method it has of killing swarms of fliers. But it does what it does, and then it’s gone, and you know, that doesn’t necessarily make games great. Unlike Earthquake in red, which both disrupts more of the board and also gets a great number of complementary cards (like Repercussion), Hurricane in green is a one-shot, unintegrated strategy 95% of the time.
So I’ve pushed it down a couple of slots, but I don’t think anyone should be angry. The thing is still sitting on top of the Penumbra Wurm, for crying out loud.
If hurricanes flow
From oceanic regions,
why color them green?
11. CITY OF SOLITUDE
2G Enchantment. Each player may only play spells and abilities during his or her turn.
Gorilla: Very high
The kind of”color” hoser I really like, City of Solitude punishes not only blue control mages, but anyone who’s been in group games long enough to know that instants are king. Like Concordant Crossroads, this green enchantment changes the rules: Both of the game itself (since instants are now just sorceries that are occasionally useful during combat) and of the way many people think about multiplayer.
And it’s a card that’s not that easy to come up with great interactions, which makes it a real challenge. If this were just coming out, I’d probably put this in a Break this Card contest, just to prove that I don’t always pick bad cards for it.
The best way to use the City is probably traditional stompy-fest, with a Fireball or other powerful sorcery or two put in there. You can also vary the pitch and use creatures with triggered abilities – like Uktabi Orangutan and Soltari Visionary – or pick creatures that cannot be the target of spells or abilities, so that you don’t have to worry as much about protecting them.
Forbid, Bottle Gnomes, healers –
All shall fall asleep.
Let’s break open the top ten in green.
2GG, */*+1 Creature. * equals the number of creature cards in all graveyards.
Similar cards:”Ach, Hans, a Terravore!”
Pigeon: Very high
“Ach, Hans, think quickly!
Play an Honor the Fallen,
Or die like I did!”
2GG Enchantment. At the beginning of each player’s upkeep, all players untap their creatures and lands.
Gorilla: Very high
Plankton: Very high
Yet again, Wizards has green changing the rules of Magic. Now there’s an untap step every turn – for everyone! Meant originally as a counterweight to Stasis decks, Awakening has found long life in group games as a source of constant tapping effects, aggressive attacking and blocking, or just good will.
The two most amazing machines with Awakening, in my opinion, are Tradewind Rider and Shivan Gorge. It’s worth tracking down those rares, just to see it all happen together. (To make your deck cheaper, add in some Goblin Medics and Puppeteers.)
“Fire, foes, awake!”
Why can’t we untap any
Hobbits in Magic?
8. TRANQUIL GROVE
1G Enchantment. 1GG: Destroy all other enchantments.
Similar cards: Universal enchantment destruction is a theme of green, from Tranquility to Hush to Reverent Silence.
Rattlesnake: Very high
The board control… Is… Amazing. You will not believe how many players this screws up. One of the few control enchantments that actually makes games go faster.
In a Tranquil Grove
Players tend to hold back cards.
Consider Blood Oath.
7. DROP OF HONEY
G Enchantment. At the beginning of your upkeep, destroy target creature with the lowest power. It can’t be regenerated. If two or more creatures are tied for lowest power, destroy only one of them. When there are no creatures in play, sacrifice Drop of Honey.
Another variant of Pestilence for green, this is a very consistent card across multiple elements.”Slow and steady” is its mantra. It only whacks one creature per round, which can feel slow; but it is rather relentless, and keeps weenies off the board if they aren’t already there in droves.
Naturally, you’ll be playing this with high-power creatures (or no creatures at all, if you feel you can count on your opponents supplying fresh kill on a regular basis). And hey, how about that Lhurgoyf we were just looking at?
But you can also be more imaginative and make your creatures the low-power ones, creating triggers upon hitting the graveyard such as Last Laugh or Pattern of Rebirth (for something considerably bigger).
How does honey kill?
Maybe a really big bee
Comes and stings you, tons.
2GG Enchantment. Any player may play a creature card with total converted casting cost of 3 or less whenever he or she could play an instant, and without paying its casting cost.
Similar cards: Vernal Equinox lets creatures and enchantments get played at instant speed, but you must pay the cost.
Rattlesnake: Very high
Gorilla: Very high
Plankton: Very high
Yet another rule-changer! Many people, including me, have talked about this card at great length. Let’s focus instead on how to beat it.
You cannot beat Aluren on redefining converted mana cost: There is no card that will help you there. (Cards that make spells more or less expensive do only that, and don’t change what’s in that top right corner.) But there are three other elements to the card that make it vulnerable: It is an enchantment, the creatures get to be played at instant speed, and the creatures are likely to be small.
The first vulnerability is easy; anything that gets rid of any enchantment will get rid of this one. The second vulnerability screams City of Solitude; I’ve been saving that card for when Theo’s”Equaluren” (Equilibrium – Aluren) deck spins too far out of control. You can also attack that second element by having cheap creatures of your own; but you are likely to be outgunned by the enchantment’s controller, who after all built his deck specifically to abuse Aluren. The third vulnerability – the size of the creatures – speaks to cheap global removal.
Pyroclasm and Massacre are a good start; but we should also all be ready for Fleetfoot Panther-style tricks that return key creatures to the Aluren’s controller’s hand. Consider holding on to your first, global removal card until you have a second, spot removal card that you can use to cut off the escape route of whatever’s trying to leave your ring of fire.
Find all cards you own that say,
“When…comes into play.”
I don’t mean to sound too scornful; the card really is amazing.
5. NATURAL AFFINITY
2G Instant. All lands become 2/2 creatures until end of turn. They still count as lands.
Similar cards: Starting with the enchant world Living Plains in Legends, green has had the occasional bomb with this effect: Jolrael, Empress of Beasts; Verdant Touch, Nature’s Revolt, and the Life half of Life/Death are the most prominent examples.
Gorilla: Very high
Turning all lands into creatures rates as one of the ugliest surprises an opponent faces. It’s bad when they’re attacking, it’s bad when they’re tapped out and defending, it’s bad in response to light damage like Pyroclasm, it’s bad in response to global removal bombs like Wrath of God, it’s just… Bad.
Gaea’s Cradle is an interesting card to consider with Natural Affinity. On one hand, you want it in the same deck with the Affinity so that you can tap it for Affinity’s mana and still have plenty of land-creatures left to attack (or do whatever). On the other hand, turning the Cradle into a creature makes it much more vulnerable. More often than not you’ll leave it out; but be prepared with other strategies (such as artifact mana) to power your spells so that your dudes can do other things.
All creatures – and all their lands –
Pay homage to him.
4. OATH OF DRUIDS
1G Enchantment. During each player’s upkeep, if that player controls fewer creatures than target opponent, that player may reveal cards from his or her library until he or she reveals a creature card. That player puts that card into play and all other cards into his or her graveyard.
Similar cards: The Zoologist is a once-a-turn sort of Oath, for yourself.
Rattlesnake: Very high
Plankton: Very high
The Oath is a well-worn path to many casual (and tournament!) decks, since the very process of revealing your deck is essentially a back-door way of drawing tons of cards. All you need are the tools to get any non-creature pieces you need out of your graveyard. Gaea’s Blessing, Yawgmoth’s Will, Argivian Restoration, or any one of a hundred other cards are all worth exploration, depending on what you’re trying to do.
More conventionally, you can just let the Oath work its magic randomly, watching players mill away cards they might have needed just to try to catch up in the creature race.”To Oath or Not To Oath” is a common theme in our group, and it’s easy to guess wrong. Especially if you’ve changed your deck…
Once I Oathed for fat
That I had quite forgotten
Was no longer there.
2GG Sorcery. Each player may put an artifact, creature, enchantment, or land card from his or her hand into play. Players take turns playing cards from their hands until no one wants to put another card into play. If a spell has an X in its casting cost, X = 0.
Plankton: Very high
This card gets the ultimate rating for”gorilla” not because its impact is in removing things from the board (like most gorilla cards do), but because its impact is in dropping a ton of stuff onto it. The sheer volume of stuff that can come down can be terrifying, and gives this sorcery an unusually high spider rating. (I’m trying to reserve”high” and higher for instants.)
For the perfect stack,
Lay down Uktabi, Wumpus…
Then a Portcullis.
2. MULTANI, MARO-SORCERER
4GG, */*. * equals the number of cards in all players’ hands. This cannot be the target of spells or abilities.
Rattlesnake: Very high
Gorilla: High but shrinking
A creature like the Lhurgoyf, which can get incredibly large but is easily removable by black, blue, or even white, is impressive. A creature like Maro, which is almost always gargantuan and can’t be removed except through the most absolute of global removal (e.g., Obliterate, Wrath of God or Plague Wind), is downright terrifying. Stampede Driver made its entire name on its ability to make Multani trample over defenders on kitchen tables around the world.
Howling Mine, Prosperity, and/or Pandemonium are all ridiculously good with this creature. Wheel of Fortune, Ill-Gotten Gains, and Windfall are all ridiculously bad, since Multani will die as a state-based effect.
Multani gets skinnier.
1. VERDANT FORCE
Gorilla: Very high and growing
See, right there, I violated my own rule and picked two different cards to be”ultimate” in the same element (Multani and Verdant Force, for pigeon). But honestly, how could you argue against either one? They both represent the ultimate in how green takes advantage of more players: Higher power in one, more creatures in the other.
While the Force is more vulnerable to spot removal, it often leaves a small army in its wake. If it is not removed quickly (say, within two rounds), the game should be yours the clear majority of the time.
Saprolings, of course, saw great advances through Invasion block. Reprinting Overrun in Odyssey didn’t hurt as a reminder of what a large collection of tiny creatures can accomplish. A simple Dense Foliage will put off most attempts to stop the Force; at that point, your opponents’ best hope is a Warmonger.
Will give you eight more creatures.
With nine players, hold!
Gold, red, and white cards are coming up next, in no particular order. I am open to suggestions until the very last moment, so fire away!