Flores Friday – Why I’m Playing Little Kid G/W Tomorrow

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Friday, June 27th – The Lorwyn / Shadowmoor Block Constructed PTQ season is now in full swing, and Mike has settled on his Weapon of Choice: “Little Kid” Green/White. Today, he brings us his final build, and walks us through the thought processes behind the maindeck and sideboard configurations. Will it be enough to bring home the blue envelope?

The title of this article presumes I actually make it to the PTQ tomorrow, which is probable, but you know how it is sometimes. Anyway, for the rest of the article let’s just assume that it is in fact true; that will make life easier for both of us.


1) Well… I pretty much have to.

ManningBot: I am mailing your copies of Deckade to Kowal and Shuler.

Me: Only four weeks late!

ManningBot: Wang just told me to do it today.

Me: I know; he IM’d me on Facebook. Anyway, what are you playing on Saturday?

ManningBot: Actually, I’m going to China.

Me: China… really? Nice decisions, your life. But if you were going to go, you’d play Faeries, right?

ManningBot: What kind of question is that? Of course I’d play Faeries. Not only did Gabe win, but it’s not even close.

Me: I think I’m going to play G/W. I gave you props on the mother ship, by the way. I don’t even remember that conversation.

ManningBot: Well, that’s something; we definitely had it. Anyway, after that article by BDM you pretty much have to play G/W. It’s pretty good.

Me: It made a couple of Top 8s last week, I think.

ManningBot: Like I said, it’s pretty good.

2) It’s Pretty Good

The G/W Little Kid deck isn’t that far off of the Standard decks from not that far back, so it’s not like we’re talking about the Innovation of the Korlash deck, or the forty mile gamma-powered green legs leap from Korlash to Mishra or anything. However, at least when we started working on it, it was about as good as you can get in terms of edge in the format.

You see, you have this guy, Gaddock Teeg.

Then you win!

Faeries has a hard enough time with some of the offense the G/W deck is capable of generating as it is; however, if you have Gaddock Teeg they can’t really race at all unless they draw multiple copies of Mistbind Clique. Faeries is kind of a bad deck on a card-by-card basis; it is strong due to the combination of Bitterblossom and overall synergy of the cards (preprogrammed / “linear” / etc.). However, a lot of the Faeries gusto – in all the formats it is good – has to do with the ability to say “No!” at the same time it is clocking. People / pundits / writers / strategists / braggarts don’t mention this very often, but a lot of the Faeries wins (though there are many) are fairly low margin. You need to say “No!” a couple of times, and moreover, one of the big no-no cards also allows it to race with a proxy Fog that also forces attackers in going the other way. Well, the Fae can’t cast any permission spells with Gaddock Teeg in play, so the strategy is basically to try to race gigantic, indestructible, guys with x/1 flyers that do damage to itself. This is just embarrassing, which is why you should strive to draw multiple copies of Mistbind Clique instead.

The other big deck from the first weeks of the PTQ season was / is White Weenie / Kithkin / Mirror Master. This is actually the deck that I thought of initially when I decided to translate the Standard G/W to Block. My initial prediction was that Mirror Master was going to be the G/W of Time Spiral Block – an early favorite offensive deck, but outmoded over time by the obviously better strategies available basically everywhere else. However, the Lorwyn / Morningtide / Shadowmoor version has a huge potential pop with the whole Johnny Mirrorweave angle, a.k.a. “Kill you.” Also Spectral Procession is very good.

In case you’ve had your head buried in the sand, Gaddock Teeg wipes the ability to run either Spectral Procession or Mirrorweave. That is, the major incentive to the White Weenie deck becomes a non-issue if you have the right Grizzly Bears.

In “fair” Magic, the G/W deck just has better guys at every single drop, so that’s not really an issue. You can either just attack and block and Giant Growth and so on, or just attack with Wilt-Leaf Cavaliers every turn until they’re dead.

I never even thought about Merfolk, but it seems to me the G/W guys are bigger. That said, Merfolk has a lot of the same vulnerabilities in-matchup that Faeries has, but can present a much more substantial Mirrorweave than White Weenie due to having no problem whatsoever with Cloudthresher.

Like the Gold deck I posted right before this past Extended PTQ season (before it was supercool to go Doran), the G/W Little Kid deck can be out-mid-ranged by other mid-range strategies. I actually think that either of the Shamans decks (G/R or four-color) can be problematic because of the actual card advantage in those decks. But the real blowout matchup is Elementals.

This is an interesting position to be in.

Elementals has not been doing particularly well in published PTQ results. It is an obviously powerful strategy, and Josh, Asher, and I all gravitated to initially because it, well… It’s just better than everything else in Block, and it’s insanely powerful in a really obvious way.

However, it doesn’t make a disproportionate number of Top 8s.

Does that mean that it is not played?

There is really no way to know; old school thinking might just say “Yes, it is not played very much, therefore there are not so many candidates to make Top 8.” However, Rock / Rock / Paper / Scissors theory might suggest something else.

Josh came back from the Grand Prix reporting that Raphael (who just made a GP Top 8 with Elementals) says that it is the best deck… if you can play. Does that mean that it is played, but that the average Elementals player just isn’t very good? That would be much worse than it’s just not being played.


The G/W deck is mostly soft to only one card: Shriekmaw. That card is the major problem because it can deal with Gaddock Teeg in a way that the deck really can’t cope with very well, and at a fast enough pace that it can disrupt the G/W deck’s offense (the G/W deck will typically be the beatdown in matchups where one deck has Shriekmaw); Nameless Inversion, Lash Out, and Firespout aren’t as bad because of Barkshell Blessing. The Elementals deck has Shriekmaw.

The next worst card is probably Sower of Temptation. That card isn’t as bad because Oblivion Ring is a decent answer and Cloudthresher is an absolutely thumbs up answer… But Sower of Temptation is pretty bad.

I had this idea that I would sideboard Devoted Druid and Oversoul of Dusk (4/3 or 4/4) in basically any matchup featuring the card Reflecting Pool, but Elementals trumps even that!

Reveillark too?

Even Oversoul of Dusk can’t attack into Reveillark without thinking twice!

Josh says to just not worry about it. Maybe people just don’t play Elementals. Maybe.

Reflecting Pool Control (Quick N’ Toast, and so on) isn’t that bad. I mean you’d much rather be up against White Weenie, but Teeg plus Barkshell Blessing really demolish this strategy. Plus, you’ve got some nice tools in the sideboard for the matchup. The only problem is the Reflecting Pool Control deck remembers that they have White mana and start playing, um… You know what? I’m not going to give you any ideas for that. Never you mind.


The sideboard is was terrible. I am speaking about the sideboard posted in Expected and Unexpected, which seems to be where most people got the deck list. I’ll be honest with you; I had to look up some of the cards when I read the article.

Barkshell Blowout
Tom Nugent

9 Forest
4 Mosswort Bridge
9 Plains
2 Wooded Bastion

4 Cloudthresher
2 Elvish Hexhunter
4 Gaddock Teeg
4 Kitchen Finks
4 Safehold Elite
4 Wilt-Leaf Cavaliers
4 Wilt-Leaf Liege
3 Barkshell Blessing
3 Oblivion Ring
4 Shield of the Oversoul

3 Forge[/author]-Tender”]Burrenton [author name="Forge"]Forge[/author]-Tender
2 Elvish Hexhunter
3 Medicine Runner
1 Oblivion Ring
2 Prison Term
4 Seedcradle Witch

I actually had a long conversation with Becker about how bad Seedcradle Witch is until I realized that, yes, I was planning on playing all four copies (the only four-of in Nugent’s winning sideboard)… and that I meant that it was Medicine Runner that I didn’t love.

I will tell you the same thing that I told Barn Julian the N’Sync Intern aka Mother Superior IV when he asked me about Prison Term. “Can you Prison Term a Bitterblossom? No? Of course we’re playing Oblivion Ring.”

Anyway, here is my version with all the changes explained:

I actually proposed 4 Barkshell Blessing and 4 Oblivion Ring with no Elvish Hexhunters, but I think this configuration as processed by Julian and Tom is better than what I came up with by myself. You don’t want to be too reactive, even if Barkshell Blessing is the unsung MVP of the strategy.

The deck originally had Imperious Perfect and Wren’s Run Vanquisher, but I didn’t have Kitchen Finks in that version, and Kitchen Finks is just a hundred times better than Imperious Perfect in this deck. This isn’t a swarm deck. This is a deck that beats the opponent on a card-for-card basis. You tear his strategy off and leave it in the gutter while slamming him with some kind of awesome sequence of threats… You don’t try to overwhelm him with lots of little threats. The deck I originally proposed had no one-drops!

Without Perfect I was uncomfortable playing Vanquisher. This was actually a point of contention between me and Becker. After I started actually taking draws with the deck, I realized that Vanquisher is actually worse than both Teeg and Safehold Elite if you have anything else. No one in this format folds to a 3/3, and the down side is pretty bad if you have to run it out there Faerie Squadron style… no flying (Gabe actually told me he beat G/W in the Swiss by running a Thoughtsieze on Wilt-Leaf Cavaliers, stranding the Vanquisher… the opponent did nothing until turn 5… before making Top 8… Gabe thinks).

Anyway, Becker hates Barkshell Blessing for some reason. I tried to explain to him that Faeries’s only out to Teeg is Nameless Inversion (and they can’t even fight your answer!), and that you can potentially lose to cards like Firespout, or just an opposing Cloudthresher, without it. Barkshell Blessing might not seem impressive, but it is exactly the card you need to solve the actual problems that the deck has / had in the metagame. His response was that “every Giant Growth ever is bad.”

I mean, I am all for Taunting Jon Becker and everything, but it was just comical. It was like one of those arguments I have with Chapin that go like this:

Innovator: Richard Feldman and Zac Hill are my true friends. They believed in me.

michaelj, Lord and Master of All he Surveys: Yeah?

Innovator: Yes! I believed that Ancestral Vision was the best, but people like you took it out of my U/R/W deck in favor of Think Twice; they didn’t. They knew the power of Ancestral Vision!

MJLaMoAHS: Think Twice was better in your deck.

Innovator: No it wasn’t.

MJLaMoAHS: Let’s put it another way: I actually won States that year* with a U/R/W deck** and actually, it was… but neither one of them was good enough. It should have just been Compulsive Research and Court Hussar.

Innovator: That doesn’t change the fact that you didn’t believe in Ancestral Vision, and by extension in me… and they did.

MJLaMoAHS: Actually, I wrote an article about how I thought Ancestral Vision was going to change the face of Standard well before you published your Flag Burner deck.

Innovator: I’ve got you there! You said it and Wheel of Fate were both going to be good, and Wheel of Fate sucks.

MJLaMoAHS: Patrick…

Innovator: Damn it.

MJLaMoAHS: This is the part where…

Innovator: I said “Damn it,” didn’t I?

Or something like that!

At the time Patrick had just finished second in at the World Championships. I’d say that he had two copies of Wheel of Fate in his sideboard, but you already know that and that’s not interesting whatsoever. What’s interesting is that he and Nassif were actually worried about the B/G and Doran matchups on Saturday afternoon, and wished they had more copies of Wheel of Fate in their sideboards than they actually did.


Anyway, it was one of those arguments. Let’s taunt Jon Becker in media res:

The Godfather: Every Giant Growth ever is bad!

Smartypants: Hmmm…

The Godfather: Man, BDM already got me with that one.

Smartypants: We must be the only two people on this planet stupid enough to play G/W every time.

The Godfather: How do you think I know that every Giant Growth ever is bad?

At long last, the sideboard…

3 Forge[/author]-Tender”]Burrenton [author name="Forge"]Forge[/author]-Tender
Not playing this.

2 Elvis Hexhunter
Might play these.

3 Medicine Runner
Not playing this.

1 Oblivion Ring
Probably playing this.

2 Prison Term
Not playing this.

4 Seedcradle Witch
Interesting story, this. I thought this was going to be really good in the G/W mirror, or against Mirror Master, but you don’t really have time for this. Anyway, you usually just outclass Mirror Master, and you don’t need this. Really, Heartmender is just faster, and really annoying for a lot of decks (thanks to Luis Neiman, a.k.a. Luis Not Vargas, for convincing me on this card); the initial plan was to go Druids and Oversouls for any of the Reflecting Pool matchups, but Quick N’ Toast actually has a problem with Heartmender, if you can believe it; he’s quite hard to kill and resistant to Shriekmaw, the best card against G/W.

Probable Sideboard:

1 Elvish Hexhunter
3 Turn to Mist
4 Heartmender
1 Oblivion Ring
2 Twilight Shepherd
4 Wispmare

Elvish Hexhunter
See Wispmare.

Turn to Mist
I actually only really want to play two; this is just like how I try to limit myself to two sideboarded Disenchants in most formats. I decided I won’t draw it enough if I only play two, and I want it for Shriekmaw and Sower of Temptation

Reflecting Pool, mirror, and Mirror Master; annoy, block, &c.

Oblivion Ring

Twilight Shepherd
Just seemed better than Oversoul of Dusk when I switched from Devoted Druid to Heartmender. Would be horrendous to lose this to Sower of Temptation, though.

Bitterblossom and Oblivion Ring.

That’s it for this week. Please join me in crossing fingers for Patrick and House of Cards.


* This Girl PV This Girl PV This Girl PV This Girl PV This Girl PV This Girl

** Kowal, you can see that your copy of Deckade is in the mail.