Food For Thought: Green/White Aggro in Standard

The standard beats package should be – according to Heezy Street – Kird Ape and Scab-Clan Mauler, with Giant Solifuge and Scorched Rusalka somewhere in the midst. No doubt those guys are fantastic – good enough to run over Owling Mine like it wasn’t even there, and good enough to win Forty Grand – but good enough today?

Just when you thought you couldn’t get enough aggro, folks, here comes my first article as a featured writer. Who knew that my mug would one day grace the lauded halls of StarCityGames.com The greats such as Flores, Rizzo, Wakefield, and, of course, Cunningham.

Today I’m going to bring you a deck that smashes Zoo in the face and wins right out of the sky.

Watch out! It’s this deck, winning!

Greetings and Salutations

Here’s something I love about featured writers: They get a little breathing room. You know what sucks? Not having the ability to write ten pages of consciousness and get paid for it (I love ya Rizzo, but damn).

No, you gotta earn your chops and write some decent reads. I think I’ve done that.

As for myself, I’ve been writing about, playing, and even developing card games for a long time. Maybe not some you’ve heard of or played, but I’ve been around. I’ve played Magic for well over a decade now, and while I took a retirement as most do, I don’t think I missed much. Well, okay, I missed Apocalypse block, and that sucks, but otherwise I’m cool.

You know how the good players generally stay good when they come back to the game? I’ll go so far as to say I’m pretty good. That you can trust my words here. That may come off prudish but hell, what’s a little pride in your abilities? Not much, I say. I’m a Spike through-and-through. I like to win. I don’t play to have fun, I play to take home the box, the mox, the cash. And I’ve done so for awhile now.

Rest assured I’ve been writing for a long time and I plan on continuing the trend. I’m happy and gracious to have my words placed on Star City Games. A forumite for almost a year before submitting my first (admittedly sub-par) article back in Sept ‘04, it took me awhile to catch back up to Magic and what it means to look at a meta and all that geeky stuff.

But that time is over. So enough chit-chat, let’s get started.

The Deck

Here’s the deck, something I’m calling Mighty Bubbles. Take a look and see if you can figure out why:

My buddy EJ piloted this deck to an undefeated appearance at the local T2 this past Saturday while I was at home sick as a dog. And let me tell you, while I wasn’t there to witness it, his prize box of Russian Guildpact was nice indeed (can you imagine a Russian Ghost Council of Orzhova? Man, that is some sexy goodness that even Osyp can’t deal with).

How It Works (as if you didn’t already know)

This deck works on an engine of efficient beats (Isamaru, Hound of Konda, Savannah Lions, Watchwolf), evasive creatures (Dryad Sophisticate) and amazing tricks. The amazing trick is basically Bathe in Light. Sure Might of Oaks is a great “oops, I win” card that hasn’t been seen since the days of Joshie Green (oh Wakefield, it’s good to have you back!), but Bathe in Light is your true trump card.

You’re simply never unhappy giving all of your guys Protection From Their Guys and swinging for umpteen damage (a scientific term, of course).

It stops Jitte counters (but what are you doing blocking?) but mainly it stops removal and makes your guys unblockable. And unblockable 3/3, 2/2, and 2/1’s are what make this thing win.

Oh, and did I mention Glorious Anthem? How long has that sat in your trade binder?

“Savage tech back in Mirrodin with Damping Matrix,” people say as I take it from them for a song. That’s okay, they’ll learn better before this article is done.

Let’s take a look at what is in this deck, and why it’s so good.

The Beats

The standard beats package should be, according to Heezy Street, Kird Ape and Scab-Clan Mauler, with Giant Solifuge and Scorched Rusalka somewhere in the midst. No doubt those guys are fantastic – good enough to run over Owling Mine like it wasn’t even there and good enough to win Forty Friggin’ Grand – but good enough today?

I don’t think so.

This deck features the beats of Paladin En-Vec, Isamaru (yes, four of them), Savannah Lions, Watchwolf, Dryad Sophisticate and Loxodon Hierarch.

“But, but—“ you say, “Hierarch?” Yup, that guy. He’s a huge beast, obviously, and he gains you life so you don’t succumb to the Double Char Lucksack sitting across from you. Plus, anything that does all of that and is a 5/5 for four mana with Glorious Anthem out is something to watch for.

Paladin En-Vec, the second most expensive creature in the deck, is a metagame choice. He stops those pesky Giant Solifuges (‘round these parts we call him Cap’n Tickles) and with a Moldervine Cloak he’s a 5/5 unblockable beatstick when you face B/W Aggro or that silly Ghost Dad deck that is kinda scary when it gets going.

With that said, you play guys and you beat face. You know, the aggro route. So what makes the creatures in this deck and the other cards alongside them so special?

Oops, I Won

Just like those metagame decisions of years past, Might of Oaks rears its head again and is so ridiculous that no one sees it coming. As seen in Joshie Green, this is the card that makes people stop scribbling their now-decent life total and reset it to something near-death.

“Seven more, please,” you say and flash it for them. They gulp, you smirk. You know the drill.

They can have their Hierarchs, that’s fine with me. I just sucked out an additional seven from their life and I still have an unblockable 2/1 on my side.

Those Temple Gardens treating you as well as they’re treating me? Because mine suit me just fine. Yours, however, are now a liability.

Moldervine Cloak is a four-of because it’s the best Rancor we’ve had since, well, uh, Rancor? Yup, hatred truly outlives the hateful and what we have here is a three-mana-for-three-damage spell that keeps coming back for more. Better yet, it doesn’t even Dredge that much—a lowly two cards. What’s the big deal about that? The more cards in your yard the less chance you have of drawing (ie, top-decking) winners like Bathe in Light.

Ah yes, the Bathe. The bath. The splish-splash that Craig Jones taught us could win Pro Tours if you peel one off the top in game 5. So if it’s good enough to run two, why not three? And if you’re going to play three well… you know the rest.

Lastly let me re-defend my choice for Glorious Anthem. Here’s a typical situation:

You play Watchwolf.
They drop their third land and play Burning-Tree Shaman.
You untap and lay down Glorious Anthem.

Whatcha gonna do, Burning-Man? Gonna block that big dog? I don’t think so.

Loxodon Hierarch plus Glorious Anthem means you’re going to put that Rumbling Slum down by himself. With Bathe in Light, you’re just going to be giving them five to the dome, plus that extra one that Rumbling Slum(p) provides you.

Oh, you thought that one per turn was for their benefit? P’shaw!

It’s really tough to make a beatdown deck seem exciting and interesting from the starting sixty, so I’ll leave it to you to build this and win with it. Trust me, it’s not hard.

No, the most interesting things happen in the sideboard.

The Sideboard — Technology at Work

Yes, yes, I know exactly what you’re thinking: What kinda frickin’ nooby-McNooberson is running Humble Budoka?

Well, this one. I had the exact same reaction when I saw the list, except it wasn’t quite as family-friendly. He then told me how he laid one down with a Glorious Anthem on the field versus Zoo.

They could. Not. Kill it. Period.

A 3/3 untargetable creature basically says you take out Savannah Lions, you take out Kird Ape, you take out Isamaru, you take out Kami of Ancient Law. Other than Burning-Tree Shaman, there is nothing in the Pro Tour 2nd place list that can take this guy out.

No, seriously, take a look. You see a way to answer the Budoka? That’s what I thought. It’s ridiculous how a measly, tenth-pick draft card can suddenly become savage tech versus the right deck.

Moving on, Devouring Light is for those who need answers to Dragons. Simple as that.

Naturalize is for the Jitte-mongers, specifically the mono-red decks who think they have you beat with it. “Colorless Removal!” they scream in the face of Paladin En-Vec. Silly mono-Red players. Who would ever play that deck? I digress.

Faith’s Fetters is another card for the Dragon-bringers and Ghost Council of Orzhova junkies of the world. If they’re heavy into the beef, feel free to shut them down this way. It’s also great against Zoo and Heezy Street because we all know how valuable life gain is, Flames of the Blood Hand or no.

Isn’t it interesting that any deck that is “beatdown” must suddenly auto-include Flames of the Blood Hand to matter because of Hierarch and Fetters? Just a thought.

Lastly, Ghostway is one of those “huh?” cards. This is a fantastic card against a deck like Ghost Dad which just loves to pack on the Pillory of the Sleepless on your face-beaters. Of course they’re not going to get a chance at targeting the Paladin En-Vec, but everything else is fair game. This let’s you get out of both Pillory of the Sleepless and Faith’s Fetters, and the more beatdown you bring the better.

For those wondering, the deck has a built-in Sideboard Replacement System:

-3 Might of Oaks
-3 Glorious Anthem
+3 Card That Wrecks Them
+3 Card That Wrecks Them More

I could go through the matchups, but what’s the fun in that (okay, a little, but for the writer in me, nada mucho). This is a deck for those who like to win and win quickly. Feel free to put this into your Favorite Magical Digital System and swing away. I promise that the sum is far greater than the parts and when push comes to shove, what’s a few Mighty Bubbles?

Mighty strong, I say. And my Russian Godless Shrine is just so much cooler than that silly English one.

Join me next week friends, when I show you where the real fun in Magic lies.

Here’s a hint: It’s got six sides.

Thanks for reading and good luck!

Evan “misterorange” Erwin
Dubya dubya dubya dot misterorange dot com
eerwin +at+ gmail +dot+ com