From The Top To The Bottom: Judgment Green In Odyssey Limited

Genesis would induce your opponent to enter the”vomit step” even if it were the only creature in your deck, as it can bring itself back to your hand during upkeep. That’s the obvious part. But why is Ironshell Beetle overhyped, and what card is underhyped?

I’ll spare you folks the nuisance of an introduction because they all start to look the same after awhile: Blah blah green is very deep in the new set blah blah make up for a lack of it in Torment blee blee. I’ll just proceed to the cards and their approximate pick numbers – and hopefully in the near future, I’ll get to a discussion of the new archetypes. I’ve had some experience with OD/TO/JU draft, and I hope to get a lot more at Nationals.

As a quick aside, I was supposed to write an article that would feature Judgment blue nearly a month ago – but despite my constant saving of it, the computer decided to delete it. I even used the GoBack program to try to retrieve it, but there was no record of it ever having existed – it almost got to the point where I wondered if I actually had written it. There was going to be more of the continuing adventures of the SS squad, and so on, for those of you interested in that sort of thing – but it was not to be. Hopefully, I’ll finish in the money at Nats for once in my life and have something to write about as a result.


Card Name: Anurid Barkripper

Mana Cost: 1GG

Type & Class: Creature – Beast

Pow/Tou: 2/2

Card Text: Threshold – Anurid Barkripper gets +2/+2.

If you can get Threshold, then take this high. If not, there are many better cards you could be taking. The assessment of this card was pretty straightforward – but then again, so is the card. 6th-8th

Card Name: Anurid Swarmsnapper

Mana Cost: 2G

Type & Class: Creature – Beast

Pow/Tou: 1/4

Card Text: Anurid Swarmsnapper may block as though it had flying. 1G: Anurid Swarmsnapper may block an additional creature this turn.

This is an average card, able to stave off flyers while your ground creatures get the job done. It’s generally not as aggressive as you’d like for most green decks, and it would be better replaced by a Krosan Archer… Which is easier said than done now that there’s only one pack of Odyssey. Its value increases if you have landwalkers or other unblockables to break up an otherwise stalled game. 6th-8th

Card Name: Battlefield Scrounger

Mana Cost: 3GG

Type & Class: Creature – Centaur

Pow/Tou: 3/3

Card Text: Threshold – Put three cards from your graveyard on the bottom of your library: Battlefield Scrounger gets +3/+3 until end of turn. Play this ability only once each turn.

The Scrounger is a solid creature, if you were unable to get decent fat in the previous sets. Usually just a 3/3 for five, the threat of its ability at Threshold is much more worthwhile than the ability itself (but can still be used to deal the last three damage). How high you take this depends mostly on your curve. 5th-7th

Card Name: Brawn

Mana Cost: 3G

Type & Class: Creature – Incarnation

Pow/Tou: 3/3

Card Text: Trample. As long as Brawn is in your graveyard and you control a forest, creatures you control have trample.

Either of these abilities – a 3/3 trampler or a card that gives all your creatures trample – would warrant inclusion in any green deck on its own. Put them together, and well… This is one of the Incarnations that’s really better in play than in your graveyard for most of the game; when your opponent gets around to killing it, it’ll be a nice bonus for your other creatures. I can imagine that discarding this as an instant during combat could be fairly sick. 2nd-4th

Card Name: Canopy Claws

Mana Cost: G

Type & Class: Instant

Card Text: Target creature loses flying until end of turn.

Flashback G

This card simply does not affect the game enough to be used in your main deck… And hopefully, you have good enough answers to flyers that you’ll never have to side it in. 13th-15th

Card Name: Centaur Rootcaster

Mana Cost: 3G

Type & Class: Creature – Centaur Druid

Pow/Tou: 2/2

Card Text: Whenever Centaur Rootcaster deals combat damage to a player, you may search your library for a basic land card and put that card into play

tapped. If you do, shuffle your library.

Yet another mediocre, if passable, creature. It lacks evasion, and it probably won’t survive combat, so you can’t rely on this to get lands of your splash color or to thin out your deck. A lot of the time it will just be a 2/2 for four mana, which is less than stellar. 7th-9th

Card Name: Crush of Wurms

Mana Cost: 6GGG

Type & Class: Sorcery

Card Text: Put three 6/6 green Wurm creature tokens into play. Flashback 9GGG

As the New and Improved Jason Opalka would say,”Geez, that’s tough.” Obviously, if this resolves the game will soon be over. Unless you have a Mirari’s Wake or other such nonsense, don’t count on flashing it back – but the initial three Wurms should get the job done. If you think you can get to nine mana (which is difficult, since it’s usually about half the land in your deck) and/or you have ways to discard it for profit, by all means take it and play it. Someone at my prerelease was lucky enough to have this and three”elves,” one of which was the Nantuko Elder. With that kind of acceleration, the Crush is a bomb. 3rd-5th

Card Name: Elephant Guide

Mana Cost: 2G

Type & Class: Enchant Creature

Card Text: Enchanted creature gets +3/+3. When enchanted creature is put into a graveyard, put a 3/3 green Elephant creature token into play.

This is about as disgusting a creature enchantment that you could hope for. Not only does it provide a toughness bonus (making Phantom creatures enchanted by it unkillable by damage), and not only does it give the creature a whopping +3/+3 (imagine playing it on a turn 2 bear), but if they do somehow kill the creature, you get an Elephant. Beware of bounce – but if they don’t have any, that’s the game right there. 1st-3rd

Card Name: Epic Struggle

Mana Cost: 2GG

Type & Class: Enchantment

Card Text: At the beginning of your upkeep, if you control twenty or more creatures, you win the game.

1. You’re never going to get 20 creatures in play.

2. If you somehow do, just attack with them for the win. Unless you get extra packs for style points at your store. 15th

Card Name: Ernham Djinn

Mana Cost: 3G

Type & Class: Creature – Djinn

Pow/Tou: 4/5

Card Text: At the beginning of your upkeep, target non-Wall creature an opponent controls gains forestwalk until your next upkeep.

Finally – Big Ern is above the law! For four mana, you won’t find a larger creature in this format (pre-threshold, anyway), so he’ll simply dominate the board if you can get him down early. Be careful of his drawback if there’s a stalemate, though; in limited, it can actually be a liability. Where are those girls? 1st-3rd

Card Name: Exoskeletal Armor

Mana Cost: 1G

Type & Class: Enchant Creature

Card Text: Enchanted creature gets +X/+X, where X is the number of creature cards in all graveyards.

Needless to say, the value of this card increases as the game progresses. I guess a good card to compare it to is Empyreal Armor, as the creature often becomes far too large to handle. Put it on a regular creature and watch your opponent’s creatures jump in the way – or just slap it on an evasion creature and win. Beware bounce blah etc. 2nd-4th

Card Name: Folk Medicine

Mana Cost: 2G

Type & Class: Instant

Card Text: You gain 1 life for each creature you control.

Flashback 1W

Life gain effects don’t impact the game very much. This card can net you up to fifteen life or so if you flash it back, but this only matters if there’s a stall of some sort, with both sides of the table amassing armies. Not good enough to maindeck, and probably not good enough to sideboard. 12th-14th

Card Name: Forcemage Advocate

Mana Cost: 1G

Type & Class: Creature – Centaur

Pow/Tou: 2/1

Card Text: {tap}: Return target card in an opponent’s graveyard to his or her hand. Put a +1/+1 counter on target creature.

The Advocates give you some ability and take threshold away from your opponents at the cost of giving them cards in hand. Sometimes there are cards that you’d rather have in your opponent’s hand than their graveyard, such as Incarnations (Glory, Wonder, etc.). And sometimes the effect can be worth the cost of a card, as when you use this creature to save an elephant from Fiery Temper by returning an opponent’s land to hand. This ability is quite complex and is not to be used haphazardly, as cards in hand are an important resource. However, the green Advocates have nice Power/Toughness to casting cost ratios, so they are useful in your curve even if their abilities never come into play. 4th-6th

Card Name: Genesis

Mana Cost: 4G

Type & Class: Creature – Incarnation

Pow/Tou: 4/4

Card Text: At the beginning of your upkeep, if Genesis is in your graveyard, you may pay 2G. If you do, return target creature card from your graveyard to your hand.”

This card would be enough to induce your opponent to enter the”vomit step” even if it were the only creature in your deck, as it can bring itself back to your hand during upkeep. It can be insane if you’re recurring creatures with comes-into-play abilities, flyers, or creatures that are somehow more broken than Genesis itself. Oh yeah, and while it’s in play, it’s a 4/4 monster. Never pass this ever. If you’re not green when you see this, you may want to consider a splash. 1st

Card Name: Giant Warthog

Mana Cost: 5G

Type & Class: Creature – Beast

Pow/Tou: 5/5

Card Text: Trample

Fairly simple. It’s too expensive for dedicated beatdown decks, but worth playing anyway. Trample is a useful combat ability, especially when put on a monster this large. Don’t overload your deck with spells that cost more than five, though. 4th-6th

Card Name: Grizzly Fate

Mana Cost: 3GG

Type & Class: Sorcery

Card Text: Put two 2/2 green Bear creature tokens into play. Threshold – Instead put four 2/2 green Bear creature tokens into play. Flashback 5GG

This card provides you with more bears than I care to mention. Combines well with Rites of Initiation, Demoralize, and of course, Overrun. It’s simply disgusting with threshold. If your deck gets threshold easily, pick this early. Otherwise, pick it early anyway! 1st-3rd

Card Name: Harvester Druid

Mana Cost: 1G

Type & Class: Creature – Druid

Pow/Tou: 1/1

Card Text: {tap}: Add to your mana pool one mana of any color that a land you control could produce.

I like this card a lot, since I’m a big fan of accelerating to four mana on turn 3. Most people will probably underrate this, so no need to scoop it up too early. Keep in mind that for what it’s worth, that this guy becomes a Bird of Paradise if you have a sac land. 4th-6th

Card Name: Ironshell Beetle

Mana Cost: 1G

Type & Class: Creature – Insect

Pow/Tou: 1/1

Card Text: When Ironshell Beetle comes into play, put a +1/+1 counter on target creature.

Conversely, from what I’ve seen, this guy tends to be overrated. Putting a +1/+1 counter on your best creature is all well and good, as is making this guy a 2/2 bear, but it’s really not that special. There are plenty of nice two-drops, and they’re all fairly interchangeable. 4th-6th

Card Name: Krosan Reclamation

Mana Cost: 1G

Type & Class: Instant

Card Text: Target player shuffles up to two target cards from his or her graveyard into his or her library. Flashback 1G

This card is as pointless as it is versatile, unfortunately. Rather than trying to shuffle one of your favorite cards back into your deck at a cost of a card, why not just play all good cards? Used on your opponent, it’s worse than something like Decompose, which isn’t too good anyway. If you absolutely have to get rid of Wonder, Genesis, or similar cards, I could see siding it in. 11th-13th

Card Name: Krosan Wayfarer

Mana Cost: G

Type & Class: Creature – Druid

Pow/Tou: 1/1

Card Text: Sacrifice Krosan Wayfarer: Put a land card from your hand into play.

This doesn’t really do much, either. It can ramp you up to three mana on turn 2 at the cost of a card – but since most worthwhile creature spells are four-drops, you’d be better off with a Werebear or Harvester Druid. Throw in the fact that you shouldn’t need a one-drop anymore, thanks to Chatter of the Squirrel or Basking Rootwalla or even (God forbid) Druid Lyrist, and this one should rarely make the cut. 9th-11th

Card Name: Living Wish

Mana Cost: 1G

Type & Class: Sorcery

Card Text: Choose a creature or land card you own from outside the game, reveal that card, and put it into your hand. Remove Living Wish from the game.

This is an interesting card to assess. First off, remember that this card’s targets are restricted to your sideboard (or removed cards, like from a Crypt Creeper or Faceless Butcher). That, along with the fact that you have as much basic land as you want in your board, means that this can function as a nice search spell for your splash color. You can also use it to fetch a situational creature from your board. Somehow managed to get up to eleven mana? Go get Hypnox! Opponent have an enchantment you have no other way of dealing with? Get the Lyrist you left in the board. Drew both plains you used to splash Mystic Enforcer? Go grab the Resilient Wanderer. With so many options, this card is definitely playable, especially in decks with more than two colors. 6th-8th

Card Name: Nantuko Tracer

Mana Cost: 1G

Type & Class: Creature – Insect Druid

Pow/Tou: 2/1

Card Text: When Nantuko Tracer comes into play, you may put target card from a graveyard on the bottom of its owner’s library.

A mana-efficient bear that fits your curve nicely if you weren’t fortunate enough to get Wild Mongrel, Seton’s Scout, or one of the other bears from Judgement. If its ability happens to come in handy in removing an Incarnation or Flashback spell, well…. Mise. 4th-6th

Card Name: Nullmage Advocate

Mana Cost: 2G

Type & Class: Creature – Insect Druid

Pow/Tou: 2/3

Card Text: {tap}: Return two target cards in an opponent’s graveyard to his or her hand. Destroy target artifact or enchantment.

The Nullmage Advocate’s ability is costly for what it does, so it will rarely be used. See above for a more detailed advocate discussion. That said, it still does come in handy in filling the three-slot in your curve with something other than a 2/2. 5th-7th

Card Name: Phantom Centaur

Mana Cost: 2GG

Type & Class: Creature – Centaur Spirit

Pow/Tou: 2/0

Card Text: Protection from black. Phantom Centaur comes into play with three +1/+1 counters on it. If damage would be dealt to Phantom Centaur, prevent

that damage. Remove a +1/+1 counter from Phantom Centaur.

The Phantom creatures are all good, being more resilient than normal creatures (other than when dealing with Chainflinger, Psionic Gift, and similar cards). This one is especially stupid, having protection from the major color that can kill Phantoms without damage. If you enchant it and your opponent has no bounce, then you can move onto the next round in short order. 1st-2nd

Card Name: Phantom Nantuko

Mana Cost: 2G

Type & Class: Creature – Insect Spirit

Pow/Tou: 0/0

Card Text: Trample. Phantom Nantuko comes into play with two +1/+1 counters on it. If damage would be dealt to Phantom Nantuko, prevent that damage. Remove a +1/+1 counter from Phantom Nantuko.

{tap}: Put a +1/+1 counter on Phantom Nantuko.

The other Phantom creatures will eventually die if they take damage enough times; this one can avoid that fate by replenishing its own counters. The trample ability is obviously quite nice as well. Unimpeded, you can build him up to 5/5 or 6/6, swing a few times, and if necessary, resume the growth process. I once had this guy with a Puppeteer on the board… You can imagine how that game went. 1st-3rd

Card Name: Phantom Tiger

Mana Cost: 2G

Type & Class: Creature – Cat Spirit

Pow/Tou: 1/0

Card Text: Phantom Tiger comes into play with two +1/+1 counters on it. If damage would be dealt to Phantom Tiger, prevent that damage. Remove a

+1/+1 counter from Phantom Tiger.

As for this particular Phantom, there’s one specific card from a previous set that is nearly identical to it functionally… Penumbra Bobcat. It’s even a cat! Either they kill it by pinging it twice, or they lose two creatures to it, or some combination of the two. 3rd-5th

Card Name: Seedtime

Mana Cost: 1G

Type & Class: Instant

Card Text: Play Seedtime only during your turn. Take an extra turn after this one if an opponent played a blue spell this turn.

This is good if your opponent has a deck with several blue instants… Obviously. Since there are few of those, it’s not maindeckable and will be sideboarded infrequently. Against decks with blue instants, it’ll be a little too sick. Even though I know you’ll be raredrafting this one, I’ll say 8th-10th

Card Name: Serene Sunset

Mana Cost: XG

Type & Class: Instant

Card Text: Prevent all combat damage X target creatures would deal this turn.

In a green/white deck or green/blue deck especially, you live and die based on not only your creatures, but also your combat tricks… And this is a nice little trick. Given enough mana, it acts as a Fog for just your opponent. Your opponent’s expected creature trades turn into losses for him, and unblocked creatures can become essentially blocked. If you have enough creatures, this card is an excellent choice… 4th-6th

Card Name: Sudden Strength

Mana Cost: 3G

Type & Class: Instant

Card Text: Target creature gets +3/+3 until end of turn. Draw a card.

…Not that this isn’t a great trick. Anything that says”draw a card” usually can be useful at least to cycle. This is sort of expensive for a cantrip, but its ability is worthwhile, effectively countering a removal spell like Firebolt or even Ghastly Demise or killing an opposing creature in combat. 4th-6th

Card Name: Sylvan Safekeeper

Mana Cost: G

Type & Class: Creature – Wizard

Pow/Tou: 1/1

Card Text: Sacrifice a land: Target creature you control can’t be the target of spells or abilities this turn.

Olle Rade’s Invitational card is just a notch below the set’s bombs. It can get threshold in a hurry – but more importantly, it turns each of your lands into”Sacrifice this: Counter target removal spell,” since you can use this in response to such a spell to fizzle it. One of my opponents recently used the ability to shut down my Puppeteer long enough for his Guiltfeeder to finish me off; that’s right, it can counter abilities, too, not just spells. 2nd-4th

Card Name: Thriss, Nantuko Primus

Mana Cost: 5GG

Type & Class: Creature – Insect Druid Legend

Pow/Tou: 5/5

Card Text: G, {tap}: Target creature gets +5/+5 until end of turn.

This is comparable to many cards, such as Crush of Wurms, which are devastating if you can find the mana. It’s not great in red/green – but in most other green decks, it should be included. This is less powerful than the Crush, but it does cost an important two less. It’s great at breaking up stalemates, although its high power seems unnecessary, as it won’t be attacking unless it’s your only creature. 3rd-5th

Card Name: Tunneler Wurm

Mana Cost: 6GG

Type & Class: Creature – Wurm

Pow/Tou: 6/6

Card Text: Discard a card from your hand: Regenerate Tunneler Wurm.

This won’t be dying any time soon once in play, but fortunately for the opposition, it won’t be coming into play any time soon either. Usually, if you’re going to spend this much mana, the card would have to be devastating to merit inclusion in your deck – but this card is little better than a Rabid Elephant, which only costs five. 6th-8th

Card Name: Venomous Vines

Mana Cost: 2GG

Type & Class: Sorcery

Card Text: Destroy target enchanted permanent.

There are a lot of great enchantments out there, and most decks will have a few, but I still think this card belongs in the sideboard. It will come in if you see multiple enchant creatures or a single devastating enchant permanent, like a Caustic Tar or Squirrel Nest. If I prove to be wrong and this is in fact a main deck card, there’s no way you should ever start more than one. 7th-9th

And now a little something I did with Odyssey and Torment in my local circle. While the idea of ranking the cards by pick number is a tribute to Gary Wise, the following (whether you believe me, care, neither, or both) was something I came up with on my own, and was later used by (you guessed it) Gary Wise, without him knowing that I had used it.

Congratulations on making it through that sentence.

Anyway, what I’m trying to say is, to conclude the article, I will list all the green cards in the approximate order I’d pick them – because it’s fun, and because it may give you some insight as to what”4th-6th pick” you should take if there are no other factors that can break the tie.

1. Genesis

2. Phantom Centaur

3. Grizzly Fate

4. Phantom Nantuko

5. Ernham Djinn

6. Elephant Guide

7. Sylvan Safekeeper

8. Brawn

9. Exoskeletal Armor

10. Thriss, Nantuko Primus

11. Crush Of Wurms

12. Phantom Tiger

13. Harvester Druid

14. Forcemage Advocate

15. Sudden Strength

16. Giant Warthog

17. Serene Sunset

18. Nantuko Tracer

19. Ironshell Beetle

20. Battlefield Scrounger

21. Nullmage Advocate

22. Anurid Barkripper

23. Anurid Swarmsnapper

24. Living Wish

25. Tunneler Wurm

26. Venomous Vines

27. Centaur Rootcaster

28. Seedtime

29. Krosan Wayfarer

30. Krosan Reclamation

31. Folk Medicine

32. Canopy Claws

33. Epic Struggle

Until next time, keep on dancin’.

Tim Aten