“Natural Born Killers at Last!”: The Mirrodin Green Review

Considering how well you’ve got to pick your issues to use Molder Slug – or Glissa, Sunseeker or Creeping Mold or Deconstruct – I have to say that I really like the way this set’s anti-artifact options were designed. Players will have quite a few options to choose from, and those that best understand their deck’s strengths and needs are going to have significant advantage over those that don’t. In the past, there hasn’t often been this kind of functional overlap with so many cards. That kind of decision-making is very good for Constructed, and I hope we continue to see more of it in coming sets.

And so we come to Green – the color of life, peace, and beating the crap out of somebody with Really Big Monsters. This time around, Green at last gets to live out its fantasy and send lots of opposing creatures straight into the dumper, and almost always while gaining some additional advantage in the process. Well, okay, the creatures need to be made out of metal, but remember that this is the plane of metal – which means plenty of target. (Hell, even some of the land is made of metal.) What’s better, green mage, is that you’ve never been so damn good at breaking things. So just to be clear, you’re now the god of smashing toys and there will be lots of toys. Have a nice Block.


A fine trick in Limited, where even a temporary +1/+1 is often enough to win in combat. At this cost, the permanent counter makes up for Battlegrowth not being a cantrip like its 3cc predecessors and provides a better avenue for gaining tempo.


Out of the question for Constructed, this is at least usable in Limited. One has to wonder about the casting cost on this however – wouldn’t 2G have been just fine?

Brown Ouphe

This was unplayable in Limited the first time around, and I can’t say I’m in a hurry to use him this time either. Mark Rosewater tells us the Ouphe is better now that there are more artifacts. Okay, I can agree with that – but is he good enough? I’m still not impressed outside of dire circumstances, but I’ll at least give him an audition this time around to make sure.

Copperhoof Vorrac

In Constructed, you’ve got to do far better than this for 3GG. In Limited, I’m not real impressed, either – but he looks at least playable. With even just one untapped blocker, he’s at worst a 3/3 against a tapped out opponent and will often either be larger or cause your opponent to mana burn trying to deal with it. Not amazing, but not terrible either.

Creeping Mold

Definitely Constructed- and Limited-worthy, the Mold’s versatility has always been worth looking at for green decks. The main allure this time around is that Mirrodin’s artifact-heavy environment makes maindecked artifact removal a lot more attractive. The problem, as usual, is the fear of getting stranded with dead cards against non-artifact decks, which is where Creeping Mold’s wide versatility comes into play. It’s a great card that answers an awful lot of questions and presents a much better main-deck option than cards like Naturalize. This was always a well-loved card by players everywhere, and I think this was an ideal time to bring it back again.


This strikes me as a truly amazing card in the upcoming Limited formats… And it’s common! With so many opposing artifacts, the ability to run this main means you’re going to wreck a lot of players when dropping this out, especially in the earlier turns. If you get to break an opposing artifact (or artifact creature) on turn 3 with this and then play your own creature, the tempo gain is phenomenal. An interesting side effect of all this is that suddenly Green is one of the best colors at not just removing creatures (well, artifact creatures), but also removing them with advantage. That this card is common in an environment like this is stunning to me.

Fangren Hunter

Nice and fat and at a reasonable cost, a solid pick for Limited. A vanilla 4/4 for five mana isn’t anywhere near the Constructed radar, however.

Glissa Sunseeker

Damn, what a beating and a half this chick is – if she lives. She doesn’t just wreck the joint, she kicks ass too! In Constructed, the issue is her butt, which is a bit too small and a bit too vulnerable to rely on (this has to be a monster bomb in Limited). With that in mind, her combat skills incline me to consider her for a slot or two in Standard main decks as a kind of insurance policy against artifacts without having to risk potentially dead draws against non-artifact decks. Worst-case scenario, you’ve got a three-power first striker for four mana – and given the best-case scenarios, you could do a lot worse.

Her main issue is getting to untap, and in combination with her legendary status it means you don’t want to rely on her as the bulk of your anti-artifact suite. Instead, she’ll excel as a maindeckable addition to other more focused artifact hate. Throw two of these and two Creeping Molds in the main deck and you’ve got several reasonable game 1 answers to many potential problem cards without wasting space on potentially dead draws, all while maintaining a reasonable beatdown in the process.


Not even close to useful in Constructed (who blocks? Who plays 3/3s for six?), it’s at least worth a brief look in Limited if you manage to get multiples. Even then though you’re looking at a significantly overcosted Hill Giant for the first copy, and even the second copy isn’t all that impressive considering the twelve mana you’ve dumped into these since you need the other one dead before you’re even potentially getting anything. And if you do manage to get one in play and one in the graveyard? Well, they can just not block.

No thanks. A nasty skill-tester that will surely ensnare many inexperienced players who manage to pick up multiples.

Hum of the Radix

Crap in Limited, this one doesn’t make a lot of sense for Constructed either. It’s an interesting hoser ability but that casting cost takes an awful lot of the sting out. Green can probably do better if it hates artifacts this much.

Journey of Discovery

This is an intriguing card to try and judge accurately. Of the two, the first ability makes the most sense for Constructed, where you’re going to generate two-for-one card advantage while smoothing out your colored mana. That’s a pretty good deal – but remember that all you’re getting is land, and you’re taking a turn to do it. The second ability at first seems to only normally be needed for the Entwine option, but I can definitely see where the decks that play this card for the mana drawing will often end up using the second ability if the land is already in hand, providing a significant ramp in mana for your next turn if that’s what your hand is looking for. If you play this turn 3 and drop two additional lands into play, you’re looking at five or six mana on mana turn 4, depending on whether you have yet another land in hand. That’s a very significant jump if you have a threat take advantage of it with, particularly at a time when there are so many great cards in the six-mana range.

Interestingly, you end up with card advantage from one side (fetch two lands) and card disadvantage from the other side (drop two lands directly into play). There aren’t many times you could play just that second ability, but having the first ability already on the card makes this an intriguing option for Constructed. The Entwine ability really just comes as a bonus for the late game; it’s the options you get from the first two abilities that matter most here. The real bottom line would seem to be the presence of Explosive Vegetation, still left in Standard from the previous Block. For one more mana you get both abilities – and that probably makes all the difference for now. Because of that, this card is likely to be relegated to Limited and Block Constructed use for now, particularly in decks looking to splash multiple colors.

Living Hive

This is a very cool card, and I love the flavor involved. However, at that much mana you simply have to do better in Constructed. In Limited, this is amazing, particularly with all of the mana acceleration running around out there.

Molder Slug

In Limited, it’s tougher to design your deck around this guy unless you don’t have many of your own artifacts to worry about… But even then, you’ll at least have the choice whether and when to drop him into play (and the ability to adjust your play, since you know it’s coming), and the effect comes with a very nice body attached.

In Constructed, this looks to be part of a trend: Allowing Green decks to run reasonable creatures that can interfere with artifacts without having to run cards that are completely dead against non-artifact board positions. As much as I like Glissa, I think I like the Molder Slug more for decks that don’t have to worry about the effect hurting them. For one more mana, you get a considerably beefier body, as well as a threat that can continue swinging while still getting its anti-artifact thing on. When to use this over other artifact hate is also going to depend on knowing exactly what kinds of artifact threats your deck is most nervous about. (If you’re really worried about Oblivion Stone and opposing Stone decks have other artifacts to sac first, this probably isn’t going to be your guy.)

Another thing to note is that base red decks are going to have trouble killing this guy, and many base black decks are going to have to wait until their own turn to kill it, which still allows you to get at least one of their artifacts (and whichever removal spell the Slug eats for you).

Considering how well you’ve got to pick your issues to use this best, I have to say that I really like the way this set’s anti-artifact options were designed. Players will have quite a few options to choose from, and those that best understand their deck’s strengths and needs are going to have significant advantage over those that don’t. In the past, there hasn’t often been this kind of functional overlap with so many cards. That kind of decision-making is very good for Constructed, and I hope we continue to see more of it in coming sets.

One Dozen Eyes

This is another great card for Limited, and only uncommon at that. In Constructed, this is going to be too expensive for most uses.

Plated Slagwurm

This, on the other hand, is just fine for Constructed. An 8/8 for seven mana and no drawback is already a deal to at least consider, and the added bonus of such a strong ability means this one will get some play. Seven mana is lot to pay in Constructed, but the new Standard does seem to be leaning toward a more fatty-friendly environment with the removal of good countermagic, the inclusion of several excellent accelerators, and the addition of several strong anti-rush cards (more on that later). All told, a great package for those who can afford it.

Predator’s Strike

Giant Growth doesn’t see anywhere near the play it used to in older sets and the inclusion of trample on this one doesn’t seem to help enough to fix that problem, at least for Constructed. (The best part of Giant Growth was the casting cost.) That said, this is a very good card for Limited and is likely to get auditions for Block Constructed as well. If it does find a home, it may be thanks to its interaction with the Slith cycle.

Slith Predator

By the time Trample matters, you’ve already solved this creature’s real issue – which is getting through in the first place. For Constructed use, this is going to depend on your other colors, since you’re often going to need removal to get this going long enough to take the training wheels off. Once that gets pointed out we come to this creature’s main problem – which is that he asks you to play a color with plenty of removal, but he has double G in the casting cost and clearly wants to come out Turn 2 whenever possible. The alternative is to instead go heavy or mono-Green and instead rely on creature enhancement, whether they be of the Green or Equipment variety. Such a deck seems possible – but with the current set of cards, it feels like it’s still missing a piece or two.

Sylvan Scrying

Crop Rotation without the sacrifice in exchange for an increase of one in the casting cost. The important point here of course is the ability to get any land, not just basics. But unlike Crop Rotation, this one actually augments your mana count – and in that sense, it actually ends up feeling a bit more like Lay of the Land, but with the bonus of being able to grab various utility or multi-colored lands as needed. With the removal of Living Wish from the Standard environment this looks to be the logical replacement for Beast-type decks to rely on Contested Cliffs while providing the added bonus of being able to pick up other colored land as needed – if such a deck can exist in the new Standard.

Tel-Jilad Archers

Terrible in Constructed, this one’s still going to see play in Limited thanks to its protection ability.

Tel-Jilad Chosen

Just fine in Limited, this one isn’t up to snuff for sixty-card decks.

Tel-Jilad Exile

Again, just fine in Limited, particularly given the large number of small to medium creatures running around in that format. Not a chance in Constructed, however.

Tooth and Nail

At that cost, you’ve got to be thinking really big to consider building a Standard deck around it. Unquestionably your plan would have to be going for the Entwine option – but at nine mana and almost no flexibility, you can do better.

Troll Ascetic

This is a nice combination of abilities, giving you a beastie that’s formidable in combat and difficult for opponents to deal with. Depending on which way you use him, the one-sidedness of his untargetability could be a significant factor as well (“Ooh, troll like shiny equipment very much!”). All that and combined with a 3/2 body, the Troll Ascetic is a hell of a package for just three mana. A very nice option to have available for filling in those middle slots in your aggro green decks.

Trolls of Tel-Jilad

Limited only, I’m afraid.

Turn to Dust

I doubt Constructed can evolve to the point where you’d use something this narrow, but it seems like you might be able to consider it for Limited maindecks if you don’t have other options. The thing is, as a green deck you’re pretty likely to have other options. Ultimately, this is going to come down to a bit more familiarity with the environment and seeing just how likely each deck (Draft or Sealed) is to have at least some equipment in it. When it does work, the casting cost is nice even without the freebie tossed in, providing yet more ways to jump ahead a notch in the tempo race.

Viridian Joiner

Not a chance in Constructed. I’m not sure we’re this desperate for acceleration even in Limited.

Viridian Shaman

The new Sex Monkey, now with less sex (and less monkey). This time around, it’s coming yet again to an environment with plenty of juicy targets as well as the added bonus of being an Elf at a time when that matters at least somewhat (certainly more than being an Ape). Again, as with several of the other Green anti-artifact cards, the Shaman allows you to bias somewhat against artifacts without having to risk completely dead cards.

This one seems particularly good if the artifact lands catch on. Turn 1 Birds of Paradise, turn 2 Shaman on an opposing artifact land is a hard kick right in the nuts.

Wurmskin Forger

Wow, what a complete piece of crap. Seven mana? Really?


Elf Replica

Basically par, which means you can do better in Constructed.

Heartwood Shard

This doesn’t even look good for Limited, much less Constructed. Would Constructed decks even consider this at a CC of 1? Hell, would many Limited decks?

Lifespark Spellbomb

This ability isn’t very impressive when they see it coming. Possibly this can be considered for its ability to turn opposing lands into creatures, but I doubt it’s worth the trouble. That means you’re mostly just using this for the card drawing and cheap artifact aspects, and this time around it’s not very impressive. I guess it shouldn’t come as any surprise that the anti-artifact color would get such crappy artifacts. Maybe it would have been better to include this as a +2/+2 ability for target creature?

Malachite Golem

This guy needs regeneration more than trample. Way too expensive for Constructed, at this price I’m not real impressed with him for Limited either.

Scott Johns

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