The Mean, the Green, and the Obscene

Along with Tooth and Nail, you have Mono-Blue Control, Blue/Green Control, Ponza, and Green/Black Cloud Control leading the pack of what comprises Standard. White Weenie exists and you have a few other types, but in general, this is what you see the most of.
One deck in particular has been very enjoyable for me to play and today I’m going to talk about that very competitive deck, plus give you a glimpse of a fun deck for PTQ and FNM players alike.

Saturday, June 25, isn’t as far away as some would like for it to be. What’s the significance of this date? The 2005 U.S. Regional Championships will take place then. Saviors of Kamigawa has already started to leak out and who knows what gems the third set of the Kamigawa block will offer up to the Green-loving Standard format. The removal of Affinity from Standard was supposed to allow us all to free up some of the main deck artifact hate that Affinity demanded, but then everyone signed up for the sword club and Betrayers of Kamigawa was released and Umezawa’s Jitte joined the fray and before you knew it, we all scrambled to find our Oxidizes, Viridian Shamans, and Naturalizes.

It’s disgusting in a way, but this is hands down better than Arcbound Ravager and his cleric friend busting my chops.

So where do we find ourselves at now? Tooth and Nail, despite being told to go home and never come back again, still takes some top spots in tournaments. The most recent Bretagne French Regionals shows proof of that. Despite Sowing Salt and Cranial Extraction leading the pack of “Tooth hate”, the deck emerges as a consistent Top 8 performer.

Along with Tooth and Nail, you have Mono-Blue Control, Blue/Green Control, Ponza, and Green/Black Cloud Control, leading the pack of what comprises standard. White Weenie exists and you have a few other types, but in general, this is what you see the most of.

One deck in particular has been very enjoyable for me to play. It’s not mentioned above and most of the time, the decks of this style get little if any attention. My first introduction to this deck came around the time Fifth Dawn was released and I came across two specific cards – Beacon of Creation and Blasting Station. I loved the concept of a mono-Green deck that could compete in a field of broken Affinity decks. Sadly, the deck was discarded and I moved onto playing other decks, because Affinity was just too strong. But now things have changed. We’ve been emancipated from the holds of Affinity and now find ourselves holding onto the roots of green mana. Dave Meddish discussed green awhile back in his “Easy Bein’ Green” piece and what I would like to do is expand a little on a deck I find highly competitive and a blast to play. I love puns.

Let’s go ahead and take a look at the deck I’m promoting today.

I think the number one mistake that many players who choose to run Blasting Station in combination with Beacon of Creation, is that they feel they have to run four Blasting Station. Early on you’re going to be doing one of the following three things:

1) Developing quick mana for early Plow Under/Eternal Witness plays.

2) Dropping a Troll and equipping him with a Sword of Fire And Ice. Birds of Paradise like Swords too.

3) Trading creatures with another deck, until you get a Troll and Sword equipped.

During this period, players will be exchanging artifact hate and attempting to get their decks up and running. Playing a Blasting Station and popping off X number of insects for damage to your opponent’s dome isn’t the best thing to do. JSS players looking for a deck to use should give this a try. The deck is fun to play and packs a punch. Let’s take a look at the card choices here and see why each card is inside the deck and how they all work to make this deck competitive.

Better Than The Superfriends, 'Cause They Glow Green Like KryptoniteThe Mana Team

The Mana Team consists of Birds of Paradise, Sakura-Tribe Elder (STE), and Wood Elves. These guys help accelerate your mana base and remove lands from the deck, making your Top selection a lot better. Birds and STE are crucial to the deck’s sideboard, because they net you the mana you need to cast the spectrum of spells in your sideboard, as well as the Meloku in the main deck. Birds get equipped with the Sword of Fire and Ice a lot more than you would think and serve as minor defense in the air against Kokusho or another troublesome flyer.

Eternal Witness

Not much to be said about one of the format’s best creatures. Recurring Plow Unders and fallen comrades, is the chief concern of this lady. After sideboarding, she works to retrieve all of the nice hate you want to sling at the opposing deck.

Troll Ascetic

This little Green tank is a pure beating machine. The Mono-Blue Control players fear this guy like no other and once he comes on deck and gets sworded up, he’s just ten times more dangerous.

The Elf Club

Viridian Shaman handles the abundance of artifacts that we thought we would never have to deal with after Affinity left the scene. Some players like Viridian Zealot, but the Shaman doesn’t trade with a Sakura-Tribe Elder or another insect. Shaman can strike from your hand and Zealot is on the board. The opponent is a lot less likely to drop their Sword of Fire and Ice, Umezawa’s Jitte, or Mindslaver, if they see the Zealot on the table.

The other half of the Elf Club are the Wood Elves. My friends like Kodama’s Reach over the Wood Elves, but I like the Elves because they allow me to shuffle just like the Reach, but they also provide me a body to equip or sacrifice to the Blasting Station. Wood Elves also help ensure a turn 3 Plow Under, which is devastating if you’re going first.

The Lone Blue Legend

Meloku is a house of a splash. He wins games when things look bad and provides a great answer to cards like Death Cloud and Kokusho. Against the Blue/Green and Mono-Blue Control decks, he serves as removal against your opponent’s Meloku.

BeaconBlaster: $29.95 at a local Wal-MartThe Hardware

Sword of Fire and Ice versus Umezawa’s Jitte. I asked several fellow players which they preferred and got more fans of the Sword than the Jitte. However, most of them felt a combination of the two was best. I like the Sword by itself, because it gives the deck game against Ponza and the ability to swing past Meloku’s illusion tokens.

The Divining Top sure made its power felt in Philly and looks to be heading in the direction Isochron Scepter did, in price range. The Top is abused so much in this deck. In my last column about my snake deck in Champions of Kamigawa block, I mentioned how I liked to abuse Sensei’s Divining Top. This deck does that too, with eleven main deck ways to shuffle your deck, allow for different views on the Top and help you get to what you need, when you need it.

Blasting Station, the third part of the Hardware, shows up in a pair in the main deck. For those that don’t understand the correlation between Blasting Station and Beacon of Creation, you can effectively untap your Blasting Station for each 1/1 insect token, that the Beacon of Creation puts into play. Think Uzi. The Station also keeps your crew of insects from biting the dust to an Echoing Truth of Decay.

The Voodoo

Plow Under! What a wrecking ball. It’s obvious to most everyone that anything running Birds of Paradise and Sakura-Tribe Elder, has to be packing Plow Under. Most effective against Tooth and Nail decks and control decks, Plow Under is able to be abused in this deck with Eternal Witness. The tempo you gain from a quick Plow Under, followed by a Troll or Beacon, is very good.


A few friends of mine recently brought it to my attention how weird it was I played a deck that put insects into play, when I have a phobia of most insects. Moths and mosquitoes do it the most, but grasshoppers and praying mantis also invoke fear in me. Anywho, the Beacon of Creation is just a wonderful spell and lets you hold off hordes or trade licks with a big creature. In conjunction with the Blasting Station, the Beacon of Creation can wipe out the opposing players troops and clear the way for seven points of damage from a sworded Troll.

We have the main deck taken care of and all of the card choices involved. Now, let’s gander at the sideboard for review and then discuss some matchups and how to sideboard with this deck.

4 Cranial Extraction

3 Creeping Mold

3 Boil

3 Terror

1 Blasting Station

1 Meloku The Clouded Mirror

Tooth And Nail

Before sideboarding, your early mana development is crucial and Plow Under will be your saving grace. Sensei’s Divining Top will help you find the Plow Unders and using Eternal Witness to recur Plow Under to keep them off the Urza trinity of Mine, Tower, and Power Plant, will be helpful. After holding their mana back as far as you can, eventually they may be able to break through and drop an Oblivion Stone. Holding back on your Viridian Shaman is key here. You can use Meloku to save your lands if they get Kiki-Jiki and Sundering Titan, but chances are that you should be able apply enough pressure to keep them from wanting to get that duo. Instead, they’ll grab Mephidross Vampire and Triskelion, in which case things will look bleak. If they grab Abunas and Platinum Angel, then you still have a chance to pull out the win with Blasting Station and Beacon of Creation.

+4 Cranial Extraction

+3 Creeping Mold

-4 Sword of Fire and Ice

-1 Meloku The Clouded Mirror

-1 Troll Ascetic

-1 Beacon of Creation

After sideboarding, you use Cranial Extraction as soon as possible to nab their Tooth and Nails or use your Plow Unders and Creeping Molds to keep their Urza lands in check. Look out for opposing Plow Unders and more common Oblivion Stones, since these can creep out of the sideboard. When you pull off a Cranial Extraction, make sure to look for anything new that could be unexpected. Dead Naturalizes will sit in their hands hoping for Sword of Fire and Ice targets, but those will never come. If the game goes long and they do see eight mana, then keep an open eye for Rude Awakening. After sideboarding, your chances of winning are so much better – even on the draw.

Blue/Green Control

If you’re playing first and have Birds of Paradise in hand, then things could go well. You’ll get to drop a Troll before they get their two lands for Mana Leak or Condescend. Plow Under will be present in their decks or in the sideboard, so keep note of that, although most versions of the deck seem to exclude Plow Under from the main deck or sideboard. Their win conditions will consist of Rude Awakening and Meloku and possibly Troll Ascetic. The only hard counter they have is Hinder, while the rest will be Mana Leak and Condescend. Vedalken Shackles will show up too, so make sure and be careful what you choose to equip with your Sword of Fire and Ice. Echoing Truth is going to rain on your insect parade if you don’t have Blasting Station out to sacrifice the insect they target. The biggest danger with this deck is entering the long game and allowing Rude Awakening to become a game ender.

+3 Creeping Mold

+2 Boil

+3 Terror

+1 Meloku

-2 Blasting Station

-4 Beacon of Creation

-3 Sensei’s Divining Top

-1 Viridian Shaman

Threat after threat is the plan after sideboarding. Vedalken Shackles won’t hurt too much and if they side them out, then you can bring in the Cranial Extractions. If you’re sure they’re not running their own swords or Jitte, then you can sideboard out the Shamans, but if not, then hold back on three of the Cranial Extractions and bring in Creeping Molds to deal with their artifacts. On your first Extraction, call Meloku, if he’s not already on the table. On the second one, call Rude Awakening or Eternal Witness. This should cripple them fairly well. If they have Plow Unders, then watch out for Witness recursion to Plow you out of the game. If you never had to show them the swamp in game one, then the Terror can come as a complete surprise, just like your Meloku can, if you never had to play the island. If you get the opportunity to sideboard in the Cranial Extractions, then the matchup is very favored, however if you don’t, then you still have a very good chance to pull off the victory. Exploding your mana base will reduce Mana Leak’s effectiveness and make Condescend much more difficult to use. Your main deck Boseiju can make this matchup an easy win if you draw it early on to Plow Under their land. If you cast Boil, be careful of looming Spectral Shifts to wreck you. Most Blue/Green Control decks don’t pack Spectral Shifts in the sideboard, but some do.

Mono-Blue Control

MUC is somewhat similar to Blue/Green Control, but a better matchup for you. The Boseiju will be wonderful if drawn early – like you didn’t know that. Eventually the good MUC player will play his own Boseiju to get rid of yours. Chrome Mox, Vedalken Shackles, and Stalking Stones will all provide great targets for your Viridian Shaman. Three or four Thieving Magpie, four Stalking Stones, two or three Meloku, and whatever they can steal from you with Bribery, are the only win conditions. If they run Boomerang over Echoing Truth, then the Beacons will be amazing. Troll Ascetic will give them fits and Plow Unders are a must counter early on. Watch out for Time Stop and don’t hesitate to pop their Chrome Mox early on with your Shaman.

+3 Boil

+3 Terror

+1 Meloku

+3 Creeping Mold

-2 Blasting Station

-2 Beacon of Creation (take out all four if they have Echoing Truth)

-3 Sensei’s Divining Top

-3 Viridian Shaman

You can guarantee they’ll bring in Spectral Shift if they caught a glimpse of the Mountain game one and will probably bring in a few if they didn’t, just in case you have Choke in mind. When they tap out to Thirst for Knowledge or before a Rewind untap, take the opportunity to Boil them up. If Boil resolves, then you win. Push through spell after spell and watch out for Bribery. The Shamans have been removed from the main deck, so they can’t Bribery him and axe your Sword of Fire and Ice. Your mana team will accelerate you into a quick Plow Under which will probably get countered, but don’t get discouraged. Just keep the threats coming and look for that one opening to Boil their brains out. Quash is also in some sideboards, so be wary of that.


Land destruction versus land acceleration. With Divining Top, Wood Elves, STE, Birds, and Witness to get back dead lands, the LD spells should be nothing more than a nuisance. Dropping a Bird or Troll and getting it equipped with Sword is a big part of winning this match. Watching your life total is also important here, because an end of turn Forge[/author]“]Pulse of the [author name="Forge"]Forge[/author] with an Arc-Slogger on the table can spell game over in a hurry. With the popularity of Green and Troll Ascetic, some Ponza decks have started running main deck Flamebreak. This is bad if you don’t have something sworded up. Speaking of Swords, you can keep your eyes peeled for Hearth Kami and a Demolish or too. The biggest threat that this deck pulls off, is it’s ability to drop a turn 2 Arc-Slogger or Kumano, Master Yamabushi. Pyroclasm is another threat to this deck and can be seen right along with Flamebreak sometimes. Zo-Zu is just a pain in the ass, but he can be shocked by your Swords of Fire and Ice. If possible, Plow Under their lands to keep them from getting to five mana or a Seething Song to drop Yamabushi or Slogger.

+3 Terror

+1 Blasting Station

+1 Meloku

-4 Plow Under

-1 Sensei’s Divining Top

Save Terror for nailing Arc-Slogger or Yamabushi and watch out for Pyroclasm. If you didn’t see it first game, then you can expect to see it this game for sure. Once Meloku comes out, you have defense against the land destruction spells and you also have a means to kill off their dynamic duo with Blasting Station. Beacon of Creation is there too and if nothing is on the board and they’re holding cards, chances are it’s something like a Flamebreak or pyroclasm waiting for the best time to waste away your side. Shatters or more Demolishes will show up to handle your Sword of Fire and Ice – Ponza players hate that card almost as much as they hate Sacred Ground.

There’s a look at some of the top decks in which you can expect to face and a small guide on how to sideboard and what to look for. One of the things you’ll find about this deck, is that it’s very flexible and can really merge to fit whatever metagame you expect. If you have lots of White Weenie decks in your area, then drop in some more Blasting Stations. Ponza running rampant in your neck of the woods? No problem. Just drop in a plains and add a couple Circle of Protection: Red to your sideboard. If control is abundant, then you can always side in a pair of Rude Awakenings and an additional Boseiju. Whatever path you take, you’re bound to have fun and be competitive at the same time.

Now for something completely different.

A while back I wrote a column about a pet deck of mine called Lynch Mob and another deck I had started to work on called Reactorsaurus Rex. Well, I’ve started to look at giving Reactorsaurus Rex a second go, before the Mirrodin block makes way for Ravnica. I’m in the midst of tweaking the deck and trying it out to see how well it can perform. For anyone interested, here’s the list:

The deck above is in alpha stage and has no game against Tooth and Nail or several other decks, but it’s something I want to build for fun and thought I would see if anyone else out there can tweak the deck into something competitive while still keeping the fun value of Dismantling the Reactor when it has ten counters on it to win the game.

Oh well, hope everyone enjoyed this column and I’ll catch everyone back here next week.