Can you all feel it? It is coming. It isn’t here yet. Here we talk about Green, but soon we go into artifacts. I know you have all been foaming at the mouth about that. Ted asked us to push the colors back and go into the artifacts, but we wanted to finish what we had started. Just one week left and you get your precious artifacts.
For now you get to hear about Green. This is the best color in the set folks. There isn’t another color that is close. White and Red are close to each other and are the two colors that follow Green, but power level-wise they are closer to Black than they are to this mightiest of colors. Before I delve into this dilemma I’d like to analyze why Green is the best color. When you look at the top three commons in Green: Fangren Hunter, Deconstruct, and Tel-Jilad Archers, it may not be clear how they are better than the three best commons in the other colors. Let’s inspect the best common in the other colors. Red: Spikeshot Goblin, Electrostatic Bolt, and Shatter. These cards are amazing, but Spikeshot isn’t that much better than Fangren Hunter, Deconstruct and Shatter are comparable, and the Archers blow the Bolt out of the water. White: Blinding Beam, Arrest, and Skyhunter Patrol (yes I know I changed my order, sorry guys those are my top three in order now). Blinding Beam and Arrest are both means of dealing with creatures and Patrol doesn’t hold a candle to either of the Green creatures. Blue: Neurok Spy, Somber Hoverguard, and Wizard Replica (yes this also changed, sue me). This one is closer as it involves three evasion creatures, which are powerful in this format, however it is not as versatile as the top three in Green. Black: Terror, Pewter Golem, and Consume Spirit. Golem is a weaker Hunter, and the other two cards are not as powerful as they would be in a different block.
So Green has the top triumvirate, but it doesn’t end there. The next three cards in Green are all awesome as well. Predator Strike, Tel-Jilad Exile, and Tel-Jilad Chosen are all top quality cards. If you noticed something strange about the top six cards you are not alone. They are all Green, not artifacts. In fact, while Mike and I are only addressing on-color artifacts, I would argue that these are taken above most of the colorless artifacts in the common slots. Therefore you wind up with decks that aren’t susceptible to the same kind of artifact hate other decks are.
Alright, enough convincing you Green is the best color… I am here to convince you Deconstruct is better than Tel-Jilad Archers. For the second week in a row I get the seemingly easy side of the debate. I know what you are all thinking: KK is arguing a spell over a creature? What’s going on here?! Well one problem was that Mike and I pretty much agreed on the pick order. We agreed down to the fact that we weren’t sure which was better, Archers or Deconstruct. As I thought more about it, it became painfully clear to me that Deconstruct is the better card.
While the fact that it is not a creature looms over my head, there is another factor that proves it is from the mind of KK. Tempo. I love the Archers. When the set first came out, I was certain they were the best Green common. I couldn’t imagine anything being closer. I was right; Archers are amazing, but they pale to Deconstruct. Deconstruct can swing the game in ways that resemble Consume Strength from Apocalypse.
Picture it. Your turn 5. Your opponent has a Myr, some artifact lands, a Bonesplitter, and a freshly-cast Myr Enforcer. Your board is a lowly Alpha Myr. You Deconstruct his Enforcer, drop a Fangren Hunter, and all of the sudden you have board advantage while maintaining card parity.
While this is a single scenario, it is not nearly as telling as some things I have done. I had a turn where I cast two Deconstructs and a Viridian Shaman. The free mechanic was extremely powerful in Urza’s Block Limited as it allowed for absurd tempo swings, and the same is true in this block, even thought the general tempo of the set is much slower.
Archers are generally more of a deterrent than an answer. Archers are kind of like”if you attack me, you’ll be sorry!” Deconstruct is like”I will destroy you and not interrupt my original plan.” [We Brake For Nobody – Knut, wondering how many will get the reference] I honestly and truly love the archers, but the fact is they are a defensive creature. They can’t attack that well, and barring a Wurmskin Forger, they never will. You can’t equip them, so you will only ever swing for two.
People live in this fantasy world where they think that they will have tons of artifact kill because they are in Green. I have bad news for you people. There is only one common piece of artifact kill for Green. In fact there are only two good common pieces in the whole set. I see people pass Deconstructs and Shatters early assuming they will pick up more later. It doesn’t always happen folks. All the creatures in this set suck, the ones you get early will rarely be significantly better than those you can pick up late. Snag the artifact removal before it is all gone.
Now on to my pick order:
1. Fangren Hunter
The best common creature in the set. That’s right, I said it. I like this guy better than Spikeshot Goblin. While Spikeshot is better when boosted, this guy is a powerhouse all by his lonesome. An unequipped Goblin doesn’t do much, while this guy will still be winning you the game. Okay I am exaggerating a little, he isn’t strictly better than the Goblin, but I have definitely considered picking him over the Goblin as I get to put myself into a better color.
3. Tel-Jilad Archers
4. Predator’s Strike
+3/+3 is a whole lot in this format. The creatures are so small in general that not only with +3/+3 easily save them in any one on one combat, but most times the trample will push more damage through. In multiples these cards are game enders. I have shown my opponent two Strikes multiple times for the win.
5. Tel-Jilad Exile
Regeneration has proven to be quite a powerful ability in this format. The Exile will stop most ground assaults and can prove to be a deadly attacker with equipment. He does move down a bit late in the draft if you find yourself without Myrs.
6. Tel-Jilad Chosen
At first I thought this little beater was awesome. Then I realized just how difficult it was to make a beatdown deck. The beatdown decks in this format require equipment and even then they rarely pan out. This guy does not fit well into a deck that sports a lot of equipment. What he does do is allow you to be aggressive early and defensive later.
7. Copper Myr
I had this little guy above the Chosen before discussing the Green articles with Mike. He commented that you get enough off color Myrs late that taking this guy over the Chosen just isn’t worth it. While I agree, you can move this guy higher if you manage to pick up multiple Fangren Hunters, as he will help you get the double Green.
8. Elf Replica
Not the best of the Replicas, but not the worst. Arrest can be pretty devastating to the Green deck. That alone is reason to have this guy in your sideboard. Don’t be embarrassed if you are main decking him. A 2/2 for three mana is not the worst thing in the world in this format. When I first saw this card all I could think of was Nantuko Vigilante, but the truth is an off-color morph is a lot better than it used to be.
9. Turn to Dust
Another card that should be drafted fairly early just to ensure you have a copy in your sideboard. I am not saying that you need to waste a third pick on it, but it is always better than a random hate draft, I promise you that much.
A nifty trick. It makes the main deck about as often as Elf Replica and Turn to Dust, the main difference in power is that you rarely side in the Battlegrowth that is sitting in your board. It is a lot better when you have Spikeshot Goblin, but I still generally don’t play it unless I have multiple Goblins. Don’t be embarrassed when you cast this card, but don’t feel compelled to play it either.
11. Malachite Golem
I put this guy over the Forger simply because I have had better experiences with him. The trample ability has never been irrelevant. He is a huge body in a world of small creatures, and in Green you are generally drafting the Myr that make him easier to cast.
12. Wurmskin Forger
Underrated? Perhaps, but not to the level [author name="Nick Eisel"]Nick Eisel[/author] says. It is not unplayable, but I am not happy playing it. When I spend seven mana, I kind of want a Pentavus on my side. Once again no need to hang your head in shame if you find yourself casting this man, but don’t say with pride like,”That is correct opponent! I have cast a Wurmskin Forger. Now deal with it!”
13. Viridian Joiner
If you’re short on Myr this guy will accelerate you to your two best common creatures just as well as a Myr. I don’t like having him in my deck, but it is better than having no mana acceleration.
14. Tree of Tales
Green is the worst color at exploiting artifacts. Therefore it lacks some synergy with Black and Blue. Tree can move up if you are in Black or Blue, but generally will hover around this area.
15. Lifespark Spellbomb
Hi, I draw a card.
16. Journey of Discovery
Hi, I don’t draw a card.
Next we get to move into the wonderful world of artifacts. Comments are appreciated on ways you would like to tackle them. We can break them up by Creatures, Equipment, and Regular, try to do the whole thing at once, or any other combination. Let us know!