The Other Side: Battle Green

I hate beating a dead horse. I know that I lost the Battle Royale match to Talen a couple of weeks ago, and that’s fine. I got played, it happens. However, I thought that the deck I brought to table could be nurtured into a competitor in this Standard format, so I kept beating the proverbial dead horse. I should have given up. A lot of time could have been spent in a better way, like tuning the Solar Flare mirror match, or actually doing homework for a math class that I am sure to fail.

I hate beating a dead horse. I know that I lost the Battle Royale match to Talen a couple of weeks ago, and that’s fine. I got played, it happens. However, I thought that the deck I brought to table could be nurtured into a competitor in this Standard format, so I kept beating the proverbial dead horse. I should have given up. A lot of time could have been spent in a better way, like tuning the Solar Flare mirror match, or actually doing homework for a math class that I am sure to fail.

Nope, going to work on the mono-Green list some more, stay up late at night, wake up even later, plugging away, noting results, writing down trends, configuring the deck to its optimal state, asking questions, getting answers, going to sleep again, starting the same process all over again the next day.

For those of you in the know here, is the deck I played when Talen thrashed me that night in the Battle Royale.

ROFL Shinen of Life’s Roar. *hangs head in shame* Loxodon Warhammer.

For those of you even further in the know, this is what the deck became later on that night in a Premiere Event that I split the finals of.

22 Forest

4 Llanowar Elves
4 Elvish Warriors
4 Skarrgan Pit-Skulk
4 Silhana Ledgewalker
4 Dryad Sophisticate
2 Hunted Wumpus
4 Giant Growth
4 Moldervine Cloak
4 Blanchwood Armor
4 Might of Oaks

4 Naturalize
3 Shielding Plax
3 Genju of the Cedars
2 Hunted Wumpus
3 Carven Caryatid

ROFL Hunted Wumpus /cut Shielding Plax

When I played this deck in the first event, I was able to notice a couple of things that I thought to be important.

1. I’ve got a pretty good matchup with Tron .
2. I’ve got an even better matchup with Black/White Aggro.
3 I’ve got to get extremely lucky to beat Solar Flare.
4. I’ve got no chance to beat Blue/White Control unless they mulligan to two.
5. I’ve got pretty good game against Snakes.
6. I’ve got a coin flip with Zoo.
7. I’ve got a coin flip with Gruul.
8. I roll to an active Jitte.

I was pretty thrilled with those trends when I was testing, but knew some changes had to be made to the deck.

I entered a 4x event after I won the first event, and made one change to the deck – swapping the Wumpus for Giant Solifuge. I went 2-2 in that one, but beat the decks I thought I was supposed to beat, and lost to the decks that I thought I had no chance against. I did beat Black/White and Snakes, but then lost to Flare and the Flores Blue/White list again.

Back to the drawing board. I tested night and day to learn more, pouring myself over the deck, taking breaks to sleep, eating, trips to the bathroom, shower, spend time with the missus, and went to class.

Immersed in the deck, I fought to make it better, to make it a machine, and entered it into a 2x event last week. I have a lot of faith in the pile for some reason, and here is the deck that I put into action.

Okay, well I made no changes to the maindeck, as I was actually pretty pleased with it. The sideboard was another story, though: Shielding Plax was supposed to help out the B/W match, but I thought it was good enough already. I took them out, and this is the sideboard that I registered for that event.

4 Naturalize
4 Genju of the Cedars
2 Dosan the Falling Leaf
2 Iwamori, the Open Fist.
3 Carven Caryatid

Let me explain the sideboard, as I feel the maindeck is fairly straightforward. Naturalize comes in against Flare, Jitte decks, and Heartbeat decks. Genju comes in against the control matchup, as does Dosan. Iwamori comes in against Zoo, Vore, and Gruul. Caryatid goes in against Snakes, Zoo, Gruul, and Zoo again. I also started to bring it in against Vore.

Cutting a long story short, I started off the event 4-0, then lost to Flare, and won my next round to enter the Top 8 as the first seed. I made it to the Top 4 before I got knocked out by Solar Flare. I considered it a small success, when looking at the work I put into it.

Sadly, I’m not going to play the deck again before Coldsnap becomes legal, so I went ahead and started to update the deck some more. I knew there are some Coldsnap cards that I want to put into the deck. Allosaurus Rider seems like it could be very good in the deck, as does Boreal Centaur and Boreal Druid. You know what card I really like in the deck? Scrying Sheets. Often times I would find myself drawing into a glut of land needing to get out of it. With Sheets, I’ll be able to cycle through the deck quickly and keep my hand full of threats.

Here is the updated list, with all changes for Coldsnap.

I know there are some questions here, so I will try to answer as many as I can.

1. Why Druid over the Elf?
It’s another source of snow mana that I can drain into the Sheets or into Centaur. There are only two double-Green spells in the deck, so casting anything should never be a problem. On the other hand, I now have to leave a Forest up instead of the Elf to cast Giant Growth. That should also not be a problem.

2. Centaur over Elvish Warrior?
Yes, I believe that this two-drop will be better in the deck over time. The Centaur should deal more damage over the course of the game, and it still survives Pyroclasm, just without the possibility of a Counterspell hitting the Growth.

3. Allosaurus Rider?
I know, it might be another one of those cards that I’ll back on and say this should be Giant Solifuge. Think of it this way, the turns that this guy comes into play on turn 1, you’ll more then likely win the game. You should not miss many land drops with this deck, and now you get a nutty draw that could go something like this.

Turn 1: Drop land, Rider with the alternate casting cost, and a dude. Down to two cards in hand
Turn 2: Drop land, bash for four, make a man, one card in hand.
Turn 3: Drop land, cast a Cloak or an Armor, bash for ten

At this point, your opponent is at six life. On turn 4.

Seems pretty good, and definitely worth looking into.

4. Only three Armor and three Might of Oaks?
During the late game, you can find yourself drawing too many of these types of spells, and not enough threats. Cutting the Armor makes sense because of the Sheets, and the Might of Oaks being cut is not hurting. I’d rather have more guys instead of putting myself into a dead drawing position. It makes plenty of sense, right?

5. Viridian Shaman?
YAUS, the deck needs a way to deal with active Jitte in the main, and this forgotten dude will do it. I’d rather not have to run Naturalize in the main, opting for another man. Also it’s pretty decent against decks that run the Signets and such. Therefore, I think running this guy will be valuable.

I’ll go ahead and throw out the matchup analysis now.


Solar Flare
Pre-board: 30% in your favor
Post-board: 40%

This hands down is the worst match that you can hope to face, and unfortunately, this is why the mono-Green deck cannot be a serious contender. You will get games because Flare will stumble for mana, miss land drops, or give you a window to swing for considerable damage with your team. The match depends on your ability to successfully cast these important cards: Ledgewalker (no Mortify or Condemn on this guy), any pump enchantment on the Walker (preferably Blanchwood Armor), and them not casting Wrath of God. Flare has so many good cards against you, ranging from Wrath of God to Persecute to the targeted removal suite that the deck packs. It is a definite uphill battle, and if there is a lot of Flare in your metagame, then sadly, you’ll be packing it up early against your opponents.

In: Dosan, Arashi, Genju, Naturalize

Pre-board: 60%
Post-board: 60%

Good news! you got past your hardest matchup. Next, Tron. Tron is in the same category as Flare, with one huge exception. This deck has a mass removal spell that costs six mana. Couple this with no hand disruption (as seen in Flare with Persecute), and you pretty much just get to make men and recklessly go into the red zone. Ledgewalker plays a huge role here (Repeal this guy? Nope.), as do the pump enchantments. Early game you want Blanchwood Armor because well, it piles up the damage quicker. Save your Giant Growths to save your largest men when Wildfire is played, and if you are able to live past this with men and a couple of lands in play you should be able to coast to victory. Something neat to notice is Keiga cannot actually take Ledgewalker, so you should have no worries putting an armor on him.

In: Dosan, Naturalize, Arashi

Aggro Control

Pre-board: 60%
Post-board: 60%

This comes down to them having Pyroclasm early enough to actually matter. I cannot tell you how many times I have just cast a man turn 1, followed it up with a dude on turn 2, and hit them with an armor on turn 3. Pyroclasm at that time becomes less then effective. Yes, Eye of Nowhere can be a bother, but when you’re casting multiple threats and sandbagging the growth spells to make them survive the removal spells, you will be fine. Again, Ledgewalker is a huge boon.

In: Carven Caryatid, Iwamori

(I wonder if I can run twelve of those guys. He is really good!)

I really wanted an excuse to hold the S key for a while. Awesome.

Pre-board: 55%
Post-board: 50%

In this matchup your men are strictly better then theirs. They have a bunch of piddley 1/1 guys, and you have huge giant monsters crashing into them. Pit-Skulk is the guy you really want to draw, as him plus Blanchwood Armor equals “dude that is huge and unblockable.”

You are going to win this game based on a war of attrition. They are going to have to make poor blocks to survive to their best turns, which involve Coat of Arms or Seshiro. If their best turn is Seshiro, you’re in luck. You can afford to let them draw cards, as usually you are winning in the next attack step.

Jitte trumps you though. Shaman is starting to look better!

In: Naturalize, Carven Caryatid


Pre-board: 45%
Post-board: 50%

This is a coin flip after board, you get to answer their Jitte in games 2 and 3, but have two answers in the main. Their men are better than yours, and their spells are better. However, you trump them by having eight unblockable men, and a two-mana 3/3 dude of your own.

Pouncing Jaguar and Albino Troll sure would be cool here. Hey, so would Vine Dryad. Maybe Time Spiral will just be a straight reprint of Urza’s Saga. Heh.

In: Naturalize, Carven Caryatid.

I love playing this deck, as evidenced in this article. It’s a blast of fun to play, and is as close as one can come to playing the classic Stompy decks as you can get. Sure, it may not have Cursed Scroll any more, or even the aforementioned beaters like Jaguar or Troll, but the speed of this deck can be surprising and can certainly hit someone with a punch.

Until next time,