Time Spiral In Limited – Green

Jeroen turns his attention to the color of massive beef: Green. As usual, Jeroen gives us a full common pick-order, a breakdown of the uncommons and rares, and as an extra-special bonus he goes over the best gold cards!

[Time Spiral Limited Review, Part I: White][Time Spiral Limited Review, Part II: Blue] – [Time Spiral Limited Review, Part III: Red]

Green, ah Green… how I love you so!

Big creatures, big threats, nice combat tricks…


Oh sorry, I got carried away there.

Mah bad.

Actually, Green isn’t very good in this format. I remember the days when Green used to have at least three good common fatties to battle with, and now there’s only one. Green’s real theme in draft seems to be mana-fixing and Giant Growth, with multiple commons supporting each “strength.” I wish Green had some good strengths. The thing is… it’s still not the worst color in the set.


I’ll start with a little pick-order list of the Good commons, and then give you a rundown on the rest.

The Early Picks

Durkwood Baloth
Much like the Siege Wurm of the past format, this is such a high pick because it is basically the only good Green common fattie. It is fine to cast at six mana, but what make sing is the Suspend. It will coming racing in play on turn 6 with haste at no cost. It is not all that special, but the fact that it really is the only good Green fattie means you just have to take him over anything.

Gemhide Sliver
They decided to bring back Utopia Tree, which is a good thing, and they made him both better and a common at the same time. Green wants to be splashing a lot in this set; because of cards like this, it’s pretty easy. The great thing about this guy is that he is cheap, he accelerates very well, and he keeps on fixing your colors. Splashing a Strangling Soot with this guy is always nice, as you will be able to not only cast it once, but twice, off the same mana source.

Search for Tomorrow
This is the other mana-fixer that will easily allow you to splash, and it’ll set up your four- or five-color deck for you. It is second to Gemhide Sliver only because of its versatility, as this can only get one color, of which you need to play the appropriate land.

Penumbra Spider
The fact that Green wants to be a five-color deck (most of the time) means that you will often be more controlling, instead of being the beatdown. This means that defensive creatures like this truly shine, as this is above and beyond. If you have ever played Ninth Edition Limited you will know how absurd a Giant Spider is in that format. Here we have the same card that just won’t die. This card alone is one of the reasons I don’t think B/R is a very viable option in the format, as some of those decks cannot get through this guy.

Here we have the third Green color-fixer. This guy moves up a little in the list if you are Black, as it is one of the best madness outlets around, but in general he is worse than the other two, simply because it doesn’t accelerate you. The fact that it does help you thin out your deck in the late-game – Mana Severance style – is pure gravy.

As you can see, the top of the Green pile is not very exciting, with just a whole lot of mana fixing to make the other colors better. The rest of the commons tend to be fairly deep, though not very exciting.

The Middle of the Road

Nantuko Shaman
The more I see Green decks play this guy, the more I have come to realize that he doesn’t come into play unsuspended a lot. The fact that Green decks love to skip that three-drop to go right into four means that you give up a 3/2 defender for a turn in exchange for a card. He is fine at being an attacker, and cantrip men are never bad, but he is also just that – a 3/2 that doesn’t do all that much.

Strength in Numbers
The best growth spell of the many common ones available to Green in this set, because of one simple thing: Trample. It can be hard for Green decks to get through in the end-game, and having this around means you can always alpha strike on the last turn for a fireball-like trample effect on one of your guys, and thus win the game. Because of that versatility – combat trick and game ender – it gets the nod above the others…

Thrill of the Hunt
… Except for this one, if you are G/W. If you can use its flashback, this card will act like you almost have a Kabuto Moth in play. If you remember Kamigawa Block, the fact that you had an active Moth most of the times meant that your opponent simply wasn’t able to block or attack. The threat of having the Moth around was enough to influence everything. This card is not even close to being as good as the Moth – it is still only a one- or two-shot deal – but of you are G/W, this is one of the best.

Scarwood Treefolk
Despite having solid numbers, this guy isn’t really much of anything. He’s not very good at beatdown, despite having three power. The five points of toughness make him more of a defensive kinda guy. Coming into play tapped means he isn’t great there either. No matter how you put it, this guy will always be okay, and never be great. He is good on turn 4, but pretty bad later on. I’ll always play him – he’ll be good most of time, but sometimes he’ll just suck.

Spinneret Sliver and Ashcoat Bear
What you see is what you get: a pair of fine two-drops that are exactly what they seem. Simple Grizzly Bears.

Havenwood Wurm
Ah, the other fattie. This guy is a little too expensive, and unless your opponent has no clue whatsoever, it will seldom ambush a guy. It’ll play its role if you need it, but decks that do need something like this are not my favorite. I’d rather have something efficient. Cards like this show you so well that there is a cut-off at seven mana for Limited cards. Six is easy enough to cast; seven is a lot harder.

Herd Gnarr
On paper, this card looks pretty bad. He’s just a silly little 2/2 with the Gnarr ability. In aggressive decks though, this will often basically be a 4/4 for four, and that is exactly what you want. He is also very cute in Saproling decks, and can be very scary with certain combos. In one of our drafts, Frank followed turn 4 Herd Gnarr with turn 5 Endrek Sahr, and then on turn 6 a Baloth came in from suspend, and another six-drop was played. Sure, the 30/30 Gnarr got blocked by a 1/1, but still… that’s a big dude!

Wormwood Dryad
Despite being fairly vulnerable as a three-drop, this guy has won his fair share of games by himself. He’s not great by any means, but I’ll happily play one in the main just to try and mise.

The 23rd Cards

These are cards that could be played, but really shouldn’t be.

Thallid Germinator
All theme decks and fun tricks aside, this is simply just a Grey Ogre that, once every three turns, will grant you a minor effect. If you are drafting the thallid deck – which means you have the good ones – this will be fine; in any other deck, it’s just like a morph, but slightly better. Only slightly.

Aether Web
A fine card in itself, but the fact that there are so many other Green pump spells sucks a little, and he is the worst of the bunch. A great sideboard card, but one can only play so many Giant Growths in a deck.

Thallid Shell-Dweller
You will not want walls in your deck most of the time. As far as walls go though, short of drawing a card, this is as good as it gets. If your deck is controllish, I wouldn’t mind playing it, as it is fine enough. Most of the time you’d rather have something that can attack.

Sometimes you want some enchantment or artifact removal, since there is some good stuff in the format. It doesn’t do what most maindeck enchantment and artifact kill do in Limited: draw you a card. I make sure to always have something like this present in the sideboard.

Mwonvuli Acid-Moss
As far as landkill goes, this is about the best you can expect. If you draft your deck around these things, and have a lot of solid sixes to accelerate into, this could make it. If you don’t… let’s not.

Savage Thallid
Only good if you have a lot of Saprolings to spare, which means you are either a thallid deck, or you have a rare that works well with this guy. Otherwise, he is just a two-toughness guy for five mana… ewww.

Like a lot of cards in this category, this is only good if you are a thallid deck. With a lot of fungi, this can activate a lot of the abilities, making it pretty good. One on one though, this compares awfully to Vitality Charm, which was about a million times better, and was still not a very high pick.

A quick aside about thallid deck: unlike other players, I don’t like going for gimmicks. I don’t like drafting storm decks, thallid decks, or sliver decks. Sure, if you get everything and your draw works out, you have a great deck… but most of the time, I’d rather have a solid deck with all solid cards that work well on their own. I like to look at the worst-case scenarios as far as packs and draws go. Then you are better off drafting solid spells, instead of cute gimmicks and combos. Thallids is the same, and as there are only a couple of very good cards for the theme, and none of them are common, I would rather stay away from it. Same with Rebels, same with slivers…

The Unplayables

Chameleon Blur
Fogs are pretty bad, and this is a bad Fog at a bad cost. No thanks.

Glass Asp
You don’t get to cast it on turn 3 very often, as his mana cost is pretty janky, and even then he won’t actually connect a lot of the time. That means that he is a non-tribal card, with a not very relevant ability, and sub-mediocre stats. Also known as “worse than an off-color morph.”

That’s it for Greens commons. Not many actual unplayables, but a lot of very unexciting cards. It doesn’t get much better at the uncommon level…


The Bombs

Tromp the Domains
Overrun is back, and like most of the other Green cards, this rewards you for playing more than two colors. It is still fine at two, and it is actually a fine splash this time around. A game winner through and through.

The Good

Phantom Wurm
He’s huge, he is pretty affordable, and he is close to unkillable in combat. Like phantom guys from the past, he takes a licking and keeps on ticking, making this a premier creature, especially with there being so little playable fatties in the commons.

Sporesower Thallid
This is the big man, the guy that gets all of the Thallids going, and effectively making them twice as fast. It doesn’t hurt that he is also a 4/4 for four, but basically he is what makes the Thallid decks work. He is also a great card for other Green decks though, with his great stats, so don’t expect him to come late just because he is a fungus.

Yavimaya Dryad
Cheap, evasive, acceleration, and in the late, late game can get all the dryads going against your opponent. A decent card that is never spectacular, but mostly always good.

Scryb Ranger
One of my favourite little Green guys, he can get you out of a mana slump by bouncing the land after tapping it for mana, getting you an extra land, and he can also do horrible tricks if you get your opponent with his pants down and attacking into your suddenly untapped 8/8. Tricky and versatile. I’ve also killed a bunch of 3/1 blue flyers with this guy. One of the better two-drops in the set.

Might Sliver
Depending on the deck, this could also be seen as a bomb, as he is the best of all the slivers. On his own he is a 4/4 for five, making him on par, but the fact that he powers up your opponents sliver dudes can be scary. Next to Telekinetic Sliver, this is the reason to go for the slithery critters.

Might of Old Krosa
As far as Giant Growths for Limited go, this is exactly on par, and isn’t very exciting. It seems to be worse then Gather Courage in the last format, which means that despite the fact that it is playable, I don’t see why it has to be uncommon…

Durkwood Tracker
He is a fattie, almost, that can stop evasive creatures. That is good by itself, as Green tends to have problems with shadow and flying. This means you have to lean back on him, keeping up your mana while he gets to develop his board. Once your opponent finds an answer, you’ll see that your guy wasn’t really a solution, more like a stay of execution. Still, four power for five. Despite being much of a snidd, I could see it get played.

The Bad

Krosan Grip
Another Naturalize effect! W00t. Nice to have in the board, though I would seldom maindeck it.

Pendelhaven Elder
In the fungus deck, he can shine by making all your 1/1s into 2/3. By playing guys like this, you definitely lessen your chance of getting to a position where this could be good. The ability isn’t even that exciting. I guess having a 2/3 on defense isn’t completely horrible, but this guy is pretty bad.

Primal Forcemage
Another Ogre with not a very relevant ability, save flash, Saprolings and suspend creatures coming into play. The one or two times this will be relevant don’t really cover up for the fact that this is just a Grey Ogre the rest of the games.

The Ugly

Aspect of Mongoose
Nice flavor, horrible card. Now if you could play this as an instant, I could see it.

As you can see, the uncommons are almost as unexciting as the commons. Green’s theme in this set seems to be solid, but unexciting. Maybe the rares give us a glimmer of hope.

The Rares

The Nuts

Spectral Force
Many feel this is the best rare in the set, and though I don’t really agree on that one, I can’t say it isn’t at least Top 5 material. The fact that he doesn’t untap most of the time is balanced by the fact that he holds off any creature your opponent might have that doesn’t evade, and he does end the game fairly quickly.

Spike Tiller
People who know me know that I love a spike more than anything, with it’s versatile counter sharing, and this guy is no exception. Not only does he do the cool tricks, he also makes three lands into Hill Giants. This card doesn’t look very great, but is actually spectacular when you play with him, and I feel he is very underrated.

Squall Line
If Green has problems, finishing off opponents and flying creatures are definitely two of them. Combine a solution in one card, and you have this excellent answer.

Stonewood Invocation
Adding split second to this card makes it almost better than Might of Oaks. This means that it is a Limited bomb, finishing games as well as hitting through huge monsters.

Thelon of Havenwood
This is the other card that makes the Fungus deck truly shine, and this guy is actually very good. At 2/2 for two he is fine by himself, and his ability means that every Fungus in your deck is now very good. The best fungus card, ever.

Thelonite Hermit
Whereas Thelon awards fungi for keeping their counters, this guy wants them to sprawl Saprolings as soon as possible. He is obviously fine by himself, bringing nine power worth of guys for a very low cos. It is not hard to see that this might even be better than his Deranged cousin for Limited.

Verdant Embrace
That is a lot of shout-outs to the greats of Green’s Magical past, with this guy turning any guy you have into a nice little Verdant Force. Like the previous two rares, this guy works best in a Fungus deck, as the two Saprolings you get each turn fire off all the abilities. It is still fine by itself, winning you most games automatically.

Even without it’s flashback, this is just Ivy Elemental reborn. Always being on curve is a good thing, and after turn 5, he even becomes a fairly oversized threat. The buyback is just gravy, giving you something to do in the late game.

The Not-So Nuts

Unyaro Bees
Like I said earlier, Green loves to be splashing things left and right in this format, which means that you will not have a million Forests out most of the time. That, in effect, means this greenest of the Green men will not be very hot. Now if you manage to draft mono-Green… (Don’t do it!).

Fungus Sliver
A 2/2 for four with an irrelevant ability….

Magus of the Candelabra
I guess this could be a very bad colorfixer, if you need double casting cost…

And as you can see, the rares are a lot better than the rest of the cards. As it seems, in general, this set seems to have a giant amount of unreal rares that simply win games… That is pretty scary for any format. And of course, we also have the purple cards:

The Purples

Call of the Herd
This is my vote for card you want to open most in the set. Aggressive, fast, card advantage, and it creates big creatures. It doesn’t get any better than this.

Hail Storm
This is so out-of-flavor for Green that it might catch a lot of players off-guard. That alone makes it worth a slot, and a high pick. It doesn’t hurt that just about every scary flyer is two toughness or less.

Jolrael, Empress of Beasts
Back when she came out for the first time, this was a stone bomb that would win you games. This time it seems much less impressive, and I am not really sure why. It probably has to do with the fact that the format is faster, and having lots of land in play and discarding two cards is a lot to ask. Don’t take it as a bomb, despite the fact that it is still good.

Spike Feeder
This just gets a mention because it is my favorite magic card of all time. My oh my… Peaches, how I have missed you.

The Rest
The rest are just solid cards, with no real Limited bombs. Green seems underpowered in that regard, and that is why it is only the fourth-strongest color.

If you pair your greens with a strong color, and do so because you get shipped a lot of solid rares and uncommons, you can still end up with a 3-0 deck. Like I did with this beast:

Playing the slivers in this deck was horrible, as they always pumped my opponent’s guys. The lesson I learned was that it’s okay to “sliver” if you have the ones that do nothing, but don’t play a few if they are all very good by themselves.

I’ll be back tomorrow with the last part of the series, Black, which is the worst color this time around despite an overflow of removal.


Wait a minute! I am only given five articles to write about the entire set. That means that I won’t have room for multicolor cards…

Fine. As a bonus feature, I’ll give you the Gold card rundown today.

The Time Spiral Multicolors.

The Uncommon Slivers
Every allied color combination got a pair of slivers that are fairly playable. The abilities they have aren’t great, and two of them are even pretty bad at 1/1 for three mana, but in general, if you have a sliver deck, these can all see play. None of them are actually very good, with Ghostflame Sliver being the best one simply because it’s a 2/2 for two.

Dralnu, Lich Lord
It takes bigger balls than mine to play this card, as it is a Lightning Axe away from completely blowing you out. He never wants to tussle in combat, and his ability is very reliable on what else you draw, which means I can’t see myself playing this guy.

Ith, High Arcanist
This guy is weird card, as he is great when you get him in play off the Suspend, and only mediocre once you get him to cost seven mana. The effect is still really good, and he can dominate many a game, but the cost is also quite steep. I like him, if you are U/W, but I wouldn’t take him over stuff like Griffin Guide.

Kaervek The Merciless
Finding out that Flash Gordon’s arch nemesis, Ming the Merciless, has a brother wasn’t really what I expected… but now that he’s here, I’ll happily play with him. Sure, he costs seven mana; and sure, he ain’t that big; but seriously, that ability is just all-out game winning. The only card he has nightmares about is a little common named Lightning Axe.

Saffi Eriksdotter
The girl that gave us one of the most recognizable flavour texts in the game – see Llurghoyff – is more of a Constructed card than a Limited one. Sure, at 2/2 for two she is fine, and her ability to save another guy is great, but it is not really all that special. A solid but unspectacular card.

Stonebrow, Krosan Hero
The leader of horsies everywhere, he is one of the best creatures for G/R ever, as he attacks as a 6/6 for only five mana. Not only that, but he also pumps up your other trample men, and it is not very hard to see this is an amazing guy.

Scion of the Ur-Dragon
Well, he’s just… uncastable.

Mishra, Artificer Prodigy
If you can cast him, this is a vanilla 4/4 for four mana, as the ability should never really do anything. That by itself is fine, but not worth the trouble of actually having to try and cast him.

Something nice for every color, although G/W really got screwed as far as monster legends go.

I’ll also glance through the multicolored Timeshifted cards.

The Purple Multicolors.

Fiery Justice
Who knew that Ice Age cards could be so good in Limited? The only thing this card sucks at is its casting cost, but as it has Green in it, as well as the ability to go five-for-one…

Turning every card in your hand into a Shock, and being almost unkillable, might be fair in Constructed… but in Limited, this is what we call ridiculous. A pure bomb.

A premier removal spell that will sometimes nab some cards out of their hand. This can be timed to get something great every time, and it is in the colors of Strangling Soot and it’s buyback, meaning you won’t mind splashing for it that much.

Teferi’s Moat
I was passed this in a draft once, first pack, and I have no idea what there could have been to take over it, as there was only a common gone. This card is ridiculous, shutting down half of your opponent’s deck most of the time, and sometimes even more. I like U/W control already, and stuff like this make me love it even more. I once played it when my opponent had an Evil Eye out. That wasn’t very fair. [I’ve done that. It still makes me laugh. — Craig.]

Other than that, there are just a bunch of nifty guys that are very good if you are in those colors, or guys that might be worth a splash. Heck, they are mostly all capable of winning games by their lonesome, so pick them if you see them. You don’t need me to tell you Sol’kanar, Mystic Enforcer, Merieke Ri Berit, Jonny Magic, and Lightning Angel are good, do you?

Jeroen (for real this time)