You CAN Play Type I #7: Making Goofy Cards (Like Quirion Dryad) Come Alive

Type I can accommodate your junk rares more easily than other formats… But you knew that, right?

Fellow writer Matt Vienneau (from Canada) sent me a gift via Felix Gonzales of the Philippine National Team last APAC. Felix is one of two main tourney organizers in the country, and I made the trip to his tourney venue one Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately, Felix was sick. Having made the trip anyway, I decided to stick around the GPQ, knowing that quite a few players were trying land destruction strategies and would probably go to town with Vindicate – but being out of touch with IBC, I was surprised to see such decks pack Legacy Weapon, too. Among other things.

Of course, having brought only a Type I control deck as an afterthought, only one guy was willing to have a casual game: Rey Estacio, who is incidentally the National Champion. Parts of his Standard deck were borrowed for IBC, though, so I just had a pleasant chat about his experiences playing abroad. Somewhere in between, I picked up a Quirion Dryad for about a dollar for my small collection of Invasion block cards.


Every expansion, there is a goofy card that just grabs me (incidentally, it was Coalition Victory for Invasion and Legacy Weapon for Apocalypse). Everyone has a card just printed for him, something you just want to play, even if it does not really fit anywhere or is more awkward than other staples. This one reminded me a bit too much of the venerable Whirling Dervish, and the urge to pick up Dryad was fueled after local veteran Butch”Road Warrior” Maniego tried it in Standard in his”Idiot deck.”




Planeshift Rare

Whenever you play a white, blue, black, or red spell, put a +1/+1 counter on ~this~.

  • The ability will trigger only once if a spell has multiple colors. [Planeshift FAQ 01/01/26]

Unfortunately, Quirion Dryad just does not work very well in Standard. If you have a green creature for 1G with no abilities, you want it to be at least 3/3 (compared to, say, River Boa) when it starts swinging. And since you want a 1G creature to start swinging early, you need to have a deck that can play its only green spell in the first two turns, then play two or three non-green spells in the third turn. Looking at the casting costs in Standard, you know that is just not possible.

LEELOO, by [author name="Mike Mason"]Mike Mason[/author]

4 Quirion Dryad

4 Rootwater Thief

4 Meddling Mage

4 Questing Phelddagrif

4 Armadillo Cloak

4 Orim’s Chant

4 Opt

4 Disenchant

4 Accumulated Knowledge

4 City of Brass

4 Treva’s Ruins

2 Elfhame Palace

1 Brushland

3 Forest

2 Plains

6 Island


3 Dueling Grounds

4 Last Breath

4 Teferi’s Response

4 Armageddon

Well, fellow columnist Mike Mason tried it anyway, looking for a support card in a Questing Phelddagrif deck. In his words:”I quickly realized the Dryad could be abused with a handful of useful blue and white instants. Many people don’t realize at first read that once the Dryad hits, every non-green spell that you cast – regardless of whether it resolves – adds a counter to it. It’s an excellent card against control decks, and I can usually get it to 6/6 or 7/7 in a handful of turns. Throw a Cloak onto it and let it roll.”

“A handful of turns” does not sound like fun, though. Butch’s Idiot deck tried another tack:”I wanted to see whether I could make some improvements over the original and tried to convert it more into ‘Counter-Dryad’ than ‘Flying Hippos and Friends,’ which was what it was in his original build. It kinda sucked…” Counters just do not feel right, either, because you want to beat down immediately (not to mention there are few less cheap counters in print nowadays).

Hmmm… color problems and lack of cheap spells. You know, of course, that this is my cue to say,”Let’s try it in Type I.”

Okay. Let’s try it in Type I.


Let’s run down our list of obvious wants:

  1. Deck has Quirion Dryad as its only (pure) green spell.

  2. Deck can play Quirion Dryad turn 1 or 2

  3. Deck can unload a lot of cheap nongreen spells

  4. Deck can unload a lot of cheap nongreen spells immediately after Quirion Dryad is played.

At this point, some people might get fixated on #3 and suggest trying to play four Sapphire Medallions and get the Dryad to pump by playing Capsize five times a turn. Cute, but that takes so long to set up you will either lose or fall asleep before Dryad gets going. Keep it simple. (And forget about trying Worldly Tutor or Survival of the Fittest; if you take the time to search for a two mana creature, you will not play it turn 2 like you want, anyway.)

Besides, we need a fast deck.

Deck with green… cheap spells… fast beatdown… we already know our first nongreen spell:




Arabian Nights common

~this~ gets +1/+2 as long as you control a forest.

The logical core of the deck is:

4 Quirion Dryad

4 Kird Ape

4 Jackal Pup

We may as well add the red staples:

4 Lightning Bolt

4 Incinerate

Filling in the other half of the deck this way, we get something like:


Creatures (14)

4 Quirion Dryad

4 Kird Ape

4 Jackal Pup

2 Goblin Cadets

Burn (16)

4 Lightning Bolt

4 Chain Lightning

4 Incinerate

4 Fireblast

Others (8)

1 Wheel of Fortune

4 Cursed Scroll

3 Hull Breach

Mana (22)

4 Land Grant

4 Taiga

2 Karplusan Forest

7 Mountain

1 Strip Mine

4 Wasteland

I honestly prefer Goblin Patrol because I feel that the Echo does not hurt in a deck of one-drops – but here, it interferes with the turn 2 Dryad plan. Otherwise, the deck looks solid enough, and thirty out of sixty spells are nongreen.

We know how it plays, and it is fun to see every spell played both pump Dryad and set up the Scroll. (You might ask about Stormbind, but we want to cast the spells here.) You can even hold back a few burn spells (Fireblast?) with two or three Dryads in play, then suddenly screw up an opponent’s math. You even have Hull Breach as an unexpected trick, and can add hate such as Gorilla Shaman or Dwarven Miner if needed.

My old classmate Kerwin Sy would love this. He quit the game around Mirage, but picked it up again during Planeshift. He stuck three Dryads into his ancient green/red, then killed TWO people in a multiplayer game by throwing three Bolts at the first guy, then attacking with three Dryads.

Of course, there is just one problem with this deck: It just does not bring out the five-color theme…


Dryad can work in Type I because we have the cheapest spells from every color available to us, and the mana fixers to support them. Just to demonstrate, here is something more familiar:

COUNTERSLIVER, Kim Brebach, Grand Prix Sydney 2000 Top 8

Creatures (19)

4 Muscle Sliver –> QUIRION DRYAD

4 Crystalline Sliver

4 Winged Sliver

4 Hibernation Sliver

3 Acidic Sliver


4 Force of Will

3 Counterspell

3 Duress

2 Demonic Consultation

3 Brainstorm

3 Swords to Plowshares

2 Disenchant

Mana (21)

4 City of Brass

4 Tundra

4 Underground Sea

1 Tropical Island

1 Volcanic Island

3 Flood Plain

1 Volrath’s Stronghold

2 Undiscovered Paradise

1 Gemstone Mine

Now THIS looks a bit more fun, and it even has thirty-five nongreen spells out of sixty. You can cast Force of Will and pump Dryad without missing a beat. Even a Brainstorm or Consult pumps the Dryad.

A good start, but not quite the mindless beatdown we really want. Quirion Dryad is not quite Muscle Sliver here, since the deck will often hold back cards after getting two or three Slivers on the table. We do not really want a control deck here; we want to unload spells ASAP to pump the Dryad.

Besides, two-mana gold spells are slower than one-mana weenies. We go back to our base:

4 Quirion Dryad

4 Kird Ape

4 Jackal Pup

4 Lightning Bolt

4 Incinerate

Since we know this deck will be a fun deck based around green and red, we may as well add:

1 Channel

4 Kaervek’s Torch

And probably have eleven slots to go. We want to get the best cheap cards available, and list everything else we want that costs two mana or less:

2 Cursed Scroll

4 Duress

1 Demonic Tutor

1 Vampiric Tutor

1 Mystical Tutor

1 Regrowth

1 Hull Breach

We need a bit of brokenness, though. We do not want to be reduced to to