I’ve said in the past that green is one of the worst colors in Zendikar Rising Draft. But I was wrong. Or at least that’s wrong now that green is underdrafted and the commons are misunderstood.
I’ve seen a lot of people take Rabid Bite and Gnarlid Colony above Kazandu Stomper and Canopy Baloth. Some people might even take Territorial Scythecat over them. In most scenarios, that’s incorrect. The Stomper and the Baloth hit hard, and are the top two green commons.
In this set, a 6/5 is the perfect statline. Five toughness dodges a lot of removal (although this doesn’t always apply to the Baloth). And there are very few creatures with four toughness or five power. This means that an attacking 6/5 is actually card advantage if the opponent doesn’t have one of the few hard removal spells (either it kills the opponent or they trade it for two of their cards).
Green is about deploying “chonky bois” in this set. Whatever the overarching synergies and gameplan in the deck, I’ve found most of the games in my green decks are finished by attacking with one of these two commons. And for some context, I have drafted these kinds of decks seven times so far, and I have a 79% win rate with them. So I’m probably doing something right.
What’s better between Canopy Baloth and Kazandu Stomper depends greatly on the way the deck looks. An aggressively slanting deck will always favor the Baloth, but I haven’t had success with aggressive green decks. In general, I prioritize the first Stomper over the first Baloth, but will take the first Baloth over the second Stomper. A deck with more modal double-faced cards (DFCs) may favor the second Stomper, especially if that deck is lacking top-end. Dodging removal matters a lot, even if six mana is a lot more than four.
Draft is self-correcting, and when one color is as underdrafted as green is right now, it becomes one of the best colors. In the draft below, my first three packs offer almost zero green options. Yet later on in the draft, there is green galore. I ended up wheeling Kazandu Stomper and taking a nearly mono-green deck all the way to a trophy! Would you make the same picks I did?
Pack 1, Pick 1
Pack 1, Pick 2
The Picks So Far:
Pack 1, Pick 3
The Picks So Far: