A Whole New World: MTG after rotation – Green

My GW Lifegain deck continues to improve, going 3-2 today at one of the most competitive places in Nagoya. I got a bye, beat a UR Burning Vengeance deck, and beat a UG Delver deck before losing to a GR  Kessig Ramp and a Naya Beatdown deck. It’s weak point seemed to be the early game, as I succumbed to players who were able to get out their creatures out quick with mana dorks and other forms of acceleration. In order to fight that, I’m throwing in more Elvish Visionaries as my two drops, and hopefully they’ll help me to stay in the game until I can gain enough life to be safe for the rest of the game.

Green/Red and Green/Red/White decks continue to be my nemesis, and I can’t wait for some of their main cards to rotate out. Here’s the top 10 list of green cards that will be rotating out in October. As with the artifacts, I’ll post which decks will be affected the most as well as what could be a possible replacement for the card. Green is going to be losing A LOT of acceleration so be ready for green decks to slow down considerably.

Top Ten Green

  1. Primeval Titan
  2. Green Sun’s Zenith
  3. Birds of Paradise
  4. Viridian Emissary
  5. Dungrove Elder
  6. Llanowar Elves
  7. Mutagenic Growth
  8. Thrun, the Last Troll
  9. Beast Within
  10. Noxious Revival

1. Primeval Titan

No doubt this is the most powerful green card that will be rotating in October. It’s an amazing finisher for GR and Naya beatdown/Kessig Ramp decks, and allows you to do so much with with the lands you bring in. Usually people will be grabbing Kessig Wolf Run, but it can also grab Inkmoth Nexus if you need an alternate win condition, as well as get you life with Glimmerpost. After this bad boy hits the table you usually have one more turn before it’s all over. I can’t wait to see him go. This card will definitely weaken ramp decks when it rotates. There aren’t any cards that will consistently get you more land, so look for GR/Naya ramps’ late game to suffer when he’s gone. It will also need a new finisher, but the only thing I could see taking it’s place in the 6 mana position is Soul of the Harvest from Avacyn. Craterhoof Behemoth might also find it’s way into these types of decks in the future.

2. Green Sun’s Zenith

Another staple of GR/Naya beatdown and Wolf Ramp is Green Sun’s Zenith. It’s incredibly powerful, getting you any green creature you need. It could be a Birds of Paradise on turn 2, a Strangleroot Geist on 3, a Huntmaster of the Fells on turn 4 (with mana dork help), and later on it gets nasties like Wolfir Silverheart and Primeval Titan. Without this card, decks using green will become a lot slower at getting their creatures into play. Not just GR and Naya decks, but Green decks will also be affected by the loss of this card, and some Birthing Pod decks too. Mwonvuli Beast Tracker will help you search for a limited number of cards (which meets it’s criteria) and put it on top of your library, but I can’t think of any other cards that can take Green Sun’s place. Maybe there will be something to replace it in Return to Ravnica.

3. Birds of Paradise

I can’t believe this wasn’t re-printed in M13, but then again there might be something as good as Bird of Paradise in RTR since it will be heavy with multicolored cards. You can be sure it will be reprinted in future sets, and maybe even in the Ravnica block, so hold on to any copies you have. This card can be found in a number of decks since it can make any color of mana, and without it, it will be difficult for some decks to get off at a fast start. Mana acceleration has been very important for any deck running Kessig Wolf Ramp, and without Birds of Paradise people will have to use Arbor Elves or Avacyn’s Pilgrim for mana acceleration. This could mean you’ll see a lot of Green/White aggro builds in the future with lands like Gavony Township, but I’m sure there will be something in Return to Ravnica that fills in during the Birds’ absence.

4. Viridian Emissary

Multicolor Ramp decks are losing another helper when Viridian Emissary rotates. This card saw the most play in Birthing Pod decks (which I touched on in my artifacts article), but it was a great card to have in any 2 color + deck. It’s gonna be tough to find a replacement for the Emissary since we’re losing a cheap (2 mana), powerful (2/1), and useful card. Elvish Visionary will draw you a card for 2 mana, and Borderland Ranger will get you a basic land for 3 mana and a 2/2 body, but neither gives you as much value as Viridian Emissary early on in the game. I’m sure you’ll see this reprinted in the future sometime.

5. Dungrove Elder

This card become very popular again after Rancor was reprinted in M13. Now is the best time to use that combo! If you weren’t playing against somebody who was running control or Day of Judgment in their deck, you most definitely  had the game in the bag once this hit the battlefield. It would just get bigger and bigger, and once you slapped a Rancor on it you didn’t have to worry about chump blockers anymore. I really doubt anybody will be running mono green once this rotates out. If you’re looking for a creature that keeps getting bigger and can’t be targeted by spells, you’re out of luck. There is a 3/3 Hexproof for 4 mana in M13 (Primal Huntbeast) and Splinterfright from Innistrad that keeps getting bigger each turn when you put creatures into the graveyard (by automatically milling you), but neither really do the same thing as Dungrove Elder.

6. Llanowar Elves

Don’t worry, the Elves will be back in a future set, but until then you have Arbor Elves from M13 to take their place. At the moment there are a crazy amount of 1 drop mana producers: Llanowar Elves, Avacyn’s Pilgrim, Birds of Paradise, Arbor Elf. While you usually only see the Pilgrim and Birds get any play in GR or Naya decks, Arbor Elf and Llanowar Elves have recently become popular in the Elf Wave deck using Genesis Wave (from Scars of Mirrodin) that puts a lot of elves in play very quickly then end the game with a Craterhoof Behemoth before turn 5. This deck is largely made possible by these 1 drop mana producers, and when half of them leave play in October you can be sure this deck will lose it’s popularity. Primal Surge is still a little heavy at 10 mana to take over for Genesis Wave, and Avacyn’s Pilgrim white mana really doesn’t help in a mainly green deck.

7. Mutagenic Growth

Mutagenic Growth has come to popularity lately in some Delver decks. For 2 life you can save your Delver of Secrets from red death, and it also works very well in UG Infect deck using Wild Defiance. While Infect won’t even be a deck type after October, Delver still will be. Without this card Delver will be a little weaker to red damage spells, but there are still plenty of cards that can be played in it’s stead as long as you have one mana to save it. Ranger’s Guile (ISD) gives it hexproof and a +1/+1 counter, and Hunger of the Howlpack gives it either +1/+1 or +3/+3 depending on if a creature died that turn. You could also bust out a Revenge of the Hunted miracle on it, but that’s a little trickier to pull off. Overall Delver decks won’t be hurt that much, but it’s still a card that will be missed in the metagame.

8. Thrun, The Last Troll

Thrun was your go to guy in GR Ramp decks before cards like Huntmaster of the Fells and Wolfir Silverheart came out. He doesn’t see so much play these days but that doesn’t make him any less of a bad ass. He usually gets sided in against control decks by Ramp players since he can’t be countered, and with hexproof and regenerate he’s a very effective beater or blocker at 4/4. GR/ Naya Ramp decks might be a little more susceptible to control after the rotation without him, and with less creatures to deal with after rotation, you might see more people switching back to control. Wolfir Avenger (3/3 Flash regnerate from AVR) is probably a decent replacement for Thrun, even without the hexproof. Avenger will get in a turn earlier and can be played when a control player is tapped out for mana with flash, effectively making it uncounterable.

9. Beast Within

I like Beast Within. It gave green some sort of removal, even if it ended up putting a 3/3 beast in. The beast was better than a 6/6 Titan or other equally nasty creature, and it could also be used to destroy your own permanent to make a 3/3 blocker to take out their 2/2 attacker. It was used a lot by green decks before (and still is used in some), but when it rotates it won’t be missed that much. There aren’t any other 3 mana green removal spells, but to some extent Acidic Slime will take it’s place at 5 mana. If you can think of any newer green removal spells as effective as Beast Within, let me know.

10. Noxious Revival

Noxious Revival saw its time in the spotlight with the release of Avacyn Restored and miracles. Pay life or a green mana, put the miracle back on top of your library and WHAM! You have a bunch of angels, an blazing Bonfire of the Damned, or an extra turn (if it was countered earlier). Miracle decks will feel the pinch without this in play, but it shouldn’t hurt too much when it rotates. What’s going to hurt miracle decks more in October is the rotation of Ponder. I don’t think this card will be reprinted in the future, and with Reclaim also rotating out it will be difficult to put your miracles back on top of your library. I can’t think of any other cards that have good synergy with miracles other than Noxious Revival and think people using it in their miracle strategy will have to switch things around a little bit.

Wrap Up

That wraps up my thoughts on green cards rotating out in October. Birthing Pod should probably be here too, but I decided to put that in Artifacts instead. For the most part, green and green/X decks will lose a lot of mana acceleration as well as card advantage through Green Sun’s Zenith. Most likely there will be cards in Return to Ravnica that will take some of these cards places, but overall I think Ramp decks will lose around 40% of their speed when these cards rotate.

I hope you found this article useful and if you have any comments or thoughts about other green cards that should have been included in the list I’d like to hear them. I should have time to do another article sometime later this week, so look for the next “rotation” article soon. Thanks again for reading.

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