M14: Playing to your Weaknesses – Green
(NOTE: “Playing to your Weaknesses” is a series of articles I have been doing on my own blog since Avacyn Restored that cover all of the uncommons and commons in a new expansion and which ones I would choose to use as one of the 23 cards in a 40 card limited deck. For those of you uninitiated to limited, it simply means sealed and booster draft, where you open packs and then proceed to make a deck out of them.)
I’m starting this at 7 pm Japan time on Saturday in hopes that it will be finished by your 11 am and 12 pm start time for those of you playing in the USA. It’s gonna be tight but I think I can do it! I’ve already finished my first pre-release, and I went 4-1 and came in second place at a 23 person event with a BR deck that originally was a Green and red. I’ve had a chance to see how these cards worked and interacted, and I think I can give you all solid advice when choosing which cards to use.
Everybody, please give a LOUD round of applause for THE Giant Spider! It had been in every core set since revised but in M13 it was replaced by another spider. The spider will work harder now more than ever in M14. There were tons of dragons, shades, and birds flying around the pre-release and the Giant Spider was more than up to take care of them. You definitely need to consider having him in your deck if you’re playing green and lack flyers. It’s a must in sealed, but in draft it might be easier to get around not having a way to block flyers with other removal cards such as Plummet and Windstorm.
I would play the Behemoth regardless of whether or not it had the secondary ability or not. A 4/4 creature for 5 mana isn’t bad at all, but letting it become a 8/8 trampler when you have 8 lands is freaking insane. I’d take this high in draft and it would definitely be one of my first 10 choices in sealed. This is going to be your finisher and it will definitely reach that 8/8 in sealed because the format is slow. Good luck stompin!
I had a lot of fun with Voracious Wurm in the prerelease when I was using Green/Red my first two games. I’d play Brindle Boar on turn 3, attack with it then sacrifice it in my second main phase on turn 4, and then drop this guy as a 6/6. If you end up putting a Mark of the Vampire on somebody and swinging in, or gaining large amounts of life with Path of Bravery, this guy is just going to become ridiculously huge. If you’re drafting a lot of life gain or have ways to gain a lot of life in your deck, take him early in draft. In sealed he’d be okay without life gain as a 22nd or 23rd choice, but if you can find a way to put in some life gain his value is going to gain a lot of value in your limited deck.
People say that enchantments are bad, but I think they are pretty damn good in M14 limited. Have you noticed there is nothing named Oblivion Ring in this core set? There is no way to exile anything aside from the Banisher Priest. That means your opponent has to burn or destroy, and regenerate can handle those sort of attacks with ease. Keeping the mana open for the regenerate is important, so be sure to always have that 2 mana to do it with. I wouldn’t draft it high or put in my top 20 cards in a sealed deck, but don’t feel bad if you get stuck with it and are playing a green deck. It’s a good card to fit into your 23rd slot, and it will help you to protect your biggest threat.
One of my friends was playing with 3 of these in a deck, and while it seems like it was a good idea, the high casting cost can be counter intuitive. It’s a decent card, and it’s great when you have a way to use those tokens, but if they are just sitting there as blockers or 1/1 attackers, they won’t be doing much. If you have ways to sacrifice them for value, or to boost their power with an anthem such as Path of Bravery, this card is pretty good. Otherwise, it might be worth putting it in your deck. 20th pick or so I’d say.
Vanilla 4/4 for 4 mana, but you won’t find more efficiency than him. If you have Advocate of the Beast he becomes pretty awesome. But due to the low power level of this set, 4/4 is pretty damn good. Solid card, 13th-14th choice in draft, top 12 choice in sealed.
Not all the Slivers will give you great value, but Predatory Sliver will. If you can play just one other Sliver with him he’s good. If you aren’t playing any slivers find something better, but if you have a few draft him high and put him in your sealed deck.
Is it just me or does this guy look like he’s peeing on a tree? Heh, anyways turning all of your Slivers into mana creatures can be pretty good, especially if you’re playing with a lot of X spells in red like Volcanic Geyser, or have a Vastwood Hydra. It’s fine in the other colors as well, but red and green would be best I think. I’d also play this Sliver even if there were no other slivers in the deck (which doesn’t seem possible). I’d take it as one of my top 10 cards in draft, and it would definitely be one of my top 15 cards in sealed.
Another 3/3 vanilla creature, but for 2 mana it’s a very scary second turn creature. I’d take this as one of my first 5 cards in a green draft deck, and there is no mistaking it would be in my sealed deck too. It puts a lot of pressure on your opponent very quickly, and in all likeliness they won’t be able to block it for the first 2 or 3 turns.
Green removal. It kills a creature while making yours bigger. Great if you’re playing some 4/4 or bigger creatures. Top 10 draft pick in a green deck, also good in sealed. It’s a must for GW or GU decks, but it would be really good with GR or GB to compliment the other removal in those colors.
Like Corrupt from black, Howl of the Night Pack seems like it’s too heavy at 7 mana, but this isn’t a card you cast quickly. This is a card you play after your opponent has used all their burn and kills spells, and they are down to one or two creatures to play with. If you suddenly put 4+ wolves into play on turn 7 or later, they are going to be in trouble. There is no Pyroclasm or board wipe in M14 other than Planar Cleansing, so you’ll definitely be in control of the game after playing this card. The later the better. Take it early in draft and play it in your main sealed deck. Don’t even consider putting it in the sideboard. Just don’t splash it into a 3 color deck. Two colors only.
Not much to say about Giant Growth. A big boost to kill a creature that is blocking yours or being blocked by it. Also a good way to sneak in extra damage for the win if they decide not to block. Not a high pick, but a good card in the 23rd slot.
I’m not sure if this should be a high pick in draft or sealed, but I’d have it in my deck as a win condition. Later on in the match when they have one finisher on the table and you have a 2/3 creature or something, this suddenly becomes removal for that big untapped blocker they have because it must be blocked. Hitting for more than 5 damage makes this card totally worth it. Maybe a 15th pick in draft, 21st card choice in sealed.
Ramping up to your larger spells is usually pretty useful, but playing 17 lands in a 40 card deck will get you that mana quickly no matter what. Elvish Mystic performs well in those GR decks with X in the casting cost, as well as in other decks that have a few large 5 mana+ creatures to cast. It’s not incredibly useful, but it does have its moments.
Another green card that can act as removal. Just one touch from this spider will kill the biggest dragon or demon that your opponent is attacking with. I’d take it as one of my top 15 draft cards, and it is a must in sealed as well. Putting a Trollhide on it would make it even better!
The Briarpack are back from Dark Ascension! I always thought they were fun to play with in DKA draft, and I think they’ll find a spot in a lot green/X decks. It will surprise quite a few attackers and also let you push through extra damage in a clutch situation. Top 15 card in draft, good in sealed too.
I had 2 of these in my sealed deck and they were pretty powerful alongside Rumbling Baloth and Maruading Maulhorn. I just sat back and let the beasts get bigger and bigger until it was too much for my opponent. A 2/3 body for 3 mana is also to block with too. If you aren’t running any beasts though, it loses some of its usefulness though.
Other Green cards
- Windstorm – great if you’re going up a lot of flyers, but definitely a sideboard card to start off with.
- Bramblecrush – good way to get rid of nasty enchantments, planeswalkers, and artifacts. Sideboard though.
- Groundshaker Sliver – really good with Battle Sliver, but the cost is too damn high. 7 mana is a lot, even if it is a 5/5 trampler. If you don’t have any other finishers, he’s not bad though.
Upcoming Articles on The Japan Hobbyist
That does it for the PTYW articles for M14. Don’t expect the content to stop here though. Tomorrow I’ll be going into the pre-release in depth along with the decks I used and how I did. As I said above, I went 4-1 and came in second place with a black/red deck on Saturday. I think I chose my cards pretty well! After the pre-release is over I’ll be moving into the Bang for your Buck series (cards to invest in for the M14 metagame) for the next week and a half, and once that is done I’ll be doing my “A Whole New World: MTG After Rotation” articles covering what cards we will be losing in September.
There is tons of content coming soon so be sure to add yourself to the email list or bookmark my website and check it out in July and August! Thanks for reading and good luck in limited!