Theros: 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’ve purposely left out the rare cards because it is much more likely that you’ll see multiples of uncommon and commons in your packs/pools.)
The color I’m most excited about is green. It seems like it has some great enchantments, powerful spells, and a large amount of creatures that are going to be key to beating your opponent. I think it’s going to be the color to beat at the pre-release and at future limited events. If your deck isn’t X/Green, it’s probably going to have some trouble. You’ll see what I mean as I go over my picks for limited.
While I usually wouldn’t play with cards meant to help out heroic in my main deck, I think Warriors’ Lesson is the best. It’s rare to give green a way to draw cards, and it’s always a bad idea to do so, especially in limited. Giving them more cards means giving them more ways to beat you down. Even an unsuspecting 1/1 that your opponent let through can become valuable with this card, and if you have something like the red Cerberus with double strike, you suddenly draw to cards from him and another from the other creature! I’d take this pretty highly in draft and I would be ecstatic to have this in my sealed pool.
*Whistles* Phew, what a beauty. It doesn’t get better than this at common for finishers. 6 mana, 6 damage, plus trample. This would be one of the first cards I set aside when I open my packs as a bomb. You want to play this, and you want to take this high in draft. It has great synergy with any enchantment you put on it, and it will block well for you to. Don’t pass this up!
Removal with an upside. For 3 mana, green can kill one of your opponents creatures, and also gain you 3 life. If you’re playing non removal colors such as blue or white, this card is what you want to put in there to get rid of what ails you. It’s incredibly potent with any deathtouch creatures you have too. In a green draft deck you want to take this kind of removal early or you’ll be without it. I’d say it would be my 3-4th pick. You’d also want to have this in your sealed deck no matter what. The only games you’d get into trouble in would be those games when you can’t kill a threat.
If I was going to play any one drop in Theros, it would be the scorpion. It will hold off the mightiest of monsters with the highest power (as long as it doesn’t have trample). If you combo it with Time to Feed, you have potent removal in green for a total of 4 mana. I think it’s a safe bet to play with him in your sealed deck, and probably in draft as well. I wouldn’t take him too early in draft though. There are other cards you want to take first such as a finisher and other bombs, but if it comes around after a few turns pick it up.
Ordeal of Nylea tends to be in the same vein as the Satyr, except that is also gives you a boost of power. This is a card that I think would be great in a monstrous strategy since it helps you to ramp up your mana, but it would be good in any deck to tell the truth. There are plenty of bombs in the other colors, and it also helps you to play high bestow costs faster than usual too. I would take it as my 7-8th pick in draft, and regardless of my sealed pool, if I was using green I’d put this in there too.
I think this is pretty easy to guess. Putting trample on a creature gives it evasion and pushes damage through, and adding +3/+3 turns pretty much any creature into a threat. I’d recommend holding this until a little later in the game before casting it’s bestow. Once it looks like your opponent has used up their removal spells, bestow a creature and suddenly it becomes your finisher. I especially like this on hexproof creatures like the blue Benthic Giant or the Fleecemace Lion. This would be one of my first picks in draft I think, just because it gives me both evasion and a creature.
I’m not sure how relevant life gain will be in limited (if you’re getting hit by a 9/9 monster, gaining 3-5 life won’t do much), but I think Nylea’s Disciple helps you to hedge your bets. Similar to Centaur Healer in RTR, she will put a body on the table in to block and attack with, and she’ll also gain you at least 2 life. Just as with the other devotion cards, I think you can see this as more of a 4-5 point life gain and a 3/3 creature for 4 mana. Not bad at all. I wouldn’t draft it high, but it should be part of your sealed deck. The life gain can totally offset bad early draws or playing against more aggressive decks.
Ain’t no flyers hittin my player! The Nessian Asp plays the role of a great defender as well as finisher. It should be able to take hits from anything blue and white can throw its way, but be careful of red and black. Due to green’s absence of flyers, it’s a good idea to have this in your sealed deck. Even if you didn’t have to worry about flyers, I think it’s costed well and puts pressure on your opponent. Once it becomes monstrous, it will have to be dealt with.
The Nemesis is an interesting card. It’s like a Ghoultree from Dark Ascension. Late game it has the possibility of being cast extremely cheaply , and monstrosity should be easy to activate it as well. You have to be careful with how many of these types of creatures you put in your deck because you’ll need to have creatures to play defense with until a creature like this can become monstrous. I think it’s worth playing in both sealed and draft, especially if you have a way to give it evasion like flying or trample. I don’t know if I’d take it first, but I think I’d pick it up as my 4th card.
Flyers are out there, and the moment you forget about them, you lose. Green’s powerful and all that, but against flying creatures they can do nothing but sit back and look up at the sky. That’s why I would highly recommend a card like this in your deck. If you’re going to be heavily in green in draft, pick this up early so you don’t get screwed. In sealed it’s also a good choice, and if there is even one flyer in their deck, you better keep this in there. Otherwise they can exploit that weakness and kill you.
For activating Monstrous effects, I think the Acoltye is the best. There are going to be times when you get stuck on one mana, and this card helps you to break out of that predicament. I like this card over the 1/2 that untaps a land, as well as the Satyr Hedonist. The mana is a lot more solid, and you can ramp in to large spells a lot more easily. If you’re playing with the monstrous strategy, go with this card. Otherwise, it might better be left out of your main deck for something more aggressive.
Gotta love combat tricks. Flashing enchantments on creatures is going to have the same effect as spells like Giant Growth. It can catch your opponent off guard, you can take care of their threat and then press your advantage. Is it a high draft card? Probably not. Should you put it your sealed deck? Maybe. I think a card like this would work really well with the heroic mechanic, so look into playing with it if you have a food good cards that you can activate heroic with.
I think both of these card are musts in your deck. You don’t have to play them all in your main deck right away, but make sure one is always handy. You’re sure to come across a few gods or other enchantments during the pre-release, and you want to make sure your opponent doesn’t get the advantage of making 2/1 clerics or drawing cards. If you’re drafting, you should try to get at least 2, and in sealed I think you should have at least one of these in your main deck in case you run into trouble.
It’s Garruk in sorcery form (kinda)! This is the closest thing green will get to card draw, so take it however you can get it. Limited decks tend to run 14 or more creatures, so this should hit at least 2-3 if you’re lucky. If you’re looking to play aggressively, I think this will help out as well. If you’re playing a lot of creatures in your deck, this is a good card to have in your deck. Otherwise, you should probably just focus on putting in cards with Scry.
With so many spells in Theros that target 1-2 creatures, I think Heroic is going to be one of the more powerful mechanics in the set. Sure Monstrous is nice, but you can play around it because the threat is right there in front of you. You can chump block it, take it out, etc. With heroic, you don’t know where the threat could come from and then suddenly you’re dead. Take this guy for example. You’re attacking with him and a bigger guy, the big guy gets blocked, and then you target this with a Giant Growth type effect. It’s suddenly a 6/6, and if you target it again with a cheap instant it gets even bigger! This guy can potentially be bigger than any Monstrous creature your opponent can throw at you. If you get a decent amount of those multiple target effects, consider playing heroic cards like the Battlemaster. I like him in sealed, but I think his value in draft depends on what cards you get.
Other cards that might be good
- Satyr Hedonist – good in a deck with a lot of monstrous, but otherwise his spot might be better given to another mana accelerating creature or something that is more aggressive.
- Agent of Horizons – Good if you’re playing blue, but otherwise he’s kind of “meh”
- Nessian Courser – not a bad body, but vanilla. If you have nothing better to put in, he should be in your deck.
- Satyr Piper – kind of like a fight effect. Pump up a creature, then make your opponent block it. Good way to kill the resistance.
Green is going to give you a lot of power, especially with its monstrous and heroic abilities, and it’s also going to be the best color for dealing with enchantments. It’s weakness, as always is removal and flyers, so when building your deck keep this in mind. Put together a deck that can compensate for its weaknesses, and you should be fine. The color offers you more finishers than any other.
I’ll be traveling this weekend so I won’t be able to cover the artifacts, lands, and multicolor cards before the pre-release, but I should have them done before next weekend for anybody that is interested. Thanks for reading and check back again in a few days!