Born of the Gods: 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.)
As luck would have it, my Friday morning class was canceled and not having to wake up early gives me the time I need to get out the final Play to your Weaknesses article a little early. That means I can finish this series on time for once and absorb everything nice and slowly for the pre-release. Green is another color that I was pleasantly surprised with, mostly due to the fact that many of the creatures have a nice added bonus to them. There are relatively few vanilla creatures this time around, which means that there will be synergies abound in Born of the God limited.
Aspect of the Hydra is like Giant Growth on steroids, or at least it will be if you have a few green creatures out. In a green heavy pool you can attack with with a seemingly unsuspecting 1/2 Voyaging Satyr and a few other creatures, and when they go to block the bigger threat, tap that one mana and slam them for 5, 6, 7 or more damage (depending on your devotion). I like this card a lot in a GW heroic deck, but I think it would be alright to play it in an aggressive GR or UG deck as well. Heroic decks usually lean on the white side more, so it would be little less powerful in that strategy, but overall I think it’s a good card you should have in that 22nd or 23rd spot in your sealed and draft deck.
I’m getting an odd feeling of deja vu when I see Graverobber Spider. It FEELS like the card Spider Spawning from Innistrad (that used creatures in the graveyard to put spiders in to play and had a black flashback cost) was reimagined. Well, however this card came to be, I like it. At its base it’s a Giant Spider, but if you’re playing GB or just splashing black, this can become quite the beater. There will be plenty of flying creatures for it to block, so regardless of whether you are playing black or not I think you need this card in your Green/X deck. In a GB build, I would take this guy the 2nd or 3rd time around in draft once I had my colors established, and I think it’s a solid roleplayer in sealed. I might cut it if I have better cards in my pool, but otherwise I think I’d reserve a spot for it.
Nessian Demolok is a card I can get behind. You can get a 6/6 creature for 5 mana which isn’t bad, but if your opponent doesn’t pay tribute, he turns into a 3/3 creature + Bramblecrush. Bramblecrush is an underused card, but it can be pretty strong. It destroys planeswalkers, lands, enchantments . . . pretty much anything other than a creature. The timing of when you use this card is very important though. The faster you play it, the more likely your opponent is going to let you activate its ability so they don’t have to deal with a 6/6. The later you play it though, the worse it gets. If you’re playing it on turn 10 or 12 when your opponent has nothing but land and creatures, they’ll let you blow up that land so you end up paying 5 mana for a 3/3 creature. This guy will shine against decks that rely heavily on enchantments, artifacts, and planeswalkers, so consider him as a strong sideboard candidate in a Green/X deck. Not a high pick in draft, but a good card to round out your 23 cards with. Just remember to play it as fast as possible! Use those ramp cards!
I think this card is pretty straightforward. Just like the other enchantment creatures I suggested in the other colors, this guy has a good bestow cost, a decent power, and can perform well in all green decks you put him in, including GW heroic. Bestow creatures are just solid cards. They give you the bonus the first time you enchant a creature, and when they fall off you get another one that can continue to fight. Nyxborn Wolf is nothing special, but I think he deserves a spot in your sealed deck and is worth an 8th or 9th pick in draft to help your green deck get that slight edge over others.
Finally, an inspired card that is MEANT to attack. Pheres-Band Raiders shouldn’t have any problems putting pressure on your opponent, making them chump block or take 5 damage. Either way you’ll be able to put a 3/3 token into play the following turn which is one of the strongest inspired triggers in Born of the Gods (at common/uncommon at least). He definitely wouldn’t go in your GW heroic deck, but the Raiders would be a top 7 pick for me in draft and a main deck creature in sealed. Good cost, good power, good ability. This is the guy you want when games go long.
The Tromper is another fairly costed Inspired creature that won’t struggle too much to activate its ability. Thankfully all you have to do is attack every turn to give him this bonus, which puts your opponent on a clock if they don’t kill it right away. Play aggressively with him and you’ll be rewarded handsomely. I think he’d be best in a GB or GU deck because you’d be able to easily cast a kill spell or a tempo spell to return a creature to an opponent’s hand to ensure he gets that counter the following turn. By the time your opponent plays that creature again, the Tromper will already be out of reach (hopefully). I think I’d take him as one of my first 5 picks in draft because he’ll fit in your curve well, has a decent ability, and is easily played with only one green mana in his cost. You could easily collect some other 3 drops or larger creatures after you get him. If it’s good enough for draft, then of course he’s good for sealed too. It’s not something I could easily cut from my deck.
This card has good synergy with Nyxborn Wolf, and gives you pretty good value for 5 mana. You get a pair of 2/2 creatures and an immediate +2/+2 for a total of 6 power on the board. Yes you run the risk of getting 2 for 1-ed if the creature you target dies to instant speed removal, but I think the risk is worth the pay off. This is one of the rare non-enchantment creature auras that I’d play due to its strong ETB effect. I wouldn’t be too excited about drafting this early, but if it comes around to you a second time in draft you should take it then and there (around your 9th pick or so). I also think this is a very good card in sealed too. Any card that lets you get 2 creatures for one is well worth it in limited.
So yeah . . . like half of the creatures in Theros block are enchantments now. I’m guessing with how it’s worded that he can only destroy something cast an aura, but there is an extremely good chance that your opponents will be paying that bestow cost 90% of the time. That means this guy will find taking out your opponent’s bestowed enchantment creatures is like shooting fish in a barrel. I don’t know if he’ll be great in every match up, but I would definitely run something like him in my deck instead of a disenchant instant because he’ll basically do the same thing in this format while giving you a creature afterwards. I’m not sure you really NEED it in your main deck, but I think it’s a card you want access to in this format. It can be clutch in certain match ups while just being a drag in others. If it comes around a 2nd time in draft pick it up (you’ll probably only get 2 chances for most BNG cards anyways due to only drafting one pack).
Here’s our Nessian Asp of the set. Or maybe it’s Nessian Asp lite. Gaining life has never been that important, so I think your opponent will likely let you gain the life rather than let it become a 7/7. There are a few situations where they might pay the tribute (for example, if they have you within lethal damage range), but you can count this on being a 4/4 creature for 5 mana 90% of the time. Still, that’s not a bad deal so it’s worth taking as your 8th or 9th pick in draft and it should be alright in one of your sealed deck’s last slots.
I’d basically compare this to Kalonian Tusker(M14), a 3/3 creature for 2 mana. It gives you a lot of power early on, devotion for certain cards like Nylea or Reverent Hunter, and is a great card for your curve. It’s amazing for a GW heroic deck, but it’s also a great two drop in every other green deck. I’d take it as my 3rd or 4th pick in draft because strong early drops are important, and it would be a strong roleplayer in my sealed deck too.
Remember how I said I would use that 2/1 creature instead that destroys auras instead of an instant in my deck to get rid of auras? Well, I lied. This is probably the only card I would play over it because of how nasty it can be. You can suddenly rip a bestowed creature from another one so you can block it and kill it, you can put a God in play back into their deck to give you a chance to get back into the game, and if you want to be really sneaky you can put their recently scryed top card somewhere else along with one of their artifacts or enchantments. This is the closest green will get to a tempo card, and I think it would be doubly effective in a UG deck along with cards like Voyage’s End and Griptide. Of course it would be great in any other green deck too, but that’s the one I have my money on. I think it’s safe to take this as one of your top 3 picks, because you can’t go wrong with removal (and that’s just what this is. Removal in green). You could easily sideboard it instead of playing it main, but I think you’ll have more than enough targets for it if you do decide to play it main.
Other Cards that Might See Play
- Mischief and Mayhem – I really want to recommend this as a card to play in your main deck, I mean, what’s not to like about giving 2 creatures +4/+4? Well, there is the problem of just getting chump blocked and wasting the effect. If only it were at instant speed – – then I would recommend it! You’re probably better off running creatures instead of it, though consider this card if you get a Nylea, God of the Hunt in your pool.
- Mortal’s Resolve – Good as an enabler in G/x heroic decks, but I don’t know what I would use it in other than in that strategy.
- Peregination – if you’re playing one of those mana intensive decks like UG or GR with lots of monstrous creatures then I could see this card being useful. It grabs you 2 land and scrys. I always like cards that filter mana out of your deck (improving your draws later on), so this might be worth a try in a more midrange deck.
- Setessan Oathsworn – Another great card for a G/x heroic deck if you have the right pool. He’s pretty strong, and similar to Staunch-Hearted Warrior from Theros, but his starting power/toughness is 1/1 which makes him more susceptible to removal. Great in heroic but I don’t know about much else.
- Noble Quarry – Well, if you have an army late in the game that can’t attack because your opponent’s creatures are bigger, this game would win it for you single handedly. Otherwise it’s a Lure ability for 6 mana and a +1/+1 bonus.
The Wrap Up
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the limited review of green for Born of the Gods, and the end to this season’s Play to Your Weaknesses. I know that my evaluations weren’t perfect due to rushing through them in the one week leading up to the pre-release, but hopefully they give you a rough idea of how to draft and which cards to look out for. I want to thank everybody that took the time to comment and give me feedback on each color. As the format matures and more solid archetypes are discovered, I’d like to re-visit the BNG/THS draft format, but until then I wish you the best of luck and hope you can put together some powerful sealed and draft decks!
Just because the limited review is done doesn’t meant that I’m done talking about Born of the Gods though! I’ll be posting about the pre-release this weekend to give you my first impressions on playing limited with both sets, as well as sharing what I played in my pre-release. I also have a big announcement about the Japan Hobbyist website and what I have in store for it this year at big MTG events, and next week I’ll also be starting my “Bang for your Buck” series about investing in current standard cards for the Born of the Gods standard season. What should you buy and what should you sell now??? Find out next week on The Japan Hobbyist! Thanks for reading!