Eldritch Moon: 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 for my rating system, I’ll be using a new format this time around. After a lot of feedback, I’ve decided to abandon my 3 tier scoring system of Low-Medium-High and I will instead be moving onto a 5 star ranking system. The system is as follows:

  • 1 star = a card that is barely playable, even as filler for your deck
  • 2 stars = this card could be a strong sideboard card, but is highly conditional and not always effective
  • 3 stars = a 3 star card is a solid role-player. These cards could be less than amazing removal effects, or a creature that is a glass cannon (high power, low defense). They could be good except for a few flaws.
  • 4 stars = Here’s where we get into the powerhouses. 4 Stars could be good finishers, or cards that can end a game if left unchecked. They also have multiple effects, and are all around good value for you. The only thing holding them back is restrictive costs or some small drawback. Most first pick draft commons/uncommons fit into this ranking.
  • 5 stars = you won’t see a lot of these at common and uncommon. These will usually be your rares and mythics because they are incredibly bonkers. Planeswalkers, massive creatures, etc., these are the cards you could build a deck around. No questions asked first pick in draft.

 

The pre-release is quickly approaching so I don’t want to spend too much time introducing green, however I do want to give a quick run down on how it was used in Shadows Over Innistrad’s limited. You can check out what I said about SOI’s green cards here, but I’ll summarize it in case you’re running low on time.

Green saw a lot of play in GR Werewolves/beatdown, BG Delirium, and to a lesser extent GW Humans and UG Clues. Green/Red ended up being one of the stronger archetypes, but green brought a lot of strong creatures to colors that would otherwise be overpowered by other strategies. This time we’re going to see a lot more of the same: wolves, humans, and some neat delirium cards, but there are obviously some cards that will be stronger than others. I’m going to start with creatures so you can focus on making your decks stronger.

 

Shrill HowlerHowling Chorus

Shrill Howler embraces its glass cannon status and simply doesn’t care. This is a card you want to pump up with various enchantments or combat tricks and push through damage as quickly as you can. Once flipped, it becomes much harder to kill and if you have a way to give it evasion such as flying, it can put a small army in your hands after a few turns. A 3 mana casting cost doesn’t make it a huge risk since you’ll be able to cast it easily whenever you draw it. It shouldn’t be too hard to flip either. It’s not a powerful finisher like its red brethren are, but it should give you some good card advantage in limited.

RATING: 3.5 Stars

 

Tangleclaw WerewolfFibrous Entagler

Tangleclaw Werewolf is one of the more versatile werewolves, but it’s more of a support card than a finisher. It blocks well, and isn’t easy to kill. Flipping it might be rather hard though, but if you can it turns into a blocker/beater that will force your opponent to either commit multiple creatures to kill it (and therefore opening them up to some combat tricks) or to take 4 damage a turn. Either way, the attrition will turn the game in your favor.

RATING: 3 Stars

 

Kessig ProwlerSinuous Predator

Kessig Prowler is a great card for those aggressive GR decks and just like Shrill Howler it’s not a bad card to have in you deck regardless of the archetype. Having a 2/1 early in the game that you can then upgrade to a 4/4 creature which can only be blocked by other big creatures later is another low risk, high pay off investment. I don’t think it’s one of those creatures you’d HAVE to play, but it’s a reasonable choice that I wouldn’t find anything wrong with if you did end up going with it.

RATING: 3 Stars

 

Ulvenwald CaptiveUlvenwald Abomination

I haven’t seen a mana creature at common for a while, and although Ulvenwald Captive has defender I think you should still take it into consideration if you have a lot of 6+ mana costing cards in your deck like some of the Eldrazi. Flipping it won’t be easy, but at least he can help himself transform. The gap between his regular Horror form and Eldrazi form is probably the biggest gap of all the transforming werewolves. You won’t flip him as often as you would Kessig Prowler, but having that option later on gives you some choices late game. Once flipped, it will help you cast any of those Eldrazi you have sitting in your hand.

RATING: 3 Stars

 

Somberwald Stag

Built-in Prey Upon on a 4/3 creature? Value! You could get very creative with this card. If you can blink it with a card like Eerie Interlude or bounce it back to your hand consistently in blue you could easily take out most of your opponent’s forces and still have a nice beater to hit them with.  I’d grab this very early in draft, possibly even first pick it if your rare doesn’t look that good. The more removal you can get in this format the better. Green might not be as powerful as the other colors, but there are a few strategies where I can see Somberwald Stag really doing some damage.

RATING: 4 Stars

 

Hamlet Captain

Hamlet Captain’s day in the sun as finally come. It saw a tiny, tiny bit of play during Innistrad standard back in the day in some Human Reanimator decks, but in standard I expect it to team up VERY well with Thalia’s Lieutenant and smack opponents for a lot of damage in one turn. It’s very possible to build a GW human deck and really go to town on your opponent with all of the human werewolves and delirium based cards. If you’re playing with a good number of humans in your draft deck, grab as much as these as possible. It might not be horrible in UG or GR either.

RATING: 3 Stars

 

Noose Constrictor

Having a 2/2 creature with reach for 2 mana is huge, and what makes it great is that you can discard a card to pump it at any time. It’s an incredibly versatile blocker and also a good way to turn on Delirium without having to be constrained by once a turn abilities. ONe of the best two drops in green.

RATING: 3 Stars

 

Swift Spinner

As I write this part of the article, I have just gotten back from a pair of successful pre-release tournaments, both of which were with GW decks. I had the chance to use Swift Spinner in each of my pools, and I have to say I’m impressed with it. Besides stopping a lot of 1/1 and 2/2 flyers dead in their tracks, I was able to use its flash ability again and again to ambush opponents and gain the upper hand in battles. I would totally recommend you play this in any green deck you put together. Being able to block flyers is very important, and Spinner does his job very well.

RATING: 3 Stars

 

Backwoods Survivalists

With the amount of playable enchantments in this format, Backwoods Survivalists’ Delirium ability is easier to activate than you think. There are lots of discard abilities and it should be no problem putting creatures, sorceries, and instants in the graveyard. Even with out the +1/+1 and trample it’s a good body and it’s human typing gives it a lot of advantages that other creature types don’t get.

 

RATING: 3 Stars

 

Foul Emissary

I saw enough Eldrazi creatures with Emerge during the pre-release to consider recommending this card. In my pre-release package alone I had about 4. While Foul Emissary won’t always give you the 3/2 Eldrazi Horror bonus, it will still do a good job of pseudo-drawing you a card. It’s 3 mana casting cost is related more to its ability to decrease an Emerge cost though instead of the power of its ability. Not always great, but in a deck devoted to playing giant Eldrazi horrors I’d play it.

RATING: 2.5 Stars

 

Gnarlwood Dryad

A one mana 1/1 with deathtouch is always playable, and if you can turn it into a 3/3 a few turns later more power to you. As I stated above in regards to Delirium effects, if you build a balanced removal suite with an enchantment or two, some instants, and sorceries it shouldn’t be a problem. Having discard effects like Noose Constrictor’s are VERY good, and if you’re playing black or red there should be a number of madness cards to let you discard your cards to get good value out of them while also filling your graveyard to activate Delirium.

RATING: 3 Stars

 

Clear Shot

Green doesn’t get better removal than this. Instant speed, pumps the creature up, and doesn’t deal any damage to your creature in the process. Awesome combat trick both on offense and defense and a very high draft pick if you’re playing green. Black and white will still have the better removal, but green has some of the best combat tricks out there. If you’re playing an aggressive deck like GR werewolves or GW humans, I can’t recommend this enough.

RATING: 3.5 Stars

 

Prey Upon

While Prey Upon puts your creature at risk, it’s only one mana and very efficient. Just like Clear Shot, if you’re playing a lot of aggressive creatures and have a few with a high power level Prey Upon is darn good. You shouldn’t have to worry about your opponent killing the creature you’re using to fight either because there are very few instant speed kill effects in EMN/SOI limited. Relatively high draft pick if you’re playing with green.

RATING: 3 Stars

 

Other Cards That Might See Play

 

  • Bloodbriar – Outside of GB decks playing cards like Voldaren Pariah, I don’t see many ways in limited to really take advantage of Bloodbriar. It’s a decent card with a good body and mana cost, but depending on your build it might be better to play another 3 drop instead.
  • Grapple With the Past – Ggood card for GW/GB/UG Delirium decks, also kind of a quasi draw spell. Not for every deck, but has a lot of utility if you’re working with your graveyard.
  • Springsage Ritual – Like I said in white, being able to destroy an enchantment is going to be important in this format, so during draft I’d grab at least one of these, if not 2.
  • Woodcutter’s Grit – One of the better combat tricks in the set. Not only stops your best creature from getting taken out of action, but also make sure it kills or doesn’t die to whatever creatures it deals with.
  • Woodland Patrol – Nothing special about them really, but they are definitely playable if you need more 3 drops to lower your curve or want humans for some human based effect. Roleplayers.

 

Coming Up Next

 

Green doesn’t have the massive creatures like it has had in the past, but its removal has gotten a lot better and there are lot more impressive combat tricks to play with. I see green based delirium decks getting a lot better in this format, if only because there are more enablers in green to help do so. Green/Red werewolves will continue to be dangerous and hard to deal with, but GW Humans might cause you trouble too. GB Spider/Delrium seems like a fun deck to draft if you get Ishkanah from your packs, and the new Werewolf Horrors are a lot stronger than you think in this format. Green was one of the weaker colors in SOI limited, but it’s much better this time around.

Next time I’ll be trying to finish up the remainder of my picks with artifacts, lands, multicolor, and colorless cards all at once, and it shouldn’t be too difficult considering the small numbers of each. What are your thoughts on green? Most people will have done a pre-release or two by the time you read this article, so let me know how your pool was and if the guide helped you at all. If you come across any interesting combos that I didn’t mention, please share the information down below! Thanks for reading and hopefully you can stop back one last time on Monday for the final article!

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