Hour of Devastation – 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, 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.
- 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.
Time ran out for me during the pre-release and I lacked the hours needed to avoid devastation. I was unable to finish my green article in time for the all of you taking part and for that I apologize. Between finishing up my busy work schedule and preparing for my summer vacation to Australia (which I just got back from on Thursday), there was very little time to do any writing. Hopefully I’ll be able to finish up this series soon though, so I can move onto the next series about the financial impact of MTGHOU and talk about a few other ideas I’ve had in my head.
Anyways, let’s move onto green. Amonkhet gave us a decent number of beaters and a large number of Exert and -1/-1 counter cards that worked well in a variety of colors such as GB and GR. I ended up playing green on more than one occasion in AKH, and feel that it is a solid color. Take a look at what I said about green last time in this link.
The first group of cards today in green are those with the Exert mechanic. Amonkhet gave us slightly more aggressive Exert cards in green, so I’m a little disappointed with what we got in Hour of Devastation. Rhonas’s Stalwart is pretty good early on and forces your opponent to trade a bigger creature with it if they want to block it. It’s a GR beatdown deck roleplayer and fits on the curve very well.
Oasis Ritualist is a much better ramp creature that Hope Tender, but slower as well. It’s a great blocker though, and gives you that jump from 4 to 6/7 mana on turn 5 to play your finisher if you use the exert ability. It also makes any color, which makes it very useful in a 3 color deck.
Rhonas’s Stalwart – RATING: 2.5 Stars
Oasis Ritualist – RATING: 2.5 Stars
Our next 2 cards work well with the desert mechanic, but only help to strengthen the synergies instead of blowing open a game. Dune Diviner fits alright on your curve and gives you some incremental life gain which is pretty important in limited, whiel Sidewinder Naga works better in an aggressive GR beatdown deck playing a few combat tricks. If I had to choose one over the other in limited though, I’d probably go with Sidewinder in my aggressive green deck with deserts.
Dune Diviner – RATING: 2 Stars
Sidewinder Naga – RATING: 2.5 Stars
Sifter Wurm has to be one of the most powerful green creatures I’ve ever seen in limited. A 7/7 trample for 7 mana might be hard to get out early, but the pay off is totally worth it. Getting to scry 3 and gain life on top of having a massive finisher is more than enough reason to play this. I expect it to be a somewhat high draft pick as well.
Rampaging Hippo is another decent beater that gives you trample on a large body, but also has the added bonus of being able to cycle itself away early on if you’re not hitting your mana or need something to stop an aggressive onslaught. I feel like Devotee of Strength goes well with both of these because he can pump up any creature instead of just himself. Sure it pales in comparison to Rhonas’s ability, but late game it could come in handy.
Sifter Wurm – RATING: 4 Stars
Rampaging Hippo – RATING: 3 Stars
Devotee of Strength – RATING: 2.5 Stars
These last 3 creatures won’t be winning you any games on their own probably like the previous 3, but they are sturdy beaters that can deal a decent amount of damage before being taken down, and each offers some synergy to the various HOU/AKH archetypes. Tenacious Hunter works well in GB, giving you a 3/3 deathtouch creature if you need a dangerous attacker/defender, and Quarry Beetle works well in desert themed decks that are looking to sacrifice land in order activate abilities. It’s also a great blocker on defense and hard to kill on offense.
Jackal Archer is probably the most versatile of the trio however. Being able to put pressure on an opponent while leaving itself available to block almost any flyer will put decks like UW flying in a pinch. Any of these cards would be important roleplayers in whichever deck you put them in.
Tenacious Hunter – RATING: 3 Stars
Quarry Beetle – RATING: 3 Stars
Jackal Archer – RATING: 3 Stars
It’s pretty rare to get a instant speed “fight” type effect in green, so I’m rather impressed with Ambuscade. The fact that your creature is the only one dealing damage makes the card even better. I might even consider this a splashable card. It works great both as removal and as a combat trick. I expect it to be popular in draft as well.
Overcome is a weak Overrun effect (for the same amount of mana), but I could still see myself using this in an aggressive, creature heavy deck playing a lot of 2-4 drops. GR Exert comes to mind, but GW or GB would also work, especially if you have ways to make tokens.
Ambuscade – RATING: 3.5 Stars
Overcome – RATING: 3 Stars
Other Cards that Will See Play
- Beneath the Sands – great for 3 multicolor decks, ramp, or anybody wanting to splash a color. Cycling makes it better than most other ramp cards.
- Gift of Strength – good combat trick for aggressive decks. Also good on defense against flying decks.
- Harrier Naga – Vanilla 3/3 that will fit on your curve if you need more 3 drops to even it out.
- Hope Tender – Hope Tender is a semi-ramp card, but I think it works better with 3 color decks since it allows you to get that splash easier. Not a great card, but I could see some decks using it.
Coming Up Next
I couldn’t be more disappointed with green this time around. Sure you get a few good beaters and some added cards for Exert and Desert themed decks, but it’s a far cry from the quality of cards in Amonkhet. Green has definitely become a support color in Hour of Devastation, so don’t expect to be able to draft mostly green cards to make an effective deck. While GB Counters, G/x deserts, and GR Exert didn’t get any worse, they sure didn’t get much better either with green’s offerings.
This leaves us with one more article on the remaining cards (artifacts, lands, multicolor), as well as my results from the pre-release last weekend. I want to thank you again for being patient while I was on vacation. Hopefully the series will be finished either Sunday or Monday so be sure to check back soon!