M19 – 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. For the most part, I will focus mainly on cards from 2.5 to 5 stars in my article. 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. Example: A creature that fills the curve, a spell that destroys an artifact.
- 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. Example: A creature with a good ETB effect or decent activated ability. A spell that has a great effect but costs too much or has a big drawback.
- 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. Example: A creature that will win the game on its own if left unchecked and wins head to head battles often. A spell that has multiple effects or creates a huge swing in tempo.
- 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. Example: A creature that is almost impossible to due to special abilities or recursion. A spell that wipes the board or gives you massive card advantage.
Well, Green is our last hope. The other colors thus far have been somewhat underwhelming other than black. Red had some good glass cannons, white, flyers … but there wasn’t really anything that could end a game if left unchecked. You can be sure green will have a few of those big dumb beaters, but the question is: how easy can the other colors deal with them? That’s what I hope to answer in today’s article about green cards in M19 limited.
Colossal Dreadmaw is pretty much a given in any limited set these days. It’s the new Craw Wurm, except better in any way. It’s incredibly easy to get a hold of at least once in limited, and it’s a great common to have on the top end of your curve. A 6/6 with trample is no trivial matter. Can win a game by itself. Good to have at least one in your green deck.
Ghastbark Twins is slightly better than the Dreadmaw but at uncommon you won’t be opening many of them. Still, being able to block two creatures each combat with 7 toughness makes it an amazing blocker. Another great card to have at the top of your curve, and much better than the 7 drops of old. Vigilant Baloth might be lacking in power compared to the first two, but having Vigilance makes it great on both offense and defense. It will force your opponent to block, while also keeping their creatures at bay. Good choice in the 5 mana slot if you’re playing green.
Colossal Dreadmaw – RATING: 3 Stars
Ghastbark Twins – RATING: 3.5 Stars
Vigilant Baloth – RATING: 3 Stars
The next two cards might not have the finishing power of the first few cards I talked about, but they shouldn’t be looked over. Vine Mare is already hearing some buzz in constructed as a foil to black based decks and control since it dodges all of their removal and puts your opponent on a fast clock, and in limited it’s almost as good. Removal is very important in this limited environment, and to give hexproof to a beater that can be played on turn 4? This could end up being really good in M19 limited, especially if you’re able to load up a few Auras on it. It would be really good in a GW or GR deck that is able to both pump it, give it evasion, or give it abilities like first strike to get around troublesome blockers. High pick in limited.
Bristling Boar isn’t as scary, but your opponent will have to block with one of their bigger creatures to get rid of it since they can’t double up on it with smaller ones due to its ability. I think it will be able to put some pressure on your opponent, but sadly that 3 toughness means it’s more open to removal as well. Still a decent pick in draft if you can get it early.
Vine Mare – RATING: 4 Stars
Bristling Boar – RATING: 3.5 Stars
Rhox Oracle and Reclamation Sage won’t be winning any games on their own, but they show some utility. Rhox replaces itself when you play it by drawing a card, and if you have a way to bounce it you can get further value from it (though I think that might be hard in this set). Reclamation Sage should come in handy late game as well, especially if your opponent has killer enchantments like Patient Rebuilding in play. Sage also gets the benefit of elf typing, meaning it’s also a great card to have alongside Elvish Clancaller. Both are good additions to fill up your curve with.
Rhox Oracle – RATING: 2.5 Stars
Reclamation Sage – RATING: 3 Stars
Both Giant Spider and Daggerback Basilisk are good roleplayers in M19 limited. Green will always need some kind of way to stop flyers so it’s a good idea to have something like this in your deck. It might not do so well against the large number of 3 power flyers in this format, but blocking them is better than taking damage from them every turn.
The Basalisk is slightly better than a 1/1 deathtouch creature, but I think it will still be used largely for defense. If you end up getting any type of fight effects, it could end up being rather useful, especially if your removal is on the light side or you’re playing colors like UG which don’t usually have a lot of removal effects.
Giant Spider – RATING: 2.5 Stars
Daggerback Basilisk – RATING: 2 Stars
Speaking of which, Rabid Bite is back. It’s a great green removal spell in that it doesn’t actually fight the other creature which can kill yours, but instead it makes it so your creature deals the damage with no blowback. Great card for decks with big beaters. GR decks would give you the highest damage output, but GB might not be bad with this card either if you have other deathtouch cards like Death Baron with zombies. Somewhat high draft pick in my opinion if you’re in green.
RATING: 3 Stars
While it’s not truthfully a mana creature, I think I’d rather have Dryad Greenseeker over Druid of the Cowl, especially if I’m not playing Elvish Clancaller. The dryad effectively acts as a semi-scry effect that can filter out lands from your deck. Knowledege is power, and knowing if half the battle they say ^_^. It will end up being better than you think.
RATING: 2.5 Stars
It’s no Rancor, but it’s close enough. Talons of Wildwood solves the problem that auras have in limited and why they usually aren’t played: recursion. If your creature dies with it equipped or before you can attach it, you can pay 3 mana to get it back and do it again the next turn. Great if you’re playing lots of beaters and need some ways to push through damage. I really like it in GR and GB decks.
RATING: 3.5 Stars
So it’s sounding like card advantage is key in this format. Blue has it, as does black in some form or another, but green usually gets left out. Colossal Majesty gives green a way to get back into those long games if your board is stalled and you need to draw to your outs. I don’t know if I’d play it in the mainboard all of the time unless I had a good number of 4 power creatures (and maybe a Goreclaw, Terror of Qal Sisma), but it’d be a good card to have in your pool for those slower battles where the person who plays more cards, wins.
RATING: 2.5 Stars
Other Cards that Might See Play
- Centaur Courser – Vanilla filler.
- Druid of Horns – combos great with Talons of Wildwood.
- Elvish Rejuvenator – creature plus ramp, nice.
- Druid of the Cowl – Good in ramp decks, plus elves.
- Plummet/Naturalize – both are good sideboard cards to have.
- Thornhide Wolves – decent sized vanilla beaters.
- Titanic Growth – combat tricks are always good.
Coming Up Next
Yay. I finished this one time actually. Green’s not too exciting, but it can probably stand as the main color of a deck and do alright. It suffers from lack of combat tricks and removal as always, but if you have enough of that in other colors then use all the big dumb creatures in this color and smash face. Green red looks aggressive and hard hitting, GB gives you a lot of removal, and GW has a decent number of flyers and combat tricks to help out. I think I’d go GR though if I had a choice.
If you have any comments or suggestions please feel free to post them down below in the comments section, otherwise I hope you’ll join me again in a few days to look at the final bunch of cards: multicolor, artifacts, and lands.