Guilds of Ravnica – 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. Probably filler to finish up your limited deck or needs synergy to be playable.
- 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. A good 2nd to 5th pick in draft.
- 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. Usually a first pick in draft.
- 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. “Windmill slam” first pick in limited.
Woohoo! I actually managed to get around to green before the pre-release this time! There is still a huge chunk of playable multicolor cards to go through, but getting through 5 colors in a little over a week is pretty good for me. Today we finish up the remaining undergrowth and convoke cards. For those your that read the other articles, I said I was rather impressed with Undergrowth so it’s going to have to horribly underperform in green for my mind to change about that. Convoke seemed like a decent support mechanic in white, but it will need a lot from green to be able to stand on it’s own and not just become an afterthought.
Who’s a good boy? You are, yeah you are!! ^_^. Affectionate Indrik has quickly become a fan favorite due to it’s flavor, picture, and also because of it’s enter the battlefield ability. Just like big dogs, it doesn’t know it’s own power and can surprise people. Six mana for a decent beater that also kills and 4 toughness creature when you play it is great. Very well designed card and I expect it to be drafted rather high.
RATING: 3.5 Stars
You can always count on green to give you an elf that finds land. While I’m disappointed we didn’t get a Farseek reprint, I think District Guide will carry out his job as limited roleplayer very well. Grabbing a basic land is nice and all, but being able to grab a dual land (even if it is a tap in land) is great. Great on curve and makes sure that you can stay on curve as well. I can’t imagine green decks like BG or WG not wanting to play this. High draft pick.
RATING: 3.5 Stars
Prey Upon makes its return in Guilds of Ravnica, and why not? The other colors have been getting better and better removal spells, why should green be lagging behind? I’m happy we don’t have to deal with 4 mana fight spells anymore. It’s not a great removal card mind you, but if you’re stuck the color it’s a welcome card.
I like Might of the Masses because it’s both an incredibly efficient card for 1 mana, but also because limited tends to be heavy with creatures so at worst this will be a Giant Growth and at best a Become Immense. Great combat trick, especially if your GW deck is also running some mentor cards or has some evasion.
Prey Upon – RATING: 3 Stars
Might of the Masses – RATING: 2.5 Stars
I feel like there are 3 good convoke cards at uncommon/common in green. The last time we saw Siege Wurm was in M15. It’s got a great body and semi-evasion with trample, but what makes it even better is that you’ll be casting it for 5 mana rather consistently. It shouldn’t be too hard to have 2 creatures in play before turn 4, and if you’re lucky you should be able to get him off on turn 3 sometimes as well (if you’re playing a Mentor/Convoke deck with lots of early drops). I’d take it rather early in draft if I was playing green.
Arboretum Elemental is a little less flashy and more difficult to cast, but a 7/5 hexproof creature has a lot of potential. If people could get psyched about the 5/3 Vine Mare in M19, then you can put some support behind the elemental as well. At 9 mana you’ll probably be convoking it on turn 5-6 most likely, but when it drops your opponent will have a very hard time dealing with it. It demands to be blocked with either their best creature or double blocked. Either way you’re getting the better deal from that interaction.
I like the versatility of Sprouting Renewal. Being able to destroy an enchantment or artifact usually means that card is destined for the sideboard, but you can play it main board and it will never be dead since you can make a 2/2 token for cheap as well. There are some playable enchantments that this will become very useful against.
Siege Wurm – RATING: 3.5 Stars
Arboretum Elemental – RATING: 2.5 Stars
Sprouting Renewal – RATING: 3 Stars
Undergrowth has quite a few playable cards in green I think, but as you can see they are all creatures. This works well I guess since most of the powerful black undergrowth cards were spells. It’s hard to pick a card to start with since they all seem good. Ok, let’s start with Vigorspore Wurm. Remember Craw Wurm? It was a nasty 6/4 creature back during the early days of Magic. It was 6 mana but geez it was a beating. Now imagine making it so it can only be blocked by ONE creature. Yep, no teaming up to kill it. Already sounds like a card you’d want to play in your limited deck. But wait, let’s go one step future. As an added effect you can give another creature a power and toughness bonus equal to the number of creatures in your graveyard. HOLY crap. This card is a beating in all sorts of ways. It’s big, it’s bad, and it terrifies you when it comes into play. You’ll be hard pressed to find a better finisher at common or uncommon even. Heck, I might even splash this card in a non green deck it’s that good.
It’s going to be hard to beat that, but the other cards here will try. Kraul Harpooner is an incredibly aggressive card for 2 mana and is jam packed with value. Not only can it attack for a nice chunk of damage early, it also has reach and can fight a flyer when it comes into play. YIKES. No flyer will be safe with this guy around.
Kraul Foragers, on the other hand, is more of a tempo/beater. The life gained when it enters the battlefield can be quite substantial since you’re most likely playing this after turn 4. A 4/4 body is nothing to scoff at either. Another card I would not hesitate to splash. Great card design.
And finally we have Golgari Raiders. It’s probably the “weakest” of the bunch, but in no way is it actually weak. It’s downright scary late in the game, and if you have a way to put cards into your graveyard early on it can come down on turn 4 or 5 as a scary 5/5 or bigger hast creature. Very dangerous card in limited.
Vigorspore Wurm – RATING: 4 Stars
Kraul Harpooner – RATING: 3.5 Stars
Kraul Foragers – RATING: 3 Stars
Golgari Raiders – RATING: 3 Stars
Other Cards that Will See Play
- Devkarin Dissident (2) – Starts off as a bear but can be a mini beater later on. Ability is kinda hard to use at 5 mana though.
- Grappling Sundew (2.5) – Seems like a pain in the ass to play against, but great defender if you need something to stop the beatings.
- Portcullis Vine (2) – Nice that you can sac it to draw a card later, also a good early card if you’re playing lots of Convoke cards.
- Urban Utopia (2) – I could see this being played in decks with powerful splashes. The card draw is nice as well.
- Wary Okapi/Wild Ceratok (2) – vanilla creatures, will be filler most of the time.
Coming Up Next
You’d be hard pressed to prove me wrong about GB Undergrowth. That color combination looks incredibly strong and versatile. Like I said before, pairing it with Surveil can really super charge the effect, but there’s really no reason NOT to play Undergrowth in your black or green decks. It seems like a powerful limited effect.
Most of the 1 and 2 drop creatures don’t seem that good so Convoke cards are going to be a little more difficult to play for value consistently. Sure you can play some of the walls, but are there any super powerful Convoke cards that you want to sacrifice the ability to attack for? I’m still not sold on the mechanic, but there’s a lot of multicolor cards to go through. Speaking of which, I’ll be working through the remainder of the cards this weekend. I have about 30 cards I want to talk about still, so most likely I’ll be breaking multicolor into 2 different articles and tagging on artifacts and lands to the last one. Look for the first one with GW, RW, and GB later this weekend, and by early next week I hope to have out UB, UR, and the remaining cards. Thanks for reading and good luck in the pre-release if you’re playing this weekend! If you’re reading this at a later time, I hope these articles give you another angle on Guilds of Ravnica limited that you didn’t think about before! Thanks for reading!