The Green Revolution
In the beginning of Peasant Magic it was easy to overlook the powerful combo and control decks available to PEZ players. Because of this, decks fought for a win in the trenches and it is not surprising that Green decks dealt out their fair share of beats. My friend Danny helped to show us how to built the best in beatdown and I would like to dedicate this article to his memory, he will truly be missed. The article will, of course, examine the two traditional beatdown builds but Green has a brand new and exciting combo style deck that simply can't be ignored.
Low Land Stompy
Stompy is, and always has been, simple. Use a few elves to generate mana to cast lots of super efficient ground beaters and backup the troops with really amazing pump spells. It is a simple and efficient way to build a deck and it works.
The River Boa, Wild Mongrel, and Blastoderm are 3 of the best common creatures ever printed and provide the main beatdown component. Basking Rootwalla is also a strong creature that combos well with the Mongrel but is also solid against the Black decks in the field. The other standout card in this deck is actually Wall of Roots. While it is decent at slowing other fast decks the ability to provide mana every turn is invaluable in casting Giant Growth and Regenerating the Boa. The Elvish Lyrist and Scavenger Folk may look weak but I am the type of Magic player who likes to include answers in the main deck. More aggressive players may opt for Taunting Elf, Treetop Scout, Scryb Sprites, Mtenda Lion, or Pouncing Jaguar while more cautious players could look to Fyndhorn Elves or Quirion Rangers to smooth the mana curve. Traditional choices would include the Ghazban Ogre, Wild Dogs, or Rogue Elephant but these choices can put you in a world of hurt with so much Burn in this format. Especially against Burn, additional creatures with Regeneration are helpful but none of the three common Trolls seem efficient enough for the deck. Jolrael's Centaur is, however, good enough to be considered.
Other aspects of the deck open for consideration include the pump selection and the amount of land, which can be lowered to 10 if extra mana elves are included. I am an absolute disciple of Invigorate, possibly the best creature pump spell ever, but few other players seem as devoted. Predator's Strike and Briar Shield are great aggressive replacements and Seedling Charm isn't bad for more conservative players.
Lastly, you may note that there are no Uncommon slots used. Quite simply, Stompy is a strong deck without these slots and there are very few really significant cards to include. While there are a number of choices that could be main deck, Albino Troll or Treetop Village for example, I would almost save these slots for the Sideboard. Gaea's Blessing, Choke, and Tsunami would all prove dangerous to the powerful Blue combo deck FrozenTides. Similarly Compost, Lifeforce, and Whirling Dervish are all nasty surprises for the Black mage. Normally I wouldn't advocate using Uncommon slots simply for sideboard hate but Green can afford to spare the slots although Hurricane is a powerful finisher for the deck.
The matchups are decent across the board but lack of removal hampers the deck against other creature based builds. The deck also tends to have a race against Burn and aggressive decks with evasion, both of which have a similar clock but pack removal to slow you down. Like other Green decks, the Flagbearers prove impossible to deal with and they will load your hand with dead spells.
This is Danny's brainchild and a deck that I ridiculed initially. It is extremely strong, however, and the fast fat puts amazing pressure on a number of decks; particularly Black builds that need Crypt Rats or Pestilence to stabilize.
This deck provides big threats early which help to put the pressure on Burn decks and can force other aggressive decks to mismanage the offensive/defensive decision making process. It likes to play a first or second turn Sol Ring but that isn't necessary for the deck to function. In most other ways it plays just like Stompy but places less reliance on efficiency and utility.
As noted earlier, the build is better in some specific matches but the deck still suffers against aggressive evasion decks. It also posts a similar clock to regular Stompy, although the fat helps to make the deck seem more threatening.
If I were to choose a Green deck to play, my choice would easily go to this new and exciting deck. While Elf theme decks have been successful in the past this combo deck is absolutely insane with consistent early wins. Even better it often proves difficult to stop since its turn 4 clock is a turn faster than almost anything else. The best part, though, is that it is fun to play and is one of those sexy decks that makes you look cool.
The deck takes less practice to play than most combo decks but the key card is the Priest of Titania and the Skullclamp. The Priest allows for enough mana to clamp away to your heart's content while the Clamp provides a massive number of elves to help fuel the Priest. Ultimately you win by attacking with a load of elves backed by the Timberwatch Elf and the Quirion Rangers, so only one needs to make it through, or you attack with a trampling Mongrel. The deck can draw out the library as early as turn 4 and deal 200+ damage the same turn. It may be worth aggressive mulligan use to ensure a solid draw.
The deck is pretty tight although there are some alternative choices to be made. I will say that I am biased towards my build and I don't like the mana intensive inclusion of Llanowar Sentinels. Likewise, I view Birchlore Rangers as superior to Elvish Pioneer for providing an additional mana boost. The only choice I am unsure of is the Hivemaster. In this deck, the Hivemaster is totally and completely abusive. It gives you tons of Clamp targets and keeps more elves in play. Concordant Crossroads, however, increases this deck's ability to go off the turn Skullclamp is drawn. I like the ability to essential play 5 Hivemaster, because of the Herald, and will stand by this decision.
Potentially, this deck is matched only by FrozenTides for speed and it is relatively consistent, although it must draw an early Skullclamp to put up a decent fight. As with other combo decks it is vulnerable to disruption, in this case Burn and sometimes discard. Mass removal is also a huge threat. In most games, however, speed is on your side.
It seems that aggression is the best use for Green although there is still talk of a Fog Machine style deck designed to delay the game by putting Fog effects or life gain on Isochron Scepter. Unfortunately there are too few win conditions available to the deck as well as a lack of life gain. It still may be an area that needs to be explored. Furthermore, Green serves as a base for many of the multicolor decks that I will discuss in a latter article. Also, please remember that Berserk has been banned in PEZ.
I don't know what color I will cover next week but I look forward to yet another article detailing the decks that I hope will see play at both of this year's Gen Con tournaments.
Jason Chapman - firstname.lastname@example.org
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