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Strategy and Gameplay:
Aggro in the ‘05 Metagame – Mono-Nature
March 23th, 2005
By JMatthew


For anyone who has played a collectable card game prior to Duel Masters a one fact is always evident. If you can obtain useable resources more quickly than you opponent, you will more than likely win. split_head_hydroturtle_qPerhaps it’s simply a matter of outdrawing your opponent such as in Yugi-Oh (thus the harsh treatment of cards such as Pot of Greed and Graceful Charity). Perhaps it’s a matter of more currency than your opponent, allowing you to play more cards more quickly such as in Magic: The Gathering – a game in which players are constantly searching for infinite mana generators. Likely, it’s both – and this is most definitely the case in the Duel Masters.

Today, however, we are simply going to focus on the civilization best able to help with the production of currency – that’s mana in Duel Masters talk. No mono-colored deck is better equipped to produce gobs of mana than Mono-Green! So, for those players who are truly worried about being able to cast those creatures and spells they put into their decks, this is the place to stop by.

Next to Fire, Nature has the cheapest and quickest creatures in the game. Often, you will even find yourself able to use Fire rushing tactics to take your opponent down before they know what hit them. If that doesn’t quite work, Nature has some of the cheapest yet most powerful evolution creatures to finish the job. Few cards can stand up against the assault of the likes of Fighter Duel Fang and Barkwhip, the Smasher (check out my article: “Top 5 Evo’s in the January 2005 Metagame” if you want to see my arguments relating to this). Lastly, to ensure you can force your way through those shields at full speed you have the best mana acceleration in the game!

Like Fire, Natures quick and deadly creatures can often be countered by Light, Water and, sometimes Darkness each of which possess cheap and effective blockers. These blockers can quickly put a halt on your assault. In addition, while Nature currently has a one of the strongest creature removal cards in the game in Natural Snare, Nature falls short by not giving us any more creature removal above and beyond that single card!

Basic Build Formula

You may notice something slightly different about the “Basic Build Formula” I have provided here for you this week. That’s because the first two criteria for building a successful Mono-Nature deck are not so easily defined. Often, the functions of these cards will cross over. Despite this, I believe there to be a maximum amount of room you should be dedicating to these specific criteria and thus that last two criteria do possess a defined guideline. Be sure to follow the basic build rule of 40 to 42 card deck!

Xx Mana Acceleration Cards
Mono-Green is actually kind enough to break it’s mana acceleration down into two types – mana-production and cost-reduction. Mana-production is the creation of mana, which is permanently placed into your mana pool for use each turn (barring catastrophic death by the likes of Mana Crisis, that is). Cost-reduction is the blanket lowering the of casting cost of spells and/or creatures that are played.

Let’s start with a quick overview of mana-production. These are effects that place cards into play in your mana-zone. Such cards currently include Ballonshroom Q, Bronze-Arm Tribe, Enchanted Soil, Fighter Duel Fang, Coiling Vines, Gigamantis, Mighty Shouter, Rainbow Stone, Silver-Axe, Ultimate Force, Psyshroom, Pangaea’s Song, and Poisonous Mushroom. Between these types of cards you have various tactics you can use to produce lots of mana. Arguably, the fastest means of generating additional mana are cards that immediately produce mana from the top of your library or from your hand. Bronze-Arm Tribe, Fighter Duel Fang, Ultimate Force and Poisonous Mushroom all fall into this style of play. Each of these cards place additional mana into your mana-zone and, for the most part, you don’t have to wait to meet an outside condition for them to produce that mana. Nearly all of the rest of the cards fit into another style of mana-production. With these cards you will find that you must meet a condition (such as attacking, having creatures in your graveyard or perhaps the death of a creature) for them to add mana to your mana-zone. While this may be a slower means to producing that additional mana, these cards will often tend to produce greater amounts of mana. Basically, you are looking at delayed rewards. The only problem…will you be alive to reap those rewards.

Cards that provide cost-reduction are much, much fewer in the current Duel Masters environment. Mono-Green offers us only Elf-X and Essence Elf. That’s not a lot of choices and obviously you will need to couple any cost-reduction strategy you might use with a mana-production strategy. Either way, each of these cards can go a long way, especially if you are able to play more than a single card per a turn!
Examples: Bronze-Arm Tribe, Ultimate Force, and Elf-X.

Xx Three Casting Cost or Lower Creatures
Ah…quick and deadly creatures to help you win games before your opponent has finished shuffling their deck. Mon-Green has them aplenty. In addition, such creatures are also often (but not always) great evo-bait. Also, if you build your deck right some of these creatures can cross over into your mana acceleration slots. Think it over carefully before you choose.
Examples: Burning Mane, Leaping Tornado Horn, and Mighty Bandit, Ace of Thieves.

8x Support Fatties
Nearly ever deck needs at least a few creatures with the extra bit of power to push through your opponents defenses. Mono-Nature is no exception. The great thing about Mono-Nature is that your “support” fatties will often serve as much more than just support cards. In fact, you may find yourself winning regularly thanks to a combination of their low cost and fantastic mane acceleration.
Examples: Fighter Duel Fang, Raging Dash-Horn, and Nocturnal Giant.

8-12x Support Spells
Mono-Nature simply can’t survive using it’s creatures alone. In order to ensure consistent wins you will need to support those creatures with some crucial spells. Your style of play will very much matter here. More aggressive players will often drift toward the likes of Brutal Charge, control players Natural Snare, and defensive players Mystic Inscription.
Examples: Brutual Charge, Natural Snare, and Mystic Inscription.

Sample Decks
The budget practice deck, once again, follows the formula I have provided for you. You will notice that it’s essentially a Beast Folk deck. Frankly, in order to give you the strongest deck on a budget I possibly can, Beast Folk became the order of the day.

The sample, primed deck follows in the same footsteps as my budget deck. I prefer this deck to have been built by someone other than me and unfortunately I was not able to find you anything more up to date than Cecillbill’s version of Zman22674’s Mono-Nature Beast Folk from her deck lab. Still, this is from Cecillbill, so you know it’s gotta be good enough to include. The only change I would make to it would be to include Noifa, however I don’t believe that card was available when she created this build. Check it out and enjoy!

Budget Practice Deck:
4x Bronze-Arm Tribe
4x Mighty Shouter
4x Burning Mane
4x Torcon
4x Fear Fang
4x Barkwhip, the Smasher
4x Raging Dash-Horn
2x Enchanted Soil
4x Dimension Gate
4x Mana Nexus
2x Natural Snare

Cecillbill’s Sample Primed Deck:
4x Fighter Dual Fang
4x Barkwhip The Smasher
4x Golden Wing Striker
4x Raging Dash Horn
4x Bronze Arm Tribe
4x Steel Smasher
4x Burning Mane
4x Rumbling Terahorn
4x Mana Nexus
4x Natural Snare

Thanks and I hope you enjoyed this installment of “Agrro Decks in the ’05 Metagame.” In the next installment I will likely be finally sharing with you mixed civilization decks. Until then, get it there and toy around with those all so powerful Nature cards. I’m positive you won’t be disappointed in them!


P.S. Keep an eye out for another “Gamelot Tournament Report: w/ Pictures!” from me coming at you later on this week!


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