12.23.04 Welcome to the Almost Christmas Edition of The Dragon's Den. The holidays always get a bit crazy. I wasn't sure if I wanted to be a little crazy here or be a bit more mellow. To be honest though, the holidays have been crazy busy for me, so I don't have the mental energy to be crazy. And besides, I think most of you like me in my more mellow (and usually more organized) state anyway.
So I was trying to figure out what would be fitting for the holiday season. You know what I mean. What is really appropriate (and more importantly, worthy) of being here before you this week. I have already given you a red deck. I've even given you a red/white deck. So where does that leave us? Well, there are three colors I usually see around the holidays: Red, White, and...GREEN!
A couple of weeks ago, I wanted to start working on another new deck for Standard (type 2) play. I didn't want any of the usual stuff, so I started examining the format. Everyone agrees that Affinity is a big deck right now. It's got good consistency and has the ability to be explosive. There are answers to this deck though. Cards like Naturalize and Oxidize are great answers.
Tooth and Nail decks are another type of decks that tend to scare people. Of course, as tough as this deck is, there are ways around it. The most common though, involve killing their mana base. Cards like Reap and Sow and Creeping Mold are great for this.
Other decks like Big Red are scary as well. It requires some versatility to beat consistently though. If you have some fast mana to get around their early plays, you might have a shot. It would be great to have some creature enhancements spells like Giant Growth or Echoing Courage to use against Big Red, but those cards don't fit into most decks.
Then, there are the whole host of weenie decks. There seem to be two ways to deal with these types of decks. You can use efficient mass removal to keep them off the board. The other way is to make as many, if not more (and preferably) larger creatures. This can at least keep them at bay until you put a big enough force together to break through or just draw you win card.
And the new up and coming deck appears to be green/black. There seem to be two ways to deal with this deck as well. The first is to disrupt their mana base. You can try to keep them at one color or you can simply make it hard for them to cast a couple of their larger spells. The other is to remove cards from their discard pile. If you can, you want to get Cranial Extraction or Eternal Witness away from them.
OK, now that the recap is done, what does it all mean? Well, if you were paying attention to the second paragraph of this little reading session, I had given you a bit of foreshadowing. Yeah, for those of you that don't know what that is, you may want to go look it up. And for those of you that do, I bet your grammar instructors were proud. If mine could see me now, they'd probably want to shoot me.
Anyway, back to the point at hand. I was thinking about all these things and came to the realization that GREEN (the keyword from paragraph two) had the ability to do all of these things. So, I figured that would be an interesting color to build a deck around.
After toying around with a few options, here's what I came up with:
4 Birds of Paradise
4 Tel-Jilad Chosen
4 Fangren Firstborn
4 Troll Ascetic
4 Eternal Witness
2 Viridian Zealot
4 Chrome Mox
4 Echoing Courage
4 Beacon of Creature
4 Creeping Mold
2 Reap and Sow
2 Reap and Sow
3 Scrabbling Claws
2 Pulse of the Tangle
I like this build in general. My only complaint is that I really wanted to include Tangle Golem. Unfortunately, in most cases, Tangle Golem isn't as fast as you would generally like him to be. That's OK though. I'm digging the other pieces.
I went a bit light on the land destruction. There are only six land destruction spells. I did include two more in the sideboard. That should give you the versatility that you need. The Chrome Mox and Birds of Paradise can allow you to get a couple of land destruction spells off early.
Another interesting thing is that having a full set of Birds and Moxen almost allows you to skip the two casting cost slot and jump right to the three casting cost slot. However, there are a few two casting cost cards in the deck anyway. Tel-Jilad Chosen is one of the best creatures this deck can hope to have against Affinity. It's great. Viridian Zealot was added to help with this matchup as well. However, it is possible that you could eventually do without it.
The creatures are all decent creatures. However, the one that may surprise you is Fangren Firstborn. Fangren Firstborn combos well with Beacon of Life. Another neat thing to that happens is that Echoing Courage plus Beacon of Life can go a long way toward ending a game on their own. And if you don't slow down Tooth and Nail enough, you can many time prevent enough damage to live until that next pivotal turn to try and win.
The sideboard has the obvious cards in it. It pretty much just tries to fill in the gaps for problem matchups. Pulse of the Tangle helps against creature decks and can replace your land kill cards which may be a little slow against the. Scrabbling Claws is great to stop your opponent's Eternal Witness tricks. And cards like Choke are very good, but often overlooked.
I think it's worth playing. It's a fun deck with lots of neat ideas and tricks. I'd recommend playing it. It also seems to play a bit different each time to break the deck out. That keeps it from getting boring and repetitive.
So, that's my gift to you. I will gladly accept late gifts. If you would like to send something, feel free to send it to my store :)
All kidding aside, enjoy the holidays. Relax a bit. Eat well. Stay warm. Go to your local store and play a few games during your holiday break.
Until next time,
PowrDragn at Pojo dot com
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