The Heretic's Sermon
Marching Over Your Opponent - A look at Green in the new Type II Environment
By John Hornberg
First thing is first - I want to congratulate Fletcher Peatross on his accomplishment. Good luck on your new position as editor-in-chief of the site.
Also, I feel I should put this into one of my articles instead of e-mailing it, so here it is: I noticed that Fletcher said that he may be the only thing still the same in the future at pojo. Well, I'll correct that - I will still be at Pojo, hell or high water.
I assure all my readers that I'll still be here, even if I do leave and only write the occasional article as a guest writer.
I also assure all the people on the message board that I'll still be there, moderator or not, and I'll always be helping as best I can.
Well, this has been a week of ups and downs for me. I became a moderator on the message board, which is good in my book, I don't know about anyone else?
Of course, something had to go wrong. Well, Friday in my fifth period Newspaper class, some of the students found candy in the teacher's closet. They were getting into it, and the teacher, Ms. LaRocca, who had been running errands, came back to find roughly eight students digging through the candy.
She burst, through her papers, and walked out. She gave an angry speech before walking out, something to the extent that she would never do that to us.
She came back roughly five minutes later, made everyone write about what they were doing, and what their consequences should be. Now this was all fine and dandy, if there didn't happen to be little, innocent me in the crowd, along with three others. Two of us were out of the class finishing up the collecting of request forms for the advice column, and my friend Mike and I were back at the computers working on articles. We get the wrath of the teacher for doing nothing.
That seems unfair, but through my philosophy it's not. In the Newspaper class, we live and die as a team. Thus, we suffer punishment as a group, and receive praise as a group, and most of all, work as a group.
Well, that's my little story. I just thought I'd share it with everyone, because I truly needed to just talk about it. Sorry for that. Well, I guess I have an article to get on with.
When you take a good, hard look into Odyssey, you find that green got an unfair advantage at literally everything. It got perhaps the three best Flashback cards in Roar of the Wurm, Beast Attack, and Call of the Herd.
It got the best burst card with Muscle Burst, especially with an addition to it like Diligent Farmhand.
It got some of the best threshold cards, with Werebear, Krosan Beast, and Nimble Mongoose.
All of this doesn't go without saying that they reprinted Overrun, which is perhaps the single best game -ender in the entire game of Magic: The Gathering.
What does this all mean: Yep, stompy or some variant of it is probably on it's way back.
The very idea that a mono- green deck could dominate again is down right scary, especially with what the style of the deck is capable of.
It's capable of fast creatures, fast damage, and an extremely fast death for your opponent if they aren't able to match you blow for blow.
You're starting point is going to be your creatures, which is extremely obvious. The one major stipulation to stompy is that it has to be fast, and it has to be furious. Which means that you never, ever want to miss a first turn drop. Thus, you want to load your deck with one drops - with everything from Birds to Squirrels.
Birds are really good, as are Llanowar Elves, because they are mana acceleration. I know, this is an extremely obvious statement, and it is kind of stupid in that obvious way, but it needs to be said. You definite don't with mana sources are things that cost two and are 1/1's or 0/1's.
Thus, Quiron Elves don't belong in this deck, and neither does Millikin unless you have an overwhelming amount of threshold.
Another good one drop is Chatter of the Squirrel. This card has turned out to be surprisingly good, even though it only produces 1/1's. Why? because it produces a first turn creature, and it's flashback is extremely fair, coming back on the second turn for another 1/1.
It's a decent deal, because it gives you an early creature advantage. The problem is that it can tie up early mana crucial to making the deck work the way it's suppose to.
One of the cornerstones of this deck that Odyssey provides is Wild Mongrel, a 2/2 green common for 1G, which has an ability to chuck cards for +1/+1 and to change color.
If that is not one of the most broken commons ever, then I do not know what is.
It will enable you to utilize flashback a lot easier, and a lot faster. One perfect example of this is with Roar of the Wurm. Played out of your hand, it takes a cumbersome seven mana, but with it's flashback, it comes out for four.
Another perk to Wild Mongrel, is that it would be extremely hard for it to be killed by cards that are like Dark Banishing and Annihilate (Destroy target non black creature), and small time burn, like Firebolt, Shock, and Strafe, because of his ability. You discard a card and change his color to get past Dark Banishing type cards, and you merely keep going to overcome burn.
One of the key things that he does that he'll do is put all those broken green flashback spells in the graveyard. The key example to this is Roar of the Wurm, which is a cumbersome 6G to play, but flashes back for only 3G.
That makes for a possible 6/6 on the third or fourth turn. Flashing it back also enables you to bypass counterspells such as good ol' Counterspell, Absorb, Undermine, and the evil Syncopate. Last I checked, there weren't many things in Type II that could handle a 6/6 that early. Aside from Terminate, if you know of any spells or creatures that can take it out that early in the game, please do point it out, because I'm at a loss for what could.
Also, Wrath doesn't count. Every creature bows to Wrath.
Okay, back to the article!
Among all the cards in the set, a new age stompy deck would probably abuse Overrun the most. Overrun provides the deck with a key win condition, and the ability to change the tides on a game that could be otherwise out of reach. It works as a sort of removal, especially for the new format with all the creatures in it, because to take fifteen damage from three or four creatures is downright suicide.
They have to block, and blocking gets rid of creatures.
In the time that I've played it, I've either won, or come so close to it, that all it took was one more turn.
Now, when building the deck, you should take into considerations all of the above suggestions. A few things to remember is that you should run a little less land than normal, probably around 18 to 20 or so, because you'll be running four to eight one drop mana sources, which are in the form of Llanowar Elves and/or Birds of Paradise.
Growth spells, such as Explosive Growth, Wax/Wane, or even Giant Growth, should at least be on your considerations list. Muscle Burst should most likely be in the deck, just because it is that broken. I talk from experience, because that card is killer late game, as it is early on in the game, plus it's not a big deal if you loose it because of it's ability, which is similar to Accumulated Knowledge and Kindle.
Another key suggestion is to not focus the deck on any one thing, such as threshold. This is so because if you do that, you become susceptible to things that are against you're goal, Cremate, and the other Rapid Decay variants in Odyssey. So, while I'm not saying that you shouldn't have threshold cards, I am saying that you should keep them on their toes. Don't make you're goals obvious.
This is something that happens a lot when a new set comes out, especially with the beginners. I've noticed that they try to build a deck that has an easy theme, such as abusing threshold, and then they take it to a tournament, a big one like a local convention, and get destroyed. Then they wonder what went wrong.
One key weakness to this deck is not what it's poor up against, but what it's missing from its original version. It got Overrun back, which is good. Still, it failed to get a 3/3 for 1G or GG, like Albino Troll. It also failed to get a cheap, effective, and downright evil creature enchantment like Rancor. This means that the lack of Trample in many of the creatures could be a problem if the draw goes against you, because usually, Rancor turned a normally passive elf into a rude 3/1 trample. A modern, Type II version would lack that.
Also, the lack of a card like Worldly Tutor makes it incredibly tough to get the right creature at the right time, or get a creature with offensive power at all.
Again, a lack of great mana producers like Priest of Titania and Gaea's Cradle makes mana acceleration a little slower than normal, but still potent.
As you can see, the deck lost a lost in the utility part, but in the end does have some key tricks up it's sleeve. Splashing blue for Fact or Fiction, Think Tank, and the possibility of Gaea's Skyfolk. It also allows you to play crucial blue sideboard that is essential for this format - Syncopate.
Syncopate has the potential to ruin a players strategy for those trying to reach threshold. It can also be damning to the player with that crucial flashback spell, namely Call of the Herd or Roar of the Wurm when they play it out of their hand.
This deck should not have a major problem with counter decks if you hit early and hard. A Force Spike could absolutely destroy any momentum that you could generate in the first three turns, and as a game progresses, blue decks get more and more of an advantage on you.
The potential for Sligh making a major comeback in Type II could mean this deck's unfortunate downfall. Sligh has enough burn to throw around to kill your speed, while it also has enough creatures to create speed for itself.
Creatures like Skizzik are going to run right through you're multitudes of creatures because it has trample.
Aside from that, there's the obvious threats: Lobotomy, Traumatize, Millstone decks, etc. etc. We all know what these decks are capable of. The new blue/black deck will probably run all of these, as well as a lot more mean mean things (Shadowmage Infiltrator, Psychatog, Recoil, and all of the aforementioned cards.)
Well, to put everything in a nut shell, this deck is going to be extremely creature based, using cards like Wild Mongrel and Chatter of the Squirrel to hit early on, and to put your opponent into an early hole. Overrun provides you with a late game win condition, and a way to possibly dig your self out of a hole.
The lack of a two drop that is like Albino Troll hurts the deck, as does the absence of a effective enchantment like Rancor, and a search card like Worldly Tutor. Mana is slightly slower without Gaea's Cradle or Priest of Titania. What it does gain is a cheap, no draw back, 6/6 in Roar of the Wurm, and a decent replacement for Blastoderm in Beast Attack.
Sligh is the only deck that could oppose this deck on a regular basis, at least at the current moment. This does not go without saying that any other deck could give this deck a run for it's money at any given point.
Well, I guess that raps it up. It's 9:45 PM on a Sunday night, and I still have Pre-Calculus that I need to do, so I'll leave you here.
John "The Happy Heretic" Hornberg
If you wish to reach me, I have gained another e-mail. I can be reached at either email@example.com , or firstname.lastname@example.org . If I'm slow to respond, or don't respond at all, don't feel bad. I've just got a lot of work to do with the paper and all my homework.
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