Argothian Treehouse
Andy Van Zandt



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Argothian Treehouse

with Andy Van Zandt

Hulk Smash

Green is good.  For a long time it was considered the "worst color in
magic", and now it's at least on par with the others,  arguably better in
some aspects.  Today, I'm going to talk about 3 cards which go above and
beyond the call of duty to further r&d's affirmative action plan in favor of

1 - You probably guessed this one, Wild Mongrel.  Very often referred to as
the "best grizzly bear ever", and I'd be inclined to agree, for the most
part.  Most people just see it as a madness catalyst, or as a way to get
your roar in the graveyard,  but he's so much more than that- even though
that alone would have been good enough for him to see play in a lot of
decks.  You have to compare him to what else you'd get on turn 2... and not
grizzly bear, but other actual GOOD 2-drops.  The first thing that jumps
into my mind are the dudes with a plurality of abilities, such as white
knight/pump knights, Goblin Legionnaire, Blurred Mongoose, and only a few
others even come close.  And when compared with those, you see a couple of
important differences.  First off, self-protection is a good thing, and
while mongrels is a bit alternative, it still works.  He can survive burn,
he can survive conflicts with his peers, and he can ignore protection from
green/not be terrored.  When he and white knight cross paths, at the cost of
any single card (a land out of your hand, or a rootwalla), he wins the
battle.  Add to this his ability to "finish someone off" and this guy is
hard not to toss in any deck.  Defense and offense for 2 mana is a bargain. 
The only other competitors that I can think of at the moment that might be
on par with him are those that regenerate,  notably river boa, albino troll,
and spectral lynx.  And two out of those three are green too.

2 - Caller of the Claw.  One of the golden boys (yeah, it's a girl,  but it
wouldn't exactly be flattering to call it a golden girl, now would it) of
the onslaught block.  As I said in the card of the day review,  this guy
would be ok as just an instant gray ogre.  Tack on his ability and he
becomes a new staple in green, if only in the sideboard.  She rewards you
for losing permanents on a massive level.  Not only can this shore up shoddy
play,  but it's one of green's closest equivalents to counterspell, in more
cases than just against mass removal.  Go ahead, smother my dude and then
block my other one,  I get three 2/2's for your trouble.  For three mana. 
Card advantage, I hear, is a good thing.  But also in her repertoire is the
more pro-active approach.  This is probably best demonstrated in the more
recent black/green decks that have nantuko husks in them,  giving you the
ability to kind of surprise "combo" out someone in short order, with a
couple of weenies on the board.  I doubt this will be the first example of
her usefullness in that arena.  And almost single-handedly, she makes any of
the green beatdown decks in the current type 2 that much stronger, almost
forcing astral-glide, mono-black control, and other control oriented decks
into second or third tier positions, just by her presence in sideboards. 
This, if nothing else, is one of the best indicators of her power.

3 - Krosan Tusker.  The easiest way for me to view this guy is to directly
compare him to contemporary blue card-drawers.  I'm not saying he's better
than fact or fiction,  but he is arguably better than most of the other
things.  Inspiration, Opportunity, and Concentrate are his peers,  and he,
for the most part, blows them out of the water.  Half the cost of
Opportunity for half the mana, a fair trade on paper, but the tempo of this
is a very important aspect.  Concentrate gets you one more card for one more
mana, but at sorcery speed, which is a major drawback, especially in a
control deck.  And Inspiration is just blown out of the water, a mana less
for the same amount of cards, plus perks.  Deep Analysis is his only real
competition, even though it's more expensive overall and a sorcery (which
would make it look kind of bleh),  but it's got versatility, if it goes into
the graveyard it's second use is optimal,  and in the end it nets you more
cards.  All this without even touching on three more important aspects.  To
begin with,  it can't be countered.  Well, it can, sort of, but I doubt
you'll see it happen very often since it isn't countered via conventional
means.  This is one advantage it has over all its blue compatriots.  It lets
you search up a land.  Some would say this is a negative,  one of the 2
cards you gain MUST be a land,  but when you draw any 2 cards there's a good
chance one of them would be a land anyways, and this lets you choose which
one you want.  That means you can fix mana problems, splash colors, get
domain, etc.  Dependability you can bank on.  And finally, it's a dude.  An
expensive one, but having that option available is quite the commodity in a
card drawer.  Late game he's a business card, rather than another wasted
turn trying to dig one up.  Plus if you want to get frisky, the part where
he cycles gives you an easy fatty in the graveyard for reanimation.

So yeah,  greens got the goods now,  and is out of the step-child basement. 
Now if only r&d would give white something more than a couple of good
critters and some combo components.  We forgive you for making rebels, now
give us a reason to play the color besides wrath of god and astral slide,

You can reach Andy at:

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