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10.28.04  Champions of Kamigawa in Limited Ė Green

 Well, weíre winding our way down the Champions limited review, which is good because next week I should have some good stories from the weeks we did these reviews, including states, a PTQ, and me playing Poker and pretending to know what I am doing.

 

But this week, we go over the color I like most in Champions, Green. Why do I like green most? Because itís creature base is unbelievable. Its mana fixing and ramping is joyous, and it even has some deck manipulation. Obviously it lacks completely in creature kill, but not every color can have everything, and this is why you play two colors in draft anyways. I personally am a big fan of green and black in sealed, and tend to float towards green and either white or blue in draft. Ok, here we go!

 

Azusa, Lost but Seeking

The very first card for this color highlight one of greenís weaknesses in my mind, the three drop. While green does have some playable three drop creatures, none of them are strong enough to continue a fast tempo race with some of the other colors. And Azusa is just plain horrible in limited. Itís incredibly rare that you will have two extra lands to play a turn, and even then you likely wonít have her in hand to use it.

 

Budoka Gardener

The Gardener is one of those cards that I thought I would never flip, but tend to actually get to do so, and when he flips, heís unbelievable late game, making 10/10 or bigger creatures every turn. But even if he never flips, heís good as a mana ramping tool, and as a 2/1 for two mana, thereís nothing wrong with just playing him to play beats as well. Overall I consider him a fairly high pick.

 

Burr Grafter

The Burr Grafter is one of those cards I always find myself playing because I think his ability will be good, and often it does save a creature, but itís rare he ever swings for me, and he always seems disappointing to draw. Heís slowly falling down the curve of my picks unless I already have several three cost spirits to jack up his value.

 

Commune with Nature

This card on the other hand, I am never unhappy to see. Drawn early, you cast it to find the tempo creature you need at the time. Drawn late, you use if to find the big finisher you need. In addition, it lets you know what four cards you wonít be drawing this game, so you can plan around that as well. Itís not a number one pick, being edged out by a solid creature or a good kill spell, but itís definitely a middle pick you grab and add to your deck.

 

Dosan the Falling Leaf

While he sometimes makes the cut for me because I need more warm bodies to throw at my opponent, Iím not a fan of this guy in limited at all. Heís a 2/2 for three mana, which is not so impressive to begin with, and, when playing green, his ability can work against you as often as for you.

 

Dripping-Tongue Zubera

While his ability is not horrible, itís not great either, and green has much better two drops than this. I pass this guy pretty much every time.

 

Feast of Worms

This card is too situational to ever kill more than one land, and land destruction is weak in general for limited. Pass this card.

 

Feral Deceiver

The Feral Deceiver is often just what the doctor ordered when it comes to laying some serious beats. A 3/2 that can become a 5/4 trampler is more often than not all you need to put some serious hurt on your opponent. I strongly suggest this card.

 

Gale Force

Green has two spiders this time around to stop the flying beats, although the 2/3 one is useless against the evil that is the Mothrider Samurai. While not a high pick at all, this card can be a devastating sideboard card, so donít be afraid to scoop it up middle to late pick.

 

Glimpse of Nature

This card is likely to, at best draw you two cards, but more likely it will simply draw one, making it nothing more than an Urzaís Bauble. In limited, this card is simply not worth it.

 

Hana Kami

While not quite as amazing as the Sakura-Tribe Elder for what it does, I have become a big fan of this guy over the weeks. There is very rarely a time that I donít have an Arcane spell in my graveyard I wouldnít mind having back, and since his ability is instant speed, more often than not this guy blocks an attacker then gets something back for me. I highly recommend the Hana unless you simply are lacking in Arcane spells.

 

Heartbeat of Spring

Unless you play this after turn seven, more than likely your opponent will get more benefit out of this card than you will, and thatís never a good thing. Pass.

 

Honden of Lifeís Web

I had an argument with a friend about this card just a few days ago. He asked me why I wouldnít like a ďfree outpost on crack.Ē While itís true, at the worst itís a free outpost, and with more Honden it becomes pretty handy, the fact remains that most games I play in limited are won by either a big trampler, an evasion creature, or any of the ďone ofĒ cards I have discussed in previous articles, and the Honden, while nice for providing chump blockers, does not really do anything to fix any of the finisher problems. I personally donít like it, but try it yourself if you want.

 

Humble Budoka

A 2/2 for two mana is fine in this format, and this guy almost always makes the cut. His ability is helpful and annoying at the same time, especially when drafting green and white, but heís still a good warm body to play on turn two.

 

Iname, Life Aspect

Both a beefy 4/4 and a guy with a great ability, the Life Aspect is a top pick no matter how you look at it. Heís a solid beater, and when he dies, he gets you all of your spirits back. Who would ask for more?

 

Joyous Respite

Iíve never been a big fan of life gain in limited, and this card is no exception. The fact that it is a sorcery makes it even worse, as you canít even use it as a trick when your opponent goes for the final strike. I strongly suggest against this card.

 

Jugan, the Rising Star

Itís rather strange that the least splashable of the legendary dragons is also one with the most situational abilities. All I can guess is that Wizards figured green had so many other great creatures that the dragon could be so-so and still be playable, and they are right. Heís still a first pick.

 

Jukai Messenger

In the green on green match up, the winner is determined by finishers and combat tricks, not by one point dings over a course of time. Skip this creature.

 

Kami of the Hunt

While the Kami of the Hunt is probably the best green three drop, heís rarely more than a Grey Ogre. Heís still a middle pick to make sure you can fill out your curve, but donít expect too much of him.

 

Kashi-Tribe Reaver

In my short time playing this format, I have seen an unbelievable amount of games won with this guy. His ability to stun blockers or attackers, depending on which side of the fence he is on, is amazing, and the fact that he can regenerate makes him all the better. Add in the fact that, as a snake warrior he gets bonuses from all the other cards that give bonuses to this type, and this is a first pick card.

 

Kashi-Tribe Warriors

While not the powerhouse the Reaver is, the Warriors are playable as warm bodies to fill a slot. This card makes the cut for me less than half the time, but when you need a body, you need a body.

 

Kodama of the North Tree

While this card requires a heavy dedication to green, he is more than worth it. I mentioned earlier that the game is often decided by evasion or tramplers, and this guy is the trampler you opponent is going to have to throw creatures in front of, as his untargetability makes him virtually impossible to get rid of otherwise. Heís a high to first pick.

 

Kodama of the South Tree

Four mana for a 4/4 on itís own would make this a high pick. The added ability of giving creatures +1/+1 AND trample whenever you play a Spirit or Arcane spell virtually guarantees that this guy will win you some games.

 

Kodamaís Might

Thereís very few creature pump spells in this format, and for that reason the Might makes it high on list for me. Its splice ability is even better, but oddly enough I donít get to splice it very often. A middle pick.

 

Kodamaís Reach

The Reach and the Elder are the best Mana fix/ramp spells in the game, and both are high picks for me. The Reach especially as it thins my deck by two lands. While not quite a legendary dragon in terms of game winning potential, it should be a high pick to guarantee mana stability, and the fact that it is an Arcane spell means you can splice things on it as well, which is always handy.

 

Lure

Lure falls under the category of ďone ofĒ cards that normally finish off a game. While not one of the strongest oneís, as itís not hard for an opponent so simply kill off the Lured creature during combat before blocking, it still makes it a good pick to try to use to steal a game or two.

 

Matsu-Tribe Decoy

Yet another three drop for green that simply provides no temp advantage, the Decoy tears me up inside as to whether I should play it or not. Late game it can be a Lure on itís own, and early game it can hold off all of those 2/1 and 2/2 creatureís in the format, but in general I like my decks to be more aggressive, and pass on the Decoy.

 

Moss Kami

5/5 Trampling beat sticks for six mana splashable in almost every deck are a top pick for me. The format is slow enough to easily get to six mana, and when this guy hits the ground, some serious pounding occurs. While very susceptible to blackís Pull Under and Rend Spirit, in general this guy is pretty hard to kill, and that makes him well worth the mana investment.

 

Myojin of Lifeís Web

While I have no argument that nine mana for an indestructible 8/8 is a good deal, I simply have never gotten to cast this guy, so canít give a good review of him to be honest. My thoughts are to consider him a middle pick at best.

 

Natureís Will

While his card seems very interesting, the ability to tap your opponentís land is pretty useless since it only happens after combat. The ability to untap your lands may be of some use, but itís pretty situational if you can get this ability to fire off when you actually need the extra mana. Iíd pass on this card.

 

Orbweaver Kumo

I must admit I have never, ever, given my Orbweaver Kumo forestwalk, and yet Iím still perfectly happy with this creature. The 3/4 creature that can block fliers is just what the doctor ordered for green, even stopping the 3/1 fliers in blue and the evil Mothrider Samurai in white. I rate this creature as a high pick.

 

Order of the Sacred Bell

A 4/3 creature for four mana is unbelievably great, as long as your opponent is playing a 2/2 bushido guy for two mana that holds him off. While I still think this guy is a great creature, heís not longer a first to second pick I used to value him at. Still a great middle pick, though.

 

Orochi Eggwatcher

At three mana for a 1/1, he better have a great ability. He doesnít. Itís too mana intensive, and heís unlikely to flip in this format. I vote to pass this creature on.

 

Orochi Leafcaller

I am not a big fan of one drops in this format, as I am sure you have seen by now, and the Leafcaller is no exception. I pay him occasional in sealed deck when playing three colors, but in general, he just doesnít make the cut.

 

Orochi Ranger

The Ranger is a nice solid two drop for green, getting in some early beats, and threatening to take out a larger attacker for two turns later on just by blocking it. While not a top pick, he should be pretty high on your list, and heís such a great curve filler.

 

Orochi Sustainer

While I place him below the Elder and Reach, I normally still find myself picking up this guy in limited. Since I pick Moss Kami so highly, I want a way to get them out early, and he helps do it. While Iím not a huge fan of playing what is basically a Llanowar Elf for two mana, in limited he does the trick.

 

Rootrunner

The Rootrunner is simply a solid creature for the base green deck. Itís a Hill Giant, sporting a 3/3 for four mana, and has an ability to set an opponent back a mana, and soulshift, which can get you a replacement creature when you need it. A nice middle pick.

 

Sachi, Daughter of Seshiro

1) I donít want to pay mana for a 1/3. 2) I donít need my shamans to have T: add GG, since I donít think I have any other shamans. 3) My snakes need more power, not more toughness. 4) I will be shipping you to the next player.

 

Sakura-Tribe Elder

This creature is mana acceleration, mana fixing, an early beater (of small beats), and a chump blocker all in one. While not a first pick, heís easily a third pick, and always worth playing.

 

Serpent Skin

This card seems better than you would expect simply because of the lack of combat tricks in general in this format. While not a high pick, itís a good middle pick to grab and use for surprise value in game one, then sub out in game two, or vice versa.

 

Seshiro the Anointed

While slightly expensive for a 3/4, the Annointedís boost to other snakes and the draw a card ability makes him well worth playing, especially if you picked up some snakes earlier. A high pick.

 

Shisato, Whispering Hunter

The simple fact is that you more often than not will never have a snake to sacrifice to Shisato, and even if you do, your four mana 2/2 will be help off by your opponentís 2/2 bushido guy. Pass on Shisato.

 

Soilshaper

While the Soilshaper seems to be a card that strikes fear into your opponent because they are concerned about a 3/3 land jumping out in front of their attackers, the reality is his ability will rarely go off, so unless you are either a) playing an Arcane heavy deck or b) playing against bad players, pass on the Soilshaper.

 

Sosuke, Son of Seshiro

Four mana for a 3/4 is fantastic in this format, and his ability to pump up other snakes, and to give warriors the ďpoisonĒ type ability makes him a high pick whether you have other snakes or not. Pick him up.

 

Strength of Cedars

A first pick. Possibly the best ďone ofĒ card out there, and often better than a Might of Oaks. Even more wonderful is that it is an Arcane spell, so you can splice things on it, or get it back with Hana Kami.

 

Thousand-Legged Kami

The more I play limited in this format, the more often that even seems to be line of mana I rarely cross, unless I build my deck for it. I get to cast my Vine Kami all of the time, but I think I only have cast the Thousand-Legged Kami once. And for that reason heís low on the pick scale for me.

 

Time of Need

If you already have a big broken dragon or some other fantastic legendary creature, then this card becomes a first pick, because obviously you want twice the chance of drawing him. If not, pass this card. Itís all or nothing.

 

Venerable Kumo

While able to hold off the smaller fliers, the Kumo continually disappoints me as a real Giant Spider. Still, his ability is necessary in most green decks to make sure no one just flies over your head for the win, and his soulshift is hand more often than not. A middle pick.

 

Vine Kami

As I mentioned earlier, I tend to cast this guy a lot. I am sure this leads you to wonder why I bother paying seven mana for a 4/4. The answer is very much in line with the way I draft. First, his ability means that sometimes they do not have two creatures to block with, and this guy steals a win. If not, he often kills a creature, and then gets me back a Moss Kami, which is really what I wanted anyways. In short, because I value Moss Kami so highly, this guy goes higher up my scale as well. Heck, this guy can bring back Legendary Dragons. For that alone heís a middle pick for me.

 

Wear Away

I know there are some scary things out there that can hurt you, but more often than not you can play around them anyway. While Wear Away is a completely respectable pick, it may sit in your sideboard more than you think. A middle level pick for the cautious.

 

And weíre done with green. Next week weíll do artifacts real quick, then jump into some catch up stories about whatís been doing on for the last few weeks. See you there!

 

 

 

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