[Premodern] There’s more to Green than just Elves & Fatties!

Since I wrote our articles on White and Black, the Premodern scene has exploded.  The Swedish Premodern Nationals took place on June 17, 2018.  Coverage of the event in English was generously done by Martin Berlin of premodernmagic.com.  Top 8 coverage can be found at twitch.tv/wakwakmtg and his written analysis can be found here!  There is also now a Premodern subreddit at /r/premodernMTG.  I can’t wait for similarly sized events to start popping up in the States!

In the meantime, let’s take a look at Green.  As always, I try my best to hit cards that are obvious, drop some nostalgia and anecdotal evidence from my heyday about other cards, wildly speculate on even more cards, offer some budget alternatives, and a little bit of humor.  So let’s channel our inner “Timmy,” become eco-friendly, and get ready to Go Green!

GREEN

1. Ten Land Stompy

Perhaps the most ubiquitous mono Green deck is Ten Land Stompy.  Generally, Zero, Nine, Ten, Whatever Land Stompy decks are based on the premise of “less lands, more threats.”  The deck can get away with this strategy by using free mana sources such as Elvish Spirit Guide, Land Grant, Wall of Roots, and Lotus Petal instead of 20+ Forests.

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Other spells, like Bounty of the Hunt and Vine Dryad, are “free” insofar as they don’t cost any mana to cast, or return to your hand like Rancor.

Finally, the spells that do cost mana cost very little and pack a good bang-for-the-buck, like Rogue Elephant, Ghazbán Ogre, Wild Dogs, Mtenda Lion, and Jungle Lion.

Edit: Thanks to Discord user “franzzz” for pointing out that Portal, and consequently Jungle Lion, is not Premodern legal.

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Skyshroud Elite may be the best card in the whole deck.  In most formats, nonbasic lands are all over the place because they tend to “fix” your colors.  Therefore, this card’s static effect is almost always on.  If you plan on playing Green aggro in Premodern, now would be a good time to pick up your playset of this eighteen year old uncommon.

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Hidden Herd is a 3/3 for G against nonbasically every single deck.

I don’t know who they are  is, but a simple Google search resulted in bone_doc’s, and several others’, MTGSalvation writeups which go into more detail.  If this sounds like the deck for you, check them out!

 

2. Ramp Stompy

Fat, cost-efficient creatures with negligible drawbacks (if any) have always been my favorite archtype.  So much so that one of my earlier articles was about that very topic.

This deck starts off by playing creatures that produce mana, like Llanowar Elves, Fyndhorn Elves, the aforementioned Wall of Roots, and Birds of Paradise.

Then, it leverages its mana to overwhelm the opponent with cost-efficient creatures like River Boa, Skyshroud War Beast, and Penumbra Bobcat.

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I like the Bobcat over Symbiotic Elf (four mana for a 2/2) and Symbiotic Beast (six mana for a 4/4) because, although the Symbiotic creatures more closely resemble former Modern All-Star Sprouting Thrinax (not Premodern legal!), they are also way overpriced.

Finally, while your opponent is trying to or has just barely recovered from these beatings, you drop a fatty like Emporer Crocodile (sweet art!), Erhnam Djinn, Lumbering Satyr, Weatherseed Treefolk, or Phantom Centaur.

Spike Feeder, and later Ravenous Baloth, provide a body and life gain, which is often enough to win a game against Sligh or Burn right there on the spot.

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An Honorable Mention goes out to Hunted Wumpus, which is like the Green Show and Tell.  I don’t think he makes the cut.  He costs too much for too little and the drawback could swing the game out of your favor.  It’s not worth the risk.  Anecdotally, the coloring and shading on the head of the wumpus always looked a little off to me.  It sticks out like a sore thumb.  Weird.

Playing better creatures than your opponent at a pace faster than your opponent is usually enough to win the game.  In the past two articles, we posted mono Black aggro decks and mono White aggro decks.  This time, we aren’t going to brew a simple mono Green stompy deck.  Anyone can make MonoGreenGoodStuff.dec.  Instead, we have something much more fun in store for you below.

 

3. Elves

Speaking of Elves, how about we look at the premiere Premodern a mono Green tribal deck?

Let’s start with the “lords” that enhance all of the other elves.  Eladamri, Lord of Leaves gives all of your elves Forestwalk (meh) and Shroud (hurray!).  Elvish Champion gives them all Forestwalk (meh) and +1/+1 (hurray!).

Next up, the cards that benefit from a swarm of elves.  Heedless One (no, not Hollow One) gets bigger.  Priest of Titania makes more mana.  Gempalm Strider and Timberwatch Elf pump more.

Wirewood Herald lets you tutor for whichever Lord you haven’t drawn yet and Llanowar Sentinel helps thin your deck out.  Okay.  Maybe that last one isn’t as impactful in this game as it is in GWENT.

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THIS IS DEFINITELY NOT SHAMELESS SELF-ADVERTISING (GET IT? ELF?).

Anyways, Elvish Archers may be good in Old School 93/94, but I think with an extra eight years of cards are added to the selection we can find something better.  Wellwisher has always been a casual favorite, but her impact isn’t always relevant.  She may be better of relegated to the sideboard.  At least she eats a burn spell?  The art is great, though.  Sorry, this isn’t the decklist that I am going to brew up in this article, either.  Instead, a good place to start would be premodernmagic.com’s decks!

 

4. Shroud/Hexproof (commonly referred to as simply Bogles)

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Slippery Bogle itself may not be Premodern legal, but his predecessors are.

We transition from one deck that uses Shroud to another by discussing a deck that presents itself every so often in Modern: Bogles.  Yes, I know that the whole point of Bogles is that they have Hexproof, not Shroud.  Unlike Hexproof, creatures with Shroud cannot be targeted by the spells or abilities of either player, including YOU!  Unfortunately, that makes it so you yourself can’t enchant them with the good enchantments like Rancor.  However, much like Ten Land Stomp and Ramp Stompy, a small army of untargetable creatures can sometimes be enough to win the game if your opponent cannot find a “sweeper” in time.  Let’s take a look at this cast of shady Shroudy characters.

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I am really excited to announce a bit of spicy tech for our readers.  Vintara Snapper is a 2/2 Shroud for GG.  Originally, the turtle had a downside of being a mere Grizzly Bear unless you were tapped out.  However, “Premodern is played with contemporary Magic: the Gathering rules.”  That means no Mana Burn!  Whenever your opponent targets the turtle, just tap your lands in response without fear of Mana Burn!  A playset of these guys will set you back less than a dollar.

Now that we got Ready to Role’s secret tech on the table, the rest of the cast looks pretty meh.  The mongooses, Blurred and Nimble, like everybody else in the deck, are simply here because they are cheap and have Shroud.

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Elvish Lookout was the original Slippery Bogle.

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Mossdog doesn’t have Shroud, but it punishes your opponent for targetting it.  This Creature – Plant Hound requires a kill spell or at least two non-combat damage to kill.

Both Blastoderm and Autumn Willow are playable in Reanimator as far as I am concerned, so they are definitely playable in a deck that can actually them in a reasonable amount of time.  Deadly Insect, uhh, not so much.  Autumn Willow can even effectively gain Hexproof instead of Shroud!

 

5. Madness / Flashback / Threshold

The Odyssey Block introduced three mechanics that synergized perfectly with eachother:  Madness allowed you to play a card that you would otherwise discard, Threshold rewarded you for discarding cards, and Flashback allowed you to replay cards that you discarded.  Immediately, competitive players caught onto these synergies.  There were also Black versions that used Psychatog or Red versions that used Fiery Temper, but many elected to use Green as the basis for a U/G Aggro-control deck dubbed simply: Madness.

The enablers are Wild Mongrel, Compulsion, and Aquamoeba (not to be confused with its sleepier cousin, Narcomoeba).  After that, everything falls into place.

Once your discard engine is online, Basking Rootwalla and Arrogant Wurm can be played at a reduced cost.  That’s right, the lizard is free if you discard it!

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Werebear is a “Mana Dork” (a creature that you can tap for mana) who becomes a late-game threat once your graveyard is full.  He also becomes hilarious when you read the flavor text.

Roar of the Wurm is okay if you cast it for full-price, but it really shined when you discarded it for some other benefit and then only paid the Flashback cost later.  The opposite is true for Call of the Herd (“CotH”).  It’s better now and meh later.

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Finally, you protected your creatures with Circular Logic and, if that failed, you could recur them back with Genesis.  There is much more to the deck, but the remainder of the cards are Blue and this article is focused on the Green cards with the above-referenced keywords.

Protip: if x/G Madness looks like the deck that you want to play in Premodern, you should grab playsets of the promos for Basking RootwallaWild MongrelArrogant Wurm, CotH, and Roar of the Wurm before they increase beyond $2 a piece (although, I personally prefer the Odyssey art for CotH).

 

6. Sideboard

Green absolutely hates its “enemy” colors, Blue and Black.  Perhaps moreso than any other color.  Some of the harshest anti-blue or anti-black hate cards are in Green.

Sideboard cards against Blue/Counterspells

Cards that scream anti-Blue include City of SolitudeInsistScragnoth, Spellbane Centaur, Gaea’s Herald, Multani’s Presence, Rushwood Legate, Seedtime, and Steely Resolve.

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Also among the uncounterable lot, is Boy George’s love interest: Kavu Chameleon.

 

Sideboard cards against Black

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On the low end of the scale, Compost can provide slow card advantage that could help you outrace your Opponent’s removal.  On the high end, it wins you the match versus Reanimator and all of the other graveyard recursion decks.

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I honestly have no idea how Black would deal with Nantuko Blightcutter other than Mutilate.

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Refreshing Rain could give you enough time to outpace Suicide Black.

 

Sideboard cards against Other/All Colors

Cards that more subtly speak “anti-control” are Bind (turns off Cursed Scroll, etc.), Forgotten Ancient (finisher in an Aggro-control mirror), and Xanthid Swarm (a stress-free second main phase!).

Briar Patch, the enchantment version of Watchdog, could be a great static enchantment for Enchantress decks that also halves the amount of damage you would take from White Weeneie, Suicide Black, Goblins, or any other “go wide” tribe.  The same goes for, Dense Foliage, which can help keep your guys alive.  Familiar Ground could help your small quantity of big creatures trample over an army of tokens.  Finally, Caller of the Claw could be used as a counter to White, Black, and Red “sweepers” like Wrath of God, Mutilate, and Inferno.

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Hidden Gibbons may look like an anti-Control card, but don’t forget that making a 4/4 against mono Red can certainly put them in a pickle if they don’t have a Fireblast.

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Splinter was the premiere anti-artifact card during the Urza’s Block, which contained some of the most broken artifacts of all time.

Cards like Elvish Lyrist and Fecundity are also no-brianers.  Foster is slower and thus probably worse than Fecundity.

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Finally, Skyshroud Blessing can help put you a couple cards ahead of Land Destruction.

 

7. Combos

In competitive play, Green is perhaps best known not for its stompiness but for its cards that are combo enablers.  Earthcraft and Channel were both banned because of their ability to set a combo off by creating a lot of mana (Rebirth is also banned because it is an ante card).

 

Aluren

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Aluren has a whole deck built around it that involves infinite life and infinite mana, if that sounds like your jam.

 

Untapping and Copying Creatures

Splinter Twin was banned for a reason.  Maybe with these cards you create a ton of mana with Rofellos or you go apeshit with Goblin Welder.  IDK.  I’m sure ya’ll can figure out how to best to break these.

 

Living Lands

This is the deck that I want to talk the most about.  Green is so flavorful that it’s ability to make lands run amok is akin to the uncontrollable and disruptive nature of weeds.  This particular Aggro-combo deck uses Living Lands to turn all of its Forests into creatures and then uses Kamahl, Fist of Krosa or Kaysa to jack up all of its lands into an army of roots.

The rest of the creatures in the deck either ramp you into Living Lands faster or help you find lands.  Llanowar Elf and Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary ramp you into Kamahl’s Overrun ability.  Krosan Tusker and Yavimaya Elder help you find lands and thin out your deck.

There are non-creature cards in the deck that also help you find more Forests.  Scouting Trek into Mulch might be good, but Mulch just might be good enough on its own if you run enough lands.  Rites of Spring and New Frontiers do substantially the same things, but be careful using New Frontiers.  Sure, only your lands are creatures, but giving your opponent mana is typically a losing strategy.

Now that you have a bunch of Forests in your hand, you round things out by playing all of them courtesy of Exploration, Skyshroud Ranger, and/or Summer Bloom.

Other options include Ambush Commander, which despite being one more mana than Living Lands turns the lands into a relevant creature type (you could throw in some Eladamris, Elvish Champions, Priest of Titanias, etc.).  Veteran Explorer tutors for lands if you include some sort of”sac outlet” in the deck.  You can’t count on your opponent killing him for you.

Here is a sample, untested decklist that is probably a pretty good place to start:

Lands

Creatures

  • 2 4 Kamahl, Fist of Krosa
  • 2 Kaysa
  • 3 Krosan Tusker
  • 4 Llanowar Elves
  • 2 Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary
  • 4 Skyshroud Ranger
  • 4 Yavimaya Elder

Sorcery

  • 3 Land Grant
  • 4 Mulch
  • 1 New Frontiers
  • 2 Rites of Spring

Enchantment

If you cut Rofellos and Sylvan Library for something else, you can build this deck for under $100.  Skyshroud Blessing and Sylvan Safekeeper are cards to keep an eye on for the sideboard in this deck.

Edit: Kaysa apparently does not boost Living Lands Forests because they do not become Green.  Thanks to our Facebook follower Robin Lundh for catching that one!

Edit edit: Thanks to Facebook follower Eduard Torres for pointing out that Timeshifted cards, and therefore Pendelhaven, are not Premodern legal.

 

Cheating Fatties Into Play

According to MTGStocks, Defense of the Heart has nearly doubled in value in the past three months, from $10 to $18.  Howll three of these cards have entire decks that are built around them, but I’ll let the masters of those decks tell you how to build and play them!  The same goes for Oath of Druids and Gamekeeper, which have similar abilities, so I would suggest grabbing a playset of those now if these decks look fun to you.

 

Survival of the Fittest and dumping creature cards into the Graveyard

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Survival of the Fittest has been a $20+ card for the better part of a decade.  However, according to MTGStocks, Survival of the Fittest has almost tripled in value since the beginning of 2018.  It’s currently $125 after starting the year at $50.

Again, Foster plays a similar role but is slower and definitely worse.  Similar cards are Hermit Druid, Holistic Wisdom, and Greater Good.  I guess a potential win condition could be Krosan Beast?

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I’d like to see Metamorphosis used in conjunction with Survival or Tortured Existence as a way to chain ETB triggers together.

 

Enchantress

Enchantress decks have been around since the very beginning with Verduran Enchantress.  Over the years, we got new enchantresses that did similar things, like Argothian and YavimayaRabid Wombat also benefits from enchantments.  Bonus: all four cards have sweet art.

Once you have an enchantress in play, enchantments like Rancor, Ancestral Mask, and Seal of Strength quickly send you through your deck and beef up the girls until your opponent is a bloody pulp.

 

Turbo Fog

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You could definitely build a deck around Dawnstrider and forcing your opponent to either kill her or kill you by means other than combat.

 

Other

Combine Call of the Wild and/or Zoologist with Future Sight or some shit.  IDK, man.

 

8. Card Draw/Recursion/Tutoring

Green tends to have very little card draw, and the card draw that it does have tends to come with some stipulations.  Most people know about Sylvan Library, but few are aware of the power behind Mirri’s Guile!

What Green is known for is the Circle of Life and recycling cards from your graveyard back to your deck/hand.  Regrowth isn’t legal in this format, but Reclaim, Revive, and Gaea’s Blessing may be just as good.

Finally, Worldly Tutor and Living Wish let you look for the special creatures or lands that you need to “combo off,” like Gaea’s CradleCrop Rotation only does it for lands, but the land goes into play untapped.  Harrow does the same, but costs two mana more at the expense of finding an additional land.

 

9. Reanimator/Survival of the Fittest/Natural Order/Defense of the Heart/Oath of Druids/Call of the Wild/Zoologist/Elvish Piper Targets

When I was playing Type I in the early 2000s, I mostly played Aggro-control decks like variants of The Rock, U/W Standstill, or U/R Isochron Scepter.  However, before Entomb got “hit,” I was a dedicated Reanimator player.  Some of my favorite mono Green creatures to cheat into play were:

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  • elusive (The aforementioned Autumn Willow, Blastoderm, and later: Gigapede, who you could also use as a discard outlet),

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  • spiraled out-of-control if your opponent did not have an immediate answer (Verdant Force, the sad mustache tree),

Geez, I think I have a weird predilection for the Onslaught Block…

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Wall of Blossoms is great “Toolbox” in Survival of the Fittest because it’s a creature that replaces itself, so you can play it to draw a card or if you need blockers, or you can simply discard it to go find something better.

The Legacy Elves deck uses Natural Order to tutor up Progenitus (not Premodern legal) and put it into play.  You can do pretty much the same thing in a mono Green Premodern deck by using Natural Order to grab something like Phantom Nishoba.

 

10. Control/Prison Decks

Quirion Dryad used to play the same role that Tarmogoyf plays now: a cheap, easily cast creature that grows over time.  She was often used as the win condition in U/G/x Control decks.  The rest of the deck was built around protecting your dryad while trying to keep your opponent off of their game.  Note that she triggers whenever you play the spell, not whether or not it resolves.  As such, cheap spells that draw cards (“cantrips”) are her favorite shows to binge-watch on Netflix.  Then, like the rest of us, she becomes too big to fit on the couch anymore.  Or maybe she prefers to stand around idly and yell “eYeeeeeeup!” every time somebody tries to counter a spell on her other favorite show: “Counterspell Wars.”

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Dave Hester, star of Storage Counterspell Wars.

As far as Prison decks go, I guess you could try to build something that uses Eladamri’s Vineyard, Root Maze, and Winter Orb so that your non-Green opponent essentially gets two colorless mana while you get a full three colored mana.  Sprinkle the rest of the deck with a little bit of Rishadan Port or Icy Manipulator to taste.

 

11. Land Destruction

Most people know that Green is the color for mana acceleration.  However, Green is often forgotten as supplemental color to Red or Black for the purposes of mana destruction!  Just take a look at Creeping Mold, Plow Under, Thermokarst, and Winter’s Grasp!  On the play, you may be able to lure an unsuspecting opponent into playing their best land after watching you “Forest, go.”  I think that’s enough destruction and that we don’t think something like Natural Balance is what we want.  What’s our win condition, though?  Is it just death by a thousand slices from Avalanche Riders?  I guess we could use Terravore here, too!

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Or maybe our win condition is ten slices from Cartographer, who can loop Wastelands.  If land destruction interests you, check out our Premodern article on Black cards and stay tuned for our article on Red cards!

 

WRAP UP

Before we plug our sponsors, let’s take a look at some honorable mentions!

In the “awesome art category” goes Deepwood Drummer for not only featuring a dude with a bitchin’ ‘stache and vest but also because I fondly remember being a kid and the excitement of getting a Mercadian Masqes preview card of him in the back of an issue of Inquest!  (#54, October 1999).  Okay, fine.  You caught me.  I actually have fond memories of the Tomb Raider card, instead.  ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

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Gross.  Anyways, an Honorable Mention goes out to Frog Tongue.  Look how ripped that fly is.

Flavor Text Awards go out to Yavimaya Wurm and Plated Spider.

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In case anyone was wondering: Summon Barishi was errata’d to Elemental.  However, here’s a one-time creature type for you Shapeshifters: Brushwagg!

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The Flavor (in the “Vorthos” sense) Award goes to Maro (“Mark Rosewater“)

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Finally, the Epic Fail Award goes to Root Cage, for nerfing the wrong creature type.

And there you have it!  Now you have a pretty good idea of what Green cards to expect in Premodern.

Thanks for reading!  If you enjoyed the article, consider joining our Discord and argue with me about the merits of these Green cards in real time!  We’ve been and will continue to brew up Premodern decklists.  We urge you to also follow along on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and Patreon so that you don’t miss anything.  At the very least, please take a moment to subscribe to our Twitch Affiliated channel for free with your Amazon/Twitch Prime account.  It’s a great way to support our blog without costing you anything!

If you didn’t enjoy the article, let us know why!  We strive to provide entertaining yet informative content and take into consideration all constructive feedback that we receive.

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Every Sunday, Andrew continues to climb up to the rank of Grandmaster over at twitch.tv/ready_to_role

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We are proudly sponsored by FlipSide Gaming.  Enter the coupon code READYTOROLE at checkout for 10% off any order of $10 or more!

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