Green Summer turned OUT at the Seattle PTQ this weekend. There were 6 of us. Here are the records:
That’s a 71% match win percentage. WOW.
The deck got better… much better.
And it got better because of you. Thanks to everyone who read about the deck. Thanks to everyone who talked about the deck. Thanks to everyone who played the deck. Thanks to everyone who told me why the deck sucks. How it can’t beat a Bonfire of the Damned. How Somberwald Sage sucks. Because of you, the deck improved dramatically. Thanks!
Soul of the Harvest was the centerpiece of the deck. It is a powerful card. This past weekend it (almost) took down the SCG Open with a Genesis Wave twist from Kurt Crane. He pushed the deck to the extreme in one direction, but I have moved in another. Soul of the Harvest is a powerful but inflexible card. It will win you the game when you play it on the third turn, but it won’t win you the game when you play it late in a game you are on the brink of losing. I decided I wanted a 6-drop that could do it all.
I led the building of a Primeval Titan/Glimmerpost deck that Jesse Hampton took to the Top 8 of Pro Tour Philadelphia 2011. I led the building of a Primeval Titan/Glimmerpost deck that took me to a Washington States 2011 Top 4 and Corbett Gray to an SCG Open: Las Vegas 2011 Top 4. I led the antagonizing of Cedric Phillips after he signed a playset of Glimmerposts. Primeval Titan plus Glimmerpost is a powerful combination with a history of success.
Primeval Titan on the third turn is going to win you the game the same as a Soul of the Harvest. If they have a spot removal spell, you are left with two extra Gavony Townships which will make you a favorite to win. Primeval Titan is much, much more flexible than Soul of the Harvest. If you are behind, it will give you 4 life this turn, and 8 life next turn. That can swing a losing game against Delver, Zombies—whatever—right back into our favor. This combination is the REAL DEAL.
Our deck had a soft spot against Bonfire of the Damned, and a lot of it has to do with this guy. A turn 2 Somberwald Sage opens the door for a brutal Bonfire of the Damned for one. The card is also weak against Gut Shot, Mortar Pod, and Tragic Slip. It doesn’t cast Green Sun’s Zenith, and it doesn’t activate Gavony Township. I took the advice of many great minds and cut the card. I want to be better against Bonfire of the Damned.
Wolfir Silverheart is easy to cast on the third turn. It protects us from Bonfire. It gives us 12 power. It is easy to cast in the mid-game, even if all our early guys get killed. This card packs a powerful punch, protects us from Bonfire, and gives us more resilience to interactive draws from our opponents. The card was an innovation from Eric Lee. It makes the deck WAY better.
Beast Within is a nod to Adam Yurchick, Jesse Hampton, and Corbett Gray, who found success playing Beast Within alongside Primeval Titan and Glimmerpost over the past year. The card is not my favorite, but I respect these players enough to play it. No matter what your opponent is doing, this card can interact with them. It is extremely flexible. Sometimes you kill one thing, and their whole house of cards crumbles. That one thing could be their second land, or it could be their Delver of Secrets.
We are well positioned to deal with medium-sized ground creatures, but the drawback can still be an issue, so be careful.
Green Summer Redux
This is a turn 3 Primeval Titan deck. It is consistent. It is fast. It is FLEXIBLE. It can gain a ton of life when it needs to, and it can kill on turn 4 when it needs to. It is Bonfire resistant. It has an unstoppable late game Craterhoof Behemoth. It had a 71% match win percentage last weekend, and I expect that to go up with this week’s changes. This is the deck to play.
There are some green decks that are drawing dead to Elderscale Wurm. You put this guy into play, game over. Eventually you will [card craterhoof behemoth]Hoof[/card] them no matter what they’re doing over there.
Elderscale Wurm is an innovation from Charles Wong.
Sword of War and Peace packs a massive punch against certain control decks. A turn 2 Sword will carve huge chunks of life out of an unprepared opponent. It turns any of our 16 Elves into must-kill threats. If their strategy is to play sweepers, that strategy is now invalidated.
This is another Eric Lee recommended card. We took this card out of our board last weekend, but if we had had it our records would have been even better.
With only 16 green sources and 12 Forests, we now need to mulligan more. We might mulligan more, but we win more too. DON’T KEEP HANDS WITHOUT A TURN 1 PLAY! The exception to this is if you mulliganed into a good Green Sun’s Zenith hand. In general, we can win from few cards, and speed is really important. Don’t be afraid to mulligan.
Knowing what to cut in sideboarding is the hardest part. I will sometimes cut Craterhoof Behemoth, and sometimes cut the Beast Within. Sometimes I will cut an Arbor Elf. Sometimes I will cut as many as four 3-drops. Sometimes the Wolfir Silverhearts come out, sometimes you don’t need Thragtusk.
There are so many variations of decks that I’m not going to provide a guide. Think it over, play some games, and you will get an idea. I don’t have a definitive answer. But if you have questions, you are welcome to ask me.
Ulvenwald Tracker was recommended to me by TCGPlayer’s CML. It serves a similar function to Beast Within. It is a nice catch all to most cards that can occasionally take over the game. I like the card, but I’m not ready to put it in my 75 yet. I think it has merit though, and I wouldn’t fault you for playing it.
Restoration Angel is another card that has been suggested. It’s easy to cast, and great against other Angels. It blinks Thragtusks and Primeval Titans, and lets us blink a chump blocker. The card is good, but the midrange matchups are already good. I don’t think you need the card, but it would be reasonable to play a couple.
I cut Gut Shot from the board. It’s common enough that you draw it when it’s dead that I don’t really want it anymore. For every time the card is excellent, there is a time where it doesn’t do anything.
I played [card elesh norn, grand cenobite]Elesh Norn[/card] as a 1-of in the board at one point. It is a pretty castable 7-mana game-ender against certain decks. I sided it in a fair amount, but it never came up. I wouldn’t mind playing the card again, but I think we can make our sideboard slots more impactful than a big 1-of white creature.
I still get questions about Cavern of Souls. You will want Cavern in about 1/4th of your matchups, but those matchups are winnable without it. For every other matchup, love your Forests for tapping for green mana and untapping to [card arbor elf]Arbor Elves[/card]. Cavern of Souls is a situational card that is horrible outside of those situations. The card is a trap.
Some players shaved a Forest for the third Gavony Township, which frees up a sideboard slot. This is reasonable. There are some matchups where I like to play 24 lands though, so for now I am keeping them all.
Green Summer PTQ
Green Summer in the Emerald City. 230 players. 9 Rounds. A half-dozen of us battling—Let’s go!!
Round 1 – Mono Green Poison
Poison is a matchup some of you have been struggling with. A key trick to the matchup revolves around this card:
Apostle’s Blessing is important for them to punch through. If they do Apostle’s Blessing through our green guys, their Rancor falls off! No trample means our Palladium Myr can block and save us. They might not realize this. Also, if we Beast Within their guy in response to pump, an Apostle’s Blessing to protect the creature means no pump and no beast. These are key plays in game one.
Primeval Titan is not very good against them because it is slow and the life gain is (usually) irrelevant. I sideboard most of them out.
Although, here is a complimentary picture of Cedric Phillips taking the full 20 damage with a Melira in play:
Round 2 – White Green Aggro
My opponent played fair cards like Elite Inquisitor and Mikaeus the Lunarch. Decks like this aren’t nearly fast enough to kill us, and can’t stop us from getting to our over-the-top late game. My opponent put up some resistance with Intrepid Hero, but I just stocked up on Elves until I could come over the top with a Craterhoof Behemoth. HOOF!
Round 3 – Red Green Aggro
Here is my score pad from game 1:
There was lots of life gaining going on both sides. On the right you can see some Craterhoof Behemoth math. I could do 37 damage, and my opponent could block 11 of it at 25 life—to go to 1. He would then crack back and kill me with Llanowar Elves equipped to two Sword of War and Peace for 9 damage, while I had two cards in hand and 7 life. This match was extremely complicated. There was lots of math every turn of the game.
In general, I find RG aggro to be not quite fast enough to kill us. Our life gain can pull us back into the game, at which point our late game will take over. In the third game I got to show off our resilience to Bonfire of the Damned.
I led with an Elf. My opponent answered with a Birds of Paradise. I played an Elvish Archdruid. A Bonfire for 1 would do nothing, so he played two more Birds to prepare for a Bonfire for 2 next turn. I untapped, and paired my Elvish Archdruid with a Wolfir Silverheart, protecting us from that. Haha!
Round 4 – Restoration Delver
If they don’t have an early Delver of Secrets, they probably won’t be able to apply enough pressure to win. We can embarrass their Mana Leaks with Gavony Township. We can embarrass their Vapor Snags with Thragtusk or Primeval Titan. If we are behind, the life gain can pull us back into a win.
After sideboarding, we have some extra spot removal for their Delvers. If their early Delver is killed, it’s really hard for them to win. The longer the game goes, the more we are favored. Unless they play [card inkmoth nexus]Inkmoth[/card]/[card runechanter's pike]Pike[/card]. (Dear Delver, please don’t play Inkmoth/Pike!)
I cut Crushing Vines, because even if my opponent is crashing in with a Piked up Delver, I really just want to kill the Delver. The extra mana on Crushing Vines makes it much less useful, and I haven’t wanted to board in Crushing Vines as artifact kill in any matchups.
Round 5 – BR Zombies
I know some people have had problems with Zombies, but I have found the matchup to be pretty easy. If they want to slow our development they need to skip playing creatures. Unless something goes drastically wrong (Arc Trail), we will be able to cast either a Thragtusk or a Primeval Titan, which will give us enough time to win. Their deck can win sometimes, but if you manage your life total you will be fine.
This is a matchup where I like to sideboard up to 24 lands. They can’t kill lands. Side up to 24, hit your land drops, gain life, win!
Round 6 – Elesh Norn Reanimator
Frites can be a scary matchup. If everything goes according to their plan, they can get Elesh Norn into play on the third turn. Sometimes their deck stumbles and never does anything. Sometimes they don’t draw enough mana guys to support their draw.
Gutter Grime is a good preemptive play against Elesh Norn. It keeps all of our small guys as live draws. We can [card gavony township]Township[/card] our Ooze tokens and fight through. Beast Within and Sword of War and Peace are also reasonable plays in this matchup.
Round 7 – WUBR Miracles
This is a matchup I found myself really wanting Sword of War and Peace. Terminus invalidates our Gutter Grime strategy, but Sword of War and Peace invalidates their Terminus strategy. This is a matchup where you want to make sure to leave in your Craterhoof Behemoths. When they Enreat the Angels it can open the door for a game ending Hoof.
I lost this match because I [card green sun's zenith]GSZ[/card]ed for a Primeval Titan instead of a Wolfir Silverheart. That is a counterintuitive play I wish I hadn’t had to lose a match in order to learn. Keep in mind all potential Green Sun’s Zenith targets when you play it. Sometimes it isn’t the obvious one.
Round 8 – Naya Pod
Naya Pod is easy. They play a lot of medium-sized mid-game creatures. They are soft to life gain and can’t kill us very quickly. Eventually we can go over the top of whatever they are doing and kill them. They generally play [card thalia, guardian of thrabe]Thalia[/card] and few (or no) Bonfires. The main thing to be careful of is Zealous Conscripts. If you plan around that card, you should be fine.
I walk over to Corbett Gray’s match for 7-1 in time to see this:
His opponent’s B/U Kill Everybody deck was completely invalidated. In the third game, I watched Corbett get a cheeseball win after unleashing the Beast Within his opponent’s third land and only blue source. I would have hated to be on the receiving end of that beating!
Round 9 – RG Wolf Run Ramp
This can be a scary match. They play a lot of sweepers, although Whipflare doesn’t kill Palladium Myr. If the game becomes a Primeval Titan fight, we can often kill them first because of Craterhoof Behemoth. The trick is to get to that point first.
I didn’t have Swords, didn’t bring in Gutter Grimes, and walked right into this card:
If I could play the match again I think I’d win.
Meanwhile, on the next table over, this was going on:
Hard to believe that my first real tournament back would have a mirror match of my deck in it. The mirror match is insane and a ton of fun. I recommend it.
7-1-1 (Corbett Gray)
7-2 (Teddy Vitro)
6-3 (Oliver Garcia)
6-3 (Travis Woo)
2-2 (Elliott Woo)
(There was a 7th player, but I didn’t catch his record. I saw him still in the tournament in the later rounds though.)
Here is the full deck, one more time:
Green Summer Redux
• Everyone who has given me feedback on the deck.
• Everyone who helped me with cards this weekend.
• Cedric Phillips for winning the whole shebang—I’ll meet you back out there soon buddy!
Good luck everybody this weekend! I have two more PTQs this weekend, and I will be working hard on the deck until then. For the newest updates, follow me on @ twitter.com/travisdwoo.