Hello and Good Luck.
Summer in Seattle is a sticky mess. We stabilize around 80 degrees. The problem is that air conditioning is not standard. Fans are sideboard technology that few possess. When you live in the upstairs of a house, summer nights are brutal. Sometimes I lay awake at night sweating, mind racing, putting keys into locks, putting keys into locks, putting keys into locks, turning them, breaking keys, turning them, breaking keys, and breaking locks. CLICK. The doors open. The zombie hordes spill out on summer nights like tonight.
Sometimes mistakes are made in Magic. It could be that a card is too good. Print Necropotence, and there could be Black Summer. It could be that a card combos too well with another card. Print these, and you have Combo Winter. It could be that too many of a kind of card exist. Well?
Too many two-mana counterspells, and draw-go decks develop. Too many three-mana land destruction spells, and land destruction decks develop. Too many two-mana ramp spells, and ramp decks develop. Too many Howling Mines, and Fog decks develop. And so on. Did you know that you can play SIXTEEN one-mana green accelerators right now? Did you know that you can play TWELVE three-drops that tap for 2 or more mana? Keys are turning. Locks are breaking.
Welcome to Green Summer.
The curve is sleek. The 16 ones are a given. The 12 threes are absurd. Each taps for two mana. Somberwald Sage is an animal. The deck consistently has six mana on the 3rd turn. It’s nice to play 6-drops when your opponent only has two lands in play… Soul of the Harvest is an insane top end when your deck has 39 creatures. Sometimes you play Soul of the Harvest on the third turn and start drawing immediately. Often actually. Then there is Craterhoof Behemoth too. This guy ends the games fast.
Green Summer lasts until the Return to Ravnica in the fall… It is going to be one hot, sticky summer.
First, let’s talk about the build:
Cards I’m Not Playing
I am not playing Ezuri, Renegade Leader. I started with 4, and it was no good. I tried clones, I tried Genesis Wave, and I tried haste enablers. It turns out all you want is to consistently get mana, and beat your opponent over the head. You don’t want to stop along the way to do anything else. If you take a look at the list, in each slot you can tell that cards at that mana cost serve a very specific and important role. If you are going to consider whether or not a card should be in this deck, consider that, and you will have your answer.
I’m not playing Cavern of Souls. Cavern of Souls does not fix your mana — it screws it. There are three different creature types on turn 1 alone. It can’t be untapped by Arbor Elf. Everything on top is a different cost, and it doesn’t force through Green Sun’s Zenith. If you want to punish people for playing with countermagic, the land to do that with is Gavony Township. Gavony Township does everything you want Cavern of Souls to do and more.
The only discussion I would consider for the main deck is whether to play more Craterhoof Behemoths or not. That card is insane.
I would mulligan most hands that don’t have a one-drop. You have 16, so that doesn’t happen too often. I would keep one land hands often, on the play or on the draw. I am happy keeping hands that have all mana and no action. You can generally find something to do with your mana once you get there. On the other hand, stumbling along the way is an easy way to lose. Basically, if your hand doesn’t ramp, throw it out! If your hand ramps, keep it! Simple.
Bonfire of the Damned
Bonfire of the Damned is a fairly common card right now. It’s not crazy popular, but you will have to play against it occasionally. Are you scared? I’m not.
Consider an average start for our deck:
How can our opponent break this up with Bonfire? On the play, they need to miracle it on turn three. On the draw they need to miracle it on turn two off of a Birds of Paradise. A Bonfire of x = 1 won’t do it more often than not, and by the time they get to five mana it’s often too late. Bonfire is only ok against us. I’m excited to play against it!
I’m actually more scared of Arc Trail. That card can come down in time on the play or draw, and it is guaranteed to kill our first two drops, which Bonfire usually can’t do. No one really plays Arc Trail, and it’s better than the three-mana alternative from M13.
There are not many other sweepers out there, but they will mainly come in the form of Day of Judgment, Whipflare, Slagstorm, Curse of Death’s Hold, and [card elesh norn, grand cenobite]Elesh Norn[/card]. I admit these cards are good against us. They’re uncommon right now, but I expect that they will become more common as this deck becomes more popular. What do we do against cards like this?
Time to release the cat from the bag.
We have five mana guys in play at this point. Our opponent has been eyeing his Day of Judgment all game. Next turn he will have the mana. Finally. Just in the nick of time. We tap out, and lay down GUTTER GRIME. He picks up Gutter Grime. He reads it.
I’ll wait for you to collect your jaw off the floor, and change your undies. I’ll be here.
If he casts Day of Judgement, he is dead to 25 power worth of Ooze tokens. He’s already too far behind. If he plays for a longer game, our 39 creatures are going to take over the game. He can’t just not kill our creatures for the rest of the game — he thinks about how he can win this game. He can’t. He thinks about how he is going to have to tell his friends that he lost to Gutter Grime. “GUTTER GRIME?? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? YOU LOST TO GUTTTTERR GRIMEEE???” He puts Gutter Grime back down on the table and begins picking up his cards.
Ooze your daddy? Gutterball! Et cetera, et cetera. lulz.
Gutter Grime is an awesome, awesome, awesome sideboard card and I can’t wait to see it in action at FNM and PTQ tables around the world. The card has been sleeping, waiting for its time to shine. Passed over in Innistrad Limited even. Well, Gutter Grime’s time is now. It has until the end of the summer to shine. Get yours now!
Everyone wants to know how to beat Delver. This deck has a really fun Delver matchup. If they don’t draw Vapor Snag, Gut Shot, or Dismember, they are probably just dead. If they do draw them, they can sometimes delay just long enough to deal 20 damage. Vapor Snag is by far their best card against us. It’s great on a turn one Elf, or on a 3-mana ramp guy. It’s awesome on Soul of the Harvest. With Snapcaster Mage, they can usually cast a couple if they draw even one. Our best draw against a start like that is just mana guys into Gavony Township. Township can’t be snagged, and it can’t be Mana Leaked. Township is the nut.
Here is our full sideboard:
Post-board we can make their Vapor Snags useless. Extra Gavony Townships mean we won’t stumble on mana as much, and will have awesome things to do to punish countermagic and Snags. Instead of Soul of the Harvest, we have Thragtusk. An early Thragtusk is going to be really, really hard for Delver to beat. We also have Stingerfling Spider and various other removal spells so that we can take over the game. We have Acidic Slime to blow up equipment.
Tweaking for Your Meta
I wouldn’t play Cavern of Souls even if you have the most counterspells in your meta. Township is your man.
Melira, Sylvok Outcast is a potential cut. She is for the infect decks, which I respect, but if no one in your area is playing those, you can afford to get rid of her.
Decks with 6+ Whipflare and Slagstorm might pop up. Goblin decks with lots of Arc Trail type cards might be in your meta. These cards have a better chance of slowing us down than Day of Judgment. Against cards like these, you are going to want 3 Sword of War and Peace in the sideboard. Gutter Grime is too slow in these situations, and Sword of War and Peace can singlehandedly invalidate their strategy by making every single mana Elf a deadly threat.
I would play no fewer than three Thragtusks, and maybe even play four. The card is awesome against Delver. It’s awesome against Zombies. It’s awesome against linear red decks.
I think Mental Misstep might be okay against Delver, but we are already bringing in a lot, and I think Gut Shot is better in the mirror. That’s right, I am big-headed enough to ALREADY have cards in my sideboard for the mirror. Gut Shot is a 0 mana Time Walk. If Green Summer takes over your meta, play four Gut Shot!
I wouldn’t touch the main deck, but I could see tweaking the board a bit.
One more time, for your mind
Is this deck good enough to play in a MODO PTQ before Arbor Elf and Thragtusk come out?
Bonus Discussion: Combo Decks and the Health of the Game
Two important questions:
1. What is a combo deck?
2. What is combo’s place in Magic: the Gathering?
I have designed a lot of combo decks in my day. Combo decks are decks that break the rules of Magic. They draw more than one card a turn. They get more than one mana a turn. They are exponential. They win out of nowhere. They are linear. They are… fun to play with and against?
U/R storm combo decks are not fun to play against. They break the rules so horrendously that people don’t want to play against them. They want to quit. It’s not a fun game. It’s not interactive. You could be playing against a goldfish. It wouldn’t matter.
Those days are gone.
Combo decks of today play a lot of creatures. This one plays approximately all of them. They are interactive. This deck blocks a whole lot. It encourages our opponent to block. They are exciting. They are fun to play with and against. They make people want to go to a tournament this weekend and play Magic. They compel them to do that. This deck does that, and unlike combo decks of the past, this is a combo deck that plays within Magic’s rules — at least kind of.
People like to play combo decks, and it’s good when the combo decks also play well.
Have a nice summer =)