GW Token Town, as it became known, appeared soon after the introduction of Innistrad into Standard. I think the first appearance was actually a GP Brisbane piloted by Tim Fondum to a 2nd place finish:
The plan is simple: make lots of creatures as efficiently as possible (which results in a large number of tokens, hence the name) and then use Gavony Township to turn your 1/1s into scary threats.
This deck made quite an impact on Standard for a time (I piloted a later version myself for many a month), but the meta shifted and the deck went away.
Unsurprisingly, the reason I am thinking about this again is RTR and the Selesyna cards. The poster boy of the lot has to be Call of the Conclave and is easily the card I am most excited about for next Standard season.
The merits of this card do not need spelling out for you. It’s not fancy or abusable or glamorous, it’s just really efficiently costed.
One of my concerns for a new Token Town was the presence of a good number of effects that sweep 1/1s away: Cower in Fear, Golgari Charm, and Electrickery to name just a few. Call of the Conclave provides a cheap body that does not give a damn about those cards.
I wasn’t playing in old Ravnica but a little research tells me that there was a very similar card last time around in the form of Watchwolf. Watchwolf saw significant amounts of play in Standard during the entire time it was legal. It made its impact known in the aggro deck at the time, Zoo, and was in play during what was probably the most famous top-deck of all time.
Craig Jones’ list was extremely popular at the time but I don’t see the other cards necessary to reinvent Zoo in Standard just yet, so I’m going to look at a midrange token town deck idea today. But one card does not a deck make. So, what other cards are screaming out to go into this reinvented brew?
The most efficient creature token producing card in the format has to be Lingering Souls. A black splash would be easier with Birds of Paradise (please come back!), but Overgrown Tomb and Isolated Chapel can probably provide enough black sources to support the back end of the card. If it was the front side then I would be concerned about running it, but it can always sit in the graveyard for later.
I have missed playing with [card mikaeus, the lunarch]Mikeaus[/card]. He is Township numbers 5 and 6 and while he is more vulnerable he can get online quicker. The other pump effect I want to try in a newer version of this deck is Intangible Virtue. It provides protection from those pesky spells I mentioned earlier and it one of the strongest spells in the current BW Token deck. As such my version of this list will lean more towards actual tokens than it might otherwise do.
There are a couple of other tasty morsels for this deck from RTR. I’m particularly fond of producing 10 power of guys for only six mana. Armada Wurm definitely wins the fight to top the curve in this deck. If you nut draw into him on turn 3 using three mana dudes (unlikely I know), only a Wrath will save your opponent now.
More likely he will sit in your hand until your opponent is forced to clear up the ever-increasing army of Spirits and Centaurs with +1/+1 counters on them, and then he will come down to threaten a one turn clock, and that is absolutely fine.
Another delicious treat for the deck is Selesnya Charm which is a wonderful tool box: combat trick, removal spel,l or token producer, but Paulo already delighted you all with the merits of this card-so enough said.
The final (non-land) card I decided to use from RTR was *drum roll please* Rootborn Defenses. It’s not a big splashy card but both of its actions are relevant for the deck. Populate is the guild mechanic for Selesyna, and most of the cards with it are very expensive. If you haven’t read up on this mechanic yet it’s pretty simple: you put a copy of a creature token you control into play.
As it doesn’t do exactly what I first thought it did (copy all tokens in play, which would have been a bit too good), the mechanic is not as busted as I thought and you don’t want to play a card just for the populate effect. On this card it is a nice bonus, and as it’s an instant you can use it just for that effect at the end of your opponent’s turn.
However, I love the other effect. Making all your creatures indestructible in response to that annoying sweeper that will turn the game around for your opponent will really make this deck just so much less fragile. With this in hand, overextending to apply more pressure is a much less scary proposition.
There are some other options from RTR one could use in this sort of deck: Collective Blessing, Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage, Wayfaring Temple, and Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice. Trostani, Vitu, and Collective Blessing I dismissed due to mana concerns. With Township in the deck you hardly need more ways to sink mana each turn. Wayfaring Temple provides a very cheap populate effect and his exclusion may be incorrect but I need more testing time to establish that.
I can certainly envision games where you ramp to him on turn two then make a Centaur before combat, then suddenly you have 11 power of creatures on the board on turn three. Seems good.
Anyway, here is my first attempt at a list for your enjoyment. If you have been trying stuff along these lines I’d love to hear your thoughts. I’m hoping to find time this week to tinker with this list and bring you a more tested version next week, but no promises.
Until next time, say hi @onionpixie on Twitter.