Today, I have for you a reader-submitted deck, piloted to a 10-5 record at GP New Jersey. The backstory is that Josh Faust, a 44-year-old father to 11-year-old Zevin, got into Magic so that he and his son could play together. Zevin is the child prodigy and designer of today’s deck, but by learning the game, Josh is now able to play in FNM rather than take 4-hour naps waiting for his son.
Despite being a self-proclaimed novice and, according to him, throwing away multiple games he had within his grasp, missing triggers, and generally forgetting some pretty important things, Josh was able to make Day 2 and earn himself a Pro Point. He noted that it also had a nice surprise factor, as opponents won’t know what cards might spring forth from your new brew!
Let’s start with the no-brainers. You’re playing G/W Tokens, so you’re going to use the busted planeswalkers. Nissa, Voice of Zendikar and Gideon, Ally of Zendikar go together like peas and carrots. They can both flood the battlefield with creatures without any assistance. They can both make your army huge if you already have one. And each has the capability to take over the game with Gideon, Ally of Zendikar attacking and Nissa giving you aSphinx’s Revelation in the late game.
One of the key elements to building this deck, according to Josh and Zevin, is a principle I try to highlight here often. Having cards that aren’t bad draws in the late game is rare in most decks. Your turn-7 Toolcraft Exemplar or Attune with Aether doesn’t offer much very often, yet are your best turn-1 plays.
Green offers some creatures that are great early and late. Sylvan Advocate is nicely sized for your 2-mana play while becoming massive late in the game. Tireless Tracker is similar, but also offers you value throughout the game. They both are cheap enough to be relevant early, can get in some good chunks of damage in the middle stages of the game, and still offer real power later on.
In a similar vein, Thraben Inspector is never a dead draw since it replaces itself. That said, I’m not super high on the card without artifact synergies or Smuggler’s Copter to crew, but the Gideon, Ally of Zendikar emblems and Nissa minus ability provide a lot of extra power to 1-drops.
Walking Ballista loves getting bonus counters from Nissa and is a great mana sink. With lots of Clue production and Ballistas running around, you can make great use of every land drop you make. This list ended up only running 24 lands, but I would urge a next edit to go up to 25, if not 26.
Ballista also works extremely well with Archangel Avacyn. With Archangel Avacyn and Ballista, you can choose to flip when needed by sending your Ballista to the graveyard, either by firing off shots or just casting it for 0 (make sure you don’t have a Gideon emblem when trying this). Archangel Avacyn also completely screws up combat and is a quick clock in an aggressive deck like this.
The top of the curve also includes multiple copies of Sigarda, Heron’s Grace. I’m not sure this is a card I necessarily want to maindeck, let alone play 2, since there are powerful options like more copies of Archangel Avacyn or Walking Ballista. That said, Sigarda is a powerful creature that can also help you to flood the board. Without Emrakul, the Promised End to worry about she loses some value, but she’s still a powerhouse.
Part of the appeal in playing the unknown is that your opponents won’t know what to expect. It’s easy to get got when you don’t know Thalia, Heretic Cathar is coming. You might burn an early removal spell not realizing what Hanweir Militia Captain is about to do to you. Playing multiple copies of the same creature or creating a Knight Ally army with Gideon, Ally of Zendikar can easily get punished by Declaration in Stone. And overextending into a bunch of mana can blow up in your face thanks to Quarantine Field.
With all-around powerful cards like Heart of Kiran (and lots of 3-power creatures and planeswalkers to crew it with) and Oath of Nissa to find your planeswalkers and hit your curve, G/W Tokens is aggressive and off the beaten path. Josh ended up posting a 6-2 record against Mardu Vehicles at the GP, 1-1 versus 4c Saheeli, and 1-0 versus Tower. All that coming from a man who calls himself a novice. Maybe this is the deck to sleeve up for your next event!