Welcome back to Valuable Lessons. Recently, I feel like I’ve been playing against a lot of White Weenie variants. Every time I hop into a 2-man queue I find myself facing off against [ccProd]Spear of Heliod[/ccProd] Orzhov or Esper decks. I’ve been around the block once or twice in terms of understanding metagame evolution, and it makes sense that efficient creatures with removal for key parts of an opponent’s plan would be successful in the current Standard climate. The decline of Esper and blue/white control in popularity means we can finally cast Polukranos again. [ccProd]Polukranos, World Eater[/ccProd] may be the most underrated card in Standard. Today, we’ll be discussing mono-green’s strength in the current metagame.
Black Devotion had a stranglehold of the format for some time, but the aggression offered up by the White Weenie variants is very difficult for Black Devotion to keep up with on the draw. Even when the black deck gets the play, they’ll founder if they have to deal with [ccProd]Xathrid Necromancer[/ccProd] played on a curve. Blue Devotion, the other all-star of the format has [ccProd]Master of Waves[/ccProd], but that’s so far and away their most important card in the matchup, that it’s easy enough to sandbag a removal spell for the turn they plan on turning things around with the big spell.
I put the following list together and I’ve been playing it to a reasonable amount of success:
4 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
1 Boon Satyr
4 Reverent Hunter
4 Polukranos, World Eater
1 Nylea, God of the Hunt
4 Arbor Colossus
4 Voyaging Satyr
4 Elvish Mystic
4 Sylvan Caryatid
4 Burning-Tree Emissary
4 Kalonian Tusker
4 Garruk, Caller of Beasts
4 Nylea’s Disciple
4 Mistcutter Hydra
4 Wasteland Viper[/deck]
The deck performs very well against the White Weenie decks that have taken off in a big way. [ccProd]Polukranos, World Eater[/ccProd] does a lot of work in many different matchups. Try saving the monstrous activation until a necessary moment and always finesse your way into winning the race math. I lost my first match against mono-red due to some bad math that involved a [ccProd]Firefist Striker[/ccProd], but I’ve gone undefeated since then.
The sideboard looks like garbage, but there aren’t many options for a green deck: [ccProd]Wasteland Viper[/ccProd] staves off early aggression and turns Polukranos, World Eater into a machine gun in the later portions of the game. [ccProd]Nylea’s Disciple[/ccProd] gains us absurd amounts of life against the red decks. [ccProd]Bramblecrush[/ccProd] kills lands enchanted with [ccProd]Underworld Connections[/ccProd]. [ccProd]Mistcutter Hydra[/ccProd] gives us an effective clock/finisher against Blue Devotion and control decks. We have good sideboarding plans against everyone, so we just play our 4, 4, 4, 3 sideboard and take the ridicule that goes along with it. Let’s talk about the cards in the deck and why we’re playing with them.
[draft]Garruk, Caller of Beasts[/draft]
[ccProd]Garruk, Caller of Beasts[/ccProd] is the reason to play this deck. I’ve seen people play with less than four copies of this card and it actually makes me cringe. Garruk, Caller of Beasts leads to some of the most degenerate draws imaginable. It’s not unusual to see a turn four Garruk, Caller of Beasts, sometimes we can cast it on turn three with Nykthos. On very rare occasions, we can have turn one [ccProd]Elvish Mystic[/ccProd], turn two 3 [ccProd]Burning-Tree Emissary[/ccProd]. [ccProd]Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx[/ccProd], Garruk, Caller of Beasts, +1. Please take a screenshot and post it below!
Kalonian Tusker is usually not played by the multicolored versions of this deck. I can vouch for its awesomeness in the current metagame, though. It’s pretty nice against the White Weenie variants, it trumps most of Blue Devotion’s creatures, and it’s a great early-game play against everyone. It even synergizes well with Nykthos. I’m pretty happy with four of this card, but that’s likely because I’m playing with [ccProd]Reverent Hunter[/ccProd].
Reverent Hunter doesn’t seem like it has a good explanation. The truth of the matter is that Reverent Hunter is basically a gigantic monster that has the ability to completely take over a game if the opponent doesn’t have a way to deal with it. People knock Reverent Hunter because it’s just a big dude, but it’s really big sometimes. Big. Big. Big. [ccProd]Tarmogoyf[/ccProd] reference. You get the point.
Burning-Tree Emissary lets us do ridiculous things with Nykthos. It’s also pretty good to apply some pressure with this card when we’re able to chain it together with another threat.
Sylvan Caryatid, Elvish Mystic, and Voyaging Satyr allow us to do explosive things with our mana. We’re playing Garruk, Caller of Beasts and Polukranos with purpose and conviction!
Arbor Colossus is a surprisingly good card here. The card almost always turns Nykthos into something incredible, and the 6/6 reach body that can grow and Plummet something is almost always going to take over the game if it can’t be dealt with. Notice a theme?
[draft]Nylea, God of the Hunt
Nylea, God of the Hunt and Boon Satyr fit an interesting hole here. I was playing two copies of Nylea, God of the Hunt at one point, but drawing the second copy of Nylea is really bad and I love the first copy so much that I don’t want to make it a liability. Boon Satyr provides a decent amount of devotion and gives us some interesting play against decks with [ccProd]Supreme Verdict[/ccProd].
[draft]Polukranos, World Eater[/draft]
Polukranos, World Eater might be the best card that nobody is playing with in the current Standard format. The card makes the game pretty impossible for blue decks if it just sits on the table and doesn’t go montrous. It’s obviously the best thing ever against decks like White Weenie, where its 5/5 body trumps everything and it threatens to Plague Wind our opponent if we untap with it.
Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx lets us do some explosive things. Our deck is designed to maximize the effectiveness of Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx in a Green Devotion strategy.
I might try splashing red for [ccProd]Domri Rade[/ccProd] and Xenagos again in the near future. I’ve also experimented with Simic and RUG variants. I feel like all of these decks are viable, but the mono-colored versions of the deck fare better in small tournaments where you don’t want your mana base putting you in range of a red opponent.
It’s important to plan your turns in advance with decks that play mana accelerators. Sure, [ccProd]Kalonian Tusker[/ccProd] is a great turn two play, but if your hand has no [ccProd]Reverent Hunter[/ccProd] and two 4-drops, then we certainly want to be playing a [ccProd]Voyaging Satyr[/ccProd] or [ccProd]Sylvan Caryatid[/ccProd].
The Green Devotion deck gives us a lot of free wins when our opponents don’t have the specific cards necessary to deal with our particular array of threats. Let’s discuss our most common matchups.
[ccProd]Polukranos, World Eater[/ccProd] is so important in this matchup that resolving it essentially decides the game. When we’re able to get Polukranos down on the table and just leave him threatening to go monstrous then it’s very easy to win a game against the blue deck even if they draw multiple [ccProd]Tidebinder Mage[/ccProd]s. We’ll learn to hate the double-Tidebinder/Thassa draws, but those won’t happen often enough to matter.
[draft]4 Garruk, Caller of Beasts [/draft]
[draft]4 Mistcutter Hydra [/draft]
Black Devotion or Blood Baron Black
I keep thinking that this is going to be a horrendous matchup, but then I find myself just running away with the game via Garruk or stomping them into the ground with a well curved draw. [ccProd]Bramblecrush[/ccProd] is the best thing here, it kills lands that are enchanted with [ccProd]Underworld Connections[/ccProd], and that’s pretty awesome.
[draft]3 Reverent Hunter [/draft]
[draft]3 Bramblecrush [/draft]
The Red Devotion decks can cause some problems when they draw [ccProd]Boros Reckoner[/ccProd] alongside a reasonable curve. The major problems in this matchup are [ccProd]Firefist Striker[/ccProd], [ccProd]Fanatic of Mogis[/ccProd], and [ccProd]Boros Reckoner[/ccProd]. I’ve played this matchup twice and it seems pretty even, [ccProd]Nylea’s Disciple[/ccProd] does a lot of work and every copy should be sideboarded in.
[draft]3 Garruk, Caller of Beasts
1 Boon Satyr
4 Voyaging Satyr [/draft]
[draft]4 Nylea’s Disciple
4 Wasteland Viper[/draft]
Aggressive Red or Black/Red
This matchup is much easier than the Red Devotion counterpart. The most aggressive red decks are usually terrified of [ccProd]Garruk’s Companion[/ccProd] and any of our 4- or 5-drops. It’s OK to get our mana killed with [ccProd]Shock[/ccProd] and [ccProd]Lightning Strike[/ccProd], because it means the opponent isn’t using that mana to advance their board position. Again, Boros Reckoner is the biggest problem, but it’s much more raceable when we don’t have to worry about [ccProd]Fanatic of Mogis[/ccProd] or [ccProd]Chandra, Pyromaster[/ccProd] taking over the game.
[draft]4 Garruk Caller of Beast
4 Voyaging Satyr[/draft]
[draft]4 Wasteland Viper
4 Nylea’s Disciple [/draft]
White Weenie Variants
This is our bread and butter matchup, we go much bigger than they do and it’s very difficult for them to win if we untap with Polukranos, World Eater on the table. I like making our curve a bit lower with Wasteland Viper to dominate the game with big creatures, without having dead cards against aggressive starts.
[draft]2 Garruk, Caller of Beasts
1 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
1 Arbor Colossus[/draft]
[draft]4 Wasteland Viper [/draft]
Esper and Azorius Control
This matchup has become less common. Our deck is obviously unequipped to deal with Supreme Verdict in any relevant setting. We can pick up some free wins against the Azorius version of the deck if we can catch them with a Mistcutter Hydra when they don’t have a Supreme Verdict. A lot of the time we’re just casting our spells in the most aggressive manner possible in an effort to get them dead while they’re stumbling. It’s not the greatest plan, but we’re not playing this deck for its Control matchup.
[draft]4 Arbor Colossus[/draft]
[draft]4 Mistcutter Hydra [/draft]
Green Devotion decks seem like the most powerful strategy if we plan on facing off against a lot of White Weenie strategies. We can improve a lot of matchups with specific splashes, but the mono-green version of the deck seems like a great starting point for players that want to tweak the deck with a second color. I’ve had success with all four versions of the deck. (Simic, Gruul, and RUG)
Let’s eat some worlds.