Everyone has their thing. It’s that safe place in an ever-changing world. It’s what makes them feel at home or in their element. It’s comfortable, it’s convenient, it’s what they know, and it just feels right. I would give some examples of things people have, but let’s be frank. Nobody has time for that. Let’s cut out the silly games and just get straight to the point.
My thing is green and white cards. There. I said it. I’m like the love child of Jamie Wakefield and Craig Wescoe. I’m Craw Wurm’s dutiful Squire. Dromoka has me under her command. I’m Gaddock Teeg’s human advisor. Sigarda has me on speed dial. I’m Heron’s Grace Champion’s evil counterpart Hair-off Grace Champion. Sometimes I go a bit dark and walk down the Abzan path. Sometimes I follow the will of the Gods and play the divinely blessed Bant Shard. But one way or another, you’ll usually find me throwing down the Gee Dub in some form or fashion.
Never Naya, though. I do have some principles. I’m not a complete savage.
From the moment I saw Verdurous Gearhulk in the Kaladesh spoiler it was already a done deal. I remembered that Gideon, Ally of Zendikar was still a card that existed, and the idea of perfecting green-white was like phonics. I was hooked.
There was only one problem. Green/white didn’t seem too great. It wasn’t really crushing in my testing. Traditional G/W cards like Oath of Nissa or Nissa, Voice of Zendikar weren’t cutting it and I was finding myself losing a lot. Losing isn’t exactly where I wanted to be, surprisingly enough. But over time, things changed. I changed. Well, that’s not true. I remained the same horrible shell of a man that I was beforehand, but the deck did change. Gone were the underperforming cards. Here to stay were the… other cards.
Midway through the week, I got Brad Nelson interested in G/W and he helped finish the job. With his help, G/W moved from a rough collection of Magic cards in those colors to a playable deck. I love playable decks.
This is the list I played in the SCG Open last weekend. Let’s run through some of the cards.
Smuggler’s Copter is the best card in the deck—probably the best card in the format—and a lot of other cards are selected based on how well they interact with it. A lot of games at the event were basically decided by Copter advantage. The person who had the card won the game a pretty reasonable amount of the time.
Blossoming Defense was a late addition to the deck. It does a lot of things. It protects your cards from removal spells, which is very important, especially when you’re playing a card like Fairgrounds Warden. It also is relevant as a pump spell, letting you swing through things like Ishkanah or other giant creatures with your entire team without having to lose anything. It also lets you win the Smuggler’s Copter battle.
Blossoming Defense seemed good in theory, but it underperformed. Sometimes you drew it too late for it to matter and it was a poor topdeck, and in some matchups it just didn’t matter. It’s not a card I would want to play again.
Always Watching may seem like a strange inclusion. It would have never made sense in old G/W Tokens, but this deck is way different than those decks. It doesn’t have Hangarback Walker, or Secure the Wastes, or Nissa, so it’s no longer really based around tokens. In fact, only Gideon makes tokens, and the deck has a lot of creatures in it, so Always Watching is usually relevant.
Always Watching was hit or miss. It’s good at giving you 4/4 Copters, which can play offense and defense and can overpower opposing Copters, but it is awkward when you don’t have a lot of creatures or they all die a lot. It’s also awkward that you still have to tap a creature to turn on Smuggler’s Copter, even though you’d like to be able to attack with everything with Always Watching.
The rest of the cards performed pretty well. Thraben Inspector is secretly a gem. Servant of the Conduit is a really reasonable card. It has a big body for a mana creature, which means that it can be made relevant later in the game even when you’ve run out of energy to feed to it.
Verdurous Gearhulk is an extremely powerful card and I liked it in this deck where you want to play aggressively. I think it’s at its best in an aggressive home, as opposed to more grindy or midrange shells. Gearhulk was awkward sometimes in that if you don’t have any creatures in play and just a Smuggler’s Copter, you can’t actually put counters on the Copter, because you have to choose targets for the Gearhulk’s ability before you can crew. In that case you’d have to make an 8/8 Gearhulk and use that to crew a 3/3 Copter. Not nearly as effective.
Ultimately, the deck was solid, but it was missing something. It had issues beating other aggressive Smuggler’s Copter decks, as those decks could kill our Copters and we didn’t have removal to deal with theirs. It really needed a card like Dromoka’s Command. It also had a hard time protecting Gideon without much removal, which in turn made Gideon way worse.
Outside of those problems, it was completely smooth sailing. Decks not playing Smuggler’s Copter or decks trying to play a grindier game plan seemed pretty weak against this strategy. There is a lot of power in this archetype and if someone can figure out how to solve those problems, then I suspect this deck will end up being tier 1. We didn’t solve those problems for the SCG Open, but there’s no reason to believe they can’t be.
I’m looking forward to seeing where this ends up.