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 [card]Necropotence[/card], 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 [card]Howling Mine[/card]s, and [card]Fog[/card] 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. [card]Somberwald Sage[/card] 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… [card]Soul of the Harvest[/card] is an insane top end when your deck has 39 creatures. Sometimes you play [card]Soul of the Harvest[/card] on the third turn and start drawing immediately. Often actually. Then there is [card]Craterhoof Behemoth[/card] too. This guy ends the games fast.
The deck has a ton of depth. It happens to be a 39 creature deck with access to 7 [card]Gavony Township[/card]s. The [card]Primeval Titan[/card] in the deck provides a crucial role. This deck is fast — and baby, it can GRIND!
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 [card]Ezuri, Renegade Leader[/card]. I started with 4, and it was no good. I tried clones, I tried [card]Genesis Wave[/card], 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 [card]Cavern of Souls[/card]. [card]Cavern of Souls[/card] does not fix your mana — it screws it. There are three different creature types on turn 1 alone. It can’t be untapped by [card]Arbor Elf[/card]. Everything on top is a different cost, and it doesn’t force through [card]Green Sun’s Zenith[/card]. If you want to punish people for playing with countermagic, the land to do that with is [card]Gavony Township[/card]. [card]Gavony Township[/card] does everything you want [card]Cavern of Souls[/card] to do and more.
The only discussion I would consider for the main deck is whether to play more [card]Craterhoof Behemoth[/card]s 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
[card]Bonfire of the Damned[/card] 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:
Turn 1 – Elf
Turn 2 – [card]Palladium Myr[/card] / [card]Elvish Archdruid[/card]
Turn 3 – Six-drop
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 [card]Birds of Paradise[/card]. 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 [card]Arc Trail[/card]. 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 [card]Arc Trail[/card], 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 [card]Day of Judgment[/card], [card]Whipflare[/card], [card]Slagstorm[/card], [card]Curse of Death’s Hold[/card], 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 [card]Day of Judgment[/card] all game. Next turn he will have the mana. Finally. Just in the nick of time. We tap out, and lay down [card]GUTTER GRIME[/card]. He picks up [card]Gutter Grime[/card]. 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 [card]Day of Judgement[/card], 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 [card]Gutter Grime[/card]. “[card]GUTTER GRIME[/card]?? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? YOU LOST TO GUTTTTERR GRIMEEE???” He puts [card]Gutter Grime[/card] back down on the table and begins picking up his cards.
Ooze your daddy? Gutterball! Et cetera, et cetera. lulz.
[card]Gutter Grime[/card] 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!
[card]Gutter Grime[/card] does not get around [card]Terminus[/card]. [card]Terminus[/card] is not popular, and often too slow, although I can imagine it picking up in popularity. I’m not worried about that card.
Everyone wants to know how to beat Delver. This deck has a really fun Delver matchup. If they don’t draw [card]Vapor Snag[/card], [card]Gut Shot[/card], or [card]Dismember[/card], they are probably just dead. If they do draw them, they can sometimes delay just long enough to deal 20 damage. [card]Vapor Snag[/card] 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 [card]Soul of the Harvest[/card]. With [card]Snapcaster Mage[/card], they can usually cast a couple if they draw even one. Our best draw against a start like that is just mana guys into [card]Gavony Township[/card]. Township can’t be snagged, and it can’t be [card]Mana Leak[/card]ed. Township is the nut.
Here is our full sideboard:
[draft]2 Gavony Township
1 Acidic Slime
3 Gutter Grime
1 Melira, Sylvok Outcast
1 Stingerfling Spider
2 Gut Shot
1 Sword of War and Peace[/draft]
Post-board we can make their [card]Vapor Snag[/card]s useless. Extra [card]Gavony Township[/card]s mean we won’t stumble on mana as much, and will have awesome things to do to punish countermagic and Snags. Instead of [card]Soul of the Harvest[/card], we have [card]Thragtusk[/card]. An early [card]Thragtusk[/card] is going to be really, really hard for Delver to beat. We also have [card]Stingerfling Spider[/card] and various other removal spells so that we can take over the game. We have [card]Acidic Slime[/card] to blow up equipment.
Tweaking for Your Meta
I wouldn’t play [card]Cavern of Souls[/card] even if you have the most counterspells in your meta. Township is your man.
[card]Melira, Sylvok Outcast[/card] 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+ [card]Whipflare[/card] and [card]Slagstorm[/card] might pop up. Goblin decks with lots of [card]Arc Trail[/card] type cards might be in your meta. These cards have a better chance of slowing us down than [card]Day of Judgment[/card]. Against cards like these, you are going to want 3 [card]Sword of War and Peace[/card] in the sideboard. [card]Gutter Grime[/card] is too slow in these situations, and [card]Sword of War and Peace[/card] can singlehandedly invalidate their strategy by making every single mana Elf a deadly threat.
[card]Naturalize[/card] is a potential option. If there are lots of [card oblivion ring]O-Rings[/card] and Curses, it would be okay to play 1-2. I would also want them against [card]Invisible Stalker[/card] decks.
If [card]Talrand, Sky Summoner[/card] Delver becomes a thing, I would probably play 1-2 [card]Corrosive Gale[/card] over the [card]Plummet[/card].
I would play no fewer than three [card]Thragtusk[/card]s, 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 [card]Mental Misstep[/card] might be okay against Delver, but we are already bringing in a lot, and I think [card]Gut Shot[/card] is better in the mirror. That’s right, I am big-headed enough to ALREADY have cards in my sideboard for the mirror. [card]Gut Shot[/card] is a 0 mana [card]Time Walk[/card]. If Green Summer takes over your meta, play four [card]Gut Shot[/card]!
I would for sure play [card]Stingerfling Spider[/card] instead of [card]Silklash Spider[/card], because Stingerfling is great against [card]Vapor Snag[/card], and Silklash Spider is too slow.
I wouldn’t touch the main deck, but I could see tweaking the board a bit.
One more time, for your mind
4 Razorverge Thicket
2 Gavony Township
4 Arbor Elf
4 Llanowar Elves
4 Birds of Paradise
4 Avacyn’s Pilgrim
4 Palladium Myr
4 Elvish Archdruid
4 Somberwald Sage
4 Soul of the Harvest
1 Primeval Titan
2 Craterhoof Behemoth
4 Green Sun’s Zenith
2 Gavony Township
1 Acidic Slime
3 Gutter Grime
1 Melira, Sylvok Outcast
1 Stingerfling Spider
2 Gut Shot
1 Sword of War and Peace[/deck]
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 =)
<3 Travis @travisdwoo