M13 Set Review: Green

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Acidic Slime: Exceptionally useful as a tutor target, less useful when you need to actually draw it. The loss of Green Sun’s Zenith likely reduces the Slime to a sideboard card. It is still a high quality card, but Green has much better things to do with five mana these days.

Arbor Elf: The mere existence of Arbor Elf annoys me. I understand that there are times when Arbor is strictly better than his Llanowar cousin, particularly with certain types of dual lands, but the interaction has always struck me as overly complex and a small waste of time. There is also the issue that Arbor Elf combos poorly with Copperline Gorge. Presumably Arbor Elf gets a lot better when he gets to hang out in Ravnica. Moving right along…

Bond Beetle: How very British. It would take a repeatable blink effect to get me to play it.

Boundless Realms: Useless.

Bountiful Harvest: Combos well with Boundless Realms.

Centaur Courser: A solid dude in Limited and a sign that Green can get a lot more power at three mana than it is currently being given.

Deadly Recluse: A friend of Jon Becker. Pretty good guy to grab for a removal light Green deck.

Duskdale Wurm: Seven mana is a ton in both Limited and Constructed. Maybe I’d play one in a mana heavy control deck in Limited.

Elderscale Wurm: First off, it is amusing to see one creature strictly dominate another creature that is right next to it on the spoiler. Yes, mythic rares are meant to be better than other Magic cards. That was a design decision stolen from other CCGs. Thundermaw Hellkite is better than Fire Elemental. Elderscale Wurm is better than its Duskdale cousin. However, unlike Thundermaw Hellkite, Elderscale Wurm is terrible. It’s only immediate effect is lifegain, and it gets demolished by bounce, Red borrow creature effects, and targeted removal. Some mythic Baneslayers are good. This one is bollocks.
Addendum: Maybe useful to steal game ones against decks with zero maindeck answers.

Elvish Archdruid: A superb lord, if we have reason to build an Elf deck.

Elvish Visionary: Best friends with Roaring Primadox. Elvish Visionary is the glue that makes a lot of degenerate Green tricks work.

Farseek: Yet another of the many hints than the shocklands are returning to Standard soon. Once they are back Farseek becomes better than Rampant Growth.

Flinthoof Boar: The clear best card in the cycle. R/G needs efficient beaters, and this fills the bill. A 3/3 haste creature for three mana is exactly what the deck needs. It can also serve as a Watchwolf if you haven’t drawn or can’t play a Strangleroot Geist. The only real problem is that it is much better in a Red deck splashing Green than vice versa, but again, that should matter a bit less in Ravnica.

Fog: The prototypical Fog.

Fungal Sprouting: Not really worth it even if you could guarantee three power. Might be useful in a combo deck if there is some way to abuse this and Bloodthrone Vampire or some other sacrifice outlet.

Garruk, Primal Hunter: Green has to make some tough choices at five mana. Thragtusk is more impactful, although Garruk can dominate given time. There is a bit of a problem in that Garruk Relentless comes down a turn earlier and next levels the Primal Hunter. I think at this point Primal Hunter is generally a sideboard card. Don’t get me wrong, it is still a strong planeswalker, but it is tough being a ‘walker these days.

Garruk’s Packleader: There was a time that a 4/4 for five mana that occasionally drew you cards would be good enough, but these days you can do so much better.

Ground Seal: Does Griselbrand take a bullet aimed at Snapcaster Mage? Harsh. Then again, I am glad that it at least wings Snapcaster.

Mwonvuli Beast Tracker: I was sorely disappointed when I saw her. Paying three mana for a 2/1 creature should either get me card advantage or a pretty sweet ability. This does neither and will henceforth be shunned outside of Limited.

Naturalize: Disenchant still wonders what it did wrong. For the record I agree that Green dislikes artifacts more than White does.

Plummet: O Hai Thundermaw Hellkite!

Predatory Rampage: Hmm… Easier to cast than Overrun, but much less threatening and unbalanced in Limited. Over all I’d say it is a good change.

Prey Upon: Highly situational but also cost effective when it works. That seems fair for Green removal in Limited.

Primal Huntbeast: Goodbye Dungrove Elder, hello Primal Huntbeast. Sigh.

Primordial Hydra: There just isn’t any price point on the Hydra where it is cost effective in constructed. If it were one cheaper it would probably be massively overpowered, so there doesn’t seem any good way to cost it as written.

Quirion Dryad: You wouldn’t know it just looking at her, but she was once one of the scariest creatures in Extended, first in Miracle Grow (Comer, Alan), and then Super Grow (Rubin, Ben). Had she been in M12, Standard might have been different as she works very well with โ€œfreeโ€ spells. Sadly she will only get a brief window to combo with the cantrip suite. Post-rotation we’ll have to see how easily it is to pump her up to ridiculous levels. The fact that you only need to cast a few non-Green spells to make her worth playing bodes reasonably well for her future.

Rancor: I can’t say that Rancor was targeted at Lingering Souls, but I can say that it does work against them. Dungrove Elder regrets that their time together will be so brief. C’est la vie. I’m less worried about Rancor in Constructed than other people are, but perhaps a Bant list with hexproof and Rancor will prove to be dominant. There are a lot of creatures that become silly with Rancor, and R/G aggro can surely use the speed boost. However best Rancor is used, it is a welcome return for Green.

Ranger’s Path: Can I pay two more mana and add a 6/6 trampler? Now that the Sad Robot and Titans are leaving us, we likely have less incentive to ramp. Still, this and Farseek can help you bust out pretty much any creature in Standard (presuming Return to Ravnica comes through for us). You generally need eight ramp cards at two mana, so the deck is still a bit short right now.

Revive: What Green spell do we need to cast twice?

Roaring Primadox: OK, let’s make a list of Green creatures in M13 this combos with (and yes, I know the dude doesn’t have to be Green):

Acidic Slime Bond Beetle Elvish Visionary Mwonvuli Beast Tracker Quirion Dryad (!)
Thragtusk Yeva’s Forcemage

That’s not a bad list. I actually had a bit of history with Roaring Primadox’s father, Stampeding Wildebeests. Turning a downside into an advantage is what made Wildebeest playable, and is also what made Kor Skyfisher so key in Boros. The Huntbeast has a pretty decent chance of seeing play given how well it combos with some of the highly efficient creatures from Innistrad block. Also, nice design in making it easily splashable.

Sentinel Spider: The general consensus is that Sentinel Spider took Giant Spider’s slot in M13. It was a Cal Ripken level run Giant Spider, we solute you. Now, as to the replacement: vigilance and reach allow the Sentinel to play both offense and defense. 4/4 for five mana is solid in Limited. Overall, this is a good replacement for the single most resilient card in Magic history. ๐Ÿ™‚

Serpent’s Gift: Didn’t this trick also used to be a cantrip? Lace with Moonglove was too good for M13?

Silklash Spider: Ah, more hate for Lingering Souls. How nice. This also can block and survive a Thundermaw Hellkite attack. Green already has a fistful of great five mana options, but keep Silklash Spider in mind; it does its job very well.

Spiked Baloth: Meh. I’d rather have Primal Huntbeast.

Thragtusk: The best non-mythic rare in the set, and possibly the best overall. Like Thundermaw Hellkite, Thragtusk was pushed. Unlike the Hellkite, Thragtusk doesn’t have great stats. 5/3 for five mana is a common in Green. Gaining five life makes Thragtusk a niche card against aggro decks, Red in particular. The key is the 3/3 beast you get if Thragtusk leaves the battlefield. There are few good ways to interact with an opposing Thragtusk. In fact, if you have a Thragtusk in play and you resolve Worldfire via Spelltwine, you just won. I know that will never happen, but I love the idea. Anyway, the sheer amount of value Thragtusk provides makes it a clear four of in almost every Green deck, which is pretty impressive for a five drop. After the rotation Thragtusk and Thundermaw Hellkite will be two of the marquee creatures in standard.

Timberpack Wolf: Plays well with clones.

Titanic Growth: I wonder how good a Giant Growth effect would need to be to be playable in Standard. This isn’t it.

Vastwood Gorger: Well, it’s splashable.

Yeva, Nature’s Herald: This legend cycle isn’t bad, but… I dunno, apart from the Sky Summoner, none of them are blowing the wind up my skirt. Yeva just isn’t as good a combat trick as Restoration Angel. Giving other creatures you control flash is a nice bonus, but that is all it is. Honestly, I think Roaring Primadox is the more interesting four-drop. It can generate card advantage and is the better attacker. Maybe I am underestimating how great it is to surprise people with this, and then perhaps with Thragtusk as well.

Yeva’s Forcemage: In the end you get a quick bump in power, but you’re paying three mana for a bear. I’m not a huge fan.

Green did very well in M13. As good as Thundermaw Hellkite is, it is much worse against removal/bounce than Thragtusk. There are good answers to Hellkite. Apart from countering Thragtusk, how do you get value if they cast it? Switcheroo? Apart from Thragtusk, Green gained Rancor, Roaring Primadox, Quirion Dryad, Yeva, Flinthoof Boar, and Ground Seal. That is an excellent haul from a core set. Given that Green was already the most populous color in ISD, Ravnica will likely bring in a new Green age. Plan accordingly.

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