Sunday, 22 January 2017

Going Green Post-AER: Tokens and Black

The first deck I built in the format was actually before the format was fleshed out: as soon as Oath of Ajani was revealed, I wanted to maximize it. The list I'm about to post has obviously changed since then - losing Smuggler's Copter was obviously a big change (as the card would have been great here). Let's look at where we stand now:

Note that the sideboard has been adjusted slightly, but apparently those changes don't take effect in visual view - I'm not sure why.

In any case, the big thing to note here is that this deck is lower to the ground than the versions which were so dominant in Standard last year (and which most other versions I've seen seem to be based on). We just want to apply a lot more pressure a lot more quickly, and rely mostly on the 8 planeswalkers we already have, and going wide, to keep us in/finish out longer games. Enough artifacts for Toolcraft Exemplar (note that Servo Exhibition counts) means that I would also strongly consider playing some Spire of Industry, which may let us also play another copy of Westvale Abbey. The other big thing I'd worry about with this deck is that the 2 drop slot seems a little thin. We could add more Selfless Spirit, Lambholdt Pacifist, or maybe Sylvan Advocate to shore up that spot on the curve. The cards I'd look to cutting are probably Oviya (which may just be horrible, but I'd like to try), and Aethersphere Harvester.

In terms of beating the combo, this has 4 Stasis Snare, 3 Heart of Kiran to kill Saheeli, and some sideboard Authority of the Consuls. Also, just kill them before they draw it. I'm not too worried.

Something else that caught my eye early on was the interaction between these two cards:

With these two in play, every time you make a servo or a permanent you control gets a counter, you can pay X to make X 2/2 servos. That's a pretty darn good ability. And there are a number of other cards in the format that make servos or add counters to your stuff. Let's start with a Servo Tribal Mono White deck which, truth by told might be the worst of all the brews I've come up with in the format so far, but still has some reasonable ideas and might be fun:

Ruins of Oran Rief and again Westvale Abbery are doing some work here. We get to play lots of 'lords' thanks to Master Trinketeer and Chief of the Foundry. Collective Effort looks really excellent as the pump spell of choice here. So overall it seems too likely to be too slow, but there are good things we're doing. And actually lots of mana sinks.

A more logical direction to take these things, in my opinion, is into Green. An early mono-green list in that direction can be found here: This introduces some ideas - Vile Redeemer as measures against sweepers (notably Yahenni's Expertise) from the board, Rishkar paired with cards like Nissa to be able to make oodles of mana, along with an old favorite in Cryptolith Rite to provide some redundancy. Walking Ballista. But this was pretty raw, and pretty quickly, we want to turn with some of these ideas to... Green Black!

I built many decks in this space. Starting out, I was coming up with things such as , but it started to become clear that I was putting too much effort into making the above combo work - sure, it allows me to make an enormous army, and perhaps an enormous amount of mana, but really to what end. Well, the linked deck here might be ok - there are some sinks for the mana in Walking Ballista and Duskwatch Recruiter - but the other parts of the deck started to seem better on their own. Most importantly, Animation Module and Metallic Mimic seemed too lackluster without the other. So I iterated. And iterated. Sometimes more Revolt-y (Greenwheel Liberator?). Sometimes more Delirium (Grim Flayer, Traverse, Mindwrack Demon). Sometimes lots of counter combos. Sometimes more energy-y.

Some lists:

I think my best overall list at the moment is probably the following, but I'm very much not convinced by it, and would really need to test many different variations, and really need to figure out an expected opposing metagame, to work it out.

Some notes on this style of deck: Winding Constrictor seems very good. Makes Tireless Tracker get big, fast. Helps with energy from Glint-Sleeve Siphoner. Has outstanding interaction with Longtusk Cub, in that it nets you more energy per hit AND more counters per energy. Walking Ballista breaks up the Saheeli combo, provides a mana sink, and has counter synergies. Drana is good in spots... but you need to be careful that's not limited too much to win-more.

Lots of options, and I suspect that optimizing the build of this will be a good exercise for Standard coming up.

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