Stidjen's Magic

Anything I want to say about Magic

Controlling with Green


Non-conformity entices me. Not only is my musical taste a testament to this, so is my way of building decks. I like to take a walk off the beaten path and do something different, something not like people are used to. Take, for example, my R/b Goblin Control Deck (trying to squeeze every bit of card advantage out of Wort, Boggart Auntie). Another example would be my Mono Green Control deck, the deck I want to talk about now.

Green is known for aggressiveness, mana acceleration and big guys. If you’ll continue reading this blog you will find out that any deck that resembles aggression is not for me. The other two I can live with, under the right circumstances. So you’d think Green is a no-go for me, since all it does isn’t very appealing to me.

Well, no. You see, I’m a control player. (Side note: this is my first post that has actual Magic-content. People who know me in real life can skip this blurb because they already know this info. I’m sure people who’ll follow this blog will get to know me and the way I experience Magic. But first I’m going to have to repeat myself in order not to confuse anyone.)

I like the control that comes with playing control. Not just permission – I like all sorts of control. So much so that, in deckbuilding, I automatically tend to gravitate towards the more controlling cards. It’s just that I like to draw cards, have a full grip, and destroy more cards than I’m investigating. Control decks, almost by nature, are more diverse and have several ways to win, or several ways to seize initiative. This is what I want my decks to do – show me a myriad of paths to go down. I hate bashing for four every turn, burning out blockers and winning within five turns.

This mindset led me to trying to build a mono green control-deck, MGC for short. I have made many a blue-based control deck, a black one, a white one, and in the future I wouldn’t be surprised to see a mono red control deck being built. How would a green mage go about and accomplish a control deck?

From memory I recounted an article on the mothership about the combination of Sylvan Library and Abundance. Basically, you draw three cards with Library each turn. Since Abundance replaces those draws, you get a free Ancestral Recall each turn, without the lifeloss of the Library. Another green card is nicknamed as the Green Ancestral, and that is Yavimaya Elder. The base of a deck was born.

Sylvan Library + Abundance = Ancestral Recall 2.0

I finished the deck up with some basic goodies: Kitchen Finks and Oran-Rief, Oblivion Stone for removal, Garruk, and Primal Command. Later additions where Wall of Roots and Hunting Wilds in the mana-accelerating department. My fatty of choice was Thornling. Given my extensive prologue, this shouldn’t come as a surprise by now, since Thornling is the Green Morphling.

With Zendikar I modified the deck a bit to include the then-hyped Momentous Fall. Little did I know, this was the downfall of the deck as I knew it. *Dun dun duuuuun….*

OH NOES!!!!1

You see, the deck started to become what I fear the most: a mindless aggresive deck. (Disclaimer: I don’t actually mean mindless. It’s just that aggressive decks offer me no long-term fun.)

Momentous Fall demands more creatures, and so in they went. Plus, I had too much permanents for personal favorite Oblivion Stone to be effective. I had slaughtered a deck that was – and still is – near and dear to me. Before I knew it, I was accelerating like no man’s business and it painfully came to me what I had done.

One of the cards that replaced Momentous Fall was Ice Age hit Ritual of Subdual, ordered when working on the deck in the MTGSalvation Casual Forums. I just goldfished the final version of this deck, I didn’t play against real opponents. While goldfishing, Ritual stuck with me. It was a card that no longer had a place in this incarnation, but it was one of the cards I liked the most. The deck had to change – control had to come back.

I started strolling through the thread and taking note of control cards. While maybe not all that great with Ritual of Subdual, Root Maze was added to the shortlist. Mana denial? Sign me up! What cards could we more want? I still have a playset of Static Orb, so I noted that one. Timbermare is a good tapper, as is Icy Manipulator. Winter Orb could be cool, but I don’t have any and would have to trade for them or buy ’em. Actually not a problem – I don’t want to tie my opponents down too much. Just enough to win. That’s why I like the also-added-to-the-shortlist Lodestone Golem: sure, it slows them down, but it’s not as untouchable as Sphere of Resistance. Remember, I play Magic just for fun, and I wouldn’t want to take that fun away from my opponents. They are my friends and I wouldn’t want to lose them because of my decks.

This card comes from the times when Wizards kept printing mana-denial and -lockdown cards on a regular basis.

Next up are cards that break the symmetry of tappers and such:

* Quirion Ranger
* Scryb Ranger
* Garruk Wildspeaker
* Seedborn Muse
* (Amulet of Vigor)

When you’re untapping a bunch, you could use some cards that want to be tapped. Last time I checked, Green is pretty good in this department. I looked at cheap mana-acceleration that could produce 1+ mana:

* Joraga Treespeaker
* Devoted Druid
* Overgrown Battlement
* (Wall of Roots, combines well with Battlement)

I like how all the little synergies are pouring in, bit by bit. Like tapping down Static Orb EOT with Icy to get your regular untap step. Or how Scryb/Quirion Ranger just becomes insane when you untap a Joraga Treespeaker, basically generating three green mana.

People don't call this girl The Green Sol Ring for nothing.

This is where the content ends, as I haven’t given the deck any further thought yet. Right now it’s a big bowl-a’ spaghetti in my head with a lot of ideas to remake the deck. In this post I have given what I believe to be the core. I have no idea how, and even if, it will work out. Also, it was a test to see how writing a Magic-blog would work out. When I have more to share, I sure will. If I find the time in the weekend (and better yet, if my ordered cards from two separate shops arrive), I could see myself creating a first decklist.

Right now I’ll leave it at this, encouraging anyone to jump in. It’s always nice to discover a card that is just tailor-made for the deck, but that somehow managed to slip through the cracks of various card searches. That’s one of the many merits of sharing a deck – or just an idea, like I did here – online. The more people that are thinking about a deck, the more good will come of it.

For reference, I also posted this new deck idea on MTGSalvation here.

(Note to self: add images after the text is done to avoid weird open lines that look good in the draft but suddenly expand in the actual article.)

3 thoughts on “Controlling with Green

  1. Pingback: More on the Green Lock | Stidjen's Magic

  2. Pingback: Tightening the thumbscrews | Stidjen's Magic

  3. Pingback: Polly wants a cracker | Stidjen's Magic

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