Monday, 9 January 2017

Forest Beats

Last article, we looked at a popular mono coloured deck and decided how we wanted to employ its strategy. Today, we are going to be doing the same thing, but with a very different [and less explored] colour. You see, it dawned on me that I hadn’t written about a Mono Green deck yet. As such, I felt inspired to rectify this. But what exactly does a Mono G deck involve, without simply being an Elves variant? Well, there was the tribal option of Saprolings of course, but I wanted to try a different route instead. So bear with me and let’s see what we can do with our imagination, a bit of creativity and some good old-fashioned Forest Beats.

To start, let’s identify Green’s strengths and weaknesses. It’s pretty common knowledge that Green is the colour of mana ramp; in fact, G doesn’t really have many rivals in this particular department. Strong mana ramp results in another of Green’s advantages, as it enables a player to cast their large creatures faster than others. Alright, so it ramps mana and casts fatties easier than W/U/B/R. That’s pretty sweet, but is there anything else that Green is the best at? This one might take a bit more thought, but the answer is quite obvious – G pumps its creatures. These are the attributes that define Green, and have been established since Alpha - let’s take advantage of them.

With its strengths identified, let’s see if we can figure out Green’s weaknesses. The ‘good’ news is that they are pretty glaring; meaning they are easy to spot and thus [in theory] easy to rectify. The main weakness of G is its lack of targeted creature removal. In a creature-heavy meta, this seemingly minor disadvantage can be crucial. The colour is also pretty weak in the flying department, which means its creatures lack an important form of offensive evasion. Luckily, there are some tools available that provide us with ways around these things. Let’s see what we’ve got..

Berserk. Combined with Rancor and/or giant creatures, Berserk can mean game over for the opponent. Also, remember how we mentioned that Green is lacking in removal AND offensive evasion? Well Berserk can sort of act as both. While not ideal, Berserk has the ability to destroy an opponent’s attacking creature. Just be confident in your math before casting it, since you don’t want to die because you forgot to carry the zero. Also, while not quite the same as Flying – Trample does act as your best way to ensure some damage gets past an opponent’s blockers.

Speaking of old and efficient cards, let’s take a quick look at Regrowth. This card has a pretty neat history, as it was restricted in Vintage for a very long time – and with good reason. While the speed of the game has certainly increased, the ability to reuse a spell should not be underestimated. Forest Beats contains several cards that you want in multiples, so reusing one from the graveyard can be incredibly handy.

Concordant Crossroads is another somewhat obscure card, but it has amazing potential. While Aluren tends to be the more popular of the Green ‘Haste’ enchantments, Crossroads is just a better card in certain decks. Despite the effect being mutual, Beats’ number of 1 CMC mana rampers should allow you to generate an advantage against your opponent. Originally, I had divided the ramp between creatures and enchantments, but in the end I just went with creatures due to the Haste-y goodness of Crossroads.

Speaking of which, because the deck contains twelve 1-cost creatures that are essentially there for ramp, it needs a way to either draw cards and/or find a game-winning creature. At one point, Beats did contain 4 Howling Wolf to help with this, but I thought they were unnecessary due to the 4 Collective Unconscious. The latter is just incredible with all the ramp creatures and can really bring you back when it might seem as though you are behind. Also note that Unconscious is not a mutual effect like Crossroads, so you are the only one who benefits from it.

Lastly, I want to touch on defense. Because Green seems to lack defensive interaction such as counter spells or even discard, it sometimes has Shroud tagged onto its creatures to protect them. I had considered adding these to the deck, but decided against it because of the targeted pump spells we use to win. Despite the majority of Beats’ creatures being tiny mana rampers, in the end they can all become game changers. Also, the 4x Avoid Fate are a way you actually can protect your creatures, enchantments et cetera, which makes Shroud less necessary.

Closing thoughts. Every deck should have a strategy and/or game plan, and Green certainly has several options to choose from. For example, while life gain is something I rarely recommend, it can be good in conjunction with other things. In this case, I had been tinkering with Stream of Life in the main board as a pseudo source of card draw when combined with Sylvan Library. In the end, I decided against the ‘combo’, but thought I might mention it as an example to inspire others to try different things. Happy Brewing!

Forest Beats


7 Forest
1 Pendelhaven
3 Gaea’s Cradle
7 Fetch lands

Total: 19


4 Birds of Paradise
4 Llanowar Elves
4 Fyndhorn Elves
3 Terravore
2 Verdant Force
2 Weatherseed Treefolk
1 Multani’s Acolyte

Total: 20


4 Concordant Crossroads
1 Sylvan Library
4 Avoid Fate
1 Regrowth
3 Berserk
2 Rancor
2 Overrun
4 Collective Unconscious

Total: 21


4 Tormod’s Crypt
4 Naturalize
2 Stream of Life
3 Desert Twister
2 Fog

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