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G/W Auras in Vintage Masters


“Don’t Laugh. It works.”

Dreampod Druid
Welcome back to Very Limited, GatheringMagic.com’s exclusive Limited column. Vintage Masters has been available for two weeks now, and I’m starting to feel very good about this Draft format. Let’s have a conversation about one of the most powerful strategies in Vintage Masters Draft, G/W Auras. The deck is extremely underdrafted right now, and the power level of cards like Armadillo Cloak and Dreampod Druid are exceptionally high in this Limited format. Today, we’ll be discussing all things G/W Auras in Vintage Masters; we’ll figure out what we want our deck to look like and discuss the pick orders that can get us there.

Last week, we discussed pushing archetypes and interactions as hard as possible in Vintage Masters Drafts. This still seems to be the best approach to the format. Opening a card such as Lightning Rift will strongly encourage us to play a deck with a ton of cycling. Wild Mongrel can put us into G/U Madness. It’s not quite as obvious, but we can similarly push the envelope with cards such as Armadillo Cloak and Dreampod Druid.

Dreampod Druid is a first-pick-quality uncommon. In fact, we should probably be taking it over just about every nonrare that isn’t Flametongue Kavu. Last week, Lightning Rift would probably be the second-best uncommon, but the cycling deck seems overdrafted right now, and Dreampod Druid flies around the table as though it weren’t a card that breaks games wide open.

Our pick order for the G/W Aura deck should be taken lightly. It’s more important for our deck to function as though we’re playing Constructed than it is to have more of a particular card. Some cards, such as Dreampod Druid, are things we can never have too much of. On the other hand, good spells, like Exile, should be taken late, if at all. It’s hard to afford slots that aren’t creatures, Auras, or cards that protect creatures with Auras when we’re playing the Aura deck.

Deftblade Elite
The most important common for the Dreampod Druid deck is Deftblade Elite. We shouldn’t be taking these high, though, because they’re very easy to table. It’s unlikely that Deftblade Elite will be picked up before it make it back to us if it’s early in the pack. Once we start making it to around the fifth pick, we can start snapping up all the Deftblade Elites we see. Deftblade Elite may not seem to be the greatest card, but it’s tremendously strong with Elephant Guide, Brilliant Halo, Armadillo Cloak, or even Armor of Thorns.

It’s important that we have enough creatures in our Aura deck. A deck with fewer than fifteen creatures or cards that make creatures, such as Battle Screech or Grizzly Fate, might run into opponents that punish us for playing Auras by picking up significant advantages through removal spells that trade for two cards with startling consistency.

Isn’t that a problem? Don’t we lose to removal or bounce spells? No we don’t; Benevolent Bodyguard and Shelter give our deck tremendous strength against expensive removal. We’ll win countless games by playing a turn-one Benevolent Bodyguard, a 2-drop on our second turn, and then Armadillo Cloak on the third. It’s surprisingly difficult to deal with that series of plays in the Vintage Masters format. Conveniently, the format’s second-best Wrath of God effect, Winds of Rath, is quite bad against our deck.

Pushing an archetype is important in Vintage Masters. We shouldn’t stumble over ourselves trying to force the G/W Aura deck—or any deck for that matter. We should be taking the best card out of early packs and move in on a particular archetype or strategy when the signal presents itself. The cards that should be pushing us into this archetype are Dreampod Druid and Armadillo Cloak, both of which are of first-pick quality.

Parallax Wave
Let’s discuss our pick orders for G/W Auras! Remember that, ideally, our deck has six or seven Auras and fifteen or sixteen creatures. It’s more important to construct a cohesive deck than it is to have powerful cards when drafting this archetype.

The pick order in descending order:

Yavimaya Elder


Cards such as Benevolent Bodyguard and Shelter are extremely important to the G/W deck. We need to protect the Voltron we build from blue bounce spells and black removal spells. The 1-drops do a pretty good job of protecting us from Chainer's Edict and Predatory Nightstalker.

Brilliant Halo is a card that consistently goes last-pick. Conveniently, this is among the best cards for our deck. Even a random G/W beaters with a couple of Dreampod Druids and Brilliant Halos is quite strong. Green and white are easily the deepest colors in the format, and we’ll probably be rewarded for having Dreampod Druid combos even if our deck isn’t built around it.

Brilliant Halo
We need to protect our Dreampod Druid to the point of absurdity. We shouldn’t be attacking with it when our opponent has mana for Exile. We should hold up mana for Shelter as long as it’s churning out tokens if we’re playing against a blue or black deck. We shouldn’t attack with it into a bunch of open mana and a discard outlet such as Wild Mongrel or Aquamoeba because it might die to Arrogant Wurm. As long as Dreampod Druid is making two tokens per turn cycle, we’re probably winning the game.

We don’t want to be playing many noncreature/non-Aura cards, so we should start valuing those types of cards much lower once we have one in the first pack or two in the second or third pack.

I’ve had tremendous success with G/W Auras in Vintage Masters. I’ve won my 8–4 in three of the last four Drafts wherein I had a Dreampod Druid deck. My only loss was to mulligans. I strongly suggest trying out Dreampod Druid and friends, as the deck is surprisingly strong against what other people are drafting. The cards may not be great, but the deck is, and that’s all that matters.

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