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Mono-Green Machine


Who likes beating down with big dummies?

Garruk, Apex Predator
I do.

Magic 2015 has just been released. Sadly, I couldn’t make it to the prerelease events, but looking at the cards, I can say this is shaping up to be an amazing and fun-looking set. Browsing through the spoilers, I see many fun cards, attractive reprints, and, of course, the big Planeswalker Garruk, Apex Predator (about which I’m still unsure how I feel).

As with any new set popping up, it sets my mind in deck-build mode. Not that it’s any different than other days, but when new cards are being spoiled or released, my mind goes into overdrive!

I wanted to revamp an older archetype, and I had to start with the one that I first started out playing: Mono-Green Devotion a.k.a. Mono-Green Monsters a.k.a. Mono-Green “Run You Down with a Horde of Big Dummies.”

You can never go wrong with smacking people in the face with huge creatures, and M15 includes some extremely fun tools that I think will help out the archetype. In combination with Theros’s devotion mechanic, I feel Mono-Green Devotion is still a powerful deck in Standard.

So, here is the new (and improved?) Mono-Green Devotion:

Nissa, Worldwaker
I started building this deck with the new M15 Planeswalker Nissa, Worldwaker in mind. The two +1 abilities are quite attractive, and since we’re playing green, ramping into her will be a common occurrence. I understand she’s a 3-loyalty Planeswalker for 3gg, but more often than not, we should be able to bring her out earlier rather than later. The second +1 ability is our main focus, and it allows us to progress our board even faster alongside devotion and our mana dorks. The first +1 ability is still relevant, and it opens up an option for us against decks that don’t play instant-speed removal or when we have an opportune moment to push extra damage in. The ultimate is fun, but we’ll be ramping into beatdown machines anyway, and by the time we make it to her -7, it’ll probably end up being a win-more effect.

The obvious includes for this type of deck would be the mana dorks and Courser of Kruphix. Elvish Mystic is coming back in M15, and, of course, our faithful Sylvan Caryatid is sticking around for the show. Courser of Kruphix is a staple in almost any green-based deck now, and we can’t complain about having her either! Courser adds two devotion, can block aggressive decks, and provides card advantage and life-gain. There are very few reasons I can think of to not want this card.

Regarding our monsters, you’ll notice there are only two creatures from the old version of Mono-Green Devotion decks. As I mentioned before, I wanted to revamp the archetype, but we’ll discuss the new cards in a moment.

Polukranos, World Eater is just good value. A 5/5 for 4 mana that adds two devotion is perfect in a deck like this. Since we’re going the devotion route, his ability lets us not only make a larger creature, but kill off a variety of important targets. He’s a mana-dump target with no real downside other than the fact that we can only have one on the board. As for Nylea, God of the Hunt, we’re including some new M15 monsters that don’t have inherent trample but that still have 4 or more power. Trample is a very strong mechanic when you’re trying to race. It maximizes damage and ensures you can keep up the beatdowns when opponents start chump-blocking. Her pump is also another mana-dump target, and since we’re going mono-green, she’ll usually end up being a creature. A 6/6 indestructible creature for 2gg with an ability attached sounds good to me!

Soul of Zendikar
So, what about the new cards?

The Souls comprise a cycle of 6/6 for 6-mana creatures that come with two activated abilities. The first ability you can use while it’s alive, and the second, for the same cost, exiles the Soul from the graveyard to repeat the first ability a final time. There is a Soul for each color, and the green one isn’t too shabby. Soul of Zendikar is a large creature that’s averagely costed. He can also provide yet another mana dump, though, to progress our board. We also gain extra value out of him after a Supreme Verdict or when Soul of Zendikar otherwise dies. Normally, I would be a little unsure of including it, but the fact that Soul comes with the reach ability is quite relevant. We can use it to block Desecration Demon, Mono-Blue Devotion’s flyers, and Stormbreath Dragons—all of which are things we don’t mind taking off the board.

A partial Genesis Wave on a body, Genesis Hydra is another way for us to make use out of devotion mana. We don’t have anything too expensive, so in paying 5 or 6 for X, we have a good chance of hitting something that’s a large creature. Being able to hit nonland permanents, we’re able to find Nissa, Worldwaker through the Hydra as well, which is nice. Otherwise, we’re just looking to put an extra creature on the board for free. As long as it’s not one of our mana dorks, we’re happy with any creature.

Terra Stomper is an amazing reprint for mono-green decks. Against the control decks, Mistcutter Hydra gains a new partner in crime when dealing with them. If the control player doesn’t have Supreme Verdict on hand, it’ll be a fairly quick clock. Extremely well-costed, being an 8/8 for 6 mana, Terra Stomper is exactly the kind of beatdown machine we want. Just by itself, on an open board, it’s a three-turn clock against a max-life opponent. The fact that it comes with trample is an excellent feature on such a large body, making chump-blocking nearly impossible. Every time you swing with the Stomper, you’re probably going to take a chunk of life out of your opponent no matter what. A bonus is that the big beast is not legendary, so having two out will probably result in “good game.” In a damage race, this guy is our number-one sprinter.

Garruk's Packleader is a card-draw engine on a body, and we have plenty of ways to trigger him. Additionally, we have a couple of cards that have some synergy with his ability. Soul of Zendikar’s Beast tokens can trigger Packleader, so if we have nothing else to do with our mana, we can still progress our board and keep drawing into monsters. Fated Intervention also has some synergy. Alongside Garruk's Packleader, we not only are able to scry 2 and put 6 power on the board, but we are able to draw two cards on top of that. Did I mention that’s at instant speed, too?

Scuttling Doom Engine
And last but not least, we come to one of my favorite cards coming from M15: Scuttling Doom Engine. So, why is this artifact creature hanging out in a forest of green creatures?

First of all, it’s a 6/6 for 6, which is easily playable when we’re playing with two play sets of mana dorks. What makes Scuttling Doom Engine special is that it’s a great way to make removal tougher for opponents. Against Mono-Black Devotion, we can sacrifice to Desecration Demon to still push damage through; if we’re playing against control, the opponent’s Supreme Verdicts become much worse, and when it comes down to it, Doom Engine is a card we are perfectly fine trading with other large creatures if we have to.

My favorite thing about it, though, is the first ability. What is one of the worst things that can happen when beating down an opponent? It’s that he or she draws into enough chump-blockers to buy time and top-decks an answer to your threats. Not being able to be blocked by creatures with power 2 or less circumvents a ton of cards. Being able to keep crashing in for 6 damage and not having to worry about Mutavaults coming alive to chump-block or mana dorks jumping in the way means your opponent will need to throw his or her larger (and more important) creatures in the way—or at least have an answer. Again, even if the opponent throws large enough creatures to trade, we come out ahead.

Scuttling Doom Engine is also a great way to combat one of the largest threats against mono-green decks, and that is white-based decks playing Elspeth, Sun's Champion. The tokens Elspeth produces can’t block Doom Engine, and even if she uses her -3, we are able to deal either 6 damage to our opponent or redirect it to Elspeth, killing her. In the deck, there is also a fun little card that interacts well with Scuttling Doom Engine, and that is Life's Legacy—another new card in M15. For 2 mana, we can draw six, refilling our hand, and throw 6 damage through to finish our opponent off. When it comes down to it, I think Scuttling Doom Engine is going to have a lot of applications, not only in this deck, but in many others as well.

Overall, I’m quite confident in the deck, and while it’ll all come down to testing, I feel M15 brings some nice improvements to the archetype. Board wipes and heavy removal has always been the bane of the deck, and Scuttling Doom Engine has the potential to help the deck fight through it. The future of Standard looks very promising with M15, and here’s the first of many new decks to come!

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