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By: ArchGenius, Marcus Rehnberg
Aug 10 2017 12:00pm
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One of the hard earned lessons that I've learned in life, is that we are all in a constant battle against complacency.  We are creatures of habit.  If something is currently working for us, and we are comfortable where we are, we will generally continue to stick to the status quo until it stops working for us.

Soaring Hope Tendrils of Despair

Losing a job, losing a loved one, or just losing match after match in the game we love will either drive us to despair or drive us to change and grow. 

Sigil of the New Dawn

Three years ago, I was laid off from the first real job I ever had.  I worked for that company for 12 years, was promoted once, had about 7 different managers, and was relatively complacent and content with it.  I didn't know what I didn't know.  I had survived one round of layoffs and got caught in the next.  What I didn't realize in my time there was that large layoffs happened every 5 years.  The company hired a lot of people when there was a lot of work to do, and fired a lot of people when there wasn't a lot of work to do.  They expected that if you survived a layoff, you would be so grateful that you held onto your job, that you would repay the company by working harder and taking on more and more responsibilities.  I didn't fully realize that my coworkers were complaining to managers all the time about everybody else if things weren't perfect.  It was a way of saying "fire him, not me".  I never complained about anyone at my job. I gave people the benefit of the doubt.  I'm not saying I was some sort of perfect employee.  I wasn't.  I did my work competently, but I wasn't passionate about my work.  I was often bored with what I was doing. But to me, I was fine.  Everything was good, until the layoff. 

Afterwards, I worked desperately to find another job, found a company that had a better culture, and interviewed 5 times with that company until they eventually got tired of me trying to get into the company that they hired me for a better position than the one I was interviewing for. Corporate culture may seem like some kind of hokey feel-good nonsense if you've ever experienced some sort of corporate culture training, BUT if you've ever worked for a company with a horrible culture, you realize how important it is.  I couldn't believe the difference in corporate cultures. I now have passion for my work and a company that I feel has invested in me for a lifetime regardless of what happens to the economy.  I didn't realize that the first company I worked for had a negative work culture that would suck the life out of anybody that worked for it for long enough.  I didn't know that there were better jobs out there, because I was comfortable with what I had and I didn't know what else existed.  It was enough, until the breaking point where it failed. 

Grindstone Abundant Growth

How does this apply to Magic?

These are some of the types of comments I've seen during matches.

"I can't believe you won, your deck is trash"

"You are so lucky, I can't believe you drew that"

"How does it feel to be so lucky"

"You are a horrible player, I can't believe I lost to someone like you"


"I can't believe I lost to you.  If I had only drawn that 5th land you would be dead."

"You are so lucky.  I can't believe how lucky you are. You have no skill, nothing but luck"  Then my opponent starts getting the cards he needs and I start drawing blanks for several turns and he eventually wins the match.  "Yeah, um, sorry about that."

And there are several comments I've seen that aren't worth repeating.  The point is that I've met a lot of players that rage against disappointment, which is the absolute last thing you want to do if you want things to get better. 

Chance Encounter

Here is a dirty little secret about luck.  The best players get lucky more often than the bad players.  Luck and skill are not opposites.

The best players constantly update a mental checklist of what is in their decks and what is in their opponent's decks.  They are constantly thinking about what they need to do to seal the game away, or keep themselves alive long enough to turn a game around.  A poor player may chump block with a creature. Then the next turn they topdeck the pump spell that would have won the game if they still had that creature.  The great players keep calculating the options.  They are always asking themselves what are the chances my opponent has the burn spell to kill me versus the chance that I'll draw that pump spell next turn.  Great players are constantly planning for the topdecks that will win them the game.

Think Twice

If you are blaming luck and have already discounted the skill of your opponent, you've already driven yourself to despair about losing a situation rather than learning from it. Not to mention, you could also be driving one more player to give up the game you love because you are contributing to the perception that magic online players are a bunch of potty-mouth jerks.

Command Tower

One of the things I love about Singleton formats is the chess like decision making process that goes into certain game states. What do I tutor for? Which land do I destroy?  Do I slow my opponent down, or go all out aggro? The number of decisions involved in a good 1 vs. 1 singleton match is sometimes mind boggling.

Another thing I like about 1 vs 1 Commander is that the commander makes a huge difference on the deck. It isn't just a "good stuff in my colors" deck.  Some commanders make completely unplayable cards into combo breakers. 

Selvala, Heart of the Wilds and Varolz, the Scar-Striped make Phyrexian Dreadnought playable.
Animar, Soul of Elements makes Ancestral Statue playable.  To me, that's crazy awesome. 

I started playing magic in chess club in junior high. My passion for games has always involved maximizing my game pieces on the board. That means creatures.  I love creature decks and ramp decks, which leads me to green.

So, let's look at the Mono-Green decks that are out there and see how they tick.

Sylvan Library

This is one of the best card draw/card selection cards in green.  This is almost of must include card in every deck with green mana.

Dust BowlLife from the LoamCrucible of Worlds

Recurring land destruction is very powerful and can often win a game before your opponent can even play a spell.  It doesn't do a whole lot against mono-colored decks. but even being able to avoid missing a land drop with fetchlands can make it worth it.

Joraga TreespeakerWild GrowthUtopia Sprawl

Most mono-green decks want to play some sort of elf or mana bird on turn 1 so that it can play a commander on turn 2.

Summoning TrapCavern of Souls

These and uncounterables like Prowling Serpopard are how you can punish counter based decks.  Beating Baral means either playing one of these or sneaking a commander into play before counterspells are online.

DuplicantBrittle EffigySong of the Dryads

Baral has an annoying habit of morphing into Emrakul, and Green doesn't really have many great options for dealing with Emrakul.

Dense Foliage

Dense Foliage still lets you use most of your removal from Brittle Effigy all the way up to Ulamog, and it blanks a lot of your opponent's targeted removal.  Also, it stops the Polymorph plan.

Heroic Intervention is at worst, a green counterspell, and at best, a huge answer to an Armageddon or Jokulhaups

Mono Green Commanders

Nissa, Vastwood Seer
Nissa is card advantage, but slow and not very threatening.  If you are playing Nissa, you really need to take advantage of the fact that Nissa is an elf, and play up the elf matters cards if you want to have any hope of ramping up to finishers before your opponent starts to do horrible things to you.

Selvala can have some hideously fast draws, usually involving (Phyrexian Dreadnaught), but the problem is that she is a ramp commander that needs help to actually ramp.  Just a little bit of counter magic or removal can just wreck the deck.

Titania, Protector of Argoth
Titania is very powerful, the problem with her as a commander, is that there just aren't that many ways to destroy your own lands in green.  You only have 4 good fetchlands, Crop Rotation, Wasteland, Dust Bowl, and Sylvan Safekeeper, and then you're off to secondary options. Titania works so much better as a search target for Sisay, followed by an Armageddon.

Azusa, Lost but Seeking
Azusa is the ultimate ramp into nothing or ramp into a threat that gets countered.  I don't really like her compared to the other 3 drop mono-green commanders.

Ezuri, Renegade Leader
Elves can be very good, but watch out if your opponent is playing black.  Elves are very vulnerable to Toxic Deluge.

Omnath, Locus of Mana
Omnath is my personal favorite commander.  He is both a ramp spell and what you want to ramp into. I've quickly ramped into Emrakul or a kicked Tooth and Nail with this guy without much effort.  Like all green commanders, he's a lightning rod for removal, but you can mitigate that with Dense Foliage, Lightning Greaves, or Heroic Intervention.

- 100 Cards Total
1 Dryad Arbor
1 Arbor Elf
1 Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre
1 Devoted Druid
1 Elvish Archdruid
1 Elvish Mystic
1 Eternal Witness
1 Selvala, Heart of the Wilds
1 Fauna Shaman
1 Fyndhorn Elves
1 Joraga Treespeaker
1 Prowling Serpopard
1 Primeval Titan
1 Llanowar Elves
1 Quirion Ranger
1 Reclamation Sage
1 Ramunap Excavator
1 Birds of Paradise
1 Craterhoof Behemoth
1 Surrak, the Hunt Caller
1 Scavenging Ooze
1 Acidic Slime
1 Llanowar Mentor
1 Avenger of Zendikar
1 Titania, Protector of Argoth
1 Priest of Titania
1 Fierce Empath
1 Duplicant
1 Sylvan Safekeeper
1 Boreal Druid
1 Woodland Bellower
1 Reality Smasher
1 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
1 Oblivion Sower
1 Ulvenwald Tracker
33 cards

1 Chord of Calling
1 Summoner's Pact
1 Summoning Trap
1 Crop Rotation
1 Heroic Intervention
1 Worldly Tutor
6 cards

1 Green Sun's Zenith
1 Primal Command
1 Life from the Loam
1 Tooth and Nail
1 Sylvan Scrying
5 cards
1 Chrome Mox
1 Birthing Pod
1 Icy Manipulator
1 Brittle Effigy
1 Expedition Map
4 cards

1 Utopia Vow
1 Sylvan Library
1 Overgrowth
1 Earthcraft
1 Wild Growth
1 Utopia Sprawl
1 Dense Foliage
6 cards

1 Garruk Wildspeaker
1 cards
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
1 Eldrazi Temple
21 Forest
1 Tranquil Thicket
1 Eye of Ugin
1 Dust Bowl
1 Verdant Catacombs
1 Mosswort Bridge
1 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
1 Ancient Tomb
1 Yavimaya Hollow
1 Windswept Heath
1 Wooded Foothills
1 Misty Rainforest
1 Cavern of Souls
1 Wasteland
1 Sanctum of Ugin
37 cards

1 Umezawa's Jitte
1 Sword of Feast and Famine
1 Lightning Greaves
3 cards

1 Omnath, Locus of Mana
1 cards

Omnath is one of my favorite commanders to play.  He is faster than Nissa and more reliable than Selvala.  It's often difficult to know if you should shrink Omnath to play out a second threat or try to grow him some more to try to get out Tooth and Nail or Emrakul, however I enjoy the challenging choices.  I've experimented with a bunch of cards, and something other cards that have been reasonably good have been Rancor Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, and World Breaker but I just like to shift cards around every couple of matches.  I honestly don't know why I seem to be the only guy playing Omnath. I've never had as much fun with a deck as I've had with Omnath.

Well thanks for reading and I hope to see you all online.

Marcus Rehnberg
NemesisParadigm on Magic Online


So I edited this last night, by JXClaytor at Thu, 08/10/2017 - 15:03
JXClaytor's picture

So I edited this last night, put it on my account, and hopefully if my screen capture program doesn't blow it, I will have gameplay for it in my article tomorrow.

So far, it's not going well by JXClaytor at Thu, 08/10/2017 - 15:48
JXClaytor's picture

So far, it's not going well at all :(

The videos that is.

The deck is a lot of fun, and a very good ramp deck though!

Well I'm looking forward to by ArchGenius at Thu, 08/10/2017 - 23:40
ArchGenius's picture

Well I'm looking forward to whatever you put together.

I made some changes to the deck since writing the article, mostly going for alternatives ways to get Eldrazi into play, such as Elvish Piper, and I went 5-0 with it yesterday.

Nicely done! I never could by JXClaytor at Fri, 08/11/2017 - 07:47
JXClaytor's picture

Nicely done!

I never could figure out the setting for videos, so I think I am just going to continue my writing break until the next banned list happens.