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By: kelvinmai, Kelvin Mai
Jul 17 2013 12:54pm
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With the release of M14 I'm hard at work on redoing Grixis into something competitive enough for my standards. But that is nowhere near completion. I don't want to leave you guys hanging without an article for a whole week so what do I do? Well I'm going to present to you a deck that a friend of mine have been playing with and tweaking for about a year now. It is Selesnya Tokens!

A Work of Passion

Trostani, Selesnya's Voice

We've seen Green White Tokens in many forms before it's not as rogue as other concepts I present in my articles, so why talk about this deck? Well I want to share this deck because it shows the kind of thing that can be done in a work of passion. As many of you know the best way to play is to stick with one deck and build upon it. This is something I'm terrible at, I have something I'd call the deckbuilder's curse and I have a really hard time sticking to one deck and often times build new things. This curse is also terrible when you take into account a budget.

The consistency of playing only one deck means many different things. The first is that you are able to learn your deck through and through and know every little interaction in it as well as how to use it to combat other decks. And the second which is probably the most important on this article is that it spends your budget wisely. A budget brew that you'll use for a little bit has to be under a certain price tag at the conception but a deck that you plan on building upon means you can slowly acquire cards that fit into the deck with something like a weekly allowance. 

Evolution of Tokens

Vraska the Unseen

Now to the story of how this deck came together. Enter Justin, an avid magic player and full time college student. At the end of Scars of Mirrodin / Innistrad Standard the deck that he played was Infect but now that Mirrodin was cycling out he was on the lookout for something new to play. And of course this meant going to the Return to Ravnica prerelease was the first thing to do and he chose Golgari because everyone believed it to be the strongest guild at the time but of course now we know better. He opened a Vraska the Unseen and Rogue's Passage but not enough good green black cards to make a deck out of it, but he noticed he got a good amount of Selesnya cards and decided to build Junk. He did great with it so he tweaked his sealed deck a bit and brought it to FNM. And got smashed.  He eventually took out black and Vraska and focused hard on the token and populate portion of the deck. The deck slowly got better and better until Justin finally finished in the top 8 of an FNM. And now it is consistently doing well at the shop, so here is the list.

This might not be an updated list but this is what I was given to post on here. But let's dissect the deck and see how it works. The objective is to make tokens A LOT of them and then to make them BIG. Parallel Lives serves the first objective and Collective Blessing, Intangible Virtue and Gavony Township all serve the second. 21 lands seems a bit light in my opinion especially the curve ends pretty high with Collective Blessing and Garruk, Primal Hunter but it works for him. The Arbor Elfs helps and act as additional lands. The populate cards, Druid's Deliverance and Rootborn Defenses, help protect the tokens in case of sweepers or a heavy aggro assault. And obviously this is a token deck but what makes it different than the rest is that it specializes in instant speed tokens with Midnight Haunting, Advent of the Wurm and Selesnya Charm which makes up for the lack of Lingering Souls.


Sundering Growth

I didn't include the sideboard in the list because I don't have the actual list. So the next paragraph or so will just be me remembering from the top of my head. The cards that I know for certain that he included are Sundering Growth, Pithing Needle and Rest in Peace. All three options are pretty straight forward in what they're brought in for. Rest in Peace for the graveyard lovers like Rites. Sundering Growth gets rid of unfun permanents like Curse of Death's Hold and Illness in the Ranks and as an added bonus it populates. And lastly Pithing Needle catches everything else from planeswalkers to the very annoying Nephalia Drownyard. Justin has also been testing the use of Blind Obedience in preparation against Ratchet Bomb. Even before M14 was released the enchantment did some work, against counterspell heavy decks it was able to extort even with a countered spell. And when they finally run out of counterspells he can land an Advent of the Wurm to finish off the game. Aside from those cards though I believe the rest of the sideboard are just extra copies of cards already in the deck so that in between rounds Justin could change out which cards are better for which matchups. For example a deck that runs Curse of Death's Hold you'll want less 1/1s and more 5/5 wurms or even 3/3 centaurs.

Mai Opinions

Sorin, Lord of Innistrad

My very first comment is that I feel like the deck is running too few lands, I mean 21 in the same deck with 6 drops seems odd. Although if it works for him than more power to him. If anything I'd add another elf/Avacyn's Pilgrim. Next I'll add that I don't really like the Revenge of the Hunted. On the plus side it'll act as a board wipe when an 11/11 wurm swings and must be blocked by everything but most of the time it's a dead card or an untimely top deck. The miracle I'd run is Entreat the Angels or if you want to stay on the "buff your team" strategy you can go with Blessings of Nature. I actually like the rest of the deck as is. If you consider splashing a color though, the best choice is black which will give you goodies such as Lingering Souls which makes more tokens than Midnight Haunting albeit sorcery speed. And of course black means Sorin, Lord of Innistrad the token planeswalker of this standard season. Also Sorin and Garruk would make for a great buddy cop adventure. Moving along I feel like Precinct Captain doesn't do enough for this deck and I would immediately cut him, I would definitely add more Trostani. Maybe just 1 more would do it. Voice of Resurgence might be pushing the budget a bit but it would be a great fit in this deck. Aside from that I would probably just tweak the numbers a bit.



I will say that I haven't actually tested the deck myself so most of what I'm saying is all in theory so take it with caution. But the deck looks pretty well suited for the meta game. It can easily beat aggro because like midrange the deck can just go bigger. A Burning-Tree Emissary and it's friends are no match for an 8/8 Wurm (w0th enchantments of course). Against midrange type decks it is pretty evenly matched. The Rootborn Defenses means that decks with damage and destroy based removal doesn't have the best chance against it. But these tokens have a really big weakness against Terminus and Unsummon effects so it's no surprise Esper and UWR control is the hardest matchup. It does help that this deck is mostly instant speed tokens so it can play the waiting game while you look for an opportunity to flash in creatures when they're tapped out. And sometimes that's enough to end a game. I'm pretty sure the matches fair better against UWR than Esper because they're missing black for stronger removal like Far/Away and Tragic Slip, and not many red card burns for more than 5 so our tokens are safe as long as they stick.

Moving Forward

Ratchet Bomb

Now we have to look to see what's next since rotation is closing in. Fortunately this deck is pretty resilient to the cycling. It does lose a few things like Midnight Haunting and Intangible Virtue but most of the deck is post-RTR. And I'm sure it wouldn't mind having things in it's place like Phantom General and Armada Wurm. But what about the token hate cards? Doesn't this deck just straight up lose to Ratchet Bomb? Actually it doesn't because of Rootborn Defenses makes them waste a turn and Blind Obedience makes them wait on activating their bomb and of course there's always the Sundering Growth in the sideboard to just straight up destroy the artifact. So Ratchet Bomb is the biggest dent left by M14 but are there any cards that fits this deck like a glove? I know Justin has been looking into Silence and honestly it's not the best fit but it is something that can surprise opponents. Similarly cards like Congregate deserve some attention, but the aggro match up is so strong that the card is basically a do nothing. What I am looking forward to, at least for this list, is the inclusion of Brave the Elements, because it adds more protection to the strategy where tokens are already so fragile against Terminus and Unsummon. But that's about it, there really isn't anything else I'd consider from the new set.


That's all I have for this article but be sure to more check out the rest of Brewing on a Budget.

Twitter: @kelvinmai
MTGO: kelvinmai