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By: Gardevi, Lee McLeod
Nov 17 2011 10:55am
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Green/white is the elephant in the room in every Innistrad draft. It's been called the hands-down best archetype in Innistrad draft by the likes of Gerry Thompson and Brad Nelson. Nelson even suggested taking the archetype's main cards over cards that are better in the abstract, just so you can force g/w. What is it that makes G/W strong?
 
Overview

As a general rule, g/w is a color combination to avoid in draft. You're usually limited by whatever removal you can get in white, and the rest of your deck is usually comprised of creatures that may or may not work together, and a scattering of p/t pumping combat tricks. The colors are draftable in the average format, but don't have as strong natural synergy like that of the other color combinations such as U/W or B/R. In Innistrad however, things change. Green has access to common removal in Prey Upon and Ambush Viper, and also gains access to a "flier" in Orchard Spirit. But the main thing that puts g/w on the map is Travel Preparations.
 
So the deck plays out as such: spend your early turns simply dropping as many critters as you can muster. Doomed Traveler into Darkthicket Wolf into Voiceless Spirit, etc. Then you attack them. If you can kill them before they can do anything, congrats on the win! Otherwise, you'll use Prey Upon, Bonds of Faith, etc to clear a path for your creatures. If that doesn't work, start dumping +1/+1 counters on your creatures via Travel Preparations. It's not uncommon to be losing, then topdeck a Travel Preparations and suddenly be in a dominating position - attacking with a 3/3 Orchard Spirit while your 3/2 Voiceless Spirit holds off their creatures.
 
 
To Be Human or Not To Be Human

G/W lands you solidly in the human colors. And while I've had more success in drafting more powerful, less synergistic cards, the human synergies are not to be overlooked. There are still more humans (and half-humans) in g/w than all the other color pairs. So, if I'm already in g/w and open a Butcher's Cleaver in pack 2, I'm going to slam it and be on the lookout for Hamlet Captains and the like. So it's good to keep in mind that the human cards may fall into your lap and to be aware of that while drafting. But in general, I wouldn't rely on that happening to much.
 

Draft Picks

When to draft: Well, this archetype is very popular, but nearly every good card for the archetype is common. That means you could have two drafters with a good G/W deck at the table, provided they aren't next to each other. As a result, this archetype is generally open as long as you can find a steady flow of white and green cards.
 
Prioritize Aggressive Creatures and Travel Preparations!
 
Travel Preparations
Butcher's Cleaver (with a few humans)
Elder Cathar
Midnight Haunting
Gatstaf Shepherd
Darkthicket Wolf
Voiceless Spirit
Cloistered Youth
Orchard Spirit
Mausoleum Guard
Hamlet Captain
Thraben Sentry
Villagers of Estwald
Spectral Rider (Rises as you become more white-heavy)
Ambush Viper
Chapel Geist
Doomed Traveler
 
 
In this deck, removal is not actually the first thing you take. That's because the green and white removal you have is all fairly situational, and therefore worse than just steady creatures or the very powerful Travel Preparations. It may feel odd at first to take Travel Preparations so highly, but trust me when I say it's worth it. I've seen Travel Preparations table before, so it's possible that if you think your draft table is particularly soft, you can plan on taking it late, but I wouldn't recommend it. The one exception to taking creatures over removal is Bonds of Faith - pick it highly, and pick it often. It acts as removal for a majority of decks, and you can throw it on your own creatures (humans, preferably) in a pinch to break through a stalemate.
 
The Exceptions:

Slayer of the Wicked
Fiend Humter
Avacynian Priest
Bonds of Faith
 
This is just what you take over the cards above, very early in the draft. I listed these second because although important, they are not the bulk of your draft and much importance should be played on your creatures and tricks. Their order between Priest and Bonds changes based on how I'm feeling at the time - I'm not sure one is concretely better than the other, though I typically give the nod to Avacynian Priest. Though the pick between them seldom comes up; I don't think they're close enough in the print runs from what I've seen.
Though you obviously slam Fiend Hunter and Slayer over everything; they're both insane.
 
Removal

Geistcatcher's Rig
Prey Upon
Rebuke
Blazing Torch
Smite the Monstrous
Urgent Exorcism
 
As you can see, the removal you have available to you is limited. Ah, the pains of not being red or black. Still, you want to pick these up around the middle of the pack, after you get your creature base and preparations going, or if just nothing else is in the pack, you might as well take these. If I were to put Ambush Viper on this list, it'd probably go right after Blazing Torch but before Smite the Monstrous.
 
Various Support Cards

Then you fill out your deck with various support cards, things like Avacyn's Pilgrim and Silver-Inlaid Dagger. I won't give any orders to these, because they shouldn't be a very large part of your deck. Just remember that the support cards you take should mesh with your curve, as having things to do on each turn of the game is very important especially to an aggro deck - you don't want to be bogged down with a deck that has a bunch of three drops and not much else.
 

 
 
Sample deck:
 
 
Actually I finished quite poorly with this deck due to some very bad mulligan decisions, going 0-1. But this deck is a very good example of a deck that I feel should at least go 2-1 or better.
 
 
All in all, Green/White is one of the best - if not the best - archetypes you can be drafting in Innistrad. Give it a try.
 
Lee McLeod
Gard on MTGO
@Gardevi on Twitter

3 Comments

GW draft by guidex at Thu, 11/17/2011 - 18:55
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4

Thank you, it was a nice read. I agree with most of what you mentioned. I drafted GW a lot during last week. So here goes my (constructive) feedback:

1 Travel preparations is insane i agree, be carefoul how you play it, you dont want to see a silent departure or victim of the night
2. You should have at least 15 to 16 guys
3 the most succesful drafts i did, my curve had no 5 drops.
4. 16 land and 24!
5. In general a hand without turn 1 or 2 creature is a mulligan
6. Removal: Here i must dissent with you, you dont need a rebuke, you cant leave mana open and you have to ATTACK
7 geistcatcher rig: is too far in the curve
8.Ideal scenario you attacking and opponent blocking your horde, then you cast moments of heroism, rangers guile (great to protect your guys) and sometimes spidery gras ( it can be like a rebuke but its better cause has an offensive side)
9 butcher cleaver, its good only in human based, but you wont always have more than 7 humans, its six mana until its going, take it high but never before a good body

Also festering boar can be a good top of the curve, your creatures trade often and then comes the 5/5

Draft he cloistered chica always, a 3/3 for 2 is INSANE in this archetype

Keep up the good work!

I had a pretty solid RWU by Elbinac at Thu, 11/17/2011 - 23:25
Elbinac's picture

I had a pretty solid RWU draft the other night with a human focus and a pair of cleavers.
I had the misfortune of facing an excessively good mill deck early on though and my mentor of the meek wasn't doing me favors it seemed.

I by JXClaytor at Mon, 11/21/2011 - 17:32
JXClaytor's picture

Have deleted comments that I felt were non constructive and attacking in nature. If you want to fight take it in game, not in the comments please.