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By: MirrorMage, Daniel Corradi
Apr 11 2008 11:54pm
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Warning: The Below Article may contain traces of competitve Magic mumbo jumbo unsuitable to casual players. The author sincerely apologises, but as most know: still refuses to shut up about Mono Green Aggro. Unless someone comes all the way to rainy England, drags him outside and beats him down with a two by four, the author retains the right to continously blabber on about Mono Green Aggro. That is all, and enjoy your scheduled programming.

“A real loser,” he says, “isn’t someone who doesn’t win. A real loser is someone so afraid of not winning, they don’t even try.” - Grandpa, Little Miss Sunshine

61 Games
37 Game wins
24 Games losses
12 Match wins
11 Match losses

3 Premiere Events
2 Eight mans.
1 Man.
1 Deck.
1 Dream

This is the Daniel Corradi story.

Uncut Unrated. Uncesored. Unedited.1

I have a theory.

A theory that no one takes what I say seriously. Or rather for whatever I say everyone will do the opposite.

It works something like this:

Every writer at StarCityGames writes about merfolk and how it's all over faeries like white on rice. They tell everyone to play it and everyone does. Merfolk lose. Faeries win. Groupthink prevails and StarCityGames premium lives another day. One writer at PureMTGO tells everyone to play Mono Green Aggro. No one does. I prevail. I win loads of tournaments and then everyone at StarCityGames writes about Elves. So, what if instead of playing:
....Faeries/RedGreenBigMana/MerfolkFish/GreenBlackElves/BigVoid/CrusherDeckWins/Revailark/KnollStorm like a well seasoned wife-beating alcoholic Swedish botanist net decker who happens to enjoy Phil Collins and make contributions to the Republican party...
... you played Mono Green Aggro Elves like a tree-hugging anarcho-syndicalist environmentalist liberal with no job, no future, no girlfriend and a novel collection comprising mostly of Danielle Steel.
This is Mono Green "Kick you in the nuts with a bajillion Elves" Aggro", a deck that beats faeries, is capable of turn four kills, and makes love to all the womans of the world. Roll over Jack Bauer. Essentially, it boils down to this: if they don't have Damnation or Wrath of God in hand, you win. If they have Cryptic Command in hand, they live for another turn, and then you win.
STD Mono Green "Kick you in the nuts with a bajillion Elves" Aggro
Santa's Workshop goes on Strike... and this time, they're really really angry
4 Boreal Druid
4 Llanowar Elves
4 Heritage Druid
4 Bramblewood Paragon
4 Wren's Run Vanquisher
4 Imperious Perfect
3 Elvish Champion

Other Spells
3 Gilt-Leaf Ambush
3 Coat of Arms
4 Elvish Promenade
4 Hunting Triad

4 Mutavault

1 Pendelhaven
2 Mosswort Bridge

12 Snow-Covered Fores

3 Root Maze
Heritage Druid
The deck's concept is simple: empty your hand as quick as possible. Your ideal opening is three one drops by turn two, one of them being Heritage Druid, so you can explode with your higher drops. Heritage Druid combined with both Hunting Triad and Elvish Promenade are able to create a token army by turn five which can only be stopped by a handful of wrath effects. This build is capable of producing a turn four win via Coat of Arms, but it is not designed to do so.
Many builds run multiple copies of Door of Destinies and Overrun, in an attempt to maximize the deck's potential for a consistent "turn four" win. However, this is a build more attuned to the mid-game. I find that the only way you're going to lose if they have the wrath in hand. If they don't, it doesn't matter which turn you alpha strike on, so there's no point trying to go for a turn four kill win you can tune your deck better for turn five or six. So this version runs four Elvish Champions and four Imperious Perfects. For the late game, we have Mutavaults and the hope for a fast recovery. If the wrath is a three for one due to early threats from say, one Llanowar Elves, a Vanquisher, and a Champion, than that gives us a chance to recover as opposed to the token version that loses everything.
The question you should be asking right now is "what makes this deck so good?" Synergy. Andrew Sullivan said it best in his rebuttal to Tom LaPille. For those of you who couldn't read Andrew Sullivan's bitch slapping rebuttal of Tom LaPille on StarCityGames premium, Sullivan's argument can be summarised as this: "cards are only good in their context." If cards were placed in a vacuum, then most of these cards would not be particullarly good. But cards are never played in a vacuum and the reason cards such as Boreal Druid and Hunting Triad are "good" in the deck is the amazing synergy they provide. The reason the deck is "good" is not only its amazing synergy, but the fact it can be played in a metagame which is currently not heavy with wrath effects and even then, survive wrath effects. Context matters.
As a sign of how much I truly believe in this deck, know this: I bought a playset of Vaults. That's right, Mutavaults. I bought four copies of a card that cost twenty-five dollars. For those of you with backgrounds in the arts, that's one hundred dollars on four little lands. That is my monthly food budget. I have so much faith in this deck, that I am willing to live off rice, cereal, canned fish, and anything I can steal from my room mates, so that I can play this deck to it's full competitive potential.
Let's go over the reasons everyone should play Mono Green Aggro:
1) If Shaft were a deck, it would be this one. If European style football/soccer were a deck, it would be faeries. "And the eleven men on defence pass the ball amongst themselves. And again. More passing. Corner kick in the 80th minute, and there's the goal off the header. Another exciting match."
2) It's capable of beating the number one deck in the metagame: faeries.
3) It's budget. Well, except for the Mutavaults, but if you beg a friend you can borrow them for Premiere Events and such. Maybe someone should start an enteprise called "Rent a Vault."
4) Like Dragonstorm, this a deck that is allready fairly finetuned. With some three hundred cards added to Standard immenently thanks to Shadowmoor, this deck can only get better, not worse.
5) Because I said so, and by now you should be listening to everything I have to say unconditionally and unquestionably because it's not like this is a column about a scrub trying to get good at magic or anything. Pfff....
6) It's Elves. Every time I beat a $200 Reveilark or faeries deck with a freaking elf deck, it feels like I'm hugging one hundred puppies at once.
SIdeboard Tech: The current sideboard isn't the optimum one, I would test more vigorously, but I have a freaking life. Okay, maybe not, but I honestly don't have the time, or money, or friends. I do have a long list of problems though. I don't live well. Root Maze is used against quick control decks and can serve in some instances as a Time Walk of sorts. Squall Line is your best friend against Faeries, especially when they try to play Mistbind Clique with only one other faerie out. Creeping Mold is again used on decks that rely on higher drops to stop your deck (R/G Big Mana, Reveilark) and (Wrap in Vigour) is a counter to the Pyroclasms or Sulfurous Blasts you might encounter against decks running red. 
Faeries: Faeries will live in infamy as one of the most freaking annoying decks in standard. Faeries was allready annoying, and what do R&D do? They make Bitterblossom! As Charlie Brown would say, ARGH!
However, this deck has a good match up against faeries. We don't need to worry about Bitterblossom, and many builds don't bother with Damnation. Play out your hand as fast as possible, dropping a couple of early threats such as a Vanquisher and apply the pressure. Play around for both Spellstutter Sprite and Scion of Oona. The best he can hope to play against you is Cryptic Command. Be warned, they do side in Sower of Temptation, but I have yet to see a build that sides in Damnation.
Out : 3 Coat of Arms, 1 Gilt-Leaf Ambush
In: 4 Squall Line
Record: 4-2
Red/Green Big Mana: Red/Green Big Mana is tricky. Some builds have two cards main-decked that will ruin you: Pyroclasm and Sulfurous Blast. Your best chance is to get your creatures out of range of Blast either by multiple pumpers, reinforcing Hunting Triad or playing Coat of Arms. The games will be close, but in the end- I feel this is a matchup in this deck's favour.
Out: 3 Gilt-Leaf Ambush, 4 Elvish Promenade
In: 3 Creeping Mold, 4 Wrap in Vigor
Record: 2-0
Revailark: This may be theoretically, the deck's toughest match up. They have Cryptic Command, Sower of Temptation, Wrath of God and Teferi's Moat. Notice something? All those spells cost four mana. You can not let Reveilark reach four mana. Stop it at all costs. Also remember to play around Rune Snag. Your Elvish Champion can be used to stop Mirror Entity from becoming a 0/0, and thus disallowing the deck's combo.
Out: 4 Wren's Run Vanquisher, 3 Elvish Champion
In: 3 Root Maze, 4 Creeping Mold
Record: 1-1
Green Black Elves: This is one match up I just can't grasp. This Elf build runs Thoughtseize, Shriekmaw, Nameless Inversion, and Profane Command. Theoretically, it should be a good match up, but I have lost every single time. Once, to an opponent who sided in Damnation which caught me offguard. Your deck has an improved ability to alpha-strike thanks to both Elvish Champion and Coat of Arms. Tread cautiously.
Out/In: Nothing
Record: 0-3
Red Deck Wins: One of the worst match ups. Same strategy as for Red/Green Big Mana: try to avoid mass wrath effects. The only problem is that this deck is fast, very fast. For those of you wanting to change the sideboard: consider Essence Warden as an option.
Out: 2 Gilt-Leaf Ambush, 2 Elvish Promenade
In: 4 Wrap in Vigour
Record: 0-2
Go Fish: One of the best match ups, there is little blue decks can do to stop your token army save the use of Cryptic Command, and from my experience, that is one card I have not seen from the Merfolk player. Go wild and flush the fish down the toilet. Remember to play around Rune Snag, and some builds side in Sower of Temptation. However, I have never had a reason to hold back against this deck.
Out/In: Nothing
Record: 1-0
Knoll Storm: You can out race Knoll Storm. Also take care to watch out for red wrath effects, adopt the same strategy as with any red deck you face. Try to play Creeping Mold on either Spinerock Knoll or their storage lands.
Out: 3 Gilt-Leaf Ambush, 2 Elvish Promenade, 2 Hunting Triad
In: 4 Creeping Mold, 3 Root Maze
So how did I do?
Know this, before Sunday- I had never played a game of sanctioned constructed Magic in my entire life. In my first PE, I went 2-4, in the next, 5-2 (9th place, so close!), and the last one- 3-3. I can honestly say that this deck is competitive and may make its way into the metagame. The reactions from some of my opponents have been priceless. Many times, I could imagine them thinking that the game was in their hands, before I completely exploded with Heritage Druid into multiple copies of Elvish Promenades and finally a Coat of Arms, attacking with a single 32/32 elf token for the win. I also played two eight mans, and made it past the first round both times before losing in three close matches.
1890 rated player: Dude.
1900 rated player: What?
1890 rated player: I just lost round two.
1900 rated player: And... it happens?
1890 rated player: No... I just lost round two to freaking Mono Green Elves.
1900 rated player: Wtf?
But most importantly, this deck is fun, cheap, and doesn't require too much thinking! I give it the "Gonna Fly Now" mark of approval, which is abolutely positively meaningless. 

Token Rocky Quote: "He doesn't know it's a damn show! He thinks it's a damn fight!" - Apollo's Trainer

Song of the Week:  Jack Johnson - Banana Pancakes

This Week's Constructed MVP: Heritage Druid 

Number of Times “Jon Finkel" appeared in this article: 0

1) Not unedited.
2) If any team wants to recruit me, just send me a private message. That's right, I'm stabbing my readers in the back and becoming a competitive magic whore. It's like I'm going to New York to become a singer/song writer in that horrible horrible movie, Coyote Ugly. Except, in my version, all the girls have bigger breasts. Don't worry, no one is going to recruit me, I'm inherently unloved. 
3) Maybe I'll become the new Tom LaPille and I can have my little summary start off with "Daniel Corradi is an aspring Pro Magic Player". But then I'd have to be ginger, and I just don't want to live my life with such a handicap.
4) Sorry that the article does not have enough funny pictures. Exams are coming up soon and I've suddenly realised I may be close to failing my degree. So I've decided to lock myself in a room for two months with nothing but books, chopsticks, and a single buzzing fly. Wish me luck! Oh no.., maybe I should have brought a pencil. Snap.




Sideboard tech by Madhornist at Mon, 04/14/2008 - 07:43
Madhornist's picture

Have you tried running Gaddock Teeg to combat all the nasty 4+ cost spells like cryptic command, wrath, Damnation, teferi's moat etc?

 I realize it costs you some synergy but that guy can be an absolute beating for some decks.

 The white splash would give you access to your own Reveillarks if you needed to recover from a board sweep, also.  

nice deck by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Sun, 04/13/2008 - 22:38
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 Fish: One of the best match ups, there is little blue decks can do to stop your token army save the use of Cryptic Command, and from my experience, that is one card I have not seen from the Merfolk player. Go wild and flush the fish down the toilet. Remember to play around Rune Snag, and some builds side in Sower of Temptation. However, I have never had a reason to hold back against this deck.

 the deck runs 4 maindeck cryptic and maindeck sower........ Also alot of people run moat in the board so sideboarding nothing in this matchup seems terrible

by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Sat, 04/12/2008 - 14:00
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Already tried this a while ago when I got back into magic and didn't have any standard rares. Figured it'd be cheap, though I played without mutavaults (I also didn't use gilt-leaf ambush or champions/I ran 3 Akroma's Memorials because of the massive mana potential and something else (can't recall)).  The deck is based off of not running into any interference.  If you turn 3 your third elf, assuming you have heritage druid (the key to this deck) they've probably killed an elf already (perfect & vanquisher are big targets), delaying you a turn.  Overall, your creatures are too small (nearly all 1/1's), and while potentially you can have like 24 creatures on turn 3, the deck is not versatile enough to deal with any potential threats once a pyroclasm hits or a wrath.  Wrath is a big weakness.  I've been dawn charmed too.  XD  It's a fun tier 2 deck though.  Also, I'm surprised you don't use Garruk.

by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Sat, 04/12/2008 - 18:37
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yeah..biel is amazingly hot nd all there's just something weird about that picture...its creepy

by MirrorMage at Sat, 04/12/2008 - 09:24
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Thanks for the kind words! 

One of the frustrating things about the shut down was that I was not able to test as much as I should have. I think I built this deck on a Saturday and by Tuesday I had played all the matches for the article. So, this is a build that's only been tested roughly.

Mosswort fits the deck, and it's saved me many a time, but I'm still on the fence wether the free spell is worth it. It does mean you can theoretically play Coat of Arms for one. So, my advice would be with the land/spell ratio is to test a bit more and see what the optimum mixture is. I can remember many times where I've been able to easily play my hand out with a single land, but any wrath will just finish the game. 

Great article by mtgotraders at Sat, 04/12/2008 - 09:55
mtgotraders's picture

It's Elves. Every time I beat a $200 Reveilark or faeries deck with a freaking elf deck, it feels like I'm hugging one hundred puppies at once.

That was by far my favorite part.

by Outlaw1 at Sat, 04/12/2008 - 11:50
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Just to clear one thing up, my fellow Republicans would never accept contributions from Swedish botanist net deckers who happen to enjoy Phil Collins. For all the Swedish botanist net deckers who happen to enjoy Kenny G. please donate here: www.johnmccain.com


Seriously though, that was a great article.  I'll have to give this version of the deck a shot, minus the mutavaults though... 

by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Sat, 04/12/2008 - 08:10
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Good article by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Sat, 04/12/2008 - 08:46
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This is likely the best article I've read on this site.  Nice work.


I was playing a version of this deck on mtgo before the Darkness came.   Catching people unawares as you describe with the promenade explosion was priceless.  I ran 4 Coats and 4 Overruns in my build, with the Elvish Champs in the sb.  However, I think a mixture of Overrun / Champ might be superior. 


Also, you are only running 19 land.  I am running 24 and it has not seemed like too many.  4 mutavaults obv and the pendelhavens but I am not sold on Mosswort.  I'm wondering how your land situation has been.   


Another article or two on this deck would be most excellent. 

by MasterOGA at Sat, 04/12/2008 - 06:28
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Teferi's Moat cost 5 mana, not 4 mana.  What's funny is I've seen this mistake printed on multiple sites :)

Coyote Ugly by djdark01 at Sat, 04/12/2008 - 06:35
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I like brests.  Your goal for your next article should be more brests.

/me goes and turns on coyote ugly 

by MirrorMage at Sat, 04/12/2008 - 09:15
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I'm pretty sure I could slam out a 15,000 word article entirely on Jessica Biel in about a night, but then people would lose the little respect they have for. And many of my clan mates will already begin the legal paperwork for restraining orders- just in case.


Mmm..... awwwwwwwwwwwwwwesome.

by shardfenix (Unregistered) (not verified) at Sat, 04/12/2008 - 01:09
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your deck sucks its awful its the worst promoted piece of crap ive ever seen on this site i mean who would play this pile of junk i swear i could beat this this with my 10 yr old cousin's five color monstrosity serious my grandmother has better metagame knowledge on mtg then you do and she doesnt play...i cant believe they ran this article...PLEASE LET ME BORROW THE VAULTS BECAUSE I ACTUALLY THINK THIS IS AMAZING AND WANT TO RUN SO I FIGURED BY BADMOUTHING IT NO ONE WOULD USE IT...i could be your american boytoy....CMON..lol


Ok all kidding aside this does llok like a great deck and its good to finally see an article on it, i actually would play it if i had vaults and CoA

I think you may have outdone yourself this time MM 

by MirrorMage at Sat, 04/12/2008 - 02:42
MirrorMage's picture

Haha, I'll lend you the Vaults if you need them for PEs and such Shard. I'll be too busy crying in a corner surrounded by various thick text-books.

For those of you who are interested in this deck you might want to read Bill Stark's article on SCG: http://www.starcitygames.com/php/news/article/15659.html I can't say I "invented" this deck as its been around in block for a while, but I'd like to think I "invented" this build.

But I mean, saying I invented an elf deck is kind of prententious. It's like saying I was the same genious who said "Man.. look at all these slivers. What am I going to do with all these slivers. Wait, what if PUT THEM IN THE SAME DECK! YES! I AM BRILLIANT!"

PS. More Churro entries you for you and Coyote :D

by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Sat, 04/12/2008 - 01:24
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by OKCoyote at Sat, 04/12/2008 - 02:18
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I like it.

 Of course the second you try to take this into a non-sanctioned game, your opponent will concede as soon as the first elf hits the table.

I used to have this problem with Wellwisher.