Hello again, old schoolers! It’s been a long time since the last time, I know, and I owe you an explanation. This last year has been hard in many aspects, between pandemics, health problems, brutal spikes (not just cards) and, above all, the arrival of a new format in our local gaming scene, meant that made him not spend as much time as he should on the format we played in our league: Eternal Central. The new format I am referring to is «7pts Singleton Old School 93/94«, which came like a train running over everything in its path, and which we are playing like crazy and which I have been exploring throughout this last year; if you want to know what I’m talking about I leave you the link to this magnificent introductory article to the format written by our friend Diliz
But we’re back stronger than ever, and of course today’s deck tech is tied to our new favorite format, and it’s an archetype that many of us have loved for a long time, specifically since we started playing Magic… We are talking about Mono Green.
Those of us who have played for a long time know that what we liked as children was to play the biggest creatures to kill our enemy as quickly as possible, the bigger the better, who doesn’t know Craw Wurm, or Force of Nature? Mythical cards. That is what characterizes the color green, large and forceful creatures, but we all agree on something and that is that green is possibly the worst color of Old School, and gossips say that with Mono Green you cannot win tournaments… it’s the ugly duckling of OS, that’s why, perhaps, we are so fond of him. Mono Green players know all this and today I’m going to present you with a deck with which you can stand up to the best strategies and even win tournaments, in fact I won one with a similar list , Let’s start!
- First of all, let’s start with the choice of points. If you have read the bases of the format, we have 7 points to spend on a list of cards that have a certain cost. It’s a vital choice for deck building, and adds one more incentive of deck design. As you can see in the photo, the cards that are marked with a dice are Sol Ring, with 4 pts, Mana Vault with 1 pts, Sylvan Library with 1 pts and Regrowth with 1 pts, that has been my choice. There are players who exchange the Vault for the Maze of Ith and others who exchange the Mox Emerald for the Sol Ring and thus have one more point to invest, but in general the Sylvan and the Regrowth are always inside the decks; then we will see the importance of these cards in our strategy.
- We are going to analyze the cards by groups, being a singleton format it would take a long time to explain each card in detail. In the group of mana generators we have two of the cards that are worth points, the Sol Ring is one of the most powerful cards in the format and starting with it in play gives us the possibility of playing on second turn our large creatures with cost 4, Juggernaut, War Mammoth or Erhnam Djinn, something that will be difficult to stop, is undoubtedly one of the best accelerators in the game. Mana Vault is the card with which I have had the most doubts when it comes to including it, but in this deck we are going to take advantage of it thanks to the fact that it accelerates our bombs, the bad thing is that it’s weak against Icy Manipulator or Relic Barrier, which are cards quite played. Wild Growth is a good accelerator because being an enchantment is more consistent than if it were a creature, and the elves also fulfill their function very well, you can miss Birds of Paradise, but since the deck is so aggro and monocolor -and because we played Hurricane and Ifh-Biff Efreet–, it doesn’t make much sense to include them, I prefer elves that start hitting, every life point you subtract from the opponent is important. Green Mana Battery is too slow for the deck concept. Fellwar Stone is a staple of the format and could be a good option, but in the end I didn’t find a place for it.
- Draw engine: as we said before, the cards that should always enter are Sylvan Library and Regrowth, which are also an excellent draw engine and are the cards that everyone plays as a splash to green, Jayemdae Tome can be included because we generate a lot of mana, but I haven’t found a slot in it because I need to be very aggressive. Untamed Wilds combined with Sylvan is a pseudo-cantrip since it shuffles the library and takes a basic land from it.
- Removals: Green doesn’t have as many removals as other colors. Scavengers Folk, Crumble, will help us deal with artifacts as annoying as Icy Manipulator, or Jayemdae Tome, Desert Twister is our wildcard, it goes for anything, so use it wisely, it may seem slow but with the acceleration and tempo of the format it works good; Aeolipile is perhaps the most played 7pt card, a must. Tranquility is our Wrath of God of enchantments, it may seem sometimes that it isn’t necessary but there are very good enchantments, we cannot allow The Abyss or Moat to stop us, or to make us a 2×1 with a Control Magic. Chaos Orb is the card that everyone plays or should play, it’s the quintessential Oldschool Card. Ice Storm is a good option against Maze of Ith or Desert, but we already have cards that can deal with them. The Icy can also fulfill the function of removal on certain occasions, since it takes away creatures with regenerate, which are very annoying, or Mazes and Deserts for a turn.
- The bombs: Rocket Launcher, Sword of the Ages, Winter Blast, Hurricane, Triskelion, Thelonite Druid, Ifh-Bíff Efreet, Force of Nature and Berserk, are what I consider the bombs of the deck, the ones that will help us win. In addition, they are good removals when the occasion requires it, the least obvious is the sword, but in this deck it works perfectly because avoid Moat, Circles, Arborias and any card that prevents us from attacking, and since it is part of the cost, the activation can’t be stopped if you get killed by a creature in response, thanks to the amount of creatures we play, the damage is usually lethal. Winter Blast is a finisher because the ability to tap X creatures is lethal if we have our army of little critters ready to attack. Thelonite Druid usually doesn’t last long on the table because if we have 5 or 6 forests the attack can be brutal and it combines well with the sword. Hurricane will be the card our opponents fear the most because it’s the green fireball and they’re supposed to go under life, which is what the deck is designed to do. Rocket Launcher has a trick that is being used a lot on 7pt battlefields, and that is its activation after the opponent declares their end game phase, since they don’t have to destroy it that turn and it gets destroyed at the start of the next end step, so we will have it on the table one more turn to be able to activate it 2 times! It’s one of those cards that have improved with the new Oracle text and are better at 7pts than in traditional OS. Triskelion, we already know him, is an old friend, our favorite sniper. Ifh-Bíff Efreet is a Hurricane with wings, he can do ten damage in 2 turns on his own! Force of Nature plus Berserk is a classic, apart from the fact that it works very well with the sword. Berserk is multipurpose because it also serves to destroy the opponent’s attacking creatures at the cost of taking double damage, how many Assembly-Workers and Hypnotic Specter have succumbed to Berserker fever!
- The creatures: I made the choice of creatures based on the mana curve, like all traditional stompy decks, it’s based on the concept of a curve similar to the Sligh decks but in green, with accelerators and big creatures. The idea is to put three threats in the first three turns, the bigger the better, and there will come a time when the opponent controls the battlefield, that’s where the bombs come into play that will scratch the remaining life points. There is a lot to choose from in the color green, but key creatures are Erhnam Djinn, Juggernaut, Scryb Sprites, Elvish Archer, Argothian Pixies, Elves or Cockatrice. The idea of the deck is to be as fast as possible, and there are only three creatures with a cost of five or more; why play a Craw Giant on the sixth turn if you may not be able to attack with it because there’s a Maze of Ith. Then there are creatures that also serve as removal such as Tracker, very useful against 1/1 creatures such as Preacher, Argivian Archaeologist, or –very important– Royal Assassin; or Thorn Thallid who may seem slow (and he is), but he fits the curve well, he’s 2/2 and you don’t need to turn to hit Triskelion-style shots, trust me, no one will let him get to the third counter. Other interesting creatures are Radjan Spirit, Whirling Dervish, Spitting Slug, Master of the Hunt, or Killer Bees. And we leave for the end a creature that has an ability that I find interesting for this strategy: Whippoorwill, the first winged bird in history that doesn’t fly, at the end I included it because it occupies the curve 1 slot of any 1/1 creature (we can also play Timber Wolves) and because with its ability we can skip at some point the creatures with regenerate, which are more than just a nuisance for us, and not only does it not allow us to activate the ability, but on top of that if the creature goes to the graveyard it is exiled, it’s the terror of the Will-o-the-Wisps.
- Mana base: it’s simple, 21 lands, of which 18 give green, with which we have double forest guaranteed in the second turn, this amount of lands in other decks is insufficient but in Mono Green it’s quite tight thanks to the amount of accelerators we run already the mana curve goes down. We have mandatory Mishra’s Factory and Strip Mine, and one Desert that, being monocolor, will not bother us at any time and that is a very useful card if you face weenie-style decks.
- There are many cards that have been left out, it is something that usually happens in this format, you want to put all of them in, but you can’t! Still we will try to generate a rough list of possible cards to try. In my previous version I included Aladdin’s Ring, a cannon, the downside is its high cost, I think I’ve played it twice in total, but when it comes to the battlefield… be careful. Clay Statue is a good option, the bad thing is that it’s not really a curve 4 creature, but a curve 6, because since you play it you will want to defend it… right? Durkwood Boars, Wormwood Treefolk, Moss Monster, Ironroot Treefolk are strong creatures but as we said before we prefer to be faster than the opponent and in that slot we have the Cockatrice, which is a better creature. Nevinyrral’s Disk is a card that is often associated with Mono Green, but in this case I think it doesn’t combine well with Sword of the Ages and apart from that we generate a lot of presence on the table. Elven Riders is interesting for its evasion ability and can be tested from time to time supported by Hurricane and Radjan Spirit. Niall Silvain can be a good turn 3, but his ability ultimately requires a good chunk of mana to be mortgaged every turn.
«Mono Green 7pts» is still a fairly casual archetype full of fun cards, although I think that in this format it improves a lot in terms of competitiveness, so we can say that it is «spicy» and effective at the same time.
Tell me which cards you’re missing or would remove, or tell me about your battles with some Mono Green deck, I’ll be happy to hear it! You can tell me your impressions through the blog comments or on my Instagram account: @retroplayermtg
Thanks for reading and until next time!
Before saying goodbye, I leave you some links to several articles dedicated to this archetype and that are worth reading.
OLD SCHOOL MTG: MG report in the mythical Old School Mtg blog about a tournament where he played his own and very interesting version of Mono Green.
MTG UNDERGROUND: Great article where they tell us a story about green, going through an interview with a player who loves this color, and reviews several Mono Green Old School decks, great.
THE WIZARD’S TOWER: Good selection of Mono Green decks, he explains how he has built his and what it has been based on, I love the title of the articles. They are two parts.