One of the first things you must ask yourself before constructing a deck is what color(s) to play. With many different color combinations and possible strategies, it’s hard to know where to start. This article is one of a five-part series that will take a closer look at the strengths and weaknesses of each color. Today, we will be focusing on Green. If you are looking for more about the philosophy of each color, you can look here, but this article will cover the mechanics.
Without further ado, let’s get into what Green brings to the table:
Creatures: Green is one of the best colors when it comes to creatures; they are typically much stronger and come at a lower mana cost compared to what the other colors get. Green additionally allows access to various utility creatures that can produce mana, destroy artifacts, buff other creatures, and much more. Notable Green creatures include Tarmogoyf, Elvish Mystic, and Scavenging Ooze.
Tribal: If you are looking to make a tribal deck in Green, your best bet is Elves. This strategy works in both Legacy and Modern, and sometimes is even seen in Standard. An Elves deck usually focuses on very fast mana generation to pump out various Elves and other creatures at alarming rates. Some deck lists run Craterhoof Behemoth as a finisher, while other even use Fireball coupled with the decks fast mana generation as a finisher.
Ramp: One of Green’s signature abilities is producing mana at an accelerated rate. They have spells that let them put extra lands into play like Rampant Growth, Explore, and Sakura Tribe Elder. Green also has creatures that are able to produce mana; Birds of Paradise is able to produce any color of mana and is an able chump blocker. While more limited in the colors it can produce, Noble Hierarch is another great option, as often times, it provides combat advantage to your board without risk. Another type of mana generator commonly found in Green comes from enchantments – many of these enchantments specifically target lands, making it so that when they are tapped for mana, they produce extra, sometimes even allowing the ability to make colors that said land couldn’t typically produce. Some great cards that do this are Wild Growth, Utopia Sprawl, and Mana Reflections.
Artifact and Enchantment Removal: Green is one of the best colors when it comes to this aspect. Not only are they able to get rid of artifacts and enchantments efficiently, there are typically no drawbacks or restrictions. Some of the better artifact and enchantment removal cards are in Green are Naturalize, Natural State, Reclamation Sage, and Sundering Vitae.
Creature Tutors: This is another one of Green’s specialties. Boasting many powerful cards that allow the searching of a library for specific creatures and often putting them directly into play makes Green a great choice for toolbox-based strategies. In these types of strategies, a deck can have answers for whatever an opponent may throw at it; however, other colors may have be splashed to get said answers.
The drawbacks to playing Green include:
Limited Creature Removal: There are very few options when it comes to removing creatures in Green that are not also artifacts or enchantments, and typically, the answers that do exist give your opponent something in return. So if you’re using them, you typically need to be getting rid of something extremely dangerous to make it worthwhile. The only usable cards that can remove creatures in Green are Song of the Dryads, Beast Within, Utopia Vow and Lignify.
Lack of Card Advantage: Green is tied with White for the worst color for card advantage engines. Although it does have a few useful cards, most of them require you to meet some kind of condition or pay large amounts of mana if you want to draw more than one. There is one card in Green that can provide substantial card advatange; however, it has some major drawbacks, as well. This card is Sylvan Library. If need be, you can use cards such as Triumph of Ferocity, Harmonize, or Abundance, but you should probably look towards other colors for your card draw needs.
Little Interaction: Green doesn’t have access to many cards that interact with its opponent. They don’t have the exiling that White gets, the counterspells or bounce effects of Blue, the discarding and life draining spells that Black has, or the burn spells of Red. On its own, the best Green can do is block and use spells that have their creatures attack their opponents, but other than that, it cannot do much in regards to interaction without a splash from another color.