The Druid's Wave

Posted in Feature on April 10, 2012

By Gavin Verhey

When Gavin Verhey was eleven, he dreamt of a job making Magic cards—and now as a Magic designer, he's living his dream! Gavin has been writing about Magic since 2005.

How much mana does a card that costs three have to generate to be playable?

One mana? Two mana? Four mana?!?

Today's preview card answers that question by offering an incredible surge in mana production for only —provided you're willing to jump through some hoops to get there.

Let's see what spices this particular chef is cooking with today.

Introducing Druids' Repository:

Druid's Repository | Art by Daarken

Let's establish what this card is good for and where this card fits. Druids' Repository is good in decks where you can meet the intersection of wanting to attack a lot and having a use for a lot of mana. Druids' Repository is not good in some of these decks:

  • Ramp decks that don't play many creatures. Although ramp decks do want a lot of mana, without the creatures to put counters on the Repository it's not going to be as efficient as other three-mana cards.
  • Heavy creature decks that don't play many mana sinks. If you're going to be attacking a lot but don't have any use for six extra mana at some point in the game, Druids' Repository is just wasting a card.
  • Decks where the Repository is going to be "win more." If Repository is only good when you're already winning—such as when you're able to attack with several creatures—then it's not going to be that effective.

Fortunately, Standard is full of great interactions with the Repository. Lands like Kessig Wolf Run and Gavony Township can be activated after attacking, but before damage, and the Repository lets the attack pay for the activation. There are expensive flashback costs to be paid, such as the one on Increasing Devotion—which I might add works mighty well with the Repository.

To top it all off, Avacyn Restored brings even more to the table. There are a ton of green goodies in this set, including one jaw-dropping ten mana mythic rare that you're really going to want to accelerate into...

Gavony Township | Art by Peter Mohrbacher

But for now, let's focus on what I won't be fired for talking about. Last week, I asked you to submit a green deck with a mix of cheap and expensive cards. I looked through all of them and found the list that could support the Repository best. Remember, I was looking for decks that best met the intersection of wanting to attack and using a lot of mana.

After carefully looking over each of them and making agonizing decisions, I came to one final decklist. Congratulations to Alex Aust!

Alex Aust's Genesis Elves

Download Arena Decklist

Let's break down what this deck does, shall we?


This deck has two strong main plans:

1. Quickly amass an army of Elves, and then attack with them.

If your opponent isn't dead, repeat next turn as necessary.

2. Genesis Wave for (roughly) 42.

Putting nearly your entire deck onto the battlefield is a completely unreasonable thing that this deck makes completely reasonable to do.

What we have here is definitely an aggressive deck with a combo plan built in. If this deck is undisturbed, it should fairly easily (and with Ezuri, quite literally) overrun the opponent.

Unfortunately, save for the infamously kind Mr. Bye, most opponents seem to enjoy disturbing your chances of winning. It's important we also identify weaknesses so the opposition has a harder time stopping us.


Some of the elements that might hinder this deck are:

1. Removal

If the opponent has a collection of removal spells, especially mass removal spells like Day of Judgment, this deck's engine can fall flat. We want to ensure the deck is as resilient as we can make it to removal.

2. Inconsistency

Sometimes hands from decks like this make winning as easy as delicious chocolate cake. Other times, your hands are so clunky and disgusting that it's a little more like fish fingers and custard. It's great when you open on the Llanowar Elves into Elvish Archdruid draw, but what about all of the times your hands are full of four three-drops and no accelerators? We're going to want to keep our cards cheap and powerful.

Card Breakdown

Unlike last week, where I featured more of a midrange control deck that relied on forced interactions and individual card power, this week we're looking at a much more linear-based strategy. (Linear meaning a deck build behind one easily identifiable theme, such as a creature type.) Some of these cards simply cannot afford to be taken out of the deck. I'll point those ones out as we go along, as well as explaining why they are so crucial.

Bellowing Tanglewurm

This Wurm can help push through all of your Elves. If your opponent is playing a bunch of small blockers—like, say, tokens—Bellowing Tanglewurm gets all of your Elves out of the way. Ezuri already accomplishes a similar goal, though—and at five mana, it's not clear this Tanglewurm is really needed.

Copperhorn Scout

While this Scout doesn't look like much, it does a lot of subtle work in this deck. It untaps your Llanowar Elves and Elvish Archdruids, allowing you to attack, put counters on Repository, and still get the mana boost post-combat—or even inside of combat to activate Ezuri while you're attacking! As an Elf that fuels your strategy, it's crucial to keep around.

Elvish Archdruid

Pop quiz! How many Elves are in Standard right now?

The answer is probably less than you think. With Innistrad block trading in pointy ears for pointy hats, there are only fifteen Elves in Standard. To make matters more complex, only a handful of them are playable.

However, even with that restriction, the Archdruid is too good for this deck to not play. It helps your beatdown plan and can accelerate your mana in absurd ways. This is a cornerstone of the deck that will make it from start to finish.

Ezuri, Renegade Leader

Although the dearth of Elves once again hurts Ezuri, like the Archdruid he is far too strong to not play. Making sure your creatures stay alive and serving as a perpetual Overrun engine is exactly what this deck is looking for.

In fact, even though he's a legend, I'm willing to play four copies. You're probably winning if he's in play, and he is so integral to your game plan that you always want to draw him. You will occasionally get hands with three Ezuri and be sad about it, but the games he wins for you should make up for that quite handsomely.

Glistener Elf

On one hand, this deck really needs Elves. On the other, the poison subtheme is a bit problematic. It's strong when you're activating Ezuri's overrun, but otherwise it doesn't add a lot to the deck. Too often, Glistener Elf is going to be a one-mana Elf with no abilities. There are enough options in Standard that I would like to remove the poison angle from this deck, even though that does mean cutting a set of Elves.

Llanowar Elves

Mana production? Check. One-drop? Check. Elf? Check. It might not be Storm Crow, but Llanowar Elves is completely perfect for this deck.

Viridian Corrupter

Viridian Corrupter

I'd like to remove the poison theme from this deck, but that doesn't inherently mean the Corrupters can't stay. Removing artifacts can be important in this metagame. However, it seems most likely I will end up sideboarding these guys and bringing them in when appropriate. It's going to be Gray Ogre with infect too often.

Viridian Emissary

Ideally, I would love to have another one-drop mana-accelerating Elf here, or a strong aggressive two-drop Elf, but with the lack of Elves in Standard I am fine settling for this guy if we have to. It's a 2/1 for two that promotes attacking for your Repository and enhances the Elf theme, so it does work alright.

The Spells

I'm lumping the spells all together here for one very important reason: they need to be minimized as much as possible. If we're going down the Genesis Wave path—which is something this deck wants to do—then ensuring we hit as many permanents as possible is crucial. I want to cut every other instant or sorcery from the deck that isn't Genesis Wave.

Genesis Wave | Art by James Paick

If I was going to play spells I would look into Lead the Stampede or Green Sun's Zenith, but we're riding the Wave instead. It's time to cut your spells and thrust your hands into the air every time the Wave comes around.

Genesis Wave

New Prospects

Even with the shortage of Elves, there are still several cards worth considering for this deck. Let's take a look over our options, keeping our weaknesses in mind.

Avacyn's Pilgrim and Birds of Paradise

Elf? No. One-mana accelerator? Yes. This deck is in desperate need of more one-mana accelerants, and, despite not being Elves, these two cards fit perfectly. This deck definitely wants four copies of one of these cards, and potentially a couple of the other.

Which one is better? It depends where we end up. If I'm playing Equipment like the Swords, I almost certainly want the evasion of Birds. Birds also is better at casting Predator Ooze on turn two, and good with Repository since it can squawk in for 0 and add a counter each turn. Pilgrim, on the other hand, has a point of power and can also fix your mana if the deck splashes white. Birds is likely the better candidate, but if we look into a white splash Pilgrim will be the way to go.


Birthing Pod

There is certainly a Birthing Pod bent that this deck can take. You can play some good low-curve targets, use it mostly to find Elvish Archdruid, and then slowly assemble the best creatures in your deck via Birthing Pod.

Unfortunately, in a deck that wants to be as aggressive as this one, I don't want to be taking time simply trading out creatures via Birthing Pod, nor do I want to add a bunch of one-of targets for Birthing Pod that will make my deck have less consistent draws.

Dungrove Elder

Hexproof, cheap, and monumentally large after a Genesis Wave, Dungrove Elder is a threat many decks will have trouble dealing with. In a deck like this, which uses so much creature acceleration instead of actual land ramp, its power does decrease—but then again, even a 3/3 or 4/4 hexproof creature is still plenty powerful.

It is worth noting that Dungrove Elderdoes have the hidden drawback of preventing you from playing other colors, so it's not a good choice if we identify other color options to try.

Garruk, Primal Hunter

This is certainly a five-mana card I can get behind! A permanent that Genesis Wave can put into play, a constant stream of creatures, and card advantage in a pinch, this Garruk is brutally powerful. I want to make sure I have plenty of low-mana-cost cards, but I will want a couple expensive cards to put at the top of my curve and I would prefer them to be card advantage like Garruk, Primal Hunter instead of random creatures like Vorapede.

Garruk Relentless

Garruk's own competition is... himself?!? I think I saw this in a Nicolas Cage movie once.

In any case, I only want to play three Planeswalkers because I don't want to draw too many early on or flip multiples of them off of Genesis Wave. Since this deck has no form of removal otherwise, and all five modes on Garruk Relentless are strong in this deck, I believe Relentless to be the better choice here. It is also worth considering a 2/1 split, though, since there are situations where Primal Hunter is better.

Predator Ooze

Predator Ooze can be pretty hit-or-miss. On turn two, it's extremely threatening. As a topdeck, it's rather poor—and this deck already has plenty of cards in that category. I'd rather have something like Dungrove Elder, which is consistently a good size and hard to remove.

Phyrexian Metamorph

What's better than one Elvish Archdruid? Blightsteel Colossus! Or, if that doesn't work out, a pair of Elvish Archdruids is also pretty good.

Being able to copy Archdruids in this deck really helps the virtual Elf count and cranks up both your aggression and mana acceleration. Plus, you can always copy awesome cards of your opponent's. As a bonus, if we end up putting Swords in, Metamorph can copy those too!

Phyrexian Metamorph
Strangleroot Geist

Strangleroot Geist

While it's not an Elf, it is mighty good. It plays very well with the Repository, fearlessly swinging into battle. It also gives you a saucy turn-two play if you don't lead off with an accelerator. The deciding factor here is how many two-drops the deck already has and if it needs a generic attacker.

Swords of Awesome and Winning

Any number of the Scars of Mirrodin block swords are on the table here.

These help bust your Elves through, working well toward the aggressive plan, and also generate immensely helpful effects toward the rest of your plan. Sword of War and Peace is my favorite here, because the evasion past tokens is very important and the extra damage is worth a lot.

I'd like to play at least a couple Swords, although it's worth saying that if you don't have access to any in your collection they aren't crucial. They're not lynchpins and are cards you only want to see one of every now and then.

Other Colors

It's definitely worth looking into other colors with this deck. Birds and Pilgrim both help fix your mana early, and Repository provides you with mana of any color. If you want to play another color, it's not difficult to make that happen.

The problem is that there just aren't that many creatures or spells that are good to splash here. I don't want to splash for any removal spells because Genesis Wave asks for all permanents. Oblivion Ring was the one good permanent-based removal option, but I didn't want to be clogged up on reactive cards. I hit thirty-five nonland cards I wanted to play pretty easily, which made another color look worse and worse.

The most enticing cards, in fact, aren't even creatures or spells at all! Gavony Township and Kessig Wolf Run both play well with this deck and don't eat up spell slots. With Birds, Repository, and Emissary around, it's not too hard to play one or two copies of these lands.

Gavony Township
Kessig Wolf Run

Out of the two, Wolf Run is certainly more exciting, but Gavony Township is going to be better. While living the dream of attacking with a bunch of creatures with Wolf Run and Repository out is nice, you're likely already winning in that position. Township will help you push your entire team through board stalls that would be hard to get through otherwise.

Into the Workshop

Now it's time to put it all together.

These are the spells I want to use:

Llanowar Elves
Birds of Paradise
Avacyn's Pilgrim
Copperhorn Scout
Elvish Archdruid
Phyrexian Metamorph
Ezuri, Renegade Leader
Druid's Repository
Genesis Wave
Sword of War and Peace
Garruk Relentless
Garruk, Primal Hunter

Now, give assigning numbers to these cards a try.

I'll wait for you. I've laid out a lot of what I'm looking to do with my numbers in my comments above, so you should have some good building blocks to start with.

Llanowar Elves | Art by Kev Walker

Ready to compare?

Are you sure you're ready?

Alright, well if that's the case, let's take a look at my version:

4 Llanowar Elves
4 Birds of Paradise
4 Copperhorn Scout
4 Elvish Archdruid
4 Phyrexian Metamorph
4 Ezuri, Renegade Leader
1 Avacyn's Pilgrim
4 Druids' Repository
3 Genesis Wave
2 Sword of War and Peace
2 Garruk Relentless
1 Garruk, Primal Hunter

A lot of the numbers are fours all the way down simply because beatdown decks value consistency.

Genesis Wave is one of the few less-than-four-ofs I haven't already explained, and it's because you don't want to draw too many early on. Additionally, you want to reduce your chances of flipping them over when you cast a Genesis Wave of your own.

Druid's Repository is so excellent in this kind of deck that it plays more like a four-of. Multiples stack together in exciting ways, and you always want to see one or two early on.

Razorverge Thicket | Art by James Paick

As far as the mana base goes, this time around there's not too much tweaking to be had. It's primarily one color, with a small, mostly free splash for Gavony Township:

4 Razorverge Thicket
2 Gavony Township
17 Forest

Razorverge Thicket

You don't want to play any more lands that will disrupt your ability to play a turn-one accelerator, and so two Townships feels like the appropriate number. With thirteen sources, you should be able to activate it most of the time.


Let's take a look at the original sideboard Alex provided:

2 Beast Within
4 Corrosive Gale
2 Dismember
1 Gnaw to the Bone
2 Marrow Shards
4 Mental Misstep

There are a lot of good answers here. Corrosive Gale and Marrow Shards fight the Delver and Spirit decks, while Mental Misstep and Dismember fight other forms of beatdown. Beast Within nails problematic permanents or lands against control decks or ramp.

Corrosive Gale | Art by Dan Scott

The problematic theme with all of these cards? They're all spells!

If you're going to sideboard out Genesis Wave in a matchup, boarding in spells is a fine idea. However, if that's not the case, you can't afford to put any more spells in.

Genesis Wave wants to go out against the blue Delver decks and control decks because they might keep in some countermagic. But against beatdown, midrange, and ramp, you definitely want to keep in Genesis Wave to overwhelm them and provide card advantage.

Corrosive Gale

So we can keep some amount of Corrosive Gales, but the rest should probably change. With all of this in mind, let's make some swaps with the existing cards.

Since we're also planning to sideboard out Genesis Wave against control, we are going to want a new way to gain card advantage. Lead the Stampede fits nicely here, as we can sideboard out a bunch of our noncreature spells and play almost exclusively Leads, creatures, and lands.

Viridian Corrupter is a good, Elvish answer for decks with a lot of problem artifacts—especially Sword of Feast and Famine.

Oblivion Ring is a permanent that happens to serve as removal against beatdown, and works well off of our splash.

Viridian Emissary

Viridian Emissary is a great way to block and obtain an advantage against the beatdown decks. In addition to Oblivion Ring, Emissary buys you time against beatdown while also providing a permanent mana source that builds toward a Genesis Wave endgame. While Emissary might sound like an odd sideboard card, the life and acceleration it provides against aggressive decks contributes to your overall plan.

With all of that in mind, my new sideboard would look like this:

4 Lead the Stampede
4 Viridian Emissary
3 Corrosive Gale
2 Viridian Corrupter
2 Oblivion Ring

And I would sideboard against the major decks of the format I described last week—Blue-Black Zombies, Delver-based decks, and Esper Planeswalkers—like this:

Blue-Black Zombies

–2 Copperhorn Scout,–2 Druids' Repository, –2 Sword of War and Peace
+2 Oblivion Ring, +4 Viridian Emissary

Ezuri, Renegade Leader | Art by Karl Kopinski

Against Zombies and other ground-based beatdown decks, you need to play toward the long game. You will want to ramp your mana upward while establishing a board presence. Your trump card is Ezuri.

Ezuri allows you to overrun right past them and protect all of your Elves from harm. Ezuri will either buy you enough time to cast Genesis Wave or just Overrun and win the game all on his own.

You won't be attacking as much early in this matchup, which is why Repository, Sword, and Scout are all trimmed down.

Delver Tokens

–1 Garruk, Primal Hunter, –2 Garruk Relentless, –1 Genesis Wave, –1 Phyrexian Metamorph
+3 Corrosive Gale, +2 Viridian Corrupter

Against this deck, you want to attack fast and furiously. Corrosive Gale makes it difficult for them to tempo you out with fliers, and you remove some of your clunky top end.

Genesis Wave is pretty poor in the first game because of their Mana Leaks, but they will likely sideboard out their Mana Leaks for Game 2. You don't want a hand full of them, but a properly placed Wave in the midgame should dominate the Delver opponent.

Esper Planeswalkers

–4 Druids' Repository,–1 Garruk, Primal Hunter, –2 Garruk Relentless, –3 Genesis Wave
+4 Lead the Stampede, +2 Viridian Corrupter, +4 Viridian Emissary

Lead the Stampede | Art by Efrem Palacios

Between Day of Judgment, Curse of Death's Hold, and a variety of pinpoint removal, this matchup is tough. They also have Ratchet Bomb after sideboarding, although hopefully Corrupter helps some there.

While you could put Acidic Slime into your sideboard to try and fight the Curse, or bring in Oblivion Ring, it's very difficult to beat the Curse if it sweeps you in the first place. Your best route is just to overwhelm them quickly with a bunch of creatures and Archdruid to survive the Curse and Ezuri to survive Day of Judgment. You're going to need Lead the Stampede for card advantage as they pick apart your team. It's a difficult matchup, but winnable.

And now, to put everything together:

Druid's Wave

Download Arena Decklist

Honorable Mentions

I received tons and tons of submissions this week, and there were several decks that looked exciting to try with Druids' Repository. Here are some of them—take a look!

Mikhail Kopilevich's Doubling Green

Download Arena Decklist

Jeff Van Egmond's GW Feed the Pack

Download Arena Decklist

Elijah Martincek's Hyper Combo Finish

Download Arena Decklist
Enchantment (1)
1 Lost in the Woods
Land (59)
59 Forest
60 Cards

Tomas Paim's RG Beatdown

Download Arena Decklist

Josh Lecker's GW Beatdown

Download Arena Decklist

Mauricio Lopez's RG Ramp

Download Arena Decklist

Out of the Forest, into the Darkness

I hope you enjoyed this week's preview card, and thanks so much again to Alex Aust for submitting such a fun deck! And the best part is that the previews aren't even over yet!

Swamp | Art by Cliff Childs

I have another preview card for next week. This time around, it's black!

Your guidelines for submitting decks for next week:

Format: Standard
Restrictions: Your deck must contain black cards. (Multiple colors is fine just so long as one of them is black.)
Send all decklists via email by clicking the "Respond via Email" link at the bottom of this article
Deadline: Wednesday, April 11 at 6pm Pacific Time

To help build around this mystery card, your deck shouldn't have too many creatures. (Though you definitely want some!)

Let me know on Twitter what you think of Druids' Repository and if you have any questions or comments on this article! I check it constantly and will be happy to reply to any questions you have. You can also always send me an email by clicking on the link below if that works better for you. Otherwise, I'll see you next week with another exciting preview card!

Always remember to bring a deck,


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