Verdant Succession Tech

Posted in Event Coverage on May 2, 2003

By Toby Wachter

Your Move Games has been an incredibly dominant force in Constructed Pro Tours this season, producing decks and finishes that have given the long standing team even more respect from its peers. If you’re playing in a Constructed Pro Tour and you find yourself sitting across the table from a guy with a black shirt that has a red dragon on it, you know that you’re going to face a powerful deck that has been put through plenty of playtesting and tuning. Today, however, things may be a little different. Alex Shvartsman, Rob Dougherty and Zvi Mowshowitz are running the Verdant Succession deck that Dougherty created and posted to the StarCity Games website earlier this week. No one can deny the deck’s “cool” factor, as it can produce infinite life, infinite creatures, infinite mana and infinitely big Husks or Fallen Angels among other things. But, is this deck for real, or “just for fun”? All four representatives of Your Move Games are playing it today, so the deck will certainly go through the ringer. If it does well, expect it to pop up at Regionals tournaments all over the country next week.

Sideboard: What gave you the inspiration to come up with this thing?

Dougherty: I was doing a series of articles for StarCity on Standard for Regionals, and I did card searches looking for weird things, and I came across Succession and started playing with it. I ended up coming up with the deck and playtested it on Magic Online, and it was doing really well, despite the fact that you can’t physically go infinite on Magic Online since you actually have to do every activated ability.

Sideboard: Why do you think the deck is good?

Dougherty: It’s good because it has creature pressure. It’s a good black/green creature deck. Good in the sense that the creatures synergize well together. You are playing crappy cards. You’re playing Birchlore Rangers where you’d normally have Birds of Paradise. So, obviously it’s a crappy mana-generating non-attacker. Also Llanowar Elves, which is a crappy mana-generating non-attacker. The Husks and the Fallen Angels are very good in the deck, because you have Wirewood Herald, you’ve got lots of elves and you generate lots of tokens, and Caller of the Claw/Husk is obviously very good. Herald/Husk/Caller of the Claw is also very powerful. So, it’s got all these sort of sub-combos, and you’ve got a bunch of green pressure with all the pumping creatures and (Ravenous) Baloth, so you’ve got the ability to put on a good pressure game, and the ability to go infinite. The one card that’s just truly a combo card, Verdant Succession, in a lot of matchups it’s very good on its own. Like I play Verdant Succession and some dorks, and my dorks don’t die now. So in that sense it’s a good deck. It’s a bad combo deck in the sense that it’s not consistent. You have no search and you can’t consistently get your combo out. It makes up for that by having a consistent creature theme, so that it can be good without the combo.

Sideboard: Zvi, so far today you haven’t seemed very happy with the deck.

Mowshowitz: Many of these things are savage lies.

Sideboard: What I just said or what Rob is saying?

Mowshowitz: No no, you’re good. You’re cool (laughter).

Dougherty: Interesting note. Zvi comes over to my house last night and I say, “Hey Zvi, do you have other deck options? Do you want to play this deck on Magic Online?” He had never played it before, so this way he can see if he likes it. He goes, “Nah, I’ll just run it tomorrow.”

Sideboard: I’m assuming it’s not the kind of deck most people can just pick up and play.

Mowshowitz: Never practice when you can blame the designer at the tournament!

Dougherty: Well, then I expect mad Zvi props if he doesn’t crap out!

Sideboard: How about you Alex, what do you think about the deck?

Shvartsman: I think it’s hilarious. I think this is the perfect tournament to play it in. I came here without expectations to win. I think the deck can win, but more importantly it’s going to be a hell of a lot of fun to play. I also have my own theory as to how Rob came up with the deck. So he’s sitting there, and he’s going “How can I come up with the best possible deck that uses as many tokens as possible, so I can sell my tokens?”

Sideboard: Do you guys have any suggestions for someone who is thinking about playing this at Regionals?

Dougherty: Read my StarCity article on it.

Mowshowitz: You may not want to try this at home. It’s too early to tell, but early signs point to not trying this at home.

Dougherty: I’ll say that if Zvi can manage to do well with the deck, anybody can.

Shvartsman: I think you have to be very careful playing it. The deck is more complex than it first seems, and it’s not as crappy as it first seems either I might add. You have to just do the math very, very carefully. I was sitting there and my opponent was mana screwed, and I was racking my brain to make sure I could kill him that turn.

Rob Dougherty, Zvi Mowshowitz and Alex Shvartsman

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