Of Worlds and Worldsouls

Posted in Reconstructed on July 30, 2013

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.

Worlds Week is upon us.

 

The best players in all of Magic have convened in one central location to duke it out for the title of the best. Over the next few days, the battling in Amsterdam will crown a World Champion and a World Magic Cup champion. The next few days will highlight some absolute must-watch Magic .

One of the major formats on display? Standard.

Between Standard in the World Championship and the slightly different Unified Team Standard in the World Magic Cup, you're going to see plenty of Standard over the weekend.

What will show up in the World Championship is anybody's guess—sixteen of Magic's best will be creating a uniquely small metagame where entire archetypes just may not exist. But between that and the Unified Standard portion of the World Magic Cup—a format where you will no doubt see a few decks slightly under the radar—there will be plenty to keep your eyes on.

Today, let's dive into one of the decks just under the surface you might see. Let's take a look at an archetype that was very popular this week: Selesnya Aggro!

Joe's Resurgent Aggro

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The Battle Plan

Green and white have some of the best price-to-size cards in the format. Between Call of the Conclave, Loxodon Smiter, and Advent of the Wurm, you can curve out with an array of above-the-curve creatures.

But what makes this deck a little different than many of its Selesnya brethren is that this is firmly aiming to be a beatdown deck.

While many Selesnya decks tend to take the midrange approach, sporting cards like Restoration Angel, Thragtusk, mana Elves, and so on, Joe is taking more of the Craig Wescoe approach to things. Craig's green-white deck with an aggressive bent took down Pro Tour Dragon's Maze —and now Joe's deck is looking to create a game plan to follow in Craig's footsteps.

Of course, one of green-white's other hallmarks in today's era is resilience. Cards like Voice of Resurgence and Strangleroot Geist help keep this deck firmly footed against board sweepers and pinpoint removal.

Between aggressive starts and the ability to make a recovery, green-white certainly has the tools necessary to make an impact on the format. Now, let's take a look at the individual cards...

Deck Breakdown

Which pieces of the conclave can stay? Let's investigate!

Experiment One
 

One-drops are coveted in beatdown decks. They push on through plenty of extra damage, starting the pressure right away.

Experiment One not only usually sports 2 power for one mana, but it has the potential to grow even larger as the game goes on as well. In conjunction with so many overstatted green-white creatures, in many games it will start crunching in for 3 or even 4 damage. And, on top of it, the regeneration adds onto the deck's resiliency. I definitely want to keep all four.

In addition, I'd like to add some more one-drops to increase the chances of being able to cast one turn one. The next best one-drop on-color is going to be Dryad Militant. The Militant sports 2 power for a single mana, starting the damage early. Its ability is also quite relevant in a world of Snapcaster Mage and Unburial Rites. Let's play four.

Voice of Resurgence
 

One of the premier creatures in the format, there's no arguing with four Voice in this deck. It adds to the deck's resilience, forces your opponent to change how he or she plays, and also attacks for 2. No questions asked—four copies, please!

Strangleroot Geist
 

The Geist is a tool that Craig Wescoe didn't have access to at Pro Tour Dragon's Maze due to its ineligibility for Block Constructed, but it is certainly a strong option here. It lets you crunch in for 2 damage right away, and, perhaps most importantly, continues this strong theme of resilience. Whether trading off with a Burning-Tree Emissary and coming back, or simply forcing your opponents to grimace as they cast their Supreme Verdicts, this is a good Geist to keep around. Four copies indeed.

Call of the Conclave
 

One of green-white's themes you'll see repeated a few times in this deck are creatures at a larger size than normal creatures at that converted mana cost. A 3/3 for two mana is a good bargain and starts putting your opponent under pressure fast after laying a one-drop.

Speaking of two-mana 3/3s, Call of the Conclave isn't the only card in the mix here. The Magic 2014 newcomer Kalonian Tusker is also worth mentioning. The mana cost is slightly different, but equally workable—this deck is likely to skew heavier green anyway. It has the status of not being a token—both upside and downside, considering both bounce spells and sideboard cards like Rootbound Defenses. (Not to mention Scavenging Ooze!)

Kalonian Tusker
Scavenging Ooze

Including Call of the Conclave, I'm also already sitting on twelve two-drops here (and that's not even counting Selesnya Charm!) so I don't need to add many more—that's already starting to push the upper limits. I would only want to play a maximum of fourteen. So, which is better here?

I keep talking about resilience, and a fantastic card to help keep putting your opponent in a rough place as the game goes on is Scavenging Ooze. Topdecked late game after cards have traded off over and over again, it can grow to a sizable amount and really put your opponent in a rough spot. It also helps your match up against decks like Reanimator.

Why do I bring up Ooze? Because I'd rather that my final pair of two-drops be Scavenging Ooze. You want to find one most games, and preferably later—making it a good two-of. What does this mean for Call of the Conclave? Well, I'd rather have a creature version for Ooze.

While the potential to sideboard a card like Rootborn Defenses is nice, with two Oozes the interaction between it and Tusker is a lot more likely to come up. Additionally, Thalia is a card I'm going to consider in the sideboard. With upwards of fifteen or more green sources, I feel confident in the mana being all right for this swap. Tusker it is!

Loxodon Smiter
 

Continuing the theme of large creatures for their mana cost, Loxodon Smiter serves up a 4/4 body for only three mana. It even has some fantastic bonuses in protection against countering and discard. I definitely want to keep all four of these.

Advent of the Wurm
 

If you thought two-mana 3/3s and three-mana 4/4s were good, Advent of the Wurm takes that up a notch by promising a four-mana 5/5—with flash and trample! Attacking into four open mana is frightening in this format, and Advent of the Wurm is one of the reasons why. This is a great curve-topping card—I'll keep all four.

Unflinching Courage
 

 

Unflinching Courage is a very hit or miss card.

When it gets rolling, it provides a stream of life and damage that any beatdown opponent is going to be hard-pressed to deal with. However, it's easy to be a dreamer of improbable dreams—as an Aura, it also provides a huge liability, and it isn't even that strong against control decks. In many matchups, this won't be a comfortable turn-three play. I'd much rather just push these off to the sideboard for the matchups where you really want them.

However, I would still like a little something more to do on three mana. A card that interests me here is Ajani, Caller of the Pride. Not only does he help grow your creatures, but he also serves an incredibly strong one-two punch with his flying and double strike. Casting an end-step Advent of the Wurm then untapping and sending it to the air will be enough to end many games.

Ajani, Caller of the Pride
 

I don't want my hands full of Ajanis, and the might be a little tricky in this deck on the heels of so many cards. I'm happy starting with a singleton and considering more out of the sideboard.

Oblivion Ring
 

 

Ah, good ol' Oblivion Ring. The catch-all solution. For three mana, it is hard to complain about the ability to get any threat off the table. Four Oblivion Rings leads to them being stuck in my hand and hindering aggressive starts against the control decks a little more than I would like, but I'm happy playing three.

Selesnya Charm
 

 

Selesnya Charm is a card of many uses. Whether exiling a titanic threat, putting more pressure on the board, or helping your creature get through, it will usually have a role to play.

The 2/2 is fairly weak, and this deck has plenty of creatures it wants to keep playing. However, the other options are still usually things I'd like to see once per game. I'm going to bump this down slightly to three copies. It's still good—I just don't want a hand full of them early on.

With all of those changes in mind, that brings us to:

Gavin Verhey's Competitive Selesnya

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How exactly is the sideboard meant to work? Well, to give you a quick rundown of the cards:

Unflinching Courage
 

As mentioned earlier, Unflinching Courage is best in matchups where it is going to make your creature hard to deal with and the lifegain is very relevant. Against red decks, for example, Unflinching Courage is fantastic; I would also bring it in against other similarly paced beatdown decks without a ton of removal.

Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
 

While this deck certainly isn't devoid of noncreatures, with the swap of Call of the Conclave over to Kalonian Tusker, Thalia becomes a lot more palatable. She's good against control decks since she puts them behind a turn, and also slows down any other spell-heavy decks you might encounter—and all while putting 2 points of power onto the board.

Renounce the Guilds
 

Olivia Voldaren poses a large problem for this deck, and a Bant Hexproof suited-up Geist of Saint Traft isn't something you want to deal with either. If your opponent is playing a deck with pinpoint problematic multicolored permanents, this is a good choice for that. Remember that your Advent of the Wurm and Selesnya Charm tokens aren't multicolored, so this won't accidentally remove those.

Rootborn Defenses
 

Defenses is a nice card to have against control decks with a suite of board sweepers. In matchups that get extremely midrangey, it can even be reasonable to bring in one to set up a devastating combat. While this deck is already set up well to fight back against removal spells, this is another tool you can slide into your toolbox.

Scavenging Ooze
 

While normally you don't want to draw a glut of Oozes, since subsequent ones are considerably worse after the first has chewed through the material in the graveyard, against Reanimator you're happy to see multiples. Against midrange, it is nice to have a third to sideboard in as well.

Rest in Peace
 

While Scavenging Ooze helps against Reanimator as well, this is just one more card you can bring in to stave it off.

Ajani, Caller of the Pride
 

Against midrange and control decks, Planeswalkers are fantastic tools—midrange decks tend to break into board stalls and control decks can be short on ways to deal with them. Threats that generate an advantage as the game goes longer are exactly what you're looking for there, which makes me interested in a second copy of Ajani.

And there you have it! A full breakdown of the aggressive Selesnya deck.

If you're a green-white mage and looking to beat down, this is a great place to start. It's an archetype certainly worth considering for your next major event—whether a local tournament or even something like the World Magic Cup. Stay tuned to the coverage this weekend—I'll be excited to see if any green-white beatdown decks show up near the top tables!

Honorable Mentions

What were some of the top competitive-minded decks that weren't featured this week? Let's take a look!

Wilhelm Ericsson's Bant Elves

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Samuel Ellery's Aristocrats Curtain Call

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Yuri's Pyro-Delver

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Kyle Gascoigne's GW Hexproof

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Brian's Gruul Aggro

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Elliott Dent's Army of Thune

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Walter's RUG Gro

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ThetaTheSheep's Junk Midrange

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Andre Judd's Zombardment

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Modern on a Budget

I hope you enjoyed this take on something streamlined and competitive for Worlds Week. In two weeks, I'm going to take on another deck... and since Standard will have no doubt evolved by then, let's stay away from that. Instead, let's take a look at another format being used at Worlds: Modern! But this time, let's do something crazy and try to keep the decks budget-friendly.

Format: Modern
Restrictions: Your deck is on a budget. For a loose definition, consider budget to contain few rares and very few, if any, mythic rares.
Deadline: August 5, at 6 p.m. Pacific Time
Submit all decklists by clicking on "respond via email" below. Please submit decklists using the following template. (The specific numbers below are arbitrary, so please don't feel a need to use them—it's just how an example of how a decklist should look when laid out.)

YOURNAME's DECKNAME
Standard

20 Land
20 Land
4 Creature
4 Creature
4 Other Spell
4 Other Spell
4 Planeswalker

That's right—set your Tarmogoyfs aside. It's time for a budget Modern week! It's a challenge for sure, but I'm pretty excited to see what you all send in.

In the meantime, if you have any feedback, feel free to send it my way by posting in the forums or sending me a tweet. I'm always interested in hearing what you think!

I'll be following coverage from Amsterdam all this week—don't miss it! Be sure to tune in. There's going to be a lot of great Magic played. I know it's going to make for an incredible week-long extravaganza.

I'll be back next week with a very special ReConstructed you definitely won't want to miss. It's going to be pretty exciting—talk with you then!

Gavin
@GavinVerhey

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