Song of the Dryads

Posted in Top Decks on October 31, 2014

By Luis Scott-Vargas

Luis Scott-Vargas plays, writes, and makes videos about Magic. He has played on the Pro Tour for almost a decade, and between that and producing content for ChannelFireball, often has his hands full (of cards).

Even though I don't play a ton of Commander these days (I have a Dralnu, Lich Lord deck that I torment people with at Prereleases), I like seeing all the new cards in the Commander set each year. Not only is it interesting to look at and think about new Magic cards, even Magic cards I may not use myself, there are often cards that have a solid impact on Eternal formats (Flusterstorm and Scavenging Ooze spring to mind).

The card I'm looking at today has grown on me since I first saw it. It is definitely more complex than it looks, and it has a lot of interesting uses. Before I continue my song and dance, though, let's take a look at the card:

Song of the Dryads gives green something it rarely has access to, which is unconditional removal for any permanent. Desert Twister gives us precedent for this, but costing half as much is a big deal. This does leave the opponent with a Forest, which he or she can and will tap for mana, but we've seen that drawback before:

Path to Exile is a card that has seen a ton of play in all formats, although all without being completely unfair. Song of the Dryads is to Oblivion Ring as Path to Exile is to Swords to Plowshares, and all four of these cards are very strong. Giving your opponent a small benefit in exchange for a massive cost discount is more than worth it, and Song of the Dryads is as unconditional of removal as it gets. It can even hit lands, disabling such things as Maze of Ith or Karakas, giving you additional options beyond even Oblivion Ring.

There are a number of green decks in Legacy that might be interested in singing this song; decks such as this one:

Shardless Sultai

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Song isn't the kind of card you need a ton of, but having access to removal that kills anything is what midrange and control tend to want. You never know what you are going to play against in Legacy, and having outs to cards like Moat, Energy Field, Ensnaring Bridge, and Sneak Attack (as well as the run-of-the-mill Tarmogoyfs and Counterbalances that you should expect) is very important. Letting the green-based decks cover their bases without going all the way to Desert Twister is pretty sweet, as the prevalence of Wasteland really gives you incentive not to play any more colors than you need to. Decks that try to go long do need solutions to corner-case cards, and there's no format with more of those than Legacy.

Elves is another deck that might have cause to serenade its opponents, although that's definitely more of a sideboard option than main-deck choice. Combo decks don't usually look to main deck removal spells, but having a sideboard removal spell that deals with anything is something they might be interested in.

Take this Elves deck:

Jessenator's Elves

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I think it's worth trying 1–2 Song of the Dryads in the sideboard, as they deal with many of the cards Elves doesn't like to see. Abrupt Decay does cover most bases, but if cards that cost more mana become popular, having an additional failsafe is always nice.

Song of the Dryads | Art by Lars Grant-West

Song of the Dryads is the kind of card I like having around. It doesn't enable new decks, but it is a versatile and powerful option for all sorts of existing archetypes. Having this available is going to make Legacy that much richer, and I'm happy for it.


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