MTGO Hero – Savage Beasts

There comes a time when every Magic player must decide whether he wants to keep playing the same deck or build a deck that might actually have a chance of winning. That was the decision I was faced with for the past couple of weeks, and I had finally decided to do something about it. I knew I wanted to try something new. The only question that remained was: What deck would it be?

Everyone in the community seemed to have an opinion on what I should be playing. Some of the suggestions were intriguing, others were awful, and all were appreciated.

Here are some of the choices that I decided against and my reasoning behind each:

Delver of Secrets
  • Mono-Blue Delver – I really liked this deck, and it was at the top of my list. The main drawback was that even though it was a budget version of Delver, I couldn’t afford all of the cards for it without selling off most of my MTGO Hero collection. There was also the minor fact that I had completely scrubbed out of Game Day with W/U Delver, and I wasn’t looking forward to a repeat.
  • W/B Tokens – This was mentioned by several players, and I honestly don’t get it. The real-world meta must be significantly different than online—while I was playing Humans, it seemed that every opponent played Ratchet Bomb in his sideboard. It seemed that the tokens deck would have all of the Human deck’s weaknesses and more of its own.
  • Zombies – I priced this deck out several different ways, but even the mono-black version was over 50 tickets. That was more than I could afford to invest in a deck that I had beaten ninety percent of the time with my Human deck.
  • Infect – I’ve seen this played many times, and it always seems the same. Good players rarely lose to it, and when they do, it is usually because the infect player was able to hit his combo early. It is fairly easy to disrupt, and once it is shut down, it is nearly impossible to recover. That being said, I considered this for a short time. There isn’t a deck in Standard that is able to kill quicker than this. I was also considering the prospects of adding Rancor after the release of Magic 2013 on Magic Online. In the end, cooler heads prevailed, and I was talked back down to earth by my buddy Jay Boosh.

Occasionally, my mind began to wander into the Magical Christmas Land of the brewer, but thankfully, Jay slapped some sense into me and brought me back to reality. I wanted and needed to build a deck that was capable of accomplishing my MTGO Hero goals. This wasn’t the time for testing rogue brews, and I couldn’t afford to build decks for testing purposes alone. I needed to find a deck that was powerful, inexpensive, and resilient. I decided that I was going to “go green!” Hey, it worked for Mark Ruffalo, right?

Going Green

So, why did I decide upon mono-green you ask? There are a few reasons:

  • The deck is relatively inexpensive. This means that if it isn’t successful, I will still have the ability to cut my losses. That would give me the opportunity to sell off the green cards and return to Humans—or possibly attempt infect after all.
  • Green is simply about big, dumb fatties powering in the damage. It may not always win, but it always stands a chance because its creature base is so strong.
  • Green has the ability to protect its creatures with abilities like hexproof, regeneration, and indestructibility; therefore, a green deck would be much more resistant to removal and even board wipes.
  • Playing a mono-colored deck meant that I would never need to worry about not having the right colors of lands in my opening hand. I would mulligan less as a result, which would definitely be a positive.
  • Rancor. I’ve never played with it, but it was incredibly powerful and scary in Return of the Jedi, so I knew it was going to be awesome in my deck. (It’s time for a rematch, Skywalker!)

I had decided on my deck, and now I needed to price out the cards. My remaining budget was 32.41 tickets, and I was able to sell my two remaining Avacyn Restored boosters for 3.30 tickets each, which left me with 39.01 tickets. I realized that I wasn’t going to be able to create the optimum build, so I priced out cards for the best build that I thought I could afford.

Here is what I came up with:

And here were the prices:

Creatures – 27 Ticket Cost Lands – 24 Ticket Cost
1 Acidic Slime 0.06 24 Forest 0
2 Bellowing Tanglewurm 0.06
4 Dungrove Elder 7.40 Sideboard – 15
4 Llanowar Elves 0.08 2 Beast Within 2.06
3 Predator Ooze 5.04 3 Crushing Vines 0.09
4 Strangleroot Geist 1.00 2 Naturalize 0
4 Viridian Emissary 0.32 2 Overrun 0.06
3 Wolfir Avenger 0.27 3 Ratchet Bomb 3.00
2 Wolfir Silverheart 4.20 3 Sheltering Word 0.06
Spells – 9
3 Green Sun's Zenith 18.33
2 Prey Upon 0.06
4 Revenge of the Hunted 2.68

Total deck cost in tickets: 44.77

Okay, so maybe I wasn’t able to afford it after all. I would need to sell off some of the Human cards. When I thought about it, this was probably a good idea since many of them would be rotating before too long, and I didn’t want to be stuck with worthless cards post-rotation. I needed enough tickets to not only buy the deck, but also be able to play in a couple events. I knew that I could get more for my cards if I posted in the classifieds and was patient, so that is exactly what I did.

These are the cards I decided to part with and how much I was able to get for them:

Card Name Sold for (In Tickets)
4 Mirran Crusader 4.00
4 Honor of the Pure 4.00
1 Island (Promo Unhinged) 2.00
4 Sunpetal Grove 2.00
4 Razorverge Thicket 4.00
3 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben 4.00
Total tickets from card sales: 20.00

It took a long time, but I finally found buyers and was able to acquire the badly needed tickets. It was almost sad seeing Mirran Crusader and Honor of the Pure go, as they had done a great deal of work for me over the past several weeks; however, I was hyped to move on to bigger and better things.

I was aware of the fact that the Crusaders I had just sold—and which had won me many games by themselves—might just come back to kill me in the end. I also chose to completely ignore those thoughts. Life is full of bitter irony, but there is no point in dwelling on it.

I built the deck but had very little time to play-test it. When the time to enter another Daily Event finally arrived, I knew one thing: This deck actually felt pretty good to play.

Standard 4-RND (Event #3891055)

Round 1 vs. Mono-Green

Strangleroot Geist
Game 1 – Considering the fact that I don’t believe I had ever played against mono-green in an actual tournament, I found it amusing that the first deck I played against in the event was a mirror. Well . . . almost.

My opponent was a very cool guy whom I know from Twitter, @piggyboy1. He was running the Fight Club version of mono-green (oops, I just broke rule number one), and he had a board full of dudes before I even knew what was going on. By turn six, he had two Birds of Paradise, a Llanowar Elves, a Borderland Ranger, a Dungrove Elder, two Strangleroot Geists, an Ulvenwald Tracker, and a Viridian Corrupter in play. Thankfully, he only had two Forests, so his Dungrove Elder wasn’t a threat . . . yet. My board was slightly less impressive with a Viridian Emissary, a Predator Ooze, a Dungrove Elder, and a Bellowing Tanglewurm. I did have five Forests, so my Dungrove Elder and more powerful creatures were holding him off.


Ulvenwald Tracker
He used the Tracker’s ability to make his Corrupter fight my Ooze—goodbye, indestructible blocker. This was a reminder that attacking with indestructible Oozes before they die is a smart thing to do. Fortunately, he didn’t attack me—I was holding two Revenge of the Hunted. I was able to play one on my Dungrove Elder on my next turn, and he tapped down his mana creatures in response. His other creatures were forced to block, but his Viridian Corrupter did its infect work on my Elder with two -1/-1 counters. He then played a Bellowing Tanglewurm on his turn.

This is where I made the worst misplay of all time. I didn’t draw a seventh land. Instead, I drew Llanowar Elves. With Prey Upon and Revenge of the Hunted in my hand, I decided it was best to play Llanowar Elves and Prey Upon his tapped Ulvenwald Tracker. I mean, what’s the worst that could happen by waiting one more turn, right?

My opponent cast Revenge of the Hunted on his Tanglewurm and attacked with everything. That forced me to block with all my creatures and trade them all for his one Tanglewurm. His Geists dropped me to 11 life. I needed to draw any blocker large enough to stop his creatures, and I could have still won with the Revenge of the Hunted I was holding. I drew a land.

Game record: 0–1

It was a very fun game, and I was glad I was playing against a cool guy to boot. I should definitely have built up the Ooze even if it meant taking a few damage, but I would know better next time. This was my first experience using the card, and it would take some getting used to.

+2 Overrun
+2 Sheltering Word
−2 Bellowing Tanglewurm
−2 Llanowar Elves

Game 2 – That game, my opponent had a solid board with two Dungrove Elders, a Strangleroot Geist, a Birds of Paradise, and four Forests. I had a Llanowar Elves, Predator Ooze, and Wolfir Silverheart paired with the Ooze. I also had Overrun, which I played, and my opponent graciously conceded.

Game record: 1–1

+1 Llanowar Elves
−1 Sheltering Word

Game 3 – Things definitely didn’t start off looking good for me, as my opponent had Birds, Llanowar, Tracker, and Borderland Ranger in play before I even played my first creature. That being said, I was still quite happy with my hand, and I was able to stabilize with a Dungrove Elder and Predator Ooze.

Wolfir Silverheart
My opponent turned up the heat with a Wolfir Silverheart, and I was beginning to wonder how I was going to be able to pull out of that situation. He attacked with his Silverheart and Ranger. I blocked the Wolf and took 6 damage from the Ranger, which put me down to 6 life. I was granted a miracle in the form of Revenge of the Hunted, which allowed me to make my Dungrove Elder into an 11/11. I attacked with the Elder, which forced him to block with the Tracker. After taking damage, he was at 11 life, and I played Prey Upon targeting my Elder and his Silverheart. The Silverheart died, and I played another Ooze for additional protection.

My opponent was still holding me off, but then played another Silverheart targeting his Birds and attacked over my beasts for 4 damage in the air. I was down to 2 life, but I had Overrun in hand and played it, forcing my opponent to block with his two remaining creatures. For some reason, my brain didn’t register the fact that if he traded his Silverheart for my Elder, it would remove the pairing from his Birds, and I knew I couldn’t do enough to kill him this turn. I said “GG” to my opponent, but I waited for him to finish me off.

That is exactly why we don’t concede until we are dead. Being tired often makes us do stupid things, and it made me miss the fact that his only remaining creature would once again be a 0/1. Still, he did have his draw step, but apparently, he drew a dead card, and he conceded.

Game record: 2–1

Match record: 1–0

What a fun round, and not only because I won! It was a great battle and a good time playing against someone whom I actually knew.

I made a pretty bad misplay in the first game, but overall, I felt that I was becoming more comfortable with the deck. The match could have gone either way, but fortune was on my side in that round.

Round 2 vs. W/B Control

Isolated Chapel
Game 1 – My opponent’s Plains and Isolated Chapel weren’t enough for me to make a decision on what he was playing—he never drew a third land. On his last turn, he discarded a Lingering Souls, so I assumed he was playing either W/B tokens or Esper. I was very wrong.

Game record: 1–0

+2 Overrun
−2 Prey Upon

Game 2 – Pristine Talisman was my opponent’s early play, and it was followed by Black Sun's Zenith. Solemn Simulacrums held what was left of my creatures at bay, but I was able to get through them thanks to a Revenge of the Hunted. That mattered little, however, as my opponent cast back-to-back Sorin's Vengeance to put the game away quickly.

Game record: 1–1

+2 Sheltering Word
−2 Overrun

Sorin's Vengeance
Game 3 – My first creature in play was a Predator Ooze, which was immediately killed by a Black Sun's Zenith. That opened the door for a Dungrove Elder and Llanowar Elves. My opponent had no answer, and on my next turn, I played Wolfir Silverheart, pairing with my Elder, and attacked. He played another Black Sun's Zenith just to weaken my fatties with three -1/-1 counters each. It wasn’t enough to stop me, and I won soon after.

Game record: 2–1

Match record: 2–0

The deck looked good so far. It was doing what I wanted it to do, and my beefy creatures were pounding through with serious damage. If I didn’t give up, it seemed that I always had a fair chance. That is something I can really appreciate.

Round 3 vs. Naya

Restoration Angel
Game 1 – It turns out that a Wolfir Silverheart paired with a Restoration Angel is a very powerful thing. Who knew? While our ground creatures clogged the board, a 7/8 Angel was pounding my face from above. I never drew an answer and met my fate quickly.

Game record: 0–1

+2 Overrun
+2 Crushing Vines
+1 Sheltering Word
−2 Bellowing Tanglewurm
−3 Green Sun’s Zenith

Game 2 – I had to mulligan a one-land hand that had no turn-one play. I then unwisely kept a five-land hand, which had only one creature . . . because that creature was a Wolfir Silverheart. My thought was that any creature I drew would be fine because the Silverheart would put on serious pressure with another creature in play.

I drew a Llanowar Elves that was quickly killed. I then continued drawing lands and more lands. The Silverheart didn’t have a creature to pair with and was killed immediately. GG.

Game record: 0–2

Match record: 2–1

Naya is already very tough to beat. Naya plus mana-flooding equals quick death.

Round 4 vs. R/G Aggro

This started out as a great match, as we split the first two games. Unfortunately, I found myself mana-flooded once again. The only creatures my opponent had to attack with were two Inkmoth Nexus. If I would have drawn anything other than the six lands I drew in a row, I could have put up a fight, but my opponent drew his win condition first—in the form of Kessig Wolf Run.

Game record: 1–2

Match record: 2–2

Wrapping Up

I must admit that I was fairly disappointed in the way the event ended, but I felt really good about the performance of the deck. That was the important thing, and I kept that in mind. I am already looking forward to next week’s tournament, and I am not going to let a small setback bring me down.

In other news, I want to share a link to a web comic created by Polish Tomales for the FNM Hero himself, Jonathan Medina. The comic is guest starring yours truly and can be found here. Thanks to both of them for including me in the fun!

Stay tuned for next week, where you’ll discover what I’ve learned from a thirteen-year-old MTGenius.

– Tangent was here . . .