Unified Will: Mono-Green Poison

Hi all,

The goal of the first in this article series, published as often as [c]Inspiration[/c] permits, is to expand a single strategy into multiple eternal formats (Vintage, Legacy, Modern, and Pauper) for players who either:

1) Want to try player run events in a new format.

2) Are unable to play their favorite format in dailies because of the awkward event schedule (spoiler alert, keep this in mind).

I want the strategies to be competitive, and the budgets will range from $100 for three formats to $200, or of course their equivalent in tickets. For ease of the process, I will simply plug all of the cards into one online vendor, but of course know that using penny bots and shopping around will save money.

Interestingly, sharing a strategy between formats is more difficult than it looks. Consider Goblins, for example. Since Vintage Masters has been released, the deck has plummeted in value, so the time is right to buy in. Here is a list that posted 3-1 in 2 Legacy Dailies this past month:

[d title=”Jrickard Goblins”]

Lands

2 Bloodstained Mire

20 Mountain

Creatures

4 Gempalm Incinerator

2 Goblin Chieftain

4 Goblin Lackey

4 Goblin Matron

4 Goblin Piledriver

4 Goblin Ringleader

1 Goblin Sharpshooter

4 Goblin Warchief

1 Krenko, Mob Boss

2 Siege-Gang Commander

1 Skirk Prospector

1 Tuktuk Scrapper

Other Spells

4 Aether Vial

2 Tarfire[/d]

Now for $60, you really can’t do much better in Legacy. This deck has so much reach, with uncounterable creatures (personally, I’d take [c]Cavern of Souls[/c] over [c]Bloodstained Mire[/c], but I’m not the one making money on the list), [c]Goblin Ringleader[/c], and the four [c]Goblin Matron[/c] for tutoring. This isn’t like your Modern aggro list; I’ve won a surprising number of games in practice against Nic Fit loaded with [c]Pernicious Deed[/c], [c]Terminus[/c] miracles, and other decks that go for the long game. Still, it can stand toe-to-toe with Dredge and Burn as well, which you’re going to have to be ready for in events today.

So what’s the problem, then? Well, when you port this to Modern, you’ll find that you share 2 cards: 2 [c]Goblin Chieftain[/c]. This is very disappointing. Actually, due to the differences in the lists, I think Modern Goblins, with its [c]Goblin Guide[/c], [c]Goblin Bushwhacker[/c], and [c]Shared Animosity[/c] have some things to learn here and should be going mid-range, especially considering how good [c]Blood Moon[/c] is in the format. But I digress.

The point here is that we want to try and have an archetype that shares as many cards as possible between formats, and the first answer is Poison.

Mono-Green Poison has been quite infectious online lately.* Some time earlier in the year, results of a $35 deck peaked the attention of quite a few players, and very little innovation has been required for the deck to top 8 a number of Modern Premier Events, winning one, and routinely cashing in dailies as well. I myself won at least a booster box of Theros block packs with the deck in 2-man and 8-man queues and 2 daily events (I am an example of the #2 reason above).

*I actually changed the title from “Mono Green Infect” to “Mono Green Poison” for this pun. Nailed it.

Here is the list I used to pay for a playset of Noble Hierarchs:

[d title=”Mono Green Infect”]

Lands

1 Cathedral of War

14 Forest

4 Inkmoth Nexus

1 Pendelhaven

Creatures

4 Glistener Elf

4 Ichorclaw Myr

4 Noble Hierarch

Other spells

4 Apostle’s Blessing

4 Giant Growth

4 Groundswell

4 Mutagenic Growth

4 Rancor

4 Sylvan Scrying

4 Vines of Vastwood

Sideboard

4 Dismember

4 Nature’s Claim

2 Spellskite

4 Tormod’s Crypt

1 Viridian Corrupter[/d]

This list parted ways in a few areas from the Infect standard floating around. I asked myself, “What happens when we throw money on a budget list?” And played 4 Hierarch main and 2 Spellskite in the side. I won’t talk about this list much because it isn’t the final we’re going with, but I will explain a few choices.

First of all, the Hierarch won me a handful of games against opponents that did not value their life total. One or two [c]Rancor[/c], a handful of pump, and a couple exalted triggers, and the opponent was toast, even with [c]Melira, Sylvok Outcast[/c] or what have you. Beyond that, Hierarch developed my board, gave me extra green mana (something the deck is hungry for when going off), allowed me to play turn 2 [c]Sylvan Scrying[/c] and drop the [c]Inkmoth Nexus[/c].

That brings me to the next distinguished card: [c]Sylvan Scrying[/c]. This is practically [c]Demonic Tutor[/c] here. Want protection from [c]Electrolyze[/c], [c]Pyroclasm[/c], or [c]Grim Lavamancer[/c]? [c]Pendelhaven[/c]. Want pump? [c]Cathedral of War[/c]. Most importantly, want the most effective win condition in your deck? [c]Inkmoth Nexus[/c].

Still, this list isn’t inherently optimal. A lot of the differences you see in Mono Green Infect lists simply are based on play-style. The [c]Noble Hierarch[/c] does make you softer to [c]Zealous Persecution[/c], [c]Electrolyze[/c], and mass removal, which is relevant, so that expenditure isn’t necessary.

Here, instead, is a more stock list, which is significantly more budget-friendly:

[d title=”Modern Mono Green Infect”]

Land

4 Cathedral of War

13 Forest

4 Inkmoth Nexus

1 Pendelhaven

Creatures

4 Glistener Elf

4 Ichorclaw Myr

Other spells

4 Apostle’s Blessing

2 Dismember

4 Giant Growth

4 Groundswell

4 Mutagenic Growth

4 Rancor

4 Sylvan Scrying

4 Vines of Vastwood

Sideboard

1 Creeping Corrosion

2 Dismember

2 Guttural Response

4 Nature’s Claim

2 Ranger’s Guile

4 Tormod’s Crypt[/d]

Here are a few tips with playing the deck, from the beginning of the game until the end.

Mulligan until you have a creature in hand, as if you were playing Bogles.

On the first turn on the play, not knowing what you’re up against, it is better to play [c]Cathedral of War[/c] than [c]Glistener Elf[/c]. I may get some disagreement here from people, but I think a turn 2 Elf representing [c]Apostle’s Blessing[/c] than an attempt to win early and just lose your condition. On the draw, when you see a blue mana source, it is probably better to play the Elf before your opponent has counter mana available.

Before you make a land drop, consider how much you need, and that a [c]Groundswell[/c] may pop up later.

Don’t [c]Pendelhaven[/c] or otherwise pump your creature first unless you can win. Your pump doubles as protection.

Wait until you have enough pump in hand plus an [c]Apostle’s Blessing[/c] or [c]Vines of Vastwood[/c] before going off. Remember that [c]Apostle’s Blessing[/c] also makes your creature unblockable in a lot of situations, but be wary of things like [c]Vendilion Clique[/c].

This is actually a midrange combo deck that, when against Tron, Storm, Ad Nauseam, etc. shifts into the turns 2-3 combo deck.

Every game, just side out the 4 [c]Mutagenic Growth[/c] for 4 cards that fit except against Affinity and Burn, where you also side out the 2 [c]Dismember[/c]. Over-sideboarding can really hurt your plan.

When porting to Legacy, however, we simply have to go for it. This is an especially nice time to go for it because Vintage Masters has given us [c]Berserk[/c] at a ridiculously low price. Here is my submission for a turn 2 combo Mono Green Infect deck in Legacy:

[d title=”Legacy Mono Green Infect”]

Land

1 Dryad Arbor

14 Forest

4 Inkmoth Nexus

1 Pendelhaven

Creatures

4 Elvish Spirit Guide

4 Glistener Elf

Other Spells

4 Apostle’s Blessing

4 Berserk

4 Crop Rotation

4 Green Sun’s Zenith

4 Groundswell

4 Invigorate

4 Rancor

4 Vines of Vastwood

Sideboard

1 Bojuka Bog

1 Ghost Quarter

2 Guttural Response

4 Nature’s Claim

2 Ranger’s Guile

1 Sylvan Safekeeper

1 Tormod’s Crypt

3 Viridian Corrupter[/d]

Now we see between the two lists that we share 47/75 cards, and besides the [c]Elvish Spirit Guide[/c] playset, we don’t have to invest much more money. The core cards of the Legacy combo are actually quite cheap: [c]Berserk[/c], [c]Invigorate[/c], and [c]Crop Rotation[/c].

This deck aims to be much faster than the Modern version; it has to be. [c]Crop Rotation[/c] can work as a creature in your opening hand, but it is best to find [c]Inkmoth Nexus[/c], [c]Glistener Elf[/c], or [c]Green Sun’s Zenith[/c].  Turn 2 or 3, play [c]Invigorate[/c] and [c]Berserk[/c]. As always, a few tips:

Remember to rotate your [c]Inkmoth Nexus[/c] for another if their removal does get through.

Be wary of [c]Terminus[/c]. When you have the budget, move for [c]Bayou[/c] and [c]Abrupt Decay[/c].

Use [c]Bojuka Bog[/c] at instant speed during your Dredge opponent’s draw phase, before they’re able to cast [c]Cabal Therapy[/c].

The deck’s good matchups are Dredge and Burn, which is good, because these two are played quite frequently online right now. It seems counterintuitive that a deck depending on low-toughness creatures would be good against Burn, but in practice, I always know that I’m going to win whenever the Burn player starts focusing on my creatures. It spreads his offensive too thin.

And finally, if we want to queue up another event or enter a Player Run Event on a new night, we move to Pauper. A lot of our cards are common, after all.

[d title=”Pauper Mono Green Infect”]

Land

18 Forest

Creatures

2 Cystbearer

4 Glistener Elf

4 Ichorclaw Myr

4 Llanowar Augur

2 Rot Wolf

Other Spells

4 Apostle’s Blessing

4 Giant Growth

4 Groundswell

4 Mutagenic Growth

2 Predator’s Strike

4 Rancor

4 Vines of Vastwood

Sideboard

1 Corpse Cur

2 Fog

4 Hornet Sting

4 Nature’s Claim

1 Nourish

2 Pistus Strike

1 Tormod’s Crypt[/d]

*Deck has been edited for format legality and per suggestions of someone with more format experience.

This deck operates between the two others and can take the early combo role or the longer protective role. The biggest difference between the formats is the number of Edict effects in Pauper make your creatures more vulnerable; in other formats, [c]Ranger’s Guile[/c], [c]Vines of Vastwood[/c], and [c]Apostle’s Blessing[/c] save you.

What is our grand total, then, to play Infect in three formats? Well, the cost of the Modern deck that has been placing is $53.40.

As of July 11, 2014, the grand total for all three decks is $83.43. We only added $30 to have a strong option in two other formats.

The fun, number, though, is the cost shared between Modern and Legacy: $33.66. If you want to play Legacy on a budget, essentially you can have a Modern deck for $20 of leftover costs.

In the next article we will bring Burn in three formats. Where this article is geared to the Johnnies and Timmies, the Burn article is for Spikes, grinders, and lovers of the double queue. In the meantime, thanks for your time and comments!

-Drinkard

[email protected]

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