Paupers and Kings, Ep. 2: Mono-Green Stompy

Hi everyone, and welcome to the second episode of Paupers & Kings, my series on porting Pauper decks into the Modern format while staying on a budget.

Today we’re looking at the winner of Season 2 of the Pauper Gauntlet, Mono-Green Stompy.

Why Stompy?

Since it is a mono-colored list, we immediately get some bang out of our buck in Modern by skipping on Fetch lands and other expensive mana sources. It also makes the list very consistent. Play a forest, play a dude, beat face. Stompy is a real contender in Pauper, but doesn’t really make events in Modern right now. We’ll take a look at why that might be a little further down the page.

Strengths of Stompy

  • Like Zoo, Stompy aims to have creatures with great stats for the cost
  • Unlike Zoo, Stompy never has to worry about having the wrong land to play or buff its creatures. It’s very consistent.
  • Stompy is great at delivering early pressure, getting the opponent low on life in the early game

Weaknesses of Stompy

  • Works on a single axis, attack with creatures; if that doesn’t work, you’re out of luck
  • Weak against life gain
  • Prone to clogged board states, has no way to punch through effectively in the end-game

Stompy in Pauper

After 13 grueling rounds, Dan just called Season 2 of the Pauper Gauntlet to a close, and guess who won?

That’s right, with only Burn and Stompy left going into the 2-man rounds, Stompy emerged victorious. This is the list that Dan played, which is from Chris Weaver and detailed in another article on our site.

[c]Hunger of the Howlpack[/c] is one of my favorite cards in green creature strategies, and I’m happy to see some in this list. Otherwise it’s got all your favorite green dudes and rocking pump spells.

Here is the list:

[d title=”Stompy by cweaver (Pauper)”]
Lands
17 Forest

Creatures
4 Quirion Ranger
4 Nettle Sentinel
4 Young Wolf
4 Skarrgan Pit-Skulk
4 Garruk’s Companion
2 Shinen of Life’s Roar
3 Wild Mongrel

Spells
4 Rancor
4 Vines of Vastwood
4 Groundswell
3 Gather Courage
3 Hunger of the Howlpack

Sideboard
3 Nourish
1 Bonesplitter
3 Gleeful Sabotage
1 Viridian Longbow
4 Scattershot Archer
3 Spore Frog [/d]

Chris was one of the few people to run [c]Garruk’s Companion[/c] at the time, but more lists have picked it up since then. Getting a 3/2 beater for {G}{G} is already pretty good; getting trample in the mix is a bonus. Stompy can have issues getting around / over blocks after the first few turns; guys like this, and Pit-Skulk, and Shinen, help make sure that the list doesn’t stall out.

One of my favorite plays is sticking a Hunger on Pit-Skulk, delivering an unblockable 5/5 in most match-ups, and GG from your opponent unless they’re packing non-damage-based removal.

The only price sticking point in Stompy, from a Pauper perspective, is [c]Nettle Sentinel[/c], who is currently running at $1.41. Honestly, though, just buy him. That elf is a rockstar and he will make your Stompy deck that much better. You won’t find a better 1-CMC 2/2 in the format.

Stompy in Modern

Alright, so we know that Stompy is good in Pauper. But can we brew up a good Modern port that doesn’t break the bank? We can certainly achieve the latter part; whether or not the list is any good, though, is up for debate. Here is what I came up with.

[d title=”Budget Stompy by bava (Modern)”]
Land
2 Treetop Village
4 Rootbound Crag
16 Forest

Creatures
4 Dryad Militant
4 Experiment One
4 Kalonian Tusker
4 Leatherback Baloth
4 Strangleroot Geist
2 Predator Ooze
2 Kitchen Finks
2 Garruk’s Companion

Spells
2 Aspect of Hydra
4 Rancor
4 Vines of Vastwood
2 Prey Upon

Sideboard
3 Choke
3 Back to Nature
3 Ancient Grudge
2 Prey Upon
2 Nylea’s Disciple
1 Gut Shot
1 Dismember [/d]

If there’s an expensive card in this list, it’s because I already owned copies. Otherwise I started with the primer over on Salvation and took out anything that cost too much. The result may be that I went too budget to remain competitive.

The list above is very nearly a Silverblack list. We lost [c]Thrun[/c] and [c]Scavenging Ooze[/c] from the main, and [c]Creeping Corrosion[/c] from the board. I’ve seen [c]Dungrove Elder[/c] in lists as well, and think he would be a good addition at least as a 2x. We have 6x creature slots to work with if we take out Predator Ooze, Finks, and Companion.

Even then, though, the main weakness of this list remains. It only attacks on one axis, and if your opponent is prepared to deal with a creature strategy, at all, you may be completely out of luck. There’s aren’t any tricks up Stompy’s sleeves in Modern and, for whatever reason, it lacks some of that punch-through that Pauper Stompy gets with Pit-Skulk and Shinen.

My recommendation?

If you want to play Stompy in Modern, keep the list cheap and play for funsies. Otherwise, I suggest one of two alternatives that remain Stompy-esque.

Mono-Green Devotion

Kind of looks like Stompy, but works much, much differently. Here is a list from Michael Jacob’s excellent article at SCG.

[d title=”Mono-Green Devotion by Michael Jacob (Modern)”]
Creatures
4 Arbor Elf
2 Birds of Paradise
4 Burning-Tree Emissary
1 Craterhoof Behemoth
4 Eternal Witness
2 Joraga Treespeaker
3 Primeval Titan
3 Wistful Selkie
1 Wolfbriar Elemental

Planeswalkers
4 Garruk Wildspeaker

Lands
8 Forest
1 Kessig Wolf Run
2 Misty Rainforest
2 Stomping Ground
4 Verdant Catacombs
4 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx

Spells
2 Abundant Growth
4 Utopia Sprawl
3 Genesis Wave
2 Primal Command

Sideboard
2 Spellskite
1 Scavenging Ooze
2 Ancient Grudge
1 Beast Within
1 Combust
1 Dismember
1 Nature’s Claim
2 Creeping Corrosion
1 Primal Command
2 Ghost Quarter
1 Boseiju, Who Shelters All [/d]

We lose anything that resembles “budget” in this list, but if you want to go Mono Green in Modern, I think this is your best bet. If you want to stay cheap and don’t mind mixing your colors, slightly, then I think Gruul Aggro is another excellent alternative to mono-green Stompy.

Gruul Aggro

We were seeing Gruul Aggro lists make events for awhile. Then Wild Nacatl was unbanned, and people who were playing Gruul mostly switched over to Zoo as the aggro list of choice. And hey, Zoo is a fine choice, but the competitive lists aren’t budget at all, running all the fetch lands and shock lands and [c]Tarmogoyf[/c] to boot.

Even so, Gruul remains the strong core of Zoo. Kird Ape is a 1-CMC 2/3. Wild Nacatl is a 2/2 even without a Plains in our list. Something like this list is a good place to start.

[d title=”Gruul Aggro (Modern)”]
Creatures
4 Burning-Tree Emissary
4 Experiment One
4 Flinthoof Boar
4 Ghor-Clan Rampager
4 Goblin Guide
2 Grim Lavamancer
4 Kird Ape
4 Stormblood Berserker

Spells
1 Dismember
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Rancor
2 Vines of Vastwood

Land
4 Arid Mesa
4 Copperline Gorge
1 Forest
4 Misty Rainforest
2 Mountain
4 Stomping Ground

Sideboard
2 Arc Trail
2 Burning-Tree Shaman
2 Dismember
2 Molten Rain
3 Skullcrack
2 Smash to Smithereens
2 Vines of Vastwood [/d]

Gruul tends to have more reach than just running green on its own. [c]Ghor-Clan Rampager[/c] adds +4/+4 and trample and can’t be countered, and 4x [c]Lightning Bolt[/c] can clear a blocker or go for the face. If we’re off budget here it’s because of the mana base, which becomes even more important because you not only need your land to cast spells, but cards like Flinthoof Boar and Kird Ape also care what kind of land you have in play.

[c]Stomping Ground[/c] beats our budget lands in that it comes into play untapped, gives us both colors of mana, and counts as a Forest and a Mountain. It’s also $4 a pop.

My recommendation is just to run mostly basics and 4x [c]Evolving Wilds[/c] to help ensure a little more consistency. If you want to take out Goblin Guide, run 1x Plains and 4x [c]Wild Nacatl[/c]. You lose your turn one Shock and mess with your mana a bit, but a potential 1-CMC 3/3 is strong and the cat warrior remains just 15 cents.

If you don’t want [c]Dismember[/c] then you could run the much worse [c]Flame Slash[/c] or the slightly more CMC-expensive [c]Pit Fight[/c].

On the Play

So how do these look in play? I took them both out for three matches, and the results speak for themselves. Check out the playlist.

 

As expected, Pauper Stompy rocked. Modern Stompy? Not as much. There are a couple matches in there with an old Gruul Aggro list I had together at the end, so check those out if you want to see how Gruul compares, even in an older meta.

Next Week on Paupers & Kings

Two weeks in, what’s next? We have lots more great crossover potential, including Goblins, Burn, Delver, Tron, and others. Which lists do you want to see me try out? Let me know down in the comments.

Until then, may your Hungers always resolve for +3/+3.

/bava