Brewer’s Kitchen: Mono Green Nuts (Historic)
Hello there, this is Brewer’s Kitchen. Long time Magic player and jank enthusiast. Do you ever feel like your games on Arena take too long? Well do I have some news for you! How about casting an Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger or attacking for 47 on turn three? That should get the job done. But how are we going to pull this off? The recipe is pretty easy: This deck and a bit of luck!
To cast a 10 drop on turn three we need some serious ramp and most of all we need a nut draw – the most explosive opening hand a deck could have! Most of the time, that’s an incredibly aggressive curve or the fastest way to pull off a combo. Our deck is very dependent on the opening hand that one card literally mentions this on its text. Leyline of Abundance.
If you draw a Leyline in your opening hand you can start the game with it on the battlefield. It makes your mana generating creatures tap for an additional and also serves as a mana sink later in the game. Now we just need a critical amount of mana creatures and payoffs.
We play a total of 12 mana dorks and the full playset of Nissa, Who Shakes the World to animate lands.
Once we got all this abundance of mana we need something to spend it on. Luckily the latest Historic Anthology gave us Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger. An indestructible 10-drop that exiles two permanents whilst casting. We can also just cast a Finale of Devastation to get End-Raze Forerunners for an insanely lethal attack. Another way to spend our resources are our mana sinks Nylea, Keen-Eyed and Biogenic Ooze.
Even More Ramp
With all these payoffs we can always use some more mana. Cavalier of Thorns gets us an additional land. Nyxbloom Ancient triples our mana. And Growing Rites of Itlimoc flips into a Gaea’s Cradle producing stupendous amounts of mana.
If we are lucky and have two Leylines (6.32% chance) and a one-drop in our opening hand we can play a five-drop on turn two. If that five-drop is a Nissa we have enough mana to cast an Ulamog on turn three.
More likely we have one Leyline (39.9% chance) and a couple of mana dorks to play on turn one and two. I this case turn three is when it gets… Nuts! This article will have a whole section on chances to draw certain nut draws. But let’s first see how all of this works in practice.
As always I’ve done a video where I take the deck through some matches. If you want to read all about the cards and different nut draws first just scroll by this section but be sure to check out the video afterwards. It is one thing theorycrafting about possible nut draws but it is a thing of beauty to see it in action.
In my video I go over the stats that I’ve come up with after playing this deck in ranked. My winrate was pretty insane for such a luck dependent deck. At this point I climbed up to Diamond and aiming for Mythic this season. My winrate this season dropped down to 66% (50-26) which is a bit more reasonable. My winrate on the draw dropped down to 55% (at the time of recording my video this was at 75%). I played two more Nyxbloom Ancients to abuse our mana sinks, and now with Ulamog in Arena our winrate increased drastically (as you’d expect from a 10-drop of this power level).
We still crush Gruul Aggro almost every game. I assume this is due to their inability to interact with our creatures on turn one. If we resolve an early Biogenic Ooze it quickly outgrows their threats. Another huge advantage in the matchup is Nylea. Once she is a creature Gruul cannot deal with her.
Note that I’ve played mostly BO1 this season due to recording videos. I’m still working on the sideboard so it is not included in the decklist. Later in the article I will go over some options that helped me to combat control decks which are our worst matchup.
Full Decklist Breakdown
Before we get into some of the nut draws let’s talk about every card in the deck individually:
Llanowar Elves: The classic mana dork and also our best play on turn one. A good hand always has a one drop in this deck. And most of the time the elf is the better option over a goose.
Gilded Goose: The other one drop. Its toughness protects it from Goblin Chainwhirler triggers, but the fact that you need Food to activate it makes this way worse if you just try to goldfish your way into an Ulamog. Later in the game it’s relevant again since it is the only source of lifegain in this deck.
Growing Rites of Itlimoc: On its front side this is just a Seek the Wilds without finding lands. But flips into a Gaea’s Cradle (that still taps for even if you have no creatures). With eight one-drops, Nissa and Biogenic Ooze it is fairly easy to flip this. If you have this and two other creatures in play and play the Ooze be sure to set a stop on your endstep. If you stack the triggers right you can activate the Ooze with the Cradle before the Ooze trigger resolves. This way your new token gets a counter right away.
Leyline of Abundance: You really only want these in your opening hand. Later in the game they are worth playing for ramp and Devotion. It’s activated ability is expensive but sometimes it’s a valid win condition to just pump your team a bunch of times and make your elves and gooses into threats.
Nylea, Keen-Eyed: Nylea has proved herself to be one of the most powerful cards in this deck. With the Leylines you often have enough Devotion for her to be a creature right away. A lot of aggro decks struggle with a 5/6 indestructible threat. Her activated ability is great to dig though your deck once you get the mana machine rolling and making your creatures cost less is additional ramp itself for Ulamog and the likes. You can often play her on turn two with a one-drop and a Leyline, and you only need one more Devotion for her to be a creature on turn three.
Nissa, Who Shakes the World: Nissa is the one that pushes this deck from a fun jank brew into a legit tier deck (tier two in my opinion). With her on the battlefield every Forest taps for an additional . An animated Forest with her and a Leyline in play taps for which is pretty absurd. Look out for a hand with two Leylines, a one-drop and a Nissa. This one casts a Nissa on turn two setting you up for a turn three Ulamog.
Cavalier of Thorns: The Cavalier is just a solid blocker and ramps you when entering the battlefield. It is our only answer for opposing flyers. This one might be a flex slot and probably the first card I would cut for a four drop in future versions of this deck. More on that later in the article.
Biogenic Ooze: Besides Nissa this is the five drop you want to see if you draw the double Leyline/one-drop opener. It took some time for me to accept that this card is actually playable in historic since it never found its place in standard. But I have won countless games by just sticking this and just pumping all my mana into its ability until your opponent deals with it (or dies). A reason why it is better in historic than in standard is probably the scarcity of control decks. Since Field of the Dead had been unbanned a lot of decks switched to a more proactive gameplan instead of trying to control the board. One Ooze is great but it gets out of hand really quickly in multiples.
Nyxbloom Ancient: While this is only an one-of in this list it was actually the reason I built this deck way back when Theros was released. The original plan was to use this with mana sinks. But turns out Ulamog just ends the game right away. We still play one copy since we can get absurd value if we untap with it.
End-Raze Forerunners: Another one-of but considering we play three Finale of Devastation we have access to this in most games. Casting this regularly is lethal most of the time. But once we cast a Finale for X=10 to find it, we are for sure ending the game (Reminder: Settle the Wreckage is Historic legal).
Finale of Devastation: This is the strongest payoff once we get into the “all the mana” part of the gameplan. Most of the time we hold on to this to cast it for X=10 but sometimes we just get a Llanowar Elves to set up for the next turn. Nylea is also a great tutor target of you have the Devotion to turn her into a creature. If your opponent exiled your End-Raze Forerunners, just search up an Ulamog for the attack trigger or a Nyxbloom Ancient for Trample.
Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger: 10 mana, 10/10 indestructible, exile two permanents. Need I say more? Yes! It also exiles twenty cards when attacking. As you could have guessed this is an absolute game-ender. Especially if you can cast it on turn 3-5.
Lands: Since we are playing eight one-drop mana dorks we only need to play 22 Lands in this deck. Besides three Castle Garenbrig we only play Forests to support Nissa. Remember that you can use the Castle to pay for activated abilities of creatures as well.
Nuts and Numbers
Now that I have broken down all the cards let’s get into the numbers. The most relevant number is how many Leylines you have in your opener. Having one is easy with the standard (playset in 60 cards) chance of 39.9%. If you want two it gets a little harder at 6.32%. Three (0.388%) and four (0.00718%) Leylines are not necessary but make for some interesting games. But a Leyline alone doesn’t win you the game. Let’s calculate some combinations of cards for a seven card opener:
- One-drop + Leyline: 25.94%
- One-drop + Mana dork + Leyline: 20.96%
- One-drop + Mana dork + Leyline + Nissa: 8.36%
- One-drop + 2x Leyline: 2%
These are the most important numbers since these hands give you a strong chance to do something broken by turn three, and since I’ve got the calculator ready let’s talk about the absolute nuts. How it plays out – and how likely you are to draw it.
The Turn Three GG:
If you see these seven cards in your opening hand you have probably used up all your luck for the rest of the year so don’t be disappointed when you open your next sealed pool. But hey! At least you did 47 damage on turn three. In my video I said that you could do 36 damage but after some tinkering with different nut draws this should be one of the biggest numbers of damage you could do. Here is how you do it:
- Turn 0: Play the two Leylines
- Turn 1: Forest, Llanowar Elves
- Turn 2: Forest, play Nissa, untap land with Nissa, play Nylea
At this point you played your whole opening hand. This one had a 0.18% chance to be drawn. But let’s say the cards you drew were another Forest and a Finale of Devastation. Now you are looking at a 0.0039% chance. But now you can do this:
- Turn 3: Forest, tap Forest for mana, untap Forest with Nissa, cast Finale of Devastation for X=10 finding End-Raze Forerunners, attack with Nylea (17/17) Llanowar Elves (13/13) and Forerunners (17/17) for a total of 47.
And could probably go even harder if you have three Leylines in your opener and play a Nissa into Biogenic Ooze on turn two. After my video I continued playing this deck and I managed to get some of the craziest nut draws I have ever seen:
Turn Three Ulamog:
Now this is a snap-keep if I’ve ever seen one! We just have to hope to find anything with the Growing Rites. This hand can play a six-drop on turn two.
We draw Nissa, play her and animate a land. Attack for three.
Our Opponent realizes that they just witnessed the nut draw of the century and decides to go out on their own terms.
An Ulamog on turn three is insane but it doesn’t win you the game (technically). But attacking for 30 does.
This one I forgot to record since it came out of nowhere. But I snapped a screenshot at the end. We mulliganed to six on the draw. Played a two Leylines and and Llanowar Elves on turn one. Drew Nissa on turn two. Then played Finale of Devastation for X=10 on turn three. Our opponent didn’t even have time to concede this time. So as small as the chances are, sometimes you just luck out and slam a turn three Ulamog. But winning with this is easy. Let’s talk about the gameplan if we don’t draw a Leyline.
No Leyline No Problem
We are only 25.94% likely to have a Leyline and a one-drop in our opening hand. Even with mulligans we sometimes just cannot find it. At some point we have to accept our fate and just keep a hand that ramps with mana dorks the fair way. But even a turn three Nissa or Ooze is very powerful is most matchups. A seven card opening hand has a 33.07% chance to have a one-drop, another mana dork and a Nissa/Biogenic Ooze to play on turn three. As we saw in game two of my video we can also just flip a Growing Rites of Itlimoc to get insane mana without the Leylines.
The Missing Four-Drop
There is one flaw with this deck and I am impressed how well the deck functions anyway. We are very low on four drops. With a Leyline and a one-drop we often have access to four mana on turn two but besides Nylea there is not much we can do with it. Instead we are usually playing another ramp creature to set up for a more explosive turn three. In sideboarded games I tried switching Nyxbloom Ancients and Cavalier of Thorns for Questing bests and Shifting Ceratops with various results. They do pressure our opponents but do not work especially well with our gameplan. Another one to keep in mind is Voracious Hydra as a form of interaction and a way to spend countless amounts of mana. What I’m really looking for is something like a Garruk Wildspeaker.
For my video and this article I kept the list as it is since my winrate and the games were incredible. But I feel like there are some improvements still to be done. Do you have any suggestions? Maybe something coming in Core Set 2021 or Jumpstart? Let me know in the comments!
I don’t know if I’m just lucky or if this deck is actually strong. But what I do know is: This deck is a blast to play! Every starting hand feels like playing a slot machine and sometimes you just hit the jackpot. But sometimes you have to grind it out and find a way to close out the game without the nuts. Give it a try for yourself!
Until next time, keep on brewing!