GRN Draft #1 – Selesnya (7-2)
While I made an effort to splash some black mana for Finality and Statue, I did not include any swamps so I maintain this is a Selesnya deck. Both of those cards are perfectly playable as Status and Find, so I felt having just 3 sources of black mana was fine. I did not want a swamp to get in the way of playing cards like Emmara, Conclave Guildmage, Ledev Champion, or Conclave Cavalier on curve. This deck had some bombs like Light of the Legion and Finality, but most of the games were won on the back of convoke synergy and strong creatures.
While Light of the Legion is an absolute bomb, I have to say the most effective card in this deck was Emmara. Rarely was I able to attack with her early, but being able to convoke and spit out 1/1 lifelink creatures is extremely powerful in this deck. As I discussed in my review of Selesnya, Rosemane Centaur is the most important common and three seems like an ideal number of them. I saw them most games, and almost always it hit the board on turn 4 as a 4/4 vigilance. Conclave Cavalier is the buffed up version of Centaur and a complete lifesaver against Boros decks. It can play attack and defense, and needs to be killed twice essentially. Ledev Champion was usually met with removal, but this was okay because in a few games this removal allowed a 4/4 or 5/5 to come out and start going to work. Ledev Champion is a great asset for drawn out games, however, with the ability to use your mana productively even when the board is stalled. Affectionate Indrik is well worth 6 mana and has wonderful interaction with Watcher in the Mist (3/4 flyer), which is Dimir’s common option for trying to kill you. I will say that Douser of Light (vanilla 4/5) was a huge pain for this deck, and necessitated a combat trick or removal to get through, something I had precious little of.
The Supporting Cast
None of these are particularly exciting but each have their roles. Conclave Guildmage is not very good and should not be prioritized. The second ability becomes relevant in the late game when the board is stalled, similar to Ledev Champion, so it is a little better than a grizzly bear. Vernadi Shieldmate is another glorified grizzly bear, but I do like having the ability to attack and still convoke, so I regard him about the same as Devkarin Dissident (neither are pictured above but together they are your staple 2-drops in this guild). Healer’s Hawk is really great in this deck, getting in early leech damage and convoking later. One game I was able to use the hawk and a 2-drop to convoke in a centaur on turn 3, which was a really strong opening! I liked Parhelion Patrol to help shore up my flying defense, and the mentor had a few good targets like Healer’s Hawk, 1/1 Lifelinkers generated by Emmara or Ledev Champion, and Generous Stray. I think Generous Stray is better in Golgari, but still solid here. It is neutral card advantage for a 1/2 body that can convoke or chump block, and seeing an extra card is great in a deck that has a lot of good ones. Finally, Sprouting Renewal is a flexible card and additional convoke target for Emmara. With all of the big creatures in this deck the enchantment removal is a nice answer to Luminous Bonds or Capture Sphere.
Notable Noncreature Spells
The obvious bombs here are the split cards which were well worth splashing for! The Locket and Urban Utopia helped with that game plan. Utopia is nice because you don’t lose any card advantage to get fixing, but I wouldn’t play it in a deck that isn’t splashing a third color. I also don’t generally play lockets, but this deck was really conducive to playing one. In addition to getting the black splash, the mana acceleration was relevant due to cards like Affectionate Indrik and Light of the Legion. Additionally it turns into card advantage in the late game which is something Selesnya doesn’t usually have access to. Prey Upon isn’t as good as it seems because it will sometimes be a 2-for-1 on yourself, but with the amount of 4/4’s in this deck it was solid removal. Might of the Masses is very underrated in my opinion. There are games when this thing will get +5/+5 or more with a single mana, which can often get through for lethal or even target a lifelink creature to keep you alive in a race situation.
While I would still place Dimir and Boros head and shoulders above the rest of the guilds in this format, I do think Selesnya edges out Izzet and Golgari. This deck was extremely consistent, and had a great matchup against Boros. The two losses were to Dimir decks that had tons of removal, which is a tough matchup for this deck. If your opponent doesn’t have enough answers to your big threats, Selesnya can easily get there by outclassing their creatures though. Ultimately, I think Selesnya is more consistent than Izzet and puts out more threats than Golgari, but does require a good rare or two to function at the level of a well built Boros or Dimir deck.