Mono Green Aggro Standard Deck Guide
Hello dear friends,
It’s Christmas again! Yeah, we are missing snow, but getting rid of Omnath, Lucky Clover, and Escape to the Wilds is like PS5s all round for Christmas gifts. This deck didn’t get anything banned and I already rebuilt it for you guys, incorporating some predictions for the new meta! Let’s get started.
This aggro deck resembles the pre-rotation version, but it lost some cards (duh), most notably Pelt Collector, Vivien, Arkbow Ranger, and Shifting Ceratops. That’s not too bad though, since the strongest cards are from Eldraine anyway (who would’ve thought). Swarm Shambler is a cool replacement for Pelt Collector, although I don’t think it’s quite as good. Mono-Green Stompy is a beautiful archetype, since it always feels like you’re playing an Aggro-Deck without weak creatures, because you’re not going wide and hyper-aggressive all the time. You instead want to play some beefy creatures like Garruk’s Harbinger and Lovestruck Beast to finish your opponent and start your game with cards like Swarm Shambler or Stonecoil Serpent, that scale better into the later stages of the game than 1 drops usually would. Zendikar Rising also gave us some “MDFC’s” (Modal Double-Faced Cards) like Turntimber Symbiosis and Kazandu Mammoth, which gives us some sort of protection against flooding. This is especially important, since this kind of deck tends to do poorly in the late game. One thing that people forget a lot is the fact that we still don’t have great mana bases for aggressive decks, with only one untapped land cycle, so having only one color is pretty nice.
As always, I will explain my sideboard options in a later section.
2 Ranger’s Guile
This card is a cheap and effective way to protect your beef boys. Green is not a color that embodies haste all too much, so most of your creatures are strong but a bit slow (besides Questing Beast). Think of them like a heavy axe instead of a swift blade. Because of that, they are always vulnerable to cheap removal or tempo spells (like Brazen Borrower, Heartless Act), because you need to untap with them. This also means that your creatures are huge and your opponent can’t ignore them, so if you get to protect one of your creatures with a Ranger’s Guile, you’re getting a lot of tempo. You can’t play too many noncreatures in this deck and you don’t want to play too many copies anyway, since the card always requires you to have some creatures in play already, so I like having 2. It’s definitely worth it, though!
4 Swarm Shambler
As already mentioned above, this is our replacement for Pelt Collector. By itself, it’s worse than the Collector, but it synergizes well with your Deck because you actually put a lot of +1/+1 counters on your creatures. It’s also awesome to mutate Gemrazer onto this. You can make it bigger over the course of the game with its ability, and altogether it’s just a lot of stuff for a 1-drop and fills your curve nicely.
4 Stonecoil Serpent
Another flexible creature that fills your curve in any spot, and mitigates flood a bit. Note that it’s also a 1/1 for your Lovestruck Beast, but usually you want this to be at least a 2/2 so it’s a threatening attacker. This is another great base for a Gemrazer mutate, so don’t forget that.
4 Primal Might
This card will be the best removal spell in Mono Green for a while. It’s awesome that you have pump spells stapled onto removal, so it kind of does 2 things at a time. It’s also a spell that you can use even if your opponent is playing a deck without creatures. Green usually doesn’t have this luxury, so we definitely want all 4.
1 Nessian Hornbeetle
This card has impressed me as a 1-of, because playing this on 2 and curving into one of your bigger creatures is a pretty strong start. I don’t think that you don’t need more 2-drops, because you have a lot of things to do in your early game anyway like pumping your Swarm Shambler, but if you like this, go ahead and play more. I wouldn’t play all 4 though, because it’s not a good creature without support.
4 Scavenging Ooze
One of the best 2-drops in Magic. I usually play only 3 of them because of the diminishing returns, but Rogues and R/B Kroxa will be popular and it’s your best card against them. Keep in mind that you’re not necessarily playing this to hate on Kroxa or something like that, as Scavenging Ooze is just a strong creature, period. It’s a 2-drop that’s relevant at any stage of the game, regardless of what you’re up against.
4 Lovestruck Beast
With 2 bodies and huge stats, this card just does it all. Sure it does have the downside of not being able to attack sometimes, but you have Swarm Shambler, Stonecoil Serpent, and its own token. It’s a rare adventure card from Eldraine, so you should play it.
Jokes aside, Lovestruck Beast is absolutely massive and is always a strong card, as a fast beater against slow decks and a great blocker against creatures (with 2 bodies, even). Play all 4!
3 Garruk’s Harbinger
This is great against Rogues and the Kroxa decks (I assume these are going to be the most popular decks heading into the new format) that play a lot of black removal, which is otherwise pretty good against us. First and foremost, it’s just a strong card in general, with aggressive stats and a card draw ability if you get to connect. Your opponent is always going to be forced to either kill this on sight or have a blocker ready.
1 Kazandu Mammoth
I am never sure if I want to play 24 or 25 lands with this Deck, so I kind of compromised by playing 24 and a half by adding this. I tested this deck with 4 copies, but you usually don’t have that much mana to play with and it’s annoying to have tapped lands when you’re trying to curve out. I think I played this as a creature in 1 out of 10 games, and even then it’s just a Lovestruck Beast at best.
1 Yorvo, Lord of Garenbrig
It’s a 3 mana 4/4 that grows as you develop your game plan. Before the bannings, I played more but I needed to make room for other cards and I don’t want to play a lot of Gemrazers right now, which was one of the strongest synergies with this card. Yorvo is a decent card, but I think it’s not very good right now.
Lucky Clover is gone, but just like Garruk’s Harbinger, this is a strong standalone card. You have tons of synergy with Gemrazer in your deck because +1/+1 counters work so well with this, and even playing it as a 4 mana 4/4 is good enough sometimes, since it has trample. Don’t underestimate the trample value as some decks just want to chump block you forever. It still has some applications against Embercleave, Stonecoil Serpent, The Great Henge, and maybe Mazemind Tome.
3 Questing Beast
People stopped playing this in Mono-Green, because it was bad against Omnath and not great against Bonecrusher Giant, but now that at least Omnath is gone, I think it’s a mistake to not play it again. As already mentioned, there aren’t many hasty creatures in green and it can finish the job nicely when you need to deal some last points of damage. The evasion is also pretty important right now, because there are a lot of pesky rogues and Mire Tritons running around right now. I don’t want 4, because it’s legendary.
4 Turntimber Symbiosis
It’s nice to have access to some value lands so that you flood out less. It is quite expensive, but you’d much rather play this than nothing at all on turn 7. There’s not much downside to playing this, so just claim your free value!
2 Castle Garenbrig
This works nicely with Stonecoil Serpent, and sometimes you’re able to play 2 3-drops on turn 5 (which you have a lot of). You can’t play too many because Turntimber Symbiosis increases your non-Forest count, and it’s narrow enough that I only want 2.
1 Ram Through
Now that people play more creatures again, I want to have a bit more removal in my deck. If you like, play more, but always remember that this deck needs a high density of creatures, because of the nature of these removal spells and The Great Henge.
2 The Great Henge
I hated playing this card main deck before, but right now it’s really good! There are a lot of R/B Kroxas, Mono-Greens, and Gruuls running around right now, and this card is good against any of these decks. It’s not that great against Rogues, but I believe that Rogues should be pushed out of the meta soon because R/B Kroxa will be very tough to beat for them. Well, that’s also true for us! Without Great Henge, this matchup would be really tough, but now it’s actually not that bad. Again, I don’t think you always need to play this card in the main deck, but right now it’s really good.
Card Choices: What I don’t play
You might call me crazy, and some days ago I would’ve agreed with you. The Rogue players really changed their lists though (or the list that they netdeck from), and they play Ruin Crab and Lurrus of the Dream-Den instead. The difference? They don’t play that many fliers anymore and even cut them post-board! Sure, you get a card when they mill it, but a 5 mana 4/5 isn’t where you want to be.
This card doesn’t do enough for a 4 mana planeswalker, and it doesn’t even come close to Vivien, Arkbow Ranger. It doesn’t impact the board enough so you should pass. If you want some planeswalkers in the main, play Vivien, Monsters’ Advocate instead.
People who play older formats are always confused by this, but let me tell you that it’s really tough to keep 2 mana open without mana acceleration like Llanowar Elf.
Inscription of Abundance
This card almost made the cut, but I quickly realized that the removal we already have is just better. You also can’t play too many noncreatures alongside fight effects, so the diminishing returns are definitely there when you play too many.
Syr Faren, the Hengehammer
As already mentioned, I don’t think we actually need too many 2-drops in this deck, and the other choices are better. I also don’t want Humans in my Deck with Gemrazer.
I actually don’t hate this card as much as other people do, but I still think it doesn’t make the cut. Same reasoning as for Syr Faren, minus the Gemrazer part, but I don’t think you’re making a mistake by playing this.
This oozy boy is much worse than it looks, because it’s a 3-drop that you need to untap with and it still dies most of the time in combat. It also requires all of your creatures that want the buff to attack, and it dies to Bonecrusher Giant with the trigger on the stack (before the +1/+1 counter gets put on it) and that’s not where you want your 3-drop to be. There are a lot of small things that annoy me about this card, so I’d rather have great sleep and not play it.
You could play this against low to the ground creatures, but you probably have noticed that there aren’t any. You also need to hit your land drops every turn if you want this to be effective.
|+3 Soul-Guide Lantern|
+3 Ram Through
+1 Garruk’s Harbinger
|-1 Yorvo, Lord of Garenbrig|
-1 Nessian Hornbeetle
-2 The Great Henge
-1 Stonecoil Serpent
This matchup is exciting because it can go both ways. Your creatures are clunky, so they can always counter them, but they are still strong threats that beat their little rogues in combat easily. Garruk’s Harbinger is an MVP here. Yorvo is too slow sometimes, and Gemrazer doesn’t have a real target, but it’s still nice to power up your creatures from time to time (treat Gemrazer like an Aura here). Ram Through is amazing because it’s instant speed. Primal Might isn’t, but it’s actually kind of important to kill Ruin Crab and Lurrus. Always keep in mind that they can shoot down your creature in response, as they play a lot of strong removal. Play your Ranger’s Guiles and Soul-Guide Lanterns with care, as those are your silver bullets; same thing with Scavenging Ooze, which you should often try to get immediate value out of. Don’t forget that Heartless Act won’t be able to kill your creatures when they have counters, so use that to your advantage.
Mono Green Stompy (Mirror)
|+4 Oakhame Adversary|
+1 Vivien, Monsters’ Advocate (2 on the play)
+3 Ram Through
|-1 Swarm Shambler |
-1 Stonecoil Serpent (2 on the play)
-3 Garruk’s Harbinger
-2 Ranger’s Guile
-1 Questing Beast
Questing Beast isn’t terrible, but it’s not great either, because your opponent’s creatures will be big enough to block it most of the time (most notably Lovestruck Beast).
Ranger’s Guile doesn’t do enough because your opponent’s not playing enough removal to justify playing situational cards like these. Try to gum up the board and win with your Great Henge, without letting them do the same. Cut some number of Swarm Shambler and Stonecoil Serpent, because their impact is kind of low and this obviously isn’t the matchup for Harbinger as it can’t even trade for Lovestruck Beast.
|+1 Garruk’s Harbinger|
+2 Vivien, Monsters’ Advocate
|-2 Primal Might|
-1 Ram Through
This deck is not super popular, but it should be a good matchup. Your clock is fast, Questing Beast is great here, and you have a lot of strong threats. They have good removal, but no sweepers other than Extinction Event, which you can play around quite easily by having only one good odd and one good even creature in play, for example. Ranger’s Guile is strong in this matchup, and Garruk’s Harbinger is your silver bullet.
|+2 Ram Through|
+4 Oakhame Adversary
|-3 Garruk’s Harbinger|
-2 Ranger’s Guile
-1 Swarm Shambler
This matchup is great, because your creatures are bigger than theirs and they pretty much need a perfect hand to have a chance against you. Skyclave Apparition is a bit annoying, so it might be correct to leave a copy of Guile in.
|+1 Garruk’s Harbinger|
+2 Ram Through
+2 Vivien, Monsters’ Advocate
-1 Yorvo, Lord of Garenbrig
-1 Nessian Hornbeetle
-1 Stonecoil Serpent
This is a pretty close matchup and requires you to make good decisions. Players on both sides have strong cards against each other, which gives this an interesting dynamic. It’s sometimes correct to not play your lands, so you can discard them to your opponent’s Kroxa. Gemrazer does not have a lot of targets besides Tymaret Calls the Dead. I like to cut Yorvo, because single big threats kind of don’t do much against Mire Triton. Vivien is also pretty good against removal and discard (planeswalkers usually are). You definitely need some practice in this matchup, but I truly believe it’s not a bad one, especially with main deck The Great Henge.
Keep or Mulligan?
In this section, I will give you some sample hands. Try and test for yourself if you would keep the following hands or not. I’ve left all my answers at the end to make it harder to spoil yourself!
On the play, game 1
On the play, game 1
On the draw in game 2 against Rakdos Kroxa. We’ve mulliganed once, and this is our 6-card hand.
First Hand Answer: Mulligan
You can keep a lot of 2-landers, but I think this is not one of them. You really need a third land or you’re not functioning, and these Ranger’s Guiles are like Mulligans anyway because you probably won’t be able to keep mana open with this hand. Even if you drew a third land immediately, it’s not like you’re having a good hand when you’re starting the game on turn 3.
Second Hand Answer: Keep
This one is slightly different from the first one, but I like keeping this. First of all, you already have a third land so there is not much risk. On top of that you have Primal Might instead of Ranger’s Guile here, which means that your hand is not as situational as the last one.
Third Hand Answer: Keep
This hand is awesome. You have 2 Garruk’s Harbinger, which is one of your best cards in this matchup. I would probably put the Mammoth back, because it’s a tapped land that requires us to have more lands if we play it as a creature. You’re missing some removal, but otherwise you’re ready to go.
Thank you for reading!
It has been a pleasure for me to write this guide, as this archetype is one of my favorites. I have been surprised by its power and because of the high power level, I think it will still be very good! This deck is packing a punch and you can get a lot out of it if you put some practice into it. Hopefully, my predictions can help you guys a bit in adapting to the new meta.
Until next time, have a great day!