M21 Standard Mono Green Stompy Deck Guide: Release the Beasts!
That’s right people, M21 is here and green players all over rejoice because green has received some much-needed love, and it is time to release the beasts!
One new toy from M21 is a new planeswalker in Garruk, Unleashed. This big boy is a house versus control or midrange decks, as he singlehandedly makes any creature a real threat that can’t be chump blocked, but I don’t like him versus aggressive strategies. Even though he makes a blocker and gets an additional loyalty if they have more creatures, this still means you are behind on board and he is in danger of being attacked down.
Green also gained a nice quality of life spell in Heroic intervention, a reprint from Aether Revolt. This card is a nice addition because, not only does it protect our permanents from sweepers and removal, but it also allows us to break board stalls with attacks that would normally be costly, or blocks that can swing the tempo of the game back in our favor, much like Unbreakable Formation. I think it is a welcome addition to any green aggressive deck.
The biggest upgrade was the return of eternal format all-star Scavenging Ooze. This is a fantastic addition because now green decks have a way of controlling the graveyard decks (LOOKING AT YOU ARISTOCRATS) and removing Uro, without playing cards like Grafdigger’s Cage or splashing for another color.
Green also received several other additions like Garruk’s Harbinger, but I don’t think they have a place in the current meta. Maybe if things shape up differently, they can find a home but, as it stands, I just think there are better options to play that will give you more mileage.
Why play mono green over the other green aggro decks?
The advantage to being mono green over Gruul is you get fantastic mana through only being one color. Two color aggressive decks really struggle in Standard because, outside of the painful shocklands, taplands are all they have access to, which make some of their draws dreadfully slow and clunky. Generally, two color aggressive decks also play a lot of basics, which leads to awkward hands of basics of one-color, but spells of your 2nd color.
The other contender for the best green aggressive deck in the format is Simic Mutate, which is very powerful, but also suffers from the same mana issues as Gruul. Simic mutate is also extremely weak to removal – to function optimally, it needs a creature to survive and mutate multiple times and that’s hard to do in a meta so full of removal. Against many decks in the format, you’ll end up casting your mutate creatures for their regular cost which means you end up with a board of underwhelming, expensive, vanilla beaters, which is not where you want to be.
Stompy has already began to show its strength in various online events. The deck has seemed like a real contender but there’s been some uncertainty with regards to what the shell should look like. However, the tools to take on almost any deck, all in one color, makes a deck well worth the effort of experimentation and tweaking.
How is this deck different from any other stompy list?
Generally, there are two camps as far as stompy goes. One is the full-on aggressive plan with Gingerbrute, Syr Faren and Giant Growth. The other is a more midrange plan with The Great Henge and Primal Might plan, which looks to out-grind the opponent while looking for an opening for a well-timed Primal Might.
My deck starts off as a slightly larger version of deck, similar to what the full-on aggro build looks to board into versus aggressive decks, which gives us a much better game 1 versus red and the GX mirrors. My sideboard gives us the grind that the midrange version has, but while retaining a more aggressive slant. I fell this is the correct wat to approach the deck.
The deck itself
This is my current build of mono green stompy:
This deck’s construction largely consists of cards that make Gemrazer better, while also being powerful on their own. This is because Gemrazer is the most effective mutate creature to come out of Ikoria – it has enough power and toughness to win most fights on its own, it naturally has trample so you don’t have to worry about collecting 3 counters on Pelt Collector before mutating it, it has reach which makes it a fantastic blocker, and it automatically removes an artifact or enchantment for free which is almost always relevant since most decks run them currently. The format is full of Wilderness Reclamation, Witch’s Oven, Anax, Embercleave, Stonecoil Serpent, Elspeth Conquers Death, and Cavalcade of Calamity, which makes Gemrazer a must-have in any green deck.
Mutating Gemrazer onto Stonecoil Serpent and Pelt Collector lets you keep the +1/+1 Counters, making it a larger threat, while mutating onto Yorvo, Lord of Garenbrig lets Gemrazer grow indefinitely as long as you can cast creatures. Putting it on Scavenging Ooze has a similar effect to Yorvo, but you have to pay for it, which is fine because of all the mana we can generate. Putting it on Barkhide Troll makes it slightly bigger and allows it to protect itself from removal once, and even putting it on Questing Beast isn’t bad since it’s a way to get around the legend rule – if mutated on top, the name of the creature changes to Gemrazer, so you can cast another and have 2 Questing Beasts, which is just absurd.
Here’s some gameplay footage:
Playing the deck
Your one-drop casting priority is Pelt Collector first if you have it, then Heart’s Desire from Lovestruck Beast, and finally Stonecoil Serpent. The reason for this order is Pelt Collector can do the most damage if followed up by an effective 2-drop, and the token is just an effective use of mana and sets us up to cast Lovestruck Beast on turn 3 effectively. The token will often draw a removal spell or displacement effect from our opponent, since they do not want to deal with the threat of our 5/5 swinging in, but that’s okay.
Stonecoil Serpent is a fine 1 drop if needed and can also be a fantastic 2 drop. The only situation I wouldn’t cast Stonecoil on turn 1 with no other plays is when I have a hand consisting of exactly Barkhide and Stonecoil, three lands, and no 3 drop. This is because casting Stonecoil on 3 adds up to more damage when you have no other play.
Our removal spell of choice is Ram Through. Always remember that it is an instant, which can create some great situations where your opponent feels like they are making a good block, only to have their creature shot down by Ram Through plus the attack. Another great thing about this spell is that, if our creature has trample, the excess damage is dealt to our opponent as if they had blocked it, so we have a pseudo-double strike effect.
This partners well with our planeswalker of choice, Vivien, Arkbow Ranger, since her plus ability provides trample, and is great at closing out the game quickly and breaking board stalls. Her minus ability gives us the Domri’s Ambush effect we love so much, removing a potential blocker or problematic creature. I have, on several occasions, used her minus ability to weaken a big threat, then cast Ram Through to remove it and deal bonus damage, then attack for the win. Her ultimate is rarely used, but I can see tailoring flex spots in your sideboard to have haymaker creatures to grab, like God Eternal Rhonas.
The biggest mistake I’ve seen when people play this deck is being greedy with Stonecoil Serpent. I have seen many players make poor use of their mana each turn just to attempt to cast a giant Stonecoil in the late game, at which point their opponent has already stabilized and their board is outclassed, because they cast subpar spells or didn’t use their mana well, when they could have just had another 2/2 or 3/3 to attack with and close the game out, or drawn Gemrazer that could go on the Stonecoil and immediately end the game.
Cards not included
Wildborn Preserver is awkward and slow. We are normally using all our mana every turn, so we cannot take full advantage of it, and there are better things we can do instead.
Growth-Chamber Guardian is too slow. While it does overperform in grindy matchups, we have other cards for that, which also have applications elsewhere.
Garruk’s Harbinger is not quite good enough to me; if it had trample, I would be more on board. I think it will be good post-rotation, but not right now.
Return to Nature is good, but I only want to play cards that advance my board position in this dedck. We already have Gemrazer in the main for artifact/enchantment hate and that does a fine job controlling the board while closing the game out before they cast anything relevant. Plus we have Thrashing Brontodon in the sideboard.
Primal Might is a card I am just not sold on. I have tested it several times and always felt it was lacking. Versus control decks it is usually just a Fireball that requires us to have a creature to be useful or our opponent just removes the creature we buffed, causing us to take a turn off of advancing our board. Versus creature matchups, it’s a fight effect at sorcery speed and our opponent will then just chump the creature we buffed and usually trading with it resulting in an even 2 for 2. If it was instant or gave Trample I would like it, but as is, I like Ram Through more.
The important thing about this matchup is remembering not to overextend into a sweeper. We cut Ram Through because, even though they could have some valuable targets, it is often clunky, and our creatures normally outclass anything they could have anyway. I also cut Scavenging Ooze, because this is not Modern – we don’t have to worry about Snapcaster Mage here. Outside of Elspeth Conquers Death and Uro, we don’t have to worry about the graveyard. If you find Uro to be a problem, you can keep in Ooze. But as it is I just don’t think it is worth it. I also board out Yorvo because, to be at his full power, we have to overextend to buff him up, which is just bad and there are better things we can do.
I bring in all 4 copies of Shifting Ceratops because it beats Aether Gust, can’t be bounced by Teferi or Brazen Borrower, and can’t be blocked by Uro, while also walling the Titan if needed. I also bring in Heroic Intervention to save us from sweepers and various removal spells. Garruk comes in because he does a fantastic job of pressuring our opponent and can end the game very quickly. He really shines in matchups where he is not at risk of being destroyed. The Great Henge is our haymaker for these matchups, as not only does ramp us and gain life, but it also makes our creatures bigger and draws us cards to stay in the game, no matter how much they sweep us.
|4 Shifting Ceratops|
2 Heroic Intervention
2 Garruk, Unleashed
2 The Great Henge
|4 Ram Through|
3 Scavenging Ooze
3 Yorvo, Lord of Garenbrig
Versus Mono Red/Knights/RB Sacrifice
These matchups are straightforward. We cut Vivien because she is slow and, while her fight effect is good, it’s not worth 4 mana. We bring in Thrashing Brontodon because it can block and blow up equipment or Anax at instant speed, if necessary.
Versus sacrifice, Vivien’s plus ability can be useful but still isn’t worth 4 mana. Thrashing Brontodon is great at removing Witch’s Oven, and Scavenging Ooze cleans up the graveyard nicely. You may be tempted to bring in Oakhame versus the Jund version, but I‘ve found this to be bad because they can just chump block it forever with the cat combo.
Versus The Mirror/Simic Mutate/Gruul
This matchup is a slug-fest of bombs. In the mirror, I board out all 4 Stonecoil Serpents because I don’t want to get blown out by their Gemrazers. In its place, I bring in 2 Heroic Intervention because it can allow us to attack in board stalls and not get blown out, and 2 Oakhame Adversary because he is a cheap deathtouch creature that can sometimes draw us cards. I don’t bring in The Great Henge because, while it can break the matchup, it is a big investment and target for Gemrazer. Garruk is also pretty underwhelming since the board will often be stalled, and +3/+3 just won’t cut it when they have their own Questing Beasts and Oakhame Adversaries.
Versus Temur Reclamation
This matchup can be tricky to navigate, but the plan is just to kill them before they can go off. Play around their sweepers the best you can (if they have them) and go for broke. I cut Ram Through as there is rarely anything to fight other than a shark token. Yorvo is slow and clunky, which is why he gets the cut here. He is a huge target for Aether Gust we with what we bring in we are crowded in the 3+ drop slot so he makes the most sense, as the most logical cut. Watch out for Nightpack Ambusher, and don’t make bad attacks into it!
In their place I bring in 4 Shifting Ceratops because they really can’t do anything to it other than Flame Sweep or block it with a Bonecrusher Giant. You may be tempted to bring in Garruk and The Great Henge but, like I said, expensive spells are costly here. Scavenging Ooze can be useful because it can remove Uro from the graveyard.
I hope this article helps some of you too. I’ve really enjoyed this deck and love the way it plays. I think it is a real contender and I expect to see a lot more of it as the meta develops. Until next time, Hero out!