Hello everyone! I’m going to do something a little different and go over a deck that I’ve been doing well with on Best of One ladder, something my lovely Best of One players don’t get enough of. For today, we’re going to highlight the underappreciated version of the Adventures deck, Selesnya. Let’s take a look at the list I’ve been using.
So before anything else, let’s talk about the elephant in the room, and I don’t mean Kazandu Mammoth (sorry, not sorry).
WHY SHOULD YOU PLAY SELESNYA OVER GRUUL?
As I mentioned before, Gruul is generally the flavor of choice for a host of obvious reasons. The deck is very strong, it’s fast, has good resilience, and plays a lot of great cards. With all this in mind, playing Gruul just makes sense in Bo1 and it’s still a deck I condone playing. However, there are 2 predominant issues with Gruul that I believe Selesnya doesn’t have. Gruul struggles significantly more on the draw than on the play, and you have extremely little interaction to work with.
For the first issue, it’s inherent that in Best of One being on the play is always going to be better on the draw. Despite that, you still have to take into consideration that you’ll be on the draw half of your games so playing a deck that can struggle to keep up when going second isn’t ideal. The way I see it, it’s not like Gruul is particularly bad on the draw, but when you look at some of the most common matchups on ladder like Mono White, Mono Green Food, or the mirror, you’re at a stark disadvantage on the draw with cards like Brushfire Elemental. However, cards like Bronzehide Lion and Luminarch Aspirant, although both better on the play, aren’t nearly as bad on the draw. Bronzehide can generally stonewall opposing 2 drops or trade up. Aspirant forces the opponent to either use their turn 3 killing it, which will likely not be the most efficient use of their mana, or let it live and risk it accruing more value.
The other issue I have with Gruul is that it has very little interaction to work with in the list. Bonecrusher Giant is an insanely powerful card as is Shatterskull Smashing, but both are generally limited to killing small creatures. The Akroan War can function similarly to an interactive spell, but that only helps against creatures specifically. For Selesnya, Giant Killer can feel like it’s narrow, but 4 power is going to be the break point to attack past a lot of your creatures anyway so it’s rare that any creature with 3 power or less should be too scary. The big draw to white though, is Elspeth Conquers Death which allows you to interact with any type of permanent, not just creatures.
WHY SHOULD YOU PLAY SELESNYA ADVENTURES IN GENERAL?
I’m glad you asked! In Best of One, the best decks tend to be those that have a strong curve early and staying power late. With that, as I mentioned, Gruul is a great contender there as it can do that, but I like Selesnya more in Best of One for the previously stated reasons. With that in mind, Selesnya gives up a little bit of velocity for significantly more staying power.
When I played Best of One I quickly got frustrated whenever I played purely linear decks as I kept getting out grinded by decks that can stall me, then their late game would generally trump mine. With Selesnya, you have the ability to go fast, something that a deck like Food lacks, and the ability to grind late into the game with The Great Henge, Vivien, and Elspeth Conquers Death, something a deck like Monowhite can struggle to do. When you have a deck that can do both, you do run the risk of drawing the “wrong half” of your deck, but most of your cards are so inexpensive that this generally shouldn’t be an issue.
With all of that out of the way, let’s talk about card choices.
1 Vivien, Monsters’ Advocate
Vivien is a great grindy engine whether you are securing the win while you’re ahead or trying to catch up from behind. When you are really far behind on board, Vivien isn’t the most helpful, but if you manage to untap with her you can get some serious value in a deck with 28 creatures.
4 Kazandu Mammoth
4 Edgewall Innkeeper
This card is just busted, especially when you have cheaper adventure creatures to help accrue value off of it.
4 Giant Killer
Giant Killer is so gross as it’s a cheap Adventure creature for Edgewall Innkeeper, a removal spell for large creatures, and a tapper to mess up combat in the late game. For a 1 mana creature, that’s a lot of value.
4 Bronzehide Lion
Fleecemane Lion this is not, but Bronzehide hasn’t had its fair shake in Standard. A 2 mana 3/3 is a pretty acceptable stat line by itself, but when you throw on Indestructible, this card can make combat a nightmare for your opponent. 2 mana isn’t a cheap investment, but you don’t need to worry about utilizing the ability until the late game most of the time anyway, and if you have to trade the Lion away, it enchants another creature on the way out with the Indestructible ability.
4 Luminarch Aspirant
I love this card and it really doesn’t get the respect it rightfully deserves. This is a 2 drop that scales up quickly if played early and can still be relevant late. Having a 2 drop that can also accrue value “immediately” is a big boon to the power level of a card.
1 Scavenging Ooze
If you’re playing a green creature deck, you should always pack a lil Scooze friend to take with you. Having 1 copy is very valuable as it’s a 2 drop that is significantly better when played in the late game when there are stacked graveyards then early in the game where it’s a functional Grizzly Bear. Be mindful of how many creatures you’re eating out of your graveyard as you have 4 Elspeth Conquers Death to recur.
1 Shepherd of the Flock
Shepherd of the Flock tends to be better against slower decks, but having the 1 of copy can come in handy for niche situations. Ideally you are using this to insulate a threat of yours from a removal spell or to buy back an Adventure creature or Elspeth Conquers Death, but using it to trigger Edgewall Innkeeper is also acceptable. If you do happen to have it, try to keep it open wherever possible as wasting a removal spell from the opponent is very valuable for just 1 mana.
4 Lovestruck Beast
A great Adventure creature and a Henge enabler, nothing too surprising here.
1 Questing Beast
QB is a powerful card and having only 1 copy means we’ll never have an awkward situation with multiple copies.
1 Yasharn, Implacable Earth
Not as powerful as Questing Beast, but functionally drawing 2 cards with the ETB and having value against a deck like Jund (which has been gaining popularity) is a reasonable inclusion for this deck, especially when the deck is relatively mana hungry.
4 Emeria’s Call
3 The Great Henge
The Great Henge is one of the best payoff engines in Standard and we have the privilege of playing it with enablers like Lovestruck Beast and Kasandu Mammoth.
4 Elspeth Conquers Death
The main payoff to playing White in Standard. Elspeth Conquers Death is just disgusting with how much value it accrues as it kills the best card on your opponent’s board then gets back the best card in your graveyard.
20 Lands + 4 Kazandu Mammoth + 4 Emeria’s Call
- Your main goal is to always curve out and try to establish as strong of a board as possible. Establishing The Great Henge is your main priority and the easiest way you can win your matchups.
- The 1/1 body of Edgewall Innkeeper isn’t particularly helpful unlike in Gruul, it can be at least used to help cast Embercleave. In that vein, try not to run out Edgewall Innkeeper without immediately following up with an Adventure creature.
- Generally I don’t like playing Giant Killer out early in the game without Edgewall Innkeeper as the tap ability is really only relevant later anyway.
- If you have to choose between holding up a Bronzehide Lion activation or advancing your board state, generally you should advance your board state. However, if you get to hold up Bronzehide Lion and Giant Killer, that becomes more of a toss up as having both open can really put your opponent in a bind.
- Try to deploy your Lovestruck Beast and Kazandu Mammoth on turn 3 to enable a turn 4 Henge, even at the expense of not using the adventure part or sometimes even at the risk of missing a land. Obviously only do this if you already have both halves.
- Don’t focus too much on trying to keep Emeria’s Calls in hand to cast as most Best of One games end before that will be relevant. However, if you’re getting close to casting it and have other lands, you may as well save it.
- I mentioned this before, but keeping open Shepherd of the Flock whenever you can is extremely valuable, but will make what you have somewhat transparent. In that vein, if you constantly hold open 1 white, you may make your opponent play around it whether or not you actually have it in hand.
- Prioritize hands that have a better early curve than one with late game staying power. This deck has a lot of ways to use mana in the late game so there’s no need to actively look for things to do later.
- Fabled Passage is mostly for Kazandu Mammoth triggers, but feel free to use it earlier if you don’t have the right colors or don’t have 4 lands yet.
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