Today I get to enjoy a vindication that I never thought I would be able to when writing about Magic. See, one of the best feelings is to put out a deck guide, especially when it’s on a less popular (or new) deck and then hear from somebody that it was helpful to them. Even when I test a lot and am very confident about something, it’s easy for the seed of doubt to still be there so hearing that I was right definitely eases me.
Why do I bring this up? For awhile, I’ve been a fan of Mono Green Aggro. It hasn’t had any big results and I pretty much never see anyone else play it, but the deck seemed strong to me. You obviously have a lot of great cards, but it also seemed well position as it did a great job at being fast enough to pressure the slow decks while also not being susceptible to the common anti-aggro tools these decks were packing. I was musing whether or not to do a guide on the deck, and then, the Wizards announcement from last week came out.
I won’t go over all the details, but this is the first time I’ve seen (or remembered, maybe they’ve done this before) that Wizards straight up recommends a deck! They said that in Standard, Izzet decks were definitely getting more popular, but they haven’t reached alarming play or win rates yet, and on top of that, Mono Green was a strong and underrated contender that had good matchups across the board. It was such a weird experience reading that as I never would’ve expected getting my theory proven by Wizards themselves, but here we are!
In that vein, I wanted to go over the list I’ve been working on for quite awhile now, breakdown how I play and sideboard, and give you any knowledge that can help you pilot the Green machine.
To avoid repetition, if you’re interested in how I chose the main deck inclusions, you can check out the article below.
The only big difference between the Bo3 deck and the Bo1 deck is the inclusion of Ulvenwald Oddity over Ascendant Packleader. As I said, in Bo1 having enough cheap plays is pivotal as you don’t want to get run over by other aggressive decks if possible. In Bo3, there really aren’t other aggro decks and Packleader runs right into the cheap Red removal like Voltage Surge and Flame-Blessed Bolt that’s popular right now.
Ulvenwald Oddity is great for pressuring the slow decks, and while it can be awkward if it gets hit by a Voltage Surge, you need to have enough top end to beat the slower decks if the games go long. Oddity is excellent in that right as a lot of players can’t play around it and 4 power in Haste and Trample can quickly turn the race to your favor.
Beyond just talking about the cards, let’s talk about why this deck has been really well positioned for awhile. Aggro decks have been having a rather tough time in this metagame as they have to jump through a major hoop: win before the big threats come down. That’s pretty much always been the onus for aggro, but when there’s a lot of cheap removal and plenty of wraths seeing play, it’s very much a herculean task. In short, The Meathook Massacre is a hell of a card.
What Mono Green affords though is that you give up just a sliver of speed compared to something like Mono White, but you’re leagues more resistant to removal. Between having higher toughness creatures to get around conditional removal and access to the cheap protection spells, Green is very well suited to combating this particular metagame.
Furthermore, it has a greater ability to grind into the late game compared to something like Mono White as we can play expensive threats that we can realistically cast that will help us take over a game like Invoke the Ancients or Avabruck Caretaker.
All in all, if you’re a fan of aggro decks, this is probably the best one to be playing right now due to it’s strength, speed, and resilience.
MATCHUPS AND SIDEBOARD GUIDE
|+1 Snakeskin Veil||-4 Sculptor of Winter|
|+2 Tamiyo's Safekeeping||-4 Blizzard Brawl|
|+2 Toski, Bearer of Secrets|
Generally speaking, I would consider Hinata a good matchup as a lot of their interaction simply doesn’t line up well against our threats. Voltage Surge and Flame-Blessed Bolt are great cards and all, but are substantially worse when we don’t have good targets for it. Their Dragon's Fire is better, but still not necessarily enough to stop our onslaught.
Since they don’t generally play board wipes, this matchup is mostly going to be draw dependent and a race. The way they’re going to win is slow you down enough until they can hit you with a Magma Opus to recover lost ground and you win by killing them before that happens. Having 6 protection spells goes a long way to help there as they’ll likely need a big Dragon's Fire, their few Valorous Stance, or to double spell to try and get rid of a big threat so if you’re able to deny them that, it’s pretty game changing. I wouldn’t offset your curve to play a creature later with protection, however you can definitely send out slightly worse threats to see if that can draw removal and then play your best cards with protection backup.
Tangletrap is here for dealing with Hinata and Goldspan, but there is merit to just keeping in Sculptor of Winter instead if you’re on the play and didn’t see them bring in many of the 2 damage removal spells. Keep on the aggressive and hope they don’t just combo you before you can kill them.
This matchup is going to be pretty similar to Jeskai Hinata on your side, but how they play is going to be completely different. Rather than Combo trying to stall you out until they win, this is going to be much more like a race. They don’t have too much interaction so just jamming your threats and looking to curve out is going to be your best bet. Since you’re going to be pressuring them so hard, they’re very likely going to be forced to commit a Goldspan Dragon earlier than they would want to, and around the point they could, you ideally have a Tangletrap to clean it up. Unlike the other Izzet decks, I’m not a fan of Toski here as you care more about pressure than value so I don’t see a great reason to bring it in.
There’s not much more to say about this matchup other than keep quick hands, but you could consider bringing in Master's Rebuke as well to have additional removal for Goldspan Dragon and a way to interact with their Lier, Disciple of the Drowned. I don’t think it’s worth it as you need a 4 power creature on board for this to do anything and it can also dilute your aggressive game plan, but it’s not a crazy idea either.
|+1 Avabruck Caretaker||-4 Sculptor of Winter|
|+1 Snakeskin Veil||-4 Blizzard Brawl|
|+2 Tamiyo's Safekeeping|
|+2 Toski, Bearer of Secrets|
This matchup is going to play out most similarly to Jeskai Hinata and while their late game isn’t as scary, their interaction definitely is. Their removal is better suited to dealing with larger threats and they tend to play a good amount of board wipes so being careful in what threats you commit is rather key. Thankfully this deck is becoming less popular as it’s struggling to find an edge over it’s other Izzet counterparts and it’s hard to justify playing a bunch of board wipes in this metagame, but it’s still popular enough that it’s worth mentioning.
Try not to devote too many threats in the face of a board wipe, but also don’t sandbag too much as they can just slam a Titan of Industry and close you out of the game that way as well. Finding the right balance of how many threats to deploy is rather key in this matchup.
Esper is an interesting matchup as the games will play out wildly different depending on how they draw. Some games they’ll have a very aggressive draw where you’ll need to match in kind and other games they’ll have a super slow draw and you play as if they’re a control deck. Since they have a multi-faceted plan, you have to let them dictate the pace of the game and respond in kind. If they aren’t deploying many threats, you can assume they’re sitting on removal, The Wandering Emperor, or The Meathook Massacre so play with all those considerations in mind.
The highest impact card of the matchup is definitely The Meathook Massacre so you’ll need to always be playing with that in mind. Trying to grow your threats outside of range is definitely paramount so leveling up Ranger Class early is a substantially higher priority here than it is in other matchups. Your best cards are the ones that generate the most value like Ranger Class, Esika's Chariot, Invoke the Ancients, and Avabruck Caretaker so try not to keep hands without at least one of them (unless it’s a great hand otherwise of course).
This matchup is extremely similar to Esper where the main differences is that they have more efficient removal at the price of better threats. They are excellent at grinding, but none of the creatures by themselves are that good against us which means we don’t need Blizzard Brawl to stay ahead.
You need to extract every iota of value out of all your cards whenever possible as they are so good at grinding any deck into the dirt, but that said, we have so many good threats it won’t be easy for them to keep up. Like Esper, always be on the lookout for The Meathook Massacre as that’s a really easy way to fall super far behind.
I won’t mince words, this matchup is very bad. They do similar things to you, except they can get a huge Lifelink threat where we can’t. Realistically, the way you’re going to win is you get lucky and you can nab a key creature with removal of they stumble enough that you can run them over.
My initial list had more cards for this matchup, specifically an additional Tajuru Blightblade and Master's Rebuke, but with their being so few other creature decks, it’s hard to justify adding more slots to a matchup that’s already bad. If there wasn’t fear of overboarding, I would even consider just cutting all the anti-aggro cards and looking to improve the slower matchups, but then we would be taking out decent cards for cards that are likely just as decent. That said, I don’t think it’s crazy to go for that plan anyway if you find plans in other matchups that you’re happy with and want other cards to go with it.
TIPS AND TRICKS
Like my other Bo1 to Premium articles, I’ll relist the Tips and Tricks here so you don’t have to keep swapping, and I’ll include even more!
- Although it may be tempting, I very rarely activate the ability on Werewolf Pack Leader as it’s generally worse than adding more to the board. That said, if you’re playing around a board wipe, the Trample is relevant, or you really need to draw a card, then you can do it. As an additional note, make sure to pump Werewolf Pack Leader pre-combat if you need it to draw a card as it would be too late once you attack.
- Don’t forget that Sculptor of Winter counts towards Blizzard Brawl for Snow permanents.
- This is somewhat niche, but don’t always associate a Sculptor of Winter with mana. What I mean by this is that it’s still an activated ability to untap the land so if you’re tapped out with a Sculptor open, the opponent can use a removal spell on Sculptor, prompt the tap, and then kill something else with the trigger on the stack. Most of the time, if I don’t need Sculptor on defense, I’ll just tap it main phase to not get blown out by this sequence and also put in my opponent’s mind that I have a protection spell. This is can also function as a nice bluff if I don’t have the protection spell and the body is irrelevant on defense as they may just try to commit more to the board rather than pick apart yours.
- It’s definitely tempting to sacrifice a Forest enchanted by Old-Growth Troll as soon as possible, but I try to hold off as long as possible as the extra mana is generally better than a 4/4 and losing a land. That said, try not to wait too long either as the 4/4 will enter tapped and if you desperately need a blocker, waiting too long may make it ineffectual.
- Especially in post board games, try not to run out an Ulvenwald Oddity without a protection spell if you’re just building the board normally. If it gives you great attacks or you don’t have a choice, obviously do so, but you want to avoid it getting nabbed by a Voltage Surge, Vanishing Verse, or The Wandering Emperor.
- Don’t be afraid to use Snakeskin Veil as a small pump spell if needed. This is doubly as effective if you have a board that needs to get wiped away by The Meathook Massacre for the opponent to survive so you may as well get the additional point of damage when you can.
- Obviously each situation will be different, but it’s pretty rare I don’t make both tokens off of Invoke the Ancients gain Trample. The main exceptions will be giving them vigilance against decks playing The Wandering Emperor or reach against Goldspan Dragon decks, but assume that trample is the default.
- Similar to activating the ability on Werewolf Pack Leader, I try to avoid leveling up Ranger Class in lieu of deploying more threats. Obviously if you find a spot in your curve, getting to Level 2 is great. My main exception is if you can get your creatures out of range of conditional removal like burn spells, The Meathook Massacre, or board wipes like Burn Down the House.
- Although it’s not often you’ll get to cast Avabruck Caretaker, I’ll very often pass the turn to get the flip if the opponent doesn’t have many cards in hand as this card is next to impossible to beat on the back side for most decks.
- This isn’t so much a tip, but Tangletrap gets the nod over Plummet in case anvil decks are still around or even against Gruul where they can have Goldspan Dragon and Esika's Chariot. If you aren’t seeing either while you’re playing, Plummet is technically better, but I like having the versatility more just in case.