7th Edition: Way Wild Review (Part 1 of 2)
If the monochromatic and simplistic decks of 7th Edition are all about introducing novice players of the day to the feel and philosophies of each of the game’s five colours, any discussion of ‘best-in-show’ on this basis alone would need to consider Way Wild. To be fair, Green isn’t the most sophisticated or complicated colour at the best of times, so perhaps tipping the cap to a simple deck for a simple strategy isn’t much of a stretch, but that isn’t to say that playing Green stompy and smashing face with fat beaters isn’t fun… and at the end of the day isn’t that what the game’s all about?
And that, in a nutshell, is Way Wild. Introducing your enormous creatures to your enemy’s face, repeating over and over again until one or the other raises the white flag. Let’s take a look at the deck and see how its gets us there.
Trained to Step on Things
Let’s start as we often do with a look at the creature curve, for what better way to get an impression of what a creature-centric deck like Way Wild is expecting you to accomplish.
Befitting a mono-Green deck, you get a dose of mana ramp (a pair of Llanowar Elves), but beyond that the beats begin in earnest. A trio of Grizzly Bears aren’t the sexist option you’ll ever see at the two-drop slot, but they’re solidly efficient and get things moving in the right direction. Take heart- from here they only get bigger.
Once you’ve entered the three-drop threshold (as early as turn 2), you can further accelerate your manabase development with either the Fyndhorn Elder or Wood Elves. Alternately, you might press your advantage and continue the stampede, option to play one of your two Trained Armodons. While your opponent struggles to drop that fourth land, hoping to topdeck and answer, your ramping options should keep you happily on-curve with some of your more substantial options like a Gorilla Chieftain or one of your two Giant Spiders.
Our two previously-reviewed decks, Armada and Decay could only dream of creature power on this level, but for Wild Way things are only just getting started. The crowded top-of-curve includes a pair of creatures immune to chump-blocking (the Pride of Lions and Thorn Elemental), a regenerating Ancient Silverback, and two beefy vanilla beaters in the Redwood Treefolk and Spined Wurm.
Although with enough of a jump on your mana curve you can often put overwhelming pressure on your opponent with creatures alone, you also have recourse to some noncreature support. Let’s take a look at that next.
The Forest Wants Something
The noncreature spells in Way Wild are a diverse lot that resists easy classification, but it might be better to see it as something of a multi-tool. Although hard to predict what you’ll draw into, many of these will be useful most any time you get them. Unusual for Green, you have a surprisingly solid removal suite with a pair of Creeping Mold and a Rod of Ruin, the latter being a great mana sink later in the game when you have a lot of land sitting around doing nothing.
There’s also another dose of mana ramp with a Wild Growth, and creature upgrades with a Regeneration and a Blanchwood Armor. The Armor is particularly useful in making one of your weaker creatures (like those Bears) combat-viable once again, and especially devastating on the Lions or Thorn Elemental, where it can translate as damage straight to the face of your enemy. There’s a Lure to help set up a lethal alpha strike, and a singleton Giant Growth to boot. This is rather less than most Green decks tend to carry, and a rather unfortunate choice- bluffing a Growth loses some of its believability if most of the time you can get called on it.
Finally, in case you’re falling behind there’s a single Stream of Life, which can get you right back in the game. Still, it suffers from the same malaise as all lifegain cards- it’s a dead draw when you’re ahead, and only marginally useful when needed most of the time. Since lifegain itself is no solution, it leaves whatever problem has brought you low unaddressed, thus only prolonging the inevitable.
And there we have it, short and sweet- exactly what you’d expect from such a deck. Use your early game to develop your manabase, and start the beating early. Keep your creatures outclassing those of your enemy by getting them into play more quickly, and you’re well on the way to victory.