Reads: Meddling Selesnya Surge… and some news!
Happy Friday! It’s that time again. With the new Intro Packs out, that means I’m up over at Gathering Magic with an eye towards tinkering, tuning, and improving them. Today I take the Green/White Selesnya Surge, with its tokens-and-populate strategy, and give it some much-needed refinements.
There’s been a couple of comments on here from folks hoping to see one deck or ther other from Return to Ravnica meddled, and good news! I’ll actually be writing up all five Guilds for Gathering Magic. With Selesnya Surge the sole exception (its Week has passed), they’ll be published to coincide with the “Theme Weeks” set by the mothership.
So head on over and say hello- I always enjoy hearing what you think!
Good read, though to readers here I propose an interesting card to work with populate: Seance.
At first glance, this card is horrible. However with populate it looks like you can get second chances for your creatures, and maybeultipes. I’m sure some even have some ideas about self milling to cheat out a big fatty on turn 5. However, lets look at how it treats an “average” selensia deck.
Now I have boon toying around with Tolken support, and these are ones I use:
Intangible virtue: obvious use and value
Growing ranksX2: free repeatable population
Parallel lives: double tolkens
Seance: more on this later
Healer of the pride: life gain is nice in this deck
Phantom general: a boost to tolkens on a decent body
Feed the pack: turns low value creatures like gatecreeper vine and seller of songbirds to net you a couple 2/2 wolves, extra nice with parallel lives and healer of the pride.
Now these have value on their own, and I have never been unhappy to draw one, but together they work quite well.
I played yesterday against a blue/black zombie deck that wins via card and creature-number advantage. It was fairly aggressive with evasion as I set up my engine, and I got saved from death by saccing my Risen Sactuary to feed the pack, with a healer of the pride and parallel lives out(16 wolves, 32 life, yay). A few turns later and some lucky draws I had everything listed above, and was ready to get to work. Other than wolves, I only had a seller of songbirds, phantom general, and healer of the pride out(and I had a risen sanctuary in my GY. Using each one, lets see what this engine can do:
Risen sanctuary: At the start of my upkeep, exile it with seance to get 2 temporary tolkens via Parallel lives. Then with 2 growing ranks, that would net me an additional 4 tolkens which benefit from phantom general and intangible virtue to be 10/10 vigilances. Not to mention that healer of the pride netted me 12 life, not too bad.
Seller of songbirds: At the end of my turn, I fed it to the pack for 4 4/4 vigilant wolves and 8 life during my upkeep I got 2 temporary tolkens and 4 ones that stick around, betting me a bird each. Besides the sellers being buffed by tolken effects, they are strictly better to populate than just bird tolkens. Lastly my healer of the pride saw 6 sellers enter as well as 6 bird, netting me 24 life.
Healer of the pride: sac for 6 wolves but no life at end of turn, bring back at upkeep via seance. Both copies see eachother, and net 4 life. Then each growing ranks makes 2 more copies, each seeing eachother plus the two original will end netting 32 plus 4 from the original 2 for a total of 36 life. This opens a huge source of life gain as with 4 helers each creature nets you 8 life, and you can populate them to exponentially inflate your life. Unless you face a board wipe or your opponent mills you, you can’t lose with that much life gain.
Phantom general: ignoring life gain(since you will not be for want now) this will net you some wolves and 4 tolkens of phantom general. Not only do all tolkens get +4/4, but do do your generals, which makes each a 7/8 vigilance with intangible virtue. With each populate, you can give all tolkens and additional +2/2 as well as 2 ever- growing bodies.
Now obviously this takes time and given I have mostly just one of most if the enchantments this was lucky, but I foresee some people pulling off even crazier combos in the future with seance. Obviously my mind drifts to populating things like Serra’s avatar or any sort of fun toys, but I’d like to hear what others think as well about not only the engine I made but also using seance in general.
And sorry for typos, I typed all this out on an IPod 😛
Really like the Séance idea! I have an unhealthy love for cool but neglected niche cards like that. It found a place in my B/W human-sacrifice themed deck (Altar’s Reaps, Falkenrath Torturers and Skirsdag Flayer all loved “playing with” Séance’d Mausoleum Guards and Doomed Travelers), but this is another outstanding place for it! Do you have a decklist somewhere to check out?
I don’t have too much of a deck right now, just good cards thrown in. Just take a deck with lots of populate, maybe some ramp, and then the cards I listed. Any other cards will work too, ones with ETB triggers or just solid creatures. I forgot to mention how amazing Geist-honored monk is, spawning 2 spirits each time you copy her, not to mention that her power and toughness will inflate VERY quickly(with parallel lives if you copy her you get 2 monks, and then FOUR spirits) You don’t get much better value from populate than 6 creatures, 2 of which are A+ creatures for Selensia 😉
Agreed, I saw that and got an immediate shiver right up my Johnny spine! Clever interaction…
Can’t wait to see what you’ll do with the Rakdos (eeer…poor choice of words, considering what this guild does :p) : I got the 2 rares at the prerelease tournament and had thought to build me the deck, but I will wai until you’ve meddled it so it’ll add a bit of OOMPH!!
Given the restrictions, the meddling turns the deck into a much more focused deck. Although I felt that removing fliers would be bad, I am less skeptical now that I see the whole mending. Having 10 pieces of removal is very nice and welcome indeed and will be crucial. Pacifism can even be side-boarded if more removal is needed which is awesome. I’m quite sad that there aren’t quite as many good token producing cards in return to ravnica(in selesnya colors) that are common or uncommon. You did great by including 4 selesnya guildmages, they are quite the bomb in limited and at least decent in a constructed format. Against boardwipes the rootborn defences really help, so that is another sideboard auto-inclusion. Rancor and slime molding are 2 choices that I never came up with from my own mendings I have come up with and they seem quite effective. Selesnya keyrune is the only card I would second-guess, I guess I have to try it out but a vanilla 3/3 that attacks turn 4 isn’t quite good. And by turn 3 it is extremely likely that the color fixing will not be needed, and 4 arbor elves seem like enough ramp to me. Who knows, it has mana sinks in the selesnya guildmages and slime moldings to have a use for all that extra mana.
When money can be added to the deck, after going to 4 sunpetal groves and 4 Temple gardens(for those with money) I would also add more grove of the guardian. The populate theme seems solid and with 3/3’s and X/X to pupulate the only best thing are 8/8 vigilant elementals. In limited that strategy works quite well, I had a chance to populate the grove of the guardian token, but who knows how it will work in harsher environments.
Against other mendings of a similar nature it would be a great to match these decks up.
slime molding is a great addition! im not sure trostani’s judgement is a keep we already put in 8 removals and 6 mana is pretty steep. what about giant growths??