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Priemer’s Primers: The Green Monster

Written by Tyler Priemer on . Posted in Competitive Magic, Legacy

Priemer’s Primers:  The Green Monster

Tyler Priemer

Tyler has been playing TCGs for nearly 20 years. A long brewer with a knack for Legacy, there's nothing he loves more than making crazy decks a reality

It’s fairly safe to say that in this day and age, Legacy is a decidedly Blue format. Between Force of Will, Brainstorm, Delver of Secrets, and Jace, the Mind Sculptor, there is a significant difference in power levels between Blue and the rest of the colours. As a reaction to this distinction in power, several archetypes have popped up specifically designed to punish Blue decks. From Painter Stone maindecking eight Pyroblast effects to Storm packing Carpet of Flowers to use the opponent’s lands against them, the hate cards are growing in popularity.

However, no deck packs as much hate and prison power as Green Stompy. Also known as Baloth Stompy or Titania Stompy, this deck not only runs the Chalice of the Void/Trinisphere prison combo that MUD and Dragon Stompy are known for using to punish the format, it also has maindeck Choke. As anyone who has played Choke in Modern will tell you, resolving this card against a Blue player feels like hitting them with a one-sided Armageddon. So how do we abuse this card? Simply playing a Choke isn’t enough. You also need a clock, otherwise they can dig their way out of the lockdown. Fortunately, once you have your locks in place, this deck can really bring the pain with sizeable bodies that outclass the majority of creatures in Legacy.

This deck, like many mono-Green decks, has a toolbox of Green creatures you can tutor up with Green Sun’s Zenith that can each gain you incredible value over the course of the game. Thanks to the inherent mana acceleration from Ancient Tomb and Mox Diamond we can not only power out a Chalice of the Void or Trinisphere on turn 1, but we can power out Zeniths for as high as 5 by the third turn. This gives the deck incredible flexibility in terms of the kinds of creatures it can run. Creatures like Deathrite Shaman and Scavenging Ooze act as graveyard control, while Courser of Kruphix and Obstinate Baloth provide sizeable bodies and lifegain against more aggressive opponents. At the top of the curve we have two of the deck’s heaviest hitters, Knight of the Reliquary and Titania, Protector of Argoth. With eight fetchlands, there are plenty of ways to make Knight of the Reliquary into a towering behemoth which conveniently enough synergizes very well with Titania. With both out, activating Knight to make it stronger will net you a 5/3 elemental token. This gives the deck the ability to go wide should the opponent have excessive spot removal or a larger creature in play.

Rounding out the deck we have Abrupt Decay, Sylvan Library, and Rolling Spoil. Countless articles have been devoted to the power of Abrupt Decay as it is one of the most versatile removal spells in the game. This is a catch all for anything the opponent tries to resolve through Chalice of the Void and Trinisphere, and the uncounterability ensures whatever you point it at will die. Sylvan Library is Green’s go to for deck manipulation, as it effectively gives you a Brainstorm every draw step. This combined with the abundance of shuffle effects helps you draw exactly the cards you need at the right time while never getting locked into bad cards on top of your deck. Finally, Rolling Spoil is a fun little piece of tech from Ravnica that’s perfectly suited for keeping the opponent off lands and creatures at the same time. Just in case the opponent has non-Islands in play, Rolling Spoil can destroy them while sweeping away pesky cards like Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, Young Pyromancer, and even tokens from Empty the Warrens.

WHAT SHOULD I RUN IN THE SIDEBOARD?

Because the deck is primarily a Green Sun’s Zenith toolbox, the sideboard for Green Stompy is typically a variety of Green creatures to pick apart certain matchups. For instance, Gaddock Teeg helps shut down Force of Will, Tendrils of Agony, and Terminus, while Spike Weaver Fogs the opponent’s attackers to help swing the tempo of the game in your favour. Meanwhile Giant Solifuge acts as a big, untargetable attacker that really helps clinch the slower matchups like Miracles.

The sideboard also includes additional copies of several maindeck cards. Scavenging Ooze and Karakas help keep Reanimator under control, while Karakas also has additional value against Sneak & Show by keeping their threats off the table. The second copy of Trinisphere does wonders against combo decks like Dredge and Storm by stopping them from actually casting their spells. When backed up with appropriate hate cards, Trinisphere can keep them out of the game entirely. Lastly, the deck runs a fourth copy of Choke to ensure that you draw one against Blue tri-colour decks like Delver where it’s at its most powerful.

The sideboard also has plenty of removal to keep the opponent from developing their board. Massacre, Maelstrom Pulse, and Toxic Deluge are all fantastic at sweeping away multiple threats while leaving our board largely unaffected. These are primarily for Young Pyromancer, Elves, and Death & Taxes, which can quickly build up a board presence with multiple threats. Finally, Faeire Macabre and Bojuka Bog act as additional and uncounterable means of interacting with the opponent’s graveyard, be it sweeping away Dredge’s graveyard or sniping away specific cards such as reanimation or Snapcaster Mage targets.

HOW ARE MY MATCHUPS?

Right off the bat, Green Stompy’s matchup against Blue decks like Delver and OmniTell is insanely good due to the amount of maindeck hate cards. Barring excessive countermagic, these matches are a walk in the park so long as you can stick a clock down as a followup to a turn 1 prison card to actually close out the game. Even midrange matchups like Jund and Shardless BUG which have non-Blue lands are solid since Obstinate Baloth is bigger than the majority of their creatures and can be put into play for free thanks to their abundance of discard effects. Here you are more likely to grind the opponent out with your larger threats like Obstinate Baloth and Titania than successfully prison the opponent to death.

Combo matches can be tricky for Green Stompy, particularly if they can combo off before you can resolve a prison card, or even if they can remove said lockout pieces. Decks like Dredge and Reanimator can go off as early as the first turn, so having the appropriate hate cards in your opening hand is imperative, and I would even go so far as to suggest mulling slightly more aggressively in order to find them. However, once you have your prison pieces in place it should typically slow them down long enough to pile on enough additional hate to keep them out of the game.

SO WHY SHOULD I PLAY GREEN STOMPY?

You should play Green Stompy when you’ve had enough of Islands and Blue players actually getting to do things. Green Stompy gets to play both prison control and aggro simultaneously, so you have game against opposing aggro decks and combo, and the cards are just downright fun to play. The entire deck just screams “value”, and having gotcha moments with Obstinate Baloth against an unassuming Liliana of the Veil or Hymn to Tourach, or making a lethal amount of Titania tokens off of an Emrakul Annihilator trigger is too funny to pass up. This is some of the most fun a “fair” deck can have, and if you don’t like Brainstorm, Green Stompy is the deck for you!

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