Budget friendly? Check. Keeps up with tiered decks? Check. Consistent and linear? Check.
This is exactly the kind of deck I love giving to someone for their first time in the Modern format.
Welcome back to the second installment of the Rogue Report. I’m Cody, and we’ve got some spicy green peppers for you this week!
Back at the end of 2015, I had a personal friend named Peter Schreier who was working with Canadian MTG giant FacetoFace Games (Toronto). Some of my earliest MTG learning experiences came from the immediate group of friends we shared and times we shared together. Peter posted an article on an old favorite of his, Green Machine, and to my surprise it started popping up everywhere around me. Let’s jump into his late 2015 build:
Immediately after this list was posted, I started seeing it frequently at FacetoFace Games events and amidst the competitors at the ManaDeprived Super Series. From what I remember, it didn’t have many top finishes, but was gaining representation – enough to notice it in the room.
The benefit of this deck is that it is very linear and simplistic. There’s one basic plan and it involves turning big green monsters sideways. It’s also hard to argue the fact that it has a consistent and painless mana base, coming in with nothing but 20 basic forests. It’s fast, to-the-point, super budget friendly, easy to play and even keeps up with top tier decks relatively well!
Some of the subtle intricacies of this deck are represented in the spells used. Dismember gets a full 4 copies in this list, a direct correlation to it’s life next to Splinter Twin in modern. Not to mention, Dismember still picks up a lot of the popular format threats such as: Tarmogoyf, Celestial Colonnade, Gurmag Angler, etc. This is also a neat reason why Vines of Vastwood makes the cut. Lots of these Mono G Devotion/Aggro decks play Aspect of Hydra as the pump spell of choice, but this list was considering breaking up the opponent’s Splinter Twin combo OR having a pump spell. Let’s just say I’m keeping a few tricks in mind in case we see Splinter Twin come back.
Our ideal threat in this deck is an ever-growing Dungrove Elder. Not much to see here, just an X/X hexproof, that keeps on punching. Strap on a Rancor and let’s ride! Beside the punching tree, we have 4 Leatherback Baloth which is our budget friendly version of a Tarmogoyf. Strangleroot Geist is a resilient threat and enables attacking for 4 on turn two (if played into a T1 Experiment One). The selling point on this hasty little green spirit is the fact that it has undying, almost assuredly making it a 2-for-1 (whether it be trading creatures or eating 2 removal spells). The split between Llanowar Elves/Elvish Mystic/Arbor Elves in this early version was also well justified by Peter. It’s simple, Elvish Mystic and Llanowar Elves do the exact same thing – although they don’t both get hit simultaneously by Maelstrom Pulse. Not a gigantic deal with only 1 copy each, but it comes up every so often and there’s no reason to not do the split. 4 Arbor Elves were a direct nod to Splinter Twin, as an essential feature of this deck at that point in time was its ability to untap a Forest in response to removal to hold up Dismember or Vines of Vastwood for the opponent’s turn Splinter Twin combo. Lastly, Scavenging Ooze and Dryad Militant try to keep our opponent’s graveyard shenanigans to a minimum. Sad days for Snapcaster Mage.
Our bad match-ups are Infect (not near as prevalent), Affinity, and Tron. In the Infect match, they’re generally just faster than us. We have access to Dismember and some neat interaction block with Vines of the Vastwood, but it’s a lot of work. Affinity is a problem because it is also faster than us. Our creatures will always outclass theirs but the problem is, the opponent generally empties their hand first. This is a match-up where I’d suggest leaning on the Setessan Tactics from the sideboard. Tron used to be a horrible match-up for this deck, and now is by no means good, but at least Tron decks aren’t really messing with Pyroclasm anymore. Beast Within can help keep them from going trONline but isn’t ideal. If we can line-up their Wurmcoil Engines with our Deglamers that come in, it’s possible to edge it out.
Good matchups include Burn, Zoo, Jund and Abzan (Junk) decks. Against Burn our creatures will always outclass theirs which is an effective stonewall. We also don’t take any damage from our land base which is a HUGE benefit of our simplistic mana situation. Albeit, we probably don’t want to be drawing our Dismembers in this match-up in game 1. Against Zoo, our threats are usually more effective than theirs, bigger, and harder to interact with. We have creatures that come back like Strangleroot Geist and our best threat, Dungrove Elder, is very hard to remove. Against the BGx decks including Jund and Junk the same holds true; Dungrove Elder does a fantastic job of not dying (other than in combat and to Liliana of the Veil occasionally).
Looking back at this deck from Peter has been interesting for me as I have created a decent list of cards that I’d like to try in it. At the time of his original article on this deck, Oath of the Gatewatch was just on the horizon, and since then we’ve had Shadows over Innistrad, Eldritch Moon, Kaladesh, Aether Revolt, Amonkhet, Hour of Devastation and Ixalan. Here are some cards I think may be worth looking at in this build going forward:
Life Goes On – If it wasn’t super clear this card is great against Burn. We can’t get revolt from lands, but we are looking to keep bashing in with undying Strangleroot Geists. Something will die eventually.
Nissa’s Defeat – Not quite sure what to make of this one yet. It’s probably pretty bad, but can do a lot of stuff.
Dissenter’s Deliverance – This is a fine sideboard card. Can help out against Affinity, Lantern Control, Tron and a few other decks. Being able to bin it in return for a new card is also a nice privilege.
Exemplar of Strength – Probably horrible in our current configuration but this makes me want to consider a similar type list with Young Wolf, Strangleroot Geist, maybe Channeler Initiate. Can’t argue with a 4/4 for 2 when you’re getting a Young Wolf or Strangleroot Geist back.
Rhonas the Indomitable – While we do have Rancor for most of our trample needs, this might be good friends with Dungrove Elder. Dungrove Elder can keep Rhonas the Indomitable online and a 5/5 deathtouch/indestructible with a good ability is nothing to scoff at.
Heroic Intervention – Specifically have Anger of the Gods in mind. Anger won’t always kill all of our stuff, but it does kill our early game guys and denies the undying ability of Strangleroot Geist. I can see a copy or two being good measure in the sideboard.
Today’s Mean Green!
I may just be in the mood to play some Mono G aggro again soon, so here’s what I will be trying out. There will be kinks to be worked out but even if just playing Peter’s 2015 75 cards, the deck can still keep up. This is what I think I’d try first:
2x Setessan Tactics
1x Sword of Light and Shadow
1x Thrun, the Last Troll
1x Creeping Corrosion
1x Obstinate Baloth
1x Life Goes On
2x Beast Within
1x Heroic Intervention
Thanks for joining me again and I hope you’ve enjoyed Peter Schreier’s Green Machine deck! This is certainly something I enjoy sleeving up and bringing to local modern tournaments. It definitely has a set of legs and can run with the best, so if you’re new to the modern format or just want to keep it simple you shan’t be disappointed. If you have any suggestions for my newer build of the deck, don’t be afraid to comment below! All constructive criticism is welcomed and actively sought after.
Catch you next time on The Rogue Report.
– Cody McCowell