Rogue Selesnya (G/W/B Midrange Populate)

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Hey, I could use some feedback on the list I have been toying with:

While the Populate portion of the deck is pretty straighforwards, I know that a few of these inclusions might raise an eyebrow or two. I reasoned that since most decks in the current meta are either midrange decks that like to set up for a huge blowout, or blisteringly fast aggro decks, I would need a good way to keep myself in one piece and be able to come back from behind.

To that end, I'm running Centaur Healer to help buffer my life total a bit while my Populate engine gets going. As the game progresses, I can use Vault of the Archangel to easily swing the game in my favor; either by killing their board, or using the threat of such to get my guys through for damage, all the while gaining a bunch of life. As long as I'm splashing Black, I want Lingering Souls as well. Incidentally, pumping a phantasmal army with Collective Blessing sounds very... tasty. Actually, pumping anything with Collective Blessing seems like a good idea. I'm also running Staff of Nin. One thing I was afraid of with this deck was loosing steam and getting locked into topdeck mode. By doubling my draws and pinging away at life totals/blockers, I think it will help keep me in the driver's seat, or double my chances of drawing what I need to get back in the game. Finally, Farseek both accelerates and fixes my Mana, making sure I can reach and maintain a strong prescence as soon as possible.

I'm debating whether or not to use Strangleroot Geist in place of Centaur Healer. As a card, I certainly like the Geist a lot. Also, I agree with a lot of what Gavin Verhey said in his article: However, I think my deck is trying to play the long game a little more, so the lifegain from the Centaur is pretty tempting. Then again, the resilience of the Geist might be a bit more useful. Then again...

I'd appreciate any tips on how to tweak the deck. I'm curious as to make it as proactive as possible while still being competitive against the current meta, and I'd also like to get the Centaur vs. Geist thing sorted out... Oh, and is Selesnya Charm a must-play, or can I get along without it?      

"I will diminish, and go into the west, and there remain SgtPepperjack. Y'know, you really ought to come along with me."

Ugh, are my threads invisible or something?

"I will diminish, and go into the west, and there remain SgtPepperjack. Y'know, you really ought to come along with me."

you're splashing black for a land and flashback... not seeing the point. If you really want to use black, look at some more golgari and focus less on populate. Selencya actually has some heavy hitters, and golgari lets you pump them. Also, black removal is the best removal. Drop the Centar Healers, the Staff of Nin, and the Collective Blessing (and probably the Wayfaring Temples as well), then add in stuff like Slither Head, Korozda Guildmage (intimidate Wayfaring Temple can actually be terrifying), Dreg Mangler, Loxodon Smiter, or even Slime Molding for late game. Personally, I'd look at:

-4 Centar Healer
-2 Vitu-Gazi Guildmage
-2 Collective Blessing
-2 Staff of Nin
-1 Rootborn Defense
-3 Farseek

+2 Korozda Guildmage
+4 Loxodon Smiter
+4 Slitherhead/Dreg Mangler 
+4 Selesnya Charm

at the very least, you can pump a smiter and then use the guildmage to sack it and make Wayfaring Temple huge. Also, I would definitely look into adding Selesnya Charms. They're pretty much amazing. You can actually drop all your Farseek and some other card for them. For your mana base, I'd say to get more consistancy, Evolving Wilds and Ghost Quarter (blow up your own lands) work amazing for mana fixing. Try this:


Just throwing that together, but I can test later. I run something similar in a U/W deck. If you want to lose the [v]Vault of the Archangel[/c]s, then it would probably be more consistant with 4 Plains/Swamps.


How about Armada Wurm for your top slot instead of the staff? Revenge of the Hunted gives your mana guys some reach as well, if you can fit it.
A rather good land, and a rather good flashback. You also told him to take out some solid cards and replace them with trash. If you are using Ghost Quarter as Mana fixing, you are doing something very very very very wrong. Sliterhead is bad, Dreg Mangler is decent. Korozda Guildmage WHY EVEN BOTHER.

Wayfaring Temple isn't that great, nor is the guildmage. dunno whats with everyone wanting to play Staff of Nin in these decks, as much as I like it the card is pretty unimpressive.
Centuar Healer is actually a very solid card people seem to be against. 
Selesnya Charm should be something you play. Gives you everything you need. Probably don't need four though.
Consider adding Trostani Voice of All, Wolfir Silverheart, Sigarda Host of Herons, and Loxodon Smiter. 


Oh. My. Holy. Freaking. Gosh. I cannot believe I just read that.

Taking your post point-by-point, in order:
1) Yes, I am splashing Black for a land and a Flashback. The point? Using Vault of the Archangel and Flashbacking Lingering Souls. I don't "really want to use Black", as you put it, I want to use Vault of the Archangel and Flashback Lingering Souls!
2) Yes, Black has access to some good removal. We all know. You didn't suggest any. I can't think of any that would really fit. O-Ring works fine. I'm cool.
3) Let's see, if I drop everything you tell me to, my deck would look like this:

4) Really? Although your post is, in all fairness, internally inconsistent, these are the kind of cuts you suggested:

  1. Centaur Healer -My first line of defence

  2. </a><a href="[Vitu]+[Gazi]+[Guildmage]" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage -My pretty Populate lady (half of my Populate Engine)

  3. </a><a href="[Collective]+[Blessing]" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Collective Blessing -This is pretty d*mn close to a win-con

  4. </a>Staff of Nin -My late-game insurance policy

  5. </a><a href="[Rootborn]+[Defense]" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Rootborn Defense -My anti-Bonfire tech

  6. </a>Farseek -My mana fixing/acceleration

  7. </a>Wayfaring Temple -My main beater/half of my populate engine

5) And I'm supposed to add Slitherhead?!? The Heck? Loxodon Smiter is big, yes, but also off-theme and easy to deal with. The Voodo Guildmage really doesn't fit the deck. At all. I could kinda see Dreg Mangler in the place of Strangleroot Geist, but the Mana would get funky.
6) Speaking of, flying pigs will use a world-championship-winning Wood Elemental deck to cause hell to freeze over before I use Ghost Quarter as mana fixing.

All in all, you are either a troll or an idiot. Perhaps both. I wanted advice on my deck. I did not wany you to tell me to go play the ****ty pile of steaming jank that you went 1-2 with at your last FNM.

"I will diminish, and go into the west, and there remain SgtPepperjack. Y'know, you really ought to come along with me."

How about Armada Wurm for your top slot instead of the staff? Revenge of the Hunted gives your mana guys some reach as well, if you can fit it.

Armada Wurm is kind of interesting. It does give me two huge dudes that I can immediately begin copying. Obviously, it's a good fit for a deck of this kind.
However, one of the main reasons I picked the staff was because it would help me to get back from behind. While the Wurm does do that, to an extent, I think it leans more towards being a wincon than towards helping me get ahead and stay there. Granted, it's all situational in the end anyways. I'll consider it.
I'm gonna say no to Revenge. I think Collective Blessing followed by Vault makes all my dudes pretty lethal already.

"I will diminish, and go into the west, and there remain SgtPepperjack. Y'know, you really ought to come along with me."

One of my main qusetions is how to get the manabase right, without shocklands. (Unless I'm lucky enough to open a few.) I know I'm almost always going to want a forest in my opening hand. I'd also like to settle the Geist vs. Centaur question.

"I will diminish, and go into the west, and there remain SgtPepperjack. Y'know, you really ought to come along with me."

Evolving wilds. No, really. I would cut 3 swamps for 3 wilds, since you don't really need more than one source of black mana. 3 wilds, plus the farseeks you're already running should be more than enough search for that swamp.

I'd also consider -1 forest, +1 plains, and to replace the staff of nin with...well....anything. It just looks bad on paper. Is it actually testing well?

Also, I'd make room for thragtusks, if you have them.
Fixing mana on a three color deck without shockland is a pain, i know. i wouldn't cut 3 swamps for evolving wilds, because with one black land left, you loose some potential if it got slimed or something. maybe this:

-3 Swamp
-1 Forest
+2 Isolated Chapel
+2 Woodland Cemetary

Although you could try running two of the Selesnya manlands, just for giggles. Maybe not.
Concerning your creatures, I don't know if you need 8 Manadorks if you have nothing huge to ramp into. Maybe cut some to make room for Rancor or Selesnya Charm. I would absolutely hold on to the Healers. Turn 1 manadork into turn 2 Healer is a slap in the face for aggro. ;)
If your local meta allows it, you might profit from running some Craterhoof Behemoth. Those really get the little guys going.
I've been working on something similar.  To splash the black, I've been trying Borderland Ranger instead of the farseeks.  It gives me a body, which is not trivial when you are playing Collective Blessing.  I've been struggling against my sons mono-red deck, even with the Centaur Healers.  Admittedly I don't have the 4 Lingering Souls yet, but I'm not sure how big of a difference that will make.  Have you thought about going a little more token-y with Midnight Haunting and Intangible Virtue?  I don't think the Staff is good enough myself...maybe in a total defensive deck/controllish build, but that's not what you are doing, doesn't seem like.

I would

-2 Wayfaring Temple
-2 Staff of Nin
-3 Farseek
-1 Vault of the Archangle

+3 Borderland Ranger
+2 Midnight Haunting
+2 Intangible Virtue 
+1 Gavowny Township 

Well, I don't want to cut the Wayfaring Temple. Dumping one of my main threats for Midnight Haunting(?) doesn't make all that much sense. I thought about Borderland Ranger, but in the end, He's good, but technically he's only mana fixing, while Farseek both fixes and ramps.
Speaking of ramp, opening with a mana creature is crucial. I want to play either a turn two Centaur Healer or a Wayfaring Temple. I also want to get up to six mana for Collective Blessing as fast as possible.
As for the Staff of Nin, I'd honestly rather be playing either Trostani or Sigarda in that slot, but I don't have any. Both of those would serve the same purpose of fortifying my defenses against aggressive decks while making life miserable for control. To an admittedly lesser degree, Staff of Nin does the same thing. By keeping my hand stocked, I can increase my chances of always having the card I need, as well as being able to keep up the pressure with fresh creatures each turn. Plus, incremental damage is a good thing.   
While this is technically an aggro deck, and can be fast out of the gate, I want it to be able to provide a ton of early pressure, while keeping the inevitability factor in the mid to late game.
I think I will use the Evolving Wilds, though. My dilemma is that I need to have a Forest in my opening hand and I want to have more than a single Swamp. I also need a guaranteed source of white mana, either from a Plains or a Pilgrim. What would be the best land breakdown for that?
(If I had them, I'd go for the Chapel/Cemetery split in a heartbeat, and drop the Farseeks for Selesnya Charm.)

"I will diminish, and go into the west, and there remain SgtPepperjack. Y'know, you really ought to come along with me."

My experience with Wayfaring Temple has led me to drop it for Loxodon Smiter. A turn two Smiter is going to be bigger that the Temple and it's going to hit the board. The latter can't always be said for the Temple. Turn three Rancor makes for big, trampling beats.
Well, I'd honestly prefer going turn two Temple into turn Three Call of the Conclave/Lingering Souls, then swing. Not that Smiter's bad or anything, but I think Temple has a better long-term impact on the board. Also, Smiter and I have a hate/hate relationship, as he exists for the sole purpose of flipping the middle to the control decks I love. Frown

"I will diminish, and go into the west, and there remain SgtPepperjack. Y'know, you really ought to come along with me."

For the Temple to be any good, something else has to survive, preferably several somethings else. The odds aren't that good when one is playing against competitive decks. I like cards that rock on their own or boost the team. That last bit is different from relying on other cards to be good.

Test it and see how often the Temple is 4/4 or better. Test it and see how long the Temple is on the board at all. How often does he last long enough to get to 4/4 or more? How often does he get countered?
Wayfaring Temple, in my opinion, should always be paired with Rancor if you want to really ramp up that populate mechanic. This way if you get chump blocked by anything you are still getting your tokens out and beefing up that Temple into a Andre the Giant with a whole posse of half horse dudes within a few turns. Smiter is cool and all but id rather have the temples and then throw in some Trostani, Selesnya's Voice. A static 4/4 vs. a dynamic */* in a populate deck which is centered on bringing out more creatures? Temples will make this deck very aggressive. If you are gonna go populate, go centaur deep!
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