Selesnya - Populating the world with angels

20 posts / 0 new
Last post
Hi all,

So I, too, tried to build a Selesnya token deck utilizing the populate mechanic. But after making a preselection of cards I would like to play with, most of my populate cards seemed underwhelming. I also realized, that I want the deck to spit out big tokens instead of many small ones. Therefore, my tokens of choice to create many copies of are 4/4 angels. I'm keeping to Standard, so the main cards for that are a full set of Moonsilver Spear and my two copies of Entreat the Angels. My populate cards are Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage and Sundering Growth (no Trostani available). I included the later one, because I expect opposing decks to run all kinds of artifacts and/or enchantments as those decks won't be bound by the Standard format. Even within Standard there are many viable targets for a Naturalize with a bonus.

Since Guildmage and Spear are slow, I'm aiming for a midrange deck and therefore need to stall the game in the early turns. Call of the Conclave was an obvious inclusion. And after some goldfishing to find the rough edges of the deck, I included Seraph of Dawn, because she has a big butt, provides me with some aerial defense and is a good candidate to wield a Spear. I had a set of Selesnya Keyrunes in the earlier build, but found, that I needed a full time body more. I searched a while for a suitable 3-drop creature and found Centaur Healer and Wolfir Avenger (and Loxodon Smiter, but I only own a single copy of the card). I settled for the Avenger, because he provides a much needed combat trick, and with his regeneration ability he can both hold the ground as well as survive an attack into superior forces, making him another good candidate to equip a Spear to.

Garruk's Packleader provides card draw what with all those big tokens and other creatures entering the battlefield under my control. I exchanged my three copies of Collective Blessing for my two copies of Angel of Jubilation (trying to get more, but they are a bit expensive around here and trading for them is also tough) and filled the last spot with my singleton Armada Wurm. Blessing seemed superflous in the end as my tokens are quite big and should not need the boost.

With the activated abilities demanding lots of mana, I'm running 25 lands, since my two Grove of the Guardian cannot be counted as full lands with all my color intensive cards.

So here's the deck as it is now:



I'm somewhat concerned about board sweepers, so I would have liked the Keyrunes in the deck. I'm also considering to put some Requiem Angels in, but lately, I haven't seen much of Wrath of God, Day of Judgment or the like, but rather Terminus and other non-killing sweepers. Other availabe cards not yet mentioned are single copies of Growing Ranks and Wayfaring Temple, though the later isn't high on my "want in" list.

It's still some days until I get to try out the deck in some casual duels and get some real games under my belt. I'd like to hear your opinions as well as possible improvements (please keep them Standard legal).

Thanks all
That's not a populate deck because you'll rarely have creature tokens, that's just a random green/white midrange deck without much focus! Then again, Sundering Growth is just pretty effective without creature tokens, and Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage produces some creature tokens if you don't have any..
I have 21 token generators, how is that not enough for a deck that aims to populate after setting up a defense? A deck, that only uses repeatable populate as a means to gain card advantage rather then populating for the sake of populating.
Selesnya Charm produces knight creature tokens, that might change things.. What I don't really like about Moonsilver Spear + Entreat The Angels is that you'll win if they're not answered quickly, it doesn't matter if you populate the angel creature tokens or not.. Did you consider artifacts like Soul Foundry, if you're running so many unrelated non-token creatures?
So far, the populate mechanic doesn't have any content that would make it a solid concept to build around other than for fun against other kitchen tables games. The nature of the mechanic seems to be focused around draft format, as I can see that and limited block play seems to be where its greatest potential is realized. Outside of that, there are already greater token generating combos.


Have you ever seen monogreen Heartbeat of Spring,

Snake Basket / Monkey Cage and Essence of the Wild ?

IMAGE(http://cdn.bulbagarden.net/upload/1/1c/Spr_4p_389.png)

So far, the populate mechanic doesn't have any content that would make it a solid concept to build around other than for fun against other kitchen tables games.



One exception is Trostani, Selesnya's Voice, which combines lifegaining and populate.

Selesnya Charm produces knight creature tokens, that might change things.. What I don't really like about Moonsilver Spear + Entreat The Angels is that you'll win if they're not answered quickly, it doesn't matter if you populate the angel creature tokens or not.. Did you consider artifacts like Soul Foundry, if you're running so many unrelated non-token creatures?



No, because Soul Foundry is not Standard legal. I am considering Seance but see no reason to try and cram in my two copies of the enchantment just yet.

Also, Entreat the Angels is a game winner no question (I've experienced that in the prerelease), but you need the miracle for that. If you just happen to draw it without being able to miracle it, it's a 4/4 flier for 5 or maybe two 4/4 fliers for 7, nice, but hardly an autowin.

As the focus of the deck is on the Spear and Entreat, I see no problem in winning with them, that's the point. Populating some more angel tokens makes it harder to answer those cards, but they will get answered. Mine is not a dedicated populate deck, because I consider most of my populate cards to be mediocre at best, I won't play them just because they have "populate" written on them. So my side of the battlefield won't be covered in tokens, what's wrong with that? I'm still trying to win with my tokens, they just happen to be viable threats of their own and not only as a swarm.

I used "populate" in the thread's title with its English meaning, not just for the mechanic. My non-token creatures might be unrelated to populate but not to the strategy of the deck. I did explain, why I included them. They all have their purpose in the deck.
Looks like my comments yesterday didn't really help, sorry! You don't have many two-mana cards (that you want to play on your second turn!) or three-mana cards while having lots of four-mana card.. The obvious solution would be another two-mana card which provides mana-ramp and then allows you to play four-mana cards on your third turn, for example Rampant Growth.. Another problem is that you don't keep your lands untapped very often, that's why cards like Wolfir Avenger might be much weaker than in most other decks.. You could replace these few cards with instant effects with cards with sorcery effects, or you could include more instant effects that have you keep your lands untapped more often and then allow you to select from a variety of instant effects on your opponent's turn..
While the only 2 mana card I really want to drop turn 2 is Call of the Conclave, I don't plan to hold back on Guildmages or Selesnya Charms if I need an early creature. So that's 12 cards in the 2 CMC slot. Along with my Avengers that's 16 cards for 3 or less, which should suffice for the early game.

I don't see spending all my mana every turn as a bad thing, though I agree that doing it on my own turn shuts down my ability to respond to my opponent's threats.

Yes, I would like some ramp, especially the Selesnya Keyrune. Any suggestions as to what to cut for the ramp or what would be the best option? (And once again, keep it Standard legal. Rampant Growth isn't.) One land can go then, but I need to cut three more cards.

Edit: Seems like the choices for a turn 1 or 2 ramp card come down to Avacyn's Pilgrim, Arbor Elf and Farseek. Dawntreader Elks, like the Keyrune, are too slow to provide a fourth mana on turn 3.
If you really treat Selesnya Charm as two-mana creature for your second turn, it'll be much weaker than in most other decks.. If you didn't manage to draw Wolfir Avenger, you'll often waste your third turn playing nothing or playing a two-mana card, and that only if you're really lucky and managed to draw multiple two-mana cards that can be played on your second turn ~and~ your third turn.. Unfortunately, Wizards doesn't print two-mana artifacts that produce colored mana anymore, maybe consider Viridian Emissary (even though it's not very reliable!) because one-mana creatures that produce mana allow you to have three mana on your second turn, and three-mana slots are your deck's weakness.. You don't really need three-mana artifacts that allow you to have five mana on your fourth turn for the same reason, but since Farseek can also search for Temple Garden, you should use that one card!
Alternatively, I could try to put in more 3 drops, like the already mentioned Centaur Healer, to fill the gap in the 3 mana slot. With 25 lands, getting to 4 mana on turn 4 should be likely enough.

farseek definitely should go in, you can take out 2-4 lands for it.
seraph of dawn is bad and should go. its sad it doesnt have vigilance would make it interesting.
personally i'd say moonsilver spear is too slow but its not terrible.


id put in the fog and indestructible populate.

You're not really suggesting to cut 2+ lands from this deck, are you? 23 or less lands, even with 4 ramp cards like Farseek is not enough. I don't even need to play an actual game with the deck to know it, goldfishing already confirms it.

Seraph of Dawn does what I want from the card in this slot better then any other Standard legal creature, except Restoration Angel, my two copies of which are in use in another deck and thus not available. The things I want are: defense against fliers, 4+ toughness to avoid being killed by Searing Spear and other red 3 damage spells as well as ward off 3 power creatures like Centaur tokens, a CMC of 4 or less to play it early enough. Lifelink and an evasion ability are already a bonus.

Moonsilver Spear is slow, I said so myself in the first post. But it is a central card, so rather than dropping it, I'd like to build the deck with it in mind.

You need to make a rather good argument for Druid's Deliverance for me to even consider it, because I think it's one of the most awful populate cards. Rootborn Defenses I have considered, but don't believe, I'll have the 3 mana available to cast it when I need to. And as I also said already, the sweepers I'm seeing recently aren't Day of Judgment types but things like Terminus.

in a deck like this where youre likely to have mana free in the first few turns ramp is basically just another land. so yes you can swap it in for lands, a good deal of speed for a slight hit to consistency, its a good deal.

  id rather play something like O-ring than seraph. ill admit seraph would be quite useful vs RDW style but vs anything else its really bad - and vs RDW cmc 4 is just a turn too slow if he goes first - sideboard material perhaps but not for main imo - as for flyers there's not a lot of flyers seeing play that seraph would do better against than chumpblock. id actually consider one-eyed scarecrow over seraph...
I guess seraph makes some sense with the spear though ...but that means you're putting in a bad card to support a so-so card...

populate instants are basically conditional tokenproducers, that have the ability to do other stuff while getting the token. Treat populate as the maineffect and even druids deliverance makes sense. casting a couple of druid's deliverance at end of opponents turn is pretty sweet^^

rootborn defenses is more of a combattrick than antisweep to my mind.
in a deck like this where youre likely to have mana free in the first few turns ramp is basically just another land. so yes you can swap it in for lands, a good deal of speed for a slight hit to consistency, its a good deal.


But if you don't run enough lands to drop one every turn until turn 3-4, there's no actual ramp, it just becomes a bad color fixer, worse than a Guildgate.

 
id rather play something like O-ring than seraph. ill admit seraph would be quite useful vs RDW style but vs anything else its really bad - and vs RDW cmc 4 is just a turn too slow if he goes first - sideboard material perhaps but not for main imo - as for flyers there's not a lot of flyers seeing play that seraph would do better against than chumpblock. id actually consider one-eyed scarecrow over seraph...
I guess seraph makes some sense with the spear though ...but that means you're putting in a bad card to support a so-so card...


No more O-Rings available either, all my copies are in use in decks I do not want to take apart. Guess we'll have to agree to disagree on Seraph, at least until I get to actually play the deck. I'll keep your comment in mind, though.

populate instants are basically conditional tokenproducers, that have the ability to do other stuff while getting the token. Treat populate as the maineffect and even druids deliverance makes sense. casting a couple of druid's deliverance at end of opponents turn is pretty sweet^^

rootborn defenses is more of a combattrick than antisweep to my mind.


But the condition is to have a token out, which I, at the moment, am hard pressed to assure in the early game. I'm more inclined to assume a worst case scenario, which means, populate is the additional effect, the card needs be good enough to warrant inclusion on its own, which Deliverance does not for me.

I'll keep Rootborn Defenses in reserve.

For the moment, I decided against Farseek and instead added three Centaur Healers in place of Angel of Jubilation and a Garruk's Packleader. A fourth one might replace a Wolfir Avenger.
None is standard legal, except for Fog and I'd run Druid's Deliverance over it. Which I already consider bad.

IMAGE(http://cdn.bulbagarden.net/upload/1/1c/Spr_4p_389.png)

Really now, are you guys even reading what I write?

Keep it Standard, as in STANDARD = Innistrad block + M13 + Return to Ravnica only.
You're working around tokens/power in numbers. So replace Angel of Jubliation with Sublime Archangel.

Sorry, but I'm just not all that familiar with the standard content.

From what I can see though, your creature base has a mana curve that's too high. You may wish to refocus that content so that you have a creature of each ascending cmc value. 

a 2 drop, a 3 drop, a 4 drop, a 5 drop 

IMAGE(http://cdn.bulbagarden.net/upload/1/1c/Spr_4p_389.png)