I don't think you want to mix human tokens and populate. To be effective, I think you need to either make a white human deck with some green splash, or you make a populate deck that focuses on beefier tokens (3/3 and up). The other approach is where you make a Selesnya-themed aggro deck or midrange deck where you just capitalize on the strong G/W creatures, and tokens are just a small side effect from using Call of the Conclave or Thragtusk leaving the battlefield.
Thanks for the feedback. Actually, I saw the topic for the other deck before making and posting this one; in some ways I based mine off it. I'll look into removing the weaker tokens. I know they don't populate well, but I was running low on strong token cards (besides high cost like Coursers' Accord). I may replace the Gather the Townsfolk with Slime Molding; I really like the idea of being able to make a huge token with Slime Molding. I doubt I will be able to get Entreat the Angels or Thragtusk due to their cost, but I am considering them. I'd rather get the RTR cards like Trostani, Selesnya's Voice, Armada Wurm, and Temple Garden; then the support like Parallel Lives and Garruk, Primal Hunter first. After I get those, I'll see if I can get the others. Hopefully some new cards come out to help the deck too, if not in Gatecrash maybe in Dragon's Maze. Also, just to mention, last night I ordered a bunch of cards I needed for the deck and other cards to test. I mostly got lower cost cards, but I did manage to get 3 Loxodon Smiter and a playset of Intangible Virtue. I defiantly want to try a Cathars' Crusade build with a lot of smaller tokens. I will be sure to try other version as well when testing. I am interested on trying a more aggressive version with less token focus. I'll just have to see how it goes. At the moment the whole populate deck is a bit weird. I'd love to run cards like Wayfaring Temple (with Rancor for Trample), but to power him up it seems best to use a lot of small tokens. Sigh, if only Bestial Menace was still in standard. It would be great if it, or a card like it, were reprinted in the upcoming sets...
Well, until the orders comes, I will be focusing on other decks. After I get a chance to play with the token cards a bit, I will see if I can revise this deck list. Besides that, I did update the main post not too long ago to try to change direction of the topic. So if anyone could give me some info on what the top tier decks are and how they work it would be appreciated. Or if you know of any cool, unique, and/or decently effective decks that can be build without dishing out $100 I'd like to know. I'll just be looking around for new ideas to try and preparing for next expansion.
At the moment the whole populate deck is a bit weird. I'd love to run cards like Wayfaring Temple (with Rancor for Trample), but to power him up it seems best to use a lot of small tokens.
Populate is a slow mechanic and tricky to get right, because you need to have a balance of both token generators and cards with the populate mechanic. I think this is why it is not used much in competitive decks.
Yah, from what I've seen that seems right. Hopefully before the block ends we'll see better cards. The decks need cards like Coursers' Accord, only without such a horrid cost. From what I've seen, most of the cards are currently commons too; so hopefully newer cards have higher rarities and stronger effects.
Personally, I find the mechanic itself to be a bit lacking. My original thought was that it would be awesome to use with my landfall token generation deck I use to have (which would be modern now). But now, I doubt I'd be able to use any of it, maybe Trostani and Rootborn. But before I had trouble finding room for all the landfall cards in standard, and in modern that would be even harder and I'd need to get cards like Parallel Lives in the deck. I think the main flaw is that it only generates one more token, regardless of power. Maybe if it did one of each unique token (e.g. you could populate a 3/3 beast, 1/1 bird, and a 1/1 spirit each once, but if you only had 3 3/3 beasts you could only do 1). Or Populate X, where is power/toughness (so populate 1 could only make a clone of a 1/1, but populate 3 could make 3 more 1/1 or 1 more 3/3). Oh well, bit late to change it now. So yah, I feel a bit iffy about the whole mechanic at the moment. I still plan to work on the deck, but I don't expect it to work too well if I try to focus around populate as main goal. I'll be better off flooding with weak tokens or just playing up the WG colors without a major populate focus. Hopefully the 2nd or 3rd set of the block will offer some better populate cards.
Well, I considered letting this topic die and posting a new focused on my Selesnya deck; but I decided to hold off on that a bit longer. So instead, I'll post two new deck lists. I took a look at my deck and tried to make a version with less Token/Populate Focus and more aggression to it. Then after that, I decided to see if I could pull off an all out Token/Populate deck. The results are interesting for both; my comments for each are listed below them. Here they are.
Aggro-WG-Standard: 60 Creatures: 13 (Total Costs: 1CMC- 4, 2CMC- 12, 3CMC- 13, 4CMC- 3, 5CMC- 2, 6CMC- 3, XCMC- 2) 3 Armada Wurm 3 Silverblade Paladin 3 Trostani, Selesnya's Voice 4 Loxodon Smiter Planeswalkers: 2 2 Garruk, Primal Hunter Artifact: 0 Instants: 7 3 Rootborn Defenses 4 Selesnya Charm Enchantments: 7 3 Oblivion Ring 4 Rancor Sorceries: 10 2 Slime Molding 4 Call of the Conclave 4 Farseek Lands: 21 (Mana Breakdown: White- 36, Green- 38. Land Breakdown: White- 13, Green- 14) 2 Gavony Township 4 Sunpetal Grove 4 Temple Garden 6 Forest 5 Plains This is meant to be a direction improvement over the previous deck list. Pretty much, I cut out the Doomsayer for a Silverblade; I dropped the Gather the Townsfolk for Slime Molding; and I dropped the Parallel Lives for 1 more Loxodon, Trostani, and Rancor. Also, I decided to cut the Arbor Elf for Farseek; but I can easily change that around if I feel it doesn’t work. I liked Arbor Elf because he could untap Temple Garden, but I feel it may be better just to fetch it. Also, I changed Grove of the Guardian to Gavony Township, which will probably work better. I still got 6 cards that can Populate (Rootborn and Trostani); the latter of the two can do it once per turn. I feel that number works good since I also got 15 token generation cards (4 Call, 2 Slime, 4 Charm, 2 Garruk, and 3 Wurm). The Slime Molding is the odd choice but I wanted to try it since it could get me a stronger token or just be an overcost 3/3. Slime Molding and Rootborn Defense are the cards I'll be keeping an eye on to see if I want to cut them.
Token Swarm-WG-Standard: 60 (Big Token-12, Swarm Token-13/17, Populate-7) Creatures: 10 (Total Costs: 1CMC- 4, 2CMC- 11, 3CMC- 4, 4CMC- 12, 5CMC- 5, 6CMC- 3) 3 Armada Wurm 3 Trostani, Selesnya's Voice 4 Avacyn's Pilgrim Planeswalkers: 2 2 Garruk, Primal Hunter Artifact: 0 Instants: 12 4 Eyes in the Skies 4 Midnight Haunting 4 Selesnya Charm Enchantments: 6 3 Cathars' Crusade 3 Parallel Lives Sorceries: 9 2 Fungal Sprouting 3 Gather the Townsfolk 4 Call of the Conclave Lands: 21 (Mana Breakdown: White- 37, Green- 33. Land Breakdown: White- 13, Green- 13) 3 Grove of the Guardian 4 Sunpetal Grove 4 Temple Garden 5 Forest 5 Plains This deck was fun and a bit frustrating to build. The goal of the deck is to combo with Cathars' Crusade and Parallel Lives to generate a lot of tokens and then get a ton of +1/+1 counters on them. I admit, it will probably suck in the early stages of the game and I probably should have more mana ramp. Also, I get that it won't be until turn 5 when I get the Parallel Lives and Cathar's Crusade up, so before then I'll pretty much just have weak 1/1; but hopefully I'll be able to throw down a couple more and make them all 5/5s (2 1/1x2 by Parallel Lives=4 creatures so all get 4 +1/+1 counters...right? Also, Parallel Lives would clone a token made via Populate too, right?). Still, I think it is a pretty decent attempt to merge Populate and Token Swarm decks. I focused on a lot of token generation cards and fewer creatures; Parallel Lives certainly has enough targets. Eyes in the Skies is there because it can be a better version of Midnight Haunting; 1 more cost but at worst it makes same tokens and at best it gives a 1/1 flyer and populates something bigger. Fungal Sprouting is there because I believe it will count the +1/+1 counter when played so it will give a lot of token; however, I may be wrong and if I am I'd swap it out for something else. Also, I went with Grove of the Guardian again for this because if I can pull it off and get the 8/8, well, it will just be really good for the deck XD Also, with all my weak little tokens 2 creature shouldn't be too hard to get. I kinda expect it to fail against a very competitive deck, or at least most of the time. It isn't as stable or versatile as the other deck list and enchantment removal on game 2 will just destroy me. Still, it seems like an interested deck to try.
Well, those are my two deck lists I plan on testing and tweaking when I my orders arrive (I'll have to Proxy some cards still though). I think most will agree that the Aggro seems far more competitive while the Token Swarm seems more casual. Still, I won't know until I test them. Any comments on either build?
Well, I tested both of the above decks. Since my only other standard deck is werewolves, it was the only deck I had to test against. Still, werewolves seem quick and forceful enough to get a good estimate of the decks.
The token version just failed. Too often was I left with 1/1 tokens that were hopeless to hold back the foes. The only advantage was that I had flying tokens, which did a good job of getting past werewolves, but that probably wouldn't help too much against most other decks. The main problem I found was that it was too dependent on its enchantments. I ended up tweaking build by removing 2 Garruk, Primal Hunter, 2 Fungal Sprouting and 1 Trostani, Selesnya's Voice for 1 more Cathars' Crusade, Parallel Lives, Gather the Townsfolk, and a couple Farseek. That did help, but not enough. I really needed Cathars' Crusade or else my tokens just failed. The main problem was that it took until turn 5 or so to get it on field, if I even drew it, and by then I used up most my token generation cards (had to keep casting to keep werewolves from transforming). Mana was a big issue with deck. I did change out the Pilgrim for Arbor Elves because only giving white was too limiting (Arbor Elves can untap Temple Garden, which I got more often than not). Grove of the Guardian also proved futile. I never got it off once, mainly due to mana costs. However, if I did manage to pull it off and get a Cathars' Crusade on the field; then dropping any 1 or 2 token cards became instant field control. Still, werewolves managed to win despite an army of 1/1 tokens with 5 +1/+1 counters on them in one game; that deck just got a really good field as well. So I am defiantly going to give up on the idea of token swarm. I am sure it would run into worse things than werewolves and chances are my opponent would side in an enchantment crush, which would devastate the deck.
The aggro version on the other hand worked much better. I didn't have too much tokens, but I still had enough that I felt the theme was there. Garruk, Primal Hunter is defiantly the MVP of the deck. I late upped him (and Silverblade Paladin) by taking out Slime Molding (not a bad card due to flexibility, it even won me a game, but others just seem more useful). The thing Garruk did that I didn't really expect to be so useful was the draw power. The first game I got him out I managed to cast a Slime Molding to make a 5/5 token and then use the -3 ability to draw 5! That netted me enough cards to easily win (Armada Wurm and needed 6th land). I did find how important mana ramp is with this deck. It has been a while since I had to worry about lands that much. Still, I found the Farseek did the job wonderfully. Although I wouldn't be against adding some Arbor Elves if I had the room. Rootborn Defenses if the only card I never drew, or at least used, while testing the deck. I decided to keep it in for the moment, but it is the most likely card to be removed. I never got to use Gavony Township's effect, but it didn't slow deck any to have it and it seems worth using. Trostani, Selesnya's Voice was another card that was a big game changer. Any token with her turns into easy life gain. Also, she can be a great blocker when paired with Silverblade Paladin. Speaking of the Paladin, he certainly proved to be worth the addition; too bad he goes for $9 each. Still, I got no problem going after him; I am sure I will use him in other formats after he rotates out. Nothing quite as sweet as a turn 3 Loxodon Smiter followed by a turn 4 Silverblade Paladin and Rancor; a 6/4 Double Strike Trampler can really cause some damage, even if he dies to blockers (took out lot of werewolves at least). The aggro build is defiantly the one I am sticking with. Chances are Gatecrash will have a few cards to improve the deck (waiting for full spoilers before I check it all out). Personally, I am really hoping for some Green/Blue Draw card that I could fit in. I may be able to shift the deck towards more of a token focus if some new strong token cards come out, but I am not expecting anymore Selesnya/Populate stuff until Dragon's Maze, if then.
Well I would like to thank everyone who helped me with this topic. I will continue to work at my Selesnya Aggro deck (with some Populate) and hopefully get all the cards and use it before the format changes XD For the moment, I decided not to pick up another standard deck, but I do have my eye on a few (Exalted for one) so I'll just have to see how that plays out.