I am a new player to the game - I’m only rank 20 - but I like deck building, and I want to learn from the insight of others. So, keep in mind that many of my opinions are probably wrong.
The plan of the deck is to obtain value (favorable trades and control of the faeria wells) through utilizing stat and protection buffs, big creatures that take advantage of these buffs, and transformation effects.
Explanation of Card Choices
- Unbound Evolution (UE) can create favorable trades against big creatures. For example, against a player using a green deck who buffs their Verduran Force, Grove Guardian, or Thyrian Golem, UE will most likely make their creature much worse for only 1 mana.
- UE can remove powerful effects of opponent creatures. The most extreme example of this is probably Ruunin.
- The reason for UE being a 2 of is for the flexibility of having Frogify as a removal option as well, and it’s not clear to me that cutting another card for a 3rd UE would make the deck function better, but I’m open to this idea.
- Triton Chef draws a Triton Banquet, which has a lot of use in the deck; the combination of protection and jump applied to big creatures gives them the versatility to threaten Faeria wells controlled by the opponent, and opponent creatures which could be traded into favorably. Plus, the +1/+1 is a breaking point for giving a lot of creatures in the deck enough power to kill opponent creatures (most notably the 4 to 5 power difference). Having the option to play Triton Banquet forces the opponent to play in a constrained and uncomfortable manner, which is a subtle advantage in board control.
- The Triton Chef can also be used as a harvester, and, if it is the target of removal, at least it draws a card that will be useful.
- Typically, if both players try to control the faeria wells closest to them, Triton Banquet can present a credible threat to either faeria well if a friendly Tyranax or Herald is near the wells, since a Tyranax can jump and trade up with anything that has less than 6 health, and, if the opponent doesn’t place defensive lands near their orb, allows for the offensive placement of a forest by the opponent’s faeria well, which will lead to long term problems for the opponent. (For example, in one game I played against a blue deck, I was able to kill a Herald with my Tyranax by using Triton Banquet, place a forest near the opponent’s well, then play Tethra on the following turn, making the Tyranax a 10/12 - my opponent conceded shortly after, because I was able to use the jump from Triton Banquet to deal 10 face damage and place another offensive forest nearby his orb)
- The reason for Triton Chef being a 2 of is that drawing multiple Chefs is not desirable, because Triton Banquet is most likely too expensive to be played twice in succession, and it’s preferable to have the flexibility of using Gabrian Warden to grant the same benefit as Triton Banquet in certain situations that merit defensive action.
- Mimic synergizes with the toughness increasing effects of Tethra, Apex Predator, and Triton Banquet, as well as the high toughness creatures, Verduran Force and the Colosi. At worst, Mimic usually becomes a 4/5 for 4 mana, which is not terrible, and it is not unusual for Mimic to obtain around 4/10 stats in a game.
- Mimic can also be copied with Aurora’s Creation (AC), although, ideally, AC should be used on more valuable targets like Apex Predator or Tethra.
- The 4 power of Mimic makes it harder to kill with Choking Sand, and removing Mimic with Last Nightmare is a 2 mana loss for the opponent.
- The reason for Mimic being a 2 of is that Mimic requires another creature to be in play to use its effect, so Mimic is not desirable to draw at the start of the game, but it’s more desirable to play after friendly creatures have higher health, which means that Mimic likely gains more valuable later in the game. Having Mimic as a 2 of is a good balance between being less likely to draw it early and being able to gain enough value from Mimic to merit its inclusion.
- Ancient Herald is able to discount the cost of a lot of creatures in the deck, and it has a low land requirement, which makes Herald an especially good creature to play in the early game.
- The reason Ancient Herald is a 3 of is because it’s favorable to play it consistently in the early game, and it doesn’t lose that much value as the game goes on.
- Tyranax has a good stat distribution and low land requirement, which makes it a good presence in the early game. Its 4 power can challenge a lot of creatures played in the early game, and Triton Banquet increasing Tyranax’s power to 5 increases its killing potential in a lot of cases.
- Another potential replacement for Tyranax could be Deepwood Grizzly, which is harder to remove for BR, but the emphasis of the deck of giving creatures protection makes the higher health of Deepwood Grizzly less relevant than the higher attack of Tyranax.
- The reason Tyranax is a 2 of is because of lack of space in the deck, but adjustments to the deck to include 3 Tyranaxes are possible.
- Frogify is a reliable way to remove threatening creatures. Since there are a lot of ways to remove creatures in the deck, namely, through protection buffs and other transform effects, and given Frogify’s high cost of 5 mana, Frogify is a 1 of in the deck to handle extreme cases.
- Aurora’s Creation is an incredibly flexible card that amplifies the buffing effects of the deck. The best uses of AC are to play it on Apex Predator, Gabrian Warden, Tethra, Mimic, Verduran Force, or Mirror Phantasm, depending on the circumstances. Since all the cards that are desirable to use with AC, with the exception of Mimic, are 3 ofs in the deck, 3 Aurora’s Creations are also used in the deck.
- Gabrian Warden is a flexible card that can give itself protection, which is situationally very power, for example, when used to block an aggro deck from hitting the orb, or it can give another creature protection, which could advance farther or trade with an opponent creature better than Gabrian Warden could.
- Protection is more relevant in a deck that can buff other creatures, making Gabrian Warden more relevant for this particular list.
- This deck lacks the taunts and life gaining effects typical of green decks that makes green good against aggro, so the defensive benefit of having a 3/5 protection creature against aggro decks is valuable for surviving the early game.
- Because of Gabrian Warden’s flexibility, it’s useful in a variety of situations, so having it as a 3 of is better than having Tyranax as a 3 of, for example.
- Mirror Phantasm is a flexible card that functions like Frogify and UE against opponent creatures, while creating a 4/4 creature.
- Because the opponent creature is transformed into one that has 4 toughness, Triton Banquet can be used in conjunction with the many 3 power creatures in the deck to favorably trade with the transformed creature, as well as Tyranax having 4 power.
- The flexibility and amount of value that can be obtained from Mirror Phantasm makes it a 3 of for this deck.
Primeval Colossus / Wavecrash Colossus
- Primeval Colossus often gains stats greater than Verduran Force because of the high amount of creatures with 5 toughness or more in the deck, which makes it a great inclusion as a 1 of, since drawing it before many 5 toughness creatures are played makes it less of a threat.
- Because these creatures can obtain a high stat amount, they can lure the opponent into playing their Magda, Feed the Forest combination on the Colossus, instead of on an Apex Predator.
- Wavecrash Colossus also tends to gain stats around Verduran Force because Apex Predator requires 3 forest and 3 lakes to be played, which means that Wavecrash Colossus will most likely be at least a 6/8 for 6.
- Verduran Force has great stats for its cost, especially its toughness being 7, which makes it difficult for RB to remove with cards like Salamander, Groundshaker, and Garudan. It’s important to be the aggressor in the RB matchup, which makes Verduran effective at applying pressure.
- It’s high power of 7 makes Verduran Force a good target for protection buffs, which makes it trade up with many creatures.
- Verduran Force is also a great target for Apex Predator.
- The reason Verduran Force is a 3 of is because it isn’t bad in the early game for challenging opponent creatures for control of faeria wells, and it’s high stats make it relevant in the later stages of the game.
- Apex Predator is able to take on the stats of the biggest creature in play, and have +4/+4 on top of that. The +4/+4 is almost as great of a buff as Tethra’s, the copied stats often are above the 6/6 of Tethra, and Apex Predator only costs 6 mana. This may be the most efficient creature at obtaining high stats for its cost in the game.
- Aurora’s Creation works very well with Apex Predator because it can copy Apex Predator, and the copied Apex Predator can copy the high stats of the Apex Predator already in play.
- This card is especially good against green if Apex Predator can be played on a highly buffed big creature, then UE, Frogify, or Mirror Phantasm is played on that creature. But one should be wary of playing into Magda, Feed the Forest during this line of play.
Tethra, Soul of the Wild
- Tethra can grant creatures with protection enough stats to trade up in most cases, which could be thought of as a double application of its power stat increase, in that the protection buff enables the +5 power from Tethra to be applied twice - hopefully!
- Tethra can also benefit from the mana cost reduction of Ancient Herald, and playing an early Tethra and making it an 11/11 can be a strong play in the early game.
- Tethra can also be copied by Aurora’s Creation and played for 5 mana in order to gain even more value from its buffing effect.
- Tethra itself has high enough stats for an Apex Predator to copy its stats, along with Verduran Force being another good target for Apex Predator.
The shape of our lands should extend towards the closest faeria wells against an opponent who takes a similar posture. The reason for this is that it’s possible to obtain favorable trades early in the game with the deck, and controlling all the faeria wells as soon as possible limits the options of the opponent making favorable trades against us. In some cases placing an offensive forest by using Triton Banquet on a creature creates a long term way to apply pressure with big creatures, which should also be a strong consideration. Since the deck mostly consists of blue cards, generally it’s better to develop lakes before forests, but this can vary depending on the starting hand draw.
Mulligan Decision Making
Generally, creatures that can harvest faeria early in the game or challenge opponent creatures should be kept, and cards that give more value if played later on should be mulliganed. For example, Ancient Herald, Tyranax, Triton Chef, and Verduran Force should definitely be kept in the starting hand, Tethra and Gabrian Warden are okay to keep but not the greatest. Everything else can be mulliganed.
Evaluation of Matchups
This deck should be favored against green, since it has ways of matching the big creatures of green, while transforming their creatures into creatures with worse stats. The only worrisome factor is playing around Magda and Feed the Forest. I think this deck should be played in a control style in this matchup.
This deck should be equal against red/blue, since it’s able to produce many threats that red removal cards can’t effectively deal with. Blue transform effects played against friendly creatures are less effective because there isn’t as much of a card investment used to give creatures buffs as is the case in green decks. UE can be used on creatures who are the victims of an opponent’s UE to transform them into a substantial threat. For example, if a threatening 6 mana creature transforms into a 7 mana creature, we can use UE and have the chance of getting Ruunin or Baeru, and Oak Father is still decent. I think this deck should be played in an aggro style in this matchup.
This deck should struggle against aggro and vicious decks. Unlike green, this deck has no taunts and no healing, so the matchup against aggro decks should come down to if big creatures can be drawn and played to protect the orb. I kind of need more experience to judge if this deck will always lose to yellow rush or not. Against vicious red, I think this deck should be played aggressively, because gaining value over time isn’t useful if the opponent reduces our life over time, and we don’t have any healing. I think this deck should be played in a defensive style against aggro, and an aggro style against vicious red.
I would appreciate any feedback on the deck or any section of the thread that you could give. Like I said in the disclaimer, I’m a new player, so a lot of my opinions are probably wrong. I would expect my evaluation of matchups to be the most wrong, and the most incomplete.
Here are some questions that could stimulate feedback about the thread: are there better reasons or more reasons for card choices? Are there better card choices? Are there better reasons for land placements, or better land placements for the deck? Are there more matchups that could be evaluated for the deck? How do you go about evaluating a matchup? Are there incorrect statements or conclusions about my evaluation of different matchups? Are there improvements to the format of the thread that you can think of?
I’ll credit any improvement to any section of the thread with your name, and you have my thanks.