Hi everyone, and happy new year from Strictly Average MtG! We’ve spent the last few months looking at how to build a multiplayer cube, and as we enter 2020, it’s time to look at green. As per usual, we’ll look at the current state of my own multiplayer cube as an example. You can catch up on the previous white, blue, black and red articles to see how we’ve gone so far. Okay, let’s get into it!
The Green Section
Firstly, here’s what my multiplayer cube’s green section currently looks like:
As we’ve discussed previously, green and white run an Enchantress archetype, and you can definitely see that at play here. Eidolon of Blossoms and Enchantress’s Presence are clearly the centerpieces of this archetype. Seal of Primordium and Ancestral Mask are also specifically here to work with it (the Seal also has the added benefit of being able to be recurred by Sun Titan where Naturalize cannot).
Green has also traditionally had Elf Tribal. That’s not quite so much of a thing these days, but enough of the Elves have stuck around that there is still an Elfy flavour to it. Given it’s not a strict archetype these days, we’ll discuss the Elves in detail below.
So that’s 4 of the 45 cards. Let’s look at the remaining 41 a little bit closer!
Birds of Paradise was recently named as one of the most iconic cards ever printed, and there’s little reason to not include it here. It remains possibly the best one-drop mana ramper in the game.
Lotus Cobra is one of the best two-drop mana rampers in the game. That said, its value increases exponentially when you are playing with fetches, as this cube is. If you’re not, you might want to consider its place in your cube. If you are, it deserves to be in.
Priest of Titania has been one of the headliner Elf Tribal cards since the cube’s inception, and it’s so good that it’s hung around despite losing some of its friends. There are still 12 Elves in the cube (not counting Changelings), along with ways of producing more, so it’s still going to ramp you well.
Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary is in the same boat as the Priest. Another Elf, another ramper that won’t be going out of style any time soon.
Sakura-Tribe Elder is another iconic ramp card. Steve’s utility pretty much guarantees him a spot in almost every cube ever. I’ve seen him run happily in powered cubes, so he deserves to be in yours (powered or not).
Scavenging Ooze is another wonderful creature that earns its spot through its utility. It stops reanimator decks in their tracks, gains you life, and develops into a threat itself over time. You can’t ask for too much more from a two-drop.
Eternal Witness is another iconic card that belongs in just about every green EDH deck ever built. In the long game of multiplayer, it’s just as good. In cube, it gets recurred by Sun Titan, is bananas under a Mimic Vat, is guaranteed to be one of the four cards chosen for Gifts Ungiven, and generally does nasty things in Golgari decks. If you’ve got one, play it.
Evolution Sage is a new addition who falls into the same category as Lotus Cobra – if your cube has fetches, its power level increases exponentially. Coupled with planeswalkers, things that throw +1/+1 counters around, Blast Zone, anything… this thing is guaranteed fun. It’s also sneakily another Elf for our Elf Tribal.
Imperious Perfect has been in the cube from the beginning as one of the Elf Tribal lords, and has stayed due to its propensity to gum up the board with Elf Warriors. It is probably one of our weaker Elves now, but still does enough to maintain its spot.
Managorger Hydra is at least playable in a duel next to something like Hardened Scales. In multiplayer, this thing is a blowout. It even counts your own spells, and will be a 10/10+ trampler on Turn 4 before you know it. At its very worst case, it’s flushing a removal spell for three mana. At its best, it’s taking an opponent out on Turn 5.
Rishkar, Peema Renegade is a legendary dude who has managed to hang around in our main 360. He secretly turns just about every green creature you’ve drafted into a mana dork. Scavenging Ooze? Check. Kalonian Hydra? Check. Managorger Hydra? Check. Now with the added fun of how well he works next to The Great Henge, he’ll be sticking around for a while yet.
Runic Armasaur is an innocuous little three-drop that quietly draws you an absolute mittful of cards. It also comes with five toughness for three mana, becoming a handy early blocker. I’ve seen people kill this just to prevent the obnoxious card draw.
Yavimaya Elder has had the nickname “Landcestral Recall” for a long time now, and it still holds true. Wonderful land fixing and card advantage, and a pretty handy blocker (as it’s usually about to die anyway, and blocking just gives you a reason to pull the trigger).
Nullmage Shepherd is extremely underrated artifact and enchantment removal. In a green deck, it isn’t hard to get to four creatures, so it’s highly likely to activate. Put it next to a token deck, and it’s blowing most things up. Put it next to Prophet of Kruphix, and it’s insane. I have seen this clean a table of artifacts and enchantments faster than Aura Shards. And it’s an Elf for tribal purposes, too.
Oracle of Mul Daya is unparalleled levels of land ramp and card advantage, hence its current price. It’s also yet another secret Elf. This guy and Azusa, Lost But Seeking are pretty much auto-runs for a cube… if you can afford them.
Temur Sabertooth is another under-the-radar card that belongs in a lot of cubes. If you’ve got two mana untapped once the Sabertooth is out, the world is your oyster. Did someone wipe the board? Bounce your best creature and make the Sabertooth indestructible. Is someone attacking you with a horrendous creature? Get yourself an indestructible blocker. Got another creature with an ability that goes off as it enters the battlefield? Bounce it at the end of your opponent’s turn and get that winning feeling all over again. The fact that the Sabertooth can give itself indestructibility multiple times per turn at instant speed means that it is also extremely hard to remove so long as you’ve got enough creatures and mana sitting around (which is kind of green’s thing already, if you think about it). If you haven’t played with this little guy before, I highly recommend tossing him in and giving him a try.
Vizier of the Menagerie is basically Oracle of Mul Daya for creatures. Coupled with all of the ramp creatures here, it sends creature-heavy decks out of control fast. I’ve seen a truly horrible Commander draft deck before that ran this, Animar, Soul of Elements and Hymn of the Wilds – it overwhelmed the table in record time, and had about five other players hoping to topdeck a Wrath effect (no-one drew one, and it went on a turn-things-sideways orgy for the win).
Kalonian Hydra wins games, period. People ignore it until it swings and suddenly becomes an 8/8 trampler. If it gets a second swing in, it’s probably killing someone. It adores wearing equipment, too – the trample coupled with the size usually means that it’s going to be triggering the effects on all the Swords, and it’s horrible wearing Whispersilk Cloak. Early iterations of the cube had this and Blade of the Bloodchief as a popular combination too.
Ohran Frostfang is a new addition from Commander 2019 who has quickly earned friends. It turns every combat of yours into an exercise in terrible choices for your opponent. Do I deny the card advantage? Do I lose all my creatures? As a defender, I don’t like any of the choices it offers me. It’s also sneakily wide, at six toughness on a five-drop creature.
Thragtusk remains an iconic creature, and is such a good Limited card that it’s been reprinted in a Modern Masters set. It’s also beautifully worded to give you the 3/3 Beast token as it leaves the battlefield, not just as it dies. Remember Temur Sabertooth above? Two mana, make your Sabertooth indestructible, get a Beast, replay Thragtusk, gain 5 life… and this is only in mono-green! Try not to think how nasty the options get once you start straying into white and blue for blink, or black for reanimation!
Hydra Omnivore is a natural-born finisher for multiplayer and team environments. I have seen tables quake in their boots at the sight of an Omnivore wearing Whispersilk Cloak or Grafted Exoskeleton. This cube runs Rogue’s Passage in the landbase to similar effect (and given the Passage often hides in amongst your landbase, it’s usually less telegraphed than the act of putting some equipment on). Either way, the Omnivore is definitely one of green’s threats that Must Be Dealt With.
Primeval Titan is Primeval Titan. He’s banned in some formats for good reason. If you’re keeping him legal, you probably want to consider him. He’ll wreck face, and ramp you into your next big threat in the process.
Giant Adephage is another underrated finisher. In multiplayer environments, there’s usually at least one opponent vulnerable to a swing from this thing… and one swing is all it needs. Like Pack Rat, it starts to gain exponentially as soon as it’s gone off a single time. Throw in token-doubling effects, and it gets out of hand ridiculously quickly (and is secretly an absolute riot to go trundling across the board with).
Terastodon can be looked at as three Beast Withins that can’t hit creatures… but then leave behind one of the biggest bodies in the game. For its cost, it is game-swinging, and often ends up removing the three nastiest things that have been clogging the table up and preventing attacks or gaining card advantage for opponents. Start blinking it, and you’ll soon be ending the game.
Oath of Nissa was a card we tossed in because it happened to work nicely with the Enchantress archetype, helped the wacky five-color decks some people try and draft, encouraged planeswalkers, looked like a green Ponder… and then it got banned in Pioneer! Who knew! In all seriousness, it’s a pretty decent piece of cardboard, even in this environment. If you have ways of bouncing it, it’s pretty obnoxious. Can’t ask much more for one mana.
Rancor is a classic, and was in here very early on to play with Enchantress. As the archetype evolved in this cube, we realised that loading creatures up with auras in such a removal-heavy environment was just a great way to get two-for-oned all the time. Rancor always works around this, which is why it has managed to last as one of the few auras in the cube.
Worldly Tutor is green’s tutor of choice here. Green Sun’s Zenith obviously exists, but trades its repeatability for a lack of flexibility in creature choice. Worldly Tutor will just fetch whatever you want when you want it.
Cryptolith Rite takes token decks and ramps them to Ludicrous Speed. This is an especially good card in decks full of instants and creatures with flash – people will often make the mistake of only looking at your land when trying to figure out your mana reserves before they attack you. It also provides color fixing when you need it, so it’s fantastic in a deck that is trying to run three or more colors.
Evolutionary Leap is here mostly because Survival of the Fittest is not (in truth, I’m fortunate enough to have one, but I suspect SotF might actually be too broken in here). Leap is very much a fixed SotF, but also has the added benefit of working beautifully next to things that give you payoffs when your creatures die (most of which are tied to black, like Dictate of Erebos).
Heroic Intervention is Green Counterspell. It started out life as an innocuous little $1 rare, and has since exploded in value as EDH players figured out its true value. It will prevent most things that an opponent can throw at you (because, let’s face it, most of what you’re likely trying to prevent is destruction of your stuff). It’s also good for a final, match-winning swing, making your team indestructible and tamper-proof.
Prismatic Omen is an open invitation to try and draft a five-color deck. Like Chromatic Lantern, it will solve all of your color-fixing problems in a shot. But the fact that it also hands out all basic land types can sometimes also work in our favor – we know this from Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle in Scapeshift decks. But here, it also works gorgeously with Crypt Ghast, for one.
Beast Within is green’s premier removal spell. The fact that it kills just about anything dead means that you should be running it.
Bow of Nylea is here mostly due to Enchantress, but has enough utility that it hands out some beautiful side-effects, and combos nicely with some of the other cards we are running here. Handing out deathtouch to your team is not to be sneezed at (as we saw above with Ohran Frostfang), the +1/+1 counters are relevant in a fair few places (including with Rishkar, Peema Renegade above), and even putting cards from your graveyard back to the bottom of your library is relevant – this cube ran Grenzo, Dungeon Warden for a long time, and someone actually broke it one night playing Jund with Grenzo and the Bow.
Growing Rites of Itlimoc may be a fixed Gaea’s Cradle, but it still becomes the Cradle very easily in this cube. With the amount of Elves and token generation running around in here, it is very easy to reach four creatures (often, it’s before your opponents have a chance to keep you under four). The initial card selection is not to be overlooked either. And it’s an enchantment for Enchantress to play along with, too.
Garruk Wildspeaker has been this cube’s green planeswalker of choice since he first appeared on the scene. And the competition hasn’t exactly been fierce – we would need to be running a Loam-style archetype for most versions of Nissa (and we aren’t), and a lot of the other Garruks are either too expensive or color-intensive in their cost. Wildspeaker himself does a wonderful job of ramping and gumming up the board with tokens, before finishing things off with an ultimate that seems to go off frequently.
Pattern of Rebirth is essentially a Worldly Tutor that puts the creature directly into play. It’s a particular trick in this cube to enchant Sakura-Tribe Elder or Yavimaya Elder and then sacrifice them for Pattern of Rebirth’s effect to go off instantaneously. From there, you’re basically getting the best creature in your deck cheated onto the table. Good deal.
Asceticism is another important answer to the removal-heavy affairs of other colors. It gives creature-based decks the time and space to get rolling in their own way. It’s also another enchantment for the Enchantress deck.
Selvala’s Stampede is a completely unfair piece of cardboard in multiplayer and team environments. It’s been so broken here that it usually wins the game on resolution. One often-overlooked feature of the card is that while the cards flipped off the top of your deck need to be creatures, the cards played out of your hand can be any permanent at all (so if you’ve got a hand full of planeswalkers, you’re still making your opponents cry no matter what). The world is starting to figure this out, and its price is beginning to rise. Grab one before its cost starts becoming too prohibitive.
The Great Henge is a recent addition to this cube, replacing Primal Vigor. We could have Doubling Season in here, but have wanted to stay away from giving people the ability to ultimate planeswalkers as soon as they enter the battlefield. Primal Vigor was initially a budget alternative, but it had the added effect of benefiting everybody, so it was often left undecked. The Great Henge is pretty close to being a single-sided Primal Vigor – it’s going to accelerate your creature generation, and it’s going to make things bigger. It’s going to be exciting to see how broken this turns creature-based decks in the cube.
Starting With a Budget
For those trying to get things started on a budget, this current list sees Oracle of Mul Daya, Prismatic Omen, The Great Henge, Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary, Worldly Tutor, Heroic Intervention, Asceticism, Primeval Titan and Kalonian Hydra over the $10 mark in terms of price. How do we replace these on the cheap? As per usual, just run whatever you have laying around! But some alternatives to the cards mentioned are as follows.
Primeval Titan and Kalonian Hydra are basically just big, fat finishers here, and there have been plenty of those printed over the ages in Magic. Ideally you want to look for something large and tramply – the trample is important in aiding the dealing of damage to faces on the often-clogged boards of multiplayer. We’ve run Liege of the Tangle in here in the past to decent effect. Other decently budget cards that I have seen do work in this arena are Ghalta, Primal Hunger, Living Hive, Pelakka Wurm, Soul of the Harvest, Verdurous Gearhulk and Woodfall Primus.
Heroic Intervention and Asceticism are expensive cards almost entirely due to their blanket handing-out of hexproof. There is a premium on such effects in green due to their power, so our options are limited. That said, Archetype of Endurance is a fine budget replacement (with its converted mana cost really being its only issue). And the hype around Veil of Summer right now is justified enough for us to be able to consider that as a budget replacement for Heroic Intervention, too.
Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary is really just a big bad rampy Elf card, and there are plenty more of those around. While they have higher converted mana costs, Elvish Archdruid and Wirewood Channeler are both fantastic fun in Elf Tribal archetypes. For a creature that doesn’t have to be strictly tribal in its play nature, Gyre Sage also gets out of hand fairly quickly.
The Great Henge, along with the doubling effects it is effectively substituting here for in Doubling Season and Primal Vigor, is hard to replace. Just about anything asking us to throw multiple counters around and/or drawing a pile of cards is going to go in most EDH decks and be extremely popular. Parallel Lives is out of our budget, and even Hardened Scales is close to $10 (and, to be honest, probably too narrow unless we’ve committed to an archetype loaded with +1/+1 counters). The recently-printed Leyline of Abundance is probably about as close as we’ll get without having to help our opponents at the same time (with cards like Rites of Flourishing).
Oracle of Mul Daya, Azusa, Lost But Seeking and other cards that give you extra land drops are likewise at a premium when considering our budget. They’re also immensely popular, and usually immensely expensive to match. Wayward Swordtooth is easily the best alternative (for now, at least, before people catch onto it).
Prismatic Omen is a card like no other – there is literally only one other green card that acts in the same way, and that is Nylea’s Presence, which acts on a single land. So we are left looking for another Chromatic Lantern-style card. Joiner Adept is cheap enough (and is an Elf if you want to go down that road). Overlaid Terrain also achieves the same outcome, but is one massive gamble.
As always, if none of these cards fit your cube, or are available, feel free to go for a card with an entirely different look and feel (not to mention an entirely different price point, too)!
Wrapping Things Up
So that wraps up the green section of our multiplayer cube. I hope that’s been helpful for you! May your 2020 get off to a roaring start, and may your new year be filled with cubing early and often! I’ll be back next month to look at the colorless section of a multiplayer cube. Until then!
Martin first caught the Magic: the Gathering bug at university in Australia in 1995, just as Fourth Edition was released (naturally just missing the era of opening dual lands in booster packs). One degree, career, marriage and two kids later, he is still slinging cards across a kitchen table with friends and is spreading the infection to the next generation via cube, EDH and multiplayer formats.