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Drafting Shards of Alara Part 2: Green-White October 17, 2008

Posted by James in : all, strategy, tips, limited, draft , trackback

I will be discussing in detail various decks that I try to make during Shards of Alara drafts. My favorite deck is green-white.

This article is divided into four sections: (1) The best green-white cards, (2) analysis of green-white commons & uncommons, (3) why green-white is so good, and (4) synergy of green-white decks

The best green-white cards


First Picks:

Second Picks:

Other mentionable cards:

Cards worth splashing for:

Analysis of green-white commons & uncommons

The best reason to play white-green is because of the commons. What you are going to be passed by other players will tend to be these:

Akrasan Squire can be a 2/2 for one mana, but it can also make other creatures more powerful. This card can compete with Savannah Lion, and it is only a common.

Druid of the Anima is the best mana fixing in the entire set. It can attack with exalted. It can be devoured. It can chump block. And best of all, it produces the same mana as the Naya Obelisk for one less mana.

Excommunicate tends to be “Timewalk,” with the occasional exception that the opponent will have something better to do during his or her next turn other than play the creature you remove. In a fast green-white deck this card can be recoculous. Players that don’t like this card tend not to realize how good Timewalk is.

Yes, this card can give you card advantage. It is great if you play it third turn. It is great when you are winning the game and want another creature. It is great when both players are waiting to draw a threat. However, this card has two weaknesses. One, it might not do anything. I’ve seen that happen more than once. Two, you don’t want to waste a turn doing this when you could be playing a threat.

In white-green it should be apparent how good this card is. Early game the opponent will be afraid to attack if you can make it big, and the opponent will be afraid to block. Late game this creature is like a 5/5.

This is the best removal in the entire set. It takes care of just about any threat.

This is quite a powerful creature. If you have three in your hand and you are attacked, you can put all three into play for free. This creature is usually worth keeping in your hand just to wait to be attacked by a small creature. It can then kill that creature and usually stay alive. That is basically a “one for zero.” You lose nothing, but the opponent loses a card.

In a fast deck this card will often be just as good as removal, and it will help a deck that has no big creatures defeat large creatures that the opponent plays. In a slower deck you might be able to cycle it. (Unfortunately, sometimes you might have to target an opponent’s creature to draw a card.)

Sigil Blessing is good for the same reason as Resounding Roar, but it is one of the best “giant growths” ever made. If the opponent blocks two of your creatures that will both be killed by larger creatures, this card can often make your creatures big enough to survive and destroy the opponent’s creatures instead.

This is a pretty good removal card. It has its restrictions, and a good player might refrain from attacking you with a giant creature just because this card might be in your hand.

This is basically a 4/4 creature for 4 mana, but it can also make your other creatures bigger. This card shouldn’t be underestimated.

Although a green-white deck might not require much mana fixing, triple lands can still be worth playing. I wouldn’t consider them an early pick for a two color deck, but you will definitely want one or two if you are splashing a color. In that case, you should take them pretty early in the third pack.

Same as above.

This is a great card for mana acceleration. It tends to be more helpful if you play some large creatures, and few of those are reviewed in this article. None of the large green or white commons are worth mentioning, but you might want to late pick a few.

Wild Nacatl is one of the best creatures that I have ever seen. it is certainly the best creature in this set. A 3/3 for one mana can be almost as good as Tarmogoyf, and a 2/2 for one mana is better than Savannah Lion. It is pretty much going to be a 2/2 creature if you play a white-green deck. (A 2/2 for one mana and it’s a common?!)

Naya Battlemage is a great creature because there are so few “tap” creatures, and this ability is especially powerful in Shards considering all the huge monsters in the set.

Some reasons that green-white is so good

  1. All three green-white multicolor cards are quite good, which is unusual. (The only other multicolor combination this good is black-red.)
  2. The majority of second picks of the whole set are white or green. (The majority of first picks are red.)
  3. White-green has enough mana fixing and mana acceleration that it doesn’t require many special lands, and it rarely requires an obelisk.
  4. White and red are the two best colors in the set, and a white-red deck is not very viable. Mono white isn’t viable during draft either. White-green, however, is one of the best ways to play white.

Synergy of green-white decks:

  1. Power 5 or greater - This strategy is generally not worth it. You need at least a few large creatures in the deck to get it to work, and almost nothing that helps large creatures is worth playing.
  2. Exalted - This strategy is simple enough and a few exalted creatures can be worth playing. However, green-white doesn’t have anything special to offer this ability other than a flying common white creature.
  3. Artifacts - This strategy is certainly not going to do much for a white-green deck.
  4. Devour - Works great with Elvish Visionary, but there’s not much else you would want to sacrifice.

Overall, there’s not a lot of great synergy. However, I have developed these two strategies that have worked well:

  1. It can be a good idea to play lots of mana-acceleration and some large creatures.
  2. It can be a good idea to play tons of quick creatures with a low mana cost, Excommunicates, and “giant growths.”

Update 10-19-2008: I added Naya Battlemage as a mentionable card.

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1. michael - October 20, 2008

you have “Elspeth, Knight Errant (rare)” when it is a Mythic Rare.

There are some instances of “Ultra Rare” that should be changed to “Mythic Rare”

Remember, they only exist if you believe in them.

2. James - October 20, 2008

I don’t believe in mythic rares. Wizards also called foils “premium cards,” but no one else did. Why start listening to them now?

3. trueeevil - October 22, 2008

i think knight of the skyward eye is better than nacatl in white green.

4. James - October 22, 2008

trueevil, I guess that explains why Wizards is starting to make better cards than Savannah Lion in the common slot.

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