Battle for Zendikar Limited Set Redo – Green

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Limited Redo

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Ratings Scale

5.0: The best of the best. (Citadel Siege. Wingmate Roc. Dragonlord Atarka.)
4.5: Incredible bomb, but not unbeatable. (Tragic Arrogance. Whirler Rogue. Icefall Regent.Hangarback Walker.)
4.0: Good rare or top-tier uncommon. (Abbot of Keral Keep. Jhessian Thief. Ultimate Price.)
3.5: Top-tier common or solid uncommon. (Separatist Voidmage. Fiery Impulse. Epic Confrontation.)
3.0: Good playable that basically always makes the cut. (Deadbridge Shaman. Skyraker Giant.Watercourser.)
2.5: Solid playable that rarely gets cut. (Read the Bones. Silumgar Butcher. Dragon-Scarred Bear.)
2.0: Good filler, but sometimes gets cut. (Throwing Knife. Chandra’s Fury. Artful Maneuver.)
1.5: Filler. Gets cut about half the time. (Vastwood Gorger. Aeronaut Tinkerer. Cobblebrute.)
1.0: Bad filler. Gets cut most of the time. (Thornbow Archer. Deep-Sea Terror. Akroan Jailer.)
0.5: Very low-end playables and sideboard material. (Vandalize. Vine Snare. Congregate.)
0.0: Completely unplayable. (Fascination. Infinite Obliteration.)

Ah, green. How good green is happens to be one of the most controversial topics when it comes to BFZ Limited, starting with Owen’s article after the Pro Tour. His assertion that drafting green was to be avoided at all costs met a lot of resistance, but as more people draft, and as more results come in—the more accurate his statement appears to be. Green is very weak at the common level, which is what matters for draft, and the odds that you should be green in a given draft are very low. I’m not of the opinion that you should never draft green, but it takes strong signals for me to be willing to do so.

How this informs my updated reviews:

  • The only deck I like that includes green is GWx Allies, which is largely driven by Tajuru Warcaller and Beastmaster with a smattering of converge cards.
  • BG Sacrifice, RG Landfall, and UG ??? are generally weak. I try to avoid ending up in these decks unless I’m really pushed into them, which involves multiple rares/uncommons.
  • Overall, green cards take a huge hit. I’m going to look at the cards that perform much differently than I suspected, but not go over and adjust every card down. Imagine that each green card has a -1.0 or -1.5 modifier—that gets you closer to how I’d actually draft them. Some may argue for a steeper hit, but saying I’d take a nongreen card over a green card when the ratings are close (or even when the green card is ahead) is accurate. Again, I’m not saying you should ignore green completely, but the negative modifier is real, and you will win more if you prioritize being anything but green unless it’s overwhelmingly clear you shouldn’t.
  • Note that the anti-green bias does NOT apply to Sealed. In Draft, the reason not to take a green card is that your future prospects are generally poor—often you will end up with a worse deck because you committed to green without knowing what you would get for that. In sealed, that’s not applicable, because you have all the cards in front of you. As such, there’s no external reason not to play green, so you should evaluate the cards just based on their individual power, which in many cases is good.


Original Rating 2.0

I like this little drone. Blisterpod is cheap, will often trade for a real card when all is said and done, and enables both sacrifice themes and bigger mana decks. A speedbump that dies into a Scion is not a bad deal, and I’m going to play Blisterpod in most of my decks. It definitely interacts well against opposing x/1s, and blocking a 4/4 before ramping into your 7-drop is not bad for one mana. If you have zero ways to sacrifice or make use of this and your opponent is on a bunch of fliers, siding this out is acceptable.


Updated Rating: 1.0

Not only is green itself way worse than it first appeared, the BG Sacrifice deck is too. Two strikes against Blisterpod make it a card I’m unhappy to play and glad to play against (the fact that I had two of these in my deck during the Sealed portion of GP Atlanta does not contradict this—I wasn’t happy about the situation, but I felt my Vampiric Rites and Altar’s Reap made it necessary).

Broodhunter Wurm

Original Rating 3.0

Despite a higher percentage than normal of 3/3s and 3/2s, this is still a solid deal. The stats and cost line up well, and even though you can hunt for a better deal, this is going to make the cut.


Updated Rating: 1.5

A non-themed green card is really not the place you want to be. I like Broodhunter fine in Sealed, but in Draft I’d avoid it. It doesn’t fit into the Allies deck very well, and that’s really the only green deck I’ve found effective.

Snapping Gnarlid

Original Rating 3.0

I’d snap this up if I was planning on attacking. Scythe Leopard might be better in Constructed, but this is surely superior in Limited. It blocks well enough that even midrange decks are happy playing it, and it attacks for three instead of two.


Updated Rating: 2.0

Like Broodhunter Wurm, Gnarlid just doesn’t have a great home. A 2-drop 3/3 attacker sounds good, but Ally decks don’t really care if they pick this card up, and the random green creature decks are not where you want to be. This is a fine card to play, it’s just not one I go out of my way to get.

Sylvan Scrying

Original Rating 0.5

Only play this if you are absolutely desperate for fixing. Bonus points if you can pick up a good nonbasic, but even then this is mediocre. Paying 2 mana for color fixing and not ramp is not what you want.


Updated Rating: 1.5

While not a huge bump, Scrying has gone from a card I thought I’d never play to a card I play in 3+ color decks a decent amount of the time. I’m way more likely to play it if I have a spell-land like Spawning Bed or a Blighted land, but even in a Gxx deck that needs fixing, this does the job. The lack of 2-drops and good fixing combine to make Scrying a feasible option.

Tajuru Beastmaster

Original Rating 1.5

Swarm decks don’t tend to want a ton of 6-drops, and the Ally decks in this format seem to be much more aggressive than this. It’s a fine way to top off your curve, but nothing I’d be overly excited about.


Updated Rating: 3.0

Beastmaster ended up being a crucial card for the go-wide green decks, and is one of the better Ally engines at common. I like Beastmaster, and if you do end up in green, it’s cards like this that make it feasible.

Tajuru Stalwart

Original Rating 2.0

In a 2-color deck, this is filler, which means you sometimes play it. In a 3-color deck, it’s very solid, and the kind of card that rewards you for converging without requiring you always hit all your colors immediately.


Updated Rating: 3.0

This is a deceptive rating because you clearly aren’t excited to play a 3-color card every time, but it reflects how important Stalwart is to the green decks I like. The Allies/converge green deck is the best green deck, from my experience, and Stalwart is one of the best green commons for that deck. A 3-mana 3/4 is a brick wall, and one of the few powerful commons green can offer. If you are in just 2 colors, Stalwart is mediocre, but I try not to be in 2 colors if I’m in green.

Territorial Baloth

Original Rating 3.0

Solid stats, a good ability, and strong on defense and offense alike. There’s nothing to complain about here.


Updated Rating: 2.0

See: Broodhunter Wurm. Baloth ends up being big enough that it’s fine as a 1-of finisher, but I’m still not excited to have random off-theme creatures in my deck.

Unnatural Aggression

Original Rating 3.0

The common fight card is good again, with the twist being that it exiles. The instant-speed part is the most exciting, but I’d bump this up a little if you care about the exiling ability. It’s worth noting that this effect is less replicable than the other green commons. You will take this higher than the random creatures, just because it’s an actual removal spell.


Updated Rating: 1.5

This is one of the biggest disappointments in the set. Not granting a power/toughness bonus is a huge downside, and not until I played the set did I realize how poorly this actually played. A large part of green’s weakness can be traced back to Unnatural Aggression, as the common fight card is supposed to be green’s best or second-best common. Green’s good creatures just aren’t that big, other colors have larger than normal creatures, and the base power level here was already lower than it seemed. Add all of that together and you have a mediocre removal spell that greatly hurts green’s ability to compete. It’s funny, because Pit Fight in Gatecrash was a fine card, but the combination of an extra mana and a very different set of creatures leaves this very far behind the curve.

Top 5 Green Commons

5. Eyeless Watcher
4. Tajuru Beastmaster
3. Tajuru Stalwart
2. Lifespring Druid
1. Evolving Wilds

Green’s commons are much weaker than all the other colors, and I’d snap up Evolving Wilds over any green common in a heartbeat. Past that, this is the order in which I’m prioritizing the commons, which is again based mostly on my desire to be 3+ colors if I have the misfortune of ending up in green. If you find yourself in the BG Sacrifice or RG Landfall archetypes, this pick order certainly doesn’t apply. Hopefully my intro adequately described how poor green is in comparison to before and how I would draft it relative to other colors. Sometimes you should draft green—it’s just not very often, and prioritizing green below other colors is the correct strategy.

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