Greetings fellow multiplayer Magic enthusiasts! For those of you who don't know me my name is Prid3 and I'm a 15+ year Magic: The Gathering veteran. I've been playing and following the game at a competitive-level since the year 2000 and so I'm not exaggerating when I say that I've literally poured tens of thousands of hours into mastering this game. While some Mages love Legacy and others can't live without EDH for as long as I've slung spells I've been a multiplayer Magic fanatic. Be it Constructed, Cube or EDH I've played every major multiplayer format to the ground while approaching every aspect (from deck-building to strategy) from a competitive mindset. As you've undoubtedly surmised by now the purpose of this guide is to expedite your transition from Magic duels (i.e. 1v1 games) to the substantially different world of multiplayer. It's an unquestionably difficult passage for players of all skill-levels to make and I'm hoping that my expertise and guidance will ultimately arm you with the knowledge that you'll need in order to thrive. Moreover, I recognize that Magic isn't played in a vacuum and that real-world players have real-world budgets. Unlike similar guides I won't blindly assume that you'll be able to drop thousands of dollars on a casual hobby without batting an eye. That isn't to say that I'll compromise my competitive nature by pushing sub-optimal and/or weak cards upon you but rather that the focus of this guide will be on affordable (yet competitive) staples that will still allow you to prosper in any multiplayer sphere.
2. Strongest Creatures and Spells
Think of this section as your "cheat sheet" as it should more-or-less obsolete your need to scour across search engines for hours and/or prod random Internet strangers for card ideas. It exists solely to highlight and explain the most blatantly powerful creatures and spells that you should be looking to field whenever possible. If you ever find yourself stumped about what to play and/or how to flesh out your curves then this should give you a solid snapshot of your strongest options. By no means am I implying that these are your only possible choices as there's tens of thousands of unique Magic cards and many of them are quite formidable. These are merely the ones that I find myself fielding more often than not as they tend to over-perform even in situations where I have absolutely no clue what anyone else will be playing. Note that I use the term "strongest cards" loosely in that sense so please take it with a grain of salt. There are thousands of cards that can be contextually powerful but these are the ones that are heavy favorites to win games for you in general.
2 CMC Channel: God-tier ritual effect that literally enables you to cast your entire hand (including 1-card win conditions such as Tooth and Nail) as early as turn 1. Oath of Druids: God-tier ramp engine that enables you to cheat a parade of game-ending bombs into play for the trivial investment of 2 mana and a card. Pair with Forbidden Orchard if needed. Survival of the Fittest: God-tier value/combo/synergy engine that ostensibly enables you to stack your deck with Green Sun's Zeniths in order to assemble combos, threats and/or silver-bullets. Earthcraft: God-tier ramp engine for Elfball/token/swarm strategies that combos with Squirrel Nest to generate infinite 1/1s every turn. Living Wish: Oppressive "Demonic Tutor" effect for every creature and/or land in your entire collection. Enables you to play with 8 copies of your key threats if desired since non-sanctioned events aren't bound by the same rules as tournaments. Compost: Oppressive card advantage engine that exploits the increased player count to mitigate the risk of having it be a dead draw. Realistically you only need a single Black adversary to extract unreasonable quantities of value from this card. Sylvan Library: Hyper-competitive form of card selection and/or draw that pairs well with cheap shuffle effects and Fetchlands. Excels in formats such as EDH that bolster your starting health. Nature's Lore, Three Visits: Hyper-competitive ramp spells that fetch untapped Battle Lands, Shocks, Duals and/or even a Triland. Gaea's Touch: Competitive "Exploration" effect for monogreen decks that doubles as a Dark Ritual when needed. Regrowth: Competitive recursion spell that can be blindly added to most Green decks. Evolutionary Leap: Semi-competitive value engine that enables you to grind through any reasonable quantity of removal. Farseek, Rampant Growth, Khalni Heart Expedition: Marginal ramp spells.
Nissa, Worldwaker: Competitive ramp engine for Forest-heavy builds, especially ones that employ enchantment-based acceleration such as Wild Growth, Utopia Sprawl and/or Overgrowth. Her +1 "Early Harvest" is clearly her money skill since it ostensibly makes her a 1 CMC threat that enables you to jam 9 drops on the following turn. Obviously your opponents will be highly incentivized to kill her but if they can't they she figures to spiral the game wildly out of control. That being said her +1 "Elemental Uprising" is nigh worthless unless you're in desperate need of blockers. Otherwise you're simply opening yourself up to getting blown-out by mass removal. Her -7 "Boundless Realms + Rude Awakening" is utterly terrifying primarily because it's such a high-variance ult. The table has exactly 1 turn to Wrath the board (at which point you automatically lose) because otherwise you automatically win. This makes her ideal for metas devoid of mass removal but little more than a ramp engine for ones that do. Still, again, even if you ignore all of her non-Early Harvest modes she still ramps for 4+ mana each turn which is obviously completely bonkers. The real question that you need to ask yourself is "can I adequately protect her?" because an unchecked Nissa is scary as Hell and competent opponents won't sit idly by as you jam 9+ drops unimpeded.
Nissa, Vital Force: Semi-competitive value engine that quickly builds towards a tremendously powerful ult. Her +1 "Elemental Uprising" builds an immediate blocker and (assuming that you have additional threats) makes it unlikely that your adversaries will be able to pressure her. Beyond that she untaps and becomes a splendid card draw engine that will enable you to seize control of the game in the long-run. This is especially true for lists that feature Fetchlands, ramp, Primeval Titan, Ulvenwald Hydra, Sylvan Primordial, Boundless Realms, etc. Otherwise her -3 "Nature's Spiral" is passable (albeit unexciting) and ensures that she's still relevant even in scenarios where you're no longer interested in drawing cards. That being said the default use-case of "+1, -6" is her most compelling sequence by an order of magnitude and so it doesn't matter if her other functions are lackluster.
Garruk, Primal Hunter: Semi-competitive value engine/draw spell that enables you to play around mass removal by diversifying your threat base. After all, if you're simply slamming creatures into play then you're liable of getting blown-out by Wrath effects. Ideally you'll want pair him with gargantuan beaters such as Managorger Hydra, Thragtusk and Primeval Titan but realistically any creature-based shell can put him to good use. It's worth noting that he boasts immense synergy with pump effects such as Kessig Wolf Run, Umezawa's Jitte, Sword of Light and Shadow, Xenagos, God of Revels and/or effects that allow you to cheat large threats into play. His +1 "create a 3/3" is reasonable (albeit unexciting) against removal and gives you more game against Control/Prison decks seeking to lock you out. While his ultimate isn't especially resilient against mass removal it's still a non-interactive finisher that can conceivably win games of Magic. It's not reliable by any means but it does literally end the game if no one has mass removal and that's a difficult feat to muster for a single 5 mana card. Finally, it's worth noting that you can activate his ult immediately assuming that you have a Doubling Season in play and for twice as many tokens to boot!
Garruk, Caller of Beasts: Marginal card draw engine for creature-heavy builds. His +1 "Lead the Stampede" tears through your deck at a blistering pace stripping it of your remaining threats. While his -3 "Dramatic Entrance" isn't exciting it's still relevant for jamming things like Craterhoof Behemoth and/or Worldspine Wurm into play so don't dismiss it entirely. it can still generate significant value even though Garruk himself is 6 CMC. Funnily enough you can basically ignore his -7 since it's virtually never relevant in my experience. After all, assuming that you've used his +1 three or more times (and thus already looked through 15+ cards) how many more creatures are realistically left in your library? Not many! On that note he's heinous in multiples and shouldn't be be played in large quantities whenever possible. With respect to Doubling Season it's worth noting that it enables you to immediately pop his ult which could be relevant for sequences such as "cast Primeval Titan/Sylvan Primordial/Craterhoof Behemoth, search out Avenger of Zendikar."
Consult this thread for all your multicolored needs. It lists the most powerful gold cards that the various color combos have to offer.
3. Strengths and Weaknesses
Now that we've plowed through the most important information I'd like to take a bit of time to discuss some "fun to know" but not "need to know" information. I'll start by covering the primary strengths and weaknesses of the color in order to give you a better understanding of how it fits into the global multiplayer sphere as a whole. If you've read through the bulk of the guide up to this point and/or are already a veteran to the game then nothing that I'll cover in this section should come as a big surprise to you. While the magnitude of these strengths and weaknesses will fluctuate as new cards are printed (many of the latter may even be obsoleted over time) it should still provide you with a relatively accurate description of how the color fares in the global multiplayer environment.
Multiplayer is a "go big or go home format" and Green is very much a "go big" color that lends itself well to ending games against multiple adversaries. First of all the color is very capable of fielding 1-card win conditions such as Shaman of Forgotten Ways, Tooth and Nail, Biorhythm, Craterhoof Behemoth and Primal Surge that can literally end games as soon as they resolve. Beyond that there's also cards like Survival of the Fittest, Birthing Pod and Lurking Predators that have countless applications (both fair and unfair) that average decks will struggle to beat. Moving on, while Green isn't traditionally thought of as being much of a combo color things like Hermit Druid, Earthcraft + Squirrel Nest, Protean Hulk and more are still effective combo finishers that can reliably close games out against any number of players. Otherwise Green decks are often capable of pairing Battlecruisers (such as Genesis Wave) with oppressive recursion (such as Eternal Witness) in order to create a (more-or-less) deterministic path to victory. Lastly, you can always ramp out a bunch of Sylvan Primordials, destroy everyone's lands, put a million mana into play, Kessig Wolf Run people down, cast 15+ drops such as Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, you get the idea. The world is your oyster when you get to start your deck with 4x Sol Ring (in the form of a Carpet of Flowers) so feel free to pursue whatever ridiculously over-the-top endgame plan that you desire.
While Green decks tend to be more explosive than their counterparts they're often extremely sensitive to removal and/or interaction. Consider a typical play-pattern along the lines of "cast some mana dorks, jam a midrange threat or two and ramp out a gargantuan fatty." That's all well and good when you're playing against goldfish but the second that your opponents start interacting with you then it starts to sound significantly less appealing. After all, just imagine curving turn 1 Elvish Mystic turn 2 Llanowar Elves + Priest of Titania only to run headlong into a turn 2 Mind Stone turn 3 Wrath of God from a control player. How can you possibly recover from a setback like that? The last thing that you want to be facing down are decks full of cards like Nature's Claim, Pyroclasm, Grasp of Fate, Armageddon and Damnation since you'll struggle immensely to win games where you're denied your ability to reach a critical mass of resources.
Weak Creature-Based Removal Beast Within is realistically Green's only instant-speed answer to creatures and at 3 CMC you're not exactly getting it at a discount rate. Lignify and Song of the Dryads are semi-reasonable alternatives but they obviously won't save you from a Consecrated Sphinx or Sire of Insanity if you're forced to wait multiple upkeeps to remove them. Technically all colors have access to Duplicant which, in all fairness, Green can easily tutor for using cards like Survival of the Fittest and Birthing Pod. That being said you can rarely justify fielding more than 1 and even then you still have to find and cast it. All-in-all Green is the worst color at dealing with creature-based threats which can be very problematic in multiplayer spheres where jamming bombs and battlecruisers is the norm.
4. Sample Decklists
The purpose of this section will be to provide you with an idea of what completed multiplayer decklists could look like. They're all going to be built with a reasonable budgets in mind (no cards that cost more than $5.00 whenever possible) while generally adhering to the Legacy banned and restricted list. Don't expect me to go all-out on degenerate combos or extremely unfun mechanics either. I want to showcase reasonably interactive decks that play relatively fun, fair Magic. I'll do my best to highlight the most important interactions and synergies among the various cards which probably means that I won't spend too much time explaining why Burgeoning is in the deck. They'll be good starting points for anyone looking to build similar lists by showcasing some of the most obvious card choices. Finally, please bear in mind that these deck lists will become somewhat outdated and sub-optimal over time. I'll make every effort to update them as frequently as needed but at the end of the day I'm only one man. They'll still be useful learning tools even if they're not always especially relevant.
This deck features 16 cards that more-or-less tutor for Cloudpost (and/or other Posts) which you can chain together in order to cast ridiculously over-the-top bombs such as Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. The deck "goes infinite" via Eye of Ugin + any self-recursive threat in order to grind permission/removal-based strategies straight out of the game. As such it's critical that the deck has at least 1 colorless, self-recursive threat with the cheapest option being Darksteel Colossus. Otherwise none of the silver-bullet colorless threats showcased in this deck are required and you could easily jam ulta-budget options such as Myr Battlesphere if needed. Moreover, while the proposed deck doesn't include Tempt with Discovery it easily could given how powerful the card figures to be assuming that players opt into the deal. After all, tutoring for 3x Cloudpost and Eye of Ugin is ludicrously powerful for a 4 drop.
With respect to mass removal the deck that I proposed fields Nevinyrral's Disk but you could always use cards like Oblivion Stone or All is Dust as desired. You shouldn't need more than 4-6 copies of the effect (total) to seize control of the board long enough to jam your game-ending Battlecruisers.
With respect to card draw/value spells/finishers feel free to field whatever you want. Tooth and Nail, Nissa's Revelation, Primal Surge, just pick some big finishers and roll with them. While you're clearly not required to splash for KWR and/or Xenagos, God of Revels I highly recommend doing so because it makes the deck substantially better. You still have to find a way to win the game against numerous adversaries and smacking them for 40 is a fine way to go about it. Even if you don't field Xenagos splash the KWR if possible because you'll definitely want something to pour all of that mana into.
For those interested in Simic versions of the deck you'll want to include Kiora's Follower and/or Kiora, Master of the Depths whenever possible. Kiora is especially brutal given her ability to untap both a creature and a land (as opposed to 2 lands) which almost always generates more mana than Garruk Wildspeaker would have otherwise produced.
Classic Birthing Pod deck that's seeking to curve a turn 1 mana dork into a turn 2 Pod before riding the chain as high as possible. Eldritch Evolution is your primary backup plan should you fail to draw a Pod with the rest of the deck being generic "Good Stuffs." Primal Growth is another reasonable alternative since it coverts a Viridian Emissary/Primal Druid into 3 additional lands when all's said and done. If you're looking for something more budget-minded feel free to use that instead.
Bluntly put there's a million different ways to build Elf decks with only limiting factors being your budget and your imagination. Rather than showcase 4-5 different builds I'll simply discuss the most relevant synergies and interactions and highlight what an infusion of cash can do for the deck.
The most important interaction in Elf decks is the synergy between Nettle Sentinel and Heritage Druid. Assuming that you can assemble 2 or more Nettle Sentinels you can ostensibly reduces the cost of your spells down to 0. As a matter of fact the vast majority of your spells will actually generate mana once this combo is assembled since the bulk of them cost between 1-2 mana and presumably they'll be generating 3. Even a single copy of Nettle Sentinel is typically enough to generate an absurd quantity of mana but you typically need multiples to do anything truly obnoxious. With respect to abusing this "infinite mana" combo (figuratively speaking) your best bet is a draw engine such as Glimpse of Nature, Beck // Call and/or Soul of the Harvest. You can typically pair these effects together to draw + cast your entire deck including game-ending bombs such as Craterhoof Behemoth. The proposed build features Soul for budgetary reasons but it's obviously the weakest alternative by a fair margin. Unfortunately Beck // Call requires a Blue splash and Glimpse of Nature is relatively expensive so you'll have to decide for yourself what route to pursue.
The next interaction that I want to highlight is Wirewood Symbiote + Elvish Visionary and/or Sylvan Messenger. This is your primary card advantage engine as it enables you BYO Phyrexian Arena in order to grind players out of the game. Clearly Wirewood Symbiote also protects you from spot removal and such but you're primarily fielding it to generate an obscene quantity of card advantage should it remain unchecked. Otherwise untapping creatures such as Priest of Titania or Elvish Archdruid is utterly absurd but even things like Imperious Perfect or Immaculate Magistrate is a big game. Clearly the oppressive mana engines will be your primary go-tos but as you can clearly see there's any number of stellar activated abilities that you can abuse with this type of effect.
If you can afford them Gaea's Cradle is ridonkulous in the archetype but at $400.00+ USD a pop they're not exactly affordable. Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx is a reasonable replacement however and so if you have 1-2 lying around then it's worth your while to field them. I don't recommend jamming 4 in your lists or anything but 1-2 can go a long way to powering out those big finishers. Otherwise Fetches/Shocks/Pain Lands/Fast Lands make splashing beck // Call significantly less taxing and, again, enables you to field Immaculate Magistrate + Sage of Hours as a cheap + reliable combo kill.
Generic Wildfire deck that's seeking to curve 2 drop -> 4 drop -> fatty -> Wildfire in order to seize complete control of the game. Predatory Advantage acts a resilient + reliable kill condition and Firespout is there to establish early board control. Otherwise I'll stress that you could basically field any threats and/or ramp spells that you want since the only "rules" are that your finishers need to have more than 5 toughness and that you can't field creature-based ramp (such as Elvish Mystic and Devoted Druid). Otherwise any reasonably competitive alternatives can foot the bill as needed.
Classic Seasons Past Control deck that seeking to pair it with a hard tutor in order to create an "infinite" value engine of sorts. The idea is obviously to have Dark Petition tutor for Seasons Past and to recur Dark Petition as your 5 drop to perpetuate the chain indefinitely. At 4 CMC you have Diabolic Tutor and at 6 CMC you have Beseech the Queen (this is your 6 drop for the purposes of Seasons Past) which means that eventually you'll be able to tutor for whatever you need whenever you need it. Otherwise the bulk of the deck features ramp and mass removal but you could realistically field just about anything. For what it's worth you'll typically want to tutor out your Boundless Realms asap in order to gain access to absurd quantities of mana. Winning should be trivially easy from there regardless of how you go about pursuing victory.
This deck is designed to showcase the synergy between oppressive mana engines such as Training Grounds, Frontier Siege, Prophet of Kruphix and mana sinks. As always the threats themselves are largely irrelevant insofar as you're focusing on ones that have activated abilities. Beyond that it's "anything goes" so feel free to jam things like Jade Mage and Heroes' Bane if that's what you'd rather field.
5. Functional Lists
Bluntly put it's far too impractical to have me discuss every possible playable in detail. At some point it all starts to read the same given that Magic is filled with redundant effects that accomplish the same goal. This section is more-or-less a raw information dump that will house (what I believe to be) the most important types of cards and the strongest options available to you within those groups. Now, be forewarned that it's not going to showcase "every possible playable" and/or "every possible type of card." I'm going to focus on the ones that will win you multiplayer games on a consistent basis since my end-goal here is to arm you with the tools that you'll need to compete. Anything too niche and/or too marginal isn't going to make the cut so don't be surprised when you see how bare some of the sections are. For what it's worth I find that these kinds of lists are invaluable for singleton formats such as Cube and EDH and highly recommend that you start your search here if you're looking for key role-players.
6. General Strategies
In this section I'll discuss broader subjects that aren't necessarily limited to specific colors. After all, my goal is ultimately to teach you the ins-and-outs of multiplayer deckbuilding from start to finish and that clearly entails a lot more than simply covering your relevant card choices. From deck composition to constructing a manabase to developing an overarching strategy there's countless variables for you to take into consideration and I'll make every effort to cover some of the more important subjects. While I clearly won't be able to hit on everything consider these to "must reads" if you're looking to take your game to the next level.
One of the biggest concerns for ramp archetypes is scenarios where it draws too much acceleration with too little action to pair with it. After all, drawing Elvish Mystic on turn 8 is typically heinous because it's ostensibly a dead draw at that stage of the game. You'd much rather rip into one of your bombs or card draw spells. This is where a card such as Kessig Wolf Run (KWR) shines given that it's a low opportunity cost, reliable and non-interactive finisher that can be splashed into virtually any list. It largely alleviates those concerns by converting any threat into a game ending bomb which is pretty awesome all things considered. This is especially true for lists that have cards like Primeval Titan, Ulvenwald Hydra, Sylvan Primordial and/or Boundless Realms which can frequently dump their entire manabase (more-or-less) into play. Eventually you'll reach the stage where every Elvish Mystic will be swinging for double digits which is exactly what you need to reliably close games out. Blockers, removal, permission, none of that matters when every threat in your deck is crushing in for 20+ damage. On a similar note I want to highlight the fact that I'll often add 1x Xenagos, God of Revels to my decks for the exact same reason. I don't care about casting him early on nor trying to activate his "beast mode," I simply want another resilient + non-interactive finisher in my lists. Come turn 15 after I've jammed a few Sylvan Primordials and have my KWR I can literally swing for 40+ hasted, trample damage each and every turn if needed. Spot removal, mass removal, permission, blockers, none of that matters because eventually you'll break through.
Finally, I want to address the concern over removal. Let me be clear; I'm not telling you to activate KWR if you have better things to do with your mana. I understand that if you waste your turn 8 Lava Axeing a single play that you're taking a losing line. KWR isn't in your deck to act as midgame burn spell or anything of the sort. Rather, think of it as your ultra-endgame lifeline that ensures that you'll never run out of steam. Literally winning games of multiplayer Magic can be difficult at the best of times which is why it's nice to know that you'll have at least 1 card in your deck that goes over-the-top of everything else. You'll routinely go entire games without activating it and it's important that stress that that's perfectly fine. The card is literally just there to ensure that if your opponents are playing a whack of removal/permission/blockers that you'll always have outs to win. No matter what happens that 1/2 Voyaging Satyr can still swing for ~20 if the game runs long enough which makes it nearly impossible to "run you out of threats."
The overwhelming majority of Greens deck can be made strictly better simply by adding 4x Green Sun's Zenith (GSZ) to them. After all, it's ostensibly a 1 CMC Demonic Tutor that enables you to consistently curve out with your "nut draw" each and every game without having to run a ton of 4-ofs. This is crucial for Legendary creatures and/or utility threats such as Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary, Courser of Kruphix and Oracle of Mul Daya that are extremely powerful but rather anemic in multiples. Rather than fielding 4x Oracle of Mul Daya, drawing 3 and feeling terrible about your situation you can simply jam one in a deck with 4x GSZ and still have reliable access to it. You're essentially playing 5 virtual copies of the card while simultaneously incurring no risk of flooding out with them. Security, stability, predictability, it's the perfect Magic card.
Moreover, GSZ is ideal for locating key silver-bullets and/or removal spells. While the vast majority of multiplayer decks are going to want to field a small quantity of interaction it's not as though you'll want to flood out with spot removal in a typical match. After all, trading 1-for-1 in a multiplayer setting is an objectively losing line since multiple adversaries are benefiting from your actions at no cost to themselves. Clearly if someone jams a Luminarch Ascension then you'll need an out to it because otherwise you're going to get crushed. This is where GSZ shines as it enables you to reliably locate silver-bullet (i.e. single) copies of cards like Reclamation Sage, Acidic Slime, Bane of Progress and Sylvan Primordial in order to neutralize game ending threats. Beyond that it's also perfect for locating things like Sylvan Safekeeper, Scavenging Ooze, Vexing Shusher, Gaddock Teeg, Dosan the Falling Leaf and Loaming Shaman in order to hose spot removal, permission, mass removal, graveyard-based recursion, etc. Absolutely no one wants to curve turn 2 Vexing Shusher, turn 3 Vexing Shusher, turn 4 Vexing Shusher but the first is clearly bonkers against Blue-based Control shells.
Beyond that it cannot be overstated how much consistency GSZ brings to your ramp shells. Green decks ideally want to start with a 1 CMC ramp spell on turn 1 each and every game but at the same time you rarely want to field more than 5-6 total copies given how weak they figure to be at nearly every other stage in the game. GSZ is absurd in the sense that it enables you to play a deck with (for example) 1x Dryad Arbor 4x Elvish Mystic and 4x GSZ in order to ensure a consistent opening ramp sequence at no significant opportunity cost. After all, when you fail to draw your Elvish Mystics you can always elect to GSZ for a Dryad Arbor instead. Given that multiplayer games employ a free mulligan rule then assuming that you're willing to mull down to 6 cards looking for a 1 CMC accelerator you have a 96.325% cumulative probability of mulliganing into a hand that contains one or more. This logic obviously applies to every step of your ramp curve which is why 4x GSZ decks typically include at least 1 copy of cards like Joraga Treespeaker, Sakura-Tribe Elder, Wood Elves, Oracle of Mul Daya, Titania, Protector of Argoth, Primeval Titan and Sylvan Primordial. Rather than drawing too much ramp and/or the wrong kind at the wrong time you can always find exactly what you need when you need it. Moreover, unlike shells that field 4x Elvish Mystic and 2-4x Llanowar Elves GSZ lists have significantly fewer dead draws in the mid-to-late stages of the game. After all assuming a deck with 4x GSZ, 4x Primeval Titan and 4x Sylvan Primordial you're virtually drawing into 12 or more big action spells each and every turn. Elvish Mystic can still be a reasonable draw if you have cards like Kessig Wolf Run and/or Equipment but you'll ideally want to be jamming game ending bombs such as Craterhoof Behemoth past a certain point. The fact that GSZ is Dryad Arbor on turn 1 and Craterhoof Behemoth on turn 8 is precisely what makes it the most ubiquitously powerful Green spell in the game for casual multiplayer purposes.
Beast Within is arguably Green's most competitive removal spell given that it's the only one that can neutralize any permanent at instant-speed for a reasonable sum of mana. A 3 mana 1-for-2 obviously sounds heinous on paper (because it is) but you'll still routinely find yourself fielding a full play-set of the thing in order to deal with game-ending combos/bombs such as Hermit Druid, a Reanimated Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur, Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker or even a quick Consecrated Sphinx. After all, some cards are literally impossible to beat "the fair way" and so ignoring them isn't an option if you want to stand a chance of succeeding. As such you'll almost always want to have a small quantity of cheap + reliable interaction spells in order to keep everyone honest. That being said you typically don't want to field sorcery-speed alternatives whenever possible. After all, spot removal should only be used as a last resort and so when push comes to shove "Vindicates" are often too slow to get the job done. That's why a card like Beast Within is significantly more competitive that something like Song of Dryads which is largely unplayable by comparison.
If, for whatever reason, your meta is devoid of both combos and game-ending bombs then your need for Beast Within style interaction is greatly diminished. At that point you can probably focus on slower, more powerful forms of removal (say Nevinyrral's Disk) to get the job done. The key point to stress is that Green can in fact interact with oppressive combos/creatures on other players' turns so by no means should you ever feel completely helpless when playing the color. Whether you need them or not it's worth your while to invest in 4x Beast Within at your earliest convenience because you never know when you'll yearn for them. If nothing else it's a stellar "sideboard" card (figuratively speaking) that you can always bring in-or-out between games as needed.
It doesn't take a rocket surgeon to analyze why Burgeoning is an utterly absurd multiplayer Magic card. After all, a common use-case is "turn 1 Burgeoning, turn 2 untap will all of your lands in play." As such it's unquestionably powerful enough to play as a 4-of in any deck with 25 or more lands and you don't need to do any anything special to extract a ton of value from the effect. The risk is obviously that you'll draw too many too late and/or that you won't have enough lands to properly abuse it. After all, the card is ostensibly a mulligan in the mid stages of the game and if you only open with 1-2 lands then it's significantly weaker than a Wild Growth or whatever. That being said it's a fantastic build-around-me and so I'd like to discuss some of its most degenerate applications.
First and foremost it's the stone-cold nutter butters in any deck with a critical mass of Bouncelands and/or Karoos. In the past I've happily played monogreen lists with 8-10x Bouncelands and 0 multicolored spells for the ramp alone. After all, any hand that contains an untapped Green source, a Burgeoning and a Bounceland or two can easily untap with 4 lands in play enabling five drops to cast on turn 2. Wanna know why that sounds broken as Hell? Because it is! Clearly this strategy is risky in scenarios where you fail to draw a Burgeoning as you're typically left with a rather clunky draw as a result. That being said this is where cards like Sakura-Tribe Scout, Summer Bloom, Azusa, Lost but Seeking and/or Oracle of Mul Daya (possibly supported with tutors such as Green Sun's Zenith) shine because they ensure a consistent play experience. I typically lean towards 4x Burgeoning, 0-2x Summer Bloom, 1x Azusa, Lost but Seeking and 1x Oracle of Mul Daya in decks with 4x Green Sun's Zenith but I also realize that both Azusa and Oracle of Mooly Dooly are extremely pricey. This strategy still works fine even without them but I wanted to throw their name into the lot given their stellar synergy with Bouncelands. One reasonable alternative is Mina and Denn, Wildborn which is obviously substantially weaker but they still get the job done at a fraction of the price and beggars can't afford to be choosers.
Beyond that I want to stress that Burgeoning works at its best in Blue decks that field mass card draw spells. Mystic Remora, Windfall, Trade Secrets, Rhystic Study, Day's Undoing, Consecrated Sphinx, Recurring Insight and more are obvious examples of card advantage spells/engines that can truly abuse your ability to jam lands into play each turn (more-or-less). A mindless example would be a deck with 4x Burgeoning and 4x Day's Undoing that seeks to jam a Draw 7 on turn 2 after slamming a ton of lands into play. This ensures that you'll untap on turn 3 with round-about 7 mana in play ready to start jamming your bombs. It's utterly absurd how degenerate that this strategy can feel at times because it really does seem as though you're cheating in every way imaginable.
Moving on I'll highlight minor synergies such as Nissa's Pilgrimage, Seek the Horizon and Shard Convergence that clearly combo well with this type of effect. After all, these kinds of cards start to feel significantly more busted when they're putting the lands directly into play (more-or-less). That being said I've never actually employed this strategy myself because it's orders of magnitude weaker than playing mass card draw instead. After all, Recurring Insight is always going to be an objectively powerful Magic card whereas Seek the Horizon is complete trash in scenarios where you don't have a Burgeoning in play. I still wanted to briefly discuss these potential combos and synergies but the lesson here is "splash Blue if your goal is to maximize your overall win %" and not "play Seek the Horizons."
Lastly, the card is utterly ridonkulous in decks with mass land bounce such as Storm Cauldron, Sunder and/or Upheaval. While these effects are few and far between (and often banned in casual metas) it's still worth keeping these kinds of synergies in mind because both Sunder and Upheaval are absolutely stellar multiplayer Magic cards and I wouldn't fault anyone for wanting to build around them. Obviously there's not much else to analyze or discuss, the interaction is as straight-forward as it gets, but my goal is merely to get your creative juices flowing. I'm not expecting an average player to go out and build an Upheaval deck or anything but rest assured that it's hilarious to restart a game and untap with 5+ mana on turn 2.
NOTE: For simplicity's sake this entry will focus solely on Carpet of Flowers but most of what I'm about to say applies to Compost as well. The cards are wildly different with respect to functionality but the core of concept of "these cards are oppressive in the right metas" remains constant.
Carpet of Flowers should be treated as an oppressive staple in any multiplayer metagame with a reasonable amount of Blue. Period. Given that Blue is the strongest color in Magic by an order of magnitude it's not a stretch to assume that at least one player figures to field it in an average 4+ player game. If even a single opponent opens with a turn 1 Island then it's already a significantly more resilient version of Birds of Paradise and it only gets better from there. I cannot stress this point enough because the card is already stellar if this requirement is met so by no means am I making unreasonable demands. Beyond that, if anyone curves 2-3 Islands in the first 4-5 turns of the game then you're suddenly looking at a 1 CMC Sol Ring/Gilded Lotus that you're allowed to play 4 copies of. Uh, what? Does that sound fair to you? Because it's not. To anyone trying to retort with "well you're living in Magic Christmas Land pal" my only response is "no, I'm not." It's not unreasonable to expect at least one opponent to jam an Island in an average multiplayer match and it's ridiculous to suggest otherwise. I'm not asking for the stars to align here; I'm asking for someone to go "Island, Preordain, pass." Remember, Carpet of Flowers doesn't have to be a Sol Ring on turn 2 nor Gilded Lotus on turn 3 to be bonkers. Even the fail case of "Bird of Paradise that doesn't die to creature removal" is still an absurd magic card. Given that it'll frequently be tapping for 3-5 (or more) mana I don't understand why this card doesn't see more multiplayer play.
For what it's worth I'm not saying that Carpet of Flowers never backfires. Some % of the time no one will show up with a Blue deck and you'll be sad. Welcome to life. My argument is that the card is so likely to win games when it's works that it easily offsets the fail cases where it's a stone-mulligan that costs you games. Yes, it really is that good when it's good. Moreover, I don't understand this notion that every decision has to be made in a vacuum. Presumably you're a person who operates within a set of clearly defined multiplayer spheres. Maybe you play EDH with your friends or at an LGS, maybe you're an online player, maybe you play kitchen table Magic with friends and family, whatever, doesn't matter. The idea here is that large % of you know the key characters in your meta(s) and have intimate knowledge of their decks and tendencies. If you know that no one in your area likes Blue, cool, ignore Carpet of Flowers. It doesn't have to be good for everyone. My point is simply that the card is unreasonably powerful in any Blue-based metagame given its ability to provide you with an insurmountable mana advantage starting on turn 1. If you can reasonably expect a turn 1 Island the card is utterly bonkers given that it's probably also going to tap for 6 at some point down the road as well.
Tempt with Discovery is an extremely interesting ramp spell that raises a host of questions with respect to its competitive applications. After all, the base card is "Reap and Sow" which isn't a spell that typically sees any play. The primary exceptions are decks that feature oppressive lands and/or land combos such as 12-Post (Cloudpost, Glimmerpost, Vesuva, Thespian's Stage), UrzaTron (Urza's Mine, Urza's Tower, Urza's Power Plant), Cabal Coffers + Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth, Dark Depths + Thespian's Stage, Tolarian Academy, Gaea's Cradle and Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx. Even then Reap and Sow virtually never makes the cut over things like Expedition Map, Crop Rotation, Ancient Stirrings and/or Sylvan Scrying so clearly we're not dealing with an inherent competitive staple. That being the dream-case for this card is that it fetches and plays N lands (where N is the number of players) because the card is oppressive at that point even if merely fetching 4x Forest. Ideally you'll have something better than that to nab but any "4 mana ramp 4 untapped lands" spell is broken no matter how you slice it. In order for these kinds of cards to be worthwhile you typically need everyone to opt into your deal and it's not always clear how frequently that will occur. More importantly, you probably want to know what the "right" thing to do is (from an objective standpoint) and why. Are these competitive cards? Is it possible to objectively analyze their competitive value? I would argue that the answer to both questions is "yes" and I'll briefly explain why that is.
The theoretically best response to a Tempt with Discovery being put on the stack is for no one to search. Let the controller fetch their 1 land and force them to live with the fact that they've just cast a Reap and Sow. They've used precious resources on a marginal effect and the rest of the table "benefits" (I use the term loosely) as a result. Not because they're any more or less ahead than they were before, but because one of their opponents cast a weak spell that generated very little value for its cost. With that knowledge in mind how can I then argue that Tempt with Discovery is competitive multiplayer Magic card if players can easily neuter its effectiveness? What makes these kinds of cards so powerful?
The winning response to a Tempt with Discovery is for everyone to fetch the land in order to close the gap between them and the other players. Players are required to act in turn order and nothing that they verbally agree to is legally binding. Even if every other player declines to take the deal the last player left to to act always has a massive incentive to do so. After all, in a broad sense being up a land on 2 opponents and down a land on a third is strictly better than being down a land on a single opponent. You've shot ahead of multiple adversaries at no cost and the gap between you and the leader remains unchanged. All thing being equal you're more likely to win as a result of opting into the deal and so it makes strategic sense to enter a contract with that player. With that in mind it makes sense for each player to agree to the deal because at any point in time a player behind them could opt into it and it always makes strategic sense for at least one of them to do so. Again, opting into the deal closes the gap between you and the others players whereas defecting puts you grave danger of significantly increasing it. Even though the "theoretical" best response to a Tempt with Discovery is to defect in practice that will rarely occur assuming that everyone present playing to win.
Moreover we have to factor the psychological implications of offering these kinds of deals. Whereas people are generally hesitant to issue harm/punishment to others they're typically open to the idea of rewarding people (including themselves). When you opt into the Tempt with Discovery deal not only are you directly helping yourself but you're also serving others as well. Since both of those actions are unquestionably seen as positive deeds in a broad sense (helping people is a good thing!) there's a significant degree of psychological pressure to opt into the deal. After all, turning it down not only denies yourself of a "free treat" but you're also withholding one from someone else. Both of those actions are typically perceived to be negative deeds which is all the more incentive to opt into the deal. While there's any number of articles that you could read to support these claims something quick and easy can be found here. It's a relatively short read that's easy enough to understand (there's very little jargon) and it provides some great insight into the topic of altruism and its mathematical implications in cooperative games.
Now, one thing that I will stress is that there's always a breaking-point. When I say that a card is "competitive" I don't mean that it's "infallible" or "uncounterable" or "unconditional." Game 1 your opponents might all agree to the deal and allow you to fetch your 4x Cloudpost or Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth + Cabal Coffers + Gaea's Cradle and promptly get smashed miserably. From that point on they may never agree to the deal again (correctly so) knowing that it would ultimately spell their death-knell. If the "winning line" isn't actually a "winning line" then there's no decision to make and everyone will more-or-less be forced to defect. I've personally seen this happen on numerous occasions and as such I've seen this card removed from absurdly strong decklists as a result. If/when that happens, so be it, you'll just have to cut the card from your decks. That's life. In general this type of effect is extremely competitive given that it makes strategic sense for each player to opt into your deal but unfortunately Magic isn't always that simple.
Doubling Season is one of the most hilariously oppressive cards ever conceived given that it breaks fundamental rules of the game that were clearly never designed to be tampered with. I'm obviously referring to its interaction with Planeswalkers given that it realistically shouldn't affect them. Obviously Doubling Season was printed 2 years before the first Planeswalkers saw the light of day but even then Wizards had already designed and developed them by the time that that they were working on Ravnica. That being said what's done is done and we'll just have to live with the fact that Doubling Season enables you to immediately activate Planeswalker ultimate abilities.
To illustrate why this interaction is so problematic consider Jace, Architect of Thought. On the surface the card seems relatively anemic but what happens when you're immediately able to pop his ultimate ability? Not only do you get to Bribery each opponent but you also get to search your own library for another copy of Jace, Architect of Thought in order to loop the process up-to 3 times. On the 4th iteration you're then able tutor up a Time Stretch (or whatever) and given that you've already cast 12x Bribery it's difficult to envision a way to lose the game from there. Another clear-cut example is Tamiyo, Field Researcher. To the surprise of no one Ancestral Recall + Omniscience is an above return from a 4 mana card! Shocker right? Clearly that doesn't literally win the game 100% of the time but come on, let's be reasonable here, you don't lose from that position very frequently. If you want a monogreen example look no further than Garruk, Primal Hunter. Popping his ultimate immediately (for twice as many tokens!) is completely bonkers given that the base use-case is what? 60+ power across 10+ bodies? And that's if you only 5 lands in play? Please. Needless to say these kinds of cards clearly weren't designed with Doubling Season in mind which why they all ostensibly read "you win the game" when its in play. It doesn't make for fun or interactive Magic but at least it's effective if nothing else.
With respect to creature tokens and +1/+1 counters what's there to even analyze? "Doubling Season is good with cards like Avenger of Zendikar." Thanks Sherlock Prid3, I'm glad that you were able to get to the bottom of that mystery! You're all smart people who can put 2 and 2 together and so I trust that it goes without saying that decks with a critical mass of counters/tokens/both can mindlessly abuse Doubling Season without fail. After all, it literally reads "your spells are twice as good" and it only costs you 5 mana and a card. As such I'm not going to bother discussing it any further but I am going to use the remainder of this entry to keep track of oppressive applications of Doubling Season. Note I'm limiting it to things that will almost always win games on the spot so don't start calling me out just because I don't have Ajani, Mentor of Heroes listed. 100 life is fine and all but it doesn't literally win games of Magic.
Since it's clear that the vast majority of your Green decks are going feature a reasonable quantity of ramp it's important to understand how to design a consistent ramp sequence. After all, you're going to hemorrhage % points if you don't carefully consider what ramp spells to field and why in order to extract maximum value from your nut draws. I think that the easiest way to highlight the importance of design is with examples so with that in mind let's jump straight into some. Consider the following curves:
While I could sit here and list countless alternative examples I hope that you're starting to appreciate the importance of overall design. Search for Tomorrow decks are never going to be able to cast 3 drops on turn 2 and so it makes significantly more sense to pair them with Nature's Lores than Wood Elves whenever possible. Moreover, assuming a turn 1 Search for Tomorrow and turn 2 Nature's Lore then you're only producing 5 mana on turn 3 and you would do well to build around that threshold. After all, it doesn't make sense to overload on a bunch of 6+ CMC bombs that you still won't be able to cast. Stick to something like Prophet of Kruphix whenever possible because that's what your nut draw supports. Speaking of 5-on-3, if you know that your deck is going to open with an Elvish Mystic and curve into a Cultivate/Kodama's Reach then, again, it doesn't make much sense to overload on 6+ CMC bombs that will still be rotting in your grip on turn 3. After all, 5 drops such as Titania, Protector of Argoth will be ready and raring to go on and so you may as well employ them instead. Conversely, if you're opening with a 1 drop into a Somberwald Sage/Basalt Monolith then why waste your time with dorky 5 drops when your ideal curve ramps you straight to 7? Jam those Hornet Queens and never look back. Another clear-cut example is Joraga Treespeaker who (much like Search for Tomorrow) basically has to be paired with 2 CMC accelerators because nothing else will fit into your curve. Pairing her with Shaman of Forgotten Ways as opposed to Devoted Druid is an objective mistake that will undoubtedly cost you games. Otherwise I hope that the last example highlights the importance of reliable 2 CMC ramp in builds that field expensive 4 CMC ramp such as Frontier Siege. Whereas Wild Growth/Elvish Mystic can die to removal Nature's Lore isn't going to let you down and since they both enable you to jam Frontier Siege on turn 3 why bother with the riskier alternative? Moreover, in the case of cards like Skyshroud Claim and Frontier Siege that produce 2 mana the turn that they come into play why wouldn't want to maximize their returns with the strongest ramp effects possible? Turn 2 Nature's Lore, turn 3 Frontier Siege/Skyshroud Claim + another 2 CMC ramp spell is an extremely common sequence so why bother with 1 CMC ramp that won't fully abuse it? All other things being equal wouldn't you rather have a Sakura-Tribe Elder than a Wild Growth? These are the kinds of things that you have to be thinking about when you're mentally preparing your curves if you're going to maximize your overall win %.
All ramp is not created equal and it's important to stress the difference in power-level between Fast Ramp that enters the battlefield untapped and Slow Ramp that enters the battlefield tapped. While I'm sure that many of you don't see a functional difference between Wild Growth and Elvish Mystic or Nature's Lore and Sakura-Tribe Elder rest assured that the gap between them is gargantuan. Fast Ramp is many orders of magnitude more powerful than Slow Ramp given its inherent cost reduction mechanic. After all, spells which produce mana the turn that they come into play virtually reduce their mana cost by the total quantity of mana that they generate. Those rebates frequently enable you to string together multiple plays on the same turn that Slow Ramp is unable to mimic. Consider two scenarios where two different players (A and B) are each holding a Rampant Growth. They both pass on turn 1 with no plays then on turn 2 Player A draws a Wild Growth whereas Player B draws an Elvish Mystic. Whereas Player A gets to cast their Wild Growth on an untapped Forest and curve it immediately into the Rampant Growth Player B can only choose to do or the other (but not both). Heck, let's take envision a third scenario where Player C is holding a Nature's Lore and also draws into an Elvish Mystic on turn 2. They too get to cast both of their spells whereas Player B is still cursing their bad luck for not drawing the Elf a turn sooner. These examples clearly illustrates why Fast Ramp is significantly more competitive than Slow Ramp and why you should make every effort to field it whenever possible. These aren't "Magical Christmas Land" sequences that only occur once every dozen games. These cost reductions are game-changing and routinely have a significant impact on the outcome of the game.
The most competitive example of this phenomenon is Carpet of Flowers which is one of the most oppressive multiplayer ramp spells of all time. It's virtually free (assuming that a single opponent control an Island obviously) given that you can always elect to produce the mana on your second Main Phase after casting it on your first. The card quickly spirals out of control as the game progresses given its ability to function as a 1 CMC "Gilded Lotus" (or better!) as your adversaries continue to play Islands. Moving on, cards like Wild Growth and Utopia Sprawl are ostensibly free (assuming that you have 2 or more lands in play) given they both cost and produce 1 mana the turn that you cast them. They're absolutely stellar ramps spells that you can blindly jam into any ramp list, especially ones that field land untappers. At 2 CMC there's Nature's Lore, Three Visits and Restore which essentially only cost a single mana. Obviously Restore needs to borrow someone's Fetchland but given that it can nab any land from any Graveyard that's typically not a serious concern. If your personal meta happens to be light on Fetches then feel free to ignore it but it's a no-brainer otherwise. Whereas you can't curve a Rampant Growth into Sakura-Tribe Elder on turn 3 that's a feat that Nature's Lore can boast and those small distinctions can often make the difference between winning and losing. Moreover, they're actually better color fixers than Slow Ramp alternatives (such as Rampant Growth and Sakura-Tribe Elder) given their ability to fetch Battle Lands, Shocks, Duals, Murmuring Bosk, etc. They're absolutely incredible ramp spells in that sense given their ability to out-perform the competition in every metric imaginable. 3 CMC is relatively barren with respect to competitive Fast Ramp since the only spell that qualifies is Overgrowth. That being said it's not as though you can naturally curve it into an additional 2 drop on turn 3 unless you've already ramped at least once. Wood Elves is basically the only other candidate but even then the card is almost strictly weaker than Nature's Lore so unless you desperately need the body then you're essentially wasting your time and energy. 4 CMC is where things get interesting given the existence of cards such as Tempt with Discovery, Frontier Siege and Skyshroud Claim. Tempt is clearly absurd if everyone opts into the deal because a 4 mana spell that ramps 4 untapped lands is utterly ridiculous. Don't even get me started if you manage to grab 4x Cloudpost/Glimmerpost, 2x Urza's Tower + Urza's Mine + Urza's Power Plant, Cabal Coffers + Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth, etc. Frontier Siege is another absurd Magic card given that it (virtually) only costs 2 mana the turn that you cast it and produces 4 mana every turn from there on out. You might need a mana sink or two to properly abuse it but the card clearly has an absurdly high power-ceiling. Lastly we have Skyshroud Claim with is essentially Nature's Lore 2.0. The same generic comments regarding dual lands apply since you can probably imagine how good it feels to tutor out (untapped) Murmuring Bosk and Stomping Ground on turn 3 with one of these.
Green has access to throngs of Aura-based ramp spells with the 3 competitive ones being Wild Growth, Utopia Sprawl and Overgrowth. This is because they give you the most bang for their buck and surpass the alternatives with respect to their ratio of "mana ramped per mana spent." All of the 2 CMC ramp variants (think Fertile Ground) only tap for one extra mana despite the fact that they cost twice as much as Wild Growth and Utopia Sprawl. Otherwise Overgrowth is the only 3 CMC variant that taps for two additional mana. The alternatives have very ambiguous wording that makes it seem as though they ramp for two but rest assured that every Weirding Wood variant only ramps for one mana.
One of the most pressing concerns for Green decks is their ability to beat removal-heavy archetypes and strategies. After all, curving Elvish Mystic into Devoted Druid into Polukranos, World Eater only to eat a Wrath of God can virtually sound your death-knell. Heck, even something as simple as a Doom Blade on your Poly K puts you in a terrible position since it's not as though your other critters inherently represent a significant threat to your adversaries. With that in mind I'll briefly discuss some generic, competitive ways to go about beating large quantities removal to help ensure that you won't roll over and die to the first series of interaction that heads your way. That being said I'll quickly toss out the disclaimer that "this advice doesn't apply to everyone" so take it with a grain of salt. Every meta is different and not everyone operates within ones where mass removal is the norm. Some are largely devoid of removal entirely and those players should feel free to ignore this advice and jam cards such as Joraga Treespeaker and Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary to their heart's content. This entry is geared towards players losing to throngs of Grasp of Fates and Damnations and not the ones who're able to goldfish their nut draws unimpeded.
The first thing that I recommend doing is consulting my guide and leaning towards the cards showcased within in. That might sound self-serving but they were chosen for a reason and rest assured that it doesn't have anything to do with their art nor their flavour. The vast majority of the cards listed in my guide are extremely resilient against removal and couldn't care less if people are trying to clear the board every couple of circuits. After all, curving Wild Growth into Wood Elves into Lure of Prey on Sylvan Primordial into Primeval Titan doesn't exactly leave you vulnerable to removal (be it spot or mass). If people kill your stuff, so be it, you've still accrued a ton of value in the interim. If they don't, awesome, you've probably already won. Clearly my guide includes high risk, high reward creatures such as Joraga Treespeaker and Managorger Hydra so I won't pretend as though they all handily trounce removal. The key point to emphasize is that I've presented more than enough options that do and so even if your personal meta is especially removal-dense then you should still be able to construct decks that're largely unaffected by it.
With respect to more targeted solutions I highly recommend fielding singletons such as Evolutionary Leap and Dense Foliage in your lists. The latter is only relevant against spot removal and can be safely ignored if it's not a serious concern but the former is stellar against all forms of interaction. These aren't the kinds of cards that you typically want to run as 4-ofs given that they're worthless in multiples but the first is utterly fantastic against players trying to grind you out. This is why I highly encourage splits since you'd rather draw of of each than two of either in any given game and the effects are relatively interchangeable otherwise. Beyond that Sylvan Safekeeper is a fantastic silver-bullet protection engine for builds that have a critical mass of creature tutors such as Green Sun's Zenith. Again, it's not as a card that you'll want to draw in large quantities but the first is absurd against spot removal. This is especially true for builds that feature gargantuan ramp engines such as Primeval Titan, Sylvan Primordial and Boundless Realms.
Lastly I recommend including a couple of cards in your deck that enable you to go over-the-top of people trying to play fair games of Magic. Kessig Wolf Run is a classic example given that it converts anything into a game-ending bomb past a certain point. Even a lowly Elvish Mystic can beat in for 20+ trample damage given enough time and that's a miserable thing to have to play against. Otherwise there's always cards like Shaman of Forgotten Ways, Lurking Predators, Tooth and Nail or ever Praetor's Council that aren't beatable for players attempting to grind you out on a card-for-card basis. Removal can realistically only beat you if you let it which is why you need to move away from do-nothing flops such as Engulfing Slagwurm and more towards things like Boundless Realms that can't be Doom Bladed with impunity.
Green decks can often struggle to compete with Blue-based Control shells filled with permission given their ability to efficiently trounce their threats and tempo them out of the game. In this entry I'll briefly discuss generic, competitive ways to go about overcoming it without resorting to pure hate spells such as Choke.
The most competitive solution to Blue-based combo decks is Carpet of Flowers. It quickly scales from Birds of Paradise to Sol Ring to Gilded Lotus and makes it virtually impossible for Blue decks to match you on a card-for-card basis. They'll helplessly flounder and fail before your insurmountable mana advantage that will bury them in a sea of resources. It's relevant to note that Carpet of Flowers is oppressive against every Blue-based strategy and by no means should it only be employed to hose permission-heavy builds. Insofar as at least 1 player figures to open with an Island then it's easily the single strongest card that you could possibly add to your Green decks so I recommend carefully considering if it's right for you. It's obviously possible to play in metas relatively devoid of Blue but I'd wager that it's the exception rather than the norm so don't be afraid to blindly jam these in your brews.
Beyond that Green can easily hose permission-heavy builds with backbreaking countermeasures such as Seedtime and Summoning Trap. Autumn's Veil and Display of Dominance can function as pesudo-Dispels/Negates in a pinch but 1-for-1 interaction is unexciting at best. Time Walk is utterly bonkers on the other hand and Summoning Trap is eminently reasonable when it's being jammed for 0. The card is clearly still playable at 6 CMC however, especially in decks that feature Battlecruisers such as Worldspine Wurm. That being said the real value of the spell comes when it's being jammed for free making it an ideal answer to permission-heavy metas.
Lastly, Green can employ land-based hosers such as Cavern of Souls and/or Boseiju, Who Shelters All to obsolete permission entirely. I realize that neither are especially budget-friendly but unfortunately there's nothing that I can do about that. While you could argue that this is a viable tactic for every color it's especially relevant for Green which has access to land tutors such as Crop Rotation, Expedition Map, Sylvan Scrying, Tempt with Discovery, Primeval Titan, Ulvenwald Hydra, Realm Seekers, etc. This makes it significantly easier to find silver-bullet answers which is obviously ideal when you're attempting to maximize your overall win %. After all, it's not as though any deck wants to run 4x Boseiju, Who Shelters All but at the same time what good does it do you if you only run 1 and have no way to reliably grab it? Some % of the time you'll "get lucky" and draw it early on but statistically speaking you only have a 20% cumulative probability of drawing it by your 5th turn.
Since our time together is coming to a close I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you on taking an active role in your extended Magic education. It's my hope that my guides have steered you in the right in the direction by clearly demonstrating to you what multiplayer decks should look like. From bright-eyed newcomers to grizzled veterans I'd like to think that there's something for everyone hidden within these walls of text and it's my hope that everyone who's taken the time to read this has emerged a stronger player as a result. If not, please feel free to let me know where I fell short as I'm always open to new ideas when it comes to the wide world of multiplayer Magic. Teaching is a give-and-take process and I'm largely reliant on the feedback of others to grow and evolve my methods. As much as I love to read cheerful emails from delighted students I also take any and all constructive criticism to heart. If you can dish it I can take it so please don't feel free to voice your discontent if you feel that I've lead you down or led you astray. Otherwise I'll thank you one last time for showing an active interest and involvement in improving as a player and it's my sincerest hope that you'll grow into a respectable Magician as a result. Finally, I'll stress that I'm always on the prowl in the multiplayer forums and I do my best to respond to every PM that gets sent my way. I'm not perfect but I make every effort to help those in need so feel free to contact me with any of your multiplayer concerns. From decklists to strategies to advice there's nothing that I can't help with and I encourage you to think of me as your ongoing mentor. Best of luck my friends!
Tich, great review, but I'm afraid you fail to realize how kodama's reach and/or cultivate are pretty much the best green cards ever and actually define the colour. My playgroup has more copies of Kodama's reach than any other card in the history of the game.
Tich, great review, but I'm afraid you fail to realize how kodama's reach and/or cultivate are pretty much the best green cards ever and actually define the colour. My playgroup has more copies of Kodama's reach than any other card in the history of the game.
While you're certainly entitled to your opinion, I think you're wildly overestimating the cards' actual power. If what you thought was true, wouldn't the card be used more? Wouldn't we see more decks with the card included in it? We're talking about a 5cent common that has multiple printings. If this truly was a color defining spell, people would have caught on to that fact by now and we'd be seeing them in (almost) every deck. Your opinion is basically just that; an opinion. I'd argue that it's an uninformed one at that. It would be like me trying to argue that the world is flat. I can say and think whatever I want, but at the end of the day there's overwhelming evidence to suggest that my opinion is flat out wrong. The rest of the world isn't crazy for not playing these cards; they're just not very good and your playgroup is overestimating them.
A big problem that people have is that they let personal bias cloud their judgment when it comes to card evaluation. I've had people tell me that Batwing Brume was the best card in their deck and they've refused to cut it from their lists for that reason. A glorified Fog that stops 1 combat phase from 1 opponent figures to be marginal in anything other than the dream scenario where you deal 20 to someone attacking you with a throng of tokens, but since that exact scenario happens every now and then people get attached to cards that are, in reality, not very good. Just because the 5 (or whatever) players in your meta like Reach/Vate because of how the card has performed for them in the past, that doesn't mean that the card figures to be strong in all metas. When I build my decks and analyze cards, I don't let miracle stories or other biases alter my take on them. From a purely rational and competitive standpoint, 3 CMC rampers are just sub-par.
As I've explained multiple times in my guide, a 2 CMC ramper on turn 2 into a 4 CMC ramper on turn 3 ensures that you'll have 6-7 mana available to you on turn 4. Since that's Lurking Predators and Primeval Titan mana and whatnot, that's basically where you want to be if you're trying to win the game. A turn 3 Reach/Vate doesn't get you there. If you argument is to simply play 2 CMC rampers and pair them with the various 3 CMC ones, then I would simply counter with "when is that ever better than Explosive Vegetation or Skyshroud Claim?" It's never going to be. If your deck has a reasonable draw, you're always going to be better off with the cards that I champion in this guide. My cards ramp harder and faster than your cards do. My Lurking Predators figures to land a turn faster than yours does.
One thing I've always said is that it's foolish to think that you'll win every multiplayer game that you sit down to play. It's not going to happen unless your deck is considerably more broken than what your table can reasonably handle. As such, I feel like you should only concern yourself with winning games in which your deck has a reasonable draw. If you draw stone nothing all game then you're going to lose and there's no 2 ways about it. Worry about winning the games that you actually stood a chance to seize. 3 CMC rampers will never be better than other options in good draws. I don't mean "God" draws, I mean reasonable ones. A 2 CMC ramper on turn 2 into a 4 CMC ramper on turn 3 will always be stronger than some variation using a 3 CMC ramper. Since the ideal draw for the deck involves having 6+ mana on turn 4, and everything else is basically a bad draw for the deck, I don't see why you would champion 3 CMC rampers as "the best Green cards ever" that "define the color." It's a very middle-of-the-road effect that won't ever blow you away, but it probably won't ever disappoint you either. If you're content with slower draws and slower decks, then you can play these kinds of cards if you want to.
Still, I'm willing to humour the idea that I, alongside most people, could be wrong about this. What, in your opinion, makes 3 CMC rampers so much stronger than the others? Why are they "color defining" cards? Why are your decks stronger than my decks in a multiplayer setting? You've made a very bold claim and have basically called me out as not knowing anything about the color. I'd like to know what has prompted you to make these fairly serious accusations (in my mind anyways). You're talking a big game, but so far the only defense you can make for the cards is that the people in your area use them. It's going to take much more than that to prove your case.
I think you are misunderstanding my statement. I was not calling out your decks at all, I was simply stating that Kodama's reach/cultivate are far more important to green than you aknowledge. I agreed with you about rampant growth and such being mediocre in this environment, but kodama's reach is a far superior card. 3 mana is a big difference for ramp over the 4 you need for explosive vegetation, solemn simulcrum, etc. There is also the fact that it completely colour fixes any opening hand, something that skyshroud claim can not do unless you have access to the original dual lands, which few do in cardboard. I would also argue that I have seen more copies of this card than any other in green decks, from everywhere I have ever played. I'm really surprised when you claim to rarely see it.
You are right in that this card will not 'blow you away' with power, but to me the essence of green is ramp and out-tempoing your opponents, which this card does better than most and is widely available to all budgets/metas/formats.
I agreed with you about rampant growth and such being mediocre in this environment, but kodama's reach is a far superior card.
A) I never said that R.Growth was a mediocre card.
B) K.Reach is much weaker card. I've explained why it's a much weaker cards many times. You continue to refuse to explain to me/everyone why I'm wrong or why you're right. All you're saying is "the card is better" but so far you've provided nothing to support that claim. I've explained my ramp spell on turns 2 and 3 scenario into a 6-7 drop on turn 4 many times. Explain to us why your way is better. What reasonable sequence of plays makes 3 CMC rampers stronger than the alternatives? I am spelling out my case as clearly as I possibly can. It's in the guide, it's been re-stated here, etc. I can't make my lines any more clear. I'd like to hear what your lines are, and what you hope to achieve with them
3 mana is a big difference for ramp over the 4 you need for explosive vegetation, solemn simulcrum, etc. There is also the fact that it completely colour fixes any opening hand, something that skyshroud claim can not do unless you have access to the original dual lands, which few do in cardboard.
Let's make a few things clear. First of all, I purposely listed Explosive Vegetation because it also color fixes and doesn't require that you own duals. S.Claim is much stronger than either card in mono-Green decks or in decks that use duals, which is why I listed it. 4 CMC rampers can mana fix just as well if not better (grabbing 2 duals isn't nothing) as your 3 CMC ones do. That's not a valid argument. Moreover, I've never once said that you should load up on 4 CMC rampers. As my guide clearly explains, and as I've explained many times to you in these replies, it's about combining 2 CMC rampers with 4 CMC ones. When you have ~8 2 CMC rampers and ~4 4 CMC rampers in your decks then you have a reasonable chance of hitting 6 mana for turn 4. This can either be achieved with a turns 2 and 3 2 CMC ramper, or a turn 2 2 CMC ramper and a turn 3 4 CMC ramper. If your deck just has 3 CMC rampers, then you're looking at 6 mana on turn 5 as your reasonable goal. If you use a combination of 2 CMC and 3 CMC rampers then every game where you play a 2 CMC ramper on turn 2 and a 3 CMC ramper on turn 3 your play was just strictly worse than playing Explosive Vegetation. As far as Cultivate being cheaper is concerned, my question to you is "does that matter?" 5 drops typically aren't very good, and usually aren't worth ramping in to. Ramp decks normally power out creatures that cost 6 or more mana for that reason. It doesn't matter if you play a Cultivate on turn 3 or an Explosive Vegetation on turn 4 because you still have access to 6 mana at the same time in either scenario. The Cultivate play will get you to 5 mana faster, but that's usually not significant. What I'm basically showing you is that 4 CMC rampers usually trump 3 CMC ones even in the worst-case scenarios, and are also much stronger than them in the best-case ones. There's basically no reason to run them for that reason. This is why traditional ramp decks do not run 3 CMC rampers. Case-in-point: Valakut. Valakut decks had access to Cultivate but rarely played it in Standard because it was weaker than your other options. Having the all-important rampers on turns 2 and 3 ensured your turn 4 Primeval Titan, which was all you needed to win a game. Ramp decks win when they get their awesome creature out faster than their opponent(s) do(es). Speed matters.
I would also argue that I have seen more copies of this card than any other in green decks, from everywhere I have ever played. I'm really surprised when you claim to rarely see it.
Again, this has nothing to do with me or my playgroup. I don't use my meta as "the benchmark" for what people should be playing. I leave my personal biases out of things. You can look through these forums and try to find Green decks that feature the card. You won't find many. Regardless of what you or I think about the card, the fact that almost no one plays it provides sufficient evidence to conclude that the card isn't the be-all-end-all of Green cards. It doesn't define the color, nor is it one of its best cards. It's just a somewhat playable common that can be used to fix your colors. People aren't idiots. If the card really was the stone nuts, was highly accessible and was cheaper than the cardboard that is was printed on, you can bet that we'd see more decks using it. This can't be about you or I personally think about the card because we're allowed to have terrible opinions that don't make any sense. I could argue that the "world is flat" until my face is blue, but that doesn't make it a reasonable claim. We're humans and we can be completely wrong about something. We have to look at what the masses think and do in order to get a baseline about something. If the masses aren't flocking to Cultivate like moths to the light, it's probably not one of the strongest cards in the color. I don't think I'm making an unreasonable justification in that sense.
Ok, I get that you really really like to argue with people who disagree with you, but I just did a quick search in commander multiplayer and came up with 1000 threads that discuss/use kodama's reach. I searched there since this subforum maybe has 20 threads total. Next time maybe research a bit before you make bold statements like 'you won't find many green decks that feature the card'.
Ok, I get that you really really like to argue with people who disagree with you...
I don't like being told that I'm clueless when it comes to multiplayer deckbuilding theory. I feel like I probably know more about the subject than most, so I don't think it's unreasonable for me to get defensive when someone comes in here and says something along the lines of "you have no idea what you're talking about." I'm willing to wager that I know more than you think. Still, I'm not quite sure what you expected to hear. I believe strongly in my point of view and I've provided many examples and arguments to support it. I don't think I'm right "just because I know better" or anything. There's a lot of thought and theory behind it.
but I just did a quick search in commander multiplayer and came up with 1000 threads that discuss/use kodama's reach. I searched there since this subforum maybe has 20 threads total. Next time maybe research a bit before you make bold statements like 'you won't find many green decks that feature the card'.
Heh. I shoulda seen that one coming. The fallback to any and everything is EDH. No matter how bad a card is people will always find an excuse to justify it in that format. I guess you got me. If you want to use the 100 card singleton format as the baseline for what you be playing, so be it. I can't stop you. Here I was thinking we were talking about 60 card decks that could feature 4-ofs, but apparently we live in EDH land over here at the multiplayer forums. Whatever, I give up. You're not going to give a proper defense for the card other than that you like it. You're not going to give us a single series of plays to compare it to, and it's pointless for me to keep asking for one.
I explained why I searched there is simply that this subforum is really new and doesn't have a statistically significant amount to threads to search through. Give it about 4 years and I'm sure I would turn up similar numbers here. As far as plays go, it's just simply a matter of play experience. I have run all kinds of different accelerators over the years, from llanowar, rampant growth variants, explosive growth, you name it, and nothing has been as consistent and as good at ramping and colour fixing as kodama's reach. Basically I start every new green based deck with 4 in my list and then look for reasons to try and convince myself not to run them.
a) I'm watching you.
b) 3cmc ramp is easier to cast on its own than 4cmc, for two reasons. One being that you're more likely to hit three lands by t3, than four by t4, and the other being that by t4 one might be interested in casting something different than ramp.
As for reasonable ramp chains, t1 accel, t2 Reach, t3 -> five mana, t4 -> six mana (and you can even miss to draw a land).
(I agree that EDH is not a first hand source, but acknowledge the lack of better options on Sally.)
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a) I'm watching you.
b) 3cmc ramp is easier to cast on its own than 4cmc, for two reasons. One being that you're more likely to hit three lands by t3, than four by t4,
If a ramp deck doesn't naturally have 4 lands by turn 4 then something went terribly wrong. While it's definitely possible, it's unlikely for a 26+ land deck to miss many of its early land drops provided that you keep a decent 7 card hand. Mana screw does happen some % of the time, but shouldn't occur frequently. Getting flood and screws is unavoidable, so the only thing that you can really do is play the probabilities game and hope that things work out for you.
As for reasonable ramp chains, t1 accel, t2 Reach, t3 -> five mana, t4 -> six mana (and you can even miss to draw a land).
My only issue with that line of play is that 1 CMC rampers are either broken (Sol Ring) or creatures. Creatures tend to be unreliable forms of ramp since any random mass removal spell will nix them. An early Innocent Blood, Massacre, Earthquake, etc. just really sets you behind on your gameplan. Maybe I'm too used to people playing global removal as opposed to targeted removal, but I'm not used to seeing small dorks last for very long. The safer, more long-term plan is to use something more durable/reliable, and those tend to be non-creature options.
I agree that EDH is not a first hand source, but acknowledge the lack of better options on Sally.
That seems rather foolish to me. Should Temple of the False God be played in every deck simply because every EDH deck plays it? If the choice is to compares apples to oranges or to not make any comparisons at all, I think the best course of action to take in the latter. Diabolic Tutor is one the best EDH cards in the game but is completely worthless outside of the format. Still, by your logic, every deck should be running them. That seems nonsensical to me. I think more people need to acknowledge the fact that EDH isn't a real format. It's barely even magic. Huge decks, singletons, commanders, new ways to lose the game, massive starting life totals, etc. Nothing about it is normal. I don't care what they put in EDH decks because that's not what normal magic looks like.
EDIT: Did a quick search and Diabolic Tutor also came up with 1000 threads. Seems like a perfectly fair comparison to make.
I'm pretty sure I've beaten the well-seasoned Guide to Black to death with you over the years, so I'll skip to Green.
Carpet of Flowers under repeatable acceleration. When it's good, it's very, very good (and you can abuse it if you try hard enough).
Hall of Gemstone next to City of Solitude and Dosan. Doesn't read the same, but given you're playing green 99% of the time with the Hall, it basically does the same (i.e. no blue mana for you, so no countermagic this turn).
Under Destructive Cards, you've got the header for Flier Hate above the Alt-Wins (not below it, where you list the actual cards). Whenever you fail to mention Squallmonger under Flier Hate, Krichaiushii kills a kitten. Just sayin'...
Probably want to mention Citanul Flute and any other half-decent critter-fetching or -affecting artifact (if there are any... I can only really think of Door of Destinies as being worthy).
About the only big omission I can see is that there's no mention of Immaculate Magistrate anywhere, particularly under Elf strategies. Believe me, a few of these, a few Joraga Warcallers, Thousand-Year Elixir and Rings of Brighthearth, plus a Trike on the side for an alt-win... this deck build has been good to me over the years (this is my old Century of Good Elf build ATM... I'd include it here for you, but it's partially red and an abomination against good deckbuilding as we know).
I'm trying out Gelatinous Genesis as a token generator at the moment - it's a one-shot, sure, but it seems pretty good if you've got gobs of mana.
Thank you Cz, for your enlightening threads on multiplayer. I am happy to see green has so many good multiplayer cards at its disposal that I have never seen before
I especially liked your comments on Explosive Vegetation>Cultivate, I did not know that. Ive been playing Cultivate for years because I thought 3 CMC > 4 CMC like Hammer did. Wow is he dumb/wrong, I agree with you Cz.
Thank you Cz, for your enlightening threads on multiplayer. I am happy to see green has so many good multiplayer cards at its disposal that I have never seen before
I especially liked your comments on Explosive Vegetation>Cultivate, I did not know that. Ive been playing Cultivate for years because I thought 3 CMC > 4 CMC like Hammer did. Wow is he dumb/wrong, I agree with you Cz.
To me it boils down to what cards will be the most powerful in the vast majority of your games assuming a reasonable draw. Every card can seem amazing or terrible in a God draw scenario so I typically ignore those. 3 mana rampers suffer from not being as fast as 2 mana ones nor as powerful as 4 mana ones. It's the same reason why most decks don't run many 5 CMC creatures. When your 4 drop is Phyrexian Obliterator and your 6 drop is Kokusho, the Evening Star, it's hard to justify running a 5 drop when it's just at such an awkward spot in the mana curve and it's so hard to get value for your mana investment. I don't like how Cultivate puts a land into your hand because that often accounts for next-to-nothing. If you're drawing lands anyways then you're throwing away a turn and that just bothers me to no end. 2 and 4 CMC rampers put all of their lands into play immediately so you always get max value at the lowest reasonable cost. Maybe 3 CMC rampers are slightly more playable in decks with an emphasis on mana dorks, but I'm just not a fan of those. Weenies tend to die sooner rather than later, even if it's not intentional. I don't like being Stone Rained every time a random Innocent Blood or Earthquake is played which is why I hate relying on mana dorks. Joraga Treespeaker is a rare exception, and I'll play her at times, but I'm almost never happy about it.
Duly noted. I plan on working on Red and Green guides soon (tm) and I'll be sure to incorporate that suggestion in. I'll also toss it into my Black one.
Out of curiosity, what do you think of my Black guide? I updated it last night so heck it again if needed. Does that highlight the relevant information that you're typically seeking better? If that did, except for Green, would that be in-line with what you had in mind? Or, were you possibly looking for a third section that is dedicated to draw and draw alone? That seem redundant but I'm not above driving the point home when it comes to highlighting important cards. I will plug the same ones until yours eyes bleed if I have to.
Its really difficult for me to answer because English is not my native language so it takes time to write and I still fail to deliver the message I want. But I try to say what would help me find the information I need.
You could have fooled me. I never would have guessed that you weren't an English speaker given your posts on the forums so far. You always get your points across fine in my mind.
I was really looking for some big list of tested&powerful cards that keep my hand stocked with bombs. In your black guide you talk about draw under "Cards that everyone should have". There you mention nine different cards that draw and five different cards that revive creatures. That is nice, but that is not all. You also have card draw under "Constant and/or Repeatable Effects" and possibly somewhere else in the guide.
Your request is a bit of strange one. See, I do list the cards that are tested and powerful, which inherently means that I'm not going to list "all of them." Is Ambition's Cost listed in my Black guide? No. Why? I would play Syphon Mind over it 100% of the time. My goal isn't to highlight the complete jank that won't make the cut in your draft decks. Harrowing Journey may draw 3 cards, but it's not something that you should ever play. The 9 draw spells that I list are, in my opinion, the 9 draw spells that Black decks should use 95% of the time (or whatever, I'm making up a number here). I don't want to list everything because I want to focus my attention on the best ones. So yeah, I don't really get it. I am listing the "powerful and tested" options which means that yes, I am not listing the "weak and untested" cards that you shouldn't be playing.
I would like to see in one place all powerful card drawing effects. That means that you would be repeating yourself because all those cards are already mentioned somewhere else in the guide but at least for me it would be helpful.
I will be sure to highlight all of the relevant Green options when I re-work the Green guide. They will be highlighted at the start under the multiplayer staples section. I will not list every draw spell though, because I refuse to list cards that I wouldn't personally play with myself.
You have more than nine card drawers in your guide. They just are in different areas of the guide. It would be easier if they were in all under same section.
For example: Under section 2. you find Syphon Mind. Under section 4a is Necropotence. Under section 4c is Harvester of Souls What if there was section X where you could find them all? They are all cards that do the same thing (keep your deck rolling) even though they do it little differently.
I didn't mean to list all draw spells. I just wanted to have all good card drawing cards in one place.
Good point. I'll add the missing ones to the "draw spell" section under "multiplayer staples" for completeness sake.