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Ferret's Retro Corner #3: Alpha/Beta/Unl Green!
By David McKenzie
Today’s article is about my personal favourite colour, Green. As a result, you can expect this article to be a little biased. Back in the day, Green was about speedy mana (it still couldn’t hold a candle to black back then), big beefy creatures, enchantments, and even land destruction. Even though, they had a nice number of ground creatures they also had the ability to rule the skies with either some good blockers, or outright destruction. These were good days.

Let’s take a look, shall we at some of the cards that really helped Green shine (and a couple that are just plain stupid):

Card Title: Aspect of Wolf
Color: Green
Card Type: Enchant Creature
Cost: 1G
Pow/Tgh: n/a
Card Text: Target creature's power and toughness are increased by half
the number of forests you have in play, rounding down for
power and up for toughness.

If you’re playing Green, you’ve got Forests. Might as well put them to good use.

Card Title: Berserk
Color: Green
Card Type: Instant
Cost: G
Pow/Tgh: n/a
Card Text: Until end of turn, target creature's current power doubles and
it gains trample ability. If it attacks, target creature is destroyed
at end of turn. This spell cannot be cast after current turn's
attack is completed.

This card was considered so potent that it was actually restricted for a time. If you timed your spells right, you could Giant Growth a nice sized creature and then Berserk it and that critter could win you the game.

Card Title: Birds of Paradise
Color: Green
Card Type: Summon Mana Birds
Cost: G
Pow/Tgh: 0/1
Card Text: Flying
Tap to add one mana of any color to your mana pool. This
tap may be played as an interrupt.

Mana Birds! The only Green flyer still in print. Sure, it’s not going to take down a Dragon (or even a Mesa Pegasus), but if you plan on playing another colour in your deck, you might as well include these avian wonders.

Card Title: Camouflage
Color: Green
Card Type: Instant
Cost: G
Pow/Tgh: n/a
Card Text: You may rearrange your attacking creatures and place them
face down, revealing which is which only after defense is
chosen. If this results in impossible blocks, such as
non-flying creatures blocking flying creatures, illegal blockers
cannot block this turn.

It’s like three card monty w/ attackers! Guess which one has the Force of Nature under it!

Card Title: Channel
Color: Green
Card Type: Sorcery
Cost: GG
Pow/Tgh: n/a
Card Text: Until end of turn, you may add colorless mana to your
mana pool at a cost of 1 life each. These additions are played
with the speed of an interrupt. Effects that prevent damage
may not be used to counter this loss of life.

Remember this little gem? Half of one the first annoying first turn kill combos tried out. Restricted rather quickly because of that.

Card Title: Cockatrice
Color: Green
Card Type: Summon Cockatrice
Cost: 3GG
Pow/Tgh: 2/4
Card Text: Flying
Any non-wall creature blocking Cockatrice is destroyed, as
is any creature blocked by Cockatrice. Creatures destroyed
in this way deal their damage before dying.

It’s the Chicken! Not enough power to take down most of Blue’s flyers, but if you lure it, everything in the air that you’re attacking will go squish in a hurry.

Card Title: Craw Wurm
Color: Green
Card Type: Summon wurm
Cost: 4GG
Pow/Tgh: 6/4
Card Text: n/a

One of Green’s first beefy creatures. Later on this card would be replaced by more efficient creatures, but in the old days this card could strike fear into players in the early turns of play.

Card Title: Elvish Archers
Color: Green
Card Type: Summon Elves
Cost: 1G
Pow/Tgh: (Beta/Unlimited) 2/1, (Alpha) 1/2
Card Text: First strike

It’s pretty cheap and capable of taking out weenies without much difficulty. Still can’t hold a candle to Black and White Knights, but most Goblins will die to it.

Card Title: Fastbond
Color: Green
Card Type: Enchantment
Cost: G
Pow/Tgh: n/a
Card Text: You may put as many lands into play as you want each
turn. Fastbond does 1 damage to you for every land beyond
the first that you play in a single turn.

Lots of cards in Green depend on having lots of Forests in play, so why not put this gem out and have some fun? Soon, you’ll have so many big creatures out you’ll forget that you’re only at five life!

Card Title: Fog
Color: Green
Card Type: Instant
Cost: G
Pow/Tgh: n/a
Card Text: Creatures attack and block as normal, but none deal any
damage. All attacking creatures are still tapped. Play any
time before attack damage is dealt.

A staple. Not only can it save your life, but if you happen to be blocking with a Chicken or Thicket Basilisk (or someone’s blocking them), your critters will live and the other critters still die.

Card Title: Force of Nature
Color: Green
Card Type: Summon Force
Cost: 2GGGG
Pow/Tgh: 8/8
Card Text: Trample
(Beta/Unlimited) You must pay GGGG during upkeep or
Force of Nature does 8 damage to you. You may still attack
with Force of Nature even if you failed to pay the upkeep.
(Alpha) You must pay GGGG during upkeep or Force of
Nature does 8 damage to you. You may still attack with
Force of Nature even if you failed to pay the upkeep.

Say hello to my little friend. At the time this was the biggest critter in the game and an insane bargain at only six mana (which is no problem for Green).

Card Title: Fungusaur
Color: Green
Card Type: Summon Fungusaur
Cost: 3G
Pow/Tgh: 2/2
Card Text: Each time Fungusaur is damaged but not destroyed, put a
+1/+1 counter on it.

If you’re playing Green and Blue and your packing Tim’s (or Pirate Ships, I guess) pack this guy as well. Ping away at him and watch him grow. You can also throw a regenerate on him and just attack every turn.

Card Title: Gaea's Liege
Color: Green
Card Type: Summon Gaea's Liege
Cost: 3GGG
Pow/Tgh: */*
Card Text: When defending, Gaea's Liege has power and toughness
equal to the number of forests you have in play; when it's
attacking, they are equal to the number of forests opponent
has in play. Tap to turn any one land into a forest until
Gaea's Liege leaves play. Mark changed lands with counters,
removing counters when Gaea's Liege leaves play.

Here’s a Jekyl and Hyde critter. On defense it should be pretty tough. You’ll have lots of forests in play, so he’ll be huge. However, unless you’re going against someone else that’s playing a lot of Green, he won’t do much.

Card Title: Giant Growth
Color: Green
Card Type: Instant
Cost: G
Pow/Tgh: n/a
Card Text: Target creature gains +3/+3 until end of turn.

Even though it has been reprinted more times than I can count this has always been one of those cards that makes you think twice about attacking Green when they’re holding at least one card in hand and they have one obviously untapped Forest. There’s nothing funnier than seeing a Giant Spider get even Gianter and devouring an oncoming Shivan Dragon.

Card Title: Giant Spider
Color: Green
Card Type: Summon Spider
Cost: 3G
Pow/Tgh: 2/4
Card Text: Does not fly, but can block flying creatures.

Speaking of which, this card was supposed to help with Green’s lack of Flyers. I still have yet to be convinced that this card alone is going to save me from Blue’s aerial armada.

Card Title: Grizzly Bears
Color: Green
Card Type: Summon Bears
Cost: 1G
Pow/Tgh: 2/2
Card Text: n/a

Vanilla. Good power/toughness to casting cost ratio. Moving on…

Card Title: Hurricane
Color: Green
Card Type: Sorcery
Cost: XG
Pow/Tgh: n/a
Card Text: All players and flying creatures suffer X damage.

Now this is a way to get rid of flyers. It can also get rid of players if you have a higher life total, but why do that when you can just squish them with big critters?

Card Title: Ice Storm
Color: Green
Card Type: Sorcery
Cost: 2G
Pow/Tgh: n/a
Card Text: Destroys one land.

Part of Green’s land destruction arsenal. Back then, colours aside from Red were allowed to destroy land. I always thought that nature would be better at destroying land than the forces of death and chaos, but what can you do?

Card Title: Instill Energy
Color: Green
Card Type: Enchant Creature
Cost: G
Pow/Tgh: n/a
Card Text: You may untap target creature both during your untap
phase and one additional time during your turn. Target
creature may attack the turn it comes into play.

Haste and a free untap? Nice. Throw this on a BoP and get bonus mana. Throw it on your Force of Nature and he can block as well as attack.

Card Title: Ironroot Treefolk
Color: Green
Card Type: Summon Treefolk
Cost: 4G
Pow/Tgh: 3/5

More vanilla. Nice blocker, semi-good on offense.

Card Title: Kudzu
Color: Green
Card Type: Enchant Land
Cost: 1GG
Pow/Tgh: n/a
Card Text: When target land becomes tapped, it is destroyed. Unless
that was the last land in play, Kudzu is not discarded; instead,
the player whose land it just destroyed may place it on any
other land in play.

Land destruction that lets everyone play. Loads of fun in multiplayer.

Card Title: Ley Druid
Color: Green
Card Type: Summon Cleric
Cost: 2G
Pow/Tgh: 1/1
Card Text: Tap Druid to untap a land of your choice. This action can
be played as an interrupt.

Another great target for Instill Energy. Really nice when you’ve put multiple Wild Growths on a land.

Card Title: Lifeforce
Color: Green
Card Type: Enchantment
Cost: GG
Pow/Tgh: n/a
GG: Destroy a black spell as it is being cast.
Card Text: This use may be played as an interrupt, and does not affect
black cards already in play.

Green’s answer to Deathgrip. The only proof that Green and black really don’t like each other.

Card Title: Lifelace
Color: Green
Card Type: Interrupt
Cost: G
Pow/Tgh: n/a
Card Text: Changes the color of one card either being played or already
in play to green. Cost to cast, tap, maintain, or use a special
ability of target card remains entirely unchanged.

This card is just perfect for…umm…still thinking…okay, they printed this just because they printed the other four. I tell you, there’s nothing better than opening up a booster that you paid $7 for and think “Will the rare be a Mox,? A Dual Land? A Force of Nature? No. I got a Lifelace. Kill me.”

Card Title: Living Artifact
Color: Green
Card Type: Enchant Artifact
Cost: G
Pow/Tgh: n/a
Card Text: Put a counter on target artifact for each life you lose. During
upkeep you may trade one counter for one life, but you can
only trade in one counter each turn.

By itself this card is okay. However, if you’ve got three or four out you can actually gain more life than is being dealt to you.

Card Title: Living Lands
Color: Green
Card Type: Enchantment
Cost: 3G
Pow/Tgh: n/a
Card Text: Treat all forests in play as 1/1 creatures. Now they can be
enchanted, killed, and so forth, and they can be tapped either
for mana or to attack. The living lands have no color; they
are not considered green cards.

Another great use for all those Forests that you used Fastbond to get into play. It’s like having an army of Llanowar Elves.

Card Title: Llanowar Elves
Color: Green
Card Type: Summon Elves
Cost: G
Pow/Tgh: 1/1
Card Text: Tap to add green mana to your mana pool. This tap can be
played as an interrupt.

Speaking of which. Another staple of Green. Good speed mana when you can’t pull extra lands.

Card Title: Lure
Color: Green
Card Type: Enchant Creature
Cost: 1GG
Pow/Tgh: n/a
Card Text: All creatures able to block target creature must do so. If a
creature has the ability to block more than one creature,
Lure does not prevent this. If there is more than one
attacking creature with Lure, defender may choose which of
them each defending creature blocks.

Lots of uses. Throw it on your Chicken or Basilisk and wipe out lots of creatures. Throw it on one of your Living Lands and attack w/ a bunch of other critters to kill people.

Card Title: Natural Selection
Color: Green
Card Type: Instant
Cost: G
Pow/Tgh: n/a
Card Text: Look at top three cards of any player's library. You may opt
to rearrange those three cards or shuffle the entire library.

Handy card to help stack your own deck – or, even better, your opponent’s.

Card Title: Regeneration
Color: Green
Card Type: Enchant Creature
Cost: 1G
Pow/Tgh: n/a
Card Text: G: Target creature regenerates.

We all know what this does. It’s handy enough, but hardly used. Green’s strength is just bringing out new critters to replace the dead ones.

Card Title: Regrowth
Color: Green
Card Type: Sorcery
Cost: 1G
Pow/Tgh: n/a
Card Text: Bring any card from your graveyard to your hand.

Of course, why replace the dead ones when you can just snag them from the graveyard – or any card for that matter. An extremely powerful card. Restricted for obvious reasons.

Card Title: Scryb Sprites
Color: Green
Card Type: Summon Faeries
Cost: G
Pow/Tgh: 1/1
Card Text: Flying

Okay, anyone that has read my rants on the forums knows my opinion of this card. I’m still annoyed that it’s no longer in print. Seriously, what harm could a simple 1/1 flyer do? White and Blue have tons of them. Are they afraid that this little Faerie might hurt them?

Card Title: Shanodin Dryads
Color: Green
Card Type: Summon Nymphs
Cost: G
Pow/Tgh: 1/1
Card Text: Forestwalk

Never underestimate the power of this card. If they’ve got a Forest in play, it’s practically free damage.

Card Title: Stream of Life
Color: Green
Card Type: Card Type: Sorcery
Cost: XG
Pow/Tgh: n/a
Card Text: Target player gains X life.

A nice way to waste mana if your deck isn’t capable of winning fast enough.

Card Title: Thicket Basilisk
Color: Green
Card Type: Summon Basilisk
Cost: 3GG
Pow/Tgh: 2/4
Card Text: Any non-wall creature blocking Basilisk is destroyed, as is
any creature blocked by Basilisk. Creatures destroyed this
way deal their damage before dying.

Big Lizard in your back yard! Combined w/ Lure, this critter will wipe out anything untapped on your opponent’s side.

Card Title: Timber Wolves
Color: Green
Card Type: Summon Wolves
Cost: G
Pow/Tgh: 1/1
Card Text: Bands

Hey, everyone remember how much fun banding was? Me neither.

Card Title: Tranquility
Color: Green
Card Type: Sorcery
Cost: 2G
Pow/Tgh: n/a
Card Text: All enchantments in play must be discarded.

Great card. It gets rid of all enchantments that could be annoying you. The down side is quite often green has its own enchantments out and they go bye-bye as well…

Card Title: Tsunami
Color: Green
Card Type: Sorcery
Cost: 3G
Pow/Tgh: n/a
Card Text: All islands in play are destroyed.

The third jewel in Green’s land destruction triple crown. Islands go SQUISH!

Card Title: Verduran Enchantress
Color: Green
Card Type: Summon Enchantress
Cost: 1GG
Pow/Tgh: 0/2
Card Text: While Enchantress is in play, you may immediately draw a
card from your library each time you cast an enchantment.
With all those enchantments you’re casting you might as well get a bonus with it.

Card Title: Wall of Brambles
Color: Green
Card Type: Summon Wall
Cost: 2G
Pow/Tgh: 2/3
Card Text: G: Regenerates.

Good card. Kind of overcosted for what you’re getting, though.

Card Title: Wall of Ice
Color: Green
Card Type: Summon Wall
Cost: 2G
Pow/Tgh: 0/7
Card Text: n/a

Now, that’s a wall! If it’s on the ground, it won’t get past this. Second toughest wall in the game.

Card Title: Wall of Wood
Color: Green
Card Type: Summon Wall
Cost: G
Pow/Tgh: 0/3
Card Text: n/a

Good wall for the casting cost, but if you’re going to put down a one drop critter, it might as well be a way to get mana or hurt people.

Card Title: Wanderlust
Color: Green
Card Type: Enchant Creature
Cost: 2G
Pow/Tgh: n/a
Card Text: Wanderlust does 1 damage to target creature's controller
during upkeep.

Another great annoyance card that goes well w/ cards like Cursed Land and Warp Artifact.

Card Title: War Mammoth
Color: Green
Card Type: Summon Mammoth
Cost: 3G
Pow/Tgh: 3/3
Card Text: Trample

Nice critter for the casting cost. Capable of dishing out early pain while waiting for the REALLY large critters to arrive.

Card Title: Web
Color: Green
Card Type: Enchant Creature
Cost: G
Pow/Tgh: n/a
Card Text: Target creature gains +0/+2 and can now block flying
creatures, though it does not gain the ability to fly.

Just the thing when your Giant Spider isn’t good enough…of course, giving Green some more flyers couldn’t hurt…

Card Title: Wild Growth
Color: Green
Card Type: Enchant Land
Cost: G
Pow/Tgh: n/a
Card Text: When tapped, target land provides 1 green mana in
addition to the mana it normally provides.

Another of those great Green staple cards. Throw enough of these onto one land and you can get lots of mana to bring out the fatties.

Back then Green was still a colour able to deal w/ the other colours quite well. They had some good flyer defense (they could have used more flyer OFFENSE…sorry, I digress), lots of enchantments, land destruction, and of course, beef. Unfortunately, most of the cards that really made Green this powerful are no longer with us and many of the others have been reprinted in watered-down versions.

Ah well, nostalgia is never what it used to be. Next article moves on to the colour of chaos, stupid creatures, direct damage, more land destruction, and of course Dragons: Red.

Read More Articles by David McKenzie!

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