Greater Good

Discussion in 'Single Card Strategies' started by Baron Sengir, Mar 27, 2001.

  1. Baron Sengir CPA Founder, Vampire Legend

    So ... what good is this card? :)

    My personal favorite combo with it is those nifty 5/3 treefolk that come back to your hand when they die and rancor.

    I remain
    The Baron
    Yeah this thread exists just because I hope to make Zadok weep with joy. Sue me.
  2. fuzzy510 I Don't REALLY Exist

    I think that Zadok knows how I feel about Greater Good. :D :D :D
  3. Gizmo Composite: 1860

    This is definately not my yard...
  4. Gerode Becoming a Lurker Again

    If you wait several days Zadok will give you a full analysis on Greater Good. Until then, you can say anything about it and Zadok won't know. :D
  5. Cateran Emperor Passed On

    I'll hold off until Zadok returns. Until then, it just isn't right ;)
  6. Zadok001 CPA Founder, Greater Good

    *cracks knuckles*

    Hi guys! :) Ah, nice to be home again... The warm glow of my computer moniter showing the words "Greater Good." Woo-hoo!

    Ok, talking now. This is one of my favorite subjects, so I may gibber incoherently once in a while, but hey, you're used to it coming from me, righto?

    I first became fascinated by Greater Good when Legacy was released (that's the set AFTER Greater Good was in, in case it didn't register, I hated the card at first sight), solely because of the existance of Multani, Maro Sorcerer. I opened a Multani in my first Legacy booster, much to my great joy, and began thinking about how best to abuse the beast. Greater Good popped into my head as something that seemed to further the power of Multani by letting me sacrifice him to draw card (specifically, another Multani!), and play the new one down to repeat the cycle. Eventually, I would Fling Multani at my opponent to win!

    The deck sucked air. Couldn't win if you left it alone for twenty turns, and often milled itself right off the face of the Earth. With that deck, I decided Greater Good was meant to go in decks as a SMALLER card drawing engine, say, two or three cards each time. After all, turning a 5/5 creature or so into a super-Impulse was fairly strong, especially as an instant in combat. Only problem was, I lost card in the process, and I wouldn't always hit 5/5 #2. Enter Weatherseed Treefolk.

    The Treefolk, with a Greater Good in play, read 2GGG: Draw 5 cards, then discard three, Buyback 0. THAT would be worth playing with! Enter Treefolk. Rancor, needless to say, fit the deck like a glove, making the Treefolk optionally stronger, and turning early elves into fodder for Greater Good without severe card disadvantage. A deck was born.

    It decked itself.

    Over and over and over and over. I couldn't stop milling myself out of games, drawing too many cards early, and not having the power to KILL with the cards I drew. You still have to attack with that 'Seed several times to get a kill. Not to be deterred, I sought a way to stop decking myself. Abundance was the obvious solution, giving my some much needed search engines.

    Unfortunately, there were still big problems. For example, I still wasn't killing quick enough. I had a power mana engine in Priest of Titania and Seeker of Skybreak, as well as smaller elves and a single Vitalize, but all the mana in the world does no good without a kill! I spent nearly two weeks looking for a better creature to kill with. The solution wasn't a creature at all, but an artifact that I had overlooked despite its similarity to Greater Good. Alter of Dementia became my kill. Now, I had two places to feed my Treefolk - The Greater Good drew me cards, and the Alter killed my opponent! The Abundance kept me from decking myself, and I found much later that the addition of a single Soldevi Digger created an infinite mana engine with Vitalize, and I won many games both with and without it.

    The deck continued to metamorph, eventually cutting two of the Treefolk to make room for four Endless Wurms, which had brilliant synergy with my Rancors, mana acceleration, Greater Goods, and Abudances, as well as making for the strongest attacking force you could ask for in an 11/9 beatstick! It was extremely fast and brutal when it needed to be, as proven by one game during which it went infinite on TURN 2 (thanks to a Concordant Crossroads an opponent had been foolish enough to lay down). Of course, I conceded out of that game after producing infinite mana, since forcing a restart after each player had laid two lands seemed... Excessive. :)

    In terms of my strategies around Greater Good itself, I find the card functions best in union with accelerated mana. Almost any deck that wants to run Greater Good is playing large creatures, as well as a 4cc enchantment requiring double-green commitment. That's a lot of mana to work with, which makes Elves a must. And the Priest is by FAR the best Elf, so it follows that the Priest follows Greater Good in almost any green-based deck. Likewise, when going Green, Maro and Multani make powerful attacking forces. The stunningly powerful Endless Wurm makes for a strange quandry - Sack the Wurm to the Good, or sack the Good to the Wurm? And that question is one that can only be answered through an enormous amount of practice and learning.

    Moving out of base green, the possibilities are literally endless. I played Greater Good quite prominantly in a Sneak Attack deck that featured Academy Rectors, Serra Avatars, and Angelic Choruses to create an impressive effect of doubling my life total with every red mana I spent - As an instant! To make matters still worse, the Rectors sought out whatever the deck needed to begin its insane loop, and the Greater Goods never ceased to draw through 30+ cards each game, feeding me my Avatars for the loop each time. Keeping track of my life became a matter for my calculator, as it more than once exceeded a million. Fortunately, the White Wind had not yet been released. :)

    In a stroke of inspiration, I built a U/W/g deck around Replenish with Opalescence and Greater Good. Once I hit eight mana, I would Replenish up a swarm, and sack them all to Greater Good, one at a time. The result was a HUGE graveyard, and I would have searched deep enough into my deck to find the next Replenish, making me the guy with by FAR the most permanents on the table. :) Glorious Anthem was the key card in terms of interaction with Greater Good, since, alongside Opaelcence, it made my side of the table fat enough to give me 3+ cards on each draw. Zvi once commented in an email to me (response to some commentary of his) that Greater Good was the key card in Replenish, at least during the age of Urza's Block Constructed, even if it only appeared in 1s and 2s. I consider it the second best enchantment to run in Replenish, after Opalescence.

    I worked with a Living Death varient for some time, working creatures like Multani (you catching the recurring theme yet?) in an out of my graveyard and through the Greater Good to, once again, feed Death #2.

    There are literally dozens of other varients I won't get into. Too many to chronicle, put simply.

    In general, the great strength of Greater Good lies in its ability to abuse cards you haven't drawn yet. There are always cards in your deck you'd like to have in your hand, and that's why drawing cards is a Good Thing(tm). And there are always obsolete resources on the table. Turning those resources into new cards is the process that wins games, and Greater Good does just that, almost flawlessly. The discarding theme attached to it is rarely a problem. Think of it as an Impulse - You use Greater Good, and you are getting the BEST of the cards you draw. You're discarding a couple of lands. Whoop-de-doo. Live with it! If you're drawing two more threats and losing two land and an Elf, you're coming out ahead - Even if you just sacrificed a usable resource, you now have TWO usable resources to show for it. As a result, it tends to be a good choice to sacrifice creatures aggressively. Trade in combat, and sack your fatty to draw more cards. Your opponent will down a threat, you'll be up a few. Even sacrificing a lowly Elf can be advantageous, if you think about it. Sack a 2/2, lose a card in your hand - But get an Endless Wurm off the draw, and suddenly you're up 5 cards total! The loss is usually irrelevant compared to gain.

    Watch out for decking yourself! That's usually the greatest threat to your survival, so make sure you have a few contingency plans. And whatever you do, DO NOT discard the contingency plans! :) That dumb, me learn HARD way.

    Above all else, play Greater Good with thought. It isn't a brainless beatdown card, and every time it shows up, it will perform a slightly different function. It only affects you, but it is ENORMOUSLY opponent-reliant. React. If your opponent has sixteen 1/1s on the table, attack with your Wurm and sacrifice it. If they have 3 3/3s, keep it back, block, and sacrifice if you need to. Every situation is different, you will have to react differently to play Greater Good well.

    I've seen exactly one tournament report with Greater Good in the winning deck - I look forward to finding more, some day, some where. And maybe writing a few myself! :)

    Enjoy!
  7. fuzzy510 I Don't REALLY Exist

    I think that Zadok's post may be the longest on-topic post in CPA History. I dunno.

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