Last updated on February 24, 2021
In Search of Greatness | Illustration art by Ilse Gort
There’s nothing better than a good old fashioned Stompy deck! Other than maybe a brutal mono red deck. I like Mono Green in general because it can play both offensively and defensively really well. The deck we’ll be covering today has a range of tools that make it one of the best decks in the format right now.
The deck is outclassed slightly by Gruul, but it works exceptionally well against mono red, Dimir, and the increasingly popular mono white decks. It struggles a little bit with Naya adventure matchups thanks to all the value they can create late game, but so can we with a plethora of The Great Henges and Vivien, Monsters’ Advocates.
With that said, let’s dive into it!
Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider | Illustration art by Daarken
The strategy is very typical for a Mono Green deck: curve your creatures.
Except in this case we run a copy of In Search of Greatness which creates a weird scenario at times where you’re slowly scaling up your drops. We have cards of pretty much every CMC value up to six, so I’ve been in situations where I’d play a Gemrazer on top of my 1-drop on turn 3 and be able to put Vivien, Monsters’ Advocate into play for free. You could argue that it’s worth running multiple copies, but we don’t want to dilute our aggressive strategy too much.
Another card I really like in this deck that didn’t make the final cut is The Ozolith. There’s unfortunately quite a lot of removal for 1-drop artifacts which is why I ended up cutting it. It can punish your opponent with all the counters we’re putting on creatures, though, so you could give it a shot.
Since the strategy sort of ties together, I’ll combine these and go through them one by one. We’d be all over the place with interactions otherwise.
We’re running a special critter for our 1-mana slots: Swarm Shambler. Not only is this creature able to grow by putting +1/+1 counters on itself, but it also gives you free 1/1 tokens whenever one of your creatures is targeted by removal. The Shambler alone sort of helps keep at least some creatures on the battlefield to either mutate with Gemrazer or pull some shenanigans off with our next two 1-drops.
Snakeskin Veil and Blizzard Brawl are both insane, especially the Brawl. Because we’re running a snow land base, it’s easy to get the additional effect, turning even the aforementioned 1/1 into a 2-damage removal spell that can then attack without the worry of it being killed in a block.
Thanks to Snakeskin Veil, we get an overpowered spell that can help you dodge removal or buff your creature. If you happen to have Veil in hand, make sure you have spare mana whenever you put your important creatures down. It’s probably the one card in this deck that glues the entire strategy together by giving you a way to counteract most of the removal in the format right now.
I’m super glad we got such a good card, and it’s even a common! I bet this will become a staple in Pauper. It’s just lovely.
We already mentioned In Search of Greatness. I wish we could run more copies of it, but it just feels so bad when you draw into multiples. Since Mono Green doesn’t have a solid source of card draw other than The Great Henge, we can’t justify running a second or third copy.
Our two creature spells, on the other hand, are just generic “good stuff” cards. Scavenging Ooze, a staple creature that goes into pretty much every green-aligned deck to counter all those pesky graveyard shenanigans, and Nessian Hornbeetle, a card we don’t see much in the format but can perform surprisingly well in a deck like this.
Since our 3-drops and higher are all above four power, you’re almost always in a situation where the Hornbeetle will buff itself.
We have three (technically two) solid 3-drops.
Yorvo, Lord of Garenbrig, which enters as a 4/4 creature but gets another +1/+1 counter for each other green creature entering the battlefield. Any creature or token in this deck, basically. Next is a familiar face, Gemrazer. It’s technically a 4-drop but can be mutated on Yorvo to combine them into a super 8/8 creature with reach and trample, a very deadly combination.
A new-comer to the deck is Old-Growth Troll. I like this card a lot. It’s a 4/4 when it enters play, becomes a ramp card if it dies, and becomes a 4/4 again if you start to flood. That’s three uses in one card, so you won’t feel as bad as you would with any other creature on this list even if it gets hard removed.
I like this type of flexibility, and it kind of fits in with the whole ”cycle of life” theme where you have a fantastic creature, returns to the earth when dying, and then new life springs from it. I love that type of flavor and hope we get to see more of it. I am curious how well a card like this would perform in Pioneer. It may very well be a sleeper card that finds a home in some deck that relies on sacrificing creatures.
Having GGG in its casting cost is hard to fit it into anything other than Mono Green, though. It’s still a very cool card that also has some beautiful artwork by Jesper Ejsing. Having excellent art like this on a card makes playing a deck all that more fun.
We already covered Gemrazer as a viable 3-drop through mutate. Still, I want to mention that this card is crucial in the new meta where people are heavily abusing artifacts and enchantments. Gemrazer can quickly get rid of anything causing you problems and is an excellent blocker for prevalent threats like Goldspan Dragon. Like I mentioned before, putting Gemrazer on top of Yorvo, Lord of Garenbrig will make most of your opponents cry.
I also considered adding some copies of Stonecoil Serpent in here because I enjoy putting a 2/2 snake down on turn 2 and curving it into a 6/6 Gemrazer. Still, I couldn’t figure out what to cut out. This deck is greedy, but the right kind of greedy. You can try to push some of the 1-cost spells to the sideboard if you want to and let a Serpent slither its way into the main deck. Also, why is Stonecoil Serpent not a serpent? Bit weird.
We run three copies of Questing Beast, a walking encyclopedia of MTG keywords printed on a 4/4 hasty death machine. The cool thing about the Beast in this deck is that it can take care of giant 6/6 or 8/8 creatures when combined with Blizzard Brawl since it has deathtouch. It also kind of forces awkward blocks if your opponent has some planeswalkers on the field since this magnificent Beast lets you deal damage to them equal to the damage it deals to your opponent when attacking. If only we could give it trample… Oh, wait, we can: Gemrazer.
I feel like we’re just writing an advertisement for an infomercial where I say, “but wait, there’s more!” Mono Green doesn’t stop at four mana. No, it goes all the way, even without proper ramp spells.
First we have Vivien, Monsters’ Advocate, a card that can either win or lose you games in an awkward top deck. I’ve had many situations where I was stuck on four mana and wished it was another creature. The minus ability is especially outstanding, though. Did you cast Questing Beast? Here’s your free Yorvo.
And having the ability to push out 3/3 reach creatures is excellent since it gives some protection against threats like that pesky Goldspan Dragon. Of course, the best part is being able to cast stuff off the top of the deck. This combos incredibly well when you also already have The Great Henge on the field since you’ll be able to cast creatures off the top and draw away lands.
Maybe two copies of the Henge is too little, and the deck needs three in the mainboard, but for now, two will do. You can put some more in the sideboard if you want.
Last we have Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider. This card is a massive 6-drop that’ll help test your opponent’s patience with its giant wall of text. Jokes aside, this creature is excellent. When it’s on the board, Yorvo enters with eight counters, Nessian Hornbeetle gets two counters, The Great Henge produces two counters, the list goes on and on. There are so many sources that produce counters in this deck that Vorinclex is likely to become a staple.
It isn’t too difficult to get it on the field either thanks to In Search of Greatness and The Great Henge. Our land base also has four copies of Castle Garenbrig, so you should usually have the means to get this onto the battlefield.
Vorinclex also ruins most planeswalkers by keeping them from adding counters with their +1 ability, not to mention pretty much any strategy that revolves around distributing counters. If only this card were five CMC, but then it would likely find its way into other decks as well, which is something we may not want. Vorinclex is our secret weapon right now. It suddenly comes down and ruins a ton of strategies or can instantly grow to an 8/8 if you have The Great Henge on the field already.
You could add some copies of Faceless Haven in here, but it may become a nuisance since we have so many creatures that need three green mana. Cards like Bonders’ Enclave could also perform pretty well in a deck like this, but I fear all these colorless mana-generating lands are a trap. Just stick with this mana base and you at least won’t have as many mana issues. As long as you aren’t flooding, which seems to be a theme in MTG Arena by itself.
Mulligans with this deck are relatively simple:
- Make sure you have three lands. There are so many 4- to 6-mana cards in this deck that you can’t get away with keeping a two-lander. You’ll also generally be casting one card a turn until the late game, so even with just two castable creatures, you should be good to go.
- Have at least two castable creatures in the first three turns. Hitting your 1-drop and 2-drop isn’t that important, but you need at least three blockers on the field by turn 3. It becomes effortless for your opponent to overrun you with decks like Dimir rogues or mono red if you don’t have these. Having a solid blocker forces them to play more defensively by trying to remove your creatures, which buys you extra turns to work towards your end game plan.
Having The Great Henge in combination with Yorvo, Lord of Garenbrig or Old-Growth Troll is perfect, since they both reduce the cost of the artifact by four, allowing for a smooth turn 4 Henge. Still, it sometimes becomes unlikely you’ll have this exact combo in hand since we run only two copies.
In situations where you have only a Yorvo and Henge, though, you can consider ignoring mulligan rule #2 and just trying to survive until you turn 4. It’s likely better not to be a try-hard if you’re going second, though. As I mentioned, Gruul and mono red can and likely will defeat you before your strategy gets rolling if you’re not ready.
Heroic Intervention | Illustration art by James Ryman
Not going to lie here, the sideboard is a bit of a mess. But somehow it works. I managed to slap a bit of everything in here.
Dimir Rogues Matchups
Chainweb Aracnir is our Dimir Rogues counter. It has reach and it can escape to keep your graveyard empty. A useful card to have to counteract their synergies, especially alongside our final copy of Scavenging Ooze.
Control and Removal Matchups
Snakeskin Veil as an extra source of protection against control and removal. Heroic Intervention to use against decks like Azorius control and their nasty board wipes. The most popular black-aligned sweeper is unfortunately Extinction Event, and our Intervention doesn’t work against that card. I’m hoping someday we get exile protection of some sort in Standard.
Artifact and Enchantment Hate
Wilt is here as an extra source of artifact and enchantment removal, but the extra copies of Gemrazer seem to be plenty. You could swap this card out for more sideboard planeswalkers if needed against grindier matchups. Some decks tend to use ridiculous amounts of enchantments and having Wilt to get rid of something like Doom Foretold is pretty useful.
Garruk, Unleashed, a card that was originally in the mainboard when I started, is mainly here for grindier matchups. Giving trample to a card like Questing Beast is excellent, especially to remove opposing planeswalkers, but sometimes Garruk is a bit slow. Be careful when sliding it in, but it combos nicely with In Search of Greatness. A 3-drop on the field, put Garruk down, cast your Beast, and here comes the 7/7 trampler.
An extra copy of Vivien, Monsters’ Advocate would also be helpful in a grindy matchup.
Finally, Kogla, the Titan Ape. It’s expensive at six mana, but being able to pick and destroy an opponent’s creature is amazing. Having a built-in artifact and enchantment effect makes it even better. The sad part is that Kogla doesn’t have haste, which makes it difficult to deal with things like Elspeth Conquers Death or Doom Foretold.
Having it against decks like Gruul is great since Kogla can take care of most of their big creatures with ease and leave behind a massive 7/7 ape. Its activated effect will never matter since we don’t run any humans, though, so feel free to ignore it.
Quick Matchup Guide
Well, that concludes our Mono Green Snow guide. What a blast of a deck! So much power packed in every single turn. It should be able to carry you through some tournaments with ease. It has surprisingly few bad matchups, which makes the deck even better.
I think this deck and mono white aggro are highly underrated at the moment and will probably get more attention once the meta shifts. Maybe it’s a good idea to be ahead of the curve (pun intended) and build yourself this deck. As I mentioned, there are plenty of flex slots in here because the deck is trying to do so many things at once. It is excellent, though, that we now have removal, protection, ramp, etc., all built into a single deck!
I’m looking forward to seeing this topping a big event and everyone going crazy about it, as we’ve seen with past mono green aggro decks. There’s also something in here to perhaps add an Edgewall Innkeeper and Lovestruck Beast. Still, I fear you lose the uniqueness that this deck has to offer if you go that route: a very versatile battleplan that can go toe-to-toe with most opposing decks.
This is mostly a BO3 deck unfortunately, but I’ve had decent success running it in BO1. It’s pretty simple to modify the deck for BO1: put one copy of Vorinclex to the sideboard and add your final copy of Snakeskin Veil to the mainboard. There are simply so many low-curve decks out there that also like to use targeted removal. Playing this deck, you’ll be able to have a lot of back-and-forth interaction, the kind of MTG I personally love the most.
Either way, I hope you enjoyed this guide. I’m also going to be covering it in a video soon, so feel free to check it out if you have time. If you’ve got any thoughts on the list or gameplay, feel free to pop into the comments down below or even over to our Discord.
If you’re an MTGA ladder grinder, make sure you try out our amazing deck tracker Arena Tutor – it helps you track all your stats, and more!
That said, thanks again and see you all next time.
Yorvo, Lord of Garenbrig | Illustration art by Zack Stella