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Seton, Krosan Protector - Illustration by Greg Staples

Seton, Krosan Protector | Illustration by Greg Staples

Seton, Krosan Protector is hipster elfball. It’s a rare choice as a commander and sometimes feels a bit like you’re playing elves on hard mode. But I have more fun winning with Seton than any other green deck I have. Is #hipsterfeels a thing?

The most popular and powerful commanders for elf decks are Marwyn, the Nurturer and Ezuri, Renegade Leader, and for good reason. Marwyn points you directly toward infinite combo land with some untap cards, and Ezuri is an overrun on a stick.

But what Seton can do is throw out creatures so fast you can almost empty your entire deck in some games. A lot of the same green cards are used in all of these decks, so this might be a fun project for you if you already play elves but want to branch into something a bit different.

But that’s enough talk, let’s get into the deck!

The Deck

Craterhoof Behemoth - Illustration by Chris Rahn

Craterhoof Behemoth | Illustration by Chris Rahn

There are some outrageously expensive cards you can use in this deck (I’m looking at you, Gaea’s Cradle!), with builds that can get close to $3,000. This version cuts everything over $20 except for a handful of clear wincons that the deck needs to function.

The Commander

Seton, Krosan Protector

Seton, Krosan Protector taps your druids for mana. That’s it.

But look at the card again. Seton taps your druids to make mana, which means you can drop an Elvish Pioneer with your commander in play and immediately tap it for mana. That means you can just start storming through your deck with something like Beast Whisperer in play if your deck has a lot of low-cost creatures.

Seton has a few specific wincons given that pattern, but you can also build the deck around the classics. There’s grabbing Craterhoof Behemoth with one of the ways to fetch it, like Fierce Empath. You’re running Marwyn and can churn pretty quickly to get to it, so packing cards that let it untap and create even more mana the way you would in a Marwyn deck is also a possibility.

But what Seton’s storm of creatures likes doing is pairing with an artifact wincon like Cloudstone Curio that lets you play and bounce 1-drop druids to generate infinite triggers for use with Marwyn, other mana abusers, a card like Glimpse of Nature, or other spells that let you draw through your deck. You can even go that-deck-is-soooooo-2016 with Aetherflux Reservoir for enhanced hipster cred.

Sound fun? Let’s break it down!

Creatures

1-Drops

This deck works based on Seton’s ability to play a 1-drop and immediately tap it to make that play mana neutral. The deck falls flat if you don’t have enough 1-drops.

Most of these are druids to synergize with that ability, but there are a few utility creatures in here too. The focus here means cutting higher-curve creatures that look like they make sense for the deck, like Elvish Harbinger.

A lot of these tap for mana in case you can’t keep Seton on the battlefield or want to drop it on a turn when you can go off for a win. Others are utility creatures that can get lands or interact. All of them can keep the creature chain going if you have a card-draw-on-ETB effect going.

Some of these cards that aren’t mana dorks aren’t great, and there are quite a few more druid 1-drops out there if you want to just swap some that you have in the storage boxes for these.

2-Drops

Sometimes you need a bit more value than 1-drops to smooth out the deck. Most of these are mana dorks but there’s a few other utilities in here, from lifegain to creature creation to all the recursion you can get from Shigeki.

Augur

Augur of Autumn, Realmwalker, and Vizier of the Menagerie are creatures that let you manipulate the top of your deck and maybe even cast creatures or lands from the top. Most are Cube staples that you’re likely familiar with.

Big Mana

Circle of Dreams Druid, Elvish Archdruid, Marwyn, the Nurturer, Priest of Titania, and Wirewood Channeler help if Seton is out of the fight. They can also potentially go infinite.

Card Draw

Beast Whisperer, Gilt-Leaf Archdruid, Primordial Sage, Regal Force, and Soul of the Harvest either draw cards as you drop creatures or hit with a big burst of card draw, both of which you need. I ‘ve never seen the Archdruid’s chase ability ever resolve. Maybe you have? Either way, don’t count on it.

Tutor

It’s good to be able to find your finishers with tutors like Fauna Shaman and Fierce Empath.

Utility

You can easily pack more things that recur from your graveyard or destroy artifacts or enchantments than Eternal Witness and Reclamation Sage, but I find speed is of the essence with this deck and I prefer to be minimal in this area. Shigeki plus Bala Ged Recovery can loop things out of the graveyard pretty easily so you can often get it back if you really need one of these.

Finisher Creatures

These are the things you tutor for or plow through your deck for. They can win on the spot or at least get you close. Most of these are big over-the-top creatures, but there’s a combo in here I’ll explain in a bit.

Instants and Sorceries

Tutors

There are so many more great creature tutors in green, but they tend to be really expensive. These are kind of an almost-budget list.

Card Draw

Collective Unconscious, Genesis Wave, Kindred Summons, and Shamanic Revelation are expensive, but you have enough mana via Seton taps to get these out pretty easily if you have enough creatures to make them worth casting.

Protection

Sometimes you need to keep the band together for one more turn, and Heroic Intervention and Veil of Summer can help with that.

Untappers

Benefactor’s Draught and Vitalize are used mostly to untap Marwyn for big mana, but there are some other big mana creatures in the deck too.

MDFCs

There are two modal double-faced cards here in place of lands in the form of Bala Ged Recovery and Turntimber Symbiosis. Just good value.

Enchantment

Guardian Project

There are lots of awesome cards that can go here if you wanna spend the dough, but only one makes the budget criteria for this deck: Guardian Project. It’s a nice card draw effect for any green EDH deck.

Artifacts

Ramp

Sol Ring (Commander Collection Green)

There’s not as much here as you might expect. This is a mono-color deck with a huge ability to generate mana, and these can really get in the way of storming your creatures. But you still gotta have the unofficial mascot of EDH, Sol Ring.

Tangleroot

Tangleroot can really start accelerating your deck, but it sort of also accelerates everyone else with mana. Best to drop on the turn you go off.

Card Draw

Skullclamp

Skullclamp is a house, but it literally eats away at your mana base in this deck so use it wisely.

Lifecrafter's Bestiary

Then you’ve also got Lifecrafter’s Bestiary.

Untappers

Again, Staff of Domination, Thousand-Year Elixir, and Umbral Mantle are here for Marwyn and company.

Finisher

There are two finishers here.

Cloudstone Curio

Cloudstone Curio is the card that breaks the bank. I left it in because it’s a great combo finish and it’s fun to play if you haven’t had the chance. It’s what differentiates Seton from the other elfball decks: the ability to use this card.

Curio allows you to play and bounce two 1-mana druids with Seton out to generate huge mana with Marwyn, or to generate pretty constant card draw if you have something like Beast Whisperer out too. But the deck can win fine without this, so feel free to adjust the list.

Throne of the God-Pharaoh

Throne of the God-Pharaoh can really finish the table at the end of a creature storm turn.

The Mana Base

Dryad Arbor

Most of the deck is mana-production creatures, either on their own or with Seton. You’ve got almost no mana rocks and a lot of basic Forests plus Dryad Arbor.

Note how low this count is compared to other decks. A lot of 1-drops and mana abilities allow this. And you have to be able to churn through creature drops and avoid hitting too many lands for your deck to win, a bit like a Bolas’s Citadel deck.

That lean number of lands also means that utility lands that tap for colorless are especially dangerous in this deck. All your 1-drops need green mana only, for example.

The Strategy

You can win on turn 4 if you get the right pieces out. But that usually doesn’t happen. You need Seton, something like a Marwyn, and other combo pieces.

So it’s probably wise to slow play a bit and keep Seton in the command zone if your table looks a little gun crazy with removal and counterspells. It’s okay to leave Seton on the sideline for as long as possible so that other commanders suck up the table’s spot removal since it can drop and immediately start making mana.

A marker for when to drop Seton is whether or not you have a big card draw spell or something like Beast Whisperer out so that you can start the creature storm. You can win with a big creature attack if you drop a big green finisher creature, and you can also combo kill.

Combos and Interactions

Your big green creatures like Craterhoof Behemoth are pretty obvious to use. Tutor, drop, win. But something like Great Oak Guardian gets better and better if you can bounce and recur it with Cloudstone Curio or Temur Sabertooth.

Similar combos using those bounce abilities can give you lots, even unlimited mana with a Marwyn out. Your untappers can also produce piles of mana that way.

The other big combo is with Wirewood Symbiote and the bounces. You reset the once-per-turn clause when you return it to your hand. This gets you infinite mana with anything that taps for more than one. Then Walking Ballista kills everyone.

Rule 0 Violations Check

Removing the bounce and untap effects ends the combo possibilities and powers down the deck if that kind of thing is needed for your playgroup. In that case, swap out that Curio money for a few more tutors and do a more traditional elfball beatdown.

Budget Options

This is already kind of budget for a deck that has some tutoring.

The expensive cards in this deck are mostly the combo pieces, so removing those options would save you some cash. Craterhoof isn’t exactly cheap, but it’s kind of required in green beatdown decks, isn’t it? You might just have one lurking in another deck.

I will say that I tried Seton out with a deck of only cards that cost less than $5 that was heavy on extra 1-drops, adding a few more clunky card draw cards I had lying around and trying cards like Overrun to try to party like it’s 1999. How’d it go? Not great, Bob. But there’s probably a happy medium for the budget conscious.

Budget Busters

There are some righteous tutors to throw in here, all of which are pretty costly. Finale of Devastation, Survival of the Fittest, Sylvan Tutor, and Worldly Tutor.

Concordant Crossroads and Glimpse of Nature are awesome cheap accelerants for this deck, but they’re pretty pricey and it can work without them. The same goes for Sylvan Library.

There are lots of expensive artifacts this deck would enjoy running, like various legal Moxen to The Great Henge, but those are second-mortgage kinds of cards. And of course Gaea’s Cradle and Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx. And while Allosaurus Shepherd isn’t a druid it is a blue hoser and wincon all in a 1-drop body, so put one in if you have it.

Other Builds

Yisan, the Wanderer Bard is an auto-include for certain kinds of players. If that’s you, by all means add that and maybe its chosen weapon, Instrument of the Bards, for your slow-motion telegraphed victory.

I also have a hard time saying no to a Kamahl in this deck. Be warned that it’s never quite as good as it seems like it will be, but tutoring up an Overrun on a stick with Kamahl, Fist of Krosa or Kamahl, Heart of Krosa does feel pretty good. My actual factual Seton deck has these two in place of the Curio and the Ballista for powered-down boomer feels.

Wrap Up

Dryad Arbor - Illustration by Brad Rigney

Dryad Arbor | Illustration by Brad Rigney

As a starter deck for elfball players, it’s probably simplest to just run Marwyn and a more traditional crop of elves. There are a lot of key elf cards that aren’t druids and shouldn’t really show up in this deck, like Elvish Piper.

But Seton is a particular challenge in terms of gameplay, and I find this deck more skill testing. That makes this deck a bit more fun to play for me.

If you have mono-green EDH decks already, you likely have more than half the pieces for this deck so it might be worth a build to see is Krosan style is right for you. What do you think of the list? Any tweaks you think I should know about? Let me know in the comments below or over in the Draftsim Discord.

Stay safe!

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