FABLES FROM KITCHEN TABLES – TOP SOLDIERS OF – SELESNYA

Hello, readers, and welcome to my fifth installment in my Top Soldiers Of series! This series covers my opinion of the top picks for legends and non-legends alike in each color combination.

I feel it pertinent to mention now before this series continues – when the series extends past two colors, there will be less cards to cover. This is because the card pool for these colors is just not as wide as two-color combinations, leaving less cards overall to narrow down to and talk about.

This week, however, ends the allied cycle of two-color combinations with arguably the most popular of the five – the combination of green and white known by most as Selesnya.

Selesnya’s aim traditionally, is to overwhelm opponents with the sheer power of its armies. Whether you’re casting pound-for-pound beaters like Loxodon Smiter, or using Call of the Conclave and the like to amass an army of tokens, Selensya has armies of both powerful creature cards and the best tokens in the game.

It’s not all in the creatures, though. Being in the two colors of arifact and enchantment removal, Selensya’s got the best of the best at its disposal. In addition, Selensya combines fast mana and mass pump effectively enough to threaten fast, aggressive wins while smashing through most roadblocks opponents put in your way to try and stop you. We start off the top 10 list with a personal favorite in the colors:

#10 – Collective Blessing

Collective Blessing is simple, effective, but most of all, powerful. It turns even 0/1 Plant tokens into powerful attackers that threaten to end opponents. It’s a great card at catching opponents off-guard, like most Overrun effects. The difference here is, this one’s permanent.

Of course, the card is not without its limitations. First of all, it’s got the stigma of being an awful topdeck, meaning that if you don’t have a board, it’s a pretty poor card to draw overall. That being said, in the colors of both Vitu-Ghazi, the City-Tree and Kjeldoran Outpost certainly don’t hurt, and at the same time, the good definitely outweighs the bad. Token decks far and wide are never unhappy to see finishing power that sticks around.

#9 – Qasali Pridemage

Pridemage is an extremely good creature in both 60- and 100-card formats, as Exalted is an oft-forgotten ability that either makes this a straight-up better Watchwolf or lets you gain that extra little push in early combat.

Of course, what makes the Pridemage so incredible is its versatility. It’s arguably one of the best bears ever printed, letting you destroy any problem enchantment whenever you feel that having the pressure it provides to life totals isn’t as important as getting the disgusting shenanigans your opponents are attempting. It’s a great rattlesnake in the early stages of the game, keeping your opponents honest, and it has value lategame, unlike most early combat-relevant creatures, by simply being a Naturalize with legs, as it can both block and get rid of whatever’s ailing you or the board.

Did I mention it’s a great target for either Reveillark or Sun Titan?

#8 – Novablast Wurm

Novablast Wurm is a little hard to make work, I’ll admit, but it earns its spot on this list for being just an absurdly powerful threat. Sure, it’s a tad slow at killing the table, but slap Lightning Greaves or Swiftfoot Boots on this and watch tables scramble to waste Wrath of God on one creature.

Honestly, being in the colors where creatures tend to thrive is a little counter-intuitive to effects like this, but what you have to look at here is the bigger picture; I personally enjoy playing this in a 5-color control deck concerned with constantly wiping the board, and this is one of its premier finishers. The 7 damage adds up pretty fast when you’re paying only 7 mana for the creature itself.

Also, play alongside Eldrazi Monument for great fun for everyone! (Well, for you, anyway, which is what’s really important.)

#7 – Harmonic Sliver

Harmonic Sliver might feel like an inferior version of Aura Shards on the surface, but there are a couple key factors that make it extremely useful to have.

First of all, it’s the cheapest variant of the effect you can get with a body attached. Most cost 5, or restrict what you’re able to destroy. Second of all, it’s a creature, meaning at worst, it’s a blocker, and at best, it’s your 3 in a Birthing Pod chain or a target for Reveillark or Sun Titan. Third of all, it’s a Sliver, meaning it makes all your Slivers do something ridiculous. This is one of the effects that is not only absurd when you’re puking out little runts every turn, but it’s one of the few Slivers that’s good on its own, just because of the first point.

Overall, it’s got a lot of incentives for a lot of strategies, and I feel it’s a pretty valuable and efficient creature, and can function in just about any strategy that can fit it. At worst, it’s filler if you’re looking for spells.

#6 – Voice of Resurgence

Having an opponent mess with you while you’re trying to win is really just an annoyance. While Voice is by far better in 60-card than in 100-card, not even close to the power level of Grand Abolisher, Voice really makes opponents who want to counter your spells or spot remove your threats think twice about doing it while you’re trying to kill them. Those tokens get frighteningly powerful in the colors of green and white.

What also makes Voice have such value are things mentioned previously; it’s a target for both Reveillark and Sun Titan, meaning opponents who deal with it will have to continuously deal with it (cue the sunglasses!), and it also has insane value with Birthing Pod, because some opponents will simply refuse to kill it, which is where you do them the honors and kill it for them.

I just wish it weren’t so bloody expensive. I suppose we’ll have to wait until September to see what happens with this one.

#5 – Eladamri’s Call

Call is one of the format’s most powerful tutors, and arguably the best nonblack tutor available. The trouble Worldly Tutor has is the fact that it’s an awful topdeck when there’s a must-answer threat on board and you don’t have the reach to make Worldly Tutor happen. Eladamri’s Call is almost universally better in colors that can run both, given that the creature immediately goes to your hand.

Decks that pack value creature galore to deal with problem permanents whenever they come up will always want an effect like this. Really, there’s not much to say about a card like this; it’s a tutor. Tutors are good.

#4 – Knight of the Reliquary

Here we have a favorite of 60-card since its inception, and a ridiculously high-value creature in lists that have insane manabases. Having this fetch Gaea’s Cradle or Cabal Coffers is just insane, and run alongside Crucible of Worlds it just gets even stupider.

That being said, the Knight is this high up on the list not only for its ability to tutor whatever land you want to sculpt your manabase with, but also because it’s an absolute monster lategame, getting to 7 power pretty easily, and even larger if your opponent casts Windfall or Armageddon. Being utility and power is something I personally really value in a card, especially in a creature.

#3 – Privileged Position

Annoyance personified, this card has just ridiculous value that some matchups are just not able to deal with. Whether this card is straight-up locking your board down with a shield of hexproof/shroud alongside Greater Auramancy or just being a high-value barrier that can completely blank your opponents’ spot removal, Priv Prop is overall just an absurd card.

Of course, much like Collective Blessing, it doesn’t do much without a board state, and if you’re simply protecting creatures, Asceticism is better, but there are some decks that not only need this effect, but build their decks around it. Enchantress is a thing largely because cards like this exist.

#2 – Aura Shards

Moving from situational to downright unfair, Aura Shards is a card I question the printing of. I honestly can’t look a card like this and think it was not only okay to be 3 mana, be an enchantment, but be uncommon as well. Seriously, what?

It turns every creature you cast into either a lifegaining Naturalize or a 2-for-1. By the time you’ve gotten 2 triggers off this, you’ve gained the value of the card and then some. And it’s in green and white, the two most popular token colors. This card is downright broken if you can make it work, and it really doesn’t take a lot of effort to do so. Sadly, it doesn’t hold a candle to…

#1 – Mirari’s Wake

Mirari’s Wake is the culmination of everything embodying green and white – mana acceleration as well as creature support. Few cards manage to do both in such a powerful and effective way as Mirari’s Wake does.

A good way to get perspective on how good a card is is to compare its successors or its functional reprints. Mana Reflection, despite being more widely played due to its singlular color, costs an additional mana and doesn’t pump your creatures. (Granted, it makes Gaea’s Cradle and Cabal Coffers ridiculous, but.) The card only costs two more mana than Glorious Anthem and tacks on an absolutely absurd effect in generating crazy amounts of mana.

Honestly, if this choice surprises you, I don’t know what to tell you. Mirari’s Wake may not be innocuous for winning games, but it is definitely one of the most powerful support cards in the format, very much on the level of Sol Ring in terms of power (although not in terms of flexibility, due to its color restriction).

The top three legends for Selesnya was honestly a rather difficult decision, as many of the generals in the color are pretty efficient at what they do, but all three are very powerful, oft-chosen threats for most metagames. We begin with:

#3 – Rhys the Redeemed

Rhys is very much been the poster child of Selesnya token decks all around, being an elusive find for many and commanding a (currently) $14 price tag for a reason.

The issue I found prevalent in my Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice deck was that by herself, Trostani wasn’t able to do anything. She required you to have resources or draw into them. Such is not the case with Rhys, who can by himself generate ridiculous amounts of tokens, and is especially effective when enabled by Parallel Lives, Cathars’ Crusade and Thousand-Year Elixir.

Another hilarious deck idea is to deal general damage with Rhys as fast as possible. Being a turn 1 play means that you can slap something like Bonesplitter or Rancor on him turn 2 and threaten extremely fast kills. An equipment-based strategy with Puresteel Paladin or an Aura-based strategy with Mesa Enchantress can give you the card advantage you need to bury tables extremely fast if you get a decent draw.

#2 – Captain Sisay

Sisay is, beyond all else, very predictable (Look, I tutored Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite! Wow, I’m so good.), but there’s a lot to be said about a general that very much lends itself to a toolbox strategy. Being able to tutor Mangara of Corondor, Iona, Shield of Emeria, Kataki, War’s Wage and Gaddock Teeg is just insane value, and there’s unignorable potential and power there.

I must say, I don’t have a lot of experience playing with or against Sisay, but being able to tutor offensive options like the previously mentioned, defensive options such as Saffi Eriksdotter, Kor Haven and Yosei, the Morning Star, or utility options such as Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary and Gaea’s Cradle just seems insane to me. In my experience, the more options the resources at your disposal have, the more dangerous you are to the table.

#1 – Sigarda, Host of Herons

Once again, surprising no one, Sigarda, the Beyonce of the Hexproof Five, makes her way to the top of the list. She’s absolutely ridiculous in both the 99 and as your general, lending herself to the best Voltron strategy, second only to Zur the Enchanter, and just completely beating the stuffing out of black, blanking Sheoldred, Whispering One entirely. I seriously have no idea why they printed this chick.

She’s just stupidly difficult to deal with; you either Wrath her out (and Shield of the Oversoul as well as Darksteel Plate commonly accompany Sigarda, especially in decks where Sigarda is your general) or just pray she doesn’t kill you first.

Being a 5/5 for 5 with three absolutely ridiculous abilities is just money when it comes to a format like EDH, and she is by far the head honcho of the Hexproof Five, beating the other four by leaps and bounds. (Geist of Saint Traft is a very distant second.) Whereas Edict effects such as Grave Pact get around hexproof quite nicely, this chick just says “nah, screw that” and just doesn’t let you, instead wearing every Sword and silly Aura in the book and destroying entire tables while there is literally nothing any of them can do about it. The amount of hate I have for Sigarda is unreal, so play this against me at your own risk.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

And there you have it, my picks for Selesnya’s top cards! With that, we end the first cycle of five, the ally dual-color combinations.

It seems fitting that I take a break now from writing this segment to return to Let’s Build next week for Christmas. I’ll wish everyone an early Christmas now just in case next week’s article isn’t posted the day of.

Until then!
~L

Check out my previous articles here:

Adapting to EDH Metagames:
Part 1 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1177
Part 2 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1252
Part 3 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1317
Part 4 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1370
Part 5 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1454

Building on a Budget:
http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1522

Choose Your Champion:
Part 1 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1594
Part 2 – http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1868
Part 3 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2539

Dragon’s Maze Prerelease Weekend:
http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1810

Guidance:
http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2548

Hits & Misses of:
Dragon’s Maze -http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1870
Innistrad - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2586

M14 –  http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2295
Theros - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2508

Legen-Wait for It-Dary:
http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2264

Let’s Build:
Part 1 – http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1606
Part 2 – http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1595
Part 3 – http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2214
Part 4 – http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2278
Part 5 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2303
Part 6 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2310
Part 7 – http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2323
Part 8 – http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2336
Part 9 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2341
Part 10 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2525
Part 11 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2617

Let’s Talk M14:
http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2228

Let’s Talk Theros:
Part 1 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2362
Part 2 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2378

Painting a Target:
http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2631

Planeswalking and You:
http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2184 

Resource Management:
http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2200

Stacking Up Commander 2013:
http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2561

The Slippery Slope:
http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2440

The Top Soldiers Of:
Azorius - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2640
Dimir - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2653
Gruul - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2669
Rakdos - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2663

Trial & Error:
http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2089

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