There was once a man who knew the power of The Best Fatty Ever. He was a hero to millions (or however many people read The Dojo weekly), and in a world of Necropotences and High Tides he was a green mage. His name was Jamie Wakefield and anyone who played Magic in the 90s and early 2000s knows his name and the deck he made famous: Secret Force.
Green has never been my go-to color of choice, but thanks to Jamie’s influence I’ve been known to dabble. Almost always if it’s beating down it’s with a monogreen version because if Green is anything, it’s unsubtle. Bored to death in Standard with the new Ranked season upon us, I spent some time cooking up decks in the monogreen vein focused around this card:
Five mana is not a small amount, but the amount of text on that fella is downright absurd. Block him? Forget it. Make Disappear? Thanks for the free card bro! Kill it? Hope you brought your green fight cards! So long as you’ve got a sacrificial lamb around for Sheoldred’s Edict or Invoke Despair and you’re not in a position to need to block, Thrun is a problem for your opponent. I started with the idea of pantsing him up with Blanchwood Armor and the RG Sword. The Sword underperformed immediately, but Armor held on for a long time. Eventually I swapped it, which I’ll get to later, but kept it in the board. I’m not convinced that’s right, but it’s how I got to Mythic! Here’s the decklist I settled on:
4 Thrun, Breaker of Silence (ONE) 186
24 Forest (SLD) 67
4 Nissa, Ascended Animist (ONE) 175
4 Tyvar's Stand (ONE) 190
4 Kodama of the West Tree (NEO) 199
4 Armored Scrapgorger (ONE) 158
4 Llanowar Loamspeaker (DMU) 170
4 Quirion Beastcaller (DMU) 175
4 Evolving Adaptive (ONE) 167
4 Bloated Contaminator (ONE) 159
4 Obstinate Baloth (BRO) 187
3 Wrenn and Seven (MID) 208
1 Wrenn and Seven (MID) 208
3 Fade from History (BRO) 177
4 Blanchwood Armor (BRO) 171
Some Thoughts on the Cards
Thrun is awesome, but the most dominant draws are best summed up by this appropriated meme:
A first turn Evolving Adaptive into a second turn Quirion Beastcaller into a third turn Kodama of the West Tree puts you in a position to potentially jump your mana by two entire land drops. Thrun plunks down a turn earlier, or a hefty Nissa, Ascended Animist. These cards are in your ideal opening hand, and Kodama even does the favor of giving your pumped creatures Trample to ensure they punch through.
Nissa, Ascended Animist is a little like inviting Gary Busey’s wife to your wedding: her +1 is nuts. Trained by Wrenn and Seven I assumed I was reducing loyalty to get a giant monster but no, that makes her go up. Have seven mana? Boom, you just cast the best Overrun in Magic history! Which, by the way, is the route you go a lot of the time with Nissa, so watch whether it makes sense to use your life to cast her early versus waiting to one-shot your opponent.
Mana Elves in this format are weird. First, they cost two mana. Second, one of them isn’t even an Elf. Still, for a mana hungry deck long-term you want to make sure you’ve got them and they’re solid at what they do. Armored Scrapgorger plays a funky role controlling the graveyard (more on that in a moment) and blocking Feldon, Ronom Excavator without giving your opponent free cards.
The Tyvar’s Stand slot went back and forth. Like I said at the top of the piece, it started as Blanchwood Armor with the entire deck being built around the idea of sticking that on Thrun and beating face. When that happened it was great, but a lot of the rest of the time you were stuck with a dumb aura you didn’t want to stick on your creatures because they were too vulnerable. I tried Fight Rigging for a while, and considered Unnatural Growth but didn’t trust having another five-drop in the deck considering there were already Thrun and Nissa. I settled on Tyvar’s Stand which is “fine game one” and then gets boarded out for the specific thing you should have against whatever matchup you’re playing. That means, dear reader, you can find a better card for this slot (and tell me!).
Bloated Contaminator is a card you play in Monogreen decks, and also a name you can use to describe your uncle crop dusting you after Thanksgiving dinner.
How to Sideboard
Obstinate Baloth comes in against Red Deck Wins and replaces Tyvar’s Stand. If you play a goofy discard deck, you can do the same swap there. I typically don’t bring it in against Liliana.
Fade from History comes in against the GW Toxic deck, and is typically a blow out for them. They rely on a lot of artifacts and enchantments. If you played against an enchantment/artifact heavy white deck I could see it there, but you’d want to see the full Wedding Invitation, Rankbuster, Ossification, even Restoration of Eiganjo suite. I don’t bring it in against Fable decks that usually rely on Fable and Rankbuster as your only targets because you’re the beatdown in that matchup and playing this non-beatdown card could get you killed. Take out Tyvar’s Stand.
Blanchwood Armor comes in against mid-rangey decks that go long but have crappy removal. Non-blue, white-based control decks, be they monowhite or white/r/b splashing for Angel, are the key match here. In those you save Armor until you can suit up Thrun, and ONLY then cast it. That’s your key to punch through and they can’t really put up much of a defense against it. The game is going to go long, and you are going to see this combo, so be patient. Again, take out Tyvar’s Stand.
Wrenn and Seven is for blue-based control to give you a threat over Tyvar’s Stand. I also bring it in against aggressive Red decks over Nissa who is too expensive at 7 mana because often paying the Phyrexian mana is too risky.
Graveyards and Scrapgorger
Graveyards are interesting in Standard, and while Scrapgorger is the worst attacker in your deck and I’d replace it with something else if there was a better option, it’s ability does have interesting applications. Here’s what I found myself utilizing it for when in play during battles:
- Graveyard matters cards, obviously. Tenacious Underdog, anything with Unearth (typically Yotian Frontliner), Squee, and Valiant Veteran are the ones that come to mind most frequently.
- Against black decks I worry about Graveyard Trespasser and try to hit creatures from their graveyard or mine. If I have a creature and they don’t, I will target my own graveyard before getting rid of what’s in theirs.
- Red decks use Bloodthirsty Adversary to re-buy instants and sorceries so they’re the first thing to go if Scrapgorger gets active. Target the most problematic ones first; don’t get lazy and just pick whatever.
- While Monoblue has died down in popularity, Tolarian Horror, Haughty Djinn, and even a possible Lier, Disciple of the Drowned means you want to aggressively target instants and sorceries.
- White decks use Serra Paragon, so hit any permanents that cost three mana or less, including lands.
- Finally, there are a few reanimator strategies based around Atraxa or Portal to Phyrexia. In those matchups you want to hold Scrapgorger to force them to react to it before going off. During their end step, if for some reason they have a juicy target, you want to hit it then. Otherwise you can respond to their reanimation target by hitting whatever they’re targeting.
- By far my favorite “play” is watching Thrun get highlighted over and over again as players misunderstand what it does. I’ve had players waste counterspells on it, meaninglessly offer up two-for-one blocks not realizing he’s indestructible, or make bad attacks assuming they can finish him off with a burn spell. It’s truly a treat seeing a play that doesn’t make sense, then watching their mouse cursor hover over Thrun, go back to their hand, hover back over Thrun, etc. until they pass in frustration.
- Bloated Contaminator can pump Nissa, Scrapgorger, Quirion Beastcaller, and Evolving Adaptive typically. Don’t forget to watch their permanents for proliferate as well! Occasionally it makes sense to add a counter to Wedding Announcement to prevent them from getting a 1/1, or to Blast Zone to mess up destruction math.
- 24 Forests may not be right, but the deck has both Blanchwood Armor and Nissa, who care. If I were to expand it’d be to Argoth, Sanctum of Nature and Mishra’s Foundry, but I wouldn’t push that hard to do so.
- Kodama of the West Tree has reach. You should remember that because some of your opponents won’t.
- Seriously, if you have something better than Tyvar’s Stand let me know.
- Thrun is almost impervious to harm, but Depopulate, Farewell, and sacrifice spells like Sheoldred’s Edict and Invoke Despair can take him out. You can hold threats back for the Wraths (a post-Wrath planeswalker is particularly spicy as they’re usually tapped out), and lean into additional threats to protect against Edicts.
- Finally, I really enjoyed this deck but am not sure I’d play it at a qualifier. Its roughest matchup was a highly competent player playing Grixis Control, and you’re going to see a lot of those at the top tables during a qualifier.
I’m no Jamie Wakefield, and Thrun is no Verdant Force, but this deck was a blast to play and it was very exciting to see a Monogreen deck that could play with the big boys. Thanks for reading!