A Magictation by Mikeal Basile
“Magictating” is defined as getting into the zone with your Magic the Gathering collection–thinking, planning, organizing, reminiscing about past games, and imagining future games. It is a combination of hard thinking about the game and calm meditation, reveling in the joy it brings you.
Here are my top thirteen green spells to confuse your enemies (I mean, friends) in Commander. These green cards should see more Commander play than they currently do. Green is arguably the most powerful color in Commander, as it does just about everything well. This list highlights unique green spells that will confuse and perplex your friends. Add more to your green decks than big, dumb creatures and massive pump spells, and make your playgroup green with envy!
Green has been hating on enchantments since Alpha, and Harmonic Convergence keeps the hate going. When your buddies flood the battlefield with enchantments and auras, surprise them with Harmonic Convergence. Making your friends redraw the same cards can really keep them in a repetitive turn cycle, just like their hands into the snack bowl. While they are repeating old plays, you are free to continue developing your board with new spells. Tossing those enchantments on top of their libraries is often a better answer than casting Reverent Silence and blowing them all up. It also clears out those pesky, indestructible gods! Enchantment recursion is done on a mass scale (Replenish or Open the Vaults), and Harmonic Convergence sidesteps those annoying effects. The look of befuddlement as you ask them to put all their enchantments on top of their library is supremely satisfying.
Seeds of Innocence
Titania’s Song was the very first artifact hate spell for green, and Seeds of Innocence helps keep that rancorous tradition alive. Titania’s Song is a great card, but most people are probably aware of it (it does shut off Darksteel Forge). Seeds of Innocence buries (destroys and cannot be regenerated) every artifact in play. It is only three mana, and while it is not an instant like Harmonic Convergence, it does allow you to pound all artifacts to dust. The life gain is not that big of a concern, because green has plenty of large creatures to beat down that inflated life total. Also, you can play politics by reminding them that you did give them life for the destroyed artifacts. Sowing the Seeds of Innocence is a great way to make your friends wonder why destroying all their cool artifact trinkets is so innocent.
Dense Foliage basically gives every creature on the battlefield shroud. Yes, effects on the battlefield can still target creatures, but you can use this to your advantage. Your opponents cannot target your creatures with removal spells or cast spells that buff their own creatures (no pesky umbra auras). Dense Foliage is a great card to include in decks that use plenty of Overrun effects and creatures with abilities (think Gigantomancer or Reaper King). It punishes other Commander play styles by rendering many people’s auto-includes useless (no more Swords to Plowshares or Hero’s Downfalls). Having your creatures die to removal is sad. Dense Foliage drops a canopy to perplex people by making every targeted removal spell they hold utterly useless.
Storm Front is a bargain enchantment (one mana!) and has been my favorite way to hate on fliers for a long time. For years, Storm Front was the reason my wurm deck was able to take down my brother’s dominating dragon deck. While combing my collection, I was reminded again and again how much green hates fliers. Whirlwind is great but is commonly known and costs four mana. Storm Front is a forgotten little card that can completely confound flying decks. Storm Front knocks those fliers down and allows you to swing in uncontested. Disconcert your playgroup by making their evasive fliers into their liabilities.
Familiar Ground allows you to leverage green’s best asset–large creatures. This is another card that only costs three mana. Familiar Ground simplifies otherwise baffling combat math. This is a flavor win: you are still able to double and triple block your opponent’s creatures, while they are forced to block one on one. Familiar Ground’s simplifying approach to blocking can fluster your friends. Combining Familiar Ground with Overrun can make team blocking impossible and clear a path to a crushing victory.
Sight of the Scalelords
Sight of the Scalelords is a blanketed pump effect that is grossly powerful, and the vigilance it grants is pure gravy. This card is like having a mini-Overrun every turn. After dishing out gross amounts of damage, demoralizing your friends with all your post-combat blockers, is something we should all toast. Sight of the Scalelords does not grant trample, but for only five mana, I am certainly not complaining. Casting Sight of the Scalelords is often instantly profitable, and each turn it triggers brings you rapidly closer to winning the game. Sight of the Scalelords is something your enemies will view as a disconcerting enchantment, indeed.
Chain of Acid
Chain of Acid, printed in Onslaught, is one of a cycle of chains. Chain of Vapor is the blue one that everyone seems to know, while this green gem seems to be forgotten. The flexibility in this green removal spell is second only to Desert Twister. Chain of Acid is the kind of gutsy card where sending it back to you will utterly puzzle most opponents, unsure if retaliation will be worth it. If they do send it back to you, then you return the favor, continuing the chain reaction. I love making my opponents think. The dream scenario is Chain of Acid travels around the table blowing up everyone’s most powerful non-creature threats, while your creatures are left untouched. Use Chain of Acid in a green deck that utilizes mana dorks and land ramp rather than enchantment-based ramp. I am looking forward to starting a Chain of Acid in my Gargos, Viscous Watcher deck sometime soon.
Gaea’s Touch is a fantastically underappreciated green ramp enchantment. It comes down early at only two mana, but it is still an acceptable draw in the late game. The ability to cash it in the following turn, for two extra mana, gives this a notable late game edge over cards like Exploration and Burgeoning. Gaea’s Touch does require you to play either mono green or heavy green to truly maximize its benefit. Overwhelm your opponents by combining cards like Tireless Tracker and Nissa, Vastwood Seer with Gaea’s Touch. Once you have the touch, there’s no stopping you!
Winter Blast comes from Legends originally and was reprinted in both Fourth and Fifth Edition. Green is definitely not known for tapping other people’s creatures. This can completely catch people off guard. In addition, it has that added little bonus of doing two damage to each of those creatures that has flying. Being able to tap down potential blockers (perhaps even killing them) is a solid effect for green. When you are unable to push through damage because of deathtouch or some other nonsense, it is time to disorient your friends by savaging them with a Winter Blast!
Kudzu is a nasty, jerky card for Commander. Kudzu helps teach people the power of old-school spice. As long as you outpace them with lands, Kudzu will smother your opponent’s plans for big creatures and big spells. Kudzu, not reprinted since Third Edition, has some interesting wording too. Kudzu destroys the enchanted land when the land becomes tapped, and then that player (whoever’s land was destroyed) may (let’s pretend must) return it to the battlefield, enchanting another land. Kudzu returns to the battlefield without targeting. Yes, you can return Kudzu to play, enchanting your friend’s Lotus Field. Feel free to combine this with Nature’s Will or even Icy Manipulator to keep those vines growing. Kudzu will surely entangle your friends, while you watch the invasive vines grow.
Night Soil is a great card from Fallen Empires, providing graveyard hate and incidental token generation. This can shut down reanimating strategies all on its own. It does need two creatures to fire off, but that is easily satisfied. It grants recursive graveyard hate for only an initial three mana. You get to eat two creatures and generate a saproling token, for only one mana on every successive turn. This will surely baffle even the best reanimator decks. Dig out your Night Soils and clean out those graveyards.
Freyalise’s Winds seems much more like a blue, white, or even red card, but this is a green card. This card really slows the game down. You can combine Freyalise’s Winds with cards like Wilderness Reclamation to break the symmetry. To be a complete jerk, thwart your friend’s abilities to play Magic by pairing it with Nature’s Will. It is important to note that wind counters only start accruing once Freyalise’s Winds resolves. You should be sure to tap out prior to Freyalise’s Winds resolving, so your lands will all untap next turn. Dropping this early and promptly breaking the symmetry can give you time to build while your opponents struggle to develop.
Spore Cloud is my favorite, most brutal fog effect. Yes, I like it even better than Constant Mists with buyback. I love that Spore Cloud has so many applications in Commander. Constant Mists enables more dodging, but Spore Cloud, when properly timed, can allow you to blow out two opponents. Tangle only taps down attackers and not blockers, so it lacks the versatility granted by Spore Cloud. Spore Cloud lets you play politics by befuddling two adversaries, nullifying their carefully planned combat. There are plenty of fog effects available in Commander, but none of them affect blockers and punish people the way Spore Cloud does. Next time your overconfident buddies go in for the kill, choke them out with the smelly burst of gas that is Spore Cloud.
Honorable Mentions: Tranquil Domain and Serene Heart
Tranquil Domain and Serene Heart are interesting cards from Mirage. Tranquil Domain destroys all non-aura enchantments. This deserves serious consideration in enchantress style decks. If you have a deck that is running many auras and only a few “global enchantments”, then you should consider running this. Conversely, Serene Heart destroys all auras. This is perhaps more narrow in Commander, but it allows you to build up an array of enchantments and still punish aura-centric decks. Both Tranquil Domain and Serene Heart are spicy includes, but they do require a bit more attention to your deck’s overall build, thus the tie for honorable mention.
Green spells are pretty fun to peruse and organize. I love looking through the variety of artwork on the cards. (Check out Amy Weber’s art for Spore Cloud.) With Fallen Empires, Wizards began the introduction of varying artworks for the same card, bringing much joy to an avid collector like myself. It is nice to be able to choose from different artworks when building a thematic deck. Wizards stopped alternate artwork for a while, but has recently brought it back, which I hope continues.
While Magictating on green as a Magic color, it was pleasantly enlightening to find that many of the spells went beyond pumping creatures and regenerating them. It is always wonderful having your expectations subverted, leading to new thinking and strategizing. Try some of these surprising green spells to completely unhinge and demoralize your friends!