Double Up on Stirring Wildwood


stirring wildwood ∙ Stirring Wildwood ∙ STIRRING WILDWOOD! Rah!


Stirring Wildwood
Stirring Wildwood

Yesterday’s Borderland Ranger deck was a hit. I liked it a bit, but something wasn’t quite right. I’m not sure if it was the mana consistency (not terrible but not quite… you know… right).

On Twitter follower Gareth Lewin suggested cutting Black. At first I thought that would be ridiculous because of the loss of Bituminous Blast and new It Girl Resounding Thunder… But after playing a bit, it seems like this might be the right way to go.

If nothing else, cutting down to only three colors gives us the opportunity to double up on man-lands, adding Stirring Wildwood to the already excellent four-pack of Raging Ravines.

Rhox Meditant Deck 2010 version 1.0

1 Ajani Vengeant
4 Bloodbraid Elf
4 Captured Sunlight
4 Enlisted Wurm
4 Naya Charm
4 Steward of Valeron

4 Borderland Ranger

4 Lightning Bolt
4 Baneslayer Angel
1 Elspeth, Knight-Errant

4 Arid Mesa
5 Forest
4 Jungle Shrine
2 Mountain
3 Plains
4 Raging Ravine
4 Stirring Wildwood

2 Ajani Vengeant
4 Great Sable Stag
4 Goblin Assault
2 Celestial Purge
3 Day of Judgment

Okay, what are the differences between this deck and yesterday’s deck?

-1 Ajani Vengeant
-4 Bituminous Blast
-4 Resounding Thunder
+4 Steward of Valeron
+4 Baneslayer Angel
+1 Elspeth, Knight-Errant

I cut one copy of Ajani Vengeant (beloved Ajani Vengeant) for one Elspeth, Knight-Errant. You can argue as to which Planeswalker is stronger (I don’t know that it is at all clear), but especially given the erratic nature of Cascade in this deck with no Bituminous Blast and no chain into exclusively Mind Rot-like discard spells, you really don’t want to flip over the second Ajani Vengeant, which happens sometimes. Also the greater emphasis on White mana makes main deck Elspeth and Baneslayer Angel relatively easy to cast… So why not?

Bituminous Blast and Resounding Thunder obviously went with the basic Swamp (et al).

Adding Baneslayer Angel is medium-obvious given the switch in mana…

But the real story of this deck is the addition of Steward of Valeron.

I lost a tight match with Jund tonight. Finally I had a semi-normal night where half or so of my opponents were all Jund. We went into the third; I went to six, he had the perfect Putrid Leech / Sprouting Thrinax / Bloodbraid Elf curve. I basically got flattened. My spells were okay, but his perfect curve starting on turn two (on the play) was just too vigorous that game (I think the four-color Borderland Ranger deck has a long run advantage over Jund, still).

So my inspiration following Gareth’s suggestion was to start my own curve a bit earlier. Steward of Valeron is probably somewhat less powerful than Putrid Leech (again, this is an Ajani v. Elspeth fight with one being more powerful than the other but both cards being quite good and relatively close in power level); but in a Cascade deck heavy on fours (especially one with “good” mana)… Steward of Valeron can help us stick the third turn Bloodbraid Elf, Ajani Vengeant, Captured Sunlight, or Knight-Errant; accelerate into a faster Baneslayer Angel or Enlisted Ultimatum, et cetera ad infinitum.

In sum, I have been Cascading into Steward of Valeron more than I would like… But it isn’t like I’ve dropped any matches because of that (so far).

Mana Base:
-4 Exotic Orchard
-2 Mountain
-1 Swamp
-2 Verdant Catacombs
+1 Forest
+3 Jungle Shrine
+1 Plains
+4 Stirring Wildwood

The mana in this deck is clearly improved with the removal of Black. Not only do we get even more Stirring Wildwood man-land violence, we get to play four Jungle Shrines. Naya Lightsaber was criticized for playing no Jungle Shrines (which was clearly correct… see also Boss Naya), but in a deck with no dedicated one drops but relatively heavy on fours, Jungle Shrine is a not-surprisingly welcome addition. I think the mana is near-perfect [despite at this point being a non-Tectonic Edge deck.

A card conspicuous by its absence in this version is Path to Exile. I am fairly obsessed with not missing on Cascade, and Path to Exile is no good from that standpoint, at least main deck. Path to Exile will likely be added at least to the sideboard if Emrakul, the Aeons Torn and his pretty girlfriends prove playable for Standard Qualifiers and Regionals (or whatever they are calling it this year).

It probably shouldn’t be blatantly obvious that this kind of deck can compete with Jund. It’s kind of like Naya Lightsaber… Naya cards with the exception of Blightning are in our opinion more powerful than Jund cards. Baneslayer Angel being heads up more impressive than Broodmate Dragon, and in this deck, Enlisted Wurm backing her up on the six. Bloodbraid Elves are even more-or-less, the White Planeswalkers are about 100x better than Garruk Wildspeaker, and Naya Charm is a legitimate trump.


Play a little Naya Charm and you will be very happy with the results in a variety of matchups. The ability to Falter past blockers, Fog while setting up an Alpha Strike, or play Lightning Bolt / Regrowth… All the abilities are bonkers actually (but mostly the combat / anti-combat one).

The real tension is between Blightning and not-Blightning; or in this case Borderland Ranger specifically.

As we saw in yesterday’s deck (or for example in Kelly Reid’s Jund deck) Borderland Ranger can go just fine in Jund. I am going to make a relatively controversial argument (but hey — it’s my blog!) that the two cards are not so far apart in power.

I was the first person to start calling Blightning the strongest card in Standard; but hear me out:

  1. Both cards cost three mana, but Borderland Ranger is marginally easier to play.
  2. Both cards give you what we might call a (+1) in card advantage immediately; Blightning will punish opponents who took a trip to Paris and make for relatively difficult decisions for some opponents with certain draws… Borderland Ranger has none of these features, but can increase your consistency to play over time, and will generally ensure that you hit your fourth mana (and we know this deck is strong on four).
  3. Blightning does three immediately; Borderland Ranger does nothing immediately, but has arguably no upper limit to how much damage it can do.
  4. Borderland Ranger is an excellent card against opposing Bloodbraid Elves, essentially even on cards but one faster, negating Bloodbraid Elf in combat (+1 for Borderland Ranger!)

If you think about it for a while, I think that you will see that Borderland Ranger isn’t getting lapped or anything by Blightning. Blightning is generally stronger in particular because of its ability to fight Planeswalkers (in particular off a Bloodbraid Elf), but even there Borderland Ranger has some action; the point is, the card can compete, and it isn’t so far off in speed or power level.

Anyway, that’s the deck.

It has been performing very nicely for me, including a superb record so far against Jund. I know Rise of the Eldrazi is going to change things, you know, starting this weekend… But I think that there might be some merit to trying this deck, say this Sunday.

Battle on Five with Flores fans!


Currently Reading: The Master Butchers Singing Club (P.S.)

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#1 MTGBattlefield on 04.13.10 at 10:21 pm

Double Up on Stirring Wildwood…

Your story has been summoned to the battlefield – Trackback from MTGBattlefield…

#2 wobblesthegoose on 04.13.10 at 10:23 pm

I can respect you pimping the books of your fellow magic authors, even Jamie Wakefields misadventures in Europe. But Manuel Bucher’s Singing Club? LAME

#3 dragonmudd on 04.13.10 at 11:25 pm

His pretty girlfriends sure but Emrakul himself has “protection from colored spells”… so unless you’ve got some very special Path to Exiles you might want to reconsider if Em is actually showing up to the party.

#4 Alfrebaut on 04.14.10 at 12:23 am

I don’t know if it was supposed to be a joke, but that doesn’t actually have anything to do with Manuel Bucher. As far as this deck goes, I feel like Captured Sunlight’s a bit underpowered in this deck. It hits Naya Charm and Bolt, which are both awesome hits, and Borderland Ranger, but also Steward, which I feel like is a little underpowered. Have you considered Knight? Also, what matchup is Day of Judgement in for? I’m not sure what kind of matchup you’d want to blow the field like that… maybe I’m just losing touch with Magic because I hate ROE so much right now. >_>

#5 admin on 04.14.10 at 12:28 am

You’re right! That guy sure is confusing (see my “blocking” comment in the previous post)

I wanted to play Captured Sunlight because of the Red Decks… Just helps you live to get there. I did consider Knight but ultimately decided against it. What is worse?

#6 ibanez on 04.14.10 at 7:13 am

Nice deck, I think naya is going to be very powerful with Wall of Omens and Vengavine(and maybe Uril with auras?).
As for Emrakul, it’s really gg, since I’ve been testing a little bit and casting him 70% of games, if not Ulamog or Kozilek showed up.
The bases of the deck were:
-Eldrazi Temple
-Eye of Ugin( to tutor into an Eldrazi basically)
-All is dust
-Everflowing Chalice
-Dreamstone Hedron
The rest were some ramp green cards and stuff but I wasn’t sure about that, since there’s an obvious lack of removal.
Getting to 10 mana turn 6 to cast Kozilek was surprisingly very easy and I bascicaly lost against hiper aggro decks like Boros.
I’m excited to see what decks you come up with when Rise comes out!!!

#7 ProdigalT on 04.15.10 at 1:46 pm

I like this deck because it has basic lands. I dislike this deck because it’ll be irrelevant in a week.

#8 Five With Flores » Sovereigns of Lost Alara Update on 08.30.10 at 10:51 pm

[…] Celestial Colonnade 5 Forest 2 Island 1 Marsh Flats 4 Misty Rainforest 2 Plains 1 Sejiri Steppe 3 Stirring Wildwood 3 Verdant […]

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