This boldly titled third part of my EDH Deck Article Series will be about a rather different approach to EDH from the deck i presented in my previous article – different in two respects: Firstly, the deck I am going to introduce you to will be something rather uncommon in EDH, a mono-color deck, in this case mono-green, and secondly, the approach to winning the deck adopts is the other extreme compared to the Rafiq of the Many deck I showed you. This deck is not trying at all to win by inflicting 20 Command Damage, but rather by dealing at least 40 regular damage and reducing the opponent life total – 40 in the EDH context – to zero.
Up to now I have still left you in the dark about the rather strange title of this article. It will all make sense when I introduce to you who will be the Commander of this mono-green EDH deck which has proven very powerful and fun to play at the same time. Meet Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary:
So yes, I am playing and EDH deck with this guy as the general – knowing very well that Rofellos is strictly banned as a Commander in the EDH Format! I have to apologize, but I like breaking rules and Rofellos is most certainly on the banned list of Commanders for good reason. Still, as I am only playing casuallly and among friends, I find pleasure in bending the rules a bit within my own house, where no rules but MY house rules apply. Besides, it can be fun to put any other EDH Deck to the “Rofellos Test”!
So when we look at Rofellos it becomes apparent just WHY they had to ban him. At the cost of 2 green mana you get a 2/1 Creature which indeed won’t win you any matches by Command damage alone, but with a tap ability that simply rocks in a mono-green deck, as it simply doubles the amount of Mana you can spend each turn (provided all your lands are basic forests – and in the following deck most will be).
Combine that with the Haste-granting, shrouding powers of Lightning Greaves and your opponent is bound to face great trouble soon.
So let me give you a list of my Rofellos EDH and you will see that this deck, despite running only green as its single color is indeed very versatile and got more than one nasty trick up its sleeve! As before I will group the individual cards by the purpose they serve in the deck:
Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary (GG)
Mana ramp is something green excels at so I included lots of land searchers as you can see. I have to note that they all work great combined with Rampaging Baloths, which will give you free 4/4 Beasts whenever you put a land into play. A 3 Mana Harrow for example would translate to two free 4/4 Beast Tokens from the Baloths. You will notice that I am not running the almost mandatory one mana producers which cost only one mana like Birds of Paradise, Llanowar and Fyndhorn Elves, the new Elvish Mystic or any other one mana Elves at all. I found out that in EDH in general and in this deck in particular, it is a better long-term strategy to build your mana base on additional lands than on easy-to-kill Creatures.
Sakura-Tribe Elder (1G):
Wood Elves (2G):
Puts a Forest from your deck straight into play, and that untapped.
Yavimaya Elder (1GG):
Searches your deck for two lands when he dies and you can sacrifice him any time for the cost of 2 generic mana to draw a card as well.
Krosan Drover (3G):
Well this is virtual, but nonetheless potent, mana ramp, as Krosan Drover reduces the cost of any casting cost 6 or beyond Creature by 2.
Krosan Tusker (5GG):
A big beater that doubles as card draw and a land searcher when cycled for 2G.
I am not sure but this might well be banned as well in Commander / EDH as paying 1 Life to get 1 generic mana whilst being able to do this as many times as you want seems waaay overpowered in a variant of play where you start with 40 Life. Still I am playing it and it is great to get our Emrakul as early as turn one if you pay GG for Channel and pay 15 life to get 15 Mana from Channel (If you happen to be lucky enough to have both cards in your hand). A move that may well win you the game.
Far Wanderings (2G):
Great when Threshold is reached (whenever 7 or more cards are in your graveyard) as it will put 3 basic lands from your library into play tapped.
Great mana ramp as you get to put 2 basic lands into play UNTAPPED for the cost of 2G and sacrificing 1 land. You can and should of course sack a land you tapped to pay for Harrow’s cost.
Explosive Vegetation (3G):
Put any 2 basic lands from your deck into play tapped. This will considerably up your forest count thus powering up Rofellos.
Skyshroud Claim (3G):
Put two Forests into play untapped. Again, great for maxing out Rofellos’ mana generating capacities.
Draw isn’t exactly one of green’s strengthes, still I was able to amass quite a list of potent green (or artifact) draw cards, which make sure you won’t run out of steam / hand cards as the game progresses:
I really play this card in pretty much any deck that has Creatures as it turns 1 toughness Creatures into instant card draw and is a way to deter your opponent from destroying larger Creatures of yours equipped with the ‘Clamp, as they want to avoid giving you two new cards for free. Really a great, great card.
Snake Umbra (2G):
Again a pseudo-draw card. Gives the Creature you attach it to a lackluster +1/+1 but at the same time draws you a card when the enchanted Creature damages your opponent. Would go well on a Creature with Trample for example. What is more, the enchanted Creature gets Totem Armor, which means that in case it would be destroyed, you can destroy the Umbra instead, which can be useful at times.
Wirewood Savage (2G):
Draws you a card whenever one of your Beast Creatures comes into play and can be fetched with one of your many Creature/Elf Tutors. Wirewood Savage works best with Rampaging Baloths, which will put a mighty 4/4 Beast into play whenever you play a land, thus drawing you a card whenever that happens.
Oracle of Mul Daya (3G):
Well this is not really card draw but nonetheless lets you play the top card of your deck if it is a land.
The green Concentrate. Draws you 3 cards for four Mana, which is exceptional for green and a welcome addition to this all-green deck.
Momentous Fall (2GG):
A very potent draw spell that makes you sacrifice one of your Creatures. You will then draw a number of cards equal to its Power and gain Life equal to its Toughness. Just sack one of your expendable Baloth Tokens to get 4 new cards and gain 4 life while you are at it for just 4 Mana.
Slate of Ancestry (4):
You should have lots and lots of Creatures in play by the time you play Slate of Ancestry, so use it to discard your hand and draw a number of cards equal to the number of Creatures you control. Very powerful and, most important, re-usable card draw.
Soul’s Majesty (4G):
Draw a number of cards equal to target Creature’s Power. At the point when you would want to play this it will easily net you 4 – 7 cards, so pretty much the equivalent of a new hand altogether.
I define Tutoring as anything that lets you search your deck for a specific type of card and put it into your hand. This deck features two types of tutors: Those that search Creatures, and those that fetch you any land (not only basic lands). The latter I did not list under mana ramp as they technically are not such, putting the land into your hand and not into play and thus breaking the one-land-per-turn rule:
Expedition Map (1):
Sacrifice by paying 2 Mana to search your deck for any land, not just a basic one, and put it into your hand. This is a reason why I should be playing Gaea’s Cradle, but I do not like the thought of having to spend major $ on a deck that would not even be legal under normal circumstances.
Worldly Tutor (G):
Searches your deck for any Creature card and put it on top of your library, instant-speed.
Sylvan Tutor (G):
The somewhat obscure brother of the above card which does the same, the only difference being that this is a Sorcery.
Sylvan Scrying (1G):
Excellent tutor for any land, basic or special.
Wirewood Herald (1G):
An Elf-Tutor, meaning that you can search for any Elf card when it dies, and the deck runs many different and useful Elves so you won’t have problems to find good targets for Wirewood Heralds ability. Works great with Skullclamp as you would get an Elf and draw 2 cards on top of that.
Survival of the Fittest (1G):
This is verily what one would call a Creature Search-Engine. At the mere cost of 1 green Mana you can discard any Creature card which is less useful at the moment to search your deck for ANY Creature card you need most at any given point in a game. This card is so good that a proper deck archetype was based on it. In this deck you can simply find your key Creatures such as Rampaging Baloths or Cloudthresher if you need something against Flyers or Woodfall Primus if you need to dispose of a noncreature permanent etc etc. Plus, you can search for Genesis and then discard it to Survival to get its great, graveyard-based effect. The only thing that is better than a Tutor in EDH is a reusable Tutor!
Fierce Empath (2G):
Another Creature, this time for the “big game”. Fierce Empath lets you search for a cost 6 or more Creature and put it into your hand. Perfect for getting a hold of your big beaters. Key Creatures such as the above mentioned Rampaging Baloths, Cloudthresher or Woodfall Primus, among others, would be good targets to consider.
Elvish Harbinger (2G):
Your second dedicated Elf-Searcher which does not have to die like Wirewood Herald but gives you access to any 1 Elf card from your deck. Plus it can be tapped to produce one Mana, something not too exciting but to which I would not say no either.
Chord of Calling (XGGG):
Searches for ANY one Creature and puts it into play direclty, at a cost of 3 Mana plus the converted casting cost of your search target. Good for putting cheaper but nonetheless needed Creatures into play or fetching bigger ones by reducing Chord’s casting cost by 1 generic Mana for every one of your Creatures you tap upon casting it (Convoke).
Skyshroud Poacher (2GG):
The third and last card that searches for an Elf, and only an Elf, is, similar to Survival of the Fittest, a reusable Search-Engine. By tapping the Poacher and paying a very much affordable 3 generic Mana, you can not only search out an Elf from your deck, you can put it into play right away. Kinda makes me want to run some high casting cost Elves like Elvish Abberation and Wirewood Guardian.
Pinpoint Creature removal is not strong in the green color and if you find it, it will cost you, big time – as seen in Desert Twister. Artifact and Enchantment removal is common in the realm of Forests. A note: Some cards I listed under Land Destruction give you the option of destroying an Artifact or Enchantment as well, though I tend to use them to attack the opponent mana-base so I listed them there.
When you check this card without priorly knowing it you may laugh at the first glance of Lignify. But if you look closer and consider a bit you will realize that this is probably the cheapest way in the green color to get rid, or at least neutralize, an otherwise menacing opponent Creature. Lignify simply does away with troublesome Power values and nasty card abilities in a Creature as it turns any Creature into a lowly 0/4 Treefolk with no abilities whatsoever. In absence of anything as cheap and efficient as Terminate, Path to Exile or Oblivion Ring for example, Lignify will have to do.
Indrik Stomphowler (4G):
A great 4/4 body with a Neutralize attached to it: When this Beast Creature comes into play you can conveniently dispose of any Artifact or Enchantment that is causing you worries.
Acidic Slime (3GG):
Similar to Indrik Stomphowler, Acidic Slime destroys an Enchantment, Artifact or even a Land when it comes into play. The fact that it is just a 2/2 as compared to the 4/4 Stomphowler with the same converted casting cost, is made up by Slime’s Deathtouch ability, which poses a great threat to any attacking Commander or other important or mighty opponent Creature launching an attack.
Woodfall Primus (5GGG):
This one could be listed under the Big Beaters section as well being a 6/6 Trampler for 8 Mana. What makes me list him under removal is his great comes-into-play ability of destroying ANY permanent that is not a Creature. And on top of that the Primus has the Persist ability, meaning that it will come into play a second time when it would otherwise be put into your graveyard from play, once again destroying a noncreature Permanent but with a -1/-1 Counter on it. It will still be a 5/5 Trampler which you basically got for free. A very useful card indeed.
Krosan Grip (2G):
A Split Second Artifact or Enchantment removal card, Split Second meaning no other Spells or Abilities can go on the Stack whilst this is cast and resolves. In practice, this would mean it can neither be countered nor responded to. So no in-response-shenanigans from your opponent can be anticipated such as sacking the artifact to be destroyed by Krosan Grip in response.
Desert Twister (4GG):
Well, green has excellent pinpoint destruction, albeit at a steep price. Desert Twister does exaclty what White-Black Vindicate offers for half the mana: Destroying any permanent, Creature, Artifact, even Land – you name it. With the regular and massive mana influx from Rofellos, this is not that bad after all even at 6 Mana. Note: this could be listed under Land Destruction below as well as the permanent you destroy can be a land as well as a matter of course.
Green has some very viable ways to destroy opponent lands. Some of those I decided to run in this deck:
Reap and Sow (3G):
Destroy a Land, or search for a Land and put it into play OR do both if you pay the Entwine cost.
Creeping Mold (2GG):
A very versatile Sorcery that lets you destroy either Land, Artifact or Enchantment.
Mwonvuli Acid-Moss (2GG):
Destroys a land and puts a forest into play from your deck, so this would qualify as Mana ramp as well.
Plow Under (3GG):
By far my favorite land destruction card as it acts like a double Time Walk for 3GG, a cost that might seem steep at first glance. However if you consider that you take away two of your opponent’s lands at once AND ruin their next two draws you may or may not agree that it is a great card. Especially great if you can get it back via Eternal Witness or Regrowth etc to do it once again!
Back in the olden days Green’s card retrieval powers exceled with Regrowth, nowadays we got Eternal Witness which can be even superior to its ancestor Regrowth, as we are going to see later on. I packed most of the general card retrieval I found in green into this deck:
Eternal Witness (1GG):
As I mentioned in my previous EDH article, Witness is the child of the union of classic Savannah Lion and Regrowth, a 2/1 Creature with the Regrowth ability attached to it, meaning it returns any one card from your graveyard to your hand, and all that for the cheap price of 1GG.
The classic. Pay 1G, return any one card, regardless of type from your Graveyard to your hand to cast/summon it once again.
The same as the above, just one mana more expensive.
Returns 2 cards at once from your graveyard to your hand.
This should be put into the graveyard as soon as possible, as once and as long as it is in your Graveyard you can pay 2G once per turn to retrieve any Creature card from your graveyard and put it into your hand. Combos well with Survival of the Fittest.
Some generally useful Creatures and Spells I want to list here:
Krosan Warchief (2G):
Makes all your Beasts, and you got a few costly ones, 1 generic Mana cheaper to summon while having the great additional ability of regenerating any of your Beasts by paying 1G.
Ravenous Baloth (2GG):
A decent 4/4 for 4 Mana, this turns all your beasts into life gain. This is best used when one of your Beasts would die anyways and in case of some universal destruction effects á la Oblivion Stone or Wrath of God occurs, you can at least net 4 life per Beast sacrificed.
Aspect of Mongoose (1G):
A good way to protect your Commander or another important Creature, giving shroud to whatever it enchants. Also, Aspect of Mongoose returns to your hand when it would be put into your graveyard from play, so, in case it was destroyed by some effect, you can use it again to gain the desired protection on one of your Creatures.
Lightning Greaves (2):
Well if you have read my previous EDH articles you will already know just how fond I am of this equipment which I consider a must-have in pretty much any EDH build I can possibly think of – for good reasons: Not only does it give shroud and thus protection from any targeted effects to its bearer, it also gives them Haste. In the case of Rofellos, the Greaves allow you to tap him for mana the very turn he enters play which speeds things up considerably.
Garruk Wildspeaker (2GG):
Garruk does many things: You can either untap 2 lands (yet another reason to run Gaea’s Cradle…must…resist…urge…to waste money!), or put a 3/3 Beast Token into play or act as a reusable Overrun, giving all your Creatures +3/+3 and Trample for one turn.
Of course a green deck with a truckload of money errr mana at its disposal just has to have some heavy beaters. I am running the following:
A 5/5 Beast with Shroud for just 4 Mana. However it “Vanishes” after you had it for three turns beyond the turn you summoned it.
Your silver bullet against anything that flies. For 6 Mana a regular 7/7 Creature without any further abilities would be at least decent, but add in Flash, Reach and a comes-into-play ability that lets you eradicate a whole army of birds or other small flying Creatures at once (it deals 2 damage to every Creature with Flying when it comes into play) and you got yourself one kickass and considerably cheap Creature. And I have to mention that you can use it as a one-shot if need be by summoning it for its Evoke cost of 2GG, but I would only do this as a last ditch effort or when you can bring the ‘Thresher back with the miraculous powers of Genesis in your graveyard.
Rampaging Baloths (4GG):
I consider this a key Creature and a worthy target for your many Creature Tutors for the simple reason that you got many, many cards that let you put additional lands into play, which will result in the spawning of a whole army of 4/4 Beasts sooner or later with Baloths out, and that basically for free. The Baloths themselves are 6/6 Tramplers for just 6 Mana which would not be all that bad on itself. Add the Landfall ability and you got the reason why this is one of the fancy “Mythic Rares” they started releasing in recent years.
Spearbreaker Behemoth (5GG):
Depending on the type of deck you are pitted against, the match-up, this might be a good thing to search your deck for as well. Spearbreaker Behemoth is a 5/5 Creature which would be quite weak nowadays for a cost of 7 Mana. But add in the “Indestructible” ability and, and this is the reason why I would get a hold of this soon against many decks, it can give the Indestructible ability to any other Creature with Power 5 or more at the very affordable cost of just one generic Mana. The matchups against which this can mean the difference between victory and defeat are control type of decks, and control elements are widespread, popular and viable in many EDH Decks. So be it a 2 Mana Terminate or a 4 Mana Day of Judgment/Wrath of God/Damnation, Spearbreaker Behemoth will make sure your big guys will surivive anything nasty headed their way, be it pinpoint or universal destruction.
Emrakul, the Aeons Torn (15):
I must admit I am very much intrigued by this card. A 15/15 behemoth for 15 generic Mana with so many abilities, and pretty amazing ones at that, that they almost burst the text box they are described in. So what will you get for your 15 Mana? Well a 15/15 Flyer that cannot be countered and has protection from all colored Spells, annihilator 6 (when it attacks your opponent has to sacrifice no less than 6 permanents they own) and which gives you another turn after this one. That is a jaw-dropper for sure if you manage to get this one out. And with Rofellos, accomplishing the seemingly near to impossible task of hard-casting Emrakul for 15 is not as far fetched after all. You can just drop at least 8 forests to tap Rofellos and 7 of your Forest to be able to summon the Tearer of Aeons, but this deck features lots of nifty tricks how to make that happen earlier and easier. Channel is just one possibility, the tricks will be discussed shortly!
Random good stuff that does not fall in any of the above categories can be seen below:
Gaea’s Herald (1G):
Playing against blue? Always in fear of Force Spike (and other nifty countermagic)? Well fear no longer, use any of your Creature Tutors (and Elf Tutors as well since Gaea’s Herald happens to be of that Creature Type) and put an end to the counter-madness. When Herald is in play, Creature Spells can no longer be countered.
Dosan, the Falling Leaf (1GG):
If you are not sure if attacking is safe, or casting Spells during your own turn then Dosan is the one you should be fetching. The Legend will simply prohibit playing of Spells outside one’s own turn. Simple as that. A card worthy of searching your deck for.
Rude Awakening (4G):
Turns all your lands into 2/2 Creatures and/or Untaps all Lands, depending on whether or not you play the Entwine Cost. This can either give you a whole army of 2/2 attackers for a finishing blow OR untap all your lands in order to generate some massive mana if you already have a considerable number of lands in play.
Eldrazi Monument (5):
This gives all your Creatures Flying, which is good in a deck devoid of any flyers besides 15 casting cost Emrakul, +1/+1 and, most important, they will all be indestructible. The upkeep cost of having to sacrifice a Creature each turn should be managable as you got a ton of Creatures to spare in this deck and Genesis’ Creature retrieval ability can help out as well.
Akroma’s Memorial (7):
This card is the icing on the pie so to say, giving all your already awesome Creatures flying, first strike, vigilance, haste and protection from red and from black.
This deck has some awesome tricks in store, most of which revolve around untapping Rofellos to generate even more Mana than he would already produce on his own in order to power out something huge and nasty like Emrakul, the Eons Torn at some fairly early point in the game – at least too early from your opponent’s perspective. Here’s my box of magic tricks:
Wirewood Symbiote (G):
Return an Elf to your hand, untap Rofellos (Yes, Rofellos and not any Creature, as Rofellos should be your prime target for this ability!). On top of that, if you returned one of your comes-into-play-ability Elves, you can make use of their ability once again.
Quirion Ranger (G):
Return a Forest to your hand, untap Rofellos. Returned Forests can be played again to trigger Rampaging Baloths’ Landfall ability.
Scryb Rangers (1G):
Same as Quirion Ranger.
Stampeding Serow (2GG):
A 5/4 Trampler which returns a green Creature to your hand during each of your upkeeps. Obviously, this is a great combo with your variosu comes-into-play-ability Creatures such as Acidic Slime and Fierce Empath. A really awesome combo can be pulled off if you have Eternal Witness and some land destruction Spell, preferably Plow Under handy. You can play Plow Under, send two lands of your opponent to the top of their deck, then summon Eternal Witness to retrieve Plow Under and eventually play it again. Stampeding Serow will return Eternal Witness to your hand every turn so you can use her comes-into-play-ability each turn, creating a factual, albeit a bit expensive landlock with Plow Under!
Stampeding Wildebeests (2GG):
Literally the same as Serow, just another animal. It is always good in EDH to have identical cards with different names that have such a useful effect as Stampeding Serows and Wildebeests.
Elvish Piper (3G):
Puts any Creature, no matter how big and/or expensive, from your hand into play, at the mere cost of 1 green Mana. Simple as that.
Concordant Crossroads (G):
This is an amazing yet obscure card from Chronicles that gives all Creatures in play Haste, which is strange for a green card. First of all, this will allow you to use your Rofellos one turn earlier, secondly all your big guys will be able to attack right away the turn you summoned them and lastly, it will allow Emrakul, if you manage to summon him, to attack instantly for 15, making the opponent sack 6 of their permanents and then, in the extra turn he netted you, attack once more delivering your opponent of another 15 Life and another 6 permanents, if there are any left that is…
Instill Energy (G):
Lets you untap Rofellos once per turn for free.
Nature’s Chosen (G):
Same as Instill Energy, just another name.
A land that taps to let you pay G to untap one Elf. Guess who it will be.
Of course any good deck is bound to have lands. Besides 23 basic forests, enough to make for insane mana generation with an early Rofellos, I am running these non-basic lands:
Okina, Temple of Grandfathers:
Gives your Rofellos +1/+1 which may just be enough to save him from being killed. Well that way he would survive at least a “ping” from a Prodigal Sorcerer, although I don’t expect one of those to pop up any time soon in an EDH deck…
Oran Rief, the Vastwood:
Tap to put a +1/+1 Counter on all green Creatures, so all Creatures in this deck, that came into play this turn. Very nice.
This land has Graft: 1, which means it comes into play with a +1/+1 Counter which you may move on a Creature when it comes into play.
Gives a Creature +1/+1 until end of turn when it enters the battlefield. This may not seem like much but it is for free so I thought why not add one of that.
Supports your other land destruction cards greatly as you can either tap it for 1 generic Mana or tap it and sacrifice it to destroy any non-basic land and those are really common in EDH.
Cycles for 2 generic Mana meaning you can pay 2 and discard it to draw a new card.
Taps a Creature permanently and provides a great way to neutralize any Creature.
Making it Legal!
Well if I would have to, here is how I would make this deck compliant with the EDH consensus rules: As my commander, I would pick her:
Azusa, Lost but Seeking would let me play 2 additional lands each turn, which would be not as powerful as Rofellos’ tap ability, but would trigger the Landfall ability of your Rampaging Baloths for instant several times, and will ensure that you got more mana than usual anyways. Rofellos would go into the main deck, as he is not banned from being there as far as I know and I would add Time of Need, which fetches any Legendary Creature for just 1G from the deck, adding one more tutor to the already plenty Creature fetchers the deck is currently running to get out Rofellos even without him being at the ready in your Command Zone. I guess all would work pretty well with the “legal” approach as well, except that all the explosive mana tricks revolving around Rofellos would be gone, which I would very much regret. Again, this is a fun deck for home use and always a great test for all my other and new EDH creations.
Well what would an EDH Deck Article be without a little bonus!? Here’s a deck intended for the legacy format which focusses on yanking as much mana out of Rofellos as possible to summon an early Emrakul from your hand. And I think this could actually work out!
4 x Magus of the Vineyard (G)
4 x Quirion Ranger (G)
2 x Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary (GG)
4 x Elvish Spirit Guide (2G)
1 x Emrakul, The Aeons Torn (15)
4 x Avoid Fate (G)
4 x Time of Need (1G)
4 x Nature’s Lore (1G)
4 x Skyshroud Claim (3G)
4 x Instill Energy (G)
4 x Nature’s Chosen (G)
4 x Lighting Greaves
3 x Wirewood Lodge
14 x Forest
Well the basic plan is to get Emrakul out fast with Rofellos and tons of untapping abilities like the ones of Instill Energy and its Double Nature’s Chosen, with Quirion Ranger and Wirewood Lodge. Rofellos and Emrakul can be fetched with Time of Need while Lighting Greaves first protect Rofellos and give him Haste and then give Haste to Emrakul so he can attack for two times 15 damage. Magus of the Vineyard and Elvish Spirit Guide provide some extra mana to start with and Nature’s Lore as well as Skyshroud Claim bring additional Forests into play untapped. Avoid Fate is a green Counterspell (!!) that counters any instant that targets your permanents.