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  1. I put together your deck from seeing it top 8 a few weeks back. You have made a few changes that I did not, but a few that I did as well. I like how it has an active game vs goblins.

    I really wondered what you thought about how other people playing Survival and Recurring affected the playability of the deck.

  2. Good questions guys. Allow me to address them both.

    SomeGuy: While I think Rec-Sur could easily be the newest tier one deck addition to the ranks, I do not think it works in this deck. I spoke a little about this in my article awhile back “Commitment Issues.” Just because a card (or cards, in this instance) are good, great even, do not mean they belong in a deck.

    Furthermore, Rec-Sur requires a slew of support cards that this deck doesn’t play. Things like Genesis, Krovikan Horror, Living Death, Reveillark, big targets akin to Woodfall Primus, and a run of Reanimators make Rec-Sur function essentially with no drawback. This deck lacks these components, making it borderline disadvantageous beyond finding the card you want and/or need. That, and the density of commitment to the Landfall/Mana Accelerator strategy leaves little room in the way of space for including these cards without entirely overhauling the deck.

    Final verdict: it’s one or the other, not an amalgam of the two.

    First_Strike: I battled through three rounds of Reanimator style decks, winning two of them (my loss to the Platipus10, the winner of the PE). Most definitely, Rec-Sur is an incredible deck – I have built my own brew in these particular colors (the Blue is entirely unnecessary, in my opinion). But it’s not an easy deck to play; I myself have fumbled with the multitudinous choices you have to make on a more than frequent basis when setting up your graveyard and/or tutoring. It requires finesse and a clear head to run this to a win, making it the wrong deck in the hands of a lot of players.

    Also, it would be wise to remember the buttload of non-color specific playable hate for graveyard strategies out there. I mean, people were playing Scrabbling Claws and the like main deck before Exodus hit, so surely players will come more than prepared. That, and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Survival gets the Kibosh on the 20th (updated B&R list). We shall see…

    So what do you guys think about trying to get some action during the week? If you’re down, shout it loud!

    This deck is definitely a bit off the beaten path, but give it a shot. I think you’ll be surprised.

  3. This is a really interesting list to see from you. It has, as you say, several familiar elements, but it’s fascinating to see more of a fun deck list from you. I really like the list and am eager to try it out.

    Did you test Tithe? I see that Eladamri’s Call is absent. Did that get cut for removal in the red-heavy environment?

  4. Call is in the list above, third from the bottom in noncreature spells.

    Tithe doesn’t put a land into play, and will net you only a single Plains since you will have more land than them 99% of the time (other than maybe Turn One). This is why I chose to play Eternal Dragon. It serves similar function, but is a recursive threat.

  5. I think it might be going a bit overboard to say that you shouldn’t play Survival of the Fittest because your deck isn’t built to abuse it. When Skullclamp was legal, most players played it even if their decks weren’t designed to abuse it. Survival outshines some of the most powerful tutors in the format and shouldn’t be dismissed so easily.

  6. Hmm. Don’t really think those two are even remotely comparable, esp. in the case of the deck in question. Clamp requires dudes to be good. That’s it. Any dude that dies, recursion or not. It’s cheaper, colorless, and is in no way deck manipulation (drawing, rather). Also, unless you can equip Clamp with certainty of netting cards, your opponent can potentially play around it instead of into it.

    Survival isn’t simply a “tutor.” As I mentioned, it requires further commitment than just having some guys, even good ones. Pitching a guy to Survival to get another is not always going to garner the optimal scenario that you may think. Often, you will be lowering your threat density by pilfering your deck for the creature you want. With no way to “abuse” Survival this becomes compounded. There’s no guarantee that said threat will do much more than be summarily neutralized, placing it amidst your other threats that are forever resigned to chill in the ‘yard with no means of return. To me, that seems a lot like playing the “what if” lotto I so often dissuade.

    Survival is an incredible card, but again, that doesn’t mean it’s the right fit. After a month plus of testing I say this with absolute certainty, though I do appreciate the debate on the subject. If you feel it’s an oversight, try the deck out and let me know the results.

  7. And will someone pls compliment the sick lumberjack at the top of the article?!?!?!

  8. LOL, the lumberjack is very rugged. He has a nice shiny hat and an axe that seems too big for him. Makes me almost want to sing the lumberjack song.

    Anyway, I read commitment issues and pretty much agree with everything in it, especially about not including the Natural Order/Progenitus combo in a elf deck because it adds a dead card (Progenitus) if you happen to draw it normally.

    However, Survival is a different story. Survival already combos with the Volrath’s Stronghold and Eternal Witness that are already in your deck. Adding 1-2 cards, (like Genesis or Golgari Brownscale) to support Survival doesn’t kill the rest of the deck’s strategy like how adding a Progenitus is a dead card for elves. And if my opponent plays out graveyard hate for those cards, that doesn’t hurt stop me cold either.

    I can see how some players might be tempted to add 7-8 support cards to the deck and get a deck that is a half-way diluted version of both decks which would be weaker than both. I just don’t think a, more or less, 1 card combo like Survival can be ignored.

    Anyway, before Zendikar came out I played a Doran deck with Tainted Pact and 6 basic lands just like yours. The problem I had with it is that it would just fold to mono-red Blood Moon effects. It was more of an armageddon deck rather than a landfall deck, but still I felt like I lost half my games to Blood Moon or Magus of the Moon. Since then I’ve given up the 6 basics + pact version of White/Green/Black because it is so sickeningly vulnerable to nonbasic land hate. I was wondering if you noticed a similar vulnerability? Without counterspells and no red cards, it just seems impossible to get basic lands out of all your colors before your opponent can lay out a Blood Moon. I was so concerned about this vulnerability that I started adding all kinds of artifact mana but that just my game up too much.

  9. Well played, my friend, and a fair point indeed. That makes far more sense. I could see you moving somethings around to accommodate a small suite to better utilize the card. Remember, it only just became available right before this last PE (although I was fortunate enough to be passed one 3rd pick in the very first Exodus draft in which I played – a wha?!?!?!?!). I played the hell out of this deck and it was jammin’ along amazingly, but, as I had mentioned in the body of the article, it is most definitely subject to change. While cards like Vampire Nighthawk have proved awesome time and time again, it, as well as a few others, could take the bench. You just don’t want to start down that road and end up with a bad Landfall/Rec-Sur deck when you could have a solid one on either side of the fence.

    With regard to Blood Moon and the Magus thereof: Strangely, I would say that RDW and Gobbos is always the matchup I fear the least. But admittedly, the “Moons” can flat mosh you if you’re not careful. I suppose this deck does have an in-built advantage in that it can easily use all the fetch to secure basics early on if you sense the mana shutdown is inevitably approaching. I have actually managed to circumnavigate those dreaded waters on a few occasions to a positive result.

    On a humorous note, I actually had a second Snow-covered Forest in the build I played last weekend, which cost me a game when I had to Tainted Pact for a Crime/Punishment with the hopes of reanimating a Genesis and then Swords’ing it rather than die to the ridiculous card advantage he was reaping off the aforementioned machine that is Survival. Needless to say, I went about 30 cards before I hit the first one. The second one came soon after. I thought long and hard as I exiled card after card and there was no scenario beyond that one that I could muster to live. (Grim Tutor woulda been nice.)

    Lastly, I was dumbfounded at the lack of Mono Red in last PE, esp with Price of Progress available. Go figure…

  10. Hey Travis :)
    Some comments:

    1) Platipus didn’t really win the last PE, we split the final :)
    2) Player run event sounds nice, count me in.
    3) Blood Moon is huge in the meta, esp if you can protect it.


  11. Okay, so rec/sur do not fit in this build, but what about equipment? In particular Lightning greaves and sword of fire/ice.

    Greaves works well both defensively and offensively.It hastens our best guy on board on attack and protects a critical defender on defense.

    As for Sofi, it makes even our smallest threat a THREAT. Furthermore ,it’s really brutal vs RDW/Gobbos.


  12. dragonbgx:

    1.) Ah, I did not know this, as I was going purely by the standings.

    2.) Regarding out little PRE, did you like the idea of trying it out in an 8-player Queue rather than trying to organize one/do pairings ourselves? What day would you suggest and/or prefer?

    3.) Agreed the “Moons” are most definitely on my top 10 cards for this format list, given the meta. Still, I think if you can assess that your opponent is RDW or Gobbos, you just secure basics, as the deck has a ton of access to its lands.


    Greaves is prob one my favorite cards out there, especially for this format. It surpasses the other equipment by leaps in bounds (in my opinion). My reasoning behind discluding Greaves is not as justified as I would like it to be: I simply wanted to make room for more utility cards (removal, discard, land fetch, etc.) and not dote on my men as I am so prone to do.

    As far as SoFI is concerned, I think the overall quality of decks has improved so much over these last few months that it, as well as its Light and Shadow sibling, has become altogether slow and less effective than in times prior. Despite losing to E. Hustle’s hyper-aggressive draws in the inserted video of my last article, you can see how SoFI actually cost him tempo turn after turn. Suddenly spot removal becomes Time Walks for the guy on the other side of the Sword. While it does improve the quality of your threats, it doesn’t guarantee them any certainty. If given the opportunity to kill a SoFI or a guy, I will typically kill the warm body. However, I do think it can be a great sb card, depending on the meta. My advice is do not main deck these outside of a deck that’s running an upward of 40 men- GW esp. needs gear to compensate for its lack of removal.

    Time’s the are a changing, and cards that once format-defining are not as impacting as they once were.

    There’s def room to move in this build. I consider this a “fun” deck that happens to have some competitive clout. The fact that it goes a less conventional route in these colors also gives it a leg up. Often people will say, “What the hell is going on?!?!” when I drop Rampaging Baloths or Scapeshift to improve my land quality. Unlike my other decks, I wouldn’t bank on taking this to the top. I had some bad beats in both Top 8′s (E. Hustle make fast-confetti of me in a game that seemed to be completely mine; JustMeBaby slayed me Game one and then I crashed during sideboarding to return a few mins into Game Two only to draw four of the cards I would have sided out).

    If you’re just looking for something interesting to play, take a crack at this, edited or not. It’s pretty damn fun. I appreciate all the comments and ideas, guys. Thanks!

  13. A little late to the party it seems, we’ll just say fashionably late. The article was great, and that is a huge axe wielding Mr. Bunyan. Just disappointing that Babe the Blue Ox didn’t make an appearance.

    dragonbgx is correct; we did split the finals and he was gracious enough to give me the win since I have a perfect swiss record. Cheers to some stand-up players in the format!

    I completely agree with Travis that making a mediocre mix of Landfall and Survival is a bad idea. If survival can be included effectively without taking too much away I can see it here, but trying to do a 1/2 and 1/2 deck is not the way to go.

    On the moon thing and Rock decks with lots of basics. Moons are actually the reason that I ran Civic Wayfinder + Borderland Ranger in my build of Rec/Sur. Against Red opponents I almost always search up a basic forest as quickly as possible, sometimes this even means I have to forgo another color early. Those two guys plus a few other cards like BoP, Sakura, etc can then help get the other basics. Yavimaya Elder is really lacking here as his double green will most likely prevent him from being played under a moon and is why I chose the other guys over him. In the Landfall deck Yav Elder has some more synergy since he gets two lands, but the point is that you can build Rock in such a way as to have very few basics, but get your basics reliably under a moon. The key is recognizing the moon threat from turn 1.

    I wanted to take a minute and talk about this since it was mentioned, but not directly related to the article or deck:

    I’ve spoke a few times against the potential banning of Survival. One of the things I don’t like is that many people seem to just assume that it will be banned. The problem is that there is no reason yet to ban it and if WotC sees that everyone accepts it they are much more likely to ban the card. Is the card good? Yes it is good. Was it even remotely close to being the reason for my success in the past two PEs with the deck? Not even close. Over the course of two PEs it maybe flat out won me one match and I only Enlightened Tutored for it once. By far the card that won me more games than any other has been Living Death and not in conjunction with Survival, which I think I only pulled off once. Also that is a 2-card combo that takes a lot more mana to win with and is harder to tutor up than other 2-card combos that we currently allow to run freely. My most common E. Tutor and Zur Target has been Recurring Nightmare. Survival is great and has a long history of being a good card, but as the years have passed by lots of other good cards have been printed that are able to compete. A card that I think is very comparable to Survival is Goblin Recruiter. Both set up a number of draws, but the recruiter does so at a far lower cost and also doesn’t require creatures in hand. If Goblin Recruiter is allowed in the format then Survival should be allowed as well. At least until such time that it is proving to be dominating T8′s and even then it needs to be Survival as the card that is carrying those decks to victory, which just isn’t the case currently. Survival opens up a lot of new space for deck exploration and that is something we need to be encouraging not prohibiting, unless the goal is to ban anything that is remotely better than RDW.

  14. I completely agree. DON’T BAN SURVIVAL! As I said, it’s not just a card that any ol’ deck can play, hence why I was dissuaded from using it in this deck. The sad fact is that whoever is in charge of the B&R seems sorely out of touch with what is in fact going on in our format. Example: Imperial Seal. This should not be banned, at all. It’s slow, puts the card on top of your deck, and has an additional cost. It is in no way as degenerate as as Vampiric, but clearly has be nixed bc it allows deck manipulation (another imposed hurdle WOTC on which WOTC insists for what they so incorrectly have deemed “variable play”). Most surely Survival falls under this umbrella in their eyes, but one can only hope. Look what at the impact of unbanning of Grindstone and Upheaval. The former gets far too easily trumped by Blessing (a card that you need not play or even draw). The latter, for whatever Godforsaken reason, just isn’t seeing play.

    My conclusion: the people moderating the game no far less about than they should to be enforcing such seemingly arbitrary ADDITIONAL restrictions on a format already encumbered with enough.

    Only time will tell.

    LET’S ORGANIZE THIS PRE ALREADY!!! Pick a day, any day! I know Lundstrom is down, as is Kool! I was thinking midweek, sort of late afternoon EST (say 4pm, maybe 5)?

  15. Yeah, Travis I know you are on the same train as me when it comes to leaving Survival alone. I think we have to keep from accepting the possibility, as when WotC reads those types of thoughts it may trigger them to believe the card is warping the format, which it is not.

    You are entirely correct on Imperial Seal. If you look at the paper Highlander list they have Imperial Seal banned, but let Demonic Tutor run free. My guess is that the only reason it is banned in paper is the scarcity and associated cost of the card. This is not an issue on MTGO, but the powers that be don’t realize such things. Additional cards that should come off until proving themselves problematic are the duo of Loam and Crucible. Wasteland recursion is SSSSLLLOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWW.

    I’m down for a PRE and would love mid-week unfortunately for me mid-week the earliest start time I can do is around 6:30-7:00pm.

  16. Also, do we agree that the 8-Player Queue route is the best way to proceed (esp. while they’re half-off!!!)?

  17. I am having a ridiculously hard time finding Yavimaya Elder online – at any cost! Any thoughts on where to pick it up? It is only available as a promo so far, right?

  18. Hey Robin,
    Yavimaya Elder is indeed not easy to find. From time to time you can find one on a bot but usually they are sold out. Maybe some of our readers has a spare one that he/she can sell for a reasonable price? I will let you know in case I pick one up. I would suggest you to post your request in our “Buy” forum. You never know…

  19. Robin,

    If you do find a Yavimaya Elder it is probably going to cost you around 7-9 tix. It likely isn’t a critical part of any deck for this format. Outside of a specific landfall deck like the one presented here by Travis other options are arguably better and preferred, especially with the M10 rules. If you really need the land and your opponent is not attacking for you to trade it is going to cost you 5 mana to get 2 land off the elder, where Borderland Ranger and Civic Wayfinder will find you the land plus stick around to attack. Also in 3+ color decks ‘G2′ is much easier to come by than ‘GG1′. Another great option is Yavimaya Dryad, which I consider superior to Yavimaya Elder with M10 Rules. The Dryad not only finds the land but puts it into play which can often be better than getting the second land. Also the Drayd is still alive after finding the land and the forestwalk is quite relevant and has won me more games than I care to count. In my mind it takes a very specific deck to want Yavimaya Elder over these other 3 options and even beyond those there are Hunting Cheetah and Tilling Treefolk to consider depending on the deck. Even Tilling Treefolk could be considered in a grave centric deck. Finally, Krosan Tusker is an option, which can find you the land plus another card.

    I would just consider Yavimaya Elder to be a low priority card for the price. There are many more cards that are worth picking up first that will help you build more decks than this one will, especially given the quite good and extensive alternatives. Just something to think about.

  20. I agree on not banning Survival of the Fittest and unbanning Imperial Seal. In fact, I just felt the need to email Mike Gills and Mike Turian to briefly let them know my thoughts and provide a link to these comments.

  21. Good news, gang!!! SURVIVAL SURVIVED THIS ROUND OF BANNINGS!!! And next MOCS Promo Yawgmoth’s Will becomes available!!!!

    WoTC, acknowledge this as a real competitive format and come off some of these bannings!!!

  22. Yawgmoth’s Will will be banned in 100 card singleton for sure.
    About the PREs: I am ok with midweek, still if u want some europeans to join, starting time has to be around 2-3 PM EST.

  23. Related to platipus10′s last paragraph in post 14, I’d rather not immediately assume that Yawgmoth’s Will needs to be banned. They didn’t ban it this first time around. And if it is ban-worthy, I’d like to see the 100CS deck list that abuses it so badly that it’s going to warp the format.

  24. @ platipus10 – Thanks for the advice. I’m mainly interesting in the elder as an inclusion for EDH down the line, and for nostalgia reasons, than for any particular deck.

    BTW – I think we went a couple of rounds with 100CS last weekend in the practice room. You were playing your Enduring Ideal deck. Thanks again for the games.

  25. While Elder is quite a costly card at the moment, I have found it to be worthwhile in this list, as well as the Rec-Sur list I used this weekend to win the PE. He’s just entirely different, not giving you that initial return, but rather a greater one typically at your discretion. Elder isn’t something your opponent will waste removal on, for starters. And even with the new combat rules, the ability to net two lands (and a card, if you so deem) seems like it’s worth that extra Green mana, the lower toughness, and the grumpy looking old dude depicted in the art.

    A quick aside, thanks to everyone for making this a great month. We’ve had some really positive results from the relaunch, the new features, content, and our new roster of contributors. None of it would be possible without all of you. Incentives to come in the New Year, as promised, when the store opens. So, for those of you too overwhelmed at the prospect of filling out a registration, join today and expect a nice stocking stuffer in the coming weeks!

    Happy Holidays! I’ll be away in the UK for ten days, pecking away and inserting hovertext plugins in a mess of torn wrapping paper and the spoils of the Season! Stay tuned for new material, new talent, new formats, and my very first video contribution in 2010!!!


    Travis R. Chance

  26. SomeGuy asked me a few questions in Zimbardo’s Saproling article about the Rec-Sur deck I played this prior weekend (with which I summarily won). I will gladly answer your questions, but, incidentally, while Kool was visiting over said weekend I made a decktech video on my Rec-Sur build. The video goes into great, almost unnecessary detail on each and every choice in the deck. However, allow me to indulge you:

    Hermit druid to mill guys in the GY to REC back

    Hermit Druid is hands down the single most impacting creature in the deck. Of course, with 8 basic lands, he will not function to the insane graveyard dumping efficiency he does in a deck like Cephalid Breakfast, but, nonetheless, if you get a decent activation off of him it should put you far enough ahead to solidify a win. Milling nonbasics to big up Knight of the Reliquary, ensuring Werebear gets to threshold, dumping the handful of flashback cards, and more importantly shoveling cold bodies into the yard to be abused by Animate Dead, Living Death, Oath of Ghouls, and Recurring Nightmare (to name a scant few) are reason enough to play this little fella.

    Krovikan Horror with ?

    Primarily, to abuse with Survival of the Fittest. Beyond that, for getting men in the yard to be exploited by the aforementioned battery of recursion effects. As well as…

    Reveillark and Saffi Eriksdotter.. some interaction?

    Krovikan Horror is part of what I call “the machine gun trifecta,” which includes Reveillark and Saffi Eriksdotter. In short, you sac’ Saffi targeting Rev, then you sac (preferably) a creature of 2 power-or-less (or hope to have one in the yard) to Krov, and then you complete the cycle by pitching the Rev to your Krov. Thanks to Saffi, Rev will bring back Saffi and hopefully a second creature to continue this slow but effective little loop. (I used this to win a few stalemates in the PE in question.)

    Natural Order as a 2nd copy of REC-SUR’s effect for a Primus/Progenitus?

    Well, first I’d like to point out that there is no way to Recur good ol’ Prog. He can strictly be flopped on the table via Natural Order. That’s it. While I typically discourage this sort of Johnny technology, it’s a very effective, quick combo in a deck where you’re packing some additional discard: Anurid Brushhopper, Survival of the Fittest, and Wild Mongrel. These help prevent the surly hydra from being stranded in hand.

    Dead on though with calling out Woodfall Primus as candidate number 2 on the Natty Order train. (The best is when you Natty Order Primus to get Proj!!!) Obviously, you can fetch a number of Green men, given the instance.

    So Natural Order isn’t so much of a redundant compliment here as it is a combo/scenario specific blowout.

    Seriously, this video will prove quite helpful, as the deck was quite frankly the most obscenely easy PE victory I have every achieved, even against a number of very worthy opponents. It’s simply just insane, and off by (maybe?) three cards, if that. The video goes up next week, Thursday I believe, so hang tight and give it a gander! It’s my first video, long as a Fyodor Dostoyevsky book, and chock full of amusing unedited bloopers solely for the purposes of self-deprecation. Enjoy!

    Hope this was helpful. My advice, build this deck (and take out the crap unneeded Blue cards), and enjoy it while it lasts, as surely it will be made extinct by virtue of being hosed for its grotesque efficiency.