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Awesome 1-Mana Creatures, part 3: Green

Continuing with my series on awesome 1-mana creatures (which began with White and Blue), I’m covering the wide, wide world of 1-mana green creatures today, seeking the best and/or most interesting of the bunch to present here. 1-mana powerhouses on legs are Green’s strength; the following list contains creatures you would never believe cost just 1 green mana!

As always, if I’ve missed an awesome Green creature, let me know (nicely) in the comments! All images came from MagicCards.info.

Great for Green/White–not often that any creature generates white mana, after all!
The ability to become a 3/3, AND the ability to be played for no cost? Awesome!
A classic for mana ramp, PLUS it flies–a rarity in Green!
Run 4 of these little guys and somebody’s getting +4/+4…or perhaps 4 creatures are getting +1/+1, or any other combo you choose!
Sometimes you just need colorless mana, even in a Green deck. For that, there’s this guy.
A little touch of Blue flavor (countering spells) on a Green creature, playing off of Green’s historical hatred for artifacts.
Great for keeping your creature force ready to block!
One of my boyfriend’s favorites, for its synergy with Muscle Burst as well as its land fetch.
(Technically a 0-mana creature, but it’s a land that’s summoning-sick like a creature, so I think it counts.) Great as a land source OR an emergency blocker!
Would be hilarious with Lure for killing a token army!
For those times when you need to add Trample to a creature that really ought to have it (ahem, Krosan Cloudscraper?)
1/1 shroud, and it’s an Elf to boot!
Great for mana ramp.
The green Soul Warden, and arguably better suited to Green for all the creatures Green can play for cheap.
1/1 Evolve is actually pretty strong, given that you’re likely going to play more powerful creatures later. And you can use those counters to regen it? SWEET
1/1 Reach is already great for Green, but the added power upon blocking a flying creature is just gravy.
If you need to be able to enchant your creatures, this little lady will serve you better than Elvish Lookout (mentioned earlier in this list).
More powerful than it might appear–Infect is DANGEROUSLY good.
Ditch a card for land fetch when you need it? OKAY! Helps to thin your deck AND get you the mana you need!
Great for at least partially combating a Mill deck–gets your lands back into play where you need them.
Here we see one reason why Elves win so doggone FAST in Magic…mana ramp on creatures!
Forestwalk is always a nice touch in a Green deck; Shanodin Dryads, Willow Dryad, and Zodiac Rabbit all come with this ability too.
Sack for mana ramp–a little different functionality from Elvish Pioneer, but same result!
Can’t leave out this classic, either! Elf and mana ramp for 1 mana…phew!
And if you want to get COMPLETELY silly with your Llanowar Elf action…LOL
Not so great in a one-on-one, but I could see this working great in a team game or Emperor game to help your buddies ramp up just as fast as you do!
Swampwalk is unusual but handy for a Green creature.
Shroud PLUS the ability to be a 3/3 mid- to late-game.
There’s a reason these things were snapped up like hotcakes when they were first printed–Exalted, 3 colors of mana, AND a 1/1 creature in one package!
This is one of those creatures that works great with your own cards, but gets SILLY when you play against another Green deck.
Suddenly I have an urge to build a Cat deck just to include this little beast!
Early-game mana cost, mid- AND late-game functionality. WIN
1-mana STOMP! Who cares that you have to sack a land to get it?
The phrase “EACH creature with flying” makes this 1-mana elf GREAT. Wonderful for getting rid of an army of 1/1 Birds, Spirits, etc.!
1/1 flying Faerie in Green? Yes, it exists!
Hilarious with a little mana ramp. And I love the flavor text, LOL
Like Rogue Elephant, this cat is utterly worth the extra cost of sacking a land, AND it adds Shroud!
1/1 deathtouch <3
Fog on legs!
Though it has no power, its potential high toughness PLUS Reach is well worth it for 1 mana.
Wither AND the ability to be a 3/3 till end of turn? WOOT!
A classic first-turn alpha strike creature–even if you can’t pay the echo cost next turn, you still did 2 damage first turn!
Block creatures up to 3 power, even in the air!
Lovely synergy for Green/White/Red, Green/White, and Green/Red, but still a good creature even in a mono-Green deck!
Weren’t expecting that out of Green, were you? Just power up the bugs with Gaea’s Anthem and keep opponents from bouncing, preventing damage, etc.!
A Persist-like new ability on a 1/1 Wolf? Cool!

Awesome 1-Mana Creatures, part 2: Blue

To continue the list of awesome 1-mana creatures from last week, I’ve searched through Blue and found its awesome 1-drop creatures. Blue’s 1-drops are more like precision tools rather than combat machines–they are more likely to provide a service, like milling the opponent, changing their land types, countering spells, or drawing/ditching cards. (There are a few good combat-ready creatures hiding in these ranks, however!)

As always, let me know if I’ve missed a good Blue 1-drop in this list! All card images came from MagicCards.info.

An old favorite–1 mana for an 0/2 flying blocker, with 2 great creature types for later P/T boosting.
A milling machine you can play on first turn! (Use this and Hedron Crab together and you’re set!)
1/1 flying, but with Evolve so it can get bigger later on!
Great for those moments when your opponent is utterly tapped out and cannot pay more for their combo piece.
Sack one of your “comes-into-play-effect” creatures for a quick ditch-and-draw!
A different flavor of mill action, punishing the opponent for playing blue spells. Sneaky!
The level-up ability gives this creature mid-game functionality as well as early-game help.
Give all your Slivers flying for 1 blue mana? WHY NOT!
1/1 islandwalk for the win.
This little guy helps fix your mana in a multi-color deck!
Draw-and-ditch is a great mechanic to pull off for 1 blue mana.
One of the best mill creatures out there right now…quite lethal!
Mill your opponent enough and this guy gets HUGE…but until then, he’s a 1/1 flying for 1, which isn’t bad!
A flying, hybrid version of Cursecatcher!
A 0/4 for 1? AWESOME! (Then again, I do like creatures with big toughnesses for low cost…)
A blue creature with the option of flight…because sometimes, you might not want to have your creatures fly all the time. (Hurricane, anyone?)
GREAT way to keep that final combo piece from hitting the table!
Islandwalk plus the ability to peek at an opponent’s hand.
“Comes-into-play” mill = awesome.
Blue gets a 1/1 flying defender creature, with Wither added from Black!
A potent little mana fixer, great for multi-color decks.
You can hit either your own lands or your opponent’s lands with this guy…give somebody a completely useless land for a turn, or help yourself out.
Dig up that artifact one more time for added flavor–uh, utility!
Peeking at an opponent’s library every turn? Sounds good to me!
AWESOME little guy–helps you get the cards you need to the top of your deck.
For those times when you need to draw more than you need another 1/1 creature on the field…
Make all Slivers on the field into milling machines. This could be a masterstroke or a huge backfire…LOL
The 1/1 Hexproof (with the help of Green) is a nice touch for Blue.
Tidal Warrior: an old-school way to help out your Islandwalkers.
Getting a larger hand size for 1 mana is great, and you can always bounce those “come-into-play-effect” creatures for extra oomph!
Simple 1/1 flier, with added danger from the Faerie creature type.

Awesome 1-Mana Creatures, part 1: White

Sometimes the best or most helpful creatures in Magic: the Gathering don’t cost 4 or 5 mana; sometimes, all you need is a one-drop creature with a surprisingly great ability. One-mana creatures are often overlooked, but if you use them wisely, they can help underpin a deck, or even make it sing!

To kick off this series of posts, I’ll profile many of the one-mana creatures in White that I find useful, alphabetized by title. (By the way, if your favorite isn’t in this list, please add it in the comments!)

1/1 Exalted is always a nice boost for your early game!
Gaining 3 life for one mana, plus you get a blocker? Woot!
I love that this can defend against life loss as well as damage!
This is a nice, subtle Bluish control move for White, making the opponent pay a mana to make sure this creature stays gone.
Bushido makes this little guy worth playing–able to block a 2/2 for the kill!
2/1 for 1? Awesome! Soldier creature type? Even better!
Play him for 1 mana, and then ramp him up–FUN!
Either gain 2 life pretty reliably every turn, or gain 4 life for one shot. Very handy!
GREAT little guy for getting around big stompy creatures!
For one mana, you get the ability to control one of your opponent’s creatures.
You can either get a 1/1 creature with lifelink for 1 mana, or pay more for enchanting another creature with +1/+1 and lifelink. And you can get this creature back after the enchantment falls off–options, ahoy!
A classic–shoot down a creature or deal a damage to a player, all for one mana.
ROAR! 2/2 for 1! Even though it’s Legendary, this dog is awesome!
Just add Accorder’s Shield, Bone Saw, Kite Shield, Paradise Mantle, or Spidersilk Net and you have yourself a 1-mana double-strike machine!
1/1 flying Spirit–yay!
Kird Ape in White!
Potential to gain 21 life off one creature? SURE WHY NOT?! LOL
Giving pro-any color is great for breaking through somebody’s mono-color creature defenses, or for defending against someone’s assault!
0/4 for 1 white mana, AND when he blocks, you gain 2 life. (Even funnier if you have a whole deck full of defenders!)
BIG kitty goes ROAR for 1 white–a classic staple for White Weenie decks.
1/1 shadow…don’t see that very often at all, and it’s deadlier than you think!
Another classic for Life-Gain decks and creature decks <3
Like Figure of Destiny, this can level up, but it starts out at one mana–very handy for playing quickly.
1/1 flying Bird–whether you choose this or Lantern Kami only depends on what creature type you need.
Just make sure you have an enchantment on the board, and this 2/3 flying for 1 white stays around!
1/1 first strike for 1–I’ve always liked this one.
0/3 for 1, AND it’s a Soldier, which makes it both a good early-game defender AND a good synergy piece for a Soldier deck.
A classic favorite for my Life-Gain decks–block and gain life according to however much damage is dealt to it, even if it’s destroyed!
Great for quick land-fetch when your opponent has got an early mana lead.
0/4 for ONE mana? WOW…who cares that it’s a random Ox? It doesn’t die to Lightning Bolt like most one-mana creatures!
This one is great for surprising your opponent with a blocker!

Glasses Off: 4 Useful Collectible Gaming Sites

If you play Magic: the Gathering, HeroClix, or any other type of tabletop game, the Internet has proven itself over and over again to be an awesome resource for gaming tips and news. Here are four of my favorites:

Any and all board games…it’s AMAZING how many games this site has sections for!

One of the best HeroClix resources out there, not only for game news and figure information, but for Clix player community as well.

I used to try to keep up with all the M:TG set lists out there…then I found out that MTGSalvation already covers it all, in a wiki format. That and much more behind the click!

Keep up with news and announcements for all sorts of miniatures games!

(bonus: Roll20.net–a virtual tabletop where gamers can meet and play!)

Plains and Forests Unite, part 2: Modifications

Last week, I showed my Plains and Forests deck, naming the combos and synergies I had within the deck already. This week, I’m tackling some modifications I could make to this cool little deck–and some which I already have!

Research, then Proxy City

I did quite a bit of research on White/Green multicolored cards, using Gatherer‘s advanced search, and came up with a short list of interesting cards which I might want to fit into the deck. From those, I narrowed it down to three cards I definitely wanted to fit into the deck:

wiltleafliege Wilt-Leaf Liege is a great card just for pumping up Selesnya creatures’ P/T, but it also has a surprising defense against being discarded from your hand by another player–you can put it straight into play instead! Plus, you can’t beat a 4/4 for 4 mana, especially hybrid mana.
trostani As well as being a walking Angelic Chorus (yay life-gain), Trostani also serves to help produce creature tokens. This ability doesn’t help my deck very much at the moment, but I like her P/T–she’s a 2/5 for 4 mana, and the mana cost is balanced enough for my current mana curve. (And she’s a Dryad! <3)
messengerfalcons Because this deck needs some more flying defense and card draw, I included Messenger Falcons. (Added bonus: Knight of New Alara‘s ability gives the Falcons +3+3, because part of its casting cost is Blue!

What I Took Out

Since I’m running a 60-card deck and want to keep it that way, I had to take out three cards from my deck:

  • Chrome Mox (because it’s always a dead card in my hand–I hate removing a card from my hand for mana, even if I can’t play it right then)
  • Safehold Duo (never gets to trigger more often than +1/+1 or possibly +2/+2 if I’m lucky)
  • Oversoul of Dusk (it’s a big stompy creature with good protections and 5/5 P/T, but…that’s about it…?)

Other Possibilities I’ve Thought About

  • Barkshell Blessing – nice boost for 1 hybrid mana, but it’s only temporary
  • Call of the Conclave – gets a creature token out–might still be useful with Trostani if I so choose
  • Voice of Resurgence – this would be SO silly with a creature token deck, but I’m not sure I want to go that direction
  • Armadillo Cloak – would be AWESOME in this deck, just can’t figure out what to replace
  • Congregation at Dawn – like Eladamri’s Call x 3, but it doesn’t pull the creature to hand
  • Ranger en-Vec – nice first strike for Selesnya, but that’s about it
  • Wilt-Leaf Cavaliers – vigilance and bigger P/T, but that’s about it
  • Ancient Spider – good, but a bit too expensive for flying defense
  • Bronzebeak Moa – runs into same problem as Safehold Duo
  • Heartmender – would be great for Kitchen Finks, but ONLY Kitchen Finks
  • Horned Cheetah – for Green/White, there is better for cheaper
  • Mystic Enforcer – works directly against Wheel of Sun and Moon, which is not going ANYWHERE
  • Juniper Order Ranger – again, like Safehold Duo, it works IF you can play creatures reliably
  • Sigarda, Host of Herons – YAY for Green/White Angel, but it doesn’t QUITE fit this deck yet.
  • Collective Blessing – it’s Glorious Anthem/Gaea’s Anthem x3, but you have to wait 6 turns…
  • Risen Sanctuary – it’s a big creature, with vigilance. That is all.

Results of These Modifications: Next Time!

In the next post about this deck (which will not appear for a couple of weeks, since I need to test these changes), I will recount how these modifications have either helped or hindered the deck’s performance. Were my instincts about these cards right, or did I only hamstring myself? Stay tuned!

Plains and Forests Unite, part 1: The Decklist

Plains and Forests Unite!, one of my decks on EssentialMagic

I built this deck a couple of years ago, after I had reevaluated a couple of my multicolor decks and realized they needed to be mono-color. Out came the White and hybrid spells from my Elvish Piper deck, which then became mono-Green; out came the Green and hybrid spells from my Windborn Muse deck, which then became mono-White.

These hybrid spells, combined with other Green and White bits of my collection, became the “Plains and Forests Unite!” deck. The main philosophy? White’s life-gain meets Green’s might–a common theme for the Selesnya guild and for Green/White in general.

Combos and Synergies

dawnglowinfusion boonreflection
This combo is hilarious–Dawnglow Infusion allows me to gain double the life for the mana that was spent, and then Boon Reflection doubles that again!
wheelofsunandmoon safewrightquest
With Safewright Quest for land fetch and Wheel of Sun and Moon helping to keep spells rotating through the deck, I’m just about guaranteed to stay up on land counts.
knightofnewalara bantsureblade
Bant Sureblade gets bonuses for other multicolored creatures being in play; Knight of New Alara gives Bant Sureblade an additional +3/+3 (because Blue is also in its casting cost)!
wheelofsunandmoon eladamriscall
I love this little combo for being able to pull whatever creature I like to my hand, many times over!
grizzledleotau shieldoftheoversoul
Putting the Shield on Grizzled Leotau = indestructible flying blocker cat. (This is an LOLcat waiting to happen)

Other Cards I Love Using in This Deck

loamlion oversoulofdusk
qasaliambusher watchwolf
kitchenfinks safeholdduo
sigilofthenayangods chromemox
sungrassprairie templegarden


Any Changes I’d Make?

Since I haven’t kept up with new developments in White/Green, I need to research to find out if there are any new creatures I’d swap into this deck.

…And that, my friends, is where we’ll pick up next week, with some epic new research into the Selesnya guild and White/Green in general. 😀 Stay tuned!

Unusual MTG Creature Types, part 5: Shade

To wrap up this little series on unusual Magic: the Gathering creatures, I’ll end with the Shades, which are a small but interesting part of Black’s pool of creatures. As you’ll soon see, Shades give Black a little more combat punch than it usually gets!

What Do the Shades Do?

nantukoshade Almost all of the Shades work off the mechanic of paying a certain amount of mana to get +1/+1 till end of turn, like Nantuko Shade at left. This amount of mana can be paid as many times as possible, so you can easily end up with a ridiculously powerful Shade swinging at your opponent! (Black doesn’t get such combat-ready creatures very often, so this can give an otherwise control-based deck another way to win.)

Several of the Shades also manipulate mana in various ways, whether enabling you to search for it, giving you more mana per tapped land, or allowing you to sack lands to give it further +1/+1 boosts till end of turn. Other than that, there are a few scattered combat-aiding abilities like flying, regeneration, defender, fear, swampwalk and haste floating around the Shade creature type.

With 26 Shades printed thus far, most of them black (only 1 white and 1 red/black Shade exist), they can make a neat Black creature-based deck if one is so inclined. Their mana curve runs from 1 to 6, with most of them hovering around 4 mana.

More Examples of Shades

deepwoodlegate dungeonshade
lilianasshade perilousshadow
whisperingshade zofshade

All card images are from MagicCards.info.

Further Research: Complete List of Shades in Magic: the Gathering

Shade: Gatherer Search

Unusual MTG Creature Types, part 4: Ooze

Okay, all grossness and revulsion aside, Ooze IS indeed a creature type in Magic: the Gathering (even though only 23 exist to date). It’s a type that is not often explored on its own merits, but finds itself worked into various generic-creature-type strategies. Let me show you:

What Do the Oozes Do?

experimentone Oozes are all about +1/+1 counters, thematically speaking, even though their specific abilities vary quite widely among the 23 Ooze creatures printed. There are a couple with Deathtouch, one with Indestructible, and a few with cumulative upkeep costs, but even the cumulative upkeep costs have benefits resulting in +1/+1 counters. Depending on which Ooze you run, you can get +1/+1 counters for:

  • playing other, larger creatures (like Experiment One, at left)
  • sacking other creatures (like Gobbling Ooze)
  • attacking (like Predator Ooze)
  • tapping (like Experiment Kraj)
  • playing a black or green permanent (like Bloodhall Ooze)
  • playing any spell (like Manaplasm)

(There are plenty more abilities contained within the Ooze creature type which give you +1/+1 counters–it just depends on what you need.)

Oozes are mostly printed in Green, with a few Red and Black scattered among them; there is Blue involved in the casting costs of a few Oozes as well, though not many. The mana curve runs from 1 to 7. (There are also a couple of Unhinged joke cards that have the Ooze creature type, so be ready to laugh at some of their abilities!)

Other Examples of the Ooze Creature Type

bloodhallooze experimentkraj
gobblingooze manaplasm
necroticooze predatorooze

All images from MagicCards.info

Further Research: Complete List of Ooze Creatures in Magic: the Gathering

Gatherer Search: Ooze

Unusual MTG Creature Types, part 3: Griffins

As part of my “unusual creature types” series, I’ll be reviewing the Griffins today. I started off this post believing that Griffins were merely uglier, stronger Birds, but as you’ll see, I soon found out how wrong I was about them!

What Do the Griffins Do?

divinggriffin First and foremost, the Griffins are flying combat creatures, as expected, and quite a few carry vigilance and/or first strike as well. They are mostly 2/2, 2/3, or 3/2 creatures (though there are a few Griffins with larger powers or toughnesses than that), which make them fairly strong contenders against other flying-based creature decks.

But aside from their combat prowess, the Griffins have another feature: possessing some of the most random and unusual creature abilities. Here’s just a sampler of some of the stranger abilities within the Griffin creature type:

  • Pay a snow land to gain first strike
  • Sacrifice to deal 3 damage to target attacking/blocking creature
  • Can be recast from exile
  • If no enchantments are in play under your control, the Griffin dies
  • Bounce back to hand to return another Griffin from grave to hand
  • Sacrifice to destroy target black creature
  • Gets a +1/+1 counter for each damage you were dealt from an opponent’s source

In essence, many of the Griffins carry abilities from other colors into White, since most of the Griffins are White, with only a few exceptions (a few Blue and one Red/Green/White). It makes them an interesting creature type to play in a Tribal deck, and makes them also suitable for playing in more generic White or multi-color decks as well.

With a mana curve running from 1 to 6 mana, most of them hovering around 3 or 4, the 33 Griffins printed so far in M:TG can make a pretty solid White creature-based deck. Give them a try–they’re a very different flavor from Birds!

Other Examples of the Griffin Creature Type

abbeygriffin azoriusfirstwing
darajagriffin misthollowgriffin
mistmoongriffin peregrinegriffin
screechinggriffin zuberigoldenfeather

(All card images retrieved from MagicCards.info.)

Complete List of Griffins in M:TG

Griffins: Gatherer Search

Unusual MTG Creature Types, part 2: Orc

Continuing my foray into obscure M:TG creature types (begun last week with Sphinxes), here’s one that I bet many modern players haven’t even heard of: Orc. For that matter, many old-school Magic players probably don’t remember Orcs, either. But, as I’ll demonstrate, Orcs aren’t necessarily a forgettable or useless creature type–actually, they have some useful abilities!

What Do Orcs Do?

orcishveteran With only 20 creatures in the entire game bearing the “Orc” creature type, Orcs are a rare and interesting side of Red. Not quite as efficient as Goblins, Orc creatures are often used as support cards for general Red decks rather than being used in a tribal deck of their own. In fact, the most prevalent of Orc abilities is a hindrance–many of them cannot block creatures power 2 or greater, and some have conditional abilities to attack or block based on the color or number of creatures attacking or blocking.

But going beyond Orcs’ handicap, they provide a risk-based control strategy, just like Red likes it. Many Orcs allow you to sacrifice something on your field (a creature, a land, an artifact, etc.) to deal damage, get a P/T bonus to your creatures, or other bonuses. Others deal damage merely by tapping, and some sack themselves to deal damage or destroy lands. There is even an Orc that allows you to look at the top 3 cards of any player’s library (take that, Sensei’s Divining Top!).

Several Orcs are just 1 red mana to play, and the most expensive are Orcish Squatters and Sek’Kuar, Deathkeeper, both at 5 mana. (Mana isn’t necessarily an issue for the Orcs, but since some of them sacrifice land, it’s better that they cost relatively less.) This feature allows them to fit into generic Red decks with a little more ease.

Overall, the Orcs printed thus far offer Red decks some much-needed utility; they aren’t necessarily meant for combat, since most of them are 1/1s or 2/2s. But including a few Orcs may just enable your Red deck to do more control and resource management than it has before–you just have to be willing to take the risk!

More Examples of Orcs

orcishspy orcishlumberjack
orcishcannoneers ironclawbuzzardiers
orcgeneral orcishlibrarian

All card images retrieved from MagicCards.info.

Further Research: Complete Orc List

Find the complete list of Orcs on Gatherer: Orc Search