Selesnya Surge is the intro deck from Return to Ravnica based around the Selesnya Conclave guild from the plane/city of Ravnica. Selesnya are the White/Green based around the involvement in the establishment and maintenance of peace, life, and unity in Ravnica. Now, let’s talk about the actual deck itself.
The basis of Selesnya in Return to Ravnica is “Population” or “Token Growth”, the deck throws in a couple of main sub-themes, protection and life-gain and a bunch of extras. A regular review is all well and good but I’m gonna recommend a few ways in which I’d improve the deck. We’re gonna focus specifically on Mana Cost/Power Yield Token Growth.
Ok, so we’ll be tossing out a few sub-themes because really, they’re detracting from the main theme of the deck. First to go is flying, spending a hard-earned populate on a 1/1 bird is only preferable compared to wasting it entirely, so we’ll be removing the Seller of Songbirds and Eyes in the Skies to accomodate this, and this 1-swing with an offensive utility is not adding to the theme of our deck, which brings us to our first additional subtheme.
So the first thing we’re going to be adding to the deck is our defensive strategy which’ll include a few cheap defensive utility creatures, some super-cheap short-term buffs, a few terrific long-term buffs, and some “shock absorbers”.
We’re going to toss in a couple of Deadly Recluses and Fencing Aces because a buffed deathtouch (with reach) or double-strike never hurt anybody (except your opponent of course). A playset of Giant Growths are preferable to savage surges and choruses of might in my opinion and can be used in combination with a tonne of stuff to achieve varying results.
Now, combining your rings of Kalonia and Thune with your defensive utilities and also your offensive creatures are always terrific, and as apposed to something like forced adaptation (I chucked them in before I had enough), you can just reattach them of your creature is destroyed. Last but certainly not least are your “shock absorbers”, these are basically for stopping your opponents in their tracks one they’ve built up a formidable force and also opening then up for a decent weakening it killing blow, these show in the form of Druid’s Deliverance, Shielded Passage, and in some cases using some afore mentioned Giant Growths when blocking or attacking to wipe out a creature and survive or deal that last bit of damage you need to.
Next we need to be dumping our life gain. Life gain is, in the case of our deck, a delay at best. Do away with your centaur healer, bountiful harvest, and heroes reunion. Healer of the pride may seem tempting as every time you would populate, you would be gaining that bit if life, but there are just better uses of our slots.
The last thing we’re reevaluating is the mana curve of our creatures. Axebane Stag and Risen Sanctuary are quite powerful, but their mana cost is just too damn high for a low-cost deck. The Brush Strider is somewhat meh, it’s vigilance is cool, but not with its low toughness. Phantom General is tempting what with this being a token deck, but the idea is to be populating the cr@p out of it rather than buffing and at 4 mana, nup. And Centaur Courser is on par between its mana cost and value but basically being a centaur token that you can’t populate (when call of the conclave is 2 mana) is just not on. Last but not least, the controversial Centaur’s Herald. Some people leave him in but I chuck the bastard out. All he’s doing is taking up valuable space with his expensive 4-drop centaur token.
Now, for our final adjustments to the core structure (just to sum all this cr@p up), we’re adding an extra Grove, replacing the Guildgate with Sunpetal Groves and Temple Gardens (just use more Guildgates if you’re on a budget). Arbor elves are terrific (and many would consider them a no brainer), but I’m replacing the one in there with two Gyre Sages from Gatecrash as they have a great potential for mana ramping, especially when you’re populating 3/3s and then 8/8s, as well as a couple of Avacyn’s Pilgrims to give us a bit of white mana ramping as well.
Now, for those who prefer to build a deck on a budget, I’d definitely go for a playset of Calls of the Conclave, as they’re welcome in any part of the game, but we’re sticking with the two we have to make room for some other lovelies. The Coursers’ Accord goes bye bye since we’re headed for low mana, and 6 isn’t exactly low mana… Since we’ve chucked out a bunch of populating cards, we’re chucking more Vitu-Ghazi Guildmages for a full playset, a second Trostani, a second Wayfaring Temple, a couple of Growing Ranks, and two terrific Parallel Lives to double your population and token placing efforts.
And of course, we need a couple of Selesnya Charms for those sticky situations (combine these with Giant Growths for a quick removal of something troublesome). And now my current favourite, a playset of Loxodon Smiters. These fellas are 3-drop 4/4 that cannot be countered and if you are lucky enough to be forced to discard, just pop these guys in your graveyard and they’ll jump straight to the battlefield.
Well now we have a substantial Selesnya deck (that I’ve been developing for the past 2 months).