Challenge the Stats – Phylath, World Sculptor
I am Groot
Welcome to Challenge the Stats! This series is based on the awesome EDHRECast segment where we pick out cards that we think are overplayed, underplayed, or sleepers to challenge EDHREC’s data. Remember, these are merely comments on the data, and card choices made by you, the deckbrewer, for any reason such as flavor, budget, art, or fun are always most important and are what keep our format unique and awesome.
This week, we're talking about Jeremy Rowe. It means a streamlined, hyper-simplified deck, that does one thing and does it well. I like this playstyle because it helps me be more present with my friends since I don't need to dedicate so much brainpower to piloting the deck.. Phylath has been in my 'to build' pile for a long time. I like Phylath as a 'red eye deck', a term I first heard from EDHREC writer
(Check out this terrific alter by @ImKyle4815 on Twitter!)
We're challenging the data from all 750 Phylath decks at the time of writing, and you can see how often those cards are played in parentheses (%). Here we go!
1. Arcane Signet (22%)
I feel like every time I talk about a green commander I end up challenging a mana rock. Sorry if this is repetitive, y'all, but it's still happening, so we're still talking about it. Our commander cares about having basics in play, so a mana rock instead of land ramp is anti-synergy! We have plenty of options these days that are functionallybut with lands. and give us lands that are untapped, and , , , , and give us lands that come into play tapped.
Our commander costs six mana, so we can also look at 3+ mana value land ramp before reaching for Arcane Signet. Don't be afraid to reach for your others!s, es, s, and
We have Plant synergy, so if we're going to grab nonland ramp, how about making it Plant ramp so we can stack counters on it?protects itself, so we can pump it up without worrying about it getting removed before we it at someone's face! easily taps for two in our deck and doesn't have Defender, so can turn into a threat itself.
I'm a fan of more unique ramp as well. At more casual tables we can look at group hug cards like, , and because we're going to break symmetry on them! Our opponents might just run out of basics in their deck and not get any benefit from these cards.
2. Courser of Kruphix (32%)
Are we still into Courser? I don't like my opponents knowing what's coming up next, and we have better top-deck options nowadays that don't reveal the cards. In a recent game with Mike Carroza of Commander's Herald, he flipped a off his trigger and the rest of the table promptly killed him, whether he deserved it or not. You can bet when Courser reveals my or , I'm not lasting until my next turn either.
For playing lands off the top, we haveand , and how about for some incidental lifegain? Courser isn't making my cut anymore, but let me know in the comments below how you feel about it.
3. Dire-Strain Rampage (32%)
This is my new favorite flexible ramp/removal spell. It's a sorcery-speed, which is a perfectly acceptable card; we see in almost 40,000 decks, and this has a similar effect. However, if we need to deal with a threat, we can destroy an opponent's artifact, enchantment, or land instead. Sure, they get a land in return (or two, if we destroy their land), but also ramps our opponent, and in casual pods, that likely isn't going to make or break the game.
The downside of a ramp spell is usually that it's less useful if we draw in late in the game (albeit less so for Phylath). However, having our ramp double as removal means it functions in more crucial quadrants of the game–when we're developing, behind, ahead, or at parity. Oh, and by the way, it has Flashback! That means in any given game, it not only functions in any quadrant, but can also play multiple roles in different quadrants.
I see the play pattern for this card most often being early-drawn ramp with later Flashback removal or late-drawn double removal.
4. You Happen On a Glade (14%)
One of the problems Lands decks often run into with all of oureffects is running out of lands in hand. is an instant-speed draw two lands or a pseudo- , which is fantastic versatility.
5. Sword of Hearth and Home (9%)
is great in many decks, but it's especially good for Phylath. When we deal combat damage, we can blink Phylath to have its ETB sprout us another fresh crop of Plants, and stack the triggers so we also get four more counters from the land entering! A few people have caught on to this trick, but hopefully more than 9% will start including it in their lists.
6. Orcish Lumberjack (18 decks)
This cute little Orc sadly gets left out of a lot of Lands decks, but with his help, we could have a turn-three Phylath! Sure, we might only have two Plants, but come on, turn three Plylath!
7. Surge to Victory (7 decks)
Sweet Christmas, this card is an awesome win-con that should see more play! Our deck is stacked with fantastic instants and sorceries. Often, this will just be anfor all of our little Plant friends. As a worst-case scenario, we exile a to give all of our creatures +3/+0. Then, when any of them deal combat damage, we'll get to ramp! Okay, that's just the floor - how about exiling a for mass targeted removal, a to draw a boatload of cards and cast them for free, or a to probably just win the game?
8. Mercadia's Downfall (4 decks)
Speaking of interesting win conditions, Dana Roach for clueing me in on this one. It's an instant-speed mass pump spell, which means we can use it after blockers are declared, or even on an opponent's turn if they're attacking someone else and we want to help them out. People play tons of nonbasics these days, so this will regularly give at least +3/+0, and usually a whole lot more.is one of my favorites. Shout-out to
Seriously, how funny will it be to attack with all of our 0/1 Plants, just as a power move to make the table laugh, and then pump them up a whole bunch before damage?
9. Titania's Song (4 decks)
Are Treasures running rampant in your meta?to the rescue! They're all instantly gone, and it also prevents the creation of more Treasures! I've definitely been running in all of my green decks to great profit, and this fits a similar bill. In a deck that doesn't have many artifacts, or that plays none at all, Titania's Song can be much more effective than a .
10. Seedtime (2 decks)
This card doesn't see much play, just ~1200 total decks, and those are probably higher power and cEDH lists. However, I think it's a hilarious extra turn spell and it's on-theme with our Plants! Sometimes it'll be a dead card if there are no blue players at our table, but if there are, and anyone tries to counter our spells, or the blue player is simply next to us in turn order doing shenanigans at the end of our turn, we'll have the best 'gotcha' moment of all time!
Let's go to a decklist!
I am Groot
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What do you think about these challenges? Are there any other cards you would challenge? Let me know in the comments below! As always, you can find me on twitter @jevinmtg.