Home Guest Article Daisho’s Pack Instinct deck guide: Forest of fury

To me, Pack Instinct was the most important deck in Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013.

When I first started playing Magic I opened Garruk’s planeswalker card and immediately built a green deck. In Duels 2012, Apex Predators should have been my favorite.

But anyone who has played with it knows how much of a disappointment it was.

Pack Instinct may just make up for a going an entire year without a reliable green deck.

There are two main ways to run this deck, especially with the addition of promotional cards. You can play all of the gigantic creatures and mana acceleration cards, making this deck a ramp deck. The Leatherback Baloths and other assorted big creatures stall the ground until you can move up to playing your huge threats. It can also be run as an aggro deck. With undercosted powerhouses such as Garruk’s Companion and Timbermaw Larva, you can easily destroy your opponents before they can react.

 

Pack Instinct card-by-card analysis (by cost)

Ulvenwald Tracker: 5.0 Ramp, 5.0 Aggro

Ulvenwald Tracker is pretty much an insane card for this deck. Green creature removal has been pretty much unheard of in the history of magic. The fighting mechanic allows your gigantic creatures to pick on the little guys. The fact that Tracker lets you do this over and over makes Tracker an invaluable asset no matter how you run this deck.

Prey Upon: 4.5 Ramp, 4.5 Aggro

A one mana removal spell pretty much can’t be beaten. Noteworthy information is that Prey Upon is a sorcery. Additionally if your creature isn’t quite big enough, or theirs has deathtouch, it can be a two for one (a two for one is a scenario in magic where you use two cards are used to deal with one of your opponents. In this case you are using Prey Upon and having one of your creatures die to deal with one of their creatures) in their favor which is obviously not ideal. These downsides are nowhere near upsides and all three of them should make the cut.

Primal Bellow: 2.5 Ramp, 4.0 Aggro

One mana to deal five damage. Seems good? Maybe not exactly that powerful but primal bellow is certainly an excellent card. Not only dealing direct damage, this card can also save one of yours from death mid-combat. If you save a creature with trample from being blocked you get the added benefit of pushing extra damage through. This card is pretty much exactly what the aggro deck needs to speed it up. It’s not quite as effective in the ramp deck because your creatures are almost always larger and don’t need the extra boost.

Fog: 2.5 Ramp, 2.5 Aggro

New players gravitate towards fog and for good reason. They notice they often frustrate better players by playing this card and that it wins them games. If you analyze this card deeply it has advantages and disadvantages. It can gain you 10 life, tap your opponents creatures and give you that turn you need to swing in for lethal. But more often than not your opponent will still have large enough creatures back that a fog won’t be good enough to win the game and just delay your demise for one turn. Even more often it does absolutely nothing and is a waste of a card. You should run this card in neither version of the deck.

Emerald Medallion: 3.0 Ramp, 2.0 Aggro

Nature’s Lore and Emerald Medallion are very similar cards. They are both two mana cards that accelerate you to cast spells cheaper and their effects are present the turn they are cast. There are two major differences. Nature’s Lore pulls a forest out of your deck while emerald medallion does not and emerald medallion allows you to play multiple spells a turn and get the one cheaper bonus for each of them. I feel the positives of Nature’s Lore outweigh those of Emerald Medallion and should be the two drop ramp spell of choice. Even when running the ramp version of the deck the Nature’s Lores are generally enough and you don’t need more than four two drop ramp spells.

Nature’s Lore: 4.0 Ramp, 3.0 Aggro

Using a forest to ramp you allows you to cast spells like Primulcrux, Khalni Hydra and Leatherback Baloth at a discount. Additionally, there are a few cards that deal with lands specifically such as Rampaging Baloths, Avenger of Zendikar and Howl of the Nightpack. For these reasons I like Nature’s Lore better. In the aggro deck it’s not quite as important to ramp and you’ll find you won’t have enough room for too many of these as when you draw them they are generally dead cards. Still, dropping Timbermaw Larva a turn earlier can be extremely beneficial so I run a couple of them in that version of the deck. They are crucial in Ramp so all four should be run.

Garruk’s Companion: 2.5 Ramp, 4.0 Aggro

In general at the two drop spot you would be okay with a card that gives you two power. If it’s two power plus evasion you’re thrilled. Garruk’s Companion gives you THREE power and some sort of evasion in trample. This makes him an excellent choice for the aggro deck. Being only two toughness, he does die easily and doesn’t do much in the way of walling off your opponent so you can drop bigger threats. He’s not excellent in the ramp version and there are so many amazing cards he has to be cut. But in Aggro all four should make it in.

Lightning Greaves: 4.5 Ramp, 5.0 Aggro

Lightning Greaves is one of those cards that you just feel lucky when it makes it into your favorite deck. Any deck with creatures benefits from this card but pack instinct may have just been the best choice. This card should always be played before a creature. If you have Garruk’s Companion or Lightning Greaves as your turn two options you may as well play the Greaves since you always have the option of playing Companion the next turn and giving it haste. Aside from protecting your biggest threats this card makes it impossible for your opponent to count how many turns they have left. When at any moment an 8 power Timbermaw Larva can jump out of your hand ready to strike they have to be far more cautious. Shroud is almost always amazing especially when you can just throw it on a Primordial Hydra and just wait a couple of turns to win the game barring mass removal. You do have to note that you cannot target your own creatures with shroud so Prey Upon and Primal Bellow are out of the question when the Greaves are on. Fortunately the equip cost is 0 so you can move it over before Prey Upon and then move it right back. This card is just as useful in Ramp as it is in Aggro because protecting your big threats is just as important as giving them haste is in Aggro.

Primordial Hydra: 5.0 Ramp, 4.5 Aggro

No matter how you look at it. Primordial Hydra is a huge threat that will win the game in a small number of turns. Ramp obviously helps because the number of turns goes down significantly when you have more mana available for the original X cost but even as X = 1 this card becomes gigantic before the game is out of reach.

Vineslasher Kudzu: 3.5 Ramp, 3.5 Aggro

A card like this is hard to evaluate. Drawing him late game can be an issue as he won’t be as strong as your other late game threats. Still, there is no point in the game where his mana cost won’t be worth his effect therefore he’s still pretty viable. In Aggro there are only four two drop creatures so this provides and increasingly bigger threat early on. With ramp it’s not huge but a nature’s lore or cultivate turn 3 will turn him into a 3/3 making him ideal as a body to block early enemy threats.

Dungrove Elder: 5.0 Ramp, 5.0 Aggro

Arguably the best card in the deck Dungrove Elder is extremely undercosted. He’s hexproof and gigantic. Unfortunately there’s no way to give him trample so he will generally just be “tap: target opponent sacrifices a creature” as Dungrove Elder will be chump blocked every time he attacks. He still gives you a great early game threat in Aggro and a good way to slow your opponent down in Ramp making him ideal for both decks.

Brindle Boar: 2.5 Ramp, 1.0 Aggro

Good old life gain on a dude. Unfortunately the gain is when he is sacrificed. This basically means the best brindle boar will generally do is block a creature and sacrifice to gain life. This means it’s basically a three mana card that will gain you about seven life. With all the options available to stall or attack there are almost always better options than Brindle Boar.

Cultivate: 4.0 Ramp, 2.5 Aggro

Cultivate is an interesting ramp spell. The traditional prices are two mana to put one land onto the battlefield tapped or four mana to put two lands onto the battlefield tapped. Cultivate fits right in the middle putting one on the battlefield and one in hand. This deck when run as a Ramp deck needs as many lands as it can get so getting the two and only having to pay one more is a pretty good deal. In Aggro it really only accelerates you to your five drops and at that point it’s not quite worth it. But topdecking this card late game with an Avenger of Zendikar on the battlefield is only beneficial.

Leatherback Baloth: 5.0 Ramp, 5.0 Aggro

A 4/5… for 3?!?! ARE YOU KIDDING? Sign me up. Though this card isn’t as tricky as some other three drops in the format it’s incredibly undercosted and works perfectly no matter how you run the deck.

Blanchwood Armor: 2.5 Ramp, 3.0 Aggro

The ability to make your creatures so much larger is certainly tempting. Unfortunately its upside is not excellent unless your opponent can’t block and the risk is just too high. When using any aura you run the risk of being two for oned with a bounce or kill spell which every single deck in the format has one of the two (with the POSSIBLE exception of goblins). That being said your creatures are generally larger anyway so you often don’t get much value out of it. It does have the ability to be 5-6 surprise damage as you put it on a creature they weren’t expecting to have to worry about but sometimes they will just have that two for one.

Genesis Wave: 4.0 Ramp, 3.0 Aggro

For such an interesting effect Genesis Wave is well costed. For Aggro, the ideal X is probably four meaning seven total mana, two more than you’re willing to spend on a spell in this version of the deck. This can be useful especially in the Mono Black matchup where you might have an empty board and a bunch of lands. But as the game drags on the value of this card goes up exponentially. Not only do more cards from your deck hit the table but more powerful ones do. In Ramp it’s at the worst going to get you a bunch of lands and one six drop. It’s an extremely interesting card but also a high variance card.

Obstinate Baloth: 4.0 Ramp, 3.5 Aggro

Obstinate Baloth is much better than Brindle Boar because it’s already well costed as a 4/4 for 4 and the life is just a bonus. Without the limitation of needing to be sacrificed to gain the life it can also trade, deal damage and hold sides down. Then of course there’s the one in a hundred game where they play Lilliana’s Spectre and you just laugh.

Master of the Wild Hunt: 4.0 Ramp, 3.5 Aggro

This is a card that is just hard to understand. On paper it’s insane but in game it never does as much as you’d expect. It almost never attacks so that already weakens it as a four drop in the Aggro deck. Making a 2/2 wolf every turn is already a good enough effect to be in most decks. The fact that you can start picking off enemy creatures once a turn is outstanding. Because of its crazy power level, this card makes it in both decks. Oh and look out for cute tricks with Changeling Colossus.

Changeling Colossus: 3.5 Ramp, 3.5 Aggro

This guy is pretty good. Being able to pump it so large makes him a huge threat and need to be chump blocked every turn so long as you swing before playing spells. This card combos insanely well with Primal Bellow pretty much assuring a win playing that combo turn 5. Protection from black is unfortunately not very relevant. There is only one Mono Black deck and that deck is very strong in the format but just 1/10 doesn’t make the protection from black super relevant. Still, it is worth noting you basically win the game if they can’t find an Innocent Blood, Mutilate or Icy Manipulator.

Fangren Firstborn: 2.0 Ramp, 4.5 Aggro

If you can see where I’ve been going building these decks you’ll understand how I value Fangren Firstborn. In Aggro this guy pumps up the team and swings in for 5 at a cost of four. The bonus is also in counters so they stick around. In ramp he merely has two toughness and on defense will die to some 1 drops that pack a punch.

Timbermaw Larva: 4.0 Ramp, 5.0 Aggro
I bet you guys were wondering how many times I could mention Timbermaw Larva in one article. It’s been three so far for those counting at home and there’s a reason. At four mana the ability to swing for so much damage is insane. Unfortunately his base toughness of 2 means he dies to burn and lack of evasion means he can’t do unlimited work. But this guy kills so quickly on an uncrowded board state that it’s impossible to leave him out.

Primal Huntbeast: 2.0 Ramp, 3.5 Aggro

You’ll notice that most of your creatures are bigger than they should be for their cost. Primal Huntbeast on the other hand is a bit undersized. While this makes him a huge liability in this deck it also is one of his biggest assets. It means that he can afford to be smaller in most matchups since your opponents won’t care much about him. In matchups where hexproof is relevant he’s just about game winning especially if you can hit him up with a Primal Bellow.

Jayemdae Tome: 2.5 Ramp, 1.0 Aggro

What’s the matter? Was Harmonize not answering your calls? Is that why you stuck us with this terribly slow and clunky draw spell? Better leave the drawing up to Garruk’s Packleader in this deck as his draw is cheaper and on 4/4 guy for one more mana.

Wildheart Invoker: 3.0 Ramp, 3.0 Aggro

Invoker isn’t TERRIBLE in either version of the deck he’s just not outstanding. He’s just big enough to see play in Aggro and just powerful enough to see play in Ramp yet since he takes so long to see any real benefits from him I’d leave him in the sideboard.

Bountiful Harvest: 0.0 Ramp, 0.0 Aggro

Perhaps the worst card in the format I wouldn’t play Bountiful Harvest if this card gained me twenty life and yet it has the nerve to not even gain me 2x my lands! Get out of my deck bountiful. Leave now and never come back.

Ant Queen: 3.5 Ramp, 3.0 Aggro

A token generator is often powerful but I find by the time I reach five lands I want to be playing bombs not making tiny little insects. If you topdeck this card late game he could easily win it for you or in combination with predatory rampage it can be quite powerful but overall I want my five drops to have insane utility without me pumping any mana into them. Still at the very least it’s a big body for five mana and while I don’t run any of these I certainly wouldn’t fault anyone who would.

Garruk’s Packleader: 3.5 Ramp, 3.5 Aggro
Indrik Stomphowler: 3.5 Ramp, 3.5 Aggro
Sentinel Spider: 3.5 Ramp, 3.5 Aggro

Ah the wonderful section of five mana 4/4 utility creatures… Unfortunately I can’t run all nine copies of these cards or my deck would be full of creatures not too big but with cool effects. Packleader’s draw can be what the deck needs to excel in the late game. Stomphowler’s effectiveness can often turn the tide in a game looking like it will be won by a Silent Arbiter or Oblivion Ring. Sentinel Spider helps controlling your opponent’s aerial invasion while your forces get through on the ground. Any combination of the three is acceptable and I run 3-5 of these total.

Incremental Growth: 2.0 Ramp, 2.0 Aggro

Suffering from needz moar targets syndrome this card often helps your opponents as well. On another note, this deck either wants to win the game by the time you can cast this card not just make its dudes a bit beefier, or start dropping the spells that will win the game.

Predatory Rampage: 3.0 Ramp, 3.0 Aggro

Overrun! Thanks for giving us Overrun! Wait… this card doesn’t give trample? This basically means that you won’t win the game playing this card and your opponent can just untap his creatures and be happy. In addition this only works when you have multiple threats out already which is generally the situation where you won’t need this card. Sometimes it’s a 5 mana Plague Wind but generally will be only a slightly useful card at a high expense.

Vorapede: 5.0 Ramp, 5.0 Aggro

When wizards decided to print a five mana undying card they really went all out. Giving it vigilance AND trample is a bit ridiculous. And yet I can’t help but wonder if it would be too much to ask that they change vigilance to haste? Generally the two are equal abilities in power level but would give this card the instant benefit it needs to be a powerful constructed player. Still, there was never any doubt this card wouldn’t be the top of the curve finisher in Aggro or a great mid-range threat in Ramp.

Primeval Titan: 4.5 Ramp, 2.5 Aggro

Now comes the hard part. There’s only a certain amount of room in the Aggro deck. Running Garruk’s Companions and Primal Bellows means that at some point you have to make cuts. This is one of them. In Ramp Primeval Titan is excellent. Some of your other threats benefit from having forests enter the battlefield and even just thinning your deck out is quite useful.

Primalcrux: 5.0 Ramp, 3.0 Aggro

For a while I made Primalcrux my only six drop in Aggro. So many of your creatures have multiple green symbols in the name that this dude is generally of “I win” power. Toss in trample, and he destroys dreams. With the addition of the new Promotional cards I had to find something to cut and this seemed to be the card that was least synergistic. In ramp it’s exactly what you want. A bomb at 6 that is great by itself and insane if your Leatherback Baloths managed to make it this far into the game.

Rampaging Baloths: 5.0 Ramp, 2.5 Aggro

This guy squashes Ant Queen in his ability to make tokens dropping 4/4 beasts at no cost. Being a 6/6 trample himself means that even if you don’t draw lands anymore you still got your value out of him. Perhaps the best part about Rampaging Baloths is that he makes ramp spells continue to be important even into final stretches of the game when normally they would be dead draws.

Terra Stomper: 4.0 Ramp, 2.0 Aggro

Terra Stomper is rather undercosted on the surface. Add in the fact that blue can’t counter him and he gets slightly better. In general he’s just a filler big dude that will win the game if he hits but doesn’t do anything spectacular or out of the ordinary.

Howl of the Nightpack: 3.5 Ramp, 1.5 Aggro

This card is insane. It adds at least fourteen power to the board (okay at the very least ten power…) for seven mana which is just incredible value. Play this the turn after a Primeval Titan and it will turn into twenty or twenty-two power. Just hope your opponent doesn’t have a Massacre Wurm! Worthy of note is that this card doesn’t combo with Genesis Wave so if you run wave just one of these should do the trick.

Boundless Realms: 3.0 Ramp, 0.5 Aggro

Add seven-plus lands to the battlefield to make your Avenger of Zendikar tokens 7/8s seems like a fun strategy. Unfortunately more often than not you’d rather play a spell that directly gives you a threat than one that relies on another card to help out. Interestingly another huge benefit of this card is that it takes so many lands from the deck that you will draw into mostly spells for the rest of the game.

Avenger of Zendikar: 5.0 Ramp, 2.5 Aggro

Avenger of Zendikar is so powerful I even wanted to run him in Aggro before thinking better of it. Generally you’ll want to hold him until you have seven lands on the table and one in hand in case he dies instantly you still have an army of 1/2s instead of 0/1s.

Biorhythm: 2.5 Ramp, 0.5 Aggro

At eight mana you want an effect that will consistently be amazing for you, not one that can range from winning you the game to losing you fifteen life. Still the upside is so adorable on this card that it really makes you want to at least try it out.

Verdant Force: 2.5 Ramp, 1.0 Aggro

They keep putting this card in the game and yet again I have to say NO! For eight mana you should do more than just flood the board with two 1/1s a turn. 2/2s or 3/3s and I might have to welcome this card into the deck but for now it should stay in the sideboard.

Khalni Hydra: 3.0 Ramp, 2.5 Aggro

The earliest this card can be played on curve is turn five and that’s if you hit your two, three and four drops and they stick around till turn five. This basically means that in general Khalni Hydra will be a 6 mana 8/8 trample which leaves him as a strictly worse Terra Stomper. It seems like we have enough huge threats and don’t exactly need this eight-headed monster.

 

Pack Instinct deck lists

Now that I’ve gone through all of the cards I’ll go ahead and say that I feel the Aggro version of the deck is significantly stronger than Ramp yet Ramp is quite a bit more fun. After all with the ability to swing crazy amounts of damage with different combinations of cards is quite tempting.

 

Ramp variant

 

Aggro variant

 

Gameplay video

45 replies to this post
    • Avenger comes in with a 5/5 body and easily has the ability to make his plants bigger than wolves.

      Once he hits the table he still allows your ramp cards and land draws to be useful whereas howl they have to be used before you cast it.

      I hear the argument that it’s better to have 2/2s than 0/1s but generally you hold the Avenger until you have another land. Then the next time you play one they are bigger (so often enough the first time you attack they will be 2/3s).

      Lastly another minor point is that Avenger can be fetched with genesis wave.

  1. I understand that Avenger’s plants can become bigger, but I think Howl should be rated higher simply because the turn after you drop it, you win most of the time. You don’t have to hold it in your hand waiting for more lands like Avenger. Avenger is nice, but I find that Howl often does the job. The only time it doesn’t is where the opponent has a sweeper (in which case Avenger dies too unless it’s flamebreak/infest). I run two Howls instead of Avenger, and they’ve served me much better.

  2. Wow, Dash, I really hope I run into you playing your ramp variant. I really wanted to your hear your take on this deck but…One single creature under 3 cost in your whole deck? Really?
    You will get eaten alive by an instigator. Scratch that, you will die to almost any goblin draw with more than 4 cards in it.

    I tried to skimp on the Garruk’s when building this deck, I really did, but you are just dead on turn 4-5 with every other aggro play. You die to exalted aggro, ajani 1-2 drops, goblins of every sort, and even Ordric’s soldiers (easily the worst deck in the game) will give you headaches if you let them swing three times before landing any board presence.

    And basically, the existence of Goblin Instigator enforces every deck to have 1-2 drops in it. Otherwise when goblins wins the toss you may as well scoop before you even look at your draw.

    One question: This deck (like many) has trouble with Phyrexian Obliterator. If that hits the board early, are there any outs for the green deck?

      • Hm thanks Wingspan. Since it can sit there and block, are you saying you have to wait for 25 trample damage? Pretty difficult to get with all of blacks removal.. I tried playing around it by running cultivates for more land to throw away…but naw. It’s just gg if they have it or the tutor.

        That card just shouldn’t be in the format, I feel. It breaks almost every deck in the game, and I don’t think any deck should have a “oh I drew this, guess I win” against every deck. It also makes Tutor OP in black instead of just a strong card.

      • I was just thinking that any of the token generating cards might help vs Obliterator.

        But overall it is VERY overpowered vs Pack Instinct. Not necessarily against the other decks though. White, Black, Blue, and even Ancient Wilds can remove it without dealing damage to it. Goblins and Chandra though, tough luck.

    • The only time that I need a companion are when three specific conditions are true.
      1) They are playing goblins (1/10)
      2) They are on the play
      3) They draw one of the two warren instigators in the deck

      I’m willing to concede if that rare circumstance happens.

      Unless goblins can kill me turn 2 ( which it can’t…) I won’t lose before I can play a baloth. If I don’t draw a baloth I’ll hopefully have a lore so I can play a 4 drop turn three. Basically I’ll almost ALWAYS be able to play something big turn 3 to block them and slow them down. Because I can’t do anything turn two makes very little difference. Generally the companion will just trade and save me only 2 damage.

      As for it losing to Peacekeepers? No way man. The absolute best case scenario for Peacekeepers is if they play an Elite Vanguard turn one and an Accorder Paladin turn two and hit me for 10. Chances are they don’t even run both of those cards. And that’s ONLY when they’re on the play. After that I can very easily stabilize.

      Ajanis deck has almost no semblance of an aggressive strategy. It’s 1 and 2 drops just gain life and are slow and again. You can drop a Baloth or a four drop before they can mount any sort of strong offensive strategy.

      And lastly companion does nothing vs. exalted. Almost all of their creatures have some sort of evasion so you won’t be able to block anyway.

      In conclusion, I don’t feel that Garruk’s Companion helps too much vs. an extremely aggressive goblin start UNLESS they are on the play and drop Warren Instigator. Outside of that narrow situation Companion isn’t necessary because no other deck can deal a game losing amount of hurt before turn 3 where you can drop a three drop or a four drop which will hold them off.

      You’re certainly entitled to your own opinion and I can tell that you’ve had evidence that implies the opposite but these are my findings.

      • “Unless goblins can kill me turn 2 ( which it can’t…)” Goblins has about 5-6 ways it can kill you on its turn three (which means your turn 2). Here are two examples, but they are not the only ones:

        1 – Goblin Guide – Attack for 2 (18)
        2 – Pile Driver – Attack for 2 (16)
        3 – Guide, Kicked Bushwhacker – Attack for 16 (Dead)
        (Guide 3 X2, Bushwhacker 2, Piledriver 8)

        or

        1 – Guide – Attack for 2 (18)
        2 – Warren Instigator – Attack for 2 (16)
        3 – Kicked Bushwhacker – Attack for 8 (8)
        Use Instigator to bring down Krenko and one of your haste lords, tap Krenko to summon 5 more goblins, cast Goblin War Strike for 10 damage. (Dead)

  3. Oh, and about fog. I find it wins you games playing ramp. A lot of games.

    Whenever your opponent thinks he has a handle on the clock, and you have the board locked down with fatties, their only play is to get enough reach or flying damage to risk tapping out before you can one-shot them (esp vs aggro). Fog is just too unlikely a threat for them to risk throwing their game trying to play around it, so they will go for it if they are good players, and you steal games.

    Sure it’s useless vs control, but ramp seems to win if it gets to turn 8-9 anyway.

  4. LOL you rate primal hunt beast as 3.5 aggro and you rate fucking primeval titan and primal crux less? Wow wtf…..and why do you imply fog is “for new players” ……fog is fucking amazing and a life saver for only 1 mana! You underestimate some of the cards in this deck, you do not realize their true potential. Most of the cards though do deserve the ratings they get. I run blanch wood and it works just fine if its on a creature like primal crux or anything with trample. IF they have no way of removing it you win the game.

    • I think you are misunderstanding me. Primeval titan and Primulcrux are just too hard to cast in the aggro version of the deck. With almost no ramp I have a hard time getting up to six mana. I include none of the 6 drops in that version of the deck because I’m planning on winning the game BEFORE turn 7.

      I’m sorry man but I did my best to explain why fog is not a good card. If it were such an amazing card don’t you think professionals would run it in their decks that they take to tournaments? It’s printed in every format and it’s never run.

      And I agree 100% on blanchwood. It wins the game very often. But I decided that it’s not worth the risk since if they do have a removal spell you’re in big trouble.

  5. I agree the champions are needed in the ramp deck. Without them you pretty much need to hope to go first and ditch all hands without a Nature’s lore.

    They are not as good blocking as they are attacking seems a little skewed. They are amazing when attack and good for blocking. Either they are better than nothing.

    Time is most important to any control deck and they allow you to deal with early creatures. Prey upon is also useless early without them.

    Baloth’s and Companions are still the best thing you can do early. Dropping 1or 2 cards on turn 4 and 5 might not be enough to stabilize.

    JM2C

    • I explain why I don’t think Companion is necessary in reply to another comment.

      But as to your comment that they are good at blocking I’d have to disagree. They generally kill one thing and then are gone. So it will save you two life… The reason I say that and not two life every turn for the rest of the game is because I’ll easily be able to stabilize the next turn and they’re two power creatures will be useless.

      Prey Upon doesn’t work well with companion anyway. If you lose your creature in the Prey Upon then you’re in huge trouble.

      And I’m planning on dropping creatures turn 3 and on, not starting turn four. Chances are that I’ll have EITHER a lore or a Baloth or I would have mulliganed.

      • What I mean by good at blocking is the fact they can do it. In this format it is not like we have a choice. Fog bank for example, does anyone really want to run it?

        Where as nothing can’t block anything. I understand what you are saying about dropping something fat on turn 3 but what if it is removed? Turn 3-5 you are probably dropping 1 creature a turn with rush pushing through.

        Even against control being able to get in some early pressure is important. Against Chandra, Liliana, and Talrand I feel you are definitely not the control deck so you will need to be the beat-down. :o)

        Liliana deck has so much cheap removal and a 3 turn free ride does not seem like a good idea. Then turn 4-6 trading 1for1 creature vs removal allowing them to get into the late game.

        Talrand seems really bad as a single fog bank can decide the game. Then late you really can’t stop Warp, Rites (kicked), and Bribery.

        Chandra may be the exception because they remove him easily.

        Maybe what I am describing is the reason why the aggressive version is better as you say and running a 2 drop that is not optimal to the deck is not the answer.

        Maybe you can do some youtube videos with this version of the deck, when you have time.

        Anyway we all have our own preferences and styles. Great write up, I enjoy yours and WSTT strategy articles and videos. Keep them coming.

    • I hear what you’re saying and I agree somewhat.

      The deck is susceptible to losing to great draws by talrand or lilliana’s deck. I do think those two are terrible matchups for the ramp deck.

      And you pointed it out yourself. I think the deck is far more competitive as the aggressive variant. The ramp deck is more of just for fun but I do still think it can viably win at least 50% against the whole cast combined.

    • Thanks man! I’m really glad you enjoyed and I hope the deck works for you. If you haven’t already make sure you check out Wing’s posts on this site. He’s already done a bunch of the decks.

  6. I have to agree with most of the comments. I firmly believe that due to the synergy, low overall casting costs, and high damage ratio in the goblin deck, soldier deck, and exalted deck make playing this green deck a risk not worth taking. I do not think there is a build with this deck that is missing the Companion that will be competitive because a lot of those game will be over before green can recover.

    • I’m not ragging on Daisho, I respect his opinion (previous post to the contrary), but I tried everything to squeeze out the Companions, and I’d just die.

      I’d like to know how he handles aggression without them, that’s all.

      Oh and he’s still wrong about fog :)

    • Hey man thanks for the comment.

      I really would have to contend that the goblins are the only deck on the list of three that you gave where a two drop would help.

      Peacekeepers doesn’t do much before turn three and by then you can play your larger creatures.

      Exalted does hit you for a bunch early on but it’s not the sort of damage you can block. A duty bound dead will be too big for you to block and most of their other attackers have some sort of evasion.

  7. Hi Wingspannt.
    I think you have a better lands to spells ratio if you put 61 cards in your deck. If you include fetch lands spells in your deck you don’t need such a big percentage of lands. In my experience it works better with 61 cards and the same amount of lands. Would you agree?

    • There are two schools of thought on this subject.

      One is that if you have 61 cards you will draw more creatures and less lands.

      The other is that if you have 61 cards you will draw the best card in your deck less often.

      It’s also worthy of note that in this deck you only run 24 lands so running 61 cards means a slightly lower than usual ration in a deck where hitting your first 4-5 land drops is key.

  8. I like it. I disagree with Timbermaw lava, a 2/2 for 4? Sure, he auto pumps when you swing, but he doesn’t trample. In a ramp deck I’d much rather run the Fangrens, who pump my other guys, even if they themselves trade easily.

    Just personal taste though. Unchecked the Timbermaws wreck face.

    • I underestimated Larva at first too. The thing is that even if they can chump it, can they chump it every turn for the rest of the game? It generates massive card advantage if they do. The only things that stop it other than removal are cards like Fog Bank.

  9. I also run Avenger of Zendikar over Howl of the Night pack now, too. Just because he also pumps your Chameleon Colossus. I love that guy.

  10. I agree with taking out the companions. I left two of them in my ramp build and found that whenever I drew them there was always something more meaningful to play in my hand. They just ended up being a waste most of the time. Daisho is a very good deck builder in this format and it’s hard to argue with his results.

  11. Hey Daisho, I don’t really have any questions about Pack Instinct, but I do have questions about the comments you made about Peacekeepers vs. Pack Instinct.

    “As for it losing to Peacekeepers? No way man. The absolute best case scenario for Peacekeepers is if they play an Elite Vanguard turn one and an Accorder Paladin turn two and hit me for 10. Chances are they don’t even run both of those cards. And that’s ONLY when they’re on the play. After that I can very easily stabilize.”

    The “chances are” comment implies, to me anyways, that you think those are terrible cards in a Peacekeepers build? That….is mildly confusing.

    I’m also wondering how you “easily stabilize” against a weenie force that can go big at any time thanks to 4 anthem effects…numerous fliers…and o-rings, journeys, and fiend hunters.

    Pack Instinct is fine for a mono-green deck, sure, but I think you’re overestimating it’s chances against actual tuned Odric decks (and even Celestial Light decks). I think it’s more of a 40/60 deck to be honest with you.

  12. Biorhythm love:

    So I was playing against a white life pump deck and the game stalled. He, the opponent, ended up with 9999 life, I had some big boys, but really just blockers. I played biorhythm, and boom (out of the blue) he was in reach of my primalcux. I’d have won too, we’re it not for his damn destroy target attacking creature spell, which he drew one turn before :-/.

    Biorhythm, in a deck with trample beasts, may be slightly underrated. It can win you games, even seemingly impossible ones, plus there is nothing better than its ‘holy-s@@t’ effect.

    Also, +1 on the fog love. It can completely turn a game. More importantly, it can buy you a turn. In a way, I see it as a poor man’s time warp against every thing other than direct damage decks. Also, never underestimate its ability to fix your own mistakes. If you over stretch your creatures, and find yourself undefended… Fog. You can even use it to let your opponent think you’ve over stretched. Eg. Attack, he lets everything through, seeing his next turn win… Fog. GG.

    Anyway, love these write-ups. You’ve definitely influenced my end-game in my ramp decks.

    • Also, why don’t people like the khalni hydra. I’ve never understood. You could easily play him turn four (in many builds), for three casting cost, and turn five in almost all. How is an 8/8 trample for three mana, ever a bad thing? Late game he’s probably free, and is fantastic paired with primalcux. IMO he should definitely be in your Argo build, but I use him always.

  13. Sorry, I have a noob question, but I’ve been reading a few of the articles here about the different decks and I’ve noticed most of them never prefer the use of the Medallions (Jet, Emerald, Sapphire, etc). I’ve been using them in all my decks and I don’t have a problem with them. Why the dislike?

    • They’re not bad, but in general they work best in decks with lots of card draw. If you get one in your opening hand, it’s only useful if you also have a 4-5 cost spell that has generic (uncolored) mana. If you get one late game, it is usually a worthless card.

      In paper Magic, these cards are better because you can have more effects to draw cards, letting you cast more spells per turn and thus take advantage of the reduced costs.

  14. Has anyone else run into the problem were Genesis Wave doesn’t work? I have had this happen to me many times. For example: I tap 7 land two creatures go to the field and one card goes to the graveyard. This happens to me all the time when I play this card. I’ve even had nothing go to the field and nothing in the graveyard. Am I the only one shit out of luck with this card?

  15. One thing to note about Primordial Hydra because (not that I’m the best player out there or anything) but I see people play it weird or just plain wrong alot. Use your math. My goal is to get it over 10 power so i can run over blockers into my opponent’s face. It’s too easy to chump otherwise. Making it a 1/1 is an ok option if you have nothing else to drop that turn, but if you are holding a land, you may as well wait a turn and play something else if you can, You can bring it out for 1 extra mana next turn and have it be the same 2/2 as it would have been if you had dropped it for 1/1 last turn. As a 1/1 it takes 5 turns to hit trample level, as a 2/2 it takes 4. Also, in certain circumstances you shouldn’t drop it for 4 if you can drop it for 3 and use the extra mana to play something else. 3/3 PH and 4/4 PH both gain trample in 2 turns the former being a 12/12, the latter being a 16/16. if you calculate that that may be the difference then it may be worth it, but if the extra 4 damage with trample isn’t a game changer and you can use the extra mana to drop something else, you may as well. The turn afte, I doubt you would care whether your PH had 24/24 or 32/32. I dunno, i just see people forgoing the math and just casting this dude for as much as possible whenever possible,. which in most cases is probably ok, but in some cases, is not the correct move IMO.

  16. Hi I’m new to the game. I got the Magic the gathering 2013 on my iPad 2 and I’m trying to build my deck Pack Instinct the same as your guide

    However I notice that some of the cards you are using only have 1 card on my iPad such as 2x Primordial Hydra while on my iPad there is only 1 available Primordial Hydra even though I have unlocked the 30 extra cards.

    Is the ipad version the same as the steam version or is there anything I dont know about

    Kind regard

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