Home Editorial Selesnya Collective Might deck guide: Token heaven

As I mentioned in my Poison Elf Wave deck guide, when it comes to Magic: The Gathering, I’m all about ramp. And of course to be all about ramp you have to be all about green, and I am absolutely that.

It figures then I took to the Green/White Selesnya deck first when the recent Duels 2013 expansion hit; while there’s virtually no ramp involved, it’s classic green in that it’s all about smashing your opponent’s face in with tons of creatures (in this case, many of them tokens), with a little help from white for removal, pump, lifegain, and extra tokens.

If not built carefully, Collective Might can seem underpowered and small compared to the power of decks like Grinning Malice, but rest assured, with my tips and build, you’ll be able to compete with the best of them.


The road more traveled

There are a variety of ways you can go with the deck, but after heavy testing with a variety of builds, I recommend two: defensive with lifegain, removal, beaters, a little ramp, and no tokens (well, almost none), and token crazy with no regard for anything but swarming the board. Generally speaking I recommend the latter, and not trying to do something in between as it will greatly hurt your strategy either way. With the token strategy you’ll lose more often to brutally aggressive decks or flier heavy decks like the aformentioned Grinning Malice, but do better against pretty much everything else.

Going all out with tokens, then, I first tried putting everything that could produce tokens in the deck, regardless of any other factors, but quickly found this to be suboptimal. Though it’s tempting to constantly have tons of means to produce the little guys, some (like Selesnya Guildmage) are just far too slow and expensive. As such, this build sticks to cheaper methods which have other uses, like Ant Queen and the surprisingly brutal Hero of Bladehold (aided greatly by Parallel Lives) which puts the deck over the top if timed properly.

The other key aspect of the strategy is pump. On their own, your little Sapprolings and Soldiers are pretty scrawny, but with enchantments like Intangible Virtue and Beastmaster Ascension (one of my favourite green cards of all time), plus the well-positioned Wilt-Leaf Liege, you’ll find yourself swinging in for 20+ damage regularly.

The deck’s major weakness is removal: if your opponent is constantly killing your token producers, tokens, and/or removing your enchantments, it’s going to be hard to keep the momentum going. Even in the worst matchups, though, I’ve found you can slowly whittle your opponent down with a select few creatures, so never assume it’s over until it’s really over.


Selesnya Collective Might deck list


Alternate deck list: Low-token beats

  • 2x Elvish Skysweeper
  • 2x Swords to Plowshares
  • 1x Eladamri’s Call
  • 2x Knotvine Paladin
  • 2x Qasali Pridemage
  • 2x Sigil Blessing
  • 2x Beastmaster Ascension
  • 2x Behemoth Sledge
  • 2x Civic Wayfinder
  • 2x Dauntless Escort
  • 2x Nightguard Patrol
  • 2x Trophy Hunter
  • 2x Hero of Bladehold
  • 3x Loxodon Hierarch
  • 1x Marshal’s Anthem
  • 2x Wilt-Leaf Liege
  • 2x Overrun
  • 1x Phytohydra
  • 2x Silklash Spider
  • 1x Tolsimir Wolfblood
  • 3x Evolving Wilds
  • 9x Forest
  • 11x Plains

Selesnya Collective Might card-by-card analysis (cost order)

Evolving Wilds 4.5

This is mainly to make Overrun a consistently viable finisher, but it will get you out of tight spots with double cost cards now and then as well.

Elvish Skysweeper 2.0

While your most direct defense against fliers, Skysweeper is severely overcosted — a simple Plummet would much better serve the intended purpose here were it available.

Swords to Plowshares 3.0

Very effective removal that can also double as lifegain in a pinch, Swords is a classic card for a reason. However, it doesn’t fit with the token heavy theme I’m going for, so it’s out.

Sprout 4.0

One of the scant few 1 drops in the deck, and the only one that fits with the token strategy, Sprout is an auto include. While seemingly worthless, at instant speed it can surprise kill an opponent’s key 1-toughness creature, or on the best of days, become 2 7/7s (all for just one mana).

Knotvine Paladin 3.5

A fine beater that works well with Pridemage, Knotvine unfortunately goes against the more effective Beastmaster Ascension-fueled aggro strategy.

Eladamri’s Call 5.0

Part of the unofficial ‘broken expansion cards cycle’, Call lets you search up any creature in your deck for a measly two mana. Depending how much mana you have available you can use this to summon a variety of useful creatures, but most of the time the best bet is Hero of Bladehold.

Selesnya Guildmage 2.5

The leader of the hippies is acceptable as a 2/2 for 2, but is rarely useful for his abilities. While being able to repeatedly pump out tokens and boost them is nice, it’s near worthless when each ability costs 4, and the latter isn’t permanent.

Fists of Ironwood 4.0

The trample isn’t often relevant, but Fists is nice as a double Sprout. On rare occasion, though, everything will come together and you’ll cast it on your Scion of the Wild, making him an 8/8 trampler with a bunch of friends to back him up.

Transluminant 3.0

Okay as a 2/2 for 2 that trades up for a 1/1 flier, but ultimately just a crappy Midnight Haunting. That the token isn’t instant is another reason not to keep her.

Intangible Virtue 4.5

Helps turn your little guys into slightly bigger guys. With just one or two creatures on the field it might not mean a ton, but mid to late game it can get scary. The vigilance is a nice bonus that comes in handy now and then, especially against high power dudes.

Jade Mage 4.0

I initially underestimated this fine lady. While paying 3 for a 1/1 is expensive, she’s a cheap 2-power creature on turn 2, and mid to late game she can consistently give you four 2/2s for six mana with the help of a couple enchantments. In the worst case scenario, she prolongs the game by offering up more blockers until you can get the cards you need to close out the game.

Selesnya Evangel 4.0

She’s a bit slow, but Evangel does well at holding off 1/1s in the early game while helping you pump out your own. Like the Jade Mage, she goes from good to great with enchantments on the field later on.

Sigil Blessing 4.5

A versatile card, Blessing can finish the game for you if you’ve got a ton of tokens on the field, or just help you take down that fatty your enemy thinks has a lock on you. Combat tricks are always welcome, and they find a perfect fit here.

Beastmaster Ascension 5.0

Tied with Hero as the most brutal card in the deck, it doesn’t take long with tokens for Beastmaster to turn your harmless 1/1s into monstrous 6/6s (or often 7/7s). Combine with Hero for vicious blowouts. The timing has to be right and your opponent has to have fewer creatures than you for it to really work well, but most of the time this is easily accomplished. I only wish there was another in the deck.

Midnight Haunting 4.5

Blocks fliers at instant speed, provides evasion — an all-around solid card that gets brutal with combos.

Behemoth Sledge 3.0

Trample can be very valuable in Collective Might, but sadly Sledge is far too slow to be very effective. Worth considering as a one-of for late game, though.

Scion of the Wild 4.0

On its good days, it’s one of the more vicious cards available; on its bad, it’s an unthreatening weenie that gets killed quick. Scion feels made for Fists of Ironwood.

Civic Wayfinder 2.5

A decent ramp card in a deck with virtually no other ramp.

Dauntless Escort 3.5

A respectable defensive card, Escort isn’t too useful in a format with little wrath, but can work well toward an aggro strategy by making attackers or blockers indestructible, speeding you toward victory in the right situation.

Nightguard Patrol 2.5

Only really useful against aggro decks; two cards out of the whole lot that work specifically against one strategy isn’t worth considering.

Trophy Hunter 3.0

Great against smaller fliers, Hunter is pretty much helpless against the biggest threat in the format: Demigod of Revenge.

Hero of Bladehold 5.0

The star of the show, Hero wasn’t a huge hit in Standard due to her slow speed relative to other decks in the format, but in Duels she’s perfectly timed to take over most games. Especially scary when you’ve got a Parallel Lives and Intangible Virtue on the field, which sees you swinging in for ~20 damage per turn.

Leonin Armguard 3.0

+1/+1 for just one turn? No thanks.

Marshal’s Anthem 4.0

+1/+1 every turn — that’s more like it. Occasionally lets you bring back finishers like Hero, too.

Loxodon Hierarch 3.5

Undercosted with utility and beatdown potential all in one is intriguing…in another build.

Parallel Lives 4.5

A cornerstone of all token decks, Lives lets you double up on creatures for a reasonable four mana.

Phytohydra 3.5

Great in a ramp deck, of which there’s very little here.

Wilt-Leaf Liege 4.5

Provides a permanent boost to all of your creatures, and an even bigger one to all the multicoloured guys, Liege is also effective against the discard so prevalent in Rakdos decks.

Silklash Spider 3.5

Your best bet against fliers big and small, Silklash lets you pump to wipe out the guys in the sky or just block them. Worth considering for all the Rakdos and Demigod of Revenge running about.

Ant Queen 4.5

A much needed mid-range beater, Ant Queen is scary on her own, then even moreso once you get three tokens out every turn after she hits the field (or six with Parallel Lives).

Juniper Order Ranger 4.0

He comes kind of late, but nonetheless this guy can put a real thorn in your opponent’s side by getting bigger as you play more creatures, and making them bigger in turn.

Qasali Pridemage 3.5

Its Exalted trigger works well with cards like Sledge and Knotvine Paladin, and of course it’s great for chump blocking then sacrificing it to get rid of a pesky enchantment or artifact. Recommended if you prefer a more defensive style, but otherwise best left behind in order to serve the board flood strategy.

Overrun 4.5

Initially I shied away from this classic green card due to the triple green cost, but after extensive testing and with the aid of Evolving Wilds, it proved easy enough to cast most of the time.

Nemata, Grove Guardian 2.5

He’d be a solid entry in a Saproling only deck, but here he just proves awkward in that his abilities apply only to Saprolings. The slow speed is another reason to chuck him.

Pale Recluse 2.5

Doubles as ramp and flier defense, but with weak and few other cards to support it, it’s not worth much.

Pollenbright Wings 4.0

Expensive but a potentially savage finisher, Wings lets you spawn tokens like nothing else in the deck, and provides evasion.

Tolsimir Wolfblood 3.0

Another pump creature, this one comes too late to affect the board state much. That he spawns legendary creatures only is another reason to give him the boot.

Verdeloth the Ancient 2.0

Like Nemata, its pump effect applies only to Saprolings, and its kicker is essentially never used due to the lack of ramp in Collective Might.

Novablast Wurm 3.0

Potentially a very effective finisher that drops wrath and attacks simultaneously, it’s worth considering as a one-of — just mind the cost.

Biorhythm 2.5

Like the Wurm, this can win you game instantly…if you can ever reach its high mana cost.

Living Hive 2.5

The last in the ‘awesome cards you’ll never play cause we didn’t include ramp’ series of cards, Hive works like a poor man’s Wings (or perhaps a rich man’s since you need so much land to play it).


Collective Might gameplay example videos

40 replies to this post
  1. Pollenbright wings are too expensive and too prone to giving your opponent card advantage. When they work they are likely to be a ‘I win more’ card increasing the margin of victory but not the fact of it.

    Dauntless Escort is to me an auto include. It accomplishes so much for this deck. It allows big attacks that would otherwise leave you very vulnerable to be viable. This can go a long way towards taking advantage of beast master ascension. It’s also a powerful defensive card; you can stack several creatures to take out a threat and lose only a single 3/3 or chump block for a round and keep your army. The fact that this comes attached to a 3/3 body that double benefits from the liege and tolsimir just makes it all the better.

    Mostly the same story for Loxodon hierarch though it requires more planning to make use of and as such isn’t as essential.

    I think swords to plowshares should also be included it’s too versatile and cheap to omit, the life gain is less of a downside for this deck since it usually wins big or not at all.

    • Pollenbright works as a means of replenishing tokens, which you’ll often need to do if your opponent is running a beatdown or removal heavy deck. It also combos great with Juniper and Scion.

      You make a great point about Escort and Beastmaster, though, so I’m going to try that out.

      I don’t believe in including just two cards of a single purpose; if I want that kind of removal in the deck, I want more than two cards for it.

  2. I see you didn’t rate the Qasali Pridemage… I still think the deck is underpowered… It can be slow especially if you don’t get the right mana colors… Since it’s slow it can give the enemy time to get out enchantments or creatures that can be game ending if you can’t get around them. (Don’t even get me started on board clearing cards. One of those on turn 5 and it’s gg.) No removal means it’s game over if any of those come out. Let me name a few:

    1. Elderscale Wurm
    2.Silent arbiter
    4.any huge flyer
    5. Pariah

    anything that sits there and has an effect destroys this deck. If you’re going up against korspirit dancer, the enemy can just keep making it bigger and gain card advantage, and you can do nothing about it. You’ll lose almost every time if that card comes out early. This deck has the least amount of effective removal out of any of the others. I’m not saying you could build this deck better to change that. There is only two copies of one viable moveable spell in the whole deck…

    They should have made the deck faster… For a deck designed for late game trampling, it wasn’t made very well to let you survive until late game…

    • Oops – that one slipped through. I’ll get on it.

      I’ve gone up against an early Korspirit Dancer several times and won, actually; you just have to race the deck which is entirely possible.

      I find the Evangel, Jade Mage, etc. often work well at letting you survive by providing you with infinite blockers.

  3. Destricted:

    Great deck design, i appreciate the subtleties that was put into it. I will post mine soon since I went on the OTHER end of the spectrum and made my theme heavy undercosted creature beatdown with mid-late game support: which is also quite successful.

    I however do feel that maybe a variant with at least one swords to plowshares should be considered because the opponent may drop that well timed powerhouse of a creature that swords to plowshares would be an out for. Of course one could also make the argument that “if I have to resort to doing that…then the game is already over for me.” But I’ve come into too many situations where I was at 5 life and a Demigod of Revenge drops and the S2P saved me, and I was able to swing back for game winning damage.

    Great job however :D

    • Overall I agree with this comment. I feel like Swords needs to find a way in, if only to stop things like Demigod. I also agree pollenbright is a bit of a “win more” card, similar to Celestial Mantle. The rest of it, I could go either way on.

  4. Dude, what? If your opponent is running a “removal heavy” deck, good luck getting Pollenbright Wings to ever stick.

    I guess the omission of Swords is where the “humor” part of “videogame strategy & humor” comes in.

  5. No pro here, but in the top 5% of iPad users so I don’t think I’m chump change. I freely pirate tips on sites like these or o. YouTube, getting original only by modifying suggested 60 card decks slightly. Still, gotta say this one was a wash. Garruk’s deck and the Aura deck crushed me five times in a row as I drew parallel lives, ant queen, overrun, and scion with a whopping four or five chumps by the time I died in turn 5. Probably have to go with some of the more moderate balanced builds on wizards.com if I was taking tips. Just need more early round threats including our two mana sacrifice to remove enchantment/artifact guy..forgot his name, thanks though for the article!

  6. Pollenbright usually works, just make sure your opponent can’t kill it the turn you put it out to at least get some tokens out of it.

  7. The omission of swords honestly doesn’t matter. I’ve played this deck enough to know you usually never get them when your playing a deck you need them against. You’ll need every card at your disposal to get enough power out on the field to crush your enemies. I end up with too many spells when I run the swords. If you must put them in, I recommend taking out a spell rather then a creature… This is why I just say the deck is underpowered, rather then a bad build…

    • Precisely! You need to focus as much as possible on swarming the board in order to win. Sure a Swords will save you every now and then, but against the Rakdos deck especially, they have four Demigods which can recur, while you have a measly two Swords which you may or may not ever see. Cards like Demigod are brutal, but you do stand a chance if you’re fully focused on the swarm strategy, and a better chance overall in any given situation. I always value consistency over luck – wherever possible I refuse to put myself in a situation where I’m praying to pull a card, especially with slim odds.

  8. Here’s my version of this deck:
    (it will appeal to the non-token happy folks)

    3 x Evolving Wilds
    2 x Swords to Plowshares
    1 x Eladamri’s Call
    2 x Fists of Ironwood
    2 x Jade Mage
    2 x Knotvine Paladin
    2 x Qasali Pridemage
    2 x Selensya Guildmage
    2 x Sigil Blessing
    2 x Behemoth Sledge
    2 xCivic Wayfinder
    2 x Dauntless Escort
    2 x Midnight Haunting
    2 x Hero of Bladehold
    3 x Loxodon Hierarch
    2 x Wilt-Leaf Liege
    2 x Ant Queen
    2 x Overrun
    2 x Silklash Spider
    1 x Tolsimir Wolfblood
    1 x Novablast Wurm

    I build this one with balance in mind. The deck’s paradigm is to first establish early board presence with several 2/2’s that can produce a token or two when given the chance. When the mana level increases, the mid game cards will start mass pumping the army in an effort to finish off the opponent with a well timed Overrun or Novablast Wurm (if given the chance).

    The mid game support protects the early rush from sweeper spells (Loxodon Hierarch & Dauntless Escort) not to mention a plus when the Novablast Wurm starts attacking. The addition of the Silklash Spider also provides an answer against even the fat flyers and mass producing flyers like Tarland. I did include the Behemoth sledges here since they, along with the Loxodon Hierarch can make up for early life losses as well as creating a powerhouse with trample and lifelink.

  9. You can use the Wings on a creature you don’t control, say a Demigod of Revenge. He could remove that creature or not use it anymore for attacking, which would be good for you.

  10. 2 X Evolving Wilds
    2 X Sprout
    2 X Swords to Plowshares
    1 X Eladamri’s Call
    2 X Fists of Ironwood
    2 X Knotvine Paladin
    2 X Qasali Pridemage
    2 X Sigil Blessing
    2 X Beastmaster Ascension
    2 X Civic Wayfinder
    2 X Dauntless Escort
    2 X Midnight Haunting
    3 X Scion of the Wild
    2 X Hero of Bladehold
    2 X Loxodon Hierarch
    1 X Marshal’s Anthem
    2 X Wilt-Leaf Liege
    2 X Ant Queen
    2 X Juniper Order Ranger
    2 X Silklash Spider
    1 X Tolsimir Wolfblood

    Pretty boring actually, just a smooth distribution of pretty good creatures. Tokens are relegated to just another trick rather than being the focus of the deck.

  11. So what do you do when said Spiritdancer gets lifelink on it? Do you just auto-lose the race because Pridemages and Swords were omitted?

  12. AS can be a very fast deck vs a slow deck like CM is a bad matchup. When I play AS I end up with a beefed up invisible stalker on turn 3 about 65% of the time. which could only be slowed down by a diabolic edict or early flamebreak/rain of embers.so you could sit here all day and say ‘ what if this happens’, but you want to make a build most consistent against all the other decks.

  13. I’m surprised by the lack of Swords, Dauntless and Knotvine Paladin. I’d suggest -1 Pollenbright Wings, -2 Juniper Order Ranger, -2 Ant Queen, -2 Sprout and adding +2 Swords, +2 Knotvine Paladin, +1 Tolsimir Wolfblood, +2 Dauntless Escort.

    Anything after 4 mana needs to have an immediate impact. Cards like Pollenbright, Ranger, and Ant Queen aren’t providing any kind of significance until a turn later, which is less than ideal.

    Knotvine at 2 mana is perfect for the deck – it’s cheap, will more often than not be swinging as a 3/3 – X/X, gives both colors for Liege, your tokens will have vigilance, and it’s a great target for Fists of Ironwood. I can’t really ask for much more from a 2 mana investment.

    I leave out Sprout just because I feel Swords is a superior card. Top that off with the fact that you’ve already got a 1 mana engine to make 1/1 tokens with Selesnya Evangel and it’s feels kind of convoluted. This really comes down to preference though.

    One of the earlier posts covered most of what makes Escort so great in the deck.

  14. I skipped all the way to the bottom but I saw why you lost the 3rd game. You did not play compulsive research to try and draw into a land that would have given you the final point of damage.

  15. My build leans towards yours, and yeah, I’ve been fantasizing pulling off a Novablast Wurm + Dauntless Escort/Loxodon Hierarch, but for some reason I can never pull it off. My wins with this deck usually come from Overrun. I think I might be casting Dauntless Escort too early and by the time the Wurm drops it’s the rhino’s already gone.

  16. It’s a hilarious last resort though! :D I’ve actually considered doing this a lot of times but I find using 6 mana to stop just one creature to be very amusing. If I could stick it to Invisible Stalker I would but he’s hexproof, so. But with a deck like this that’s just trying to get by for much of the game I’m sure the situation will arise when PW’ing the enemy’s creature will make sense. :D

  17. Sorry my replies didn’t stick to the original comments :(

    I think this deck is too slow and defenseless compared to the other token deck – peacekeepers (or even goblin gangland). Since I don’t play or follow paper Magic anymore, I was a bit disappointed when I saw WiNG go through some of the new cards. Turns out there are cards and abilities that make Selesnya work, they just didn’t put them in, particularly the propagate and gate cards.

    That said, winning with Overrun never gets old. :D

  18. Ummm… no demigod hit with swords will recur… srsly, RTFC. I think it’s safe to say that 2x swords and a pridemage are going to be much more useful than pollenbright wings and 2x sprout. There are a lot of big creatures and brutal enchantments and equipment you can’t deal with, making the switch will probably up your win % a lot. Selesnya is far from the best deck though, especially in 1 vs 1. I am about 27-3 on Xbox live with the Odric deck.

  19. Also in this game 3 you mostly lost because you never cast compulsive research. It would’ve got you another land, if not some better quality burn. Also, ditching wincons because you are busy talking is no good, you should probably ditch the cards and then explain yourself later.

  20. Pollenbright wings is terrible, first off it cost 6 mana which is too expensive and all it gives is tokens if you manage to attack your opponent, late game i see no chance of this working.

  21. In the most epic 2HG comeback I’ve ever played, I was playing against Selesnya/Lilly. I was running the jace deck and I had been milling the mono black deck. Selesnya got a beastmaster acension down and had a ton of tokens, got it active fairly quickly. I end step into the roiled beastmaster, untapped, and dropped a body double copying a milled massacre wurm. The damage was enough to finish them, and it completely wiped the board. Swords would’ve been good for the selesnya player there…

    • Swords wouldn’t have helped at all, unless you’re talking about a different “swords” card which can counter abilities. ;P

  22. I think the best build for any white green deck is to not play white green and instead play with red and anything and SMASH FACE UNTIL BREAk STUFF, yeah.

  23. May I ask what platform this guide is for? Apparently the PC/Steam version has different cards, because Eldamari’s call, Marshalls Anthem, and several others aren’t even in the PC version.

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