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Budget Magic: $91 Mono-Green (Standard)

Hey there, Budget Magic lovers, it's that time once again! Green has been the worst color in Standard for the past year, even though it has some of the biggest, dumbest, above-the-curve creatures around. It simply didn't line up well with the removal-heavy plan of Rakdos. But now that Rakdos is banned, can Mono-Green make a comeback on just a $91 budget? Let's jam some new Standard and find out!

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Budget Magic: Mono-Green

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The Deck

Mono-Green is a somewhat midrange-y aggro deck. The goal is to play the biggest, most above-the-curve creatures possible at each point on the curve and smash our opponent to death with combat damage, just as Garfield intended.

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We kick things off with two of the most boring but also most important cards in our deck: our two mana dorks, Llanowar Loamspeaker and Armored Scrapgorger. Some of our strongest plays cost four, five, and even seven mana. These cards help us ramp into these big threats a turn quicker. While both cards cost two mana, which is a bummer compared to old-school mana dorks like Birds of Paradise or Llanowar Elves, they both come with an upside: they can eventually attack for three damage, with Llanowar Loamspeaker turning a land into a 3/3 creature and Armored Scrapgorger eventually turning itself into a 3/3 (while also giving us some incidental graveyard hate). So, while our mana dorks might not be as fast as those from Magic's past, they are much bigger and better at attacking. Meanwhile, Jewel Thief is just a solid card all around, especially for a common, offering an on-curve 3/3 body for three with two somewhat relevant keywords and a Treasure token to help us ramp, as a bonus.

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Next up, we have three big, above-the-curve beaters. Much to the chagrin of Siege Rhino, Polukranos is back and better than ever as Polukranos Reborn. Since our deck is mono-green and all of our lands tap for green mana, costing triple green isn't really a drawback in our deck, which lets us play a massive 4/5 for just three mana. Last, if our opponent is tapped down, we can flip it into a pseudo–Wurmcoil Engine, which is still a great creature even in 2023, giving us a 6/6 lifelinker that leaves behind two 3/3 tokens if it dies.

Ulvenwald Oddity is similar. Its front side is above the curve, as a 4/4 hasty trampler for four, while its backside pumps our team and ends up as an 8/8. Speaking of pumping the team, Defiler of Vigor is an absurd finisher if it sits on the battlefield, putting a +1/+1 counter on our entire team every time we cast a green permanent while also ramping us by letting us pay some Phyrexian mana to play our green permanent spells. 

With all of these cards, it's worth mentioning that they are much better today than they were a week ago before the bannings, mostly because Sheoldred, the Apocalypse is on the downswing. When Rakdos was the Standard meta, 4/4s and 4/5s simply weren't that good since they would get stonewalled by Sheoldred until they eventually died to Rakdos's endless removal. Now, if we run into Sheoldred, it's typically in an Esper shell, which is fine because Esper doesn't play nearly as much removal, and most of their creatures are small, letting cards like Polukranos, Oddity, and Defiler stick on and dominate the battlefield. 

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We've also got Invoke the Ancients, which has a pretty strong argument for being the best Invoke in Standard now that Invoke Despair is banned. Making two 4/5s with a keyword for five mana is a great deal. And, much like Polukranos Reborn, having a heavy green cost isn't really much of a cost for our deck since we're playing all green mana sources anyway. Getting eight total power and 10 toughness for five mana is super far above the curve, and doubly so since we can give them reach if we need to block a flier, we can put a trample counter on them if we need to get through little blockers, or we can add a vigilance counter if we need to play defense. The big problem with Invoke the Ancients in the past wasn't that it was too weak for Standard; it was that green as a color just wasn't good enough. But now that green is back on the menu, Invoke the Ancients is worth reconsidering just because of the raw stats it adds to the battlefield.

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Speaking of cards that should be reevaluated in light of the recent bannings, we also have Tribute to the World Tree, which is one of the strongest cards in our entire deck. The enchantment gives us a steady source of card advantage as we cast our big threats (and remember, it also triggers off tokens, so Invoke the Ancients draws us two cards!) and grows our mana dorks, like Llanowar Loamspeaker and Armored Scrapgorger, keeping them relevant in the late game when they would normally be useless. In the bad old days before the B&R, cards like Tribute to the World Tree—enchantments that need to sit on the battlefield for several turns to generate value—were useless because Invoke Despair gave many of the best decks a main-deck answer to such cards. But now, cards like Tribute to the World Tree are insane! In fact, the only loss we had in our video was to Brokers Ascendancy, another three-mana enchantment that needs to sit on the battlefield to be good. It seems like people are waking up to the fact that enchantments are essentially unbanned now that Invoke Despair is gone.

We also have one Doomskar Warrior as another source of card advantage, and it could be worth playing a couple more. The ability to back up a Jewel Thief or Polukranos Reborn on Turn 4 to get in some extra damage and draw a creature or land is really powerful. 

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Last but not least, we have our finisher: Nissa, Ascended Animist. Nissa also benefited greatly from Invoke Despair being banned. Nissa was pretty bad with Invoke Despair around. You'd play it for five, six, or seven mana and make a big token, and your opponent could simply cast an Invoke Despair to kill both the token and the Nissa. It was brutal. Now that Invoke Despair is gone, Nissa, Ascended Animist is absurd. Its Phyrexian mana cost gives us some flexibility in casting it, the tokens it makes are massive (and trigger Tribute to the World Tree), and Nissa typically wins us the game on the spot if we get up to seven mana since we can ultimate it on the turn it comes into play, giving our entire team something like +7/+7 and trample, making Nissa essentially a planeswalker version of Craterhoof Behemoth! If you want an example of what Nissa can do, watch the game against Five-Color Domain Control where our opponent got up to 40-ish life thanks to an Atraxa, Grand Unifier that stuck on the battlefield for five turns, only for Nissa to come down an steal the win the turn before we would have died. With the new rotation schedule keeping Nissa legal for the next 2.5 years, I'd snag my copies now. I was actually shocked that the planeswalker is under $5 a copy, letting us play a playset in a $100 budget deck. The card is busted in Mono-Green, and it seems likely that Mono-Green will be good at some point. It might even be good now, based on our experience with this deck!

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Last but not least, we have a couple of spells. Bushwhack is almost an MDFC, giving us a fight spell or a land. Because we can use it to tutor up a Forest for just one mana (and because we have eight mana dorks), we're only playing 20 lands in our deck, to help make sure we don't flood out. If we need a land, Bushwhack snags one; if we don't, we can use it as removal. We also have a full set of Tyvar's Stand to protect our big threats with hexproof and indestructible, although the X-spell aspect of Tyvar's Stand is a huge upside compared to past versions since we sometimes just randomly one-shot our opponent by pumping one of our tramplers in the late game.


Record-wise, Mono-Green has been shockingly good, going 8-1 across nine matches at Platinum and Diamond on Magic Arena. While control with a bunch of Farewells, Depopulates, and Sunfalls can be a tricky matchup, the deck is really good against all the aggro decks running around—our creatures are just too big for decks like Mono-Red, Toxic, and Soldiers to keep up with. It seems like Mono-Green might actually be good again in Standard, even on a $91 budget!

As far as changes to make to the budget build of the deck, I'm pretty happy with how the deck landed in general, although I think it might be worth moving Tranquil Frillback to the main deck over Jewel Thief. Jewel Thief is fine, but we ended up sideboarding in Tranquil Frillback almost every match, which is probably a sign that its combo of artifact / enchantment hate, lifegain, and graveyard hate is worthy of a main deck slot.

So, should you play Mono-Green in Standard? I think the answer is (surprisingly) yes! I was expecting Mono-Green to be a decent budget deck, but after playing it a bunch, I'm starting to think it might actually just be a real tier deck in our new post-ban Standard format. Nissa, Ascended Animist and Tribute to the World Tree are both extremely powerful now that Invoke Despair is banned, which makes the plan of playing big, dumb green creatures better than it has been in a long time. If you like the Timmy Magic of playing the biggest monsters possible and using them to smash our opponent to death, Mono-Green is likely the perfect budget Standard deck for you!

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If there's a downside to $91 budget Mono-Green, it's that it isn't all that cheap on Magic Arena since it uses a lot of rares and mythics. However, I think we can make at least a semi-competitive version of the deck for just 15 rares and mythics by cutting down on rares and mythics in the sideboard; swapping Llanowar Loamspeaker for Reclusive Taxidermist (which isn't a huge loss at all); and trimming back on Invoke the Ancients, Nissa, Ascended Animist, and Defiler of Vigor for Blossom Prancer and Cankerbloom. While the deck is probably a bit less consistent and powerful than the version we played in the video, it should be solid enough for unranked play, at least, and it might have a chance to compete at the lower ranks of the ladder while you are working on upgrades.

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The good news is that the non-budget build of Mono-Green doesn't get much more expensive. We sneak a Boseiju, Who Endures into the mana base and a Vorinclex into the main deck. But in general, the budget build is pretty close to optimal. Because green has been so bad in Standard, even their best cards are cheap at the moment, which is part of what makes it such a solid budget archetype!


Anyway, that's all for today. As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at

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