Staples of Modern 2018: Top 5 Green Spells

With today’s article color week comes to an end with the best green spells around. It is often said that if you are playing green in Modern your choice is whether to play a Noble Hierarch deck or Ancient Stirrings deck. Before we dive in and see how true this is, do not forget to enter yourself in this week’s giveaway.

The following cards have been ranked by dominance rating using data from This is calculated by multiplying the percent of decks they appear in by the average number of copies that appear in said decks. For frame of reference, a card that appears in 25% of decks as a two of will have a 0.5 dominance rating. For a hypothetical, 100-player tourney this means that there would be 0.5 copies of said card per player in the room. These cards have had their mainboard and sideboard dominance ratings summed when applicable. Cards with a mixed color identity have been excluded from the results.

Honorable Mention: Scavenging Ooze
Scooze fell just short of our list at 0.29 dominance rating. This is rather impressive feat as it is almost never played as a full playset. A few copies of Scavenging Ooze find their way into a wide range of green based decks from Elves to Jund. It is an effective hatebear against graveyard and aggressive decks alike while functioning as a legitimate win condition. This card is actually very well positioned at the time of this writing.

#5 Collected Company: 0.31
CoCo is not a card that can be put into every creature deck. It creates deck building restrictions requiring that you not only have a very high creature count, but almost all of those creatures have to have a mana cost of three or less. Despite this, Collected Company continues to be a format staple because it is just so powerful. The ability to instantly put six mana worth of creatures into play for four mana is simply too much value for most green creature decks to pass up.

#4 Tarmogoyf: 0.33
In the early days of Modern, if you were playing Green you were playing Goyf. Although Goyf has fallen off a bit, it still continues to be one of the most efficient creatures ever printed. In fact, it was meant to be printed at a cost of three mana but they forgot to update the design file after testing. Tarmogoyf is at its best in decks that fill graveyards through interacting with the opponent. Even if not built around though, Tarmogoyf is regularly a 4/5 or even 5/6 through the course of a normal game. It may not be what it once was but it is still a pillar of the format.

#3 Nature’s Claim: 0.46
Seeing Nature’s Claim this high on the list is a little surprising. It is not a card that every green deck will want. Regardless, it is the most played sideboard card in the format. KCI and Tron have popularized the card as an answer to the various hate cards they face postboard. In a pinch, these decks are able to turn it on their own artifacts to increase their life total. It is the format’s premier counter-hate card.

#2 Ancient Stirrings: 0.48
Ancient Stirrings is one of the most powerful cards in Modern and might as well be a colorless card. The ability to see five cards deep for one mana is something no other color has access to. Tron has always been the traditional home for Ancient Stirrings. The great showing from KCI and Hardened Scales elevated it to the second most played Green card in Modern. The green mana is usually coming from sources like Mox Opal instead of green lands, but Stirrings continues to be one of the big reasons to play green  in Modern.

#1 Noble Hierarch: 0.70
Noble Hierarch is the most powerful mana dork Modern has to offer. While not quite Birds of Paradise, Noble Hierarch still provides access to three colors of mana. The exalted keyword is what puts Noble over the top. This ability provides incremental value over the course of the game and often takes away your opponent’s ability to make good blocks. While Noble Hierarch is powerful enough on its own, it also a human. This enables it to synergize with the rest of the humans deck but it makes frequent appearances in non-Humans decks as well. It is a Modern staple and the most dominant green card in the format.

Based on our data it does appear that most green decks tend to be either Noble Hierarch or Stirrings decks. However, Goyf’s placement demonstrates that GBx Midrange is alive and well in the Modern format. This closes out color week and we are excited to move forward. We will be doing a Sunday special this weekend to take a look at the overwhelming ban discussion gripping the community and then hat night we will determine a winner for this week’s giveaway.

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