Join the team over on The 99 as we discuss the deck. Let's make a better Selvala, Heart of the Wilds!

The 99 - Part One - Strategy & Infinite Mana Loops

The 99 - Part Two - The Stampede & Play Lines

The 99 - Part Three - What to Avoid & Budget Alternatives

The Gist: Winning in Three Easy Steps!

  1. Turn 2, Cast Selvala
  2. Turn 3, Generate Infinite Mana
  3. Start the Stampede

I'll explain what "the stampede" is in a moment, but basically you want a starting hand that will allow you to cast Selvala on Turn 2 - this is paramount to the success of the deck and what allows Selvala to be competitive - and come Turn 3 we should hopefully have kept or mulligan'd for a hand containing big enough creatures or buff spells to get the mana sufficient to cast our infinite mana generator(s) or a draw/tutor spell for a solution to generate infinite mana. Once we have that going, the deck will win with a series of infinite loops. Before we get to combo'ing out for the win, or even discussing the ways to generate infinite mana, let's talk about how to get Selvala out on Turn 2...

There are fourteen ways (not including Land Grant ) to get Selvala out on Turn 2. This ratio can change by adding additional cards like Birds of Paradise or Jeweled Amulet , but I've found fourteen to be the magic number from all my testing. Even if I have to start with 5 cards, which often happens, we can still eke out a win with the right hand. We'll talk in-depth on what you should be looking for in your starting hand and when to mulligan over on The 99. Now, let's generate infinite mana...

(These methods are assuming you're only using mana from Selvala's activated ability)

5 Power on Battlefield

6 Power on Battlefield

7 Power on Battlefield

8 Power on Battlefield

10 Power on Battlefield (6 Power w/Untap Effect)

11 Power on Battlefield

13 Power on Battlefield (8 Power w/Untap Effect)

Honorary Mentions

*The stated "Power on Battlefield" is considered a minimum requirement for the given loop

Obviously, any mana available from lands or alternative mana sources will help to diminish the costs of these set ups, but it's important that a Creature - either naturally of stated power levels or buffed to - be on the Battlefield, as these loops may not work otherwise. These cards need to be cast, which is a factor to bear in mind when setting up for infinite mana. Lastly, this is where the stampede truly begins.

Once you've generated infinite mana, we're ready to start the stampede. Leading up to this point, you'll have likely cast a large creature, gained mana off said creature, played an untap effect, gained more mana off of large creature, destroyed said large creature to draw cards, played another big creature... You get the picture. I like to consider this stirring the stampede. After which, we want to finish our opponents off by drawing the rest our deck and throwing every creature we have at them.

Drawing the Deck

  • Duskwatch Recruiter   - This werewolf is easily the best method for drawing all of our creatures out. If you only have one creature tutor left after generating infinite mana, grab this guy. He will allow you to harmlessly pluck all of our creatures out and play them onto the battlefield.

  • Temur Sabertooth & Cloudstone Curio - Alongside Selvala, these two cards will act in the same fashion bouncing your largest creature to hand allowing you recast it, drawing a card off of Selvala's first ability.

  • Lifecrafter's Bestiary - If you've generated infinite mana using a loop that does not feature a large creature, or you've done so with an artificially large creature and you don't have a big creature to cast, this is your best friend. For example: with our 5 & 6 power infinite mana loops, we can recast our Wirewood Symbiote or Mana Dork paying an additional Forest to get the infinite card draw we need.

  • Staff of Domination - In a world with infinite mana, need I say more?

  • Genesis Wave - Not so much "drawing" your deck as it is playing it, but you get the idea. We're able to play out every permanent with this card: it's a staple.

  • Tooth and Nail - This alone does not allow you to draw your deck, however... If we've net infinite mana, we can grab Temur Sabertooth and any large creature to bounce and draw off of Selvala's first ability.

  • Weird Harvest - There are definite draw backs here, but generally speaking there aren't a lot of creatures in cEDH. For the Selvala player, yes. That's where this comes in handy. We can grab every one of our creatures to place onto the field. If we're concerned about some form of retaliation from our opponents due to this, only grab Duskwatch Recruiter   for the same effect.

  • Eternal Witness & Temur Sabertooth or Cloudstone Curio + Any Draw Spell (preferably one that doesn't Destroy Creature) - (Nearly) All of our methods to generating infinite mana require a bounce. With cards like Soul's Majesty nestled away in our grave from an earlier play, we can bounce EWIT repeatedly to grab and play our draw spells. This same loop can also be accomplished with Skullwinder .

  • Eternal Witness & Temur Sabertooth or Cloudstone Curio + Most Any Tutor Spell - In much the same fashion as our draw effects, we can simply loop EWIT (or Skullwinder ) with cards like Chord of Calling to get all our creatures into play.

  • (Honorary Mention) Genesis Hydra - This card is typically most valuable when we're stirring the stampede, however it can be played once we net infinite mana to grab a core card out of our deck. Usually it'll grab Temur Sabertooth , Cloudstone Curio or Concordant Crossroads .

You'll notice that "Drawing the Deck" and playing out all our creatures is one in the same effect, as with Selvala our creatures are our biggest draw potential. Now, if Genesis Hydra grabbing Concordant Crossroads wasn't enough of a giveaway, let's talk about how this deck wins.

There is a loop with Beast Within & Eternal Witness that's cute, but is largely unnecessary. Destroying our opponents field, giving them 3/3 Beasts and playing Somberwald Stag a couple dozen times to set them back to square one is just salt in the wounds. Really, poor etiquette. If you've gotten this far, your opponents will be losing anyways, so let's relieve them of this game and move on to the next one.

If, big if, but if your opponents decide to interact with any of this, just recur the cards with EWIT or Skullwinder ; and if by some freak circumstance you're not allowed to go off with Concordant Crossroads , because some wise player wanted to deny your victory, THEN you use the Beast Within loop to show them the inevitability of their defeat and watch that same player scoop.

I won't be discussing play lines with this deck here as it is completely dependent on your board state and hand, which will change from game to game. Recognizing the core cards to this decks success - by looking over this guide - should provide enough wisdom as to what you'll want to look for. However, if that's not enough, be sure to join us over on The 99 as we discuss play lines and provide a mulligan guide for this very deck!

Patrick Marlett, The 99

October 11th, 2019 - Elvish Reclaimer , Skullwinder & Centaur Garden for Return of the Wildspeaker , The Great Henge & Castle Garenbrig - With Throne of Eldraine, we received some excellent additions for Selvala! Centaur Garden has always been the odd man out in this list, as the utility barely came in handy when Threshold was met. Now we have an excellent way to Ramp out Selvala (should she be removed) with the Castle. Skullwinder was in place as a redundancy, but when we're trying to execute a win on Turn 3, we can go without. Instead, we now have another Draw engine via Return of the Wildspeaker. Lastly, Elvish Reclaimer is a favorite of mine, but never fell out curve precisely right. Now we'll utilize The Great Henge for additional Card Draw and Ramp. If Selvala is taken out the Henge will still be playable off our big Creatures and help to recast her and the Draw effect off all our Creatures will help us keep a healthy Hand. Loving the new additions and I encourage any Selvala player to consider them.

July 13th, 2019 - Shared Summons , Veil of Summer & Leyline of Abundance for Tooth and Nail , Somberwald Stag & Basic Forest - Slowly the Foresting is being trimmed away from Selvala's wilderness, but with good reasoning: as the Deck becomes more efficient, the need for Lands as back up decreases. With M20, we received a new Creature Tutor in Shared Summons that is excellent on and off of our Combo Turns. With a low Mana requirement and the ability to Cast at Instant speed, we've found the perfect replacement for Tooth & Nail, which has proven less useful in testing. Veil of Summer adds to our suite of protection and is a must in all future Green lists. It will sit alongside Autumn's Veil, Avoid Fate, Blossoming Defense & Vines of Vastwood as a means of protecting Selvala on Combo Turns. It replaces Somberwald Stag who - with the recent addition of Savage Swipe - has become an irrelevant Card. Post-Infinite Mana, Savage Swipe/Selvala may be used to "Stag Punch" the Beasts we Create from Beast Within. Lastly, a Basic Forest was cut to make way for a new Turn 2 enabler for Selvala: Leyline of Abundance. Either Cast on future Turns or placed on the field from our opening Hand, this new Leyline unlocks the doors to newer, faster Combo lines.

June 9, 2019 - Scale Up & Savage Swipe are added, Savage Swipe for Lifecrafter's Bestiary & Scale Up for Phytoburst - So... This particular list has lacked decent Creature removal. We're not exactly hurting for Buff Spells, but we're always welcome to new ones. Along comes Modern Horizons and we get two new options, both by way of Buffing and one in particular for removing. Savage Swipe will always have a target in Selvala and alongside Pendelhaven most all of the Deck. With it, we can kill pretty much every Commander in opposition. For now, it'll take Lifecrafter's place as an additional (situational) Win Con. Next up is Scale Up. This card is a strictly better Phytoburst: 1 Mana less, 1 Power more and will work in exactly the same way (Sorcery for Sorcery). It's important to note, this does not strip your Creature(s) of Abilities, so it can be used on Selvala in a pinch (however, we'll generally be targeting a Dork). Only thing that could make these Cards better is a Kicker for Hexproof, but as is Selvala got a whole lot stronger.

April 18, 2019 - Finale of Devastation takes the place of Eldritch Evolution - Eldritch always had a few hiccups in it's design: having to sac a creature as part of the cost and only getting one in return of 2cmc more was fine, but never quite hit the mark. FoD on the other hand... Is quite like the name suggests: Devastating. Not only does it work as a finisher post infinite mana, if finds us anything (given the prerequisite mana) from either our Library or Graveyard... This is the best thing to happen for this deck in while and a must add for those interested in Selvala, Heart of the Wilds.

April 3, 2019 - Treefolk Harbinger for Sylvan Tutor - not only a good choice for those trying to budget their Selvala list, the Harbinger hits (most) all the targets Sylvan Tutor would target and more: 1. Great Oak Guardian & Sheltering Ancient , 2. In a pinch, Dryad Arbor or a Forest, 3. When sided in (which may soon be main boarded), Lignify . While I'd advise using both, I personally find Sylvan Tutor to be wanting. However, again, either is an excellent option... Furthermore, a blocker for those pesky Tymna's? Yeah, we could use one.

March 14, 2019 - Elvish Spirit Guide for a Forest - not sure why I didn't do that sooner, haha. It's an additional way to get Selvala out Turn One or Two and offers you an Elf on field should you be missing one for a Wirewood Symbiote loop (assuming you have the Power/Mana on deck to initiate the loop). Pretty good value there.

Updates Add