I'd like to take some time to discuss a long-running project of mine, Freyalise High Tide. I first started working on the deck back in late 2014 Original MTGSalvation Thread. In a nutshell, it's a powerful, fast, and consistent engine combo deck with a powerful optional (and potentially necessary) "fair" backup plan.


In the past, I had built a mono-green deck that ran Kamahl, Fist of Krosa. While beating in with him was always a backup plan, I found the main way that I would generally win would be by resolving large Genesis Waves, Regal Forces, Skullclamps, and Greater Goods into large Gaea's Cradles, Nykthoses, and other large mana sources.

When I saw Freyalise I knew I'd have to test her out. If Freyalise is not properly pressured, this deck will generally win the game on turn 4-6. Freyalise (or Shamanic Revelation, or Collective Unconscious) acts as the initial "Time Spiral" effect that will draw you into "High Tide" effects, like Gaea's Cradle. Then, you will draw your whole deck and have a bevy of mana via Gaea's Cradles, Deserted Temples, Nykthoses, and extra land drops. If you haven't picked up yet, this deck plays out much like Legacy High Tide in how it attempts to draw into mana and use that mana to draw more cards.

Since Selvala2's release the mono-green storm archetype has surged in popularity. This is for good reason; Selvala2 is a full turn faster than Freyalise on average, and as a creature spell dodges a lot of the common noncreature spell hate at CEDH tables. However, I'd argue that Freyalise is surprisingly more powerful at all but the most-warped CEDH tables. One of the things that Selvala2 suffers from (and why I've largely given up on her) is that she's quite weak to common spot and mass removal. Her general tax is almost insurmountable after her second casting, and her 99 suffers a lot when she's not on the battlefield (Phyrexian Dreadnought, etc). Freyalise solves this problem in 2 ways. The first is that WotC has been loathe to print aggressively costed and splashable creature removal. This, combined with the low amounts of aggressive threats in a 40-life FFA multiplayer format, make Freyalise very strong. Furthermore, her +2 makes an elf token that both blocks for her and repays her general tax if she is killed. This means that when the occasional Hero's Downfall does hit, the impact is minimal. However, most of the aggressive board wipes that kill your mana dorks will leave her alive to make more dorks, so it's hard to deal with both at the same time.

Even in the absolute worst-case scenarios, the decklist I've presented is extremely minimal on the number of cards that are simply "bad without Freyalise." This means you can play the grindy game quite well even if she is immediately killed, and her -2 ability is also quite relevant in that subset of games. Finally, the deck is very much able to combo without getting kickstarted with Freyalise's -6; by running cards like Regal Force, Shamanic Revelation, and Collective Unconscious, you can threaten to go off even in games where she never comes close to her -6.

The deck requires high amounts of creativity and ingenuity to draw out extra bits of mana and extra cards (even after playing it for a while), and you constantly have to judge whether cards or mana are going to be more important going forward. It's an absolute blast to play, and the deck it most resembles is High Tide (or maybe Jeskai Ascendancy combo, if you want something more recent). Even combos like KCI and Storm tend to be more deterministic, as you generally work towards deterministic lines without much "struggle." What it loses from not having a guaranteed easy win it makes up for with a 99 that contains practically no "dead" cards in longer/grindier games. With Freyalise's planeswalker abilities being both powerful for grindier games as well as enabling fast combo, this allows for a very variable gameplan where you can shift to a long-term gameplan when necessary (though you are incentivized to immediately shift back into combo whenever possible).

If undisrupted, you will almost always win by turn 5, and occasionally turn 4 (rarely, turn 3; anything faster you won't have the resources for). Depnding on the type of disruption, it's generally easy to threaten going off ever 1-2 turns (wraths OR spot removal for Freyalise). What will set you back and into the "grindy" gameplan track is if your opponents engineer both a way to wipe the board and Freyalise simultaneously, which is difficult given her quick clock. Even in grindier games you generally have no problems, though.

Card Choices

Cards that don't need explanation - Mana dorks. Run all the available 1-drop ramp sources, as you want to hard mull for hands that play Freyalise by T3. Yes, that includes Boreal Druid (even though it makes colorless) and Birds of Paradise (even though it lacks elf synergy, it creates colored mana and chump blocks flyers in a pinch).

Avenger of Zendikar - The least mana-efficient/productive token generator in the initial stages of the combo turn, but the most mana-efficient/productive one mid-late combo turn. Usually want to drop after making most of your land drops.

Azusa, Lost but Seeking - Very powerful ramp piece that both lets you leverage all the lands in your hand as well as generate additional land drops mid-combo for Cradle/Nykthos, and even gas via Eye. Good with Lotus Cobra and/or Ramunap Excavator, and is 2 of the 4 extra land drops that this deck can generate. Can be found with most creature tutors.

Beast Whisperer - I've never been a big fan of Glimpse of Nature in this deck. While it's obviously a powerful card, it suffers from the fact that we need to dump a lot of our creatures to get to the T3 Freyalise, and mana tends to be tight enough that it's hard to "add in" a 1-mana instant in our early turns. Beast Whisperer solves a lot of these issues by virtue of being a creature. This means if you have no creature, its "worst-case" is a 4-mana 2/3 to block Freyalise and count for Cradle/draw effects. It also is extremely powerful if you ever untap with it, and provides a creature-based source of draw that isn't Regal Force.

Craterhoof Behemoth - Backdoor wincon in a pinch (potentially via Natural Order), but also generates lots of mana via Devoted Druid or lots of cards via Greater Good. Haste also lets you pick off a player if Concordant Crossroads is dealt with (though generally not necessary); best for enabling Devoted Druid, Greater Good, or being a third-string wincon.

Deep Forest Hermit - A new card from MH, Deep Forest Hermit is basically a strictly better Deranged Hermit for this deck, which was always one of the best token producers.

Deranged Hermit - The most mana-efficient/productive token generator going into/in the early stages of the combo turn. Common GSZ/Chord target, as 5 bodies for 5 mana is premium rate and a sweet spot.

Devoted Druid - Single-handedly ramps into Freyalise on turn 3 (by making 2 mana). On combo turn, can easily make a lot of mana via Craterhoof Behemoth, either by having controlled her since the beginning of your turn or in conjunction with Concordant Crossroads or Earthcraft.

Dosan the Falling Leaf - A tutorable City of Solitude. Better than City due to the overwhelming amount of creature tutors in the deck. Generally your go-to tutor target in the late stages of the combo, when you're relatively certain you have the resources to spare or when opponents obviously have kept up interaction.

Elvish Archdruid - A slightly more expensive Priest of Titania. The pump on your Elves can be relevant with Greater Good if you have a lot of lands on hand (draw 2 discard 3 can be reasonable), but also has unfortunate negative synergy with Skullclamp. Can help ramp out Freyalise on T3 when played T2.

Elvish Spirit Guide - While I will stick with the fact that Freyalise doesn't really benefit from the "usual" fast mana that costs CA like Lotus Petal, Chrome Mox, and Mox Diamond, Elvish Spirit Guide benefits from one simple fact that isn't true of Petal and the Moxen: It's a creature. While in most decks casting your spirit guides is a sign of desperation, in Freyalise it's a very viable option that she's happy to have access to. While the primary function is obviously to pitch for mana, the "2/2 for 3 option" provides a viable option for when you're mana-heavy to develop a blocker/creature-counter for Freyalise. It's also an elf for the elf synergies, and can turn your Summoner's Pact into a Lotus Petal if you're short on green mana on your combo turn. It can also come as a surprise if someone tries to Spell Pierce your general, or something similar. It's a very versatile card, and the fact that it doesn't "need" to be a Lotus Petal provides a large degree of flexibility.

Eternal Witness - A tutorable Regrowth. Better than Regrowth due to the overwhelming amount of creature tutors in the deck. Forms an interesting infinite with Survival of the Fittest and Crop Rotation (explained later). Also tutorable with Woodland Bellower, and one of his primary tutor targets.

Fierce Empath - Run primarily for tutor conversion - converts Green Sun's Zenith and Chord of Calling into Ulamog/Kozilek triggers, and Woodland Bellower triggers into gas when flooding out. Elf for elf synergies, can be Skullclamped. Can also tutor for nonlegendary creatures that cost 3 or less in turn via Woodland Bellower.

Hornet Queen - On the upper end of tokens/mana, is also the best general-purpose NO target when under 6 lands. The tokens she generates are valuable for holding off pressure on Freyalise, especially from flyers that the deck otherwise has trouble with.

Joraga Treespeaker - Worse than Sol Ring, but better than Worn Powerstone. When played on turn 1, guarantees a T3 Freyalise while also being mana-neutral on turn 2. Full leveling is rare but worth keeping in mind for corner cases.

Kozilek, Butcher of Truth - Primarily run for his GY shuffle clause to set up several interesting infinites with Earthcraft and/or Greater Good as discard outlets. In a pinch is a 10-mana draw 4 (which is surprisingly relevant - draws additional 12 and shuffles GY with Greater Good), as well as turning land tutors into 15-mana draw 4 via Eye of Ugin. Finally, way of cycling through deck in combination with Temur Sabertooth and infinite mana.

Lotus Cobra - Ramp dork than can be played on T2 to ramp out Freyalise T3, also does it by himself in conjunction w/fetchland. Goes crazy with extra land drops and/or small Genesis Waves.

Manglehorn - Powerful artifact destroyer and "backup" Reclamation Sage (though more powerful in particularly shutting down artifacts). Common tutor target with Woodland Bellower.

Marwyn, the Nurturer - While by far the "weakest" of the elf-matters mana generators (as Marwyn has to be on the battlefield before you play other elves), Marwyn still makes the cut in the end. She grows off Freyalise tokens, becomes a valuable blocker, and has very positive interactions with Craterhoof and Finale. She also is a "second source" of ramp with any 1-drop ramp to get to T3 Freyalise. All of these factors together means she makes the cut, though she is likely the weakest mana dork in the deck.

Oracle of Mul Daya - While more expensive for less extra land drops than Azusa, is an important second tutorable way of getting an extra land drop. When played early can be used for value in playing lands off the top of the deck, though this usage is incidental.

Priest of Titania - Powerful ramp source in conjunction with Freyalise's tokens. Arguably better than Elvish Archdruid in that she doesn't shut off Skullclamp.

Ramunap Excavator - Efficient way of recurring Cradle/Nykthos with extra land drops/by Strip Mining/Crop Rotationing them (yes, this does come up fairly frequently). Less powerful than Eternal Witness in general, but is better in certain niches (ability also doesn't use stack when put into play off tutor). Part of Woodland Bellower toolbox.

Realm Seekers - Powerful land tutor/Greater Good Enabler. As a land tutor, seems expensive (9! mana), but is the only reliable way of turning creature tutors into land tutors. Most of the powerful lands in the deck (Gaea's Cradle, Nykthos) are mana-positive even then, especially since he fetches Deserted Temple once you have an additional land drop. Also tutors for Eye of Ugin -> Kozilek/Ulamog if you flood out. For more detailed information, see Sylvan Scrying.

Reclamation Sage - Very powerful tutorable artifact/enchantment hate and part of primary Woodland Bellower toolbox.

Regal Force - Primary tutorable draw engine, and most consistent secondary draw effect either after Freyalise's ult or primary in lieu of Freyalise's ult. First tutor target once you have sizable board, either during combo turn or prior to combo turn as insurance against Wrath effects.

Temur Sabertooth - Core tutorable combo piece of deck in conjunction with Earthcraft + Utopia Sprawl/Wild Growth (infinite mana and tokens via Deranged Hermit) or Concordant Crossroads with a mana dork that taps for at least 5 mana (Elvish Archdruid, Voyaging Satyr, Priest of Titania). Can create infinite mana via Craterhoof+Devoted Druid if you control a total of at least 11 creatures. Being tutorable, is part of some compact combos with Survival of the Fittest (explained later). Can be value engine with a token producer or Regal Force if you're not at critical mass.

Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger - Functions as both an infinite mana end-line in combination with Temur Sabertooth to "kill" table without having to worry about combat, and as a tutorable uncounterable way of dealing with various hate pieces. When flooding out, can be fetched with land tutor for 15 mana via Eye of Ugin (in general Kozilek is preferred if you have enough mana to continue going off, but Ulamog can more consistently impact the board if you foresee yourself having to pass the turn). Attack trigger can shut down opposing combo decks after one swing.

Voyaging Satyr - The only of the land-untapping dorks to cost less than 3 mana. Argothian Elder is simply too expensive at 4 mana (never can be played T2 to help power out an early Freyalise), and even the 3-drop ones are slightly too expensive if overall more feasible. The ability to untap lands is powerful, and those can range from Nykthos or Gaea's Cradle during combo to make lots of mana, Ancient Tomb before combo to make lots of mana, or even just Pendelhaven/Maze of Ith/Eye of Ugin for "value," when necessary. When all else fails, a 2-mana mana dork.

Wall of Roots - Costs 1 mana every turn but the first, and is thus close enough to a 1-drop dork. Also filters back the green mana it consumes, which is nice (mana multiple times/turn cycle can also be relevant with limited suite of instants and Top).

Wood Elves - Primarily a way of ramping that doesn't expose yourself to wrath effects, but also can be a "token generator" by being 2 bodies for 3 mana via Dryad Arbor. Can be tutored for by Woodland Bellower for 3 bodies for 6 mana - a rate comparable to Hornet Queen.

Woodland Bellower - Most of the relevant tutor targets have been discussed in their relevant sections, but nonetheless is a very powerful tutor that also develops a body to the board. The body can also be a free body if you were TNNing for a 3- drop, and the body is valuable with Greater Good as well.

Cards that don't need explanation: Basic lands. Basic lands are often underrated. They come into play untapped, always produce the mana you need, and dodge nonbasic land hate. They also can be fetched by a plethora of means and can be untapped by Earthcraft. Lands coming into play untapped is extremely important for combo decks, so we don't run nonbasics like Khalni Garden that slow us down to provide minimal value. We also have to be very careful with the number of colorless lands, given our aggressive mulliganing strategy and the deck having heavy colored requirements, with powerful mana rocks that only produce colorless.

Ancient Tomb - Powerful Sol Land whose drawback is largely irrelevant given this deck's speed and the high life total of the format.

Deserted Temple - Powerful way to get a second activation of Cradle/Nykthos via land tutors if you already have one in play (and a potential 4th with Garruk).

Dryad Arbor - While Dryad Arbor is unquestionably one of the worst lands to actually draw in this deck (along with Eye), it's a necessary evil. Arbor serves quite a few purposes in this deck; it turns GSZ/Finale/Chord into a mana dork for X=0, it allows you to crack fetches to up your creature count right before or during your combo turn, and it even turns your fetches into chump blockers for Freyalise.

Eye of Ugin - An odd inclusion in many lists, its inclusion is a necessary evil to convert our several land tutors into powerful advantage in flooding situations. The best way of describing it is adding "Kicker 15" to all the land tutors for Ulamog/Kozilek's cast triggers (and their residual, less-important bodies - potentially very relvant with Greater Good). Can also be tutored for with 7 mana up as a way to hedge vs wrath effects. Whether to tutor for Ulamog or Kozilek depends on "combo state" - if you have ability to continue comboing off with more cards Kozilek is preferred, but Ulamog is preferred in most other situations where you're forced to end your combo for its massive tempo advantage. Awkwardly though, you almost never want to draw this card - it exists to turn your land tutors into cards when cards are your bottleneck.

Gaea's Cradle - Undeniably the most powerful card in the deck, is both the easiest and the cheapest way to convert tokens into mana (Earthcraft is potentially more efficient/more flexible with multi-use and Forests that tap for multiple mana, but cannot be tutored). Its existence along with Nykthos justifies the inclusion of cards like Sylvan Scrying/Expedition Map/Crop Rotation/Realm Seekers/Deserted Temple.

Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx - Generally less powerful than Cradle, but extremely powerful nonetheless; can be more efficient than Cradle a good portion of the time, as it counts your walker's devotion, which don't count towards Cradle.

Pendelhaven - A "forest" that can pump tokens/dorks for blocking or evading Pyroclasm effects. Worse against Ruination/Blood Moon, but more powerful vs Wake of Destruction/Blood Moon, so largely a wash on that front.

Scavenger Grounds - Tutorable GY hate that doesn't take a "real" deck slot (though the deck's heavy color requirements restrict the number of colorless lands we have access to). Can be a powerful way of threatening GY strategies when playing a grindier game.

Strip Mine - Stops all manner of opposing land shenanigans, whether that be opposing Cradles/Nykthoses/Urborgs/Coffers or basics enchanted with Auras. Can be used offensively to either limit colored mana for interaction or to destroy opposing Strip Mines/Ports/Wastelands to free up Cradle/Nykthos.

Fetches - Extra mana with Lotus Cobra, extra looks with Top, can be extra "creatures" for Unconscious Effects via Dryad Arbor by fetching EOT pre-combo turn in a pinch. Can make more than 1 mana by fetching for Dryad Arbor with Earthcraft + Forest that taps for 2+ mana out. Thinning is statistically irrelevant, but the life loss is only slightly less irrelevant given the high starting life totals. Enables Ramnap Excavator + extra land drop shenanigans in longer games.

Finale of Devastation - A new addition to the deck from War of the Spark, Finale is absolutely insane in this deck. While it may seem that Finale is at best a GSZ that costs more mana, Finale has several benefits that GSZ does not. The first is that it ends up in the GY. That means you can "chain" multiple tutors with Eternal Witness and Temur Sabertooth, which is a big benefit. The second is that it can tutor from GY, meaning that it provides a source of recursion to the deck that isn't Eternal Witness (it also means that it can tutor for your tutor targets as long as they aren't in exile). The final and most important part is the X=10 "mode." Most people look at this mode and see a damage-based attack wincon. However, in this deck, it is as much a damage-based wincon as it is a combo enabler. The X=10 "mode" does two things: It gives your creatures +X/+X and it gives haste. Giving haste is a HUGE deal; the only other haste outlet we run is Concordant Crossroads. This means you can tutor for mana dorks and immediately tap them for mana. If you tutor for mana dorks that make enough mana, Finale easily becomes mana-positive, allowing you to chain tutors. The +X/+X is also huge because it makes certain dorks tap for a lot of mana on their own, specifically Devoted Druid and Marwyn. Finally, it lets you draw your deck with Greater Good. Allow me to demonstrate an example of how bonkers the X=10 mode is with "chaining tutors/mana." Let's say you start out with absolutely no boardstate and 33 mana. You cast Finale X=3, getting Eternal Witness (down to 28 mana), getting back Finale. You cast Finale again, this time X=4, getting Temur Sabertooth (down to 22 mana). You bounce Eternal Witness again, and cast it again (down to 17 mana), getting back Finale. You cast Finale X=15, getting Devoted Druid (down to 0 mana). You tap Devoted Druid for mana 17 times (since it has haste and 17 toughness), up to 17 mana again. You bounce Eternal Witness and recast it (down to 12 mana), getting back Finale. You cast Finale X=10 getting Marwyn (down to 0 mana). Marwyn taps for 11 mana, and Devoted Druid taps for 10 more mana, since it got +10/+10 (up to 21 mana). You then bounce and recast Eternal Witness yet again (down to 16 mana), and get back and cast Finale X=14 getting Elvish Archdruid (down to 0 mana). Devoted Druid gets +15/+15 (14 from Finale, 1 from Archdruid), so you tap it for 15 mana, and then you tap Archdruid for 3 mana (you have 3 elves: Devoted Druid, Marwyn, and Archdruid), up to 18 mana. Then you bounce and recast Eternal Witness, down to 13 mana. Then you cast Finale X=11 getting Craterhoof Behemoth. Craterhoof gives your team +6/+6 (Marwyn, Archdruid, Craterhoof, Devoted, Temur, Witness), and the Finale gives your team +11/+11. You tap Devoted Druid for mana 17 times, then you use 5 of it to bounce and recast Eternal Witness (down to 12 mana) getting back Finale. You cast Finale X=10, getting your choice of Hornet Queen or Deranged Hermit, giving your team +10/+10. You tap Devoted Druid for mana 10 times, and use that mana to bounce and recast Craterhoof (down to 0 mana). Craterhoof now gives your team +11/+11 (your board is now Marwyn, Archdruid, Craterhoof, Devoted, Temur, Witness, Queen/Hermit, and 4 tokens), allowing you to tap Devoted Druid for 11 mana. You're now spending 10 mana (bounce+recast Crater) to make 11 mana (since Craterhoof gives +11/+11). This is an infinite loop, so you have infinite mana. Then you bounce your Hermit/Queen infinite times for infinite tokens, then bounce Witness for Finale. You cast Finale X=1 billion getting Dosan (to lock your opponents out). Then you bounce Witness for Finale, Finale X=1 billion again getting Woodland Bellower getting Fierce Empath getting Ulamog. Then you cast/bounce Ulamog infinitely to exile everyone's boards. You can then bounce Empath to get Kozilek to draw your deck, and then cast Finale one last time to give your team haste, and then bounce Craterhoof to give them all trample. Congrats, you just went infinite off of one card. Now, the normal response would be to say that 33 mana is unrealistic, and I'd agree to some extent. However, it's worth pointing out that if you open on any of these cards and don't have to tutor them, the total mana spent goes down drastically. It also doesn't matter whether any of the combo pieces have been killed, as Finale gets them from anywhere as long as they weren't exiled. Finale+Craterhoof is also a ton of damage just by itself if you don't have any combo pieces and have at least 12 mana, meaning it's also likely to kill a board if there's nothing stopping you from getting into combat.

Genesis Wave - Efficient way of converting mana into cards. Deck is 85+% permanents, and most prefer coming into play to avoid land drop restrictions/paying mana (though Ulamog/Kozilek are rare exceptions). Worth pointing out that ability is a may, so you can safely deck yourself with G-Waves and choose to put Regal Force and/or Kozilek in GY for shuffle trigger. Dosan both can be tutored for to preemptively stop counter magic, or can stop non-counter shenanigans at split-second speed when put in off G-Wave's resolution.

Green Sun's Zenith - Likely the most powerful tutor in the deck, GSZ tutors for any creature in the deck for only 1 extra mana. Even though Summoner's Pact is slightly more efficient on specifically your combo turn, GSZ is a lot more flexible in that it allows you to tutor for creatures using the mana on the turns before your combo turn, without locking down mana on additional turns like Summoner's Pact would

Natural Order - Extremely powerful tutor that can get all sorts of utility and combo creatures. Regal Force and Hornet Queen tend to be best general-purpose. Craterhoof can be "backdoor/emergency" "fair kill." If tutoring for a 3- drop such as Reclamation Sage or Manglehorn (or looking for Ulamog or Kozilek via Fierce Empath), Woodland Bellower allows you to develop a "free" 6/5 to the board.

Shamanic Revelation - While not tutorable like Regal Force, it serves as an important additional copy of Freyalise's ultimate either for kickstarting your combo turn or getting you deeper into it.

Sylvan Scrying - Powerful land tutors. Can tutor for Gaea's Cradle/Nykthos/Deserted Temple for mana, Eye of Ugin if flooding, Maze of Ith to protect Freyalise, Scavenger Grounds to emergency-stop GY combos, Ancient Tomb as a second piece of ramp to ensure T3 Freyalise, or even Dryad Arbor if you need a creature to pitch to Survival (has happened). Same applies to Expedition Map, as well as both Realm Seekers and Crop Rotation, but with further notes.

Tooth and Nail - Powerful tutor that is often eschewed by fast combo lists due to its intensive mana cost. However, Freyalise is running both the heavy mana generation and high-mana cost high-octane creatures to convert into powerful advantage. Most common tutor target is Regal Force/Avenger pairing to draw lots of cards, though other common tutor targets are Realm Seekers for mana, Bellower -> EWit/Ramunap for recursion, Azusa for land drops if powerful lands in hand (or in conjunction with Seekers), or even Sabertooth combos if other combo pieces are already on battlefield.

Beast Within - Powerful and cheap removal spell. Can be used with Eternal Witness to do an Ulamog impersonation with Sabertooth in a pinch as well. Be careful of the 3/3 beast token coming in at Freyalise, though.

Chord of Calling - One of the most powerful tutors in the deck, along with Green Sun's Zenith. It tends to be mana-neutral or even slightly mana-positive with mass token generators such as Deranged Hermit and Avenger of Zendikar. One of the best ways other than Crop Rotation or Earthcraft to generate mana when you're running low (generally via Azusa, or potentially Realm Seekers). Can leverage big boards when low on cards via Regal Force, or grow your board via various mass token generating creatures.

Crop Rotation - Most powerful of the land tutors in the deck due to not requiring a land drop (see Sylvan Scrying for land tutor details). Also forms a strange combo with Survival of the Fittest - see Survival's entry for more details.

Summoner's Pact - Summoner's Pact is absolutely insane on your combo turn; it allows you to get whatever creature you want straight to hand with no extra mana spent. It can even serve as a Lotus Petal if you're low on green mana by tutoring Elvish Spirit Guide. While it's great on your combo turn, it's rare you want to play this before then, as the 4 mana on your next turn will hinder your mana situation on the following turn significantly. Obviously, be careful if you cast this and pass the turn. If you don't have 4 mana in lands, a single wrath effect may cause you to lose the game, and even if you have 4 mana in lands, someone with an LD or MLD spell can still ruin your day.

Worldly Tutor - I resisted running Worldly Tutor for a whle because I didn't like how it didn't tutor to hand. What eventually swayed me is the fact that if it's in your opening hand, it guarantees T3 Freyalise by fetching Devoted Druid (you cast Worldly Tutor on 1, Devoted Druid on 2, and Devoted Druid + 3 lands is 5 mana on T3 for Freyalise), or Lotus Cobra if you have a fetchland (as Lotus Cobra can also make 5 mana T3 in that situation). On your combo turn it can be awkward in not tutoring to hand, but we run enough card draw effects that it's rarely actually dead. While I have given in and chosen to run Worldly Tutor, I still believe Sylvan Tutor isn't worth it. Sylvan Tutor's really bad in that if you cast it and past the turn, you "broadcast" to your opponents what you're getting, and allow them to plan accordingly. Additionally, if you cast it and pass, any shuffle or incidental mill effect will put you down a full card for no gain. Finally, by maintaining priority on a card draw effect (like Freyalise's ult) and casting Worldly, you guarantee that you'll get the card to hand (as the effect it already on the stack). If you Sylvan it may cause an opponent to try and deal damage/kill your card draw source in response, stranding your tutor target on top. This is especially bad because many of the cards we want mid-combo (Regal, Crater, etc) are really bad tutor targets if we pass the turn and get wrathed.

Garruk Wildspeaker - Essentially a cheaper Rude Awakening that can be hit off Genesis Wave (most of your mana tends to be made by only a couple of lands at any given time). Weaker than Rude Awakening as part of a Sabertooth/Ewit combo in that it requires Beast Within, but Sabertooth/Ewit tends to find combo pieces/draw cards given that much mana anyways, so almost never relevant. Also can be played before combo turn as a way to generate tokens for ult turn, and even is an extremely backdoor way of winning via its ult when games go super-grindy (don't count on this one).
Carpet of Flowers - Absurd second Sol Ring that makes colored mana. In a pinch can move to postcombat mainphase to make extra mana during combo turn - most infinites can destroy opponents' fields, making it unnecessary to actually use combat as a primary wincon.

Concordant Crossroads - 1-mana way to give both all your current and future creatures haste that can be hit off Genesis Wave. Generally best seen as a 1-turn deal due to its universal nature; Freyalise's susceptibility to attackers makes passing the turn with this card extremely unwise. Can tangentially serve as a way of getting your creatures into combat, but is primarily run as a way to enable combos and as a way to go off with mana-positive dorks.

Earthcraft - Powerful both as a mana generator and as a combo enabler. In either case, combos especially with Utopia Sprawl/Wild Growth, which double, or even triple its output. The most powerful card in the deck along with Cradle, but unfortunately can not be tutored in the color combination.

Exploration - A "mana dork" in that it is a 1-drop that ramps out Freyalise. In conjunction with any other 1-drop ramp piece, guarantees a turn 2 Freyalise given 4 lands. One of 4 extra land drops in the deck.

Greater Good - While it may seem strange to run Greater Good in a deck with only a handful of creatures with 2 power, it is actually a very important card in the deck. First of all, Craterhoof or Finale X=10+ creates a 2-card combo basically let you draw most of your deck as long as you have even 5 or 6 creatures. Next, sacrificing 2-power creatures can be good value in a lot of situations. While it's technically card disadvantage, it can allow you to "de-brick" yourself if one of your Unconscious effects fed you 10-15 lands and not much gas. It also lets you Clamp creatures with more than 1 toughness, as Clamping + Greater a 2/2 lets you draw 5 and discard 3. It's also necessary for the non-Temur infinites if your Temur gets exiled, as Greater + Survival + Kozilek lets you continuously set up "small decks" and go through them (like G-Wave for Song of the Dryads + Strip Mine + Eternal Witness) so you can still get rid of people's boards infinitely without something like Temur bounce Ulamog. For providing such a large mount of incidental value, I consider Greater Good to be pretty core (at least, until if and when something better is printed). The fact that it doesn't require mana to produce cards is very valuable.

Song of the Dryads - Primarily a powerful removal piece, also serves as a way of hitting hexproof permanents in combination with Genesis Wave. By carefully recycling particular parts of your GY with Survival of the Fittest/Kozilek or Greater Good/Kozilek, you can set up recursive Genesis Waves for Strip Mine+Song of the Dryads, to enchant any opposing permanent (as coming onto the battlefield without casting does not target), then removing the problem permanent via the Strip Mine that comes into play alongside it. Can easily deal with permanents with hexproof, indestructible, and even any other potentially problematic leaves-play/GY triggers.

Survival of the Fittest - Extremely powerful card that is both a tutor and a combo enabler. As has been alluded to several times throughout this walkthrough, is part of a 2-card combo with Crop Rotation (given enough mana and creatures). How does this work? First, with a decent sized board, you can Crop Rotation for Gaea's Cradle. This gives you a decent amount of mana to work with. Then, you can pitch any creature for Eternal Witness. This lets you pick up the Crop Rotation. Then you can Crop Rotation, sacrificing Gaea's Cradle and maintaining priority. With Crop Rotation still on the stack, you can then pitch any creature to find Kozilek, and pitch Kozilek to find Temur Sabertooth. Then, you let the Crop Rotation resolve, finding Gaea's Cradle and creating more mana. Using that mana, you can cast Temur Sabertooth, picking up Eternal Witness and repeating this process. Eventually once you have infinite mana, you can pick up any creature, tutor for Kozilek again, draw you deck, then exile all permanents with Ulamog (and swing out). While the latter part describes this deck in general once it has infinite mana, the Crop Rotation in GY + Survival combo is actually the combo with the least specific pieces in the deck, and comes up fairly often. Was only discovered recently, even though the pieces existed in the deck forever.

Sylvan Library - Powerful card advantage engine. Is almost always correct to pay 8 life given the deck's high speed; the extra cards turn into advantage far faster than the life given the format's already high life totals.

Utopia Sprawl/Wild Growth - "mana dorks" that are free after the first turn and combo with Earthcraft and Arbor Elf. Extremely powerful.

Expedition Map - A worse Sylvan Scrying (in that it costs 1 more mana to play and activate, but still a powerful land tutor. See Sylvan Scrying's entry for more details.

Mana Crypt/Sol Ring - Self-explanatory, busted, and all EDH decks should be running them.

Mana Vault - While arguably being run in many EDH decks that can't abuse the 1-time ramp, in this deck it ramps out a turn 2 Freyalise guaranteed given 2 lands (note: If a dork is available, T1 dork -> T2 Vault + Freyalise is the same speed but develops the dork). Basically a colorless dark ritual that can be delayed.

Sensei's Divining Top - Powerful card selection engine before your combo turn, and even more powerful after. Given how specific cards in this deck are worth 10-20 cards/mana worth of advantage, the virtual card selection becomes actual card/mana advantage with only a couple of fetch lands. This deck runs tons of tutor effects, so every time you cast one, Top gives you a selection of 3 new cards (assuming that you're bottlenecked on mana and not cards). This makes finding cards that allow you to keep going not just a possibility, but an eventuality.

Skullclamp - Powerful draw engine. It, and by extension Greater Good can simulate the "bounce" aspect of Temur Sabertooth via discard outlets and Kozilek, by drawing the cards you put back. Means you don't have to run Cloudstone Curio, which is extremely mana-intensive and generally a dead card when you're not already going infinite.

Narrow combo cards like Cloudstone Curio/Sword of the Paruns/Umbral Mantle/Staff of Domination - None of these pieces can be tutored for, and also do nothing on their own. The combination of these two factors make it just as likely they'll be dead cards in your hand before you go off (as even lots of mana doesn't necessarily guarantee that they'll be useful). I've tried them before; hard pass.

Doubling Season - Instant ult with Freyalise!!! With that out of the way, I'll explain why it's bad. As a "token generator" it can only piggyback to other effects, and is a dead topdeck. Even the interaction with Freyalise is highly overrated. This deck has a hard time killing its own Freyalise, and she can only kill herself on exactly 2 or 6 loyalty - numbers that not only can she not reach naturally, but your opponent should never put her on (as us having the ability to recast her is almost always better than her sitting stuck in a +2 loop on 1 loyalty). Given that its interaction with Freyalise is highly reliant on your opponents misplaying, I'm not a big fan. Additionally, it's an on-board trick unless you want to spend 12 (5+5+2) mana (a price higher than Tooth and Nail for a far worse effect). It's almost always bad to wait a turn to play her to develop it due to how much more fragile it is as well as its inability to create board presence. It also doesn't double the loyalty gained by her +2, as it only doubles effects and not costs.

Mox Diamond/Chrome Mox - I'll be the first to admit that fast mana is extremely powerful, and that we draw a lot of cards on our combo turn. However, given our already rapid pace of development, 2-for-1ing our cards for a tempo advantage is expensive and even rarely accelerates Freyalise in a meaningful way (you have exactly 3 mana T2 with a 1-drop accelerant, and we can make 5 mana on T3 without them). I've tried them before, but they consistently underperform. Also don't count toward our creature count on our combo turn unlike most of our ramp.

Mox Amber - Still need to test this one, but not impressed on paper for the reason I'm not impressed with the moxen above. Not card disadvantage, but also doesn't do anything without our general out, and doesn't count towards our creature count.

Forge of Heroes - This one I'm interested in (and will definitely test), but we're already very close to our colorless land capacity. Our mulligan strategy is already aggressive, and the existing 4 colorless lands (Ancient Tomb, Strip Mine, Scavenger Grounds, Deserted Temple) and 2 conditional/"slow" lands (Dryad Arbor/Gaea's Cradle) out of our 35 mana-producing lands can already lead to awkward situations. May have to consider cutting an existing colorless land if we need to make this work. Initial impression that it speeds up her ult by 1 turn is nice, but mana tends to be tight the turn we cast Freya (our goal is to play her when we have exactly 5/7-mana for efficiency), and an ult 1 turn faster means 1 less turn of mana development both in terms of lands and her +2 dorks. Will have to test, but cautiously optimistic.

The deck I feel is in a really solid place right now. I think the most "flexible" slots if you wanted to try new things are the Woodland Bellower/Fierce Empath package, as well as Top/Whisperer/Vivien. However, I really like the flexibility of the Bellower. If you need bodies, it's 3 bodies via Wood Elves and Dryad Arbor. If you need gas, it fetches Fierce Empath for Regal Force. If you need to kill problematic artifacts/enchantments it can fetch Reclamation Sage and Manglehorn, and if you need to recur cards from your GY, it can fetch Eternal Witness and Ramunap Excavator.

As for Top/Whisperer, they're good CA engines, but could easily be replaced if and when even better/cheaper CA engines come out in the future.

Despite all this, I think there's also an argument for cutting them, so I think they're the first slots to go if there's something new to be tried. Let me know if you have any ideas; new ideas are always encouraged and welcomed!

Vivien, Champion of the Wilds - The flash effect wasn't awful, but the -2 still whiffed over 1/4 of the time, and the "hits" were often mana dorks. Too inconsistent/clunky.

Collector Ouphe - Freyalise has always had a small problem with Null Rod; first of all, Null Rod does nothing for our primary gameplan. Ouphe fixes this by providing a body to both block for Freyalise as well as count for her ult. Secondly, while 4/5 of our artifacts are expendable (the 3 mana rocks, Expedition Map), Skullclamp is often a key card when we begin to combo off. Ouphe fixes this problem, as Natural Order, Temur Sabertooth and Greater Good are all efficient ways to get it off the battlefield. I'm optimistic these changes will hopefully "fix" the problems that Null Rod's historically had in this deck. It only costing 2 also makes it a very cheap tutor target for Green Sun's Zenith, Finale of Devastation, Chord of Calling, and it even fits into Woodland Bellower's toolbox. This also hopefully fixes Null Rod's historic issue of never showing up when you wanted it, and often seeing it when you didn't. Reason Cut: Natural Order, Sabertooth, and Greater Good were a lot more inefficient than I originally thought for removing your own Ouphe. Additionally, while we don't rely on artifacts, the negative interactions came up regularly on your combo turn when you often rely on artifact mana and Skullclamp to get out of mana/card pinches. While I'm confident that Freyalise can fight through an opposing Null Rod very well, I just don't like running it as a symmetrical effect.

Ant Queen - Token generator, albeit an expensive one. Can be difficult to judge how much mana to "dump" into her, especially immediately prior to resolving Freyalise ult/Shamanic Revelation/Collective Unconscious/Regal Force. Generates infinite tokens via Earthcraft+Wild Growth/Utopia Sprawl/Mana Reflection (infinite mana w/2), generates infinite tokens with infinite mana (obviously). Reason cut: As you can tell from the description, Ant Queen is very expensive, and it requires 13 mana to be even as good as Deranged Hermit or Hornet Queen, which are 5 and 7 mana respectively. The fact that it goes infinite without Temur Sabertooth is cute, but not good enough to make up for its inherent clunkiness.

Wolfbriar Elemental - One of the most efficient token generators when on large amounts of mana, but can be awkward on low amounts of mana or with tutor-to-play effects. Basically the last in the line of creature token generators, far more efficient than Ant Queen but also one-shot. Can easily double mana with some combination of Earthcraft, Gaea's Cradle, Deserted Temple, and Mana Reflection. Reason cut: While Wolfbriar may be efficient at large amounts of mana, it requires an extremely large (again, 13+) amount of mana to become more efficient than the token makers currently in the deck. Additionally, it can't be tutored for with GSZ/Chord/Finale effectively

Maze of Ith - Powerful way to protect Freyalise that can be used and reused depending on the biggest (or most evasive) threats. Extremely mana efficient, and the land drop can be mitigated by one of the several effects in the deck that give extra land drops. Can hold down 2 attackers in combination with Deserted Temple. Reason cut: Deck became too fast to be able to afford running a land that doesn't make mana (Eye is an exception as it converts land tutors into creature tutors).

Collective Unconscious - While not tutorable like Regal Force, they serve as important additional copies of Freyalise's ultimate either for kickstarting your combo turn or getting you deeper into it. Reason cut: 6 mana is just too much for the effect. Cheaper CA engines like Vivien and Beast Whisperer are far more efficient, and not dead cards if you have an empty board.

Mana Reflection - May look completely out of place in a fast combo list, but High Tide effects do not exist in green. Compared to standard High Tide effects, Mana Reflection both provides asymmetrical advantage and (more importantly) doubles the output of creatures, artifacts, and nonbasic lands. Doubling the output of creatures leads to crazy storm sequences with Concordant Crossroads, doubling rocks is very powerful with the already-absurd mana rocks we run, and most importantly doubles/over-doubles the output of Cradle/Nykthos. It only requires the on-the-spot ability to generate 12 mana to make it mana-neutral, and the constant effect is very easy to abuse later on in within turn. Can be dropped before going off if no other decent development available, though should not be relied on as a removal magnet. Reason cut: 6 mana is just a lot. Marwyn makes similar amounts of mana while costing far less and counting towawrds Freyalise's creature count.

Bane of Progress - Powerful, tutorable artifact/enchantment removal. Be wary of hitting your own enchantments.

Bramble Sovereign - Tutorable ETB doubler. Can be good in certain grindy games.

Choke - Powerful anti-blue hate card to force out countermagic.

Collector Ouphe - Shuts down artifacts, but be careful of it shutting down your own.

Force of Vigor - Powerful artifact/enchantment hate, still in testing.

Maze of Ith - Powerful attacker deterrent, but unfortunately is a land that doesn't make mana.

Nature's Claim - Powerful artifact/enchantment hate, but requires you to keep mana up.

Null Rod - Shuts down artifacts, but be careful of it shutting down your own.

Phyrexian Revoker - Powerful hate for activated abilities, but not a green creature to count towards Freyalise's ult/Regal Force.

Reap - An extremely powerful Regrowth variants if one opponent has 2-3 black permanents out.

Runic Armasaur - Rhystic Study-esque effect for activated abilities stapled to a green creature that blocks for Freyalise.

Scavenging Ooze - Powerful GY hate, but kind of slow/mana-intensive.

Somberwald Stag - Good removal for annoying creatures like Linvala.

Wasteland - Nonbasic hate, but colorless lands beyond the current land count are painful.

Whiptongue Hydra - Anti-flier tech.


Updates Add

-1 Null Rod

+1 Growing Rites of Itlimoc

In testing, while Null Rod is a very powerful Magic card, and while we only run 6 artifacts, the 6 artifacts we do run are very powerful, and having even one of them in play easily leads to Rod becoming a net-negative. Top and Clamp are both extremely powerful forms of card draw/selection, Crypt/Ring/Vault are often critical in casting our general, and Expedition Map is a very powerful tutor. While still perhaps the correct call for very artifact-centric metas, we will happily cut Rod for now.

Rites on the other hand has been performing very well. While obviously worse than cradle in that it does not provide mana on-turn, it is still a must-answer threat that serves as redundancy if Gaeas Cradle itself is dealt with.

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Date added 5 years
Last updated 2 weeks

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Rarity (main - side)

16 - 0 Mythic Rares

40 - 0 Rares

11 - 0 Uncommons

12 - 0 Commons

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 2.00
Tokens 0/1 Plant, 0/1 Insect, 3/3 Beast, 1/1 Squirrel, 1/1 Elf Druid
Folders Competitive Decks, EDH Like, Next idea, EDH, Decks, Commander, cutthroat fun, Cool deck ideas, EDH Decks, Decks I like, See all 40
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2 weeks ago)

+1 Allosaurus Shepherd maybe
+1 Llanowar Visionary maybe