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Selvala Brostorm - A Primer

Selvala Brostorm is a cheap, fast, and competitive mono green combo deck aiming to kill on turn 3 or 4. A budget version of this list can be found here. The deck is a blast to play with numerous tricky lines and decisions to make.

Selvala does not have the disruptive capabilities that blue and white colors offer, nor does she have the powerful tutoring capabilities that Yisan provides. Without these things, it is difficult to pursue a consistent midrange strategy. However, what she offers is absurd amounts of mana stitched together with a draw outlet. Brostorm is built to abuse all of her abilities as much as possible to slide under stax and midrange strategies with a quick kill.

Selvala is more fragile than the typical UB/x storm decks populating the format. Unlike UB/x storm, this deck is heavily reliant on its general in order to storm off, and is thus vulnerable to removal. However, the deck runs a ton of mana sources and is able to repeatedly rebuild and retry until it succeeds. The deck runs a solid removal suite for dealing with problem permanents as well as a small package for protection and recovery, both of which can be tuned for local metas. The deck is extremely efficient in its card choices, and there are no dead cards in the deck that do not contribute to the combo. As a result, the deck is flexible to tuning to your personal tastes without crippling its ability to combo or win.

Big ups to RedReveng3 for laying the groundwork for this deck. You can find his deck here: [Competitive] Selvala, Heart of the Wilds. This list and primer was tuned and put together by myself and tw0handt0uch. Our lists are identical at the time of writing, but his list can be found here: Selvala Nought Storm [Competitive].

Selvala Brostorm is centered around leveraging her mana ability to fuel your combo, so getting her down on turn 2 is generally top priority. Her activated ability allows you to generate mana equal to the power of the largest creature you control, putting her in a class with some of the most broken mana enablers ever printed - if you are able to stick a big creature. Towards this end, runs the most mana-efficient, high-powered creatures available in green’s color pie. Chief amongst these is Phyrexian Dreadnought , which Selvala can use to generate 12 mana while his ETB trigger is on the stack. Having access to such massive, cantripping ritual effects opens the door to big mana strategies (i.e. Tooth and Nail ) that would be unrealistic for any other deck on such early turns. When you start supplementing with pump spells and untap effects, the magnitude of mana production becomes absurd.

Two common paths to victory tend to present themselves when piloting this deck. In the first you are provided with an opening hand that has all the necessary combo pieces or sufficient tutors to fetch them. These lines typically involve the more compact combos: Staff of Domination , Umbral Mantle , Tooth and Nail , Weird Harvest , etc. From there, it is just a simple matter of producing sufficient mana with Selvala to cast or tutor the relevant combo pieces and win the game. A typical line might go T1 mana dork, T2 Selvala, T3 Phyrexian Soulgorger , tap for 8, and play Staff of Domination to draw the deck and win.

However, often you find yourself with access to large amounts of mana but without the combo pieces in hand. This is where the fun begins and where the deck gets its nickname. Utilizing green’s creature-based draw spells and your cheap, high-powered creatures, you can kick off a chain of plays similar to “storming out” whereby you draw a chunk of cards, untap Selvala to get more mana, draw more cards, and continue to manipulate your hand and boardstate until you identify a line to victory. When taking this route, you’re often not sure if you will draw into the necessary resources to continue on, leading you to fail or succeed based on the quality of the decisions you make. As you gain more experience with the deck, your skill will improve and you will start to see new paths to victory while seeing them faster. A typical “storm” line might go something like T1 mana dork, T2 Selvala, T3 Phyrexian Soulgorger , Life's Legacy to draw 8, Quirion Ranger , untap Selvala, Ravaging Riftwurm , pump Riftwurm, tap Selavala, Green Sun's Zenith for Great Oak Guardian , tap Selvala, Greater Good to draw 10, and so on until an infinite mana combo is assembled.

Winning with Selvala is composed of four phases:
  1. Storm through the deck until you assemble an infinite mana combo
  2. Generate infinite mana
  3. Draw the deck
  4. Kill combo
The deck runs many ways to generate infinite mana in order to make up for the lack of ease in assembling pieces. All of these combos can also be done with Priest of Titania instead of Selvala given enough elves on board or with Karametra's Acolyte given enough green devotion. Some of these combos are no longer in the primer list, but I've decided to keep them here as the deck is flexible to tune to your tastes, and you may choose to run these combos in your own list.
4 Power Creature on Board

5 Power Creature on Board

6 Power Creature on Board

7 Power Creature on Board

8 Power Creature on Board

9 Power Creature on Board

Other

These lines will go infinite with Selvala after a few loops as long as you have enough starting mana
- Temur Sabertooth + Great Oak Guardian
- Cloudstone Curio + Great Oak Guardian + 1cmc dork
- Umbral Mantle

After assembling an infinite mana combo, you typically draw the deck by flickering a fattie and drawing off Selvala's EtB trigger. However, other available outlets are:

Note: If you are using Great Oak Guardian or Umbral Mantle to assemble infinite mana, you will need an outlet that does not rely on Selvala's draw trigger.

Once you have infinite mana assembled, you need to actually end the game. Aside from the Finale of Devastation kill, all other kills are recursion loops. To execute these, you will need Eternal Witness . The basic recursion loops are described below:

Recursion Loop 1 (with Sabertooth/Curio)

  1. Cast the spell you want to loop.
  2. Cast Eternal Witness , returning the spell to hand.
  3. Bounce EWit to hand via Temur Sabertooth or Cloudstone Curio .
  4. Repeat.

Recursion Loop 2 (with Primal Command)

  1. Cast the spell you want to loop.
  2. Cast Eternal Witness , returning the spell to hand.
  3. Kill EWit with Beast Within or Somberwald Stag .
  4. Cast Primal Command to shuffle your graveyard into your deck.
  5. Draw your deck again (EWit and loop spell in hand, Primal Command in graveyard).
  6. Repeat.

Recursion Loop 3 (with Eldrazi)

(Obviously this loop only applies if you choose to run Kozilek/Ulamog)

  1. Cast Survival of the Fittest .
  2. Cast the spell you want to loop.
  3. Discard your Eldrazi to Survival to shuffle your graveyard and the Eldrazi into your deck.
  4. Draw your deck again (Eldrazi and loop spell in hand).
  5. Repeat.

Recursion Loop 4 (for recurring lands)

  1. Loop Greater Good with Birds of Paradise to discard the lands in your hand.
  2. Shuffle your graveyard into your library with Primal Command or an Eldrazi.
  3. Cast Genesis Wave for X=DeckSize to put the lands into play (make sure to put the Eldrazi in the graveyard off Genesis Wave).
  4. Recur Genesis Wave and Primal Command using Eternal Witness .
  5. Use your land's ability.
  6. Loop Crop Rotation to kill your lands.
  7. Repeat.

This one is pretty straightforward, but it must be done before combat.

  1. Play out all the creatures in your deck.
  2. Cast Finale of Devastation for a very large X. This will give all your creatures haste.
  3. Swing for lethal.

This combo does not win immediately, but you will be unlikely to lose and will kill on the following turn.

  1. Loop Beast Within to destroy all of your opponent's permanents.
  2. Loop Somberwald Stag to destroy all of the beast tokens you created.
  3. Loop Beast Within + any nonland permanent to make infinite beast tokens for yourself.
  4. Win on next untap.

If you don't have access to Beast Within, you can still achieve something similar to the Beast Within loop by assembling a Creature Kill Loop + a Non-creature Kill Loop.

Creature Kill Loops

  1. Loop Somberwald Stag with Recursion Loop 1 (Eternal Witness loop).
  2. Loop Somberwald Stag with Recursion Loop 2 or 3, along with Phyrexian Dreadnought to kill the Stag if it doesn't die during the fight.
  3. Loop Mouth of Ronom with Recursion Loop 4 (Genesis Wave loop).

Non-Creature Kill Loops

  1. Loop Primal Command to put all your opponents' noncreature permanents into their deck using any of Recursion Loop 1-3.
  2. Loop Strip Mine with Recursion Loop 4 and Nature's Claim with Recursion Loop 1-3.

The deck has a few cards that are capable of winning on their own, similar to Doomsday piles in UB/x. These lines are worth learning as they come up reasonably often. All lines assume that Selvala is tapped at the start of execution.


Starting Mana Required: 10
Board State: Elf in play
Steps:

  1. Fetch Temur Sabertooth and Woodland Bellower
  2. Fetch Wirewood Symbiote with Woodland Bellower
  3. Generate infinite mana with Symbiote and the Elf
  4. Bounce and replay Bellower to fetch Eternal Witness for Tooth and Nail

Starting Mana Required: 12
Board State: 2 Forests in play
Steps:

  1. Fetch Woodland Bellower and Great Oak Guardian
  2. Fetch Eternal Witness with Bellower
  3. Tap Selvala again
  4. Recast Tooth and Nail off Ewit
  5. Fetch Temur Sabertooth and Quirion Ranger
  6. Untap Selvala with Ranger and tap her again
  7. Flicker Ranger with Sabertooth
  8. Untap and tap Selvala again
  9. Flicker Guardian twice while tapping Selvala in between (Sabertooth is a 10/9 now)
  10. Flicker Ewit to recast Tooth and Nail
  11. Fetch Wirewood Symbiote and anything else
  12. Generate infinite mana with Symbiote and Ranger
  13. Recast Tooth and Nail to fetch Phyrexian Dreadnought to flicker and draw deck

When playing with Weird Harvest, you should only cast it when you intend to win with it. Watch out for flash creatures that your opponents could fetch - most notably Snapcaster Mage , Aven Mindcensor , and Notion Thief .


Starting Mana Required: 10
Board State: 1 Forest in play
Steps:

  1. Weird Harvest for x=5
  2. Fetch Phyrexian Dreadnought , Temur Sabertooth , Phyrexian Soulgorger , Wirewood Symbiote , Quirion Ranger
  3. Play Ranger, then Dreadnought
  4. Untap Selvala with Ranger and tap her for 12 mana
  5. Play Soulgorger and Symbiote
  6. Untap Selvala with Symbiote to make more mana
  7. Play Sabertooth and go infinite with Symbiote and Ranger
  8. Flicker Soulgorger to draw deck

Starting Mana Required: 11
Board State: 1 Forest in play, Dreadnought in graveyard or exiled
Steps:

  1. Weird Harvest for x=4
  2. Fetch Temur Sabertooth , Phyrexian Soulgorger , Wirewood Symbiote , Quirion Ranger
  3. Play Ranger, then Soulgorger
  4. Untap Selvala with Ranger and tap her for 8 mana
  5. Play Symbiote
  6. Untap Selvala with Symbiote to make more mana
  7. Play Sabertooth and go infinite with Symbiote and Ranger
  8. Flicker Soulgorger to draw deck

Starting Mana Required: 11
Board State: 2 Forests in play, Symbiote in graveyard or exile
Steps:

  1. Weird Harvest for x=4
  2. Fetch Temur Sabertooth , Phyrexian Soulgorger , Elvish Pioneer , Quirion Ranger
  3. Play Ranger, then Soulgorger
  4. Untap Selvala with Ranger and tap her for 8 mana
  5. Play Sabertooth
  6. Flicker Ranger to untap Selvala and make more mana
  7. Play Pioneer and go infinite with Pioneer and Ranger
  8. Flicker Soulgorger to draw deck


Starting Mana Required: 14
Board State: 8 power creature in play
Steps:

  1. Summoner's Pact for Eternal Witness
  2. Ewit Pact to hand and Pact for Temur Sabertooth
  3. Play Sabertooth and flicker Ewit for Pact
  4. Pact for Quirion Ranger
  5. Play Ranger to untap and tap Selvala for mana
  6. Flicker Ewit to Pact for Wirewood Symbiote
  7. Go infinite with Symbiote and Ranger

Starting Mana Required: 15
Board State: 6 power creature in play
Steps:

  1. Summoner's Pact for Eternal Witness
  2. Ewit Pact to hand and Pact for Temur Sabertooth
  3. Play Sabertooth and flicker Ewit for Pact
  4. Pact for Quirion Ranger
  5. Play Ranger to untap and tap Selvala for mana
  6. Flicker Ewit to Pact for Wirewood Symbiote
  7. Go infinite with Symbiote and Ranger

Starting Mana Required: 23
Board State: 2 Forests in play
Steps:

  1. Summoner's Pact for Eternal Witness
  2. Ewit Pact to hand and Pact for Temur Sabertooth
  3. Play Sabertooth and flicker Ewit for Pact
  4. Pact for Great Oak Guardian
  5. Tap Selvala for mana
  6. Flicker Guardian twice while tapping Selvala in between (Sabertooth is a 10/9 now)
  7. Flicker Ewit to Pact for Quirion Ranger
  8. Play Ranger to untap and tap Selvala for mana
  9. Flicker Ewit to Pact for Wirewood Symbiote
  10. Go infinite with Symbiote and Ranger


Starting Mana Required: 16 (15 with a land drop)
Board State: Phyrexian Dreadnought in play with sacrifice trigger on the stack, either 3 Forests in play or 2 Forests and have a land drop available. Steps:

  1. Shared Summons for Eternal Witness and Scryb Ranger (11)
  2. Flash in Scryb Ranger (9)
  3. Untap and tap Selvala, bouncing a Forest (20)
  4. Let Dreadnought die
  5. If you have a land drop you can replay your Forest here
  6. Cast Eternal Witness, targeting Shared Summons (17)
  7. Shared Summons for Ghalta, Primal Hunger and Temur Sabertooth (12)
  8. Cast Sabertooth (8)
  9. Cast Ghalta (5)
  10. Flicker Scryb Ranger with Sabertooth (1)
  11. Untap and tap Selvala, bouncing a Forest (12)
  12. Flicker Scryb Ranger with Sabertooth (8)
  13. Untap and tap Selvala, bouncing a Forst (19)
  14. Flicker Eternal Witness, targeting Shared Summons (14)
  15. Shared Summons for a 1cmc Elf and Wirewood Symbiote (9)
  16. Cast the elf and Symbiote (7)
  17. Make infinite mana with Sabertooth, Symbiote, Elf loop
  18. Loop Ghalta to draw deck


The deck can consistently produce a turn 3 or 4 kill when uncontested, so you are happy to race any deck that wants to race. The matchup is excellent versus low-interaction combo decks like Animar, Soul of Elements , Prossh, Skyraider of Kher , and Maelstrom Wanderer . You have a good chance of beating them to the finish line, and competing combo decks will lower the odds that Selvala eats spot removal from the remaining players. B/G midrangy decks like Jarad and Meren that develop slowly are also favorable. While they are ramping into their value engines, your engine flat out wins. However, if the game goes long, they will value you to death, so tutor aggressively to make sure that does not happen.

As with all storm type decks, there are some staxy rocks and bears that make Selvala cry. Ethersworn Canonist , Rule of Law , Linvala, Keeper of Silence , Cursed Totem , Notion Thief , Gaddok Teeg, Aven Mindcensor , and Phyrexian Revoker all ruin your spicy plans. Your mitigation plan is often the same: use creature tutors to chain into Treefolk Harbinger for Lignify , Crop Rotation into Mouth of Ronom , “deer punch” them with Somberwald Stag , or blow up a stax piece with Reclamation Sage or end step Nature's Claim . Do not be afraid to bide your time, sculpt your hand, or just draw your way out of it. Others at the table will be looking to get rid of the hate cards too, so be ready to pounce when the opportunity presents itself.

- Remember that Selvala triggers whenever any creature enters the battlefield. The ability only checks power on resolution. You can pump a creature in response to draw a card. Also of note is that when an opponent resolves a creature, the Selvala trigger can be responded to before they get a chance to cast a sorcery. - Priest of Titania and Karametra's Acolyte are capable of producing similar amounts of mana as Selvala under certain circumstances. You can use them to execute similar combo plays if the commander tax gets too high to recast Selvala or if Selvala is trapped by a Gilded Drake / Legacy's Allure . Yisan, the Wanderer Bard is another backup plan and can synergize with untappers to assemble the necessary pieces for a Sabertooth loop. Remember your Yisan "double tap" tricks.
- If you can, play your untappers ( Quirion Ranger , Wirewood Lodge , etc.) prior to casting Phyrexian Dreadnought . This allows for tapping Selvala twice before the sacrifice trigger resolves and sends Dreadnought to the graveyard.
- It's usually best not to play your land for the turn until you actually need to. While storming off, you often draw into Cradle, Nykthos, or Wirewood Lodge, which provide valuable ritual effects mid-combo. The exception would be if you expect Spell Pierce or Flusterstorm interaction.
- Hold your important combo pieces (Staff, Mantle, Curio) in hand until you are ready to combo out and win. The chances that both Selvala and your combo piece will survive a full turn cycle if you pass the turn in a competitive pod are very low.
- The deck features some creatures that may be unfamiliar to pilots because their utility is so niche. If you start your turn with Sheltering Ancient or Phyrexian Soulgorger on the field, don’t forget to pay their upkeep costs or attentive opponents will make you sacrifice.
- Remember that Selvala’s ability can work on herself. If you can’t access a fatty, you may be able to use the pump spells to boost her power and proceed with the combo.
- When storming off, be conscious of bouncing Great Oak Guardian with Temur Sabertooth . The cat cannot bounce itself, so if its power gets too big you won’t be able to use Selvala as a draw outlet.
- Great Oak Guardian and Umbral Mantle grow Selvala while untapping her. This means you do not necessarily need a fattie to go off. Given sufficient starting mana, she will get large enough to go infinite.
I've linked a fantastic mulligan guide to the deck written by maynardferguson. It contains 25 hands with interesting decisions and explanations. Note that the list he is using is close to the primer but not exactly the same. Nonetheless, the thought process should still be helpful to new and maybe even experienced pilots. Unfortunately, tappedout has disabled links, so you'll just have to copy and paste into your browser:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1egfeZqnegpCAVmDxR37PFY90Z4oaIURI/view

We feel Selvala has shown herself capable of competing in ultra-competitive EDH metas. Selvala represents a new and relatively unexplored storm-esque style of play in mono green. The combination of explosive speed, redundant and interchangable combo pieces, and intricate technical lines of play make Selvala a joy to pilot. The skill ceiling is very high and Selvala is a deck that will almost certainly continue to improve over time; it has open ended synergies with green creature tutors, untappers, undercosted fatties, and pump spells, all of which are likely to see print in the future.

More importantly, the deck sits around $600-$700 at the time of this writing, with a budget version with close to the same performance sitting around $250-$300. This makes the deck a fantastic option for people looking to delve into the competitive side of EDH along the likes of Edric, Sidisi, and Yisan.

This primer represents many hours of testing, tweaking, searching, and collaborating, but we in no way feel that Selvala is solved. We hope this primer has been helpful and look forward to seeing where the deck sprouts from here. If you liked the primer, show your support by giving us an upvote

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Updates Add

I've added Core/Flex tags to each slot. If you change the Grouping to Custom, you will see which cards I've categorized as Core vs Flex.

Out:
- Primal Command
- Sensei's Divining Top
- Force of Vigor
- Vitalize
- Scale Up
- Mouth of Ronom

In:
- Return of the Wildspeaker
- Oakhame Adversary
- Kenrith's Transformation
- Mox Diamond
- Sylvan Safekeeper
- Emergence Zone

I've never really liked Primal Command , but you can bring it in over one of the flex slots according to your preferences. Return of the Wildspeaker is a new card from ELD that slots excellently into the deck. Notably, its another instant-speed draw effect, which synergizes incredibly well with Phyrexian Dreadnought .

Sensei's Divining Top is coming out for another new card from ELD that fulfills a similar role: Oakhame Adversary . This enhances hands that don't have a turn 1 dork into Selvala, or if you want to hold the mana back to play Selvala t3 with protection (Vines/Veils). It also allows you to grind for cards in slow games. It also has the neat upside of saccing to Eldritch Evolution for a 6 drop.

I've actually been slightly unimpressed with Force of Vigor . If you are in a stax-heavy meta though, it is a good slot in. I've replaced it with Kenrith's Transformation for my own list, which deals with several key hatebears while cantripping. If your meta is stax-light, Natural State is what I would default to.

I've been revisiting Mox Diamond for the past few months and I've decided that it is worth the inclusion. Increased density of T1 ramp, and can help you put out a turn 1 Sylvan Library/Priest of Titania/Oakhame Adversary (assuming someone played a dork before your first turn).

Another card I've been revisiting is Sylvan Safekeeper which I feel has been worth the slot. The original reasoning for its exclusion was that giving shroud to Selvala still shuts off your combo most of the time, but it's been useful to sit there to deter removal and save you the mana from needing to recast Selvala.

Emergence Zone is a late inclusion from War of the Spark. I've found it to be fairly useful, allowing you to combo at instant speed in windows that were previously unavailable by sneaking it in with Crop Rotation . It allows you to flash in Selvala on end step to surprise combo on your turn. It also synergizes with Dreadnought by allowing you to combo with the sacrifice trigger on the stack. Lastly, it also has some utility in letting you combo through interaction by comboing on top of the interaction. Mouth of Ronom is coming out for it to maintain colorless land parity, but if tutorable land-based removal is important in your meta, cutting a Forest is fine.

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Date added 3 years
Last updated 3 weeks
Legality

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 2.67
トークン 1/1 Faerie, 5/5 Wurm, 3/3 Beast
Folders To Build, Take Note, Selvala, Selvala, Heart of the Wilds, EDH, cutthroat fun, EDH Resources, Other people's crap to look at, Saved, Green Deck, See all 206
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