BUGrove Elder: Comments on a Green-White Version

This little pet deck I've been working on has really been giving me some good results, so I'm going to keep running with it. I placed 3rd at a local tournament a few weeks ago (tournament report here), and finished 3-1 at last night's FNM (not sure what I placed other than that I wasn't in the top 4... needed a fifth round of swiss to avoid the need for massive tiebreakers, but they only ran four rounds for some reason and my tiebreakers apparently sucked).

In the comments on the tournament report (linked above), Ebonlocke (a player running a similar deck) responded with the following: 
Hey man, love the blog post. Made an account just to be able to respond! I have been playing my own version of U/W Control until recently when I aquired 3 Mind Sculptors and 4 Mystics in a trade and decided to convert it to a legacy Caw-Blade, but that's besides the point.
I was out of a standard deck because of that and I love the idea of a Dungrove elder. I only just put it together but here's what I have:
20 Forest
2 Plains
4 Gladecover Scout
4 Spirit Mantle
4 Rampant Regrowth
4 Sylvan Ranger
4 Viridian Emissary
3 Hunter's Insight
4 O-Ring
4 Dungrove Elder
3 Phyrexian Metamorph
2 Thrun, The Last Troll
2 Gaea's Revenge
I play alot of can't be countereds and hexproof things. Until I get around to getting them manaramping and little critters keep me alive, little worried about flyers though as I haven't really tested this yet in an FNM. Hunter's insight is awesome if you have an empty hand and you swing in with a 7/7 Hexproof Pro. Creatures dungrove elder to give you more fuel for the war effort.
The swords idea seemed very tasty too, but I'm not sure about what to replace them for really. I'm thinking I'll probably try to adopt the swords of vengeance and the basilisk collar too, but I'm afriad I'd have to replace too much if I don't play blue to fetch them with trinket mages. I'd rather just get a massive dungrove elder and get through defenses with spirit mantle, the sword of vengeance would make that especially tasty.
It's also alot of fun when you already have a heavy dungrove elder to bring in a Gaea's Revenge and then copy either of them with metamorph next turn to make for quite a few number of really hard hitters, all of which canpotentially be creature proof with spirit mantle.
I only play 2 plains because I have a million ways to fetch them anyway.
What do you think? ;)
First, I have to say to Ebonlocke: Thanks for reading, and I'm glad you enjoyed the post. As far as the deck, it does have quite a bit in common with mine. The core strategy is the same: abuse big Dungrove Elders. Many of the cards in this deck were ones that I considered for my own. Sylvan Ranger, Viridian Emissary, and Dungrove Elder are really the core of the deck. Two are mana ramping/fixing chump blockers that can put some pressure on a control deck in a pinch. As for the other card choices, let's go one by one:
  • Gladecover Scout: I love these guys in M12 draft, but for my deck they're just too fragile in combat and they don't do anything other than say "no" to targeted removal. Personally, I prefer either Llanowar Elves or Birds of Paradise. BoP might even help your worries about flyers. Now, that said, giving these guys protection from creatures can make them really annoying for your opponents... so if that's working for you, run with it.
  • Spirit Mantle: Another card I love in M12 draft, I can see the potential they have for this type of deck. If I was running white, I think I'd be running these too.
  • Rampant Growth: Do you need it? I would argue that you don't, and that this slot might be better as either another threat or more removal. 
  • Hunter's Insight: I have gone back and forth on this card, and I had three in one version of my deck as well. I think it's amazing under certain circumstances, but when it is amazing, you're probably going to win in a turn or two whether you cast it or not. I finally cut it after I had a few experiences of drawing it without the ability to push much damage through, and I ended up just drawing one or two cards.
  • Oblivion Ring: This is your deck's primary advantage over mine... there are things you can get rid of permanently (barring enchantment removal) that I can only bounce for a turn. After boarding, I can get rid of the same things, but they get a 3/3 beast in place of whatever I killed. O-Ring is amazing... love it...
  • Thrun, The Last Troll: Before M12, I was running 3 copies of Thrun in every green deck I played... but now he's usually just a smaller, more expensive Dungrove Elder. I would definitely run a few of these if UB Control was popular in my area, but so far I haven't seen anyone playing it, so he rotates in and out of my sideboard depending on whether or not I feel like I have better options. 
  • Gaea's Revenge: A big untargettable guy that can't be countered and has haste. These can be amazing in certain match-ups. However, they're also pretty mediocre in others because there are just so many creatures in standard that he trades with (all of the titans, for example). Another option to consider here is Terra Stomper... he doesn't trade with titans, can't be countered, and can't be chump blocked by a random Bird of Paradise. He can be targeted, but he at least ignores the most popular removal spell in standard right now: Dismember. I don't know if he's actually better rather than just better in theory, but it's worth considering, at least.
  • Phyrexian Metamorph: I saved this for last because it is actually a little embarrassing. Congratulations on catching this gem... I'm not sure why I overlooked him. I'm definitely going to see if I can find room for him in my version of the deck.
As far as using my deck for ideas, allow me to share some things I've learned over the last few weeks of tournaments and testing.
  • Sword of Vengeance is a ton of fun, but I think I was running too many copies. Drawing multiples is not fun, and it happens more often than you'd think. In the last tournament I played, I dropped down to two copies, and I might end up going down to one. I just keep replacing them with other swords (Feast and Famine, War and Peace). The most important ability that Sword of Vengeance granted was trample, and your Spirit Mantles provide pretty much the same thing for a much smaller mana investment.
  • The Trinket Mage engine is cool, but it's a one trick pony and there are too many cards devoted to that one trick pony. I always wanted to get a Basilisk Collar with the first Trinket Mage, and then I winced every time I drew another one, because I already had the only card I really had Trinket Mages in the deck to get. My advice: Don't switch to blue just for this.
  • Fetch lands really help the mana situation. I know there isn't one for green-white in standard, but I think Terramorphic Expanse is worth it just for the versatility.
  • As someone else pointed out in another comment, Green Sun's Zenith is amazing in this deck. It almost feels like you're playing eight Dungrove Elders, and it lets you go get other things that you might need in a pinch as well (like Acidic Slime, for example).
I've modified the maindeck significantly since the last time I posted a list. I'll post a new list and a mini tournament report on PureMTGO soon.
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