M14: Follow-up on the Gladecover Scout deck

I attempted to draft the Gladecover Scout deck at a casual draft yesterday. My first pick was Garruk Caller of Beasts, but the next few packs had very little to offer, so I took 2 Gladecover Scouts, Elvish Mystic, 2 Verdant Havens, and Howl of the Night Pack (not in that order). At this point, I figured I could easily splash strong enhancing Auras from most colors, so I was planning to take them, and any additional Gladecover Scouts, over anything but bombs. I stuck to that plan, taking 2 Trollhides over Pacifisms, even though I knew could splash the latter. I was monogreen until the middle of pack 2, when I finally saw some non-green enhancing Auras in the form of Mark of the Vampire, Dark Favor, Lightning Talons, and Illusionary Armor. (At that point, I had 4 Verdant Havens, so I had no concern about splashing cards from multiple colors.)

Unfortunately, I never saw any more Gladecover Scouts, or any Witchstalkers. I did pick up a Ranger’s Guile (and passed a second one) which someone else suggested is equivalent to a Gladecover Scout in my deck since I also had 3 Trollhides. I disagree with that assessment, however, because the creature can still be shut down by Pacifism, Claustrophobia, Time Ebb, Disperse, and a few other spells that regeneration doesn’t protect against. I didn’t want to splash the non-green Auras since there was a high likelihood that I would not have a Gladecover Scout in my opening hand, and I would not be excited to put these Auras on the other creatures in my deck.

Luckily, I had enough decent green cards to build a monogreen deck. I did run the 2 Gladecover Scouts I’d drafted, and they worked quite well with my Accorder’s Shield, 3 TrollHides, 3 Hunt the Weaks, and 3 other pump spells. The deck’s only paths to victory were Gladecover Scout + Trollhide, Garruk Caller of Beasts, or Howl of the Night, but I still managed to win all 4 matches I played, probably because no one at the table had a particularly strong deck. Also, this was a very casual draft, and you shouldn’t expect to do particularly well with a monogreen deck like mine at most drafts.

Conclusion: it’s risky to attempt to draft the Gladecover Scout deck. An average 8-person draft will have only 2.4 Gladecover Scouts. That number goes up to 2.8 if you include Witchstalkers, but that is likely to be drafted highly by other green players, and possibly even raredrafted if you’re at a casual draft. Even though I had 2 Gladecover Scouts before we were halfway through the first pack, I never saw another one, even though I was one of only 2 green drafters at the table, and there aren’t any good alternatives to him in M14.

M14: The Gladecover Scout deck

The Gladecover Scout deck involves putting Auras on a Gladecover Scout or a Witchstalker and smashing in with a large hexproof creature. I’ve been meaning to try this deck out for a while, but haven’t yet been willing to prioritize Gladecover Scouts highly enough, and this deck obviously does not work without them. A friend recently assured me that this is a strong deck, so I will try to give it a shot at some point and report back. Meanwhile, the goal of this post is to figure out what colors this deck usually is and which other cards I’ll need to prioritize when attempting to draft this archetype.

This spreadsheet lists all the Auras, global enchantments, instants, sorceries, and planeswalkers that can enhance a creature’s power/toughness or grant it additional abilities, whether temporarily or permanently. Green and white have the most cards that go in this archetype, but black also offers some key cards at uncommon, especially Mark of the Vampire, which can make it very difficult for your opponent to race.

  • Green (permanent effects): Hunt the Weak, Trollhide, Oath of the Ancient Wood (rare), Primeval Bounty (mythic)
  • Green (temporary effects): Giant Growth, Ranger’s Guile, Enlarge (uncommon)
  • White (permanent effects): Divine Favor, Blessing (uncommon), Indestructibility (rare), Path of Bravery (rare), Ajani Caller of the Pride (mythic)
  • White (temporary effects): Fortify, Show of Valor
  • Blue: Zephyr Charge, Illusionary Armor (uncommon)
  • Black: Dark Favor, Mark of the Vampire
  • Red: Lightning Talons, Shiv’s Embrace (uncommon)
  • Artifact: Accorder’s Shield (uncommon), Fireshrieker (uncommon), Door of Destinies (rare), Haunted Plate Mail (rare)

Looking more closely at the cards listed above, it seems that this deck should usually be G/B, with Trollhide and Mark of the Vampire being the key commons, as well as Ranger’s Guild if you are running several creatures without hexproof to complement your Gladecover Scouts. At other rarities, Oath of the Ancient Wood, Primeval Bounty, and the artifacts listed can also contribute to a strong deck. The deck is also happy to splash white, blue, and red for Divine Favor, Illusionary Armor, and Lightning Talons respectively.

When playing this deck, you need to be very careful to not walk into Celestial Flare when either attacking or blocking. Shrivel can also be an issue if your Gladecover Scout is enchanted only with Lightning Talons and/or Indestructibility. This, along with the fact that you won’t always draw Gladecover Scout (or be willing to try to mulligan to it) means that the deck also needs other creatures. The deck generally wants to run cheaper creatures so it can put an Aura on them and start attacking, so here are the 1-3 mana creatures in green and black that seem to be good candidates for this archetype:

  • 1cc: Elvish Mystic, Festering Newt, Tenacious Dead (uncommon)
  • 2cc: Child of Night, Corpse Hauler, Predatory Sliver, Gnawing Zombie (uncommon), Manaweft Sliver (uncommon), Voracious Wurm (uncommon), Scavenging Ooze (rare)
  • 3cc: Brindle Boar, Rootwalla, Lifebane Zombie (rare), Syphon Sliver (rare), Witchstalker (rare)

Blightcaster is also a key card since the deck already runs several Auras. If the deck has sufficient mana fixing, other cards from the enchantments and lifegain decks can also be included.