Weekly Random Brew #7: Folk of the Pines

In this series, I discuss the deckbuilding process while building casual 60-card decklists based on cards chosen by Scryfall's Random Card function. This is intended as a creative exercise, to give new players a sense of how deckbuilding works while giving more experienced players examples of the kinds of brewing challenges they might encounter in Limited formats. The decks in this series will not be optimized for competitive play, especially when the random seed is not an especially powerful card. My goal is to use the properties of those seeds to make interesting decks.

This week's seed is Folk of the Pines.

Card Features

Folk of the Pines is a common green creature from Ice Age. It's a five-mana Dryad with greater toughness than power, suggesting that it would fit well into a slower, more defensive deck. It has a triggered ability that increases its power until end of turn, which lends itself to a deck that emphasizes combat tricks. Its art is by Néné Thomas and Catherine Buck, and its flavortext mentions a couple of characters that might work well as deckbuilding prompts: Laina of the Elvish Council, and the planeswalker Freyalise.

Choosing Creatures

I'm going to start with a Dryad tribal deck. Magic has 39 Dryads; most of them are green, but there are also a few green and white Dryads associated with the Selesnya Conclave. Many of them have forestwalk, which is not always useful since your opponents won't always be playing Forests, but Dryad Sophisticate's nonbasic landwalk will play well against most decks. Knight of Autumn is another nice versatile creature that I'm happy to include, but what really gives this deck a way to win is combining Trostani, Selesnya's Voice's populate ability with the tokens created by Tendershoot Dryad.

Choosing Noncreature Spells

There are no spells that specifically care about Dryads as a creature type, so the noncreature spells in this deck will be a combination of "choose a creature type" tribal cards and cards that support Tendershoot Dryad's Saproling generation. Shared Triumph and Radiant Destiny do the first one well for not too much mana, and Fists of Ironwood and Verdant Embrace do the second while buffing your creatures even further. (Folk of the Pines might be a good card to target with Verdant Embrace, since its high toughness means it's already very hard to kill.) You may also want to include Icon of Ancestry or Saproling Migration.

Choosing Lands

I considered using Dryad Arbor in this deck, but decided that Gnarlwood Dryad was a better creature to play on turn 1 because it has deathtouch and can therefore discourage opponents from attacking. Dryad Arbor isn't a great land either, since it has summoning sickness and can only tap for one color. Usually lands that can't be used the turn they're played aren't worth it unless they can do something special, like scry or tap for three or more colors.

Apart from that, I'm using the usual suspects—two-color lands that can enter the battlefield untapped under some condition. I'm not a huge fan of shock lands, so I'm sticking with lands that enter untapped if I have some basic lands handy and then using more basics than I otherwise might so I can meet that condition.

Another option: Freyalise Oathbreaker
Since the flavor text on Folk of the Pines mentions Freyalise, the planeswalker who ended Dominaria's ice age, I'd like to build a deck around Freyalise, Llanowar's Fury. This card was printed as a commander in Commander 2014, so I could technically build a Commander deck for her. But she's a planeswalker, and I've limited myself to 60-card decks, so I'm going to build an Oathbreaker deck.
Freyalise, Llanowar's Fury creates elf tokens, so this will be an elf tribal deck that focuses on generating lots of mana and creating lots of elves. As an extra creative constraint, I'm going to use as many cards as possible that mention Freyalise in their names or flavor text.

Let us know what other decklists you come up with for this seed, or if there's a card you want us to try building around. Happy brewing!

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What's the signature spell for the Oathbreaker deck?
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