Here’s the deck list:
1 Fugitive Wizard
1 Research Assistant
2 Runeclaw Bear
2 Satyr Wayfinder
2 Coral Barrier
2 Frost Lynx
1 Illusory Angel
2 Invasive Species
2 Reclamation Sage
2 Roaring Primadox
3 Shaman of Spring
1 Mercurial Pretender
2 Kapsho Kitefins
1 Carnivous Moss-Beast
1 Stormtide Leviathan
2 Peel from Reality
1 Turn to Frog
2 Into the Void
First, we’ll take a look at Mercurial Pretender. It costs 4U to cast, and you may have it enter the battlefield as a copy of any creature you control, except that it gains the ability to return itself to your hand for 2UU. Being a 0/0, you are forced to have to play it as a copy of something, at least, more often than not. Unlike some Clone cards, it can only target creatures you control and can’t copy opponent’s creatures.
Five mana is not an absurd amount of mana for a clone effect, especially a clone that can return itself to your hand. And with the number of enter the battlefield effects that are within this deck, the Pretender can actually do some interesting things. It’s not the strongest Constructed clone out there, but in this particular intro pack, it serves an interesting purpose to tie the theme of the deck together.
But there are some rather strange decisions made for this deck. The first of those curious decisions is the inclusion of two copies of Satyr Wayfinder.
Satyr Wayfinder is a useful card in decks that use the graveyard as a resource. When it enters the battlefield, you reveal the top four cards of your library. You may put a land card from among those cards and put it into your hand. The rest go to the graveyard. Were there cards in the deck that cared about this, this would make sense to accelerate your land drops at the cost of cards being thrown into your graveyard. There is only one card that does so in this deck, Restock, which we’ll get to later.
Fugitive Wizard is a 1/1 vanilla creature for a single blue mana and Fugitive Wizard is a 1/3 with an over-costed “looter” effect. Four mana (3U) to draw a card and discard a card is pretty lousy. It’s barely good in Limited. The two Runeclaw Bear are your classic Grizzly Bears, 2/2 for 2 mana. These are cards that can be easily replaced.
Coral Barrier is actually a very interesting card. It’s a 1/3 defender for 2U, but it brings with it a 1/1 blue Squid creature token with Islandwalk. At common, this is a nice Wall. There are two copies of it in the deck.
Frost Lynx is another new card from Magic 2015. It’s a 2/2 Elemental Cat (with some sick artwork) for 2U that has an enter the battlefield effect that “freezes” a target creature an opponent controls. That is, that creature becomes tapped and doesn’t untap during your opponent’s next untap step. It’s a very solid tempo card that gives you a solid 2/2 body along with it. The two copies of this card are a solid inclusion in this list.
Illusory Angel is a 4/4 flyer for 2U, but you can’t play her unless you’ve cast a spell that turn. That sounds like a serious drawback, but 4/4 flyers are tough to deal with, so if you can land her, she can do some serious damage. She’s one of the better Constructed playable cards in the deck.
Invasive Species is an interesting card that helps you reuse your creature’s enter the battlefield abilities. It can even help you sort of “mana ramp” by returning a tapped land back to your hand to replay it during that same turn if you wouldn’t otherwise have a land drop. It has a 3/3 body, which is fine for 2G. It’s a decent common.
Reclamation Sage has had plenty written about her already for being a very solid removal card. Hitting either artifacts or enchantments makes her quite versatile, and having that ability be optional, as well. She’s a super solid card that you don’t mind reusing again and again.
Speaking of reusing creature abilities, Roaring Primadox forces you to return a creature you control to its owner’s hand at the beginning of each of your upkeeps. This sounds like a nice interaction with all of the enter the battlefield effects in the deck, but as you might be seeing, the power level of a lot of the enter the battlefield effects are not quite to the level you’d like to see in a Constructed deck. But Primadox is optimal in this sort of deck, so its inclusion of two copies makes sense.
Card advantage is always good, and Shaman of Spring gives you just that. For 3G you get a 2/2 elf that also gives you a card draw when she enters the battlefield. But besides that and having pretty artwork, she’s a bit underwhelming. She’s fun to reuse again and again, yes, and card draw isn’t something you typically see in Green. So she fits into this strategy, and who doesn’t like to draw cards?
Kapsho Kitefins is a very interesting card to round out the top end of this deck’s mana curve. It’s a 3/3 for 4UU, which is sort of costly, but they do have flying. However, whenever Kitefins or another creature enters the battlefield under your control, you get to tap a target creature an opponent controls. It’s especially nice to have a card like this when you have cards like Coral Barrier that bring another creature along with it when it enters. Playing your creatures over and over again to tap down opponents’ creatures is especially fun, and while it’s not the most efficient tempo strategy, it can work.
Many decks need some sort of finisher, and in this deck, that’s Stormtide Leviathan. Yes, he costs 5UUU to cast, but he’s an 8/8 with Islandwalk. Wow, that’s big. Plus, all lands become Islands in addition to their other types. That’s right – he is essentially un-blockable. The other thing about the Leviathan is that he prevents creatures without flying or islandwalk from even attacking. Basically, if you drop this card while playing this deck, if your opponent can’t get rid of it, you basically have the game one.
Also, because all lands become Islands, it’s then possible for every land, including your opponents’ to tap for blue mana. It’s an interesting thing to keep in mind.
Overall, the creatures make sense in the theme, although the Wayfinders are a bit of an odd inclusion.
Onto the non-creature spells, we start with one copy of Negate, your everyday 1U counter-spell for non-creature spells. Then, we have two copies of Peel From Reality.
Originally printed in Avacyn Restored, Peel from Reality costs 1U for an instant that returns target creature you control and target creature you don’t control to their owners’ hands. This way, you can save your creature from removal and “un-summon” one of your opponent’s monsters. It’s a very good tempo card.
Turn to Frog is a super fun card. Turn an opponent’s creature into a 1/1 with no abilities? Too much fun to be had there. Ribbit!
There’s one copy of Plummet in here, which allows you to destroy a target creature with flying for 1G. Seems awfully random?
Encrust is an enchantment for 1BB that can enchant an artifact or creature. That creature is no longer allowed to untap during its controller’s untap step, nor be able to use its activated abilities. It’s another interesting tempo card that mostly only sees play in Limited, but it makes sense in an Intro Pack.
Into the Void is another reprint from Avacyn Restored. It costs 3U for a sorcery that allows you to return up to two target creatures to their owner’s hands. Again, it’s not a bad tempo card, but two more copies of Peel from Reality seem a better choice for speed reasons. But there may be points in the game where sending back two opponent’s creatures just gives you enough advantage to win. Their inclusion does make sense in that case.
Meteorite is a cute card. It’s an artifact that costs 5 to cast, and when it enters the battlefield, it deals 2 damage to target creature or player. After that, it’s a literal “mana rock” that can tap to give you one mana of any color. It’s fun, especially in Limited, but it isn’t too great in Constructed.
We round out the non-creature spells with a cool reprint from Invasion called Restock. The cool part is that Restock is now being printed at uncommon when it was originally a rare. For 3GG you return two target cards from your graveyard to your hand. You then have to exile it, so that you can never use it again. Restock is a good solid card that sees lots of play in Commander. It’s a decent card to have in an Intro Pack, too. What’s especially interesting though is that it’s the only card that seems to combo with the Satyr Wayfinders. Early in the game you’ll dump a few cards into your graveyard and Restock could get you two of them back. It’s also likely you’ll drop Restock in the graveyard.
The list is rounded out by the basic lands: 13 Islands and 12 Forests.
Overall, “Hit the Ground Running” has an interesting tempo theme based around getting card advantage through creature’s enter the battlefield effects and being able to reuse those effects to gain additional advantage. It’s a sound strategy. But there are a couple cards that don’t make a lot of sense, and as with every intro pack there are the sub-optimal “vanilla” creatures that take up some space. The Satyr Wayfinders make me scratch my head a little too, but I suppose having Restock in the deck made them a cute inclusion. (Also what other creatures in M15 could have they included at common rarity in blue and green?)
There are definitely some ways to improve upon this deck, and I like the overall strategy. It’s not as strong as the White/Black Intro Pack, Price of Glory, but it has some cool elements for those that want to learn to play a tempo deck. Blue/green are definitely the colors for creature-based tempo. I would certainly not see this as a shell for an FNM-worthy list, but it’s a nice start. I still greatly prefer the blue/green list from the Magic 2015 Clash Pack.
In any case, you get a couple of nifty rares and a couple booster packs. It’s an OK intro pack, but it doesn’t quite have the bang others from the Core Set 2015 Intro Packs have. You do get an Illusory Angel, a Restock, and a couple of Reclamation Sages, which are all good uncommon cards. All in all, a C-plus effort.