Harnessing Dryad Sligh

When I play Magic, I like to do things, make an impact on the board. Playing spells, laying down creatures, develop my mana. I don’t want to sit around and wait for someone else to do something, so I can respond to that. And because I like to do stuff during the games I play, I also like cards that reward me for doing things. Cards like this:

And such wonderful art!

The Dryad grows with every spells you play if it’s not a mono green spell. That is not too high of a hurdle to jump over! The Dryad has been successful in a number of decks, probably best known for its appearance in Miracle Gro decks of yore. However, I mostly know the Dryad from another deck, a deck I also built and hardly played. That deck is Dryad Sligh.

Dryad Sligh
4 Grim Lavamancer
4 Kird Ape
4 Mogg Fanatic
4 Quirion Dryad
4 Slith Firewalker

4 Chain Lightning
4 Lightning Bolt
2 Seal of Fire
4 Incinerate
4 Magma Jet
4 Fireblast
4 Bloodstained Mire
4 Taiga
4 Wooded Foothills
2 Stomping Ground
4 Mountain

Dryad Sligh is not very mysterious in what it is and what it does. It is Sligh, but with a playset of Quirion Dryads and the mana to support the green splash. Because the deck plays so much red spells and few lands, the Dryad grows fast and functions as a way to beat face quickly. The burn is mostly used to clear blockers out of the way, so the Dryad can attack unhindered.

I liked the in-your-face approach of the deck and if there’s an excuse to play Quirion Dryad, I’m in. It only doesn’t hold up that well in multiplayer. Sure, you can eliminate one opponent, but that costs most of your resources. By the time you get to that second and maybe even third opponent, you’re out of gas. But I think I have found solution:

Let me explain: Deeproot Champion is basically Quirion Dryad five to eight, with this distinction: it only grows with non-creature spells. That is no problem with a deck that mostly consists of burn spells anyways.

Guttersnipe does not grow with all your burn spells, but does extra damage to all players. This is a beneficial for a deck that wants to make burn viable in multiplayer. It is a little more expensive than the other threats in the deck, but that can be solved by playing extra lands. On top of that, multiplayer games usually develop a little slower than duals. There is no excuse to skip this card.

Harness the Storm might seem a weird addition, since it is not a threat in itself and costs quite much for this kind of deck. The Storm lets you play all your burn spells a second and sometimes even a third time when you play a copy of a spell already in your graveyard. Plus, the Storm has the extra benefit that spells you play from your graveyard are cast and not copied, thereby triggering Quirion Dryad, Deeproot Champion and Guttersnipe. Quite the tech in this deck. Here’s the list:

Harness Dryads and Champions
4 Deeproot Champion
4 Quirion Dryad
4 Guttersnipe

4 Crash Through
4 Flame Jab
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Desperate Ravings
4 Incinerate
4 Tormenting Voice
4 Harness the Storm
4 Karplusan Forest
4 Terramorphic Expanse
3 Evolving Wilds
3 Rootbound Crag
4 Mountain
1 Forest

With this deck I chose some other cards than the original deck played. That has mostly to do with the multiplayer setting I want to play this deck in. Sifting through the deck searching for the cards you need when you need them is very important. I’m playing a playset of Crash Through. Not only does it give my creatures trample (which the Dryad and Champion can really use when they have grown and might encounter a blocker), it also lets me draw a card. While this deck is different than Miracle Gro decks, it can use cantrips just as well as those kind of decks.  

Then there’s Tormenting Voice and Desperate Ravings. They both dig for the right cards and with a Harness the Storm in play and a copy in the graveyard, they can dig quite deep. That way you keep your hand full with threats.

Flame Jab serves multiple purposes. It can pick of small creatures for little mana, making way for a pumped up Dryad or Champion. By the way, it is a red, non-creature spell, so it helps grow them both. But, drumroll please, it also has retrace. That way you can ditch unnecessary lands to cast Flame Jab from your graveyard, growing Dryad or Champion again and triggering Guttersnipe over and over. That is some nice and needed resiliency for a multiplayer game. 

Sligh wouldn’t be Sligh without burn, so I directly transfer Lightning Bolt and Incinerate from the original list. These spells give the best mana to damage ratio with the possibility to choose between creatures and players.

Because I play eight three mana spells, I play more lands than the original list. I go up to twenty lands. I don’t have spare fetches or duals, so I need to make due with Terramorphic Expanses and Evolving Wilds as fetch. The deck thinning these cards provide is necessary to get the cards you need when you need them.

The only green cards in the deck are the Dryads and the Champions, so you need just one Forest and instead of Taiga’s and Stomping Ground I play Karplusan Forest (comes into play untapped) and Rootbound Crag (possibly comes into play untapped) as other green sources of mana.

That’s it, Dryad Sligh for multiplayer. I’m going to test this out and if you have any suggestions for this deck, let me know.

See you at the next sixty!

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