Green Sun's Zenith

So I'm pretty hot on trying Ramunap Excavator in a few decks, and the ability to run 1 and grab it with Green Suns' Zenith has me intrigued. I've done a little searching myself but I haven't found much that really excites me.

  • Dryad Arbor is a classic pairing, it kind of fights with some vintage mana curves, but it costs you very little to run it.
  • Manglehorn's status as an Outcome-hoser with anti-shops applications has me curious
    -Leovold, Emissary of Trest is a powerhouse with a tricky mana cost and Legendary status, two things GSZ might be able to help with.

I like that those 3 cards are all things that are worse in multiples, and serve specialized roles in specific matchups. A GSZ build would increase your chances of finding them when you want them, and reduce your chances of having dead Manglehorns stuck in your hand against Mentor.

I don't like that most of these cards are 3 drops, meaning GSZ costs an unwieldy 4.

What cards might you consider running in a list with Green Sun's Zenith?

For each card you suggest, how many do you expect to run? (i.e. is this a specialized tutor target, or a staple that just gets extra redundancy from GSZ?)

If you're thinking about a card that doesn't already see play, why do you think it's close enough to good that GSZ puts it over the edge?

A single Scavenging Ooze (plus maybe another in the board) for that Snapcaster/JVP/Yawg Will/Dredge hate. The card is a lot worse than it used to be back when BUG Fish was good, as a vanilla beater was a nice thing to have then (not so much now). Still, the incidental life gain can also occasionally squeeze out another turn you might not otherwise have.

If you are playing a deck that likes to wasteland/run speciality lands with you walkign crucible is KotR a consideration? What about Gaddock Teeg for pooping in outcomes cornflakes? Both of these would be one-ofs i think. Depending on the deck you could run more Knight, but not teeg.

I agree with scooze as a thing for a one of. That guy adds some value definitely. Eternal witness is also a heck of a card on the occasions when you want it. If you have a bunch of one ofs, fauna shaman is a card that might be intersting? If you want something to win fights with most creatures in vintage Glissa is an interesting possibility.

In Legacy, Maverick decks will often bring Gaddock Teeg in against me (Charbelcher) as a sideboard silver bullet. The anti-synergy is appalling, but sometimes it's worth it.

@Brass-Man When I saw Ramunup my first thoughts were Lotus Cobra and Collected Company (modern viable at least), GSZ is another interesting option. I would definitely consider Sylvan Safekeeper as it has obvious synergy with Ramunup, Leovold (target, draw, give shroud etc), and Lotus Cobra if you have Ramunup. I would also consider the new 3 drop cat that makes all your creatures uncounterable, and of course Eternal Witness.

@Brass-Man how about dryad militant Not a card played almost ever, but stops JVP and Snapcaster. Slows Dredge and delve spells. Zero application in Shops and Eldrazi. Stops big Yawg will turns. Not great synergy with any of your own instants, but GSZ does get around militant itself.

In terms of redundancy, I like the idea of having many 1-3 cost white green hate bears, GSZ and also birthing pod as another way to turn the guys you draw into the guys you need (and also gain incremental advantage).

Anything worth doing with Eternal Witness?

I've run a GSZ tool box many times in legacy. I've played 1-ofs:

  • Gaddock Teeg - Being able to tutor it into play makes it much more maindeckable
  • Trygon Predator
  • Birds of Paradise (carries a Sword real well)
  • Melira, Sylvok Outcast (lol Blightsteel)
  • Scavenging Ooze - Gets big surprisingly fast. Counters Dredge and Deathrite pre-board
  • Rhox War Monk (Gaining 4+ per turn is surprisingly strong)
  • Reclamation Sage

For some reason this thread really makes me want to play with Birthing Pod.

I played GSZ BUG at NYSE and have been messing around with it online as well. Here's the targets I've used/considered vaguely in order of usefulness:

Consistently Strong

  • Leovold - Card is amazing, GSZ for it is amazing. Since most blue decks pack ways to kill this, I always run 2x since getting one to stick is huge. It's also nice that GSZ for Leo can't get Pyroblasted, so you can at least get your card out of it.
  • Deathrite Shaman - ramps you into bigger Zeniths, helps ramp/fix for Leovold. I play 4x basically for that reason alone, and sometimes you do want to Zenith for them.
  • Tarmogoyf - having ready access to a dumb beater is great, but this card is not always good (since you only want it in situations where you need to close out a game or where creature combat is relevant). Being able to have an effective 3 with Zenith when it's good, while only needing to run 1x puts it over the edge for me. Grim Flayer is an alternative that feeds itself, but doesn't hold off Eldrazi as well.
  • Scavenging Ooze - surprisingly good as a 1x of for hating + beating, since most decks either have creatures or recursion. This is better with Zenith for similar reasons to Goyf.

Cool Options

  • Dryad Arbor - I haven't ever super wanted to have Arbor except against Shops, so I've been sticking to 1x in the board to get a leg up against mana denial decks.
  • Manglehorn - I was initially really excited for this, but found it pretty disappointing. Destroying an artifact is not insane against PO, and this dies to most things that kill Leo without quashing Outcome itself. I'd just play Reclamation Sage over this if the ETB was something I thought I needed.
  • Trygon Predator - steady flying clock, good against walkers, good to get down against Oath/Standstill/Shops/slower PO decks. I've been very impressed with 1x main.
  • Ramunap Excavator - 1x is fine, but I haven't been super impressed. In general I've felt like either Leo or Trygon is a better angle of attack, but I need more testing to have anything conclusive.

Questionable Tech

  • Caustic Caterpillar - okay, yes, I know, but hear me out. Reclamation Sage can be a great card, but is not a great silver bullet against Shops. If you're casting a 4 mana sorcery against Shops, you are probably doing just fine. If you're under pressure but have mana, Caterpillar costs exactly the same to Naturalize something (whether Zenithing or hardcasting), and you're probably chumping with the Sage anyway. This gives you a way to try and crawl out from under lockpieces and stick something more serious. I'm not yet sure it's worth the SB slot, but getting a Shops player to sigh loudly and say “Phyrexian Revoker naming your stupid little caterpillar” is really its own reward.
  • Glissa, the Traitor - owns combat completely. If I'm worried about White Eldrazi or big ground threats like Wurmcoil, 1x in the side can do some amount of work (but I will admit it's got a pretty limited scope).

Other GSZ BUG considerations if people are interested:

  • 2x GSZ seems correct so far if you're trying to build around the card. it's expensive to cast if you want to have a big impact, and you want to make sure you have a big enough density of actual threats and answers in your deck. On the other hand, you do want to consistently see the card in longer games, as it really is a powerhouse once you can tutor any creature in your deck into play.
  • Blue spell count for Force can start to be a problem. Part of the reason I like Trygon over Rec Sage or similar is that prioritizing GSZ and targets really chips away at your blue count, and I found myself choosing cards just to get more blue spells. I really would like to find some good 2 cost U/G targets to help address this.
last edited by Solemn_Storm

I took great joy in being able to provide @Solemn_Storm with an actual copy of Caustic Caterpillar for his NYSE sideboard, replacing the proxy he had made.

Brian Kelly ( @brianpk80 ) was adamant that Sylvan Caryatid be included in his GSZ Gush deck. His logic was that it was a nigh unkillable way of ramping into Dromokas, Emrakul the Promised End, and Jaces. Your results might vary.

last edited by Guest


I was going to say the same thing. What's special about Caryatid is it can only be disrupted by Revoker, which makes it unique to other mana sources in Vintage.

@desolutionist Even then, it still blocks the Revoker, making it better than most other mana sources in that situation. It really wasn't terrible, but it depends on the build of the deck. Sounds like most people are considering the Fish route.

Titania is also a pretty bombish card for a fair deck and might help closing out a game. It combos well with Wasteland.

Don't know how I feel about a toolbox approach, but with all of the great 3 drops Mana Drain + GSZ in a Deck with DRS, Managorger Hydra, Goyf, and (most importantly) Leovold seems like a Solid approach to me. DRS helps you keep drain mana up in a deck running wastelands as well, which is one of my favorite things about the card.

If I were to play Ramunap Excavator, I would play WGB and play it alongside Knight of the Reliquary, Deathrite Shaman and Tireless Tracker. I'm not sure you should be playing Green Sun's Zenith in such a build though.

last edited by Griselbrother

Just need a Horn of Greed effect on a green dude then Ramunup + Lotus Cobra + Horn of Greed dude can draw you your deck yay.

Also a way to play all the lands you draw. FASTBOND!

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