The buzz in the Magic community lately has all been about the earliest details from Dragon's Maze and the announcement of this year's From the Vault: Twenty to celebrate Magic's twentieth anniversary, but Gatecrash has only been out since the beginning of this month and is still the newest and most exciting thing on the scene that you can actually play with. I'm almost through with the monocolor portion of my card-by-card breakdown of the set, having finished up red last time. I have a lot of multicolored cards to do in front of me, but first I'll go ahead and tackle the first part of Gatecrash green, starting with:
Adaptive Snapjaw - Those stats are incredible for a common creature with evolve. They'd be good even on a vanilla common creature, but if you can make almost any creature drop at all (remember, evolve looks at either power or toughness, so if you have any 3-plus-toughness creature cards in your hand, they'll count) the turn after you play this, suddenly you're getting way more than your mana's worth. Green has always been good at consistently getting good fatties, but this kind of takes the cake. I'd be surprised at a green aggro deck that didn't run this in Gatecrash Limited, and it's even perhaps Constructed-worthy.
Alpha Authority - At first glance, the two abilities this Aura grants may not make much sense together. One of them is removal-stopping, and the other prevents chump-blocking. But those are two abilities you want on a very specific kind of creature - A strong but vulnerable fatty, preferably one with trample. This card has the capability to turn any large creature you so choose into what in design parlance is called an "unsolvable" - difficult to deal with via either spells or combat. In other words, this is exactly the sort of thing you want to be packing for use on your Limited fatties.
Burst of Strength - The run of strong cards continues with this one, a damn good combat trick. Battlegrowth was Limited-playable in the first place, so a strictly better version of it is definitely going to be useful. As a common, this card should be pretty plentiful in green decks. It serves a double offensive and defensive purpose (all at once, even) and grants a lasting bonus - what's not to like?
Crocanura - Stat-wise this starts off pretty disappointingly for a green creature, especially a defensively-oriented one, but this is a way better value than the average Giant Spider in terms of anti-flying defenses. Not that green is starved for good flyer hate in this environment, but since Limited is always so defined by evasion, give this at least some consideration. Also, it's hard to hate one of the noble Ravnican Crocodiles in the fine tradition of Grayscaled Gharial and Stonefare Crocodile.
Crowned Ceratok - This is the green equivalent to Sapphire Drake, and unsurprisingly, it's got better stats for its cost than its blue counterpart. To be fair, trample is less reliable as evasion than flying is, but a 4/3 trampler for four mana that grants mass trample is a better deal than a 4/4 flyer for six that grants mass flying. They play extremely well together, too.
Disciple of the Old Ways - As a strictly-better-Runeclaw Bear, this is a-okay. As a 2/2 first striker, it's pretty bad. I'm pretty sure Gruul decks in Gatecrash Limited would only really run this if they were totally out of options for that slot in their mana curves; both red and green have better options at two mana.
Experiment One - I'm going to go ahead and say that this is easily the best 1/1 in the set, simply because it's not small for long (with any luck it'll always be at least the size of whatever you're dropping on a given turn) and it's hard to kill once it's big enough for your opponents to care about it. Basically, this needs to be removed quick or it'll stomp all over your opponents all game.
Forced Adaptation - I really liked Primal Cocoon back in Magic 2011. This is Primal Cocoon but better. Any questions? This is actually a perfect thing to put on Experiment One, as discussed above, or on anything you have an Alpha Authority on. Voltron-style Commander decks such as Uril, the Miststalker.dec will eat this up.
Giant Adephage - This feels mostly like a greenified version of last set's red mythic Utvara Hellkite, but it turns out the truth is much more sordid: It's exactly Spawnwrithe, except with a higher mana cost, higher P/T, and different creature type. Despite the shamefully unoriginal design, this is still a decent and fun win condition for green ramp decks that plays beautifully with the Selesnya populate keyword.
Greenside Watcher - This is an alright - not great - mana dork. Certainly not one of my favorite cards in this block's Gates-matter subtheme. I guess I like that its ability can be used to mitigate the enters-the-battlefield-tapped drawback of the Guildgates, though.
Gyre Sage - This, meanwhile, is a great mana dork. The wonderful thing about it is the creatures you cast with the mana it produces give it more +1/+1 counters, causing it to produce more mana the next turn to cast bigger creatures with, and so on and so forth. The only bad thing about playing this card is having to decide not to attack with it when it has huge power and toughness numbers in favor of tapping it for mana.
Hindervines - This card is part of an interesting design trend lately, with cards like Tanglesap and Moonmist (all of which interestingly seem to have one-word portmanteau names) that amount to more-expensive but conditional Fogs, or Fogs that only work on your opponents' creatures. I personally like this; it encourages creative deckbuilding, and +1/+1 counters are a great thing to key this off in this block.
Ivy Lane Denizen - Speaking of +1/+1 counters, the final entry in the Denizen cycle is more than happy to hand them out. A 2/3 for four might be pretty terrible stats for a green creature, for certain, but if your curve is made well this will be spitting out at least one +1/+1 counter per turn, like some kind of strange, inefficient, but flexible variation on evolve.
Miming Slime - As if green needed more incentive to play with big creatures, Miming Slime comes along to toss out a creature as big as your biggest. Sorry for the possible redundancies in there, but the fact of the matter is this is secretly the most efficient vanilla creature in the block. It also goes well with every single one of the partially-green guilds. In other words, this is a good design that also happens to be quite strong.
Naturalize - The one reprint in the color so far is an extremely familiar one, for sure, but it's more relevant than ever in an environment as full of artifacts and enchantments as this one is.