Hey Jordan, thanks for the siding overview.
Went 4-0 last night in a regular weekly Monday event, coming in first of 52 players. I ended up beating Mono-U Tron, Mono-R Burn, UW Control, and Grishoalbrand without dropping a game. 2x Surgical Extraction in the SB proved crucial in the first and last matches.
My list is just a little different from Jordan's. Because I get so frustrated with dead topdecks, I took out one Powder for a one-of Smuggler's Copter. It's a very good T2 play in a vacuum, especially with so many manlands that can crew it and only a few hasty threats. When it hangs around, it also helps quite a bit with looting away useless SSGs and Serum Powders or redundant Chalices. I hadn't been running Urborg, but I recently put it back in. Last night being able to pay mana instead of life for Dismember saved me in a close game against UW Control. I'd love room for a third Mutavault, and I feel like that could be a flex slot with one Sea Gate Wreckage. I also have a single Cavern of Souls in the place of the third Gemstone Caverns--not sure that is the right place to make room for it, but the legendary rule can be surprisingly irritating. Anyway, with the recent resurgence of traditional UW permission decks it seems like the right call, at my shop at least. If you do run Cavern, make sure you sandbag it until needed for TKS or the like, so you can protect it from Spreading Seas.
Chalice in the main with SSG and Gemstone Caverns to ramp it out T1 is 100% necessary. I don't think there's a way to make the deck competitive in an open meta without this angle.
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Jul 6, 2017Posted in: Modern
I'd like to briefly revisit this chunk of the conversation, because mulligan decisions have become an area of recent interest to me.Quote from FourDogsInAHorseSuit »
Well, the odds become much better when you consider the cumulative chance is actually closer to 77%. I'm fairly sure that's better odds than you'd get on a mulligan, making the keep the correct choice.You have a 37.7% chance of drawing land on T2, 38% on T3, 39% on T4, and 40% on T5. Cumulatively, that's about a 64% chance of drawing your land by T5. Those ain't great odds!
Let's say I open seven cards with two lands and loads of very good 3 CMC spells. If I want to draw a land by turn 5, on the play, while drawing naturally 1x/turn (no filters or extra draws) in a deck of 60 cards that runs 23 lands, here's how I would try to calculate the odds:
- It's easier to figure out what are the odds I won't draw one or more lands, and then subtract that value from one.
- I have 53 cards left in my library, and 21 of them are lands. So my odds of drawing a non-land card on T2 are 32/53 or 60.4%.
- If I draw the land (39.6% chance) then the experiment is over. But I have 52 cards left in my library, and if I didn't draw a land, then 31 of those cards are non-lands. So in the 60.4% of cases where I whiff on T2, I could still whiff on drawing a land on my second draw on T3 in 31/52 or 59.6% of the time.
- Missing on both draws, combined, equals [(32/53)*(31/52)] or 36.7% chance--I have a 63.3% chance to cast one of my amazing 3 CMC spells on-curve.
- My odds of drawing a land by T5 are 1 - [(32/53)*(31/52)*(30/51)*(29/50)], or 87.7%. I'll only brick (whiffing on four draws in a row) in 12.3% of cases.
If this is too off-topic please advise and I'll post a separate thread.
Jul 2, 2017He's been running this deck for many months, there is a thread for it in Developing Competitive. I have played it a bit myself, it's pretty fun and can be totally busted out of the gate in some games. Definitely the fastest of the Eldrazi decks in Modern.Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
Jun 29, 2017Thanks for the report, Polymorph. Your posted list looks similar to what I was running before I started trying out the Scullers again. It's definitely running a more aggressive, creature-beats gameplan, and I think Matter Reshaper is amazing in that shell. As you say, not so sure about 2x Cavern of Souls though. Question: How is Sea Gate Wreckage playing out for you? Has it fed Collective Brutality for you at all?Posted in: Developing Competitive (Modern)
I think the two-drop slot in an Eldrazi deck is a little unusual. With a Temple in play, either Reshaper or Eternal Scourge are excellent T2 plays. The Sculler build suffers for not having that option since Strangler is far, far weaker on T2 than either, if it can't process.
Jun 24, 2017Got creamed last night going 2-3. The deck kinda crapped out on me though, more variance than anything else I'd say. I beat Bant Eldrazi and Grixis Midrange/Control easily, both 2-0, and lost in a rout to Dredge, Grishoalbrand,and Skred. For example, in the Dredge match I mulled to 5 in G2 and saw only one Relic, on about T4. Vs. both Skred and Grishoalbrand, my opponents simply topdecked the exact card they needed while dead on board the following turn... in all four games.Posted in: Developing Competitive (Modern)
Topdecks are a real thing with hand disruption and so we need additional control angles. Fragmentize is not great but I think its biggest downside is actually that it can't hit Chalice of the Void on one. Personally I don't find the Eldrazi Tron matchup easy at all.
Think I might put Smasher #4 back in over Scourge, since Smasher is such an important win con for the deck. Maybe I'll try a Herder in that slot instead just for kicks though.
FanTan444, I think the manlands are pretty important actually. The build is a little threat-light without them, IMO.
Jun 21, 2017Remember that Cavern of Souls doesn't only get creatures through permission. More importantly, it is a "tri-land" of sorts, that produces the mana we need for any of our creatures.Posted in: Developing Competitive (Modern)
Though the main plan against Blood Moon with this build is to rip it out of our opponent's hand, that is not going to be possible all the time. And if it resolves with no Plains on deck, then that is a game we will almost certainly lose. I hate that a lot. So I want fetches. I also hate playing out dead fetches, and feel I need at least five lands on deck to feel happy, so I definitely feel strongly that it's important to balance fetch lands against fetch targets. Three fetches to five targets has been perfect in my experience, and I have often had to play a dead fetch in the past with a higher ratio that that. The second (and third) Godless Shrine is painful, true, but the damage can often be minimized by sequencing. (Sequencing like that is harder against fast decks, and I lost on Monday to an 8-Whack deck because of a shock land I sequenced incorrectly.) But I want reliable Sculler mana on T2 as often as possible, so I am willing to take the hit for a Shrine rather than roll the dice with extra basics. Weakening the resilience of the deck to Path and GQ is also not great, but tradeoffs have to be made for a greedy T2 play like Tidehollow Sculler.
Urborg could mitigate dead fetches by allowing them to tap for B, but unless you run Liliana or some other BB-cost spell in the main deck, it will not help with color fixing. Damnation and Flaying Tendrils et al. out of the SB are not reason enough to play one. After the Eye of Ugin ban, I don't think this is the deck for Urborg at all, actually.
Having reliable T2 BW makes me want to run Zealous Persecution again, which is an excellent sweeper against decks like Affinity, Company decks, Elves, and Goblin builds, and also would let Sculler and Strangler (plus obviously Spirit tokens) punch way above their weight in combat. Probably room for one in the side but I'm damned if I know where right now.
Eternal Scourge is amazing against Uxx control decks, doubly so when backed up by Cavern of Souls and/or Relic to keep it out of the graveyard.
EDIT: The all-in disruption Sculler build does seem better than the more generalized way I've been running it. Eighteen unconditional sources for Sculler on T2 seems to work fine, and I really like the Mutavaults, which can add enough juice to close out on key turns. Seeing and disrupting an opponent's plans throughout the game is extremely powerful--I don't know of any other decks (including 8-Rack and classic Jund) that feature anything like as much hand disruption as this build does.
Just beat up on a bunch of decks on cockatrice (8-0 in games), as well as having a pretty good overall record at my past three FNM-type events, where I am 9-3-1. My LGS is filled with lots of good players on tiered decks, and regularly pulls 30-40+ players twice weekly, so it is pretty competitive.
Jun 20, 2017Awesome play report, iostream! Thanks. I like your land package, looks like the only barrier to T2 Sculler is having Temple or both Swamps in a two-land keep. Seems to me you could cut Fetid Heath for another dual (a shock maybe?) since you have all those Caverns for C. I agree that threat density is important, though, which is why I like the Mutavaults for now. The fact that Eternal Scourge is so hard to get rid of has also seemed to help me with my threat density. I love Pithing Needle in the side BTW, but I also love having Anguished Unmaking in the 75. Cast Out seems like a reasonable replacement for Unmaking, especially in the main. Both Needle and Cast Out (and O=Ring) seem much worse than Unmaking against UW Control, though, which can bounce with Cryptic Command and also neutralize permanent-based hate with Detention Sphere.Posted in: Developing Competitive (Modern)
SovereignMars, welcome and thanks for stopping by (I'm the guy who spoke up on reddit). I dig your newer manabase much better than the old one. My experience with Displacer dovetails with yours. Hope you'll continue to post up as you play and tune your list.
jwf239: Ha, I was running a BW Midrange build for quite a while that used Pack Rat (and also Percy) as win cons. Then the original BW Processors list (with Herder and Oblivion Sower) popped up, and I've been trying to make this a thing ever since. Feels like I'm coming full circle to see that idea pop up again.
Jun 20, 2017As far as I can tell, the Sculler build idea is really just going all-in on hand disruption. I want to make that work as well as possible in the early game, when the power of disruption is highest. This means casting IoK/TS on T1 and Sculler on T2 with Seer on T3/4 as often as possible. That pressures the lands no matter how you slice it. Apparently, I am indeed arrogant enough to think that the performing decklists we've seen are not optimized yet in some important ways. So here is what I'm trying out:Posted in: Developing Competitive (Modern)
Sculler ProcessorsMagic OnlineOCTGN2ApprenticeBuy These Cards Land (24)
4x Caves of Koilos
4x Concealed Courtyard
4x Eldrazi Temple
1x Fetid Heath
3x Godless Shrine
3x Marsh Flats
1x Shambling Vent
1x Eternal Scourge
3x Reality Smasher
4x Thought-Knot Seer
4x Tidehollow Sculler
4x Wasteland Strangler
1x Anguished Unmaking
2x Fatal Push
4x Path to Exile
2x Inquisition of Kozilek
4x Lingering Souls
4x Relic of Progenitus
1x Anguished Unmaking
2x Blessed Alliance
2x Collective Brutality
1x Grafdigger's Cage
2x Pithing Needle
2x Ratchet Bomb
2x Stony SilenceAs always I refer here to Frank Karsten:I played this--not particularly well--on Saturday (14 people, 2-2) and again today (43 people, 3-1) and am feeling out the differences to what I'm used to. The huge amount of hand disruption is very good and I like it. Sculler is skill testing and sometimes just bad, like against Searing Blaze, but overall seems to be better than I thought at first. I think it would not be a good idea to go below about 17 lands to cast it at a bare minimum, though.
- Three fetch lands to help with Blood Moon. Three shocks to ensure we don't get dead fetches with only two basics in the deck. I think not running fetches is very poor practice.
- 24 lands gets us to Seer and Smasher on-curve about 4-5% more often than 23, which this deck arguably supports.
- 15 sources for B on T1, and 18 ways to get BW on T2. By design, any two of the color-producing lands work to cast T2 Sculler. (The goal for a 90% reliable on-curve Sculler is 20 workable lands, so this is close. And we're over the 14-source T1 goal for IoK/TS.)
- 11 C-lands exactly hits the 90% on-curve target for Seer. Fetid Heath plays a crucial role in this deck, but quickly gets worse in multiples. One is perfect.
- Though Cavern of Souls and Vault of the Archangel were occasionally game-winners on their own, Mutavault is far more frequently relevant than either. I've been liking it a lot, but there is no room for more than 2. Cavern actually works to cast Sculler on T2 just as well as any dual does, so it may still have a role to pay in the build.
- One Shambling Vent rounds out the manland package, while still permitting a T2 Sculler.
- Ghost Quarter goes away because you can't have everything. GQ vs. Mutavault is probably an important meta decision.
- One Eternal Scourge in the flex slot, because of its obvious synergy with Relic and its help in making the deck more threat-dense through recursion. Only three Smashers to lower the curve.
- Two Fragmentize SB, because it turns out that this deck is pretty much dead to Leyline of Sanctity, and hitting that for only one mana could be extremely important. Sorcery speed is bad, but this should still help some with Affinity, which looks to be a rough matchup compared to other Processor builds. And it doesn't hurt that it targets Blood Moon as well (as long as we have that Plains, that is... did I mention I think it's important to play fetch lands?).
The Eldrazi Displacer angle could be quite good, especially with Shriekmaw. (I actually don't think Shriekmaw really makes a lot of sense without Displacer.) But I don't think Matter Reshaper really fits the targeted nature of this build.
Jun 17, 2017After the Kobe results I have been jamming this deck again to an unremarkable 3-2 record for each of the past several weekly events. Tonight I went 4-0-1 beating Grixis Shadow, GW Tron, Esper Geist Midrange, and Affinity. I drew against Dimir Control.Posted in: Developing Competitive (Modern)
I have ditched the two Mind Stone for more threats, in the form of two Eternal Scourge. I'm also trying out two Mutavault and a Wastes maindeck, in the slots formerly occupied by Cavern of Souls, Vault of the Archangel, and one Ghost Quarter. As a result this iteration of the deck is considerably more threat-dense. The maindeck Relics continue to be amazing.
I am not playing Tidehollow Sculler for now. If I were to run it, I would put it in the place of the Matter Reshapers I guess, and also change the land package a lot. Maybe a build that's all-in on hand disruption like that is the way to go, but Sculler just dies to everything and it's not super common to process the card it has tucked away, which seems to make it more of a tempo play, which feels not too good in a deck that is as slow as this one is in the early game.
Thoughts: Shambling Vent was big for me tonight in a few games and I was glad I had it. Mutavault also factored into a couple of games too. I can definitely see Mutavault being useful way more frequently than either Vault or Cavern. Vault and Cavern are much narrower, but also certainly more powerful in the right matchup.
Scourge has been remarkably good, far better than I remember from the little bit of early testing I did when it was released. I really like that it greatly weakens opponents' targeted removal, like the other threats also do. I would not expect to get value out of say Eldrazi Displacer in the same way, which turns on the removal that otherwise is kind of just looking for a worthwhile target.
I'm not missing Mind Stone as much as I expected I would. Having two more resilient three-drop threats in those slots feels like an upgrade. However playing against Affinity and Tron makes me value Ghost Quarter pretty highly and I'm not sure I want to keep the manland/GQ balance where I have it right now.
Jun 14, 2017With the exception of Blessed Alliance, those cards seems not great against a deck with so much hand disruption and at least 2-3 Stubborn Denial main deck. They are very slow and they're a huge tempo loss if countered. I would definitely keep Inquisition over Damnation or Ob Nix, and I'd probably keep Thoughtseize over those too. Dismember is a good card against GDS for their Delve fatties.Posted in: Developing Competitive (Modern)
Jun 13, 2017Reshaper is a faster clock than Souls, but Souls is way better against removal of all kinds and is way grindier. I can think of Eldrazi decks that don't really play Reshaper (e.g. Bant) but I can't think of any BW decks that don't play Souls. Lingering Souls is absolutely one of the best cards in the whole format.Posted in: Developing Competitive (Modern)
I refuse to believe that this deck is actually competitively viable. There's simply no way that 10 duals plus two Plains and one Swamp (do you want T1 Inquisition or T1 Path, bro?!) is gonna cast your Scullers when you want them. Can we get some of these shaky manabase players on this thread to tell us how the hell they are getting their Scullers out on-curve? Because it just seems like it must be pure luck to me. Or like Iguana, maybe they're GQing their own lands (in a build that's trying to get to 5 for Smasher, no less)?
I think you always keep in hand disruption against the blue decks. What are you siding in for the Thoughtseize/IoK's you side out?
Jun 12, 2017Any deck that can cast T2 Sculler successfully should probably be able to cast either Liliana or Mirran Crusader on T3.Posted in: Developing Competitive (Modern)
Blessed Alliance can hit Geist of Saint Traft in response to the angel trigger, or at end of combat after the angel disappears but before the second main phase. It also has wide utility against Burn, Bogles, and attack-with-big-dudes decks like Shadow builds. It's a very strong modal card in my opinion.
Jun 8, 2017Urborg does make the colorless lands tap for B, it's just that this doesn't really matter, unless you run BB spells. I suppose that rarely you might want to Push a target on the same turn you flash back a Souls or something like that, so I guess it could help a little in corner cases. IMO, running very few spells with double-color casting requirements is part of what makes the deck work. BTW it wasn't your land package I was questioning, but another poster's.Posted in: Developing Competitive (Modern)
I don't think Aetherborn is better than other things we could be doing on T2. There is a ton of targeted removal floating around right now and being strong against Push seems pretty important. Sculler can at least take away the Push/Path/Bolt that would kill it, but Aetherborn's just gonna die. Displacer is amazing and you are right that it has a much higher ceiling than Reshaper does, but it has a lower floor, too. When I tested it, I found that often I wanted the mana I'd need to activate it for other spells I hadn't cast yet. In other words, I think Reshaper (or Scourge) are much better T2/T3 plays than Displacer is.
I don't think you can run Cast Out like that because it is so expensive for its primary use. (Even Unmaking is too expensive, actually.) I don't actually think of Relic or Mind Stone as cyclers with a non-cycling upside. To me they are part of the deck's gameplan that can also cantrip when they are not relevant. But maybe Cast Out could replace an Unmaking in the maindeck. There have definitely been several times when I couldn't spare the life to cast an in-hand Unmaking, so I dunno.
Jun 8, 2017Etcherik, that mana base will never cast Sculler reliably. (Not sure if you're playing that card or not, though.) It also has only ten ways to cast IoK/Thoughtseize on T1. I cut Sorin from my last version and am noticeably softer to Burn now, but probably better in most other matches. I would not run Basilisk Collar because it is a do-nothing by itself. In E-Tron it makes Ballista and also Endbringer unbelievable. Not so sure that Gemstone Caverns fits in this deck; I think it should probably be a couple more duals.Posted in: Developing Competitive (Modern)
You can deal with Blood Moon in several ways with this deck. Some builds have more outs than others do.
- Run some number of Mind Stone--this is particularly strong in G1
- Take their Moon with hand disruption
- Run fetches and fetch for basic Swamp/Plains
- Run a Wastes in your 75--you can tutor for it as described in the next two options
- Path your own creature (optimally a Spirit token) for any basic
- Hold up an unactivated Ghost Quarter to hit your own land in response to Blood Moon, getting any basic
D90Dennis14, unless you run some number of BB-cost cards in the 75, the only benefit in running an Urborg is to make fetch lands tap for B. Which some builds will want, seeing as I am reading deck lists with four Marsh Flats, but only three targets. Running a land package like that is definitely a mistake that will at times lead to playing dead fetch lands, in a deck that really cannot afford to miss land drops. Grixis and BGx builds can regularly cast their 4/5s on T2, but we have to wait... gotta make those land drops. BTW I agree with your take on [cCast Out[/c] and Glorybound Initiate.
In my recent nights I have been playing with two Eternal Scourge in the place of the Mind Stones I had, to up the threat density, synergize with Relic, bolster the makes-targeted-removal-bad premise of my build, and provide something to do if my opponent does land an unexpected Blood Moon. I also run a Wastes main now. The deck seems OK, but I did mull a lot on Monday and ended up 2-2, beating traditional Abzan and Jund Shadow but losing to Naya Burn and Affinity. I am still not sold on Sculler but may try it again tomorrow night. If I do I'll run the land package I described above.
Jun 7, 2017Posted in: Developing Competitive (Modern)
Question: competitive leagues or friendly? Also, are you tracking number of starts with uncastable Scullers, by any chance? I really can't get behind a manabase that has Sculler and fewer than say 17 lands minimum that unconditionally cast him on T2. There are few things I enjoy less than dying because I had the wrong lands for my spells.Quote from Kungfugeek »
Just went 4-1 in a league with this, loosing only to Storm in a close three games. I don't own surgicals on MODO, so have 2x timely in that slot for now. If I had them, theres a good chance it would have been a 5-0. Side note, Mutavault won me several games. I am considering moving the ratchet bomb to the board and bringing in the second Collective Brutality, as it's been an all star.Quote from Kungfugeek »I went 4-0 at my local Modern with this yesterday. I have also been having very good success with it on MODO as well. Mana base feels very solid, although I can see cutting 1 Mutavalut for a second Swamp or Godless Shrine.
I'm still not sold on Sculler, but I think it might work with the right manabase. I may try a Sculler build again with something like this as a land package (btw I am certain 23 is too few lands for a deck that wants T3/4 Seer and T4/5 Smasher, and Karsten agrees):
DeckMagic OnlineOCTGN2ApprenticeBuy These Cards Lands (24):
4x Eldrazi Temple
4x Caves of Koilos
4x Concealed Courtyard
3x Marsh Flats
3x Godless Shrine
1x Shambling Vent
1x Fetid Heath
A concern I have with this land package is that Ghost Quarter really is still relevant. I lost to Inkmoth out of Affinity on Monday, and to Tron on Friday, so I still want land hate anyway, and I bet those going to other large events will not infrequently find they do, too. Also, no Wastes for Blood Moon backup is a recipe for disaster against that hate card, since it is very hard to win without the big guys. All of this makes it look like maybe as many as 3-4 SB slots need to go to Fulminator Mage and one Wastes, but then we gimp some other match.
Right now I feel I have at least a few things to side in for really any match I might encounter. Adding Sculler makes me feel that I might need to just write off some matches, and hope to dodge them instead. Maybe this is correct, even, in terms of getting a higher overall win rate. But it's not how I have always thought about this deck idea, personally, and I can be pretty resistant to change.
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