Quote from Tears of Tomorrow »I too have been trying to build Varina with a midrange feel, although my own build skews more towards control. Something I've found to be very good with her is to double up on removal/counters/asymmetrical wipes such as Cyclonic Rift, keeping your opponents honest and slowing down the game... And then you drop Rise from the Tides alongside a Time Warp kind of effect: with Mystical Tutor, you can do this with just 8 mana, by tutoring Temporal Mastery on opponent's eot. On the extra turn you cast Varina and attack with the zombie tokens: the sheer advantage gained from dong so is usually enough to put you in the lead.
Also, Phyrexian Altar: you're already running Gravecrawler and Diregraf Captain, with Altar those two can perform a game-winning infinite combo.
If you have your reasons for not running Altar, then I won't press the matter further.
That aside, to return to my initial suggestion: in order to make the most of Rise from the Tides and build the deck the way I was suggesting, you don't necessarily need to go full control, with counters and whatnot. Just a midrange-y suit of card quality (tutors, Brainstorm, Telling Time, Lim-Dul's Vault which I don't put in card tags because I dunno how to do that weird u on my keyboard), removal (you're already running some great ones, you could expand a bit with things like Mortify, Vindicate and Anguished Unmaking) and a few extra turn spells would be more than enough. If you checked out the deck I attempted building for Varina a couple days ago, you'll see that I tried to focus it ENTIRELY around casting a huge Rise... And yeah, that was quite crap, so no, I'm not suggesting you should do the same. But really, it doesn't take much to make Rise big, so I really insist that you give it a try.
Oh and speaking of removal: I see you have a sacrifice sub-theme, to the point that you're running Open the Graves to capitalize on it... So how about Grave Pact/Dictate of Erebos for further field control?
Concerning creatures: if you're going to take my advice and include more removals/Grave Pact to make enemy creatures die a lot, then I really think you should play Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet, as he makes your removal more deadly while creating more zombies. And then there is Dralnu, since you brought him up: in the topic you wrote about him, you yourself stated that the beauty of that guy is that he let you make the most of looting effects... And well, Varina is essentially a giant looter, so I see no reason not to bring the guy along.
I'm mainly discussing these matters with you because I want to eventually manage to craft a Varina list that doesn't suck, and well, bouncing ideas off another person helps both sides improve Smile
On Rise: I maintain that I see it as the card to go when building Varina, but since it's clear you disagree, I won't insist. After all, isn't that the beauty of EDH? The same commander can be built in different ways.
On cantrips: Brainstorm is essentially an alternative to Mystical Tutor to set up Miracles play, which is always relevant given the precon Varina is from: Temporal Mastery aside, Entreat the Dead is also a beautiful card. Ponder and Portent can similarly help with Miracle plays, but for me their main appeal lies in the fact that, unfortunately, I've never been able to procure any fetches, so my decks are never the most stable in terms of mana which, when playing with 3 colors, can prove problematic... So yeah, those cantrips help me hit land drops.
On Kalitas: I haven't really made any major testing of these ideas of mine for Varina yet. That said, I've ran the guy in literally every single deck I've ever built that included any form of destruction/attrition, and he's always proven to be a MVP, even in decks whose theme he didn't fit at all: exiling the stuff you kill while making your board bigger is just so good, and he's an absolute killer against the likes of Meren of Clan Nel Toth. So yeah, if he felt that good, to the point that I was ALWAYS happy to see him whenever I drew him, in decks whose theme he didn't even interact with beyond helping with removal, I can only imagine that in this deck, whose theme he actually benefits and actively supports, he would feel even better.
On Dralnu: well if you make a big enough board of zombies, you can sac those since they'd die to Blasphemous anyway? I mean, given how the card works, it seems likely to me that they'd drop it when your board is big enough to not be completely crippled. Plus, are cards that deal damage to creatures even that common to begin with? Blasphemous is a card I see very sporadically, and I don't think I've ever seen other damage-based board wipes in any deck I've played against. So yeah, at least in my meta Dralnu doesn't feel like the risk of his first effect backfiring would be THAT high... But of course, your meta might be different, so yeah.
By the way, as we were having this conversation I reworked my formerly sucky build, cutting redundant removal and excessive extra turn cards to make room for a lineup of creatures similar to yours. Here's how it looks now: of course it's not like I believe this would be the "definitive build", there's probably a loot of room for improvement, but when I think of a Varina deck that can make use of both Rise and the Altar combo, this feels like it would be midrange-y enough.
Quote from Tears of Tomorrow »Look closely, Dralnu already is in there
The main wincon is the Altar combo, or just making a huge army and abusing it with the likes of Scarab God. That said, now that you mention it I draw enough cards, and I have enough instant/sorcery recurson from grave, that Approach could be a cool secondary wincon. I'll try that out
Quote from Tears of Tomorrow »He really is. Well, I'll test some things around and let you know how it goes
I'd highly suggest getting some fetch lands for the deck if you can afford them, really helps with mana fixing.
Apart from that I find the Signets really useful in my build.
Aww, all the posts I had made to contribute to this project are gone. Curse you, EU privacy policies!
Anyway, I have been testing Approach like we discussed: on the plus side, if you can cast it while Varina is out then you're more or less guaranteed to redraw it by the next turn, making it ridiculously easy to win off t. On the minus side, the card is really telephoned: your opponents will KNOW that you're planning to cast it next turn, and they'll keep a counter open for it. This means that you need to pack counters of your own in order to protect Approach... Which is both very mana intensive and problematic in terms of overall deck balance, as it forces you to lean more on the control-heavy, counter-reliant side, which is not what Varina should be doing. So yeah, all in all Approach was a bit of a mixed bag for me. Have you had any luck with it?
Quote from toctheyounger77 »I'd highly suggest getting some fetch lands for the deck if you can afford them, really helps with mana fixing.
Apart from that I find the Signets really useful in my build.
Yeah, fetches aren’t really in my budget. I’ll probably pick up the other two shocks now that they’ve been reprinted, but I think generally the lands have just been screwy draws, and it’s as much a draw thing as it is colour fixing. One thing I really want for the build is Corpse Harvester, which will get me either swamp shock as well as Fetid Pools. Otherwise I guess I could go cheap fetches with Evolving Wilds and such. I’m just not keen to spend money on Fetches when I don’t run anything here to get more than one use from them. It is a good suggestion, though, thanks for the input!
Hi toctheyounger77! I made an MTG Salvation account just to comment here Maybe I'm misunderstanding some of your comments but there were two cards in particular that were discussed so far that you dismissed for various reasons, I just wanted some clarification on your thought process.
I also really like her in conjunction with Lich's Mastery, which I'm still trying to find a viable strategy with. Maybe some sort of Control deck with Mastery and Extra Turns to just accrue cards and control the game until I can combo off somehow? Dunno. I know you're not a fan of combos, toc, but Varina has sparked by fancy for a combo build for sure.
drippyCat, it sounds like you have a semi-cEDH list of Varina floating around. I'd love to see it, since I agree that Varina's filtering is the real deal.
Quote from drippyCat »@toctheyounger77 For a mini-version of Archfiend of Ifnir there's Ruthless Sniper, I just saw it going through my cards last night.
I can see how Alhammarret's Archive would be win more if it doesn't win (lower tutor density / not going to combo). Haha I'm remembering how context-dependent everything is in EDH.