I have some more subtle changes to the deck planned ahead, mainly to put in a little more wolf support.
But first, we have some games planned tonight, and i'm going to make good use of those to get a better feel of what could be cut from the deck. I want to focus mainly in the ramp/utility department for i feel those are a little oversupported.
Games last Friday with Tolsimir were very good. Even with some disruption form the table, the deck perfomed great! In two games i finished second and first.
By now i feel the deck has legs, and will be tuned a little more to gain some more wolf support. The deck is at it's absolute best when you get the wolf token production rolling, so that's where the focus wil lie.
Potential cuts will be the non synergystic cards, those could be meta choises but delute from the overall game plan.
Hoping to get some games in again this weekend, as last weekend our game night was sadly cancelled. Have been goldfishing the deck for a bit more and it has lead to some changes being made, just to smoothen the main strategy a bit more.
Cards Out Harabaz Druid - I don't want two Ally dependent cards in the deck and with this not being an Elf, I opted to take the druid out. Paradox Engine - The lines with this card are too convoluted and its a removal magnet, so making place for a more efficient card. Growing Rites of Itlimoc - Just too few synergies and a dead card after a wipe. Witchstalker - Cutting a wolf feels somewhat bad, but moving this to my maybe list for now in order to free up other slots.
and a Basic Land
Cards In Ghost Quarter - Deals with troublesome lands but also another way to get Riftstone Portal in the graveyard. Yeva, Nature's Herald - Having flash works well with Cloudstone Curio and Yeva happens to be an Elf on top of that. Concordant Crossroads - Even more so a must than Flash is Haste, as it enables a swing after making lots of tokens. Nature's Lore - Mana elves are important but a back up in case of a wipe might be needed. Harrow - Like Nature's Lore it's land based ramp to mitigate any wipes. Cultivate might be better, but this works with Riftstone Portal as well.
This should help with some of the deck's vulnerabilities. During the next game I am going to focus on tweaking removal/interaction, seeing right now the deck primarily relies on Tolsimir doing that work and that just might not be enough. I'm also going to be curious to see whether cutting the Witchstalker has some effect or whether I might need to adapt to more wolf creatures as well. The other part is working on improving the way to finish out games, Concordant Crossroads and Yeva will help avoid some boardwipes but just tokens might not be enough. So the main question is going to be whether or not to change Thunderfoot Baloth into maybe End-Raze Forerunners since I don't have Hoof. I like Baloth since its a more 'permanent' buff but the downside is that removing Tolsimir results also into removing the buff. There is also Decimator of the Provinces but it has a cast trigger and that's not always going to work.
The last two cards i've allready played with last weekend, and i'm not quite certian about Arlinn. The synergy is obviously there, but I've had her rotting in hand for quite a few turns. Admiddetly, i was allready winning that game hard by the time she got drawn, so no biggy there. Might have to play with her a little more to form a conclusion as if she is worth it over the versatility of Ajani Unyielding.
Briarpack Alpha and Wolfir Avenger fill similar roles and have the same ceilings, one being a flexible 3 or 5mana kill a dude, gain 3life, keep if paid for a 3/3 wolf at instant speed. The other has the same chance of that to happen for 4mana at instant speed all the time but can also save another dude.
For these 6/7 cards i'm not quite sure what to cut yet.
Currently I feel i'm quite high in the ramp department so i probably can safely cut some there. Other cuts must be made in the off-themed cards, but highly valuable meta cards.
Decided to give my quick opinion on the considered cards, though I am trying to approach if more from a floor perspective. I noticed that due to this being a synergistic build, I ended up looking at the ceiling for cards too much. After all we’re not going to always have Tolsimir out or have an ideal boardstate.
The new Arlin always felt like too slow and costly for me, I would consider running Kessig Cagebreakers over it. The latter is up there in CMC but you don’t want it early either and it is a very good way to rebuild after a wipe. The only real negative to Cagebreakers is that its an on-attack trigger.
Predator’s Howl feels decent since it helps build board after a wipe. It would bet he second card for me to add after Cagebreakers.
Raised by Wolves is a dead card on an empty board and gets hosed by removal. I’d rank new Arlin probably above this card despite being a tad slower and one mana more expensive. And the second part of the card doesn’t impress me much either, running a finisher over it would likely be better.
Wolfir Avenger I like the flash aspect of it and the regeneration initially looks nice, but in the end it comes down to what you want to do with your open mana. Regeneration keeps Avenger on board against non-exile removal (sadly a lot of removal that I face does exile) but notably regeneration doesn’t trigger Tolsimir’s ability.
Briarpack Alpha I rank slightly above Avenger, simply because its triggered ability adds some versatility by messing with combat math.
Wolfir Silverheart generates mixed feelings for me, as it direly wants the deck to have trample so not to be chump blocked for days. It really becomes interesting if you could trigger the soulbond repeatedly (Nightshade Peddler falls in the same spot for me), it would work nice with a sac outlet like maybe Perilous Forays. Though that doesn’t help focusing the deck.
Pack Guardian I think this is something you only want if you can get a good draw engine going that puts those spare lands in your hand. Other then that I prefer to have the land on board to cast more wolves each turn than to get a single token.
I agree on your evaluation. The competitive side in me tries to evaluate cards the same way i.e. from the floor up. This has resulted in some very powerful but themed 75% decks in my collection. The Johnny side of me however, wants this particular deck to be fun, strong and synergistic.
I have noticed, this is quite hard for me to do
On the interaction side of things, next to the themed enchantment/artifact hate cards i've put in an answer-all card in the form of Beast Within, but i actually depend on the fight mechanic for creature interaction. I have also included cards that i know i can tutor for in specific situations depending on the decks i face. Those are, like stated before, purely meta cards. Trostani Discordant and Angel of Jubilation serve a dual role in the "pump" category, but Dragonlord Dromoka is way off theme.
On one instance i've considered to cut cards that overlap with other decks to make my life easier. But that would require to cut cards like Doubling Season and Green Sun's Zenith. All these are clearly powerful cards and i fear losing them would severely power down the deck.
It's my goal with this deck as well, fine tune the synergies/theme first and then try to make it more efficient.
I've considered Beast Within since it's pretty much a catch all, but went with Path instead just in case I need a creature really gone. Bur might have to go with the more versatility that Beast Within offers. Meta calls/inclusions are bound to be always there, but its about ensuring that its not a dead card in other situations.
Ironically, Doubling Season is a card I'm considering cutting from this deck as well, as I don't do that much with the +1/+1 counter doubling part and on it's own it does little so not sure if I want three slots dedicated to it.
Edit: Using the discussion here I did make a few more slight tweaks to my version of the deck:
Some of the changes were made with the idea of cutting some white in the deck for consistency, though its somewhat of the cost at a lightly higher average CMC. Beast Within I mentioned earlier, so no need to brush on that. Again I did consider cutting Doubling Season and I still might depending on how things go, but ended up taking out Anointed Processions first for being a white card. I'll track these two in the upcoming games to see whether I would have preferred Processions the times in draw Doubling Season.
I decided to try Nightshade Peddler as well, just to have another way to make our fights do more. And through mentioning it earlier it put Perilous Forays on my radar as a card to try out, as it does give the option to reset the soulbond on some creatures. It's probably less consistent in producing lands compared to Karametra, but its a card I've wanted to run before and it all green. So yeah, will see how this one plays out.
Mirrorpool I axed as well, it's a remnant of my first draft of the deck and I never use the abilities on it. Instead I feel that having a way to recur an artifact is more effective in this slot, so Buried Ruin is coming in to replace it. And has the benefit of coming into play untapped.
Pretty curious choises there. With changes I Always try to gain either flavor, flexibility or efficiency and cutting Anointed Procession instead of Doubling Season doesn't seem to fit any of those.
It's a case of an easy splashable 4cmc enchantment v.s. 5cmc enchantment that serves the exact same purpose in this deck, but fits nicely in the curve and drops the turn before you cast your commander.
The counter doubling effect can be largely ignored in this deck, even with inclusion of cards like Archangel of Thune and Cathars' Crusade.
I can somewhat see the appeal from Perilous Forays from a player who has played with Karametra, God of Harvests, but i feel the effect is very slow and probably could be replaced with more efficient ramp spells in green. If the sac outlet is a necessity, Greater Good could be considered as a card filter and usually as card advantage engine since most creatures will have 3power or more. Digging three or four cards deep will also help you hit your landdrops in the later turns, while at the same time doing away with them when you don't need any more.
I did consider cutting Doubling Season first, but since I run a fair amount of mana dorks, my ramp is fairly dedicated to the green side of things. I definitely know that for the curve it would be better to cut the 5 drop enchantment, so might still switch this one around.
It's not for nothing that Perilous Forays rarely sticks around in my decks, but wanted to give it a try. Karametra herself did her thing but never was impressed with her, so probably indeed better to have just Cultivate/Kodama's Reach in that slot. Greater Good I'm not a fan of in my current build, as I am lower on the anthem effects and thus the floor of that card is more likely to happen, which would set me back 'two' cards. A wolf token would draw me two and discard three, so I'm down a discarded card and the token.
Is the sac outlet a necessity? No, it definitely isn't. Yeah, with some shenanigans it allows you to take down a few more creatures, but it makes for very complicated stack building. As had this happen in a game last night and with my playgroup it was just better to simplify and keep the game going. I do agree that Forays is slow mostly because it requires mana investment. With it sometimes just becoming a situation of making one wolf token, Tolsimir forces to have it to fight and no good targets... ineffectively making it a 4 mana ramp effect.
I'll probably just need to add another Anthem effect over it.
The Wanderer could definitely be an interesting addition to the deck, though I don’t think I will be trying her out myself.
As while the deck is fun, the blink version is just too casual for my playgroup. I feel both the tribal aspect and blink aspect together demand too many card slots, so to add more interaction its probably better to cut the blink part and rebuild it in a fashion more similar to SmauG’s build. I personally won’t be revamping my deck and am going to take mine apart since I want to use some of these cards in different decks.
Good to see some minor activity in this topic. Like NimBalor has said, my list differs some in that it sacrifices the Blink package for a combo backup. This goes well with the tutor package allready in the deck. Though to be fair, i've never won a match using them. The matches i won with the deck were due to outvaluing and controling my opponents and the board with many wolves.
Since i figured out the deck's capabilities i did some changes to support this strategy but didn't play the deck since then. There is a good chance this weekend it comes out again.
Hey, i just finished reading the thread (been reading it in my spare time the last few days).
I have a Tolsimir deck, liked him as it was spoiled in WAR and build myself somenthing out of him. I don't have my decklist here with me but i'll point out a few cards that weren't mentionet yet (i play them, tough i have put little test to this deck as i have a other decks and can't playtest as much as i would want).
One card i would like to include is Wolf-Skull Shaman, but even playing with a number of changeling creatures (for wolf-elf-ally support) i don't see it triggering all that much :(.
From Core2020 i would likely get Ferocious Pup, Nightpack Ambusher, Season of Growth, Shared Summons, Howling Giant and Wolridder's Saddle, tough ill have to see what (if any) can go into the deck (the Saddle is too flavorfull to pass but sadly not to usefull :/ ).
I'll test my deck this weekend and upload my list afterwards :).
EDIT: Got myself some free time so i'll upload my list as it is now (including proxys for Core 2020 :P).
I'm pretty late to this thread, but I saw quite a bit of discussion about Panharmonicon early on and it's supposed nonbo with Wren's Run Packmaster. At first glance, this does seem like a terrible interaction, but if you're running Pan, you're probably also wanting a lot of other stuff with ETB triggers besides just Tolsimir's fight trigger. Think Wood Elves or Elvish Harbinger or other stuff that you play for the trigger and after that it's served its purpose and is now just a body you can use for blocking or something. With Panharmonicon out, you get those triggers twice, and then you can exile two of them with the Packmaster and have them re-enter the battlefield for double triggers again after an inevitable board wipe, helping reestablish your board state and get some value out of the triggers. I've even used the Packmaster to champion Tolsimir, Friend to Wolves just to get him and Voja back instantly after someone tries to wipe the board. Just something to think about.
With Core2020 out and c19 on the horizon, it's time to rethink some cardchoices. I have a feeling the flash subtheme NimBalor incorporated earlier has gained a huge payoff in Nightpack Ambusher. This card, to me an auto include, could be the deck's lieutenant as a way to gain extra value for playing at instant speed, all while doing the things i allready wanted to do.
This could warrant inclusion of cards like Vedalken Orrery, Winding Canyons, Vivien, Champion of the Wilds, Yeva, Nature's Herald aswell as the wolves that naturally have flash.
I'm also including the pup for obvious cuteness flavor reasons and double triggers.