Quote from Lormador »I certainly agree with you on the manabase, this isn't one of those decks that can just play any blue fetchland and call it a day. Doing so would remove the deck's modest resilience to Wasteland and Blood Moon and make the prospect of building up to big 3+ mana plays untenable. It would be better to play Deathblade, accept the complex manabase, and hedge with Deathrite Shaman.
I'd play Deathblade with the deep green myself if there weren't such a large population of steady Blood Moon and DnT players in every local tournament.
One thing I've been wondering is how much sense it really makes for us to continue playing Stoneforge Mystic. I mean, I'm sort of stuck with it because Shardless Agent won't cast free Monastery Mentors, but everyone paying fair mana for these spells might do well to consider the monk tokens. I was having a hoot of a time with the bladeless Esper Mentor in the waning days of Dig Through Time, and I'd just switch the DTTs straight out if I didn't have this green build burning a hole in my pocket. Switching from Stoneforge to Mentor opens up useful design space. The package is smaller, for one thing, once the artifacts are gone. That means more of whatever component you think is most important, whether it be spot removal, discard, or sweepers. Even just some Baleful Strix cards go very well with these. In the sideboard, Null Rod and Stony Silence finally become options, and those cards are really devastating.
A mirror match, for one thing, against "bladeless Blade" is harsh indeed, they've got these extra discard spells to fight the equipment in addition to Stony Silence.
In your particular list, ltj999, are you sure you aren't a little too long on green mana? Tropical Island, Bayou, and Savannah together are a big commitment to the color, even with MD Abrupt Decays and Sylvan Library in the board. I wonder if there might not be some use of Life from the Loam possible here. The spell could live in the board, maybe switching -1 Creeping Tar Pit +1 Wasteland, and come in when you anticipate a fight over your mana sources.
Personally, I've never really liked SoFnF as an anti-combo sword. It's just so slow that I don't feel it gets the job done, and its only real duty is to allow me to keep my Mystics in the main. However, including the Mystics, you've got about 13 cards that can conceivably come out against combo: 6 Mystic and targets, 2 TNNs, 2 Decays, 1 Souls, 3 StP. There are already 10 cards in the board that could come in, so I think you can actually get by without Feast and Famine.
Finally, I think Meddling Mage deserves some attention, possibly even over the 4th Force of Will and 4th Thoughtseize (which could be a Therapy or Duress). You're already pretty strong on counter-based and discard-based disruption, adding some more hatebears to the mix will make it a nightmare to play combo against this thing.
Quote from Lormador »If you could be a little more specific about the location, it might be of help. There's remarkable diversity in the metagames of the northeastern United States. I could tell you what to expect in Massachusetts but pretty much nothing else.
The thing that stands out to me about the list you posted is a paucity of answers suitable against Miracles. Equipment is good, but there are only two walkers to back it up. Mother of Runes and Lightning Bolt aren't where you want to be against Terminus, and the Stony Silence in the board awkwardly conflicts with what would otherwise be a great plan, more equipment.
I think Engineered Explosives could be considered. It can clean out Chalice of the Void and resists Counterbalance, has value against Elves, and can do similar work against DnT. The only problem is that some of your own permanents are going to get hit by it, and it's particularly unfortunate to lose a Mother of Runes. You might cut the Moms for more spells, like Ponder... but I'm not sure. This is a Stifle/Wasteland list, which goes in the opposite direction of the way I like my own Blade decks. I generally make them very controlling and cut the tempo cards.
EDIT: This is the pile I'm pushing these days.
DeckMagic OnlineOCTGN2ApprenticeBuy These Cards
Creatures4 Stoneforge Mystic4 Shardless Agent1 Vendilion CliqueArtifacts1 Batterskull1 Umezawa's Jitte1 Sword of the Meek1 Thopter Foundry1 Ensnaring Bridge1 Sensei's Divining Top1 Engineered ExplosivesPlaneswalkers2 Jace, the Mind SculptorSpells4 Brainstorm4 Force of Will4 Swords to Plowshares4 Ancestral Vision1 Intuition1 Life from the Loam1 Enlightened TutorEnchantments1 Detention SphereLands2 Island1 Plains1 Forest3 Tundra2 Tropical Island1 Savannah4 Flooded Strand4 Misty Rainforest2 Windswept Heath1 Academy Ruins1 KarakasSideboard1 Elspeth, Knight-Errant1 Humility1 Supreme Verdict1 Vendilion Clique2 Krosan Grip1 Council's Judgment1 Ethersworn Canonist3 Meddling Mage1 Seal of Primordium1 Grafdigger's Cage1 Relic of Progenitus1 Engineered Explosives
I'm sure it looks unusual, and it may not even belong in this thread. Despite the presence of Shardless Agent, however, I think this deck plays out strategically closer to the Stoneblade family than the black-heavy Shardless lists. There, Agent provides a source of card advantage that offsets Hymn to Tourach's natural tendencies. Here, Agent is a free (cardwise) recursive equipment carrier. The deck seeks out a slice of inevitability somewhere between Miracles and 12-Post. Thus while it will almost never beat Post, games against Miracles are occasions to celebrate. It's such fun to see them build up, cast whatever blasts they've got, and empty their hand before I rebuild my position via Academy Ruins and demonstrate the nullity of all that value. This is one of the few Stoneblade builds I've seen that is advantaged in both the middle and the late game against Miracles.
I've got a little old-school Lands subtheme here, from back when they used to run Intuition. The usual pile is Life from the Loam, Academy Ruins, Engineered Explosives. If any of those has been drawn already, Thopter Foundry or some other artifact can be substituted so value isn't wasted. It's this Intuition plan that distinguishes my build from other versions of the deck, such as Bob Huang's or Rudy's, both of which leaned a little heavier on Enlightened Tutor.
There are a few permanents that give this strategy trouble: Null Rod/Stony Silence, Rest In Peace, and to a lesser extent Blood Moon and related graveyard hate. That's why I've selected a pair of Krosan Grips as well as a Seal of Primordium for the sideboard. The former won't be triggered by Agent, and the later will wait on the field until it is needed. All can be cast with a single green mana (in addition to the colorless, of course), so the Forest is the first fetch target in those matchups.
Combo decks are certainly the main weakness here. With the post-ban metagame in its current state of flux, I'm expecting (and hoping) most other folks reach for their fair decks. The only combo deck I think this pile could reasonably beat (some of the time) is Sneaky Show. With Detention Sphere, Bridge, and Karakas in the main, Enlightened Tutor to find the former two, and Humility + Seal of Primordium coming in out of the board along with the Meddling Mages, things might go my way more often than not. The rest of the combo matchups don't look pretty. This is the price paid for adding a color that doesn't interact much with combo (green) on top of Shardless Agent's already-stringent limitations.
Comments and suggestions welcome. That's why I typed this out!
Quote from EyeballFrog »
2) The only answer to counterspells is more counterspells. W, G, B, and U have ways to grant indestructible, hexproof, or regeneration to get around removal, but only blue has a way to deal with counterspells.