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  • posted a message on [Primer] Amulet Titan
    I should clarify - when I say half a turn...
    The good hands, have always been good. An SSG won't make the summer bloom hand that much more explosive (no-amulet, summer bloom makes a t3 titan - ssg does nothing here). What it will do, is help when you're waiting on some acceleration off the top. Stirrings off the top is still slow, because you'll dig 5 deep to find a mana, but you spent mana doing that. If you had an amulet in play though, the stirrings just needs to find a bounce land and it'll be equivalent to SSG again - misses a bounceland, and it's worse. So, there's a lot of restrictions making SSG only good in certain scenarios. It can be a dead draw. The deck isn't consistently a turn faster now, its just faster some of the time. Hope that clarifies!
    An example I had just yesterday - I had 4 mana in play, 1 in hand (gemstone) and no amulet. I had a titan in hand and a serum vision. I played the vision, and drew a summer bloom (doh). Looking at the top 2, I saw SSG and azusa. The Azusa would do nothing, i've no land to play and already have a bloom in hand. The SSG though - turned my 5 mana into 6 and so stayed on top. Had that SSG been a stirrings however, the stirrings would have been tossed to the bottom, because it wouldn't make me 6 mana the next turn (had no amulet either). So SSG made me a turn quicker.
    Posted in: Big Mana
  • posted a message on [Primer] Amulet Titan
    Agree with what everyone has said here, storm is rough.
    The slight benefit we have, is that many players still don't know our deck that well. You may durdle along and play nothing, and the storm player will take their time (unless they've probe-ed us). I've gotten away with a turn 4 hivemind on the draw against storm before.
    However, once someone knows what you're doing, you're in trouble! I think the race in g1 is simply who wins the dice roll. It's pretty 50/50 (maybe 55/45 in their favour). They're slightly more consistent than us, but we are as quick when it goes to plan. I do think the hive-mind hand is better though, because it wins, whereas a titan just puts them on 12. But, game 2 & 3, its turned from 50/50 to 70/30. They're still quick, but they have blood moon. I played a guy who pyrite ritual-ed a blood moon on t2, and that was curtains. Chalice will rarely come out that quick, and it's only a 1-of in most sideboards.
    I have recently moved to Mathais Hunt's list, with SSGs and Glimmerposts. I have to say, it does make us quicker - probably by about 1/2 a turn. The Glimmerpost being untapped isn't entirely irrelevant (if you play T1 gemstone and topdeck glimmerpost, it can allow a summer bloom that would otherwise be a turn 3). And SSG can turn a sluggish 5-mana hand into something a bit better (usually the azusa hands like SSG, summer bloom hands dont).
    With that in mind, the 1/2 turn is relevant in these races with storm etc. It's less relevant against midrange decks, and even worse against control. In my short experience with SSG - i would suggest this.
    If you expect control / midrange, play stirrings / khalni gardens / kabira crossroads.
    If you expect combo - play SSG and glimmerpost.
    I was dead set against the SSG change for quite some time, simply because I liked digging deep. But amulet isn't the key, summer bloom is - and stirrings doesn't find it. I've been looking for a replacement, and just decided to try SSG. And I like it! I'm going to keep it that way for now. In testing, I'm destroying a kiki-pod deck (about 6 matches to 1 after boarding etc). My previous record was worse, because the 1/2 turn was making a difference!
    Posted in: Big Mana
  • posted a message on [Primer] Amulet Titan
    Hi All,
    I was fairly active on the last thread, and glad there's a primer up and running now Smile
    Could I ask people's opinion on the following:
    Leyline in sideboard or not?
    Ancient stirrings vs Simian Spirit Guide
    2 Glimmerpost vs kabira crossroads + khalni gardens
    3 or 4 azusa's?
    Sorry to put all those into 1 post, but they seem to be the most varying cards, and I can't work out which I like! I currently run leyline, don't run SSG or Posts, and just have 3 azusa. Am I wrong?!?
    Thanks all Smile
    Posted in: Big Mana
  • posted a message on [Primer] Amulet Titan
    Amulet, Lost but Seeking

    Also known as: Amulet Scout

    1) What is Amulet Scout?
    2) Card Choices
    3) Technical Play
    4) Matchups
    5) Decklists, Articles & Videos
    6) Magic Online
    7) Budget options
    8) Daviusminimus' Help-sheets

    1) What is Amulet Scout?
    If you're totally new to this deck architype, first check the 2nd post by Izzetmage (old primer), that has a bit more detail around what this deck is.
    This version, simply, is an effort by many people to make a banned deck playable. Sakura-tribe Scout fills the role of summer bloom, though poorly! There's more to it than that, so read on!

    Why should you play Amulet Scout?
    1) The big reason people will play this, is that they loved Amulet Bloom in the beginning. If you enjoy this deck, then you should play it, because it's still competitive.
    2) Currently the deck is well positioned, as Tron is at an all time low - making land destruction less prevelant. The best way to beat this deck is to attack its manabase, and people aren't doing that at the minute. Obviously this will not always be the case, but there are ways to beat a simple ghost quarter!
    3) The deck prays on control and midrange strategies. It's quicker and bigger, and has a better late game than them. If you like to beat up on those types of decks, this is the way to do it!

    Why should you NOT play Amulet Scout?

    1) It requires practice. The original deck was complicaited, and if anything, this is harder still. There's less free wins, so you naturally have longer games, which takes more skill than previous.
    2) If you want to feel like you're doing something completely broken, this is probably not for you. The deck is much fairer than its predecessor. If you want to feel invincible for a round or 2, you probably want to play something else (like storm).
    3) It’s vulnerable to land hate and tutor hate. Blood Moon is almost unbeatable, and land destruction like Fulminator Mage or Ghost Quarter on one of your bouncelands sets your tempo back by a large margin. This deck also searches for things a lot (Summoner’s Pact, Primeval Titan), so search hate like Aven Mindcensor can throw a wrench in your plans.
    2) Card Choices
    Previously the deck didn’t have a “best build” or a stock list, but the decks have become much more tuned. There are 2 versions of the deck that turn up. 1 is specifically played by PuntthenWhine and almost no-one else, and the other is more common but not necessarily more successful. Here’s some links to some pretty standard lists:
    When looking at these lists, there’s usually 2-3 flex slots main, and perhaps 4-5 lands that can be interchangeable.
    Current flex slots include:
    Tireless Tracker – this card is great in grindy metas, and can act as a wincon (if you don’t draw a primeval titan, this card can help you find him, whilst also growing quickly – especially if you have azusa in play). It’s poor vs combo or decks like affinity that can ignore him, and isn’t particularly impressive on the defensive, but is an impressive value engine.
    Courser of Kruphix – Courser is a lot less popular these days, as he has several downsides. First, is that his card type enchantment does not line up well against destructive revelry in burn or against junds tarmogoyf. Second, the double-green requirement on turns 2-3 can be difficult. And third, his power level just isn’t the same as trackers. HOWEVER, Courser comes with the upside of being relevant in almost every match-up. He blocks pretty well against agro decks, gives value vs midrange, gains life against burn, and digs deeper against combo (though this is clearly where he is weakest). Courser is probably best in a wide-open meta that you have no clue about.
    Relic of Progenitus – this card gets run for 2 simple reasons. 1. When it’s bad, it draws you a card, and 2. When its good, you can sometimes find it off ancient stirrings. There’s not much to say about relic past that.
    Jace, the Mind Sculptor – untested by yours truly, but theoretically this card fills a similar role to tireless tracker. It won’t be stunning when you have no board and are behind, though the brainstorm mode or bounce a creature mode will likely be better than trackers chump block mode. However, Jace has the potential to both take over the game and fix your draws, making it another must-answer threat and a good utility card. The main negative points against jace are 1) doesn’t help you in the faster match-ups and 2) you need to tweak the manabase to help cast her on time.
    Hornet Queen – a fun-of tutorable target that helps sure up your midrange and affinity matches, hornet queen usually hangs out in the sideboard due to its high casting cost. However, there’s a low cost to including her in the main, and a potentially high payoff.
    Simian Spirit Guide – clearly the little ape is a ramp spell, but it helps get you to 6 in the games where that’s important. Not tutorable, and terrible topdeck go against SSG, but it’s ability to ramp can be the difference in the faster matches.
    Walking Ballista – considered more stock than flex, ballista’s own flexibility whilst being tutorable off t-west AND stirrings, makes ballista a strong inclusion. In the late game, it’s a wincon and in the early game it can be disruptive. The main negative against ballista is that it’s not so exciting in your opener, and can be a blank in some match-ups such as spell-based combo and tron/valakut.
    Dismember – not much to say on ‘dis, but the fact that it’s a live card most of the time and is early enough to matter (and easy to cast) make it a reasonable inclusion.

    The really rogue options:
    Primal Command – this card fills the gap between 5 and 6 mana by disrupting the opponent, and having enough flexibility to be relevant against most decks (e.g. top a land and shuffle is great vs tron, shuffle and gain 7 great vs dredge, search and shuffle own GY great vs control etc). However, it’s a clunky card and has no real synergy with the rest of whats going on.
    Obstinate Baloth / Thragtusk – not completely crazy to include these main since they see a lot of sideboard play, but they’re very specific in what they are doing. If you KNOW you want the lifegain % the value for your meta, then go ahead and run them. But remember modern is such a wide format and often these will be blank.
    batterskull – Batterskull has fallen out of favour recently, mostly because it’s a similar card to thragtusk but it’s a) not tutorable and b) dies to the sideboard artefact hate that people bring in to destroy amulet. Some people love the card though, so if it’s something you think you’d like, go and test it
    Hive Mind – more suited to Puntthenwhine’s lotus bloom list, but sees play here and there. The issue with Hive Mind is that it’s a 2 card combo in a deck trying to make 6 land drops, so its hard to get everything to line up. In addition to that, the combo comes down slower than the summer bloom days, so it’s easier for opponents to get to 4 mana for the summoner’s pact etc. Once this becomes a 3-card combo, it’s inclusion is just not worthwhile.
    Sakura-tribe Elder – this guy chumps and ramps, which has a similar yet different value to Explore. It’s better when you have planeswalkers you want to protect. Powerlevel is low but its efficient.
    Saheeli Rai – this is a bit of a spicy card that hasn’t seen much play, but has some potential. Its poor when behind on board, but it can copy a Sakura-tribe Elder to ramp, an Amulet to go crazy or a primeval titan to make some really crazy lines (e.g. play titan with no amulet, get 2 lands, copy titan, get 2 more lands, attack with new titan, get 2 more lands). Its powerlevel is high but its consistency (and ease to cast) are both low.

    The manabase
    The manabase has quite a few flex slots, and it’ll depend on what meta you expect and what cards you’re trying to cast in both the main and the side. The flex slots come down to this:
    How many blue sources and/or red sources do you need? Are you playing Jace? How many sweepers are in your sideboard?
    Are you expecting death’s shadow, tron, dredge/storm, UW Control?
    Do you expect to play against a lot of path to exiles, field of ruin or ghost quarters?

    Once you “know” what you’ll face, you can make a choice between the following:
    2-4 Basics (usually forests, but if Sakura Tribe Elder is involved, you may want an island).
    0-2 Botanical Sanctum – mainly for Jace builds
    0-3 Grove of the Burnwillows – just for Deaths Shadow!
    1 Bojuka Bog, Ghost Quarter, Cavern of Souls – these cards are for specific decks, though have some utility elsewhere for the most part. Depending on your other flex slots, you may have to choose 1-2 of these to NOT include.

    More to follow
    3) Technical Play
    Please read Izzetmages “old primer” for a lot of the basics regarding sequencing and the different combos in the deck. A lot of that still holds true today.
    The only new “trick” that is relevant today that wasn’t before uses sakura-tribe scout. This guy allows you to play lands at instant speed. This is extremely relevant. First of all, you can decide which land you’ll need based on what the opponent does. For example, if you have a Radiant Fountain AND Khalni Garden in hand, which should you run out? Well, that depends on your life total and what your opponent attacks you with. If you don’t have to put that land into play now, wait until they declare attackers and make a decision then.
    More importantly though – a bounceland in hand + a scout allows you to protect your lands from an incoming fulminator mage, spreading seas or ghost quarter.

    Vesuva also deserves its own section, as it's got so many different uses. I'm going to start by sharing some lines that will not come up often, but have ALL happened to me personally during matches:
    • Copying an opponents island whilst a blood moon is in play, cast Hive Mind and a pact and win.
    • Copy an opponents Celestial Colonnade to create a threat, that is usually larger than theirs (thanks to slayers’ stronghold).
    • Copy an opponents shockland on T1 so that you can untap with either G or U that you need to cast your various 1-drops.
    • Copy an opponents tapped ghost quarter (with amulet in play), it untaps and blows up their ghost quarter before they can use it.
    • A similar line, but when you have no amulet in play and landing a titan - fetch Vesuva to copy your own tapped ghost quarter and a bounceland to return the ghost quarter to hand. Play GQ and use it, to blow up a tron piece, and still have a spare ghost quarter left behind!
    • It also copies Radiant Fountain / Khalni Garden to make more life/tokens, or copies a bounceland to either return a key land back to hand (tolaria west) or to “combo” with an azusa + amulet on board.

    I will come back to this section shortly to discuss what I get asked most about – mulligans and sideboarding!
    Justin Cohen's sideboarding guide
    4) Matchups
    Match-ups are pretty easy to write about these days. Wins and losses fall into several categories:
    1. We draw the nuts, and the opponent doesn’t really get to play magic
    2. We stumble, or the opponent has a nutty draw, and we don’t get to play magic
    3. The games play out much more like “normal” magic, and the matches are close

    So, I’ll concentrate on point 3 here, starting with an example. Gx Tron is a fairly close match-up, but can be won or lost on a few small points. The dice roll 100% matters in this match, as do points 1 and 2. If Tron lands a T3 Karn on the play, you’re unlikely to beat it. If you land a turn 3 titan, they’re unlikely to beat it.
    The difference between this being favourable and being unfavourable is the number of Ghost Quarters in your deck. If you have 1 main and 1 side, this is likely a good match-up. If you have 0 copies main and 1 side, it’s likely a tough match-up. If you have 1 main 0 side, it’s pretty close to 50/50.
    You can apply this theory to a whole host of decks, such as Dredge (Bog / relic), RG Valakut, and UW Control (cavern).
    Outside of that, you can impact your matches with your sideboard choices such as Hornet Queen (Affinity, Jund), Ruric Thar/Tormod’s Crypt (Storm), and Kozileks Return (Affinity).

    So, lets discuss the matches that are not particularly close. I never consider any matches unwinnable or a walk-over, so don’t consider this “You’ll never beat X” – just that you’re behind when you shuffle up.
    1. Humans – this deck represents a fast clock and disruption. It’s the perfect recipe to beat us.
    2. RG Ponza – this deck was always fairly tough, but felt much more winnable before BBE turned up. That card has created disruption AND a clock, and the fact they’re a 4-of blood moon deck makes this really rough.
    3. UW Control – this is a very skill intensive match, and can very easily go either way. However, we are favourites. Small deck building choices and small decisions during the game make a big difference here, but UW Control is typically a match I want to play rather than avoid.
    4. Merfolk – the disruption is sorcery speed (spreading seas) and the clock is medium – and they get blown out by EE. It’s a very favourable match-up.
    5. Dredge – this does depend on the build somewhat, but dredge feels favourable if you have access to both Bog and Relic. If you land a titan before you die, it’s almost impossible to lose, so it becomes a question of how quick your hand is and how disruptive theirs is. Relics make that a little bit lop-sided should you draw them
    6. Death & Taxes (Eldrazi addition) – this deck has a clock and the disruption is fairly brutal for us. Where Leonin Arbiter and Ghost Quarter are usually seen as a good combo, both cards are individually strong even if they don’t line up against us. Add in Displacer + Thought-knot which present a real clock, and you can see why this is a tough 1. You have to lean on your sideboard creature kill to remove the clock and disruption. Once you resolve a titan, you’re a strong favourite, but it’s getting to that point with enough life to survive that’s the tricky bit.
    5) Decklists & Videos
    Rather than post a bunch on decklists, it’s time for some links again!
    Puntthewhines list:
    My own Amulet Stream:
    ChannelFireballs most recent article:
    Edgar Magalheas Top 4 Team Trio event decklist:

    There’s more content out there, but much of it is old. Jeff Hoogland has played it on his channel for example, but it’s a few months ago now.
    6) Magic Online
    People often ask about how to stack triggers on Magic Online. Amulet is bugged online, and I will return with some pictures to show it off! For now, here’s the blurb for it! If you have a double amulet hand a want to go “boros + slayers” on your titan… here we go:

    You'll have a bounce trigger, and 4 amulet triggers all "waiting" to go on the stack. When you hover your mouse over these amulet triggers, the land that it refers to will grow a little on your battlefield. So, if the far left amulet trigger is slayers', then all is well and you can just click on your bounce trigger and they'll line up right.
    If the far left is boros garrison though, then you need to be a little clever. You go and click both slayers' stronghold trigger first, then the bounceland trigger, then the boros untaps will happen. The downside of this is that you cannot pick up the slayers', because its untapping after the bounce trigger. But, it means you can double-haste, which is often more important (when you're taking this line, you're killing the opp 9 times out of 10).
    7) Budget MTG
    I'm going to list SOME of the more expensive cards, and discuss options to replace them. Note that all these changes will make the deck worse, but effectively play the same with similar match-ups. Obviously MTGO and Paper magic have different values and savings, so you'll have to make those choices yourself.

    1. EE - maindeck Slaughter Pact does a good impression of EE, with an upside or 2. First off, tutoring it up and killing something costs 3 mana instead of 6+. It also kills Platinum Angels and EndBringers, titans etc. EE is the better card, but my first 10 matches with Slaughter Pact it came up 0 times, and Pact was better twice. Adjust your bouncelands to include a golgari rot farm if you make this change.
    2. Gemstone Mine - I'd never recommend cutting all 4, but you can comfortably cut 1 for a City of Brass or Mana Confluence. I never recommend 2x Pain land because drawing both is really tough, but having a singleton is fine. Aether Hub is also an ok replacement, as is more basics / crumbling vestige.
    3. Azusa, Lost but Seeking - currently cheap on MODO, but not necessarily in paper. Journey of Discovery does a 1-time only impression of the card, and Wayward Swordtooth is like Azusa breading with Reality Smasher but is still in child form! The 1st Azusa has infinitely more value than the 2nd/3rd/4th since you can pact it up, so always try get the 1st copy. But if you cut gemstones for more basics, Journey sometimes comes with upside (plus it can't be interrupted by bolt).
    4. Cavern of Souls - this card will win you games, and there's no hiding from that unfortunately. However, in the cases where its not crucial, Temple of Mystery is often the better land. In cases where Cavern is key (e.g. slow blue match-ups), Temple can offer some value to try and compensate for the lack of cavern.
    5. Summoner's Pact - I've been a little cautious on running all 4 recently, wondering if 3 is the right number. 4 is probably correct, but because its quite close (only in this writers opinion), you could cut a copy for a different threat, whether thats tracker, hornet queen, obstinate baloth etc. You could almost fill the slot with anything in all honesty.
    6. Sideboarding - there's not THAT much key stuff in the board, with Hornet Queen and Rec Sage probably the 2 most important cards. Since those are cheap, I wouldn't worry too much about the rest of the slots. Pyroclasm replaces K-return and Baloths can replace Trackers etc.
    8)Daviusminimus' Helpsheets
    Here's a sideboard guide from Daviusminimus, his current decklist:

    And here's a guide for mulligans:
    Posted in: Big Mana
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