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Feb 17, 2019There was a 5-0 posted recently for a Mardu Aristocrats list. It's technically more of a Mardu Humans aggro list, stripping out combo elements like Viscera Seer / Blood Artist / Rally and instead borrowing some of the most successful elements of traditional Humans lists -- Champion / Lieutenant beats + Thalia GoT / Freebooter interaction. Tithe Taker is an interesting middle ground as he's a taxing human for the aggro half but also has afterlife for the aristocrats half. Finally, they added Judith and Falkenrath as a top end and replaced Reflector Mage with Bolt + Path.Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
Compared to traditional Humans the deck loses out on Vial so its tempo ceiling is a bit lower, the loss of Meddling Mage makes combo more difficult, and having a top-end of Falkenrath Aristocrat opens you up to Path to Exile. On the other hand it looks more resilient to destruction-based removal, and I think it has the potential to be as fast if not ~1/2 turn faster than Humans thanks to Judith, Falkenrath, and Bolt. With "only" a 3-color manabase it also has a much greater ability to play non-creature spells, including strong SB cards such as RIP.
5-0 Mardu Aristocrats (DrAntiderivative)Magic OnlineOCTGN2ApprenticeBuy These Cards Creatures (32)
4 Champion of the Parish
4 Bloodsoaked Champion
2 Doomed Traveler
2 Kytheon, Hero of Akros
4 Thalia’s Lieutenant
3 Kitesail Freebooter
3 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
3 Tithe Taker
3 Judith, the Scourge Diva
4 Falkenrath Aristocrat
3 Lightning Bolt
3 Path to Exile
2 Arid Mesa
4 Cavern of Souls
1 Clifftop Retreat
3 Concealed Courtyard
4 Marsh Flats
1 Sacred Foundry
2 Godless Shrine
2 Auriok Champion
1 Dark Confidant
2 Ethersworn Canonist
2 Kambal, Consul of Allocation
1 Kaya, Orzhov Usurper
1 Nearheath Pilgrim
1 Path to Exile
2 Rest in Peace
1 Stony Silence
1 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
Jan 22, 2019Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
Having mana acceleration in black is definitely exciting but the format speeds up over time and I think this deck needs all the acceleration it can get -- Birds + Priest together is not a bad place to be at all.Quote from Danny »In my opinion the best advantage of Abzan was always that it’s faster because of the mana dorks available. Now with the Priest BW has a great tool of acceleration.
Abzan RallyMagic OnlineOCTGN2ApprenticeBuy These Cards Creature (33)
4x Birds of Paradise
2x Noble Hierarch
4x Viscera Seer
4x Stitcher's Supplier
4x Satyr Wayfinder
4x Blood Artist
4x Zulaport Cutthroat
4x Priest of the Forgotten Gods
3x Eternal Witness
4x Collected Company
4x Rally the Ancestors
4x Windswept Heath
4x Verdant Catacombs
1x Misty Rainforest
2x Overgrown Tomb
1x Godless Shrine
1x Temple Garden
2x Westvale Abbey
The difference in tempo between the Abzan and Orzhov version is night and day IMO. So far the Abzan build has goldfished more T4 kills that I thought possible for a durdely Aristocrats deck . Saytr Wayfinder as copies 4-8 of Stitcher's Supplier is a big deal for consistency, CoCo helps you find missing combo pieces and also acts as insulation against graveyard hate.
The only thing I'm not sure on is whether Rally or Return is better in this build. Rally is better with E-Wit (3 CMC), but you become more dependent on finding a Viscera Seer since a Rally'd Priest lacks haste to tap before it's exiled.
Orzhov certainly has some big benefits with more consistent, painless mana. And Lingering Souls is a hell of a card. Both strategies certainly deserve another look with the recent cards.
Jan 22, 2019Hey Daniel, your mainboard looks very clean.Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
After some early goldfishing with Priest of the Forgotten Hollows I've been impressed. Priest's need to tap makes it somewhat slow compared to a traditional sac outlet (and She encourages us to sac on our own turns to make use of her ability's floating mana), but she combines a sac outlet and drain effect while also keeping you at card parity with the opponent during the sac.
One early suggestion: I think the deck might benefit from some Fetid Heaths to help filter Priest's BB into white mana so that you can cast a broader range of spells off of it. I might start with something like -3 Caves of Koilos, -1 Godless Shrine and +4 Fetid Heath.
The deck has some of the best redundancy of any I can think of (up to 8 Doomed Travelers, 8 Artists, 8 Sac Outlets, 8 Rally effects) and when you have a couple Artists on the Field, a stocked graveyard, and Return to the Ranks it gets pretty scary. The trouble is in consistently creating that particular game state early enough. And unfortunately there are so many clunky fail states with the deck: a board full of Doomed Travelers does almost nothing, the second and third+ sac outlets do almost nothing, a hand full of Return/Rally effects without a stocked GY does nothing, Blood Artists by themselves do almost nothing.
In my opinion the final thing the deck needs is some additional filtering or tutoring to help line things up. The CoCo + Satyr Wayfinder + Eternal Witness engine helped accomplish that in Abzan. Smuggler's Copter was an old suggestion of mine for Orzhov. More recently there's Mausoleum Secrets, which tutors up all creatures except the Doomed Travelers but unfortunately fails to tutor up Return to the Ranks, and is also rather tempo negative.
Nov 23, 2018FNM report:Posted in: Aggro & Tempo
DeckMagic OnlineOCTGN2ApprenticeBuy These Cards Creature (11)
4x Thing in the Ice
4x Arclight Phoenix
3x Crackling Drake
4x Lightning Bolt
2x Burst Lightning
1x Lightning Axe
4x Izzet Charm
4x Fiery Temper
4x Faithless Looting
4x Serum Visions
4x Sleight of Hand
4x Bloodstained Mire
3x Polluted Delta
3x Steam Vents
3x Spirebluff Canal
2x Alpine Moon
3x Surgical Extraction
2x Anger of the Gods
1x Engineered Explosives
3x Kiln Fiend
Round 1 - Jund
G1 my opponent tempo'd me out with Discard into Goyf. G2 I played control and burned out a BBE with Charm and Liliana with Burst, then untapped into a large Drake. G3 I had Thing on the board and opponent tried to play Lili OTV (presumably to edict) but I countered it with Charm's spell pierce mode, then next turn rez'd a Phoenix and took over. A Phoenix got tagged with Anger once, but otherwise recurring Phoenixes played both offense and defense all match. 2-1.
Round 2 - GW Value-Tokens
Both games I had burn spells controlling early dorks followed by Thing bouncing a board of tokens. In G2 I hit T2 Thing into T3 flip thing + 2 Phoenix and opponent scooped. 2-0.
Round 3 - Ad Nauseam
G1 on the draw I kept a hand with T2 thing and cantrips but couldn't flip it T3. Opponent combo'd out on their T4 before I could do anything. G2 I hit T2 Kiln Fiend, dealt 10 damage T3, then countered Ad Nauseam with Dispel backed up by Charm and opponent scooped. G3 I once again hit T2 Kiln Fiend, and dealt 19 damage to the opponent T3 with manamorphose + Bolts. The opponent proceeded to hold on for another 7+ turns by casting Phyrexian Unlife and 3 copies of Angel's Grace. I patiently attacked with Fiend (and eventually a second Fiend), but couldn't deal too much damage because I had to hold mana for Charm in case he drew into his last land or Ad Naus. Eventually the double Fiends got there. Had a Drake stuck in hand but couldn't play it while keeping Charm mana up. 2-1.
Round 4 - Bant Spirits (ID, played out for fun)
I ID'd this round because I hadn't played the matchup yet but in retrospect it felt pretty favored. I started on defense, using Bolt effects to keep lords and Selfless Spirit clear, then turned the corner with Drake / Phoenix. During G2 I swung in with 2 Phoenixes and he CoCo'd in 2 Phantoms to eat them. Second main phase I played Engineered Explosives on 2, passed, and popped the EE when he tried to CoCo again. I rezzed my Phoenixes by casting Manamorphose into Anger of the Gods (to hit Drogskol Captain + 2 Hierarchs) into Serum Visions, but he countered the Anger with Dromoka's Command. I swung in with the 2 rez'd Phoenixes, forcing him to trade with one, and I ended up burning him out a turn later. 2-0.
Izzet Charm - invaluable. Won a game vs Jund by piercing Liliana and gave me MB interaction vs Ad Nauseam. I shaved some copies vs GW Tokens and Bant Spirits, but I was never unhappy with the full set in the main.
Kiln Fiend - did exactly what he was supposed to do vs Ad Nauseam -- 19 damage T3!
Crackling Drake - the flying and lack of respect for GY hate continue to be very relevant. Drake was anywhere from 7 to 12 power today. Not sure whether I want the 4th copy or not -- it's a great card that you want to see towards the end of most games but sometimes gets stuck in hand while you prioritize other spells.
Engineered Explosives - cleared two Supreme Phantoms vs Spirits and was brought in as an additional out vs Jund's Goyfs but didn't come up there. I'm not sure that EE is generally better than the third Anger in Izzet lists, but it did well tonight, at least.
Nov 23, 2018Thought Scour vs Sleight of Hand has been a contentious point of conversation. Here I will summarize the Pros and Cons for each.Posted in: Aggro & Tempo
Thought Scour - an Instant that improves the chances of hitting our best plays by helping us to bin additional copies of Arclight Phoenix / Faithless Looting and grow Crackling Drake. As a trade-off, Scour replaces itself with a random card.
At best, a play like T2 Manamorphose + Thought Scour + Faithless looting lets you dig 6 cards down for a 35% chance of hitting another Phoenix. Combined with a Phoenix in hand this could lead to an extremely aggressive start. What kind of performance can we expect from Scour on average?
Per Thought Scour Cast:
74.8% mill 0 Phoenix/Looting
23.5% mill 1 Phoenix/Looting
1.7% mill 2 Phoenix/Looting
23.0% Drake +1 Power (Scour Only)
50.7% Drake +2 Power
26.3% Drake +3 Power
Overall most likely scenario for a single given cast is to bin 0 Phoenix/Looting and give Drake +2 Power.
However, over 4 rounds, assuming 1-2 ("1.5" avg) casts of Scour per game and 2.5 avg games per round, you will typically mill 2 copies of Phoenix and 2 copies of Looting into the GY.
In some cases, having that extra Phoenix in the grave or 1-2 points of power on the Drake will make the difference between a game win and a game loss. While that sounds small, those games might determine their respective matches, which could tip your overall placement.
One philosophy is that Modern rewards players that proactively build around and hit broken nut draws. Having more "hot" hands is more important than having more "keepable" openers. Therefore, strengthening our nut draws with Scour is the most sensible way to fill our flex slots.
Sleight of Hand - a Sorcery that focuses on improving the deck's performance through added selection and consistency. As a trade-off, it doesn't raise the ceiling of the deck's best-possible plays.
Improved selection helps in many core aspects of the deck:
A 1-lander with Sleight is potentially keepable on the play and comfortably keepable on the draw. A 1-lander with Scour is probably not keepable either way. By increasing our pool of keepable hands we effectively improve the number of nut draws we can access while also decreasing the number of non-games we encounter.
Sleight of Hand also improve our odds of successfully chaining spells to rez Phoenix. Scour has a 50% chance of replacing itself with another Instant/Sorcery compared to Sleight's 75% chance. There are also situations where you have the necessary three spells in hand but need another land to cast them all -- Scour can find the land 31% of the time, while Sleight finds it 50% of the time. This performance difference can be less pronounced in the mid game when our hand is full of spells, but in the late game -- as our grip thins -- Sleight's selection is more likely to make the difference in enabling a successful Phoenix-rez / Thing-flip.
While Sleight doesn't instantly bin spells in the graveyard, its improved ability to draw into more spells can also effectively translate into larger Drakes. And once the Drake is large enough to one-shot the opponent, any extra size is superfluous.
Unfortunately, Scour's ability to bin Phoenix and Looting are dependent upon the graveyard -- and thus vulnerable to GY hate. Sleight's improved selection remains constant in games 2/3.
Finally, improved selection means a better ability to dig for cards you need -- extra threats, answers, or valuable SB cards. This selection becomes more valuable the longer the game runs and the more fluid your role selection needs to be.
Although our deck aims to be on the offense as often as possible, our ~T4 clock demands that we offer some small amount of interaction and stay ready to fluidly shift between offense and defense. Sleight and Scour help this in different ways. Sleight's selection lets you dig for the cards you need to support your current role -- maybe you need that 1-of Lightning Axe on defense or really need a Drake to turn the corner. Conversely, Scour doesn't help you find these cards, but by being an Instant it allows you to keep your "shields up", holding mana open for interactive spells and then potentially Scouring EOT.
In summary, both spells effectively improve our number of nut draws and help us to maintain role flexibility, although in different ways.
Thought Scour utilizes the GY to further turbo-charge our offensive nut draws, while also complementing our other instant speed interaction.
Sleight of Hand offers a reduction of non-games, better Thing-flip / Phoenix-rez chain rates, overall better dig power, and resistance to GY hate.
We have enough data to suggest that both spells are viable, and there may not be a "correct" spell to run. In making the choice yourself, ask
(1) In terms of play-style, am I "all-in" (Scour) or "flex" (Sleight) oriented?
(2) Are my average games running shorter (Scour) or longer (Sleight)?
(3) Am I encountering moderate GY hate (Scour) or heavy hate (Sleight)?
Nov 9, 2018Looks great! I will just say that I think the full playset of Oath of Nissa is almost always where you want to be -- it's one of our best cards due to its consistent smoothing of our curve, Felidar ETB blink Oath is a great way to dig for Saheeli, and its color fixing saves us life by shocking less and insulates us against mana denial plans. Oath is a big part of the games I win, sometimes in understated ways and sometimes more obvious ways. Running less than 4x can be understandable, but usually in those scenarios it takes a really good reason like dropping down in Oath's hit rate with too few creatures / too many spells/enchantments. In your build the 4th Oath is (IMO) a stronger card than your 9th 2-drop (Oracle) or your 7th 3-drop creature (Rallier #4 or Knight).Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
Oct 28, 2018Hi everyone, I've been playing around with this deck -- mostly just goldfishing atm -- and I've been thinking about building it out in paper. I find the role-flexibility provided by Thing in the Ice and SB interaction to be more fun than the "all-in" mono-red Steam-Kin approach, even if I'm not sure that it's "better".Posted in: Aggro & Tempo
From the perspective of a Thing in the Ice fan, this deck really seems like the best possible shell for it. The high density of cantrips help to consistently flip Thing, even in the late game, and the abundance of reach via burn spells and Phoenix solves the old issue of swinging in once with Awoken Horror and then getting chump blocked repeatedly while they come back into the game.
So far ~1 Mission Briefing and ~1 Noxious Revival have seemed like good additions which increase the selection and speed of the deck, although they are also GY-dependent.
I would prefer more general use SB counterspells rather than Dragon Claws and Traps.
I think the remaining points of optimization are:
1) How does the deck do against GY hate? What is the best SB strategy against RIP? Against Leyline? Currently I'm thinking of just cutting a couple Revelers G2/G3 and boarding in some counterspells and/or non-GY-dependent threats like Young Pyro / Vendilion Clique / Crackling Drake. Running 3 Revelers main instead of 4 might even be correct (!), as I frequently pitch early Revelers, the deck has so many cantrips (and Noxious Revival) to find a Reveler by the time it's online, and this could help us hedge against GY hate.
2) Along those lines, what is the ideal blend of SB counterspells? How many counterspells can we bring in before the deck becomes too clunky? This is meta-dependent, but a good starting point might be to look at successful UR Wizard Tempo SBs:
2x Disdainful Stroke
2x Ceremonious Rejection
3) What is the optimal ratio of Thought Scour, Chart a Course, and Izzet Charm?
- Thought Scour provides Phoenix, Thing, and Reveler with the most velocity but becomes "air" in the face of GY hate, its GY-filling is random, and it can't help discard spells in hand. Overall high ceiling, low floor, lots of variance.
- Izzet Charm seems to be most commonly used for its looting mode, which is worse than either Faithless Looting or Chart a Course. I'm not sure yet how much value to place in the flexibility of its "Creature Shock" or "Spell Pierce" modes. Bolt + Temper provide a high enough density of X/3 removal that the "Creature Shock" doesn't seem too valuable, but I could imagine scenarios where having a MB Spell Pierce (even at 2 CMC) might help to protect an early Phoenix or Thing. Anyone have experience on this?
- Chart a Course is kinda clunky as a 2-CMC spell that won't impact the board, but is a better Looting card than Izzet Charm, and the best top-deck of the three.
DeckMagic OnlineOCTGN2ApprenticeBuy These Cards Creature (12)
4x Thing in the Ice
4x Arclight Phoenix
4x Bedlam Reveler
4x Lightning Bolt
1x Noxious Revival
2x Thought Scour
3x Izzet Charm
1x Mission Briefing
4x Fiery Temper
4x Faithless Looting
4x Serum Visions
3x Chart a Course
4x Shivan Reef
4x Spirebluff Canal
4x Steam Vents
2x Alpine Moon
2x Disdainful Stroke
2x Ceremonious Rejection
2x Anger of the Gods
1x Entrancing Melody
Oct 18, 2018It's an interesting idea but I think it will be too awkward in practice. Running a tri-color deck without fetches sounds tight. In particular you do not have enough black sources to reliably cast those cards before turn 4-5, which is ok for late Trophy but casting 1WBG Rhino might get tricky and you will not be able to cast early Thoughtseize reliably at all. Renegade Rallier also becomes significantly worse without fetches.Posted in: Aggro & Tempo
I've also enjoyed Eldritch Evolution without any combo. Voice into Liege or Rhino is as good as you say, and its ability to act as extra Eidolons or Knight of Autumns in a pinch is nice. I'm not sure it's better than Lingering Souls, however.
Sep 22, 2018I went to a ~24 person FNM yesterday and 34 person PPTQ today:Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
Deck ListMy general sideboard strategy is here.
DeckMagic OnlineOCTGN2ApprenticeBuy These Cards Creatures (27)
4x Birds of Paradise
3x Noble Hierarch
3x Lotus Cobra
4x Voice of Resurgence
4x Reflector Mage
2x Tireless Tracker
1x Renegade Rallier
4x Felidar Guardian
1x Shalai, Voice of Plenty
1x Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
Non-creature Spells (11)
4x Saheeli Rai
4x Oath of Nissa
3x Eldritch Evolution
1x Breeding Pool
1x Flooded Strand
2x Horizon Canopy
2x Misty Rainforest
1x Overgrown Tomb
1x Sacred Foundry
1x Stomping Ground
1x Temple Garden
4x Windswept Heath
4x Wooded Foothills
2x Rest in Peace
2x Stony Silence
3x Gaddock Teeg
3x Sin Collector
1x Reclamation Sage
R1 vs Ad Nauseam + Shadow (1-2)
Ran into to a rules issue. I combo'd out vs the Ad Naus player with Unlife on the board, putting him at -1 million life, passed the turn. He plays Shadow followed by a spell that gives it haste and trample (not TBR). I Negate the red haste spell but he Pacts my Negate and swings at me for 1 million. I concede, but later find out that there had been a rules update such that Shadow can't be larger than 13/13, which could've won me the match. Ah well. Always call a judge.
R2 vs Burn (2-1)
Voice and Rallier bought me time to Evolve into Shalai. Lost to aggressive beats and Eidolon G2. Sin Collector and Worship plus Shalai sealed G3.
R3 vs Mill (2-1)
G1 I combo'd out quickly. G2 he Surgical'd my Felidar and eventually milled me out. G3 I disassemble his hand with Sin Collector into Saheeli copying Sin Collector and then combo out a few turns later.
R4 vs Mardu (2-1)
G1 we trade resources for a bit and I sneak the combo through when he taps out. G2 the opponent has a double discard opener leading into Pyro and double Reveler chain to finish me off. G3 I pick apart his hand with Sin Collector into Felidar and then combo out a few turns later.
R1 vs Bridgevine (0-2)
G1 mulled to a 6 with Bird, Voices and Felidar. I curved out but didn't draw anything to blink with Felidar. Died T4 as the opponent had double Bridge in the yard to make 8 zombies with a Vengevine. G2 Mulled to a 5 with Cobra, Voice, RIP, and 2 lands. T2 RIP slowed him down significantly but I flooded for the next 5+ turns until he drew into a Ballista, which cleared a bunch of my board, locked me out of comboing, and took over the game.
R2 vs Jund (2-1)
G1 I snuck the combo through at 2 life. G2 I kept a hand with 2 lands but didn't draw any more and died. G3 he had a fist full of Goyfs, BBEs, and Flayers but I curved out with multiple Reflectors and multiple Felidars flickering the Reflectors. My life total started to dip but I drew into Saheeli and combo'd out.
R3 vs Mardu (2-1)
This was similar to Friday's Mardu matchup. One of the games his disruption + pressure lines up and I die, but the rest of the games I get down some early value, pick apart his hand with Sin Collector, and then jam the combo until it sticks. Unlike Friday's Mardu player this one kept Blood Moon in and cast it in the middle of G3. I was able to get enough basics and the 2nd or 3rd Dork stuck so this did not effect me.
R4 vs GB Elves (0-2)
I knew I was against Elves and needed a combo hand to carry me but the deck didn't cooperate. I mulled to a 5 with acceleration and Felidar G1 but didn't draw into Saheeli or anything else relevant for (a surprisingly generous vs Elves) 5+ turns and died. G2 I mulled to a 4 with 2 lands, Cobra, and Saheeli. Once again I didn't draw into the other half and died.
R5 vs UW Control (2-1)
G1 my opponent mulled to 5 while I kept a hand with dorks, double Saheeli, and Evo. He flashed a Snap in end of T2 without a target in an attempt to ambush Saheeli but she was at 4 and I combo'd out T3 or T4. G2 I kept a hand with Voice, Gaddock, Negate, and some other good stuff but he managed to systematically dismantle my defenses and Terminus my board with Kiki + Voice + Elemental. I still had Tracker and Saheeli in hand but he countered Saheeli and took over from there. G3 I stick T2 Voice followed by some ramp and Saheeli. He Opts into Terminus but I have Negate ready. I topdeck Felidar -- he has one Plains open but I just go for it and the combo works out.
R6 vs G Tron (2-0)
G1 I accelerate with T2 cobra on the play, follwed by T3 Kiki. He gets Tron online and Karns Kiki. I play Felidar next, followed by a Saheeli to combo out. G2 I keep a hand with Cobra, Stony, Negate, and something else. He cracks Map in response to T2 Stony to get his second Tron land, and then casts Sylvan Scrying to find the final Tron land. With Tron online he taps 8 for 4/4 Walking Ballista but can't activate it further due to Stony, so he starts chipping in. I draw into dorks but use these to chump the Ballista and stay alive. He taps out for Ugin but I have Negate ready. I put down Gaddock and Spellskite on top of the Stony for a nice little hate lock. We both topdeck nervously for a few turns, he puts down an unactivatable O-Stone, and then a few turns later I topdeck Evo to tutor up my missing combo piece.
In the end I missed Top 8 due to breakers but was still reasonably happy with the deck’s performance.
Thoughts and Takeaways:
With overall records of 3-1 and 4-2 the deck felt pretty good.
I won all but a couple games with the combo. The beats plan really takes the back seat right now, as Lejoon said.
I've already explained some of the stuff below on our Discord, but I'll put all of my thoughts down here for completeness.
Plan vs aggressive decks
Aside from UWx Miracles I was expecting mostly aggressive creature-based strategies. Unfortunately there are so many different flavors of aggro these days and Terminus has pressured them all to become increasingly resistant to spot removal and/or non-Terminus sweepers. Worship works against some of these decks but is unreliable vs decks with access to Infect or Brutality, and can also just randomly lose if your creature count gets too low or it gets removed. Fiery Justice is generally good but can be thwarted by Mausoleum Wanderer, (instant speed!) pump effects, Selfless Spirit, graveyard recursion, get delayed by Thalia, snatched by Kitesail. Spot removal like Path can be good at sniping Lords or Meddling Mage but sometimes won't even buy you a whole turn vs the wider swarm decks. And so forth. For this reason I felt like the best strategy was just to build a list that was fast and low to the ground with MB Reflector Mages to try and out-tempo them while jamming the combo.
I settled on 7 Birds, 3 Cobras, and 4 Reflectors to maximize two possible sequences against these aggressive decks: T1 Birds, T2 Reflector, T3 Felidar blink Reflector, T4 combo out or T2 Cobra, T3 Felidar + Saheeli. Because my MB was built in this way I lost many (but not all) of the pre-board games against spell-heavy interactive decks. However, I had a strong enough SB plan to consistently edge out matches against these decks.
Plan for spell-heavy decks
Specifically, running 3x Gaddock Teeg, 3x Sin Collector, and 2x Negate (on top of the 4 MB Voice) created a consistent package of early disruption that allowed me to eventually combo out against decks that previously gave me trouble. Going into the events I wasn't sure if Sin Collector was worth splashing a 5th color for, but now I feel fairly confidant that this was the right call. I admit that the mana was undeniably greedy... there were at least 2 games where I had Kiki stuck in hand. Sometimes I had to twist my curve out in slightly non-ideal ways just to set up my mana. But I never got color screwed badly enough to lose a game -- even against Mardu trying to kill my dorks and landing Blood Moon or UW Miracles tucking my dorks and cracking Field of Ruin -- so for now I'll argue that being just barely short of "too greedy" is the best place to be and I'll stick with the full five colors.
On another note, we can just randomly auto-lose to Walking Ballista and it is quickly becoming one of my most feared cards. Simply casting Ballista for 2 allows the opponent to interrupt our combo at instant speed at any time, even if tapped out. A 2/2 Ballista can kill a 4-loyalty Saheeli or blocking Felidar with its psuedo-doublestrike. A highly pumped Ballista can clear our board. I'm glad to have 2 Stony and Spellskite to help with Ballista a bit, and might try to find room for other cards to take care of it. Maybe it's as simple as having 2 Knight of Autumn in the 75 and bringing them in for potential Ballista matches.
Goldfish speed vs. linear decks
The common factor in the matches that I lost (GB Elves, 4c Bridgevine) was that I needed to "solitaire" the combo out quickly against other potentially explosive decks but I just couldn't find what I needed and could never hope to present a traditional clock with beats to match theirs. In these scenarios an extra MB tutor would be nice.
- The obvious suggestion would be running the 4th Eldritch Evolution. There are a lot of counterspells in the meta right now but this might be the right answer, I'm not sure. I'm probably going to lose G1 against those decks anyways so maybe it I shouldn't worry about it too much.
- There's also Chord of Calling per Lejoon's suggestion. Much better vs interactive decks but slower when racing and not as attractive without the Chord-Witness-Resto-Kiki chain available.
- Lastly I could go back to a copy of Bring to Light. This is right in the middle as it's usually faster than Chord but not instant speed so it's harder to get through counterspells. It's also worth noting that Meddling Mage naming Kiki also stops Kiki from being cast off BTL.
Shalai -- she can win games vs Burn / Storm / Mill if unanswered, but she’s solidly mediocre vs everything else. She seems like she should be ok vs Midrange as a flying protective threat with a great ability but because she lacks an ETB effect and the opponent is highly incentivized to remove her the majority of the time I'm paying 4 mana for her to eat a Push (etc) on resolution and take a big tempo hit. Even if she does stick for a few turns I haven't had a good opportunity to activate her pump ability as I usually have a small board vs interactive decks and/or just generally better things to do with 6 (!) mana than activate her pump. "You have Hexproof" sounds good vs discard but in reality they will still tear your hand up T1/T2 before you can get her down. In a vacuum a flying 3/4 sounds like a reasonable blocker, but in practice aggressive decks like Humans, H Affinity, H1, Bridgevine can all go wider and/or taller, so we’re paying 4 mana to buy ourselves a turn at most. As the cherry on the top her Legendary status makes her impossible to clone, and she awkwardly turns off Spellskite. As a general "role-player" 4-drop P&K Nalaar provides better blocking vs aggro and more guaranteed value vs interaction. With Knight of Autumn arriving to help with Burn it's getting harder to justify space for Shalai in the 75.
Tracker -- Tracker is awesome vs interactive decks but takes too much time and investment to be a good card against aggressive decks outside of some perfect curves like T2 Cobra T3 Tracker -> Fetch crack -> Clue crack. I'm not sure if I want more than 1 Tracker in the main since I board him out so often, but there aren't a lot of value / card-draw 3-drops that sound better. Perhaps Eternal Witness, Carven Caryatid, Sea Gate Oracle, or something totally different like Lyev Skyknight.
Sep 20, 2018Thanks for sharing.Posted in: Midrange
I agree with Seth's sentiment of wanting some extra filtering or card draw to help when you don't have Looting, as I outlined in my previous post considering 1x Discovery for a similar role. However, Burn is thriving right now and in general I'd prefer to make the Burn matchup better instead of worse as Seth has with more lifeloss and only 2 copies of Brutality/Helix in the 75. Furthermore many of the top decks are fairly aggressive outside of UWx Control, so I'd need to see some more games and hear a bit more thoughts on Night's Whisper before I get on board. I also think that running only one Dreadbore has slowly moved from "meta/style preference" to "probably just incorrect". Everything else looks pretty solid / stock to me.
Sep 18, 2018Welcome, Zinken!Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
If you're running Cobras you want around 10-11 fetches, ~5 shocks, and 4-5 basics -- I would recommend at least one Plains so you can cast your white spells through Blood Moon or use Path effects to fix your mana a bit. For the flex lands you can run fast lands, Horizon Canopy, or utility lands.Quote from Zinken »I am not sure about the mana base that this particular list should run. How many fetches do we need ? Can we play some "fast lands" ? how many basics should we run ?
In my opinion Stony Silence and Rest in Peace are too powerful and too relevant to the meta not to run. Just play ~2 of each in the board and hope to draw them in your opening hand. We often need those effects asap, turn 2 if possible, so even if we could try to dig our way to them in the mid-late game that might be too slow.I am not sure about building the sideboard. I am generally a fan of strong hate cards like Stony silence and rest in peace, but i dont know if it is worth it in this list, because we cant find them with oath, buglers or evolution.
Bugler can be a very powerful card when built around, as you've done nicely. Many of us are alternating between hot and cold on him right now. Evo, Saheeli, and Oath are some of our best cards, so having Bugler miss them really lowers the quality of his hits. Once you draw one-too-many Dorks or completely whiff on his ETB a few times you start to have second thoughts. Then, when you're sure that he's bad you look at a nicely synergistic list like yours and it all seems to fit together so well that you're back to giving Bugler another shot.. and the cycle repeats itself. I'm glad he's working for you, though. Who knows where we will end up on Bugler!I am guessing that by now you have figured out that i like Militia Bugler as the 3 drop of choice.
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