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  • posted a message on Saheeli Evolution/Chord
    @Siefer: regarding the Archmage / Shalai niche, what do you think about Sin Collector? Emzed and Rober Dalentis both have had a lot of success with the card. I haven't gotten a chance to play it yet but am planning to run 2x copies SB at an upcoming PPTQ.

    As you noted in the Baloth example, lower CMC is a big deal, and Sin Collector comes down earlier than Glen Elendra Archmage with a more proactive effect that works better with our copy/blink effects. Sin Collector requires Black so it stretches the mana a bit but you're already most of the way there to a 5c manabase (just add an Overgrown Tomb) and Archmage's effective requirement of double blue can sometimes be even tougher than a single black splash. However, Glen Elendra does handle all non-creature spells and can stop a topdecked Terminus where Sin Collector can't stop Teferi or miracle Terminus, so I can see her merit as well.
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on Mardu Pyromancer


    It is a common observation that Mardu's performance is dramatically improved for the games that you draw Faithless Looting. Games without Looting tend to run clunkier -- we can get stuck on 2 lands, we might draw into worse cards like late game discard / a pointless Moon / target-less spot removal, our Revelers come down slower, and so forth all contributing to lost games. Our deck certainly benefits from a little extra grease and all of the other past options in Mardu colors have been lackluster.

    Enter Discovery, a 2-CMC black filtering cantrip. It's not Preordain -- the extra mana is a lot! -- it can't help us keep 1-land hands and we'd have to take T2 "off" to cast it so it’s mostly useful in the mid game onwards. From that standpoint it's tempting to dismiss Discovery outright. On the other hand Surveil has good synergy with our Flashback spells / Reveler (the ceiling would be to Surveil two Souls into the yard), it's a better immediate topdeck than late-game Looting, and I think our deck benefits from some "grease" enough that this might be worth trying, perhaps as a 1-of supplement to the standard playset of Looting.

    Thoughts?
    Posted in: Midrange
  • posted a message on Saheeli Evolution/Chord
    Both decks attempt to ride the line of value midrange vs combo but Kiki is primarily a midrange deck and Saheeli is more of a combo deck.

    Kiki has some perks -- many of its spells can be played at instant speed, Restoration Angel is a much better standalone card than Felidar Guardian, and you can (eventually) combo off from a single copy of Chord -- but otherwise it is a worse deck for today's fast and wide-open Modern.

    Saheeli is just faster, more proactive, and smoother. It aims to combo out on T3, consistently by T4. Evolution tutors up hate cards faster than Chord. Oath of Nissa is an incredible tool for fixing your mana, smoothing out your draws, and then a great blink target later -- IMO one of the best cantrips in Modern in this shell.

    Kiki-Chord can curve out nicely at times, but there are also lots of really clunky hands. These hands might have more mana trouble, or you draw into more of the random one-of hate cards stuffed into the MB which happen to be irrelevant in a current match. Saheeli lists don't have to run as many narrow hate cards because racing with the faster combo provides a better baseline gameplan against unfair decks.

    There is a playstyle component -- if you want to play a more midrangey, interactive, instant speed deck you might enjoy Kiki-Chord more. If you're ok with a more all-in sorcery speed / permanent-based gameplan Saheeli will probably take your further in a competitive setting right now.
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on Saheeli Evolution/Chord
    In other news I've set up a discord for us here.

    I think it would be a fun way to hang out, tune decks together, and discuss slots in real time. Hope to see you all on!
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on Saheeli Evolution/Chord
    Good news: there's a reddit post linking to a Flipside Gaming article that will bring more attention to Saheeli Evolution.

    Bad news: the author, Parker Ackerman, copied Nal2's 5-0 list card for card, put his name on it in the article...

    edit: the author says the article will be updated to credit Nal2 / Beakid as soon as they can
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on Mardu Pyromancer
    Quote from makrone85 »
    Cutting Blood Moon in the current meta makes total sense to me. The only matchups where I am interested in it are vs. Mono G Tron and Valakut.
    Stony Silence is better than Blood Moon vs Tron anyways. I wasn't interested in running Stony before since we already have lots of artifact destruction and Affinity was a good matchup, but with Affinity's move to Hardened Scales and the rise of KCI over Storm I think it makes sense to adopt 3x Stony SB as standard. But yes, as you saw in my report cutting Moon vs Valakut hurts. I think I'm just going to settle for that being a poorer matchup.

    Now, if you want to reliably cast Stony on T2 you need 13+ white sources, which means reworking the mana a bit. Once you've cut the Moons and reworked your mana to reliably hit white T2, Path and Helix start to look pretty reasonable.
    Posted in: Midrange
  • posted a message on Mardu Pyromancer
    Quote from makrone85 »
    Can someone post the newest list Gerry Thompson has posted on sag premium? I would like to know what he took in for the additional slots in the main and if he still sticks to the land destruction sideboard plan.
    The gist of the article is that the format's speeding up and one way to keep up is by running the full 8x 1-drop discard spells and 2x Rabblemaster in the main. Gerry feels that Moon is too slow / fragile right now and suggests SB Molten Rains instead.

    Quote from stonecrowe »
    I'm thinking about trying out a version of the list without moons and without mainboard planeswalkers, instead playing 2x Monastery Mentor and 2x Lightning Helix (in addition to the Brutalities).

    A couple of reasons: I think Mentor fits our plan far better than Rabblemaster, who is essentially just a 3 drop dumb aggro creature. Mentor can build a profitable defensive board state and can also turn the screws quickly when required. Lightning Helix gives us more non creature reach to help us push through against stalled boards and keeps our life total healthy against humans/ burn/ bridgevine etc.
    I adore Monastery Mentor but I'm not convinced that Mentor deserves a spot over Rabblemaster in the 75. The short answer is that Mentor's still just too slow and resource-hungry.
    White mana availability is only half the problem with Mentor, the other issue being that Mentor is 3 CMC and requires a steady stream of cheap (ideally free) cantrips to consistently perform well -- think turbo-xerox build like Jeskai Ascension Storm or Mox Mentor. We do have Looting and a bunch of 1 CMC interactive spells, but by the time we would cast Mentor (T4?) we've typically emptied a lot of those cheap spells and are looking to refuel with Reveler or flashback Looting.

    I've found that the deck already excels at disrupting the opponent and then setting up a defensive board presence. The biggest issue is that Mardu can fail to close the game out before the opponent can dig their way out of your initial disruption. That's where Rabblemaster fits in as a consistent ~3 turn clock that requires zero investment and comes with few strings attached. Mentor requires 4+ spells in hand to keep up with Rabblemaster, and if your hand isn't stocked you're going to be at a big disadvantage against combo decks, Tron, and potentially others.

    ----------

    In terms of additional mainboard threats I'm currently happy with Hazoret. I've been tuning a moonless Mardu build for a few weeks and took it out last night to a ~20 person local event:
    R1 vs Grixis Shadow
    G1 I had the opponent pegged on UW Control from their last several months of play and kept a hand without hard removal. They cleared my board and swung in with TBR'd Shadow for lethal.
    G2 was similar, I mulled down but couldn't get a hand with Bridge or hard removal but kept one with Thoughtseize, Kommand, Souls, and Nahiri aiming to grind. Took Tasigur with Seize and saw a hand full of cantrips. Got two spirits out but opponent ended up drawing into multiple Shadows and Kozilek's Return to clear my board and swing in for lethal before I could stabilize with Nahiri. 0-2.

    R2 vs Burn
    Super close games. Mainboard Brutality and Helix were very helpful as you can expect and heavier white wasn’t a problem for life loss during mana fetching. Got sloppy G1 and swung with all spirits allowing opponent to fade a Goblin Guide off the top for lethal. Tightened up my play G2/3. Hazoret won game 3, dealing 12 damage in two turns before they could find the last burn spell for lethal. The matchup felt more favored than traditional Mardu G1 and about the same postboard, giving a small but appreciable improvement overall. 2-1.

    R3 vs Jeskai Control
    I was initially worried about the lack of Moon here. Turned out to not be an issue, as the full 8 discard spells and increased threats really helped get under the opponent and the matchup felt pretty easy. 2-0.

    R4 vs Scapeshift
    G1 Mulled to a bad 4 and had a non game
    G2 Kept a 5 with 2x Inquisition and Looting, stripped their hand but didn't draw into a threat fast enough to prevent them from killing me ~T7 with natural Valakut. 0-2.

    So how did the lack of Blood Moon affect me? It would theoretically be at least OK on the play vs Grixis Shadow and Burn while being great vs Jeskai and Scapeshift. In practice, mainboard Helix was better than MB Moon vs Burn, and the additional discard / threats offset the loss of Moon vs Jeskai. Against Grixis Shadow I was under enough early pressure backed up by Stubborn Denial that I'm not sure I would've gotten Moon down early enough to make a difference. Finally, against Scapeshift it would've helped quite a bit, but the matchup is relatively poor even with Moon so I'm not sure the game would've gone differently. In summary, even with these all being traditionally good matchups for Moon I'm not sure that I missed it so far.

    Despite the 2-2 finish I will keep testing this approach as it seems promising to me. Having 31 spells in the main felt awesome with Reveler. I will say that even if you are unconvinced on cutting Moon running 8 discard spells and 1-2 additional threats in the main is where I want to be right now.
    Posted in: Midrange
  • posted a message on Mardu Pyromancer
    Congrats on the 5-0 and thank you for sharing.

    Minor question -- what were you planning to do with 3x Surgical Extraction vs Tron? My impression was that this card is mostly dead without Molten Rain / Fulminator to set up the Tron land extraction. You could extract a threat like O-Stone or Wurmcoil but unless they have another copy in hand you're mostly just paying 2 life and going down a card to fuel Pyro / Reveler. Given that you won both of your games with a few points of reach even Bolt or Brutality seem better than Surgical here, no?
    Posted in: Midrange
  • posted a message on Saheeli Evolution/Chord
    I agree that Knight is a great card. It's land utility function is broadly helpful and most of the time it will be a decently large creature for 2 less mana. You are also correct than Hydra still loses to Path / Terminus.

    However I wouldn't say that Hydra does no work against UW Control. If they Path our early Voice / Gaddock then ramping us into a Hydra's 2-turn clock could be dangerous. If they don't have Path in hand a lone Hydra essentially requires them to clear the board with Terminus, allowing us to present a fast clock while committing fewer threats to the board.

    For my list I am trying to lean on the graveyard as little as possible -- even the current 3x Voice, 2x Rallier, 1x Lark is pushing it IMO. Knight can still be shrunk down to a 2/2 in the face of opposing hate such as RIP (or our own copy).

    Hydra also has trample built in rather than taking a turn off to tutor up Wolf Run with Knight.

    Lastly, as I mentioned Hydra is effectively a win con with Saheeli/Kiki. The best case scenario would be T2 Cobra, T3 Hydra, T4 Saheeli copy Hydra, swing for 32 points of trample damage. I doubt that we'll curve out exactly like that very often but in general it's a reasonable mid-late game alternate win-con.

    Knight is definitely the safer and more consistent choice, but the rest of the deck is so packed with safe value creatures and we stress the opponent's removal enough with our combo attempts that I'd like to try one copy of a (Bugler/Lark-compatible) Baneslayer style card that really punishes them if they don't have an answer on hand immediately.

    -----

    Regarding your Bugler questions:

    A) I have cleanly whiffed on two Bugler casts in the last 8 matches including one instance of sending a potentially game-winning Saheeli 2nd from the top to the bottom... but the theoretical hit rate is still quite good (89%) so I'm not worrying about the whiffs much right now. In terms of Bugler vs Tracker I think Bugler is a more consistent mainboard card. When you're on the back foot vs an aggressive deck Bugler gets you another card immediately without additional investment and thus has a more expendable body. When you're trying to pressure a control deck Bugler still gives guaranteed free value and is a true 3-drop rather than waiting for Tracker + land drop. It has a higher floor than Tracker but a lower ceiling. Bugler is also a part of the reason I feel like I even have a chance vs Burn despite running so few dedicated hate cards.

    B) I'm not really sure what you mean by unimpactful 2- and 3-drops. The recent builds have added enough higher impact <= 2 power cards that I don't think this is so much of a problem anymore. I also haven't had any issues at all with my current curve. I wouldn't say that Bugler adds any consistency to the combo since he mostly draws you into the flicker half, and I usually side him out vs fast decks where I just want to combo and don't care about card advantage.
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on Saheeli Evolution/Chord
    Yes, having a Bugler / Lark compatible top-end is the major motivator here otherwise you are correct that Verdurous Gearhulk is a mostly-better card.
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on Saheeli Evolution/Chord
    I wanted to revisit a card I'd suggested a while back, Kalonian Hydra:
    -technically 0 power, synergizing with Bugler and Lark
    -presents a 2 turn clock if untouched
    -Saheeli/Kiki copy of Hydra doubles size of original Hydra
    -gives non-black builds a large trampler other than Siege Rhino
    -Bolt & Push proof, still gets hit by Path & Dismember
    -no ETB so no interaction with Felidar and low value floor
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on Saheeli Evolution/Chord
    @Mull234turn5win: my only suggestion would be to possibly swap the MB Pridemages out for another 2-drop (the rest of the Voices? Wall?) since you have the disenchant angle covered with Acidic Slime and with Evo to find Slime you generally don't need too many more copies of that effect. But if you expect to face a lot of KCI, Lantern, and Affinity running the Pridemages could make sense.

    @Koopa: I'm sure nal2 will add his own thoughts but I found Unified Will to be unreliable due to its creature clause in too many matchups, awkward on mana where we have to leave open (and potentially waste) 1U while the rest of the deck is hungry for mana to develop the board, and perhaps most importantly Gaddock accomplishes many of the same goals while having many advantages / synergies as a 2 CMC creature. I would personally run a 3rd Gaddock before the first Unified Will, but if I really wanted a counterspell I would run Negate before Will.

    @nal2: Terminus is one of the main reasons I like the idea of running the extra 2 Buglers in the side, although I haven't gotten to test the matchup yet.
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on Saheeli Evolution/Chord
    I went 3-1 with the list I posted yesterday: R1 vs Blue Moon with Kiki (2-1)
    G1 he systematically clears my board with Burn spells and takes the offensive with double Snaps into Burn to finish me off.
    G2/G3 I out-value him with Voice, Gaddock, Bugler and Rallier while holding back threats to play around Anger of the Gods. Spellskite ends up winning the match by keeping him off the combo via redirecting Pestermite's untap ability and giving me another turn to swing in.

    R2 vs Storm (2-0)
    G1 Dork into back-to-back Reflector Mages to bounce Baral and then Electromancer next turn. Evolved a Voice into Shalai which he cleared a couple turns later with Grapeshot-Remand-Grapeshot. Fortunately he'd fetched suboptimally so he was one R short of being able to combo out and I killed him with beats next turn.
    G2 is hazy, I mull down to 4 but convert it into a combo on ~T4 after he fails to find a mana bear.

    R3 vs Burn (1-2)
    Super close games. Similar to the Blue Moon matchup the package of Voice, Bugler, and Rallier help me keep a reasonably aggressive board presence and buy me time to evolve into Shalai. This worked well one of the games, but G3 he hit double Eidolon and I had a grip full of 2-3 CMC spells without removal, allowing him to edge me out of the game.

    R4 vs Infect (2-0)
    G1 I wasn't sure what the opponent was on and kept a 6 with double Bird and double Oath, which converted to Cobra and T4 combo win
    G2 I kept a hand with Path, Hierarch, Reflector, and Evo. Bounced his early Glistener, Path'd his Inkmoth, and then evolved Hierarch into Spellskite to lock the game down.

    Thoughts:

    Dorks - 3 Bird / 3 Hierarch / 3 Cobra felt great. Reliable ramp most of the night and didn't flood out. Blue Moon did land a 3-for-1 Electrolyze hitting Hierarch and Cobra but Rallier subsequently rez-ing Cobra next turn kept this from being a blow-out.

    Bugler - nal2's changes have addressed most of my issues with Bugler. I really liked the split of 2 Bugler in the main and 2 in the side.

    Rallier - Far from being just a "monkey card", Rallier was key to a lot of important tempo plays, kept 2 CMC hate cards such as Skite on the board, and felt worth including even as a Bugler whiff and RIP nonbo. 2 feels like the right number.

    Mainboard Spellskite - MVP of the night by securing two matches, though I have more Infect in my meta than most.

    Stonehorn Dignitary - I landed this once vs Burn but I had already walled off his creatures so it just felt a little win-more. I can still see it being good, but I'm a little soft to Burn so this slot might get shuffled around to something like Huntmaster of the Fells. I've been kinda medium on Huntmaster in the past since we can't control his flip very well, but his current synergy with Bugler and Lark, combined with the the value of him generating non-graveyard dependent card advantage and help to the Burn matchup might make him worth revisiting.

    4x Felidar Guardian - I understand nal2's argument to run 3, and it's true that I drew a couple mediocre Felidars, but for now I will stick with the set if only to maximize combo rates.

    Voice vs Wall - I think you could justify either option right now. All of the 2+ power creatures -- including Voice -- combine to make beats a very real plan B, which won me several games that I don't think I would've won if I'd had Wall instead. After previously getting walloped by some really aggressive lists like Shadow where I was dying with cards in hand I was happy to have Voice’s double block back in the list over Wall’s block + draw.

    Reveillark - Copying Lark with Saheeli and rez-ing Bugler + Cobra helped win a game vs Blue Moon. I think I still like it in the side since it's a little slower and not a Bugler hit, running the 3rd Reflector MB over Lark.

    Eidolon of Rhetoric - I cut Eidolon because (1) this is a more explosive combo-focused list and Eidolon hurts our own tempo enough that I found myself bringing it in for relatively few matchups outside of Storm-type combo lists, on top of that (2) I hadn't seen as much Storm/KCI locally so Eidolon had been really rotting in the board, and (3) this list had 2x Path, 2x Gaddock, 2x RIP, and Shalai vs Storm and all of that plus Stony (minus Shalai) vs KCI so we aren't completely unprepared for those matchups. Of course, the night that I cut Eidolon I have 2 Storm decks and a KCI deck show up ^_^;. But the Storm match went well tonight so for now I feel vindicated... Maybe it's worth having Eidolon as the final nail on those matchups, but there may be other matchups that need the attention more, such as Burn.
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on Saheeli Evolution/Chord
    Quote from nal2 »
    Bugler is great! [...] I'm currently on 2 Buglers, but could see going up to 3 as well.
    I feel like you've done so much work to build around Bugler's 2-power constraint that it's almost a waste to only run 2, although 2 might be the right number for the main. I think another 1-2 copies of Bugler in the side makes sense for matchups where you care about raw card advantage more than you mind the drawback of not drawing into the Clone half of the combo. It'd be good vs Control while also performing better than Geist vs Mardu, for example.

    If people bring in graveyard hate against me it's perfectly fine - it doesn't stop the combo and against a lot of decks the Voices go out in the sideboard. My own Rest in Peaces are for graveyard combo decks such as Storm and KCI + Mardu Pyromancer / Vengevine / Hollow One and against those decks Voice of Resurgence usually goes out along with some other copies of Rallier/Witness.
    I agree about fast degenerate decks like Storm / Vine / H1 -- RIP comes in, value cards go out, no problem. I just think there's an awkward middle ground for Mardu and Death's Shadow where Voice, Rallier and Lark are awesome cards but RIP is really powerful as well. Maybe an early RIP is strong enough to be worth losing power on subsequent copies of Voice / Rallier / Lark, and I do like that Rallier can rez a discarded RIP. It still feels a little awkward, but it might be ok...

    Last 5-0 league I beat Humans 3 times so that matchup seems so much better now with my current list.
    Having a strong matchup against the format's top deck is a great place to be. Smile
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on Saheeli Evolution/Chord
    Congrats @nal2 on the additional 5-0!

    I like how you built the topend to give more 5-CMC payoff cards for Bugler, and the 5-drops are more playable thanks to Cobra-Rallier ramp. Where do you stand on Bugler now? I'm still frustrated that it misses half the combo but I think you've done a lot to solve the issue of cantripping into low-impact cards.

    Along those lines, cutting down to 3 Felidars in a combo-centric Cobra-Rallier-Kiki list seems potentially counterproductive but I can see how Bugler drawing you into the Felidar half of the combo might make 4x slightly less necessary. What was your thought process here and how did it turn out in matches?

    With a significant portion of your grind-potential tied to the graveyard how do you feel the list is positioned vs UW Control's Path, Terminus, and RIP? For that matter, how awkward is your own RIP?

    I'm sure Siefer is eager to hear about how Stonehorn Dignitary performed... Wink

    Any other changes you'd make going forward? I'd love a quick rundown of the matches if you have time. Thanks!

    EDIT: I will be running a variation of your list tomorrow:
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
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