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  • 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)
  • posted a message on Saheeli Evolution/Chord
    I haven't gotten to play against Spirits yet but as with most aggro decks I'd imagine that you absolutely want every piece of the combo and acceleration in the deck, as racing to combo out seems more likely than presenting a faster clock.

    Other cards that seem like they could be good in this matchup: P&K Nalaar, Worship, Ensnaring Bridge, Engineered Explosives, Archangel of Tithes, Stoneforge Dignitary, and maybe even Raking Canopy if you expect to fight Spirits (and Affinity?) enough.
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on Mardu Pyromancer
    Hey guys, sorry for the long post but I wanted to talk through an idea…

    Two commonly stated weaknesses of Mardu are its low threat count and the increasing liability of graveyard reliance. Goblin Rabblemaster out of the side (or possibly the main) is a solid way to address both. However, while Goblin Rabblemaster helps you turn the corner and race combo decks, it’s also a 3 CMC creature that dies to Bolt and can’t really fill a defensive role of helping you stabilize.

    One approach is to run 4c Pyro with Goyf / Flayers and possibly Traverse, but increasing our graveyard reliance doesn’t seem like a smart strategy right now. Another classic approach is to add Death’s Shadow to Mardu. This usually starts an optimization chain where you add Street Wraith and Temur Battle Rage (TBR) to enable Shadow, and next thing you know it’s so much easier to cast Gurmag Angler than Reveler that you might as well cut Reveler. You wind up with a list like the one described in this (excellent) write-up here.

    I think nirvana6109's list is a very sensible and well-focused approach, but I don't love how susceptible Angler is to both GY hate and bounce effects. Plus, I'm a Reveler addict and Pyro is one of our most flexible non-graveyard-reliant threats... so I'd like to hew a bit closer to base Mardu Pyromancer if possible. Instead of Mardu Shadow, what about Mardu Pyromancer with Shadow: https://www.mtggoldfish.com/deck/1273042#paper
    *Note this list is purely hypothetical and the SB, especially, is completely untuned.

    Here we could replace Street Wraith as an enabler with something like 2x Night’s Whisper and 1x Noxious Revival, which both have synergies with Mardu’s gind plan and as life-losing instants/sorceries enable Shadow, Pyro, and Reveler. From there we adopt a heavier fetch-shock manabase over Cliffs (although unlike most Shadow lists we keep 4x basics). Lastly, we run Dismember over Push.

    The goal would be to aim for a relatively defensive stock Mardu Pyro playstyle but with the added benefit of stabilizing behind and turning the corner with large Shadows. It’s not uncommon for our life totals to dip relatively low before stabilizing, why not turn that into more upside? Plus we get to play the full set of Thoughtseize. Occasionally it would even be possible to line up aggressive starts with fetch-shocks, Thoughtseize, Revival, and Dismember etc. in G1 against decks that we need to race.

    If you have a Shadow in your opener but not enough life-loss we are better equipped than most lists to Loot the Shadow away and grab it back later with Kommand or Noxious Revival. Conversely, if you don't have a Shadow in your opener, the deck still has 4 basics so that you can fetch up a less painful start and play more like traditional Mardu. Ideally this would add another dimension to Mardu's role flexibility, but it might just be less consistent, I'm not sure.

    To recap, potential upsides:
    +Having both Shadow and Pyro as mainboard threats that don’t fold to graveyard hate, even against the rare G1 Leyline.
    +Having both Shadow and Reveler as threats large enough to survive Anger of the Gods
    +Potential for more aggressive G1s against combo decks / Tron
    +Stabilize against aggressive decks with large Shadows
    +Potential to fetch conservatively and play fairly close to stock Mardu
    +More consistent access to white mana

    Potential downsides:

    -Fetch-shock manabase and Night’s Whisper are poor against aggressive decks
    -Not going all-in on enabling Shadow dilutes payoff and increases variance
    -Is Shadow useful enough without TBR? Might need 1+ copies somewhere in the 75
    -Fetch-shock plan and need to cram in more sorceries + instants to offset addition of Shadow likely precludes Blood Moon from the main -- but wouldn’t necessarily have to due to the 4x basics
    -Increases the deck’s vulnerability to spot removal
    -Shadow lowers the value of Collective Brutality’s drain mode, making it less attractive for the main

    Anyone tried something like this? Does it look worth exploring or perhaps too unfocused?
    Posted in: Midrange
  • posted a message on Saheeli Evolution/Chord
    Quote from Siefer »
    As an aside, Stonehorn Dignitary is totally nuts right now, and I highly recommend a copy in your 75, regardless of build. Half the meta
    When you say Stonehorn is totally nuts right now do you mean in practice or still theory with respect to the meta? Really curious to hear about games with this guy. Couldn't find a copy at my local shop, unfortunately.

    Quote from nal2 »
    Attaching my latest list feat Bugler list that I'm testing at the moment, currently 3-0 in league.
    I'm still interested in hearing about how Bridge has performed for you. Also, does Missionary come in for any matchups beyond Burn?
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on Saheeli Evolution/Chord
    Quote from Lejoon »
    Why not play Devoted Company if you want to play a maindeck like that? It's much better at the fair game and assembles the combo quite quick.
    Yeah that’s a fair critique.

    If recording the league takes too much time I’m sure everyone would still appreciate a very brief write up of your matches. At a minimum if everyone just included their individual match scores as part of reporting the League score it would be really helpful. Smile
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on Saheeli Evolution/Chord
    Quote from Emzed »
    Bugler fits quite comfortably into a shell with 2-3 Reflector Mages and Kiki-Jiki, since those are some of the most high-impact 2-power creatures. However, it seems really hard to make the mana work, especially when we also have to consider (our own) Moon effects, Field of Ruin and potential removal for our dorks.
    Agreed. Per Siefer & Lejoon's posts, Blood Moon is one the core motivators of this build, directing us away from the landfall-hungry Cobra/Rallier engine. However, without Cobra's double rainbow filtering off fetches, Rallier's ability to rez Dorks back to the field, and now with added mainboard Moons lining up 1UW / 1GG / 1UR / 2RRR can feel tenuous unless everything goes perfectly.

    Quote from nal2 »
    Too much value
    While this sounds like a good thing, I felt as I always just played Wall of Omens to find a Bugler that found me another Wall that found me a Felidar to blink Bugler to find a BoP. While drawing cards is good, it didn't really pressure my opponent and with 12 0-power creatures in the deck all they had to do was to hold up removal for the Felidar Guardian when I tried to go off. The "Plan B" of our deck wasn't good enough, I guess is a way to summarize it.

    Hard to go off in one turn
    To play one combo piece one turn and the second one the turn after is often too slow and vulnerable. With no Lotus Cobra it's a lot harder to combo off in the same turn which many times is the way we win/surprises the opponent.
    To what extent is the issue that Bugler doesn't hit enough powered creatures to make the beats plan effective vs. the fact that it doesn't cantrip into the Copy half of the combo? We could certainly fill in the beats plan a little bit with something like: Alternatively, if the deeper issue is that Bugler can't draw into the Copy half of the combo (or, worse, digs us past the Copy half) then there's not much we can do.
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on Saheeli Evolution/Chord
    For whatever it's worth I wasn't a big fan of the all-in build, either, until Kiki was added. To me, Kiki made that build "click", validating the playset of Evos and the Cobra-Rallier package, which previously couldn't find Saheeli consistently enough to justify running the engine.

    If I recall correctly, in the early days of this thread Kiki was widely dismissed for being too mana-intensive. @Lejoon have you tested a recent Cobra-Rallier list with Kiki involved? I'd guess that the cobra lists of today are somewhat different than what you tested a year+ ago, but I could be mistaken.

    I'd love to work a couple Cobras back into my build but mainboard Blood Moon is so good right now... Shocked
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on Saheeli Evolution/Chord
    I wanted to get a better feel for Bugler so I took this list to MNM tonight anticipating heavy amounts of Humans, Infect, UWx Control, and Mardu:

    R1 vs Jund Traverse Shadow
    Had to mull to a crappy 4 G1 and got run over within a couple minutes. In the second game I kept a more reasonable 6 but T1 Bird got Dismembered followed by T2 Thoughtseize and a gigantic Shadow. I chumped a few times but I was on the back foot, blew up a Shadow with an Explosives only to have him Traverse for another next turn and shortly finished the job. 0-2.

    R2 BYE
    After getting run over by Shadow in ~15 minutes I got to sit around for an hour and half doing nothing. yay.

    R3 vs GU Infect
    G1 he dies to the combo after deciding to only swing 2 dmg at Saheeli instead of pumping to clear her from the board.
    G2 he corrects his mistake and clears Saheeli, RIP
    G3 opponent spends his Dismember on Spellskite which ends up clearing the way for me to combo off next turn. 2-1

    R4 vs Bogles
    G1 Opponent has a Rancor'd Bogle and I try to find a window to play Saheeli without her getting cleared but she dies. I play Felidar but die before I can get the second Saheeli down.
    G2 I combo out
    G3 I have the nuts of T1 Bird into T2 Bird + Spellskite, T3 Felidar, T4 Saheeli. I steal 4x enchantments and end the game with a ~5/9 Skite. 2-1.

    Overall 3-1.

    T2 Saheeli might be the best thing the deck can do in a vacuum but in the majority of my games tonight it wasn't safe to play Saheeli out T2 — even on the play — due to the opponent leading T1 with a pumpable threat.

    I was slightly concerned about having too many 2-CMC Wall effects but they were really clutch vs Infect and Bogles, Spellskite in particular.

    Unfortunately I didn’t draw too many Buglers and in the couple instances I had one in hand I wasn’t really in a position where I wanted to cast it, so I don't have a concrete opinion on him yet. I appreciate his 2/3 vig body and instant / free card draw but I still take issue with how low-impact the vast majority of his hits are, even when built-around. For example, if you cast Felidar you have a higher chance of drawing into the other half of the combo (3 Evo, 4 Saheeli, 1 Kiki) off of a Wall blink random topdeck than a Bugler blink looking 4 deep. I think Wall already does enough of what I want Bugler to do, and at a lower cost.

    I was initially hesitant to include Blood Moon in the main, favoring core synergies instead, but I ended up siding in Moon for every matchup. Next week I will probably try something closer to Siefer's list:EDIT:
    Quote from Lejoon »
    Just playing Magus of the Moon, Eidolon of Rhethoric, Linvala, Keeper of Silence and Izzet Staticaster takes you very far in the format.
    Could you sell me on Linvala? I’ve put her in a few times but always end up cutting her. She seems juuust a hair too slow vs creature combo, OK vs Affinity, and doesn't do anything with our core combo.
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on New Aristocrats (Orzhov, Abzan, Mardu variants)
    It looks like I may have spoken too quickly about Bridge, which is doing well in this Vengevine list currently picking up steam. I haven't played with the Vengevine list yet but I'd guess that if you're looking for a competitive deck with some Aristocrat elements to it this is probably the way to go.
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on Saheeli Evolution/Chord
    It's not much but I gave Bugler some preliminary testing via goldfishing and a handful of matches. ETB card filtering is exactly the sort of effect we want and Bugler does hit Felidar + Kiki and a lot of other utility creatures... but I got a little frustrated after sending several potentially game-winning Evos and Saheelis to the bottom of the deck.

    For now I think Bugler is a better fit for GW(r) Vizier with Knights.
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on New Aristocrats (Orzhov, Abzan, Mardu variants)
    @Dr. Sanchez:

    I think it's an interesting direction and adding Faithless Looting definitely helps address the main issue of not having enough setup cards. However, the mana is stretched a little too thin for my tastes.

    I've been exploring ways to update QMUNKE's 5-0 Esper Rally list from 2016.

    Blue is a good match for the all-in Rally plan, and I think Esper could give you everything you need. Hedron crab adds another high efficiency mill piece, joined by Ideas Unbound, which is possibly better than Faithless Looting in this shell since it digs deeper for Rally and also lets you cast cards you draw before end of turn once you're at 3+ mana. Baby Jace is perfect for the deck since he digs for Rally, loots away creatures, and can cast discarded Rally/Returns (or Ideas Unbound when you need more GY fuel). I found the Bridge plan to be spicy but fragile, didn't really like Magus of the Bazaar, and found the deck to be more consistent when you go up to 8 Blood Artists as we discussed.

    The 3x flex slots are probably going to be Wall of Omens (helps dig for Rally), Bloodghast (good with lots of fetches but maybe not necessary with 6x Rally effects?), Mausoleum Wanderer (our biggest weakness often revolves around spells), or Sidisi's Faithful (nice stats for delaying the game until we want to combo)... they all have merits.

    With 15x mill/looting cards and 6x Rally/Return effects the deck is reasonably consistent at comboing out ~T4 if left to its own devices. It's still mostly "Bad Dredge" but with some perks like not needing to rely on combat, I suppose.

    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on [Primer] Mardu (Dega/BWR) Midrange
    Liliana, the Last Hope is commonly brought up as one of the better mirror breakers (that's still good in a lot of other matchups) but I haven't gotten to play with her yet. I imagine her +1 is good at handling Pyro / Elementals / Spirits if you aren't too far behind on board, her -2 helps recur your threats, and her ultimate wins through a board stall, no?

    Regarding graveyard hate in the mirror, I agree that Leyline and Spellbomb are easily the best options, but how would you prioritize Rakdos Charm vs Surgical?

    • Surgical grabbing Souls and Faithless looting are at least card-neutral, which is good. Is Extracting a Reveler worth the immediate card disadvantage?
    • Surgical is "free" so you can get an earlier tempo advantage on Elemental production or Reveler cost-reduction
    • However, Extraction doesn't clear the whole graveyard, so you aren't really slowing their Revelers down that much
    • Searching hand & library gives you extra information
    • Rakdos Charm costs BR upfront so there's a higher tempo cost to deploying it
    • It does wipe the whole graveyard
    • Its damage mode could also potentially win the game if your opponent has a wider board state
    I haven't played with both enough to tell which is better here. Thoughts?
    Posted in: Modern Archives - Proven
  • posted a message on Saheeli Evolution/Chord
    @Nal2 - how has your Ensnaring Bridge experiment gone? Do you reliably empty your hand fast enough to lock the opponent down?
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on [Primer] Mardu (Dega/BWR) Midrange

    Hazoret in the main makes sense — she punishes the mirror and improves our clock vs Storm / KCI / Tron while being decent vs Jeskai and helping to hedge against increased grave hate in the meta. Any other reasons I’m overlooking?

    What motivates you to run another Molten Rain in the board over the third Moon?

    How did you arrive at your 2 Spellbomb / 1 Surgical split?

    Posted in: Modern Archives - Proven
  • posted a message on New Aristocrats (Orzhov, Abzan, Mardu variants)
    I don’t think this deck can properly support Grim Flayer. It creates too much tension in deck composition, where Flayer wants you to run a very diverse mix of spell types and Aristocrats want the highest creature count possible. Take a look at some Delerium decks to get a feel for how much work / deck space goes into reliably turning on Flayer’s +2/+2... Baubles, artifact creatures, a decently large interaction suite, and so forth.
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
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