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  • posted a message on Mardu Pyromancer
    I'm not sure if Smiting Helix is good enough. The difference of playing this instead of Lightning Helix is the fact that Smiting Helix empowers our discard outlets. Faithless Lootings, Seasoned Pyromancers and other discard outlets of ours become virtual card advantage if we pinch this card. That wouldn't happen if we discarded a Lightning Helix this way. It also gives us the option of a hard cast from hand, to potential 6 life and 2 removals or up to 6 damage.

    The problem with it is the high cost to cast from hand. Lingering Souls is not really impressive when cast from hand, but it is decent. 2W for 2 Flying Spirits is a fair deal, although not really impressive. Smiting Helix on the other hand seems really clunky to cast from hand. 3B for a Sorcery Speed Lightning Helix is really bad.

    So... not sure. IMO it has potential. The likely addition of Seasoned Pyromancers to the deck also make the card better. But still, it seems to me as a card with a pretty bad floor, which is not great.
    Posted in: Midrange
  • posted a message on Mardu Pyromancer
    I want to fit Kaya's Guile so badly, but my 3 CMC curve is totally flooded. I play 3 Kommands, 1 LotV, 2 Blood Moons and 4 Lingering Souls. I also want to add in 2 Seasoned Pyromancers. So... not sure if I can really make room for it. But it surely seems sweet. I could really use some maindeckable grave and burn hate.
    Posted in: Midrange
  • posted a message on Mardu Pyromancer
    Not sure about what I'll be cutting for him, but I'll definately try at least 2 of them main deck. He does everything the deck wants. Loots bad cards, make tokens, is useful on the graveyard, draws cards, good target for Kommands...
    Posted in: Midrange
  • posted a message on Mardu Pyromancer
    IMO, it's not. I usually have no problem dealing with creatures with my Bolts, Fatal Pushes, Collective Brutalitys, Kolaghan's Command and Dreadbores. People play Terminate eventually, which is also a good option.

    With all these removals availables, I don't see much reason to play Path, as there aren't many creatures in the current meta that we'd be happy to give our opponent a land for the exile effect. I'd say that in the current meta, Path is better than the removals we have against Wurmcoil, Ulamog, Arclight Phoenix, Prized Amalgam, Bloodghast and Hangarback Walker.

    We can easily get rid of the other creatures with the removals we already play. Against Wurmcoil and Ulamog, we'd still prefer Blood Moon anyways, because against Tron, it's usually better to prevent them from playing their threats, and trying to beat them fast, than trying to remove their creatures. Against Hangarback Walker Path would be good, but our match-up is already good vs Hardened Scales, and Blood Moon is still reasonable against them anyways. I'm not even sure if we'd gain points by cutting Blood Moon and adding Path against them.

    So in the end, I think Path makes our match-up against Dredge slightly better (would still be really bad in Game 1) and much better vs Phoenix. Maybe it would make our match-up vs Hardened Scales slightly better. Not sure about that. Voice of Resurgence, Kitchen Finks and other annoying creatures that we'd like to exile, are not seeing much play now.

    So... IMO, Path just makes our match-up slightly better against Dredge and much better against Phoenix, while Blood Moon gives us a lot of points against Amulet Titan, Titanshift, Tron, Jund, UW, Jeskai, Rock and GDS. Doesn't seem like a good trade to me in general, unless you know there won't be a lot of big mana decks in your field, or you know you're gonna be facing a lot of Dredges and Phoenixes.
    Posted in: Midrange
  • posted a message on Mardu Pyromancer
    In my field there are A LOT OF Big Mana decks and a bunch of Grindy decks, and Blood Moon is really important on those matches, so I'd say it would be strictly wrong to make this change in my field.

    But if you don't expect to be facing a lot of these decks on your field, it seems perfectly fine to cut the Moons and play Paths. You'll probably make your Aggro match-ups better this way also.

    In an unknown field, I'd also stick to the Blood Moons, since we won't have a chance against Big Manas without them.
    Posted in: Midrange
  • posted a message on Mardu Pyromancer
    Quote from mikeduges »
    I feel like she is more in line with the strategy of this deck than Nahiri and we play Nahiri.

    Also, Dreadhorde Arcanist is getting a lot of attention. Can that replace something in our deck? Maybe adding path to increase one mana cost spells? Seems like a good dark confidant for this deck. Am I off?

    EDIT I mentioned dreadhorde because the Japanese community specifically mentioned it’ll be good in this deck. Also, the red promise casts the spells in the yard, right? So we get three tokens out of one spell? Isn’t this worth considering over some other spells? If we add path to increase one mana spells, it seems this deck can some major card advantage.

    Nahiri plays a much different role. She removes a lot of things we have trouble with (the exile clause is really good for us, since we don't play Paths), she fuels our Revelers, and wins the game eventually (the return to hand clause on the -8 ability is really sweet when we're searching for a Bedlam Reveler). I don't think this is a good comparison.

    Saheeli might be good to work along with Pyros, or maybe even substituting then. I don't really think she's good enough to replace Pyros, but I could see her being copies 5~8 of Pyros with some upsides.

    Dreadhorde Arcanist doesn't seem good enough for us, IMO. It'd be casting only one mana spells (which we do have a bunch, but it does limit our options), and it has to attack to work, which means that he must survive at least a turn before being useful, and the combat itself.

    Ashiok could be a good sideboard tech IMO.
    Posted in: Midrange
  • posted a message on Mardu Pyromancer
    Quote from Shaggy »
    Has anybody tried Kaya yet? She seems like she could put in some work right now. I’m going to try a 1 of and see how it goes.

    I'll give her a try. I feel like the deck needs to focus it's sideboard on fighting these 3 archetypes: Graveyard decks (Phoenix and Dredge), Burn and Big Mana (Valakut, Tron and Amulet Titan). I think those are probably our worst match-ups.

    That said, I put a lot of thought on my sideboard this week to try to cover all of these, the best way possible. And I concluded I'm gonna make these two changes on my sideboard:

    Out Hazoret, in Kalitas

    I didn't like Hazoret all that much. Maybe I was just unlucky, but I did draw her a bunch of times I had a lot of cards in my hand. I ended up discarding her for a Looting, because I couldn't see me casting her profiterably in less than two turns. A bunch of times, I had an empty hand, and would be very happy to draw her, but I didn't. So... my conclusion is she's powerful, but not much reliable.

    I'm going for Kalitas because he covers 2 of the worst match-ups. He's good vs graveyard and Burn. He's also good on Grindy matches, which is nice.

    Out Rakdos Charm, in Kaya

    Pretty simple. Rakdos Charm is just decent. One shot graveyard hate, but costs 2, and doesn't replace itself like Spellbomb. I'm trying Kaya for now, as she's able to constantly exile things from my opponent's graveyard, and also gains life in the process. She's also really good against Burn, GDS, Lantern, Affinity and a bunch of other things. So... IMO Kaya is much more flexible than Rakdos Charm, although slower, and she does help in more matches, specially Burn, which I think is one of the thoughest matches possible for Mardu.

    My new sideboard will be:

    1x Liliana, the Last Hope
    1x Kaya, Orzhov Usurper
    1x Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
    2x Kambal, Consul of Allocation
    1x Fulminator Mage
    3x Molten Rain
    2x Wear / Tear
    1x Nihil Spellbomb
    2x Surgical Extraction
    1x Anger of the Gods
    Posted in: Midrange
  • posted a message on Mardu Pyromancer
    To be honest, I didn't play this match-up a lot yet, but when I played it, I felt really unfavored. These were the reasons I felt unfavored:

    1 - Discard spells are pretty mediocre against them. You're very likely seeing a lot of cantrips on their hand, and nothing really good to target, so you end up discarding the best of the cantrips or a Bolt, and having close to no information about what they'll be doing on the following turns, since they'll probably cycle all their hand quickly. You need to be very lucky to snipe a Crackling Drake or a Thing in the Ice, and even if you do so, they're probably drawing a substitute fast;

    2 - Pyromancer felt underwhelming on the match-up. We can't chump Phoenix or Drake with the tokens, and Thing in the Ice just gets rid of him with all the tokens;

    3 - I just couldn't stop the Phoenixes. They fly, what makes them easily ignore our Pyromancers and tokens, and no removal we play are good against them. All I could do against them on Game 1 was chump with Lingering Souls tokens and try to race them with Pyros and Elemental tokens, but it didn't work, since they were just faster;

    4 - We also have no answer to Pyromancer Ascension, that have been seen a lot of play on this deck;

    5 - They now play Surgical main deck, so even Lingering Souls are not that reliable;

    On Games 2 and 3 it got much better. But Games 1 felt really bad.
    Posted in: Midrange
  • posted a message on Mardu Pyromancer
    I also think that this metagame is not good for Mardu.

    IMO Mardu was much better positioned when the best decks were Humans, GDS and Spirits.

    Now the Tier 1 decks are Phoenix and Dredge. Both bad match-ups for us.

    The Tier 2 decks that are more present now are Tron, Burn, GDS, Rock, Spirits, Hardened Scales, Amulet Titan and Humans.

    Of all these, I think Mardu is good vs GDS, Rock, Hardened Scales and Humans, while Tron, Spirits, Amulet Titan and Burn are bad match-ups.

    So... in the end, IMO we're bad against the Tier 1 decks, and we're good against half of the Tier 2. Not a really good position to be.

    It's also bad for us that the 2 best decks in the format are weak to graveyard hate. People fill their sideboards and even main decks with graveyard hate to fight those stupid birds and zombies, and they end up hating us as well.

    The good news are that our deck is really flexible. We can probably adjust our deck between main and sideboard to improve our bad match-ups.
    Posted in: Midrange
  • posted a message on Mardu Pyromancer
    Hi guys!

    I played a tournament on my local store yesterday (about 25 players) and the deck ran really smoothly. Won my first three matches and luckly accepted my fourth opponent's sugestion to ID. Later I came to know he was playing Monogreen Tron. My deck was the following:

    Tried to cover the Big Manas, Burns and Grindy matches. Missing the 3rd and 4th Blackcleave Cliffs, so I substitued them for an Arid Mesa and a Godless Shrine (which I didn't like much). Chandra was to help on the Grindy matches and to serve as another Win Condition. She did a really good job. Played against Esper Control, Revolting Zoo and Hollow One. I'll try to post a report later.

    Some thoughts:

    1 - Really liked the Chandra, at least for now. I drew her on 2 games, and she won both of them by herself. She's really good in this deck with our large army of tokens to protect her;

    2 - Found Fatal Push a bit lackluster. Sure, it did help me against a Wild Nacatl and a Fireblade Adept, but a bunch of times I found myself being pressured by a Gurmag Angler, Hollow One, a Jace or a Teferi, and I just had a FP. I managed to win those games, but I wonder if it wouldn't be worth it to cut some of them or even, them all, to put a bunch more of Dreadbores or Terminates. Of course I get the efficiency importance of CMC 1 vs CMC 2 in our deck that plays a low land count and aims to be as efficient as possible. But... is the CMC 1 really worth the much lower number of targets?

    3 - Thinking about cutting the second Wear/Tear from the sideboard. KCI got banned, and the only enchantment that I see being really important to destroy on the current meta is Hardened Scales. Of course it destroys artifacts too, but I have a bunch of removal for those;

    4 - Been thinking about trying a Kaya on the sideboard. She seems pretty good in a bunch of matches;

    5 - Not sure about the Rakdos Charm over a second Nihil Spellbomb. Sure, it destroys artifacts and is an instant, what makes it work better with Pyros and Revelers. But not sure if it's worth the higher CMC and to be down a card on comparison to using Spellbomb;

    6 - Wanted to sneak in a Kalitas somewhere in the 75...;

    Any thoughts?
    Posted in: Midrange
  • posted a message on Mardu Pyromancer
    What do you guys think about Cabal Therapist? Could it be good enough? I think it sinergizes really well with our heavy discard package, because we can easily look at our opponent's hand with an IoK or Thoughtseize, we might even discard a removal spell with them, and than proceed with playing a Cabal Therapist and naming a key card on their hand.

    It also can work well with Lingering Souls and Pyromancer, since they can feed him with tokens to keep attacking our opponent's hand on the mid/late game.

    However, it doesn't work as well without other discard spells and it is a creature, which is bad for Pyromancer and Reveler.

    I see a lot of people commenting about Cabal Therapist, and thinking of ways to constantly create tokens or recur creatures to continuously make the opponent discard something. I don't really know if it should be played this way. I mean... ok. Our deck does create a lot of tokens, so they might be useful to feed Therapist, but I think it should be primarily seen as a one shot Cabal Therapy that may be answered with an instant speed removal spell (which is not bad in my opinion, since it could just eat a removal that would otherwise be pointed at a Pyromancer, or we could just discard their removal first with other discard spell).

    Anyways... do you guys think it could be good enough? I'm not sure, but I think it could be good.
    Posted in: Midrange
  • posted a message on Mardu Pyromancer
    Well... First of all, I must say that, I agree Blood Moon is not as well positioned now as it once was.

    However, I think Blood Moon is great on Mardu, exactly because this deck doesn't commit to it all that much. We play only two copies (sometimes three, but usually a meta call), we don't play any acelerators for it, and we don't make huge concessions on our manabases to play them. We can also discard them for Faithless Lootings, Brutalitys, Lilianas or Revelers if they are not useful in any given match-up. So I don't see them as a liability at all.

    On the other hand, Blood Moon not only gives us a pretty good fighting chance against Big Mana decks (which we're probably not beating without it), as well as it ocasionally wins the game on it's own. I wouldn't cut them from the deck now, and certainly wouldn't feel comfortable in having no land destruction in my sideboard.
    Posted in: Midrange
  • posted a message on Death And Taxes
    I think BW Taxes is pretty underrated. It's a really good deck that greatly rewards you if you play it well. Of course, it has it's weakness (like the manabase), and bad match-ups. However, it can be really good if well piloted on the current meta.

    One of the good things about it is, it pretty much has game against anything. Even the bad match-ups, are totally winnable if you play well and have a good sideboard plan. It also abuses a lot of interactions that non-experienced players usually don't know well, so you also have an edge there if you put effort into learning and optimizing the tricks.

    The main reason for it to be underrated IMO is because Humans does pretty much the same things we do with BW Eldrazi and Taxes, but better positioned on the current meta. However, Eldrazi and Taxes is better against a bunch of things, and is more flexible due to having "actual lands". Humans' manabase allows them to play only creatures, and preferably Humans only.
    Posted in: Aggro & Tempo
  • posted a message on Mardu Pyromancer
    Quote from Shaggy »
    Is Theater of Horrors worth trying out? Wish you could play the instants during any turn you’ve triggered spectacle.

    I don't feel like it would be really good. It seems slow to me, and it doesn't have much sinergy with the rest of the deck (exiles the cards, it's an enchantment, and requires aggresive plays to be effective). But... maybe it's worth trying it.

    Quote from Yip »
    Spellbombs are good, but what do you all think about running ravenous trap for graveyard hate instead? Plays for free off an opposing faithless looting, and has that better "feel-good" synergy with young P.

    I have 3 copies sleeved up in my sideboard for my next FNM (very phoenix/shadow/dredgy meta) and was wondering if anyone has been disappointed with it over other gy hate strategies (leyline of the voids are too expensive for me).

    This one could be really good IMO. The bad thing is it seems only good against decks that mill themselves really hard, like Faithless Looting/Thought Scour decks. However, it'll probably be really good in these matches.

    I'll be trying some Rakdos Charms instead of the Spellbombs because being an instant feels really relevant to me (to trigger Pyros and reduce the cost of Revelers). In my meta there also are a lot of artifact decks, in which Rakdos Charm might be useful.
    Posted in: Midrange
  • posted a message on Death And Taxes
    Quote from fncmtg »
    I've seen some lists that don't run Vials, but they usually play Simian Spirit Guides and sometimes, Chalice of the Void (which is not a well positioned card on this meta, IMO). Maybe it could work, but you'd probably better make a bunch of changes on the list. I'd probably take out the Flickerwisps, for example, as they are not nearly as good without Vials.

    I would totally disagree with you on the chalice of the void and it's position. This card is in a great place right night, it wrecks burn, bogles, living end, jund, 8 rack and storm.

    I play the colorless eldrazi deck with serum powders and the chalice on 1 destroys decks. I have been tearing it up lately with this deck and usually when a new set comes out aggro picks back up meaning chalice is huge.

    Well... of all these decks, the only ones that actually are major players on the current meta as far as I know are Jund, Storm and Burn. But I don't agree with your statement about how good Chalice is vs Jund. It seems really bad against them to me. At it's best, you're preventing them from disrupting your hand on turn 1. Even if you do so, you're probably applying a 1 for 2 on yourself with a SSG in the process, which is good for them, anyways. Along with that, their best drops are CMC 2 and 3, and if Chalice gives a Jund player any trouble, they can just destroy it super easily with Abrupt Decay, Maelstrom Pulse, Kolaghan's Command or Assassin's Trophy.

    The only powerful deck on the current meta that I see being severely hurt by Chalice is Izzet Phoenix. They play a lot of CMC 1 cantrips, and they don't have an answer for it on the mainboard. So, it can be a blowout against them.

    It could be good vs Tron or GDS, but it still depends on a bunch of other factors. Against GDS you need to be on the play, and need to have SSG along with it, otherwise it's probably being discarded. Some versions of GDS also play Kolaghan's Command, which might answer it if needed. Against Tron it can be good too, but again, being on the play is important to try to stop the classic play of Piece + Map, into second Piece + crack Map into turn 3 Karn. If you're able to play it before they assemble Tron, than it can be good.

    So... of the decks in the current meta, Chalice seems to me:

    Izzet Phoenix - Super Good;
    GDS - Medium (Good on the play, and along with SSG, otherwise, bad);
    Burn - Super Good;
    Humans - Super Bad;
    Dredge - Super Bad;
    Tron - Medium (Good before they assemble Tron);
    Storm - Super Good;
    Azusa Titan - Medium;
    UW Control - Super Bad;
    Jund - Super Bad;
    Bant Spirits - Super Bad;
    HS Affinity - Medium (Good on the play, and along with a SSG, otherwise, bad);
    Jeskai - Good;
    Vizier Company - Bad;
    Titanshift - Super Bad;
    Lantern - Super Good;
    Mardu - Bad;
    Hollow One - Medium;

    Along with that, I think it's really important to mention the build concessions you do to play Chalice. You're probably not playing optimal 1 drops, for example. I did play Sun and Moon for a while last year, and a lot of times I felt bad about having an Abrade, Blessed Alliance or Lightning Helix instead of a Bolt or Path, for example. So considering Chalice forces you to play worse cards, and is still not good against a lot of the current meta, I stick with my opinion: Chalice is not well positioned.
    Posted in: Aggro & Tempo
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