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  • posted a message on 4C Gifts
    Congratulations on taking down your FNM! I have to admit, your build looks quite wild, I haven't seen Gideon, Sultai Charm, Sigarda or BtL in a long time, let alone successful. Any comments on these particular choices, I suppose they are tailored towards your local meta. Izzet Tempo means something along the lines of Thing/Fiend/Drakes I guess? I have found Humans to be a tricky matchup, heavily depending on their pace and, especially if they know what you're playing, their amount of disruption in Freebooter/Meddling Mage and Thalia. With Burning Tree you mean Bushwhacker Zoo I suppose?

    I have been toying around with the (preboard) UWx matchup, since I own both decks and they have a small overlap in cards, I proxied up the rest and tested against my girlfriend, her playing 'traditional' non-Terminus UW Control w/o Stoneforge but with the standard planeswalker package in T3feri, Narset, T5feri and JtMS. The matchup is definitely trickier than anticipated, LotV and early discard or even Loam/Crime are crucial to get ahead, then apply pressure via Tar Pit or Lingering Souls tokens. Manlands are essential for getting rid of their high-loyalty planeswalkers, the unblockable Tar Pit was indeed the best choice. Even after a resolved Gifts for Loam/Crime/Tec Edge/Souls the game went out of hand due to Vendilion Clique getting rid of a dredged Loam, then Narset and JtMS pulling ahead on cards. Engineered Explosives has turned out to be worth the slot, the non-Terminus version plays a significant amount of permanents in the 3-drop slot with Clique, Detention Sphere, Narset and T3feri. Kaya's Guile has been quite good, acting as an edict, exiling Snapcaster targets and generating another 1/1 spirit token. I ended up with an ever so slightly winning record, but the games were almost always close calls. Drown in the Loch wasn't in the list yet, however the number of cards UWx puts in the bin is suitable for enabling the card and I have high hopes that it is an improvement in versatility while simultaneously streamlining the deck and lowering its curve. This is my actual list:

    Posted in: Combo
  • posted a message on 4C Gifts
    The discussion around the flex slots in the deck let me consider Drown in the Loch, which can fill more than just one role and incidentally would also lower the mana curve a little. I would probably try it in place of Kaya's Guile and maybe it is even time to cut Damnation or Maelstrom Pulse to be able to run the card as a 3-of, eventually going up a copy of Lingering Souls as well. Mana-wise it should be pretty unproblematic, Sultai colours are almost always available turn 3 or earlier, I usually fetch for Overgrown Tomb/Watery Grave or the other way around, depending how my hand looks like. The next go-to is usually Hallowed Fountain for W, UU, BB, G where the 4th land does not matter anymore.

    Paired with discard and the prevalence of fetch/shock mana bases, meeting the requirement of roughly CMC4 seems very doable, LotV further enables the card and is not as much of an antisynergy as she is with plain countermagic, we can still use it as a kill spell if need be or let her sit for a turn to hold up interaction. On top of that, counters give us the possibility to protect our Rites target, this has been an issue at times against decks with Path to Exile where we needed to hit an Elesh Norn, leading to her getting exiled immediately after she swept the board, eventually still losing us the game. It is however true that the card is probably horrible against Tron, but so is Damnation and Kaya's Guile as well, so there's that.

    For you having trouble in the UWx matchup, have you considered Inkwell Leviathan as a quick way to close out the game post board, given you can force through a Gifts, when they probably boarded out their sweepers? The same holds true for Sphinx of the Steel Wind, it did great when Mardu Pyro was all over the place (most lists didn't run Path as far as I recall), same should hold true for Jund and Death's Shadow, however depending on the version. Maybe Terastodon is worth testing again as well, it puts up great pressure against non-interactive opponents.
    Posted in: Combo
  • posted a message on 4C Gifts
    As mentioned, there's not really a consensus on what's the optimal list, feel free to assemble a list and share. The deck does not play like 5C Niv, it's an entirely different story. That said, I always found Caryatid a little awkward with many 3-drops and it is a horrendous topdeck as well. Life from the Loam/Crime I would consider as a flex slot package, depending on the meta you are playing in.

    I am currently working out a sideboarding plan for the more important matchups, if anyone has some wise words to contribute, please do so.
    Posted in: Combo
  • posted a message on 4C Gifts
    Feel free to share your list, we can see how well-aged it seems. What the best shell looks like currently is not really known I think, we are all experimenting, each of us with a (sometimes slightly) different ansatz. The most streamlined Gifts control list is probably the attrition-based Esper version without additional gimmicks involving green. If you want to dive into a midrange strategy, the more creature-heavy Junk Gifts approach of FuneralofGod (see above) is the way to go I think, this one contains silver bullets for many situations and (as always) is heavily customisable.
    Posted in: Combo
  • posted a message on RGx Titanshift
    Thanks for the extensive reply. I was thinking that an alternate win condition (or lock, however you wanna see it) in Madcap/Emperion was a neat idea, especially since the opportunity cost of 5 cards is not too high. Especially right now with Burn on the rise, Emperion on turn 3 feels pretty solid, especially in game 1, same thing with Mono R Prowess and Izzet Blitz. In the case of more UWx and GBx in the meta, Acid-Moss is the better choice for sure, although I can see the benefit of the package postboard.

    I can easily adjust the mana base, play Windswept Heath or Verdant Catacombs instead of the Bloodstained Mires, I swap a Forest for an Overgrown Tomb. Not sure if one should really run a basic Swamp, having it in the starting hand feels really awkward, hitting Blood Moon with Decay/Trophy sounds really nice though. Field of the Dead is something I want to include as well, not sure in what slot to be honest. Is the 4th Valakut needed? Drawing them in doubles or triples is not great, them coming into play tapped isn't either, this is why I have opted for 3 instead of the full 4 copies, especially since we have 4 Titans and 4 Scapeshifts to find them apart from drawing them naturally.
    Posted in: Big Mana
  • posted a message on 4C Gifts
    Good point, I haven't really thought about what the flex spots in the deck were. Probably something along those lines:
    The problem is that certain slots in the deck have dependencies (see the arrows) on other parts of the list, most prominently Academy Ruins which is pretty pointless without Engineered Explosives and/or Life from the Loam in the list, otherwise I have no way to tutor it up deterministically. The same is true for Tectonic Edge and Life from the Loam, a 1-of isn't even close to reliable enough without recursion. Raven's Crime is also pretty lacklustre without the latter, so cutting individual cards in the above list lets me throw over other choices as well. I feel that Maelstrom Pulse is important as a 1-of, just because I like to have enough unconditional removal available to assemble a proper Gifts pile to deal with virtually anything. That said, I'd probably like a 3rd copy of Lingering Souls somewhere in the list, maybe instead of Kaya's Guile given the shift in the metagame. Kalitas has been pretty solid in closing out the game rather quickly, stabilising against aggressive strategies and providing disruption against graveyard-centric decks, so he's not going anywhere for now.

    Do you have any findings to report so far? I haven't had too much time for testing.
    Posted in: Combo
  • posted a message on 4C Gifts
    I feel that LotV is holding the deck together somewhat, in every build I have tried so far I have missed slamming turn 3 LotV into turn 4 interaction or Gifts at the end of their turn. She complements the discard suite and is an absolute house (and one of the better bets) against UWx currently, otherwise the matchup is a little lopsided I feel. Good that you mention the 3-drop issue, I fell into this exact trap with an UWx-like build of 4C Gifts quite recently, which felt super clunky at times due to precisely this. I had a look at my current list and I run 10 3-drops in the mainboard, including Snapcaster Mage (although he's a 4-drop at times as well). The sideboard contains another 5 3-drops in LtLH, Cry of the Carnarium, Ensnaring Bridge and 2x Unmoored Ego, so I'm quite top-heavy after all.

    Witness vs. Snapcaster is a matter of priorities I guess, I can see the benefit of running Witness but you give up the instant speed interaction Snapcaster provides, getting back removal/discard also costs more than it does with Snapcaster. In your list however, there are several things he can't get back, so maybe Witness is the right call. That said, Tarmogoyf sounds appealing, although it depends on the graveyard just as the rest of the deck does, so there's not really a proper plan B I feel, which is probably true for most lists floating around currently.

    Agreed, it has several angles of attack but so do we. I recall that Lantern and Whir Prison had troubles with GBx decks due to their removal suite that per default could hit artifacts. Sure, extrapolating this to Urza might not be 100% true but maybe shows a tendency that the matchup isn't totally awful like it is with Tron, for example. The popular lists don't have a pre-board answer for Elesh Norn either (apart from Whir for Nihil Spellbomb if you want to be precise), afterwards it is often just Trophy which might be an issue. Hard to tell but not hopeless I'd say.
    Posted in: Combo
  • posted a message on 4C Gifts
    I am pretty excited what your findings will be at the MC, the list looks quite good, although Elesh Norn in the board seems wild to me at first glance, as does the (almost) lack of Lingering Souls and LotV. I wouldn't leave the house without 2 Snapcaster Mages, too. The rest is neat, Eternal Witness is a pain with 1GG sometimes, this would probably mean that I'd need to get rid off JtMS mainboard. 12 fetchlands seem excessive, how does the life loss work out so far (maybe include an Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth somewhere, this land is so great)? How do you reliably discard your drawn combo pieces, Brutality, Chart a Course, JVP and a single LotV don't seem to be enough?

    Matchup-wise I am not really worried about Titanshift to be honest, I think we can delay their clock with discard and pretty much lock them out via Iona on G, which is in principle also true for Burn, but their clock is half a turn or a turn faster than Titanshift's, which makes me a little worried. I haven't played much against Burn but the matchup was unfavourable, most definitely. A more midrange-ish build with Goyf might help here as well, Goyf is a good wall if need be. I can't comment on the sideboard much, but what do you plan to do against UWx Control, pressure early and Jund 'em out? I have always found that their lategame has more inevitability and Loam/Crime was our most promising path to victory, that's why I still have Tec Edge in the list over Field or Ghost Quarter. This lets me lose percentage points against Tron, obviously, which is why I try to hinder them with Damping Sphere and Unmoored Ego in the sideboard, the latter which incidentally helps against Titanshift and Whirza, respectively. What about Monastery Mentor btw., has anyone thought about this route? Unearth comes in handy here as well.

    Whirza is interesting, we can reliably kill Urza as soon as he hits the board I suppose, between Path, Push, Trophy and LotV/Maelstrom Pulse he won't stick for long and our disruption pieces hit pretty much their entire deck. As far as the rest is concerned, this is a matchup where I rely on Explosives/Ruins to deal with whatever they are trying to do, the same strategy that basically applies to artifact prison strategies such as Lantern, throw in some Lingering Souls to have a slight clock and you are not in the worst of spots. Again, not much experience in these matchups, mostly theorycrafting. On the other hand, combining disruption with a clock with an Unearth package sounds pretty appealing, too, so I might go down this route as I have everything sleeved up already.
    Posted in: Combo
  • posted a message on RGx Titanshift
    Great to see some activity in this primer. I have hopped into the archetype quite recently and posted my first attempt a few posts above. The B splash was initially only for the sideboard (Slaughter Games, that is) but I can see replacing the sweepers and/or Bolts in the main with harder removal in Decay/Trophy and maybe even Fatal Push, although triggering it might be not as reliable as one would like to with only 6 fetchlands. I currently only have a single Blood Crypt as B source, would you advise towards running a basic swamp or an Overgrown Tomb as well? The current list has 14 mountains.

    The sideboard is kind of all over the place, not sure if Abrade shouldn't be something like Destructive Revelry for example. Criticism and suggestions of any kind are welcome.
    Posted in: Big Mana
  • posted a message on 4C Gifts
    Alright, you might want to proxy them in order to get an idea of how they play, it's a hell of a lot different with LotV. Snap/Revival with Gifts does however not get you a turn 4/5 sweeper if you don't have at least 6 mana available and are willing to burn your 1-of Snapcaster Mage, I'm not sure if this is what you want to be doing. Same thing with BtL as your 4th Gifts, if you use it as such most of the time it's just better to run the 4th Gifts anyway and skip the hurdle of a 5 mana and 2 colour sorcery, but go ahead with testing and report your finding, maybe in a slower meta this can be re-evaluated accordingly.

    I made room for 2x Unmoored Ego, but I fear this still isn't enough for the Tron matchup due to their inevitability and our lack of a proper clock. They will eventually still cast their big stuff and we're done for, Karn and/or Ulamog are a huge beating, they go after our lands usually. This is the most recent version of the board, by the way:

    Posted in: Combo
  • posted a message on 4C Gifts
    Good catch, Cry of the Carnarium is probably better in most situations and I even have some lying around. I might swap the Crucible and something else for an Unmoored Ego or two, both because I need it in another deck and Loam somewhat does the job, although not skipping the draw step with Crucible is a nice upside. With Birds of Paradise in the deck Ego would be castable on the draw against Tron, too.

    I recall your statement about Wildwood blocking Phoenix and dodging Bolt, yes. Now that this isn't an issue any longer or at least not with the speed the deck once had, I think Colonnade is the better catch in your deck. Under an Elesh Norn it also hits for 6 in the air, which helps closing out games before the opponent can find meaningful interaction, in the end she dies to Path, Terminate, Dreadbore and locking out one colour often doesn't do it either.

    Reading through your bullet points above I was wondering about one statement: You say that you would like to 1-for-1 your opponent into oblivion and take the lead with better topdecks, which is generally true but in strong contrast to playing the full set of Caryatids. I have gone down to zero copies because of precisely this issue, they don't pressure the opponent even after an Elesh Norn hits the field and feel so bad when drawn after turn 2-3. And frankly, the mana base is fine in 4 colours without them and 25 lands, given you run 9-10 on-colour fetchlands and only 1-2 utility lands. That said, while testing I did not have too many issues with Sultai Charm on turn 3 even without dorks, BUG are my main colours, but I found it to be a little clunky and went back to Decay/Trophy, respectively.

    I can see Chemister's Insight being good, but it clogs up your hand in the 4-drop slot which is a notorious problem for this kind of deck (alongside with UWx, but for another reason). The same thing is true for BtL, it looks good on paper but is pure clunk when you have it in your starting hand which again, is already an issue at times with our two big creatures. Without much selection/filtering I would go for the full 4x Gifts Ungiven, I always want to draw one. At this point I'd like to ask again, why don't you run any LotV? Caryatids could even protect her if you are not willing to go down on those, she steamrolls the UWx matchup when leaved unchecked and helps grind out most opponents while you get rid off either their creatures of net value of discarding Souls or fatties. As mentioned many times by many people, she's the glue that kept the deck together for all these years. I like the inclusion of Gideon, AoZ in your list though, I see that he's much better on T3 than T4 which justifies playing dorks, 2WW doesn't seem like a challenge for your list, too. What's up with the single sweeper in your list? I recall that you were a strong proponent of playing 3 of those (or 2 with Revival) to guarantee a sweeper on turn 4 with a previously cast Gifts.

    A side note on Mardu/Jund and/or Shadow builds, I recently tested against some of those (Pyro) builds and if your meta is heavy on this kind of strategy, try running Sphinx of the Steel Wind in your board as a Gifts/Rites target, it is totally hilarious as it kills Angler, Tasigur and all their dudes and they basically concede if you're not super far behind. They are also light on threats, so focus the removal on the Shadows, they are hit by everything be have from Push, Path, Decay, Trophy, Pulse and Liliana. Apart from that, they can't do much about your plan preboard.
    Posted in: Combo
  • posted a message on UW Control
    I think this depends on the actual build. The Miracles version with Terminus doesn't work at all without 3x Jace, the version with more traditional board wipes can function, although losing a few percentage points. Fact or Fiction is a great card advantage engine in the CMC4 slot, so you might want to try this one, however it does somewhat require Snapcaster Mage. Otherwise you could try going in a more midrangy direction with your deck, Geist of Saint Traft and Spell Queller are great additions here.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on 4C Gifts
    I haven't tested yet in the new meta landscape, so I can't tell whether we are in a good spot right now or not, but our deck encourages good knowledge of the meta and the main lines of our opponents' decks, so I suppose the win rate will go up again once we have an idea what to expect, given the first few land drops and spells from the other side of the table.

    Regarding your list, I have a few comments as always: Now that Phoenix isn't prevalent anymore and Delver shouldn't be an issue either, I think it is time to replace the Stirring Wildwood and play either Colonnade or Tar Pit. Also, I wouldn't go below 9 fetchlands, but I guess I can't argue if it works fine for you. My experience so far was that CMC3 removal spells are immensely clunky, which is why I would advocate for Fatal Push, triggering it is rarely an issue. Have you thought a bout 1 1-of Engineered Explosives? How was the split between IoK and Brutality so far? Taking higher-CMC cards such as JtMS or planeswalkers against UWx always feels great, I wouldn't want to miss Thoughtseize. Not a fan of Chart a Course (and Radical Idea after I tested it) to be honest, it just doesn't do enough and consumes an entire turn in the early game. Especially not as more grindy, slow-pace games seem to approach, I can't value the full set of Liliana of the Veil high enough.

    Given the opportunity, let me share my current build as well, although not much has changed in the Rock version.

    I have adopted a single Thrun in the sideboard, we'll see if the GG is an issue, Ensnaring Bridge has been moved in favour of a Kaya's Guile although it has been quite good several times already. An active Liliana together with a Bridge is quite good against most non-GB creature-based decks in the format, occasionally even temporarily against UWx and their Colonnades, but that's not the main point. Otherwise pretty much standard, Kalitas has performed great so far, I would fit the 3rd Lingering Souls if I could though, closing out games fast enough when turning the corner is key in many games, we can't establish the same level of lategame board control as UWx.
    Posted in: Combo
  • posted a message on 4C Gifts
    I also fear that the B&R announcement leads to a rise in G Tron, Jund I do not mind nearly as much. I can't say anything about Grixis/Esper Urza as I haven't played the matchup a single time but I could imagine that Elesh Norn, Academy Ruins/EE together with Decay/Trophy and heavy discard is pretty good against the archetype, paired with Surgicals and Stony Silence from the board the matchup should be feasible. Any experience from you guys?

    I do not plan to include the Stoneforge package, the plan is somewhat different I feel. Janking out a win due to a turn 3 Batterskull might be possible at times but I'd rather prefer the attrition route we followed so far. I have ever since kept a Batterskull in my board for grindy attrition games such as Jund or Abzan, Academy Ruins and Loam add some inevitability against K-Command and the likes while Lingering Souls carry the equipment excellently. Regarding the Thopter/Sword combo in Gifts, I tried a Dark Jeskai list a year and a half ago, Izzet Charm feld pretty great in the deck and Desolate Lighthouse made a good impression as a utility land, however I agree that Urza is the guy for these kinds of shenanigans now.
    Posted in: Combo
  • posted a message on 4C Gifts
    Faithless and hogaak banned, sfm unbanned. Thoughts?
    Today was a good day. I expect the overall meta to slow down a little, giving us more breathing space and possibilities to interact meaningfully. If the meta settles towards a more fair environment, graveyard hate should get significantly reduced among main- and sideboards, which makes our lives less miserable as well. Unfortunately, I feel like the moist Mardu Gifts list is obsolete without Looting, it looked promising.
    Posted in: Combo
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