2019 Holiday Exchange!
 
A New and Exciting Beginning
 
The End of an Era
  • posted a message on Azorius Titan/Emeria Control
    Hello Chantu9Y, glad to hear it went all right.

    Three small pieces for advice with sideboarding, I hope they can help you in the future.

    1) Against your Mardu Pyromancer opponent in round 2, I would not bring in enchantment destruction. It is too likely to stay dead in hand if they have no targets, which means it gets taken by every single piece of hand disruption they care to leave in. Celestial Purge covers the dangerous threats while hedging against infrequent awkward Blood Moon or Leyline of the Void situations, and Detention Sphere covers any oddball inclusions after that. This is a midrange battle where you just want every spell to help grind against every one of their resources, so Aura of Silence and Disenchant are poor.

    2) The very next round, I would advise the exact opposite against Amulet, because even if they might have a lot of attrition, this is a Combo versus Control matchup. You can afford your cards to be dead sometimes because the situations where they don't have a target will likely be going a little better for you in allowing you to reach the later game where we begin to be advantaged naturally. Amulet of Vigor is dangerous, as is sometimes Dryad of the Ilysian Grove, so Aura of Silence and Disenchant are important to bring in. To be honest though, this pairing takes a long, long time to get accustomed to on both sides, so experience will count for a ton. I would say the mistakes are far more forgiving on their side, though, and I think my primer on the homepage conveys the consequentially embattled mindset this entails fairly well. I was wondering, however, if a third Ghost Quarter might be warranted in the 80-card build.

    Finally, were you just hedging against Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver with the Celestial Purge here? If so, I probably wouldn't consider that enough reason to bring them in. In my experience, Ashiok is far more irrelevant than he might appear. He is irritating, but I have found that unless he is messing with a crucial Field of Ruin he can be played around with the maindeck successfully and attacked down easily by random creatures, if required.

    3) In the last match against Humans, I would simply not bring in Disenchant. Similar to the Pyromancer situation, you want your cards to affect the board, but this is even more important against Aggro/Fish style strategies so I don't like dead cards. For non-creature interaction I start by bringing in a single Pithing Needle for Aether Vial if I won game one, maybe two to be safe if I am down a game, but never more than that even when I played a full four copies in my sideboard back in the heyday of Affinity. It is just too likely that the second copy will be dead when any other maindeck spell will stabilize. Against Humans, I am more looking to get my copies of Celestial Purge in, because Kitesail Freebooter and Mantis Rider are very strong targets for them, and these cards are one of their few ways to steal wins from our otherwise overpowering natural advantages.

    Let me know if there was anything else you wanted to discuss!
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on Azorius Titan/Emeria Control
    Hey Fluff;

    I think the Companion mechanic is worth being banned entirely for the damage it causes the game as a whole, but I strongly doubt Yorion, Sky Nomad will be banned before Lurrus of the Dream-Den does. The synergy with Field of Ruin, Ghost Quarter, and Path to Exile is real for Oust as well, thanks for mentioning it, and here follows my discussion of one last contender from the Discord:

    "I tested out Condemn for a time, but it is horrible against anything with a tap ability, and nothing feels worse than waiting for Dark Confidant, Tireless Tracker, or Inkmoth Nexus to reach the red zone before being able to do anything about it. It is fantastic against Death's Shadow, though, so there is that."

    In the 80-card build, the lower relative density of Court Hussar is an issue that was the subject of another discussion, and I weighed in with my experiences there as well:

    "When it comes to the 3-drops, the best options in Colourless are Skyscanner, Skittering Surveyor, and the new Farfinder, likely in that order. They all have downsides, though, since Skyscanner can't guarantee land drops and the other two don't fly.

    The other options at 3 CMC in White that I would be willing to entertain are Ranger-Captain of Eos (if Kami of False hope was already in the main), Militia Bugler, Vizier of Deferment, Vesperlark, and Trusty Packbeast (or the strictly worse for us Treasure Hunter), roughly in that order. All of these are inconsistent and also require new deckbuilding concessions. With the Kami, the presence of Mistveil Plains to recycle it in response to an ETB trigger probably makes Ranger-Captain the least odious of these sub-par role-players.

    As a proxy for Court Hussar, though, Sea Gate Oracle takes the cake. However, the downgrade in power from 3 to 2 cards is significant, so if you are willing to look into splashable Blue creatures I could then see Cloudkin Seer being a slightly better body than Skyscanner, and Mulldrifter would be able to keep both cards (without the body), and then become much better in the lategame.

    Going well outside of the beaten path, now, If there were more targets, I might consider the Mage supercycle, obviously beginning with Trinket Mage given the presence of Arcum's Astrolabe already, then Tribute Mage which can get Mortarpod, and Trophy Mage to get Pilgrim's Eye or Crucible of Worlds if it was still in the deck.

    Ultimately, even Treasure Mage might be viable in some weird scenario where there were extra six-drop value targets available. I suppose if someone ran a full set of Teferi, Time Raveler and a few extra Lavinia, Azorius Renegade it might just be possible to get away with assembling the Knowledge Pool lock semi-reliably in an 80-card list, but I would be quite confident taht the card does too little on its own to justify such a warping of the maindeck.

    As for the other targets, almost all of these will just be throwing gasoline on a fire that will already be burning well by the time six mana is reached, but for the sake of completeness I will list the best of the 6-drop artifacts here: Planar Bridge's power is likely too expensive to matter, Duplicant has historically been excellent on ETB, Staff of Nin has immediate utility with a personal Howling Mine attached, and the same can be said for The Immortal Sun, which fits perfectly into the deck if the singleton Teferi leaves and has fantastic bonus synergies with Batterskull, but these are also offered by a card that can sometimes cost less than six in The Circle of Loyalty. The last option has Court Hussar to support it naturally, and would give extra layers of synergy to Yorion, Sky Nomad and Lavinia, Azorius Renegade while being a great mana sink. There would be a huge number of variables at play by this point, so I doubt any of these are viable, but there they are if anyone feels inclined to try them out."
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on Azorius Titan/Emeria Control
    Hey Fluff,

    Very good suggestion. Oust is sorcery-speed only, poor against ETB creatures, and can never deal with threats permanently given that we are trying to drag out the game, but on the positive side it can interact with Indestructible or Regenerating creatures, has a drawback that I would tend to ignore almost completely, plus sandbagging opposing draw steps and providing incidental lifegain when used to reset our own value Creatures could give enough versatility to be worth it. I think it definitely competes with On Thin Ice at minimum.

    Nice find, keep thinking on those lines if you can!
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on Azorius Titan/Emeria Control
    Hey Fluff.

    It still seems like overkill to me, but all right. Good luck with your testing, then.

    As for Dispatch, I am fully aware of the of the card's obvious weaknesses, but something has to be attempted at this point. It fulfills the requirement of delaying lethal creatures on turns 1/2/3, potentially allowing the one extra turn until Wrath of God comes online, and is less than completely embarrassing in the lategame so I am willing to test it. The problem is that all the one-mana answers have massive drawbacks when compared to Path to Exile, and yet I find myself in a position of needing more of them.

    The only other analogues I can think of require even more concessions, and have a far worse fail-case. Blazing Hope and Reciprocate are too likely to be irrelevant until it is too late, Gaze of Justice and Swallow Whole do literally nothing without creatures plural, and Isolate seems far too narrow to be maindeckable. I suppose being able to cleanly hit an Amulet of Vigor, an Expedition Map, a Hardened Scales or a Birds of Paradise on top of more aggressive 1-mana plays might give a little more credit to the last option, but I honestly doubt these will come up more often than wanting to delay anything from a Celestial Colonnade to a Gurmag Angler to a Primeval Titan for just one more turn.

    Maybe I have to just bite the bullet, give up on removal entirely, and play Niveous Wisps. If no removal is going to be reliable, Wisps will at least be able to draw a card by targeting a Wall of Omens (on their end-step, if need be).
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on Azorius Titan/Emeria Control
    Hello all.

    New results to report on the 80-card experiment, will be posted on the Discord as well:

    "After more sample hands, it definitely feels like the quality of my openers has been compromised, and it has to do with the reduced chances of drawing effects like Path, Hussar, and Teferi, Time Raveler. The last piece might be fixable, since I was running a 4-1 split of Detention Sphere and it which can cleanly be swapped to a 3-2, but it looks like it is far more likely that 4-ofs are hiding in the bottom 60 cards of the deck now, which probably makes sense because of the new total number of permutations, which has increased dramatically. The difference between games where Court Hussar and Path show up and the ones where they don't is a significant drop in consistency. As a consequence, there appears to be a need to overshoot on effects that are unique, and so I am currently stuck on data until I can see how the extra card Yorion represents will affect game 1 wins in a live tournament.

    On Thin Ice, sub-optimal as it is, was intended to be a two-of to resolve this (specifically coming at the expense of Crucible of Worlds and Settle the Wreckage, because singletons are almost entirely unreliable now), but I am no longer certain that addresses the main issue sufficiently. As an aside on Enchantment hate, in my experience, cards like Abrupt Decay and Maelstrom Pulse are horrible for Jund against value creatures, but they are often forced to keep them in games 2 and 3 for lack of better options, and that is my point about sideboarding. I am always wary of giving opponents value unless it would lead to losses NOT to. On the Crucible front, Yorion, Sky Nomad can now blink Sun Titan to simulate that effect if I need it. This behaves totally differently and occurs much later as a synergy, but does recur manabase disruption reliably, where the chances of Crucible not showing up at all are extremely high.

    In a related point, while Winds of Abandon has been a fine card, as a 2-drop sorcery it does not slot nearly as easily into and around the curve. An effect that mimics this quality of Path to Exile is essential because it is able to catch up on lost Tempo in as many situations as possible, keeping focus on ideal sequencing, and is easily hidden by representing a simple end-step fetch. I am beginning to wonder if the Arcum's Astrolabe version might be able to support Dispatch, but there will be a lot to unpack before I get there."
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on Azorius Titan/Emeria Control
    Hey Fluff.

    That may not be as useful as it might appear. First, Marit Lage's Slumber is Blue, which means it will often be getting cast later in the game when your mana is already fixed, which takes away its ability to help dig you out of sticky situations. Second, it does not affect the board the turn it comes down. Third, it triggers on the upkeep, which is a very awkward timing that gives the opponent almost two full turn cycles to interact and/ or prepare. Finally, it is purely lategame value, which the deck already has access to in many forms. Again, it will certainly win games that are going well, but it probably won't help you get into a winning position if you are behind. If you want to test a Snow Enchantment, though, I have been wondering about On Thin Ice as a card which might be able to help Path to Exile in the 80-card build. The fact that there is not a comparable 1-mana version of the effect in Modern is currently one of my major problems with the larger version.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on Azorius Titan/Emeria Control
    Hey Fluff.

    Just to be clear, the above post was for Magnus on the discord, not for you specifically, in case that was not clear.

    At any rate, more news from the discord on new test builds:

    "I have run a playset of Arcum's Astrolabe through around thirty sample hands plus turns 1/2/3 now (on top of five full test games), and I agree on its value over The Birth of Meletis in the Companion version. The cantrip has proved itself valuable (and for the sake of completeness as a bonus it essentially guarantees value with Yorion, Sky Nomad). Despite this, the timing is under some tension as I find myself trying to sequence it around search effects to manipulate the odds of drawing lands or spells alternatively.

    As far as its cost is concerned, it has one major upside and one major downside, though, and I am not sure whether things are clean yet, so I will try to get another 50 samples done to see if any new wrinkles appear. The major downside is that, as fixing, it essentially puts the deck under a Sphere of Resistance on its Blue spells until a Snow land shows up. This only happens a small percentage of the time, but it also poses some as-yet minor sequencing problems for what mana to tap when casting a Pilgrim's Eye, for example, so the manabase may still need more work. On the positive end, as an additional one-drop play it helps fill in the curve at several points, and when found in the opening hand it is nearly trivial to fit in among other spells.

    As a minor aside, it can also sometimes turn Sun Titan or Teferi, Time Raveler into card advantage engines. On a serious note; I can't quite put my finger on it yet, but I think that the deck is behaving oddly in some way at 80 cards. I hope to have more to say on this soon. In lighter news, if the super-size version is viable, I am thinking of calling it Clear Winter Skies, since it plays Sun Titan, Snow permanents, and Emeria, the Sky Ruin plus Yorion, Sky Nomad. Any thoughts or better ideas for the name?"
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on Azorius Titan/Emeria Control
    Hey Fluff,

    I am sorry; you are correct. I got your list confused with Toshenko's. Good luck with your build!

    In other news, a quick update from a discussion of a Bant build on the Discord, with relevant deck construction theory:

    "Ok, good luck. Before you try this out in a tournament, though, I will state for the record that I think you are absolutely going to have consistency issues in the lategame. Play Flickerwisp or not as you see fit, the upside may be worth a fail-case 3/1 with no value in a Control shell, so that is your call to make (as is your land configuration). Its presence, though, will reinforce my primary concern: your Wood Elves and Stoneforge Mystic, and to a lesser extent The Birth of Meletis.

    I believe you are underestimating how important it is to guarantee value going long, since you are running 3 equipment for 3 Stoneforge, 4 total Forests for 4 Wood Elves, and 5 Plains for 4 Sagas and 4 Field of Ruin. This would be fine if you were trying to end the game on turns 1-6, but by virtue of playing Emeria, the Sky Ruin (backed up by Yorion and Sun Titan), you are actually saying you intend the game to last AT LEAST until the upkeep of turn 8 in normal circumstances, with recursion and flicker effects being involved. At this point, the average quality of your draw steps will outweigh the importance of the plans you can make based on your opening hand, which means that you cannot rely on mathematically "sufficient" conditions, and without an unlimited deck size will always have failures in "necessary" conditions which need to be mitigated in deck design.

    In my experience, the game generally ends on turns 9-15 in the W/u shell, which means I try to have an extra 50% of targets over the bare minimum for any search effect. In my experimental 80-card build I would rather do without a second Batterskull and a fourth Mortarpod, but this concern is so important when trying to use a topdecked Stoneforge Mystic to survive one more turn that I am now considering Ancestral Blade as a supplemental candidate which can produce two blockers with no other help. In a similar sense, I think you very likely need Canopy Vista or - more likely given your Basic count - Scattered Groves to give your Wood Elves and fetchlands more support.

    In short, when you get access to your cards off the top of your library more than you do from any other means, their absolute proportions are incredibly important. This effect is only magnified by the presence of Yorion, Sky Nomad, and building with that in mind directly affects your games."
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on Azorius Titan/Emeria Control
    I see.

    Qasali Pridemage is good, but I would be concerned about his difficult mana cost on turn 2. What happened to Knight of Autumn; I thought that you said he had been performing well for you? Also; your 12 two-drop Cantrips are evenly split among Green, Blue, and White now, which seems like it will lead to consistency issues. On the same front, I would not recommend Arcades, plus the fact 8 walls is not enough to justify a 1-of in an 80-card deck. This is less important than the fact that it looks like you are pushing your manabase very hard towards Green, with 13 two-drops requiring it early.

    How have you been finding it so far?
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on Azorius Titan/Emeria Control
    Hey Fluff.

    If your mana is working out, that sounds great. I haven't had success with that idea yet, but perhaps you will. Good luck!

    What does your current build look like?
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on Azorius Titan/Emeria Control
    Hello again.

    A further new discussion of Yorion, Sky Nomad and Blink effects from the Discord:

    "I am not a fan of Charming Prince, because it does not help as much as Lone Missionary when we are behind, and even Missionary leaves you down a card. I have included these effects maindeck in the past, but it generally requires specific metagames for me to be happy to do so, and the drawback is real in any case. As I have mentioned elsewhere, the 4/5 flier for free is not something that I would ever be disappointed by, and so I will not include any card on the basis of its "being good in combination with Yorion". Any addition to the deck must first help me justify the list I am running, which essentially means that it has to help me stay alive on the way to Emeria, the Sky Ruin. Following the same logic, since it provides similar effects to the namesake land, I would say that this also has to happen for anything that leads into the Sky Nomad. Passive synergy is fine, but the card has to be included on its own merits first. That being said, I have scoured the modern-legal alternatives in blue, white, and colourless creatures at 2 mana, and the drop-off from Wall of Omens to all the other options is extremely steep, almost as steep as the drop-off from Stoneforge Mystic to the rest of the field, so I concede that Charming Prince may sometimes be a necessary evil. I will caution you, however, that there will be times when the operations of the cards will lead you to awkward situations, because you will not be able to use the Prince's blink ability if your blockers are insufficient due to Yorion's "next End Step" wording. This is a synergy with your own Wrath of God, but if re-triggered on the End Step with a Flicker it will leave your board presence diminished until after their Combat Step."

    "To sum up: The Birth of Meletis is an option because it literally replaces itself. Charming Prince CAN do this, but it needs help to do so, and on its own it can never find a land or a removal spell immediately the turn it is cast. With this in mind, as of right now the order of playable two-drops in White goes this way: Wall of Omens >>>> Stoneforge Mystic >>> The Birth of Meletis >>> Lone Missionary > Charming Prince. I made the "greater than" signs in proportion to my certainty of my assessment, so in such an assessment it can be seen that it is possible that some builds will be able to replace Mystic with the Saga, or Missionary with the Prince, but nothing replaces Wall of Omens at any level unless you are willing to stretch the definition of "two-drop" to the breaking point by including Thraben Inspector. I am not, and so I would put that card roughly on par with the Saga in this list, albeit with a large asterisk. "
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on Azorius Titan/Emeria Control
    Hello Fluff,

    I agree on the removal dilution, but all the effects have redundant pieces so I have found the issue to be limited to Path to Exile specifically. Winds of Abandon has done reasonable work as a semi-clone, but costing 2 and being Sorcery-speed are drawbacks only partly made up for by the Overload utility (which is fantastic when it works, but only adds power to the lategame, where the help is not as necessary. When it comes to Living Weapons, Yorion, Sky Nomad has much better synergy than I was expecting. I wrote this about it on the Discord:

    "My personal experience was that Stoneforge Mystic searching out a Batterskull which could be blinked later to create a fresh blocker was excellent already, but I also found that Mortarpod got much more powerful when it could reliably be combined with Yorion. I am very keen to play against more Planeswalkers as soon as possible to confirm my suspicions, but I think that loyalty will be much easier to attack going forward."

    Having multiple copies of the ping effect gets out of hand very quickly, and the "machine-gun" combination is sort of like a "build your own Walking Ballista", which is an absurd card to gain access to for free. Assembling all four copies is almost trivial once Emeria, the Sky Ruin gets involved, and the direct-damage lategame is dramatically accelerated (the opponent is now dead 3/4 turns from the first Emeria trigger, assuming access to a single Stoneforge Mystic in combination with the guaranteed Yorion, and this math disregards combat completely).
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on Azorius Titan/Emeria Control
    Finally, I think that everyone should probably know by now how dangerous the Companion mechanic is, but just in case it helps I also wrote this:

    "Taking a step back, I think Yorion is making me fear the worst from the mechanic in general, and many pros agree because apparently someone has called it "the worst decision Wizards has made since Phyrexian Mana". I think that I concur, and Alexander Hayne, Sam Black, Zvi Mowshowitz, and Matt Sperling have already come out as saying the ability was a massive mistake, with the latter two opining that they think the game would be better if all ten legends were banned immediately. As a counterpoint, Patrick Chapin and Gerry Thompson think that the cards are strong, but balanced, although Chapin has done nothing but brew decks containing them since they were spoiled, and Thompson seemed puzzled by the recent 8-Companion top 8 (his exact words were "is Zirda really that good?", so I get the impression that he is still only evaluating the cards as creatures in a vacuum, which they are absolutely not). Even they, though, are aware that Lurrus of the Dream-Den is incredibly pushed outside of Standard.

    Hayne's take was the most moderate of the "anti-Companion" crowd, and his opinion was that the designs seemed to demonstrate far less caution than the original Lorwyn Planeswalkers, which were understood to be the most recent upheaval of such proportions for the game going forward. I agree wholeheartedly, but I think that future metagames will have far more difficulty adjusting if Companions become as prevalent as Planeswalkers are today. Sperling offered an elegant solution, which was to simply re-configure the tournament floor rules such that "outside the game" is no longer treated as synonymous with "the Sideboard" for sanctioned competitive play. This would allow casual players to enjoy the new toys, while protecting the integrity and diversity of competition circuits of all kinds. The only question would then be whether to errata the Wish cycle and all the callbacks to them (Glittering Wish/Fae of Wishes/Mastermind's Acquisition) to re-define the Sideboard as an exceptionally-accessible zone, or more likely to have them revert to their original wording (under which they could once again return things from Exile, and would otherwise have their power curbed significantly).

    I hope that one of these options is suitable, or that something else can be suggested which re-distributes the balance of power as it currently stands. My own idea would be to staple Companions to the Command zone, sort of like a weaker version of Partner, which leaves the tournament scene untouched. Right now, as far as I am concerned, every fair deck that is not using a companion is at the mercy of being down a card every game before they even choose whether to Mulligan. My intuition is that this leads to extremely linear decks taking up all the real estate outside of decks with Companions, except for degenerate strategies that have access to Companions themselves, and that does not seem at all healthy to me. On the other hand, Planeswalkers were absorbed into the fabric of the game successfully, despite my chagrin at their initial appearance. I am not at all certain that I am right about all this, but I believe the changes we are witnessing here will be similarly irreversible, and far more pernicious. Time, as always, will tell."

    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on Azorius Titan/Emeria Control
    I also had the following to say about splash colours, and my perspective on the price of Blue mana in particular:

    "Watcher for Tomorrow has proved itself to be, for the most part, a trap in this strategy. The most important drawback to it is that it costs Blue mana as early as turn two, which is a true luxury. I accept Blue spells only with extreme caution before turn 3, and even later on only if the advantage that this cost offers is potentially game-breaking from the minute it becomes available. Lavinia, Azorius Renegade locks out many combo decks if she resolves. Supreme Verdict and Detention Sphere can win games on the spot if opponents overextend. Teferi, Time Raveler cripples opposing interaction from the moment he hits play. Court Hussar is the only exception to this rule, and it sits at a nexus of cost, relevance, and synergy which makes it the most powerful card selection engine accessible to this shell. In addition, like all the cards I mentioned before it, the Hussar has immediate application to staying alive from the turn it is cast. Watcher for Tomorrow is therefore worse than it on two additional massively relevant fronts. A) Thanks to a rules quirk of the Hideaway mechanic, it cannot block the turn it is cast due to being tapped, and so cannot stop a lethal attacker. B) Because the card it selects only reaches the hand after it leaves play, Watcher literally requires the presence of some other effect in order to actually generate value. This is questionable at best when working from behind, and typically win-more when ahead."
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on Azorius Titan/Emeria Control
    Hello all,

    Just so that no one is left out, I had some new testing information to report on the Discord, so I will reproduce it here:

    "I have some preliminary results to report, but overall it is much too early to tell, especially since this is only test-match information. The general patterns may still be somewhat relevant at any rate, though, so here are my initial impressions (for whatever that is worth). Although The Birth of Meletis is an option to supplement Pilgrim's Eye I have an unfortunate update on the card to report from my Yorion, Sky Nomad build's recent testing; it in no way replaces it. As the former is a flying blocker that can be cast to colour-fix through an otherwise game-ending Blood Moon, an accurate comparison between the two boils down to deck thinning based on cost alone. The lifegain of the Saga's third chapter is a real bonus, and its CMC of 2 is much more powerful, but the lack of an immediate body is a huge drawback, as is the fact that it is not a creature for Emeria to maintain a consistent stream of value once active.

    Operationally, Yorion, Sky Nomad and The Birth of Meletis seem very difficult to balance. Before anything else is addressed, if I keep a hand with The Birth of Meletis and cast it on turn two, it is gone by turn four and no longer around to provide a value-target for Yorion on turn 5. Even worse is the fact that, due to the timing of the chapters, the same will be true if I cast it on turn 3, because it will gain me two life and be sacrificed during my draw step. On turn four I am therefore given a passive incentive to cast the Enchantment over a sweeper which will inevitably take precedence if it has any relevance, and so the only time I am typically glad to sequence a two-drop into a Plains is if I am short on lands, which means that I may be in danger of not having a fifth mana for Yorion on turn 5 - which would be made even more disastrous by the Saga not sticking around to bridge up to six or seven mana smoothly after that. If my first copy of The Birth of Meletis is found on turn five, (turn six now being massively weighted towards either Yorion or Sun Titan) I have an extra option to go for value, but the curve is not able to support adding more 3-drops to make this trivial, so it appears that Path to Exile or a tapland plus a two-drop fill the role a little more frequently to use all available mana cleanly. There are two problems that crop up here. #1 is that there is no functional analogue for Path, and so its presence is a 5% chance, which makes it unlikely. #2 is that I may be looking to cast Yorion before my saga instead, in which case I will not get the option to blink it again until well after Emeria is online. This almost completely covers the common dynamics of the two cards, after I make the concession that turn seven yields an excellent window for guaranteeing the obvious advantages of 7 Plains.

    This moment where reanimation is available leads me to my final point on Yorion and Sagas in general: by blinking a graduated effect, the last chapter (lifegain, in this case) is consistently re-set and/or delayed, which means that the card is essentially operating at 2/3 strength. The lifegain, having been an actual draw to the card, is now made more unreliable by a "synergy" that crops up extremely consistently. As a final disadvantage, each permanent removed from play by Yorion returns at the End step, which means that flickering the Enchantment will not get you a Plains in time to make a land drop that turn if you were in danger of missing one. The card is fine, but the sequences it enables can be offered by other cards. Tellingly, the blocker it provides joins the party on a one-turn delay, and so I found myself asking if I wouldn't have been happier if this card had just been the Plains it was getting in the first place. The answer was unfortunately "yes" a non-zero amount of the time. As of right now, I have cut The Birth of Meletis, and I am now testing Arcum's Astrolabe as a direct swap (after adding the Snow Basics, of course). It is very difficult to tell how Yorion, Sky Nomad will affect plays otherwise, but this particular synergy seems much stronger, and the 4/5 flying body is a non-trivial threat for opponents, who are now much more likely to disrupt their own sequencing to use removal on the value targets that it threatens to re-trigger. Anything which makes opponents care about my board state is a huge benefit, to my mind, since I am very glad whenever other decks slow themselves down for any reason in the face of my attrition plan.

    One more very strong dynamic the card brings to the battle is a tendency to underestimate the chances of Wrath of God from the opposing side of the table. When there is a Ghostway that has been telegraphed as of turn one, and the deck which represents it continually adds targets which seem to be building up to a value boardstate, it seems much less likely that the opposing pilot will be able to justify holding back to play around a sweeper that they have no guarantee of, when there is an obvious plan available to an Emeria strategy already. Though it remains to be seen whether the sideboard losses will even this effect out, it is clear that Game 1's have been much, much stronger with the option of a Companion overall."
    Posted in: Control
  • To post a comment, please or register a new account.