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  • posted a message on Pauper Storm
    As an update to my list above, with the release of Eternal Masters the 4x Sign in Blood in my TTPS list above will immediately become 4x Night's Whisper for greater mana flexibility. Other than that it's business as usual. Smile
    Posted in: Established
  • posted a message on Eternal Masters Confirmed
    Quote from Vault756 »
    This is easily the worst idea ever. Yugioh's reprint policy was basically to reprint anything of value in preconstructed product or to give it away as a cheap promo. Cards never retained their value and thus stores didn't want to deal in Yugioh cards. Local game stores wouldn't support it and that's why the game isn't played nearly as much any more.

    Say what you will about Wizard's "limited print run" on things like Modern Masters but it does an excellent job of increasing supply without decreasing value. People ***** about stuff like the reserve list, card prices being too high, and investors but these all represent the business end of Magic. It's this business end that makes magic profitable and it's the games profitability that keeps the LGS supporting the game.

    tl;dr The reserve list, limited print runs, and investors are all good for the game so stop whining.

    Edit: The post I quoted was apparently deleted and I just hadn't refreshed my page yet or something. The poster basically said that Wizards should just take a page from Yugioh's playbook when it comes to reprints.

    I'm guessing it was my post you were intending to quote (which was not deleted by the way) so I'll go ahead and reply. I think the thing you're missing is that this card game wasn't always Money: The Gathering. There was a time not long ago, just a few years back actually, when Revised edition Underground Sea were $30 each and Wasteland was $20.

    During that time was when Legacy grew to the height of it's popularity and nearly every LGS in my area ran Legacy once a week, because just about anyone could afford to play it and people liked playing the eternal format with the most diversity. Now fast forward a few years later to today, when Legacy cards are absurdly expensive and few people can afford to play the format competitively. What has happened? Well, in my area all but two of the stores that used to run Legacy have stopped running it. Why? Because most players can't afford to play it anymore and tournament attendance was too low to support it.

    On the flip side of things, the past couple years—since the relative demise of Legacy—there has been big increase in interest in the paper Pauper format and several stores in my area that used to run Legacy now run Pauper instead. In Pauper there are only a few (literally, 3 or 4) cards worth more than $5 each and the stores that run Pauper still make a good profit supporting the format and running events for it. Why? Not because of the value of the cards in the format, but because people are happy to pay tournament entry fees to play it.

    The best thing for Magic players is to keep eternal formats as cheap and easy to get into as possible, because that draws more players to the format. Make the format too expensive by not reprinting cards enough to keep prices down and the format will die, but reprint them enough to get dual lands and all those other ridiculously overpriced peices of cardboard in Legacy back down to the $20 to $40 each that they were at the height of the format's popularity and Legacy will flourish again. And if the paper Pauper format is any indication, stores will still make tidy profits running events just from tournament entry fees and game accessory sales (sleeves, dice, playmats, snacks, etc).

    MtG isn't the stock market, it's a game. And games that are too expensive to attract players just don't last. With that in mind, I think Wizards pulling a page from YuGiOh's reprinting playbook is the best thing that could happen to eternal formats. We need a little less Money: The Gathering and a little more Magic: The Gathering. Smile
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on Eternal Masters Confirmed
    After thinking more about what little has been spoiled from this set, it seems pretty apparent it's not going to do much to bring down prices on Legacy staples. Wasteland and Force of Will getting rarity upshifted to Rare and Mythic as opposed to leaving them at Uncommon as they were originally printed isn't going to lower their cost, it'll just drive it up. If Tarmogoyf in Modern Masters is any indication this set is just going to increase the cost of eternal format cards rather than lower it. I'm starting to think that the people who handle the reprints in YuGiOh need to take over reprinting in MtG if eternal formats are ever going to be affordable to play again.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on Eternal Masters Confirmed
    Well it's about time! Grin
    I'm a little bummed to hear that the reserved list is staying in effect and there won't be an increase in the supply and reduction in cost of dual lands (something that will be necessary to get new players into Legacy and keep the format's player numbers high enough to be sustainable over the long term IMHO) but I'm still excited for this set none the less. It'll be really interesting to see what format defining cards they decide to reprint along with Wasteland and FoW.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on [Primer] Caw Blade
    After piloting Caw Blade in this week's three round paper Pauper tournament at Universe Games in Minneapolis MN I have a brief tournament report to contribute. Smile

    Before I get started though, here's the list I settled on for the tourney:

    Round 1: Affinity

    Game 1 I kept a reasonable hand of 7 with a few lands, Sea Gate Oracle, Brainstorm, Journey to Nowhere, and Squadron Hawk. My opponent wins the roll and opens with Seat of the Synod into Springleaf Drum and I immediately know what I'm up against. He has a slow start and I go on the beatdown with Squadron Hawk and a Bonesplitter while digging for removal and counterspells. I Journey a couple Myr Enforcers and my opponent doesn't seem to mind, he's just excited to see someone playing Brainstorm with fetch lands in Pauper and remarks about how similar the format can be to Legacy. I beat him down to 6 life while continuing to dig and find a couple Oblivion Rings but no counterspells. The next turn he drops Atog, immediately sacs every permanent be controls, and Flings the Atog at me for lethal.

    After boarding in 2 Dispeller's Capsule and 2 CoP: Red (Taking out my 4 Rune Snags), game 2 plays out much the same way except I find the Counterspell and hold up the mana for it while exiling his creatures and beating down. When he gets low on life he attempts the Fling plan again, but this time I stop it and kill him with a bladed bird the following turn.

    Game 3 was more of a grind fest. I found a Counterspell early and held up the mana for it, while exiling a grand total of 3 Atogs and 2 Carapace Forger with Journey and Oblivion Ring. I play defense with a Lifestaff equipped Sea Gate Oracle and Trinket Mage for a time while drawing more cards than any deck should have the right to draw, but I don't find any more Counterspells or removal and eventually my opponent out draws me on the creature front and beats me down with 2 Carapace Forger, 3 Myr Enforcer, and his last Atog. GG.

    Result: Loss, 1-2
    Record: 0-1

    Round 2: Nivix Blitz

    Game 1 I win the roll and keep an opener with a few lands, Hawk, Trinket Mage, and a lone Rune Snag. I'm not sure what my opponent is playing and after a few turns of "draw, go" on both sides I tap out to play my Trinket Mage and go get a Seat of the Synod, since I'm a little short on land. Big mistake. While I'm tapped out the opponent drops two Blighted Agent and proceeds to spend the following five turns beating me down with them while I frantically dig to find removal and come up empty handed.

    Game 2 I bring in 2 Prismatic Strands, 3 Holy Light, and Viridian Longbow in place of 3 Oblivion Ring, 2 Counterspell, and Flayer Husk. I'll be damned if I'm losing to Blighted Agents again! lol This game I keep an opener with Brainstorm, Sea Gate Oracle, three lands, a Rune Snag, and something else I can't quite remember. We both play "draw, go" for a while until the opponent tries playing a Nivix Cyclops and I Rune Snag it. From there I play a Trinket Mage and go find my Longbow, then my opponent Gitaxian Probes me and—seeing that I have no counters or removal for larger creatures—he drops two more Cyclops on the table. I Brainstorm end of turn and find a land, one Prismatic Strands, and a Journey to Nowhere. I untap and Journey one of the Cyclops and pass the turn with Prismatic Strands mana up. My opponent empties his hand of Gut Shot, Lightning Bolt, double Mutagenic Growth, and Shadow Rift then attempts to swing for lethal. Prismatic Strands before damage, naming Red, crushes his hopes and dreams. The next turn I cast Mulldrifter, followed by another the following turn, and beat him down with my two fliers and a Bonesplitter.

    Game 3... does not get off to a good start. After boarding in two CoP: Red my opening 7 is a no lander, my 6 is a no lander, and my 5 is too. I finally keep a hand of 4 cards with Sea Gate Oracle and three lands. On turn 2 my opponent drops Kiln Fiend then goes nuts emptying his hand of spells on turn 3 and hits me for lethal with the Fiend before I even have the chance to even play my Oracle. The Rune Snag sitting on top of my deck mocks me.

    Result: Loss, 1-2
    Record: 0-2

    Round 3: Burn

    Having played against this opponent last week I already know that she is playing Burn, so game 1 I mull to 6 to find an opener with Tranqil Cove, 2 copies of Radiant Fountain, Rune Snag, Trinket Mage, and Sea Gate Oracle. I gain quite a bit of life, counter not one but two Searing Blaze, and end up aggroing out on her with a Bonesplitter and Sylvok Lifestaff equipped Sea Gate Oracle after she burns away my Trinket Mage. I finish my opponent off with just 3 life left and a Searing Spear sitting on top of her library.

    For game 2 I take out my 4 Journey to Nowhere and 3 Oblivion Ring, since I know my opponent plays no creatures or non-land permanents in her Burn build, and I bring in 2 CoP: Red, 2 Prismatic Strands, and 3 Curse of the Bloody Tome. I didn't think the Curses would do anything relevant in this match, but they were still a less dead draw than Oblivion Ring. For my opening 7 I get Tranqil Cove, Island, Radiant Fountain, Rune Snag, Rune Snag, Counterspell, and Trinket Mage. Keeping it is a no brainer and the game goes exactly as expected. My opponent Lightning Bolts me twice and from there on out I counter every burn spell she plays until her hand is empty and I'm left with a Trinket Mage equipped with a Sylvok Lifestaff to finish the job with. He's soon joined by 3 Squadron Hawks and the game ends in my favor relatively quickly.

    Result: Win, 2-0
    Final record: 1-2

    All in all I feel good about how the tournament went. I may have lost two of my three matches but I never felt like my deck wasn't up to snuff. I had a few bad draws here and there, but all the games I lost (aside from the one where I had to mull to 4) were pretty darn close and I never felt like my deck was too low on card draw, answers, or threats. The Sea Gate Oracles were absolutely fantastic and did a great job keeping my hand full of cards while providing a blocker with reasonable toughness. They carried Bonesplitters nicely too, and I'm now totally happy with my creature suite. Every creature generates card advantage, and with 8 counterspells and 7 pieces of unconditional creature removal maindeck I feel like I've got a solid defense against aggro.

    I'm pretty happy with my build and felt like it was a good night, even though my win/loss record didn't look so good. But hey, I had fun playing and I did get a foil full art Island in the one booster pack I got for playing and that more than covered the tournament entry cost. A good night indeed! Smile
    Posted in: Established
  • posted a message on [Primer] Caw Blade
    Thanks a ton for all the really helpful advice Zephyr! Even though it's been frustrating trying to tune it for the optimal amounts and types of creatures, counters, removal, and draw I don't think I'm ready to give up on Caw Blade just yet. As far as I can tell the deck needs a minimum of 7 to 8 counterspells, 7 forms of creature removal, 11 to 12 pieces of draw, 4 dedicated lifegain sources, and 22 to 23 lands to function effectively; which makes it really tricky to find space for everything when you still have to build around the core of 4 Squadron Hawk, 4 Trinket Mage, and 4 Mulldrifter.

    Of that core though the one card that has consistently underwhelmed me and made me wish I had something different in my hand has been Mulldrifter. I know it's often touted as the best creature in Pauper, but over and over again I've found myself wishing I had a creature with 3 toughness to block with rather than casting it as a Divination or waiting until I had 5 mana then just chump blocking with it. With that in mind I think the first change I'm going to make to my build from here on out is dropping the set Mulldrifters and playing Sea Gate Oracle in their place, and if I do end up still playing Mulldrifters somewhere in the deck then it will probably be 2 or 3 of them in place of dedicated win conditions. I do need to get the card draw and cantrip numbers up to 11 or 12 in my list for it to play well though, so I'm thinking my draw suite will end up looking like either


    I know the Ninjas are generally more of a tempo card than a control card, but running Bladed Bracers with Trinket Mage, Oracles, and Ninjas seems pretty legit. A 3/3 Vigilance that draws you a card every time it hits is a real "must answer immediately" threat that will bury the opponent in card advantage if they don't get rid of it within a turn or two.

    As far as the removal suite goes I totally see where you're coming from keeping the CMC of everything down to 2, but with the number of Tortured Existence and Gurmag Angler decks (not to mention the RUG and mono green Tron decks ramping out Eldrazi) floating around these days I'm really hesitant to drop Oblivion Ring for Gideon's Reproach. I think if it dealt 5 damage I'd give it a shot, but Angler is such a huge card showing up in all kinds of decks right now that I don't think I can afford to leave my removal suite vulnerable to it.

    On the flip side of things, I think you're probably right about the 4 copies of Curse of the Bloody Tome being a little excessive, and dropping one would give me space a Viridian Longbow in the board to deal with the always popular White Weenie decks that Holy Light does nothing against.

    Anyway, thank you again for your advice. It was all really solid and helpful, and definitely made me want to continue testing, practicing, and working on Caw Blade. Smile
    Posted in: Established
  • posted a message on [Primer] Caw Blade
    Quote from dbdrummer7 »
    That deck list actually looks really solid against MBC, and I'm digging the Oblivion Rings. Seems like they would make the Bogles matchup a lot more better too because of the ability to remove their lifelink/trample auras. Have you tried matchups other than MBC? You mentioned doing well against aggro, so I'm just curious. Either way, removing most of the draw seems very different in playstyle, but it also seems to have made room for more protection and removal. Do you find yourself with an empty hand at all because of that? One other thing, Flayer Husk being gone surprises me. Did it not help with Geth's Verdict and chump blocking against aggro?

    Either way, the Bloody Tomes seem like a great idea (in a match that isn't timed of course!), and I really like the new ideas. Thanks for the time you took to playtest!

    I have been playtesting against a pretty wide variety of decks, which include all the ones mentioned in my signature. Storm (my play group runs "No banlist" for Pauper outside of the weekly sanctioned tournaments at my LGS), Mono Black Control, Goblins, Affinity, and a R/G Eldrazi ramp deck. For me Caw Blade has been the hardest deck to tune and optimize that I've ever played, because every time I tune it to be good against one deck it ends up losing to another. So I keep bouncing between playing Guardian of the Guildpact or Seraph of Dawn with Bladed Bracers as the main win condition, 1 or 2 Cenn's Enlistment (one coming out to make space for the aforementioned Bladed Bracers or Flayer Husk), and whether to run 3 Radient Fountain or 3 Desert in the mana base. If I run Guardians, more Enlistments, and Radient Fountains I can beat control decks pre-board but usually lose to aggro decks like Goblins and Affinity, whereas running Seraphs with Bladed Bracers and Deserts in the mana base gives me a solid game 1 against aggro but I'll usually lose horribley to control decks. I'd love to fit more card draw into the deck, since I frequently find myself running out of cards mid to late game, but every time I try to take something out for Accumulated Knowledge or Artificer's Epiphany I end up not having enough blockers or removal to stabilize against aggro or control.

    At this point I've put probably two dozen hours of play testing into Caw Blade and it still just frustrates the hell out of me, because there doesn't seem to be any one "optimal" way to build it. If anyone has any suggestions for what they think is an optimal build I'm all ears, but as far as I can tell you have to tune it to beat either aggro or control and accept that you're just going to lose to whichever matchup you don't optimize for. I'm starting to get frustrated enough with the deck that I'm really considering just giving up on it and going back to playing Delver, which is much easier to tune and optimize.
    Posted in: Established
  • posted a message on [Primer] Caw Blade

    How is Stoic Rebuttal performing for you? My main concerns about adding 1U counterspells instead of double U like Stoic Rebuttal or Deprive were that I needed to consistently cast them on turn 2-3 onwards, which proves quite difficult when they're double U and have an additional requirement. While it's true that Prohibit does nothing against Corrupt, Gray Merchant of Asphodel or Death Denied for 3+, it still works against the rest of their deck. I think you will play many matches against faster decks like Aggro or Tempo where you will look at a Stoic Rebuttal and wish it was a 1U counterspell instead. I think it's not worth weakening other matchups just to counter 3 MBC spells, specially when it's already a favorable matchup with all the card advantage going on...

    However I'm more than eager to run Rebuttal if it works good for you, casting it consistently on turns 2-3 and not being dead late game is what I'm looking for in the secondary counterspell.

    To properly answer this question I spent around 10 hours playtesting the Stoic Rebuttle build and several other Caw Blade builds with some friends over the last three days. What I learned is that Rebuttle looks a lot better on paper than it does in practice. Even with 10 artifacts and Trinket Mage, the Rebuttles were usually uncastable until the later turns of the game. You were absolutely right that this deck really needs it's secondary counterspell to cost 1U. Rebuttle is a great late game hard counter, but it's rarely going to stop important turn 2 and 3 plays.

    The other thing I learned from all that playtesting is that my build needed more dedicated win conditions. After playtesting more than 20 games against Mono Black Control I found that it was literally impossible for me to beat them pre-board, as they had an equal amount of card draw and vastly more ways to 2-for-1 me. Hymn to Tourach and Okiba-Gang Shinobi just destroyed me over and over again, and there was nothing I could do to beat a resolved Pestilence other than pray I drew an Oblivion Ring and hope they didn't draw another copy of Pestilence (which they usually did). At one point I tried swapping my decklist around to run a full set of Accumulated Knowledge, and even with that I couldn't outdraw them; and every creature I played just got hit with some kind of removal. For reference, the MBC list I tested against is in the spoiler tag below.

    Given that MBC makes up a huge portion of my local metagame it was really important to me that I be able to go at least 50/50 against them pre-board and have a way to win at least 75% of the time post board, so I spent a lot of time re-tuning my list and trying different strategies until I found a list that could give me the win rates I wanted. I didn't have too much trouble against the other decks I tested against (see the list in my signature) but man was MBC ever a nightmare matchup.

    With that in mind, I've once again re-tooled my list to give it a larger number of more difficult to deal with threats and settled on Mana Leak as my secondary counterspell. It's not always effective in the late game, but it is pretty darn good at staving off turn 2 Hymns and sending Gray Merchants to the graveyard rather than the battlefield, which are what has been giving me the most trouble. They're also good against more aggressive decks with lower land counts, since it's an early counter and even in the late game they don't usually have the mana to pay for it.

    I also made a big change to the sideboard and am now packing a full set of 4 Curse of the Bloody Tome for long grindy matchups like MBC and other control decks that may be able to outdraw me in the long game. Resolving one Curse is good, but I decided to run a full set because sticking a second one is literally game over against MBC and any other deck that can't remove them. All you have to do at that point is just stall for half a dozen turns until the opponent decks themselves, and I've found it to be an extremely effective strategy against other control decks. The set of Curses has definitely given me the 75% win rates I want against MBC post board, and 3 Guardian of the Guildpact coupled with 2 Cenn's Enlistment have given me enough threats to achieve a 50/50 win percentage pre-board and greatly improved my matchups against aggro by providing me with more blockers and a reliable win condition. Smile

    Here's my current re-tuned list:

    Posted in: Established
  • posted a message on [Pauper] R/G Werewolves
    This may or may not be a terrible idea, but just for giggles I think I'm going to try running a R/G Werewolves deck at next week's local Pauper tournament. The advantage of this tribe is that if you can get them to flip (and stay flipped) then you get some seriously undercosted beaters with power to mana cost ratios that can only be matched by the creatures in Affinity and a couple creatures with the Delve mechanic. The combat tricks you can pull off with Moonmist seem pretty interesting too.

    That's all well and good, but the real question for determining the viability of Werewolves as a tribe in Pauper is "How do I prevent my opponent from casting spells?" Since Pauper lacks Stax-like effects such as Tangle Wire, Sphere of Resistance, Thorn of Amethyst, and so on that means that we'll have to take a somewhat different approach to the problem. Fortunately there is one powerful effect for denying the opponent the ability to cast spells that Pauper has no shortage of, and that's land destruction. While not always consistent or competitively viable, land destruction does seem like the best method available in Pauper for denying the opponent the ability to cast spells while your Werewolves go to town.

    With that strategy in mind, here's the theoretical deck list that I'm planning to run at this weekend's local Pauper tournament:

    The gameplan is pretty simple and straightforward. Play a 2 CMC Werewolf on turn 2 then proceed to spend the following turns nuking as many of your opponents lands as you can until they stop casting things, at which point you can drop some more Werewolves on the table. Stone Rain and Molten Rain are the standard tools of the trade, and Aftershock gives you the ability to destroy not only land but also creatures like Gurmag Angler that might slip through the LD onslaught and be too large for your Werewolves to run over.

    This is just a preliminary list, and there is still lots of room for tweaking and tuning. Another build option would be to drop Village Ironsmith and Scorned Villager due to their 1 toughness and replace them with some quantity of Devastate, Grizzled Outcasts, one or two additional lands, and a little mana ramping by swapping Icefall for Mwonvuli Acid-Moss.

    There's quite a few different options for how to build it, but I think the basic idea of Werewolves + LD could be a solid and reasonably competitive gameplan. What are your thoughts on the matter? Any input would be greatly appreciated. Smile
    Posted in: Paper Pauper and Peasant
  • posted a message on [Primer] Caw Blade
    After spending all evening tonight doing deck testing with the misses I've finally got my Caw Blade Build optimized to just the way I want it, and sorted out the dilemma I had been having of which secondary counterspell to run. I tested mainly against a hyper aggressive build of Goblins and a traditional Mono Black Control deck to see how Caw Blade fared against both ends of the tempo spectrum. Here's what I concluded:

    While very effective against Goblins, Mana Leak, Rune Snag, and Prohibit were all fairly useless against Mono Black Control in the late game and I repeatedly died to either a massive Corrupt to the face or a Death Denied for 5+ creatures. On the flip side of things, Contradict was an absolute house against Mono Black in the late game but was far too slow to prevent me from getting run over by a horde of little green men before I could stabilize when I played against Goblins.

    After pondering the dilemma for a bit and doing a search for common rarity counterspells on http://gatherer.wizards.com I finally had a "Eureka!" moment and stumbled on what I believe to be the perfect secondary counterspell for this deck: Stoic Rebuttal. To support it properly I had to make a small tweak to the mana base, but that was cheap and easy to do and now the deck plays very well against both blitzkrieg aggro and slow grindy control decks. At worst it's Cancel, but the majority of the time by turn 4 it's going to be Counterspell. Smile

    Here's my finalized list for reference:

    Posted in: Established
  • posted a message on [Primer] Caw Blade
    Quote from dbdrummer7 »
    So, since I play pretty casually and am trying to get a few other people interested, how would you guys run the deck with the Seraph of Dawn, Bladed Bracers and possibly Doomed Traveller? I don't want to counter them too much, as that leads to a lot of frustration for some players, so I was thinking of removing a few for those cards so that there is a more creature based strategy. Thoughts?

    If I was to remove the counterspells from the list I posted above for a more creature based strategy I would go...

    - 4 Counterspell
    - 3 Mana Leak
    + 4 Doomed Traveler
    + 1 Seraph of Dawn
    + 1 Desert
    + 1 Flayer Husk

    Hope that helps! Smile
    Posted in: Established
  • posted a message on [Primer] Caw Blade

    @Jin I think you will quickly take out the Mana Leaks. They're an excellent tempo counter, but we want to go into the late game to start generating card advantage non-stop, and at that point, Leak is quite weak. It can work in the first stages of the game, but it won't stop MBC, Tron or Teachings late-game spells like a harder counter would. Prohibit is good because good counters and removal usually cost 2 or less, and every deck runs one or the other. It also stops early creatures, and stays relevant throughout the late game thanks to the Kicker option.

    Very good point about Mana Leak. I've found Rune Snag to be a good counterspell because it scales up in effectiveness as the game goes on, but I can definitely see Mana Leak being fairly ineffective in the later portions of the game. I think I'll alter my test build a little to remove the Mana Leaks then try out 2x Prohibit or 2x Condescend and a 23rd land in their place. I really like Rune Snag the best for a secondary counterspell, but they require you to devote space to a full set of them to really be effective and I'm not sure there's anything else I'd want to cut to make room for a fourth. So, I'll try going down to 6 counterspells and see how Prohibit or Condescend treat me.
    Posted in: Established
  • posted a message on [Primer] Caw Blade
    Quote from dbdrummer7 »
    This seems like a really cool deck guys! Started messing around with Pauper just recently, and the amount of options this deck has is great. I play casually with my roommate, who is a fan of big aggro decks, so I'm using no Cenn's Enlistments, a couple more counters and the Custodi Squire loop. How have you found that the deck runs against smaller aggro decks like Stompy and Goblins? I've heard plenty of comments about it just folding on game 1, but haven't gotten to test it yet.

    Zephyr has played this deck a lot longer than I have, so he might have the best advice to offer, but I have done pretty large amount of playtesting against Goblins so I'll offer my perspective. Game 1 is very winnable if you know how to play it. The trick is to just trade your creatures for theirs at every available opportunity as long as you trade 1 for 1. Don't be afraid to throw a Squadron Hawk in front of every attacker they play as long as you can kill it by blocking it. Sylvok Lifestaff will be very helpful for this since it gains you life to offset burn damage when you trade creatures, and Desert is especially useful here as well. Save your counterspells for their burn spells or creatures that are too large for you to trade with right away.

    Eventually Goblins will run out of creatures and Stompy will run out of pump spells, at which point you'll be able to stabilize since you draw quite a few more cards than they do and will have creatures to play long after they run out of threats. Game 1 against aggro decks is very winnable, you just have to be willing to throw everything you have under the proverbial bus until the opponent runs out of steam. Smile
    Posted in: Established
  • posted a message on [Primer] Caw Blade
    Thanks for the reply and feedback Zephyr! The five primary win conditions in my build might seem like overkill, but the meta I play in is largely dominated by Mono Black and U/B control decks that pack loads of removal so right now there's no such thing as having "too many threats". Goblins and Affinity are probably the next most played decks in my area, and when I tested Guardian of the Guildpact and Custodi Squire over the angel I kept finding myself not being able to gain enough life to stabilize against the hyper aggro decks.

    The two copies of Cenn's Enlistment might seem redundant, but there were a couple reasons that I chose to run 2. The biggest is that it's a card I want to see every game, and running just 1 led to a lot of games that I'd never draw it. The other reason is that due to the rise of Gurmag Angler as a popular win condition in B/X control decks, pretty much everyone in my meta runs some amount of graveyard hate in their sideboard (and sometimes main deck) now. Getting Enlistment exiled would be a very bad thing for the deck's late game potential, so I like to run 2 to not only improve my chances of drawing it but also give me a backup in case the first one gets exiled. At worst it's two 1/1's for four mana, which is no worse than Squadron Hawk and the fact that they come from a single card rather than two is still card advantage.

    As far as the removal and counter package goes, I'm pretty happy with it. Rune Snag scales in effectiveness as the game goes on and can stop some important things that Prohibit can't, such as Angler or a Corrupt to the face. I really like the 4 copies of Desert in the mana base too. Getting two Deserts active is just a wall against most creatures in the format, and since I'm running the angels for life gain I can get away with playing a set of them over Radiant Fountain.

    I have wished I could work a little more removal and card draw into the deck, since I have found myself in topdeck mode a few times after being on the receiving end of a couple Hymn to Tourach, but sadly there's only so many cards you can fit in a deck and anything I could take out to add more draw or removal (the angels, Enlistment, and Bonesplitter mainly) would seriously impede the deck's ability to actually win the game. If I could I'd love to find a way to drop down to 3x Oblivion Ring and cram a full set of Journey to Nowhere in there, and 3x Artificer's Intuition or even a full playset of A.K. like you're running would be great too. I'm just having difficulty finding anything to cut that wouldn't compromise the deck's ability to finish the game or stabilize against the hyper aggro decks that make up a substantial portion of my meta.

    Still though, I'll play around with it a bit more and see what I can come up with. Smile

    Edit: After tinkering with my list a bit I wasn't able to fit in any more draw without nerfing an important part of the deck, but I was able to squeeze in a set of Journey to Nowhere by dropping 1x Desert, 1x Cenn's Enlistment, 1x Oblivion Ring, and 1x Rune Snag then swapping the 3 remaining copies of Rune Snag for Mana Leak. I'm not sure how well it will play compared to my previous list, especially going down to 1x Cenn's Enlistment, but I will playtest it this weekend.

    I may also give Guardian of the Guildpact another try, running 3 copies of it instead of Seraph of Dawn then swapping the Bladed Bracers for a Flayer Husk and dropping the 3 Desert in the mana base for 3 Radiant Fountain to see if the life gain from them offsets the loss of Seraph of Dawn. It should be a fun weekend of playtesting. Smile
    Posted in: Established
  • posted a message on [Primer] Caw Blade
    Big thanks to Zephyr Scarlet for the great primer! When Cloud of Faeries got banned I was looking for a new blue deck to replace Delver in my Pauper deck rotation and Caw Blade turned out to be just the thing! After a week or so of playtesting I think I've got my list tuned just the way I want it, and it can compete with all the big decks in the format really well. Smile

    For reference, here's what I'm running:

    I stuck fairly close to what makes the core of the deck work (the immense card advantage generated by Squadron Hawk, Trinket Mage, and Mulldrifter as well as the synergy between Brainstorm and the deck's 12 shuffle effects) but made a few meta choices such as running Oblivion Ring over Journey to Nowhere to deal with pesky artifacts and enchantments like Tortured Existence and opposing Sylvok Lifestaffs in addition to creatures. Not to mention the huge tempo swing that O-Ring'ing a Mono Black Control player's Oubliette on one of your creatures with an enter the battlefield effect can generate. The versatility of O-Ring was worth the one extra mana to me.

    I also really love the Seraph of Dawn and Bladed Bracers package, since by the time Seraph comes down I usually have a least one Bonesplitter in play too and end up swinging with a 5/5 Flying, Vigilance, Lifelink beat stick with counterspell protection the following turn. That massive amount of life gain has really turned the tides on several matches against aggressive decks like Goblins and Affinity on more than a few occasions, allowing me to stabilize and come back out of burn range. A 3/3 Vigilance Trinket Mage is never a bad thing to have either, and the Bracers often transform him from a creature that just blocks and trades for value with an opponent's 2/2 whatever into something that I actually attack with.

    Lastly, I feel like it would be almost a sin to not play two copies of Cenn's Enlistment. Being able to turn every land drawn in the late game into creatures means that there is no such thing as a bad topdeck with Caw Blade, and you'll inevitably win any war of attrition with other control decks that don't have ways to get value out of their late game lands.

    So thank you again to Zephyr for developing this archetype! It really is astounding what an absurd amount of card advantage Caw Blade can generate, and how well it can take on almost any other deck in the current meta. Smile
    Posted in: Established
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