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  • posted a message on G/r Deathtouch Ping
    Hey all, been a while since I've looked at this list as I have been a little pre-occupied with trying to port Angry Birds (I have several updates to post to that deck soon as well) to Modern. Hopefully, it's okay that I'm double posting. My last post above was awhile ago and I did not want to wait any longer to process some deck building thoughts.

    The more I think about it, the more I like Weltkrieg's idea of siding out some or all of the ping enchantment/artifacts against some matchups. Death's Shadow seems like a great example here. Although I cannot remember what all he sided in against me at this point, I do feel that the massive amount of discard and removal they bring in against this deck, forces us to side out the "ping activators" to up the redundancy on our threats. To me, this means more straight burn or removal and more potential creature threats. If the decklist says in G/R, I think this is the way to go. I also keep wondering if Blood Moon should find its way in the SB somewhere of a G/R list.

    Right now as I ponder this deck, I see a few different ways to go. One way is to splash a third color. A card that got me thinking about this is Hall of Heliod's Generosity. Although white is not really on color for us, this card is definitely intriguing and it is almost enough to make me consider a light splash to white. Sometimes you just need to fight through the opponent's hate and land a deathtoucher with ping to close out the game. Being able to recur a Fire Whip or related enchantment, although a bit costly, could literally win the game in some instances. Since we already one some land tutoring and toolbox lands, this seems like a possible include. Splashing white then makes cards like Knighthood or Archetype of Courage potentially very interesting. These cards give a different angle of attack with your deathtouchers and effect every one of them in play while also being recurrable with Heliod.

    Another direction to go with the deck would be to splash black. This makes discard spells a possible option for the main or sideboard and broadens our pool of good deathtouch creatures to choose from. I'd really love to see Wizards print a deathtouching one-mana creature with a creature type that benefits from Swarmyard that is in green but alas. One option might be to look at the deathtouching rats. They pair nicely with Swarmyard and give another nice touch of resilience.

    If we wanted to eschew resilience for more power, I definitely think a vampire tribal deck would be an interesting consideration. Now we have Vampire of the Dire Moon, Stromkirk Captain, Stensia Masquerade,Gifted Aetherborn, Vampire Nighthawk, Cordial Vampire, etc. Then maybe you would just look at doing a light green splash to keep Scryb Ranger and Rhonas, the two best cards in green, IMHO.

    Finally, I have used Livewire Lash to pretty great effect in a kitchen-table Enchantress deck that I have which combos the card with stuff like Whip Silk. Obviously, this is not an option in Modern but Livewire Lash definitely still intrigues as a possible card to build around. It helps protect your creature from removal and has the possibility of being triggered multiple times in one turn...
    Posted in: Budget (Modern)
  • posted a message on Modern Angry Birds
    Wow! First off, thanks to everyone for all of the feedback. I definitely did not expect to get so many responses on the deck so quickly. That is awesome and it gives me a lot to think about. Deck building in a vacuum can take you to a point but feedback from the community really helps because there are ideas given I may not have thought about as well as areas of the deck that are challenged and push me to look closely at the card choices.

    I have to agree with energizerzax and Weltkrieg on this; I put this deck in the deck creation forum because it is very much in 'developing' status. I believe every good and competitive deck starts from somewhere and is honed and refined into its best form until it becomes something competitive (and maybe even tier level) at some point or, when taken to its furthest point is determined not competitive enough. The cool bit here is that quite a bit of thought has already gone into the idea from the Legacy version, at least in terms of the base elements so it already feels, to me, pretty solid when I've been playing it.

    Although Angry Birds does lose some in the transition to Modern, I feel that the introduction of several new solid, Modern legal flyers and even things like Giver of Runes, is the window I was looking for to give it a try here.

    I agree also with energizerzax and Weltkrieg that plays quite a bit differently than the established u/w flying deck in Modern--Spirits. They are enough different that I'd want to own both. They have very different strategies and playstyles involved. Both bring their own strengths.

    Weltkrieg, you contributed so much to helping me build the Legacy version of the deck and you always have incredible feedback that is on point. Thank you! I have not play tested extensively against Jund or Tron yet so they are definitely going on my test Gauntlet. I have seen neither in my local meta so far, but know they have presence in Modern as a whole so I am probably going to need to consider what I need to bring up my match-ups against those decks. In particular, I am concerned Tron could be a pretty tough pairing for the current list.

    One piece I want to look at and give a closer look to is the mana base. Should I try and go up one Moorland Haunt? Is a 1-of Mistveil Plains worth consideration if I keep Squadron Hawk in the deck? I definitely want to slide playset of Seachrome Coast in the deck. Once I do that, I'll probably make the switch to Mausoleum Wanderer from Judge's Familiar.

    As far as tax elements, I definitely can think of a few things I might like to test.

    Aven Mindcensor is bomb. If I get the Seachrome's, I can probably also go down on basics and slip in some Field of Ruin without much trouble. Aven Mindcensor becomes even more valuable with cards like Field of Ruin. All of this paired with Ghostly Prison can be mean because if the opponent misses out on a land drop, that really sets them behind when Ghostly Prison is out on the field.

    Although it is probably too slow, I thought about using Worship combined with something like Cloudform or Wall of Denial to create a lock. I have always wanted to run Suppression Field in Angry Birds but it does not play nice with our own fetches or forecast abilities. :/

    Weltkrieg, the thought of splashing red intrigues me. Not sure how to make Blood Moon work with just a like red splash and heavy white/blue demands. The mana base would have to be strongly re-worked. That said, I love the idea of running lightning bolt. Path to Exile is not ultra synergistic with Ghostly Prison here. I wonder if Alpine Moon could be used here?

    Ro ro ro, that is awesome that your brother used to play AGB. I love your ideas as well. Weltkrieg was a huge proponent of Empyrial Plate in this deck.

    I do agree that I can likely go down to 3x Hussar without too much trouble. I love Aether Vial and have extensively tested a birds build with it. That said, at the moment, I am liking Stormscape Familiar a little more. Stormscape is not as bad to see multiples of because the ability stacks, plus he is another creature to use towards the Sky Hussar tap/draw engine.

    Also! Stormscape Familiar is a beast with Lingering Souls. Think about it. With Stormscape on the field, you cast Lingering for 1W and then can Flashback for B. Three mana in total to cast and flashback Lingering Souls!

    PS: Fluff, I'm looking forward to running this deck in Modern also. I should be able to get to some tournaments here with it soon. It'll be the first time piloting it in the Modern competitive environment so that should be very informative to me for what the deck's strengths and weaknesses are in the format.

    PPS: Everyone has given me a lot to think about and test. Time to start grinding some test matches and putting together some data. I'll be back later with updates!
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on Modern Angry Birds
    Hey all! Thanks for all of the feedback!

    Lectrys, I am definitely interested in doing some testing with Empyrean Eagle. I see this taking the spot of Mimeomancer. My hesitation from buying 100% into switching over to the new lord is that I have found Mimeomancer's situational strengths come up far more often than even I initially anticipated. In recent testing I went up from 3x to 4x, because there were so many times where the feather counter was very useful to winning the game. I definitely want to do more testing with Empyrean Eagle however as just having a good lord would be something I'd like to find slots for in the deck.

    D90Dennis,

    Thanks for the detailed feedback and suggestions. The one card I am not running in the deck right now because I need to still pick up a playset of Seachrome Coast. I think upping the dual land count and adjusting the manabase will be the final push to smooth out my early mana and make it easy to run Mauseleaum Wanderer over Judge's Familiar. At that point, I'll likely make the switch to running the Wanderer in here.

    I definitely can see running the new Empyrean Eagle in Mimeomancer's place, but not too sure about Favorable Winds here. I have tested with Favorable Winds pretty extensively and have not loved it here. I think it is better suited to a more aggro-oriented flyers deck like this one: https://www.mtggoldfish.com/articles/budget-magic-81-24-tix-favorable-winds-modern

    Angry Birds is definitely more of a tempo deck than an aggressive aggro deck and I believe it wants to see more of a utility card in this slot. The same applies to Ghostly Prison which allows this deck to play the tempo game and lets the deck reach into the mid-late game where it starts to take control of the board. I do also run Path to Exile in the main, however, as my spot removal.

    I am not in love with Winged Words here for a similar reason. I feel like Sky Hussar ends up being more powerful here because it grinds out card advantage every turn, often from turn two into the late game. Ghostly Prison and Sky Hussar really go hand in hand. In the end, I think if you try to build a more aggressive aggro flyers deck, Ghostly Prison should go and then also Sky Hussar for something like the Winged Words. Sky Hussar is really underrated. Sky Hussar is also one of the primary reasons why I think Squadron Hawk is big here. It keeps up creature density to enable the Sky Hussar. If I were to take out Squadron Hawk, I think it really needs to be replaced with something like Lingering Souls. I have considered throwing in light, black splash to run Lingering Souls over Squadron Hawk in this spot.

    I do love Remorseful Cleric, especially given the current meta. I have also playtested with Spell Quellers in the past and liked them.

    If running Vendilion Clique, I think maindecking Spellstutter Sprites and running the full playset of Faerie Seer starts making a lot of sense.
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on Modern Angry Birds


    Angry Birds for Modern!

    Intro

    Hey modern brewers!

    Some time ago I worked on creating a deck for Legacy called Angry Birds. I spent several years developing it right here on MtG Salvation, actually. Few people probably remember that deck these days but it is easily my favorite deck to pilot of all-time. Yes, this is my pet deck. Toward the end of my time working on it for the Legacy format, I was top 4'ing most local FNMs I took it to, beating out Miracles, D&T, Dredge, etc. Then the Legacy meta around me all but died out (although I am noticing a recent resurgence). After attending multiple Legacy tournaments that just never fired, due to too few players, I hit a dry spot in my MTG hobby and quit playing for a couple years, outside of my playgroup's monthly kitchen table gatherings.

    Fast forward to 2019 and a good friend of mine not only started playing Modern but managed to get me into the format too. Having a desire to play more competitively again, I've been doing a ton of play testing, researching the meta, listening to podcasts and crafting some home brews. At one point a few years ago, I wondered about porting Angry Birds to Modern and a few others actually started some threads here and tried. My thought at the time was that the deck just lost way too much to become legal in the Modern format. That said, now that I actually have investment in Modern, I am way more interested in seeing if Angry Birds actually could be competitive in the format. Quite a bit has changed since I last tried also. There are new cards in Modern that actually fit perfectly in an AGB (Angry Birds) list. I have been quietly testing and brewing the deck with my friend for the past couple months but now I feel it has reached a point that it is worth sharing.

    Here is the list I am currently running:



    About the Deck

    The Angry Birds deck functions off a few key cards that synergize strongly with each other. The deck uses cheap flyers in combination with Sky Hussar as a cheap, hard to disrupt draw engine while hiding behind prison cards for protection. In the Legacy version we used something like Island Sanctuary. In Modern, I have found that Ghostly Prison performs a similar function and is quite effective. The deck is able to use the mass amount of cheap creatures to grind card advantage and wins out of games the deck looks like it has no business winning. Finally the deck can power out wins by dropping a large Pride of the Clouds or using Aven Mimeomancer to accelerate your damage clock. The forecast ability of Pride of the Clouds also comes in handy more often than you think, pairing with Moorland Haunt and Sky Hussar to grind longer games against control for the win.

    The strength of Angry Birds is synergy and flexibility to adapt its game plan against various types of other decks. It rewards the player for smart game play which is one of the reasons it is so fun to pilot. Piloting games with this deck often feel pretty intense too, because you have to be comfortable taking damage in the early turns to give the deck time to stabilize. Angry Birds often looks like a punching bag in the early game before turning the game around and ultimately winning. One person once described the deck as a cross between Death and Taxes and Merfolk and I feel that gives a pretty good picture for how this deck likes to play.

    Card Choices

    One of the great things about a utility flyers deck like this one, is that you also have a wide selection of potentially viable card choices which let you tailor the deck to your meta. I'll speak to some of my key card choices here.

    • Pride of the Clouds - This is your beat stick. With so many cheap flyers and good synergy with Squadron Hawk, this guy gets big and closes out games quickly, unless the opponent has an answer to it. He is great in "mirror matchups" against other flyers because his size factors in all flying creatures in play. He will often be bigger than your opponent's Arclight Phoenix or Mantis Rider. Pride of the Clouds also lets you slow down and play around hate such as mass removal that you might see from Blue/White Control with his forecast ability. Unless the opponent can sweep your field and lay down fast pressure, forecasting tokens in with Sky Hussar grabbing extra cards all while hiding behind a couple Ghostly Prison can be pretty tough to deal with.
    • Sky Hussar - This is the amazing card advantage engine of the deck. Most people disregard this card's forecast draw ability because of it's cost. Tapping two creatures? It seems a little rough at first but you will quickly find that drawing two cards a turn often results in you ultimately outpacing your opponent for the win. The sheer number of creatures Angry Birds can play allows you to spare two creatures for your draw engine while keeping additional creatures out as blockers until you can stabilize your board presence against the opponent. A Ghostly Prison on the field only sweetens the deal. Plus, the forecast ability is very difficult to deal with. Many of Modern's discard cards can't hit Hussar and the forecast ability isn't a cast spell. The opponent's best chance of stopping your draw engine is keeping you off of two creatures which is often difficult to do with this deck. With a Stormscape Familiar or two in play, extra Hussars in your hand often become completely castable, allowing you to swing for big damage in your combat step but then untapping your creatures to block against your opponent's threats.
    • Ghostly Prison - Another very key card to the deck. Ghostly Prison lets you play the grindy game against your opponent. This stops decks that like to kill you by going wide and forces your opponents to make difficult choices about whether to play that spell in their hand or conserve the mana to attack you. The sheer amount of card draw that AGB has means you will often find multiples, allowing you to stack the effect. With even just one Ghostly Prison in play, your opponent is often only able to attack with one or two creatures. Some decks are hurt by this effect more than others. Some of the lands in Humans' decks do not play well with Ghostly Prison. =)
    • Stormscape Familiar - Stormscape is a cheap accelerator for the deck. This flyer comes down on turn two, chumps to fatty's, functions as a tappable creature for your Hussar draw engine, and makes all your stuff cheap. One mana Squadron Hawks and two-mana Teferi's, Ghostly Prisons and Mimeomancers is good stuff, especially when you are drawing two cards a turn.
    • Aven Mimeomancer - This is the all-purpose utility creature in your deck. He is not a lord per se' but he accelerates your damage clock by putting feather counters on your 1/1 birds. He's better than an actual lord, however, like that new Empyrean Eagle in Core Set 2020. The reason is for his utility. Put a feather counter on Death's Shadow and it dies. Put a feather counter on Phantasmal Image and it dies. Put a feather counter on Arclight Phoenix, and it dies when you chump a 1/1 flyer. Put a feather counter on Crackling Drake and it is just a measly 3/1. Put a feather counter on Hogaak... They sac and recast? Put a feather counter on Hogaak again. There are so many scenarios where, if Mimeomancer sticks, his feather counter ability just rocks. He often functions as "pseudo removal". Plus, you can forecast tokens with Pride of the Clouds then put a feather counter on them. Making a 3/1 flyer every turn without burning a single card in hand is just awesome.
    • Judge's Familiar - This is one of the deck's awesome 1 drop utility creatures. Saccing him let's you wipe Bridge from Below from the grave and his counter ability forces opponents to wait an additional turn to get their important sorcery or instant through. I chose him over Mausoleum Wanderer for his dual color cost. Although Mausoleum Wanderer pairs with Mimeomancer and Moorland Haunt, I felt this was ultimately not enough to justify him over Judge's Familiar
    • Giver of Runes - This is the new Mom for Modern and it is a great substitute for the Mother of Runes run in Legacy AGB. This card protects your other key creatures but demanding your opponent burns some of their removal on GoR instead. Giver of Runes also gives your creatures protection to get in for extra damage or to chump block with.
    • Faerie Seer - This is a new one-drop flyer I am coming to really love! The scry 2 is great and if you are playing a list with Spellstutter Sprite (as I often will), there is good synergy here.
    • Teferi, Time Raveler - An excellent utility Planeswalker. While his +1 ability is mostly irrelevant for AGB, Teferi's static ability and -3 abilities provide fantastic toolbox utility to the deck against control matchups or for when you need to bounce a problematic permanent.

    Matchups (under construction)

    This is an area that I will work to expand on but I have been testing this deck against several prominent decks in the format over the past couple months. The list has evolved since my initial build and I feel at this point that Angry Birds has a pretty fair chance of winning a match against some common archetypes including:

    • Humans
    • Izzet Phoenix (tested against classic and Pyromancer Ascension builds, thus far)
    • Grixis Death's Shadow
    • Spirits (all color variations, Bant, Esper, Blue/White)
    • U/W Control

    Bridgevine is a tough match but I am hoping, with proper sideboarding that this won't be a completely unwinnable pairing. Further testing needs to be done against Vizier combo, Esper Death's Shadow, Tron, Dredge and Affinity.

    I'll be working on adding more to this and finishing it out to be a full primer. Check back soon!




    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on G/r Deathtouch Ping
    Hey there guys! Sorry I haven't been around! Fluff, I actually never saw a Chameleon Colossus that whole match against Death's Shadow so I never really got to see how it fared. That said, Weltkrieg, I do feel like Lightning Bolt in the side is a great suggestion. At one point I had Obstinate Baloth in the side but actually didn't love it here (although it is one of my favorite cards).

    I confess I actually have not been playing this deck much as my buddy and I have been hard at work, porting Angry Birds to Modern in prep for an SCG pre-qualifier being held here on Saturday. I am actually hoping to start a thread in 'Deck Creation' for it in the Modern forums and I am quite excited about it! I may even get it posted tonight or later this week at the latest.

    That said, not much has changed but the last list I was messing around with was this one:



    I was trying out a singleton Kraul Stinger to have a 5th deathtouch creature with the ability to be regenerated with Swarmyard. It's probably not worth the include and may just be better as the 4th Faithless Looting honestly.
    Posted in: Budget (Modern)
  • posted a message on Glacial Stalls
    Agreed. Since the Unstable Frontier and Glacial Chasm combo does not work as I originally thought, I think probably the best option here would be to build a variation of Enchantress that uses Solemnity and the Chasm if you want a similar effect.
    Posted in: Budget (Legacy)
  • posted a message on G/r Deathtouch Ping
    Hey! Just sending this out on a quick work break so I'll share more later but I still wanted to jump in briefly with some thoughts.

    Fluff, I have considered Thornbite Staff. I do think the untap ability is fantastic but my concern with the card is how costly it is (to cast, equip, activate). It puts a pretty heavy strain on resources. I think Scryb Ranger helps to give a similar ability with untaps without being quite as costly. My concern is getting the Thornbite online is going to be slow.

    On a side note, I took G/R Ping to a local tournament this past Friday and went 2-2. The matches were as follows:

    2-1 against Izzet Phoenix
    2-0 against Humans
    0-2 against U/W Control (although game two was very close)
    0-2 against Death's Shadow (game 1 was quad Thoughtsiezed, game 2 he sided 10 creature removal cards against me)

    The Death's Shadow match was really rough but the U/W Control deck seemed winnable, especially if I just do a little more tailoring of my SB. Plus I was short a couple cards from my list online, most notably the fourth Scryb Rangers.

    Combat Celebrant was a house!
    Posted in: Budget (Modern)
  • posted a message on G/r Deathtouch Ping
    Hey everyone! Sorry I have not replied back in awhile. I have been travelling abroad in Ireland for the past couple weeks. Still not home yet so I don't have a lot of opportunity for testing until I get back but I did have some new thoughts to share.

    Thanks Pcrusader for jumping into the conversation! I'd be curious to hear what decks you tested my list against (especially the ones it was losing to). I will say there are some decks that this does not fair well against (Bogles seems like an auto-lose for Ping). Other decks like Grixis Death's Shadow, Humans, Spirits and even Phoenix seem possible to win against. Jeskai Control can be winnable with proper sideboarding, I think.

    I have not playtested against much combo, nor run into any combo decks at my local stores so I'm not too share how we fare there. My guess is not great but the SB may help.

    I have had a chance to test out Combat Celebrant at Weltkrieg's suggestion. It seems quite strong in this deck. The synergy is great and it closes games out very quickly when it gets a chance to swing in.

    Black does bring with it a lot of nice options for deathtouch creatures but I was not sold on a G/B list. You have more deathtouch creatures to choose from but you lose the consistency and speed that Red brings in getting your pingers online.

    I also have a hard time walking away from green because of Scryb Ranger which seems absolutely clutch in this deck. Scryb let's you sweep the field (killing two creatures on your turn and another when you pass the turn to your opponent) among other things.

    That said if I was going to explore another color, I'd probably look at B/R and see how that runs. Vampire Nighthawk and Gifted Aetherborn are very strong.

    A mono-black list would be interesting as well. If you build it, you should definitely share Pcrusader! I am interested in this thread being about building the best deathtouch/ping deck possible and very open to different lists being shared because that brings innovation.

    The more I think about Vraska, the less I am sure about her. She is really only good if we have a pinger online already and her main ability to give our creatures +1/+1 counters relies on us using our pingers to directly ping our opponent (or attack). My thought here is that we mostly want to be pinging their creatures, not the player themselves. And then when it comes to getting in for more damage, the process of building up those +1/+1 counters to get more damage in just seems too slow compared to other options (Combat Celebrant?).

    Given those thoughts, the ability to generate a 1/1 deathtoucher for 4 mana just seems bad. I could be wrong of course and do plan on testing her either way. Maybe she will play out better in games than it appears she will on paper.

    PS: What do you guys think about God-Eternal Rhonas? That card seems very intriguing! It's a little expensive at 5 mana but seems like it might be worth a test as maybe a one-of.

    Posted in: Budget (Modern)
  • posted a message on G/r Deathtouch Ping
    Thanks for the tip Fluff. I may try Bloodgift Demon in the deck if I go back to looking at a G/B list.

    PS: The new Vraska, Swarm's Eminence plainswalker spoiled in War of the Spark looks like a potential consideration for this deck. The wording 'deals damage' vs 'deals combat damage' is especially relevant for this deck.
    Posted in: Budget (Modern)
  • posted a message on 10 dollar gonti's
    This looks like a pretty interesting list!

    I am a little confused about how you are one-shotting people with 14 energy, however. Sacrificing is part of the cost for Gonti's Machinations so it can't be triggered multiple times. You are basically causing the same amount of life loss as Lightning Bolt per Gonti's Machination played.
    Posted in: Budget (Modern)
  • posted a message on G/r Deathtouch Ping
    Hey Fluff, I agree! Faithless Looting lends a lot of consistency to the deck. I can't believe I didn't think to run it sooner but in all my playtesting I have been very happy with it in this list.

    If anyone is curious to try playtesting the deck, I have it listed on TappedOut, here: http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/sneaky-snake-v3-copy-3/

    I also briefly messed around with a G/B list as well which I figured I'd share here for fun. I've put a lot less work into this list, FYI.

    Posted in: Budget (Modern)
  • posted a message on G/r Deathtouch Ping
    Hey Weltkrieg and Fluff!

    I appreciate all the input; it is super helpful.

    Weltkrieg, that is a really interesting suggestion. I definitely see the potential synergy and power of Combat Celebrant in this deck. I'm going to give that a try and see how that goes.

    Fluff, I am testing out a list that drops the Power of Fire for Faithless Looting. Going down to 4x Fire Whip and 4x Veridian Longbow doesn't seem too bad. Veridian helps out some with not getting two for one'd. I do like Birds. The 1 drop mana dork allows me to drop a t2 Rhonas and equip/enchant Veridian or Firewhip on t3. Against certain decks I do feel that it is crucial to get a pinger online on either t2 or t3.

    PS: I have been kicking around the idea of Blood Moon or Magus of the Moon for this deck. I've been running Chokes in the side but I think Blood Moon is better against more of the field and the manabase should support it just fine. Although, Swarmyard and Arena are anti-synergistic, bringing in Blood Moons against the right deck seems like it could be devastating.
    Posted in: Budget (Modern)
  • posted a message on G/r Deathtouch Ping
    Thanks Fluff! I was pretty sure we had interacted from before also but I wasn't 100% certain.

    I think running an extra Colossus in the side is a great idea. I did play against Death's Shadow in a local tournament. The games were really close but I ended up going 1-2 against him. This was pre-Colossus for my list though so I hope my matchup against the deck will be better now.
    Posted in: Budget (Modern)
  • posted a message on G/r Deathtouch Ping
    Hey Weltkrieg! Long-time no talk! It's great to see you again and to know that you are still out here. It is strange coming back after being a few years out of the game. I feel like there is a lot for me to catch up on. Life has changed quite a bit for me too (I'm married now!) so I don't have quite the level of time to devote to deck building as I used to. But I certainly am putting as much time into this as I possibly can and I have an interest in being competitive, not casual.

    As for this deck, I am under no illusions that this is going to suddenly become a tier deck. That said, new, competitive decks all have to start somewhere. A lot of ideas don't get there but when I have an idea, I am interested in taking it as far as I possibly can. Somewhat surprisingly (to even me!), I think there is some potential to pinging effects being competitive in this format; and I'd like to take that to its ideal, however far that goes. Outside of dropping the idea of pinging stuff (at which point this becomes another deck entirely), I am open to anything.

    I definitely have given strong consideration to running Field of Ruin in this deck. It makes a lot of sense and shores up my matchups against stuff like Tron (which I have admittedly not played against at a tournament yet). I don't see Seedborne Muse or Quest for the Gemblades being strong enough. In a much older, strictly casual version of a ping deck I had in the past, I did run both of those cards at some point, though.

    So to answer your question, I don't see this deck as being strictly ping and that is out of necessity. I need enough deathtouchers and ping activators for consistency and redundancy but I've also felt that it runs into the danger of not being able to apply the necessary pressure. This results in matches going to time and/or eventually losing to my opponent's lucky topdecking. I definitely think some combination of the deathtouch/ping soft-lock engine and then cards that apply pressure is the correct way to build this.

    Even other lists I've seen such as the G/B Longbow deck seem slow; slow enough that they lose games due to lack of applied pressure on the opponent. The other challenge I see is getting to a point in the game where I myself am in top deck mode. Going into topdeck and whiffing on a bunch of land draws is rough.

    I have definitely considered the fight mechanics. Things like Prey Upon are great but in this deck I have to ask myself "is this better than something that gives my creature ping to do the same thing but repeatedly?" Since this deck is built around mopping up creature strategies, I haven't necessarily felt the need for more spot-creature removal. That said, I did mess around with a green/black version of the deck in which I ran a playset of Ulvenwald Tracker.

    Further down this post, I'll share a new test list I have been working with. There are a few changes I've made and one that I really like is the addition of a 1-of Arena. At first I didn't like it, but a fetchable, uncounterable, difficult to remove "ping" card really gives this deck a way to work around some problems while also increasing consistency. Plus Arena works on tapped creatures as well. Consider this. You have Rhonas enchanted with Power of Fire. The opponent has two creatures out and you don't have a Scryb Rangers in play for double activations. With Arena in play, you can ping one creature with Rhonas, then activate Arena to have Rhonas fight the other creature, clearing out both creatures on the field. Being able to kill more than one creature off one active pinger is amazing for this deck against other decks that have the ability to go wide and play around one ping activation a turn. I have found that few decks can deal with two creature kills per turn.

    The Fluff, thanks for the great suggestion. I also found Shapers' Sanctuary to be ultimately lacking in the main as I playtested it more. It may find some slots in the SB but I'm not sure yet. I can't believe I haven't tried Faithless Looting in that slot yet. It's one of the best cards in red and if I can find a way to fit it in, I think it would help the deck filter greatly. Since pulling Shapers' Sanctuary, I tried testing Keen Sense again which is what originally filled that slot but feel it can be a bit "win more". If I can land a Keen Sense and start drawing cards off of it, I'm probably winning the game anyways.

    I actually swapped out the Ripjaw Raptor to try Hornet Nest again and also Chameleon Colossus. I have Chameleon in the slot currently and like it. The Colossus closes out games quickly and plays nice with Swarmyard. Plus protection from Black is nice against Fatal Push and a host of other Modern cards like Death's Shadow. For the slot of Shapers' Sanctuary, I tried running Smuggler's Copter (snakes on a plane!!! Lol) and liked that it helped filter cards while also getting in for damage and making lone one-drop deathtouchers or an inactive Rhonas more useful. Then I considered actually just running Ripjaw Raptor in place of Shaper's Sanctuary and having both Chameleon Colossus and Ripjaw in the list. Running more activators for Rhonas means he can also attack more often. It's a way to go up on beaters without hurting the consistency of the ping engine. I've also tried Thrun, the Last Troll in this spot for a little more resilience. Plus, I like Thrun with cards like Arena.

    Here's the most recent list I've been playing around with, subject to change:



    I have been playtesting the deck a lot on TappedOut against as many major archetypes as I can. I am starting to record my results so I can more systematically determine the deck's weak matchups and evaluate why those are tough matchups and whether there are ways of finetuning the main deck to improve win percentages. Once I have enough data, I'll post it on here for reference. Once the maindeck is feeling about as solid as I can make it, I'll spend some more time working on the SB.

    Thanks to you both for your great feedback on this! I am interested to hear any more thoughts or opinions you have, especially on this most recent list.

    PS: I posted the list in Budget because it is under $400 to build and I felt that it was more budget in costs but I am wondering if 'Developing' would have been a more suitable forum for this.

    PPS: I like the way the deck plays now but I have considered whether I am running the right ratio of ping activators. Currently, the deck is running 11x plus Arena. I have considered testing a list that goes down to 8x (Longbow and Firewhip) and uses the free slots to up the creature threat density and/or card filtering
    Posted in: Budget (Modern)
  • posted a message on G/r Deathtouch Ping
    G/R Deathtouch Ping



    About the Deck

    G/r Deathtouch Ping is exactly what the name suggests. This mid-range deck tries to an early game pinging deathtoucher to interact with and clear the opponent's field out for a win. Ideal plays are T1 play Narnam Renegade or Wasteland Viper, T2 Enchant with Power of Fire or Fire Whip and also T1 Birds of Paradise, T2 Rhonas the Indomitable, T3 enchant or equip with ping ability.

    Rhonas is a great, resilient early game pinger that can slow your opponent's game plan and give you time to build up a board state they can't deal with. Of course, these cards demand an opponent to interact with our cards (kill creatures/enchantments) or be locked out of the game early. Cards like Ripjaw Raptor, Shapers' Sanctuary and Viridian Longbow give us some resilience and staying power against decks that come packing a good suite of removal themselves. Finally, Scryb Ranger is an MVP that allows us to get multiple ping interactions off one pinger, to perform combat tricks (attack then untap for blockers) and to round out/accelerate mana when needed (tap forest play forest, tap again, untap Birds of Paradise, etc). Finally Rhonas and Ripjaw get in for beats, applying pressure that a ping deck sorely needs.

    There are other deathtouch ping lists out there (like G/B Longbow for instance) but they are all lacking something IMHO, whether that is speed, consistency or resiliency or just the ability to apply enough pressure. This is my attempt at building a ping deck addresses some of those shortfalls.

    A Personal Introduction

    Hey everyone! This will be my first post on MTG Salvation in at least a couple years. I've been an MTG player since 2009 and up until recently, my friends and I have been primarily Legacy players. We were frequenters of the local Legacy tournament scene here in AZ but as card prices have risen, the pool of Legacy players has dwindled. A couple years ago the Legacy scene hit an all-time low and my buddies and I were showing up at the local game shops for Legacy tournaments that weren't firing off due to too few players. Legacy died out and I went on hiatus with it. My MTG days became relegated to the kitchen table gatherings my group continued to have once a month.

    But then a few months ago one of my buddies told me he had built a few Modern tournament decks (Spirits and Arclight Phoenix) and was starting to go to tournaments again. He suggested I join him. And now here I am.

    I've always been a player who runs off-the-wall stuff and prefers to brew his own builds for competitive play. My favorite deck I ever built was Angry Birds for Legacy which has a primer in the budget section of the Legacy forums here. I've also piloted Four Horsemen (before the slow play rule change), Spanish Inquisition in all its forms, Foodchain Elves and a G/W aggro/tempo deck called Dubstep I made for Legacy. That should give an idea to some of the obscure things I like to play.

    That said, I still had little experience with Modern. My friend suggested I join him for a tournament and since I didn't want to put too much investment into the format initially, I looked through the already built decks I own for something that could be ported to Modern easily. Low and behold, I realized my G/R ping deathtouch deck I had built for casual play was already mostly modern legal. I wondered what would happen if I tried to tune the deck to be more competitive. The gears started turning for the first time in a while and I set off to work. In the end, I came up with this initial list:



    I had the chance to do some rough playtesting on TappedOut against my friend's Arclight Phoenix list, Bant Spirits and Death's Shadow. My deck wasn't just rolling over and folding so I figured that was a good sign, although, I was still hesitant to go to a tournament, figuring I was going to get walked all over. My buddy and I figured control decks would probably be the toughest matchup for the list.

    Anyways, I won't spend too much time breaking down the list above because it is not my current list today. Needless to say, I went to my first Modern tournament with that deck up there and a hodgepodge sideboard with some Choke, Trinisphere, Beast Within, gravehate and I don't remember what else.

    I went into the tournament with my unrefined pile of 75, flying pretty blind on the Modern Meta and walked out having gone 2-2 in the rounds, winning 5 games and losing 3. Not fantastic but certainly better than I hoped for in my first Modern tournament! More importantly, I walked out with a lot of knowledge.

    I played against Jeskai Control (Lost first game, won second, went to turns in the third and gave the win to him). Round two I was against some sort of U/R control deck with Kiki combo as the finisher. I lost both games to that deck although they were fairly close games (I got him to 3 life game one and 1 life game two). Game three was against my friend and his U/W spirits deck. I took that game 2-0 and then the final round was against a U/W wall aggro deck which I had a very strong two games against.

    Against the control decks, I did not have the ability to put enough pressure on them to push through the permission to win. It was as my friend and I expected; my ping deck has a weaker matchup against grindy control decks that can outgrind me. So I went back to the drawing boards and in the past month or so have put together the following list.

    The Decklist



    So far, the deck is running pretty smoothly. While I understand that this idea is likely never going to be Tier 1 or Tier 2 material, my goal really is to see how far I can take the idea to build the most competitive ping deathtouch deck possible. After doing some research online, I've come across a Modern G/B deathtouch deck running Viridian Longbow that has been featured in an article or two and some YouTube videos so I know the idea has some merit. Plus my playtesting suggests it is a deck that can steal some wins against other competitive decks.

    I'll be revising and adding to this primary post later but for now I wanted to mention a few thoughts on the deck. If you can get a pinging deathtoucher up and running on the field, most decks that rely on creatures to win are going to struggle. One of the things I don't like about the G/B Longbow lists is that they are limited to the equipment and miss out on the opportunity to run the red enchantments that give ping. The inclusion of red allows us to up the number of ping effects in the deck for redundancy but they also do something far more important, IMHO. The bring speed.

    With the number of efficient 1 mana deathtouch creatures these days, this seems significant. On turn one, you drop a deathtoucher then turn two cast either a Firewhip or Power of Fire for an active pinger on turn two. This kind of play forces the other player to have an answer in hand or otherwise be shut out earlier on in the game.

    Granted, most decks do run a fair amount of removal which is where I have worked to add in some resiliency. Deadly Recluse has this cute interaction with Swarmyard that does a great job of blanking most red removal and some primary black removal such as Fatal Push. Rhonas the Indomitable is indestructible as well. Rhonas is an amazing card for this deck because he adds resilience and is a great target for a ping enchantment (he does not need to be active to ping). He also speeds up our clock by boosting our creatures' power once we have cleared the field. I was originally running Hornet Nest in the deck to pair with a ping enchantment but there were times where Hornet Nest was honestly a dead card in the hand or on the board (even with its nice synergy with Swarmyard). Then I discovered Ripjaw Raptor which is an intrinsically great card on its own (speeding up our clock, turning on Rhonas, refilling our hand) but also very synergistic with the ping enchantments also. Shapers' Sanctuary also helps to rebuild our hand and punish the opponent for interacting with our creatures. And if they aren't targeting our creatures, chances are they are losing anyways.

    Scryb Ranger is an MVP. Its ability pairs nicely with our land drops and Birds of Paradise to ramp mana for us. It also allows us to ping multiple times with one creature (ping once, use Scryb's ability to return a forest, replay the forest, ping again, then pass turn and activate his ability on opponent's turn to ping a third time). This means you can machine gun the field or draw a cluster of cards off of Ripjaw Raptor. Scryb also as the benefit of blocking certain flying humans and spirits.

    I'll be sure to work on organizing this post a little better in the coming days but wanted to at least get something out here to share. I'm looking for feedback and ideas on this. I know other deathtouch ping lists exist but I've always felt they could have been improved on. This is my take and I'd like to get some extra eyes on it to help refine the list.


    Posted in: Budget (Modern)
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