Modern Melira Pod, Archangel Spike Pod, and Junk/Abzan Pod Primer
Turn 1 Windswept Heath into Temple Garden into Birds of Paradise, Turn 2 Forest into Birthing Pod is one of the most infamous starts of Modern. It quickly leads into tutoring for the creatures that annoy your opponent the most, followed by resilient, big beats. Your opponent tapped out or went Hellbent without hate permanents? Quickly tutor for the remaining infinite combo pieces and kill them without warning...if you bothered to stick a combo in your deck. Your opponent is deathly afraid of the combo and is holding up mana and a bluff card all the time? Tutor for resilient, big beats instead and punish them for sandbagging removal. Your opponent threatens to OHKO you before you can take them down to 0 life? Tutor for the hate bears that your opponent least wants to see. Your opponent may get so annoyed by Birthing Pod that s/he boards in cards that specifically answer only it.
Melira Pod was around during some of Modern's oldest times, back when Cloudpost was still legal and 12-Post was a premier deck. Angel Pod was born relatively recently with Magic 2014's release, and No Combo Junk/Abzan Pod started being prominent with Khans of Tarkir's release.
It’s a Melira Combo (and/or Archangel Spike Combo, or No Combo) deck. It’s a Birthing Pod deck. Stop looking at me funny; this deck is the real deal. It’s got the combo win with Turn 1 Viscera Seer, Turn 2 Melira, Sylvok Outcast, Turn 3 Kitchen Finks (gain infinite life), and Turn 4 Murderous Redcap (Plague Wind and good game), and it can grind it out past hate with Birthing Pod tutoring for your answers or more creature tutors. Oh, heck, Pod often steals entire games, even if you don’t stick a combo in your deck. What? You’re still suspicious? Here, I’ll answer your questions:
Doesn’t Melira Pod just fold to Meddling Mage naming Melira?
No, it doesn’t. Just because we can’t play Melira doesn’t mean we can’t pop her out with Birthing Pod or a dead Protean Hulk. Besides, we can play a good enough aggro game to force the Mage to block our Finks eventually.
I hear some builds run Body Double and no blue mana land sources.
Body Double, although it is essential to the Protean Hulk kill, is not always needed for this deck to win. Sometimes, this deck just...you know...combos out. Besides, if all else fails, Birds of Paradise is in your deck, isn’t it?
I’ve got the perfect hate card for you—Grafdigger’s Cage. How do you like that?
We don’t like that card at all. Now, we can’t search for our answers to hate so efficiently. One way to fight that card is to pack Qasali Pridemage, Harmonic Sliver, Abrupt Decay, Maelstrom Pulse, or other Naturalize effects in our 75. There we go—we should be able to pick that card off in a timely fashion...
Why shouldn’t I play Twin Pod instead?
If you’re in a meta full of RG Tron and red board wipes, you’re right—why don’t you play Twin Pod instead? It’s got better match-ups against those decks because of its swifter combo and fatter creatures, and you can read more about it here!
But, if you’re in a meta full of combo decks, Infect, graveyard-abusing decks, and Wraths, you should play Melira Pod because it has better match-ups than Twin Pod against those decks. Our targeted discard doesn’t suck up as much tempo as Twin Pod’s counterspells against combo, Melira hoses Infect (while they may be stuck boarding in Melira), and we play more creatures that survive, make guys after, or come back after a Wrath than Twin Pod does.
...Alternately, you can play both decks, like I do. Each Pod deck has its own different flavour. Even if you’ve found which one you like best, that doesn’t stop you from enjoying both decks.
I hear Twin Pod can assemble their entire combo from a Kitchen Finks and a Birthing Pod. How can you do the same?
Yup, we can do the same, too. Pod Finks into Ranger of Eos and search for two Viscera Seers. Play both Seers and Pod one of them into Melira. Pod Finks again, this time into Murderous Redcap. Win. It takes 3 turns, yes, but I bet those Twin Pod guys take almost as long to get their combo out from the same stuff.
I think that should be good now. What? You want to know why we picked the stuff we did? Here’s a card-by-card guide to everything in Melira Pod and Archangel Spike Pod:
You want in on Junk/Abzan-coloured Pod action now, but you don't know how to start building your Pod deck? Here are the Pod card choices:
The Only Reasons You’re Playing Melira Pod
Persist Dude Polishers Melira, Sylvok Outcast: Making your opponents’ creatures lose Infect isn’t the reason you play her—the absolutely sick interaction with Persist dudes is. Grab her, a Persist dude, and a sac outlet, and you’ll either win the game or make it that much harder to lose.
Master Biomancer: Not only is this another Melira, it makes your upcoming guys significantly fatter—your late-game mana dorks are now threats! Splashing blue can be ugly, though.
Ranger of Eos: He's only found in Pod decks with Viscera Seers in them, but he's awesome at finding Seers.
Cartel Aristocrat: If you want another sac outlet, she isn’t a bad option. She’s Grizzly Bears-sized on her own, she survives Pyroclasm when your other men don’t, and when you’re stuck chump blocking, she’s a thorn who keeps blocking.
Varolz, the Scar-Striped: If you’re in the market for a third sac outlet, Varolz definitely delivers. Not only does he survive Pyroclasm and Supreme Verdict, but he also refreshes Persist and pumps your other men with his omni-Scavenge ability!
Bloodthrone Vampire: Prefer sac outlets that can get infinitely large? Try this guy...as long as you like 2-mana 1/1’s!
The Only Reasons You’re Playing Archangel Spike Pod
Spike Feeder: You can pop it and gain 4 life in a pinch—that’s why Living End sideboards it—and you can also pop Phantasmal Images and refresh Persist, but really, you’re here for infinite life and power.
Archangel of Thune: Not only does it combo with an infinite sac outlet and Kitchen Finks for infinite life and power, it also combos with Spike Feeder for infinite life and power! It can also grow your army pretty fast when combined with Scavenging Ooze with dead creatures or Courser of Kruphix with fetchlands.
Kitchen Finks: It gains you infinite life with the combo out. It’s found in sideboards of a ton of decks. It gains you 4 life, trades with a Kird Ape, and blocks a Tarmogoyf against Zoo. It makes RDW cry. Run 4.
Murderous Redcap: Want to close out the game with your Persist dude? Grab this guy, and he’ll not only deal infinite damage to your opponent, he’ll also kill Platinum Angel for you. Additionally, he’s removal in a pinch.
Reveillark: Did Melira get countered? Did the Seer get Dismembered? Raise them both (and Murderous Redcap) with Reveillark! Also gives your hate bears another round of fun! Plus, with Body Double, Viscera Seer, and Murderous Redcap, you have a backdoor infinite combo!
Eternal Witness: Returning target anything from your graveyard to your hand sounds pretty nice.
Entomber Exarch: It’s a bigger spare Eternal Witness that only gets creatures or a guy that forces your opponent to discard noncreature cards...a bit late. Well, I guess it’s a spare Eternal Witness that only gets creatures.
Body Double: It’s an essential piece of the Protean Hulk insta-win combo. It also doubles as a final dead combo piece in a pinch.
Sun Titan: Stick this guy and you’ll probably win the game. You can raise Viscera Seer, Melira, and Kitchen Finks endlessly, not to mention all the other fun creatures you can get maximal value from.
Havengul Lich: If you can spare the blue mana, being able to pull out every combo piece in your graveyard and every single hate bear has to be pretty good. Stealing your opponent’s creatures is also pretty funny. Shame reviving guys is so expensive, though.
Hex Parasite: It can’t play the role of Melira—it costs too much to take counters off guys—but it makes turning Kitchen Finks into the entire combo much easier. Pod Finks into Ranger of Eos, search for a Viscera Seer and this guy, then play this guy and take the counter off of Finks. Pod this guy into Melira and play the Seer and you’re done.
Athreos, God of Passage: Opponents either keep losing life or you start recurring creatures—which tends to be game over for them when you have Birthing Pod out or those guys have Persist, ETB abilities, or LTB abilities. He’s fairly easily outraced, though.
Timely Hordemate: Think you can attack often? Then get a guy who revives a creature with converted mana cost 2 or less from the dead!
Noble Hierarch: Need more mana dorks? This guy is the second best at fixing your mana for you. Exalted also helps if you turn into the beatdown.
Avacyn’s Pilgrim: It’s a white mana-producing mana dork with power greater than 0. It could help.
Wall of Roots: It’s the ultimate mana dork—it doesn’t need to tap to produce mana, and it blocks creatures like a king while it does so! It can also count as 2 mana for Chord of Calling, so you can cheat in some unexpectedly large creatures while doing so.
Llanowar Elves: It’s a mana dork with power greater than 0. It could be useful.
Boreal Druid: It’s yet another mana dork with power greater than 0. It could help.
Wood Elves: I guess if you need lands that badly...
Devoted Druid: No, it does not produce infinite mana with Melira out—since you can’t put -1/-1 counters on your creatures, you can’t pay to untap it. However, it is a 2 cmc mana dork that can potentially produce 2 mana in a turn.
Courser of Kruphix: Shoving lands off the top of our library had better virtually draw us cards eventually. The life gain and big rear end are also nifty. Really want that card advantage? Keep shuffling your library with fetchlands and Birthing Pod! ...Hey, the moment you play Birthing Pod, your opponent likely knows what deck you’re on, anyway.
Fauna Shaman: Need answers fast? This girl is a nice creature tutor.
Restoration Angel: Not only does this chubby Angel save guys from removal, she also wipes -1/-1 counters off Persist dudes, triggers various “enters the battlefield” and “leaves the battlefield” abilities, and flies straight over potential blockers. With her in the deck, the answer to “Should I process that Kitchen Finks with no counters on it through the Birthing Pod?” is always yes. Heck, you can run 4 of her and I won’t complain.
Spellskite: Does removal keep getting aimed at Melira? Stop those shenanigans with this life-eating magnetic wall! Also stop those shenanigans involving Splinter Twin, other Auras, and pump spells with this metallic creature!
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben: We run like, what, 12 noncreature spells max? She’ll tax the dickens out of them! Yes, she hampers Chord of Calling, Birthing Pod, and our discard and removal, but not as badly as Teeg.
Gaddock Teeg: Does Wrath of God stump all your plans? Is UR Storm trying to resolve Past in Flames? Do Engineered Explosives blow up everything you land? Recruit the best Kithkin ever and you’ll never be foiled again! Shame you can’t resolve Chord of Calling and Birthing Pod with him out, but them’s the breaks.
Sin Collector: Want a worse Duress on legs that eliminates the card forever, no strings attached? Sin Collector can do the job for you. Just keep an eye on how often he whiffs if you want to maindeck 1 of him.
Phyrexian Metamorph: Want a valuable creature on your opponent’s side of the field, but can’t afford the blue mana for Sower of Temptation? Want another Birthing Pod? Run this versatile guy, and it’ll do all of that and more...except actually kill legendary creatures!
Phantasmal Image: Are you lucky enough to have access to blue mana? Then you’re lucky enough to have a much cheaper Clone! Copying Persist guys is pretty fun, as it’s bound to come back if it gets targeted.
Siege Rhino: It gains one less life than Obstinate Baloth, but it blocks Goyf better, the Trample can be handy, and that life drain can definitely help you race.
Obstinate Baloth: When four life gain critters aren’t enough, add a fifth larger one to your crew. Against Jund, it’s also not as dead in your opening hand.
Kor Firewalker: Sick and tired of RDW? Want your hate bear to also do something against UR Storm? Try this guy!
Tree of Redemption: So you say that, despite the fact you run 4 Kitchen Finks and at least one Obstinate Baloth in the sideboard, that you still have trouble against aggro. Well, if you do, exchange your life total with this 4-drop’s decent toughness and you just might be able to stall them out for at least another turn.
Spot Creature Removal
Shriekmaw: Podding into this guy is fairly hard, but Evoking it is pretty cheap, and Fear definitely helps you break board stalls.
Nekrataal: It costs 1 mana less than Shriekmaw and takes care of much the same stuff, especially when Podded out.
Polukranos, World Eater: Want some flexibility between killing multiple X/1’s, X/2’s like Leonin Arbiter, and the occasional X/3? This guy not only kills those weenies, it also walls Goyf and swings with a vengeance. Just beware of removal in response to Monstrosity.
Silent Arbiter: Sick and tired of Exarch Twin’s infinite men? Need to patch up a weakness to tokens further? Finally, a hate bear that doesn’t die to Flame Slash!
Windborn Muse: Forcing opponents to pay mana for each attacking creature can make them not attack you at all. Being able to block fliers and evasively swing for the win helps.
Scavenging Ooze: Most graveyards in Modern don’t suddenly fill up in one turn. Scavenging Ooze eliminates our opponents’ slowly filling graveyards pretty well, and it gains life and turns into a fearsome beater to boot.
Dryad Militant: Biggest 1-drop hate bear ever? Yup! Keeps instants and sorceries from falling into graveyards? Yup! She’s a bit tricky to Pod into, but she’s very cheap to Chord for.
Fulminator Mage: Do you hate Tron? Is that Creeping Tar Pit clocking you faster than you think you’ll be able to get out the combo? Do you just want to keep Teachings off of 4 mana? Get this guy and you won’t be disappointed.
Avalanche Riders: Lucky enough to splash red? Then you can play a land-blasting dude who can blow up basics and not have to die in order to blow up lands!
Voice of Resurgence: Hoses counterspells, end-of-turn shenanigans, and removal on your turn worse than Grand Abolisher, but the body it leaves behind when it dies can be pretty impressive. ...So it's also anti-Edicts.
Grand Abolisher: Hoses counterspells, end-of-turn shenanigans, removal on your turn, and more.
Vexing Shusher: This deck doesn’t need him so much—Birthing Pod gets around so many counterspells—but he could find a spot anyway.
Yosei, the Morning Star: He fills the crucial role of being often the only 6-drop in the deck. Pod him for a Protean Hulk and your opponent should not be able to aim removal at the game-winning creature.
Tarmogoyf: At 2 mana, it’s the cheapest of big, dumb men. If you like Pod midrange decks, it’s not a bad choice.
Baneslayer Angel: We should do well enough against control, anyway (they need to remove every single combo piece, then they die to Reveillark and Ranger of Eos), but sometimes you really, really need the extra life and a win-con against red-based decks.
Thrun, the Last Troll: Are you up against a deck with a metric ton of spot removal, and do their attackers also look scary? Try Thrun on for size! He’s an absolute thorn to many decks, anyway.
Wurmcoil Engine: Stuck 3 Obstinate Baloths in your sideboard and still have problems with Jund? Try this guy! If Liliana of the Veil wants a sacrifice, sac it and make tiny Wurms. If Birthing Pod wants a sacrifice, same deal.
Grave Titan: Need to break board stalls in style? Get this 6-drop!
Other Fun Stuff Blasting Station: This is a spare sacrifice outlet that combos with Kitchen Finks (and not just Murderous Redcap) for infinite damage. You can also throw mana dorks to it to kill X/1’s, and if you time playing creatures right, you can kill bigger stuff and burn heads for significant amounts. Just be aware that you cannot search for it with any of your tutors.
Chalice of the Void: If you never want to lose to Burn or Delver again, this is a restrictive but decent sideboard option.
Disruption Choke: Keep facing blue-based decks? Now you can keep Gifts from resolving a second board wipe and turn Creeping Tar Pit into a joke, all in one handy-dandy little card!
Stony Silence: Truly desperate to shut up RG Tron? Also want an edge against Affinity? Try this and forget about using Birthing Pod!
Stain the Mind: Like your odds of getting 3 creatures and 2 lands by Turn 3 better than your odds of getting 1 mana dork and 3 lands? Try this instead of Memoricide!
Creature Removal Path to Exile: We’re in white. This boots every single problematic creature we can think of and plenty that aren’t. Why not?
Dismember: Sick of giving your opponent extra lands? Can’t find enough white mana for Path to Exile? Why not play this? We’re in black, anyway, so if we don’t feel like paying life, we can just pay more mana.
Slaughter Pact: Want free removal (well, free on the turn you cast it)? Want creature-based combo decks to think they’re safe when you tap out, then get kicked down by surprise? Not afraid of Bob or Olivia Voldaren? Try this!
Murderous Cut: Sick of paying life? Sick of giving opponents lands? Sick of not being able to boot Anafenza, Bob, or Siege Rhino? Willing to wait a little for your removal to become live? Try this!
Razorverge Thicket: Finally, a dual land that enters the battlefield untapped during that crucial first turn without costing life in any way! ...It sucks considerably more if it’s your fourth land drop or later, though, but those first few turns are pretty important!
Woodland Cemetery: Love lands that produce both green and black mana? Think you’ll reliably get Forests or Swamps out? Love this land!
Horizon Canopy: Sometimes, you just want to pay 1 mana and sacrifice a land to draw a card. This card also fixes your mana while you wait for that desperate moment.
Gemstone Caverns: It’s a solution to the “Body Double stuck in hand” problem...if you're not going first. I suppose a speed boost is always good, though.
Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx: Want to make scads and scads of mana mid- to late-game, often green but sometimes black or white? Try this card!
Utility Ghost Quarter: Let me guess—manlands are getting at you, and Tron is ramping in your face. This card can help, but the colourless mana production can take this off the list of lands to consider.
Tectonic Edge: See above, except it doesn’t give your opponent a land, but it’s somewhat slower to get active.
Dryad Arbor: If you need to Pod into Viscera Seer, this is the 0 cmc creature for you. Remember, fetchlands can get this card.
Gavony Township: It can refresh your Persist dudes if you already had to throw them in front of creatures or they ate removal. Turning your Birds of Paradise into actual threats is also funny.
Banned Olden Goldies
Green Sun’s Zenith: It’d be even better now with Varolz, the Scar-Striped released. It was pretty good and fast at searching for green creatures, whether they be combo pieces or hate, and it was the best Llanowar Elves ever when it searched for Dryad Arbor. Shame Zoo and Elves liked it too much.
Deathrite Shaman: It’s arguably the best mana dork in the game. It makes decks splash both green and black just for it in Legacy and Vintage. It virtually swings for an unblockable 2 power for quite a few turns, gains life, and hates on graveyards. For doing all that for 1 mana, it got banned.
Great, now you want Melira Pod, Angel Pod, and Junk/Abzan Pod decklists. All right, here they are:
You’re still not satisfied? You want to know how well the Pod variants do against the field? Well, read this:
Affinity Tested: Post-Theros, pre-Born of the Gods Pre-board: Even (~50% win rate) (10 wins – 10 losses in playtest)
Give Affinity a decent hand and it will roll you. See Affinity mulligan to 5 cards in hand or less and you will be substantially more likely to win. Pray Affinity can’t mulligan into a decent hand to save its life—it does that surprisingly often.
For your first few turns, aim to survive. Prioritize hitting their most powerful cards (Cranial Plating, Master of Etherium, Steel Overseer, Signal Pest) with your removal, but be prepared to sometimes hit some shifty stuff like Vault Skirge. Be prepared to make your Birds of Paradise block. You’d be surprised how often they fold to your larger swarm beats after your remove their first few guys—that’s consolation for the fact that you won’t often have time to combo off against them.
Beware of Galvanic Blast if you attempt to combo off or extract Persist value out of Melira. Just be thankful that she stops Inkmoth Nexus dead.
Hey ! I spent the whole night playing hardcore against the Burn list that made top8 at the GP Madrid Trial : Cruise Burn. That list has been surprisingly very good against Angel Pod, Treasure Cruise is tough to beat !
Post-SB, it seems Eidolon of the Great Revel isn't... great as its parallel effect helps us racing.
Against other lists, I noticed Flames of the Blood Hand was good, Rakdos Charm was good, Vexing Devil was bad, Molten Rain was bad or situationnally good. Overall I had a lot of trouble winning matches against that specific list, as I didn't allow any misplay from the Burn side.
Here's my thing, on 30 matches, where some of them were 2-0, that's why the post-SB games stop at 30 games :
Tested: Angel Pod, Post Khans of Tarkir - Nov 2014 - 20 matches.
Pre-board: Slightly favorable (12 wins - 8 losses)
Post-board: Even (15 wins - 15 losses)
With 6-8 lifegain cards in the maindeck, we can safely hope for a decent opening hand and/or good draws. we cannot do anything against an opposing goldfish unfortunately. Treasure Cruise is a strong addition to the deck as it allows Burn to set up pressure past turn 6.
Keep in mind game 1:
- Avoid opening hands with 3+ fetchlands / shocklands,
- Shock yourself the least possible and search for basics or let lands enter the battlefield tapped,
- Play around Skullcrack in all circumstances,
- Abrupt Decay your own Kitchen Finks if necessary,
- Don't hesitate to chumpblock if you have a Scavenging Ooze waiting for food,
- Avoid Birthing Pod turn 2-3, it's not worth the lifeloss.
This match-up is so blazing fast that Birthing Pod and Chord of Calling actually start being a little slow. Use them wisely and creatively in Game 1 and be prepared to board some of them out.
Especially if they play Deathrite Shaman, this match-up is surprisingly tough. You can stick 2 Kitchen Finks in a single game and still lose, and not just to well-timed Skullcracks. They’ll slam Bolt after Bolt in your face (and at your poor Deathrite Shamans), and this deck’s aggro game is often not fast enough to race it.
You generally can’t combo off fast enough—you’re better off trading Melira with their Goblin Guide and recovering her or getting another later. Board combo pieces out afterwards.
If you can avoid playing shocklands untapped without absolutely wrecking your own tempo, always, always do it. You need to conserve as much of your life total as possible.
This is another blazing fast match-up. Birthing Pod and Chord of Calling also start being a little slow here. Again, use them wisely and creatively in Game 1 and be prepared to board some of them out.
You’ll probably notice one thing in common between all the games you win—you traded off a ton of Kitchen Finks and/or Voice of Resurgence in them. Don’t be afraid to chump with Voice, and don’t be afraid to trade off just about everything in your deck with their guys, including Melira (except for Cartel Aristocrat, Varolz, the Scar-Striped, maybe Scavenging Ooze, and maybe Deathrite Shaman).
Early Ghor-Clan Rampager Bloodrushes tend to swing games and make them keep guys they would otherwise have traded away. Instant-speed removal like Abrupt Decay can turn those into blowouts in your favour, but you won’t always have the removal, even post-board (especially since they’ll start to Bloodrush only when you’re tapped out).
And yeah, if they play at least two Burning-Tree Emissarys on their Turn 2, be prepared to punt anyway later in that game. Their nuts hands are really hard to contain.
Exarch Twin Tested: Post-Magic 2013, pre-Return to Ravnica Pre-board: Unfavourable (~30% win rate) (6 wins – 14 losses in playtest)
This is a tough one. Melira Pod generally cannot win fast enough with beats or the combo, so it has to slow Exarch Twin down with hate bears. Linvala is the most effective one, as she cuts off Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker, Splinter Twin (it grants creatures activated abilities), Spellskite, and Grim Lavamancer, but she is fairly slow to get out. Spellskite is the second most effective, as it hoses Splinter Twin and Grim Lavamancer, but it will not keep Kiki-Jiki from working his magic or opposing Spellskites from protecting him. Qasali Pridemage is not bad, as it hoses Splinter Twin and kills Spellskite, Gaddock Teeg at least hoses Splinter Twin, and Thalia can sometimes slow Exarch Twin down long enough for you to win.
However, the reality is that all those hate bears die to Flame Slash, and most of them die at instant speed to Grim Lavamancer or Electrostatic Bolt. The latter two can also effectively keep you from comboing off yourself. You need a critical mass of hate bears to guarantee a win, and even then, they can just off your most important one and combo off. The most embarrassing situation is when you swing with hate bears and they die to flashed-in spare Deceiver Exarchs or Pestermites.
Tutoring for your hate bears should be your first priority, but be prepared for Chord of Calling eating Dispel, Birthing Pod being Remanded all day, and both being hit by the occasional Spell Pierce.
Jund Tested: Post-Magic 2013, pre-Return to Ravnica Pre-board: Favourable (~60-70% win rate) (14 wins – 6 losses in playtest)
Melira Pod is built to be resilient to spot removal, and it shows in this match-up. Despite Jund’s 9 spot removal spells (4 Lightning Bolt, 3 Maelstrom Pulse, 2 Terminate) and 3 Liliana of the Veils, you’d be surprised how often you win by comboing off. Jund Charm is fairly problematic, though, and you should expect to lose more often if you come up against this card.
This is a match-up of card advantage. Overload them with recursive creatures and Gavony Township shenanigans and you should win. Their Bob is quite possibly the most valuable creature in the deck against you. Grim Lavamancer is very good, too, if they play it. Removing those guys should be your first priority over removing other creatures in this match-up.
Remember that you can royally screw over Liliana of the Veil if she -1’s immediately by sacrificing Murderous Redcap to her and pinging her after it Persists. Also remember every way you can abuse Birthing Pod with your build of the deck.
RG Artifact Tron/Karn Tron/RG Tron Tested: Post-Magic 2013, pre-Return to Ravnica Pre-board: Heavily unfavourable (~20% win rate) (4 wins - 16 losses in playtest)
This is a pretty ugly match-up. RG Artifact Tron runs around 16 outs to the Melira Combo (4 Pyroclasm, 4 Relic of Progenitus, 4 Karn Liberated, 2 Oblivion Stone, 1 Emrakul, 1 Ulamog), so you can’t count on comboing out to win. Even if you gain infinite life with Kitchen Finks, RG Artifact Tron can still stop you from pulling out Murderous Redcap profitably, stick an Eldrazi to continuously wipe your board, and then it can win by decking you out and discarding Eldrazi to ensure its library is bigger than yours, or it can restart the game with Karn, reduce you to 20 life, and still have an Eldrazi thanks to Karn. (Needless to say, RG Artifact Tron wins that game.)
You need to become hard beatdown to win. You won’t often be fast enough. Delay them for as long as possible with LD bears, Aven Mindcensor, and Thalia. Chord of Calling in Phyrexian Metamorph, Nekrataal, or Shriekmaw to kill Emrakul. Blow up Wurmcoil Engine, exposed Expedition Maps, and Relic of Progenitus with artifact-killing hate bears. Foil Karn with well-timed Restoration Angels or well-placed Spellskites. Nullify Pyroclasm with Burrenton Forge-Tender or Dauntless Escort. It won’t be easy, but you might be able to steal a few games against RG Artifact Tron. (Don’t be afraid to Pod away Melira in this match-up.)
UW Restoration Tempo Tested: Post-Magic 2013, pre-Return to Ravnica Pre-board: Even (~50% win rate) (10 wins – 10 losses in playtest)
For a deck with only 4-6 removal spells (4 Path to Exile, 0-2 Dismember), UW Restoration Tempo is pretty decent against you. It’s probably the 2-for-1s like Snapcaster Mage, Augur of Bolas, and Restoration Angel that do it. By the time they show up, they’ve already done at least half their job. Then their flying beaters kill you.
Birthing Pod gets around so many counterspells that it isn’t funny. It will win games for you against this deck. Sadly, it’s pretty prone to getting countered itself. Chord of Calling suffers similar problems against this deck, and pushes your tempo back to boot.
Lure their counterspells with everything that costs 3 or more mana and you may coast your way to victory. Turning your mana dorks into an army with the uncounterable Gavony Township is also pretty good against them.
UWR Wafo-Tapa Control Tested: Post-Magic 2014, pre-Theros Pre-board: Favourable (~60% win rate) (12 wins – 8 losses in playtest)
Playtest figures may be deceiving. This match-up is pretty rough and stressful—for both parties, actually. A single mistake can lead to a loss, no matter who makes it.
Prioritize sticking recursive guys like Reveillark, card advantage-making guys like Ranger of Eos, and disruptive guys like Thalia in this match-up. UWR Wafo-Tapa Control has oodles of removal spells, so you probably won’t win with the combo, but stick those guys and they just might die to beats. (Of course, don’t overextend unless you’re sticking only recursive/CA guys.)
Birthing Pod is pretty good in this match-up—turning all your 1-drops into 2-drop hate bears is pretty sick, and they die to goodstuffs Pod chains like Voice of Resurgence-Kitchen Finks-Ranger-Lark. Pod does look fairly silly when you run out of creatures, though.
It’s tough playing your important stuff around Mana Leak—their Cryptic Command back-up is brutal. Speaking of Cryptic, always play around it by attacking, then casting spells. Even if they have Celestial Colonnade up, you’d be surprised how often they don’t block with it. If they do, slam down an important guy while they’re mostly tapped out.
In Game 1, you can lure counterspells by casting Chord of Calling at their end of turn, then casting something important on your turn. However, Chord is an expensive tutor for recursive/CA creatures in this match-up, so board it out for more threats.
If you’re really paranoid, you can try luring Spell Snare by casting other 2-drops first, then casting Voice. This may backfire, though, if they Leak your Voice.
MVPs: Reveillark, Eternal Witness, Voice of Resurgence, Ranger of Eos, Kitchen Finks, Tidehollow Sculler, Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, Gaddock Teeg LVPs: Harmonic Sliver, Orzhov Pontiff, Aven Mindcensor
Remember, this deck may be good, but it can only get better and better! If you want to add stuff, give a shout in this thread and I’ll add it!
@DOL Yay we're stickied! Also, the birds have been really good to me. Going T1 Birds, T2 Melira, Suspend sets me up for turn 3 win with Redcap. I may try some other stuff but I can't seem to think of anything sick to throw in... Dispel? Spell Pierce?
I've tried out this list and so far I like it. The only problem i see with the deck is not being able to use Green Sun's Zenith for a win condition. All you can do is get infinite life with the finks or fetch of Melira.
I've tried out this list and so far I like it. The only problem i see with the deck is not being able to use Green Sun's Zenith for a win condition. All you can do is get infinite life with the finks or fetch of Melira.
So? It grabs everything but a sacrifice outlet. Isn't that good enough?
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"If you don't wear your seatbelt, the police will shoot you in the head."
- To my youngest sister when she was 6.
Everyone knows that good luck and good game are such insincere terms that any man who does not connect his right hook with the offender's jaw on the very utterance of such a phrase is no man I would consider as such.
Why is infinite life not good? Thats amazing?? Just because it doesn't win you, doesn't mean people won't scoop to it. The other factor is, there are a lot of good green creatures that do things when they enter the battlefield and some have persist. You are Black/Red/Green though so finding a diabolic tutor or a beseech the queen to tutor your sac outlets seems good. Another good non-creature artifact that is a good sac outlet is Throne of Geth it can give a really good engine for proliferating if you find something that enters the battlefield and untaps it.
GSZ can grab everything to get that infinite life. Scarland Thrinax is green, and a sac outlet, and it gets +1/+1 counters giving it more usefulness in non-combo situations. Even if you are gaining infinite life with Finks, its not like you cant win with Blasting Station or either creature outlet that pumps.
Throne of Geth is not a good sac outlet, because a: you can only sac artifacts to it, and b: it taps to use its sac ability, which means you would normally only be able to use it once a turn.
EDIT: also tweaked my decklist once I realized I was running 13 sac outlets and only 8 persist creatures. I dropped a 1x Viscera Seer and Bloodthrone Vampire for 2x Safehold Elite. This will also give me an out in situations where I need to GSZ for a persist critter and only have 3 mana to work with.
I have the project x combo in the deck as well. I generally use the Melira combo as it's more convenient to assemble. But having a backup seems sweet to me.
I'd consider cutting the project x combo down to 1 piece each if they weren't so synergistic to the rest of the deck. Not only can they combo with them selves but they work really well with the other combo as well.
Saffi Eriksdotter can protect Melira and be used to reset Finks or Redcap it they already have -1/-1 counter on them as well as protecting either Seer or Flesheater.
Crypt Champion can recur any combo piece other than redcap or flesh-eater
In my deck I run enough creature to run Chord of Calling to great effectiveness. I like the instant speed creature tutor that can be played for a discount if I have enough creatures in play.
And IMO Birthing Pod needs to be in the deck. It's just too good in the deck and it works fantastic with Finks.
I'm still tweaking the deck but this is where I'm at right now.
...which is why Birds of Paradise are in both my decklists. Seriously, getting access to red mana in the Junk version is unreal. Now, I can actually Glittering Wish for two out of three combo pieces, and the maindeck Scarland Thrinax isn't a dead card in hand!
One plan for beating counterspells is Aether Vial (or Bloodbraid Elf, the worst tutor for the deck ever). Another plan is Vexing Shusher in the sideboard. Yet another plan is more maindeck discard.
playing around with this on Cockatrice. Man.. i got handled.
From my experience . if you can't play a duress or Thoughtseize turn 1, mulligan
the attack for a ton idea is way too slow. you will find your self 1 turn dead a lot.
i feel birds or something are necessary as I found my mana under attack a fair amount.
Also, what is the plan for beating the plethora of blue magic in this format?
Yea, I find a turn 1 Duress or Thoughtseize is the best way to start with this deck. I am tempted to either fit in Aether Vial or mana birds into the main deck as well. Either would probably speed things up and (as mentioned) Vial is a great way to get around counter magic.
@ Shinny Shinny.
Thats actually a pretty solid idea.
What do you think of this situation.
melira + Sac outlet + persist guy in play
Order of play
P1 sac persist guy
Persist hits the stack
Sac trigger hits the stack ( guy is still in graveyard )
P2 kills melira, she dies before the persist guy comes back into play, thus negating her ability.
the persist guy would come back, but with a -1-1 counter. It seems that our combo is pretty weak to spot removal like any other creature based combo.
What do we do to ensure shes not gibbed? Run lightning greaves?