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Unstable Q&A with Mark Rosewater
 
The Dos and Don'ts of Silver-Border Commander
  • posted a message on [PRIMER] The Pirate God
    Right. I was probably drained by the PPTQ, and trying too hard to find a solution for The Pirate God.

    Let's explore something else... Chart the Course is nice card advantage, as is eternalized Champion of Wits. But The Scarab God, Liliana, Death's Majesty and Hostage Taker do a better job at that. What about we concentrate on surviving the early game, and by itself doing this will grant us the time to get to these cards? As an example, in the list I posted Saturday, I could replace 4 Champion of Wits for Essence Scatter #2, Harsh Scrutiny #2, and 2 Doomfall. This would free up Lookout's Dispersal to protect God or Taker. Search for Azcanta and Arguel's Blood Fast could both go in the SB for needed card advantage vs Control and Midrange.

    Also, I'm juggling with the concept of adding Liliana #2 to the main deck. She can create tokens while digging for the God or Taker. Reanimating Taker with Liliana the turn after she ETB is particularly powerful, because all your mana will be available to cast the kidnapped creature, thus nullifying all drawbacks associated with Taker. Unchecked, Liliana can wipe the board with her ultimate, except for Zombies (which should be good for us).

    Does that make sense? Or am I trying too hard?

    Edit : One thing that bugs me with Dispersal is that it's only good in the early game when opponent can't pay 4. But The Pirate God wants to play the long game... There's a certain contradiction here...
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Standard)
  • posted a message on [PRIMER] The Pirate God
    Quote from CmdrSlayer »
    As somebody who plays chart a course let me give you a rundown on the card.

    Chart a Course in midrange and control match ups will be a 2 mana draw 2 70% of the time, in aggro matchups it's harder to get in till the mid game so it's functionally a tormenting voice 60% of the time in those games. When I played the older version that you guys are playing I constantly felt that champion was the weakest card in the deck, but I kept it because bringing him back was pure value, I think if you want a Tapout dras Pack you should main or side 2 Torrential Gearhulk and 1 Commit // Memory.


    What is « Tapout dras Pack » ?

    Since I have access to Gearhulk + Glimmer or Gearhulk + Memory It doesn't really hurt not being able to flash it back in a control matchup game 1.


    Can you explain, please?
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Standard)
  • posted a message on [PRIMER] The Pirate God
    I've shown my list to a grinder who knows the metagame pretty well. Here are some of his comments :
    • Siren Stormtamer may look good, but it's not. Good players will work around it, and it's worse than Blossoming Defense.
    • Hostage Taker is amazing in Esper Gift, because it's eternalized for free (so all lands available to cast the exiled card). It's also good in Temur Black, because it's easy to protect with Blossoming Defense. But Hostage Taker is probably more a liability than an asset in our deck, because we can't protect it effectively.
    • Lookout's Dispersal can be worked around by good players. If we pass the turn with two lands untapped for Dispersal, opponent can kill our Pirate EOT and then we can't cast our counterspell on Hydra or Glorybringer (or whatever). Essence Scatter is way better.
    • We have to assume that at any given competitive event, half the crowd is playing Temur Energy. Our maindeck should be geared toward this matchup.
    • Temur Energy will side out Servant of the Conduit and Whirler Virtuoso vs us. They know well that we will not win fast, and will thus side in cards that will perform in the long game. Fatal Push becomes a really bad card for us post SB. It can only target Longtusk Cub, and that is very narrowl.
    Frankly, I agree with 100% of what he said. It's sad, however, because I think we may have to drop the Pirate theme and go with Jaberwocki's UB Midrange's list. I tested it a bit on XMage, and it's really not as fun as The Pirate God. Ideas? Opinions?

    Note : White and Red are allied colors of UB. We may still have a functionnal manabase if we play Grixis or Esper. Are there cards in these colors that we should consider?
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Standard)
  • posted a message on [PRIMER] The Pirate God
    Quote from AlistorMcCoy »
    I've seen Chart a Course in some lists. I have a couple problems with the card. It can't be reanimated with Scarab God, and it can't be eternalized in grindy matchups. Both of those things have been relevant in several games for me so far.

    Chart a Course beefs up our early card draw a bit, but it weakens our late game and I'm not sure the trade off is worth it. Doesn't hurt trying though and keeping in mind how the game would've played out differently if a Champion of Wits would've been in its place.


    I understand what you mean. I've tested Chart a Course on XMage, and late game I felt something was missing in the graveyard...
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Standard)
  • posted a message on [PRIMER] The Pirate God
    PPTQ results are in :
    2-0 vs Sultai Midrange
    1-2 vs RG Aggro (lost on the draw ; we tried for fun a 4th game without SB, and I easily won ; it's a coin toss vs these types of decks).
    1-2 vs 4-colors Energy (I wasn't patient enough with Bontu's Last Reckoning, and only killed one Hydra with it ; another Hydra killed me).
    2-1 vs UW Approach (I lost big time game 1 ; but we have an amazing SB for this matchup).
    0-2 vs Temur Energy (I got stuck on 3 lands game 1, and died with 3 Hostage Taker in my hand ; I lost game 2 about the same way).

    It's a bit disappointing, but not the end of the world. Losing to serious mana problems is frustrating, but part of variance. I'll focus instead on how to get a better matchup vs URGx Energy. Some adjustments to the main deck, sideboard and SB plan are required. I underestimated how many noncreature spells they play, particularly post SB. So, indeed, Duress and Negate are required to deal with Confiscation Coup and all other removals.

    Champion of Wits underperformed for me. It's amazinging to Eternalize, but it takes so much time to get there. Ifnir Deadlands was pointless for the whole tournament.

    What about replacing 4 Champion of Wits and 1 Ifnir Deadlands with 4 Chart a Course and the 4th Siren Stormtamer ? It may be more forgiving keeping a two lander with Chart a Course, since it provides true card advantage for only 2 mana (and dramatically increases our chance of hitting 5 lands in 5 turns, from 46% to 66%). The fourth Siren will not only help to trigger Raid for Chart a Course, but also to play 2-mana Lookout's Dispersal (to counter Whirler Virtuoso, even on the draw). Our curve may look awkward at 3CMC, but we should use this turn for our tapped lands or a 2-drop + either Fatal Push or Siren's ability.

    For curve reasons, I would also be tempted to swap 1 Essence Scatter for 1 Harsh Scrutiny in the main deck (from SB) : T1 Siren, T2 attack + Chart a Course, T3 Harsh Scrutiny, and depending on what you discard and other cards you see in opponent's hand, you either follow with a 2-drop or keep mana for counterspell.

    I also learned a few interesting things during the tournament :
    • Don't forget that The Scarab God's upkeep ability is both Scry X and opponent loses X life.
    • In an Hostage Taker battle, if you take opponent's HT with yours and there are no other interesting targets, you should cast opponent's HT and exile your own with it. He won't be able to mess with it without triggering a chain reaction.
    • If your Hostage Taker exiles your own creature that was under opponent’s control, if HT leaves the battlefield, the exiled creature will return to the battlefield under your control (as the owner) and not to the last controller.

    Posted in: Deck Creation (Standard)
  • posted a message on [PRIMER] The Pirate God
    You need 9 green sources for optimal Vraska on turn 6, according to https://www.channelfireball.com/articles/frank-analysis-how-many-colored-mana-sources-do-you-need-to-consistently-cast-your-spells/.

    I fear that adding a third color will reduce the number of swamps and islands, and make Drowned Catacomb less good for us. Sultai Energy’s manabase is supported by Attune, Hub and Servant, and they worry more about the early game than the late game...
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Standard)
  • posted a message on [PRIMER] The Pirate God
    Quote from Colt47 »
    So after analyzing what the most important cards are in the meta at the moment (Hazoret the fervent, The Scarab God, Settle the Wreckage, Ixalan's Binding, Cast Out, Hostage Taker), I've decided to try splashing for green and replacing Liliana, Death's Majesty with Vraska, Relic Seeker. The primary reason is that Vraska does something very important for the deck that none of the other cards we have can do, and that is answer a resolved Cast out and Ixalan's Binding. She can also provide tokens much like Liliana, Death's Majesty, but those tokens are also superior since they have menace. 6 cmc is definitely more mana than 5 cmc and the land count may need some work, but I think it is worth it to try to fight back against white decks.

    My top end in the sideboard currently has 2x River's Rebuke for token decks, 2x Vraska, Relic Seeker vs exile effects such as Ixalan's Binding and Cast Out, 2x Negate vs control, 3x Duress vs control, 2x Lost Legacy vs Combo / control like Second Sun decks, 1x Jace, Cunning Castaway vs control, 3x Essence Extraction for the aggro match up.

    I may swap to 1x Lost Legacy and 1x Dispossess to hit both gift and second sun, as you don't really need that many if you already have duress and negate (can just counter the second cast of the second sun to stop it from winning and there are other ways to stop Gift such as Vraska / Hostage taker).


    I don’t think you have to do that. Cast Out is just a removal. Do you warp your deck and manabase to deal with any other removals? Or do you just deal with them with Lookout’s Dispersal or Siren Stormtamer? It’s a 1-for-1. Just shrug and proceed to win the game with the rest of your cards. Wink
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Standard)
  • posted a message on [PRIMER] The Pirate God
    Here's the SB plan, so far...

    Energy
    -1 Liliana, Death's Majesty, -2 Champion of Wits *or* -1 Champion of Wits and -1 Field of Ruin
    +1 Bontu's Last Reckoning, +1 Harsh Scrutiny, +1 Essence Scatter

    Ramunap Red
    -1 Liliana, Death's Majesty, -1 Hostage Taker, -1 Kitesail Freebooter, -1 Siren Stormtamer, -1 Champion of Wits *or* -1 Island
    +3 Essence Extraction, +1 Harsh Scrutiny, +1 Essence Scatter

    UB Control
    -4 Fatal Push, -1 Essence Scatter, -2 Hostage Taker, -1 Champion of Wits *or* -1 Ifnir Deadlands
    +3 Duress, +2 Negate, +2 Doomfall, +1 Liliana, Death's Majesty

    Tokens
    -4 Fatal Push, -1 Harsh Scrutiny, -1 Essence Scatter, +1 Liliana, Death's Majesty, -1 Champion of Wits *or* -1 Field of Ruin
    +1 Bontu's Last Reckoning, +3 Duress, +2 Negate, +2 Doomfall

    UW Approach
    -4 Fatal Push, -1 Harsh Scrutiny, -1 Essence Scatter, -2 Hostage Taker, -1 Champion of Wits *or* -1 Ifnir Deadlands
    +3 Duress, +2 Negate, +2 Doomfall, +1 Liliana, Death's Majesty, +1 Lost Legacy

    I still have to do the Mardu Vehicles and Esper Gift matchups. Somehow, Sultai and Temur Energy ended up with the same SB plan. Is that a mistake? What would you do differently?
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Standard)
  • posted a message on [PRIMER] The Pirate God
    Here are my Zombies... looks good? Smile
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Standard)
  • posted a message on [PRIMER] The Pirate God
    You MB is identical to mine, except that I have Liliana, Death's Majesty instead of Baral's Expertise and Harsh Scrutiny instead of Walk the Plank (because it can take out a God, Hydra, Tyrant, Gearhulk or Glorybringer).

    I'm working hard right now on the SB plan. I've just come to these conclusions :
    • Our odds are already better with 24 lands on the draw than 25 lands on the play ;
    • Champion of Wits is worse on the play because loot is better when you have more cards to look at ;
    • So, generally speaking, we should almost always go -1 Champion of Wits on the play and -1 land on the draw (Ifnir Deadlands vs Control, Island vs Ramunap Red, Field of Ruin otherwise).
    Does that make sense?

    Edit : BTW, why did you side in Negate and Duress vs Temur Energy? For Chandra, Torch of Defiance and Confiscation Coup? Wouldn't it have been better to keeep Hostage Taker to out Midrange opponent?
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Standard)
  • posted a message on [PRIMER] The Pirate God
    Thanks! I was about to get rid of Bontu’s Last Reckoning in the SB, but you convinced me to keep it! Can you post your full list?
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Standard)
  • posted a message on [PRIMER] The Pirate God
    Anyone has FNM results to share? I took a break tonight, because I'll be going to a PPTQ Sunday. I still have to fine tune my SB, but I think I'm otherwise ready. I've even printed two 4/4 Black Zombie tokens for each of my creatures using https://www.mtgcardmaker.com! Wink
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Standard)
  • posted a message on What to do with The Scarab God?
    Quote from patbou »
    Lookup The Pirate God thread in my signature, and join the conversation! Smile


    Sorry about that post. I replied from my iPhone after seeing your post on the main page of MTG Salvation. The mobile version doesn’t show that it was under Commander (or I didn’t saw it, if it did). I just saw Scarab Gob, got excited, and replied right away.

    I really like that The Pirate God plays both Aggro-Control and Midrange in Standard. Unlike UB Control of Standard, you can't rely on your opponent’s creatures to give value to your Commander. What if opponent doesn’t play much creatures himself? I would make sure the deck is self reliable and plays enough creatures with ETB effects, across the curve, to target with the God's ability. Hostage Taker is from Standard, but its ETB ability is amazing and I would definitely include it in the deck.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on What to do with The Scarab God?
    Lookup The Pirate God thread in my signature, and join the conversation! Smile
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
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