Quote from hoser2 »At the last minute, my son decided that he wanted Ballistae in his version of Mardu Vehicles. I audibled into Sultai Midrange. While it worked out, with both of us going 3-1 and cashing, I am disappointed to not be able to report anything useful.
One of the cards that I struggled most over was Rhonas, but included one to see how it played. I am concerned about 2 Rhonas with only two of his best enabler (Bristling Hydra). I would -1 Rhonas, +1 Bristling Hydra. Otherwise, I really like your version. FWIW, I would move a Hostage Taker to the side to get the fourth Bristling Hydra in (cutting one of the 3s) and replace a Harvester with a Shapers' Sanctuary before I played it myself.
So, you might find this amusing. At SCG Dallas, I had one opponent who used Battle at the Bridge to kill Rhonas. It's unusual seeing him in the GY (as opposed to exile), but there he lay. A turn or two later, I topdeck the 2nd Rhonas and play it. My opponent's reaction? "Can I see your GY?" He was thinking I somehow flipped the Rhonas to the top of my library! He then commented that it was unusual to see two Rhonas in the deck. I dunno, to me, good card is good, amirite?
Anyway, I agree that Bristling Hydra is the only direct enabler (Scarab God aside), as in, doesn't need any help when it hits the board to turn him on. But every other creature in the deck (excluding Ballista for X=1) is but a single activation away from him being live. There are plenty of games where I sit back with a handful of board presence and use my mana to turn on Rhonas. Swinging in for 9 on T4 is nothing to sneeze at, so my opponent has to deal with the board at hand, allowing me to be able to hold up cards rather than playing into their strategy (e.g. Settle the Wreckage, Fumigate, etc). Granted, this is mana inefficient if I could swing in with Rhonas and further develop my board. I get that. But against control, it's actually really strong. He's also really good against other strategies that develop a strong board presence (Temur, Ramunap, tokens), allowing me to stall their attacks (5/5 Deathtouch is fantastic) as well as push through damage with the trample effect.
I'm curious your experience that made you struggle with him. Other than the games where Control was already winning and I couldn't keep a creature on board, he has been a powerhouse for me.
Also, why Shapers' Sanctuary? My experience with it was not great at SCG Dallas. I've even cut Lifecrafter's Bestiary from my side, which is also a great card, but I just find I need better proactive/reactive cards in the Control match-up as opposed to the slow, grindy card.
Honestly, the biggest thing I'm concerned about with the deck is cutting Gearhulk. There were games where I was losing that I flat out just won because of that card. Being able to activate Harvester, cast Gearhulk, and dump all the counters on it closes out a game fast and makes a huge difference in the race against aggro. It's why I've opted for so many life gain cards in the SB, since I cut Harvester from the main (which might also be a mistake). But to make room for Siphoners, Hostage Takers, and Defenses, something had to give.