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Treasure Cruisin' Tempered Steel
 
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  • posted a message on Saheeli Evolution/Chord
    @ daviusminimus: As for cards that solve your problematic matchups: Sigarda Herons Grace (Storm, Burn, Valakut) and Worship (Burn, Dredge, Affinity) would be my ideas.

    Scrabbling Claws seems bad. Just too low impact for my taste.
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on Saheeli Evolution/Chord
    Wednesday Modern: 1-2

    I played a very similar list to last time:



    The only changes were cutting Sigarda and Thragtusk for P&K and Wingmate Roc. I can't comment much on those changes since I didn't get to really play with either card.
    Round 1 I faced BW Gideon Control featuring 4x Heart of Kiran. I surprised him with the combo on turn 4 thanks to Cobra, then he mulled to 4 game 2 and I had turn 3 Blood Moon after he dropped Gideon of the Trials. All over right? He then played Heart of Kiran, I drew lands and another Blood Moon for the next ~6 turns and lost to Heart of Kiran beatdown. Game 3 he was mana screwed and I unceremoniously attacked him to death.
    Round 2: I knew I was facing Storm, and lost the die roll. Since I am light on interaction before sideboarding, a fast combo draw is by far my best route to victory. So I was pretty happy with my opener: 1 Land, 2 Hierarchs and the combo. Needs a land in the top 2 cards to win on turn 3, otherwise it wins on turn 4. Turns out I didn't find a land in time, he made 6 Goblins on turn 2 (so dropping Saheeli wouldn't have been possible even with a land), then had 2 Remands and attacked me to death. Game 2 I mulled to 5, then lost on turn 4 despite bouncing his creatures with Reflector Mage twice. I could have speculated to hit his Gifts with my Mind Censor instead of tapping out, but I wanted to get Felidar on the board to be able to combo if I find Saheeli with the Oath in my hand.
    Round 3 I lost to UW Gifts Tron, after decent starts both games all I did was draw lands and attack with some 2/2s. Elesh Norn put an end to that. I was a little frustrated at that point, and called it a night.
    ---
    Spell Pierce was pretty bad when I drew it against UW Gifts Tron, since it didn't counter his Wurmcoil Engine or his Path on Gaddock Teeg. Unified Will would have been a lot better there. However, I don't think against Storm I would have gotten the time to use a 2cmc counter, whereas Spell Pierce could have actually helped me if I had drawn it.
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on Saheeli Evolution/Chord
    I have my doubts about Riverwise Augur. Brainstorm is powerful, sure, but does that justify a 4cmc 2/2 body with that as its only ability? Seems really slow for Modern, and is it even better than Champion of Wits? Also, our fetchlands already interact with so many of our other cards (Cobra, Rallier, Tracker, Moon). Keeping one to use after Brainstorming for 4 mana isn't always going to be possible. Oath, Saheeli and Evo help getting rid of cards after putting them on top, but overall I don't see a high enough ceiling on this card.
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on Saheeli Evolution/Chord
    Cobra has been a very swingy card for me. If you don't have enough lands to trigger it or topdeck it later in the game, it can feel really bad. It's also not always desirable to draw multiples, and keeping an opener that relies on it makes you vulnerable to interaction (even more than in the case of 1cmc accelerators).
    On the other hand, it allows for some extremely explosive draws. Opening hands containing Cobra + Rallier(s) + Saheeli/Evolution can establish a powerful board position very quickly or even produce a combo win out of nowhere. A few weeks ago I had a game where I played Cobra on turn 2, then on turn 3 fetched, played Rallier and fetched, did the same with a second Rallier, sacrificed my Horizon Canopy, and played a Blood Moon. I passed the turn with 4 basics, 3 creatures with 8 total power and a Blood Moon in play against an opponent with Gideon of the Trials and no basic lands. That Cobra cost me 2 mana and produced 6 mana the next turn. These kind of free wins is what you get in exchange for sometimes drawing a 2/1 with no abilities in the later stages of the game.
    My take on Cobra is that to maximize its potential, you should have at least 5-6 accelerators for turn 1, so you can play Cobra + fetch on turn 2 and go nuts. This, on the other hand, doesn't really leave room for 4 Cobras, so 2-3 is my preference right now.
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on Saheeli Evolution/Chord
    Great report davius! As for your sideboarding vs Tron, I recommend bringing in Rec Sage and Pridemage. They aren't going to win the game by themselves, but occasionally you might be able to destroy an Expedition Map, Oblivion Stone, Pithing Needle or Grafdigger's Cage. Doesn't stop you from losing to their planeswalkers, but probably still more relevant than Voice.
    I've had similar experiences with regards to Ghost Quarter: It can be great and has plenty of synergy with our cards, but we probably don't have room for 2. In matchups where we can't rely on our mana creatures to stick, colorless lands are a liability.
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on Saheeli Evolution/Chord
    Thrun can even be Spell Quellered. I wouldn't run that card, it just doesn't reliably win againt UW/Jeskai the way you want it to and it's irrelevant in way too many other matchups. There were times when it was the next biggest thing right after Tarmogoyf, but the fair decks have so many fatties these days, a 4/4 just doesn't matter enough, even with great abilities like hexproof and regeneration.
    My view on the UW/Jeskai matchup is that you can't slam a single trump card and rely on that to win the game for you, instead you need to overtax their answers and mana by having a good curve and high threat density. Voice, Saheeli, Blood Moon, Rallier, Tracker are some of the cards I like best against them - no big surprises here. Back those up with Spell Pierce to resolve something in the first few turns, and you are ahead. Alternatively, try to set up a turn where you cast two revelant spells in one turn to get through their countermagic. Remember that extra mana from their Paths can help you with that.
    Keep a few Paths ready for Spell Queller, and play intelligently against Wrath effects: The more Spell Quellers you see, the less Supreme Verdicts and Anger of the Gods they will have. Don't get greedy and overextend, it's usually not a race, but try to constantly pressure them while building up a hand. Always keep Cryptic Command, Settle the Wreckage and Spell Snare in mind, since navigating around those can make a big difference. Don't allow them to trade Snapcaster Mage in combat against an important creature like Voice of Resurgence or Gaddock Teeg.
    UW usually has enough targets that Reclamation Sage can do some real work against them. Use Saheeli's -2 aggressively to push through extra damage when they tap out, since UW can't punish her for having low loyalty.
    Probably the best things you can do is win the die roll, draw good opening hands and topdeck well - the matchup isn't abysmal in my experience, but some games can feel that way.
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on Saheeli Evolution/Chord
    Just taking an old Pod decklist out of context isn't very helpful. As long as Pod was legal, we also still had Splinter Twin in the format and that was a dominant deck that really demanded interaction in order to not just lose on turn 3-4. It's also from a time before the printing of Gurmag Angler, Tasigur and Reality Smasher, so Abrupt Decay was way more powerful than today.
    In comparison, just look at the only non-Eldrazi deck to win a GP during Eldrazi Winter, right after the Twin ban: Abzan Company. All the Paths and Decays are in the sideboard, the maindeck is very light on interaction. And that was a format full of big Eldrazi (6 copies in the top 8, won two other GPs on that same weekend) and Affinity, yet it was apparently correct not to maindeck the removal spells but to focus on being proactive. (It's probably also important to point out that at that time there were a TON of Chalices of the Void in the meta, making Path unattractive.) Just like Pod that deck differs from ours in many ways, and the metagame too was a completely different animal. Those older decks can serve as sources of inspiration, but I wouldn't just take a detail like their choice of removal spells and copy that.
    Nowadays we are facing decks like Titanshift, Ad Nauseam and Lantern, where Path is really bad, and as Shelldell pointed out it's also not exactly optimal in many other matchups. Personally, I like Path in small numbers (~2), but the full four has never really felt right to me.

    I'm currently testing a 5c/Abzan Saheeli version, I will post something about that in a couple of days once I have played some more with it. So far copying Siege Rhino has been super fun Smile
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on Saheeli Evolution/Chord
    We discussed Harmonic Sliver vs Rec Sage a couple of weeks ago. My view is on that is very clear: Rec Sage is the correct choice, because it really matters that the card is easier to cast and has a second point of power. The former is especially relevant against Ponza who can take away our access to white mana with Blood Moon plus Stone Rain, and the latter is relevant in control matchups. I really like Rec Sage for its 2/1 body against decks with Search for Azcanta, Detention Sphere and (to lesser extent) Spreading Seas. And you never know when they will have something like Grafdigger's Cage, Rest in Peace or Ghostly Prison in addition to that.
    In comparison, Harmonic Sliver's only upside is that in case you have two of them or copy it (and only then), you get another trigger. But, that is the third trigger you are getting. If you have two Rec Sages, or Sage plus Saheeli, you have two triggers already. All the Sliver provides is that third trigger. And how often do you really need that? It's useful, sure, but most decks will really struggle after you destroy two of their things. Hitting the third one on occasion isn't such a big deal, and they can still topdeck another Cranial Plating after that and beat you anyway.
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on Saheeli Evolution/Chord
    The 4/4 body on Thalias Lancers is awkward. The numbers seem big, but currently Modern is inhabited by lots of creatures that are slightly bigger than that (Reality Smasher, Deaths Shadow, Gurmag Angler, Primeval Titan, Champion of the Parish etc) and not being able to profitably block or attack into those hurts. Also, assembling the combo or finding a hatebar via Lancers is most likely too slow against the fast decks like Storm or Affinity.
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on Saheeli Evolution/Chord
    @daviusminimus: While all the negative points on Felidar Guardian are true to some degree, some of your best draws include the card ("Oops, I have the combo!"), and drawing multiples can be amazing in interactive matchups: You just threaten the combo repeatedly, and often they run out of answers at some point. I started out with the same concerns - Felidar Guardian's body is indeed totally unexciting next to Restoration Angel - and ran only 1-2 Guardians but after trying out 4 copies I am fairly certain that 3-4 is more often correct than playing less copies. The synergy with Oath is also a huge deal, and totally grinds decks out that don't present a fast clock. Against the "kill all the creatures" decks, Restoration Angel will occasionally not get the chance to generate real value since there is nothing on the board to flicker. The 3/4 flash creature is still good there, but Felidar Guardian's ability to flicker Oath is really amazing in these cases.
    Also, an important point that I learned after playing the deck for a while: Often the opponent is forced to pay your Felidar Guardian a lot of respect because they have incomplete information. I've been quite surprised how aggressively it gets removed when I don't even have Saheeli - but my opponent usually doesn't know that, so they have to point their removal at the irrelevant 1/4 body. The threat of the combo can be a huge upside.

    @ Lejoon: I like your 5color-Abzan approach. I've been thinking about trying something similar, but haven't really attempted building it yet. The second Stomping Ground seems unnecessary though.
    Some thoughts: Kambal, Consul of Allocation is a maindeckable card that is amazing against Storm (and many other random combo decks), Burn, Lantern, 8-Rack and control decks. It can very well win the game on its own in some of these matchups. It's pretty bad against "all creature" decks like Elves, Humans and Merfolk, but at least it has an acceptable body.
    Also, while I'm just as excited about Ravenous Chupacabra, I've also had good experiences with Vengeful Rebel. It's basically a Renegade Rallier that kills instead of returning something, and 3 mana for a 3/2 is a great deal when the ability is relevant.

    Edit: And the most important point: Fatal Push! The perfect removal spell against Storm, Humans and Affinity. It's cheap and its only drawback is that it misses some delve creatures, Primeval Titan and Eldrazi.
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on Saheeli Evolution/Chord
    @Shelldell: Your black splash is obviously another perfect reason why you need Birds in your list. But mine has no black, and not a lot of red cards either (only the 4 Saheelis main, and 5 sideboard cards). And as long as I don't need black mana, Birds has no advantage over Hierarch in Blood Moon situations.

    I don't like Magus of the Moon against Scapeshift, they have so many red removal spells after sideboarding. Once it dies, they can just win. Blood Moon seems way more reliable. Aven Mindcensor and Avalanche Riders can actually fight their lands directly, so those seem better too. The echo on Avalanche Riders is annoying, otherwise it would be a lot easier to flicker it with Felidar Guardian and completely demolish them. If we could just have Ravenous Baboons in Modern...

    Aven Mindcensor is for Titanshift, Vizier Company (Chord, Knight otR, lots of fetchlands), Storm (Gifts), Tron (Expedition Map, Sylvan Scrying) and control decks with fetchlands. It might just be better to run a second Gaddock Teeg instead, but I currently only have one copy, and against Titanshift specifically Aven Mindcensor is superior.

    @Underused Cards: I have been in situations where I'm flooded and all I have are creatures of cmc 1-2. No combo in sight, nothing in the grave worth getting back with Rallier or Witness. Tireless Tracker is excellent to get with Evo in a spot like this, since it provides both a threat and draws a couple of cards. Last night I even copied it with Saheeli once to get some extra clues and an extra hit with the hasted token.
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on Saheeli Evolution/Chord
    Wednesday Night Modern: 3-1
    Lost round 1 to Titanshift because his draws in games 1 and 3 were great and mine weren't, but at least I won game 2 in a landslide (turn 2 Aven Mindcensor does some work in that matchup). Felt like I had decent chances, somewhere in the ballpark of 50:50, but variance.
    In next three rounds I beat UW control, Affinity and Bogles without dropping a game. My draws ranged from good to absurd, and most of those games were not all that close.


    I cut Glorybringer for Sigarda, Herons Grace and neither missed the dragon nor liked the angel. Maybe I'll go back to Sun Titan or try out Reveillark or Acidic Slime in that spot. I also consciously cut another Path to Exile, since creature removal doesn't seem so important in game 1 right now (hence the Glorybringer cut), and was very happy with that decision when facing Titanshift, UW Control and Bogles in 3 of my 4 rounds.
    Tireless Tracker was great the one time I drew it against UW, and probably won that game on its own.
    For a while now I have been running the full set of Hierarchs and just two Birds (which even get boarded out in grindy matchups) and been happy with that configuration. Birds provide red mana and block in the air, but I prefer Exalted, and that gets even better the more you have. Hierarch is an actual damage source against decks like UW Control, whereas Birds is mostly just a dead draw after turn 1. Any thoughts on that? Why does everyone run 4 Birds and 0-2 Hierarchs? Is that just copy/pasted or are you guys actually convinced that's the right thing? (Not counting the people running Kiki, I get the necessity of Birds in that context.)
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on Saheeli Evolution/Chord
    There is no universal "right" creature to get with Evolution, it's a question of context. It depends on the matchup (How reliable is the combo in this matchup? Do I need interaction? Which type and quantity of interaction do I expect out of my opponent?), the content of my hand (and deck), and especially the boardstate. If I have Oath of Nissa on the field and think that the combo is the right way to go, getting Felidar is obviously a good idea. If my opponent has a slow start and I just want to put pressure on their life total, evolving Voice into Rallier is excellent. If I need that Path to Exile from my graveyard a second time, Eternal Witness it is.
    To answer your "Do we need another 4-drop" question: I played a couple of tournaments with only Felidar Guardians and some 5-drops, and I felt my options were a little too limited when I had a Voice to sac and an Evolution in hand. That's why I'm currently testing Sublime Archangel. I can get that whenever I just want to be proactive and try to pressure a linear deck.
    The Avalanche Riders in Jeff Hoogland's list fulfills a similar role: Land destruction hits control, ramp and combo decks where it hurts and it is crazy good with Saheeli. While it doesn't care about spot removal, the body is small and it requires a big echo payment. It might be the best 4-drop in a metagame with lots of Tron, Titanshift and control.
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on Saheeli Evolution/Chord
    The problem with many of those suggested 4-drops is that they are rather bad against big creatures (Deaths Shadow, Gurmag Angler, Reality Smasher, Primeval Titan) and at the same time rather bad against decks like Storm, Lantern or Affinity. So basically, there are various matchups where you don't really want them, and I don't think their power level in the more appropriate matchups makes up for that.
    I've been testing Sublime Archangel recently, which has three relevant upsides compared to many other four-drops: Thanks to flying it attacks over many of the currently popular creatures and blocks small flying attackers, it hits very hard against combo decks, and it is relevant against Ensnaring Bridge. On the other hand, it dies to almost every removal spell in the format (the few exceptions are Collective Brutality, Abrupt Decay and Electrolyze) and is especially weak to instant speed removal.
    Its synergy with Saheeli is neat however: Assume your board is a Birds and a Saheeli on 4 loyalty. Now if you cast Sublime Archangel and copy it with Saheeli, you can attack with the token for 10 in the air (3 creatures which all have exalted twice gives +6/+6 from exalted), then do the same thing on the next turn. That can actually be fast enough to win a race against a deck like Storm.
    I haven't done enough testing with the Angel yet to decide if I want to keep running it, and as expected it has its weaknesses, but it has also impressed me a few times.
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
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