Quote from shermanido37 »Several points I'd like to raise:
In a recent pod, Ephara was one of the most dominant decks on the table (my friend was playing it). However, it seemed the deck had several problems:
1. The deck got out Heliod rather early, but didn't use his token making ability at all, and he never became a creature. I've come to realize that is a lot for a token, not to mention for Heliod or for Oketra. I'm starting to question if I really want to slot her in.
2. I wasn't happy with the amount of mana that Ephara got out. Sure, it was plenty for an Azorius deck, but I still felt it could have been better. I've been considering Walking Atlas as a 2 CMC mana creature, only this one is dependent on our hand and on us drawing cards to fuel its ramp. If we are in and advantageous position this card can help filter our hand from terrible serial land draws, or get more value out of Land Tax... But if we don't draw well it's a creature that does nothing. What are your thoughts?
Otherwise, Ephara beat face. Thalia, Heretic Cathar that I had considered replacing broke the table almost completely, making it impossibly slow for the Sharuum the Hegemon player to reach his combo and for my Omnath, Locus of Rage deck to get a meaningful attack phase. Solitary Confinement saved the day when the deck was at 6 HP, making my opponents concede.
Food for thought: Confinement - another card that excels only when you have enough card draw - is splendid, so that might be a case for our Exploration creature.
More food for thought - when my friends asked how Ephara won, I replied that tokens and equipment was the way to go, but then I realized that it never actually came to that - my opponents conceded far before that almost every time I was winning. And that almost never happens in our meta.
It's been making me think... Conceding is not a very fun way of deciding a game. Perhaps there should be something more decisive to help win. In Pokken's deck there are a lot more threats like Umezawa's Jitte and SOLAS but I'm starting my studies and I don't want to spend too much money on cards.
Do you have any other suggestions? Maybe Empyrial Plate?
1) I play a LOT of mono white so I thought I would give some additional thoughts on Heliod / Okina. Generally speaking when you look at mana for token producers they are better investments in colors that are more starved for card draw. Its true that you can draw a card and make a token but the token is still kind of weak. I have a token based Ephara together and I opted to not run Okina and only allow Heliod because I value mass vigilance.
Generally speaking if you are in colors / a deck that has issues with card advantage or wants to play a draw / go strategy that is when a mana for tokens strategy like this actually works better.
2) Walking Atlas has done a TON of work for me. I run it and Terrain Generator in my list because taking an early turn and giving up some mana for more later is strong. I actually dont love Land Tax in Ephara because honestly beyond like the first 4-6 turns it really is a not a good card. It has bad synergy with drawing lots of cards so its actually better in decks that have less draw to ensure land drops. If your deck is firing and you are playing creatures and drawing cards you shouldn't need to specifically be drawing more lands. Due to this, I have felt like Land Tax is a card that I would have to draw essentially in the opening few turns for me to like it in Ephara.
Worry about the deck playing well and not dying. This kind of deck is more of a concern about making it work well than how it finishes thigns out.