Creature stage decks seem like a good idea, provided we can get at least two additional stages after the hyperstage. Unfortunately, I don't see how to do it. We had decks that used Wizard Mentor or Nephalia Smuggler to bounce/flicker the Bone Shredder, and those are blue. I don't know how to get two additional stages other than with blue and white for the moment - maybe finding a stage without using Chrome Mox for it might help. So yeah, the problem with Mimic Vat currently is that we aren't getting two additional stages with it.
Casting the artifacts gets two batches of BBM triggers.
Spend 2 life to cast lingering souls to counter them.
resolve both types of BBM triggers, leaving most of one still there.
spend 2 life to retract the artifacts to hand.
spend 2 life to activate Urborg syphon-mage to gain 4 life
let the next BBM trigger resolve.
We are now at -2 life and can cast the other artifact for BBM triggers to get the next layer, making the rest of the layer building sequence:
Cast the one still in hand, spend 2 life to counter it, resolve a BBM trigger, spend 2 life to bounce both to hand, discard it to the syphon-mage, resolve a BBM trigger. Still -2 life per layer.
Then when we are running out of one type of BBM trigger, that means the other type is right below, so we can:
-2 life to retract both to hand,
+4 life discarding both to siphon mage,
resolve both BBM triggers.
+2 life for when a layer of BBMs runs out, nicely mirroring the 2 life it cost to create.
I also wanted to verify that the beginning is doable:
Starting with lotus, show and tell, and omniscience is a given, then to draw our deck we need Dual nature, Panharmonicon, Consecrated sphinx, and Sphinx of Enlightenment
Playing them in that order makes 3 of each sphinx, giving us 6 draw triggers each worth 9 cards and drawing 6*9=54 cards, which is one more than our deck has left, but fortunately we can cast a blue sun's zenith for 0 and not deck. (We don't have flash yet so we can't be much fancier.) Versions without BSZ might have a trickier time here.
From here, we can do most everything as normal to setup the computation. Metalworkers tap for 12+ so we easily pay for our minor colorless mana requirements. Adding in vedalken orrery, Bloodbond march, Mirrormade lets the first cast of Drake familiar get us to past whatever 42^^^42 ish target number for the first computation. (This is also where we proliferate onto dack for the emblem)
We do need to be a little careful about never losing our blue creatures as we will need to be able to exile them to chrome mox later. This is easiest to do by simply bouncing them, but even cheaper is to leave them with the opponent during computation until we need them in hand.
EDIT: OOPS! We missed something. This deck hasn't quite worked for a while!
Here's the error:
In the blue stage we need to bounce all of our blue creatures, which means they need to come into play. Which means Sphinx of Enlightenment triggers and decks our opponent. If we try to do everything in response to the trigger, they die when we go to the white stage.
Some sort of stifle effect would go infinite by interfering with computation. Adding Torpor orb probably works, but is not a great solution. Swapping in Words of wisdom and finding another spot for a blue creature would be better though. (though that does draw initially fewer useful cards kinda)
Another possibility is to just add in another blue creature, as the sphinx can't ETB as much as we need the blue creatures to.
Oh, hahaha. In a comedy of errors, I also made the mistake of putting 6 blue creatures in the deck. Those dueling errors seem to cancel each other out, so we have precisely 5 blue creatures that we can afford to put in to play more than a small number of times. I guess the current deck is okay then?
The combo with the Metalworker seems to work out, and it looks like we can get started as well, nice.
Waking the trolls and other sagas are also kinda close but always have at least one bad chapter.
There are a few ways to get the land into hand, but then we'd need to show and tell it in, which also requires panharmonicon.
And we need to be careful about the other land and amulet of vigor. Though I think we could play blood moon instead of the mountain if we really needed to be safe. I think there was some line that broke because of having two different lands back with the Spitting image versions...
Graven Cairns is an option if we want to be able to make 2 red per tap, there's maybe a way of making that work? one red to worldfire and other to show and tell the land in? Petrified field almost lets this work but we lose the petrified field too.
Hmmm, maybe. Maybe keep Restore, and use one transition to cast Worldfire, and the next to cast Restore? I'm not totally sure it works, we have to think about it. But if it does, it could get the full layer sequence in.
Edit: Nah, I don't think that's good... we basically get an extra casting of Gravitic Punch to go with the Restore, so we can cast that lower down the stage, while keeping the Worldfire casts higher up, so that the lower Gravitic Punch keeps replenishing the stage.
I'm wondering if there is another way we can use Urborg Syphon-Mage, so that we don't need Alhammarret's Archive, and can use Mirror Gallery again perhaps. If we put in a black mana supplier, Urborg will gain us 2 life if we discard a card. So if we can somehow have a sorcery cast cost us 2 life, we'll be in business.
I haven't found a way to do that though - Crippling Fatigue costs us 3 life, which perhaps we could massage into 2 life, but we can't allow it's effect anyway.
Cutting K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth for another way to make black would mean we need another lifelinker to keep them alive in the combo.
Other black sources like skirge familiar or a talisman don't work as the black is not directly connected to the sorcery.
As for other discard outlets, we've already gone through most of them Ghost-lit redeemer, Nihilistic glee and Faith of the devoted have all been used. Peace of mind / tonic peddler are the most promising 3 life a card but in white (Spirit flare is the only white card that casts itself from the yard for life, and its an instant and we dont have legal targets and could do damage if we did) Gerrard's verdict seems impossible to use Skullmead cauldron has the first ability Sophic centaur gains a variable amount of life Trading post has too many other abilities (that last one in particular...)
So, right now we're at 61 cards, so we have to drop a card. Previously I had dropped Blue Sun's Zenith, but I guess it is better to drop Moraug, Fury of Akoum, so that the opponent's starting library is worth more. So we get:
That seems to work, though I think Crucible might still be better if we use the Metalworker + Fuel for the Cause version? That way each tap is 2^X instead of X. We can leave one counter on it to proliferate back up.
Either way, I don't think it matters much.
Edit: ah no, we get one more tap of Serra's Sanctum, so that's the way to go.
What are we (realistically) hoping for from StrixHaven?
Hmm... there are a lot of things that would help, any one thing is probably unlikely but you never know I guess.
-Something that would add another color stage would be nice, presumably either green or red. I guess this would be hard, since whatever stage is last has to be protected from the previous two stages. Maybe some untargeted effect like Temur Sabertooth, but from a noncreature; then we could add a green creature with shroud. Or, we could have the new stage go earlier, and have blue creatures with shroud at the end. But, that would require freeing ourselves from Drake Familiar and Wormfang Behemoth, which seems difficult.
-Something that would make creature tokens for the primary stage work, while still allowing for at least two additional stages. The first obstacle we ran into was that we needed a blue creature for the primary stage, which stopped us from getting a blue stage later. A black creature for the primary stage would be ideal, allowing the other four to still be used. There may be other problems with a primary creature stage though, we haven't really worked on it yet. If it works though, we can probably gain a lot of layers at the end.
-On a less ambitious note, something that would get more layers. A really nice card that allows us to discard to gain life would be in order, since the ones we have all have problems: Faith of the Devoted can't be allowed to have to many copies, so we need a bunch of Dralnu's Crusade copies, and we can't get enchantment layers at the end. Nihilistic Glee gives us relatively cheap card draw, which prevents us from using card draw (for us) in the final layers to some extent, and it requires black. Urborg Syphon-Mage also requires black, and our setup requires a single copy of Alhammarret's Archive, which prevents us from having Mirror Gallery. Also it needs to be tapped; so either we add Thousand-Year Elixir, which untaps our creatures, or we get only one combat, which kills some final layers. So a better discard card would be nice.
I'm sure there are other cards that can add more layers. We can get one layer now just by saving a card slot; I'm not seeing any obvious cuts, but the colorless mana source does seem like something that could be fulfilled by a card that is used for something else. Or, we could find a card that adds more than one layer, like Bearer of Overwhelming Truths if that wasn't the back face of a card, or Tamiyo's Journal if we could have Mirror Gallery. Or, just finding a longer sequence; if we cut the intial land part of the layer sequence, we can regain 5 card slots while losing 3 layers, so if we can gain 3 or more layers with 4 or fewer card slots, we can add that plus World at War for 10+ layers.
Feel free to post any interesting cards that might have potential! Sometimes it just takes some attention to see how a card can be useful.
Currently there are only 5 commands, and 2 planeswalkers spoiled
The commands are disallowed by our computation restrictions (either by killing the boom keg or by being an instant, or both)
While the planeswalkers are both pretty useless. They are putting passives on them again, so having a planeswalker version of say Alhammarret's Archive is a possibility we can hope for.
So, with the realization that Gravity Punch is sufficient for updating to Busy Beaver, I was wondering if perhaps we don't need to get a lot of separate instances of Retract, and maybe we can drop Dack Fayden? If we can update our Bloodbond Marches to X at some point, then maybe we wouldn't need a lot of separate Retracts. But we would need at least two in any case, which I don't see how to get without Dack Fayden... so I guess that doesn't work out.