I agree with your analysis on Vivian @hannam72
Vivien's plus ability has felt much stronger than my initial thoughts - especially on KotR.
And I felt she really helped against BGx and control, having a 2nd 'hand' and playing at instant speed has been huge in the grindy attrition matches they end up being.
I can understand swapping Trackers for Vivian, card draw for card draw.
Did you miss not having the extra threat that tracker turns into? How about the extra card draw?
Would you consider cutting anything else for her?
My Last two FNMs were a little rough, I went 2-2 at each, with a bye one week so really 3-7
- Quellers vs Reflector mages/Deputy of Detention create this awful reactive-proactive pull in the deck. Vivian removed this tension, but without her it felt like holding up mana for queller punished us for not committing to the board. In the interest of all the turns without a Vivian in play, I think dropping the Reflector mages to the SB is the right move.
- Perhaps its bias from being on this side of Voice of Resurgence, but I don't think this guy is as impactful as he once was. Wanting to lean into Quellers and a reactive plan has me looking for other flash creatures to maintain tempo while keeping up quellers.
- My miser's Scryb Ranger still feels good. I have an old post on here about this pet card and can confirm it slices and dices with the best of them.
It blanks Colonnade, TiTi, Pteramander and others
It can flash block a big scary, or flash untap another blocker for a blow-out defense
It grants psudo vigilance - we've seen how good that has been with Vivian,
It has these great value loops with Tracker/Corsair/Retreat/Knight/Dorks
Its bad when, it doesn't have anything to interact with, and if we're mana flooding.
- Ramunap looks to be all upside, and especially so now with Blast Zone, I however haven't been able to 'live the dream' so to speak. Has anyone else tried this out, is it mostly wishful thinking, or have I just not experienced nirvana.
- While I like the Retreat combo I didn't miss it much in the last few weeks. I going to leave it out in favor of Vivian for now.
Giver of Runes
This is our Sejiri Steppe on a dude. Do we want a mom effect? Where do we have wiggle-room, what match-up(s) does it improve?
Most of our lists run 5-6 basics, If we run snow-basics instead, and without any other snow-permanents, I think it more realistic to get snowcraft on turn 4-5. Is this too late to turn on deathtouch? We're still cantripping, and we can still flash it in. With deathtouch its basically a removal spell against titi/phoenix and other big scary threats and It lets us keep tempo if we're holding up a Queller. I'd considering running these over Voice, trying them as a 3-of to see them more often.
Some lists are running a Botanical Sanctum, others an Island here. I think this is a 3rd contender for the slot.
It's probably an upgrade over Sanctum, but can we support the life cost?
for thoes running a basic, its probably because you want to fetch for it, is this effect worth it? - for me no since I want to try out Ice-Fang.
Probably be too cute, but It does clock the opponent for 3 and clone itself when we ninjitsu it in, hopefully snow-balling out of control in later turns. The value play is to return an ewitt, or an Ice-Fang. Birds of Paradise or Selfless Spirit are enablers, as is Remorseful Cleric, and Vendilion Clique out of the board. Do we ever return Knight/Scooze/Tracker? how about re-setting a queller or deputy?
Any other spoilers worth talking about?
Force of Vigor?
I'm looking forward to giving the new Vivien a shot.
playing everything at instant speed seems like a huge boon for us.
Instant-speed Reflector Mage or Deputy of Detention or always having Queller mana open gives us great flexibility in deploying our threats, and answering theirs.
Her Plus ability seems fine on Kotr for vigilance shenanigans, and Reach is always useful, but this isn't really the compelling reason to play her.
Her Minus ability seems good despite having to work around it, as a 'soft' cantrip, looking 3 cards deep should frequently hit a creature in lists with ~30 dudes, so we should be getting our value. Because this puts her to 2 loyalty she requires us to have existing blockers, or additional mana to make use of the card 'drawn' for protection. For this reason, It makes me a little worried that she may end up being a bit of a win-more type card, as she's not going to vastly improve an already bad board state.
I am also excited about playing Blast Zone.
Being able to tutor up a ratchet bomb effect seems very powerful, EOT Kotr into Blast Zone, Add counter(s)
I think this finds a home in our sideboards, right next to Bojuka Bog
Would knightfall 'need' to run more than one ghost quarter and horizon canopy? I could see running a second ghost quarter in the sideboard, but with knights we're able to pull up our singleton when we land ramunap excavator for repeatable shenanigans.
How many excavator are you thinking of running? I think the 3-drop section is pretty crowded as-is.
x4 Knight, x4 Queller, x1 Courser, x1 Tracker, x1 Excavator ?
I really like the Vizier, it has decent stats (3/4) that survive bolt, he is decay proof, and requires revolt to be pushed. Top if off with the potential for card advantage and selection makes it hard not to want to try it out.
Peaking at our topcard without giving up information is relevant, and we have plenty of ways to change our top card. Between Fetchlands, Knight, and Clue tokens or even just playing the card, we can manipulate the top of the deck to hopefully dig to the answer or threat that we need.
Flash creatures and Vizier look like they will play very well together. Having a queller or clique on top, and have that card immune to discard effects is going to feel pretty nice. There aren't very many fateseal effects in modern, and mill isnt exactly a strategy worth worrying about, so the top card is more than likely going to be there until you decide to change it. The commonly played cards that come to mind that would mess with this are Path, and Thought Scour. But our opponent would need to get pretty lucky, or pickup on a tell that we have action on top to make this a successful play.
Like the article mentions, Vizier also fixes our mana for creature spells, and even lets us play through a resolved Blood moon. I'm not sure how often that exact situation will come up, more commonly, it will allow us to play Scavenging Ooze and have more G open to eat up the graveyard, or allow us to keep up a path/queller while still deploying a threat.
Being 4 cmc, and not a CoCo hit is its biggest fault, also being weak to Grafdigger's Cage, an already common SB card against CoCo strategies is a disadvantage. it probably replaces Courser in most lists, and losing that synergy with trackers and the incidental lifegain will probably be felt, especially in burn matchups. To me, It feels like the pros outweigh the cons here, and i'm looking forward to testing it out.
... you should get a fetch first and GQ the fetch if you are leading that way - otherwise you're not using all your fetches. The way you do it leaves an extra fetch in the deck.
edit: It's almost never correct to hit your basics/shocks with GQ since that leaves fetches in your deck. Instead, use them to hit fetches (saves some life as well).
edit2: Moreover, if you lead with a GQ instead of finishing with a GQ, you'll be reducing the number of lands in play during your combo sequence, which means you can't insulate yourself with an extra fetch to keep comboing through removal (getting most of the lands out of the deck is still going to be gas even if knight is removed, and you can still hit with a large dork/other critter with kessig).
The sequence I'd suggest is (from the same position of 2 basics in play empty yard)
The exact sequence is different from game to game based on which lands you drew (if you drew all basics/shocks, you'll have too many fetches, if you drew fetches you won't have enough basics/shocks). This is why its important to start by getting 2 fetches in play by either playing one or searching them, and then sort the lands to the front of the deck and sort them into basics/shocks, fetches and other.
Thanks for the comments, you are correct in your criticisms.
Step 1 can be improved by getting a fetch, then getting a ghost quarter to hit the fetchland, this would add 1 more land to the yard
Ghost quartering our self will put us down a land, and should probably be considered an all in play.
It could be a useful interaction to grow the knight outside of the combo when you are flooded.
It is a very mutable combo, and there are many different variables to take into account, so it is nearly impossible to give a definitive optimal sequence. Speaking in generalities, and paraphrasing wpgstevo we should only go for GQ when you don't have the life, are flooded on board, or need that extra 2 power to put you in, and you should always get 2 fetches in play before you continue with the combo.
Have you guys figured how much life you need to be able to combo a 20HP??
How do we get Knight to a 20/20?
Since every game, and each deck will be different, we're going to have to make a few generalizations to crunch some numbers.
Most lists run 4 forest/plains basics, 4 forest/plains shock lands and 8-9 fetchlands.
Doing the least amount of self-harm, how do we get knight to attack for 20?
Knight: size of the knight after the step
Yard: number of lands in the graveyard
Life: life spent so far, we assume we always pay the 2 for shock lands
Floating: assumed we float all mana the the end of a sequence, and that a 2nd uptap trigger goes to the manadork () is floating mana if we have one.
Attacks for: calculates knights power if we were to grab a kessig wolf-run next, and use all floating mana to activate it.
E Exalted = 1,
K Kessig = 1,
X Kessig value = Floating -2
if we assume we have 2 basics in play, no land in hand, and an empty graveyard.
If we have a hierarch as the manadork we can't use kessig until at least step 3 as we wont have the R to activate. If we have a bird instead we could generate R, and get kessig as soon as the 1st step, but you would not have the exalted trigger. If we had 1-2 land in graveyard before we started the combo we would just add that value to the knights power in the attacks for row.
the above sequence is drawn out to show least life taken when you don't have a manadork, If you do have a manadork, you can optimize slightly by replacing step 5 with
Life spent: 9
Attacks for 12+1+1+3(7) =16(21)
This would just be a general case, obviously there are many many different variables that could change this sequencing. Different target value, number of blockers, number of other attackers or Exalted triggers you have, and what specific lands you have left in your deck.
I like the inclusion of Botanical Sanctum, especially since more lists are running Vendilion Clique and Reflector mages in either main or side, but wouldn't a Hinterland Harbor be better? You're often trying to get a forest on turn 1, and that would allow the Harbor to enter untapped on turn 2 and beyond. Is being guaranteed its untapped on turns one, two, and three better than harbor being untapped as early as turn 2?
I'm not worried about push.
It's just going to replace some number of removal in most shells, and become the defacto removal in UB decks.
Our opponent will get a better rate over a terminate, but we're still going to overload them with efficient bodies.
Push will be another combat trick to lookout for. chump-block push could be a thing, especially when they don't have a fetch land.
And they 'will' require revolt to hit our 3 drops
Hello RPD, perhaps I can elaborate.
I can't speak to the version of burn you played, but I can talk about a more traditional Naya burn list.
I believe that we win this match-up when they become forced to spend their burn spells on our creatures instead of our life total. I believe that we can do this by presenting a clock, and developing our board over theirs.
I feel that we are at the advantage when developing our board. We have access to mana ramp, and collected company that allow us to get multiple creatures out at once. We also run ~28 creatures to their ~16, so we have more resources to commit to the board. Having these extra resources puts us at an advantage in creature combat, we can trade, double block, and attack into their blockers knowing that we have another creature to commit where they may not. We become further advantaged in these trades because of scavenging ooze, the life gain increases the number of burn spells that they need, and If their playing blockers instead of bolts its nothing but good for us.
If our burn players life total isn't in danger from us then they have no reason to spend their bolts on our creatures, so we need to present a clock. Quellers are our easiest way to do this, burn typically wont have anything block it, and we can snag their creatures to clear up the ground. With the ground mostly clear we can chip away at their fetch-shocked life total and threaten to close the game. When they begin spending their win conditions to free their blockers from queller, or taking out our creatures instead of our lifetotal they shift the game into a more attrition style match where we have the definite advantage. We control the game by forcing our burn player to play more defensively.
These are just my opinions and I have had lots of success with this strategy in this matchup. I do run 1 courser, 2 finks, 2 scooze, and 2 blessed alliance in the 75 and they all help out immensely.
I hope this helps explain my thoughts more clearly.
For the burn matchup I rely heavily on Courser, Finks, and Scavenging Ooze. The marginal lifegain is very important as it takes them from needing 6 burn spells to 8 or more
I attack and trade my creatures with theirs very aggressively, the thought process is that creatures in the yard means more fodder for scooze, and If you can convince the burn player to send the damage to your creatures in a defensive effort, your already winning. I like to keep quellers in for this reason, They block Goblin guides and are unopposed in the air, and by prioritizing their creature spells with queller I can keep their board more clear to allow my creatures to walk in.
I think Loxodon Smiter is a close comparison, and is probably just better.
Easier casting cost, and has a relevant ability against Liliana\Discard effects.
Im not sure how often Knuckleblade's activated abilities will be relevant or when we would want to use them over using our mana on something else.
R: Haste - We likely only have access to the one R when we cast him. Only scenario I can think of getting haste Is getting him off a main-phase Coco, and having a bird to get R.
2U: Return to hand. - we're spending 3 mana to save knucks, or 3 mana to cast queller to save knucks and advance the board. I'll take queller given the choice.
2G: Pump +2/+2. swinging or blocking with a 6/6 sounds decent, but I can't help but think that there are better uses for our mana. Gavony the team, hold up Clique/Queller. I think this becomes good when the board is mostly clear, or you're able to tapdown blockers with retreat, but then did you really need the extra 2 points?