Okay, I notice a lot of your cards seem to be all over the place. I'll work this by card type.
Let's start with Artifacts since they're easy. You should never need that much mana built in artifacts. Well, more notably, not in Darksteel Ingot, Gilded Lotus, et al. Sol Ring is a strong contender because it works off of the early game setup, which as tempo/aggro will be best to set you up long term. Runechanter's Pike is also a solid choice for more of a drake victory deck. That also in mind, you absolutely need to be running Caged Sun and Gauntlet of Power. They increase your mana and your drakes. They are also an easy thing for your opponents let slide for several turns unchecked if you're playing like a solid blue player, so basically barely at all. Talrand works best off of holding a position indefinitely, and both of these cards help. Eye of Ramos is in my opinion a terrible card for quite possibly any deck. There are better versions of it that get any color or creature versions that are still usually better. Same with Mana Vault and Grim Monolith, Worn Powerstone and Thran Dynamo. Sensei's Divining Top is a beautiful card, keep it. Relic of Progenitus is a highly meta-dependant card, so it's a maybe. Almost the same with Spine of Ish Sah, except it's uber mana intensive. Seven mana gets you a Consecrated Sphinx, or a Snapcaster Mage into another Time Warp. Sure it can be destroyed, but any opponent that allows it to destroyed either has no other options or is an idiot. Exiling the card (an easy thing to do in this format) will more than likely happen, meaning no repeatability, only expensive mana. O-Stone is also meta dependant, but I'll side with you on this that it can be effective depending on circumstance. Lighting Greaves possibly deserves a place since you're going with a general-centric theme, but I would argue for Swiftfoot Boots on top of that. 1 Mana won't break you, and hexproof is almost always better than Shroud. Sapphire Medallion (as you've mentioned) is a good pick. I usually suggest Extraplanar Lens with a ton of Snow-Covered Islands as well, just for the big mana theme. Proteus Staff is another big pick that, with only a small amount of high-impact creatures can be devastating for opponents (imagine a drake turned into Consecrated Sphinx, for example). Lastly, Isochron Scepter is a good pick for this deck. Repeatable and affordable, this turns your nice 2cmc or less instants into godsends. How about Boomerang on opponents lands starting on turn two? Great for duels, great for 4 player, great all around. It's also a good diplomatic card, for what it's worth.
Next, enchantments. Rhystic Study is fantastic. Invoke Prejudice is fantastic. Opposition is situational, but with high token count fantastic. I also suggest Back to Basics to shut off enemy decks (especially multi-color decks that need to run non-basic lands). Counterbalance also deserves a place for repeatability and sustainability. Also, you *need* to run Leyline of Anticipation. It is never a bad choice in a deck that can run it. It is *always* a good choice. Situationally as well is Arcane Melee. It sets up nice synergy with your deck, but Sapphire Medallion may be enough.
As far as planeswalkers, Tamiyo, the Moon Sage is enough. I've been thinking Tezzeret the Seeker as well for synergy with artifacts. It's usually a good choice. Jace Beleren isn't that strong and goes against your strategy. You're here to kill, not mill. If you want to draw a lot, run Mikokoro or Temple Bell.
Another big focus is creatures. I run eight creatures in my deck, and some I consistently think about cutting (synergy with Proteus Staff). Keep in mind that you get creatures from your general, but 2/2's aren't always best. Consecrated Sphinx draws too many cards to be ignored. Make sure you run Reliquary Tower! Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre is also a strong choice. Destroys a permanent (like Spine of Ish Sah), counters mill, is indestructable, shuffles your deck, 10/10 body, Annihilator 4. With enough big mana that only mono-decks (and green) can produce, it's a god-send. I also like running Stormtide Leviathan. Most creatures you control are okay with the restrictions in place, and opponents can largely get screwed. Also provides a minor amount of mana fixing which is sometimes (albeit rarely) useful. Another crowd favorite is Tidespout Tyrant. It's boomerang on all of your spells (not just instants/sorceries) and is a 5/5 flyer. For 8cmc. It's absolutely nuts. Imagine proteus staffing into this, then any follow-up spell. Yeah. Moving along is Snapcaster Mage. Absolutely adorable and obnoxious, this funny little guy gets props for being Riptide Laboratory -able and gets you important spells on the go. Otherwise it's a 2/1, but that's irrelevant. Palinchron is nice too if your playgroup is okay with cards that go infinite. It produces infinite mana which usually means victory (infinite drakes with Mystic Speculation, infinite Bounce with Capsize, draw and play your deck with Blue Sun's Zenith). Grand Architect is another good one. +1 to your drakes and useful for artifacts. It's really great, trust me. I also flip back and forth on Sakashima the Impostor. Usually better on an opponents creature (Green/White titans, etc), though is nice for most of our creatures. An expensive Snapcaster Mage or bounce x2 with tidespout tyrant. Most other creatures are irrelevant as you win with drakes, not nice effects. And usually a 2/2 drake is better than the mana difference and effect difference if an instant/sorcery can do the same thing.
Let's go with lands next. I run Reliquary Tower, Academy Ruins, Mikokoro, Center of the Sea, Riptide Laboratory and 34 Snow-Covered Lands. This produces insane mana for the deck and gives me the tricks I need to dominate. Other lands usually provide a detriment as they don't play off of the big mana enchantments. 2blue or 1 colorless is a big difference.
I apologize, but it is very late and I cannot go over Instants and Sorceries until tomorrow. Nevertheless, these are my big suggestions. The version of Talrand that I run has proven very effective and highly competitive in my local playgroup though every group is their own. Certain card choices will depend on your meta of course. GLHF!
This is a first draft, I expect to make a lot of changes to this. There are a bunch of cards that I have for EDh decks, but haven't used. I want to use my cards.
I need to get another copy of both Gauntlet and Caged Sun, I plan on cutting back on the mana rocks once I pick them up. Both Relic and O-Stone are pretty necessary in my group. I wanted to try Spine, it kills stuff, it may or may not stay. I don't really like Extraplanar Lens, my group is pretty wise to Mana-doublers and LOVES destroying Lens ASAP. Most Lenses don't last a turn cycle. Scepter is in a similar boat to Lens, it doesn't last long.
Leyline will likely end up in the deck. I don't think I have one at the moment.
Consecrated Spinx will end up in the deck after it rotates out of Standard, sooner if I proxy one off (my group doesn't mind as long as you own the card). I need to get another Palinchron, but he isn't too important until I get the Mana Doublers. Mystic Speculation is another card I am planning on adding.
Sweet! And I highly suggest Mystic Speculation. It allows you to dig, drake, and potentially bounce on for at most 3 mana, sometimes 1 or 2. It's so good! Also, Call to Mind is beautiful. With that and Snapcaster Mage I've ended up taking 5 turns in a row. Fabricate is pretty nice too. It's great for getting those doublers or other artifacts we thrive on. Putting in the artifact land allows you to tutor for a land too, which is pretty good. Devastation Tide is also fairly strong. It gets your permanents too, but in a losing position it can remake the board as you see fit. Best case scenario, float a bunch of mana and recast your doublers, Time Warp, and just go to town. On that note, Inundate is also powerful. A one-sided Evacuation? Hell yeah! Sorcery speed, but that's rarely an issue. I personally love Time Spiral as well. It gets you your mana back to play big spells and breaks the board in half if you have a mana doubler. It's way too good not to pass up! Lastly for sorceries, Time Stretch. It's hard not to get to 10 mana in this deck. Also, let's be realistic; when wouldn't you want to have two turns of setup? And I've never seen Ransack before. I may have to put it in my deck!
Awesome, I've got a moment at work. Last big part of the list of card choices is Instants. These are the cards that make the drake win condition possible, and this part is arguably the most fun! There are a few schools of thought on instants to run with Talrand, and both of them altar how you will play the deck. You can either go with strong control spells, time magic, and just downright big spells, or you can go with cheap cantrips back to back and cycle through your deck. Let me explain the two schools of thought here.
With the former, you go with more counterspells, more time magic, tutors, bouncers, and strong utility spells. It's all about control with this setup. With this option you need to divide your game into phases. Early game phase is all about setup. Get your mana rocks, doublers, and that's about it. Keep counterspells handy to stop shenanigans that could result in your untimely demise. Otherwise, don't have a board presence. You don't want aggro until you can maintain. Second phase, mid-game. This is mostly the same, except you can develop more of a board presence. Get your COnsecrated Sphinx out and get some card advantage. Mystic Speculation a few times and find what you need from your deck. Maybe drop Invoke Prejudice and harass opponents. Light things here and there. The third phase, end-game, is the easy part. Once you're setup with enough mana and enough cards in hand, you're in good shape. Here is where blue switches from being a "little obnoxious, sometimes" to being "OMGWTF THAT SHOULDN'T BE LEGAL!!!1!" This is the phase where you shut out your opponents, take 5 turns in a row, bounce all of your opponents permanents, smack people in the face for cheap damage over and over and over again; this is the phase where you can go all out. It's awesome, trust me. Also, it's usually easy to do this after someone else *almost* wins. Reason being, the board sees them more than the blue player. Keep in mind that with this style of gameplay, you can start aggro'ing early on (dropping Talrand is a good indicator to your opponents when you are starting to aggro). I cannot stress this next part enough; *Do Not Over Aggro*** before you are in a position to handle all of your opponents at the same time. If you start off with a turn one Isochron Scepter with Mana Drain on it, a sol ring on the board, a mana doubler on turn 2, counterbalance and Consecrated SPhinx on Turn 3, Talrand on turn 4, you can probably over-aggro early on. This is also what's known as a god-hand, and you *will* generate the wrath and hatred of all of your opponents. They will purposefully go out of their way to wreck your day. Trust me on this, it's super easy to do. It's usually a large gamble to aggro early on, but keep in mind; early game is all setup. If you can setup and skate by, you'll have a better position later on. This is also why cards like Devastation Tide, Wash Out, Inundate and Evacuation are fantastic; it's not about wiping their threats, it's about resetting their board on a level you can compete with. Remember, with this playstyle you don't aggro your drakes; you control with tempo. Little things here and there make all the difference.
The second school of thought is actually counter to what I just pointed out; aggro-easy. It's Mono-Blue aggro with a hint of spite. I haven't played with this style, though I can imagine a bit of how it would go. You will still need to setup, but your main setup is producing mana items and dropping Talrand as early as possible. You'll need card advantage as well, so Rhystic Study and Consecrated SPhinx are high priority for us. A lot of our card advantage is on the cards as well. Cards that replace themselves are fantastic. Brainstorm, Ponder and Preordain really shine here. It's not about producing big spells that crush your opponent, it's about lining up your cards right and getting all the drakes. Keeping counterspells handy is sometimes important especially when your opponent goes to reset the board. This kind of playstyle focuses more on the drakes, so cards that give bonuses to your drakes (Grand Architect, Gravitational Shift, Favorable Winds, Caged Sun, possibly even Adaptive Automaton) are going to be critical. To recap, focus on cheap spells that replace themselves, bonuses to your drakes and a bit of protection for your important permanents. This playstyle will also get you into the action way earlier, so it could be fun!
So, with all that out of the way, onto the card suggestions. I should reiterate the point that I play with the first style, long-game. I run 14 counterspells in the deck. Force of Will, Pact of Negation (both fantastic), Trickbind (depends on meta, but stops big shenanigans and is Isochron Scepter-able), Negate (limited but cheap), Arcane Denial (card advantage for one opponent, but usually a nice thing to have), Remand (super good; it allows them to play it again, but you can usually stall with this card), Counterspell (basic, but strong and Scepterable still), Mana Drain (amazingly strong, perhaps the strongest counterspell in this format), Forbid (which I will probably remove, I just never want to lose the card advantage), Spell Crumple, Hinder (both of which are great general tuckers), Rewind (fantastic all around and combos with Tamiyo's ultimate) and Cryptic Command (Utility).
The other instant-speed cards server a purpose. It will be strong, repeatable effects, card advantage or just downright good cards. Brainstorm is great, it can draw into a counterspell or away from Devastation Tide. Also, Scepterable. Pongify is something we generally cannot do in Blue, so it deserves a spot for being a kill spell. Funny against elf decks in particular. High Tide is a mana doubler, so you can potentially go infinite with Palinchron for one turn. Always a good time. Mind Games is repeatable and potentially costs 2 mana. It's just good. Mean, but good. Mystical Tutor is fantastic. Grab anything you want from your deck and move it to the top. Then, Sensei's Divining Top into it. Boomerang is also a fun card, Scepterable, targeted bounce. All good fun. I've just put Redirect in the deck and I'm curious to see how it goes. Capsize is another big, repeatable card. Just be wary of when someone who removes their card in response (thus countering due to lack of target). Blue Sun's Zenith is another fun one; draw cards at instant speed, and potentially mill someone out with enough mana. Turnabout allows you to shut someone's turn off to an extent. Or, get a leg-up on your mana for a turn. Another favorite of mine is Fact or Fiction. It creates animosity among opponents and is highly political. Also, card advantage. Because huzzah, card advantage. Evacuation is simple; bounce all the creatures! Great if you need to reset the board, even more props for using it when you've already dropped snapcaster mage. Time Stop is a big favorite of mine, though you will rarely make friends with it. Apparently people want to play the game or something. The last instant from my list I really want to talk about is Sunder. If you are thinking about removing it, well, just think strongly about it. It's good for both schools of play. For the control aspect, you set up your mana doublers, throw out a reliquary tower, and have massive land advantage and shut out your opponents. For Aggro, you make a ton of drakes and then shut out all responses for a few turns. No matter how you cut it, Sunder begs for a spot in Talrand. It's also potentially political. Someone with a lot of mana rocks will shrug it off, which means you may have just made an ally for a few turns. Well, until they realize what you will follow up with.
These are a lot of the cards I run in my Talrand deck and the thoughts behind all of them. No matter how you go about it I believe you'll have fun with Talrand. He's a fun general with many card options. I hope you come to enjoy it as much as I do!
OK, I finally got a couple of games in with this and saw some of its deficiencies. It really needed cantrips bad. I did a pretty major update. I still need to get the Mana Doublers and Sapphire Medallion. Hopefully this version will work better.
I agree. We should all only play g/x decks because they are the most objectively fun and anyone who disagrees does not know the truth about EDH. Everyone should just play their decks because interaction beyond high fiving about how many land are in play is unfun and equivalent to casting Stasis while kicking puppies. I for one will never play with anyone who casts tutors, removal spells, blue cards, things I arbitrarily decide I don't like but will probably cast myself later.
A few things to keep in mind;
It's an old build back when infinite mana combos were the name of the game. I've since removed a bunch of the big ones (Pili-Pala and Palinchron), and put in a heavier artifact sub-theme (Tezzeret and friends). Most of the card choices are the same, though I'll update it this evening. Enjoy!
Also, holy balls, you're in Cincinnati, Ohio! Anywhere near Clifton by chance?
I think I may make this an Azami, Lady of the Scrolls Deck, but have Talrand be one of the 99. Every time I have played it I have thought, "Man, I really wish I was playing Azami right now." I even had a friend tell me Azami would be so much better tonight.
The drake production allowed me to protect Jace for long time, but I almost always want to have more cards in hand.
I will have to think on this.
@JesseDeanHaha, I totally would, but I've moved to Oregon, now. I'll prolly be visiting soon though, so I'll keep in touch!
Also, did you have any questions on Talrand? Again, I've been playing with it ever since it's been released with a more competitive edge in mind (4+ players) so I've got quite a bit of experience. Plus, I love talking about it!
@Togorian25, Azami, Lady of Scrolls is a fantastic general! Talrand could possibly deserve a spot in the deck if it's running heavy on instants/sorceries (I'd say 25+ that will directly compensate Talrand). Talrand is certainly not the strongest Wizard, so it's important to have a high amount of synergy to compensate. It would get a boost off of Azami, which is already a good bit. If the 2/2's are boosted already somehow, (Caged Sun, Gauntlet of Power, et al) and you commonly have the ability to play those instants and sorceries, I'd say it'd have a fantastic power creep that many players may not see coming, really. I mean, pooping out 4/4 Flyers each spell is pretty great! Ultimately it depends on your win condition, though your deck will have to play around a card such as Talrand, which I suppose is my point.
Actually i do. I think I'll show the deck list I have been working on and see your inputs! I'll post a new thread about it. I have only been playing a total of like 4 or 5 months so it may need a ton of work.