My goal was to build a Wanderer deck without clear weak points like a reliance on Wanderer itself or any particular combo piece resolving. On Cockatrice this frequently survives a 3v1 "Archenemy," but most often people misassess the threat because this explodes from the library and not from the hand. As a side goal, I try never to "go infinite." If you walk away from an unmolested board leaving the rest to play for 2nd, it's scooping, not winning.
The current win rate is something like 80-90% in a 4 player game, 50-60% in a 3 player game.
Some card-by-card notes for the non-staple entries. Spelljack: One of the few counterspells that isn't a dead cascade. Counter Maelstrom and recast him (cascading again twice). Food Chain: Soft "I win combo" with so many critters in this deck. You typically cast Maelstrom 4-5 times, getting 8-10 spells for free. Intuition: Choose the opponent who hasn't seen the Food Chain soft combo before and stack it against obvious threats they've seen win games like Tooth and Nail and Consecrated Sphinx.
Let's all work together and get Maelstrom Wanderer banned. Ramp is already too good and a ramp outlet as a general puts it over the top. 'Geddons for life!
I liked Selective Memory in my Wanderer list back when I used to play it. You can use it to pull out some of the "bad" cascades (e.g. ramp spells) when you're ready to cast Wanderer for the win.
I've considered it repeatedly. The conclusion that I keep coming to is that it's a dead draw late and dead weight in an opener. It's not even a great cascade unless you exile 30+ cards with it. A best case scenario of sorts is to cast it leaving only...say...Kiki-Conscripts and then cast Wanderer. But that leads to the rest of the table "playing for second," which is just another way of saying that you lost.
I also liked the synergy Wanderer has with Worldly Tutor and Mystical Tutor. Grab whatever spell/creature you want, stick it on top of the deck, and cast Wanderer for profit.
Mystical is starkly better because of Tooth and Nail. I'd run Personal Tutor long before I ran Worldly. Brutalizer Exarch barely makes the cut and only because it can tuck non-critters and is ridiculously good at feeding Food Chain.
Nothing in this game is degenerate or completely dominant. They haven't banned anything in standard in a long, long time. Hell they should have banned affinity right away, but they didn't until boxed sales collapsed too. Hasbro had to come in and fire people.
I'll enjoy watching all the whiners eat crow monday.
Cascading into jokulhaups should end the game, usually leaving only maelstrom wanderer (and maybe something else you cascade into after) in play.
That's another angle I explored and rejected. Jokulhaups, Wildfire/Burning, Devastation, and Apocalypse end the game in your favor IF nobody floats the mana to counter or kill Wanderer. This creates a point of weakness where you get pounced and hard when you're in no position to defend against it.
Should Deadeye Navigator go in? If so, what should come out? Consecrated Sphinx has a way of putting a target on your head and this deck actually doesn't benefit that much from it because it runs so little reactive defense. You can't easily keep it alive, so it tends to die before generating much value.
I already have Kiki-Conscripts (infi 3/3s) and Deadeye-Palinchron (infi mana and infi cascades by exiling Maelstrom). Why run an extra combo just for Tooth and Nail?
Avenger of Zendikar is a reasonable inclusion, but it wouldn't fill any important niches. In particular, there's always something better to get with Tooth and Nail or Brutualizer Exarch. If you don't want it in your opener and you wouldn't tutor for it late, it probably shouldn't be in your deck.
Other decent counterspell cascades that are good at other times too:
-Plasm Capture: This has the upside of being useful as a counterspell since it can randomly make big mana when you counter something important/expensive. It also lets you counter Wanderer and then recast him for a minimal investment later on.
-Memory Lapse: Less good than Spelljack/Capture, Lapse is at quite light on the mana, making it good protection for big turns. It also doesn't suck to cascade into, since you get Wanderer back in your hand to cast again.
I've looked into both. The issue is that neither one is really an all-star. You never have to cast a cascade: it's a may. You're allowed to run dead cascades. The issue is that this is really a ramp deck that relies on its commander as a draw to find and play threats. You're frequently tapped out and you can find yourself in the position of being an "archenemy" completely by surprise.
The changes I've made to the deck actually remove combo and control elements that just didn't do enough: Sneak Attack, Crystal Shard, Proteus Staff, Gilded Drake.
There was also some housecleaning regarding ramp efficiency and threat quality.
I'm on the fence regarding a few cards: Diluvian Primordial, Karn Liberated, Urban Evolution, Devastation, some flavor of effective mass sweeping (ie All is Dust). In theory, these are all competing for the same slot. In practice, I may have too much 4 cmc ramp. There could be two slots in play.
I actually like the way it plays, many will under estimate the ramp. But you have very few threats. Also, you seem to shy away from hard combos (if that's intentional, that's fine). Take a look at mine in my signature, see what you think.
Private Mod Note
Rollback Post to RevisionRollBack
RUGMaelstrom WanderRUG < That's a link
Please look at and comment on the above! Looking for any advice and thoughts!
Also, Misthollow + Food Chain isn't really a combo. Yes, you get infi mana, but you were already winning even without it. I try to keep to one-card combos where you tolerate 3-card combos.
Food Chain (+Maelstrom) -> Usually win on the spot
Defense of the Heart (+Time Warp effects) -> win on the spot.
Tooth and Nail -> win on the spot.
Knowledge Exploitation -> Find Tooth and Nail. Can't? Time Stretch. Can't? Your opponents suck. Win anyways.
Kiki + Zealous -> Win.
Deadeye + Chron -> Win
Deadeye/Kiki + Sylvan Primordial -> Usually win
Any method of taking three turns in a row -> Usually win
Kicked Rite of Replication -> Something is wrong if you don't win
Hellkite Tyrant -> Win (against certain decks)
Hasty Ulamog -> Someone is out of the game
Also, you missed that Deadeye can exile Wanderer (and let you put it back into the command zone). So deadeye+chron is not only infi mana, but also a way to keep turning Maelstrom into an outlet for it.
-1 Kodama's Reach
-1 Diluvian Primordial
+1 Three Visits
+1 Recurring Insight
+1 Carpet of Flowers
+1 Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir
In the context of competitive play, Three Visits and Carpet are simply faster and more effective than the Cultivate work-alikes. Carpet, in particular, can perform the work of a colored Sol Ring thanks to errata I was unaware of.
Teferi provides an important response to other combo decks that enables big plays during others' turns. It shuts down other Wanderer decks and forces control decks to respond immediately or force losing any opportunity to respond. Chancellor/Primordial turned out to be too situational as I frequently "go off" before graveyards are stocked and therefore simply whiff.
Mulldrifter -> Recurring Insight is almost a strict upgrade. Mana is never a problem for this deck and while Mulldrifter has cute combos with Crystal Shard (which was cut long ago) and Food Chain, these were ultimately win-more situations. More frequently, my hand needs to be completely refilled after ramping.
There are a couple cards on here, mainly Stolen Identity and Ulamog, that I am really curious about. How do they work out in here? Does Ulamog get Bribery'd, copied, or stolen often?
Ulamog doesn't come out often. He can answer anything in an uncounterable way, and he's a great sink for all the ramp especially because he'll probably have haste. That said, he's mostly just a "free" hedge against mill and reanimation strategies. As to Bribery, Sylvan Primordial is usually the better target.
Stolen Identity is an all-star. Easily one of the best cards in the deck. Whatever you copy gets haste and then gets to copy a random critter/artifact. So it's like a Progenitor Mimic that makes the copy right away and can copy artifacts. I'd hoard foils while it's still cheap. Same with Knowledge Exploitation.
Just as a reminder: Knowledge Exploitation is essentially a 5UU modal Tooth and Nail/Time Warp (or Stretch!)/Insurrection/Bribery. It should be in every blue deck.
Updates for Commander 2013:
Ranger's Path -> Tempt with Discovery (Testing this out...how greedy are people?)
Wasteland -> Opal Palace