I figure it's time to retire Ezuri, Renegade Leader. While he's still very competive in my meta, he's become stale and so I'm going to ramp up the aggro in a hyper carry deck piloted by Edric, Spymaster of Trest (cause that's not stale at all ). I plan for this deck to be able to handle generals like Zur and Rafiq. It's a casual, multi, aggro, budget build.
While this particular archetype as been built by others already, I'm going to add on the twist of keeping the deck's theme to 'Forest Friends'. Will slow the tempo down...a little...but it'll probably be okay because the Zur and Rafiq decks have been toned down aswell. Obviously some cards will be just too good not to have, despite not binding to the theme, well....that's the way it's got to be.
All my decks try to adhere to these guidelines:
1) Be able to win.
2) Be mostly true to a flavor and a theme.
3) Be good against one or multiple opponents.
5) Be fun to pilot or to play against and interactive.
6) Have multiple paths to victory.
7) Have lots of cool interactions and synergy.
8) Play out differently every game to keep it fun over a long time.
9) Be streamlined and fast to play without excessive upkeep, time-consuming play or overcomplicated boardstates.
10) Integrate the Commanders abilities into the strategy at least a little, but be able to win without ever playing the commander.
The number in front of the card will denote CMC of the creature/spell.
Updated the OP with a more defined concept of the direction I plan to take Edric. It's going to be irritating weenie Edric.
I've already cut back on many of my elf-centric cards and have added in a whole bunch on cheap evasion and board protection cards. Still 22 cards over 100 though, so I'm in need of some cuts....desperately.
One sub-theme that I am tossing in, or at least attempting to justify to myself is a "Protectors of the Forest" theme, which allows for elves and faerie and other nature dwellers to coexist in the same ranks.
Fine-tuned the build further. Still need to remove 13 cards, but it's really taking shape now. Slightly adjusted the theme to "Edric's Forest Friends". Not a competitve as Edric weenies can get, but I think it'll still pack quite the punch in my meta.
I'm really running stuck with what to cut now...anyone see obvious cuts?
Finally had an oppertunity to test my build out last night in 3 1vs1 games.
Played against Zur enchants and Zedru stax.
Overall, the build performed very well. T6 - T10 wins. Good control. Decent swings.
Creeping Renaissance felt like a dead draw both times I picked it up. I only ever wanted a single card...often an instant or socery...out of my graveyard, so I think that's going out for Noxious Revival. Thoughts?
Had some trouble against stax as I don't think I have enough enchant & artifact removal. Might consider Natural End, or Nature's Claim. Back to Nature could be solid because I only run 3 enchantments. Sundering Vitae is another interesting choice since I have many creatures to tap...though I generally want to be tapping them for damage. Thoguhts?
Now that I've tested, I can respond in a little more detail to your recommendations:
- Agreed that Fyndhorn Elves would be a strictly better update to Boreal Druid. I just love the art on Boreal Druid
- Still on the fence about Gaea's Herald. One the one hand, it helped me get Edric out right when I needed him to...he would have been countered...however, the other side is that I could not counter my opponents creatures and had to rely on alternate methods of evasion and tax to keep them at bay.
- Death by 1000 cuts was really, really fun. Pendelhaven Elder and Signal Pest help with that strategy and so far have not detracted from the deck's strength.
- While Scryb Ranger, Briarberry Cohort, Metropolis Sprite, Mindshrieker, Cryptoplasm are all potential cuts, the ones that I've seen have been quite useful. There are faster options....but I don't need faster...I just 'just fast enough'. My forest friends will stay.
- Syncopate was weak. Mana Leak was awesome. I've found that tempo is everything with this deck and spending the extra mana with Sycopate just made it not worth the cast...yet Mana Leak really applied pressure to the opponent. I can see myself cutting Sycopate.
- I see nothing wrong with Spiketail Hatchling. Will look to get a copy.
- The rest are out of my budget range....though they are good suggestions.
Thanks again for your inputs and insights.
- As mentioned above, I'll be adding in Noxious Revival. Thanks for the suggestion. EDIT: couldn't find one at my LGS...will use Reclaim until I can upgrade.
- Wingcrafter looks very interesting. I'd probably get it except that it doesnt' fit in with Forest Friends and other options that I currently have do. Good thought though.
- I don't want to go too 'stax'. Punishing the opponent while painfully picking away at there health I think would be too gruelling. They need to believe they have a chance.
- I see nothing wrong with Spiketail Hatchling. Will look to get a copy.
I've now had a chance to play this deck against most of my opponents and I've really enjoyed how this deck plays. It holds up very well, though it's never an auto-win. It's fragile nature of 'hold off for just one more turn' means that you need to keep the tempo going as you slowly kill off your opponent. I imagine this deck would be very frustrating to play against as often your spells just never see play or never quite do what they need to do.
Not so surprisingly, this deck has a hard time against Kresh. Small mass-burn spells are very annoying and must be hard-countered at all costs.
I haven't been very impressed with Cryptoplasm. I'm open to suggestions for a replacement.
Meta has turned very multiplayer since this deck was first constructed. I am now finding it difficult to keep tempo against multiple opponents....especially if they work focus me down. As such, though still wanting to keep to theme, I would like to broaden the build to allow for better multiplayer oriented threats. Suggestions would be most welcome.
1) Cut the 1v1 defensive stuff like Fogs. Edric is a pseudo-Fog. Unless you are the strongest threat at the table, players will attack each other instead of you to draw the extra cards. Your life total shouldn't become an issue unless you are way behind in the game in other ways too, in which case "lose-less" Fog is still bad.
2) Cut some of the spot removal and more expensive counters. Reserve your counters to handle mass removal (much more common in multiplayer) and spot removal to handle game-winning combos or broken commanders. Cheap answers for mass removal are good. I'm looking at you Swan Song and Spell Pierce. Also Negate, Counterspell, and similar stuff. Wrap in Vigor gets better too. Anything more than 2 mana is hard, especially if you need to counter stuff from more than one player (or at least threaten to).
3) Going with the Elf theme, Wirewood Symbiote protects Edric from removal and Eladamri, Lord of Leaves gives Edric and other elves Shroud and Forestwalk. Forestwalk should work against at least one player at a table, since Forest is strong in Commander.
4) 2-drops suck. In 1v1, you can justify expensive stuff like Man-o'-war and Spiketail Hatchling and Pestermite because tempo. You just need more bodies than the opponent, which can come from playing a body while stalling opponent. But in multiplayer you can't tempo everyone out. You could be playing TWO 1-drops and drawing TWO cards instead of having that one lousy 2-drop. Consider the great selection of 1-drops available:
Progenitor Mimic seems awful. You barely even have any ETB creatures. I don't even..
Master Biomancer seems bad. You'll probably play it after your 1/1s, so it does things in the reverse order. Instead, you just want finishers like Biomass Mutation.
Thrasios seems pretty bad. Not a Rogue, unlike other relevant Merfolk. No Evasion. 2-drop. Edric shouldn't need mana sinks. If you don't have Edric out, sink your mana into recasting him. If you have Edric, you should be drawing a lot of cards and tight on mana. You could even play more manlands like Blinkmoth Nexus, Mutavault, Mishra's Factory, Inkmoth Nexus and Lumbering Falls if you find yourself in a position with Edric and a ton of mana but no creatures or cards.
Basically, in multiplayer you want to play less tempo and just try to draw as many cards as fast as you can. Multiplayer favors proactivity over reactive answers.
Fairly large update to the build. Swapped many cards out to improve quality in a multiplay format. Please see OP for decklist and changelog details.
Thank you so much for your comments. Much of what you said has gone into decisions and direction for the build. Some things I've added....just because I want to see how the card plays out in a 'safer environment': Thrasios, Triton Hero as an example...