I like most of your changes. I'm still messing with my build myself. I will likely be playing Village Rites somewhere, just not sure where. The mana is going to take the most work to nail down, especially with the thrive lands. I know you really like the Griffin, but I'm still not sold on it. Dimir House Guard is the least exciting of the tutors based on its limited targets and I think I'd rather run another recursion spell like Reaping the Graves over the Griffin or just running back Shade's Form (but also not big on those because no way to rebuy those later). How do you feel about Unwind and Rewind now that you're lower on the number of bouncelands?
I will probably be replacing Perilous Research with Village Rites. Only downside is no tutorability with Merchant Scroll, but now that we don't have to use tutoring for recursion as much, I don't think I'll miss that.
As for the thrive lands, they will replace some combination of my green life duals and some number of the gold lands. Still considering which combination will be best. The need for gold sources dimishes as we get better fixing, and Rupture Spire and friends are the slowest lands in the deck. Still, if there's more support for gates around the corner, Gateway Plaza might be good. I'm also not sure how the rules changes affect the decision to run Opal Palace. It's not that bad. If you use it twice, you will have lost as much mana space as from a single Rupture Spire. If it means casting 8+/8+ CoAs late game, what's not to like?
Griffin is one of few recursion effects that lets you keep a board position after blowing up CoA on an opp's turn. This leaves you less vulnerable to hasty attacks from other opponents until it is your turn again. Undying Evil and Kaya's Ghostform do the same. I'd rather run 2 Ghostform than the griffin, the the format is what it is. (You can run Shade's Form and friends here too, but they are more vulnerable to 2-for-1s than ghostform). Dimir House Guard should probably be grabbing Teachings or Reap and Sow before the griffin, but it's nice to have it in the CMC slot. Actually, I think Reaping the Graves is the way to go over Grim Harvest now (!) I'm still in a "CoA mindset" when thinking about recursion in the deck, but Reaping the Graves getting back two utility creatures is just so much more efficient. The fact that it can loop with CoA and a recursion wizard late game is just gravy really, it's so much more useful midgame than Harvest.
I think Unwind and Rewind are basically cute but overcosted Cancels and Negate. Meh. I actually have enough counters already and I'm thinking about cutting them. I know I want to add SGO back alongside Augur of Bolas - they are both super strong. I'm also a bit disappointed in Farseek because the tap clause has anti-synergy with Mystic Sanctuary. OTOH, sanctuary is nuts with Crop Rotation/Reap and Sow.
I'm looking at the various categories and thinking I do everything I want to do and I still have 3-4 slots to spare now with the rules change. I feel I'm already running the best cards and I'm unsure what to add more of. I'm taking a good hard look at Growth Spiral though. It seems like the best of the set of Growth Spiral, Explore and Coiling Oracle, and we could probably put one such effect to good use at any board position. Haven't felt this uncertain about the list in a long time!
Just putting my current thoughts on deck list here so I don't forget anything
Perilous Research -> Village Rites
Grim Harvest -> Reaping the Graves (most likely the better card with new rules)
(Mistmoon Griffin) possible cut as it is a few mana more expensive than Undying Evil/Ghostform. Graceful Reprieve is a possible replacement, but also strictly worse than Undying Evil. Growth Spiral is a strong card (not exactly necessary) that could take its place too. Cutting DHG is also a possibility if all it does is tutor for other tutors or card draw.
Sea Gate Oracle should go back into the now rather large draw section.
Rewind + Unwind need to go. One is replaced by SGO, the other by Soul Manipulation or Exclude. SM is arguably better mid to late game for getting back utility dudes rather than random draws, but Exclude is much better early to for example counter commanders with no card loss.
Farseek is meh. Swap for Commander's Sphere which is probably a much better gold source than the Rupture Spire cycle of lands.
Blossoming Sands is probably the best keep of the current green tap lands with only 1 plains in the deck. Consider cutting the rest and the Spire type lands for the new Thriving Lands. Consider adding Opal Palace which is better with the rules change and only really slower than the spire lands on your first CoA drop. Also Mortuary Mire should go back in (possible over an Island? going from 5 to 6 doesn't really matter much for Mystic Sanctuary) for utility creatures.
With the changes to the Command Zone + Graveyard interaction, the deck wants to have a lot more velocity than the previous iterations had. We don't have to buy time looking for recursion spells like previous builds. This means I want to be ramping more, having more mana untapped, and drawing a lot more cards. Here's a little breakdown of some of the card selections.
Altar's Reap, Perilous Research, and Village Rites: I was always a fan of Altar's Reap. Now we get an even cheaper one. I know people have had different numbers of the previous two in the past, but I think now more than ever I want every copy of the effect possible so that I can draw more action and keep my hand full. This make it easier to keep hitting land drops and hit the few recursion spells we do run. No longer do we need a sacrifice outlet + recursion spell at all times, so I'd much prefer my sac outlets draw me cards.
Coiling Oracle: I'm throwing this in over Augur of Bolas. I've always had mixed feelings about Augur, but now that ramp is that much more important, I'd rather play a 2-drop that guarantees that I am ramping or cantripping. You could still probably fit it in the deck, but I'm just not a fan.
Whispers of the Muse and Rain of Revelation: Call me old-fashioned, but I prefer drawing my cards at instant speed. I cut Ponder to make room for Whispers and opted for Rain over Unexplained Vision and Foresee. This decision mainly comes down to preference. The scry on Vision is pretty neat, and may convince me to make the switch at some point, but for now, I want to keep some of my more expensive card draw spells to be instants.
Thriving Isle & co.: These are the big reason it took me a bit to come up with a list. As we have discussed in the last few messages, these allow our mana to be much faster. I've cut all the Rupture Spire-type lands, the Khans lifegain lands, and some of the bouncelands to make room for the full set of these and the panoramas. We get to spend a lot less time waiting to set up our mana thanks to these beauties and I am excited to see how other people make the manabase with them in the mix.
Mystic Sanctuary: Speaking of changes to the manabase, this was a card I previously included but never really tweaked the manabse to accommodate. Now that there aren't the slow lands, we can add the full panorama cycle to make sure we hit the three islands minimum to make this function. The panoramas can also help fuel threshold on an early Far Wanderings.
Opal Palace: This is another card that gets much better with the rule change. Previously, I would only ever cast Child from the command zone twice, maybe three times, in a given game. Now it is a little more likely that we can cast it from the command zone and the extra bit of ramp means that the added cost of filtering the mana isn't so taxing.
Blue Elemental Blast / Hydroblast: I always love the blasts in this deck. I used to run 1/1 split of red and blue ones but opted for double red blasts due to increases in countermagic. I think being able to find one with Merchant Scroll is pretty important and I can see myself going back to the 1/1 split or throwing in one of the blue ones as well.
Deprive: This card got my attention thanks to Pauper and how it interacts with Mystic Sanctuary. We only have a few lands that are great to return now, but I think it is worth taking a look at as an extra way to squeeze value out of Mortuary Mire, Bojuka Bog, and Mystic Sanctuary. We can even use it to reset our Thriving lands.
Scour from Existence and Wrecking Ball: These are just considerations since I'm not sold on Unmake and Geomancer's Gambit. Unmake has always felt weird to me because of the awkward mana cost, although the Thriving lands may very well ease this awkwardness. Wrecking Ball provides some more adaptability and is an instant (since I've already mention how much I prefer those). It doesn't replace itself like Gambit, but with the increase in card draw in the deck, I may just opt for the instant.
Spoils of Victory: After urdjur's inclusion of Farseek, I wanted to look for cards that can put Sanctuary into play untapped. This appears to be the only one outside of Crop Rotation and Reap and Sow. It's a slower Rampant Growth in every other scenario, unless we decide to also include Witch's Cottage, but if I decide I'm really looking for that effect, or even just another ramp spell, I imagine this will be the first one in.
Very interesting, bfine! I feel like with the current situation of new rules and prints, deck lists will become more streamlined and similar.
Mana base: I think I will play almost exactly the same mana base as you, maybe distribution of basics and karoos will be slightly different, that's all. Any particular reason why you prefer Izzet Boilerworks over Golgari Rot Farm?
Altar's Reap, Perilous Research, and Village Rites: I notice you are missing Wretched Gryff. It is sorcery speed rather than instant speed, but only a single mana so easy to squeeze in. I think it is stronger even than Village Rites, because one extra card is rarely as good as a free 3/4 flyer. Also the card draw too is uncounterable. Perhaps it deserves a slot over one of Reap/Research? Also, running too many of these effects that require CoA on board and are redundant risk clogging up your hand. I really like your BEB/Hydro plan here for that reason - especially if you decide to cut Perilous Research. I'll have to give this some thought for my own list!
Coiling Oracle: Actually, a card I've had to reconsider yet again was Commander's Sphere. I was browsing through cards at EDHREC and saw how popular it was, and it got me thinking. If we compare it to cards that are typically run: Darksteel Ingot. The obvious comparison. It doesn't have the indestructible synergy with CoA, but instead it has a cantripping synergy so that you don't lose a card anyway. Darksteel Ingot is better in the first few turns when your mana is limited, Sphere is better later. It is in fact a very decently costed cycling mana source when you compare it to the cycling lands. For a net mana of 2, you get a gold source that cycles and RAMPS (ignores normal 1 land per turn rule). Same if you compare it to Rupture Spire and friends, that also set you back 2 mana the turn they are played, but follow normal 1 land per turn rules. And these lands used to be completely mainstream in triplicates in all lists! I think we've undervalued Commander's Sphere before, and now it's even better when we're cutting back on gold lands and want more ramp.
Whispers of the Muse and Rain of Revelation: You might have a point here. Another think I'll have to consider, the value of instant speed draw in the deck now. Impulse is also a card.
Deprive: I've considered this as well, and use it in Pesant 60 card decks with Sanctuary. My conclusion is that 1-for-1 counters just aren't worth building an engine around, especially one that halts your land drops. You'd much rather go from say 12 lands to 16 lands and get more mana for card draw, CoA replays and Capsizing than sit at 12 and counter a spell every few turns. In a 1-v-1 60 card deck, you are much more likely to not get more benefit from more land drops and can completely lock the game with this.
Spoils of Victory: I considered it also, but concluded that I couldn't abuse this with Sanctuary as much as I could using Crop Rotation and Reap and Sow. And it is kinda worse than all the other ramp spells, so I decided I wanted Commander's Sphere more.
Let me know how you like Growth Spiral and the instant speed draw when you've played a few games!
Private Mod Note
Rollback Post to RevisionRollBack
A series of seven articles using Magic to explore the very stuff of the Universe! "At least for those who can play cards, their present incarnation is not quite wasted." [Click here for the articles!]
Impulse: I ran it a few years back in a version of this list. I feel like I typically want quantity when it comes to card draw, but maybe it is worth revisiting. I cut Ponder because I didn't like that it just gave me one card and didn't do much for filtering. I feel like Impulse may feel the same for me.
I think your instincts on Spoils of Victory and Deprive are right. I want to keep them in the maybeboard as Wizards seems to be more open to giving us common lands. I picked Boilerworks over Rot Farm because I just want more blue mana late game. Yes, we want green mana early, but with the Thriving lands, I think I want my bouncelands to be giving me blue mana. I don't think there is that much of a difference and I could see myself switching back.
I'm pretty excited for the Crib Swap downshift from Double Masters. I've wanted this effect in the deck for a good while, which is why I've been considering playing Scour from Existence again. Anyone else considering playing it or any of the other downshifts? PS. You can even tutor for it w/ Vedalken Aethermage.
Question for everyone: How often do you go for the combo win? I feel like I end up doing it too frequently and I think I want to cut it from the deck (which is just cutting Cloud of Faeries). With the option of not blowing up Child when it dies no longer available, you can't just keep your flicker guys out there all the time if you're going for the combo. Just want to know what everyone else does and if I was the only person considering not having access to the combo.
Is there a forum or a more specific place where people post their deck lists and talk about this format? I have been looking for a playgroup and others who have had this same idea; I had no idea that this thread existed! I have a Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord deck that I played with some old friends in my hometown where we used the same format! The deck is somewhere; I am unsure if I have the decklist on hand still.
I don't want to stray too far off the Child of Alara topic. I'm not sure how popular the format is, but in the Child of Alara discord I posted a while back, I typically throw out my ideas. All the decks I have are all commons excluding commanders, so I'd love to talk or share ideas. I know Zombie Shakespeare does the same thing, since we've shared ideas with one another previously. I'd definitely recommend posting any decklists here as threads. I haven't done that myself in a while, but I should go through and post all my updated ones here soon. Currently brewing: 1) Tayam 2) Nevinyrral
If anyone has an updated list (or wants a list added), post it and I'll add it to the spreadsheet.
Check out the "Current" tab where I included my list from 2017 (which is my current list) for comparison. My list is from before the rule change about commander death triggers. A lot of sets were released since then. I left the old lists in the "Archive" tab.
Recursion is down. Card draw is up. Countermagic is up.
This makes sense. There is less focus on getting the commander-recursion engine going with the new death trigger ruling. We have a couple new (and slightly more efficient) options for removal/sacrifice/utility and some new color-fixing lands (Thriving X).
Many of you will already know what I'm talking about if you've been looking at the Kaldheim spoilers.
We get access to a bunch of sweet ramp cards that can also be used for color-fixing with the Kaldheim snow duals. The snow duals fundamentally change how I will build the manabase and ramp package. Cards for consideration, in addition to the cards mentioned in the previous post:
Prices are spiking on some (most) of the cards that can search up the snow duals. Three Visits is crazy expensive in the P3K version anyway. It was reprinted at least, but at uncommon. I always run the version of the card printed at common in this deck, so yikes.
In many lists, I see Rolling Thunder instead of Fireball. What am I missing? Here's my thought process for why I run Fireball in this slot. I'm interested in reading your thoughts for running Rolling Thunder instead!
In this deck, there are four main uses for Fireball/Rolling Thunder:
1) Combo Finisher
2) Trigger CoA / Destroy a Single Target
3) Destroy Two Targets
4) Destroy More Than Two Targets
Once we have arbitrarily large amounts of mana, Fireball and Rolling Thunder are functionally equivalent. Either spell can be used to destroy any number of targets and/or remove any number of players from the game.
Trigger CoA / Destroy a Single Target
Fireball is more efficient than Rolling Thunder at dealing damage to a single target. It also does not require a second Red mana, which is important earlier in the game.
Destroy Two Targets
Sometimes we are in a position to either destroy two creatures or even take out two players at the same time if life totals are low enough and we've ramped enough. Fireball and Rolling Thunder are functionally similar in these situations, though not equivalent. Fireball requires one less Red mana symbol to cast. Rolling Thunder allows us to split the damage any way we want, however.
Destroy More Than Two Targets
This is where Rolling Thunder becomes more efficient and flexible than Fireball. It allows us to split damage any number of ways and in any amounts. Rolling Thunder costs less mana overall to cast than Fireball in this scenario.
Although there are scenarios where Rolling Thunder is better, Fireball is the better spell in more situations. Fireball is easier to cast in the early game, requiring only one Red mana. The superior flexibility of Rolling Thunder is often unnecessary and only slightly better than Fireball in most scenarios.
95%+ of the time, I use Fireball as a single target removal spell, either to kill a creature, kill a player, or trigger CoA. In every one of those situations, I'd rather have Fireball than Rolling Thunder. The other 5% of the time that I am splitting up damage to kill two creatures, Fireball is less Red-intensive to cast than Rolling Thunder and it matters. The scenarios where I split up damage to more than two targets are vanishingly small, and even then Fireball usually produces similar results.
I'm sure I'm missing something obvious! What are your thoughts on running Rolling Thunder instead of Fireball?
As far as the general trends, you are right, it just makes sense to have the draw. Since the rule change, I think there should be a bigger focus on ramp and card draw since we are going to be casting CoA from the command zone a lot more. More card draw naturally fits with the ramp since we will have more resources to refill our hands as our ramp cards continue to be decent even later into the game.
Snow Lands and Kaldheim
I'm also on board with switching to snow basics. I already have been looking into the Into the North and Forest finders. The addition of these cards coincides really well with the rule change. I may also add in Skred, but I'm not 100% on it. I'm hoping there ends up being a snow-based card or two worth including outside of Skred but only time will tell. I don't quite know just yet how the mana base will shift, but I still intend to play the thriving lands and definitely plan to cut the panoramas.
Rolling Thunder v. Fireball
I have almost always played Rolling Thunder. The majority of the time I've cast it has been to clear several creatures at once and wipe a board without having to blow up the baby. Fireball is better in those other situations but I don't find myself using the card in those situations as often. We have removal for one-off creatures. Additionally if you're trying to take out something big alongside something smaller, Fireball doesn't do the trick since the damage is split up evenly as opposed to how you want. I don't think they are very different, but the additional flexibility provided by Rolling Thunder at the cost of a single extra red mana (which is less and less of a problem as we tweak the mana base) is something I am okay with.
Even with the snow lands coming in Kaldheim, I'm not convinced Skred is worth running. What would you replace? What role would in play in your deck?
Skred is instant speed direct damage for creatures only. The amount of damage is tied to the number of snow permanents you control. Even if you aggressively tutor for snow lands in the first 3-4 turns, Skred is a Lightning Bolt with less flexibility (since it doesn't hit players). Even with snow basics in the mix, Skred is only an efficient direct damage spell for a single creature later in the game. By then, you should have access to better removal (exile/bounce) or be looping CoA.
I'm not entirely sold on it. If anything it is just another 1 mana interaction piece. Can also be a Child removal outlet. I definitely think I am leaning more on the side of not playing it, but just something worth a consideration with the shift to snow lands. Do you plan on making any updates to your list with all of the changes to mana?
I don't like Shimmerdrift Vale. I'd rather run any of the Thriving Lands over it since they do the same thing but tap for a second color. Sure, it isn't fetchable, but if you have snow basics and duals, you will be able to fetch any color you need. I'm on the fence on Ravenform. We have Crib Swap already and I think the sorcery speed of Ravenform hurts it a lot. I plan on working on an updated list this weekend w/ new cards.
My list hasn't been updated in years. I'm running Angelic Purge where some of you are running Forsake the Worldly. Angelic Purge is yet another way to trigger CoA, so it has that going for it. But it is a sorcery. How often are you cycling Forsake the Worldly? What troublesome indestructible artifacts and enchantments are you running into?
Ravenform, Crib Swap, and Unmake are all fighting for the same slot (or role at least). Crib Swap gets the nod over Unmake because it's easier to cast, can be tutored for with Vedalken Aethermage, and the "drawback" of leaving a 1/1 behind is usually inconsequential. Ravenform can exile an artifact, but it's a sorcery, can't be tutored for by Aethermage, and leaves behind a flying 1/1. I tend to agree with you. I'm not sure that hitting artifacts is good enough to make me run Ravenform instead of Crib Swap. The addition of Foretell makes it a bit more interesting.
Do I need Ravenform, Crib Swap, or Unmake? I'm not sure that I do. It could probably be more card draw for all that it matters. The rare occasions where I need to exile a creature (or artifact) do come up, but Angelic Purge has always been enough.