And I was surprised by how well it performed. It raced Ad Nauseam, Burn, and Affinity fairly often. It won often enough against Twin, often enough against UWR, and shockingly often against Abzan, to the point that their Scavenging Ooze was chump-blocking fairly often. (Of course, sometimes, their Ooze runs away with the game.) Scapeshift still won more than half the time, but sometimes, it gets freaked out by how fast 6-6-6-Laser 4-Company 3-Chord Melira Combo can go off. RG Tron still won most of the time, but this version feels like its RG Tron match-up is more like Twin Pod's than Melira Pod's (Melira Pod lost nearly all the time, while Twin Pod at least had a fighting chance). Being realistically able to find 2 combo pieces at instant speed almost forces RG Tron to continuously dig for Oblivion Stone and/or Relic of Progenitus and hold up their mana.
Seeing as my 2-2-5-Laser 4-Company No-Chord Melira Combo deck has a rough time against Affinity, Scapeshift, RG Tron, and Ad Nauseam (and I'm not certain that it actually wins against Abzan/Burn/Twin more often, and UWR doesn't seem to be that popular lately), it makes me really think that more all-in versions may be the way to go. It sure seems like Twin has taken a similar path lately, with UR Twin and its 6 Exarchs+4 Twins+more cantrips being more successful than UR(g/b) Twin and its 5-6 Exarchs+3-4 Twins+fewer cantrips.
I'm cautious about actually going with Rbd340's 5-5-5-Laser 4-Company 3-Chord build (with -1 something +1 Garza's Assassin because opposing Oozes still suck that much), as I have a hunch that 5-5-5-Laser will lose quite a bit of its speed. Then again, I did miss having a default Chord target whenever I had a hunch that I wouldn't be assembling the combo anytime soon. With no default Chord target, Chord felt weak unless it could get either the third combo piece or a hate bear. (Yeah, it got hate bears somewhat often. Yeah, even getting a hate bear against Affinity can still suck up too much tempo on my end.)
Oh yeah, Gavony Township was absolutely dirty against Abzan and still helped in the other match-ups. I wouldn't go to a tournament without at least 2 Townships in the deck.
I tried both the 6-6-6-Laser 4-Company 3-Chord build and my 2-2-5-Laser 4-Company No-Chord list against Grixis Delver (it's been picking up quite a few MTGO results ever since it spiked that paper tournament). I've finally found the first list that my 2-2-5-Laser build does definitively better against than the 6-6-6-Laser list does. Then again, my 2-2-5-Laser list is based on late Melira Pod lists (with Comboless Pod's 0-Chord touch), which adapted in a field of Treasure Cruise UR Delver, while 6-6-6-Laser is probably based on the wet dreams of previous Melira Combo deck builders.
Reworked the OP adding ToshiUmezawa's PPTQ deck to the "Other Decklists" section and mentioning his "toolbox" strategy in the write up. I also changed the section talking about Congregation at Dawn as I don't think I was being fair to the idea. Combining C@D with Company gets you two creatures from anywhere in your library into play for seven mana. Chord of Calling will get one creature into play for anywhere between four (Viscera Seer) and seven mana (Murderous Redcap). I also updated my list to the list I posted above.
What are your thoughts on going on a more graveyard centered route with this deck. I could see us dripping creatures and turning sideways while pitching them to viscera seer and aristocrat to either sculpt the library or to get in for damage. Then in one swoop, bring them back and end the game.
Originally toyed with the idea of bring revillark into the mix too but i swapped out lark and a redcap for melira and 3 random cards for collected company. I only linked the cards people may not know off the top of their heads cuz I'm on a phone typing this
I think that the combo route and the graveyard route are too different to be viable in the same deck. As a general rule, I've found that when a deck tries to do two different things, it ends up doing neither of them particularly well. Specifically, graveyard shenanigans are a strategy that is most useful if the game goes longer (when you will have more stuff in the yard) but this deck aims to end the game as quickly as possible, before such things would really be useful. (This is basically why I also cut Reveillark from my list... Whenever I drew it, I had a nearly empty graveyard and nothing I wanted to bring back.)
EDIT: Hey, five pages! I think we might really have something here, based on the interest level alone.
I am currently slow building this deck on paper. I am using my modern day wins (prizes to fund this). I look at this deck, and I draw a parallel to the aristocrats deck, which plays well from what I read. So im looking at inspiration from you guys, and the artist deck. I hope this thing takes off
I've tweaked my previous commune list. I added 3 chords and lowered the combo pieces from triple-8 to 7-7-6. I'm debating whether to replace one of the Viscera Seers with a mana dork because the seers are the cheapest to chord for and much more vulnerable as 1-drops than the gargs are. Overall, the deck seems pretty consistent.
I'm looking at a possible sideboard plan that takes out 4 Commune and 4 Gargadon (and possibly 1-3 Melira) and transitions from combo to more of a midrange setup. I'm not sure exactly what to include instead, but the additional 1 township (going up to 23 lands) and 2 rhinos feels like a good start. This way, you still have a decent chance of combo:ing, but it's not the main goal, kinda like with the late pod lists.
I've still found that Collected Company is excellent in Melira Combo--in heavy combo builds like yours, it often cheats out 2 out of 3 combo pieces. Collected Company also has great synergy with Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit. I definitely feel like swapping out some combination of Commune/Chord/Voice of Resurgence/Siege Rhino/combo pieces for some Collected Companys.
Your list still looks rather Scavenging Ooze-weak in Game 1--I recommend swapping out something for Linvala, Keeper of Silence/Nekrataal/Shriekmaw/Garza's Assassin/Fiend Hunter. Gargadon is very slow to come out outside of the combo (and only plays nice if infinite life definitely wins you the game), and Voice tokens are great at stalling large Oozes out but can't go on the offence with that big Ooze out (unless you can chump something to the Ooze, and given some board states, you'd better be willing to chump for turns straight).
There just wasn't anything I could do to win. This guy was running main deck damnation/golgari charm/drown in sorrow and removed everything before I got a chance to get off the ground. His Ashiok milled my abrupt decays and I just kept drawing lands. Was probably the worst matchup imaginable.
Match 2: Junk Midrange 1-1-1
Game 1: I'm able to combo off turn 4 and he scoops to infinite life.
Game 2: Very grindy, this took most of the time in our round. Going back and forth with spot removal he eventually is able to just beat me down with a batterskull on a rhino.
Game 3: This game probably has my most proud play of the day in it. He has a quick Batterskull while I have a Reveillark, Noble Hierach, and Kitchen finks in play. My graveyard has Cartel Aristocrat and Melira that were inquisition'd away so I just need to kill my reveillark. He's able to inquisition the Garza's Assassin in my hand before I'm able to draw a third black source. My next draw is an Urborg so I suddenly have a plan. I swing into his Germ with my Noble Hierarch for 1. He was at 12 but decided to block anyway. Noble Died so I triggered Garza's Assassin's Recover ability paying 9 life, I then play Urborg then drop assassin to kill my own Reveillark to go infinite. We run out of time in round before I can kill him due to his batterskull. Match 3: RG Tron 2-0
Well my opponent wasn't in his seat at the beginning of the round so he received a game loss. I start with a thoughtseize to see natural Tron in his hand and two Karns. I don't have much pressure in hand so I was pretty worried. I played a T2 Spellskite that ended up winning me the game. He keeps upticking karn and removing pressure from my hand while all I have in play is a Spellskite and a Bird. Luckily though he's only drawing lands so I'm not out of it yet. He thinks that removing my lands is more important for some reason so he downticks karn a couple times. I'm able to topdeck a Collected Company which gets me Melira and Kitchen Finks. He downticks Karn to remove finks and I redirect to spellskite. I'm able to kill Karn next turn with Melira and kitchen finks and then pass. He draws Eye of Ugin with 6 tron lands in play so I know I need to win. He plays Emrakul next turn and asks if I concede, I have a collected company in hand so I know I'm not out of it yet. At his beginning of Combat I hit Garza Assassin and Viscera Seer from Collected Company, I kill Emrakul then go infinite and scry until I hit redcap and he concedes.
Match 4: UR Twin 2-0
Game one is uneventful, I'm able to beat down with a Voice and Kitchen finks while he mostly draws blanks.
Game two could've been better but he tapped out to play bloodmoon T3 while I had a fetch to get a forest with both plains and swamp along with choke in my hand. He only had 1 island so after I choked him out he couldn't do anything. I eventually drew into a couple of kitchen finks which were able to get there since he never saw another blue source.
Match 5: Living End 2-0
Game one I was lucky with draws getting both Voices and a couple of kitchen finks on the board before he cracked living end. My guys just ended up being bigger so I took game 1.
Game two was decided early on after I thoughtseized myself to put Blood Baron in the yard. He was afraid to cascade at that point and I was able to run away with it due to a couple kitchen finks.
Overall I'm very happy with this deck, going to do more in-depth testing but I'm sure it has potential. Anafenza was probably the best card in the deck, I was happy to see it everytime and in a few matches I played it just for pure value when I put out other creatures for it to bolster.
Unfortunately, I live in Japan at the moment and they are in the middle of their legacy season, so I don't get to test as much as I would like, but I have goldfished over 100 games with this latest tweak to the list and wanted to show you my results.
In my testing, I only cared about the number of turns it took to achieve either infinite combo (life or damage) and was on the play every hand.
15 percent of hands comboed out on turn three.
Over half (63%) of hands comboed out by turn 4.
And a whopping 84% combo out on or before turn 5. Seems pretty consistent to me.
Let me know what you all think.
I don't think Athreos is good in the deck because he ruins the combo...
If your persist creatures are coming to your hand, then they aren't going to the battlefield, so the combo won't work.
This isn't the deck for it.
That being said, it might be good as a one-of in the side against decks that run graveyard hate. Scavenging ooze (and cards like it) can really mess us up. Athreos transforms our game plan and means they have to pay 3 life any time they want to stop the combo. Is that enough to warrant it wrecking all of our persist creatures though? Probably not.
I remember playtesting Athreos, God of Passage back when he was previewed. I was eventually so disappointed in him that I tested Pharika, God of Affliction instead. Then I ditched her because she didn't do enough when she wasn't a creature (and Athreos also didn't do enough). "Melira" Combo generally can't kill fast enough by beatdown to really take advantage of opponents Bolting themselves instead of giving you your creatures back.