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Jul 4, 2017Just got back from the Modern Open in Virginia playing my own blend of UW Control. Started out 4-0 but wound up crashing and burning to the tune of finishing 5-4 and missing the Day 2 cut.Posted in: Control
12-TripMagic OnlineOCTGN2ApprenticeBuy These Cards Creatures
4 Wall of Omens
3 Snapcaster Mage
1 Vendilion Clique
3 Restoration Angel
1 Gideon Jura
1 Elspeth, Sun's Champion
4 Spreading Seas
2 Detention Sphere
4 Path to Exile
3 Cryptic Command
4 Serum Visions
3 Supreme Verdict
4 Flooded Strand
1 Polluted Delta
1 Arid Mesa
3 Celestial Colonnade
3 Seachrome Coast
2 Ghost Quarter
2 Hallowed Fountain
1 Prairie Stream
2 Spell Queller
2 Surgical Extraction
2 Timely Reinforcements
2 Ceremonious Rejection
1 Stony Silence
1 Rule of Law
1 Baneslayer Angel
1 Celestial Purge
1 Disdainful Stroke
1 Runed Halo
A little different than some of the Rev and 8-Visions lists circulating around, for a few reasons. The big one is that I couldn't secure a playset of Ancestral Visions prior to the event. Second, Sphinx's Revelation--while it is such an amazing form of life gain and card advantage--feels incredibly subpar when the best deck in the format has access to main deck one mana hard counters. Ancestral at times feels equally disappointing, the equivalent of getting Thoughtseize turn 1 that gives you the promise of a later payoff, but doesn't always deliver on. I figured running twelve cantrip effects--not even including ways to rebuy them like Restoration Angel and Snapcaster Mage--would give me the same cumulative effect without opening myself up to blowouts. Not to mention I've always preferred the one-for-one style of play in my UW Control lists, so this felt like a natural progression of that. Extra cantrips also meant that I could afford to shave off some lands in favor of cheap interaction.
Round 1: Abzan, W 2-0 (1-0)
Game 1 was a slugfest. I used Spreading Seas to choke off his mana and neutralize his manlands, but he managed to land a Liliana of the Veil and tick her up until I forced an ultimate by dropping Gideon Jura, which left me with Gideon, Wall of Omens, Celestial Colonnade, and two Spreading Seas on the board to continue choking his mana. He eventually dealt with my Gideon while I used my cantrips to rebuilt my mana base. I eventually won by pressuring him with Angels and Colonnades before he could find a Siege Rhino to finish me off. Game 2 he stumbled on mana early, but was able to build up an attack force that was met by a Supreme Verdict. He managed to reload, but this time I answered with Elspeth to close out the game.
In: 1 Celestial Purge, Out: 1 Vendilion Clique. I didn't board in Disdainful Stroke because I never saw a spell that costed more than 3 mana, so I assumed he was on something lower to the ground. I did see Lingering Souls, hence sidelining Clique.
Round 2: UW Merfolk, W 2-0 (2-0)
He lead off with Island into Mutavault into Smuggler's Copter, leading me to think he was on Fae, but Wanderwine Hub said otherwise. But the games were pretty straightforward: He would build up an army, and I'd wrath them away. Spreading Seas took care of his Mutavaults, and Baneslayer Angel mopped things up in Game 2.
In: 1 Baneslayer Angel, 2 Timely Reinforcements, 1 Dispel. Out: 1 Elspeth, 3 Cryptic Command.
Round 3: Grixis Shadow, W 2-0 (3-0)
So, one thing to mention here: this was my first-ever SCG Open. So when I saw I was playing against Brad Nelson, I was more then a little intimidated. That poker face of his is really unnerving. Game 1 I did my best to cut him off of his red mana sources with Seas and Ghost Quarter while trying to play around Stubborn Denial the best I could. Eventually managed to use Cryptic to fog and bounce Tasigur to give me an opening to swing for lethal. Game 2 saw Brad stripping away most of my sideboard cards and pressuring me quickly, and I was drawing dead until I topdecked my Elspeth and, by some miracle, it resolved. Eventually, my soldiers broke through and won the day.
In: 1 Purge, 1 Dispel, 1 Surgical Extraction. Out: 3 Cryptics
Round 4: UW Control, W 2-0 (4-0)
For some reason, I hadn't anticipated on playing the mirror this tournament, most likely due to the aftereffects of the 16-hour drive plus dealing with the emotional trauma of the passing of a dear friend back home in between rounds. But in any event, I was treated to the control mirror. Early game was spent with us sculpting our hands and me trying to jam Restoration Angels at his end step. He managed to land a Jace, Architect of Thought and even got it to ultimate. Soon I was staring down a Jace, my own Elspeth, and a Gideon of the Trials. Once again, the top of my deck proved kind to me: I was able to Condemn his Gideon, Detention Sphere my Elspeth, and kill his Jace with a Colonnade. Cryptic Command bounced my Detention Sphere to return Elspeth to me, and eventually my Soldiers overran him. Game 2 was much less exciting, as he flooded out as I poked him to death with Snapcaster Mages.
In: 1 Dispel, 1 Disdainful Stroke, 2 Spell Queller, 1 Surgical Extraction. Out: 3 Supreme Verdict, 2 Condemn
Round 5: Counters Company, L 0-2 (4-1)
This is where my downward spiral began. I drew the "midrange" part of my deck with little interaction outside of Path to Exiles, and he quickly combo'd me out. Game 2 I felt as though I was close to winning--I had locked him out of white mana, I dealt with his combo pieces as they came down--but he eventually generated enough mana with Devoted Druid and Gavony Township to one-shot me with Walking Ballista anyways. I feel this loss is more about my deck construction than anything, as I was underprepared for this matchup.
I forget how exactly I sideboarded for this game, but all I know is that I didn't see any of it. In the future, I'd probably bring in Dispel, Stroke, Runed Halo, and Rule of Law. Rule of Law is an interesting idea, because that way it's more difficult for them to combo-kill me all in one turn.
Round 6: Mono Green Tron, L 0-2 (4-2)
This was my second match against a pro that day. This time, I found myself seated across from Tom Ross. He lead with Tower into Map, and I was displeased. I also must've been more than a little tilted, because I somehow ignored the fact I could Snap-Path his World Breaker instead of delaying it turn after turn with Cryptics. Eventually he landed Ulamog and I just scooped, more than a little annoyed with myself that I had misplayed so horribly for so long. It probably wouldn't have mattered as I'm such at a disadvantage Game 1, but still, I should've breathed and focused myself more.
Game 2 I feel like I should have won: I had answers for every threat he cast, Spreading Seas helped slow him down, but I couldn't find a single threat to put pressure on him. Not even a Colonnade. I eventually fell to a resolved Ugin.
In: 1 Stony Silence, 2 Ceremonious Rejection, 1 Disdainful Stroke, 1 Surgical Extraction. Out: 3 Supreme Verdict, 2 Condemn
Round 7: Grixis Shadow, L 1-2 (4-3)
My opponent opened up with cycling Street Wraiths and I was determined to use this match to get back on track. I even succeeded Game 1, mostly helped out by my opponent putting himself to one life and not having an answer to an end step Restoration Angel. Game 2 saw another misplay on my part. We had come to a point where we were both in the single digits for life. I had six mana, and a Wall of Omens, Gideon, Elspeth, and Dispel in hand. I knew from a Vendilion Clique that he had access to Stubborn Denial and Snapcaster Mage. I cast Gideon with Dispel backup, and he Snap-Denialed the Gideon after my counterpsell resolved. At this point, he had a Shadow and Tasigur on board, so beating me was elementary. What I should've done was lead with the Wall and hope to rip a Supreme Verdict, as that was my only out given his wall of countermagic. Then I could deal with trying to land my haymakers. Game 3 I wound up flooding out, unable to deal with a fast start on his end.
In: 1 Purge, 1 Dispel, 1 Timely. Out: 3 Cryptics. I'm not sure why I brought in Timely instead of Surgical, and I'm not sure it's correct. I guess my thinking was that the tokens would be great speed bumps, even if I never gained the life.
Round 8: Tezzerator, W 2-0 (5-3)
Game 1 felt very elementary. He landed an early Thopter Foundry but never found a Sword of the Meek, and I eventually used Spheres and Verdicts to deal with his token army while I beat him to death with Angels. Game 2 was a very grindy affair that saw him actively searching for Tidehollow Scullers to strip my hand away and serve as a win condition after I landed an early Stony Silence. The boardstate eventually devolved to a point where he had a mass of artifacts and an Aether Grid in play, and I had an Elspeth generating tokens. We were deadlocked for a bit; I actually had to Ceremonious Rejection his Mishra's Bauble--twice!--so he wouldn't get more Grid fodder. I eventually drew Cryptic Command, and while he pinged Elspeth to the graveyard, I tapped his team and bounced his Grid, and because of how he tapped his artifacts for the earlier activations, he didn't have enough to kill enough tokens to ensure his survival.
Sideboarding I remember was weird, I boarded out a lot of removal and brought in basically anything that seemed relevant. Surgicals, Stony, Rejections, everything.
Round 9: Grixis Shadow, L 0-2 (5-4)
At this point, all I needed was a single win to make the cut in my first-ever open. But I should've known from the get-go that I wasn't gonna get there. Right off the bat, I noticed I drew eight cards in my opening hand instead of seven, so I called the judge over and accepted my warning and the Turn 0 Thoughtseize without complaint. Game 1 I almost battled my opponent to a standstill, but I just couldn't find enough removal for his Shadows. Game 2 saw him get out to a quick start, and I just kept drawing lands instead of answers.
It was a really disappointing way to end the day, but ultimately I'm still happy that I finished my first-ever Open with a winning record. Besides, beating Brad Nelson is nothing to sneeze at. I definitely could have played better in a few instances, but in most cases my losses were more about variance than anything else, so at least I can say it's not something I did or didn't do. Going forward I'm not sure what I plan on doing with the deck--I may take a little bit to brew around with some things now that I completed my playset of Goyfs--but with the Syracuse Open on the horizon, I need to decide how to improve my list if I decide to make that trip. One thing I noticed is that Restoration Angel felt like the weakest card in this list, so perhaps it's time for me to move onto something like Gideon of the Trials instead.
Jun 17, 2017TribalElfMage posted a message on HOU (and the other less official ones lately. ) spoilers discussion for ModernSupreme Will 2UPosted in: Modern
-Counter target spell unless control pays 3
-Look at the top 4 cards of your library. Put one of them into your hand and the rest on the bottom of your library in any order.
What are some thoughts on this? The 3cc is a sad time, but being able to either Mana Leak or Impulse isn't awful
May 16, 2017Bump due to major changes in the deck list. I trimmed down some of the unneeded fat and tried to develop more of a natural curve. I included a lot more ramp too; It's not uncommon to hit double-digit mana by the time turns 5 or 6 comes around. Lotus Cobra has been the crux to these explosive starts.Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
I originally was running things like Elvish Piper as a way to cheat my fatties in, and while they created a nice "Gotcha!" moment I'd rather just ramp harder to thin my deck out and fuel massive turns.
There were some cards in my original deck list that are staples--Sensei's Divining Top, Sylvan Library--that I thought I had but digging through my collection revealed that I either was already using my one copy, or I just did not own them at all. I want my lists to be an accurate reflection of what I play in real life, so they were cut for the time being.
I still worry about the overall lack of answers in my list. Beating people down is a great solution, but sometimes I would really like a Negate or something to deal with stuff. Not sure exactly what to cut to make room for those things though.
There are other cards I'm looking to bring into the list like haste enablers (Akroma's Memorial, Lightning Greaves) and library manipulation (Future Sight). If anyone has any ideas I'd love to hear them.
May 12, 2017There's few things I love more in magic than having tons of mana and drawing cards. Thrasios, Triton Hero can do both. Early game, he's an engine piece, accelerating my mana and occasionally drawing me a strong utility card. Late game he filters my dead draws and keeps the gas flowing. Much has been written about his combo potential, especially in conjunction with other Partner Commanders, but given my personal distaste of combo, I decided to go in a different direction. Instead of building towards an inevitable infinite loop and having each and every game be the same, I want to ramp hard and dish out haymakers with my giant threats until my opponents don't get up again.Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
Gameplan is simple: ramp, play some beaters, ramp, play more beaters, beat face. There are some cards I am excluding--namely Seedborn Muse, Consecrated Sphinx, and the Eldrazi Titans--because either I don't own them, don't want to invest in them, or because I just plain don't like the card and don't find it fun or constructive in the multiplayer environment.
There's also a notable lack of a Partner Commander in this list. Adding a third of fourth color to this list would certainly widen the threat pool I have to choose from, and certainly make the deck more explosive. I looked long and hard at Kraum, Ludevic's Opus before deciding to run solo with Thrasios. While the Partner Commanders offer a unique experience, I prefer the flavor of having a single card in my Command Zone. Not to mention running two-color streamlines the mana base (although given I'm in green, that's not too big of an issue).
In testing thus far the deck has played out about how you'd expect. Thrasios does wonders in smoothing out the early game and getting me to a point where my high curve doesn't matter. I do wonder if I need more answers in the form of countermagic; sometimes it's difficult in dealing with threatening permanents when my Plan A of "swing at them until they're dead" does not pan out. Any and all suggestions would be most helpful.
Apr 23, 2017TribalElfMage posted a message on Meren of Clan Nel Toth - Reanimation for fun and valueWhen I was running Meren, I really enjoyed having Vulturous Aven. It provided a nice Sign in Blood effect while still adding experience counters. I liked it more than Masked Admirers, mostly because paying GG to recur it made me sad sometimes.Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
I'd also look to add Bloodghast to complement your recursive creature suite. Does great things with your sac outlets, and it's easy to bring back: just hit your land drops and you have free fodder turn after turn.
Finally, I'd consider Skullclamp a must in this kind of list. The card advantage you get out of it is insane.
Apr 23, 2017TribalElfMage posted a message on Breya, Etherium Shaper -- It's Not Easy Playing FairAfter a couple days of testing, I've made the following changes to the list:Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
Marionette Master --> Purphoros, God of the Forge: Master is a great card for this strategy, but there were some issues with it. For starters, 6 mana is a lot, and I already was running enough 6 drops. It did contribute to both going wide as well as the "death by a thousand stings" game plans, the inability to hit all opponents at once was at times a let down. Purphoros still contributes to both the strategies in my list, deals more damage than Marionette Master, and even provides an "Overrun effect" for my tokens, not to mention it's a fairly difficult permanent to remove. With this reasoning, Disciple of the Vault is also on the chopping block, however the fact it's only a single mana makes it much more appealing than Master.
Sword of the Meek --> Hidden Stockpile: I haven't once assembled the Thopter-Sword combo, and most of the time when I draw Sword it's been disappointing outside of the corner cases where I was able to use Sword as a sort of Bloodghast effect to use as Breya fodder. Hidden Stockpile is a sac outlet on its own, and provides a constant stream of fodder as well. It's possible Sword will work it's way back into the list at some point, but Stockpile definitely seems better right now
Oversold Cemetery --> Myr Battlesphere: I have enough recursion in my list that Cemetery just felt like overkill. Battleball gives me a solid threat at the top end, and helps me go wide while also offering tons of Breya fodder. It's nuts with Panharmonicon and Minion Reflector.
Toxic Deluge --> Dig Through Time: With my three Grave Pact effects, Toxic Deluge felt like overkill more often than not, and the life loss was at times tough to manage. I've been wanting to add in additional draw power into the list, and Dig allows me to see more cards so I can get to my necessary pieces.
In addition to the Disciple I mentioned above, Sword of the Animist and Scrap Trawler are also on the chopping block for right now. Between Sad Robot, Hart, and my recursion engine Sword feels like overkill in the mana ramp department. Trawler is a great recursion piece, but sometimes it's difficult to get things back off of it, or at least the pieces I want to get back.
Apr 21, 2017TribalElfMage posted a message on Breya, Etherium Shaper -- It's Not Easy Playing FairPosted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
Marionette Master --> Purphoros, God of the Forge
Sword of the Meek --> Hidden Stockpile
Oversold Cemetery --> Myr Battlesphere
Toxic Deluge --> Dig Through Time
As someone who already runs a pure Control deck (Dragonlord Ojutai] and a curve out, beat-you-face list (Selvala, Explorer Returned), I wanted to build something in the middle. Something that plays the long game, gets me incremental advantage throughout, controls the board with Grace Pact effects, and eventually slogs out a win somehow. Or at the very least, go down having fun. I built Meren of Clan Nel Toth to be just that, but when I saw Breya, Etherium Shaper I knew that I wanted to build the deck around her.
Now, this obviously isn't the most conventional build of Breya. While many decklists have been posted about her--both on this site and others--they have largely focused on her combo potential. In my list I tried to avoid any sort of infinite combo, which is why you'll notice the exclusion of things like Sculpting Steel, Phyrexian Metamorph, Nim Deathmantle, and the Alters. They are great cards, for this and any EDH deck, but it's not the vision I have in mind for this build. That being said, I probably missed some, just because of how well artifacts work together, and I know that I have Thopter-Sword in there, but for one, it's not an "infinite" combo, and second I've actually been really underwhelmed with Sword of the Meek so far an might actually cut it.
The deck has a couple different ways it can
slowlykill people. Abusing ETB and death triggers results in cards like Disciple of the Vault pinging my opponents to death. Magister Sphinx helps a lot with this, as 10 is a lot less daunting than 40. You also have enough token generators slash recursion slash copy effects to go wide and beat people down. Breya herself can be a kill condition once life totals are low enough.
One thing the deck seems to struggle with is consistency. Once of the pieces are assembled, the machine works beautifully. It's getting to that point that is difficult. I could probably use more card draw or something, but I'm not sure what to cut. I also think that Myr Battlesphere should be in the list somewhere, I'm just not sure where. Lastly, I'm not sure if cards like Marionette Master are good enough; I could probably switch over to something like Purphoros, God of the Forge instead, which is a lot harder to remove. But really, any comments/suggestions would be really helpful.
Apr 17, 2017Posted in: Commander (EDH)Quote from Sephon19 »Quote from Lithl »
The super tech is using her to give Caltrops deathtouch. You can even let some of the Caltrops triggers resolve before granting deathtouch if you want some of the creatures to get through.Quote from Sephon19 »So all of your eggs and mana rocks become rattlesnakes for the low, low price of WUB? On a cheap commander too? In control colors?
Yea I could definitely see myself building a deck around this card.
This sounds incredibly mean. I love it.
Don't forget your Bident of Thassa so you can force your opponent to attack into it
Apr 17, 2017I've been trying to brew up Breya, Etherium Shaper without dipping into the plethora of combos she has at her disposal. I was thinking something along the lines of utilizing Grave Pact effects and some sac outlets to control the board, and then recurring my artifact creatures via Scarecrone, Phyrexian Reclamation, and the like. Basically something like Shattergang Brothers but with a lot more artifacts. Just eek out a ton of value via ETB triggers and eventually win.Posted in: Commander (EDH)
That last part is the hard part to figure out though. Without the combos, it just feels like the deck is slower than molasses and just can't close things out without blinking/recurring something like Magister Sphinx over and over so my opponents are within striking distance. There are cards like Marionette Master too, but they are also slow, and if someone finds a way to permanently remove them I'm back to square one.
I guess I'm wondering if I should just bite the bullet and give in to the combo madness, despite my dislike of them. Is Breya just inherently a combo commander and there's no point in trying to make her "fair," or is there something I'm missing?
Apr 16, 2017Posted in: Commander (EDH)
Agreed. And Contamination. I just want to play Magic, not sit and wait and not cast a single spell for turns on end until someone either kills the card or wins the game.
Apr 5, 2017Turn 2 Wall of Omens, Turn 3 Gideon to fog someone, then Turn 4 wrath the board, swing for 4 seems really strong in UW Control.Posted in: Modern
Personally, I just want to live the dream and emblem my Gideon, and then protect it so that my Pact of Negation becomes a Force of Will without any drawback.
Apr 5, 2017Posted in: ModernQuote from rayo »The more I think about it, the less powerful he seems in modern. Bolt and Path to Exile are still common cards and while his Platinum Angel effect should naturally be super good against non-interactive combo decks, look around, Titanshift kills him first then you, same for Storm, Ad Nauseam, Grishoalbrand, only a speed bump against Burn and a 4/4 indestructible attacker (not blocker) is not as impressive in a format that is currently dominated by 5/6s and 7/7+s.
He's good yes, but he looks better than he will turn out in modern.
I don't think it works like that for Ad Naus, because Lightning Storm can't split the damage up like that (if I'm reading the card correctly).
I could see Gideon being played in the UW Control lists, either replacing or being run alongside Gideon Jura.
Apr 5, 2017TribalElfMage posted a message on Mothership Spoilers 4/5 - Gideon of the Trials + Trials/CartouchesSo Gideon of the Trials just out-right replaces Gideon Jura in Modern, right? Or at least you could probably run a split between the two. New Gids gives the UW Control lists a quick and easy answer to the combo shenanigans running around the format.Posted in: The Rumor Mill
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