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  • posted a message on [GRN] Esper Control
    Quote from benjameenbear »
    I've actually found the opposite to be true in regards to Dawn of Hope. It's very rarely a T2 play unless I have some sort of backup on T3 to protect it, but casting the Dawn in the lategame is very awesome. It's easy to win the counter war over since it costs only 2 mana and it pressures any future Teferis that your mirror match might resolve. It also draws cards off of life-gain triggers, which is a nice way to keep the cards flowing. I was trying out Nezahal instead of Chromium and it's been not bad. The drawing cards off of the casting of non-creature spells has been really quite good, particularly since I've experienced the fact that people discard the Kaya's Wrath after missing a land drop or two or to the Jump-Start cost of Chemister's Insight.

    Yeah, I've actually found that Unmoored Ego is just outclassed by the Thief. I've since made the switch over to Thief of Sanity. It felt terrible to resolve the Ego against a Simic Nexus deck only to lose to their Frilled Mystics and Krasi (Krases? Krasi? I dunno). And opponents are definitely adding in Negate pretty much every time.

    I've also come around to the idea of adding the Bell-Haunts into my sideboard for the MOno-Red and Azorius Aggro decks. It's just really good at what it does.

    While I've been spending some time with a Grixis Control deck, I still play Esper on Arena from time to time. I keep tweaking the list as I go. I'll try and post a new one based on the changes that have been working.

    EDIT: No Search for Azcanta because I'm a noob and wanted to try a list without it. It too has come back to the main.

    I won't argue with results. If Dawn of Hope works for you, great. As I said, I've not been impressed with it in the mirror. The creatures turn on removal and it also gives Mortify a target. Playing it late, personally, I would want to use it more to draw out counter-magic in an effort to land a Teferi. I would not get into a counter-war over it as allowing the opponent to land a Teferi and then bounce it is going to feel bad. Again, though, if you like it, I believe the alternate win con is a flex slot and there are probably a few choices.

    The same tends to go for Nezehal. If he had Flash, I would play it in a heart beat. Without it, it doesn't meet my expectations. I had already decided that Chromium doesn't really get it done either, though, and it has Flash and protection... I would say keep playing with it and develop your own opinion or what you feel you like in the deck.

    Quote from jsNZ »
    Been doing pretty well with this list in the Traditional Constructed event. Probably more cute than it needs to be but I'm an EDH player at heart and like one-ofs.

    Looking for some advice to improve the deck. Firstly it tends to lose against UGx Nexus combo and Jeskai control. Secondly, even with 26 lands I am getting a lot of 1 land openers, often into 1 or no land second hands. I am not sure what to do about this - do I need even more lands?

    Card Breakdown;

    -Dawn of Hope: An amazing win condition, closes things up faster than Teferi/nexus mill (I still haven't needed to do that one) and generates a ton of cards in the late game. If you can stabilize then this will create chump blockers until the end of time. Resistant to removal as an enchantment, and due to its low cost can often be played while keeping up counter magic. This card is the reason I play the deck, if there was a better DoH deck I would be playing that instead.
    -Search for Azcanta: Everyone knows what it is. Strong card, that is extra strong with Nexus and with Teferi.
    -Teferi, Hero of Dominaria: Everyone knows what it is. I feel gross playing even just two copies so haven't got all four. I also find running four leaves you open to Ixalan's Binding or Unmoored Ego, hence some of the diversified win conditions.
    -Kaya, Orzhov Usurper: A utility piece and alternative win condition for the deck. I love this card as while it is lacking boring effective abilities like Teferi, it has a ton of utility in a ton of matchups. Always dies on sight to my opponent - a three mana PW eating removal for Teferi is great.
    -Discovery / Dispersal: I am unsure about these. I didn't run cantrips before, but I have consistent mana problems with the deck and like the smooth draws these give you. Some value against Carnage Tyrant and other single, sticky win conditions.
    -Mastermind's Acquisition: Probably too cute. I just find it funny and sometimes getting a silver bullet or a strong sideboard card is great. Can even get you a land if you are desperate.
    -Nexus of Fate: Everyone knows what it is. I originally just added the one so I would not mill out. Found that the first NoF in your deck gives you great value as you start to increasingly draw it late game, while being less likely to clog your hand early.

    -Moment of Craving, Absorb, Vraska's Contempt: In best of 1, the lifegain from these cards almost makes red rush a good matchup - its that good. In Bo3, I'm facing less aggressive decks and thinking maybe MoC and Absorb can be changed out.
    -Kaya's Wrath & Cry of the Carnarium: I do not know the best ratio of these. Cry is mainly good for Golgari and because sometimes we trip on WWBB (not that often). If Golgari Krasis wasn't so difficult I would probably cut the Crys for Wraths and a Cleansing Nova.
    -Thought Erasure: Only a two of as games often go long and into top deck mode for the opponent. Could be a terrible mistake?

    Skewed towards picking out particular cards in Uxx control matchups. IE removing Teferi from Bant Nexus. I don't consistently beat these decks so apparantly my plan sucks.
    -Negate: Any control matchup is pretty much auto-boarding creature removal for these
    -Sorcerous Spyglass: For the Teferi matchups. I will even cut my own Teferis so these are good. Just hate Teferi really.
    -Sinister Sabotage: 5th counterspell to board in with the Negates
    -Cry of the Carnarium: More boardwipes for the aggressive matchups. Brings us up to seven wraths in the deck.
    -Mortify: New addition, finding that a stuck Wilderness Reclamation can be game, so needed more removal that can hit that. Maybe should be mainboard.
    -Unmoored Ego: Name Teferi, Nexus or Hydroid Krasis
    -The Eldest Reborn: Comes in against PW decks mainly. Can win you the game by eating then reanimating a strong walker, Carnage Tyrant etc.
    -Chromium, the Mutable: Came in after several Esper decks boarded it against me and laid waste. Super strong in a control vs control match after they board out the Wraths

    In order to offer advice, what's your goal? If you're playing primarily the Constructed Events, you'll face a lot of Mono-Blue, Simic Nexus, Drakes, Azorius Aggro, the mirror, and total jank.

    A good starting point would be either Ikawa's list from the Mythic Championship or Michael Hamilton's 10-0 list from the same event. From there, look at how you want to either tune to a specific match-up (something you face more of - a real effect based on time of day on Arena) or tune to your playstyle (if you have to have a Dawn of Hope, then make it so).

    Not being sure of your budget, it's also hard to make specific suggestions, but Sorcerous Spyglass isn't going to be as good as The Immortal Sun (especially with Dawn of Hope in your deck). I would not waste time on Unmoored Ego in BO3. Thief of Sanity is much better. 4x Thought Erasure is well worth it as it disrupts and smooths your early draws. I prefer 2x Search for Azcanta as I really don't need the 2nd. Nexus isn't worth it to stop mill. You'll win before it gets to that point or you could use 2x Devious Cover-Up as mill protection. Mastermind's Acquisition is probably too slow, too. You are better off going for greater consistency. I mean, I get being used to it from EDH, but in constructed queues, the return will be greater on consistency. That's how the RDW guys make it to Mythic, right, the same thing, over and over and over and over again reduces their variance...

    Any way you slice it, just make sure it's fun for you.

    Quote from Impossible »
    Quote from jsNZ »
    Been doing pretty well with this list in the Traditional Constructed event. Probably more cute than it needs to be but I'm an EDH player at heart and like one-ofs.

    Looking for some advice to improve the deck. Firstly it tends to lose against UGx Nexus combo and Jeskai control. Secondly, even with 26 lands I am getting a lot of 1 land openers, often into 1 or no land second hands. I am not sure what to do about this - do I need even more lands?
    Well the biggest thing I can see in your list is the lack of draw spells. Not a single copy of either Chemister's Insight or Precognitive Perception in the 75? And only 2 copies of Teferi? I can't say I'm a fan. How do you pull ahead after trading resources early? I mean I see the Dawn of Hopes but honestly they seem pretty loose to me. They're slow, take forever to start providing any extra cards, and even when they're finally 'on' they're extremely mana-intensive. Are they actually good for you?

    For comparison, here's my list that I play on Arena. I only have 1 Kaya's Wrath or else I would be playing those instead of Cleansing Nova. Everything else is what I want it to be, though.

    I don't really do the Constructed Events so I can't tell you how well it does there, but I've been pretty steadily climbing the BO3 Ranked queue since I started playing this list. It is unfortunate that Mono-Blue Tempo just won the Pro Tour because I think that's the only significantly unfavorable match up I've run into so far.

    I'm curious how you've been doing on the different rungs of the ladder. I've made Gold I with my current list after shifting to BO3, but I am in a 2 steps forward, 1 step back right now, and have managed to tilt myself back to Gold 3 on occasion... I can't really tell if the streaks are me, Arena, or the deck. It just seems odd that I can go 5 matches in a row with the opponent drawing perfectly...
    Posted in: Established (Standard)
  • posted a message on [GRN] Esper Control
    Quote from benjameenbear »
    The list that I've been having some success with on Arena is as follows:

    I play Best of 3 matches and I win a little bit more than I lose. The matchups that I have a tough time with are Mono-Red, the mirror match, and Mono-Blue Tempo. Sultai Mid-Range feels pretty manageable, particularly with the 4x Kaya's Wrath being mainboard. I find that I enjoy any Nexus of Fate matchup because a lot of them try and sideboard/keep removal in the main in anticipation of me bringing in Thief of Sanity. Juking them out feels fantastic, especially with the Ego stealing all of their Nexi with Counter backup.

    I'm a little torn on the sideboard Disdainful Strokes. They're good against any mid-range deck and most Control decks, but I kinda want to shore up my Tempo and Mono-Red Matchups with more cheap removal. I'm contemplating going to just 1 The Eldest Reborn and adding in another Cast Down in the side. While I loved siding in [CARD}Thief of Sanity[/CARD], everyone is expecting it now and anticipates it, so it's no longer as effective as it once was.

    The Matchups that I've come across as being most common are Azorius Aggro, Sultai Mid-Range, Mono-Red, Esper Control, Gate variants, Mono-Blue Tempo, and Nexus of Fate decks. Izzet Drakes will probably pick up in popularity soon, but that matchup feels manageable with the heavy Removal count mainboard. Either way, the fact that the meta has settled down a bit makes Control a better option than it was previously.

    My favorite part about Esper Control is how I no longer lose to Carnage Tyrant. That card literally made my blood pressure rise every time I tried playing against it with Jeskai Control. No longer!

    It's been mentioned a number of times by professional MTG players and writers, but the mainboard Thought Erasures go a LONG way in shoring up some difficult matchups G1. Taking a Mono-Red's Frenzy is game-changing, or nabbing a Vivien Reid or Find//Finality can be pivotal in winning G1. It's probably the best card for Control decks right now, and I could easily see a Grixis variant doing well. Maybe a Grixis variant with mainboard Thief of Sanity could be intriguing and effective against the current meta.

    Hope that this brief analysis helps.

    Interesting list.

    Currently, I've been having pretty good success with a variant on Seth Manfield's recent list using Karn as the additional win-con. I struggle with Mono-Blue Tempo as I think this deck is in a bad spot against that deck. They go underneath us in pretty much every instance and you won't get a 2-for-1 until very late (or at least too late to matter) in the game. The mana disadvantage is too great. Mono-Red isn't really that bad, but I actually find Thought Erasure to be sub-optimal against them unless they are mana-screwed or you are already shifting to winning. Light Up the Stage and Experimental Frenzy go right around it. I don't see Mono-Red much in the Traditional ladder or in Traditional Constructed Events, though. I agree that Basilica Bell Haunts in the sideboard change that match-up a lot. Nezahal and Dawn of Hope are both bad finishers in the mirror. Nezahal is just bad against a good opponent, they wrath, you discard, they Vraska's Contempt... 4 for 2 = control loss probably 90+% of the time. And while Dawn of Hope can land early, it won't affect the board for quite a while outside of chewing up an otherwise dead Mortify from your opponent.

    I'll also say that I'm the first to looking for the next level against sideboard Thief of Sanity, but at this point, I think it's one of the best choices in the sideboard. 4x Thief against Nexus or Sultai is amazing. Some number of Hostage Takers is probably also correct at this point as they do a ton of work and taking a Hydroid is icing.

    I love a 1-of Unmoored Ego in the BO1 games, but in BO3, I just find it as dead space. I prefer to have an actual answer. Taking a turn off in this deck to remove a 'potential' problem post-board isn't good enough. Half the field is adding Negate into their deck against us and it's just one more way we walk into it...

    Why no Search for Azcanta?
    Posted in: Established (Standard)
  • posted a message on [GRN] Esper Control
    Quote from Fred Bear »
    I'll ask... I've been playing similar on MTG Arena for a while now and it's probably a much different meta, but I'd love to know a few things or at least get your opinions...

    1) How did you feel about Ritual of Soot? Do you feel you could support white sweepers by including Treasure Map?

    I view Ritual as a necessary evil. However, it is better than it appears. It's good in every match save for Jeskai and Izzet (It does blow up the 3 mana Drake though, a bonus G1). This build is VERY light on white, so I wouldn't risk depending on Map mana to sweep. Having one in your opener allows you to sequence differently than normal. Smart players will prepare, but with spot removal that gains life, this is usually a lose-lose for aggro. In my ideal world, Supreme Verdict will get reprinted, and Hallowed Fountain will allow me to cast it, but I think I stay with Ritual. I don't want to ramp my opponents into Niv-Mizzet and Banefire, two of the most dangerous cards for this deck (3 is Carnage Tyrant).

    2) Was Disdainful Stroke worth a maindeck slot?
    I asked the same thing, but it worked out well. Great against GB, anything with Crackling Drake. Bad against red and white weenie, but I never drew it and was screwed. Also, the red I played against was Goblins, so I had Trashmaster and Frenzy to counter with it. I filtered and drew so many cards with Map/Teferi, that it never bit me. Same with Negate, though Negate is probably a bit more versatile.

    3) No Thought Erasure in the 75? Would you consider it the next time out if you play this?
    No. I tried builds with it main and SB before, and did badly. I love it, but I feel it is best in a Disinformation Campaign deck. I've seen Esper decks with the combo, but this is reactive, so we're not in much need of it.

    4) I've found the Golgari match-up to be build dependent. Was there anything special about that match you remember?
    As I've said before, Detection Tower makes this match winnable, especially game 1. Without it, it's can you find and flash in Chromium and win before Carnage Tyrant kills you. He stumbled on mana G1 so I killed and countered everything after cleaning up with Ritual. I make sure whenever possible to save a Contempt for that stupid Reaper, he's very bad for us. G2, he drew better, but I kept up, took two or three hits from a Branchwalker or Ranger to play Thief Of Sanity. Thief decided to hit every time, and I steam rolled him. A highlight was him exploring a Carnage Tyrant away to keep him from me. LOL. I landed a second after playing a Ranger to clog the ground. Then, I found Tyrant and something else good. He scooped to Tyrant when I went to play another of his cards that turn. Since they all but abandoned Assassin's Trophy, their Contempts are stretched between Teferi, Thief and whatever you can take with Thief. Also, if I draw both Unmoored Ego, the 1st takes Tyrant, unless I have double Tower and a draw engine/multiple kill spells including at least 1 Contempt. Next, I take Contempt. If they can't kill Teferi and Thief, they usually lose.

    A side note (not to you, in general): Going to say "I told you so" on Detection Tower. It also beats Dive Down. I had my Jeskai opponent cast it to save Niv-Mizzet from a Contempt. I activate. He Dives again thinking it would work. I look at him, tell him Niv dies anyway. He calls the judge, confirms I'm right, loses his Niv, and then gets beat up by Chromium. I don't think Esper works right now without Tower. Mono Blue is a terrible match unless they draw badly, and it blanks the 4 main deck Dives they play.

    Thanks for the answers... Hopefully, you won't mind some follow-up discussion...

    I'm going to try the Ritual of Soot based on your comments. I see a lot of Adanto Vanguard, so I may keep a couple Golden Demise in the board, but otherwise, I too am wishing for Supreme Verdict to make a comeback.

    I'm also going to try the Treasure Map. I've been very impressed with the 'turbo mill' package of Sabotage, Thought Erasure, and Discovery as quick flips of Search for Azcanta can be a significant advantage. That said, here are a couple more questions:

    1) Was Dream Eater worthwhile? I've played a list (link is not me) set up similar to yours (no Treasure Map) and I just really didn't care for it. I like flash, etc. etc., but in most match-ups it just ate a removal after 1 (or less) hits. If I had the permission, I really didn't care to protect it and it didn't feel necessary. Love to hear other thoughts, though.

    2) Did you miss Eldest Reborn in the main? I find it to be a card I search out, a lot. I like to play 2 maindeck, but it may just be my playstyle as opposed to 'right'.

    3) Did Vona do enough? I've played Profane Procession from the Board, but I've not played Vona in a while. At 5 mana, is it fast enough to matter (I'm assuming it comes in vs aggro)? What am I missing?

    Quote from Simto »
    Congrats on the great result! Awesome to see you running Unmoored Ego. Love that card.

    I don't get why so many pick Golden Demise over Ritual of Soot. Ritual is insane.

    I love Esper Control. Going to run a bad variation of it at my next FNM, but I'll have fun doing it hehe. I run more white to have access to Lyra and Settle. I only have two Teferi though...

    How did you like having so many moment of cravings? Last time I ran esper I had 2 or 3 main and the rest in the sideboard, but every single time I drev one I wish it had been a Cast Down which I only had two of. My current build has no moment of craving and four cast down main deck (pseudo Fatal Push...) so I will most definiteley be up against decks with lots of Adanto Vanguards hehe.

    Personally, I've found it comes down to what 'has' to be destroyed and when, which could be completely wrong, of course. I find you almost have to pick and choose your one-for-one removal and not play a cast down on a creature that can be dealt with using a different card. (I win a lot at less than 5 life by the way...)
    Posted in: Established (Standard)
  • posted a message on [GRN] Esper Control
    I'll ask... I've been playing similar on MTG Arena for a while now and it's probably a much different meta, but I'd love to know a few things or at least get your opinions...

    1) How did you feel about Ritual of Soot? Do you feel you could support white sweepers by including Treasure Map?

    2) Was Disdainful Stroke worth a maindeck slot?

    3) No Thought Erasure in the 75? Would you consider it the next time out if you play this?

    4) I've found the Golgari match-up to be build dependent. Was there anything special about that match you remember?
    Posted in: Established (Standard)
  • posted a message on [GRN] Esper Control
    So, lately, I've been playing the list DeMars suggested a couple weeks ago on CFB.

    Man is it fun to play.

    I will say that I lose most often to awkward mana at the beginning of the game. A hand with 3 comes-into-play tapped lands is a recipe for disaster even if they are in the perfect colors. You are definitely soft to hyper aggro and mono-red's reach is about the worst it can get. Boros and mono-white depend largely on whether or not they can rebuild quickly after a wrath effect. Drakes is almost a bye. Jeskai comes down to Though Erasure and who sticks a Teferi, Hero of Dominaria first or if they get Niv online before you have an effective answer.

    I've had 2 opponents make me play out inevitable games - 1 time it was (on Arena) 22 turns of beatdown with a Dusk Legion Zealot (the best he had for reanimation) with each turn being draw Nexus of Fate, cast Nexus, attack with DLZ, take the next turn against an empty board... The 2nd was 4 whacks with a reanimated Doom Whisperer with the win coming with 24 seconds left on the clock (on MTGO) and my opponent saying I needed to play a better deck since I couldn't win quickly.

    A couple of other notes - I probably play Cleansing Nova as often or more often for artifacts/enchantments compared to the creature wipe mode. Detection Tower is probably a worthwhile addition either main or in the board. Search for Azcanta plus surveil is quite good. Discovery // Dispersal at sorcery speed is totally worth the turn if you have Azcanta in play or in hand. Thought Erasure is very underplayed in my opinion. DeMars refers to it as a "2-mana Thoughtseize with upside" and he's not far off. Being able to rip an uncounterable card, a counter, or anything and then fix your draw is quite powerful.

    I'm not as convinced that the next block is going to turn this into a completely broken archetype as I think there are a lot of decks which will emerge or get stronger with better mana. I do think that the perception that this deck has 'bad mana' and isn't playable right now is probably a bit over-stated. Ideally, you want double blue first (Sinister Sabotage), and then you want double black or double white, but it really depends on the match-up. I like double white because people will play around Settle the Wreckage and Time Walk themselves often times. Double black is probably more important for the Vraska's Contempt.

    Any new ideas or tech to consider (or create any conversation here...)?
    Posted in: Established (Standard)
  • posted a message on Post Guilds of Ravnica: Jeskai Control
    Quote from shureshot »
    You realize that if you exile Expansion / Explosion to it (I know its not optimal) it auto transforms right? Plus you have Teferi which will flip it. In theory, the deck can Banefire someone out on Turn 3 that is not a red deck.

    Not sure what you mean by 'auto transforms'. It takes 5 activations to flip the Gateway. Expansion / Explosion is 1 card with CMC 6. Teferi is 1 card with CMC 5. Can you outline the sequence to Banefire on Turn 3?
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Standard)
  • posted a message on [GRN] Esper Control
    Quote from Rondiggity »

    It sounds like you don't know how to play teferi. If you have teferi online, you can't deck. Use his -3 ability to target himself. Now you have a card in your library. Then you redraw it and do it again. Voila! You can't deck out.

    Sorry, I probably didn't state that correctly. Online, you have to make all the key strokes / clicks and if your opponent doesn't scoop, you have to keep playing. To deck a player, you are looking at 30+ turns of clicking... You don't win 1-0 when you time out, you lose 1-2...
    Posted in: Established (Standard)
  • posted a message on [GRN] Esper Control
    So, I've been playing this a lot online since Guilds was released. Here are some of the questions that I will seek guidance/input on and some comments on specific experiences with a fairly straight-forward list:

    Win-Cons / Finishers:

    Chromium, the Mutable - Good. It surprises me how often I can afford to have it clogging my hand from the start and I still cast it. 3 turns later, you pretty much win. I am certainly open to replacing with an alt-win-con, but online (at least) a finisher is needed.

    Teferi, Hero of Dominaria - Obvious


    Dead Weight - Good. Feels underwhelming and sorcery speed is never fun. It meets the cheap requirement.

    Cast Down - Very good. Keeps the curve low and answers pretty much anything.

    Murder - Very good. A little more expensive, but addresses Legendary.

    Vraska's Contempt - Very good. Seems obvious as a universal answer and lifegain is quite relevant.

    Moment of Craving - I'm not a fan. My experience has been that it's either not enough or I'm looking for a 2-for-1.

    Ritual of Soot - Awesome. I'm very high on this as it feels 90% of the format right now seems to die to this. It feels very bad, though, using early spot removal waiting for it...

    The Eldest Reborn - Good. It feels more like a trick and would be much better vs control than aggro or mid-range (except that it costs 5).

    Vona's Hunger - Haven't played it. Green decks are not big online right now and I haven't seen a need yet.

    Price of Fame - Haven't played it. I'm not much of one to try a lot of 1-ofs and I feel like this is a sideboard card at best - there just isn't room...


    Essence Scatter - Good. It does what it needs to, of course.

    Sinister Sabotage - Good. Surveil is a great control mechanic.

    Syncopate - I initially hated these and would still love to drop them, but they do solve some unique problems. They are good early (obv.) and terrible later on when you really need counters as you move to the late game. Standard isn't a format where anyone is cheating mana.

    Disdainful Stroke - Meh... This is an obviously efficient answer to a costly spell, but... most of the format is pretty low to the ground right now. It answers 2 cards in the red deck (7/75) and a few more in the angels deck (very few that wouldn't be answered with Essence Scatter, though). I feel like this is sideboard material at best.

    Negate - Again, good, but not overwhelmingly so.

    Draw -

    Opt - Haven't played except in early lists. Seemed alright.

    Anticipate - Haven't played much. Seemed ok.

    Radical Idea - Added this for an early draw. meh...

    Notion Rain - Hated it. Between the sorcery speed and life loss, this was terrible vs aggro when you couldn't afford it and stabilizing at 2-5 life with 2-3 of these in hand just feels very bad...

    Chemister's Insight - Good but very slow.


    Watery Grave - The best land in the deck. This turns on every check land and is the auto turn 1 play.

    Field of Ruin - Good, but I used mostly to fix my mana rather than destroy a problematic land on my opponent's side.

    Detection Tower - Good. I switched to this from Field and prefer it.

    Without Chromium, if your opponent doesn't just scoop to Teferi online, you lose. You have no way to deck them before yourself (you have so much draw compared to most decks) and no way to shuffle your library. In paper, you can go to time - online the chess clock only hurts you. You have to play a win-con online.

    Chemister's Insight is very slow. 8 mana and 2 cards to draw 4 (Opportunity was only 6 mana and 1 card). Yes, this is split over 2 turns, but it requires you to draw a throw-away... I don't want to draw a throw-away...

    Obviously, the deck is putting up some early results, so the cards choices can work. The question is can it be better, right? Here is my next test list:

    As I said, I'm looking to compare my experiences with what others are seeing and experiencing currently. I'd love to hear feedback. Thanks!
    Posted in: Established (Standard)
  • posted a message on [Deck] White Stax
    I agree with you a lot on this. I feel like this deck got a boost with the ban of DRS. It was easily in the top 3 of worst cards to see Turn 1 or 2 in a match-up.

    I've already noticed an uptick in Canadian Threshold online and most people are expecting a surge of Reanimator. It also seems like BUG will get revived (once the mana base issues get resolved) and Standstill decks seem to be getting more traction in a potentially slowed-down meta. Miracles and Dragon Stompy don't look like they are going away either.

    I feel like the 3 biggest challenges moving forward will be: the return of Tarmagoyf, an emergence of Standstill, and making the deck more explosive.

    After reading back through several of your earlier posts, I'm not sure White Stax has gotten many tools to cope with it's previous issues. As I have time over the next day or two, I'll try to post a couple of lists.
    Posted in: Developing (Legacy)
  • posted a message on [Deck] White Stax
    Two things: (1) You've got a pretty high curve. I understand wanting more two-drops, but you've got so many 4 drops and this deck, in my experience, needs more than 27 mana sources to be hitting 4 drops early with any consistency. I understand you may not need them 'early', but you've got so many, it's hard to imagine a hand where you don't start with 1-2. (2) You've got a ton of mini-combos and anti-synergy or outright non-bos. As you point out, Thalia is awesome with Suppression Field. Suppression Field is bad with Cast Out. Ensnaring Bridge is awesome. Ensnaring Bridge plus a high mana curve is not really optimal...

    Do you think it's worth focusing more on the key 'combos' and keeping the rest in the Board?

    Is your build more focused to your specific meta? I play exclusively online at this point, so I'm most concerned about the 'standard' decks - Delver, Czech-Pile, Miracles, Reanimator, and Combo (mostly the stock 'competitive' lists). I find a more generic 3-of or 4-of build around the key 'taxes' with less 'tweaks' is best in that environment.
    Posted in: Developing (Legacy)
  • posted a message on BG Fast Stax Legacy - feedback welcome
    Hi All,

    I was looking for feedback on what I call my BG Fast Stax deck. Basically i built this deck wanting to play smokestack without all the typical MUD Cards. I put in some synergies such as rancor, Bitterblossom, Bloodghast, to work with Smokestack to help me get card advantage. Sometimes I get the lock but it feels like not always often enough. (but I do better than I do with my normal stax deck)

    I've been having some success but am looking to improve it. Any recommendations on what to swap? Feedback is welcome.

    4 x Dark Ritual
    4 x Rancor
    4 x Deathrite Shaman
    4 x Bloodghast
    4 x Bitterblossom
    4 x Tarmogoyf
    4 x Abrupt Decay
    2 x Buried Alive
    2 x Pernicious Deed
    4 x Smokestack
    2 x Braids, Cabal Minion

    4 x Bayou
    2 x Forest
    2 x swamp
    4 x Verdant Catacombs
    3 x Misty Rainforest
    3 x Polluted Delta
    4 x Wasteland

    Maybe I'm missing something, but what's your 'lock'? To replay Rancor after sac'ing a creature?

    I think for the 'synergy' you mention, you have a lot of anti-synergy going on which is going to work against you. Smokestack is bad when it's symmetric, which means you have to break the symmetry. I'm not convinced you've done enough symmetry breaking to play 6 Smokestacks. 10 non-permanents and 10 fetch-lands (plus 4 Wastelands) plus 2 blow-up the world cards makes it a tough sell in my mind.

    If you want to make it more consistent, look at how you intend to win and what stops you. Make sure your cards provide the solutions. I would drop the fetches, lose Buried Alive, and ditch Dark Ritual to start. From there, I think you want to decide if you are going to go Stax or Pox. If you stick with Stax, I would add some number of Crucibles, maybe a Volrath's Stronghold, maybe a Phyrexian Arena... some kind of recurring card advantage.

    Again, I'm just not as convinced that this would be better than a dedicated Stax or Pox deck... Good Luck!
    Posted in: Developing (Legacy)
  • posted a message on Abzan Ramp Deck Idea
    So after the rotation, it seems like the high end of a ramp strategy is fairly weak. That led me to start looking at spells as opposed to creatures and this is what I came up with...

    I'm still working out the sideboarding plans versus the major archetypes and trying to understand what the main weaknesses are in the maindeck. I've tried to include a lot of what has been working going into the rotation... additional sweepers versus energy, lifegain versus red, discard versus WU approach...

    The spell/Tyrant plan on the high end catches a lot of decks off guard. The ability to hit an Approach on turn 5-6 catches even other Approach decks off guard. That lifegain really messes with the math that the aggro decks are doing, too.

    Posted in: Standard Archives
  • posted a message on [Deck] White Stax
    So let me ask you this, why Baneslayer Angel? Isn't there a creature which impacts the board more? Please understand, I'm not being critical, I've just found Sun Titan to be more beneficial to helping my board position. As you said, it's inevitable that he will win attacking, but I can often cast the Sun Titan for an advantage even if it's just adding a Wasteland to the board. Is there something I'm missing with the Angel? Does it help in a particularly bad matchup?

    I still prefer the 4x Trinisphere. I've seen a lot of lists that cut 1 Mox Diamond or 1 Trinisphere, but these result in must-Force situations and I love having access to them. I agree with Suppression Field being worthwhile, but I often find myself siding them out for more focused solutions. It also opens up more win conditions as you pointed out. I'm not really a fan of Mishra's Factory, but that is MTGO-biased. Winning via 10 Factory activations is tough with a chess clock and paying 3 for 2 damage (with Suppression Field) is just bad.

    Bottled Cloister is another card I like to main deck, but side out often when I expect artifact hate. The downside of Cloister is too great in some match-ups. I don't mind running spells into counters, but exiling my hand versus an efficient opponent is never good.

    Now, I know Stax prefers permanents, but could something more universal like Unexpectedly Absent be worthwhile somewhere in the 75?
    Posted in: Developing (Legacy)
  • posted a message on [Deck] White Stax
    How has it been going with your changes?

    I agree with about 50% of what you said, but some of the disagreement is, I'm sure, playstyle or metagame differences. I play only on MTGO where there is a distinct competitiveness to every deck you face (either in a league, a queue, or, most of the time, in the TP room).

    I agree that Stax often loses to itself, but a lot of this comes down to understanding the match-ups and know what order to cast spells. Yes, there are games/matches where the lands just won't support you, so I've become a much more aggressive mulliganer. It's hard, but Stax has many winnable 6- and even 5-card hands if you are willing to get to them.

    I agree that more early interaction is important. I adopted Suppression Field a while back and find it's a great turn 1 or even turn 2 play against 90+% of the field. It's even allowed me to win more games versus Death and Taxes. I'm not sure that I agree with going overboard on early interaction or playing 'non-bos' just because, but I think everything is worth considering.

    I think there are a couple of angles worth considering right now.

    #1) Ensnaring Bridge. You get rewarded for allowing things to get countered. Bottled Cloister also becomes more playable. While there are going to be games where we lose to our own Ancient Tomb (there always are), creature combat is still where most games will be won or lost. Effectively shutting that valve off is going to help. The downside is obviously artifact hate. There is very little that gets played right now and if they are attacking your Bridge, they aren't hitting the Chalice of the Void or Trinisphere. The key is to (a) get to the late game and (b) be able to win from behind the Bridge.

    #2) Helm of Obedience. Obviously this would be a combo with Rest in Peace or Leyline of the Void, but, as you point out, Stax is really about the 2- and 3-card combos. Why not play a couple small combos that can win the game on the spot...

    I have always preferred to play/build 4-of (or 3-of) Stax, but I think I'm getting more used to the idea of varying the numbers more. Not sure I could go to quite as many 2-ofs as you posted without fearing that I'm drawing the wrong outs every game. I'll post a list when I have some time later this weekend or next week.
    Posted in: Developing (Legacy)
  • posted a message on Legacy PBJ (Mono W Equipments)
    I think, regardless of interest, if you want help, you have to explain some of the card choices better and explain exactly what your overall goal is for improving the deck. I understand not wanting to hear 'go play death and taxes', but at the end of the day, most of the advice you are going to get is from players who are looking at it from a competitive view point. There's a reason D&T doesn't play Mortarpod or Squadron Hawk. It would be really helpful if you could explain why you do. [I understand using Squadron Hawk for long-term card advantage, but it does not match up well in legacy.]

    Right off the bat, it does look like a 'fun' deck, but in a competitive environment, it's going to be very slow (this is the reason why a lot of equipment doesn't get played and what does see play is hyper-efficient or game-changing, i.e. Batterskull, Umezawa's Jitte, etc.).

    Avoiding cards like Mortarpod, which are going to do very little in legacy, would be my advice. Thalia plus equipment is a bit of a non-bo, but if you are set on it, are there other ways to cheat on mana? Have you considered Ancient Tomb or Aether Vial to supply more mana faster?

    I look forward to reading more about your choices.
    Posted in: Developing (Legacy)
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