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  • posted a message on Raphael Levy's Loam Pox
    Infestation is worth it only if you also run Squee and dredge to consistently enable it (so it's natural for infestation+Loam to feel anemic on their own), who's in turn worth it only if you run at least another discard outlet (previously Conflagrate).

    At the certain point in time, I have to reluctantly admit that this archetype doesn't bring anything over dredge to the table.

    So, let's indeed try to morph to a rock-style CA! In this direction, perhaps the best starting point in my opinion is to see what Jund is built like, then replace W&S with Loam and Bolt with more removal (not pox yet) and finally see in which directions the deck fails to see what the complementary effects should be.
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on [[Primer]] Shamanism
    Quote from deritof »
    Once Upon a Time sounds like a very good card in a lot of decks too. For us, it's Forger 9-12, as well as more digging for sideboard pieces. My only problem is that if I were to draw a OUaT later in the game, I wouldn't feel too good.

    I think Grum really needs to be in the less explosive versions (Vial) of the deck since those tend to take advantage of Wolf and Elemetal tokens a lot more.

    In my experience with running Oath of Nissa for a long time now, Once Upon a Time would probably feel amazing in the lategame too, since it can find both forgers (making creatures bigger) and rix-maadi (that allows grinding).

    Also, being Forger 9-12 is much less exciting for me compared to enabling consistently 3 shamans before turn 3, which is how this archetype wins games.
    Posted in: Budget (Modern)
  • posted a message on Mardu Gravekin (Elemental Tribal)
    Merchant is definitely superior to Reveler thanks to the reduced cost, probably not to Neonate (Neonate can be deployed a turn early to gain more information about the gameplan) and I think perhaps it can substitute an unknown number of Shriekhorns (probably one + another copy in the flex slot). The main constraint is still the amount of mana on the first two turns (ideally, we'd want to first play harbringer to fetch Awakener and on the second turn discard-draw and play Awakener).

    I don't see how we can consistently go up to 3-4 attackers for the equipment. Sometimes it happens, but when it does we're usually winning big time already. Additional problem: if we manage to enable it, we'd need two of them + a Flickerwisp = a total of 3 slots that may be hard to free.
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on Mardu Gravekin (Elemental Tribal)
    Small update: I'm currently 100% degenerate by cutting the Revelers. It could be mistake, but I find disruption generally superior to card advantage, since Skelemental gives us all the advantage we need; getting even in cards is a good trade if we also deal 6 in the process.

    Things I tried in the meanwhile:
    - 3x Helix: does nothing vs DS, whereas Brutality strips a removal away
    - 2x and 3x Seasoned Pyromancer: won or died with it stuck in hand. It was particularly horrendous with SSG.

    For the flex slot:
    I really don't know what to play there. Anything goes as long as it's either useful in the lategame or supplements existing effects. Currently, I'm on Deputy of Detention to catch bridge and things that slipped past, but it's easy to run an extra (horizon) land, Lightning Axe (it's also a discard outlet to supplement Neonate, but we already get enough card disadvantage), Path/Push/Thoughtseize (I'd like to run two of these though if the first copy is included), Darkblast (this card is amazing in slowing down value-town style and infect - not to mention that it has dredge if needed - but I wouldn't play it solely for this reason anymore) or simply mainboarding an Ingot Chewer (stupid Butterskull).
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on Mardu Gravekin (Elemental Tribal)
    I can't really get behind that statement. However, I'm thinking of exactly Tron and UW stoneblade as the decks we should be able beat to have game against without losing % points in other matchups, which may be mistake.

    So, how about running just the Shriekhorns (e.g. in place of SSGs - perhaps also removing the imp) by thinking them as discard outlets for the things Harbringer tutors that also fill the graveyard? I think such a build drastically improves the chances of turn 2 Skelemental overall, without sacrificing much else.

    The cool thing with Shriekhorn is that it's a supplement to discard outlets and a turn 1 one to boot! So, you lose only one card (the same as SSG or neonate) to get you ahead of tempo. Generally, I think that a deck running at least 10 reanimation spells + 4 ways to tutor for them would be happy to put more cards in the graveyard.

    P.S. Is there any merit at all for Helix instead of Brutality main?
    P.P.S. I was toying with Seasoned Pyromancer vs Reveler. I think Reveler curves better overall, but Pyromancer is a better Unearth target.
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on Mardu Gravekin (Elemental Tribal)
    So, execution aside, can you comment on the issue I'm identifying @Ass of Ugin: that turn 3 skelemental is too slow to be the primary gameplan?

    If you agree, how do you think this can be solved? If you disagree, do you believe that e.g. with the amount of removal you're running you can slow down the game by a turn to execute the same gameplan regardless?

    Mind you, I'm not even that reliant on the graveyard - my SB against fair decks usually includes 2x Harbringers + 2x Wear//Tear + 2x Deputy of Detention and I've been reasonably pleased with this configuration.
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on Mardu Gravekin (Elemental Tribal)
    If you're on the 4x Flamekin Harbinger plan I agree that perhaps dredgers are not needed.

    That said, after trying it both ways, I think that dredgers are definitely superior compared to at least the 3rd and 4th harbringers, on account that harbringers don't work well with the reanimation package - i.e. they often leave Vesperlark and Unearth be dead cards in hand.

    I tested in the beginning with Inquiry before settling on Rix Maadi Reveler for myself and my opinion is that we can't keep up with the card disadvantage Inquiry creates. If you're on a creature-heavy meta (especially one with Stoneforges) I think Lightning Axe is a good inclusiong. But by all means test it and tell how it goes. Random thought since you're on blue, perhaps Thought Scour could use a try too.

    Edit to avoid double posting
    After many repetitions in seeking a good trade-off between explosiveness, grindiness and the ability to answer scooze my mainboard has become like this:

    Some comments:
    - Shriekhorn can get some cards in the graveyard fast to start the engine. I like thinking it as a dredger that "discards itself", which means that it doesn't even need another discard outlet to help find useful things. At this point, I'm pretty convinced that getting cards into play through the graveyard is the only way this deck can become explosive enough to seriously contest the rest of modern's metagame.
    - 2x Golgari Thug have proven very solid overall as a supplement to Shriekhorn, but I'm currently on Darkblasts in their place because it's an answer to turn 1 dorks to get back tempo.
    - In this type of build that runs Shriekhorns and doesn't reanimate particularly large elementals, I've found that dredgers should be equal in number to Versperlarks to get a gameplay where reanimators don'r remain sitting in hand.
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on Mardu Gravekin (Elemental Tribal)
    @Ass of Ugin
    Charm and simians is interesting, to say the least.
    Especially Simians, which I think fix an inherent curve problem by enabling Harbringer into turn 2 skelemental (although this could be too much card disadvantage for an 1-time effect).
    Has charm performed well?
    Also, just something to keep in mind: perhaps you're playing 1 land too many given the 4 simians, but I get manascrewed a lot on 19 lands without Simians, so who am I to judge?

    After a lot of testing, Vesperlark should probably be a 3-of, since it doesn't have a lot of impactful targets (but we do want to see one each game, so I wouldn't cut it further).

    Minor notes on Spitebellows:
    a) It's an amazing Awakener target with Golgari Thug in play, since it at least guarantees we get Awakener todecked should it die in combat.
    b) Curving just a naked Awakener into an evoked Spitebellow is very good against creature-heavy decks.
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on [Primer] Goblins
    Also, I'm not very sure about this, but I'm under the impression that stoneforge control would generally dislike playing sweepers, which is how this archetype loses that matchup.

    P.S. Do we have a plan vs geist?
    Posted in: Aggro & Tempo
  • posted a message on Mardu Gravekin (Elemental Tribal)
    With the looting ban, we're now forced to run Neonate either way. :p

    In general, I'm more interested in low-to the ground decks that can also be proactive in their gameplan in addition to grinding. Specifically, I'd like to not auto-lose to all three of Tron, Burn and Control if possible, and I think that with this archetype we can bring in disruptive elements that make it possible.

    Unfortunately, for me, goldfish's type of builds don't do this very well; they run a bunch of high mana creatures with the plan of vialing them into play, which I believe is too slow for modern (good luck getting your vial up to 3 on turn 4). The only pieces that help in some of those aspects are, in my opinion, Awakener, Vesperlark and Risen Reef.

    Concerning the viability of the dredge strategy, I think it's the best route to try and find multiple synergistic elements without losing an additional turn topdecking them and mana to get them to play. Skelemental on turn 3 after losing the first 2 turns doing nothing is "meh" but on turn 2 or turn 3 after some disruption (including the time to bolt turn 1) is very powerful. Even reanimating some disruption and Skelemental on turn 3 is a very powerful line purely thanks to its mana efficiency in being able to get the respective effects for 1 and 2 mana. In this vein, I think Smokebraider is the correct direction, but I'd rather not run the type of build were a bolt can set me back several turns.

    An updated build in this direction:

    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on Raphael Levy's Loam Pox
    Actually, I think this is good news for this archetype, because a lot of things suddenly became slower, there's much less hate and we're now free to become grindy black green. I'm currently having a blast with this (after the first few tuning iterations):

    It's still underpowered a lot (like, a LOT) compared to the rest of the meta, but contrary to before mana run smoothly. Reclaimer is nice in that it's pseudo-inquisition against removal (in retrospect, I forgot to add 2 Horizon lands in place of Mires) and this helps Constrictor do its thing. At the same time, it has some nice utility on its own. At least a 3/4 for 1 is something I'm interested in running in place of Goyf, since it curves more smoothly. Furthemore, it allows for more consistent Despairs in that it saves us a card that could pottentially translate to one more zombie token.

    What I'm really missing from the setup is Conflagrate, but I feel ill-inclined to splash for it. I also replaced Pharaoh with pushes because we really need to deal with Scooze and push is better at disrupting creature combos.

    Sideboard's still a mess, as I'm searching for strategies in this color combination. Perhaps people will go back to playing Surgicals and I'll jam my favorite Memory's Journeys in there.
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on [Primer] Goblins
    Quote from Ace1 »
    Do you think the bans will make our deck shine? Less degenerate graveyard shenanigans may open the metagame to grindy value decks like goblins.

    Only if we manage to have a favorable Tron matchup, I think.
    Posted in: Aggro & Tempo
  • posted a message on Mardu Gravekin (Elemental Tribal)
    After playing around with the deck, I was impressed with its grindiness but think that it has issues in achieving both speed and consistency at the same time (effectively it cannot deal a lot of damage before turn 3, unless it somehow manages to bin Lightning Skelemental, which means that it would win on turn 5 if the opponent did not interact at all).

    With this consideration, I think that the deck can be classified more as a midrange one and I tried to build a version in tune with the following ideas:
    a) more easily assemble a full graveyard (with the amount of built-in recursion, elementals in the graveyard are very easy to bring to play)
    b) offer disruption to fight in the middle game against combo and removal-heavy decks
    c) utilize Vesperlark so that it can provide value

    My first take (for the record, I'm torn between the versatility of brutalities and Golgari Thugs).

    What I'm really proud of in this deck is the inclusion of removal lightning rod. (My favorite sequence is evoking Vesper->Awakener->Vesper->Freebooter). Perhaps the Blade Splicers in place of Flickerwisps are too cute, since wisps can help push some damage through but I think that awakener->vesper->get back killed awakener is a consistent enough source of damage.

    Furthermore, the fact that we can dredge towards Skelemental means that we can avoid running Ball Lightning, which is a very mediocre card on its own.
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on Raphael Levy's Loam Pox
    Hi @zigeif!

    My take on your questions:
    1) I did say some posts ago that Smallpox is starting to become well-positioned again (i.e. most decks are creature decks). However, after trying it for myself, I re-discovered that it places too many constraints on deckbuilding (number of lands) and playstyle (makes us too reactive for an archetype that plays to the board) for a card that doesn't win the game and can't be found while dredging. I'd rather ran more powerful cards in the same slots really.
    2) Wrenn and Six seems a very good addition overall. I just haven't gotten to test with it (because of $$$). Do keep in mind that it feels like a Squee that needs mana. If this proves true, I'd rather ran Squee, because the archetype heavily relies on free effects.
    3) I don't know about other people's opinion, but I personally think Hogaak is garbage in the archetype; we simply can't cast it easily before turn 3 and even when we do it cripples the rest of our strategy by needing to exile important cards from the graveyard.

    I currently have difficulty assessing what Infestation brings to the table against the increased modern power level; 6 power on turn two is now outclassed by many competetive decks (e.g. Phoenix, Hollow One), which means that zombie tokens can't trade with the early board and then leave us win through the card advantage engine.

    I experimentally tried to "make a consistent squeeflagrate strategy" (not zombie loam, but a strategy where I can get in for some cheap shots and finish it up with a couple of Conflagrates). I started by increasing Imps to a full playset to get consistent dredges and gradually morphed into a dredge variant, where:
    - Haunted Dead + Amalgams replace Infestation (they create the same rate of putting power on the board but can do so from the yard)
    - even one copy of Squee can create some sweet card advantage that enables lethal Conflagrates (a third copy often enables humongous Conflagrates, so maybe I'll cut something for it)
    - Creeping Chill replaces Pharaohs, Brownscales, the third Conflagrate and Utility lands

    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on Raphael Levy's Loam Pox
    Great write-up @Danr!
    What were the matchups you encountered the most trouble with?

    P.S. If you think Despair is not suited for the current meta (I believe tron and scapeshift have been pushed back a lot?) maybe just run 2 Crimes and an Urborg to free up a slot.
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
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