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  • posted a message on [Primer] RUG Scapeshift
    Hey guys, I'm currently testing a classic RUG splintertwin-esque list to some success. Remand snap remand while holding occasional Growth Spirals in hand is a very effective strategy. Also, having Scapshift as being a 1 card combo is a nice feature when you're filtering your deck so much. This list has a fair % of comboing on T4 (with 3 accelerators) although having less of the toolbox that BTL lists have. On the other hand, RUG can just win by Midrange beatdowns just like old Splinter Twin! I'll be testing a 1-of Nissa since her 3 mods are amazing in this deck :

    +1 for protection or beatdown plan (dying land isn't the worst since we play so many)
    -3 buy back lands, Snappy or valakut when in trouble
    -6 on T4 (in nut draws) and draw 2-3 cards a turn or just scapshift for value if you have trouble with things like runed halo or leyline of sanctity seems decent

    I'm still unsure if this spot should be for Keranos but both suit the same purpose : greatly help Plan B to strangle opponents

    I's probably like to fit the last Snapcaster Mage but the list feels good for now.

    Only 3 Sakura tibe elders since a 1/1 for sorcery speed is rough to cast wheb this deck is so focused on instant speed pressure ou high value cards.

    Maybe the future of the deck requires us to cur Steve completely since he's so awkward but on the other hand is very good for T4-5 kills, what do you think?

    Here's my list for reference :

    Land (25)
    1x Breeding Pool
    1x Cinder Glade
    1x Desolate Lighthouse
    2x Forest
    3x Island
    4x Misty Rainforest
    1x Mountain
    4x Steam Vents
    4x Stomping Ground
    2x Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle
    2x Wooded Foothills

    Instant (17)
    3x Cryptic Command
    1x Electrolyze
    4x Growth Spiral
    1x Izzet Charm
    4x Lightning Bolt
    4x Remand

    Creature (7)
    3x Sakura-Tribe Elder
    3x Snapcaster Mage
    1x Vendilion Clique

    Planeswalker (3)
    2x Jace, the Mind Sculptor
    1x Nissa, Vital Force

    Sorcery (8)
    4x Scapeshift
    4x Search for Tomorrow

    Sideboard (15)
    2x Anger of the Gods
    2x Destructive Revelry
    3x Dispel
    2x Izzet Staticaster
    3x Obstinate Baloth
    2x Relic of Progenitus
    1x Vendilion Clique
    Posted in: Combo
  • posted a message on Abzan
    Quote from kastermester »
    A land (Horizon Canopy) that deals you damage every time you use it seems bad to me. You run manlands to try to mitigate flood - also it is, in my experience, rarely flooding that you looses you the game.

    Indeed, the idea of Horizon canopy is very good but at the end of the day, we don't really lack grindy cards or flood mitigation, but a way to keep our life total higher, especially if you play Bob.

    Another reason is because with 3-4 Treetops, playing a deck with 6x B discard, 5x xBB planeswalkers is very taxing on the black mana sources.

    If you want to try a Horizon canopy, i'd try and replace a non-black producing man-land
    Quote from Ayiluss »
    I think Abzan is really bad now so I'm not surprised that it doesn't put up results.

    White gives you access to Lingering Souls, Path to Exile and Stony Silence. I'm not a fan of Path and if I played Abzan I would go with Reid's Pathless version. Stony Silence is good but I don't think it's worth to play Abzan just because of that. With this said it comes mostly down to Lingering Souls which isn't good card at the moment. This means that if you play Abzan you basically play Rock with worse, more painful manabase so it's better to go with straight BG at this point. If you want to splash a color I think red is superior to white. Red gives you Bolt, Anger of the Gods and BBE and more. I think that at least these three mentioned cards are better than anything white can offer you at the moment.

    I said right after that Trophy was spoiled that BG Rock or Jund will be the best BGx deck moving forward because this makes the most sense to me according to what I sad above.

    Abzan is at its best when metagame is grindy with lots of midrange and most control decks. Right now these decks aren't popular enough. If this changes in the future and BGx becomes better and more popular then I can see Abzan becoming better choice. Until then I think Jund and Rock are just better options if you want to play BGx.

    By having long posts that say Jund and Rock are strictly better than Abzan in this thread, maybe you should be posting elsewhere. I read it as an attempt to kill conversation, constructive comments.

    If lingering souls are bad in the current meta, maybe we should be playing 2 Timely Reinforcements instead of 3 Souls and use the extra slot for something? Maybe we should try and fit in Traverse the Ulvenwald with a Spikefeeder/Archangel of Thune combo? And also, saying that Lingering souls is bad in thd current meta always gets me fired up. Basically, Souls gives us free wins against BGx and is the reason the UW control matchup changes from good to very favoured. The rest of the time, it's an excellent card to slow agressive decks until a Scooze can take over a game or pitch to LotV discard without drawback. Bascially, by playing BG they have just been replaced with more Trackers which is a better but slower card advantage engine that is susceptible to targeted removal and can't be pitched to LotV +1.

    In Abzan, Siege Rhino and Shambling vents are other things that gets some life gain when you need it, making Abzan the best of BGx to control its life total, thus the 4 Bob inclusion that the other decks are trying to get away from. A T2 Bob unanswered is pretty much game for a very wide portion of the meta.

    I don't get how path to Exile is bad in a meta filled with Spirits and Humans that boost up to 4-5-6 power creatures very rapidly but Bolt is actually a Pro to play Jund. There's also those T1 Hollow-ones that show up where Abzan is almost certain to be able to deal with.

    Abzan is definately the best "rogue" deck that at the moment. I'm honestly suprised Reid Duke hasn't made it his deck of choice for the last GP.

    Posted in: Midrange
  • posted a message on Abzan
    Quote from Ayiluss »
    I had a clock. My opening hand was: Bob, Goyf, IoK, Swamp, Overgrown Tomb, Assassin's Trophy and LoTV. I went with turn 1 IoK and take Relic of Progenitus (he had only lands but not tron yet and eggs) and follow up with turn 2 Bob to draw into more disruption and lands to play Liliana but didn't draw third land for several turns and this definitely hurt me. Perhaps I should play Goyf to set up early pressure but I think Bob was correct play.

    I felt that with FoR and Trophy I gave him enough mana to play his threats pretty quickly despite I was able to keep him off Tron for quite long. Perhaps I got unlucky but Trophy and FoR didn't offer as much help as I thought it would.

    I would have definately played Goyf instead of Bob in that spot. Goyf would have hit for 5 a turn, meaning he would have only 4 turns to recover from your trophy on his land. It's far from a guaranteed win, but I think it's your best bet. If he stumbles 2 turns before getting a threat on the battlefield you most likely win, but if he's a good TRON player he'll have the natural tron in hand with Karn (it feels as they always do) and there's nothing to do about that 97% of the time.

    On the play, I always deploy my threat first and then disrupt. On the draw, it depends on whether I think he has it or not on T3 and wing it from there.
    Posted in: Midrange
  • posted a message on Abzan
    Quote from Ayiluss »
    I just played against Tron and couldn't do anything despite drawing 3 Trophies, 3 FoR and D-Sphere (although this one was probably too late to mater). Don't know if I misplayed but the mu still seems very bad, regardless of Trophy and other stuff we have.

    To beat TRON, you need a clock. I never keep a hand without a T2 clock because we can have all the disruption we want but we'll never "prison lock" them out of the game and they eventually get enough lands and a threat that immediately overpowers us. The matchup will stay unfavorable, but the number of 7 card hands with 1 disruption and 1 clock greatly improve. Any hand with a combination of 2 lands, Goyf or flayer and stony or trophy is a hand that could win it.

    This is where the Goyf/Grim flayer guys kick in and do work compared to Tireless Tracker and Tasigur. Without them, I agree with you that the matchup is kinda hopeless.
    Posted in: Midrange
  • posted a message on Abzan
    Quote from FlyingDelver »
    I am actually not so sure how better the tron matchup will get, at least not the matches where we are on the draw. Trophy does prevent a turn 3 karn, but it also delays the deployment of a threat by 1 turn. Like if you are on the draw, you have to play trophy turn 2 (unless you don't see 2 tron lands being played on turns 1 and 2 of course), which means you are not dropping a goyf down turn 2. And since the tron deck is rather good at assembling tron, I would imagine they need this extra turn to reassemble tron again after we trophy. On the play it is really good though, since we can go turn 1 discard, turn 2 goyf and then turn 3 trophy. If we assume we will be 50 % on the draw and 50 % on the play vs Tron on average, then the trophy effect is only half as good. But of course there is the possibility of having multiple trophies as well. However, since we are not inclined to actually have a trophy on turn 2 generally (we would rather have it on turn 3 or 4) it could make our mulligan decisions to be lined up bad against Tron, where we actually want a turn 2 trophy. So it kind of feels awkward to me.

    However, I think a split which differs in one card like the trophy/decay split is too small of a difference to be worth talking about. In fact not anybody here can accurately say the difference of this change, since its a statistical factor which only gets relevant when you play 1000+ games with those different configurations. Thats also my problem when people are too nitpicky about the numbers of cards according to good finishes. Its just one miser tournament. There are factors which are way way more impactful than some exact numbers of cards. I rarely doubt that the change of one trophy to a decay or vice versa will always decide if you win in a given matchup or not. On decay for example I always have been on 1 copy only and ran fantastic with it, despite the overall average of 2 copies. Its just a personal preference, and while the available data says its "wrong" I still won't just play 2 copies of it. I think Decay has been the worst removal in Jund for a long time now, and I much rather play a second Push or other stuff in place of it. I am not basing this of statistics though, its my personal preference of how many conditional and unconditional removal I want to have in my Jund deck to be comfortable. If I know I only have 1 decay in my deck then I will of course not waste it on a meaningless target if the matchup generally demands decay (like the spirits matchup) so it changes the way I personally play the deck. A list is always attached to a player and its playstyle (especially in a midrange deck) for which reason one person might do well with 4 KCommands whereas I maybe wouldn't. So therefore I am personally always hesitant to completely rely on finishing decklists. I think a good balance of both netdecking as well as self-work has to be done in order to be a good Jund pilot. It does not only help to understand the reasons for running certain cards but also gets you deeper into the topic if you are forced to think about it yourself. And therefore I am not the hugest fan of statistics of decklists when it comes down to minor card number differences, since I am well aware that the sample sizes are pretty much always too low and the interpretation of the data is often made too inclusive.

    The TRON matchup gets so much better because we get to play surgical in our side as our GY hate. Trophy the TRON land and surgical the rest away. It was too cute trying to make it work with Fulminator Mage in the past, but now this combo is just stupid. I'm planning 3-4 surgicals just to rip everything appart and beatdown with a leftover 2cmc creature.

    As for the ramp that's bad against Humans I disagree. Except for Buglar, they have no card advantage. So even if we ramp them to 10000000 mana, they can't use it. Trade 1 for 1 and you'll get them, Their manabase is also really shaky, if you blow up their 5c lands and leave them with basics, how are they going to cast Freebooter or Mantis rider? They only play 1 Island and 1 Plains, use that knowledge to your advantage. Trophy will be a big part of my strategy here (in conjuction with Path to Exile).

    The only matchups I really think Decay is better is Burn, storm, elves and Bant Spirits. For everything else, Trophy is better since as many others mentionned, it will free up sideboard slots and it also makes 4 surgicals (instead of spellbomb) in the side as a perfect fit for graveyard, big mana & combo based decks.

    Btw I played Amulet for along time and Trophy will be amazing agaisnt them. I think several people here are assuming bad matchups without having really played it. An other example is Trophy vs Jund will be much better than decay. Raging ravine is a real problem and i'm not deciding whether my removal should be to kill Bob T2 or save for Ravine (assuming you only have push in hand and might draw a Decay later), I shoot the Bob on the spot and know that all my removal deals with Ravine anyways when he gets there.

    Ramping, imo, is only dangerous vs Combo, Burn and card advantage decks with lots of threats (Bant spirits or Elves fit that description). The rest all become better matchups.

    In BG decks, I would almost be tempted to play 4 Ghost quarters, E-Wit, Liliana the last hope and some number of Life From the Loam. Now you really get to mess with their lands and eventually they'll run out completely.

    Posted in: Midrange
  • posted a message on Abzan
    Thanks for the perspective, FlyingDeliver! I have one LtLH already, so perhaps I shoot for a 2-2 split of her and LoTV so I can prioritize the goyf as you mentioned. A bit of a hybridized approach.

    I only run 2 Goyfs with 3 Flayers in my list since very often the Flayers will be better Goyfs. Just make sure you have a healty amount of 2-drop creatures that clock our opponent, 5 would be minimum.

    3 LotV and 2 LtlH is a nice split to save some money but 5 planeswalkers is pretty much mandatory to make sure we pump the Flayers/Goyfs and attack our opponents from a different angle.

    Quote from Brightmist »
    I'm gonna give 4 path 4 trophy a try tbh, those 2 can handle everything pretty much.

    I was gonna go 3/3 for starters to keep 2 pushes and 1 pulse in the deck. Having the push for a mana dork early is nice, and pulse will still get that 2 for 1 once in a while that makes it worth playing.

    Giving ramp to our opponent is much less relevant now that our removal hits EVERTHING. They can cast a JtmS on turn 2 or 2 Hollow ones on turn 1, I don't care really. We'll always have hands that can match up agaisnt our opponents threats.
    Posted in: Midrange
  • posted a message on Abzan
    Quote from Ayiluss »
    I didn't say our matchup against Humans is bad but only that it's not great which is true. We probably are favored but it's a close one. They can beat you with their disruption and fast clock. It's not an easy matchup as you might think due to all the removal we have and that's what I've been trying to say. So, next time read my post please because I didn't say it's a bad matchup, just that it isn't a great one which is something completely different. With that said I'm not unhappy to face Humans but I would take the matchup seriously and play tight.

    Again I didn't say Lingering Souls is a bad card (in general) but that it's bad right now which is not the same. It't not unplayable or anything like that but at least I don't think it's very good. I agree it's fine to decent card against aggro decks although not at its best, it's also good against control in general although worse against UW control because that one doesn't play that much 1 for removal but is built more around board sweepers which Lingering Souls is not (that) good against. However, if BGx decks become more popular due to Assassin's Trophy Lingering Souls becomes a lot better. In my experiences Lingering Souls is by far the best against midrange decks while also being good against control (less so against UW control) and fine against aggro decks. Don't get me wrong I think Lingering Souls is a good card but like I said I don't think it's exactly its time right now.

    Concerning Path you can play it if you want but I won't. I've never really like it and although I played with it a lot in the past there was exactly one game or better said one situation I was happy to cast it. Killing opponent's creature is good but giving them a land is not. For me this is not a very efficient removal but whatever as I said play it if you want, I don't mind it. Looking from the other side I was never that said to face Path. Not that I liked it but it was definitely better than Bolt, Terminate, Push or some other removal killing my creature.

    I agree that our curve needs to be low. I don't like clunky cards like Siege Rhino, Tasigur or similar. For me the deck always performed much better with lower curve. I see Vraska as a mirror breaker in the sb but I wouldn't play her in the md for the reason mentioned as well as any other 4 or higher drops.

    I understand your point of view about not wanting to give lands, but what's your thought on Trophy then? Is giving a land to kill a JtmS OK, but not for exiling a Hollow one? You'll eventually have to face the same kinds of decisions with trophy as you do for path. (Ex: path a Bob vs Trophy a Search for Azcanta).

    Another thing is that if you have enough Path/Trophies, opponents soon lack basic lands to fetch just like UW control does with 4 Paths, 4 Field of ruin.

    It's not meant to be rude, I just want to challenge your deckbuilding decisions because that's how we all improve.
    Posted in: Midrange
  • posted a message on Abzan
    Quote from Brightmist »
    Lingering souls is a good card that helps you generate CA with cards like Brutality and LotV and it's super effective against decks that rely on spot removal like Ux control and midrange. It also helps you chump against aggro decks that go-wide and to not die on the crackback but you don't want to flood on it and have a clunky hand so 3-of in 60 is fine. Souls also do fly where flying is an important piece of text in the meta and you don't want flying to read unblockable against you. Only downside of it is it's slow and is a bad clock against combo and susceptible to gy hate and that's about it. Saying souls isn't good because midrange isn't commonly played is wrong.

    5 or 6 pieces of 1 cmc spot removal is ideal so you play a split of push and path to deal with aggro decks like humans on top of trophies that'll be 2 or 3-of. Decay is too conditional and unnecessary at this point.

    You're also wrong on abzan not being great against humans because you don't like and don't play efficient removal like path which is phenomenal against Humans.


    Not sure how we have a bad matchup against humans when we have a deck full of removal and card advantage against a deck all in on creatures. 3 path 2 push 3 throphies (or decays, same thing in this matchup) 1 pulse 4 LotV is more than enough to take care of their big creatures and just trample over the remains. After board we have acess to 2 Damnations on top of that, humans is a fine matchup unless they draw 3 Buglers and have a crazy start out of the gate that we couldn't keep under control.

    Souls is awesome for all the mentions above. Having 4 1/1 fliers is a real clock when you top deck it late game. It's just plain better and faster than BBE that hits removal or discard. It's a complete crusher against all midrange and control decks.

    The argument of path giving free resources is also interesing. When hollow one is attacking me on turn 2 with 2x 4/4s, I couldn't care less about giving away a free mountain or swamp to my opponent in order to reduce the clock by 3 turns what is Hollow one going to do with extra lands? Nothing great. What is it going to do with a 4/4? Kill you in 3 turns.. And for the mana creatures, if you only have a path as removal in hand, you don't path the bird. Keep it for the creature he is ramping into. Using path incorrectly is why people don't include then in their decks. If you sit on it until you can trade it with an opponent's bomb, that's where you'll understand how great it really is. Pair this badboy up with Assassin's Trophy and they will eventually transform in 2 mana destroy any permanent or 1 mana exile any creature with NO drawbacks. Worst case is "Trade any permanent for a basic land".

    I know Reid said his plan is to deny ressources, but I would rather deny all my opponents important cards and leave him with plenty of basics and leftovers like mana dorks and "useless on their own" stuff. We can't afford to have the wrong removal for a permanent because that's where we start trying to fix problems that should never be, such as jamming 4 trackers to draw more cards to try and find Maelstrom pulse to kill a Gurmag angler. I would rather play a Flayer on T2, path the Angler on T3 and get a Grim trigger which is more value than the Tracker will get you, 2 turns faster.

    The curve needs to be low, and stay low. The 4 Mana Vraska is good, but costs 4 Mana. Is it as good as JtmS on T4? Is it as good as LotV on T3? I don't think so, therefore I wouldn't consider it as a main deck card.
    Posted in: Midrange
  • posted a message on Abzan
    Quote from ktkenshinx »
    Quote from Pe7er89 »
    With the addition of Trophy does that mean Bob can be a staple in Abzan now? I remember the argument was that the overall CMC of the deck was too high and that was the reason why Bob was always left out. Also, do we go into the old Noble Hierarch/ Flayer Builds of old?

    For me the reason not to play Bob is the fact that the deck is way slower than Jund. Missing Bolt, Command and Ravine (and BBE is added now as well) is bigger than you think. The counter attack is more difficult.
    Grabbing an Assassin's Trophy sooner (because of Bob) might be enough reason. Though, it doesn't change the fact that the deck is slow.

    I'm on board with Bob for a few reasons. First, basically every competitive Abzan (light splash)/BG Rock list in the past year has either been the Abzan Traverse list, or the 3-4 Bob list. This suggests to me there is something fundamentally competitive about his inclusion, and it validates many of the theories behind why Bob is good.
    Second, we need a way to keep up with opponents who get a basic off Trophy. That ramp is not trivial, especially against the decks that Trophy is best against like Tron. T1 discard into T2 Trophy into T3 Lily into T4 Bob/Souls FB is the kind of curve that ensures we close out a Tron game without losing the topdeck war.
    Quote from Hockeypr0 »
    Quote from devtin »
    I disagree with an abundance of two mana spells. To me drawing a hand of two lands and a mix of creatures/removal/discard means you can sequence your plays so that something like flayer comes down as a 4/4. Or a bob resolves and you are in top deck mode. Importantly all these 1-2 mana spells allow for double spell turns which is key to getting ahead.

    This is exactly why Goyf/Bob/Flayers/Treetop village are such exciting cards in GBx. Dropping a Bob T2 after discarding their removal has won me a ton of games and having a new "Remove anything" card that costs only 2 is perfect meaning you can keep on doing plays like dropping a tapped Treetop and removing whatever the opponent plays (or a delicious TRON land) and not have to wonder if you rather have a discard on T1, Bob on T2 or Tracker on T3.

    Manlands make us loose velocity naturally, and packing the deck with 3-4 drops doesn't help. We need to start generating advantage or pressure on T2, always.

    I also like the heavy low-drop gameplan because it gives us lots of options in T1-T3, and it allows us to hold up answers while still deploying threats on T4+. This is why I really can't envision a world where I'm playing Rhino; tapping out T4/T5 for Rhino means we can't leverage instant-speed Decay or Trophy. Tracker feels like the best high-end threat we can be playing, as it gives us more to do with instant-speed mana, punishes opposing Trophies that don't target Tracker, gives us something to do in the mid-to-late game, and turns the corner almost as fast as Rhino (potentially faster with some spent mana).

    I actually play 1 Rhino, because I love the card, and also because it steals games once in a while,giving me the reach I need to finish off a control player. Since my list plays 3 Treetops and 3 Flayers, I often get extra chip dmg over chump blockers pressuring my opponents life total enough for the Rhino to matter later on.

    I value the Grim Flayer trample dmg and card advantage triggers more than a slightly bigger vanilla body from the Goyf. The delirium Flayer will still trade vs Hollow ones and random big guys, which I generally want to be doing since we often are not the beatdown, so trading is good. The trample dmg is also a big advantage in races agaisnt wider decks, where Goyf is hard to manage. Also, people often see Grim as a "must kill" before getting triggers, just like old Bob but Goyf can just be chump blocked until they find the answer. Once Bob or Grim get going, our chances of winning the game spike real high. My creature split is :
    4 Bob
    3 Flayer
    2 Goyf
    2 Scooze
    1 Tracker
    1 Rhino

    Since my list was already packed with 3 PtE, i just added 3 Trophies to replace the 2x Decays and 1 of my 2 Pulses. The 4th Trophy will be in my sideboard, replacing 1 of my fulinator mages since I don't think they will be required anymore.

    It might seem crazy, but I feel like Abzan just changed from "Unplayed" to "Best deck in the format" overnight lol.
    Posted in: Midrange
  • posted a message on Abzan
    Quote from devtin »
    I disagree with an abundance of two mana spells. To me drawing a hand of two lands and a mix of creatures/removal/discard means you can sequence your plays so that something like flayer comes down as a 4/4. Or a bob resolves and you are in top deck mode. Importantly all these 1-2 mana spells allow for double spell turns which is key to getting ahead.

    This is exactly why Goyf/Bob/Flayers/Treetop village are such exciting cards in GBx. Dropping a Bob T2 after discarding their removal has won me a ton of games and having a new "Remove anything" card that costs only 2 is perfect meaning you can keep on doing plays like dropping a tapped Treetop and removing whatever the opponent plays (or a delicious TRON land) and not have to wonder if you rather have a discard on T1, Bob on T2 or Tracker on T3.

    Manlands make us loose velocity naturally, and packing the deck with 3-4 drops doesn't help. We need to start generating advantage or pressure on T2, always.
    Posted in: Midrange
  • posted a message on Abzan
    Hey guys, I've been on the good old Abzan (no traverse) list for a couple weeks now and here's some card suggestions for all you out there wondering which card to play:

    Starting off with Ried Duke's old pro tour list, I've started by adding some additionnal removal since in most matchups of the current meta, we do not want to be the beatdown. Path to exile is the best removal in the format tight now : Arcbound ravager never touches the graveyard, hits fatties like Bedlam Reveler, Gurmag, Hollow one, Gideon planeswalkers, Eldrazi creatures, etc. It can also help you out vs blood moon decks if in trouble. The 3 copies have been really improving bad matchups and I encourage everyone to add 2-3 copies for the current meta.

    I've added 1 basic plains to fight UW control (Field of ruin + path to exile makes you run out quick) and Blood moon decks and to facilitate casting the additionnal Paths and Rhino.

    The traverse builds have been very exciting, but they are graveyard dependant and require many slots to make it actually work (4 baubles + 3 traverse + 2-3 targets) without necessarly being game winning plays. That's why I've chosen the old 8x Bob + Flayer + Goyf combination and used the rest of the slots for added removal. Since Abzan can't do degenerate things, I think it's better to have a hand packed with removal and no threat than spending 2-3 turns trying to get a creature on the battlefield. If you're stuck with an anemic hand, just make sure you leverage the full potential of your next threat while controlling your opponents board. It will win you more games if you control than you beatdown.

    My prefered manland for Abzan is Treetop village. With 3 treetops, 3 Grim flayers, 3 Lingering souls and 1 Siege Rhino, I can get several chip shots and trample damage over making sure I get passed enemy tokens and chump blockers like Snapcaster mage. Getting those extra points of damage in while trading creatures is really something to consider. The treetop starts attacking on T3 with 3 power, which is 1 turn quicker and 1 more power than other lands (Hissing quagmire and Shambling vents), getting a real pressure on when you need a clock.

    3 Bob, 3 Grim, 2 Goyf: Goyfs are completly useless agaisnt GY hate, which several opponents will bring in against you. I see that the traverse players have shifted to 4 grims, which I think is a good idea. The idea is to switch to Grims for added value in the long game (triggers on damage resolution) trampling over tokens, dorks and other chump blockers and not being shut down completely by GY hate. The clock is generally slower than a Goyf and they don't block as well but the upsides are worth the 3-2 split. 3 Bobs is still great, bad topdeck late game but awesome early game making 3 the right number for me.

    I have been getting great finishes at local tournaments that have a very wide meta, never playing agaisnt the same deck twice, and this is all thanks to having the great removal suite. Having more than not enough is the reason why Midrange is good. Stopping the opponent from doing his thing and topdecking to find a threat is a very good position for the deck. Even if it lasts a couple turn of draw-go, that means you're in a favorable board state against much of the meta and is the reason why you play 4 Liliana and 6 discard in your main deck.

    Here's my list as a reference : http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/26-11-17-ZTb-abzan-midrange/?cb=1536325549

    Have there been any good Junk finishes recently? I havent seen a list hit a top 8 of a tournament in a while now.
    Posted in: Midrange
  • posted a message on Sultai Midrange
    Quote from smoresnbacon »
    A bit of backstory first: Ever since I saw Gerard Fabiano's masterpiece of a BUG build back in 2015, I've been addicted to playing BUG midrange/control. With a sad, but hopeful heart, I sold my beloved deck (fully pimped with GURU lands) to fund a business last year, and have been itching to get back into modern ever since. However, my previous list runs a minimum of $1500, and I don't have the cash to buy-in all at once. Which left me in a bit of a dilemma, because everybody knows you "can't play BGx without Tarmogoyf and Liliana of the Veil." So to this I say: challenge accepted.

    To be clear, the goal of this deck is to springboard me back into the format while I slowly build the pieces I need, but don't have the immediate budget for, mainly Tarmogoyf, Liliana of the Veil, Misty Rainforest, Verdant Catacombs and Snapcaster Mage. I'd also like to offer an upgrade path to other potential BUG players, knowing that the majority of Magic players don't have a spare $1500 to drop on a deck all at once, but may still want to play a BGx midrange deck because it fits their play style. Taking down a GP or SCG event isn't what we're going for here, but mainly to be reasonably competitive at the FNM level.

    With a target budget of ~$500 to start (slightly over), here's what I came up with, and would love everyone's collective feedback. Because $500 isn't quite "budget" I didn't think it belonged in the Budget Forum, but if the mods think this doesn't belong here, that's totally fine with me!

    A few card choices and their explanations:

    Jace, Vryn's Prodigy/Jace, Telepath Unbound: This is our budget version of Snapcaster Mage, and in many cases, ends up being better than Snap. I usually ran 2-3 in my previous list, because he plays so well with Liliana of the Veil and ends up being a 2 mana walker a large percent of the time. Combined with our discard, we can get Jace to flip pretty easily if we take our opponent's removal. Once we get Jace going, he's also more mana efficient at flashing back spells than Snapcaster Mage, but that's our tradeoff for losing the ability to attack with him.

    Gurmag Angler/Tasigur, the Golden Fang: These are our budget Goyfs, which require a bit of setup, mainly in the form of Thought Scour. With only a single set of Polluted Delta to start, our likelihood of casting them on turn 2 decreases, but it's not impossible. Plus, they're both "Push-Proof" which is something Goyf can't say. They do compete with Jace VP for the yard, but so far it hasn't been that big of an issue. With more testing, 4 may prove too many though.

    Tireless Tracker: I have to admit, I was never really sold on this guy when he was released and didn't bother testing him. However, that changed when I went searching for budget midrange cards, and I couldn't be more impressed with this guy. Courser of Kruphix was the first card I tested in this spot, but growing my opponents Tarmogoyfs out of Gurmag Angler range wasn't a fun thought, and he didn't close games fast enough. Tracker on the other hand can get out of control very quickly and draws us cards while we do it.

    Jace, Architect of Thought: This is the biggest flex spot in the list currently, and the one I'd be most likely to swap with something else. I like that he locks down Lingering Souls and draws us cards, but he may prove too slow in many matchups, and may be sideboard material.

    And speaking of the sideboard, it's a bit of a work in progress until I get back to my old LGS. I've basically given up on the Tron matchup, because beating them was hard enough, even with discard into Goyf. Cards like Baloth and Thragtusk would generally be Kitchen Finks, but again, budget. They do have the upside of getting around Eidelon triggers in the Burn matchup at least. Also, I save my counters for the board, because I've always felt they were more powerful for us in specific matchups, allowing us to disrupt our opponent from multiple angles. But as mainboard options go, Spell Snare and Mana Leak never cut it.

    Once I do start slowing upgrading the deck, Liliana of the Veil seems like the first upgrade to increase the power level of the deck. Combined with Jace, she offers us a level of control over the board that we just can't replace without her. Next would be the appropriate fetches and manlands, and lastly, Goyfs + Snaps. Again, would love some thoughts/card suggestions, and the obligatory "don't play BGx without Goyf and Liliana of the Veil" posts from those who didn't read this mess Smile

    Quick swaps I would do is :

    -1 Jace architect of thought
    +1 Nissa Worldwaker

    That Nissa impacts the board the turn it comes it, threatens ultimate next turn and uses the GY to generate advantage. Just a grest card for cheap!

    -2 JVP, -1 Fatal push, -1 Tireless tracker
    +4 Serum vision

    Card filter is enormous in Midrange decks, that's the advantage that will get you to find what you need in certain matchups. Plus it's more 1 CMC cantrips to fuel your Delve creatures

    Replacing the 4 Tarmogoyfs you'll eventually buy by 4 Grim Flayer is totally acceptable imo. Keep the Delve creatures as well since they aynergize well with Goyf.

    -1 Darkslick shores -1 Blooming marsh
    +1 Island +1 Twilight Mire

    8 fastlands is too much, try replacing 2 of them by 1 basic and 1 filter land. Sultai decks are hard on mana so a nice filter land helps a lot.

    -1 Abrupt decay
    +1 Dismember

    Without liliana of the veil, big creatures will be a pain to deal with. I would add 1 Dismember main board to help with that.

    Otherwise, the list looks awesome!
    Posted in: Midrange
  • posted a message on Sultai Midrange
    I have a very similar take on Gfabs' list that rely's more on the Gumag Angler/Tasigur/Thought scour plan. It functions a lot like GDS but better equipped to handle attrition battles (6 Liliana's) and managing it's life total while loosing some speed and efficiency. That delve creature package makes Sultai go bigger than other GBx decks while being more reliable with card filter and less lands. Mana creatures are good, but so many decks can just ignore them since they are so quick or deal with them efficiently that I don't think they are mandatory for a Midrange deck anymore. I also replaced the usual Snapcaster Mages that is played in every blue deck by some Eternal Witness as they can bring back the important cards such as fatties or planeswalkers while the Snapcaster's could only target cantrips, discard and removal which doesn't feel powerful enough. Scabenging ooze has also not made the cut for me since that card is very matchup dependant and even in the matchups it shines, the 20-21 mana base just can't bring the maximum potential out of the card. Here's the list I've been testing recently :

    Land (21)

    2x Blooming Marsh
    1x Breeding Pool
    2x Darkslick Shores
    1x Forest
    1x Island
    3x Misty Rainforest
    1x Overgrown Tomb
    3x Polluted Delta
    2x Swamp
    3x Verdant Catacombs
    2x Watery Grave

    Artifact (1)

    1x Engineered Explosives

    Creature (11)

    2x Eternal Witness
    2x Gurmag Angler
    1x Jace, Vryn's Prodigy
    4x Tarmogoyf
    2x Tasigur, the Golden Fang

    Sorcery (11)

    4x Inquisition of Kozilek
    1x Maelstrom Pulse
    4x Serum Visions
    2x Thoughtseize

    Instant (10)

    2x Abrupt Decay
    4x Fatal Push
    4x Thought Scour

    Planeswalker (6)

    4x Liliana of the Veil
    2x Liliana, the Last Hope

    Sideboard (15)

    3x Ceremonious Rejection
    2x Collective Brutality
    1x Damnation
    1x Flaying Tendrils
    2x Fulminator Mage
    1x Golgari Charm
    1x Kitchen Finks
    2x Nihil Spellbomb
    2x Stubborn Denial
    Posted in: Midrange
  • posted a message on Sultai Midrange
    Quote from bitbroosher »
    Hi all,

    Did anyone tried the Faeries version of sultai?

    Im running this list:

    Im liking the approach, so far. Dropping a bitterblossom or a tarmogoyf and hide behind counterspells and removals is, indeed, a good plan Smile

    Any thoughts on how to improve the deck?

    Currently, Im looking to refine my draw engine... I like the Scry2 from condecend and serum visions, but Im looking forward for instant draw cards, much like think twice. Ancestral vision is too slow, most of the time.


    Hey there, Faeries is a neat idea indeed. As for suggestions, I think the3 Remands don't belong since you aren't trying to protect a game winning play such as Blood Moon or Kiki-jiki. If you really want to hide behind counterspells, i would be looking for some cheap "hard" counters such as Countersquall or Spell snare. They will hit the spells you are looking to counter (All is dust, Damnation, terminate, PtE, Fatal Push, etc.) That way you are sure these removal spells will not come back next turn and trade vs your creatures/Enchantment.

    I noticed that your deck has no way to remove large creatures such as Tasigur, Gurmag, Reality smasher and other troublesome permanents such as 4CMC plainswalkers. Maybe a Hero's downfall, Murderous cut or Maelstrom pulse could help you with that.

    For the card draw engine, you have several options playing UB : Tasigur, Phyrexian Arena, Nissa Steward of Elements, Jace Arcitect of thought, Search for Azcanta and many more. Since your deck is more about having a permanent on board and protecting it, i would be more inclined to using thr cards I just stated instead of things like Compulsive Research or Glimmer of Genious. Just pick your poison and test them to see what fitd your deck best.
    Posted in: Midrange
  • posted a message on Sultai Midrange
    Quote from Gen0syde86 »
    Ok well this seems to be the most active Sultai thread and I didn't really know where else to post this list as it started off in the Abzan thread and I figured it was time to move somewhere else with it. I'm really hoping to get more feedback here than I did over there. It's more of a Sultai midrange deck though. I just wasn't sure where I'd get the most feed back.

    My list started out a little different but I've been making some changes to it. Here is what I have right now:

    Hey, here's a couple comments I have for you :

    1 - Tombstalker should be swapped out for a pair of Zombie Fish. They cost 1 less to cast which means it's more likely to be cast on T2 off of a thought scour (2x fetch + thought scour + 2 milled cards = 5 GY cards + 2 Lands = Zombie Fish or Tasigur but not enough for Tombstalker). Also, the extra mana paid to have a flyer instead of a ground creature is most likely not relevant since it should be trading with Reality Smasher or other Gurmag Angler

    2 - Grapple with the past isn't an efficient card. With the type of deck you're building, you have access to better tools to do a smiliar job such as a 4th Thought Scour or Eternal Witness. If you try and hit delirium faster, you could even try ou a pair of Traverse the Ulvenwald which is a godlike topdeck and a great T1 "fetch a basic for T2".

    3 - With 6 discard and only 2 Liliana of the Veil, I find that you lack that GBx feel that you seem to be looking for. If your goal is to empty the hand and cast some big cheap threats, I would add at least 1 other copy, probably removing a Liliana the last hope to make room for it. I know Gerard Fabiano did a 2-2 split on his latest Sultai list, but I think the 3-1 split is more effective in your shell.

    4 - Snapcaster mage is an excellent card, but in your deck, he is mainly there to target discard and removal spells. By playing some blue, you have access to card draw/filter. I think Serum Vision would be a nice fit to your deck since you have a very "tap out" style with only removal and no permission spells except for Stubborn Denial. Maybe remove the Snapcaster mage and add some GB effects, or add in some Serum Vision or Opt to get a better card selection. Serum vision is a great topdeck to have later game as well, this should be taken into consideration since your deck is trying to wear down the opponent.

    5 - Stubborn Denial requires you to have a large creature on board for it to work. Your deck has less of these creatures (since delirium will be hard to trigger, Grim Flayers are simple 2/2's) than a conventional Death's Shadow deck. Therefore, I think you should maybe rely more on a different type of permission such as Mana leak, Logic knot or Countersquall to protect your threats already in play or to help them resolve.

    6 - Your 22 land count could be at 21 since you have some cantrips that count as 0.5 mana each. If you decide to descend to 21, I would recommend cutting your Creeping Tar Pit since tapped lands in the first 3 turns could be a very important loss of tempo for your curve. Plus, the fast that you are very "tap out" means that the opportunities to activate the Tar pit and attack will be reduced since you will likely be casting other spells.

    7 - Why is The Scarab God in your sideboard and not in your main deck? This card is a perfect top deck and is definately the type of threat you would like to have in G1

    8 - Grim Flayer and Tarmogoyf as 4-of's is pretty cool. Enabling early and fast clocks is a nice advantage that Abzan plays over Jund. It will be the reason why you stand a chance against TRON and Combo decks.

    Overall you have included good cards, but the synergies seem to be lacking a little in the main deck. I can't comment on the mana base since I myself have issues tweaking mine.
    Posted in: Midrange
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