It's an interesting idea but I think it will be too awkward in practice. Running a tri-color deck without fetches sounds tight. In particular you do not have enough black sources to reliably cast those cards before turn 4-5, which is ok for late Trophy but casting 1WBG Rhino might get tricky and you will not be able to cast early Thoughtseize reliably at all. Renegade Rallier also becomes significantly worse without fetches.
I've also enjoyed Eldritch Evolution without any combo. Voice into Liege or Rhino is as good as you say, and its ability to act as extra Eidolons or Knight of Autumns in a pinch is nice. I'm not sure it's better than Lingering Souls, however.
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Sep 22, 2018I went to a ~24 person FNM yesterday and 34 person PPTQ today:Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
Deck ListMy general sideboard strategy is here.
DeckMagic OnlineOCTGN2ApprenticeBuy These Cards Creatures (27)
4x Birds of Paradise
3x Noble Hierarch
3x Lotus Cobra
4x Voice of Resurgence
4x Reflector Mage
2x Tireless Tracker
1x Renegade Rallier
4x Felidar Guardian
1x Shalai, Voice of Plenty
1x Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
Non-creature Spells (11)
4x Saheeli Rai
4x Oath of Nissa
3x Eldritch Evolution
1x Breeding Pool
1x Flooded Strand
2x Horizon Canopy
2x Misty Rainforest
1x Overgrown Tomb
1x Sacred Foundry
1x Stomping Ground
1x Temple Garden
4x Windswept Heath
4x Wooded Foothills
2x Rest in Peace
2x Stony Silence
3x Gaddock Teeg
3x Sin Collector
1x Reclamation Sage
R1 vs Ad Nauseam + Shadow (1-2)
Ran into to a rules issue. I combo'd out vs the Ad Naus player with Unlife on the board, putting him at -1 million life, passed the turn. He plays Shadow followed by a spell that gives it haste and trample (not TBR). I Negate the red haste spell but he Pacts my Negate and swings at me for 1 million. I concede, but later find out that there had been a rules update such that Shadow can't be larger than 13/13, which could've won me the match. Ah well. Always call a judge.
R2 vs Burn (2-1)
Voice and Rallier bought me time to Evolve into Shalai. Lost to aggressive beats and Eidolon G2. Sin Collector and Worship plus Shalai sealed G3.
R3 vs Mill (2-1)
G1 I combo'd out quickly. G2 he Surgical'd my Felidar and eventually milled me out. G3 I disassemble his hand with Sin Collector into Saheeli copying Sin Collector and then combo out a few turns later.
R4 vs Mardu (2-1)
G1 we trade resources for a bit and I sneak the combo through when he taps out. G2 the opponent has a double discard opener leading into Pyro and double Reveler chain to finish me off. G3 I pick apart his hand with Sin Collector into Felidar and then combo out a few turns later.
R1 vs Bridgevine (0-2)
G1 mulled to a 6 with Bird, Voices and Felidar. I curved out but didn't draw anything to blink with Felidar. Died T4 as the opponent had double Bridge in the yard to make 8 zombies with a Vengevine. G2 Mulled to a 5 with Cobra, Voice, RIP, and 2 lands. T2 RIP slowed him down significantly but I flooded for the next 5+ turns until he drew into a Ballista, which cleared a bunch of my board, locked me out of comboing, and took over the game.
R2 vs Jund (2-1)
G1 I snuck the combo through at 2 life. G2 I kept a hand with 2 lands but didn't draw any more and died. G3 he had a fist full of Goyfs, BBEs, and Flayers but I curved out with multiple Reflectors and multiple Felidars flickering the Reflectors. My life total started to dip but I drew into Saheeli and combo'd out.
R3 vs Mardu (2-1)
This was similar to Friday's Mardu matchup. One of the games his disruption + pressure lines up and I die, but the rest of the games I get down some early value, pick apart his hand with Sin Collector, and then jam the combo until it sticks. Unlike Friday's Mardu player this one kept Blood Moon in and cast it in the middle of G3. I was able to get enough basics and the 2nd or 3rd Dork stuck so this did not effect me.
R4 vs GB Elves (0-2)
I knew I was against Elves and needed a combo hand to carry me but the deck didn't cooperate. I mulled to a 5 with acceleration and Felidar G1 but didn't draw into Saheeli or anything else relevant for (a surprisingly generous vs Elves) 5+ turns and died. G2 I mulled to a 4 with 2 lands, Cobra, and Saheeli. Once again I didn't draw into the other half and died.
R5 vs UW Control (2-1)
G1 my opponent mulled to 5 while I kept a hand with dorks, double Saheeli, and Evo. He flashed a Snap in end of T2 without a target in an attempt to ambush Saheeli but she was at 4 and I combo'd out T3 or T4. G2 I kept a hand with Voice, Gaddock, Negate, and some other good stuff but he managed to systematically dismantle my defenses and Terminus my board with Kiki + Voice + Elemental. I still had Tracker and Saheeli in hand but he countered Saheeli and took over from there. G3 I stick T2 Voice followed by some ramp and Saheeli. He Opts into Terminus but I have Negate ready. I topdeck Felidar -- he has one Plains open but I just go for it and the combo works out.
R6 vs G Tron (2-0)
G1 I accelerate with T2 cobra on the play, follwed by T3 Kiki. He gets Tron online and Karns Kiki. I play Felidar next, followed by a Saheeli to combo out. G2 I keep a hand with Cobra, Stony, Negate, and something else. He cracks Map in response to T2 Stony to get his second Tron land, and then casts Sylvan Scrying to find the final Tron land. With Tron online he taps 8 for 4/4 Walking Ballista but can't activate it further due to Stony, so he starts chipping in. I draw into dorks but use these to chump the Ballista and stay alive. He taps out for Ugin but I have Negate ready. I put down Gaddock and Spellskite on top of the Stony for a nice little hate lock. We both topdeck nervously for a few turns, he puts down an unactivatable O-Stone, and then a few turns later I topdeck Evo to tutor up my missing combo piece.
In the end I missed Top 8 due to breakers but was still reasonably happy with the deck’s performance.
Thoughts and Takeaways:
With overall records of 3-1 and 4-2 the deck felt pretty good.
I won all but a couple games with the combo. The beats plan really takes the back seat right now, as Lejoon said.
I've already explained some of the stuff below on our Discord, but I'll put all of my thoughts down here for completeness.
Plan vs aggressive decks
Aside from UWx Miracles I was expecting mostly aggressive creature-based strategies. Unfortunately there are so many different flavors of aggro these days and Terminus has pressured them all to become increasingly resistant to spot removal and/or non-Terminus sweepers. Worship works against some of these decks but is unreliable vs decks with access to Infect or Brutality, and can also just randomly lose if your creature count gets too low or it gets removed. Fiery Justice is generally good but can be thwarted by Mausoleum Wanderer, (instant speed!) pump effects, Selfless Spirit, graveyard recursion, get delayed by Thalia, snatched by Kitesail. Spot removal like Path can be good at sniping Lords or Meddling Mage but sometimes won't even buy you a whole turn vs the wider swarm decks. And so forth. For this reason I felt like the best strategy was just to build a list that was fast and low to the ground with MB Reflector Mages to try and out-tempo them while jamming the combo.
I settled on 7 Birds, 3 Cobras, and 4 Reflectors to maximize two possible sequences against these aggressive decks: T1 Birds, T2 Reflector, T3 Felidar blink Reflector, T4 combo out or T2 Cobra, T3 Felidar + Saheeli. Because my MB was built in this way I lost many (but not all) of the pre-board games against spell-heavy interactive decks. However, I had a strong enough SB plan to consistently edge out matches against these decks.
Plan for spell-heavy decks
Specifically, running 3x Gaddock Teeg, 3x Sin Collector, and 2x Negate (on top of the 4 MB Voice) created a consistent package of early disruption that allowed me to eventually combo out against decks that previously gave me trouble. Going into the events I wasn't sure if Sin Collector was worth splashing a 5th color for, but now I feel fairly confidant that this was the right call. I admit that the mana was undeniably greedy... there were at least 2 games where I had Kiki stuck in hand. Sometimes I had to twist my curve out in slightly non-ideal ways just to set up my mana. But I never got color screwed badly enough to lose a game -- even against Mardu trying to kill my dorks and landing Blood Moon or UW Miracles tucking my dorks and cracking Field of Ruin -- so for now I'll argue that being just barely short of "too greedy" is the best place to be and I'll stick with the full five colors.
On another note, we can just randomly auto-lose to Walking Ballista and it is quickly becoming one of my most feared cards. Simply casting Ballista for 2 allows the opponent to interrupt our combo at instant speed at any time, even if tapped out. A 2/2 Ballista can kill a 4-loyalty Saheeli or blocking Felidar with its psuedo-doublestrike. A highly pumped Ballista can clear our board. I'm glad to have 2 Stony and Spellskite to help with Ballista a bit, and might try to find room for other cards to take care of it. Maybe it's as simple as having 2 Knight of Autumn in the 75 and bringing them in for potential Ballista matches.
Goldfish speed vs. linear decks
The common factor in the matches that I lost (GB Elves, 4c Bridgevine) was that I needed to "solitaire" the combo out quickly against other potentially explosive decks but I just couldn't find what I needed and could never hope to present a traditional clock with beats to match theirs. In these scenarios an extra MB tutor would be nice.
- The obvious suggestion would be running the 4th Eldritch Evolution. There are a lot of counterspells in the meta right now but this might be the right answer, I'm not sure. I'm probably going to lose G1 against those decks anyways so maybe it I shouldn't worry about it too much.
- There's also Chord of Calling per Lejoon's suggestion. Much better vs interactive decks but slower when racing and not as attractive without the Chord-Witness-Resto-Kiki chain available.
- Lastly I could go back to a copy of Bring to Light. This is right in the middle as it's usually faster than Chord but not instant speed so it's harder to get through counterspells. It's also worth noting that Meddling Mage naming Kiki also stops Kiki from being cast off BTL.
Shalai -- she can win games vs Burn / Storm / Mill if unanswered, but she’s solidly mediocre vs everything else. She seems like she should be ok vs Midrange as a flying protective threat with a great ability but because she lacks an ETB effect and the opponent is highly incentivized to remove her the majority of the time I'm paying 4 mana for her to eat a Push (etc) on resolution and take a big tempo hit. Even if she does stick for a few turns I haven't had a good opportunity to activate her pump ability as I usually have a small board vs interactive decks and/or just generally better things to do with 6 (!) mana than activate her pump. "You have Hexproof" sounds good vs discard but in reality they will still tear your hand up T1/T2 before you can get her down. In a vacuum a flying 3/4 sounds like a reasonable blocker, but in practice aggressive decks like Humans, H Affinity, H1, Bridgevine can all go wider and/or taller, so we’re paying 4 mana to buy ourselves a turn at most. As the cherry on the top her Legendary status makes her impossible to clone, and she awkwardly turns off Spellskite. As a general "role-player" 4-drop P&K Nalaar provides better blocking vs aggro and more guaranteed value vs interaction. With Knight of Autumn arriving to help with Burn it's getting harder to justify space for Shalai in the 75.
Tracker -- Tracker is awesome vs interactive decks but takes too much time and investment to be a good card against aggressive decks outside of some perfect curves like T2 Cobra T3 Tracker -> Fetch crack -> Clue crack. I'm not sure if I want more than 1 Tracker in the main since I board him out so often, but there aren't a lot of value / card-draw 3-drops that sound better. Perhaps Eternal Witness, Carven Caryatid, Sea Gate Oracle, or something totally different like Lyev Skyknight.
Sep 20, 2018Thanks for sharing.Posted in: Midrange
I agree with Seth's sentiment of wanting some extra filtering or card draw to help when you don't have Looting, as I outlined in my previous post considering 1x Discovery for a similar role. However, Burn is thriving right now and in general I'd prefer to make the Burn matchup better instead of worse as Seth has with more lifeloss and only 2 copies of Brutality/Helix in the 75. Furthermore many of the top decks are fairly aggressive outside of UWx Control, so I'd need to see some more games and hear a bit more thoughts on Night's Whisper before I get on board. I also think that running only one Dreadbore has slowly moved from "meta/style preference" to "probably just incorrect". Everything else looks pretty solid / stock to me.
Sep 18, 2018Welcome, Zinken!Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
If you're running Cobras you want around 10-11 fetches, ~5 shocks, and 4-5 basics -- I would recommend at least one Plains so you can cast your white spells through Blood Moon or use Path effects to fix your mana a bit. For the flex lands you can run fast lands, Horizon Canopy, or utility lands.Quote from Zinken »I am not sure about the mana base that this particular list should run. How many fetches do we need ? Can we play some "fast lands" ? how many basics should we run ?
In my opinion Stony Silence and Rest in Peace are too powerful and too relevant to the meta not to run. Just play ~2 of each in the board and hope to draw them in your opening hand. We often need those effects asap, turn 2 if possible, so even if we could try to dig our way to them in the mid-late game that might be too slow.I am not sure about building the sideboard. I am generally a fan of strong hate cards like Stony silence and rest in peace, but i dont know if it is worth it in this list, because we cant find them with oath, buglers or evolution.
Bugler can be a very powerful card when built around, as you've done nicely. Many of us are alternating between hot and cold on him right now. Evo, Saheeli, and Oath are some of our best cards, so having Bugler miss them really lowers the quality of his hits. Once you draw one-too-many Dorks or completely whiff on his ETB a few times you start to have second thoughts. Then, when you're sure that he's bad you look at a nicely synergistic list like yours and it all seems to fit together so well that you're back to giving Bugler another shot.. and the cycle repeats itself. I'm glad he's working for you, though. Who knows where we will end up on Bugler!I am guessing that by now you have figured out that i like Militia Bugler as the 3 drop of choice.
Sep 17, 2018@Siefer: regarding the Archmage / Shalai niche, what do you think about Sin Collector? Emzed and Rober Dalentis both have had a lot of success with the card. I haven't gotten a chance to play it yet but am planning to run 2x copies SB at an upcoming PPTQ.Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
As you noted in the Baloth example, lower CMC is a big deal, and Sin Collector comes down earlier than Glen Elendra Archmage with a more proactive effect that works better with our copy/blink effects. Sin Collector requires Black so it stretches the mana a bit but you're already most of the way there to a 5c manabase (just add an Overgrown Tomb) and Archmage's effective requirement of double blue can sometimes be even tougher than a single black splash. However, Glen Elendra does handle all non-creature spells and can stop a topdecked Terminus where Sin Collector can't stop Teferi or miracle Terminus, so I can see her merit as well.
Sep 17, 2018Posted in: Midrange
It is a common observation that Mardu's performance is dramatically improved for the games that you draw Faithless Looting. Games without Looting tend to run clunkier -- we can get stuck on 2 lands, we might draw into worse cards like late game discard / a pointless Moon / target-less spot removal, our Revelers come down slower, and so forth all contributing to lost games. Our deck certainly benefits from a little extra grease and all of the other past options in Mardu colors have been lackluster.
Enter Discovery, a 2-CMC black filtering cantrip. It's not Preordain -- the extra mana is a lot! -- it can't help us keep 1-land hands and we'd have to take T2 "off" to cast it so it’s mostly useful in the mid game onwards. From that standpoint it's tempting to dismiss Discovery outright. On the other hand Surveil has good synergy with our Flashback spells / Reveler (the ceiling would be to Surveil two Souls into the yard), it's a better immediate topdeck than late-game Looting, and I think our deck benefits from some "grease" enough that this might be worth trying, perhaps as a 1-of supplement to the standard playset of Looting.
Sep 6, 2018Both decks attempt to ride the line of value midrange vs combo but Kiki is primarily a midrange deck and Saheeli is more of a combo deck.Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
Kiki has some perks -- many of its spells can be played at instant speed, Restoration Angel is a much better standalone card than Felidar Guardian, and you can (eventually) combo off from a single copy of Chord -- but otherwise it is a worse deck for today's fast and wide-open Modern.
Saheeli is just faster, more proactive, and smoother. It aims to combo out on T3, consistently by T4. Evolution tutors up hate cards faster than Chord. Oath of Nissa is an incredible tool for fixing your mana, smoothing out your draws, and then a great blink target later -- IMO one of the best cantrips in Modern in this shell.
Kiki-Chord can curve out nicely at times, but there are also lots of really clunky hands. These hands might have more mana trouble, or you draw into more of the random one-of hate cards stuffed into the MB which happen to be irrelevant in a current match. Saheeli lists don't have to run as many narrow hate cards because racing with the faster combo provides a better baseline gameplan against unfair decks.
There is a playstyle component -- if you want to play a more midrangey, interactive, instant speed deck you might enjoy Kiki-Chord more. If you're ok with a more all-in sorcery speed / permanent-based gameplan Saheeli will probably take your further in a competitive setting right now.
Sep 5, 2018Good news: there's a reddit post linking to a Flipside Gaming article that will bring more attention to Saheeli Evolution.Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
Bad news: the author, Parker Ackerman, copied Nal2's 5-0 list card for card, put his name on it in the article...
edit: the author says the article will be updated to credit Nal2 / Beakid as soon as they can
Sep 5, 2018Posted in: Midrange
Stony Silence is better than Blood Moon vs Tron anyways. I wasn't interested in running Stony before since we already have lots of artifact destruction and Affinity was a good matchup, but with Affinity's move to Hardened Scales and the rise of KCI over Storm I think it makes sense to adopt 3x Stony SB as standard. But yes, as you saw in my report cutting Moon vs Valakut hurts. I think I'm just going to settle for that being a poorer matchup.Quote from makrone85 »Cutting Blood Moon in the current meta makes total sense to me. The only matchups where I am interested in it are vs. Mono G Tron and Valakut.
Now, if you want to reliably cast Stony on T2 you need 13+ white sources, which means reworking the mana a bit. Once you've cut the Moons and reworked your mana to reliably hit white T2, Path and Helix start to look pretty reasonable.
Sep 4, 2018Posted in: Midrange
The gist of the article is that the format's speeding up and one way to keep up is by running the full 8x 1-drop discard spells and 2x Rabblemaster in the main. Gerry feels that Moon is too slow / fragile right now and suggests SB Molten Rains instead.Quote from makrone85 »Can someone post the newest list Gerry Thompson has posted on sag premium? I would like to know what he took in for the additional slots in the main and if he still sticks to the land destruction sideboard plan.
I adore Monastery Mentor but I'm not convinced that Mentor deserves a spot over Rabblemaster in the 75. The short answer is that Mentor's still just too slow and resource-hungry.Quote from stonecrowe »I'm thinking about trying out a version of the list without moons and without mainboard planeswalkers, instead playing 2x Monastery Mentor and 2x Lightning Helix (in addition to the Brutalities).
A couple of reasons: I think Mentor fits our plan far better than Rabblemaster, who is essentially just a 3 drop dumb aggro creature. Mentor can build a profitable defensive board state and can also turn the screws quickly when required. Lightning Helix gives us more non creature reach to help us push through against stalled boards and keeps our life total healthy against humans/ burn/ bridgevine etc.
White mana availability is only half the problem with Mentor, the other issue being that Mentor is 3 CMC and requires a steady stream of cheap (ideally free) cantrips to consistently perform well -- think turbo-xerox build like Jeskai Ascension Storm or Mox Mentor. We do have Looting and a bunch of 1 CMC interactive spells, but by the time we would cast Mentor (T4?) we've typically emptied a lot of those cheap spells and are looking to refuel with Reveler or flashback Looting.
I've found that the deck already excels at disrupting the opponent and then setting up a defensive board presence. The biggest issue is that Mardu can fail to close the game out before the opponent can dig their way out of your initial disruption. That's where Rabblemaster fits in as a consistent ~3 turn clock that requires zero investment and comes with few strings attached. Mentor requires 4+ spells in hand to keep up with Rabblemaster, and if your hand isn't stocked you're going to be at a big disadvantage against combo decks, Tron, and potentially others.
In terms of additional mainboard threats I'm currently happy with Hazoret. I've been tuning a moonless Mardu build for a few weeks and took it out last night to a ~20 person local event:
R1 vs Grixis Shadow
DeckMagic OnlineOCTGN2ApprenticeBuy These Cards Creature (9)
4x Young Pyromancer
4x Bedlam Reveler
1x Hazoret the Fervent
4x Lightning Bolt
2x Path to Exile
2x Lightning Helix
3x Kolaghan's Command
4x Faithless Looting
4x Inquisition of Kozilek
2x Collective Brutality
4x Lingering Souls
4x Arid Mesa
4x Bloodstained Mire
2x Blood Crypt
1x Sacred Foundry
1x Godless Shrine
3x Blackcleave Cliffs
2x Inspiring Vantage
3x Surgical Extraction
3x Stony Silence
2x Ensnaring Bridge
2x Engineered Explosives
2x Goblin Rabblemaster
1x Kambal, Consul of Allocation
1x Nahiri, the Harbinger
G1 I had the opponent pegged on UW Control from their last several months of play and kept a hand without hard removal. They cleared my board and swung in with TBR'd Shadow for lethal.
G2 was similar, I mulled down but couldn't get a hand with Bridge or hard removal but kept one with Thoughtseize, Kommand, Souls, and Nahiri aiming to grind. Took Tasigur with Seize and saw a hand full of cantrips. Got two spirits out but opponent ended up drawing into multiple Shadows and Kozilek's Return to clear my board and swing in for lethal before I could stabilize with Nahiri. 0-2.
R2 vs Burn
Super close games. Mainboard Brutality and Helix were very helpful as you can expect and heavier white wasn’t a problem for life loss during mana fetching. Got sloppy G1 and swung with all spirits allowing opponent to fade a Goblin Guide off the top for lethal. Tightened up my play G2/3. Hazoret won game 3, dealing 12 damage in two turns before they could find the last burn spell for lethal. The matchup felt more favored than traditional Mardu G1 and about the same postboard, giving a small but appreciable improvement overall. 2-1.
R3 vs Jeskai Control
I was initially worried about the lack of Moon here. Turned out to not be an issue, as the full 8 discard spells and increased threats really helped get under the opponent and the matchup felt pretty easy. 2-0.
R4 vs Scapeshift
G1 Mulled to a bad 4 and had a non game
G2 Kept a 5 with 2x Inquisition and Looting, stripped their hand but didn't draw into a threat fast enough to prevent them from killing me ~T7 with natural Valakut. 0-2.
So how did the lack of Blood Moon affect me? It would theoretically be at least OK on the play vs Grixis Shadow and Burn while being great vs Jeskai and Scapeshift. In practice, mainboard Helix was better than MB Moon vs Burn, and the additional discard / threats offset the loss of Moon vs Jeskai. Against Grixis Shadow I was under enough early pressure backed up by Stubborn Denial that I'm not sure I would've gotten Moon down early enough to make a difference. Finally, against Scapeshift it would've helped quite a bit, but the matchup is relatively poor even with Moon so I'm not sure the game would've gone differently. In summary, even with these all being traditionally good matchups for Moon I'm not sure that I missed it so far.
Despite the 2-2 finish I will keep testing this approach as it seems promising to me. Having 31 spells in the main felt awesome with Reveler. I will say that even if you are unconvinced on cutting Moon running 8 discard spells and 1-2 additional threats in the main is where I want to be right now.
Sep 3, 2018Congrats on the 5-0 and thank you for sharing.Posted in: Midrange
Minor question -- what were you planning to do with 3x Surgical Extraction vs Tron? My impression was that this card is mostly dead without Molten Rain / Fulminator to set up the Tron land extraction. You could extract a threat like O-Stone or Wurmcoil but unless they have another copy in hand you're mostly just paying 2 life and going down a card to fuel Pyro / Reveler. Given that you won both of your games with a few points of reach even Bolt or Brutality seem better than Surgical here, no?
Aug 25, 2018I agree that Knight is a great card. It's land utility function is broadly helpful and most of the time it will be a decently large creature for 2 less mana. You are also correct than Hydra still loses to Path / Terminus.Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
However I wouldn't say that Hydra does no work against UW Control. If they Path our early Voice / Gaddock then ramping us into a Hydra's 2-turn clock could be dangerous. If they don't have Path in hand a lone Hydra essentially requires them to clear the board with Terminus, allowing us to present a fast clock while committing fewer threats to the board.
For my list I am trying to lean on the graveyard as little as possible -- even the current 3x Voice, 2x Rallier, 1x Lark is pushing it IMO. Knight can still be shrunk down to a 2/2 in the face of opposing hate such as RIP (or our own copy).
Hydra also has trample built in rather than taking a turn off to tutor up Wolf Run with Knight.
Lastly, as I mentioned Hydra is effectively a win con with Saheeli/Kiki. The best case scenario would be T2 Cobra, T3 Hydra, T4 Saheeli copy Hydra, swing for 32 points of trample damage. I doubt that we'll curve out exactly like that very often but in general it's a reasonable mid-late game alternate win-con.
Knight is definitely the safer and more consistent choice, but the rest of the deck is so packed with safe value creatures and we stress the opponent's removal enough with our combo attempts that I'd like to try one copy of a (Bugler/Lark-compatible) Baneslayer style card that really punishes them if they don't have an answer on hand immediately.
Regarding your Bugler questions:
A) I have cleanly whiffed on two Bugler casts in the last 8 matches including one instance of sending a potentially game-winning Saheeli 2nd from the top to the bottom... but the theoretical hit rate is still quite good (89%) so I'm not worrying about the whiffs much right now. In terms of Bugler vs Tracker I think Bugler is a more consistent mainboard card. When you're on the back foot vs an aggressive deck Bugler gets you another card immediately without additional investment and thus has a more expendable body. When you're trying to pressure a control deck Bugler still gives guaranteed free value and is a true 3-drop rather than waiting for Tracker + land drop. It has a higher floor than Tracker but a lower ceiling. Bugler is also a part of the reason I feel like I even have a chance vs Burn despite running so few dedicated hate cards.
B) I'm not really sure what you mean by unimpactful 2- and 3-drops. The recent builds have added enough higher impact <= 2 power cards that I don't think this is so much of a problem anymore. I also haven't had any issues at all with my current curve. I wouldn't say that Bugler adds any consistency to the combo since he mostly draws you into the flicker half, and I usually side him out vs fast decks where I just want to combo and don't care about card advantage.
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