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  • posted a message on [[Primer]] [PAUPER] Crushing Dreams on a Budget - Child of Alara (UPDATE 07-2018!)
    Innistrad: Crimson Vow!

    I don't see anything in this new set that is a "must have," but we did get a bunch of new "exploit" creatures that could be interesting. Here are the cards that jumped out at me in the set. Please add anything I've missed!

    Mindleech Ghoul - It's a 2MV sacrifice outlet that makes your opponents exile a card from hand. It can exploit itself, another creature, or Child of Alara. I can imagine a scenario where you're exploiting CoA, hitting everyone with a board wipe, and knocking the last card of out everyone else's hand. With that said, I'm not sure what this would replace in the deck.

    Persistent Specimen - We run a lot of cards that sacrifice a creature to draw cards. I'm not sure where the critical mass of effects like that is to make a creature like this worthwhile. Probably much higher than where we are now.

    Pointed Discussion - Another draw 2 cards, lose 2 life spell. This one has a bit of upside because it creates a Blood token which can be used for filtering. It is sorcery speed, though. In most of our lists, it does not make the cut of 3MV spells with this effect. It is easier to cast than Notion Rain for example, but sees fewer cards.

    Repository Skaab - Is there a world where we want this effect? This card plays multiple roles in the deck as a sacrifice outlet for CoA and a recursion spell for an instant/sorcery (since it can exploit itself). It doesn't leave a body behind if it exploits itself, so it doesn't work with the flicker recursion plan many of you are running.

    Reckless Impulse - This isn't the only card in the game that has this effect, but it's reasonably costed for access to two cards with a time limit.

    Scattered Thoughts - It sees 4 cards at instant speed and lets you keep 2 of them. That's a pretty good rate. It doesn't draw the cards, so you're only looking at those 4 off the top, but it's only supported by one U mana symbol. That's a lot of cards to see for a splashable spell like this.

    Stitched Assistant - Another exploit creature. This one has scry 1, then draw 1 card. This falls into that zone where the card has a lot of ways we can use it, but might be too high of a MV to make it worth replacing anything else.

    Undying Malice - Because sometimes you just need another copy of this effect in your deck. Seriously, we have a lot of options like this now at 1MV. This one comes with a +1/+1 counter, but the creature comes back tapped.

    We also got a reprint of Evolving Wilds if you are interested in new artwork / bling for your deck. Smile

    Posted in: Variant Commander
  • posted a message on [[Primer]] [PAUPER] Crushing Dreams on a Budget - Child of Alara (UPDATE 07-2018!)
    As always, thank you urdjur for the time and energy you put into your analysis and write-up(s). It is helpful to spark conversation and also to look back on thoughts as the deck develops.

    4MV vs. 1MV Reanimation Spells
    I am drawn to the 4MV reanimation spells, probably because my style of play. Is it not your experience that you have tight turns in the early-to-mid-game where you simply do not have the extra B mana to cast one of the 1MV spells to bring CoA back? This happens to me a lot. And those 1MV renanimation spells are terrible topdecks.

    Tough Choices
    The more I think about this deck, the more I realize that I'm not making the tough choices on what to cut. There are a lot of "cutsey" cards in my list, like Minimus Containment, that I end up telling myself I am "testing," but that I know aren't really helping me move the overall strategy forward. This is probably where all of our metas or playgrounds differ. If the deck is /too efficient,/ my opponents don't want to shuffle up and try again. That's not a good argument for running suboptimal cards, but falling back on making some card swaps here and there at least changes up the lines of play for a while.

    Indestructible Lands
    This is possibly another meta-driven choice. I simply do not see mass LD in my meta. And if I do, it's rare enough that countermagic is a reasonable response. That's not to say that moving the mana base in this direction is a bad choice anyway, but I haven't felt the pressure so I never considered it.

    The Mana Base
    In the pre-snow duals days, the mana base already felt solid to me. Turn 4-5 CoA was consistent. Colorless fixers put less pressure on opening hands or counting colored sources. Cards like Expedition Map, Mycosynth Wellspring, and Darksteel Ingot did the job. You've done considerable analysis on the mana sources and fixing. These current mana bases may be objectively better. Again, this may come down to playstyle: mana sources that come into play tapped drive me crazy. Is there a workable version of the mana base that prioritizes untapped mana sources/lands? This could possibly work with Trinket Mage, as you suggested.

    Thank you again for the conversation and analysis, to all of you!
    Posted in: Variant Commander
  • posted a message on [[Primer]] [PAUPER] Crushing Dreams on a Budget - Child of Alara (UPDATE 07-2018!)
    Innistrad: Midnight Hunt!

    The new set brings us more than a few interesting cards. I'm only going to list the cards that I think will test out, but there are several other cards in the set that look like they could be upgrades, duplicate effects, or a different direction besides these. Please add your own analysis!

    Ardent Elementalist - Can't be tutored with Wizardcycling, but likely better than Izzet Chronarch. Same effect, less mana, fewer colors.

    Blood Pact - Another draw 2 for 3cmc and 2 life, but this one is at instant speed. It's not the most efficient version of this spell, but instant speed could make it a contender for one of the other card draw slots.

    Eaten Alive - This is an Angelic Purge-type effect, except it hits planeswalkers (and not artifacts or enchantments). It also has more flexible costing, allowing us more control over if we need to trigger CoA (for example). This could be good if you are running into indestructible creatures in your meta, although Capsize is likely the better solution.

    Electric Revelation - I like filter cards. This one had flashback for added value. I don't run Faithless Looting, though. And I would probably test that over this first.

    Path to the Festival - It tutors for a basic land and puts it into play tapped and is likely to offer the Scry 1 in this deck. Plus, it has flashback. That might be enough value to make this worth a ramp slot.

    What other cool cards did you see for this deck in the new set?


    Posted in: Variant Commander
  • posted a message on [[Primer]] [PAUPER] Crushing Dreams on a Budget - Child of Alara (UPDATE 07-2018!)
    In a multiplayer game, I use CoA as a rattlesnake card. I aggressively ramp into CoA in the early stages of the game, using removal to stop anyone coming at me during the early turns. The incremental value creatures are good early blockers. The beauty of this deck is that it doesn't look threatening in the early turns.

    I tutor to set up this combination of cards:

    1) CoA in play.
    2) A card in hand to trigger CoA, ideally Sidisi's Faithful.
    3) A recursion card in hand, ideally Disturbed Burial.
    4) A counterspell in hand.

    The first time I demonstrate the loop, I usually gain an insurmountable amount of card advantage. It's enough to often cause the table to concede. Seriously. This happens a lot. People don't realize how backbreaking wiping the board is in a multiplayer game. When they see that I can literally do it over and over, they start to think through decklists and realize there isn't a way out.

    We don't call it "dreamcrusher" for nothing.

    If they decide to play it out, I usually take out one player at a time with CoA beats while playing a quick game of Archenemy as they proceed to openly gang up on me. If often doesn't matter because they don't have enough collective time to rebuild under repeated board wipes.

    If there is a tricky control player, I buy time and tutor to set this up:

    1) 12+ mana sources in play.
    2) Capsize in hand.
    3) A counterspell in hand.

    Capsizing one or two permanents per turn after a CoA board wipe is usually enough to cause the concession.

    I rarely use the combo to win. It's too risky to outright tutor for and never comes up randomly (for me). It's good to know that it's there.

    This deck is cool because you can hold counterspells for the very few cards that cause you to not be able to loop CoA. Discard spells, counterspells, hasted threats, indestructible blockers, etc. You can (mostly) let everything else go through because CoA will clean it up in short order. Even then, unless it causes you an outright loss, you can even lose a counter war and still rebuild because you will likely draw one of the card draw spells or something that lets you recur a key card. The entire deck is set up to be robust in this way. In other words, you can let spells resolve that would cause other decks an eventual loss.

    I'm interested to know how the flow of the game goes for other players.
    Posted in: Variant Commander
  • posted a message on [[Primer]] [PAUPER] Crushing Dreams on a Budget - Child of Alara (UPDATE 07-2018!)
    You got it, Fr0sty711! I updated the spreadsheet. Send me an editor request if you haven't already. You can swizzle the spreadsheet around if you need to make any updates.
    Posted in: Variant Commander
  • posted a message on [[Primer]] [PAUPER] Crushing Dreams on a Budget - Child of Alara (UPDATE 07-2018!)
    Quote from bfine70 »
    Why Feign Death over Undying Evil? Without Opal Palace, Feign Death would just be worse since you leave your Child tapped when it recurs. I'm not saying that is some major difference, but I've definitely had situations come up where that would make a difference.


    You are right. I had them both in the list while I was working on it and deleted the wrong one! Fixed!

    I am interested to hear how you feel about Minimus Containment. I opt for Forsake the Worldly because I can cycle it when I run into early on and don't need it, knowing I can likely recur it later as needed. If you're opting for Minimus, I'd also recommend trying out Faith's Fetters since it doesn't give the opponent access to something like a commander as easily by just sacrificing the newly created Treasure.


    I like this effect 3MV and I like that Minimus Containment hits (almost) everything. It's more of a tempo play since I'm just trying to get the Child loop going. Ultimately, being able to cycle Forsake the Worldly might push it over, but I wanted to give the new card a try here.

    P.S. My list has now been updated on the spreadsheet as well!


    Sweet! Thank you for keeping the list up to date. I see that you've got Quandrix Campus in your list now. Let us know how that goes!
    Posted in: Variant Commander
  • posted a message on [[Primer]] [PAUPER] Crushing Dreams on a Budget - Child of Alara (UPDATE 07-2018!)
    I updated the spreadsheet with my current list. If you have changes to your list or want your list added please post!

    Ramp/Fixing

    Since I finally got around to adding snow lands, I updated the ramping and fixing spells. I like Commander's Sphere instead of Darksteel Ingot. By the time I'm casting Child and blowing up the world, I'd rather have the additional card from the Sphere. Basically, it ramps when I need ramp, fixes when I need fixing, and cycles (for a new card) exactly when I don't need it anymore.

    I'm also running Wood Elves, Nature's Lore, and Three Visits. I value guaranteed search and ramp.

    Card Draw/Quality

    I'm running Impulse in the Sea Gate Oracle slot. I'd rather see more cards than have the body on the battlefield. I'm also trying You Find the Villains' Lair. I like both modes (filtering and countering).

    Countermagic

    I'm running all four blasts. I think of these as 1MV spells to trigger Child at instant speed with upside in a bunch of matches. They can act as removal and counterspells for blue and red, both of which show up in most games.

    Creature Removal/Sacrifice Outlets

    I'm running Deadly Dispute over Terminate. Terminate is great at what it does, but I rarely need that effect. I'd rather have another way to draw cards and trigger Child.

    Recursion

    I'm running all three: False Defeat / Breath of Life / Late to Dinner. I'd rather skip all the steps and put Child back onto the battlefield from the graveyard directly. I'm also running Feign Death over Kaya's Ghostform. Surprise!

    Utility

    I'm running Minimus Containment in the Forsake the Worldly / Angelic Purge slot. It hits (almost) everything.

    Land

    It's winter.

    Posted in: Variant Commander
  • posted a message on [[Primer]] [PAUPER] Crushing Dreams on a Budget - Child of Alara (UPDATE 07-2018!)
    Single Card Discussion: Land Grant vs. Nature's Lore / Three Visits

    I noticed that on the recent lists, you are all running Land Grant. None of you are running Nature's Lore or Three Visits. Why?

    Land Grant can occasionally be cast for no mana, but it requires you to a) have a hand with no lands in it and (crucially) b) reveal your hand. Otherwise, the casting cost is the same as the other two options (1G) but the effect is much worse. Land Grant puts the forest card into your hand. The other two spells put the forest card onto the battlefield. That's a massive difference.

    In other words, 100% of the time, the effect from Land Grant is worse than the effect from Nature's Lore or Three Visits. But some percentage of the time, you can cast Land Grant "for free." Except, it's not really free because you need to reveal your hand.

    How often are you casting Land Grant for free? And when you are, how often would have rather have ramped the land onto the battlefield rather than just putting it into your hand?

    A couple of scenarios:

    You draw an opening hand with 0-1 lands and Land Grant. Is this hand really keepable because of Land Grant (casting it for free on an early turn)?

    You draw an opening hand with 2 lands and Land Grant. Would Nature's Lore of Three Visits be better here?

    You are in the first 4 turns of the game. Is Land Grant the best land fixing spell when you are trying to ramp into Child?

    You are in the mid-game and you topdeck Land Grant. Is the ability to cast Land Grant for free at this point in the game useful?

    You are in the late game and you topdeck Land Grant. Is the ability to cast Land Grant for free at this point in the game useful?


    There aren't many times when I'd rather have Land Grant. I'd rather pay the mana and put the land onto the battlefield. Playing it for free and revealing my hand is asking for trouble. If Land Grant did the exact same thing as Nature's Lore, but had the optional "play for free" clause, I could see why it would be the clear winner for this slot. But it doesn't do the same thing as Nature's Lore. What am I missing?
    Posted in: Variant Commander
  • posted a message on [[Primer]] [PAUPER] Crushing Dreams on a Budget - Child of Alara (UPDATE 07-2018!)
    You are totally right! I read Minimus Containment as an Oblivion Ring effect, but it's not. It simply enchants the permanent; so yes, they both get blown up at the same time by Child. This makes it a much better card for our purposes. It hits everything except lands and even removes indestructible.

    I'll edit my previous post to reflect this better information. Thank you, Reaper9889. You rock.
    Posted in: Variant Commander
  • posted a message on [[Primer]] [PAUPER] Crushing Dreams on a Budget - Child of Alara (UPDATE 07-2018!)
    Adventures in the Forgotten Realms!

    Contact Other Plane - On balance, I'd play Behold the Multiverse before this.

    Deadly Dispute - A more flexible Altar's Reap with upside. Can be a strict upgrade or move the deck further into black for this effect. Am I reading this right? You get the treasure token after the Child of Alara sacrifice ability resolves? ***UPDATE: Several confirmations below that you do get the treasure token.

    Evolving Wilds - Fancy reprint that maintains the "common" set symbol. I only play cards with the common set symbol in this deck, so it's nice to have options. The fancy reprints usually use a gold symbol.

    Fates' Reversal - This one is a reach if you wanted to play Dungeons. You'd need to go deep on other sub-optimal cards, though.

    Feign Death - Similar to Undying Evil. You can Feign Death a creature that already has a +1/+1 counter on it, but it does return tapped.

    Minimus Containment - This *would* be great, except it gets blown up when Child triggers, releasing whatever terrible thing contained therein. ***UPDATE: See post by Reaper9889 below. This is not an Oblivion Ring effect; it's an enchantment. So, Child will destroy it and whatever it is enchanting at the same time. It acts as a removal spell for any nonland permanent, albeit with some gotchas.

    You Find the Villains' Lair - Good stuff. Not as a replacement for a counter spell, unless you are running one of the other 3MV mono-blue counters like Faerie Trickery. But as a replacement for a filter card. I'm looking at my card drawing/filtering slots for this one.

    What did I miss? Anything else look exciting or worth discussing?

    Posted in: Variant Commander
  • posted a message on [[Primer]] [PAUPER] Crushing Dreams on a Budget - Child of Alara (UPDATE 07-2018!)
    Hello and welcome!

    I added your list to the spreadsheet. I think I captured everything, but let me know if you notice anything out of place.

    MH2 Cards You Mentioned
    Step Through - (Common) Tutors are always worth looking at for this deck. What would you replace to run this?
    Unholy Heat - We have a bunch of ways to consistently trigger CoA, typically with other utility. Red Elemental Blast / Pyroblast have the same MV for example, do not require delerium to trigger CoA, and can also be used to counter / destroy blue spells/permanents.
    Revolutionist - It is slightly less color-intensive to cast this creature, but it does have a higher MV.
    Echoing Return - Agreed. There are better options here.
    Bone Shards - Altar's Reap and Costly Plunder draw cards and have the same sacrifice-as-cost. Bone Shards is tutorable with Dizzy Spell, but is a sorcery.
    Lose Focus - I like this spell. It splashes and scales. Hits all spell types. Because it replicates, it's also interesting in counter wars.
    Mental Journey - This could go into the "refill your hand" slot we all run. I like that it has early utility because of the basic landcycling.
    Late to Dinner - I'm the only one who still likes this effect in this deck. Late to Dinner is an upgrade to Breath of Life / False Defeat.

    Other Interesting MH2 Cards
    Chrome Courier - A less-splashable Sea Gate Oracle with occasional upside and flying. If you want a higher creature count, this is an option.
    Dihada's Ploy - A filter card with life gain. Jump-start gets you going again when you draw a brick and need to filter or you have a handful of wrong answers. Does not require double-blue. Instant speed.
    Discerning Taste - 3MV, sorcery spell, but looks at 4 cards and sometimes gains you life. I would run Impulse before this. Forbidden Alchemy has flashback, but no life gain.


    Posted in: Variant Commander
  • posted a message on [[Primer]] [PAUPER] Crushing Dreams on a Budget - Child of Alara (UPDATE 07-2018!)
    Strixhaven!

    Ramp/Fixing
    Environmental Sciences is interesting because it is colorless for the rare time that you end up with a hand that doesn't have the right mana.
    Letter of Acceptance is interesting because it replaces itself, albeit at a worse rate than Commander's Sphere.

    Card Draw/Quality
    Eureka Moment is interesting because it is instant speed, draws two, and ramps.
    Crushing Disappointment is interesting because it is instant speed, draws two, and causes life loss to all players.
    Thrilling Discovery is interesting because it's a filter card that is worded generously. Compare to Cathartic Reunion.

    Recursion
    Infuse with Vitality is a 2MV Undying Evil variant with life gain. Could be easier to tutor for in this list.

    Utility
    Introduction to Annihilation is a 5MV exile card, but more limited than Scour from Existence.
    Resculpt is a less flexible Ravenform variant.

    Lands
    Archway Commons is another land in a long line of lands that do the same thing but with a different name. The mana base does not need it, but here it is anyway.
    Prismari Campus is interesting because it offers a scry. This set includes lands with other two color combinations that do the same thing. I'm not sure if any of these lands earn a slot. By the time I'm tapping the equivalent of 5 mana, I probably have better things to do than to scry 1.

    Posted in: Variant Commander
  • posted a message on [[Primer]] [PAUPER] Crushing Dreams on a Budget - Child of Alara (UPDATE 07-2018!)
    I updated the spreadsheet with your changes, bfine70.

    This deck is a pile of lands, color-fixing, ramp, tutoring, card draw, recursion, utility, removal, and counters that is almost entirely focused on playing CoA as early as possible and blowing up the board until you win with card advantage. For as long as I've been keeping the spreadsheet, we all run approximately the same number of cards in each category. It comes down to which cards we want to run to make the magic happen. Some cards are objectively better than others. Some are subjectively better. Some cards choices come down to preference. I appreciate you all taking the time to keep the conversation going. Smile

    Check out Study Hall from C21. Seems like it's worth trying as a replacement for Opal Palace. I'd rather have the Scry than the +1/+1 counter.
    Posted in: Variant Commander
  • posted a message on [[Primer]] [PAUPER] Crushing Dreams on a Budget - Child of Alara (UPDATE 07-2018!)
    I updated the spreadsheet to include both of your new deck lists. I updated a few cards on my list, but haven't made the snow/land updates yet, so you can ignore the manabase. I suspect it will look similar to your list(s).

    Ramp/Fixing
    I'll try Coiling Oracle and Growth Spiral again, but I've always preferred the "guaranteed" ramp of other options. Feels bad when I "miss" the land drop.

    Card Draw/Quality
    Sea Gate Oracle doesn't look at as many cards as Augur of Bolas, but it is guaranteed to replace itself. Again, I prefer the guarantee. I saw your argument for cutting Treasure Cruise, but it doesn't sit right with me. Even if I cast it once in the mid-to-late game it seems worth it!

    Tutors
    We all cut Dimir House Guard. I am running a different reanimation package than you two, so it might make sense for me to leave it in.

    Countermagic
    We are all trying out lots of blasts. They are versatile. In my experience, the "drawback" of milling two for Psychic Strike is equivalent to not being able to counter faerie spells. It's close. Psychic Strike is a hard counter that does not require UU. I would run Cancel over Dream Fracture, but I don't run either. Arcane Denial and Dream Fracture both allow my opponent to draw cards. Arcane Denial is hard counter 2MV (mana value) and requires only one U mana. I might give it another try, but Condescend always comes through for me and gives me a scry. Dispel seems like it could be fantastic at the right time. So does Deprive. Lots of options!

    Creature Removal/Sacrifice Outlets
    Fleshbag Marauder can't be better than Village Rites, can it? Fiery Cannonade can't be better than Village Rites. I guess what I'm saying is that Village Rites is good. Smile

    Recursion
    I like spells that put CoA directly into play from the graveyard (Breath of Life, False Defeat). Disturbed Burial has to be better than Grim Discovery, right? How often is that other mode (returning a land) putting in work? When I play Disturbed Burial with Buyback, my opponent usually concedes in response.

    Utility
    I can see the argument for Cleansing Wildfire. There are lots of troublesome lands out there. And it replaces itself. And it's a red Crop Rotation (sort of). In a group game, I can usually get away with sitting behind Spore Frog / Disturbed Burial for quite a while, long enough to set up a haymaker turn or get Capsize online.

    Combo/Wincon
    I see the argument that tutoring for Rolling Thunder (2MV) is easier than tutoring for Fireball (1MV). I still can count on one hand the number of times I've won with the combo, so more often than not I'd rather naturally draw Fireball than Rolling Thunder to act as a removal spell.

    Land
    I haven't made any changes for snow yet. The reality is that I am hitting all five colors of mana to cast CoA on turn 4 or 5 a high percentage of the time already without making any changes. I appreciate the different ways you approach building the mana base for your deck. The math approach is cool. Thank you for the write-up. We have so many (great!) options for the mana base now. Amazing!





    Posted in: Variant Commander
  • posted a message on [[Primer]] [PAUPER] Crushing Dreams on a Budget - Child of Alara (UPDATE 07-2018!)
    Thank you for the update! Here's a link to the updated spreadsheet.

    What are you thoughts about Behold the Multiverse and Dispel?

    Also, have you considered Psychic Strike? It's a hard counter that's easier to cast since it doesn't require double blue (UU) like Dream Fracture or Faerie Trickery.
    Posted in: Variant Commander
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