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  • posted a message on BW Smallpox Control
    In order to maximize Kaya, you have to protect her. Obviously she does not have self protection and the minus can never be considered protection. If protected, she becomes a wincon that interacts with the graveyard. I cannot imagine her in a deck that does not have a source of blockers or specially bridge. I think part of the charm of when she was first spoiled was that my current version of the deck was already doing the things which Kaya needs to be successful. I find her very impactful and usually never sideboard her out.

    It is not much of Kaya/Bridge helps with Dredge/Phoenix, it is just that the whole deck is incredibly hateful in general. The opening hand always decides on which part of those decks you would attack, but hand attack usually go after enablers like Faithless Looting. If surgical is on hand, it would be worthwhile to get rid of them turn 1. The point is to slow them down enough while reducing you hand towards hopefully a bridge. At this point, future hand attacks go after things that impact you even if you have bridge like chill, conflagrate, or things that can blow up the bridge and then surgical them. The bigger the creatures, the safer you can keep cards in hand when landing bridge, so Thing in the Ice can be ignored if successfully get a bridge out. Luckily, Lingering Souls or 1/1s in general are not popular so we are in a good spot since those makes the bridge plan stupid hard. At this point you can have Kaya/Liliana do their thing while you can go on the attack with tokens. If Phoenix are out, then vault can give your tokens death touch/lifelink. If they block, then Kaya can exile them. By this point there should be plenty of cards that have been exiled for Kaya's ult to be significant or even game winning.

    I think the reason why I took Dismember out was because on the matchups that I brought it in for I never really drew it and I still felt like I had a very strong matchup. As mentioned above, the first couple turns is spent slowing down the opponent. If anything, I found Gideon of the Trials to be amazing on this game plan. Murderous Cut is an option still though. For right now, I am bringing in the second Collective Brutality in the sideboard but I will be testing other ideas in this last flex slot. Maybe a single Path to Exile would not be bad either or even Sword of Fire and Ice when bridge is boarded out. Mirran Crusader is an option to improve Rock/Jund (get rid of the bolts though!) There are a lot of options. Pithing Needle may be fine too. I just hate Teferi... lots.

    I try to not use actual creatures if I can help it. Considering how creature heavy decks in Modern are, I want to make those creature removal cards as weak as possible. I also want to keep the use of the graveyard minimal as possible as well. It is interesting when people see Lingering Souls and they bring in Rest in Peace... which makes Kaya even stronger.

    For lands, I still hold strongly that no lands on this deck can enter tapped. It it incredibly important to be able to hit untapped lands for the first 3 turns. Everything after that more of if you want go for the 4 CMC sideboard cards or the 4 mana + Vault of the Archangel. At the moment, I feel like I really want to have a second vault in exchange of a mutavault. There has many games where I feel I could have recovered if I simply drew my vault. A singleton Fetid Heath is sufficient and rarely had issues hitting double white or double black by turn 3. This deck should never have more than 4 colorless/utility mana sources that enter untapped. The only true generic solution to Bloodmoon is to increase the fetch count. Fast Lands in my deck are the obvious targets to replace with additional fetches. While Bloodmoon does a serious blow, I do not see it enough to warrant that kind of change. Shambling Vents lost me games when I used them and gradually went from 4 to 0. Yeah, Mutavault is still valuable though. If you are ahead, it animates cheaply while leaving Mana open for other things. While behind, it can defend a Planeswalker. Shambling Vents is too expensive to animate.

    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on BW Smallpox Control
    My current version of my deck feels pretty solid in the current metagame, having good matchups against Phoenix, Dredge, Storm, GDS, and Rock. Humans and Spirits usually depend on removal lining up but Knight of Autumn can make things difficult if pushing for Bridge. UB can be difficult but I feel I do not have much experience with it. Jund... Lighting Bolt and KC are rough. Other things would need more testing but I am thinking I am happy with the 75 so long as sideboard strategy is further refined. The only card that feels like its too specific is my singleton Dismember. As for replacements, I could go for an additional Collective Brutality for improved burn matchup or Lost Legacy to get rid of problematic cards, like aforementioned KoA. I may just go with CB as I want to remain low to the ground as possible. Ensnaring Bridge has been working out very well but since Whirl has been a thing, there is a noticeable increase of artifact removal. So far things are fine though.

    I wish you luck at the SCG Regionals!
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on BW Smallpox Control
    Back from GPLA and it was really fun. This was my first GP so there was a lot of firsts as well a realization that I do not have the best stamina in the world and was starting to feel exhausted by game 4. I will not make the excuse that that was the reason for the performance of the second half of the tournament, except for one match I will discuss later. For starters, I entered the tournament with this sideboard plan. If it is not on the list, it either means go stock or I sideboard on the fly.


    Sideboard Plan

    Phoenix: +2 Surgical 1+ TS +1 Bontu // -4 BB
    Dredge: +2 Surgical 1+ TS 1+ Bontu 1+ Damn +1 LtLH +1 CB +1 GotT // -4 Pox -4 LotV
    GDS: +1 Dismember // -1 CB.
    Burn: +1 Surgical +1 CB +1 GotT +1 GAoZ +1 LtLH +1 Bontu // -3 TS -3 Bridge
    Tron: +3 Stony +2 Surgical +1 TS +1 LtLH +1 GotT +1 GAoZ // -3 FP -4 IoK -2 CB
    Spirits: +1 Bontu +1 Damn +1 Dismember +1 LtLH // -2 Surgical -1 CB -1 LotV
    Scales: +3 Stony +1 Bontu +1 Damn +1 Dismember +1 LtLH +1 GotT // -4 BB -2 LotV -2 CB
    Amulet: +2 Surgical +1 TS +1 Damn 1+Bontu +2 EE // -3 FP -4 BB
    Whir: +2 Surgical +1 TS +2 EE +1 GAoZ +1 GotT // -3 FP -4 Pox
    Humans: +1 Bontu +1 Damn +1 LtLH // -2 Surgical -1 LotV
    Jeskai / UB: +2 Surgical +1 TS +1 CB +1 GotT +1 GAoZ +1 LtLH // -3 FP -3 Bridge -1 Pox
    Affinity: +3 Stony +1 LtLH +1 Bontu +1 Damn // -4 LotV -2 CB
    Hollow One: +2 Surgical +1 TS +1 Bontu +1 Damn +1 CB +1 Dismember // -4 BB -3 FP
    Storm: +2 Surgical +1 CB +1 TS +1 GotT +1 GAoZ +1 LtLH // -3 Bridge -4 BB

    As for the matches themselves, I did not write as many notes as I wanted but I will make note on the things that I noticed in general.

    Game 1 vs Phoenix 2-1
    Game 2 vs Eldrazi Tron 0-2
    Game 3 vs Dredge 2-0
    Game 4 vs Phoenix 2-1
    Game 5 vs Humans 0-2
    Game 6 vs Scales 0-2
    Game 7 vs Affinity 1-2 (Draw, let op have win)
    Game 8 vs Jund 0-2

    My first half of my day started strong. Have good experience against Phoenix so those went well as Mutavault beats in one match and Kaya did short work of the graveyard and ultimate. Turn 1 hand attach and hopefully hitting Faithless Looting is huge although surgical on Phoenix is not bad at all either. Hand attack was big here. Eldrazi Tron was rough as I never played against it. I believe I went with my Tron SB but instead of 2x Stony Silence, I added Bontu and Damnation. Game 2 I started very strong and answers lined up perfectly. I had an overcommitted board with both Gideons, LtLH, BB, Sprits and then a well timed All is Dust ended that game.

    Dredge game 1 was won on the back of Vault of the Archangel while game 2 was on the normal game plan. Was able to resolve bridge both times and surgical on Creeping Chill felt like it was the best thing at the time on game 2. I got a warning on this match as I dozed off and was not paying attention to what my opponent is doing, he passed the turn, then said he did not discard two dredgers after I land dropped and cracked a fetch so I can activate vault. Scales completely depended if I drew Stony Silence and if my opponent had a way to remove it. I did feel like I was not doing my lines correctly as I underestimated just how big a creature can get with Hardened Scales on game 1 and I incorrectly casted Smallpox with a Hangarback Walker on the field which at the time I had GotT preventing its damage on game 2. This deck does not do well on opponent decks that have tokens as well. Perhaps my sideboard strategy was wrong and I should have brought in Engineered Explosives.

    My affinity match I had Stony Silence on my opening hands which were really good. I was jokingly taking with my opponent saying how Blood Moon works very well against my deck only to soon after IoK showing a Blood Moon on hand. Dodged that bullet. On game 3, we got in a lock where I had LotV, BB, and Kaya and he had enough artifacts to ping them to not ult with Ghirapur Aether Grid. It did not help that I missed a few BB triggers. At this point I was hoping I could draw into more token generators as I was at 20 life while my opponent was at 3. Ran out of time so it ended in a draw. My opponent is grinding PW points so considering the circumstances, I gave him the win. It was an enjoyable match. My last match was against Jund. Lightning Bolt and Kolaghan's Command are always bad. Was able to get Bridges out but could not get tokens out to deal with Liliana.

    It was a bit of shame that I did not face off against decks that I felt would be popular but that is the way it goes. I am happy with my strong start of the event, taking out 2x Phoenix and one Dredge deck. Most of my opponents were very pleasant and I had a good time. I definitely need to build up my stamina if I am to attend another big event like this one or just in general. Looking after one's health is always the best play.

    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on Modern Horizons (Updated)
    I think with this product, it's primary goal is to make more new/fringe strategies more viable while at the same time increase the versatility of answers against existing strategies. I can also see this set where it pushes the power of mono color to create entry point for new players into the format. For lands they could do mono colored fetch lands at rare, and perhaps Onslaught cycle lands at uncommon. As for the reprint policy, it is safe to say that the cards reprinted will never be Legacy defining cards, but instead cards that while weak in Legacy, can be at the right power level for Modern. This also means that just because it does not see heavy play in Legacy does not automatically mean that it is at the power level for Modern. As for impact on prices, diversifying available decks will always reduce cost across the board. Part of the reason why certain colors are more expensive than others is simply because of popularity. I do not promote aggressive reprinting to bring down price, but instead lets make other colors/strategies more desirable so the costs level out.

    I think it is important to put significant amount of thought of what identity Modern supposed to express. Legacy is loved because it has a well defined identity. Standard's identity is ever changing and fluid, which can be considered a feature for that format. Wanting Modern to be Legacy-lite is the wrong way to think about it. Modern is Modern, and with this product, we will get the first set specifically designed with Modern in mind. This is the first of its kind and the possibilities are endless.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on BW Smallpox Control
    Shizo, Death's Storehouse is some very nice tech. I presume Gideon is now a Legendary Creature when it animates so it makes sense. Kalitas is an amazing creature, but I do feel it is not as effective in Smallpox. The thing we want to achieve with Smallpox is to minimize the effects it causes to us while maximizing opponent losses. Having only Fatal Push as the only card (and sometimes CB) that can directly trigger the ability also does not bode well. It would be a shame to cast Kalitas, and then force to use Smallpox as a response to an opponent creature afterwards next turn, hopefully after he gives some value. Having said that, it is not that bad. If I were to use Kalitas, I would have Liliana, the Last Hope in the 75 in order to have a way to bring him back. Can also bring back your Fulminators. The life gain and tokens that could be gained from Kalitas should not be underestimated though. I just fear all the creature hate out there.

    While I agree that having 4 Thoughtseize main to be difficult, I feel we should always have 4 in the 75, especially if surgicals are in the deck as well. Getting rid of key cards early game is always something we want to be doing, there are times that IoK is not the right tool for the job and we need to have something more powerful. Mana Tithe is a fun card and can punish greedy plays. However, it does not take that much to play around it and loses value as the game plays on. I would say having RiP and Surgicals to be interesting although it is good to keep in mind that RiP turns your surgicals into dead draws until your opponent gets rid of it. Disenchant has value, especially with Blood Moon and Bridges. It would be useful to have at least one board wipe in SB. I used to feel like I did not needed them because I use bridge, but now I make use of them both as they solve different problems. Since you have more mana fixing, perhaps Kaya's Wrath would work?

    The deck list of my previous post is what I am taking to GPLA. Probably going to lose a lot but I intend on having a good time. My focus has been on Legacy as of late. I will see if I can get some notes taken during the event and post them here though.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on BW Smallpox Control
    In all my matches, I have yet to come across a situation where I would side out Kaya. At worse, I would side out 1x of Liliana and 1x Kaya or 2x Liliana for The Last Hope. I wish my meta was heavy midrange as I feel I have an easier time as this deck can out grind grindy decks. As for you siding out Kaya, I can see that. I do feel she works best with Surgical Extraction and some form of prison/engine, more control. There are build considerations when working with that card. Having said that, she does not necessarily replace or upgrade "anything", or have to be a silver bullet that wins on the spot. I feel the modern Planeswalker design is that they are created to be for niche use. Of course they would seem weak in comparison to previous Planeswalkers, but that is because people want them to replace something, a strategy or idea that already exsists. However, if the niche is found using such card, they become very powerful and perhaps give birth to new decks. This is a potentiality for any card actually. In my version of BW Smallpox, Kaya does fulfill a niche I did not know I needed to be able fulfill until this card was announced. I am not saying she goes in every BWx deck or even every Smallpox deck, but she found a home in my deck and I very happy now with both how the deck plays and functions.

    Sideboard updated:
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on BW Smallpox Control
    My meta is pretty diverse with many good players so I try to cover a lot of things. Had an opportunity to have a Spirits matchup and Kaya's -1 did some serious work. That matchup now feels much better than before.

    Part of trying out Ormendahl is just to have counter board wipe tech attached to a huge flyer but maybe I am over thinking it. Lot of things need to line up in order to maximize that. Part of the draw to it that it is a land though. Archangel Avacyn was another card I want to try. Gideon is not a bad choice either. Not a flyer but would work very well with Vault. I will give this some thought. I think I am pretty content with my main deck. My sideboard is almost there. One Dismember can be swapped with one of the aforementioned cards.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on BW Smallpox Control
    I too been thinking of what things I can do if I am in a matchup that I can sideboard out the bridges. I added a single Westvale Abbey to sideboard for control matchups as a top deck Supreme Verdict can really mess with our token swarm. Hopefully there will be no Cryptic Command or Path to Exile afterwards but I think its worth the attempt. I think it is safe to assume that every deck you face is a fast agro deck and be ready mainboard. If this is not the case, there is nothing wrong going midrange with Gideon and other beaters once you know you can survive to that turn.

    I think that is what is great with Smallpox. It can be configured to taste and be powerful in different ways.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on BW Smallpox Control
    So long as fast linear decks are favored in our format, it makes sense to me to run bridge mainboard. Gideon is an amazing powerful card, don't get me wrong, but Gideon won't do much if my opponent is already coming at me with phoenixes, horrors, or goblins. This means that at best if still alive, board wipe on turn 4 and Gideon on turn 5, which then won't begin swinging till turn 6. It could be enough, sure, but they could just rebuild and ignore Gideon (or path him) and kill you. The hope here is to also have Sorin on turn 6 to give Gideon lifelink but at least when I tried it did not have enough copies of either of them to make it consistent (2 Sorin and 1 Gideon). Instead of Gideon, I ran Sorin, Lord of Innistrad which provided more token support and a potential game winning ultimate. The main parts of the deck are already good with control, spending a few slots for hard agro answers mainboard is not too much to ask. In the end of the day, this is a control deck, and its job is to make things as painful to our opponents as possible, not win as fast as possible. Other decks do that better.

    As for Kaya, it is never the intent to ultimate for 20 damage, at least with my current deck. Yes, I agree that it would be a completely different deck that would be focused on maximizing Kaya's ultimate, but it can still employ the Smallpox strategy to that end. It is not hard to get many cards in exile quickly though. Anyways, in my current deck, if you have to ultimate Kaya as soon as possible, I average about 8 damage. This is part of the fun of main board Surgical Extraction. At best, an important playset is removed, at worse the playset exiled serve as Kaya fodder. If I fire the 2 main board surgicals, that is 12 damage on turn 5. Of course this is in best case scenario, as opponents scoop at 2 hand attacks then 2 surgicals. This power is further increased if you have additional surgicals and Kayas in hand. Losing Kaya is no loss either as another Kaya can threaten for even more damage. Kaya is in no means a trap of a card and can win games. At the absolute worst, you ultimate for 4 damage and gain 4. That worse can be sufficient enough to finish off an opponent after token swarming, surviving a burn matchup, and other things. On that note, Leyline of Sanctity, Runed Halo and good'ol Pithing Needle are hard answers, but then again, those hit Liliana as well.

    I love Myth Realized! So long as you have board wipes and can surgically extract things like Fatal Push or other creature affecting spells, they are pretty potent. There are times I would like to build something with Raven's Crime, but I personally try to minimize the use of my graveyard with all the hate going around. Since you are at 25 lands, you may want to replace one with Vault of the Archangel. It will be useful to give Gideon and Lifelink/Deathtouch in later game.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on BW Smallpox Control
    Few things I noticed when I played Sorins is that since I use Ensnaring Bridge, setting up to have 2 cards on hand made things awkward. If I am committing to the bridge plan, I try to empty my hand as quickly as possible. Collective Brutality is part of that plan. If I play Sorin without a bridge, he gets quickly dealt with I try to be offensive. Instead of Sorin, I run a singleton Vault of the Archangel. This provides me with 3 benefits. It is a land so there is limited interactions against it, easy to setup behind bridge, and lifelink/deathtouch. Deathtouch is very useful to have when swinging at big things.

    Kaya is a whole different beast. Plays nice with Surgical Extraction and is quite happy being behind bridge. If I don't happen to surgical Snapcaster Mage for example, I can exile cards that would impact me if they are flashed back. Otherwise, I can just be exiling whatever along with the occasional creature for life. Smallpox into Kaya +1 is very nice, or Liliana +1 or -2 into Kaya +1 for that matter. The -1 I have yet to make extensive use of yet but it does hit annoying things like Vial, EE, and other things. The Ultimate is pretty potent as well, especially with the aforementioned surgical strikes.

    Right now, I am thinking of adding Westvale Abbey as another wincon and as a countermeasure against board wipes. I may replace Fetid Heath or have it as a sideboard card since it does not play well with Ensnaring Bridge.

    For Wrench Mind, it is just something I been thinking for another flavor of the deck. In this case, no BB and/or LS, with bridge and wraths mainboard. Just another variation for Kaya to eat more stuff. May want to include Rest in Peace mainboard and try to maximize those 2+ for 1s.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on BW Smallpox Control
    This is what I have been testing as of late. Major changes are removing the Sorins for Kaya, Orzhov Usurper. This serves as an alternative wincon/finisher, especially when bunkering down behind Ensnaring Bridge. The occasional life gain is also very helpful. Having nothing over 3 mana feels nice as I had multitude of occasions when I could not cast 4 drops after aggressive Smallpox usage.

    Having said that, I been thinking of other ways I can adjust the deck. Fatal Push is starting to feel weaker on its own these days so thinking of adding more Dismember or Murderous Cut especially if Prime Speaker Vannifar decks gain popularity. I think I want to try playing with Mana Tithe, Wrench Mind, Kambal, Consul of Allocation, sweepers instead of bridge, and/or Bojuka Bog somewhere in the 75 for testing of different approaches and flavor. There are many options available.

    Edit. Sideboard change currently being tested.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on Mardu Superfriends
    No updates for a while so here is the latest version of my deck. My maindeck is very hateful against creature based strategies, in particular the Saheeli decks, while being completely creatureless which is a concept I enjoy. Because of all the creature related cards, maindeck is weaker to control decks but not impossible. That matchup is improved by extensive sideboarding which usually removes creature removal with other forms of removal and hand attack. The only creature based sideboard option is the replacing of 1 Shock and 2 Anguished Unmaking for the 3 Radiant Flames for go wide creature strategies. Authority of the Consuls + Nahiri, the Harbinger make such a great combo.

    Posted in: Standard Archives
  • posted a message on Mardu Superfriends
    Here are some things I took note of from tonight's FNM.

    Heart of Kiran felt very weak. While it could be good if you are ahead, anywhere else it felt like a wasted card. Bringing the card early just gives time for the opponent to prep a proper answer. There are all kinds of removal floating around, including oddly enough, Stasis Snare. I often thought that this card would fall out of flavor with Emrakul being out of standard but it is still being widely used, in particularly the GW lists. It is a novelty to use loyalty to crew but in the end, the card benefits from having both loyalty and creature based crewing available, something that this deck cannot provide.

    Shock was okay. Stops the Saheeli combo and can take out a create here and there but its value starts to fall off later in the game. I do not want to completely write off the card but will start considering alternatives in the black varieties:)

    Unlicensed Disintegration sounded good in theory but never really got full value out of it due to how frail Heart of Kiran is. Will bring back in Anguish Unmaking.

    As much as I would like this deck to be creatureless, it felt an empty void not having Archangel Avacyn in deck. Its good to always have something to ultimate Nahiri into. I was recommended Linvala, the Preserver as another target as well. Considering the amount of agro that is out there, there is a good chance to be behind in both life and creatures. For now I may just go to Avacyn. I know this goes against with what I said with Heart of Kiran, but there is a difference in giving an opponent time to get an answer to a vehicle than flashing a creature unexpectedly and provide indestructibility to the few tokens we manage to make.
    Posted in: Standard Archives
  • posted a message on Mardu Superfriends
    I don't see why it would be dead. It is very viable, especially after the bannings. It is a super fun deck that most people have a hard time knowing how to deal with it. It tries not to do broken or fancy things, just lots of accumulative value. In my opinion, it is the best Superfriends deck in this standard season.
    Posted in: Standard Archives
  • posted a message on Mardu Superfriends
    There are currently no Saheeli combo decks in my meta so it is not much of a concern at the moment. In the event that it is, that is what the sideboard is for. I am still in the belief that the Saheeli combo does not have a proper shell to truly make it powerful and consistent... and if it does, it is a prime target for a ban. I feel people are being very cautious this time around before investing in the combo so it will not as widespread. But we will see after the PT and the second B&R announcement.

    Having said that, I have been noticing that Radiant Flames has been pretty weak as of late mainboard. It was mostly there for super fast aggro which had me dead before turn 4 but that has not been a thing as of late. Having Shock instead may be a better card to use to keep in theme on what the deck is trying to do... and to deal with Saheeli.

    Will do some testing.
    Posted in: Standard Archives
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