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  • posted a message on [[Primer]] [PAUPER] Crushing Dreams on a Budget - Child of Alara (UPDATE 07-2018!)
    Now I finally have time to reply more indepth to your previous post, VivienneHell!

    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.


    Before the rules change, I would have agreed with you. Back then, CoA could sit in the GY post wipe and of course, the 1MV reanimation is no good then. It didn't much matter if your yard got exiled, because then you could finally cast CoA from the Command Zone again. But anyway, that's in the past. These days there's little reason not to put CoA back in CZ after it dies and wipes (unless you have that cheapening reanimation in hand). So that means CoA is either on the battlefield or in the CZ and the 1MV reanimation is just more cost effective than 4MV reanimation then - but it's for that "next" wipe, rather than the current one at hand (which is, or just was, financed directly from CZ as per normal taxing rules).

    There can be different advantages to either effect early game. If you drop CoA t4 and tap out, it's easier to have mana on t5 for reanimation AND sac outlet if you use the 1MV variant. If you play CoA t5 with one mana open to blow it up and you're forced to do that before t6, then the 4MV reanimation is better than just putting CoA back in CZ and paying 7 mana next time - despite the cheapness of 1MV reanimation, you just don't have the mana to do it all same turn that early.

    All in all, I think Late to Dinner and Mistmoon Griffin are very playable cards in the deck, especially if you run Dimir House Guard with a few other solid 4MV targets. I would love for a 3MV variant to be printed as common, and it seems like WotC are sweetening the 4MV deal already - perhaps power creep will eventually grant us something like Breath of Life costing 1GB or 1WB (gold requirements makes it balanced IMO) so we can tutor it with 3MV transmutes. Until then, I will probably be running all three 1MV reanimation though.

    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.


    I think this was one of the most interesting questions asked about this deck in like a year or so! It sparked many ideas and I've given it lots of thoughts the last couple of weeks. I think we've been so obsessed with fixing, running enough sources, getting WUBRG with a pauper mana base etc. that we've missed the fact that we can afford to relax a bit and try to make a slightly faster mana base now that we have better fixing.

    The obvious choice would be to run more basics and more panoramas. This is not unproblematic. We're already maxed out on dedicated blue sources IMO, so running more would lead to less WUBRG t4-5 and more redundant early lands. Black sources pose the same problems. We can add more basic forests, but those slots come at the expense of other green sources: Green sources that also tap for U/B gives us more colored mana for the spells we want to play and have lots of, and green sources that tap for R/W lets us fetch extra islands with green ramp spells rather than mountain/plains.

    It becomes a philosophical questions: What do we mean by a fast mana base? Playing more Forest to have fewer tap lands might seem fast on paper, but will it feel fast when you can't play Counterspell on turn 6 due to lack of UU? Concretely, my observations these last days leads me to believe the following:

    1) It is certainly necessary to play Glacial Floodplain, Rimewood Falls and Volatile Fjord in order to support Farseek, Into the North and Mystic Sanctuary, for all optimal manabases. Shimmerdrift Vale, while the worst of the "any lands", is also hard to avoid at present.

    2) It is not obviously necessary to also play Arctic Treeline, Highland Forest and Woodland Chasm to support Land Grant (or any ramp spell at common with keyword "Forest", as I've explained earlier). This needs clarification. Obviously, Land Grant isn't such a good spell to motivate running three tap lands to support it. However, if the mana base requires running more green sources that ETB tapped anyway (see reasoning on basic forests above), a virtually free spell that tutors at 2MV to boot and can fix two colors at once, is not a bad card or a bad reason to pick these green sources in particular.

    3) A separate question is the need for green mana fixing at the 2MV slot. The idea has been previously that we can have more keepable hands with a card like Mycosynth Wellspring or Land Grant, not only to these cards themselves but because we could theoretically tutor for them at turns 3-4 to get a green source even when we didn't have one in our opener. However, with the present mana base, it will be very unusual to have 3 mana and no green source. Furthermore, we probably can't expect to have 1BB (for transmuting Shred Memory) even under such circumstances, meaning only Dimir Infiltrator and Muddle the Mixture would feasible fit for purpose. That's only 2 cards, of which we'd need one in hand in addition to the strange 3 lands but no green situation. I have not done any math on this, but it seems very unlikely, and will probably only increase keepable hands with 1-2%. All in all, the tutorability of Wellspring/Grant should not weigh heavily into the decision of running them - they can be good cards in their own right though.

    4) The conclusion of 3) above has opened my eyes to yet another fixing option: Jhessian Zombies. It costs 2 to play (to cycle) much like Mycosynth Wellspring, but cycles at instant speed. Much like Land Grant, it can find duals - but islands rather than forests, which is much better since we're already running those to support cards as per 1) above. Moreover, it can find Mystic Sanctuary, as well as basic islands and swamps that don't ETB tapped. Downside is costing 2 to cycle where Land Grant is free, and being untutorable (but it's no biggie, as explained above). Thoughts?

    5) Returning to the original question of more untapped lands, it is possible to run only the three island duals in 1) and squeeze in green sources in ravnica karoos, panoramas and forests. I still recommend Bant Panorma for all mana bases at present - I think it's at least a good a green source as Shimmerdrift Vale. Jund Panorama is probably necessary if you're not running the forest duals in 2) and much better than running a third Forest IMO. Grixis Panorama is a good card for any deck that has enough green sources and wants another good non-basic. Esper Panorama is slightly worse and probably only worth it if you have many white cards in the deck, and Naya Panorama would probably need support from 3 forests and 2 mountains in the mana base before you should consider running it (there's just no room IMO). I like the karoo set of Azorius Chancery, Golgari Rot Farm and Izzet Boilerworks because it lets you fix all colors at card parity with Crop Rotation, while being redundant in blue - the most important color to have lots of and a needed karoo color to pull off combo. However, with cutting away almost every white card in the deck as I'm currently considering, you can squeeze another green source in there by swapping chancery for Simic Growth Chamber. You could run all four of course, but that's more tap lands for you. I'm not a big fan of Dimir Aqueduct mainly because it risks being both black and blue redundant early game, and because it's not a green source to help with further fixing from ramp either. Certainly playable though.

    6) The artifact lands and Trinket Mage are probably a meta call as you say. There are very few effects like Obliterate where you can't counter the mass LD, so it will be a question of opportunity costs. Running a few indestructible artifact duals to support Trinket Mage is no worse than running a few forest duals to support Land Grant really. The question is how Trinket Mage compares to other staples like Sea Gate Oracle - if it can earn its own slot. Trinket Mage needs to be much better than Borderland Ranger in the deck, and the indestructible artifact lands alone do not accomplish that. Cards like Expedition Map and Nihil Spellbomb are not quite good enough to be staples in their own right today, but certainly contenders for open slots. Maybe Trinket Mage will be the card to tie it all together and make a synergy that's greater than its parts?

    All in all, I now think there are three different "optimal" mana bases at present that should only differ in a few cards:

    A) The Land Grant version with all the snow forest duals.
    B) The heavy basics/panoramas version that plays as many untapped lands as possible. This could also support Far Wanderings if one so desires, or possibly run Jhessian Zombies.
    C) The Trinket Mage version with a few indestructible artifact duals and some main deck trinkets to boot.

    What I'm really waiting for is another "breakthrough" like the thriving lands cycle or snow land duals cycle. The days of Panoramas and perhaps even cards like Shimmerdrift Vale are probably numbered, the question is only how quickly land/fixing power creep at common proceeds.
    Posted in: Variant Commander
  • posted a message on [[Primer]] [PAUPER] Crushing Dreams on a Budget - Child of Alara (UPDATE 07-2018!)
    VivienneHell - currently on vacation but your last post gave me lots of food for thought on the mana base. I’ll get back on that.


    Meanwhile, I was wondering if anybody has tried the new Resculpt over Crib Swap? Upside is being tutorable with Merchant Scroll and the less overcrowded 2MV transmute slot, and handling arifacts too. Downside is not tutoring with Aethermage (reducing the versatility of that tutor a lot), and leaving a bigger token (probably not very relevant).


    On a similar note, I haven’t seen much discussion on Masked Vandal as an alternative to Forsake the Worldly. It does tutor with Aethermage AND 2MV transmutes. It’s pretty easy to feed it either CoA from recent wipe leaving indestructible target, or from a creature-type tutor etc. Seems like a good fit for the deck.


    Swapping both would also lower the deck’s curve even further. Thoughts?
    Posted in: Variant Commander
  • posted a message on [[Primer]] [PAUPER] Crushing Dreams on a Budget - Child of Alara (UPDATE 07-2018!)
    Okay, I've played around a bit with the new artifact lands. As usual, what fascinates me the most about this deck is how strong we can make a 5c pauper manabase, and it's getting stronger every year. To recap, this is what I was running this spring:



    The new idea here was to use the new snow duals to empower Into the North, Farseek and Land Grant. I noticed a question earlier on "why not Nature's Lore/Three Visits when running Land Grant". The idea there is that you don't actually want to ramp up a green source when you already have a green source. If you have green and need red, it's very nice to cast Into the North for Volatile Fjord, but casting Three Visits for Highland Forest isn't much better than just Rampant Growth for basic Mountain - since you already had green. Land Grant is a different story, because you can use it to get that initial green source without committing to basic Forest - indeed get Rimewood Falls instead and up your island count for later Mystic Sanctuary - much better!

    Land Grant replaced Mycosynth Wellspring in the MV2 green fixer slot. You see, one of the things that let you keep hands without a green source is the fact that we're running many U and B sources and transmute cards. Most transmuters (3 total) are in the MV2 slot, meaning you want a MV2 target that can fetch green. Wellspring is awesome for the deck here for many reasons, but with the new snow duals, Land Grant is probably slightly better still. I would not recommend running both.

    The small issue with Land Grant is that it forces you to run all the 4 green snow duals, which wasn't really a problem before when other good green sources were scarce and the only opportunity cost was miniscule life gain from cards like Thornwood Falls. But now, we have a serious contender for these slots and more, namely the new indestructible artifact duals! This solves an old problem for the deck - the vulnerability to mass LD like Armageddon. It will still suck, but if you have a couple of indestructible mana on the table, you will recover so much faster.

    To this end, I present two alternative mana bases to the spring 2021 version above. First, one that eschews Land Grant and plays Wellspring instead, in order to cram as many indestructible duals as possible in the deck. The second one is a hybrid version that attempts to combine the best bits of the Land Grant idea and the indestrutible duals idea. Both of these lists make use of Trinket Mage and Expedition Map, meaning they consume two more slots in your deck!



    This list cuts both remaining Panoramas, three of the green snow duals and Shimmerdrift Vale (because it's not an Island for Mystic Sanctuary) and adds all four green artifact duals plus the BR and BW duals. The net loss of 2 green sources is compensated by the addition of Expedition Map and Trinket Mage to the deck, but as mentioned this takes up more space.



    This hybrid list keeps the Land Grant package and adds only 2 artifact duals. It also swaps a swamp for Vault of Whispers to retain complete mana fixing ability for Trinket Mage. It keeps Bant Panorama for its awesomeness as a green source that can also grab islands for Mystic Sanctuary, but cuts Grixis Panorama and Shimmerdrift Vale for the same inability.

    A question might be, how much protective value is there to 6 indestructible duals as opposed to only running 2? Well, the clutch is really Trinket Mage, so you should be comparing 7 to 3. Then there's the possibility that you anticipate mass LD from knowing your opponents' decks, which might change your tutoring priorities with Crop Rotation and Expedition Map, or even second order tutors like Vedalken Aethermage (Trinket Mage) and Mystic Teachings (Crop Rotation). MV3 tutors can go directly for Darksteel Ingot if you anticipate geddon. All this of course closes the gap further. So yeah, 6 indestructible lands are better than 2, but might not impact getting a couple of indestructible sources on the board pre-geddon as much as you'd think.

    I'm thinking the sweet spot for the mana base is somewhere in the lists above. Would love to hear what you think about Land Grant package, Trinket Mage package and the rest.

    PS: A mistake in the spring list at the top is that it should probably run a second forest over Tranquil Thicket. The second forest is the next-best-thing to try and rebuild after a 'geddon effect when you have lots of basic land fetch in the deck. When you don't, and run Expedition Map, and run indestructible green sources instead to combat mass LD, Thicket gets much better.
    Posted in: Variant Commander
  • posted a message on [[Primer]] [PAUPER] Crushing Dreams on a Budget - Child of Alara (UPDATE 07-2018!)
    Nice to see the regulars are still keeping the thread active! Even some new comers to the deck - awesome!

    Anyway, I think you've missed the most important contribution to the deck so far in these recent sets: INDESTRUCTIBLE DUALS!!

    I'm talking about the Bridge lands (Darkmoss Bridge etc.) I mean wow, just wow. LD is one of the very core and main weaknesses of this deck and I wouldn't in my wildest fantasies have considered that WotC would print such an awesome counter-measure at common rarity. Of course you need a density of them to make them useful, and they won't geddon-proof the deck on their own, but still - those limitations are only fair.

    We have so many good and actually relevant lands to play at common now, we're spoiled for choice. Remember when we all were excited about getting guildgates! That escalated quickly. Now we must decide if we want the snow lands that let us ramp and fix two colors at once, the duals that let us scry or the duals that are friggin' indestructible. Didn't see that coming for pauper. I'll be sure to update my list later this fall, but I just wanted to comment on the insane power of indestructible duals at common for this deck.

    As for the other cards, the only no-brainer I think will be an auto-include is Deadly Dispute. It's not quite as good as Village Rites, but still a step above most other sac outlets.

    Feign Death vs. Kaya's Ghostform: Probably, Feign Death is better but all three could be run. Undying Evil is still best IMO. I don't think MV4 to-the-battlefield recursion is necessary when the going price is ONE for all of these three effects, unless you want a transmute target for DHG (if you're still running that). Is three more mana and sorcery speed really worth avoiding the timing hassle? I don't think so.

    Step Through vs. Vedalken Aethermage: I think Alexandre said everything on this already. The tutor chains that Aethermage offers are more abundant for getting Sidid's Faithful or Aethermage for CoF-combo, so it's a bad trade. Having said that, Step Through is not a bad card, especially if you run a couple of more wizards than the bare requirements.

    Minimus Containment: I think this is decent if you want a little something extra, but it's not a dependable solution to a bad problem. They sac, recur - now the problem is there again and unlike Capsize, your solution is not. I don't think I'll be testing this card and I think it will fall away from lists for better options.

    Growth Spiral and friends: These cards are filler, they shouldn't replace the necessary 7-or-so ramp slots. The deck has about 10-20 flex slots where you can run more draw, more counters, more silver bullets, more combo pieces, more sac outlets or what have you. Growth Spiral should be compared to cards like Minimus Containment IMO and not mandatory staples in draw or ramp. Our agreable problem today is that we have compacted the deck so it does what it has always done, but with more room to spare and for less mana, and meanwhile the playable cards in these flex slots have gone way up so we now have 50-ish good options for 20-ish slots. We're spoiled for choice - should we run Condescend, fill 'er up with Growth Spiral or perhaps good ol' Wrecking Ball etc. etc. Either way it will probably be good as long as we're still getting WUBRG, playing CoA and recurring her for cheap.
    Posted in: Variant Commander
  • posted a message on [[Primer]] [PAUPER] Crushing Dreams on a Budget - Child of Alara (UPDATE 07-2018!)
    What is your exact manabase using that. I'm curious which Island snow duals you would also run, if any others.


    Just finished updating my deck list, here it goes:

    DeckMagic OnlineOCTGN2ApprenticeBuy These Cards
    COMMANDER (1)
    1 Child of Alara

    CREATURES (12)
    1 Archaeomancer
    1 Augur of Bolas
    1 Cloud of Faeries
    1 Coiling Oracle
    1 Dimir Infiltrator
    1 Drift of Phantasms
    1 Fleshbag Marauder
    1 Mulldrifter
    1 Sakura-Tribe Elder
    1 Sidisi’s Faithful
    1 Wretched Gryff
    1 Vedalken Aethermage

    ARTIFACTS (1)
    1 Darksteel Ingot

    ENCHANTMENTS (1)
    1 Kaya's Ghostform

    INSTANTS (27)
    1 Arcane Denial
    1 Brainstorm
    1 Capsize
    1 Ghostly Flicker
    1 Counterspell
    1 Crib Swap
    1 Crop Rotation
    1 Deprive
    1 Devour Flesh
    1 Dispel
    1 Dizzy Spell
    1 Faerie Trickery
    1 Fiery Cannonade
    1 Forsake the Worldly
    1 Growth Spiral
    1 Hydroblast
    1 Muddle the Mixture
    1 Mystical Teachings
    1 Negate
    1 Perplex
    1 Pyroblast
    1 Reaping the Graves
    1 Shred Memory
    1 Soul Manipulation
    1 Terminate
    1 Undying Evil
    1 Village Rites

    SORCERIES (19)
    1 Cleansing Wildfire
    1 Compulsive Research
    1 Cultivate
    1 Farseek
    1 Flood of Recollection
    1 Grim Discovery
    1 Into the North
    1 Kodama’s Reach
    1 Land Grant
    1 Merchant Scroll
    1 Mind Extraction
    1 Night's Whisper
    1 Notion Rain
    1 Ponder
    1 Preordain
    1 Primal Growth
    1 Read the Bones
    1 Rolling Thunder
    1 Secrets of the Golden City

    LANDS (39)
    1 Command Tower
    1 Path of Ancestry
    1 Opal Palace

    1 Ash Barrens
    1 Evolving Wilds
    1 Shimmerdrift Vale
    1 Terramorphic Expanse

    1 Thriving Bluff
    1 Thriving Grove
    1 Thriving Heath
    1 Thriving Isle
    1 Thriving Moor

    1 Azorious Chancery
    1 Golgari Rot Farm
    1 Izzet Boilerworks

    1 Bant Panorama
    1 Grixis Panorama

    1 Artic Treeline
    1 Glacial Floodplain
    1 Highland Forest
    1 Rimewood Falls
    1 Volatile Fjord
    1 Woodland Chasm

    1 Bojuka Bog
    1 Mortuary Mire
    1 Mystic Sanctuary
    1 Tranquil Thicket

    5 Island
    4 Swamp
    1 Forest
    1 Mountain
    1 Plains



    Organised according to VH's spreadsheet for ease of copy-pasting and functional overview:
    Child of Alara (1)

    RAMP/FIXING (10)
    Crop Rotation
    Primal Growth
    Kodama’s Reach
    Cultivate
    Sakura-tribe Elder
    Darksteel Ingot
    Land Grant
    Farseek
    Into the North
    Growth Spiral

    CARD DRAW/QUALITY (11)
    Brainstorm
    Preordain
    Night's Whisper
    Mulldrifter
    Read the Bones
    Compulsive Research
    Ponder
    Notion Rain
    Secrets of the Golden City
    Augur of Bolas
    Coiling Oracle

    TUTORS (9)
    Dizzy Spell
    Merchant Scroll
    Mystical Teachings
    Dimir Infiltrator
    Drift of Phantasms
    Vedalken Aethermage
    Perplex
    Muddle the Mixture
    Shred Memory

    COUNTERMAGIC (8)
    Counterspell
    Pyroblast
    Hydroblast
    Faerie Trickery
    Arcane Denial
    Deprive
    Negate
    Dispel

    CREATURE REMOVAL/SAC OUTLETS (7)
    Devour Flesh
    Terminate
    Sidisi's Faithful
    Mind Extraction
    Village Rites
    Wretched Gryff
    Fleshbag Marauder

    RECURSION (7)
    Archaeomancer
    Flood of Recollection
    Undying Evil
    Kaya's Ghostform
    Grim Discovery
    Reaping the Graves
    Soul Manipulation

    UTILITY (5)
    Capsize
    Forsake the Worldly
    Crib Swap
    Cleansing Wildfire
    Fiery Cannonade

    COMBO/WINCON (3)
    Cloud of Faeries
    Ghostly Flicker
    Rolling Thunder

    LANDS (39)

    Quite a few changes in this update. I won't go into the mana base anymore than what I already did in my previous posts, but feel free to ask if something seems odd.

    Notable cuts:
    Treasure Cruise: While powerful and banned in many constructed formats, I find myself hating it in the deck. I can't tutor for it when I need it, it's bad in the opener, almost impossible to recur effectively without severely hurting your GY recursion options.
    Deep Analysis: I should have just swapped it for Secrets of the Golden City, but without a clear direction for the deck after the rules changes, I just filled open slots with more draw spells. Draw 3 for 3 that you can recur is just better than draw 4 for 6 and 3 life as a one shot deal. I'd sooner try out Behold the Multiverse than reinstate this card.
    Mistmoon Griffin: The overcosted Kaya's Ghostform is gone.
    Reap and Sow: I finally realized Crop Rotation did everything this did, only cheaper. It's also hard to tutor for, so doesn't really add that much to your land removal options.
    Dimir House Guard: Considering the last three cuts, there's little for him to fetch these days. Good riddance.
    Izzet Chronarch: Removing the second recursion wizard takes the 2 wizards + flicker board position off the table so to speak. But if you can achieve that and rub such a fragile recursion engine into your opponents' faces, you're probably already winning with anything. Why not combo out instead? IMO, Mystical Sanctuary fills this slot better. If you want a more combo-oriented deck, you could certainly include this, Brainspoil, Peregrine Drake and Displace to get redundancy in all your combo pieces. I prefer a stronger control element myself.

    Notable inclusions:
    Growth Spiral and Coiling Oracle: Both good cards on the same power level as other 2 cmc options in the list (Night's Whisper, Augur of Bolas). My thoughts on Explore is that it's roughly like Impulse - not quite good enough for the mana cost.
    Dispel/Hydro/Pyro package: Imma try this out, I think it will work well. I've underestimated the power of Hydroblast mainly because I didn't take into account all the gold cards it can kill/counter.
    Deprive: I've changed my mind, it is awesome in the deck. It's a late game reusable counter. As long as you don't over-rely on it, it neatly handles what CoA can't, and you won't be making every land drop at this point anyway so replaying Mystic Sanctuary is a non-issue.
    Arcane Denial: Included over Dream Fracture mainly because we have so many 1 mana instants now that it's easy to use this as an instant speed Compulsive Research in a 1-on-1 game (negating its drawback in 1-on-1 games).
    Fleshbag Marauder: An excellent staple in full power EDH that's been downgraded to common rarity, and it fits right into the deck. It's good on its own, after CoA on indestructibles, to kill CoA, with Ghostly Flicker and your creature recursion.
    Fiery Cannonade: Like marauder, this takes the deck in a direction where we're less reliant on the commander - thanks to common rarity cards getting stronger. Certainly not a must-include, but I think it will be strong.
    Flood of Recollection: A blue Regrowth, what's not to like? IMO Archaeomancer, Mystic Sanctuary and this card are the best options for instant/sorcery recursion right now and they all fit formidably with the deck's tutors.
    Cleansing Wildfire: Already in the spreadsheet, but just wanted to point this card out for anyone building the deck. I think it is the best option for the land removal slot right now, an auto-include for the utility toolbox.

    Thinking about:
    Behold the Multiverse: Feels nice to have a good option to replace any card that under-performs.
    Posted in: Variant Commander
  • posted a message on [[Primer]] [PAUPER] Crushing Dreams on a Budget - Child of Alara (UPDATE 07-2018!)
    I am probably going to run Tranquil Thicket again, I just wish we had some type of incidental land recursion.


    Well, I'm strongly considering running Grim Discovery. CA and selection at 2 CMC isn't bad, and I think Reaping the Graves > Grim Harvest with the new commander rules for dying effects, so I wouldn't be running any other creature recursion in the 2 CMC slot anyway. Your other options are probably Tilling Treefolk and Pulse of Murasa. I could see Treefolk making a comeback if common rarity mirage-type fetches became a thing (which would rework the entire mana base), but not right now.

    The only thing I am currently trying to figure out is the split of snow duals and potentially panoramas.


    Actually, I had an idea just today: Land Grant. Unlike Three Vists/Nature's Lore, LG doesn't require a green source to be cast - it IS a green source. The closest comparison is probably Mycosynth Wellspring, but you can't keep a 1 land hand with wellspring, but you might with LG. The only problem is if you land flood without getting another green source (so you have to wait many turns to use LG), but even then you're better of with LG than with any other spell that will never get you a green source.

    So, Land Grant might tip the scales in favor of more green snow duals over some of the panoramas, for the same reason as we use Into the North/Farseek: We can fix green without committing to basic Forests. For example:

    4 Panoramas
    1 snow forest dual (Rimewood Falls)
    2 basic forests
    (4 U sources, 3 B sources, 5 G sources, 2 R sources, 2 W sources)

    vs

    2 Panoramas (in this case, I'd recommend keeping Bant Panorma and Grixis Panorma)
    4 snow forest duals (all of them)
    1 basic forest
    (3 U sources, 2 B sources, 6 G sources, 2 R sources, 2 W sources)

    So if we just judge these two groups, I think the second group is worse because you trade 2 U+B sources for 1 green source, and add 3 more tap lands over lands that always or sometimes enter untapped. But if we swap Mycosynth Wellspring for Land Grant now, it gets much better. The free cost of LG vs MW compensates for the tap lands, and we're far less committed to secondary/splash colors with this mana base. In short, you'll be fetching fewer basic forest, mountain and plains with the second option. This is why I'm leaning towards it right now. Thoughts?

    I love Dispel. It has been an all star.


    Tell me more! I've thought about including it, but I don't know if I'd get as much value out of it as Negate and REB/Pyro. I like the Pyro/Hydro/Dispel split in theory, but worry that I'll have the wrong spell at the wrong time too often.

    I also think Behold the Multiverse is very strong.


    I've been going over the draw spells and I'm not really seeing it. Paying 4 mana to draw 2 really needs huge perks to work. Foresee isn't generally good enough. This is similar but you get instant speed and an option to split costs, instead of 2 more scry. That seems better, but is it good enough?

    I've actually put Treasure Cruise and Deep Analysis on the chopping bench too, as I'm using Secrets of the Golden City as my go-to late game CA source these days. Could you describe more you experiences with Behold the Multiverse?

    The only card I may cut is Rolling Thunder because I use it less and less.


    I've tried many times, but I always put it back in Tongue I forgot to comment on this too before, but RT vs. Fireball was discussed... IMO, the main reason for RT is the 2 CMC cost. This makes it much easier to tutor for than a 1 CMC sorcery. If you have to jump through tutor hoops to get your spell, you waste much more mana than the extra R on Rolling Thunder.

    P.S. With the shift to snow lands, I propose the alternative name for the deck as Ice, Ice, Baby


    LOL! What about Blue Baby Syndrome? (no...)
    Posted in: Variant Commander
  • posted a message on [[Primer]] [PAUPER] Crushing Dreams on a Budget - Child of Alara (UPDATE 07-2018!)
    I've done some more research into the mana base using VivienneHell's spreadsheet (thanks for keeping it alive, man!), hypergeometric distribution calculations and some other on-line tools. I'd like to sum up my findings for other fans of this deck here.

    Total number of lands+fixing+ramp: This should be about 49-50 slots (optimizing for 3-4 of these in your opener, and assuming you'll ship hands of 0, 1, 6, or 7 mana sources). I actually factor in the cheap U-costed cantrips and Night's Whisper here too (Impulse would count too, if you run it), counting them as roughly half a mana source. So I'm at 48 slots + Ponder, Preordain, Brainstorm, Night's Whisper.

    Total number of lands: Typical is 37-40, but you can theoretically go as high as 43. Only problem is that land slots compete with fixing and acceleration slots. Acceleration is worse than lands when you start missing land drops, but not only used for acceleration early but also to get enough fixing in a pauper mana base.

    Number of acceleration: I recommend 7-8 slots. That means you'll get one piece of acceleration in your first 9 cards more than 50% of the time, and two pieces less than 15% of the time (almost always, you'd rather have a land instead of the redundant ramp card). In games where you don't have ramp, you can use t3 for 3 CMC card draw or transmutation instead - it's not a problem. My current selection:

    Cultivate + Kodama's Reach: Run in almost all full power EDH decks. Fixes two colors and comes with CA.
    Darksteel Ingot: Solid in any 5c deck, awesome in this one.
    Into the North + Farseek: The new and cool options thanks to snow duals. The advantage is that they can fix red and white whithout committing a land drop to Mountain or Plains - you can drop CoA on schedule and still have UU for counters, transmutes etc. just like people playing full power EDH. Note that Three Visits and Nature's Lore aren't at all as attractive, as you'd need to use a green card to fetch a semi-green source (when you already have a green source), and would have to run green non-islands to make the fixing work.
    Sakura-Tribe Elder: This is just a better Rampant Growth, possibly the best 2 CMC ramp card in pauper in a vacuum.
    Primal Growth: Both ramp and a sac outlet with potential CA, one of the best options for the deck.

    (Reap and Sow: Technically ramp, but more of a utility card. I take a leaf out of VivienneHell's spreadsheet and don't count it here, because it doesn't really accelerate a CoA drop compared to a land).

    Number of fixing: Completely optional. They pretty much replace a land, which means they reduce keepable hands (by increasing 0-1 land hands) but add flexibility and fixing. The ones I find worthwhile:
    Crop Rotation: Target is typically Ravnica karoos, which achieves card parity while fixing mana and setting up Cloud of Faeries combo. But in a pinch, it's also instant speed Bojuka Bog, Mystic Sanctuary or Mortuary Mire. And if any of those is already in play, bounce them with a karoo for reuse WHILE fixing mana and setting up CoF combo. That is powerful.
    Mycosynth Wellspring: This is very similar to Panoramas and Karoos. If you play it turn 2, it sets you back 2 mana and nets you a basic, making it perform like a 5 color panorama in this respect. But when CoA blows, it actually gives you an extra land much like a karoo, that you can drop after CoA to quickly get double blue mana for instance. As a top-deck, it brings in an untapped basic land for a net cost of only 1 mana, and then gives another land still after that once it explodes. It's just super efficient.

    LAND SELECTION
    Now for the tricky part. I'll try to rate lands in order of priority/power here:

    1) Command Tower and Path of Ancestry: The best lands for fixing, obviously.
    2) Thriving lands (5 total, Thriving Bluff etc.): This is just the best fixing for the deck ever printed. I'd say that these are even stronger than uncommon rarity trilands, if we would use those. Much better than the any-lands below. You're hurting yourself severely if you're not running these.
    3) Ravnica karoos: I include these high on the list because they are mandatory for Cloud of Faeries combo, because they make Crop Rotation and spell lands much better, and because they are awesome in their own right with virtual CA. They are also somewhat slow and clunky, and should be avoided in many copies. I think 3 is the sweet spot if you're running Crop Rotation - covers all the colors and you get some redundancy for combo (needing two of these).
    4) Any-lands: Ash Barrens, Evolving Wilds, Terramorphic Expanse, Shimmerdrift Vale. Pick a color and stick with it. Barrens is best for possibility to play it untapped later. Vale is the worst for not shuffling and not being able to get Island for Mystic Sanctuary (small consolation prize: you can reset it with a karoo). Still, they are pretty much the same and much better than most duals/panoramas.
    5) Panoramas: They are not created equal. Bant Panorama is probably in between Ash Barrens and Wilds/Expanse in terms of power. Naya Panorama is probably not much better than a basic Forest (especially now with thriving lands and snow duals to fix our splash colors). Jund, Grixis and Esper all have their merits and are some of the best fixing we have right now, but may get replaced in the future if better cards are printed at common.
    6) Snow duals: Normally, dual lands are not a very good option for 5c decks because they give limited fixing. However, thanks to being snow lands AND actually land typed duals, these lands enable Into the North and Farseek. What's more, you can run more Islands for Mystic Santuary without risking early blue flooding. If you do run North/Farseek, I recommend Glacial Floodplain, Rimewood Falls and Volatile Fjord. There's nothing wrong with Ice Tunnel, but you should already max out on dedicated blue and black sources, so you're not getting that much value from the sacrifice of running another tap land. There's nothing wrong with using Shimmerdrift Vale or Swamp if you need to fix black early on either, and it saves you another tap land as it were.
    7) Mono-colored lands including basics: Well, we need those. There is currently no reason to run more than 1 Mountain and 1 Plains, thanks again to thriving lands, snow duals and associated ramp, and to a lesser extent crop rotation/karoos. As for green, I think 2 Forest is the right number, just because the extra copy is useful for rebuilding from a mid/late game Armageddon effect, and it's not like you will green flood anyway. I'm on and off about Tranquil Thicket, but I think it's actually pretty good. Better than a 3rd Forest and most other options for green sources (not like you really need GW or GR duals anymore). The trick is that you can bounce it with a karoo and cycle it then, after it's been used - or of course cycle it as a top deck if you already have green. IMO, you should never run more than 6 dedicated blue or black sources, not counting karoos (they can bounce the redundant source and save it for later after you drop CoA the first time), because you will get mana redundancy and fail to reach WUBRG early. For me that's 5 Island + 1 Mystic Sanctuary and 4 Swamp + 1 Bojuka Bog + 1 Mortuary Mire.
    8) Opal Palace: This is a good card for the deck in all situations but one - when you have exactly five mana sources, including this one. Then you can't cast CoA. It's a really solid tutor target late game to close out games, and certainly a step above what's usually available for utility lands at common rarity. I'm currently on the fence but weakly positive.
    9) Slow gold lands: Gateway Plaza, Rupture Spire, Transguild Promenade: These used to be mandatory before the printing of thriving lands. Nowadays they seem a tad slow, but they ARE green sources and probably better than basic Forests if you're desperate.
    10) MOAR "good" duals: This would entail running more karoos or snow duals than what is reasonably needed, or running the life tap duals from lists of yore. I think it's weaker than the slow gold lands right above, and I wouldn't run those either.
    11) Shimmering Grotto and clones: Absolutely crap, like Opal Palace but with little upside.
    12) "Bad" duals: Guildgates etc. There's certainly no room for this anymore.

    Let me know if you agree or not Smile My high hopes for the near future is that we will see a downgrade of Mirage fetches - or better still, another print consistent with modern card functionality that will put the fetched land into play tapped rather than actually entering tapped itself (like wilds/expanse works). This would give land typed fixing with fetches and targets (the new snow duals) to common, without really being OP since everything would still enter tapped.
    Posted in: Variant Commander
  • posted a message on [[Primer]] [PAUPER] Crushing Dreams on a Budget - Child of Alara (UPDATE 07-2018!)
    Quote from VivienneHell »
    Good point on Into the North, Shimmerdrift Vale, and the Thriving lands. I'm interested to see how the mana bases shake out in the next few months!


    Yeah, Kaldheim has made us spoiled for choice for sure when it comes to the manabase! Let's recap what we're after shall we?

    The CoA Dreamcrusher has historically been a UBx control deck, needing to make do with the pauper card pool to get WUBRG mana in a timely fashion - a task that has only gotten easier with time. Traditionally, the task has been accomplished by running just the right amount of green mana to enable quite a lot of green ramp cards to enable the red and white splash consistently.

    Over time, we've been given more "gold" sources, the latest pre-KLD game changer being the Thriving Lands. This takes off some pressure from green to actually fix mana, while the power of ramp is still as welcome as ever. Now, the problem with using green ramp to fix R/W is that you end up with dedicated red and white sources on your board (a.k.a. Mountains and Plains) - possibly some moderately useful Forest as well.

    Into the North and Farseek together with the new snow duals solves this problem. Now you CAN get a red/white sources with your ramp and still have it tap for blue or black another turn. What's more, we're getting synergy here by getting tap lands with our ramp - not wasting an untapped basic for ramping purposes as it were. IMO, this makes these ramp cards at least as strong as Sakura Tribe-Elder, probably right below Kodama's Reach/Cultivate.

    The question is how many and which snow duals to run? All 10+Shimmerdrift Vale is too much. The Thriving lands are actually better in a vacuum - each is better than Shimmerdrift Vale (the Vale being snow will mostly be irrelevant if you typically have better targets for Into the North anyway). "Island" is the only relevant land type to enable Mystical Sanctuary more easily without going overboard on basic islands. Still, we also need green sources to actually enable us to cast Into the North/Farseek to begin with. So just how many do we need?

    This is one of the best articles on mana needs I know about and it confirms my own testing and hypergeometric calculations:
    https://strategy.channelfireball.com/all-strategy/mtg/channelmagic-articles/how-many-colored-mana-sources-do-you-need-to-consistently-cast-your-spells-a-guilds-of-ravnica-update/

    As you can see, it recommends 21 sources in a 99 deck to cast a 1G card on t2, or 19 sources to cas a 2G card on t3. How many do we have before factoring in the new snow duals?
    1) Ash Barrens, Evolving Wilds, Terramorphic Expanse and now also Shimmerdrift Vale = 4
    2) Command Tower, Path of Ancestry = 2
    3) Thriving land cycle = 5
    4) Basic forests - debatable but I think 2 is the sweet spot.

    = 13 sources to enable 1G on t2. That is a far cry from 21 and you'd have to add a silly amount of green competent duals to consistently enable t2 Into the North/Farseek/Sakura. There's also very little incentive to do this. Instead, 2 CMC ramp on t3 is much more feasible and lets you slip in another tap land or brainstorm/ponder/preordain into your early game plan.

    If we also factor in t2 sources that enable 2G on turn 3, it looks much better. I'm running:
    Golgari Rot Farm + Simic Growth Chamber = 2 green sources
    Bant Panorama + Jund Panorama = 2 green sources
    Darksteel Ingor + Mycosynth Wellspring = 2 green sources
    = 6 more for a total of 19 sources - just what the doctor ordered for consistent green on turn 3!

    But wait, we haven't added the snow duals yet. As can be seen, there's no real need to add green sources, but Rimewood Falls is an Island for Mystical Sanctuary anyway, so why not run it? We also need Glacial Floodplain and Volatile Fjord to do that early "smart fixing" with Into the North/Farseek I mentioned earlier.

    After that it gets trickier. We already have enough targets for our ramp cards (snow basics could easily be included if you worry about a dead late game Into the North). A card like Ice Tunnel will compete for slots with Esper Panorama and Grixis Panorama, and it's hard to say which is better. Similarly, Woodland Chasm is in good colors, but if you don't really need more green, aren't you better off with another Swamp instead? An argument could also be made for Snowfield Sinkhole and Sulfurous Mire to further allow "smart fixing", but you already have targets for Into the North/Farseek, so you're getting dimished marginal returs at this point and just adding tap lands to your deck isn't very good.

    Right now, I'm favoring more panoramas, making my current tentative land selection looks like this:

    6 "gold" lands (including Shimmerdrift Vale)
    5 thriving lands
    3 karoos
    4 panorams (no Naya)
    3 snow duals
    3 spell lands (bog, sanctuary, mire)
    14 basics
    =38 lands
    Posted in: Variant Commander
  • posted a message on Tormod, the Desecrator and the delve mechanic
    A) Tormod, the Desecrator is in play, my graveyard is filled with many cards and I cast Treasure Cruise. To pay for the cruise, I tap four lands and exile four cards from my graveyard with delve.

    How many zombies do I get from Tormod?

    (I know Tormod says it's one zombie "whenever one or more cards leave", but what I'm asking is if every single exiled card from delve is a seperate instance of "whenever", much like my lands are tapped separately one at a time, or if they all go at once? Either I get one or four zombies.)

    B) Tormod is again in play and I play Flood of Recollection. Flood returns a card from my graveyard, creating a zombie. Then it exiles itself. Did it ever go to the graveyard before exiling itself, so that I now get a second zombie? Or does it exile itself rather than going to the graveyard at all?
    Posted in: Magic Rulings
  • posted a message on [[Primer]] [PAUPER] Crushing Dreams on a Budget - Child of Alara (UPDATE 07-2018!)
    Very interesting, bfine! I feel like with the current situation of new rules and prints, deck lists will become more streamlined and similar.

    Mana base: I think I will play almost exactly the same mana base as you, maybe distribution of basics and karoos will be slightly different, that's all. Any particular reason why you prefer Izzet Boilerworks over Golgari Rot Farm?

    Altar's Reap, Perilous Research, and Village Rites: I notice you are missing Wretched Gryff. It is sorcery speed rather than instant speed, but only a single mana so easy to squeeze in. I think it is stronger even than Village Rites, because one extra card is rarely as good as a free 3/4 flyer. Also the card draw too is uncounterable. Perhaps it deserves a slot over one of Reap/Research? Also, running too many of these effects that require CoA on board and are redundant risk clogging up your hand. I really like your BEB/Hydro plan here for that reason - especially if you decide to cut Perilous Research. I'll have to give this some thought for my own list!

    Coiling Oracle: Actually, a card I've had to reconsider yet again was Commander's Sphere. I was browsing through cards at EDHREC and saw how popular it was, and it got me thinking. If we compare it to cards that are typically run: Darksteel Ingot. The obvious comparison. It doesn't have the indestructible synergy with CoA, but instead it has a cantripping synergy so that you don't lose a card anyway. Darksteel Ingot is better in the first few turns when your mana is limited, Sphere is better later. It is in fact a very decently costed cycling mana source when you compare it to the cycling lands. For a net mana of 2, you get a gold source that cycles and RAMPS (ignores normal 1 land per turn rule). Same if you compare it to Rupture Spire and friends, that also set you back 2 mana the turn they are played, but follow normal 1 land per turn rules. And these lands used to be completely mainstream in triplicates in all lists! I think we've undervalued Commander's Sphere before, and now it's even better when we're cutting back on gold lands and want more ramp.

    Whispers of the Muse and Rain of Revelation: You might have a point here. Another think I'll have to consider, the value of instant speed draw in the deck now. Impulse is also a card.

    Deprive: I've considered this as well, and use it in Pesant 60 card decks with Sanctuary. My conclusion is that 1-for-1 counters just aren't worth building an engine around, especially one that halts your land drops. You'd much rather go from say 12 lands to 16 lands and get more mana for card draw, CoA replays and Capsizing than sit at 12 and counter a spell every few turns. In a 1-v-1 60 card deck, you are much more likely to not get more benefit from more land drops and can completely lock the game with this.

    Spoils of Victory: I considered it also, but concluded that I couldn't abuse this with Sanctuary as much as I could using Crop Rotation and Reap and Sow. And it is kinda worse than all the other ramp spells, so I decided I wanted Commander's Sphere more.

    Let me know how you like Growth Spiral and the instant speed draw when you've played a few games!
    Posted in: Variant Commander
  • posted a message on [[Primer]] [PAUPER] Crushing Dreams on a Budget - Child of Alara (UPDATE 07-2018!)
    Quote from bfine70 »
    I like most of your changes. I'm still messing with my build myself. I will likely be playing Village Rites somewhere, just not sure where. The mana is going to take the most work to nail down, especially with the thrive lands. I know you really like the Griffin, but I'm still not sold on it. Dimir House Guard is the least exciting of the tutors based on its limited targets and I think I'd rather run another recursion spell like Reaping the Graves over the Griffin or just running back Shade's Form (but also not big on those because no way to rebuy those later). How do you feel about Unwind and Rewind now that you're lower on the number of bouncelands?


    I will probably be replacing Perilous Research with Village Rites. Only downside is no tutorability with Merchant Scroll, but now that we don't have to use tutoring for recursion as much, I don't think I'll miss that.

    As for the thrive lands, they will replace some combination of my green life duals and some number of the gold lands. Still considering which combination will be best. The need for gold sources dimishes as we get better fixing, and Rupture Spire and friends are the slowest lands in the deck. Still, if there's more support for gates around the corner, Gateway Plaza might be good. I'm also not sure how the rules changes affect the decision to run Opal Palace. It's not that bad. If you use it twice, you will have lost as much mana space as from a single Rupture Spire. If it means casting 8+/8+ CoAs late game, what's not to like?

    Griffin is one of few recursion effects that lets you keep a board position after blowing up CoA on an opp's turn. This leaves you less vulnerable to hasty attacks from other opponents until it is your turn again. Undying Evil and Kaya's Ghostform do the same. I'd rather run 2 Ghostform than the griffin, the the format is what it is. (You can run Shade's Form and friends here too, but they are more vulnerable to 2-for-1s than ghostform). Dimir House Guard should probably be grabbing Teachings or Reap and Sow before the griffin, but it's nice to have it in the CMC slot. Actually, I think Reaping the Graves is the way to go over Grim Harvest now (!) I'm still in a "CoA mindset" when thinking about recursion in the deck, but Reaping the Graves getting back two utility creatures is just so much more efficient. The fact that it can loop with CoA and a recursion wizard late game is just gravy really, it's so much more useful midgame than Harvest.

    I think Unwind and Rewind are basically cute but overcosted Cancels and Negate. Meh. I actually have enough counters already and I'm thinking about cutting them. I know I want to add SGO back alongside Augur of Bolas - they are both super strong. I'm also a bit disappointed in Farseek because the tap clause has anti-synergy with Mystic Sanctuary. OTOH, sanctuary is nuts with Crop Rotation/Reap and Sow.

    I'm looking at the various categories and thinking I do everything I want to do and I still have 3-4 slots to spare now with the rules change. I feel I'm already running the best cards and I'm unsure what to add more of. I'm taking a good hard look at Growth Spiral though. It seems like the best of the set of Growth Spiral, Explore and Coiling Oracle, and we could probably put one such effect to good use at any board position. Haven't felt this uncertain about the list in a long time!


    Just putting my current thoughts on deck list here so I don't forget anything
    Perilous Research -> Village Rites
    Grim Harvest -> Reaping the Graves (most likely the better card with new rules)
    (Mistmoon Griffin) possible cut as it is a few mana more expensive than Undying Evil/Ghostform. Graceful Reprieve is a possible replacement, but also strictly worse than Undying Evil. Growth Spiral is a strong card (not exactly necessary) that could take its place too. Cutting DHG is also a possibility if all it does is tutor for other tutors or card draw.
    Sea Gate Oracle should go back into the now rather large draw section.
    Rewind + Unwind need to go. One is replaced by SGO, the other by Soul Manipulation or Exclude. SM is arguably better mid to late game for getting back utility dudes rather than random draws, but Exclude is much better early to for example counter commanders with no card loss.
    Farseek is meh. Swap for Commander's Sphere which is probably a much better gold source than the Rupture Spire cycle of lands.
    Blossoming Sands is probably the best keep of the current green tap lands with only 1 plains in the deck. Consider cutting the rest and the Spire type lands for the new Thriving Lands. Consider adding Opal Palace which is better with the rules change and only really slower than the spire lands on your first CoA drop. Also Mortuary Mire should go back in (possible over an Island? going from 5 to 6 doesn't really matter much for Mystic Sanctuary) for utility creatures.
    Posted in: Variant Commander
  • posted a message on [[Primer]] [PAUPER] Crushing Dreams on a Budget - Child of Alara (UPDATE 07-2018!)
    With the rules update, I thought it was about time for my yearly list revision Smile Here's how I've thought about the recursion spells:

    1) With the new rules, recasting CoA costs 2 more each time and doesn't cost a card (recursion spell), just as it does for every other commander. Great news! That means a card like Grim Harvest (probably our best recursion spell) only becomes interesting to tutor up about the 4th time that you want to cast CoA. Harvest costs 5 mana to use and doesn't waste a card thanks to the buyback, but casting CoA vanilla for the 4th time in the game only adds 6 mana in itself. So an easy argument can be made to keep Harvest for the really long game scenarios, but you don't want to tutor for it early, and you hardly need redundancy in additional "engine" copies like Reaping the Graves and such.
    2) The remaining recursion spells can be divided into two categories: cards that "only" recur CoA (or another creature) and cards that CAN do so but have other uses. In the first category, I think it is only useful to keep the very best ones. I keep Undying Evil, Kaya's Ghostform and Mistmoon Griffin here, because they all give massive mana discounts and/or allows instant speed recursion to keep CoA up even if you kill it once during an opponent's turn. I cut Breath of Life and Reaping the Graves. In the second category, there are almost universally better options - in short, the added recursion ability adds a cost to the card. For example, since using Evolution Charm to recur CoA is now a loser, you're better off picking a better (more specialized/effective) green ramp/fetch spell instead.

    The other big change to my list is that I've slightly reworked the mana base to take advantage of Mystic Sanctuary. This includes the addition of Farseek as a dedicated tutor for Sanctuary (or non-Forest basics) while also being a run-of-the-mill ramp spell.

    DeckMagic OnlineOCTGN2ApprenticeBuy These Cards
    Sacrifice Outlets (9)
    1 Sidisi's Faithful
    1 Red Elemental Blast
    1 Pyroblast
    2 Devour Flesh
    2 Perilous Research
    2 Terminate
    3 Mind Extraction
    3 Primal Growth
    7 Wretched Gryff

    CoA Recursion (4)
    1 Undying Evil
    1 Kaya's Ghostform
    2 Grim Harvest
    4 Mistmoon Griffin

    Tutors (10)
    4 Mystical Teachings
    2 Merchant Scroll
    3 Vedalken Aethermage
    1 Dizzy Spell
    2 Dimir Infiltrator
    2 Muddle the Mixture
    2 Shred Memory
    3 Drift of Phantasms
    3 Perplex
    4 Dimir House Guard

    Card Draw (13)
    1 Brainstorm
    1 Ponder
    1 Preordain
    2 Night's Whisper
    2 Augur of Bolas
    3 Read the Bones
    3 Secrets of the Golden City
    3 Compulsive Research
    3 Notion Rain
    4 Deep Analysis
    5 Mulldrifter
    5 Unexplained Vision
    8 Treasure Cruise

    Counters, Spot Removal and Silver Bullets (11)
    3 Capsize
    2 Counterspell
    3 Faerie Trickery
    2 Overrule
    3 Dream Fracture
    4 Rewind
    3 Unwind
    2 Quasali Pridemage
    3 Geomancer's Gambit
    3 Unmake
    3 Forsake the Worldly

    Combo and Finisher (5)
    2 Rolling Thunder
    2 Cloud of Faeries
    3 Ghostly Flicker
    4 Archeomancer
    5 Izzet Chronarch

    Ramp/Fetch (9)
    2 Sakura-Tribe Elder
    2 Farseek
    3 Darksteel Ingot
    3 Cultivate
    3 Kodama's Reach
    3 Far Wanderings
    4 Reap and Sow
    1 Crop Rotation
    2 Mycosynth Wellspring

    Lands (38)
    1 Command Tower
    1 Path of Ancestry
    1 Ash Barrens
    1 Evolving Wilds
    1 Terramorphic Expanse
    1 Rupture Spire
    1 Transguild Promenade
    1 Gateway Plaza

    1 Bant Panorama
    1 Jund Panorama
    1 Naya Panorama
    1 Esper Panorama
    1 Grixis Panorama

    1 Dimir Aqueduct
    1 Golgari Rot Farm
    1 Simic Growth Chamber

    1 Blossoming Sands
    1 Jungle Hollow
    1 Rugged Highlands
    1 Thornwood Falls

    1 Bojuka Bog
    1 Mystic Sanctuary

    6 Island
    4 Swamp
    3 Forest
    2 Mountain
    1 Plains



    TBH, the greatest change is actually in game play, more than the list itself. Not needing to spend tutors and set-up time on a recursion spell means you really only need mana and a sac outlet to flaunt the power of the deck in the face of your opponents Smile
    Posted in: Variant Commander
  • posted a message on [[Primer]] [PAUPER] Crushing Dreams on a Budget - Child of Alara (UPDATE 07-2018!)
    Sad to hear the forums are going read only, but bfine70's initiative seems promising! I've not yet bothered with Discord, but MTGS going out will surely motivate me in the future. I've been moving and not having much time for the deck lately, but I just wanted to post my updated list here for posterity and mention a few cards that might be of interest to others:

    DeckMagic OnlineOCTGN2ApprenticeBuy These Cards
    Sacrifice Outlets (9)
    1 Sidisi's Faithful
    1 Red Elemental Blast
    1 Pyroblast
    2 Devour Flesh
    2 Perilous Research
    2 Terminate
    2 Vicious Offering
    3 Mind Extraction
    3 Primal Growth

    CoA Recursion (8)
    1 Undying Evil
    1 Kaya's Ghostform
    2 Grim Harvest
    2 Evolution Charm
    3 Soul Manipulation
    3 Reaping the Graves
    4 Breath of Life
    4 Mistmoon Griffin

    Tutors (10)
    4 Mystical Teachings
    2 Merchant Scroll
    3 Vedalken Aethermage
    1 Dizzy Spell
    2 Dimir Infiltrator
    2 Muddle the Mixture
    2 Shred Memory
    3 Drift of Phantasms
    3 Perplex
    4 Dimir House Guard

    Card Draw (11)
    1 Brainstorm
    1 Preordain
    2 Night's Whisper
    2 Augur of Bolas
    3 Read the Bones
    3 Secrets of the Golden City
    3 Compulsive Research
    3 Notion Rain
    4 Deep Analysis
    5 Mulldrifter
    8 Treasure Cruise

    Counters, Spot Removal and Silver Bullets (10)
    3 Capsize
    2 Counterspell
    3 Faerie Trickery
    2 Overrule
    3 Dream Fracture
    4 Rewind
    2 Quasali Pridemage
    3 Geomancer's Gambit
    3 Unmake
    3 Forsake the Worldly

    Combo and Finisher (5)
    2 Rolling Thunder
    2 Cloud of Faeries
    3 Ghostly Flicker
    4 Archeomancer
    5 Izzet Chronarch

    Ramp/Fetch (8)
    2 Sakura-Tribe Elder
    3 Darksteel Ingot
    3 Cultivate
    3 Kodama's Reach
    3 Far Wanderings
    4 Reap and Sow
    1 Crop Rotation
    2 Mycosynth Wellspring

    Lands (38)
    1 Command Tower
    1 Path of Ancestry
    1 Ash Barrens
    1 Evolving Wilds
    1 Terramorphic Expanse
    1 Rupture Spire
    1 Transguild Promenade
    1 Gateway Plaza

    1 Bant Panorama
    1 Jund Panorama
    1 Naya Panorama

    1 Azorius Chancery
    1 Dimir Aqueduct
    1 Golgari Rot Farm
    1 Izzet Boilerworks
    1 Simic Growth Chamber

    1 Blossoming Sands
    1 Jungle Hollow
    1 Rugged Highlands
    1 Thornwood Falls

    1 Bojuka Bog
    1 Halimar Depths
    1 Mortuari Mire

    4 Island
    5 Swamp
    2 Forest
    2 Mountain
    2 Plains



    Vicious Offering: The best new sac outlet since Angelic Purge, and sort of a mix between it and Terminate. It works just like Terminate when you only need to off CoA, but has the upside of being able to handle indestructibles of up to 5 toughness as you blow up the world. It's also kinda useful removal on its own. I think anyone running Tragic Slip should consider it, or consider it over Angelic Purge if you have other exiling removal like Unmake and Forsake the Worldly.

    Kaya's Ghostform: This new sexy toy shores up the biggest problem with the False Demise-type auras that saw play in the deck before, namely the 2-for-1 risk against exiling removal. The downside is that you can't play this on opp's creature to steal it when you blow up CoA, but that was always a win-more play and when this is a whopping 2 mana cheaper, who can complain?

    Augur of Bolas: Yes, I finally went ahead and swapped Sea Gate Oracle for this wizard instead, and I haven't looked back. I run proportionately more instants and sorceries in my CoA build than competitive 60 card Augur of Bolas decks used to, so it's very rare that it fizzles.

    Notion Rain: This is an improved Read the Bones with a slightly worse casting cost. I think everyone should run it. TBH, with so much quality card draw at 3 mana now, there's hardly a reason to run Foresee and Tamiyo's Epiphany anymore.

    Geomancer's Gambit: The 3 mana LD spell that we've been waiting for. Now this deck handles all permanent types with good consistency and without running subpar and clonky cards like Scour from Existence or Wrecking Ball. Did you notice you can even use this on yourself as a red "Evolution Charm" (it costs 1 more, but puts the new land back untapped, so it evens out).

    Mana base: The mana base continues to fascinate me. I'm very happy with the present balance of having sufficient amount of sources while having enough basics, making the most of your first two turns etc. You could certainly make an argument for running more panoramas, or a few more more basics, or more U/G ETBT duals, the G/W/R cycling lands or even a Trinket Mage package with artifact lands. Each configuration gains something and loses something, but you probably won't notice much difference unless you play many games, because of the inherent flexibility of gold sources and fetches.

    Looking forward to continue discussing the deck on new forums! Smile
    Posted in: Variant Commander
  • posted a message on [360][Unpowered/Rarity Distribution][Budget]Rarity Cube
    Hi! I've co-crafted two cubes before, but this is the first time I'm making one for myself. I would very much appreciate feedback, if you'd care to read about my design parameters and take a gander at the list below.

    CONCEPT
    The overall idea is to make a cube with the same rarity distribution as you'd find in modern boosters. This means 1 rare, 3 uncommons and 10 commons per every 15 cards (the basic land slot normally found in boosters has some special considerations - see below). If you make suggestions, please respect the rarity of the card (lowest available rarity anywhere applies).

    On the next level, we find 10 archetypes - one for each guild (tri-color and greater are banned for symmetry reasons). The rares and uncommons have not been picked based on maximum power level, but rather to support the archetypes and round out mana curves etc. As a guideline for the cube's power level, I've excluded cards like Skullclamp, Sol Ring and Overrun for being too much of an "I WIN"-button. There is also a $10 cap on cards both for budget reasons and to exclude disproportionately powerful rares. I don't really want rares that are significantly more powerful than cards like Isochron Scepter or Curse of Predation.

    The basic land slot normally found as the 15th card in boosters posed a design problem since there are no basic lands within the cube and we traditionally want packs of 15 to draft with. My solution here was to include cards from various expansions that have all occupied the land slot - notably conspiracies, "draft matters" cards and timeshifted cards. These cards (24 slots total) break the normal rarity distribution rules in the cube. For ease of filtering/overview, I have tagged them all as "timeshifted" on cubetutor, so you can easily located them.

    Also note that in a typical selection of 24 packs, you'd have an additional 4 foil cards, roughly distributed as 2 commons, 1 uncommon and 1 rare (in the place of 4 commons). This further distorts the rarity distribution, so that there is actually a total of 25 rares and 73 uncommons in the cube, in addition to the basic land slot special cards.

    ARCHETYPES
    There are 4 cards per guild, 1 rare + 1 uncommon + 2 commons. For the most part, these cards support or imply a certain concept within the guild (there are exceptions: Kitchen Finks in the Selesnya uncommon slot actually supports the bounce/blink archetype found in several other guilds, more than the tokens archetype typical of Selesnya, because it's just such a good card for the cube and there is already plenty of token support in the mono colors).

    The cube does not support the archetypes combo, reanimator or (gasp!) ramp. I wanted green to be about something else entirely than ramp, so it serves various roles in the midrange decks that it forms a part of. (This is not to say the cube is free from combos, ramp cards or reanimation spells - but there is no critical mass or archetype support).

    The archetypes include:
    AGGRO
    Boros: Basic undercosted creatures and versatile removal, with the possibility for more of a tokens based go-wide strategy if so desired
    Rakdos: Unleash-based aggro with some suicidal elements, sacrificing either card advantage or life total for kill speed
    Izzet: Tempo/spells matters, prowess etc.

    MIDRANGE
    Selesnya: Tokens with some wrath protection support.
    Golgari: Using graveyard builders to support delve and threshold is intended, but not necessary to draft the color.
    Gruul: High-toughness creatures to go with Pyroclasm/Firespout and bounce in the form of Horned Kavu and Temur Sabretooth to reuse those Wall of Blossoms and Fire Imp. Doesn't mind splashing white for more bounce/blink effects.
    Simic: Flash creatures and instant spells. You'll notice that green has a larger-than-expected instant section.

    CONTROL
    Azorius: ETB-creatures control with lots of bounce and blink effects.
    Dimir: Similar to azorius, but more draw over creature density, and using utility reanimation to compensate for lack of white blink/bounce.
    Orzhov: Does it annoy you when your opponent has non-land permanents in play? Lots of removal, a few wincons with blink or reanimation for protection.

    THE LIST
    http://www.cubetutor.com/viewcube/120276

    NOTABLE INCLUSIONS
    Land selection: I've included the pain lands in the three aggro colors. Rare slots are at a real premium in the cube, but I feel these are well spent. In the non-aggro colors, you'll find ravnica karoos instead. I also included the refuge reprints as they are common rarity and pretty OK. Gemstone Mine turned out to be a time-shifted card, which saved me an uncommon slot! I don't have room for the tri-lands, but I did manage to fit the vivids (they also have more synergy with karoos).
    Semi-colored colorless cycle: Oketra's Monument, Crystal Shard, Scrapheap Scrounger, Shrine of Burning Rage and Pendelhaven form a mini-cycle that are best with their respective color but can be played in others too. Subtle symmetries like these make my heart sing for some reason Smile
    Mystic Enforcer: A bit of an odd card in the cube. As a timeshifted card, he saves me a "true" rare slot and has a subtle synergy with selesnya tokens - the token creating spells all build threshold. With threshold, he is hard to remove and evades even most of the cube's sweepers. He's also eminently splashable in golgari.
    Avatar of Woe: Another timeshifted rare. Hardly the most pressing card to run as black's 3rd rare (each color has 3 rares and 10 uncommons, and one of those will be timeshifted), but it is cards like this that enable me to spend 3 rare slots on pain lands. Basically smearing a sufficient amount of semi-powerful rares across the cube makes draft picks like Curse of Predation less swingy, and the timeshifted cards help greatly with this.
    Sovereign's Realm: Pretty much the only realistic way to play 4+ colors in the cube - at the price of hymning yourself. I also like this for not hogging mana fixing and being self-sufficient.
    Advantageous Proclamation: Included to better support mono-colored decks, or decks with small splashes for a second color. More variety for the drafters!

    NOTABLE OMISSIONS
    Green-producing mana elves: The cube curves out at 6 CMC. I don't want to support ramp and reanimator with 7+ CMC bombs, so instead I prioritize mana-fixing elves. If you're in golgari, producing even more green mana when you can already cast your elf is less useful than gaining a black source - hence Elves of Deep Shadow over Fyndhorn Elves.
    Signets: For the same reason as mana elves. Also, I want to promote the bicolor archetypes, and TOO much good fixing makes tri-color decks come too easily. I envision splashing for a third color as an added benefit mostly for green decks.
    Double Stroke: Just makes already good spells even more swingy, which is exactly what I don't want. Same with many other problematic conspiracies that I've deliberately omitted.

    WHAT I WOULD LIKE HELP WITH
    Mono-colored commons: 37 each and 10 archetypes to support makes it very hard to get an overview of what's optimal. Am I missing any good cards for my archetypes?
    Rares and uncommons: Are there better cards out there in these rarities to support my archetypes? Or are perhaps some archetypes over-supported by rares and uncommons, such that I should run others that are generically more attractive picks or more versatile?
    Higher order design recommendations: For example, if you think that archetype X is just a pipe dream that won't pan out and make for unhappy draft experiences, don't hesitate to suggest it (even if it will ruin weeks of thinking and planning Wink

    Thanks for reading this far!
    Posted in: Cube Lists
  • posted a message on Help evaluating selesnya token commons
    I see. Well, I guess that makes me more sure of keeping Sprout Swarm, but I'm still not quite sure if Scatter the Seeds merits a spot, even though tokens is the main selesnya archetype in my cube. I'm leaning towards keeping it Smile
    Posted in: Pauper & Peasant Discussion
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