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Mar 27, 2022urdjur posted a message on Crack the Earth and Child of AlaraI have Child of Alara in play and play Crack the Earth. As the active player, I select CoA. Will its triggered ability go on the stack and resolve, forcing the other player(s) to sacrifice land permanents when it is their turn to chose, or will they get to chose which permanents to sacrifice before the CoA trigger resolves?Posted in: Magic Rulings
Oct 30, 2021urdjur posted a message on [[Primer]] [PAUPER] Crushing Dreams on a Budget - Child of Alara (UPDATE 07-2018!)Posted in: Variant CommanderBut in my meta I rarely end up in a 1v1 situation. People play combo-centric decks or go over the top with Craterhoof Behemoth, so if someone wins, it's because the other 3 players die at the same time.
Ah I see. IMO, the best was to handle such scenarios is not to blow up CoA unnecessarily just because you can or to even the playing field. I blow up CoA when potentially facing lethal, when someone is about to combo out or similar dire circumstances where the other players might thank me for doing so. CoA is a great solution to something like Craterhoof Behemoth, as long as you still have it on the table to blow up.
This also means you're making your opponents fight each other and expend resources to do so, rather than gang up on you for destroying all of their plans. So in such a sceanario, Mind Extraction and Capsize are strong tools. If someone pulls way ahead by turn 6-7 ish, by all means bring him down to size with Mind Extraction. It's unlikely anyone will win the next few turns if you blow up CoA early anyway, so you have time to reload. But if you have one strong opponent and one weak in the end game, you can use Mind Extraction to have two weak opponents instead. That's how I like to play, ideally at least.
If you think about it, Child of Alara itself acts kind of as a Cyclonic Rift with instant speed sac outlets.
Yes, that's exactly what I meant in my previous post
The cost reducer plan is potentially viable, but I have never seen a list. Might miss a few powerful cards for redundancy.
You know I was thinking: We don't actually need Mulldrifter - a card like Augur of Bolas or Sea Gate Oracle works just as well! You need:
*2 cost reducers in play. I'd recommend running Goblin Electromancer (the deck is almost all instant/sorceries) and Sunscape Familiar (almost all green spells have colorless in costs). You can play and use these for acceleration at your leisure and then get it all back with Reaping the Graves when you want to combo out.
*Mystical Sanctuary in play along with 3 more Island
*Augur of Bolas, Sea Gate Oracle, Mulldrifter or similar card
*Ghostly Flicker. IMO the weakes link because Displace offers no redundancy here because it can't target Sanctuary. So this "secondary combo" still hinges on having Ghostly Flicker, just like the first one. Oh well.
Okay, so you flicker the card drawer and mystical sancturay for infinite storm, while rummaging through your library. Once you see Grapeshot, you put it into your hand instead of Ghostly Flicker and kill everybody. The advantage is that the combo is basically already there - all you need to add to make it work is 2 slots devoted to cost reducers. Very easy to fit, and I'd probably rather run two of those than Peregrine Drake + Brainspoil as combo 2.
Btw I have another pet card: Cavern Harpy. You can recycle almost all relevant creatures ad infinitum! Smile
If I wanted to go into a more grindy build, I would include Harpy immediately. It even makes a decent Thrasios impression with Coiling Oracle.
You know, Cavern Harpy was in the original list presented by d0su many years ago. The deck was so grindy back then, Hana Kami was considered for the combo with Death Denied!
Oct 28, 2021urdjur posted a message on [[Primer]] [PAUPER] Crushing Dreams on a Budget - Child of Alara (UPDATE 07-2018!)Posted in: Variant CommanderI still play reaping the graves. I like that the most as it cannot be countered.
It's a good choice. I'd recommend running either that or Grim Harvest, which is also counter-resistent. The choice comes down to how many creatures you're running. Harvest is a 5 mana total investment to get back one creature. Archeomancer + RtG is 7 mana, so if you're only getting one other creature (apart from the recursion wizard needed to recur RtG) back, Harvest is more mana-efficient. You need to be getting 2+ creatures AND the wizard, to get ahead with RtG - difficult to do if your list has like 11 creatures total.
Mind Swords is quite nice as a 0 mana sac outlet and against combo decks that nearly empty their hands by plaing ramp and mana rocks and pass with only a few spells in hand. Mind Extraction is just ok in my experience. It's quite expensive and rarely a blowout.
I hate that Mind Swords hurts you too though, that makes it unplayable IMO. It's -3 cards for you and -2 cards for the others. How is ME not always a blowout? You blow out all resources on board AND in hand, except lands. If they can play their game plan using only the command zone and graveyard, or are playing land.dec, I guess they can recover - otherwise they are sitting ducks in topdeck mode.
Capsize is among the cards that made me overhaul my list in the first place. It's just so slow and much, much worse than Cyclonic Rift except in a situation where we have infinite mana already or play against only one opponent. I was never happy to draw it, especially in the early game and rarely cast it at all. To me, it is purely a combo piece.
I don't think Capsize and CR are comparable at all - if anything our commander already does better what CR can accomplish. Capsize is run to handle what CoA can't handle, to provide a different way of attack. Capsize + counter is a "generic answer" to most things, and repeated land bouncing when you're ahead on the land ramp and have blown out all the artifact mana is just another way to gain control. The extra utility as a combo piece is gravy IMO - I run it as a control piece.
I think recursion wizard + Ephemerate is very strong. Ephemerate in particular is so busted that I wanted to lean into it even more.
I've been wanting to try Ephemerate, but I think it too is a question of creature count. If you're already leaning into redundant combo package with many recursion wizards and Displace, throwing in Ephemerate is probably strong. If you have like 5 targets total that it can interact favorably with, it probably isn't. I also don't like that it works best if left uninterrupted for several turns - somewhat of a pipe dream in multiplayer and even more so with this deck that wants to blow up the world quite often. Ghostly Flicker shares many of the problems with Ephemerate, but at least it can win the game on the spot if the board position is right.
Brainspoil sucks but is a concession to the fact that I need Peregrine Drake 90% of the time to combo off.
What's wrong with Cloud of Faeries? You only have two outs to Drake - the Drake itself and Brainspoil. If you see 30 cards in your deck in a given game, that's less than 50% chance each game of actually getting a necessary combo piece in hand. CoF has 3 2MV transmute tutors, and tutor chains via Merchant Scroll/Mystical Teachings so you'll find it any game you want. Granted you also need a bounce land, but you can run those in multiples and Crop Rotation is easy to tutor for too. And it cycles, so it's not useless in hand before you try combo.
A thing I'm considering since you turned my attention to Grapeshot: cost reducers like Goblin Electromancer and Sunscape Familiar. You'd need two of those in play, Mystic Sanctuary and Mulldrifter. MS comes back untapped so it costs nothing to draw your deck, transition to some infinite storm combo if needed, and play Grapeshot. Pauper "Familiars combo" has transitioned to this version since the printing of Mystic Sanctuary, leaving Archaeomancer and friends behind. The problem with this deck is that it hates permanents that need to stay on board to be effective, but a card like Goblin Electromancer isn't entirely useless in the deck outside combo. Another problem is that we can only run 1 copy of Mulldrifter, so we're stuck in Brainspoil land again. Ugh. At least we don't have to run Peregrine Drake though. I think I'll revisit this idea if Flamekin Harbinger ever gets downgraded to common (it really should - I mean look at Goblin Matron!)
Gush and Gitaxian Probe: Banned in Legacy, they must be good, right?
Logic Knot: If Counterspell is good enough, this card must be playable as well.
No, yes and yes. The difference for Gush is that Legacy doesn't play 5-drops that get more expensive to cast for each use, plus games last 4-ish turns making free draw very relevant. For us, Gush is a terrible deal, but I'm very much in favor of sneaking in Deprive + Mystical Sancturary for whenever you're missing a land drop anyway, which is bound to happen eventually. The deck has quite a few flex slots IMO as its "core business" has become so efficient lately - it's up to taste if one runs more cantrips like Probe, more counters like Logic Knot or something else. Logic Knot is not necessarily better than Negate or Arcane Denial though - there's lot of competition for all those "next best in line" cards.
Oct 23, 2021urdjur posted a message on [[Primer]] [PAUPER] Crushing Dreams on a Budget - Child of Alara (UPDATE 07-2018!)Hi broktok - thanks for posting your list. I'm not quite sure how you define bad vs. good spells. I read your primer. It seems unclear how it's helping you to run a card like Mind Swords over Mind Extraction, or not running Capsize. I do agree on cutting most of the clunkier creature recursion, as most lists here have - keeping one copy of some recursion engine card seems prudent though, if games go long.Posted in: Variant Commander
I also think you're onto something with the more basics + panoramas approach. It's certainly one feasible route to take the mana base in, what with the good fixing we have these days in the thriving land cycle especially. Has Mortuary Mire outstayed its welcome with new rules and creature-light lists? Perhaps! I must admit almost never tutoring for it nowadays, and it's hard to say if using it is really better than a vanilla draw most of the time. Running 4 forests though seems a high price to pay for a few less tap lands.
I personally think the combo is the weakest part of the deck, as well as the greatest weakness of being limited to only commons (the control aspect of the deck is almost as strong despite the limitation IMO). And adding to the combo with even more overcosted recursion wizards and worse spells and tutors like Displace and Brainspoil only exacerbates the problem. I used to run Opal Palace to speed up the commander damage wincon, but I've come to see it doesn't really matter. If you have control, you can kill at leisure.
What excited me most about your list was Grapeshot over Rolling Thunder! I don't think we've ever discussed Grapeshot over all the years this deck has been in the brewing - an almost criminal oversight! Probably due to most storm cards being banned in regular pauper/peasant, so they're not on the pauper radar so to speak. But yeah, you can combo out with a single karoo and it potentially opens up more secure ways to combo out with Mystical Sanctuary and get infinite storm, which is harder to disrupt. Certainly merits more consideration IMO!
Oct 19, 2021urdjur 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!Posted in: Variant Commander
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.
Oct 6, 2021urdjur 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.Posted in: Variant Commander
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?
Sep 30, 2021urdjur 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:Posted in: Variant Commander
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.
Sep 24, 2021urdjur 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!Posted in: Variant Commander
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.
Mar 21, 2021urdjur posted a message on [[Primer]] [PAUPER] Crushing Dreams on a Budget - Child of Alara (UPDATE 07-2018!)Posted in: Variant CommanderWhat 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:
Organised according to VH's spreadsheet for ease of copy-pasting and functional overview:
Child of Alara (1)
Into the North
CARD DRAW/QUALITY (11)
Read the Bones
Secrets of the Golden City
Augur of Bolas
Drift of Phantasms
Muddle the Mixture
CREATURE REMOVAL/SAC OUTLETS (7)
Flood of Recollection
Reaping the Graves
Forsake the Worldly
Cloud of Faeries
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.
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.
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.
Behold the Multiverse: Feels nice to have a good option to replace any card that under-performs.
Mar 20, 2021urdjur posted a message on [[Primer]] [PAUPER] Crushing Dreams on a Budget - Child of Alara (UPDATE 07-2018!)Posted in: Variant CommanderI 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:
1 snow forest dual (Rimewood Falls)
2 basic forests
(4 U sources, 3 B sources, 5 G sources, 2 R sources, 2 W sources)
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 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...)
Mar 18, 2021urdjur 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.Posted in: Variant Commander
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.
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 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.
Mar 14, 2021urdjur posted a message on [[Primer]] [PAUPER] Crushing Dreams on a Budget - Child of Alara (UPDATE 07-2018!)Posted in: Variant CommanderQuote 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:
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
4 panorams (no Naya)
3 snow duals
3 spell lands (bog, sanctuary, mire)
Nov 6, 2020urdjur posted a message on Tormod, the Desecrator and the delve mechanicA) 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.Posted in: Magic Rulings
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?
Jun 28, 2020urdjur 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.Posted in: Variant Commander
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!
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Apr 20, 2014Yes, I detail this in the strategy section (not casting CoA without mana/sac open being a good idea against disruption). However, cards like Altar's Reap and Primal Growth should be mandatory in a heavy blue meta IMO. Heavy draw spells like Rhystic Study helps even more than Horizon Spellbomb, but d0su's not running them. Deep Analysis at least should be good against counters. It just doens't make a whole lot of sense to me as a deck tailored towards a blue meta, but I decided to mention it a bit in the deck commentary nevertheless.Posted in: urdjur Blog
I've found a few more budget rares that are quite interesting that I've added to the list. Hoping to get more feedback from others before I publish on the forum.
Apr 18, 2014Could you elaborate? Fighting blue goes well with ditchibg the t4 CoA plan I suppose, but you'd probably want to ramp t3 regardless.Posted in: urdjur Blog
Apr 18, 2014Here are the remaining two sections. I think the word document is now largely finished - 27 pages! After considering your comments, I'll make a basic formatting effort and post the thread in the Variant forum, then keep formatting and adding LOTS of card tags and making additional improvements based on thread comments etc. Then about a month from now, I'll apply for primer status with the comittee.Posted in: urdjur Blog
Overheat - I never added your decklist to the primer as d0su's has changed his list so it's more similar to yours (with the REBs etc). Biggest difference is the guildgates, but I discuss them already in the Shell, so I don't know. Any idea on how to fit it in nicely? Or maybe you could just post it and discuss it yourself in a reply in the soon to be primer thread?
Now it's time to put the core and the shell together. We'll start by taking a closer look at a classic Pauper list that has a somewhat different approach than what's suggested in the primer. A basic budget non-pauper list the follows, which also forms the basis for the "adding money" discussion in the section below.
Decklists - Pauper
Consider the following decklist by d0su, originator of the Pauper Dreamcrusher. This list is current as of January 2014 - I have gently restructured it to fit the terms and categories used in the primer.
This is a very interesting list. By ignoring the intense focus on dropping CoA turn 4, d0su gets away with much more card advantage and an essentially UBG mana base. It may look slow, but it has been proven and refined over three years time - and at rather cutthroat tables, I might add.
Let's look at the shell first. The most striking thing is the utter lack of guildgates. This creates space for other ETBT lands, namely a whole bunch of cycling lands. These can then be recurred by green's "Mulldrifter", Tilling Treefolk. In the Ghostly Flicker engine (or with Capsize), it becomes the Pauper version of Life from the Loam with those cycling lands. Hence, more panoramas make sense too, to draw out all the basics. With little concern for turn 4 specifically, d0su can compensate the lack of guildgates with more but slower multi-fixing.
With raw card advantage being the main plan, it also makes sense to run heavier stuff like Forbidden Alchemy and Yavimaya Elder. I'm not a fan of Rhystic Study in decks without massive mana denial, and I also wonder about the use of Horizon Spellbomb over Mycosynth Wellspring (the former is a Trinket Mage target however, but seems overcosted). I think I'd rather run the three U, B and G artifact lands (a notable omission with a Trinket Mage package) and the Wellspring instead. However, these are minor concerns that largely come down to player preference.
The core seems very solid and uncontroversial to me, and gives new players a useful sense of proportions in the Pauper deck. I think the sacrifice outlets are a little light however - I'd probably play Perilous Research (makes better use of Merchant Scroll) and Primal Growth (say, over Rhystic Study and Prophetic Prism). This would also allow the "sac outlets" to be used more for their other purposes (like spot removal). Quasali Pridemage is a superb choice of multi-purpose 2 CMC removal alongside Oblivion Ring. However, I miss Vedalken Aethermage with all these multi-purpose wizards. Scrivener could probably be cut for it.
All in all, this deck shows that there's more than one way to destroy the world and dominate with a cheapskate deck. In fact, a plan focusing more on card advantage and less on an early CoA could be the better way to go for a pure Pauper build - it will allow you to skimp on Plains and Mountains without shame at least. It's also an interesting comparison to the budget non-pauper build that I'm about to present.
Decklists - The Basic Budget Deck
The basic budget deck will cost you about $80, as many of the cards are still commons or dirt cheap rares, but super strong nevertheless. Upgrades for the more pronounced budget options are discussed in the adding money section.
So the table of contents is roughly INTRODUCTION - CARD SELECTION - DECKLISTS - OVERALL STRATEGY - ADDING MONEY TO THE DECK. Just so you don't get lost in all the copy/pasting.
ADDING MONEY TO THE DECK
The basic budget build is rather adequate on its own, but you can of course improve it further by increasing the budget. Before you go ahead and invest in premium duals and fetches though, there are other more pressing concerns that will add much more bang for your buck. This section sorts them roughly by "cost-benefit", starting small and going up.
Adding Money - Basic Shell Improvements ($35)
These changes are recommended to do first, as they improve your shell and solidify your game plan.
Grim Backwoods -> Phyrexian Tower. It will cost you $12, but it is the best sac outlet in the game (a mana ability that cannot be responded to). Drawing cards is nice and all, but it's simply no compensation for a net difference of 6 mana.
Halimar Depths -> Mystical Tutor. Make your game plan even more solid for only $5. Gets so much powerful stuff in the deck.
Expedition Map -> Tolaria West. A better land tutor since it's also a t2 blue source (replaces Halimar Depths in that department) and works with LftL. Another $5.
I'd also recommend replacing your three worst lands with Sylvan Scrying ($3, can be played t2 and thus replace a land), City of Brass and Forbidden Orchard ($5 each). If you're using the budget shell as suggested, I'd cut Evolving Wilds, Terramorphic Expanse and Vivid Creek (fewer ETBT lands means a quicker clock, plus you reduce strain on your basic lands. Panoramas don't ETBT and can produce mana on their own, so cutting the basic fetches is a greater priority).
Adding Money - Emeria Overhaul (about $60)
This package adds the 4 shock dual Plains to the mana base to enable Emeria, the Sky Ruin as a significantly stronger land-based recursion option than Moorland Haunt. This also solidifies the mana base much more, and enables your Plains fetchers to fix any color. Emeria + shock duals costs a few more dollars than a Volrath's Stronghold, but is a MUCH more effective recursion engine, while also greatly improving your mana fixing. Improved land tutors that help assemble Emeria and your other utility lands is also part of the package.
3 basics + 1 Panorama -> 4 shock dual Plains: You can't drop your single basic Mountain, but you can go down to 3 Island, 1 Forest and 1 Swamp. The other 2 panoramas also get replaced in this overhaul. Sacred Foundry, Godless Shrine, Hallowed Fountain and Temple Garden will cost you about $25-30.
Seaside Citadel -> Flood Plain: Like Grasslands and Krosan Verge, this now fixes all colors, and has synergy with LftL. It also finds Mistveil Plains and helps you assemble Emeria.
Moorland Haunt -> Emeria, the Sky Ruin: Another free recursion engine is nothing to scoff at. The Odyssey filter lands that previously launder colorless mana will now help you launder any excess white mana that may arise instead. $4.
2 Panoramas -> Tithe ($4) and Flagstones of Trokair ($10): Both of these get Plains, which mean they now fix every color and help you assemble Emeria. Flagstones further improves your resilience to mass LD, and has synergy with Ghost Quarter (and Perilous Research) if you're still running it (the two form a rather cute engine with Life from the Loam!).
Reap and Sow -> Scapeshift/Primeval Titan: Both of these help assemble Emeria and are more powerful (but more expensive) land tutors than Reap and Sow. IMO, the Titan is the more powerful option, but it may be banned depending on which list your group goes by. Both are roughly at the same price point (around $15).
Adding Money - Better Tutors (about $50)
Demonic Tutor: The most popular tutor in EDH will cost you about $15-20. You now have so strong fixing that getting black on t2 isn't very challenging, so you can probably swap a land for this.
Intuition: Arguably the best triple tutor available, perfect for setting up Life from the Loam with your key lands, or getting whatever you desire with Genesis and Eternal Witness. About $30. Could replace a transmuter or something else if you prefer.
Adding Money - Dark Depths Package (about $75)
This package changes the feel of the deck by changing win conditions somewhat. Particularly recommended if you have played the deck for a while and want to change things up a little.
Fallen Ideal -> Dark Depths: As you become more land focused, Fallen Ideal plays out its role as a sac outlet and with money to spend, also as a win condition. Dark Depths/Thespian's Stage is a pretty awesome combo in Child of Alara, as the token doesn't care about your general sweeper and you can churn out one 20/20 indestructible flyer per turn with Life from the Loam, which should quickly overwhelm exiling effects. Tutors like Intuition and Scapeshift make this happen frighteningly fast. Marit Lage production will presently set you back $55 due to the popularity of the combo.
Three Dreams -> Thespian's Stage: Three Dreams loses value without Fallen Ideal, as you now have fewer targets for it and lose its ability to assemble sac outlet + recursion in a single tutor. Drop it to make room for the other part of the combo. Stage also works as a gold land or extra utility land, but it's hard to find mana to activate it before a t4 CoA, so it probably shouldn't be considered until this point. Only $2.
Bequeathal -> Diabolic Intent: Bequeathal isn't necessary when you drop Three Dreams. Replace the sac outlet you lost from Fallen Ideal by swapping it for an extra Demonic Tutor for a mere $6. Intent is probably not stronger than the other sac outlets you run in the basic build however, so you have to wait for a vacancy to fit it.
Alchemist's Refuge -> Boseiju, Who Shelters All: A more powerful counter-measure to counterspells, that works well with your buyback spells and new tutors. Most of your stuff is instant speed now anyway, so Refuge is less needed. About $8 - well worth the investment.
Dance of the Dead -> Corpse Dance: Now more easy to tutor for, plus it works better with the Refuge/Boseiju swap. Only $3.
Adding Money - Further Shell Improvements ($ as much as you like)
These upgrades cost much and offers comparatively little improvement. You're probably better off improving on other decks.
Reflecting Pool: The next-in-line land improvement. $12 - cheap at this point. Having replaced your ETBT fixers (except your awesome fetch lands that are more important than this) already however, the incremental advantage is small. This could arguably replace the third Island, but I think I'd rather have the basic land. It could easily replace your worst rainbow land, but is probably worse than your filter lands. You probably want to keep Murmoring Bosk for Krosan Verge until you add more Forest duals.
Sensei's Divining Top: As it can dig, it could easily replace your worst land, much like Reflecting Pool. Your 2-drop tutors and digs are adding up now however, but it's a good card. $20 if you're lucky.
True Fetch Lands: These could easily replace your 2 budget Mirage fetches and even your worst rainbow lands since they are better with LftL. The 4-5 cheapest of the lot are about $50 a pop (Arid Mesa, Marsh Flats, Windsweap Heath etc), so they will give you the most bang for your buck and you don't have room for many more anyways.
True Duals: Plateau, Tundra and Scrubland are each at roughly the same price point as the cheaper fetches ($50), so they could replace a basic Plains, Murmoring Bosk and Sacred Foundry. Not sure I'd recommend investing in ABUR duals beyond that, unless you completely rework the shell somehow.
Volrath's Stronghold: Will cost you about $25. Could replace some other source of recursion, but I can't imagine that I'd want to cut anything for it, let alone invest in it for this deck.
Diamond Valley: A moderately played one can be yours for less than $100! Completely unnecessary and much worse than Phyrexian Tower IMO. Spend your dollars on other decks, or something more important than Magic.
Apr 18, 2014bfine70 - will look over trigger vs. activate as I polish up, good call! Also agreed on Altar's Reap-type cards.Posted in: urdjur Blog
All - here is the Introduction main section, preceeding the Card Selection section. Its subsections are hopefully clear from the basic formatting provided.
The concept of 5-Color Control for the common man was first popularized on MTGS by d0su in his legendary Dreamcrusher thread in early 2011. The idea was that using Child of Alara as a Commander compensated for the complete lack of solid sweepers in the common card pool, while using only commons provided for a very cheap deck that still had the power to go up against full power EDH decks, especially in multiplayer.
As the concept of Pauper EDH has consolidated more towards using uncommon creatures as Commanders, and the "Dreamcrusher" build has proven more adapted for regular EDH tables than Pauper settings anyway, the need for adhering strictly to commons has been called into question. While using only commons remains the cheapest way to build CoA, adding even just a few uncommons greatly helps the deck overcome some inherent design challenges and also makes for shorter games (while all commons list can eventually establish control just as well, games go on and tend to be very grindy and durdly).
While there is already a multiplayer primer on using Child of Alara to create a lands-type deck focusing on Life from the Loam and utility lands, this primer will focus more on using Child of Alara itself (even though the non-Pauper builds included here also make use of LftL and utility lands, simply because it would be silly not to). Thus, the primary focus of these builds will be on how to sacrifice and recur CoA as efficiently as possible, and other strategies that are supportive of this concept. While the primer assumes a multiplayer environment, there is nothing stopping you from trying these builds out 1v1 either, especially the "full power" budget version.
Pauper, Peasant and Budget - a Word on Terminology
Since around 2010, there's been an increasing interest for "PDH" or Pauper EDH - a process that this very archetype has helped fuel. At the time however, there was little consensus on what exactly constituted a PDH deck. Can CoA with all commons be considered "Pauper", when the general is mythic rare and the deck is constructed to abuse it as much as possible?
These days, there is a pretty strong consensus that Pauper EDH means using an uncommon (or possibly even common), most likely non-legendary, creature as your Commander, and only commons in your 99. For purposes of this primer however, the "Pauper" build refers to using only commons in the deck, despite CoA being mythic rare. The term is not an endorsement suggesting that a CoA build using only commons has a place at tables where others are running Zameck Guildmage or Ascended Lawmage as Commanders.
There is even less consensus on what constitutes a "Peasant" EDH deck - another format descriptor borrowed from the world of 60 card Magic. Most agree that standard EDH rules apply, but that you're excluding rares from your 99. Some groups or shops go further and limit the amount of uncommons you can run (the equivalent of 5 uncommons in a 60 card deck would be 8 in a 99 card deck, but numbers vary).
Regardless of whether you're using rarity restrictions or just want a competitive but affordable 5C control deck, this is the definitive CoA primer for you! It discusses inexpensive card choices of all rarities, Pauper and budget decklists, and strategy both on a general level and individual card level.
Why Play Child of Alara?
The Pauper version of this deck might be for you if:
*You like having Planar Cleansing as your Commander
*You want to play a workable 5C control deck in EDH that costs less than its sleeves
*You like it when people playing $1000+ decks say your deck is unfair and boring
The Pauper version might not be for you if:
*You intend to play against decks using uncommon Commanders
*You want a good game against fast decks 1v1
*You want something simple to pilot that wins quickly
The budget version might be for you if:
*You like having Planar Cleansing as your Commander, except it costs 0 to reuse, draws you cards and gains you life
*You want to play a competitive 5C control deck in EDH for less than $100
*You dislike a battlefield cluttered with non-land permanents
The budget version might not be for you if:
*You consider aggro or combo as a goal unto itself rather than just a win condition
*You like fair decks that don't steal or reanimate opposing creatures, or force mass discard in the early turns
*You're more interested in playing against other PDH decks with uncommon Commanders
Quick Deck Statistics
Preferred Environment: Multiplayer (any build) or 1v1 (non-pauper builds)
Casual/Competitive: Semi Competitive
Average CMC: About 2.5-2.8 depending on build (though mana demands depend much more on the effectiveness of your recursion engines, than on average CMCs)
Deck Cost [AVG]: ?? ??
Deck MVP: Depends on build and budget, but Capsize and Mind Extraction are always all-stars.
Strengths: Board control, counters, hand disruption
Weaknesses: Graveyard hate, mana denial
Flexibility - How well does the deck combat threats and come back from resource denial/negation?
(8/10) The deck is built around coming back advantageously from mass resource denial. Counters are largely ineffective. Big draw can recover from hand disruption. The biggest problems are graveyard removal and mass LD, especially for the Pauper version.
Efficiency - How well does the deck use its mana base? Does it focus on big bombs or a slow power creep?
(7/10) The Pauper deck can easily use up more than 20 mana/turn. The non-pauper deck can use more than 10 mana/turn but rarely has the need to, since most of the primary deck engines run on little mana.
Consistency - Out of 10 games, how many will be played in similiar or nearly identical ways?
(6-9/10) Very much pilot dependent. You can make every game almost exactly the same, but this will suck the fun out of most games. Consult the strategy section for tips on mixing it up.
Speed - How quickly can this deck take over a table?
(5-9/10) The Pauper deck is the undisputed king of durdling, tutoring for tutors that tutor for recursion that recur tutors etc. - that sort of thing. However, it can also consistently board wipe on turn 5. The non-pauper deck can do that or force everyone to discard their hands by turn 5 without breaking a sweat. It also recovers much faster from the first board wipe.
Style - Does the deck kill you the same way every game, or does it have a million and one ways to finish you off?
(7/10) Multiple win conditions can be included when needed. Typically, the deck closes games with general damage or insurmountable resource denial, but infinite combos and even direct damage are possibilities.
Perceived Threat - How politically threatening is this deck when you show everyone your commander?
(6-9/10) Depends a lot on how you pilot it (see the Strategy section), but once the table knows what you can do, don't expect any silk mittens even if your deck is all commons.
Also, here is the Strategy section after Card Selection, before the section on adding money to the deck. Let me know what you think!
Much of the tactics for playing the deck is discussed in the description of the card(s) in question, and the early game plan is outlined in detail in the Shell section. This section will briefly discuss broader political and strategic considerations.
You Are Control
While acceleration your early mana development is probably always a good thing to do, dropping CoA on turn 4 isn't actually necessary unless the board state demands it. It might not even be the best thing to do even if you can - if you draw attention to yourself and your opponents are packing counters or exiling removal. You might want to spend turn 4 on tutoring for a sac outlet or recursion piece, and perhaps even more ramp, and then drop CoA on turn 5-6 instead with counter back-up or a sac outlet ready. If you can grab control over the game quickly, go for it - but never risk losing control of the game because you want to actually win quickly. Killing is simply a formality. It's rendering your opponents helpless and making their efforts futile that wins the game.
Also, You Are God
While you do demand the sacrifice of a child for the permanent sins of your opponents, you should try not to make your existence too obvious. Let the humans play! It's always best if you know that you have the world in your murderous killing vise, while at the same time letting your opponents think that they have a real shot at eternal life. Don't look like the bad guy. Be the good guy, that saves the table from the brink of disaster! Every time. Of course, there was never any real threat of disaster, but as long as your opponents think it was a close call and that someone else almost had you - had them all in fact - you will get to keep playing your favorite deck and not get hated out. Make your friends into your prophets! They shall prepare the second coming of the Child of Judgment! The security of the table rests in your fatherly hands.
God is an Entertainer
Yes, you can blow up the world whenever you feel like it, but if that is ALL your deck is doing, simply because it magically happens to hose every strategy at the table, your opponents won't have any fun, and pretty soon, you won't either. So mix it up. Maybe one game you can rely on the Oblivion Ring/Capsize engine instead, or the Ghostly Flicker engine with infinite counters and removal. Or their equivalent rare counterparts, Archon of Justice and Mystic Snake. Or maybe you just reset the board once when it really matters, and then reanimate one of your opponent's juicy creatures and attempt to ride it to the win, protecting it with counters. Once in a while, try to win as quickly as possible, perhaps with the Jarad's Orders -> Myojin/Double combo, as this creates a useful distraction to your otherwise inescapable domination of the board. If people lose spectacularly once in a while, they are more OK with losing inevitably the rest of the time. Even if a drastic move will cost you the game, losing once in a while is only a benefit for your deck's reputation. Rather than always playing your deck so it is unbeatable, you can try to make it entertaining whenever you can afford to do so, since that will make it even more unbeatable (socially) in the long run.
Apr 17, 2014@Overheat:Posted in: urdjur Blog
- The game plan is described under "The Core - Sacrifice Outlets, Recursion and Engine Pieces". Perhaps it would be better to move parts of it to an earlier section, the one describing history and who the deck is for etc, so the newbie reader doesn't get overwhelmed? Formatting will help also, as you say.
- Yes, that is the reason I drop Far Wanderings, Harrow and Myconsynth Wellspring from the budget build - too much strain on too few basics. Are you saying 17 basics isn't enough to support it in the Pauper build either, making that an argument against artifact lands? Not sure I'd agree there. Do you think I need to bring out the awesomeness of Far Wanderings more in its card description?
- Swedish spells "Address" with one D, hence my confusion. Consider it found and replaced!
- Yes, I'm aware about the Panoramas. The fact that they get better with rares is due to the Odyssey Filter Lands, not because they can get shocks/duals (which aren't even mentioned in this section, but come into play when you start considering way more money and Emeria, The Sky Ruin). They also get better with LftL (like all fetches). I'll remove the part of them getting better with rares if it's confusing and leads the mind to consider shocks/duals.
- Divination needs mention at least as a benchmark, if not a recommendation. Compulsive Research is an oversight - should be in the Support - Commons section. It's very solid.
Yes, please do PM me your current decklist. Ideally sorted by function and using CMCs before each spell rather than just "1" (helps evalute what transmuters can get, as well as the curve). I include a reformatted version of d0su's current list, that uses the same categories as the primer, so if you could follow that layout it would be great:
Apr 16, 2014Okay, I've posted the Card Selection part - the meatiest section. It's just pure unformatted content right now (MANY card tags etc. to add), but at least it's something to work with. The basic blog interface seems terrible for formatting primers though - couldn't even find card tag buttons on that interface, even though they are here in the comments section. Is there a sandbox part of the forum where we could set up shop, like a secret thread seen only by us or not drawing attention to itself?Posted in: urdjur Blog
Looking forward to your comments. I'll post the other sections as I finish them.
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My biggest change is actually in the combo section. I have swapped Rolling Thunder for Grapeshot and added High Tide. Grapeshot is a more resilient wincon than Rolling Thunder (though losing some versatility), but more importantly it offers a win from infinite storm rather than infinite mana. This opens up a High Tide combo.
I prefer High Tide to creature based cheapeners like Goblin Electromancer, because it works better with CoA and is more useful on its own (with the snow duals and compatible ramp, we're running many islands so it's at least an overpowered, instant speed dark ritual). For the storm combo, you need Mystical Sanctuary (found with Crop Rotation or Farseek), Ghostly Flicker (same as CoF combo) and either one of Mulldrifter, Sea Gate Oracle or Augur of Bolas. Instead of ravnica bounce lands, you need to cast High Tide twice, which you can do by simply dropping Mystical Sanctury on the combo turn and using any draw spell, or any recursion wizard or Flood of Recollection etc. Since sanctuary is an island, untapping it alone will finance an infinity of flickers, and the other half of the flicker combo either draws your library or sifts through it until you find Grapeshot and win.
High Tide can also be used in the regular CoF combo of course, replacing the need for ravnica bounce lands as long as you have 2 islands in play (snow duals count!). This and the secondary combo path has enable me to make a few tweaks to the mana base as well so it's even faster now with a few more basics and panoramas. I've also decided to swap Vedalken Aethermage for Step Through - the latter is the better card in a vacuum and the tutor chaining aspect of aethermage diminishes when you also have a combo path that doesn't rely on recursion wizards. Those tutor chains are also less relevant for getting Sidisi's Faithful off of 2MV transmuters IMO, now that we have Reckoner's Bargain as a strong 2MV option directly.
1 Child of Alara
1 Ardent Elementalist
1 Augur of Bolas
1 Cloud of Faeries
1 Dimir Infiltrator
1 Drift of Phantasms
1 Sakura-Tribe Elder
1 Sea Gate Oracle
1 Sidisi’s Faithful
1 Wretched Gryff
1 Darksteel Ingot
1 Kaya's Ghostform
1 Arcane Denial
1 Ghostly Flicker
1 Crib Swap
1 Crop Rotation
1 Reckoner’s Bargain
1 Dizzy Spell
1 Forsake the Worldly
1 Growth Spiral
1 High Tide
1 Muddle the Mixture
1 Mystical Teachings
1 Reaping the Graves
1 Red Elemental Blast
1 Shred Memory
1 Soul Manipulation
1 Undying Evil
1 Village Rites
1 Cleansing Wildfire
1 Compulsive Research
1 Flood of Recollection
1 Grape Shot
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 Primal Growth
1 Read the Bones
1 Secrets of the Golden City
1 Step Through
1 Treasure Cruise
1 Command Tower
1 Path of Ancestry
1 Ash Barrens
1 Evolving Wilds
1 Terramorphic Expanse
1 Thriving Bluff
1 Thriving Grove
1 Thriving Heath
1 Thriving Isle
1 Thriving Moor
1 Golgari Rot Farm
1 Bant Panorama
1 Esper Panorama
1 Grixis Panorama
1 Jund Panorama
1 Artic Treeline
1 Glacial Floodplain
1 Highland Forest
1 Rimewood Falls
1 Volatile Fjord
1 Woodland Chasm
1 Bojuka Bog
1 Mystic Sanctuary
1 Crop Rotation
1 Primal Growth
1 Kodama’s Reach
1 Sakura-tribe Elder
1 Darksteel Ingot
1 Land Grant
1 Into the North
1 Growth Spiral
CARD DRAW/QUALITY (12)
1 Night's Whisper
1 Read the Bones
1 Compulsive Research
1 Notion Rain
1 Secrets of the Golden City
1 Augur of Bolas
1 Sea Gate Oracle
1 Treasure Cruise
1 Dizzy Spell
1 Merchant Scroll
1 Mystical Teachings
1 Dimir Infiltrator
1 Drift of Phantasms
1 Step Through
1 Muddle the Mixture
1 Shred Memory
1 Red Elemental Blast
1 Arcane Denial
CREATURE REMOVAL/SAC OUTLETS (6)
1 Reckoner’s Bargain
1 Sidisi's Faithful
1 Mind Extraction
1 Village Rites
1 Wretched Gryff
1 Ardent Elementalist
1 Flood of Recollection
1 Undying Evil
1 Kaya's Ghostform
1 Grim Discovery
1 Reaping the Graves
1 Soul Manipulation
1 Forsake the Worldly
1 Crib Swap
1 Cleansing Wildfire
1 Cloud of Faeries
1 Ghostly Flicker
1 High Tide
Btw, what's the discord for the deck? Would be interesting to join the discussion there too.