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  • posted a message on GWx Astral Drift
    There's a couple deck ideas I can see in this sort of archetype. It's getting late, so I'll lay down the fundamentals I'm looking at because it's too late for me to actually piece things together right now.
    Idea #1:

    Probably the most straightforward of the ideas. Stonehorn Dignitary with various ways to blink him. The main plan would be with Astral Drift but going UWx and adding in Venser, the Sojourner could be interesting. This also pushes towards a Turbo Fog style deck with something like Approach of the Second Sun as a wincon. Reflector Mage and Spell Queller are good UW includes. Angelsong and Haze of Pollen are cycling Fogs to keep in mind.
    Idea #2:

    Unearth is the main driving force here for me. You can play a lot of value cards like Eternal Witness, Blade Splicer, Sin Collector Renegade Rallier, Knight of Autumn, and Militia Bugler. The deck would probably want Collected Company though and probably just be better off being that sort of a deck. I can't shake Unearth being good here though.
    Idea #3:

    I'm not sure there are enough cards with the right mix of abilities to make this work, but it could be interesting. Underworld Coinsmith kicked off the idea with Eidolon of Blossoms and Grim Guardian as other potentials. Going in on enchantment based ramp and interaction would add to the ETB triggers. The deck probably needs too many moving parts to function well but there's potential value here.
    Idea #4:

    I didn't really play much during this standard season, so I forget what the wincon was but things like Rogue Refiner and Whirler Virtuoso are solid cards and work with Decoction Module to potentially do something degenerate. But again, that may require too many moving parts to be worthwhile.
    Idea #5:

    Basically trying to play a similar game to the old standard deck. Again, didn't play during this standard, so I don't know a ton about it. Basically, looking to ramp to 6 and start comboing off to draw your whole deck, gain excess mana with Vizier of Tumbling Sands and enchanted lands, Shadow of the Grave to restart comboing, and then casting a couple Approach of the Second Sun.

    Random other cards I was looking at (Strong ETB/LTB effects, beneficial interactions):

    And there should probably be a nod towards Norin the Wary and Genesis Chamber in here somewhere.

    I'll work on some deck lists when I can think a bit better about them. Stonehorn Dignitary blinking in a Turbo Fog deck is where I'll be starting though.
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on [Primer] Assault Loam
    Quote from TheShowCase50 »
    Also, what are your opinions about the jund version of the deck? I also like the idea of 3 assault, 2 bear enchantment, 1 twister, but how effective can this be in relation to 3 or 4 Assault and 2 vortex?

    Also what does countryside crusher bring to the table?

    Countryside Crusher is a weird one. It sounds extra mediocre on paper but it's usually a 3cmc 5+/5+ dude that makes sure you only draw gas every turn. I'd recommend trying it out if you haven't played with it before.
    Posted in: Midrange
  • posted a message on [Primer] Assault Loam
    @Vannatar - Ruination Rioter seems like it could be pretty interesting in an aggressive deck like you said. I like that it can turn an Assault activation into more than 2 damage. It also makes any sort of attacking really gross for the opponent if you have any number of lands in the graveyard. I may test him out over Goyf, just to see what it's like.

    Also, I totally agree on not running 4 of Stomping Ground in a deck normally. All the lands you listed are great and in my Temur variant of the deck I split it up more. The only reason I'm advocating for 4 in the list I submitted is because Koth gives the deck a "mountains matter" theme and Cinder Glade felt a little too sketchy with only 5 basics. Also, having enough green sources to get multiple castings of Loam or activations of Living Twister are important to keep in mind for the mid- to late-game. Though cutting a Stomping Ground for a Glade probably wouldn't be the worst but I'm a big fan of very consistent turns 1-3 in Modern. Thus the 4-of concession.

    @Cryptic Commander - Wrenn and Six could easily be a 3-of over a Countryside Crusher. Depends on how full the 3-slot feels in playtesting. I mainly didn't want to get stuck with a bunch of Wrenn in hand. They don't work as well in multiples as Loam does unfortunately. But I am really excited to see them in action.
    Posted in: Midrange
  • posted a message on [Primer] Assault Loam
    Barring other spoilers that may get included, this is where I'm sitting on a decklist once we get our new toys. It's a really light green splash in a primarily red deck. Trying to be fairly aggressive while having the Assault+Loam package to grind out games. A decent top end to give some late game punch.

    Not sure on Goyf v Young Pyromancer. I'm just worried there aren't enough ways to trigger YP and make him worthwhile and Goyf is generally just a big dude. So I'm leaning that way.

    I could see swapping out Koth and getting Ayula's Influence in to a more green supported deck over Living Twister. I have wanted to play Koth in Loam for a long time and this seems like a good opportunity to test him out.
    Posted in: Midrange
  • posted a message on [Primer] Assault Loam
    Why not just play Ayula's Influence as Seismic Assault 5+ and stay RG? Bloodbraid Elf with 6+ copies seems pretty good. Free activations is what makes Assault so strong. This is a bit slower but you can just EoT in a handful of bears every turn.
    Posted in: Midrange
  • posted a message on R/U/G Evolve - Blue Zoo
    I guess I have a couple questions. Do you find that your mana is consistent enough with all of the single mana sources? Have you considered Goblin Guide over Young Wolf? And, how has Hooting Mandrills been for you?
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on R/U/G Evolve - Blue Zoo
    No, I never tried Pelt Collector. I don't really have any ways outside of Rancor to get creatures above 3 power. So it wouldn't be as consistent as getting two +1/+1 counters on Experiment One. Vexing Devil with Pelt Collector is cute but without a second 4 power guy, I don't know if it'd necessarily be better than E1. Maybe with Hooting Mandrills as another 4 power dude for 1-2 mana would be alright?

    I'd start with something like this:

    Bloodrage Brawler, Exemplar of Strength, and Frost Walker are other potential enablers but seem a bit more awkward than Mandrills.
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on Spring Cleaning the Modern Subforum Primers
    I wrote the current primer for Assault Loam. There hasn't been any real tournament success with the deck in years at this point and the thread doesn't really have a ton of activity. I don't know if there's really anything to update the primer with but I'd hate to see a sweet deck from Modern's early history disappear in Deck Creation. Are threads going to be getting demoted if they stay unclaimed or fall below a certain activity threshold?
    Posted in: Modern
  • posted a message on R/U/G Evolve - Blue Zoo
    I'll post my list again, just for reference:

    If you really want N_Trauman, I can explain how the deck changed from the original list to this. I didn't start making changes until I had run it in its stock form through 15 or so games online against a variety of deck. Then went through with single card changes for roughly the same number of games until I ended up with this list. Since getting to this point, I haven't really found anything that would work better in over any particular card but I'm always looking for new tech/ideas.

    If you're really worried about Blood Moon, I would like to point out that running more red cards allows you to have more relevant cards after it hits play. Also, sitting on an unused fetch to grab a singleton Forest in response to a Moon is generally going to be good enough to let you keep playing through it. Either that or floating Blue mana in response so you can Repeal it. Though, Unsubstantiate or Echoing Truth seem like better options if you are looking to bounce things bigger than 2cmc. If you assume Moon is coming in, boarding in Natural State, Destructive Revelry, or some other Naturalize effect gives you more reactive outs to it. You just need to try to read the opponent's potential plays to try and foresee it coming down. When they hit 3 mana you need to ask yourself if it is more likely for them to try to add more to the board, sit back on removal or try to disrupt you out of the game with Moon. Then play according to that hunch. Prioritizing getting 2 Forests into play before a Moon hits is going to severely limit the plays you can make in the early stages of the game, which are the most important turns for the deck. Which, to me, doesn't sound like the best way to win a game.

    In general my deck paired up well against Tron and combo decks. Basically, if the opponent sits and sets up for the first few turns, I'm able to apply a ton of pressure unimpeded quickly. I don't really know what to say about these match ups. You just play as fast as possible and make them dead before they do anything relevant.

    I have been out of magic for the last few months so I don't know how the R(U) Phoenix deck match up is but as the current bogeyman I'll make a guesstimate. Gut Shot sounds pretty miserable for the Evolve guys. However Vapor Snag and a bunch of haste guys can't be bad for dealing with Thing in the Ice. They still sit until turn 3 or 4 before "going-off." So you should be able to overwhelm the board in that time. It's mainly about being wary of the Leviathan flip trigger.

    GBx is very hand dependent but usually decent. Discard is usually the roughest part, but they generally don't have more than one in most games. Playing more reactively with Rapid Hybridization becomes the priority to blank their removal spells and then I'm using Undying and Vapor Snag to bash into and past their blockers. It isn't an easy match up by any means, but its definitely winable.

    As stated before, burn and other aggro decks are rough. It becomes a race as my build can't really play the control game, so I have to lean hard on putting power into play. If I stumble on lands or gas, they usually take the game. Life Goes On and Grim Lavamancer go a long way from the sideboard to buy time and stop creatures but they aren't silver bullets.

    Control is really where the decision to play the deck comes down to. If control is tuned for a meta-game full of Big Mana and Combo, then we're usually fast and wide enough to get through their early disruption and finish them off with reach. If they are tuned for a more aggressive/burn-heavy meta, my build gets hit by a lot of the same roadblocks. Settle the Wreckage is rough and they will usually have better sideboard options like Timely Reinforcements in higher numbers. Lifegain is the real pain as it extends their window to stabilize.

    I don't think I've ever said that this deck, in any form, is going to be better than a straight burn deck or a big zoo deck. I choose to run some red creatures instead of green creatures like Avatar of the Resolute because they have large power or toughness for their mana cost without needing any additional red mana sources from the deck. My mana base is literally a 50/50 split on Red and Blue sources with 100% of my lands producing Green. Hellspark Elemental, Goblin Guide, and Kari Zev, Skyship Raider don't require any more Red than Lightning Bolt. I picked them because they are fast, evasive, or create multiple enters the battlefield triggers for the Evolve creatures without needing other cards to make them individual strong. They are pillars of consistency that the more volatile cards (Hybridization and Evolve creatures) can lean on to generate value and power when I need it to.

    I like playing this deck because it makes use of combat tricks and plays with a bunch of cool cards that don't see a ton of play. So it's fun for me to pull Hellspark from the bin and plop some dice on to a few odd balls and steal some games. The deck is definitely capable of 4-0'ing a local FNM but I've played it in a GP setting and from what I've seen it doesn't have the legs to be that level of good.

    For what it's worth, I get that you want to Repeal tokens made on the opponents side from Pongify. I would respond to that by saying, if you need a card to clean up for a different card, you shouldn't make the mess in the first place. As far as this deck is concerned Pongify reads, "U - Instant - As an additional cost, sac a Young Wolf. Make a 2/2 Young Wolf and a 3/3 Ape token. Trigger Evolve twice." Using it on an opponents card is an extreme, last resort option. It has its uses but should be avoided if at all possible.

    How has Smuggler's Copter been working for you? It doesn't trigger Evolve but the evasion and looting seem decent. It also gives some legs to your late game 1/1s. I may need to try it out over Kari Zev. She's solid but definitely is a flex spot in my list.
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on R/U/G Evolve - Blue Zoo
    @brainpipe - You could always try asking friends if they could help you build the deck. Loaning cards before GPs and stuff were a big part of competitive play when I used to be more of a competitive player.

    On the topic of damage from lands - I don't think you can really avoid the damage part of lands without losing a color. The problem with running a bunch of 1 drops is that the color demands for each turn become very demanding. There's no generic mana costs to allow flexibility on lands in play. On top of that we run close to bare minimum lands because we need threat density to stay above a certain threshold to get the most from each individual card. Fetches are extremely important for color fixing on top of being a necessary enabler for Narnam Renegade. I've found that 9 fetches (half of the deck's mana base) is pretty solid. Grabbing Shock Lands comes with that territory and because we need to make the most of each turn, that means you're going to be doing 3-6 damage to yourself every game. While it's not ideal, I think it comes with the operation of the deck. You're making a concession to the burn/aggro match ups to put more points in your control/big-mana match ups. No deck can be solid against everything, knowing where you are weak and focusing on where you are strong is how you play the metagame. By pulling Shocks for Fast Lands mitigates the damage some but pulls from your consistency. I think they are good inclusions but I wouldn't run too many (more than 5) because you'll find it harder to keep a wider array of opening hands and mulling with this deck isn't where you want to be.

    I also would advise against running more than 1 basic Forest. You get screwed by the second Path to Exile or Field of Ruin but honestly, if a game comes to that and you don't have a Pongify in response, things probably aren't going to be much better if you go grab another basic. Like I already said, you have a high color demand each turn with the deck. So wasting lands slots on cards that only produce one color are going to actively hurt your ability to play cards effectively, slow down your ability to roll out threats in proper order, and reduce your likelihood of keeping an opening hand.

    The TL;DR being taking damage from your lands means you keep more opening hands and stumble less each turn but are more susceptible to burn and land hate. My point being that the former is more important than the latter.

    On the topic of card advantage - The deck plays in a rather nebulous area of card advantage which is what makes it a tempo deck. You aren't really trading your cards for their cards. You are trading your cards for their time. Which is tough to recoup by simply drawing more cards, though it helps. Our cards are individually sub-par compared to what Modern has available. The way we need to build advantage in a game is by turning mana spent by the opponent into negligible board state. Hybridizing a creature in response to removal to gain a 3/3 and buffing the team turns their turn spent holding mana for removal into your benefit on several small axes. So what this means is not throwing away your Pongifys for an extra damage or two before combat if you are expecting removal. After sticking a couple early creatures you want to sit on an open mana or two for tricks until you are forced to alpha strike. But in general, though it is fun, don't spend your avenues of advantage unless you are being pressured into it.

    I'd highly suggest trying out Vapor Snag. When you are looking to get as many 3/3s across the line as quickly as possible, bouncing a creature the opponent tapped out for on a critical turn is just as good as a Path to Exile if they die on the attack. The additional damage dealt by Snag is also usually relevant reach that gets through Leyline of Sanctity. Like Shaspoder said about exiling a Wurmcoil Engine, bouncing it from play also leaves you clear to attack. The trade off being, you don't have to deal with a 3/3 token but if you don't kill the opponent you're dealing with the Wurmcoil on the following turn as well.

    The deck makes strong use of the nuance of player priority of phases, especially in combat. So always take a second to think about how to react to every move the opponent makes. Remember that if the opponent flashes in a creature before blocks, that you get your priority back before moving to blocking. Things like that become very important in eking out small advantages.

    Personally, I'd recommend running cards like Rancor and Hellspark Elemental that give you extra shots of cards or turn your opponents cards into 1/2 cards. Making your opponents spend extra resources to deal with recurring threats goes a long way to building your advantage. Rancor also does a lot for turning your bad top deck 1/1s into decent 3/1 threats. Also, swinging with a 5/1 Young Wolf on turn 2 is an good time.

    The TL;DR for all that being, play reactively when you can. Maximize opportunities to cost your opponent a card by holding on to tricks until you get the most value you can. Play smart when it comes to player priority.

    @Shspoder - Just a quick questions about your list, do you think you are running too many Evolve creatures? You have a decent number of ways to get them going but with 15 creatures that ETB as 1/1s, it seems like you'll have lots of hands where you'll be waiting until turn 3 to start Evolving things. I'm curious how that has been working for you. I've never run more than the original 8 but my build doesn't have ways to make Pelt Collector a 4/4. Also, cutting Raptor seems like an odd choice. Can you explain what your thought process is there?
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on R/U/G Evolve - Blue Zoo
    @N_Trauman - I'm not trying to be condescending. Blunt, sure but I don't mean any disrespect. I'm just urging you to think critically about the choices you're making with your deck and being conscious of how your posts and insights are received by others. It's fine to suggest the cards and thoughts you're suggesting but without an explanation as to why or to what end the choice was made, others can't gauge how your insights can benefit them. We're all here to help each other build better decks. I won't push this any more, I'm just trying to help you see how to be a better contributor.

    Quote from ketoglutarato »
    What problems are you running into with your list? What's working for you? What sort of lines make you feel like you're doing the most powerful things in the deck?

    The only problem is that i feel 19 lands are often too few, i'd like to go up to 20 to increase my chance of keeping hands.

    Rhonas the indomitable is surprisingly working pretty well, it's like a big undying creature that immediately evolves creatures so i split the slots of young wolf and rhonas into a 3/2.
    Hadana's climb, instead, is working less good, it's sweet but it's a huge investment of mana for a pretty mediocre effect.
    Chart a course worked pretty good, with such a low curve it's the prefect card advantage engine. i'm curious to see how light up the stage works though!

    i'm back with a temur version running vexing devil and pelt collector "combo" (if you pongify a vexing devil with its sacrifice trigger on the stack, AFAIK you get to deal 4 damage, a 3/3 token and a 4/4 trampler as soon as turn 2)

    here's what i come up to:

    • might go down to 2 experiment one for 1 more land, as 10 evolvers seems the sweet spot between too few and too many
    • i don't like having this many 3-ofs. i'm considering cutting all of the experiment ones to make other spells 4x

    What is making hands unkeepable for you? It seems like your list is a little heavy on 1/1s. So you might run into issues with getting enough Evolve interaction in opening hands. I can get behind cutting one of your 3-of to bolster the numbers on other cards. I personally like the regeneration on Experiment One but Pelt Collector with a decent number of ways to get him up to 4/4 seems decent. If you'd be upping Vexing Devil and Pelt Collector to 4, I think that'd be worth losing Experiment One. But if you can't get him to Trample size consistently, he's probably not be worth the inclusion. At least that's where I would draw the line.

    Quote from brainpipe »
    Yeah, that was pretty much exactly what I boarded in. I'm actually considering selling some of this deck for parts and making Bring to Light Scapeshift instead.

    I love the feel of this deck, and I love it thematically, but when it isn't going off, it feels pretty miserable.

    You had mentioned running Thrashing Brontodon mainboard in response to Chalice of the Void. What was the deck you were playing against? Free Win Red? I was under the impression that Chalice wasn't seeing as much play currently. Though I could see it showing up as tech against UR Phoenix. Chalice does incidentally hit our deck full of 1-drops. Ancient Grudge is a really solid choice against it, as is Engineered Explosives (set to 0). Our deck is pretty susceptible to hate cards but that's true of most decks. We're not going to have solid game against the entire field. The best I can recommend is either play to win before they can find their sideboard hate or tune your deck to have more interactive cards for a hostile meta. For example, running more 2cmc cards to get around the typical 1cmc restriction of a Chalice.

    Playing a low curve deck can be very powerful but it definitely can get outclassed by larger, splashier cards in the mid to late game. I've sat through several control players stabilizing at 1-4 life, mid-range players gumming up the board just enough, and aggro decks outpacing me. It comes with the territory. Reading opening hands and gauging your opponents threat/interaction density will allow you to read board states better and tell you when to commit more to the board or when to play in a more reactive manner. Which is why I really enjoy playing this deck. There's a lot of abstract attacks on the opponent that you don't get from most decks. Playing Rancor on Young Wolf is a very real threat in Modern but it's also a seen as a bad card. So you play on the opponent's valuation of their removal. Getting them to bite on bait like that is very exciting.

    That all being said, Scapeshift is a fun deck. Ramp is exciting and hitting 8 mana with Scapeshift and Cryptic back up is just the best. It has it's own drawbacks but I've enjoyed playing around with it. Either way you fall, I think you'll enjoy yourself. Just different avenues of play but if you're looking to be more competitive, Scapeshift is definitely a more established deck.
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on R/U/G Evolve - Blue Zoo
    I mean, you can play whatever you want. I just don't see how shoving cards that you like into the deck without thinking about why you're doing it is really helping the thread. What am I supposed to learn from you're telling everyone? That Crack the Earth isn't good against... ??? You didn't mention what you played it against. Also, how is Young Pyromancer instead of Avatar doing anything better with our other cards? Like, I'd love to get in on some new tech or new strategies for the deck. However, without giving reasoning behind choices and things you're testing nor info about how your testing went, I can't gain anything useful from what you're saying. Which makes it difficult to have a discussion about the deck with you.

    I'm not trying to be a jerk here. I just want to get an actual conversation about the deck rolling. I want to point out that you need to provide better arguments if you want me to take what you're saying seriously.

    Right now it sounds like you are trying to say a red splash isn't good because your version of it wasn't good. Again, against some unknown match up. But it also looks like you intentionally shot yourself in the foot with bad card choices for little to no real reason as far as improving the deck goes. And you're using that as reasoning to say that a RUG version of the deck is suboptimal. Which like I said before, pushing for UG is fine. But if you want to change my mind from RUG, I need you to explain what the benefits are to UG and give me at least some anecdotal evidence that reinforce those benefits from actual play that you've had against real opponents.
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on Your Choice
    @spellcheck - That's true about Liliana. I had looked at her but thought her Ult was the only thing that really counted toward the restriction. But all the modes meet the requirements.

    @guntius - Pushing mono-red to hit a critical mass of damage to force the non-damage modes is where the deck should probably land to be more on the competitive side of things. I'll throw together a list for it in the near future. The initial idea was building a deck exclusively out of cards that require your opponent to choose something. So that's why I skipped over the cards that apply damage/pressure more consistently.
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on R/U/G Evolve - Blue Zoo
    Incubation // Incongruity seems a little odd for the deck. There isn't exactly a specific creature we're looking to have, so its Ancient Stirrings mode is just replacing itself. There's a bit of filtering/card quality that you gain but the deck wants threat density, not quality. The Pongify side exiles the creature (re:bad for Undying) and also costs 3 mana which is a lot of mana to set aside for something in the deck. I'd pass on it personally.

    Light Up the Stage is really good and I think the deck can easily keep Spectacle going. I like it much more than Chart a Course for the deck. Being able to have the cards through your next turn is the big win. Effectively having Draw 2 on a 1cmc spell is insane for aggressive decks. It's a ton of gas. You do lose some combat trickiness by showing the cards but I think it's worth trying if you're feeling like the deck needs some more drawing power.

    Skewer the Critics is serviceable. Like I said before, the deck can make Spectacle viable. However, a Sorcery speed Bolt doesn't seem all that appealing. Some extra reach is fine but 3 damage doesn't kill as much as it used to in Modern. I think it's decent if you really need a 5th Bolt but I don't think I'd look at running a playset any time soon.

    @N_Trauman - Outside of cute interactions with Undying, what was the intent of running Crack the Earth? How was that adding to your deck's game plan? What problem was that solving? I'm very confused.
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on R/U/G Evolve - Blue Zoo
    Quote from ketoglutarato »
    is young wolf that necessary? i understand the combo, but rhonas, the indomitable does the same work while also evolving our threats and being immune to removal.
    Even Spark elemental seems better than young wolf, you can pongify it with the sacrifice trigger on the stack

    as for the red spalsh, i'm still on the fence. we either go deep with red as Nick does, or the splash isn't simply worth it, especially because the deck has pretty greedy color requirements. Ancient grudge is not even close to being worth the splash, nor the bolts/vexing devils are worth a shaky manabase.

    Currently i'm at:

    I don't think there's anything wrong with questioning the red splash in the deck. Fetch-shocking for consistent lands leaves the RUG version weaker to burn. That said, I wouldn't say the mana base is inconsistent. Out of something like 100 games over the last year, maybe 5% had land issues. The biggest issue was greedy 1 land keeps that backfired. Which was totally on me but I like to test lower limits like that.

    I agree with you that Young Wolf isn't very impressive but I think it's important in the deck. It's the cheapest Undying creature and that's the bulk of it It makes removal bad and with Rancor makes opponents choose to kill a weak card instead of something you actually care about. It provides a lot of utility with a low mana cost. Undying is so good in this deck that having it on a 1 mana 1/1 is worth playing.

    I have some questions for you though. What problems are you running into with your list? What's working for you? What sort of lines make you feel like you're doing the most powerful things in the deck?
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
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