Quote fromIt's been awhile since I've gotten to play with the deck, but I do have some quick thoughts.
Everyone's running Altar's Reap since it's obviously insane, but no one else seems to be running Skulltap or Primal Growth, the sorcery-speed equivalents. The fact that they can't counter your "removal spell" for Child is a pretty high upside, and getting the extra cards/lands is just pure value. They're cheap enough that you can easily leave up countermagic and have utility outside of killing Child.
Bold underline is my emphasis and the major stumbling block. With this issue we're talking about the difference between a sledgehammer and a scalpel. You're getting a strong, nigh-unstoppable, sweeper effect in exchange for political leverage. I get really cautious about these because I can longer play politician during other peoples turns with instant speed sweeping. That being said, these might honestly have a place in cutthroat meta-games where no one is paying attention to table politics, but my meta-game isn't that and I suspect the majority are the same.
Quote fromFor people looking for life gain, I've been playing with Kabira Crossroads for awhile, and Capsizing that has won me a ton of games without taking up a spell slot. I really wanted Wandering Stream to be good, but I just haven't liked it. Maybe Gnaw to the Bone is a reasonable thing to try? Seems like on average it'd gain as much or more life as Wandering Stream, with flashback and at instant speed.
I've really been wrestling with the slot I use to gain life. I know Overrule is too costly to fill it. The main reason I went away from Kabira Crossroads is because of the card heavy nature of Trinket Mage and artifact lands. Gnaw to the Bone is a great idea that will probably be going in, thanks!
Quote fromHave you considered Deprive or Syncopate instead of Cancel or Stoic Rebuttal? I haven't seen too many people playing with either of those two counters, but they've both been very good for me, especially Deprive. Because of the spell-lands like Halimar Depths and Bojuka Bog, Deprive often feels like a 2-for-1, and seems much better than Cancel, at the least.
Syncopate has the same issues as Overrule and Condescend, this deck is clearly mana hungry and leaving up half-a-dozen mana for a counter really kills your lines of play until you've already got the game in the bag. Deprive has been in the deck from time to time. Its not in now because, just like above, my ETB land count is low because of the resiliency of artifact lands and Panoramas.
Quote fromI also want to know how the Blue Blasts have been. I really like having as many one-mana ways to kill Child as possible, and the REBs are sweet because they hate on the best color, but the blue blasts just seem excessive. How good are they if people are only playing red as a secondary or tertiary color? That just seems a little too narrow to me.
They seem narrow, but really help add consistency to an inconsistent constructed deck type. If we assume our opponent is playing red as tertiary, the worst thing they'll ever do is counter a commander, which is actually the most threatening thing many decks can muster after a few Child of Alara triggers. In a different deck these are certainly too narrow to be played given the power level and frequency of good targets, but Child of Alara always provides a perfect target. Having so many instant speed 1cc ways to suicide the angry baby lets you play table politics like no ones business.
Quote fromI like the idea of Scrivener and Vedalken AEthermage. The biggest problem I see is that you're making room for that by cutting all of the utility spells like Qasali Pridemage and Rend Flesh. Can you deal with problematic permanents without Child of Alara or Capsize? What do you do if you have to Wrath early and then someone casts another threat that must be dealt with? The card selection and additional recursion is nice, but doesn't seem like it does much if all you can find is more card selection.
I feel like the best counter opinion to your very relevant points is that Child of Alara should be popped again. Even in the mid-game, with so much draw filtering, tutoring, and recursion finding another way to cast and again stomp out the baby is almost trivial.
It seems like theres a perception among us that frequently triggering Child of Alara is socially taboo, almost like Armageddon effects. Don't get me wrong here, I enjoy socially acceptable lines of play, but if your opponents allow you to ramp out of control through land-based and graveyard-based resources it simply invokes them to increase the resiliency of their decks to remain competitive. I really felt that every time I casted those pinpoint utility spells I was giving up card economy and tempo compared to simply wiping the slate clean again.
Thanks for provoking thought!