Acidic Soil deals damage to each player equal to the number of lands he or she controls.
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Acidic Soil Discussion
5 hours ago
Ok, all. I am an idiot. I had a realization in play yesterday that should have been obvious, but I had missed it. Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim was meant to be both Rattle Snake and spot removal, but the deck was not built around it, so she never got going. I focused on the spot removal, and when she was removed from the deck, I replaced it with repeatable creature spot removal, thinking that would at least come close to replacing the value of Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim. What I didn't fully grasp was that the weakness of slow speed of the removal, along with the durability of the removal was the problem, and that Assassins would never be able to make up for this. I was sitting on one of the best removal spells that are available in Queen Marchesa's colors, and I recognized this at least enough to put it into a sideboard slot because I just couldn't cut it all the way. I think I should just put the good spot removal back in, and skip all this getting fancy with creatures for removal BS. Since my Rattle Snake and Pillow Fort defense is already very strong, I am not sure why I am worrying about it so much, especially since I keep strengthening it with the most subtle of subtle Pillow Fort cards like Duelist's Heritage, Slayers' Stronghold, and Key to the City.
Right now, I think I just need to consolidate what I think this deck does best, make sure that I bring enough of both the offense and defense that this deck works off of, ensure that I am optimally countering common deck archetypes in ways that are synergistic with the rest of the deck, and not get distracted with complicated additions.
With that said, I have a sideboard that I have constructed of cards that are meant for tuning this more specifically to different metas, and for including cards for combating common archetypes that my meta does not contain. Even if I don't use this as a common sideboard between games, this is my list of cards to adjust for changing metas as I go between them, likely usually between sessions.
Changes that I plan:
Main Deck changes should be to consolidate the theme of the deck, removing weakness in favor of the strengths.
Stronghold Discipline - Rakdos Charm is a huge part of my offense, and wins a ton of games. Stronghold Discipline is essentially another copy. Unconventional offensive plays are what this deck does best. Consolidate around the deck's strengths.
Utter End - One of the best spot removal spells available. Control is one of the things this deck does best, especially surgical removal. Consolidate around the deck's strengths.
Sideboard changes should compensate for different metas and allow me to combat the weaknesses in the deck with respect to commonly played archetypes that are just not that common in my usual meta. I am OK with unfairly destroying decks in metas that are not my usual meta.
Out: Utter End - Into the Main Deck!
In: Rest in Peace - The best at what it does, kills a lot of combo, storm, spellslinger, value engines, reanimator, etc...
So, what does that leave us with?
Ramp and Fixing: Lots of Ramp and Fixing that is tuned and synergistic with the rest of the deck, as well as a curve that allows us to bring out early big plays. Gift of Estates and Tithe double as card draw late game, and our unconventional manabase is highly synergistic with the rest of the deck.
Draw and Tutoring: Enough Draw and Tutoring to make the deck consistent and holding enough answers for every threat or weakness, without being obtrusive or conventional enough to be obvious about it. Three all star players in this list are Shred Memory, Key to the City, and Sea Gate Wreckage. Uncommon tutors and draw with huge impact in this deck without ringing any danger bells for most players. This suite makes my already versatile card list even more versatile.
Defense: A 25 card subtle and somewhat unconventional Pillow Fort and Rattle Snake defense with a low curve, the potential to be used offensively, and which is synergistic with itself as well as my offense. Back this up with a nice Fog suite, making my defensive wall extend into my hand so as to not have all of it sit on the battlefield to be effective, and bringing it's own offense in the right circumstances. Add to this a control package that is complete with a very strong and versatile spot removal suite, some reactive board wipes that have offensive uses, and multiple cards to allow us to protect our board state, including counterspells in Mardu colors!
Offense: The offense is structured to take advantage of typical board states and the strengths of my opponents with cards that have outsized effect for their costs. It is designed to be huge Aikido bombs against any Big Mana, Big Creature, Big Army, Big Hand, or Big Attack deck. It is structured in pairs of cards for each of these, including Acidic Soil/Price of Progress, Backlash/Delirium, Rakdos Charm/Stronghold Discipline, Sudden Impact/Toil / Trouble, Deflecting Palm/Comeuppance, with Arcbond, Batwing Brume, and Eye for an Eye all reinforcing this array of counterattacks. This reactive offense is backed up with a couple of big bomb offensive attacks in the form of Master of Cruelties and Hatred, a couple of midrange beaters in the form of Serra Ascendant, Gisela, the Broken Blade, and Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs, and an army of smaller defensive and utility creatures. Bring in combat tricks and enablers like Duelist's Heritage, Slayers' Stronghold, Key to the City, and Rogue's Passage to act as later game silver bullets, and the offense is quite versatile.
Sideboard: Packed with Combo hate, a counterspell suite of my own for Counterspell and Blue Control hate, Graveyard Antics hate, and extra offense in the form of Dark Depths as an uncounterable big beater and Exsanguinate for big burn.
In all, I think I am pretty satisfied with where the deck now sits, and will likely consider this list to basically be the core deck. Testing will confirm, I think I have chased down all the areas that needed shored up, and I feel like this is, at the moment, a completed list.
1 week ago
feyn_do_alduin: Without trying to sound snarky, the best way to avoid dying to that is to either proactively protect yourself (not let yourself fall into the life range where Acidic Soil can kill you) or optimize your deck to the point where you can kill them first. Given that Acidic Soil does 1 damage per land and Omnath nets 8 (5 power and a Lightning Bolt) you shouldn't be super afraid of the card?
1 week ago
for example, I run a decent quality Omnath, Locus of Rage build, in response they started running Ground Assault and Acidic Soil to one-shot me after i've gotten to critical mass. the only way to get around it is to bolt the guy who played it until he's dead before the card resolves
1 week ago
Quick update. I experimented with some of the changes outlined above.
I didn't notice Dread being gone at all. By the time it usually comes out, I have other defenses out, these defenses often make Dread superfluous, and even as a big evasive beater, I never won with it. I will keep this in mind for if I need another wincon or if my defenses seem to be lacking, but I think I will leave it out for now. Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim was an interesting addition. An efficient creature with deathtouch helps to replace Dread at a much earlier time in the curve. A single deathtouch creature will often put the brakes on an entire offense since the attacking player doesn't want to lose their best creature. On top of this, Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim's ability is actually very pertinent, especially given how often I am up in life. I have yet to bring either ability online, but the potential is quite interesting, even without building around it.
This was an amazing switch! Felidar Sovereign never really did anything for me. I thought that it would be another path to victory, but mostly it was a dead draw. It is not evasive, so the lifelink never really paid off, and doesn't add anything to defense like deathtouch does, even if vigilance may have been nice for defense if it was ever worthwhile to attack. The win only happens on the upkeep step, giving my opponents plenty of time to get rid of it first. Most of the time it just sat there, doing nothing but acting like a bad blocker, and then got removed before it did what it was put in the deck to do. It was fun to experiment along these lines, but it didn't pay off at all. Replacing it with Master of Cruelties was an immediate upgrade. Deathtouch is always pertinent in this deck, providing a Rattlesnake effect that inevitably turns out to be much more powerful than people ever think it is. As I stated above, a single deathtouch creature often redirects multiple attacks away from me and toward my opponents, and the first strike ability only strengthens this ability. This is perfectly in line with the defense of this deck. On top of this, it provides a huge swingy wincon. If I land an attack, even a small burn spell will finish off the opponent. It provides another way that I can play defensive, with perfect synergy with the defensive style already in the deck, and providing the type of offense that allows me to switch gears at any time, putting extreme pressure on defending opponents and threatening a win in a single turn. An early landed attack with Master of Cruelties puts an opponent into survival mode, and also strengthens my defense because I don't have to worry about pressure from that opponent, or other opponents who smell blood in the water. Even if he is removed right after a landed attack, the game is completely changed in my favor. My only worry is that dropping it will prompt a boardwipe at times when I would rather not wipe the board. I have to be aware of this when playing.
More playtesting will confirm if these changes are the right thing for this deck, but my initial feeling is that they were good changes. I removed a bad wincon and added a better wincon. I removed an expensive Rattlesnake and added an inexpensive Rattlesnake with both lifegain potential and spot removal potential. I also added two deathtouch creatures, which seems to work great in this style of deck. Removing Dread seems almost heretical in a Pillow Fort style deck with , but the more I experiment with Pillow Fort decks, the more I realize that making your Pillow Fort subtle and bringing it online early strengthens it, since people have a tendency to assess an obvious Pillow Fort as a higher threat level, even if you have no offense on board. Dread is a classic Rattlesnake for many Pillow Fort decks, so people turn their resources against it, especially since it can be a wincon by itself. A small deathtouch creature doesn't create this reaction, and seems to have about the same effect as Dread, but at a much earlier point in the curve.
I initially thought about removing other classic Pillow Fort cards like Ghostly Prison, Sphere of Safety, Windborn Muse, and Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs, but they do make a nice defensive stronghold, and also synergize with each other and with Acidic Soil, a very frequent wincon of this deck. When I drop a Ghostly Prison early, it redirects all attacks away from me in the early game, and hits my opponents with all those early attacks, doing double duty for my game plan. Then players drop every land they can so that eventually they can bring their army against me. My deathtouch creatures come online in the mean time, and my stronghold gets stronger. By the time that they have the mana and the army to actually do any damage to me, I can drop an Acidic Soil and a Rakdos Charm for a win. I just can't deny the synergy, even if it advertises my Pillow Fort. With that said, I will continue to assess if this is my best game plan as I evolve the deck further. At some point, it may no longer be worth it.
As a slight aside, for those considering Rattlesnake cards, Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs vs Dread has been a question of mine since the start of this deck. Initially, I did not play Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs, thinking Dread was much stronger. Then I played both, realizing the potential of Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs. Now I have taken out Dread. Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs is a better card for this deck. Dread does not actually stop an attack. It wipes out the army after a successful attack, and discourages an attack with this threat of retaliation. Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs can create an army of blockers to stop an attack before it hits, unless the attacker spends resources to prevent it. This army of defenders can also become an offense as well, something that Dread can't do. I find it interesting that the real character of this deck has only become apparent to me as I have played it, and the most optimal cards have only become apparent as I have come to learn the real character of this deck. The more I play it, the more interesting it becomes.
1 week ago
My wins are rarely attacks with an army. It is usually a win on the backs of Rakdos Charm, Acidic Soil, or something similar. When the win is a result of an attack, it is usually a slow chip away of life with a single flyer, or a big Hatred attack. I rarely use more than one attacker. It does put the damper on the Assassin and Snake tokens, though, and that is why I never included it.
3 weeks ago
I had Teysa, Envoy of Ghosts in it for some time. In play it always came out really late, and then usually did not add a lot beyond what I already had in place for a defensive board state. I get the unblockable creature angle, but really, a single unblockable creature is not often how I win, and if it were, I would probably add Whispersilk Cloak for that slot. I often win with Acidic Soil, or Arcbond, or Backlash, or Deflecting Palm, or Rakdos Charm, or something along those lines. They overcommit, do something that shakes up the board state that they think gives them the advantage, and then I pull out a riposte counter attack. The games often go something like, early game with early attacks being directed someplace other than me due to a Rattlesnake effect I have out, midgame with a build up of Pillow Fort cards, and my board state becomes completely secure with no one able to attack me while other players fall to each other. In this time, I may build up a few attackers, but they are not often able to attack because they are my defense as well, and often an offensive exchange is not in my best interests, even if a defensive exchange would be. As I wait, I slowly sculpt my hand until the right moment happens. Often, it is some board wipe that eliminates my fortress, and then an attack happens that I fog or reverse. I follow this with some large counter attack like Acidic Soil to finish them off. Teysa, Envoy of Ghosts doesn't really fit well in this strategy since it is slow, comes out too late to be a good Rattlesnake, and it's damage potential is small for it's price. Not a big enough bomb.
As for Strionic Resonator, I try to make sure that every card is effective all by itself, or can win the game outright when played. I continually think about removing Reverberate for this reason, but I think that the potential outweighs the costs. Hatred is similar, except that it just ends games. Cards can be added for their synergy, but only if they stand on their own as well. With Strionic Resonator, I am not sure that just doing more of what I am already doing is good enough. Necropotence is a bomb that draws a full hand if I need it, and is why I have it in over Phyrexian Arena. Strionic Resonator doesn't do much more than Phyrexian Arena, but has to be combined with something to even do that. Then we get into all the Pillow Fort or Rattlesnake cards, and I have significant overlap and duplication of all those. I guess if I am adding anything to the deck, I want something that aligns with what it does, but is not just another of what it already does. The deck is consistent, I rarely ever think, "If I just had more of that think I already have, I would win." Usually, I am thinking, "Now I just wait for my moment to end this." Show me an unconventional bomb with an effect that is completely outsized for it's cost, or something that does a better job of what the deck already does, and I will be interested. I appreciate the look and the comment, and I will think about the suggestions, but on first glance, I think that the deck is too tight for either suggestion right now.
1 month ago
Dig for answers that can end the game or an answer to losing a game. And you don't need to go for 20 every time. It is just a possibility. I never liked Necropotence until this deck. I can be within striking distance, need an attack, and search out Backlash, Delirium, Rakdos Charm, etc... and turn his wincon into a loss. I especially like it with Angel's Grace in hand. Dig for a huge amount, put yourself within striking distance of his big beater, Angel's Grace, then counterattack while he is tapped out. It is also nice when sitting behind a Solitary Confinement. Without it, you both are waiting for the card to break up the stalemate. With Necropotence, you dig for a huge amount, trying to win the race to the wincon. I guess that is how I see it. When it is a race to find the right card to win, Necropotence is like nitrous.
As for the Land Tax effect and plains question, I already leaned plains, so the addition was not a problem. Those effects are in there for two purposes. First, to ensure I hit all my early land drops, and it gives me a little card advantage early, along with some fixing. It is not really ramp, but missing land drops is anti-ramp, so it is almost the same thing. It is the closest thing to I can get in this deck, it is a lower threat level than actual ramp, and for a reactive deck, it works pretty well. The second purpose is to combine with Scroll Rack later for a card advantage engine. Not a world shaking combo, but at least I can get some late game advantage out of them, and Land Tax each turn with a Scroll Rack out is a pretty huge advantage.
The Ravnica bounce lands and Lotus Vale are interesting. I have never wanted to run them in any other deck, but this one loves them. They allow me to keep a low land count on the battlefield, while evolving my manabase during the game to a high quality manabase, and can also feed my Scroll Rack. I usually get one of them early, and I put it into play as soon as possible, since I am not usually doing a ton on my first couple turns. I then put out a few more lands and I can usually still hit Queen Marchesa on time. As the game unfolds, I drop the others when it doesn't negatively affect me, and by late game when I want to hit them with Acidic Soil or Citadel of Pain, they get hurt much worse than me. I have been thinking about Price of Progress, even with my large nonbasic count because of the synergy and efficiency of my manabase. I trade tempo for efficiency and some card advantage, and set myself up for a big symmetrical bomb that I have made asymmetrical. Since my deck wants to lay low early and have power to react later, the early tempo loss is not a huge deal breaker.
For budget options, you could think about cheaper fetches. There are a ton, even though we get hung up on the Zendicar and Khans fetches, the loss of tempo in a casual meta is not a huge thing, especially for this deck. If you keep the Land Tax cards, keeping enough plains to make them all work is important. I like about 2 targets per fetch and another 1 target per Land Tax effect. The any colored lands and bounce lands are helpful, but are for a parallel purpose.
1 month ago
What I found is that I often make it to the mid or end game with the most life, even by if by just a little bit, making symmetric damage a decent option, and this applied very well to Eye for an Eye. It's like in Chess when you end up a pawn ahead in the mid game. At that point, it pays to start trading pieces.
I also noted that I could survive on less land than most decks, and being conscious of this makes Acidic Soil and Citadel of Pain asymmetric in my favor. Reactive spells end up requiring a huge amount of untapped mana, and even Reflect Damage is a big mana requirement for a deck that likes to run fewer lands.
I often found that I wanted to be able to bring my own offense once I entered into a conflict with an Aikido card. After looking at all this, I realized that having some traditional wincons mixed into my offense made all those Aikido cards more effective. When I can redirect an opponent's offense for a big chunk of damage, punish them for their overcommitment in the form of lands or creatures for another big chunk of damage, and then hit them a couple times with a big creature attack of my own, I may not win on their turn, but I usually win between their turn and my next.
Taking the deck in this direction also shored up a general weakness of this deck. By adding that little bit of my own offense in the form of my own big swingy attacks, I can become very aggressive against another reactive deck, which is the type of deck that Aikido traditionally has trouble with. To me, this is an extension of the idea that you should punish each deck for what it is. For other reactive decks, Citadel of Pain after an early aggressive start can make them cry.
While I did not adhere to Rachmiel's original theme of only hitting them with their own stuff, I believe my Pillow Fort and Rattlesnake suite is psychologically stronger for this deck, and my deck can become very aggressive in ways that his really had a harder time with. His did have Tariel, Reckoner of Souls to get aggressive with their graveyard, but I would prefer to hate their graveyard and then bring my own offense, especially since I can take out a single opponent with the right hand by turn 4, without their help at all. Tariel, Reckoner of Souls is an expensive beater that needs a full graveyard to exploit before it really gets going. His cannot be that aggressive.
In the end, I think that Aikido gains a ton of power from being a strong theme in a deck, but not the only option. Redirected attacks, exploiting overcommitment, punishing decks for things that all decks do, and traditional big beaters combine nicely in ways that are starting to make a dedicated Aikido redirection style deck look one dimensional.