Acidic Soil deals damage to each player equal to the number of lands he or she controls.
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Acidic Soil Discussion
3 weeks ago
So the decision to go without Sol Ring was confirmed by consensus today. I will be removing it. I will probably not replace it with another mana rock, I feel like I have enough, and I will probably not miss one, even if it is the powerful Sol Ring. This frees up a slot for something interesting.
Let's talk Wishes and Wishboards. Per the mtg.gamepedia.com reference, "A Wishboard is a sideboard for a deck that is intended to be used in conjunction with the Judgment Wishes (Burning Wish, Living Wish, Cunning Wish, Death Wish, or Golden Wish), or Future Sight's Glittering Wish. Often, these sideboard cards are not intended to ever be sided into the main deck between games; rather, one of the Wishes is used to retrieve the cards instead. The intent of this strategy is to not devote maindeck space to cards that may be irrelevant in any particular match-up. Instead one trades game tempo for the ability to have the correct answer every game. This is, of course, assuming that the Wishboard contains the proper answers."
Wishes are controversial. The main arguments against them are that they can be abused if they are allowed to be used to retrieve any card you own, without restriction; that they are not universally played, giving those who play them an unexpected advantage on other players; and that they are another thing to slow down a game with searches. Many people believe that Wishes are very overpowered. In EDH specifically, Wishboards are often stated to be against the spirit of the format, changing a 100 card singleton format into a 110 card singleton format. Those who dislike them ask why we need 110 card slots, asking, "Aren't 100 cards enough?" Those who are against the use of Wishes are often very adamant and very vocal about it.
The arguments to counter these objections to Wishes are pretty straightforward. The first counter is that restricting the searches to only the allowable but optional sideboard, eliminating the potential for abuse of an entire collection worth of cards, and requiring thoughtful inclusion of cards chosen for this purpose, will keep the abuse and annoyance down to a bearable level. The second counter is that many cards are not "universally" played, often appear as "secret tech", but that acknowledging the use of Wishes prior to play is more than fair, given that many players do not even give this courtesy to the opponent regarding their "secret tech" prior to play, but that advantage through card choice is always an element in Magic, and there is no difference here. The third counter is that, while searches do slow the game down, a search of a small and restricted sideboard chosen just for this purpose is much less of a drain on time than many cards that are more universally played, such as common Tutors and even Fetches or green Ramp cards. To search through 10 or 15 cards for an answer, without needing to shuffle your deck following this, is a very small burden on game time, compared to many other well accepted cards. I will address their power level below, but any argument about the spirit of EDH is often a complete waste of time, and usually degenerates into a statement of "I like my EDH like this, and not like that." I will not address the spirit of EDH.
The usual comparisons made between Wishes and other cards are both to modal spells and to common Tutors. I would say that they are similar to both, probably closer in deck construction to Tutors but closer in play to modal spells, and they carry their own unique characteristics not shared by either modal spells or Tutors. Let's compare some cards to see how this could be true.
Tutors and Wishes are probably closest for deck construction purposes, but the results in play are quite different. Tutors and Wishes are put into a deck with the idea of allowing searches for specific cards included in the deck or sideboard, respectively. Compare Mystical Tutor vs Cunning Wish. Both would potentially be included in decks that want to play whatever card is needed from a specific set of instants, at whatever time the Tutor or Wish is drawn. The difference is that Wishes are much less powerful in this role than Tutors. When using a Wishboard, Cunning Wish will have less targets than most tutors, and all the targets are inaccessible for drawing. Given that, if you want to play a specific combination of instants, or play a specific one as quickly as possible, then the fact that Mystical Tutor can essentially act as a second copy of whichever of those instants is needed, and given that for Cunning Wish to have access to an instant, it needs to be inaccessible to normal draw due to being, by necessity, a card from outside the deck, it can never act as a second copy of any card. This means that Cunning Wish can't really function to speed up drawing a combo, and can't really increase consistency. Tutors are far more powerful than Wishes for enhancing the consistency in a deck than Wishes, at least as far as a singleton format goes. All bets are off if you are allowed 4 copies of a Wish in the main deck, 3 copies of the target in the main, and one copy in the sideboard. that essentially gives you 7 chances to draw any specific target card. This is not a factor in a singleton format, and a Wish can only ever search for a card that you cannot draw at all.
Wishes actually play more like a DIY modal spell than a Tutor. Consider Cryptic Command vs Cunning Wish. Cryptic Command allows you to choose two from a list of four great options. With Cunning Wish, you can choose one of up to ten options preselected from a list of all possible instants in the game (including Cryptic Command if you choose). Drawing and playing Cunning Wish substitutes the chosen instant, giving options but not an extra copy of any of the list of options. Consistency is in no way increased with Cunning Wish, in the same way that consistency is not increased with the use of modal spells like Cryptic Command, unless it can be used as a duplicate of another spell in the deck. Wishes behave in play similar to modal spells that you design yourself out of other complete cards.
The difference between Tutors and Wishes is that the target cards for Wishes will never be drawn, and the difference between Wishes and Modal spells is that a Wish can access more options than the preselected list printed on the Modal spell. This places the power of a Wish somewhere between that of a Tutor and a modal spell. That is arguably pretty powerful, but this is not the extent of it. The true difference and power of the Wishes is that their targets do not need to be in the deck. Targets can be cards that you would never include in the maindeck or would frequently be a dead draw, but would occasionally be an absolute bomb. Eliminating or decreasing the frequency of the dead draw can be considered a way to increase consistency, just not the way that Tutors usual increase consistency. You can also design your Wishboard with it's own mana curve, allowing the wishboard to be useable at any point in the game, decreasing the dead draw factor of cards even further. Wishboards can also be designed to incorporate a toolbox, effectively creating the opposite of a dead draw.
For Queen Marchesa: Politics, Aikido, and Control, Wishes could fit in this deck really well. I could easily add Tutors, but it is not lacking in consistency, so I am not sure this will enhance the deck any. I could add some modal spells, and I have several, but the ones not already in the deck don't seem to have enough options that would enhance the deck. I had been resisting adding some non-modal spells that were similar to some of the modal spells because they did not have enough use in that one mode to justify the card slot. By using a Wish or two, I could create a few DIY modal spells out of the single use spells that I thought that the deck could not accommodate, increase the options available, and enhance the complexity and interesting lines of play that this deck facilitates. Spells like Exsanguinate, Stronghold Discipline, Acidic Soil, Browbeat, Wheel of Fortune, Vindicate, Past in Flames, Damnation, Austere Command, and many other sorceries would all be great bombs as possible targets. Both Burning Wish and Death Wish would potentially be options for inclusions as Wishes. Toolbox options could include the archetype hosers like anti-graveyard antics cards, huge turnaround cards that I would never include otherwise like Reverse the Sands or Insurrection, and many other possibilities. This is an interesting new way of potentially developing this deck.
So what do you all think? This is obviously not a direction that every meta would facilitate, but I think it could be fun to explore. Are there cards that would be very useful in the Wishboard that would never fit in the main deck? I listed some that are my initial thoughts, but I am interested in any help that could be offered. I am interested in wincons, bombs, and toolbox cards. Given that there will only be two Wishes included, how many of the sorcery wincons could be moved to the Wishboard without compromising the offensive capabilities of the deck? Thanks ahead of time for any advice offered.
4 weeks 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 month 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 month 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 month 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 month 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.
1 month 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.
2 months 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.