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Graven Cairns Discussion
1 month ago
Ok, interesting setup, I'd describe it as more midrange rather than control, but the idea is pretty solid. I'm running a list with Myth Realized in mardu which works similarly. Personally, I'd cut the recover and similar for a Night's Whisper or Sign in Blood (sorcery speed matters less when you have spare mana for removal), and swap madcap for the wonderful and disruptive Delirium Skeins- if they can't stop your creatures, it doesn't matter how much they hit for. Your manabase looks like it should function, but I can't say more than that. Graven Cairns is cheaper than the other filters thanks to it's future sight printing, and Lavaclaw Reaches is a decent mana sink in later turns. There are several spells in black red missing here, but the most pressing is sideboarded Rakdos Charm. It kills artifacts, ends graveyards and flips swarm tactics on their head. Ratchet Bomb will provide much needed emergency enchantment removal, and Pithing Needle or Dreadbore are solutions to the incurable planeswalker plague upon the game. I'd consider Gifted Aetherborn in place of skirge, the constant presence of k-command makes artifacts risky buisness.
If you want more consistant draw, Phyrexian Arena is relatively resistant to the current strain of non-Anguished Unmaking removal. I have this list Mono black deckbuilder's toolbox for mono black players- chances are there will be some stuff in there to help.
1 month ago
Black/white modern vampires. Nice choice- Tithe Drinker is good enough to encourage the switch on their own, and Blood Baron of Vizkopa is an insanely resilient threat, so I can get behind it. Anguished Unmaking mainboard in place of batwing- it answers so many threats that it deserves to be there.
I have a mono black toolbox list here Mono black deckbuilder's toolbox that contains most of the tools I've seen used in modern mono black- feel free to look through, or ask for advice. Long story short though, Gatekeeper of Malakirx4.
Biggest thing white adds is easy access to creature spam/lifegain shenanigans. Indulgent Aristocrat/Blade of the Bloodchief/Bloodthrone Vampire/Doomed Traveler/Mantle of Leadership/Pawn of Ulamog/Blood Artist type fun for unexpected power and a lot of tokens often outranges affinity with lifelink and outspeeds midrange whlist still gaining obscene amounts of life. Grave Pact/Dictate of Erebos just makes it all the sweeter.
Concealed Courtyard is in print at the moment, and enemy coloured support is fairly budget at the moment.
Stromkirk Captain is the best multicolor vampire, with supporty in red for Shared Animosity and Graven Cairns relatively cheap (compared to equivalent cards in other colours), but low cost lifelink/lifegain in white is more money efficient when hunting for key cards. Youve made a nice choice of white spells to help stabilize the game, mainboarding options some other decks would dismiss to sideboard will siginificantly improve the strategy's longevity against most midrange whilst preserving budget. Look for Pithing Needle (for plainswalkers) and Ratchet Bomb for token/emergency enchantment removal if you can, it rounds out a lot of sideboards. Blind Obedience works well. Dawn Charm will act as a fantastic multi-purpose spell in those slots if you can find copies. Apostle's Blessing is a slightly different rebuff the wicked if you want more copies, and can be played in mono black.
I'll reccomend making this a low cost lifelink creatures deck and hunting over the current soul sisters variants to identify other options- Ajani's Pridemate is a reasonable option for massive power (the lack of vampire typing matters less than you'd expect, as you aren't running the big tribal spells). You have a pretty powerful creature suite, so protecting it or making it resilient is going to be king. In mono Imp's Mischief, Duress and Phyrexian Arena-type effects is usually enough to offset removal. Artifacts and enchantments in black can be an issue, so heavy hand-pruning works well to offset that- Tidehollow Sculler/Cloudshift or Delirium Skeins/madness to use your sideboard to functionally become 8-rack.
Green splash works well in slower metas, permitting more versatile hate in Abrupt Decay, more powerful non-bob card advantage in Collected Company and Asceticism to lock you into longer games, but the lack of non-kicker etb vampires makes it less excellent than other options, though the addition of hasty stuff is pretty fun.
All told, black has a really big, versatile toolkit to work with and while it might not have 'destroy target artifact or enchantment', four Duress, four Imp's Mischief and four Dash Hopes is enough to mess with anyone's plans. And if they're creatures, deathtouch, Geth's Verdict, Dismember and Vendetta are all spells.
2 months ago
First off, welcome to the world of EDH! I think you'll find it's definitely one of the most fun formats you'll experience. As someone who has played tribal vampires before, I think I can offer you some suggestions based on my experience. Now I'm not sure what you're budget is for cards so feel free to ignore any suggestions that are out of your budget range.
Vampires are tricky because they don't have as much tribal support as say Goblins, Elves, or even Zombies so you really want the best they have to offer. I think that 44 creatures is a bit too high, even for a tribal deck, so I would cut and refine some of your weaker vampires.
These are a few ideas of some very powerful vampires that could easily be swapped in for some of the less optimal brood.
As with any EDH deck, your mana base is going to always be tweaked and upgraded to make your plays faster and more reliable. Now this is something you can do over time and as budget allows but some major lands to consider are:
Now the latter 3 lands are included for explosive ramping and because I've found most tribal vampire decks are more black than red. Another thing to keep in mind is that generally, you don't want less than 36 lands in your deck unless you have a lot of mana rocks to support less. Olivia is a very mana hungry commander so I would suggest about 38 lands.
Along similar lines, I would include the following mana rocks to further ramp/filter your mana:
While not traditional "ramp", Urza's Incubator can be very helpful in this deck since vampires tend to be a bit higher mana costed.
You'll want to include a few cards to help you draw more cards just to get more power from the deck. There's a lot of options out there but one card I strongly suggest is Phyrexian Arena.
The same goes for your removal. A little spot removal and a few board wipes should have you covered.
I hope these ideas help! Best of luck to you with your deck!
2 months ago
I understand why you wouldn't want to play Scourge of Valkas (it's still a high value card), but Dragon Tempest is HASTE + damage all in one piece. It enables all of your threats the moment they hit the table. It's a good inclusion against control, on an enchantment which is a bit more difficult to get rid of. So unless you are facing off against 3 dedicated control variants that focus on instant speed creature removal, I think tempest performs better than Crucible of Fire. On the same train of thought, why not run Flamekin Village instead of Shinka for more hasty beatings?
Your mana base is also rather slow. I understand that this is a result of the heavy colour requirements on your cards, but you could make it at least a little bit faster by replacing vanilla taplands with filterlands (e.g. Graven Cairns).
Lastly, if you could find space for a sac outlet like Greater Good, Shivan Harvest or Perilous Forays, will dissuade control players from messing with your board as you can respond by gaining value/setting them further back.
Other cards you should consider depending on what you need include:
I like the deck idea overall, but i think it can be improved by a large margin :)
2 months ago
Okay, let's do this! cracks knuckles I love the snarky tone of the description, btw :)
The stax elements of this deck seem strong, mostly. You're missing Winter Orb though. I would normally suggest Crackdown and Meekstone and Moat, but they interfere with Alesha :( Perhaps Smoke or Mudslide? I don't personally like Chalice of the Void in EDH, though, there's just too much variance in the mana cost of powerful cards. And since you're reanimating things anyway, might as well play Big Daddy Smokestack!
However, the land base seems...a little off. 29 mana-producing lands is REALLY really low, doubly so since you will have to pay some of your own "taxes". I know that the Karoo lands help a bit, but I still wouldn't trust this mana base without SIGNIFICANT testing. You might also find the Filterlands useful to mana fix (Rugged Prairie, Fetid Heath, Graven Cairns). I also never leave home without Reflecting Pool, City of Brass, Mana Confluence, etc. Basically, look at Lilbrudder's Leovold mana base and color-shift it XD
I'm actually not really a fan of Nahiri, the Harbinger in EDH. Is she just there for utility, or are you planning to use her ult? If the former is true, there are better ways to get card filtering. If the latter is true, what's your finisher?
That being said, planeswalkers can generally be really good in stax decks. You might get away with including some other walkers that play more into your gameplan, possibly Sorin Markov to reset lifetotals? :)
No Necropotence? :( I guess maybe the card is too much color commitment in tri-color.
If you're going to run Mox Opal with only 18 artifacts, I'd try and include the three on-color artifact lands as well.
False Prophet seems odd here, since you have the ability to reanimate creatures with relative ease.
Yes or no on Mox Diamond? Your land count is already low, but it's so good...
I hope that helps a bit! :) I'll leave more comments if I think of them, and happy deckbuilding!
2 months ago
It is very possible that Fire-Lit Thicket may be the same land as Auntie's Hovel, altered by the transition from Lorwyn to Shadowmoor (ironically, the hovel looks to be red/green while the thicket looks to be red/block or green/black). Similarly, Wooded Bastion may possibly be Gilt-Leaf Palace after the transition (again, looking more black and less white than the original), and Graven Cairns may be Ancient Amphitheater.
3 months ago
Graven Cairns seems unnecessary. You're not trying to cast anything with a double red cost. The reason those filter lands are nice is for when you're trying to do something like transition from t3 Liliana to t4 cryptic command. Otherwise you're probably better off with fetches that turn on fatal push.