|Commander / EDH||Legal|
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|Eternal Masters (EMA)||Rare|
|Vintage Masters (VMA)||Rare|
|Duel Decks: Sorin vs. Tibalt (DDK)||Rare|
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At the beginning of each player's upkeep, Sulfuric Vortex deals 2 damage to that player.
If a player would gain life, that player gains no life instead.
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Sulfuric Vortex Discussion
2 weeks ago
((READ ME: If this seems like a super massive word-wall you can read the deck description which summarizes everything, then read the "Help: section at the bottom. Thank you.))
Introduction: I've been away from Modern for quite some time and I had stopped when Splinter Twin and Birthingpod were still relevant archetypes. Now-a-days it seems the meta has sped up with faster decks such as Hollow One and Death's Shadow creating a need for speed. I wanted to see how burn was doing, after all burn is meant to be the rawest and fastest of decks just by flavor, but after watching a series of Modern players piloting the burn decks of today it has felt slow and underwhelming at least for me.
Now don't get me wrong, when comparing burn decks to other decks, burn is certainly a fast deck, but in a vacuum it's felt like this deck-type just wants to go faster but it gets clogged up with lots of 2 drop spells: Eidolon of the Great Revel, Boros Charm, Lightning Helix, Searing Blaze, Rift Bolt, Skullcrack, Atarka's Command, etc. These cards aren't bad, but they feel so clunky if they make up the majority of your hand. I asked myself, certainly there must be a way to cut down on the clunk without cutting the value. And so I tasked myself with cutting such mainstays like Eidolon and S-Blaze to build a deck that could do without the clunk.
Deck Concept: Originally I limited myself to build a burn list of only one-drops in the mainboard. I feel I had succeeded at this task, but I later chose to replace a place set of Bomat Courier for Earthshaker Khenra. More on that later. This deck particularly thrives on casting lots of cheap spells while just as easily getting damage out through combat.
Noteworthy Card Inclusions: This is a lengthy section, so I'll title each paragraph with each atypical card choice and the reasoning behind its inclusion. Do note it's preferable if read in order as the inclusions build off each other.
While Naya or Boros burn is the most prevalent of burn decks I found Mardu to be the best color combination for filling out a 1-drops only policy. While Wild Nacatl is good the lack of haste felt too much of a downside especially if top-decked in the late game. Meanwhile black supplied Bump in the Night which to me felt better than Rift Bolt as the life loss was faster and could trigger prowess on demand.
But hold on, what good is white without Boros Charm or Lightning Helix you might ask? When watching Burn playthroughs I found it a common factor for burn to lose when the match-up got grindy and drawn out as the other deck would play their bigger creatures and the Goblin Guides and Monastery Swiftspears would idly sit by unable to punch through for enough damage and thus had to be used as chump blockers as the burn player prayed to top-deck that extra bolt. I don't think this is how burn should ever be forced to play under and while Path to Exile would be a common sideboard card to remedy this issue you must keep in mind every slot you use for removal is typically a burn spell you take out. The critical thing to take from that example given is most of the time the burn player doesn't need the big threat gone permanently, however; they just need it gone for a turn and that would mean the difference of the game.
Cue Niveous Wisps and his younger brother Renegade Tactics. Now let's put these in perspective, if both of these cards read, "Destroy target creature. Draw a card." they would be playsets in every deck that could fit them. In a burn deck that's what they are, because if we knock out our opponent that turn those creatures are dead for good and we don't lose a burn slot for removal either, because the cantrip practically draws us that extra bolt anyway. In comparison, trying to landfall that Searing Blaze with 18 lands on the turn you desperately needed it never really made much sense to me. People should play their burn spells rather than have their burn spells play them.
Given these cantrips I wanted to run more creatures as they are renewable sources of damage that now had an edge against any would-be beefy blocker. The problem is that there almost isn't any other creature that plays just as good as Goblin Guide or Monastery Swiftspear - almost though.
From face value Sleeper Agent is a paradoxical card choice as it gives the opponent a free bigger creature to block with - well not quite. Let me break this down, the agent is never cast before combat, only after so our opponent's have to wait a full turn cycle if they want to hold up their brand new 3/3 - that is if they get another turn cycle. If I need to top deck a Goblin Guide to break through with enough damage and I draw this it's one in the same. Move to combat, swing, play agent, agent deals 2 damage to opponent at upkeep. Ladies and gents this is the Goblin Guide in black, a 2/3 haste unblockable. Heck if our opponents had more blockers than that extra Goblin Guide would have solved the Sleeper Agent would be better as it still gets through. Now before I hear "why not use Shock instead," Shock does not deal 2 damage to face every turn and if we need the Agent out for more than one turn this deck has the power to neutralize it as a blocker without actually removing them. (Cantrips) In essence we can bake our cake and eat it too, and if that one drop deals two bolts worth damage over three turns that's not bad. On the offense, if our opponent swings at us with it keep in mind it deals the damage to our opponent first. The first turn before our opponent's combat step its dealt 2 damage to them, 0 to us. Second turn before combat, 4 total to them, 3 total to us. Third turn (if there's got to be a third turn) is 6 to 6. Don't ever tell me burn would perform worse if the life totals for each player were set at 14. By the fourth turn even when our opponent has profited 1 extra damage, 9 to 8 are we really going to complain about a one drop dealing 2 Boros Charms worth of damage? Heck with it's consistent damage, the cantrips, and this deck's desire to break through combat I think it's acceptable just to mainboard 3 Path to Exile's to use on any other creature that isn't Sleeper Agent, because both cards have pretty good impact on the late game. Furthermore, no one from legacy burn ever complained about Sulfuric Vortex dealing damage to them, so what is a 3/3 when our life total is 3 bolts higher than theirs?
What's next - a full playset of Shard Volley. I can already sense the collective wincing and groans, but disregard your pre-established notions of this card for a second. When (almost) every card in this deck costs 1 mana you really tend not to need 3 or more lands, and when you're running 8 cantrips you tend to run into lands a lot more than you would with just any burn deck. The point is this deck can cast 3 Shard Volleys in one game and still feel good about it. (And let me tell you, having a cantrip get you that extra land when you need it in the early game feels really good as well.)
The last noteworthy card is Earthshaker Khenra which originally was Bomat Courier. Now I can make the case for either of these cards. Bomat doesn't punch like a Goblin Guide, but when you sac it to put three bolts in your hand you definitely won't be complaining. That said, I'm sticking with the Khenra just over personal preference. For me the Khenra has more immediate practicality as it is two spells molded together. One mana works as cantrips 9 through 12 making a potential blocker useless, which then follows with that extra draw giving us a 1 mana 2/1 haste. Under that logic you could argue it's like playing another set of Goblin Guides, (albeit never on turn one,) but most importantly it provides more "can't block" effects while providing another hasty body to capitalize off said "can't block" effects which I feel strengthens what this deck is good at doing - breaking through combat for more damage.
Sideboard: Sideboard list is generic. Board accordingly to your meta.
Deck Testing: I own the physical deck itself and I've gold-fished it plenty of times. I can attest that it counts to 20 real easily and it feels really smooth to play given the really low mana curve. As for events I sadly don't live anywhere remotely travelable to any place that plays competitive Modern. I do have my local circle that heavily plays casual/pauper and against those decks it does it's job well, but that in no way really indicates it's potential. The only bearing I have of it's worth is that a friend of mine borrowed the list and ended up playing it online against several Modern Merfolk decks which he said my list performed very well against. That friend of mine however won't be around to test it more as he will be gone for a very long time.
Help: As I've said I haven't been in the Modern format in a long time, and besides this deck performing consistently well in a vacuum I have no real bearing as to how well it would play in the Modern meta or how it's match-ups would differ from your typical burn list. I'm posting this here not because I'm looking to change the deck as I like putting my own unique spin on things rather than buying straight off a list. What I'm looking for is if anyone would be able to produce any form of data on how well any of this deck's game 1 match-ups would be against other prominent Modern decks. That's not to say I want people to buy the deck, (that would be silly) but if you or anyone you know happens to own a Modern deck I'd like to know how well that deck does against my deck using the play test feature on Tappedout. (My burn deck should be fairly straightforward to pilot.) I'd like to know the results just for any match-up so that I may gauge whether it's worth saving up to travel to an event or not depending on the results. No one in my local community plays Modern, so I'm without any kind of reference as to where my deck stands, otherwise I'd be able to obtain and access that information for myself.
4 weeks ago
According to rule 616.1, "616.1 If two or more replacement and/or prevention effects are attempting to modify the way an event affects an object or player, the affected object’s controller (or its owner if it has no controller) or the affected player chooses one to apply, following the steps listed below. If two or more players have to make these choices at the same time, choices are made in APNAP order (see rule 101.4)."
So it's the affected player in your instance who chooses which to apply. When your opponent tries to gain life, as the affected player, they choose which one they prefer, not you. They would most likely choose Sulfuric Vortex's effect, so they gain no life, rather than Rain of Gore which would cause them to lose life. In addition, lifegain from lifelink actually is not affected by Rain of Gore, while it is affected by Sulfuric Vortex.
You are correct about Everlasting Torment. Per its rulings: "Effects that would replace gaining life with some other effect won’t be able to do anything because it’s impossible for players to gain life. (2008-05-01)"
4 weeks ago
Everlasting Torment 100% stops Rain of Gore every time since "can't" effects can only be replaced by self replacement effects (this is a small subset of replacement effects and Rain of Gore isn't one of them).
616.1. If two or more replacement and/or prevention effects are attempting to modify the way an event affects an object or player, the affected object’s controller (or its owner if it has no controller) or the affected player chooses one to apply, following the steps listed below. If two or more players have to make these choices at the same time, choices are made in APNAP order (see rule 101.4).
1 month ago
Originally, my playgroup thought it does, but after a while I think that depending how I layer the replacement effects, they wouldn't interact with each other.
Basically, if I have Rain of Gore happen first after a player tries to gain life, the replacement effect will change it so that they lose life instead. Then, Sulfuric Vortex would see the player losing life instead of gaining life and not take effect. Is this correct?
Additionally, am I correct thinking that Everlasting Torment would stop Rain of Gore since it is a static ability which affects the rules of the game (it establishes that no player can gain life at all)?
1 month ago
2 months ago
Thanks for the suggestions McToters. I had seen Sulfuric Vortex, but not Skullcrack. Both are interesting. My first reaction to both is that they don't do enough in isolation, and I am not sure how they synergize with the rest of the deck. Every card needs to fulfill multiple functions or be outstanding and synergize extremely well, or over perform against many deck archetypes. I am struggling to see it with these cards, despite the fact that both do what they are meant to rather well. I will continue to consider what they would mean, and maybe I will find a small adjustment that would make these play really well. Thanks for the suggestion, though. I do appreciate it.
2 months ago
2 months ago
Braid of Fire is definitely tempting. Xantcha is an amazing sink for this card. My only concern would be how long the game lasts. Two mana is such a low investment that it might be worth putting into the deck anyways. Also would make a stronger case for Pyrohemia getting added back into the deck too!
As far as Vampiric Link goes, I think you're spot-on with your analysis. I don't think the lifegain offsets the potential of getting 2-for-1'd and once my opponents know that I'm gaining life for every Xantcha activation; they will probably stop doing it. It also would be a nonbo with 3 cards currently in the deck (Sulfuric Vortex, Havoc Festival, and Rampaging Ferocidon). Along the same line of thinking, I considered adding Phyresis into the deck. However, since it would be the only source of infect, she would either need to attack the same enemy twice or have someone pump 15 mana into her activated ability before she (or the enchantment) gets removed. Alternatively there could be a damage doubler on the battlefield, but I think that's bordering on thinking too wishfully.
Adding in Braid of Fire is really tempting but also hard to slot in. As I mentioned in the update section, I'm trying to add more card draw, another boardwipe (Pyrohemia or Chain Reaction?), and a land. You could somewhat make an argument for Braid of Fire being card draw with Xantcha, but that might be stretching it too much. I'm also looking for cuts in the deck so that I can include those categories of cards; but I love every card that's currently in there. Thinking Crown of Doom even though it encourages attacks and potentially turns Xantcha into a 3 turn kill instead of a 5 turn. Let me know what you think!