BUG combo control
Designed to draw on the power and interactions available within BUG for incredible resilience, consistency, and brutality. Developed for a highly competitive multiplayer environment (tournament pods) but holds up extremely well in 1v1.
Primary Win Conditions:
There are far more interactions than that in the deck, but they are more dependent on board state in that they require more cards to be on the field and are easier to disrupt.
Sideboard: cards that are currently in the deck but are being considered for replacement.
Maybeboard: cards that are currently not in the deck and are being considered for inclusion.
Regarding My Meta
This deck is meant to be played in highly competitive environments. I play to win, and there are no house rules. It's by-the-books, tournament-level gameplay and the deck needs to be operating flawlessly at the highest level to survive. Therefore, I will not include any cards that lack power or synergy with the rest of the deck.
Please do NOT suggest the following cards. They are suggested all too often, and they aren't viable in this deck.
This deck is performing well, but I still feel that it should be faster and more consistent. Maybe I'm just greedy.
Speaking of greed, I have a list of cards to acquire.
This deck keeps getting faster and faster. Recent changes:
I had the opportunity today to play a couple games with this deck, and I also spent a good deal of time speaking with its codesigner. He has opted to drop many of the expensive counterspells and ramp cards in favor of their faster counterparts. He also runs a few mana dorks - a choice with which I don't necessarily agree. However, I more frequently play in multiplayer pods, so I face a higher risk of playing against sweepers.
I cut the filter lands for basics because, after talking with my friend, I realized they weren't always optimal. Running two of each basic allows me to squeeze a few extra uses out of my fetches. I also upgraded the basics into snow-covered basics in case I run into anyone using snow lands any Extraplanar Lens .
Finally, I dropped Survival of the Fittest for Lotus Cobra . I don't run enough creatures for Survival of the Fittest to really do what I need it to do, and Lotus Cobra is stupid with nine fetches, Nature's Lore , Skyshoud Claim, and three Exploration effects.
I'm considering dropping
In the wake of the RC's horrendous decision to ban Primeval Titan , I have made the following changes to the deck:
Dropping some of the cards I've come to question for some cards that hold the Promise of Power .
Is there any reason to run snow lands over regular ones or vice versa? You don't have Scrying Sheets , or is it just preference?
The snow basics are there in case some enterprising monocolor player is running snow lands and Extraplanar Lens .
I really enjoy seeing a good logic behind decks. You are pretty on the point. I recently decided to make a little something of a sideboard for my casual damia with wizards and been tinkering about her trying to come up with my own way of being very rude.
I especially love how we can abuse the land ETB's on the deck if we build towards it.
So, what happens when someone, say kicks a Sadistic Sacrament on you or something?
I think the point of this deck is for one of two things:
1) Win before then
2) Not let that happen
As in all of MTG, there will be "good cards" that will disrupt a certain strategy. The thing is though, for something like a kicked Sadistic Sacrament , if resolved, most combo decks would fall over. But usually the chances of that happening are quite low.
@Thres22: Generally, people don't play Sadistic Sacrament in multiplayer because it only handles one target. If you remove someone's ability to win in multiplayer, that player will likely just spend the rest of the game shutting you down and letting your other opponents win.
However, the contingency plan, theoretically, would be to prevent Sadistic Sacrament from resolving. In the event that it does resolve, I would probably still have a way to combo out, but it would be complicated at best.
As enpc said, some strategies are just inherently vulnerable to some cards or other strategies. Combo is vulnerable to its pieces being removed. The countermagic is there to protect it, but it isn't a failsafe shield, unfortunately.
Epochalyptik: Have you ever thought of including Basalt Monolith and running Power Artifact to generate infinite mana? Also, what about Exsanguinate instead of or in addition to Blue Sun's Zenith ? I like Exsanguinate because it can wipe the entire pod at once.
I am new to EDH and trying to find a deck I really enjoy playing. You mentioned in one of your posts that you played at Icon's. I really miss that store. Do you play in DE or MD? I play in DE now. Your deck seem like it would be a ton of fun to play. Would you be offended if I built it and toyed around with it a bit?
@FunGhoul: Basalt Monolith and Power Artifact is a decent combo, but my deck doesn't really have a way to consistently abuse it. I could use Power Artifact in conjunction with Grim Monolith as well, but that's more of a "oh, this is on the field so I guess I'll do that" kind of moment. I'd need to have access to one to know to tutor the other.
Exsanguinate was the deck's original win condition, but I cut it because it was only a win condition. Blue Sun's Zenith can also take out a pod effectively at once, and it has utility outside of the combo. That's kind of the guiding principle for combo choices: the pieces need to be usable in some way outside of a combo so I'm never stuck with dead cards.
I used to play at Icons, but that ended when the store did. I'm a DE local, but I don't play in any of the shops around here. I've been extraordinarily busy recently, and I just haven't gotten back into Magic in a serious way since I left Standard at the Zendikar rotation.
Feel free to build the deck and modify it to your tastes. I'd appreciate if you point people toward this list, but that's up to you. Other users have given reports of playing against this deck on Cockatrice, so people are definitely seeing it and copying it (not that it bothers me; I like that other people think the deck is viable enough to duplicate).
I will say, however, that combo-control is one of the most difficult archetypes to duplicate and play. There are a lot of nuances that may not be immediately apparent to people who didn't make the deckbuilding decisions themselves. Even I'm still learning things about this deck. If you have any questions about an interaction, why a card was included, or how a certain card might perform, feel free to ask.
Thank you. I have tinkered with a few different U/X commanders, but none really took other than Vendilion Clique . While it is a good deck and fun for me, I feel really badly putting anyone through that. For me, Magic hasn't been the same since Icon's closed. I recently stopped playing Standard altogether so I can focus on the longer running formats (EDH, Modern, and Legacy). Eventually, I would like to play in some EDH tourneys.
I definitely understand what you are saying about combo-control being skill intensive. As a Magic player over the past few years, I have started gravitating toward that style of play. I think that is why I am anxious to build this. I will definitely point people to this list and ask, if I have any questions. Right now, I am still trying to keep all of the oracle text updates straight too. Thanks again. I appreciate it!
I made a few changes to your list which I have used almost exclusively to build this deck. I want to give you a sincere thank you for your time and effort. Deathrite Shaman became Carpet of Flowers because fetches are not being played by my opponents to a large extent but blue is a very popular color.Glen Elendra Archmage became Negate for the reasons you mentioned concerning her expensive initial mana investment. Imperial Seal became Diabolic Intent for monetary reasons. Chromatic Lantern became Worldly Tutor because this is the weakest card in your deck and in most games is not necessary. Worldly Tutor address the weaknesses of Green Sun's Zenith . Do you agree with my substitions?
Out of curiosity, what are your feelings on Kiora's Follower ? I know its a 2 drop (and all of your ramp critters are 1 CMC) but follower does let you untap your artifacts. At worst, its comparable to Arbor Elf but with things like Gilded Lotus it gives good value.
enpc ~ if memory serves Kiora's Follower was discussed ina prior sectio of the many comments this deck has seen I believe Epoch's response was something akin to "neat trick but overall lackluster and not advantageous enough to remove something for".
I could be remembering wrong but with a deck built like this one is every single card must be useful at all times and Kiora's Follower just isn't that. Untapping mana rocks and the like is nice but with this build ultimately unnecessary as rarely will he be paying to untap mana vauly and the like anyway. Again only if I remember his prior comments correctly.
Ahh, found the comment. Buried deep in the cleanups. Makes sense. I wouldn't say the follower isn't not useful at all times (hows that for triple negative), but its more down to input to output value. I guess most of the +1 mana permanent ramp in the deck is 1 CMC. Presumably the danger of it would be that you you draw it to play on turn 3 and A) it doesn't ramp that turn which leads to B) you don't have enough mana for catchall counterspells that turn.
enpc ~ that's about the gist of it. And as for more specifically about Kiora's Follower you don't ever want to draw something and think "well this isn't aint not wonderfully horribly fantastic but okay" (see what I did there?) And I can think of several specific scenarios with THIS deck where you would not want to draw the follower. And in competetive EDH where everyone's deck is trying to just outright kill the table at the same time, drawing anything that isn't immediately useful (except counter magic of course. Gotta hold that back) is not ideal.
I think you just broke the internets with that one, I tip my hat to you good sir :P
@Frank_Glascock: Glen Elendra Archmage and Chromatic Lantern have been replaced in the paper deck; I guess I never updated the online list. I don't remember what I swapped them for; I should update this soon.
The changes you made do make sense, and I agree with them. I'd probably have the most trouble dropping Deathrite Shaman , but, as you indicated, DRS is a meta-dependent card. Carpet of Flowers is certainly very powerful, and suitable either in addition to or as a replacement for DRS.
@enpc: Bellock86 summed up my thoughts on Kiora's Follower quite nicely. I'm open to further discussion if someone has tested it in a build like this and found results contrary to what I expected, but realistically, Kiora's Follower doesn't seem worthy of inclusion.
Any ideas on what to use instead of the crazy expensive dual lands and the the expensive search lands? either swap them for mono lands or lands that come into play tapped. i know that makes the deck a lot slower but also makes it a little better price wise
I recommend against taplands because you don't want to sacrifice your tempo for color fixing if you can help it. Also, be aware that cutting the ABUR duals and fetches will impact other elements of the build. For example, Crucible of Worlds becomes near useless, and you may have trouble paying for saturated costs on a regular basis.
I know they come in tapped but for $.15 each you can use the mirage fetches. Flood Plain and the rest. Good for budget and if you have, turns around to look at the EDH box, 10 EDH decks that you don't want to get ABURs and Zen fetches for.
Also, Adarkar Wastes pain lands are a good place to look.
what about Bojuka Bog or Tormod's Crypt to add a bit more grave hate? why not run Vendilion Clique for hand control, draw power, blocker, and potential combo to eternally control all players hands. also, no Tamiyo, the Moon Sage due to the high CMC?
@Atsuma: Bojuka Bog is too slow, and Tormod's Crypt takes up a spot that would be better spent on another card. I like the idea of graveyard hate, but the choice ultimately comes down to graveyard hate or something else, and the something else invariably wins. I just don't have need for heavy graveyard hate in this deck.
Vendilion Clique is something I'd have to test to evaluate.
Tamiyo, the Moon Sage is pointless in this deck. Its only relevant ability is the last one, and it costs 3UU and five more turns to even get there. The +1 is alright, but in no way justifies the investment of time, mana, and deck space necessary to support the card itself.
Epoch you don't have enough tricks in the deck to get the most from Vendilion Clique . It's actually a card I really hate, unless you can a) play multiples or b) can bounce.
Also a lot of players use tutors which renders it somewhat useless.
it is a wizard allowing Riptide Laboratory to bounce it and is something you could bind to Deadeye Navigator , recur with any of the numerous recursion, or bounce with Venser, the Sojourner in radically niche situations such as someone just tutored for a combo piece. I agree with you chiefbell that it is overplayed and people treat it a tad goodstuffy when it isn't, but i think this deck runs the synergy to make it work.
BSZ is the primary wincon when a Tooth and Nail resolves for infinite mana and tutor power. It also functions as a re-playable draw spell when not in the combo. It can be tutored directly without needing a recursion piece.
Aside from Blue Sun's Zenith shuffling back into the library, they're the same card, and going back into the library was the reason he chose Hinder over Spell Crumple , so I'm curious why in this instance the opposite logic is the choice?
Hinder is something you want to be available when you need it as opposed to BSZ, which is useful when it presents itself. Hinder is marginally better than Spell Crumple because if you crumple someone's commander, you don't have the option to crumple the next player's commander, should they decide to cast it. You can recur Hinder over a turn cycle easily before it gets back to your turn.
@tuckchuck33: Blue Sun's Zenith is better than Stroke of Genius because it shuffles back into my library. While this reasoning is inconsistent with my Hinder vs. Spell Crumple reasoning, there is logic to the difference.
Hinder is better than Spell Crumple because it's easier to access with Snapcaster Mage and Eternal Witness should I need it. Blue Sun's Zenith is better off remaining in my library instead of in my graveyard because I depend on it as a win condition. The graveyard is much, much easier to disrupt than my library is, and I'd rather keep my win conditions where they are most protected.
Normally what I do is cast Blue Sun's Zenith on myself to draw exactly my library total, then blink Rune-Scarred Demon to pick it up again. Each time I cast it, I recur it so I can kill another player.
Out of curiosity, what is your opinion of Turnabout ? I've been running it for a while now and have been really happy with it as a card. 4 out of 5 times I treat it like an Early Harvest however having the ability to tap down my opponent's creatures or alnds at instant speed is really cool. Not to mention, it provides an infintie mana combo that doesn't revolve around palinchron. I find it most useful (other than when I'm comboing off) when I want to play my general and still have counterspell mana open. Thoughts?
Thanks for a awesome deck Epochalyptik. I've been piloting a tweeked version (minus the most expensive and the off color fetches. I love the consistency as long as Palinchron doesn't get Extract ed lol. My primary win con is Vela the Night-Clad which let's me run cheaper tutors Worldly Tutor and kills the whole table at once.
@Shawn_ozz: Glad you're enjoying it. I would personally advise against Vela the Night-Clad because its only real function is as a combo piece. In general, I try to make sure the combo pieces are all able to function well as regular cards if necessary.
Epochalyptik Well if you were more creature oriented Vela the Night-Clad could be pretty nasty. From what I know of you, you don't acknowledge your combat step. Shawn_ozz might be creature based enough that it could be pulling double duty.
Yep she's a dead card outside of the win. I've kept the rest of the win-cons as well. What I was trying was an easier win. Decking and bouncing all permanents seems like a lot of work. Mostly bc it's hard to get my play group to scoop. If I can make everyone's life total 0 at the same time it's a definitive win. Do u have any other cards you've considered that might do it. She's also a wizard for Cavern of Souls
@Shawn_ozz: If you're running the deck very similar to this build, I always find Massacre Wurm is good for a laugh. Its not as powerful as an Exsanguinate however it is good against weenie / creature sac loops. you get infinite mana from Forbidden Orchard and then play this guy.
@Epochalyptik: Fair enough. Its tricky trying to find cards that are both versatile and then that arent unplayable due to mana cost/other restrictions. Currently I am still running Turnabout as a combo piece, but i would interested to get your feedback if you don't mind. I've had Damia Morgendorffer for a while and run it through quite a few archtypes until I found one that worked, so I've taken a lot of inspiriation from your deck.
In terms of replacements for Vela the Night-Clad , you should run something that gives you a definitive win, but also functions well as a stand-alone card. What's wrong with the Blue Sun's Zenith win con?
Blue Sun's Zenith is a valid win. Just seems like there's to many ways to mess it up. Lol. Having to deck one person at a time vs killing everyone at the same time. Just my preference
By the time you're casting Blue Sun's Zenith , you should have your library in your hand, and every counterspell you could possibly ever need. Not that you need any; you'll have Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir on the board.
Victory with this list is complete victory.
Nothing is wrong with Blue Sun's Zenith . I very much agree that it's a really solid card. Its more of an underlying thing with the deck.
Let me liken it to a metaphor about the Apache helicopter. So, when Boeing designed the Apache, the said "we want it to be fast". As such it has two stupidly powerful motors on each side. and it shows, the top speed of the helicopter is just under 300km/h (~180mph for our imperial friends out there). The only problem is that with the military application of the helicopter, the engines are a dead giveaway on location. And RPGs are just faster. So to compensate for the volume of noise, they build acousitc attenuation into the engine housing. WHich meant that the enines were running hot. So then they designed a custom exhause system to compensate. And the result, moderately quiet, thermally quiet and fast helicopter. Awesome. Regardless on your inclination to military endevours or not, there is a lot of really beautiful engineering that has gone on here.
So if I could reel it back in. Your deck is very similar. Its a competetive deck, so the key defining point is that it's faster than most. Becasue in competetive magic, better generally means faster. Things like Mana Vault , Grim Monolith , Mana Crypt are all really fast cards, but with drawbacks. I'm presuming that a lot of the games, you don't ever untap monolith after you've used it once. Its the same as running Dark Ritual . So the deck is fast, but usually leaves you with no cards in hand very quickly. And from playing Damia myself, I know that sometimes you can have a situation where your opening hand ramp alone only gets you to 5 or 6 mana. So to compensate you put things like Mystic Remora and Necropotence in.
But becasue the deck is fast it means that it will draw hate, and you've spent a lot of card spaces (I count 19 for your deck) on mana ramp. An the deck is running black and blue, giving you access to a lof of tutors. Once you look at hte remaining cards spaces there aren't really enough to go for a fast creature beats strategy, especially in 4 player. and not only that but one well timed field wipe and you're left floundering. Beats are fragile. Not to mention combos usually require less cards. But combos are also fragile and so you've packed your deck with counterspells (again, I counted 13, with 2 instant speed ways of getting more to hand as well as Misdirection and Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir to help win counter wars). And the idea is to have combos with more control.
But realistically speaking, your deck runs one win combo. Sure, you can venser + deadeye lots of stuff, but thats not winning. And without infinite mana its ok, but more annoying than anything else. For everybody involved. there are realistically two cards in your deck which the deck hinges on, Blue Sun's Zenith and Palinchron .
The other path to take is to make the deck more robust, with more fallback combos. I'm not saying make the whole deck combotasic and have no control, but have options. And thats not a "you should modify your deck" because if it works as is (which it seems to) then great!
It also comes down to your meta. And sometimes I would rather my opponent have the big creature on the battlefield and me with a kill spell in my hand over countering it to begin with. Because why not. The attention is on them, and if they don't attack me / isn't disrupting my plays then realistically, who cares.
TL;DR - Less combos and more control is nice, but strictly speaking worst case scenario a bit of combo flexibility is also important.
Despite that wall of text, I don't want it to sound like me yelling "Dies to removal" or "build a better deck IMO" because I have a lot of respect for your deck. It IS very well built. I just think that metas also have a lot to do with deck construction.
Are you actually arguing with Epochalyptik about his own deck that HE built and has owned for what ... 3 years? 4 years?
You don't need to run tons of combos when you're playing a control shell. You have all the counterspells in the world.
Deadeye + Venser is a win because last time I checked Deadeye was a 5/5 that can do a lot of damage when the opponent has like no land left.
Also even if everything goes wrong and the combo falls apart - Eternal Witness .
I think you're underestimating how robust this deck is to interference, basically.
@ChiefBell - To answer your question, no, I'm not arguing about his deck that HE built. The last thing I wanted my commnet to do was to start an internet argument. Because nobody wins with those. Please don't assume I'm trolling or arguing for the sake of it.
As for the deck's robustness, I can't comment in depth because A) I haven't versed it and B) I haven't played with it. I have played with similar styles and know their pitfalls, so was merely commenting from my own experience. And sure, I'm playnig with something 1/4 the price, so I try to factor that into my judgement.
I think that perhaps you should have phrased you points about blue sun as a question rather than statements - that way they cant be misconstrued.
valid point. I can see how it could be taken agressively. with the venser + deadeye move, I don't disagree it's awesome but without infinite mana, its hard to bounce everything a player owns (don't get me wrong, you can hit a lot, but with 3 other players that is still a lot of mana needed). Thats the case I was talking about :P
While I suppose you're technically correct in saying there's only one "true" winning combo insofar as we're talking about combos that instantaneously kill other players, you're wrong in saying that there's only one "win combo."
As ChiefBell pointed out, Venser, Shaper Savant is certainly a winning card. In the event that I have no hard win in hand, I can shut down all of my opponents and kill them if they don't scoop. That's a win.
Taking infinite turns is also a win because I'll eventually kill the other players by combat or combo. I'll never end up decking myself this way, either, because I'll draw my win sooner or later.
While it's fair to say that I rely heavily on Deadeye Navigator and Palinchron (as individual cards and together as a combo), the deck has proven itself strong enough to overcome the major issues inherent with a centralized approach. While it would certainly be nice to diversify a bit, diversification means sacrificing some of the other elements of the deck. The balance right now is volatile, but it holds. Too few counterspells or too little ramp means I'll never defend or reach my win condition.
Additionally, the backup win conditions are specifically designed to be web-like. Most of the combos share pieces so I can transition to another combo by replacing any missing pieces. Furthermore, the pieces were chosen for their ability to function as standalone cards. That means I can still use them outside of combos, so they aren't dead draws.
I know you are very busy and I appreciate greatly the time you set aside to answer these questions. I do have a request that you update the deck list to reflect the recent changes you have made. Feel free to ignore this request if it is too time intensive as you have already contributed so much.
I'll go through the decklist later today. If I don't do it now, I probably won't bother with it for a long while.
You may or may not have considered it already, but I think Cryptic Command would be a valuable utility spell, allowing you to counter a combo piece or gain tempo against an aggressive deck (Geist of Saint Traft comes to mind, but there are definitely others).
I also have a couple of questions about the uses of certain cards in your deck. What artifacts and enchantments is Nature's Claim there to deal with? What are the activated and triggered abilities that make Voidslime the choice over Dissipate ?
3 u can be a pain to get in a three color deck. It used to be in the deck (read 7th update down). Also, Voidslime counters combos before they reach the field and can counter opposing Palinchron untap-esque abilites, Venser, Shaper Savant , even Snapcaster Mage .
@imarockyou: This one is slightly more updated, although the MTGS one goes into much greater depth.
@thispersonisagenius: I cut Cryptic Command a while ago because it's so mana intensive. It's a good spell. It's a really good spell. It just hasn't been practical in the situations this deck often encounters.
Regarding Voidslime , it stops almost any combo or control effect from resolving. Many combos are based on abilities. For example, this deck can stop counterspells by using Boseiju, Who Shelters All to cast Tooth and Nail , but Voidslime would be able to interfere with the ability-based combo. I don't like that it's a GUU spell, but it's the best at what it does.
Thank you for answering me, Trying to build this deck (hope fetches get reprint) Why dont you play Lake of the dead?
Lake of the Dead can't be fetched, and it requires me to sacrifice a Swamp in order to get it onto the battlefield. I only play five Swamps total, and four of them are dual lands. Those aren't the kinds of lands I want to be sacrificing for something like this, especially when you consider I lose tempo unless I sacrifice another Swamp to activate the last ability.
On the note of fetching land, what're your feelings on Crop Rotation ? At worst its a land fixer, but you can dig for things like Strip Mine or Homeward Path at instant speed. I like it with Bojuka Bog personally (I know you're not running that one due to the tappedness of it) but even still, you have a lot of utility lands. Thoughts?
Can you make a 1v1 version of this deck, i doubt you'll have to change much, but i fully understand if u can't.
@imarockyou If you're referring to French EDH/Duel Commander, the big problem is that you lose the best ramp, and move into a format that's faster than multiplayer. You lose access to Sol Ring , Mana Vault , Mana Crypt , Sensei's Divining Top , Vampiric Tutor , Crucible of Worlds , Strip Mine , Ancient Tomb , Mana Drain , and Necropotence . This deck gets a lot weaker without those cards, and 1v1 is a lot faster. More hand disruption, more counter-heavy decks, and more mono red decks that use LOTS of land destruction.
@NotSoLuckyLydia, to be fair, 1v1 is a much slower format. I mean, midrange is an actual competitive archetype, which demonstrates exactly how fair the format is.
Midrange in 1v1 is the same as midrange in modern and legacy. 15 discard spells, 15 kill spells, and a bunch of hyperefficient creatures. Or, in the case of marath, a bunch of absurdly good creatures. Every deck that isn't combo is trying to stop combo, while combo is trying to go off turn four. Combo/control decks aren't as good in that format as they are in multiplayer, because you don't have the busted ramp spells to make it as good.
I agree that combo control isn't amazing in the format, but even so, its a pretty slow format, with the critical turn being about 5, whereas with modern its 3-4 and legacy its 2-3. It's often slower than standard. Also, the vast majority of the meta isn't combo, as the only true combos that are viable are reanimator and animar.
Also Elfball, (With Marath or Ezuri), Doomsday, Karador, Mimeoplasm Infect, Prossh, and Enchantress. I'm not saying that combo is dominant. I'm saying that if you can't beat the combo decks, you can't compete in the format. Though I don't think this is the right place to talk about that.
Elfball (according to many of its pioneers in the format) isn't a true combo deck, doomsday is pretty niche, enchantress is (sadly) noncompetitive, karador is more of a value midrange deck than a combo deck, Mimeo infect is niche, prossh is another beatdown or control deck with combo engame. But I agree let's not discuss here, or anywhere since I'm tired.
At my locals you can play in 1v1 tournaments but they don't use the french rules, but me asking you to make a whole different list is a bit selfish. I just want a way to go back and forth in and out of the tournament
@enpc: Some people like Crop Rotation . I think it's unnecessary because it doesn't actually ramp, and it requires the sacrifice as an additional cost to cast. If I depended more heavily on my special lands, I could see it being worth testing.
@imarockyou: It depends on the level of competition. 1v1, especially French EDH, is a completely different beast. The meta is faster than this deck can consistently survive, and French rules ban a lot of the heavy early-game ramp power on which this deck relies. Overall, the deck is a little too slow to put up the same kinds of results in 1v1. That's not to say it can't be modified for that kind of game; rather, it just won't be as effective against the best 1v1 decks.
Consider aggressive control decks like Zur the Enchanter , which stop you early in the game by using generals that facilitate investment in control.
Would Courser of Kruphix work? With the ramp and fetches gaining 2 life or is is to slow?
The lifegain is pretty negligible. Remember that Courser of Kruphix doesn't actually provide any ramp; it merely changes the zones from which I can play lands. Overall, it's not worth the slot considering the other options.
Trinket Mage is a decent card, but I haven't found it to be worthwhile. Although it can ramp or find a utility rock, it hasn't performed well enough in testing to beat other tutors or possible inclusions.
It's one of those player's choice cards. You can use it, but I don't.
Ahh ok! Thanks!
It's likely that you've thought about it before, but Thragtusk seems like a solid and advantageous creature to add to the deck. It could potentially provide a secondary win condition if your first Blue Sun's Zenith or Palinchron is somehow incapacitated, as gaining a pile of life and creating a horde of chump blockers/attackers is more than fine alongside Deadeye Navigator . Is it too slow to contribute, or otherwise inefficient? I'm not sure what sort of decks you generally play against, so I may be incorrect in assuming that infinite lifegain is an autowin.
Thragtusk doesn't really provide anything. It might seem alright in a more casual deck, but it just isn't a realistic option for competitive variants.
Infinite life is not a true win condition because it doesn't create an unrecoverable situation for opponents. They can easily continue on and kill me with true combos. It's not like infinite turns, where it's more easily assumed that I'll find a hard combo to actually end the game. The infinite tokens are alright, but they lack haste, and I don't want to rely on combat to win. Ultimately, Thragtusk puts up mediocre results without offering much as a standalone card.
Why no Personal Tutor , beacouse of the slow sorcery speed?
Personal Tutor is a good card, but it's unnecessary in this deck. Imperial Seal is strictly superior in this deck, and I don't need to cram every top-shelf tutor effect into the deck. I suppose if you were concerned with maximizing tutor power, you could include it, but you then begin to cut into the rest of the space in the deck.
Is it the same reason u do not run Merchant Scroll ?
Yes. Blue has strong tutors, but only if you don't run black. Black's tutor power is much better because you get general, hidden searches for the same price or cheaper.
While I like the new Garruk in a vacuum, it's far too expensive and limited to be viable in this deck, or in competitive EDH for that matter. Its only relevant ability in competitive EDH is the first one, and even that ability is only marginally relevant. Certainly not worth the mana cost considering catch-all solutions exist at the 2- and 3-CMC slots. See: Vindicate , Maelstrom Pulse , etc.
Sorry for all the questions, Building your deck and wondering why you don't play some cards and how to replace Imperial Seal
I don't mind the questions.
Imperial Seal is a very strong card, but it puts quite a strain on your budget. Consider running some of the blue or black tutors. Some, like Personal Tutor , bring down the monetary cost, keep the mana cost (or converted mana cost), and put limitations on what you can find. Others, like Diabolic Tutor , bring down the monetary cost, increase the converted mana cost, but don't put limitations on what you can find.
One tutor that I love to use in any B deck is Beseech the Queen . Can be cast for BBB but it has flexibility to be used with mana rocks that allow you to pay a little more if you don't have the triple B. The only real downside in EDH is the reveal, but sometimes there's power in letting someone see something that you tutored for. Keeping them scared.
Give that a try imarockyou.
I'M 50% done with the deck, now comes the Very expensive stuff. I am devoted to creating this deck but i'm a teenager and i do not have a job and throwing up amounts of cash like that is hard
Why don't you play Brainstorm ? Was it already in the deck and you cut it?
quick question about mana rocks; between Mana Vault , Grim Monolith and Mana Crypt which one do you find gives you the best bang for buck (ignoring price)? Do you ever find you sink the mana to untap the two? Also, with Ancient Tomb , how does the life loss go? Do you find you burn yourself a lot with it?
@enpc: It's a hard choice. I really like both Mana Vault and Mana Crypt , and it depends strongly on the first turn. Mana Crypt is always free, but Mana Vault provides a little extra if I've got a spare mana after my opening plays (say, for example, I go land, Exploration , land).
Generally speaking, Ancient Tomb doesn't do too much damage to me. I obviously can't go infinite with it, but the acceleration it provides means I usually don't have to suffer for too many turns.
I was wondering your thoughts on Mox Diamond in this deck when you can? When you compare it to Chrome Mox , it doesn't seem as bad. It taps for any color, unlike chrome (the chances of you're exiling a multicolored card doesn't seem likely). The downside could be pretty bad. Normally, discarding a land isn't the worst, that being said with the 4 Exploration effects it could hurt. I could see the diamond doing some serious work, but is it worth it?
I've never been a fan of Mox Diamond . In a vacuum, it seems like a good card. But in practice, I just haven't seen many opportunities for it to truly shine. I generally start with some kind of land-per-turn accelerator, so I can get by without burning land cards. I suppose the counterargument is that this deck plays Crucible of Worlds , but if you look at the set of games in which Mox Diamond 's acceleration makes up for its downside by a relevant magnitude, it's smaller than the set of games in which Mox Diamond 's downside and vulnerability as a potential 2-for-1 artifact are liabilities.
Of course, that's all rather theoretical, and playtesting data is still the main factor, but I haven't pulled the trigger on that inclusion.
Mental Misstep is meh. I don't see it being a game-changer, and I don't know that it makes a strong enough case for itself to warrant serious testing. What are your thoughts?
Soul Manipulation is pretty bad in comparison to the cards I already run. It's expensive and limited.
If you're not running Spell Pierce , then i'm not sure that Flusterstorm is worth it. Whilst Flusterstorm generally hits 3-ish, (it can be 2 if you're the one trying to stop the combo), Spell Pierce is more versatile, hitting mana-rocks and planeswalkers. Mental Misstep is really good for winning counter wars if cmc 1 counters are really common. It's quite restrictive, but being free, it means people don't expect it. It may or may not be worth it in here, depending on what types of counter spells people play. Also: countering a turn 1 Sol Ring is quite nice.
Mental Misstep is allmost allways a free counter spell (and you know how powerful Force of Will is) it can count Land Tax , Thoughtseize , Sol Ring , 1 mana tutors, many elves, Phyrexian Dreadnought , Sensei's Divining Top , Swords to the plowshares, Mana Vault , Exploration , etc it's amazing.
Unfortunately, I have few opportunities to playtest anymore. Maybe I'll start driving up to FNM and looking for games.
The problem is the reveal. Black tutors are much better as they don't know what you're getting. Sure, it's an instant, but if they know what you're going to do next turn, it's far easier to play around. It's also just less versatile than vampiric, as if you have a combo in hand, it can get Force of Will or Swan Song . If you have 8 mana it can get Tooth and Nail . If you're mana screwed you can grab a Sol Ring . (Probably better than birds). Or, if you're screwed for coloured mana, you can still grab birds. But if you reveal that you're getting birds, the opponents will go: "Guys, he grabbed birds off a tutor, he either needs the coloured mana, or is low on mana, let's kill them." I think the tutor is a good card, but i'm sure as hell that it has been considered/suggested before.
I forgot about that part. :/
Makes sense in a competitive environment.
Technically you want 10 for TaN. Nine for the cast, untap seven with Palinchron , tutor for Deadeye Navigator with Rune-Scarred Demon , then play Deadeye Navigator for six, and finally two to flicker Palinchron to start the combo.
I have been on the fence about Chromatic Lantern for a while. It's an alright card, but it's better in less optimized decks. It's more of a bandage for suboptimal (a term I use inoffensively here) land bases because it provides color fixing and (minor) acceleration. However, I didn't really find it necessary in playtesting. I might slot it back in, but it doesn't serve a vital function. The 3-3-9 land split allows me to color fix basically whenever I want, and I would very rarely find that Chromatic Lantern provided me with something I needed and didn't have.
I was effectively paying 3 for a Birds of Paradise , and it was ok, but not great.
As I said, I rarely have the opportunity to playtest. I only just put Flusterstorm into my paper deck, and I probably won't have the opportunity to do some serious testing until several weeks from now.
I don't know if this has been asked before but have you considered Chord of Calling . I appreciate it can seem expensive but when you have things like Oracle of Mul Daya or Azusa, Lost but Seeking or even just Damia, Sage of Stone herself in play you can take advantage of the convoke. Then you can fetch things like Snapcaster Mage or Eternal Witness at instant speed or just play Venser, Shaper Savant straight from your library. I know you run GSZ already but the power to fetch anthing at instant speed, even if to fetch a Birds of Paradise at the end of your opponent's turn is solid.
Also, a quick question about Necropotence - I know its a really powerful card as you try to get Damia down as fast as possible but do you ever run into issues where you're suffering from the exile ability? Are cards like Mind Twist and Thoughtseize common in your meta? I've always been hesitant about it running a slower deck, it seems really good but without the proper setup it feels to almost slow the deck down in some ways. Thoughts?
So Stifle is just there for now, you haven't tested it yet
@enpc: Chord of Calling is pretty risky, I feel. Yes, I can use convoke to slightly reduce its cost, but most of the creatures I'm likely to have out early have tap abilities. Several of the non-tap creatures don't come out until my endgame. In that light, convoke really doesn't promise a whole lot.
I generally don't suffer. Nobody plays Mind Twist and Thoughtseize at the competitive multiplayer level. They're just too narrow in effect; you expend resources to stop a single player, and you end up making yourself a target for vendettas and setting yourself back on resources. Even if someone attempts to kill Necropotence immediately, I can respond by refilling or overfilling my hand to keep my options open.
I have a question about the nature of the competitive Birthing Pod s you play in: do players deliberately make card choices to stop others from having fun in order to win? Examples of this may include playing Iona, Shield of Emeria to potentially shut out a mono-color player, or playing Blazing Archon when you are expecting lots of creatures. Any effort to inhibit the fun of other players just for the sake of winning the game?
@thispersonisagenius: Your question is very difficult to answer because you're using a definition of fun that doesn't necessarily apply to the mindsets common in competitive circles.
I'll explain. I take (perhaps masochistic) pleasure in high-stakes, high-tension, cutthroat games. It's exhilarating to think that a single misplay even at the mulligan stage can determine your game. Every play is very strategic, and victory is supremely satisfying when you reflect on all you had to do correctly to achieve it.
Now, it seems like you're trying to apply the traditional Timmy definition of fun to competitive EDH, and that doesn't really work in any direct sense. Yes, people like to make plays, but to play in the highest level of competition in any format, you need to accept that plays like Iona, Shield of Emeria or counterspells are distinct and real possibilities and even probabilities. getting shut down isn't necessarily unfun at this point because significant emphasis is placed on the pure thrill of facing an opponent who's as determined to win as you are.
It's kind of like playing paintball or airsoft. You get an adrenaline rush when you realize the only thing stopping you from losing to your opponents is everything. Every decision -- every minute detail -- affects what happens over the course of the game, and it's the acute awareness of that fact, combined with the drive to win, that makes playing the game such a fun experience. Winning is fun, but losing isn't not fun (double negatives be damned).
That's part of the reason I play this deck only in competitive pods. Games are only mutually fun if players have mutual definitions of fun. I don't take this deck to a casual pod because I know this isn't the kind of experience they value, and I don't have fun if I'm depriving others of the kind of experience they want.
Just my opinion, but what about Lotus Petal ? Not too much user later in the game, but for start it can be used for countering or destroying something with your Nature's Claim IF you happen to not have the correct starting mana.
Fair enough. I would've thought things like Thoughtseize would get some play, if not just for an excuse to look at an oponent's hand. But I appreciate outside of that its pretty lackluster and usually you need to see their hand to know if you should cast it in the first place. Good ol' catch 22. I guess you would be better off just running Gitaxian Probe . One thing that I've always noticed about your deck (and I know this is entirely meta dependent) is that you run little to no after-the-fact control. Technically speaking you only run one creature kill spell and one non-creature kill spell. I know you can venser something back to hand and then counter it on the replay but as removal goes it seems like a bit of a waste, the whole 2 for 1 thing. Is it just because the meta isn't very permanent based? At top tier I'm guessing a fair chunk of the decks are U/G/x decks so that they have access to things like Deadeye Navigator and Tooth and Nail and all of the good counterspells. but how do you go against things like Vexing Shusher (his ilk may not be played) and Boseiju, Who Shelters All ? I appreciate things like Strip Mine help but with every deck running their own one and presumably their own Crucible of Worlds too do you run into times where a trusty Doom Blade (O.N.O.) would be a better move than a counterspell? The reason I ask is because I come from a fairly permanent based meta where combat damage is 75% of the victory condition. Thoughts?
Epochalyptik your previous comment begs the question: What do you take to more casual pods?
@Flornhale: Lotus Petal is only really good if I start with it in my opening hand. If I draw it after turn one or two, it's basically a worse land because I lose it after I use it. The marginal advantage isn't really worth the risk.
@enpc: That's one of the ongoing and deeply theoretical debates about this deck. Usually, it's a debate about the balance between counterspells and permanent removal. While permanent removal is certainly valuable, counterspells allow me to react to the most critical permanent spells (assuming they aren't cheated in) and to other counterspells. They're both offense and defense. Permanent removal has the advantage of allowing me to deal with threats that make it to the field, but it's simultaneously limited by that application because it can only be used against permanents (assuming they aren't indestructible or otherwise impervious to removal spells).
I suppose it's different for you. Combat doesn't really exist at the competitive multiplayer level unless we're talking about infinite token attacks or something of that nature. It's just not an effective way to end games against multiple combo players. I'll use combat if I have the opportunity to poke an opponent down a few less Necropotence activations or something similar, but creatures are used largely for their abilities, not their brawn.
@Ohthenoises: I suppose several people want to ask that question at various points. I don't really have a dedicated casual deck. I have a budget Rafiq deck, but even though it's under $50, it kinds of cleans up house. I generally don't play it, though.
I'm slowly designing a few casual options, but I play so little that it doesn't really make sense for me to spend resources building them right now. Part of the problem is that I get really into an idea, but just in theory. I start building the deck and it's either overpowering (surprisingly not because of monetary value; I just tend to build powerful decks with what I have available) or doesn't come out as I had envisioned.
I might try experimenting some more.
For less tuned variants I find my greatest success comes from finding a pre-existing, and solid, archetype, and then expanding it along that theme. My Kruphix, God of Horizons , and it's predecessor Omnath, Locus of Mana regularly cleans up my shop. (So much so that I have to put myself on a self imposed losing streak to not make myself a huge target.) The deck is based on elfball and feels like one when you play it. I have a few others that are like that as well and I'm helping a friend build soul sisters Oloro.
I just enjoy the deckbuilding process for EDH, the play is secondary.
Great deck anyway :)
Because people actually play black in EDH and so Contamination is sometimes a massive waste of a slot? Furthermore it would only last for a turn (most likely) making it fairly inconsequential.
The combo you suggested requires several cards that cost a great deal of mana, are easy to counter, are easy to destroy and do nothing useful outside of the combo itself. Remember that this deck is aiming for durability - no card should be a dead card.
@DarkHamlet: ChiefBell pretty much nailed it. If you look closely at the decklist as it currently is, the winning combos use interchangeable pieces. This helps improve the deck's resilience. If one of my combos is disabled or interrupted, I can transition into a secondary combo pretty easily.
Additionally, it is not important that I have a single spell or strategy kill every opponent simultaneously. Blue Sun's Zenith is extremely effective at killing players right after one another in the same step. True global instakills are almost always awful as utility spells because they sacrifice efficiency and utility in exchange for being able to hit all opponents or do something that affects all opponents.
Therefore, the Omniscience + Enter the Infinite + Laboratory Maniac combo is not worth including. It's far too expensive, the pieces are only mediocre on their own, and they don't really interact with anything else in the deck. I suppose Omniscience technically supports the infinite mana combo, but it's also a 10-drop.
Also, Contamination shuts down all of my control, and it's a slow 3-drop that doesn't really do anything but stall everyone by a turn.
Hall of Gemstone is good only in very specific decks. This is not one of them; I need access to my colors. It's possible, I suppose, to combo out using only blue, but it's much, much harder.
Testing of Carpet of Flowers has deemed it more than good enough to warrant a spot.
I've got a question about mulligan decisions with this deck. Does your opener need to have a mana accelerant, counterspell/other control piece, draw engine, etc.? What metrics do you follow when making mulligans?
Mulligan conditions are, well, conditional. I try never to start with fewer than three lands in my hand, or more than four. I like to see either a land per turn accelerator, a ramp spell, or a ramp rock (multiple accelerators are fine). Generally, I also like a counterspell or tutor and something else. Again, it's situational. I'm never guaranteed an optimal opener, even after mulls.
Mulls themselves are one of the largely intuitive things in Magic; it's extraordinarily difficult to teach mulligan technique beyond a few basic principles.
This deck is ridiculous! I LOVE it! I really hope you don't think of this as a "spam" comment, I just really want to say how much I love this deck!
I just have one question: What exactly do you fetch with Green Sun's Zenith ? Im not at all questioning its ability for I run it in my EDH deck, im just wondering what exactly you fetch with it... Is it turn one green sun for 0 and fetch Dryad Arbor ? Is it to get out Azusa, Lost but Seeking as fast as possible and ramp like crazy? Just curious.
Again, love the deck. If I havent already +1'd it, I will soon.
@TheGamer: I appreciate the comment.
I typically don't get Azusa, Lost but Seeking unless I have Crucible of Worlds . Azusa, Lost but Seeking is certainly a good card, but the ability is often less relevant by the time I get enough mana to Green Sun's Zenith for it.
Epo, I got a question and I know how silly this may sound, but what are your thoughts on signets? I have neither a lotus cobra or three visits and sometimes really miss a turn 2 accelerator, so that got me thinking about signets or rampant growth.
If you're going for a budget version of this deck, then signets are passable. I'm personally ambivalent about them. I don't like mana producers that only make mana if you pay mana. That said, they're nice filters, and they do technically ramp.
Would you say Talismans are better since they don't need mana to make mana?
It's mostly up to you. I like that the talismans don't require mana input to function, and the 1 damage per tap (assuming you tap for color) is pretty irrelevant in EDH.
True, sad thing though is that you only have one talisman that taps for the mana we use. I'll try it this weekend if I have the chance.
Greetings from Germany. I have been testing your deck recently and I thought Restore would be pretty decent in this deck. You get the ability to play your lands from your graveyard, which are always full because of fetchlands, the land enters the battlefield untapped and you even get the possibility to steal lands from other players. A stolen Gaea's Cradle due to Strip Mine seems nice.
I hope my english is unterstandable.
Life from the Loam ? I understand it could be one of those low opportunity cost cards, but regrowing Strip Mine or destroyed utility lands like Riptide Laboratory and Tolaria West , while creating more Snapcaster Mage /Eternal Witness targets with dredge seems like a good resource to have access to.
@Gohrin: Wie geht's? Restore is ok, but it's not super. It's a matter of choice; I don't think Restore offers quite enough to warrant inclusion, but you may find the case to be different in your own version of the deck. If Restore were an instant, it might be a little more tempting.
@thispersonisagenius: I tested Life from the Loam for a while, especially when I ran Scroll Rack , but I was never really impressed. I only cast it a few times, and I usually mulled it back or otherwise viewed it as a dead card. In theory, it seems alright because of the fetch count, but it just never panned out in practice.
I don't know if this has been asked before but have you tried Isochron Scepter in your deck at all. I appreciate that its slightly slower as far as cards go but if you're casting Damia turn 3 or 4 then you should have enough mana to drop it and use it in one turn anyway. Even if it came down and you got 3 or 4 uses from it before it was destroyed then you have still net gained as you only really have 2 instant / sorcery recursions anyway. I feel like your instant curve already fits the card's requirement too so thats nice.
Isochron Scepter is alright, but it isn't good enough for competitive EDH. It's vulnerable, and doesn't really pay for itself in a strong enough way. I generally don't like playing cards that require continual investment to be useable.
Think of it in terms of examples. I'm likely, based on the demographic of eligible imprint choices, to imprint a counterspell. If someone attempts to destroy it that turn, I'll have to spend 4 total to play and protect it. It costs me two cards, and one of them is basically an irrecoverable downpayment.
Hey Epochalyptik, I have always been a fan of BUG, but before I saw your deck my BUG general of choice was good ol' mimeo, but thanks to this deck I have been able to make my own twist on damia with my deck Damia's group BUG , I would appreciate it if you could have a look at my deck and make any comments/suggestions on how I could improve it when you have time, much appreciated, I look forward to see this deck grow with further sets :)
Also, what is it like having (basically) 2 wastelands? Have you used the Crucible of Worlds , Azusa, Lost but Seeking (Oracle of Mul Daya too) and Wasteland combo a lot? and have you added deadeye into that combo to destroy even more lands per turn?
With Deadeye Navigator and Azusa, Lost but Seeking you would still only get three land plays per turn. When the legendary rule was changed, the ruling on effects like Azusa's also got overhaul'd. Now you have a land play count per turn. So if you play Azusa, then play 2 lands (as your additionals) then bounce Azusa, you cannot play any more lands that turn from her ability. As Azusa entered she up'd that land play count by 2. But when she left she also down'd it by 2. its all explained in more detail from Wizards here.
@magicdai: The combo doesn't always happen, and I think I've only ever tutored for it once when two of the pieces happened to fall into place in a 1v1 match, but it does a lot of work when it does come up.
As enpc said, though, land plays were changed in the M14 rules update. Now, land plays work based on a tally of sorts. "You may play X additional lands" effects now increment that tally. If those effects end, the tally is decremented appropriately. Adding a new effect will re-increment the tally, but you can only play extra lands if you're still below the new maximum.
thanks for clearing that up, it is disappointing that it happens as soon as I come up with so many deck ideas, have you spotted any cards in M15 that would interest you? I think Garruk, Apex Predator would be good as control
@magicdai: Nothing from M15 has really impressed me as far as this deck is concerned. Garruk, Apex Predator is far too expensive and irrelevant to this deck to be useful; it's basically a 7-mana, single-target, sorcery-speed removal spell.
It's true about his mana cost, but I was thinking in case you come up against plainswalkers because most decks don't have many cards to kill planeswalkers
Even if I faced a planeswalker that was relevant enough to remove, I wouldn't ever spend 7 mana to do it. This deck's MO is to hit hard, hit fast, and keep hitting until they die.
That's understandable, you'd have killed them before they get much use out of their planeswalker
hi i was wondering of you could post your budget Rafiq EDH decks list?
@atgarnett: It would have been more appropriate to ask that on my wall.
My casual decklists are not public, and I don't intend them to become public. Most of them are no longer on this site, anyway.
I'm sure you've considered this before, but what are your thoughts on Fatespinner ? As a way to make shutting down your opponents easier?
Lol the question was rhetorical. I totally get that you use the cheapest counters to control more opposing spells with less resources and cast all of your spells with protection for the same reason (example: 1/Cryptic Command vs 3/Swan Song+Flusterstorm+Arcane Denial). Using card draw to keep your hand full giving you advantage and getting you to combos or tutors at lightning speed. Since you have the most views I do have some real questions for you though. 1. What do you use Tolaria West for?2.Why Reflecting Pool over say City of Brass or Mana Confluence?3.Why run Urborg?4.what do you get with Mystical Teachings ? Guessing you pay 3 to put things straight to hand...5.WhyArbor Elf ?6.WhyUtopia Sprawl ? 7.Why Mystic Remora over say Rhystic Study? Guessing because its cheaper cmc/cost less likely to be payed by opponents/hold them back idk. That's it. The rest totally makes sence. Thank you.
1) Tolaria West can fetch Pact of Negation , which is strong for defending my combo because I can transmute in advance and not have to worry about having as much extra mana open as I might normally like. It can also fetch Mana Crypt , which nets me -1 mana on the turn of investment, but +1 mana on each subsequent turn (because we're assuming I otherwise would have played Tolaria West as a land on the TOI and been net 0 mana at TOI and +1 on each subsequent compared to +2 with Mana Crypt ).
2) Reflecting Pool is strong because it's always a dual land at minimum. I have an optimized land base, so there's almost never a case where I don't end turn one with a dual land on the field (either by playing it or fetching it). I tested City of Brass and found the fixing a little dangerous because it forced me to hold up even more lands for my combo (because I can't combo if I'm dependent on City of Brass to net me mana). Mana Confluence is in the same boat as its predecessor.
3) Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth is a holdover from a time when Primeval Titan was still legal and I ran Cabal Coffers (I was also playing in slightly less competitive pods back then). After that, I was still using it for Mana Web , which has also been cut. Even after losing those two interactions, it's still viable because blue and green are the most relevant colors in the deck. That statement may not seem to make much sense at first, but if you consider that I want to fetch or play a G/U dual, Forest , or Island whenever possible, it's a great benefit to be able to play a single land and instantly have access to all of the black mana I could need. It allows me to (further) justify spending my first fetches finding Tropical Island and Breeding Pool instead of one of the B/X duals (although I get them next). Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth also helps make Necropotence a little easier to cast.
4) Mystical Teachings is nice because it's an instant-speed, to-hand tutor. I can use it to find a counterspell or Vampiric Tutor in preparation for my combo, and I can flash it back afterward to find Blue Sun's Zenith . I've also used it to find Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir , which locks my opponents out of my combo turn.
5) Arbor Elf is there because it can untap Tropical Island and Breeding Pool , which are almost always the first lands I fetch. It's basically like having a second, slightly more restricted Birds of Paradise . It's not the best card, but it does the job, and it does it well enough.
6) Utopia Sprawl is there because it can enchant Tropical Island , Breeding Pool , Dryad Arbor (if I'm feeling ballsy), or Forest s. I almost invariably have one of those things on turn one. Granted, it's not optimal because it's an Aura and therefore depends on a specific permanent to survive, but I justify the liability with the Arbor Elf interaction. Again, not the best, but functional. This is probably the card I'll drop to make room for Carpet of Flowers .
7) Mystic Remora is in the deck because it's a very cheap threat. Nobody in a competitive pod will ever pay the denial cost, and it can easily net me several cards within a turn cycle. Even if it doesn't, I'm still paying U to significantly disrupt my opponents' tempo, which is a plus in itself. I usually don't pay the upkeep cost for more than one turn cycle, and most of the time I don't even pay it at all. Think of Mystic Remora as a potential Ancestral Recall , half-price Time Walk , or removal bait.
Just a question about Mystical Teachings on that note. How do you find it goes in the deck? is it one of the stronger cards? I'm presuming most games you play with this deck don't get to the point where each payer has more than about 10-12 mana in play. In those kind of scenarios, how do you find it to be? I get that it fetches a counterspell if you have none in hand, so having mana open is a moot point, and that when you combo off its not a problem mana wise, but outside of those two scenarios does it still work well?
@enpc: It's definitely not the best card in the deck; the mana cost is prohibitive. However, it serves its function well enough. I might be inclined to drop it for a faster alternative after testing some other tutors, though.
One more question... A lot of people down talk Birds calling it to vulnerable... Why do you run it?
From looking at the deck, I would say it is designed to play in a meta that is not that removal heavy. In saying that, removal exists but it is mainly in the form of counter-magic or is reseverd for combo pieces. In a high end game, why bother countering a Birds of Paradise when you can counter the thing it ramps into. A counterspell is usually a 1 for 1 trade after all. Not to mention BOP is a 1 drop. so short of a Mental Misstep , wasting a counterspell seems a bit frivolous as in early game you don't have the mana / late game you have better things to do. Similar on the removal front. Early game, Swords to Plowshares would be one of the fastest kill spells in the game, and that is an enourmous waste.
It's just there are so many wipe spells making it only very temporary. I guess it does what it needs to by then. Thanks.
Casual and tuned Commander (tuned being the intermediate step between casual and tournament) games tend to be removal-heavy because people play targeted kill spells and sweepers. In tournament pods, sweepers are typically less prolific because everything is focused on the first handful of turns. It's cheaper and easier to just counter or kill single targets than to pay 4+ for a sorcery to kill everything. And nobody is going to waste counterspells and kill spells on a mana dork against a combo deck (although if they do, that's a win for me).
For these reasons, I typically only suggest Birds of Paradise and other mana dorks in tournament decks, where they won't be liabilities in terms of deck space and vulnerability.
I've a question, if you run Tooth and Nail why not play Triskelion + Mikaeus, the Unhallowed win-combo? Triskelion work fine with Deadeye Navigator , and Mikaeus, the Unhallowed is a good to protect your mana-ramp creatures and is fine vs Rafiq of the Many , that have many other uses.
Great deck, +1
No Vendilion Clique? I mean Wizard, Flash, ETB, Control, Tuck... You must have a really good reason because from what I see it would fit right in.
Get ride of that Leyline you have been questioning anyway. Venser, Snapcaster, and Teferi want their homie!
@DarkHamlet: Part of the problem I have is that neither Mikaeus, the Unhallowed nor Triskelion is viable as a standalone card outside of the combo. I would never play Mikaeus, the Unhallowed by itself, and I'm really not concerned with protecting my ramp creatures. Additionally, neither Triskelion nor Mikaeus, the Unhallowed is viable as part of another combo in the deck (interchangeability is extremely important).
@EDHLOVE: I haven't had the chance to test Vendilion Clique in this deck. I'd like to do a little more theorycrafting in the meantime. My main concern is that the effect has to justify the cost. I know that Vendilion Clique is a very good card, and it's still strong in EDH, but having no firsthand experience using it in any format, I need to understand it a bit more first.
Just wondering, why not use Exotic Orchard ?
With three colors, it should end up almost always being worth it in multiplayer games, correct?
@Thesaman: While it's true that Exotic Orchard would probably be an Island at worst and a Tropical Island in most cases, I don't like to gamble with my mana. It's something I would probably side in if I bothered to build a sideboard for this deck.
It may be worth testing, so I'll keep it on the radar for now.
The issue I have with Exotic Orchard is that if he was against W/R/boros all he'd get is colourless mana, and if an opponent had an island they could be killed girst and he'd lose the ability to tap for U
I guess that's true, I haven't played much (if any) totally competitive metas, its always been semi competitive, but I played against a vicious boros soldier deck before
On that note how do you fair against zur decks?
Zur isn't a competitive multiplayer deck. It's too single-target in approach. Combat-oriented commanders typically do better in 1v1 than in multiplayer.
It depends how he is built, I've seen very nasty multiplayer zur decks that completely lock everyone else out
The new Teferi planeswalker isn't good enough for this deck. It's a 6-drop that can't be cheated in, and its abilities aren't really good enough to justify its inclusion.
On the subject of VClique I have one unlisted along with that foil Brainstorm I offered before for when/if you want one.
My experience with clique is limited but I have seen it tuck multiple combo pieces. Deadeye Navigator helps there, it can also be used on yourself if you have two pieces to a combo and need to dig. Impromptu draw engine. Also, if someone has extracted your Rune-Scarred Demon for your typical draw your deck, blue sun, tutor for blue sun, you could flicker the clique to draw the blue sun again.
Will you be waiting to see what the lands are like in ktk or will you be making spaces for them before spoilers?
@magicdai: I have no reason to make space for something I don't even know anything about yet. Those lands would have to be extremely good to warrant a spot in this lineup.
The lands for Ana will most likely be sub-par to what Epoch already uses, but seeing as how they want the Sultai Brood(Ana) to be about resource management, I'm waiting to see what WotC has in store for the community. I remember MaRo saying they're bringing back something that has been asked for, and also introducing a new thing that has also been requested. I'm really excited for Khans.
Epoch is there any reason you dropped Scroll Rack ? It makes a great digger when used alongside a fetch, and puts end-combo pieces back in the library. There's been a few times where I can't simply TaN for the win.
You should always be able to TaN, the abilities are separate. It's even worded so that you put the creatures to hand first. If anything it's better to have one of the combo pieces in hand, that way you can dig for more creatures.
I only ever play TaN for the entwine, so it makes sense why I overlooked that. To me it reads "Cheat out two creatures from your library you dirty cheater. Oh and you win". Such a strong card.
@supercaptainpow: Scroll Rack is one of those cards that looks amazing on paper, but doesn't quite get there in paper. It does a good job sometimes, but it didn't appear to be significant enough often enough. It's a card I'll keep close at hand and retest occasionally, but it's not a definite.
So Epoch, question on everyone's lips; are you ever going to clear the comments? lol.
I sometimes try to read this comments section on my phone and it takes longer to scroll down than it does to actually type something!
Have you ever thought about using Praetor's Grasp ? Since you can grab a win condition, or stop one of theirs.
So, is the idea just to get Palichron plus one of the two dudes that combo with him and a kill? I figured there were more methods to victory but maybe I'm just unclear.
I'm quite inexperienced with EDH, so I wanted to ask: How does Isochron Scepter do? You can put a Counterspell or other good cards and play them every turn. Also, I know it's good in modern, but how does Cryptic Command do in EDH? Just some thoughts... : )
@Scorprix: From comment #148 (I don't expect that you've read the entire discussion):
Isochron Scepter is alright, but it isn't good enough for competitive EDH. It's vulnerable, and doesn't really pay for itself in a strong enough way. I generally don't like playing cards that require continual investment to be useable.
Think of it in terms of examples. I'm likely, based on the demographic of eligible imprint choices, to imprint a counterspell. If someone attempts to destroy it that turn, I'll have to spend 4 total to play and protect it. It costs me two cards, and one of them is basically an irrecoverable downpayment.
For this deck, if you competed with it in a Duel Commander tournament, what do you think you would run without having Sensei's Divining Top , Crucible of Worlds , Sol Ring , Mana Vault , or Necropotence in your line up?
@Scorprix - the problem with Cryptic Command is the mana cost involved. Most of the time it will be used to counter a spell and draw a card, and having to pay 4 (with UUU in it) is pretty expensive just for that. Even with the bounce its a lot of mana to spend, especially when your general is a card draw engine and there are other cards in the deck with near identical functionality as each of the modes.
@Epochalyptik What would the other combo(s) be aside from something Palichron-centric?
Follow-up yet unrelated questions. First, how long do you expect your games to go generally, and by what turns should you be in phase x (as per the discussion on MTGS)? Second, are there any videos of this deck being played whether they are IRL or MTGO games? I would like some basis as per usual sorts of play if possible. Figuring it out myself is fun, but I like to follow from example.
@Flornhale: I wouldn't ever play this deck in French rules EDH. Duel is an entirely different format.
@NoThanksImJewish: See the MTGS thread for a more detailed answer on the alternate options.
Generally, the games go to about 4-8 turns. Ideally, I'll end by turn 4 or 5. Ramp for the first two, stabilize and set up for the next one or two, and combo in the last.
I don't have any videos for this deck. I entertained the idea of doing a deck tech, but I don't have the equipment for it.
This may have been discussed but hell if I remember, did we ever discuss Toxic Deluge ? I see it's in your maybeboard but have you any test data on it?
@Ohthenoises: I unfortunately don't have any playtesting data for it yet. I don't even own one because I haven't been active in the trading community in so long.
Hey!Question for you: Why not Staff of Domination ? :3Thanks ;D
@Epochalyptik: I would like to know what cards have been in your deck previously, but http://tappedout.net/mtg-cube-drafts/dominus-dreamcrusher-edition/history/ gives me 404. Do you have plans to put more details about your more recent deck changes in the Updates section here?
@Marlon: A full, annotated changelog is available in the MTGS thread. I suppose I could import the information during the next update.
Out of curiosity, what decks do you play against?
And what are the strengths/weaknesses of your deck compared to the opposing decks?
I wanted to let you know I have taken this shell, modified it (dual lands and such), and play it every week in 1 on 1 and Multiplayer EDH. I have to bring my Savra deck now because after one game people don't want to play. LOL.
This deck is fun, competitive and riddled with combo's. When I pull out Damia, Sage of Stone aka The Combo Queen, and people see it they know it's going to be fun. I have lost games, but even the games lost are down to a 1 turn difference.
Thanks for this deck and the idea. I gave it a bit of my own flavor as I am a Mill junkie, but the setup to get there and the combo isn't. The other day I drew out Time Stretch , Tutored for Eternal Witness and Volrath's Stronghold JUST to piss off my opponent.
The only deck that gives me trouble is a guy who plays a Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir deck.
+1 for hours of EDH fun!!!
Just a question regarding Remand - how does it fare in the deck? Ultimately its a 2-2 card (counter/draw - card/not hard counter) compared to something like good ol' Mana Leak . I appreciate there are scencarios where Remand is much better, especially if you're countering a TaN only to combo next turn. But you mentioned that your games usually only go 4-8 turns so resources will always be tight. (obviously there are benefits of Remand over Mana Leak in longer games). And in counter wars, even when the remand resolves you know your opponent then has a counterspell in hand. Obviously its hard to say that one is definatively better, but I was wondering your thoughts on the matter.
@magicdai: Unfortunately, I so rarely get to play Magic that I don't have any "regular" opponents.
I used to play a semi-mirror against a friend who helped me codevelop this deck in its intermediate phase, but a lot has changed since then. The last deck I consistently played against was Jarad.
|Date added||2 years|
|Last updated||4 weeks|
|Legal formats||Commander / EDH, Vintage|
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|Top rank||#2 on 2012-08-19|