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.
Hey there! It's a strange feeling being asked to look through this deck for suggestions, both a bit intimidating and a bit of an honor, but I'll give it my best.
So first off, the decks I've built over the years are all synergistic machines designed to increase in their (non infinite) combos as the game goes on, so I've had to design a flowchart with regards to which commanders I can recommend to others to try out. I'm not going to bore you with the details unless you're interested, but the relevant part of my flowchart for this conversation is the fact that I discovered that any commander can be the commander of a control deck if the control aspect of the deck itself is good enough. Sure, some of them are a LOT better than others (Damia & Medomai are some examples), but the control archetype is powerful enough in edh that ultimately the commander doesn't matter. So my upper limit for the CMC of a commander to build around is 5, so that the synergy in the deck can be maintained by recasting the commander even if someone targets it over and over. Because the commander is pretty irrelevant in a control deck, this upper limit doesn't count, but a control deck doesn't usually have a center synergy, so I never built those control decks.
That said, I do have opinions on what would be good cards to remove and what would be good cards to include. I haven't kept up with this deck, so my apologies if I suggest cards that have already been attempted.
Cards that I feel could be taken out:
I know that your commander can refill your hand quickly, but there are lots of cards that either always generate card disadvantage or do that every so often in this deck. The main ones I don't like are Dark Ritual (yes, I know it makes for explosive plays, but when you're drawing for an answer/late game/when your commander is been tucked, is it really worth the cost? I'd say not), Flusterstorm & Spell Pierce (being limited both by types of spells it can counter AND only countering spells when people tap out, which happens more in early game, there are better counterspells out there imo), Memory Lapse (again, better counterspells out there since hurting one players draw doesn't do much in multiplayer), and Stifle (I'd rather just counter the spell).
The only issue is that there might not be spells good enough to replace those. I know a few, but not a lot.
I also think that running all 9 fetch lands in your colors is rather risky. Edh is a format about getting lots of mana, so not quite sure why you would want to thin your deck of lands while opening yourself up to being land screwed by possible shuffle hosing (unless you're literally the only one who uses fetches, so no one runs shuffle hosing like Aven Mindcensor, Stranglehold, Leonin Arbiter, Shadow of Doubt, or Mindlock Orb). Sure, you always fix your colors, but is there really a lack of dual lands for your colors? The Theros block temples can actually get you to your answers one turn earlier and Ravnica block karoos can generate card advantage, but if you don't like taplands, you could easily go down to the three fetches in two of your colors and run buddy lands and filterlands for extra color fixing.
Lastly, I know that Mystic Remora CAN generate card advantage, but having to pay 4 mana for noncreatures is such a tax that smart opponents will most likely not cast noncreatures until you can't manage the upkeep of it (unless they can counter something game winning). I've never been afraid of it and I've never been tempted to use it. If anything, it reinforces opponents to not over extend. Then again, I may have just seen my metagame's reaction to it as the rare "ok guys, don't cast noncreatures, let's hurt the control player" response.
Cards that I feel could have a home here:
There are lots of cards that are rather similar to cards you are already running (or just counterspells), and may be worth taking another look at, and these are Disdainful Stroke ("counter target scary spell" for an easier cost than counterspell), Dream Fracture (counterspell plus draw a card and keep politics okay), Exclude (two-for-one counterspell for three mana), Muddle the Mixture (counterspell or tutor for Phantasmal Image, Snapcaster Mage, Cyclonic Rift, etc.), Spell Crumple (another Hinder), Rewind (because a free counterspell is pretty awesome!), Glen Elendra Archmage (card advantage plus synergy with Deadeye Navigator), Rhystic Study (one of the best cards to draw cards from my experience because it's only three mana), Mind Stone (early game it's ramp, late game it's a can trip, and it's cheap enough to simply replace a land), and Scroll Rack (because it's better than Sensei's Divining Top when you have more than three cards in your hand, which I'm guessing happens a lot).
Also, I really want to make an argument for Treachery because of the fact that it's a way to both remove a threat AND get a threat that needs to be answered with a net mana of 0.
Sorry for the excessive use of parentheses, and sorry if I wasn't of much help, but I hope it's evident that I gave my best for the suggestions I made.
Every time the comments are cleaned up I get a kick out of what people suggest.
In serious considerations:
I'm not convinced that Jace 2.0 is still good enough for this deck. It's an expenditure of 4 mana at sorcery speed to cast a Brainstorm or an Unsummon - and then, presuming he survives the turn cycle(s), perhaps another Brainstorm/Unsummon or two. However, he usually won't provide enough value for his mana cost - especially considering that his abilities are equivalent to 1-mana instants that already didn't make the cut, and that the game typically won't go very long turn-wise at the highest levels of play. The point being, he's at an awkward position on the mana curve and doesn't offer enough to justify his continued inclusion.
@Orbrunner: there definatately are a lot of cards that get recommended multiple times :P
I'll see how much I can remember as far as previous responses go...
@MagicalHacker: Starting with the fetches - Although there are cards played that affect the ability to search libraries, the benefit of the 9 fetches is the consistency they provide. The deck is very blue/green focused and with hard costs, mana fixing is super important. Not to mention they fuel Deathrite Shaman as a mana dork. As for your comment on Mystic Remora, for one mana stopping people from playing non-creature spells for one or two turns (especially early game) is incredibly powerful. It messes with tempo and in a 10 turn game, 2 turns is a lot. On top of that, I don't think Epochalyptik pays the cost for mor than a turn. Drawing 3 cards off 1 or 2 mana seems really good. Glen Elendra Archmage used to be in the deck but was taken out (you still have to play her at sorcery speed) and things like Rewind cost too much to be good. Not to mention you only get the mana if it resolves. its actually a bit of trap as far as control spells go.
@ninjaman16782: Courser of Kruphix has been mentioned before but I believe the conclusion with that one was that it was to underwhlming. Although tere is a potential for card advantage, it doesn't actually ramp and the life gain is not very relivant in a meta full of infinite combos. Its ok but Oracle of Mul Daya is just the better choice.
@Orbrunner: If I had to take a guess about why JTMS is still in the deck it would probably be along the lines of; with 9 fetches and multiple shuffle library effects, the initial cost of 4 mana (which is still quite high admittedly) is offset by the ability to cycle through 3 additional cards a turn. On top of that, the ability to screw with another player's library (plusing Jace is heresy i know :P) provides enough utility to still warrant a spot in the deck. All of that being said, I could see it eventually replaces by something like Dig Through Time. I know Epoch isn't a huge fan of the Delve mechanic, but I think there are enough instants and sorceries in the deck that don't need to be reanimated that its not he end of the world (I personally couldn't see Snapcaster Mage be played on a Skyshroud Claim, however I could be very wrong).
As for all the logic, I can't say these are the definative reasons for things, but that would be my stab in the dark at reasoning at least (plus what I can remember from earlier comments). Of course with all of this, I'm more than happy to be proven wrong.
enpc, I see a lot of your points very clearly, and there are some that I agree with.
As for the fetches, it boils down to what the most common issue with the seems to be. If it's not getting enough mana, it may be that the fetches are hurting the player in that regard. If it is a problem of getting too many ramp spells, replacing the fetches could mean that Epoch could remove some ramp for more answers, although hitting land drops and ramping aren't completely the same.
With regards to Mystic Remora, I think that preventing people from casting noncreature spells can help them sometimes. It sounds crazy, but early game, there are lots of ways to gain massive advantage by undoing a lot of the work your opponent has done in a game. When you're simultaneously stopping them from doing that work, you may be providing them with the consolation that at least they weren't as invested as they were before. Every time I've seen it, the player drew 0-1 cards from it, even after paying its upkeep 1-3 turns. As for those two counterspells, they involve a bit of risk, but the advantage of having a free counterspell or a rattlesnake/counter mechanism for noncreature spells that also can be reset seem pretty good to me. I do understand the Archmage requiring too much of a mana investment.
I appreciate the logic with Mystic Remora. The idea of an opponent sinking mana into it only to draw no cards makes sense, however your opponent going "play land, pass turn" is also really powerful. Still, I think this one comes down to preference.
With regards to Rewind, I do agree that 0 for a counterspell is powerful, howeve the trap with it is that you have to invest a lot more mana before seening return. So as a single spell its incredibly powerful, however when you need more than one counterspell you are left with much fewer resources until it resolves. and in a counterspell fight, you're better off having two cheaper spells than one that will only on resolution pay for itself. In a lot of ways, you'd almost be better playing a Last Word becuase although you don't get the mana back, you have a much higher chance of your spell resolving.
I'm going to respond to the posts in order.
@MagicalHacker, post 1:
Dark Ritual is advantageous precisely because it allows for explosive plays. Although it isn't ideal in the situations you mentioned, being able to cast Damia two turns earlier than I normally would or being able to drop a Necropotence off of one black source is a powerful thing. Also, Damia's draw ability plays nicely with single-use cards. I don't pack the deck with them, but counterspells and ramp spells are much safer if they're being replaced so often.
Flusterstorm and Spell Pierce are for winning counter wars. They're strong because they offer a lot of protection for only when time and resources are tight. Spell Pierce is also a viable early-game option if I really need to stop a threat ASAP.
Memory Lapse is here largely because it's the next best 2-drop counterspell, and because it helps delay commander recasts. It's not the greatest or most viable counterspell, though, and it's probably the one I'd replace first.
Stifle is for those cases where I can't stop the spell itself either because the spell is or would have been uncounterable (Boseiju, Who Shelters All is a pain, but its ability can be countered if necessary) or because I wasn't able to respond to a permanent spell when it was cast. It also helps deal with DTAs that I don't want to allow resolve.
I run nine fetches because it maximizes consistency and allows me to make explosive plays with Lotus Cobra or Crucible of Worlds. Anti-search effects really aren't all that prevalent once you get to the competitive level; you're most likely to encounter them if someone's playing a dedicated group slug or punisher deck, and most competitive players don't. And since a quarter of my lands are fetches, there's a strong chance I'll always draw the lands I actually want or a way to get them fairly quickly. As for deck/land thinning, that's not really a problem. Statistically, the numbers are already pretty insignificant in 60-card alone. In EDH, they're not really worth considering. I'd much rather have the guarantee of consistency than a minutely higher probability of drawing another land (that might not even be the one I need).
By contrast, the alternative land choices aren't spectacular. I could theoretically justify running the check lands, but I wouldn't run the RAV karoos (too slow and vulnerable) or the temples (too slow). The filters, another common go-to, are also a bit too clunky for my tastes. I don't like color sources that are only color sources if you buy in every time.
Mystic Remora is good because it basically draws me cards or screws my opponents' tempo without me having to do or pay much. It's always a win-win. For , I can either draw cards, hinder someone's tempo, or both for a turn cycle. I actually rarely pay the upkeep cost more than once; I'm perfectly alright with paying it zero or one time and just reaping the benefits for a turn or two before moving on with my strategy. I can usually generate enough advantage in that turn to make it justifiable.
Disdainful Stroke is interesting, and I would need to test it before I say yes or no. I generally try to avoid CMC-based counterspells, though. They tend to be just a bit too inflexible, especially in a format with such widely varied strategies.
Muddle the Mixture has been in the back of my mind for some time, but I haven't been able to properly test it because I play so infrequently now. I think the card speaks for itself, so I won't go into the justification.
I strongly dislike CMC 3+ counterspells because they eat up too many resources and generally don't offer enough advantage to justify it. I'd rather play a cheaper counterspell like Remand, even if it isn't a hard counter or has some limitation, than play a counterspell like Cancel or Dream Fracture, even if it's more flexible or offers some other kind of advantage.
Glen Elendra Archmage was cut a little while ago because it's just too expensive to be convenient. It's one of those cards that I really want to make work, but it's best suited to a tuned environment rather than a competitive one (the difference being that tuned decks are a little slower and more forgiving; tuned is the bridge between true casual and true competitive).
Rhystic Study was cut some time ago because it just costs too much. It's too expensive to come down on the first turn or two without severely disrupting my other plays, and it's easier to play around than its cousin, Mystic Remora.
Mind Stone isn't here because it costs . That might seem a bit picky, but I don't think the advantage is really worth cutting something else when I have more powerful ramp rocks already.
Scroll Rack was cut at around the same time Glen Elendra Archmage was. Although it's certainly a good card, and it does work quite well in theory with this deck (plenty of shuffle mechanics and hand filling), it never really seemed to pan out for me. It was either needed and not played because of the cost (it's something best played early so you invest less on the turn you need it, but it's prohibitively expensive for the first two turns when I'm also trying to ramp as hard as possible) or not needed at all. Like Glen Elendra Archmage, it's sadly just more viable in the tuned environment or in two- or one-color decks with fewer options.
Treachery is a good card, but I'd never be able to justify paying for it because it needs to resolve to pay for itself. The cost is a bit high for something that still needs counter protection.
I definitely respect the effort and time it took you to comment. I understand that this deck is a little tricky because the competitive environment just has certain quirks about it that completely change the viability of certain cards. It's food for thought, though, and that's all I can ask for.
@Orbrunner: I would have a stronger opinion about it if I played the deck more often. Sadly, I don't often have the chance to play (I'm normally limited to a few times per year at this point). Part of me is inclined to agree with you, though. As the deck has gotten faster, cards like JTMS have proved good, but underwhelming enough to warrant replacement. The nice thing about JTMS, though, is that Brainstorm is a very powerful ability to continually use with as many shuffle effects as I have, and it presents enough of a threat to creature-based strategies to draw some removal.
Interesting and wholly valid points on both sides. I think my earlier comments (as in the ones in this post) help to answer the fetch-related questions, but let me know if I should clarify anything. Same for Mystic Remora.
@Rakdos_CacklerXXX: Defense of the Heart was cut from a very primitive version of this deck. It's okay if you're playing below the tournament level, but it isn't good enough or reliable enough when it matters.
Also, Scapeshift doesn't cause me to sacrifice anything until resolution. That said, it isn't worth playing because it doesn't do anything for me. It isn't a ramp spell.
Ok, I see what you're saying. I can't think of any ramp spells that are as good as the ones you have in the deck. Hope you can get your deck to the way you want it, but as a magic player myself, I know that job is never done lol.
Could you add Coffers back In with Scapeshift? I admittedly do not play on a strictly tournament level, but scapeshifting for urborg/coffers has been working well for me. It's not on par with Primetime searching them into play, but at 4 mana I imagine you can hold counter magic up for it easier. Food for thought.
@Gspot: I probably wouldn't.
Primeval Titan allowed me to justify running Cabal Coffers because I could justify going out of my way to find Primeval Titan itself. Scapeshift isn't the same; it costs quite a bit for something that doesn't actually ramp me unless I find very specific lands. I'd rather play Sylvan Scrying, and I don't want to add that card either.
4 mana is also a lot in this deck. Although it's true that I'm ramping pretty hard in the early game, 4 mana comes in between the ramp and control phases of my game plan, and it's pretty awkward to cast a 4-drop and wait around with countermagic for the rest of the turn cycle. I'd rather be casting cheaper spells.
I guess you could justify it in a less competitive variant of the deck, but it's still far from optimal.
I understand my deck is drastically different in function and I haven't played it in a tournament pod in a year.
This has nothing to do with the deck itself (which looks brutal, by the way), but how come you play so few times a year?
@ThisIsBullshit: I started playing in university, and I had a ton of time during my first two years. But the workload really picked up in my junior and senior years, and my LGS was steadily going downhill the entire time. One of the other stores I preferred closed down, and the second one was too distant to be practical. I was also the only person in my immediate friends group who played, so it was rare that I'd have a chance to get some games in with someone from my playgroup.
Now, I'm even further removed from any viable LGS and from an accessible pool of players. I devote most of my spare time (not counting the time I dedicate to TappedOut) to educating myself (history, philosophy, theology, cooking, health and fitness, you name it). It kinda sucks to miss out on the experiences this game makes possible, but this stuff is more important to me.
|Date added||2 years|
|Last updated||3 months|
This deck is Commander / EDH legal.
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|Top rank||#2 on 2012-08-19|