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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 .
ok, I have a random question for you that may or may not have been suggested before, (probably not though seeing as lands is a very commonly overlooked cardtype to use as a major part of a deck strategy...) but anyway:
your infinite mana combo allows you to untap up to 7 of any kind of land... so why don't you add in some special lands that allow you to tap to do x? this would give you additional potential combo's that's generally harder to get rid of should you pull it off, rather then relying on secondary creatures to use the infinite mana on. great example: Orzhova, the Church of Deals
also, I noticed you have a lot of cards that allow for extra land drops... but nothing that really -benefits- from it, save for potential mana ramp... but the problem with that is it is only useful if you are drawing multiple cards a turn, which especially in the EDH format, is either built into the deck, or unreliable at best... perhaps you should consider replacing them with other cards that will work more to your advantage?
that being said: I like it. 2 card infinite combo's seem to be rare, so always awesome, defenitely a +1 in my book for showing me that combo alone.
speaking of 2 card infinite comboes, I noticed you have Grim Monolith ... might I suggest adding Mana Reflection ? it then taps for 6, untaps for 4, creating infinite colorless mana potentially as soon as turn 3 or 4 should they both be in opening hand. and if not, is an absolutely beastly card in pumping out mana for anything else.
also, I wouldn't really call it a suggestion, per se, as it has proven to risky a card to throw in just for it... but Sensei's Divining Top and Magus of the Future is a ridiculously powerful draw combo. could be worth considering (though would highly suggest playtesting a few times to see how well it works with the others first)
@banaman: There aren't any BUG lands that would be relevant for that purpose.
The Exploration effects are all integral to the deck's speed. The deck absolutely benefits from having more resources - it's a control player's dream. On top of that, I can dump all the lands I draw with Damia and have that many more draws in the next turn cycle.
Mana Reflection is expensive and hard to use properly. I don't want to cast it if I have to tap out for it, and it's expensive.
just to kind of update from my previous comment: apparently I didn't read down far enough past the end of the deck description, so missed the updates on why you added the land drop cards... so ya, that does make more sense now, didn't click in my mind that Lotus Cobra
used landfall, heh.
also, looking at colors again, I realize the land card example wasn't actually a great example, seeing as you do not have white in it so wouldn't be allowed to add it in anyway. a more "proper" example of it would be: Nephalia Drownyard and Duskmantle, House of Shadow .
again, sorry for any confusion on those 2 points.
Epochalyptik, I've been interested in your thoughts on Mystic Remora over Rhystic Study . I run remora because it's less threatening to other players in my playgroup (due to the cumulative upkeep and triggering off noncreature spells) but I was considering grabbing a study to get more consistent draws.
Toxic Deluge could be better than Damnation . I think the trade off of life for mana is what this deck wants to do. Given, you have mentioned in the past that your meta has a Jarad deck, which toxic would be suboptimal against (large creatures and can punish you for the life loss).
Restore could serve as another ramp card, as it works well with fetches (even your opponent's), especially viable if anyone in the meta runs any land destruction.
@Dusty: I play Mystic Remora because it's a 1-drop. The ability is very difficult to dodge, as well. Rhystic Study is a 3-drop, so it's not ideal for hypercompetitive metas. If you play in a more casual setting, run both.
@nbarry223: Restore is not ideal; it relies on there being a land in the graveyard that I actually want. Fetchlands, although certainly common in competitive decks, may not be in graveyards early enough for me to cast Restore without interrupting my other plans. I might test it, but it seems unnecessary.
Tempt with Discovery is interesting. My problem with it is that it will turn into the Command Tower /Ancient Tomb game, and I don't want to cast it for 3G if it would give my opponents appreciable advantage (giving a player even one extra land in a competitive meta can be deadly).
When i think of Restore , i think of Life from the Loam , which you already cut. both cost 2 but life brings back 3 compared to 1, and has Dredge 3, which is really good with Sensei's Divining Top . Tempt with Discovery can be good since in a game with three other people, it can be able to get 2 of any land since more often then not, an opponent will want to get an extra land. On the downside, it does give the opponent the extra land, meaning the difference between win/lose. I owuld rather run Skyshroud Claim .
I think Restore is really better for legacy than edh. It can steal an opposing Strip Mine and Wasteland (or recur your own), as everybody knows, and also fetches and some utility cards. The best use i could see for it, is in a meta where opponents destroy YOUR lands, but it would have to be a lot. It would be much better at instant speed, but C'est la Vie. Imagine somebody destroyed your Reliquary Tower , causing you to have to discard, but you bring it back at instant speed. That would be neat.
To me, Tempt with Discovery is best when A: there are a lot of opponents, and B: where enemies have minimal control elements. It could also be used as a political card to get some of the heat off of you. In hypercompetitive it doesn't seem very good, but it could be a casual bomb.
tempt is extremely meta-dependent, while Restore isn't quite as dependent. It should usually be fast enough if it's a 4 man pod and everyone is running at least 2 colors with fetches. You can recur 9/10 fetches, so basically if anyone runs one, you are golden.
Restore is slightly meta-dependent, but since you are running 3 colors, if it's a competitive environment where everyone runs fetches, 1/4 people having a fetch land drop is pretty much a guarantee by turn 2.
The BIG difference between Life from the Loam and Restore is that restore brings it to the BATTLEFIELD, which actually accelerates you (it comes untapped too). The other one brings them do your hand which is better if you are running a bunch of multiple land drops per turn cards, and your deck focuses on all those land drops (something like Lotus Cobra where you can abuse the fetch + land drop).
I made a Damia, Sage of Stone deck, and two things. First, Living Wish is a really useful card. It basically makes your deck 15 cards larger, making it more flexible. Living Wish allows me to react to pretty much any situation. According to "Pandora's Deckbox" a deck should be flexible. Living Wish increases it's flexible by tenfold. Second, Toxic Deluge is much better than Damnation . First of all, it is 1 mana less and the life doesn't matter. As mentioned before, you really don't care what your life total is, you can just pay as much life as needed to kill the entire board, FOR 3 MANA.
Living Wish also allowed me to move cards over from the main to make more space for other cards, like Stifle (my version also runs the risky but profitable Tainted Pact emphasis on risky). I once did a game where i played Living Wish for Nephalia Drownyard and played it to counteract somebodies Vampiric Tutor .
I have to agree that Tempt with Discovery could be very game ending for yourself. However something to consider may be just having the ability to tutor Wasteland et alia to negate the advantage some players may gain.
Comments, suggestions and so on always welcomed Zedruu EDU (Help Welcomed)
i am pretty sure that he would add the power of nine save Timetwister (or he would've added it). Fastbond , Channel Gifts Ungiven Griselbrand (maybe) Primeval Titan Yawgmoth's Bargain . Other than that, this is a competitive deck, i doubt he would ever make it uncompetitive unless Damia, Sage of Stone was banned, or Palinchron (why???).
@Narwek: The reason those cards aren't in this deck is that those cards are banned in EDH. This is a tournament deck; I have to follow the ban list. Also, the deck already has no budget. My only restrictions are the rules.
If I could include banned cards, I would have Black Lotus , the BUG Mox gems, Ancestral Recall , Time Walk , Fastbond , Channel , and Library of Alexandria . Those are the banned cards that are useful enough to warrant a slot in the deck. Primeval Titan might come in, but I'm not sure it's necessary anymore. The deck has gotten a lot faster since the PrimeTime ban, and I don't know whether PrimeTime would fit back in so easily. Gifts Ungiven would need to be tested.
Have you considered transmute?
Dimir Machinations , Perplex , and Drift of Phantasms are all fairly terrible cards that turn into a key combo piece (perhaps when you already have infinite mana) like Yawgmoth's Will , Blue Sun's Zenith , Eternal Witness , or Necropotence for 3CMC.
Just a thought, probably too clunky. On the outside, Perplex might be a hard counter vs. anyone sculpting their hand.
@musichate: I considered transmute spells, but I didn't include any because I want the spell itself to be relevant if I ever need it to be. Muddle the Mixture is probably the only one that could function as both a spell and a tutor. Perplex isn't a hard counter, although it can sometimes function as one.
I'm willing to hear other arguments, though. Maybe I'm oversimplifying it.
@CallMeCrazy: Unfortunately, no. Sylvan Library 's ability triggers during the draw step, and Damia's ability causes me to skip my draw step. However, Sylvan Library makes the cut because it's an invaluable utility card and can help me generate advantage before I cast Damia.
@vishnarg: Preordain and Brainstorm don't do enough. They're just cantrips. I tested Brainstorm for a while because the deck has a lot of shuffle effects, but I never really found that the extra hand filtering was worth taking a slot away from another card. Preordain is even less powerful.
Okay, what took it's place though? Also, this may be a hard question, but overall, what card in this deck do you think overall pound for pound wins you the most games and plays the best, and then the opposite: what plays the worst? (excluding commander and lands)
I don't know that anything "took its place," per se. I tested it and decided it wasn't advantageous enough to add to the actual decklist.
Tooth and Nail is hands down one of the most critical cards in the deck. It enables so many of my combos and wins on resolution. That said, the deck is just a pile of combos, advantage generators, and control magic. It's hard to pick the most devastating spell, but I think Tooth and Nail is certainly a contender.
Glen Elendra Archmage is a solid card, but it doesn't really fit well in this deck. It's at an awkward spot on my mana curve, and it doesn't have flash. I basically need to choose between playing it or having ramp and countermagic open (and while Glen Elendra Archmage is itself countermagic, it's an expensive initial investment).
6 to ramp 2 untapped isn't worth it either... he has access to green, there's plenty of better ramp.
He is better off replacing them with things like Gitaxian Probe , Grim Tutor , Street Wraith (since all the cards in the deck are pretty good anyway, 2 life to lower the deck count isn't too bad) instead of trying to replace them with cards that serve the same purpose. There are no cards that do the same thing better that haven't already been included in the deck.
I've been playing this list for a while and over time I've noticed I run out of blue mana on many occasions which prevents me from combo-ing off (with blue left for counterspell backup).
Due to this, I've switched Dispel (or whatever card you don't like the most, probably glen elandra or chromatic lantern, for a Thoughtseize. One black mana for a peek at the opponent's hand is a small price to pay for the knowledge of what cards you'll need to play around that turn, PLUS you can remove ANY card. If you're strategy revolves around sticking Damia, and the opponent is out of counters but has a Venser, you won't be able to prevent him from bouncing her.
One important difference here is Thoughtseize is a sorcery, but whenever you are planning on comboing, you (should) have some sort of prevention method in your hand. If that's the case, play Thoughtseize first, then drop your combo pieces. Most of my games with this deck revolve around setting up the combo on my turn, which allows for the sorcery speed Thoughtseize to be played effectively.
I was literally about to post a comment saying 'why on earth would you need Chromatic Lantern in this? Your mana-base is about as perfect as it possibly could be' then I scrolled up and saw that you were cutting it. I've been thinking about removing it from mine too - it just doesn't help me.
there's actually a few cards that don't do a whole lot (or are very mana-intensive for what they do). Chromatic Lantern is probably the worst card in here, because its mana fixing is really unneeded, and the ramp it provides is slower than a lot of other options. Glen Elendra Archmage is a very expensive counterspell. Unless you have the luxury of dropping her for 4 mana and sitting back and not using her right away, you are better off with something else. Time Stretch is really mana intensive for anything outside of 1v1. If this was a 1v1 build it'd be fine, but you have so many people that would be willing to counter it, it will usually be a waste of 10 mana. If you have that much mana, there are probably better options that won't be such big targets.
I'd personally replace them with Gitaxian Probe Grim Tutor and Restore / Tempt with Discovery / Street Wraith . I probably need to explain why Restore and Tempt with Discovery would be worth it, so I'll do my best. Given the competitive format, and the fact that you can use every fetch other than Arid Mesa , Restore is almost a third copy of Nature's Lore / Three Visits . You can also bring back land destruction if no fetches have been played yet. Keep in mind it is everyone's graveyard, not just yours. Tempt with Discovery is a bit more iffy, depending on the meta, because you have to be careful not to accelerate other control players. Thankfully, you run both Strip Mine and Wasteland , so if two people happen to fetch some troublesome lands, you can always just 1 for 1 their lands (while thinning out your land count at the same time). Street Wraith is just a free cantrip for 2 life, which shouldn't be an issue given the speed of the deck. It's just eliminating a "useless" card for something that has more presence.
Hopefully that all makes sense.
@nbarry223: The cards in the current sideboard are all up for cuts. I mentioned in comment #39 that Glen Elendra Archmage and Chromatic Lantern are both being cut soon. I just need to find worthy replacements.
Street Wraith is only viable as a cantrip, which means it's only viable if I have a perfect 98 and don't need the 99th card. I would sooner take something that offers me more utility.
Both restore and tempt are very meta dependent. Tempt is better in a less competitive environment, while restore thrives more in a competitive environment. Playtest them yourself a bit, you'll quickly see what I mean. I understand that Street Wraith is simply a cantrip, but if you are consistently thinking to yourself "wish I drew something else" that might be exactly what you need if you can't commit to something else. Gitaxian Probe is a strictly better cantrip, unless of course people are playing things like Trinisphere and Nether Void , which isn't seen too often (although I run both in my prison deck).
Why do you not run Interdict or Trickbind in a hyper-competitive environment? I feel these are some of the best counter-magic available especially against other combo decks. Do you prefer cards like Dispel over those?
My deck is here: Damia - Competitive
Necropotence is always worth running if your mana base can support it.
I have a random question here, because I'm really on the fence about a certain card and needed a second opinion (definitely wouldn't fit this deck by the way)...
Do you think a deck that's pretty heavily invested into a control shell (with a touch of prison cards) can function without it's hand during opponents turns? You still get to cast off you instant speed draw spells and ramp/bounce/remove and all that, but you are making all of your counterspells into dead cards (it currently runs 11 counterspells if that helps).
Is that worth a cumulative upkeep of "draw a card"? It's just so much potential draw power that giving up your counter power is so tempting.
@nbarry223: No. If you mean something like Bottled Cloister or Psychic Vortex , it won't work how you want it to. You pitch your hand, someone destroys your permanent, and you lose the game. Plus, you don't want to marginalize your control suite for the long-term allure of drawing a few cards. Especially if you severely limit your ability to protect the card on which you're relying.
@vishnarg: I play 6 duals and 9 fetches. Getting the triple black is never a problem for me.
@Droxium: I'm not completely sure. I would need to test it again. I used to run Primeval Titan , but the deck has evolved greatly since the ban, and I can't say whether Primeval Titan would make the cut.
Changing two of the snow-covered basics into regular basics would allow you to run Tainted Pact at maximum efficiency, which could then function as a "second Demonic Tutor " of a sort. Also, what's the reasoning behind the lack of Spell Crumple ? I've been testing a similar list, and the ability to tuck the commander has been relevant every time the opportunity's presented itself.
@Orbrunner: I don't like Tainted Pact . I don't want to exile cards without knowing whether I'll hit what I want. If I find a combo piece I don't need at the time, I'll have to exile it or take it without needing it. I'd rather run a better tutor.
Hinder is my Spell Crumple . I don't like that Spell Crumple shuffles itself back into my deck because that means it probably won't be available again. Because Hinder goes to my graveyard, I can recur it with Eternal Witness or Snapcaster Mage .
To clarify: why not run Spell Crumple alongside Hinder ? Not only would you have access to the ability more often, this is a deck made for multiplayer, and there's often more than one commander that needs tucking. Though, yes, the recursion is a possibility, it won't always be there when you need it. I'd say it's a consideration to sub in over Glen Elendra Archmage as far as countermagic goes.
I explained in post #74: I don't need two of them. One is sufficient, and I'd rather use another one-drop or two-drop counterspell instead of Spell Crumple . Remember, countering a general with a normal counterspell still makes the general more expensive to recast. It will normally delay the opponent at least a turn or two.
gives 2 acceleration for 3, Utopia Sprawl
gives 1 acceleration (and fixing) for 1 and doesn't require haste in order for said mana to be used that turn.
A better suggestion with the would be Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary , but, in my opinion, there aren't enough Forests for him to be truly effective.
@CallMeCrazy: I'm indifferent about it. I've seen some people with foil ABUR proxies, and I don't personally think those are necessary. I do like that Lim-Dul's Vault and Arcane Denial got some awesome new art in C13, and I've acquired the new printings of those cards specifically for that reason. I have alters of other cards (Counterspell , Sensei's Divining Top , Sol Ring ), and I can always get non-foils altered if I prefer.
@jamiepeter6: I don't like Joraga Treespeaker . It requires you to reinvest 1G at sorcery speed before it even taps for mana. Utopia Sprawl is immediately useful (unless played on the first turn on your only land), and it color fixes as well as ramps.
@Orbrunner: Personal Tutor is decent, but it's severely limited by the fact that it's a sorcery that only finds other sorceries. If it were an instant, or if it were more flexible, it might have been included already. I currently play only ten sorceries, and I don't know whether they're worth including a special, sorcery-only tutor to find because they aren't all the most flexible cards in the deck.
I play-tested your Dreamcrusher against my Stax deck and I got off a turn two Smokestack . The dreamcrusher had a Vampiric Tutor and Swan Song to protect the tutor but I couldn't find anything to tutor up to get rid of the Smokestack. What about Deglamer ? Does Dreamcrusher just lose to a resolved Smokestack ?
I've been thinking for a while that Pithing Needle could be great for the deck. It's basically an auto win against Hermit Druid , as the deck can easily race the secondary win con(s), and they only run 1-3 answers to it. Also, it can take out a lot of common commanders, I know you've mentioned a Jarad deck in your meta, as well as other major decks like Scion of the Ur-Dragon , Captain Sisay , etc. If nothing else, it can just serve as a one mana Jace kill spell.
Although Pithing Needle is good, a lot of the time you'll have to name a card blindly and hope to hit. In multiplayer its not very effective. I'm the player of the Jarad deck and I have answers to Pithing Needle but Epoch doesn't have a way to pull it out of the graveyard effectively. Its a one-time spell that can very easily get removed and doesn't make a huge difference in the game.
What do you think of the medallions (jet, sapphire, emerald)? Is the gradual advantage of the cost reduction enough to warrant an inclusion, or is the fact that they only work on spells (no synergy with deadeye navigator) and only a specific color of spell (in a tri-color deck) too much of an issue to make the cut?
Great Whale only combos with Deadeye Navigator and not Phantasmal Image . It's considerably worse because of that. He'd have to cut something else for a card that pretty much does nothing on its own. While it is a combo deck, you do want your cards to have as much usefulness on their own, and synergy with others as possible. Even if your combos don't go infinite, smaller things like Rings of Brighthearth (I know it isn't in this deck, just an example, since it is another infinite mana combo peice) + a fetch land can potentially win you games if they go unchecked.
Palinchron can also double as a flying blocker. He can return to hand before taking damage if you're really in trouble for some reason. Palinchron just has so much more utility than Great Whale , and including both doesn't really help the deck too much, because it is one of the higher CMC cards included in the deck. Time Stretch is a good card, but it's CMC means it is a dead card until you build up that much mana, and probably still dead until a turn or 2 after that, because you actually need it to resolve to be useful (it's prob top 5 most countered spells in EDH).
@coleman984: Some cards do pose a problem. I go light on removal spells because I primarily use counterspells to get rid of threats. Do you think it's worth reevaluating that strategy?
@Blakkhand: I wonder if Pithing Needle is worth including, but it does serve as a strong answer to many threats. Smith_and_Tonic brings up a good point about its effectiveness being reduced in multiplayer, which is what this deck was designed for.
@YerpyMoose: The medallions are decent cards in some decks, but they aren't worth including here. Their effectiveness falls off as you add more colors to the deck, and they don't really do enough for me in a three-color build to warrant inclusion.
Delay is better than Ertai's Meddling , in my opinion. They cost the same to cast (Ertai's Meddling can only be cast for a minimum of 1U), but Delay gets rid of the spell for longer. Actually, Delay isn't even in the current build. I forgot what I cut it for.
@alexsmith21: Vendilion Clique is alright as a commander or a support card in some decks, but I don't think it's worthwhile here. This deck is designed for a multiplayer environment, and Vendilion Clique 's power decreases significantly once you start adding opponents.
@Arcaedion: To be honest, you'll have to cut a significant amount of power from this deck to build a budget version.
A lot of the price tag comes from the land base because it uses the 3-3-9. I invested a lot in lands because they are the foundation of the deck. I have perhaps one of the most consistent mana platforms possible in BUG.
There are several cards in the $15-25 range that perform vital functions.
You'll have to decide what's worth including. If you have a budget of $800-1000, you can afford to include most of the $25 stuff, and maybe even some of the $100 stuff. Imperial Seal is an obvious cut, and you'll probably need to make some sacrifices when it comes to the land lineup. You can use pain and check lands instead of some of the duals and checks (I would at least keep the shocks). Filter lands are another possibility.
You'll basically be trying to downgrade most of the expensive cards, which will probably be hard. Those cards are in the deck because they do their jobs so well.
@Epochalyptik No I don't think running less counter magic is the right move. And personally I wish there was a better exile / tuck counter to stop problems that are likely to recur. As far as I'm aware there are 3 counters that either tuck or exile that cost 1UU but none that cost less. But depending on your meta I think Deglamer
might warrant a spot. I believe it to be superior to Krosan Grip
on two fronts; mana cost and tucking. I personally run a Purphoros, God of the Forge
list and if he doesn't get disrupted he can win very quickly. But aside from the gods to many things stop something from being destroyed or what not or can recur things from the graveyard easily so therefore I would rather put it back into the library.
@coleman984: I cut Krosan Grip a while ago because I didn't like the mana cost. I can see your argument for Deglamer , though. I just wonder whether it's worthwhile to have Deglamer in addition to, or instead of, Nature's Claim .
@Orbrunner: City of Brass is a fine card, but I don't really want to kill myself when I go infinite. With Deadeye Navigator and Palinchron , I need to tap three lands per cycle to go infinite. With Phantasmal Image , I need to do seven. Because I get a large portion of my mana from artifacts, especially in the early game, there's a good chance that running City of Brass will come back to haunt me at an inconvenient time.
Deglamer avoids indestructible, and tucks the target, while not giving the opponent an extra 4 life.
Nature's Claim costs less to cast, allowing or more freedom of casting on your turn, and enables a (highly situational, but still possible) lifegain loop involving Deadeye-EWit.
Personally, I would go with Nature's Claim over Deglamer, because in the vast majority of matchups in which it is relevant to be killing artifacts/enchantments, the lower cost makes Claim superior. In addition, it is unnecessary to run more than one artifact/enchantment hate spell, as it can already be recurred through a variety of methods, and dedicating another slot to that takes away a slot from something else.
@Epochalyptik I would say yes to run Deglamer over Nature's Claim but there are times where it could matter on the recursion front that something not go to the graveyard. And it costs 1 colorless so if you need to make it uncounterable you can with Boseiju, Who Shelters All where you can't with Nature's Claim.
I'm curious how much work Tolaria West does for the deck. There's no doubt that it's a solid tutor (difficult to counter, grabs any land/Pact of Negation /Mana Crypt ), but is it worth paying 3 mana at sorcery speed? I'm also assuming it's rarely played as a land due to entering the battlefield tapped.
@TheCommonFig: You are correct in your assumption that I rarely play Tolaria West as a land. I find that the transmute ability does justify Tolaria West 's inclusion because it allows the card to function as ramp (by finding Mana Crypt ), a land tutor (especially to get utility lands like Boseiju, Who Shelters All ), and a counterspell tutor (by finding Pact of Negation ). The fact that transmute is an ability means the effect can only be countered by a very small group of cards. This, in turn, means I am likelier to get what I need.
@BawwPixels: I do rely quite heavily on nonbasics, and Blood Moon is one of the cards that threatens this deck most. I've been looking for ways to combat it, and I'm leaning more and more toward including Living Wish and moving some of my less important utility lands into a sideboard.
Unfortunately, Blood Moon is very difficult to answer except by countering.
@vishnarg: Misdirection is a great spell. It thwarts counterspells because I can redirect them to Misdirection itself, and it helps defeat removal spells. Dispel is good for protecting Damia and my combos. It's a great card to have during counter wars.
Sensei's Divining Top is still in the deck, and I have no plans to remove it in the near future. I suspect that most of the decks that don't include it either can't afford it or are playing by French rules
What are your thoughts on running Toxic Deluge over Damnation ? Deluge is one mana cheaper, kills indestructible (admittedly, there are very few indestructible creatures worth running), and gives some flexibility by letting you set the X value. The only downside I see to it is that you already have a fair number of cards that you lose life to (fetches, shocks, Boseiju, FoW, Ancient Tomb, Mana Vault, Mana Crypt, Vampiric Tutor, Necropotence, etc.). Would those ever cause enough life loss to interfere with the Deluge? Or conversely, could the Deluge cause you to miss some of those effects later in the game?
Apologies for few card links -- I'm on my phone.
@YerpyMoose: It's not that simple. Green is an integral part of this deck because it was designed to be an integral part of this deck. If you transition to UB, you lose the massive amount of ramp power that green provides, and you also lose Tooth and Nail .
I personally think mono-blue would be better than UB, though. You lose some tutor power, but mono-blue is faster and better at comboing that UB. Arcum Dagsson and Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir are the go-to generals.
I meant stylistically similar. You could simply run a mono-u list with Oona at the helm with a Rings of Brighthearth + Basalt Monolith wincon. I've seen an "undefeated" mono-U list by MTG_Player that fit the bill, using Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur as the commander. Eh, seems interesting enough. I'll look into it.
I noticed that you commented earlier that you have trouble with Blood Moon . Do you have similar trouble with Back to Basics ? What of tutor-hosers such as Stranglehold and Mindlock Orb ? If so, how do you seek to remedy said troubles?
Counterspells are my primary line of defense against those cards. Unfortunately, there's not much I can do against them. If a Mindlock Orb or Stranglehold or Aven Mindcensor resolves, then I have to play around it until I draw into an answer. Likely, that means filtering my hand as much and as often as possible with Damia.
As for the nonbasic land hosers, they kind of wreck this deck. I can't change the fact that this deck is dependent on nonbasics - it's the nonbasics that make it consistent enough to win so early and so often. I may end up using Living Wish and moving many of the less essential utility lands to the sideboard in favor of more basics (especially because the Crucible+fetch interaction tends to deplete my deck of fetchable lands pretty quickly).
Deglamer keeps getting brought up, but I'm going to add more validity to its merit! what about as a tuck for the times you go up against esper generals! or in the event your opponent plays some nasty combo centered piece that you didn't have a Counterspell for? This card gives you another out-of-the-box disruption that most people wont anticipate.
I play this deck almost to the T, just 3-5 different cards weekly, almost daily, and I can say this: it works well 1v1 but it really shines in 2v2 format. When we play any other formats like star, ffa, 3v3 it has a hard time going off because there are simply just too many interactions.
What countermagic were strong considerations for the deck but didnt make the cut?
I don't see much graveyard hate in the deck, barring Deathrite Shaman , leading on from that i was wondering if Trinket Mage was ever in the deck to fetch up your mana rocks, Sensei's Divining Top , and what might've been graveyard hate artifacts like Nihil Spellbomb , Relic of Progenitus or Tormod's Crypt .
Gaze of Granite is a card i've found invaluable in edh, dealing with opponent's mana-rocks and early plays if you wind up playing it before your own, did it not make the cut similarly to how Pernicious Deed got cut from the deck?
@gheridarigaaz: I tested a lot of the 1U counterspells, but cut several of them (like Delay ) for more effective counters (like Swan Song , when it came out) and other cards. I avoided most of the 3+ CMC counterspells because they are too expensive for a fast-paced control deck, and they sit awkwardly on the mana curve.
Graveyard hate is pretty specific, and it isn't generally relevant except in certain cases. Even in those few cases, it's generally better to have a counterspell than graveyard hate.
I've never seen Sadistic Sacrament in game, and it's exceedingly rare that someone plays something that interferes with my win conditions while they're still in my library or hand. Regardless, I have backup combos. They aren't as efficient or straightforward as my infinite mana combos (especially if they exile Deadeye Navigator , but they can do the job in a pinch. Overall, though, the deck is a bit more fragile than I'd like. I'll be the first to admit that. Multiplayer games tend not to see a whole lot of single-opponent disruption beyond counterspells and removal, though, because it's just not mana or time efficient to target one player to lose the game.
Gaze of Granite can certainly have its place in many decks, but it isn't up to scratch for competitive circles. It's just too expensive to cast, and it's a sorcery. Pernicious Deed would likely make a reappearance before Gaze of Granite sees play here. I need to include only the most efficient cards when I can.
I'm building something similar around Damia with a little bit less focus on Infinite (my group rather frowns on it, unless the game is getting extremely drawn out). I was wondering if you had ever experimented with Parallax Tide for mana-denial, counter-LD, and potential hilarity to the tune of "oh, Pact of Negation ? You lose." (It'd require your Leyline of Anticipation , but the look on your opponent's face would be priceless.)
@Atmaweapon: I have not used Parallax Tide , but I've seen some decklists experiment with the card (and similar cards). I don't personally find it too impressive, at least on paper. Then again, I don't have any in-game experience playing with or against it, so my opinion on the matter is of limited value.
How does one interfere with your win-con combos? I'm looking to make either a chaos or policing edh deck. My vorosh BUG deck is exceedingly good at making people quit, discouraging people from playing against me. Hence asking about counters and library disruption, theres a similarly combo-centric bug deck in our meta that i'd look to stymie or stifle to earn favour with the other players
And i am aware this ought to be in one of the forums, but i'm just looking for a straightforward answer
gheridarigaaz the most fragile point of the combine is when Palinchron and Deadeye Navigator enter the battlefield. The easiest way to disrupt it is to kill one of them in response to the soulbond trigger. It can't be blinked to make infinite mana since it hasn't been bonded yet. Also you don't get to untap the lands just yet since that trigger is also on the stack.
@gheridarigaaz: Disruption against this kind of deck is largely situational. For disruption to have effect, I need to not be able to counter it. A careful combo-control player presents few opportunities for disruption.
That said, the best means of interfering with combos are counterspells and removal. If you counter a critical combo piece, then it takes time and resources to get that piece back or change combos. For example, if I combo with Phantasmal Image and Palinchron , you can counter Phantasmal Image on the cast or recast (that's one of the reasons I like Deadeye Navigator - it evades counterspells).
Spot removal also works, provided I don't have counterspells or Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir to protect my combo (although the same is true of counterspells in general).
Other options include discard, tucking, and exile (e.g. Vendilion Clique ).
@larsenp: I agree, but I'll wait until BNG is spoiled. That way I can update the deck (if anything usable even comes out) and purge the comments at the same time.
@CommanderLovecroft: I generally don't like including combos just because they're combos. They need to be relevant to the rest of the deck. Horizon Chimera doesn't do anything for me on its own or with any cards except my combo. Same for Nefarious Lich , but the latter is much riskier to play.
Have you ever considered Frantic Search ? I have my own damia deck, but it's much more budget. Anyway Frantic Search is always relevant for me. It can ramp for one turn, find answers and the cards that I pitch to it are either irrelevant or I can recur them later. The only downside is the -1 card advantage but it tends to be an upside with damia on the the field because I can dig through more cards then.
Frantic Search might have been a consideration, but there's nothing in this deck that I'd cut for it. Everything else is just more useful.
it can ramp with Utopia Sprawl but that's about it.
I think it's more useful than Chromatic Lantern generally speaking. You can keep mana open for counters even without counters in hand, and pitch something else if you draw one when you need it. if not it still helps to filter your hand for pieces you need (or forms of ramp to enable more).
It actually does work if it's played properly, and at worse it is a good card filter when damia is out.
@ColdHeartedSith: One of the biggest misconceptions about Grim Monolith is that you need to untap it. You don't; you can use it as a turn one or turn two investment to get extra mana later. It's like Dark Ritual .
Mana Vault serves a similar purpose. It's a burst of extra mana, and you aren't obligated to untap it after you use it.
It was in an update , but it doesn't look like Abrupt Decay is in the decklist. Seems like the perfect answer to Blood Moon . Was it just too situational of a card to be included? And what about Sylvan Primordial ? The cmc may be a bit steep but he can ramp alongside his removal and interacts with Lotus Cobra nicely. Does the problem of something slipping through a counterspell to land on the board occur often enough to warrant his use? I feel like he would have to go in the SB if you do put in Living Wish .
Ok I thought that was its purpose but I was trying to make sure it dosn't untap for free somehow or something I missed. I guess its well costed as a 3 colorless 2 mana Sol Ring that dosn't untap. Well in a round about way. I think its a good one for Glissa, if anyone plays her in golgari or B/U/G Grim Monolith I mean.
Not including Abrupt Decay is probably a bad decision. It's the best removal spell ever printed for eternal formats (admittedly, it's not as good in EDH as it is in legacy, mainly because Counterbalance isn't a card and CMCs are a little higher). It should easily edge out some of the worse counterspells. Also, I can tell you after some testing that Voidslime probably shouldn't make the cut. CCC counters are just too clunky, and the additional utility does not justify it. You could even just switch the two.
@Blakkhand: I disagree about Abrupt Decay being the best removal spell ever. Each removal spell has its applications. In this case, Abrupt Decay is pretty limited. It does hit lots of utility permanents, but the question is whether it's worthwhile to include Abrupt Decay just to kill Sol Ring s, Sylvan Library , and similar permanents. I'm not adamant about not including Abrupt Decay , but it doesn't seem worthwhile at this point.
Voidslime keeps its place because it can counter anything. It's CCC, but it's in the two most relevant colors in the deck. The flexibility to counter any part of a combo is really nice.
Nature's Claim is better than Seal of Primordium . An opponent can force me to crack Seal of Primordium early because he or she knows I have it (it only functions while it's a permanent). Nature's Claim is cheaper, and I can surprise an opponent with it.
You are everything wrong with the commander format, please go and play legacy/modern/standard that where tailored for individuals to be ultra-spikey and have the primary goal to win every game. This is a format based upon interaction, multiplayer political dynamics and playing often with a close group of friends.
@Behappyorelse: Bad troll is bad.
If you bothered reading my work, you would know by now that I'm one of the more outspoken proponents of playgroup selection. I play this deck against people who want to play against this deck: people who expect and crave a high-stakes, high-tension, competitive game. When I play kitchen table EDH with my casual friends, I break out another deck.
Assumptions like yours are everything that is wrong with the discussion about the Commander format.
This in a nutshell: I am sure this is not his only deck of play. I run a mirror of this deck minus 5-10 cards and it is not unstoppable, nor does it claim to be. That being said Behappyorelse maybe your meta is full of Johnny's where as ours are more competitive and players of a different caliber.
Also.. domination is a form of interaction, just apparently one that you are not familiar with in your Bonbon's and X-box playgroup.
I've been reading through the comments since the last wipe and haven't seen anything on Library/combo extraction. I'm thinking of running either Bitter Ordeal
or Sadistic Sacrament
in my own Damia build but it's played in a far less competitive environment than what I assume this deck is built for. I'm curious to see thoughts about them either as tools to shut down other decks or alternate win cons to Blue Sun's Zenith
Perhaps I'm the problem of power creep in my playgroup.
@Dusty: Bitter Ordeal isn't a very effective win condition in this deck because there's no sacrifice/kill loop. It's also not a very good utility card on its own. I suppose if you reworked the deck it might function, but I don't see the need to do so. Sadistic Sacrament is borderline. I suppose you could use it, but the cost is kind of out there for a non-permanent utility card.
I haven't seen anything about Kira, Great Glass-Spinner . As far as a counter goes she does extremely well paired up with other utility cards and ultimately forces a board wipe or massive resource dumping into removing her. Not much you have targets your own creatures so she seems like a legit 3 CMC fit. Thoughts?
I used to have Kira, Great Glass-Spinner in an early version of this deck, but I cut it because it felt unnecessary. I might consider re-adding it, but I would need to justify the addition.
My major problem is that it doesn't have flash, so I have to cast it preemptively, which hinders my control options.
If you need more creature removal, Toxic Deluge is absolutely fantastic. I know you could fetch Damnation , but the life loss isn't significant for EDH, it can kill other things but keep Damia on the field, it costs less than Damnation . I would at least sideboard it for hyper-aggressive decks.
My testing of a similar build (currently the effective changes are Toxic Deluge
, Grim Tutor
and Spell Crumple
over Glen Elendra Archmage
, Chromatic Lantern
) has been quite successful. The only one of those three that I've missed has been, on rare occasion, the Lantern, whereas the extra tutor has proven far more useful than the extra counterspell. While I'm well aware that Crumple doesn't do Hinder's job as well as Hinder itself does, my metagame has a lot of decks that are absolutely crushed by getting their commander tucked, so I felt the inclusion was necessary. Having both Deluge and Damnation as wrath effects has been more successful in testing than having merely one or the other, in my experience.
i'm surprised to see Savage Summoning not make an appearance in the deck, Epochalyptik. it keeps you open right after ramping to counter anything necessary and then at EOT for opponent, you cast general, uncountered, a bit bigger, then start your turn. idk, seemed relevant.
alright, re-unsubscribing for the deck, hate my newsfeed when i forget, lol. link me if you reply.
@Dreno33: Savage Summoning just seems questionable. A few users were bouncing the idea around back when M14 was spoiled, but I haven't yet picked one up. I might test it, but I don't know if it'll make the cut.
Speaking of testing, it's been quite a while since I was able to test this deck seriously. I play an occasional matchup against Jarad or Prime Speaker, but that's once a month, if that. I just don't have the time to commit right now.
When you finally get around to playtesting, I'd strongly consider Frantic Search (it's a lot more powerful in this type of build than it looks at first glance) Savage Summoning Gitaxian Probe and Toxic Deluge for the four spots you have up for replacement (Flusterstorm if you feel you need the counterspell, but two of the suggested cards are capable of drawing into counterspells, so might not be needed).
They significantly bring down your mana curve, allow you to play as a control player A LOT better, and give you a few more options as far as plays that can be made.
I feel I need to elaborate on the reasons why Frantic Search does work in this deck, because it definitely isn't apparent at first glance. It just looks like a filler card (as does Gitaxian Probe , but I'll get to that one later).
Frantic Search is basically a free Brainstorm (provided you can get damia out before you run out of cards), with a few added benefits. As I mentioned earlier, it can actually ramp you if you have Utopia Sprawl out. It can also be used to feed graveyard based cards like Deathrite Shaman and Crucible of Worlds . Finally, last but certainly not least, it refills your hand much better than any card when damia is on the field. It allows you to pitch those lands you aren't able to play for significant draw power. It's also significantly more powerful than the aforementioned Brainstorm because the unwanted cards are going to your graveyard and not the top of your library. The lack of a cantrip effect is almost negligible in a deck with damia as a general.
Gitaxian Probe is another underrated card. It allows you to gather information about any player's hand for 2 life, which is invaluable as a control player. Even if you have 3 other people at the table, you can tell who is most likely to be holding a couterspell, so check out their hand before playing your "bomb" whatever it may be. It's basically a peek at someone's hand whenever you want it (2 life is generally insignificant), which is great.
The other cards are pretty self explanatory (Flusterstorm is a great counter because you simultaneously cast a bunch of counters that have to be dealt with separately if they really want to get into a counter war with you. It's almost a cheaper Last Word )
Well aside from answers to current threats, I use it to set up the mill combo, fetch Snapcaster Mage , not to sure about the wording on Leyline of Anticipation + Mystical Teachings , seems arbitrary and worthy of looking up "as though they had" versus "gain" effects. Need a counterspell? No problem, tutor for one, need another? Flashback and grab another. Flashing back and tapping out isn't bad when you can still Pact of Negation .
Mystical Teachings can allow you to tap out to cast it, and then grab a free counterspell like Pact of Negation or Force of Will . It can also grab Venser, Shaper Savant as well as Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir . There are other notable instants, like Blue Sun's Zenith and Cyclonic Rift . Mystical Teachings is a highly situational card which can grab what ever you need.
I noticed that most of your infinite combos require Deadeye Navigator to execute. Are there ever situations where you find yourself without the navigator (such as your opponents exiling it even through your counter protection, somehow), and how often do you expect to win those games without him)
Nice list. I have a few cards that I don't really think have any business being in a competitive list. Many of them you've already identified yourself, such as Chromatic Lantern so I'll try not to bring those up. The following is a pretty direct deck criticism, which I don't see many of here in the comments. I'm not going to pull punches,
First concern: how do you win if someone resolves a Jester's Cap or Sadistic Sacrament against you? Counter them, sure, but if you're playing in a competitive meta I'm suspecting the other players are going to be doing relevant things worth countering sometimes too - so I'd be worried about win conditions that rely almost ENTIRELY on 3 cards.
Green Sun's Zenith is actually pretty low impact here. It can find two relevant cards in Eternal Witness and MAYBE Deathrite Shaman and otherwise should probably just be another ramp spell since that's what you can find with it. If you need this effect, play Worldly Tutor and EOT it - it lets you find your combo win to boot.
Alchemist's Refuge almost certainly wants to be in here, as it does not require you to resolve it and it forces people to play around it, whereas Teferi is pretty obvious and there are plenty of less narrow ways to deal with him and he gets hit by uncounterable sweepers.
I'm also not a huge fan of Dark Ritual in a deck with as much ramp as you have. It's card disadvantage and the best thing you can ramp into is..Necro? Oracle? Damia? You're not playing stax or combo here - you're a control deck. If your curve is not working out or you can't find space to play a ramp spell or creature...my suspicion is that you're misplaying or that your other cards aren't doing their jobs.
Finally, Utopia Sprawl and Remand are not ideal. Given your present over saturation of counter magic remand is a cute redundant cantrip at best. I would much prefer this be something like Frantic Search or Interdict . Utopia sprawl is just an overt begging to get 2 for 1'd, much like the mana dorks sans DRS. They die to literally everything and they only marginally ramp. Instead, I'd think about running things like Sprouting Vines and Summer Bloom that let you REALLY punish an opponent for getting in a counter war with you or playing a lot of things at once. Even though these lands don't come into play, with the other effects you have you should be able to dump them out or pitch them to other effects quite readily. Bloom also lets you ramp to Damia with an empty hand for the draw 7.
I also really don't agree with your reliance on counter magic to stop all threats. Things like Vexing Shusher and Boseiju, Who Shelters All crap on that strategy, and I think you need to be able to reliably answer more than just one opponent doing relevant things in a game (if you're playing competitively). IMO maybe you need to drop some of the weaker counters and run one or two utility answers such as Beast Within or Oblivion Stone .
@Krayhaft: There are replacements for most of the combo pieces. The deck will obviously suffer a bit if it loses an important piece, but the alternative options are there. It's mostly a matter of whether I'll have time to repair the combo.
Jester's Cap and Sadistic Sacrament seem to not even exist in the competitive multiplayer meta. They're too narrow, and too expensive. No player really wants to spend that much mana just to focus one opponent. If anything, single-target exile is the real problem. Even then, there's countermagic, and most of the combo pieces have at least one replacement.
Green Sun's Zenith finds several relevant creatures. Dryad Arbor , Deathrite Shaman , Azusa, Lost but Seeking , Eternal Witness , and Lotus Cobra are all fine fetches. Oracle of Mul Daya is really the only green creature I can't see myself fetching. Worldly Tutor serves a different purpose, although it is certainly a good card. Choosing one over the other seems mostly like a preference thing. Worldly Tutor has the advantage of being a cheap instant, but it forces you to hardcast the creature. The capacity to find any creature is certainly nice, but delayed access can be a hindrance. When I have a chunk of time to devote to playtesting, I'll try Worldly Tutor as a replacement for/addition to Green Sun's Zenith .
Alchemist's Refuge is on the list of things to (re)include in the next update. I'm thinking about reworking the land base and dropping some of the less necessary utility lands (Homeward Path , for example, hasn't really done much for me).
Dark Ritual is good for ramping into Damia because Damia's ability just replaces the card. It's also perfectly reasonable to ramp into a Necropotence considering black is the color I fetch last. It's not that the curve doesn't work, it's that getting to better cards sooner is, well, better.
Utopia Sprawl is functional because of how frequently and rapidly I get a Forest on the field. Granted, aura-based ramp is not optimal. The color-fixing utility is pretty strong, though. I could replace it with another ramp card if testing proves such a move would be advantageous. Sprouting Vines probably wouldn't be that card, though. It's expensive to cast, and storm is not as relevant as it needs to be. Summer Bloom is nice, but it doesn't honestly do enough unless I'm already land-flooded, and it's pretty rare that I am, given how many other Exploration effects are in the deck. Carpet of Flowers is the likelier candidate. I'll probably end up making that swap after some testing.
Remand is usable as a pseudo-hard counter within the combo turn cycle, but I'll agree it isn't the strongest counterspell.
I honestly question the utility of Frantic Search . At least one other user has suggested it, but it seems like too much of a gamble. It begs to be counterspelled, and it only filters. If it resolves, it gets the reset, but the 2U cost makes it feel too risky to include. I know nbarry223 extolled Frantic Search 's benefits, but the still seem marginal in a deck that rarely has dead cards (the Exploration effects mean I almost never have useless lands in hand).
I cut Scroll Rack a while ago, but it seems Scroll Rack would be a more useful version of Frantic Search . It's repeatable, costs less to use unless it's on the turn you cast it, and allows me to choose any number of cards to filter.
Interdict could be a suitable inclusion, but I wonder whether it would be better to use Trickbind . I'd be trading the cantrip for uncounterability and the option to target triggered abilities, and I can live with that.
While it's true that Vexing Shusher and Boseiju, Who Shelters All are serious threats, the suggested answers are iffy. Oblivion Stone is very slow and expensive, so I don't think I could justify including it. Beast Within used to be in the deck, but I found very few situations in which I needed to destroy something so badly that I could justify spending that much on the process. Still, the option to answer a resolved threat would be nice. Pongify or Rapid Hybridization seem the likelier options as far as creature removal go.
Honestly, it's been so long since I tested this deck in a multiplayer environment that it's no wonder some of the card choices appear outdated or suboptimal. The competitive EDH scene around here doesn't exist anymore, and I haven't had time in the past half a year to commit to serious online playtesting.
The lack of recent game experience has effectively frozen this deck's development for now. I rely largely on useful discussions like this one to keep it going.
I think your mana base rework is certainly in order. You don't run any of the karoos (such as Dimir Aqueduct - all of which would make cards like summer bloom, frantic search, and sprouting vines much better - AND they're better than Utopia Sprawl . I'd honestly rather run another land over that card.
I also still don't agree with GSZ - fetching Lotus Cobra , Dryad Arbor or Azusa, Lost but Seeking is EXTREMELY marginal and turns the card directly into a ramp spell. It's good - certainly, I just happen to think there are cheaper, more flexible options (which seems to be what you want either way).
I think you're making my point for me with the Dark Ritual comment. If you need to cast rit to cast damia, you're probably asking to get blown out. As someone who plays competitive EDH vs control decks, I seek opportunities such as this to tuck or kill your general. Maybe you'll have counter magic, but my guess is that people will want to deal with your general because it's pretty obvious what your gameplan is.
As to the Jester's Cap and Sadistic Sacrament sentiments: I play them in most decks where I suffer against control, because usually casting either of them means disabling EVERY infinite combo in 90% of decks. There's no reason to kick sad sac: 3 cards is enough to disable most infinite combos. Same with cap. In my experience, the best way to deal with this is just to play at least SOME way to win that doesn't rely entirely on Deadeye Navigator or Palinchron
@Tee_Yum: The Rav karoos don't really make sense here. They can interact well with the Exploration effects, but they're VERY risky if I don't have any such effects. Strip Mine basically turns into a Time Stretch against those lands. Plus, they come in tapped. I also don't have any room for them in the decklist.
While using Green Sun's Zenith as a ramp spell may seem odd, it's worthwhile in my experience. Having that option for the turn one cast into Dryad Arbor , or the turn X cast into anything else is kind of nice. I'm willing to test other options, but Green Sun's Zenith has worked thus far in this capacity.
Dark Ritual is situational, but I haven't yet had a negative experience with it. I don't use it to walk something into a counterspell if I know the counterspell is there (or have a feeling it is). Early on, it accelerates into Necropotence and mana rocks. It can also turn into Damia or Tooth and Nail . I cast it when I'm at least 90% sure that I can resolve the spell that follows it.
While I agree that Jester's Cap and Sadistic Sacrament (and I'm aware the latter doesn't need to be kicked) are good at disabling combos, I don't agree that they're threats in the competitive multiplayer meta. I've never come across someone who plays it in a tournament pod. It's a lot of mana to thwart a single player, and you'll just turn that player into a single-focus enemy for the rest of the game - he or she is probably going to want to make you lose if you guarantee he or she can't win. As I mentioned earlier, the bigger threat comes from spot removal like Path to Exile or Swords to Plowshares .
I also plan to soon playtest Rite of Replication because there are too many fun ETB interactions with my deck to abuse.
Also as far as "competitive meta's" are concerned... let's be honest here, this is EDH. I play @ one of the most populated card shops in Texas and still haven't seen unbeatable, professional, or quality decks win all the time. Say someone resolves a Leyline of the Void , pretty much beast of a card in itself, combine it with some mill mechanics and you straight annihilate most decks out there. Find a way to recur it and it can be one of the most annoying cards to play against in EDH in my opinion.
@larsenp: Riftsweeper is an iffy card. It does its job well enough, but it only does that one job. It seems easier to just transition into another combo than to tutor up Riftsweeper , then tutor up the returned card, then play the returned card again.
Rite of Replication is fine outside the competitive level. It's just too slow here.
As for your view on competitive metas themselves, you're wrong. I'm being blunt, but that's a fact. Competitive EDH (in both the "more than casual" sense and the "tournament level" sense) does exist, and to dismiss it is to dismiss the reason this deck exists. The competitive meta in this format has nothing to do with what's annoying or what tops in casual playgroups. It's about efficiency, speed, and power. The top decks - Arcum Dagsson , Scion of the Ur-Dragon /Hermit Druid , Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir , Animar, Soul of Elements , etc. - all balance those elements and win very consistently within five turns or so.
No. The Mimeoplasm is a strong utility general, but it doesn't do enough in terms of speed and magnitude to support a top-tier competitive deck. That's not to say you can't build a good deck around it, but you aren't setting yourself up in the best position to take on established tourney decks.
You really need to playtest it to see its power I think. People will seldom counter a card like that when you are playing it EoT. That's one less counter they have against key combo pieces. Countering a filter card is about as useful as targeted discard.
@thataddkid: Damia is a worse combo general than Animar, in my opinion. I just really like BUG. Animar is good because the general itself is a combo staple. There are lots of decklists on MTG sites, and some primers on MTGS, that cover in far greater depth than I can what competitive combo-control Animar should include.
look at my deck EDH - Animar the Archenemy for most of the animar staples. I have a few cards in it to deal with burn and counterspell heavy decks specifically (people like to play those in the made up edh archenemy format) but it is mostly "optimal" cards in there.
Some people like to take the Cloudstone Curio path, but I find it too slow and vulnerable.
@ChiefBell: Yes. The 3-3-9 lineup and the extra basic Forests mean I almost always have one or more Forests within the first turn or two. The casting restriction isn't the problem; it's the fact that it's an aura. Auras are inherently risky because your opponent can 2-for-1 you.
The things you are most afraid of are combos and counterspells. Aside from the creature based combos negate catches both of those. It is likely that you are the most degenerate deck at the table, and most of the time your counters are going to be used to protect your combo. Negate does a great job of this. I just hate to see my opponent draw cards.
With 9 fetches, Wasteland
, Strip Mine
, Tolaria West
and Cephalid Coliseum
, I think that Life from the Loam
would almost always get some value on the initial cast, and once it starts dredging it can be a very powerful land recursion engine.
I would also like to suggest Mystic Snake and/or Plasm Capture . The latter might be too slow, but they both have served me well in the past, even if they just end up chump blocking.
infinitemana Life from the Loam was cut a few months ago, even if he would have the card in hand, he would never want to cast it. Also, you run the risk of dredging a piece of your combo if you do decide to dredge it. One a side note, Life from the Loam + Scroll Rack + Lands in the graveyard is a 3 mana draw 3 every turn.
What are your feelings on Defense of the Heart ?
Cons: It is opponent "controlled" and it's slow seeing as you have to wait until your upkeep.
Pros: It can win you the game on the spot, it keeps your opponents creature count low, and it dodges most removal.
I'm not sure whether or not you've already considered these options, but I think Gifts Ungiven and Fact or Fiction (Gifts especially) would make your deck much more consistent, as you can search for combo pieces and dig for counterspells or whatever you need much more efficiently.
Fact or Fiction was cut because it was expensive. I'd rather have a cheap tutor.
@Ohthenoises: Defense of the Heart was cut a while ago because it was just too inconsistent. It's easy to deal with because it has to be played in advance, and there's no real guarantee that its ability will trigger. Your opponents also know what's coming, so they can prepare in advance.
DN does nothing by itself. It takes time to set up for him to be useful and it's effectively an 8 mana investment to get running
TAN is expensive and vulnerable to a multitude of things that can stop it.
Memnarch isn't a very good win condition, at least in this deck, because it's only functional when I have infinite mana. It's much too expensive and limited to be applicable outside of the combo.
My win conditions tend to be cards that serve some purpose outside of the combo. For example, Blue Sun's Zenith and Venser, Shaper Savant are both usable utility cards even without an infinite mana or bounce combo.
Capsize was in the deck a while ago, but it was cut (this is a pretty common pattern in the development cycle of this deck). I like Capsize in theory, but it's just too expensive to cast for buyback as just a regular utility spell.
The problem with offering suggestions for this deck is exactly that difference between theory and practice. BUG has many, many theoretically strong options, but not all of them are viable at the competitive level.
I wouldn't cast Capsize for its buyback unless you had infinite mana. It's mostly there for the needed temporary removal in game threatening situations. Otherwise you should just hold it. It's more of an "if all else fails" type of card.
I'm not saying it's worthy of a slot in the deck, there are better options. But paying its buyback without infinite mana is a waste, especially in a deck that generates this much card advantage. It should be treated as an expensive Boomerang unless you have infinite mana.
When it comes to infinite mana one of my personal favorites is Mind Grind . Granted you need BU for it and it does not shuffle back in like Blue Sun's Zenith , bit it does hit all opponents which is really nice when you have a large group. Something else worth looking into is this new combo I came across of + .
@Krayhaft: I don't. If I test the wishes, I'll have to come up with a viable sideboard to support them.
@Droxium: It's debatable. I haven't tested it or seen it used, so I can't currently vouch for its viability.
@vishnarg: It's incredibly strong. Nobody will ever pay the cost, and competitive EDH is about speed. If your opponents want to make plays in the first few turns, I get a large card advantage. If they don't, I'll probably win the game shortly after winning the resource race.
@supercaptainpow: Sometimes I don't even pay the upkeep cost. The nice thing about CU costs is you can just opt to not pay them once the card has outlived its viability. Mystic Remora is a great tool for generating advantage because you can just throw it away once you get a strong enough lead.
@nicknac30: Mind Grind is not really applicable; neither is Gray Merchant of Asphodel . Neither one is useful outside of an infinite combo. If you examine the deck list, you'll notice all the listed win conditions are viable as support cards, so they're still usable without combos. Additionally, Mind Grind doesn't end the game outright.
@vishnarg: Helix Pinnacle isn't really a good infinite mana combo piece. You don't win immediately, and the closest you can get is EOTing all the counters if you can set off your combo at instant speed. Helix Pinnacle is also useless without an infinite mana combo.
In contrast, I can kill an entire table at once with Blue Sun's Zenith . I cast it on myself first, then draw into it or tutor it and recast it until I win.
I take this deck for a spin every once in awhile, and it really needs better mana. I would seriously consider cutting Homeward Path (EXTREMELY niche scenario, no reason to hurt your mana for an effect that comes up like 1 in 50 competitive games), Reliquary Tower (most of the time this would help you, which is already somewhat rare, you are already going to win regardless), maybe Cavern of Souls (no creatures that you really need to resolve, though it does fix a little), and Chromatic Lantern (you don't really need it if you get a higher colored count) with 3-4 lands. I like City of Brass and pain lands, though I could see a filter or two getting in there, or maybe even Tarnished Citadel if you feel like going all in.
This is one of the few remaining flaws with the deck, it just needs to go. I've been noticing that in about 1 in 5 games I need to mull to 5-6 just to get a keepable hand. Converting a 2-4 colorless lands to colored lands could easily result in a lot of free cards, just through avoiding those mulls.
@Blakkhand: I agree completely, and that's one of the changes I've been planning to make for a while. Unfortunately, the competitive EDH meta around me is nonexistent, so I have very few opportunities to do the playtesting necessary to find suitable replacements. I might simply add basic lands to the deck to further fuel my fetches. I sometimes find that between the Crucible of Worlds and the exploration effects, I run out of lands to find. The pain lands are tempting, but I don't know if they would hinder my ability to combo effectively. I suppose I find enough blue sources that I probably won't need to worry about it.
I don't know how well Tempt with Discovery would do in a competitive environment, but every time I've played it, I can get 3-4 lands in and gain massive advantage over my opponents. It's about the only useful card with tempting offer. The downside is its only a bomb if your opponents make it one. 4 mana for one land can be a devastating waste.I personally think it has a place in casual games, and that's about it. Probably only worth running if you had Cabal Coffers , or lands worth grabbing in pairs/trios.
@supercaptainpow, I've cast Tempt with Discovery about 20-30 times now, with decks of varying competitiveness, and I've only seen the temptation be resisted a couple times. Many people simply come to the conclusion that their best land is going to be better than your second best land.