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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).