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I often sacrifice brute force or overall effectiveness in my decks for combos that feed into themselves and generate the conditions needed to cause them again. Experimental Growth definitely fits the bill on this one - the main combo comes from card draw and spells creating counters, which are then removed for card draw, and then hopefully, more spells, which continues the combo.
Zameck Guildmage and Sage of Fables remove counters for card draw (the sage also combos well with the high number of Wizards in the deck). Protean Hydra directly benefits from this, while Forgotten Ancient and Lorescale Coatl replenish themselves easily from the removed counters, both averaging a net neutral from one or two uses a turn. Fathom Mage is really my preferred target, though, as reducing the counter numbers on it allows it to evolve again for more card draw.
The Ancient is a nice after-its-in-play +1/+1 counter mover that is guaranteed a counter for each creature the opponent has, and Simic Manipulator allows me to have some creature control to make up for my lack of fliers/tramplers.
Kalonian Hydra was just too fitting to not be in this deck.
The biggest issues I'm having right now are with the mana curve - so many things on the 3-drop, and a lot of the things I would play after that have extra costs in following turns.
Thoughts? Criticisms? Suggestions? +1 if it seems fun.
These are not serious suggestions (I think the deck looks great, overall), but you might consider adding in a Proliferate source like Contagion Clasp and, if you're having trouble with being overwhelmed by aggressive decks, Spike Weaver . Spikes in general go great with Graft and Proliferate, so if you're looking for cards to add you might try there.
The biggest issues I'm having right now are mana curve and board wipe. The wipe I can't really do much about, but the mana curve is something I'm trying to tweak a little before I actual get the deck IRL. Spike Weaver is a good suggestion, and synergies well with Forgotten Ancient , but the cost makes me hesitate a little - the 3-4 CMC range in this deck is pretty full already. Any lower-cost cards that would work well in the deck? I originally considered Fertilid for mana excel, but it comes a little too late for my tastes, and also falls into that awkward 3-4 range.
Aye, the proliferate avenue is pretty well explored, and the larger part of the reason I decided against it was because I find it less interesting than all the fancy shenanigans this deck gets up to. The Protean Hydra -Sage of Fables /Novijen Sages combo makes me really happy, especially with Lorescale Coatl and Forgotten Ancient hanging around to benefit from it. I'm beginning to think that Novijen's mana cost might be a little high for as many of them as I have in the deck, and am wondering if there are any good ideas on what I could replace a couple of them with.
well... you already have Sage of Fables as a draw engine and Novijen Sages manages it without using as much mana, but considering that you should be drawing a lot of cards anyway because of them you should rarely miss a land-drop, I'd cut the ramp in the deck for 6 more lands and maybe 2 Mystic Snake
The big problem I'm having right now is getting set up before my opponents - my ramp really accelerates how fast I can get the ball rolling. I really should throw in some Mystic Snake s or Voidslime s, but the deck rarely feels like it has the time to keep mana open for such things. Most of the time when I playtest it, I feel like I'm struggling to get things out fast enough already. Most of the time Novijen Sages doesn't even make it on to the field - CMC 6 is a little prohibitive, really, even though it's ability combo's up Protean Hydra better. Cytoplast Manipulator mainly seems good at attracting fire rather than actually stealing creatures, too. I might need to find another way to protect it.
you could run a cheap, early threat to attract fire before opponents get the chance to use their kill spells on your actual threats. I've seen a deck run Mayor of Avabruck Flip to take the first few blows of removal to make sure that bigger and beefier spells dont take the brunt of the blow, maybe run a similar tactic?
the deck i was referencing before is deck:grafting-powerhouses it looks really decent.
as for me I run a weird U/G deck... Confolking Mervoke.. have a look-see