Ajani Vengeant, and his signature spell: Mudhole
Posted on June 30, 2019, 6:27 p.m. by walruscustard
So i've been testing my hot new oathbreaker deck:
...And i'm having trouble stabilizing in the early game and closing out a win late. It takes a while to ramp up mana in boros colors and i can't easily tutor my amazing wincons that aren't Form of the Dragon . Thoughts?
Commenting here rather than on your page.
I don't mean to sound so overbearingly critical, but your deck is overall lacking in substantial board presence. Oathbreaker is a format in which you want to protect your Planeswalker at all viable costs. You have four creatures. That does not make for a very strong base. I'm going to rip into this deck, but I am also going to offer you suggestions on how to greatly improve upon it :) I hope that you don't take offense to anything I am saying, but I felt like I can do you some good here.
Next, I notice that a lot of your lands are either bounce lands or lands in which you can sacrifice them to get an additional mana for that turn. I am concerned with this style of play, because the bounce lands sort of equal out to the same amount of mana for the turn, and in some cases don't even move you ahead. Sacrifice the lands for extra mana sets you back. Allow me to explain:
- T3: You have two lands out. You tap both to add to your pool, then play Boros Garrison . The rest of the turn doesn't matter, we are merely focusing on land presence and mana potential.
- T4: You replay the land you just bounced last turn. Now you have a total of three lands that can produce a total of 4 mana.
The issue here is that you set yourself back on tempo on T3 to become caught up on T4. Rather than producing 3 mana on T3, you only produced 2; And for your efforts on T3, you are no better off on T4 than if you had just played a basic land.
Dormant Volcano and Karoo are even worse, because you have 16 of your 26 lands that contain specific subtypes, each one only being represented on 10 Plains and 8 Mountains. So if you have a Dormant Volcano in your hand but you don't have any lands with Mountain as their subtype, you literally can not play it. Even worse, it has to be an untapped land you return AND it still enters the battlefield tapped. So not only do you lose a land, you don't even get the mana from it and it's highly more restrictive than Boros Garrison .
Additionally, Temple of the False God literally does you no good if you get it out before you have five total lands. Shrine of the Forsaken Gods is better absolutely all around because at least it produces you something.
Now we need to discuss your "pay-to-play" lands; Crystal Vein , Dwarven Ruins & Ruins of Trokair . The issue here is that you may have immediate access to ramp, but you trade that for immediate downfall as you slip farther and farther behind because you no longer have lands on the battlefield. These cards should never go in any deck that doesn't have some means to return them, such as Crucible of Worlds / Ramunap Excavator or Wrenn and Six .
Dwarven Ruins and Ruins of Trokair for Heart of Ramos and Tooth of Ramos . This is because on T3 you can play your 3rd land and play an artifact to ramp with. On T4 when you play your fourth land, you now have 5 mana available and therefore are in ramp mode. You can also sac the artifact to generate another mana if need be, and it won't hurt your land base. These are under appreciated artifacts, and to be honest you don't need 26 lands in a 58 card deck. Yes, 58. Ajani and Mudhole are outside of your library.
Dormant Volcano and Karoo for Boros Signet and Boros Cluestone . Signet gets you two mana for the cost of one (Tapping two permanents equals out to 1 mana per permanent, but now you get one of each color) and Cluestone gets you one of any color, but also gives you draw options if you need it later on.
This sets you down to 22 lands, which in all of my playing of Oathrbeaker is ideal. This also increases your stones up from 4 into ~6. We will be working on this in a moment.
I get it, you want to blow up lands so your opponent can't play the game. But do you need 10 cards that do that? 11 with Ajani?
Cut out the following, for their listed reasons:
As mentioned before, you want more artifacts that produce mana. You currently have the following:
Now we still have four card slots open from before. We are sitting now at a total of six stones. We want eight. We will use two slots to add the following:
We now have 22 lands and 8 stones. 30 mana producing cards in a 58 card deck. This means you will SERIOUSLY ramp in Boros.
- Faithless Looting : Because it can be played twice, due to Flashback
- Dawn of Hope : Another 2 CMC permanent that can be used in conjunction with Ajani Vengeant 's -2 for card draw on non-specific colors of mana. Then you can also use it to create tokens with self-fulfilling conditions since they have lifelink. This means you don't have to rely on Ajani going down, and you can still progress the boardstate.
As for a win condition outside of Form of the Dragon , there is also Martial Coup . Since you are snuffing out all of your opponent's lands anyway, as well as their creatures, why not create a literal army of tokens that now stand unopposed?
You may also want to consider replacing Mudhole with something more viable. Perhaps Lightning Helix ? It burns and gets you life. Acts as another win condition, makes it harder for your opponent to win in the process as your life totals grow farther and farther apart, and plays nicely with the aforementioned Dawn of Hope .
This took me like 40 minutes, so I hope it helps.
June 30, 2019 7:29 p.m.
So the original plan of the deck was to set everyone up to lose their lands to Fall of the Thran and then shut down the second half of the effect with Mudhole to try to rebound faster than my opponents. I went with an all-in combo strategy that's weak on tempo but with some playtesting it's really clear that it needs to make plays that aren't just big board sweepers to stabilize.
Also (believe it or not) i put a lot of thought into the mana base. The idea was to just give up on mana rocks and try to hit 4 lands on the draw so i can stick Academy Rector and Wrath of God on turn 4 reliably. You might imagine that doesn't do super good against decks that get a planeswalker just as soon or sooner.
I like the new mana base you propose. It's more reliable on the draw and still pretty good on the play. Going first is going to be good for this deck.
More to the point i think a lifegain strat would benefit the deck. I notice you didn't mention any creatures but i think Wall of Reverence and Crested Sunmare could be good buddies for the early to mid game before i combo out.