JMCraig Deckling

According to Sheldon Menery, Lotus Petal is a great card for EDH because when someone casts it, you "know exactly what kind of player they are." I guess I'm that kind of player!

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Said on Ancestral Animar...


The Bloodpod guy i regularly play with uses Hushwing and Torp, but he's the only one. The blue decks like Storm and Hulk usually just run more broadly applicable answers like counters, bounce effects, Rapid Hybrid/Pongify etc. and honestly, if youre facing Torp, you can still get counters on cast and win by beating down, so its not as spicy tech as it was years ago. Still good to have an answer or two, esp if your meta is geared up against Animar, but i wouldn't sweat it too much.

June 24, 2018 9:07 p.m.

Said on Ancestral Animar...


Hey man!

Tarnished/Quarry were part of the reason I got back on the Kiki train. Shaving Earthcraft made room for more gold lands, and having access to a few more R sources helped smooth things out for kiki. It's been working really well! Pains would def be the next best thing for that slot.

If you don't have a sideboard handy, the maindeck slots you devote to hate will have to be pretty well planned. In my list, id say the following are "flex" hate slots:

  • Ainok Survivalist (cut if you have no torpor orbs in the meta)
  • Caustic Caterpillar (def use one of either Ainok or this)
  • Gilded Drake (if you dont have many creature/commander-reliant decks, cut this)
  • Mental Misstep (if youre not playing in a ful cEDH meta, this gets worse)

Good alternatives are:

  • Scooze (dece against Kess, solid against a lot of other popular decks)
  • Shusher/Serpopard/Gaea's Herald (if your meta is super counter-heavy)
  • Bane of Progress (if the meta is REALLY artifact-y)
  • Manglehorn/Rec Sage (more reasonable artifact hate)
  • Grim Lavamancer/Ulvenwald Tracker/Inferno Titan (for bear-heavy metas)

So what's your meta like? If you're totally blind, i'd say prob cut Ainok and add Scooze so you can have some game against the most possible matchups.

June 24, 2018 8:21 p.m.

Said on Ancestral Animar...


Forgot about the morph guys since the'yre often free, but yeah, unmorphing is something you can pay half of with crypt. good point.

Amber has been a little narrow, but the downside is low and the payoff is really excellent. We usually want Animar on board anyway, so this is just free mana, and it speeds us up in a very tangible way. Heck, if we dont have animar we usually want kiki out, so its kinda the same thing! And since its making colored mana, it can do almost everything Crypt can (youre wasting 1 mana from crypt on costs with only one colorless in them most of the time). It's usually our weakest mox, but i still prefer it to crypt.

June 23, 2018 4:17 p.m.

Said on Ancestral Animar...


Optimal uses I see in my list:

  • faster turn 2-3 creatures before animar is built up (the main thing)
  • recast a dead animar (relevant, but meta-dependent)
  • Fabricate (generally not used until you have an established board)
  • GSZ (def a good use of crypt)
  • Clamp (another really good one)
  • Paying Pact triggers (kinda narrow)
  • Early Eldrazi (narrow, but strong)
  • single colorless pips on noncreature spells (very narrow)

So it does some powerful things, but they're all pretty niche. More to the point, animar has never been a deck that needs extra mana; if anything, we've usually got too much mana and are limited by card advantage more often than not. So a niche mana producer is an answer to a question we aren't asking.

All that said, if it's working in your meta there's no reason not to play it!

June 23, 2018 1:36 p.m.

Said on Ancestral Animar...


As always, good insight from Saber. Both cards are playable outside a totally-optimized animar list, and plausibly in a slower, grindier meta. I could definitely see running pod if you dont want to shell out $50 or whatever insane price Sylvan is these days. Still, id probably pass on Crypt tho.

June 22, 2018 11:36 p.m.

Said on Ancestral Animar...


Well there has definitely been some discussion about Pod, and the lines it enables are definitely plausible, but I have the same issue with it that i do with so many other wincons/enablers: it interacts very poorly with our tutors/manabase/protection. Animar as a deck just doesnt support 3+ CMC noncreatures very well at all. and fwiw, something like Sylvan tutor can do prob 80% of the same thing for 1 mana, once you factor in the amount of time/mana you need to enable Pod. So in my opinion, Pod is definitely powerful, just too clunky to be more effective that the other options we already have access to.

Crypt is not worth it. You might be able to use the mana early in turn 2, and maybe a bit later on if you topdeck into Fabricate or something, but its just way to niche for the deck to work.

June 22, 2018 11:33 p.m.

Said on Zur Doomsday...


True that. Thanks for the info man.

June 22, 2018 4:52 p.m.

Said on Zur Doomsday...


I agree that Scroll is a bit of a holdover from when the deck was more invested in HT+Candle/Spiral lines, which aren't really necessary any more. If you want to storm up a ton of mana, just play Hurklys/Chain/Paradoxical in Grixis; Zur doesnt really need it. Bold decision to cut Candle too! removing a "sacred cow" is always a contoversial move, but i think your list totally supports it. I may decide to do the same if i'm ever behind on rent or need a new car!

That said, a 2-mana tutor is a terrible thing to waste. I'd probably swap it to grim if i were you, but i wouldn't swap over to spellseeker directly. why do you prefer Merchant over Grim? the CMC and lifeloss are definitely awkward, but it's vastly more flexible.

June 22, 2018 1:35 p.m.

Said on Zur Doomsday...


Hey man, I'm loving how the list has evolved. It's looking really sharp!

What are your thoughts on Spellseeker for the deck? 3 CMC is rough, and she's effectively a worse Grim Tutor, which I know you hate BUT she's less mana restrictive, in our main color, can block, and hits most of the same targets. You even save the three life.

I see her as a plausible replacement for Merchant scroll in the deck. she gets almost all the same relevant targets (except Force) but you can also find Consult, Angel's Grace, and even Swords if you really need it. That's 2 wincons and some of our rare on-board removal.

Worth the CMC? I'm not sure. but what do I know, I still play Grim Tutor!

June 21, 2018 1 p.m.

Said on Ancestral Animar...


This guy seems very promising as a cheap, on-board value engine. cast him tunr 3 and it'll be very easy to get 3-4 cards just from fetch lands and stuff. Feels a lot like Vizier as a mildly-expensive card with a lot of potential to push us through board-stalls. I'll definitely be testing this guy out!

June 20, 2018 11:37 a.m.

This is prob what you want: Ancestral Animar: Mid-Budget

It's almost identical to my list, minus a few ~$500 cards. Fell free to stop by the main page and discuss deckbuilding options too!

June 20, 2018 10:12 a.m.

Said on Ancestral Animar...


Wincons in the deck discription: I recently rewrote most of this stuff just so it would all be accessible to people who want to explore different versions of the deck. I personally dont play or recommend cloudstone or earthcraft, but i wouldn't say theyre wrong in every circumstance. its more useful to have my reasoning out there for people to see, especially since some of these options are considered "classic" additions to the deck. i dont think there are any new cards missing from my discussion above.

1CMC containment priest: hell yeah this is a good meta pick! i dont like cards that are this narrowly reactive and not proactive in any way, but im also willing to a let a LOT slide for a 1CMC card with a passive effect. spicy card for sure!

Spire Garden: if it enters tapped in even 1 game its worse than Grove. just point the extra life at someone who isnt trying to cast naus. id rather be able to cast my stuff on time than jump through hoops to safe 2-3 life. Heck, run a painland if your meta is really naus-heavy. Now, if there's no chance you'll end up in a 1-v-1 match, you can consider Spire Garden. I sometimes get a few 1v1s in before the other members of my group arrive, so an opening hand with Spire Gardens would probably be a Mulligan, and it'd be a dead draw thereafter. I like Grove bc i wanted to avoid pains after swapping Tarnished Citadel in, but that's a bit of a meta pick. still, i'd recommend doing everything you can to avoid the risk of ETB tapped lands.

June 19, 2018 9:09 a.m.

Said on Ancestral Animar...


Good food for thought here; mostly lines up with what i've been thinking up.

The points about Cloudstone/Earthcraft are also eerily similar to why i ended up cutting these cards; they're reasonably playable once they're on the field, but otherwise hard to work with.

I think the comparison to Gamble/Chord is def the most apt. As you've discovered, chord is just plain obnoxious. never liked that card, and it was such an easy swap when Evo came out. Gamble though is a bit better, in my opinion. By controlling when you play it you can manipulate the odds of getting your card, unlike Signal. 1/3 is an easy number to beat, especially with another of our draw engines online. plus,saving G on the CMC is a huge plus.

June 18, 2018 10:05 p.m.

Said on Ancestral Animar...


Hey, glad you're liking the deck!

Hydra is an intresting card. It has seen play in Animar historically, but has a few drawbacks.

  • It requires a big animar to be useful either as a wincon or card advantage
  • the card selection is random (whey not use Cord in the "high cost card advantage" slot then?)
  • it's incompatible with our noncreatures (minor)
  • It doesn't activate your "cast" triggers (minor)

So while you can just win if you have an infinitely big animar by finding kiki+untapper or Ballista+statue, its pretty tricky to use elsewhere. Ballista fills this role better, as do the two enchantresses and even Purph. not sure we need any more options past that.

I've defnitely eviewed the 2 CMC looters (draw 1 then discard 1) and the 3 CMC unconditional draw 1 cards, but both categories are just plain worse than our current options. for 2 CMC i want to blind-draw one card (ie, elvish vis, wall of roots) and for 3CMC I want a bit of selection with my draw. Nothing i've found meets/exceeds those criteria but isnt in the list. its frustrating! but that new clamp-goblin seems like a great way to dig deep.

Signal the clans is a bit too random for me. we don't really have enough angles on our main lines to make it work consistently. The best "pile" can think of is Statue, Spellseeker (ends up getting worldly) and Brutalizer, but thats a 2-turn play 2/3 of the time. it gets a lot easier if we need an outlet, and the kiki line starts to seem more plausible with some 2-turn recruiter tricks, but it's always seemed a little risky. maybe just for getting answers? i'd be interested to hear from some of the other good pilots. This card seems to come up pretty often here.

Creature removal is def an area for you to tailor the deck to your meat. it hasnt been much of an issue for me but i could see running Kavu or Grim lavaman or something in addition to gilded drake. you dont have too many great options here, but i know we've discussed it relatively recently, so feel free to check the comments here and get other pilots' takes.

So, who likes Signal the Clans? i may want to test that out!

June 18, 2018 6:19 p.m.

Said on Ancestral Animar...


I see it being useful mainly when you are looking for a specific thing anyway, much like clamp. Digging down to a Statue or a top-of-library tutor into statue seems like the primary use. I mean, clamp is one of our best card advantage engines, and having a (recruit-able!!) creature version is a very real benefit to the deck. It won't be as explosive as the real thing, but if I can look at an extra couple cards every turn, or just 4-5 on one really explosive turn, that'd be great!

June 18, 2018 1:10 p.m.

Said on Ancestral Animar...


i see it a lot like Skullclamp. you play out your hand, and instead of the game slowing down while you are out of gas, this guy just begins mulching your spent ETB creatures and digging for gas. Clamp is a fantastic way to turn the game around, and while the amount of sheer card advantage you get here isnt nearly the same you definitely have the ability to dig really deep at the cost of a resource you prob have way too much of. Any hey, at least your sac fodder doesnt have to be X/1!

June 18, 2018 12:45 p.m.

Said on Ancestral Animar...


Holy shit this guy is worth testing. the mana cost to reveal is apain, but when you combo with a topdeck tutor, or just need to dig for a creature to cast, it's not bad at all. will be scooping one of these for sure.

June 18, 2018 11:50 a.m.

Said on Ancestral Animar...


sounds about right. I spent some time on Scryfall and perusing other decklists this weekend and didn't find any new secret tech. I think we've explored the pool of 2-3 CM draw creatures about as fully as possible. too bad. here's hoping Core 2019 has some good stuff!

June 18, 2018 11:32 a.m.

Said on Ancestral Animar...


I agree with the ranking and your reasoning for them. I've tested all the draw guys except Champ and arrived at the same conclusions; that none of them were card-advantage neutral or that they could whiff at critical times. the question is, i guess, does the deck need more card selection, and are any of the available options better than some of the weaker slots in the deck? I'm inclined to say no, but i like tinkering so much it's definitely something i'm going to do more research and testing on.

The main hangup is that since we're fundamentally limited as a combo deck (most of our fastest plays are animar-based, or need us to cast a 5-drop), its probably better to stay flexible rather than try to race something like Druid/Hulk. I guess i'm just itching for new cards for the deck!

June 17, 2018 2:16 p.m.

Said on Ancestral Animar...


So here's an idea I've been working on. The deck has a lot of good combos, natural ramp, and solid toolboxy interaction, but what I always want more of is draw. Real storm decks do this way better than we do. I'd love to add 2-3 more cantrip/selection effects to the deck, but im always at a loss for slots.

My current shortlist for good cantrips is:

  • Whirlpool Warrior
  • Foul Emissary
  • Slithermuse
  • maybe Champ of wits

And I may consider cutting

  • Ainok (no cloudstone means we dont need all the morphs we can get)
  • Dream stalker + Man-o-War (the bounce is fine, but rarely gamebreaking. we have enough ways to make counter son animar as-is)
  • Possible Metamorph, although the free value is hard to pass up

W=hat do you think? we shave a few synergistic but low-power options to speed up our actual winning lines. why make cute value plays when we can dig for statue/tutors? I'd miss some of the fleximility we get from the bouncers especially, but the absolute worst games for us are when we run out of gas.

You guys think there's something worth experimenting with here? I'm at least interested to retest WHirlpool.

June 16, 2018 10:23 p.m.


Ad Nauseam Zur

Commander / EDH JMCraig


Phage STAX

Commander / EDH* JMCraig


Ancestral Animar

Commander / EDH* JMCraig

SCORE: 94 | 421 COMMENTS | 40615 VIEWS | IN 61 FOLDERS

Finished Decks 9
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Playing since Magic 2014
Avg. deck rating 19.00
T/O Rank 86
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Favorite formats Commander / EDH
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