I finished a major revision on my Ertai deck and would love to hear your opinion once again, if you have the time.
Here's the link: Ertai likes birds
March 15, 2017 6:29 p.m.
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Restoration Angel can save a creature from removal, and interacts well with a few of your other creatures.
Adarkar Valkyrie helps protect your creatures and can potentially steal the creatures that your opponents chump-block with.
A few other cards worth considering are Iroas, God of Victory so that it's easier for your creatures to attack, Boros Charm for protection against wraths, Break Through the Line to make Kaalia hasty and unblockable, and Phyrexian Reclamation to give your deck more resilience against removal.
March 21, 2017 12:14 a.m.
A rebuilt version of this deck could try running the Argothian Elder + Maze of Ith combo in conjunction with Forbidden Orchard to fill your opponents' boards with tokens. You could then finish everyone off in one go with something like Massacre Wurm or Blood Artist + Virulent Plague.
March 19, 2017 3:31 p.m.
Seems to be a strong all-in combo build. I tested the deck 5 times and managed to combo off on the 3rd turn and the 4th turn in 2 of them. The rest were a 5th turn and two 6th turn kills. I'd be perfectly fine taking this list to a tournament. Any variation to the list would probably be calls based on the meta.
March 19, 2017 2:29 a.m.
I'm subscribed to your deck, so if you ever want me to take another look and offer suggestions just drop a comment and I'll see it.
I had forgotten that Hanna can also bring back Spellskite, which is another compelling reason to run her.
Oh, and I forgot to mention that a lot of your mana base comes into play tapped. I didn't find it as bad as I thought it would be thanks to all the artifact mana ramp, but there were definitely times where I drew a tapped land on turn 5-6 and it set my play back by a turn. It's worth keeping track of in your games to see how big an issue it turns out to be for you.
March 16, 2017 3:39 a.m.
There's an argument to be made for using Hanna in your deck, since she interacts with cards like Thousand-Year Elixir and Pemmin's Aura to give you lots of potential long term advantage. She also plays nice with Seal of Cleansing. If you were to drop black and just go U/W, I would suggest either her or Grand Arbiter Augustin IV to be your commander. That being said, to get her effect you have to usually wait until your next turn. That gives your opponents a heads up about your plans and a chance to disrupt. Your other enchantments are worth getting back if they do get destroyed or sacrificed, but considering how few of them you have in the deck you may find that Hanna spends a lot of time sitting on the board doing very little. I'd give her a lot more consideration if you were going heavier on the enchantment theme and were running cards like Sigil of the Empty Throne and Hatching Plans (I typed this up before seeing your latest comment, thankfully I saw the new post in time to edit).
My argument for Auramancer is just that it does what you need it to do as soon as it enters the battlefield, and then leaves a body behind to sac to Ertai to help make sure that Dovescape gets another chance to hit the board. You could do it all in one turn if you had 10 mana, although it would require a lot of white and blue mana to pull off.
I'd also like to re-suggest Bloodline Keeper Flip over Emeria Angel if you get your hands on one, since it works that much better with the inclusion of Thousand-Year Elixir and Lightning Greaves on top of Pemmin's Aura.
March 16, 2017 2:21 a.m.
I tested your deck a bit to see how it plays out, and just wanted to share some observations.
With the ramp you've included, the deck seems to be pretty consistent in hitting the 6 mana mark that you need. It comes at a bit of a cost though; spending your first few turns ramping means that you aren't playing cards early for Ertai to work with. I almost never wanted to cast Ertai when I hit the 5-6 mana mark because my board position was never at a state to take advantage of him. With the way the deck is currently designed, I think that what you need to do is include more wrath effects. That way, you can spend the first few turns ramping, then wipe the board, and afterwards play Ertai to hold back anything really threatening while you try to go for your end game. Wrath of God, Day of Judgment, Martial Coup, and bringing back Cyclonic Rift are all worth considering. I would also consider bringing back Reassembling Skeleton because of how it can block early and come back after a wrath to fuel both Ertai and Skullclamp.
Your selection of counterspells could be modified a bit. The ones you have are cheap and good for protecting, but not effective at helping you deal with opponents' counterspells. You currently have no way of getting Dovescape back if it is countered or destroyed by a creature. You could exchange Hindering Light for Negate and Turn Aside for Counterspell. I like the Rebuff the Wicked though, since it lets you leave blue mana up for other things and because no one expects a counter to come if you just leave white mana up. Open the Vaults or Auramancer might be worth including as a way to get Dovescape back if it does hit the bin.
Cards that under-performed for me were: Athreos, God of Passage (there weren't many threatening creatures on my board for it to matter); Kor Cartographer (there is enough cheaper ramp in the deck that I usually wished I drew a different card); Expedition Map (never wanted it considering all the other ramp and land search that is in the deck); Diabolic Intent (I only occasionally had a creature in the early game to sac to it); Skeletal Scrying (never had that many cards in my graveyard early on, and it was usually easier for me to search up Necropotence); and Utter End (expensive to cast and usually left me wishing it was a Swords to Plowshares or Cyclonic Rift).
You were right about that Netherborn Phalanx though, it's a nifty bit of tech in this deck.
March 15, 2017 11:23 p.m.
Ok, so looking at your list there are two aspects that jump out at me as being possible issues with how the deck plays:
1) A restricted pool of efficient mana ramp options in combination with a bunch of the really cool spells being 5+ mana to cast. This is a general issue with playing esper colours unless you have access to money cards like Mana Vault, Mana Crypt, Mox Diamond, etc. You are already running a number of the cheaper options, but it might also be worth looking at Coalition Relic. It's pushing your card price limit, but the mana ramp and fixing that it offers is great, especially since you are running a few cards that cost three of a particular colour of mana. Some other ramp options are the myr creatures like Silver Myr. They are vulnerable to creature removal, but they can also be sac-fodder to Ertai if you draw them when you don't need them.
You can also look at trimming down your mana curve a bit so that you're not as reliant on mana ramp to be active early in the game. Your morph creatures don't have synergy with other parts of your deck, which means that with Voidmage Apprentice you are investing 7 mana to counter a spell. Sure, after it flips you can sac it, but that means an additional mana and getting Ertai on the board just for the payoff of countering two spells. I think that there are better ways to invest your mana.
Other cards to consider cutting are Lost Auramancers (likely to be killed before losing all its counters), Planar Bridge (again, likely to be destroyed before you can use it), and Ethersworn Adjudicator (I've tried it, and it either dies quick or demands too much mana to use when you have other cards you want to cast). Docent of Perfection Flip is neat, but its ability being spell reliant can be an issue, so how about Bloodline Keeper Flip instead?
You have also opted for a selection of expensive to cast counterspells, which would probably be more effective if you found cheaper alternatives instead. Ertai should be carrying a lot of the counter power, so other counterspells in the deck should be aimed at either helping to protect him or helping to make sure your big spells to slip past enemy counterspells. Either way, it's better if they are cheaper. Speaking of Ertai...
2) Ertai could use a bit more support for him to make him more effective. Thousand-Year Elixir is a good option, and gets better the more creature you have that tap to do something. Lightning Greaves is a must have for the protection and ability speed that it offers. And a monetarily expensive option, but useful, is Spellskite. It can draw away spot removal or be sacrificed to counter a wrath.
Regarding sac fodder, Bloodghast is a great option that helps offer redundancy alongside Reassembling Skeleton. Bitterblossom is an option, but you could prioritize getting Kjeldoran Outpost and/or Moorland Haunt since they cost less money and are searchable with Weathered Wayfarer. To go along with the additional token generation, Skullclamp gives you a card drawing engine.
Sorry that this comment has become so long. I'll leave it at that for now. There are a few other ideas I could offer, but it would be better to wait until you decide which way you would like to go with the deck. Anyway, I hope I've given you a few ideas to work with.
March 14, 2017 11:10 p.m.
This deck is giving me such a nostalgia trip, it's really similar to my first EDH deck. I went a little heavier on the enchantment theme though, like including Enchanted Evening so that I could sac anything to Ertai or steal everything on the board with Aura Thief.
There are cards in the deck that I think you could take out for Elesh and the Wurm, but the issue I'm having on my end is that it looks like you've filled the deck with a bunch of cards that you just find fun to play with. The Dovescape + Guile is the heart of your deck, but what else do you want to make sure stays in?
Is there a chance you could give a rough estimate on the sort of budget you are interested in putting towards this deck? It would help me focus any suggestions I might have.
March 14, 2017 4:04 p.m.
buildingadeck: I've also been wanting to give Thrasios/Tymna a try, but can't justify putting in the money at the moment.
When playing with less competitive decks, I try to get that problem-solving thrill by playing versatile cards like Domineering Will and Mirrorweave. Those sorts of cards can test your ability to set up the board and make the best decisions to get the most out of them. If nothing else, it's one option for making a game more challenging for yourself if the overall competitiveness of your group isn't as high as you would like it to be.
March 12, 2017 7:12 p.m.
I get where you're coming from, since I'm in a similar situation. I moved to a new town a while back, so the conflict of leaving friends behind had already been made for me, but I don't have viable alternatives to my current LGS. The competitive level here is moderate, and I am generally compelled to leave my stronger decks at home.
If you choose to stay at your current game store, perhaps you could try deck builds that are high-risk, high-reward glass cannons. The three decks you listed above all have a lot of resilience built into them (tutor power/protection/card advantage), so you might get more of that "am I making the best choices/plays?" mental challenge if you play a deck that is still powerful but more susceptible to disruption. That way, if your board gets smashed, you also have the challenge of trying to make the best plays to bring yourself back into the game. I know it's not an optimal situation, but it provides a challenge and it means that your friends will still feel that they are able to win.
March 12, 2017 5:56 p.m.
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