SaberTech Deckspert

SaberTech says... #1

Ohthenoises, On the topic of combo decks that take 30+ minutes to play their turn, I just threw together a janky/non-cEDH The Gitrog Monster deck and I'm loving how the combo plays out. I kind of find it meditative to goldfish the deck. Unfortunately, it is definitely a solitaire deck, and I think that I would feel bad playing it in a group game if people didn't recognize the combo and asked me to work all the way through it. It's a guaranteed win, but the group will loose a lot of game time if I am asked to prove it. Which is too bad, because casting Natural Affinity and then nuking all my opponents' lands with Archfiend of Ifnir is fun.

July 5, 2017 7:25 a.m.

SaberTech says... #2

Ohthenoises, Animar generally is pretty straightforward, but it doesn't pack a lot of interaction. There are just times where either you get stuck with awkward opening hands or you find yourself fighting through a lot of disruption, and then you have to do a lot of improvising. Due to the lack of counterspells in my build, when I can I also like to bait out disruption using one obvious combo line while setting up a second one.

Animar is my only cEDH deck at the moment. There isn't a competitive meta where I live, so there hasn't been much incentive for me to put the money into building another. I've been wanting to make a SBT deck though, since I want to hive playing with Protean Hulk a shot. I need a Food Chain though.

I'm really looking forward to Magus of the Crucible. Having that effect on a green creature makes it far easier to tutor for. I'm one of those jerks that likes running land destruction strategies, but once again my local meta is pretty casual and frowns on that sort of thing.

July 3, 2017 11:34 p.m.

Ohthenoises says... #3

Didn't want to derail the thread anymore on the cEDH ranking page:

Buddy of mine plays Animar too, it can be complicated but from what I've seen of him playing it it's pretty straightforward.

Get Ancestral Statue, win game. :P

I personally play GAAIV, Yisan, and Tazri for my cEDH decks. I feel your pain on complicated turns with Yisan.... some days it can be rough. Magus of the Crucible is going to be so good in Yisan though.

July 3, 2017 10:49 p.m.

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Looking through the hatebears you have right now; Containment Priest can prevent you from bringing enchantment creatures back with Replenish, Eidolon of Rhetoric stops your Bomberman combo, and Spirit of the Labyrinth conflicts with Phyrexian Arena.

You already have Contamination that you can sac hatebears to if you need them out of the way, but it might be worth running High Market as another sac outlet in case your own hatebears start causing you grief.

July 19, 2017 7:03 p.m.

Now that you have more stuff that triggers off of enchantments, I think that it's worth re-suggesting Flickering Ward. It helps protect your hatebears, lets Doomwake Giant repeatedly keep mana dorks and small utility creatures off the table, is a cheap way of getting Daxos triggers, and can combo off with Bomberman + Grim Guardian. If the game goes long for some reason, it may also be able to help a large token creature slip past defenders to attack opponents.

It could possibly replace Serra Ascendant if it turns out that it is too difficult for the deck to keep itself above 30 life.

July 19, 2017 5:53 p.m.

I'm not sure how many of the other enchantment creatures would be worth running. You mentioned Doomwake Giant. Erebos, God of the Dead could possibly replace Tainted Remedy? I don't know what other enchantment creatures are really worth considering beyond that. Brain Maggot maybe?

For other hatebear options, your deck could run Torpor Orb and/or Hushwing Gryff with minimal impact to itself.

One of the issues I found with Daxos the Returned when I first tried to build with him is mana curve. Black and White have a bunch of fun enchantments but they are generally expensive to cast, and it costs a lot of mana already to get Daxos on the board, cast stuff to get counters on him, and then activate his ability.

Maybe include Crypt Ghast? It helps with mana ramping and is another permanent with Extort that you can combo off with.

July 19, 2017 12:27 p.m.

Ignore my Exsanguinate suggestion. I forgot that it would get discarded in the process of looping the Bomberman combo to get mana.

July 19, 2017 10:40 a.m.

Don't even need the bouncing enchantments actually. LED is brought back to your hand, so you can just extort each time you cast it.

July 19, 2017 10:29 a.m.

Don't Rule of Law and Eidolon of Rhetoric shut down your game plan of winning with Bomberman combo?

Any aura that can return itself to the hand, like Flickering Ward, in conjunction with the extort from Blind Obedience and the infinite mana from bomberman is another game winning combo if Daxos has been shut down by cards like Phyrexian Revoker or something. There's always Exsanguinate as well.

July 19, 2017 10:26 a.m.

Said on Animar...

#7

Not having Imperial Recruiter makes it tough on Animar, because the Recruiter enables so much of what the deck wants to do, on top of being the key piece in a lot of combo chains. I agree with a lot of what JMCraig has said, but I'd like to offer some advice in regards to running Kiki-combo in Animar:

First, I'll acknowledge that running Kiki-combo comes at a small cost in consistency, in that all those cards could instead be mana dorks or ways to draw more cards. Those slots could also be used for silver-bullet spells geared to your meta, such as running Scavenging Ooze for dealing with The Gitrog Monster (which is Animar's only real way of interacting with Gitrog's combo beyond stealing Gitrog with Gilded Drake). That being said, Kiki-combo does offer you a combo that doesn't rely on having Animar in play or necessarily require chaining with Recruiter.

If you are running Kiki-combo, you'll also want Bloom Tender, Glen Elendra Archmage, and Birthing Pod in your deck to give your Kiki-combo pieces added value and integrate them better into the rest of the deck. Bloom Tender is great in general, and if you have both it and Animar with 2 counters out Deceiver Exarch and Pestermite essentially become pseudo-Dark Rituals by untapping Bloom Tender.

The reason you want Birthing Pod and Glen Elendra Archmage is because they let you go: Activate Birthing Pod and sacrifice the Archmage -> Persist brings back the Archmange -> fetch out Zealous Conscripts when the Pod's ability resolves and use the Conscript's trigger to untap Birthing Pod -> Activate the Pod and sac the Archmage again to fetch out Kiki-Jiki to combo off with the Conscripts.

You can also use the Pod to sac a 2-mana creature -> fetch Pestermite -> untap Pod -> activate Pod and sac the Pestermite to fetch the Archmage. You are stopped there for the turn, but just having the Archmage out (hopefully with some blue lands untapped to use its ability) can put a lot of pressure on your opponents. They now have to play around the Archmage, and if they can't either kill it once or force you to use its ability then you are threatening to end the game on your next turn. The whole process is fairly easy for your opponents to interrupt if they time their removal right, but on their own both Birthing Pod and the Archmage offer a lot on their own as deck inclusions anyway.

Beyond those combos, you can used Pestermite and Deceiver Exarch as "free" creatures when comboing off with Cloudstone Curio, or to tap down potential blockers or counterspell mana at the end of an opponent's turn. And on more than one occasion I've cast Zealous Conscripts right after casting Kozilek to give Kozilek haste and swing for the Annihilator trigger.

As a side note, I've found that I don't like running Splinter Twin in Animar. I've often found having a 4-mana non-creature spell that is only useful in specific situations to often just be a dead draw. However, I know some people have included it for extra redundancy, so whatever suits your fancy.

Anyway, if you do end up keeping Kiki-Jiki in the deck for a while longer, I hope these ideas help.

July 16, 2017 2:11 a.m.

Said on Ancestral Animar...

#8

There's a blue/green creature in the set after Hour of Devastation that lets you draw a card for each creature you control when it ETB. We don't know how much it costs to cast yet, but if it's 4 mana I think it could replace the Slithermuse that a lot of people run in Animar. If it costs 5 mana it may be harder to include but the draw power it offers is still really tempting. If it costs 6 mana I would be reluctant to include it despite the draw power it offers, but that may just be me. Having the ability to play your entire hand and then refill it all in one turn would both give Animar another much needed means of mass card draw, and alleviate some of the stress of playing around wrath spells. Having that effect on a creature that can be tutored for and bounced back to hand to be replayed makes it that much better.

And thank you for that turn/win average, I was worrying a little that my build may be a bit on the slow side but it seems to put out similar results. I find the general result is that the deck combos off the second turn after the turn you cast Animar if no one disrupts you, so if Animar comes down turn 2 you tend to combo off turn 4, or if you cast Animar turn 3 it usually combos off turn 5.

You are right though, Animar does have a lot of resilience in its ability to get back into the game if its first shot at comboing off gets stopped. In the face of a lot of other combo decks that rely heavily on 1-2 cards to win, Animar really shines in how many different options it has to steal the game. That's probably the aspect of Animar that I love the most, because I get bored of decks that try to make the same line of play every game. Animar's web of interconnecting combo lines helps make every game feel different, and unlike other combo decks you have the option of just beating face if the combos aren't working out for you.

July 8, 2017 6:24 p.m.

Said on Ancestral Animar...

#9

Yeah, I certainly understand the casting cost concern. Putting in the Magus of the Moon didn't feel so bad to me because I took out Rishkar for it. As great as Rishkar is mechanically in Animar, in my testing I just found that by the time he came down he didn't really matter. The extra mana he offered was't needed the turns where I could play him, which was a little frustrating because I could picture in my head all the ways he should have been good. Every time I played him I was wishing that he either drew me cards or was just something with more impact on the game.

I've also been meaning to ask; when you goldfish your deck, what is the turn you find your deck comboing off on the most often?

July 7, 2017 4:31 p.m.

Said on Ancestral Animar...

#10

My interest in Manglehorn has more to do with its passive effect than its role as spot removal. I see its effect as basically setting your opponents back by one turn before they can combo, due to making them have to wait one turn before they can use their artifact mana ramp. Potentially giving myself one more turn before my opponents can combo off is really appealing, and Animar still gets a counter off it.

As for Magus of the Moon, it is something that I am just testing out. I've found a lot of instances where it has been effective at bringing my opponents to a halt, but the number of mana dorks and signets that other decks run make the effectiveness of Magus situational. My current manabase means that I barely feel the Magus's effects, while a lot of decks seem to stumble once you turn off the fixing that their dual lands and fetches offer. Right now though, I would probably relegate it to a sideboard card if sideboards are allowed (although in that case I would be running Living Wish maindeck).

To note though, I don't see either Manglehorn or Magus of the Moon as reactive cards in Animar, because if nothing else they still give Animar a counter. I would cast Manglehorn even if there wasn't an artifact to destroy. Slowing down my opponent's artifact mana ramp by one turn by forcing artifacts to ETB tapped is worth it in my opinion because mana artifacts are one of the major ways that other cEDH decks, particularly the ones that don't have green, are able to keep up to Animar's ramping potential.

My first draft of Animar was also pretty midrange, now that I look back on it. I built it to partner with an Azami deck for some 2-Headed Giant EDH tournaments that a local store was hosting. I chose Animar for a number of reasons: I liked how cards such as Peregrine Drake could help ramp my partner, that I could build interlocking combos between the two decks, and that Animar didn't need artifact ramp (because the tournaments used a combined Regular + Duel Commander banned list). I dropped almost all of the midrange stuff after the mulligan change, because I couldn't sculpt my opening hand anymore and shuffle away the higher cost stuff. I kept the Kiki-Jiki package though, because I still think the deck needs a solid plan B if your opponents keep removing or countering Animar.

July 6, 2017 10:44 p.m.

Said on Ancestral Animar...

#11

I've been mulling over a meta inclusion and I wanted to run it by you. I've been thinking about the inclusion of Manglehorn in Animar.

My line of thought is that Animar is a deck primarily focused on speed to end the game due to having little interaction or protection. There are potentially faster combos in cEDH, such as Hermit Druid and Protean Hulk, that have the benefit of running countermagic packages to back them up but aren't necessarily going to win turn 1-2 on a consistent basis. However, there are lots of decks that can potentially compete with Animar's goals of trying to win on turn 3-4, and that is where I see Manglehorn enter the argument.

To win quickly, a lot of Animar's competition needs the mana acceleration options offered by the mana-rock package of Grim Monolith, Mana Vault, Mana Crypt, Sol Ring, Mox Diamond, Chrome Mox, Lotus Petal, and Lion's Eye Diamond. With the exception of LED (which is unfortunate due to its combo uses), having Manglehorn on the board drastically devalues the advantages that these mana rocks offer Animar's opponents. Grim Monolith and Mana Vault become unplayable if they enter tapped, and denying opponents the use of their 0 mana rocks the turn they cast them can net Animar that 1 more turn it may need to beat its competition the that combo finish line.

The fact that Manglehorn is a creature that can contribute to putting counters on Animar while also acting as spot removal for artifacts is icing on the cake. With the introduction of Breya, Etherium Shaper, Aetherflux Reservoir, Paradox Engine, and the Dramatic Scepter combo to cEDH, the value of artifact removal is just that much higher now.

Animar lost a good chunk of speed and consistency when the format shifted to the Vancouver Mulligan rule, and I've been toying with a couple Stax inclusions in Animar to compensate. With the traditionally greedy mana bases in cEDH, alongside the presence of 4-color commanders in the upper-tiers of competitive play, I think that cards like Manglehorn and Magus of the Moon are at least worth consideration as strong sideboard options, if not mainboard worthy. Granted, I make more use of basic lands in my list than you do, so Magus of the Moon and even Blood Moon are more appealing inclusions for me. In my deck, they can even act as mana-fixing to make Kiki-Jiki easier to play.

Anyway, I just wanted to get your opinion on Manglehorn. Do you think it's worth a slot?

July 6, 2017 7:13 p.m.

Said on SaberTech...

#12

Ohthenoises, On the topic of combo decks that take 30+ minutes to play their turn, I just threw together a janky/non-cEDH The Gitrog Monster deck and I'm loving how the combo plays out. I kind of find it meditative to goldfish the deck. Unfortunately, it is definitely a solitaire deck, and I think that I would feel bad playing it in a group game if people didn't recognize the combo and asked me to work all the way through it. It's a guaranteed win, but the group will loose a lot of game time if I am asked to prove it. Which is too bad, because casting Natural Affinity and then nuking all my opponents' lands with Archfiend of Ifnir is fun.

July 5, 2017 7:25 a.m.

Said on SaberTech...

#13

Ohthenoises, Animar generally is pretty straightforward, but it doesn't pack a lot of interaction. There are just times where either you get stuck with awkward opening hands or you find yourself fighting through a lot of disruption, and then you have to do a lot of improvising. Due to the lack of counterspells in my build, when I can I also like to bait out disruption using one obvious combo line while setting up a second one.

Animar is my only cEDH deck at the moment. There isn't a competitive meta where I live, so there hasn't been much incentive for me to put the money into building another. I've been wanting to make a SBT deck though, since I want to hive playing with Protean Hulk a shot. I need a Food Chain though.

I'm really looking forward to Magus of the Crucible. Having that effect on a green creature makes it far easier to tutor for. I'm one of those jerks that likes running land destruction strategies, but once again my local meta is pretty casual and frowns on that sort of thing.

July 3, 2017 11:34 p.m.

@Ohthenoises

Yeah, there's a difference between doing a bunch of things on one turn (which can take time), and slow play caused by trying to work through a bunch of different decisions. Taking 30 min. to work through a turn is pretty excessive.

Slow play is a common worry for me when playing Animar because in some instances it can take a fair bit of time to work out which combo lines are the best to go for and how best to spend my mana based on what I may or may not draw into while chaining plays. I think that if you are playing in a competitive environment there is a certain element of courtesy involved in trying to have as thorough an understanding of your deck as possible. It not only helps you win, but it speeds up your plays and decision decision making so that situations like the once you described don't pop up as often. It's easier to wait through all the plays that an opponent is making if you can tell that they know what they are doing, as opposed to when it looks like they are stumbling through things by the seat of their pants.

July 3, 2017 10:27 p.m.

@Ohthenoises

When I play Animar there are games where I end up stringing a bunch of draws and plays together with limited mana, hoping that I'll hit a final combo piece before my mana runs out. It's not that different from playing a Storm deck in that regards. In my mind though, I don't see the difference between me playing 15 spells on one turn or over several turns in the hopes of killing my opponents, aside from it being more efficient in regards to winning to play that many spells in one turn. In the end I'm still spending the same amount of time playing my spells, I'm just taking all that time in one turn instead of spreading it out over multiple and thus denying my opponents more opportunities to disrupt me.

I guess a bunch of plays that don't guarantee a win at the end doesn't count as a "combo" to me, I just see it more as the person was extremely efficient in managing their resources and accumulating card advantage on that particular turn to advance their board state. They could have done it over several turns, but they managed to do it in one.

July 3, 2017 8:07 p.m.

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