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Said on Alesha: A Slug ......

#1

StopShot The choice of having only a single combo is intentional. This deck is similar to Blood Pod in that staxing the board is more important than gassing into a combo, and you can get kills in cEDH by turning creatures sideways. This deck is very concerned about hitting the board hard early, and I don't want to be drawing cards that are dead outside of comboing. If I was going to expand into a second combo, I'd most likely extend into Splinter Twin and Felidar Guardian due to how Twin interacts with the Titans. In place of redundant combos, I've chosen to slot more hate pieces and more beater pieces. I've tried to add only the most efficient beater pieces that have utility or are just hyper efficient in terms of effectiveness. For example, Luminarch Ascension will singlehandedly win games on stalled out boards by turning creatures right. Inferno Titan swinging removes all kinds of dorks and opposing hatebears that are common in the format, as well as draw pieces and combo creatures. It also swings for a minimum of 9 when there aren't targets on the board. Loyal Apprentice is free tokens for doing nothing every round, speeding up the beatdown clock but it also has great synergy with Goblin Welder Smokestack Rankle, Master of Pranks Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite and Daretti, Ingenious Iconoclast. The beatdown pieces have been chosen because they are a fast clock even in when staring down 120 life instead of the regular 20, or they offer strong synergy towards other parts of the deck. Extending into beatdown as the secondary option also lets me run harder "no" pieces, which is why I have Cursed Totem even though I'm running Kiki, and why I'm running Stony Silence even though I have 10 cards turned off by it. Having these pieces that turn each other off in our deck raises the mulligan % and requires higher pilot skill to play, but this is the trade off for how strong they are.

Banewhip Punisher is an interesting card and certainly better than Chupacabra, but also pretty inefficient. Especially after the banning of Flash, the format has slowed and become grindier. I've been looking for group sacrifice effects or repeat removal to achieve greater board control. Necroplasm would practically be an auto-include if it was only 2 CMC. Removing Alesha on its final tick is a turn off for me. If I was really interested in this effect, I'd slot Blast Zone, to tutor it with Wayfarer and recur with Crucible. Similarly, I'd be looking to slot Wrath of God or Toxic Deluge before another single target option, even if it is reusable.

I am aware of how recurring Kiki with Alesha requires another rotation to get a combat step. Once again, I'm not very worried about it. I'm not running many discard effects here, and I'm also not running Entomb to try and get Kiki that way. Kiki won't likely end up in the yard unless an opponent forces you to discard it, or you managed to stick Sire Of Insanity (with the Buried Alive line probably). I have considered more reanimation spells, but I'd probably start with good old Reanimate just for speed purposes. As the budget has raised, I've moved away from the Thrill of Possibility + friends that play extremely well with reanimator strategies.

Thanks for taking a peek. I have a 100% no budget list brewed up as well, which is the eventual goal for this deck.

May 12, 2020 11:08 p.m.

Said on Alesha's Drag Race...

#2

I have been brewing Alesha in the competitive scene for over a year and playing in tournaments weekly. Here are my thoughts.

  • Don't run lands that enter tapped in competitive. Don't run mana rocks that enter tapped in competitive.
  • The Ravnica bounce lands are tempting, but they enter tapped. They also really hurt when your opponent plays Blood Moon or Back to Basics, both of which are competitive staples. They are also 2-for-1 on yourself when an opponent uses a Strip Mine or Wasteland.
  • When you run this many combos to win, you risk drawing lower quality pieces during the game. For example, if you start with the A part of one combo, and the B part of another, then draw the A part of a third combo, you now have 3 cards that are dead in your hand. All of your combos except Kiki jiki + Bellringer require 3 pieces to function as well, and all 3 pieces are required on the board or in the yard to hit the combo. Requiring 3 pieces means its easier for an opponent to remove one or counter one while you are trying to get the combo assembled. You should consider cutting down on the number of combos you run to help you hit the better combos you already have, more reliably. My first cut for the combos would be the Anafenza combo, since it is not always 100% guaranteed to fire correctly.
  • I highly recommend running all Thrill of Possibility Wild Guess Cathartic Reunion Tormenting Voice, they generate big card advantage by throwing away creatures you can recur easily with Alesha.
  • I recommend re-evaluating your hate bears on the list for the current meta. Tomok does not stop the Gitrog/Dakmor combo, and is only hating out a small number of cards. Kataki is not actually stopping combos, just making them take longer to get to. Kambal stops storm decks, but most will be able to remove him, and storm decks are not in the meta right now. The scariest combo is Demonic Consultation + Thassa's Oracle. I recommend Rule of Law Ethersworn Canonist and Eidolon of Rhetoric, which accomplish slowing on most decks while also blocking the current fastest combo. You also have some other holes in your hatebear/stax plan. You don't have any way to remove graveyards, and you don't run very many "hard stop" effects, you run mostly tax and delay effects.
  • I would add more interaction. Red Elemental Blast and Pyroblast are both relatively cheap in dollars and extremely effective. You will see blue in almost every competitive pod. On top of protecting your own cards from counterspells, they also get rid of scary cards like Rhystic Study and can stop Thassa's Oracle while its on the stack. I'd also recommend more removal in general. Check out Aura of Silence, it has a nice tax effect, removes two different permanent types, and recurs with Sun Titan.
  • My last recommend is to acquire Imperial Recruiter. It layers your deck by being a one card out to finding a combo. Imperial Recruiter fetches Kiki jiki, kiki copies Recruiter to fetch Bellringer, Bellringer untaps Kiki to start the combo. It means if you only have 1 tutor in hand and 0 combo pieces, you can still find your entire combo by tutoring for Imperial Recruiter. Recruiter also fetches relevant hatebears in a pinch if you can't combo out yet. It also recurs off Alesha if you have sac outlets or any way to kill it.
May 11, 2020 5:45 p.m.

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