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Said on Infectious Swarm...

#1

Infect is one of those mechanics which is scary even in budget lists. Ichorclaw Myr is popular in them.

Traditionally Vines of Vastwood is used for pump and protection, while Scale Up and Become Immense let you kill quickly.

Without Inkmoth Nexus a different focus is needed from the traditional. Playing a bunch of infect creatures rather than protecting a few will work wonders alongside hand disruption, while multimodal spells free up sideboard slots. These utility spells also have the benifit of not just being used in one deck.

The difficult part will be protecting vulnerable sources of infect damage while either packing enough tempo or midrange value cards. I'd look at cheesy graveyard interactions or tutoring 2 for 1s in green/black.

June 2, 2020 5:12 p.m.

I feel like most of the gains available with this list would be in planning sideboard tech- You already have powerful gy disruption maindeck, so knowing you also have meta adaptions to hate artifacts/combo/burn and which packages you can afford to run maindeck will offer a lot.

June 1, 2020 6:23 p.m.

Said on Budget Green Blue...

#3

Mystic Snake decks are a strong budget alternative to cryptic command, but you have to lean into the differences with stuff like Familiar's Ruse. There are lists out there, go browse.

Ramp to four then tempo is good, but you need to either get value from all your lands and dorks, build reliable 2 for 1, or draw more cards.

Some of that can be handled by sideboaeding - heal 6 is a 2 for one against burn for example, but a clear plan for big, low cost creatures and go wide stats is a must; bounce effects like Evacuation will shine here as they also let you reuse snakes.

June 1, 2020 3:26 a.m.

I'm sure it would work, but with all lists like these it's a question of playtesting. I would look at firey temper first,since bloodrage is its main enabler. Cutting some combination of those three.

May 30, 2020 4:18 a.m.

This feels a little awkwardly top-heavy- a lot of the '1 mana spells' are things you want in later turns of the game, while most of the creatures to beat down with are three drops. Scarhide might be the only 'officially a minotaur' one drop, but Changeling Outcast and Universal Automaton might help fill out some spots.

May 24, 2020 8:26 a.m.

Plan your sideboard alongside your first 60 cards- knowing all the tools you have available will help immensely. Knowing you have Tidebinder Mage for RDW or Deeproot Waters for control/midrange.

Bringing down the average CMC or upping the levels of interaction will do a lot;

In terms of 'raw power', Hardened Scales/The Ozolith offer the biggest boosts.

Jade Bearer, Kumena's Speaker, Brineborn Cutthroat, Harbinger of the Tides, Merfolk Trickster Mistcaller, Mist-Cloaked Herald/Triton Shorestalker, River Sneak, Silvergill Adept and Merfolk Skydiver will all let you operate at a lower CMC.

Lowering the curve also means you can run Neoform in place of evolution.

Traditionally merfolk is a tempo list using creatures that delay your opponent, then unblockability (previously islandwalk/flood effects) to finish them off. Its one of the few lists where a bounce effect is often just as effective as a kill spell. Its place in modern was defined by Blood Moon reslience from an all-island manabase combined with land disruption in Aquitect's Will, but that is not relevant in pioneer, so you will need to experiment to find a new nieche. It might be able to emulate affinity with ozolith support, with some luck and a favourable meta.

Augur of Bolas/Deeproot Champion offers a version of the list that wants to spellsling, but I can't say that I've thought through what that would look like.

May 23, 2020 12:01 p.m.

I highly reccomend Judge's Familiar and Mausoleum Wanderer for lists like these. Protection on a flying body is real good. The new Skycat Sovereign lets you play another 4 pride of the clouds. Stormchaser Mage and Sprite Dragon will help if you lean into the instants/sorceries route, while Jubilant Skybonder offers protection.

May 23, 2020 2:46 a.m.

Said on Naya Prison Stax...

#8

After a little testing I'd give some thought to Finale of Devastation in place of chord, for its ability to fetch from the yard and slightly lower casting cost. Without 'silver bullet' cards maindeck, the instant speed and harder mana cost makes it a little difficult.

Alternatively, Glittering Wish would give access to teeg/rog in the sideboard, and might offer a more reliable game one.

May 22, 2020 11:05 a.m.

Said on Naya Prison Stax...

#9

One of those decks where you watch the meta like a hawk and swap as appropriate. Personally, I'd like a one-of Dryad Arbor as a fetchable blocker, but otherwise this list looks sweet.

May 22, 2020 6:01 a.m.

Said on Jeskai monks...

#10

Budget lists have a tool more optimised lists do not- your opponent will not know your decklist. Lean into this by starting with a sideboard planned, or multiple sideboards planned for different metas.

So lets start with what 'monks' does great at- seeker and SGM give lifelink, Swiftspear is the premier aggro card, and yun shu gives one-shot potential with a big prowessy-double striker when you have the mana. Burn spells and mantis rider are there to help finish the game.

There are a few ways to twist this to surprise your opponents- the 'go off all in one turn' by banking mana with things like Pentad Prism while setting up with cards like opt, before playing like a Kiln Fiend combo deck with a 10/10 double striker (or just a 6/6 with 8 points of burn). In this build protective spells will be essential, while minimising Yun Shu forecast (or playing it as a deadly threat one week, while using him as a removal magnet for a different combo the next)

There is the 'surprise, I'm now value/grind' Soulfire Grand Master/Lightning Helix control list, where you sit with a Negate until the end of their turn then bolt them, while in most configurations you are just trying to hit them with prowess and negate their spells.

There is the 'classic burn' run the damage numbers and just trade your attackers with their blockers before hitting face with bolts.

There is the U/R tempo Remand archetype, where you try to delay your opponent while efficient creatures eat their face. Mission Briefing isn't Snapcaster Mage for this style, but can still work.

There is the 'true' midrange tax list where you play narset & tferi in place of some of the remand elements in the above list. Narset makes a good source of card advantage without breaking the bank.

Finally there is the 'unfair combo' that does things like like cast Reforge the Soul or Knowledge Pool to lock your opponent out of the game in concert with a plainswalker, or jank out a win with Mystic Sanctuary/Time Warp/ soulfire grandmaster.

You probably have space in your seventy-five for three of these, but the less focussed any 60 cards is on one plan, the worse it will perform. Fortunately there is a lot of overlap between lists- any aggressive list will like bolt and swiftspear, any more interactive list opt, etc.

By carefully picking your cards your opponent will have no idea which plan you are on maindeck, and no idea if the sideboard will transform you into another archetype. With a few swapped cards, the next FNM is completely different. This is the advantage of rogue decks- your opponent should not know the correct line of play.

In specifics; Deflecting palm is fantastic, but most of the time I want it in the sideboard to fight other aggressive decks. Pariah while cool rarely performs well outside combo lists, and even there is competing with more powerful options. Pacifism is usually outperformed by true removal- a few of the variants have deck-specific purposes, but unless you desperately want creatures on the field for Stuffy Doll/Blasphemous Act, its worth cutting for Roast/Negate/Mana Leak/Remand/Path to Exile/Condemn etc. Play to your gameplan.

May 21, 2020 6:58 a.m.

Said on Bat Cave 2.2...

#11

I highly reccomend hand disruption for decks like this; Delirium Skeins and Raven's Crime vastly improves your control/combo matchups.

If you are leaning into Alms of the Vein ,Gonti's Machinations can act as another four copies, so long as you are triggering it. The 'target player cause' is often awkward- playing a bunch of Bump in the Night variants is good, but without the 1 mana prowess shenanigans that red offers, its mostly a gimmick.

I have a mono black 'I've made all these things work' list (Mono black deckbuilder's toolbox), but I haven't kept it up to date- here it is to mine for ideas.

As a rule of thumb, I lean towards more hand disruption in mono-black. Its what the colour has the most efficient tools for, and removing key cards, or just lots of cards, is often enough to win against more intricate plans.

May 19, 2020 6:03 a.m.

Said on 01: Lightning Burn...

#12

Until its banned Lurrus of the Dream-Den is mandatory (which will require swapping ball lightning- a couple more skewer or some skullcrack will do fine). After its banned, this list will work great.

May 19, 2020 5:11 a.m.

Zirda offers a powerful option; Umbral Mantle combo. Once the cat nightmare is banned, I'd look at it.

With an animated manland, a reduced cost untap, and zirda, you can make that manland arbitrarily large, usually without forecasting the combo. Since your treasure hunt should make finding it simple, and manland support will benifit the deck anyway, it seems like a very low-cost sideboard plan.

May 18, 2020 3:52 p.m.

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