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Wow, your list is pretty much beat-for-beat how I would like to run a Trostani deck! So as far as adds go, there aren't any that immediately come to mind aside from maybe Test of Endurance, Oracle of Mul Daya, Swiftfoot Boots, and Lightning Greaves. Especially the last two since you have so many cards that require attacking (Myraid cards, Wingmate Roc, Giant Adephage, Wayfaring Temple, Sun Titan) and cards that require tapping to activate (Trostani, Rhys & Oviya). Not to mention you don't want a massive token just sitting around without protection; swing with it right away AND give it hexproof/shroud!
Cuts, on the other hand, I have a couple of suggestions for. Since your deck (and Trostani decks in general) are much better at going tall than going wide, I'd probably recommend cutting some of the "go-wide" cards. Essence Warden, Soul Warden, and Soul's Attendant are good low drops and good at gaining life but aside from cards like Storm Herd I don't see us gaining a lot of life in this deck from these cards. If they're mostly in here because of the low mana cost I'd recommend the cheap mana dorks like Birds of Paradise, Elvish Mystic and Llanowar Elves instead to help you reach your big cards quicker.
Voracious Wurm seems kind of "win-more" since you need to have gained a considerable amount of life (probably from playing a big token already) before you want to play it. However it is only 2 mana so it probably wouldn't hurt to keep it in.
Celestial Convergence has always been removed before the last counter is taken off in every game I've played.
Cradle of Vitality is kind of like Voracious Wurm in regards to how you're only getting value from the card if you've already played something big. Could be worth it, but if you have a 10/10 on the board, would a 20/20 help you that much more?
Wingmate Roc doesn't seem like it's impactful enough for the mana cost.
Hopefully some of these help! In short I think since your curve is pretty high you should work on either reducing some of the higher CMC cards (but a lot of those are your win conditions or good token generators, so maybe not) or increasing the amounts of ramp in the deck. Good luck! Digging it so far.
August 17, 2018 4:09 p.m.
Mana Fixing - Hard to go wrong with Chromatic Lantern! Since your commander costs 4, Coldsteel Heart or Fellwar Stone might not be bad ideas to go along with your signets so that you can ramp it out on turn 3. As far as lands go, I think they're gonna be your best bet for filtering since you have so many options available to you! Aside from the obvious dual lands and fetch lands; there are the rest of the filter lands cycle with Mystic Gate and Sunken Ruins; there's the old Odyssey filters Skycloud Expanse and Darkwater Catacombs; River of Tears and Nimbus Maze are criminally underplayed but fantastic cards; there are the new battlebond lands Morphic Pool and Sea of Clouds; and lastly there are the lands that tap for any color like Mana Confluence, City of Brass, Forbidden Orchard.
As far as staying alive goes, I notice you already have Solemnity in your maybeboard to combo with Glacial Chasm and Delaying Shield but another card that works well with Delaying Shield is Soul Echo. As long as Soul Echo has one counter on it, you're pretty much immune from damage. Also it's another card that lets you drop below 0 life. Obviously not a great combo with Solemnity but I think running one of the two wouldn't be a bad idea!
On the other side of that coin, if you happen to have Repay in Kind in hand and need to be at 0 life, Wall of Blood or Hex Parasite can help with that. Hex Parasite can only drain in increments of 2 but is a bit more versatile of a card whereas Wall of Blood can drain one life at a time, but is pretty much there only for that.
Hope some of this helped at all!
August 17, 2018 11:12 a.m.
I notice you're running the Basalt Monolith + Rings of Brighthearth combo for infinite mana. Since you have that, I would suggest adding in a sacrifice outlet like Ashnod's Altar, Phyrexian Altar, or High Market so that after you take out the first player you can sacrifice her, bring her back to the command zone, recast her, and then start the loop all over again.
Also, what's the reasoning behind Stormbreath Dragon? Love the card but I'm not sure what it's being used for.
Otherwise, love the deck! Never thought about running Fate Unraveler, might have to give it a try.
August 17, 2018 10:14 a.m.
Braid of Fire is definitely tempting. Xantcha is an amazing sink for this card. My only concern would be how long the game lasts. Two mana is such a low investment that it might be worth putting into the deck anyways. Also would make a stronger case for Pyrohemia getting added back into the deck too!
As far as Vampiric Link goes, I think you're spot-on with your analysis. I don't think the lifegain offsets the potential of getting 2-for-1'd and once my opponents know that I'm gaining life for every Xantcha activation; they will probably stop doing it. It also would be a nonbo with 3 cards currently in the deck (Sulfuric Vortex, Havoc Festival, and Rampaging Ferocidon). Along the same line of thinking, I considered adding Phyresis into the deck. However, since it would be the only source of infect, she would either need to attack the same enemy twice or have someone pump 15 mana into her activated ability before she (or the enchantment) gets removed. Alternatively there could be a damage doubler on the battlefield, but I think that's bordering on thinking too wishfully.
Adding in Braid of Fire is really tempting but also hard to slot in. As I mentioned in the update section, I'm trying to add more card draw, another boardwipe (Pyrohemia or Chain Reaction?), and a land. You could somewhat make an argument for Braid of Fire being card draw with Xantcha, but that might be stretching it too much. I'm also looking for cuts in the deck so that I can include those categories of cards; but I love every card that's currently in there. Thinking Crown of Doom even though it encourages attacks and potentially turns Xantcha into a 3 turn kill instead of a 5 turn. Let me know what you think!
August 13, 2018 4:30 p.m.
Gleeock Wholeheartedly agree! As I mentioned in my update, I actually considered Spectral Searchlight for that exact reason. It's definitely worth trying out to see if anyone will take me up on it. Added to the decklist :)
August 13, 2018 12:28 p.m.
Gleeock Once again, I love the idea! I especially love your analogy at the end; that's exactly what I'm aiming for. As you get to play some more games please let me know how it ends up! REALLY interested in the way you're taking the deck.
commander_kings At first I was confused by what you meant. I was thinking "of course Xantcha, Sleeper Agent is in the deck...". Then I looked up Sleeper Agent to make sure it wasn't a separate card; then I figured out what you meant. This card is absolutely perfect for this deck. It does exactly what I was looking for! I'm honestly a little mad I have never seen this card before. I just got it on order and it definitely deserves a place in this deck.
August 12, 2018 12:18 a.m.
Sire Of Insanity strangely works really well with Xantcha. Assuming it's able to survive a turn around the board, no one will have cards in hand so they'll be more incentivized to pay mana into Xantcha's activated ability. Surviving a turn around the board is a different story....
Master of Cruelties has the same issue that I mentioned above with Malignus. 5 mana, no evasion (although first strike and deathtouch is a nice pseudo-evasion), no haste, and no protection.
August 10, 2018 11:33 a.m.
Gleeock - Yeah, thankfully it's Friday and I'll have some more time to be able to give this deck a critical look this weekend! Currently looking at Pestilence, Pyrohemia, Neheb, the Eternal, Crawlspace, Diabolic Intent and Chain Reaction for cuts and looking at Blasphemous Act, Fraying Omnipotence, Dismember, Bloodchief Ascension, Master of Cruelties, Virtus the Veiled and Tree of Perdition for adds. Not 100% sold on any of these yet; but they're all strong considerations!
I see now! I LOVE that idea. I actually glossed over those two cards when I saw your deck the first time around, now I wish Xantcha was Jund. The way that you're running your deck is initially how I was planning on building mine. I just can't guarantee that they'll have enough creatures to attack with and there don't seem to be a lot of cards in Rakdos that give your opponents creatures (for a good deal); I've counted maybe 5 or so. I think redirect spells are a great addition to your deck, whereas I think my deck isn't built to utilize them to their potential.
Jimmy_Chinchila For some reason I didn't even give these cards a second thought! I was too hyperfocused on the group slug aspect of the deck to really even consider a lot of the solid Rakdos damage dealers on their own. I think I'll shy away from Malignus because I don't have any way of protecting it, giving it haste, or giving it any sort of evasion. At 5 mana, it's a pricy investment considering all that could go wrong. The other three, on the other hand, I really like and am strongly considering adding to the deck. Virtus the Veiled has the same issues as Malignus, but at 3 mana it feels much more reasonable to include. Tree of Perdition doesn't care about blockers, which is a wonderful upside. And Sorin Markov might as well be a sorcery since you can activate it as soon as it comes down. I think I'll try and order Tree & Virtus and hold off on Sorin at the moment because of the price, but he is a strong consideration for the deck. Thank you!
August 10, 2018 11:19 a.m.
Gleeock Oooh I love the deck! Nature's Revolt seems pretty disgusting in this kind of build... I secretly love it. I also didn't know about the "hunted" cycle! Seems really interesting and it looks like it might be exactly what this deck needs. I can make my opponents attack every turn, but when they have no creatures to attack with it doesn't really help anything. Also Varchild, Betrayer of Kjeldor looks even better now that I take another look at her; I'll have to consider her for this deck too.
As far as redirect spells are concerned, I'm not sure what I would use them on! There's nothing really that this deck plays that needs to be protected from targeted removal except from Xantcha herself and maybe a couple huge enchantments like Havoc Festival. I LOVE the redirect spells in my Zada, Hedron Grinder deck because they effectively work as counterspells for my opponents' counterspells, but not sure how they would really help in this deck. Can you explain a little further?
scumbling1 Thanks for showing interest!! It's still a little too early to tell what's good and what's not but I was able to play two games with her using a proxy for the commander (because my cards finally arrived a couple days ago!) and I'll give you my first impressions below before I give a "formal" update after I get to jam a few more games.
First game I played went pretty horribly. Got mana screwed but I think that was moreso bad shuffling and WAY too greedy of a keep (2 lands and a Star Compass). I was only able to get a Spellshock and Xantcha to stick in the early game. Xantcha was great because I was able to use her activated ability to try and draw myself into lands, but I had to go about 4-5 cards deep before I even found another land. By the time I was able to play Painful Quandary my opponent combo'd off and took out the table. The deck ran 9 mana rocks and 35 mana producing lands (excluding Glacial Chasm and Maze of Ith at the time, which I felt was plenty. I added Thaumatic Compass Flip to help consistently get land drops and change into a functional Maze of Ith for the late game, but might also replace one or two of the weaker mana rocks with a 36th/37th land for more early game consistency. I'd want to play a few more games though since this was a greedy keep and the first game I've played.
Second game was MUCH better. My opening hand was 3 lands, Sol Ring, Last One Standing, War's Toll, and Manabarbs. Thanks to the early ramp I was able to get Xantcha and my damage dealers online much quicker. I drew into Eidolon of the Great Revel (which didn't really do much damage that game), Furnace of Rath, Spellshock, and Exsanguinate. Unfortunately, we made a ruling mistake that allowed me to do much more damage than I was supposed to. We didn't know that War's Toll's trigger doesn't draw the mana from your lands when you tap them. Because of that, Manabarbs ended up dealing about twice the amount of damage it was supposed to. With that all being said, I was able to play Furnace of Rath, have it survive a turn around the table, and then Exsanguinate (where x=7) for 14 damage and gain 52 life. Then for the remaining player, I cast Mob Rule to take the majority of their blockers and knock them out of the game. Even though there was the ruling error that caused me to deal more damage than I was supposed to, the deck was still sitting in a prominent position and probably would have won regardless. The only complaint I had with the second game was that it took until ~turn 4 before I felt like I was really impacting the game. I wish there were more cards like Harsh Mentor, Eidolon of the Great Revel, or Pyrostatic Pillar that I could replace some of the top-end cards with. I really wanted to order Polluted Bonds for the deck for the constant damage and lifegain, but considering the curve of this deck I think I'll hold off on it.
No more major changes slated until I get to play a couple more games with it! Like I said, would love to add more low cost cards.
August 9, 2018 7:54 p.m.
scumbling1 They do make a good point and it is something I've given consideration to when making the deck. The biggest problem for me at the moment when it comes to incorporating sacrifice outlets is that I don't have a lot of creatures in this deck. Only 12 creatures in total, one token generator (Rite of the Raging Storm), and one way to steal the opponent's creatures (Insurrection). This means that in many situations these cards will be dead draws. That's why I wanted to err on the side of running more single targeted removal and boardwipes so that I can get rid of Xantcha that way if she becomes troublesome while still having the versatility to use them as removal if needed.
Even when I do get Xantcha back under my control, the opponents have to pay 3 mana to deal 2 damage to me. That's a lot of investment for not a lot of damage; and by this point there are, at most, two opponents left to pay that mana (barring any Homeward Path shenanigans) if we're assuming a 4 player game.
With that all being said, I actually would love to run both High Market and Phyrexian Tower in this deck for that added peace-of-mind and way to get my commander back into the command zone. But for budget's sake I think I'll just add High Market for now. I should be getting the rest of the cards for her in the mail today so I'll be able to start playtesting and see what works and what doesn't!
August 7, 2018 11:05 a.m.
Jimmy_Chinchila Thank you very much! Looking forward to finally getting to try her out myself!
scumbling1 Oh wow, that's a great idea! I actually like the card more than I like Death Cloud. Will try and fit both in; but if I can't find space for both I'll be replacing Death Cloud for Pox (also trying to find space for Fraying Omnipotence).
cdkime You make a really good point. I was trying to build this deck under the assumption that the situation that you're describing would rarely happen. If the player that is in control of Xantcha dies, I was hoping that everyone else would be at such a low life total that the game would end sometime around the next turn OR that the player controlling Xantcha is the 2nd or last player to get knocked out of the game. So instead of running sacrifice outlets, I was trying to run a bit more spot removal to use on Xantcha if push came to shove.
That all being said, Ashnod's Altar is just a great card regardless. It's definitely worth at least playtesting! Will add it into the list.
August 6, 2018 7:58 p.m.
Hey! Thanks for the mention :)
Love the idea! In terms of pure win percentage, my deck definitely isn't the right way to go about things and I feel that a more defensive pillowfort strategy like you mentioned would net you much more wins.
While red/black aren't the best pillowfort colors in the traditional sense, they have a few cards that slow or disincentivize attackers; not to mention there are a few land and artifact cards that help too. No Mercy, Dread, Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs, Maze of Ith, Mystifying Maze, Spires of Orazca (flipped from Thaumatic Compass Flip), Uphill Battle, Glacial Crevasses, Vow of Malice, Vow of Lightning, and Crawlspace just to name a few. Since most of the pillowfort cards are in white, another route could be playing a card like Queen Marchesa and running Xantcha in the 99.
I think the 8x8 theory is solid for most of these categories! I feel that the player controlling Xantcha dying is a rare enough occurrence (she'll probably get destroyed or another player could get taken out before them) that you might not need a full 8 slots dedicated to sacrificing her. If this does happen, you could always use your single-target removal on her and run a bit more of it. It's not ideal, but might save you from situations where you have a Viscera Seer or Ashnod's Altar and nothing to sacrifice with it.
Same goes with the politics and memes. Depending on your definition of memes, they could have a lot of overlap there too so you might not need to dedicate 16 slots in your deck to both of those (like Curse of Opulence, Sower of Discord, or Disrupt Decorum).
Overall I think you're on the right track and I can't wait to see what you end up with!
August 5, 2018 1:42 p.m.
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