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I ran both tainted strike and hatred early in the evolution of the deck. As things got more competitive, the creatures got smaller and the damage came from noncreature sources. Both cards became less valuable. Since I had no other infect sources, tainted strike was often a fog for am single creature. In metas with bigger creatures, it is awesome.

June 15, 2019 6:31 p.m.

Mostly I just slurred the deck into midrange instead of stax. I drop as many ways to gain life and get incremental value as I can, including the Queen as soon as possible, and then wait to draw into combo pieces or the tutors to get them. Ad Nauseam with Angel's Grace/Phyrexian Unlife/Teferi's Protection will win just about every time, and Ad Nauseam with Children of Korlis, maybe with Sun Droplet, can also put you in great position without the crazy big cost and some nice lifegain potential, but also Dualcaster Mage and Twinflame will also just win in many instances. Protecting these combos can be as easy as Grand Abolisher or Silence, or any of the stack interaction like the various Forks, Blasts, Mana Tithe, or Lapse of Certainty. If you don't go for the combo, continuous grindy play with Marchesa, Tymna, Mindblade Render, Grenzo, or Stolen Strategy all lead to a significant amount of advantage, and the control in the deck means that you can mostly ride that out to insurmountable advantage. The rock package is super fast, so I am rarely waiting long to be able to play either combo, or start that grindy stage of the game.

Really, I am definitely impressed with how grindy Queen Marchesa can play simply because of the monarch. Bolstering that with other grindy style cards makes me feel like I just continually churn through my deck, putting pressure on opponents either win or not lose. It is a super fun way to play. It honestly feels similar to how playing Blood Pod feels, only without the stax.

As a fun aside, Mindblade Render is some nice tech to run against Najeela. When Najeela starts rolling, you get extra advantage out of her attacks. Not bad, and adds up.

June 8, 2019 9:05 p.m.

I think those lands are pretty awesome. I have some preordered. Not sure whether they will find a home in this deck, but they will definitely find a home in some.

June 8, 2019 6:07 p.m.

I have been doing some experimenting with lifegain and more streamlined pillow fort. I am slowly finding that hard locks are not as good as they seem, and often grab attention that is not good for the game plan. More subtle pillow fort cards are playing better, and turn out to be cheaper from a CMC standpoint. I am not sure where this will take me, but it seems promising.

June 8, 2019 9:56 a.m.

Ripwater, that is basically it. I have found that when people know the deck, it becomes hard to win with slower wincons. Being able to just pivot from passive to active is essential in this style of deck. In battle cruiser metas, this can be reliably done with the opponents cards and board states. With more competitive metas, you need to pack your own win as well, because theirs are likely build on overwhelming synnergy, not something that you can easily redirect of steal.

June 4, 2019 10:14 p.m.

Basically do just that, except that the deck packs the ability to Ad Naus to a win, or to Dualcaster Mage to a win, or some of the others it had previously. You play control against Midrange and combo, you play combo against control, and you grind out in any game that goes long by constructing your fortress and drawing twice the cards as other people.

June 3, 2019 12:04 p.m.

Also, I play Silence over Orim's Chant . The fog effect is great, but affecting all players is better than targeting.

May 31, 2019 1:39 p.m.

I don’t think the power level was lowered. I was actually afraid that the deck became too powerful. During goldfishing, executing wincons is consistent between turn 4 and turn 7, with interaction along the way, with one turn 3 wincon execution. The new wincons are faster and more consistent. I have only played it once in a real game, but had a turn 5 win with a counterspell in hand and castable. This may be the strongest iteration of the deck, I just need to figure out if it retains enough aikido to really call it that. Right now, it can easily play that role, but also pivot hard to a very fast win, with more than one way to get there. It feels very Midrange right now, but can easily play whatever speed the game needs, fast combo against slow decks, control against aggro or combo, and grindy slow against more staxy decks. I think I like the way it plays, I just need more play info.

For further clarification, the helm combo was threatening, but slow. Same with Master of Cruelties, Gisella, Dark Depths, they all announce aggression, but rarely execute a win right then. I need to win right when it is time, not a few turns later.

I ran out of room for Wound Reflection, and it got cut in an effort to run a low CMC list with more direct control. I would love to get down to an average CMC to around 2, while retaining enough things to make the deck feel and play aikido. I think that is at least close to possible.

Anyway, this is anything but weaker. The question is, does it still play Aikido?

May 31, 2019 1:35 p.m.

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