|Commander / EDH||Legal|
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|Modern Masters (MMA)||Common|
|Duel Decks: Elspeth vs. Tezzeret (DDF)||Common|
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, Sacrifice Æther Spellbomb: Return target creature to its owner's hand.
, Sacrifice Æther Spellbomb: Draw a card.
Aether Spellbomb Discussion
1 month ago
put a seat of synod in there. Easy turn 1 commander with a 0 drop artifact.
Also while dicking around.. I remembered Aether Spellbomb also works better than Codex Shredder with intuition piles, also gets us anything. Not just artifacts from our graveyard. Codex shredder still works... but Aspellbomb is nicer, and free to cast too with Etherium Sculptor . SO we can use it to get Mirran Spy , Lotus Petal / Lion's Eye Diamond , then Abomb, or Isochron Scepter . Abomb also makes it so that you can loop getting back what ever you want to your hand. So you can just make everyone draw all whole entire deck too using stuff like Stroke of Genius .... or what ever you want.
2 months ago
As I mentioned before, the deck as it is consistently storms out a win on Turn 6. This means at most, I can Chain of Vapor myself for 7 targets (initial + 6 copies from sacrificed lands) off of one blue mana. However, I can Retract all of my artifacts for that same one blue mana, which is far more powerful for continuing my storm count and combo triggers, and doesn't require me to blow up my own land to do it. Like you recommend, I typically save the self-bounces of Retract, Hurkyl's Recall , and Paradoxical Outcome for the turn I am going to win, since they easily double my storm count on their own. Much more effective for this deck than Chain of Vapor, at least in that regard.
I typically do save Krark-Clan Ironworks and Aetherflux Reservoir for the turn I am confident they will lead to a decisive victory. I am also not terribly worried about them getting targeted down in general, since the most common type of removal is creature-based that makes Jhoira the weakest link in the chain. Once she is off the field, this deck grinds to a crawl, and 4cmc to replay her is costly when the top of the curve is 5. 6cmc or more from Commander Tax can easily slow this deck down to the point that it simply can't win. I am not doubting how powerful Chain of Vapor is in general; but I simply do not see how me spending the mana on a spell that my opponent will use to shut off my engine and slow me down is worth including in this decklist. That seems like I would be playing against my own self-interest for a single tempo play, when that isn't what this deck is trying to do.
I do realize I "literally just die to like any interaction at all". That is by design. Since my playgroup is predominantly medium to medium-high competitive decklists (ranging from 50% to 80%), leaving this deck wide open to disruption was an easy and effective way to lower its power-level. There are a few incidental things that can help a bit with protections ( Aether Spellbomb bouncing Jhoira to protect against wipes or get another problem creature off the field; Herbal Poultice as a one-off regenerate to protect Jhoira from a destroy effect; Feldon's Cane and Elixir of Immortality to protect against self-decking, mill, and/or graveyard hate like Bojuka Bog; and Codex Shredder to return destroyed win-cons from the graveyard to my hand for some minor recursion), but otherwise it wasn't a primary focus.
Also note that Conjurer's Bauble is already in the decklist. That is the second recommendation you made that I already have.
Lastly, most of the "pricey" cards in the decklist ($5 or above) were cards I already owned, or were able to acquire for a lower price than listed here on the site (such as purchasing the Engineered Explosives from my friend for only $8.00 as opposed to the CardKingdom price of $18.00; or the Aetherflux Reservoir that I traded for at no monetary cost). ~$26 is the cheapest I can find Mana Vault on CardKingdom and even Lotus Petal is ~$9.00 at the low end, both at less than Near Mint conditions. While they are incredibly effective at what they do and would help the deck tremendously, they are simply too far outside of my budget for a single card, especially when they don't directly represent win-conditions the way that Aetherflux Reservoir does. I am certainly planning on buying a copy of Lotus Petal or two eventually, since it is much more within my general budget for purchasing, but at the moment it is simply not an option for me.
2 months ago
@Bchong: Curiosity does work with my pingers, but until I draw into them it is effectively a dead card. Jhoira already has more than enough draw herself, and I have plenty of alternative/incidental draw cards throughout the deck. While I do like Curiosity as a card, I don't particularly like it here.
Chain of Vapor doesn't really strike me as all that great, either. I can use it on myself for some more play recursion, but it costs me sacrificing a land in order to do that and is much more limited than my other bounce spells. Or I target something on my opponent's board, and give them the chance to sacrifice a land in order to bounce Jhoira or my pingers or Aetherflux Reservoir and completely ruin any momentum I've built up with that turn? I don't particularly think that exchange would work out well for me.
The deck already has both available spellbombs, Aether Spellbomb and Pyrite Spellbomb . Typically they act as alternate draw effects when I need them to prevent whiffing, though the Aether Spellbomb can bounce Jhoira to my hand to keep her protected from removal. I agree that Pyrite Spellbomb can be useful as a removal piece if necessary.
I originally had Top in the deck, thinking that the filtering would help, but found that the deck draws too quickly and cannot afford to pay the 1 generic very often, when I would rather be spending that mana on playing another artifact. Artificer's Assistant and Riddlesmith are my answers to that problem, since they also allow me to filter my draws and continue ripping through the deck quickly, without costing me any mana after I have them in play.
The deck honestly doesn't care too much about finding the fast mana. So long as I have 4 lands and at least one R and one U source by turn 4 for Jhoira, I'm pretty much set. The mana rocks are mostly to help avoid whiffs while I'm burning through the deck, allowing me to play some of the more costly 2- or 3-cmc artifacts I draw into. Once I get a single cost reducer on the field, it gets significantly easier to not whiff, and the fast mana becomes a lot less necessary overall. Draw cards in general feel a lot less necessary when Jhoira adds "Draw a card" onto 62 total cards in the deck.
Most storm decks are glass cannons. If I can fire the cannon on turn 5 or 6 before most other players have their board states set up, then I'm golden. If I don't get it set up to fire by then, I'm extremely likely to lose. However, I am really only planning on playing this deck when my friend brings out his Cascade Slivers deck, and I am confident that this Jhoira Cheerios build can consistently fire off before he can. In general, I am not too competitive with my playgroup so I don't really care about winning or losing that much. Also, the playstyle of this deck basically forces it into not playing counterspells, since I don't typically leave mana open during my opponents' turns. I have to play out as much as I can to keep the storm count ticking up and the draw engine running in order to win. Setting aside mana for counterspell protection slows down the overall gameplan, so I decided against it.
2 months ago
Out- Rhystic Study , Semblance Anvil , Hangarback Walker , Myr Retriever , Phyrexian Revoker , Paradise Mantle , Thought Vessel , Great Furnace , Seat of the Synod , Reliquary Tower , 1x Mountain , 5x Island , Paradox Engine , Reality Shift
In- Swan Song , Talisman of Creativity , Manifold Key , Aether Spellbomb , Whir of Invention , Gilded Drake , Cascade Bluffs , Mana Confluence , Command Tower , City of Brass , Misty Rainforest , Polluted Delta , Flooded Strand , Prismatic Vista , Fiery Islet
Reasons for Out:
Lets get the easy ones out of the way first Paradox Engine and Reality Shift . Yes I missed an update where I put Reality Shift into the deck. I added it to give me more options with Isochron Scepter as a way with Engine to exile every other player's libraries. With the banning of Engine though both got cut out from the deck.
Semblance Anvil was cut because I originally ran it as a way to make my artifacts cost 2 less and on rare occasions make my creatures also cost 2 less by exiling an artifact creature under it. The more I played with it though the more times I fizzled on a turn where that 1 more artifact in had would have continued allowing me to combo.
Rhystic Study became a semi mana intensive spell. I constantly found myself with plenty of counters and artifacts in hand but unable to cast rhystic because of the speed of the table. So I cut it for my meta. Will probably go back in for blind tables though.
Lands I cut were to allow for the addition of fetches into the list as well as the lands that tap for any color. Deck thinning is always a good thing and so is having access to all your colors.
Notable mentions for inclusions:
Whir of Invention was originally pushed into this list when Mystic Forge was spoiled but before the Engine banning. I thought with the addition of another 4+ mana artifact win condition that Whir was finally in a good spot to make its way into my list. I still think it should have been there probably all along but I'm glad its made its way finally into the deck.
Voltaic Key 's days are numbered in this list. With the spoil of Arcane Signet Key will be cut from the list once again. I say again because I originally cut Voltaic Key when trying to find space for Manifold Key, but with the banning of Engine freeing up 2 slots in my deck Voltaic Key and a much needed additional land made their way back into the list
3 months ago
Huge fan of Akiri/Bruse+Silas, Silas recuring artifacts every turn is really sweet, use doublestrike enablers or extra combat enablers to do some sweet things.
You often end up trying to loop artifacts for Time Sieve or Mindslaver loops to attempt infinite turns. Pretty cool. You can also use cards like Nihil Spellbomb , Nevinyrral's Disk , Oblivion Stone , Executioner's Capsule , Aether Spellbomb , etc.
3 months ago
@ jeacaveo Hey, thanks for dropping by. I've certainly been finding that high quality card advantage sources are tough to come by for this deck and that this seems to be perhaps the most necessary addition for the deck to be as competitive as possible against the top tier decks in the format. I'm not finding that Urza is a deck that has too much trouble against tier 2 and 3 cEDH decks, but as with most decks in the format the tier 1 are pretty troublesome and they seem to simply out grind in a meta that has become very grind oriented.
Power Artifact is in as one more means of redundancy and resiliency. It's relatively easy to fetch with a handful of tutors, and can be used on either Isochron Scepter or Grim Monolith to good effect. In a meta where every last single U/B deck in competitive play is now running Ashiok, Dream Render it's vitally important to have redundant engine pieces in the event that some are exiled. The very printing of that card is perhaps the most fundamentally format warping aspect of this new set in cEDH. Long gone are the days where decks could feel comfortable running one primary win condition and one secondary win condition. Multiple layers of redundancy are a must to be competitive at this point. Until testing demonstrably proves an acceptable degree of redundancy Power Artifact is in to provide it.
Karn, the Great Creator does indeed have a hefty price tag, but this is perfectly acceptable in the new meta we find ourselves in. Also long gone are the days where Turn 3 was the all encompassing turn and cards with higher converted mana costs didn't have a role. In this new, long, grindy as all hell meta, Karn shines as a way to asymmetrically disrupt the best opposing PS decks in the format as a passive hate piece (as well as destroying any 0 cmc artifacts opponents have in play while ticking up), and a way to actively recover important required combo pieces that might be exiled with Ashiok or even Praetor's Grasp (as Karn does not differentiate between face up or face down exile). He is deceptively tough to remove from the board as being at 4 cmc means Abrupt Decay can't hit him, has a rather high loyalty count making removing him via combat also difficult. Meanwhile the best decks in the format will find he is a piece that typically needs to be removed in order for them to effectively combo off as he completely shuts down all Isochron related lines, SDT related lines, etc. If the format meta at the top levels was still as fast as it was a year and a half ago he probably would not have a place, but the fastest decks in the format have long since been supplanted by superior decks in the intervening time that are better at controlling pace of the game and the best grinding deck in the meta is the deck most likely to win these days. Karn can help in that regard, and he has performed admirably in testing in a surprisingly wide range of match ups.
Mishra's Workshop is actually a card I'm a bit on the fence over. I do not, by any means, consider this card to be a requirement for this deck. There are even some situations as you so astutely recognize where it's drawback can be significant (there are times where you cannot cast a turn 2 Urza if Workshop is one of the lands in an opening hand). I will say that the situations in testing where it has been effective have been terrific, however. Turn 1 Astral Cornucopia , Mox Opal , Mana Crypt into Turn 1 Urza is extremely powerful. Turn 1 Trinisphere is extremely powerful. And it certainly never hurts to cast Paradox Engine off Workshop mana. I'll need more testing with it in before I determine whether it's use cases are too narrow for play, or if they are flexible enough to warrant an inclusion. It seemed like an interesting thought so for now it's in to be tested.
Howling Mine does indeed need Urza in play, but since the deck sort of revolves around having him in play and protecting him to keep him active it's not usually a case where the symmetrical effect is a drawback. I've been much more concerned with it's level of performance overall as a card advantage piece for Urza than I have with the rare moments it acts as a card advantage piece for opponents. I did try some other pieces that could turn it off ( Merchant's Dockhand for example), but ultimately found them lackluster and the times where they would be needed quite rare overall. Quite frankly, I'd prefer better card advantage sources, but in mono blue the options are rather limited in terms of quality.
Genesis Chamber is a new addition, it's being used with Skullclamp and other token pieces to see how that package performs in terms of providing a grinding advantage. I don't think I honestly expect it to perform at the level I'm looking for, but I also don't want to overlook any potential options in the quest to optimize Urza against the top tier decks, so it's going to get a fair shake in testing.
Elixir of Immortality is important for a few reasons. Ultimately, it's a layer of redundancy (recall the issue present at the moment in the meta with Ashiok) that enables looping, and it is a card that can be retrieved with Karn (even if all spells, every single one, are exiled from this list as long as the deck has Karn it has the ability to retrieve every required piece of at least one engine to combo win). Mostly it was included at first as a way to circumvent a particular looping issue however. Consider: in a deck where looping is the way to finish off opponents that only one real option can win on the turn where Urza combos off without having to wait a turn cycle to attack with Swans, Apes, or Constructs; Windfall. Only the deck could not actually perform this function as the only viable way to loop is Narset's Reversal + Timetwister . Using that loop enabler would restore the graveyards of opponents and the Windfall win line would not be possible. This means we would need to run an alternate immediate win con, but Lab Man, Jace, and Aetherflux Reservoir are all REALLY bad cards in cEDH being completely dead outside of comboing off. The better, more efficient option, is to simply run a mana efficient loop enabler that at worst is a 1 cmc mana rock. Urza doesn't mind cheap mana rocks, in fact, Urza likes those, and on occasion Elixir can also directly protect the graveyard from an Ashiok activation. It's inclusion was a natural progression of this line of thinking. The Elixir might ultimately be cut if I decide the deck is redundant and resilient enough without it, but I'm betting against that being the case with the way the meta has changed post Ashiok's printing.
Cryptic Command and Archmage's Charm are certainly on the expensive side, but again, as the format has slowed down significantly and grindier, more interactive decks are the prohibitive favorites in any given pod, these cards have a warranted slot in testing and testing has so far proven them to be very solid inclusions. I don't know about you, but I LIKE stealing an opponents Mystic Remora . It's far better than just destroying it. I LIKE stealing an opponents Sol Ring . Dack Fayden is still run in some cEDH lists and primarily is used to steal away mana rocks outside of being a win on a loop. The Charm is an even more flexible version of what he does and the mana cost isn't going to be tough for a mono blue deck based around a commander that turns all artifacts into blue moxen. Cryptic Command is also ideal on a loop to return all opposing permanents to hand in the event the deck must wait a turn cycle to attack with an infinite army as the risk of having that army destroyed or disrupted is much less if opponents have no board state at all the turn they need to disrupt it. A year or more ago, these are likely not cards I would have expected to perform well in the meta, but in the current meta these are cards with significant value.
Academy Ruins is the all important tutor land. I initially had Tabernacle in here in the original iteration before discovering that including that hate piece at all was extremely counterproductive and not an ideal direction for a deck that ideally wants Urza in play on turn 2 as often as possible. But when I cut the Tabernacle I didn't cut the land tutors because I noticed a particularly nifty interaction with, at first, Aether Spellbomb . Urza is not a deck that can operate like other PS decks where it tries to stutter start it's engine by using it's commanders ability to chug along on a slim mana margin until it eventually hits the pieces required for critical mass to begin generating infinite mana in a deterministic fashion. The process simply isn't as efficient as Thrasios and Tasigur and most often results in a fizzle and tapped out board state. This means Urza MUST already be able to generate infinite mana in a deterministic fashion using resources already available to it rather than relying on top deck RNG to find the proper resources. One good way I found to do this was to simply recast spells the deck already had access to (Crystal Shard being the most important method of doing so) and reliably being able to get Academy Ruins into play with Candelabra of Tawnos and Paradox Engine allows the deck to repeatedly cast Mind Stone or Aether Spellbomb and generate infinite mana from a deterministic line. The same 6 or so mana that might be used to blindly activate Urza's ability and hope and pray the deck hits (which the math proves, undeniably, is a lower percentage chance than a misfire) could instead simply be used to sacrifice a known quantity, hold priority on it's draw trigger, replace it on top of the library, draw it, and replay it to untap everything and proceed with the loop indefinitely. As long as the loop produces 1 net positive mana the loop succeeds in winning the game. The land tutors are in as ways to reliably enable this back up plan in the event it is required, which hasn't been too common in testing but it has happened a significant number of times.
High Tide and Extraplanar Lens were actually both in my original iteration of the deck and it was only after about 10 games of testing that I realized these cards don't actually do anything for this deck. Urza doesn't care about land mana generation, it runs off artifact mana generation. Dramatically more often than not these cards wound up simply being dead spells that didn't provide any value at all and the times where they did provide value it was of a negligible amount. Ultimately I realized neither of these cards was important to the way the deck wanted to operate and so I cut them. I do not expect I will return either to the list at any point, Urza, at least as constructed, isn't a Storm style deck that regularly makes use of untapping lands to generate extra mana and in the situations where this can be done it means the deck has already untapped a half dozen or dozen artifacts that are providing the mana needed. Essentially, these cards were identified as "win more" in function and summarily cut. Unwinding Clock was another cut in the same vein, dead out side of winning and only helped win harder as opposed to just helping win.
Back to Basics is a worthwhile consideration, but I've never felt like this was a particularly difficult hate piece to navigate when playing against it. Urza already has more universal means of locking down opponents resources that aren't limited to just lands and these means also don't care about land type, and are also able to be tutored for and more reliably employed where Back to Basics cannot. Rhystic Study is a card I am less and less and less enthused about in the current meta. It's a card that is essentially dead outside of playing it on Turn 1 or Turn 2, and Urza has things it already wants to be doing on those turns. If I get desperate for card draw sources this is a card that could make it's way back onto my list, but I'm going to have to be very desperate indeed as this card is no longer cEDH worthy. If you want to understand why just watch the most recent Lab Maniacs S3 gameplay video on YouTube. Sigi's Rhystic Study legitimately generated no value at all and sucked up 3 mana to play. Not a position I want to be in and yet that is the type of position this card puts players in given the state of the meta at the moment. Verity Circle has significantly out performed it in testing, dramatically so the longer a game goes on. Trail of Evidence is out for the time being while I test some other card draw sources. It performed acceptably well, it just didn't stand out and I was curious if I could do better. I think this is a card that could very likely make it's way back into the list, but I want to give every other potential option a try as well in testing so for the time being it's relegated to the bench.
Well, that was a lot of words! Thanks for dropping by though, it's always worthwhile to vocalize and consider the reasons for various inclusions and go over the reasons behind the choices. I expect a number of ridiculous seeming ideas will be tried in my attempts to make this list as competitive as possible and I fully expect most of these ridiculous ideas to prove unworthy in testing, but anything that has some degree of potential should be looked at and verified in practice or else I'd still be running cards like Rhystic Study blindly believing they would improve the overall deck performance. I'll certainly keep you posted on what worked out well and what silly ideas proved to be rather too silly as testing continues and I hope you'll return the favor with the things you test.
3 months ago
@rphill82 Paradox Engine is one of the most efficient infinite mana generating combo pieces every printed in mtg. All 3 of the top tier cEDH decks (PS Thrasios/Tymna, PS Thrasios/Smasher, and PS Tasigur) run on the primary combos of Paradox Engine (plus mana rocks/dorks) and Scepter+Reversal. These combos are both card slot efficient and mana efficient which leaves more card slots available for interaction and supporting elements. The reason Urza lists are running Paradox Engine is the same reason these top 3 decks are running it, its extremely effective and efficient at what it does and does not require additional card slots devoted to combo pieces. All cEDH decks will already be running fast mana sources and other spells, which are the only other elements required.
As far as your assertion that the order matters, you are actually 100% correct here and a ton of players are mistakenly under the impression that an Urza deck can begin it's shenanigans without already having reached critical mass in the same way that Thrasios and Tasigur PS lists can, stuttering along on a slim mana margin until you eventually hit the cards to generate critical mass and reach a deterministic line. This cannot be done with PS Urza for a number of reasons: Urza shuffles the library so the top cards can not be set up to increase the chances of hitting the necessary next piece, Urza requires a greater mana investment to initiate the process at 5 mana, and you see less cards with Urza (1) than with Thrasios (2) and Tasigur (2 go to the grave and you are assured of receiving a spell back). The overwhelming majority of the time an Urza deck attempts to use the same process to stutter start it's engine the way these other decks do the attempt will result in a fizzle and a tapped out board state leaving Urza decks extremely vulnerable to a game losing situation as most lists are going to be running about 40-50 cards that cannot be cast off Urza's exile ability (lands are never cast, no paradox trigger, and counterspells require a target). Your assumption that you must generate infinite mana first BEFORE attempting to combo off is absolutely correct, and thus, the ordering of plays is critical.
The majority of PS Urza lists I'm seeing lately are continuously building this flaw into their decks and it is extremely sub par. The best solution to the problem is to ensure the deck has ways of continuously re-using a spell or card it already has access to. Crystal Shard is the most efficient means available as it only requires Paradox Engine, itself, and your commander from the Command Zone which should always be available to you. Repeatedly casting and recasting Urza generates an infinite number of tokens with that engine in place and these in turn generate infinite mana. The tokens themselves are a win condition, but you must wait a turn cycle to attack with them, so the infinite mana generated should then be used to exile the deck, cast spells to return everything to opponent's hands (Cryptic Command, Boomerang) via looping, and then attack when the cycle returns to you. The other option to win immediately is to loop Windfall and deck opponents but this requires you to run a loop enabler that is NOT Timetwister+Narset's Reversal (I use Elixir of Immortality , the most mana and card slot efficient card for this purpose). There are other loops aside from using Crystal Shard that can also achieve this infinite mana generation to ensure a deterministic engine line but they are less efficient to utilize ( Candelabra of Tawnos + Academy Ruins + Aether Spellbomb with Paradox Engine and 6 mana available from mana rocks for example) and should not be relied on as the primary means of infinite mana generation, which is fine as most decks will run Scepter+Reversal and Monolith+Power Artifact as supplemental primary engines alongside Paradox Engine.
In any case, very astute of you to realize that Urza PS lists cannot operate the same as top tier PS decks due to the way Urza's ability works. It is absolutely, fundamentally incorrect to attempt to do and yet is probably the most common thing I'm seeing despite it not being a viable cEDH tactic for this deck.
3 months ago
KailDaemon Hey there, I'm currently working on building this deck and I had a couple of card choice questions that I was wondering if you could clear up for me if you have time:
- Aether Spellbomb - Is there a combo with this or is it just in cause it's cheap utility?
- Chain of Vapor - Is it for a combo or just bounce because we're so permanent light?
- Narset's Reversal - Seems really limited in what it can target. Has it been good? Any combos with it?
- Gemstone Caverns - Thoughts on this? Too inconsistent?
- Intuition - What are your piles?
In my playgroup Top and Tabernacle are both banned sadly. What would you run over Top? Future Sight? Paradoxical Outcome ? Blue Sun's Zenith/Stroke?
I really like your build and the great discussions you've been having with folks in the comments. Thanks for putting this all together : - )
Aether Spellbomb occurrence in decks from the last year
Commander / EDH:
All decks: 0.01%