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|Commander / EDH||Legal|
|Commander: Rule 0||Legal|
Scholar of the Lost Trove
Creature — Sphinx
When Scholar of the Lost Trove enters the battlefield, you may cast target instant, sorcery or artifact card from your graveyard without paying its mana cost. If an instant or sorcery spell cast this way would be put into your graveyard this turn, exile it instead.
2 months ago
GHoag thank you for your most critical feedback. I agree with a lot you have to say on this. There are a few things I'd like to discuss further. I'll mirror your format so you know how I am responding to what. Thank you for the praise on the list so far, there is definitely some things to be worked out still. "The pinnacle is a concept only to the unambitious" -flavor text from a card I don't remember lol. (sorry for the novel below)
Regarding Fetchlands, I think the deck thinning is negligible or very hard to notice at most. This aspect of them definitely can't be a bad thing. But playtesting has shown that the negative effects of including them are negligible. I have never been upset about running all 4. Also, the synergy these lands has with Vantress Visions (Virtue of Knowledge) feels reeeally good.
Rite of Replication is expensive mana wise. The purpose of Rite is to get through your whole deck in one go assuming Unesh is on the field, which is not always the case. In my playtesting, it has been very hard to resolve due to mana cost, and when you do meet the mana requirement it is never safe from interaction. Given these flaws, this card might as well say "if you are targetting Unesh and this card resolves, you win the game." With the FOFs, you can pick up all counter magic and free mana rocks on the way down your deck to cast & protect Thassa's Oracle. A non-negligible side effect, this makes choosing piles easier to do because you no longer have to grab sphinxs or other wincons. This wincon is still relevant at this mana cost. I think the jury is still out if this is the best choice though. With inifinite mana you can do something similar, and I'll talk more about this below. Q: Why not add Personal Tutor? Simply because you don't need 3 copies of Rite. I already don't like Mystical Tutor, but the versatility to grab any instant makes it worth it. By the time you meet the mana requirement, you will have seen Rite or Mystical Tutor. Personal Tutor is too narrow to have in a slot, even on the 'Rite' plan.
cEDH meta talk, there is Turbo, midrange, and stax (early win, midgame win, lategame win respectively.) The average win without any interaction is turn 6-7 on this revision. This solidly puts Unesh into midrange. I think he can be sped up a bit with more revisions. Turn 4 is a late win for Turbo, but with enough interaction to stop the turbo player we can get to the midrange and win the game. Unesh suffers against a a few stax pieces. The main ones being Torpor Orb (which doesn't see a ton of play these days), and Null Rod and Collector Ouphe. Collectore Ouphe doesn't feel so bad with our interaction suite, and Null Rod is even more of a nuissance. If both are on the field, it is an absolute nightmare for Unesh.
Creatures: Yes a lot of fat was trimmed, and it took some time to really narrow down the best Sphinxs in these slots. There is still room for improvement here. For instance Vexing Sphinx feels awful. The reason I added it a while back was because he can be played early game for a bit of card draw. The card draw from this is not worth the mana spent, the fact that even with Unesh out he is 2 blue to cast also feels very bad. I will definitely replace him with another Sphinx, probably Argent Sphinx or Metallic Mimic. For 2 blue I am much happier to see the mana sink on Argent Sphinx. And for 2 colorless I am happy to see possibly the next cheapest sphinx not already in the deck. Enigma Thief though high CMC, I can reliably cast him for his prowl cost at 2 cmc, and his removal is top notch. Dream Eater though the removal is not the best, it is still good. The kicker here is honestly the surveil 4. You do Unesh FOF first, then surveil 4 and hopefully you can put all 4 in the graveyard. Still dream eater does feel a bit slower than everything else. Scholar of the Lost Trove, upfront I feel very strongly about this card. It's not because this is a pet card, it's because I think its very powerful in this deck. Even at 5cmc which is what I normally cast it for, it feels like insane value. You get the Unesh trigger, and a wincon from the graveyard that the opponents thought they didn't have to deal with anymore. After doing some math on this, the average cost of an Unesh trigger with Unesh on the field is ~2.25 cmc in the current revision (that is the cmc of a card generating the FOF divided by the total number of things generating FOFs excluding Rite). At 5 cmc, casting the Scholar gives you a 4 cmc game winning artifact and a ~2.25 cmc Unesh trigger. Not to mention, it gives you flexibility in choosing piles. For instance, If an opponent erroneously puts Panharmonicon in a pile by itself, you can shamelessly take the other 3 cards in that FOF. Palinchron is also rather expensive to set up, but not as expensive as Rite. I think it is a good back up win condition. If Rite doesn't resolve, or if Isochron w/ dramatic reversal doesn't resolve, we need at least one other way to combo off. With ways to tutor for High Tide this win condition has been online surprisingly often, and is definitely threatening. That said having this AND Rite feels too heavy mana wise. I think I am pretty much sold on Isoscepter because of how inexpensive it is. With recent mana rock additions as well as Mox Diamond and Grim Monolith (mentioned below) the wincon is online for far cheaper than Rite and effectively does the same job, also dramatic reversal can be used as a one time use now which makes it good on it's own.
Lands: After a day of listening to cEDH podcasts, this is what I came up with. Urza's Saga is nuts. After playtesting with these lands I felt a big power spike. Thank you for mentioning Mystic Sanctuary again. I didn't think about it being able to retrieve a wincon which is pretty relevant. I will consider slipping this one back in there. I also think that losing just one more Island wouldn't be very impactful. What do you think about Command Beacon? After playtesting, I think there is such a niche case when this card is good in cEDH. I think I prefer an Island here given the more recent revisions.
Enchantments: Agreed, all of these are great cards. Not much to change here.
Instants: I don't think there are any cuts to be made here. After playtesting I think I need to add more Instants to more reliably shut off early combo wins. Demonic Consultation and Ad Nauseum are rampant. Even fitting in a Dispel or Spell Pierce to the deck would go a long way.
Artifacts: Work needs to be done here. I agree with a lot of what you are saying. Lightning Greaves feels bad because board interaction is light and stack interaction is high in cEDH. Caged Sun is usually too expensive to play without cheating it in with Scholar. But scholar wants to hit other game winning cards anyway, so Caged sun needs to go. Grim Monolith and Mox Diamond need to go in. I have been reluctant to add them to the list because I don't have paper copies. You are spot on with these two though. I am not high on Moonsilver Key, but I do like Wayfarer's Bauble. The bauble putting a land into play is important to getting palinchron online, and this also sees great synergy with Vantress Visions similar to the fetch lands. Though bauable is definitely worse than mox diamond and grim monolith, it would be my last cut. Mox Amber indeed doesn't power Unesh out, but we don't need it to. I will say that my playtests have really favored this card. Being able to play more mana artifacts after a FOF for free will keep the FOFs rolling. Mox Amber feels very good. Mox diamond is superior, but I won't take out Mox Amber for it.
REVISION: After synthesizing both our viewpoints, here is a revision that I will go ahead and push. I think you will like this mostly, but let me know your doubts.
- Replace Vexing Sphinx with Spell Pierce.
- Replace Lightning Greaves with Dramatic Reversal.
- Replace Caged Sun with Isochron Scepter.
- Replace Lorien Revealed with Muddle the Mixture. I am okay with an effective land cut here after playtesting.
- Replace Moonsilver Key with Mox Diamond.
- Replace Wayfarer's Bauble with Grim Monolith.
- Replace an Island with Mystic Sanctuary.
EXPLANAITION: This rev cuts the Rite wincon and adds the less expensive Isoscepter wincon. There is still backup wincon in Aetherflux. Isoscepter is backed up by Palinchron, and Aetherflux is supported by Palinchron. Obviously, the goal with infinite mana is to play Thassa's eventually. Dramatic Reversal is good enough on its own now because of the artifacts added recently. I honestly think this is the cheapest that the wincon package can be while still being robust enough to not fizzle out. With these wincons, Unesh doesn't have to be on the field, which makes the deck less reliant on him, mitigating one of the deck's biggest flaws. Cutting Lightning Greaves will likely be inconsequential due to low board state interaction. Muddle and Spell pierce add some more stack interaction while Muddle can find combo pieces. I went with Spell pierce over Dispel because it can hit stax pieces as well as stopping an early combo win. Cutting a sphinx now relies on Ghostly Flicker to be part of the 20%. Mystic Sanctuary and Scholar of the Lost Trove are used to retrieve wincons from the grave if necessary.
I heavily considered subbing Dream Eater for Argent Sphinx. I will need to playtest that change before committing to it.
2 months ago
One more rev and talk about a strong new Synergy
- Take out Nexus of Fate for Ledger Shredder and move Back to Basics to the sideboard. The Nexus is great casually, but if I am paying 7 mana for a spell it better win me the game. Nexus of fate just doesn’t do that. Ledger Shredder is another card draw engine, it gets you deeper in to the deck. In cases where nexus of fate sits dead in your hand doing nothing, ledger shredder can be on the field generating excellent value, and it is 5 cmc less. I understand that infinite turns will no longer be wincon, and I think that’s okay. Thassa’s and Aetherflux fill those roles well enough. I will be updating the guide soon to talk about these recent additions as well as remove irrelevant info.
- Take out an Island for Lorien Revealed. Another deck thinning card that is basically still a land, but it has other synergies. The island cycling is another effect that can be copied by Virtue of Knowledge. This card can also be cast from the graveyard by Scholar of the Lost Trove. You will rarely hard cast this card, but you can in dire straits.
Speaking of Scholar of the Lost Trove, this card has some great synergy with recently added Orvar, the All-Form. When you cast Scholar of the lost trove while Orvar is on the battlefield, you can cast all bounce spells in your graveyard, then still get your value engine from the graveyard after that. If Unesh is on the field when this happens, you can get through a lot of your deck. If Aetherflux Reservoir is on the field you can get a large storm count. The cycle goes like this:
- Cast Scholar of the Lost Trove while Orvar, the All-Form is on the field.
- Scholar ETB cast a bounce spell from graveyard targeting Scholar.
- This triggers Orvar and makes a token copy of scholar.
- Return to step 2 for all bounce spells in your graveyard. If there are no bounce spells proceed to step 5.
- Cast a big payoff artifact like Caged Sun or Aetherflux Reservoir to end the cycle.
So in this stage of revision where I am ruthlessly cutting high cmc cards, I will probably not cut Scholar of the Lost Trove because it can be such a huge payoff card. It also makes you less likely to care about tossing your big artifacts in the bin during your BFOF because you might be able to get them back later with this card.
3 months ago
GHoag, don't discredit yourself! I couldn't have made nearly as many decisions without our pleasant discourse.
I will Ponder the artifact tutors for now (lol). I Anticipate them to be unnecessary because with infinite mana you will most likely be able to get through your deck to find Aetherflux anyway (okay I'll stop).
Reflections of Littjara is really a great card with Palinchron because in addition to making infinite mana it makes an arbitrarily large army of Palinchrons, and I love that. I will definitely be considering this card more once I think of the best cards to cut for it. It might actually be worth to cut Gauntlet of Power if there is nothing better to cut. It's utility as a back up to Panharmonicon is another upside. I wish it could be hit by Scholar of the Lost Trove, but you can't win 'em all I suppose.
3 months ago
GHoag, thank you very much for the compliment! A lot of time and effort went in to considering these changes. Also, thank you for your perspective, it is incredibly useful to talk through decisions more thoroughly.
I agree on Solemn Simulacrum. I think it is a pet card of mine that I need to let go of. I would much prefer to have faster ramp in this slot. 4 cmc feels like such a high cost every time. I'll have to do some math when considering Mox Opal. I am not sure how frequently it will be online in the early game, obviously it is still great in mid/late game though. I like the idea of throwing Metallic Mimic back in because of the low CMC. It helps with the beat down plan, and helps with getting more FoF's.
I am also still considering Cryptic Command as a possible cut. I think it's actually good because of the different modes, even at 4 cmc. It is a very versatile card. Unsubstantiate is an intersting proposal. In that vein we can also consider the 1 cmc Unsummon. I am hesitant on An Offer You Can't Refuse, because allowing another cEDH deck 2 more mana could be a big swing in their favor.
I think you might be right about Sea Gate Restoration Flip. Having actual islands is important to the deck. I can understand why shutting off High Tide in the early game could be the difference between winning and losing. You can actually draw more than 7 without max hand size. My thoughts were if you hit that card during a big chain of sphinxes, you could draw many many cards. But at 7 CMC I think you definitely want to doing something else. Reward is not worth the risk here. The other thought I had, if it is in your discard when you cast Scholar of the Lost Trove, you could get great value by casting it for free. Then again, I think casting the artifacts/instants from your graveyard for free is more valuable. I'll likely put an Island back in this slot.
For the fetches, the main positive is deck thinning. My thought is, the biggest negative is that it makes all of your Islands more valuable during FoF's. If you make your islands TOO valuable, your opponent could starve you of lands on your FoF's. I might be overevaulating this threat right now, but I am not sure. I definitely need to play test this more.
4 months ago
GHoag no worries, I appreciate the questions because it makes me revisit the deck with another perspective. I think You are probably right about Bloodline Pretender, generally. A niche situation where Amoeboid Changeling is better is if you know a deck that you are playing against has a specific type. But yeah that is very niche, and bloodline pretender will be better usually.
I have noticed that Burnished Hart/Myriad Landscape feels slow, I have enjoyed seeing either in my opener before. Perhaps I am hanging on to them too much and I should test branching out from them. Solemn Simulacrum feels a little bit better usually. Changleings are great for having cheap sphinxes for sure. I was pretty much out of MTG for all of Kaldheim so I didn't know about Mistwalker, but that one is definitely great to have. It's nice that it benefits from the full 2 mana cost reduction of Unesh, because usually the changelings only benefit from 1 mana cost reduction. The flying keyword and extra toughness on Mistwalker is just awesome.
Lotus Field could be a great sub for Myriad Landscape, as it benefits from all of the untap effects and isn't slow. HOWEVER if you are playing against single land destruction like Strip Mine (which is pretty common in cEDH), it will be a target. A little bit riskier, but it could really pay off.
Leyline of Anticipation, the effect is not particularly useful for creatures/artifacts. It can be great for playing Rite of Rep or thassa's oracle immediately after the other blue player taps out. But yeah these days I have noticed it mostly as a dead card and I want to play with that slot for sure. Something to be said about Vedalken Orrery here because it is easier to cast, and has synergy with Scholar of the Lost Trove. But it has its cons too, no pre-game effect and can't be pitched to force of will. I think the effect isn't worth how slow either card feels in your hand.
Jeweled Lotus is extremely powerful for Unesh. In your opening hand, it lets you play Unesh early. If you draw it later, it is still helpful for getting Unesh back on the board after removal. Unesh does card advantage really well. Using a card slot for Jeweled Lotus is has been extremely valuable every time, because getting Unesh on the board makes up for the card lost every time.
Well I definitely have some tinkering to do. Thank you for more of your perspective on the deck!
5 months ago
GHoag, it's not often I hear of someone actually processing what I have to say which is refreshing, thank you! When thinking of cards to put in, it is also important to think of which cards come out as a result.
Reflections of Littjara is a card I haven't considered before. This would definitely be a fun card to test out! Drawbacks: it is a little more mana expensive, its not an artifact so it doesn't synergize with Scholar of the Lost Trove. Benefits: Panharmonicon redundancy, MORE BUFF CREATURES ON THE BOARD, higher devotion. Battle damage is not insignificant in this deck, so I would give this card a fair shot. You could try replacing Treachery, Extraplanar Lens, Leyline of Anticipation. I chose these cards because in my testing these cards seem to be clunky. Treachery is mana expensive and not garunteed to land because opponents will typically counter or remove if they can. Extraplanar Lens also feels particularly bad if it gets removed. Leyline of anticipation feels pretty bad most of the time, I end up pitching it to Force of Will more than I play it.
Emergence Zone actually seems like it could be a more accessible Leyline of Anticipation. Definitely worth playtesting with it in the deck in place of an Island.
I have thought about the Isochron Scepter/Dramatic Reversal combo a lot. The thing I really dislike about it is that it takes up 2 slots, and you don't always have both at the same time. Dramatic reversal isn't particularly good because you will not usually have a lot of artifacts to untap. It's best use in this deck would be to give your sphinx's fake vigilance. Using Isochron with Mystical Tutor is a more interesting thought however, but then again it is still 2 slots. Maybe Isochron is good having a counterspell on it every now and then too. I have never been able to figure out what to take out for the scepter, because it's not good on its own. Drawing it in your opening hand during a competitive game feels really bad.
I will have to try some of these cards when I get the opportunity! Thank you so much for your contribution! Feel free to bounce any other questions you have off me :)
1 year ago
2 years ago
Hey MutinyMate, +1!
I favored cloning lands to guarantee playing Orvar if he's removed and sinking into big creatures and big draw.
You definitely need more than 3 draw engines... I really like sphinxes for this, like Inspired Sphinx , etc.
Parallel Thoughts is also pretty great.
Also, Orvar is very naked and needs some boots or something. I'm using AEther Adept , etc (bouncers) and counterspells to keep him on the board. Metamorphic Alteration and Artisan of Forms are also pretty sweet for making another Orvar if he's targeted.
Orvar was much more powerful than I expected! Its great :)
Happy building and glhf!