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I'd almost be into Fact or Fiction over those two, but again, I'm looking for one slot with bigger card selection/draw.
As to the reanimation plan, we probably do want to think about finding one last slot for Animate Dead just to have cheap recursion on a key dork/combo piece/set-up dragon? Or even just to cheat back the commander after a board wipe?
October 17, 2019 3:02 p.m.
If you're looking at Harmonize , you might as well have a second look at Syphon Mind . It's the same CMC, less color restrictive, and has opponent discard stapled on. 99% of the time it is also a draw three spell.
I'm a bit down on Bring to Light as it has a fairly high floor and a relatively low ceiling, in that it's higher CMC/restrictive based on mana-color generation. But it might be worth a look/testing.
As to the reanimation plan, given how you can get hosed by graveyard hate w/ that strategy, I'd rather treat the yard as a backup wincon vs one of the primary gameplans. It's too tempting to go off-theme for just the best/biggest creatures and combos once you take those lines, and I think you'd have to re-work too much of the core deck for my tastes at least to support that package. Like, why not just dump and reanimate a Praetor or Eldrazi at that point? And it would push you closer to Faithless Looting builds, so rather than playing an 80% Scion of the Ur-Dragon deck, you're now playing an 80% reanimator deck under The Ur-Dragon ? If you're getting the casting cost reduction from the latter, I prefer building around that, and focusing on card draw is a bit more resilient to hate/interaction, generally speaking.
But that's just my take and I'd be interested to see someone build a list/alternate lists for this commander, for sure.
October 15, 2019 6:13 p.m.
I actually like Syphon Mind over Painful Truths . But if you're really looking to keep your overall CMC down, the latter is probably better. For my list I just want one big/bomby draw spell and don't mind sorcery speed or exactly one higher CMC draw spell.
I'm still OK with Teneb, the Harvester , as the ability to target a creature in any graveyard is relevant both to help put you ahead and for yard hate—or you can reanimate one of your own key pieces. If I were to go more all-in on a reanimation plan, I'd probably cut him for Animate Dead , though. The 6/6 body isn't irrelevant, as is the case with the overcosted Bladewing the Risen , which I feel you need to be able to reanimate and blink to make work (and even then . . . meh).
As my playgroups have powered down things a bit, I cut Vandalblast , mainly b/c I haven't been coming across as much fast rock ramp or hard Stax, and cut it in favor of another creature board wipe. Been seeing more dork/creature value engine packages lately. Another meta call.
I think the overall tension is that if you really want to keep optimizing slots w/ cEDH staples, you'd probably want to play a tutor/counter/removal/draw heavy Scion of the Ur-Dragon deck with cleaner win-con lines and, like, Worldgorger Dragon and Animate Dead combo lines. Otherwise I feel like it's easy to get caught in a trap of trying to lean into doing too many things and not doing any of them consistently well?
My gameplan is often to try to win via "fair magic" (going somewhat wide and swingin' with Dragons, 1994 Timmy style, while Jund'ing opponents out with value stapled on to them in the meantime/beforehand), with the combat combos or mass reanimation combos as backup wincons vs the primary line.
October 14, 2019 6:34 p.m.
Since the deck isn't purely efficient/faso combo, since it has so many different needs, and since it needs to hit land drops, I still think raw card draw vs selection is the way to go. . . .
October 14, 2019 11:01 a.m.
I'd actually look at Windfall as a direct swap for Wheel of Fortune , but again, that's only in my list in the first place b/c of 1. need to mull to fast mana hands that result in net negative card advantage and 2. it can play into reanimation plan.
I'm still pretty high on Greater Good , but if someone has graveyard hate/answers, it can cut off a splashy win and kneecap you pretty badly. It's not so great as a value/draw engine on its own due to the relatively high CMC and the discard 3 effect (vs a few relatively lower power main deck drag'o's). It's more a cute/splashy play/not sure I'd prioritize it unless you enjoy the card/game plan.
Speaking of which: In terms of replacements for Rishkar's Expertise , and/or in general, I'd rather look at Recurring Insight —that can be a superbomb splashy spell depending on the table. Not sure I care about Overrun-style effects at any CMC.
And I could see Living Death being a swap for Toxic Deluge , but given the tutors/recursion maybe one mass reanimation spell that's more one-sided is OK. I don't love also how Living Death resolves in re the stack (your reanimated creatures' ETBs resolve last); it can sometimes end up hosing you vs helping. Animate Dead might be a better add for added/cheap re-animation? Esp if it can fish a combo from a Scion of the Ur-Dragon dump-off?
October 14, 2019 9:49 a.m.
Oh! And as to "how to use Worldly Tutor ": Depends on when you draw it/what you need at that moment: Early game it's often Set-up (ramp or token generator). Mid-game it's often Toolbox Dragon (card draw or removal). Late game it's often Payoff Dragon (double strike, Scourge of Valkas , Utvara Hellkite ). Or mid or late game you can snag Scion of the Ur-Dragon and use it as the start of a dragon-tutor chain, perhaps into the reanimation plan, or go for a combo piece like Birds of Paradise , Selvala, Heart of the Wilds , or Savage Ventmaw if you've drawn or can tutor into Aggravated Assault . It's always good/always flexible and helps, like the other tutors, smooth out a rather greedy game plan for the deck.
Early game, you're most likely getting Selvala, Heart of the Wilds , as she's the biggest potential payoff ramp creature, has incremental card draw attached, and can combo (so long as another rainbow dork is in play) with Aggravated Assault .
October 12, 2019 6:35 p.m.
As to Toxic Deluge vs Fire Covenant , I think given our dork package, Fire Covenant should be run first. Anguished Unmaking , Abrupt Decay , Despark , or Teferi's Protection would all be worth looking at over Toxic, depending on your meta. If you need another board wipe vs removal/protection, I'm still pretty high on Crux of Fate , Damnation , or Magmaquake —the latter if Planeswalkers are an issue for you.
In terms of power level/competitiveness, I'm still looking to optimize the deck, but have to make adjustments since the whole strategy/deck composition can't really put up a decent showing in cEDH pods (where most of your decklist needs to be comprised of tight or redundant 2 card win-cons, mana neutral or positive ramp, cantrips/card draw/card selection, and cheap interaction/stax effects . . . and blockers for Tymna, assuming you're not playing her in the first place).
As opposed to, y'know, 22 dragons (including the commander), one permission spell that interacts on the stack, and not being able to threaten wins reliably before turns 6-8, possibly turns 8-10.
So I was just finding that even though I had strong/fast starts, the deck lacked enough raw card draw to stay in longer games of attrition that a lot of optimzed to 75% pods end up becoming. Rishkar's Expertise should thus probably be a Windfall , but with the added big ramp from Faeburrow Elder , I've been able to cast The Ur-Dragon more reliably, and drawing ten w/ a free cast has been great.
And in terms of your decklist (our lists' cores are still rather quite close with just a few deviations!), I'd look to cut any two of these four—— Conqueror's Flail , Gruul Signet , Sarkhan the Mad , or Abrupt Decay --for Worldly Tutor and some kind of raw card draw effect/spell. But those are all just cards that I had found either too narrow/conditional and are meta-dependent.
Whatever the power level, if we're lacking anything at the moment it is probably graveyard hate . . . I had been running Rakdos Charm , but that of course can't take care of more than one recursion engine at the table. Yard engine/value decks (vs decks that include graveyard manipulation as part of a winning/linear line) don't pop up as frequently at higher-power or cEDH tables, except maybe Frog (which needs its commander to function more than its yard, arguably), where Deathrite Shaman or Noxious Revival can target an opponent's key yard piece can sometimes stop a win . . . maybe Rakdos Charm gets a bit better with both Noxious Revival and Backdraft Hellkite ? Leyline of the Void fits what I'm looking at perfectly but isn't quite main deck playable.
October 12, 2019 5:17 p.m.
Hey Vlasiax! Hope you're doing well/thanks for checking in.
I have indeed been tweaking my list a bit, in part to test out a few Eldraine toys and in part to see how the deck plays by leaning closer to Tomer Abramovici's rough deckbuilding guidelines (more in line for 75%-or-below playgroups as opposed to fully optimized or cEDH):
-50 mana; lands and ramp; usually a 38-12 split
-10 sources of "card advantage;" mostly card draw or any spell that nets 2+ nonland cards in hand / directly into play
-6 targeted removal split between creature / artifact / enchantment removal
-3 board wipes
-2 flexible tutors
-1 graveyard hate
-1 surprise "I Win" card
So a lot of my tweaks were to work in more direct sources of card advantage (hence Rishkar's Expertise and Wheel of Fortune ), at the expense of a slightly slower/higher curve. The deck needs to do so many different things to function, however, that I'm not looking to cut down the tutor package significantly.
As to your questions: Opportunistic Dragon is still being tested. He's usually grabbing an opponent's mana rock, with the added upside of providing sac fodder for Vaevictis Asmadi, the Dire . . . but the latter is very much a corner case upside. I'm not completely sold on the card yet but conditional artifact "removal" at 3CMC stapled to an OK dragon body has been so-so in general——but better against decks with fast starts via mana rocks, especially Sol Ring or Mana Crypt . I'm looking at adding a small sac package with Korvold, Fae-Cursed King , in which case Opportunistic Dragon would perform better, but that's mainly just for fun vs optimization. Might just build a separate deck for Korvold as a commander, though, as that seems a better path to take with the card.
- Rishkar's Expertise has been solid, but again, conditional. It is a dead, slow draw when playing from behind, but given that you'll want to mull to hands with aggressive mana acceleration, you need a big, bomby refill spell to refuel. My list needs this a bit more due to the card disadvantages of the Moxen. And even if you're "just" drawing 3-4 off of it, the free 5CMC or less for free add-on stapled to Rishkar's draw isn't irrelevant (with the downside of not being able to apply the Eminence discount on the 6CMC dragons). Needing to mull to fast-mana start hands is also why I've added Wheel of Fortune , as that card can also help set up big reanimation turns with the right draws/sequencing. For instance, you can tutor to top of deck, cast Wheel of Fortune to bin a few dragons that might be stuck in hand, then reanimate en mass. Or you can simply disrupt opponents' early "keep" hands and refuel your own after a fast mana start that otherwise leaves you nearly empty handed.
-I'd like to include/test Faeburrow Elder , but slots are getting tight and the curve is creeping up. I do like that it can combo with Aggravated Assault , as can Selvala, Heart of the Wilds . It sounds a little wild, but I've thought about swapping out Goreclaw, Terror of Qal Sisma for it, so that the ramp curve tops out at 3 vs 4, and because Goreclaw's buff is dependent on him also being able to attack but he lacks evasion on his own. Faeburrow is definitely is a good placeholder for Bloom Tender , though.
-Good catch on Drakuseth, Maw of Flames . I've updated it. It was just an oversight while I was in the process of tagging each card with the exact printing I have in my personal paper build.
-I cut Fellwar Stone for the strictly better Arcane Signet . Fellwar is definitely still in my large "flex slot" rotation, but at this point the core of the deck feels solid. Minor adjustments will just be to address the speed/nature of local meta shifts (current shift is a result of seeing more creature-focused strategies and less hard control lately, as well as people intentionally powering down a few decks).
Anything I've cut here that you think is worth a second look at adding back? Anything I've added that you think I should look at cutting?