Hi vectornaut. I saw you have some really in depth comments on a lot of deck posts. I don't want to bother you too much but I was wondering if you could help me out on a deck build or two
April 29, 2021 1:58 p.m.
Hey Vector, I really need some help and I saw some of your decks and comments. Can you help me make a deck for wiping out creatures?
April 16, 2021 3:55 p.m.
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Without the need to champion an elemental anymore, you probably also don't need some of the weaker elementals like Cloudkin Seer and Squall Drifter . I do think cutting the big guy was a good idea since he isn't that impactful, but it does feel a shame to not have something Thryx, the Sudden Storm is trying to help bring in. Windreader Sphinx was the first card that came to my mind as a big creature that works well in flying tribal. There's also Zetalpa, Primal Dawn if you just want something exceedingly big and dumb. Finally, Celestial Archon could be a decent beater that also triggers Archon of Sun's Grace . On the subject of the Archon, Riptide Chimera seems like it could be a great partner to guarantee at least one pegasus every turn. Plus, it also lets you start your sagas from the beginning instead of needing to sacrifice them while getting even more buffs off Celestial Ancient .
May 8, 2021 6:52 p.m.
I haven't gotten the chance to play with Strixhaven yet so I'm not 100% on this, but at face value, it looks like the wording for Fractal creation was specifically chosen to differentiate it from most other 0/0 creatures that are buffed upon entry. The difference is that something like Clockwork Beetle enters "with" its counters while something like the Fractal from Fractal Summoning enters without the counters and they are then "put" on after entry. Therefore, the Beetle would enter as a 2/2 and trigger evolve on a 1/1 Fathom Mage while a fractal on x of 2 would enter as a 0/0, not trigger the evolve, and then get its 2 counters added. ( Elemental Bond 's trigger is worded nearly identically to the reminder text for evolve and should thus work the same too.) What can be confusing about this at first is that the Fractal must then temporarily exist as a creature with no toughness. This isn't a problem because even though state-based actions check to see if a creature is at 0 or less toughness and cause it to die if it is, SBAs aren't checked in the middle of the resolution of spells and abilities. By the time they get checked when someone would get priority again, the token will already have its counters despite not having them on ETB. This lets the Fractal survive. I mean, assuming you didn't add 0 counters at least.
"704.4. Unlike triggered abilities, state-based actions pay no attention to what happens during the resolution of a spell or ability."
May 8, 2021 6:30 p.m.
When upgrading a ramp deck, I tend to prefer dropping creatures that are "just big". Obviously high stats can win you the game, especially in 1v1s, but they can just as easily be snuffed out by a single Vapor Snag , Path to Exile , or Assassin's Trophy . Having creatures with additional benefits on entry, death, and attack is a good way to get more value out of your guys before they get merked. Heroes' Bane and Ghalta, Primal Hunger would be the first two I'd evaluate. Then, Omnath, Locus of Mana and Xenagos, God of Revels . Otherwise, you could also look into dropping some planeswalkers. it may be rather difficult to protect them in the early game, and Karn Liberated is the only one you want to draw late. Furthermore, Karn doesn't synergize as well with most of the cards in the deck despite being decent removal in its own right. It can't be tutored, it can't be pipered, it can't get cheaper via Goreclaw, it can't draw off Soul, it can't be buffed by the gods, and it can't be recurred by Artisan.
May 8, 2021 7:24 a.m.
I like Ant Queen as a budget mana sink. Vivien, Monsters' Advocate , while maybe not too exciting, is totally fine as well. Endbringer , on the other hand, is not functional in this deck as it currently stands. To even cast it, you need to draw the single copy of Rogue's Passage because nothing else is producing the colorless mana requirement. As for the other Eldrazi, I do like Ulamog's Crusher for decks that just want as much annihilator as possible, although Pathrazer and Artisan are better when you have enough mana for them. For Breaker of Armies , I imagine it would mostly be trying to draw heat away from your other creatures so you can get Toski triggers or lethal damage. In that case, I feel like the job could just as easily be handled by the cheaper Noble Quarry or the higher value Treeshaker Chimera . Savageborn Hydra is another creature I wouldn't recommend. For the most part, it will function identically to Heroes' Bane . The major problem is that if you Surge into it, it will enter as a 0/0 and die immediately. On the subject of Primal Surge , there is always the option of running Genesis Wave instead. It's less explosive and you'd need to keep in mind the average CMC of the cards in the deck, but it will never hit 0 things after paying 10 like Surge hypothetically can. If the price tag is prohibitive, there is a world where you lean even harder into the legendary matters gameplan and run Kamahl's Druidic Vow instead. Yorvo, Lord of Garenbrig is one legendary I probably wouldn't bother with. I'd rather have something on 3 helping me ramp into even nastier options. For Polis Crusher , unless you are dealing with a ton of enchantment creatures, I think Kogla, the Titan Ape makes more sense here.
Card discussion aside, I would highly recommend EDH as a format that supports casual multiplayer games. If you want tips for a build, I'm happy to help. For pauper, my experience is much more limited, but I'll still try my best.
May 7, 2021 7:51 a.m.
To stay more in black, I would consider some sort of vampire sacrifice, counters, and/or lifedrain strategy. Your black cards that could work well in such a deck would be Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim , Embodiment of Agonies , Kambal, Consul of Allocation , Knight of the Ebon Legion , Mortician Beetle , Souls of the Faultless , Castigate , Disentomb , Gerrard's Verdict , Revival / Revenge , Despark , and Grim Return . Most of the other black cards are at least playable as well. The only two I'd cut in most circumstances are Underworld Dreams and In Garruk's Wake . The former needs more build-around while the latter just costs too much to be a consistent boardwipe.
Cards I'd look at adding for such a build might be Gatekeeper of Malakir , Anowon, the Ruin Sage , Sangromancer , Dictate of Erebos , Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet , Victim of Night , Indulgent Aristocrat , Pawn of Ulamog , Grim Haruspex , Silversmote Ghoul , Yahenni, Undying Partisan , Vampire Nighthawk , Vampire of the Dire Moon , Malakir Cullblade , Blood Artist , Urge to Feed , Feast of Blood , Heliod, Sun-Crowned , Archangel of Thune , Cruel Celebrant , Drana's Emissary , Indulging Patrician , Malakir Bloodwitch , Marauding Blight-Priest , Sanctum Seeker , Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose , and Pious Evangel Flip.
May 5, 2021 5:35 p.m.
Just in terms of competitive efficacy, my modern infect deck was the best deck I ever built (and remains the best pauper deck I own). When I was in middle school, I had a win rate against my friends of well over 90%. However, as you might imagine, that was not a fun experience for them. In fact, it was not a fun experience for me either, even if I told myself that it was. Sometimes the best decks aren't actually the best decks. I like decks that try to do something unique and interesting regardless of their power level. Finding that balance is tricky though and depends entirely on the priorities of your group. With that goal in mind, my mono-green defender deck Walled Garden Warfare would be my best and favorite creation. People might get salty losing to Ezuri, Renegade Leader , but people tend to laugh when they get hit in the face with a Tree of Redemption .
May 5, 2021 4:52 p.m.
If you were dropping lure, then Sedge Scorpion and Deadly Recluse would probably go with. Otherwise, Brawn seems unnecessary with enough trample auras like Unflinching Courage or Rancor in the deck. Also, Traproot Kami is too defensive for a deck that wants to play a bogle on turn one. As for Spearbreaker Behemoth , it is a great card, but it would be very out of place in this deck in particular. Just getting enough mana to cast it would be a struggle and its activated ability can't target any of the creatures in the main without first buffing them with an aura or two. Ramp and bogles aren't all that compatible as strategies so I'd stick to only one.
When it comes to exile vs. elves, I think you should build whatever sounds fun. You can always just build both in the editor and then make trades and purchases for the one you enjoy goldfishing with the most. I build a lot of decks online and only end up purchasing about 20% of them in paper.
May 5, 2021 4:08 p.m.
I'll go ahead and play devil's advocate here and suggest that orzhov humans is a great budget deck archetype that can be both aggressive and controlling at the same time. It also easily supports Grand Abolisher , Kambal, Consul of Allocation , and even Starfield Mystic if you have a critical mass of Oblivion Ring s, Pacifism s, and such. Champion of the Parish is a key card of the deck, as is Thalia's Lieutenant . After that, it depends on what kind of gameplan you want to build around. My take on orzhov humans, Assassination Squadron makes use of tappers like Gideon's Lawkeeper and Minister of Impediments to combo and destroy creatures with assassins like Royal Assassin and Gideon Jura . With access to the legacy card pool and a bigger budget, King's Assassin and Deathbringer Liege could be on the table too. Tribal support like Adaptive Automaton , Metallic Mimic , or Door of Destinies is nice, but it certainly isn't a requirement. (Fun fact: when I built this deck years ago, Lieutenant cost much more than the Door. Funny how things can change so drastically.)
Creating tokens tends to work well in this kind of deck because both human lords can buff and/or be buffed by them. Gather the Townsfolk and Thraben Doomsayer are the usual suspects, and I personally like Mentor of the Meek as a way to keep the hand topped off. If you want to go for a lifegain plan with Kambal at the helm, Vizkopa Guildmage is a budget Sanguine Bond on a stick. While certainly not budget, Serra Ascendant and Westvale Abbey Flip can also work in such a build. Now that I think about it, a lot of soul sisters staples happen to be humans ( Auriok Champion , Martyr of Sands , Ranger of Eos , Soul's Attendant , Soul Warden , Speaker of the Heavens , etc.) Another idea is to focus on maximum destruction and exile. High Priest of Penance is a good way to make opponents think twice about their decisions in combat, and I've been having reasonable success with Mangara of Corondor as a sort of slow O-Ring that happens to trigger the lords. Humans are such a common tribe that there's no end to the number of directions you can steer them in if you really want to.
May 5, 2021 3:35 p.m.
I actually made an entire deck around this concept that works surprisingly well. Steve Argyle is a particularly great resource for this topic. In addition to Liliana of the Veil and Chosen of Markov Flip, he's also done Deadly Allure , Guul Draz Vampire , Naya Battlemage , and Night Revelers . Other notable artists are Jason Chan ( Deathpact Angel , Fires of Undeath , Kiora, Master of the Depths , Mayael the Anima , Maul Splicer , Treasured Find ) and Volkan Baga ( Elspeth, Knight-Errant , Korozda Gorgon , Stoic Angel , Student of Warfare ). I ended up going with vampires + knights and some other cards I included are Hero of Bladehold , Knight Exemplar , Teysa, Envoy of Ghosts , Elenda, the Dusk Rose , and possibly the most ridiculous piece of Magic art ever created: Soul Collector . Some cards that came close to making the cut are Angel of Despair , Bloodflow Connoisseur , Drana, Kalastria Bloodchief , Knight of Dusk , Magister of Worth , Avacyn, Angel of Hope , Vampire Hexmage , and Veteran Cavalier .
Other cards that I like (sorted by type) include Exava, Rakdos Blood Witch , Lyzolda, the Blood Witch , Kemba, Kha Regent , Sunspear Shikari , Elvish Champion , Gaea's Herald , Quirion Dryad , Nimbus Naiad , Dreamborn Muse , Mistral Singer , Shipwreck Singer , Siren of the Fanged Coast , Akroma, Angel of Wrath , Archangel of Strife , Basandra, Battle Seraph , Razia, Boros Archangel , and Ire Shaman . Looking at this list now, it's clear I've spent far too much time researching this subject.
May 5, 2021 9:22 a.m.
Tawyny is correct. Rings of Brighthearth only has a triggered ability. You can tell because it starts with the word "whenever" and doesn't have the colon that activated abilities do. Turning something into a creature doesn't cause the type of ability to change. Additionally, there isn't anything stopping Rings from copying an activated ability that it gains by some other means. For instance, if the ensouled artifact also had a Quicksilver Dagger on it, you could copy that activated ability with the very Rings activating it for bonus damage and card draw. Every added copy of Rings would give you one additional trigger to further increase the value (assuming you have enough mana to pay the 2 each time). If you want to copy a triggered ability, the card you need is Strionic Resonator , and yes pairing these two artifacts gets rather complicated rather quickly.
May 5, 2021 12:18 a.m.
The first thing I'd note here is that you don't lose from drawing the last card in your library but rather for drawing "more cards than are left in [your] library", so you would need to have drawn all 20 cards with Blue Sun's Zenith for a single Kenrith activation to prove fatal. As for the actual question, you would be able to respond to Kenrith's activation being put on the stack by activating Elixir of Immortality . It's not like you are losing the game just because an ability that would cause you to lose the game has been put on the stack. That ability actually has to resolve first so that you really are drawing from an empty library. Because the stack resolves last-in, first-out, the elixir's ability will resolve before Kenrith's does. However, to complicate the situation, a player with enough mana could simply activate the forced draw ability a second time in response to your elixir activation so that Kenrith's ability is once more on top of the stack. In that case, you would need a way to untap the artifact to pay its activation cost again if you wanted to do the same thing and have it resolve first. Assuming you end up on top, the elixir will shuffle your GY and itself back in and keep the subsequent resolution of the draw ability from killing you.
May 4, 2021 11:07 a.m.
I haven't seen as many Staff of Domination combos these days as I did years ago. I imagine that's because the need for a single creature that is tapping to get you 5 mana is on the steep side for a card like this. For instance, Freed from the Real would only need a single Utopia Sprawl on blue instead of 2 Overgrowth to go infinite with a land untapper. I'm also a big fan of Umbral Mantle for this role since it goes infinite with 4 mana produced or gives as much P/T as you want with 3 mana produced. These cards lack the flexibility of the Staff to draw cards, gain life, and tap opposing creatures, but in the right deck, you should probably be able to convert infinite mana into a win without those things anyway.
I will say that infinite combos are best used sparingly in casual settings unless everyone is already on board with the idea. Furthermore, getting infinite mana in ramp might not even be that helpful if you would otherwise be producing enough for your deck to function anyway. This deck already has Primal Surge which negates the need for more than 10 mana when resolved, and it has the combo of Omnath, Locus of Mana and Seedborn Muse which should produce disgusting quantities of the stuff. In other words, going infinite is probably excessive here. If you do go that direction, Karametra's Acolyte suddenly becomes much closer to Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx in power level while not breaking the bank.
May 4, 2021 10:44 a.m.
Aside from the highly silver bullet Mirror Shield s, the card that immediately jumps out at me as being on the weak side is Concentrate . If you just need to draw more cards to take advantage of things like Psychosis Crawler and Chasm Skulker , I'd prefer a wheel effect like Windfall . I also agree that you could use more ways to stifle opponents. Voidmage Prodigy is another wizard and counter option that could fit right in here. I've had a reasonable amount of success with him in my Kanagawa's Revenge casual build with cheap expendable wizards. Baral, Chief of Compliance , Venser, Shaper Savant , and Vendilion Clique are other strong control tools at various budgets. Against friends running creatures that can stop countermagic, I'd consider keeping the Merfolk Trickster s here since they can potentially work around such a problem. An alternative plan could be to try and keep the board clear of threats long enough to win the game. Cyclonic Rift is the perfect card for such a role, but it is very costly. Maybe a Devastation Tide played after Brainstorm ing could be good enough. Or if you really want to bully your playgroup, Wash Out naming green is an option. As someone who suffered years of people naming green with Iona, Shield of Emeria against my mono-green commander decks, I recommend caution when employing color hosers.
May 4, 2021 3:47 a.m.
Cards in the side that I think could work in the main are Dungrove Elder , Ambuscade , Rancor , Shield of the Oversoul , and maybe Ironscale Hydra . Cards that fit the general idea of the sideboard include Kogla, the Titan Ape , Mold Shambler , Reclamation Sage , and Yasharn, Implacable Earth . Other common SB options in these colors could be Stony Silence , Rest in Peace , Leyline of Sanctity , Selfless Spirit , Kor Firewalker , Rule of Law , Force of Vigor , Qasali Pridemage , and Scavenging Ooze .
At this point, this deck is far enough removed from the deathtouch lure plan that I think it could be worth swapping out those cards to go all-in on bogles or aura/hexproof instead. Cards like Slippery Bogle and Silhana Ledgewalker tend to pair well with aura buffs like Spirit Mantle and Ethereal Armor .
May 4, 2021 2:47 a.m.
You could also just cut the Hierophants to stay in modern. It's not like it's critical here, and even if it was, I think Cryptolith Rite would be the much stronger option (if also the more expensive one). The benefit to having even a casual deck be modern legal is that you can instantly hop into playing against other modern players without modifications. You never know when you're going to have the chance to play with someone new, so having that option open by only cutting a single card is nice.
May 4, 2021 12:34 a.m.
Elvish Piper and/or Quicksilver Amulet are very strong in casual ramp builds running a lot of large creatures. Assuming they resolve, they also let your other creatures slip past countermagic without needing other silver bullet cards. Ruric Thar, the Unbowed is certainly a decent way to punish noncreature decks if there are enough of those around. Akroma, Angel of Fury feels almost too narrow to me but she's certainly not bad. The first creature that comes to my mind for such a slot is Etali, Primal Storm . It's relatively cheap, can cascade into other threats, and is particularly spicy in multiplayer games.
In my deck at least, Planar Portal is almost exclusively used to fetch the single copy of Primal Surge or a safety Vexing Shusher if I'm suspicious of rogue counterspells. However, I don't play against nearly as much countermagic as you seem to, so I wouldn't count on a 6-drop artifact with a game-ending activated ability resolving in the first place. Something cheaper like Eldritch Evolution or a delirium Traverse the Ulvenwald would be easier to resolve, at least in theory. Or, you could just run more copies of the cards you want to tutor so that you naturally draw them instead. Building a toolbox may allow more options but it can be less consistent than a more traditional approach. Speaking of toolbox cards, Klothys, God of Destiny falls in that category here. She's quite strong in a midrange shell but doesn't offer much that would help in ramp (unless your table is running a lot of fetchlands). The graveyard exile would mostly be valuable as tech against decks making use of their yard for shenanigans and I'd only want her in those matchups.
May 4, 2021 12:26 a.m.
Yeah, if you are running Fierce Empath , you do want most of your bombs to be at or above that 6 CMC threshold. For instance, that's why I run Greenwarden of Murasa over the usually far superior Eternal Witness and Cyclops of Eternal Fury over say Urabrask the Hidden or Fires of Yavimaya . Running both the Empath and Time of Need will require careful balancing so you don't end up in situations where you need to find one thing and the tutor you draw isn't the one that can search for it. Hypothetically, you can get around that by just running creatures that satisfy both conditions. It is true though that such creatures will often be quite pricey like the Eldrazi titans and Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger . If you do go the Eldrazi route, Artisan of Kozilek and It That Betrays would be some other guys to keep an eye out for, with one being obviously more budget than the other. As for the appropriate numbers of land untappers and land enchantments, you'll just have to goldfish and hopefully also get some real games in to test what ratio works for you. If there is a lot of enchantment destruction being played early, for example, I think running 12 Overgrowth effects would be more worthwhile. Or if creature removal is more of an issue, working in Hope Tender or Sculptor of Winter could be an option.
May 2, 2021 2:40 a.m.
Whether Vexing Shusher is better than Destiny Spinner or Prowling Serpopard is largely dependent on what cards you need to get past counterspells and how early you expect your opponents to have counters prepared. In a deck with only a single copy of Primal Surge , it was really important for me to stop sorceries from being countered or it'd sort of be game over. I even included Greenwarden of Murasa as a backup plan since the deck really wants to Surge at all costs. Stopping sorcery counters is something only the Shusher can do out of those 3 cards. If, on the other hand, I was mostly concerned with creatures and enchantments being successfully resolved, The Spinner would probably be sufficient while coming with a bonus activated ability. This assumes that you aren't seeing counterspells on turn 2 though. In that case, you'd obviously prefer that the counter-blocker is itself counter-proof.
If you do decide to add Primal Surge , I would try to limit the number of instants and sorceries you have. Having some is totally fine if they're important for the deck, but every additional non-permanent slightly raises the chance that you're spending 10 mana to do nothing on a Surge. Adventure Awaits is definitely the card I'd cut first since it's not even necessary in the world where you're already drawing a lot of cards off of your creatures' abilities. Next, I think I'd scale back the number of enchant land auras. Most decks I've seen running an Arbor Elf package seem to run 4 enchantments at the highest levels of play and about 8 at the casual level. My deck runs 4, but Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx is essentially acting as another 4 for a total of 8. Stacking too many will get you more mana than is necessary and makes it all the more painful if and when your lands get destroyed. Otherwise, it's hard to say what else I'd cut. I don't think that highly of Heroes' Bane when compared to Primordial Hydra here since it requires another card to gift it trample, but even that seems fine for budget. You'll have to let me know how Kiora, Behemoth Beckoner performs if you decide to pick her up. I can see her being a bundled Garruk's Packleader and Kiora's Follower that I could swap Magus of the Candelabra for. I'm always wary of planeswalkers with no + abilities and haven't had the chance to see if she can prove me wrong.
April 30, 2021 11:18 p.m.
Hey, I saw your comment on my page. Just let me know which decks you're looking for a hand with and I'll be happy to help.
April 30, 2021 7:43 p.m.
I think Grothama, All-Devouring is needlessly risky anyway. I'd prefer something like Soul of the Harvest or Regal Force as a refill, even if Time of Need can't fetch them. These cards do have the benefit of being big enough to get searched out by one of my favorite green tutors, Fierce Empath . It's much cheaper to buy than Tooth and Nail , Green Sun's Zenith , and Summoner's Pact while being cheaper to cast than Chord of Calling , Primal Command , and Brutalizer Exarch .
I have a casual Primal Surge deck that's relatively similar to what you have here called Maximum Amplitude. From playing with it over the years, some cards that are less budget-friendly but I've had a lot of success with are Vexing Shusher , Garruk Wildspeaker , and good old Primeval Titan . Kessig Wolf Run is also a decent mana sink to win off even your smaller creatures in the late game.
April 30, 2021 7:36 p.m.
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