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PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2016 8:46 pm 
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I know. I was bouncing back and forth between Abzan and Superfriends for the tourney. More PWs is what made me go Superfriends. I think Abzan would have done better against Esper. So I don't know.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2016 2:48 pm 
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This is the final version of Abzan that I'm playing, and I'm really happy with it, I can't imagine how to make it much better...I think this is the time when my first draft and the final build has been closer, I have barely touched a couple cards...but the pieces where all there in plain sight, so that's not that meritory, lol

Midabzan Forte

2 x Sylvan Ranger
2 x Sylvan Advocate
2 x Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim
2 x Duskwatch Recruiter
2 x Declaration in Stone
3 x Grasp of darkness

2 x Bygone Bishop
2 x Tireless Tracker
1 x Nissa, Vastwood Seer
2 x Anguished Unmaking
2 x Pulse of Murasa
1 x Ulvenwald Mysteries

2 x Woodland Wanderer
1 x Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
1 x Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
1 x Languish

1 x Archangel Avacyn
2 x Planar Outburst
1 x Ob Nixilis Reignited

1 x Greenwarden of Murasa
1 x Woodland Bellower
1 x Sorin, Grim Nemesis

3 x Plains
3 x Swamp
4 x Forest

1 x Hissing Quagmire
2 x Shambling Vent
2 x Canopy Vista
2 x Isolated Chapel
2 x Woodland Cemetery
2 x Sunpetal Grove
4 x Evolving Wilds


Comment: 25 lands and 2 rangers seem enough

Not having Ever After saddens me...but I don't want many cards that are conditional on others to be useful...still, maybe in exchange of Mysteries, the other conditional...

Recruiter is awesome, I don't get why he isn't autoinclude in this archetype...for the love of dog, he's a quasi-Evolpea and/or a mana-Lord!...besides quite a body in himself

Byshop is a must too...they are almost as good as Trackers...enough said

Wanderers work and work for me again and again...even at 5/5...the last touch to keep the pressure always coming, and if Stoned or something, better for my Kaly/Avy/Trackers

Languish is survivable for half my critters, and kills unkillable things (ahem...Tormentors?)
Outburst, besides reset, are there for the awaken/Advocate/manlands side plan...and they kill PWs

Of all the finishers/biggies, I find Murasa, Bellower+tracker/advocate and Sorin to be the most powerful

The card that add a whole new layer of options is Pulse. Just to name one, Pulse+zombiAvy as a combat trick is ragequit, garanteed. Pulse + Murasa...well, you know...and the 6 life is just sweet, makes a whole world of difference against the ocasional RDW etc

Mysteries is about the only card tuneable...for the moment, it keeps performing...makes the sweeps less painful, combs with trackers, bishops, gideon's emblems...makes wellcomed fodder...tends to be useful almost always...but I can see the reasons to not run it, so...free slot :)

Tier 1 indeed, imho


I've been playing this list and I like it. I haven't gotten the Pulse/Murasa combo yet but I see how it works obviously. Throw in Ayli and some tokens from Mysteries and I see her doing work.

Even though I have played Mysteries a couple times, it's usually not a t3 play unless you just don't have a threat to play. I almost lost a mirror match and the other guy had Tamiyo's Journal. Have you thought about subbing out Mysteies for Journal? Or maybe run both? -1 a Duskwatch? I know when I was testing Abzan extensively, we tried to make an Abzan Clue deck. Tier 2 for sure, but I started running Journal in my Abzan control and it was awesome. Abzan literally has an answer for everything. Being able to tutor at instant speed would help in mirror match ups and against control (or any game that goes long).

I know your high on Duskwatch, but he's a a pretty heavy mana sink that may not draw you a creature. What's this deck run? 21 creatures? I guess statistically you should get 1 every time you look. I haven't tested him a lot in Abzan so Ill keep trying him out.

Just some thoughts.

I hope somebody else runs a new tourney on the Xbox before the new set comes. Maybe a double elimination. I will def run Abzan if we did have another tourney.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2016 7:58 am 
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Hi Callmaggitt,

just put your deck together and took it immediately for a spin.

Played two games.

First was against a black/red deck, my turn 3, 5/5 woodland wander gave him kittens enabled by a duskwater on turn 2, he never recovered.

Second game was a lengthy and enjoyable duel vs superfriends. Fortunately I'd drawn an anguished early and killed his first PW. Then recurred it with Mursa and killed his 2nd PW. Then killed Sorin with a 3rd card I drew. All the time that was going on, there was an intense creature battle fuelled by card advantage on both sides.

The hero of the battle was duskwater backed with the tracker and bishop - these allowed me to keep card advantage and ensured constant threats. I made sure I didn't over commit due to planar.

Down to just 20 cards (it was epic) I didn't see one pulse or Ulvenwald, but the fact I knew I had them and they would turn up shortly, was a real confidence boost and allowed me to be more aggressive with my attacks.

Anyway he eventually quit, I had 7 cards in hand, lots of creatures and he was facing doom.

So far enjoying the flexibility and card drawing. Way too soon for me to make any meaningful suggestions. But I do like the deck. Feels like it has enough cheap/big creatures to beat weenie. Tools to beat superfriends (though perhaps I was lucky?). More testing tonight.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2016 6:34 pm 
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Ran across a pretty neat low-curve sacrifice Azban deck that I tried recreating, would appreciate any input.

To the Slaughter
4 x Blisterpod
2 x Hanweir Militia Captain
3 x Carrier Thrall
3 x Duskwatch Recruiter
4 x Sylvan Ranger
4 x Bloodflow Connoisseur
1 x Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
2 x Smothering Abomination

4 x Bone Splinters
2 x Declaration in Stone
2 x Anguished Unmaking
2 x Languish

1 x Nissa, Voice of Zendikar
1 x Liliana, Heretical Healer
1 x Gideon, Ally of Zendikar

4 x Plains
6 x Swamp
5 x Forest
2 x Canopy Vista
2 x Woodland Cemetery
2 x Isolated Chapel
2 x Sunpetal Grove
1 x Westvale Abbey


Another sac style creature I've considered is Rot Shambler, played it for a bit but cut it for languish, which I can usually handle by saccing all to the Bloodflow Connoisseur.

In regards to enchantments something like Shadows of the Past or Ulvenwald Mysteries.

And lastly some of the usual higher curve options like Sorin, Grim Nemesis, Archangel Avacyn, and Ob Nixilis Reignited.


I haven't seen many Abzcrats lists. I liked this but I just had to slot in tracker and Ulvenwald Mysteries. This has turned into more of a Clue/Crats list. Low curve but significant staying power for the late game. You can go for a quick win with Husk or a flipped Abbey - or you can grind out a win with all the card advantage available to this deck. Your call.

3 x Blisterpod
3 x Bone Splinters

2 x Hanweir Militia Captain
3 x Carrier Thrall
2 x Duskwatch Recruiter
4 x Sylvan Ranger
2 x Declaration in Stone

4 x Nantuko Husk
2 x Tireless Tracker
3 x Ulvenwald Mysteries
2 x Anguished Unmaking
1 x Nissa, Voice of Zendikar

1 x Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
2 x Smothering Abomination
1 x Gideon, Ally of Zendikar

1 x Sorin, Grim Nemesis

4 x Plains
5 x Swamp
5 x Forest
2 x Canopy Vista
2 x Westvale Abbey
2 x Woodland Cemetary
2 x Isolated Chapel
2 x Sunpetal Grove


Still in the process of testing. Not many double mana costs but I still might have to add to the manabase.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 10:34 am 
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HenWen wrote:
Ran across a pretty neat low-curve sacrifice Azban deck that I tried recreating, would appreciate any input.

To the Slaughter
4 x Blisterpod
2 x Hanweir Militia Captain
3 x Carrier Thrall
3 x Duskwatch Recruiter
4 x Sylvan Ranger
4 x Bloodflow Connoisseur
1 x Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
2 x Smothering Abomination

4 x Bone Splinters
2 x Declaration in Stone
2 x Anguished Unmaking
2 x Languish

1 x Nissa, Voice of Zendikar
1 x Liliana, Heretical Healer
1 x Gideon, Ally of Zendikar

4 x Plains
6 x Swamp
5 x Forest
2 x Canopy Vista
2 x Woodland Cemetery
2 x Isolated Chapel
2 x Sunpetal Grove
1 x Westvale Abbey


Another sac style creature I've considered is Rot Shambler, played it for a bit but cut it for languish, which I can usually handle by saccing all to the Bloodflow Connoisseur.

In regards to enchantments something like Shadows of the Past or Ulvenwald Mysteries.

And lastly some of the usual higher curve options like Sorin, Grim Nemesis, Archangel Avacyn, and Ob Nixilis Reignited.


I haven't seen many Abzcrats lists. I liked this but I just had to slot in tracker and Ulvenwald Mysteries. This has turned into more of a Clue/Crats list. Low curve but significant staying power for the late game. You can go for a quick win with Husk or a flipped Abbey - or you can grind out a win with all the card advantage available to this deck. Your call.

3 x Blisterpod
3 x Bone Splinters

2 x Hanweir Militia Captain
3 x Carrier Thrall
2 x Duskwatch Recruiter
4 x Sylvan Ranger
2 x Declaration in Stone

4 x Nantuko Husk
2 x Tireless Tracker
3 x Ulvenwald Mysteries
2 x Anguished Unmaking
1 x Nissa, Voice of Zendikar

1 x Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
2 x Smothering Abomination
1 x Gideon, Ally of Zendikar

1 x Sorin, Grim Nemesis

4 x Plains
5 x Swamp
5 x Forest
2 x Canopy Vista
2 x Westvale Abbey
2 x Woodland Cemetary
2 x Isolated Chapel
2 x Sunpetal Grove


Still in the process of testing. Not many double mana costs but I still might have to add to the manabase.



No Liliana or Fleshbag?

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2016 3:18 am 
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Preferred Pronoun Set: Lord/Lady
V 1.1
* Added 2x Declaration in Stone, 1x Reclamation Sage
* Removed 1x Tamiyo's Journal, 1x Oath of Liliana, 1x Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger

Removed "cute" cards to add more solid (and cheap) removal. Reclamation Sage can be tutored by Bellower and recurred by Liliana (in addition to Greenwarden, of course) which lets it hit multiple times against Mill / Enchantment heavy decks. Declaration in Stone is just a solid card, and helps against mass tokens and a lot of the more problematic creatures against us (Ulamog, Greenwarden, anything that recurs).


Background:

I've now played up to Rank 30 in the new season, and feel like I have a rough handle on the developing metagame. There's a lot of aggro - primarily humans, in a variety of colors, taking advantage of the new anthems and Thalia. There's a lot of midrange G/B decks, very similar to last format with the addition of Murder. There's some people trying to durdle for days with graveyard recursion strategies - zombies or otherwise. And there's a variety of people playing janky brews attempting to make Delirium or Emerge into things (they're not) or Vampires (it might be, but it's still worse than humans).

The notable absences:

Five colors walkers is completely dead. The mana base is unplayably bad without Sylvan Ranger, and there are no viable replacements that are cheap enough, versatile enough, and have enough board presence to keep you alive against aggro. Four color walkers can survive, but it needs to be very lean on the colors, and might need to run things like Explosive Vegetation.

Esper Control got a ton of tools - but the aggro decks got way more. If you face off against Mono-White or W/R or W/G Humans and you don't have Languish on turn four or Planar Outburst on turn five, you die. If they have Selfless Spirit, Planar Outburst might not be enough. I think Counter-Control still has a home somewhere, but it's a lot tougher.

Ramp got basically nothing. Brisela is playable, but it's not a significant upgrade. Also, one of Ramp's better matchups (Walkers) is gone, and their worst matchup (Humans) is stronger than ever. The strategy's still playable, but definitely worse.

With all that in mind, you probably know me (or should) as the person who always wants to be playing the biggest and strongest midrange deck. Especially with Esper Control being at a low in the new meta, we can go very big and not worry about getting countered off all our payoffs. The trouble, of course, is surviving to get there. This is my current approach:


The Fading Light ()
(Control)

Threats

2x Sylvan Advocate
1x Nissa, Vastwood Seer/Nissa, Sage Animist
2x Tireless Tracker
1x Liliana, the Last Hope
1x Gisela, the Broken Blade/Brisela, Voice of Nightmares
1x Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
1x Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
1x Archangel Avacyn/Avacyn, the Purifier
1x Ob Nixilis Reignited
1x Linvala, the Preserver
1x Greenwarden of Murasa
1x Woodland Bellower
1x Sorin, Grim Nemesis
1x Bruna, the Fading Light/Brisela, Voice of Nightmares

Removal

3x Blessed Alliance
3x Grasp of Darkness
2x Declaration in Stone
1x Reclamation Sage
3x Murder
2x Anguished Unmaking
2x Languish
2x Tragic Arrogance

Lands (26)

2x Plains
6x Swamp
2x Forest
4x Evolving Wilds
2x Hissing Quagmire
2x Shambling Vent
2x Canopy Vista
2x Woodland Cemetery
2x Isolated Chapel
2x Sunpetal Grove


Mana Source Reasoning
Pretty simply here - this deck is very mana hungry, in exactly three colors. We have no space for fancy lands, so take all the playable duels and fetches, and fill in the rest with basics. We've got and costs we want to be able to fetch for, but overwhelmingly need , so all the spares are swamps. There's some argument for adding a third Forest for Nissa, but casting black spells reliably matters so much more. Gisela is a pretty bad turn four play (she either dies, gets tapped, or gets bounced) so you mostly want on turn five.


Strategy
Those familiar with the last set might recognize this deck - it's Four Color Walkers! Wait, didn't I just say walkers was basically dead from lack of mana fixing? Well, that's why we're down to three colors now - Red has been cut entirely. We're also playing non-walker spells in and now, which means we can cut Oath of Nissa - notorious for showing you Languish but refusing to let you select it - because it doesn't actually improve the mana base. The only casualty is Nissa, Voice of Zendikar, who was decent against aggro decks - much less so with Thalia, Heretic Cathar around, though. We've also lost a lot of early creatures, with Sylvan Ranger gone for good, and Lambholt Pacifists missing in action. Instead, they've been replaced with a boatload of removal.

The main reason for this push is twofold - first, Thalia is a very real issue for trying to play blockers. Ride Down causes much the same problem. Against Bant, Spell Queller eats your sorcery speed play for value, and Reflector Mage bounces it. The short version is that playing cards and expecting to block with them is probably expecting too much. If you want to survive against aggro, you'll need to either kill things or gain an incredible amount of life (or both). The addition of Murder also forces us into costs - at which point, Grasp of Darkness is a much more reasonable card. Blessed Alliance is also an all-star; it edicts without needing to pay , and late in the game gains you some life on the side. The untap option is even good against Thalia or Tamiyo. Most notably, the lack of any creatureless control/mill decks allows us to feel fairly comfortable playing 13 cards that do nothing but kill creatures. Side benefit, this deck has no fear of man-lands (and gets to blow out aura decks) with all the instant speed removal.

Tragic Arrogance over Planar Outburst is - for the moment - a metagame call. I've run into a lot of Ulvenwald Mysteries decks on the ladder, and Tragic Arrogance is one of the few cards that can sweep up the creatures, the clues, and the enchantments at the same time. I think the value of a 4/4 land in comparison is very low - it's only really good for pressuring walkers, and we have other tools for that (including Arrogance if they play multiple).

The finishers were also all chosen with a specific goal in mind - if Murder is going to be floating around a lot, they need to be good even if they die on the spot. Against mono-white, they need to be able to block or interact with multiple creatures, immediately. Thus, every threat from Gideon on down brings a second threat or a removal effect with it. Kalitas adds so much value to your removal spells that he's worth the cost of not having an immediate impact, and Gisela is primarily there to meld with Bruna - she's actually lackluster on her own in most matchups. Bruna, by comparison, can return Tireless Tracker, Gisela, Avacyn, or Linvala.


And that's a wrap...

Welcome to the new EMN format, and all hail our new mono-white human overlords! Luckily, the heroic strategy of "mash all your mythics into a deck" remains alive and well to combat the menace. Suggestions on card selection / strategy appreciated as always, and have fun melding Brisela while discovering the token limit on Zombies! (spoiler: it's 100)

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For those interested, a link to some of my better decks.

If I ever built an Esper Control deck, it would still somehow contain 2x Sylvan Advocate, 2x Tireless Tracker, 1x Nissa, Vastwood Seer, 1x Reclamation Sage, 1x Nissa, Vital Force, and 1x Woodland Bellower.


Last edited by Zerris on Fri Jul 29, 2016 7:41 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2016 5:24 am 
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Great list and amazing write-up as always!

I ended up leaning a bit more on the mid-range side of things; compared to your list mine runs

+2 Deathcap Cultivator
+2 Thalia, Heretic Cathar
+1 The Gitrog Monster
+1 Bruna, the Fading Light
+2 Declaration In Stone
+2 Planar Outburst
+1 Plains

-1 Tamiyo's Journal
-1 Woodland Bellower
-1 Linvala, the Preserver
-1 Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger
-3 Blessed Alliance
-1 Oath of Liliana
-2 Tragic Arrogance
-1 Swamp

Deathcap Cultivator helps the deck to get out of the gates faster; which is highly appreciated in some match-ups (Humans, Bant, Mirror)
Thalia, Heretic Cathar is amazing; she stabilizes the board (many aggressive attackers can't attack into her too well due to First Strike) and the creatures entering tapped means no hasty attacks/no blockers for your Vigilantes.
The Gitrog Monster is the value machine I like; especially because it also accelerates the deck by a fair margin.
Bruna, the Fading Light compares mostly favourable to Wooodland Bellower: Better on offense and on defense; and can get back much higher impact cards than Bellower. Costs 1 mana more, but that extra cost is well-deserved.
Declaration in Stone works better in mid-range than Blessed Alliance since it can also be used to get a blocker out of the way.
Planar Outburst vs. Tragic Arrogance you discussed earlier; I still think being able to smash for 4 with a land is a tad more valuable but I agree it's a very close call.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2016 7:56 am 
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I did similar changes to Modulo, except: -Gitrog, -1 Bruna +2 Ayli. Dunno if 4 sweepers are really needed, as Theoretically you should have a quite good board presence.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2016 8:35 am 
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That's a good point because I don't think Thalia and sweepers belong in the same deck. And the Midrange Aggro/Tempo deck Thalia wants to be in is just better in Bant than Abzan colors.
Abzan has to be a control deck or it just won't measure up IMO.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2016 9:39 am 
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Zerris wrote:
Background:

I've now played up to Rank 30 in the new season, and feel like I have a rough handle on the developing metagame. There's a lot of aggro - primarily humans, in a variety of colors, taking advantage of the new anthems and Thalia. There's a lot of midrange G/B decks, very similar to last format with the addition of Murder. There's some people trying to durdle for days with graveyard recursion strategies - zombies or otherwise. And there's a variety of people playing janky brews attempting to make Delirium or Emerge into things (they're not) or Vampires (it might be, but it's still worse than humans).

The notable absences:

Five colors walkers is completely dead. The mana base is unplayably bad without Sylvan Ranger, and there are no viable replacements that are cheap enough, versatile enough, and have enough board presence to keep you alive against aggro. Four color walkers can survive, but it needs to be very lean on the colors, and might need to run things like Explosive Vegetation.

Esper Control got a ton of tools - but the aggro decks got way more. If you face off against Mono-White or W/R or W/G Humans and you don't have Languish on turn four or Planar Outburst on turn five, you die. If they have Selfless Spirit, Planar Outburst might not be enough. I think Counter-Control still has a home somewhere, but it's a lot tougher.

Ramp got basically nothing. Brisela is playable, but it's not a significant upgrade. Also, one of Ramp's better matchups (Walkers) is gone, and their worst matchup (Humans) is stronger than ever. The strategy's still playable, but definitely worse.

With all that in mind, you probably know me (or should) as the person who always wants to be playing the biggest and strongest midrange deck. Especially with Esper Control being at a low in the new meta, we can go very big and not worry about getting countered off all our payoffs. The trouble, of course, is surviving to get there. This is my current approach:


The Fading Light ()
(Midrange-Control)

Threats

2x Sylvan Advocate
1x Nissa, Vastwood Seer/Nissa, Sage Animist
2x Tireless Tracker
1x Liliana, the Last Hope
1x Gisela, the Broken Blade/Brisela, Voice of Nightmares
1x Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
1x Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
1x Archangel Avacyn/Avacyn, the Purifier
1x Tamiyo's Journal
1x Ob Nixilis Reignited
1x Linvala, the Preserver
1x Greenwarden of Murasa
1x Woodland Bellower
1x Sorin, Grim Nemesis
1x Bruna, the Fading Light/Brisela, Voice of Nightmares
1x Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger

Removal

3x Blessed Alliance
3x Grasp of Darkness
1x Oath of Liliana
3x Murder
2x Anguished Unmaking
2x Languish
2x Tragic Arrogance

Lands (26)

2x Plains
6x Swamp
2x Forest
4x Evolving Wilds
2x Hissing Quagmire
2x Shambling Vent
2x Canopy Vista
2x Woodland Cemetery
2x Isolated Chapel
2x Sunpetal Grove


Mana Source Reasoning
Pretty simply here - this deck is very mana hungry, in exactly three colors. We have no space for fancy lands, so take all the playable duels and fetches, and fill in the rest with basics. We've got and costs we want to be able to fetch for, but overwhelmingly need , so all the spares are swamps. There's some argument for adding a third Forest for Nissa, but casting black spells reliably matters so much more. Gisela is a pretty bad turn four play (she either dies, gets tapped, or gets bounced) so you mostly want on turn five.


Strategy
Those familiar with the last set might recognize this deck - it's Four Color Walkers! Wait, didn't I just say walkers was basically dead from lack of mana fixing? Well, that's why we're down to three colors now - Red has been cut entirely. We're also playing non-walker spells in and now, which means we can cut Oath of Nissa - notorious for showing you Languish but refusing to let you select it - because it doesn't actually improve the mana base. The only casualty is Nissa, Voice of Zendikar, who was decent against aggro decks - much less so with Thalia, Heretic Cathar around, though. We've also lost a lot of early creatures, with Sylvan Ranger gone for good, and Lambholt Pacifists missing in action. Instead, they've been replaced with a boatload of removal.

The main reason for this push is twofold - first, Thalia is a very real issue for trying to play blockers. Ride Down causes much the same problem. Against Bant, Spell Queller eats your sorcery speed play for value, and Reflector Mage bounces it. The short version is that playing cards and expecting to block with them is probably expecting too much. If you want to survive against aggro, you'll need to either kill things or gain an incredible amount of life (or both). The addition of Murder also forces us into costs - at which point, Grasp of Darkness is a much more reasonable card. Blessed Alliance is also an all-star; it edicts without needing to pay , and late in the game gains you some life on the side. The untap option is even good against Thalia or Tamiyo. Most notably, the lack of any creatureless control/mill decks allows us to feel fairly comfortable playing 11 cards that do nothing but kill creatures. Side benefit, this deck has no fear of man-lands (and gets to blow out aura decks) with all the removal being at instant speed.

Most of this deck makes a lot of sense - some things might stand out as odd, though. The one-of Tamiyo's Journal is a normally unplayably slow card in a fast format. Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, again in a deck with no ramp. Tragic Arrogance over Planar Outburst. All of these are - for the moment - metagame calls. The grindiest Sultai recursion decks have effectively infinite card advantage - you cannot one-for-one them out of the game. So to win, you need to either kill them, or lock them out prison-style. We aren't playing enough threats to easily kill, so we're left with the second option. That's what Ulamog, Bruna+Gisela, and Tamiyo's Journal to search for any of them allow - you get to say "no, the game is over now" and ignore their value plan of infinite 1/1s and 2/2s. They give you a form of inevitability that isn't card advantage based. Same for Liliana, Nissa, and Ob Nixilis - ultimating any of them ends the game from basically any board state. The Tragic Arrogance is similarly a reset button in board states where Planar Outburst wouldn't be - it cleans up piles of enchantments or stacks of unused clues, and handily ignores Selfless Spirit and Avacyn triggers.

The finishers were also all chosen with a specific goal in mind - if Murder is going to be floating around a lot, they need to be good even if they die on the spot. Against mono-white, they need to be able to block or interact with multiple creatures, immediately. Thus, every threat from Gideon on down (except the aforementioned Journal) brings a second threat or a removal effect with it. Kalitas adds so much value to your removal spells that he's worth the cost of not having an immediate impact, and Gisela is primarily there to meld with Bruna - she's actually lackluster on her own in most matchups. Bruna, by comparison, can return Tireless Tracker, Gisela, Avacyn, or Linvala.


And that's a wrap...

Welcome to the new EMN format, and all hail our new mono-white human overlords! Luckily, the heroic strategy of "mash all your mythics into a deck" remains alive and well to combat the menace. Suggestions on card selection / strategy appreciated as always, and have fun melding Brisela while discovering the token limit on Zombies! (spoiler: it's 100)

I have been playing a similar list to this but I absolutely think you need to play 4 read the bones in a deck like this. It's amazing for consistency and gives much needed card advantage and selection.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2016 10:14 am 
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Joly wrote:
I have been playing a similar list to this but I absolutely think you need to play 4 read the bones in a deck like this. It's amazing for consistency and gives much needed card advantage and selection.


While I would tend to agree with that statement in Orzhov and Mardu lists (I'd run somewhere around 3-4 Read the Bones there), I don't think it holds true for Abzan. Green has a lot of innate card advantage (Tireless Tracker, Nissa, Bellower, Greenwarden) and it greatly adds to the threat density of the deck. Both of these factors make card selection and carddraw less important to the deck in my mind.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2016 10:27 am 
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I think most of the deck changes you guys are posting are stylistic differences - in my case, I'm willing to give up a few percentage points to aggro in order to make sure that I *never* lose in the late game against midrange or recursion. As such, I'm much more towards the control end of the spectrum. Planar outburst's 4/4, for example, is much less useful to me than the value Tragic Arrogance gives against Ulvenwald Mysteries. The Thalia vs. Tamiyo/Ulamog and Declaration in Stone vs. Blessed Alliance calls are similar - if you plan to kill the opponent by attacking them, then whether they have blockers in the midgame matters. If you plan to kill by simply being the last person standing, that's a lot less relevant, and the clue given by Declaration is a lot more so. Deathcap Cultivator is an interesting idea - I'm not sure I like him in a deck where I want to sweep the board reliably and make my opponent's cheap removal look as silly as possible, but he's certainly not out of place.

That said, I think Bant Humans makes far better use of Thalia and Declaration of Stone in a midrange shell than Abzan does, and if you're trying to kill your opponent in the midgame while going over the top of humans, that's where I'd look. Thalia is okay on defense, but she shines on offense. By comparison, Blessed Alliance is incredible on defense (and seeing play in standard right now).

I think - if you have access to green - Woodland Bellower is better on average than Bruna. There are only five Bruna targets in the deck, and there's a non-zero amount of exile floating around as well. Bellower is more reliably good at blocking for one less mana, while Bruna is more reliably a good attacker (and, as noted, I'm playing for the very late game - so attacking is secondary). Drawing two Brunas is also quite awkward.

The choices I'd disagree with completely are The Gitrog Monster and Read the Bones (at least as a four of). The Gitrog Monster feels unplayable in a format of Murder / Thalia / Reflector Mage / Collective Effort - it leaves you tapped out for five and dead on the return way too often. In the matchups where it survives, mana available often matters more than cards in hand, and he removes mana to give you excess cards (the opposite of Deathcap Cultivator). Read the Bones is basically a dead card in the aggro matchup and you can't afford to see more than one of those. I played it briefly as a two-of; it could replace some of the flex slots of Tamiyo's Journal / Ulamaog / Oath of Liliana.

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If I ever built an Esper Control deck, it would still somehow contain 2x Sylvan Advocate, 2x Tireless Tracker, 1x Nissa, Vastwood Seer, 1x Reclamation Sage, 1x Nissa, Vital Force, and 1x Woodland Bellower.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2016 5:58 pm 
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Update: Removed two of the flex slots for two Declaration in Stone; meta is feeling more and more aggro/recursion heavy, and this cheaply deals with both. Ulamog is the last card worth cutting if there's a better option, though I do like the way he gives the deck another angle to attack on.

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If I ever built an Esper Control deck, it would still somehow contain 2x Sylvan Advocate, 2x Tireless Tracker, 1x Nissa, Vastwood Seer, 1x Reclamation Sage, 1x Nissa, Vital Force, and 1x Woodland Bellower.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2016 12:13 pm 
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Zerris wrote:
Update: Removed two of the flex slots for two Declaration in Stone; meta is feeling more and more aggro/recursion heavy, and this cheaply deals with both. Ulamog is the last card worth cutting if there's a better option, though I do like the way he gives the deck another angle to attack on.

Hey Zerris, I played the Abzan deck quite a bit and it feels very strong. However I'm curious about these "grindiest Sultai recursion decks" you mentioned that you tried to counter with some of your choices.
I can't say I faced any of these, can you go into a bit more detail about what they run? I tried to play some homebrew Sultai Reanimator myself recently (something similar to this https://www.magicduelshelper.com/deckli ... 1f5ec140de but with more black removal) and lost to everything, red aggro, permission control, zombies, everything... the deck just felt very slow and the pieces wouldn't align.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2016 4:42 pm 
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I classify recursion decks as things running 3x Ulvenwald Mysteries, Evolutionary Leap and/or From Beyond, some cards that can come back from the yard (Prized Amalgam / Advanced Stitchwing / Haunted Dead / Gisa and Geralf / Gravedigger), and then some other subtheme - cards that replace themselves, zombies, clues, what have you. More recently I've seen this deck trending towards a G/W/x Tokens deck and a G/B/x Aristocrats deck.

tl;dr - Ulvenwald Mysteries + Evolutionary Leap is a very hard combo to play a long game against.

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If I ever built an Esper Control deck, it would still somehow contain 2x Sylvan Advocate, 2x Tireless Tracker, 1x Nissa, Vastwood Seer, 1x Reclamation Sage, 1x Nissa, Vital Force, and 1x Woodland Bellower.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2016 4:47 pm 
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To be honest the most problematic matchup I had playing your deck was against Izzet mill/burn. Anguished Unmaking isn't enough as removal against Fevered Visions/Tutelage.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2016 6:13 pm 
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I did not comment on this list before, because I think Zerris builds his deck VERY well, and doesn't need me coming over being a busybody, but Ordev's remarks are poignant. Most Sultai lists i've faced even lose to the delirium aggro joke deck Coexsit and me posted, and Mill has definitiely been a thing last week on steam. As well as this deck is built, it has this weak spot. That said, enchant hate is luckily easy to build into this shell :)


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2016 7:09 pm 
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Entirely true - if you want some enchantment hate, -1 Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger and +1 Reclamation Sage is a very simple swap that I might make anyway. Bellower, Liliana, and Greenwarden let you tutor/recur her, and she's a dead card a lot less often than Felidar Cub (which also can't be tutored).

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If I ever built an Esper Control deck, it would still somehow contain 2x Sylvan Advocate, 2x Tireless Tracker, 1x Nissa, Vastwood Seer, 1x Reclamation Sage, 1x Nissa, Vital Force, and 1x Woodland Bellower.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2016 5:02 am 
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Zerris, I think that your deck is perfect after the changes.

How has Linvala been for you? I found her a bit lackluster with all the removal. After playing with and against Tamiyo's Journal I'm Thinking of making a switch. What's your thought on that?


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2016 5:15 am 
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True - the list after the changes is amazing. I actually made some more changes towards your list (cutting Gitrog and Deathcaps for Blessed Alliance; still debating Planar vs. Tragic) and the deck performs better.

@Auunj: Your change seems fine I think; I'm not in love with Linvala either.

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