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PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2017 6:40 pm 
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I wanted to see what could be done using only cards from Amonkhet, as well as the cards in the starter packs, in order to get a feel for if one should recommend new players to get AKH, or if they should focus on something else. The main archetypes in AKH are -1/-1 counters, cycling, exert and zombies/embalm. For this deck, I'm going to focus on exert, since I feel that zombies are missing too many of the good cards from the older sets. Exert does miss out on Always Watching though.

The list of starter cards can be found at D Cards (thanks to Lord Rumfish for the list).

I decided to go Boros, since the exert mechanic is focused in W/R/G, and I felt that there really weren't that many interesting cards in G, except for perhaps Samut, Voice of Dissent but I didn't feel that was worth splashing for. The aim of the deck is to get around the opponents defenses by use of exerted creatures, and effects that prevent the opponent from blocking.

Insert witty name here
19 Creatures:
2 x Glory-Bound Initiate
3 x Gust Walker
2 x Nef-Crop Entangler
3 x Honored Crop-Captain
3 x Ahn-Crop Crasher
2 x Tah-Crop Elite
2 x Glorybringer
2 x Trueheart Twins

6 Instants:
4 x Djeru's Resolve
2 x Prepare // Fight

2 Sorceries:
2 x Insult // Injury

13 Enchantments:
2 x Cartouche of Solidarity
2 x Cartouche of Zeal
3 x Trial of Solidarity
3 x Trial of Zeal
3 x Cast Out

20 Lands:
2 x Clifftop Retreat
4 x Stone Quarry
8 x Plains
6 x Mountains



Some discussion about the deck, and what I've included or excluded, this is quite long, so I don't mind if some of you skip reading this ;):

Creatures:

I feel the deck is currently a bit low on creatures, and quite heavy on other spells. The curve tops out at 5 CMC, but often times you want to cast more than one spell per turn, to get out a trial and still have mana open, so 20 lands are probably not enough, though I haven't tested enough to get a feel for the manabase.

A possible addition is Makindi Patrol to enable vigilance. For it to be decent other allies would have to be included somehow though, and in the limited card pool I've decided to work with here, there's really not that much on the ally front.

Sparring Mummy could also be an alternative to untap the exerted creatures, but we have cheaper ways to do it, and a 3/3 zombie isn't really doing much for this deck.

Devoted Crop-Mate was skipped, the cards that could get hit by it is Tah-Crop Elite, Nef-Crop Entangler and Gust Walker. Getting these back would be nice, but the 3 CMC slot was already pretty filled up.

Likewise Rhet-Crop Spearmaster was also skipped, since the white creature slots were already somewhat crowded.

Battlefield Scavenger is a card I'm not sure if I want or not in this deck. It doesn't really do anything itself, and having to discard before drawing hurts. There's also a distinct lack of discard synergy in this deck. Still the deck could use some card advantage.

Emberhorn Minotaur was skipped. While a 5/4 menace creature is nice it's quite costly for this deck, and it dies quite easily. Also, in the current version of the deck, I already have red curve toppers in the form of Trueheart Twins and Glorybringer.

Renegade Wheelsmith is an alternative to Ahn-Crop Crasher since they effectively serve the same function. Crasher fit the theme better, but I believe that Wheelsmith is the better card, even if it requires you to have both your colours open, and it lacks haste. Still, for the time being Wheelsmith is not in the deck.

Gideon of the trials really haven't impressed me in other decks I've run, so he's out for this.

Instants/Sorcery/Enchantments:
For enabling exert, the deck runs Trial of Solidarity and both Cartouche of Solidarity and Cartouche of Zeal. During the limited playtesting I've done, red Cartouche has usually been better than white one, allowing for a surprise attack through blockers.

The removal cards in the card pool are really weak, the alternatives are Reprisal, Dusk // Dawn, Blazing Volley, Magma Spray, Twin Bolt, Cut, Electrify[c] and [c]Boulder Salvo, as well as Trial of Zeal. Since the deck already has a cartouche theme in order to enable Trial of Solidarity, I decided to go with Trial of Zeal, though not being instant speed is kind of bad. This deck does have some untap combat tricks though, which can lead to surprise blocks which kind of lessens the need for removal. Those are Djeru's Resolve and Prepare. As a final catch all removal, the deck runs Cast out, one alternative could be to run Compulsory Rest. I also run Insult // Injury, since with an exert deck the goal is often to get in for one big final hit.


Last edited by Shard on Mon May 15, 2017 10:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon May 15, 2017 8:55 am 
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With regard to your idea of including the Makindi Patrol, maybe a solution could be to include Retreat to Emeria? With the Makindi in play, you can use it to enable rally, otherwise, even just giving your creatures +1/+1 until end of turn can be useful.

Where do you stand on Always Watching? Skipping your T3, ideally, to drop it can make up the difference later on with persistent vigilance.

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PostPosted: Mon May 15, 2017 10:49 am 
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soupcannon wrote:
With regard to your idea of including the Makindi Patrol, maybe a solution could be to include Retreat to Emeria? With the Makindi in play, you can use it to enable rally, otherwise, even just giving your creatures +1/+1 until end of turn can be useful.

Where do you stand on Always Watching? Skipping your T3, ideally, to drop it can make up the difference later on with persistent vigilance.


Both of those are cards I've thought about, the problem is:

Shard wrote:
I wanted to see what could be done using only cards from Amonkhet, as well as the cards in the starter packs, in order to get a feel for if one should recommend new players to get AKH, or if they should focus on something else.


I do believe that I need more creatures though, and more land. I could probably remove a few Djeru's Resolve or Cast out. Both have cycling though, which means it's not all too bad to have them in your hand. I do belive that the number of trials can be reduced if one views the cartouches as a way to play them more, but then one could argue to cut a few cartouches as well.

I think I might include Battlefield Scavenger as a card draw, either instead of a noncreature spell, or instead of Nef-Crop Entangler.

I really need to test the deck out more to get a feel for it, but exams are fast approaching, so I'm not sure if I'll have to test it enough.


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PostPosted: Mon May 15, 2017 11:43 am 
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I think, more than any of the other sets, Amonkhet is really only at its best when combined with elements of other sets. I get what you're going for, though. In my professional capacity of 'some guy on the internet', it doesn't look like you can build a truly competitive deck with just D and Amonkhet. (Tell me what kind of success rate you have with this deck, though, maybe I'm wrong.)

A new player could likely get seriously discouraged trying to play just Amonkhet.

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PostPosted: Mon May 15, 2017 11:51 am 
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soupcannon wrote:
I think, more than any of the other sets, Amonkhet is really only at its best when combined with elements of other sets. I get what you're going for, though. In my professional capacity of 'some guy on the internet', it doesn't look like you can build a truly competitive deck with just D and Amonkhet. (Tell me what kind of success rate you have with this deck, though, maybe I'm wrong.)

A new player could likely get seriously discouraged trying to play just Amonkhet.


Yeah, that was really my initial impression when AKH was newly spoiled, I just want to see if it actually holds true. I'm pretty sure that going for KLD/AER would be much better. Now I'm mainly interested in if I can make something that's actually good enough to be stable in ranks 30-40. But I haven't got a lot of time atm, so we'll see if someone else has any input.


Last edited by Shard on Fri May 19, 2017 6:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon May 15, 2017 12:01 pm 
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Hey, what about Mobile Garrison? It's part of the D set and would allow you to untap a creature, mitigating the exert effect to a small degree, evading sorcery speed removal, buffing a small T1 or T2 body, on the field.

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PostPosted: Mon May 15, 2017 12:06 pm 
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Also, how about Hazoret's Monument for card draw? Or Onward // Victory?

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PostPosted: Mon May 15, 2017 1:16 pm 
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All of them are interesting cards. I chose Insult // Injury over Onward // Victory, since it doubles all damage of all creatures. An argument for Onward would be that it acts as two double damages, which could mean getting in for 12 damage with a Gust Walker, provided that you get some way to untap it after exert. However insult would have done 11 damage + 2 damage to a creature in the same scenario. There're simply not that many big hitters that doubling a creatures power over two turns is that attractive. Though if you can manage to play them both on one turn, then that Gust Walker is a 5/3 double striker (would be 6/3, but the second half is a sorcery). The bigger targets in the current build are Trueheart Twins and Glorybringer. By the time the twins are active they're unlikely to get in unblocked, and the Glorybringer does a decent job even without double damage or double strike.

I've only tested the deck against ai as of yet, so I can't really say anything about how it handles in a real environment. But I'm thinking of removing the Trueheart Twins. In some cases they've won the game for me, but oftentimes they just sit in the hand doing nothing. The deck really needs more lands in its current state, so I have to decide where to make cuts. I've gone 10-1 against the ai currently, but some of those games I've won I've been stuck on 2 or 3 lands.

Another card that hasn't really shined yet is Tah-Crop Elite, but that might be due to the aforementioned manaissues.

As for Mobile Garrison, it's a really interesting card here, though I believe the deck needs more creatures to make good use of it. Though at least almost all creatures in the deck can crew it (the exception is the 1/1 from Cartouche of Solidarity). I might remove a Djeru's Resolve for it and see how it handles.

Hazoret's Monument is a card that could probably find a spot in the deck, since all 4 of the 5-drops are red. I think I prefer Battlefield Scavenger though, for being 1 mana cheaper, and adding some more creatures into the deck - though perhaps both should be added.

The best cards have probably been Glory-bound Initiate, Gust Walker, Ahn-crop Crasher and Prepare. All of them are cheap, and the lifegain from Prepare and Glory-bound has kept me in quite a few matches. Gust Walker can nibble away at 1.5 damage a turn, but with the amount of buffs currently in the deck it's been doing well. Ahn-crop Crasher has helped a lot with getting favourable blocks going. But once again - this is all against the ai, and not in any way representative of what the deck will actually do.

I think what I really would want with this deck is a sideboard, but sadly we don't have such in duels ;).

I need to decide what cuts to make for more mana, or perhaps cut some of the more costly creatures and replace them with the card draw.


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PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2017 2:57 pm 
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I did some changes to the deck.

-2 Cartouche of Solidarity
-1 Djeru's Resolve
-2 Nef-Crop Entangler
+3 Battlefield Scavenger
+2 Mountain

Played a few ladder matches with this configuration. It got 8 wins to 4 losses between ranks 21-25 on steam, hardly amazing. A 66% win rate, though at the middle of the ladder, and a very small sample. I'll try to play a few more matches later. Still if the win rate would be greater than 50% for all ranks, then one could at least theoretically reach the goal of taking it to rank 40. Some of the wins didn't really feel that impressive, though some of them were fun games.


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