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Thread: [Deck] Nic Fit (GBx Explorer Zenith Control)

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    Taobotmox

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    [Deck] Nic Fit (GBx Explorer Zenith Control)

    The deck Nic Fit is based on the interaction between Veteran Explorer, Green Sun's Zenith and Cabal Therapy in combination with classic Rock style control elements, big threats and removal. Because many people asked and speculated: Its name comes from a Sonic Youth song that I was listening to when I named the deck. If you were a smoker you also might get the desire to smoke while playing a tournament because you will often play long rounds but mostly I just found "Nic Fit" to be a good name for this deck.

    The general philosophy of the deck is to go over the top of the metagame and win by out-controlling the opponent and/or outclassing his cards. This could be for example sweeping the opponent's board with Pernicious Deed, playing a huge Scapeshift for 18+ damage, keeping a Jace alive for a few turns or forcing the opponent to trade with a Thragtusk.

    In general the biggest strength of the deck is the matchup against "fair" decks (Aggro, Control) and its biggest weakness is against Combo decks, especially those that are Show and Tell based.

    There are different versions of this deck but before I introduce those versions I will describe the core cards to give you an idea of what the deck tries to do.

    Card Choices

    4 Veteran Explorer
    The deck does not require to resolve an Explorer to win but similar to Aether Vial in Merfolk it is usually a great card and almost unbeatable for certain decks.
    If you are new to the deck you might be scared that the opponent also gets free lands but fortunately the symmetry can be broken. The mana curves of many decks have become so low that they can't do much with free basic lands. Decks like Dredge or RUG Delver don't even play any basics at all while other decks are so tightly constructed and low-curved that they will have a hard time using the extra Mana. And against the plethora of Legacy resource denial decks (RUG, Team America, Staxx, Pox, 43 lands, Dragon Stompy, ...) that would otherwise be the bane of top heavy decks getting two basic lands is the best effect you could ask for.
    There are two ways to trigger Explorer. Against aggro you can use him as a chump blocker to get a few extra life out of the deal. Most of the times the better way is to sacrifice it with cards like Cabal Therapy or Phyrexian Tower (or a few other effects) though. This way you can gain some extra value out of his death and sacrificing it in your turn also has the advantage that you are the first one to use the extra lands - note that the lands enter the battlefield untapped.

    4 Cabal Therapy
    The main reason to play four of these is of course the synergy with Veteran Explorer. But even without Explorer Therapies are still good. They can create card advantage by sacrificing a creature with an EtB effect like Eternal Witness. Therapy also trumps cards like Stoneforge Mystic and Goblin Matron because you can snipe the thing they tutored for. For tournament play it is imperative to practice how to play against Brainstorm with Therapies because there are plenty of interactions and mind-games going on when you play against a player with Brainstorm in his deck who has blue Mana up. In general it is correct to name Brainstorm first so you can ensure that they can't respond with a Brainstorm to the Flashback of the Therapy but of course there are exceptions to that rule.

    4 Green Sun's Zenith
    The Green Zenith is the glue that sticks the deck together. Early in the game it boosts your Mana, later it lets you take full advantage of the Extra Mana. It helps the deck's consistency by balancing between threats and early ramp. Currently all popular versions play 4 GSZ and I would not suggest to go below that number.
    For the early game you should have at least one Mana generating creature like Sakura-Tribe Elder or Sylvan Ranger that doesn't die to Removal for cases in which you don't want to give the opponent lands or you have drawn no way to sacrifice your Explorer.

    A mandatory ability for a creature that Nic Fit runs is that it doesn't just die to Swords to Plowshares or gets bounced by Jace without giving value. You don't have many options to actually draw cards so your creatures should not trade one for one. EtB/LtB effects or Shroud/Hexproof are good ways to achieve this goal. Even great cards like Knight of the Reliquary are not playable for that reason. When you GSZ for the Knight on turn 4+ it is very likely that the opponent will have a Swords to Plowshares or an Abrupt Decay sitting in his hand because he has no other targets for his Removal and you will just end up activating one of his otherwise dead/bad cards.

    Birthing Pod lists often reduce the number of Green Sun's Zenith or cut it completely because they require a certain number of actual creatures (instead of a "spell creature" like GSZ) to function.

    1-3 Eternal Witness should be in every deck, too, because the games tend to get long so you will have a lot of cards to choose from. On top of that she is rarely a bad card to draw and synergizes well with Cabal Therapy.

    1 Thrun, the Last Troll; Sigarda, Host of Herons
    Thrun should also be played by every deck once. Its effect is unique and can give Jace decks big problems. White versions can upgrade Thrun to Sigarda who is even better because she can fly over chump-blockers that protect Jace, block Delver of Secrets, trade with Tombstalker and negates Edict effects like Liliana.

    Pod lists usually don't play Thrun because they want value creatures to keep the Pod chain going and because they often don't run GSZ.

    1-2 Thragtusk
    Every version should play at least one Tusk. It is very good against aggro decks as well as Jace decks and you can't ask for much more from a card.

    1 Primeval Titan
    Every deck should also have at least one big GSZ target that costs 6 or 7 Mana. You can also play even two of them but not more or you end up with bad starting hands). This card has should have the function to act as an engine and overwhelm the opponent. Currently Primeval Titan is the fattie of choice for most versions. But it is also possible to search for non-green cards with Fierce Empath but that is much slower.

    Again, Pod lists

    2-4 Pernicious Deed; x Abrupt Decay
    Deed is a key card of the archetype. Like in typical Rock decks it resets the board so you can survive against Aggro as well as getting rid of problematic Enchantments or Artifacts.
    Decay is a super effective removal spell and deals with a lot of stuff that you might lose to if you leave it alive even for a few turns from Dark Confidant to Sylvan Library as well as with early aggressive creatures like Delver of Secrets or Tarmogoyf and it is an out against lock pieces like Rest in Peace or Counterbalance.

    Sensei's Divining Top;Brainstorm

    Card filtering is important for a deck that is as non-linear as Nic Fit. You want Explorers and Therapies early, but GSZ's, Deeds and Planeswalkers and Fatties later and not even all of them in every matchup. Top gives you just that. my personal advice would be to play FOUR Tops in every non-blue version but most decks play 3. Blue versions can of course play Brainstorm which fills the same role and is the best card in the format.



    The three most popular Nic Fit versions at this time are:

    Scapewish (by Arianrhod)

    Scapewish is one the most popular versions at this time. The big strength is that it can kill the opponent out of nowhere from any board position with a big Scapeshift as long as you have 7 lands (or 8-9 depending on your opponent's life total - but usually 7 is enough) on the table. This is a huge advantage because many decks don't have enough counters to prevent Scapeshift from happening because you can force it through with Cabal Therapies and/or Burning Wishes for disruption and thanks to your defense they can't kill you quick enough either. Having Valakut in your deck makes your Primeval Titan also very dangerous.
    This comes not without a cost though. The mana base is the worst of all versions (it plays 2 lands more than other versions and additional creature mana sources on top of that and it also can't afford to run fetchlands) and the SB is crammed full with Burning Wish targets so games 2 and 3 are more difficult.

    4 Forest
    3 Mountain
    2 Swamp
    4 Taiga
    3 Badlands
    3 Bayou
    2 Stomping Ground
    1 Phyrexian Tower
    2 Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle

    4 Green Sunís Zenith
    4 Veteran Explorer
    2 Sakura-tribe Elder
    2 Wood Elves
    1 Eternal Witness
    3 Huntmaster Of The Fells
    2 Thragtusk
    1 Primeval Titan

    3 Pernicious Deed
    3 Senseiís Divining Top
    4 Cabal Therapy
    4 Burning Wish
    3 Scapeshift

    SB:
    3 Red Elemental Blast
    3 Slaughter Games
    1 Collective Voyage
    1 Pyroclasm
    1 Reanimate
    1 Thoughtseize
    1 Scapeshift
    1 Maelstrom Pulse
    1 Innocent Blood
    1 Virtueís Ruin
    1 Reverent Silence



    BUG Pod by Caleb Durwald / list by Daid Gleicher

    Creatures (24)

    4 Baleful Strix
    1 Acidic Slime
    4 Deathrite Shaman
    1 Eternal Witness
    1 Glen Elendra Archmage
    1 Grave Titan
    1 Kitchen Finks
    1 Murderous Redcap
    1 Phantasmal Image
    1 Scavenging Ooze
    1 Shriekmaw
    1 Sower of Temptation
    1 Thragtusk
    4 Veteran Explorer
    1 Wood Elves

    Lands (21)

    3 Forest
    1 Island
    2 Swamp
    2 Bayou
    4 Misty Rainforest
    1 Polluted Delta
    3 Tropical Island
    1 Underground Sea
    4 Verdant Catacombs

    Spells (15)

    3 Birthing Pod
    2 Pernicious Deed
    1 Recurring Nightmare
    1 Abrupt Decay
    3 Brainstorm
    4 Cabal Therapy
    1 Green Sun's Zenith

    Sideboard
    1 Glen Elendra Archmage
    1 Notion Thief
    3 Riptide Pilferer
    1 Pernicious Deed
    2 Envelop
    4 Force of Will
    1 Golgari Charm
    1 Umezawa's Jitte
    1 Thoughtseize


    These lists use Birthing Pod to trigger the ETB and leaves battlefield abilities of the creatures it plays. An activation of Pod usually creates two advantages. The first is creating card advantage by for example chaining a simple Baleful Strix into Eternal Witness into Murderous Redcap into Thragtusk into Grave Titan. The second advantage is the tutor effect. For example on 4 mana you can get Murderous Redcap to shoot a DR Shaman / Delver or you can get a Sower of Temptation to gain control of something big (and then potentially sac it to Pod or Cabal Therapy) or you can get a Glen-Elendra Archmage against Combo decks /to prevent an impending Terminus.

    Pod lists also have a few disadvantages. The first is the high number of 1-offs which gives the deck higher inconsistency than other versions. Another one are the restrictions on deck building. You are forced to run a much higher number of creatures than other versions and you are also forced to cover all converted mana costs from 2-5 multiple times.

    Punishing Nic Fit : by Tao, HoneyT, Rabrab,

    So I made a lot of test games with Punishing Nic Fit for the past days, optimized the version and wrote a little primer including matchups and SB plans for the decks in the DTB section. I feel very confident about the card choices and the strength of the deck in the current Meta.

    Decklist:

    2 Bayou
    1 Badlands
    1 Taiga
    3 Verdant Catacombs
    3 Wooded Foothills
    3 Swamp
    2 Forest
    1 Mountain
    4 Grove of the Burnwillows
    1 Phyrexian Tower
    1 Volrath's Stronghold

    4 Green Sun's Zenith
    4 Veteran Explorer
    2 Eternal Witness
    1 Scavenging Ooze
    2 Huntmaster of the Fells
    1 Thrun, the Last Troll
    1 Thragtusk
    1 Primeval Titan

    4 Sensei's Divining Top
    4 Cabal Therapy
    2 Thoughtseize
    3 Liliana of the Veil
    4 Punishing Fire
    3 Pernicious Deed
    2 Abrupt Decay

    SB: 4 Red Elemental Blast
    SB: 2 Surgical Extraction
    SB: 2 Golgari Charm
    SB: 2 Slaughter Games
    SB: 2 Thoughtseize
    SB: 1 Sylvan Ranger
    SB: 1 Abrupt Decay
    SB: 1 Garruk Relentless


    About the deck:

    Punishing Nic Fit is a pure pure Control deck. It plays a lot of board and hand control elements and strives for conistency, card advantage and a powerful late game.

    The first reason to play with Punishing Fire is of course the Punishing Fire - Grove of the Burnwillows Combo. In general getting value out of lands is an effect that Nic Fit desires because it helps you to do stuff with your mana and acts as flood protection. It kills the plethora of great 1-drops and 2-drops, keeps Tribal decks under control and gains value over the course of the game. Very importantly it also answers Planeswalkers, especially Jace TMS, who can be very problematic for Nic Fit.
    The second reason to play this version are the Red Elemental Blasts and Slaughter Games from the Sideboard. They are exactly the cards you want to optimize your Sideboard plans and no other version of Nic Fit has SB cards as good as these. The biggest problems Nic Fit has are Combo decks and Jace the Mind Sculptor and the red SB cards help to fight these.

    In the early game this version maximizes the chance of finding and triggering a Veteran Explorer with 4 Top and 4 Punishing Fire. It is not ideal to trigger Explorer with Punishing Fire but it will do if you need it. It also allows you to play no other mana creatures in the main that would either be inferior (Sakura Tribe Elder, Sylvan Ranger) or get killed 3/4 of the time (DR Shaman). Just don't blindly ramp against decks with Jace without anything to follow up, especially against Miracles.

    In the midgame you have the full amount of Sensei's Tops to make sure you draw the right ratio of mana and spells as well as the right type of spells. As a nonblue ramp deck this is very important because draws with 3 Explorers are as bad as draws with too little mana. You have a lot of removal to make sure you can keep the board under control. You have Fire and Decay to get rid of early Confidants, Deathrite Shamans and Delvers, Deed as a reset button and Liliana can act as additional removal or kill things like Tombstalker or Progenitus that you otherwise can't kill. Liliana of the Veil is very good in this list in general. Her Discard ability is great against Miracle decks and Combo decks and less harmful for this than it is for other Nic Fit lists because you can Discard Punishing Fire to her. The 4 Tops and the high chance of getting Explorer to trigger allows you to empty your hand quickly in case you don't have the Combo. Forcing both players into topdeck mode is not a bad thing, especially if you have a Top, tick up a Liliana and strong cards in your deck.

    As GSZ targets for the midgame you have either Huntmaster as a simple solid value guy, Thrun to pressure Planeswalkers or Witnesses to recycle Removal or Discard spells.

    In the late game this version is designed to win with Primeval Titan. Your main way of sealing the deal against fair decks is to get a Titan into play. He will get a combination of Kessig Wolf Run, Two Towers and Groves for your Punishing Fires. Unless you are too far behind already a resolved Titan should be better than anything other fair decks do. Groves and Two Towers are good at grinding out the game while Kessig Wolf Run will turn Thrun into an evil machine and kill the opponent very quickly.


    Matchups:


    Miracles

    - the game plays out different than other fair matchups because with Jace TMS and Entreat they have big threats, too. So don't use your Explorers carelessly or they will backfire. In G1 you usually want to trigger an Explorer with Therapy at least once but do it a bit later, more carefully and when you know you have a strong follow-up.
    - Top is awesome, keep it around, don't lose it to Counterbalance. Don't risk flipping it for no good reason.
    - Spend your early turns building up towards your game plans. Decay and Deed are important to keep Counterbalance off the table, try to get a Liliana into play.
    - Liliana is amazing. They have a hard time dealing with her. If you have Fire-Grove going that's ideal but even if you don't, build up to her ultimate.
    - Use Fire/Grove and Thrun to pressure/kill Jace.
    - If you are able to take control of the game try to have a Deed in play to not lose to Entreat the Angels.

    Postboard you have a bit of a transformational SB plan. You take out all your Explorers and Therapies because ramping both sides is not that good. There is a Sylvan Ranger in the SB so you have a way to get Mana from early GSZ's. You get Red Blasts which are awesome in this matchup because they can kill Jace on the stack as well as Slaughter Games to take care of their win conditions (Jace and Entreat).

    - 4 Explorer
    - 4 Therapy
    - 1 Scavenging Ooze
    - 1 Punishing Fire
    - 1 Phyrexian Tower
    + 4 Red Blast
    + 2 Thoughtseize
    + 2 Slaughter Games
    + 1 Sylvan Ranger
    + 1 Decay
    + 1 Garruk Relentless


    RUG
    This matchup is almost exclusively about overcoming their Mana Denial. Stifle is the by far their best card against us because it hits Explorer triggers, Deeds and Fetchlands. Cabal Therapy should usually either go for Brainstorm or for Stifle, depending on the situation.
    The matchup is very positive overall. Explorers are great against their denial plan and the deck approximately has one removal for each threat they play.
    Post board not much changes, but it gets even a little better. You don't get any insane cards but little upgrades. This is the only matchup in which you side out Huntmaster because he doesn't size up well against their deck. Red Blast can slow down their cantripping, kill a Delver of protect a trigger from Stifle.
    Normal RUG lists don't have much to bring in, they might bring Submerge instead of Bolt so if you use a fetchland with an Explorer in play they might shuffle it away, so play around that if you have the chance to but don't worry too much.

    - 1 Huntmaster of the Fells
    - 3 Punishing Fire
    - 2 Thoughtseize
    + 1 Abrupt Decay
    + 1 Sylvan Ranger
    + 4 Red Elemental Blast


    Shardless
    They are stronger early on but you have the better late game. It is often about recovering from Hymn and Liliana and building up your Mana. You can overcome some card disadvantage with card quality. Your goal is to resolve a Titan so you can go over the top of what they do. Fire-Grove can kill eveything except Goyfs so that is good.
    This is one of the few matchups in which you side out your Lilianas. Her discard doesn't match up well against Ancestral Visions, her Edict ability is bad against Shardless Agents and she dies to Decay. Red Blast is great because it can hit Vision, Jace and Brainstorm.

    - 1 Eternal Witness
    - 2 Thoughtseize
    - 3 Liliana of the Veil
    + 1 Abrupt Decay
    + 1 Garruk Relentless
    + 4 Red Elemental Blast


    SnT
    Preboard is your worst matchup besides 12-Post or Stage/Depths Combo decks, though with 3 Thoughtseizes and 3 Lilianas you have the Tools to steal G1 wins from them.
    Postboard it gets much better, the matchup gets at least even. Red Blast and Slaughter Games are amazing. They bring in the White Leyline so side in the Golgari Charms for that. Charm can also hit idle Sneak Attacks which are not uncommon and a great danger if you manage to keep them on 0 cards with Liliana. The White Leyline is obviously very strong against us but that is not the biggest concern. It is their matchup to lose. If they Mulligan for it, have Multiples or keep bad hands because of it you might be able to win with Red Blasts, Surgicals and Liliana.

    - 2 Abrupt Decay
    - 4 Punishing Fire
    - 3 Pernicious Deed
    - 1 Thragtusk
    - 1 Primeval Titan
    - 1 Kessig Wolf Run
    - 1 Stronghold
    + 4 Red Blast
    + 2 Slaughter Games
    + 2 Thoughtseize
    + 2 Surgical
    + 2 Golgari Charm
    + 1 Sylvan Ranger


    Elves!
    You play Fire and Deed so the matchup isn't the worst but it is certainly not easy either. They can kill you with Glimpse and Order quickly and Symbiote can also get out of control quickly. But if you survive the early turns and you get Fire/Grove going you are in a good position. Liliana is an important tool here because her "+1" ability prevents them from storing Elves and then going off with a topdecked Glimpse. Her Edict can also be useful as simple extra removal but more importantly to get rid off a big thing they GSZ'ed for. Sideboarding doesn't change much but it you get a couple of nice cards.

    - 1 Thrun, the Last Troll
    - 1 Thragtusk
    - 1 Explorer
    - 1 Scavenging Ooze
    - 1 Kessig Wolf Run
    - 1 Volrath's Stronghold
    + 2 Golgari Charm
    + 2 Thoughtseize
    + 1 Garruk Relentless
    + 1 Abrupt Decay


    Jund
    The matchup plays very similar to the Shardless matchup. Jund might overrun you with DR Shaman, Hymn, Confidant and Liliana but you have tools to fight back. If the game goes long and nothing went wrong you should have an edge because thanks to Titan you have more Fire/Grove and because with Two Towers + Thragtusk you won't die.
    Post board not much changes because both decks have not much useful to bring in. You should side out the Lilianas, they are awful against Jund.

    - 3 Liliana of the Veil
    + 1 Thoughtseize
    + 1 Garruk Relentless
    + 1 Abrupt Decay


    AnT
    Similarly to SnT decks you can steal wins in G1 but it is not easy. The key cards are your Discard spells, Liliana and Scavenging Ooze.
    G2 gets much, much better. More Discard and more disruption instead of the many clunky cards from G1. The Red Blasts slow down their cantripping, especially the Brainstorm in response to Discard. For Empty the Warrens you keep the Deeds in. They are better than Golgari Charm because they can't be discarded anymore once they are on the battlefield and they can blow up idle LED's and Petals (which are not a rare sight due to Liliana).

    - 2 Abrupt Decay
    - 4 Punishing Fire
    - 1 Kessig Wolf Run
    - 1 Volrath's Stronghold
    - 1 Thrun, the Lats Troll
    - 1 Thragtusk
    - 1 Primeval Titan
    + 4 Red Elemental Blast
    + 2 Slaughter Games
    + 2 Surgical Extraction
    + 2 Thoughtseize
    + 1 Sylvan Ranger


    Death and Taxes
    This is not a bye like it looks on paper but you do have a clear edge and should be able to kill all their creatures with Fire, Decay, Liliana and Deed.
    Post board the matchup gets a bit worse. They bring Rest in peace which is very good but most importantly they have Cataclysm which is the real threat. Be aware of that and - if you have the chance to do so - keep lands in hand, Basic Lands in the deck and an Explorer on the battlefield. On the other hand you get Golgari Charm which is also a blowout (it kills Mother or Runes, Thalia, Revoker, Mindcensor, Flickerwisp and Mangara).

    - 1 Thoughtseize
    - 1 Thrun, the Last Troll
    - 1 Scavenging Ooze
    - 1 Kessig Wolf Run
    + 2 Golgari Charm
    + 1 Abrupt Decay
    + 1 Sylvan Ranger


    Deathblade
    They want to play a fair game but you are better at that than they are. Punishing Fire kills everything they have, Therapy is great against Stoneforge Mystic and Deeds are also great. If the game goes long you have the better late game thanks to your Titan.
    Post board not much changes. Red Blasts are okay, they get Jace and Brainstorm, but I don't think you want all 4 because they do nothing early on against Shaman, Mystic and Confidant. They won't have anything that is significantly better than any of their maindeck cards, either. Side out all Lilianas at the first sight of Lingering Souls.

    + 2 Red Elemental Blast
    + 1 Garruk Relentless
    + 1 Abrupt Decay
    - 1 Thoughtseize
    - 1 Kessig Wolf Run
    - 1 Scavenging Ooze
    - 1 Liliana of the Veil

    Other versions:

    There are COUNTLESS different versions of the deck and ways to build and play it, too many to list and describe in detail. If you are a new player to the deck I would advice you to try out one of those three versions first so you know what they can do which gives you a better idea what you have to do while experimenting.

    A good way to measure the competitiveness of a list is the ability to deal with Jace TMS. Scapewish can go over the top of Jace TMS by resolving one big lethal spell, Birthing Pod can potentially outvalue Jace and Punishing Fire itself is good at dealing with Jace (as well as the Red Blasts from the SB).
    Last edited by Tao; 11-20-2013 at 09:56 AM. Reason: updated OP

  2. #2
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    Re: Nic Fit (GBW Explorer Zenith Control)

    I love your deck, since I run a very similar one.

    I considered Birthing Pod for it, for it's synergy with Explorer and CIP creatures.
    Would have to build a little bit more around it though.

    Although GSZ is probably more powerful, at least in the early game.

    What do you think?

  3. #3
    Vintage

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    Re: Nic Fit (GBW Explorer Zenith Control)

    There was an old PW Rock list from a few years back that ran much more 'walkers. Is there any consideration for running Elspeth in here? What about Shriekmaw (for it's interaction with R.Nightmare), or even Fleshbag Marauder. While it's not tutorable, it's still very useful. What about Kitchen Finks both to shore up against aggro, and provide Persist synergies with Cabal Therapy and Recurring Nightmare?
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  4. #4

    Re: Nic Fit (GBW Explorer Zenith Control)

    Hi, how do you estimate your UW Gerry T Style MU? I know that Thrun is a major pain for them, but how is the MU alltogether?

  5. #5
    Taobotmox

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    Re: Nic Fit (GBW Explorer Zenith Control)

    Multiple Shriekmaw and one Kitchen Finks were in the main deck a while ago (as well as a 2nd and 3rd Recurring Nightmare). The SB Maw is a remnant of that. The deck was originally GB but after a lot of test games in which I never (not once) made the Recurring Nightmare / Shriekmaw stunt but had a few losses against Tombstalker and Master of Etherium I came to the conclusion that the deck just wants Swords to Plowshares so I added White. Finks are only in the sideboard because you want to keep your cards that can get dominated at a minimum. They are a bad or mediocre draw in the majority of the matchups and they are no key target for GSZ like KotR or Goyf.
    With Elspeth I was worried about having the double White Mana but she is certainly a card to consider

    Birthing Pod is interesting. I do no want to dismiss it because it certainly has potential and is good with Explorer but it seems to me that it requires just a bit too mcuh setup and mana / life investment.

    The matchup against Landstill resolves around a few key cards and beatdown is usually irrelevant. Landstill has Jace, sometimes Elspeth, as their heavy threats and you have a hard time keeping them off the table. The more Elspeths they have, the worse for you, but I think GerryT doesn't play any.
    On the other hand most LS versions cannot beat a resolved Karn, pre or postboard. Karn comes close to a 7 Mana Sorcery that reads "You win the game". It enters the battlefield, either exiles a Factory or a Planeswalker or goes to 10 loyalty and then they are screwed. And with 4 Therapies + 3 Thoughtseizes + 3 Witnesses + 4 GSZ for Witness you have good odds of resolving it if the game goes long. On top of that like you mentioned Thrun is a total pain for them, this matchup is the main reason why I want 2 of them in the main with a third in the side. Postboard games get strictly bette, with Grips/Vindicates, another Thrun and additional Discard instead of Swords and Spike Weaver while they can't really side all that much.

  6. #6
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    Re: Nic Fit (GBW Explorer Zenith Control)

    Quote Originally Posted by Tao View Post
    The deck was originally GB but after a lot of test games in which I never (not once) made the Recurring Nightmare / Shriekmaw stunt but had a few losses against Tombstalker and Master of Etherium I came to the conclusion that the deck just wants Swords to Plowshares so I added White.
    Hm, I'd play something like this to deal with them, rather then adding white just for Swords. (And Pernicious Deed should win against the Etherium deck easily)


    Doom Blade
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    Thrun, the Last Troll

  7. #7

    Re: Nic Fit (GBW Explorer Zenith Control)

    Regarding your matchups, High Tide seems terrible. Not sure about other kinds of combo.

  8. #8
    Taobotmox

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    Re: Nic Fit (GBW Explorer Zenith Control)

    White Splash: I added White because Swords to Plowshares are so much better than the alternatives that a splash strenghtens the deck overall. StoP is strictly superior (well 95%) because unlike its black alternatives it has no restrictions (Artifact/Black/Toughness), exiles the threat for good and most importantly only costs one Mana. When your plan is to Eternal Witness for Removal and GSZ for Witness for Removal the differences in Mana cost start to pile up and when the games go long odds are not bad that you will run into the wrong threat for the Removal in your hand.

    High Tide matchup: If you know early enough that you play against High Tide don't sacrifice the Explorer unless you have a good reason. The plan is to draw a good amount of discard, preferably Therapies, and replay it with Witnesses. Postboard it gets almost even, but with the negative G1 you are quite far behind overall. But considering that most other matchups are positive this is okay.

  9. #9
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    Re: Nic Fit (GBW Explorer Zenith Control)

    I'd consider the Diabolic Intent, Kitchen Finks, Black and White Titans as an options.

    A guy in my area is developing this deck for a while and currently plays this list:


    // Lands
    2 [ZEN] Verdant Catacombs
    3 [B] Bayou
    2 [P3] Swamp (3)
    2 [P3] Plains (3)
    1 [SH] Volrath's Stronghold
    2 [B] Savannah
    4 [P3] Forest (2)
    1 [US] Phyrexian Tower
    3 [ON] Windswept Heath

    // Creatures
    2 [SHM] Kitchen Finks
    1 [UL] Bone Shredder
    1 [UD] False Prophet
    2 [ARB] Qasali Pridemage
    1 [M11] Sun Titan
    4 [FUT] Tarmogoyf
    3 [FD] Eternal Witness
    4 [WL] Veteran Explorer
    1 [LRW] Shriekmaw
    1 [M11] Grave Titan
    1 [LRW] Gaddock Teeg

    // Spells
    3 [AP] Pernicious Deed
    3 [FNM] Cabal Therapy
    4 [FNM] Swords to Plowshares
    2 [EX] Recurring Nightmare
    3 [MBS] Green Sun's Zenith
    2 [PS] Diabolic Intent
    2 [ARL] Maelstrom Pulse

  10. #10

    Re: Nic Fit (GBW Explorer Zenith Control)

    I think that diabolic intent is a clever choice. So you guys never thought about adding some kind of library manipulation? Maybe that's just me, but in testing i've got into quite a few topdeck wars. But then again, a topdecked zenith often meant gg.

  11. #11
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    Re: Nic Fit (GBW Explorer Zenith Control)

    A couple of us in Syracuse have been fooling around with simular builds to this. This is close to what I've been running.

    4x Birds of Paradise
    3x Veteran Explorer
    2x Eternal Witness
    4x Knight of the Reliquary
    2x Qasali Pridemage
    3x Sun Titan

    4x Swords to Plowshares
    3x Pernicious Deed

    2x Garruk Wildspeaker

    4x Thoughtseize
    3x Cabal Therapy
    3x Sensei's Divining Top

    4x Verdant Catacombs
    4x Windswept Heath
    1x Volrath's Stronghold
    1x Phyrexian Tower
    1x Wasteland
    2x Bayou
    2x Savannah
    2x Swamp
    3x Plains
    3x Forest

    SB:

    1x Bojuka Bog
    2x Elspeth, Knight-Errant
    2x Krosan Grip
    3x Wrath of God
    3x Extirpate
    4x Open Slots

    What I've found is GSZ isn't that great in my list.

    The deck want to get Deed with Sun Titan. When the deck is rolling it's totally unfair.

    The problem I've been running into is after a week or two people don't block Veteran Explorer and don't swing into it because they've found out it leads to bad things for them.
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  12. #12
    Taobotmox

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    Re: Nic Fit (GBW Explorer Zenith Control)

    That is a lot of quality input, nice lists Tinefol and Burshwagg. Good enough that atm I couldn't say what the right choices are.
    I am not sure about Sensei Top (aka library manipulation). I also lost games because I didn't draw anymore gas but I won most top deck wars. I felt that with GSZ and the high end cards just drawing one card with Wall of Blossoms was better for 2 Mana.
    I had Grave Titan in and it was okay. It is quite hard to tell which kill is better between Titans and Karn. Like I said Karn was very impressive for me. But I also forgot that Sun Titan could return Deeds (thought only about creatures) which is as some say a big game. I am not sure about the kill conditions. Karn, Elspeth, Sun Titan, Grave Titan and Garruk all have advantages.
    I do not like the card Diabolic Intent but that doesn't mean it is bad and shouldn't be played. It gives flexibility in the choice of your win conditions and finding Therapy or Deed or Swords is crucial in certain matchups.

    Another card I just thought of when I wrote this is Innocent Blood. It is 1cc Removal, handles the Emrakul/Progenitus problem and synergizes with our Explorer.

  13. #13
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    Re: Nic Fit (GBW Explorer Zenith Control)

    That is a lot of quality input, nice lists Tinefol and Burshwagg. Good enough that atm I couldn't say what the right choices are.
    I am not sure about Sensei Top (aka library manipulation). I also lost games because I didn't draw anymore gas but I won most top deck wars. I felt that with GSZ and the high end cards just drawing one card with Wall of Blossoms was better for 2 Mana.
    Thank you. This list isn't the most current though. I can't remember if I eneded up cutting Top but pretty much the core is the same. Innocent Blood can be pretty good in the deck. I was playing Diabolic Edict for the Show and Tell decks.

    @Garruk: I like beacause he survives Deeds and can help accel the deck even more. Plus I found the deck needed something to put pressure on the board at times.

    @Elspeth:I use her more in the control match. Vs. aggro she has been less then stellar.

    @Intent:I wouldn't be to fast to write it off. That seems like some hot tech. It sacs the Explorer regaurdless if it's countered.
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  14. #14
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    Re: Nic Fit (GBW Explorer Zenith Control)

    Chameleon Colossus screams GG against Merfolk with probably one or two combat phase. Considering the mana ramp you are able to do, it is easily a 12/12 14/14 unblockable attacker if the Merfolk player has 1 LoA and 1-2 random lords on the table. Colossus it's also a very good beater on its own, but probably that spot is already in the hands of Thrun. A very good SB card against Merfolk anyway (considering that nowadays they play 3 Dismember in sb....pro black is nuts against them.)
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  15. #15
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    Re: Nic Fit (GBW Explorer Zenith Control)

    I really like this concept!
    Has anyone tried Reveillark to return Witness/Reliquary/Quasali/Bone Shreder/etc?
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  16. #16
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    Re: Nic Fit (GBW Explorer Zenith Control)

    Quote Originally Posted by ScatmanX View Post
    I really like this concept!
    Has anyone tried Reveillark to return Witness/Reliquary/Quasali/Bone Shreder/etc?
    +1. Reveillark is probably even better than any other wincon suggested, and better than any Titan.It's synergistic with Cabal Therapy and Diabolic Intent, it is a nice evasive beater, plus evoking Reveillark and eot Volrath Stronghold it on top is so good that is win more :D
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  17. #17
    Amen, brotha.
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    Re: Nic Fit (GBW Explorer Zenith Control)

    Quote Originally Posted by kiblast View Post
    +1. Reveillark is probably even better than any other wincon suggested, and better than any Titan.It's synergistic with Cabal Therapy and Diabolic Intent, it is a nice evasive beater, plus evoking Reveillark and eot Volrath Stronghold it on top is so good that is win more :D
    Sun Titan enables a Deed lock, which kills Aggro dead.

    I've played against a very similiar deck some time ago, he played Fauna Shaman to tutor for his creatures - I think that's worth looking into.
    This looks like a job for me.

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  18. #18
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    Re: Nic Fit (GBW Explorer Zenith Control)

    So it looks like you all using Deed mostly as an answer to (swarm) aggro.
    This leads me to an idea: remove Deeds and add Stoneforge package.
    Mystic + Batterskull is great thing to capitalize on mana you have from Explorer since if opp kills the kor, you still have mana to slam down the skull. And it seems to be good as your normal 2-drop.
    Something like:
    4 Forest
    2 Plains
    2 Swamp
    1 Phyrexian Tower
    3 Verdant Catacombs
    3 Windswept Heath
    2 Bayou
    2 Savannah
    1 Scrubland

    3 Green Sun's Zenith
    4 Veteran Explorer
    2 Qasali Pridemage
    3 Stoneforge Mystic
    1 Tarmogoyf
    3 Eternal Witness
    2 Kitchen Finks
    1 Glissa, the Traitor
    1 Thrun, the Last Troll

    4 Cabal Therapy
    4 Swords to Plowshares
    2 Diabolic Intent
    1 Umezawa's Jitte
    2 Engineered Explosives
    2 Maelstrom Pulse/Vindicate
    1 Recurring Nightmare
    1 Sword of Fire and Ice
    2 Elspeth, Knight-Errant
    1 Batterskull

    Switch to Vindicate/Pulse and toys for Thrun allow you to opposite Jace.decks more efficiently and still not lose to random artifacts and enchantments. Oh, and Batterskull breaks Humility in half.
    Glissa looks worth testing in this list since she is Zenithable, holds most attackers at bay, carries equips like champ and can bring your toys back.
    Last edited by eq.firemind; 05-31-2011 at 08:48 AM. Reason: Glissa flashed in my mind
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  19. #19
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    Re: Nic Fit (GBW Explorer Zenith Control)

    Reveillark is probably even better than any other wincon suggested, and better than any Titan.
    Reveillark can only get back creatures and it does this only once unless you have reanimate it. Sun Titan does it when it comes into play and when it attacks. Plus it's any permanent not just craetures.

    There is a ton ways this deck can go. For a while I was running Natural Order with Progs, Terastodon, and Woodfall Primus in the SB. I do still like Deed, even though it can't deal with Planeswalkers, it deals with everything else and if need be you can board the Pulses or Vindicates.
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  20. #20
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    Re: Nic Fit (GBW Explorer Zenith Control)

    I think the way to go is a pure control deck. Playing beatdown with fat guys like Goyf and KotR has often left me in a bad spot because many opponents will just deal with them 1 for 1 and follow that with cards that either create CA or outtempo you but they can't 1 for 1 you if all you play are CiP creatures. Eternal Witness is the card I want to draw and GSZ for most of the time so I went up to 4.

    Planeswalker are a huge pain. Atm I win clearly more than half of my matches in testing but most of the losses are either fast Combo or Planeswalker. Combo has to be dealt with Teeg + Discard from the Sideboard but for the Planeswalkers I added 2 Maelstrom Pulses to the main for 2 Deeds and a third Pulse in the Side. Changing to a more aggressive style only because of Planeswalkers is not worth it. btw I forgot that Pulse existed, it is clearly better than Vindicate because of the easier Mana so I replaced it in the OP.

    And I agree that the initial list is a bit too bad at topdecking. The deck probably wants 2-3 Sensei's Tops and 2-3 additional big guns instead of most of the GSZ one-offs. Atm I think Grave Titan is the best choice for the big threat because it is the most reliable. It doesn't need White Mana and it does not rely on having good stuff in the graveyard like Sun Titan (or Lark). I am also still very convinced of Karn as the other win condition because it dominates problematic stuff like other Planeswalkers, Moat or Humility.

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