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Thread: U/B/g The Mind Harvester

  1. #1
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    U/B/g The Mind Harvester

    It's the Mind Harvester!

    This is a deck inspired by various Intuition/Loam decks from the past. Back in 2006, I put a little bit of development into a deck called Aggro DAT (Dredge-a-Tog). Later, I helped Goaswerfraiejen and Solpugid develop a similar deck that took many names (first TarmoTog, then Intuition-Thresh, and most recently River Rock). I also contributed a little bit to a deck called "It's the Fear!"

    Fast forward to Fall 2011.

    This deck is a control deck built around the Intuition/Loam engine. I've tried experimenting with Intuition/Loam in several blue-based aggro/control shells lately, but the deck has turned into a pure control deck everytime I'm done tuning it. The slow nature of Intuition/Loam has proven (to me) to be more effective in a control shell.

    I think the name itself should be pretty obvious as you examine the decklist.

    Current Decklist (as of 8/6/2011)

    U/B/g The Mind Harvester

    // Lands (23)
    4 [ON] Polluted Delta
    4 [ZEN] Misty Rainforest
    4 [R] Underground Sea
    2 [R] Tropical Island
    1 [R] Bayou
    2 [UNH] Island
    1 [UNH] Swamp
    1 [UNH] Forest
    2 [ON] Lonely Sandbar
    1 [OD] Cabal Pit
    1 [TE] Wasteland

    // Spells (37)
    1 [EVE] Worm Harvest
    4 [WWK] Jace, the Mind Sculptor
    4 [IA] Brainstorm
    4 [TE] Intuition
    1 [RAV] Life from the Loam
    4 [IA] Counterspell
    4 [AL] Force of Will
    2 [LRW] Thoughtseize
    1 [US] Duress
    1 [EVE] Raven's Crime
    2 [OD] Ghastly Demise
    2 [OD] Innocent Blood
    1 [TE] Diabolic Edict
    2 [MBS] Go for the Throat
    4 [AP] Pernicious Deed

    // Sideboard (15)
    SB: 4 [ZEN] Spell Pierce
    SB: 2 [PLC] Damnation
    SB: 2 [FD] Engineered Explosives
    SB: 2 [M10] Pithing Needle
    SB: 1 [ON] Gigapede
    SB: 1 [IA] Zuran Orb
    SB: 1 [SOM] Nihil Spellbomb
    SB: 1 [WWK] Bojuka Bog
    SB: 1 [TSP] Academy Ruins

    Original Decklist:

    U/B/g The Mind Harvester

    // Lands (23)
    4 [ON] Polluted Delta
    4 [ZEN] Misty Rainforest
    4 [R] Underground Sea
    2 [R] Tropical Island
    1 [R] Bayou
    2 [UNH] Island
    1 [UNH] Swamp
    2 [ON] Lonely Sandbar
    1 [TSP] Academy Ruins
    1 [SH] Volrath's Stronghold
    1 [TE] Wasteland

    // Creatures (3)
    3 [LRW] Shriekmaw

    // Spells (34)
    1 [EVE] Worm Harvest
    4 [WWK] Jace, the Mind Sculptor
    4 [IA] Brainstorm
    4 [TE] Intuition
    1 [RAV] Life from the Loam
    1 [EVE] Raven's Crime
    4 [IA] Counterspell
    4 [AL] Force of Will
    2 [OD] Innocent Blood
    2 [ON] Smother
    3 [FD] Engineered Explosives
    4 [SH] Mox Diamond

    // Sideboard (15)
    SB: 4 [ZEN] Spell Pierce
    SB: 2 [AP] Pernicious Deed
    SB: 2 [PLC] Damnation
    SB: 2 [M10] Pithing Needle
    SB: 1 [ALA] Fleshbag Marauder
    SB: 1 [TO] Llawan, Cephalid Empress
    SB: 1 [IA] Zuran Orb
    SB: 1 [SOM] Nihil Spellbomb
    SB: 1 [WWK] Bojuka Bog

    Fundamentally, the deck does what your average blue-based control deck does: destroy some creatures, draw some cards, counter some spells, and then drop a Jace TMS. It is the way that this deck goes about doing those things that seperates it from other similar control decks.

    There's no fancy way of saying it; this deck abuses the graveyard. This opens the deck up to graveyard hate postboard, but it gives the deck a tremendous amount of power that is worth the Achilles Heel.

    Intuition/Loam is a monster of a card advantage engine. It's slower than the more commonly played Standstill and Ancestral Visions, but it is far more powerful.

    On it's own, casting Life from the Loam grants the same card advantage as Standstill. While it only draws lands instead of business, the deck has numerous means to convert the lands into business, and honestly... how often does a Standstill draw a grip of lands anyway?

    Some people think Intuition is overpowered in a deck like Hive Mind, where it is essentially a Demonic Tutor for 3. What many people fail to realize, is that Intuition in a Loam shell, is essentially 3 Demonic Tutors for 3.

    Intuition for Life from the Loam and Worm Harvest is extremely underrated, and incredibly powerful. Loam itself ramps into the necessary mana for Harvest, quickly and easily. Spamming 1/1 tokens on the board helps to stabilize the ground against aggro, and gives the deck a near impossible to deal with win condition against control. By midgame, it's not out of the question to go into Empty the Warrens-mode and spam out 10 1/1 tokens a turn.

    Intuition also sets up alot of other powerful engines.

    Raven's Crime turns every land into a discard spell. While Raven's Crime may be lackluster against aggro decks that drop their entire hand in the first few turns, it absolutely destroys opposing control and combo decks, which do in fact make up a big portion of the metagame. Some people think the best way to resolve a Jace TMS is to cast a Vendilion Clique first to clear the way; I happen to think casting Mind Twist is better.

    Academy Ruins and Volrath's Stronghold set up the ability to recur removal. Between 3 Shriekmaw and 3 Engineered Explosives, one of them is bound to end up in the graveyard prior to casting an Intuition. The 3rd card in the Intuition pile (since you're likely grabbing Loam and Harvest) is usually going to be the missing piece to whatever removal combo is available. If both Shriekmaw and Engineered Eplosives are in the graveyard, then the choice becomes dependant on the particular matchup and situation.

    Shriekmaw itself is extremely underrated. While Shriemkaw may be a little more conditional than the other normally conditional black removal spells, there are many benefits associated with the elemental. As a creature, he is able to destroy Emrakul, the Aeons Torn and Bridge from Below. Additionally, hardcasting Shriekmaw is really good; they lose a guy, and you get a 3/2 body with Fear. The body itself can block/trade with an attacker, or can itself become an evasive attacker/win condition. In this deck, with Volrath's Stronghold, the Maw is amawzing.

    The removal package is rounded out with a diverse package. Some sacrifice effects, some targeted effects, and EE's can deal with a wide variety of permanents. With Mox Diamond, EE can easily deal with 4cc stuff, and even hit 5cc stuff sometimes.

    Force of Will and Counterspell are bread and butter, respectively. They are the glue which holds the deck together, answering most of the randomness you might find in the format. The deck does not run Spell Snare and Mental Misstep because the deck does not need narrow countermagic; it has a various array of removal to deal with early resolved stuff instead. Nothing is worse than holding a grip of Mental Misstep and Spell Snare, only to watch the opponent cast a Show and Tell, Natural Order, Jace TMS, or whatever the case may be.

    Jace TMS is Jace TMS. 4 copies has been great in testing.

    The singleton Wasteland gives the deck answers to problematic lands like manlands, is tutorable, and can be recurred.

    Lonely Sandbar and Life from the Loam go hand in hand. Sandbar pitches to Mox Diamond's early, cantrips during a land flood, and converts lands into business once Loam is online. Postboard, it can used to effectively prevent most forms of graveyard hate from hitting Loam.

    Mox Diamond and Life from the Loam go hand in. The acceleration into turn 2 Intuition and/or turn 3 Jace TMS should not be overlooked. Against a deck where the difference between 1cc removal and 2cc removal is relevant (like Goblins and Zoo), a turn 1 Mox Diamond fixes my "heavy with 2cc removal" problem.

    I think that about covers everything concerning the maindeck. The sideboard is still in its testing phases, and so for now, I will leave that area up for discussion. However, I have been pleased with it so far. There are way too many available options though, so there is no way this deck will ever have a perfect sideboard.

    EDIT: WOAH. Post 1,666... for a thread I title'd The Mind Harvester. Interesting...
    Last edited by Hanni; 08-06-2011 at 08:16 PM.
    Sligh
    Mentor Deathblade
    The Mind Harvester
    Wb Tokens
    4c Nobleblade

    Quote Originally Posted by MMogg View Post
    In porn terms, Zoo has a 11" shlong and an impressive money shot, but it's over in 4 minutes, whereas Landstill is a good 8" and can go for 30 minutes.

  2. #2

    Re: U/B/g The Mind Harvester

    I'd consider an E. Witness, largely just so you can get more value out of Volrath's Stronghold. Plus, it's kind of cute with Innocent Blood.

  3. #3
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    Re: U/B/g The Mind Harvester

    I'd consider an E. Witness, largely just so you can get more value out of Volrath's Stronghold. Plus, it's kind of cute with Innocent Blood.
    I had considered him for the immediate +1 CA, but I have no idea how to fit him in. The maindeck is extremely tight, and there is no spell in the deck that I think Eternal Witness would be better than.

    Aside from that, the Stronghold -> Witness plan is rediculously slow. Unless he's grabbing something cheap like Innocent Blood or Brainstorm, I should be in a dominating game state if I can recur him with Stronghold, cast him, and then cast the spell I got back.

    I know ITF used to run him, but man was that deck slow as balls.
    Sligh
    Mentor Deathblade
    The Mind Harvester
    Wb Tokens
    4c Nobleblade

    Quote Originally Posted by MMogg View Post
    In porn terms, Zoo has a 11" shlong and an impressive money shot, but it's over in 4 minutes, whereas Landstill is a good 8" and can go for 30 minutes.

  4. #4

    Re: U/B/g The Mind Harvester

    I hear that, but if you're looking for space I could see cutting a Shriekmaw. That said, a deck playing 4x Jace probably has more than enough CA to worry about anything like that.

  5. #5

    Re: U/B/g The Mind Harvester

    Awesome deck mate, seriously.
    A question from someone thinking about sleeving it up: how do you play around the games 2 and 3 grave hate?

  6. #6
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    Re: U/B/g The Mind Harvester

    After playtesting, I'm thinking 4 Lonely Sandbar's is way too many. Too many inconsistent openers, and this deck doesn't need cycling the same way Aggro Loam does.

    -2 Lonely Sandbar
    +1 Tropical Island
    +1 Bayou
    Sligh
    Mentor Deathblade
    The Mind Harvester
    Wb Tokens
    4c Nobleblade

    Quote Originally Posted by MMogg View Post
    In porn terms, Zoo has a 11" shlong and an impressive money shot, but it's over in 4 minutes, whereas Landstill is a good 8" and can go for 30 minutes.

  7. #7

    Re: U/B/g The Mind Harvester

    Have you tried Maelstrom Pulse over EE? EE recurs with ruins, but Pulse can kill Tombstalker, 4 CMC stuff, and it's cheaper if you're going for anything other than a zero/one-drop.

    Only 1 Wasteland? I see that you've already got Ruins and Stronghold tapping for colorless, but still you can pitch extra Wastes to Diamond or retrace or Brainstorm/Jace it away.

    Why not Smallpox? You've got Loam+friends, so losing a land isn't a big deal.
    Last edited by Greenpoe; 08-03-2011 at 01:57 AM.

  8. #8
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    Re: U/B/g The Mind Harvester

    4 intuition seems greedy.
    And your creature hate suite deserves pimpage, which is, why id go -1 intuitiOn + 1 spotremoval/shackles

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    Re: U/B/g The Mind Harvester

    Awesome deck mate, seriously.
    A question from someone thinking about sleeving it up: how do you play around the games 2 and 3 grave hate?
    Thanks. Grave hate is only a hinderance, not a deterrent. Without the graveyard, the deck is still very similar to a deck like UBG Landstill in that it destroys creatures, counters spells, and the drops a Jace TMS.

    Against traditional graveyard hate like Tormod's Crypt and Relic of Progenitus, the deck plays around those by holding a Lonely Sandbar in hand and floating a U. That way, if they hit the graveyard, you can still return your Life from the Loam. You lose everything else that was in the graveyard, unfortunately, but the deck doesn't actually need the graveyard to win the game; it just makes it alot easier.

    Extirpate on Loam can be an issue, but the deck can still get value out of an already on-board Ruins/Stronghold, and Worm Harvest can still be cast via topdecked lands.

    Aside from Extirpate, there's also the option to counter their graveyard hate.

    Have you tried Maelstrom Pulse over EE? EE recurs with ruins, but Pulse can kill Tombstalker, 4 CMC stuff, and it's cheaper if you're going for anything other than a zero/one-drop.

    Only 1 Wasteland? I see that you've already got Ruins and Stronghold tapping for colorless, but still you can pitch extra Wastes to Diamond or retrace or Brainstorm/Jace it away.

    Why not Smallpox? You've got Loam+friends, so losing a land isn't a big deal.
    I had considered Maelstrom Pulse for the sideboard, but ultimately decided it wasn't worth it. Tombstalker is one of the only creatures that is hard to deal with. 2 Innocent Blood maindeck and 2 Damnation sideboard should be enough ways to deal with it, unless of course you expect alot of Tombstalker in your meta. In that case, I would drop the 2 Smother or 2 Innocent Blood for 2 Maelstrom Pulse.

    Engineered Explosives is not a spell that should be dropped from this deck. It may be slow, but it can act as a sweeper against many decks, and the recursion with Ruins is a huge component of this deck. Engineered Explosives is really, really good.

    I only run 1 Wasteland because this deck is not a tempo aggro/control deck. This is a mana hungry control deck. I want to consistently make land drops every turn, not aggressively destroy my opponent's lands. This deck is also fairly color intensive at times. The singleton Wasteland is there as a means of dealing with utility lands and manlands. Since Smother also deals with manlands, the deck essentially has 3 removal spells to deal with manlands, one of which can be tutored with Intuition and recurred with Life from the Loam.

    With Ruins and Stronghold already being nonbasic lands that tap for colorless, more Wasteland's are only going to weaken the decks manabase. The fact that I can shuffle extras away or pitch them to Mox Diamond does not change the fact that they will cause more inconsistent starts from not having the proper colored mana sources. I could see maybe cutting 1 Bayou for 1 Wasteland, going up to 2 copies; that may actually be a good idea. More than 2 just seems very greedy.

    Preboard, Worm Harvest is another way of dealing with manlands. Postboard, Pithing Needles can come in as additional answers to manlands.

    As far as Smallpox goes, I have not tried it yet. This deck is not built around attacking the opponent's manabase, though. I can see a version running Tabernacle, Sinkhole, etc making good use out of Smallpox. In this particular deck, Smallpox is going to be much worse than Innocent Blood more often than not. This is a mana hungry control deck. I want my land drops. Smallpox does the opposite.

    4 intuition seems greedy.
    And your creature hate suite deserves pimpage, which is, why id go -1 intuitiOn + 1 spotremoval/shackles
    Why is 4 Intuition greedy? Intuition is to this deck as Standstill is to UGB Landstill. Intuition is my draw engine. 2U may cost 1 more than Standstill, but with Mox Diamond, I can accelerate into it. It's also instant speed, which means I can stay untapped to cast Smother, Counterspell, Brainstorm, etc, if I need to; I cast it EOT when I'm able to.

    There are also plenty of targets for Intuition, so it's not like it's dead in multiples. Even in a situation where I no longer need Intuitions, the deck has 4 Brainstorm and 4 Jace TMS to shuffle it away, and 4 Force of Will to pitch it to. Fact is, I want to see Intuition every game, and the sooner the better. 4 Intuition is as much the right number as 4 Jace TMS is. In fact, I'd sooner cut 1 Jace TMS from this deck before I'd cut an Intuition.

    As far as the removal goes, I wouldn't mind having an 11th removal spell. The deck has been performing just fine with 10, though. The fact that this deck has the ability to recur its removal spells increases the actual removal density to a much higher count than 10. Also, don't forget that Worm Harvest can essentially be considered a removal spell, and Jace's -1 (bounce) adds additional creature control as well.

    As far as Shackles specifically, this deck cannot support it very well. My UW Control deck runs 3, because it's absolutely amazing in that deck. In here, I run too many non-Islands, and only 1 basic Island, to really make Shackles work properly. I had originally tried it, because I frickin love that card, but it just doesn't work that well in here. Maybe as a singleton to tutor for postboard against a deck like Merfolk it could be good, but against any deck with Tarmogoyf or anything larger than a 3/x, it's pretty bad.
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    The Mind Harvester
    Wb Tokens
    4c Nobleblade

    Quote Originally Posted by MMogg View Post
    In porn terms, Zoo has a 11" shlong and an impressive money shot, but it's over in 4 minutes, whereas Landstill is a good 8" and can go for 30 minutes.

  10. #10

    Re: U/B/g The Mind Harvester

    Is the acceleration provided by the Moxes really necessary? I mean, you're in no hurry to play your spells..

    I could however by biassed by my lack of moxes.

    As you're running Loam, isn't Dust Bowl superior to Wasteland? By casting Loam, you can destroy 3 lands, while with Wasteland you only kill 1.

    What do you think of adding a basic forest?
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  11. #11
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    Re: U/B/g The Mind Harvester

    Is the acceleration provided by the Moxes really necessary? I mean, you're in no hurry to play your spells..

    I could however by biassed by my lack of moxes.

    As you're running Loam, isn't Dust Bowl superior to Wasteland? By casting Loam, you can destroy 3 lands, while with Wasteland you only kill 1.

    What do you think of adding a basic forest?
    The acceleration provided by Mox Diamond is awesome. Turn 1 Shriekmaw/Smother is great against aggro, and turn 2 Intuition sets the deck up very quickly. Accelerating into Worm Harvest is incredibly powerful, and have you ever cast a turn 3 Jace TMS? It's pretty awesome. The recurring removal engines are fairly mana hungry, and Mox Diamond helps to speed that up. Turn 1 Counterspell is amazing against fast combo decks. Postboard, turn 2 Deed and turn 3 Damnation are also really good against aggro decks.

    There are some games where I have a hand with a Mox in it that I don't use, because I don't need the accel. In these cases, I usually hold onto it until I hit Brainstorm, Jace TMS, or Intuition/Loam. In the case of Brainstorm/Jace TMS, I just shuffle it away. In the case of Intuition/Loam, the extra accel in the midgame is great. The cases where I don't use Mox early are few and far between though; the only time I don't is against slower decks, and this format is pretty fast.

    Dust Bowl is better in a deck that doesn't use Life from the Loam. With Life from the Loam, Wasteland is alot stronger. With Dust Bowl, you're still losing a land drop, except it's costing you 3 mana vs Wasteland being free.

    I am not opposed to running a basic Forest, and have considered it. The deck runs 1 Life from the Loam as its only green spell though (since Worm Harvest can be cast for black mana), so it's a totally useless color until you draw Loam/cast Intuition, outside of casting EE@3. Don't forget that Mox Diamond can provide green, and is also immune to Wasteland.

    I can see a basic Forest becoming more necessary postboard if I bring in Pernicious Deed or Viridian Zealot. For now, I've been doing fine without it, but I wouldn't disagree with those who would prefer to add a basic Forest.
    Sligh
    Mentor Deathblade
    The Mind Harvester
    Wb Tokens
    4c Nobleblade

    Quote Originally Posted by MMogg View Post
    In porn terms, Zoo has a 11" shlong and an impressive money shot, but it's over in 4 minutes, whereas Landstill is a good 8" and can go for 30 minutes.

  12. #12

    Re: U/B/g The Mind Harvester

    3 Shriekmaw 0 Fleshbag Marauder is almost certainly wrong.

    There are no tools in here to beat Hive Mind.
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  13. #13
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    Re: U/B/g The Mind Harvester

    LOL. I haven't seen you around in such a long time, and the first post I do see is in my thread, about Hive Mind. :)

    Fleshbag Marauder certainly is a good option. I had considered it as a sideboard option, but forgot to include it in my sideboard for some reason, and that probably is wrong.

    Maindeck though, it's a tough call. 3cc for a sac effect is iffy. Definitely great for dealing with Progenitus, and it can deal with Phyrexian Dreadnought and Tombstalker. I shall consider such things. I don't think discluding it from the maindeck is "most certainly wrong" though. As a control deck, something like that is meta dependant. Shriekmaw is alot better against a deck like Zoo or Merfolk, for example, which are arguably worse matchups for this deck than decks packing Phyrexian Dreadnought, Progenitus, or Tombstalker.

    As far as tools to beat Hive Mind. Heh. Counterspell and Force of Will gives me 8 hard counters that I can cast as early as turn 1 via Mox Diamond. If they take too long to sculpt, or the countermagic can slow them down long enough, Raven's Crime is an absolute blow out. If they try to go off early with Emrakul, I have Shriekmaw. Hive Mind does NOT always have the turn 2 Hive Mind, as much as all the whiners in the [Let's bitch about] Show and Tell thread would disagree.

    Postboard, the extra 4 Spell Pierce give me plenty of time to setup Raven's Crime for the blow out. Plus, if I have a Mox Diamond on the board, paying 4R for a Pact of the Titan is fun.

    I do loathe when people do absolutely no playtesting and then make blank statements about how X deck gets demolished by Y deck, or X deck has no outs to Y spell, or... you get the point. Thanks for reminding me about Fleshbag Marauder, though.

    I'm going to cut 1 Virdian Zealot for 1 Fleshbag Marauder in my sideboard, since Virdian Zealot is unecessary. The OP decklist has also been edited to reflect this change.
    Sligh
    Mentor Deathblade
    The Mind Harvester
    Wb Tokens
    4c Nobleblade

    Quote Originally Posted by MMogg View Post
    In porn terms, Zoo has a 11" shlong and an impressive money shot, but it's over in 4 minutes, whereas Landstill is a good 8" and can go for 30 minutes.

  14. #14

    Re: U/B/g The Mind Harvester

    Love the concept, though I have to say I hate your manabase.

    First and foremost, you want more lands to support Moxes (you will generally need three lands in your starting hand to make Moxen actually good enough). I'd go to at least 24, probably adding a Wasteland (Intuition for Loam, double Wasteland makes mana-denial a very potent strategy if the opportunity arises without forcing you to give up every drawstep). You might even want to consider a Maze or two in removal-slots because it can be Intuitioned for and will enable Moxen even if it doesn't produce mana itself.
    Bayou seems just bad. Why use non-blue duals here? It isn't like you'll need to Raven's Crime more than three times a turn.
    In addition I think you want a single off-color dual to reliably be able to EE for 4 (Jace again).


    Some non-mana related comments:
    I think making room for Mental Misstep over some of the spot-removal is probably a good idea. The ability to interact on turn 0 with most of the format is something that I've learned to love more and more the more I play with the card.
    Trying out a Shackles like klaus suggested also seems like a very good idea.

    SB-options:
    Darkblast should be considered, I think, just because it's easily accessible and very good against a number of cards/decks (Confidant, Lavamancer).
    Maelstrom Pulse is also something I'd want, simply because there are so many Jaces in the format.
    Thoughtseize seems much better than Spell Pierce simply because it gives you a second angle of attack against combo.
    I'd also consider a random Ensnaring Bridge just because a number of decks just lose to it and you could stay low on cards if you so choose.
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  15. #15
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    Re: U/B/g The Mind Harvester

    Love the concept, though I have to say I hate your manabase.

    First and foremost, you want more lands to support Moxes (you will generally need three lands in your starting hand to make Moxen actually good enough). I'd go to at least 24, probably adding a Wasteland (Intuition for Loam, double Wasteland makes mana-denial a very potent strategy if the opportunity arises without forcing you to give up every drawstep). You might even want to consider a Maze or two in removal-slots because it can be Intuitioned for and will enable Moxen even if it doesn't produce mana itself.
    I haven't had many issues with the manabase, though I agree that the 2nd Bayou should probably be a 3rd Tropical Island or 2nd Island.

    24 Mox Diamond is the generally accepted number for decks like Aggro Loam that do not run Brainstorm. 4 Brainstorm's easily make up for running 1 less land. 24 lands with Mox Diamond would be better, and I had originally tried really really hard to keep the deck at 24 lands. What spell is worth cutting to fit it though?

    Maze of Ith is mostly unecessary in here. Good card, but I rarely have issues with single large attackers that don't have Protection From Everything, etc. Without a hard sweeper like Damnation maindeck, forcing the opponent to overextend because of Maze of Ith doesn't help me as much as it would otherwise. It's definitely not bad, and being tutorable is nice, but Maze of Ith essentially sets me back a land drop. I'd rather have a hard removal spell in most cases. Might be good as a sideboard option, but I think it would dilute the maindeck.

    I'll edit the OP decklist to include 1 Bayou and 2 Island (which may become 1 Bayou and 3 Tropical Island later).

    In addition I think you want a single off-color dual to reliably be able to EE for 4 (Jace again).
    Honestly, I'm not too worried about having more ways to answer opposing Jaces. Jace is something that I do want to be able to deal with, but the deck has more ways than just EE@4 to deal with it. I run 4 Jace of my own to Vindicate opposing Jaces, and Worm Harvest tokens are very savage at assassinating opposing Jaces. This deck has a really good opposing control matchup as is; is weakening the manabase by running an off-color dual worth it? I'm not so sure. Not gonna rule this one out, though.

    Some non-mana related comments:
    I think making room for Mental Misstep over some of the spot-removal is probably a good idea. The ability to interact on turn 0 with most of the format is something that I've learned to love more and more the more I play with the card.
    I know that everyone in the format thinks Mental Misstep is nuts and belongs in nearly every deck (I'm not saying that you do, just saying that in general), but I don't. When evaluating Mental Misstep in a deck like this, it is important to consider what problematic 1cc spells this deck has to worry about (since not all decks value the opponent's spells equally), and what spells I would have to remove to fit it in.

    Vial, Top, Nacatl, and Lackey. Those are the only 4 relevant 1cc spells that I can think of that I would want a turn 0 answer to.

    *I've smashed Goblins the last 4 times I've played against it, so I'm not too concerned with Lackey.

    *I run 10 removal spells to deal with Nacatl, and although a fast Zoo start can be problematic, the 2 life loss is relevant.

    *Top is a problem, but most decks running Top are slower matchups, which I tend to have a very strong matchup against as is.

    *Vial is definitely worth Misstep'ing, but I do run EE MD and Deed/Needle postboard. Mental Misstep is pretty lousy against everything else Merfolk would cast, and the 2 life loss is extremely relevant in that matchup.

    Regardless, Mental Misstep is still very good against those 4 spells.

    However, in most every other situation, Mental Misstep is going to be a narrow counterspell that doesn't deal with the problems I need it to. Counterspell, on the other hand, does exactly what I want it to. UU is very easy for this deck to achieve, and there are far more spells with a cc larger than 1 that require me to have an answer to them.

    I don't run Standstill, so I don't need to clear the board turn 1 so I can resolve a turn 2 Standstill. I also run Mox Diamond, which enables turn 1 Counterspell/Shriekmaw/Smother.

    I guess basically what I'm saying is, Mental Misstep is definitely a good card, but what would it replace in this deck, exactly? Counterspell is a much better spell for this deck, and the additional removal seems more relevant than a conditional counter that costs me 2 life.

    There are many decks that I play that run Mental Misstep, that gain a tremendous amount of benefit from doing so. I don't think this deck gains nearly as much. If I didn't run Mox Diamond's, I would likely run Mental Misstep instead.

    Trying out a Shackles like klaus suggested also seems like a very good idea.
    Anyone who has paid attention to my U/W/x CounterTop Walker and Countertop Superfriends threads knows how much I love this card. My manabase has gained several more Islands since the last time I tried Shackles in here, so maybe I'll try it again. I'm still skeptical about my Island count, but we'll see.

    SB-options:
    Darkblast should be considered, I think, just because it's easily accessible and very good against a number of cards/decks (Confidant, Lavamancer).
    Maelstrom Pulse is also something I'd want, simply because there are so many Jaces in the format.
    Thoughtseize seems much better than Spell Pierce simply because it gives you a second angle of attack against combo.
    I'd also consider a random Ensnaring Bridge just because a number of decks just lose to it and you could stay low on cards if you so choose.
    All good options, aside from Ensaring Bridge. This deck will rarely, if ever, stay low on cards. Unlike a deck like Countertop Thopters, this deck is all about card advantage. Forcing myself to keep a low hand count, to try and use an anti-aggro tool that is mostly unecessary since I already run a large number of removal spells, doesn't seem like it's worth the hassle.
    Sligh
    Mentor Deathblade
    The Mind Harvester
    Wb Tokens
    4c Nobleblade

    Quote Originally Posted by MMogg View Post
    In porn terms, Zoo has a 11" shlong and an impressive money shot, but it's over in 4 minutes, whereas Landstill is a good 8" and can go for 30 minutes.

  16. #16
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    Re: U/B/g The Mind Harvester

    Just because Anusien brought it up, I thought it would be interesting to share this.

    I just 2-1'd SNT Hive Mind on MWS (take it for what you will).

    In game 1, he EOT Intuitions, which I Counterspell. He EOT Intuitions again. I have a fetch in play, cast Brainstorm, draw nothing relevant, crack fetch, let it resolve. He grabs 3 Show and Tells. On his turn, he casts Show and Tell. I have a fetch in play, cast Brainstorm, draw nothing relevant, crack fetch, let it resolve. He drops an Emrakul. Ok, sweet, I have a Shriekmaw in hand. Next turn, I untap, cast Shriekmaw. He has the FoW. I cast Brainstorm, draw nothing relevant, lose. I also cycled two Lonely Sandbar's during the game. 3 Brainstorms and 2 Sandbar's deep, 1 Counterspell and 1 Shriekmaw? Ouch. I lose to Emrakul of all things. I have 9 maindeck answers to a resolved Emrakul, not counting the countermagic, Intuition (which can grab 3x FoW if necessary), and Raven's Crime. Oh well.

    -2 Smother
    -3 Engineered Explosives
    +4 Spell Snare
    +1 Fleshbag Marauder

    I dominated both postboard games. Between Spell Pierce, Counterspell, and Force of Will, my opponent simply was unable to resolve anything.

    In game 2, I had an early Brainstorm into FoW + Spell Pierce for a Show and Tell + FoW. I got a nice speed boost early from a Mox Diamond, which EOT accelerated me into a Loam/Crime/Harvest pile off of an EOT Intuition. Two turns of Raven's Crime and he had no hand, and then on the following turn when I made a bunch of 1/1 tokens, he scooped.

    In game 3, I countered two early Show and Tell's, one he had FoW backup for (I think I had something like 1 Pierce, 1 CS, 1 FoW + blue spell). On turn 4, I dropped a Jace, and started drawing cards. He tried several attempts to hardcast a Hive Mind a little later on, and for one of those I actually had to use Intuition to grab 3 FoW (pitching a Jace), which I was hoping to use to setup a Crime-lock the following turn. I cast another Intuition a little later on, that he had a Ravenous Trap for. I had 3 Spell Pierce in my hand at this point (he had 4 Islands and a Grim Monolith, after I hit his Ancient Tomb with a Wasteland), and decided to Fateseal. Fateseal did the trick, as I never needed to use the 3 Spell Pierce sitting in my hand. He scooped after Jace hit 13 counters, and his following draw step yielding nothing relevant.

    In game 3, after he scooped, he showed me a hand of 4 Pacts, 2 Emrakul's, and 1 Spell Pierce.

    I love how dropping a Jace on an empty board shuts down 4 of his win conditions. Having the opponent rely solely on Hive Mind getting there is nice. In the meantime, Jace keeps drawing me cards so that I have more answers than he can deal with, ultimately fatesealing him once I feel comfortable in doing so. Go go Inspector Jace!
    Sligh
    Mentor Deathblade
    The Mind Harvester
    Wb Tokens
    4c Nobleblade

    Quote Originally Posted by MMogg View Post
    In porn terms, Zoo has a 11" shlong and an impressive money shot, but it's over in 4 minutes, whereas Landstill is a good 8" and can go for 30 minutes.

  17. #17

    Re: U/B/g The Mind Harvester

    Quote Originally Posted by Hanni View Post
    I haven't had many issues with the manabase, though I agree that the 2nd Bayou should probably be a 3rd Tropical Island or 2nd Island.

    24 Mox Diamond is the generally accepted number for decks like Aggro Loam that do not run Brainstorm. 4 Brainstorm's easily make up for running 1 less land. 24 lands with Mox Diamond would be better, and I had originally tried really really hard to keep the deck at 24 lands. What spell is worth cutting to fit it though?

    Maze of Ith is mostly unecessary in here. Good card, but I rarely have issues with single large attackers that don't have Protection From Everything, etc. Without a hard sweeper like Damnation maindeck, forcing the opponent to overextend because of Maze of Ith doesn't help me as much as it would otherwise. It's definitely not bad, and being tutorable is nice, but Maze of Ith essentially sets me back a land drop. I'd rather have a hard removal spell in most cases. Might be good as a sideboard option, but I think it would dilute the maindeck.
    I hate relying on Brainstorm to fix my mana woes for me. I also always add one more land once I'm done building my decks, though ;)
    Maze was more meant as a way to turn one of your removals into a Mox enabler than anything else, btw (also bringing you to 24 lands).


    I'll edit the OP decklist to include 1 Bayou and 2 Island (which may become 1 Bayou and 3 Tropical Island later).

    Honestly, I'm not too worried about having more ways to answer opposing Jaces. Jace is something that I do want to be able to deal with, but the deck has more ways than just EE@4 to deal with it. I run 4 Jace of my own to Vindicate opposing Jaces, and Worm Harvest tokens are very savage at assassinating opposing Jaces. This deck has a really good opposing control matchup as is; is weaking the manabase by running an off-color dual worth it? I'm not so sure. Not gonna rule this one out, though.
    Jace is so powerful if it stays in play for a turn or two (I know you know that) that I'd definitely want an easily Intuitionable answer. It doesn't even end with Jace (he's just the worst offender). Something like Elspeth also needs an answer ASAP. Honestly, you will get Wastelanded a lot anyway with that manabase so making the second basic Island you just added or the remaining Bayou into a Tundra/Volc doesn't seem like much of a cost to power up your EEs significantly.

    I know that everyone in the format thinks Mental Misstep is nuts and belongs in nearly every deck (I'm not saying that you do, just saying that in general), but I don't. When evaluating Mental Misstep in a deck like this, it is important to consider what problematic 1cc spells this deck has to worry about (since not all decks value the opponent's spells equally), and what spells I would have to remove to fit it in.

    Vial, Top, Nacatl, and Lackey. Those are the only 4 relevant 1cc spells that I can think of that I would want a turn 0 answer to.

    *I've smashed Goblins the last 4 times I've played against it, so I'm not too concerned with Lackey.

    *I run 10 removal spells to deal with Nacatl, and although a fast Zoo start can be problematic, the 2 life loss is relevant.

    *Top is a problem, but most decks running Top are slower matchups, which I tend to have a very strong matchup against as is.

    *Vial is definitely worth Misstep'ing, but I do run EE MD and Deed/Needle postboard. Mental Misstep is pretty lousy against everything else Merfolk would cast, and the 2 life loss is extremely relevant in that matchup.

    Regardless, Mental Misstep is still very good against those 4 spells.

    However, in most every other situation, Mental Misstep is going to be a narrow counterspell that doesn't deal with the problems I need it to. Counterspell, on the other hand, does exactly what I want it to. UU is very easy for this deck to achieve, and there are far more spells with a cc larger than 1 that require me to have an answer to them.

    I don't run Standstill, so I don't need to clear the board turn 1 so I can resolve a turn 2 Standstill. I also run Mox Diamond, which enables turn 1 Counterspell/Shriekmaw/Smother.

    I guess basically what I'm saying is, Mental Misstep is definitely a good card, but what would it replace in this deck, exactly? Counterspell is a much better spell for this deck, and the additional removal seems more relevant than a conditional counter that costs me 2 life.

    There are many decks that I play that run Mental Misstep, that gain a tremendous amount of benefit from doing so. I don't think this deck gains nearly as much. If I didn't run Mox Diamond's, I would likely run Mental Misstep instead.
    Blanking the opponent's first turn is just so huge, it feels like I want Misstep in every blue control-deck. The reason Misstep doesn't belong in every deck exactly is that it becomes rather mediocre later in the game. Whenever something can draw a ton of cards, though, just trading one for one with whatever random threat becomes a viable lategame use for a early game powerhouse. That's what makes MM better in control than in anything else imo, it just never becomes actually dead because you plan to trade 1 for 1 for the win anyway.
    Ever since I've started hitting cantrips with Misstep in the dark, the card has risen even more in my esteem - people tend to rely on Brainstorms, Ponders and Hierarch/Zenith a lot to turn borderline hands into keepable ones. It also deals with a significant number of random cards you would like to answer with from a multitude of decks even if no heavily played Archetype has them, they add up (Thoughtseize, Stifle, Exploration, REB, Surgical Extraction, half of every non-Hive Mind combo-deck, Mother of Runes, etc etc).

    You just gain so much tempo if Misstep connects, it isn't even funny. I look at it less as a solution for something particularly annoying and more as a Time Walk that sometimes costs life instead of mana. Early game, it usually is just that (having Misstep in hand often plays out as 'would you like to mulligan to make your opponent mulligan and skip their first turn play' - I'd generally answer yes to that question against half the decks in the format. The other half just happens to rely on Brainstorm a lot, giving you a great value-target later). Late game it trades for something random to buy time to either draw more cards or to make sure your recursion-engines don't get raced.
    I would never play them instead of Counterspells, though, as both fill totally different roles (stack control vs getting to the lategame safely). I'd probably start by cutting Smothers (though I'd take care to look for situations during testing where I'm missing removal because of drawing Misstep) and see what else is least necessary during playtesting to get up to the full four.
    I might be wrong and this deck is more interested in more actual removal but not at least starting out with them to see how they do just seems wrong considering the cards powerlevel in draw-heavy control decks.


    All good options, aside from Ensaring Bridge. This deck will rarely, if ever, stay low on cards. Unlike a deck like Countertop Thopters, this deck is all about card advantage. Forcing myself to keep a low hand count, to try and use an anti-aggro tool that is mostly unecessary, doesn't seem like it's worth the hassle.
    As to EBridge: I wasn't thinking of it as an anti-aggro tool (as you mentioned you won't be able to keep your handsize that low) but more as a silver bullet against NO RUG, Reanimator and other decks that have almost nothing but high-power creatures with ridiculous protection abilities. Keeping your handsize down low enough to stop Goyfs as well as the fatties seems like a solid plan there.
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    Re: U/B/g The Mind Harvester

    It was probably wrong of him to keep in Emrakul, but nice result anyways.

    The deck looks pretty sweet, I have to say, although a bit slow.

  19. #19
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    Re: U/B/g The Mind Harvester

    I hate relying on Brainstorm to fix my mana woes for me. I also always add one more land once I'm done building my decks, though ;)
    Maze was more meant as a way to turn one of your removals into a Mox enabler than anything else, btw (also bringing you to 24 lands).
    Counting 4 Brainstorms as the 24th land to satisfy Mox isn't the same as Brainstorm fixing mana woes. We're not talking about a 1-land opener with a Brainstorm, hoping it's going to dig for the 2nd land. We're talking about being able to take advantage of a Mox Diamond in the opener.

    In general, with 23 lands, this deck will not be having mana woes very often. This deck has also 4 Intuition and 1 Life from the Loam to assist in consistently hitting more land drops past the first 3. In testing, mana woes haven't been an issue, and I've been able to get great value out of Mox Diamond.

    Jace is so powerful if it stays in play for a turn or two (I know you know that) that I'd definitely want an easily Intuitionable answer. It doesn't even end with Jace (he's just the worst offender). Something like Elspeth also needs an answer ASAP. Honestly, you will get Wastelanded a lot anyway with that manabase so making the second basic Island you just added or the remaining Bayou into a Tundra/Volc doesn't seem like much of a cost to power up your EEs significantly.
    I can understand the logic here. I like the extra basic Island for the games where my opponent has a Wasteland in play and I want to ramp to 2UU for Jace.

    However, cutting the basic Island for a Volcanic Island (or whatever) offers the same amount of blue color sources, so I get what you mean.

    On a sidenote, a possible sideboard option that is a tutorable/recurrable way to deal with Jace TMS is Vampire Hexmage, but I do not think the deck needs it. If I ran Gifts Ungiven over Intuition, a pile consisting of a Dark Depths, Volrath's Stronghold, Life from the Loam, and Vampire Hexmage would be pretty cool, though.

    Mental Misstep
    I understand how strong Mental Misstep is. In control decks like UW Blade Control and UBG Landstill, Mental Misstep is a great way for those decks to transition from the early game to the midgame, where their card advantage engines and/or superior card quality take over.

    As far as hitting cantrips with Misstep, I think this is a really strong play for aggro/control decks that are capable of capitalizing on the tempo gains. For control decks, I think it's a better gameplan overall to conserve resources to answer problematic things as opposed to hitting a cantrip. A turn 1 Brainstorm doesn't always mean the opponent doesn't have a good hand with relevant lands/threats/spells.

    Like I said, if I wasn't running Mox Diamond, I would run Mental Misstep. Both are similar, in the fact that they help transition from the early game to the mid game. While Mental Misstep may offer some tempo by hitting the opponent's Noble Hierarch or Brainstorm on turn 0/1, neither of those spells are actually threatening.

    Mental Misstep is great because of its speed, but its weakness is in its narrowness. I'm running Mox Diamond because of its speed, and I don't feel like this deck needs a narrow countermagic spell to increase the speed any further. With Mox Diamond, the dynamics of the early game for this deck are much different in comparison with other similar control decks; not only because of the increased speed, but also because of the loss of a card.

    While it can definitely be argued that Mental Misstep would be better in this deck than Mox Diamond, I cannot justify cutting removal for Missteps. If you want to suggest Mental Misstep over Mox Diamond, I would have to ask that you test Mox Diamond in here before making any conclusions. Mox Diamond is really, really good in this deck.

    As to EBridge: I wasn't thinking of it as an anti-aggro tool (as you mentioned you won't be able to keep your handsize that low) but more as a silver bullet against NO RUG, Reanimator and other decks that have almost nothing but high-power creatures with ridiculous protection abilities. Keeping your handsize down low enough to stop Goyfs as well as the fatties seems like a solid plan there.
    Ah, ok. That's understandable now. Ensaring Bridge is definitely nice against Progenitus. I already run 9 maindeck answers to a resolved Emrakul, so I'm not sure that I need any more. As an answer to Progenitus, it seems great, so I will consider it for the sideboard. Between Innocent Blood, Fleshbag Marauder, and Damnation, I don't know if it will actually be needed, though. I need to do a little more playtesting against NO Pro decks, still.
    Sligh
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    Wb Tokens
    4c Nobleblade

    Quote Originally Posted by MMogg View Post
    In porn terms, Zoo has a 11" shlong and an impressive money shot, but it's over in 4 minutes, whereas Landstill is a good 8" and can go for 30 minutes.

  20. #20
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    Re: U/B/g The Mind Harvester

    So after more playtesting with this deck, I've come to some conslusions:

    1) The Intuition/Loam/Retrace engine is really, really good.
    2) The removal recursion engines are too slow.

    I really wanted to make the Ruins/EE/Strongold/Shriekmaw removal engines work, but they were very subpar. The deck still tested well, but I rarely got value out of the removal combos. More often than not, setting up a Worm Harvest was much faster, and overall more effective at shutting down opposing aggro.

    There have been games where Mox Diamond has been absolutely huge, but there have also been games where the card disadvantage has killed me. Between FoW and Mox Diamond, I'm losing too much card advantage early. This is normally okay if I get a Loam engine online early, but that's not always the case.

    Without Ruins, it's hard to justify EE over Pernicious Deed. With Pernicious Deed, it's hard to justify Mox Diamond.

    An oldschool card popped into my head today, that replaces my urge to recur removal. Anyone remember Cabal Pit? Ruins and Stronghold are slow, and don't provide card advantage; Cabal Pit is much faster, and is card advantage through Life from the Loam. Cabal Pit is awesome against Tribal, and can kill x/4 creatures when necessary. Removal recursion urge satisfied, without a bunch of slow clunky spells. Works for me.

    Cutting Shriekmaw for less conditional removal improves some matchups. More importantly, Shriekmaw is 2cc sorcery speed removal, which didn't jive well with Counterspell and Intuition. Hardcasting Shriekmaw was rarely relevant in testing. Cutting EE for Deed improves some matchups too.

    U/B/g The Mind Harvester

    // Lands (23)
    4 [ON] Polluted Delta
    4 [ZEN] Misty Rainforest
    4 [R] Underground Sea
    2 [R] Tropical Island
    1 [R] Bayou
    2 [UNH] Island
    1 [UNH] Swamp
    1 [UNH] Forest
    2 [ON] Lonely Sandbar
    1 [OD] Cabal Pit
    1 [TE] Wasteland

    // Spells (37)
    1 [EVE] Worm Harvest
    4 [WWK] Jace, the Mind Sculptor
    4 [IA] Brainstorm
    4 [TE] Intuition
    1 [RAV] Life from the Loam
    4 [IA] Counterspell
    4 [AL] Force of Will
    2 [US] Duress
    1 [LRW] Thoughtseize
    1 [EVE] Raven's Crime
    2 [OD] Ghastly Demise
    2 [OD] Innocent Blood
    1 [TE] Diabolic Edict
    2 [MBS] Go for the Throat
    4 [AP] Pernicious Deed

    // Sideboard (15)
    SB: 4 [ZEN] Spell Pierce
    SB: 2 [PLC] Damnation
    SB: 2 [FD] Engineered Explosives
    SB: 2 [M10] Pithing Needle
    SB: 1 [ON] Gigapede
    SB: 1 [IA] Zuran Orb
    SB: 1 [SOM] Nihil Spellbomb
    SB: 1 [WWK] Bojuka Bog
    SB: 1 [TSP] Academy Ruins

    The 2/1 Duress/Thoughtseize can become Mental Misstep, but I decided I wanted to try the discard package first. Being able to attack the opponent's hand and counter their spells is a really nice combo that I've had really good success with in the past (in UWb Fish). The knowledge of knowing the opponent's hand invaluable, and the proactive disruption is fantastic at allowing me to resolve a game-winning Intution or Jace TMS. Again, these can (and may) become Missteps later, but I'd like to try the discard first.

    I'm still keeping an Academy Ruins in the sideboard, since it's allows me to run a small artifact toolbox. Intuition for Loam/Ruins/Orb was an absolute bomb against Burn and Sligh in testing, which are arguably my two worst matchups, so for that pile alone, I think the toolbox is worth running.

    Gigapede is nice to bring in against decks that plan on attacking my win conditions. Graveyard hate (especially Extirpate) and Pithing Needle have the potential to shut me down. The extra tutorable win condition can be good sometimes.

    Well, that's all I have for now. After I get sufficient playtesting in with this new list, if it does in fact perform much better than the original list, I'll edit my OP with this decklist instead of the old one.
    Sligh
    Mentor Deathblade
    The Mind Harvester
    Wb Tokens
    4c Nobleblade

    Quote Originally Posted by MMogg View Post
    In porn terms, Zoo has a 11" shlong and an impressive money shot, but it's over in 4 minutes, whereas Landstill is a good 8" and can go for 30 minutes.

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