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Thread: [Primer/Deck] Pox

  1. #41
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    Re: [Primer/Deck] Pox

    Yeah we are talking about the same thing. I didn't play the monoblack since a long time, it still looks more consistent than bg (due to all reasons we already said), but it still hits those walls you said.
    There is an inherent attribute to Black that is: you CAN drw cards, but this has a cost in life. But, with this heavy disruption, do we care about life loss? And adding effects like phyrexian arena (or whatever draw card you remember of) won't dillute the strategy? (since it looks like all the cards are essential)

  2. #42
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    Re: [Primer/Deck] Pox

    I just know that when I did research over Pox over the past couple of years, there were very few B/G Pox lists, while there were alot more mono black pox lists, however there was just enough from B/G lists that I was able to find a couple that had success. It does seem like Loam Pox would be better suited but overall it just hasn't had the performance.

    Also the mono black pox was somewhat propelled after it had success at the invitational by Reid Duke at the end of 2011, so the people playing mono black pox might have gone up since then making the appearances of both sides a little more skewed, as in if enough people "jumped ship" and pushed for just Liliana pox at that point, the number of Loam pox players that remained was lower than it was before the Invitational that put Liliana pox in a bit of a spotlight.

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    Re: [Primer/Deck] Pox

    Quote Originally Posted by feline View Post
    I just know that when I did research over Pox over the past couple of years, there were very few B/G Pox lists, while there were alot more mono black pox lists, however there was just enough from B/G lists that I was able to find a couple that had success. It does seem like Loam Pox would be better suited but overall it just hasn't had the performance.
    Could this be at all related to Pox being widely considered a budget / pet deck, rather than an archetype that is developed to obtain good win %ages across multiple matchups? I suspect that Pox is underdeveloped in Legacy because there is not much rewarding plays the deck can make, and is picked up more for nostalgic reasons rather than competitive reasons.
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  4. #44
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    Re: [Primer/Deck] Pox

    Pox is not about control.


    Any list that does not run 3-4 Pox is flawed.


    The Rack - Hymn - Pox - Pox = Win

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    Re: [Primer/Deck] Pox

    Quote Originally Posted by Hardcore View Post
    Pox is not about control.


    Any list that does not run 3-4 Pox is flawed.


    The Rack - Hymn - Pox - Pox = Win
    That's a very polemic way of saying "I play a pet deck".
    In the past, this may have been true. I feel as thought with the printing of Liliana of the Veil, Pox has the opportunity to move into uncharted territory.
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  6. #46
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    Re: [Primer/Deck] Pox

    Quote Originally Posted by Koby View Post
    Could this be at all related to Pox being widely considered a budget / pet deck, rather than an archetype that is developed to obtain good win %ages across multiple matchups? I suspect that Pox is underdeveloped in Legacy because there is not much rewarding plays the deck can make, and is picked up more for nostalgic reasons rather than competitive reasons.
    That too, alot of times a deck gets "propelled" a bit to a boost after someone somewhere has success with it, while up to that point it's seen as an uncommon strategy.

    There is also the "long time legacy decks" that probably keep decks like Pox, Stax, High Tide, Burn, Mud, Goblins, Fish, Elves etc going, just because they've been a strategy for so long and somewhere someplace, someone will always enjoy those strategies of their preference, personally I have a pox / stax deck because, they are so different, and I know they aren't top tier strategies, they are just my "fun but still viable" Legacy decks, so for local game store, smaller weekly events, I play them there.

    -edit- & yes, since the Liliana Pox, the actual card Pox itself, has been at most a 1 or 2 of in the maindeck, if it's still ran at all.

  7. #47

    Re: [Primer/Deck] Pox

    Nothing makes a deck popular faster then a few high profile wins. But confusing or attempting to correlate "good" with "popular" only leads you to false assumptions such as:

    The deck is the only thing that matters.

    Good decks are always popular.

    Bad decks are always unpopular.


    There are players out there that good enough that they could pilot a ham and cheese to a top 8 win. And players out there so bad they couldn't win a draft if you let them play a type 1 deck completed with power 9.

    If you want to know what the real power and weaknesses to any give deck are and how it compares to other decks you really need to do the testing yourself, you need to test against a large number of different decks, piloted by different people that are highly skilled with them, and they need to people you do not normally play against.

    In short all you know for sure when you look at placings is how Deck A performs in the hands of Pilot X. That has no bearing on how it will preform int he hands of Pilot Y, or how Pilot X will do with Deck B.

    So the point is, if you want to play Pox and try to develop it, then work on it, but do not confuse its success or lack-there-of by people not you as evidence of its power (or lack-there-of) in your hands.


    now we can move back to discussing the deck itself...

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    Re: [Primer/Deck] Pox

    I see people using the term "tier deck" to describe what Pox is not. I don't have anything nice to say about so-called tier decks, except that a lot of people play those decks. When really smart people (like Reid Duke or Ali Aintrazi) play Pox decks, they do well.
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  9. #49
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    Re: [Primer/Deck] Pox

    I would advice anyone who wanted play control to build, our buy, a counterbalance deck. Black simply lack the tools for the job. Liliana can't compensate for not having the blue cantrips and counterspells.
    The classic plan of the surviving the first turns and then stabilize is not viable for black. It must do the opposite: make a mess of the early game and use that to defeat your opponent.

    When I returned to magic last year it was because I realized the potential of the pox effects as the next step in disruption. With the ever increasing power levels in magic the old discard was not good enough. However, I never saw it as control.

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    Re: [Primer/Deck] Pox

    Hardcore I saw your day if the disease list (that is nothing more than a pox that tries to win fast). Care to post it in here for more discussion?
    +++no offense alert for the next paragraph+++
    One more thing, don't say things like "the rack+hymn+pox+pox=win" since a) if you do the match you'll see you can't cast all those cards even if they're on your starting 7 and b) on dreamland dark horizons is the bestestest deck of the world (mana, mox, hymn, bob, vindicate on land, gg)

  11. #51
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    Re: [Primer/Deck] Pox

    Quote Originally Posted by RogueBuild View Post
    Pox has the same 2 problems (1 semi-small, 1 huge) today it has had for the 18 years since it was printed.

    1) The semi small problem is finishing the game. Oddly enough this has gotten worse as time has gone on, not because our options got worse, not because other decks have gotten so much better, but because our control options have gotten so much better. In the old days Pox was 4 sinkholes, 4 Hymns, 4 Pox, 4 Terror (or something long those lines) and a bunch of cheap creatures supported by often with NShadows and AshGhouls (yes, I'm talking way way back before may of you were playing magic). It played a lot more like Gate then Pox of today. Now, I personally personally prefer the heavy control Pox of today over the Pox of the early days but while packing all that control into a deck we need to keep something in mind: Control Cards Do Not Win Games, Damage Does. So the solution has to be finding that balance of control card count Vs ability to kill.
    Liliana is amazing and gives the deck a versatility it desperately needed, but she can not win a game.
    With the exception of Mishra, lands do not win games. And yet lands and other mana effect cards make up just slightly less than 50% of the deck.
    Unless you are playing with Megrim, discard does not win games.

    You can empty their hands, blow up all their lands, remove their graveyards but if you don't have a threat to swing with when they are on the ropes you are just begging them to come back and kick your ass. We have an absolutely horrid topdeck. The average Pox deck has between 5-7 threats, that is roughly 1 in 10. Pox needs to run more threats, BUT, they cant be creatures that interfere with you playing your own cards (this is why I have always opposed TStalker).


    2) This is the bigger problem and if you can solve this, problem 1 is reduced. Pox is at its heart a control deck, but unlike nearly every great control deck in the history of Magic, Pox isn't U, U/? or ?/U. Why is U the holy color of control players? Well counterspells has a lot to do with it, but just as important is draw. The 3rd rule of Magic: Draw More, Win More. The problem isn't that black doesn't have any draw abilities, they problem is they tend to kill us. LotL is draw engine, but in Pox it is a bad one. Unless your plan is to win with VHexmage/DDepths LotL is really just a digging machine for lands and 1 or 2 grave effects, meanwhile you give up drawing a card in order to dig. If you wanted to use LotL as your draw engine you really need to retool the entire deck to work around that.


    Rather than give my solutions for each of these problems I figured I would see what everyone else thinks of the problem 1st and how they approach solving them. How you approach problem #2 will greatly impact problem #1.
    The critics are spot on, despite being, unfortunately, not new. I will try to address your points (and partially respond to what has been said thereafter).

    1. You say this is the smallest of the two problems, but I'm going to disagree on that: IMHO this is the biggest problem that pox has to face. There is quite a number of viable win conditions, 'ghast, stalker, worm harvest, syphon life, hex/depths, terravore... you name it, I've tried it. Unfortunately, none of them fits smoothly with the gameplan of the deck. Bloodghast is too slow and doesn't block, stalker has no sinergy with your removal package, worm harvest is overcosted... the point is, we have no Jace. We have no Entreat the angels. In one way or the other, we have to compromise. Win conditions are dead draws until we get complete control, and this impacts greatly our game. If Liliana could actually close games, I'd think the deck would be much better positioned (Liliana is still awesome, of course).
    2. You can go around point 1 by more card drawing, of course. This is what the Bg version does well, in my experience. It's more flexible and versatile, and you should not underestimate the ability of drawing lands. Lands can be exchanged for cards by Liliana and smallpox, or simply by being a Barren Moor or a Cabal Pit. The tradeoff is that the deck becomes less consistent, requires finer tuning to beat the metagame and it's horribly hard to play. It's one of the hardest decks I've ever played, full of hidden sinergies and with a nightmarish decision tree. Playing 99% sorcery speed means you have to plan for many turns in advance, usually. I've had quite good results with the deck in small tournaments ( and I'm a beast during playtesting), but for the big ones, you sometimes just need some easy wins.


    A possible solution to problem 1) is the lockdown. If you manage to establish a permanent semi-lock you then are free to wait for whatever win condition you're playing. This is why I'm liking trinispheres in Infectious' list, and why I think land denial is particularly powerful in this moment. It allows you to capitalize on the initial tempo gain due to your barrage of disruption, by gaining a long term advantage. Anyways, I'll do some testing and hopefully come out with something that works.
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  12. #52
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    Re: [Primer/Deck] Pox

    I can not agree more with this. Pox discards both hands but your opponent almost always topdecks better cards. I did see sweet list with 4 grave crawler 4 mutavault 2 mishra 2 cursed scroll... it might be the way.

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    Re: [Primer/Deck] Pox

    Quote Originally Posted by Koplinchen View Post
    I can not agree more with this. Pox discards both hands but your opponent almost always topdecks better cards. I did see sweet list with 4 grave crawler 4 mutavault 2 mishra 2 cursed scroll... it might be the way.
    I don't really se how gravecrawler can be better than bloodghast. Neither blocks, and the 'crawler doesn't ever have haste and has arguably a worse recursion constraint. In any case, it's probably a decent win condition, but not better than anything we already had.
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  14. #54
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    Re: [Primer/Deck] Pox

    Pox have PLENTY of win conditions. Buy if you insist on wanting full control before employing them you are gonna lose. I say it again: POX IS NOT A CONTROL DECK.
    At least not of the classic UW type. Trying to emulate it is quite futile.

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    Re: [Primer/Deck] Pox

    I agree that there are wincons, but are they fast enough after the initial onslaught of Pox?

  16. #56

    Re: [Primer/Deck] Pox

    @ Roguebuild
    Regarding your second point, if you had to call pox either control or aggro or combo, then yeah I'd lump it into control, but I'm closer to Hardcore's view that Pox isn't just a control deck. It's something different, it's a disruption deck. And you don't have to draw cards to gain card advantage. Pox knows that lands will be going to the grave, and gets to plan accordingly. Pox knows everyone will be discarding, and hand sizes will be small, and gets to prepare in advance. We gain advantage not from playing card draw (although you could with things like sign in blood), but from things like cursed scroll (small hand size enables it, recurring targeted artifact damage), Nether Spirit (discarded to a lil it's like getting a 2/2 that says play me for free, draw a card, and I can't die), hymn (2 for 1), lil (dump my hand so that her +1 doesn't hurt me, or have a cursed scroll so she helps me stay at 1 card to keep it active), or even just smallpox when we have no other cards in hand or creatures in play.

    "Lock down" is something that can happen, because lots of decks play with tons of fetchlands and few actual lands, and we're afforded cards like trinisphere and nether void, but I think having that be the majority focus of a pox build is being too narrow.

    Regarding your first point, I totally agree that a good number of win conditions is a great idea. Ideally the win conditions get to double as something else (mishra as land, cursed scroll as removal, nether spirit as a free card and amazing blocker, etc). I'd say Tombstalker is one of the MVPs of the deck. I think of pox more as a disruption deck than true control, and once I've staggered someone I want to close the game out quick, and not give them a bunch of turns to draw out with answers. Legacy decks are so powerful (brainstorm, fetch, ponder, fetch, I just looked at 80% of my deck) that I don't think we can hope to completely dictate the flow of the game. A 5/5 flier for 2 mana? Sign me up. Sure he might sometimes hit the grave before a Nether Spirit, but from personal experience it's almost never a problem. I'm often wanting to put a 3rd in because of how easy he is to cast and I want to ensure I get at least one. Casting 2 in a game isn't out of the question either. It's also very very rare that I've got a Tombstalker in play, that hasn't been killed, and I'm holding a smallpox/innocent blood that I look at and think "omg I have to cast this, crap it's going to cost me a tombstalker." But maybe I am just a lucky guy.

    @ Cthuloo
    I agree on bloodghast. I want to love him, I've tried playing him many times, but he's just too narrow. Maybe in a pox heavy deck (2-4 big pox) he supplements some of your racks, but I just don't think he does enough.

  17. #57

    Re: [Primer/Deck] Pox

    Another idea I was toying with was Chalice of the Void. We don't have anything at 0, so it could be something we drop 1st turn to hurt storm, belcher, LED dredge, Affinity, MUD, etc (all decks we're weak against), and personally I had very little at the 1cmc stop and could turn that weakness into a strength by playing Chalice at 1 (hurting other decks way more than it hurts me, which is right in line with Pox mentality).

    Not sure it's the right card, but I think it's the right kind of card to be thinking about.

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  19. #59
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    Re: [Primer/Deck] Pox

    Quote Originally Posted by Cthuloo View Post
    I don't really se how gravecrawler can be better than bloodghast. Neither blocks, and the 'crawler doesn't ever have haste and has arguably a worse recursion constraint. In any case, it's probably a decent win condition, but not better than anything we already had.
    http://www.thecouncil.es/tcdecks/dec...0&iddeck=67683

    I fully get your point but it would be worth to try it out. I think it allows you to go more agressive. Both GC and BG have their merits - I like the idea of Dark Ritual, Inquisiton, 2 zombies and kill him fast.

  20. #60

    Re: [Primer/Deck] Pox

    Quote Originally Posted by Infectious View Post
    @ Roguebuild
    Regarding your second point, if you had to call pox either control or aggro or combo, then yeah I'd lump it into control, but I'm closer to Hardcore's view that Pox isn't just a control deck. It's something different, it's a disruption deck. And you don't have to draw cards to gain card advantage. Pox knows that lands will be going to the grave, and gets to plan accordingly. Pox knows everyone will be discarding, and hand sizes will be small, and gets to prepare in advance. We gain advantage not from playing card draw (although you could with things like sign in blood), but from things like cursed scroll (small hand size enables it, recurring targeted artifact damage), Nether Spirit (discarded to a lil it's like getting a 2/2 that says play me for free, draw a card, and I can't die), hymn (2 for 1), lil (dump my hand so that her +1 doesn't hurt me, or have a cursed scroll so she helps me stay at 1 card to keep it active), or even just smallpox when we have no other cards in hand or creatures in play.

    "Lock down" is something that can happen, because lots of decks play with tons of fetchlands and few actual lands, and we're afforded cards like trinisphere and nether void, but I think having that be the majority focus of a pox build is being too narrow.

    Regarding your first point, I totally agree that a good number of win conditions is a great idea. Ideally the win conditions get to double as something else (mishra as land, cursed scroll as removal, nether spirit as a free card and amazing blocker, etc). I'd say Tombstalker is one of the MVPs of the deck. I think of pox more as a disruption deck than true control, and once I've staggered someone I want to close the game out quick, and not give them a bunch of turns to draw out with answers. Legacy decks are so powerful (brainstorm, fetch, ponder, fetch, I just looked at 80% of my deck) that I don't think we can hope to completely dictate the flow of the game. A 5/5 flier for 2 mana? Sign me up. Sure he might sometimes hit the grave before a Nether Spirit, but from personal experience it's almost never a problem. I'm often wanting to put a 3rd in because of how easy he is to cast and I want to ensure I get at least one. Casting 2 in a game isn't out of the question either. It's also very very rare that I've got a Tombstalker in play, that hasn't been killed, and I'm holding a smallpox/innocent blood that I look at and think "omg I have to cast this, crap it's going to cost me a tombstalker." But maybe I am just a lucky guy.

    @ Cthuloo
    I agree on bloodghast. I want to love him, I've tried playing him many times, but he's just too narrow. Maybe in a pox heavy deck (2-4 big pox) he supplements some of your racks, but I just don't think he does enough.

    Pox is control by default. It clearly isn't a combo deck and if you call it aggro, it is the slowest aggro deck out there.

    I wont debate TombsS, I've done it numerous times in the past, you can go look it up. For here I will just say it is bad because it makes the deck clunky and is just as likely to be killed by you as by your opponent.

    Getting a hard lock with this deck is hard enough in the 1st place, but even if you do, what did you cut to put something like Trini in? threats or disruption? remove threats and now it is harder to get the kill before they find a way to recover. Remove disruption and it will be even harder to get the lock in the 1st place.

    I never said you needed to draw to gain card advantage, I said you needed to draw to find the threats in order to finish the game. Card draw is ALWAYS good. If you can't get card draw some form of deck manipulation will be used.
    That being said, LotL doesn't do enough for you in this deck. Maybe if combined with STop, like a number of the top finishers listed on the 1st page did, but alone, there just is not enough in this deck to activate from the grave to make it be enough. If you wanted to make this a solid draw engine than I would say you need to rework the deck. Some changes would be to add GraveC and BloodG and more Retrace cards as automatic inclusion, but now you are looking at something more like a very old school Pox deck from 18 years ago (which does have some advantages).

    What exactly do you gain by having an empty hand? EBridge works great! But it isn't a staple and I would rather remove creatures from the field then let them sit and wait until the bridge is killed. CScroll doesn't require you have an empty hand, only that it is easier to use with few cards in hand. 1 card works just as well as 4 lands. Pox isn't exactly known for holding cards so in all likelihood if you are holding a bunch of cards 4 or 5 rounds into the game, they are likely land, after all lands and mana sources make up almost 1/2 the deck. Liliana, you don't gain an advantage by having 0 cards in hand, you simply don't have to pitch something, that again, could likely have been another land (we have plenty).

    So, in short, generating card advantage will only get you so far if you cant find a threat to kill the opponent with.

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