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Thread: Noble Fish

  1. #1

    Noble Fish


    Noble Fish

    Table of Contents
    • I. The Name and Legacy Origin
    • II. The Deck
    • III. The Plan
    • IV. The Cards
    • V. The Match Ups
    • VI. The Sideboarding
    • VII. The Results


    I. The Name

    The name "Noble Fish" originates from vintage. Where Mike Noble came up with a Bant colored "Fish" deck that uses small disruptive creatures to beatdown and disrupt the opponents gameplan. This deck featured no actual merfolk, but it did feature 4 Noble Hierarchs.

    In one of my streams I decided that I wanted to build a Legacy deck to utilize Edric, Spymaster of Trest because the ability of drawing cards when you deal damage is inherently powerful and it shouldn't be too hard to abuse such an ability. More on how I build the deck in the section IV. The Cards. It was pointed out in that stream that the deck was similar to the vintage deck "Noble Fish" and also similar to the Vintage deck "BUG Fish" that took 1st in the Bazaar of Moxen 8 and that actually played 1 copy of Edric, Spymaster of Trest. So it seemed obvious to name the deck "Noble Fish".

    II. The Deck

    The original decklist as played to a record of 14-2 through 4 daily events on Magic Online

    Lands (20):

    4x Flooded Strand
    4x Misty Rainforest
    4x Wasteland
    3x Tundra
    2x Tropical Island
    1x Savannah
    1x Forest
    1x Island

    Creatures (21):

    4x Judge's Familiar
    4x Noble Hierarch
    4x Stoneforge Mystic
    3x Edric, Spymaster of Trest
    2x Looter il-Kor
    2x True-Name Nemesis
    2x Mother of Runes

    Non-creature spells (19):

    4x Brainstorm
    4x Swords to Plowshares
    4x Force of Will
    4x Daze
    1x Umezawa's Jitte
    1x Sword of Fire and Ice
    1x Batterskull

    Sideboard:

    3x Envelop
    2x Spell Pierce
    2x Enlightened Tutor
    2x Rest in Peace
    1x Ethersworn Canonist
    1x Grafdigger's Cage
    1x Manriki-Gusari
    1x Pithing Needle
    1x Relic of Progenitus
    1x Arcane Laboratory


    III. The Plan

    You're looking to play a tempo game. Like a Delver deck you're looking to pressure your opponent enough early that they are forced to play into your soft counterspells, unlike a Delver deck you're not looking to pressure your opponents life total early, instead you're applying pressure on the card advantage axis. You're threatening to bury your opponent in card advantage, be it with raw card advantage engines Edric, Spymaster of Trest and/or Sword of Fire and Ice or a different kind of card advantage, with Umezawa's Jitte counters. So you get ahead early with acceleration in the form of Noble Hierarch or simply just play cheaper threats than the opponent. Then find your spot to land Edric, Spymaster of Trest and take over the game from there. The extra cards drawn from Edric, Spymaster of Trest allows you to overpower and bury your opponent with cheap threats, soft counterspells and removal.

    IV. The Cards

    4 Judge's Familiar

    So this guy has won 2x Pro tours already, albeit in a slightly less powerful format this guy is to be taken seriously. What this card offers is that it provides cheap disruption, setting your opponent back a turn on instants and sorceries is already decent. It flies, helping us get through with Jitte and Sword of Fire and Ice which can be hard against certain decks like Elves and Death and Taxes. The evasion also means that once Edric, Spymaster of Trest is on the board this guy is going to be drawing an extra card a turn.

    All these arguments might seem weak when you look at the actual card: 1/1 flyer for 1 that sacs to counter an insant or sorcery unless its controller pays 1. So lets look at an important example of where this guy can potentially win the game.

    Your turn 1 play is Judge's Familiar, opponent goes land + Delver. It's your turn 2 now you can resolve any spell through 1 Daze or 1 Force of Will. Resolving a game winning Stoneforge Mystic is a common way to take advantage of this.

    Judge's Familiar means that if your opponent ever taps out all his free counterspells are essentially dead and you're free to do whatever you want, and not tapping out is usually not something a common legacy deck can afford to if it's to keep track with your board development.

    Against dredge Judge's Familiar is basically a hard counter to whatever they're casting. This is most obviously true against manaless dredge, but with 4x Wastelands and LED dredge playing Gemstone Mine, it'll be a hard counter vs. them most of the time as well. When you consider that Judge's Familiar sacrifices as part of the cost, it means that you always have an out to Bridge from Below and you get to remove all the Bridge from Below in response to a Dread Return before the Zombie Tokens would enter play, resulting in 0 Zombies for the dredge player.

    These are some examples of Judge's Familiar being truly great, and this is examples where only the sacrifice ability was relevant! Add to it that it carries Jitte and draws cards with Edric and we have a very solid role player for the deck.

    The only downsides with Judge's Familiar is the obvious anti-synergy between Daze and Judge's Familiar. If your opponent is already playing around the Familiar, the daze you have in hand is not going to be good. That being said, most of the time this will make your opponent play their creatures/enchantments/artifacts into daze instead. But the anti-synergy is still there and it is significant.

    Looter il-Kor

    This might seem like an odd include but it is there for many of the same reasons as the Judge's Familiar, mainly that it carries equipment so well. In many match ups Looter il-Kor will be a 2 mana True-Name Nemesis that also draws you a card when it connects. In legacy the quality of your cards depends so much on the match up that a continuous loot effect will provide a great advantage in very short time. This is also just extremely powerful with Edric. Your opponent has to deal with this threat or the virtual card advantage is going to overwhelm them.

    Edric, Spymaster of Trest

    This is the build around card of this deck. If Edric, Spymaster of Trest ever sticks, you're going to be so far ahead that there's no coming back for your opponent. The early plays of Mother of Runes, Judge's Familiar, Looter il-Kor means that you'll be drawing cards immediately after this guy hits the board. Is Edric, Spymaster of Trest brickwalled by a Tarmogoyf? Well your opponent can't attack with that tarmogoyf or we'll start drawing extra cards and our deck has no shortage of ways to beat a Tarmogoyf.

    Why is this card not in the deck?

    Tarmogoyf

    Tarmogoyf is a vanilla beater. It's an efficient beater, but it has no real synergy with what the rest of the deck is trying to do. When you also consider that we want to be a good Rest in Peace deck, there's just no way that Tarmogoyf makes the cut.

    Knight of the Reliquary

    For much of the same reason I don't want Tarmogoyf, I don't want Knight of the Reliquary either.

    Ponder

    Ponder is great at finding the card you need in a specific situation, it increases the consistency of your deck (except if you start cutting lands for it) and it helps flipping Delvers. But playing cantrips is a huge tempo loss for a deck looking to curve out as much as this deck is. We also have no delvers to flip so we don't have to play a large amount of instants/sorceries to allow the Delver to flip. Ponder is still a card that can be included but it will decrease the power level of the deck.

    Green Sun's Zenith

    I don't have the necessary green creatures to actually be running Green Sun's Zenith. I have a green mana dork, and Green Sun's Zenith would let me find my card draw engine, but it doesn't find a creature to actually get through with. Coupled with the fact that it's also an expensive spell to run in a 20 land deck, it's rarely going to be very good. The deck is trying to be extremely mana efficient, and you want to keep extra lands in hand for brainstorm or to discard to Looter il-Kor.

    Jace, the Mind Sculptor

    Jace, the Mind Sculptor is hard to deal with for removal heavy decks, it's a finisher and it's a card draw engine. You can definitely sideboard Jace, the Mind Sculptor against decks that's going to overload on -1/-1 effects, but with 20 lands it is not easy to cast.

    Benevolent Bodyguard

    Even though it might not seem like it, because I'm playing cards like Judge's Familiar, I want my cards to be individually powerful. Benevolent Bodyguard is in most cases better than Mother of Runes with Edric, Spymaster of Trest but Mother of Runes is better alone, as it can hold back a batterskull, force through Jitte, and protect a turn 2 Stoneforge Mystic.

    Why not cut Noble Hierarch for Deathrite Shaman and Edric for Dark Confidant?

    Noble Hierarch is more consistent at what it does than Deathrite Shaman, it also makes it so that we win the Germ vs. Germ fight, the exalted is in general very relevant. We also want to be a very effective Rest in Peace deck, and Noble Hierarch supports that plan better. Dark Confidant is very suspect in a deck with five 5 CMC cards. Dark Confidant also does not draw cards the turn it comes into play making it not-at-all suitable as a surprise blowout play. The clock this deck typically represents is also very slow, so Dark Confidant would cause unreasonable large amounts of life loss in this deck.

    V. The Match Ups

    VS. Delver Decks

    Your role varies depending on you're on the play or draw, and depending on which kind of hand you have. Usually you come out of the gate approximately equally fast, but you're looking to play the control role. Remove their creatures and then establish a threat with an equipment like a Germ with a Batterskull, or a True-Name Nemesis with an Umezawa's Jitte. Generally speaking RUG Delver is more aggressive than you, BUG Delver is about the same, and Patriot Delver is slower than you. Against Patriot you want to overload their removal and make them deal with each threat on their own, usually by having equipment in play. If you can trade some damage for some cards with a Judge's familiar and an Edric, Spymaster of Trest holding back/racing a Tarmogoyf don't be afraid to do that. The card advantage will help you find a Rest in Peace or a Swords to Plowshares for the Tarmogoyf. Or even chump blockers to help keep the card advantage flowing while you maintain a healthy life total.

    VS. Elves

    You play the removal game until you can get Umezawa's Jitte online. This match up resembles the Death and Taxes vs. Elves match up except that you now have cheap counterspells which puts you over the top and turn you into an actual favourite in this match up. Mother of Runes helps keep your Edric, Spymaster of Trest alive post board and also lets you hit through Qurion Ranger + Dryad Arbor and Wirewood Symbiote + any elf so don't board it out! Board out Daze instead and replace it with Grafdigger's Cage and Ethersworn Canonist.

    vs. Death & Taxes

    ... Coming Soon

    UWR Miracles

    ... Coming Soon

    Omnitell

    Play out your creatures and hope for the best. Emphasize drawing as many cards as possible in the shortest amount of time, to dig for your Daze/Force of Wills and Judge's Familiar.

    Grixis Control

    ... Coming Soon


    VI. The Sideboarding

    Sideboards will change over time depending on the meta game, and even the main deck will change. So it will not be possible to give exact sideboard guides, but here's some general guidelines.

    Try not to sideboard out too many creatures. The deck is synergy based, which means that there's individually weak cards that are fantastic together. Versus fair decks such as delver and D&T you want to sideboard out your Counterspells if you have enough sideboard cards to bring in. Start by cutting Daze.

    Versus most combo decks Mother of runes seem lackluster, but it protects your haymakers (such as Ethersworn Canonist) from Abrupt Decay and Pyroclasm. So most often you want to sideboard out your most expensive creatures, such as True-Name Nemesis and a few copies of Edric, Spymaster of Trest. And the obvious cards such as Swords to Plowshares and Umezawa's Jitte goes to the sideboard as well, vs. the combo decks.

    VII. The Results

    Being a relatively new deck in legacy and played only by a few people. This deck does not have many results as of yet.

    9th at SCG New Jersey
    Last edited by Bahra; 06-24-2015 at 03:29 PM.

  2. #2
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    Re: Noble Fish

    The deck looks really interesting to me. I'd love to see it work. However the first thing I thought when I looked at it was Why not 4 Dark confidants and 4 Deathrites instead of the Edrics and Hierarch's?
    I imagine Exalted is important to help the small creatures. But is it so important? Those are the only green cards you're running if I'm not mistaken. Why not black instead? Is Edric that powerful here?

  3. #3
    Joe Cool Above All
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    Re: Noble Fish

    I'm kind of in love with this deck right now, what are you thinking of adding vs. dismissed already?

  4. #4

    Re: Noble Fish

    I have a soft spot for any fish deck because they were the first decks I played in Vintage, but I also can't help but think this deck gets better as soon as you cut Noble Hierarch and Edric, Spymaster of Trest for Deathrite Shaman and Dark Confident because you only need 1 Tropical Island to support Deathrite Shaman's second ability vs any graveyard deck and Dark Confident is a draw engine without any conditions.

    I think you kind of need Tarmogoyf to justify green, but it looks fun regardless.

    Have you tried Invisible Stalker at all?

  5. #5

    Re: Noble Fish

    Before suggesting Bob and Deathrite again, can we all just remember that Hierach enables all of the 1/1s sans equipment and RiP out of the board? Edric isn't even a clear downgrade from Bob in this slot.

    What seems off to me is the lack of Ponder. This kind of deck depends on card selection pretty heavily even if it doesn't have Delvers to flip. Mom looks like the weakest slot off the bat with the 3rd equipment (to the board) and 20th land as good candidates for the set.

    Wanted to add that cutting land #20 removes Karakas from consideration, which is playable here, but the added selection can help keep that stuff off the table.
    Last edited by IsThisACatInAHat?; 04-06-2014 at 12:03 PM. Reason: additional content
    Great success!

  6. #6
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    Re: Noble Fish

    -2 mom
    -2 looter
    -1 sofi (to board)

    +4 ponder
    +1 tnn

    I think this will make it better, honestly..

  7. #7
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    Re: Noble Fish

    I'd cut Batterskull to the board before I cut SoFaI. SoFaI works MUCH better than BSkull in your main gameplan. And if you drop mom you have less ways to protect SFM to get it active for BSkull.
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    Top quality german restraint there.

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  8. #8
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    Re: Noble Fish

    There are videos where Bahra plays the deck in the Legacy dailies, e.g. start watching around 5:45:00.

    IIRC, no Deathrites and Tarmogoyfs for immunity to GY hate and being able to run RiP in the board yourself.

    From what I've seen so far, Edric draws significantly more cards than Bob over the course of the game, and all that without any life loss.

    Karakas might be worth including, though, as long as the mana base can handle it.

    And why are people discussing cutting equipment from the MD? Jitte/SoFaI/Batterskull is the equipment configuration for the format right now.
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  9. #9
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    Re: Noble Fish

    I'm not personally a fan of Batterskull. I mean it's probably fine here, but too many people think that it is the de facto fetch off of SFM on T2. The deck looks really potent, and I also disagree with simply writing edric off and saying bob is better. Edric can drop on T3 when you have 2 attackers and immediately gain 2 cards.
    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Cheese View Post
    I've been taking shitty brews and tier 2 decks to tournaments and losing with them for years now. Welcome to the club. We meet for cocktails after round 6.
    Quote Originally Posted by Stevestamopz View Post
    Top quality german restraint there.

    If I'm at the point where I'm rage quitting, you can bet your kransky that I'm calling everyone involved a cunt.

  10. #10
    Joe Cool Above All
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    Re: Noble Fish

    Then that's a read problem, not a problem with Batterskull, it's still a free win sometimes and let's you grind out infinitely if need be. I'm testing Ponders over Moms right now.

  11. #11
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    Re: Noble Fish

    I think Batterskull is slightly better here than in other SFM decks with Exalted making it win germ v germ fights and gaining you extra life. Without Goyfs and such, it's your only fatty. As long as other decks are running it with success, I wouldn't cut it from here. As long as you don't play like a nob and auto-pilot Batterskull instead of evaluating which equipment will give you the best advantage in the game, but IMO that should be a given.

    EDIT: But I do not like the name. The only disruptive dorks are the Judges and the only merfolk are the TNNs. "Fish" implies more merfolk or more hatebears. This looks more like "Bant EdricBlade", although hopefully you give it a more colorful name than that.

  12. #12

    Re: Noble Fish

    I had serious problems whenever I was put on defense by BUG, Looter not being able to block was a problem and I quickly understood how important Mother of Runes was as a wall. I think you might want a Sword of Body and Mind in the SB in order to be able to attack thru' a Tarmogoyf, make a bear and equip it.

    I've also messed around with condensing the Mother of Runes and Looter Ill Kor into Invisible Stalkers and that seemed pretty decent, I think there's probably a few different cards that work well in that slot - for instance the nostalgia got the better of me and I really want to test Spiketail Hatchling right now.

    Also Golgari Charm is a massive kick in the nuts to this deck, I think you really need Spell Snare in your 75.

  13. #13
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    Re: Noble Fish

    Question about the sideboard:

    Quote Originally Posted by Bahra View Post
    Sideboard:

    3x Envelop
    2x Spell Pierce
    2x Enlightened Tutor
    2x Rest in Peace
    1x Ethersworn Canonist
    1x Grafdigger's Cage
    1x Manriki-Gusari
    1x Pithing Needle
    1x Relic of Progenitus
    1x Arcane Laboratory
    What's the purpose of the split 2x Enlightened Tutor + 1x Relic of Progenitus? Relic for cantripping when you already have RiP in play?
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  14. #14

    Re: Noble Fish

    Quote Originally Posted by Morte View Post
    Question about the sideboard:



    What's the purpose of the split 2x Enlightened Tutor + 1x Relic of Progenitus? Relic for cantripping when you already have RiP in play?
    In match ups like Jund, Shardless BUG and BUG Delver you don't want Enlightened Tutor but you do want Rest in Peace/Relic of Progenitus. And from my experience with playing Death and Taxes, I've found 3 Rest in Peace to be too many. You really want to draw 1 but you hate drawing 2 (unless they deal with the first one immediately). So Relic of Progenitus is like a 3rd Rest in Peace that replaces itself if it's unnecessary, it's also better against Abrupt Decay.

    I will admit that the sideboard definitely needs work, I'm just not sure what to add yet. I have a ton of combo hate so far, but I'm also a little weak to combo game 1. That being said I think I want some things to bring in against Deathblade, UWR delver and the likes, I'm just not sure exactly what I want.

  15. #15
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    Re: Noble Fish

    Quote Originally Posted by FTW View Post
    This looks more like "Bant EdricBlade", although hopefully you give it a more colorful name than that.
    How about "Bant Rogues" - the deck has quite a few Rogues with Edric, Looter and TNN. Just my 2 cent.

    I wonder what the deck does against problematic non-equipment artifacts/enchantments since it runs zero hate for that in its current iteration.
    Currently working on: Infinity Stompy

  16. #16
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    Re: Noble Fish

    Quote Originally Posted by FTW View Post
    I think Batterskull is slightly better here than in other SFM decks with Exalted making it win germ v germ fights and gaining you extra life. Without Goyfs and such, it's your only fatty. As long as other decks are running it with success, I wouldn't cut it from here. As long as you don't play like a nob and auto-pilot Batterskull instead of evaluating which equipment will give you the best advantage in the game, but IMO that should be a given.

    EDIT: But I do not like the name. The only disruptive dorks are the Judges and the only merfolk are the TNNs. "Fish" implies more merfolk or more hatebears. This looks more like "Bant EdricBlade", although hopefully you give it a more colorful name than that.
    Hi,

    This resembles a Noble Fish deck very much. Noble Fish was an old, disruptive vintage strategy.

  17. #17

    Re: Noble Fish

    I really like the deck put here's what I would change (not considering changing much in the core of the deck)

    -1 Daze +1 Vendilion Clique -1 Savannah +1 Karakas
    Daze is pretty bad on the draw but even on the play it's just "ok" in multiples. With 3 Daze and 4 Fow there's a reasonable chance you will be able to resolve clique before you die against combo and that would make it better than the 4th Daze. I would also include a Karakas, clique or not. The problem with Daze in an Edric deck is that you will draw them when they are lackluster. Edric is better with proactive disruption like thoughtseize or hard counters/hatebears instead of taxing counters like Daze (or spell pierce). I agree you need some to protect/resolve him, so there's a balance, but I think at a certain point you rather play other disruption.

    -2 Spell pierce -1 Envelop -1 Enlightened tutor +2 Flusterstorm +2 Meddling mage
    Envelop is a fine draw from Edric for the reason above (non-taxing hardcounter for terminus/show and tell) but would switch the pierces for flusterstorm. Pierce is a bit underwhelming, I would rather add meddling mage/needle or similar to stop Sneak attack or sensei's divining top rather than trying to counter them, for example. I would also like my combo-hate to be permanents (hatebears really) and I think meddling mage is very nice in a deck with equipments. Could consider a Phyrexian Revoker (naming Led, sneak attack, top). I really hate the _second_ E.tutor in this deck. The first one I like though but I would play a "real" card before I add my second E.tutor to a blue deck.

    -1 Arcane Laboratory +1 Ethersworn canonist
    It dies to massacre and it can't be pitched to fow but at one mana less I think it's much better.

    -1 Relic of Progenitus +1 Grafdigger's cage
    The last thing I would add is a grafdigger's cage, either over the relic or the second e.tutor, it's insane vs elves as you know and I think you need some help in that matchup. Relic is fine against thresh but do you really need help against those?

    If midrange is a problem I would squeeze another TNN in the 75, it's the best at what it does. Unfortunatly.

    (Also, it's Marcus here. Why are you not streaming? ;P)

  18. #18
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    Re: Noble Fish

    Quote Originally Posted by Quasim0ff View Post
    Hi,

    This resembles a Noble Fish deck very much. Noble Fish was an old, disruptive vintage strategy.
    Noble Fish ran more disruptive dorks like Meddling Mage, Qasali Pridemage, Scooze, Ethersworn Canonist, Trygon Predator, Snapcaster Mage... It was a "Fish" deck.

    This deck barely has any disruptive dorks. It's a Bant Stoneblade deck.

  19. #19
    Joe Cool Above All
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    Re: Noble Fish

    Can we not devolve into an argument about naming conventions over discussion of how to analyze and optimize a really interesting deck?

    I'm still a little weary on the Looter slots, but I have liked Ponders in the Mom slots. Maybe I'll next try 3 TNN, 3 Ponder?

  20. #20
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    Re: Noble Fish

    Shadow is also the tits and it is something people have forgotten about. Stick equipment on that guy and run with it!

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