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Thread: The Witch House (Nearly Mono-green Enchantress)(also Budget, it turns out)

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    The Witch House (Nearly Mono-green Enchantress)(also Budget, it turns out)

    "The expression on her face was one of hideous malevolence and exultation... He must meet the Black Man, and go with them all to the throne of Azathoth at the centre of ultimate Chaos."

    I. Some Background

    Hello all, people call me Spatula. Around 2004 I developed Solitaire, a version of Enchantress that operated on Solitary Confinement as a de facto win condition, along with some notable innovations to the archetype like the addition of Elephant Grass and Ground Seal. The virtue of this version was, as compared to G/U Eternal Winds, a higher enchantment count and more compact win condition, and as compared to what I'll simply call G/W Enchantress (defined by Sacred Mesa, Moat and other heavily defensive cards) a tighter mana curve and more combo-oriented strategy. As compared to the other versions of Enchantress Solitaire was not so much a deck that played enchantresses to supplement some other strategy, but rather a deck where the enchantress engine truly was the heart of the deck.

    Of course meta-games come and go, and while it seems that WotC is intent on printing absurdly untested cards for Commander, synergy-oriented decks like Enchantress more rarely receive new toys. After extensive testing with various iterations of Solitaire, adding a few new cards such as Cast Out and Doomwake Giant, I was feeling dispirited in the deck's performance against many of the match-ups that have traditionally been strong, such as mid-range control and aggro, due to a wide variety of reasons from game to game, but ultimately leading me to the conclusion that the Solitary Confinement lock is no longer what it was. Deathrite Shaman, Leovold, Emissary of Trest, even Spirit of the Labyrinth eliminate the idea that merely playing a Solitary Confinement is game over. And since the card itself is just a 3 mana fog on its own, the deck required rethinking.

    Since Onslaught, major additions to the Enchantress archetype are fairly limited - Green Sun's Zenith was a huge help, many Enchantress players added Emrakul to the deck (though I strongly disagree with its addition to Solitaire) and there are now almost a half dozen iterations of Oblivion Ring. Most relevant to this post, however, is the block printed during my latest hiatus from the game, Theros, which added enchantments that are also creatures. While most Enchantress players seem to have added one Eidolon of Blossoms and occasionally sideboard in Doomwake Giant, I think the combination of GSZ and the existence of playable enchantments that are ALSO creatures opens up a number of questions about an older card that was often tried and usually discarded in Enchantress lists, namely, Living Wish.

    Part II. The Decklist

    The Girls

    4x Enchantress's Presence
    3x Argothian Enchantress

    The Tutor Package

    3x Green Sun's Zenith
    4x Living Wish

    The Big Guns

    2x Doomwake Giant

    Mana Ramp

    4x Utopia Sprawl
    4x Wild Growth
    2x Exploration
    2x Gaea's Touch

    Card Ramp

    3x Ground Seal
    4x Abundant Growth

    Creature Control

    4x Elephant Grass
    2x Lignify

    Manabase

    1x Bayou
    2x Serra's Sanctum
    4x Windswept Heath
    12x Forest

    Primary Wish Targets

    1x Argothian Enchantress
    1x Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
    1x Serra's Sanctum
    1x Doomwake Giant
    1x Peregrine Drake

    SB Options

    3-4x Leafcrown Dryad
    1-3x Aegis of the Gods
    0-4x Brain Maggot
    0-4x Chalice of the Void
    1-2x Karakas
    1x Reclamation Sage
    0-1x Qasali Pridgemage
    1x Phyrexian Revoker
    0-1x Knight of the Reliquary
    2x Gaddock Teeg
    0-2x Choke
    0-1x Magus of the Moon
    0-1x Containment Priest

    III. Deck Strategy

    First, briefly: the first two turns are ideally the same as in most Enchantress builds: a first turn Utopia Sprawl/Wild Growth/sometimes Exploration, followed by a turn 2 Enchantress effect. From there, the deck’s low mana curve and cantrip-enchantments allow the deck to goldfish a turn 4 Emrakul fairly reliably.

    Years ago when enchantress players tried to fit Living Wish in the deck, there were two main obstacles that made it an ineffective addition: cost and type. I believe that recent cards have helped with both problems.

    First, the cost issue. If you consider Living Wish as an Enchantress, it costs 4 mana. The issue here is that your standard game plan requires a second turn Enchantress effect, and while some hands involving Exploration and 4 lands or Exploration, 3 lands and a Wild Growth might get you there, it’s unlikely and besides, the latter takes up a lot of your enchantments that you’d rather be cycling under an Enchantress effect. Compare this to Green Sun’s Zenith, which curves just fine under our usual plan, costing 3 mana to plop an Argothian into play. So Living Wish is never going to be your first Enchantress if you can help it. It is, however, much more reasonable to use Living Wish as a backup Enchantress after your first one gets countered or destroyed. The fact that we can now play Argothian PLUS Presence PLUS Green Sun PLUS Living Wish gives us far more redundancy than Enchantress has ever had.

    Secondly, the type issue. When you’re going off, you’re often under lethal pressure from the opponent, and the engine stalling can get you killed. While you could theoretically spend crazy money on silver bullets like The Tabernacle At Pendrell Vale or Maze of Ith and hope they don’t have Wasteland, it would often be more useful to simply keep comboing. My board has a variety of Wish targets that are also enchantments, to keep drawing cards.

    The other notable choice I’d like to talk about in this section is the rejection of white cards. I tried running a few white cards often paired with Enchantress, such as Replenish, Sterling Grove and Cast Out. Ultimately they proved awkward in a version that otherwise has little use for or reliance on white mana, and even the mighty Replenish was a bit too much on the mana curve.

    The explanation out of the way, I’d like to delve a little deeper into the strategy, although it’s not too complicated.

    Turn 1: Wild Growth/Utopia Sprawl/Exploration sometimes. If you have none (and can’t use Gaea’s Touch either), you might want to either mulligan (especially on the draw) or play an Abundant Growth to start digging.

    Turn 2: First threat. Usually this means Argothian/Presence/GSZ. If you’re on the play and the opponent dropped a DRS, Ground Seal is often a good call. Against Mother of Runes I’d go ahead and Lignify if the option is available. Keep in mind that if you had 3 lands that aren’t Sanctums and at least one is a basic Forest, you can use a turn 2 Gaea’s Touch to get your Enchantress online.

    Turn 3: Second threat and begin going off. Sometimes you’ll be able to get a Doomwake going by this point. Other times you’ll have to deal with something via Living Wish.

    Turn 4-5: If you didn’t encounter meaningful disruption you’ll be able to win by this point. Aggressive use of Serra’s Sanctums is important here, as the “new” legend rule is our friend with Exploration. If you don’t have quite enough to Emrakul, remember that you can use Utopia Sprawl/Abundant Growth to get blue mana and cast Peregrine Drake.

    Also if you’re going to deck yourself, you can save a Wish to swing with Emrakul, then get Karakas and discard him at the end of that turn.

    I’ll get more into strategy against disruption or against a faster clock in more detail in match-ups below.

    IV. Specific Card Choices, or “What the hell is Lignify?”

    Argothian Enchantress, Enchantress’s Presence – don’t require an explanation.
    Eidolon of Blossoms – I found it too slow against Delver and Death and Taxes. If there’s not much agro-control in your meta-game it’s probably fine as a 1 of.
    Green Sun’s Zenith – only running 3 copies because of enchantment count concerns. This card is also very important in certain post-board match-ups, especially where getting Gaddock Teeg or Qasali Pridemage is important. Depending on the metagame might up to 4 but it’ll be difficult to find a spot.
    Living Wish – I think I’ve pretty much covered this.
    Doomwake Giant – This guy is business, if expensive. Still, there are lots of games where dropping him and one or two Wild Growths is good game, and having him main deck gives you more outs against Leobold and Spirit of the Labyrinth.
    Utopia Sprawl – Wild Growth and this don’t really need much explanation, but as a quick note, in this deck you just name “green” about 80-90% of the time, until you’re in the middle of going off and you need blue, or you start with a Doomwake in hand or know that you’re playing against Delver or DnT, in which case you name black.
    Exploration – not reliable acceleration in the first two turns, but very important to exploding turn 3-5.
    Gaea’s Touch – this card should usually net you one mana the turn it comes down, which makes it unique among enchantment acceleration. Against mana denial strategies (Delver/DnT), its ability to act as a mana battery can be crucial. Important to note: the forest being put into play is an activated ability, it can be stopped by Phyrexian Revoker or Stifle.
    Abundant Growth – a one mana enchantment that cantrips helps enormously around turn 3 when you’re trying to start exploding. The mana ability is actually very useful because it allows you to run a fairly Wasteland-proof manabase and still access whatever color you need. Also, you haven’t lived until you’ve tapped a fetch-land for three mana.
    Ground Seal – cantrips and stops Deathrite Shaman, Snapcaster Mage, Surgical Extraction and Life from the Loam. Also gives you a shot against Reanimator – though they can still Exhume
    Elephant Grass – the only defensive card this deck runs, because it buys an absurd amount of time. To anyone who has played it in any version of Enchantress, I don’t need to extoll its virtues too much, but it’s a huge asset.
    Lignify – I know, I know. The deck needs a certain amount of maindeck answer to cards like Leovold, Thalia, and sometimes even Angler or Delver. Compared to Oblivion Ring, it obviously loses the ability to neutralize planeswalkers, Aether Vial or Chalice of the Void. But it only costs 2 mana and it’s green, and no other enchantment can do what Lignify does for its cost and its color.

    The Board:

    Argothian Enchantress, Serra’s Sanctum, Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, Peregrine Drake. There are your combo pieces. Argothian gives you draw engine redundancy, Sanctum helps you generate fuqtons of mana, Emrakul is your kill condition, and Drake helps you reboot your engine and keep chugging.

    Doomwake Giant Same as above, this guy is a beast and an alternate kill condition.
    Leafcrown Dryad When you need a blocker or an enchantment to keep drawing. She’s particularly useful against Delver.
    Aegis of the Gods Important option for when you’ve got the board secured but you’re down to 2 life and they play Lightning Bolt. Also useful against combo, and when you have a ton of white mana and want to draw cards.
    Brain Maggot Still testing it against combo, don’t have too much data on its relevance yet. Could also be useful if people in your meta play sweepers or other cards you just don’t have other answers to.
    Gaddock Teeg Your best card against combo, and okay against Miracles as well. 2x so that he can be GSZed or Wished game 2.
    Karakas Absolutely critical against Leovold, situationally important against Reanimator or Sneak and Show. If 4C Leovold is a big concern in the meta, I can run a second Karakas plus Knight of the Reliquiry to make sure I can get it out.
    Reclamation Sage and Qasali Pridemage – important for a variety of matchups. Game 2 I bring in Pridemage against Death and Taxes, as Rishadan Port means it’s a lot easier to GSZ for 2 than for 3, and just blow him up the following turn.
    Phyrexian Revoker An answer to planeswalkers and a number of random situations.
    Choke – The perennial favorite card against blue control decks, also not bad against ANT.

    V. Matchups

    Czech Pile – Significantly favored. Doomwake Giant is extremely difficult for them to deal with and if they stall your engine, a well-placed Elephant Grass can buy tremendous amounts of time. Living Wish for Karakas, Giant, and Lignify give you a number of outs against Leovold, and your Ground Seals neuter their Shamans and Snapcasters.

    SBing strategy: Out – Gaea’s Touch, Exploration. In – Choke, possibly Karakas #2 and Knight of the Reliquiry. The games you lose will almost invariably be to Leovold. Turn GSZ into an answer to him is powerful.

    Grixis Delver – Slightly favored. Game 1 is slightly unflavored, but bringing in extra Leafcrown Dryads helps insure you have the time you need, and once you know that you’re up against Delver, knowing when you can play around Daze and when you go for it makes the match-up easier.

    SBing Strategy: Out – Exploration, one Living Wish. In – 3x Leafcrown Dryad. Living Wish is cumbersome against them, so getting multiple in your hand isn’t usually great in this match. Keep in Gaea’s Touch over Exploration for its ability to store mana.

    ANT – Unfavored. Game 1 is a matter of whether you can tell what you’re up against. Duress is usually the biggest give-away. If you can tell, you Living Wish for a Gaddock Teeg as fast as you can and if you can pull it off that should be GG. Games 2 and 3 you get double the amount of Gaddock Teeg but they have bounce. Aegis of the Gods is only somewhat useful as a backup Wish target versus them. Phyrexian Revoker can stop LED but depending on the hand that could end up being useless, plus it can still add to storm count. I’m still testing Brain Maggot.

    SBing Strategy: Out – Lignify, Doomwake Giant. In – Gaddock, Choke, Brain Maggot/Aegis of the Gods/possibly Chalice of the Void if this becomes a huge concern as a percentage of the meta.

    Death and Taxes – Slightly favored. Game 1 is very close to even. If you miss more than two land drops before turn 5 you’re in trouble, and if they’re on the play and get T1 Vial T2 Port, that’s hard to get out of. Other than that their best bet is Spirit of the Labyrinth. If they have a Mom out you can’t Lignify her, and that’ll be rough. The best news for you is that Doomwake Giant is a fuqing beating against them, and isn’t affected by Thalia. Most common Wish target is either Doomwake or Reclamation Sage – which also kills Spirit, it should be noted.

    SBing Strategy: Out – Exploration, Ground Seal. In – Leafcrown Dryad, Qasali Pridemage, Phyrexian Revoker. Leafcrown isn’t as great as she is against Delver, but she’s unaffected by Thalia and Sanctum Prelate, she trades with Flickerwisp and Spirit of the Labyrinth, and a pair of them will stop Serra Avenger. Being able to GSZ for Pridemage is huge, they have a lot of crucial targets, from equipment, to Ethersworn Canonist and Spirit of the Labyrinth.

    Reanimator – Unfavored. Game 1 you have Ground Seal, but it’s slow compared to how fast they can go off and doesn’t stop Exhume. You can play Faerie Macabre or Bojuka Bog, but even so it’s unreliable. If this was a match-up I was concerned about seeing a lot, I’d go ahead and bring in some Tormod’s Crypt.

    SBing Strategy: Out – Exploration, Doomwake. In – Karakas #2, Knight of the Reliquiry, Brain Maggot

    Elves - Significantly favored. You can probably imagine how this goes. They need to go off before Doomwake takes hold of the board and be able to get through Elephant Grass. Sometimes they'll just combo on turn 2 and there's nothing you can do about it. Still, a very positive match-up G1. G2 Ruric Thar can be a beating you have to watch out for.

    SBing Strategy: Out - 1x Ground Seal. In - 1x Gaddock Teeg. Having the option to shut off their tutor package drastically reduces the chances of losing out of nowhere.

    VI. Conclusions

    I've been out of the legacy metagame for a number of years, and this deck is a project that's been going on for about a month or so and has involved several hundred games and many 10+ hour days of testing (I'm currently in Brussels awaiting the bureaucratic procedure accompanying my Visa application - I can't work until it's done and so I have a lot of downtime these days). It is by no means conclusive and thus I've put it in the Developmental forum.

    That said, I think I'm on to something here. The deck is a lot of fun to play, seems to have improved match-ups versus Solitaire and other versions of Enchantress, and has the virtue of costing less than $400, much less if you already own a single Bayou or most of the Enchantress cards. I'll be continuing to test and will update this post as I get back results.

    edit: Apologies for the bad coding. If any mods want to give me some insight into why this is happening, it would be much appreciated.
    Last edited by SpatulaOfTheAges; 09-30-2017 at 08:41 AM.
    Early one morning while making the round,
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  2. #2
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    Re: The Witch House (Nearly Mono-green Enchantress)(also Budget, it turns out)

    Your tags need a good bit of work.

    Also, you probably should have Thunder Bluff instead, but good luck with the development, as Leovold is a huge pain in the ass for Enchantress.
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    Re: The Witch House (Nearly Mono-green Enchantress)(also Budget, it turns out)

    I'm stumped, there's sections that are tagging as if they're cards without any brackets near them.

    Also if I had the Didgeridoos I'd play Thunderbluff in an instant
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    Re: The Witch House (Nearly Mono-green Enchantress)(also Budget, it turns out)

    Quote Originally Posted by SpatulaOfTheAges View Post
    I'm stumped, there's sections that are tagging as if they're cards without any brackets near them.

    Also if I had the Didgeridoos I'd play Thunderbluff in an instant
    You are missing a / to close the CARDS tag around Deathrite Shaman, in the second paragraph.
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    Re: The Witch House (Nearly Mono-green Enchantress)(also Budget, it turns out)

    Early one morning while making the round,
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    Re: The Witch House (Nearly Mono-green Enchantress)(also Budget, it turns out)

    Maybe include "back to basics"?

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    Re: The Witch House (Nearly Mono-green Enchantress)(also Budget, it turns out)

    I don't have a way to tutor for it and if I include it main-deck I run the risk of stalling my engine with a card I can't play. Obviously it would be a powerful sideboard card, but I feel like I'd rather have Blood Moon, since Dark Depths can still work around Back to Basics.
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    Re: The Witch House (Nearly Mono-green Enchantress)(also Budget, it turns out)

    if you are looking for green enchantment that takes care of things like planeswalkers, and artifacts and etc, instead of lignify you could consider using Song of the Dryads it hits lands as well.
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    Re: The Witch House (Nearly Mono-green Enchantress)(also Budget, it turns out)

    Quote Originally Posted by Claymore1 View Post
    if you are looking for green enchantment that takes care of things like planeswalkers, and artifacts and etc, instead of lignify you could consider using Song of the Dryads it hits lands as well.
    I never knew this card existed...

    Highly interesting option given it hits lands in addition to other types, can shut down Wasteland/Port/Dark Depths which is enticing, not to mention give a weapon to fight opposing Karakas in my own Dark Depths build. Given most decks operate so low to the ground the drawback of giving them a mana seems minor, so this may be better than Banishing Light in many lists not to mention easier to cast overall.

    Hell in a pinch you could cast this on your own permanent to ramp if you're mana light, or can use it on an Elephant Grass that you wouldn't pay the following upkeep for.

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    Re: The Witch House (Nearly Mono-green Enchantress)(also Budget, it turns out)

    It can also be used with Stage to get a copy of a non land. Enchant an Emmy, then copy it with stage. We use it in Lands.
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    Re: The Witch House (Nearly Mono-green Enchantress)(also Budget, it turns out)

    Sick.

    Slightly worried about giving them E. Grass mana but cancelling the ability to "freebie" flashback Therapy alone is probably worth it, much less hitting Jace/Depths.

    Thanks for the tip, will be testing it out in that slot.
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    Re: The Witch House (Nearly Mono-green Enchantress)(also Budget, it turns out)

    Quote Originally Posted by Dice_Box View Post
    It can also be used with Stage to get a copy of a non land. Enchant an Emmy, then copy it with stage. We use it in Lands.
    How are you putting a colored aura on an Emrakul in your RG lands deck?

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    Re: The Witch House (Nearly Mono-green Enchantress)(also Budget, it turns out)

    Two hard-cast Show and Tells in a row, clearly.
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    Re: The Witch House (Nearly Mono-green Enchantress)(also Budget, it turns out)

    Went 2-1 at local FNM with a few changes, mostly budgetary

    -1 Green Sun's Zenith
    +1 Choke (didn't play against a blue deck all night though)
    -1 Bayou
    +1 Overgrown Tomb
    1x Lignify
    1x Song of the Dryads

    SB:

    3x Leafcrown Dryad
    2x Brain Maggot
    1x Gaddock Teeg
    1x Phyrexian Revoker
    1x Reclamation Sage
    1x Qasali Pridemage
    1x Argothian Enchantress
    1x Karakas
    1x Peregrine Drake
    1x Doomwake Giant
    1x Eidolon of Countless Battles
    1x Emrakul, the Eons Torn

    Round 1: Death and Taxes

    G1: I get the four land Exploration start so am able to avoid much disruption, but lack of Grass or Giants means I get pretty lower in life. Eventually I'm able to go off with a Wished Drake.
    G2: He's on the play and gets basically the perfect hand. Turn 2 Thalia with Vial, a couple of Flickerwisps and Port. Actually a random Thalia, Heretic Cathar seals it, preventing me from dropping a pair of Dryads to buy a couple turns.
    G3: He drops turn 1 Aether Vial for the third game in a row. I have a Pridgemage and spend turn 2 blowing it. He drops port and hits my Utopia Sprawl land. I don't have another land or Wild Growth effect and don't draw one for the next six turns, during which he also drops a Thalia. Still not sure whether I should've just let him have Vial for a turn and play Argothian instead, but probably yes. I did have Elephant Grass in hand to cast in the face of Port.

    Round 2: 8 Moon

    G1: This game goes super long. He starts with a turn 2 Trinisphere and follows up with a Blood Moon and Chalice at 1. Eventually Blood Moon is joined by Magus. He has a Chandra, Torch of Defiance and is building her up. I have a couple Enchantresses but not much mana. I get a Living Wish and first hit the Chalice, and start sticking Wild Growths and Explorations. Next I Song of the Dryads Blood Moon, while Doomwake eats his Magus. I get to 18 mana and cast Emrakul, using my last artifact removal, Pridemage, to kill his [cardsEnsnaring Bridge[/cards].
    G2: He has an aggressive start with Magus and Koth of the Hammer. I Revoker Koth, and am building my board but I don't know this match up and let his Magus drop me to six, where he casts Fiery Confluence.
    G3: This time I end up going agro with a turn 3 Doomwake, after he mulls to 5 and blows most of his wad on a Trinisphere. Unfortunately he also has Ensnaring Bridge the following turn. I'm able to GSZ for Pridemage, and he buys a few turns by hardcasting a Simian Spirit Guide then a Magus. He draws another Bridge and meanwhile has dropped a Chalice for 2. I make a stupid misplay and cast Living Wish into the Chalice when I meant to play Song first. So I just Song his Bridge and hope he doesn't topdeck another one. He doesn't.

    Round 3: Pox

    G1: He drops my hand to nothing with 2 Rack effects and a Liliana on the board, but not before I was able to stick a Presence. I topdeck another Presence, and that draws me an Abundant Growth and at this point he's out of cards and I'm not.
    G2: I let myself get pyched out about him having Liliana in hand, so instead of Wishing for Argothian, I Wish for Brain Maggot. It grabs a useless Thoughtseize, and he strips my hand and drops a bunch of Racks.
    G3: He strips my Enchantresses but I drop turn 3 Doomwake, then Wish for another one, and he's just not able to deal with the Giants.

    so 2-1 in Matches, 5-4 in games. Some play mistakes to learn from. Still debating switching Lignify to Song#2. These were mostly creatureless matches and I would certainly have preferred Song in both, but I never drew my Lignify against DnT and didn't run into Delver, matches where I think that one mana matters, as does not giving them Elephant Grass mana.
    Early one morning while making the round,
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  15. #15
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    Re: The Witch House (Nearly Mono-green Enchantress)(also Budget, it turns out)

    If you want a Wish-able, Zenith-able Exploration effect you could always try Azusa, Lost but Seeking.
    "We are goblinkind, heirs to the mountain empires of chieftains past. Rest is death to us, and arson is our call to war."

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