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Thread: GB Vengevine

  1. #261
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    Re: GB Vengevine

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Safety View Post
    I am not convinced that 4x Faithless Looting is correct. I think it really shines on turns 3+, and I don't want to ever draw more than one. I really like 3x Faithless Looting, so that opens up a slot for Gamble if you're interested.

    Here's another question: we accept that Lotleth Troll is a necessary part of the deck, but does it need to be maindeck? I have not had any issues finding a 1-mana discard outlet in about 30 games so far. I have had slower hands with Faithless Looting, but in those games I would rather Looting turn 1 than risk firing off a Petal/Troll into a Force (or Daze on the draw.) Could Troll be our sideboard beater in the mid-range matchups? Our enablers would be 4x Pimp/Tribe and 4x OUaT/Looting to find them or sculpt explosive t1-2's. I have the occasional hand where I play t1 Therapy into a t2 Troll, and that is much more resilient in the mid-rangey matchups, but it's definitely slower. I'm proposing that we find a way to shift Troll to the sideboard but actually play more of them, maybe even a full set. We could cut some number of the worst enabler in our deck given the matchup (Pimp or Tribe) and get a beefy trampler that dominates combat against non-StP decks. It slows us down, but we'll be going slower already, likely with more hand disruption. Post-board we don't necessarily need to play around hate with troll either; we can discard to make him beefy, even if we lose some value, and even Rootwalla still hits play (because Madness discards to exile, not the graveyard.)

    So in the maindeck that frees up a couple slots to play around with, possibly to add silver bullets for Gamble or to add additional Stain the Mind.

    Something like this:

    13 Lands (I just can't cut to 12, sorry!)

    4x Tribe/Pimp/Bloodghast/Vine/Hollow/Rootwalla/Amalgam
    4x OUaT/Looting/Therapy/Petal
    3x Stain the Mind

    Sideboard (just a rough pass)
    3x Force of Vigor
    3x Lotleth Troll
    2x Silent Gravestone
    2x Firestorm
    2x Surgical Extraction
    1x Big Game Hunter
    1x Thoughtseize

    Additionally, if Stain the Mind isn't completely necessary in the maindeck it could be in the sideboard, opening up 3 slots for Daze (if we can somehow make this work I think it will bring a lot to the table.) EDIT: We could actually cut to 3x Looting and still cram in a maindeck Troll.
    Faithless Looting is perfectly fine as a 4-of, because unlike Once Upon a Time, multiples (2) in the opening hand are castable without taking away from going off on turn 2. Drawing 3+ in an opener is obviously not what we want, but it's still serviceable. Once Upon a Time is a card you love to see in the opener, but you really don't want to see multiples. Having a 2nd copy isn't necessarily horrible, and they are usually fine to topdeck into (assuming we have the mana), but it's definitely better to run 4 Looting and 3 OUaT than it is the other way around.

    I believe Lotleth Troll is necessary, but not every one is on the same page with me. The thing is though, you have to have an initial discard outlet creature before the rest of the deck does anything. Sometimes, you don't have a Cavern of Souls and the first one gets countered. Sometimes, the first one gets killed after a mediocre opener and we need another one to go off again in the midgame. I'd much rather have an initial discard outlet in the opener, and use OUaT to dig for a Hollow One or Vengevine. Keeping a hand with a OUaT without a discard outlet creature is much riskier than needing any other piece.

    Lotleth Troll gives us a non-graveyard dependent large trample regenerate creature that is a powerhouse in a lot of matchups. More resilience to Chalice @ 1 is also really important. Maybe they could be trimmed to 1 copy, but I wouldn't cut them completely. I also don't think it's the sort of card you should run copies of in the sideboard. There are better cards that address matchups more significantly, and I already don't have the room for all of the cards I'd like to have (especially the 1-of Pithing Needle that I had to cut).

    Stain the Mind is just way too good for me to not want to run in the maindeck. Most matchups have 1-2 cards that we care about, that Stain the Mind deals with. Even just being used as a discard spell against redundant fair matchups in tandem with Cabal Therapy, it's still a solid card. It's also castable in multiples in later turns without tapping impactful attackers by spending more actual mana to cast it. Obviously the first cast tapping down summoning sick attackers to cast it for 0-1 mana is busted, but it's not out of the realm to tap something like a Putrid Imp, Basking Rootwalla, and Bloodghast along with 2 lands to cast a 2nd copy on the following turn without reducing the amount of pressure we can apply too significantly.

    I'm pretty happy with 59 out 60 cards in my maindeck, with a single flex slot that I'm not completely sure about, but I'm leaning extremely heavily towards Stain the Mind right now because of how powerful the effect is and the fact that I'd love to be able to cast one in almost every game.

    Aside from wanting to fit the 1-of Pithing Needle back into the sideboard, I'm also 100% happy with those choices as well.

    You're certainly welcome to tweak and playtest your list until you find a configuration you're comfortable with, and I've certainly tweaked mine around quite a bit myself, but I'm extremely satisfied with where I'm at right now.

    EDIT: Maybe Tomik is the cut for Pithing Needle in my sideboard? Needle is worse than Tomik against Depths and Lands, but way more applicable in more matchups. It's strong in the Delver matchup to shut down Wasteland, great against D&T, can deal with activated hate like Tormod's Crypt, so on and so forth.

    I like Tomik for its uncounterability with Cavern on human, but WW is still hard to cast. I like that it's a creature that can be found with OUaT, and a 2/3 flyer is a nice body, but 2cc could possibly be too slow even in the Depths/Lands matchups...

    I think I'm going to swap Tomik to Pithing Needle, tbh.
    Last edited by Hanni; 09-14-2020 at 10:46 AM.
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  2. #262
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    Re: GB Vengevine

    You're on 12 lands as well, making the 4th Looting pretty important. I'm not disagreeing with you on Troll, far from it. I think when it's good it's *really good* and when it's bad it's still serviceable. I was just trying to think in terms of 75 cards instead of 60, and Troll is obviously better in some matchups. I would be happy with 1 Troll in the main but siding in another 2 copies post-board against mid-range blue decks and Chalice decks. He can easily compete with Uro most of the time. The only thing I don't like about Troll, and this is minor considering we now have Faithless Looting, is that he can't discard non-creatures. Tossing a redundant OUaT /land/therapy into the yard as a 3rd card for Hollow One is perfectly fine on t1, but that's something you can't do with Troll. In the slower matchups we'll be concentrated on disrupting and landing more resilient threats like Troll, trading off some 1-drops to reduce susceptibility to Chalice and having a better 'combo' turn by ending with a massive troll even in the face of grave hate. It's just a thought, one that intrigues me. I was thinking about your comments about when Hogaak is good, which made me consider Troll to be an easier to cast, more reliable beatstick than Hogaak given our game plan. Instead of adding a Hogaak, maybe we just want another troll (somewhere in the 75.) If anything I'm leaning towards more copies of troll, not less, overall.

    I'm definitely not arguing against Stain the Mind, I'm just not sure if I want 2 copies or 3 maindeck. That will end up being determined by whether I pig-headedly play 3 or 4 Looting.
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  3. #263
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    Re: GB Vengevine

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Safety View Post
    You're on 12 lands as well, making the 4th Looting pretty important. I'm not disagreeing with you on Troll, far from it. I think when it's good it's *really good* and when it's bad it's still serviceable. I was just trying to think in terms of 75 cards instead of 60, and Troll is obviously better in some matchups. I would be happy with 1 Troll in the main but siding in another 2 copies post-board against mid-range blue decks and Chalice decks. He can easily compete with Uro most of the time. The only thing I don't like about Troll, and this is minor considering we now have Faithless Looting, is that he can't discard non-creatures. Tossing a redundant OUaT /land/therapy into the yard as a 3rd card for Hollow One is perfectly fine on t1, but that's something you can't do with Troll. In the slower matchups we'll be concentrated on disrupting and landing more resilient threats like Troll, trading off some 1-drops to reduce susceptibility to Chalice and having a better 'combo' turn by ending with a massive troll even in the face of grave hate. It's just a thought, one that intrigues me. I was thinking about your comments about when Hogaak is good, which made me consider Troll to be an easier to cast, more reliable beatstick than Hogaak given our game plan. Instead of adding a Hogaak, maybe we just want another troll (somewhere in the 75.) If anything I'm leaning towards more copies of troll, not less, overall.

    I'm definitely not arguing against Stain the Mind, I'm just not sure if I want 2 copies or 3 maindeck. That will end up being determined by whether I pig-headedly play 3 or 4 Looting.
    Well, that is an interesting way to look at it. If we're looking at the whole 75, and postboard configurations against certain matchups, there are certainly some matchups where having 3 Troll would be really good. My only reservation is that the sideboard is an important space for high impact cards to bring in for specific matchups, and I'm not sure I'd be willing to sacrifice from some of those slots for Troll.

    So I take back what I said about it being a bad idea, but I'm still not sure that is the way I would want to approach it. If I were to go that route, I'd probably try to fit the Ruthless Sniper in the maindeck to open up at least one spot in the sideboard for Troll, but beyond that, I'm not sure.

    I'm also not 100% on if Stain the Mind should be at 2 or 3 copies, but I'm going with 3 for now, especially for playtesting purposes.

    I don't think there is a huge difference between playing 3 or 4 Looting per say, but the card is sort of like Brainstorm in the sense that once you decide to include it, it just makes sense to run the full playset.
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  4. #264
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    Re: GB Vengevine

    Well then that's decided for me, it's 2x Stain the Mind. I want the 13th land. Mulligans are, to put it lightly, very hard to recover from. OUaT/Looting help out tremendously but if I have the opening land + enabler both of those just get even better. RUG Delver is probably the most popular deck right now, and they aren't skimping on Wastelands.
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  5. #265
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    Re: GB Vengevine

    That's understandable. The goal with most deck building decisions for a deck like this is to try and improve consistency. As a critical mass deck, you want to build the deck in a way that reduces the need to mulligan as much as possible. Finding the correct number of lands/mana sources is certainly a part of that process.

    Drawing too many lands ends up being just as bad as drawing too few, and so finding the correct balance is something to figure out through trial and error. OUaT helps a lot. With 4 Lotus Petal, somewhere between 12 and 14 lands is going to be the correct number. Eventually we will be able to dial that in. Doing maths lead me to trim to 12, but maybe that's too greedy. Only time will tell.

    Either way, I feel like we continue to keep getting closer and closer to a dialed in list. I'm excited to see this pet deck evolve into something competitive, especially given the power level of Legacy these days.
    Last edited by Hanni; 09-15-2020 at 06:34 AM.
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    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.

  6. #266
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    Re: GB Vengevine

    I am really optimistic as well, Vengevine is definitely a legacy power-level card and there have been some great cards to support it over the past few years (Amalgam, Hollow One, Once Upon a Time.)

    Part of my mana issues aren't related to number of lands, but the actual mix. I need to switch over to all rainbow lands if I want to make mine work better. I have had some non-games because I had only one land in hand and it was a Bayou, but I needed white for Tribe or red for Looting. I'm working on getting the lands I need (Cavern and UParadise.)

    A couple quick questions for you on mana/lands: would it ever be correct to cut down to 3 Petals to get another land in? Would Elvish/Simian Spirit Guide ever be considered for fast mana? Have you tried it without Petals but 15 lands?
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  7. #267
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    Re: GB Vengevine

    Petal does way too much for me to ever consider less than 4. It dramatically improves the speed and consistency of this deck. Even just being able to cast a Cabal Therapy on turn 1 before going off is a big deal. We may lack the midgame power that the standard Hogaak lists have, but the speed and resiliency is what makes this deck so dangerous.

    The Guides aren't good in here. Our color requirements are too diverse. We need the rainbow lands and Lotus Petals to be able to cast our key spells without issues. The most important color is black, followed by white, because casting Imp or Tribe is our main priority. We need red and green too, but not enough to justify either of the Guides.

    Getting the rainbow lands and Lotus Petals are a must for this deck. Cavern and Paradise are especially critical. Cavern is how we beat Chalice and countermagic, and Paradise is mandatory for supporting Bloodghast with such a low land count. Without these lands, the deck is going to perform dramatically worse. Lotus Petal is just as important too, for the reasons explained above. I know the cards are pricey, but the deck literally needs them in order to be competitive.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MMogg View Post
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  8. #268
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    Re: GB Vengevine

    I would love to have another 1-mana black/green/red discard outlet like Putrid Imp, because that would mean I could cut Tribe and play jund colors. Until then, rainbows it is. I always have the idea in my head that Stitcher's Supplier could be that extra outlet, but it isn't a discard outlet to feed Hollow One. It's nice with everything else but then I think it naturally turns into traditional Hogaak, simply because you just cut Hollow One for Hogaak, cut other slots until you can fit in Altar of Dementia and Bridge from Below, and boom. Your go-wide Vengevine strategy has been converted to Hogaak.

    I think the reason to play this deck is to go wide, period. Rather than combo kill with Altar we combo-kill with lethal threats by t3.
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    Re: GB Vengevine

    Spirit Guides seem really bad. Color of mana matters more than anything.

    4x Lotus Petal, especially before any non-5c ramp.

    Stitcher's Supplier would be good with other stuff, including Gravecrawler, but eventually the deck turns too much into Hogaak. This deck wants Madness enablers for Hollow One and Rootwalla.

    I like Stain as a 2x main. 4 copies just seems excessive, since it does nothing unless you already have a dominant board state AND are facing a combo-ish deck that needs a specific card extracted.


    //Creatures: 28
    4 Putrid Imp
    4 Tireless Tribe
    4 Basking Rootwalla
    4 Bloodghast
    4 Prized Amalgam
    4 Vengevine
    4 Hollow One

    //Spells: 13
    4 Cabal Therapy
    4 Faithless Looting
    3 Once Upon A Time
    2 Stain the Mind

    //Mana: 17
    4 Lotus Petal
    4 Cavern of Souls
    4 Undiscovered Paradise
    4 Mana Confluence
    1 City of Brass


    That leaves 2 open slots, which could be
    2x Lotleth Troll (backup discard outlets main)
    or
    Stain the Mind + Once Upon A Time (add more copies of spells for redundancy, but these might be too many copies)
    or
    2x Thoughtseize (more disruption main)
    or
    2x Gravecrawler (more threats)
    or
    2x Abrupt Decay (more answers)

    For the SB, we definitely want Firestorm and Big Game Hunter and Faerie Macabre.

    Force of Vigor is strong but needs a higher green count than just 11-13 main.

  10. #270
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    Re: GB Vengevine

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Safety View Post
    I would love to have another 1-mana black/green/red discard outlet like Putrid Imp, because that would mean I could cut Tribe and play jund colors. Until then, rainbows it is. I always have the idea in my head that Stitcher's Supplier could be that extra outlet, but it isn't a discard outlet to feed Hollow One. It's nice with everything else but then I think it naturally turns into traditional Hogaak, simply because you just cut Hollow One for Hogaak, cut other slots until you can fit in Altar of Dementia and Bridge from Below, and boom. Your go-wide Vengevine strategy has been converted to Hogaak.

    I think the reason to play this deck is to go wide, period. Rather than combo kill with Altar we combo-kill with lethal threats by t3.
    Pretty much. Stitcher's Supplier is quite good, and the standard Hogaak lists are really strong, but the synergies in that deck are different. Supplier is a bit slow for us and is a non-bo with a good portion of our deck.

    We don't generate as much card advantage as the standard Hogaak lists do through milling off the top, but our deck operates on significantly less mana and gets down onto the board much faster. Where they lack 0 mana creatures to trigger Vengevine, have significantly more cards that cost 1-2 mana, and typically durdle a bit on turns 1 and 2, we usually dump our hand onto the board on turn 1 or 2. Bridge from Below is more broken than what we are doing though, and that deck is a bit more consistent, so it's basically speed vs reliability. It's sort of like BR Reanimator vs Show and Tell in a way. This deck is, as you said, more like old school Affinity.

    However, I've been watching quite a bit of footage of the standard Hogaak lists to find ways to possibly improve this deck, but I think it has actually helped me to find ways to improve that deck based on my experience with this deck. I couldn't find another Hogaak thread on the forum, and since that deck is also technically a GB Vengevine deck, I'd like to discuss that deck for a moment. I'm sorry to derail the thread, and I'd be happy to create a new if it is warranted.

    So anyways, it appears that there are 2 different directions that the standard lists go in; Sultai and Jund.

    The Sultai lists opt for Hedron Crab (and Careful Study), which gives them a more robust card advantage engine for milling into resources, but they have less tools to take advantage of those resources and are slower to get onto the board.

    The Jund lists don't generate as much resources from milling, but they run more cards that interact with the resources that they have (Carrion Feeder, Putrid Imp, Gravecrawler), get bodies onto the board faster, and run Faithless Looting instead of Careful Study.

    There are pros and cons to both lists, but I found it intriguing to try and blend the strengths of both lists together, whilst also including some tech that I have worked on with the Hollow One list. I feel like I came up with a really strong list, but maybe I'm way off base.

    The idea is that Hedron Crab is extremely strong, but so is Carrion Feeder and the rest of the zombie cartel with how they interact with Bridge from Below. Comparing Hedron Crab specifically to the Jund list, Crab seems way stronger than Faithless Looting. You have Putrid Imp (and Cabal Therapy) to discard any naturally drawn Bridges (with Vengevine to a lesser extent, and Bloodghast to an even lesser extent), and Crab just digs way more resources deeper and has way more synergies as a creature.

    The funny thing is, I didn't start out intending to cut Careful Study or Faithless Looting. What happened was that I started out wanting to fit Once Upon a Time, and gradually went from 2 copies to 3 and then 4. Once Upon a Time is just so ridiculously good in the deck, even in multiples. The initial cast is obviously the strongest, but the card becomes significantly better when hard cast as the game goes on.

    The deck assemble these mini-engines, and aside from not finding Bridge from Below or Altar of Dementia, Once Upon a Time finds whatever piece is needed to do broken things. A lot of times, there are multiple different cards that could combine with the current board state to go broken, and so the chances of finding a piece in the top 5 is high. The standard lists are on 19 lands, but Once Upon a Time allows the deck to drop down to less (I'm on 18, could maybe be even less) without missing a beat.

    The cards that Once Upon a Time dig into all contribute to the engine, whether that be Supplier/Hedron for resource accumulation, Imp to discard Bridges/etc, Feeder as a sac outlet to generate tons of zombie tokens with Bridge + recursion creatures, Gravecrawler as an engine creature to generate zombie tokens every turn with a sac outlet, a fetchland to double trigger Crab or Bloodghast's, or just straight dig for gas (Hogaak, Vengevine, or Bloodghast).

    Without Careful Study or Faithless Looting, the deck is worse at digging for Altar of Dementia specifically (as well as sideboard cards that aren't creatures or lands that cannot be cast from the graveyard), which is the downside. On the up side, the deck is significantly more creature based and less color demanding, and can therefore run Cavern of Souls to become resilient to Chalice of the Void and countermagic.

    Standard Hogaak lists are straight up cold to a Chalice @ 1, and get disrupted pretty hard by countermagic, where Cavern of Souls is just straight up wicked when your most important cards to actually cast are one mana zombies. Casting sideboard Abrupt Decay and Assassin's Trophy becomes much harder to cast with Cavern of Souls vs the standard manabase, which is definitely another drawback, but I feel like it's still worth it. Maybe I'm wrong.

    The other realization that I had is that Bridge from Below is actually the card that makes the deck so broken, not Hogaak. While Hogaak is certainly an incredibly powerful card, and the loop with Altar of Dementia (+ Bridges) results in basically an instant win by decking the opponent, the deck doesn't even need Hogaak to be ridiculous. If they banned Hogaak, the deck would still be top tier.

    The deck is basically just a better version of Dredge. You don't mill cards at quite the same rate, but you're significantly less vulnerable to graveyard hate, don't lose draw steps to dredging, have a more robust manabase for casting spells, have much better threat diversity, are much less linear, significantly more resilient to other forms of interaction, and kill roughly on the same fundamental turn (barring ridiculously OP hands from Dredge where the opponent has no interaction).

    Back to my point about Hogaak though; you can develop a board with a quick push with Bloodghast and Vengevine in a similar way as we do it (albeit a turn or so slower), which is oftentimes enough on its own to close games out, but you can also flood the board with zombies from Bridges with Feeder/Altar and Bloodghast/Gravecrawler and basically mimic the way Dredge wins. Obviously Hogaak improves both the quick push and the zombie flood, but I was shocked how effective the deck still is when it doesn't have its namesake.

    I've also observed enough games to question if the standard 4 copies of Hogaak is actually correct. As good as the card is, and as quickly as the deck is capable of casting it, it's still a card that is unecessary in multiples (especially with instant sacrifice effects to dodge Swords to Plowshares). In lieu of a sacrifice effect, you can chain two back to back to trigger Vengevine or create zombie tokens, but it's super niche.

    More often than not, I see players flooded with multiple unecessary copies of Hogaak, and sometimes even unable to cast them due to insufficient bodies on board (in the Sultai lists) or not enough resources (in the Jund lists). I'm not saying that my assessment is correct, but with Hedron Crab and Once Upon a Time to dig for them, the fact that you only really need a single copy, and the fact that you don't even need one to do broken things, I think it makes sense to trim some in my bastard of a list.

    In the same vein, Gravecrawler is the same way. You only need a single copy with a sacrifice effect on the board to multicast them to generate tons of zombies with Bridge (while pumping Feeder or milling with Altar). Outside of the sacrifice loop, they are fine at being a creature to trigger Vengevine or sacrifice to Cabal Therapy, but you really don't need multiple copies.

    The last place that I got stuck on was the number of copies of Carrion Feeder and Putrid Imp. I only had 6 slots left, and was back and forth a bit on whether to go 3/3 or 4/2 (in favor of Feeder).

    Ultimately, Feeder is significantly more important for enabling the broken lines with Bridge from Below than discarding cards from hand to me. We already have Supplier and Crab to feed the yard with resources to not always need to bin Bloodghast or Vengevine from hand right away, and we can target ourselves with a milled Cabal Therapy to get Bridge from Below's out of our hand. The repeatable instant sacrifice outlet engine of Feeder/Altar is not something we can mill into, but is a critical component for going broken with Bridge, so I ultimately decided on the 4/2 split.

    Feeder is also a significantly more impressive threat than Putrid Imp, despite the lack of evasion, and dramatically improves the Swords to Plowshares (and especially Terminus) matchups.

    I also realized that my list is almost just as consistent at casting a turn 2 Stain the Mind as the Hollow One version. The reason being is that Bloodghast typically comes into play on turn 2+ in either list, Amalgam's don't tap for Stain the Mind until the turn after they come into play, both decks are capable of getting Vengevine on the board by turn 2, and while it is impossible for the Hogaak list to cast Stain the Mind on turn 1, it is rare for the Hollow One list to pull that off anyway.

    I do not have the space for Stain the Mind in the maindeck, but it's definitely something that I feel deserves to be included in the sideboard. Stain the Mind is just as powerful in this deck as it is in the Hollow One list when cast on turn 2, and multiple copies are actually significantly easier to cast in this list on turns 3+ because it has more lands available, as well as zombie tokens to tap.

    Anyway, sorry for the super long rant. Here's my brainchild, that I'm sure will receive endless criticism because of how far away from the status quo of what the current Hogaak list is, but whatever:

    B/g/u Hogaak

    Lands (18)
    3 Verdant Catacombs
    3 Polluted Delta
    2 Bloodstained Mire
    2 Marsh Flats
    2 Bayou
    1 Underground Sea
    1 Swamp
    4 Cavern of Souls

    Creatures (26)
    4 Hedron Crab
    4 Stitcher's Supplier
    3 Carrion Feeder
    3 Putrid Imp
    2 Gravecrawler
    4 Bloodghast
    4 Vengevine
    2 Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis

    Spells (16)
    4 Once Upon a Time
    4 Cabal Therapy
    4 Altar of Dementia
    4 Bridge from Below

    Sideboard (15)
    2 Stain the Mind
    4 Force of Vigor
    2 Assassin's Trophy
    1 Abrupt Decay
    1 Reclamation Sage
    1 Plague Engineer
    2 Faerie Macabre
    1 Silent Gravestone
    1 Karakas

    As far as the manabase is concerned, I know it looks weird to see 10 fetchlands with only 4 fetchable lands, but in almost all of the games I've watched, the deck almost never gets to more than 4 lands in play.

    The deck only has a single Sea, but usually you're casting Hedron Crab at the beginning of the game (their value diminishes past that), and there is still Cavern of Souls to cast it if the Sea eats a Wasteland (not ideal, obviously).

    The reason for 2 Bayou is because I want to hardcast Once Upon a Time, where Cavern of Souls cannot contribute to the green cost, and I need double green for hardcast Vengevine. If a Bayou eats a Wasteland, we have the 2nd Bayou to still be able to cast Once Upon a Time, and we have Cavern to cast Vengevine (not ideal obviously). We also have green sideboard cards that need to be cast. The only blue card that I see other Hogaak lists running is Oko (which is rare), but I'm not really sure if that makes sense in here other than being a graveyard independent threat.

    Forewarning that this is a rough untested list that was built through theory crafting, and so some of the numbers or even some of the ideas may be wrong. Most specifically is the number of Hogaak's, which may be too few.

    There's also interesting tech I've seen in other Hogaak lists, like Dryad Arbor, Phyrexian Tower, and Satyr Wayfinder.

    I'm not sure that I'd be willing to cut a Bayou for a Dryad Arbor or not, but it does seem like really good tech. I'd have to retool the fetchlands, probably 4 Verdant Catacombs, 3 Misty Rainforest, 1 Polluted Delta, 1 Bloodstained Mire, and 1 Marsh Flats.

    Wayfinder is an interesting idea instead of Hedron Crab as a way to either keep the deck two colors, or to splash red or white instead for different sideboard options. Being green is good for Hogaak, as well as postboard Force of Vigor. Ultimately though, I think Hedron Crab is going to be better since it costs 1 mana instead of 2, and can dig way deeper... but who knows.

    Tower seems cool, but I'm not really sure how to fit it unless I'd be willing to trim from Cavern of Souls, which I'm not sure that I am right now.

    I also wish I could fit in Lotus Petal, because the card would be just as good at accelerating the deck a full turn in here as it is in the Hollow One list, but this deck needs actual lands more for enabling Hedron Crab and multiple triggering of Bloodghast in a single turn because of sac effects + Bridge, unfortunately.

    However, another interesting direction to take the deck in would be Entomb and a few toolbox cards. Life from the Loam would enable Crab and Bloodghast while allowing me to trim down on total lands, with the Dredge effect being beneficial as a side effect. Darkblast obviously comes to mind too, but I could even run a Dread Return package (whether maindeck or sideboard), with juicy targets like Elesh Norn, Archon of Valor's Reach, Iona, Ashen Rider, etc. That calls into question if Chancellor of the Annex would be viable too, but then we're talking about a completely different deck due to how much space that would all take up, so I'm not trying to go down that rabbit hole right now.

    Even without Entomb, a Dread Return package in the sideboard could still have merit... but finding a singleton tutor creature without Entomb seems unlikely, so maybe not.

    I'm still trying to work out the sideboard, which is going to take me some time. I've looked at a ton of Hogaak, Depths, and Dredge lists for inspiration, plus obviously my current sideboard choices for the Hollow One list, so there's quite a bit to sift through to dial it in for this list. I'll edit the decklist later after I figure some things out.

    Again, I'd be fine with creating a new thread for this idea if ya'll think that it is distracting the discussion in this one, unless someone can link me to a thread for the standard Hogaak deck, of course.

    Sorry for the super long post guys =/

    EDIT: I've decided to go back to a 3/3 split of Putrid Imp and Carrion Feeder. Without Careful Study or Faithless Looting, it seems pretty important to have the extra discard outlet. I think with Once Upon a Time, I should have an easier time assembling the correct combination of pieces to make opening hands work better this way.

    I also put together a preliminary sideboard.
    Last edited by Hanni; 09-17-2020 at 08:49 AM.
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    Re: GB Vengevine

    That's really not that far away from Sultai Hogaak…the difference is Cavern really, which makes your mana slightly worse. Other than that I think you're closer to standard than you think.

    Here's the most recent Sultai list, with OUaT making an appearance at 2 copies:

    https://www.mtgtop8.com/event?e=27313&d=416338&f=LE

    I'm actually thinking about trying an esper version now, simply because the most important cards are BWug. Somehow, some way, I'm going to get Daze into this deck, lol. As you say, we need stuff to be free/cheap. Daze is 'free'. Maybe, just maybe, there's a way to play Bazaar Trademage x2. It takes the place of Lotleth Troll, which seems kinda bad but it's the only place.

    Rough list:

    4x Putrid Imp
    4x Tireless Tribe
    4x Bloodghast
    4x Prized Amalgam
    4x Hollow One
    4x Vengevine
    4x Basking Rootwalla
    2x Bazaar Trademage

    3x Cabal Therapy
    3x Daze
    4x Once Upon a Time
    4x Careful Study
    4x Lotus Petal

    4x Polluted Delta
    1x Marsh Flats
    1x Watery Grave
    1x Hallowed Fountain
    1x Godless Shrine
    4x City of Brass
    1x Gemstone Mine

    Sideboard
    4x Death's Shadow
    3x Thoughtseize
    3x Force of Will
    2x Brazen Borrower
    2x Surgical Extraction
    1x Silent Gravestone


    This essentially ignores green, it will never cast a Vengevine, Once, or likely boost a Rootwalla. The tradeoff is a Carrion Feeder threat in the sideboard (Shadow) and the ability to completely hose combo decks with Thoughtseize/Force of Will.
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    Re: GB Vengevine

    Daze is a nonbo with City of Brass

    Bazaar Trademage is a nonbo with 13 lands and should just be Faithless Looting, Brainstorm, Lotleth Troll or Island

    I think you're just pushing too many directions when the deck you had before was better.

  13. #273
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    Re: GB Vengevine

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Safety View Post
    That's really not that far away from Sultai Hogaak…the difference is Cavern really, which makes your mana slightly worse. Other than that I think you're closer to standard than you think.

    Here's the most recent Sultai list, with OUaT making an appearance at 2 copies:

    https://www.mtgtop8.com/event?e=27313&d=416338&f=LE

    I'm actually thinking about trying an esper version now, simply because the most important cards are BWug. Somehow, some way, I'm going to get Daze into this deck, lol. As you say, we need stuff to be free/cheap. Daze is 'free'. Maybe, just maybe, there's a way to play Bazaar Trademage x2. It takes the place of Lotleth Troll, which seems kinda bad but it's the only place.

    Rough list:

    4x Putrid Imp
    4x Tireless Tribe
    4x Bloodghast
    4x Prized Amalgam
    4x Hollow One
    4x Vengevine
    4x Basking Rootwalla
    2x Bazaar Trademage

    3x Cabal Therapy
    3x Daze
    4x Once Upon a Time
    4x Careful Study
    4x Lotus Petal

    4x Polluted Delta
    1x Marsh Flats
    1x Watery Grave
    1x Hallowed Fountain
    1x Godless Shrine
    4x City of Brass
    1x Gemstone Mine

    Sideboard
    4x Death's Shadow
    3x Thoughtseize
    3x Force of Will
    2x Brazen Borrower
    2x Surgical Extraction
    1x Silent Gravestone
    Well, the controversial parts are Cavern of Souls, no Careful Study or Faithless Looting, a full playset of Once Upon a Time, and only 2 Hogaak, which are all a really big deviation from the norm.

    As far as your list is concerned, Daze seems like an alright replacement for Stain the Mind, considering it works prior to going off.

    I don't think Trademage is worth it. 3cc spells just are not going to work with only 13 lands.

    Since you still have some rainbow lands, you could try to fit in a Bayou (or the shock equivalent) and try to run Lotleth, or you could just forego the additional discard outlet creatures since you're on a full playset of Once Upon a Time and Careful Study.

    I still think the core that we worked on, that FTW just outlined, is the better and more streamlined way to go, but it never hurts to try out other configurations.
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    Re: GB Vengevine

    Meh, I was just throwing shit against a wall. I think the most recent list developed is by far the best.
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    Re: GB Vengevine

    Quote Originally Posted by FTW View Post
    Spirit Guides seem really bad. Color of mana matters more than anything.

    4x Lotus Petal, especially before any non-5c ramp.

    Stitcher's Supplier would be good with other stuff, including Gravecrawler, but eventually the deck turns too much into Hogaak. This deck wants Madness enablers for Hollow One and Rootwalla.

    I like Stain as a 2x main. 4 copies just seems excessive, since it does nothing unless you already have a dominant board state AND are facing a combo-ish deck that needs a specific card extracted.


    //Creatures: 28
    4 Putrid Imp
    4 Tireless Tribe
    4 Basking Rootwalla
    4 Bloodghast
    4 Prized Amalgam
    4 Vengevine
    4 Hollow One

    //Spells: 13
    4 Cabal Therapy
    4 Faithless Looting
    3 Once Upon A Time
    2 Stain the Mind

    //Mana: 17
    4 Lotus Petal
    4 Cavern of Souls
    4 Undiscovered Paradise
    4 Mana Confluence
    1 City of Brass


    That leaves 2 open slots, which could be
    2x Lotleth Troll (backup discard outlets main)
    or
    Stain the Mind + Once Upon A Time (add more copies of spells for redundancy, but these might be too many copies)
    or
    2x Thoughtseize (more disruption main)
    or
    2x Gravecrawler (more threats)
    or
    2x Abrupt Decay (more answers)

    For the SB, we definitely want Firestorm and Big Game Hunter and Faerie Macabre.

    Force of Vigor is strong but needs a higher green count than just 11-13 main.
    Stain the Mind doesn't necessarily require a dominant board state or a combo matchup to be effective. Costing 2 mana with 3 dudes on the board is still undercosted for the effect, and it hits cards from their hand like Cabal Therapy would. Even in fair matchups like 4c Snowko, removing Swords to Plowshares is a big deal. Even against Delver, removing Lightning Bolt can prevent them from buying time to stabilize, etc.

    I agree with the rest of your assessments though, and it's likely correct that 2 copies is the right amount.

    Again, the correct number of lands is somewhere between 12 and 14. 13 seems like a fine middle ground.

    I'm of the mind that the 2 extra slots should be Lotleth Troll, but you are more than welcome to experiment with other options. Ruthless Sniper, Gamble, and Careful Study are some other options that I didn't see you in your list, which should probably also be included.

    I'm not sure that Gravecrawler works with only 4 Putrid Imp and 4 Prized Amalgam as the only other zombies, but who knows.

    I don't think that Abrupt Decay is reliably castable with our manabase, unfortunately.

    My Force of Vigor green card count is at 17 after sideboarding right now, which should be enough. I tend to want 20+ blue cards for Force of Will in all of my blue decks, but I think 16 is around the minimum needed to be able to reliably cast it in a window of time where the game is still relevant. More is certainly better, but it is what it is. The standard Hogaak lists get away with running it with even less green cards maindeck than we have, and it still works out for them.
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    Re: GB Vengevine

    Quote Originally Posted by Hanni View Post
    Stain the Mind doesn't necessarily require a dominant board state or a combo matchup to be effective. Costing 2 mana with 3 dudes on the board is still undercosted for the effect, and it hits cards from their hand like Cabal Therapy would. Even in fair matchups like 4c Snowko, removing Swords to Plowshares is a big deal. Even against Delver, removing Lightning Bolt can prevent them from buying time to stabilize, etc.
    Right, and that doesn't make it uncastable, but isn't something like Thoughtseize a lot more consistent for that slot in fair matches? Or just attacking before they draw the StP/Terminus? You're trying to stop them from buying time by giving up time skipping an attack... Undercosted or not, casting Lost Legacy on removal is not something aggro wants to do when it could just aggro instead. Especially when it has a convoke cost.

    Extra copies of Stain seem much better in unfair matches, where they both won't try to disrupt your board presence and where extracting a few cards from their deck is much stronger than a regular Thoughtseize effect. I could see a 3rd Stain in the board. It just doesn't seem right main.

    I'm not sure that Gravecrawler works with only 4 Putrid Imp and 4 Prized Amalgam as the only other zombies, but who knows.
    Good point. From my previous Vengevine decks, I'm pretty sure it would need some other cheap zombies. Probably at least 3 Lotleth Troll main, Carrion Feeders, or Bridge from Below. So Gravecrawler is out. The new 1B Zendikar guy is probably too slow too. Your suggestions (Ruthless Sniper, Cabal Therapist, Careful Study) deserve consideration too.

    I don't think that Abrupt Decay is reliably castable with our manabase, unfortunately.
    Stain the Mind off less than 4 creatures suffers from a similar problem. Though Decay is a bit harder due to Cavern, which could at least help cast Lotleth Troll. The upside is Decay increases the green count to run Force of Vigor. So does Lotleth Troll.

    My Force of Vigor green card count is at 17 after sideboarding right now, which should be enough. I tend to want 20+ blue cards for Force of Will in all of my blue decks, but I think 16 is around the minimum needed to be able to reliably cast it in a window of time where the game is still relevant.
    The consistency at that level is lower though. You'll be forced to pitch your OUAT (messing up your opening hand) or Vengevine (reducing your aggressive potential) most of the time. Or worse, if your only discard outlet is Lotleth Troll but that's also your only green card, do you even cast the FoV? You would have at most 1 green card a lot of the time, and often losing that green card could cost you a lot of tempo.

    We could also run cards like Ingot Chewer, Nature's Claim or Ancient Grudge.

  17. #277
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    Re: GB Vengevine

    Quote Originally Posted by FTW View Post
    Right, and that doesn't make it uncastable, but isn't something like Thoughtseize a lot more consistent for that slot in fair matches? Or just attacking before they draw the StP/Terminus? You're trying to stop them from buying time by giving up time skipping an attack... Undercosted or not, casting Lost Legacy on removal is not something aggro wants to do when it could just aggro instead. Especially when it has a convoke cost.

    Extra copies of Stain seem much better in unfair matches, where they both won't try to disrupt your board presence and where extracting a few cards from their deck is much stronger than a regular Thoughtseize effect. I could see a 3rd Stain in the board. It just doesn't seem right main.
    In sideboard matchups where *not dying* against combo is your primary plan, I think Stain the Mind shines. I don't think I would play Thoughtseize instead of Stain the Mind maindeck, though. If anything I would make the aggressive plan stronger. In my case it would at a minimum be getting Looting #4 into the maindeck, and I mentioned above that I actually think 3 Trolls wouldn't be bad in the maindeck.


    Good point. From my previous Vengevine decks, I'm pretty sure it would need some other cheap zombies. Probably at least 3 Lotleth Troll main, Carrion Feeders, or Bridge from Below. So Gravecrawler is out. The new 1B Zendikar guy is probably too slow too. Your suggestions (Ruthless Sniper, Cabal Therapist, Careful Study) deserve consideration too.
    My next test is Cabal Therapist over maindeck Stain the Mind. I know Hanni considers Stain sacrosanct, but my experience has been that it's amazing in combo matchups but lackluster in fair matchups. I haven't done nearly as much testing as Hanni, but in my test matchups against Daze Stain the Mind was a liability. Against decks like Depths it was game-winning.


    Stain the Mind off less than 4 creatures suffers from a similar problem. Though Decay is a bit harder due to Cavern, which could at least help cast Lotleth Troll. The upside is Decay increases the green count to run Force of Vigor. So does Lotleth Troll.
    I was skeptical of Troll at first, but it has really justified it's role in this deck. Some decks just can't deal with a 7/6 trampler that can regenerate for B.

    The consistency at that level is lower though. You'll be forced to pitch your OUAT (messing up your opening hand) or Vengevine (reducing your aggressive potential) most of the time. Or worse, if your only discard outlet is Lotleth Troll but that's also your only green card, do you even cast the FoV? You would have at most 1 green card a lot of the time, and often losing that green card could cost you a lot of tempo.

    We could also run cards like Ingot Chewer, Nature's Claim or Ancient Grudge.
    It is correct if the graveyard hate in particular is Leyline of the Void. The most common hate you'll run into is Surgical Extraction, followed by Grafdigger's Cage and Rest in Peace. OUAT is a perfectly acceptable card to pitch to Force of Vigor, Vengevine less so. In matchups where you need Force of Vigor you're playing slower already, you can't just spam a bunch of dudes in the face of permanent hate. Troll is incredibly powerful in these matchups, again, of which I am debating a 3rd in the maindeck. Costing tempo is just a cost you have to accept so you have better odds at finding windows to win.
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  18. #278
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    Re: GB Vengevine

    Stain the Mind tapping down a Putrid Imp, Basking Rootwalla, and Bloodghast doesn't give up too much damage, while you can still attack with bigger threats like Vengevine or Hollow One. Disrupting with Cabal Therapy and Stain the Mind helps prevent the opponent from being able to stabilize.

    Don't forget that Stain the Mind also acts as graveyard hate too. Maybe a threat like Uro isn't a huge deal for us, but there are plenty of problematic cards in Legacy that Stain the Mind just straight up deals with.

    Since we don't run engines the same way that the standard Hogaak lists do, there is the possibility that our initial rush doesn't push through for enough if they can deal with our bigger threats, which is what motivated me to want to include it, but maybe you're right.

    Maybe Thoughtseize is just straight up better in the maindeck, with the Stain the Mind in the sideboard?

    Casting Stain the Mind for 2 mana is different than casting Abrupt Decay though, considering that most of the time, we can satisfy the black cost from Putrid Imp or Bloodghast, so we only need colorless from lands (i.e a double Cavern hand would still cast it).

    Decay is hard to cast because it costs both green and black, and Cavern of Souls won't cast it. So you have 8-9 lands and 4 Lotus Petal that you need to have 2 of. It's not impossible to cast, it's just unreliable. Paradise bounces back to hand, too, so getting GB into play to cast it against a deck with Wasteland just seems unlikely without Lotus Petal.

    Lotleth Troll costs the same as Abrupt Decay, but it is castable from Cavern of Souls, which makes it more likely to be castable.

    I'm not saying Decay is wrong per say, I'm just skeptical. I still think Force of Vigor is worth it for dealing with problems that demand an answer. It dodges Chalice and deals with double Leyline starts, turn 1 Blood Moon, etc.

    I know that I trimmed down to 3 Once Upon a Time, but maybe the 4th copy is warranted again. When I trimmed down to 3, I was still on 14 lands. Multiples in the opener isn't great, but at the same time, excess lands in the opener isn't great either, so maybe that's the solution. If I drop to 12 lands with 4 Once Upon a Time, my consistency for hitting the correct amount of mana goes up, and extra Once Upon a Time's aren't necessarily horrible to cast on turn 2+. That also ups my green spell count to 18, which I'm more than happy with to satisfy Force of Vigor.

    EDIT: I updated my Hogaak list to include a sideboard, and I switched back to a 3/3 split of Carrion Feeder and Putrid Imp.

    I updated my Hollow One list to trim to 2 Stain the Mind for the 4th Once Upon a Time.
    Last edited by Hanni; 09-17-2020 at 08:56 AM.
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    Re: GB Vengevine

    Watching even more games of standard Hogaak lists has my brain brewing even more shit.

    Bridge from Below is a pretty busted card. I'm curious if we could find a way to include it in the Hollow One list somehow. It doesn't necessarily contribute to the busted turn one starts (which would require Lotus Petal and/or Cabal Therapy), but it does give us a powerful engine for the midgame (turns 2+).

    The problem is that in order to really maximize Bridge, we'd need a sacrifice outlet besides just Cabal Therapy. Carrion Feeder makes the most sense due to casting cost, we have Cavern of Souls that gives it uncounterability, and it's another creature for triggering Vengevine.

    At that point, we would probably want some Gravecrawler's too, since they are an engine with Carrion Feeder for creating zombie tokens, and can retrigger both Vengevine and Prized Amalgam in the midgame. We have a sufficient number of zombies now to properly support Gravecrawler.

    But how many Bridge's, Feeder's, and Crawler's would we want, and what's the cut, then?

    Lotleth Troll is an obvious cut since it doesn't discard Bridge, and I'm also fine with cutting Stain the Mind.

    We need Once Upon a Time to increase the consistency of finding an initial discard outlet without Lotleth.

    The only other card that I would be willing to cut would be Faithless Looting.

    I really like the consistency increase that Faithless Looting provides in the early game, and as an engine for enabling Hollow One's in the midgame, but maybe the Bridge engine is worth it?

    I'm not really sure right now, tbh. It's exciting brewing different ideas in this design space, but I don't know if this would actually be any better than what we already have.

    Cutting 2 Lotleth, 4 Faithless Looting, and 2 Stain the Mind gives me 8 slots to play with. I could trim down to 3 Once Upon a Time to go up to 9 slots...

    Would 3 Carrion Feeder, 2 Gravecrawler, and 4 Bridge from Below be worth it?

    New list, for reference:

    Lands (12)
    4 Cavern of Souls
    4 Undiscovered Paradise
    4 Mana Confluence

    Creatures (32)
    4 Tireless Tribe
    4 Putrid Imp
    2 Carrion Feeder
    2 Gravecrawler
    4 Basking Rootwalla
    4 Hollow One
    4 Bloodghast
    4 Vengevine
    4 Prized Amalgam

    Spells (16)
    4 Once Upon a Time
    4 Cabal Therapy
    4 Bridge from Below
    4 Lotus Petal

    Sideboard (15)
    2 Stain the Mind
    2 Force of Vigor
    2 Nature's Claim
    2 Firestorm
    1 Ruthless Sniper
    1 Big Game Hunter
    2 Faerie Macabre
    1 Silent Gravestone
    1 Pithing Needle
    1 Karakas

    I'm actually pretty excited to try this out...

    I know my green spell count for Force of Vigor is lower now, which is why I split it with Nature's Claim. Costing mana is relevant, but losing 2 cards with Vigor when you only need to blow up 1 permanent is also relevant, so I'm fine with the split.

    EDIT: Cutting a Carrion Feeder for the 4th Once Upon a Time to increase consistency of hitting a discard outlet or land in the opening hand.
    Last edited by Hanni; 10-02-2020 at 12:19 PM.
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    Re: GB Vengevine

    The issue is you don't have strong ways of getting Bridge into your yard. Hogaak enables it with Altar of Dementia and milling a minimum of 4 cards with Supplier and Vengevine, 8 for a single Hogaak. That is how Bridge gets busted wide open. Otherwise you're still just trying to luck-draw Bridge with an enabler out. You will almost never have more than one Bridge in the yard, and you don't have Alter/Hogaak turbo-charging it. I don't think it's worth the loss of consistency cutting Looting and Troll. I think you will eventually just land on a tweaked version of Hogaak, which is fine! If this thread discussion leads to development of a modified Hogaak list then its worthwhile.
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