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Thread: M.O.S.T. - Merieke, Opposition, (Survival), Tradewind Rider

  1. #221
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    Re: M.O.S.T. - Merieke, Opposition, (Survival), Tradewind Rider

    Quote Originally Posted by pettdan View Post
    Cratermaker answering Emrakul is pretty nice too, I could see a 1/1 split with Qasali. It takes out Delver too, a Qasali that also takes out Delver and Emrakul is... Fantastic. But not green of course.
    I think Big Game Hunter is the correct option to deal with Emrakul and friends.
    It doesn't interact as well as Shriekmaw with recursion from Meren, but it can
    target Griselbrand for instance. I also think that if I were to untap with Fauna
    Shaman and look for a way to handle a flipped Delver I would just tutor for
    Scryb Ranger instead who has its other uses. Baleful Strix also works but these
    2 can be bolted so they don't exactly replace the goblin actually. In the
    Breakfast version, I would just make a Griselbrand anyway and eat 3 damage a
    turn as long as I can I suppose.

    Quote Originally Posted by pettdan View Post
    Aluren, like I've said. Great synergy with all of the deck, instant speed win vs
    agressive decks or especially control decks, and you get to play card advantage
    creatures.
    I would like to try that someday, see what's the most compact package for Aluren
    where drawing a Recruiter of the Guard just win on the spot but with not too many "dead"
    creatures that are not good enough on their own.

    Quote Originally Posted by pettdan View Post
    I, too, want to try Volrath's Shapeshifter with Minion of Leshrac.
    It's really that stupid, with no long-term way to "reorder" the graveyard like
    Psychatog used to allow (Scoose costs G each activation) I think Necrotic Ooze
    is the better synergy but they both work indeed. It just so happens that Phage
    requires Volrath's Shapeshifter. Its last ability really has become relevant
    since we're now usually limited to one activation of the Fauna Shaman per turn.

    Quote Originally Posted by pettdan View Post
    Not sure which one, but if you can have protection vs most removal spells from
    Grixis Control and Miracles, and also relevant vs other decks like DnT and
    Grixis Delver, that seems like a potentially good move. Well, TNN already does
    that I guess. But I'm thinking of alternatives.
    I agree with TNN outclassing other alternatives, but Infect with Atraxa is yet
    another angle ;-)

  2. #222
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    Re: M.O.S.T. - Merieke, Opposition, (Survival), Tradewind Rider

    I made some quick updates probably while you were responding, AngryBacon, like adding the comment about Necrotic Ooze, yes, it's probably better with Minion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pettdan
    Cratermaker answering Emrakul is pretty nice too, I could see a 1/1 split with Qasali. It takes out Delver too, a Qasali that also takes out Delver and Emrakul is... Fantastic. But not green of course.
    Quote Originally Posted by AngryBacon View Post
    I think Big Game Hunter is the correct option to deal with Emrakul and friends.
    It doesn't interact as well as Shriekmaw with recursion from Meren, but it can
    target Griselbrand for instance. I also think that if I were to untap with Fauna
    Shaman and look for a way to handle a flipped Delver I would just tutor for
    Scryb Ranger instead who has its other uses. Baleful Strix also works but these
    2 can be bolted so they don't exactly replace the goblin actually. In the
    Breakfast version, I would just make a Griselbrand anyway and eat 3 damage a
    turn as long as I can I suppose.
    So, the important thing to notice here is that you must have artifact removal in your maindeck, or you lose a lot of matches. Or well, you don't have to, but it's pretty great. This is also meta dependent, if all you see is combo, then forget about artifact removal. Anyway, when your artifact removal serves double duty by also getting rid of two of the format's premier threats, Delver and Emrakul, that is an absurd upswing for this piece of artifact removal. Of course, being non-green is a great disadvantage. Cratermaker does not compete with Shriekmaw or Big Game Hunter, Cratermaker competes with Abrupt Decay and Qasali/KoA no 2. If Cratermaker wins that battle, then Shriekmaw and Big Game Hunter become a bit less relevant. Why would you waste a sideboard slot on a tutorable piece of functionality that you already have access to, of course a second copy is nice but maybe a second Cratermaker would be better then.. Well, it requires a red list, which is why I mentioned it under the goblins theme. Actually, it's pretty sweet that goblins are red so the lost enchantment removal from playing Cratermaker over a Qasali is not that bad, considering that you can partly ignore Blood Moon, the main enchantment you'd want to destroy, and just play your goblins, the goblins that you happen to draw.


    Quote Originally Posted by AngryBacon
    I would like to try that someday, see what's the most compact package for Aluren
    where drawing a Recruiter of the Guard just win on the spot but with not too many "dead"
    creatures that are not good enough on their own.
    I've been drafting an update of the list I played a year ago, I'll eventually test it and then post it. It worked pretty ok last time, but that doesn't really mean anything. Actually, I didn't use the win on the spot card, Parasitic Strix, since I didn't want to introduce a dead card to the deck, instead using some synergies. Thing is, with Knight of Autumn in the deck, this opens a life-gaining ability from Aluren which lets you replay creatures infinitely. So just the addition of Knight of Autumn improves the list by a lot. [edit: oh yeah, infinite life is pretty good in itself too]

    A practical comment, you can use the command cards and /cards, with brackets around them, before your list of cards to get links added, this is a pretty useful feature and invaluable for our unorthodox card choices. :)
    Last edited by pettdan; 01-31-2019 at 09:33 AM.

  3. #223
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    Re: M.O.S.T. - Merieke, Opposition, (Survival), Tradewind Rider

    Quote Originally Posted by pettdan View Post
    Cratermaker does not compete with Shriekmaw or Big Game Hunter, Cratermaker competes with Abrupt Decay and Qasali/KoA no 2
    Very good point, I misunderstood and was comparing the second Quasali slot (which is Knight of Autumn in my sideboard) with it.

    Quote Originally Posted by pettdan View Post
    A practical comment, you can use the command cards and /cards, with brackets around them, before your list of cards to get links added, this is a pretty useful feature and invaluable for our unorthodox card choices. :)
    Do you mean in my decklist? I was doing exactly that for inline cards in my post.

    Edit: Yup, edited it in, thanks ;-)

  4. #224

    Re: M.O.S.T. - Merieke, Opposition, (Survival), Tradewind Rider

    Thraben tries fauna toolbox
    https://youtu.be/8UqKntsRBgw

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    Re: M.O.S.T. - Merieke, Opposition, (Survival), Tradewind Rider

    Yes, thanks JackaBo!

    Added:

    Quote Originally Posted by AngryBacon View Post
    I agree with TNN outclassing other alternatives, but Infect with Atraxa is yet
    another angle ;-)
    Ah yeah, Atraxa Infect. ;) We have Phyrexian Crusader and I guess Viridian Corrupter. And Noble Hierarch. Hmm..
    Last edited by pettdan; 01-31-2019 at 09:42 AM.

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    Re: M.O.S.T. - Merieke, Opposition, (Survival), Tradewind Rider

    I suppose I can just link my list through a permanent deckbox.org link since it's not likely to change too much now.

    https://deckbox.org/sets/2230936


    Finished 2-1 at a small FNM yesterday.

    2-0 UR Delver

    Two extremely close games. I close the first one at 1 life with an unblockable Phage and the second one at 2 life with a humonguous Scooze and friends. Sanctum Prelate MVP both games.

    0-2 Death and Taxes

    Friend and white fair Magic expert proceed to pummel my pretty face the 2 games. He doesn't know what's up but he heard the names Phage and Merieke during round 1 so he's pretty anxious and place me on some spice from another world, as per usual.
    Very very slow game one where none of us find something to close the game. I have a lot of mana though. I can turtle a little longer by eating more of my blocking creatures with Scooze but I just concede afraid we wouldn't have time for a third game as he builds a better and better board.
    Second game is shorter, Mirran Crusader with both Jitte and Batterskull hits like a truck. The one-turn window I had I wasted tutoring for a Leovold (instead of a Knight of Autumn) that would hopefully prevent Jitte to wipe my board. Too bad I forgot about his Karakas I guess...

    2-0 Death and Taxes

    I don't remember the specifics but I didn't feel any pressure other than a late Brightling. Luckily a second Brainstorm ended up finding Abrupt Decay at the right time (he was stuck on 2 Plains only).
    Pontiff buries him so deep I can probably kill him in 3 turns just attacking with a huge board and Elesh Norn but I don't see it and keep playing around with the shapeshifter for a cleaner kill.

    Overall, I'm most impressed with how gamebreaking some of the interactions can be versus tiered decks. Also, Pontiff 100% never leaving the main.

    Jankiest moment against Death and Taxes was as follow:
    As I untap, I have active Fauna Shaman, Birds of Paradise, Noble Hierarch, Scavenging Ooze and Volrath's Shapeshifter. Top of the graveyard is Meren then Elesh Norn, fetchland then Phage. In hand I got Scryb Ranger and Mother of Runes
    I declare all but Fauna Shaman attacking. Before blocks they activate Vial on 3, I let it resolve, it's a Flickerwisp targetting the "Meren". In response I eat my Meren with Scooze to kill the Flickerwisp. And there I was counting for lethal (it was lethal) but one mana short to Play the Scryb Ranger, untap the "Elesh Norn", discard the Mother of Runes, give my newly acquired Mother of Runes protection from the white, and finally eat it with Scooze to still be attacking with a full board of Elesh Norn'd stuff. I explain the line to my opponent and they just concede knowing they can't possibly survive next turn anyway.

    Edit: As I write this I'm thinking I would have had said mana if I had attacked with Elesh Norn in the first place (Vigilance), no need to play the Scryb Ranger to untap!

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    Re: M.O.S.T. - Merieke, Opposition, (Survival), Tradewind Rider

    Here's a short report from today's local legacy event. I almost always write a report when playing this deck, since years back, and now that AngryBacon has been sharing I feel like I definitely should too. I played a version similar to the one in the local league finals, some 6 months ago, it's not quite tuned. And lacking Deputy of Detention that I'd like to test. Not sure if it'd made a difference in any of the games, actually. Anyway, being quite rusty with the deck I made a couple of mistakes that ended up costing me games. I hope I learn something from this, but since some of these mistakes are actually quite similar to what happened during the games in that league finals I'm not entirely optimistic. Nothing replaces regular practice with this deck. I wanted to put together an Aluren version and try it, but ended up not having time for it so went with a few adjustments to the previous version.

    Btw, it's interesting to notice that Scryb Ranger has finally taken off in price, I wonder if there is a specific reason, didn't hear of any modern deck using it but I'm not following that format that closely (yet, I want to test MOST there too). I had been wondering why such a good card, an uncommon in an old set, was not worth more.

    Changes to the list:
    I decided to cut the third Savannah in favor of another Noble Hierarch, just to get less clunky hands with no t1 acceleration. Not sure if it's good, because vs decks with removal the mana dorks are just fodder for their removal. Anyway, I'll try it.

    Also, I cut a TNN, a Stoneforge, a Sword of L&S and something else [edit: also down 2 StP's I think, which hurts vs Lage/Infect/Phoenix etc I suppose, but I may have made room for them by making a meta dependent choice and skipping Gaddock and a Qasali for this specific tournament] to add a Vengevine, a Hallowed Spiritkeeper, and a Palace Jailer, just to see if the extra grind could help vs Grixis Control - removing stuff that his vulnerable to spot removal, Kolaghan's Command and sweepers and replacing it with stuff that is not. It never came up though, except for the Spiritkeeper that was actually cleanly answered by Jace bounce and Snapcaster Hymn. Very unsatisfactory. ;)

    For the sideboard, most of it is from that finals, which means it may be a bit skewed, but I wasn't sure what to change and no time to consider. I still really like the idea of Cataclysm and Carpet of Flowers, as well as the maindecked Prelates. I added a Fulminator Mage, not sure what I removed for it actually as my sideboard was missing cards when I started. But I've wanted to play Fulminator Mage for a long time, so now at least I got to bring it along but never found it or needed to tutor for it.

    Maindeck:
    15 Lands excl Arbor
    1 Forest
    2 Tropical Island
    2 Savannah
    2 Bayou
    1 Tundra
    7 Fetches

    1 Dryad Arbor
    3 Green Sun's Zenith
    3 Noble Hierarch
    3 Birds of Paradise [edit: 3 not 4]
    2 Scryb Ranger
    3 Fauna Shaman
    1 Recruiter of the Guard
    4 Aether Vial

    3 Mother of Runes
    1 Scavenging Ooze
    1 Qasali Pridemage
    1 Gaddock Teeg
    1 Orzhov Pontiff
    1 Knight of Autumn
    1 Hallowed Spiritkeeper
    1 Leovold, Emissary of Trest
    2 Sanctum Prelate
    1 Meren of Clan Nel Toth
    1 Glen Elendra Archmage
    1 Shalai
    1 Vengevine
    1 Palace Jailer
    1 Atraxa

    2 Sylvan Library
    1 Umezawa's Jitte
    1 Abrupt Decay
    1 Assassin's Trophy
    2 Brainstorm

    Sb:
    2 Invasive Surgery
    1 Flusterstorm
    1 Duress
    2 Leyline of the Void
    1 Swords to Plowshares
    2 Carpet of Flowers
    2 Cataclysm
    1 Kambal, Consul of Allocation
    1 Fulminator Mage
    1 Keranos, God of Storms
    1 Linvala, Keeper of Silence



    So, this will be a bit brief as I'm writing this in the middle of the night, mostly commenting on crucial plays and misplays. I may add comments about MVP's later, I like going back to have a look at that.

    M1: UW Stoneblade
    G1: I make a bad attack t3 with exalted Hallowed Spiritkeeper into untapped Stoneforge with a fetched Batterskull in hand, there were no creatures in the graveyard yet so it was a bad trade, which I realized too late, so I considered saving my decay in hand for a more crucial Jitte, that might turn up at some point, but decided to take out the germ token and slow down the opponent's development. I had some nice creatures in hand that would build some board presence while he spent two turns bouncing and recasting the Batterskull. Proceed to get all my creatures destroyed by Jitte 4-5 turns later.

    G2: I decide to take a risk and play proactively at sorcery speed, tapping out in my main phase to put some extra pressure on the opponent with Palace Jailer, opponent then has no creatures in play, and next turn a Meren coupled with active Fauna Shaman and Vial to build an overwhelming board presence, practically drawing three cards per turn (including a Fauna Shaman activation). Well, opponent follows up on my Meren with a Humility, which renders my impressive board of Meren, Scryb Ranger, Mother, Fauna Shaman, etc, into an unimpressive gang that are quickly dealt with by his Gideon, Sword of Fire & Ice and Jitte. I realize a bit late that I would have been able to, if I'd remembered to use Scryb Ranger to untap in my main phase, tutor for Glen Elendra, vial her in and counter the Humility, uncounterably. Similarly, Gaddock would have been a better defensive play here, I think I was worrying about Jitte but with Mother + Scryb that was covered.

    Note to self here: vs UW blade decks, prepare for Humility, Jitte and Supreme Verdict.
    Result: 0-2 in games, 0-1 in matches

    M2: Oops all spells
    G1: He goes off on t2 on the play, I think, I had no chance to interact. Make sure he plays it out to see what wincon was used, the new finisher that is Dread Return-ed into play to deal damage equal to the amount of creatures in his graveyard. While browsing his deck I found both FoW and Pact of Negation, and 3-4 of the new scry Sphinx, Sphinx of Foresight, very interesting. Such a fast deck with counterspell protection, that can be tough.

    G2: I mull to 3, looking for t1 interaction or t0 (leyline), don't find it. He goes t1 or t2 Sphinx, and I take hits down to 4 before I get Scryb Ranger to block it, get Gaddock Teeg into play and Scavenging Ooze, Kambal too I think, then beat him down from there.

    G3: I mull to 6, I think, which has a Leyline and no lands. I keep it, there's a lot of ramp and interaction and I only need to find 1 land to get started. I find the land on my t2 I think, he casts the Undercity Informer and starts beating down with it, then a Sphinx joins and I drop low on life. I get out Ooze to race but there are no creatures in our graveyards, as I vial in a blocker for the Informer, the opponent makes the mistake of sacrificing his Informer targeting my library, giving my Ooze plenty of life to turn the game around. I get a Scryb Ranger out too, I think, and win from there. As we discussed what would have happened if I'd drawn the milled cards instead, I'd have been hard pressed there, needing to topdeck a good card after a shuffle. Oh well, these fast graveyard decks can be tough, it's why I like to have a couple of Leylines around, especially when I don't play FoW. They slow down the game like nothing else.

    Result: 2-1 in games, 1-1 in matches

    M3: Turbo Depths with Night's Whispers over Confidants
    G1: I saw what this guy was on as he was playing next to me one game, and I manage to put up defenses, Scryb Ranger + Mother I think, by t3 or so but opponent gets Marit Lage and Sejiri Step for protection so it's over quickly.

    G2: Starting hand has Noble Hierach, Fauna Shaman and 5 lands. I figure I have a good chance to get Fauna Shaman active, being on the play, but I proceed to draw lands while opponent makes t2 Marit Lage that I can't stop.
    I think this is the first time I play against Turbo Depths, it has been quite unpopular locally until recently. I'll revice my board to see if I need something for this deck..
    Results: 0-2 in games, 1-2 in matches

    M4: Grixis Control with TNN's
    G1: Kolaghan's, Snacpaster Kolaghan's I think.
    G2: Not sure what happened here, must have won this one. I think Orzhov Pontiff Cleared out a TNN and a Snapcaster, then I beat down for the win.
    G3: I only draw 1 land for the first 2 turns but get Scryb, BoP and Meren into play, sandbag a second land and Cataclysm as on t4, he had just cast a TNN but I figure with active Meren I'll easily race it by building an impressive board state. He ends up racing me with 2 TNN's, I tutor for Pontiff to deal 17-18 damage in my first turn after time has been called. He got stuck on 3 lands after the Cataclysm and showed a hand with a lot of interaction that he didn't get to play.
    Result: 2-1 in games, 2-2 in matches

    So, in total a 2-2 result, it could have been 3-1 or 1-3 I guess, and the list is a bit untuned and so am I. Great fun was had by all parties involved.
    Last edited by pettdan; 02-08-2019 at 05:05 AM.

  8. #228
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    Re: M.O.S.T. - Merieke, Opposition, (Survival), Tradewind Rider

    Here's a brief report. I tried an Aluren list in the local weekly today, unfortunately I boarded Aluren out in every game so it wasn't the best matchups to try it, I suppose. I resolved it once but had nothing useful in hand. I may try it again a few times, but it doesn't seem like it's the right way to go right now. Regarding the list, the sideboard was a bit quickly put together. We're between leagues now so people tend to play a bit more experimental decks.

    R1: Oozing
    G1: Think I lost this one to his combo.
    G2&3: Open both games with Leyline, which is quite lucky, and draw a reasonable amount of interaction and pressure. I get to flusterstorm Echoing Truth on Leyline in one game. He uses Massacre to reset my board a few times, but a bit sooner than he needed to. I had 15 cards to board in in this matchup, so this is an indication that the sideboard can be balanced.
    Result: 2-1 in games, 1-0 in matches

    R2: Eldrazi
    G1: I have 5 lands, BoP and Qasali in my starting hand, and proceed to draw like 2 lands and another BoP I think. He plays 2 Thought-Knots and turn them sideways until it's over.
    G2: He attacks with an equipped Jitte on his t2, I spend the game trying to survive then as I might stabilize there's a Ballista clearing my board. We played a third game which I lost too. I need more sideboard cards for this matchup, clearly [edit: or actually I'm not so sure, this Aluren version plays 3 Strixes in the maindeck, but probably a Peacekeeper could be added to the sideboard, or something to deal with Ballista]. I boarded in 2 StP's and maybe a Thoughtseize. Resolving Aluren could race them, and I did resolve Aluren in one game, through Thorn of Amethyst, but only had a Pontiff in hand.
    Results: 0-2 in games this round, 1-1 in matches

    R3: Death's Shadow
    G1: He wins with double Shadows, Delver and a Gurmag. He Dismembered my early acceleration I think.
    G2: I misboard, bringing in 2 Carpets but not bringing any mana producer out. It ends up helping me as I withstand his mana denial. Ooze is quite useful here, proactively taking care of his Gurmag, gaining life, racing Delver etc. I think I Swords an early Gurmag actually, Scryb Ranger keeps Delver off. I think he draw quite little removal so I got to play the game I want.
    G3: Draw my first Strixes in this game, they are clearly fantastic. I think again he has little removal and I establish board control.
    Results: 2-1 in games this round, 2-1 in matches

    R4: Grixis Phoenix
    He has slow starts, I get Ooze and Leovold into play, Strixes to buy some time. Also get good topdecks in g2 when my hand is all mana: he rituals out Liliana tlH on t1, I go Brainstorm on t1 and 2 Carpets on t2. He gets out Pyromancer and Confidant, starts drawing cards. I sweep his creatures with Pontiff AND gsz for Leovold on my t3 (thanks carpets!). He bolts leovold and then Liliana takes out Pontiff. Next turn I gsz for leo again, he has to minus Lily to keep it alive at 6 counters, and from there I stabilize and take over. Leo stops his hand of cantrips.
    Results: 2-0 in games this round, 3-1 in matches

    MvP of the night was Scavenging Ooze. Maybe the two Aluren should just be two extra Oozes.

    Here's the list (too late at night to make the list pretty):

    Dryad Arbor 1
    Bayou 2
    Forest 1
    Misty Rainforest 3
    Savannah 2
    Tropical Island 2
    Underground Sea 1
    Verdant Catacombs 4
    Brainstorm 2
    Birds of Paradise 4
    Noble Hierarch 2
    Quirion Ranger 1
    Green Sun's Zenith 4
    Aether Vial 3
    Fauna Shaman 3
    Scavenging Ooze 1
    Scryb Ranger 1
    Sylvan Library 2
    Baleful Strix 3
    Cavern Harpy 1
    Qasali Pridemage 1
    Assassin's Trophy 2
    Recruiter of the Guard 3
    Man-o'-War 1
    Eternal Witness 1
    Knight of Autumn 1
    Leovold, Emissary of Trest 2
    Orzhov Pontiff 2
    Glen Elendra Archmage 1
    Aluren 2
    Meren of Clan Nel Toth 1

    Sb:
    Carpet of Flowers 2
    Thoughtseize 1
    Duress 1
    Swords to Plowshares 2
    Flusterstorm 1
    Invasive Surgery 2
    Gilded Drake 1
    Sanctum Prelate 2
    Kambal, Consul of Allocation 1
    Leyline of the Void 2
    Last edited by pettdan; 02-17-2019 at 08:01 AM.

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    Re: M.O.S.T. - Merieke, Opposition, (Survival), Tradewind Rider

    Beast Whisperer is something to consider. It may be a win-more card, at 4 mana you may want to do something meaningful, on the other hand it's a one card slot that lets you go for card advantage tactics, giving you permanent-ish Glimpse. Meren already offers this kind of card advantage with more flexibility, I'd say, but this card offers more of raw card advantage. I saw Julian Knab playing it on stream the other day, looked good.

  10. #230

    Re: M.O.S.T. - Merieke, Opposition, (Survival), Tradewind Rider

    What matchup would you want beast whisperer for?

    In control matchups I think I’d want either Meren for advantage that can immediately pressure the board, more Prelates / mages to protect my board, or maybe extra renegade ralliers to be able to rebuild quickly.

    For slow grindy advantage, I’ve been super happy with Ramunap Excavator (replay Dryad, bounce, pitch to fauna, repeat), and would consider it a staple of the deck right after quirion and scryb.

    Has anyone else played with a scrubland instead of the tundra? It seems better for casting deputy of detention and meddling mage (and maybe strix), and t1 trop seems better than t1 bayou to complement the white dual t2.

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    Re: M.O.S.T. - Merieke, Opposition, (Survival), Tradewind Rider

    Hey Rodney, I suppose, great to have you here! I hope you'll share some more of your ideas with us, I heard the podcast you were in a while back and it was quite nice listening to.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bedell View Post
    What matchup would you want beast whisperer for?
    I don't really want it right now, I think. Drawing cards would be mostly relevant vs decks with a lot of removal, such as Grixis Control and Miracles, but building an overwhelming board presence is relevant vs any fair deck that doesn't win very quickly (like Infect). We got Vizier of the Menagerie which did something similar a while back, and it didn't seem good enough when I tested it briefly, but Beast Whisperer has a more reliable effect.

    Actually, I think a more relevant question would be in what version of this deck would you want to play Beast Whisperer? I don't know, I just stated that it's a card we can consider using in some version of the deck. For example, I could see it being relevant in a list with access to a lot of mana. Suppose you play a version with 1 Gaea's Cradle, 1 Knight of the Reliquary and 1 Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary. Perhaps you run mana dorks over Vials, just as a thought experiment, but it's not even needed to consider such a version. This version will ramp very quickly into a lot of mana, and Beast Whisperer becomes a Glimpse of Nature that occupies one slot in your deck but that you can put into play quite reliably. This lets your deck flood the board almost like Elves does, based on only using something like 4 slots. So, this is one example of a version of this deck in which you build synergies that make Beast Whisperer a potential inclusion.

    In control matchups I think I’d want either Meren for advantage that can immediately pressure the board, more Prelates / mages to protect my board, or maybe extra renegade ralliers to be able to rebuild quickly.

    For slow grindy advantage, I’ve been super happy with Ramunap Excavator (replay Dryad, bounce, pitch to fauna, repeat), and would consider it a staple of the deck right after quirion and scryb.
    For sure, I prefer Meren and yes, Prelates and Mages are great. I don't fully get the part about Ramunap Excavator though, it just seems to me like a very weak version of Meren in this deck. If you run Wasteland and maybe Horizon Canopy, which Cermak does, then it looks good. I've been toying with the idea of a list with Tracker, Excavator, KotR, Safekeeper and Titania (maybe Azusa too) but that's also a special case.

    Using Ramunap Excavator with Scryb Ranger and Dryad Arbor and Fauna Shaman just lets you do a small part of what Meren already does. I'll make the comparison, there are a few factors to consider, and am interested in hearing your reasoning (I vaguelly recall you played Meren in the sideboard and Ramunap maindeck, if so I'm curious).
    - Meren single-handedly returns a card to your hand every turn, while Ramunap Excavator only does this if you also have in play a Ranger, Dryad Arbor (in play or graveyard) and Fauna Shaman. That's already showing how much better Meren is, achieving by itself similar to what Ramunap Excavator does as part of a four card combo (which you, granted, often have in play).
    - Meren is better, even in the case that you have assembled Excavator+Arbor+Ranger+Fauna Shaman, because it not only gives you fodder for tutoring up new cards in your deck, with Fauna Shaman in play, it also lets you reuse key creatures of your deck again and again and again. Like when playing vs an artifact based deck, MUD/Painter/Tezzeret/Steel Stompy, here Meren gives you one extra Qasali Pridemage per turn, while Ramunap only gives you a single use per slot in the deck (if you have 2 Qasalis in your list, you can use Ramunap with Scryb+Arbor+Fauna Shaman to destroy two artifacts).
    - Meren after a few turns lets you put creatures into play, as you collect experience counters, so you get a free Vial effect. Getting a free vial effect every turn is a pretty huge advantage.
    - Meren puts Dryad Arbor into play better than Ramunap Excavator, because it does so without using your land drop. Land drops are important when you're bouncing lands to your hand every turn with a Ranger.
    - It's obvious but still, 4 toughness is way better than 3 toughness with Bolt in the format.
    - Advantages of Ramunap Excavator: getting you extra lands. This is not so important in a deck that runs well off 1-2 lands thanks to the Rangers utilizing them so well together with mana dorks and Vials, especially because you are usually using your land drop to recover the returned land from a Ranger activation. We'd need Azusa or something to enable extra land drops to use the Excavator's ability well. Unless like I said playing Wasteland, that's always a powerful recursion.
    - Advantages of Ramunap Excavator: cheaper to cast. It's only one mana cheaper, it's not that important I think. If you are low on lands, it can be important, but if you are low on land 3 mana isn't that cheap, or 4 with GSZ. On the other hand, if you are low on lands and get a vial into play, then I can see Excavator being quite excellent. I'm not sure how often this would happen though?
    - Advantages of Ramunap Excavator: not being a legend. Meren being a legend can be a problem, mostly when facing Karakas. However, one Aether Vial single-handedly negates the Karakas by just putting Meren back into play after they bounce it. I've actually not had a problem using Meren vs Karakas decks, and I think Karakas decks in general are positive matchups.

    Has anyone else played with a scrubland instead of the tundra? It seems better for casting deputy of detention and meddling mage (and maybe strix), and t1 trop seems better than t1 bayou to complement the white dual t2.
    Maybe Vickas does or did? It's not very common but certainly an option, I don't spend much time considering the mana base although it is very important. It sounds reasonable to me, I'd look at your list and count how often you need double of some colors. I think t1 is usually for Mother or mana, which makes Savannah a fairly common t1 play. I've been considering trying basics too, like Vickas, and even a one of Veteran Explorer to establish a mana base in some matchups. Just an idea, probably not going to happen anytime soon.

  12. #232

    Re: M.O.S.T. - Merieke, Opposition, (Survival), Tradewind Rider

    Quote Originally Posted by Bedell View Post
    Has anyone else played with a scrubland instead of the tundra? It seems better for casting deputy of detention and meddling mage (and maybe strix), and t1 trop seems better than t1 bayou to complement the white dual t2.
    It’s interesting you say this, I just played a game where I fetched a trop because I wanted to cast gsz for arbor into brainstorm + fetch. Then I fetched a bayou because I had strix and AT in hand, and it was awkward for a while because I didn’t have black mana. I can’t imagine those kinds of situations being super rare, so a scrubland makes some sense. It does make it harder to cast Orzhov pontiff (and Nissa if you’re still running that), but you need a third mana source to cast it anyway.

  13. #233

    Re: M.O.S.T. - Merieke, Opposition, (Survival), Tradewind Rider

    @pettdan, all very good points about Meren being super value. I think it earns a spot over Atraxa (which is great vs lategame delver and burn, but otherwise boring and replaceable by Shalai).

    I originally added Ramunap Excavator for additional help vs wasteland / tabernacle, and only later noticed its ability to grind.
    In a direct comparison of Ramunap vs Meren, I think 4 mana (gsz for ramunap) is significantly easier than 5 mana (gsz for meren) with 1 land, 1 dork, 1 ranger.
    it also allows us to build up our lands so we don't have to untap with ranger every turn, and it should make Brainstorms much better with the extra fetches in hand.

    one small point for the Ramunap engine is that it can return a Dryad and get a new creature immediately, while Meren often needs help from a Vial early on.

    I let my rental subscription expire so I haven't played this deck on MTGO in a couple months, but I think this would be my hypothetical list (and what i'll be playing at my monday night proxy legacy)

    4 verdant catacombs
    4 windswept heath
    2 savannah
    2 tropical island
    1 bayou
    1 scrubland
    1 forest

    1 dryad arbor

    4 aether vial
    3 birds of paradise
    3 noble hierarch
    3 mother of runes
    1 Quirion Ranger
    1 scryb ranger
    1 ramunap excavator

    4 fauna shaman
    4 green sun’s zenith
    3 brainstorm
    1 sylvan library
    2 assassin’s trophy

    3 sanctum prelate
    1 gaddock teeg
    1 qasali pridemage
    1 renegade rallier
    1 knight of autumn
    1 orzhov pontiff
    1 deputy of detention
    1 peacekeeper
    1 leovold, emissary of trest
    1 merieke ri berit
    1 meren of clan nel toth
    1 shalai, voice of plenty

    ———————

    2 swords to plowshares
    2 meddling mage
    2 baleful strix?
    1 atraxa, praetors' voice
    1 glen elendra archmage
    3 faerie macabre
    1 containment priest
    1 ethersworn canonist

    1 extra (stp? second sylvan? nissa? i only have 74 sleeves for the proxy deck lol)

  14. #234
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    Re: M.O.S.T. - Merieke, Opposition, (Survival), Tradewind Rider

    Edit: how nice to have Inkfathom joining thediscussion too, welcome! Two new posters within 24 hours might be a new record. :)

    Thanks for sharing your list, Bedell! That looks good to me. I've also liked Prelate a lot, would be interested in hearing how 3 maindeck work out for you. Actually, I really like any type of comments, discussion, reports et (can't say that too often, I suppose).

    Atraxa does seem like a flex slot to me, sometimes she's in, sometimes out. It is a nice way to stabilize vs Eldrazi and Delver decks, gaining life in the face of TNN. But there are other ways to do that too. Shalai seems more powerful, I agree. And yes, Meren too. Merrn can probably even play the role of Atraxa in the matchups where you need her, not as well but still - producing chump blockers, gaining extra life with Knight of Autumn, etc.

    As for the sideboard, probably repeating myself here and these comments below are a bit random... But I do think that 1 cmc discard and counterspells are a good way to try to gain some speed when dealing with very fast decks like Belcher, TES, Reanimator. They are also very useful vs Sneak and Show, a hard counter like Invasive Surgery also comes in vs Miracles and Elves. And then there's Cataclysm, which clears planeswalkers and resets opponent's lands while you can usually return your own lands to hand with a Ranger and don't even need more than 1-2 to function properly. It has excellent synergy with the deck, it seems to me [edit: well, not excellent synergy with all creatures in the deck, but this is boardedin vs control decks with planeswalkers and a lot of removal so you're likely to end up with few creatures]. I don't know, sideboarding creatures may be better though.
    I would think Strix is too low impact for the sideboard, just my general feeling. You could consider Vengeful Pharoah and Shriekmaw in place of these. Most creatures you want to block-kill with your strixes will also die to these two options, but they are harder for the opponent to play around and have synergy, Pharoah with Fauna Shaman (guaranteeing creature topdecks) and Shriekmaw with Meren. Well, just something to consider, Strix is still a great card.
    Atraxa in the sideboard looks fine to me.
    As for containment priest and canonist, I've been using probably counterspells and discard in these slots, I think. They are more generally applicable and allow for faster interaction, t1, while also not hurting yourself, both these creatures does hurt your deck a little bit. I don't know, just something to consider. Maybe I should be using these creatures instead.

    I think what is needed is to analyze which cards and strategies we are weakest to [edit: this is a natural step for any deck builder, but I mean structured and written, open for discussion]. For example, Ballista can create a mess, I'm considering if I should try to find a preemptive answer for it. That would probably be Phyrexian Revoker, not sure what else. Hmm, Shalai actually does a decent job of answering Ballista... And Meddling Mage. I've considered fast combo decks, especially graveyard based, to be tough matchups so that's why I like to play a few Leylines, a single card that can win such matchups.

    Late edit: using Ramunap Excavator to get out of mana problems can probably be really useful, good point, will follow your future testing on this.
    Last edited by pettdan; 02-21-2019 at 06:14 PM.

  15. #235
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    Re: M.O.S.T. - Merieke, Opposition, (Survival), Tradewind Rider

    I might be a bit too late to make it 3 in 24 hours, but I am also someone new toying around with the deck.

    I've been trying a bunch of different things at my weekly for the past few weeks, so I don't have a finalized list yet, but I do have a few questions and observations thus far.

    Deputy of Detention is one that I've been maindecking in every iteration, and it really seems to be pulling it's weight. Got a 3 for 1 on symbiotes against elves, he's been vialed in to deal with Merit Lage, taken care of many early big threats, etc. So far the only downside has been when I got into a surprisingly long game against BR Reanimator (having to keep a 5 card, no lander, with Faerie Macabre none-the-less). Deputy ended up getting used on the first threat to make it onto the battlefield, got killed (I trophy the redeployed threat), but then got animated against my 2 bridges that were holding down the fort.

    I've been going way off the deep end, and been running a 5 color deck. I'm sure it'll go down to 4 once I'm ready to try tightening up a list, but I really wanted to try Rhythm of the Wild and don't see a way to fully cut black from the deck. To compensate I'm not running any double colored mana cards except for Santum Prelate. I started with more of a focused plan with them (Kitchen Finks and even tried Murderous Redcap to kill behind Peacekeeper) but didn't really see it working out. So I'm down to 2 Rhythm and no persist cuteness. While I'll likely move on and drop red, I am seeing good things out of having it as a 2-of. Got to drop it T2 against Miracles and stick (sadly still lost the game, but it still put in a ton of work), and many times gotten an instant-on Mom, which feels so good. And once I got to live the hasty Merieke dream against UW Stoneblade stealing the mystic that just dropped a Jitte to equip to its self, and was able to keep him off creatures rest of the game. I haven't really seen any scenarios where I got tons of value from a hasty Fauna Shaman though.

    Thus far out of something like 6-8 games against wasteland decks, I've only had 1 non-game, so maybe adding the tiny red splash isn't THAT detrimental.


    Now for a few questions:

    1) I see almost universally in lists posted here Renegade Rallier being run over Eternal Witness. What's the reasoning on this? Revolt means it can occasionally be turned off, it can't get back any of the 3 drop creatures which I have found so far to be the most common desired targets, and it can't get back a Trophy/Counterspell/Discard. Witness also can synergize with Shaman if needed. Is a Shaman/Dork/Teeg/Scooze straight to battlefield still really that much better than the much higher flexibility?

    2) I'm sure there's a multitude of different answers that depend on exact matchup/board state, but in general, when you find yourself in a position where you've disrupted a non-combo opponent enough that you want to move into closing the game out quickly, what do you go for? I've had Atraxa not work out a bunch of times so far, so would Meren be better more often? Something else? I keep finding myself in this kind of position and I end up losing to giving them too much time to find a bomb.


    Finally, I thought of an interesting synergy that I'm curious if anyone thinks would be worth exploring. Stitcher's Supplier both feeds Scooze and has potential synergy with Loyal Retainers. Loyal Retainers being only usable on your turn means Aether Vial becomes much less necessary and could turn into 4 more creatures to further up the creature count. So the basic idea would be to go for a much more combo gameplan with full sets of Loyal Retainer and Griselbrand, with a back-up fair gameplan of a very large, very quick Scooze (or Splinterfright) which Mom can help push through if needed. Then you could have a semi-transformational sideboard to get away from so much GY dependency with more typical disruptive creatures when needed. Meren and Atraxa could be additional legends for Retainers, but not sure what else would make sense. It's probably a bad reanimator deck, but the viable fair gameplan and ability to switch to non-GY gameplans seems interesting at least.

  16. #236
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    Re: M.O.S.T. - Merieke, Opposition, (Survival), Tradewind Rider

    Quote Originally Posted by deragun View Post
    I might be a bit too late to make it 3 in 24 hours, but I am also someone new toying around with the deck.
    Awesome anyway, welcome Deragun!

    Deputy of Detention is one that I've been maindecking in every iteration, and it really seems to be pulling it's weight. Got a 3 for 1 on symbiotes against elves, he's been vialed in to deal with Merit Lage, taken care of many early big threats, etc. So far the only downside has been when I got into a surprisingly long game against BR Reanimator (having to keep a 5 card, no lander, with Faerie Macabre none-the-less). Deputy ended up getting used on the first threat to make it onto the battlefield, got killed (I trophy the redeployed threat), but then got animated against my 2 bridges that were holding down the fort.
    That's very good input, I think we've all been curious about Deputy but I didn't try it yet (since I tested Aluren, and with Aluren in play you just want to win and don't usually care much about permanents). I can see it being great, but will try it. Do you feel like you want more than one? Ah, you play bridges, you know with Peacekeeper you could protect it if there was a Mother around. Whatever, reanimator will occasionally be able to do those kind of things.

    I've been going way off the deep end, and been running a 5 color deck. I'm sure it'll go down to 4 once I'm ready to try tightening up a list, but I really wanted to try Rhythm of the Wild and don't see a way to fully cut black from the deck. To compensate I'm not running any double colored mana cards except for Santum Prelate. I started with more of a focused plan with them (Kitchen Finks and even tried Murderous Redcap to kill behind Peacekeeper) but didn't really see it working out. So I'm down to 2 Rhythm and no persist cuteness. While I'll likely move on and drop red, I am seeing good things out of having it as a 2-of. Got to drop it T2 against Miracles and stick (sadly still lost the game, but it still put in a ton of work), and many times gotten an instant-on Mom, which feels so good. And once I got to live the hasty Merieke dream against UW Stoneblade stealing the mystic that just dropped a Jitte to equip to its self, and was able to keep him off creatures rest of the game. I haven't really seen any scenarios where I got tons of value from a hasty Fauna Shaman though.

    Thus far out of something like 6-8 games against wasteland decks, I've only had 1 non-game, so maybe adding the tiny red splash isn't THAT detrimental.
    Very interesting, yeah a couple of us were considering the persist + Rhythm synergy in the thread as something that might make Rhythm playable. Hasty Mothers should be quite a headache vs control decks, not to mention all other creatures. Seeing that you tried it and had mixed results, we can almost write this one off in the list of tested things. Although there's always the potential to try things again and new combinations of creatures, there may be some creatures you or we didn't think of yet that benefit a lot from haste (or a +1/+1 counter). When it comes to 5 color lists, I ran 5 colors for a long time, sometimes still pack a red card in the sideboard, and it usually works quite well. If the red cards are creatures then you get a long way towards casting them reliably with just 4 Vials and 4 BoP's, while non-creatures are more complicated and definitely, I'd say, require the one of Taiga. That Taiga, like for any deck splashing an "extra" color, will sometimes wreck you in a game you could have otherwise won, so I think since we have such absurd variety of options in the 4 colors we usually play, we should settle for that. On the other hand, splashing red cards does hedge vs Blood Moon-blowouts, so that extra greediness isn't all increased risk. Experiments are always fine, in my view, since there is so much potential to explore. If you keep trying it, we'd love to hear how your continued experiments with it work out.

    Now for a few questions:
    Ok, I'll try to answer them, and of course anyone is welcome to chime in (needless to say). I tried to answer quickly to get some work done but this ended up taking the time I had, sorry if it's a bit unstructured.

    1) I see almost universally in lists posted here Renegade Rallier being run over Eternal Witness. What's the reasoning on this? Revolt means it can occasionally be turned off, it can't get back any of the 3 drop creatures which I have found so far to be the most common desired targets, and it can't get back a Trophy/Counterspell/Discard. Witness also can synergize with Shaman if needed. Is a Shaman/Dork/Teeg/Scooze straight to battlefield still really that much better than the much higher flexibility?
    It's possible that the Witness is better, I think it depends on how many cards you have that you want to use it with. Normally, Meren gets all creatures back, in my experience she does that quite consistently, so the extra slot is mostly for bringing back other cards [edit: although bringing back an answered Meren is a thing]. I look at my list and consider which powerful permanents I may want to get back, could be Aluren (I played Witness last week with it), Sword of L&S, Choke in the sideboard, Engineered Plague, Ensnaring Bridge.. The more of these you play, and the more game-winning they are, the better suited Witness is. I think most lists run very few of these. Like you say, removal, discard and counterspells are also a thing. Or, things rather..

    What's speaking for Rallier, I think, allthough I have limited experience with it, is that it can help build tempo for free. We can usually build a lot of tempo by accelerating things out with mana dorks and Vial, and this is a card that improves that strategy. It's also a 3/2 vs the 2/1 of Witness, and with the exalted triggers we have that can build up. If the opponent is playing a removal heavy control deck, getting two creatures into play at EoT can help you put a lot of pressure on them. If the opponent is on a mana denial strategy, getting an extra land drop is pretty good too. So, Rallier helps the deck play a bit more offensively, and responding to aggressive decks. I wouldn't fault anyone for playing Witness over Rallier.

    What I normally expect to use Rallier for is getting back Sylvan (vs control decks), Qasali (vs equipment or Chalice decks), Jitte (vs aggressive decks) [edit: Fauna Shaman if answered, at EoT helps increase odds you get to untap with it] or potentially vialling back a hatebear with Rallier as a combo opponent tries to go off after discarding, decaying or in some other way getting rid of whatever hatebear was causing trouble. In most of these scenarios, getting the card back at EoT with Vial is actually a very relevant advantage (or in the middle of a combo opponent going off). Like with Sylvan, you get to use it in your next draw step and the opponent can't counter it. Also with Jitte, putting it into play cheaper means you can equip and use it faster, this can be crucial vs an aggressive deck like burn or delver. So, maybe people prefer Rallier for this more flexible, aggressive and defensive capability. Witness I think is great if you have a couple of cards you know you want to be able to get back as they are answered and that have cmc>2. And if you play a substantial amount of removal, discard and counterspells or such that you know you want to be bringing back, some lists play basically none or very few of these.

    Maybe someone else can fill me in here, I don't play Rallier that often.

    2) I'm sure there's a multitude of different answers that depend on exact matchup/board state, but in general, when you find yourself in a position where you've disrupted a non-combo opponent enough that you want to move into closing the game out quickly, what do you go for? I've had Atraxa not work out a bunch of times so far, so would Meren be better more often? Something else? I keep finding myself in this kind of position and I end up losing to giving them too much time to find a bomb.
    That's a bit hard to say. Usually, if the opponent is on a fair deck, they will have destroyed a few creatures and we may or may not have established board control with Mothers, they have ended up without removal after a couple of turns and you get the spot to get a creature of your choice into play. By getting Meren, you rebuild everything that they destroyed rather quickly. I think just having this growing board state with a lot of creatures is already helping you win the game, you can often swing for maybe 5-6 damage per turn and a Pontiff can sometimes provide 5-10 extra damage by plussing your entire team. Also, if you get some other creature than Meren, then if they answer that creature, you're left with nothing. If they answer Meren, they probably didn't answer the creature(s) you got back with it. I think I sometimes get Glen Elendra first, since she will protect the board state until you get the Meren into play, and then she'll protect the Meren too. If you play Stoneforge and Jitte, then getting Stoneforge to get Jitte and start dominating the board state and life totals is fine too. There's nothing that finishes a creature based matchup like a Jitte with counters, on either side of the table. Except for I guess in the Kolaghan's Command matchups, but that's usually more a spell based deck than a creature based.

    What else can be used to finish the game, some have tried Saskia the Unyielding, she strikes hard, but most people drop her. You don't really need a dedicated beater, but lifelink helps a lot vs aggressive decks. Atraxa used to be a Rhox War Monk, illustrating how lifelink is what's needed in that spot. I like Sword of L&S to gain life, deal extra damage and gain card advantage all at the same time, both offense and defense. I've also liked Shaman of the Great Hunt a lot, though sadly skipping it due to being red lately. This card also works both offensively and defensively, a 4 power haste creature is great at racing most things, by building +1/+1 counters on your team it deals exponentially increasing damage [edit: nope, sorry, just linear increase] which is great for racing, and the counters protect against -x/-x effects, it also draws you extra cards while racing. There are probably a dozen other cards worth mentioning. You can also check the primer for some ideas of finishers. Hmm, if you have Merieke, that's great too. She clears your opponent's side of the table, which is great defense, and as a bonus you get all those creatures, or some of them, for your offense. That's quite the finisher!

    Edit: there are probably a lot of matchup dependent scenaros. Vs blue fair decks, if you have an active mother, then it's tempting to get Leovold to shut off their cantripd. Vs Elves, you may want Gaddock or Leovold to make sure they don't go off. Hmm..

    Finally, I thought of an interesting synergy that I'm curious if anyone thinks would be worth exploring. Stitcher's Supplier both feeds Scooze and has potential synergy with Loyal Retainers. Loyal Retainers being only usable on your turn means Aether Vial becomes much less necessary and could turn into 4 more creatures to further up the creature count. So the basic idea would be to go for a much more combo gameplan with full sets of Loyal Retainer and Griselbrand, with a back-up fair gameplan of a very large, very quick Scooze (or Splinterfright) which Mom can help push through if needed. Then you could have a semi-transformational sideboard to get away from so much GY dependency with more typical disruptive creatures when needed. Meren and Atraxa could be additional legends for Retainers, but not sure what else would make sense. It's probably a bad reanimator deck, but the viable fair gameplan and ability to switch to non-GY gameplans seems interesting at least.
    You can try it for sure, and I think Vickas has more experience with this type of strategy, maybe he can fill me in (I think he may be on a MOST hiatus though, he was playing Stasis yesterday). The problem I think with Supplier + Retainers is that you need to play a high density of monsters to be able to hit anything reliablly with the Stitchers effect, and you also need to find a way to sacrifice the Stitcher to get the second mill trigger. Those extra monsters are going to be dead cards in your hand very often. Just putting 1-2 monsters and 1-2 enablers/reanimators in your decklist means you can tutor for them when you need them in many games, to stabilize and win from nowhere, hopefully, but in other games you can brainstorm the 1 dead card you drew away or discard it to Fauna Shaman. I like lists that pack some card that lets you hardcast things too, but that's me. Ticking Vial up to 7-8 does happen too, Vickas talked about Vialing in Elesh Norn recently. [edit: maybe I should consider your argument a bit more here, but one thing to point out is the Vial is a great bonus in the deck, not something I'd want to get rid of, it provides lots of mana and nasty tricks with creatures at instant speed, it's a one mana card that makes your creatures uncounterable, gives them flash and quasi-haste while also generating 3-4 mana per turn]

    Well, I hope that was at least some useful input for you! I'll spend some extra time to write shorter next time!

  17. #237
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    Re: M.O.S.T. - Merieke, Opposition, (Survival), Tradewind Rider

    Quote Originally Posted by pettdan View Post
    That's very good input, I think we've all been curious about Deputy but I didn't try it yet (since I tested Aluren, and with Aluren in play you just want to win and don't usually care much about permanents). I can see it being great, but will try it. Do you feel like you want more than one?
    I've liked it enough that I will likely try 2x of him if/when I drop red, but while running Rhythm I'm not sure there's room for a 2nd. I'll report back with any thoughts/observations once I try it out.


    Quote Originally Posted by pettdan View Post
    Ah, you play bridges, you know with Peacekeeper you could protect it if there was a Mother around. Whatever, reanimator will occasionally be able to do those kind of things.
    It was in my more 'all in' starting point with the persist/rhythm approach, so I was running Peacekeeper MD and 2x bridges in the board, with a plan to turtle up and win with infinite life or infinite damage. Even with the Moms to protect Peacekeeper I couldn't assemble the necessary pieces to close out games quick enough, which is why I moved on from the persist plan. The problem was that in addition to Rhythm/Persist you need a sac outlet as well. I was using Scarland Thrinax as it's the only GSZ-able recurring sac outlet, but then you're still needing to get too many pieces after getting Rhythm/Persist going. But as you said, the hasty Mom is really good, and uncounterable with +1/+1 on other creatures is really good too. I think my next step here will be to try a Stoneforge Mystic along with a Umezawa's Jitte and see how that goes with Rhythm. Rhythm turns on Birds as a good Jitte holder with the +1/+1.



    Quote Originally Posted by pettdan View Post
    If the red cards are creatures then you get a long way towards casting them reliably with just 4 Vials and 4 BoP's, while non-creatures are more complicated and definitely, I'd say, require the one of Taiga.
    I completely agree. I am running the exact setup you describe and am sure it's necessary to support Rhythm.


    Quote Originally Posted by pettdan View Post
    ...So, Rallier helps the deck play a bit more offensively, and responding to aggressive decks. I wouldn't fault anyone for playing Witness over Rallier.
    You definitely touched on a few aspects of Rallier that I hadn't quite fully considered. While I am running Rhythm which only Witness can get back, I think I'll try switching to Rallier and see how it goes. The ways it enables a bit more offensive play you discuss should partially help with my 'closing things out' issues.

    I think the other thing that will hopefully help in this regard is putting more of a focus on Meren. I had been going with Meren in the board and having Atraxa MD, but I think I'll switch that around. Meren seems like she will solve these issues much better. Also, your comments on closing out strategy vs different deck types here should help me in this regard as well, so while you may think it was rambling, it's all valuable commentary to me. And I like the idea of better utilizing the existing creatures than cutting one for a specific finisher.

    So with all of this factored in, here's roughly what I'm going to try out next week:

    [Non-Creature]
    4 Aether Vial
    1 Mirri's Guile
    1 Sylvan Library
    1 Umezawa's Jitte
    2 Assassin's Trophy
    2 Rhythm of the Wild
    3 Green Sun's Zenith

    [Creature]
    1 Meren of Clan Nel Toth
    1 Shalai, Voice of Plenty
    1 Leovold, Emissary of Trest
    1 Orzhov Pontiff
    1 Deputy of Detention
    1 Knight of Autumn
    1 Renegade Rallier
    1 Spell Queller
    1 Merieke Ri Berit
    1 Sanctum Prelate
    1 Stoneforge Mystic
    1 Gaddock Teeg
    1 Scavenging Ooze
    4 Fauna Shaman
    4 Birds of Paradise
    3 Noble Hierarch
    4 Mother of Runes
    1 Scryb Ranger
    1 Quirion Ranger
    1 Dryad Arbor

    [Land]
    1 Forest
    1 Misty Rainforest
    3 Wooded Foothills
    3 Windswept Heath
    1 Taiga
    1 Bayou
    3 Savannah *Ideally 2 savannah and 2 bayou, but I only own 1 bayou for now
    2 Tropical Island

    [Sideboard]
    1 Atraxa, Preators' Voice
    1 Glen Elendra Archmage
    1 Izzet Staticaster
    1 Peacekeeper
    1 Sanctum Prelate
    1 Magus of the Moon
    1 Meddling Mage
    1 Gilded Drake
    3 Faerie Macabre
    4 TBD



    Quote Originally Posted by pettdan View Post
    You can try it for sure, and I think Vickas has more experience with this type of strategy, maybe he can fill me in (I think he may be on a MOST hiatus though, he was playing Stasis yesterday). The problem I think with Supplier + Retainers is that you need to play a high density of monsters to be able to hit anything reliablly with the Stitchers effect, and you also need to find a way to sacrifice the Stitcher to get the second mill trigger.
    I just really like the overlapping synergies of Stitcher with Retainers, Scooze, AND Meren. And that Retainers synergizes with Meren, Griselbrand, and Shalai. I would try using Stitcher as a speed bump to buy you at least 1 turn as a blocker with upside rather than trying to find a sac outlet for him. With 8 legends in the deck, odds of getting 1 into the bin on just the ETB trigger on the play is 45.2% (assuming none in opening hand), so that seems at least somewhat reasonable as a starting point. I'd probably start with 4 Griselbrand, 3 Meren, and 1 Shalai. And with this configuration it's only the 4 Griselbrand that are 'uncastable', while still being the ideal first discard to a Shaman (with smaller potential to get multiple Meren stuck in hand).

    Quote Originally Posted by pettdan View Post
    ...but one thing to point out is the Vial is a great bonus in the deck, not something I'd want to get rid of, it provides lots of mana and nasty tricks with creatures at instant speed, it's a one mana card that makes your creatures uncounterable, gives them flash and quasi-haste while also generating 3-4 mana per turn]
    Oh yes in most versions I think that the vials are absolutely worth it. Just given that the most impactful play in the deck (sac-ing retainers) must happen on your turn anyway vial is at least slightly less useful in the lines you'd be playing to.

    Also, it seems like a faster start is possible without the vials in this approach. T1 vial means you can't vial in a Retainers until T4, whereas with more dorks you can activate Shaman, drop Griselbrand, and cast Retainers on T3 pretty reliably. And you MIGHT be able to mitigate the uncounterable side of things by running 1-2 caverns...I'm envisioning this as a Gwb deck and a decent # of slots would be human (retainers, meren, hierarch, mom), and many of the others have at least 1 colorless (Scooze, Shaman, Shalai), so it wouldn't be a dead land all that often. So I'd probably start without the vials, and look to add them if they seem necessary.

    But for now I'm going to focus on additional iterations of a Rhythm based list. If I theory craft enough to come up with a starting decklist idea for this approach I'll post it though.

  18. #238
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    Re: M.O.S.T. - Merieke, Opposition, (Survival), Tradewind Rider

    Just have a few small things to add.

    An alternative to running Scarland Thrinax as a sacrifice outlet is Varolz, the Scar-Striped. I think it is a more useful card as regenerating it is pretty good, keeping that part of the combo around, and scavenging creatures from your graveyard can probably be very good, both in beefing up your creatures to attack with them (this works without requiring finding any other enabler which gives it a pretty high lowest floor) and in giving you extra counterspells from Glen Elendra Archmage.

    Regarding the comment about casting red cards, I was a bit unclear but probably you interpreted it correctly anyway, just want to avoid having anyone reading it misinterpret it. I think the Taiga may be needed if you have a couple of red creatures in the maindeck, it's mostly the one of Keranos or Magus of the Moon in the Board that I think may be fine without a Taiga, perhaps. I've usually had Carpet of Flowers in the sideboard, which helps with mana fixing vs blue control decks that usually can't get rid of it very easily, and that's typically when you want the Keranos. Also, Vialling Keranos in in this matchup makes it uncounterable which is much better than hardcasting it which is likely to meet some kind of counterspell.

    I'm not sure if Ralliers is going to help you that much in playing more offensively, well, you'll just have to try it. It's a small step in that direction though.

    Meren is great, but I'm not sure how much you'll need 3 of them, it seems unnecessarily clunky. I'm going to guess that you'll reduce the number to 2 copies after the first attempt, but again, only testing can tell. :) It's a good card and you're trying a unique approach, so go for it.

    Btw, Splinterfright was a very cool new find.

    There may be room to try Cavern, but I instinctively think it limits the mana base too much. I'd prefer a basic or the non-green dual that many seem to like. But focusing on Loyal Retainers I can see that you would want a few Caverns, I'm guessing you need to skip Brainstorm then and try to use more humans (which you mentioned, also you don't currently play Brainstorms so that will be easy). Casting Sanctum Prelate using a Cavern can be pretty good too, I suppose.

    Quote Originally Posted by deragun
    Also, it seems like a faster start is possible without the vials in this approach. T1 vial means you can't vial in a Retainers until T4, whereas with more dorks you can activate Shaman, drop Griselbrand, and cast Retainers on T3 pretty reliably. And you MIGHT be able to mitigate the uncounterable side of things by running 1-2 caverns...
    Actually, I think this may be an approach that just maybe could give you some trouble. If you play out t1 manadork, t2 GSZ for Fauna Shaman, or just t2 cast Fauna Shaman, then the opponent is almost certainly going to have removal for your Fauna Shaman. If you go t1 Mother, you pressure the opponent to have removal, but you won't be able to GSZ for Fauna Shaman on t2 so probably you're not getting Loyal Retainers into play until t4 anyway. While if you go t1 Vial, then even if it's slower, your opponent will be more hard pressed to have removal available and mana up at the end of your t2 (will there be a Mother coming in?) and t2; if they don't keep mana up on t3, you might have an active Fauna shaman on your turn 4 and a Vial with 3 counters, meaning a discard effect into an uncounterable Retainers. So basically, I'm guessing that the slower approach with Vial will make it more likely that you get to untap with the Fauna Shaman and put the Loyal Retainers into play. However, it's just guessing, testing is all that matters.
    Last edited by pettdan; 02-25-2019 at 08:15 AM.

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    Re: M.O.S.T. - Merieke, Opposition, (Survival), Tradewind Rider

    Quote Originally Posted by pettdan View Post
    An alternative to running Scarland Thrinax as a sacrifice outlet is Varolz, the Scar-Striped. I think it is a more useful card as regenerating it is pretty good, keeping that part of the combo around, and scavenging creatures from your graveyard can probably be very good, both in beefing up your creatures to attack with them (this works without requiring finding any other enabler which gives it a pretty high lowest floor) and in giving you extra counterspells from Glen Elendra Archmage.
    Well, looks like I'll have at least 1 more go at the Rhythm/Finks route. I hadn't considered 'another' vs 'a' in my scryfall templating search for sac outlets, and I agree, his floor is good enough to seem somewhat playable. I'll report back once I get my hands on a copy and can try it out.


    Quote Originally Posted by pettdan View Post
    Meren is great, but I'm not sure how much you'll need 3 of them, it seems unnecessarily clunky. I'm going to guess that you'll reduce the number to 2 copies after the first attempt, but again, only testing can tell. :) It's a good card and you're trying a unique approach, so go for it.
    You were spot on there. Just a few rounds of goldfishing was enough to show that 2 would be right (especially because it didn't occur to me how easy it would be to bin a 1-of legend when running suppliers, so I think any legend I can actually cast would have to be a 2-of to ensure I can still shaman it up if I bin one). So my starting point on this idea would be 2 Meren and 2 Shalai. I'll save more commentary on this idea for a retainers heavy version until after I flush out the ideas and actually have a starting decklist.

    Overall, I'm having an absolute blast playing the deck, and expect that it will help make me a better player overall with as many lines as you have and how often you end up in win-able, but very complicated scenarios. So far I'm consistently going 1-2 in games where at least one of the 2 losses was either very close or should have been a win except for a punt.

    Deputy again, pulled his weight last night. Against a Pox/Mud hybrid brew that I knew played Wurmcoils and Ugins, he was only on 2 land by T4/5 and had run out back to back Grim Monoliths. Felt really nice to take the 2nd one and put it under the Deputy after he put the first (he didn't realize it was detention sphere on it stick). That's how I got my 1 game against him.

    Played against Grixis Delver with Pteramander and Light up the Stage. G1 baited out FoW with an accelerated Rhythm but still lost to typical delver things. I was able to play a very controlling G2 for a win with an active shaman (izzet staticaster on 2 pteramanders, detention on a delver, orzhov pontiff on a pyromancer and delver, then close out with atraxa). G3 felt very winnable, but he got to double wasteland me on T3 off of a Light up the Stage. I could have played through 1, but 2 proved insurmountable in that game.

    Then I had 2 of the most wild games yet with this deck. Against lands, and he had a natural Tabernacle T2. I had gotten out a vial and hierarch, followed by another vial. I keep one vial on 1 and tick the other up to 3. In the meantime he wastes me off of all but my forest and gets Loam online. However, I'm able to Spell Queller the loam after a turn or two, which puts him into topdeck mode. I proceed to just beat down with the Queller and can't get anything else going. He goes down to 8 and finds a ghost quarter for my forest, leaving me with no lands. But I'd been stocking up on dorks in the meantime. So I get him down to 4 by EOT vialing in a dork, and using it to pay for Queller to keep beating. Get him down to 4 when he finally finds the depths to go with his stage. While not a typical game at all, I was very impressed that I was able to actually do SOMETHING while under a complete wasteland lock for so long.

    G2 was one of the most mind numbing games I've played. There were a ton of interesting decision points, but I'll illustrate the end-game as it's where things got the most intense.

    His battlefield was: Stage + Depths, Maze of Ith, Tabernacle (and tons of other lands and stuff that didn't matter). I knew he had a punishing fire in hand.

    My hand was: Magus of the Moon, Sanctum Prelate, Gilded Drake
    My battlefield was: Vial on 2, Mirri's Guile, Scooze, Hierarch, Forest, Taiga, Windswept Heath
    My graveyard was: fetches, Faerie Macabre
    My top of library was (known due to Guile previous turn): Savannah, Mom

    And I was at 21 life at the end of my turn. He EOT makes Merit Lage, swings on his turn, and I go down to 1. The plan on upkeep was to dial vial up to 3, use Scooze eat Faerie to go to 2, sac Scooze to tabernacle, vial in prelate on 2, fetch trop, cast drake, and next turn vial in magus to shut off maze and swing for the win. But I somehow forgot to use scooze before sacing it :-(

    But it's games like this that will keep me on this deck. Win or lose, the amount of fun and exciting scenarios can't be beat!

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    Re: M.O.S.T. - Merieke, Opposition, (Survival), Tradewind Rider

    I had a rough lgs Wednesday yesterday, went 1-3 losing to Moon Stompy twice and Burn while winning vs Grixis Phoenix. In all lost and won games, bad luck on one players part was a major part of the outcome [edit: well vs Moon Stompy this is part of how every game plays out, we have answers, can we find them in time]. Not sure how interesting this is to anyone, but I'll add a few comments.

    In the last game vs Phoenix, we both kept greedy hands after mulligans and my opponent just never drew a mana source after the two Wastelands in his starting hand (he had FoW backup). The first two games were more of a struggle back and forth, opponent very barely managed to win the first game by bolting me when I was at 3, forcing me to Fauna Shaman away Strix to get Scavenging Ooze, going up to 4 life then 1 life after Bolt, then dying to his Delver in the attack phase. I had just gotten Meren into play and was starting to create a hard lock on the game state.

    Vs burn, in the second game I keep a starting hand with 5 mana sources and continue to draw only mana sources for the rest of the game.

    Vs Moon Stompy, which can be rough, one particularly frustrating game was lost to opponent's t1 Spyglass on my two Windswept Heaths in hand, eventually I draw a third land, a Tundra, and play Vial which he topdecks Fiery Confluence for after one turn, following up with Chalice on 1 and a Blood moon giving me Forest as the one out left in my deck. He's the clear winner of the topdeck battl. Even two mixed fetches in the starting hand would have allowed my to play out that game effectively. But I guess it's Moon Stompy's plan to put opponents in these situations. Anyway, I'm considering what to do to help the Moon Stompy matchup. In another game, I'm weak on mana sources but go t1 Forest, BoP, and if it survives to t2 I had a hand that looked very good, of course he goes t1 Chandra and bolts the bird.

    Not sure if anything is needed, since t1 Vial solves a lot and t1 fetch for Forest also solves a lot. Whichever lock piece they start with, we have plenty of good follow ups to it, and if we go first they can't even stop it. Like, t1 fetch for forest into Aether Vial invalidates most of their interaction.

    I was trying 2 Deputy of Detention today, and he got to clear Phoenixes a couple of times. I never managed to use him vs Moon Stompy but he would have been very good there I'm sure, taking care of troublesome planeswalkers.

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