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Thread: Rainbow Humans

  1. #1

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    Apr 2017



    Rainbow Humans


    Over the last few months here and there some humans decks have been popping up around legacy. Most of these are decks with disruptive creatures like Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and Meddling Mage, while speeding up their clock using Champion of the Parish and Thalia's Lieutenant.

    Forms of the deck
    In general there are two distinct forms of humans decks floating around the format right now: Rainbow Humans and Blue-White Humans, with the former outshining the latter in the last months most likely due to the manabase not effectively differing too much and the powerlevel of adding black for Kitesail Freebooter, green for Noble Hierarch and red for Imperial Recruiter gives a ton of play to the deck.

    As of the moment of writing this post it seems that MTGO user yosoyez can be credited for most of the work to the archetype, so we will use his (as of now) latest list as the baseline decklist to discuss:

    4 Aether Vial
    4 Champion of the Parish
    2 Imperial Recruiter
    4 Kitesail Freebooter
    4 Meddling Mage
    4 Mother of Runes
    4 Noble Hierarch
    1 Orzhov Pontiff
    1 Palace Jailer
    2 Reflector Mage
    4 Thalia's Lieutenant
    4 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
    4 Ancient Ziggurat
    4 Cavern of Souls
    4 Horizon Canopy
    2 Karakas
    4 Unclaimed Territory
    4 Wasteland

    // Sideboard
    2 Containment Priest
    2 Dismember
    1 Faerie Macabre
    1 Gaddock Teeg
    1 Imperial Recruiter
    2 Knight of Autumn
    1 Orzhov Pontiff
    1 Palace Jailer
    1 Sanctum Prelate
    2 Surgical Extraction
    1 Venser, Shaper Savant

    Card Choices
    Mana Base:
    Aether Vial: While technically a spell, this part of mana allows you to spew out creatures very fast, makes cards like Imperial Recruiter less cluncky and allows for instant-speed Meddling Mage or Kitesail Freebooter
    Cavern of Souls, Ancient Ziggurat, Unclaimed Territory: Taking a page out of the recently popular modern humans decks: The rainbow lands. The bread and butter of the manabase, and abusing four Cavern of Souls to really hit home against counterspells.
    Horizon Canopy: Probably one of the more powerful lands ever printed and being able to draw extra gas out of a land heavy draw is great.
    Karakas: Protecting Thalia, Guardian of Thraben as well as being a useful tool against Reanimator and Sneak and Show.
    Wasteland: Good old faithful, stealing games and powering up Thalia, Guardian of Thraben.

    Noble Hierarch: Human manadork that gives a lot of opportunity to quickly flood the board.
    Mother of Runes: Mom in a creature deck, much more doesn't need to be said.
    Champion of the Parish: One of the tribal payoffs, which gives you the option to close the door really quickly before the opponent can draw out of the disruption.

    Thalia, Guardian of Thraben: A card that allows white creature decks to really punish cantrip heavy or land light decks, a backbone of the disruption package.
    Kitesail Freebooter: The second piece of the disruption package, generally unkillable by combo decks, providing both information and disruption.
    Meddling Mage: The third piece of the disruption package, shutting down decks like ANT game one and locking out more hand in combination with Kitesail Freebooter.
    Thalia's Lieutenant: More tribal payoff, doing about the same as Champion of the Parish and helping to really explode onto the board.

    Three-Drops and higher:
    Imperial Recruiter: Finds every card in the deck, allows you to play silver bullets like Orzhov Pontiff, Gaddock Teeg, Sanctum Prelate or Faerie Macabre and extra disruption or clock pieces. Really good when you also have a vial out to immediately put it into play.
    Reflector Mage: Great against delve threats, gives a ton of time against Delver of Secrets, great in creature matchups and helps against Show and Tell.
    Orzhov Pontiff: A silver bullet with great utility.
    Palace Jailer: Death and taxes proved the power of this card, and getting the monarch against decks like Miracles will make you able to out-grind multiple Terminus's.

    Sideboard Humans, interaction and bullets:
    Containment Priest: A great human against decks like Sneak and Show, Dredge and Reanimator.
    Sanctum Prelate: Shuts down a lot of removal spells, cantrips or even complete combo decks with the right choice.
    Venser, Shaper Savant: A lot of flexibility and abusability with Karakas.
    Faerie Macabre: Not a human, but rarely if ever cast. An Imperial Recruiterable piece of graveyard hate.
    Gaddock Teeg: Shuts down complete decks, and while not a human it is powerful enough to shut down complete decks.
    Knight of Autumn: Again not a human, but gives interaction with non-creature permanents and allows for livegain against decks looking to burn you out.
    Surgical Extraction: Free interaction against fast graveyard decks.
    Dismember: The best removal spell if your lands are unable to make real colors.

    Other Human options
    As of the making of this thread, 1449 humans exist, and even more non-human bullets. This gives a great amount of options to work from, and below I've listed the creatures that might fill some role in a specific meta from a first skim through the gatherer pages. Due to how legacy is shaped up, it needs to be noted that not too many three-drops can be played, and when played they should be highly impactful. Being clogged with low impact expensive cards in hand is a recipe to see the game slip away from you.

    Aegis of the Gods/True Believer: A lock piece for when a combo has to target you to win, such as Helm of Obedience or Tendrils of Agony.
    Anafenza, the Foremost: A slow but powerful way to interact with graveyards
    Cunning Sparkmage/Izzet Staticaster: If your meta is full of Elves or Young Pyromancers, these might be for you.
    Dark Confidant: A great card for grindy matchups.
    Dire Fleet Daredevil: Great for creature matchups that pack some removal spells, like Death and Taxes.
    Ethersworn Canonist: Combodecks that need to play a lot of spells like ANT have to remove this before they can win.
    Fiend Hunter: When your opponent has creatures but is low on removal, cards like this can be great.
    Glowrider: When Thalia, Guardian of Thraben are amazing and you want more than 4 of them.
    Grim Haruspex/Xantid Necromancer: If the main way to interact with you is cards like Pyroclasm or Supreme Verdict, these cards basically counter their multiple-for-1 potential.
    High Priest of Penance: Can completely stonewall some creature decks and decks that rely on cards like Lightning Bolt to clear the way.
    Kambal, Consul of Allocation: Decks that need to drop cards to keep Ensnaring Bridge going, or need to chain spells to combo off can have a hard time if they don't remove this.
    Mangara of Corondor: With both Aether Vial and Karakas, this card might help in some grindy matchups, but seeing that Death and Taxes also moed away from it, maybe legacy isn't the format for it anymore.
    Mantis Rider: The most aggressive 3-drop, and widely used by the Modern variant. Legacy is more hostile to do nothing damage cards like this, but if combo decks are really on the downswing and the format is quite slow this might have a home.
    Mayor of Avabruck: If you need a human that takes over the game if your opponent just sits there, like in the miracles matchup.
    Militia Bugler/Recruiter of the Guard: Alternatives to Imperial Recruiter with respectively less choice but a more reasonable body and the ability to find different bullets.
    Mirran Crusader: We don't have the equipment to push this over the top, but creature decks without Swords to Plowshares or Lightning Bolt can struggle against this, and if this ever gets extra counters from Thalia's Lieutenant it becomes a very respectable clock.
    Ophiomancer: Repeatable deathtouchers in black might be a great tool if you expect a lot of UB Death's Shadow decks.
    Phyrexian Revoker: Not a human, but another lock piece that is easily castable and can work against planeswalkers and equipment.
    Preacher: If you face a lot of turbo depths, this might be a lock until they remove it.
    Sin Collector: A way to mess with opposing hands even more, but mostly a card to pressure miracles or other slow spell-based control decks.

    Basic Gameplan
    This deck takes a delver-esque aproach to games. You get an early threat into play and disrupt your opponent until your threats run over the finish line. The main difference is that each of our disruption pieces is also a threat and speeds up the clock. You can either disrupt opposing combo's by stripping their hand of combo cards with Kitesail Freebooter, slow down aggressive decks by using Thalia, Guardian of Thraben or turn off removal spells from midrange or control decks with Meddling Mage. Ofcourse, each human has a specific role to fill in each matchup, and disrupting your opponent just enough requires a lot of knowledge about what every deck in the format is trying to do and what their specific cards are.

    Because of how legacy is shaped up, you need to be very aware of what hands you keep. On 7 cards, this is generally my thought process:
    1) Do I have 4 or more lands? If I do, the hand is usually either too slow or too light on disruption. Aether Vial is usually considered a land for this purpose, but a hand that can explode on turn 2 with three one-drops, a vial and three land is usually close to a keep. Postboard against decks like miracles I'm more tempted to keep fourlanders if my lands are two Cavern of Souls and two Horizon Canopy, due to the powerlevel of these lands
    2) Do I have a one-drop? If you don't have a one-drop and are on the draw, you again are unlikely to disrupt+clock your opponent. On the play a Thalia, Guardian of Thraben into Kitesail Freebooter can be considered
    3) Do I have some for of disruption? Very high pressure hands can be a keep with multiple Champion of the Parish and a Thalia's Lieutenant, but a hand with 3 lands, an Aether Vial, Champion of the Parish, Noble Hierarch and Reflector Mage have a good chance of both not interacting with your opponent and not killing them quickly.

    Sequencing is a main part of this deck, and can often be hard. Do I want to play this Mother of Runes or this Champion of Parish first? Is it better to play Meddling Mage on Swords to Plowshares to protect a Kitesail Freebooter, or should I take a peek first? This is one of the things that I personally find the hardest but in the MTGO league's I've been playing over the last weeks I've gotten to a small consensus on how I currently think this should be handeled. Feel free to discuss this, because nothing is set in stone.

    Turn one: Aether Vial vs Mother of Runes vs Noble Hierarch vs Champion of the Parish
    This one is very tough, because all of the options are very reasonable. My current considerations are based on the metagame I'm facing on MTGO, which is mainly interactive midrangy decks and less combo. I'll break up how I currently am chosing between options in two card pairs.

    Aether Vial vs Noble Hierarch
    1) Do I have only one land? Onelanders make me want to play an Aether Vial or Noble Hierarch over the other options.
    1a) If that is the case, I will generally lead on vial over noble hierarch, as it will generate more "mana" over the first few turns, and being able to play the game is important in non-combo matchups.
    1b) If it is the case, but I know I'm likely against a combo player and have a disruptive two-drop, hierarch gets the cut over vial.
    2) If I have more than one land, I'm looking at how my future turns look when I play either. Most of the time turn 1 vial, then twodrop + hierarch is better than hierach into onedrop+twodrop, because of cards like lightning bolt. There are some situations involving wanting to cast Imperial Recruiter as fast as possible to get a hatebear, but thats generally only against combo decks.

    Aether Vial vs a white one-drop
    Here I always lean to the vial, as it can bait a counterspell which might let your mom or Champion survive, and could let your opponent tap out on turn two letting you untap with your Mother of Runes.

    Mother of Runes vs Champion of the Parish
    Unless you know it's a combo matchup, getting the untap with mom is just too powerful. Giving your opponent the option to Ponder into a removal spell can make all the difference in a game.

    Noble Hierarch vs a white one-drop
    The hierarch usually gets the edge over a white ondrop, as hierarch also insures a turn two two-drop against a Wasteland. If you have an all-aggro no disruption hand with say, two lands, three Champion of the Parish, one Noble Hierarch and a Thalia's Lieutenant, I would lean to the champion first, due to the extra attack for three, and the extra points of power off casting the hierach late might make a difference in your clock.

    Turn two: Thalia, Guardian of Thraben vs Meddling Mage vs Kitesail Freebooter
    The analysis of these choices is different: you always have some information at your disposal at this point. This always has to factor in your descision and the ideas lined out here might change based on the information you're given. Any turn 1 play hugely influences this play and it's important to realize that. These are the ideas that I have based on an uncracked fetch-go on turn one, or something like mountain-go.
    Against something blue: Thalia first wins almost always wins, as this makes sure a 1-mana removal spell can't be cast, a turn two brainstorm can't be fetched etc.
    Against something green: It totally depends on what exactly you're expecting. Kitesail Freebooter might get a Life from the Loam or Punishing Fire out of their hand, or your Meddling Mage could prevent them getting a Knight of the Reliquary on the battlefield. The safer play usually is starting on the Kitesail Freebooter, unless you can soulread your opponent. Between mage and Thalia, theres a big chance that Thalia won't affect their plays too much, so unless you're really on the rails about what to name with Mage, a blind mage on a removal spell or high impact card would win for me.
    Against a basic mountain: Burn or Dragonstompy most likely, either having a removal spell or a turn two Blood Moon would be the things I'm think about, so Thalia prevents the most here. Between mage and kitesail, the kitesail is usually the better option.

    Reasons to play the deck
    Why play the deck over other vial decks?
    This creature deck trades in more powerful cards like Stoneforge Mystic or Goblin Ringleader for more disruption allowing you to interact more with spell-based decks outside of just Thalia, Guardian of Thraben or Rishaden Port. It is probably more hatebears or fish-y than most decks currently in the format, and abuses Cavern of Souls beautifully.

    Reasons not to play this deck
    Having no basics means this deck has a weakness to cards like Blood Moon, Back to Basics and Price of Progress. Really fast combo can get under you if you can't get your disruption out in time, and sweepers which you don't protect against can make it difficult to close the game fast enough. Lands based disruption like Maze of Ith, The Tabernacle at Pendril Vale and Grove of the Burnwillows+Punishing Fire backed up by Life from the Loam can also be hard to push through.

    Reasons to play this deck
    Highly modifiable due to the high number of great Humans that have been printed over the years, being able completely lock out opponents with the right hatebears and walking the fine line between disrupting your opponent while beating down. By playstyle it plays like a Delver deck but with way more threats, which a lot of legacy decks have trouble dealing with.

    This is an analysis of how matches play out, what cards you should be weary of and what you need to be thinking about when using Meddling Mage in the dark. It of course can change based on if you know what they have in their hand or how they're playing, but the Meddling Mage section is ment to give you a broad idea.

    Matchup is a grind, but luckily we have Aether Vial and Cavern of Souls to play around their countermagic. They usually have not too bad of a time finding at least the first Terminus so tempo'ing your threats do be resilient to removal spells like Swords to Plowshares, Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Terminus is the challenge. Matchups gets a lot harder when Back to Basics is involved, because without an Aether Vial, rebuilding will become nearly impossible. Sneaking in an Palace Jailer is never bad because they have a hard time taking back the monarch.

    Meddling Mage: Dependant on what you know of their hand and how well you can play around Terminus, the name is generaly one of their removal spells: Terminus or Swords to Plowshares (or Snapcaster Mage).

    Grixis Control:
    Similar to the Miracles matchup, but generally without the threat of a sweeper mainboard. Some decks have an Toxic Deluge which you have to be mindful of. Baleful Strix provides another angle to the matchup, but usually you have enough threats to grind through those, or use Orzhov Pontiff, Palace Jailer or Reflector Mage to power through.

    Meddling Mage: In the dark you want to name a removal spell: Baleful Strix, Lightning Bolt, Fatal Push, Snapcaster Mage and Kolaghan's Command are all reasonable depending on how the game played out.

    Sneak and Show:
    The first combo matchup. Maximizing your disruption here is key. Meddling Mage is an all-star, as is Kitesail Freebooter. The gameplan is to never let them cast their big heymakers and beat them down while doing it, as with all combo matchups. Postboard (and preboard if Cunning Wish is involved) we need to be weary of Sudden Shock, Kozilek's Return and Pyroclasm. We have a lot of creatures to fight an opposing Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, but be weary of an Show and Tell'd Omniscience

    Meddling Mage: The first mage generally has to name Show and Tell, to not lose to a quick Omniscience. Denying mana for Sneak Attack or putting a second mage on it usually is enough to win the first game. Combining Mage with Thalia's Lieutenant or Mother of Runes is an easy way to put it out of range of their most common interaction.

    Eldrazi Post/Eldrazi Stompy:
    Luckily for us, this deck is good against Chalice of the Void, and they are likely to keep a game 1 hand that just powers it out due to its general powerlevel. Their interaction is usually limited to Walking Ballista, Endbringer and sometimes All is Dust. Our Champion of the Parish can outgrow their Eldrazi pretty easily, but we need to close the corner before Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger or All is Dust show up. Eldrazi Stompy has less of the lategame haymakers we care about, so be mindful of the difference in manabase to see what version they're on.

    Meddling Mage: Depending on the point in the game, you want to name their most impactful card that interacts with you, which can be things like All is Dust, Walking Ballista and Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger. Using it in combination with Aether Vial to blank a card they searched for with Eye of Ugin is something that has to be kept in mind, especially when they need to use Ancient Tomb to do so.

    Game on against dredge we mainly need to make sure that they dont go crazy with Bridge from Below, which we can do by trading with Ichorid for example. Our disruption can turn off cards like flashback Faithless Looting and Cabal Therapy to prevent a Bridge from Below from going out of control[/CARDS]. Postboard we have graveyard hate, but need to be weary of Dread Return for Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite

    Meddling Mage: Game one you want to go after their free spells like Cabal Therapy or Dread Return (which a lot of Dredge players don't seem to have maindeck anymore) or their flashback cards like Faithless Looting if they might flash them back.

    Ad Nauseam Tendrils:
    Classic disruption + clock matchup, where all our two-drop disruptors are great, and Meddling Mage takes game 1. Postboard they have bounce to interact with your hatebears, so having an Aether Vial or Mother of Runes can protect your board.

    Meddling Mage: The first should go on Tendrils of Agony, as it will win against a good % of ANT builds. The second should go on Empty the Warrens (or against TES on Burning Wish).

    UB Death's Shadow/Grixis Delver:
    Grouping creature tempo decks together, we have the good attribute of playing well against counterspells, and getting a lot of value out of our 3 and 4 drops like Reflector Mage and Palace Jailer. Mostly we should be scared of Liliana, the Last Hope (which Thalia's Lieutant or mana denial is good against) or True-Name Nemesis (where we have Orzhov Pontiff). Postboard they have cards like Dread of Night and Massacre which you need to be mindful of.

    Meddling Mage: Removal spells usually, really dependant on the gamestate, whether they have a threat already and what version they're playing.

    Clock is the name of the game, and you should try to race them. Disruption is good, but cards like Price of Progress or Eidolon of the Great Revel might make things awkward. Some burn decks have Ensnaring Bridge or Volcanic Fallout in their sideboard.

    Meddling Mage: Searing Blaze is their best form of interaction, and burn decks might play up to four in their maindeck depending on the meta they were expecting. Fireblast as a free burn spell is also never a bad name, as it most likely is their fastest way to race you.

    Four Color Loam:
    Knight of the Reliquary is big and gives them a rough to deal with lands package with things like Cabal Pit, Maze of Ith and The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale. They're hard to disrupt and race, so going fast is most likely your best way to victory.

    Meddling Mage: Punishing Fire is a good name if they establish a board, else naming Knight of the Reliquary allows you to push through damage until they deal with the mage.

    A slower and generally easier to disrupt creature deck, where they can't really answer your Kitesail Freebooters or Meddling Mages. Finding and casting Orzhov Pontiff shuts the door, as their anemic 1/1 beatdown plan is usually not enough to break our board.

    Meddling Mage: Both Glimpse of Nature and Natural Order can make sure you don't die to a combo-kill. Be weary of having enough clock when you put these our, because of hardcast Craterhoof Behemoth (or with Green Sun's Zenith) can still get you.

    Game one you need to either prevent them from getting a guy in the yard or reanimating it, which can be hard as they're very fast. Karakas can bail you out sometimes. Postboard you generally get access to free graveyard interaction, which backed up by disruptive creatures gives you an edge.

    Meddling Mage: Faithless Looting or Entomb if they don't have a creature in the yard yet, else you should generally try to name one of the three reanimation spells: Reanimate, Animate Dead or Exhume.

    Turbo Depths:
    The disruption should target their land search like Crop Rotation or their Vampire Hexmage. Both [CARDS]Karkas[/CARSD] and Wasteland help a lot in this matchup, as can the ability to chump with Kitesail Freebooter to play a Reflector Mage or Palace Jailer.

    Meddling Mage: Vampire Hexmage or Crop Rotation, generally based on how much black they have. Pithing Needle might also be correct if you have a ton of Wastelands laying around.

    Death and Taxes:
    Pretty close to a mirror, but they have Stoneforge Mystic and Umezawa's Jitte which give them an edge. Luckily we can interact pretty favorably with the one creature they suit up and have a lot more pressure than they do, so we have the ability to power through, as well as the ability to get their Jitte with Kitesail Freebooter

    Meddling Mage: Stoneforge Mystic or Swords to Plowshares.

    Dragon Stompy:
    We're pretty cold to a Blood Moon without a Noble Hierarch or Aether Vial, but if we can get on the board quickly only Ensnaring Bridge and Fiery Conluence are things we might care about.

    Meddling Mage: Fiery Confluence is their main way to sweep the board, else Ensnaring Bridge is also ok.

    Currently multiple league 5-0's and a 5-1 at the legacy challenge, but will be updated if more prominent results are posted.
    2019-3-3: MTGO Challenge top 8

    Moving forward
    I believe Humans has all to tools to become a real deck in the legacy format. When Deathrite Shaman got the ban a lot of buzz got made about Goblins as a disruptive Cavern of Souls, Aether Vial, Wasteland deck, but that fell short due to the low amount of disruption that deck ultimately packed against the fast and punishing legacy format. Humans has the disruption to hang with the big players in legacy. I hope that with work from the Hive Mind we can find a collection of disruptive creatures that can attack any metagame. I am also including strategy and matchup analysis from my perspective, and if your perspective on it is different feel free to discuss these things, the eventual goal is to get as close to optimization as possible.

    18 november 2018: Thread is made
    18 november 2018: First drafts of potential Humans that might see play was added
    18 november 2018: First draft of matchup plans and effective Meddling Mage names are added for the most popular matchups (according to MTGGoldfish)
    18 november 2018: Added my insights about how to mulligan and sequence with the deck
    10 march 2019: Added another challenge top 8
    Last edited by Kofurea; 03-10-2019 at 09:58 AM. Reason: Expanding the main post

  2. #2

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    Apr 2017



    Re: Rainbow Humans

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  3. #3

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    Apr 2017



    Re: Rainbow Humans

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