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Thread: Naya Vengevine

  1. #1
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    Naya Hollow-Vine

    I still think a Zoo variant is possible in modern, but the power level needs to be stronger than it has been in the recent past. A Rg Hollow One/Vengevine deck made waves in 2017 piloted by Julian Grace Martin at an SCG open, going 10-0 initially in the swiss before going 0-4 in his last four rounds. It was impressive at what it did, but seemed just a little bit off optimal. I was perusing some older modern lists and reading an article from Ross Merriam (way back in 2017, link here>>>https://www.starcitygames.com/articl...Vengevine.html). The biggest takeaway from that article was putting Wild Nacatl into the deck to make the deck more aggressive and have access to white sideboard cards. Sold.

    I always thought the 1-drops in the Rg Vengevine were kind of pathetic (Insolent Neonate) or anemic (Swiftspear in a deck that wants a ton of creatures to trigger Vengevine.) I wondered what I could do with actually good creatures like Wild Nacatl and the Burning Tree/Bushwhacker combo, which conveniently triggers Vengevines. I have since come around to Insolent Neonate, which has become a very good enabler and a passable threat. Menace isn't irrelevant and the discard outlet happening at any time, at a cheaper cost than Bloodrage Brawler, makes it leagues better. I called this one 100% wrong. I am still using Kird Ape over Monastery Swiftspear for the same reason as before: too few spells to trigger prowess. I am using Emissary/Bushwhacker to go wide rather than Become Immense/Temur Battle Rage to go all-in on one threat. I could see going back to the all-in blast if wipers get more prevalent in the metagame (Anger of the Gods, Supreme Verdict, Terminus) but until then the swarm attack seems stronger. There are still lines of attack where getting multiple one-drops into Bushwhacker is enough to win games. If I switch over to Become Immense and Temur Battle Rage then Swiftspear goes strait in for Kird Ape.

    On Street Wraith: it really puts a lot of pressure on using my life total as a resource to go fast. However, I think this is a necessary evil to enable Hollow Ones, which have been outstanding. Triggering Vengevine returns with 4/4's for 1, or even 0, has been nuts. Goldfishing has resulted in one game doing 25 damage by turn 3. This won't happen very often, but I have attacked on average for 9 damage by turn 2. I have found that sometimes waiting one turn makes it go from only a few damage t2 to overwhelming lethal t3. This is now my window and goal to hit, turn 3 wins. The ancillary benefit of adding Street Wraith is pure velocity paired with Faithless Looting and Neonate. I churn through much more of my deck than I should for a Naya zoo deck. This enables easy Hooting Mandrils, and if the metagame shifts Become Immense or even Grim Lavamancer (which is also a potential sideboard card.)

    Overall, the deck has a slightly less powerful incremental agro plan but more reliable combinations of busted turns. One thing I believe strongly is that Ross Merriam nailed the white splash for Wild Nacatl and sideboard cards.

    Update: I tried a RUG variant with Birds of Paradise and Bazaar Trademage, which was disappointing. Trademage lands too late to enable early, busted turns. If this deck is to compete it needs to be explosive turns 2-3. Even a t2 Trademage wasn't enough in most cases, losing too many cards on the effect unless I had exactly multiple Vengevines or Hollow Ones. Back to Naya version with Wild Nacatl.

    New list 8/5/19:

    4x Insolent Neonate
    4x Wild Nacatl
    1x Kird Ape
    4x Burning-Tree Emissary
    4x Reckless Bushwhacker
    4x Vengevine
    4x Hollow One
    3x Hooting Mandrills
    4x Street Wraith
    2x Ghor-Clan Rampager
    4x Lightning Bolt
    4x Faithless Looting

    4x Windswept Heath
    3x Arid Mesa
    3x Scalding Tarn
    1x Wooded Foothills
    2x Stomping Ground
    2x Sacred Foundry
    1x Temple Garden
    1x Forest
    1x Mountain

    Sideboard
    2x Destructive Revelry
    2x Stony Silence
    3x Path to Exile
    2x Tormodís Crypt
    2x Lead the Stampede
    4x Leyline of Sanctity



    Original List piloted on 3/23/19:

    4x Experiment One
    4x Wild Nacatl
    4x Kird Ape
    4x Burning-Tree Emissary
    4x Reckless Bushwhacker
    4x Vengevine
    4x Hellspark Elemental
    3x Bloodrage Brawler
    2x Hooting Mandrills
    4x Lightning Bolt
    4x Faithless Looting
    1x Lightning Axe

    4x Windswept Heath
    3x Arid Mesa
    3x Scalding Tarn
    1x Wooded Foothills
    2x Stomping Ground
    2x Sacred Foundry
    1x Temple Garden
    1x Forest
    1x Mountain

    Sideboard
    2x Alpine Moon
    2x Destructive Revelry
    3x Path to Exile
    2x Stony Silence
    2x Surgical Extraction
    1x Tormodís Crypt
    2x Lightning Helix
    1x Domri Rade
    Last edited by Mr. Safety; 08-05-2019 at 07:39 AM.
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  2. #2
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    Re: Naya Vengevine

    {Reserved}

    Tournament report, Modern 1K at The Complex, 3/23/19
    Players: 59, 6 rounds of Swiss and cut to top 8, payout to top 16


    Round 1 - Dredge (2-1)

    G1 he does the dredge thing, I don't have a very good start, he gets there on the back of Creeping Chill, multiple attackers, and a big Conflagrate.

    Sideboard: -1 Lightning Axe, -4 Lightning Bolt, -1 Experiment One, +2 Surgical Extraction, +1 Tormod's Crypt, +3 Path to Exile

    G2 + G3 I don't see any hate, just nutty fast hands. This confirms what I thought about it being about 1/2-1 turn faster than Dredge depending on draw/play. Feels good to not auto-lose without hate. Record: 1-0

    Round 2 - Amulet Titan (1-2)

    G1 I am able to kill Azusa with a bolt and race.

    Sideboard: -4 Bolt, -1 Lightning Axe, +3 Path to Exile, +2 Destructive Revelry

    G2 Is a close game where I have the Destructive Revelry for the Amulet but he still gets down Prime Time before I can kill him. Slow hand, mull to 6 with 2 dudes and 4 lands. I almost mulled to 5 but I felt that I needed to just hope for more dudes to pressure.

    G3 I have the Path for the 1st Primeval Titan, but not the second. I make a big blunder and Path the Titan before combat. I likely would have still lost but I would have had another turn to find bolts/blockers to at least kill the Titan in combat. Lesson learned. Record: 1-1

    R3 - Humans (2-0)

    G1 I play the Bushwhacker game and overwhelm blockers, getting to 4 mana to play Hellspark Elemental into Bushwhacker for one damage over lethal.

    Sideboard: -2 Experiment One,+2 Lightning Helix

    G2 I get a super early blast of t1 Looting, discarding a Vengevine, t2 BTE > Bushwhacker, attack for 10. The game goes a little while longer with my opponent almost stabilizing with a Mantis Rider, but I overwhelm them after a turn 3 Bolt + Helix to take out 2 dudes. This round was misleading to me about the matchup because I had nutty good draws and my opponent had mediocre draws. Record 2-1

    Round 4 - Humans (0-2)

    G1 I get a mediocre start after a mull to 6, my opponent mulls to 5. His 5 are better than my 6, he plays Thalia, Heretic Cathar and I have to bolt it on the spot or I can't do anything meaningful for 2 turns. I still don't, he gets there.

    Sideboard: -2 Ex-One, +2 Helix

    G2 He keeps 7 and I don't have a lot going on, I can't remember but I didn't have a follow up dude after playing BTE turn 2, just a bolt for the Noble Hierarch. He still gets a Vial down and it brings in 1 Reflector Mage, then he plays another on his turn. One takes out a Vengevine, the other a Bloodrage Brawler. I eventually get some creatures down, I think a Wild Nacatl and a Hellspark Elemental. I attack into his team, my only hope that he blocks wrong to buy me a turn. He does not, I die. Record: 2-2

    Short rant: he's twitchy as fuck and accidentally looks at 2 cards on his first turn after a mull to 5 in game 1. He calls a judge immediately, but I can't help but think it can't be a coincidence. I sincerely hope he wasn't low-level cheating. He was older than me (I turn 40 this year) and this is a fucking 1K for Christ's sake. He ends up doing poorly further down the tournament, but I will be keeping my eyes wide open in future matches. I've played him before, was twitchy then but not sketchy, if you know what I mean. He just plays too fast, flips cards around too much, bends and creases his cards, practically in half when playing them onto the battlefield. Losing 0-2 doesn't improve my opinion of him, either, lol. Rant over.


    Round 5 - Grixis Control (2-0)

    G1 I get a decent start, couple 1 drops into a Hellspark Elemental. I see a Mana Leak, Spell Snare, Fatal Push, Snapcaster Mage, and Kolaghan's Command. I play dude after dude and attack for tons.

    Sideboard: -4 Lightning Bolt, +3 Path to Exile, +1 Tormod's Crypt (I misread his deck as Grixis Death's Shadow, so board I according to that read.)

    G2 I get a fast start but I respect the possibility of Spell Snare. I get t1 Looting into double Vengevine with BTE + Kird Ape in hand, so I'm feeling very good about this. I throw a Hellspark Elemental at him to bait out a Spell Snare, don't see it, hit for 3. Next turn I go for it and attack for 8, make a 3rd land drop and play another Kird Ape. By now I know he isn't on GDS because I saw Cryptic Command and several Field of Ruin's pointed at my duals. He can't keep up, this is a decent matchup for me. Record 3-2.

    At this point I have a shot at top 16, which gets $30, so I'm looking for 4-2 and get my entrance fee back.

    Round 6 - GB Rock (0-2)

    I don't have a lot to say, he had maindeck Nihil Spellbomb, sideboard Finks, and Inquisition wrecks my explosive hands both games. Kalitas is a motherfucking house against my deck, no way around it. He gets it both games, g2 a t4 Languish before landing Kalitas to just completely push my shit in. Great player, super nice guy I know from the community and we're friends on Facebook. I played his wife t3 (humans player) and even though I lose I'm feeling great about the community and the twitchy fucker is a fading memory. Rock player gives me tons of tips on how to tweak the deck, all of which I have incorporated with great promise so far in testing post-tournament.

    Final record: 3-3

    I'm pretty happy with my outing, it gave me a ton of insight into the deck and plans for changes. I really like the deck, it will likely be my only project for Modern. I like that I can take it in 2 directions: spell-heavy with Monastery Swiftspear/Become Immense/Temur Battle Rage or creature-heavy with Kird Ape/Burning Tree Emissary/Reckless Bushwhacker. Depending on metagame changes, either could be pretty good.
    Last edited by Mr. Safety; 03-29-2019 at 06:07 PM.
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  3. #3
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    Re: Naya Vengevine

    I have the maindeck settled for now, testing out Lightning Axe as removal #5 and maindecking a Domri Rade. It means I have to cut a Brawler, which should be fine. In testing Brawler was a little awkward, especially if I didn't have anything relevant to discard (Vine or Sparky.) It still feeds Hoots-McGoots fine, but that is a secondary interaction.

    I was saddened to learn that playing a card with Unearth does not count as casting the creature, so it doesn't trigger Vengevine if I unearth it.

    I need 2 slots dedicated to anti-burn, which could be Lightning Helix, Blessed Alliance, or Feed the Clan. Of the three Helix seems to have the broadest utility by swinging races and being removal, Feed the Clan is the narrowest by just gaining life (possibly 10 but more often just 5), and Blessed Alliance is somewhere in the middle. It is unlikely that I get to 4 mana to escalate it for both life and a sac removal, so it will be one or the other. It is likely better against Shadow/Angler but I already have Paths in the board for those threats. Redundancy is good, but I don't want to over-sideboard. I need to maintain a critical mass of threat density.

    EDIT: How good is Aven Mindcensor? It seems slow without some sort of mana acceleration like Birds of Paradise or Noble Hierarch. Floor doesn't seem very low, ceiling seems quite high. Flyers are an issue if I somehow don't get through on the ground.
    Last edited by Mr. Safety; 03-12-2019 at 08:50 AM.
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    Re: Naya Vengevine

    List is settled, sideboard notes made, tournament is on Saturday. Testing has been incredibly positive, going about 1 turn faster than Phoenix and Dredge on my best draws and on-par with my slower draws. Deck name established: Hell Awaits (slayer fans? anyone?)

    Playing this one for Jeff Zandi and playing to win.
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  5. #5
    Victory Dance ftw?
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    Re: Naya Vengevine

    This is spicy as hell. I wish you the best of luck!
    Quote Originally Posted by Tacosnape
    <Dallieza> your mom uses the stack
    <System> Player Lost
    Quote Originally Posted by Tacosnape
    Every time someone drops a Chalice against me I think of the Family Guy episode where the guy in jail stabs himself with the knife to see how it feels and then he says, "My God! Is this what I've been doing to people? I belong in here!"
    Referring to the art on Stasis:
    Quote Originally Posted by Pinder View Post
    Well, uh...the mime, you see, is....um...

    God, is that furry bondage?

  6. #6

    Re: Naya Vengevine

    I dig the list. I only play modern if I can find a deck with kird ape I like. Kick ass so I can start playing modern again!

  7. #7
    Here I Rule!!!!!!!!!!
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    Re: Naya Vengevine

    List looks cool. I haven't played magic in a long time so can't really comment on it. Never even seen Bloodrage Brawler before, seems like the possible weak link but without playtesting it I wouldn't put any weight in that comment. Definitely depends on how much the discard helps you.

    Good luck!

  8. #8
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    Re: Naya Vengevine

    Went 3/3, beating Dredge, Humans, and a Grixis control deck. Lost to Humans, Amulet Titan, and BG Rock.

    Scoops: Burning Tree Emissary, Reckless Bushwhacker
    Poops: Bloodrage brawler, Experiment One, and Hellspark Elemental

    Hellspark was ok, good at applying pressure, same with Brawler. Both were underpowered though, just not efficient enough. Good perception Phoenix Ignition; i needed more outlets for vengevine/hellspark but it wasn't quite right (meaning brawler.)

    I am going to go back to the drawing board and work in Insolent Neonate, Street Wraith, and Hollow One. I think wild nacatl, kird ape, bte, and bushwhacker are good enough to warrent making room but ex-one, brawler, and hellspark are not. I'll finish up a tourney report and update the list. Still planning on hybridizing zoo with a vengevine strategy, maybe getting closer to the Rg hollowvine list that was making waves last year.
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  9. #9
    Victory Dance ftw?
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    Re: Naya Vengevine

    Maybe Pelt Collector would be better than Experiment One? Definitely plays nice with Vexing Devil. Still kinda slow.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tacosnape
    <Dallieza> your mom uses the stack
    <System> Player Lost
    Quote Originally Posted by Tacosnape
    Every time someone drops a Chalice against me I think of the Family Guy episode where the guy in jail stabs himself with the knife to see how it feels and then he says, "My God! Is this what I've been doing to people? I belong in here!"
    Referring to the art on Stasis:
    Quote Originally Posted by Pinder View Post
    Well, uh...the mime, you see, is....um...

    God, is that furry bondage?

  10. #10
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    Re: Naya Vengevine

    Thanks for the response! I've seen the Pelt Collector lists, they are cool and new but still underpowered I think. I don't think I want any of the 'grow' creatures, honestly. They are too much of a liability late game. I've basically resigned myself that I will sometimes be just cycling Hollow One in the mid game if I'm empty handed and I don't have enough lands to play it. The payoff for Hollow One is so much better when you put in the work rather than a grow creature. I'm digging through my deck, filling my graveyard, and possibly enabling Vengevines. Pelt Collector is just another Experiment One with trample. I think Pelt Collector and Ex-One would be pretty cool in a Winding Constrictor deck, but not here.

    I'm not even playing Vexing Devil, which I think is a trap card. It fools you into thinking it's either a 4/3 creature or a Fireblast for R. More often than not it's a 4 damage burn spell in a deck that absolutely needs to build a board presence. Being too slow isn't even the issue; I could always squeeze in Boros Charm if I wanted something that was 4 damage and sometimes something else. I can appreciate the allure of a cool card, but I don't think I want it.

    Thanks again! I love the feedback, and honestly, I could be completely wrong. I was wrong about Neonate, I could be wrong about Pelt Collector, too.
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    Re: Naya Vengevine

    I'm debating strongly a light blue splash for Izzet Charm. The looting effect is what I want, but the Spell Pierce and removal are both very appealing as well. At that point, it sort-of becomes better to go to Become Immense/Temur Battle Rage/Monastery Swiftspear.
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  12. #12
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    Re: Naya Vengevine

    Grishoalbrand used to splash blue for Izzet Charm. People seemed to like the flexibility a lot, but I think it got completely replaced with Cathartic Reunion.

    If you splash blue, you can SB Bant Charm!
    Quote Originally Posted by Tacosnape
    <Dallieza> your mom uses the stack
    <System> Player Lost
    Quote Originally Posted by Tacosnape
    Every time someone drops a Chalice against me I think of the Family Guy episode where the guy in jail stabs himself with the knife to see how it feels and then he says, "My God! Is this what I've been doing to people? I belong in here!"
    Referring to the art on Stasis:
    Quote Originally Posted by Pinder View Post
    Well, uh...the mime, you see, is....um...

    God, is that furry bondage?

  13. #13
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    Re: Naya Vengevine

    Cathartic Reunion seems like it's a little too volatile, but with it being on-color it might be a necessary evil. I don't like that it's 2 mana, so maybe I shave down to 2 copies.

    What I was hoping for was Izzet Charm being a looting effect that doubles as a Spell Pierce, which would be incredible in some matchups. I'm not sure it's worth the mana-base shakeup though.

    I'm still testing it with just Neonate/Looting/Wraith as my engine, and it works ok so far. The alternative 'play 1 drops and attack' plan is still very good.
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    Re: Naya Vengevine

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Safety View Post
    Cathartic Reunion seems like it's a little too volatile, but with it being on-color it might be a necessary evil. I don't like that it's 2 mana, so maybe I shave down to 2 copies.

    What I was hoping for was Izzet Charm being a looting effect that doubles as a Spell Pierce, which would be incredible in some matchups. I'm not sure it's worth the mana-base shakeup though.

    I'm still testing it with just Neonate/Looting/Wraith as my engine, and it works ok so far. The alternative 'play 1 drops and attack' plan is still very good.
    I wasn't actually suggesting Cathartic Reunion; just explaining why it is no longer played in Grishoalbrand.

    I think Izzet Charm in the MD and Bant Charm in the SB would add a lot of flexibility and mid-game strength to the deck.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tacosnape
    <Dallieza> your mom uses the stack
    <System> Player Lost
    Quote Originally Posted by Tacosnape
    Every time someone drops a Chalice against me I think of the Family Guy episode where the guy in jail stabs himself with the knife to see how it feels and then he says, "My God! Is this what I've been doing to people? I belong in here!"
    Referring to the art on Stasis:
    Quote Originally Posted by Pinder View Post
    Well, uh...the mime, you see, is....um...

    God, is that furry bondage?

  15. #15
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    Re: Naya Vengevine

    Cool, i'll test those out. Mana gets wonky, but thats ok, i have the lands to make it work. I worry slightly about Bant charm being in all secondary colors, its mainly a red deck. I keep forgetting about Naya Charm as well, which could be good as a tap down to get dudes through. I think the place to cut for Izzet charm is Kird Ape. Its the weakest creature and Charm should still let me filter into 1-mana creatures, as well as turning Hoots into a 1-mana creature often enough. I'll stsrt with a straight swap and go from there. Opening up blue could be nice for sideboard options, too. If we somehow get Shardless Agent in Modern Horizons I think I can switch over to RUG colors very easily, cutting Wild Nacatl for the cascade value.

    Also debating Silence in the board. It adds a mana to the 'combo' turn, but that seems reasonable with the haste dudes.

    EDIT: Silence Sideboard:

    2x Surgical Extraction
    3x Path to Exile
    2x Stony Silence
    2x Silence
    1x Domri Rade
    3x Ancient Grudge
    2x Alpine Moon


    I think Silence could be very powerful, as could Naya Charm. Charm does a lot by tapping down creatures for alpha-strikes, in a pinch killing a creature, or getting a key card back from the graveyard. I think I'll slot one into the maindeck in place of a Kird Ape for now.
    Last edited by Mr. Safety; 03-29-2019 at 07:35 AM.
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    Re: Naya Vengevine

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Safety View Post
    If we somehow get Shardless Agent in Modern Horizons I think I can switch over to RUG colors very easily, cutting Wild Nacatl for the cascade value.
    RUG splash w for Nacatl and SB options doesn't seem too greedy to me. Unless we get Wasteland or something similar in Modern Horizons, greedy manabases will still reign supreme. Current mana bases are greedy but respect Field of Ruin, Assassin's Trophy, Path to Exile, and Settle the Wreckage by playing a non-negligible number of basics. This greatly reduces the power of and frequency of Blood Moon. So just go nuts!
    Quote Originally Posted by Tacosnape
    <Dallieza> your mom uses the stack
    <System> Player Lost
    Quote Originally Posted by Tacosnape
    Every time someone drops a Chalice against me I think of the Family Guy episode where the guy in jail stabs himself with the knife to see how it feels and then he says, "My God! Is this what I've been doing to people? I belong in here!"
    Referring to the art on Stasis:
    Quote Originally Posted by Pinder View Post
    Well, uh...the mime, you see, is....um...

    God, is that furry bondage?

  17. #17
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    Re: Naya Vengevine

    I think you are probably right. I can get the Izzet Charm in by cutting Kird Ape x2. I could also sideboard 1x Steam Vents and 2-3x Izzet Charm for grindier matchups. A lot of different directions to test. I want to try Naya Charm as well.

    Thanks for keeping the discussion alive! Its so helpful to just bounce around ideas. Besides Bant charm, what other blue spells do you think are worth siding? I could see some counters, but i think i need to stay proactive. Stubborn Denial comes to mind.
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  18. #18
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    Re: Naya Vengevine

    Izzet charm has been nice, countered a cryptic command ftw in one game. I need to relearn fetching correctly though so Wild Nacatl is still a 3/3. Might cut the remaining 2 kird apes for Grim Lavamancers. Still a creature to trigger vines but adding non-combat reach.
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  19. #19
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    Re: Naya Vengevine

    Test cards, its a long list lol...theres another 1K on 5/11, gotta get ready.

    Izzet Charm
    Thought Scour
    Become Immense
    Bant Charm
    Edge of Autumn
    Stubborn Denial
    Grim Lavamancer
    Mana Tithe
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  20. #20
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    Re: Naya Vengevine

    Testing has been poor for the blue splash. I can't fit in Thought Scour and Izzet Charm, so messing with the mana isn't worth it. Back to strictly Naya colors. Those two slots have become Domri Rade (maindeck) and Naya Charm. I need something to have a chance at re-loading. It was only natural to have one of those flex spots be Domri, thereby freeing up another slot in the board. Naya Charm does a lot of things for the deck, but it's mostly there to tap down blockers and get in FTW. Returning a creature to hand, even for WRG, is still pretty good considering it will help re-trigger Vengevines. Getting a Street Wraith back to enable Hollow Ones isn't bad either. Main selling point: it's never dead. It shakes up board stalls, almost always in my favor. Bolt, Naya Charm, Bolt for 6 damage isn't terrible either, even though it costs 5 mana. That's still ahead of market price for a Fireball effect.

    I've been watching a lot of videos from 2017, which pilot the Swiftspear/Goblin Guide/Become Immense/Temur Battle Rage setup. It's very explosive, but I still believe going wider with BTE/Reckless Bushwhacker is better. Once they start eating at the graveyard Become Immense becomes unplayable. I can still see an argument for Temur Battle Rage, but the most it would ever do is 5 damage. For now the plan is to be slightly more resilient with Naya Charm, Domri Rade, and going wide.

    I'm down to only 1 Kird Ape, it's just 1-drop #9 for the deck. Once I get a feel for how Naya Charm/Domri affect the deck I might end up dropping the Kird Ape for a Grim Lavamancer. It's one more step towards a deck that has more mid-range potential, but possibly at the cost of slowing down too much. Only testing will tell, I have until May to figure this out.
    I am counted amongst legions of the unrighteous
    who dread not being immersed in pits of fire

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