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  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.
    I am counted amongst legions of the unrighteous
    who dread not being immersed in pits of fire

  4. #4
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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.
    I am counted amongst legions of the unrighteous
    who dread not being immersed in pits of fire

  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
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    <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:
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    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!

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