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Thread: UW Sagas

  1. #1

    UW Sagas

    I have had this idea floating around in my head for a while and finally got the chance to test it a bit over the weekend

    1 Scalding Tarn
    4 Prismatic Vista
    4 Flooded Strand
    5 Island
    5 Plains
    1 Tundra

    4 Brainstorm
    4 Ponder
    4 Force of Will
    4 Swords to Plowshares
    2 Enlightened Tutor
    1 Council's Judgment
    2 Replenish

    4 History of Benalia
    3 Estrid's Invocation
    4 Spreading Seas
    2 Counterbalance

    1 Soothsaying
    1 Dovin's Acuity
    1 The Mirari Conjecture
    1 Sigil of the Empty Throne
    1 Detention Sphere
    1 Cast Out

    In the past there have been versions of Miracles that play 4x Mentor in the maindeck (https://www.minmaxblog.com/magic/201...or?rq=miracles). History of Benalia performs a similar function. History has a lower ceiling, but an important consideration in the current format is that with so many planeswalkers (Wrenn, Narset etc) it is important to have some early creatures that can pressure these. If you tap out for Mentor and they Bolt/Decay it then you lose your entire investment. With History you at least get to keep either a Knight or the enchantment itself.

    Estrid's Invocation has seen some play in a green-based list that is a more familiar Enchantress-style deck, but the limit in that list for things to copy was something like Oblivion Ring effect, Abundant Growth (draw 1), Doomwake Giant, Enchantress's Presence. Even then it is still quite good, because a Phyrexian Arena that draws 1 on etb is already pretty strong and the additional utility is relevant. But with History of Benalia it becomes an overwhelming threat. An important thing to remember is that Invocation blinks in upkeep but Sagas tick up at the start of the mainphase:

    Turn 3 History, make a Knight
    Turn 4, tick up History get a Knight, play Invocation copying History make another Knight, attack for 2
    Turn 5 blink Invocation copying history, get a Knight, tick up Invocation, get another Knight, tick up History to 3, attack for 3x4 = 12
    Turn 6 you can choose to blink Invocation to copy something else or go to stage 3 and attack for 5x4 = 20

    If you have 2 Invocations both copying History then you can keep blinking them to copy each other. They will never be sacrificed because they never reach stage 3 and you get 4 knights every turn.

    Spreading Seas is included to increase the density of enchantments that do something on etb (for Estrid's Invocation). It also keeps the blue count up for Force and can be a hurdle against heavy-multicolour decks while providing 'removal' against annoying lands like Port/Depths/Cavern/Post/Boseiju etc. Copying an aura doesn't require a target, so with Invocation you can often hit fetchlands with Seas or force the opponent to crack them at awkward times.

    Then we have 2 Counterbalance, which functions similarly as in normal miracles with 4 BS 4 Ponder, we might be lacking extra cantrips like Portent but there is 1 Soothsaying to help stack the top of the deck, and 2 Enlightened Tutor to help find it (or to directly put whatever cmc on top of the library to counter a spell). Enlightened Tutor can also help to find Estrids Invocation or any of the 1-ofs (or SB cards).

    Dovin's Acuity was originally meant to be a fun-of, but 2 life per turn with an Invocation is actually quite significant and even outside of enchantment synergies the card itself is not terrible in a UW control deck with Plow and Brainstorm

    Detention Sphere and Cast Out are just some reasonable removal options
    - Sphere: 2-for-1 potential, Pitches to Fow
    - Cast Out: can cycle if no targets (flexibility, Replenish), flash (important vs Depths etc), cmc4 for counterbalance

    2 Replenish can never be too bad because History naturally sacrifices itself, but they also act as big haymakers against any deck interacting with you with removal or counterspells.

    The last weird card is 1 Mirari Conjecture, which is already ok in a UW control deck with instants (FoW, Brainstorm, Plow) and sorceries (Ponder, CJ) but it also forms a loop with Replenish to give infinite instant/enchantment recursion. Because the third mode of Conjecture copies Replenish the opponent needs two counterspells to stop it.

    In testing the deck was surprisingly solid. The biggest hole was against resilient creatures that normal UW Miracles decks answer with Terminus. The Sigil of the Empty Throne was also probably win-more. Some alt wincon is probably necessary as people may try to extract History to leave you dead in the water, but this can be put in the sideboard.

    So for additional removal options maindeck, it would preferably be an enchantment for the utility with Tutor/Replenish, and something that can answer TNN/Mom.
    Options are:
    - Humility (strong vs certain decks but disables the strength of History of Benalia, could be a good SB option)
    - Solitary Confinement (Hard to maintain and doesn't actually remove the creatures, again could be a good sb option)
    - Doomwake Giant (Extremely powerful card, Invocation synergy, but adds a vulnerability to Plow and requires a 3 colour manabase)
    - Porphyry Nodes (Has dis-synergy with History and could be very annoying in situations where you don't want to return it with Replenish, although maybe you would be so far ahead in the game at that point that you wouldn't care. I also just realised that on an empty board in this situation it would die with the History triggers on the stack anyway. Good SB option again).

    I don't think going 3c is a good idea at the moment (and I can't think of anything other than Giant to justify the splash) so I will try -1 EmptyThrone +1 Porphyry Nodes.

    The sb is still a WIP but some obvious inclusions are probably:
    - Grafdigger's Cage (it's still valid for E-Tutor and unlike RIP it doesn't interfere with Replenish / Conjecture)
    - Stony Silence
    - Seal of Cleansing
    - Back to Basics
    - Some extra wincon like Sigil of the Empty Throne or Sacred Mesa
    - Humility

    Then some more fringe picks like
    - Solitary Confinement
    - Rule of Law/Nevermore/anti-combo stuff

    Then generic options like Surgical Extraction or Dovin's Veto or whatever

    Let me know if you have any thoughts on the main or side.
    I wasn't sure if it was correct to play any other nonbasics like Serra's Sanctum or Hall of Heliod's Generosity

  2. #2
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    Re: UW Sagas

    Very cool concept. Enchantments are fairly hard to deal with in Legacy, mostly because you don't see enough to consider them a threat (besides the usual suspects like Counterbalance and the occasional Enchantress player.) A couple of enchantments that might be worth some playtesting are Porphyry Nodes and Myth Realized. Nodes could do some work and might even warrant including Hall of Heliod's Generosity. If they let it die to it's own triggers you can threaten to get it back at any time to prevent them from rebuilding. Myth Realized always impressed me with it's ability to work in a control shell (I tried it in UW Landstill with an ETutor package) because it can be activated cheaply and rewards you for just playing your normal game, then you swing for 5+ a turn.

    The upside of playing a set of Spreading Seas is that Depths is rampant. It's not the most efficient hoser, but drawing you a card is great and the surprise factor is pretty funny.

    EDIT: I read the whole OP, saw you were already on Porphyry Nodes. Sorry for missing that!
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  3. #3

    Re: UW Sagas

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Safety View Post
    Very cool concept. Enchantments are fairly hard to deal with in Legacy, mostly because you don't see enough to consider them a threat (besides the usual suspects like Counterbalance and the occasional Enchantress player.) A couple of enchantments that might be worth some playtesting are Porphyry Nodes and Myth Realized. Nodes could do some work and might even warrant including Hall of Heliod's Generosity. If they let it die to it's own triggers you can threaten to get it back at any time to prevent them from rebuilding. Myth Realized always impressed me with it's ability to work in a control shell (I tried it in UW Landstill with an ETutor package) because it can be activated cheaply and rewards you for just playing your normal game, then you swing for 5+ a turn.

    The upside of playing a set of Spreading Seas is that Depths is rampant. It's not the most efficient hoser, but drawing you a card is great and the surprise factor is pretty funny.

    EDIT: I read the whole OP, saw you were already on Porphyry Nodes. Sorry for missing that!
    Yeah the interaction with Heliod's Hall is another interesting thing about nodes.
    I considered Myth Realised and I think the card is ok, but similar to Doomwake it has the problem of enabling the opponent's Plow.

    Standstill is interesting, and another similar card I thought about playing was Zur's Weirding.
    If you can get ahead on the board with History and then resolve Weirding you might just win on the spot (especially vs combo).

  4. #4

    Re: UW Sagas

    From a purely theoretical standpoint, albeit I find the concept extremely cool, there are a few points I do find slightly disturbing.
    • There are a lot of "cool" cards that don't go a long distance in winning actual games of Legacy. Sigil of the Empty Throne, Dovin's Acuity, Soothsaying, or even Cast Out and the second copy of Replenish don't look like cards I would like to have more often than not. They're either overcosted (Sigil, Cast Out), narrow (Dovin's Acuity), or underpowered (Soothsaying, even in conjunction with a 2-of Counterbalance, really does not pull a lot of weight). In other words, if you want tutorable 1-ofs you want to be able to tutor for -1 CD (Enlightened Tutor), they'd better be backbreaking when you slam then on the table.
    • The deck actually doesn't reward you this much for playing enchantments. Sure, you have Estrid's Invocation (but that only really works with Benalia, the 1-of Conjecture and marginally with Spreading Seas), a value-Replenish w/o discard outlets, but apart from that it just seems that some enchantments are there for flavor's sake.
    • Imho, too much of a fuss has been made around "blanking removal". While this may be true for Doomwake Giant (a much more solid reason is the black cost), Snapcaster Mage is a good card in a deck that seems like it wants to play the long game, has instants and sorceries and doesn't play RiP/Field or RiP/Helm MD.
    • I fail to see how Humility nonboes with Benalia. Sure, your 2/2 vigilance Knight tokens become 1/1 Knights, but this does seem a very low cost to pay if your opponent is casting 1/1s for actual mana/cards instead of having access to TNN, Lage, Angler, Tarmogoyf, Griselbrand, Thought-Knot Seer. Humility, on the other hand, does nonbo with the Snapcasters aforementioned, but even then I would suck it up because resolving Humility is a win vs. a lot of decks.


    tl;dr I'm wondering if some generically strong cards wouldn't be better than 1-ofs which purpose seems more to make you look smart when you play them than winning an actual game of Magic.

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    Re: UW Sagas

    The best enchantment to ETutor for is mysteriously absent from this deck: Rest in Peace.

    After that, a good follow-up is Helm of Obedience or Energy Field, which could be 1-ofs but actually threaten to take over the game instead of providing a very slow minor incremental advantage.

    Another strong choice that should be in the 75 is Back to Basics.

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    Re: UW Sagas

    Regardless of deck design, any multi-colored list with E-Tutors main should be strongly considered as incorrect without a 1x Astrolabe (and the snow basics) until proven otherwise. In this deck, for example, you can’t afford to mull hands with Plains + E-Tutor + blue cards. This becomes more imperative when you construct more balanced color requirements. In this case 5x Islands and 5x Plains is waaaaaaaay less stable than traditional 6x Island and 2x Plains (accompanied by far less emphasis on slots with white mana).

    While the deck name is “Sagas,” there is no way you’re winning more games by making 2/2 knights while skipping on wraths. There’s a fairly high burden to do something distinctly different [i.e. more fundamentally broken] than either 3x Snapcasters (for Plow) or the combo kill (RiP/Helm), as these are known entities with demonstrable levels of success.

    Spreading Seas is incredibly suspect by itself, but it’s also completely unsupported (no mana denial). This will cost you games b/c you drew it. So we have to measure 4x dubious topdecks against say a build with Stifle + Wasteland, which (b/c of E Tutor) can run a single Parallax Tide to murder 5 lands and Stifle the single return trigger. Alternatively your deck could have Thespian’s Stage and Song of the Dryads. Just some examples of additive [combo] power you’re probably going to need, as these close the door on a game, rather than prolonging the game to the point that the decks flaws (no reset buttons with wrath) cannot be avoided.

    With 10 basics and the style you laid out, I think you start from square 1 with E Tutor and Land Tax. Mox Diamond on top would be fine, but they also made Lotus Field.

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    Re: UW Sagas

    If you want to build around Sagas, what about these ones:

    Phyrexian Scriptures - board reset and grave hate

    The Eldest Reborn - slow, but incremental card advantage that impacts board state

    Sagas also seem good with effects that add or remove counters (e.g. Proliferate).

    I think you're better off building this as a control deck than a midrange token deck. Tapping out to make 4 2/2s on turn 4 seems like a bad way to play Legacy. Maybe it would work in Modern. Although this is based on Miracles, they have more control tools (Terminus, counters, more ways to control Counterbalance, etc.). This deck has much more durdle and less interaction.

    If you want to play UW but beat early walkers without getting blown out by Bolt (like Mentor), just play TNN.

  8. #8

    Re: UW Sagas

    [*]There are a lot of "cool" cards that don't go a long distance in winning actual games of Legacy. Sigil of the Empty Throne, Dovin's Acuity, Soothsaying, or even Cast Out and the second copy of Replenish don't look like cards I would like to have more often than not. They're either overcosted (Sigil, Cast Out), narrow (Dovin's Acuity), or underpowered (Soothsaying, even in conjunction with a 2-of Counterbalance, really does not pull a lot of weight). In other words, if you want tutorable 1-ofs you want to be able to tutor for -1 CD (Enlightened Tutor), they'd better be backbreaking when you slam then on the table.
    This point seems overblown, although I mostly agree about Sigil hence why I explained I cut it for Nodes. I don't see how Dovin's Acuity narrow, it's just a cantrip (think Renewed Faith or Wall of Omens whatever). Just because it's a 1-of in the deck doesn't mean that it's there to be tutored for, although against e.g. burn it would be nice to have that option. Imagine that I want about ~5 Estrid Enablers but I can only play 4 Seas, then what is the next best option to choose? Yes cast out is expensive for what it gives you, but you can always cycle it. You could be right about the 2nd replenish.

    [*]The deck actually doesn't reward you this much for playing enchantments. Sure, you have Estrid's Invocation (but that only really works with Benalia, the 1-of Conjecture and marginally with Spreading Seas), a value-Replenish w/o discard outlets, but apart from that it just seems that some enchantments are there for flavor's sake.
    This is possibly a fair criticism but has no real value without specifics, I assume you mean you would cut Soothsaying for Preordain or something along those lines. Estrids Invocation is really powerful and the E-tutor being able to assemble that while also finding relevant disruption seems like an upside.

    [*]Imho, too much of a fuss has been made around "blanking removal". While this may be true for Doomwake Giant (a much more solid reason is the black cost), Snapcaster Mage is a good card in a deck that seems like it wants to play the long game, has instants and sorceries and doesn't play RiP/Field or RiP/Helm MD.
    I never mentioned Snapcaster at all and obviously if they spent a card to plow your 2 mana creature that already provided value on ETB then you don't really care. The reason why I didn't include snap was:
    - The deck has no flashbackable card advantage spell (think AK or predict) because these slots are occupied by enchantments
    - Most of the SB cards are going to be enchantments where possible so that you can tutor for them and Replenish gets them back (e.g. you are going to want to play Seal of Cleansing rather than Disenchant)
    - The current build of the deck doesn't play any Counterspell, or sorcery sweeper, the only non-plow removal is 1 CJ, etc, so the utility of Snapcaster is very limited
    - There doesn't appear to be space to fit Snap without breaking up some of the enchantment synergies, which are powerful enough that the addition of Snap didn't seem worth it

    [*]I fail to see how Humility nonboes with Benalia. Sure, your 2/2 vigilance Knight tokens become 1/1 Knights, but this does seem a very low cost to pay if your opponent is casting 1/1s for actual mana/cards instead of having access to TNN, Lage, Angler, Tarmogoyf, Griselbrand, Thought-Knot Seer. Humility, on the other hand, does nonbo with the Snapcasters aforementioned, but even then I would suck it up because resolving Humility is a win vs. a lot of decks.
    I mean it does nonbo with Benalia because it makes the 2/2s into 1/1s, you can argue that it has such powerful effect on the majority of decks that it should be played anyway, which is possible.

    tl;dr I'm wondering if some generically strong cards wouldn't be better than 1-ofs which purpose seems more to make you look smart when you play them than winning an actual game of Magic.
    Maybe soothsaying is a meme but there is a reason why I included CJ rather than like, Ixalans Binding or whatever, I like to think my head isn't totally in the clouds

    The best enchantment to ETutor for is mysteriously absent from this deck: Rest in Peace.

    After that, a good follow-up is Helm of Obedience or Energy Field, which could be 1-ofs but actually threaten to take over the game instead of providing a very slow minor incremental advantage.

    Another strong choice that should be in the 75 is Back to Basics.
    I didn't feel like RIP did enough against the meta to have it maindeck and preferred to focus on the Replenish angle instead, this might be wrong though.
    Winning the game instantly isn't inherently better than winning the game in a few turns, the only relevant thing to focus on is what % of games are won. Helm and Field don't really do anything by themselves (certainly much less than e.g. Dovin's Acuity) although I agree that if you are already in a situation when RIP is maindeckable then these are obviously good complements to that.
    Agree on B2B, it should be in a 75 somewhere

    Fox
    Regardless of deck design, any multi-colored list with E-Tutors main should be strongly considered as incorrect without a 1x Astrolabe (and the snow basics) until proven otherwise. In this deck, for example, you can’t afford to mull hands with Plains + E-Tutor + blue cards. This becomes more imperative when you construct more balanced color requirements. In this case 5x Islands and 5x Plains is waaaaaaaay less stable than traditional 6x Island and 2x Plains (accompanied by far less emphasis on slots with white mana).

    While the deck name is “Sagas,” there is no way you’re winning more games by making 2/2 knights while skipping on wraths. There’s a fairly high burden to do something distinctly different [i.e. more fundamentally broken] than either 3x Snapcasters (for Plow) or the combo kill (RiP/Helm), as these are known entities with demonstrable levels of success.

    Spreading Seas is incredibly suspect by itself, but it’s also completely unsupported (no mana denial). This will cost you games b/c you drew it. So we have to measure 4x dubious topdecks against say a build with Stifle + Wasteland, which (b/c of E Tutor) can run a single Parallax Tide to murder 5 lands and Stifle the single return trigger. Alternatively your deck could have Thespian’s Stage and Song of the Dryads. Just some examples of additive [combo] power you’re probably going to need, as these close the door on a game, rather than prolonging the game to the point that the decks flaws (no reset buttons with wrath) cannot be avoided.

    With 10 basics and the style you laid out, I think you start from square 1 with E Tutor and Land Tax. Mox Diamond on top would be fine, but they also made Lotus Field.
    You have correctly noted that there are sometimes some mana problems with the fact that CB wants UU on turn 2 and History needs WW on turn 3, hence the split of basics way more in favour of plains than normal Miracles (I'm not 100% sure this split is correct but the W demand is clearly higher). Astrolabe is something I considered, but as only a 1-of I'm not sure that it's worth playing. A 1 land plains etutor hand is probably not keepable even with an Astrolabe in the deck. The Land Tax idea is really interesting, and seems worth testing, but I think in these situations you might be forced to mulligan anyway because it's so punishing if you are leaning on Tax to bail you out of a bad mana situation and they counter it. Mox Diamond and Lotus Field seem like bad ideas, to achieve the consistency needed to overcome the drawbacks (card disadvantage on mox, Field is a etb tapped land not playable until turn 3) you would have to increase numbers of all of these and at that point you're just UW Parfait without the invocation stuff. I did consider a green version for Abundant Growth, which does some of the 'astrolabe' function while also allowing some/all of the Seas to be replaced, but wasn't sure how the overall manabase would work.

    The main reasoning for spreading seas is
    - Estrid's Invocation is a powerful card with History of Benalia
    - The deck needs additional positive interaction with Invocation to justify its inclusion, fortunately Invocation is also very powerful as a painless Phyrexian Arena that draws a card on ETB
    - There is no other remotely playable cantrip enchantment with cmc <3 in UW colours.
    Under this reasoning the fact that it's not reliably "1U stone rain draw a card" is acceptable, and the "lose games because you drew it" seems like an exaggeration for a card that at worst cantrips for 2 mana. You can compare it to the first AK, which costs 2 to cycle and you only realise the payoff (more cards with Invocation) later. Suggesting stifle/waste in a deck with so many 3+drops is absurd and the Tide combo doesn't solve the problem of not having a reset button. While I do think that History turns the corner faster than you probably realise (and can overwhelm most battlefields), the observation that 'you need some kind of combo kill otherwise you are aiming for the flawed plan of prolonging the game with no reset button' has been demonstrably true on multiple occasions, especially with non-plowable creatures.

    If you want to build around Sagas, what about these ones:
    Phyrexian Scriptures - board reset and grave hate
    The Eldest Reborn - slow, but incremental card advantage that impacts board state
    Sagas also seem good with effects that add or remove counters (e.g. Proliferate).
    I think you're better off building this as a control deck than a midrange token deck. Tapping out to make 4 2/2s on turn 4 seems like a bad way to play Legacy. Maybe it would work in Modern. Although this is based on Miracles, they have more control tools (Terminus, counters, more ways to control Counterbalance, etc.). This deck has much more durdle and less interaction.
    If you want to play UW but beat early walkers without getting blown out by Bolt (like Mentor), just play TNN.
    These cards are ok but it then becomes a question of whether it's worth adding the 3rd colour (also Eldest Reborn would probably need some creature/PW inclusion).
    Don't get hung up on the 'Saga' name, I just wanted a snappy thread title, no need to add some weird proliferate card (or anything with type Saga just for the sake of it).
    The idea is that it still is a control deck, just like how Miracles decks play Mentor. I'm not as familiar with piloting control decks in legacy so I thought I could get away with having less interaction and overwhelming the board; maybe not. If you have more of an idea of what a 'control build' would look like rather than the 'midrange token' build you should post it.
    The TNN comment is fair but it's a much slower clock against uninteractive decks, people are already prepared for it with Plague Engineer etc and it doesn't have the ability to turn around a boardstate without removal

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    Re: UW Sagas

    @kombatkiwi on Lotus Field + Land Tax, the point there is that you get to nuke your land count below an opponent's count to retrigger a draw 3. It's not really about speed or ramp, but the hexproof + taps for 3 [insert color] is a nice bonus. The next level analysis is that with keyword hexproof you're able to be the only deck can realistically cast a card like Verdict against DnT's Ports. So we've got this card that plays into your early game/value plans and also allows you to cast uninteractive reset buttons.

    I feel like there's not much time in legacy to use turn 2 for Seas, turn 3 for Estrid, turn 4 for Benalia. I see the whole value loop thing, but it just feels like you die to Goyf and a single Daze...and even if you pulled it off, you're still in the Goyf abyss.

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    Re: UW Sagas

    @kombat: RiP got a little less maindeckable without DRS and DTT. But look at all the decks it does interact with: BR Reanimator, Buried Phoenix, Delver (Gurmag Angler/Arcanist), Wrenn and Six.dec, Hogaak Depths/Dark Depths, Loam, ANT. I don't think it's a total write-off.

    The main difference between winning this turn and winning in a few turns is how much opportunity the opponent has to interact and recover. ETutor is card disadvantage. If you use that card disadvantage to find a win condition (Helm), being behind in cards doesn't matter. If you use it to find incremental advantage (e.g. Estrid, Dovin, Soothsaying, Sigil), you're playing down a card while the opponent has a chance to do things and get back in the game, especially if you're just making some 2/2s or drawing back the cards you missed. You have zero board wipes, so how do you recover from a dominant board position other than spamming 2/2 knights?

    Yes, Miracles plays Mentor. Control decks can play creatures. Why do I differentiate between "control" and "midrange tokens"? Mentor takes up 3 slots, while your enchantment plan takes up a lot more, so they have more room for control pieces. They can run board resets (Terminus), more countermagic (Counterspell), card advantage (AK/Predict), Snapcaster to reuse spells, and planeswalkers. That makes them a much more interactive control deck. You have to cut all that to run the enchantment package.

    The reason I picked those black Sagas is because they at least offer control tools: killing creatures and providing card & board advantage. You showed the Saga mechanic interacts well with Estrid. You don't have to play any Sagas, but it should help if more of those enchantment slots do something more interactive than cantripping and spamming 2/2s: Humility, Porphyry Nodes, Back to Basics (Spreading Seas doesn't make them Basic Islands).

    @Fox: I think his plan his turn 3 Benalia (+2 tokens), turn 4 Estrid (+4 tokens), so he does get board presence a turn earlier than in your version. But yeah, I agree that main plan just seems too slow and uninteractive for Legacy. In that plan his only interaction is Force of Will (no Force of Negation backup), Spreading Seas (except 60% of Legacy decks play Brainstorm, so they can not only use the blue mana but use it to cantrip into another land, making Seas significantly worse than Wastelanding it), and maybe an errant Plow on turn 4 if he hits all his land drops.

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    Re: UW Sagas

    Quote Originally Posted by FTW View Post
    @Fox: I think his plan his turn 3 Benalia (+2 tokens), turn 4 Estrid (+4 tokens), so he does get board presence a turn earlier than in your version. But yeah, I agree that main plan just seems too slow and uninteractive for Legacy. In that plan his only interaction is Force of Will (no Force of Negation backup), Spreading Seas (except 60% of Legacy decks play Brainstorm, so they can not only use the blue mana but use it to cantrip into another land, making Seas significantly worse than Wastelanding it), and maybe an errant Plow on turn 4 if he hits all his land drops.
    I get that, but in the theoretical “dies to Goyf” stress test, you just lose if Benalia doesn’t resolves. I don’t think you can ever afford to play that on turn 3 into a Daze, so you have to bait out the interaction with the value engine. Imagine how disastrous it would be to go Seas -> Benalia (Daze kills Seas) -> Estrid’s with nothing to copy. Say you go Seas into Estrid and get Dazed and lose everything; at least Benalia will resolve and you’ll have a 2/2 to chump Goyf twice - it’s not good, but it’s kinda the best you can hope for.

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    Re: UW Sagas

    Quote Originally Posted by Fox View Post
    I get that, but in the theoretical “dies to Goyf” stress test, you just lose if Benalia doesn’t resolves. I don’t think you can ever afford to play that on turn 3 into a Daze, so you have to bait out the interaction with the value engine. Imagine how disastrous it would be to go Seas -> Benalia (Daze kills Seas) -> Estrid’s with nothing to copy. Say you go Seas into Estrid and get Dazed and lose everything; at least Benalia will resolve and you’ll have a 2/2 to chump Goyf twice - it’s not good, but it’s kinda the best you can hope for.
    I forgot about Daze.

    Daze is another reason why Spreading Seas is terrible in Legacy. They can just return the land to hand and replay it. That's a "dies to Legacy" stress test.

  13. #13

    Re: UW Sagas

    Quote Originally Posted by Fox View Post
    @kombatkiwi on Lotus Field + Land Tax, the point there is that you get to nuke your land count below an opponent's count to retrigger a draw 3. It's not really about speed or ramp, but the hexproof + taps for 3 [insert color] is a nice bonus. The next level analysis is that with keyword hexproof you're able to be the only deck can realistically cast a card like Verdict against DnT's Ports. So we've got this card that plays into your early game/value plans and also allows you to cast uninteractive reset buttons.

    I feel like there's not much time in legacy to use turn 2 for Seas, turn 3 for Estrid, turn 4 for Benalia. I see the whole value loop thing, but it just feels like you die to Goyf and a single Daze...and even if you pulled it off, you're still in the Goyf abyss.
    I understand how Field works with Tax. The problem in a deck with e.g. Ponder/Brainstorm etc is that do you really want to have a land in your deck that you can't even play until turn 3? That doesn't ramp your mana and only helps an enchantment which you probably aren't even playing too many copies of? The port thing is cute but as soon as you play another land then their Port is equally live again so what did you achieve really

    I forgot about Daze.

    Daze is another reason why Spreading Seas is terrible in Legacy. They can just return the land to hand and replay it. That's a "dies to Legacy" stress test.
    In Delver matchups you play around this by casting Spreading Seas on your own lands
    Again it functions much more as an Accumulated Knowledge type of card in blue matchups rather than "hurhurhur good luck casting your spells Jund/Tron opp"

    Yes, Miracles plays Mentor. Control decks can play creatures. Why do I differentiate between "control" and "midrange tokens"? Mentor takes up 3 slots, while your enchantment plan takes up a lot more, so they have more room for control pieces. They can run board resets (Terminus), more countermagic (Counterspell), card advantage (AK/Predict), Snapcaster to reuse spells, and planeswalkers. That makes them a much more interactive control deck. You have to cut all that to run the enchantment package.
    The only relevant part of this is counterspell/terminus
    Every other part of this is supplied by the enchantments:
    - Card advantage
    - Reuse spells from the graveyard
    - "Planeswalkers" (permanents that provide incremental advantage and a wincondition)

    but I agree that the lack of this interaction seems like it might be an issue
    If it is expected that early threats are going to be such a problem and that sweepers are needed then possibly both the Sigil of the Empty Throne and the Council's Judgment (or the Cast Out) can be cut for 2 Porphyry Nodes, which also boosts replenish. The CJ effect is still available in DSphere
    Last edited by kombatkiwi; 09-06-2019 at 03:40 AM.

  14. #14
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    Re: UW Sagas

    Quote Originally Posted by kombatkiwi View Post
    I understand how Field works with Tax. The problem in a deck with e.g. Ponder/Brainstorm etc is that do you really want to have a land in your deck that you can't even play until turn 3? That doesn't ramp your mana and only helps an enchantment which you probably aren't even playing too many copies of? The port thing is cute but as soon as you play another land then their Port is equally live again so what did you achieve really
    It's not a 4x, but you could play 2x or so. The point of E Tutor is that you don't have to play many copies of cards, so you can get away with 1-2 Tax. It really comes down to what the deck is trying to do. Field is heavily skewed towards being able to spam uncounterable reset buttons, so taking a turn [mostly] off is fine. In terms of the Port stuff, your next land casts Verdict and Port can't stop it (+/- Thalia on board). The traditional problem with Verdict is that DnT just Ports down 2 plains and UW decks can't ever cast it, and Field really does solve this problem (as much as any 1 card can).

    It's not about ramp so much as the land doing what your deck wants (Tax engine) on a card that's even more uninteractive than a basic land, which then is letting you cast an uninteractive board wipe. Your 4 mana play right now is generally going to be Benalia against getting beat down by theoretical Goyf, or turn 3 vs a more control-oriented deck which can handle 2x 2/2s and only needs to counter the Estrid. I just don't think you get turns 2, 3, and 4 to make a 2/2 so that you can have a big turn 5 of 3x 2/2s in a deck that doesn't have any risk of reach vs life total.

    We can also look at your deck doing its thing from the point-of-view of FoW. With @FTW's idea you're using FoW to protect a game-ending combo. With an uninteractive reset strategy FoW can go purely on the disruption plan vs anything that would sidestep the reset. With the Saga stuff, FoW kinda doesn't have anything worth protecting but you're basically priced into using it like that anyways (b/c it's the only way your deck can win). It's even worse than that for your deck, as your deck has barely any wincons...in a post-board game FoW is 100% on counter Surgical which is going to target a suicidal enchantment.

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    Re: UW Sagas

    Quote Originally Posted by kombatkiwi View Post
    Again it functions much more as an Accumulated Knowledge type of card in blue matchups rather than "hurhurhur good luck casting your spells Jund/Tron opp"
    Isn't that extremely underpowered then? Competitive Legacy is 60% Brainstorms, which means maybe 65% decks that can use blue mana, 5% decks that try to go off before you can resolve a 2 cmc enchantment, and some decks that run redundant basics (D&T, stompy, Elves).

    Sure it can really hose Dark Depths if they don't play around it (Crop Rotation/Elvish Reclaimer EOT) and shut down Caverns and Port and Eldrazi Post, but too often it does essentially nothing (cycles for 2 mana) unless you resolve Estrid to combo with it. Is there some other card that could fill the card advantage role instead?


    The only relevant part of this is counterspell/terminus
    That's an important part. The incremental card advantage is less important, anything could provide that. It wouldn't be Miracles without Terminus. That is literally the namesake of the deck. The 1 cmc instant board reset is what lets the deck get away with playing the slow control game. Otherwise you lose to creatures. 4 Plow + 0 Snapcaster + 0 Energy Field is not enough to handle creatures.

    Counterspells also let you trade 1-for-1 with cards that can't hit the board. 4 Force by itself isn't enough countermagic for control, and the 2-for-1 hurts against fair decks like Delver and D&T.

    Control decks need more interaction than 4 Plow + 4 Force. Countersliver ran that much interaction and it's an aggro deck :p.

  16. #16
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    Re: UW Sagas

    What about something like this?


    //Spells: 22
    4 Force of Will
    4 Brainstorm
    4 Ponder
    4 Swords to Plowshares
    2 Enlightened Tutor
    2 Counterspell
    1 Force of Negation
    1 Council's Judgment

    //Creatures: 3
    3 Snapcaster Mage

    //Enchantments and Artifacts: 13
    2 Porphyry Nodes
    1 Arcum's Astrolabe
    1 Spreading Seas
    2 Counterbalance
    4 History of Benalia
    2 Estrid's Invocation
    1 Detention Sphere

    //Planeswalkers: 2
    1 Teferi, Time Raveler
    1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor

    //Lands: 20
    4 Flooded Strand
    4 Prismatic Vista
    6 Snow-Covered Island
    3 Snow-Covered Plains
    1 Karakas
    1 Tundra
    1 Scalding Tarn

    //Sideboard: 15
    2 Back to Basics
    3 Rest in Peace
    1 Helm of Obedience
    1 Humility
    1 Grafdigger's Cage
    1 Spreading Seas
    1 Damping Sphere
    1 Pithing Needle
    1 Seal of Cleansing
    1 Stony Silence
    1 Engineered Explosives
    1 Force of Negation


    Against graveyard decks you can just board into RiP + Helm, because 1 Helm is so little cost to include when you're already playing RiP and ETutor.

    Other SB toolbox choices depend on the metagame and what matchups are weak.

    Jace has obvious synergies with Counterbalance and winning at Magic.

    Teferi protects you from having your enchantments interfered with. It can also -3 to reset History, Snapcaster, Estrid, Porphyry or Seas.

    1-of Astrolabe seems like an auto-include to smooth your costs in a manabase with 9-10 basics. At worst it cantrips for 1 mana.

    You reduce the need for Spreading Seas as a "backup enchantment" by reducing the number of Estrids (which are too slow and conditional in some matchups anyway). In the slow matchups where the long-term value chain is good, you can board in a 2nd Seas, though Back to Basics is even better in a wider range of matches.

    Snapcaster fills the roles of increasing interaction (+Plows +Counters), filling the 2 cmc slot when cutting Seas, and providing an alternate source of card advantage.
    Last edited by FTW; 09-06-2019 at 11:16 AM.

  17. #17

    Re: UW Sagas

    Isn't that extremely underpowered then? ...Is there some other card that could fill the card advantage role instead?
    I thought that the deck needed the increased number of Invocation Enablers and in UW colours there really isn't anything better. I agree that it's on the low end of power level for cards that see play in legacy but I think that the incidental hate vs some land-based things is reasonable and 2 cmc draw a card (even at sorcery) kind of caps how bad it is?

    That's an important part. The incremental card advantage is less important, anything could provide that. It wouldn't be Miracles without Terminus
    You made the point that "look at all the things miracles has that this deck doesn't" and I replied with "actually it has most of those but you're right that the relative lack of interaction could be a problem" so it seems we are on the same page here

    deck
    This looks okay, but I think this also has holes.
    There still isn't any Terminus despite saying how important that effect supposedly is, and even though you have cut the GY dependence (no Replenish/Conjecture element) for the RIP plan in the board you have replaced it with 3 other GY-dependent cards in the form of Snapcaster. If this is viable then I guess the original version of the deck could play rip/helm as a SB plan just as easily

    Essentially this seems like a less-powerful more-consistent way to build the deck, cutting some of the enchantment synergies and the weird/situational singletons for generic good cards in counterspell/pw/snap.
    I think that with only 4 Benalia and 1 Seas the Invocation becomes too unreliable, and that card was a large part of why the deck seemed good.
    The version with counterspell and snap and far less of the enchantment synergy is like an uncomfortable middle-ground where it becomes a lot harder to argue that History is better than Mentor would be.
    But I appreciate the suggestions and Teferi is an interesting idea

  18. #18

    Re: UW Sagas

    I'm affraid this whole thread will be yet another example of «You want to play UW? Juste play Miracles».
    Although all the Estrid's Invocation interactions are sweet (and god knows I love this card), it's juste more expensive and slower than a straight Brainstorm+Fetch, less card advantage than a single Terminus, and not game ending like a protected Monastery Mentor.

    I would love to abuse Estrid's Invocation (hell, I've been playing Enchantments-based decks my whole Legacy player life!) but I think this is just too slow, especially in a non-stompy shell.
    Quote Originally Posted by Weapon X View Post
    The only glass cannon here is the pilot.
    I play decks with a lot of white enchantments, and white isn't even my favorite color.

  19. #19
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    Re: UW Sagas

    Quote Originally Posted by aedemiel View Post
    I would love to abuse Estrid's Invocation (hell, I've been playing Enchantments-based decks my whole Legacy player life!) but I think this is just too slow, especially in a non-stompy shell.
    You can abuse it. UW control just may not be the deck to do it. UG Enchantress uses the card really well.

    Maybe an enchantment-based Stompy deck could too. Could even be UW (e.g. Chalice of the Void, Trinisphere, Oblivion Ring, Parallax Tide, Moat, Riptide Chimera, Propaganda, Replenish, Eidolons, some draw engine or abusable ETB triggers, etc.).

    The problem is if you try to stick Estrid's Invocation into the shell of another deck that is not enchantment-based. Then you're just fighting for slots, between getting in enough enchantments and having the main plan (e.g. control) work properly.

  20. #20

    Re: UW Sagas

    Quote Originally Posted by ftw View Post
    Now we're talking!
    Quote Originally Posted by Weapon X View Post
    The only glass cannon here is the pilot.
    I play decks with a lot of white enchantments, and white isn't even my favorite color.

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