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  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.

  5. #5
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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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