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Thread: Zoo

  1. #21
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    Re: Zoo

    I think it's a symptom of the metagame. I've been checking mtgtop8 to see what the popular decks are currently making waves. Shadow and Jund are both fairly popular, so having ways of dealing with Death's Shadow and Tarmogoyf are both pretty important. Amulet Titan is also still a deck, with Path being one of the few ways to actually deal with PrimeTime. Path also has some small synergy by targeting your own (blocked?) creatures and pumping Hellhound/Lynx mid-combat. The real problem is that there aren't any good burn spells at 1 mana besides Bolt, so if the main goal is to remove blockers for big swings then Path is obviously superior because it's unconditional. Atarka's Command is the real gravy in this deck, doing way over it's rate in damage when pumping the team and dealing 3 to the face. I'm guessing it's good for 5 damage on average. Not even Boros Charm can compete with that. Unlike Legacy, we can't just jam Chain Lightning. There could be an argument for Lava Dart, but I go back to the initial evaluation of Shadow/Goyf being more common, so it's likely not correct.

    Renegade Rallier is definitely cool tech, but at 3 mana is a stretch without acceleration. I'd rather play a lower land count (20) and curve out, relying on redundancy (12 fetches) to make Lynx/Hellhound viable. Once it starts creeping into 3-mana territory as a main strategy I think it's just better to play Jund, which is better suited to generating absurd value.
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  2. #22
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    Re: Zoo

    Admittedly, I haven't played Modern in a while (I really only played table top, so COVID kind of put a stop to that), but given that Lava Dart is pretty prevalent, making X/1 creatures a bit of a liability, it makes me wonder if white is really even necessary. I do like having access to Path to Exile and Wild Nacatl is probably still worth it, but basically being R/G and just running a single copy each of Sacred Foundry and Temple Garden seems like it might help with consistency; particularly in being able to maximize the mana from Burning-Tree Emissary.

    Another possible take would be leaning a bit more in the direction of the "Big Zoo" decks of the past, playing Noble Hierarch and Knight of the Reliquary. I do like the line of turn 1 Hierarch, turn 2 Brushfire Elemental + fetch land.

    Yet another option would be going in the Death's Shadow direction (we've seen Shadow + Steppe Lynx decks before). If you're doing that, you could touch all 5 colors and play Tribal Flames (pet card of mine), but Atarka's Command probably fills a similar role in other versions, though Flames can clear out a blocker. Might of Alara would be fun too, but maybe Temur Battle Rage would be more consistent for pushing damage.

  3. #23
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    Re: Zoo

    Good thoughts, thanks for the response. I do agree that Lava Dart can be problematic; I'm not sure if something like Mutagenic Growth would be beneficial to combat that or not. In a Shadow version Mutagenic Growth would be really solid, supporting both efficient damage and losing life for Shadow. I would indeed play Tribal Flames if I were to play a shadow version. I think, generally, traditional Shadow decks are better placed in the metagame. I could always play that deck if I wanted to, I have all the cards. Another way to work around Lava Dart is to leave fetches uncracked until the last possible chance. There are windows of opportunity where I can play a fetchland to get the bonus, they play Lava Dart to kill it before it's trigger resolves, but I crack the fetchland to trigger it out of Dart range. The original Lava Dart is still on the stack so they can't sacrifice a mountain to play it again yet. If they have 2 Lava Darts and the mana/lands to use them then I'm boned, but if that happens, good game bro, you got me.

    The whole impetus is to have 8 Steppe Lynx and to swing in for massive damage with Reckless Bushwhacker/Atarka's Command. I was a big fan of playing Experiment One into BTE/Bushwhacker, you could swing for 10+ damage easily by turn 2. I figured with a fetch-heavy mana-base and 1-2 Steppe Lynx it would be even bigger swings. I can definitely see the advantage of pushing a stronger R/G presence to utilize BTE mana, but I think playing Atarka's Command, W6, and Bushwhacker is enough to utilize the mana. I do like the Mutagenic Growth idea, it is another 'free' spell for Bushwacker triggers.
    Brainstorm Realist

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  4. #24

    Re: Zoo

    Mutagenic Growth looks like a solid option. The perennial question is going to be what we cut for it. From how I understand it our flex slots are something like
    2x Wrenn
    3x path

    Wrenn is super synergistic but not technically necessary. path you can maybe cut depending on your local meta

    everything else in the deck seems core since we've already narrowed ourselves down to the best creatures and bolt/atarka's are auto-includes.

    For reference, the list I'm going off of right now is Safety's previous list (swapping helixes with paths)
    4x Wild Nacatl
    4x Narnam Renegade
    4x Goblin Guide
    4x Akoum Hellhound
    4x Steppe Lynx
    4x Burning-Tree Emissary
    4x Reckless Bushwhacker
    4x Lightning Bolt
    3x Atarka's Command
    3x Lightning Helix
    2x Wrenn and Six
    12x fetch
    8x Shocks/Basics/Canopy lands

    I sort of want to find a way to fit in the 4th Atarka's. I wonder if shaving another land would make our manabase too unstable. At the same time 2 seems like the right number for Wrenn (can't fit more and random 1-ofs feel bad) so I don't want to shave one of those either. Maybe this is where we revisit 3 vs 4 Bushwhacker again, but I'm still pretty sure that the answer on that is 4.

  5. #25
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    Re: Zoo

    Fortuitously, Xmage just released an update and added ZNR to the mix, so I've done a bit of testing with Zoo. I tried building a Shadow/Tribal Flames version, but it just seemed so clunky. I get the feeling that just playing a more traditional Shadow deck is a better utilization of that card and, as much as I love Tribal Flames, Path is better removal for big threats and Atarka's Command pushes more damage. I think what Zoo has going for it right now is a redundancy of quality threats. So, while somewhat one-dimensional, the deck is very consistent. Here's the list I've been running:

    CREATURES
    4 Akoum Hellhound
    2 Elvish Reclaimer
    4 Goblin Guide
    4 Narnam Renegade
    4 Wild Nacatl
    4 Brushfire Elemental
    4 Burning-Tree Emissary
    4 Reckless Bushwhacker
    SPELLS
    4 Lightning Bolt
    2 Path to Exile
    4 Atarka's Command
    2 Wrenn and Six
    LAND
    1 Forest
    1 Mountain
    1 Sacred Foundry
    2 Stomping Ground
    1 Temple Garden
    4 Windswept Heath
    4 Wooded Foothills
    4 Arid Mesa

    As suggested in my prior post, I kept the deck essentially RG. Eschewing the white creatures allows Burning-Tree Emissary to almost always be maximized. There was some prior discussion about Elvish Reclaimer and I was unsure of it. I've played a handful of games with it now, and it's never become a 3/4 and actually attacked. I do like the ability to search up a fetch and get 3+ landfall triggers on a turn though. As such, I think it's worth a few slots, though not a full 4. Brushfire Elemental is surprisingly evasive and can deal huge amounts of damage.

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