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Thread: RBx Claim the Firstborn

  1. #1

    RBx Claim the Firstborn

    A while ago KyFly on mtgo had some success with a jund Arclight Phoenix deck like this:
    4 Arclight Phoenix
    4 Young Pyromancer
    4 Bedlam Reveler
    4 Dark Ritual
    4 Buried Alive
    4 Faithless Looting
    4 Rite of Flame
    4 Lightning Bolt
    4 Thoughtseize
    4 Cabal Therapy
    4 Land Grant
    1 Abrade
    1 Assassins Trophy
    3 Badlands
    2 Taiga
    1 Bayou
    4 Bloodstained Mire
    1 Wooded Foothills
    2 Mountain
    1 Swamp

    The deck got some good results (8-0 in a challenge https://www.mtggoldfish.com/deck/2208932#online).

    It's possible that I'm not looking at the deck in the right way or that it doesn't play how I expect it to, but after goldfishing sample hands for this list I think that playing a deck with 8 accelerants (Ritual, RoF) and 8 Payoffs (Buried Alive, Reveler) with the only cantrip as Faithless Looting is a bit ambitious / inconsistent. I'd rather try cutting Reveler for a card that is more consistently usable (DHA) and then cut the Rite of Flame for some spells that are more effective in a grindy game

    -4 Bedlam Reveler
    +4 Dreadhorde Arcanist
    -4 Rite of Flame
    +2 Claim the Firstborn
    +2 Village Rites

    Claim the Firstborn has been seeing a lot of play in Standard/Historic sacrifice decks because a 1 mana Threaten/Act of Treason is pretty pushed on rate, and in legacy the cmc 3 or less restriction means that it still hits almost all of the playable creatures. If you can steal an opponents DHA or Uro then the Claim the Firstborn replaced itself, and in Legacy you can play Cabal Therapy to sac the stolen creature for free. The fact that it's exactly 1 cmc is relevant because DHA can flash it back. (You won't be able to attack with the stolen creature in that case but at least you can still sac it to therapy / village rites).

    It's also possible that the graveyard synergy is light enough that Faithless Looting is just a worse brainstorm, so then you would cut land grant to not have a 4c manabase and play a deck that looks like this:

    4 Arclight Phoenix
    4 Young Pyromancer
    4 Dreadhorde Arcanist
    4 Dark Ritual
    4 Buried Alive
    4 Brainstorm
    2 Village Rites
    2 Claim the Firstborn
    4 Lightning Bolt
    4 Thoughtseize
    4 Cabal Therapy
    4 Ponder
    16 Lands
    [maybe you trim cards for some number of Preordains]

    This also seems like it could also be ok as a non-phoenix grixis deck, because the pyromancer-arcanist-firstborn-therapy etc synergy seems like a solid enough shell by itself:
    -4 Arclight Phoenix
    -4 Dark Ritual
    -4 Buried Alive
    + 4 Preordain
    + 4 Force of Will (?)
    +1 Entomb
    +1 Kroxa
    +1 Bloodghast?

    4 Young Pyromancer
    4 Dreadhorde Arcanist
    4 Brainstorm
    2 Village Rites
    2 Claim the Firstborn
    4 Lightning Bolt
    4 Thoughtseize
    4 Cabal Therapy
    4 Ponder
    16 Lands

    I think the Grixis Phoenix angle is where I see the most potential for this because I don't think I like playing Phoenix without Brainstorm, but the non-phoenix build occupies this weird middle-ground between Delver and Control where it's not as good at interacting but it also doesn't really have powerful threats or a lategame to put it over the top of e.g. snow

  2. #2
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    Re: RBx Claim the Firstborn

    Grixis Phoenix was already a deck.

    Jund Phoenix seems to be an attempt to be more all-in and explosive (and budget-friendly), like BR Reanimator vs UB Reanimator

    Grixis Phoenix suffered from being vulnerable to both Storm hate and GY hate and lacking a good backup plan (Dark Confidant? Young Pyromancer), but with the printing of new cards like Dreadhorde Arcanist, Pteramander, Sprite Dragon and Ethereal Forager, there may already be enough support for a better backup plan for Grixis "Spells Matter".

    Are Village Rites and Claim the Firstborn necessary? Rites seems exceptionally bad without YP in play, when you could just run Faithless Looting or blue cantrips instead. Claim could be a good SB card to swing races and fair matchups, but is dead in enough cases that maindeck may not be right.

    Grixis Loses-to-Bojuka_bog.dec


    //Creatures: 14
    4 Delver of Secrets
    4 Dreadhorde Arcanist
    4 Arclight Phoenix
    2 Ethereal Forager

    //Spells: 30
    4 Brainstorm
    4 Ponder
    2 Preordain
    4 Lightning Bolt
    4 Thoughtseize
    4 Dark Ritual
    4 Daze
    4 Buried Alive

    //Lands: 16
    4 Polluted Delta
    2 Scalding Tarn
    2 Bloodstained Mire
    3 Volcanic Island
    3 Underground Sea
    1 Snow-Covered Island
    1 Snow-Covered Swamp
    Last edited by FTW; 09-13-2020 at 09:19 PM.

  3. #3
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    Re: RBx Claim the Firstborn

    If you're playing a Jund version, wouldn't Manamorpose be good for hitting the number of spells that you need in a turn to trigger Phoenix?
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    Re: RBx Claim the Firstborn

    I don't think he did want to play a Jund version... looked like he changed the Jund Phoenix into a Grixis build.

    In Jund Manamorphose is a bit awkward to use because usually 2 of the spells are Dark Ritual+Buried Alive, and Manamorphose can't be cast off Dark Ritual mana. 0cc cards like Land Grant and Gut Shot tend to work better. Manamorphose could work on turn 2, but by turn 2 there are a lot of other ways to hit 3 spells using either Ritual.

    The "Steal & Sac" angle of Claim the Firstborn is good, but maybe that doesn't even need to be in a Phoenix deck.

    At the core you would want
    Young Pyromancer
    Cabal Therapy
    Dreadhorde Arcanist
    Claim the Firstborn

    This probably wants to be a grindy attrition deck, while Phoenix aims to be a fast combo deck, and Buried Alive doesn't do anything to help set up that engine, so maybe you just play more attrition cards instead of the Phoenix package.

    That grindy deck probably wants Thoughtseize and Lightning Bolt. Then you could go into blue for Brainstorm and Ponder (but probably not enough blue to support FoW), or you could go into white for Mardu Pyromancer with Swords to Plowshares and Lingering Souls. Due to the low curve, it may be correct to play Dark Confidant, especially if you add a 2nd sac outlet.

  5. #5
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    Re: RBx Claim the Firstborn

    I guess that makes sense. I also think the Grixis version is significantly better, and it seems silly to run Rite of Flame instead of Lotus Petal. I do like what Dreadhorde Arcanist does for the deck. Ethereal Forager is pretty cool too, although Sea Gate Stormcaller probably makes more sense, especially with Cabal Therapy. The spell copy triggers on cast, so even if it gets countered, you still get the copy.

    EDIT: Nevermind, the copy doesn't count as a spell cast for triggering Phoenix.

    I do very much like the idea of Arcanist in a Grixis shell with discard, though. Toss in Young Pyromancer and Sea Gate Stormcaller, and it sounds like a pretty strong midrange aggro/control deck that is much lower to the ground than typical Snowko.
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    In porn terms, Zoo has a 11" shlong and an impressive money shot, but it's over in 4 minutes, whereas Landstill is a good 8" and can go for 30 minutes.

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    Re: RBx Claim the Firstborn

    Is Sea Gate Stormcaller better than Snapcaster Mage?

    Sea Gate wins when you have an infinite mana combo to kick it (how often will Grixis hit 7 lands?), but unkicked it seems worse than Snapcaster. It can only copy the spell instead of flash it back, so you have to use both copies at once instead of using one now and flashing it back later. No flash, which means no EOT tricks with instants, only sorcery speed. I just don't see the hype.

  7. #7
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    Re: RBx Claim the Firstborn

    It's the mana cost difference. You cast Sea Gate and then a Therapy or Lightning Bolt, and then you get the copy for 0 mana. It's the same with Arcanist in terms of cheating on mana.

    Snapcaster is better because it can toolbox, and you may even want to run them too, but Sea Caller into Therapy gives you 2 Therapies, and then a flashback if you wanted. If you have like a turn 1 Thoughtseize into turn 2 Pyromancer with Force backup, turn 3 Sea Gate into Therapy, that's pretty hard to beat.
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    In porn terms, Zoo has a 11" shlong and an impressive money shot, but it's over in 4 minutes, whereas Landstill is a good 8" and can go for 30 minutes.

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    Re: RBx Claim the Firstborn

    I guess Cabal Therapy is the corner case where it's hands down much better with Sea Gate, because it's already a sorcery anyway, it already has flashback, and it gets better when you can cast it more than once in a turn due to the perfect information the 2nd time. With Sea Gate you can triple Therapy for 1UB or double Therapy for 1U, stripping their hand.

    Snapcaster on Therapy is terrible because it already has flashback... but Snapcaster is better with Brainstorm, Spell Pierce, Lightning Bolt, Pyroblast, Flusterstorm, Fatal Push, Swords to Plowshares and other instants. For interactive instants, paying the extra 1 mana is less important than having the flexibility to interact with the stack and the board whenever you need to, and being able to draw from any tool in the GY instead of only the next spell you're going to cast from hand. Snapcaster decks are not tempo decks. Snapcaster is also better with cards like Hymn to Tourach, where you don't always want to deploy both on the same turn.

    DHA is powerful mainly because of the raw card advantage it provides casting multiple spells. Consider that Brainstorm and Ponder are among the most played cards in Legacy, and DHA basically has "T: Brainstorm/Ponder", letting you replay those powerful effects. The mana cheating is nice but probably less important than how many extra cards it can get you if unchecked.

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    Re: RBx Claim the Firstborn

    Therapy Claim


    //Creatures: 15
    3 Cabal Therapist
    4 Young Pyromancer
    4 Dreadhorde Arcanist
    4 Dark Confidant

    //Spells: 24
    4 Brainstorm
    4 Ponder
    4 Cabal Therapy
    2 Thoughtseize
    2 Claim the Firstborn
    3 Lightning Bolt
    3 Eliminate
    2 Drown in the Loch

    //Enchantment: 1
    1 Bitterblossom

    //Lands: 20
    4 Polluted Delta
    3 Scalding Tarn
    3 Bloodstained Mire
    2 Underground Sea
    2 Badlands
    2 Volcanic Island
    1 Snow-Covered Island
    1 Snow-Covered Swamp
    1 Snow-Covered Mountain
    1 Fiery Islet

    //Sideboard: 15
    1 Karakas
    2 Brazen Borrower
    2 Abrade
    2 Surgical Extraction
    1 Cling to Dust
    1 Pyroblast
    1 Red Elemental Blast
    1 Flusterstorm
    1 Pithing Needle
    1 Plague Engineer
    1 Blazing Volley
    1 Murderous Rider


    Or maybe white instead
    -4 Brainstorm
    -4 Ponder
    -2 Drown in the Loch
    -1 Eliminate
    -1 Lightning Bolt
    +4 Swords to Plowshares
    +3 Faithless Looting
    +3 Lingering Souls
    +1 Umezawa's Jitte
    +1 Kolaghan's Command

    Liliana, the Last Hope might be good here too

  10. #10
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    Re: RBx Claim the Firstborn

    Nevermind. Green is too stronk these days. If you're going to play Young Pyromancer, you should also be playing Risen Reef. Way more powerful than stringing together smaller advantages with lesser creatures.

    4 color with Cabal Therapy is very intriguing though.

    Probably just get away from Delver altogether and go in a more midrange direction.

    Basically like a 4c Snowko deck, except going deeper into red for Arcanist and Pyromancer instead of Coatl and Uro, so lower to the ground but just as grindy. Cabal Therapy is disgusting in the right shell.

    I'm getting way off track now, sorry guys.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MMogg View Post
    In porn terms, Zoo has a 11" shlong and an impressive money shot, but it's over in 4 minutes, whereas Landstill is a good 8" and can go for 30 minutes.

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