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Thread: Maralen's Agent

  1. #21
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    Re: Maralen's Agent

    I like that version better than the version with Archive Trap (what happened to that decklist?)

    Ruin Crab seems pretty bad though. Without the Archive Traps you cannot hope to win by mill, so Crab is just a 0/3 wall that potentially grows the 2-of Nighthawk. If you're casting Symmetry without Agent and using Ruin Crab to negate the drawback, this is what it amounts to:
    -3-for-1 to tutor 1 card to hand (Ruin Crab & Symmetry & next draw step)
    -requires a landfall, ideally a fetchland so you can stack a trigger and then fetch in response if they Brainstorm

    Is it just better to run Thought Scour? That also lets you respond at instant speed and is card neutral. It also makes both ends of Symmetry favorable: you mill their card, and you cycle to get your card in hand. Thought Scour can also do the incidental things that Ruin Crab does, like grow Nighthawk and disrupt their cantrips, without costing you a card.

    I also don't think Daze works well as a 2-of or in a deck with Snapcaster. Daze is a tempo card that wants to be online turn 1 and wants a cheap proactive threat on the board first.

    What about something like this?


    //Spells: 29
    4 Force of Will
    4 Brainstorm
    4 Ponder
    4 Dark Ritual
    3 Scheming Symmetry
    2 Thought Scour
    2 Spell Pierce
    2 Bloodchief's Thirst
    2 Abrupt Decay
    1 Assassin's Trophy
    1 Drown in the Loch

    //Creatures: 12
    3 Snapcaster Mage
    4 Opposition Agent
    3 Nighthawk Scavenger
    1 Murderous Rider
    1 Maralen of the Mornsong

    //Lands: 19
    4 Polluted Delta
    2 Misty Rainforest
    2 Verdant Catacombs
    4 Underground Sea
    2 Tropical Island
    1 Bayou
    2 Snow-Covered Island
    2 Snow-Covered Swamp

    //Sideboard: 15
    3 Surgical Extraction
    2 Thoughtseize
    2 Hymn to Tourach
    2 Veil of Summer
    2 Plague Engineer
    1 Liliana, the Last Hope
    1 Force of Negation
    1 Fatal Push
    1 Abrupt Decay


    I went up to 4 Ponder because Ponder is good and probably better than running redundant copies of other cards.

    I think Bloodchief's Thirst is better than Fatal Push right now, because it can be kicked to kill Oko and Karn.

    Drown in the Loch is a strong card, especially when you have some milling of the opponent.

    18 lands felt a bit light for a deck with a lot of 3cc action. I went up to 19, but maybe 20 is better. You can hedge by using the draw lands.

    Snapcaster is a good card. I don't see a reason not to run more copies, with so many cheap spells to flashback. Liliana is also a great dark ritual target in the 75 and works well with Snapcaster. Once I had Snapcaster and Dark Ritual and Liliana in the 75, Hymn really wants to be there somewhere.

    Maybe this should go +1 Thought Scour -1 Symmetry to have fewer conditional cards and more mill.

  2. #22
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    Re: Maralen's Agent

    The reason I include Daze is it allows the deck to start T1 Underground Sea - Ritual - Agent/Specter/Scavenger with Daze backup.
    The Spell Pierces are there so you can do the same on T2 without having to take a land back to hand.

    I agree on the Crabs not being stellar. I had them removed already as well.
    Played two Thought Scour but felt like they don't do enough as well.

    I'd like to hear why you didn't include Nightveil Specter in your build.
    Of all the Scheme enabling cards so far I like this one the most.
    He can take the top off opponent's deck every turn and it's basically a draw for you as well.
    I'm doing some goldfishing with 4 copies atm. Improving the odds of having/finding one T1/T2.
    Excess copies can be exiled for FoW.

    Bloodchief over Fatal Push ?

    Murderous Rider is a great addition.

    I had 1 Brazen Borrower in there mostly to remove something problematic that I might not get to with Decay/Trophy like Blood Moon or Lage but guess that should be better in SB.

    Considered going up to 19 lands as well but left it at 18 so far since we're supposed to get lands from the Specters as well.

    The Archive Trap version contained too many unnecessary cards and got discarded. :)
    Basically, it's another deck with a different focus.

  3. #23
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    Re: Maralen's Agent

    What's the point of Thoughtscour? Is Nighthawk actually worth it?

    Predict seems like it has strong potential with Scheming Symmetry, albeit slow.
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  4. #24
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    Re: Maralen's Agent

    Thought Scour is to mill their top card from Scheming Symmetry when you don't have Opposition Agent. Its fail case is powering up Nighthawk and cantripping, which is still not terrible, while Ruin Crab's fail case is worse.

    Quote Originally Posted by Borg View Post
    The reason I include Daze is it allows the deck to start T1 Underground Sea - Ritual - Agent/Specter/Scavenger with Daze backup.
    That's a very strong line when you have all 3 cards, but what about the rest of the time? Your threats all cost 3 mana (even Snapcaster is really a 3-drop). When you don't have a turn 1 creature to ritual out, going down a land drop is a steep price to pay. And when you're not using Daze to protect that turn 1 threat, the opponent can just play around Daze because you don't have a fast clock. Is protecting that explosive T1 line worth how bad Daze is the rest of the time? I'm torn on that one.


    Quote Originally Posted by Borg View Post
    I agree on the Crabs not being stellar. I had them removed already as well.
    Played two Thought Scour but felt like they don't do enough as well.
    Yeah they're not amazing but at least they don't set you behind when you don't have Symmetry. I couldn't think of something better. Postboard Surgical Extraction will force an instant-speed shuffle for free and get rid of their card.

    Quote Originally Posted by Borg View Post
    I'd like to hear why you didn't include Nightveil Specter in your build.
    Of all the Scheme enabling cards so far I like this one the most.
    Oh, I didn't think of the interaction of Specter with Scheming Symmetry. That is very tempting. I just saw it as a bit slow and not aggressive enough for the format the rest of the time. Very strong if you can Ritual him out early though. Pitching to Force is relevant too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Borg View Post
    Bloodchief over Fatal Push ?
    Both are 1-mana effects to kill early drops. I think Bloodchief is better in the meta because it can be kicked to kill stuff like Oko and Karn, so it has utility against midrange/control and not just aggro decks. The instant speed of Push might be better sometimes though. Needs testing.

    The version I posted runs a lot of modal cards. 7 maindeck creature removal (+ 3 Snapcaster flashbacks), but 0 of them are dead cards if the opponent has no creatures. Only the Bloodchiefs are dead if they have no creatures or walkers.

    Quote Originally Posted by Borg View Post
    Murderous Rider is a great addition.
    I think it's better than Borrower for that slot. You're playing a grindy control/prison deck, so permanent removal is better than bounce. For noncreature nonplaneswalker cards that Borrower answers (e.g. Chalice), you already have Decay and Trophy. Rider can also be ritualed out and has lifelink for the Maralen lock. It just seems like a smoother fit.

  5. #25
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    Re: Maralen's Agent

    Quote Originally Posted by FTW View Post
    That's a very strong line when you have all 3 cards, but what about the rest of the time? Your threats all cost 3 mana (even Snapcaster is really a 3-drop). When you don't have a turn 1 creature to ritual out, going down a land drop is a steep price to pay. And when you're not using Daze to protect that turn 1 threat, the opponent can just play around Daze because you don't have a fast clock. Is protecting that explosive T1 line worth how bad Daze is the rest of the time? I'm torn on that one.
    Good arguments but Daze was included for another reason as well.
    Suppose we get the Maralen/Agent Lock down rather fast, that means our opponent is not going to draw any more cards, so he's essentially down to his cards/lands in hand and in play. With these limited resources and with no more land entering play for him playing around Daze may be somewhat harder.
    Obviously, this is also just theory at this point and it remains to be seen how many times this situation occurs. That will likely decide the inclusion/exclusion of Daze.

    Quote Originally Posted by FTW View Post
    Both are 1-mana effects to kill early drops. I think Bloodchief is better in the meta because it can be kicked to kill stuff like Oko and Karn, so it has utility against midrange/control and not just aggro decks. The instant speed of Push might be better sometimes though. Needs testing.
    Since we have access to green, I prefer Assassin's Trophy (2cc) over a Kicked Bloodchief (4cc).
    Without access to green, Bloodchief looks like it can have a role.

    Quote Originally Posted by FTW View Post
    I think it's better than Borrower for that slot. You're playing a grindy control/prison deck, so permanent removal is better than bounce. For noncreature nonplaneswalker cards that Borrower answers (e.g. Chalice), you already have Decay and Trophy. Rider can also be ritualed out and has lifelink for the Maralen lock. It just seems like a smoother fit.
    QFT.

  6. #26
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    Re: Maralen's Agent

    As tempting as it may be to cast a T1 Agent - especially if you see FoW backup - the better play may be to do it on T2 for several reasons.

    1. Even if you have Agent down on T1 it may not do anything if your opponent does not search his deck.
    2. A simple removal spell by opponent gives you card disadvantage, countering it with fow makes it even worse.
    3. It preserves T1 for cards that shine at that point : Ponder, Thoughtseize, Brainstorm ( 10 copies total should give you one in opening hand consistently )
    4. Besides Thoughtseize on T1 to check opponent's hand first, you also have Spell Pierce active on T2 to protect a ritualed out Agent.
    5. Ideally you want to cast Maralen the turn after Agent but Maralen will normally not see play before T3 so it makes sense to plan Agent for T2 rather than T1.

    @Hanni
    On the merit of Nightveil Specter:
    Since the Specter can exile the top card off opponent's deck every turn after a one time mana investment, he's a great enabler of Scheming Symmetry whenever it comes up and you need only one mana to do the trick.
    Thought Scour requires UB to use in combination with Scheme.

    Specter is also a possibly devastating drawing engine.
    If he exiles a land he can stunt opponent's development while growing your own mana base.
    If he exiles a spell you can deny opponent key cards.
    Imagine playing against another Ux deck and you exile his Brainstorm, fow, Ponder or OKO for that matter to use for yourself 😉


    CC1
    4 Brainstorm
    4 Ponder
    4 Dark Ritual
    4 Scheming Symmetry
    2 Thoughtseize
    2 Spell Pierce
    2 Fatal Push
    2 Thought Scour

    CC2
    2 Abrupt Decay
    1 Assassin's Trophy
    1 Snapcaster Mage

    CC3
    4 Opposition Agent
    2 Nightveil Specter
    2 Nighthawk Scavenger
    1 Maralen of the Mornsong
    1 Murderous Rider // Swift End

    CC5
    4 Force of Will

    Land
    4 Polluted Delta
    4 Underground Sea
    2 Misty Rainforest
    2 Island
    2 Verdant Catacombs
    2 Swamp
    1 Tropical Island
    1 Bayou


    ADDED
    Had some coronarelated solo practice in today and Thought Scour performed remarkably better.
    Stole a land from an opposing fetchland with a flashed in Agent ( that mana swing is not to be underestimated ), then with 5 mana on the board could one-turn Scheme for Maralen, Scour AND play Maralen for the lock. Obviously, this works with Brainstorm and Ponder instead of Thought Scour as well but overall TS does nice things for this deck. Upgraded for me.
    Last edited by Borg; 11-21-2020 at 09:45 AM.

  7. #27

    Re: Maralen's Agent

    Or you could play M.O.S.T with one copy of Maralen and one copy of Agent (since that already has 4 Vial, 4 Fauna Shaman) :D

    I mean why would you not unnecessarily play 4--5 colors when both your combo pieces are monoblack? When you don't play three extra colors it's as if you don't even like Magic.

    (*goes back to putting the URWG Omnath in his Land Tax deck*)

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