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Thread: Maralen's Agent

  1. #1
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    Maralen's Agent

    SPOILER: This is a deck built around Maralen of the Mornsong + Opposition Agent

    You can play it out as an A+B combo (Agent first, then Maralen)

    With Aether Vial, you can just flash in Maralen, use Maralen to find Agent, then flash in Agent before the opponent gets a draw step. The combo doesn't take much space and could fit into an Aether Vial hatebears deck.

    Just tossing out ideas for discussion.

    Maralen Esper Vial


    //Lands: 20
    2 Cavern of Souls
    4 Polluted Delta
    3 Flooded Strand
    3 Marsh Flats
    2 Underground Sea
    2 Tundra
    1 Scrubland
    1 Snow-Covered Island
    1 Snow-Covered Swamp
    1 Snow-Covered Plains

    //Artifacts: 4
    4 Aether Vial

    //Spells: 15
    4 Force of Will
    4 Brainstorm
    4 Swords to Plowshares
    3 Ponder

    //Creatures: 21
    4 Baleful Strix
    4 Meddling Mage
    2 Charming Prince
    3 Recruiter of the Guard
    3 Soulherder
    3 Maralen of the Mornsong
    2 Opposition Agent



    Or DeadGuy Maralen


    //Lands: 21
    2 Karakas
    4 Cavern of Souls
    4 Marsh Flats
    4 Prismatic Vista
    3 Scrubland
    2 Snow-Covered Swamp
    2 Snow-Covered Plains

    //Artifacts: 6
    4 Aether Vial
    1 Batterskull
    1 Umezawa's Jitte

    //Spells: 4
    4 Swords to Plowshares

    //Creatures: 29
    4 Mother of Runes
    2 Cabal Therapist
    4 Stoneforge Mystic
    4 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
    4 Dark Confidant
    4 Maralen of the Mornsong
    3 Opposition Agent
    2 Recruiter of the Guard
    2 Skyclave Apparition



    The Esper approach tries to be a Soulherder value deck outside of the Maralen combo. It has FoW and Judge counters for protection as well as Brainstorm and Recruiter to help find cards. For lifegain, if you can establish the Maralen + Agent draw lock, you can tutor up Charming Prince then Soulherder to gain 3 life per turn to negate any drawback from the life loss. Blue count requirements for FoW are a bit limiting.

    The WB Deadguy approach has less card selection for the combo, but Bob still draws you extra cards through Maralen. Mom protects the combo pieces. Thalia disrupts opponents. Caverns is useful with such a high Human count. The deck can gain life through equipment or use Cabal Therapist to sacrifice Bob/Maralen to avoid death. Searching up Skyclaves can answer problems on the board, while Cabal Therapist can answer cards in hand.
    Last edited by FTW; 10-28-2020 at 11:19 PM.

  2. #2

    Re: Maralen's Agent

    Wishclaw Talisman seems like it has good synergy here. And I wonder if there's a mono black version that plays Dark Ritual for the turn one, fetch land steal. Also, the agent allows you to look at your opponent’s hand afaik, so cabal therapy has a good chance of taking what you want from it.

    Edit:
    Scheming Symmetry is pretty mean with Agent as well

  3. #3
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    Re: Maralen's Agent

    Yeah, instead of the disruptive Vial direction you could go harder on the combo and synergies with Opposition Agent.

    With 4x Agent it's worth it to play Dark Ritual and Wishclaw Talisman, probably Cabal Therapy too (it lets you sacrifice Maralen if things go very wrong).

    Scheming Symmetry is good with agent (steal their best card), but it's hard to fit otherwise because it's basically unplayable if you don't have Agent or they kill it in response. Might be too win-more when you could just play Maralen for the same effect.


    Monoblack Agent


    //Spells: 22
    4 Dark Ritual
    4 Thoughtseize
    4 Cabal Therapy
    2 Fatal Push
    2 Bloodchief's Thirst
    2 Eliminate
    4 Wishclaw Talisman

    //Creatures: 18
    4 Dark Confidant
    4 Gifted Aetherborn
    4 Nighthawk Scavenger
    4 Opposition Agent
    2 Maralen of the Mornsong

    //Lands: 20
    4 Wasteland
    16 Snow-Covered Swamp
    Last edited by FTW; 10-28-2020 at 06:40 PM.

  4. #4

    Re: Maralen's Agent

    Agent is actually a good card on it's own, while Mornsong is usally pretty bad on her own. I question having more Mornsongs then Agents in your deck.

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    Re: Maralen's Agent

    Quote Originally Posted by Pittplayer View Post
    Agent is actually a good card on it's own, while Mornsong is usally pretty bad on her own. I question having more Mornsongs then Agents in your deck.
    Oh did I not explain the combo with Vial?

    Vial + Mornsong = win

    Tick Aether Vial up to 3 counters.
    EOT Vial in Mornsong
    On your draw step she triggers, tutoring for Agent.
    Then you Vial in Agent on your turn.

    Mornsong is a 1-card combo. It finds Agent. You get both pieces and lock out the opponent before their next draw step.
    Agent can't do that on its own. You'd need to draw both Agent + Maralen naturally.

    Without Vial you can't do that trick (Mornsong without flash gives opponent the tutor first), so that only makes sense with Vial.
    In the non-Vial deck I have more copies of Agent than Mornsong.
    Last edited by FTW; 10-28-2020 at 06:44 PM.

  6. #6
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    Re: Maralen's Agent

    Reposting from Spoiler Thread - IMO, the ideal play seems to be:

    1 Land + Discard or Mana Dork/Accel
    2 Land + Hold mana open for Opposition Agent in response to a search (Dark Ritual in hand if Mana Dork wasn't cast earlier).
    3 Land + Discard/Creature Kill and if Opposition Agent in play then Scheming Symmetry for Maralen to get the lock and win.

    So something like:

    18 Land
    6 Discard
    6 Creature Kill
    4 Mana Dork/ Accel
    4 Dark Ritual
    4 Opposition Agent
    4 Scheming Symmetry
    1 Maralen

    That's 13 cards open, but I think the intuition is to add blue just because blue is blue and the best, so we want to have at least 18-19 blue cards, so we need to make room for an additional 6-7 blue cards in the above. Drown in the Loch can take the place of 1-2 Creature kill, so that leaves about 4-5 more cards we need to cut for blue. Any suggestions?

    The blue shell being

    7-10 Cantrips
    7-10 Counters
    2-4 Threats

    IMO - vial is too slow. I think we keep this as simple as possible and just play good cards with the maximum of 9 "combo" cards i.e. Agent, Symmetry and Maralen
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Safety View Post
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    Re: Maralen's Agent

    That strategy's a faster goldfish but you don't get the same disruption. Should this be an all-in combo race or a disruptive combo finish to a controlling deck?

    For an all-in combo, there are already A+B pieces that win faster without costing as much mana, so I think Agent would shine more playing the dual role of combo/control.

    Even for an all-in deck, Wishclaw is much better than Scheming Symmetry. Symmetry's a dead draw without Agent.

    The Vial version takes up very few "combo" slots - a couple Maralens and Agents. Vial aggro is good on its own, and Vial on 3 in a deck with Agent is very threatening for the opponent even if you're bluffing (without needing Dark Ritual or unused lands held up).

  8. #8

    Re: Maralen's Agent

    Quote Originally Posted by FTW View Post
    Oh did I not explain the combo with Vial?

    Vial + Mornsong = win

    Tick Aether Vial up to 3 counters.
    EOT Vial in Mornsong
    On your draw step she triggers, tutoring for Agent.
    Then you Vial in Agent on your turn.

    Mornsong finds Agent. You have both pieces and lock out the opponent before their next draw step.
    Agent can't do that on its own. You'd need to draw both pieces naturally.

    Without Vial you can't do that trick (Mornsong without flash gives opponent the tutor first), so that only makes sense with Vial.
    In the non-Vial deck I have more copies of Agent than Mornsong. Maybe 1-2 is better than 3, since Wishclaw can find either.
    Yes I understand Magical Chistmas land when you have all the pieces in place and your opp has no answers. What I'm saying is, when that's not the case, I would rather draw Agent then Mornsong 10 out of 10 times. And because that's true, I would have more Agents in my deck.

  9. #9
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    Re: Maralen's Agent

    You definitely need ways to protect your Malaren. But do you go counters? Moms? Or maybe something more exotic like Sylvan Safekeeper and going green?

    I do like Vial - was one of my first thoughts after seeing the combo, too. For what it's worth, you can bounce her with Karakas before your opponent's draw step to deny the search part, then vial it back in to set up the combo next turn. Might be a fringe case, but who knows. Question is, if you go W/B, do you also run Aven Mindcensor in tandem with Agent while using lots of search spells (Wishclaw + Symmetry)?

  10. #10
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    Re: Maralen's Agent

    Quote Originally Posted by FTW View Post
    That strategy's a faster goldfish but you don't get the same disruption
    Huh? the straight Dimir plan is trying to fit 6 Discard, 6 Creature Kill and 7 counters in the 60. Granted, I haven't found room for everything yet, but that seems like pretty good interactivity.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Safety View Post
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    Re: Maralen's Agent

    Quote Originally Posted by Pittplayer View Post
    Yes I understand Magical Chistmas land when you have all the pieces in place and your opp has no answers. What I'm saying is, when that's not the case, I would rather draw Agent then Mornsong 10 out of 10 times. And because that's true, I would have more Agents in my deck.
    It's not that Magical. It's a 2-card combo (Vial + Maralen, or Maralen + Agent). Magic is full of viable 2-card combos.

    Painter's Servant+Grindstone is magical Christmasland? Grindstone is bad on its own so play only 1 Grindstone?

    With Vial it plays around answers pretty well:
    - Vial dodges counters on both creatures
    - If they remove Mornsong before the tutor goes off, you just trade 1-for-1 and don't lose life, no big deal
    - If they remove Mornsong after the tutor goes off, you trade 1-for-1 and still have Agent to disrupt them
    - If they remove Agent, Mornsong lets them tutor and that can bite you... but that risk is there without Vial too
    - Lands are freed up to cast other cards to interact with opponents' answers (counters, discard, Meddling Mage, Thalia, Mom, etc)
    - EOT flash with Vial is a surprise. You can catch them tapped out

    Vial basically generates 6 mana and frees up your lands to interact with the opponent, sculpt, disrupt, or play other threats. EOT flash is also a big surprise. You establish a 2-piece 6-mana lock between their End Step and your Main Phase, a lot like Splinter Twin. It gives the opponent a small window to interact.

    You can do the same thing by hardcasting Agent at EOT, untapping and casting Mornsong (also a 2-card combo). The difference is that takes more mana and means holding up lands, not doing other things, or using card disadvantage to accelerate mana (reducing resources to interact with opponent), so it could be harder to protect the combo like that.

    Keeping Vial @ 3 has other advantages too. Even if you don't have Mornsong or Agent, you can bluff Agent (without holding up lands) and they'll be forced to avoid cracking fetches or casting tutors.

    It might be correct to cut down to 2-3 Mornsongs anyway, but the combo and synergy with Vial deserves looking at. It's basically like hitting someone with Twin out of nowhere. It's an A+B combo starting EOT, and it's weak to creature removal but you have the entire rest of the deck to protect it.

    Karakas protecting Mornsong is a nice trick and also easier to do when you're using Vial @ 3 vs tapping lands for mana.

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    Re: Maralen's Agent

    Quote Originally Posted by Cire View Post
    Huh? the straight Dimir plan is trying to fit 6 Discard, 6 Creature Kill and 7 counters in the 60. Granted, I haven't found room for everything yet, but that seems like pretty good interactivity.
    Ok, I was just looking at the cards you listed for the black version. It had creature kill and discard but no counters, then a lot of card disadvantage conditional slots like mana dorks, Rituals and 4 Symmetry. I think Symmetry is just too big a liability to play, a dead card that isn't one of the combo pieces. Wishclaw Talisman seems better. If you slow the deck down a bit there's more room for interaction like counters and cantrips.

  13. #13

    Re: Maralen's Agent

    Show & Tell is the default for 2 card comboes, but other 2 card combo's are totally viable if at least 1 half is useful in fair matchups or difficult to interact with. Recruiter + aluren, dark depths + thespian stage etc...

    This is very similar to cephalid breakfast in that both pieces are creatures so you can use vial & cavern to beat countermagic. It is a less powerful and more expensive combo, however it has several advantages.

    Both pieces are significantly better fair cards. One of your combo pieces tutors the other. It is mono-color.

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    Re: Maralen's Agent

    Quote Originally Posted by Reeplcheep View Post
    This is very similar to cephalid breakfast in that both pieces are creatures so you can use vial & cavern to beat countermagic. It is a less powerful and more expensive combo, however it has several advantages.
    Both pieces are significantly better fair cards. One of your combo pieces tutors the other. It is mono-color.
    Yeah that was my thinking. Like Cephalid Breakfast it's a 2-card creature combo, so a Vial+Cavern shell protects it. It won't be tier 1 but it could be viable.
    With most A+B combos you don't need both pieces to be good on their own. Maralen at least tutors Agent, which is big.

    Finding a tutor for both is awkward. Recruiter of the Guard gets Agent but not Maralen. Imperial Recruiter gets Maralen but not Agent. Maybe you could go GB and then 4xLiving Wish for a 1-of Maralen out of the SB to reduce dead draws.

  15. #15

    Re: Maralen's Agent

    Quote Originally Posted by FTW View Post
    It's not that Magical. It's a 2-card combo (Vial + Maralen, or Maralen + Agent). Magic is full of viable 2-card combos.

    Painter's Servant+Grindstone is magical Christmasland? Grindstone is bad on its own so play only 1 Grindstone?

    With Vial it plays around answers pretty well:
    - Vial dodges counters on both creatures
    - If they remove Mornsong before the tutor goes off, you just trade 1-for-1 and don't lose life, no big deal
    - If they remove Mornsong after the tutor goes off, you trade 1-for-1 and still have Agent to disrupt them
    - If they remove Agent, Mornsong lets them tutor and that can bite you... but that risk is there without Vial too
    - Lands are freed up to cast other cards to interact with opponents' answers (counters, discard, Meddling Mage, Thalia, Mom, etc)
    - EOT flash with Vial is a surprise. You can catch them tapped out

    Vial basically generates 6 mana and frees up your lands to interact with the opponent, sculpt, disrupt, or play other threats. EOT flash is also a big surprise. You establish a 2-piece 6-mana lock between their End Step and your Main Phase, a lot like Splinter Twin. It gives the opponent a small window to interact.

    You can do the same thing by hardcasting Agent at EOT, untapping and casting Mornsong (also a 2-card combo). The difference is that takes more mana and means holding up lands, not doing other things, or using card disadvantage to accelerate mana (reducing resources to interact with opponent), so it could be harder to protect the combo like that.

    Keeping Vial @ 3 has other advantages too. Even if you don't have Mornsong or Agent, you can bluff Agent (without holding up lands) and they'll be forced to avoid cracking fetches or casting tutors.

    It might be correct to cut down to 2-3 Mornsongs anyway, but the combo and synergy with Vial deserves looking at. It's basically like hitting someone with Twin out of nowhere. It's an A+B combo starting EOT, and it's weak to creature removal but you have the entire rest of the deck to protect it.

    Karakas protecting Mornsong is a nice trick and also easier to do when you're using Vial @ 3 vs tapping lands for mana.
    A Mornsong WILL LITERALLY LOSE YOU THE GAME if played by itself. You can in no way play it just randomly if you do not have it set up. You can cast a Grindstone just to play it with no downside. Mornsong just sits in your hand doing nothing. There is a HUGE difference.

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    Re: Maralen's Agent

    Quote Originally Posted by Pittplayer View Post
    A Mornsong WILL LITERALLY LOSE YOU THE GAME if played by itself. You can in no way play it just randomly if you do not have it set up. You can cast a Grindstone just to play it with no downside. Mornsong just sits in your hand doing nothing. There is a HUGE difference.
    Grindstone in play is about as useful as a Grindstone stuck in hand doing nothing. You're down a card either way.

    Paradigm Shift is a dead card in hand (that will lose you the game if cast) until you've found Thassa's Oracle. So what?

    Splinter Twin is a dead card in hand in a deck that runs 7 or fewer creatures. So what? You just hold it until you draw Exarch. Like Twin, you can just hold Maralen in hand until you draw the other piece and then go off starting on the End Step. Combo-Control.

    Edit: I should explain something else too.
    If you were talking about the OP decklists, if you include Recruiter of the Guard (which can find Agent but not Maralen) there are more copies of Agent. But the only way to get Maralen is to draw into it so it needed multiples. The monoblack list without Recruiter and Vial has more Agents.
    There are also have tricks to avoid Maralen's failcase (Karakas bounce, StP, Cabal sacrifice, Charming Prince flicker off Vial/Herder).

  17. #17

    Re: Maralen's Agent

    Quote Originally Posted by Pittplayer View Post
    A Mornsong WILL LITERALLY LOSE YOU THE GAME if played by itself. You can in no way play it just randomly if you do not have it set up. You can cast a Grindstone just to play it with no downside. Mornsong just sits in your hand doing nothing. There is a HUGE difference.
    What do you mean? In the scenario mentioned above it wins the game, through counter magic, for free, in less than 1 turn.

    With Aether Vial, you can just flash in Maralen, use Maralen to find Agent, then flash in Agent before the opponent gets a draw step. The combo doesn't take much space and could fit into an Aether Vial hatebears deck.
    Having a vial on three is not really much of a setup cost.

    Additionally if you have cavern of souls & a mother of runes in play there is probably not of ton of cards your opponent can have that deal with mornsong before you win. And just being a spirit of the labyrinth (currently a 2 of in d&t) that lava spikes the opponent can win games.

    Quote Originally Posted by FTW View Post
    Finding a tutor for both is awkward. Recruiter of the Guard gets Agent but not Maralen. Imperial Recruiter gets Maralen but not Agent. Maybe you could go GB and then 4xLiving Wish for a 1-of Maralen out of the SB to reduce dead draws.
    Cephalid breakfast uses Once Upon A Time, which seems even better in a hate bears deck anyways than their deck with fows/brainstorms/sfm targets.

  18. #18
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    Re: Maralen's Agent

    Quote Originally Posted by Reeplcheep View Post
    Having a vial on three is not really much of a setup cost
    This is my sticking point when considering the vial option. I think getting vial to 3 is a huge cost, especially in an Oko heavy environment. At best relying on Vial on 3 to fuel out the combo means you are going for a turn 4 Maralen on opponent's turn, turn 5 win, with having the Vial just out there for three turns to be interacted with. That seems extremely vulnerable. If you're aiming for a turn 4/5 win, you might as well just play a shit ton of cantrips and then craft your hand to just have the two cards in them and then hard cast them (opposition agent in response to a search or end of opponent's turn and then untap Maralen).
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Safety View Post
    You sir are a ninja of fine quality.

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    Re: Maralen's Agent

    That's a reasonable concern. Vial is a good card in general for a hatebears deck, but it may be weaker in this meta with rampant Oko and artifact answers. The advantage is it gives the deck 2 overlapping A+B combos to play (Maralen + Vial @ 3, or Maralen + Agent) where both Vial and Agent are good on their own and Maralen combos with either. It also protects the combo pieces and disruption from counters.

    Without Vial the deck is less constrained towards a hatebears shell. What would you support it with? Xerox cantrips, discard, rituals?
    Green mana dorks and Living Wish/OUAT?

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    Re: Maralen's Agent

    To make Scheming Symmetry more reliable to use without an Agent in play :
    Ruin Crab which in turn fuels Nighthawk Scavenger and
    Nightveil Specter which also functions as a card draw engine.
    Thought Scour

    Assassin's Trophy's drawback is likely negated with an Agent in play.

    Where my deck currently stands :
    https://deckstats.net/decks/51702/1818704-maralen
    Last edited by Borg; 11-20-2020 at 10:49 AM.

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