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Thread: [Deck] Solidarity

  1. #1
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    [Deck] Solidarity

    Solidarity - Former and Future Deck to Beat


    Contents:

    1) The deck
    2) History + Decklists
    3) Card Analysis
    3.1) The Deck
    3.2) The Sideboard
    3.3) Other (possibly) playable Cards
    3.4) Cards that didn't make it
    4) How to play the Deck - Tips and Tricks
    5) Matchup analysis
    6) Sideboarding Plans
    7) Opening Hand Samples
    8) Credits




    1) The Deck:

    Solidarity plays a manabase of only Islands and Fetchlands and plans on producing huge amounts of mana with the combination of High Tide + Untap Effects in order to play lots of carddraw. When the Stormcount is high enough, the opponent's library is milled via Brain Freeze and he loses in his next drawstep or to a Stroke of Genius. What distinguishes Solidarity from just about any other deck in existence is the fact that only lands and instants are played. That means Solidarity doesn't necessarily win on its own turn (and because of the restriction of Reset it actually uses its opponent's turn more often than not).



    2) History + Decklists:

    All sort of useful information can be found at the old Solidarity thread, here. - NC

    When speaking of Solidarity, one name has to be mentioned first: David Gearhart (Deep6er on TheSource). Before Type1 and 1.5 were seperated, Gearhart was more of a Type 2 - player who occasionally played 1.5 with borrowed decks from his friends. After some time, he decided that he wanted his own deck - preferably a cheap one - and the first prototype of Solidarity was built. Back then the deck didn't play High Tide or Reset, but according to Gearhart used green for Moment's Peace, Constant Mists and Early Harvest.

    Because of all the Fog-Effects, it was rather strong against aggro and thanks to storm being a busted mechanic it had a shot against control as well, but both other combo - especially Dragon (which is referring to the deck using Animate Dead + Worldgorger Dragon for an infinite combo) - and decks that attacked its manabase were basically unbeatable. Because of that, Gearhart called his deck "Strictly worse then Dragon" at that time.

    When Type 1.5 and Type 1 were seperated in 2004 though, Gearhart and his testpartners realized that the deck could be a strong contender in the new meta after some bannings and High Tide and Reset (and Meditate) were added to make it monoblue. This is a list from that time:

    20 Island

    4 High Tide
    4 Reset
    4 Turnabout
    4 Brainstorm
    4 Words of Wisdom
    4 Meditate
    4 Impulse
    4 Accumulated Knowledge
    3 Flash of Insight
    4 Brain Freeze
    1 Chain of Vapor
    Some time later, Gearhart witnessed one of his friends (Matt Elgin - Spatulaoftheages) playing in a draft with White Weenie. With multiple 1 - toughness creatures in play it seemed like he was about to be wrecked by a Nausea but he had prepared for it by boarding a copy of Solidarity. They had a good laugh about it and the deck got the name of Solidarity as he still didn't take it all that serious.

    As time passed, the list has changed and some other new cards have been included. Cunning Wish for added flexibility, Remand in order to slow opponents down and to be able to win on a lower stormcount and Force of Will to prevent devastating early plays were added resulting in the following list that even today should be considered the starting point for everybody new to Solidarity.


    Solidarity by David Gearhart
    (1st at StarcityGames Duel for Duals on February 5th, 2006)

    4 Flooded Strand
    2 Polluted Delta
    12 Island

    4 High Tide
    4 Brainstorm
    2 Opt
    2 Peek
    4 Reset
    4 Impulse
    4 Remand
    2 Brain Freeze
    1 Twincast
    3 Meditate
    3 Cunning Wish
    3 Turnabout
    4 Force of Will
    2 Flash of Insight

    SB:
    1 Stroke of Genius
    1 Meditate
    1 Turnabout
    1 Chain of Vapor
    1 Twincast
    1 Echoing Truth
    1 Evacuation
    4 Hydroblast
    4 Disrupt
    Back then Solidarity was one of three decks to beat together with Goblins and Threshold. With Counterbalance and Tarmogoyf being printed, the latter began to dominate the format and as it was a rather bad matchup, Solidarity got pushed down to tier 2 status. The card of Counterbalance itself is difficult to beat when coupled with Sensei's Divining Top and being put on a fast clock of Nimble Mongeese and Tarmogoyfs doesn't help much either. Still, Solidarity beats a lot of decks consistently and should thus still be considered a solid deckchoice nowadays. The problem of Counterbalance had to be adressed though. While Gearhart took the easy way out – If you can’t beat them, join them. – in creating his own deck with Counterbalance (It's the Fear). I tried to address the problem with the following list that included Cryptic Command in order to be able to answer permanents without need for a Cunning Wish:

    Solidarity by Simon Ritzka
    (2nd at German Legacy Champs on August 31st, 2008)

    3 Flooded Strand
    3 Polluted Delta
    12 Island

    4 High Tide
    4 Brainstorm
    3 Opt
    1 Peek
    4 Reset
    4 Impulse
    3 Remand
    2 Brain Freeze
    3 Meditate
    3 Cunning Wish
    3 Turnabout
    2 Cryptic Command
    4 Force of Will
    2 Flash of Insight

    SB:
    1 Stroke of Genius
    1 Brain Freeze
    1 Meditate
    1 Turnabout
    2 Wipe Away
    3 Echoing Truth
    2 Hydroblast
    2 Twincast
    1 Rebuild
    1 Hurkyl's Recall
    When looking at both lists, note that the sideboard should always be tailored for your particular metagame, only Stroke of Genius, Meditate and Turnabout are mandatory for the wishboard and usually some bouncespells should be included as well.



    3) Card analysis:

    3.1) The deck:

    12 Island:
    Islands are necessary for High Tide to work. Basic lands are unaffected by Wasteland, Blood Moon, Magus of the Moon and Back to Basics, which is why Solidarity can ignore most of the nonbasic hate in our modern meta. In a list with splash, one or two Island are replaced by the blue dual of the splashed color.

    3 Flooded Strand, 3 Polluted Delta:
    As Solidarity regularly sees more than half its deck, the thinning is actually useful here. In addition to that, fetchlands combine with Brainstorm to shuffle useless cards away. Up to 8 fetchlands could be played, this would increase the probability of being hurt by the lifeloss or Stifle though.

    4 High Tide, 4 Reset:
    The key parts of the decks manaengine. They make a kill on turn 3 realistic (turn 2 can theoretically happen with three High Tides and multiple untaps). The play-restriction of Reset is the reason why Solidarity more often than not tries to combo out on its opponent's turn.

    3 Turnabout:
    Another untap-effect with a higher cost that offers more flexibility. Can be use to tap lands or creatures an opponent controls and can also be used on your own turn.

    4 Brainstorm:
    The single best Cantrip in the history of the game. Digs three cards deep and with Fetchlands, Impulse, Flash of Insight or in some cases even Brain Freeze it is possible to get rid of the two cards put back.

    4 Opt/Peek:
    For an 18-land base to work, additional 1-CC cantrips are needed and Opt is better at digging, while Peek can provide crucial information. I run 3/1 because I never want to draw a second Peek, but 2/2 or 4/0 is fine as well.

    4 Impulse:
    The best card to ensure the third landdrop. Also digs 4 cards deep before and during the combo.

    3 Remand:
    Can slow down your opponent while drawing a card, protect your own spells from counters or cut the stormcount you need for Brain Freeze to be lethal in half. I play only 3 because they aren't very good against Threshold, because their Spells are cheap and they have Daze, running 4 is fine though.

    3 Meditate:
    Cheap blue carddraw. The skipped turn can be ignored when going for the combo, but it can also be used as a setup card especially after using Force of Will or when playing against discard.

    3 Cunning Wish:
    The flexible allround-spell. Can get any card from your sideboard, cards pitched to Force of Will and cards removed with Flash of Insight.

    2 Flash of Insight:
    Another way to provide actual cardadvantage. The bottom cards are stacked in the order you want, so they can be remembered for later use. Can also be used to turn Brain Freeze into a cantrip, that is risky though as you might mill all your winconditions.

    2 Brain Freeze:
    The card that actually wins. Usable as a cantrip in desperate situations.

    2 Cryptic Command:
    The swiss army knife among blue instants. Can deal with a spell, a permanent (read: Counterbalance or Chalice of the Void) or be a Fog while providing no card disadvantage as more often than not "Draw a card." will be one of the chosen modes. The three other combinations are also useful every now and then. By no means mandatory, but very useful nevertheless.


    3.2) Sideboard:

    1 Stroke of Genius:
    Can kill the opponent if it isn't possible to wait for his next drawstep. Can also be wished for with lots of available mana which is why it is better than other choices for carddraw for the opponent.

    1 Meditate:
    Wishable carddraw.

    1 Turnabout:
    Wishable untap-effect.


    3.3) Other (possibly) playable cards

    a) Mainboard:

    Twincast:
    Twincast is a flexible spell, that is especially effective against counters and combo playing Orim's Chant. It does nothing without something to copy though, so one or maybe two could be played.

    Think Twice:
    Produces actual cardadvantage and is more or less uncounterable (at least with conventional counters). Unfortunately rather clunky (+1 card for five mana).

    Spell Snare:
    Answers Counterbalance and a lot of other annoying cards (Chalice/1, Meddling Mage, Dark Confidant, Hymn to Tourach, ...) before they resolve. Does nothing midcombo or if you draw it after the problemcard has resolved.

    b) Sideboard:

    Brain Freeze:
    Makes the kill-card accessible via Cunning Wish. It is also possible to go up to four after sideboarding against blue decks, start counterwars and try to kill with multiple small Brain Freezes.

    Wipe Away:
    Thanks to Split Second the best blue (instant) solution to a resolved Counterbalance. Useful against any deck with annoying permanents and counters.

    Echoing Truth:
    The best solution to Empty the Warrens. Can also be boarded against annoying permanents like Chalice of the Void and can bounce multiple Zombie tokens from Bridge from Below.

    Hydroblast:
    Useful against Goblins, Burn, Goyf Sligh, basically any fast red aggro because they can sometimes be too fast. Better than Blue Elemental Blast because a red target isn't required, and thus it can be cast just to up the storm count.

    Twincast:
    Good against counters and decks that try to protect their combo with Orim's Chant.

    Rebuild:
    Solution for multiple artifacts. Better than Hurkyl's Recall because it isn't stopped by a Chalice of the Void with two counters.

    Disrupt:
    Useful against discard and sometimes combo.

    Peer through Depths/ Three Wishes:
    Can replace Meditate in the sideboard if four are played main.

    Mystical Tutor:
    Makes High Tide wishable. Unfortunately produces carddisadvantage and shows the tutored card to the opponent.

    Krosan Grip:
    Would require a green splash but is a permanent solution to Counterbalance.


    3.4) Cards that didn't make it:

    Thirst for Knowledge:
    The effect is too weak for three mana. Either more digging or actual cardadvantage would be needed to make it good.

    Fact or Fiction:
    You'd have to reveal three useful cards for Fact or Fiction to be better than Impulse midcombo. Also shows the cards to your opponent and is bad at digging for initial landdrops.

    Peer through Depths:
    Worse than Impulse as it can't find land and reveals the taken card. Could see play in addition to Impulse

    Venser, Shaper Savant:
    Cryptic Command is better as the 2/2 body will never be relevant

    Oona's Grace:
    Doesn't do enough precombo and even midcombo it is only very rarely more useful than another Cantrip.



    4) How to play the deck - Tips and Tricks:

    The gameplan of Solidarity consists of two steps:

    a) Setup:

    At the beginning of the game you try to hit at least four landdrops (three can be sufficient) and to build a hand consisting of (at least) one High Tide, some carddraw, some untap effects and a way to play around counters if your opponent plays any. The options here are: Force of Will, Twincast or multiple copys of the spell you expect your opponent to counter.
    Too fast starts of your opponent (Goblin Lackey, Tendrils of Agony) and spells that attack your resources (Hypnotic Specter, Devastating Dreams) have to be stopped and you also try to deal with any permanents that could disrupt the combo (Counterbalance, Chalice of the Void). The difference between Solidarity and any other deck is that the setup-phase doesn't end when you could potentially win, but only when your opponent forces you to act (be it with lethal damage, a Counterbalance or discard).

    b) The Combo:

    When going for the combo, ususally a High Tide is played first and then the stormcount is increased with untap-effects, carddraw and possibly more High Tides. When the stormcount is high enough the opponent is Brain Freezed and if necessary, killed with Stroke of Genius.

    This gets more specific depending on the play situation.

    How to play around counters?

    As Solidarity isn't fast enough to win before an opponent can counter, the plan is to wait long for a good hand and a lot of lands in play (6 is a good number, the more the better). Either try to play right through their counters or get a counterwar started and end it with Brain Freeze for lethal.

    Important for the preparation of your combo is that you can estimate how many counters your opponent actually has and plan accordingly. As Solidarity is better equipped to win stack wars than any other deck, the opponent can't really let High Tide resolve more often than not as the additional mana will help you more than him. When he counters your mana though, you can just set up for a new try with your remaining hand. Remanding your own spells can work wonders here. If you plan on doing this, don't wait until the very last turn.

    How to play against Counterbalance?

    Coupled with Sensei's Divining Top, Counterbalance can be enough to defeat Solidarity. Thus it should usually be Force of Willed when possible. Once a Counterbalance hits play, it can be bounced via Wipe Away or Cryptic Command. If that doesn't work either, the only thing left is brute force - playing through Counterbalance.

    Without Top in play, you just run a testspell and wait for your opponent to reveal the top card. Once you know it, you just combo without using spells with that converted manacost. With a Sensei's Divining Top, this gets a lot harder. Then, the only way to win is usually to hope that they either don't have something for two, and combo out without High Tide, or, to hope that they don't have something for one. Then you start with a High Tide and he will probably respond by putting his Top on top. You can respond to this with another High Tide, then let the ability of Top resolve and then combo out without fear of the Counterbalance.

    How to play around Gaea's Blessing?

    Even nowadays, many people believe they have an autowin against Solidarity if they sideboard Gaea's Blessing. They are wrong, as Gaea's Blessing triggers when it is milled and you can respond with another Brain Freeze (possibly by using Remand on the first one) and a lethal Stroke of Genius. In fact, Gaea's Blessing is not very good against Solidarity, as you can play around it late in the combo when your hand is filled with good cards, as opposed to cards like Chalice of the Void or Meddling Mage which try to stop the combo before it begins.

    When should I go for the combo?

    a) In your opponent's drawstep: This is the earliest time Reset can be played. Is used when another landdrop could help your opponent to play more disruption (Example: A Goblin player that could play a Rishadan Port).
    Side note: Mana gained in the Upkeep can be used in the draw step. It might often be a good idea to try to resolve a Tide and a Meditate in the upkeep, since it might cut your opponent off the counter they were about to draw in their draw step. You can then continue to combo without Reset or just go to the draw step if you need to use Reset.

    b) In your opponent's begin of combat step: The last time you can tap your opponent's creatures. Is used when your opponent has lethal damage onboard or could bring you into burn range.

    c) The opponent's end of turn step: The last time in your opponent's turn when you can play something. Is used if you want your opponent to raise the stormcount beforehand. Also they likely can't do anything after they are milled.

    d) At any other time: There can be a reason to go off at any point of the game.


    c) General Advice and Tricks:

    The single most important thing to know when playing Solidarity is that you don't need to act, but you react. Your opponent will make their plays and you can then make yours depending on what is necessary in your current situation. It is not like our plan is "find 4 lands, High Tide, Reset, Meditate and combo out on turn four." in any given game like in other decks. In being able to adjust your own plays to just about any imaginable situation, Solidarity offers the ultimate flexibility to the player. This flexibility has its price in making the deck very complicated to play because every single turn poses quite a number of questions to the player and while there are sometimes multiple correct answers, a single wrong answer will usually mean a lost game. This should always be kept in mind when playing the deck.


    Brainstorm:

    The second best card in the deck - if that can be said at all - also offers the greatest possibilities for mistakes. Brainstorm should always be played as late as possible. Example: if you are searching for land, don't play the Brainstorm at end of turn but rather wait until your own turn so you get to see one more card. Of course there are exceptions to that rule like having to find a Force of Will in response to a Lackey or something similarly threatening.

    Rule of thumb: Having no reason against playing Brainstorm is not enough. You need an actual reason for playing Brainstorm.


    Remand:

    Possible uses of Remand:
    - Remanding a spell to slow your opponent down or even Time Walk them
    - Remanding your own spell in response to a counter
    - Remanding your own spell to draw a card (emergency cantrip)
    - Remanding your Brain Freeze to get double use out of storm.
    - Remanding your opponent's counter (rare, usually Remanding your own spell is better)


    Brain Freeze:

    The main purpose of Brain Freeze is the use as winoption to mill your opponent. But if you have no carddraw in hand, Brain Freeze can be played on yourself in order to mill Flash of Insight, flashback that and stack your library (Flash of Insight allows you to choose the order of the cards on bottom). A rare tertiary use is milling few cards in the early turns of the game either to get rid of two bad cards from a Brainstorm or of a card which your opponent got with a topdeck Tutor.
    Last edited by Van Phanel; 06-30-2009 at 09:31 AM.

  2. #2
    Hold on! I have a 12/12
    Van Phanel's Avatar
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    Re: [Deck] Solidarity

    5) Matchup analysis:

    As I am not a fan of percentages (because 87,935% of them are made up, outright lied or come from insufficient testing), I won't include any.

    a) Threshold with Counterbalance:

    The most important thing is to make sure that Counterbalance is not in play when you're going for the combo. This can be achieved with Force of Will, Cunning Wish for Wipe Away or (if you play it) Cryptic Command. Nimble Mongoose and Tarmogoyf are usually not worth spending a Force of Will. That aside, just prepare your combo as usual and go for the win before you are killed.

    The good thing about this matchup is that Threshold with Counterbalance rarely plays other counters than Force of Will (and Daze of course), so winning without Counterbalance in play is not that hard. Just make sure that Daze is not too much of a problem, especially Cunning Wish and Cryptic Command shouldn't be run into Daze unless there is no other possibility. Their high permanent count can make it hard for them to get threshold, so Nimble Mongoose is often rather slow and Tarmogoyf will only be 2/3 (3/4 if they hit Ponder) more often than not so their clock is not very fast.

    To sum it up, this matchup is winnable, but a good mix of pressure, Force of Will, Counterblance and Sensei's Divining Top can be a problem which means Threshold is usually slightly favored.

    After sideboarding, Wipe Away can help against Counterbalance (one should be left in the sideboard as they are only rarely going to be able to counter Cunning Wish with Counterbalance).


    b) Threshold without Counterbalance:

    Those lists usually play Stifle or Spell Snare, often both. That means you have to be careful with fetchlands as an early Stifle can outright win the game for them. Also Remand, Impulse and especially Reset are not as reliable as usual because of Spell Snare. In addition to that their clock is faster thanks to their lower permanent count.

    That means you have to go off earlier when compared to Threshold with Counterbalance, but they don't have that very card so the matchup is actually around even depending on build (Red Thrash is slightly positive while black versions are worse because of Thoughtseize)

    After game 1 I generally want to board in Twincasts as they help in getting your keyspells past their counters. Remand is usually the first card to come out.

    Be it against red Threshold with or without Counterbalance, always expect burn and try to go off before you get lower than 7-8 life if possible. Also if they have Red Elemental Blasts, it could make sense to board a single Hydroblast (only against non-balanced versions), this depends on your gut-feeling and the number of Twincasts you play though.


    c) Goblins:

    The games are usually simply a race with the only interactive cards being Force of Will, Remand and Rishadan Port. A first turn Goblin Lackey is a must counter everything else depends on the situation. As Solidarity has more cards to slow them down and the ability to wait until Goblins actually have a kill, the matchup is in favor of Solidarity.

    Postboard not much changes depending on the Goblin-players sideboard. Nowadays Earwig Squad, discard, Chalice of the Void and sometimes Red Elemental Blasts have to be expected.

    For games 2 and 3, a mix of Hydroblasts and bounce comes in with Hydroblast being better against Lackey while bounce can be necessary if they have Chalice of the Void.


    d) Landstill:

    The control-deck in Legacy is a very good matchup as you have a lot of time to get a close to perfect hand. Preboard they just can't win because of all their dead cards. Postboard it gets a lot harder if they have Meddling Mage, but it's still better for Solidarity.

    The two important things postboard are to maximize your card advantage and to be ready to deal with Meddling Mage. That means that 2-3 bouncespells should come in and Twincast is very helpful as well.


    e) Loam:

    The goldfish of Aggro-Loam is around turn 4-5 which is slightly slower than the one of Solidarity. Devastating Dreams and Chalice of the Void can hurt though. The key in this matchup are Remand and Cryptic Command. Both can slow them down by a lot. The matchup against Aggro-Loam is favorable and any other kind of Loam is more or less a bye, because their clock is extremely slow.

    If they play Chalice of the Void, board in some bounce, if they don’t, Hydroblast is better because it can deal with Devastating Dreams as well.


    f) Survival of the Fittest:

    Against most versions of Survival, the most important thing is to not get hurt by their discard too much. As their clock is generally very slow, you have a lot of time to recover which makes the matchup rather easy.


    g) Dragon Stompy:

    This is a matchup that is a lot better than it looks in theory. Chalice of the Void + fast beats can be problematic but they don’t always get both and even if they do, a single counter can wreck them. In addition to that their Moon-effects are not very useful after turn 1. There even is Rebuild in the sideboard as an answer to Chalices and possible Trinispheres and that makes the matchup pretty good.


    h) Dredge::

    Now we get to the bad matchups. Dredge is faster than Solidarity and not very disruptable by Force and Remand. If there is a large number of Dredge players in your meta either don’t play Solidarity or add Tormod’s Crypt/Leyline of the Void/ Relic of Progenitus to your sideboard. Disrupt might help, too (but that is untested so far).


    i) Dreadstill:

    Another problematic matchup. Dreadstill combines everything Solidarity doesn’t want to see. Phyrexian Dreadnought provides an extremely fast clock while Counterbalance and Force of Will disrupt the combo. Cryptic Command has to work overtime here as it is the best solution to both Dreadnought and Counterbalance, but even an average draw of Dreadstill will cause a lot of problems.

    k) TES:

    Some time ago, the plan against other combodecks was to use their stormcount to help your own combo. Unfortunately other combodecks have become a lot faster lately so that isn't always possible anymore. TES regularly kills on turn two and a single Force of Will isn't usually enough to stop them. In addition to that turn1 Empty the Warrens is hard to deal with. As many lists don't play Empty in the maindeck anymore, they are only slightly favored in game 1 with Solidarity being slightly favored after sideboarding.

    l) Belcher:

    Belcher is even faster than TES. A single Force can sometimes be enough here but without it you lose game 1 most of the time. This makes the matchup better for them because you can't always have the Force and against some hands it doesn't even do anything. After sideboarding, Empty the Warrens is not that dangerous anymore because you board Echoing Truth but they usually have some disruption like Pyroblasts or Xantid Swarm which can be a real problem. You can only hope to have the fitting solution for their combo. FoW doesn't do anything against Empty but deals with Belcher while Truth deals with Empty and doesn't help against Belcher. As soon as you stop one combo-attempt, you will likely win but that isn't as easy as it sounds.


    6) Sideboarding Plans


    Possible Sideboard:

    1 Stroke of Genius
    1 Meditate
    1 Turnabout
    3 Wipe Away
    3 Echoing Truth
    2 Hydroblast
    3 Twincast
    1 Rebuild

    With this sideboard, the following sideboardplans are possible:

    a) Balanced Threshold:

    - 2 Remand, + 2 Wipe Away

    b) Non-balanced Threshold:

    - 2 Remand, + 2 Twincast

    c) Goblins:

    - 1 Peek, - 1 Impulse, - 1 Cryptic Command, + 2 Hydroblast, + 1 Echoing Truth

    d) Landstill:

    - 1 High Tide, - 1 Force of Will, - 1 Reset, - 1 Impulse, + 1 Wipe Away, + 1 Echoing Truth, + 2 Twincast

    e) Loam:

    - 1 Peek, - 1 Impulse, + 2 Echoing Truth

    f) Survival:

    - 1 High Tide, + 1 Twincast

    g) Dragon Stompy

    - 1 Peek, - 1 Impulse, + 2 Echoing Truth

    h) Dredge:

    Dredge: - 2 Cryptic Command, - 2 Cunning Wish, + 3 Echoing Truth, + 1 Turnabout

    i) Dreadstill:

    - 2 Remand, + 2 Wipe Away

    Note that while possible, these sideboardplans are by no means fixed. They can always be varied depending on your knowledge of your playstyle, your opponents deck and other reasons.

    k) TES:

    - 2 Cryptic Command, - 2 Cunning Wish, - 1 Turnabout, - 1 High Tide, - 1 Impulse, + 2 Echoing Truth (depends if they play ETW or not), + 3 Twincast, + 2 Hydroblast

    l) Belcher:

    - 2 Cryptic Command, - 2 Cunning Wish, - 1 Turnabout, + 3 Echoing Truth, + 2 Hydroblast


    7) Opening Hand Samples:

    I assumed an unknown opponent for the following sample hands. If play/ draw matters for the decision, I'll specifically mention both.


    1) Island, Cryptic Command, Island, High Tide, Island, Brain Freeze, Opt

    Keep. The hand is not great, but it has enough land and a High Tide and with the Opt you should be able to draw into something. After all the deck doesn't really consist of anything but cantrips.


    2) Reset, Brain Freeze, Reset, Island, Cryptic Command, Flooded Strand, Island

    Mulligan. This hand doesn't do anything until turn 4.


    3) Force of Will, Remand, Impulse, Polluted Delta, Flooded Strand, Peek, Flooded Strand

    Keep. The hand doesn't have comboparts, but with FoW + Peek + Remand you should be able to draw into either Tide or an untap by turn 3 and then search for the missing part with Impulse.


    4) Brainstorm, Force of Will, High Tide, Reset, Flooded Strand, Force of Will, Impulse

    It depends. You have four cards on the play and five cards on the draw to find a second land. If you do, this hand is very likely to win. I would always keep this on the draw and go by gut-feeling on the play. The important part is the Impulse that should allow finding the third land right after you found the second. Without it, the hand is a clear mulligan.


    5) Island, Polluted Delta, Brainstorm, Peek, Cunning Wish, Island, Force of Will.

    A clear keep. Again no part of the combo, but Brainstorm + Fetchland + Wish should fix that.


    6) Island, High Tide, Brainstorm, Cunning Wish, Reset, Polluted Delta, Remand

    An easy one. Keep, no questions asked.


    7) Opt, Impulse, Opt, Impulse, Flooded Strand, Island, Force of Will

    Keep. Four cantrips will find the combo and the FoW can buy the time to do so.


    8) Island, Island, Island, Brainstorm, Impulse, Flash of Insight, Impulse

    Keep. With this hand it is important to not play the Brainstorm on turn one unless you know that you'll need to find the combo fast.


    9) Island, Island, Flooded Strand, High Tide, Turnabout, Reset, High Tide

    Keep. In three turns it should be possible to draw something with "draw a card" written in its textbox.


    10) High Tide, Reset, Turnabout, Polluted Delta, Remand, Reset, Island

    A risky hand. In three turns you have to find land and if you don't, you're likely dead. But this gamble makes winning still more likely than mulliganing to six.


    8) Credits:

    - to Deep6er for creating the deck and proofreading the primer
    - to Lukas Preuss for giving some ideas in his old German Primer
    - to Finn for this interview with Deep6er which reveals a lot about the deck's history
    - last but not least to everybody who takes part in the discussions on the deck



    - Van




    PS:
    Anybody who finds any mistakes in the content, just post in the thread for discussion.

    If there is a mistake in the language (which is likely as English isn't my first language), just send me a PM and I'll take care of it.


    PPS: To-Do List
    1) add comments on the sideboarding plans
    2) Your ideas
    3) Make enough Top8s, so that Solidarity becomes a deck to beat again (I need your help here)
    4) Add more Tips and Tricks (suggested by Taurelin)
    Last edited by Van Phanel; 06-05-2009 at 05:27 AM. Reason: Sample Hands added.

  3. #3
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    Re: [Deck] Solidarity

    This is very well written and extremely useful. I have been poking DGH for a while now on up to date information regarding Solidarity. Much thanks.
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  4. #4
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    Re: [Deck] Solidarity

    Nice Job it was very informative and helpful.

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    Re: [Deck] Solidarity

    your German primer made me play it and especially those Cryptic Command really seem to pay off. Thanks :-)
    The seven cardinal sins of Legacy:
    1. Discuss the unbanning of Land Tax Earthcraft.
    2. Argue that banning Force of Will would make the format healthier.
    3. Play Brainstorm without Fetchlands.
    4. Stifle Standstill.
    5. Think that Gaea's Blessing will make you Solidarity-proof.
    6. Pass priority after playing Infernal Tutor.
    7. Fail to playtest against Nourishing Lich (coZ iT wIlL gEt U!).

  6. #6
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    Re: [Deck] Solidarity

    First of all, thanks for all the effort and time. It was worth it, well done!



    I would love to see some more of the ideas that we gathered in the primer-forum, particularly those neat tricks that are useful and show the immense flexibility of the deck. Like these:


    - The most important rule is that you can combo off and win at instant speed whenever you need to. This means that you can take your time, prepare for the right moment, and can even win in response to a serious threat (Armageddon) or even with deadly damage on the stack. The last case means, however, that you need to make your opponent draw a card after milling his library. That's why there is a Stroke of Genius in the sideboard.

    - The combination of Brain Freeze + Remand helps to reduce the number of spells required for a lethal stormcount. You play Brain Freeze, then cast Remand countering the original spell. The copies remain on the stack, you draw an extra card, and you can continue in your combo or recast Brain Freeze.
    Examples:
    16 Spells + Brain Freeze = 17*3 = 51 cards
    7 Spells + Brain Freeze + Remand + Brain Freeze = 7*3 + 10*3 = 51 cards

    - If your opponent counters one of your spells, you can play Remand on your own spell. The result is that your opponent's spell will fizzle, you draw an extra card, you can play your spell again, and you have already achieved a solid stormcount. This is also a way to bait counters early in the game.

    - Another way to bait counters is pretending to be short of mana. If you have one Island in play and cast Brainstorm during your own turn - alternatively 2 lands and Impulse, your opponent might feel motivated to counter your "harmless" spell, hoping to keep you manascrewed. You just smile, play your next land, and say "Go".

    - You can divide the targets of Brain Freeze and its copies, for example to mill 3 cards of your own library after putting two useless lands on top with Brainstorm. In case of emergency, if you are in desperate need of carddraw, you can freeze yourself completely until you find a Flash of Insight in your graveyard. Then you interrupt the stack and continue via Flashback.

    - If you cast Flash of Insight via Flashback, you can also stack the cards on bottom of your library in any order you wish. Then you can mill the cards on top and find exactly wht you need. You can also get back the removed cards using Cunning Wish.

    - If you combo off in response to an opponent's draw-spell, he will kill himself at the end of the stack.

    - If you realize that you will fizzle or simply need more time, you can use Turnabout to tap your opponent's creatures and buy a turn. Turnabout can also be cast proactively to tap your opponent's lands, thus preventing counters.

    - Gaea's Blessing is hardly played anymore, but it was considered the ultimate weapon against Solidarity. Wrong. The correct procedure is to respond to the trigger once Blessing hits the grave and continue comboing, milling the rest of the library as well, and finally casting Stroke of Genius. This way the opponent loses with his Blessing-trigger still on the stack.

    - Twincast - although not appearing in all modern lists - functions as a neat Joker. You can counter their counterspells, double your resources if you need to, or go infinite vs. Ill-Gotten Gains.

    Some additional general strategic advice from my part:

    - If you are mid-combo and have Meditate and Impulse available, you should usually go for Meditate first, then cast Impulse. In this order you can better decide what you need to continue.

    - In desperate situations (happened to me quite often) you can use Remand as an emergency cantrip. Counter a random spell of yours (Tide, Reset...) and maybe draw the solution you were looking for.

    - Like it is true for Brainstorm, you should also never fetch unless you have too. If you wait, there might be a better use for the shuffling effect. And sometimes 1 or 2 life can just make the difference.

    - Cunning Wish not only allows you to pick cards from your wishboard, but also cards removed from the game via Flash of Insight (mentioned above), Extirpate (mentioned by vanphanel) and even pitched to Force of Will.

    - Brain Freeze can be a surprising solution pre-combo to any kind of tutor played by an opponent or the occasional Predict.
    Last edited by Taurelin; 12-04-2008 at 04:56 PM. Reason: Mistake fixed in opening post
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    Re: [Deck] Solidarity

    When using Brain Freeze on myself I often find myself puzzled as to how much to freeze myself for. Half the library? Watching you play it seems the decision is much more complicated and depends on which card you wanna use Flash of Insight for; in my case usually Reset or Cunning Wish.
    The seven cardinal sins of Legacy:
    1. Discuss the unbanning of Land Tax Earthcraft.
    2. Argue that banning Force of Will would make the format healthier.
    3. Play Brainstorm without Fetchlands.
    4. Stifle Standstill.
    5. Think that Gaea's Blessing will make you Solidarity-proof.
    6. Pass priority after playing Infernal Tutor.
    7. Fail to playtest against Nourishing Lich (coZ iT wIlL gEt U!).

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    Re: [Deck] Solidarity

    Quote Originally Posted by Julian23 View Post
    When using Brain Freeze on myself I often find myself puzzled as to how much to freeze myself for. Half the library?
    There are actually two purposes to freeze yourself:
    a) Getting rid of cards on top of your library (e.g. additional lands that you put there with brainstorm)
    b) Getting Flash of Insight in the graveyard

    For a, freezing yourself once is sufficient, of course.

    For b, the more you freeze, the bigger is your chance to find Flash. Note that you needn't let all the copies resolve. Once Flash hits the yard, you can leave the additional copies on the stack, cast Flash in response, and then continue with your combo. Also note that the copies are on top of Brain Freeze itself, so you can always get the original back with Remand and cast in on your opponent later.

    That's Solidarity!
    "My sky is darker than thine!"
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  9. #9
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    Re: [Deck] Solidarity

    @authors: This is how to write a primer!

    @Van: Thank you, because this is comprehensive, backed up by results, and clearly written.

  10. #10
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    Re: [Deck] Solidarity

    One thing I noticed:

    Without Top in play, you just run a testspell and wait for your opponent to reveal the top card. Once you know it, you just combo without using spells with that converted manacost. With a Sensei's Divining Top, this gets a lot harder. Then, the only way to win is usually to hope that they either don't have something for two, and combo out without High Tide, or, to hope that they don't have something for one. Then you start with a High Tide and he will probably respond by putting his Top on top. You can respond to this with another High Tide and then combo out without fear of the Counterbalance.
    I think you forgot a ", let the Top ability resolve," after "another High Tide".
    YOU'RE GIVING ME A TIME MACHINE IN ORDER TO TREAT MY SLEEP DISORDER.

  11. #11
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    Re: [Deck] Solidarity

    Quote Originally Posted by Taurelin View Post
    For b, the more you freeze, the bigger is your chance to find Flash. Note that you needn't let all the copies resolve. Once Flash hits the yard, you can leave the additional copies on the stack, cast Flash in response, and then continue with your combo. Also note that the copies are on top of Brain Freeze itself, so you can always get the original back with Remand and cast in on your opponent later.

    That's Solidarity!
    Thanks Taurelin, that's exactly what I'm doing right now anyway. Yet things get a bit more complicated once you wanna or even have to spread the copies on you and your opponent because of an otherwise too low storm count. So I guess the "secret forumla" I was hoping for is "just" to calculate.
    The seven cardinal sins of Legacy:
    1. Discuss the unbanning of Land Tax Earthcraft.
    2. Argue that banning Force of Will would make the format healthier.
    3. Play Brainstorm without Fetchlands.
    4. Stifle Standstill.
    5. Think that Gaea's Blessing will make you Solidarity-proof.
    6. Pass priority after playing Infernal Tutor.
    7. Fail to playtest against Nourishing Lich (coZ iT wIlL gEt U!).

  12. #12
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    Re: [Deck] Solidarity

    Awesome job Van Phanel! I'm glad it's finally here. Your matchup analysis is pretty accurate as far as I'm concerned. I'm really missing the combo matchup though. Maybe Stax could be in there too. I also think you're being slightly too negetive on the dredge matchup. I've been able to win quite some games by boarding in Truth.

    For fast combo, you can usually manage with the Twincast in your sideboard. Something like:
    -2 Cryptic Command
    -1 Flash of Insight
    +3 Twincast

    should be fine. Twincast is really strong against both Chant and Duress. I found the matchup to be even to slightly negative, depending on the version (the slower, the better for you usually). I'm not sure on ANT though since, I haven't tested it.

    Since it's still the first page, I'll follow Taurelin and post some info from the Message Boards.

    VS. Thresh:
    Threshold's plan is to couple a strong clock with strong countermagic. To archieve this, the deck uses cantrips. The one and only way for Solidarity is to combat one of these 2 factors. Either fight the clock (with spells like Spell Snare) or fight the counters (with spells like Twincast).

    ENEMY'S
    1. Dark Confidant
    This card is completely rediculous. If this card resolves and is on the table for longer that 1 or 2 turns, the chances of winning are very very slim. The card produces sick cardadvantage, powering up both their counters and their clock. Aside from that, it's ALSO a clock itself. Completely nuts.

    2. Counterbalance
    The obvious one. This card will not only be able to prevent you from comboing, but will also counter cantrips randomly, producing cardadvantage for the Thresh player. This card, unlike Confidant, since that one can be raced with moderate succes, has to be dealt with once it hits the table, barring a few exceptions. Wipe Away in the sideboard has the sole purpose of getting rid of this card. Once it's active with a top next to it, your only hope is to find a Wipe Away, which is virtually impossible thanks to the fact that it counters everything you play to find one.

    3. Meddling Mage
    I'm not going to say much about this card, since no one plays it anymore. Yet, this is basically the same story as Confidant. It couples a clock with cardadvantage on their side. Counter if possible.

    4. Goyf
    Also not much to say here. This guy provides the main clock for their deck. Good enough to use Spell Snare on, not always good enough to use FoW on.

    5. Grunt
    This card provides the Thresh player with both a strong clock, which luckily comes online quite late in the game, and with a solid defence mechanism against the combo. The Solidarity player has to deal with it, one way or another and can't win anymore by tapping the opponents creatures once it hits.

    These are just the creatue-enemy's. Aside from the obvious counters, cards like Toughtseize and Extirpate can definately pose problems.


    The board plan obviously varies depending on your and your opponent's build, but I can give some directions.

    One strong plan is to board out Remands, since they don't do much in this matchup because of the low mana-curve of Thresh. This enables Solidarity to play several smaller combo's finishing with small Brain Freeze.


    Question for Van Phanel: Why don't you board in Twincast in the Thresh matchup?





    On the Landstill matchup: Solidairty is known for having a good control matchup. Yet I find this matchup to be pretty hard to play. Here are some tips, written by Tacosnape a while ago:

    You want to have a lot of land on the board. Six is a good number. It can be done with five, and seven is even better. Secondly, you want the board clear of Meddling Mage.

    Ideally, you want a hand consisting of a Tide, a Reset or two, two to three draw spells, and two to three of Remand/Twincast/Force of Will (Or in my case today, Determined).

    From there on, I usually drop a Tide. If they counter the Tide and you aren't going to die next turn, I usually attempt to Remand the Tide back to my hand and wait until next turn, as I've now drawn out a counter, saved my Tide, and drawn a card. If they counter the Tide and I -am- going to die next turn, Then obviously I'll either Twincast, Force the counter, or Remand the tide, depending on how many counters I suspect they're holding.

    If they don't counter the tide, you have a lot more mana to play with. Make sure to do your Resets early, floating mana, with enough mana open to counter at least twice. You don't always have to counter, either. If your Tide resolves with six lands, and your next spell is Reset with eight floating and they counter it, You can then just cast another Reset or Turnabout and let the Reset die.

    A lot of playing here is working out in your head scenarios of "What do I do if they counter ____" and playing them in such an order where you cause your opponent to have to guess at your resources. This is the beauty of Solidarity and one reason why cards like Peer Through Depths and Mystical Tutor never made the cut. Your opponent, if playing Blue, likely has no idea what's in your hand (Excluding decks packing Mage and Duress). As such, they have to guess at your plan and what resources you have to work with.

    Try it out. Set up a situation where your opponent has anywhere from 1-4 counters (You don't know how many) and you have a full loaded hand with six mana, but not always the exact same hand (And your opponent doesn't know your hand). Have one person try to go off while the other tries to stop them. Your brain will hurt at first, but after about eight or nine times you'll begin to get the feel of it and countermagic won't be as terrifying anymore.



    The win percentages are probably, depending on the version, 70/30 to 75/25.
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    http://solidarityprimer.proboards85.com/index.cgi

  13. #13
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    Re: [Deck] Solidarity

    - noted mistakes fixed (thanks, Taurelin and Nihil)
    - to-do-list and credits added

    @Julian:
    Usually you finish the combo in the same turn. If you do so, play the full Brain Freeze on yourself (obviously there's no need to mill more cards than you have in your library). You will be able to raise the stormcount later with help of Flash and the card you took in it.

    Only in rare corner-case scenarios (if you are very low on mana and don't have the second Flash left in the deck) you have to be careful. The best way there would be to actually know the probabilities, but usually estimating works. There is no shortcut to the actual probabilities.


    Edit: @Bahamuth: W00t I just forgot combo? Will be added no later than Monday.

    Twincast doesn't actually do all that much against Balanced Threshold. They usually only have 4 Force of Will and a Twincast neither helps to start the combo (you need Tide, untap and draw anyway) nor does it help against Counterbalance - unless you have FoW, they have FoW and they don't have Daze/ it's later than turn 2). I do actually board 1 or 2 Twincast if they play more than four counters (Red Elemental Blast after boarding maybe) and I always board them against noon-balanced versions because they tend to have more actual counters.

  14. #14
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    Re: [Deck] Solidarity

    Wow, best primer ever. I really hope to see solidarity reach a deck to beat again.

  15. #15

    Re: [Deck] Solidarity

    Quote Originally Posted by Fons View Post
    Wow, best primer ever. I really hope to see solidarity reach a deck to beat again.
    QFT. A realy good primer Van Phanel.
    The only downside I see in this primer is that now this is not the largest threat in all The Source...

  16. #16
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    Re: [Deck] Solidarity

    Quote Originally Posted by Zinch View Post
    The only downside I see in this primer is that now this is not the largest threat in all The Source...
    Lets fix that.

  17. #17
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    Re: [Deck] Solidarity

    Great Primer Van Phanel! I think you showed well what the deck is capable of (and how/why it is capable of this), without hyping it too much.
    I'm waiting for your sideboarding comments. I need some explanation there, as I don't get some decisions (cutting a FoW against landstill, cutting Impulse over cunning wish against goblins).

    Again, great work!
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  18. #18
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    Re: [Deck] Solidarity

    Quote Originally Posted by Zinch View Post
    QFT. A realy good primer Van Phanel.
    The only downside I see in this primer is that now this is not the largest threat in all The Source...
    which is now - believe it or not - Dragon Stompy...
    /edit: I still consider Solidarity a major threaT :D

    I guess the reason for cutting FoW against Landstill is the fact that (at least in my experience) it isn't that relevant. Landstil usually puts you on a very slow clock allowing for a lot of setup precombo. When eventually going for it I'd rather have an additional Reset, High Tide or even Meditate as sufficient mana shouldn't be an issue. Well at least that's my reasoning ;-) I'm still rather new to the deck.
    The seven cardinal sins of Legacy:
    1. Discuss the unbanning of Land Tax Earthcraft.
    2. Argue that banning Force of Will would make the format healthier.
    3. Play Brainstorm without Fetchlands.
    4. Stifle Standstill.
    5. Think that Gaea's Blessing will make you Solidarity-proof.
    6. Pass priority after playing Infernal Tutor.
    7. Fail to playtest against Nourishing Lich (coZ iT wIlL gEt U!).

  19. #19
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    Re: [Deck] Solidarity

    Noticed some more smaller things:

    1)
    Some time later, Gearheart

    2)
    I also decided to not include any specific sideboarding plans
    6) Sideboarding Plans
    Doesn't really match.
    "My sky is darker than thine!"
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  20. #20
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    Re: [Deck] Solidarity

    Actually, no, my name is spelled "Gearhart". Counter-intuitive, I know. It's not like I chose it.
    For the foreseeable future, expect to see less of me. I've lost my internet connection, and so I'll only be able to get on by siphoning free Wi-Fi from the surrounding areas. Which isn't always consistent.

    Plus, the guy that I used to leech off of has now instituted password protection. This means that I effectively do not have internet at home. :(

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