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Thread: [Format] Martian Timewalk

  1. #21

    Re: [Format] Martian Timewalk

    Quote Originally Posted by FTW View Post
    Sacred Mesa sounds very strong in control mirrors, a big advantage of the UW build over UB. Was Seal of Primordium/Extirpate not able to handle it?
    Yeah, Sacred Mesa is a huge card in control vs control. Seal of Primordium helps, but in this match Dissipate and Venarian Glimmer were enough protection enough of the time.

    Quote Originally Posted by FTW View Post
    If BG felt threat-light, it may want some Mire Boa. Boa is good on defense (regenerate) and then good offensively in the late game, since Urborg will give all players Swamps.
    I like the idea of Mire Boa + Urborg. Not sure if it goes in the same deck as Damnation, though... If Damnation were a color-shifted Day of Judgment instead of Wrath of God, that would make Mire Boa happy!

    My way of adjusting the BG list was to lean heavily into discard, bringing back Ana Battlemage and using the trio of that plus Stupor and Tainted Specter to keep the opponent in topdeck mode --- and increasing the Pauper's Cages to 3 copies in the main. Cage doesn't care about Damnation, so you've got heavy discard to punish combo and control, Damnation to punish aggro, Harmonize to keep ahead, and Cage to finish opponents if your creatures can't do it. Just like your first list, but with even more emphasis on the "Rack" angle. No Drain Life... 4x Urborg feels too risky.

    Also I've now got Benthic Djinn in the SB. Djinn and Pauper's Cage can both do damage to UW past a Sacred Mesa board. We'll see how it works.

    Quote Originally Posted by FTW View Post
    How good has Hammer been? Do the decks regularly reach high enough mana to recur it? I remember that card being very strong back in the day but have now played so much "modern era Magic" that the mana cost feels unreasonable except vs control.
    The absolute amount of mana required is less a problem than the triple red mana. Hammer of Bogardan is good, but the mana fixing is bad, so that leaves hammer without many good decks to go into.

  2. #22
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    Re: [Format] Martian Timewalk

    Quote Originally Posted by BirdsOfParadise View Post
    My way of adjusting the BG list was to lean heavily into discard, bringing back Ana Battlemage and using the trio of that plus Stupor and Tainted Specter to keep the opponent in topdeck mode --- and increasing the Pauper's Cages to 3 copies in the main. Cage doesn't care about Damnation, so you've got heavy discard to punish combo and control, Damnation to punish aggro, Harmonize to keep ahead, and Cage to finish opponents if your creatures can't do it. Just like your first list, but with even more emphasis on the "Rack" angle. No Drain Life... 4x Urborg feels too risky.

    Also I've now got Benthic Djinn in the SB. Djinn and Pauper's Cage can both do damage to UW past a Sacred Mesa board. We'll see how it works.
    I like these changes a lot.

    In the original version, the idea was to lean into the hand destruction plan of Ana Battlemage + Pauper's Cage against control decks. Put them in topdeck mode, and then let the Rack effect bleed them out if they use their cards. Unfortunately the 3-color mana seemed weak to Choking Sands from your monoblack deck (or anything from RB Ponza), so I cut the blue splash. But maybe that plan was still better overall. Pauper's Cage surviving Damnation is big. The 2nd version has more stable mana but lacks finishers, with a lot of durdle.

    Damnation killing your own creatures isn't supposed to be an issue due to Deadwood Treefolk recursion. But discard support should help that so blue decks don't just counter the Treefolk and put a stop to everything.

    I wanted to find a home for Benthic Djinn for a while. Seems good vs blue control.

  3. #23

    Re: [Format] Martian Timewalk

    GR Aggro wins my fourth test gauntlet in the Planar Chaos format. Second place: UW RippleNought. Third place: Mono-Black Control.

    Points will be automatically adjusted on Oct 15. Unless someone else out there is doing tests and shares their results with me (^_^), itís a mathematical certainty that one or more cards from GR Aggro will gain a point. That wonít necessarily change deck construction, though, since decks have 7 points to spend.

  4. #24

    Re: [Format] Martian Timewalk

    Format update: October 15, 2021

    Automatic point adjustments:
    Power Sink now costs 0 pt (down from 1 pt).
    Mire Boa now costs 1 pt (up from 0 pt).
    Sand Golem now costs 1 pt (up from 0 pt).

    Next automatic point adjustment: November 15, 2021
    Next random set added: November 15, 2021

    See OP for complete info.

  5. #25
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    Re: [Format] Martian Timewalk

    Sounds like GR Aggro needs some competition. The consistent aggro pressure, massive card advantage engines, and cheap removal seem to work together well.

    Maybe there isn't enough aggro in the Gauntlet. What do your other aggro decks look like?

    Monoblack Rebels


    //Creatures: 20
    4 Sewer Rats
    4 Dunerider Outlaw
    4 Blightspeaker
    3 Rathi Trapper
    1 Big Game Hunter
    2 Dirtwater Wraith
    2 Mirri the Cursed

    //Spells: 17
    4 Dark Ritual
    4 Enfeeblement
    4 Dark Banishing
    3 Stupor
    2 Drain Life

    //Lands: 23
    3 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
    20 Swamp

    //Sideboard: 15
    1 Forsaken Wastes
    2 Kaervek's Hex
    2 Extirpate
    1 Gravebane Zombie
    1 Purraj of Urborg
    1 Big Game Hunter
    2 Melancholy
    1 Phyrexian Vault
    1 Infernal Contract
    3 Sand Golem


    These cheap creatures have grow abilities that scale well as the game drags on. Blightspeaker can tutor up a rebel army, tappers, or removal. Removal + tappers help Dunerider Outlaw connect.
    Urborg + Wraith means an unblockable pump threat late game (could be replaced by Swamp + Feral Shadow/Deadly Grub but that gets chumped by Pegasus tokens)

    If Mire Boa and Sand Golem were the biggest blows against black decks, then Enfeeblement answers Mire Boa (2 mana for 2 mana) and relying less on slow discard grind makes opposing Sand Golems weaker.

    Kaervek's Hex wipes every creature (and mana dork) in GR aggro as well as 1/1 Pegasus tokens and pingers, without hurting anything in this deck.


    Red Deck Wins


    //Lands: 24
    24 Mountain

    //Spells: 14
    4 Dead // Gone
    2 Brute Force
    4 Incinerate
    2 Spitting Earth
    2 Hammer of Bogardan

    //Creatures: 22
    4 Blood Knight
    3 Keldon Marauders
    3 Pyric Salamander
    3 Searing Spear Askari
    3 Lavacore Elemental
    3 Shivan Wumpus
    2 Wildfire Emissary
    1 Torchling

    //Sideboard: 15
    1 Kaervek's Torch
    1 Hammer of Bogardan
    1 Burning Palm Efreet
    2 Reign of Chaos
    2 Pyrohemia
    2 Sulfur Elemental
    3 Goblin Tinkerer
    3 Sand Golem


    Again, this packs a lot of removal and creature threats that scale over the game. Against control you can SB out removal for more threats.

    I'll see if I have time to run a mini-tourney of 8 decks this weekend.

  6. #26

    Re: [Format] Martian Timewalk

    That's funny, I do have a similar Rebels deck --- it's not half bad! I like some of your choices, like Infernal Contract in the side.

    Mono-Black Aggro

    // 19 Creature
    4 Blightspeaker
    4 Dunerider Outlaw
    2 Rathi Trapper
    1 Big Game Hunter
    4 Sewer Rats
    4 Mirri the Cursed

    // 17 Other Stuff
    4 Dark Banishing
    4 Drain Life
    4 Choking Sands
    4 Stupor
    1 Tombstone Stairwell

    // 24 Mana
    4 Dark Ritual
    20 Swamp

    SB: 2 Paupers' Cage
    SB: 4 Sand Golem
    SB: 1 Tombstone Stairwell
    SB: 3 Soul Rend
    SB: 2 Extirpate
    SB: 1 Reign of Terror
    SB: 2 Kaervek's Hex

    Mono-Red has a hard time mustering 1- and 2-drops after Blood Knight, doesn't it? Great removal, though.

    My other aggro-ish lists are your BR Ponza and previous Mono-Red list, with minor tweaks such as adding Dead // Gone, but I havenít seen them in many matches yet.

    If you manage to do that mini-tourney, do share!

  7. #27
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    Re: [Format] Martian Timewalk

    Tombstone Stairwell is interesting. I was thinking about it in the side vs control. MD it seemed like a liability in case opponent has more dead creatures.

    Yeah, Infernal Contract seems strong SB vs control when your life total isn't under pressure but your cards are.

    I like Phyrexian Vault for that too. You can activate in response to removal, digging into more gas.

    I think Enfeeblement is a big boost for mono B aggro. Otherwise you're spending minimum 3 mana to kill a creature (Drain Life is slow), which lets decks like GR Aggro get out of hand because you're spending too much tempo to stop a Mtenda Lion or Granger Guildmage+Keen Sense. Enfeeblement also works vs other black decks, just enough to kill Mirri or Tainted Specter, so you still have removal vs black preboard.

    I went away from the discard / Pauper's Cage engine because it seemed like most decks were boarding in Sand Golem vs mono B. Black aggro doesn't need to give the opponent free 4/4s. Just beatdown and leave them with a 5-mana 3/3 in hand. I like the Cage plan for BG midrange with Ana Battlemage and Tainted Specter, but it feels like Stupor alone is not enough discard to support the Rack plan. I might even board out Stupor except against combo-control.

    For Mono R, I realized Pyric Salamander is better than it looks. It will only deal 1 damage unblocked (still enough to put counters on Lavacore) but in combat it can trade up with big stuff like Nettletooth Djinn. Left unchecked it can eventually alpha strike for a lot. It can be a real pain and force out trades or removal more than other 2 drops could. Because of how well it trades, I like it better than Goblin Elite Infantry (which only trades as a 1/1).

    Spitting Earth also gets much better in mono R.

  8. #28

    Re: [Format] Martian Timewalk

    All good points!

    I think the Lavacore Elemental angle in Mono-Red looks fun, and the payoff is there. If a deck is trying to connect with that and also with Pyric Salamander, then Firefright Mage starts looking OK. I'd probably cut Searing Spear Askari. I tried the Askaris in the Mirage-only version of the format and they were very disappointing.

  9. #29
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    Re: [Format] Martian Timewalk

    Did you try Searing Spear Askari in the Mirage version or just the other Askaris? It's the only version I'd play and that's because it has Menace. Menace + Flanking is not easy to block, especially with so much burn and the threat of Brute Force. I think that would make it more likely to go unblocked, although it's possible Skirk Shaman is better if there's a lack of other red creatures.

    Edit: If you do go for Firefright Mage, then you might as well run Reckless Wurm and go up to 4 Hammers, so you have more profitable cards to discard. Otherwise it's a 1/1 + card disadvantage just to get evasion.

    Edit2: If a 4/4 like Nettletooth blocks Searing Spear Askari, you can Incinerate it after the Flanking trigger but before combat damage. Flanking gets significantly better with instant burn (Dead//Gone + Incinerate) and combat tricks (Brute Force), especially if you forced 2 creatures to block (-2/-2 total). I need to test this more but I think it has potential.

  10. #30

    Re: [Format] Martian Timewalk

    Hmm... I tried Searing Spear and Burning Shield Askaris, and they just didn't put on enough pressure to justify being useless on defense. I see now that Searing Spear specializes in being buddies with Lavacore Elemental, but yeah, I imagine Skirk Shaman is better. With Hammer of Bogardan and Pyric Salamander, one surely wants to keep the mana free when possible.

    ^ ^ Very true up there in the ninja edit too ^ ^

  11. #31
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    Re: [Format] Martian Timewalk

    Quote Originally Posted by BirdsOfParadise View Post
    Hmm... I tried Searing Spear and Burning Shield Askaris, and they just didn't put on enough pressure to justify being useless on defense. I see now that Searing Spear specializes in being buddies with Lavacore Elemental, but yeah, I imagine Skirk Shaman is better. With Hammer of Bogardan and Pyric Salamander, one surely wants to keep the mana free when possible.
    Good point. Maybe Skirk is better, freeing up mana.

    Yeah, since red's 1-3 cmc creatures were so bad, I basically picked creatures that would make it easy to put counters on Lavacore Elemental. Keldon Marauders, Pyric Salamander, Askari... none are great threats on their own, but they're all really hard to block on curve. Especially backed up by cheap burn. So they will likely go unblocked at first. The goal is for them to just get early damage in and keep counters on Lavacore. They're bad on defense, but RDW isn't trying to play defense in most MUs. Just get in damage early and then finish with burn or firebreathing.

    The other way to play red aggro would be madness with Reckless Wurm. That becomes a slightly different deck. Not sure which is better for this meta. Edit: You could go really greedy with Lion's Eye Diamond to accelerate madness costs or Hammer recursion.

  12. #32

    Re: [Format] Martian Timewalk

    Quote Originally Posted by FTW View Post
    The other way to play red aggro would be madness with Reckless Wurm. That becomes a slightly different deck. Not sure which is better for this meta. Edit: You could go really greedy with Lion's Eye Diamond to accelerate madness costs or Hammer recursion.
    Oh wow, you know else what LED is great at? Unmorphing Akroma, Angel of Fury. I'm gonna have to throw this together.

    Idea for GR:
    T2 Radha, Heir to Keld
    T3 morphed Angel
    T4 swing with both, unmorph

    Maybe GR Aggro can evolve to have 8 copies of cards (4 Radha / 4 LED) that let unmorphed Akroma swing on T4? Are there other synergies with LED and green stuff, or with Reckless Wurm and green stuff, that can make it all fit together? Akroma is already "hardflippable" in a lot of GR's games, although I haven't been running it.

    Edit: Well, I've searched Scryfall for cards with text containing echo, morph, discard, madness, and graveyard in the GR colors, and the only additional support I can find for LED or Madness is Fa'adiyah Seer and Timbermare, which doesn't seem promising. So instead of ruining a good aggro deck by going deep into combos, I should just remember that Radha is already a good card in the deck and think about the flex slots.

    I've got 1 Sulfur Elemental in the deck and 6 Quirion Elves / Radha; if I max out on Radha and lose the Quirion Elves, I have room for three 3-drops in flex slots. There are three 3-drops with synergy with Radha:
    Sulfur Elemental cast mid-combat for the "play out your hand fast benefit" --- mainly good if you have Harmonize ready or Keen Sense active, which both happen fairly often
    Lavacore Elemental --- play on T3, swing with your Radha, use the Radha mana to cast Incinerate or Dead // Gone on a blocker so that Radha connects
    Akroma, Angel of Fury --- late game punch, nice when mana flooded or Harmonize is drawing lands; also, the trick where Radha unmorphs it in combat on T4.

    I think I'm most convinced by a 2/1 split of Lavacore and Akroma. Sulfur Ele can hang out in the sideboard. It helps GR crush the UW combo matchups where it faces Sacred Mesa, although I'm not sure the help is necessary.

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