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Thread: 'Mississippi River' (All In Creativity Technique Combo)

  1. #41
    Well, Attempted Rationalism at least.
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    Re: 'Mississippi River' (All In Creativity Technique Combo)

    Tournament Report: Laughing Dragon 1k - 10th Place (49 Players)


    Event List:

    4x Boarding Party
    4x Creative Technique
    4x Maelstrom Wanderer
    3x Aurora Phoenix
    2x Sweet-Gum Recluse
    2x Let the Galaxy Burn
    1x Emrakul, the Aeons Torn

    4x Sandstone Needle
    4x Saprazzan Skerry
    4x Hickory Woodlot
    4x Ancient Tomb
    4x City of Traitors
    4x Dwarven Ruin
    4x Otawara, Soaring City
    3x Crystal Vein
    2x Sulfur Vent
    2x Havenwood Battleground
    2x Gemstone Cavern
    2x Karakas
    1x Mountain

    Sideboard:

    4x Pyrokinesis
    4x Maddening Hex
    2x Boom Pile
    2x Pithing Needle
    2x Leyline of the Void
    1x Aeve, Progenitor Ooze


    Round 1 (Red Painter):

    Round one was against Heather, a local I know from the Card Kingdom Weeklies. Unfortunately, this means she knows what Iím likely on as Iíve been focusing on this brew for a few months now and I havenít been quiet about it.

    Game 1 I win with a quick combo without much interesting interaction that I can recall.

    Game 2 I keep a hand with Gemstone Cavern and she drops an early Thorn of Amethyst into Painterís Servant naming blue. Before my 3rd turn I tap Gemstone Caverns, Sandstone Needle, and a colorless Sol-Land to channel Otawara and bounce the Thorn. She responds by red-blasting my colorless Sol-Land. After the game sheíll note that this may have been a mistake and she should have gone for the Sandstone Needle, but was more concerned at the time with the more ďpermanentĒ mana-source. I agree with her assessment since colors are often a bigger weak point than Ďaccess-to-landí with my 40-land-but-fetchless manabase. For context, Aurora Phoenix, which is the only spell I have in hand at the time, requires double-red pips. The good news is I topdeck a Creative Technique which is castable off a single red-pip. The bad news is that I donít have another Untapped Sol Land to go off on my Turn 3 so I play another ETB-Tapped Sol-Land and pass the turn back where she redeploys Thorn of Amethyst. My turn 4 I get up to 7 mana despite the Sol-Land being blown up and I chain out a couple beaters through the Thorn. With Emrakul still in the deck providing one layer of grindstone insurance Iím assuming this is going to be a fair game and I soon do another ďshort chainĒ through the Thorn for 3 more beaters including Maelstrom Wanderer and she scoops.

    Iím 1-0.

    Round 2 (Jund Smog):

    Game 1 I win with a quick combo without much interesting interaction that I can recall, although the first card I demonstrate him into is Witherbloom Apprentice so Iím quite conscious that there is some small chance that I demonstrate him into Chain of Smog while I continue to combo. I demonstrate anyways, reasoning I need to make sure I have haste or an extra turn to ensure he canít combo me back on his turn with his new Apprentice.

    Game 2 I keep a hand with Gemstone Cavern on my opponent goes from Turn 1 Thoughtseize to Turn 2 Golgari-Magecraft-Combo-Guy whose name I donít remember. I play an untapped land on Turn 2 so that I have 4 mana up. Turn 3 he goes for the Chain of Smog on himself and I Otawara-bounce the combo-creature back to his hand in response. When he reverses the Chain of Smog back on me I keep Sol Land + Cascade Threat and discard the other two cards, untap, and combo kill him on my Turn 3.

    Iím 2-0.

    Round 3 (Blue-Red Delver):

    Game 1 he wastelands me twice but heís not putting on much of a clock until his 3rd or 4th turn so I just combo kill him on my Turn 5 without much he can do. The combo chain starts off a little weak though (Creativity into Creativity without intervening Cascaders), so Ė given that heís expressed confusion as to what Iím doing Ė I pull out the Storm Counter I use for the sideboard Progenitor Ooze and start keeping track of storm. This causes him to decline casting a Dragonrage Channeler that I Technique him into which I figure is one less blocker if I variance very poorly. Rest of the chain goes fine though.

    Game 2 he knows whatís up now. He keeps on 7, I eat an early wasteland, and he races to a 6/6 Murktide. Alongside DRC he swings in for 7 taking me down from 17 to 10 while Iím still on 4 or 5 mana. I start the turn on 10 facing down 7 damage and two options. I can play an untapped Sol-Land and combo off this turn. Alternatively, I can play an ETB-Tapped Masques Sol-Land and play for a hardcast Maelstrom Wanderer the following turn. Given how eagerly he kept his opening hand I assume he has to have at least two pieces of interaction, and Iíve already seen a bolt (and I believe two wastelands), so I reason that the best play is to risk death on his turn to overpower his interaction on my next untap. Even Flusterstorm or Double-Force of Will shouldnít but a sufficient answer to Maelstrom Wanderer so I bet on him not having another bolt/wasteland rather than not having Double-Force/Flusterstorm and pass the turn. On his turn he hydroblasts my land to achieve delirium and attacks me down to 1. On my turn I untap, play a land, and cast Maelstrom Wanderer. After a little chaining from the first cascade I end up with a Cascader and an Aeve, Progenitor Ooze with 4 Ďoozlingsí. Iím over 20 power now but without any other legendary hits Iím still reliant on the Maelstrom Wanderer resolving for haste. When I go to resolve the 2nd Cascade and hit a Creative Technique, with no other unresolve cascade triggers on the stack, he makes his move and double-counters to stop the chain. Unfortunately for him that means that Maelstrom Wanderer resolves and I already have enough to win this turn. We talk after the game and I point this out to him, but he says he felt he just had to ďstop the chainĒ. I concur that letting me continue to chain was still a major threat, but it was still non-deterministic and there was always the chance Iíd have to keep demonstrating to build up enough and demonstrate him into a lightning bolt.

    Iím 3-0.

    Round 4 (Bug Reanimator Brew):

    Game 1: He entombs a threat so I put him on some sort of reanimation deck, but the BUG Manabase reads to me as more ďWorldgorger Dragon Blue MidrangeĒ than classic reanimator. I combo kill him on Turn 3 without much resistance.

    Game 2: He Thougtseizes the only spell in my opening hand (Sweet-Gum Recluse) but I draw another before Turn 3. On his 2nd turn he plays Baleful Strix. On my Turn 3 I play Aurora Phoenix cascading into Creative Technique and I demonstrate. With the demonstration triggers on the stack he double-forces my combo so I resolve just the 5/3 flyer, which isnít too impressive eyeing a Baleful Strix from across the table. He reanimates my Sweet-Gum Recluse and its trigger make it a 3/6 with reach. Iím silently amused by how well one of my unplayed draft threats lines up against my other unplayed draft threat. Double-Forcing didnít leave him with a lot of other resources though, so a couple turns later I draw another spell, cast it, and win the game.

    Iím 4-0. Since heís also playing a deck he brewed himself and we played at Table 1 going into Round 4 of a 49-player event, we make some sarcastic comments about the inferiority of ďnet deckersĒ.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Between Rounds: So Iím talking with people between rounds. 1MrLee (twitch name) tells me that I should be able to draw into Top 8 at this point, which gets me noticeably excited as the attention of a larger event Top 8 could potentially further my goals of getting Creative Technique onto MTGO, as I originally brewed the deck as a donation list for streamers but started playing it myself after finding out the card wasnít Ďin digitalí. He runs me though a hand-wavey version of the math with a calculator. The math Iím not doing in this moment, however, that I should be, is calculating how many other undefeated players there are in a 49 player tournament. Itís a pretty quick calculation to do, and the answer is 2. This is the math I should have been doing. Looking at the other players at the top tables Iím pretty happy with my odds against all of them except for one, and I know heíll draw with me in his own interest.

    Before the round begins I end up chatting with another local I know, Lauren Mulligan, and I mention that Iím glad I dodged her because sheís the hardest matchup that I know of in the room, as she rarely sleeves up cardboard without Life from The Loam. I can handle a couple wastelands from a tempo deck, but my weird little brew canít really do a lot against an infinite number of wastelands coming online before I get to 5/6 mana (which is why the sideboard has two ďdesperation pithing needlesĒ; Iíd run more, but they can brick the combo chaining). She confirms that Iím safe from her evil clutches because sheís 2-2, after hitting a run of 3 combo players. I ask her what combos sheís run into, and I note that I feel pretty good against two of them, but I donít think I can beat Oops All Spells.
    Anyways, Iím just sitting happy getting ready to draw into the Top 8.


    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Round 5 (Oops All Spells):

    So, to my surprise (because I didn't do the math and overestimated the number of undefeated players), I get paired down. This means my opponent has no incentive to draw, and I donít recognize them from the top tables so I donít know what theyíre on.

    Game 1 I lose.

    Game 2 we both Mulligan to 5. I keep Leyline, and the 4 cards I need to go off on Turn 3. After I pass on Turn 2, they Force of Vigor my Leyline and go off.

    Iím 4-1.

    Round 6 (Classic Ruby Storm):

    Game 1 I lose the die roll and he kills me on his Turn 3 before I have a chance to kill him on my Turn 3. In retrospect, losing the die roll was a big mistake.

    Game 2 he leads with Ruby Medallion Turn 1. I play a Maddening Hex on him Turn 2. After Taking 12 damage from the Hex after casting a few spells he seems to realize he cannot combo under it and starts attacking with Birgi. I hardcast a Maelstrom Wanderer and he scoops.

    Game 3 I keep another hand with a Turn 2 Maddening Hex. On his turn 2 he wheels both of us into new hands. This hand doesnít have Maddening Hex, so the shields are now down. It does have a cascader though, so the one glimmer of hope is that I should theoretically win if I manage to get a Turn 3, as it will either combo or get Maddening Hex. I donít get a Turn 3.

    I drop down to 4-2, and I end up 10th/49 in the Tournament.

    Closing Thoughts:

    I remain in favor with the most recent changes Iíve made to the deck, but there are a couple areas I suspect Iím still being sup-optimal.

    The spell package has been trimmed to 20, which allows for 40 lands. This makes the deck weaker to Thoughtseize but more consistent overall, and I donít think Thoughtseize is a big threat. At the current time this is as trim as I think I can make it without inducing other problems.

    There are two lessons that I picked up from the list that Andrea Mengucci posted after seeing someone run the deck at a European tournament and also just miss out on Top 8. The first is that 4 Maelstrom Wanderer and 1 Emrakul is sufficient and therefore almost certainly better than the splits I was running previously. To be completely honest, 4 Maelstrom Wanderer and 0 Emrakul may actually be correct, but at this moment I like having the Emrakul in the mix, particularly with the uptick of Painter decks that Iím seeing in paper. Maelstrom Wanderer is simply more integral to the deck, the haste it provides, the fact that it is a chain-starter itself, the way it further increases the decks resiliency to interaction, and itís even a red card for relevant pitch spells. The original 3/3 split was naÔve, and hitting a 2nd Maelstrom Wanderer isnít actually a problem as the additional cascade triggers will prevent the duplicate legendary from reducing the value of the chain. You want to hit Maelstrom Wanderer so much, and even want it from hand some times, that itís worth running all 4 copies and is yet another reason to keep the total spell-count in the deck as trim as you can manage.

    The thing that Iíve learned from other players is the value of Let the Galaxy Burn. Itís not a threat and it increases the weight of taxing effects when you have to combo through them, but Ö itís more maindeck answers to Archon of Emeria, and itís one of the easier 6-Drops to cast, so even with their drawbacks in mind theyíve been great. As shown above Iím currently on 2 while the list that inspired me to move towards them was on 4. I may be wrong here, but 2 is the most I feel I can get away with since I donít want more than 20 spells and I want enough creature density to still win when I have to play scrappy fair-games, as came up in the tournament above. Itís a good card, but 20 spell slots isnít a lot to work with.

    Another change Iíve made recently is to focus the creature threat more on the manabase than focusing the manabase on the suite of creature threats. This is why there are 3 Aurora Phoenix and 2 Sweet-Gum Recluse, despite Aurora Phoenix being both easier for the deck to cast and a more aggressive beater in smaller chains. The least flexible parts of the deck can be found in the manabase. If you want Masque Lands, which this deck could not function without, then youíre kind of committed to only the first 4 being red. Given the number of colorless lands already in the deck, and the incentive for the opponent to play towards maximum numbers of wasteland, you need some non-red 6-drops. Moving the deck from the original tri-color split to a ďred versionĒ has increased its consistency, but given the nature of the manabase I feel like 100% red 6-drops is wrong. You do want some starters that you can cast off of Hickory Woodlot + Saprazzan Skerry + Ancient Tomb, for example. The deck still leans red because the spells automatically bias towards red, which incentivizes the manabase to move further towards red, but the manabase isnít able to make the full journey to a mono-red deck so I donít think the spells suite should either; just primarily red. Iím currently very happy with the 20 maindeck spells.

    If there is a current shortcoming in the maindeck, itís probably the 2 copies of Karakas. Thereís a very strong chance that one or both of them should just be more Gemstone Caverns. I initially moved away from Gemstone Caverns after Jarvis recommended them because they were a 5th or 7th mana in a deck that so often just wanted to cast a 6-drop. However, when I moved them back in after increasing to 40 lands theyíve just proven themselves time and again. Even when they donít give you the Turn 2 Creative Technique, they alleviate the burden on the deck for an untapped Sol-Land on 3 and they fix blue mana for a more consistent Turn 2 Otawara-channel-bounce.

    The sideboard I have some mixed feelings on.

    Pyrokinesis was a recommendation of a local who borrowed the deck from me for a weekly. I didnít think of it first because Iím dumb, but itís a great add, avoids muddying the combo chains the way Fury does, and really helps make the initiative matchup viable. The 4 Maddening Hex have also proven to be an excellent Plan B in more matchups than they were originally intended for.

    As weird and silly as they look, the Boompiles have pulled their weight so far. If you play them Turn 2 they have a 75% chance of wiping all permanents from the board before your next chance to combo and can also buy you time in the process. Obviously the card is not ideal because it has a random element and a CMC of 4, but itís colorless in a deck without fixing, enchantment removal with a primarily colorless-and-red manabase, an incidental anti-aggro card in an aggro-leaning metagame, and a catch-all hatepiece-answer in a deck without card filtering for the Ďappropriateí answer. Worst case scenario, if you Cascade Threat into Boompile, you have a 50% shot of wiping the board and dropping a medium-fat creature which should buy you the time to combo again. Theyíre undeniably clunky, but with a combo deck so naturally resilient to hand-based interactions, 4-mana colorless board wipes have so far been worthwhile in otherwise problematic matchups with an abundance of hate-pieces. Combined with Pyrokinesis that does not clutter up cascade chains in the same way and maindeck Let the Galaxy Burn, Archons of Emeria have been much less scary of late.

    The 2 Pithing Needles so far have been worthwhile, but they are admittedly taking a couple horrible matchups (the mox diamond, wasteland, loam style ones) and promoting them to Ö winnable but bad matchups. Without some very specific cards printed in the future fair green decks will always be one of the two unavoidable weaknesses of this archetype. Currently the needles are winning me enough matches that I would otherwise lose that I feel incentivized to keep them. However, ďupgrading matchups to only be badĒ is definitely questionable at its core if there are better ways to use these slots.

    The 2 Leyline of the Void is highly questionable. Theyíre clearly insufficient against Oops All Spells, which means theyíre just here for Reanimator. Iíve actually done quite well against reanimator to date since when they combo they generally shred your hand except for the lands and pass the turn, and all I need to win is to plays lands and cast any spell I draw, which goes over the top of them. I canít really put in 4 Leyline if I want my combo to reliably good against them, though, since theyíll combo first. So Iím Ö what, buying 10% to 15% matchup increase against specifically reanimator, taking it from a bad-ish matchup to a Ďmehí matchup, at the cost of Ö 2 sideboard slots? Iím probably wrong in doing this, but as of my typing these words those are still the 2 cards that in those sleeves upstairs.

    Finally, the Aeve, Progenitor Ooze Iím unsure of. I originally put him in here because when Bob Huang offered to test the deck for me for a bit he specifically warned me about Delver siding in Surgical Extraction and countering the paper copy of technique and then extracting it as I start the chain. However, I keep boarding it in against Delver and they keep not doing that. It Ö hasnít actually hurt me at all by ending a chain too short as of yet, but I keep paying a cost to counter a move that Iím considering optimal from my opponent, and they keep not making that move. Whether thatís their build, or their actual play, or unfamiliarity with what Iím doing, how long do I keep paying the cost to rent a safe in a building no one is breaking into? Isnít the old adage that you lose a game of magic by being one level below your opponent or exactly two levels above them? Iím still happy to keep oozing people for now, but itís starting to feel a little bit like a ďtwo levels above themĒ thing. I donít know Ö maybe those Delver players will read this, and then start going for surgical extraction thinking Iím no longer doing this, and *then* Iíll get them. Maybe.

    Currently Considering:
    2 Karakas -> 2 Gemstone Caverns
    2 Leyline of the Void -> 2 Other Anti-Combo Cards

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    More places I've seen the deck popping-up recently:

    Andrea Mengucci mentioning it "just missing" Top 8 at a large European Tournament:

    https://youtu.be/tjcw1FgUMi0?t=382

    (Amusingly, at least for me, he ends up attributing the origin of the deck as "[he thinks] some small Japanese Tournament")

    It also appeared on ELD's Time Vault Games a couple months back:


  2. #42
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    Re: 'Mississippi River' (All In Creativity Technique Combo)

    Congrats on 10th!

    That's a strong 8-0 (4 2-0s) start to the tournament! Always feels good entering the top bracket undefeated in games.

    I like your recent red-heavy manabase.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rationalist View Post
    [I]Between Rounds: So Iím talking with people between rounds. 1MrLee (twitch name) tells me that I should be able to draw into Top 8 at this point, which gets me noticeably excited as the attention of a larger event Top 8 could potentially further my goals of getting Creative Technique onto MTGO, as I originally brewed the deck as a donation list for streamers but started playing it myself after finding out the card wasnít Ďin digitalí. He runs me though a hand-wavey version of the math with a calculator.
    That's really frustrating.

    As a habit, I ignore others' speculation of the standings and do my own math. Players chatter about it a lot. Sometimes casually speculating, sometimes trying to help, sometimes to talk you into drawing. But you never know if they did the math wrong or have biased interests (e.g. maybe they want you to draw because their friend has 100% chance of drawing into Top 8 but you aren't guaranteed, since tiebreaker opponent win% can change a lot in the last rounds, but they want their friend to secure a spot). I would rather figure out on my own what is optimal for me and stick to that plan.

    You are clearly strong at math so I advise the same for you. Work the whole thing out yourself, pick a lane, and then enjoy chatting with others but don't let that sway your decisions. If you're confident in your deck (especially if you know what others are on from scouting between rounds), don't accept draws you don't need to or draws that could backfire.

    Unfortunately when there's an uneven number of undefeated players, 1 gets paired down. Not only will that X-1 opponent not give you the draw, but their win % is lower than the win % the other undefeateds get paired against (each other). So even if you win, your tiebreaker stat went down relative to the other undefeateds, while that X-1 opponent's tiebreaker went up from playing you. Even worse if they are X-0-1 and not X-1. That means that pairing could also make drawing the subsequent round less optimal, forcing you to play both out. Then what if players the others' beat don't drop and play it out, making it into the X-1 or X-2 bracket, boosting others' opponent win%s while your opponents got creamed or drop? A lot can change over those last 2 rounds. Even if you aren't the one paired down, it may not be safe to double draw knowing the other X-0 has to play it out (could win) and then you would place behind them and all X-1s. It's frustrating going from X-0 to finishing 9th or 10th after tiebreakers affected by matches you aren't even playing in. A lot can change even when you start off X-0 in the 1st-4th spot, so always do your own math and logic tree first before listening to others about whether you can coast into Top 8.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rationalist View Post
    Round 5 (Oops All Spells):

    Round 6 (Classic Ruby Storm):

    I drop down to 4-2, and I end up 10th/49 in the Tournament.
    Unlucky pairings.

    As I mentioned earlier, I think one of your biggest weaknesses is faster explosive combo decks. If they go off before turn 3, you don't have much meaningful game play. The SB should be tweaked to help. Maddening Hex seems very strong. It's unfortunate that it got Wheeled out of your hand in R6G3, otherwise maybe you win that game and match and then make Top 8 as X-1.

    I think you also got lucky that Round 4 was slow BUG Reanimator (the new grindy Ledger Shredder + Baleful Strix build?) instead of explosive BR Reanimator, otherwise R4G1 would not be able to go off turn 3 undisrupted.

    Overall the deck looks strong. Maybe some SB changes could help fight fast combo? The meta is shifting towards fast decks due to Initiative pushing out slower fair decks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rationalist View Post
    There are two lessons that I picked up from the list that Andrea Mengucci posted after seeing someone run the deck at a European tournament and also just miss out on Top 8. The first is that 4 Maelstrom Wanderer and 1 Emrakul is sufficient and therefore almost certainly better than the splits I was running previously. To be completely honest, 4 Maelstrom Wanderer and 0 Emrakul may actually be correct, but at this moment I like having the Emrakul in the mix, particularly with the uptick of Painter decks that Iím seeing in paper.
    Yeah, keep the 1 Emrakul because of decks like Painter and High Tide. It's also a nice silver bullet to hit if you are able to make many branches but face some difficult board state. Emrakul beats a lot.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rationalist View Post
    Another change Iíve made recently is to focus the creature threat more on the manabase than focusing the manabase on the suite of creature threats. This is why there are 3 Aurora Phoenix and 2 Sweet-Gum Recluse, despite Aurora Phoenix being both easier for the deck to cast and a more aggressive beater in smaller chains. The least flexible parts of the deck can be found in the manabase.
    This seems wise. Your Sol Land mana base limits what you can play reliably, so it makes sense to pick threats that your manabase can support. Enlisted Wurm is a good creature but too awkward to cast. Even Etherium-Horn Sorcerer puts more pressure on your mana. With the change in threats, you were able to beat mana denial from Painter and Delver by just dropping more lands, and they couldn't color-screw you off action.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rationalist View Post
    Pyrokinesis was a recommendation of a local who borrowed the deck from me for a weekly. I didnít think of it first because Iím dumb, but itís a great add, avoids muddying the combo chains the way Fury does, and really helps make the initiative matchup viable.
    Agree. Much better than Fury here. Also being instant vs sorcery speed makes every difference vs Elves. Pyrokinesis in response to Hoof trigger or Allosaurus activation = GG, whereas they can sometimes sneak a fast win around Fury.


    Quote Originally Posted by Rationalist View Post
    The 2 Pithing Needles so far have been worthwhile, but they are admittedly taking a couple horrible matchups (the mox diamond, wasteland, loam style ones) and promoting them to Ö winnable but bad matchups.

    The 2 Leyline of the Void is highly questionable. Theyíre clearly insufficient against Oops All Spells, which means theyíre just here for Reanimator. Iíve actually done quite well against reanimator to date since when they combo they generally shred your hand except for the lands and pass the turn, and all I need to win is to plays lands and cast any spell I draw, which goes over the top of them. I canít really put in 4 Leyline if I want my combo to reliably good against them, though, since theyíll combo first. So Iím Ö what, buying 10% to 15% matchup increase against specifically reanimator, taking it from a bad-ish matchup to a Ďmehí matchup, at the cost of Ö 2 sideboard slots? Iím probably wrong in doing this, but as of my typing these words those are still the 2 cards that in those sleeves upstairs.
    I think these 4 should be anti-combo slots. Pick something that is good against any fast deck and also won't mess up your branches too much. I don't know what that card is, but you do have weaknesses to stuff like Oops, BR Reanimator, and other fast combo. Hex is very strong vs Storm, but could still eat turn 1 discard and isn't enough vs non-Storm combo or a fast Empty win.

  3. #43
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    Re: 'Mississippi River' (All In Creativity Technique Combo)

    Quote Originally Posted by FTW View Post
    Unfortunately when there's an uneven number of undefeated players, 1 gets paired down. Not only will that X-1 opponent not give you the draw, but their win % is lower than the win % the other undefeateds get paired against (each other). So even if you win, your tiebreaker stat went down relative to the other undefeateds, while that X-1 opponent's tiebreaker went up from playing you. Even worse if they are X-0-1 and not X-1. That means that pairing could also make drawing the subsequent round less optimal, forcing you to play both out. Then what if players the others' beat don't drop and play it out, making it into the X-1 or X-2 bracket, boosting others' opponent win%s while your opponents got creamed or drop? A lot can change over those last 2 rounds. Even if you aren't the one paired down, it may not be safe to double draw knowing the other X-0 has to play it out (could win) and then you would place behind them and all X-1s. It's frustrating going from X-0 to finishing 9th or 10th after tiebreakers affected by matches you aren't even playing in. A lot can change even when you start off X-0 in the 1st-4th spot, so always do your own math and logic tree first before listening to others about whether you can coast into Top 8.
    I always appreciate your detailed posts, but I think this part mischaracterizes the situation. In a 49-player event, it's very safe to double draw the last two rounds as an X-0. The only potential issue is if the tournament organizer didn't run the event at the correct number of rounds for the turnout. This event was six rounds, which was correct for the turnout. If he wins his Round 5, then Round 6 doesn't matter: He's locked for Top 8 with a win, loss, or draw, so he could just concede to his opponent and grab some food if he wanted to.

    Based on what happened, the two choices going into Round 6 should have been play or intentionally draw, knowing that a loss would leave the loser at X-2 and likely on the outside. If it had been me and I was in the dark about the matchup, I would take into account the records of the people around me (I would have been tracking this each round if I were X-0 or X-1 deep in the tournament). If I couldn't deduce how many slots were available, I would play. In the situations in the past when I've been on the bubble, I've had decent info and have almost always chosen to ID. But playing for seeding can also be a consideration. Being in the top half of the bracket means you get to choose to play first, and that is very important in current-day Legacy. If you know you're up against a bad matchup, then offering an ID is probably the best chance to make the cut.

    Quote Originally Posted by FTW View Post
    I think these 4 should be anti-combo slots. Pick something that is good against any fast deck and also won't mess up your branches too much. I don't know what that card is, but you do have weaknesses to stuff like Oops, BR Reanimator, and other fast combo. Hex is very strong vs Storm, but could still eat turn 1 discard and isn't enough vs non-Storm combo or a fast Empty win.
    There are precious few options, although alternate-casting-cost or high-CMC spells is something that seems inevitable in the next couple years as WOTC blasts out product. Maybe in the next Commander set. Maybe there would even be a conditional counterspell land or spell. Would Chancellor of the Annex be better than what's there currently? Would it be better to write off fast combo for now? What if cascade bricking against combo isn't that bad and as long as you're stopping them from going off, a Boarding Party or two is all you need on board to win?

  4. #44
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    Re: 'Mississippi River' (All In Creativity Technique Combo)

    Quote Originally Posted by FTW View Post
    Congrats on 10th!
    Thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by FTW View Post
    That's really frustrating.

    As a habit, I ignore others' speculation of the standings and do my own math. Players chatter about it a lot. Sometimes casually speculating, sometimes trying to help, sometimes to talk you into drawing. But you never know if they did the math wrong or have biased interests (e.g. maybe they want you to draw because their friend has 100% chance of drawing into Top 8 but you aren't guaranteed, since tiebreaker opponent win% can change a lot in the last rounds, but they want their friend to secure a spot). I would rather figure out on my own what is optimal for me and stick to that plan.

    You are clearly strong at math so I advise the same for you. Work the whole thing out yourself, pick a lane, and then enjoy chatting with others but don't let that sway your decisions. If you're confident in your deck (especially if you know what others are on from scouting between rounds), don't accept draws you don't need to or draws that could backfire.
    The sentiment here is wise, but I need to actually research how the matchups and tiebreakers work before I can confidently do that math. I understand combinatorics well enough but I'm currently ignorant about the nuances of the matchup system itself and I wasn't going to feel confident here in the 20 minutes between rounds. A shortcoming of preparation, perhaps, but I'm rationally aware I lack the required intellect to both accurately acquire the appropriate information on how the system works and accurately perform the calculation in around 1200 seconds. I'll try to simply do this math before the next time I attend a similar event.

    Quote Originally Posted by FTW View Post
    I think these 4 should be anti-combo slots. Pick something that is good against any fast deck and also won't mess up your branches too much. I don't know what that card is, but you do have weaknesses to stuff like Oops, BR Reanimator, and other fast combo. Hex is very strong vs Storm, but could still eat turn 1 discard and isn't enough vs non-Storm combo or a fast Empty win.
    I find myself concurring with most everything you're saying.


    Quote Originally Posted by ESG View Post
    There are precious few options, although alternate-casting-cost or high-CMC spells is something that seems inevitable in the next couple years as WOTC blasts out product. Maybe in the next Commander set. Maybe there would even be a conditional counterspell land or spell. Would Chancellor of the Annex be better than what's there currently? Would it be better to write off fast combo for now? What if cascade bricking against combo isn't that bad and as long as you're stopping them from going off, a Boarding Party or two is all you need on board to win?
    I think at the moment finding the thing against fast combo that I don't mind "bricking into" might be better than finding the Commandeer-type effect that I can reliably cast. That's how Maddening Hex ended up in the sideboard to begin with, since in any matchups where I want it I really don't mind going [6/3 Haste Threat into Maddening Hex, swing for 6, pass the turn]. I mean in an ideal world another pitch-card that works against fast-combo would be fantastic, but the pool of cards that do work against such decks but that I would cascade into is so much larger than the cardpool of pitch cards.

    Although, come to think of it, if these are cards that are coming in alongside Maddening Hex, then maybe I don't need to be automatically comfortable "Bricking" into them ... the chance of doing that is not only muddied by Creative Techniques but also the Maddening Hexes! ... Hmm.

  5. #45
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    Re: 'Mississippi River' (All In Creativity Technique Combo)

    Quote Originally Posted by ESG View Post
    I always appreciate your detailed posts, but I think this part mischaracterizes the situation. In a 49-player event, it's very safe to double draw the last two rounds as an X-0. The only potential issue is if the tournament organizer didn't run the event at the correct number of rounds for the turnout. This event was six rounds, which was correct for the turnout. If he wins his Round 5, then Round 6 doesn't matter: He's locked for Top 8 with a win, loss, or draw, so he could just concede to his opponent and grab some food if he wanted to.
    Good points.

    In a 6-round 49-player event, you can either end up with 3 4-0s or 4 4-0s.

    With an even 4 4-0s, no one is paired down. Then yes you could all agree to ID or even double ID. Double ID will guarantee Top 8 as long as there are fewer than 64 players in the 6-round event, though you'll lose standings to the X-1 winners. For example, with 49 players there are approx 12 3-1s behind the 4 4-0s. 6 of them will win. If you double ID, those 6 4-1s will have to play it out and 3 will win. Final standings:
    1. 5-1
    2. 5-1
    3. 5-1
    4. 4-0-2
    5. 4-0-2
    6. 4-0-2
    7. 4-0-2
    8. 4-2 with best tiebreakers

    So with an even number of 4-0s you can all double ID as 4-0-2 and Top 8 (though you'll lose position).

    With the odd 3 4-0s, one of the 4-0s gets paired down with 3-1 or 3-0-1. If OP gets paired down (which he did), he doesn't even get the choice to double draw. Opponent will want to play Round 5. If OP wins Round 5, then yes he's locked in as either 5-1 or 5-0-1 no matter what happens in Round 6. The "don't draw unless you need to" advice is still relevant if, like you said, you've scouted opponent & know it's a favorable matchup & you want the win for higher position (still Top 8 if you lose). But if OP loses Round 5 (which he did due to unlucky pairing down vs bad matchup), then he's 4-1. Will his Round 6 opponent even want to draw? Will all 4-1-1s always make Top 8 in a 6-round 49-player event? I don't think so. After Round 5 there are 2 4-0-1s and possibly 8 4-1s, so the 4-1s can't all draw into Top 8. Maybe OP can get lucky if some draw and some play, but opponent may want to play. Basically, if paired down OP has to play out Round 5 (can't ID) and if he loses then he has to play out Round 6 (probably can't ID). Drawing into Top 8 is not an option.

    If he doesn't get paired down, he could ID Round 5. But if the paired down 4-0 player wins their match, that player jumps into 1st place. ~6 of the 3-1s will win. Standings after Round 5 would be:
    1. 5-0
    2. 4-0-1
    3. 4-0-1
    4. 4-1
    5. 4-1
    6. 4-1
    7. 4-1
    8. 4-1
    9. 4-1

    For Round 6, at 4-0-1 OP would either get paired up with the 5-0 or paired down with a 4-1. The 5-0 player would probably agree to ID letting you both Top 8. But maybe they want to play because they're in a favorable position either way. For the person paired down, the 4-1 can't necessarily afford to take the draw (tiebreaker can change after other matches play out), so the paired down 4-0-1 has to play it out. You could lose. One of the 4-1s gets paired down and might win. Final standings:
    1. 5-0-1
    2. 5-1
    3. 5-1
    4. 5-1
    5. 5-1
    6. 4-0-2 (paired up 4-0-1 who took the ID)
    7. 4-1-1 (paired down 4-0-1 who played and lost)
    8. 4-2 with best tiebreakers

    With 49 players and those results, all 4-0 players make Top 8. 4-1-1 is still enough to get in if you're forced to play Round 6 and then lose. But if there are closer to 60 players at 6 rounds then the X-1 pool is bigger, and if there are some natural draws from earlier rounds (paper matches can go to time), then 4-1-1 might not be enough to Top 8 if your tiebreakers are bad, meaning you could miss the cut even after the Round 5 ID (and then forced to play Round 6). It's unlikely but mathematically possible. I swear I've seen it happen before. Maybe it had to do with byes and which players dropped, inflating the X-1-1 pool.

    Anyway, bottom line is it's better to look at the standings yourself and figure out on your own whether you're guaranteed to Top 8 or not. It's a bigger problem when you're in the X-1 bracket, but the same principle applies. Other people can always get the math wrong or give bad advice, so check yourself if you can.

  6. #46
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    Re: 'Mississippi River' (All In Creativity Technique Combo)

    It looks like someone else may have gotten to the Top 8 Before Me: https://twitter.com/MaiDireLegacy/st...91225700085760

  7. #47

    Re: 'Mississippi River' (All In Creativity Technique Combo)

    I really like the concept. I'm not sure how helpful these thoughts are, but:

    AFAICT aftermath cards count the CMC of both sides, so Commit//Memory is cmc 10 and won't get hit by the cascaders. If there's a deep stack, it's also not a total miss to tuck a creative technique back into the library while going off. That said, I'm not sure how good it is as an interaction piece.

    Mostly I think it's funny, but I wonder if a 1-of shared fate could do any good from the sideboard.

    It seems like Aminatou's Augury could do lot of things that you want. It's vulnerable to counters, but the opponent could just have counted the Creative Technique instead if it's mid-combo.

    It seems like the combo is limited by the number of copies of Creative Technique that you can have in your deck, so reshuffles are going to be important for resilience.

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    Re: 'Mississippi River' (All In Creativity Technique Combo)

    Quote Originally Posted by rufus View Post
    I really like the concept. I'm not sure how helpful these thoughts are, but:

    AFAICT aftermath cards count the CMC of both sides, so Commit//Memory is cmc 10 and won't get hit by the cascaders. If there's a deep stack, it's also not a total miss to tuck a creative technique back into the library while going off. That said, I'm not sure how good it is as an interaction piece.
    Consign/Oblivion is a cheaper version of that same effect. Other players who have picked up the deck seem to be using Skyturtle. Those are both options if they meet your needs. Right now I feel good about the deck's ability to answer permanents, though, and I'm not personally running either of those.

    Quote Originally Posted by rufus View Post
    Mostly I think it's funny, but I wonder if a 1-of shared fate could do any good from the sideboard.
    Certainly fun, but I'm not sure what the incentive is there other than the laughs.

    Quote Originally Posted by rufus View Post
    It seems like Aminatou's Augury could do lot of things that you want. It's vulnerable to counters, but the opponent could just have counted the Creative Technique instead if it's mid-combo.
    I think if you want a card to hit to make the chain even more robust the pick is likely the mono-green fatty with quadruple cascade. I experimented with him again recently but I cut him since he's unnecessary. I do not think more "go yet bigger" cards that you never actually hardcast are worth cluttering the combo. In fact, while I still think she's worth including, I'm closer to cutting the last copy of Emrakul than I am adding another fatty.

    The combo works when it goes off. I legitimately believe the focus should be in making sure it goes off in the first place.

    The one concession I'll make to Aminatou's Augury, however, is that if you're working on a build of the deck where you want a higher blue-card count - say, for example, if you wanted to Commandeer+Keruga out of the sideboard, I could imagine cards like Aminatou's Augury and/or Emergent Ultimatum being a part of that. That aside though, I'm not seeing the incentive. Assuming the 1 Emrakul remains, you'd have to cut either a potential Cascade Starter or a Land for Augury, either of which would be losing a resource that is providing you consistency.

    Comboing and sputtering into non-wins is not really where this deck loses the games it loses. Not comboing is. We don't need to sharpen the bullets, we need to make sure we get a chance to pull the trigger.

    Quote Originally Posted by rufus View Post
    It seems like the combo is limited by the number of copies of Creative Technique that you can have in your deck, so reshuffles are going to be important for resilience.
    This has not historically been a problem. Even most chains with one of the techniques stuck in hand should win. I used to use Sakashima's Protege to clone Emrakul to shuffle Techniques back into the deck mid-combo, but in truth this is show-boaty nonsense that helps you go even bigger in games you're already about to win. I do not believe shuffle effects are worth cluttering the combo.

  9. #49

    Re: 'Mississippi River' (All In Creativity Technique Combo)

    The combo works when it goes off. I legitimately believe the focus should be in making sure it goes off in the first place.
    How do you feel about playing Throes of Chaos and Tibalt's Trickery to go off faster?

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    Re: 'Mississippi River' (All In Creativity Technique Combo)

    Quote Originally Posted by rufus View Post
    How do you feel about playing Throes of Chaos and Tibalt's Trickery to go off faster?
    Tibalt's Trickery requires 0 cost spells. I believe any number of 0 cost spells that would allow you to reliably Tibalt's Trickery would gum up the deck so much the combo engine would no longer function since you'd cascade into 0-drops. Plus you'd be changing the whole deck for a card you'd need to draw while only playing 4 copies, and worst of all they can just Force of Will Tibalt's Trickery anyways.

    If I just wanted to go off a turn faster at the cost of gumming up the deck I'd probably play Seething Song, but even a single copy in the deck gives you a 20-25% chance of bricking with the combo off a Cascade-starter or exposing the combo off a Technique-starter to countermagic, plus obviously it itself is vulnerable to countermagic.

    I think trying to be fancy in the maindeck is bad almost inherently because any card you put in the deck will be seen in combo chains far more often than you'll see it in hand in the first place, and elaborate sideboard plans are not space-efficient since we only have 15 sideboard slots.

  11. #51

    Re: 'Mississippi River' (All In Creativity Technique Combo)

    Quote Originally Posted by Rationalist View Post
    Tibalt's Trickery requires 0 cost spells. I believe any number of 0 cost spells that would allow you to reliably Tibalt's Trickery would gum up the deck so much the combo engine would no longer function since you'd cascade into 0-drops. Plus you'd be changing the whole deck for a card you'd need to draw while only playing 4 copies, and worst of all they can just Force of Will Tibalt's Trickery anyways. ...
    Sorry, I should have been clearer. The plan would be to cast Throes of Chaos on turn 2 off of an RR + sol land, cascade into trickery with it, and then counter throes with trickery to bootstrap going off. So there aren't any 0 cost spells involved.

    It's true that this is vulnerable to counterspells, and that it makes going off less reliable, but the ways that it fizzles are:
    1. Cascading into Throes of Chaos with no more trickeries in the deck. This will happen eventually since other cascades can hit trickery too, but it should hit creative technique on the way most of the time.
    2. "Cascading" into trickery with an empty stack off of creative technique or trickery. (This is relatively unlikely.)

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    Re: 'Mississippi River' (All In Creativity Technique Combo)

    You weren't obliged to be clearer, I'm just slow on the uptake; that should be the takeaway from what you said I'm just being overly dismissive. Maindeck I still don't like that because the counterspell vulnerability and the increased number of fizzling sequences. ... It's an interesting place to think about playing around with such cards sideboard though ...

    ...

    Thanks. I'll give that some thought.

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    Re: 'Mississippi River' (All In Creativity Technique Combo)

    ... In fact, I think right off the bat, not having any Throes of Chaos in the board is likely wrong.

    I'm currently boarding 4 Maddening Hex. If I changed that to 3 Throes and 2 Hex, than I could effectively board in 5 Turn-2 Hexes, give 3/5 of those effective Hexes either resiliency to discard or the ability to recur themselves the next turn (retrace is pretty easy in a 40 land deck), and then if I spent 2 more sideboard slots on some other fast-combo answer that worked against some other deck with CMC 3 or less I could always board into 5 copies of that. Whether that's Tibalt's Trickery to try to go off on Turn 2 or some other hate-card ... it's still an incredibly efficient use of sideboard slots and always insulates itself against discard which is more common out of fast combo decks.

    ... this actually sounds quite good.

    EDIT: In fact, in fact, I should test your suggested 4x Trickery 4x Throes as a complete sideboard package. There's some chance you solved it here and I'm just still being slow on the uptake. I need to sleeve and test some stuff ...

  14. #54

    Re: 'Mississippi River' (All In Creativity Technique Combo)

    Quote Originally Posted by Rationalist
    You weren't obliged to be clearer...
    No obligation, but my goal was to communicate.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rationalist View Post
    ...
    EDIT: In fact, in fact, I should test your suggested 4x Trickery 4x Throes as a complete sideboard package. There's some chance you solved it here and I'm just still being slow on the uptake. I need to sleeve and test some stuff ...
    To be fair, I haven't done any testing or careful analysis, so it might be terrible, or might need more multi-cascaders or some other modification to the deck to offset the higher fizzle rate.

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    Re: 'Mississippi River' (All In Creativity Technique Combo)

    Wouldn't the chos/trickery "combo" be worth testing even MD?

    Throes allow to combo often 1 turn earlier, and with the high land count the retrace ability should also be a nightmare for counterspells decks.
    Trickery is not dead, it is still a 2 manas counter, which is not that bad vs some combo decks, the worst MUs if I understood well?

  16. #56

    Re: 'Mississippi River' (All In Creativity Technique Combo)

    Quote Originally Posted by dte View Post
    Wouldn't the chaos/trickery "combo" be worth testing even MD?

    Throes allow to combo often 1 turn earlier, and with the high land count the retrace ability should also be a nightmare for counterspells decks.
    Trickery is not dead, it is still a 2 manas counter, which is not that bad vs some combo decks, the worst MUs if I understood well?
    On some level, whether cards start in the main or side is a meta game call anyway. I think the issue is more that the "throes package" ends up being too many cards to fit into a sideboard.

    Throes does allow going off faster, but you basically need Sandstone Needle or Gemstone Caverns (with a counter) in play to cast it again on turn 3 if you get countered. Dwarven Ruins, Sulfur Vent and Tinder Farm all have to sacrifice to produce 2 mana. ... However, talking about red mana did make me realize that, thanks to reclaim (and the high land count) throes does also make Seething Song better. Hitting seething song on the cascade and re-casting throes from a graveyard is a way to continue to combo. (Of course you really want to be pulling the Throes of Chaos out of the library so that cascade is more likely to hit creative technique instead, so reclaiming it isn't perfect.)

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    Re: 'Mississippi River' (All In Creativity Technique Combo)

    Wouldn't even a single song bring a bit over 10% fizzles with any other start than throes of chaos?

  18. #58

    Re: 'Mississippi River' (All In Creativity Technique Combo)

    Quote Originally Posted by dte View Post
    Wouldn't even a single song bring a bit over 10% fizzles with any other start than throes of chaos?
    Quote Originally Posted by dte View Post
    Wouldn't even a single song bring a bit over 10% fizzles with any other start than throes of chaos?
    Let's divide the starts into: Throes of Chaos, Creative Technique, and "other"

    On a start with an "other" card like boarding party a single seething song does lead to a roughly 1/9 chance to fizzle, but those are the third choice after throes and creative technique. I imagine that going off with technique brings the average closer to 6%.

    Without the throes package, a single seething song would mean a 20% chance to fizzle from "other." So throes does make seething song better.

    ...

    One of the issues with the Throes/Trickery idea is that going off will use up the trickeries faster than the throes. On average, twice as often, but there's no replacement and the numbers are small, so the calculation is a little messy. It's plausible that it's better to just let the late fizzles happen in exchange for more early consistency, but that made me look for other ways to keep the chains going. I had confused myself into thinking that seething song could help with that, but it really just uses up another copy of trickery via retrace.
    ...

    For what it's worth the best candidate I've come up with as a supplement for trickeries so far is probably Founding the third path which can be started at 1 instead of 2 if there isn't anything useful in the graveyard when it resolves.

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    Re: 'Mississippi River' (All In Creativity Technique Combo)

    The Throes/Trickery combo lets you potentially go off sooner, but it also increases the fizzle rate (current combo doesn't fizzle) and makes you more prone to counterspells (current combo wins through FoW by making multiple Branches).

    Suppose you have 4 Throes & 4 Trickery.

    You cast T2 Throes -> Trickery targeting Throes.
    Opponent can Force or Daze Trickery and you fizzle.

    IF Trickery resolves:
    -> you hit a cascade creature with high probability (12-16 copies?)
    -> you hit another Throes/Trickery with lower probability (6 copies)
    -> you hit Creative Technique with the lowest probability (4 copies)

    Trickery is a fizzle (no legal targets)
    Throes will cascade into Trickery countering Throes & repeat
    Cascade creature will hit Throes/Trickery with higher probability than Creative Technique. Trickery will counter the creature & repeat. Throes will cascade into Trickery countering Throes and you try again.
    Creative Technique is the best hit. You Demonstrate into 2 branches and then you're more resilient if 1 branch fizzles.

    The problem is that Trickery can be revealed by either Trickery, cascade creature or Creative Technique leading to more fizzles or pseudo-fizzles, or making it easier for a single counterspell to disrupt the whole combo. You could mitigate some of that risk by running more multi-cascaders (4 Maelstrom Wanderer + 4 Apex Predator) so that flipping a cascade creature won't fizzle if it cascades into the wrong card. But you can't run too many high CMC cascaders because you won't always draw Throes and will need to cast the cascade creature sometimes.

    It deserves testing. It could add speed, but it also adds variance and threatens resilience, so it depends how badly you need a way to speed up vs combo. Would running Chancellor of the Annex just be better at buying +1 turn? Or maybe 3 Throes + 3 Trickery in the SB? It's useful that Trickery in hand can counter enemy combos.

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    Re: 'Mississippi River' (All In Creativity Technique Combo)

    Small point of order, Tibalt's Trickery "cascades" until it hits a spell with a different name, so Trickery on Throes means Throes of Chaos isn't a live hit, you just move past it.
    So really Trickery into Trickery is the only fizzle from the initial start.
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