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 Post subject: To be, or not to be? Question regarding metas and decklists
AgePosted: 2017-Mar-27 2:37 pm 

Joined: 2016-Mar-16 12:03 pm
Age: Drake
Hey everybody, I've asked something along these lines to another site I participate on, but got little response, so thought I would ask here.

About nine months ago, I built a deck with Segrus's input, Damia's Shadow Emporium, which has a Simic base and adds in black for gorgons. Nine months ago, the deck would have done fine...nine months ago. I had to lay off magic at that time, so it took until last weekend to play again, and it seems my friends have been busy while I wasn't paying attention. The decklist I planned nine months ago got zorched and flat-out annihilated due to my meta upping their game. With the gorgons in there, there is really not a lot of space for a drastic re-build. So I've thrown together this playlist, and then I'll ask the questions below that.

Commander:
Prime Speaker Zegana

Study Subject Acquisition: (6)
Control Magic
Desertion
Treachery
Empress Galina
Govern the Guildless
Blatant Thievery

Studied/Created Creatures and Research Staff: (24)
Clone
Vesuvan Doppelganger
Cytoplast Root-kin
Cytospawn Shambler
Experiment Kraj
Altered Ego
Nantuko Vigilante
Lorescale Coatl
Plaxcaster Frogling
Renegade Krasis
Mystic Snake
Nulltread Gargantuan
Acidic Slime
Nimbus Swimmer
Omnibian
Species Gorger
Master Biomancer
Fathom Mage
Progenitor Mimic
Simic Sky Swallower
Zameck Guildmage
Vorel of the Hull Clade
Momir Vig, Simic Visionary
Sagu Mauler

R&D Tools/Weapons/Toys: (23)
Turn to Frog
Aether Mutation
Eaten By Spiders
Pongify
Beast Within
Rapid Hybridization
Polymorphist's Jest
Curse of the Swine
Voidslime
Mystic Genesis
Plasm Capture
Bioshift
Biomass Mutation
Cytoshape
Reins of Power
Illusionist's Gambit
Invert the Skies
Snakeform
Creeping Renaissance
Ovinize
Capsize
Mimic Vat
Sleep

SimicResources: (11)
Sol Ring
Expedition Map
Farseek
Kodama's Reach
Cultivate
Journey of Discovery
Sylvan Scrying
Sky Diamond
Moss Diamond
Emerald Medallion
Sapphire Medallion

Lands: (35)
12 Island
12 Forest
Hinterland Harbor
Breeding Pool
Simic Guildgate
Simic Growth Chamber
Flooded Grove
Command Tower
Botanical Sanctum
Thornwood Falls
Woodland Stream
Lumbering Falls
Temple of Mystery

As you can see, this is now totally Simic colors only, with many blue and green staples, thus running the risk of coming off like a generic good stuff deck. I've studied the evolving edh meta I'm in (we're all new in this for the past year), and most decks are voltron-oriented with numerous support cards. While I'm totally cool with that from a design and play perspective, it means I now have to arm up for more pitched battles among commanders and the major risk is coming from the commanders themselves. The decklist above is built now with that in mind, choosing Zegana as a reliable way to re-stock the hand when needed. Although I've dropped a number of creatures, I have still tried to stick to the R&D feel of the original deck by stocking creatures that are either mutants, or else are creatures the researchers would want to study (yes, that still reads like a generic Simic deck, I know.) :0)

So the question is do you worry at all about taking a fun design ideal and chucking it to deal with the real metas you play in when you find that the idea just flat-out doesn't work in the changing meta? I have actually not played with many of these edh staples before, so this will be fun and should give my friends all the challenge they can handle, so should that be all I care about, even if the list has become somewhat more generic? For reference, we don't play competitive, and decks that win by turn 3-5 via combo are not decks we'll ever try to compete with.

_________________
Current decks:
Xenagos, God of Revels - Hydras

Under Re-Construction:
Hazezon Tamar - Defenders of Dune (only 8 less Fremen/equipment, adding ramp and answers)
Prime Speaker Zegana - Zegana's R&D
Jenara, Asura of War - Jenara's Celestial Army (needs more answers, ramp, less angels...turns out Jenara can tank quite effectively as a voltron.)

Nuked decks:
Sliver Queen - Tokens (converted back to the 60 card deck it originated from, ending its edh dependency on tutors)


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 Post subject: Re: To be, or not to be? Question regarding metas and decklists
AgePosted: 2017-Mar-28 8:54 pm 
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Joined: 2009-Aug-20 7:49 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: New Hampshire
Arcane Archer wrote:
do you worry at all about taking a fun design ideal and chucking it to deal with the real metas you play in when you find that the idea just flat-out doesn't work in the changing meta?

I guess my first question in response to your question is "why didn't the gorgons work?". If I built a deck around a theme / general that I thought was cool, I'd be hesitant to abandon it - but if it really isn't good enough, then it's not good enough.

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 Post subject: Re: To be, or not to be? Question regarding metas and decklists
AgePosted: 2017-Mar-29 12:29 am 
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Joined: 2017-Mar-11 6:43 am
Age: Dragon
Magic is a deep, deep game. I find in any meta, in any 2c+ combination there are enough tech choices to fill out your list (for example, if you really get Voltroned frequently, then Bane of Progress and Aetherspouts will push you in the right direction.

If I were trying a Zegana deck right now, I'd try out the new partner commanders in the 99. Kydele, Chosen of Kruphix, and Thrasios, Triton Hero. Also, is there a reason that you don't want to pack Coiling Oracle? I think it will terribly outperform Nulltread Gargantuan (where, if necessary to make the deck run, Devastation Tide, Evacuation, and Whelming Wave are always fine choices.) Both Kioras are inexpensive, and super fun if you can find room.

Would totally recommend packing Yavimaya Coast and Alchemist's Refuge if you got them. Bant Panorama, Blighted Woodland, Ghost Quarter, Tectonic Edge, and Novijen, Heart of Progress can spice your mana base up on the cheap. Opal Palace allows you to get extra oompf out of your Zegana plays.

Absolutely love the flavor at play, though I would be careful with card choices like Capsize. Are you encountering any sort of particular issues in your meta that you're looking for tech advice for? Does your deck run out of cards or options frequently, or does it run it's head into consistency issues that you'd like to iron out?

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 Post subject: Re: To be, or not to be? Question regarding metas and decklists
AgePosted: 2017-Mar-29 7:30 am 
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Joined: 2012-Nov-27 4:39 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Midgard
Arcane Archer wrote:
About nine months ago, I built a deck with Segrus's input, Damia's Shadow Emporium, which has a Simic base and adds in black for gorgons. Nine months ago, the deck would have done fine...nine months ago. I had to lay off magic at that time, so it took until last weekend to play again, and it seems my friends have been busy while I wasn't paying attention. The decklist I planned nine months ago got zorched and flat-out annihilated due to my meta upping their game. With the gorgons in there, there is really not a lot of space for a drastic re-build. So I've thrown together this playlist, and then I'll ask the questions below that.

Ah, that's too bad. It's unfortunate when more fun or themed builds get chewed up by an evolving meta. I've been lucky in that the people I typically get the chance to play with (although that's been...much fewer and far between lately than I'll ever want to admit...) are able to put aside the guns from time to time to go crazy with themed builds.

It sounds like you have a solid plan for trying to tune into the level your friends are playing at while still keeping the plan of having fun. I would agree with Sid here though: is there something about the gorgon deck that could change to make it compete better; and if not, if an idea just isn't ever going to be good enough, then moving onto something else isn't wrong.

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 Post subject: Re: To be, or not to be? Question regarding metas and decklists
AgePosted: 2017-Mar-29 12:38 pm 

Joined: 2016-Mar-16 12:03 pm
Age: Drake
All good questions. So let me break this down a bit further as to what I think went wrong. First, the games were against a Scion of the Ur-Dragon deck, which composed of all flyers would be challenging even if it was less optimized than it was. There was not enough flexibility to handle the flying evasion, which I agree that plenty of ways exist to dial in on those solutions. As far as gorgons themselves, there's nothing wrong with them, except that there is only so much interaction/synergy that can be done without building around them. For example, though Thornbite Staff was in there, there were not too many more things beyond Lure effects that I could use, and my opponents were very much on the lookout for those interactions. The gorgon sub-theme was primarily due to Damia as the commander, and the mafia thing was just a good explanation for throwing Simic together with black gorgons.

But to spacing, the deck is primarily designed as Simic with only a black overtone, and the Simic is the most important thing to build around for me. To keep the gorgons but re-vamp the Simic space to handle more flyers, I'd pretty much have to remove the rest of the R&D theme. As it is, this decklist dropped about 10 creatures overall, and had to cut about half of the mutants to add in other creatures that make the list more flexible, end-game oriented, and still fit the answers portion of the decklist. I think I swapped almost 40% of the deck, which is pretty extreme. I chose that because my meta now focuses more on fewer creatures with greater value/power/toughness/abilities than a horde approach.

Taking out black was the only sensible way to add in more ramp, stealing, UG answers, and new creatures. With black left in, I could afford one of those, but certainly not all four. After searching on UG creatures in particular, I found so many cool creatures like Progenitor Mimic, Altered Ego, and Vorel of the Hull Clade that still synergize pretty well with the +1/+1 counter Simic cards that going straight UG seemed worth it versus what I was losing with Damia. So at that point, the commander was either Zegana, Momir Vig, or the Experiment Kraj. Of those three, Zegana was the obvious choice for sheer card advantage.

For the question on mass-bounce cards, my decklist has the most creatures compared to the ones my friends are playing, which means it will hurt my tempo the most. My bounce options are mostly going to be used to return to my hand cards that have etb utility, cards like the remaining graft creatures, Acidic Slime, Mystic Snake etc. If Zegana wasn't the commander, Coiling Oracle would definitely be in the list, but she nullifies a lot of card drawing need from incremental sources. So Nulltread Gargantuan is better for sheer size value, plus the added bounce stapled on. For that matter, Capsize is in there to serve as a source of repeatable bounce to handle bounce needs, not to actually mess with my opponents unless I need to get rid of a pesky card. Novijen, Alchemist's Refuge, and Blighted Woodland are all things I ultimately didn't want, preferring to keep straight colored mana sources. Sac'ing one land to get two just draws down on future lands when I'm already lighter on lands than most. My idea is to cast a creature, aura, or sorcery per turn to keep tempo and keep instants and mana free for reactionary needs to deal with bum-rushes or commanders like the Scion or Lu Xun, Scholar General running buffed and unblocked. So Novijen and Alchemist's Refuge makes less sense. Opal Palace could fit, though.

Although the partnering commanders and both Kioras were in my prospective list, to be sure, they lost out to general beaters like Simic Sky Swallower and shifty creatures like the Doppelganger. Their incremental card advantage was also nullified by Zegana. By weeding out those incremental advantage cards, I could focus more on hard answers like Pongify or Polymorphist's Jest. Although I really like the Kioras, they are just too slow to get to the ultimates, cool as those abilities are. Holy snap, though, Aetherspouts will probably replace Reins of Power since I don't have a sac outlet to really abuse the Reins. Aetherspouts is a definite add...thanks.

_________________
Current decks:
Xenagos, God of Revels - Hydras

Under Re-Construction:
Hazezon Tamar - Defenders of Dune (only 8 less Fremen/equipment, adding ramp and answers)
Prime Speaker Zegana - Zegana's R&D
Jenara, Asura of War - Jenara's Celestial Army (needs more answers, ramp, less angels...turns out Jenara can tank quite effectively as a voltron.)

Nuked decks:
Sliver Queen - Tokens (converted back to the 60 card deck it originated from, ending its edh dependency on tutors)


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 Post subject: Re: To be, or not to be? Question regarding metas and decklists
AgePosted: 2017-Mar-29 6:46 pm 
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Joined: 2011-Jan-02 5:25 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Costa La Haya, capital del ducado Holanda
Arcane Archer wrote:
Nine months ago, the deck would have done fine...nine months ago. I had to lay off magic at that time, so it took until last weekend to play again, and it seems my friends have been busy while I wasn't paying attention. The decklist I planned nine months ago got zorched and flat-out annihilated due to my meta upping their game.


If you change your deck to be able to compete, you're having an arms race. Maybe that won't get your playgroup where they want to be... On the other hand, Simic Sky Swallower doesn't really sound terribly cutthroat to me either. I'm curious: didn't their decks just (this might come off degrading, but that isn't my intention)... stop sucking?

If this is your only deck, then I guess you don't have much choice to improve it. If you have other decks, what you could consider is fixing the others, and bring this deck to the table for the second game and ask something like "hey, what about a more casual game this time?". That way you can remind them there's another way to play this game.

As far as my deck advice goes: more ramp to make your deck do what it has to do sooner is a good place to start. You figured that out yourself. Another thing worth noting is that some decks just aren't good at doing everything. Like killing Simic Sky Swallowers...

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 Post subject: Re: To be, or not to be? Question regarding metas and decklists
AgePosted: 2017-Mar-29 10:12 pm 

Joined: 2016-Mar-16 12:03 pm
Age: Drake
Hey Shabbaman, no offense taken. The original lineup had too many grafters, not enough answers. To be honest, the deck was doing exactly what I designed it to do. I was getting out several grafters, which in turn was evolving the Renegade Krasis which was then pumping everything. But the combos of the Scion player broke them up before they really put him in jeopardy as soon as he got the Scion out, and the answers I did have were insufficient to rebuild under. And the gorgons started to come out, but the lack of flying defense was just too critical to put them into use.

Other decks I own are my Xenagos hydras which need no adjustments, my Jenara angels/humans/gods deck which I took out some of the angels to fix mana ratios, and put in a different lineup of answers, and my Hazezon Tamar Dune-themed deck which I only adjusted about 8 cards as well (six of those to add more mana). These other decks did well enough that a few mana and weakness-tweaks is all I feel they need to compete.

_________________
Current decks:
Xenagos, God of Revels - Hydras

Under Re-Construction:
Hazezon Tamar - Defenders of Dune (only 8 less Fremen/equipment, adding ramp and answers)
Prime Speaker Zegana - Zegana's R&D
Jenara, Asura of War - Jenara's Celestial Army (needs more answers, ramp, less angels...turns out Jenara can tank quite effectively as a voltron.)

Nuked decks:
Sliver Queen - Tokens (converted back to the 60 card deck it originated from, ending its edh dependency on tutors)


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 Post subject: Re: To be, or not to be? Question regarding metas and decklists
AgePosted: 2017-Apr-02 3:14 pm 

Joined: 2016-Mar-16 12:03 pm
Age: Drake
OK, crazy thought here. I have a lot of gorgons. Thematically, few races would want to work with gorgons. So a coven of gorgons led by Damia and aided by Vraska might instead rely on their spells and utilize artifact creatures for protection.

So if I did do something like that, artifact creatures, equipment, and even a few extra pinging equipment sources that I found to better take advantage of deathtouch might be fun and fit thematically. With myr, Steel Hellkite and other fun artifacts like Darksteel Colossus and Colossus of Akros instead of Blightsteel could be a fun deck. And even throw a Blind Seer in for kicks so that Terror and Doom Blade have a chance of taking down black creatures. And yeah, maybe even Tinker...sooooo, too far?

_________________
Current decks:
Xenagos, God of Revels - Hydras

Under Re-Construction:
Hazezon Tamar - Defenders of Dune (only 8 less Fremen/equipment, adding ramp and answers)
Prime Speaker Zegana - Zegana's R&D
Jenara, Asura of War - Jenara's Celestial Army (needs more answers, ramp, less angels...turns out Jenara can tank quite effectively as a voltron.)

Nuked decks:
Sliver Queen - Tokens (converted back to the 60 card deck it originated from, ending its edh dependency on tutors)


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 Post subject: Re: To be, or not to be? Question regarding metas and decklists
AgePosted: 2017-Apr-07 2:55 am 
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Joined: 2007-Mar-28 12:38 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Otaria
I dig the idea of having a handful of blind creatures following Gorgons...Blind Seer, Blind Zealot, Gilt-Leaf Seer...and some Golems (representing followers not lucky enough to be blind)...

Flavor Win.

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 Post subject: Re: To be, or not to be? Question regarding metas and decklists
AgePosted: 2017-Apr-07 8:02 am 

Joined: 2016-Mar-16 12:03 pm
Age: Drake
Jeyal wrote:
I dig the idea of having a handful of blind creatures following Gorgons...Blind Seer, Blind Zealot, Gilt-Leaf Seer...and some Golems (representing followers not lucky enough to be blind)...

Flavor Win.

I hear you. For some reason I didn't include Blind Seer in the list but immediately thought of him when I started building around the gorgons. Thanks for the reminder. Statues like Jade Statue I also considered, but those I rejected. The constructs and artifact creatures seemed a workable solution since they are metal and thus should be immune to a stoning ability but I only have to pay their cost once to activate. In the end, I had to draw a line between uber-theme and something I can play since there aren't enough gorgons to do a full tribal.

I'll definitely check out the other blind creatures...thanks.

_________________
Current decks:
Xenagos, God of Revels - Hydras

Under Re-Construction:
Hazezon Tamar - Defenders of Dune (only 8 less Fremen/equipment, adding ramp and answers)
Prime Speaker Zegana - Zegana's R&D
Jenara, Asura of War - Jenara's Celestial Army (needs more answers, ramp, less angels...turns out Jenara can tank quite effectively as a voltron.)

Nuked decks:
Sliver Queen - Tokens (converted back to the 60 card deck it originated from, ending its edh dependency on tutors)


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 Post subject: Re: To be, or not to be? Question regarding metas and decklists
AgePosted: 2017-May-13 2:35 pm 

Joined: 2016-Mar-16 12:03 pm
Age: Drake
Just happened today with my re-purposed Zegana Simic deck. Sucking wind a lot of the game with too much mana ramp and not enough other things. But, managed to stabilize and steal my friends Corpsejack Menace from his Atraxa deck the turn before and then fend off him taking it back with a destruction of my Mind Control using Voidslime. Anyway, cast my commander, Prime Speaker Zegana, and she ended up with 10 counters due to the Corpsejack. I draw a grip of cards, cast Bioshift to take them from Zegana and put 20 counters on my Nantuko Vigilante which had already two +1/+1 counters, used my Cytospawn Shambler to give the Vigilante trample and slam him for 25. The next turn, it was over.

Crazy interactions, counterspells used for the first time in a decade, lots of removal and stealing answers, and 20+ extra cards drawn with just Zegana, but pulled it out versus Sliver Overlord and Atraxa. Fun game.

_________________
Current decks:
Xenagos, God of Revels - Hydras

Under Re-Construction:
Hazezon Tamar - Defenders of Dune (only 8 less Fremen/equipment, adding ramp and answers)
Prime Speaker Zegana - Zegana's R&D
Jenara, Asura of War - Jenara's Celestial Army (needs more answers, ramp, less angels...turns out Jenara can tank quite effectively as a voltron.)

Nuked decks:
Sliver Queen - Tokens (converted back to the 60 card deck it originated from, ending its edh dependency on tutors)


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