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 Post subject: Lazav: Inifinite Shapes
AgePosted: 2014-May-16 8:43 pm 

Joined: 2014-May-16 8:39 pm
Age: Hatchling
http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/shapeless/

I am looking for advice on filling in the gaps for my Lazav combo-driven deck. It is generally intended for a multi-player environment. Theme wise, the spells are oriented towards shape-shifters, horrors, and mind based magic.

With that in mind, I am looking for pointers on the factors below; thank you for your input:
1. Alternative win conditions (looking for variety; infinites are always nice)
2. Useful card redundancies/ replacements
3. Noticeable weaknesses (and associated solutions)

IMPORTANT: I only include cards with the modern boarders.

Cards denoted with "**" bear key flexible notes hand may be listed more than once.

TRANSMUTES (4)
Brainspoil
Perplex
Shred Memory
Dimir House Guard

REMOVALS (6)
**AEthersnipe
**Shriekmaw
**Slum Reaper
Go for the Throat
Doom Blade
Damnation
Drown in Sorrow
Life's Finale
Cyclonic Rift

COUNTERS/ TUCKS (3)
**Voidmage Husher
**Perplex
Hinder
Counterspell
Spell Crumple

TUTORS (4)
**Trinket Mage
Diabolic Tutor
Fabricate
Praetor's Grasp
Mystical Teachings

MILL (5)
**Consuming Aberration
Glimpse the Unthinkable
Increasing Confusion
Mind Grind
Traumatize
Mindcrank
Codex Shredder

CARD ADVANTAGE (2)
**Dark Confidant
Fact or Fiction
Underworld Connections
Necropotence

UTILITY (10)
**Chancellor of the Spires
**Mnemonic Wall
**Snapcaster Mage
**Shred Memory
Reins of Power
Ray of Command
Propaganda
Mimic Vat
Mindslaver
Nihil Spellbomb
Pithing Needle
Rings of Brighthearth
Torpor Orb
Whispersilk Cloak
Tunnel Vision
Whispering Madness

MANA (7)
Armillary Sphere
Chromatic Lantern
Dimir Keyrune
Dimir Signet
Expedition Map
Sol Ring
Basalt Monolith

PLANESWALKER (1)
Jace Beleren

CREATURES(20)
AEthersnipe
Body Double
Cairn Wanderer
Chancellor of the Spires
Consuming Aberration
Dark Confidant
Dimir House Guard
Duskmantle Guildmage
Evil Twin
Mnemonic Wall
Phyrexian Metamorph
Sepulchral Primordial
Shriekmaw
Slum Reaper
Snapcaster Mage
Trinket Mage
Voidmage Husher
Dimir Doppelganger
Spawnsire of Ulamog
Notion Thief

LANDS(34)
Island (8)
Swamp (8)
Academy Ruins
Barren Moor
Command Tower
Dimir Aqueduct
Dimir Guildgate
Duskmantle, House of Shadow
Evolving Wilds
Terramorphic Expanse
Halimar Depths
Lonely Sandbar
Nephalia Drownyard
Opal Palace
Reliquary Tower
Rogue's Passage
Temple of Deceit
Temple of the False God
Thespian's Stage
Watery Grave

As a combo deck, I bide my time with removal/utility/counters until my combos are ready. I am particularly fond of COMBO C below - feel free to leave some fun ways for winning with infinite mana.

WIN CONS
Combo A
Duskmantle Guildmage+Mindcrank+(Mill/Discard)
Transmutable by: Shred Memory
Tutors: Fabricate,Diabolic tutor
Combo B
Spell Crumple/Hinder+Tunnel Vision
Transmutable by: Perplex
Tutors: Mystical Teachings, Diabolic Tutor
Combo C
Basalt Monolith+Rings of Brighthearth+(Mind Grind/Increasing Confusion/Death Cloud/Spawnsire of Ulamog)
Transmutable by: Perplex
Tutors: Fabricate, Diabolic Tutor
Combo D
Mindslaver+Academy Ruins+12 Mana
Transmutable by: N/A
Tutors: Fabricate, Diabolic Tutor

Combo E
Notion Thief +Whispering Madness+Reliquary Tower
Transmutes: Dimir House Guard
Tutors: Mystical Teachings, Diabolic Tutor


Last edited by le13en on 2014-Jun-05 2:50 pm, edited 11 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Lazav: Inifinite Shapes
AgePosted: 2014-May-17 10:06 pm 
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Joined: 2013-Apr-09 11:11 am
Age: Drake
Location: San Diego
Hello, this seems like an interesting combo deck and Lazav is one of my favorite creatures.

Suggestions:
Bloodchief Ascension goes well with mill and combos with Mindcrank as well.

Another combo you can run is Phenax, God of Deception and Eater of the Dead. It isn't always an instant win but it usually works against creature heavy decks or if you have more mill to help it along (which you do).

Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir will help protect your combos.

I think you might want a little more card draw. Phyrexian Arena and Necropotence are great options in black. The arena is a straight upgrade from Underworld Connections but both is probable even better.

Cards to Consider Replacing/Cutting:
Drown in Sorrow doesn't deal with very many threats. I think you would be better off with Black Sun's Zenith in this slot.

AEthersnipe seems like a bad Boomerang to me.

Rapid Hybridization is decent removal for blue but unnecessary with black. Plus the token trades with your commander. I think a black removal spell would be better in this slot. Hero's Downfall or Doomblade could work.

Your mana base could probably use a bit of cleaning up as well. You have a lot of colorless lands and lands that enter tapped.

There are some affordable duals in these colors and some that aren't too pricey as well.
Drowned Catacomb and Darkslick Shores aren't too expensive.
River of Tears, Creeping Tar Pit and Sunken Ruins are a little more but not outrageous.

Duskmantle, House of Shadow doesn't look like its worth running over a basic.

Shimmering Grotto is pretty bad. I don't know if you have used it before but I wouldn't even run it in a 5 color deck. With two colors you really don't need it at all.

The two panorama's are really slow and probably unnecessary for a two color deck. If you are looking for lands to thin without having to buy expensive fetches I would suggest Bad River to get duals or Terramorphic Expanse and Evolving Wilds for basics.

If you can afford it I would suggest getting Cabal Coffers and Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth for more mana. Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx is also very good.


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 Post subject: Re: Lazav: Inifinite Shapes
AgePosted: 2014-May-17 11:45 pm 

Joined: 2014-May-16 8:39 pm
Age: Hatchling
Hey Wolfram, thank you so much for the feedback.

Quote:
Suggestions:
Bloodchief Ascension goes well with mill and combos with Mindcrank as well.

Definitely considered this option, but it almost seems too degenerate to play. I intend to leave this as a last resort if I can't find other ways to fill win cons.
Quote:
Another combo you can run is Phenax, God of Deception and Eater of the Dead. It isn't always an instant win but it usually works against creature heavy decks or if you have more mill to help it along (which you do).

I will keep this interaction in mind! At the moment, neither Phenax nor Eater bear enough individual synergy with the rest of the deck to justify inclusion. Also, to maintain the modern boarder on the cards, I'll need an alternative to Eater.
Quote:
Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir will help protect your combos.

A great way to seal the deal! Will definitely include if I can get my hands on one.
Quote:
I think you might want a little more card draw. Phyrexian Arena and Necropotence are great options in black. The arena is a straight upgrade from Underworld Connections but both is probable even better.

Completely agree with you here. I am reluctant to include Phyrexian Arena due to flavor. Necropotence is on my radar, but agian, with the boarders (FTV version is foil, which doesn't fit either).

Quote:
Cards to Consider Replacing/Cutting:
Drown in Sorrow doesn't deal with very many threats. I think you would be better off with Black Sun's Zenith in this slot.

AEthersnipe seems like a bad Boomerang to me.

Rapid Hybridization is decent removal for blue but unnecessary with black. Plus the token trades with your commander. I think a black removal spell would be better in this slot. Hero's Downfall or Doomblade could work.

Great call on Black Sun's Zenith. Aethersnipe has a potential body, I may cut after more testing. Rapid Hybridization for Doomblade.
Quote:
Your mana base could probably use a bit of cleaning up as well. You have a lot of colorless lands and lands that enter tapped.

There are some affordable duals in these colors and some that aren't too pricey as well.
Drowned Catacomb and Darkslick Shores aren't too expensive.
River of Tears, Creeping Tar Pit and Sunken Ruins are a little more but not outrageous.

Duskmantle, House of Shadow doesn't look like its worth running over a basic.

Shimmering Grotto is pretty bad. I don't know if you have used it before but I wouldn't even run it in a 5 color deck. With two colors you really don't need it at all.

The two panorama's are really slow and probably unnecessary for a two color deck. If you are looking for lands to thin without having to buy expensive fetches I would suggest Bad River to get duals or Terramorphic Expanse and Evolving Wilds for basics.

If you can afford it I would suggest getting Cabal Coffers and Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth for more mana. Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx is also very good.

Roger that. I'm still trying to snipe a Creeping Tar Pit. Shimmering seemed alright in my experience - no tapped ETB requirement, provides emergency mana fix...at least, seems better than Transguild Promenade or Rupture Spire IMO. Duskmantle is in for flavor, more or less; the milling option is a nice bonus for emergency combo enabling. Panoramas for Terramoprhic Expanse and Evolving Wilds sound like solid cuts.


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 Post subject: Re: Lazav: Inifinite Shapes
AgePosted: 2014-May-18 7:06 am 
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Joined: 2012-Nov-27 4:39 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Midgard
le13en wrote:
Roger that. I'm still trying to snipe a Creeping Tar Pit. Shimmering seemed alright in my experience - no tapped ETB requirement, provides emergency mana fix...at least, seems better than Transguild Promenade or Rupture Spire IMO.

The reason Shimmering Grotto is bad lies solely in mathematics: Shimmering + land = 1 mana of any color; Promenade/Spire + land = 2 mana in almost every color combination you need. Obviously Shimmering can tap for a single colorless mana, but in most cases you'll likely really wish Shimmering tapped for a colored mana by itself. It really just makes every spell you cast cost an additional {1}.

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 Post subject: Re: Lazav: Inifinite Shapes
AgePosted: 2014-May-28 7:11 pm 

Joined: 2014-May-16 8:39 pm
Age: Hatchling
Shimmering is ousted via 1. popular consensus on its weakness and 2. failure to put out results in testing.

On another note, the deck has been updated with a few alternative win conditions. Still looking for input (thank you for the feedback so far).


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 Post subject: Re: Lazav: Inifinite Shapes
AgePosted: 2014-May-28 9:24 pm 
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Joined: 2009-Aug-20 7:49 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: New Hampshire
Combos B and D I would just drop. The old Hinder/TV routine pretty much died here when eldrazi became a thing. Unless you can exile the yard at instant speed in response to the trigger, you pretty much just played Mnemonic Nexus on them, for two cards and 9 total mana invested. Fail.

Unless you're playing exclusively 1v1, Slaver lock is pretty much the douchiest thing you can possibly do to someone EVER. If you think Bloodchief Ascension + Mindcrank is "too degenerate", this is right out.

Likewise, Glimpse is terribad if you're not 1 on 1, and marginal against 100 card decks even if you ARE, and could easily go.

Combo E... well, I hesitate to call that a combo, in the sense of "wins the game here and now"... certainly going to put you in a good position, and probably make everyone want to hit you.

If you're really fond of the old infinite mana basalt rings deal, then frankly you might want to switch the general to Oona, Queen of the Fae and just go to town. Exsanguinate is another common black X-spell finisher. Less common but still powerful is Maga, Traitor to Mortals.

EDIT: Even if you DON'T change the general, Oona is worth a look.

Remand should be a hard counter. The tried and true Counterspell is available in a modern frame from Duel Decks: Jace vs. Chandra. Other good options are Faerie Trickery or Dissipate, which get rid of that crap for good, and Cryptic Command, which is full of awesome. Mindbreak Trap will stop even uncounterable BS.

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 Post subject: Re: Lazav: Inifinite Shapes
AgePosted: 2014-Jun-05 2:50 pm 

Joined: 2014-May-16 8:39 pm
Age: Hatchling
Sid the Chicken wrote:
Combos B and D I would just drop. The old Hinder/TV routine pretty much died here when eldrazi became a thing. Unless you can exile the yard at instant speed in response to the trigger, you pretty much just played Mnemonic Nexus on them, for two cards and 9 total mana invested. Fail.

That's fair, I'm a big fan of tucking commanders though, so I figure the TV is a natural bonus. By itself the card IS fairly useless without prior knowledge, even then, the main purpose would be triggering my Lazav. I am willing to remove TV if I can find a suitable (not functional) replacement.

Quote:
Unless you're playing exclusively 1v1, Slaver lock is pretty much the douchiest thing you can possibly do to someone EVER. If you think Bloodchief Ascension + Mindcrank is "too degenerate", this is right out.

Besides 1v1, this is purely for shits n' giggles within my playgroup. No worries here.

Quote:
Likewise, Glimpse is terribad if you're not 1 on 1, and marginal against 100 card decks even if you ARE, and could easily go.

Agreed, will remove upon finding replacement.

Quote:
Combo E... well, I hesitate to call that a combo, in the sense of "wins the game here and now"... certainly going to put you in a good position, and probably make everyone want to hit you.

Very true, this is in here for the sake of play variety. Easily replaceable if I can find alternative use for the slots.

Quote:
If you're really fond of the old infinite... common but still powerful is Maga, Traitor to Mortals.

Maga sounds like a blast - I'll be sure to add this in when I get my hands on one.

Quote:
Remand should be a hard counter.

Truth. Replaced.

Great comments, thank you very much for your feedback Sid.


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 Post subject: Re: Lazav: Inifinite Shapes
AgePosted: 2014-Jun-06 5:09 am 
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Joined: 2009-Aug-20 7:49 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: New Hampshire
le13en wrote:
That's fair, I'm a big fan of tucking commanders though, so I figure the TV is a natural bonus. By itself the card IS fairly useless without prior knowledge, even then, the main purpose would be triggering my Lazav. I am willing to remove TV if I can find a suitable (not functional) replacement.

Spin into Myth?

le13en wrote:
Agreed, will remove upon finding replacement.

Again, I strongly STRONGLY suggest Oona. Another possible might be Jace, Memory Adept, who will let you glimpse someone every turn.

Another trick you might consider if you're looking to trigger Lazav is putting target creature on top of its owner's library, in conjunction with mill. Cards like Griptide or Repel (or Spin into Myth, for that matter) can set you up for this.

_________________
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