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 Post subject: Marchesa, the Black Rose
AgePosted: 2014-May-21 1:30 am 

Joined: 2009-Feb-09 4:00 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
For the uninitiated:

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Marchesa, the Black Rose
1UBR
Legendary Creature - Human Wizard
Dethrone (Whenever this creature attacks the player with the most life or tied for the most life, put a +1/+1 counter on it.)
Other creatures you control have dethrone.
Whenever a creature you control with a +1/+1 counter on it dies, return that card to the battlefield under your control at the beginning of the next end step.
3/3

Carrion Feeder
Viscera Seer
Ashling the Pilgrim
Brine Shaman
Butcher Ghoul
Disciple of Deceit
Inkfathom Witch
Looter il-Kor
Oona's Blackguard
Phantasmal Image
Rootwater Thief
Sygg, River Cutthroat
Blind Zealot
Cadaver Imp
Geralf's Messenger
Herald of Torment
Hypnotic Specter
Nightveil Specter
Pyreheart Wolf
Shadowmage Infiltrator
Thassa, God of the Sea
Vigean Graftmage
Doomsday Specter
Entomber Exarch
Glen Elendra Archmage
Graveborn Muse
Ogre Battledriver
Phyrexian Metamorph
Thalakos Deceiver
Mulldrifter
Puppeteer Clique
River Kelpie
Shriekmaw
Urabrask the Hidden
Deathbringer Thoctar
Flayer of the Hatebound
Mikaeus, the Unhallowed
Rune-Scarred Demon

Swiftfoot Boots
Umezawa's Jitte
Bident of Thassa

Phyrexian Reclamation
Goblin Bombardment
Necropotence
Phyrexian Arena
Unspeakable Symbol

Vampiric Tutor
Counterspell
Cyclonic Rift
Mana Drain
Hinder
Spell Crumple
Cryptic Command

Demonic Tutor
Ashes to Ashes
Toxic Deluge
Damnation
Stolen Identity

Sol Ring
Talisman of Dominance
Talisman of Indulgence
Chromatic Lantern
Underground Sea
Badlands
Volcanic Island
Watery Grave
Blood Crypt
Steam Vents
Underground River
Sulfurous Springs
Shivan Reef
Drowned Catacombs
Dragonskull Summit
Sulfur Falls
Command Tower
Crumbling Necropolis
Polluted Delta
Bloodstained Mire
Scalding Tarn
Evolving Wilds
Terramorphic Expanse
Bojuka Bog
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
Volrath's Stronghold
Homeward Path
Dust Bowl
5 Island
5 Swamp
3 Mountain

So I thought briefly about going deep on unleash and the Arcbound guys, but that build seemed awful. This one is a nice balance of aggro and control but may be short a sacrifice outlet or two, we'll see.

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Printing generically and boringly powerful cards obviously intended for commander does the format zero favors.

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 Post subject: Re: Marchesa, the Black Rose
AgePosted: 2014-May-21 2:42 am 
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Joined: 2010-Dec-13 6:01 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Washington D.C.
Grave Betrayal would be an excellent add.

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 Post subject: Re: Marchesa, the Black Rose
AgePosted: 2014-May-21 5:18 am 
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Joined: 2009-Aug-20 7:49 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: New Hampshire
Superstrength79 wrote:
Grave Betrayal would be an excellent add.

I second this. It's a huge mechanical and flavor win.

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 Post subject: Re: Marchesa, the Black Rose
AgePosted: 2014-May-21 8:30 am 
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Joined: 2013-Apr-09 11:11 am
Age: Drake
Location: San Diego
I think Thraximundar deserves a spot.
Maybe Ob Nixilis too.
Necropolis Regent or Mephidross Vampire could act as your general if it gets tucked.
Simic Manipulator seems interesting as well.
Keepsake Gorgon is repeatable removal but the mana cost on it is pretty high. It might not be any better than Altar of Shadows

I looks like you have enough sac outlets for Grave Pact and Dictate of Erebos.


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 Post subject: Re: Marchesa, the Black Rose
AgePosted: 2014-May-21 10:02 am 
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Joined: 2012-Nov-27 4:39 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Midgard
Wolfram wrote:
Keepsake Gorgon is repeatable removal but the mana cost on it is pretty high. It might not be any better than Altar of Shadows

Actually, there's probably several monstrosity creatures in these colors which might deserve consideration--Stormbreath, Hythonia, Wildfire Cerberus, Ember Swallower--depending on your meta.

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 Post subject: Re: Marchesa, the Black Rose
AgePosted: 2014-May-21 10:54 pm 

Joined: 2009-Feb-09 4:00 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Short reply because I'm on my phone.

Grave Betrayal seems very win-more. I get that Marchesa lets me keep reanimated creatures, but the card just does very little if I'm not ahead.

Simic Manipulator seems like a worse Thalakos Deceiver.

Thrax is fine, but these colors are light on ramp, so I'm a little leery of adding a seven drop with intense color requirements. I'm not keen on the monstrous guys for the same reason , although Hythonia the Cruel is enticing.

EDIT: Okay, I'm now on my laptop. Here's my complete thoughts on Grave Betrayal:

First, it's worth noting that I don't have Grave Pact, Dictate of Erebos, or Butcher of Malakir in the deck. That alone reduces the value of Grave Betrayal since I'm relying on either one of my limited targeted removal spells or a sweeper to get my opponents' creatures. I'm also not running Attrition right now (something else I'd like to get into the deck), so I have a finite supply of removal and most of it is very slow. That makes me largely reliant on my opponents to kill each others' creatures in a way that happens to be beneficial to me (not likely to happen unless someone pulls the trigger on a Wrath, and that's not likely to happen with a live Grave Betrayal).

But wait, it gets worse. If I have an active Marchesa on board and I'm attacking enough that my opponents feel compelled to trade or chump block, aren't I already winning? Why do I need Grave Betrayal to act as a very slow-motion Insurrection? Why not just actual Insurrection? With that card I can win in a single combat step and it's harder to play around since it's not an obvious on-board permanent. Grave Betrayal, on the other hand, sits there and telegraphs "PLAY AROUND ME" to the rest of the table. It will also draw more hate towards my general, who turns the card from being merely annoying to being downright abusive. Since the deck is not all that great without Marchesa, I don't think I want to paint a giant glowing target on her head beyond the one she'll develop as my creatures grow enormous.

I don't think Grave Betrayal is the actual worst or anything, but it's a distant fourth on my list of board control cards behind Grave Pact, Dictate, and Attrition. Right now, the list is super tight - Ashling is the only really cuttable card, and that's because I misread her and thought I could make her go nuclear if I placed a third +1/+1 counter on her in one turn. I'm going to cut Ashling for another creature, though, to keep my count high enough to make Marchesa good - my guess is Burnished Hart, since I need the ramp and the card has actually been incredibly solid in Athreos.

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kaldare wrote:
Printing generically and boringly powerful cards obviously intended for commander does the format zero favors.

Sidisi - Nin


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 Post subject: Re: Marchesa, the Black Rose
AgePosted: 2014-May-22 4:51 am 
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Joined: 2012-Nov-27 4:39 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Midgard
Sage of Fables? I feel like sometimes it'll be worth having the extra draw available--it's not like Marchesa's ability sees the difference between 5 counters or one. You also have a number of Wizards on the list this card effects, including Marchesa.

EDIT: Fleshbag Marauder et al? I was just reminded of this one on another thread...

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 Post subject: Re: Marchesa, the Black Rose
AgePosted: 2014-May-22 11:42 am 

Joined: 2009-Feb-09 4:00 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Sage of Fables is good.

Slum Reaper is probably at a little bit of a better spot on the curve than Marauder.

Hyppie should probably actually be Needle Specter, now that I think about it.

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kaldare wrote:
Printing generically and boringly powerful cards obviously intended for commander does the format zero favors.

Sidisi - Nin


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 Post subject: Re: Marchesa, the Black Rose
AgePosted: 2014-May-29 1:06 am 

Joined: 2009-Feb-09 4:00 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
I was able to get in a few games with Marchesa tonight using the list in the OP. Here's the takeaways:

1) Marchesa is actually kind of difficult to control. She's a bit like Ruhan in that sometimes you just want to attack a certain player but you aren't really able to - well, okay, you can, but you don't get the counters. Because this deck is primarily little dorks, you don't end up really getting anywhere by doing that. Consequently, I want some way to manage life totals outside of combat - possibly pingers or something.

2) The deck needs more ways to fish creatures out of the graveyard. The plan of reanimate a guy, swing with him to make him Wrath-proof doesn't always work smoothly. Losing Marchesa to a Wrath is particularly an issue because the deck doesn't have a ton of ramp, and if I can't cast her again on my next turn my creatures will end up eating it to another Wrath. Actually, I was hit by two Wraths in a single turn cycle one time - although the second Wrath was from Captain Poor Threat Assessment and killed four power worth of creatures, so maybe it's not typical.

3) The deck needs more card draw. I added in Sage of Fables after the first game because the lack of draw was really bad, but I feel like I can do better. I kinda just want to add Thieving Magpie and maybe SoFI and Top, but we'll see. I don't want to drop below 35 creatures.

Some of the current creature slots are pretty suspect. Butcher Ghoul is actually just The Goggles. Nightveil Specter is probably not good enough, although I really want to play my foil one somewhere. I was not impressed with Brine Shaman but that may be a product of having him in a game against two reanimator/attrition decks. Goblin Bombardment did nothing - and yes, I do know that I was just thinking about adding more pingers, so I'll leave it in for now. The deck needs more ways to deal with non-creatures.

I'll mess with the list and post updates soon.

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kaldare wrote:
Printing generically and boringly powerful cards obviously intended for commander does the format zero favors.

Sidisi - Nin


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 Post subject: Re: Marchesa, the Black Rose
AgePosted: 2014-May-29 8:17 am 
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Joined: 2009-Aug-20 7:49 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: New Hampshire
I noticed looking at this list again that you have quite a few effects that cause you to lose or pay life. Have you considered something like Whip of Erebos or Loxodon Warhammer to counteract this?

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 Post subject: Re: Marchesa, the Black Rose
AgePosted: 2014-May-29 11:07 am 

Joined: 2013-Jan-07 1:45 am
Age: Dragon
For card draw, I'd want to do stuff like coastal piracy or the new M15 military intelligence. Also maybe stuff like vela the night-clad, or filth or something. Which would help some of the sabotuers you're using (and maybe argue for adding stuff like dimir cutpurse, ink-eyes, servant of oni, throat slitter, or lu xun, scholar general).

Other card draw ideas:

harvester of souls (synergy with the dude-plan; wrath insurance)
prophetic flamespeaker (seems hard to use in most other decks; could be great here; unlikely to flip non-permanents)

life control:
soul conduit. Seriously. ON THEME. /THREAD.
maybe also mirror universe / repay in kind. Repay in kind activates dethrone against everyone.

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Kothophed (mono black control, ETB abuse)
Teferi, Temporal Archmage (blue pillowfort superfriends)
Glint-Eye Nephilim (combat tricks, card draw, & creature pump)
Oloro Upkeep Tribal (enchantment-based control)
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 Post subject: Re: Marchesa, the Black Rose
AgePosted: 2014-May-29 11:21 am 

Joined: 2009-Feb-09 4:00 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Right now I have Jitte in there as a potential life gain source. Whip might actually be too much life - dethrone turns off if I'm the player with the highest life total. I was thinking about Vault Skirge and/or Basilisk Collar.

Helium Squirter is better than Filth and might possibly be better than Vela. It's worth noting that I regain priority after all my dethrone triggers resolve, so I can target guys who just got counters and lift them skyward before blockers are declared. Also, graft is really good in this deck.

I'm actually taking out Bident of Thassa because I don't feel like it does enough. If I'm attacking with enough guys for it to draw me some serious cards, I'm really far ahead. I think individual creatures with card-draw abilities are better because they're easier to recur when destroyed, but maybe I'm just really off on that. Sage of Fables seemed pretty powerful the one time I had her in play.

I forgot to mention this last night, but more tutors would be swell. Losing Marchesa to tuck is a huge beating.

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kaldare wrote:
Printing generically and boringly powerful cards obviously intended for commander does the format zero favors.

Sidisi - Nin


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 Post subject: Re: Marchesa, the Black Rose
AgePosted: 2014-May-29 1:07 pm 
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Joined: 2009-Aug-20 7:49 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: New Hampshire
Aggro_zombies wrote:
Right now I have Jitte in there as a potential life gain source. Whip might actually be too much life - dethrone turns off if I'm the player with the highest life total. I was thinking about Vault Skirge and/or Basilisk Collar.

Guess it depends how hard you're working the Unspeakable Symbol.

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 Post subject: Re: Marchesa, the Black Rose
AgePosted: 2014-May-30 11:49 am 

Joined: 2009-Feb-09 4:00 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Symbol is one card, and one I can't get back when it's destroyed. Unfortunately, these colors are very limited when it comes to good ways to put +1/+1 counters on your creatures. Simic Fluxmage and possibly Dragon Blood are worth considering in this regard, although the three-drop slot is getting kind of clogged now.

Speaking of which, it has occurred to me that Opal Palace might actually be really good in this deck since it allows Marchesa to survive a Wrath cast in the same turn cycle I cast her. Something worth thinking about, I guess.

I wonder if Thopter Squadron is any good here.

EDIT: Actually, maybe Imperial Recruiter has a place here. I do have a lot of two power or less creatures.

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kaldare wrote:
Printing generically and boringly powerful cards obviously intended for commander does the format zero favors.

Sidisi - Nin


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 Post subject: Re: Marchesa, the Black Rose
AgePosted: 2014-May-30 2:36 pm 

Joined: 2010-Apr-02 6:44 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Flyover Country, United States
I am actually working on putting together a Marchesa deck at the moment. I was planning on going with more of a steal-and-sac other peoples creatures theme: things like Cytoplast manipulator, Olivia Voldaren, helm of possession, Keiga, the tidestar.

I haven't gotten any games in yet, though I hope to be able to slot Marchesa into a completed deck next weekend after we draft some conspiracy. I admit I am also a tad concerned about being able to recur my own creatures that die before I get dethrone or undying counters on them.

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Sharuum, the Hegemon (Currently Foiling)
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Zur the Enchanter
Riku of Two Reflections
Very-nearly-Creatureless Sliver Queen PLaneswalkers (under Construction)
Progenitus - Creatures are for the Weak Retired.
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