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 Post subject: Grenzo and the Apostles
AgePosted: 2014-Jul-18 5:13 am 

Joined: 2013-Jan-07 1:45 am
Age: Dragon
Grenzo, Dungeon Warden has some synergy with a deck full of shadowborn apostles. You can play a few apostles from your hand, play Grenzo for 2, then flip a bunch of apostles up from the bottom of your deck. I put this together and played a few great games with it... and discovered some cool and interesting interactions.

Grenzo and the Apostles decklist :

Grenzo, Dungeon Warden

30 shadowborn apostle

demons:
harvester of souls
malfegor
reaper from the abyss
rune-scarred demon
abhorrent overlord
sire of insanity
eater of hope
ob nixilis, unshackled

synergistic creatures
purphoros, god of the forge
pawn of ulamog
anger
balthor the defiled
blood artist
gray merchant of asphodel
butcher of malakir
doomed necromancer
stronghold assassin


other synergy
dark prophecy
carnival of souls
mana echoes
dread return
heartstone
patriarch's bidding
thrumming stone
reito lantern
crystal ball
black market

staples
demonic tutor
phyrexian arena
skullclamp
all is dust
solemn simulacrum

land and ramp:
crypt of agadeem
spinerock knoll
howltooth hollow
nykthos, shrine to nyx
other typical land

Initial observations -

1) The deck doesn't need much mana. Just play out a couple apostles and grenzo and then dig for a few more with grenzo; the expensive demons come into play for free anyway. I've been running fewer than 40 total mana sources.
2) Its so far a ton of fun after ~4 games. Not sure if it'll get boring faster than other decks.
3) The lack of acceleration and card draw can be a problem.
4) I probably need a better sac outlet than Eater of Hope.

Demon package:

Bloodgift demon and harvester of souls I'd basically play in any black deck; so those are like freebies. Rune-scarred demon is almost like that; it's good here cause the deck is reliant on some particular effects. Reaper from the Abyss is basically a huge amount of board control, and as such something that's nice to be able to play when you want to be a little more controlling. Malfegor is a huge bomb; frequently able to clear the way for your other demons. It combos nicely with harvester of souls and ob nixilis, unshackled. Sire of Insanity is an extremely powerful effect and one of the best ways to protect yourself from wraths and control players; its probably essential for this kind of aggro strategy. Abhorrent overlord is a bomb with enough devotion; it works well with the other cards that like to see a lot of creatures in play (purphoros, god of the forge; mana echoes; dark prophecy; etc). Eater of Hope is spot removal and a sacrifice outlet - its nice to be able to sac a 2-power Grenzo, Dungeon Warden and then replay him for ~10 power or so. Ob nixilis, unshackled was absolutely hilarious to pull out at instant speed and catch someone searching the library, also it can get huge. Lord of the Void I threw in to have an early play that could generate board presence without being reliant on other combo-ish elements.

Other demons : I think I want a demon sideboard for this deck, so I can change-up how the deck plays and what answers I have access to. Some options:
1) shadowborn demon - targetted removal is good;
2) master of cruelties - could be another way to go aggro.
3) nefarox, overlord of grixis - could come in for lord of the void;
4) minion of leshrac - I've always loved this; better with haste.
Also, I think at least 8 demons is where to be. Otherwise you can run out by drawing and binning them and your opponents exiling them.

Thrumming Stone is insane. The deck is ~1/3rd Shadowborn Apostles, so you can usually pull out as many as you need... but importantly "Ripple" lets you stack the four cards however you want on the bottom of your library. So if you ripple one Shadowborn Apostle into another two and (e.g.) blood artist, you can cast the two apostles during the resolution of the first ripple, stack two ripple triggers, put blood artist on the bottom, respond to the ripple triggers with a Grenzo activation, and pop the blood artist into play. You then go back and resolve the two remaining Shadowborn Apostle ripple triggers. Also, ALL spells have ripple. So you can ripple your sol ring, look at the top four cards, stack those four on the bottom however you want, and then activate Grenzo.

Heartstone might be win-more. Also, there's some matches where I don't want to play it because it's too strong for my opponent - like against Marath, for example.

Some questions:

I think I need a better sac outlet - the obvious one is ashnod's altar, but that seems too combo-ish. I wish there was a demon with a sac ability that didn't require mana. Or maybe something that works from the GY like necrosavant. Ideas? Viscera Seer?

There's not a lot of room for other synergistic cards... some cuts I made were:
1) faithless looting - flashback seems great if you're filling the yard.
2) crystal ball - could probably go back in;
3) read the bones - quality black "scry" effect.
4) rakdos charm - probably some kind of artifact hate is warranted. Maybe on a 2-power dude like manic vandal.
5) what else am I missing?

Whether or not to include a graveyard recycler like Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre. He doubles as enchantment removal; and some way of getting all my stuff back from the yard into the library. But, on the other hand, the rich GY can power out insane Crypt of Agadeem activations. And putting everything back into play with a balthor the defiled or patriarch's bidding is a key play.

Do I need the usual ramp and draw? I mean, if I have more mana, I can just sink it into Grenzo, right? What about something like black market - is this finally the deck that's good in?

And what do I cut... should I cut down on the number of apostles?

_________________
Decklists:
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)
and more:Decklists


Last edited by mmcgeach on 2014-Sep-19 3:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Grenzo and the Apostles
AgePosted: 2014-Jul-18 5:34 am 

Joined: 2013-Aug-20 4:37 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Boston
mmcgeach wrote:
I think I need a better sac outlet - the obvious one is ashnod's altar, but that seems too combo-ish.

How do you keep your balance? That I can tell you in one word!
Attrition.

Attrition!



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 Post subject: Re: Grenzo and the Apostles
AgePosted: 2014-Jul-18 5:58 am 
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Joined: 2012-Feb-07 4:15 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Viscera Seer is my favorite sac outlet in black. It's cheap, can be fetched for free by your general, is synergistic with all the draw mono black has, and has a free ability.

Hollowborn Barghest might be a nice fit with all of your discard outlets and how fast this deck seems to be.


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 Post subject: Re: Grenzo and the Apostles
AgePosted: 2014-Jul-20 4:11 am 

Joined: 2013-Jan-07 1:45 am
Age: Dragon
The more I think about it, viscera seer seems like a really terrible omission. I'll add that in... I mean, this deck loves scry, and sac'ing dudes, and utility thats on dudes that I can flip up with a 2-power Grenzo. That's about everythiing right there on viscera seer.

Attrition is a pretty good idea... I wish it was on a creature, tho; this deck wants pretty much everything to be stapled to a creature. I'm almost thinking phyrexian plaguelord would be good to try, even though it's neither power <= 2 or a demon. :/ Perhaps Kuro, Pitlord would work (I could kill grenzo for 2 life); but I doubt I could really pay that upkeep on a regular basis.

Quote:
Hollowborn Barghest might be a nice fit with all of your discard outlets and how fast this deck seems to be.

Actually this deck isn't that fast... (I think it may need more ramp). Also I can't believe this is worth using, even if it triggered unconditionally. Although, its sort of a good point to consider other madness or hellbent cards.

Also considering slightly more recursion/utility on dudes... doomed necromancer ?

_________________
Decklists:
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)
and more:Decklists


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 Post subject: Re: Grenzo and the Apostles
AgePosted: 2014-Jul-20 5:29 am 
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Joined: 2013-Apr-09 11:11 am
Age: Drake
Location: San Diego
mmcgeach wrote:
Attrition is a pretty good idea... I wish it was on a creature, tho

Hmm, if only it was...

Stronghold Assassin!!!


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 Post subject: Re: Grenzo and the Apostles
AgePosted: 2014-Aug-19 5:36 am 

Joined: 2013-Jan-07 1:45 am
Age: Dragon
Some updates...

-bloodgift demon
-null profusion
-lord of the void
-swamp

+stronghold assassin
+doomed necromancer
+solemn simulacrum
+howltooth hollow

This is a pretty hilarious deck to play. Switched out some of the demons I was tired of and added in a couple strong power = 2 dudes to flip with grenzo. Bloodgift demon is a good card but not strong enough to tutor out with the apostles. Lord of the Void drew a lot of hate and needs to attack to be good. I'm still at eight total demons, which I think is enough. Stronghold assassin is a good sac outlet and board control, and flippable to grenzo. Solemn flips to grenzo. Doomed necromancer flips to grenzo and then resurrects a demon, which is just exactly what the deck needs. Also howltooth hollow... someone mentioned the hellbent idea; with sire of insanity I can trigger howltooth hollow; but actually I don't care if I ever trigger it... just choosing 3 of 4 cards to put on the bottom is value enough.

I still want to get black market in... it seems like it could be good here, with the combination of flooding the board with dudes that sac themselves, and having an unlimited colorless mana sink.

I haven't added more scry effects yet... Grenzo feels like you're playing from both ends of the deck toward the middle, and I'm not convinced I want to bottom bad cards that just get in the way of him flipping to better cards deeper in the deck. I mean, bottoming good cards, sure, that'd be helpful... or at least just more shadowborn apostles...

edit : also considering soul of innistrad, to have more action from the GY on creatures...

_________________
Decklists:
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)
and more:Decklists


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 Post subject: Re: Grenzo and the Apostles
AgePosted: 2014-Sep-13 4:07 am 

Joined: 2013-Jan-07 1:45 am
Age: Dragon
More updates:

+ crystal ball
+ black market

-2 shadowborn apostle

So, scry IS good. Although, in the opposite way we usually think about it; its good for putting a good card on the bottom of the library and flipping it with grenzo. I usually want to draw the bad cards. Crystal ball is basically awesome with grenzo online.

And I think this is the deck black market is finally good in. Potentially really good. Getting a huge heap of mana is great for dumping into grenzo's ability; it's even better if you can first sacrifice grenzo and then recast him for 8 mana (= 6 power) and THEN dump a whole bunch of mana into grenzo's ability. Also awesome are Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx, and Crypt of Agadeem.

Eater of Hope has turned out to be a lot better than it looks. Extra mana can flip up an apostle or two and then sac it to kill something. Also insane is pawn of ulamog. The combo with Eater of Hope is pretty awesome. Another great combo is Sire of Insanity + Grenzo. When nobody has a hand, that's great! Just play off the bottom of your library. Its a monumental source of advantage.

I cut two apostles, but I think I'm still at 30 apostles, which I feel is about right. It's nice to be at around ~50 total creatures so that blind-flipping with grenzo is worth doing.

Also, this whole deck has turned out to be a lot better than it looks. Its possible to burn the table down with purphoros; it's possible to lock the board with sire of insanity; it's possible to go aggro and beat with a swarm of apostles and abhorrent overlord bat tokens; it's possible to generate huge mana and recast grenzo for 11 power and win with commander damage. Also, people kind of like the deck. I get a lot of laughs when I start blind flipping apostles into play from the bottom, and rhetorical "What are the odds?!" comments.

_________________
Decklists:
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)
and more:Decklists


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 Post subject: Re: Grenzo and the Apostles
AgePosted: 2014-Sep-13 4:25 am 
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Joined: 2012-Dec-03 3:16 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Hello, my Grenzo deck is more just a value deck, but I think there are some additions that I can offer.

I didn't see a Viscera Seer, if there is one sorry. He is amazing.

Dark Confidant is expen$ive, but so worth the risk of top decking a demon and taking 7.

Goblin Sharpshooter is amazing when you are sacing so many creatures.

Sadistic Hypnotist does some awesome work against the control player.

ANyway, hope these additions help.

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Shabbaman wrote:
The usual answer is "the social contract", but I guess that is not what you are looking for. Try house rules.


With perfect mana, reasonable removal, disruption, and card advantage, we're back to pitchforks and torches. And it's about to get worse for those who do not enjoy the game as Richard Garfield intended, playing as few win conditions as possible and prompting concession after all hopes (and spells) are lost. - Shaheen Soorani


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 Post subject: Re: Grenzo and the Apostles
AgePosted: 2014-Sep-18 2:07 am 

Joined: 2008-Aug-08 6:34 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Rouen, France
I'm aware that my list is a lot different but what do you think of having an extra Blood Artist in Falkenrath Noble?
For Grenzo's ability he's essentially the same thing as blood artist and flying is very relevant in my playgroup. Artist / Noble are actually so good, I've even gone for Hissing Iguanar and these three tend to be my kill cards in some form or another. You're saccing a huge volumes of creatures so it should be a no-brainer.

Like Inkeyes, I can't see why you're not running Goblin Sharpshooter in a deck that revolves around sacrificing creatures in groups of 6..... seems auto-includy.

My deck is moving from full on goblins into good-stuff so I have a lot more slots than you but some of my fun stuff is Clone Shell (which I got off someone on MTGSally), Deathbringer Thoctar because stuff dies all the time and with sharpshooter and him it's generally a turkey shoot, Pentavus (which is just stupid if you have Mana Echoes out) & Triskelion.

I'm getting close to the point where I'm going to end up dropping the Goblins in favour of all round good stuff but I like how it plays now, I'm just feeling greedy! :D

_________________
Current decks:
Sydri's random pile of cards with "Artifact" on them
Scarab God Zombie Horde
Sissay 5c Superfriends
Morophon Eldrazi (5C Devoid)
Grenzo's Goblins


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 Post subject: Re: Grenzo and the Apostles
AgePosted: 2014-Sep-19 4:04 am 

Joined: 2013-Jan-07 1:45 am
Age: Dragon
( updated original list in first post )

Yeah, I think if I had more space I'd want to include a lot of random value dudes like triskelion and 0/0 dudes.

I'm pretty swayed by the idea of a dark confidant, that seems like it'd be worth dropping an apostle for.

I haven't actually added viscera seer yet. Not really sure which card is worse than viscera seer. :/

I originally had both falkenrath noble and blood artist, but I had to cut some stuff to make room for better stuff. :/ It's a great effect. Mostly I use it to offset damage from carnival of souls and dark prophecy - which are really exceptionally powerful cards. Speaking of which, grim haruspex is probably going in after khans.

Sharpshooter does seem like a good idea - I noticed I don't actually own one. :) I guess I'm not wow'ed by it, it seems like a small amount of damage next to the 40 life each opponent starts with. Machine gunning down a bunch of tokens is the kind of value or utility play that this deck doesn't need.

If I added seer, confidant, and sharpshooter, and dropped 3 apostles, that seems like not enough apostles. :/

_________________
Decklists:
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)
and more:Decklists


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 Post subject: Re: Grenzo and the Apostles
AgePosted: 2014-Dec-04 4:56 am 

Joined: 2013-Jan-07 1:45 am
Age: Dragon
changes:
+ dark confidant
+ goblin sharpshooter
+ grim haruspex
+ overseer of the damned
- 4 apostles

leaving me with only 25 shadowborn apostles, but most of what I added draws cards, so I figure it's an ok trade.

Example game: I open a hand with harvester of souls and ob nixilis, unshackled, grim haruspex, some mana and an apostle. My grim haruspex gets killed. Eventually I get harvester and ob nixilis in play, and spend some apostles chump blocking my two Sidisi opponents who each have nighthowlers on their generals. I get to draw cards from that and I have a hand with four apostles. One sidisi player drops Thassa, god of the sea, and makes his 18/18 sidisi unblockable. End of his turn, I flip up another apostle with grenzo and untap to drop my 4 guys making six, which I then sac for a demon. But first I get six harvester triggers, and ob nixilis gets 6 counters. I start looking through my deck and see Malfegor. I put him into play, discard 8 cards, and my opponents sac a lot of zombie tokens and the rest of their stuff. 8 real creatures hit the yard and I draw 8, a total of 18 things died, which makes ob nixilis now a 38/38. My two Sidisi opponents both have unattached nighthowlers, so I swing with ob and harvester of souls at the guy with Thassa. He takes 38 (going to 2) and has to trade his enormous nighthowler with harvester of souls. I'm feeling good, pass the turn, and then the U/W player miracles terminus.

_________________
Decklists:
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)
and more:Decklists


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 Post subject: Re: Grenzo and the Apostles
AgePosted: 2014-Dec-10 6:17 pm 
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Joined: 2012-Dec-03 3:16 am
Age: Elder Dragon
So I thought your example game was funny, normally Terminus sucks, but if you can sac Grenzo then you are in business next turn!

I think 25-26 Apostles might be too low. That only gives you a 25% (ish) chance of hitting it with Thrumming Stone, which means you will probably wiff quickly.

Eater of Hope should be cut in my opinion, Bloodgift Demon fits into the "I want more cards" role and can kill someone low enough (it happens).

_________________
Shabbaman wrote:
The usual answer is "the social contract", but I guess that is not what you are looking for. Try house rules.


With perfect mana, reasonable removal, disruption, and card advantage, we're back to pitchforks and torches. And it's about to get worse for those who do not enjoy the game as Richard Garfield intended, playing as few win conditions as possible and prompting concession after all hopes (and spells) are lost. - Shaheen Soorani


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 Post subject: Re: Grenzo and the Apostles
AgePosted: 2014-Dec-11 1:58 am 

Joined: 2008-Aug-08 6:34 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Rouen, France
Inkeyes22 wrote:
So I thought your example game was funny, normally Terminus sucks, but if you can sac Grenzo then you are in business next turn!

I think 25-26 Apostles might be too low. That only gives you a 25% (ish) chance of hitting it with Thrumming Stone, which means you will probably wiff quickly.

Eater of Hope should be cut in my opinion, Bloodgift Demon fits into the "I want more cards" role and can kill someone low enough (it happens).


But if you hit a clump the stacked triggers should ripple you past empty clumps.

_________________
Current decks:
Sydri's random pile of cards with "Artifact" on them
Scarab God Zombie Horde
Sissay 5c Superfriends
Morophon Eldrazi (5C Devoid)
Grenzo's Goblins


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 Post subject: Re: Grenzo and the Apostles
AgePosted: 2014-Dec-11 3:34 am 

Joined: 2013-Jan-07 1:45 am
Age: Dragon
Inkeyes22 wrote:
So I thought your example game was funny, normally Terminus sucks, but if you can sac Grenzo then you are in business next turn!

I think 25-26 Apostles might be too low. That only gives you a 25% (ish) chance of hitting it with Thrumming Stone, which means you will probably wiff quickly.

Eater of Hope should be cut in my opinion, Bloodgift Demon fits into the "I want more cards" role and can kill someone low enough (it happens).


Yeah, more/better sac outlets is one issue with this deck... I want more. Actually, that's why Eater of Hope is so good. That guy's an MVP. Whereas bloodgift demon is a good card, but a bad demon to tutor out. The stronghold assassin suggestion has also been just awesome. Its a sac outlet that pops into play off of a 2/2 grenzo. I don't own a phyrexian tower, but that might be a good place to go for another sac outlet that doesn't take the place of an apostle... (Also I still haven't added viscera seer).

I pretty much agree that I'd rather have more apostles, and that it ran perhaps better with ~30 of them; but making thrumming stone an instant win isn't really my biggest motivator for that. People seem (understandably) more tolerant of thrumming stone if you do whiff on it sooner or later. On the other hand, the stuff I've added lately makes the deck more interesting to play, at the cost of some consistency/redundancy (dark confidant, goblin sharpshooter, grim haruspex, etc.)

Goblin sharpshooter I did decide to try out and I've gotten it in play twice, and it's been very strong. Thanks for that one :)

EDIT: I was ok after the terminus play; I had just drawn 8 cards at the end of my last turn, which included purphoros, god of the forge, goblin sharpshooter, and balthor the defiled. I won two turns later off the balthor activation.

_________________
Decklists:
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)
and more:Decklists


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 Post subject: Re: Grenzo and the Apostles
AgePosted: 2014-Dec-11 6:01 am 
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Joined: 2007-Mar-28 12:38 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Omaha
This thread convinced me to play Thrumming Stone in my own Grenzo deck, just for the "Whenever you play a spell, scry 4."

One card that I never cease to appreciate in mine is Herald of Leshrac...mana advantage and/or disruption in a Grenzable (is that a word?) package...

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Hypercasual and Proud

Current Deck-building Project(s):

Izoni, Thousand Eyed (Elf Tribal-ish)
Building $15-25 "Intro to Commander" Decks for my Local LGS


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