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 Post subject: The Warp Riders (Ephara Flare) Up-4-30-2018
AgePosted: 2017-Apr-03 5:31 am 
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Joined: 2017-Mar-11 6:43 am
Age: Dragon
:D Thought it might be cool to share my pet deck here. Hope anyone reading enjoys

The Boss
Ephara, God of the Polis

Real-Estate (36)
Academy Ruins
Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
Springjack Pasture
Strip Mine
Seat of the Synod

Emeria, The Sky Ruin
Mistveil Plains
Celestial Colonnade
Temple of Enlightenment
Irrigated Farmland

Flooded Strand
Flood Plain
Windswept Heath
Polluted Delta

Adarkar Wastes
Command Tower
Glacial Fortress
Hallowed Fountain
Mystic Gate
Nimbus Maze
Prairie Stream

8 Plains (UNH/UNS)
7 Island (BFZ)

Rocks and Eggs (8)
Elixir of Immortality
Aether Spellbomb
Azorius Signet
Conch Horn
Mind Stone
Thaumatic Compass
Shrine of Piercing Vision
Talisman of Progress
Thought Vessel

Sorcerys and Enchantments with Legs (15)

Hanna, Ship's Navigator
Kefnet the Mindful
Monastery Mentor
Grand Arbiter Augustin IV
Raff Capashen, Ship's Mage
Solemn Simulacrum
Phyrexian Metamorph
Voidmage Husher
Dragonlord Ojutai
Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir
Sun Titan
Twilight Shepherd
Angel of Serenity
Emeria Shepherd

Actual Permanents (9)
Narset Transcendent
Venser, The Sojourner

Detention Sphere
Proteus Staff
Trading Post
Primal Amulet
The Antiquities War
Marshal's Anthem
Metallurgic Summonings

The Explosive Stuff (31)
Enlightened Tutor
Path to Exile
Swan Song
Swords to Plowshares
Chain of Vapor
Cyclonic Rift
Into the Roil
Blink of an Eye
Echoing Truth
Arcane Denial
Dawn Charm
Teferi's Protection
Sphinx's Revelation
Read the Runes
Cryptic Command

Swift Silence
Dig Through Time

Mystic Speculation
Deep Analysis
Fractured Identity
Supreme Verdict
Austere Command
Stolen Identity

About My Playgroup
Generally, we softban Sol Ring, Mana Vault, Mana Crypt, Grim Monolith and Sensei's Divining Top. The Moxen level acceleration arms race creates a pretty gross disparity in power levels (the first arms race a playgroup experiences is "how many copies of Sol Ring and tutors for them can I stuff into my deck".) Exceptions are made for artifact themed or colorless decks for Sol Ring alone (since by it's self, it's fairly innocuous in terms of power level.)

Top is softbanned because it makes even salted, decisive, quick players durdle far too hard, and makes games drag. Scroll Rack and Sylvan Library don't defend themselves, so they tend to do less damage to the game length. There are plenty of alternatives and friendlier Top-like effects to take advantage of (This deck features Mystic Speculation, Conch Horn and Shrine of Piercing Vision for top-like utility. But I've learned how to not frequently tank when operating these card.)

One member who I frequently play with takes to playing Serra Ascendant and alpha striking me frequently (even when another player is signficantly ahead and/or it is suboptimal to do so.) Thus, the removal in this deck has warped somewhat from just having Comeuppance as a back-breaker, to including Aetherspouts and Devastation Tide as more "Fist In A Blender" effects because this deck cannot support Ghostly Prison/Propaganda style effects.

About the Deck
I'm a fan of the UW theme of "Cosmic Magic" (playing with portals and such)- and I'm a big fan of Athenian figures (like Ephara.) When Ephara was spoiled, I was tuning a Grand Arbiter Augustin IV "Hug Them, Hug The Piss Out of Them" deck which effectively won by looping Beacon of Tomorrows every so often and eventually firing off a lethal Blue Sun's Zenith or Skyscribing.

Thing is, I really like control decks. Not "nope the nope out of nope", ham-fisted, suboptimal Draw-Go decks that make a fetish playing during other peoples turns- and thus under-tune their decks for operating during the easiest time to protect their things. But Ephara presented a problem, where I could previously Proteus Staff away tokens for Norn, Dr. Fingers (Drogskol Reaver), or Sun Titan- Ephara cared about putting one dude onto the field each and every turn- which leans to her wanting to be played with high-utility guys.

The answer, as I found it- was to use utility creatures that function as sorceries with bodies attached to them to push cardflow. First it was 12, then 15, 24 for a time, and then back down to 18 (I've found 16-18 to be the sweet spot.)

Eventually, my copy of Angel of Serenity found itself into the deck while I was brewing and listening to The Warp Riders by The Sword.


Ephara is a perfect Navigatrix of the Star Seas for a Solar Flare deck (a control deck with extensive recursion abilities.) I love Solar Flare for not being absolutely shut out by graveyard hate like traditional reanimators- and it feeds into the "Cosmic UW" perfectly. This allows me not to load the deck up with 1-3 drop creatures and focus on creatures that impact my development as Sorceries and Instants. After the first few drafts, it became clear how insanely Ephara changes the power-level of cards like Stonecloaker and Voidmage Husher who are effectively instants with a tethered body- and Sea Gate Oracle (Sleight of Hand on a body,) Angel of Serenity/Twilight Shepherd (slow recursion.)

Funny Card Choices
Pearl Medallion- Strictly worse than Helm of Awakening, yes- but it does the same essential task (trying to push a t3 Ephara), fuels my higher end material/plays. But also makes it apparent when I'm being unfairly targeted. Helm is more powerful, but always a justified target for artifact hate, where Pearl's political angle is nifty. Sometimes I like to play "without teeth", since complete optimization isn't what makes EDH fun.

Conch Horn- A pet egg. Plays well with miracles and fetchlands. Really shines with Sun Titan, Emeria Shepherd and Academy Ruins

Shrine of Piercing Vision- The yang to Conch Horn- raw filtration to compliment the absurd card flow.

Retreat to Emeria- It took me a while to see this for what it is. Both sides of the card are absolutely ridiculous, I've used the landfall proc for roughly 7-8 +1/+1 stacks several times- and most of the time this just turns fetchlands into Divination.

40 lands- Ephara is an indestructible enchantment that makes hitting natural land drops easier. This is just sortof a natural shift the deck took. At 36/37, I didn't get to 4-5 land naturally enough of the time for my taste. At 38-39, I didn't get to play as many basics as I wanted to for landfall while also rocking a complete suite of utility lands that make 2c EDH such fun. 40 makes me less dependent on rocks (emphasizing the utility of our General's interaction with Solemn, Sun Titan, Knight and Augustin)

The Engine
Ephara + Incidental bodies.

Generally, Ephara just isn't worth the effort of removing unless she's cracking in for devastating amounts of damage- and while this deck certainly runs well without it's General, it's very helpful to just have her sitting on the field.

Ephara + Stonecloaker and Voidmage Husher

While Deputy of Acquittals and Whitemane Lion have floated in and out- and have served well- Stoney and Husher have proven themselves to be exceptional recurring Ephara-food. Not needing other creatures to recur, while also protecting my position or disrupting my opponent's ever-so-slightly.

Ephara + Entreat the Angels and Decree of Justice

Cantripping off of either of these spells drastically changes their opportunity cost- often even justifying the hard casts for 4/4 flyers. Decree's cycle mode serves as a Divination attached to a stream of dudes that allow me to mess with "no"s well.

Emeria Shepherd + Fetchlands/Plains Searchers

The loose wording on Emeria Shepherd is what earns her spot here- and she excels. Often giving me access to lost Planeswalkers, eggs, and other Solar Flare pieces freshly put into the graveyard. This tends to make her terribly resistant to graveyard hate and keeps us clear of just using a Reanimator engine. The play is rather simple, however. If there's a card that can be recurred to search my deck for a Plains, we fire them off to hopefully drain the deck of as many of them as possible.

EG Flooded Strand > Return Wayfarer's Bauble to Hand> Crack Strand for Plains> Animate Sun Titan to recur strand> Profit> Search for another untapped Plains> Solem Simulacrum for Plains> Put something else onto the battlefield> Deploy Bauble and play the waiting game.

Sun Titan/Twilight Shepherd + Conch Horn, Shrine of Piercing Vision, Mind Stone, Stonecloaker

Difficult to hate out hand acceleration, filtration, protection etc. Another interaction that sends us straight into turbo

Mystic Speculation + Voidmage Husher/Thassa, God of the Sea
Filtration that makes our super-fuel richer, and stacks well with existing filtration sources.

Meloku The Clouded Mirror- The most underrated Blue General appears here to recur Plains and Radiant Fountain for exceptional value with our general. It's fairly easy for this guy to go off with Retreat to Emeria since it only takes a few tokens and a bounced fetchland to punch in for well over 10.

Careful Cuts

Temple of the False God-
Much like the extra mana rocks, the opportunity cost here is too great. My early hands cannot afford a dead land drop.

Reliquary Tower and friends-
Even without recursion fuel, having more than 7 cards in hand is always a good problem to figure out.

Excessive counterspells-
Sortof a "Fundamentals of EDH" thing, Counterspell is not a very good EDH card, and most of it's variants suffer. The narrow window of time in which it can be played, and the awkwardness of drawing it after needed makes most counters no bueno. In EDH, it's almost always more effective to use "Yes and" and "Yes but" answers over "No" answers if they don't include extra modes or some other risk/reward element. Overwhelming Denial has floated in an out incase the need for extra hard no arises. We can handle most things without counterspells, so we want to save them for things that absolutely matter.

Excessive Creatures-
With Ephara, it's very easy to justify well over 24 Creatures, but even 18 feels way too much at times for what I'm trying to do.

niheloim wrote:
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Wall of chat exceeds at using a lot of words to mischaracterize opposing view points.

Warp Riders (Ephara Solar Flare)

Last edited by Mr Degradation on 2018-Apr-29 7:25 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The Warp Riders (Ephara Flare)
AgePosted: 2017-Apr-06 8:38 am 
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Joined: 2017-Mar-11 6:43 am
Age: Dragon
-1 Tec Edge
+1 (Fran├žais) (Renaissance) Strip Mine

Also, added the list to this page. Looking to replace Karmic Guide and hopefully reduce the creature count a bit.

niheloim wrote:
Wall of Chat. 2U
Creature- Wall

Wall of chat exceeds at using a lot of words to mischaracterize opposing view points.

Warp Riders (Ephara Solar Flare)

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 Post subject: Re: The Warp Riders (Ephara Flare)
AgePosted: 2018-Mar-21 3:50 am 
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Joined: 2012-Jan-06 10:25 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Seattle
Interesting deck. I like the concept. I had a Flash Ephara deck but it wasn't very good. I've been looking to make a UW deck.

Any updates?
How do you win? Getting through with some of the bigger flyers?

Glissa, the Traitor -> Voltron
Mayael the Anima -> Flopping Fatties
Phenax, God of Deception -> Grave Rats
Starke of Rath -> Wrath of Starke: MRC

Proving Grounds: Drawmia-maro, Titania When Lands Attack, Tromokratis Read it Again, Kaalia's Klerics, Hordes of Tribes.

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 Post subject: Re: The Warp Riders (Ephara Flare)
AgePosted: 2018-Mar-21 4:08 am 
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Joined: 2017-Mar-11 6:43 am
Age: Dragon
scatteredsun wrote:
Interesting deck. I like the concept. I had a Flash Ephara deck but it wasn't very good. I've been looking to make a UW deck.

Any updates?
How do you win? Getting through with some of the bigger flyers?

Been meaning to update for a while. Since it's a Flare deck, most of my fatties double as some kind of removal or value play- the win condition is to fire off the trick and get the recurring flyers for pressure. Ephara herself has pretty good chunk of power. Typically, the pressure generated from the first chain is enough to finish the game- but after the first burst of resources, each subsequent Flare becomes much easier to do, and the scale gets bigger.

In practice, this means I get to play pretty mellow most of the time, and combo-break until the position is right. The softness to Voltrons or super aggressive builds isn't something that can really be teched out, and I'm perfectly happy with that (it makes games more interesting.) Graveyard hate and resource denial don't stop the engine well enough to ever matter.

EDIT: Forgot to mention, Monastery Mentor is both the primary "win condition" and one of the biggest enablers for the value engine to take off. With any sortof buyback or artifact recursion, he goes bonkers. Post-Flare, Mentor can be difficult to stop and easy to protect.

I suppose it would be easier to describe the deck as being more about entering a state of ridiculous material advantage (mana sources, handsize, threats present, deck filtration-) so much so that my playgroup likes to play this video, when I begin to make the pivot play

niheloim wrote:
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Wall of chat exceeds at using a lot of words to mischaracterize opposing view points.

Warp Riders (Ephara Solar Flare)

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 Post subject: Re: The Warp Riders (Ephara Flare) Up-4-30-2018
AgePosted: 2018-Apr-29 7:47 pm 
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Joined: 2017-Mar-11 6:43 am
Age: Dragon
UPDATE 4-30-2018

It's uh- been a year and some change. The biggest change, is that the deck is now sleeker- the version displayed now is "without weights". It just does the thing it's supposed to do, at the best of my deckbuilding capability, without the regular housebans.

Time for some noteworthy stuff...
Artifact Recursion Get- While the old version featured Academy Ruins as the primary means of artifact recursion- the newer list features Hanna, Ship's Navigator, and the all-mighty Trading Post as tools to speed up the Flare. When delving into more recent cardpools last year, I came across Metallurgic Summonings... which recurs instants and sorceries while it feeds Ephara.

Helicopter Muscles-
Read the Runes, Phyrexian Metamorph, and Proteus Staff are currently present. In the past, these enablers have gone a bit further overboard than I wanted them to. If they present a problem in future playgroups, I am planning to add a "Weightboard"- for ways to soften the deck's more brutal enablers.

Grand Arbiter Augustin IV was replaced by Faerie Artisans for most of last year. This was a mistake in every sense. As a weight, the card failed- because when it went off, it naturally synergized in a way that was unfriendly. As an enabler, it didn't shore up anything that Trading Post, Monastery Mentor, or Metallurgic Summonings don't already do for Ephara. As a political play, it's even WORSE than Arbiter, as it turns out. Newer players overreact to it, and tend to put their resources into nuking my General- to follow up with punishment results in a kindof feelbad gamecrush, to not punish is to not advance my own position in the game. For this reason, Faerie Artisans and Retreat to Emeria got the axe. Fantastic cards inside any build of Ephara- but not advantageous for a control deck that pivots this hard. Augustin returned, for both thematic and play reasons. Opponents are generally encouraged to deal with him, so I don't have to get them to burn high power, often expensive removal on Ephara.

Kefnet the Mindful and Raff Capashen, Ship's Mage have proven as valuable additions- and stick to the "Portal Mage", and "Tragic Heroes and Mentors" theme. Astraea be praised! Kefnet's hidden landbounce ability sets up nasty flares, and fireballing excess mana into the hand is too sweet. Raff is a souped up Shimmer Myr- with bonus points for the flavor dunk.

Tonal Shift
Since this build is themed around "Cosmic UW", "Portal UW", and "Tragic Heroes and Mentors"- I've shrunk the creature count from 18 to 14, emphasizing the quality of each creature spell as a play- and reducing the overall number of dedicated token cards. Land count was reduced to 36 (from 40) due to sheer filtering ability permitting it. Was 38 for a very long time, then 37. Then I realized that the deck just doesn't want Seachrome Coast, Calciform Pools or Ghost Quarter- beefed up the Island count and added a Seat of the Synod for Trading Post, Metallurgic Summonings, etc. Not sure about Ancient Den- because it doesn't care the Plains type which is crucial to the biggest setup- making it less valuable as a white source. Currently on 11 1-Drops, and 14 2-Drops. Read the Runes and Deep Analysis help us dig in funny ways. Generally, the deck works on 3 mana (and can limp on 2), and explodes on 4 mana.

That said- with Fractured Identity, I thought it would make sense to finally add Stolen Identity to further build on Ephara enablers that play with the deck's overall toolset. SI, was previously a tech/enabler card, which had broken my more easy paced playgroup. As a pair, they provide Ephara enablers that fit comfortably into the theme.

Another major change was moving away from wipes, and softwipes in favor of more scalpels- also notably missing are a few of the hard-permission choices that were previously here. In the current playgroup, it would be a mistake to lean too much on permission or clumsy wipes for an active defense. Instead, we're actually playing a full suite of portal magic- much to the annoyance of my friends who hate my proclivity for cards which give my opponent some kind of resource after I seriously mess up their gameplan :P

Dispatch- 3rd Swords, almost added Reciprocate as well, but it just isn't live as often as it probably needs to be
Chain of Vapor- Difficult to evaluate powerhouse- if the card has passed you by, make sure you give it a whirl
Into the Roil/ Blink of an Eye/Echoing Truth- EC was added, because modal Disperse is quite a bit stronger in a format without fastrocks. Roil was already present here to compliment Rift's Disperse mode. Now, unbelievably, the second copy can now reference the closing lyrics to The Warp Riders! Looking forward to cryptically declaring "You don't age when you live out of time; a thousand years in the Blink of an Eye!"
Arcane Denial/Remand/Oblation- Cards often mistaken for having a downside, but like Swan Song, these deceptive portals allow me to manage threat levels quite easily.
Teferi's Protection- Was very on the fence about this. It's fantastic protection- but I like to build my decks to be ridiculously resilient so that I don't need these sort of things. But, it does reference one of my favorite cards already in the deck (I have a thing about not playing cards with proper pronouns without also playing something else referencing that character.)
Windfall- Not much to see here, the deck goes nuts when I load up the graveyard- this has a similar problem in terms of suspect status as Read the Runes

Primal Amulet/ The Antiquities War- I love four drops- and these both put crazy emphasis on the interactions between cardtypes in the deck. TAW doubles as a win condition with all of the goofy eggs (while getting bits of information and filtering for artifacts.) Haven't seen these actually bust the game yet- Amulet mostly being a manarock or secondary Narset if it goes uncontested.

Feel free to ask questions, or poke fun :)

How do you guys think Yosei, the Morning Star or Admonition Angel would play out here? I tried Phantasmal Image for a bit- found it more disappointing than I had remembered from INN standard Flare. Is Vanish into Memory worth a whirl?

niheloim wrote:
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Creature- Wall

Wall of chat exceeds at using a lot of words to mischaracterize opposing view points.

Warp Riders (Ephara Solar Flare)

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