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 Post subject: Zur the Enchanter
AgePosted: 2011-Mar-15 7:18 pm 

Joined: 2010-Jul-29 2:24 pm
Age: Wyvern
Location: Canada
I have been playing Zur for the better part of a year now and have been tinkering with the following decklist. The list is now fairly stable, and I don't anticipate making any major changes in the near future. Nevertheless, I would be interested in any insights other Zur players may have to offer.

At my LGS we mainly play in 4 person FFA games or 1v1. My deck is tuned to perform excellently in the latter, though I have modified it from its original form such that it can hold its own in the former. My metagame (as far as I can remember) includes the following other generals:



Finally, in case anyone cares to make suggestions (which I hope they do), I should note that price is generally no object, as my group is happy to allow people to use proxies outside of league play.

Without further ado, the deck:

GENREAL
Zur the Enchanter


ZUR ENCHANTMENTS

Vanishing - usually the first enchantment I find; it protects both against targeted and board removal; also, because of "indirect phasing," it also protects any subsequent enchantments I put on Zur.

Diplomatic Immunity - the next Zur target, unless he already has Lightning Greaves

Daybreak Coronet - next target; this allows zur to become a blocker, and the life gain fuels Necropotence.

Empyrial Armor - usually the last Aura I find; only necessary after I have control of the board and have an inflated hand with Necropotence and am going in for the kill.

Necropotence - what more needs to be said, really? Because of this card, my tutors usually go for Reliquary Tower

Solitary Confinement - excellent in combination with Necropotence

Oblivion Ring - temporary removal for problematic permanents

Aura of Silence - artifact/enchantment removal/suppression

Sacred Ground - my answer to eldrazi annihilators

Necromancy - never a dead draw

Rhystic Study - auxiliary card advantage engine if Necropotence gets removed.

Planar Collapse - the only mass removal I can fetch directly with Zur

Greater Auramancy - protects my other enchantments

Shackles - this is a toss up with Prison Term; Shackles stops attacking, blocking, and activated abilities with tap in the cost, but only after the creature has already done so once; then again, it can be saved from board wipes, unlike Prison Term.



HAYMAKER CREATURES/SPELLS

Angel of Despair - excellent by itself; ridiculous with Rite of Replication.

Magister Sphinx - helps keep life gain decks in control; also very useful politically: it can make a strong opponent suddenly vulnerable, and therefore a more tempting target for attack.

Sunblast Angel - I am currently testing this out; I was initially enthusiastic because on its face it seems like a 2-for-1: board sweep plus fat flier; my enthusiasm has somewhat waned of late, due to the fact that, in practice, people don't tend to tap out their board unless they are going for the kill, and when one player does, the others are not usually in a position to do so; I may end up removing this.

Consecrated Sphinx - this card is preposterously good card advantage on a decently sized body

Bribery - usually finds Avenger of Zendikar, Terastodon, or enemy Magister Sphinx

Acquire - usually finds Lightning Greaves for Zur

Yawgmoth's Will - this card needs no explanation

Rite of Replication - one of the best ways to take advantage of enemy green fatties with CiP (now EtB) abilities; usually hits enemy Terastodon or Avenger of Zendikar.



MASS REMOVAL

Austere Command - versatile

Hallowed Burial - deals with generals and indestructibles

Rout - instant speed wipe! my favourite response to any attack

Decree of Pain - sweep plus card advantage; the cycling is also useful against counter-heavy decks (e.g. Ertai, Wizard Adept)

Winds of Rath - in my meta, this invariably sweeps everything except Zur

Akroma's Vengeance - when worst comes to worst, I prefer this to Nevinyrral's Disk



TARGETED REMOVAL

Oblation - Eliminate problematic generals, or use it on one's own mana rock in a pinch for card draw.

Return to Dust - a staple no white deck should be without

Capsize - ditto for blue

Mortify - versatile, cheap, instant speed removal is always good

Spin into Myth - instant speed general removal

Condemn - ditto

Vindicate - deals with any problem; mandatory for any deck running the colours



COUNTERMAGIC

Cryptic Command - the versatility is good, but the triple-blue is sometimes a pain

Pact of Negation - better than Force of Will in this deck because I can't always be sure to have another blue card in hand to pitch.

Hinder - counters generals effectively

Forbid - reusable; especially good with Necropotence



TUTOR/UTILITY SPELLS

Vampiric Tutor - mandatory in any black deck

Demonic Tutor - ditto

Mystical Tutor - ditto for blue

Opportunity - instant speed draw is usually very good; toss up between this and

Stroke of Genius.

Memory Plunder - this is a diamond in the rough, and I think every U/B deck should run this card; I have used it to wrath, reanimate, gain control, and tutor--all at instant speed

Dromar's Charm

Esper Charm - viz the two charms, I appreciate versatile, cheap instants.



UTILITY CREATURES

Willbender - the only way to deal with Krosan Grip, and generally useful as a deterrent

Solemn Simulacrum - mandatory for any deck; this is the only reason I run basic lands

Dominating Licid - a recent addition; I was initially enthusiastic about the ability to gain and relinquish control at will, but I find the licid doesn't usually survive long enough to activate, and with Zur out I need to keep my blue mana open for Vanishing.

Walking Archive - I have had mixed success with this card; in the early game, it is useful both as a chump blocker and as a political tool to divert attacks elsewhere (as everyone appreciates drawing extra cards); late game, unless I am very low on cards in hand, it is a dead draw.

Vedalken Plotter - a surprisingly good card which almost no-one sees coming; an excellent way to deal with an opposing Maze of Ith.



UTILITY ARTIFACTS

Expedition Map - usually finds Reliquary Tower

Nihil Spellbomb - of the one-mana graveyard-hate artifacts, I think this is my favourite because it requires no mana to use, it hits the whole graveyard, and it can optionally replace itself when mana isn't scarce; I know some prefer Scrabbling Claws, Phyrexian Furnace, or Relic of Progenitus; in truth, the distinction is marginal, and it comes down to personal preference.

Reito Lantern - excellent card in this deck; it can serve as graveyard hate in response to a reanimation effect (or Genesis), but it also recycles my enchantments so I can find them again with Zur

Lightning Greaves - I will rarely play Zur unless I have these on the field to protect him, because otherwise he won't survive long enough to attack.



MANA ARTIFACTS

Spectral Searchlight - can lend mana to another player who is just short of being able to pay for a needed board wipe

Darksteel Ingot - immune to artifact hate

Coalition Relic - excellent mana fixing and acceleration

Dimir Signet
Azorius Signet
Orzhov Signet
Coldsteel Heart
Fellwar Stone - All the above mana rocks help accelerate into Zur, as well as fix my mana base.

Sol Ring - mandatory in every EDH deck



UTILITY LANDS

Tower of the Magistrate - excellent for making equipment fall off, for stopping Arcum Dagsson once Mycosynth Lattice is out, and for getting around, Kira, Great Glass-Spinner

Tolaria West - usually finds Reliquary Tower

Vesuva - generally useful EDH staple

Dust Bowl - the repeatable ability to destroy problematic lands is very useful indeed

Hall of the Bandit Lord - a recent addition; this card is immensely useful early game because it allows me to play Zur without needing to find Greaves first; late game it is a dead draw, however

Strip Mine - EDH staple

Duskmantle, House of Shadow, - this is another under appreciated card with myriad uses; I use it against: the instant speed top-of-deck tutors, Hua Tuo, Sensei's Divining Top, and people who play Oracle of Mul Daya or Future Sight, as it allows me to filter their draws.

Bojuka Bog - unlike many others, this is usually a good draw late game

Volrath's Stronghold - allows me to re-use my creatures with CiP abilities (usually Solemn Simulacrum; sometimes Magister Sphinx or Angel of Despair); also allows me to let Zur go to the graveyard so that I can play him at his normal (uninflated) cost.

Spawning Pool - reliable blocker which taps to pay its own regenerate cost

Celestial Colonnade - helps apply pressure and defend late game if Zur has been locked out.

Reliquary Tower - the backbone of the Necropotence / Empyrial Armor combo.

Maze of Ith - mandatory for every EDH deck.

Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth - allows my colourless-producing utility lands to tap for coloured mana;



OTHER LANDS




Note: that is a total mana base of 31 lands inherently capable of producing mana (counting the contingent ones -- i.e. Vesuva, Temple of the False God, and Serra's Sanctum), 3 fetch lands, and 9 mana-producing artifacts.


SIDEBOARD

Perish
Acid Rain
-the above two cards deal adequately with the several powerful green decks in my group (especially Omnath).

Bitterblossom
Contamination
-the above two cards constitute a powerful combo which I only add in against top-tier non-black decks; it is most definitely an un-fun move (especially as I can find both pieces with Zur), but the answers to it are few and far between (All is Dust and artifacts which produce colourless mana).

Leeches - just in case someone has the bright idea of building a poison-heavy deck

Resounding Wave - my answer to Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir / Knowledge Pool combo, which one deck in my meta runs

Prison Term - I periodically switch this in for Shackles; I am undecided as to which is better.
3 free slots



CURRENTLY CONSIDERING

Bane of the Living to replace Sunblast Angel - potentially more effective as mass removal

Necrotic Sliver to replace Walking Archive - vindicate on a stick seems too good to pass up



I have also heard good things about the following cards, but am unsure what I would take out in their favour. Any advice here would be much appreciated.

Mulldrifter - five mana for two cards and a chump blockers seems a tad underwhelming

Shriekmaw - I like this card's versatility

Fleshbag Marauder - in my deck I would invariably sack the marauder itself, barring a face up Willbender

Bone Shredder - I am not sure it is worth paying the echo; in which case, why not just add an instant speed removal?

Azorius Guildmage - seems very versatile, but also mana intensive

Kor Cartographer - mana acceleration in a colour other than green is good; it also fetches duals; dead draw if I've got no plains left to fetch, though (my deck has 6, including duals)

Blinding Angel - good rattlesnake card

Duplicant - I used to run this; I can't remember why, but I found it suboptimal

Loxodon Gatekeeper - likely to draw hate from the table; then again, I am playing Zur, so that usually happens anyway unless Arcum Dagsson is around.

Karmic Justice - my friend's mono-white deck uses this to great effect; it can also be found with Zur

Battle Mastery - this seems like a "win more" card; like Phyresis, it seems unnecessary once Zur has Empyrial Armor.

Swords to Plowshares - I used to run this, but replaced it with Condemn for more effective use against generals; people in my meta have become more cautious about attacking with generals, however, so I may switch back

Path to Exile - ditto



Finally, I should note that I have ceased to run the following cards because I find their effects boring or time consuming:

Time Stretch - this card either resolves normally, in which case one's victory is nigh unstoppable but everyone else is bored whilst one takes one's extra turns, or it gets its target changed, in which case it snatches defeat from the jaws of victory, so to speak.

Scroll Rack
Sensei's Divining Top - I find I don't run enough shuffle effects to make these two cards useful after their first activation; plus, the game is just more exciting when one doesn't know what's coming.

_________________
DCI Level 2 Judge

Generals:
Zur the Enchanter


Last edited by Vonsen on 2011-Mar-15 9:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Zur the Enchanter
AgePosted: 2011-Mar-15 9:14 pm 
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Joined: 2011-Jan-16 5:36 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Toronto, ON
re: Sensei's Divining Top and Scroll Rack;
You say you do not have enough shuffle, but you are playing Zur... Surely the one shuffle per turn is enough.

_________________
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 Post subject: Re: Zur the Enchanter
AgePosted: 2011-Mar-15 9:25 pm 

Joined: 2010-Jul-29 2:24 pm
Age: Wyvern
Location: Canada
Sinis wrote:
re: Sensei's Divining Top and Scroll Rack;
You say you do not have enough shuffle, but you are playing Zur... Surely the one shuffle per turn is enough.


That's what I initially thought. In practice, if Zur is in play and regularly attacking, I am in a pretty solid position already, so the top and the rack feel like "win more" cards. It is when that is not the case that their effects are most needed -- to dig for answers or for ways to protect Zur so as to be able to play him -- but in that situation their effects are also the most marginal (because of the lack of shuffle effects).

_________________
DCI Level 2 Judge

Generals:
Zur the Enchanter


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 Post subject: Re: Zur the Enchanter
AgePosted: 2011-Mar-15 9:50 pm 
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Joined: 2011-Jan-16 5:36 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Toronto, ON
Vonsen wrote:
Sinis wrote:
re: Sensei's Divining Top and Scroll Rack;
You say you do not have enough shuffle, but you are playing Zur... Surely the one shuffle per turn is enough.


That's what I initially thought. In practice, if Zur is in play and regularly attacking, I am in a pretty solid position already, so the top and the rack feel like "win more" cards. It is when that is not the case that their effects are most needed -- to dig for answers or for ways to protect Zur so as to be able to play him -- but in that situation their effects are also the most marginal (because of the lack of shuffle effects).

Mmm. There should not be turns where Zur is not attacking. Steel of the Godhead lets you start pecking away with general damage even if there's a powerful flying threat that you didn't hit with Oblivion Ring or Seal of Doom.

What could you take out? I think you could stand to drop Greater Auramancy or Diplomatic Immunity, and my instinct is for the latter. You could just get GA when you would normally pick up DI, and there will be no difference in the vast majority of situations.

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Check out my old column, Generally Speaking, at CommanderCast.com
http://www.commandercast.com/category/a ... y-speaking

Follow me on Twitter: @generalspeak


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