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 Post subject: "Fair" Exalted Deck
AgePosted: 2015-Apr-10 2:45 am 
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Joined: 2010-May-24 10:53 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: OH
I'm working on something very dear to my heart at the moment - a knight/soldier themed deck, built around mostly Alara/Bant cards. My favorite set, my favorite colors, and brimming with knights, crusaders, and lions!! Awesome!

This is all well and good, but the most flavorful general is Rafiq of the Many. And the absolute easiest way to break him is to run him with a shitload of exalted creatures and equipments. And I really don't want to be another Rafiq deck that blows people out on general damage every game. Aside from building the deck and just never casting my general (lame), what can I do to ensure my deck isn't hated off the table?

Here's a **very** rough draft. There's no lands and too many cards, obviously. Not all of these will make the cut, and it's in need of some mana fixing and a little more flavor. Suggestions super welcome though.
Creatures: 36
Knight-Captain of Eos
Ephara, God of the Polis
Birds of Paradise
Sun Titan
Aerie Mystics
Ethercaste Knight
Preeminent Captain
Giltspire Avenger
Knight of New Alara
Knight of the Skyward Eye
Knotvine Paladin
Knight of the White Orchid
Leonin Armorguard
Sigiled Paladin
Spirit of the Hearth
Steward of Valeron
Akrasan Squire
Ballyrush Banneret
Bant Battlemage
Bant Sojourners
Bant Sureblade
Cenn's Tactician
Dauntless Escort
Frontline Sage
Mirror-Sigil Sergeant
Order of Whiteclay
Preeminent Captain
Reveillark
Skyward Eye Prophets
Stoic Angel
Wilt-Leaf Cavaliers
Abzan Falconer
Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit
Ballynock Trapper
Captain of the Watch
Court Street Denizen

Planeswalkers: 1
Elspeth, Knight-Errant

Artifacts: 2
Umbral Mantle
Shield of the Righteous

Enchantments: 9
Finest Hour
Fable of Wolf and Owl
Crystallization
Echoes of the Kin Tree
Gleam of Authority
Mirari's Wake
Bear Umbra
Oblivion Ring
Archetype of Courage

Spells: 10
Voidslime
Unexpected Results
Hindering Light
Reborn Hope
Austere Command
Distant Melody
Heal the Scars
Bant Charm
Path to Exile
Mirrorweave


*Yes, I'm asking how to gimp this deck.
** I already run a Jenara, Asura of War deck and a Rubinia deck because I am BANT TRASH

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Fugu wrote:
"You promised me that we would phase out, away from all this violence and strife!" Teferi pleaded.
"We shall, but not before those who have wronged you are driven to hell," Kaervek replied mercilessly.




Last edited by Ziontific on 2015-Apr-12 11:25 pm, edited 10 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: "Fair" Exalted Deck
AgePosted: 2015-Apr-10 3:08 am 

Joined: 2015-Feb-10 3:10 am
Age: Drake
Angus MacKenzie - Yeah he's a Cleric and only really interacts during the combat phase, but is sounds like you are running lots of creatures. Angus here can protect them if someone throws down some nasty combat trick.

Ragnar - Another Cleric (they hang out with knights ... right) not incredibly powerful but also not incredibly expensive and spot regeneration.

Roon of the Hidden Realm - Well look ... we've got ourselves a soldier. So as a card he is on theme, however I'm not sure how well his ability will synergize with what you are trying to do ... but it will be a not Rafiq soldier.

Treva, the Renewer - Perhaps a dragon at the head of your army flying forward to lead the troops into battle with a mighty war ROAR!!! And gaining you life.


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 Post subject: Re: "Fair" Exalted Deck
AgePosted: 2015-Apr-10 3:33 am 
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Joined: 2010-May-24 10:53 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: OH
Yeah - I'm definitely considering Treva because Roon is a doofus - I was just wondering if there were suggestions on how to actually have a fun, "75%" Rafiq build before I settle for a different commander. :'(

_________________
Fugu wrote:
"You promised me that we would phase out, away from all this violence and strife!" Teferi pleaded.
"We shall, but not before those who have wronged you are driven to hell," Kaervek replied mercilessly.




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 Post subject: Re: "Fair" Exalted Deck
AgePosted: 2015-Apr-10 5:24 am 
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Joined: 2009-Aug-20 7:49 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: New Hampshire
Ziontific wrote:
And the absolute easiest way to break him is to run him with a shitload of exalted creatures and equipments.

So don't do that. There's nothing that says "You are running Rafiq, therefore you shall make him ublockable and/or tramply and one-shot everybody." If you want an exalted deck, then you should build an exalted deck, and be glad when it actually works, because it's best when you have a large, wrath-inviting board presence.

On the topic of knights and exalted, I noticed a lack of;
Battlegrace Angel
Sublime Archangel
Knight Exemplar
Kinsbaile Cavalier

I'm also assuming Cathedral of War will be involved, though you didn't list lands.

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"The President's job - and if someone sufficiently vain and stupid is picked he won't realize this - is not to wield power, but to draw attention away from it." -- Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide tot he Galaxy Radio Transcripts predicting the future.


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 Post subject: Re: "Fair" Exalted Deck
AgePosted: 2015-Apr-10 5:58 am 

Joined: 2008-Nov-30 12:36 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Ziontific wrote:
Yeah - I'm definitely considering Treva because Roon is a doofus - I was just wondering if there were suggestions on how to actually have a fun, "75%" Rafiq build before I settle for a different commander. :'(

Absolutely keep Rafiq. He's the best Legend in your colors, and he's a Knight. Just keep him, and in the 99 build as strictly along thematic lines as you possibly can - Creatures with Exalted or the Knight subtype ONLY, at first. Avoid all the obvious "Good stuff" unless there is clear thematic justification.

Avoid most of the obviousl Auras and Equipment, avoid Stoneforge/Stonehewer, etc.

Run Sovreigns of Lost Alara, but don't run Eldrazi Conscription (maybe).

DON'T RUN INFECT!

Allow yourself to be a slave to theme. Then, if the deck is TOO weak, you can slowly begin to power it up until it hits the sweet spot, whatever that happens to be for you and your respective playgroup.

I mean, you kinda answer your own question in the OP... "The easiest way to break him is...." You've already indentified the bigest pitfall, so step 2 is to just avoid that pitfall.

Honestly, Rafiq really isn't THAT bad unless your group is just really low-powered, or completely incompetent at threat assessment. That said, there are also things you can do to make him slightly less obnoxious by adjusting your play style.

One of the big problems I had back in the day was, at the time, I was playing 1v1 games almost as often as I was playing multiplayer. I initially built and tuned Rafiq specifically for 1v1 but after a while I got to where I really wanted to play him in free for all games as well.

I did make some changes at the deck building level to try and make the deck more viable in FFA. But ultimately, no matter what I did the deck just wasn't what I'd call successful until I went a step further and changed how I PLAYED the deck in FFA vs 1v1.

Here's the thing - going for the one-shot at the first available opportunity SEEMS like a strategically sound play, even if it's not a very nice social/political play... but after encoutering the obvious "Kill one guy quickly, then spend the next two hours slogging through a shitstorm of removal and control while the guy I killed watches, bored, from the sidelines" issue a lot, I adopted a more traditional "spread the love" approach, and started slow-rolling the heavy-hitter cards a LOT more.

Now, traditionally, this is seen as being a strategically weaker way of playing the deck - bascially your sacrificing some of the deck's potential power in favor of a more socially accepable form of gameplay - and I chose to make this "sacrifice" in the name of having a bit more fun - I figured even if I won slighly less often, I'd be happier if the games were more fun and inclusive overall - plus people would groan less at the sight of Rafiq, right?

Well, it turned out, that common wisdom was dead wrong (caveat: again, I did make some small changes to the decklist based on making it a bit more FFA-viable, but they were minor changes overall) - It turned out that spreading my early damage around a bit and holding onto the really powerful stuff until later was a huge STRATEGIC improvement, AS WELL as being more socially palatable.

Basically, once I drew something that had "one-shot" written on it - usually Sovereigns or Finest Hour (I refused to run Might of Oaks), I made that card my End Game - i.e. I would resolve to save that card for the LAST SURVIVOR if at all possible, and make every other card I drew about just keeping myself alive until it was just me and one other guy. I didn't make the deck very controlling at all - it was very much an aggro deck through and through, but I did SLIGHTLY up the answer suite and make it a tiny bit more reactive, but it was still by far a more proactive deck...

I just adopted a play style wherein my proactive plays were less threatening overall, but still worth making. It was less about getting in there with Rafiq dualwielding two Swords and a Jitte strapped to his boot, and more about getting in there with a Cold Eyed Selkie to deal 4 damage and draw 4 cards. Or whatever. You get the point.

Basically, just "play for second place" until it looks like you actually are going to be second place... then finish off that last player with a series of haymakers. Finest Hour gets answered? Sovereigns. That gets Path'ed? Sublime Archangel, etc... Anyway, conventional wisdom will tell you that "spreading the love" is a disadvantage to an aggro deck, and with some styles of Aggro that may well be true, but I found that it actually improved my win rate when I adopted this approach even though I was initially doing so strictly out of social contract reasons.

TL;DR - Rafiq is awesome.

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 Post subject: Re: "Fair" Exalted Deck
AgePosted: 2015-Apr-10 10:02 pm 
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Joined: 2010-Dec-10 12:16 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
I have a Rafiq exalted deck. And it is Rafiq Exalted deck, not an Exalted Rafiq deck.

My strategy,
- No Voltron.... Bonuses come from exalted. My one equipment is Shield of the Avatar, the only "aura" is Eidolon of Countless Battles
- What do to with creatures that aren't attacking? Find uses... Banding (Nature's Blessing is an all star card on defense); Glare of Subdual for when I need to put somebody away; Convoke Spells (where possible); etc
- How to do interesting things with my one attacking creature... Gemini Engine will make a token with the modified power toughness if that ability is stacked to resolve after all the Exalted buffs; Knotvine Paladin for super exalted; Colossus of Akros because, why not (for trampling exalted finisher); etc
- Have fun with it. Once you know you don't plan on General Damage being your primary WinCon (though it is always a secondary with Exalted and Rafiq) you can play around with ways to make Exalted interesting and interactive. As mentioned previously, plan contingencies for the Board Wipes, they will happen (though many underestimate how effective a few Exalted can be).

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Seshiro the Anointed - Snake Tribal
Jedit Ojanen of Efrava - Cat and Warrior Dual Tribal
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 Post subject: Re: "Fair" Exalted Deck
AgePosted: 2015-Apr-11 2:28 am 
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Joined: 2010-May-24 10:53 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: OH
Wow, thank you for the long posts. I appreciate the feedback!!

I'm going to go ahead and start working this deck and include a mana base soon, but it's at least a week from fruition because I need another paycheck to start getting this together physically. I only have 31 of the 100 (plus basic lands, ofc) so it's about halfway there. :P

Haha just kidding I impulse bought 20 more cards on Saturday. I have no self control.

_________________
Fugu wrote:
"You promised me that we would phase out, away from all this violence and strife!" Teferi pleaded.
"We shall, but not before those who have wronged you are driven to hell," Kaervek replied mercilessly.




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 Post subject: Re: "Fair" Exalted Deck
AgePosted: 2015-Apr-16 1:53 am 

Joined: 2015-Mar-28 2:33 am
Age: Wyvern
Two cards that I think every exalted deck needs are Dueling Grounds and Lightmine field. Basically enforced chivalry.

Also I don't think its really quite good enough but I feel Castle should be in the deck. Mostly for flavor but it does have some synergy with exalted.


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 Post subject: Re: "Fair" Exalted Deck
AgePosted: 2015-Apr-16 4:46 am 
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Joined: 2010-Dec-13 6:01 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Washington D.C.
thaumaturge wrote:
Absolutely keep Rafiq. He's the best Legend in your colors, and he's a Knight. Just keep him, and in the 99 build as strictly along thematic lines as you possibly can - Creatures with Exalted or the Knight subtype ONLY, at first. Avoid all the obvious "Good stuff" unless there is clear thematic justification.

Derevi and my/her bird deck would like to disagree :)

Ziontific, If you want do not want to get hated off of the table, run Phelddagrif as your commander. Nobody will see the Exalted coming, and what is more medieval than a flying hippo? :)

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 Post subject: Re: "Fair" Exalted Deck
AgePosted: 2015-Apr-16 5:39 am 
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Joined: 2010-May-24 10:53 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: OH
I doubt getting hated off the table immediately is a problem, since I play with the same 5 or so people week to week and they'll learn it's not a voltron doublestrike deck pretty quickly. I just wanted to avoid going there with it.

_________________
Fugu wrote:
"You promised me that we would phase out, away from all this violence and strife!" Teferi pleaded.
"We shall, but not before those who have wronged you are driven to hell," Kaervek replied mercilessly.




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