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 Post subject: What does U/R actually do?
AgePosted: 2015-Nov-18 6:33 am 

Joined: 2008-Nov-30 12:36 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Ugh, so I thought Arjun was going to solve my Izzet problem. As I've explained in other threads before, my playgroup is about 99% counterspell free, so the "stock" U/R strategy of going all in on the Instants and Sorceries Matter plan doesn't play well. Depending on my draws I was either dead before I got to do anything fun at all, or I was going to win along an axis no one could interact with.

Also, I don't really like decks that just play the "Land, go!" game for infinity turns until you're etiher forced to defend yourself or you draw the right card or cards needed to "go off", and that's pretty typical of this style of deck. You just sit back, try to look non-threatening, and pray you have an Aetherize or Cyclonic Rift handy when you do manage to attract attention. In short, you basically play way less Magic than anyone else for about 15 turns then all of a sudden you jusst take a 20 minute turn and win. As much as I love Epic Experiment and Past in Flames, it's kinda boring and like I said, it doesn't fit well at all in my group.

So Arjun comes along and is pretty open-ended. There are a handful of cards that immediately come to mind as obvious auto-includes. But beyond those few things, I can't really figure out what an Arjun deck actually wants to do. What is a suitable theme? How does the deck win? That sort of thing.

Alhammaret's Archive, Niv-Mizzet, Psychosis Crawler, Scroll Rack, and possible Pyromancer's Goggles are the shortlist of "duh" cards I could come up with. But I don't want to go all in on the "Kill them by drawing cards" plan - already done that with Nekusar and I feel like this would be a vastly worse version of that deck. I'd still run those, obv, but I don't want to put all my eggs in that basket, because frankly, needing to stick at least one of two very fragile, very well-known, high-value targets seems like a recipe for disaster. If someone sust Jester's Caps me and exiles Niv, Crawler and something else, I just scoop, right?

What are my options then? I kinda halfway thought about doing the U/R Artifacts build despite not getting a proper general for it, but how would I make that interact with Arjun in a meaningful way? But someone else in my group just build an Artifact-themed deck around Nin so I don't want to feel like I'm just trying to one-up that person by building a "better" verson of her deck. I might still go down this road later, but not so soon after she did it.

I just don't want anything that feels to combo-ish, like Melek or Mizzix tend to get. And I don't want to do artifacts because someone beat me to it. Does U/R even DO anything besides these two themes?

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 Post subject: Re: What does U/R actually do?
AgePosted: 2015-Nov-18 6:44 am 

Joined: 2013-Jan-07 1:45 am
Age: Dragon
IDK. What do you like about blue? What do you like about red? Why do you want to make a blue-red deck?

My suggestion: Make a mono-red "spells matter" deck. Make a mono-blue "whatever it is you like about blue" deck.

Although it seems you've already dismissed this, I'm mentioning it anyway: I feel like I went down a similar path with a Melek U/R spells build, but I ended up with a build based on board control and burn, with a lot more red spells than I'd included previously. With the goal being to interact with stuff as I got the opportunity, until I could get a large enough advantage to push a win through. And I dropped the combo enablers: epic experiment, reiterate, turnabout, mystical tutor. Just play fun instant/sorcery cards that impact the board. It's totally do-able.

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 Post subject: Re: What does U/R actually do?
AgePosted: 2015-Nov-18 6:50 am 

Joined: 2011-Sep-30 6:08 am
Age: Elder Dragon
You can play UR Silver Bullets. Play stuff that is really narrow, but relatively powerful. (So, Teferi's Response or Hibernation, but probably not Flashfires.) Getting to pitch the narrow cards you don't want every time you cast one that's actually good can be pretty sweet.

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 Post subject: Re: What does U/R actually do?
AgePosted: 2015-Nov-18 6:58 am 

Joined: 2011-Aug-18 3:35 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
I think he does a good job of suggesting controlled chaos or some very quick digging for combo if you want to be that guy. He also just does "good stuff" really well. There's really not a "bad" way to build him as he really is open ended. The only "auto includes" are things that help tame his ability.

As far as artifacts, you can play things like Puzzle Box to accelerate his sifting. Junktroller effects to reuse spells. Mill and Academy ruins as extra uses. You'd want to avoid shuffling as much as possible IMO. From there you can set up whatever artifact based engine you want and mill/kill/combo the table.


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 Post subject: Re: What does U/R actually do?
AgePosted: 2015-Nov-18 7:24 am 

Joined: 2013-Aug-20 4:37 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Boston
I like crokaycete's suggestion. You can throw in a decent number of cantrips and have a pretty good way of fishing to find a situational spell that is really powerful in that particular circumstance.


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 Post subject: Re: What does U/R actually do?
AgePosted: 2015-Nov-18 8:08 am 

Joined: 2008-Nov-30 12:36 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Thanks for the replies, everyone. So far nothing feels like the right solution for my tastes and/or my playgroup's tastes, but I can probably use some elements of most of these ideas whatever I come up with.

Right now that only idea I can stick with long enough to get interested and excited is the Artifacts thing. I just don't want to step on someone's toes by one-uping their newest deck. Maybe I'll just put this idea on the backburner a while and see if that Nin deck sticks around or gets abandoned.

In the meantime I'll keep brainstorming and if anyone else has some ideas I'm still open to input.

EDIT: Diviner's Wand and Archmage's Ascension seem like great auto-includes as well. But I have a question about Ascension and Alhammaret's Archive - if I have them both out and the Ascension is fully leveled up, how does this work? They're both replacement effects, right? So what happens when you have two things both trying to replace the same action? Can I chose to do the Archive first, so that I get two draws, then let Ascension replace both of those with Tutoring?

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 Post subject: Re: What does U/R actually do?
AgePosted: 2015-Nov-18 8:27 am 
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Joined: 2010-Jul-18 9:59 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
The event can only be replaced by one thing (IIRC); you choose which

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 Post subject: Re: What does U/R actually do?
AgePosted: 2015-Nov-18 8:41 am 

Joined: 2013-Jan-07 1:45 am
Age: Dragon
thaumaturge wrote:
EDIT: Diviner's Wand and Archmage's Ascension seem like great auto-includes as well. But I have a question about Ascension and Alhammaret's Archive - if I have them both out and the Ascension is fully leveled up, how does this work? They're both replacement effects, right? So what happens when you have two things both trying to replace the same action? Can I chose to do the Archive first, so that I get two draws, then let Ascension replace both of those with Tutoring?


Yeah. You get to choose the order. So the first replacement still results in draws, which are still affected by the second replacement.

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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: What does U/R actually do?
AgePosted: 2015-Nov-18 8:45 am 

Joined: 2008-Nov-30 12:36 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
That's friggin' awesome. Now I just need to figure out how to turn all that insane draw/tutoring power and do something besides "assemble combo" but is still worth doing... hmm.

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 Post subject: Re: What does U/R actually do?
AgePosted: 2015-Nov-18 11:58 am 
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Joined: 2010-Dec-10 12:16 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
If I am following correctly, you want a UR strategy that is more permanent based (for interaction with a low Counterspell environment) and less good stuff combo.

The first direction I would test is a UR version of a blink deck....bounce. Tradewind Rider, Tidespout Tyrant, Crystal Shard, Crackleburr, Dash Creatures, etc. Good ETB effects, bounce as protection from destruction maybe some R "borrow" effects like Dominus of Fealty, Molten Primordial, Zealous Conscripts (without Kiki), etc.

In Arjun, returning something to your hand lets you draw more on the Puzzle Box effect, or recast it immediately to swap out the rest of the hand (depending on what is needed more). It's not about trying to set up some combo to bounce everything off the board, just about using bounce as control for protection or value.

There are a few ways to take something like this:
- With token makers you can keep chump blockers and build an army by bouncing and casting the ETB token makers.
- Wizard Tribal could have some interesting interactions (Information Dealer, Dualcaster Mage, Magus of the Wheel, Sage of Fables, etc).
- Unblockable, evasion. Using bounce control to clear the way for the blockables and otherwise just preventing aggression as you whittle down life. Or, Quicksilver Fountain and Islandwalk (you don't even need the fountain out long, the lands remain islands when it is bounced back to hand - just long enough to ensure everyone has an island for you to walk on)
- etc

Really, it's a deck I've tried before, but relying on getting Puzzle box and Windfall effects made it too unreliable.

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 Post subject: Re: What does U/R actually do?
AgePosted: 2015-Nov-19 2:08 am 
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Joined: 2011-Jan-16 5:36 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Toronto, ON
I think this has always been my problem with r/u. The wincons on either side feel comboish (in a negative play experience way) or weak (in a stormtide leviathan way).

The 'draw a million cards' plan has only a few niche cards to make it go, like Sphinx's Tutelage, Jace's Erasure, Psychosis Crawler or (ugh) Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind.

Why do people play Mindmoil? I don't know.

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 Post subject: Re: What does U/R actually do?
AgePosted: 2015-Nov-19 2:09 am 
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Joined: 2009-Aug-20 7:49 pm
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Jace's Erasure, Chasm Skulker and Sphinx's Tutelage all like it when you draw cards. Also Diviner's Wand.

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 Post subject: Re: What does U/R actually do?
AgePosted: 2015-Nov-19 6:59 am 
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Joined: 2010-Jul-18 9:59 pm
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mmcgeach wrote:
thaumaturge wrote:
EDIT: Diviner's Wand and Archmage's Ascension seem like great auto-includes as well. But I have a question about Ascension and Alhammaret's Archive - if I have them both out and the Ascension is fully leveled up, how does this work? They're both replacement effects, right? So what happens when you have two things both trying to replace the same action? Can I chose to do the Archive first, so that I get two draws, then let Ascension replace both of those with Tutoring?
Yeah. You get to choose the order. So the first replacement still results in draws, which are still affected by the second replacement.

I wasn't sure about this so asked on magicjudge.tumblr.com and got this:
Quote:
Q:If I have an active Archmage Ascension and Alhammarret's Archive, if I would draw a card (not the first one of the draw step), can I replace the draw with Archive, and then replace both of those draws with two searches? Or can I only replace the triggering draw with one of these effects (I choose either to draw two, *or* to search)?

A: It depends on which order you choose to apply the replacement effects in. Each can only replace the draw once, and once you’ve applied Archmage Ascension’s ability, there’s no draw for Alhammaret’s Archive to replace.

So, you can end up searching for one card if you apply Ascension first, or for two cards if you apply Archive first.

So you're good to go :)

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"Degenerate, unfun decks generally come from degenerate, unfun players in my experience." - Cthulus Thrall

"- if this spell is played ten times in a given game then I suggest you warm up the tar and pluck some chickens" - tarnar

The internet's great at making noise, and poor at operating pants. There's gonna be half-dressed mobs screeching half-assed arguments for the rest of the 21st century - Kemev


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 Post subject: Re: What does U/R actually do?
AgePosted: 2015-Nov-19 7:12 am 

Joined: 2013-Jan-07 1:45 am
Age: Dragon
Of course, on the other hand, it doesn't matter how many cards you tutor for, because when you cast the first one, the others all get put on the bottom of your library. Which, of course, I suppose you could just tutor up again... Heh, this would be really annoying.

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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: What does U/R actually do?
AgePosted: 2015-Nov-19 7:14 am 

Joined: 2011-Sep-30 6:08 am
Age: Elder Dragon
mmcgeach wrote:
Of course, on the other hand, it doesn't matter how many cards you tutor for, because when you cast the first one, the others all get put on the bottom of your library. Which, of course, I suppose you could just tutor up again... Heh, this would be really annoying.
And that's why we have shortcuts... Don't actually shuffle away what you want to keep. Just tutor equal to cards in hand.

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