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 Post subject: Black Zombies versus White Soldiers
AgePosted: 2016-Jul-15 3:16 pm 
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Joined: 2012-Nov-27 4:39 pm
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Location: Midgard
Listened in on some discussion earlier today about whether mono-black Zombies or mono-white Soldiers were better. Mainly, I agreed with the overall arguments for Zombies, but the counter arguments were: zombie tribal without Rooftop Storm isn't good, Darien, King of Kjeldor makes mono-white really good/better than black zombies, and there's supposedly no mono-black legends which are any good with zombies (*coughcough* Balthor, Chainer, Ghoulcaller Gisa, Lim-Dul, Mikaeus, Sidisi...).

Historically, I feel like soldiers aren't good at all (have some remarkable cards, mind you, but just never reach top marks), and zombies have always been good and are almost entirely in black (with most of the zombies in other colors from Shards of Alara and Innistrad). Darien is certainly a decent card...but I can't say I've ever seen one be really good. And there are some quite good zombie cards not in mono-black, but lots of the frighteningly powerful ones--Vengeful Dead, Shepherd of Rot, Undead Warchief, Graveborn Muse--coupled with black's reanimation and better ramp suit is just straight better.

Happy to hear well-formed dissenting opinions, as I'm really having trouble seeing how mono-white soldier tribal has any legs to stand on as the zombies chomp them off.

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 Post subject: Re: Black Zombies versus White Soldiers
AgePosted: 2016-Jul-15 8:51 pm 
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Joined: 2010-Dec-10 12:16 pm
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Not really a counter argument, but I don't think either of them make a good mono-tribal deck in EDH. There aren't really any that do, except Goblins and Elves.

I would say that 98% of other tribes really need at least 2 colors to be at their best (even big-name tribes like Dragons, Angels, Merfolk, etc). Soldiers need Red to be compelling (e.g. Assemble the Legion, Rise of the Hobgoblins, Legion Loyalist, etc) and Zombies, while functional in Mono-Black, is almost always going to be better as Dimir or Grixis.

I could possibly make an argument for Mono-White Cats, but only because the best colors would be GW or RGW, except there aren't any Legends in those colors to lead such a deck. The main reson to build a mono-anything deck is to utilize a compelling Commander, not to make a great version of any given tribal deck.

LSS; The real question should be something like "Does Darien make a better mono-tribal build than Geth, <or insert mono-B Legend of choice>?"

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 Post subject: Re: Black Zombies versus White Soldiers
AgePosted: 2016-Jul-15 11:23 pm 
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Joined: 2012-Nov-27 4:39 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Midgard
Treamayne wrote:
There aren't really any that do, except Goblins and Elves.

I'm fairly certain Azami Wizards tribal would like a word with you.

I would generally agree that tribal in mono color isn't going to be the best of the best, but the only tools really exclusive to white is the best removal (in wrath and exile form) while black has access to the best tutors, decent ramp, and the best reanimation. These tools, combined with the zombie tribe, I'm arguing make the better mono color tribal deck. Further, part of the best tools in white--wrath effects--aren't necessarily great for Darien (which both needs its opponents to get through and to go wide).

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 Post subject: Re: Black Zombies versus White Soldiers
AgePosted: 2016-Jul-16 3:06 pm 
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Joined: 2010-Dec-10 12:16 pm
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Azami, is a good Mono-U tribal build, but I'm not sure that it is the best Wizards tribal build. Again, I didn't go through every known tribe, which is why I implied there would be more exceptions than Goblin and Elf. I think the point I made is still valid, it's shouldn't be W Solders vs B zombies; it should be <name> soldiers compared to <name> Zombies.

I think Darien soldiers can be quite strong. Using WoG as an example is a false comparison, this kind of deck would much rather use Mass Calcify, Martial Coup, Hour of Reckoning and/or Righteous Fury (amongst some other options). With which Mono-B Zombie legend would you like to draw comparisons?

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Seshiro the Anointed - Snake Tribal
Jedit Ojanen of Efrava - Cat and Warrior Dual Tribal
Doran, the Seige Tower - Wall Tribal
Progenitus - Hydra themed Proliferate Deck
Karona, the False God - Backstabbing Hug


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 Post subject: Re: Black Zombies versus White Soldiers
AgePosted: 2016-Jul-17 12:28 am 
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Joined: 2012-Nov-27 4:39 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Midgard
Treamayne wrote:
Azami, is a good Mono-U tribal build, but I'm not sure that it is the best Wizards tribal build.

You mean other than it being regularly considered an unfair, competitive Commander build?
Treamayne wrote:
I think Darien soldiers can be quite strong. Using WoG as an example is a false comparison, this kind of deck would much rather use Mass Calcify, Martial Coup, Hour of Reckoning and/or Righteous Fury (amongst some other options). With which Mono-B Zombie legend would you like to draw comparisons?

Of the examples you've given, three are 7+ CMC (although one does have convoke) and the fourth is a card you're basically never going to see someone play due to being from Portal/Starter sets (not saying impossible, just highly unlikely). To get these cards to work well for you, you'd putting yourself in trouble with getting blown out by artifact destruction as without artifact ramp you are at least waiting for turn 7 for a couple of these. I guess what I'm saying is you haven't really made much of a case that wrath effects are super great in a deck needing lots of creatures out to be good.

Mikaeus, the Unhallowed acts as both a lord for zombies and a semi-limited recursion engine, playing directly into the strength of black and zombies. Balthor, the Defiled is probably the weakest option, but is still a repeatable Twilight's Call for you--and possibly only you--in a color which is great at getting creatures into its graveyard. There's also Sidisi, Undead Vizier, and it's well known repeatable tutors are super good in any deck. Even Ghoulcaller Gisa would be a good zombie commander choice, and likely a direct comparison to Darien. Both capable of making lots of tokens, but Gisa makes hers actively rather passively (and Darien often requires your opponents to make the choice to deal damage), and her activation sac cost will be entirely negated by the most basic reanimation available to black. Her tokens are stronger, and she comes down earlier.

So as I'm seeing it, the comparison you're looking for is slow token generation versus reanimation, or repeatable tutoring, or better, faster token generation. I feel like I'm having to argue why mono black is better than mono white in EDH.

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 Post subject: Re: Black Zombies versus White Soldiers
AgePosted: 2016-Jul-17 1:22 am 

Joined: 2009-Nov-28 7:07 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Mono-white soldiers can of course be successful. It does matter how dedicated to the tribe you are.

White has such an enormous amount of wrath effects, as well as exile effects, and can recover amazingly well. Success of sweepers depend more on the timing of their use, encouraging opponents to overextend their resources into them.

With mentor of the meek, stormfront riders, cathars' crusade, deck thinning with land tax or endless horizons, enchantment / artifact fetch / recovery, as well as marshal's anthem, sun titan, Karmic Guide / Reveillark, I'd not count a well-built mono-white soldier deck out of the running in a multiplayer game.

The tutoring of black provides a slight advantage, but recursion is a strategy any deck has to be able to handle, and white already has a leg up on that with StP, PtE, etc, as well as it's own recursion.


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 Post subject: Re: Black Zombies versus White Soldiers
AgePosted: 2016-Jul-17 5:23 am 
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Joined: 2012-Nov-27 4:39 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Midgard
green slime wrote:
White has such an enormous amount of wrath effects, as well as exile effects, and can recover amazingly well.

Pretty sure that last bit is slightly unfounded. Green recovers by having such strong ramp. Blue, from its powerful card draw. Black, from recursion. White doesn't have ramp, barely has any card draw, and its recursion is decent, but I'm confident it isn't as good as black's.

And I've already talked about wrath effects not being real great for Darien's soldiers.
green slime wrote:
With mentor of the meek, stormfront riders, cathars' crusade, deck thinning with land tax or endless horizons, enchantment / artifact fetch / recovery, as well as marshal's anthem, sun titan, Karmic Guide / Reveillark, I'd not count a well-built mono-white soldier deck out of the running in a multiplayer game.

I'm not sure why you're including deck thinning here, especially since Land Tax provides minimal deck thinning in EDH until the very late game. Endless Horizons is also not a very good card to be playing due to the massive risk you are taking of it getting blown up.

These are all good cards, but I have to circle back around to where they cost lots of mana to get into play and/or set up with a synergy/combo. You're also only showing how much of white's recursion is dependent upon abandoning the soldier tribe for other creature types.
green slime wrote:
The tutoring of black provides a slight advantage, but recursion is a strategy any deck has to be able to handle, and white already has a leg up on that with StP, PtE, etc, as well as it's own recursion.

Unrestricted tutoring only gives slight advantage? I'm not sure I can remotely take you seriously on that.

Recursion is a strategy every deck should take into account to some extent, and white is better prepared than most colors with access to Rest in Peace and Samurai of the Pale Curtain (and a few weaker effects). And one on one, getting Rest in Peace would seriously cripple a number of the shenanigans zombies are capable of pulling--enough so there's a decent chance it would win.

If you think I'm meaning to argue soldier tribal is awful and should never be played, that's not correct. I think soldier tribal is fine, and it has reasonable interactions. White is still the second worst mono-color deck above red, but it would manage. With a highly dedicated deck, it might even be pretty good. What I'm arguing is black zombies is better--consistently better.

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