Monday, August 22, 2011

Animar, Soul of Elements - Final List

Ok, if you read my last post, this should need no preamble. Animar came, he saw, he amassed +1/+1 counters and he conquered the shit out of my playgroup and started to annoy them. So, I'll post the final list here, with some additional thoughts on improvement, and let the deck die for the good of my playgroup.


Animar, Soul of Elements

Phyrexian Metamorph
Consecrated Sphinx
Frost Titan
Phyrexian Ingestor
Sphinx of Uthuun

Flametongue Kavu
Inferno Titan
Bogardan Hellkite

Lotus Cobra
Bloom Tender
Fauna Shaman
Wood Elves
Farhaven Elf
Fierce Empath
Eternal Witness
Forgotten Ancient
Garruk's Packleader
Silverglade Elemental
Acidic Slime
Silklash Spider
Brutalizer Exarch
Deadwood Treefolk
Primordial Sage
Primeval Titan
Spearbreaker Behemoth
Avenger of Zendikar

Coiling Oracle
Momir Vig
Simic Sky Swallower
Alloy Myr
Solemn Simulacrum

Artisan of Kozilek
Kozilek, Butcher of Truth
Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre

Spells and Stuff

Tezzeret's Gambit
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Rite of Replication

Warstorm Surge

Beast Within
Birthing Pod
Momentous FallPattern of Rebirth
Greater Good
Primal Command
Overwhelming Stampede
Wild Pair

Garruk Wildspeaker
Sarkhan Vol

Izzet Signet
Gruul Signet
Simic Signet
Lightning Greaves
Mimic Vat
Akroma's Memorial

38 Lands including the following:

Llanowar Reborn
Novijen, Heart of Progress
Oran-Rief, the Vastwood

These three lands were obviously chosen as ways to "cheat" counters onto Animar, and all three performed. I highly recommend all of them, but Llanowar Reborn was surprisingly the best. You could play it on turn 1 or 2 and still be able to make Animar on turn 3, grafting a counter on him immediately. Novijen and Oran-Rief were kinda expensive and slow, BUT both saved my ass a time or two.
The rest of the mana base was all duals and basics - Novijen was THE only land in the deck that made only colorless mana. Colored mana was too crucial, which is why I cut Sol Ring and Temple of the False God - both were marginally helpful in re-casting Animar  but that was about it, and if you ever have to pay more than 5 for your general, you've probably already lost anyway.

Every single creature in the list I stand by 100% but there are too many non-creature spells in the list. I kept drawing creature-light hands despite the fact that this list already has more creatures than any other EDH list I've ever built.

All of the non-creatures spells make sense and are good - there's just too many. I like ALL of the cards in the list, but some just didn't pull their weight like they should have.

Akroma's Memoral was the biggest disappointment, thought it did outright win me one game. It was just too costly most of the time. Usually, if I could afford to cast it, and had creatures out to benefit from it, I was already winning - thus it was just a "win-more" card most of the time.

Same goes for Overwhelming Stampede - it was just win-more 90% of the time, irrelevant the other 10%.

Birthing Pod might be the biggest overall disappointment in New Phyrexia. When the set was spoiled, I really thought Birthing Pod was somewhere between Survival of the Fittest and Fauna Shaman - i.e. better than Shaman, but not as good as Survival. I thought sac'ing a dude and discarding a dude would be roughly the same as a drawback, while putting the guy right into play with the Pod would more than make up for it. Even in this creature-packed deck, though, sac-ing a dude I'd already paid for was just painful. There were times I won because I was able to "silver bullet" a problematic threat with the Pod, but ultimately it was dead in my hand roughly half the time.

The one caveat is when it's paired with Mimic Vat - if those two stay on the board together, unanswered, you better win or you probably are playing the wrong game.

Still, I'd keep the Vat without hesitation, but I think the Pod can go.

Greater Good and Momentous Fall are logical choices as they are draw-spells that depend on creatures. They make good sense here, but ultimately I think the deck only wants one or the other, not both. I'd favor Momentous Fall, oddly enough, but there is very little life-gain in this deck and that's sometimes important.

Primal Command was very powerful, but oddly difficult to cast. I always had plenty of mana, but I also always needed to just cast more creatures, not go tutor one up. Momir Vig was just SO much better at this, I think I'd cut the Command.

Finally, the Signets ended up being "meh" I'd probably cut them for two more Lands to bring us up to 40 land, and add one more Wood Elves variant, perhaps Pilgrim's Eye or something?

Warstorm Surge
Mimic Vat
and Wild Pair

These 4 are, without question, the best non-creature cards in the deck. They all preformed well above expectations and Wild Pair in particular is probably the single best card in the deck for giving you a shot at winning a game without Animar.

Pongify and Beast Within were critically-needed utility answers, and I'd probably try to supplement those with at least two more non-Creature removal spells, probably Krosan Grip and something that can kill dudes.

Sarkhan Vol, Garuuk and Jace were all terrific, but none of them really seemed necessary for the deck's success. I'd say Jace pulled his weight the most, but Garruk and Sarkhan just rarely showed up for some reason. The few times I drew them I wasn't unhappy to see them, though.

Finally, the deck's biggest weakness was Wrath of God effects, as expected. To a lesser extent, anything that could kill Animar himself was a back-breaker. I dreaded playing against any deck with Red, because Flametongue Kavu and Spitebellows usually showed up before I could get enough counters on Animar for him to survive their damage.

I strongly recommend countermagic as an all-purpose answer to anything that could kill Animar, but I would say that you should never blow a counterspell unless it's to protect Animar or Wild Pair.

Well, that is all. Enjoy!

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