Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I currently have 7 EDH decks sleeved and ready to play. It’s been a while since I built any new decks, though, so I feel like it’s time to deconstruct some and build new decks. So, today I’m going to run down the roster of my current decks, and critique each one. This will hopefully give me a good idea of which decks are gonna get cannibalized, which in turn will help guide me as to what colors/combinations I will have available to pull from. Also, it gives me an idea of what to try and fix, if I ever decide to revisit or revamp one of these decks.

1. Wrexial, the Risen Deep – This deck is a personal favorite, and unlikely to get the axe anytime soon (much to the chagrin of my playgroup – no one seems to like this deck quite as much as I do!). It’s powerful and fun to play, and though it doesn’t really win all that often, that’s usually because it is powerful enough that it draws too much hate from all of my opponents. It often feels a little like Archenemy – me versus the rest of the table. And yet, it’s still capable of pulling out a few wins, and even when it loses, it does so in spectacular and epic ways. Easily one of my Top 5 favorite EDH decks to date. Grade: A

2. Ghost Council of Orzhova – This deck is one of my experimentations with two-color decks. Until recently I played three-color decks almost exclusively, but the success of Wrexial made me reconsider my bias, and so I built a few more two-color decks. This one is arguably the most successful of the batch (excepting Wrexial, because that deck wasn’t actually part of this experiment, just the catalyst). The deck is quite powerful, and certainly capable of racking up a fair win-ratio. It does have a few issues, however. One is that the choice of general – Ghost Council or Orzhova – seems mildly inorganic. I instituted a token-making subtheme to help make GhoCo relevant and useful, but in the games I’ve played, he hasn’t been all that stellar. The other theme of the deck is a bit more abstract – “the duality of life and death” – wich was inspired by the fact that White and Black are opposing, enemy colors, but have so many of the same effects that they’re like two sides to the same coin. This theme carried through remarkably, but the janky token subtheme and the usefulness of the general count against it somewhat. Grade: B-

3. Edric, Spymaster of Trest – It’s hard to grade this one because it hasn’t yet been given the opportunity to do what it was built for. When I put it together I was expecting to be playing more frequently at my Local Game Store, where I’d never know what random opponents I would be up against, and I built the deck to “spy” on my opponents. Effect that let me look at my opponents’ hands and libraries are the big theme, with other spy-ish things shoehorned in. However, I never really got in the habit of playing at my LGS, preferring instead to play at home with my regular group. This makes the spy theme somewhat less useful as my regular players don’t change or build new decks that often, so I usually know all their decks in and out. The deck is easily the most flavorful and thematic deck I’ve ever built, though, and in that regard it is a resounding success. It’s fun to play, even when I know the decks I’m up against, but it doesn’t have a lot of winning power. It relies heavily on politics to stay alive, and tries to sneak in a win once it is down to one opponent. I’d love to see how well it plays in the intended environment, but it’s been okay in my regular group. Grade: B

4. Stonebrow, Krosan Hero – “Trample” is the defining theme here. Just big guys with Trample. This deck has performed to mixed results. A big part of the problem is that I play in a very Wrath-heavy metagame, and this is a deck that just begs to overextend. I added in as much recursion as I could fit, to help counteract the devastating effects of seeing multiple board sweepers most games. It helped somewhat, but not nearly as much as I’d hoped. Most games end up kinda boring because really, all this deck can do is play dudes and swing. When the board state isn’t conducive to aggressive red-zoning, I often wind up sitting there behind a wall of guys with Trample waiting for someone to drop their shields. I really need to find ways to interact along more axes if I want this deck to be both fun and viable. For now, though, it’s pretty much a failure. Grade: C-

5. Kaervek the Merciless – This deck is a lot like the Edric deck, in that I initially built it with the idea that I’d be playing at stores a lot more often. Since I would be playing a lot of random people and some of them might be… shall we say overcompetative?... I wanted to have a greifer deck on-hand in case I encountered any “douchebag” players. Really, though, I just wanted an excuse to indulge my own inner-douchebag, without pissing of my regular group, which is comprised entirely of IRL friends who I don’t want to piss off! Well, since the whole thing with playing at my LGS didn’t pan out, I have little opportunity to play this deck. I’ve been tempted a few times to bust it out on my regular group just to see what would happen, but I’m just not that mean. I can’t rate this deck on its performance as I never really played it, but the one game I did try it out, I just got hated out before I could mount a defense. Grade: D (is for "douche"!)

6. Ruhan of the FomoriAnother sort of experimental deck. With this one, I was trying to dual-wield themes – and Equipment-based “voltron” strategy for 1v1 play, and a Giant Tribal theme for multiplayer. I wanted the deck to be equally viable for both 1v1 and multiplayer games without having to swap cards around. I never really got the chance to test it in 1v1, but in Multiplayer it only ever won off the voltron theme meant for 1v1 play. The Giant Tribal theme never really took off; again this is likely due in large part to the oversaturation of Wrath effect in my playgroup’s meta. The absurdly high mana curve likely didn’t help either, but in the games I played with it, I always got the distinct impression that if I could just keep a few creatures on the board for more than a turn, my Giants would easily outclass everyone else’s guys. The presence of a Sunforger package makes the deck at least more interesting and interactive to play than the Stonebrow deck. If my group ever backs WAY off on the Wrath overload, I’ll definitely give this one another shot. Grade: C+

7. The Mimeoplasm – Born out of a desire to play abuse Necrotic Ooze more than anything else, I wound up with what was essentially a dirty combo deck, except that it didn’t have any actual infinite combos, and really, it couldn’t put games away without Infect guys, so that was almost as distasteful to most of my opponents as a true combo deck. Add to that the fact that it was full of masturbatory wankery (sure it’s fun for ME to get a Necrotic Ooze in play, with Arcanis and Morphling in the graveyard!) and not really capable of interacting with the other players. Oh sure, it’s got stuff like Avatar of Woe and whatnot that are meant to give me the means to interact, but usually the deck could just win on autopilot and could safely ignore what my opponents were doing 90% of the time. The rest of the time it’d just fail to draw the right things in the right order and would be a “do nothing” deck for several turns until I drew Skittles or Putrefax and abruptly ended the game out of nowhere. Cute deck with good intentions, but producing lame results. Grade: D

Well, that certainly was helpful. Explicitly stating my thoughts and feelings on each deck actually helped me figure out which decks I can live without and which I might hang on to a while longer. Obviously The Mimeoplasm,  Kaervek and Stonebrow are on the chopping block. Ruhan likely will be too.

I really want to make Stonebrow and Ruhan work, but I just don’t think either deck is truly compatible with my group’s current meta. I’m not the slightest bit upset that Mimeo and Kaervek didn’t work out – both were borderline d-bag at best, full-on dick mode at worst. Probably not the best idea to play those with people you like talking to.

Edric, I’m on the fence about. I like the deck a lot and as I said above, it’s just SO damned flavorful that it’s fun to play even though it never wins. That said, if I’m going to keep it around, but only to play in my regular group, I’m going to need to scale back on the “spy” aspect and build more into the political angle. I think I’ll go back and overhaul it – it might turn out quite different from the current build, but should still be recognizably the same basic deck.

Ghost Council, too, likely needs a bit of an update, but I want to wait until Avacyn Restored comes out, as I have a suspicious feeling that there will be a shit-ton of cards in that set that will be worth looking at. For now I might just swap the General to Vish Kal and replace some of the token theme cards with better, more relevant stuff.  Maybe I’ll give it some of the Equipment from Ruhan… dunno.

Okay, folks. Armed with the info above, I will begin drafting ideas for new decks and revisions to those that need ‘em. Updates will come as I finish them.



  1. Take a look at Mr. P's blog for his Stonebrow list:

    He plays in a very board-wipe-heavy environment too, and this thing is pretty successful and fun.

    I think you've figured out the reason that Kaervek and Mimeo don't usually work out; Kaervek in particular is a narrow-strategy general that just seems to lend itself to douche strategies. Mimeo is usually right behind it as well...although you might get some mileage there by pulling the poison/NecrOoze out and reinventing it in a non-dickish manner.

    Edrick seems fun by the sounds, as does Ruhan, although I can see the issues with the latter. I've been kicking around the beginning of a Ruhan list for a while as well, but it's in line behind several others on the table. If I get something there at some point, I'll shoot you a list.

    Ghost Quarter...seems cool. I have a Teysa list that seems similar in theory and theme, and I'd be interested to see how AR helps these decks out.


  2. Thanks for the tip, checking out Mr P's Stonebrow list now... I already see a couple things that stand out as missing from my list - Mimic Vat and Sword of Light and Shadow! Both would go a long way toward making the deck survivable through multiple Wraths.

    He emphasized Haste just a tad bit more than I did too. I have Fires of Yav and Urabrask, and of course Greaves, but that's about it. I like that he's got In The Web of War and Sarkhan Vol.

    I'll bookmark his list for later - I'm already in the process of deconstructing most of my decks, but I'm certain to revist Stonebrow later, and I'll be sure to take Mr P's list into account when I do. Thanks!