Saturday, July 23, 2016

Eldritch Moon Deck Updates, Round 1

Eldritch Moon is finally upon us, and we finally have a whole new batch of toys to play with. I was able to acquire a few of the things on my list last night, locally. But there were some other things I wanted that I couldn't find. So, this is just the first round of changes to be made.

- Dictate of Heliod
- Sigarda's Aid

This was an easy one, given that I just recently cut Academy Rector from this deck, it only made sense that the last of the expensive Enchantments would soon be cut as well. Dictate was pretty powerful at times, but often awkward and a virtual mulligan when drawn in your opening 7. Sigarda's Aid is much cheaper and much more on-theme.

Gitrog Monster:
- Undergrown Champion
+ Splendid Reclamation

Another relatively easy choice, the Undergrowth Champion was just kinda there because it said Landfall in it's text box and I wanted to use it somewhere. I'm looking for a spot for it in Karametra instead, so that the very obviously amazing Splendid Reclamation could come in. Already played a 1v1 game and right off the bat, Splendid Reclamation more or less won me the game. I tutored for it by Transmuting a Dimir House Guard, then topdecked Squandered Resources the next turn. From the first game played with it, Splendid Reclamation has proven itself to be the card I thought it was.

- Traverse the Uvenwald
+ Splendid Reclamation
- Dragonlord Silumgar
+ Cryptbreaker

Modest changes for now, but laying the groundwork for the Zombie Tribal overhaul. I wasn't able to pick up a Gisa and Geralf, so I am slow-rolling this little project until the G&G I ordered online comes in the mail. Traverse the Uvenwald may come back in later, after the big revision, but for now, I have found it to be a bit of a letdown. This deck turns on Delerium pretty easily, but once turned on, I am rarely all that happy with my options when casting this. I wind up getting Duplicant about 90% of the time. I don't mind playing tutors, but when they just wind up being a second copy of one specific card, that gets pretty old. Silumgar is great here,  but isn't a Zombie, so he's bound to come out sooner or later.

- Rhox Faithmender
+ Campaign of Vengeance
- Ajani, Caller of the Pride
+ Lone Rider

These were tough changes, but ultimately I was holding on to Rhox Faithmender for it's potential, but I had to face the fact that I have drawn the Rhox a high % of games and he's largely performed somewhere between "underwhelming" and "complete do-nothing" most of the time. Once or twice he's been amazing, if I also have Cradle of Vitality or Well of Lost Dreams out, for instance, but by and large simply improving my lifegain cards isn't actually good here. Ajani was fine - really good at making Karlov more quickly lethal - but that wasn't especially exciting. T2 Karlov into T3 Ajani was powerful, but often just meant the game would be over before any cool shit could happen. And Ajani doesn't gain me life. Lone Rider keeps the deck aggressive, but synergizes better beyond just making my General Damage clock faster.

- Cast Through Time
+ Niblis of Frost

Cast Through Time was on the chopping block for a while already. I had forgotten that Rebound has the whole "if cast from hand" clause, so the Enchantment didn't really synergize with Narset's trigger the  way I had hoped. I was going to replace it with the new big Blue mythic Enchantment, Mind's Dilation, but I couldn't find one. Meanwhile Niblis of Frost seemed like a good fit here. Lots of stuff to trigger Prowess, and his tap ability should provide some good defense, or help keep blockers out of Narset's way.

- Shadow Alley Denizen
+ Stromkirk Condemned

This was a tough change, but ultimately the Denizen had been a bit lackluster. The best thing she has done for me was dying to Skullclamp. That said, I was hoping to cut something that cost MORE than two, so that this guy could help push the mana curve a little lower. It's pretty low already, for the most part, but I still wind up drawing mana-light, top-heavy hands a bit too often. I'm not sure I really want the Denizen back in, but some way or another, I need to trim some fat at the top end.

- Necromantic Selection
+ Selfless Spirit

Right after I made this swap, I had Necromantic Selection used against me in a game, to pretty good effect. Kinda made me doubt this choice for a moment. Obviously, Selfless Spirit was a given to come in, and I knew that I wanted to cut something that was both a non-creature spell and a high-costing one. Selection fits the bill on both counts. In fact I probably need to make further cuts along these lines - beef up the creature base while trimming down the mana curve. Will try to look into this later.

So, that's it for now. I still have a handfull of stuff I picked up last night that I just haven't found homes for yet, and I'm waiting on an online order to come it, to fill in what I couldn't find at my local stores last night.

Specifically, I'm looking for a Thalia to put in Grand Arbiter Augustin IV, the aforementioned Gisa and Geralf for Sidisi, and Eldritch Evolutions for... just about every deck. I also have a couple of those Mind's Dialations coming, as well as a Tamiyo. Tamiyo will obviously have to go into Rafiq, as that's the only option for her, but she ought to be pretty good there anyway. Not sure about the second Dilation, though. Narset gets one, but the other... thinking maybe Grand Arbiter, as that deck does have a Rector to fetch it out. But it also seems like a fun Maelstrom Wanderer card to cascade into (though it would have fit my old Good Stuff list better, as it doesn't do much for the Dragon Tribal plan). Guess we'll see when I get the package.

I'm also thinking about another Sigarda's Aid for Karlov. I already have a modest Equipment package, but I think to justify the Aid I would also need to beef of my Aura package beyond the Gift of Orzhova and Faith's Fetters I currently have. Not sure I could find room for all that, though.

Meanwhile I've been thinking about trying to beef up my Vampire list by adding some more actually-good cards. Right now, I have a Voldaren Pariah that kind of wants to join the party, but this just isn't a deck where I ever have three spare creatures I would just love to sacrifice. But, she got me thinking about Grave Pact. I am sure my group is tired of me abusing that card, but honestly this deck is probably the fairest deck that would ever play it. As I just said, it rarely makes tokens or has extra creatures I can afford to just sac. I was also thinking about Necropotence, but it does have some anti-synergies with Olivia and the Madness stuff. I enjoy the deck but it has some serious weaknesses that I need to shore up.

I picked up a couple of Thalia's Lancers, but I am having trouble finding a home for them. It turns out I just don't have a lot of Legendary cards in most of my White decks. Rafiq has a fair few, but none seem like they're amazing enough to warrant running this tutor just for them. The best option I think I have found so far is Marath - Lancers can get Kiki-Jiki and Gaea's Cradle, two of the best cards in the deck. But other than fetching those up, the Lancers just don't have any real synergy with the token theme, the +1/+1 counters theme, the Beast tribal theme, or the Populate theme. That said, Kiki-Jiki's best friend is Trostani, who is also a Legend... I can Lancers for Kiki, cast Kiki and copy the Lancers, fetching up Cradle, then next turn, Kiki the Lancers again to find Trostani. Hmm... yeah, that's a bit Magical Christmasland, but I think I've just talked myself into it.So one last change:

- Second Harvest
+ Thalia's Lancers

(NOTE: Just discovered that, due to an apparent copy/paste error, the list for Marath in the sidebar is not completely correct. The creatures listed are accurate, but the spells are not. The spell portion of the list is from the old Rith the Awakener list I had before Marath came along and put Rith to shame. I'll work on getting that corrected at some point this weekend.)

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