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PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2017 10:08 am 
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Slight update to Abzan: Currently testing -2 Reclamation Sage; +2 Walking Ballista.

Sage often felt too low-impact to me even when he constantly hit artifacts/enchantments; the 2/1 body hasn't done enough for me lately.
Walking Ballista is both helpful against early aggression as well as a manasink in case of flood.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2017 11:06 am 
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Luke wrote:
I tested the Dynavolt Burn Control, classified as "Category 1". Results are:
10 games, starting rank 22, 5-5
10 games, starting rank 22, 5-5
10 games, starting rank 22, 8-2
10 games, starting rank 28, 3-7


wow. you are the real deal. You should report to the deckbuilding contest on the Duels subforum and see if you're interested in playtesting the 7 submitted decks. I plan on playtesting them tonight as well.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2017 4:30 am 
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Put up my version of Mardu Vehicles. Not technically a new deck, but it is an AER deck, so it's in Category 4 as well.

Also, will likely categorize the new decks soon-ish.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2017 1:59 am 
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Since the very beginning of the format Rabble and I experimented with Grixis Improvise. We correctly identified Metallic Rebuke and Herald of Anguish as strong payoffs for that strategy. In the end we gave up on trying to brew it - we couldn't make it work consistently.

Wednesday, BounceBurnBuff posted his "Grixis MeanTeam" decklist - a tapout control deck. The list struck me as being potentially very powerful and definitely well-positioned in the current meta. However, some things I found odd; mainly that many of his win-conditions seemed very clunky as well, being 6- or even 7-drops; or a Tezzeret with no other artifacts in the deck aside from the Gearhulks.

To that avail, I decided to try mixing BBBs idea with Improvise Control's ideas; this is the result and so far it has been working well (limited testing though).

Advent of Bolas
Creatures (5):
1 x Jace, Vryn's Prodigy
1 x Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
1 x Disciple of the Ring
1 x Torrential Gearhulk
1 x Herald of Anguish

Planeswalkers (3):
1 x Liliana, the Last Hope
1 x Tezzeret the Schemer
1 x Ob Nixilis Reignited

Sorceries (4):
2 x Radiant Flames
2 x Dark Intimations

Instants (21):
3 x Fatal Push
3 x Telling Time
3 x Harnessed Lightning
4 x Metallic Rebuke
3 x Unlicensed Disintegration
3 x Glimmer of Genius
2 x Confirm Suspicions

Artifacts (5):
4 x Renegade Map
1 x Heart of Kiran

Lands (22):
4 x Island
5 x Swamp
2 x Mountain
2 x Smoldering Marsh
2 x Sunken Hollow
2 x Drowned Catacomb
2 x Sulfur Falls
3 x Aether Hub


Quite some things going on here. Let's try to tackle them in order.

Radiant Flames > Yahenni's Expertise: 3-mana sweeper > 4-mana sweeper. I know Yahenni's Expertie can sometimes cast a CMC-3-or-less card, but being able to sweep a turn earlier is much more important IMO.

Dark Intimations is the card I wanted to try out when building this deck - and boy that card is amazing. Sure, it costs 5 mana, but it is a 4-for-1 that ticks many boxes previously unattended by Grixis Control, most notably PW removal. It also gives the deck recursion; something that is not typical for control decks at all.

Metallic Rebuke is my attempt at making the counterspells as flexible and smooth as possible. It sometimes costing 2 or even 1 mana only makes a big difference, especially against Aggro decks that want to curve out. It's probably the worst counterspell against control - but it still is a counterspell.

Confirm Suspicions is the card I'm actually the least certain about, because this is the kind of clunky counterspell that sits in your hand against Aggro. I wanted a hard-counter however, and the Clue tokens help us power out Herald of Anguish/Metallic Rebuke slightly later. Amazing card in Midrange or Control matchups, but I could see it getting cut.

Renegade Map > Evolving Wilds: I agree with the general consensus that, without further synergies, Evolving Wilds is better than Renegade Map. However, in decks that have enough synergies with Map, it's worth building around the problems Map brings.
If you can cast it t1, Renegade Map is in some ways better than Evolving Wilds; mainly due to the added flexibility of cracking it whenever needed (or letting it stick around). The deck wants artifacts for Rebuke, Disintegration, Tezzeret and Herald; also the flexible Revolt trigger for Fatal Push is worth mentioning.
Map has two problems we need to work around. First, we have to be able to reliably cast it t1 - hence the large number of Basics; I wanted 14 untapped mana sources on turn 1. This means we have to make concessions somethere though - big Chandra is out of the picture for instance.
The second problem is trying to make Map less of a dead draw late. Indeed there are very few lategame situations you want a 1-mana artifact with no immediate impact in - the deck runs 5-6 cards that can make immediate use of it; and that number would be pushing it for almost any deck I believe.

Manabase: 4 Renegade Maps + 22 lands is roughly equivalent to a 26 land manabase; if you want to be really sure I'd suggest cutting Heart of Kiran for land #23.
We need 14 untapped lands in order to reliably get Renegade Map t1 (3 Aether Hub, 11 Basics); this leaves 8 slots for dual lands. Blue and Black are the main colours, so both Drowned Catacomb and Sunken Hollow are in.
With 11 Basics and 4 Maps, it should be rather easy to get the BfZ Duals to come into play untapped t3; also they turn on both checklands. Thus, Smoldering Marsh is in; and Sulfur Falls rounds out the manabase.
This base omits Wandering Fumarole; it being a tapland does not work well with getting Maps online t1 and makes the deck more inconsistent against Aggro. The deck will generally have a use for all its mana.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2017 3:08 am 
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2017 5:32 am 
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how are you not dying to aggro or like a rogues passage? you have no lifegain :O


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2017 9:45 am 
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Lifegain's for suckers who can't Control properly :p

I echo the lack of big Chandra, she's too explosive and flexible in my eyes, and I'd easily chuck Heart under the bus for her.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2017 9:55 am 
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zzmorg82 wrote:


I echo the lack of big Chandra, she's too explosive and flexible in my eyes, and I'd easily chuck Heart under the bus for her.


As I wrote, Chandra is the main concession to the manabase. Having to run more Basics means we only have space for 18 Black, 17 Blue and 13 Red sorces; and that is not enough for Chandra IMO.
TBH, I haven't missed her too dearly - she's obviously good but the deck has enough topend without her and the other double-costed cards are more important to the deck (Kalitas for Black, Torrential Gearhulk for Blue are my main draws into these colours).
That being said, I'm not too attached to the Heart and could easily see cutting it for many different things, so why not Chandra - just don't expect to always hit RR turn 6.


gnubbish wrote:
how are you not dying to aggro or like a rogues passage? you have no lifegain :O


9 instant-speed removal spells, 4 cheap counters, 2 sweepers, Kalitas. That's 16 cards to deal with fast Aggro starts. Liliana picks off some small creatures and has to be dealt with as well; the same goes for Tezzeret and Ob Nix sometimes.
If we go a little later, the deck runs them out of gas using Torrential Gearhulk, Dark Intimations and Demon of Dark Schemes.

If you are very concerned, drop Confirm Suspicions for Essence Extraction, Battle at the Bridge or more sweepers - I haven't found that to be necessary though.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2017 10:06 am 
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Quote:
That being said, I'm not too attached to the Heart and could easily see cutting it for many different things, so why not Chandra - just don't expect to always hit RR turn 6.


This is one thing I see mentioned a lot, but I don't understand why it's so vital. Why do you NEED your wincons mana on curve in a Control deck? I see lots of arguments for NEEDING for Gideon on turn 4 or for Chandra turn 6. Those are some pretty vital turns where you're still threatened by alpha strike or lacking counter mana to prevent losing you wincon against removal. Having for Liliana turn 3 is a different scenario since a lot of removal pieces require that as well, but you dodge countermagic on the play too (which the others mentioned cannot). Unless I'm in a Control mirror, I'm happy drawing Chandra/playing her much later than turn 6.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2017 11:44 am 
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This is one thing I see mentioned a lot, but I don't understand why it's so vital. Why do you NEED your wincons mana on curve in a Control deck? I see lots of arguments for NEEDING for Gideon on turn 4 or for Chandra turn 6. Those are some pretty vital turns where you're still threatened by alpha strike or lacking counter mana to prevent losing you wincon against removal. Having for Liliana turn 3 is a different scenario since a lot of removal pieces require that as well, but you dodge countermagic on the play too (which the others mentioned cannot).


I'll do my best to explain my POV on this. Basically, IMO there are times where a wincondition needs to buy you the time you need to win later, even if it goes down in the process. For that to even be a possibility though, the wincondition needs to be able to be cast at that time, and that time might be as early as t4 for Gideon or t6 for Chandra.

I agree that turn 4 and turn 6 are still vital turns where we're threatened by alpha strike. Against Aggro, this means we have to pro-actively start applying pressure to their game plan; force them to use their resources in a way they did not intend to.
Chandra is a great example: Once you drop her, you can either get ahead in resources or put a very fast clock onto the opponent. So, does it matter when you can cast her against Aggro? Heck yes. The games against aggro are not decided in turns 15-20. If you get past that point, the game is mostly firmly in your grip and it's hard for you to lose no matter what you do (in which case, did you really need Chandra?).
Let's put up a more realistic scenario. Say, you're playing against RW Vehicles, it's turn 6 or maybe 7. You were able to stave off most early aggression due to your removal suite, but the opponent still has a board of 2-3 creatures. You're at 11 life, and you know your opponent has a Fleetwheel Cruiser in hand. You could either sweep using Radiant Flames, or you could cast Chandra to do the same. I'd argue you always sweep with Chandra; even if she goes down the turn after; the main reason being you might not be able to cast her later. What now happens if you don't have RR turn 6? And very similar cases can be made for Gideon or most other walkers/wincons.

Against Control, your second argument holds; you're lacking counter mana to prevent losing your wincon to removal/prevent your opponent to cast his bigger wincon. Contrary to your post; this would be the match-up I would be okay with being able to Chandra later than turn 6 if I have her in my starting hand.
Regarding removal BTW: Say you're on the play against Esper Control playing Gideon, you dropped Lili t3. It's the end step to your fourth turn, your opponent casts Anguished Unmaking targeting Liliana. When do you counter that? IMO you ONLY counter it if you have an answer to a resolved Gideon, as Gideon as a threat outmatches Liliana and can easily deal with her. Does that mean you're not dropping Lili t3 if you don't have Anguished Unmaking? Hardly, am I right? Similar reasons can be made for most wincons; and even moreso in this deck that can recur lost wincons easily.

Another aside BTW:
I'm happy drawing Chandra/playing her much later than turn 6.


You just mentioned two very different things as pretty much synonyms. Am I happy drawing Chandra much later than turn 6? Very much; she is likely one of the best cards in any deck she's in that goes much later than turn 6. Am I happy to play her much later than turn 6? No. If I wanted a 10-drop in my deck, there are better options in Duels.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2017 11:53 am 
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Modulo wrote:
You just mentioned two very different things as pretty much synonyms. Am I happy drawing Chandra much later than turn 6? Very much; she is likely one of the best cards in any deck she's in that goes much later than turn 6. Am I happy to play her much later than turn 6? No. If I wanted a 10-drop in my deck, there are better options in Duels.


I still don't get this argument. Why do you want a 10 drop (assuming Ulamog here since everything else is trash or build around) in this deck? What better option is there in this deck? Turn 10, again assuming you hit every land drop, you could cast Chandra, hold up counter mana and a Fatal push for what little that card would be worth lategame. Much better value in Duels than Ulamog TBH, and you can just see his playrate nowadays to confirm that. Sure Ulamog ends the game in 2 turns if unblocked, or roughly 3 if blocked, but there are more answers to deal with him than any PW.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2017 12:28 pm 
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I still don't get this argument. Why do you want a 10 drop (assuming Ulamog here since everything else is trash or build around) in this deck? What better option is there in this deck? Turn 10, again assuming you hit every land drop, you could cast Chandra, hold up counter mana and a Fatal push for what little that card would be worth lategame. Much better value in Duels than Ulamog TBH, and you can just see his playrate nowadays to confirm that. Sure Ulamog ends the game in 2 turns if unblocked, or roughly 3 if blocked, but there are more answers to deal with him than any PW.


Well, I don't want a 10-drop in the deck - duh.
My problem with Chandra is: If I don't at least have the option to reliably cast her turn 6, I can't really consider her a 6-drop, can I? So, at which point can she enter reliably? If that point is turn 10, I'd consider her a 10-drop as in: a card I can't reliably play before turn 10. I don't want to play a 10-drop in the deck; much less a 10-drop that is very clearly designed to be a 6-drop, with an according power level (even if the card costs less).

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2017 12:48 pm 
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Modulo wrote:
I still don't get this argument. Why do you want a 10 drop (assuming Ulamog here since everything else is trash or build around) in this deck? What better option is there in this deck? Turn 10, again assuming you hit every land drop, you could cast Chandra, hold up counter mana and a Fatal push for what little that card would be worth lategame. Much better value in Duels than Ulamog TBH, and you can just see his playrate nowadays to confirm that. Sure Ulamog ends the game in 2 turns if unblocked, or roughly 3 if blocked, but there are more answers to deal with him than any PW.


Well, I don't want a 10-drop in the deck - duh.
My problem with Chandra is: If I don't at least have the option to reliably cast her turn 6, I can't really consider her a 6-drop, can I? So, at which point can she enter reliably? If that point is turn 10, I'd consider her a 10-drop as in: a card I can't reliably play before turn 10. I don't want to play a 10-drop in the deck; much less a 10-drop that is very clearly designed to be a 6-drop, with an according power level (even if the card costs less).


This feels like an odd way of looking at things, particularly for a control deck.

As a control deck, you aren't trying to drop out threats on curve, so if it comes out on T6 or it comes out on T10 it doesn't make much of a difference outside of the effect that potentially plays on the opponents clock.

In most cases, you aren't going to want to be casting your finishers on curve anyways. Unless you can manage to stabilize or achieve a lock by that point you are probably better off doing that than you are trying to drop one of your limited bombs. On top of this, the longer you wait to drop those (likely limited) bombs the better chance they stand of sticking, either because your opponent is playing off the top, or because you have the mana to back your bomb up with countermagic/removal on the same turn, or because it can protect itself somehow, and so on.

I am with 3B here. Drawing Chandra when you have 9 mana on the table isn't terrible at all. It just means that your Chandra has counter/removal backup to help sneak it in or keep it on the table.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2017 2:37 pm 
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My apologies; it seems my last post didn't help clearing things up.

As a control deck, you aren't trying to drop out threats on curve, so if it comes out on T6 or it comes out on T10 it doesn't make much of a difference outside of the effect that potentially plays on the opponents clock.


IMO this is wrong. Many control deck's threats - including PWs - have their rewards based on the number of turns they stick around. Against Aggro, I'd rather have a Walker out for 1 turn than not casting him the whole game - at worst he gets a bit of value and absorbs some damage. Against Control, these threats are your method to get ahead and present them a clock, closing out the game.

In most cases, you aren't going to want to be casting your finishers on curve anyways. Unless you can manage to stabilize or achieve a lock by that point you are probably better off doing that than you are trying to drop one of your limited bombs. On top of this, the longer you wait to drop those (likely limited) bombs the better chance they stand of sticking, either because your opponent is playing off the top, or because you have the mana to back your bomb up with countermagic/removal on the same turn, or because it can protect itself somehow, and so on.


Manage to stabilize or achieve a lock is exactly what these threats are going to do for us, though.
Kalitas - Stabilizes.
Jace - Sets up a lock.
Liliana - Sets up a lock.
Chandra - Stabilizes or sets up a clock.
Gideon - Threatens to stall the board or close out the game.
Disciple of the Ring - Lock: The card.
Ob Nixilis - Sets up a lock or helps to stabilize.
Torrential Gearhulk - Stabilizes.

If you wait forever for that to happen it won't - you need to take action to make it happen, and that may include to drop a bomb early, even if you would prefer to wait - you just can't afford to fall too far behind and have to use windows to resolve threats if your opponent leaves them open. If that window is turn 4, it's turn 4 (against Aggro); if that window is turn 18, it's turn 18 (against Control).

Drawing Chandra when you have 9 mana on the table isn't terrible at all.


As I stated, I don't mind that either. If things worked like that however, there would be little to no reason to not play Ulamog - we'd just draw him the turn we drop our 10th land. So, why do we not play him?
What I do mind - and what is the main reason against running Ulamog in a control deck - is drawing a card the deck can't cast reliably. Why is Ulamog deemed too greedy? Because it's a control deck's task to get to turn 10, and not stack itself with things to do once you get there. It's the same thing with Chandra, Flamecaller if we don't run a sufficient amount of Red sources - by the time we could cast her we're probably dead.

It's true that a control deck casts most of his finishers very late in the game, but locking ourselves out of the possibility to do so simply can not be correct.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2017 3:11 pm 
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Modulo wrote:
My apologies; it seems my last post didn't help clearing things up.

Drawing Chandra when you have 9 mana on the table isn't terrible at all.


As I stated, I don't mind that either. If things worked like that however, there would be little to no reason to not play Ulamog - we'd just draw him the turn we drop our 10th land. So, why do we not play him?
What I do mind - and what is the main reason against running Ulamog in a control deck - is drawing a card the deck can't cast reliably. Why is Ulamog deemed too greedy? Because it's a control deck's task to get to turn 10, and not stack itself with things to do once you get there. It's the same thing with Chandra, Flamecaller if we don't run a sufficient amount of Red sources - by the time we could cast her we're probably dead.

It's true that a control deck casts most of his finishers very late in the game, but locking ourselves out of the possibility to do so simply can not be correct.


I see what you are getting at here, but I am still not sure I completely agree in this situation. I feel like Chandra is worth the potential for some funky mana scenarios. She is only a 1 of so the times you draw into her early and she just sits there eating up space in your hand should be lower than in a standard environment where you could run multiples. I think her flexibility is what tips the scales for me here. The ability to push a lot of damage through instantly, cycle through cards, and board wipe ticks all the boxes for what a deck like this wants.

To be fair, you are unlikely to be casting her before T8-9 which can be significant in certain matchups and individual scenarios. On the other hand, as a control deck, you aren't likely to be casting a lot of your other win-cons much earlier than that either, unless they simultaneously fill the role of stabilizing you (like dropping Ob and killing the opponents only creature) or you have already stabilized and/or are otherwise open (casting onto an open board after a sweeper against an opponent with no cards in hand).

As for the whole argument with value for those cards, this is a hard discussion to quantify in a real manner. You are certainly correct that in regards to the PWs they gain more value the longer they stick around, so getting them in ASAP means they potentially generate more value in the end. That said the longer you wait (or the more protection you have) the more likely they are to be able to survive in the first place to generate that value, which can also lead to a higher net value (especially with our limited ability to recur PWs and our rarity restrictions).

It is hard to say exactly one way or the other which is correct, since it varies highly on the individual scenario. On the individual discussion about Chandra though, I don't think she will cause as much of an issue as you think, and the potential payoff is definitely worthwhile.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2017 5:52 am 
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I find that in your list, a control deck that wants to go super late if needed; you need more than 1 kalitas against scrapheap scrounger, especially since you don't run towers (which can keep it off the board whilst you set up a win late-game reliably).

Might I suggest a Brutal expulsion (1) over Heart of Kiran ? It actually has synergy with the gearhulk too.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2017 6:10 am 
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I haven't really had problems dealing with Scrounger, but if you feel like the card is very problematic, one or two Brutal Expulsion over Heart of Kiran and/or Confirm Suspicions should be a fine switch.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2017 2:18 pm 
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So, after further testing (literally dozens and dozens of games in the last weeks, alternating my builds -which are evidently always in flux by 2/3 cards-, yours and Wintervoid's), I 've found the commitment to play herald, tezz, and rebuke to not be worthwile in a true control deck. Sad but true.
They are better in the mid-range versions we worked on earlier, of yondar's dimir mid-range ( which again cements my respect for this guy, it's a ton of fun to play, and although of a lower power level than our collaboration, it is consistent. He spent way less time throwing this pile together than we did.)

My winningest grixis deck ( and like last season, winningest deck overall ; I try to Force myself playing your abzan, but I keep getting really Awkward sequences, and I generally hate the deck by principle, so neither my reps, nor my skill with it are close to the boatload of grixis games, they probably only total 20 games in the last month) remains a Tower deck that uses desintegration as a murder with occasional upside and closes with disciple/Chandra/Bluhulk/intimations/fumaroles.

Just my 2C, I Will post the decklist some other time when not on phone.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2017 8:48 am 
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Finally got around to clean up the archive. Took me long enough.


All of the KLD decks from Category 1 and 2 can be found in Category 6 in the KLD spoiler.
The Category 3 deck was moved to Category 5; the lists in here are not updated.

Golgari Counters and Mardu Vehicles moved to Category 1.
Abzan Superfriends and Esper Control moved to Category 2.

Grixis Control (which I had posted here but not included into the OP yet) will stay in Category 4 for now. I strongly think there is a version that is at least Category 2 (and I'm not sure whether that version includes the Tower, but I'm inclined to guess not due to the tower's poor matchup against Snek); but so far I don't think it has been found. Maybe it's just that the meta is very Grixis-hostile right now.

There might also be some updates to the decks in the near future; I have my eye on Golgari Counters and Esper Control in particular.
I doubt I will post many new decks (if any) in the near future though; Mono-Red Burn seems inferior to Rakdos which in turn seems inferior to Mardu Vehicles; green-based aggressive decks feel inferior to Golgari Counters. The one deck I kind of have my eye on is an Azorius fliers deck, but that is definitely a shot into the blue.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2017 4:21 pm 
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Slight update to Golgari Counters; trying to go a more "goodstuff" route with that deck cutting Narnam Renegade and Armorcraft Judge for Oath of Nissa, Scrapheap Scrounger and Sylvan Advocate (inspired by the list that won GP Pittsburgh). Not definite on the switch, but so fat I like it.

Might also update mono-Black soon-ish; still trying out some things though.

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