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Maelstrom Wanderer--High Power

Posted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 8:37 pm
by Amalek0
I'm looking to build a high-power but not quite CEDH tier Maelstrom Wanderer list for paper play. I'm not looking for full CEDH, so suggestions to move to the 3-4 "typical" CEDH kill chains aren't really welcome--I have full power 100% chain-veil teferi if I'm going to sit at those tables.

The target is the ability to play at either a table of 75% decks or a table of players who're actively gunning to beat the top 4-5 CEDH archetypes, but not really playing optimized CEDH lists themselves.

I'm not a super experienced commander player, in the sense that I don't play it often, but I'm generally aware of what most of the key combos and interactions are in the format.

This is kind of my starting point, and yes, I know it's not a cohesive 99; I'm looking to flesh it out. There's also some combos I can't remember the card names of off the top of my head, but I'm intending to build something that ramps a good bit, and then presents a substantial number of creatures that can both attack and threaten kills from very little. I guess I'm looking more for suggestions about cards and packages I *could* play moreso than specific changes, because I don't really have a list. What I am sure of is that I don't necessarily want to just jam typical CEDH kills; I'm looking for a deck that can play functional battlecruiser magic with more casual tables by just opting to do "fun" stuff instead of "stupid" stuff (e.g. put the splinter twin on avenger of zendikar instead of pestermite or krasis). I guess particular interest would be for A+B combos for which both parts can be reasonable cards when combined with other stuff.



8Maelstrom Wanderer
Approximate Total Cost:

Re: Maelstrom Wanderer--High Power

Posted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 9:24 pm
by pokken
My MW deck is fairly different and might give you some ideas. It's a bit lower power level than your approach but it's pretty strong.

I have been incredibly happy with the landfall guys, and Pathbreaker Ibex is a frigging *monster* in this deck. Way better than Hoof. I've killed tables with just avenger + ibex.

Blatant Thievery has been very strong.

Pir's Whim also has never failed to impress, getting Cradle and making everyone sac some ramp for the most part.

Finale of Devastation has been a recurring game winner as well. Crappy GSZ, or X = 10 + ibex = GG.

Re: Maelstrom Wanderer--High Power

Posted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 9:26 pm
by OCPunisher
Full disclosure: MW is one of those commanders that is inherently broken in this format, no matter what other 99 cards you play.

That being said, if you want to focus on the non-infinite combos, I would remove the Pestermite-type guys and leave Kiki to copy fun things instead. Harder to say whether Palinchron or Deadeye Navigator is the dumber combo piece and which is just a fun value engine.

I would look into the various cycles of creatures that cost between 5 and 6 mana (for MW to cascade into) and were the best of the best in their various sets. For example, the Titan cycle, the Gearhulk cycle, the Cavalier cycle, the Primordial cycle, etc.

Re: Maelstrom Wanderer--High Power

Posted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 2:30 pm
by Amalek0
I think I wasn't clear enough in my OP. I'm looking for something that's a step down from dramatic scepter or flash-hulk kills. Food chain and splinter-twin style kills with high consistency is that "step down" in power.

I've also updated the list after sitting down and grilling over a bunch of cards last night, narrowing it to a starting 99

Re: Maelstrom Wanderer--High Power

Posted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 2:35 pm
by pokken
Amalek0 wrote:
1 month ago
I think I wasn't clear enough in my OP. I'm looking for something that's a step down from dramatic scepter or flash-hulk kills. Food chain and splinter-twin style kills with high consistency is that "step down" in power.

I've also updated the list after sitting down and grilling over a bunch of cards last night, narrowing it to a starting 99
Finale of Devastation and Pathbreaker Ibex have been the things I've used for stepping down a bit in power level from the combos.

They still triumphantly end games but they do it a bit slower and a bit more interactively.

Re: Maelstrom Wanderer--High Power

Posted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 4:18 pm
by 75chan
I'm a bit unsure what you're trying to do, especially as 75% is a very vague term, and according to Sheldon, it's a place where you don't get to Sorin Markov someone on turn 5. I'm not sure if Temur Food Chain is appropriate there. I also don't think build competitively, play casually is the right way to approach casual EDH, but if that's you want, then go for it. If you want to play Food Chain with consistency, just go more tutors with Manipulate Fate, Foresight, Intuition as well as twin tutors such as Defense of the Heart. If you think that makes the power-level too high, I'd advise not to play infinite combos to begin with, or at least not one's easy to tutor up.

One thing I like running in Wanderer is an artifact/enchantment/planeswalker-based ramp package instead of a mostly land-based one. It allows you to run cards like Back to Basics, Blood Moon and Sunder in a mostly asymmetrical way.

Blasphemous Act is a boardwipe you can't cascade into. Glen, Elendra Archmage is really solid as a non-cascadeable counterspell. Time Warp etc is just value.

Re: Maelstrom Wanderer--High Power

Posted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 4:32 pm
by Amalek0
List updated almost to what I actually shoved together last night just to get a feel for it.

Obviously haven't put some of the auto-includes in yet (mana crypt, force of will, cryptic command, worldly/sylvan tutors, etc) because I'm just trying to see how various cards play, and I'm missing a few random things in the list because I'm updating from memory and through a hangover.

I'm not looking to triumphantly end games. I'm looking for enough efficiency to be an active participant at a CEDH table, but not be built around one of the typical linear and optimized win conditions at CEDH tables so I can actually appear to play at a lower power level (e.g. intentionally tutoring for answers/value instead of my own threats). Probably need to slot in telepathy, preordain, sleight of hand, faithless looting, and woodland bellower, drop some of the bad value dudes, and toss in mana dorks and survival of the fittest.

I'm aware of all the problems with building competitively and playing casually. The problem is, I don't have the capability to bring multiple decks to events (because I'm usually judging the events), so if I'm going to do a pickup game of EDH afterwards, I'm stuck with whatever deck I can put in a cargo pocket. Usually, those games will be with hardcore CEDH players, and having full power CVT is perfectly fine. If there's non CEDH players who want to jump in, they all have other decks they pack in and can switch to. I don't have that luxury. I also don't have an attachment to "winning" or playing a deck to its fullest potential, because these events are social in nature for me, so yes, there is some requested cognitave dissonance going on here. At a table of 75% players, I can jam 3/3's for 3 and turn them sideways, tutor up value ETB creatures, and red blast dumb planeswalkers. At stores without the CEDH presence, or if my primary pod mates weren't all dedicated CEDH players, I would just do some sort of "you did this to yourself" sheldon build or tons of clones and treachery effects, but that build style doesn't scale up to CEDH land. I'm looking to scale between 100% and 75% land, not between 75% and theme decks.

The manipulate fate, foresight, and defense of the heart are cards I hadn't considered; the first two because I've never played a food-chain based deck in EDH and the last because it's not really a CEDH card. I don't consider intuition to be an auto-include here because RUG doesn't have the same capability as BUG and Esper to put together "win now" piles. Back to Basics, blood moon and sunder are cards that lead to massive feel-bads in the 75% tables, and ineffective at most CEDH tables when compared to options like cursed totem, narset, parter of veils, grafdigger's cage, and null rod effects. I don't expect to need lock pieces at a 75% table, I expect combo to be good enough. I'll play the ones that actually impact the games where I need them to be competitive.

Re: Maelstrom Wanderer--High Power

Posted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 5:13 pm
by xeroxedfool
I think of MW as a ramp deck. I think the list in the OP is a little too light on mana. I also think it would be better to make sure all cards are high impact and worthy of cascading into.

I would cut cantrips (except brainstorm) and all other random instants and sorceries that dont interact well with cascade. I would also add any and all effective mana rocks.

I think it would be good to focus the combo section as well, Currently you have Splinter Twin, Food Chain, and DeadEye combos. You should cut one of them for room for more ramp.

Re: Maelstrom Wanderer--High Power

Posted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 5:36 pm
by 75chan
Disclaimer: I don't play cEDH (can't afford it) or 75%, I play somewhere in-between. I watch cEDH & have played some 75% magic, but I can't really tell what's good in either format, I only know what works for me in my ~85% meta.

Ah, then it makes more sense where you're coming from. If that's what you want to play, by all means, go for it, but I would suggest possibly playing a more interactive deck first and foremost? One that plays hate pieces towards cEDH decks that are less effective vs 75% decks (like the one's you've mentioned). For example Blood Pod I've heard is a deck that fits this description? Otherwise you could also try to run a "sideboard" when you want to power down the deck by siding out the combo pieces, if you have the space for it (9 cards, by looking at your list would be enough, probably less).

People will have feel-bads when playing against people not trying to win & people will have feelbads when playing against inf-combo's when playing at a 75% level. Not everyone, ofcourse, but I see both often enough on when people talk on forums on what kind of games they don't like.

I like intuition in UGx, as tutor redundancy when you're lacking Demonic etc, you can always package it with Noxious Revival/Regrowth/Eternal Witness counting it as an additional tutor when I want a deck to be more consistent. It's not an auto-include, but I like it nonetheless.

Anyways, it'd be easier to give some better card feedback when people can see the full list, for now my best advice for the actual list is cut the subpar cards (like Greenwarden) for interactive cards, preferentially one's suited for a cEDH environment rather than a casual one. And if you're running this few artifacts, it's possible that mass artifact removal (75-percenters seem to be okay with that) such as Seeds of Innocence might be useful, even Subterranean Tremors, as I think Rolling Earthquake sees cEDH play and it's just upside for a deck with little to no artifacts. Even mass enchantment removal, but I don't think that's too useful in cEDH?

Btw for the record haha, Sheldon did say somewhere that Blood Moon was an okay card to play in EDH (but not Back to Basics), so if you use it and someone complains, you can always reference him :P

Re: Maelstrom Wanderer--High Power

Posted: Thu Aug 15, 2019 1:14 am
by TheAmericanSpirit
I played MW for a from 2012-2018 and he does require some serious ramp commitments in deckbuilding. In fact, my old rule to determine the worth of opening hands used to be "How fast can I reasonably expect to count to 8?". This isn't really a downside though, because if you cascade into ramp, you just kill/bounce/whatever him and cast him again, eventually multiple times a turn.

Furthermore, if you've ever wanted to jam mind's desire into an edh deck, this is that deck. Nothing quite like cascading into a boardwipe and then a hasted Etali, playing mystical tutor for mind's desire precombat and then swinging for 13 while also casting a mind's desire for 4+ storm and zero mana.

However, any local Lavinia deck will beat you into next thursday, so I recommend you opt not for the jokulhaups/devastation build lest you incur public ire. Devastation tide, crush of tentacles, etc are usually sufficient.

Re: Maelstrom Wanderer--High Power

Posted: Thu Aug 15, 2019 2:27 am
by Mookie
Maelstrom Wanderer is a commander that is pretty difficult to make a weak deck for - at its core, you're casting an 8 mana spell and getting anywhere from 10-22 mana worth of value, plus drawing two cards. Most Wanderer decks I've played against are dedicated to ramping to 8 as fast as possible, then using Wanderer as a way to make up for any card disadvantage. If Wanderer dies, that's fine - you can just cast it again, since you probably cascaded into more ramp.

Things I've seen work well in Wanderer decks:
-board clears - as a 7 power commander with haste, cascading into a board wipe off Wanderer puts you in a good position to do some damage. Jokulhaups is particularly nasty, but Evacuation or other mass bounce spells are also options.
-topdeck manipulation - I already see Sensei's Divining Top in there, but Scroll Rack is another good option.
-bounce effects - Crystal Shard and Erratic Portal are both ways to return Wanderer to hand to generate more value. You might think that bouncing your 8 mana general is negative tempo... but with Wanderer, it really isn't.
-minimizing bad hits - most counterspells aren't very good to cascade into, but there are some good options such as Mystic Confluence.

Most of these effects are either already in the list or have been previously mentioned, so I won't dive into them too deeply.

As I don't play cEDH, I can't speak as to the competitiveness of Wanderer in those metas. My impression of those decks is that they usually have low curves and lots of cheap interaction, which don't really play into Wanderer's strengths. It may be possible to operate at those tables by playing a ton of fast mana, tutors, and combo pieces, but that sort of deck doesn't really seem 75%-ish.

Re: Maelstrom Wanderer--High Power

Posted: Wed Aug 21, 2019 4:52 pm
by Amalek0
Updated list on OP. Some random things arrived, I pulled some cards from CVT, this is where I'm at now. Goal hasn't changed--I'm intending to be able to meaningfully interact with CEDH tables and take games there, without being so myopic that I can't play an interactive game with 75% decks.

My expectation is that playing stax-like pieces that impact CEDH decks heavily and don't largely impact more "battlecruiser" style archetypes will allow me to do that.

Current card considerations:
Glen elendra Archmage
force of negation
long-term plans