Sai - Thopter Swarm

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Post by ISBPathfinder » 1 month ago

A buddy of mine was looking at Sai, Master Thopterist recently to me making this OP and I brought up to him that the value you would get from him encourages sort of a storm artifact style of play. You really need to push hard on reload effects though to get the deck to function well though.

This is my take on a stormy style of thopters. I am not running actual storm cards mostly because I think that in order to run them you actually want to look more like a combo deck which isn't really my goal. I just want to see how fast I can spin the wheels and hit people in combat. I guess this is my sort of fair (running a good bit of unfair draw / mana gen) thopter deck.

I am still sort of wondering if I should be running more hand fill effects. I could go deeper and run some Windfall wheels and such if I want. Perhaps I am due for some testing.
Decklist

COMMANDER (1)


1 Sai, Master Thopterist

ENCHANTMENT (2)


1 Coastal Piracy
1 Kindred Discovery

SORCERY (1)


1 All is Dust
Approximate Total Cost:

Omissions:
Moxes - I feel like I probably should have a few more moxes in here but I oped to pass on them due to cost. I do own a Mox Diamond which is great and I probably could put in here but Mox Opal seems very much like a card that is likely to be reprinted in the next few years (or be banned in modern).
Thopter Spy Network / Mirrodin Besieged - The spy network felt a little too slow and fair for what I was trying to pull off. It might end up being sort of a Phyrexian Arena effect but it itself is not an artifact and it feels kind of slow. Besieged is fine but my issue was mostly that the tokens it makes don't fly and again it itself isn't an artifact so it feels like a worse backup commander that I am probably not that happy to be casting assuming things are working for me.
Opposition - There has been a reduction in combat based decks in my meta and combining it with Unwinding Clock just seemed a little more than I was willing to do. The fact that the thopters fly generally speaking makes them fairly good on defense already. If I had more people trying to win via combat or I was trying to lock the table out I think it would be more appealing but I actually ran it the other day and found it didn't really add much for me without locking a table up. Its potentially still good at locking people out of answers but I am just going to pass for now.
Last edited by ISBPathfinder 1 week ago, edited 5 times in total.
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Post by ISBPathfinder » 3 weeks ago

Got most of the cards I was missing and had a few updates for the list:
  • Adding Sorcerous Spyglass - I realized that I had Bident of Thassa in my list as both an artifact and an enchantment and it was throwing my counts off. It means I get to add another card to the list. I have really been enjoying Pithing Needle more of late and I am finding it to be a very useful answer at times. The fact that it gives me an answer on a cheap artifact kind of fits the mold for this deck.
  • SkyscannerSensei's Divining Top I guess the fact that top can sort of be like 1 mana thopters every turn just by replacing itself with the top card repeatedly might be decent. It isn't really draw but it lets me cast it repeatedly for cheap and it also pairs decently with some of the cantrip baubles to let me just cast more artifacts more often. I don't really like the low number of shuffle effects for its topdeck manipulation but for just casting it and then putting it on top of my deck every turn to make cheap thopters might be fine.
  • 1 Snow-Covered IslandThought Vessel Cheating on my landbase further. My curve seems mostly ok and I have a good number of mana rocks. I like the idea of Vessel from the standpoint of some of my power draw and its a cheap mana rock that produces mana the turn it comes down while making a thopter. Its sort of a delicate line to walk because my first few lands are important but beyond the first few I expect that either I get to my good draw and flood in them or I don't get enough land drops. I guess we will do some testing and see how I feel about my current count. I felt like my curve was reasonably low but I have a few more 5+ drops than I though originally but I also have a good bit of mana stones in here too.
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Post by pokken » 3 weeks ago

No retract, paradoxical outcome or hurkyl's recall?

paradoxical outcome especially is a pretty sick handfill effect. Presumably you wouldn't want to hurkyls or retract yourself I guess unless you were doing something with the thopters (sac'ing them to draw cards), but might be worth thinking about.

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Post by ISBPathfinder » 3 weeks ago

pokken wrote:
3 weeks ago
No retract, paradoxical outcome or hurkyl's recall?

paradoxical outcome especially is a pretty sick handfill effect. Presumably you wouldn't want to hurkyls or retract yourself I guess unless you were doing something with the thopters (sac'ing them to draw cards), but might be worth thinking about.
Retract / Hurkyl's Recall these are probably at their best for combo wincons. Given my plan is mostly to make Thopters and use them in combat its hard to really take advantage of them given the loss of the tokens. It is possible that using some sac outlets (especially for mana) that it could be ok but I don't think it quite fits my build. Assuming I am trying to use them as an anti wrath I would probably just be better with some counterspells instead.

Paradoxical Outcome maybe, I like how it draws a card for each bounced out. Its unfortunate it can't bounce out tokens but other than that it seems like it could be interesting. It would work well with the mana sac outlets to offset its higher mana cost. Its growing on me more as I think about it which leads me to think that I probably do want to get my hands on a copy to test it. I might wait until I get a chance to test this week to see what other changes I end up making first but it does look fairly interesting.
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Post by pokken » 3 weeks ago

The big thing about retract/recall is it lets you protect your board from artifact sweepers for almost nothing, and recall can bone someone else as well. I have to assume you get vandalblasted with some frequeny playing this deck--I know I do with my tymna/ludevic affinity :P

Outcome is a freeroll I think, almost always WAY better than windfall, since it 1) doesn't give anyone else a refuel, and 2) lets you protect your board AND make a bunch of thopters AND draw a bunch of cards.

Half the time it's gonna be 3U draw 4 cards make 4 thopters.

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Post by ISBPathfinder » 2 weeks ago

I got to get a little more testing in this last weekend. The deck was running fairly well for the most part. I scooped one game because I goofed up and went through a bunch of skullclamp draw with a Leyline of the Void in play and I didn't see a fair way to try to undo it. The second game also was going well. I managed some sweet flash shenanigans and built a lethal board at my opponents end of turn which let me push through a Noxious Ghoul in play zombie deck.

DECK CHANGES:
  • OrnithopterMox Opal I wanted to do a bit of testing with the zero mana creatures. Ultimately they are ok but you really need to be swimming in draw for them to be ok. I had been hesitant to pick up Mox Opal but I ended up having some store credit and nothing that overly needed to happen so I cashed it out for a copy. I think picking up more moxes will potentially help Paradoxical Outcome be more appealing as well.
  • Trinket MageBloodforged Battle-Axe Trinket Mage's ETB is alright but its body itself isn't really something I value. Paying 4 mana for a lot of the one drops isn't as good as I had hoped. The axe is a bit of an oddity but in the end I like that it gives me more artifacts in play. The three mana to get it going isn't terrible and its not as if I need to put every axe on. Even making 2 more axes in combat could be really nice with some of the artifact sac outlets (including the option of my commander). It also has some synergy with a few other sac outlets as well. I just wish there were a few more playable artifact sac outlets.
  • Lodestone GolemRetrofitter Foundry the golem is a bit more reactive than I am looking for. It can be a good effect if I curve it but it looks a lot less appealing off curve. The foundry can give me a similar sized body in play but for a lot less mana. The idea of converting 1/1 flyers into 4/4s is kind of appealing. I passed on it previously because I had to make a bunch of cuts and just needed testing but I think its time to swap in the foundry and see how it goes.
  • Ugin, the IneffableParadoxical Outcome I have actually had some fairly good moments with Ugin. The issue is he is kind of fragile and expensive. Most of what I value here is his passive so I felt like I wanted to move away from him and see how I felt. Paradoxical Outcome is something I wanted to test for a bit and more draw is always appealing.
  • Thran DynamoWindfall I wanted to push a bit more draw and sometimes I have trouble hitting my land drops up to four. I just need more testing essentially. Its possible I might bring Thran back in later. I was between cutting some of the 3 mana answer creature effects vs this and I decided to keep answers rather than some top end ramp.
I feel fairly confident with testing these changes out as it lowers my curve and increases my draw. The list was overall feeling quite good.
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Post by ISBPathfinder » 1 week ago

I had a few more games with this deck. I am starting to suspect that unless my expectation is for opponents to have a lot of interaction and shut Sai down a lot, this deck might be a wee bit more aggressive than my every day deck. I have been managing to win a lot of games by like turns 6-8 which isn't CEDH or anything but its kind of fast given that seems to be sort of my average push for winning turns and that is with being wrathed and such. I think I won on like turn 7 this last week in a 6 player FFA game through two wraths aimed at me. In a nutshell, the deck is performing well, I found a few of the effects to be a little clunky if I have decent draw though so I wanted to add some more ramp and maybe a few alternate ways to push faster. The option to tutor for one of my few wincons sounds less good than just having a few more things to anthem my artifacts so I am culling a bit more of the tutors as they have felt horribly slow.
  • Phyrexian MetamorphThran Dynamo I do love metamorph but so much of this deck costs a lot less than this clone even paying 3 with 2 life. Cloning a lot of my own deck isn't that impressive with it and I haven't found cloning opponents cards that interesting. I do actually like it a lot more when I have flash but I felt like that was a bit narrow for right now.
  • Efficient ConstructionCloud Key essentially, casting my commander already feels a little clunky as far as the cost and what I do in a turn afterwards. I feel like trying to set up two turns in a row of doing it felt too slow and I have had this card in hand several times and I just don't cast it over having a good turn with just my commander. I want to test a bit more cost reduction effects given how many cheap artifacts I have it can really potentially provide a lot of mana in a turn.
  • FabricateMaster of Etherium I haven't been that satisfied with the tutors. I am just trying to move a lot faster than they are letting me do things. I want to add a few more ways to make the thopters a little more deadly and I like the cost of Master given what it does and the board presence it itself also represents. With fabricate I was facing the fact that it was a 3-4 mana play to get zero to one drop artifacts and that felt too clunky to me. The idea of tutoring for something like Coat of Arms being an 8 mana play just feels like I would be better off with more redundancy and make things do things for the mana instead of having a tutor.
  • WindfallArcane Signet So far, I haven't been able to burn my hand low too often. Windfall is great assuming you can burn out your hand but right now I don't have enough ramp or a lack of draw to do that. So, lets bump up the ramp a bit and see if I can get into situations where I do need more draw. Arcane Signet is kind of the superior 2 drop mana stone in that it gives me colored mana and enteres untapped with no drawbacks.
So, I guess this is me mostly adding some more ramp but also I think Master of Etherium is an effect I was possibly under playing previously. I am able to create a lot of thopters very fast so its a very real threat in that it should easily be a 10/10 creature itself while doubling my damage from thopters. There are a few other anthem effects I could consider as well but I liked that this one was a good threat itself as well which put it at the top of my list being cheap and efficient. I did consider if I wanted something like Obelisk of Urd instead but I think ultimately I want to try out Etherium instead given that its easier to play at any point in the game where as I feel like I need to play a bunch of cheap artifacts the same turn before Obelisk to make use of the convoke effect.
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