Crucible of Worlds is my Commander

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Post by Dunadain » 2 weeks ago

Zask, Skittering Swarmlord is one of a number of commanders that are "typecasted" into obscure tribal decks, when they could be a lot more. Grolnok, the Omnivore, Chatterfang, Squirrel General, Grist, the Hunger Tide, Syrix, Carrier of the Flame are all powerful commanders, but they have a hint of tribal synergy, so that's all people brew them for. According to EDHrec 75% of Zask, Skittering Swarmlord decks have Scute Mob, that's insane, Zask, Skittering Swarmlord deserves better, so I made him an actually cool deck to pilot.

(I don't actually have anything against people that enjoy tribal decks, I just find the card pool in a 100 card singleton format too shallow to make anything truly interesting, especially for niche tribes like insect).
v2.1

Commander Back-ups (3)

Lands (41 + Field of the Dead)

Approximate Total Cost:

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Zask of Worlds

Commander Back-ups (3)

Early Ramp (3)

Protection (1)

Lands 41 + Field of the Dead

Land Clones (3)

Approximate Total Cost:

v1.0
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Crucible of Worlds.dec

Discard Outlets (2)

Shrodinger's Insect (2)

Protection (1)

Lands (40 total)

Approximate Total Cost:

So what does Zask give us? A Crucible of Worlds in the command zone, that's what. There are a couple insect synergies that we will take advantage of, but they are more of an afterthought.

The general idea is to get at least one fetch land, a Crucible of Worlds, and ideally a couple Explorations and starting spamming land drops like a madman. Ramp is better the longer the game runs, and we are in Golgari, so it makes sense to run a hefty removal suite. The main win condition is Field of the Dead, Ideally multiple copies of it. Honestly, Field of the Dead is so good and so resilient in this deck, that it might make sense to go a bit lighter on the other finishers.
The Fetch Lands
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The deck is VERY Green heavy, with black being more of a splash color. This means no fetchlands that only grab swamps

Verdant Catacombs and co. are, of course, the cream of the crop.

Fabled Passage/Prismatic Vista almost as good

Evolving Wilds and co. are obviously worse, but I'll still take as many as I can get

Riveteers Overlook is about the same as Evolving Wilds, but they are essential if someone plays a Root Maze kind of effect (those effects are brutal when you'd like to be playing the same fetch land multiple times a turn). plus the lifegain is nice. Also combos with Yavimaya, Cradle of Growth and Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth to function as an untapped fetchland.

Myriad Landscape: Much slower, but if you squint your eyes it kind of looks like a fetch land and a Explore stapled together.

All of those together brings us to 12 fetch lands, which I think will be enough, especially when you see how many tutors we are running that can always grab a fetch land in a pinch, however, their are more options to consider if this proves to be not enough:

Jund Panorama and co. can function as a Wastes if you need the mana now, but they require additional mana to crack, and the fetched land comes into play tapped, making them very slow.

Demolition Field and co. I'm running one of these effects simply as repeatable land destruction, as a dedicated fetchland, however, I think it would be much too slow.

Mountain Valley: for some decks these are roughly comparable to a Evolving Wilds, both only slow down access to your mana by one turn. Here, however, the plan is to play and crack the same fetch land multiple times a turn, making these really bad.
Tech Lands
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The ability to replay the same land after sacrificing it also opens up a lot of recurring engines. In general, I tried to keep it to one of each effect, as I have a decent number of tutors and want to keep the number of fetchables in the deck high.

Cryptic Caves, Nurturing Peatland, Scene of the Crime: The exception to the one-of rule, as they are a core engine to the deck, once the engine is set up, these allow you to trade 1 land drop and 1 mana to draw a card. I think they are going to be very good in the mid-late game, but I might be overestimating them, and only running 1 might be sufficient. I wish I could make Roadside Reliquary work, but realistically, we don't have enough artifacts and enchantments to make it worthwhile.

EDIT: For some reason I thought Scene of the Crime entered untapped. It doesn't, and so got cut, the other two are still in.

Command Beacon: Works similar here as in Titania, Protector of Argoth, never pay for commander tax again!

Demolition Field: There are a lot of scary lands out there and this lets you machine gun them down while also adding more lands to the field. Wasteland and Strip Mine would probably be better, but it's a bit too mean imo.

Memorial to Folly: Let's you get back critters. I considered Haunted Fengraf, as it enters untapped. But I figured returning one creature to your hand every turn was probably good enough, and I'd rather get back the specific creature I wanted.

Mouth of Ronom: Repeatable removal. The two main alternatives are Cabal Pit and Grasping Dunes. But I opted for the more mana intensive option that should be able to kill most things with one land drop, and just about anything with two.

Swarmyard: Pretty much just protects are commander, though it can also cover Scute Swarm.

Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth: provides nearly perfect fixing and lets you tap the Riveteers Overlook type-fetches for mana. Yavimaya, Cradle of Growth is also good, but again, I want to keep fetchables high.

Urza's Saga: I've gone back and forth on this one, but it does tutor up Sol Ring and Mana Crypt and is a legitimate wincondition, especially if you have some land clones to work with as well.
Shrodinger's Insect
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They are insects in the GY, but not on the field, so I can recast them repeatedly

Grist, the Hunger Tide: is disgusting with Zask, Skittering Swarmlord, since he's not a insect creature while on the battlefield, he doesn't go to the bottom of the deck when destroyed, meaning we can recast him from the GY over and over again. His +1 makes a token that Zask, Skittering Swarmlord can give deathtouch to, his -2 is repeatable removal, and his -5 is just ok, but nice to have. He's so strong that I expect him to be tutor target #1

Nameless Inversion: Pretty much the same deal as Grist, can be recast indefinetely, since it's an insect spell, but it never actually dies.
The rest is pretty self explanatory, now to show people the power of Zask, Skittering Swarmlord when he isn't forced into a bad tribal deck
Last edited by Dunadain 2 weeks ago, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Mookie » 2 weeks ago

Some thoughts: Overall, looks sweet, and I'm curious how it will work out!

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Post by Dunadain » 2 weeks ago

Mookie wrote:
2 weeks ago
Some thoughts: Overall, looks sweet, and I'm curious how it will work out!
Ashes of the Fallen is really cool, I didn't even think of that. I'm only running 14 creatures, one of which is already an insect so will shuffle itself back in, but it's really cool so I'll definitely at least test it. (there's also got to be a wide slew of infinite combos this opens up, not sure whether or not I want to go down that route, but it's probably worth a look).

Bala Ged Recovery // Bala Ged Sanctuary/Boseiju, Who Endures I did consider, they're good but I really want to keep a high fetchables count, and they didn't make the cut.

I also thought Splendid Reclamation and co. would be redundant.

I think I'm fine on Wincons, Field of the Dead is easily tutorable, inevitable, and extremely difficult to interact with (especially when you have a crucible in the CZ). Then I've got Hoof Daddy, Torrent, Scute Swarm, Ayula's Influence, Virtue of Persistence // Locthwain Scorn and Finale of Devastation if that doesn't work out. Then again, I don't really mind games ending the same way every game, others might want to cut Field entirely and do something else.

Still not sure exactly what I want to do with the ramp, I do like the idea of ramp when your commander is a 5 drop, but ramp spells become practically irrelevant once you assemble Crucible + Fetch. Perhaps the correct answer is to leave it at Sol Ring, Mana Crypt, and Joraga Treespeaker.

Something to note about the rocks, is that if ou play them on t3, you can cast your commander without making your land drop on t4, allowing you to replay a fetch land and get value immediately, Cultivate, Kodama's Reach, and Nissa's Pilgrimage all require you to make a land drop on t4 before you play Zask.
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Post by Dunadain » 2 weeks ago

I'm currently stewing on Constant Mists, it's obviously great in this deck, but a bit too cutthroat for a lot of tables. The deck already creates some brutal loops, in particular Nameless Inversion, but I think constant mists would be the worst offender by a wide margin.

Following up on that, if I don't add constant mists, should I add Moment's Peace? Much more fair, while also still insulating you from "oops, I top decked hoof" moments. It's also tutorable off of Entomb, which isn't super useful, but it is neat.
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Post by Mookie » 2 weeks ago

Fogs are a meta-dependent call, so it's hard to say. Going wide with Field of the Dead tokens can stall on the ground, and you have a reasonable amount of spot removal to deal with flyers. How common are Craterhoof and other burst damage win conditions in your meta? I suppose you have it and Finale of Devastation in your deck, so presumably at least somewhat common. I'm currently testing Obscuring Haze in Tasigur, and Glacial Chasm is also an option, but Moment's Peace is probably a fine starting point.

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Post by pokken » 2 weeks ago

You may enjoy some of the various shenanigans in my thrasios Tormod lands deck. https://deckbox.org/sets/3392929

main things I would add are the flip lands agadeem's awakening and malakir rebirth.

Sword of Forge and Frontier has been weirdly pretty good as an extra exploration effect.

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Post by Dunadain » 2 weeks ago

pokken wrote:
2 weeks ago
You may enjoy some of the various shenanigans in my thrasios Tormod lands deck. https://deckbox.org/sets/3392929

main things I would add are the flip lands agadeem's awakening and malakir rebirth.

Sword of Forge and Frontier has been weirdly pretty good as an extra exploration effect.
Oooh, that list looks fun, honestly, Tormod, the Desecrator himself might be decent. Most of these effects have a once per turn clause, but Tormod will poop out tokens as fast as you can hit land drops.

I don't think I have enough creatures for Agadeem's Awakening // Agadeem, the Undercrypt, but the more I think about it, the more I come around to Malakir Rebirth // Malakir Mire. Drawing lands are pretty useless once you have fetch + Crucible set up, so the bar for the MDFC lands is pretty low, and at 1 mana, it's pretty easy to leave this open.

Sword is interesting, and probably worth a shot, seeing as how I'm worried about the deck running out of gas.
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Post by pokken » 2 weeks ago

Dunadain wrote:
2 weeks ago
Sword is interesting, and probably worth a shot, seeing as how I'm worried about the deck running out of gas.
Yea, I was pretty surprised how flexible it was. In your build where you can threaten to give the insects deathtouch and almost always can cast one from the bin, I think it'd be solid and give you another non-body extra land drop effect which is critical in these builds. I've been cutting the creature enablers more and more in lands decks because of the amount of random splash damage I see (things like Ghyrson Starn, Kelermorph type decks are becoming really unpleasantly common).

Tormod, the Desecrator is a beast; i've overrun tables with just him and Field of the Dead without any support except lands / land drops. just made like 20 zombies and killed everybody.

last tidbit: Volrath's Stronghold is getting cheap again and is incredibly nice for setting up inevitability with your commander. the HP price is down ~40 or so.

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Post by Dunadain » 2 weeks ago

pokken wrote:
2 weeks ago

last tidbit: Volrath's Stronghold is getting cheap again and is incredibly nice for setting up inevitability with your commander. the HP price is down ~40 or so.
For this build specifically, isn't Volrath's Stronghold just worse than Command Beacon and Swarmyard? I suppose a third option doesn't hurt, but in my goldfishing, this deck already struggles with colored magna as is, LOTS of colorless tech lands.
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Post by pokken » 2 weeks ago

Dunadain wrote:
2 weeks ago
For this build specifically, isn't Volrath's Stronghold just worse than Command Beacon and Swarmyard? I suppose a third option doesn't hurt, but in my goldfishing, this deck already struggles with colored magna as is, LOTS of colorless tech lands.
I wouldn't count swarmyard in there because it only regens and there's tons of stuff that invalidates regeneration. Volrath's can get other creatures, and doesn't make you go down a land permanently. But yeah it is a lot of colorless lands. I think since you're not that high on sac outlets it maybe makes sense to skip Stronghold, since it's extra good for if you can sac to dodge exile/theft and then recur. I was thinking this is probalby a Phyrexian Tower deck but little short of creatures really.

That said, the creatures you have are really powerful so being able to recover a dead Azusa, Lost but Seeking or Ramunap Excavator is useful.

Definitely could go either way

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Post by TheGildedGoose » 2 weeks ago

I'm honestly surprised you haven't mentioned Zask's firebreathing as a secondary win condition. Not your go-to, but in the late game being able to two-turn someone seems pretty doable.

How do you feel about Woodland Chasm and Haunted Mire?

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Post by Dunadain » 2 weeks ago

TheGildedGoose wrote:
2 weeks ago
I'm honestly surprised you haven't mentioned Zask's firebreathing as a secondary win condition. Not your go-to, but in the late game being able to two-turn someone seems pretty doable.

How do you feel about Woodland Chasm and Haunted Mire?
I haven't actually played the deck yet, but yeah, Zask is a big beater that gets bigger, really wish he had some evasion, or if that's too much to ask for, at least reach.

Since fetchables are such a big deal in this deck, I actually prefer Woodland Chasm/Haunted Mire to untapped colored sources like Command Tower. I was hoping I could get away with just the three good ones, especially with the ungodly number of fetch lands, but I still might need to add a few more.
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Post by Dunadain » 2 weeks ago

I had the sudden realization that Dryad Arbor is probably pretty good here, whether acting as a recurring chump blocker, free fuel for Grist, the Hunger Tide, or turning Green Sun's Zenith into a mana dork.

I had actually looked at all the man lands/token producing lands while putting the deck together, and all of them felt like they fell a bit short, but the fact that dryad requires 0 mana investment, and can be tutored up anytime by one of our four true fetches makes it very reliable and flexible, if a bit underwhelming.

I have a love/hate relationship with Dryad Arbor, but the pros probably outweigh the cons in this deck.
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Post by pokken » 2 weeks ago

Yeah if you're on GSZ, arbor is almost always right.

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Post by Dunadain » 2 weeks ago

pokken wrote:
2 weeks ago
Yeah if you're on GSZ, arbor is almost always right.
Idk if I'd go that far, Dryad Arbor is a pretty miserable card to draw, and GSZ doesn't exactly need more flexibility, but specifically here, it's a lot more than just a GSZ target.

Anyways, after ruminationg a bit on everyone's advice, and my own thoughts, here is the second draft.
Zask of Worlds

Commander Back-ups (3)

Early Ramp (3)

Protection (1)

Lands 41 + Field of the Dead

Land Clones (3)

Approximate Total Cost:

Swapped some of the categories around, so that's part of why it looks so different

Brought the mana curve down a bit Ancient Greenwarden is far too expensive as a Crucible of Worlds, and it's a win-more card as a land-fall doubler. Admittedly, it is both, but I decided it wasn't worth it, especially because tutoring up Ramunap Excavator is fairly trivial.

I actually quite like Sylvan Library and Mirri's Guile in this list, the plan is to fetch a land every turn, which translates into a shuffle every turn. I originally had Ayula's Influence in this deck, since I didn't like the fact that lands were completely dead once we had fetch + crucible set up, but this is a much more intelligent way of solving that problem. Abundance would probably be fine in the list as well, but 4 MV is a tough pill to swallow for an enchantment that doesn't actually do anything.

Adjusted the tech lands a bit, Mouth of Ronom and Urza's Saga are on the watch list.

My tiny brain just missed Windswept Heath when assembling the list, lmao, so we got 13 fetch lands, not 12. *facepalm*

The ramp spells were paired down to Sol Ring, Mana Crypt, and Joraga Treespeaker. Though Shigeki, Jukai Visionary is also a ramp spell in the early game.

Probably a couple other small changes I don't remember.

Current cards that I'm thinking about are:

Urza's Saga and Mouth of Ronom: Both can be handy, but both are also colorless lands in a deck with a lot of colorless lands.

Ashes of the Fallen: is this good enough?

Currency Converter: kind of low-impact, but it can loot away lands and can be tutored off of Urza's Saga

It occurred to me that it's totally possible to deck yourself with Scute Swarm and Zask, Skittering Swarmlord. If we make a giant army, pass the turn, and someone casts a board wipe, we probably just die. Is that too much of a liability? too be honest, I would actually prefer Scute Swarm more if it wasn't an insect. Not only for decking, but also because I have a decent amount of recursion and rather Scute stay in the GY where I can grab it again if it dies.



Will probably need to wait till I get some actual games in before I can make any more changes.
Last edited by Dunadain 2 weeks ago, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Dunadain » 2 weeks ago

Got my first game in, and won handily with ~10,000 copies of Scute Swarm. I'm not usually a "big numbers" kind of guy, but there's something about the exponential growth of a Scute Swarm that makes me giddy.

I played a t3 Dryad of the Ilysian Grove, then a t4 Zask, Skittering Swarmlord, then someone made the mistake of hitting me with a Sword of Body and Mind, milling Field of the Dead, and Scute Swarm. The game ended pretty quickly from there.

Kind of feel bad for the Sword of Body and Mind player as all three of us clearly had GY synergies. Then again, he chose to play that card, which I don't think is particularly playable so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
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Post by Dunadain » 2 weeks ago

So I've given more thought to Roadside Reliquary. I think previously I was too hung up on getting both an artifact and a enchantment into play. Obviously, the card is great when that happens, but as long as you have an artifact OR an enchantment in play, it's at least useable, and the deck certainly has the density to ensure you'll get one of them at least.

Not to mention, I can also run Gingerbread Cabin, which is a reasonable card to be running for Field of the Dead considerations anyways, and that should make getting an artifact even easier.

So I tweaked some stuff, added Undergrowth Recon since it was already in consideration and is an enchantment, and worked Roadside Reliquary in. Hopefully it works out.
Last edited by Dunadain 2 weeks ago, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by GuJiaXian » 2 weeks ago

I can tell you right now that Constant Mists is brutal. I run it in my Hazezon, Shaper of Sand deck, and when I get it in hand, I tend to win pretty quickly.

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Post by Dunadain » 2 weeks ago

GuJiaXian wrote:
2 weeks ago
I can tell you right now that Constant Mists is brutal. I run it in my Hazezon, Shaper of Sand deck, and when I get it in hand, I tend to win pretty quickly.
Yeah, it's not a question of power. My playgroup is kind of all on the same page where we all see combat-based wincons as superior to alternatives. It's not a requirement, but we try to favor them over alternatives.

I feel like running Constant Mists would be taking advantage of that social contract.
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Post by GuJiaXian » 2 weeks ago

Dunadain wrote:
2 weeks ago
GuJiaXian wrote:
2 weeks ago
I can tell you right now that Constant Mists is brutal. I run it in my Hazezon, Shaper of Sand deck, and when I get it in hand, I tend to win pretty quickly.
Yeah, it's not a question of power. My playgroup is kind of all on the same page where we all see combat-based wincons as superior to alternatives. It's not a requirement, but we try to favor them over alternatives.

I feel like running Constant Mists would be taking advantage of that social contract.
The social contract is what makes EDH work (and so much fun). My group is definitively not cEDH—in fact, I sometimes tune down decks to make them more fun to play against (even if the decks aren't cEDH level to begin with). My rule of thumb is, would I have fun playing against this deck? As a result, I have no stax decks, etc.

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Post by duducrash » 2 weeks ago

Have you considered Blast Zone ? I run in my lands deck and while it isnt relevant every game, it has saved me enough times. Specially surprising opponents

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Post by Dunadain » 2 weeks ago

duducrash wrote:
2 weeks ago
Have you considered Blast Zone ? I run in my lands deck and while it isnt relevant every game, it has saved me enough times. Specially surprising opponents
I have considered it, and it's still in the maybe pile. How does it play? It would be the nuts if it started with 0 counters, but I'm worried it'll be too slow and clunky.

Then again, repeated destruction of any nonland permanent is exactly the kind of engine I enjoy =)
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Post by duducrash » 2 weeks ago

Dunadain wrote:
2 weeks ago
duducrash wrote:
2 weeks ago
Have you considered Blast Zone ? I run in my lands deck and while it isnt relevant every game, it has saved me enough times. Specially surprising opponents
I have considered it, and it's still in the maybe pile. How does it play? It would be the nuts if it started with 0 counters, but I'm worried it'll be too slow and clunky.

Then again, repeated destruction of any nonland permanent is exactly the kind of engine I enjoy =)
It is a bit slow and clunky, but it is inevitable, since you are not running Strip Mine I imagine your meta doesn't run much LD. It does miss tokens unless you are running something like Glissa Sunslayer to remove the counter from it. But it will be a answer to pretty much anything over and over again. If you are in for the long grindy game, it will be amazing.

One land I'm not going to say its bad, just don't particularly understand is Urza's Saga there are 3 tutorable targets,os your plan to make several constructs?

Since you are running Virtue of Persistence // Locthwain Scorn , I've run a somewhat similar card that I think it's much better. You can't point the removal but it hits much more stuff in Portal to Phyrexia .


Edit: Notably, you are running 3 land clones, who could Blast Zone away tokens

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Dunadain
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Post by Dunadain » 2 weeks ago

duducrash wrote:
2 weeks ago
Dunadain wrote:
2 weeks ago
duducrash wrote:
2 weeks ago
Have you considered Blast Zone ? I run in my lands deck and while it isnt relevant every game, it has saved me enough times. Specially surprising opponents
I have considered it, and it's still in the maybe pile. How does it play? It would be the nuts if it started with 0 counters, but I'm worried it'll be too slow and clunky.

Then again, repeated destruction of any nonland permanent is exactly the kind of engine I enjoy =)
It is a bit slow and clunky, but it is inevitable, since you are not running Strip Mine I imagine your meta doesn't run much LD. It does miss tokens unless you are running something like Glissa Sunslayer to remove the counter from it. But it will be a answer to pretty much anything over and over again. If you are in for the long grindy game, it will be amazing.
I'm running Demolition Field instead, strip mine locks aren't particularly viaible, but if any deck could pull them off consistently it would be this one and they aren't particularly fun to play against.

Honestly, I'm considering cutting Demolition Field as well, seeing as how I'm running Assassin's Trophy and Beast Within.

One land I'm not going to say its bad, just don't particularly understand is Urza's Saga there are 3 tutorable targets,os your plan to make several constructs?
Pretty much, it's a land that upgrades itself into a Sol Ring after a few turns. It's also a back-up win-condition if Field of the Dead is MIA. A bit slower, but honestly, if you get saga and a couple land-clones pumping, it's probably even more powerful than Field of the Dead.

(Also, I haven't posted my most recent version of the deck, but I added Sensei's Divining Top which is a 4th tutor target AND ensures that even once you've grabbed all your tutor targets, you can draw a card off of top, then immediately tutor it back into play).

Also, turn 1 Urza's Saga, turn 2 green-producing land, turn 3 float a colorless mana off of saga, grab Sol Ring, play a second Green-producing land is a very clean way to ramp into a turn 3 Zask, Skittering Swarmlord.

It's not nearly as elegant as Field of the Dead, but the more I think about it, the more I like it.

Since you are running Virtue of Persistence // Locthwain Scorn , I've run a somewhat similar card that I think it's much better. You can't point the removal but it hits much more stuff in Portal to Phyrexia .
Virtue of Persistence // Locthwain Scorn got cut on the most recent version. I only made like four changes, but we seem to be on the same page about all of them XD.
Edit: Notably, you are running 3 land clones, who could Blast Zone away tokens
I hadn't considered that, notably, that doesn't work with Vesuva or Echoing Deeps, as replacement effects "stack." It does work with Thespian's Stage though, so that's a little bit more flexibility.

All things considered, I think you're right, I'll probably swap out Demolition Field for Blast Zone.
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Important decks: Ebondeath, Dracolich, Emiel, The Blessed, Phelddagriff
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Post by Dunadain » 2 weeks ago

Updated the OP with the current list, very few changes from v2.0. Mostly just making room for Roadside Reliquary and Blast Zone.
All cards are bad if you try hard enough.

Important decks: Ebondeath, Dracolich, Emiel, The Blessed, Phelddagriff
Other: Ruhan, Zask, Kellan, Liesa, Galadriel, Orca, Sauron, Thantis, Rukarumel, Sisay, Stickfingers, Safana, Thantis, Dihada

Help me complete my JumpStart Cube!

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