Mono-R Control with Jaya Ballard!

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SocorroTortoise
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Titles & Recognition

Post by SocorroTortoise » 6 months ago

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"Some have said there is no subtlety to destruction. You know what? They're dead."
-Jaya Ballard, Task Mage



Before I go any further, is this the deck for me?
You might be a Jaya player if...
  • You like explosive board control
  • You enjoy a few restrictions with your deckbuilding
  • Graveyard strategies in an unusual color combo are appealing
  • Creature based strategies are prevalent in your meta
Stay away from Jaya if...
  • You prefer a noninteractive game
  • You want to answer everything, every time, right away
  • You're done with your creatures as soon as they hit the field
  • There are a lot of dedicated combo decks in your meta


A couple brief notes on the primer
This primer was oringinally written for and located at MTGSalvation under the same name, where I post under the username Weebo. Due to the ownership changes there, I'm moving to primarily posting here as of the time of writing this. Because of that, this is going to remain the primary home for and most up-to-date version of this primer. If you're interested in years of discussion on all manner of topics, that thread can be found here.

If you've looked farther down the page already, you may have noticed that there are a lot of words here. I write more than I should and I try not to overuse spoilers. To counter this, I've tried to organize things in a somewhat intuitive sense and I have liberally sprinkled Back to Top links throughout, which are the easiest way to navigate the primer when combined with the table of contents.

With that out of the way, let's get to Jaya!


Let's Meet Jaya
Who better to introduce Jaya than Matt Cavotta, the artist and the guy who originally spoiled her?
Savor the Flavor wrote:Jaya Ballard is a Task Mage. This is the term for a maverick wizard who works as a hired gun. There are cryptomancer task mages and auramancer task mages and healers and diviners and countermagicians. There are Swiss Army Knife task mages who can do a little bit of everything. Jaya Ballard does one thing – burn stuff!
Jaya was a bit character who showed up repeatedly in the flavor text of Ice Age block cards, almost always on cards relating to fire or destruction. She's the kind of classy lady who finds dinner and a movie boring and would much rather see something-or someone-go up in a massive cloud of flames. Her remarks sassed up quite a few cards, and I fell in love with her long before I knew her story and years before she showed up as a card.

Flash forward over a decade to the release of Time Spiral. WotC is going back and creating cards based on a number of characters who had previously only been referenced in card names and flavor text. Here, Jaya Ballard sees print as a card for the first time, as a lovely leather clad lady sporting not one, not two, but three abilities evoking some of our favorite red spells from Magic's history. So let's see what she can do.

Cost: 1rr
A CMC of 3 means that we're going to be able to recast Jaya many, many times over the course of the game. A quick glance at her abilities, which I'll hit in depth in a moment, tells us that this is going to be a very important feature of our femme fatale.

Glancing at colors, you may experience a sudden sinking feeling. Nothing but little fireballs up there, so we're looking at mono red. Considered by many to be the worst color in EDH/Commander because of the lack of drawing and tutoring capabilities, I'm here to tell you not to be afraid! Jaya can still hold her own with the big boys.


Typing: Human Spellshaper
While humans got a little of a boost with the release of Innistrad and have picked up plenty of support since then, it's still not really a relevant creature type in mono red. Spellshaper is just a reference to her abilities; to the best of my knowledge, there isn't anything that interacts with spellshapers directly. So her typing doesn't do much, but there's really nothing bad to be said about it either.


Ability #1: Half of Pyroblast
Guaranteed to annoy any and all of the blue mages at the table, Jaya can take out any blue permanent by expending a card. Considering that blue is one of the best colors in the format, this ability is rarely useless at any given table. The discard is pretty steep, especially when red doesn't have much draw, but there are ways to get around it. It's such an important part of the deck that we're looking for just about any card that works well with it. Don't forget about those pesky noncreature blue permanents, as this is one of the few ways red can deal with an enchantment.

Ability #2: Incinerate
Now things are heating up. If knocking out a blue permanent didn't scratch that destructive itch, this can go quite a bit farther. Small burn spells are rarely played in EDH/Commander because they don't scale well to long multiplayer games. But next time you play, glance around the table, and see how many creatures you could put down with three damage. It's probably more than you expect, and that includes a large number of little utility generals. Being able to turn any useless card in your hand into an Incinerate takes away the disadvantages of small burn spells and leaves you with nothing but positives. Just having this on the table is pretty oppressive to a lot of decks, especially those that rely on little utility generals.


Ability #3: Inferno
So you blasted the blue mage right out of the game. That utility dude causing problems to your left? Gone. But now you've got a token swarm sitting across from you, and that dragon on your other side is looking pretty threatening. Time to bust out the big guns. Jaya's third and most powerful ability is the crowd pleasing Inferno. Six damage to everything on the table, including the other players and, regretfully, Jaya herself. Even so, this ability puts a lot of damage out very quickly, and is one of the cornerstones of the deck.


There are a lot of other red legends. What's wrong with them?
There are currently 80 red legends (and 2 red general-legal planeswalkers) and counting as of my writing this, which means there are a number of options for you. If you're reading this, odds are pretty good that you're at least a little interested in what Jaya has to offer, but I'm going to offer up my reasoning for staying away from some of the other popular options in case you're not. I won't talk about all of them, so feel free to ask me for opinions on specific others if you're really interested.
Spoiler
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  • Ashling the Pilgrim – Probably the most similar general to Jaya for what this deck wants to do, Ashling is a popular choice for the gimmick 99 mountains + general list, which has gotten a few people into the format. Ashling is better for card advantage and doesn't require haste, but she's kind of a one-trick pony. All she does is blow up the board. While that's a powerful trick, I like the flexibility a bit more.
  • Daretti, Scrap Savant – One of the artifact focused generals. Mono-R naturally leans towards artifacts to fill in holes in its strategy, and Daretti plays very nicely with that plan. He's also got a lot of power as a looting effect, provided you can keep your hand full of things you don't really need or play with them out of the yard. I wasn't after as artifact heavy a deck as he promotes, and he was also released years after I first built Jaya.
  • Feldon of the Third Path – Probably the most unique red legendary, Feldon plays a completely different game from most of the others. He's very GY focused and tends to rely on powerful etd/ltb triggers to do a lot of work. He's one of the more flexible options, but is hit the hardest by GY hate.
  • Godo, Bandit Warlord – Godo obviously lends himself well to a voltron strategy, which is what decks built around him typically end up as. He's pretty quick and hits like a truck, but he's also a little one-dimensional at times.
  • Heartless Hidetsugu – Mostly a combo or chaos general. I'm sure there are aggro decks out there, but they're not all that common. He doesn't quite play the role I wanted the general to here.
  • Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker – Also a combo general a lot of the time, but Kiki-Jiki can be built in a variety of ways. The biggest thing is that Kiki-Jiki requires a lot of creatures – if you've glanced at my decklist, you might notice that it is very creature-light, in part because I want to wipe the board frequently.
  • Krenko, Mob Boss – The current poster general for mono-R goblins. Krenko plays very explosively. He's typically built as a kind of aggro/combo hybrid, and repeatedly threatens to win the game very quickly if built competitively.
  • Márton Stromgald – Not terribly common, but ISBPathfinder put together a very solid combo/aggro list on MTGS that's worth mentioning. Completely different themes from this deck, but certainly a good option if you feel like winning in the red zone.
  • Neheb, the Eternal - Neheb is a powerhouse general who also plays really well with burn heavy strategies. I prefer Jaya for both historical reasons and because I'd rather have the burn in the command zone and the mana development in the deck than vice-versa.
  • Norin the Wary – I'm not Gaka (if you don't understand this because you didn't come over from MTGS, Gaka was the poster who wrote the Norin primer there and can be credited with/blamed for a lot of Norin's internet popularity).
  • Purphoros, God of the Forge – The most explosive of the red generals, aside from maybe Krenko. Purphoros plays possibly the most general dependent game of any of the options here and he's extremely powerful when he works. It's a much more creature dependent plan than what I'm doing here.
  • Slobad, Goblin Tinkerer – The other big artifact general for mono-R, in my opinion. Like I said when talking about Daretti, I didn't want artifacts to be the focus of the deck, despite the high number of them in here.
  • Zirilan of the Claw – The mono-R dragon general. Zirilan can actually play a decent aggro or combo game, and is a lot of fun to play. Like a couple other options, Zirilan just doesn't fit what I'm trying to do here.
Decklist
This is the real reason you're coming to the thread, so wait no more. Like every EDH deck, this is in a more or less constant state of flux. Unlike most EDH decks, it's been around in one form or another for close to a decade now and is entirely foiled out aside from a Gauntlet of Might|LEB, so it's a pretty slow moving state of flux. The majority of changes at this point happen with new printings.

By Card Type
Approximate Total Cost:

Note: I'm aware that I don't have Squee, Goblin Nabob, Painter's Servant, or Distorting Lens in the list. My detailed reasoning for not including them can be found in the card choices section.
Changelog
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This is still being moved. I'm planning on including the full history from the original primer, which is going to take some time to format.



Mono-Red Control
Alright, I'm sold on Jaya. How does a mono red control deck even work?
First off, let's get this out of the way. If you want to play a controlling mono red deck, you want to play politics. Make friends with the blue player (easier than it sounds. Just don't blow up their general with Jaya unless it's a threat) and the green player. You have very few answers to troublesome enchantments and limited ways to interact with the stack. If you try and control the entire table at once, you're going to lose. Do what you do well, and make sure you've got a temporary ally to fill in the holes.

Now that that's out of the way, let's talk play style. There are several different ways to take Jaya, and which you should go for depends on how you like to play and how your group plays. As with any deck, you should have a multifaceted plan of attack, but feel free to let a couple of those facets shine brighter than others. At the end of each section, I'll list off a few cards as examples of what you could play. More in depth explorations and explanations for cards are going to come in a bit.

Big Mana
You're playing a mono colored deck, so take advantage of that! The abundance of basic lands lets you use mana doublers to great effect, and there are a good number of them in mono red. Some are riskier than others, some might break the bank if you're not playing online, but you should almost certainly be running at least one or two of these. I occasionally see the complaint that they don't do anything before being destroyed, and there are two responses to this. First, there's a reason for that. If you can keep a mana doubler on the board for any significant portion of time, you're in good shape to win the game. You can't let your fear of having cards destroyed keep you from running powerful cards. Second, there's enough artifact ramp available that you can easily set up turns where you can drop a mana doubler as a ritual. Even if it is destroyed, you still get a one turn boost out of it. If it lasts beyond that, it's a bonus.
Examples: Caged Sun, Gauntlet of Power, and Gauntlet of Might.

Artifact Hate
Artifacts are powerful. There's no denying that. Luckily for us, red is one of the most powerful colors for artifact hate. Because of the strength and number of our artifacts, we don't want to run sweepers as much as we want spot removal. To be more precise, we want repeatable spot removal. If you can control which artifacts stay on the board and when people need to use artifact sweepers like Oblivion Stone and Nevinyrral's Disk, you can significantly influence the pace of the game, and repeatable spot removal helps to do that.
Examples: Viashino Heretic, Vandalblast, and Shattering Spree.

Land Hate
It's no secret that this format boasts some of the most powerful lands available. The same reasons that make Strip Mine a format staple are the reasons you should have some land hate available. Whether you need to take out troublesome utility lands like Maze of Ith or big mana producers like Cabal Coffers, red has you covered. Red is also in a great position to deal with green's excessive ramp thanks to one very special card, Wake of Destruction.

The biggest issue with land hate is that some playgroups have a very negative attitude towards it. As with everything else, it's important to gauge how your playgroup is going to respond to land hate. Spot removal of powerful lands is almost universally accepted, but something like Ruination may make some people unhappy. In this deck, it's generally safe to err on the side of running it, because you can always discard powerful but situationally useless cards to Jaya.
Examples: Ruination, Dwarven Miner, and Devastation.

Stack Disruption
I know that I said you need to make a friend who can stop this stuff if you think it's going to be a problem, but there are some options. The two biggest ones are copying and redirecting spells. Because Jaya relies on activated abilities, it is generally correct to keep mana open and try and play spells and abilities at instant speed, at the last second when you can. This also lets you easily hold up mana to screw around with the powerful draw spells and removal your opponents play. It's important to remember that you're still not a blue mage. You can't actually stop most plays, just shift them in an advantageous way, and you can't redirect spells that don't target. You generally don't want too many of these effects. They're situational enough that it's better to just take the really good ones and hold onto them until you see a juicy target come up.

The other thing to remember is that these spells can be used as situational counterspells. If the blue mage tries to counter your spell, just redirect it to your redirection spell, or copy it to counter their counter. This is even more of a niche use than most of how you use these, but it can definitely save your game winning spell in a pinch.
Examples: Wild Ricochet, Reiterate, and Reverberate.

Hand Disruption
While red is never going to be on the same level as black when it comes to hand direction, it shares a powerful tool with blue. Wheel effects have the double purpose of drawing you cards and shredding the hand of anyone who's been trying to sculpt the perfect hand to roll over the table. If you can use these immediately after playing out your hand, it's some of the most powerful card draw available. Because our general is a spellshaper, we've got the advantage of having recursive cards and other things that interact with the graveyard, so discarding a few spells is rarely as painful as it could be.
Examples: Wheel of Fortune, Reforge the Soul, and Chandra Ablaze.


Big Damage and Win Conditions
Like any good control deck, you need a way to finish things off, and red excels at one of these beyond all others: big damage. Whether you're going for the x spell or dropping an enchantment then beating in, you probably want a few options to capitalize on everything else you're doing. This is pretty broad, and depends a lot on how you want to play it and what else you're running. Some of these are a bit of a risk, but you can generally capitalize on them better than your opponents.
Examples: Comet Storm, Repercussion, and Furnace of Rath.


So I get mono red control. How does Jaya fit into this?
Jaya is the glue that holds this all together. You generally want to drop her in early once if you're facing blue players or especially aggressive decks. Even the promise of a destroyed permanent or burning out a little guy is enough to dissuade people from targeting you a lot of the time. When she's inevitably dealt with, let her sit in the command zone for a while while you build up your board. You want one of two things before you even think about playing her again: a way to give her haste or a way to protect her.

The second time she comes in, you want to guarantee that she's going to be able to blow something up or cause some damage. The other thing implied there is that you need to have developed your mana to the point where you can generate a pretty significant amount. If you can't almost guarantee an activation, don't rush her out again. You're a controlling deck and you're sitting on a pretty big life buffer, so take advantage of it.

End game, you have a few options. You can try to blow everyone out at once, generally with a damage doubler and an x spell or Repercussion. This isn't terribly common, because all of the parts are threatening on their own and tend to draw removal, so you probably don't want to rely on this. Another option is to try and get an overwhelming mana advantage, generally by getting a doubler to stick. If you can replay Jaya and Inferno every turn, it's going to be difficult for anyone relying on creatures to get you, and the decks not relying on creatures are hopefully close enough to dead that decent chunks of damage every turn can finish them off. The last common approach is similar to the second one, but involves Jaya either being indestructible or pro-red. If she doesn't kill herself with her infernos, you're able to pull off a lot of damage with a lot less mana. Which of these approaches you take is almost entirely dependent on how you draw, because red is not the color for tutors. While that's going to annoy some people, I think most of the people still reading this are in the camp that thinks it makes for a more interesting game. Of course, the most powerful times are when you get to mix and match these approaches. If you can get Akroma's Memorial and Repercussion to stick, you're pretty much guaranteed a win. This kind of situation is ridiculously rare because of the high profile of everything involved, but it's a ton of fun when it happens.

The final note on Jaya usage is that she's not strictly necessary for the deck to perform. The deck is certainly designed to take advantage of her and the best games are the ones where you're able to execute a Jaya centric plan. There's still a lot of power and utility included alongside a lot of digging power (at least by mono-R standards) to find it all. If there's never an opportunity to play Jaya where you can reasonably expect to activate her, you're probably better off riding the other cards in the deck than trying to force it.


Sample Hands
In the interest of demonstrating how a typical early game with this plays out, here are a few sample hands. For each, I'll show the opening seven, then talk about whether it would be a mulligan, how the early game would play out, and what the next couple draws look like. Sample hands shown here are the first 5 generated by the playtesting tool at Archidekt.
Sample Hand #1
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Mulligans
This is a solid opener and there's really no reason to mulligan here. You have a number of lands and everything in hand is playable. If you're drawing this after a couple mulligans, the least important card here is Rings. As nice as it would be to make that the second play of the game to take advantage of it with the multiple activated abilities in hand, that's a very slow start and topdeck dependent. The least important card after that is probably orb, unless you're playing in a meta where it's essential to disrupt creature ETBs.


Early Plays
This is pretty straightforward. You're leading on one of the untapped lands into Bauble, then following with the second untapped land and a Bauble crack. That sets you up to play Valakut T3 and still play Rings, Orb, or Jaya. Light Up the Stage probably follows a turn or two later to help you refill. It's a solid start that puts you in an excellent position to make use of most potential draws.


Next Draws
The first couple draws reward you for being greedy with Rings. Seeing Mountain of the top T1 means you have enough mana sources to lead on either Valakut or untapped land → Bauble, take a turn off (Valakut if you didn't play it on T1), then play Rings T3. If you do that, you can either play Mire T4, copy the activation, then follow with a 3 CMC play, or you can play the second Mountain and crack+copy the Bauble, saving the double Mire for T5. It's a slower start in the first couple turns in exchange for much more mana in the midgame.
Sample Hand #2
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Mulligans
This is an extremely slow opener with a lot of lategame power. Whether or not you keep this is meta dependent. If you have the luxury of taking the first few turns of the game off, this can put you into a great mid-lategame position. You're really relying on topdecks to do anything before T4, which is not good in a lot of groups. If you're putting cards back, All is Dust is definitely the least important. You're not playing that for many turns to come and it's more important late game. After that, Gauntlet of Power takes longer to come down than Gauntlet of Might for the same effect, so it's less important to have early.


Early Plays
This hand is all about those land drops. You're leading on Thawing Glaciers, following T2 with Mountain → Glaciers activation, and then you have some options. I would take a turn to drop Jaya. It means you might miss a land drop around T5, but it's much more mana efficient and gives you something to do with your mana beyond Glaciers. There's also a reasonable argument for Wheel, if the rest of the table is also off to a slow start. You don't want to refill someone who spent the first couple turns ramping, but if the entire table has been "Land, go" to this point a fresh hand has an equally good chance of hooking you up, and there's nothing in hand you can't get back later in a pinch.


Next Draws
Your early draws honestly don't do much to speed you up. Seeing Fire and Ice into Light Up the Stage makes me much more inclined to take a Jaya line, probably by playing Sword T3 and Jaya T4. There's also an argument to wait for T5 to play Jaya, so you can play and immediately equip for some protection while she doesn't have haste.
Sample Hand #3
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Mulligans
This is not a good hand. A single land is never a good plan, and this one pairs it with an 8 drop and a couple 5 drops. The only saving grace here is that there is a line involving Gamble for Crucible of Worlds or Thawing Glaciers if you're feeling very, very lucky. If you are a couple mulligans deep and having terrible luck, Ugin is obviously the first card to go. You're so far away from casting him that he might as well be gone already. After that, Batterskull is next. The difference between 5 and 8 CMC isn't that significant when you're starting on one land and I'd rather have walker Jaya filtering if I make it that far.


Early Plays
Like I said in mulligans, there's not a lot you can do here. You obviously lead on the Mire, then you have two options. First, you can Gamble for something. Crucible relies on a couple draws going your way, but is a strong card to have in play and will let you play the rest of the game on curve. Glaciers is less draw dependent, but you're playing a couple turns behind for many turns. Both of those also rely on not discarding your Gamble choice. You have a 6/7 chance of holding onto it after your first draw (assuming you kept that 7, which is a bad call) so it's not awful. There are still times where you would Gamble, discard it, and be completely at the mercy of your topdecks.


Next Draws
These draws do a surprisingly good job of digging this hand out. I still wouldn't keep that hand under almost any circumstances, but if your back is to the wall and you had to for some reason, the first few draws get you enough lands that you can possibly make it to walker Jaya and start filtering. It's not a good start, it's just better than you would expect from that hand.
Sample Hand #4
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Mulligans
This hand is reasonable. It's hard to be down on any hand that has a few lands and Top. Be aware that this is going to be a slow start, because there's no way to clear away the cards you're seeing with Top. You're priced into activating Top every turn if you end up with cards you don't want on top. This is a keep, but not an exciting one. If you're mulling, Comet Storm is the first card to go. It's more of a lategame card and you won't have the resources to use it effectively for a while, even to clear away small utility creatures. After that, I'd ditch Caged Sun over Anger for much the same reasons.


Early Plays
Lead on land, Top. Next turn, Top then land. I'd drop Jaya T3 just to be doing something other than Top and as a way to ditch Anger. This is a very topdeck dependent hand with a way to improve those, so that's the line to take.


Next Draws
Oof. Karn and Ugin in the first three draws is rough. The upside is that you can bury Ugin with Top and not get forced into taking it, but it does make you more likely to need Top activations every turn. Terrain Generator gives you an alternative to Jaya on T3. I'd still go for Jaya to have some kind of board presence and interaction. Generator and Top give you a lot of options for mana efficiency, which is nice.
Sample Hand #5
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Mulligans
Kind of a mediocre opener. Lands and a source of card draw are decent enough to keep, and you do have something to do with the mana. I'd prefer to see a cheaper play somewhere in there but I also wouldn't ship this. For mulligans, I'd lose Daredevil first and Kumano second. They both do much better work late in the game. The possible exception to this is if there's someone likely to be playing green ramp at the table. Daredevil for a Cultivate or something is a fine play, and you have a reasonable shot of getting there with four lands and Portal.


Early Plays
It's mostly "land, go" with this hand. Portal can come down T4 as long as at least one opponent has built up a board they don't want to lose. Daredevil for a card draw or ramp spell is also a fine play.


Next Draws
I wouldn't be thrilled with any of this other than Wild Guess. Reforge would be great if it came any time after T2. This hand doesn't have a lot going for it, so I think I'd be happy to take a new one with a couple lands down. Unfortunately, Reforge is showing up before you have a second land on board. Wild Guess is probably the T3 play, ditching one of the lategame cards for a couple fresh looks.




The Typical Gameplan
While each game is going to play out differently depending on draws and opponents, there are some broad goals for the various stages of the game. Exactly when each stage of the game is ongoing is going to vary by playgroup. I'm writing this under the assumption that you're not trying to force Jaya in a cEDH meta, because this archetype is not a good fit for this. My rough assumption, primarily so I have something to base this on, is that the early game constitutes the first 3-4 turns of the game, the midgame is the next 3-4 turns beyond that, and the late game goes until it ends. Anything faster than that and the deck would need to be retooled to account for it.

The overall gameplan of the deck comes down to mana development. Everything you're doing can be boiled down to either having the mana to follow through with your late game plan or surviving to reach the late game, and because of the huge life buffer you get in EDH the latter point is much less important. Given the choice of a proactive action or further developing your own board and mana you almost always want to make the developmental play absent an existential threat.


The Early Game
This is all about land drops. You hopefully kept a hand with enough lands to make at least the first 2-3, and have some idea about where you're going from there. Some of the card draw, filtering, and general support cards can also come down at this stage of the game. Jaya likely comes down for the first time towards the end of this. If you have a good line of play that doesn't need her this isn't a necessity, but the deck doesn't have a lot of early deterrents. It's primarily banking on the high starting life total to provide enough of a buffer to ignore the opponents for a few turns. Jaya is one of the few reliable ways you can get a board presence, and she can take down any creature up to an x/5 without help.

You don't need to do anything proactive yet. Ideally, you can fly under the radar a little. You're not ramping excessively, spending a lot of resources to filter your hands, or playing threats to the board, so you're not doing any of the things that are typically threatening in an EDH game. Sometimes, that means you get hit for being the open target, or if you're playing with a regular group you may get some early hate before you have a chance to setup better, which is just facts of life for this deck.


The Mid Game
Mana development is still the most important thing here. Because you don't have much ramp, you need to keep making land drops. This is the part of the game where you can probably catch up on mana to anyone but the dedicated ramp lists. Artifact hate can also be used to pull other players back a couple turns to make that happen. The other thing you want here is the foundation for the late game. haste, protection, card advantage, and filtering all have some good options in this stage of the game. You're also pretty likely to play one or more walkers at this stage in the game. If you have an opportunity to protect them, great. If not, try and get as much value as you can and treat them as partial fogs.

Because you're not tutoring much in this deck, the plan changes depending on what you have in hand. Try to look ahead to what the most likely kill seems like. If you have a good land drop engine going with a Gauntlet sticking, you're probably aiming to burn people out with either an X spell or repeated Jaya activations. If someone is swarming with tokens, you can try and control them and burn more gradually. If everyone is drawing heavily, there's even options like trying to mill people out through repeated wheels. This stage of the game is all about reading your draw and the actions of the rest of the table to see what the most likely path to victory is. Most of the time, the answer involves a bunch of burn to try and get everyone to zero, but not always.

You might not play Jaya at all here. If she somehow stuck from the early game, great. If not, you generally don't want to replay her unless there's a good chance you'll be able to activate for 7 or you have truly nothing else going on. Even with all of the activated abilities and efforts to have options available, there are games where you just don't draw well or get needed cards answered and end up dead in the water for a while. In those cases, playing Jaya again without a plan is fine - you would rather do that than nothing.


The Late Game
This is where the deck is trying to get. If you've been reliably hitting land drops, you're a Gauntlet away from either wheeling and playing out a bunch of cards or playing a couple big haymakers. One of those haymakers is sitting in the command zone: Jaya's last ability. Your goal is to be able to play and activate for inferno, either protecting Jaya to do that multiple times or to be able to replay and activate again. It puts out a lot of player damage in addition to sweeping many creature gameplans, which can be enough to know people out. This is also where you'd really like to have one of the lifegain cards. You're taking damage from this as well and it's definitely not an under the radar play, so you need some way to survive the inevitable attention. Odds are also pretty good you took some early hits, which doesn't help any.

There's not really a wrong way to play here. The goal is to have enough mana to capitalize on whichever lines you identified during the mid game. You probably also have access to a lot of digging power to try and find those lines, as long as you know what in the deck you're looking for. The combination of topdeck filter, shuffle effects, and wheels means you can get 20ish cards deep on a pretty regular basis as long as you've kept up with mana development. That's a lot of potential options. There are two things to keep in mind there. First, know how much mana you need to use what you're looking for. If your out to a situation is Ugin or All is Dust, hold open the mana to play them the turn of for as long as you can. Second, that kind of digging draws a lot of attention your way. Ideally, you want to wait until you're about to die or someone else is about to win. The timing is almost like a combo deck in that respect.




Card Choices
Here's the plan for card options in the primer. Because this deck has been running for so long, I've had lots of time to try out different things. When I migrated this primer over from MTGS, I took it as an opportunity to start fresh with this section - there were a number of cards I don't think are good options anymore after years of new prints, and my feelings had changed on a number of the cards that I originally wrote about. Because of that, I mostly wiped this section clean. Each card type includes anything currently in the deck unspoiled, then a spoiler containing a few cards that I've tried before or that have regularly come up in discussion about Jaya. I'll try and keep this up to date and expand as more discussion happens to keep these options relevant.

Now, on to the card options!


Creatures
Creatures in a Jaya list are in a little bit of a weird spot, at least when the deck is constructed in the way that mine is. Because the endgame plan revolves around table burn, creatures don't necessarily have a long life expectancy once things really get rolling. The big categories for creatures are (A) creatures who don't mind being dead, (B) creatures with an effect when they enter or leave, and (C) creatures whose effect is primarily worth it in the early game. There's also a corollary to those, which is that creatures that can survive a 6 damage hit from Jaya pick up some additional value and can serve as excellent threats/win cons. Any creature that doesn't fit one of those categories needs to be very high impact and many of the creatures included will fit more than one category.

One more note before I get into it. One of the common things you'll see in mono-R lists is a goblin package, even in those lists without any particular tribal support. They're a good thing to have because of the ease of toolboxing. I'm not running that package, so my card evaluation reflects that. The value of any creature with goblin typing goes up a lot if you're running Goblin Matron and/or Goblin Recruiter.


(A) Creatures who don't mind being dead:
Anger - This shouldn't be a surprising inclusion if you read Jaya's abilities. Requiring a tap for all of her abilities means that haste is very important here, the discard as a cost makes it very easy to enable Anger, and the Mountain requirement is negligible in a mono-R list. Anger is also enabled by red's small looting effects and a number of other creatures in the list benefit from haste.

Magma Phoenix - Jaya naturally plays well with the self-recurring phoenix. Magma Phoenix is one of my favorites for two reasons. First, it has a relevant effect on the field when played as a creature. It can serve as a deterrent to attacks by threatening to sweep small creatures, it combines with Jaya's sweep to destroy larger creatures, and it's an evasive creature for carrying equipment. Second, there are no timing restrictions on the recursion. Many of the phoenix have upkeep restrictions or specific triggers for when they return to hand, which gives you less opportunity and information on activating at the right time.

Skarrgan Firebird - My other phoenix of choice. There's a condition on the recursion ability, but it's an easy one to meet in a multiplayer game and isn't tied to a trigger, so you still have the opportunity to activate end of turn. It's also relatively easy to play as a 6/6 flier, which is a respectable threat alongside the steady stream of burn damage coming from Jaya and the rest of the deck.

Squee, Goblin Nabob - Squee isn't actually in the list anymore. The reason he's not in a spoiler is because he's considered to be a Jaya staple, insofar as anything is, and I felt that my reasoning on the card should be easy to find. My problem with Squee is that he does nothing except being discarded most games. Other cards that are included as discard fodder have some kind of use aside from recursion, so they're still functional when you don't need to discard anything. Squee is an expensive chump blocker or an ineffective equipment carrier in those situations, so I'd rather have cards that are more independently useful. All of that said, Squee is a perfectly good choice for this deck, especially in the context of a goblin package.
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Nothing here yet. Let me know if there's something you feel should be included.


(B) Creatures who do something when they enter or leave:
Dire Fleet Daredevil - This is occasionally difficult to evaluate, because the effect varies so much with the rest of the table. It's rare for EDH decks to not include any powerful instants or sorceries, so it's been very rare that it's a dead card. It's primarily a later game card, when you hopefully have some options from three other players worth of graveyards. My experience with it is that it's primarily used for either removal or card draw, with occasional early game ramp mixed in from time to time.

Godo, Bandit Warlord - Equipment has an unexpectedly prominent place in this deck. The creature count is low, so making the most of the ones you do have is helpful. It also helps your threats stick through board wipes and there are several pieces that are exellent Jaya support on their own. Godo supports that plan well for obvious reasons. He also functions as a decent wincon later on if he picks up something good. The 6 CMC cost isn't nearly as bad when you consider that he's not only finding the equipment, he's also cheating it onto the field, which is typically worth 2-5 mana in this deck.

Kozilek, the Great Distortion - This isn't technically an ETB trigger but it's close enough to lump in here. This deck wants to go long enough that a 10 CMC threat isn't unreasonable, and it also refills your hand on cast. In addition, it's a nice threat that survives Jaya infernos and is difficult to chump block. The activated ability is also an angle of attack typically not available to mono-R. It's an overall nice package in a single card.
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Goblin Engineer - There are a couple of other Goblin Welder effects in the list, so entombing a larger artifact is still a good option. Engineer's omission is a causality of an abundance of good options. There are only 60ish slots for nonlands in the deck and there are a couple hundred cards I'd be happy to play, depending on the rest of the deck and the meta. I'd still like to find a slot for it at some point, because the combo of tutoring and recursion is very powerful.

Imperial Recruiter - Availability used to be the primary thing keeping this card out of decks, but it's gotten a lot more accessible after a Master's set reprint. Red has a relatively small number of tutors and this one has a lot of flexibility. There's definitely an argument for including it. The thing keeping it out of my list is much the same as Engineer - there are just too many cards I'd like to play and this one is slightly less interesting to me. It obviously picks up utility as you run more possible targets.

Kozilek, Butcher of Truth - This is a stand in for the other Eldrazi as well. My list doesn't really support multiple huge Eldrazi, though Jaya as a general certainly can. I prefer Great Distortion to the others, so that's the one in the list. If you're interested in a Polymorph plan using cards like Reality Scramble or if you would rather use large creature threats than burn as a primary win con, these pick up a lot of value. For the ROE ones, the GY shuffle trigger is a mixed bag. Jaya tends to run cards that make good use of the GY, like the creatures in (A). Shuffling those away can be a hit. On the flip side, the ability to discard the big Eldrazi can allow you to reuse cards in the long game or protect your yard from hate, both of which have value.

(C) Creatures for the early game:
Deal Broker - Ignore the draft-matters text on the card and what you have is a colorless looter. That's rare to see outside of blue and this deck already plays a lot of GY themes. Early game this helps you find development cards like land drops, late game this helps you find business and you can cash it in with a Welder effect for a higher impact artifact if needed.

Goblin Welder - There have already been a few mentions of "Welder effects" and this is the namesake card. It lets you swap out any artifact on the board for another artifact in the controller's GY. That means you can cheat out haymakers like Akroma's Memorial by cashing out an early mana rock or similar, ditch less relevant artifacts for more relevant ones, or disrupt opposing equipment by swapping it with mana rocks. Welder is the highest impact one drop in the deck and arguably one of the highest impact one drops in the format. It's also realistically more of a late game card than an early development card, but it tends to have uses at most stages in the game.
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Burnished Hart - There's some definite upside to this creature. It provides land ramp in a deck that likes having a lot of basic Mountains on board, it can give instant speed Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle triggers late game, and it's an artifact creature that can work well with Welder. The problem is that it's either 3 mana on two turns or 6 mana in a single shot, which is easy to disrupt early and a lot of mana to spend on a small effect late.


(D) Surprise category - Creatures that don't fit into A-C:
Kumano, Master Yamabushi - He's kind of a holdover from the deck's early life, where he was an occasional general option. He's usually a high value lategame card. The important part of Kumano is the activated ability. Repeatable targeted damage at a reasonable rate is a very strong effect, especially in a deck running multiple mana doublers. Kumano is one of the few permanents in this color combo that can do that with only a mana investment and he's the most cost efficient one that can stick around through multiple activations. The static ability is a nice perk on top of that, and can pair with combat or other removal to work as situational GY hate.

Painter's Servant - Like Squee, this isn't in the deck but will lead to questions if I don't explain my reasoning for not having it. The short version is that it's too high profile. Jaya's ability to destroy blue permanents and small creatures already draws a lot of attention, because those categories cover a lot of popular generals. With Painter out, the first ability turns into a straight instant-speed Vindicate, which makes everyone pay attention. I haven't yet found the table (where Jaya would be appropriate, i.e. not cEDH) where a two card repeatable Vindicate combo is allowed to go undisrupted. On it's own, that's not enough to keep Painter out of the deck - powerful cards get removed, and you play them anyways for the times when they don't. The bigger problem with Painter is that it does nothing outside of combo with the general and it actively hurts one of the other cards in the list, Sword of Fire and Ice. If Jaya doesn't stick, Painter is just a mediocre chump blocker and I know how much Jaya gets removed on her own strengths alone.

Steel Hellkite - While mono-R has gotten a few good options to remove problematic permanents (read: enchantments), Hellkite is still a good board control card. It tends to be a high profile removal target so it connecting is never a sure thing. When it does stick, it can easily take out multiple other cards with only a mana investment and that kind of card advantage is great for a controlling mono-R deck.

Stuffy Doll - This survives Jaya thanks to being indestructible, blocks well for the same reason, and works as a force multiplier for Jaya infernos. Welder effects can be used to reset the player choice if your original choice is killed or if someone else turns out to be the bigger threat. It's also a weirdly effective equipment carrier as long as you're swinging at the named player.
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Magus of the Moon - Blood Moon is very meta dependent. If you're playing against a lot of nonbasics it can almost be a hard lock against some decks. Magus is the second copy of the effect. As a creature, especially in a Jaya list, it's easier to remove and shouldn't be played over the enchantment. Also, be aware of how the table feels about the effect. This effect potentially soft locks a player depending on deck construction and draw, which isn't appropriate for all metas.




Artifacts
Artifacts are a prominent feature of a lot of mono-R lists. In addition to having a couple general options who can make very good use of them, red has a few big holes in what the color is capable of, specifically answering enchantments and card advantage/card selection/tutoring. While there have been a lot of prints in recent years making up for some of those shortfalls, artifacts are still an important part of the deck. As with creatures, artifacts can be broken down into a couple categories, (A) regular artifacts and (B) equipment.

I talked briefly about equipment above when going over Godo, Bandit Warlord, but I'll revisit here. There are two big reasons equipment is important to this list. First, it's a way to effectively have threats survive board wipes, which is the endgame here. If a kobold token can pick up a Sword and swing in, it's much more threatening than it's usual 0/1 self. The second reason is that there are several pieces of equipment that directly support Jaya, whether that's helping her survive her board wipe, giving you a life buffer to work with, or opening up the creatures that she can remove.


(A) Regular artifacts:
Akroma's Memorial - As with equipment, this is an odd inclusion for an 11 creature list at a glance. The big reason it's here is protecting your board from Jaya infernos, including Jaya herself. It also gives haste, which is another important keyword for Jaya. The tertiary reason for it is helping combat damage as a win con. This deck usually kills opponents in discrete chunks of damage, whether that's 6 from Jaya or 3 from Valakut. Adding in some combat damage when the opportunity arises helps to bring that clock down.

Armillary Sphere/Journeyer's Kite/Wayfarer's Bauble - These are playing the role of mana rocks in this list. There are a few reasons I've gone this route instead of the more traditional rocks. The biggest and most important is that I'm running several Gauntlet effects, which double the mana. An additional mountain in play is regularly worth more than 1 mana. Jaya can also make good lategame use of cards in hand, so cards that put lands into hand for early game mana development have more utility late game once you have enough lands out. The third reason is that Valakut regularly does some work, so finding mountains means more Bolts.

Caged Sun/Gauntlet of Might/Gauntlet of Power - These effects are some of the best reasons to run monocolored decks in this format. Red gets an extra advantage if you've been playing forever/play with proxies/play online/have poor impulse control when it comes to card buying, because Might is red specific. Even without that, these are fantastic cards.

Coercive Portal - Most of the time, this is a colorless Phyrexian Arena. It's relatively uncommon for everyone to vote against you in a 4 player game. You do need to be careful about playing this out into an empty or mostly empty board. On the flip side, if someone other than you is running away from the game it doubles as a board wipe.

Crucible of Worlds - Even better than usual in this list. There are a handful of lands that sac themselves for some kind of value. More importantly, it helps mitigate the discard cost of Jaya's abilities. This is at its best when you're not only using it in combo with Jaya, but it's still perfectly functional with just her and the red looting/rummaging effects. It also fits into a very, very grindy card advantage engine with Inventors' Fair.

Distorting Lens - Another one that's not included. The logic behind skipping this is exactly the same as with Painter's Servant. CliffsNotes version - it's a combo piece that doesn't do anything on its own and it's very high profile for limited power.

Expedition Map - EDH decks can fit a lot of utility into the manabase, and this helps to find it all. The most common target for this is probably Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle unless you already have that or need another utility piece. It also functions as a very slow artifact tutor with Inventors' Fair.

Memory Jar - This is some of the safer burst card draw available to mono-R because your opponents don't have much of a window to use what they draw. It can also be used in conjunction with other wheel effects and artifact recursion to deck someone drawing heavily.

Pyromancer's Goggles - This is still a little bit of an experimental card. It plays very nicely with the small drawing effects I'm currently running and has some use for the larger spells. It's very possible that the instant and sorcery density is not high enough, but it's been playing well so far.

Rings of Brighthearth - This is one of my favorite cards in the list. It's not necessary for the deck to work and admittedly does nothing on its own, but it turns so many other cards in the list up to 11. There's the obvious interaction with Jaya abilities, all of the walkers, and fetch lands, plus numerous other miscellaneous activated abilities. I'm not actively looking for it and not disappointed when it inevitably gets hit. I do still love having it on the table.

Scroll Rack/Sensei's Divining Top - Despite many new prints and a conscious effort to focus on it here, red doesn't have a lot of ways to put cards in hand. card filtering is the next best thing. In conjunction with the fetches, these give you a lot of looks for whatever it is you need at the time. Both are a lot of fun with Experimental Frenzy as well.

Tormod's Crypt - GY hate is a necessity and this one leaves my own yard alone. It's a 0 cost artifact that can serve as Welder fuel if you're at a unicorn table where no one is using the yard.

Torpor Orb - This is a great way to get everyone trying to kill you turn two. Turning off ETB effects in the format most likely to use and abuse them is a secondary benefit.
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Crawlspace - It's a reasonable defensive card and it's nice that it only prevents you from being attacked, rather than shutting down all attacks at the table. The big downside is that it doesn't protect walkers, which are a fixture in the list.

Ensnaring Bridge - This one does protect walkers. It also tends to annoy the table. Whether that's a positive or a negative is up to you. The other problem with this is that you typically want cards in hand in a control deck. That is a little less relevant with Jaya sweeping small creatures. It's been on the cusp of inclusion for a while.

Extraplanar Lens - This is Gauntlet number 4. I'm less of a fan of this one because of the potential to get yourself Stone Rained by any artifact removal. It does work very well if you treat it as more of a ritual because it's cheap enough to drop and follow up in a single turn.

Thousand-Year Elixir - Pseudo-haste and an untap effect are nice effects. The untap loses a lot of its utility with Jaya because of the discard cost on her abilities and the fact that she routinely nukes herself. Without that, actual haste effects like Fervor are typically better.

Trading Post - This does a lot of things that the deck likes and I'm always down for super grindy value. This is yet another card that I'd be happy to run with another 20 available slots in the list.

(B) Equipment:
Basilisk Collar - This has two primary functions. First, it's enormous lifegain when coupled with Jaya's inferno. You're gaining minimum 24 life in a 4 player game and it can get up into the triple digits on a semi-regular basis. Second, it gives Jaya and any other creature with a damage ability a sniper rifle. Selectively removing creatures is frequently more useful than board wiping in multiplayer, particularly at instant speed. Beyond those uses, it turns random dorks into decent rattlesnakes.

Batterskull - As with Collar, lifegain is the big reason to include this. Jaya tends to do a lot of self damage and some big burst lifegain goes a long way towards keeping you in the game until you can execute your lategame plan. There are several other small synergies as well. With one Gauntlet effect on board this makes Jaya big enough to survive an inferno. It's also a decent lifelink blocker that can still swing in, and it's easy to recur and replay. It also plays nicely with Godo, which is especially relevant because he can tutor it up on ETB. It's less vital to the deck's core gameplan and more a collection of small synergies on a decent standalone card.

Darksteel Plate - It helps Jaya or another important creature survive an inferno. There's not much subtlety here.

Lightning Greaves - Haste and protection from targeted removal makes it a lot easier to get Jaya online. Again, not subtle.

Sword of Fire and Ice - The pro red is the most important part of this card, followed closely by the card draw. It's a little unusual here because the creature holding this will frequently stay back on defense to represent an activation. It does also add to the clock when you're ready to start going after someone's life total.

Sword of the Animist - Having basic mountains in play is very important to this list. Sword is nice because it stays relevant late game due to Valakut, beyond the obvious use of increasing available mana. There's some light Godo synergy because of the multiple attack steps.

Sword of War and Peace - The second pro red Sword in the list. This one is better at turning the corner and beating down than the other options and comes with some lifegain. With another source of haste and a suitable amount of mana, this can represent a lot of damage off of Godo out of nowhere.
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Loxodon Warhammer - The third best lifelink equipment. Collar and Batterskull are included over this for having more utility beyond lifelink. In a more aggressive Jaya list, this is possibly better than one of those.

Swiftfoot Boots - A lot of the time, the best use of haste in this deck is playing and activating Jaya in a single turn cycle. Even on the first cast, that's a big resource ask if you're trying to use inferno. Shaving a mana off that sequence of plays is relevant a fair amount of the time. Hexproof is good, but less important than haste.

Sword of Sinew and Steel - This and War and Peace are roughly neck and neck. Jaya is already a fairly effective answer to walkers already and red has plenty of tools to answer artifacts, so the trigger is less valuable than it would be in a color combo like UB. Repeatable card advantage at an efficient cost is never something to sniff at, so this is a strong possibility for the deck. I'm mostly unsure if 3 pro red equipment is more than I want.




Enchantments
The efficacy of enchantments varies a lot from meta to meta. The increased amount of broad spot removal available means that you're much less likely to catch people completely unprepared for enchantment heavy strategies than you used to. My experience has been that people still focus much more heavily on ways to remove creatures, which means enchantments can sometimes stick around for good value. This list runs a relatively small number of high impact enchantments.

Blood Moon - Exactly what this does is heavily meta dependent. Against some particularly nonbasic heavy metas, this can almost soft lock decks out of the game. In a meta with decks made of basics and draft chaff, this is a dead card. In most games, this is somewhere in the middle. It's more often a way to interact with problematic utility lands than anything else. That also makes it a little awkward to play at times. If everyone has a few basics down and you have several good nonbasics, this can hurt you more than your opponents.

Experimental Frenzy - This particular build of Jaya is a proactive control list. While there are times where it's right to hold up mana for a Jaya activation in response to game actions, it's more often the case that you're going to try and put a number of permanents on board to set up for a more explosive turn down the line. Frenzy plays very well with that. It's significantly more effective with the full collection of filtering and shuffling effects, because you're less likely to get caught with an unplayable land or big spell.

Gratuitous Violence - One of the win con enchantments. Doubling the damage coming off of your creatures is great, and doing it without doubling the damage coming at you is perfect. This works particularly well with Stuffy Doll, which goes from pinging for 1 per turn cycle to 4 per turn cycle.

Repercussion - Another win con enchantment. The big thing that this does is turn Jaya infernos or other big damage sweepers into enormous player damage while you're usually somewhat insulated due to the low creature count and pro red options. This also makes blocking into an offensive action rather than a form of damage prevention. That's usually more relevant to other decks at the table but is definitely worth keeping in mind.
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Fervor - I've mentioned several times that haste is useful. This is one of the most straightforward ways to get it. There are other cards that do something else on top of haste, so those are usually preferred.

Outpost Siege - This is the best permanent based source of red's impulse draw. This is also one of the better ones because it allows you to play lands. Jaya wants cards in hand more than cards available to play but this does play well with the more proactive gameplan.

Stranglehold - Another meta dependent hate piece. If your meta is heavy on tutors or extra turns, this is a valuable tool to fight that. If tutoring is mostly limited to basic land ramp, this is a little narrow.




Planeswalkers
Planeswalkers get a bad rap in EDH for good reason. It's difficult to protect them for multiple turn cycles and players are more likely to be running removal that can target them, so they're played primarily for a single use of their abilities. Jaya can protect them slightly better by virtue of having a sweeper in the command zone and they do offer a lot of potential utility, so they play a slightly larger role here. Even so, it's a trap to consider the ultimate in any evaluation unless you have a way to get there within a turn.

Chandra, Flamecaller - Included almost solely for the 0 ability. This is one of a limited number of ways for red decks to increase cards in hand in addition to offering a lot of digging power. There are occasional times where she'll be a 6 CMC cycle/Ball Lightning/sweeper, which could definitely be worse.

Daretti, Scrap Savant - Early, he offers filtering. Late, he returns an artifact. Although he's costed a little too high for either of those abilities independently, the flexibility and possibility of getting a second activation helps to make up for that.

Jaya Ballard - She's a little borderline despite the obvious flavor connection. Filtering on +1 is solid if a little extreme a lot of the time, when you don't have 3 cards that you want to discard. The mana +1 is powerful but this is not really the right deck for it.

Karn Liberated - He's overcosted, sorcery speed spot removal. The reason that's OK here is because there are limited ways to remove enchantments in mono-R. That combined with being a permanent answer for any permanent and the possibility of a second shot gets him the slot. He also has the potential for repeated upticks, which is great for harassing one other deck. Immediately going to 10 loyalty and picking up 4 more per turn cycle makes him much easier to protect than a few of the others.

Ugin, the Spirit Dragon - Included as a sweeper. The +2 is a nice ability and it's almost never the first one activated. Clearing away everything on the board is wonderful, and this list is artifact heavy enough that your board will regularly come out on top.
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Chandra Ablaze - She was in the list for a long time. The -2 ability has the potential to be positive card advantage if you've played your hand down, and pulling everyone else down to 3 cards in hand is very disruptive.

Chandra, Pyromaster - Another permanent source of impulse draw and the second one behind Outpost Siege. Being able to play lands off of it is important because of the utility in the manabase and the relevance of mountain count to the deck. The downside to her is the one common to all walkers in this format, her fragility. If it's possible to attack a source of card advantage with creatures, many players are going to take advantage of that.

Koth of the Hammer - Koth does a lot of things the deck likes. His biggest issues are that he's at his best when he sticks around for a couple turns and he can expose your mountains to infernos. There are enough options out there that he's usually not top of the list.




Instants
All other factors being equal, instants are where you want to be with your spells. Playing at instant speed gives you the most information before you make your plays. Typically, that means similar effects are going to be more expensive than the corresponding sorceries. Jaya does get some additional value from instants because you can hold open ability activations, then play at instant speed if they're not needed. They're slightly less important here because much of the deck plays to the board more proactively, through things like artifacts and planeswalkers.

Chaos Warp - It's broad spot removal. It cleanly removes indestructible creatures and enchantments, which this list can have some trouble with. You don't want to aim it at something too small because of the random flip. it's best used on game ending threats or cards that keep you from developing your board, not just broadly threatening cards.

Comet Storm - This is a common way to win games. if you survive long enough, it's not hard to find and you typically have enough mana to do significant damage to the table. It's also respectable removal early in the game. Don't be afraid to fire it off for a small number with the intent of recurring it later.

Commune with Lava - Probably my favorite card advantage card in the list. The relevant wording here is "your next turn," which means you have a lot of flexibility in how you play this card. If you fire it off EOT of the player before you, you get to untap, make a land drop from the revealed cards, and play whatever you want out of them. It also works well main phase, because you'll get the remainder of your resources for the turn plus your full following turn, making it a very effective digging spell. Be aware that the rest of the table also sees what you exile, so showing a big threat the turn before you can play it is sometimes a problem.

Price of Progress - Despite the high nonbasic count in the list, the table is frequently pretty basic heavy for you. There are a lot of fetches and lands that sac themselves for effects, so you can take a relatively small amount of damage from this. It is meta dependent on how much you'll be able to hit other players for. As long as the average nonbasic count among your opponents is in the 3+ range, this is a very efficient burn spell. Casting this once or twice can be an effective way to get the final points of damage in at a table.
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Abrade - Artifact hate and small creature hate on one card is very nice. Small creatures are usually not problematic for this deck, so it's primarily an anti-artifact hate card. It goes up a lot in value if you're playing in a combo-heavier meta where a flexible, instant speed, inexpensive answer has more value. Otherwise, I prefer the reusable options and the ones that can hit multiple cards in a shot.

Fault Line/Starstorm - Earthquake analogues can do a lot of work in this format. My preference usually runs to the instant speed variants, with some additional preference given to the ones that can hit players as well as creatures. I haven't felt a lack of those here, because Jaya does a great job of filling that role 90% of the time. It's also possible I'm overvaluing instant speed given the rest of the deck.

Lightning Bolt - I truly think Bolt is underplayed in this format. It's admittedly less powerful than in a 20 life, 1v1 format. It's still an excellent answer for small creatures and going upstairs is not unheard of. It's also great for mana efficiency, especially in a deck full of wheels. I value it lower here because there's already a fair amount of removal. It's still never that far out of consideration.

Fork/Reiterate/ReverberateWild Ricochet - These are all comparable and even have a section dedicated to them under gameplay. I bring them in and out. I don't like that the best uses for them are copying opposing spells in a deck that doesn't always want to keep mana up for instant speed responses. If the deck was built in that direction, and it certainly could be with Jaya's abilities, these would pick up a lot of value.

Skred - This obviously relies on a snow manabase. If you have that, this is probably the biggest payoff card in my opinion. Lategame, it removes most creatures you'll see hit the board and it's good at killing small utility creatures early. There's also the combo with Stuffy Doll to throw a bunch of damage at someone's head.

Shattering Pulse - This is one of my favorite artifact hate spells. It's reasonably costed for a single use, and you can use it over time to regulate artifacts. This is another card that gains a lot of value in the theoretical instant speed Jaya list.




Sorceries
Sorceries are inherently worse than instants. The upside is that you get more powerful effects and more options in the card type most of the time. This deck already plays primarily at sorcery speed despite instant speed Jaya activations, so there's not as much of a downside. This is also where a lot of the card advantage and filtering effects reside, so I'm naturally playing a fair number.

All is Dust - A nice general board wipe. This is another way to answer problem enchantments as well as shroud/hexproof/indestructible. it's not too difficult to set up a board that this leaves relatively untouched as well. Expensive, but that's a fine price to pay for the effect.

Blasphemous Act - This does overlap with Jaya's inferno a little. the reason for including it is twofold. First, you don't always have Jaya out. I write a lot of these under the scenario where you can stick Jaya long enough to activate, and some games that's not possible. Second, this is much cheaper to cast than an inferno activation. That comes into play with walkers in particular. Wiping the board of creatures and following with a walker can be a big swing.

Faithless Looting - One of mono-R's best filtering spells. This list already plays a lot of GY interaction and this plays right along with that. There are also a few situational cards and to-hand land tutors that can fuel this.

Gamble - It's an unconditional tutor in mono-R. There's not much to say. You can use it as a low risk way to kick off some of the GY based value engines if you have other pieces on board. If you run Squee, using this to find and discard him is a super satisfying play.

Light Up the Stage - This is a lot like Commune with Lava in it's timing restrictions. Mono-R has poor enough card advantage that even a straight Divination is playable and this has the potential to be much better. Try and hold off on making a land drop until after this is cast when planning out your turn.

Magmatic Insight/Tormenting Voice/Wild Guess - The small rummaging package. These work particularly well when copied as the discard is an additional cost. In general, there's usually something in hand you're happy to discard in exchange for two new cards.

Past in Flames - This is effectively a win con. You throw a lot of cards into the yard in this deck, and this is both a way to reuse a lot of them and something you can play from the yard. It's also a way to recast burn spells to get across the finish line, or to dig even deeper with wheel effects. All around great card.

Reforge the Soul/Wheel of Fortune - Classic red card draw spells. Wheel is one of the cheapest ways in the game to draw 7 cards, even if you're refilling the rest of the table to do it. It's also excellent hand disruption for anyone holding back and sculpting. You do need to be aware of GY focused lists who can take advantage of it and reactive decks who you're refilling, but it's still worth the slot here.

Shattering Spree - Artifact hate that can clear out several targets or fight through most countermagic. Sorcery speed is a little disappointing but this is still an excellent removal spell.

Vandalblast - Arguably best in class for sorcery speed artifact hate. This gets cast with overload probably 75% of the time, because it's worth clearing out all opposing artifacts if you have the mana. Even if all you're hitting is mana rocks, bringing everyone back down in mana is usually worthwhile. Don't be afraid to cast it for a single target, though.
Not Included
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Acidic Soil - Another potentially large burn spell for little mana. This isn't quite as efficient as Price of Progress and has more potential to damage you, which is why it hasn't made the leap.

Earthquake/Molten Disaster/Rolling Earthquake - These are all decent creature hate and reach. Rolling Earthquake is probably the best because horsemanship is rare enough that it's usually just a wipe. You gain a lot of value in having the ability to customize how much damage you're doing at the cost of efficiency.

Fiery Confluence - Nice flexible card. If you use it as a straight burn spell, it's reasonably efficient. It's a great early play to take out setup artifacts and sweep early utility creatures, and you don't need to make a meta call about the effect before the game starts. This is high on my list of possible includes.

Rolling Thunder - If I were going to add another X burn spell, this is probably where I would start. Splitting damage at no additional cost gives you a lot of flexibility in the midgame and makes it decent reach for the lategame. I value that over the upsides that some of the other options give.

Ruination/Wake of Destruction - These cards are actually polar opposites, but similar enough in function that they're lumped together. It's a very powerful effect that usually doesn't affect you too much. There's strong opposition to this sort of effect in a lot of metas, so be aware of that before you cast these.

Scrap Mastery - This deck doesn't really have the potential to abuse this (via saccing artifacts, etc), so it's more a lategame mass recursion spell. I'd go for the targeted Welder effects first. It's an obviously powerful effect in any artifact heavy list.

Shenanigans - Another reusable artifact hate spell. The dredge here is less GY stocking and more consistent reuse when necessary. Sorcery speed and GY makes it forecasted, which isn't necessarily a problem.




Lands
I've spent a lot of time talking about utility in the manabase up til now. As an artifact heavy monocolored list, you can afford to run very nonbasic heavy. There aren't even Blood Moon concerns because that just fixes your colors. Because of that I typically float around half nonbasics, though that count is cheating a little bit with fetchlands. I don't like dropping below 20 mountains. It's an arbitrary number, but it's felt about right for turning on Valakut and keeping Gauntlets high impact.

The immediate decision to make with lands is whether you're running a snow-covered manabase or not. The difference is relatively small - you get access to Skred, Scrying Sheets, and a slightly more selfish Extraplanar Lens. I've gone for regular mountains because I wanted a greater variety of foil options, which has about as much weight to me as the tiny handful of cards I'm giving up to do it.

Arid Mesa/Bloodstained Mire/Prismatic Vista/Scalding Tarn/Wooded Foothills - Fetches have a lot of utility here. The big things that they offer are an on demand shuffle for topdeck manipulation and reuse with [{Crucible of Worlds]]. There's also a nice interaction with Rings of Brighthearth for bonus Rampant Growths. I like having some number of these in the list and they're all equivalent, with the corollary that Vista can finds Wastes if you're running it. Similar cards outside of these 5 (Evolving Wilds, Terramorphic Expanse) are worse than basic mountains. Paying 1 life for the effect is fine, the tempo hit of ETB tapped is too much.

Buried Ruin - Artifact recursion in the manabase. This is part of the grindy Crucible of Worlds options, because each can recur the other. It's also fine as a one shot value card to bring back an important artifact like a Gauntlet.

Geier Reach Sanitarium - Looting in the manabase. It's usually OK that it's a symmetrical effect, because you can control the timing, you have GY interaction, and other decks are already likely to have some card advantage and filtering tools. If it looks like someone is going to take advantage of it too well, just don't activate it.

Inventors' Fair - Artifact tutoring in the manabase (seeing a theme?). The tutoring is the more relevant ability on the card. It kicks off Crucible of Worlds plays and finds high impact card. The small incidental lifegain has won me games before too - sometimes all you need is one or two more life points to survive and crack back.

Kher Keep - This works a lot like Maze of Ith a lot of the time. Creating a token to chump is common. They also make decent sword carriers in a pinch and can have nonzero power with Gauntlet support, though that's usually not the main reason to play a Gauntlet.

Myriad Landscape - This has most of the same synergies as the fetchlands with added ramp on its own. Coming in tapped is a shame, but ramp when you have nothing else going on for a few mana, late game Valakut triggers, and all of the other fetch benefits is still worthwhile.

Petrified Field - The insurance policy for all the other lands. There's a lot of value in the manabase and sometimes you just need a second pop with one of the other lands. It also pulls Valakut back, which is a popular target for removal.

Strip Mine/Wasteland - Removes Valakut problematic utility lands. If there's only one problematic player, you can also use these turn after turn with Crucible of Worlds to keep them off mana. That's usually not a good plan, both because it's bad manners at a lot of tables and because it leaves two players free to develop while you and your target are stuck.

Terrain Generator - Ramp in the manabase. This deck is more focused on hitting land drops than ramping and this is a nice middle ground. It's almost always incorrect to activate this if there's anything else you could be using the mana for. You'll have opportunities to drop lands in following turns, and if you don't get those turns this was unlikely to make a difference. It's still one of my most used utility lands most games that I see it.

Thawing Glaciers - This serves as a way to keep hitting land drops. It's as slow as the name suggests, so don't feel obligated to use it the turn after it's played if you have anything else to do. It has a lot of interactions similar to the fetches, minus the GY specific parts.

Thespian's Stage/Vesuva - Like I mentioned with Petrified Field, there's a lot of value in the manbase. Plan A for these is almost always copying Valakut. Doubling the number of triggers is great and it gives you some additional resilience to removal. It's not worth holding Vesuva for a good target if you would otherwise miss a land drop. You can always destroy it and bring it back if you really need to change the copy.

Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle - I've mentioned this card in a lot of other places. It has a disproportionate impact on the deck for being a single card. It's the most common tutor target for Expedition Map by a wide margin and responsible for a reasonable number of wins. Turning land drops into bolts is insanely good and this is one of the reasons to be in mono-R.

Wastes - Near the chopping block. This is effectively a nonbasic in this list and was added to help cast Kozilek, the great Distortion. Having a basic colorless source adds significantly to the colorless source count in the deck thanks to the basic land searching. It's typically not needed and unlikely to stick.
Not Included
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Dark Depths - Primarily to combo with Thespian's Stage (copy Depths with Stage, keep the Stage copy through the legend rule, then sacrifice it to the trigger because it has no counters). This list does generate enough mana to pay it down over a couple turns. The big problem here is that it's not really a land, so it would have to replace one of the spells.

Deserted Temple - There are limited cards that this works with. Most of the good nonbasics here sac themselves, so there are only a few good interactions. I do really like those interactions, it's just not reliable enough for me to include something that's otherwise a blank.

Flamekin Village/Hall of the Bandit Lord - Haste in the manabase is nice. Village is the better of the two because it taps for red. It also doesn't bolt you on every tap, which can add up in this list.

Forgotten Cave/Smoldering Crater - Cycling lands are a great way to increase land count while keeping spell density high. Gauntlets and Valakut mean you need to keep basic mountain count high, which means these would be replacing other nonbasics. I prefer the ones that I have now and Tectonic Reformation gives enough upside that I'd rather stick with that.

Glacial Chasm - Another land that's basically a spell. Plays very, very nicely with Crucible of Worlds and with Jaya activations. This deck regularly wins through noncombat means, so the downside of not attacking is negligible. The upkeep cost is much more significant.

Maze of Ith - Yet another land that's basically a spell. There's a good chance this should still be included due to the low creature count. As with so many other cards, it's a question of finding the cuts.

Scrying Sheets - If you're playing a snow manabase, this is one of the payoffs. It's not worth dedicating resources to hit off the ability most of the time and snow density is low enough that you're more likely to miss than hit for any given activation. Not a terrible card, jsut outclassed by other options.




About the Author
My name is Chris. I've been playing off and on since Ice Age, and really got back into things in a serious way sometime during Alara block. After a bit of standard, I got bored with the same old same old and shifted my focus to EDH/Commander, where I fell in love all over again. I've been playing mono red in this format since learning that people thought it was bad. That view isn't nearly as widely held anymore, in part due to better deckbuilding practices and in part due to the support red has gotten from WotC in recent years, but I still enjoy it. I live and work in San Diego, CA, where I'm an electrical engineer.

I came to Jaya after trying a few generals. I started with Kumano, Master Yamabushi in a fairly generic mono red deck. My goal at the time was to have a deck where I could freely shuffle generals between a few different legends, depending on my mood at the time. To make that work, I started slotting in support cards for each of them. One of those was Jaya. Over time, I went to Jaya as a general more and more, eventually relegating Kumano to a spot in the deck with the others full time. I've been playing Jaya for a decade now, and she remains my favorite deck and my fallback when I'm not playing around with one of the others. As mentioned above, this primer was originally written at and located on MTGSalvation, where I post under the username Weebo. At the time of this writing, I'm unsure how active I'll remain at that location.


Acknowledgements
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There have been a lot of people active on the MTGS version of the thread over the years. I appreciate all of them that take the time to come and discuss a niche general option in this format on the internet, and hope to see some of them make the jump over here.

Primer formatting exists thanks to feyd_ruin's excellent BBCode options and guide here.

Banner at the top is by me, using art from Inferno|7ED and Jaya Ballard, Task Mage|TSP. You can tell because it's basically the bare minimum amount of work needed to put Jaya and some text on another image.
Primer Bookkeeping
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07/25/2019
Added sample hands and more information about the gameplan. At this point, the only planned things missing are the deck changelog and some additional analysis about the decklist.


07/24/2019
New site, new primer, new bookeeping! This primer originated on MTGSalvation in March 2012 and lived there until MTGNexus opened up to the public. As of now, this is the official home for it. This was also the right time for some reworking of the content and formatting, which will be apparent to anyone who followed the thread at MTGS. There was some light work done on the introductory parts and card options were rewritten from scratch.
Last edited by SocorroTortoise 5 months ago, edited 8 times in total.
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Post by SocorroTortoise » 6 months ago

Placeholder post. I don't know what the character limits in posts here are and I do know how much is already written for this primer so this seems like a safe bet.
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Post by Littlejix » 6 months ago

Hey! As a big Skred Red fan in modern, its cool to see a slower more controlling red variant in EDH.

Was wondering whether with these discard spells pitching artifacts, that the combination of Goblin Welder and the new Engineer could see play in this archetype especially with the Engineers' ability to tutor up the red protection swords. By extension, could there be further redundancy found via the new RB sword too?

If those Gobbos are strong enough, I'd probably recommend both Matron and Imp. Recruiter to go get them also.

Could you see yourself running the mana acceleration rocks i.e. Vault, Crypt, Monolith etc, or is the consistency of a higher land count and mana doubling better for this style of EDH?

Sorry, tons of queries, I'd love to build this :D

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Post by Sinis » 6 months ago

I'm so glad this thread is remade. I haven't played Jaya in a while, but, I'm excited to continue following this. Monored is always going to be in my deck circulation, since I impulse bought a Gauntlet of Might several years ago.

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Post by SocorroTortoise » 6 months ago

Littlejix wrote:
6 months ago
Hey! As a big Skred Red fan in modern, its cool to see a slower more controlling red variant in EDH.

Was wondering whether with these discard spells pitching artifacts, that the combination of Goblin Welder and the new Engineer could see play in this archetype especially with the Engineers' ability to tutor up the red protection swords. By extension, could there be further redundancy found via the new RB sword too?

If those Gobbos are strong enough, I'd probably recommend both Matron and Imp. Recruiter to go get them also.

Could you see yourself running the mana acceleration rocks i.e. Vault, Crypt, Monolith etc, or is the consistency of a higher land count and mana doubling better for this style of EDH?

Sorry, tons of queries, I'd love to build this :D
No worries about asking questions, especially because they're all good ones. Welder is already in the deck and is unlikely to ever leave, because the ability to rebuy artifacts is very strong. Engineer is high on my list of potential inclusions and the only thing really keeping it out so far is having to cut something else for it. I've had this deck together for almost a decade so changes usually come pretty slowly. I also made a pretty substantial change to add in all of the small discard 1, draw 2 effects a couple months ago, as well as adding in some of the newer stuff. With the frequency that I play, I still don't have a great sense of how I feel about those changes and don't want to swap too many things at once. Sword of Sinew and Steel is a definite possibility, potentially over Sword of War and Peace because I'm not sure I want three of the effect. The debate there is the lifegain vs additional card advantage. This list tends to get beat up early once people get wise to your lategame, so having some recovery is nice. There's a reasonable chance that Batterskull and Basilisk Collar are just better for that and I don't need a third option there, in which case the removal option is more desirable. There's also a reasonable chance I cut some of the rummage draw and just run all of them alongside Engineer.

If I were looking at one or more creature tutors, Imperial Recruiter would be the first option. I'm a little hesitant because there are only a handful of targets and I really dislike building around specific non-general cards. That said, the options that are there are useful at a broad range of points in the game and there are enough that it's not likely to be a dead card at any point, so I should probably revisit it. It's been quite a few years since the last time I tried it out here. Goblin Matron is certainly one of the best tutors available to mono-R, provided you're running a moderate amount of goblins. I'm not running it here because it only finds the Welder (and Engineer, if added), which goes back to building around specific non-general cards. I don't want to go heavier on goblins because my planned endgame involves repeated board wipes through Jaya, so I lean towards threats that are more resilient to that.

Mana rocks can be broken down into a couple categories, fast mana and not. Fast mana specifically I don't run for playgroup considerations. My entire group stopped using those several years ago and we've been generally happy with that choice, which is why you don't see things like Sol Ring or Grim Monolith here. Without that constraint, most of the fast mana would be worth including. For slower mana rocks, I started with a bunch of them and gradually cut them over time. I'm playing towards the very late game with this deck - my wins usually happen from burn, whether that's repeated Jaya activations, large Comet Storms, or Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle triggers. As long as I have a comparable amount of mana there and can survive to that point, the specifics of how I got there are less important. Because of that, I prioritize options that can put cards in hand to toss to Jaya and card selection. I've also just enjoyed playing the deck more like this and it makes building and tweaking a little more interesting.

Like I mentioned about fast mana, I've definitely made some playgroup specific considerations here. I see a lot more aggressive creature beats and a lot less combo than the average EDH pickup game, so some of my card choices reflect that. I know there were a couple posters on Salvation who played in slightly more typical metas and I'm hoping they make their way over here too. It's nice to get the wider range of opinions that comes with that. Thanks for taking a look! This thread should be floating around for a long while, so you're always welcome to come and discuss.
Sinis wrote:
6 months ago
I'm so glad this thread is remade. I haven't played Jaya in a while, but, I'm excited to continue following this. Monored is always going to be in my deck circulation, since I impulse bought a Gauntlet of Might several years ago.
Same, though I bought the Gauntlet because of the mono-R deck. I've been running something along these lines for most of my EDH history in large part because it was considered the worst color combo when I started. I think it's got a little more respect than mono-W now, but I'm sticking with it.



For anyone coming over from MTGS, I'm working on primer conversion. Tags are mostly fixed at this point, though there's still some room for improvement. A lot of the text is in dire need of reworking, mostly because I've been lazy about updating it - a lot of stuff that made sense when it was written years ago is no longer true, and my views on a lot of it have changed. I'm planning on holding off adding that here until I have a chance to clean up at least the worst offenders.
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Post by SocorroTortoise » 6 months ago

The banlist update today means a new elephant (scarecrow) in the room for Jaya decks: Painter's Servant. I'm of course going to try it out - it has the obvious use of turning Jaya's first ability into Vindicate, but cheaper and instant speed. It also plays nicely[?] with Ugin, the Spirit Dragon and Ugin, the Ineffable, both of which I like a lot in this deck. I'm also well aware that any self-respecting Jaya primer has to include something about Servant if it's legal. That's even more true if it doesn't stick, which is a possibility.

My concern is that it's too high profile. Jaya threatens a lot of decks already. Blue decks have a strong incentive to remove her without any support cards, any deck relying on a small general doesn't want her on the table, and really no one other than the pilot wants her to stick with enough mana to activate the third ability. Increasing that to every deck at the table at all stages of the game is a big part of why I don't run Distorting Lens, despite the power.

There's definitely something to be said for running cards that function as removal magnets. I'd much rather lose a Servant than a Gauntlet effect to artifact hate and Jaya can be repeatedly replayed. They also come with enormous upside most of the time. If Painter and Jaya both stick, the effect is unquestionably great. The downside is that not every removal spell in a multiplayer format is aimed at you and the deck does make extensive use of Jaya as is, so additional incentives to target you are an actual downside.

This also feels like a good time to try Imperial Recruiter again, and to find a spot for Goblin Engineer. Having a high impact, low CMC artifact creature makes that entire package much more cohesive. I'm not sure what the cuts for those are yet.
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Post by SocorroTortoise » 5 months ago

I finished the formatting updates needed to move the primer text over from MTGS, so the first post is back in all its "glory". I also rewrote the card options section from the ground up. It previously was new stuff patched on to the original text from 2011/2012, most of which hadn't been touched since then. My views on a lot of cards and the state of the format have shifted quite a bit since that time, so it needed a face lift. That also means I pulled a lot of the cards that were there previously off - let me know if there's anything that should be included and isn't.

There's a decklist update incoming as well. I made most of the updates without the physical deck handy, so I need to confirm what's changed. I think my current list is three cards off of the posted one - Tectonic Reformation and Ugin, the Ineffable replaced something (I want to say Magma Phoenix and Skarrgan Firebird, which will likely find their way back in somehow), and Chandra, Awakened Inferno is in over Jaya Ballard on a provisional basis.

I've seen Ugin in game several times now and been very happy with him. He's typically come down, created 1-3 spirits, discounted 1-3 artifacts, and died. That's in line with what I expected so he's likely to keep the slot for the time being. I still haven't drawn Reformation. I have a pretty good idea of how that will play out, but we'll see. Big Chandra also met expectations in the one game I've seen her so far. One emblem created, then the table attacked her with extreme prejudice. The game went about 4 turns past that so the emblem was a minor factor. I'll keep her in long enough to see how I feel about the other abilities. I think my original take, that she's not actually that good a card in this format but does seem like a lot of fun, is probably still accurate.
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Post by SocorroTortoise » 5 months ago

Ignite the Future is exactly the kind of card this deck wants. Card advantage and GY play. If I get nothing else from this set I'm still leaving happy.



There's still some additional decklist/primer update work planned. I'm expecting to do a decklist update, add a decklist broken down by function instead of type, add the decklist changelog (there's an argument that I could start that fresh on a new location, but I like having the historical record), and add some basic stats about the deck. I'll get to it at some point once life stops being quite as busy.
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Post by SafetyValve » 5 months ago

Figured I'd contribute to the conversation, since I'm such a big fan of this deck. Here's my take on it:

By Card Type
Approximate Total Cost:

I recently added Chandra's Regulator, Bag of Holding and Chandra, Awakened Inferno and took out Tectonic Reformation, Deal Broker, and Chandra, Flamecaller. Regulator just feels like an upgrade to Tectonic to me, and plus another artifact further legitimizes Goblin Engineer. Bag of Holding feels like a great long-game card for Jaya, and fills a similar role to Deal Broker, The Chandra swap was a tough call, so I'd like to keep an eye and see if the extra damage is worth one less wheel.

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Post by SocorroTortoise » 5 months ago

Glad to see you made your way over here. I'm interested in hearing how the newest Chandra treats you. My experience so far has been basically what I expected - you're basically guaranteed the first emblem for obvious reasons, then she's too high profile and the table beats her down. If you're in a place to protect her, you're probably in good shape anyways and any number of wincons could take her place.



One of the perks of releases targeted at this format is that most of the cards are at least worth a look, even if there aren't a lot of them. C19 is no different in that regard - even though there's really only one card I'm definitely finding space for, most of them are worth a look.

Red
  • Anje's Ravager - New madness options are nice. I'm not a big fan of any of the existing ones, in large part because a lot of the existing ones are just beaters. Ravager bucks the trend a little. I do like the card draw and the hand discard isn't the end of the world, but there are other options available with similar effects that won't immediately die in combat. Jaya's best way to clear a path will also kill Ravager, and you can't madness it in off of the inferno without it dying.
  • Backdraft Hellkite - This one is more interesting. Past in Flames is arguably one of the most powerful cards in the deck and this has that effect stapled to a creature. I have all of my usual concerns about "low" (less than 7) toughness creatures in a deck aiming to do 6 damage to the board, but this does offer an alternative provided you're instant/sorcery heavy enough. I also appreciate that it's a competitively costed body at 5 CMC for a 4/4 flier.
  • Dockside Extortionist - A conditional but probably solid ritual effect stapled to a goblin body that also helps with artifact synergies. If you're currently running any rituals, this is probably worth a look. Same for any goblin packages. This is worth a try at the very least because the ceiling on it is very high.
  • Ghired's Belligerence - A twist on Rolling Thunder. I don't like that it can't hit players, because that's a common use case for this kind of spell in this deck. There's also not a ton of token generation to take advantage of the populate without going heavier on a treasure theme or something. I do appreciate being able to split damage at no additional cost, even if the card is unlikely to make the list.
  • Hate Mirage - Realistically most of these effects are going to be aimed at opposing creatures anyways, so it doesn't have much of a restriction. Sorcery speed limits it to utility and combat focused creatures, which are all going to be very meta dependent. I like have a little more control over the effects in the list and there aren't a lot of ways to abuse the token creation aspect, so this is still a pass from me.
  • Ignite the Future - The slam dunk of the set. I've really liked this style of red card draw where you get the following turn to use the cards as well, and this adds a nice flashback effect to a spell that's already efficiently costed enough for me to consider. I don't know what the cut is but this is as close to an autoinclude for me as has been printed in years.
  • Skyfire Phoenix - Casting Jaya is usually followed by killing creatures, so this phoenix doesn't seem like a great fit. I like the design though.
  • Tectonic Hellion - This deck tends to make land drops reliably enough that there's a chance this backfires and it's not big enough to survive a 6 damage hit. Not the list for it. More ways to rein in ramp without nuking all lands are appreciated on a higher format level.
  • Wildfire Devils - This feels just outside of playable. Four CMC is cheap enough that I wouldn't be heartbroken to play this out and nuke it later after getting some value and it's potentially threatening enough to draw removal. Like Hate Mirage, I'm not thrilled on relying on my opponents' lists for effects and this has an additional random layer to it. I may still try it out as a value creature. I don't have particularly high hopes.
Artifacts/Land
  • Aeon Engine - It's a chaos/griefing effect with the potential to lock one or more players out as long as you can keep dropping artifacts thanks to Goblin Welder (activate to reverse turn order EOT before whoever you're trying to keep out, then Welder it back before you untap to do the same thing on the other side). The best case is nastier than I want to be to anyone I like and the worst case is mostly useless, so I have no interest.
  • Bloodthirsty Blade - This is an interesting one. Keeping the biggest creature threat on the board off your back is a decent effect already, and forcing it after other players just makes it better. It's cheap enough to play nicely with existing artifact and equipment synergies. I hadn't given this one much thought before writing this. I'm tempted to try it out now that I've had to think about it more - one of the perks of writing set reviews is forcing yourself to take another look at cards you otherwise might not have.
  • Empowered Autogenerator - I'd go for Gilded Lotus or Thran Dynamo before this. It does gain a lot of value with proliferate and there are frequently a few walkers in Jaya lists that get posted, so it may be worth a look if you've gone that direction. Standalone I think it's a little slow for something that threatens as much advantage as it does a few turns down the line.
  • Idol of Oblivion - Decent card draw if you have regular token production, potentially plays well with artifact synergies, and the token is big enough to survive inferno. This is niche but excellent in its niche. I don't run the token production to enable it. If you do, I would certainly consider this.
  • Pendant of Prosperity - Brand combo deck time. My group is petty enough to not activate this, depending on the player. If your group is less so, this starts to look nicer. It's one of the most meta dependent cards in a while, especially because giving it away means it can't even be used as Welder fuel.
  • Scaretiller - A little small. Acting as a Crucible of Worlds on a body is great if you can swing reliably and it has the potential to replace itself before getting blown up, which lowers risk by a lot. The ramp effect is the worse of the two by a fair margin, but still helpful. Again, this depends a lot on how often you're able to swing in with a 4 toughness creature because there aren't a lot of other ways to tap it here.
  • Scroll of Fate - Cards in hand are rarely worth a 2/2 creature here, there's no blink, and there aren't a lot of creatures to manifest. Hard pass.
  • Sanctum of Eternity - Actually respectable in the very late game. Bouncing Jaya to hand in response to an inferno keeps the cost of the next one down. Sadly, that means an additional 3 mana on top of a 7 mana activation cost. That's a steep ask, even before the possibility of playing and activating or replaying Jaya in the same turn. There's also a lot of competition for utility land slots in my list. This is probably better left for other lists.
I'm very excited to get Ignite the Future in here. There are a few other cards I'm idly interested in testing, but the last sets have had an abundance of riches. There are a couple cards I've added that I still haven't had a chance to play, whether that's because they weren't drawn or because they were drawn at the extreme tail end of a game. It's a nice problem to have and I'm not complaining. It does make it more difficult to try out everything I'm interested in try. Let me know if you think I'm misevaluating anything or if you just want to chip in thoughts!
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Post by SocorroTortoise » 4 months ago

So this is still super early into the ELD spoiler season, but I'm interested in polling the general forum public (at least the slice checking this thread). How good is Tome of Legends in a list like this? I'm not quite sure how to evaluate this one.
  • The floor for it is 3 mana for 1 card, which is not a stellar rate. It still beats completely useless, which is what some things that get played in this format have a floor of.
  • If it's played on curve, you're getting 2 cards for 4 mana over two turns. That's still not great but it could be worse.
  • After that, you're looking at it either being fodder for a Welder effect with the potential to pick up another card or two over the course of the game.
  • I do also like that it gives you a benefit to swinging with Jaya, which isn't unheard of despite being uncommon.
  • The obvious downside to it is that Jaya is not typically attacking as a primary gameplan, so there are going to be a fair number of games where this draws 1-2 cards and does nothing else.
  • Are the times when it draws 3+ cards going to be plentiful enough to outweigh those?
For what it's worth, I don't think that it's better than Endless Atlas or Coercive Portal. Jaya as a creature and control as an archetype are card hungry enough that there's definitely merit to running a number of card draw engines. As usual, I'm not going to complain about having too many options.
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Post by ISBPathfinder » 4 months ago

Tome of Legends - Honestly, I like it more with commanders who might attack. It does seem kind of decent in mono red, mono white, or boros though. Its not terrible if you curve it but I think it gets a lot worse the later you draw it. It does always cantrip...... I feel like its like........ probably a little weak here but probably overall ok. You can always throw it away to your commander I guess.
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Post by SocorroTortoise » 4 months ago

Yeah, this would be a much easier choice if Jaya attacked on a regular basis. I still have to consider most permanents with the words "draw a card" on them. The fact that it cycles, can be ditched to Jaya, and can be Welded into something else help mitigate the risks a little. I may just need to try it out and see how I feel.

Mono-R keeps getting good cards. There's a bunch of things I want to try that I haven't seen in game or even included in the list yet and it makes the next good one that much harder to test out.
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Post by weltkrieg » 4 months ago

Tome of legends is an excellent card, but I don't believe this to be the deck for it. It plays much better in Norin the wary, for example. If you are looking for card draw and considering your mana ramp, you might honestly consider cards that act as a personal howling mine such as the immortal sun or staff of nin. You run enough big lifegain effects (not a lot, but with your commander, lifelink is busted!) that I actually think book of rass could be reasonable. I run it in enough of my decks that either it is killed on sight or wins me the game, even if it does cost me a lot of mana and life, but when you're in mono red, you take what you can get!

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Post by SocorroTortoise » 4 months ago

I may have to come back with an edit once spoilers are complete, but here are my initial thoughts on ELD. The majority of mono-red spoilers have already happened and I'm not expecting to see anything else, but I'm always happy to be pleasantly surprised. As normal, I'm only going to discuss things I think have a reasonable shot or that are otherwise interesting. If I skip anything you think is worth some text, let me know and I'm happy to take another look.

Red
  • Claim the Firstborn - Threaten effects aren't terrible. I think I would rather have a higher CMC version with more flexibility if I was after one of these, something like Act of Aggression or Mass Mutiny. Some of the earliest versions of this list had a number of sac outlets. If I ever went back in that direction, these would be a lot more appealing.
  • Crystal Slipper - Worse than Lightning Greaves and Swiftfoot Boots. I'm guessing there's at least one more haste equipment I would go for before this as well. I honestly haven't felt the need for more than I currently have, so this isn't a serious consideration.
  • Embercleave - I'm a big fan of this card for other decks. I'm not attacking with enough creatures to get a reasonable cost reduction here. It sounds like a lot of fun with Godo, Bandit Warlord cheating it out and that's definitely an interaction that I'll go to elsewhere.
  • Embereth Shieldbreaker - I don't think this is a great card. I'm mentioning it here because the storybook art version is beautiful and I hope that style gets revisited many times more. There's a decent chance I play this card somewhere for that reason.
  • Fires of Invention - This is an interesting one. My list is already a tapout control list, so the your turn restriction is fine. Jaya also provides a great mana sink for all of your untapped lands and there are plenty of other activated abilities in the list. The biggest issue is that it interferes with late game turns chaining wheels and such, which can be great for ending a game or surviving an extra turn. I'm happy to give this a try even though I'm not convinced it's what the deck wants just yet.
  • Irencrag Feat - It's a decent ritual. Plus 3 mana usually has conditions attached to it and I like that it gets to 7 mana for Jaya. I'd like it a lot more if it was instant speed so you could catch opponents with it. I don't think this is a deck where you want the card disadvantage of rituals, but this is certainly a decent option if you want to go that route.
  • Irencrag Pyromancer - Not a bad defensive creature and it turns on with looting effects, which there are quite a few of. It also turns Sensei's Divining Top into a bolt a turn in addition to whatever else you're doing and that's kind of nice. I don't think there's enough support in general and 4 toughness does not survive inferno. It's more tempting than I would have thought at a guess though.
  • Merchant of the Vale - This is tempting for the ability to cycle through everything late. The adventure keeping it from being full useless early is what brings this into the realm of consideration. My gut feeling is that it still costs a little too much. I may revisit at some point.
  • Opportunistic Dragon - Being limited to humans and artifacts on top of the limited duration makes this too narrow for my case. It's another one that picks up more value if you have sac outlets available, particularly for artifacts. As it is, I don't think the welder effects alone are enough to make up for the times when this will be a weak draw.
  • Robber of the Rich - I like card advantage on attacks. This list doesn't have the support to get it in reliably and you lose the ability to cast the spell once this is off the board, because there are not a ton of mono-red rogues. Fun card, not a good fit.
  • Sundering Stroke - Lots of damage for lots of mana. Not actually that much better than Jaya for a more restrictive mana cost. Not an attractive option here.
  • Syr Carah, the Bold - Lightly tempting. Kind of a reverse Phyrexian Arena with an occasional bonus draw. I suspect it's too fragile to be good here. I'll likely try and stick it into other decks though.
  • Torbran, Thane of Red Fell - Absolutely my favorite card in the set. If maintaining a Jaya primer for almost a decade wasn't a good enough indicator, I'm a big fan of mono-red in this format. Add in bonus damage from red sources, particularly weenies, and the fact that it's a dwarf (which is objectively the best high fantasy race) and you've got almost my perfect legendary. I don't know that I want to run it in Jaya with the high artifact density and propensity for board wipes, but I will certainly make a deck around it. It may distract from Jaya for a while because I'm realistically not maintaining multiple mono-red lists at a time. Don't worry too much, because Jaya isn't going anywhere long term.
Artifacts/Lands
  • Heraldic Banner - This might be my favorite take on a recent 3 CMC rock. Having more limited color production in exchange for a benefit makes this a more interesting (and playable) card than something like Manalith. All of that said, this isn't the deck for it for the same reason that Torbran isn't a great fit. This is pretty light on creatures, particularly red creatures, and it's not enough to be just a mana rock.
  • Spinning Wheel - Another interesting take on a 3 mana rock. Not planning on running or testing but happy it exists.
  • Stonecoil Serpent - Obviously scales well and gets big enough to survive inferno. Reach and pro-multicolor are solid defensive keywords, trample is useful offensively. Artifact means there are some synergies and some downsides, like increased vulnerable to removal. It can also be picked up by Imperial Recruiter if that's in the deck. This feels like a solid card, if not particularly on theme for anything that I'm doing here.
  • Tome of Legends - Discussed in the posts immediately above this, so my thoughts are already out there. The short version is that I think there are better options, but it's not an immediate disregard.
  • Castle Embereth - The downside is easy enough to mitigate, so opportunity cost is low. The big thing that this gets into is mountain count for cards like Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle or gauntlet effects. I've been happy at 20, so this would be replacing another utility land. The effect isn't great here, so I'm not planning on trying to find space for it.
Lots of stuff that's kind of borderline here. I'm not going to complain too mcuh about not having another snap include, because I'm still finding space for the last 3-4 of those. Getting a slow set for this particular deck is not a problem right now.

I'm definitely making a separate Torbran deck, though.



EDIT: Of course, the day after I post how there's not likely to be anything in the last few previews, a strictly better Tormenting Voice gets spoiled. Thrill of Possibility is definitely making it into the deck as built right now. Whether that's over something like Wild Guess or Magmatic Insight or in addition to the existing package remains to be seen. Between these and another looter or two, it might be time to revisit Alhammarret's Archive, which was recommended in the MTGS thread.
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Post by koalakat » 4 months ago

Glad to see this primer is still up and running. I kind of got out of mtg for a little while around the time M20 was coming out due to some frustrations that are still keeping me away from the game as a whole. But recently I got the chance to play Jaya again and someone friends have been excited about Throne of Eldraine and it's drawn me back, if only so I can play my favourite deck some more.

I noticed in the move the M20 set review never happened and I'm curious as to thoughts on a couple cards, such as Cavalier of Flame, Lotus Field, and Drakuseth, Maw of Flames?

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Post by SocorroTortoise » 4 months ago

Glad to see you over here! Mono-R has continued to get good stuff over recent sets, so there should be some nice things for you to play around with.

You're also completely right that I missed M20 in there. There were a few card by card discussions scattered around the MTGS thread's last few pages, but never a full set. So on that note and without further ado, here are my thoughts on M20! Core sets are usually kind of a mixed bag. They tend to be good for mono-colored lists because the goal is simple draft environments and easily grokkable mechanics. The downside there is that lower complexity usually leads to slightly less novel cards. This particular one has a slight advantage because it's Chandra themed, which means lots of mono-R goodness.

Red
  • Cavalier of Flame - This is a mixed bag. The activated ability is going to be bad firebreathing a lot of the time because any Jaya list focused on inferno is not going to go wide. It's still nice to have as an occasional manasink, but you're looking at this card for the two triggers. The ETB trigger is one that's made its way onto a few cards recently, most notably Neheb, Dreadhorde Champion. It's not bad here. Jaya already wants you to have a plan for the GY/discards, so this is not bad filtering. It can also turn tutored basic mountains into business spells if you're running those effects. The dies trigger is also respectable for similar reasons. It may be a small effect unless your meta is walker heavy, but not useless. On the whole I think I'd rather have this in a more aggressive list than mine.
  • Chandra, Acolyte of Flame - Very, very deck dependent and potentially decent. The strength of this card is the {-2}. If you're already running it, there will be some times to buff your red walkers and some times where the elementals have an impact, but the reason to include the card is the guaranteed flashback of a small spell with the possibility of a second. There are a couple things to keep in mind with this ability. First, you can target a spell with x in its cost and cast for as much as you like, provided the non x parts are under 3. Comet Storm, Commune with Lava, etc are all valid targets. Second, the wording on the ability allows you to pay alternate costs. You can overload Vandalblast or replicate Shattering Spree out of the GY with this. My initial impressions of the card focused too much on the {0} abilities and those are not why this is a consideration. This is one of the ones I'd like to find a spot for in the list.
  • Chandra, Awakened Inferno - Lots of inevitability, very slow, very high profile. You're guaranteed at least one emblem per opponent if you want it (assuming the removal is not the primary draw for the card) outside of a handful of niche answers, and the emblems will eventually kill the table. Realistically, one damage a turn is too slow to matter in the vast majority of EDH games while simultaneously getting the attention of every opponent on each of their upkeeps. Unless you can copy the {+2} activation or protect it for a turn cycle, you're not getting enough out of this to spend 6 mana on it most of the time. That said, it's a cool card and I totally understand running it for style points - I'm doing that right now.
  • Chandra's Regulator - In the same vein as Tectonic Reformation. It's a little less flexible with respect to lands if you're running nonbasic heavy and you lose the ability to cycle through pockets of lands. it makes up for it by being able to cycle through useless red cards as well, and you have a triggered ability that's occasionally more than flavor text if you have a Chandra or three in the list. I think it's slightly better on balance. I like having 1-2 of this kind of effect in the list. There's also a possibility that I replace Deal Broker. Surviving Jaya infernos makes up for the activated ability being noticeably weaker and it does play better with Rings of Brighthearth.
  • Drakuseth, Maw of Flames - It's the rare red creature that lives through inferno and it does the same kinds of things the deck wants to be doing already. Haste sources are already desirable thanks to all of Jaya's activated abilities so you're likely to get at least one swing off, and those swings are beastly. It's a 4 turn clock against a single player unassisted, which isn't bad. It also can either clean up small creatures so you don't need to commit additional resources to removing them, or team up with Jaya to take down larger ones. I'd rank this around the same as Magmatic Force at the top of red creature finisher options and somewhere behind eldrazi in general. It does get bonus points for being a legendary dragon in the burn focused mono-R control list. Let's be honest, no one is playing Jaya because they want to be running the best possible deck in the format - flavor gets some weight.
  • Glint-Horn Buccaneer - I'd be all over this without the attack restriction. With that, it's still an option. It has a big enough butt that you should usually find someone you can swing into to activate. Filtering and chip damage on a reasonably efficient body is a fine card.
  • Leyline of Combustion - Spot removal is slightly less prevalent in EDH than in other formats. between that and higher starting life totals, this feels like too small an effect to be an effective deterrent on its own.
  • Repeated Reverberation - I prefer the instant speed options that can target opposing spells. Adding loyalty abilities as an option is relevant but still not enough to overcome sorcery speed and limiting to your own spells.
Artifact/Land
  • Bag of Holding - Another looting effect! The thing I'm not really a fan of here is the exiling of discarded cards. There are a lot of GY synergies in the list already and discard is the primary way those get fueled. This starts to look like a very attractive removal target after a couple cards or if there's something particularly threatening underneath, and it's not realistic to expect to be able to respond by cracking it when it inevitably happens. I'm still interested in hearing how other people have found this card, because I'm not convinced outside of comboing it with a wheel or something.
  • Colossus Hammer - Can't cheat the cost, which is rough. It does allow any creature to survive an inferno, which isn't worth nothing.
  • Diviner's Lockbox - Solely mentioned due to the amount of topdeck manipulation I have in my list. It also works like a terrible scry when you miss as long as you have a shuffle effect handy.
  • Manifold Key - Strictly better than Voltaic Key outside of a couple combo applications. If you were running Key and planning on Key based combos, this is a pass. Otherwise, this is a decent replacement.
  • Mystic Forge - If you're artifact heavy enough, this is excellent. At lower artifact counts, it's not terrible but obviously drops off a lot. Not a whole lot else to say about this. If your deck is built in a way where it's good, you already know it's good.
  • Cryptic Caves - I like this a lot, especially in conjunction with Crucible of Worlds or Scaretiller. It comes down to the eternal problem with nonbasic lands. For every one that gets added, one has to be cut unless you're willing to go very low on mountains. I'm usually OK with flooding out here, thanks to Jaya discards and some powerful mana sinks, so this isn't quite as necessary here as it might be in another list. I'd probably rank this below Arch of Orazca for first card draw land inclusion and I'm not even running that right now.
  • Field of the Dead - Again, Jaya doesn't really support swarm strategies. This is also going to be a little difficult to turn on in a mono-R list. You can get a little of an edge by splitting basics non/snow. It would still be a stretch and doesn't really play nicely with the main gameplan.
  • Lotus Field - This also plays very nicely with Crucible and Scaretiller. Without those synergies or something related to land untaps, I don't think this offers enough benefit over just having 3 basic mountains in play, which is probably the most common replacement. Even with those, I like having lots of mountains on board for Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle and gauntlet effects. This isn't particularly appealing in this deck, though I do like it a lot for the format on the whole.



One of the benefits to writing these late is that I actually have some context for some of these cards. The one that I'm most interested in is one that I initially blew off as too small an effect: Chandra, Acolyte of Flame. I'm not sure it's good enough because it's more or less useless early, but the late game power may be enough to be worth a slot. My current list is running Chandra, Awakened Inferno over Jaya Ballard, so I might try swapping those Chandras around. I think Deal BrokerEndless Atlas is also in my future. Broker has been good, I just don't like summoning sickness or its fragility. I'm reasonably sure that's a worthwhile card but I've been lazy about actually testing new things (part playing less in general recently, part playing around with other decks) and I'm falling behind.
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Post by koalakat » 4 months ago

I did not know Mystic Forge existed until now. Would 27 cards be a good enough number to make it worth including do you think?

I hadn't looked at M20 so the only cards I knew were the three Chandra and the cards my brother gave me after his prerelease (Acolyte of Flame, Drakuseth, and Cavalier) and I opened a foil Lotus Field from a pack in a recent commander event. One thing I learned in that game is not to underestimate the cavalier's ability to give haste as well. I managed to drop Emrakul, the Promised End and give her haste in the one turn to just kill the sultai morph player in one shot. He had 16 life but no fliers and being able to drop Emrakul, pump her up and give her haste was enough to just kill him (well also with a little help from Ghirapur Aether Grid) and then take control of the other player that had a board presence and set up the third player and her for a kill. She did however correctly read me as being the biggest threat then because while I didn't have her dead on board, I did have Gratuitous Violence in hand which would have been enough with trample to just end her, the last remaining player then being in top deck mode with no board would have been an easy clean up.

Point of that rambling. Cavalier can be a surprise haste enabler if you're running a heavy beaters version of the deck. And it only needs +2 toughness to survive a Jaya inferno. Even if not it still has a decent does trigger.

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Post by ISBPathfinder » 4 months ago

Woah wait a sec, you aren't running Endless Atlas??? Hummmmm yea I would probably encourage you to run it. I could also see cutting Armillary Sphere for it if need be. I actually don't hate the idea of bringing Thaumatic Compass in for Armillary Sphere either assuming you do cut the looter.
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Post by SocorroTortoise » 3 months ago

koalakat wrote:
4 months ago
I did not know Mystic Forge existed until now. Would 27 cards be a good enough number to make it worth including do you think?

I hadn't looked at M20 so the only cards I knew were the three Chandra and the cards my brother gave me after his prerelease (Acolyte of Flame, Drakuseth, and Cavalier) and I opened a foil Lotus Field from a pack in a recent commander event. One thing I learned in that game is not to underestimate the cavalier's ability to give haste as well. I managed to drop Emrakul, the Promised End and give her haste in the one turn to just kill the sultai morph player in one shot. He had 16 life but no fliers and being able to drop Emrakul, pump her up and give her haste was enough to just kill him (well also with a little help from Ghirapur Aether Grid) and then take control of the other player that had a board presence and set up the third player and her for a kill. She did however correctly read me as being the biggest threat then because while I didn't have her dead on board, I did have Gratuitous Violence in hand which would have been enough with trample to just end her, the last remaining player then being in top deck mode with no board would have been an easy clean up.

Point of that rambling. Cavalier can be a surprise haste enabler if you're running a heavy beaters version of the deck. And it only needs +2 toughness to survive a Jaya inferno. Even if not it still has a decent does trigger.
On Mystic Forge, I haven't really considered it here so I haven't done the math. Now I'm curious, so let's get into it. You're starting with a 99 card deck, of which you'll have drawn ~11 cards by the time you can take advantage of Forge (7 opening hand and at least 4 draw steps, which assumes you played it T3 off a mana rock before untapping with it T4). Plugging those into a hypergeometric calculator, you'll have drawn 3 or more of your hits in that 62% of the time which means you have 24 hits in the remaining 88 cards. We're interested in knowing whether there's going to be a hit in the top 2 cards - either the top card of the deck or the card underneath, which you can get to by activating Forge. Either one or both of those is a hit about half the time, so you can think of Forge as drawing you about half a card a turn. You can definitely do worse in mono-red, but I personally wouldn't run it over something more consistent. Also note that this is a super, super simplistic analysis. The math on that changes with the opening cards you see, with every draw, and doesn't take into account whether you'll somtimes be unwilling to exile the top card, if you have things like Sensei's Divining Top or Scroll Rack, or if you can somehow shuffle to use it as pseudo-scry. I'd say quick numerical analysis doesn't immediately disqualify the card, but how well it works in some of the non-numerical ways is going to be deck and player dependent.

Definitely skipped over the haste part of the Cavalier's ability, which does make it more attractive. I still like it more if you're going a little wider/more aggressive than I am but it's closer than I initially gave it credit for. Also, me not having anything I'm willing to cut for the effect doesn't make it a bad fit. I'm entirely willing to admit that I'm a little entrenched with some of these card choices. While I do try and test out new cards in this deck, life means limited time to play and I play other decks as well so there's a moderate amount of theorycrafting for all of my analysis. I'm definitely still going to miss some good ones and be more interested in some that turn out to be duds.
ISBPathfinder wrote:
4 months ago
Woah wait a sec, you aren't running Endless Atlas??? Hummmmm yea I would probably encourage you to run it. I could also see cutting Armillary Sphere for it if need be. I actually don't hate the idea of bringing Thaumatic Compass in for Armillary Sphere either assuming you do cut the looter.
Yeah, I've been very slow on that update. It's been sitting in a box somewhere basically since release. I think I finally got around to it last week, I'm just also slow on updating the OP sometimes.

I don't believe that Compass is actually better than Sphere here. Sphere plays two roles. The first is the obvious one of early game mana development, the second is raw card advantage. On the first, I'm not convinced that Sphere is significantly worse than Compass. Both comes down for 2 mana so that's a wash. Sphere gets you two lands for 2 mana after that, so guaranteed to get to four. Compass gets you to seven (plus one for the flip, which isn't irrelevant), which is obviously better. The problem with Compass is that you have to sink mana into every turn. If you're paying 3 mana for two turns to get to the same point as Sphere, you've already spent 4 mana more than you would have with Sphere, meaning that's mana not going into developing your board. Given that you have a guaranteed 3 mana play, that's relevant. If you're activating Compass every turn, you don't have an opportunity to play Jaya until T6, as opposed to T3 with Sphere. If you're not activating it to otherwise advance your board, it's not doing anything more than Sphere would be.

The second use is card advantage, which is also why Compass hasn't replaced Journeyer's Kite despite it looking like an upgrade. Activating Jaya takes cards in hand, so I emphasize cards that do that for you. The fact that you can't play kite without immediately activating it if you already have seven lands on board makes it an effectively 5 mana play late. Sphere plays exactly the same late game, so you're getting more cards "drawn" for less mana and you have more flexibility on when you spend the mana (i.e. can spend more efficiently, or leave Jaya up for an instant speed activation). Having several Gauntlet effects rewards you for having large numbers of mountains down, so there's merit having the option to push past seven mountains on board if you don't need to activate Jaya.

Sphere in general is a worse card than Compass in this format, no argument here. For the role I need that card to play in this deck, it's better. If I was going to try and find a place for Compass it would be in addition to Sphere and Kite, not replacing either of them, and I'm not sure I want three of that effect in the list.
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koalakat
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Post by koalakat » 3 months ago

Gotta love when one player blows up all lands and creatures thinking they can then take a win with a war Liliana and Elspeth, Sun's Champion but leaves you with Gauntlet of Power, Mana Crypt and Pyromancer's Goggles right after you drew a grip full of lands off Kozilek, the Great Distortion and have been holding up Magmaquake. Then just wait it out until getting enough mana to drop a copied Khorvath's Fury and kill the whole table. Although I had planned to use Jaya's inferno ability to kill them. Drawing Khorvath's Fury just felt like the right play instead.

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Post by Flux » 2 months ago

I just wanted to say thank you for the primer and all the feedback overtime there has been. Ive personally retired my version of this as foils and everything in the deck were way too much to justify for one deck as life went on and they eventually spiked. I look forward to building it again one day as each new set gives me ideas for it.

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Post by SocorroTortoise » 2 months ago

koalakat wrote:
3 months ago
Gotta love when one player blows up all lands and creatures thinking they can then take a win with a war Liliana and Elspeth, Sun's Champion but leaves you with Gauntlet of Power, Mana Crypt and Pyromancer's Goggles right after you drew a grip full of lands off Kozilek, the Great Distortion and have been holding up Magmaquake. Then just wait it out until getting enough mana to drop a copied Khorvath's Fury and kill the whole table. Although I had planned to use Jaya's inferno ability to kill them. Drawing Khorvath's Fury just felt like the right play instead.
That sounds like a terrible choice on the opponent's side and a lot of fun for you. Playing a bunch of burn catches people off guard in this format way more than I would expect it to. They were still kind of asking for it with that kind of artifact buildup, no matter how ridiculous the walkers they had were.
Flux wrote:
2 months ago
I just wanted to say thank you for the primer and all the feedback overtime there has been. Ive personally retired my version of this as foils and everything in the deck were way too much to justify for one deck as life went on and they eventually spiked. I look forward to building it again one day as each new set gives me ideas for it.
For sure! I don't have any plans to retire the deck right now. I've considered getting rid of some of my other pricey stuff but I'd likely hold on to this deck even if I toned down most of my collection a little. You're always a welcome voice in here whether you have a deck together or not.
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Post by SafetyValve » 2 months ago

Made a couple changes to my Jaya list after some testing and fiddling around. There are still some cards I'd LIKE to find room for, but haven't been able to yet:

- Chandra, Awakened Inferno
- 1xMountain
- Kumano
- Wild Guess
+ Chandra, Acolyte of Flame
+ Dwarven Mine
+ Walking Atlas
+ Thrill of Possibility

Awakened Inferno is a fun card, but draws way too much attention. Acolyte of Flame can potentially give counters to the other three red walkers I have in the deck, and her -2 is fantastic for the spells I have in the deck. The Mountain is being taken out for Dwarven Mine, which counts as a Mountain and acts as a one-turn Kher Keep so I figured I'd try it out. I've never been a huge fan of Kumano, and decided to take him uot for Walking Atlas to take advantage of the amount of lands I draw in this deck. I wanted to keep Thrill of Possibility in addition to the other looting spells, but just couldn't find the room for it so I ended up cutting Wild Guess.

I'd love to find a spot for Merchant of the Vale and Ignite the Future at some point. Merchant's loot Adventure spell at instant speed seems like a good trick to have, I'm just worried about his looting cost being too much at 2R apiece. Ignite the future is a good card, and I honestly considered cutting Light Up The Stage for it, but the addition of the new Chandra made me reconsider keeping Light Up for the chance at beign triggered by her -2. I'd love to know what you think!

I'd also like to mention Shenanigans again, since I don't see it being talked about much here. It's an amazing card in this deck, and has a ton of synergy with both Jaya and the deck as a whole.

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Post by SocorroTortoise » 2 months ago

You're interested in largely the same recent stuff I am. I'm very interested in hearing how Chandra, Acolyte of Flame is particular plays for you. That was one that went completely under my radar initially. I'm not really interested in either of the {0} abilities and I guess I'm used to ignoring the third ability, but it's potentially very powerful. It's not even too bad if it's a single shot and she eats an attack immediately afterwards.

I think I'd ideally have both of Light Up the Stage and Ignite the Future. I really like that kind of effect. Stage being extremely efficient with spectacle and still reasonable cast for ticket price is appealing. I can see wanting to cut it for a larger effect in this format and Ignite is definitely that. I also appreciate that it's effectively 6-for-1 as long as you have an abundance of mana, which is basically the end goal for my list. Merchant of the Vale I'm interested in, but I think it's far enough down the list right now that I may not get around to trying it for a while.

I've been slow to test and/or update recently because I haven't had much opportunity to get out and play.
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