Golos, Tireless Pilgrim - Alt Wincons.dec

Dragonlover
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Post by Dragonlover » 6 months ago




Golos, Tireless Pilgrim



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Table of Contents



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Introduction and Deck History

Welcome one and all to my alternate win condition deck, headed up by Golos, Tireless Pilgrim. The basic concept is simple: how many alternate win conditions can you fit into a single deck before it falls apart under its own weight? I first put the deck together in 2017, but I'd probably spent two years on and off working on the decklist while waiting for the right Commander to come along. Then in C17 they printed Ramos, Dragon Engine and we were off to the races! The main problem I ran into with Ramos is that he doesn't do anything the turn you play him without having extra mana ready to cast a followup. On the other hand Golos instantly impacts the board by ramping you, and can often start playing cards off the deck the turn after he's played. I've been very happy with the change, and it'd take a very specific 5c legend coming out to make me change up at this point.




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Why Golos?

In the abstract, the commander for this deck could only ever be five colours. Obviously there's a plethora of five colour commanders available, the reasons for not running them basically come down to them being a tribal Commander or not being an artifact creature. As mentioned the Commander was originally Ramos, but he just didn't do enough and also once you've got a few counters on him people start looking askance at the guy with an 8/8 flyer that's doing commander damage and also getting bigger.

So why Golos specifically? Let's break him down a bit:

Cost: 5

Since his colour identity comes from the ability not the cost, as long as I have any five lands in play I can cast him, which is incredibly useful as it lessens our needs for early colour fixing. He's also not the fastest commander to hit the table, which can be a benefit as it helps you fly under the radar in the early game.

Types: Legendary Artifact Creature - Scout

Scout is utterly irrelevant here, but the fact he's an artifact creature is not. Because every card has to support multiple wincons where possible to get any kind of redundancy, the order of relevance for card selections once I've identified a needed effect goes something like this: Land → nonpermanent → enchantment → artifact → creature → artifact creature. Golos is therefore a top-tier card for the function of the deck.

When Golos, Tireless Pilgrim enters the battlefield, you may search your library for a land card, put that card onto the battlefield tapped, then shuffle your library.

For starters, ramp in the command zone in a 5c deck is golden regardless, but the fact he gets any land? Priceless. If I've got access to WUBRG when I cast him, I'll grab Maze's End since that starts working towards the threat density the deck requires. If not, it'll be Command Tower. If that's already in play, grab the most relevant Gate, means there's one less to search up when you do get Maze's End

2WUBRG: Exile the top three cards of your library. You may play them this turn without paying their mana costs.

Here's the money shot. Due to the nature of the deck, we've got some weird colour weighting, and also not a lot of obvious threats. This ability lets us keep up with the rest of the board and not really care what gets flipped, as it'll all be castable. Just bear in mind it doesn't change timing restrictions, so don't use it in opponents turns unless you've got Leyline of Anticipation out.

Power/Toughness: 3/5

Good job we're not aiming to win with commander damage eh folks? The toughness of 5 does let him block fairly well though, and will end up stopping opportunistic attacks in your direction.

Given the amount of counter-based wincons, there is an argument to be made for putting Atraxa, Praetor's Voice in the command zone. I elected not to do that because it removes access to three current wincons (Chance Encounter, Maze's End, Hellkite Tyrant) and because she's an active threat while in play which draws attention to you. However, if you wanted to make a more consistent version of the deck, it's probably the right call.




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Deck Philosophy

I've always liked the idea of the alternate win conditions, but I'm not much of a fan of playing decks that win by grabbing the same few cards every game like the majority of combo decks, which at the time I came up with this idea is essentially what all the wincons would have been. I'm also doing the 32 Deck Challenge, and I knew for a fact that I didn't want to play 5C goodstuff or any of the 5C tribal decks. Merging these two lines of thought, coupled with the fact I play in a mostly 75% meta made the decision easy: it was time to answer the question "Just how many alternate win conditions can one deck support anyway?". Turns out at time of writing, 18 of them. It was 15 initially.

The basic aim of the deck is to get so many wincons into play at the same time that on your upkeep you will win regardless of what your opponents do short of killing you. However, there's only three tutors, so it's very much a case of going with the flow the deck presents as to how you actually get there. This is fine for me, Commander is much more about the journey than the destination anyway.

An important philosophical note: I'm not running Door to Nothingness et al because cards like that make other people lose the game, not me win the game, and often one at a time. If I Triskaidekaphobia someone out of the game, there's no way I can survive the heat that attracts from the remaining players.




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Deck Suitability

You will enjoy playing this deck if:
  • Playing cards that actually say the words 'you win the game' on them appeals to you.
  • You don't mind not having a gameplan until cards start hitting the table.
  • You enjoy a slower game - typically this deck isn't winning until turn ten at the very earliest, just because so many of the wincons need the time to come online.
You will not enjoy playing this deck if:
  • You want to attack with your creatures - we avoid the red zone unless we absolutely have to swing, as many of the creatures have other roles in the deck.
  • You want peak efficiency - the various wincons have hoops that need to be jumped through that are not served by the usual staple cards that get played.
  • You're looking for a deck with a simple strategy - although yes, playing 18 cards that say 'you win the game' on them is fairly simple, the lines of play to actually get there can be quite complex, especially taking into account the fact that we're about as far away from '5c goodstuff' as you can get.




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Current Decklist
Golos, Tireless Pilgrim

Lifegain (Felidar Sovereign)


1 Congregate
1 Debt to the Deathless
1 Sphinx's Revelation

Token Generators (Epic Struggle/Hellkite Tyrant)


1 Diamond Kaleidoscope
1 Hangarback Walker
1 Nuisance Engine
1 Shrine of Loyal Legions

Board self-nuke (Barren Glory)


1 Kaervek's Spite
1 Oblivion Ring

Arifact Makers (Hellkite Tyrant)


1 Mycosynth Lattice

Life Payment (Near-Death Experience)


1 Ethereal Champion
1 Fire Covenant
1 Hatred
1 Phyrexian Processor

Demons (Liliana's Contract)


1 Arcane Adaptation
Approximate Total Cost:





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Card Choice Discussion

Wincons
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  • Approach of the Second Sun - Wins the game functionally by itself, incidental lifegain helps out Felidar Sovereign.
  • Azor's Elocutors - Requires pretty much zero input from me once cast, is a creature for the relevant wincons. Also is a reasonable blocker.
  • Barren Glory - Only requires three cards that don't help any other wincon which is a fine threshold at this point, at one point I had fewer wincons so could be a bit more expansive. Also one of those cards is Oblivion Ring which never a bad card to see.
  • Biovisionary - Needs a bit of work to win with, but the various clones are also creatures or make more creatures for the most part so they'll still help out several other wincons through sheer resiliency. Also unusually wins at the end of turn, so sometimes you just win on the spot.
  • Chance Encounter - Probably the most finicky 'win with X counters' wincon purely because of the 50/50 chance to get one. The fact that most coinflip cards are naff doesn't help. If you were going to cut one wincon along with its attendant package of enablers, this would probably be the one to cut.
  • Darksteel Reactor - The grim scent of inevitability. You either win with it, or you die. I recommend a source of proliferate such as Contagion Engine in play alongside it.
  • Epic Struggle - Needs some setup, but since that setup is 'have lots of creatures' it's not exactly the most onerous task.
  • Felidar Sovereign - When you start the game on 40 life, this becomes a fairly easy way to win, but it will paint a target on your/it's head as soon as it's played.
  • Happily Ever After - The conditions are fairly easy to achieve, and once you've cast it beyond looking to gain a bit of life you can just just play the game and it'll do its thing when you get there.
  • Helix Pinnacle - Like Darksteel Reactor, this has a sense of inevitability to it. Good to just run out with a spare green mana and chuck counters onto as and when.
  • Hellkite Tyrant - There's always artifacts floating around on other peoples boards, and I've backed it up with some token generation. Plus it's a Dragon, and I'm contractually obliged to run one in every deck possible.
  • Liliana's Contract - Draws me cards, which is never bad, then just kinda sits there until I can win with it.
  • Mechanized Production - The key thing here is that the artifact Mechanized Production is enchanting doesn't have to be the one you have 8 of. I've had it sitting on something providing advantage before while letting Revel in Riches get me the win by pumping out Treasures. It also does really silly things if Mycosynth Lattice is out.
  • Mortal Combat - Your creatures are gonna die eventually, may as well win with them while they do right?
  • Mayael's Aria - Just kinda sits there, buffs your dudes, gains some life and eventually hopefully wins the game. The life gain is also handy for Felidar Sovereign.
  • Maze's End - It's ramp that eventually wins the game, what's not to like? Can also be tutored by Golos to get the chain started.
  • Near-Death Experience - Needs a little bit of setup, but most if not all the setup is at instant speed so you can often fire it off at the end of the previous players turn.
  • Revel in Riches - Other people's creatures will die with regularity, and this will win the game from it. Also ramps a bit which is obviously helpful on occasion.
  • Simic Ascendancy - Needs zero support, buffs your dudes, wins the game at some point. Probably worth waiting for a source of proliferate/Doubling Season.


Coinflips - Chance Encounter

For reference: Chance Encounter
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  • Chaotic Goo - Chance Encounter needs a steady supply of coinflips, so one every turn for zero investment other than playing the creature is fine.
  • Crazed Firecat - Of course, a sustained burst of coinflips is sometimes handy, and again, all this requires is playing the card.
  • Creepy Doll - Blocks for days, sometimes kills things, is an artifact where that's relevant.
  • Frenetic Efreet - The all-star card in the Chance Encounter package. Activate it in response to itself 10,000 times, win on following upkeep. Everything else is basically redundancy in case this gets dealt with and you somehow can't activate it.
  • Goblin Kaboomist - Makes artifacts, flips coins. Solid card, and if it kills itself, c'est le vie.
  • Karplusan Minotaur - Sustained coinflips, pings off utility creatures, will occasionally die to itself. Again, zero investment once played other than the time it takes to flip the coins (or roll the dice in my case)
  • Krark's Thumb - Makes every coinflip a 75% chance of coming up in your favour, which is obviously pretty good here.
  • Molten Birth - Makes dudes, flips coins. Handy for early game chump blocks in a pinch.


Lifegain - Felidar Sovereign

For reference: Felidar Sovereign
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  • Congregate - Can be a get out clause if lots of combat damage is incoming, also enables surprise wins thanks to being an instant.
  • Debt to the Deathless - Assuming a four player game, nine mana nets you 30 life, which is a pretty decent return and also not so much life taken from your opponents people start gunning for you.
  • Sphinx's Revelation - Can help with the instant win a la Congregate, also it's one of the few sources of straight card draw in here.


Token Generators - Epic Struggle/Hellkite Tyrant

For reference: Epic Struggle, Hellkite Tyrant
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  • Diamond Kaleidoscope - Yes, it's a bit slow, but any port in a storm and all that. Also has the very personal benefit of slightly annoying my wife with it's sheer badness, which is always worth it.
  • Hangarback Walker - Loads of artifact creatures all at once! Bit of a nonbo with Golos admittedly, but that shouldn't come up too often.
  • Nuisance Engine - Basically a slightly cheaper Diamond Kaleidoscope.
  • Shrine of Loyal Legions - Casually ticks up then vomits out a tide of Myr tokens on command. Next best thing to Hangarback Walker. Also apparently just over a quarter of the deck is white, so there's a reasonable chance of extra counters.


Board self-nuke - Barren Glory

For reference: Barren Glory
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Ok for this one I'm just gonna type out the combo. Play Barren Glory. Play Oblivion Ring, exile Barren Glory. Play Kaervek's Spite, the Oblivion Ring gets sacced and the only thing left in your hand and board is Barren Glory. Win next upkeep. Added bonus, the Spite is an instant so you can keep it right till the last second and not have to pray you survive a turn cycle.


Clones - Biovisionary

For reference: Biovisionary
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  • Clone - The original. Can almost certainly be improved upon, but like all the cards in this section, immensely versatile.
  • Followed Footsteps - Makes a new Biovisonary every turn for zero input on my end, which is incredibly handy.
  • Mirrorweave - Bit of a risky play if other people have creatures, but does potentially enable winning on someone else's turn which is always good for a laugh. In the event of other people having enough creatures to win, you want to turn everything into a Biovisionary in the second main phase of the player directly after you in the turn order, that way your trigger will resolve first due to APNAP ordering. Can also double as a cheeky wrath if there's a 0/0 around such as our own Hangarback Walker
  • Phantasmal Image - If you're going for the one-turn Biovisionary win, you need the clones to be as cheap as possible, and they don't come cheaper than this.
  • Progenitor Mimic - Clones Biovisionary then chucks out more in subsequent turns. Immensely powerful with Doubling Season out as well.
  • Sakashima the Impostor - Has the key benefit that it can clone something that isn't Biovisionary if I draw them apart from each other then be returned and recast if need be.


Artifact Makers - Hellkite Tyrant

For reference: Hellkite Tyrant
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  • Mycosynth Lattice - turning all my stuff into artifacts makes the Tyrant a pretty easy win. Has the side bonus of fixing all my mana.


Life Payment - Near-Death Experience

For reference: Near-Death Experience
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  • Ethereal Champion - Ok blocker, does slightly telegraph the win attempt though.
  • Fire Covenant - Removal in a pinch, plus instant life drop.
  • Hatred - More instant life drop as long as there's a creature out. Would also enable the commander damage one-shot with Golos, which would be glorious.
  • Phyrexian Processor - Again, telegraphs the win a touch, but does make beefy guys every turn.


Guildgates - Maze's End

For reference: Maze's End
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  • Azorius Guildgate et al - Literally in here for Maze's End, in the theoretical Atraxa version I'd probably swap them for the relevant fetches.
  • Gateway Plaza - The secret 11th Gate, in case one gets milled/exiled etc.


Demons - Liliana's Contract

For reference: Liliana's Contract
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  • Arcane Adaptation - Play it, name Demon, win once any four random different creatures are in play. Is the cheapest version of the effect, plus was the easiest one to get my hands on, Conspiracy and/or Xenograft could be added as well.


Everything Else
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  • Contagion Clasp - Kills a utility dork, starts beefing up most of my wincons as they're all counter based.
  • Contagion Engine - Contagion Clasp on crack, can seriously accelerate the counter based wincons.
  • Cultivate - It's ramp. On the other hand, my basic count is dwindling. Maybe cut for an any colour manadork?
  • Diabolic Tutor - Grabs whatever I need to help along whatever wincon I'm currently aiming for.
  • Doubling Season - Does so much stuff it's silly. There's obviously all the counter based wincons, but several of the enablers (such as Shrine of Loyal Legions) need counters or make tokens. There's a reason it gets to be one of the pictures up top.
  • Idyllic Tutor - Eleven of the wincons are enchantments, a fair few supporting cards are enchantments, this does a lot of work getting you what you need when you need it.
  • Leyline of Anticipation - Being able to set up the win at the end of the turn before yours is immensely valuable, for obvious reasons. You can definitely come out of nowhere with this deck with a Leyline in play.
  • Open the Vaults - When your cards say 'you win the game' on them, people will kill your cards. This gets most of the important ones back for you in one fell swoop.
  • Paradox Haze - Most of the wincons win on the upkeep, so having a second one to try and take another run at it every turn is great! Especially helpful for things like Darksteel Reactor, Mechanized Production and a Biovisionary with Followed Footsteps on it.
  • Privileged Position - Protects the whole board, and along with the Sterling Grove makes it utterly untargetable by opponents.
  • Ramos, Dragon Engine - Ramps, flies, is an artifact creature. Is the easiest way of getting Mayael's Aria rolling currently.
  • Steady Progress - Tick everything up and draw a card is pretty useful.
  • Sterling Grove - See Privileged Position. Also the tutor effect is incredibly useful once you've got the rest of a wincon set up.
  • Viral Drake - Repeatable proliferation, and it blocks things!
  • Vorel of the Hull Clade - My eternal regret with this card is that it can't target Helix Pinnacle. Other than that, incredibly handy to have around. Also ridiculous with Darksteel Reactor.
  • Wood Elves - Grabs one of the four relevant shocklands, helps fix for Golos' ability


Lands
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I'm running all ten shocklands (Hallowed Fountain et al), eight checklands (Rootbound Crag etc), Command Tower and a smattering of basics in addition to the eleven Gates and Maze's End mentioned earlier. It's working fine for me so far, but the next round of tweaks will probably cause me to re-evaluate the non-shocks.


Wincons I'm not playing
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  • Jace, Wielder of Mysteries/Laboratory Maniac - I made the conscious choice not to include Laboratory Maniac as it was too all-or-nothing - at least you can theoretically rebuild from Barren Glory if someone blows it up. When Jace was printed I revisited the concept, especially since he can win with the static and the ult. Unfortunately there's still that risk of him being killed, and I decided it wasn't worth straining the deck in a graveyard direction when there's so little payoff.
  • Test of Endurance - Felidar Sovereign wins quicker and contributes to other wincons as well.
For completeness, the existing black bordered wincons I'm not running because they aren't viable in one way or another:
  • Battle of Wits - The only way to achieve this is by getting cards from outside the game, and Wish-type effects no longer work in Commander. Should this change, I'm unlikely to run it because I really can't be bothered with the faffing about of adding cards to the deck.
  • Coalition Victory - Sadly, this card is banned right now. If they ever unban it, I'll give it a whirl, I don't think it'd be too oppressive in here with Golos being colorless.
  • Hedron Alignment - Currently utterly unfeasible thanks to the need to have one in exile and in your hand. In the event of a very very odd Clone effect that makes it happen being printed, I'd definitely take it for a spin.





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Deck Strategy
Opening Hand Discussion
As a rule of thumb, if you don't have at least three lands, mulligan. Having a wincon in the opener is usually helpful as it's the first signpost as to what you're gonna try and do this game, but don't sweat it if you don't, one will show up soon. I'm gonna post a few sample hands (generated by just drawing from the physical deck) and go through my thought process on whether I'd keep or not.
This is a keep for me. Three mana in the opener, a wincon and some general support. Added bonus, I can't Golos into a premature Open the Vaults. With this hand I'd just be looking to play the land out in no particular order, then once I hit five mana play Privileged Position followed up by Golos. I'd keep the Epic Struggle and Paradox Haze back until I'm approaching the creature density required/end up with another wincon that will appreciate the extra upkeeps more such as Azor's Elocutors.
Now this is what I think of as a tempter. A wincon and support for four other wincons, one of which is a way to stay alive as well. However, probably 85% of the time a hand like this is doomed to failure as you just don't draw enough lands fast enough and/or get stuck on four mana.
So this isn't so much a hand as an example of the 'perfect scaffolding' for an opener. The other two cards in this situation kind of wouldn't matter (For reference I drew two more cards and they were Diamond Kaleidoscope and Steady Progress). Now obviously, this won't happen all that often, and as long as there's one source of green mana the lands are a touch interchangeable, but as a platonic example of an opener you can't get much better than this.

Early Game Strategy
Early game is about getting to five mana so you can cast Golos and start spinning that wheel. As I said earlier, if you've got all your colours, use him to fetch Maze's End. If not, I'll usually go for Command Tower. We don't really have a lot of plays for turns 1-4, just drop lands and start seeding the idea that you aren't a threat, but that player over there definitely is. If the option's there I'll Contagion Clasp a utility/mana dork sometimes, it'll keep people off balance but won't put a target on your head.

Mid-Game Strategy
By this point, you should have found at least one card that says 'win the game' on it. If it's a zero input one like say Azor's Elocutors, run it out there. It'll either win the game for you or it won't, but that's not up to you any more. If it needs a little bit of setup feel free to hold off a turn or two to see if you get any of the support package going. If it's Barren Glory, it's up to you whether to run it out there unsupported or wait to draw/tutor up the Oblivion Ring and Kaervek's Spite.

This is generally when Golos' ability will be doing a lot of the work, so what do you do when you spin that wheel and it stabs you in the back by chucking out Open the Vaults at an inopportune moment? Or indeed Kaervek's Spite when you've got none of the setup done? Generally, acknowledge it, swear under your breath, and move on. Just through the natural flow of the game, the actions of your opponents will seal off some of the potential ways to win, so the fact that your actions may also do the same shouldn't be an issue. That said, some general tips for a better experience with the ability:
  • Don't play a land until you've spun the wheel, nothing more frustrating than turning off the Maze's End you just searched up then exiling two Gates in one go. We can get away with losing one Gate, we're running 11 of them.
  • Do bear in mind you get the whole turn to play the cards from Golos. Sometimes it does become essentially 'Draw some free cards, consider options, then play the free cards' as opposed to just flipping three things straight into play.
  • Don't forget you have cards in your hand as well. It's easy to get caught up in the excitement when actually you may have already had a better use for the seven mana.
  • It can accelerate you into Approach of the Second Sun, so if you've cast it, pay attention to how many cards you've exiled/drawn because you don't want the second cast to come off of Golos.
Mid-game is also when the politics comes into play. Point out that you have essentially played sod all of any importance, and realistically none of your board is doing anything right now. If you can, get the Privileged Position/Sterling Grove combo going here, it'll save you problems in the late game.

Late-Game
By this point at least one person is probably dead and you've got a bunch of wincons in play. Just keep as many of them going and see where the deck takes you. Of course, people will have blown your board up at least once, but a well-timed Open the Vaults can often put you back into the game from nowhere. It's all about keeping multiple plates spinning, and also keeping your opponents guessing which ones you're actually aiming for and which ones are just the smokescreen. The politics will generally not keep people away from you at this point, because you'll be in danger of the kind of upkeep that has seven potential win the game triggers at once and that makes people take notice of what you're doing.




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Wincon Synergies


So I mentioned in the Philosophy section that the basic plan is to win through just having so many ways of winning in play that your opponents can't answer all of them, and I thought that could do with some elaboration.

Most Magic decks (be they Commander or Vintage) have one way of winning, generally by getting the opponents life to zero. If that one way of winning is stopped, then they can't win. This deck has 18 ways of winning the game, all on a slightly different axis to the previous one, which gives massive resiliency in the face of your opponents' actions. If you wrath an aggro deck, that aggro deck is probably not winning that game. If you wrath this deck, we drop Mortal Combat and switch plans to a more proactive wincon while the Combat chugs away in the background. One of the beauties of the deck is every wincon can win, so you can use some to bluff with or take a punt on while actually having a solid plan for the others.

Additionally, while some of the wincons (such as Barren Glory or Near-Death Experience) are off doing their own thing and don't really interact with the rest of the deck, there are a few that if you're working towards them, then you're working towards the others. Primarily among these is the quartet of Mechanized Production, Hellkite Tyrant, Revel in Riches and Epic Struggle. All of them want you to have multiple of a thing in play, two of them give you the thing you need to win, and the deck has been set up in such a way that if it makes a token creature, that creature is an artifact as well. Additional note: Mechanized Production just needs eight of the same artifact, it doesn't need to be the one it's enchanting. I've won with eight Treasures off Revel in Riches before thanks to that.

Simic Ascendancy + Mayael's Aria is another one that can get a bit out of hand fast, especially if you've got Ramos, Dragon Engine in play.

Anything else either doesn't really have synergies other than what's already been built into the deck e.g Maze's End and Biovisionary, or just sits there waiting for its moment, such as Darksteel Reactor or Azor's Elocutors.

I've been trying to come up with a solid 'Tier List' but it can be so game dependent that it's really hard. Like, Chance Encounter is one that I think of as being quite far down the list, but because Frenetic Efreet is such a potent enabler for it it's won me a disproportionate amount of games just cause nobody had enchantment removal in hand.




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Streamlining/Budget Thoughts


The main way I'd streamline the deck if I were inclined would be to run Atraxa, Praetor's Voice as the general, then pick the best enabler for each remaining wincon and jettison the rest. Fill the gaps with disruption and tutoring, and run whatever your favourite 4c land package is in place of the Gates.

If you're looking to bring the budget down, for starters Sakashima the Impostor can be any random Clone effect. Doubling Season isn't *required*, but does make the deck go turbo. Unfortunately there's no real substitute for Mycosynth Lattice, but you could probably swap in your cheap generic tutor of choice for Idyllic Tutor. Similarly, Sterling Grove probably isn't vital. At the end of the day, most of the expense comes from needing cards that are getting on in age and unlikely to see a reprint.

Personally, I'm operating under slightly off-kilter budgetary conditions. I've been playing since Planeshift so my collection has a lot of random stuff in it anyway, and I have a stack of credit at my LGS which boasts a singles stock of roughly half a million cards (we think), so I can generally access the cards I need. I personally refuse to spend more than about 20 quid on a card if I can avoid it, which is why I'm running shocks and not ABU duals. Ultimately, it's a gimmick deck in a lot of ways, if you can't afford a Helix Pinnacle, don't run it and see if you can make a different wincon have a better support package.




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Testing Zone

Out: Chaotic Goo, Ethereal Champion, Goblin Kaboomist, Hatred
In: Blood Celebrant, Mischievous Poltergeist, Zndrsplt, Eye of Wisdom, Okaun, Eye of Chaos

A slight edit on the swaps from the thread as I'm also trying out Ramos, Dragon Engine in the 99 currently after the general swap. It's mainly making my life payment cards easier to cast, and getting more coin flips going on average, so we'll see how it plays out.

Testing Zone 24/10/19:
Out: Phyrexian Processor, Debt to the Deathless
In: Illusionist's Bracers, Lim-Dûl's Vault

I haven't managed to play any of the stuff I'm currently testing yet, and now I'm testing more things! Double Golos flips seems like a really good idea, and the life payment on the Processor isn't all that great for my purposes. I'm assuming this'll be a slam dunk into the list after the first time it hits the table though. The Vault is one that's been discussed in the thread, being able to stack a flip seems decent and in a pinch it's a life payment card for Near-Death Experience.




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Change Log
Last edited by Dragonlover 2 months ago, edited 22 times in total.

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Dragonlover
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Post by Dragonlover » 6 months ago

So the only card from M20 that I'm considering for this deck is Golos, Tireless Pilgrim as a swap for Ramos. Being able to just punt three cards off the top into play seems like it'll be way better than the eventual ramp of Ramos, plus it can grab me a land there and then.

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Post by Rumpy5897 » 6 months ago

As is, your shell would not work super well under Golos. You're very ramp light, do you tend to use the Ramos active for mana? Fundamentally there's nothing stopping you doing this, but you'd need to bump your ramp quota so you can reliably get to eight to spin the wheel. That said, cool deck, as usual with your creations. I like your weird self-imposed wonky theme restrictions.

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Post by Dragonlover » 6 months ago

I tend to save the Ramos ability until I need it. I should probably add more ramp, I might take a hard look at the coin flip support section, see if I can remove a couple more things for some Wood Elf type effects.

Thanks for the compliment! I'm building 32 decks, the way I see it they can't all be goodstuff. Also I think I'd get bored during deckbuilding if I didn't have to spend three days poring over Scryfall for cards!

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Post by Feyd_Ruin » 5 months ago

Some random recommendations:

-1 Fire Covenant or Hatred
-1 Ethereal Champion
+1 Mischievous Poltergeist
+1 Blood Celebrant

This helps up the creature count for Struggle/Mortal Combat. Both give you instant-speed life payments for Near Death, so that you can end-step pay to upkeep win. Beyond their wincon help, Poltergeist is a massive wall against anything without trample, and Celebrant is a handy color fixer.


-1 Island
+1 Gateway Plaza

Every gate helps, and Plaza is a good mana fixer even if it's a bit slow.


-1 Ral Zarek
-1 Goblin Kaboomist
+1 Zndrsplt, Eye of Wisdom
+1 Okaun, Eye of Chaos

Ral is a nonbo with Encounter. You don't win/lose the flips, they just come up heads/tails. Zndrsplt and Okaun are the go-to choices here, imo. They fetch each other and combo with each other even when Encounter isn't there, double the fuel when Encounter IS there, get pretty insane if Krark's Thumb is out, etc. Kaboomist looks like the other card to cut, since he averages only a single flip. Also, +1 more creature for Struggle/Combat.
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Post by Dragonlover » 5 months ago

Ok first off, belated thanks for the reply! I hadn't noticed it at the time.

Those are all entirely solid calls for cuts, can't believe I didn't actually register that Ral Zarek doesn't work with Chance Encounter! Also I think I saw the Poltergeist, then immediately forgot it existed beyond a vague feeling that I meant to look into it, so thanks for that! Will probably make the swap soon.

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Post by Dragonlover » 4 months ago

Ok, so. First game trying out Golos as the commander, and I'm sold. He did far more for me than Ramos would have. Gonna test a bit more, but I don't see him doing too badly.

Also, leaving myself a note here: gonna swap Karplusan Minotaur, Chaotic Goo and Molten Birth for Farhaven Elf, Ondu Giant and Wild Wanderer, alongside the obvious manabase reshuffle. I also ordered the cards @Feyd_Ruin recommended a few posts back today, typically before remembering I want to add more creature based ramp. Ah well, I should be able to get them from the LGS.

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Post by Dragonlover » 4 months ago

Welp, I've submitted for Primer status, lets see how it goes!

Also whilst doing the primer, I got thinking about the ramp. My initial thought was more creatures that grabbed land (hence my previous post) but thinking more about it I'm actually considering Opaline Unicorn, Scuttlemutt and Alloy Myr because as artifact creatures they contribute to multiple wincons and they'll be more relevant if I draw them late game as well, whereas turn 12 Ondu Giant is pretty shoddy.

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Post by Rumpy5897 » 4 months ago

Hey man, I read your updated post, and came up with some stuff that may be of relevance:
  • You've got a suspicious shortage of 5 colour lands. This list seems like it'd happily ingest City of Brass, Mana Reflection, Reflecting Pool, Path of Ancestry and Exotic Orchard. Cascading Cataracts are strong with Golos too. Maybe some of these could be of use in your upcoming non-shock revamp. However, having 30+ decks on the hob is a nontrivial matter for getting cards into particular lists.
  • Land type ramp is fantastic with land type lands. You could easily jam Farseek, Nature's Lore, probably a Skyshroud Claim. Make active use of the power of the shock! You're still suspiciously ramp light, and these should help a bit.
  • The list seems like it's at its best when its various support toolboxes interweave, working towards multiple alternate wincons at once. Some of the alt wins you support are detached from this though, with the most notable being Barren Glory. Given the impulse-draw nature of the Golos flip, getting Kaervek's Spite early means it's gone forever, and you're now sitting on a dead card in the 99. Sure, the style points you get for pulling this off are way up there, but you could probably squeeze a bit of extra juice out of the deck if those slots went to something else.
  • The Biovisionary support is nice as the clones double up as relevant board presence in other scenarios. Cackling Counterpart would be nice as you can still get an extra Biovisionary even if you flip it early, Rite of Replication would be nice as it's a known 75% powerhouse that doubles up as a two-card win with the Biovisionary. Heck, you could risk it and jam Clone Legion, potentially helping with Epic Struggle as well. If you go in on the tokens, Trostani, Selesnya's Voice can help you make more if you can stomach the harsh mana cost, and also helps with Felidar Sovereign. Okay, that got a bit too "what if" for its own good, but the overall point about the extra cloning still stands :P
(this is just feedback on a list, nothing to do with the primer process)

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Post by Dragonlover » 4 months ago

Some solid points there, I'll tackle them one by one:

Lack of five colour lands: this is mostly due to the commander switch, it wasn't as relevant with Ramos. I'll definitely be considering some on the revamp. I don't own a Mana Reflection primarily due to budgetary concerns, but having played against a deck with Mana Flare in it the other day this one does enjoy double mana. I might look into it once the dust settles a bit.

Land type ramp: Another possible direction if I don't go for the artifact creature dorks and/or I get some streamlining elsewhere, but I'd rather try the dorks first.

Interconnected wincons: you've basically hit on the reason Laboratory Maniac isn't in the deck, I figured I had room for one, maybe two effects that didn't care in some way about creatures/artifacts as their support and Barren Glory and Chance Encounter made the cut because they're funnier. I'm also not all that fussed about blanking the Barren Glory off a Golos flipped Kaervek's Spite, it's only the one card.

Clones: I'm genuinely not sure why Rite of Replication isn't in here, I think I must have forgotten about it's existence when building and just never put two and two together since. Clone Legion might be worth a punt, especially given the extra utility with Epic Struggle. Trostani is probably a bit of a reach, but I am considering looking for incremental lifegain as well as bursts so you never know. For example, I'm probably taking Congregate out as it's too board state dependent.

-------------------

Looking at Throne of Eldraine, the only probable card is the obvious one: Happily Ever After. I'm honestly not sure if it makes it in, like I can fulfill the conditions reasonably easily but it's a lot of faff. If it does go in it might be the first time I replace a wincon.

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Post by Rumpy5897 » 4 months ago

Yeesh, Mana Confluence* typo town. But yeah, responding well to double mana implies you're probably interested in more ramp of your own. If you do go for a doubler, probably start with Mirari's Wake.

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Post by Dragonlover » 4 months ago

Ooohh yeah that makes a lot more sense in context! I might even have a Mirari's Wake knocking about, I'll have a look.

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Post by Dragonlover » 3 months ago

Ok so I'm looking to add a section to explain why I'm not running certain wincons, I just can't work out the flow of it within the OP as whole. Where do folks think it would sit best, between Card Choices and Strategy or between Strategy and Testing Zone?

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Post by Rumpy5897 » 3 months ago

Seems like right at the end of card choices would make sense?

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Post by Dragonlover » 3 months ago

Also, I have to ask: has anyone sleeved this up either IRL or on Cockatrice and taken it for a spin?

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Post by darrenhabib » 3 months ago

Have you looked at Happily Ever After as another win condition? I was watching an "against the odds" standard deck using this and it's using Planewide Celebration as a way to meet the conditions.
Interestingly Planewide Celebration can help with a lot of your other win conditions as well.
You can proliferate counters for Chance Encounter, Azor's Elocutors, Darksteel Reactor, Simic Ascendancy.
Gain life for Felidar Sovereign.
Make creatures for Epic Struggle, Biovisionary (Mirrorweave), Liliana's Contract (Arcane Adaptation).

Plus the returning up to four permanents from graveyard is pretty powerful as well.

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Post by Dragonlover » 3 months ago

I've looked at Happily Ever After, it is achievable in the current setup, I'm not 100% what to cut (Phyrexian Processor maybe?)and I'm waiting until I get Primer status before adding anything from Eldraine. Also I didn't open one and haven't got round to blagging one off a mate yet.

Planewide Celebration gets a speculative 'hmm'. I remember seeing it at the time War of the Spark came out, earmarking it then promptly forgetting to actually look further into the applications because real life happened at around the same time. If Happily Ever After goes in then this definitely will, as my current thought is Transguild Courier which is nowhere near as flexible. I imagine there's a part of the coinflip package I can trim out for it. Good call though, I can see it doing a *lot* of work if applied at the right time.

I'm also considering Oloro, Ageless Ascetic. Gains me life, draws me cards, is a creature. I'm thinking of cutting Congregate for it, as I don't personally produce enough guys to make it worth it and relying on my opponents to have enough guys out when I need it isn't working out for me, whereas a steady dripfeed of incremental lifegain seems like it'll be a better plan. Thoughts?

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Post by darrenhabib » 3 months ago

Congrats on becoming an official Primer :)

Frenetic Sliver for Chance Encounter.
Also Okaun, Eye of Chaos and Zndrsplt, Eye of Wisdom, I've had Okaun attacking me for 12,288 which I think is 13 won coin flips. The thing is that with both of them in play you get a lot of shots.

Rite of Replication, Stolen Identity for Biovisionary and Epic Struggle.
The single use clone effects Clone, Phantasmal Image, Sakashima the Impostor have nothing to do with Biovisionary win as you won't assemble all of them together, so you are just running them for tool effects, and this just doesn't seem like a good use of slots. I'd remove them altogether.

Brass's Bounty for both Revel in Riches and Hellkite Tyrant. Also Dockside Extortionist can get you there and just good for producing mana.

Plunge into Darkness, Lim-Dûl's Vault, Necropotence, Blood Celebrant are vastly better than Ethereal Champion for Near-Death Experience.

I don't like the token generators at all (except Hangarback Walker). I see you're trying to spread them to making them work for both Epic Struggle and Hellkite Tyrant, but in the process it just means that they won't work to win you for either.
I'd just concentrate on token generation instead for the Epic Struggle. Here are some options:
Supply // Demand, Sylvan Offering, Tempt with Vengeance, White Sun's Zenith, March of the Multitudes, Martial Coup, Rise of the Hobgoblins, Secure the Wastes.
Avenger of Zendikar, Tilonalli's Summoner, Krenko, Mob Boss.
Ajani, Caller of the Pride (with Doubling Season), Storm Herd.

Brudiclad, Telchor Engineer would then be an interesting card as you can then turn your token creatures into artifacts with the 2/1 blue Myr artifact creature token for the Hellkite Tyrant win.

Alchemist's Refuge - You have Leyline of Anticipation so you understand that so many of your win cons are on upkeep, and with Golos, Tireless Pilgrim able to search for lands this is perfect.
Also I think the deck could benefit from Glacial Chasm as you are trying to stall the game out to setup.

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Post by Dragonlover » 3 months ago

Taking your points in order:

Thanks very much! I figured out of all my decks this is the one that probably needed a better look at the guts of it for a reader, and at that point you may as well go whole hog right?

I've been doing alright with just the Efreet, but having the Sliver as backup probably isn't the worst plan. Okaun and Zndrsplt are in the Testing Zone currently, I've not actually had a chance to take it for a spin since adding them.

Turns out Sakashima is a nonbo with Biovisionary anyway because her name doesn't change, so she's coming out. No idea how I never spotted that. I'm not a fan of Stolen Identity here because it involves sending a creature into the red zone and I don't really have much that's set up to survive that happening. I'll be putting Rite of Replication in though, probably for the aforementioned Sakashima. I'll admit the one-shot clones aren't great, but they're good backup for a Followed Footsteps or similar that's been around a turn or two because they accelerate that particular clock. I do want to swap Clone out for Phyrexian Metamorph though, there's no drawback to doing so and the copy is then an artifact as well.

Can't argue with Brass's Bounty and Dockside Extortionist. I'm also considering Smothering Tithe in that suite.

I'm not a fan of exiling a vast chunk of my library as a rule, so Plunge into Darkness is out. Lim-Duls Vault is interesting though, I was just contemplating the possibility of adding in some topdeck manipulation to help out with Golos activations, so something that does that and aids a wincon is a slam-dunk. I've added Blood Celebrant, but I'm a bit skeptical since I'm not exactly running loads of B producing lands. I'll wait until I've actually played it before passing judgement though. Necropotence is a card I have very little experience with, in a vacuum it makes sense for the deck I *think* but I'm not sure if I'll enjoy playing it. I also don't own one, so if I somehow end up with one I'll take it for a spin.

The next section I was going to look at tweaking was in fact the token generation because as you say, trying to spread them isn't really working out and also quite a few of them are either slow or require a mana investment every turn. If I do split them apart entirely, I'll probably go for stuff that makes loads of guys but isn't an X spell, as that makes for a bad Golos flip so Avenger of Zendikar, Storm Herd and the like will go in. I've also been looking at stuff that gives me artifact creature tokens for minimal investment, and Brudiclad is one of the things that came up. I'm also considering Doomed Artisan and Daretti, Ingenious Iconoclast, with Daretti having the extra benefit that it'll help out Happily Ever After in the event of it getting into the deck. I'd be cutting functionally do-nothing cards like Nuisance Engine for them.

Alchemist's Refuge did drift across my brain while I was writing the primer up, I'll be looking at it when I rework the manabase. I *think* I can get away with two lands that don't tap for a colour, especially since Golos doesn't care either way in terms of casting, and Alchemist's Refuge will definitely do a lot of work if I can get it in.

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Post by Legend » 3 months ago

This thread combined with the printing of Happily Ever After have inspired me to finish my own list. Thank you for that. I was excited to see this thread because I've considered an AWC deck but was too busy/lazy to brew one myself. But now that you've done the hard part, I've been inclined to tinker with your list. Note that I haven't played the deck yet. This is all theory. I'll be back in a few weeks with playtest results.

WINCON CHANGES
-Barren Glory, +Happily Ever After
Barren Glory requires drastic measures that go against everything else the deck is trying to do, which is to amass permanents and/or counters on permanents. Happily Ever After is virtually an "Oops, I win" card in this deck, costs less, and gains life. Barren Glory also stands out from the other AWCs in that it goes against the spirit of the deck by playing out like a bona fide combo.
Mortal Combat
No change here. Just pointing out that the OP decklist contains only 21 creatures (one of which is the commander), so the likelihood of this ever triggering is virtually nonexistent.

COINFLIP CHANGES
-Crazed Firecat, +Rakdos, the Showstopper
Showstopper comes down a turn earlier, clicks with Arcane Adaptation for one-sided board wipes, and triggers Mayael's Aria.
-Chaotic Goo, +Okaun, Eye of Chaos
-Goblin Kaboomist, +Zndrsplt, Eye of Wisdom
These guys are among the best coin flipping has to offer. As a side note, Frenetic Sliver doesn't make the list because it doesn't function like Frenetic Efreet.
-Molten Birth, +Open the Gates
I want to beef up the Maze's End plan and slim down the Chance Encounter plan. Unfortunately, Epic Struggle loses a support card here.

LIFEGAIN CHANGES
-Debt to the Deathless, +Filigree Angel
Personally, I want to avoid winning via lifeloss. I also want to reduce the amount of potential whiffing with Golos. Filigree Angel appears innocuous, but there's plenty of artifact generation in this deck to make the gains huge, plus it's crazy fun with Mechanized Production, Progenitor Mimic, and Rite of Replication. And the deck desperately needs creatures.
-Sphinx's Revelation, +Hydroid Krasis
I'm a huge fan of Sphinx's Rev, but again, the deck needs creatures for Mortal Combat. Besides, Krasis is no slouch. Not only does it gain life, draw cards, and play defense, but it feeds Simic Ascendancy, benefits from Doubling Season, and can be proliferated.

TOKEN CHANGES
-Diamond Kaleidoscope, +Master Trinketeer
Trinketeer doesn't tap, makes better tokens, buffs them, and most importantly, counts as a creature for Epic Struggle and Mortal Combat. That being said, I think this slot is incredibly weak, even for this deck.
-Nuisance Engine, +Daretti, Ingenious Iconoclast
Daretti creates tokens for free, comes with other benefits, and as another card type, which helps Happily Ever After.
- Myr Turbine, +Storm Herd
With the addition of Bounty and Tithe (below), Turbine's artifact creatures won't be missed.

BOARD SET CHANGES
-Kaervek's Spite, +Brass's Bounty
-Oblivion Ring, +Smothering Tithe
Obviously, without Barren Glory, its support cards are no longer needed. Removing them makes space for two very powerful "artifact makers" with broader effects.
As a side note, I imagine giving into the temptation to cast O-Ring as an attempt at survival rather than to combo could lead to dissatisfying play experiences.

CLONES CHANGES
-Clone, +Rite of Replication
Obviously perfect for the Biovisionary win. The loss of Clone for Mortal Combat will have to be compensated for elsewhere.
-Phantasmal Image, +Timestream Navigator
With so many of the AWC upkeep triggers, there just has to be an extra turn card. Any extra turn card would work, but I opted for a creature with the effect since - you guessed it - the deck needs creatures.
-Sakashima the Impostor, +Open the Gates
Again, with the Gate plan. With Replication added to the clone suite, the deck shouldn't miss any lone clones. If it does, I'd slot in Phyrexian Metamorph and/or Stunt Double.

LIFE PAYMENT CHANGES
-Ethereal Champion, +Mischievous Poltergeist
Poltergeist costs less, isn't mana intensive, has flying, and can block for days. Of course, costs don't matter if they're cast through Golos, but that won't always be the case.
-Hatred, Lim-Dûl's Vault
Vault doesn't target, only costs 2, and clicks nicely with Golos and extremely nicely with Approach of the Second Son. Plus, I'm trying to avoid winning out of the blue via damage.
-Phyrexian Processor, +Plunge into Darkness
Plunge can act like a tutor or facilitate a surprise Felidar Sovereign, Near-Death Experience, or Laboratory Maniac victory.

EVERYTHING ELSE CHANGES
-Contagion Clasp, +Amulet of Vigor
There's just so many etbt lands… plus it clicks superbly with Maze's End.
-Cultivate, +Circuitous Route
-Wood Elves, +District Guide
I want to utilize Gate ramp wherever possible.
-Diabolic Tutor, +Bringer of the Black Dawn
It's a slow tutor to be sure, but it could tutor multiple times, and triggers Mayael's Aria, Mortal Combat, and Epic Struggle.
-Idyllic Tutor, +Long-Term Plans
Plans gets any card type at instant speed and clicks perfectly with Golos.
-Leyline of Anticipation, +Vedalken Orrery
It doesn't start on the battlefield, but it's easier to cast and counts towards Hellkite Tyrant.
-Privileged Position, +[card]Chromatic Lantern[/card]
Privilege is a tough cut. I get that it's there to protect the AWCs, but I'd rather play without protection to see if the deck needs it (every deck needs it, but you know what I mean). Obviously, Lantern accels and is the premier mana fixer.
-Ramos, Dragon Engine, +Planewide Celebration
Ramos + Golos seems like it could be outrageous. But it strikes me as Christmasland scenario, and I just don't think this deck can do without Celebration's versatility. If Ramos is that good, I'd probably cut... Chromatic Lantern?
-Steady Progress, +Evolution Sage
Repeatable proliferation has so much potential, especially in tandem with the Gate ramp. Plus it's yet another body for Mortal Combat and Epic Struggle.

NONGATE LANDS CHANGES
The OP land suite is great. I just wanted some 5c lands and enough basics to survive nonbasic hate. There's so many changes to the land list that it'll just be easier to check out in the deck list.
Golos Deck Wins
Approximate Total Cost:

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Post by Dragonlover » 3 months ago

Firstly, I am so so happy that there's gonna be someone else rocking up to their local group with a deck stuffed full of wincons and also that I inspired you to do it.

Barren Glory is probably the wincon I'd cut if forced to cut any of them, but I'm leaving it in there until I pull it off because that's going to be an epic way to close a game out. I keep having 2/3 of it ready to go and not seeing the third part. I fully understand your decision to remove it.

I think I'm at a few more than 21 creatures now, once the stuff in the Testing Zone makes it into the actual decklist that'll be reflected properly.

I agree with the move to a Gate ramp package, I just hadn't gotten around to actually looking at the options available, so thanks for putting that work in! I've also gone back and forth on extra turn cards since they do do a lot but I didn't want to end up chaining them together. I've been tempted to throw in one of the red ones where you lose at the end of the extra turn just as a bit of a spicy way to do it, but I suspect that'd lead to extreme feel bads with Golos flips.

Yeah on the whole I can't disagree with any of your tweaks, and look forward to seeing what results your playtesting brings. I need to get some games in, I've been mostly playing 1v1 recently and this is really not a 1v1 deck. Stupid job getting in the way of my regular multiplayer night *grumbles*.

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Post by Dragonlover » 2 months ago

So I added Happily Ever After in place of Myr Turbine, everything else I've added is still in testing as although I've played a bunch of games, I've not actually seen them and/or it just wasn't the right call to cast them.

Had a game the other day where I ignored my own advice and went for the early win. Activated Golos and flipped Near-Death Experience and Fire Covenant. Killed everyone's creatures, went to one life, then got hit by Devil's Play for 1. Ah well, it was worth the punt eh?

@Legend have you managed to get any games in?

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