Volrath, the Shapestealer - Clones

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Post by WizardMN » 2 weeks ago

I haven't built a new deck in a long time and I have always had a fascination with Sultai. It is sort of a love hate relationship too. I think it is likely my favorite 3 color combination in EDH, but the generals for it all suck. Archelos, Lagoon Mystic is somewhat interesting but isn't really what I am looking for. Damia, Sage of Stone is the traditional good stuff commander and I did have her built at one time but it was never fun since there was no overarching theme to the deck. Yarok, the Desecrated also sort of fell into this. "Play things with ETB triggers" isn't much of a theme and never felt all that fun.

On the other hand, Kadena, Slinking Sorcerer and Otrimi, the Ever-Playful actualy want to enforce a theme but almost too strictly. There aren't enough Mutate cards for Otrimi and I really just don't like Kadena though it otherwise fits the criteria I generally want a general to meet. Zaxara, the Exemplary sort of fits into this category as well and, again, just didn't seem all that interesting to me.

Sidisi, Brood Tyrant is a deck I had built a while back and one that I had a lot of fun with. Out of all the Sultai generals, she is the most fun and really hits a lot of things I care about. The problem with her is that she plays in a similar space to Karador. And, while not a huge issue, she was pretty easily shut down by things like Anafenza, the Foremost. I just didn't want to have another graveyard matters deck in the rotation.

I still tend to revisit the idea of a Sultai deck every so often but with little success. With the release of more partners, I decided to take another look at that route since the Sultai Legendaries aren't what I want. I thought Ikra Shidiqi, the Usurper could provide some fun games. While she doesn't really do much to lend herself to a theme beyond "gain life" it is still the best of the ones I could see.

For a Partner I basically narrowed it down to two choices: Thrasios, Triton Hero and Sakashima of a Thousand Faces. I ultimately decided on Sakashima because Thrasios really isn't all that fun or interesting to me. Ramp and then draw/ramp more is boring. And Sakashima at least sort of lends itself to a bit of a clone theme which I haven't really done before. Ephara has a few, but not much.

But then, as I put that list together, I realized it was mostly just clones and Ikra Shidiqi wasn't actually contributing much. Based on a suggestion below, Volrath, the Shapestealer became the number one choice to helm the deck. So, with that, here is the list I am going with:
Volrath, the Shapestealer

General (1)


Planeswalkers (1)


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The idea isn't all that complex: I just threw a bunch of clones in with some big creatures that are worth cloning and ran with that. There is a fairly delicate balance of clones to actual threats and Spark Double is one of the more noteworthy exclusions because of this balance. It only copies my own stuff and I don't have planeswalkers so it ends up being pretty much the same thing as Sakashima of a Thousand Faces without the ability to benefit the rest of my clones in a general sense.

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4/27/2021
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4/28/2021

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5/4/2021
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5/9/2021
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5/10/2021
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Post by pokken » 2 weeks ago

If you're kinda leaning hard clones, why not Volrath, the Shapestealer? He makes a really, really good clone target. Since all your clones are 7/5 that can reset.
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Post by WizardMN » 2 weeks ago

Mostly because of the counter requirement but also partly because he can't get ETB triggers. While, yes, if he copies something else and then a new clone enters as a copy of him, I can get the ETB and get to reset. I might not be giving him enough credit.

Are you suggesting him as a card in the 99 or as the general? I did decide to ignore him as a general to begin with because I didn't expect the deck to go so heavy on the clones as it did. And then when I went that direction, I didn't really think to put him back at the helm. I might decide to do that if I don't come up with a different path to take the deck because he does make sense as the general as the deck is now (Ikra doesn't actually do a lot in the deck as it is).

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Post by WizardMN » 2 weeks ago

I changed up a few things for the second try. I put Volrath as the general, removed some clones and removal and removed Gyruda. I also removed Erratic Portal and Crystal Shard simply because I don't have room for them and I am not sure they are quite necessary. It is more likely that, if I want this effect, something like Temur Sabertooth is what I want instead.

I did increase the ramp package a little as well and I left Volrath alone in the counter department so there might be something more to add in for that. And I am still 2 cards too many but this seems to be getting close to a playable deck.

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Post by pokken » 2 weeks ago

Yeah I meant as a general. Not getting ETB value on him is definitely an issue but the subsequent clones get a massive anthem from his size (and the ability to change to something else later which is nice).

The upside to him is mainly that he probably does enough to enable the counter theme without any real support. I'd consider a few support cards like Black Sun's Zenith and maybe Yawgmoth, Thran Physician (although that might bleed into Karador:P)

generally speaking Volrath is going to read something like "your clones get +5/+3 and the ability to change into Consecrated Sphinx later, lol

few small comments on card choices:

* I like Intuition a lot in Body Double decks.
* Neoform seems likely to be super fun in this deck with the varied CMCs of the clones.
* could maybe consider Spark Double since two Volraths is bananas
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Post by WizardMN » 2 weeks ago

I figured as much and I do like the idea. Black Sun's Zenith is one I hadn't thought about though I did think about Yawgmoth as an option. I think I would prefer BSZ over it.

I can understand where Intuition might help Body Double. Though, I am already 2 cards too high so I would probably just cut Body Double first :P

Neoform is interesting. The main issue is that almost every Clone is 4 mana. I have one at 6, three at 5, one at 2, one at 2 and eight at 4. So, my best bet is to get one at 4 which requires that I clone something at 3 mana value which is unlikely. I do have ones along the curve which is nice but I am not sure it really does all that well since I don't have a ton of control over the mana value of the creatures I sac. At least, not during deckbuilding.

I did have Spark Double in here and it ended up being cut because I felt it was one of the worst clones. I don't have any planeswalkers to clone and it otherwise only copies my own. I have the two Sakashimas that I think work better for this since one is not limited to my own creatures and the other makes the rest of my clones able to copy Legendaries without issue.

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Post by WizardMN » 2 weeks ago

So, I got a couple games in with this online. Note that I just took out the two "Technique" cards since they are not online yet. I still think they make sense in this deck so I don't want to cut them entirely but not being online made the choice easy for now.

The first game was against 2 mono-red decks and something else. I am not even going to go back to the replay to see. One mono red deck dropped in an Extraplanar Lens which gave the other red deck 8 mana and they cast Warp World. I ended up with one land, the other mono-R deck ended up with one land, and the 4th player just left. However, the mono-R player with one land (not the one who cast Warp World) got 3 big dragons with one being Drakuseth, Maw of Flames so the game was done and I packed it up.

Second Game (in Spoiler tag since this post is long as it is):
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The second game was better. I played against Atraxa, Praetors' Voice, Torbran, Thane of Red Fell, and Aminatou, the Fateshifter. I ramped pretty hard with Three Visits, into Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath, into Farhaven Elf. Aminatou got stuck on three lands and still did the most out of the game while they were part of it.

Atraxa was really getting going though with Carpet of Flowers ramping them, Aura Shards keeping Torbran in check, and then Atraxa trying to get more going. And, of course, my two removal spells in hand were Bone Shredder and Shriekmaw so I couldn't kill her. But others did what they could and we started working together to get rid of Aminatou though they finally got her to Ult. However, this was late in the game and only took my Volrath and I got Atraxa.

Torbran had scooped a turn or two earlier because Aminatou cast Kaya's Guile to get rid of Chandra, Fire of Kaladesh // Chandra, Roaring Flame in response to Torbran being cast.

I just swung into Aminatou which they blocked (expectedly) so we traded since they had copied Atraxa, though misclicked on the Proliferate trigger so my Atraxa was still 3/3 after getting the -1/-1 from Volrath. It didn't really matter of course.

I left Volrath in my yard after he died here and tried to cast The Mimeoplasm. This was countered with Force of Will so I just cast Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath next turn to get Volrath back into my Command Zone and get a board presence. Also, I had Aura Shards during this so I carved up Atraxa's board pretty good as I cast a few small creatures.

Eventually though Aminatou missed something like 6 land drops so they just called it since they clearly weren't getting out of it with Aminatou and we were actively trying to kill the Walker. I don't feel all that bad for them though as they played a ton of cards that I have only really seen in 1v1 EDH: Force (which is somewhat common I suppose), Duress, Inquisition of Kozilek, Force Spike, etc. I am pretty sure they were well above the power of the table based on their card selections.

Anyway, this left me and Atraxa and Atraxa ended up getting Rhystic Study on the field which they drew one card from. I paid for the rest. I still did my best to get rid of it and they did quite a bit to save it. To the point where they spent a Cyclonic Rift on Aura Shards in response to me casting Uro from the yard again. I think they were relying on Study a little too much to spend a Rift but I am sure it made sense to them at the time.

I swung with Uro next turn and ended up casting Evacuation in response since I really just attacked to get the trigger and my math was off on their Scavenging Ooze since I didn't account for the extra counter from Archangel of Thune that it would get. It ended up not being a massive deal though and actually ended up helping a little later.

Next turn they cast Champion of Lambholt and Archangel of Thune again along with Ooze and Atraxa. This did let them start growing their Champion and I think it got to 6 counters. I ended up casting Bone Shredder next turn to take out their Archangel and I cast Volrath again.

The turn after, I just copied their Champion with Volrath thanks to it having counters and I cast Rite of Replication kicked on my Bone Shredder which killed their Ooze and Champion while giving mine 5 more counters. I swung in for 12 unblockable damage and put them at 19 commander damage. They drew and scooped it up as they could do anything about it.
So, while I did have a nongame initially, the first real game turned into a bit of a nail biter caused mostly by Aminatou's shenanigans. But I think for the most part I played it fairly tightly considering it was the first outing for the deck (other than the miscounting of Ooze's counters). So, my first thoughts are:
  • @pokken's suggestion of Volrath was definitely the right call. As I said, I glossed over him due to not really wanting/expecting this to be a "Clones" deck so once it was clear that is what it would be, he made perfect sense. He also played exceptionally well even with just his BoC trigger. I really didn't give even that trigger enough credit. It didn't kill a lot so it isn't like it is a replacement for actual removal, but it came in handy.
  • "Clones - the deck" is immensely fun. More so than I thought it would be anyway. As I stated above, it was still important to have my own bombs to clone so the deck actually functions, but the lines this offers and the focus on the entire board going from "what do I need to answer on their boards" to "what can I use on their boards" is vastly different than any of my other decks.
  • With that being said, not being able to clone Legendaries has gotten me. Uro also has his own issues since I can't keep any clones of it in play even with something like Spark Double. There aren't a ton of course but they do seem to pop up at inopportune times nonetheless.
  • Speaking of Uro - He is a beast. I really like Elder Gargaroth as well, but being able to draw and gain life off entering and attacking made Uro the easy standout of this game.
  • I do think I may need some cheaper card draw though. I did get to a point where Rishkar's Expertise was my card draw and it did get me out of a bad situation. But it took a turn or two longer than I would have liked because I didn't have a good enough board and had to wait to stick Uro again. Mulldrifter is excellent in this deck so I am not sure how much more I want to focus on beefing up the card draw. Or even what I might want to go with. It is hard to add too many creatures for this since they work the best as I can clone them for more cards, but then it dilutes the power of the creatures. This is something I will be keeping an eye on for sure.
  • In this game, I actually didn't get a lot of clones so I can't say what would happen if I got more clones than I did. There is a real possibility they could have been stuck in hand due to my opponents not having a lot until much later.
I will continue fiddling with the list but I am pretty happy (and surprised) by what I have now. I didn't really come across much I was really upset to see, other than Bone Shredder and Shriekmaw but that was due to only having black creatures to kill for a while.

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Post by pokken » 2 weeks ago

Try banewhip punisher over bonehredder? Not quite as efficient but feeds volrath and can also let him protect himself from theft by selfsaccing

Re card draw

I'd play a bomb card draw creature like prime speaker zegana I think. She's not a great volrath target but she draws 7 off him. And she is bananas if you clone her..
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Post by WizardMN » 2 weeks ago

Banewhip Punisher might not be too bad. It is 1 and 2 mana more than Bone Shredder and Shriekmaw respectively but still might be worth it. As you said, it does potentially allow for Volrath to sac himself if needed. I can at least try it over Bone Shredder to see what it does.

I honestly thought about Prime Speaker Zegana because the Atraxa player was playing it in my last game and drew 5 off her. My reluctance is two-fold: she still requires a board presence and she is still 6 mana. Yes, she works far better with clones but top decking her without a board is pretty bad. Granted, not quite as bad as Expertise and Return of the Wildspeaker on an empty board since she will always draw 1 at least.

So, I will try this:
4/27/2021
Approximate Total Cost:

We obviously discussed Bone Shredder, but I decided on removing Duplication for now. I am not really sure what else to cut but considering my last game didn't have a lot of creatures on my opponent's side and this is entirely reactive meaning I need it at the right time, I decided to cut it for now.

Also, since I don't want to lose sight of these, especially as I clean up the main post with just this list, I am removing these cards for now but I hope to find room for them again later:
4/27/2021
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Post by WizardMN » 2 weeks ago

I got in another couple games tonight. One game wasn't much of a game as two players left pretty early on. Esika scooped after I countered Esika, God of the Tree // The Prismatic Bridge and Torbran scooped because they needed to go. Though, I have a feeling they may have scooped after I wiped the board since they missed a couple land drops. Unfortunately, the remaining opponent was in a pretty good position compared to me since I missed a couple land drops so I just packed it up so I could play another game.

In the second game, things went exceptionally well. I played against Hofri Ghostforge, Darigaaz Reincarnated, and Karlov of the Ghost Council.

I started off pretty slow. I didn't have any ramp but I did have Faerie Artisans which I got down on turn 4. This gave me one token.... And it survived for a couple turns. I actually ended up casting Volrath putting the counter on Artisans which worked out well since one opponent tried to destroy Artisans so I just copied it. Then another cast Earthquake which Volrath Artisans survived.

A short time later, I cast a clone to copy Karmic Guide which got me Artisans back. Ravenous Chupacabra put in some decent work as well to help keep the board clear. One of my favorite plays was towards the end where I attacked Darigaaz with a Venser I had on the field after bouncing a Torment of Hailfire back to an opponent's hand, I activated Sakashima's Student, bouncing Venser back to hand, copying Karlov's Noxious Gearhulk, which then attempted to blow up Hofri. They sacrificed their Selfless Spirit token and I countered the ability with Repudiate // Replicate. So, Hofri was gone.

The Gearhulk had targeted Hofri as well and that is why the Spirit was a token.

Unfortunately, Karlov was really running out of gas and it was getting late so they scooped it up. And Darigaaz was at 5 life at the time with a Phyrexian Arena on the board. They did end up getting down to 2 life before I had to cast Bane of Progress.

That came about because I had stolen the Monarch from Hofri, drew Bane of that trigger, and then cast it off Alchemist's Refuge in response to them activating Elspeth, Sun's Champion with a Cathars' Crusade on the field.

They still were able to build up a board but I had Bane and two Augmenter Pugilist // Echoing Equation on the field, thanks to one of my clones, and exactly 8 lands. I had swung into Hofri the turn before with the two Pugilist's to get them to 2 and they survived their Mana Crypt flip. Bane then removed that threat. I ended up just swinging at Darigaaz with a Pugilist and Bane to kill them.

Next turn, Hofri activated Elspeth to wrath but I then activated Refuge, cast Damnation and then cast Callous Bloodmage with the "Create a token" mode. They were at 2 and had no removal in hand so this allowed me to win.

This was the best game of the 4 I have played with this deck. Everyone (mostly) stuck it out and were actual players in the game for the duration of the game. I started off being the main threat but everyone was able to really participate that the threat was ever changing (though, Hofri was a pretty substantial threat for most of the game).

Again, things worked out exceptionally well and the main thing I was thinking of was whether I might want to increase the ramp a little. Farseek is probably the main omission. Not sure if that one addition would make a huge difference but it is an option.

Augmenter Pugilist is here mostly for the back side and I don't think it is good enough for that. And the front side seems like would have other options. So, I might try to find a different option for that. Not sure what yet. I really like Ulvenwald Hydra but 6 mana is pretty high.

Callous Bloodmage isn't all that great here either. It is my only real grave hate (I don't really count Bog and I might end up cutting it anyway) but I am not sure if that is enough to keep it. I do need to remember to cut Diamond Valley as that is a holdover from when I was going to do more with life gain. And I need to add Command Tower.

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Post by pokken » 2 weeks ago

I think your ramp situation of incremental ramp is probably fine. Might want to consider some endgame ramp and maybe a little bit of early game draw smoothing? I thought your draw ratio was pretty good but adding a Fblthp, the Lost effect or two might not hurt.

This might actually be a decent Harvest Season deck given that you're probably going to be turning sideways with a lot of those bros and you have a good amount of board control. Although you have to look back and see what your creature count is on board and how often they attack...it might not be good at all since you're looking to curve your ramp spells into dudes, but it could also hit that sweet spot where you go 2-3 early attackers then harvest season for 2 or 3 into Volrath. Meh. I'm ambivalent.

I know it's old hat to hear from me but I think this is probably a Green Sun's Zenith / Finale of Devastation / Dryad Arbor deck too lol, it's a powerful ramp package that allows you to win the game with finale'ing someone else's bomb creature which is pretty themely with the deck.

There is also a card I cannot frigging remember that's kinda like low rent Boundless Realms that has something to do with the size of one of your creatures, but I cannot find it :P
(Traverse the Outlands )
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Post by WizardMN » 2 weeks ago

I did consider things like Wall of Blossoms and I do have Callous Bloodmage which both fit the role of Fblthp. I like the idea of Fblthp in that it can potentially shuffle himself back in but I doubt it does that very often. It also means I can't clone him with my token clone effects. I think I prefer Wall of Blossoms if I need that.

But you are probably right. My draw ratio at the moment is likely fine.

That is really my concern with something like Harvest Season. The ramp comment was more about getting to 4 mana. I need 5 for Volrath obviously but I *need* 4 mana for the deck to function as that is where pretty much all my clones reside. And the ones that don't often only clone my own stuff. So, if I get to 4 I can see Season helping me get over the hump a bit, but that is definitely questionable.

You and your constant tutors ;P

But I do agree in this deck. I have enough green clones that Green Sun's Zenith makes sense. And Finale does certainly give me a pretty big ace in the hole. I wonder if Chord of Calling might be better than either one of those though? Finale certainly lets me end the game if I have the mana, but Chord is a bit more versatile being an Instant and with even one creature it is the same cost as Finale. Finale does let me get things from the yard though....

Traverse is exceptionally interesting as well. It is basically a turn 6 play (I would most likely want Volrath on the field for it, but I know my clones could help out depending on what my opponents are doing). Which does get me away from the necessary early ramp. But this deck can be quite mana intensive so it probably still makes sense. I do like it anyway.

I did make a couple changes online prior to this post and I think I will try out a couple others you mentioned as well. Let's try for this and see how things go:

I found out during testing that Mirrorpool requires colorless mana to activate and I only have 2 Colorless sources beyond itself. While it might be right to just cut it entirely because of this, I figured I could add in a little more support with Reliquary Tower. In some cases, I can get some draw engines going with Mulldrifter and/or Tatyova so I can get above 7 cards.

Diamond Valley was mentioned above and shouldn't be here and I realize I totally forgot about Command Tower so that was an easy swap. Kogla is nice but I have other creature destruction that I don't think a fight effect is what I need. So, I went with Hydra as a way to ramp but mostly to get a big creature on board. I would have probably preferred Multani, Yavimaya's Avatar here since he has Trample, but being Legendary makes him less useful.

Spike Weaver is a staple in my green decks but it might not be needed as much here. So I just cut that for Farseek. Moritte and Spark Double are straight swaps. I didn't realize Moritte only let me copy my own stuff *and* I overlooked that it remained legendary. Stunt Double is better in basically every conceivable way.

The other three cuts were a bit more difficult. I like the idea of Finale, Chord, and Traverse so they deserve some testing. But finding more cuts is starting to get more difficult. I got close to cutting Glasspool Mimic // Glasspool Shore because it can only copy my stuff but I left it in as a potential land drop as needed and because it is only 3 mana. But I ended up getting rid of Reclamation Sage since the two tutors make Bane of Progress far better, Augmenter Pugilist is nice, but the back side seems unlikely to do as much as I want, especially at Sorcery timing. This might be a mistake since a 3 mana 8/8 with Trample is pretty powerful. I might revisit this a little later after testing the new cards. And Repudiate//Replicate because it is a Sorcery clone. This might have been the tougher cut but I am willing to see what happens without it.

I might still end up cutting Callous Bloodmage as well depending on testing.

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Post by pokken » 2 weeks ago

Yeah chord seems real good in this deck, that other instant speed new birthingpodesque effect also might be good, Rushed Rebirth?

I think it's shaping up nice. I like that Callous Bloodmage has a lot of flexibility but it kinda gluts you at 3 a bit.

(do note that re: fblthp that chord and finale both enable him, so if you do decide to add another cheap draw guy he's probably right. Plus you can kill hiim and Volrath's Stronghold loop him with Volrath if you're stuck on cards for some reason)

Speaking of which it's a huge flavor fail not to have Volrath's Stronghold lol. It's pretty good in this deck, certainly better than Reliquary Tower
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Post by WizardMN » 2 weeks ago

I looked at Rushed Rebirth for a few decks and the inconsistency or, at least, unreliability, really got to me. I already don't have sac outlets and I have relatively few destruction effects so I will most often be leaning on my opponents to be doing something to get it to go off. It might still be right, so I will think on it.

Yeah, Bloodmage has some good flexibility. it is just a question of whether I need it. I think I don't but I also think I don't want to get caught in a situation where he ends up being useful and I don't have him. And with my clones, I can always drop him out for a card and then clone him later to exile a graveyard so I don't have to just sit on him like I would Agent of Erebos and it does more than just Wall of Blossoms.

And you are right about Fblthp and it is not something I thought about. That is certainly an interesting interaction. As mentioned, I am not sure I am quite there to needing him, but if I do he definitely makes the cut over Wall.

And yes, it absolutely is a flavor fail not to have Stronghold in this deck. And considering what this deck is trying to do, there isn't a reason not to have it from a gameplay perspective. I do agree it is better than Tower but I will just keep both for now as yet more ammo for Mirrorpool as needed. I don't think this goes too far into colorless sources. I will just cut a Forest for it for now:
4/28/2021

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Post by WizardMN » 2 weeks ago

I got another game in online. This one was against Scion of the Ur-Dragon, Ramos, Dragon Engine, and Niv-Mizzet, Parun.

I started off slow. No ramp, no real clones outside Rite of Replication and everything a 4 drop or higher. I did get Faerie Artisans on board but it died right away. Then I got Elder Gargaroth on the field but it too died right away.

But, Scion was a threat so I was left alone mostly and I just slowly played my lands and passed for a while. I did get Alchemist's Refuge (this is turning into one of the more important cards in the deck) so I sat on Rite until I got a good time to use it. And I almost had one too: Scion had a few Dragons on the field along with Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund. I wanted so much to clone Karrthus (this will come up later too) but Ramos cast Cyclonic Rift.

Niv ended up up scooping shortly after this though I am not sure why. I assume they had to leave since they didn't make a comment about anything.

From here, Scion tried to rebuild and Ramos tried to slow them down. They ended up casting Noxious Gearhulk to kill a Dragon so I copied it to kill another Dragon. However, Scion was able to cast Decree of Pain the next turn. I had 2 creatures (one was Volrath) and Ramos had two creatures. So, I cast Insidious Will to copy the Decree. I thought about just straight up countering it but Ramos has 2 cards in hand and I did as well so I thought the cards were more important than trying to save our relatively meager boards.

Next turn I cast Mulldrifter for some cards and flashed in Volrath off Refuge. I copied Scion's The Ur-Dragon and swung at Ramos since my 7/5 Ur-Dragon wasn't bigger than their 9/9 Dragon :P

This got me a free card and I passed with all my mana up again. Someone ended up killing Volrath again so I just sat on a couple clones. Ramos tried to destroy Ur-Dragon on Scion's side so I flashed in Phantasmal Image to copy it and swing with it next turn. This got me an additional land so not a lot.

Scion's next turn was casting Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund to take my Ur-Dragon and then they swung out at me with it, Nicol Bolas, and Scion. The Ur-Dragon trigger went onto the stack and my thought was "man, I hope they have another Dragon to put onto the field so I can flash in this Phyrexian Metamorph to copy their Karrthus and really blow them out". And they did have another Dragon! But it was Dragonlord Dromoka :( :(

Since I could no longer cast my Metamorph or my Evacuation or my Cyclonic Rift, I just died. And even if I didn't die, my hand was gone so I would have probably scooped it up.

Again, the deck performed admirably and I really just got "got" by being greedy at the end. If I just copy Karrthus there I think there is a real chance I end up winning that game. I think Ramos would have killed Scion to get rid of my board and Ramos was still at 38 but with my bounce in hand and Ramos being at 1 or 2 cards, I think I would have been fine.

Again, my curve being mostly centered at '4' really shown itself this game again. I am not sure there is a good way around that since that is where most clones sit but it was another scenario where it felt like I got off to a slow start due to not having ramp.

I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing. I am, ultimately, trying to use the board to my advantage so waiting is exactly what I would be doing in most situations anyway. Even in this game, it didn't really hurt me. I think it is just a different playstyle where I can afford to basically be sitting in the weeds for longer than I am used to.

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Post by pokken » 2 weeks ago

Given the sheer number of U 4-drops in the deck do you think a blue cost reducer might be warranted? Something like Nightscape Familiar?

MIght be better than Farseek which is rather slow.
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Post by WizardMN » 2 weeks ago

I can see that being good. I might be more on board with swapping Glasspool Mimic // Glasspool Shore for the Familiar though. I might try that first and still leave Farseek as another way to get me over the hump into 4 mana for now.

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Post by MeowZeDung » 2 weeks ago

I've always been curious about Volrath. I haven't gone over your list with a fine tooth comb, but out of curiosity: are you actively looking for any ways to abuse stacking his activations? I have to imagine he can be abused in this way a la Scion of the Ur-Dragon or Mirage Mirror.
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Post by WizardMN » 2 weeks ago

Not really. I think that he could be built that way but it is a pretty significant departure from what I have here. I think it is also becomes more difficult that something like Mirror and way more difficult than Scion. Scion has the benefit of having everything in the library which means every "combo" piece is accessible. Mirror is tougher but still has more freedom since the targets don't need counters.

But that gets pretty close to combo to me and combo is my least favorite archetype (which is probably why my favorite is control :P ). So, I just went with a fairly surface level Clones deck. That is, play a few big things but try to clone as much of my opponents' stuff as possible.

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Post by WizardMN » 1 week ago

I ended up being able to play in person for the first time in months and I decided to try this deck out. I played against Avacyn, Angel of Hope, Torbran, Thane of Red Fell, and something else.

I really should have mulliganed my hand again but I though I would try it based on the clones I had in hand. Unfortunately, I never really got any ramp and it took a while to get to double blue. So, I went with some more "interesting" plays that likely were not the right plays. For example, Torbran got their general down along with Sulfuric Vortex so I just copied Torbran. While this didn't do anything at the time, I did have Clever Impersonator in hand so I copied Vortex the next turn. Now, the other two opponents were taking 8 damage each upkeep and me and the Torbran player were taking 6 (4 from each other's Vortex, thanks to Torbran, and 2 from our own).

A couple turns later, I ended up copying Torbran with Sakashima the Impostor so now the other two people were taking 10 and the other Torbran player was taking 8. Unfortunately, Avacyn had a bunch of fliers so while they were taking a bunch of damage, it wasn't enough to actually do anything since their life total was still the highest because they could attack the rest of us. I did copy their Linvala, Keeper of Silence to give me a blocker but then they dropped in Sword of Truth and Justice which sort of wrecked that idea.

I did have Evacuation in hand, but I found these plays to be a bit more fun, even if they weren't strategically correct. I think there was probably some way for me to still win there by leaving up mana for Evacuation and then casting my clones again copying something else.

My mana base sort of messed me up since I got 3 of my 4 colorless lands in the few turns we played but, again, I think that is more because of a poor mulligan choice. In any case, it was still a fun game even if I didn't really come close to winning it.

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Post by pokken » 1 week ago

WizardMN wrote:
1 week ago
My mana base sort of messed me up since I got 3 of my 4 colorless lands in the few turns we played but, again, I think that is more because of a poor mulligan choice.
I do think that trying to support Mirrorpool in 3 colors without a 9 fetch manabase is ambitious. You'd probably need to be playing the blue cantrip suite for it to be semi-reliable, and even then it's iffy.

Were it me, I cut diamond valley, mirror pool and reliquary tower for more color sources I think, but it's not going to be that bad as is, just a little rough occasionally.

Could probably stand to play Flooded Grove in this deck at the bare minimum since it enables mirrorpool and fixes your two most demanding colors.
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Post by WizardMN » 1 week ago

I really need to start updating my lists in the first post more consistently :)

I did cut Diamond Valley since that doesn't make sense here and I am on board with Mirrorpool not being good enough. I have the Littjara Mirrorlake to make a copy using a land and getting rid of Mirrorpool does limit the need for Reliquary tower. Mirrorpool entering tapped is also a strike against it.

Flooded Grove should probably be here regardless. I don't think the other Filter lands are needed but Grove makes sense.

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Post by pokken » 1 week ago

I could potentially get behind the BG filter but only because green is your ramp color, and underground sea + Twilight Mire is a keep. I'd almost surely play it before Bojuka Bog but man I dislike using land slots on that card hehe :)

but yes, Flooded Grove 100% in this deck even without mirrorpool
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Post by WizardMN » 1 week ago

That is a fair assessment. I might toss that in as well. I do agree on Bog and I got close to cutting it since I don't have Crop Rotation in this deck. I left it in because of Ulvenwald Hydra and the ability to clone it (sometimes at instant timing) but it might still be right to get rid of it.

I am probably going to go through the list a little later tonight and try to tighten it up. And I think there are some changes to make based on price in paper, unfortunately, Sakashima's Student is $45, Sakashima the Impostor foil is $230 (WTF!), Nightscape Familiar is $100 foil (again, WTF!). I do see Sakashima was printed in the Mystery Booster packs/slot somewhere and it doesn't have a foil. I might just proxy Sakashima for now until he gets reprinted in foil. I am not sure on that. I don't want to pay that much and I am not a huge fan of using proxies, but the card is one of the better clones so I might make an exception. But Familiar and Student I am fine with cutting based on price.

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Post by WizardMN » 1 week ago

In the interests of costs, I am going to try these changes out:
5/4/2021
Approximate Total Cost:

As mentioned, Familiar and Student are just way more expensive in paper than I want to spend right now. Especially since both should be easily reprintable. Sakashima is way too high too and is another than should be reprinted but he just fits the deck far too well so I am going to proxy him for now.

Finale is a bit higher than I would like so I am going to just swap it for Green Sun's Zenith. And, because I am putting in Zenith, I will toss in Dryad Arbor to go along with it.

Bog doesn't fit the deck all that well anymore and I just decided to cut 2 Swamps to make room for the filter lands. I decided on the swamps as cuts because the deck is primarily Green/Blue so going down on black mana (with one of the additions still producing black) made the most sense.

As for the other additions: I just wanted another way to reset the board but I didn't want a wrath. My thought is that I can get people to expend resources rebuilding and then I can copy their stuff again. Tide was the best option I could come up with.

Glasspool Mimic was added back in as another clone. I thought about Moritte of the Frost since he is green and can be gotten off Zenith, but the limitations of it were just too much to be worth it.

Of note, I did leave Mirrorpool in for now, though I am still debating on cutting it. With the Filters helping out, it might be a bit more palatable so I will leave it in for now.

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