RowanKeltizar wrote: ↑
3 months ago
I agree that you can't always count on her being available, but I do think it makes sense to try and get the most use out of the card that is always in your command zone. If your commander tends to spend more time in the command zone than the battlefield, I think that is a bit of an issue.
so, therefore, yes... a dedicated voltron strategy with Gisela doesn't make that much sense - mostly because of her mana cost and lack of any kind of built evasion or protection. At least Aurelia has haste. Ironically, this is exactly the conclusion that I came to when first piloting Aurelia. Which is why I decided to go wide with her, i.e token swarm.
Why not neither though? I mean, yeah, Voltron with her (as a dedicated strategy) is tough. I have some equipment because I like the playstyle but I haven't gone all in on it. But I don't generally like token swarm decks. Again, I have a few, but haven't gone all in on it. I like elements of both strategies but I don't want the deck to be about either one. I like the balance the deck has between the two.
With all of that being said, I generally view Gisela as something that makes other things better which means I am not really looking to ramp *her* out. I don't care as much about getting her out early as I would rather focus on developing my board and then making everything scarier by casting her later. Trying to ramp into her just makes her vulnerable to hate and then I don't really have much of a board beyond her.
I agree with you here. I think it's best to view her as a high cost finisher, rather than something to prioritize getting on the field. However, I still don't think that is a good argument for omitting Gilded Lotus
or Thran Dynamo
, since your mana curve is still high with high cost creatures that you probably do want to see on the field earlier such as Inferno Titan
Sure. I am not opposed to that necessarily. But neither of those really get me my big stuff all that much earlier. I mean, let's say I ramp into Lotus on turn 3 with some other rocks. Turn 4 I cast Titan. Since Lotus already cost me 5 mana, and assuming I hit my land drop for turn 4, I still get the Titan down turn 4 without the Lotus.
Granted, the Lotus now allows my turn 4 to be more explosive (to an extent) by giving me access to 3 mana I wouldn't have otherwise. Same with Dynamo, though it does potentially allow the Titan to come down a turn earlier.
But my concern remains the same. Why not just cast Urabrask instead of Lotus? Or Leonin Warleader or Hero of Bladehold instead of Dynamo? Or, even worse, what if I took that turn off and either gets blown up? I know I can't use the excuse of "but what if it dies" for everything but for a deck like this to take a turn off because I need to spend my resources trying to ramp only to see that ramp go away means I am a turn behind where I want to be and, from what I can tell, have not really gotten too much out of the deal even if those things stick around.
I do have a pretty significant prejudice against rocks that cost more than 2 mana (I can stretch 3 in certain cases as I do for Chromatic Lantern
in this deck) so spending 4 and 5 mana "just" for ramp does not appeal to me.
This goes back to my mindset of Gisela not really being the goal. She is a top end, something that happens when things come together, but I plan on doing a lot more to commit to the board before her. If I have used my turn 4 for this and my turn 5 for Gisela, I have less to use to work with Gisela's ability.
Lets forget about getting Gisela out early, and instead building your own board position. How does casting Smothering Tithe on turn 4 still not help with that?
I regularly play against competitive green decks that will have like 10 mana available on turn 3. Anything that allows me to compete just a little bit with that is welcome. This is also an effect that punishes opponents for drawing cards, which is again something that white struggles with. "Sure, you can draw 10 cards, but just know that I am going to have 10 mana available to me on my next turn because of it." Your opponents very well might be dead by the time they get to play their ten cards.
Anyhow, this is a card I think you are missing out on, and I highly suggest at least giving it a solid play through before throwing it out as a possibility. More than any other card I've suggested, I think this is a winner for Boros.
I think Tithe is a good card. I am not going to dispute that. It generally allows going from 4 mana to 8 (3 treasures and next turn's land drop) the turn after it enters. The argument against the two rocks above sort of applies here but there are a couple differences:
The mana is not permanent. Once I use it, it is gone.
The mana isn't guaranteed as players can pay 2 mana so I don't get it.
However, it does accumulate over turns so it isn't like I just stay at 8 mana available (assuming no more land drops for simplicity) like I would with Lotus. I can go from 8 to 11 to 14 and so on. Until I spend some of course. Which then cuts it back down. But I could let it build over a couple turns for a super explosive single turn.
And, in all likelihood, no one is really going to pay the 2 mana anyway. Not often enough to make a real difference.
And, unlike the 4 drop Dynamo, this mana is colored.
I like point 3 above as the most compelling reason to run the card. I still don't like spending turn 4 without committing more damage to the board but the possibility of a larger turn later on is enticing. If it is a card I am willing to try, it is based on this bullet point. I agree it is the best of the ones discussed so far. And I added Mind's Eye
because of insistence of another poster; I can certainly add this too.
The main issue with 3 of those cards is that they target or attach. Which means any protection Gisela (or any creature) has stops them from working right. Since my second favorite Sword is generally Sword of Fire and Ice, Blood Mist and Embercleave are less useful. It is the main reason I haven't added Embercleave yet.
This isn't to say that is the end of the conversation. Embercleave providing Trample and being able to be cast at Instant Timing is still really good and I should likely try to slot it in.
True Conviction being 6 mana means it is a no go for me.
Fair point on the targeting rule! Yes, that is an issue. Sword of Fire and Ice
is just so good. I don't actually own one yet, so this isn't an issue for me. How about Berserkers' Onslaught
? Only works on attack but might be a little more on curve? Also, have you tried something like Concerted Effort
I generally agree about True Conviction
but maybe 6 mana is good enough for something that can end the game?
Again, it is tough to hear that my curve is high and then look at higher CMC cards
5 and 6 mana is a lot. I honestly just like utilizing Sunhome, Fortress of the Legion
to get more damage in with Gisela (or whoever). I guess that, from my experience, I haven't found the need for giving anything Double Strike since Gisela already sort of does this on her own anyway. I get the idea of wanting to go more aggro but I don't think it is worth it.
True Conviction is the same. 6 mana to end the game is fine. But I don't think I have ever gotten to a point where Double Strike would have been the make or break effect for me winning the game.
When I look at the other things in your list that have 6cmc, Combustible Gearhulk
sticks out to me as something that has the potential to not be a great investment unless you can seriously abuse it, which I am not seeing that you can. The optional draw seems dubious to me for the same reason that Browbeat
Speaking of Browbeat, I was just playing against a mono red goblin deck that was running it. We were in a 5 player game, and NOBODY paid the 5 life. I think the reason being that we didn't perceive his board state as much of a threat and we weren't willing to lose any life we didn't need to lose (lots of aggro decks at the table). He got his 3 cards, and the next turn he somehow swung in for 24 damage! Not saying this a good card by any stretch, but I thought it was an interesting draw spell with a damage doubler on the field. Might make slightly more sense if you had more damage doublers slotted into the maindeck as well.
First, that just seems like a mistake to me. Unless everyone was at less than 10 life, I think someone should have taken the damage. 5 damage isn't often that much when compared to giving the aggro player more cards.
That is a fair point about Gearhulk though. Gearhulk gets a pass because the damage is unknown and, with Gisela, almost always means no one will risk the damage. And since it targets, I can make sure the person with the lowest life is the only one choosing. Where Browbeat is always 5 (or 10) damage, Gearhulk can be much more. I did win a seemingly unwinnable game because of Gearhulk causing the player to take 20+ damage so I could just fly in for the rest.
So, while it does fit into the "Punisher" style of cards, the ceiling, and risk, is much higher so it is easier to get someone to just give me the cards.
However, being 6 mana and the fact that it isn't guaranteed does suggest that it might not be where I want to be with that slot. It still gives opponents the choice and, honestly, I would have lost the game above if they had let me draw cards (which they should have known to do) so even the "best" play with it was a misplay on the opponent's part. I think there is reason enough to cut it.
I am not sure I want to change these out. I like their ability to get in early damage while waiting for the big hitters to drop. I am not opposed to amassing an army, but I like these because they offer ways to build an army for fairly cheap. Though, I am curious what you think my chosen strategy is? And I don't mean this to be flippant; I am genuinely curious since I have never really thought about this deck as having much of a strategy in the conventional sense. I just want creatures to hit hard, preferably with equipment attached, and just keep attacking and attacking while trying to gain any advantage I can while doing so. That is likely why the list seems a little disjointed.
I guess I want to express that I personally feel the more dedicated swarm approach is the more competitive route for Boros aggro for just the reasons you stated. It's fairly efficient and allows you to build fairly impressive damage from just a few cards. Token producers are almost like pseudo card advantage at least in terms of damage. Cards like Hero of Bladehold
that generate tokens are really strong IMO and I have largely built my own Boros deck around them. Aurelia gives these token producers 2 triggers per turn.
One of the main reasons I see this as being competitive is that it allows you to utilize some of the better card draw effects possible in these colors. Skullclamp
being the main one. With Puresteel Paladin
on board and active, that is FREE CARD DRAW or at least at the low cost saccing a 1/1 token for 2 cards. I think Subira, Tulzidi Caravanner
and Winota, Joiner of Forces
are currently some of the best card advantage engines in Boros colors right now. Winota as a commander of a well tuned deck is something to be reckoned with. IMO, she is probably better than Gisela or Aurelia for the plain reason that she is able to generate so much card advantage right out of the gate. It is a very fast deck and largely focused on the aforementioned token producing cards.
That might be true but I am not exactly looking for the most competitive Boros deck out there. If I was, I wouldn't be playing Gisela. I still think Gisela is powerful and I have won a lot of games with the list I have now, but trying to tune the deck as "a Boros deck" just takes a lot away from how fun the deck is now. I don't really like swarm so I just choose not to play it. And if I lose games I could have won when trying to swarm, I am fine with that.
And I played against a Winota deck online the other day. It is exceptionally powerful. But slotting her into this deck doesn't make sense as I mentioned before since I would need to considerably change the deck to make her work. And it isn't something I want to do.
He is on the edge but ultimately acts more as a Eidolon of Rhetoric than anything else.
I might try it out over one of the Chandras but this goes back to the issue with the Punisher cards above: giving my opponents control over my draws means I am not going to get them when I want.
Mangara could be compared to Rhystic Study and in my experience, a lot of times people will just ignore the effect and let you draw, and if they don't, then be assured that you are slowing them down immensely. Either result is desirable. Anyhow, I have yet to test him out myself, so I won't say more until I do.
I was basing this assessment on someone else who mentioned it in another thread and they had said it wasn't very good. Perhaps it is still worth trying out since it seems like it should work alright. I think the card has potential, but it also has the potential to just be a dud. I can try to find room (I am running out of room in general though) to give him a fair shake anyway. It is possible to be meta dependent though.
Because of how aggressive I am for Sword of the Animist I don't expect Land Tax to really do a lot.
I see your point, however... Land Tax can be a godsend early in the game if you don't find yourself drawing into the lands that you need and without the draw power that other colors have this can indeed be a problem. Sword of the Animist gives you a land drop, but it isn't ramp unless you are also playing a land from your hand. Late game, if you have had enough Land Tax triggers it actually does make a difference in you NOT topdecking lands when you need other things. Ironically, the worst thing about Land Tax is that it is a horribly late game topdeck - unless someone has cast Armageddon
, lol That's why I mention Tectonic Reformation
as being a possible inclusion. It is a decent late game draw engine.
Well, I mean Land Tax isn't ramp either. At least Sword has the potential to be whereas Land tax will *always* just be "land for turn". At worst, they are equal (more or less) in terms of getting lands.
I mean, I can get behind the idea of the two cards together. I do have Reformation in Windgrace and I don't like it. But that may be due to being overkill in the deck vs something like this deck where it becomes a draw engine when none really exist.
Perhaps for this reason alone I am more inclined to give it a try. I just have this bad feeling that trying to add in things to make the deck work smoother means I have fewer threats that make the deck work at all. In order to fit all this stuff in the deck, I need to remove something. Either getting rid of the token producers, or the equipment, or the big creatures, or the answers. From what I can tell, I might be able to make even swaps for most of this stuff though so that isn't too bad.
If I take a quick inventory of all the things I would be on board with trying, based on your summaries, I come up with this (total summary including the ones from the previous post so I can keep things straight):
And the cards I would be willing to cut, going a little more aggressive on some than I would want:
Solemn and Hart are considerations just to make room and because Land Tax, Smothering Tithe, and the mana rocks makes them less useful. The Wheel effects would be considered because of the (hopefully decent) draw effects being added. Forsake is just the only removal I would be willing to cut. And that still leaves me two slots to cover.
Even looking through the list of includes now, for the most part, I like them. The Land Tax/Reformation package is probably the most dubious to me, but I think they all have merit. Since I have 13 in the ADD column and 11 in the CUT I would likely ignore those two cards to begin with if I decided to move further into these changes.
Subira and Mangara are the two more questionable adds but are things I am willing to try out in place of existing card draw. Subira works reasonably well with my token producers so I would hope that would be enough to make her shine.