Unesh: Fact or Sphinx?

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Crazy Monkey
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Post by Crazy Monkey » 10 months ago

This is posted for record keeping but feel free to comment.

Unesh Criosphinx Sovereign is a sphinx tribal deck which in intended to win via combat damage. Via cost reduction, the deck spams sphinxes or clones of sphinxes to build the battlefield and 'fact or fiction' through it's entire deck. I play Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre as re-shuffle effect that doesn't cost mana to prevent me from decking myself. I chose this route instead of lab-man to keep the decks win condition as combat damage and because I already do that in other decks.

The average hand lands Unesh in play around turn 4-5, and ideally at instant speed. From here, sphinxes are cheap and dig into value engines such as Panharmonicon or Mirror Mockery and the relatively sparse interaction. If the engine keeps running, 1-2 turns later has a large sky-swarm of sphinxes (let's call it a riddle of sphinxes) and has looked through most of its deck. Eventually either discarding or not choosing Ulamog reshuffles the graveyard and the digging continues. With either enough triggers from raw casts, flickering via Cloudstone Curio, or turning thopters into sphinxes the deck can see it's entire deck or more every turn. With the reshuffle, this results in infinite turns off the singleton Time Warp.

When selecting what sphinx to play in this deck, the first area of focus is on CMC with a close second on the amount of u required to cast. With significant cost reduction via either artifacts such as Urza's Incubator or Spark Double on Unesh, the mana spent is typically just the required blue mana.

Word of warning: while the method of card advantage is entirely dependent on your opponents, some specifically don't want to be chosen and will despise playing against this deck due to it's durdly nature and longer turns.

Last edited by Crazy Monkey 1 day ago, edited 2 times in total.
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Kemba | Kytheon | Talrand | Unesh | Teferi | Geth | Zada | Krenko | Torbran | Patron Orochi | Ghalta | Gargos | Medomai | Lavinia | Silumgar | The Count | Xenagos | Nikya | Trostani | Athreos | Jarad | Kydele & Thrasios | Nin | Gisela | Feather | Roon | Chulane | Sydri | Ertai | Mairsil | Prosh | Marath | Marisi | Vial & Ravos | Marchesa | Syr Gwyn | Riku | Riku | Animar | Ghave | Tasigur | Muldrotha | Rayami | Zedruu | Yidris | Kynaios & Tiro | Saskia | Tymna & Kydele | Atraxa | Akiri & Silas | Genju | Sisay | Ur Dragon | Golos | Horde | Najeela | Traxos

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Post by Crazy Monkey » 4 weeks ago

changelog:
swaps
Approximate Total Cost:

I improved the ramp based on devotion, because the cost reduction results in large devotion amounts. Also added more cost reduction and dropped the CMC and color requirements for some sphinxes.
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Kemba | Kytheon | Talrand | Unesh | Teferi | Geth | Zada | Krenko | Torbran | Patron Orochi | Ghalta | Gargos | Medomai | Lavinia | Silumgar | The Count | Xenagos | Nikya | Trostani | Athreos | Jarad | Kydele & Thrasios | Nin | Gisela | Feather | Roon | Chulane | Sydri | Ertai | Mairsil | Prosh | Marath | Marisi | Vial & Ravos | Marchesa | Syr Gwyn | Riku | Riku | Animar | Ghave | Tasigur | Muldrotha | Rayami | Zedruu | Yidris | Kynaios & Tiro | Saskia | Tymna & Kydele | Atraxa | Akiri & Silas | Genju | Sisay | Ur Dragon | Golos | Horde | Najeela | Traxos

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Post by Supersprite » 4 weeks ago

Dude, fun general is fun

Ijust made a roughdraw myself and i think apprentice wizard is awesome since the dark. 1UU is easy in monoblue and its solid ramp for sphinxes. (U tap: 3 mana) Also nobody bothers to remove it because its just a old common lol

Expedition map is a must since nykthos can get wild with some fat sphinxes.

The clones dont trigger unesh but just double the mana lowering i guess???

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Post by Crazy Monkey » 3 weeks ago

Supersprite wrote:
4 weeks ago
Dude, fun general is fun

Ijust made a roughdraw myself and i think Apprentice Wizard is awesome since the dark. 1UU is easy in monoblue and its solid ramp for sphinxes. (U tap: 3 mana) Also nobody bothers to remove it because its just a old common lol
I've used Apprentice Wizard in some of my other monoblue decks. However, the mana is colorless. This makes the ramp less effective after I've resolved Unesh. It compares closer to Worn Powerstone to ramp out Unesh.
Supersprite wrote:
4 weeks ago
Expedition map is a must since nykthos can get wild with some fat sphinxes.
I agree in principle here, but I don't think that this is true for this deck. Nykthos is actually dead early game, so tutoring for it before then isn't as effective. I'm not sure that tutoring is generally needed after I'm flipping through 30-40 card/turn from sphinxes, so I can save the card slot.
Supersprite wrote:
4 weeks ago
The clones dont trigger unesh but just double the mana lowering i guess???
It it true that the clones won't receive cost reduction unless Arcane Adaptation is in play, naming sphinx. However, clones are a massive multiplier on the number of Unesh triggers.

So the beautiful part of triggered abilities is that they are put onto the stack before state-based effects occur. This means that even if the permanent isn't still on the battlefield (for example, due to legend rule), its triggers will still be on the stack. Let's take Mirror Mockery for example. If this aura is on Unesh, Criosphinx Sovereign, then when it attacks, it copies itself with a token. Now we put the triggers onto the stack. We have 2 copies of Unesh that each see a sphinx enter, so we put 2 triggers on the stack. Now state-based effects are checked and we have to sacrifice one to the legend rule, usually the token.

This gets more obscene with Blade of Selves. If we have 3 opponents and blade is equipped to Unesh, then each attack makes 2 copies. The copies behave in the same manner, so we have 3 copies of Unesh see 2 sphinxes enter: resulting in 6 triggers of Unesh. This multiplicative effect is why I include Mirror Gallery to retain multiple copies of Unesh.

Clones behave in the same way when they are on the battlefield. Specifically, as long as they enter as a copy of a sphinx or Unesh, they are sphinx when they enter. This is because they are sphinxes during the enter the battlefield trigger. Clones are actually a massive part in how this deck wheels through its library.

A quick deckbuilding aside: I used to run Quasiduplicate type effects, but cut all but Saheeli's Artistry because it would allow an opponent to go infinite by cloning my own Chancellor of the Spires. While this never actually happened, the risk was high.
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Kemba | Kytheon | Talrand | Unesh | Teferi | Geth | Zada | Krenko | Torbran | Patron Orochi | Ghalta | Gargos | Medomai | Lavinia | Silumgar | The Count | Xenagos | Nikya | Trostani | Athreos | Jarad | Kydele & Thrasios | Nin | Gisela | Feather | Roon | Chulane | Sydri | Ertai | Mairsil | Prosh | Marath | Marisi | Vial & Ravos | Marchesa | Syr Gwyn | Riku | Riku | Animar | Ghave | Tasigur | Muldrotha | Rayami | Zedruu | Yidris | Kynaios & Tiro | Saskia | Tymna & Kydele | Atraxa | Akiri & Silas | Genju | Sisay | Ur Dragon | Golos | Horde | Najeela | Traxos

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Post by Supersprite » 3 weeks ago

Dreamhalls is half the cost of omniescience and when you play a free spell you can keepdrawing into new plays. Its nice when your stuck at 5 mana. Plus its not as cedh as omniescience, wich is aspect of the game. Just like awesomness.

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Post by Crazy Monkey » 2 weeks ago

Honestly, I had not considered Dream Halls Here. It is definitely faster the omniscience. In nearly every game where I actually cast omniscience, I have usually gone through my entire library a couple of times; it's less of a win condition than a shortcut. Dream halls could resolve sooner an potentially be a better enabler, but the lower CMC means that it would end up closer to a cedh enabler. While the deck ramps a lot, it can't cheat on the 10CMC cost. I think dream halls might be the more cEDH card here, although both are more redundant than labman wins.

The other consideration is that more than half of this deck is colorless, so it's somewhat probable that my opponents could give me piles of 1 blue card or 3 colorless. That makes things difficult until there are 2+ triggers per sphinx.
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Kemba | Kytheon | Talrand | Unesh | Teferi | Geth | Zada | Krenko | Torbran | Patron Orochi | Ghalta | Gargos | Medomai | Lavinia | Silumgar | The Count | Xenagos | Nikya | Trostani | Athreos | Jarad | Kydele & Thrasios | Nin | Gisela | Feather | Roon | Chulane | Sydri | Ertai | Mairsil | Prosh | Marath | Marisi | Vial & Ravos | Marchesa | Syr Gwyn | Riku | Riku | Animar | Ghave | Tasigur | Muldrotha | Rayami | Zedruu | Yidris | Kynaios & Tiro | Saskia | Tymna & Kydele | Atraxa | Akiri & Silas | Genju | Sisay | Ur Dragon | Golos | Horde | Najeela | Traxos

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Post by Supersprite » 1 week ago

I have been messing around with unesh and i find ramp very important. Theres a 1u creature from last set with 2u: sac a land search and play 2 basic lands. I swapped it for apprentice wich indeed seemed a easier to remove powerstone. Its very good ramp if comvined with a t2 rock.
Mind over matter is bonkers with unesh his draw, you can discard it if a non cedh game of course.
Amazing how cheap dream halls is compared to omniescience . You could of course also playomniscience trough dreamhalls t5?

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Post by Supersprite » 1 week ago

How is nyx lotus? Seems slow 4 mana, tapped etc? I just play nykthos with exp map and tolaria west

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Post by Crazy Monkey » 1 week ago

Supersprite wrote:
1 week ago
I have been messing around with unesh and i find ramp very important. Theres a 1u creature from last set with 2u: sac a land search and play 2 basic lands. I swapped it for apprentice wich indeed seemed a easier to remove powerstone. Its very good ramp if comvined with a t2 rock.
Mind over matter is bonkers with unesh his draw, you can discard it if a non cedh game of course.
Amazing how cheap dream halls is compared to omniescience . You could of course also playomniscience trough dreamhalls t5?
Ramping out an early Unesh is priority one for me. However, I really want to keep this sphinx tribal so Dreamscape Artist doesn't make the cut for me. Once I add a non-sphinx (ulamog is just a reshuffle effect, I've maybe cast it once in several years) / non-clone it becomes much harder for me to excuse not running Laboratory Maniac, Thryx, the Sudden Storm and similar, more goodstuff cards.

Dream Halls and Mind Over Matter are definitely powerful cards here, and some redundancy for the 'finishing' cards could improve deck consistency. I can see a package addition of Expedition Map, and Mind Over Matter and maybe Dream Halls adding another line of play towards infinite sphinx fictions. I'm not sure if I what to change my builds playstyle that much, but that's a good plan. Could probably drop some of the more mid-range enablers such as Door of Destinies, Gravitational Shift, and Omen Machine for it if that playstyle appeals to you. I may just drop omen machine for Mind over Matter.
Supersprite wrote:
1 week ago
How is nyx lotus? Seems slow 4 mana, tapped etc? I just play nykthos with exp map and tolaria west
The short answer is that's as slow as you would expect if you don't have a flash enabler. Flashing it in at End of Turn mitigates the drawback.

The appeal here over tutoring for Nykthos is the net mana positive earlier. The lotus is net positive off just Unesh if it was already out, and is more likely to ramp out Unesh. If you're already chaining sphinxes it's worse but if you're not then it's better. The benefit here is because nearly all the draw via piles, it makes the piles slightly more difficult to make for your opponents.
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Commander Decks
Kemba | Kytheon | Talrand | Unesh | Teferi | Geth | Zada | Krenko | Torbran | Patron Orochi | Ghalta | Gargos | Medomai | Lavinia | Silumgar | The Count | Xenagos | Nikya | Trostani | Athreos | Jarad | Kydele & Thrasios | Nin | Gisela | Feather | Roon | Chulane | Sydri | Ertai | Mairsil | Prosh | Marath | Marisi | Vial & Ravos | Marchesa | Syr Gwyn | Riku | Riku | Animar | Ghave | Tasigur | Muldrotha | Rayami | Zedruu | Yidris | Kynaios & Tiro | Saskia | Tymna & Kydele | Atraxa | Akiri & Silas | Genju | Sisay | Ur Dragon | Golos | Horde | Najeela | Traxos

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