Xenagos, God of Revels

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WizardMN
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Post by WizardMN » 1 year ago

This deck came about from my desire to diversify my deck options a little. I generally try to hover around 8-10 decks since a) any more and too many decks just don't get played and b) that is what my backpack can hold :)

I enjoy building decks but it is becoming increasingly more difficult to find decks I want to actually build because during the deck building process I either find them derivative of another deck I have or too linear. So I scrap them before they even get out of the "building" phase. This happened with Chulane, Yarok, Kestia, Arcades, etc.

Some of what I want is to mix up the colors a bit as well. Of the current 7 decks I have built, 5 are white, and 4 are black and/or blue. So I want to avoid building another deck with those 3 colors. Since only 3 are red and 2 are green, it seems that Red/Green is the combination I wanted to focus on.

The nice thing about this combination is it also allows me to branch out into a different archetypes. Of the 7 decks I have, 3 are control which also have blue in them, and Karador can be argued as being a form of control. Even if he can't, him and Windgrace are very much midrange, grindy decks. Which means that 5 of my decks are, effectively, slow. That leaves Varina and Gisela as the ones that aren't and even Varina has some control-ish elements to her. Specifically, she isn't the fastest deck either as the deck generally runs based on "get an army, wrath a bunch of times, reanimate said army, win". And, since the army isn't usually that big or strong, it doesn't really work to just go super aggressive with her.

Which leaves Gisela as my only real, aggressive deck. One that allows me to go all out and try to win as fast as possible. Which is great when I get to the end of the night and we only have an hour left to play. None of my other decks can be expected to win within that hour but Gisela can. Or, she will get blown out with a well timed wrath and just lose :)

So, Red/Green offers another deck in this vein. It is not controlling, it does not rely on mass reanimation, and it isn't really trying to pull its punches. It goes aggressive with bigger creatures than Boros so it is a bit slower but it also as the ramp needed to make bigger plays as well as the card draw to be able to rebuild from a wrath more easily. There are a couple spells to get everything back from the graveyard to hand as well.

This is very much still a work in progress. It is not a color combination I think I have ever built which is kind of odd for me as I think I have built at least one deck of every other 1, 2, or 3 color combination. But, that also means there is likely some card or cards I have missed. So, here is my starting list for now. It is currently 102 cards as I try to figure out the last 2 cuts to make.
Xenagos, God of Revels

General (1)


Planeswalkers (1)


Approximate Total Cost:

The main idea of this deck is just big mana, more or less. I want to get a bunch of mana to cast the big creatures/spells to just win. Craterhoof and Kamahl are ways to use that mana to just win out of nowhere. I don't really have a lot of ramp to start with (only 5 or 6 pieces) so that might need to be increased. I also didn't go with things like Boundless Realms yet as I wasn't sure I really needed them. I might add them later.

Sneak Attack and Ilharg give me free shots with things. Etali gives me some free casts. Maybe I need Fires of Yavimaya to give everything haste off a big Genesis Wave?

There are also a couple "protection" pieces gets me back a bunch of lands if they get destroyed. Vexing Shusher, Destiny Spinner, Prowling Serpopard, and Rhythm of the Wild ensure my stuff can't be countered. Spike Weaver and Constant Mists give me fogs in case I am behind.

And, of course since there are big creatures, I can't forget about adding in Diamond Valley :)

One thing the deck is missing though is wraths. I have 0 wrath effects. My idea is to basically "go big or go home" so if someone gets a better board than me, I guess I have to hope someone else can deal with them. I also don't have a lot of ways to deal with fliers so I will see if that ever becomes a problem which might lead me to adding in something like Blasphemous Act.

Otherwise, I think the rest of the list more or less speaks for itself. Big creatures, huge draw spells, etc. A couple tutors thrown in to get to some of the bigger stuff or a protection piece in a pinch.

I will hopefully be tweaking this over the next few days and making updates before Wednesday where I can actually try it out.
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MTGO Recordings

This section just references Magic Online games played with this deck. It might be fun to keep a tally of different games and the text summaries are elsewhere in the thread.
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07/04/20 Game
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07/07/20 Game
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07/07/20 Game 2
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Change Log
Change Log
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07/02/20
Approximate Total Cost:

11/12/20
Approximate Total Cost:

12/02/20
Approximate Total Cost:

4/12/2021
Approximate Total Cost:

Last edited by WizardMN 5 months ago, edited 19 times in total.

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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

The only thing that jumps out at me here is your mana is like 83% green and the land distribution is about 50% green. Given your ramp is all green I think you could stand to shave down to 9 or so mountains and rely on all that land tutoring to fix it. Your risk of not drawing a green source or being constrained on green is fairly high with only 17 turn 1 green sources. 21 is the minimum I would expect this deck to play.

My Gx decks always end up like this, like 70-80% green and splashing :P

Re: Wraths
Xenagos does not need wraths I don't think, it just goes so big. It could play apex altisaur though, that card has been hands down the best in my Mono green golos deck, able to clear the board multiple times with temur sabertooth.

If you need a second I would consider sudden demise as a reasonable option, it was always good in my Wort deck at one-sided sweepers, but I think Altisaur would be sufficient most of the time.

Re: Haste
anger is the traditional way to solve the haste problem smoothly in these colors. Because Xenagos can give one big creature haste I would not bother with anything other than maybe anger, especially not a non-creature spell.

New purphoros, bronze-blooded seems like an on theme way to do it too, I'm trying that in mono red golos. both sneak attack AND haste for other dudes and indestructible.

edit: And one card suggestion scourge of the throne foils are super cheap and that card is insaaaaane in xenagos. The scourge itself can just do lethal to someone (where it goes from from 11 to 23 and cranks someone to death) sometimes. I still remember selling my foil from a conspiracy draft for over 100 trade credit to SCG a few years back :P

And okay one more only because I have been playing a lot of big red stuff in golos red these days. drakuseth, maw of flames and balefire dragon are probably worth considering in the wrath slot with Xenagos to give them haste. Balefire has done insane work in my Red Golos deck, once sweeping the entire board of creatures with aggravated assault activations :P

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Post by WizardMN » 1 year ago

pokken wrote:
1 year ago
The only thing that jumps out at me here is your mana is like 83% green and the land distribution is about 50% green. Given your ramp is all green I think you could stand to shave down to 9 or so mountains and rely on all that land tutoring to fix it. Your risk of not drawing a green source or being constrained on green is fairly high with only 17 turn 1 green sources. 21 is the minimum I would expect this deck to play.

My Gx decks always end up like this, like 70-80% green and splashing :P
For a rought draft like this, I usually deal with my lands last. Effectively, I add the lands I know I want and then split the difference between the colors. I know I generally lean heavier on green cards here since I am not really a red player. But I didn't bother to fix the lands for it more because I expect to tweak it a little more. Though, I don't expect to add too many more red cards. Still good to call out though :)
Re: Wraths
Xenagos does not need wraths I don't think, it just goes so big. It could play apex altisaur though, that card has been hands down the best in my Mono green golos deck, able to clear the board multiple times with temur sabertooth.

If you need a second I would consider sudden demise as a reasonable option, it was always good in my Wort deck at one-sided sweepers, but I think Altisaur would be sufficient most of the time.
Temur Sabertooth is one I don't have that I should. I it seems like it would work pretty well with the Altisaur. I might give either or both of those a try.
Re: Haste
anger is the traditional way to solve the haste problem smoothly in these colors. Because Xenagos can give one big creature haste I would not bother with anything other than maybe anger, especially not a non-creature spell.

New purphoros, bronze-blooded seems like an on theme way to do it too, I'm trying that in mono red golos. both sneak attack AND haste for other dudes and indestructible.
The reason I was looking at a haste enabler was almost entirely based on trying to win off of Genesis Wave. Which is why I wanted a permanent that could go it. Although, I guess Anger still works for that too, so I agree Anger is likely the best candidate for that if I feel I need it.

I didn't even realize Purphoros granted haste. I will think about him as well.
edit: And one card suggestion scourge of the throne foils are super cheap and that card is insaaaaane in xenagos. The scourge itself can just do lethal to someone (where it goes from from 11 to 23 and cranks someone to death) sometimes. I still remember selling my foil from a conspiracy draft for over 100 trade credit to SCG a few years back :P

And okay one more only because I have been playing a lot of big red stuff in golos red these days. drakuseth, maw of flames and balefire dragon are probably worth considering in the wrath slot with Xenagos to give them haste. Balefire has done insane work in my Red Golos deck, once sweeping the entire board of creatures with aggravated assault activations :P
Interestingly I had Drakuseth as my very last cut before posting the list and it was based almost entirely on mana cost. I know I have Sneak Attack to get around it though Balefire Dragon works much better with Ilharg. Scourge was one I looked at and then discarded but maybe I was too quick to do so. Since the foil has come way down with the Mystery Booster foils, I might give it a shot. Though, the Conspiracy foil is still up there and that is the one I want (I hate the planeswalker symbol on the new one).

Of these 3 I think I like Balefire > Scourge > Drakuseth but it is likely correct to run both Balefire and Scourge due to them being included for different reasons.

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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

Agree with your assessment all around.

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Post by plushpenguin » 1 year ago

I think in order to get something like this running as smoothly as possible I would definitely heed your advice of doubling your ramp. Straight doubling. You want them to avoid falling behind too easily.

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Post by WizardMN » 1 year ago

My main concern with increasing the ramp is that ramp is often dead late in the game. I don't want to top deck a ramp spell when I really need something else. Though, hopefully, I don't really get into top deck mode with this deck anyway. As of now, my ramp package consists of:
I didn't include Ulvenwald Hydra in that because, while it ramps, it is more for land selection. Though, I had considered Boundless Realms and Traverse the Outlands as "mass ramp" spells. I think I prefer Traverse there since it is 2 mana cheaper and I might be able to get more lands out of it than Realms anyway.

So, beyond the two I mentioned, I think the question simply becomes "what other ramp should be included?". I would rather have more 2 mana ramp, so maybe Farseek, Nature's Lore, Three Visits, or Dawntreader Elk, I am not a fan of the Elk and I have no desire to spend $60+ on Three Visits.

Is there any other ramp you are thinking I am missing? Or good ramp I should include?

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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

So traditionally the best way to ramp with Xenagos is going to be mana dorks (especially because of the synergy with cradle). If I were playing it, that's probably what I'd do. High risk high reward. Since he costs 5 I'd also play the 3 cultivate effects (including nissa's pilgrimage) as a bit of a hedge.

Obviously in "optimal super power" or whatever the cultivates are not amazing, but they give you a lot of consistency and staying power to get to 5-6 mana and start casting your bigger stuff even if you lose some dorks.

This is the ramp package I'd probably start with, cutting the rest except finale. ETB get a single land is kinda medium if you aren't gonna blink it/recast it/skullclamp it.
(note: I'd put dryad arbor in of course :))

harvest season is one that may be worth playing in there too, and possibly earthcraft. Dunno though.

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Post by WizardMN » 1 year ago

I guess I am willing to give a few of those a shot. I still prefer the land based ramp but the interaction between those above and both Cradles can be pretty good. That entire package still seems like a lot more than I think I want. 17 out of 99 cards dedicated to ramp is a lot. And, I don't like a couple of them anyway.

So, I think I will try this:
This basically increases my ramp package to 11 cards from 9 (I didn't include Crop Rotation above but I guess with Cradle it can technically be ramp and I hadn't listed Nyxbloom Ancient either).

I will see what I can find to cut for these.

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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

I have a hard time playing mana dorks myself, I tend to lean hard on extra land drops in my bomb heavy decks. And it does depend a lot on how sweeper heavy your meta is.

Still, the advantage of having your guys help win with overruns and double accelerating ghalta, and enabling turn 2 cultivates, is pretty great.

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Post by WizardMN » 1 year ago

Ghalta is actually on the chopping block :) I need to find cuts somewhere and Ghalta is "just" a big beater. Everything else in the deck actually does more than just swing once for big damage. And, I need room somewhere for the Dragons mentioned above.

So, I think I am going to cut Ghala, Arasta (I realize she works well for an "army" but it is a bit too reliant on my opponents), Xengos Walker, and Natural Order. I am contemplating cutting Rhythm of the Wild or Destiny Spinner. I like the Uncounterable clauses, but I am not sure how many slots I want to dedicate to it. Beyond those two, I have Vexing Shusher and Serpopard. And Sneak Attack and Ilharg get around counterspells as well.

Klothys might not be that great either so I might cut her too. I would rather cut noncreatures if I can. I am wondering if I really need Veil of Summer as a one-off answer or if Life's Legacy is really needed with all the other card draws,

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Post by plushpenguin » 1 year ago

To address the issue with ramp being dead late game, I normally use a combination of two solutions.

One is that instead of using mass dorks to ramp I simply use the best ones and then tutors to get the rest. It is definitely more awkward at times but I get to avoid this problem for a statistically significant portion of my "functional ramp"

The other is to lean hard on card draw. You definitely have the 10 or so sources of mass draw that a Xenagos deck would want to see every single game.

I sometimes wonder if cradle would be useful for my build, but I can't run it because of my relatively low creature count. I wouldn't be able to get it to produce more mana reliably than an Ancient Tomb

Lastly, yes, scourge is insane evasive damage. Definitely the best evasive heavy damage attacker outside of Godo-Embercleave.

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Post by Magiqmaster » 1 year ago

For inspiration, check out my deck at:https://deckbox.org/sets/2357549.

As others previously mentioned, a good ramp package is super important. You really want to cast Zenagos ASAP to ensure as much damage as possible before others can setup their defenses. I run 13 spells for this purpose and the deck works really well. Note that they all cost 3 or less (except for Ulvenwald Hydra); this is another important thing to consider to speed up your game.

Hope this helps!

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Post by WizardMN » 1 year ago

With the full spoiler of Core 2021 and Jumpstart, I have decided to finally post some of my thoughts on new cards. I will separate then by color but Jumpstart and Core 2021 cards will be lumped together.

Note that I still have yet to play a single game with this deck so it still isn't even close to being tuned or tested or anything like that. It seems weird to be looking at new cards without seeing the existing list in action but I suppose it isn't really that different than if I had built the deck today.

Here is what I can see as being potentials:

Green Cards

Elder Gargaroth - This seems like a great card for this deck. I want to be aggressive, I already have a push towards ramp to get things down early and it starts to build an army pretty fast. It also can block nearly everything thanks to the 6 toughness and Reach and Vigilance allows it to attack and block without having to decide between the two.

Garruk's Harbinger - Eh... I mean, this is effectively just "draw a card (maybe)" and I think there are better ways to get cards. Now, with Xenagos and other effects it lets me see more cards so the card selection option is certainly better than just "draw a card" but it still seems underwhelming when I could just draw more cards. I might revisit it though if I feel that card selection is more important than the card draw I have.

Garruk's Uprising - Another card draw effect. Not as good as Elemental Bond due to not triggering for slightly weaker creatures, but better in nearly every other way since it gives things trample and can draw a card when it enters. If I was running Bond or Garruk's Packleader or something, I might look at this but I don't think it is necessary.

Allosaurus Shepherd - This looks like a better Prowling Serpopard in that it protects all my green spells and not just creatures. Since I don't have many Red creatures, I don't lose a lot if I were to cut the Serpopard. I could also keep both if I wanted them.

Neyith of the Dire Hunt - This is another Xenagos, God of Revels effect that also acts as removal. It doesn't have Trample but other cards do. With it, I think that paying 3 mana to draw 2 cards (fighting and having something inevitably be blocked) draw a card and removal is super good in this deck. EDIT: I actually thought the trigger forced a Fight, not a block, so that changes the estimation of the card. I still think it is worth running, but it only guarantees one card per combat. I guess forcing a Fight might have been a little broken anyway.

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Post by WizardMN » 1 year ago

So, my group got together before the Prerelease on Friday to play some EDH for a little while and since is the deck I built that I have never played yet, I wanted to play it. I busted it out against Gisela, Blade of Goldnight (my own; in my sig), God-Eternal Oketra, and God-Eternal Rhonas (both of these were owned by another player trying to build the 5 God-Eternals).

I started off with an Elvish Mystic into Greater Good and then eventually Xenagos, God of Revels. I also dropped in a Vivien Reid which blew up Panharmonicon from Rhonas. Vivien then got me a Boreal Druid (I wanted a land) but I cast that and passed. Vivien died the turn after that.

At one point, I doubled Mystic's power and attacked into someone and cast Hunter's Insight just to draw some cards. I don't remember if I missed a land drop but I was getting close.

In the mean time Gisela was doing a few things. They got rid of Greater Good and and artifact or enchantment of Oketra's. I think Oketra's was the bigger threat so they wanted to cast a Return to Dust early rather than waiting for Xenagos. I think it was the right play at the time.

During this time though, no one was really doing too much, including myself. We were all still in the "building" phase of the game. It got to about turn 7 or so where there were some pot shots here or there but nothing too radical, when Rhonas dropped in a Nyxbloom Ancient and passed the turn. I believe they tapped out to do it. I felt left out and cast my own Nyxbloom Ancient. The difference was that I had Gaea's Cradle and Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx. Both were untapped after tapping 6 lands and the Mystic. This meant that from those two lands, which would have only produced 2 from the Cradle and then turned that 2 into 6 from Nykthos (I had Mystic, Xenagos, Ancient, and the Druid I think), I was able to generate 6 from Cradle, to take 2 mana and activate Nykthos for 18 for a total of 22 mana.

And so, with 22 mana at my disposal, I did the only reasonable thing: I cast Genesis Wave for X = 19. I got a lot of stuff. Craterhoof Behemoth was actually important here (not for this turn) and I got Winding Canyons along with 5 other lands, Growing Rites of Itlimoc // Itlimoc, Cradle of the Sun, World Shaper, Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker, Sneak Attack, Questing Beast, Balefire Dragon, Etali, Primal Storm, Ilharg, the Raze-Boar, Klothys, God of Destiny, and Selvala, Heart of the Wilds,

I made sure the trigger from Craterhoof resolved first so I could draw off Selvala. I then resolved the trigger from Growing Rites to get something. I made a copy of Balefire Dragon with Kiki and attacked Rhonas with it to blow up their board and swung at Gisela with my 18/18 (or something) Craterhoof.

I passed the turn and then on Rhonas end step I activated Winding Canyons, cast Beast Whisperer, followed by a bunch of creatures. Since I had 39 mana or so from the transformed Growing Rites, I was able to get keep stringing together more and more spells. None actually mattered so I don't remember all of them.

On my next turn I just copied Craterhoof Behemoth with Kiki and overran everyone with 17 or so +17/+17 creatures with Trample. So, I won around turn 9 or 10.

Ancient is just awesome. I know 7 mana is a lot, and it felt really good to have that play with Genesis Wave, but man was that demoralizing for people when it resolved and I got a Genesis Wave out of it. I am not going to cut either one of them now but I am going to see how often I just win with Ancient. If most games are just "land Ancient, win the game" I am going to cut the Ancient. I like having cool stories like this once in a while but I don't like the repetitive nature of wins like that.

Obviously, one game doesn't suggest that. It was still fun and I picked a different deck for the second game we played. Considering R/G is probably the color combination I most stay away from, I did have fun with the deck and I hope I can get it to a point where everyone at the table has fun with it too. I am looking forward to grinding a few more games with it.

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Post by WizardMN » 1 year ago

I got another game in with this deck last night. I played against God-Eternal Oketra, Karona, False God (God Tribal), and Varina, Lich Queen (my own deck).

I didn't have a very good starting hand but kept it anyway. It was 2 lands and a Llanowar Elves along with a couple 6 drops and Greater Good. I did draw into Finale of Devastation and cast it for X=2 expecting to find Sakura-Tribe Elder. I realized I didn't have it in the deck though as I was searching so I just grabbed a Birds of Paradise.

I then used this to cast Biogenic Ooze to stem some damage coming into me and I eventually hit my 6th mana source. I cast Etali, Primal Storm and then cast Xenagos the turn after. I doubled Etali's P/T and swung at Oketra. I revealed a land for 2 of us, Toxic Deluge from Varina, and God-Eternal Rhonas from Karona. I cast Rhonas to double the power of Etali up to 24 so Oketra had to block since they were at 20. I passed the turn. I didn't cast Deluge because my mana was still wrapped up in 2 mana dorks and doing so would have set me too far behind.

On Varina's turn, they cast Winds of Abandon which let me search for 7 lands and Karona for 3. Oketra had no creatures so no ramp for them. This was probably the best thing I could have hoped for since I was really starving for lands. I don't think Varina had much of a choice either as Etali would have gotten out of control.

With those new lands, I cast Multani, Yavimaya's Avatar and Greater Good. Next turn I recast Xenagos (Winds exiled him) and made Multani super big. I didn't attack since Varina had Deathtouch creatures and Oketra had rebuilt reasonably well. So, I sacrificed Multani to Greater Good to draw 30 cards. Since I had Reliquary Tower I didn't need to discard anything.

Next turn I cast a couple ramp spells along with Growing Rites of Itlimoc // Itlimoc, Cradle of the Sun. This transformed at the end of my turn. I had also gotten a Gaea's Cradle from an Ulvenwald Hydra I cast at some point.

I had also Chord of Callinged for Selvala, Heart of the Wilds. So, when one of my turns began, I had 13 creatures, Selvala, and both Cradles. I started my turn with Oketra on 4 life and the other two out of the game at this point.

I cast Sneak Attack which put in Inferno Titan, Balefire Dragon, and a bunch of other stuff. I don't think I want to bother listing it all out. Now, before I go on, I want to say I know Titan would have killed the Oketra player with his ETB and Attack triggers, but that wasn't any fun. Instead, since they had 198 toughness on the board, along with Knight-Captain of Eos, I wanted to win through combat damage.

So, I was doing all this and they fogged with Knight-Captain. I ended up with 20 creatures on the board but not many with Trample. So, I swung. Before Damage I activated Sneak Attack and put in Craterhoof Behemoth. I didn't add up all the P/T but from Craterhoof alone, I had 20*21 power (or 420) coming into them. And that Fog was nullified by my Questing Beast I had cast a little earlier. There was definitely over 500 damage going to their face and it was all unpreventable.

The game ended on a really high note, even if it did come about from me screwing around. If this wasn't the second time I was playing the deck, I would have just won with Titan and been done with it. But I wanted something a little more grandiose :)

Being this is the second game I played with the deck, it is hard to make any sweeping generalizations. But, the lack of Sakura-Tribe Elder is an oversight I should correct, and the reliance on mana dorks could have ended badly this game if I hadn't gotten to attack with Etali to exile Toxic Deluge. It did work out in the end, but it is the main thing I am concerned about when relying more heavily on creatures for mana. I am going to rethink some of that while I decided what to cut for some of the cards above.

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Post by WizardMN » 1 year ago

After a bit of pondering, I have decided to try out the following:
07/02/20
Approximate Total Cost:

So, I really want to lean more into land based ramp. I am not going to cut any mana dorks quite yet, but I have a feeling the writing might be on the wall for them. I do think they have a place here so it is hard to just say I am getting rid of them entirely but there is a significant downside to them that I don't think I am prepared to just accept. For now though, I am going to go with Sakura as an addition. If I find other games where I don't like the dorks, I will go with Wood Elves and a few others instead. They are slower but I don't lose anything if they go away.

Gargaroth and Neyith were mentioned above and the reasoning behind them hasn't changed. I am looking forward to seeing how well they perform.

I have also decided to go down on the "uncounterable" stuff. I am thinking it might be best to play without them and then add things back in if they are needed. So, Shusher and Serpopard are getting the axe here.

And, as the third cut, I am just going to get rid of Protean Hulk. It might be a little overkill in this deck and I am not the biggest fan of the play patterns it creates anyway. If I really want a tutor type card I can always try for Natural Order as a replacement but the way the games have played so far, I don't think it is absolutely necessary.

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Post by WizardMN » 1 year ago

I built this online so I could jam a few more games with it. It is a deck that I can see getting old for people to play against too often so online lets me play against different people each time.

I played against Karona, False God, Animar, Soul of Elements, and Morophon, the Boundless. On the surface, these seemed like reasonably powered decks (especially Animar and Morophon) so I figured this would be a good game.

I started off with 2 lands in hand and a Cultivate. I had already mulled once so I just kept this hand. Luckily I drew into a Miren, the Moaning Well so I could cast Cultivate. I did this on turn 3 and cast Xenagos turn 4. On turn 5, I cast Sneak Attack and cheated in Etali, Primal Storm. This got me a Consecrated Sphinx and Jodah, Archmage Eternal. I revealed a land as did Karona which really sucked for them as they missed a couple land drops. I missed a land drop on turn 5 too.

Sphinx ended up drawing me about 26 cards since Animar cast Myojin of Seeing Winds and activated it to draw 10 cards. I think they would have been better off waiting but they might have been digging for something. I think they felt it wouldn't be too much of a problem, since I only had 5 mana and only 2 was red so I wouldn't get many activations with Sneak Attack. Oh, how wrong they were :)

Anyway, my turn came around so I activated Sneak Attack to cheat in Nyxbloom Ancient. I then tapped my other mountain for 3 red mana and cheated in Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker. I copied Ancient and cheated in Combustible Gearhulk and Sunder Shaman for the red mana symbols. I played Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx and activated it for 81 red mana (and 6 floating green mana). I cast Genesis Wave for X = 41 (I didn't want to go too high). This flooded the board with a ton of stuff (you can watch the video to see them all). But, importantly, it included Purphoros, Bronze-Blooded to give everything Haste.

I had Craterhoof Behemoth in hand and revealed Kamahl, Fist of Krosa off of the Growing Rites of Itlimoc // Itlimoc, Cradle of the Sun trigger. So, I had somewhere around a million mana to play with to make my army huge. Everyone just scooped it up when I said I had Craterhoof. I also had Questing Beast to stop any fogs but it wasn't really necessary.

This was turn 6 by the way.

This was exceptionally fast and Sphinx + Myojin was a big part of it. But, without Ancient that play wouldn't have even been that bad. Ancient just escalated the game thanks to only costing 1 mana to get on the field.

I am very happy with the way this worked out. I am still really leaning into the mana dorks being cut eventually. This was only one game of course, but they never made an appearance and I prefer creatures that get lands anyway. There aren't many good cheap ones, but Dawntreader Elk and Diligent Farmhand can help if I don't mind the activations. Wood Elves, Farhaven Elf, and Yavimaya Dryad are my go-tos as it is and I like the Dryad and Wood Elves since they can get duels.

I don't really have anything else I want to change here.

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Post by WizardMN » 1 year ago

Got in another game online. This time it was against Neheb, the Eternal, Ruhan of the Fomori, and Teshar, Ancestor's Apostle.

I kept a hand of 5 lands, but all produced green or colorless. Luckily, the majority of the deck is green anyway. I did misread a card though. I had Nissa's Pilgrimage and thought it could get any basic and forgot it only got Forests. So, I just ended up with more Forests :)

Neheb cast Molten Psyche after a couple turns so that helped out a lot so I got some better cards in hand. Ruhan was also giving away Rainbow Vale for some reason. They gave it to me and then asked for it back. I thought about keeping it but was nice and gave it back the first time. However, the next time I got it, I used it and gave it to someone else.

Neheb was doing a fair amount to keep the board clear with Pyrohemia. On one turn they had Pyrohemia, cast Neheb, went to the postcombat main phase and got 9 mana. They pumped a lot into Pyrohemia but didn't kill Ruhan. I think they wanted to make sure their Pyrohemia stuck around. Which I think was a mistake.

Interestingly, they had Aggravated Assault on the field and would get at least 9 mana each main phase (more since they would attack each combat). They could have easily killed everyone but Ruhan since we had no blockers. They could have just kept swinging with Neheb and generating more and more mana.

If they could have gained 3 life, or dealt 3 damage to Ruhan, they would have just won the game right there. I am not sure if they just didn't have anything or if they made a mistake in thinking Swiftfoot Boots would save Neheb from Pyrohemia, but they had a very good board state there so I am glad I swung at them first to make sure their life was not the highest.

In any case, since they didn't win there, the game went on. Ruhan cast a Timesifter which is a terrible card against this deck. Out of the 8 upkeeps where his card was on the field, I "won" 4 of them. Ruhan won 3 and Teshar won 1 but they never got to take that turn since I killed them both on my turn before that.

Of the 3 Ruhan took, they attacked me for 2 of them I think with Ruhan. But, I had Xenagos on the field so no damage actually got through. Instead, on my turns, I swung at Ruhan for one of them, paying 4 for Propaganda to get my Inferno Titan and Yeva, Nature's Herald through. This put them to 6. And on my final turn, I cast Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker to copy Titan to deal 2 damage to the Ruhan player and 1 to Kataki, War's Wage on Teshar's side of the field. I then cast Craterhoof Behemoth to make my guys huge and made a Titan even bigger with Xenagos. I swung everything at Teshar and pointed to the two Titan triggers at Ruhan.

Ruhan died with -2 life and Teshar died with -65 life :)

This deck really seems to punish players trying to play group hug or when things line up where I can get a lot more resources. Ruhan cast a Mana Flare in this game which is what allowed for that final turn to be so explosive. And my higher curve came in handy with Timesifter.

I am still thinking I want to move more into creatures that get me lands. I did accidentally add Yavimaya Elder instead of Yavimaya Dryad to the deck since there is a card online I didn't want to pay for and I needed a replacement. It didn't matter, but it is why the Elder showed up in the game (it got exiled to Timesifter).

I am really liking the deck overall though. The games I have played have been pretty epic and they do get done sort of quickly but I think I am fine with that as a lot of my decks tend to be on the slower side anyway so having more than just Gisela as a "quick" deck is nice.

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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

WizardMN wrote:
1 year ago
This deck really seems to punish players trying to play group hug
Both you and I tend to gravitate toward decks that do this it seems like, either that or it could be that our decision making is good? I don't know. I literally always destroy group hug players, every single kind I run into.I think it is partly that we lean toward efficient engines that when someone steps on the gas for you kinda go ape?

I do see people making really poor decisions against group hug decks a lot of time, though, often letting them do their thing more than they ought to. So it could just be a proper threat assessment thing.

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Post by WizardMN » 1 year ago

I think there are a lot of factors at play to be honest. In fairness, I think the biggest factor is that people like getting more resources: mana, cards, creatures, whatever. Seeing a Font of Mythos just means I get more cards, right?

And more efficient engines help for sure and it really depends on what the group hug player is trying to do. Most of the time, in my experience, they tend to get things on the board to let everyone Revel in Riches (so to speak :) ) without doing a whole lot else. But then everyone gets blindsided when that player goes off.

No matter what is happening, I will try to go after the Group Hug player first to cut off this eventuality. But, it becomes tough to suggest to players that these additional resources are a bad thing as they see all upside. So I think there is a little bit of threat assessment woes thrown in there.

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Post by WizardMN » 1 year ago

I played a game with this deck again tonight because I expected it to be quick. Oh, how wrong I turned out to be and I was almost late for golf :)

I played against Etali, Primal Storm, Hazezon Tamar, and Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose.

As it custom apparently with this deck, a player cast a group hug card. Just Rites of Flourishing and Hazezon cast it fairly early so we were ramping pretty good and keeping our hands full. I was doing some additional ramp on my own with Sakura-Tribe Elder and Kodama's Reach.

Then, Etali cast War's Toll which sort of messed things up but not really for me. I just cast Balefire Dragon with the intent on swinging at Vito to clear their board. They saw the writing on the wall so the killed the Dragon and then swung at me.

Next turn I cast Xenagos and Kodama's Reach and passed. I also had a Llanowar Elves on the field. The turn after, since I had 13 mana, I cast Finale of Devastation to get back Balefire Dragon. This made it s 16/16. Xenagos made it a 32/32 and I swung at Vito so they would quit hitting me. Etali might have been the next best option, but I was sort of fed up with getting hit :)

Etali swung at Vito as well and they scooped at 6 life.

Etali being red was big on Artifacts and Hazezon got down an Aura Shards and 5 creatures (thanks to Parallel Lives and a Fabricate card) which took out all of the artifacts, and the War's Toll, Etali had.

Etali also had a Magus of the Moon in play which sort of hurt but not a whole lot. It mainly just cut off a couple green mana at first but nothing major.

I had one turn where I really wanted to kill Etali since I felt that they were low enough and I couldn't quite kill Hazezon.

I cast Nyxbloom Ancient into Craterhoof Behemoth but then I was stupid and used my floating mana (which I didn't even need to do since I still had a land to tap for 3 mana) and blew up Hazezon's Parallel Lives. This gave them a token which then let them destroy Ancient with Aura Shards (stupid card being an enchantment :( ).

So, I swung at Etali for 16 putting them at 15 and then they wrathed the board. They swung at me and didn't really get anything off the triggers. Hazezon rebuilt so Etali had to wrath again with Chandra's Ignition putting me at 11. Luckily, they swung at Hazezon this time because they were clearly representing the threat.

Worth noting is that somewhere along the line Aura Shards went away which was a huge deal for the end of the game. My best guess is that they accidentally targeted it with its own trigger (though they still had Xenagos to target) and then accidentally said "yes" to destroying it. Or, maybe they just got tired of all the triggers. I think I have done that in Karador online before.

My hand was pretty awful at this stage and I didn't have anything to draw cards. Etali exiled my Life's Legacy which would have been sweet. So, Hazezon rebuilt again with Myr Battlesphere and copied it with Flameshadow Conjuring. They swung the copy at Etali and tapped the myrs to just kill them.

I drew two lands next turn but one was Sheltered Thicket. I cycled it and got Constant Mists. Which wasn't as useful as I would have liked since they had a Battlesphere but I figured it would save me for a turn.

Instead, they attacked with everything without tapping their Myrs. So, I fogged and stayed at 11. They flooded the board with more tokens. This time from Avenger of Zendikar.

I was in basically top deck mode still. I drew a Forest and a Vivien Reid. Vivien was a redraw and got me Kamahl, Fist of Krosa. Not a very good card for the position I was in but the other option was Kiki and he was even worse since everything I had was Legendary.

I cast Sneak Attack and passed the turn planning to fog to stay alive at 3 which is exactly what happened. They tapped their myrs this time to make sure I took damage through the fog. I was at 3 life. They then spent a ton of time spitting out more tokens. I really just wanted them to pass so I could get to my turn since they were just sort of wasting time, but they did cast Skullclamp in there so they did draw a little too to try to dig for whatever they wanted to dig for (my guess was Goblin Bombardment.

Once they were done flooding the board, I started my turn. I drew Hunter's Insight and Elder Gargaroth. Neither were particularly good at this stage of the game. However, I was able to tick up Vivien and I got Combustible Gearhulk. I cheated it in with Sneak Attack (luckily Aura Shards wasn't around to blow it up) and gave them the choice of letting me draw or taking damage. They let me draw. They were on 18 life but I was clearly playing big things so I think they were concerned over dying to it when they knew I couldn't get in with damage.

So, I drew Etali, Primal Storm[/card, [card]Thrashing Brontodon, and a Mountain (they would have taken 9). Brontodon was great since it got rid of Myr Battlesphere so they would have to find another way to get through my Constant Mists.

But, I put Etali on the field with Sneak Attack and swung with Etali, Xenagos, and Gearhulk. I had made the Gearhulk bigger. So, I had a total of 24 damage coming in but no Trample and they had a ton of chump blockers.

Etali got me Biogenic Ooze and Sol Ring so nothing really good. We went to blocks and they blocked each creature with a single token. They had a lot of tokens but I am not sure if it was enough to kill my stuff. I am pretty sure they could have though since their Plant tokens were at least 2/3s.

Anyway, they blocked and I cheated in God-Eternal Rhonas and Kamahl, Fist of Krosa (I only needed Kamahl but I still wanted to get Rhonas out there). Kamahl gave my dudes trample and I got them down to -11 life.

I barely pulled this game out and it did rely on a couple misplays from my opponent. I think there was somewhere in there where I should have realized I should have gone after Hazezon instead of Etali. It might have made it easier if they went after Hazezon too but it is hard to say what would have happened there.

Anyway, I think this game went well regardless. I know the Rites played a big part in that and I am not sure what would have happened if I didn't get to draw all those extra cards. But, I am not sure what would have happened if everyone else didn't either so it might be a wash. I think I was able to do more with the mana but even then I ran out of cards towards the end.

I don't think I need more card draw or anything. It was just the way the game went this time.

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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

I think something about the differing levels of focus required for mtgo makes me hyper aware of misplays and how they effect the game. I don't usually remember the details quite as vividly in paper. Might just be me tho.

I feel like almost every game there are multiple chains of misplays that conspire to give me games. Like in that ephara game, the rift player had seen my hand with urge and still got blown out by venser. They should have definitely waited.

My memory of paper games is fuzzy but I feel like I tend to play a lot looser and because everyone is jawing there are fewer egregious misplays. Also the occasional take back fixes a lot of things that shouldn't happen too.

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Post by WizardMN » 1 year ago

I sort of feel the same way, though I think being able to watch them back as I am writing up summaries tend to remind me of "that seems like a bad play" and it sticks out more the second time around. It is also a little easier to just focus on the game, and the mistakes, without the distractions generally present in an LGS.

I do find myself thinking more about what opponents are doing wrong online than I do in paper. Not really sure why that is as that part shouldn't change as much. Again, maybe it is more about being able to really concentrate on the game as a whole, like you said, that really makes the difference.

Ah, yeah, take backs probably do a lot more to change the perception of games in paper. Having an easy way to rectify mistakes/misplays in paper, and a generally more relaxed atmosphere probably changes a lot.

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Post by WizardMN » 1 year ago

I played 2 games last night. I don't really remember who the opposing commanders were.

The first game was awful. I kept a hand with 3 land but no ramp. And over the course of 5 draws I drew one land: Gaea's Cradle. Which sucked. So, as a desperation move, I Chaos Warped the Cradle to get something and got another land. This let me cast Neyith of the Dire Hunt and Selvala, Heart of the Wilds the turn after.

But, it was too late. Neyith died too soon and I still never drew another land and the game was basically over without me doing anything.

The second game was far better. I kept a 2 lander but had Cultivate and Nissa's Pilgrimage in hand. I drew a land turn 1 and just ramped a little. I built my board with Selvala, Xenagos, Biogenic Ooze (which put in a lot of good work), and eventually Purphoros, Bronze-Blooded. Purphoros got me a free Balefire Dragon which died before he could connect to the opponent.

At one point, I had milled Creeping Renaissance which let me get back a few creatures, including the Dragon, and I was able to use Selvala to get a bunch of mana to cheat in a few red creatures to really beat down. I killed two players this way.

The turn before last, I tutored for Nyxbloom Ancient with Chord of Calling, making it uncounterable with Boseiju, Who Shelters All, and then proceeded to really go off. I sacrificed both the Biogenic Ooze and the biggest token to Greater Good to fill my hand, cheated in a few creatures with Purphoros, and cast [Craterhoof Behemoth as the nail in the coffin. The last player had no way to deal with all this and ended up scooping.

The first game just shows I need to be more aggressive with mulligans. I sat there for a couple minutes trying to figure out what to do and figured I would draw into things. The rest of the hand was pretty good, but doesn't do anything without ramp.

Balefire Dragon has been nothing short of amazing every time I get it on the field. It eats removal, but man, when it hits, it is huge. This is my main wrath in the deck and it is working out well.

Scourge of the Throne made an appearance in the second game and was awesome as well. I was able to make sure I wasn't life leader thanks to Boseiju, so I got two combats that turn. I had cheated it in with Purphoros so it went away but that was the turn I killed two people so it was worth it.

Sunder Shaman has been in my hand a lot and I have yet to hit anyone with it. I am thinking it is becoming unnecessary as the rest of the deck is just trying to go so fast that it doesn't matter if someone has something. I might cut it. I like it, but it might not be right for the deck. I would probably add in another ramp piece to be honest.

Combustible Gearhulk has also been pretty good in this deck. In the second game, I cast it twice. The first time milled (which I just realized is how Creeping Renaissance got in the graveyard) and dealt 11 damage. The second time I drew and would have dealt 17 damage (they were on 18). The fact that my stuff is big makes people more tentative to have me mill.

Otherwise, the deck has been performing very well (other than one game where I was dumb and didn't mulligan :) ).

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Post by WizardMN » 1 year ago

I played two games with this tonight. Both I think were against Zaxara, the Exemplary and something else (I already forgot).

The first game was going pretty well. I had struggled to make some land drops and didn't have much ramp but I was making things work. I had just cast Purphoros, Bronze-Blooded to cheat in Inferno Titan and then cast Selvala, Heart of the Wilds to get a bunch of mana. I had passed the turn with 2 mana up (I missed a land drop, which is important). Zaxara chose this time to put Freed from the Real on him and generate infinite mana. They had 2 cards in hand with one of them being Demonic Tutor. They grabbed Torment of Hailfire and the game was done. Kind of sucks but what can you do.

The next game was slow. I started off with Llanowar Elves into Kodama's Reach into Xenagos, God of Revels. My 5th land was Diamond Valley which meant I couldn't cast the Combustible Gearhulk or the Multani, Yavimaya's Avatar in my hand. I did get the Gearhulk down next turn though.

I had Greater Good out for a little while and sacrifice Gearhulk to draw some cards and hit some lands. I also hit Sneak Attack. Next turn I cast Sneak Attack and then cheated in a couple creatures. I went after Zaxara to try to get them down before they could combo again.

On one turn I cheated in Ilharg, the Raze-Boar and Ulvenwald Hydra. Ilharg got me Craterhoof Behemoth so I was attacking with 4 creatures. Xenagos and Ulvenwald were 11 power, Craterhoof was 10, and Ilharg (since I targeted him with Xenagos) was 17. This was just enough to get through the two 12/12 tokens Zaxara had to kill them.

The turn after I did that I just went off. I snuck in Nyxbloom Ancient to give me 6 red mana (I only had 3 red sources at the time). I cheated in all the red cards in hand and activated Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx to give me 24 red mana. I cheated in even more stuff. I sacrificed something to get even more to cheat in and then cheated in Craterhoof Behemoth, I could have gone further if I needed to but I had around 20 creatures on board all with Haste and +20/+20 so I was swinging in for way more than enough.

This game ended up being vindication for the previous one ended so abruptly :)

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