Zada: Grinding up and Arcane Storm

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Post by Crazy Monkey » 7 months ago

The deck is built to utilize Zada, Hedron Grinder to radiate cantrip spells such as crimson wisps and fists of flame, then leverage those into a higher storm count and mana with rituals like inner fire and/or battle hymn with the eventual goal of targeting Zada with multiple instances of arcane spells with overblaze and desperate ritual spliced in to overwhelm your opponents.

Like other Zada decks, we will be playing a large number of targeting pump spells, such as downhill charge, rouse the mob, and temur battle rage. Unlike other Zada decks, I don't want to settle for mere overkill. I want to cast path of anger's flame and other arcane spells with overblaze spliced into it as many times as possible. Side Note: current cap in testing has been 15 instances of overblaze and my personal damage record in game is 1.6 x 10^18 specifically: 1,603,247,750,000,000,000.

The important pieces of this deck can be purchased for an extremely low budget. The most expensive cards perform no significant action in the overall storm, but accelerate the turn that the deck can storm.
Interactions of Note:
  • Playing a high density of instants/sorceries has made young pyromancer and goblinslide the most effective token generating permanents this deck has to offer. These are especially effective when properly stacking the triggers to generate the tokens before Zada's trigger resolves. Pyromancer in particular quickly gets out of hand once twinflame has been cast a couple of times.
  • Similarly to young pyromancer, runaway steam-kin generates mana to continue storming, and if copy effects are used, the net mana is usually positive
  • Avoid hardcasting desperate ritual. Splicing onto a 'carrier' to target Zada takes this deck from a probable win to a near certain one with 40-60 floating mana.
  • When heat shimmer and twinflame hit Krenko, let the original die so that the token can activate and re-double the number of goblins
  • Be careful of your creature count when casting a cantrip. It can be difficult to win if your library is empty and there are still Zada radiated draw triggers on the stack. There are, however ways to win with this on the stack such as an activated ability to deal damage or firestorm
  • If you're looking to chain cantrips, I wouldn't recommend going for it unless you have at least Zada and 4 other creatures. An ideal starting point is 5+. This advise is based on the statistical probability/card density of my deck and may vary for your own build.
  • fiery gambit is a probable win if the creature count is around 2/3 of the higher opponent's life. You can chose where to stop at 2 flips or 3 flips. 2 flips is a 1:4 chance of dealing 6 damage to each opponent for each creature. This can be a way to force an opponent's response or ending the game. 3 flips is a 1:8 chance of untapping land and drawing 9. The average probability effectively makes this both a cantrip and a ritual effects with sufficient creatures.
Alternative paths
  • wheels, small discard-draw effects, or just more cantrips are effective ways to make this deck more consistent. However, the probability distributions require approximately the current count for cantrips and creatures at minimum for a 80% success rate. This means that a more consistent build would likely drop the arcane package for more cantrip effects or wheels. As I place a premium on excessively high damage counts, I won't make that swap but other could.
  • possibility storm is a massive source of card advantage/efficiency, because both the original and second spell from possibility storm can be copied by Zada if possible.
  • alternative damage sources such as purphoros, god of the forge, psychosis crawler, or guttersnipe can work well with the primary engines of the deck. I don't use them so that my opponents survive to see absolute overkill.
Current testing cards:
fists of flame, samut;s sprint, scampering scorcher, and Neheb, dreadhorde champion.
Last edited by Crazy Monkey 7 months ago, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by lyonhaert » 7 months ago

Yo! I can change my sig link now.
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Post by Crazy Monkey » 7 months ago

Any thoughts on cross linking the Nexus thread and MTGS thread so that players can reference multiple conversations? While likely convenient, I'm unsure on whether that would be acceptable for either platform, due to prospective solicitation concerns.
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Post by lyonhaert » 7 months ago

It's absolutely fine. I don't have a huge thread on Sally, so I may or may not crosslink. But if I do I'll possibly just put a link at the top of both (e.g., both Chainer threads), leading to the other. Or the bottom of the OP. :thinking:
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Post by Rumpy5897 » 7 months ago

I left Nexus links on my old MTGS threads pretty much everywhere possible - in huge red letters at the top of the OP, in a final thread post, even swapping my sig links.

That said, cool deck is cool. I'm liking the arcane subtheme, which must be quite a hoot to get online. Is Mogg Fanatic worth a slot? I can vouch Fists of Flame is a riot in my Feather, the Redeemed, and has started being my go-to wincon for a faux-Hoof ever since they banned Pengine. Is Seasoned Pyromancer no-go?

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Post by lyonhaert » 7 months ago

Rumpy5897 wrote:
7 months ago
I left Nexus links on my old MTGS threads pretty much everywhere possible - in huge red letters at the top of the OP, in a final thread post, even swapping my sig links.

That said, cool deck is cool. I'm liking the arcane subtheme, which must be quite a hoot to get online. Is Mogg Fanatic worth a slot? I can vouch Fists of Flame is a riot in my Feather, the Redeemed, and has started being my go-to wincon for a faux-Hoof ever since they banned Pengine. Is Seasoned Pyromancer no-go?
With enough instances of Overblaze, Mogg Fanatic will take out a player. There are multiple other options for instant-speed direct damage, too, like Spikeshot Elder, Pie & Cake, Siege-Gang Commander. Do you use Zada in your Feather deck?

Seasoned Pyromancer is possibly really good for this deck, especially when you start radiating Twinflame/Heat Shimmer to make more Pyromancers to accelerate the rummaging. But it's a fairly expensive card right now for a niche deck. That's what's keeping me from getting a copy, anyway, when there are other cards to try.
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Post by Rumpy5897 » 7 months ago

That is janky as all hell, and probably worth a slot on the strength of that. Following this kind of trail of thought, Fists of Flame should be actively good here. Chain a few cantrips, Hoof up your board, melt face.

Yeah, I do run Zada in Feather. The deck's like a coward's take on this list, running 10+ recyclable protection spells to ensure that stuff sticks on board, and building up critical mass by spamming Heals over and over again for one card at a time. This speeds up considerably once Zada lands.

I did not factor budget in at all, OP's ramming a Mana Crypt :P

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Post by lyonhaert » 7 months ago

Personally, the difference to me is that Seasoned Pyromancer is probably only useful in Zada, but Mana Crypt is useful everywhere, hahaha. In any case, I'll likely end up with a SPyromancer for free off of points/credit somewhere. There's just other stuff I want to get first.
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Post by Crazy Monkey » 7 months ago

I do have a seasoned pyromancer for my next round of testing. It should occupy a solid slot that combines draw with tokens, but is less effecient for either alone. My particular build is not budget, but does make effort to stay on theme.

Fists of Flame alone has been lethal in games so far (testing swapped with chaotic strike).

Side note, I also have a Feather deck that goes off the rails once Zada resolves.
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Post by Rumpy5897 » 7 months ago

Your land base keeps on intriguing me. I can't seem to find anything in the 99 that rewards you for sticking to basics. You don't seem to be quite as crazily colour-heavy to not be able to slot in a Kher Keep or a Reliquary Tower. Admittedly this won't make or break the deck. Is there something I'm missing, like with Mogg Fanatic?

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Post by lyonhaert » 7 months ago

Rumpy5897 wrote:
7 months ago
Your land base keeps on intriguing me. I can't seem to find anything in the 99 that rewards you for sticking to basics. You don't seem to be quite as crazily colour-heavy to not be able to slot in a Kher Keep or a Reliquary Tower. Admittedly this won't make or break the deck. Is there something I'm missing, like with Mogg Fanatic?
Just a heavy reliance on r, even when Ruby Medallion/Helm of Awakening are out. I think I'm running Ancient Tomb and Cavern of Souls. Reliquary Tower and Kher Keep could work for some folks and not be useful for others, depending on how their deck plays out. Personally I'm not sure I'd run Kher Keep because that's 3 lands I'd have to tap for a token, so if I have nothing better I can spend that 3 mana on I would be examining why that was. Probably wouldn't hurt, though.
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Post by Nimbaway » 7 months ago

It's good to see the thread on here as well, as enjoyed reading the input on the deck that happened on MtG:S. I'm not on the Arcane and Aggro plan myself with Zada, but seek to gain my wins through card draw instead.
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Post by lyonhaert » 6 months ago

Backdraft Hellkite and Ignite the Future.

The latter might not look like much at first, but you get access to playing those 3 cards until the end of your next turn. I definitely want to try that one. Would be unfortunate if it hit Mizzix's Mastery off of it's flashback, though, as I'm pretty sure we can only play those 3 cards without paying their mana costs rather than opting to pay.

And Backdraft Hellkite's flashback could be really nice with instants, at the least. It would make Ignite half the cost on flashback, but it's a sorcery. For sorcery-speed stuff, attacking with a 4/4 in the air is feasible for recasting some stuff in second main to set up for the next turn, though it's 5 CMC without haste. I'm considering Emergence Zone for possible flash for going off at attack step, and definitely our sources of haste like some of the cantrips and Cavalier of Flame will be good.
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Post by DementedKirby » 6 months ago

What up, Crazy Monkey? Great to see you over here on the Nexus along with your bodacious Zada deck.
Backdraft Hellkite says "hi"
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Post by lyonhaert » 6 months ago

[mention]DementedKirby[/mention], you can actually mention folks over here. ;)
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Post by DementedKirby » 6 months ago

lyonhaert wrote:
6 months ago
@DementedKirby, you can actually mention folks over here. ;)
Oof! Even better for the shout outs. Gotta figure out how it's done.

That Backdraft Hellkite is no joke, though. Definitely gonna test it in my own Zada build.
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Post by SocorroTortoise » 6 months ago

lyonhaert wrote:
6 months ago
Backdraft Hellkite and Ignite the Future.

The latter might not look like much at first, but you get access to playing those 3 cards until the end of your next turn. I definitely want to try that one. Would be unfortunate if it hit Mizzix's Mastery off of it's flashback, though, as I'm pretty sure we can only play those 3 cards without paying their mana costs rather than opting to pay.
As written, it looks like you can still opt to pay. It's not worded as a replacement effect so it shouldn't overwrite the second sentence. That's probably something to confirm when the release notes show up.
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Post by lyonhaert » 6 months ago

DementedKirby wrote:
6 months ago
lyonhaert wrote:
6 months ago
@DementedKirby, you can actually mention folks over here. ;)
Oof! Even better for the shout outs. Gotta figure out how it's done.

That Backdraft Hellkite is no joke, though. Definitely gonna test it in my own Zada build.
When you're writing your reply, starting with @ and then typing at least 2 letters is supposed to bring up a completion drop-down, but you can also just use mention tags with exact username like [mention]DementedKirby[/mention].
SocorroTortoise wrote:
6 months ago
lyonhaert wrote:
6 months ago
Backdraft Hellkite and Ignite the Future.

The latter might not look like much at first, but you get access to playing those 3 cards until the end of your next turn. I definitely want to try that one. Would be unfortunate if it hit Mizzix's Mastery off of it's flashback, though, as I'm pretty sure we can only play those 3 cards without paying their mana costs rather than opting to pay.
As written, it looks like you can still opt to pay. It's not worded as a replacement effect so it shouldn't overwrite the second sentence. That's probably something to confirm when the release notes show up.
That's what had me confused. I've been trying to find a card that's similar where it allows you to cast, then "if" and allows to cast without paying mana costs to see if there are any rulings on that.
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Post by Crazy Monkey » 6 months ago

[Mention]lyonhaert[/mention], [mention]dementedkirby[/mention] greetings. I will actually be more active here, as it is more mobile friendly.

I agree with both of you, but I am more interested in dockside extortionist as ritual effect. It seems situational, but should give 1 mana in most games and more in certain situations.
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Post by Rumpy5897 » 6 months ago

A nice mobile-friendly thing the site does is offer wrapping card names in two layers of [] as functional card tags. Just a heads up in case it turns out to be useful.

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Post by lyonhaert » 6 months ago

Crazy Monkey wrote:
6 months ago
lyonhaert, dementedkirby greetings. I will actually be more active here, as it is more mobile friendly.

I agree with both of you, but I am more interested in dockside extortionist as ritual effect. It seems situational, but should give 1 mana in most games and more in certain situations.
For some reason I hadn't even thought of Dockside Extortionist that way. :facepalm:

If he even provides 2 treasures per instance that's pretty darn good, especially with Twinflaming. More than 2 is definitely gas. Now, how can we be a little more certain our opponents have artifacts/enchantments? I'm thinking Genesis Chamber. I've been wanting to test that one, though I'm trying to do searches for other possibilities that also work within what the deck wants when we don't have Extortionist (i.e., not Ashnod's Transmogrant, Liquimetal Coating, or Thran forge).
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Post by Crazy Monkey » 6 months ago

So...I just realized that Ghired's Belligerence can turn all our 1/1 tokens into copies of young pyromancer, Krenko, mob boss, or just mogg war marshal.

This should significantly increase the maximum possible damage output, especially if it's Krenko. I'm not sure if it's worth it.
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Post by lyonhaert » 6 months ago

Crazy Monkey wrote:
6 months ago
So...I just realized that Ghired's Belligerence can turn all our 1/1 tokens into copies of young pyromancer, Krenko, mob boss, or just mogg war marshal.

This should significantly increase the maximum possible damage output, especially if it's Krenko. I'm not sure if it's worth it.
Yeah, just need to already have Twinflamed or Heat Shimmered and have some decent mana available, with potential for getting 2 damage for free. I'll take Chancellor of the Forge as a candidate, though. Just 1 or 2 extra copies of Krenko/Chancellor after the first instance of Twinflame/Heat Shimmer would massively increase the creature output of the following instances of those. And that's just if we directly target some 1/1 tokens instead of targeting Zada.

If we have any of the ones that make tokens on ETB duplicated as a token, we can just set X=1 and target Zada and turn every 1/1 creature already on our field into a copy of one of those tokens. I don't think Mogg War Marshal or Goblin Instigator would work - the populate target would have to survive 1 damage. The math of doing this with Krenko or Chancellor is gonna break my brain.

Another side effect is that it could make tokens that don't exile at the end of the turn based on Twinflame tokens. So it could even be used to build up for the next turn if unable to go off.

Four bloody good cards for Zada so far from this set.

I almost want to consider other ways of making a token copy so that with a few 1/1 tokens, a good token copy target, and a few mana Ghired's Belligerence could even function as a Twinflame/Heat Shimmer without having actually used one of them first.
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Post by Crazy Monkey » 6 months ago

We should be able to populate any token by sequencing the order of targets from the Zada trigger. My largest hesitancy is that Belligerence is useless without twinflame/heat shimmer.

I do really like that the tokens stay after the turn. It's worth testing.

I have been pleasantly surprised by the number of decent to great cards for us in these decks.
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Post by lyonhaert » 6 months ago

It's too bad the "Whenever a creature dealt damage this way dies" clause will only apply to creatures dealt damage from that instance of Belligerence. Compounding that trigger for everything would have been hilarious.

There are other token copy making options in red, but most of them seem to be more mana intensive and don't trigger Zada. Feldon of the Third Path, Fellhide Spiritbinder, Flamerush Rider, Flameshadow Conjuring, Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker, Kindred Charge, Mimic Vat, Mirror March, Splinter Twin, Mirrorpool, etc.

Splinter Twin seems one of the cheaper ones since we can easily grant haste. Mirrorpool has a c restriction and EPT but allows us to be selective.

And then there's Precursor Golem. It doesn't provide a token copy that on ETB makes tokens, but it does at least provide something else with those tokens in its trigger. Suppose we have PG, its two golem tokens, and five other 1/1s. If we have Zada we can cast Belligerence for 1rr and turn those 1/1s into golems and get even more of them once we can Twinflame or Heat Shimmer them (not targeting Zada). But even if we don't have Zada on the board we can cast Belligerence with a higher X to still turn some of those 1/1s into golems and proceed the same. FYI, I've been meaning to run PG as my "backup" Zada anyway once I get around to doing a rebuild (still need to acquire some cards before I can start that, such as Fists of Flame which I forgot in my last purchase).
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