Sai - Low Curve Thopter Swarm

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Post by ISBPathfinder » 1 month ago

Sai, Master Thopterist

My Approach

In a nutshell, I would call this a high powered 75% deck. Its a fast proactive deck that the primary wincon is to zero opponents health totals. Its a little bit of a fast deck when you look at racing 75% decks but its a far cry from a CEDH deck.

Focus:

  • Commander Centric - This deck has a BIG focus on getting the commander into play anytime they are not. It leads it to have a weakness relying on the commander to do things. Anytime the commander dies, is stolen, or disabled the #1 objective is to save them.
  • Storm Style - Once Sai is in play, my objective is to just chain artifacts as fast as possible. Any artifact that draws me another card tends to be good. The more artifacts I can move the more thopters I get.

Limitations:

  • Combo - My goal is ultimately not to go infinite. There are a few things that "can" go off but my hope is not to execute infinite combos. I ultimately want to zero my opponents health totals ideally utilizing combat.
  • Land Disruption - I won't play Sunder or Back to Basics. Maybe in a stretch I might play Tangle Wire but no Winter Orb / Static Orb / Stasis.

Weaknesses:

  • Commander Centric - As I said before, this deck is built around Sai. Recasting him once or twice wont be the end of the world but if you can't stick him the first few times at least for a few turns you will really notice it. Decks with heavier focuses of removal and interaction will be harder to play against assuming they proactively hate on your commander.
  • Draw / Cast Hate - These effects are somewhat rare in commander but Notion Thief and Rule of Law effects would be some extremely challenging effects to play through given the nature of how this deck plays.
  • Token Hate - This is probably the last thing I worry about given that you can potentially still play the deck somewhat decently. The hardest sort of token hate to fight through would be Plague Engineer effects (often things in black or white). You can potentially get past Propaganda / Crawlspace effects though given a few alternate wincons or possibly by bouncing them out.
Sai, Master Thopterist

COMMANDER (1)


1 Sai, Master Thopterist

ENCHANTMENT (2)


1 Coastal Piracy
1 Kindred Discovery
Approximate Total Cost:

Omissions:

  • Mox Diamond - moxes are great and its possible that I can refill my hand quickly. The issue is that the tempo to get this specific mox online generally speaking the only upside of it tends to be in my opening hands where as the other moxes that I run are good after my commander and don't have card disadvantage. Mox Diamond's power tends to only be in opening hands and often times I struggle to have enough lands due to how few I run. I felt like the overall flexability of it wasn't quite what I wanted here given this.
  • Thopter Spy Network / Mirrodin Besieged / Efficient Construction - I tried playing some of these effects but in the end my issue was that they are really slow to cast and I will generally always play Sai on curve over them. It takes another turn to set up one of these beyond Sai. In a nutshell they felt really slow to set up and bring more attention to me without immediately doing much for me. I often found that if I already had Sai in play with one of these in hand I was tempted to just move artifacts assuming I had them than I was to spend a turn setting one of these up.
  • Opposition - So, assuming I wanted to pair it with Unwinding Clock I could try to lock people up but that isn't really my goal. I tend to move fast enough that I can chump block people or just attack them. I don't really want to spend the time and mana casting this I guess even though its possible it could add to my capability to attack and or defend the fact that its not an artifact has made it a little less appealing to me. I just get the feeling from this card that it moves a little slower than what I was hoping to do with this deck. Its a great control effect for tokens, I am just not sure if I want to spend a turn casting it.
  • Mishra's Workshop - I don't have the $$$ for one. I think its really sweet for a very select few commander decks but its so narrow I have never wanted to drop the money to get one for this format.

Things to Test:

  • Foundry Inspector - There just aren't that many artifact cheapeners out there. The fact that its on a body and costs more is why its not in my list already.
  • The Antiquities War - It digs kind of deep but it still costs 4 and is a non artifact. I am not sure how much I like it but I guess it kind of does positive things.
  • Artificer's Assistant - It might be fun, but that said if a lot of my deck is just cantriping artifacts do I scry past those? I still need to hit land drops too so I am not really sure where I stand with this one.
  • Reverse Engineer - I feel like I often have a few thopters or random artifacts sitting arround so.... UU draw 3 seems kind of fine. I just need to find some time to pick up a copy and somewhere to slot it in.
  • Transmute Artifact - I would love a copy.... but the $$$ for it is a bit steep considering I have almost never wanted a copy before now. Cool card, but it seems a bit narrow in use.
  • Semblance Anvil - The cost reduction is REAL good. That said, card disadvantage is a little skitchy with me. I like drawing but I don't always have great draw.
Last edited by ISBPathfinder 1 day ago, edited 29 times in total.
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Post by ISBPathfinder » 1 month ago

Got most of the cards I was missing and had a few updates for the list:
  • Adding Sorcerous Spyglass - I realized that I had Bident of Thassa in my list as both an artifact and an enchantment and it was throwing my counts off. It means I get to add another card to the list. I have really been enjoying Pithing Needle more of late and I am finding it to be a very useful answer at times. The fact that it gives me an answer on a cheap artifact kind of fits the mold for this deck.
  • SkyscannerSensei's Divining Top I guess the fact that top can sort of be like 1 mana thopters every turn just by replacing itself with the top card repeatedly might be decent. It isn't really draw but it lets me cast it repeatedly for cheap and it also pairs decently with some of the cantrip baubles to let me just cast more artifacts more often. I don't really like the low number of shuffle effects for its topdeck manipulation but for just casting it and then putting it on top of my deck every turn to make cheap thopters might be fine.
  • 1 Snow-Covered IslandThought Vessel Cheating on my landbase further. My curve seems mostly ok and I have a good number of mana rocks. I like the idea of Vessel from the standpoint of some of my power draw and its a cheap mana rock that produces mana the turn it comes down while making a thopter. Its sort of a delicate line to walk because my first few lands are important but beyond the first few I expect that either I get to my good draw and flood in them or I don't get enough land drops. I guess we will do some testing and see how I feel about my current count. I felt like my curve was reasonably low but I have a few more 5+ drops than I though originally but I also have a good bit of mana stones in here too.
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Post by pokken » 1 month ago

No retract, paradoxical outcome or hurkyl's recall?

paradoxical outcome especially is a pretty sick handfill effect. Presumably you wouldn't want to hurkyls or retract yourself I guess unless you were doing something with the thopters (sac'ing them to draw cards), but might be worth thinking about.

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Post by ISBPathfinder » 1 month ago

pokken wrote:
1 month ago
No retract, paradoxical outcome or hurkyl's recall?

paradoxical outcome especially is a pretty sick handfill effect. Presumably you wouldn't want to hurkyls or retract yourself I guess unless you were doing something with the thopters (sac'ing them to draw cards), but might be worth thinking about.
Retract / Hurkyl's Recall these are probably at their best for combo wincons. Given my plan is mostly to make Thopters and use them in combat its hard to really take advantage of them given the loss of the tokens. It is possible that using some sac outlets (especially for mana) that it could be ok but I don't think it quite fits my build. Assuming I am trying to use them as an anti wrath I would probably just be better with some counterspells instead.

Paradoxical Outcome maybe, I like how it draws a card for each bounced out. Its unfortunate it can't bounce out tokens but other than that it seems like it could be interesting. It would work well with the mana sac outlets to offset its higher mana cost. Its growing on me more as I think about it which leads me to think that I probably do want to get my hands on a copy to test it. I might wait until I get a chance to test this week to see what other changes I end up making first but it does look fairly interesting.
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Post by pokken » 1 month ago

The big thing about retract/recall is it lets you protect your board from artifact sweepers for almost nothing, and recall can bone someone else as well. I have to assume you get vandalblasted with some frequeny playing this deck--I know I do with my tymna/ludevic affinity :P

Outcome is a freeroll I think, almost always WAY better than windfall, since it 1) doesn't give anyone else a refuel, and 2) lets you protect your board AND make a bunch of thopters AND draw a bunch of cards.

Half the time it's gonna be 3U draw 4 cards make 4 thopters.

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Post by ISBPathfinder » 1 month ago

I got to get a little more testing in this last weekend. The deck was running fairly well for the most part. I scooped one game because I goofed up and went through a bunch of skullclamp draw with a Leyline of the Void in play and I didn't see a fair way to try to undo it. The second game also was going well. I managed some sweet flash shenanigans and built a lethal board at my opponents end of turn which let me push through a Noxious Ghoul in play zombie deck.

DECK CHANGES:
  • OrnithopterMox Opal I wanted to do a bit of testing with the zero mana creatures. Ultimately they are ok but you really need to be swimming in draw for them to be ok. I had been hesitant to pick up Mox Opal but I ended up having some store credit and nothing that overly needed to happen so I cashed it out for a copy. I think picking up more moxes will potentially help Paradoxical Outcome be more appealing as well.
  • Trinket MageBloodforged Battle-Axe Trinket Mage's ETB is alright but its body itself isn't really something I value. Paying 4 mana for a lot of the one drops isn't as good as I had hoped. The axe is a bit of an oddity but in the end I like that it gives me more artifacts in play. The three mana to get it going isn't terrible and its not as if I need to put every axe on. Even making 2 more axes in combat could be really nice with some of the artifact sac outlets (including the option of my commander). It also has some synergy with a few other sac outlets as well. I just wish there were a few more playable artifact sac outlets.
  • Lodestone GolemRetrofitter Foundry the golem is a bit more reactive than I am looking for. It can be a good effect if I curve it but it looks a lot less appealing off curve. The foundry can give me a similar sized body in play but for a lot less mana. The idea of converting 1/1 flyers into 4/4s is kind of appealing. I passed on it previously because I had to make a bunch of cuts and just needed testing but I think its time to swap in the foundry and see how it goes.
  • Ugin, the IneffableParadoxical Outcome I have actually had some fairly good moments with Ugin. The issue is he is kind of fragile and expensive. Most of what I value here is his passive so I felt like I wanted to move away from him and see how I felt. Paradoxical Outcome is something I wanted to test for a bit and more draw is always appealing.
  • Thran DynamoWindfall I wanted to push a bit more draw and sometimes I have trouble hitting my land drops up to four. I just need more testing essentially. Its possible I might bring Thran back in later. I was between cutting some of the 3 mana answer creature effects vs this and I decided to keep answers rather than some top end ramp.
I feel fairly confident with testing these changes out as it lowers my curve and increases my draw. The list was overall feeling quite good.
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Post by ISBPathfinder » 1 month ago

I had a few more games with this deck. I am starting to suspect that unless my expectation is for opponents to have a lot of interaction and shut Sai down a lot, this deck might be a wee bit more aggressive than my every day deck. I have been managing to win a lot of games by like turns 6-8 which isn't CEDH or anything but its kind of fast given that seems to be sort of my average push for winning turns and that is with being wrathed and such. I think I won on like turn 7 this last week in a 6 player FFA game through two wraths aimed at me. In a nutshell, the deck is performing well, I found a few of the effects to be a little clunky if I have decent draw though so I wanted to add some more ramp and maybe a few alternate ways to push faster. The option to tutor for one of my few wincons sounds less good than just having a few more things to anthem my artifacts so I am culling a bit more of the tutors as they have felt horribly slow.
  • Phyrexian MetamorphThran Dynamo I do love metamorph but so much of this deck costs a lot less than this clone even paying 3 with 2 life. Cloning a lot of my own deck isn't that impressive with it and I haven't found cloning opponents cards that interesting. I do actually like it a lot more when I have flash but I felt like that was a bit narrow for right now.
  • Efficient ConstructionCloud Key essentially, casting my commander already feels a little clunky as far as the cost and what I do in a turn afterwards. I feel like trying to set up two turns in a row of doing it felt too slow and I have had this card in hand several times and I just don't cast it over having a good turn with just my commander. I want to test a bit more cost reduction effects given how many cheap artifacts I have it can really potentially provide a lot of mana in a turn.
  • FabricateMaster of Etherium I haven't been that satisfied with the tutors. I am just trying to move a lot faster than they are letting me do things. I want to add a few more ways to make the thopters a little more deadly and I like the cost of Master given what it does and the board presence it itself also represents. With fabricate I was facing the fact that it was a 3-4 mana play to get zero to one drop artifacts and that felt too clunky to me. The idea of tutoring for something like Coat of Arms being an 8 mana play just feels like I would be better off with more redundancy and make things do things for the mana instead of having a tutor.
  • WindfallArcane Signet So far, I haven't been able to burn my hand low too often. Windfall is great assuming you can burn out your hand but right now I don't have enough ramp or a lack of draw to do that. So, lets bump up the ramp a bit and see if I can get into situations where I do need more draw. Arcane Signet is kind of the superior 2 drop mana stone in that it gives me colored mana and enteres untapped with no drawbacks.
So, I guess this is me mostly adding some more ramp but also I think Master of Etherium is an effect I was possibly under playing previously. I am able to create a lot of thopters very fast so its a very real threat in that it should easily be a 10/10 creature itself while doubling my damage from thopters. There are a few other anthem effects I could consider as well but I liked that this one was a good threat itself as well which put it at the top of my list being cheap and efficient. I did consider if I wanted something like Obelisk of Urd instead but I think ultimately I want to try out Etherium instead given that its easier to play at any point in the game where as I feel like I need to play a bunch of cheap artifacts the same turn before Obelisk to make use of the convoke effect.
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Post by ISBPathfinder » 1 week ago

The deck has been running fairly well. The few times I seem to have problems with this deck tend to be getting a third land to get started, disruption / theft on Sai, or just a lot of interaction for me. I think I really didn't put enough thought into cheap cantrips with selection attached to them so I will be cutting some cards I just couldn't get to stick, lowering the curve, and giving me additional access when possible to getting my commander out of problem effects.

I have managed to do a few questionable combos with this deck as it is usually involving Krark-Clan Ironworks / Sword of the Meek. I did once get it set up with Mystic Forge + Sensei's Divining Top and once using Mystic Forge + Sharding Sphinx + Krark-Clan Ironworks. I am not really sure how I feel about the combo potential of the deck. Its possible that in the future I might cut Sword of the Meek being that it seems like a card that leans heavily towards the combo potential of the deck and doesn't contribute much outside of that.

DECK CHANGES:
  • Solemn SimulacrumExpedition Map So, solemn has been INCREDIBLY slow for me for this deck. He is still on synergy and does cool things but the reality is I just feel like I am moving incredibly slow moving him around. Its ramp and he can draw but MAN he can feel so slow for this deck. Some of the ways in which I can do poorly with this deck is not getting enough lands or someone dealing with my commander in a way I can't access him. I think Expedition Map helps me on several fronts with these issues. Its also a cheap artifact so it makes thopters with Sai. More access to Sanctum of Eternity / Homeward Path seems like where I might need to be here.
  • Sharding SphinxSerum Visions So, I think Sharding Sphinx is cool, but it costs a LOT of mana and generally speaking draws removal to itself. It also doesn't increase my output immediately so its easy to just get wrathed after this. Paying Six mana is a lot for this deck for any one card and its mostly felt kind of winmore even if its cool. Dropping it will improve my curve and Serum will help me find good sustainable draw or early lands.
  • Bloodforged Battle-AxePreordain The axe was a little more awkward than I had expected it to be. If I was doing well it was a one mana artifact that does nothing. The times I generally was interested in it was when I could draw and play it by turn 4 or like, if I was really struggling with my deck. I just felt like a better plan was to find better cards instead of struggle to play this one. Preordain will help with the early game land consistency and help draw towards more relevant cards.
  • Retrofitter FoundryPonder I just couldn't come up with a situation where Retrofitter was really helping me. Sure having some 4/4 tokens is nice but outside of random titans attacking me and having multiple of those 4/4s I just wasn't seeing situations that it was really helping me with. I would generally rather have evasive tokens over larger tokens due to a number of the Coastal Piracy effects that I have. More selection / draw please.
  • Mana VaultCommander's Sphere Mana Vault was almost like a colorless Dark Ritual for this deck in that I was more or less not willing to untap it. It was ok with some of the artifact sac outlets but mostly I didn't find it to be as impressive as I had hoped. I like that Commander's Sphere can cantrip and produce mana the turn it comes in. In some ways it reminds me of a cheaper Solemn Simulacrum that leaves a little more fragile of ramp for me but costs me less mana to set it up. I think I am ok with that trade off for now.
  • Winding CanyonsTolaria West My first 2 turns I really don't tend to do much so having a few ETB tapped lands isn't that big of a deal for me here. West brings up my blue producing lands a bit which is something I have on occasion had issues with and it gives me a little more access to getting out of theft / transform effects later. More access to Sanctum of Eternity / Homeward Path seems like where I might need to be here.
  • Scavenger GroundsReliquary Tower given the amount of draw and grave hate I have in the list, I think I am probably fine to not run Scavenger Grounds here. Given some of the burst draw we can get in here I figured having one more no max hand size effect was probably more profitable for the deck as a whole.
This deck has been really fun to pilot. Its maybe a touch stronger than I would really want it to be given where my meta is but the deck is sooooooooooo fun to pilot and tune.
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Post by Tryno » 1 week ago

So this deck looks like it is trying to go fast, and you seem to be running a really low land count. Have you considered that Walking Atlas isn't providing very much? Your commander doesn't come with built in draw, which is where walking atlas really shines because you should have consistent lands to use it's ability for. You also aren't going to be lacking in terms of blockers with all the thopters.

I would like to see something that provides you with more draw early so that you can find your lands, as the deck doesn't need ramp to win. It just needs to get it's lands in time to be relevant. I know it is weird to include in a commander deck but I think Guild Globe fits a lot of the criteria that this deck needs. It's an artifact, that cantrips easily and can generate you 1 blue mana from colorless in a pinch.

Edit

Also consider Courier's Capsule or Alchemist's Vial
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Post by ISBPathfinder » 1 week ago

Tryno wrote:
1 week ago
So this deck looks like it is trying to go fast, and you seem to be running a really low land count. Have you considered that Walking Atlas isn't providing very much? Your commander doesn't come with built in draw, which is where walking atlas really shines because you should have consistent lands to use it's ability for. You also aren't going to be lacking in terms of blockers with all the thopters.

I would like to see something that provides you with more draw early so that you can find your lands, as the deck doesn't need ramp to win. It just needs to get it's lands in time to be relevant. I know it is weird to include in a commander deck but I think Guild Globe fits a lot of the criteria that this deck needs. It's an artifact, that cantrips easily and can generate you 1 blue mana from colorless in a pinch.

Edit

Also consider Courier's Capsule or Alchemist's Vial
I gave Walking Atlas some thought and decided that he probably is a little bit winmore here. I wanted to use it with some of the nice big draw stuff but if I get set up with those then I am probably fine. I haven't really seen it much but the few times I have seen it, it has been a little underwhelming. I was thinking of testing it more but I think I am ok with letting it go. I really want to see it in an opening hand with good draw which might be asking a bit much.

DECK CHANGE:
  • Walking AtlasFellwar Stone I haven't been consistantly drawing a bunch of lands because my land count is low as intended. Essentially the atlas has only really been good if drawing heavy at which point I am probably fine. I have also been bringing up my mana rock count which I think is probably just a better plan. It lets me move faster and also makes me thopters still. I am adding Fellwar specifically because its cheap, enters untapped, and possibly gives me blue or colorless mana. I figure even just with a chance to give me blue its still probably better than most of the ones that will always give colorless.
  • All is DustUnstable Obelisk cutting the curve down a bit more here. I have had some trouble with All is Dust in that it kills Sai and doesn't really leave me anything behind. Ugin is nice in that I can sculpt it arround Sai or sweep a bunch of things and still be left with a lot loyalty ugin in play as a threat. The difference has definately been noticeable. Adding in Unstable here because it gives me more ramp and it can be an answer which might help where All is Dust used to be. Being that its an artifact answer it also opens up some of the tutors to tutoring into answers for problems that I might not have been able to answer before this.
  • Sword of the MeekSmuggler's Copter the more I thought about it the less I liked Sword of the Meek in here. I don't really like feeling combo based and I didn't like what it was doing outside of going psudo infinite. It was fun with Krark-Clan Ironworks but lets face it, Ironworks might literally be the best card in this deck. I want to see how Smuggler's Copter goes given its easy to crew and I like the looting which doesn't cost me mana.
  • Arcbound RavagerProphetic Prism I really want to see arcbound ravager do cool things here.... but that said I just wasn't seeing it. I put him in partially because I wanted to see how he might work with Sword of the Meek but after having tested, I just don't think he does enough in this format. I think he had a perceived threat as well that really didn't measure up to anything he was actually doing for me. So, lets add some more draw I suppose. I wen't through the rest of the card drawing cheap artifacts I wasn't yet running and I think this one might be my favorite offhand.
I guess the upside is my list got a little cheaper with this change. Artificer wants some really odd things that often don't go in other commander decks annoyingly. I really like how low the curve is getting though with this change. Its possible some of the ramp I am bringing in should be more cost reduction for artifacts though. I need to do some testing on that front too at some point. Mana ramp tends to help a little more for recasting Sai where as the cost reduction helps more on the big chain drawing. Foundry Inspector, Helm of Awakening, and Semblance Anvil would probably be the next considerations for cost reduction assuming I go up on using more of them.
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Post by ISBPathfinder » 3 days ago

I am hoping to get more testing of this deck tonight (assuming all goes well). I had a few more things I was thinking about and after giving it more thought I felt it was worth making the changes for this. I have so many things I need to test after this so hopefully I get some testing tonight.

DECK CHANGES:
  • Scrap TrawlerClock of Omens Scrap Trawler is a cool card. That said, its kind of clunky and only kind of helps me after I get swept. The number of artifact creatures continues to dwindle which makes the card further challenging to use because I don't have many sac outlets for non creature artifacts. If someone were to creature wrath me with him out I don't really expect much value either so as my creature count dwindles I continue to see issues with him going up. I have been pushing my mana stones up a LOT since I created this deck so I am finally at a point that I feel I have sufficient targets for Clock. I think Clock has some insane potential for this deck but I still only count something like 20 targets for it to reliably untap and of those I was only counting something like 15 that seemed all that effective to use with it. That said, I have been adding a lot more draw consistancy and more mana rocks so I think its time to pull it in and see how it goes. Trading out a three cost artifact for a four mana one that likely makes mana the turn it comes in probably makes sense. In some ways its sort of like a cost reduction artifact in that each artifact I cast comes with 2x artifacts with Sai which offers an untap.
  • 1 Snow-Covered IslandDarksteel Citadel I am still needing more testing on where my landbase is. I definitely need at least one blue source early on in this deck. I have had games where I sit on a bunch of colorless lands but I don't think that is the norm so I think adding one more colorless land to the mix is probably fine. Citadel isn't really a big add but it gives more consistency to Clock of Omens having an untap target. I am opting for this land instead of Seat of the Synod still because of the occasional artifact sweeper effect that I do see. I would rather have a land that can't die to artifact sweepers that gives me colorless mana than one that I risk and provides colored mana.
  • EDIT: Phyrexian AltarChief Engineer I think I might have undersold the engineer here. It curves in nicely with my commander and it probably in most cases pays for itself or generates additional mana the turn it comes into play. The altar is... ok but I think it would actually be stronger if I was running more instants and reactionary effects in the deck. There is also some small synergy with Throne of the God-Pharaoh with the Engineer which I think is kind of cool as I have seen issues sometimes in that I can't usually tap my new thopters in a lot of cases.
  • EDIT: High MarketTomb of the Spirit Dragon I randomly checked EDHRec and TOTALLY forgot about this land lol. In my defense, its ALMOST never relevant in commander. Its kind of a sweet tech here though. High Market was really just a hope to defend my commander but given I added a few new tutors of late I think I am fine cutting the market.
There have been too many changes since my last game with the deck so I definitely need to get on some testing. Hopefully the new lower mana curve pays off for me.

EDIT: I had a few more changes I added. The other thing to think about is possibly having just a few more interaction cards. Some of my three mana artifact interaction effects could maybe be better. Its something to keep an eye on.
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Post by ISBPathfinder » 2 days ago

Game Review:

I had one of my better games last night I wanted to review because it was rather quick. It was a 5 player FFA game with opponents being Feather, the Redeemed, Melek, Izzet Paragon (X spell copy deck), Najeela, the Blade-Blossom (half tuned combo), and a second Feather, the Redeemed deck. I was the third in turn order for this game. I mulligan to six for this game.

Opening Hand: 1 Snow-Covered Island, Mishra's Bauble, Mox Opal, Aether Spellbomb, Chromatic Sphere, Springleaf Drum (I bottom it), Clock of Omens

T1: Snow-Covered Island, Mishra's Bauble, Mox Opal, Aether Spellbomb, Chromatic Sphere. I crack the Bauble after playing with all of my mana as I wanted to get the card draw artifacts into play and enable metalcraft so I would have mana moving forward. My plan right now is to use the opal next turn to crack the sphere searching for lands if I don't draw one.
T2: Academy Ruins off the top, I play my commander.
T3: I manage to top another land and play it. Clock of Omens comes in and taps out my artifacts to squeeze a Throne of the God-Pharaoh into play off of untapping my mox. I end my turn and shoot opponents for some damage. Najeela has a Rhystic Study which is annoying but I am giving her cards with the speed at which my deck wants to be played.
T4: I somehow super luck into Coastal Piracy and slam it. I turn my creatures sideways and get to draw 4 cards. I tap some of my artifacts sitting about to play a few one mana artifacts which I can't recall right now which. End my turn and shoot opponents for some more damage. I think I miss a land drop this turn sadly.
T5: I get Mystic Forge out and through means of untapping I shotgun a lot of my deck into play. I end this turn with 13 tapped thopters and a Sol Ring which I had been using for mana. I had been hitting the Najeela deck with all of the attacks I could and between that, some self induced life loss on her end, and the Throne of the God-Pharaoh she dies. This turn the Feather that is immediately before me starts doing spooky things and he is drawing on the upside of 15 cards a turn assuming he can just dump mana to doing that. I screw with him by using the Aether Spellbomb to bounce his Mirrorwing Dragon. If he had another turn I probably would have had a problem but his issue had become how many threats I had in play that could kill him. At this point if I didn't have what I already had he probably could have disrupted Sai.
T6: I get to untap with all my thopters (13 of them) and sai. I still have Throne of the God-Pharaoh and I have a Signal Pest from the turn before. My only real fear is essentially an Aetherspouts from the Melek player but they all just pack it in rather than have me slow play around a sweeper this turn. The highest life total this turn was like... 21 with the lowest being at like 16.



It was an incredibly fast game and I got more than a little lucky. If I hadn't found something to refill when I found Coastal Piracy my plan was to start cracking the artifacts that could sacrifice to draw. I also encountered essentially zero interaction from my opponents given the most they really had were a few blockers.

My interaction with this deck is still..... a little sketchy but I think I am going to add a few more lands to the deck and a little more draw. Its tempting to add more selective draw like Intuition or The Antiquities War but I fear that they just cost too much and would be too slow. I considered more cheap cantrips like possibly Opt but I think ultimately it doesn't offer enough card selection. The cheap 2 mana artifacts that just ETB draw are probably better for me due to their synergy with the deck and options to use them with things like Krark-Clan Ironworks and Clock of Omens. I do probably need to at some point go through some of the better blue interaction though and maybe add a little more to the list.

DECK CHANGES:
  • Springleaf Drum → 1 Snow-Covered Island - I have had some decent springleaf drum situations, but mostly its been challenging in that its not good before sai because I need it plus a creature to generate mana. Most of the mana stones have begun to outshine it as I have gone lighter and lighter on my creature count. I think my land count is close to where I want to be but I was thinking of having just a few more for now and do more testing at that point. I have just seen too many one land hands where I really question if I will make it to three or not.
  • Sword of the AnimistElsewhere Flask it might seem odd but I feel like I am moving too fast to have time to set up with this sword. I really love animist but four mana can feel like a LOT to move and then it slowly gets me lands. I just find this deck has way too many things to be doing to really move at that speed. Its also a bit awkward because I need to play Sai on three and unless I have extra mana or a zero drop to follow behind him it might mean putting this on Sai which would be a very temporary thing that I would probably need to move again later. All in all, I just found it to be too slow of ramp for this deck. I think Dowsing Dagger is still good given it almost pays for itself the turn it comes in.
  • Torpor OrbGolden Egg - I used to be a HUGE on torpor orb in the past. I think it might have just changed with the times though. Back in the days of commander tuck and clone legend kills there were a lot more ETB focused effects. That might have also been due to Primeval Titan in the meta but Torpor Orb used to be a lot better than I find it to be these days sadly. Lots more strategies have become prevalent and I just find that while Torpor still can be incredibly powerful, I find that there are a lot more diverse strategies being played and its harder to get it to match up. I also constantly seem to want more draw in my deck so these cheap artifacts that draw a card seem really ideal. I think both of the things that Golden Egg can do are minor but fixing my mana can be relevant early on due to the land light approach I have as well as a number of artifacts tapping for colorless.
  • Sword of Feast and Famine → 1 Snow-Covered Island - I really pushed myself to run a low conservative curve. That said, I think I need to give just a tiny bit more room for lands. Sword of FAF is a sweet card and I think if I draw it later in the game its fine. That said though, it costs a lot to get set up and I have been feeling the need for more lands to get me started in the game. I have picked up a lot more ramp that isn't land based and I think its better to cut my losses and move on from here.
  • Vedalken ShacklesReverse Engineer - Shackles is a sweet card. That said, its a better card in a control based blue deck or a deck with sac outlets which.... while I do have, I think its not really where I am looking to be for this deck. Its very expensive to cast and use shackles and its sort of a fragile disruption in that everyone tends to panic and once destroyed its work is undone. I want to push my draw a bit harder and I think I might have undervalued some effects that cheaply draw more than one card for this deck. I have so many little trinkets laying about on average that paying UU for draw three sounds really appealing.
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oldmangrieves
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Post by oldmangrieves » 13 hours ago

First I would like to say that I love your lists in general. I was a long time lurker on salvation and always enjoyed your deliberations and explanations concerning card choice.

I just sleeved up my own version of Sai and I am having an absolute blast! It is slower than yours, with more of a combo bent, but it can still swarm very quickly. One card that I do not see mentioned in your thread that has done loads of work for me is Slate of Ancestry. I am frequently emptying my hand in a turn and a single activation of the slate tends to fill it up again. Add in Clock of Omens shenanigans and things get out of control quickly.

Does it not make the cut due to the high CMC(relatively speaking)? I am curious to hear your thoughts.

Here is my list(Archidekt) for reference: https://archidekt.com/decks/308448#Heavy_Sai. Not sure how to format decklist on Nexus yet...

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