Honestly, I don't see how keeping Force in against Hardened Scales can be counted as "a necessary evil". It hits so many targets that it's never dead against their draws. Animation Module
, Throne of Geth
, Evolutionary Leap
(yep, that's it, many thanks), Ancient Stirrings
, Hardened Scales
if your hand requires so, Welding Jar
(you know, this one is huge when you can answer it 1x1), Karn, Scion of Oona
that almost kills you on the spot, Grafdigger's Cage
which definitely hurts. Some lists even sideboard Autumn's Veil
, which is... meh.
When none of these cards hit the battlefield, they are a bad creature deck. If you can deal with Hangarback - between Paths, Charms and counterspells it's easy to do so - I don't see us losing. In my experience, while I didn't metagamed the deck for the mu, we are definitely 50-50. Thoughtseize isn't the worst card you can board in, but the others you already play are simply better. Gearhulk is how you turn the corner and win most of the time. At a certain point, you destroyed almost everything from their board but need to kill the opponent before it can recover. So you EOT Gearhulk, flashback anything worth it, and start biting his life total with Gearhulk + one/two Tar-Pits, which usually means a turn two clock. It also deals with Karn, which is important to keep out of the field.
Without going card for card, given the fact that the sideboard changes continuosly, I'll just sideboard in any sweeper (in my list, let's consider Engineered Explosives
, and Winds of Abandon
) making a one for one swap with Cryptics (which are fine, but get outclassed by actual mass removals). Remember that Charm and Drown can deal in any stage of the game with both XX creatures they play. I won't sideboard Kaya's Guile
for obvious reasons, only the lifegain isn't worth it. You may bring in 1/2 Seizes instead of the fourth Cryptic and the first cantrip, but I wouldn't suggest so.
I tend to do the same against aggressive strategies which require a solution to the stack - while I would cut Forces when they don't (like, Humans, where we also bring in Celestial Purge
and Kaya's Guile
). I like having some Force against the likes of Grixis Shadow, on the other hand. We'll often hardcast it, and when we're not we can Force a Stubb during opponent's turn.
Do remember, when you think about shaving them, that Gearhulk pitches to Force, and that Gearhulk itself is the slot where we would play Jace/Teferi in tap-out builds. They are very necessary for the same reasons we play them, there. If you only have few reps with the deck it's easy to state otherwise, but I assure you that are the very bone of the 8-Charm archetype. The only deck against whom I see cutting them is - indeed - fast red decks (Burn, Red Prowess, 8-Whack, maybe - maybe - Shadow Zoo).
You put a very interesting point on Hieroglyphic Illumination
. I even played the card before (with Gearhulks, in Blue Moon!), I don't know why I never tried in this list. The nicest part is when you cycle it in the early game, then cast Gearhulk and draw two without putting the Charms out of the graveyard. This can actually turn out as a huge improvement. I'll test it for sure. %$#%$#%, I wish I had thought about it faster!
I do think that Force of Negation
is too strong to omit. If you look back at the old thread on MTGSalvation, you'll see that I was playing Remand
in the first iteration of the deck (wish I could still run them, sigh). Then I went for a mix of Dovin's Veto
and Logic Knot
, asserting that the gameplan of this list can hardly support the card disadvantage for its own nature. Welp, I was wrong. It won me too many games. Too many. It's unconditional - in every stage of the game, unlike Knot - and it does help us resolving things like Gearhulk in the opponent's end step. Yep, that's an absurd play. It still IS a three mana Negate, never forget this.
I do think both are equally important for this deck, and need to be played in no less than eight copies. That said, Archmage's Charm
is indeed "more crucial" in the sense that is more flexible in tight spots. The ability of stealing creatures when you don't have removals and to counter Big Mana's threats when you're out of counterspells is nothing to laugh about.
I do disagree about Esper Charm
's discard mode. You win games out of nowhere with it. Between 7 Snapcaster Mages + 1 fetchable Mystic Sanctuary
, 4 Charms and 4 Cryptic Commands to recycle the Snappies you can discard SIX CARDS out of a single Esper Charm. It happened several times, it isn't a cute play, it wins games.
I do enjoy Think Twice
, but it has nothing to do with a seven Snapcaster Mage decklist.
I don't want to run Tasigur, just saying that it's surely a possibility. The most recent iterations of Grixis Control play Tasigur, Drown and Into the Story
in the same shell. It does help vs Burn, if we want to improve the maindeck against a field of red decks.
This is the list I'm gonna try on Saturday.
I won't play the full set of Drown without Scour, obviously. I'm still debating if the first copy of Winds of Abandon
is better suited to be a sideboard card. I do like the possibility of using it in the early game and to fetch Sanctuary later to have an actual sweeper (that also deals with Dredge's critters). I also played in the same slot Tyrant's Scorn
, which is removal, blue card to pitch and a bounce spell to reuse Snapcasters all in one. If these two won't satisfy me, I'll just go back to the third Path maindeck (which is meh, but still, the seventh cc1 removal).
I have high hopes for Illumination.
Still unsure about the Fortress (due to Sanctuary) but I hate to take unnecessary damage in the early game.
doesn't belong to this list. The problem isn't the "die to removal", but the "do nothing except being a creature".
I do like it in T3feri heavy builds, though.