shermanido37 wrote: ↑
1 year ago
I'm rather quiet since my schedule has been hectic lately, but I've just ordered a bunch of stuff for Ephara and am debating between several strong toolkits on what to run and what of each to run.
The short version is blink & value, hatebears, creature beats, combo, enchantments. The longer version is more complex because of all the new cards and because of meta calls.
Hopefully I find some time to elaborate on my dilemma, because there are a ton of interactions worth mentioning, and because ultimately I believe the deck will function best if each individual card can make the most of its mileage.
With how bomby stuff has been lately I've been really struggling with winning outside of combos, although on occasion I'll string together like a sun titan with a sword or something. The issue I'm seeing mostly is that everyone's decks just seem to go so darned big now. Lots of interactions operate at a different scale than our stuff. Without green it's harder for us to create these off-scale scenarios where we go huge - no craterhoofs or pathbreaker ibexes.
So it feels like with creatures we're almost stuck in the prison role, where we need to create a strong soft lock like displacer/containment or displacer/venser to control the board.
Of your packages I think the only ones I have really great reads on are combo and creature beats;
Over the years I've tried a lot of angles; swords+fliers, tokens, elesh norn. I think norn has been the most consistently good although with the scale of creatures these days he's less of a sure thing. I've never really tried playing strong beater creatures, although there are a few options for playing some fat fliers (avacyn for example) that can close games fairly fast.
One thing I never tried that I liked the idea of was Archetype of Imagination
. I also never tried going heavy on anthem effects or anything crazy like coat of arms
. Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
is a card I never tried that I always thought would be pretty good. A permanent anthem is pretty good.
I have had far less success ultimatting Elspeth in recent years, though, so something to keep in mind.
was always really good to me in the beatdown department, but there just isn't really critical mass of this kind of effect.
Archangel of Thune
was always very strong, and if you're generating even a little bit of lifegain (I won games with like, get 4 counters on a jitte, pump the team and win) it can be game winning.
Overall my conclusion has largely been that most creature beats options in our colors other than creating a swarm of tokens are probably gonna wind up wrong. And even that will struggle against dedicated combat decks.
I think there are two playable combo lines in Ephara;
1) Lark/Guide/Double/Altar -- easy to set up with intuition packages, mana efficient, and made up of all cards we would like to be playing except altar which is medium but still has a lot of utility. The mana cost for this can be as low as 6 (4 guide off a cost reducer + 2 for altar) if you've previously had a dead lark or body double, and it's fairly innocuous to leave one of the combo critters in the yard most of the time.
2) Archaeomancer effect + Time warp + blink effect - this one is rock solid and plays only good cards (displacer/venser/archaeomancer/time warp are all great cards). Time magic fairly powerful with Ephara because she often acts as a howling mine, so even incidentally taking a couple turns can be great. The downside here is the mana setup is a bit heavy or it's quite telegraphed, often costing in the mid-teens of mana to get going (5 warp, 4 arch, 3 blink, or 5 venser/closet).
However, leaving the spell returner on the battlefield is often very feasible, and the 'combo' also works starting from mystical tutor or spellseeker, and the chain is quite startable with just recruiter.
There're a ton of cute options and it's likely going the Arch route you would want to consider brought back
since it's another ramp spell that can get into an early Ephara in some circumstances and also combos with Arch+Phyrexian altar.
effects are also ridiculously powerful with Archaeomancer, and there are numerous ways to turn that into a soft lock.
In general you really need two of each combo type enabler, or to have a secondary combo, or to have a really powerful win plan otherwise.
I'm sure I'll have a lot more to say as you develop your ideas,