Ephara, God of the Polis - Flash & Taxes

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pokken
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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

Man I squeaked out a crazy win out of nowhere tonight. It was super wild, almost died a bunch and got top locked for many turns. Had reveillark exiled early on and had to dig down deep with top and such.

Early game I stalled everyone hard with multiple sweepers and a sweet play where I manifested a hushbringer and then flipped it in response to a plague crafter from meren which completely savaged meren and ezuri.

Sisay went nuts with walkers and stuff and I eventually pulled it out with a timely recruiter into herder into whitemane after digging, and combed out because meren milled me for 40 and filled my yard with tasty treats.

I was able to mill everyone out with altar double guide, stopping in the middle to get displacer to get remorseful cleric to exile kozilek from meren, then end the combo with cleric as the last guide trigger. Sisay had a gaeas blessing and I'm out of displacer mana. Go into the tank....ok, check my 60 card yard no ephemerate.

Mystical tutor for ephemerate kill sisay through blessing on his upkeep.

Woof.

Ephara died twice this game which was weird. I really hate ugin.

But I love recruiter. Mvp always.

Archaeomancer and hour of dev did some serious work, cast two hours, a top instant terminus, and a verdict.

I had to winds early game hitting about 3 creatures each, first ever tactical winds, and it worked out fine. Got all three commanders and a world shaper and some more nonsense. Really set the table back despite the ramp.

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Post by Rumpy5897 » 1 year ago

pokken wrote:
1 year ago
I had to winds early game hitting about 3 creatures each, first ever tactical winds, and it worked out fine. Got all three commanders and a world shaper and some more nonsense. Really set the table back despite the ramp.
Think that's finally enough testimony to pull the swap trigger in Daxos. Thanks.

And yeah, your reports are a great read as always. It's fun, living a gross value life through your tales :P
 
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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

I always think I am gonna buckle down and take turn by turn notes but ephara games go an hour minimum anyway and take constant concentration.

I really think winds is a great card. I'm always happy to see it. With how hard everyone is ramping these days its usually easier to just try to answer all the cards it feels like than worry about constraining mana.

I do hope for a deafening silence on a bear in theros so we can move in in that rule of law angle. It's a great one for my deck anyway

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Post by shermanido37 » 1 year ago

It depends on the playgroup, but Thalia, Guardian of Traben can fill a similar role for now. She is phenomenal on the defense for her cost, and can be brutal for early noncreatues as well as multiple noncreatures. She is symmetrical, so that can also set us back a bit, however I find that she can be well worth it.

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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

shermanido37 wrote:
1 year ago
It depends on the playgroup, but Thalia, Guardian of Traben can fill a similar role for now. She is phenomenal on the defense for her cost, and can be brutal for early noncreatues as well as multiple noncreatures. She is symmetrical, so that can also set us back a bit, however I find that she can be well worth it.
Yeah, she's not bad, but she doesn't provide the slowdown you need against already developed mana -- like an artifact deck has already dropped 15 mana and is going to untap and chain draw spells into stuff, making them just cast one spell a turn is backbreaking even then. Making them pay 1 more for each spell hurts but usually won't stop the shenanigans.

For us, the tax is really horrid -- I almost never want to cast more than one non-creature spell a turn but my mana is always very tight.

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Post by shermanido37 » 1 year ago

If heavy artifact mana is thecase Lavinia, Azorius Renegade doesn't even let them cast one spell. Being asymmetrical and countering free spells also helps.

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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

shermanido37 wrote:
1 year ago
If heavy artifact mana is thecase Lavinia, Azorius Renegade doesn't even let them cast one spell. Being asymmetrical and countering free spells also helps.
Moooost of the time I don't think Lavinia is quite good enough because it still allows lots of multispell turns. That's really the thing we hate the most.

Having another functional copy of eidolon of rhetoric especially one that has flash would be sick.

Can you tell I am looking forward to Theros? :)

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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

Anyone had experience with sevinne's reclamation yet?

I was iffy on it when it was spoiled but I'm thinking it might be worth checking out. Fixes some intuition packages which is nice. Might be a bit too much of a yard commitment, though we are fairly vulnerable to RIP as is.

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Post by Rumpy5897 » 1 year ago

Oh man, that thing's nasty with Intuition. Fail case is fetchland ramp, which is seriously not a bad fail case to have - your post had me entertain the thought of finding space for it myself mostly on the merit of that.
 
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Post by WizardMN » 1 year ago

By my count, you have 26 good targets, not including lands, (I excluded a couple creatures that might not be that great to reanimate as a Sorcery) so I could see those being decent. Off of Intuition, it makes the choices a bit harder for players to figure out since you basically guarantee yourself the exact card you want (if it is a permanent). I think this is the strongest case for it.

Being a Sorcery is easily the biggest issue I can see but maybe that isn't as much of a concern. It also acts as a creature (potentially) to trigger Ephara. The other thing I would think about is what you would realistically see as the 2 best permanents to get off Flashback. I tried to think of the best but I was not sure what they would be. The reason I ask is because I am not sure if 5 mana is worth whatever those 2 creatures might be.

On a reverse note: using Snapcaster Mage (or Mission Briefing if you ever decide on that for whatever reason) it becomes a 3 mana → reanimate 2 things. Which is pretty good value.

How has Hushbringer worked out? I get that the stopping of dying triggers is probably pretty good, but have you noticed it getting in the way of your own ETB triggers? I know you don't have a massive amount but you do have enough where I could see this being at odds with at least some of the deck.

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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

WizardMN wrote:
1 year ago
By my count, you have 26 good targets, not including lands, (I excluded a couple creatures that might not be that great to reanimate as a Sorcery) so I could see those being decent. Off of Intuition, it makes the choices a bit harder for players to figure out since you basically guarantee yourself the exact card you want (if it is a permanent). I think this is the strongest case for it.

Being a Sorcery is easily the biggest issue I can see but maybe that isn't as much of a concern. It also acts as a creature (potentially) to trigger Ephara. The other thing I would think about is what you would realistically see as the 2 best permanents to get off Flashback. I tried to think of the best but I was not sure what they would be. The reason I ask is because I am not sure if 5 mana is worth whatever those 2 creatures might be.

On a reverse note: using Snapcaster Mage (or Mission Briefing if you ever decide on that for whatever reason) it becomes a 3 mana → reanimate 2 things. Which is pretty good value.

How has Hushbringer worked out? I get that the stopping of dying triggers is probably pretty good, but have you noticed it getting in the way of your own ETB triggers? I know you don't have a massive amount but you do have enough where I could see this being at odds with at least some of the deck.
Honestly I think the way I would wind up using reclamation most often is as +3 lands for 8 mana, which is a pretty aggressive rate for one card that has so much other upside -- this deck would probably be interested in playing cultivate if it was available despite the 3 CMC cost, just because of how efficient it is at preventing mana stalls. But it is a bit awkward for that since you need to have two fetchlands or a second land in the yard to get it done.

There are tons of targets for sure. Sorcery is the big limiter, and definitely the thing I like the least about it.

There're almost too many scenarios possible to think about the flashback mode but when I think about the most common thing I can imagine would be flashing it back to get recruiter of the guard and soulherder --- since those two cards precipitate a wipe quite often. Being able to put altar of dementia back into play is also quite high upside, as it allows for intuition packages with altar of dementia + sun titan + sevinne's reclamation as a potential extra way in the event guide or reveillark would get there.

Definitely applications with snap and briefing.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hushbringer has been solid. The coolest thing I have done with it so far is manifest it with mastery of the unseen then flip it when a plaguecrafter from Meren was on the stack, denying them both the death trigger experience and the ETB. Then they passed turn to Ezuri, who also could not get XP counters.

I think that hushwing gryff may be better, but hushbringer being able to beat blood artist combos is something I think about. Being muddleable is also nice.

It has also done a little bit of work wielding a sword, allowing me to close one game that way.

My build has gotten a bit heavy on ETBs to want more than one ETB hate effect which is a bit of a bummer, but I am going to stick with hushbringer until it bites me. 2 CMC creatures are very, very, very desirable.

Rumpy5897 wrote:
1 year ago
Oh man, that thing's nasty with Intuition. Fail case is fetchland ramp, which is seriously not a bad fail case to have - your post had me entertain the thought of finding space for it myself mostly on the merit of that.
Yeah, even adding the intuition package of 2x fetchlands + reclamation is really nice, since it can put you as much as +3 lands ahead (depending on how they give it to you (assuming they will always give you reclamation to hand, but never know :P). Trying to predict people's intuition game is beyond me.

The major problem with it is I do not think i can possibly cut a creature for it, which means I'd be looking at cutting like dig through time or cleansing nova or something like that.

Much like most of this deck it really falters if you can't get any creatures going and that has been a huge problem for me lately -- there are more creatureless hands I have to keep and whiffing on creatures is basically a death sentence.

I do think that if I try reclamation I should find room for fabled passage since being able to have painless fetching is very desirable at that point.

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Post by MeowZeDung » 1 year ago

This is a bit random, but I keep thinking about your ephemerate + archaeomancer loop and trying to find similar ways to get sick value with archaeomancer. Have you considered Settle Beyond Reality? Expensive, for sure, but with ephara and arch it could effectively lock down the board and draw a ton of cards.
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Post by shermanido37 » 1 year ago

No way it locks down the board if it costs 5 and gets rid of one creature. If it were to cost 2 less it would be incredible, but that would probably be too much to ask.
It's a good idea for sure, and powerful if there's such a thing as a pauper EDH deck, but definitely not good enough as it currently is.

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Post by ISBPathfinder » 1 year ago

I do think its a bit much here. You might be able to get away with it in a Feather, the Redeemed deck but even there I would question it as a 5 mana sorcery when you generally want to focus on cheap instants. Its a cool card, but the mana cost and speed of it really leave a lot of questionableness to it.
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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

MeowZeDung wrote:
1 year ago
This is a bit random, but I keep thinking about your ephemerate + archaeomancer loop and trying to find similar ways to get sick value with archaeomancer. Have you considered Settle Beyond Reality? Expensive, for sure, but with ephara and arch it could effectively lock down the board and draw a ton of cards.
Usually you don't want to force too many synergies; one of the nice things about this deck is that most of the cards are pretty good. ephemerate is playable because it reads: W: Draw two cards as its most common failure mode.

If someone removes my archaeomancer while I'm in the ephemerate loop state I am not going to be that upset because I don't draw any bricks that don't work without it, and I only invested W2UU (and probably drew a couple cards off it while consuming some of someone else's).

I like to let the synergies naturally emerge from playing things that go with Ephara, rather than things that go with other things, if that makes any sense. Recruiter → Soulherder is not a matter of Soulherder only being good with recruiter, they are both great and happen to work together well.

One main goal of this deck is not to be particularly vulnerable to creature removal; we even sweep our own dudes up fairly regularly, which is fine because we've already replaced them with Ephara. Their goal is to gain us tempo and card advantage simultaneously by slowing everyone else's development.

That said, I could very easily see an Ephara deck focused on setting up eerie interlude + archaeomancer type locks. There are a number of powerful Archaeomancer cards (mnemonic wall etc. But I think brago already does that deck better.

Probably the most obvious thing to do with a blink outlet and Archaeomancer is take infinite turns--adding a time warp effect in place of altar of dementia and making a few tweaks would be a pretty reasonable thing to try (maybe add mnemonic wall and agent of treachery? I dunno).

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Post by MeowZeDung » 1 year ago

Y'all are right. I'm imagining a deck with multiple arch, mnemonic, and izzet chronarch type effects I suppose. "Lock down the board" was overstating it, but I think it would be a good draw - go fallback. In a deck running baral and other cost reduction it could be cool as well.

Edit: nvm, I keep forgetting it's a sorcery. Maybe in elsha of the infinite?
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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

MeowZeDung wrote:
1 year ago
Y'all are right. I'm imagining a deck with multiple arch, mnemonic, and izzet chronarch type effects I suppose. "Lock down the board" was overstating it, but I think it would be a good draw - go fallback. In a deck running baral and other cost reduction it could be cool as well.

Edit: nvm, I keep forgetting it's a sorcery. Maybe in elsha of the infinite?
Really I think Feather is the only commander who wants that type of card but maybe :) Unfortunately Feather doesn't have blue.

It does present a pretty hard lock but I think eerie interlude and ghostway are more suitable for game ending archaeomancer / eternal witness locks personally.;

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Post by Rumpy5897 » 1 year ago

I'm a Feather player, get this trash away from me :P
 
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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

Rumpy5897 wrote:
1 year ago
I'm a Feather player, get this trash away from me :P
Yea, I think it's too slow for a higher powered feather list too, but I think it's playable at the 5-6 level.

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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

I had a pretty great game tonight against Prossh (5.5/10 I'd estimate; powerful but not well tuned), Breya (7/10) and Malfegor (4-5/10 - powerful stuff just not well tuned).

The Breya player had Telepathy turn 1 and it stuck which made things quite weird. However, I had a very good hand that accelerated out of control pretty quickly with top + mastery of the unseen digging through my deck. I did the same thing I did in a previous game where I manifested the hushbringer then flipped it to gain some life.

The main MVP of this game was free range whitemane lion however; I drew probably 9 cards off of it over several turns.Linvala, Keeper of Silence + Hushbringer froze the board forever, eventually even trapping my own whitemane lion.

I had a pretty sick 3 turn end game sequence where my hand was Reveillark, and I had an Intuition on the top of my deck. Figuring someone would eventually kill Hushbringer or I could sweep it myself if needed, I cast intuition for: They gave me Titan since its ETB was shut off; I was set up to evoke reveillark to get both titan + guide back setting up altar, but they instead cast molten disaster which left my hushbringer. I did some fetchland and top shenanigans and found supreme verdict + ephemerate off the top, so I spun those to to the top, then went:

untap, draw ephemerate + verdict by tapping top, cast supreme verdict, evoke reveillark getting whitemane lion which bounces itself, and karmic guide getting sun titan getting altar of dementia. Cast ephemerate on karmic guide returning reveillark and we're off to the races.

Few lessons of that game:

1) hushbringer shutting off lark and guide is not amazing; we can lark through hushwing gryff.
2) intuition is insane. I think the core package of the below cards probably belongs in every Ephara deck. This package of 8 cards interlocks into an easy to start engine that can start with any of a handful of cards (spellseeker, recruiter, mystical tutor) that will close most games with the insane value, often in ways that are very difficult to disrupt. Once you resolve an intuition it basically requires graveyard hate to stop what you're doing, and if they spend too much time trying to stop it, you can set up Emeria.
3) Sensei's divining top has low key won me a lot of games recently. I don't enjoy tutoring for it that much but it is very strong when drawn naturally (and I will enlightened tutor for it on occasion). This deck's synergy with being able to set up future Ephara draws is really, really good.


In unrelated news I am considering swapping tidespout tyrant out for something else since it's mostly been just OK, sometimes good sometimes not. If you've got ideas for that kinda "fatty fatty bobabby" area I'm all ears.

resolute archangel is always one I consider when I'm thinking bout that slot, if that helps.

Other duders I have considered in the past: ** I will note I have been playing a lot of emeria shepherd lately in both Golos mono white and Aminatou, and that card is very impressive. I won one game and nearly won another off of its power alone -- including a ridiculous sequence with Aminatou where I blinked a plains, played a fetchland for a plains, and then time spiralled after shepherding narset, parter of veils and a treachery that hit my opponent's Mizzix that was protected by kira, great glass-spinner and otherwise untouchable outside of putting an aura into play attached to it :P

I just really hesitate to go even further into the graveyard shenanigans realm. Something very nice about this deck is it can basically shift gears to an ETB deck if someone tries to RIP it or whatever.

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Post by shermanido37 » 1 year ago

Shepherd is best in a deck with green in it because of the extra landfall triggers, as well as a bunch of fat permanents to bring back into play.

It depends somewhat on your meta, but Avacyn is usually the best card out of that list. However, if you're looking to play against big evasive creatures, Archon has some serious benefit.
There's also Cavalier of Dawn that you didn't mention. Blinking it can either generate an army or kill a bunch of stuff on the board. However it is a double feelsbad card with Hushbringer.

While Theros is shaping up to be an interesting set, I'm not sure it'll have much to offer in terms of our deck. Sure, a good Escape card could be amazing, but if Elspeth is the best Escape card I don't see the mechanic making the cut for us. The other mechanics are devotion and constellation, of these only the latter is relevant and only for enchantment builds.

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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

shermanido37 wrote:
1 year ago
Shepherd is best in a deck with green in it because of the extra landfall triggers, as well as a bunch of fat permanents to bring back into play.

It depends somewhat on your meta, but Avacyn is usually the best card out of that list. However, if you're looking to play against big evasive creatures, Archon has some serious benefit.
There's also Cavalier of Dawn that you didn't mention. Blinking it can either generate an army or kill a bunch of stuff on the board. However it is a double feelsbad card with Hushbringer.

While Theros is shaping up to be an interesting set, I'm not sure it'll have much to offer in terms of our deck. Sure, a good Escape card could be amazing, but if Elspeth is the best Escape card I don't see the mechanic making the cut for us. The other mechanics are devotion and constellation, of these only the latter is relevant and only for enchantment builds.
yeah you're right, and I have no real way to recur lands unfortunately (just titan). Archon and Cavalier definitely seem reasonable.

One thing I am liking conceptually about archon is that it levels the board -- I tend to have big problems with large creatures, and it makes 6/6's and 10/10s into 3/3s which is very attractive.

I feel like the odds of more eidolons is pretty high and the blue demigod could be good. I think there also may be a new blue god?

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Post by Rumpy5897 » 1 year ago

Thing is, shrinking the board is half the battle. What do you do then? I guess you have your combos, but it's something to keep in mind. Cavalier speaks more to me of these options. Avacyn is a lovely beefslab, but I'm honestly not sure whether you actually need her.
 
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Post by WizardMN » 1 year ago

I think you know my take on Resolute Archangel. It has won me games in the past though I don't have nearly the "combo" elements you do so my games may tend to go longer where she ends up being more necessary.

I wasn't sure which Archon you two were talking about at first (you listed two of them and Blazing seems really out there :) ) but I could get behind Harmonious Archon. 10 power on the board for 6 mana, the ability to build an army with the use of many blink effects, and the ability to shut down opposing "big creatures" makes it seem pretty solid. The main concern is what it does to the rest of your own board. I might have to look into that for my deck since I have a fair number of small creatures and it seems you do too.

And Cavalier has been stellar for me so far in my build.

I do agree with shermanido37 that Emeria Shepherd seems a little out of place here.

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Post by Rumpy5897 » 1 year ago

Dammit Wizard, sneaking in a message as I came up with something to say so i can't just edit it in and have it look clean :P

I've had some minor experience with Humility style effects in the past, the best way to abuse those is turbo swarm, equipment and counter pump.
 
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