Ephara, God of the Polis - Flash & Taxes

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Post by OCPunisher » 2 years ago

shermanido37 wrote:
2 years ago
Sudden Exchange - essentially a more easily playable plus uncounterable Commandeer. There are some absolutely mad noncreatures to gain control of in EDH, i.e. Ugin, the Spirit Dragon, Exsanguinate, and most amusing of all are any overload spells.
Does this actually work with spells not on the stack? Hard to say without the actual rules text on the new card, but I thought Commandeer only worked like that with spells that were still on the stack. JUDGE!?!
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Post by pokken » 2 years ago

shermanido37 wrote:
2 years ago
So two amazing cards have just been spoiled:
Sudden Exchange - essentially a more easily playable plus uncounterable Commandeer. There are some absolutely mad noncreatures to gain control of in EDH, i.e. Ugin, the Spirit Dragon, Exsanguinate, and most amusing of all are any overload spells. Giving them a creature is possible with a token from Mesa, with a symmetrical hatebear that still locks down the board, or just with a random creature, and in most cases the trade will be well worth it - for example if we trade into an overload spell the creature we give them is immediately wiped off the board. Plus noncreatures are a big weakness for us in my experience, so it's definitely worth testing.
Scroll of Fate - now I usually oversell manifest effects with Ephara (though I still think they're pretty good with her) but this has got to be better than what we've had so far. This is easy to cast and generates creatures at instant speed, which is everything we want. It's tutorable with Trophy, can tap immediately for guaranteed value, and isn't a creature so it doesn't blow up from wraths. I think it's a potential allstar.
A reminder about manifest creatures and their merits: they can be made from noncreatures, which means we can turn all dead cards into card draw. Turning a face-down creature face-up doesn't go on the stack, meaning it can't be responded to - this makes creatures virtually uncounterable. Face-down creatures can be blinked with Displacer or Soulherder, and they return face up to the battlefield. They can also be bounced with Curio or Whitemane to your hand and replayed as the original face-up card.
Scroll of Fate is undoubtedly powerful. I am not sure it's all that much better than Cloudseeder except that you can use it to cheat out some huge stuff (and not dying to creature wraths). I'll need to noodle on it. I think it would be exceptional in an unwinding clock / clock of omen build though for sure. I'd really need to think hard about putting another artifact in the deck. But at least it triggers immediately.

You can also clone it with metamorph which is very powerful.

I am not sure about Sudden Exchange. 4 mana is a lot. But it if a very strong effect. Definitely exciting for spellslinger, esp. for tokensy decks.
OCPunisher wrote:
2 years ago
shermanido37 wrote:
2 years ago
Sudden Exchange - essentially a more easily playable plus uncounterable Commandeer. There are some absolutely mad noncreatures to gain control of in EDH, i.e. Ugin, the Spirit Dragon, Exsanguinate, and most amusing of all are any overload spells.
Does this actually work with spells not on the stack? Hard to say without the actual rules text on the new card, but I thought Commandeer only worked like that with spells that were still on the stack. JUDGE!?!
Erm, sudden exchange can only target spells as I read it, so it would work like commandeer of course. The rules text is basically the same. "gain control of target non-creature spell. Y9ou may choose new targets for it." vs: "Exchange control of target noncreature spell and target creature. Then player who controls that spell may choose new targets for it."

Things are only spells while they are on the stack, afaik. After that they're their type or a permanent or whatever depending on zone.

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Post by shermanido37 » 2 years ago

OCPunisher wrote:
2 years ago
shermanido37 wrote:
2 years ago
Sudden Exchange - essentially a more easily playable plus uncounterable Commandeer. There are some absolutely mad noncreatures to gain control of in EDH, i.e. Ugin, the Spirit Dragon, Exsanguinate, and most amusing of all are any overload spells.
Does this actually work with spells not on the stack? Hard to say without the actual rules text on the new card, but I thought Commandeer only worked like that with spells that were still on the stack. JUDGE!?!
If it wasn't clear, I meant spells on the stack. However even Ugin is a spell as long as he's on the stack, so you actually could take control of him this way.

Two more crucial things about Exchange:
1. It's got split second. One of the most broken mechanics in MTG history. Krosan Grip is a staple on the back of it alone, even though it's overpriced compared to its competition. That alone screams for our attention.
2. There's an alternate way to use it, which is to cast a cheap noncreature spell, for example Tithe, then cast it targeting a giant fattie. In particular Tithe is great since if our opponent isn't white it does absolutely nothing for them, so we essentially we gain control of their fattie for free.

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Post by pokken » 2 years ago

shermanido37 wrote:
2 years ago

If it wasn't clear, I meant spells on the stack. However even Ugin is a spell as long as he's on the stack, so you actually could take control of him this way.

Two more crucial things about Exchange:
1. It's got split second. One of the most broken mechanics in MTG history. Krosan Grip is a staple on the back of it alone, even though it's overpriced compared to its competition. That alone screams for our attention.
2. There's an alternate way to use it, which is to cast a cheap noncreature spell, for example Tithe, then cast it targeting a giant fattie. In particular Tithe is great since if our opponent isn't white it does absolutely nothing for them, so we essentially we gain control of their fattie for free.
I think you can do some weird stuff with Capsize there too; they would get to capsize something but you'd get it back if you paid the buyback. Kinda corner case but interesting :)

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Post by pokken » 2 years ago

Wow, probably an exciting day for us. Already a powerful new clone option (evil twin for azorius almost):

Wall of Stolen Identity

Seems like the Flashback deck is likely to contain at least one or two cards we can use based on the types of stuff it's seeing so far.

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Post by pokken » 2 years ago

Doomed Artisan is a pretty reasonable effect. Makes a guy every turn at least, so meets the minimum bar for once-per-turn-cycle token generation. Probably worse than Thraben Doomsayer except that it can turn into an unstoppable army when you're ready to sac the guy.

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Post by Rumpy5897 » 2 years ago

You'd think that you'd get guys into play on your turn quite reliably, making this dude's effect relatively obsolete? My gut says Thraben Doomsayer's flexibility will probably work out better for you than hoping to grow a community of lards in an unimpeded fashion off this new bro, but don't forget to account for my zero games of Ephara experience :P
 
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Post by shermanido37 » 2 years ago

As someone who plays cube, Pack Rat is an absolute monster that will take over a game if left unchecked.
This card costs more, limits us to one creature per turn, and prevents the "rats" from entering combat. However it doesn't cost us cards, which is great.
I would not underestimate this card by any means. It's possible to clone him, which becomes completely insane very quickly, and bounce him with cards like Whitemane to decide when the tokens enter combat. I ultimately believe this guy is best in a populate deck or a clone deck that can abuse his token generation to the max, however it does not mean this card is not viable by any means.

The best part of the Wall is that it doesn't target to tap the creature, which is pretty cool. However, there are plenty of creatures that don't care about being tapped since they rely on activated abilities to gain value (see temur sabertooth). Plus, even if you're tapping a guy that wants to attack, you're getting a defender version of it, which is pretty lame. This card will likely be best in an Arcades deck and hot garbage anywhere else.

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Post by pokken » 2 years ago

You'd be surprised how often we want to cast non-creature spells or nothing in our turn then pass the turn with interaction up. One of the reasons Elspeth, Sun's Champion is so good is that it does basically this - it wins the game over 4-5 turns and reliably triggers ephara during your turn so you can leave more mana up.

Being recurrable with Sun Titan or Reveillark makes me think this guy might be more playable than I'm giving him credit for. Shermanido is 100% correct that it can get out of hand crazy fast with some clones. We have plenty of ways to get rid of it when we want them to attack or block.

I'm actually pretty interested in the Song of the Worldsoul - but more for the lifegain token Ephara build I always have roaming around my head. This card allows you to trigger passive cards like Angelic Accord and Crested Sunmare and Resplendent Angel in powerful chains, and also make use of the large tokens.

I think it could also work in a more spellslingery tokens build that wants to cast stuff like White Sun's Zenith and Cackling Counterpart.

Nothing really easy in for me yet, though I will definitely set aside a Doomed Artisan for testing.

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Post by pokken » 2 years ago

I don't think I am going to do a set review for this set as there's really nothing I want to play in there. Maybe at some point.

I got two games in with Ephara tonight.

Game 1 was vs. Sram, Aminatou, and Mimeoplasm. Aminatou basically stole this game - I never drew an interactive spell and he combo'd off on turn 7 or so, and no one else was able to interact. Both he and Sram went really fast and Sram had nearly killed two of us - both had sol rings.

Game 2 was vs. Sram, Marisil and Mimeoplasm (two of the same decks). This game was crazy grindy. It went on for probably 15 turns or so. Sram got a pretty ridiculous start, killed Marisil on turn 6 or so, then started working on us - at one point I overloaded a rift in response to a grand abolisher, they discarded about 20 cards, then open the vault'd.

That open the vaults is when the game turned; they didn't hit a haste enabler so I was able to chain sweepers into victory; first Winds of Abandon to get sram and puresteel out from under protection from everything, then capsizing my soulherder and casting hour of revelation for 3, then recasting soulerder.

I eventually e-tutor'd for oblivion stone, oblivion stoned yet another pile of Sram stuff killing his other autoequip outlet (Hammer). This basically finally put a stop to him, and I started working on an Elspeth, sun's champion win - had it at 6 and Mimeoplasm drops an Ostone. ugh.

So I go to plan b - pass the turn, discard body double to hand size, blink recruiter with soulherder to get venser. End step of Sram player I venser the ostone, forcing Mime to crack it.

I untap, muddle for Altar and kill them with karmic guide/double combo.

Hour of Revelation was a frigging allstar just as I expected, enabling me to gain massive amounts of tempo. winds of abandon was quite good as well, sweeping the board while leaving me with a powerful presence.

Oh, I wanted to add that Stonecloaker was nearly MVP this game; It did a bunch of things:
1) Kept Sram from resurrecting any good equipment with nahiri, the lithomancer after I got
2) Slowed down mimeoplasm by eating creatures
3) stopped a bunch of fat non-trampling creatures from getting over by doing the block-bounce trick.
4) kept a planeswalker down by attacking it in the air


Oh, I also forgot what a showing Windborn Muse had in this game. it kept the Sram guy off me for almost the entire game. He even had to burn a removal spell on a mirage Mirror that had copied it at one point, then burned another path on Muse after it had already done its work delaying.

I am pretty confident Muse is here to stay in this meta. The other time I saw it it was quite good too.

I feel like this deck is really just en fuego for the most part. When I am playing well and playing to win it can be really difficult to stop. Having the combo finish and all the control, and also being very resilient to my own control, is just very nice.

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Post by shermanido37 » 2 years ago

Nice second game. I like the work that Hour put in.
I'm surprised that Stonecloaker was as effective as it was - in my games it was usually a 3cmc Whitemane that felt pretty bad to play.
However, it seems that while Stonecloaker was a good versatile card, the real MVP that enabled shenanigans was Soulherder. The fact that you capsized it to your hand to protect it should say it all. It seems like at the bare minimum this guy enables Ephara on our turn, and can get ridiculous late game - much like Doomed Artisan, except it's more synergistic and less of a bomb-or-dud like the Artisan.

If the type of decks in this match are prevalent in your meta, I would give some serious thought to Kataki. It doesn't prevent Sram from drawing a bunch of cards, but if you can take care of his autoequip outlets his equipment will live for only one round. It will also slow down absurd starts like Aninatou had. If not that, Eidolon of Rhetoric would definitely stop most shenanigans.

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Post by pokken » 2 years ago

So there are a lot of artifact decks but I play with sram a lot cos he's a cool guy.

I do think I need to move canonist back to eidolon here soon.

Soulherder definitely the real mvp. It even blocks ok as a 5/5. That card is bonkers good. I don't even have that many etb targets and it's always good.

People are recognizing it and trying to remove it a lot but generally if I can protect it I win.

Ii dont think we're quite at kataki yet but canonist def. Has been poor for a while. Just too many artifacts in the new meta. Half the time its advantaging someone other than me.


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Post by ISBPathfinder » 2 years ago

I almost revisited my idea of flicker Ephara when considering Agent of Treachery and Cavalier of Dawn. I know it doesn't really pertain to your list but man..... Cloudshifting those guys sounds fantastic.
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Post by shermanido37 » 2 years ago

ISBPathfinder wrote:
2 years ago
I almost revisited my idea of flicker Ephara when considering Agent of Treachery and Cavalier of Dawn. I know it doesn't really pertain to your list but man..... Cloudshifting those guys sounds fantastic.
To me, all of these cards feel much more Brago material than Ephara, especially Agent. Brago likes more mana rocks into big dudes with bigger ETBs, Ephara likes small creatures with flash. Both of Agent's abilities are phenomenal for Brago, while for Ephara the second one is win more.

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Post by ISBPathfinder » 2 years ago

shermanido37 wrote:
2 years ago
ISBPathfinder wrote:
2 years ago
I almost revisited my idea of flicker Ephara when considering Agent of Treachery and Cavalier of Dawn. I know it doesn't really pertain to your list but man..... Cloudshifting those guys sounds fantastic.
To me, all of these cards feel much more Brago material than Ephara, especially Agent. Brago likes more mana rocks into big dudes with bigger ETBs, Ephara likes small creatures with flash. Both of Agent's abilities are phenomenal for Brago, while for Ephara the second one is win more.
Its definitely possible. The upside of Ephara is that its harder to interact with her as a commander and drawing a card multiple times a turn due to instant speed flickers does add up. I have always viewed Brago as a commander like willingly walking into a 3v1 match of commander. Brago is much more predictable and having mana up to flicker also opens counterspell options.
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Post by pokken » 2 years ago

ISBPathfinder wrote:
2 years ago
shermanido37 wrote:
2 years ago
To me, all of these cards feel much more Brago material than Ephara, especially Agent. Brago likes more mana rocks into big dudes with bigger ETBs, Ephara likes small creatures with flash. Both of Agent's abilities are phenomenal for Brago, while for Ephara the second one is win more.
Its definitely possible. The upside of Ephara is that its harder to interact with her as a commander and drawing a card multiple times a turn due to instant speed flickers does add up. I have always viewed Brago as a commander like willingly walking into a 3v1 match of commander. Brago is much more predictable and having mana up to flicker also opens counterspell options.
Yeah, that is one nice thing about Ephara - she's not obviously powerful, and is difficult to interact with. I don't have a lot of interest in Brago mostly because of how he plays, nobody wants to watch you blink spine of ish sah until people finally scoop. In general I do not like playing commanders that people feel like they have to remove over and over again or they'll take over.

So upon some noodling on it, I think that the reason I err toward cheaper stuff with Ephara is that I'm mostly trying to win with combos or token beats. Blinking Agent of Treachery a bunch of times is a reasonable win con for a take on Ephara that isn't trying to win with a combo or more over-the-top combat damage -- stealing a couple fatties and going to town, or beating people down with a few 5/5s is very feasible in non-combo metas.

I think I would be more inclined toward more powerful ETB effects with blink spells if 1) I wasn't wanting to run a number of board control creatures, and 2) I didn't have an infinite combo that's in my gameplan.

I definitely see the value of momentary blink effects. It's just quite a bit worse when I only run maybe 10 powerful ETBs.

There is for sure a deck there. And I could see it being done in these colors even. It's not quite as powerful as Bant of course, but Ephara brings a lot to the party from a gameplay style perspective. mainly you don't need to run as much stuff to refill your hand explosively.

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Post by ISBPathfinder » 2 years ago

There are also a few ways to repeatedly flicker like having a Archaeomancer with effects that flicker 2+ creatures like Eerie Interlude or the numerous Displace effects. Its "mostly" not infinite combo stuffs but you could go that route if you wanted with things that untap lands.

I always sort of hesitated to build something like this in part because well...... there are just so many variations and commanders you "could" do this with that its hardly something that a specific commander needs to be at the helm. Its also not usually the most interesting thing to do.
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Post by pokken » 2 years ago

ISBPathfinder wrote:
2 years ago
There are also a few ways to repeatedly flicker like having a Archaeomancer with effects that flicker 2+ creatures like Eerie Interlude or the numerous Displace effects. Its "mostly" not infinite combo stuffs but you could go that route if you wanted with things that untap lands.

I always sort of hesitated to build something like this in part because well...... there are just so many variations and commanders you "could" do this with that its hardly something that a specific commander needs to be at the helm. Its also not usually the most interesting thing to do.
Yeah, I think that's one of the reasons I haven't bothered with getting too ETB heavy is there're really a ton of those commanders out there.

brought Back and sac outlets do very similar stuff, btw, if you go that route. We did a bit of thought experiment on that and there're quite a few very strong interactions there.

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Post by ISBPathfinder » 2 years ago

I did a Feather, the Redeemed ETB / flickers thing recently and that went over well. I had dabbled with Ephara previously though with it and with the new M2020 things I thought about it is all. I really enjoy when flicker effects are profitable and there aren't a lot of commanders that actually feel like they make it all that viable.

Sorry if I derailed, I was just stumbling past and thought I would drop in.
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Post by pokken » 2 years ago

ISBPathfinder wrote:
2 years ago
I did a Feather, the Redeemed ETB / flickers thing recently and that went over well. I had dabbled with Ephara previously though with it and with the new M2020 things I thought about it is all. I really enjoy when flicker effects are profitable and there aren't a lot of commanders that actually feel like they make it all that viable.

Sorry if I derailed, I was just stumbling past and thought I would drop in.
No worries man :) Not like we're overflowing with discussion.

I definitely considered Agent of Treachery - enough I got a foil just in case. It's probably strong enough without flicker shenanigans beyond displacer/venser type stuff.

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Post by Rumpy5897 » 2 years ago

You think you're not overflowing? My threads are ghost towns compared to yours :P

Agent of Treachery is disgusting in an ETB build, might be a bit top-heavy for you, especially given the context of your other high CMC deck cards.
 
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Post by pokken » 2 years ago

Rumpy5897 wrote:
2 years ago
You think you're not overflowing? My threads are ghost towns compared to yours :P

Agent of Treachery is disgusting in an ETB build, might be a bit top-heavy for you, especially given the context of your other high CMC deck cards.
I think I will likely try it after I get to play Tidespout Tyrant a few times - I only have room for ~4 big spells (6+), but Agent could easily be strong enough.

re: The ghost towns
I really hope this forum picks up. It's been very quiet. But honestly deck threads were slow as heck for a while on MTGS too, so not sure what to do there. I've really enjoyed some of the consolidated ones where people get quick feedback and such.

I've definitely been reading your Feather and Daxos threads :)

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Post by OCPunisher » 2 years ago

pokken wrote:
2 years ago
It's probably strong enough without flicker shenanigans beyond displacer/venser type stuff.
I'm trying it out wherever blue ETB creatures are present. The fact that the stolen permanent stays with you regardless is incredibly strong.
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Post by shermanido37 » 2 years ago

pokken wrote:
2 years ago
ISBPathfinder wrote:
2 years ago
shermanido37 wrote:
2 years ago
To me, all of these cards feel much more Brago material than Ephara, especially Agent. Brago likes more mana rocks into big dudes with bigger ETBs, Ephara likes small creatures with flash. Both of Agent's abilities are phenomenal for Brago, while for Ephara the second one is win more.
Its definitely possible. The upside of Ephara is that its harder to interact with her as a commander and drawing a card multiple times a turn due to instant speed flickers does add up. I have always viewed Brago as a commander like willingly walking into a 3v1 match of commander. Brago is much more predictable and having mana up to flicker also opens counterspell options.
Yeah, that is one nice thing about Ephara - she's not obviously powerful, and is difficult to interact with. I don't have a lot of interest in Brago mostly because of how he plays, nobody wants to watch you blink spine of ish sah until people finally scoop. In general I do not like playing commanders that people feel like they have to remove over and over again or they'll take over.
I'm not trying to argue that it's BAD with Ephara, or that Ephara is a worse Commander. I'm trying to argue that Brago likes the card more than Ephara because it plays more easily into his playstyle. I definitely like Ephara better than Brago for much of the reasons you guys mentioned.

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