Ephara, God of the Polis - Flash & Taxes

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pokken
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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

MeowZeDung wrote:
1 year ago
All the Ephara decks in this forum do is steal Nyxbloom Ancients it seems :cool:

Love the tentacle-storm pic!
It is seriously making me want to break out the judge promo bribery I tell ya

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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

Has anyone had any success using mistmeadow witch? It seems potentially very good but the mana cost really puts me off. still, the first blink is the same price as Displacer (6), and it can itself dodge removal or wraths.

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Post by WizardMN » 1 year ago

pokken wrote:
1 year ago
Has anyone had any success using mistmeadow witch? It seems potentially very good but the mana cost really puts me off. still, the first blink is the same price as Displacer (6), and it can itself dodge removal or wraths.
I used to run it in a Rasputin Dreamweaver deck I had. When I went over to Ephara, and re-tooled the deck, I left it in to start with. However...well, I guess I can let me from the past (my Ephara thread on Salvation) do the talking:
One card I did find I often felt was disappointing was Mistmeadow Witch. I know this seems a bit backwards, but it costs 4 mana to activate, it doesn't return things right away, and it is high on the "eats removal" chart. The latter isn't the worst thing, but the first 2 things are very detrimental to this type of deck. I am been finding that when I have this card in hand, I never want to cast it because I have better things to be doing. I think I am going to cut this for the Tiger for now. I am not sure the Tiger keeps its spot in the deck, but I am convinced I don't want the Witch anymore.
My opinion on it hasn't changed either. Being able to blink something for 1 mana more than Displacer, and not being able to get it back right away actually hurts a lot. Yes, we can save our stuff from wraths but, even then, I wouldn't expect to be saving more than 1 or 2 things. And Ephara already survives most wraths anyway. Not being able to get something back right away makes it work much worse with things like Gilded Drake and Faerie Artisans and really anything we need to return immediately: Venser, Shaper Savant, Resolute Archangel (I know you don't have it, but still), Glen Elendra Archmage, Spellseeker, Recruiter of the Guard, etc.

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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

WizardMN wrote:
1 year ago
My opinion on it hasn't changed either. Being able to blink something for 1 mana more than Displacer, and not being able to get it back right away actually hurts a lot. Yes, we can save our stuff from wraths but, even then, I wouldn't expect to be saving more than 1 or 2 things. And Ephara already survives most wraths anyway. Not being able to get something back right away makes it work much worse with things like Gilded Drake and Faerie Artisans and really anything we need to return immediately: Venser, Shaper Savant, Resolute Archangel (I know you don't have it, but still), Glen Elendra Archmage, Spellseeker, Recruiter of the Guard, etc.
That was an angle I hadn't thought of that much; displacer realllly closes out games with venser or spellseeker or drake, witch is quite a bit less protective (and can't ever stop stuff on the stack like venser/displacer which is pretty important).

Given how bad my whole "hope they put more sweet stuff out for us" strategy has worked lately it's only a matter of time before we get a 1) eldrazi displacer that does not require colorless and is recruiterable, and 2) creature that tutors for fliers. Guess I'll keep sucking it up with Displacer until then. It's soooo awkward sometimes though.

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Post by MeowZeDung » 1 year ago

I picked up the few missing pieces I needed and finally got around to sleeving up my Ephartifact list, with a few last minute changes due to realizing I was missing a few cards still and tweaking the mana a bit:
MZD's Ephara
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MZD's Ephara

Commander (1)


Board Wipes (3)


Goodstuff (1)


Approximate Total Cost:

I've only gotten one game in so far, and it was total destruction. . . of me. It was a friendly 1v1 and the other deck just got off to an outrageous start with ramp.dek and had a draw and constant threat engine I couldn't keep pace with. Still, it was a fun game that let me see a lot of what Ephartifacts could pull off. Some thoughts:

- Faerie Artisans + Spawning Pit is quite nice since I can sac the token that is about to be exiled in response to the artisans' trigger and just keep piling on counters. Then once the Artisans are inevitably removed (and so they were) I'm able to keep hitting Ephara's etb quota each turn with spawns.

- Speaking of meeting Ephara's etb quota and drawing cards, I forgot how good it feels to pilot this commander. I had 7+ cards in hand at the start of each of my turns for nearly the whole game (and it would probably have been more in proper multiplayer). I discarded to hand size three times iirc. I remember at one point thinking to myself "hmmm, I'm getting low on cards", and then realizing I had 5 in hand and laughing at myself. This lists first outing found it trivially easy to trigger Ephara, mostly via Sai, Master Thopterist and Spawning Pit.

- Wiping the board and not having to recast your commander gives one a nice warm fuzzy feeling.

- The cost reducers were clutch. I was stumbling on mana most of the game (which is absolutely stunning given how many cards I drew, tbh), and Jhoira's Familiar/Etherium Sculptor were the reason I was able to hang in there as long as I did.

- Unwinding Clock seems like it will be game ending some percentage of the time. I had Alloy Myr, Silver Myr and Palladium Myr on board and was awful close to setting up a soft lock with Capsize, if only I hadn't been faced with mana issues.

- The artifact build will rarely have access to Ephara's indestructible body I imagine. It was a long game where I was able to do a lot and develop a couple large board states, but she only hit devotion once.

- I pitched Myr Battlesphere and had a Pentavus dead in hand a good portion of the game due to my mana issues. There is definitely a real cost to those high cmcs. I'm not writing them off yet by any means, because I know full well that with the artifact only mana dorks like Vedalken Engineer and Renowned Weaponsmith I can actually run these out quite early.

The deck was fun to play, even while on the backfoot and ultimately losing. I'm excited to play it more.
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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

If in doubt jam way more ramp than you need and scale it back. It's a build I'd be fine running big tezz key vault monoliths thran dynamo etc in myself. The artifact payoffs are so much stronger than mine that you can afford to go big on mana.

I'd consider master transmuter and metalworker long term also.

Dexk is looking nice. I love spawning pit a lot in there. Very flexible.

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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

Got my first game in in a while today since I was on vacation. Pretty short sweet one against GW Selvala big stuff, Varina aggro, and Daxos Heroic? The GW and Varina decks felt like they were on a similar power level. Varina knocked me to 25 or so on turn 4 with a huge pile of zombies.

I had an awkward draw this game of:
Muddle, Sol ring, Prairie Stream, Prismatic Vista, Capsize, Intuition, Stormscape Familiar.

This is a really good hand, enough to gamble on drawing an untapped land on turn 1 and sucking up missing a land drop if needed, because transmuting Muddle into Cat + Stormscape can set you up for a good long game.


I've got a detailed play by play here since it was short. I am last.


Their turn 1: Varina went off with mana crypt into signet. Selvala and Daxos derped.

Turn 1: I drew a supreme verdict turn 1, and that made the decision to fetch a second blue source with Vista a very tough one. Played tapped prairie stream.

Their turn 2: Varina drops Gisa+geralf dumping Noosegraf mob (ughhh) and Selvala eladamri's calls for Seedborn muse. Daxos open the armory's for stratus walk, and I think he might be in the wrong room.

Turn 2 I drew a altar of dementia, played sol ring plus fetched island (needed to be able to transmute muddle), and decided with Varina's start I should gamble on the altar+intuition combo. I get stormscape out there to accelerate my mana on the combo turn if they give me reveillark or guide (which they almost always do for some reason). And as an emergency blocker.

Their turn 3: Selvala plays selvala, Varina plays Noosegraf mob.. Daxos plays a heroic creature.

My Turn 3 I drew an island (YAY but not a white land..ouch). I was hoping for a white source so I could verdict, but being able to intuition later with muddle backup is nice. I play Ephara and Altar of Dementia and pass, keeping it mana efficient and exposing my altar (but feel like I need to to win this game)

Their turn 4: Selvala plays seedborn muse I think and some spell that untapped Selvala to get the mana for it. Varina correctly spies I am on a combo, plays Varina, and goes all in bashing me to 25 ish and looting like 5. Daxox put his stratus walk on the heroic critter.

My turn 4: I draw tapped emeria, again annoying me that I can't slowroll this and verdict. I decide to go all in on intuition with muddle backup and pass.

Their turn 5: Selvala offers some kind of deal to Varina who ignores it, Varina untaps and plays alhammaret's archive, Selvala beast within's varina in response to prevent the draw 12 / discard 6. Varina beats Selvala's face. Daxos does something with something, I don't know.

At Daxos' end step I intuition for body double/guide/lark with muddle backup, no one has action.

My turn 5:: I untap and combo kill the table with a 4 mana lark and muddle backup, selvala makes me play it out which is good experience -- the fastest+safest iteration from this position is to sac guide then sac lark leaving body double copying lark as safety play (lark gets guide, guide gets lark, repeat). They can't really stop it once it gets started since you can just sac lark on top and keep going.

I don't think I can recall ever having a game like that where I had the combo nuts in the opener and had to go for it. I usually try to slow roll until I am positive I can't lose. Luckily both the other blue players tapped out and I was willing to gamble on only having one counter to back it up.

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Post by shermanido37 » 1 year ago

I actually slotted out Emeria. I've absolutely never managed to activate it, and even if I had - it would have played out as win-more to me. As an explanation, my deck's absolute worst phase is the early game, while in the late game there is no shortage of value and engines to keep it coming. Since Emeria enters tapped it cripples the early game, and its lackluster late game engine is never activated, it got the axe in my list. On the other hand a card that's much easier to utilize is Mystic Sanctuary: fetchable, pretty easy to activate, and the value is solid with a fantastic ceiling in Terminus. Play the land, trigger Ephara, draw a card, pay W to blank the board... AGAIN.

Another important change was that I had to take a long hard look at my list to decide what to take out for the Kraken, and my eye fell upon Whitemane Lion. Essentially they have the same function as value engines, except one grows the board while the other can save creatures. Kraken is also cheaper and doesn't care about colored mana, although not tutorable and doesn't combo as well with Recruiter. Since most of my games so far have been without Recruiter, and because of similar reasons to Emeria, Whitemane was axed as a test.

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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

shermanido37 wrote:
1 year ago
I actually slotted out Emeria. I've absolutely never managed to activate it, and even if I had - it would have played out as win-more to me. As an explanation, my deck's absolute worst phase is the early game, while in the late game there is no shortage of value and engines to keep it coming. Since Emeria enters tapped it cripples the early game, and its lackluster late game engine is never activated, it got the axe in my list. On the other hand a card that's much easier to utilize is Mystic Sanctuary: fetchable, pretty easy to activate, and the value is solid with a fantastic ceiling in Terminus. Play the land, trigger Ephara, draw a card, pay W to blank the board... AGAIN.

Another important change was that I had to take a long hard look at my list to decide what to take out for the Kraken, and my eye fell upon Whitemane Lion. Essentially they have the same function as value engines, except one grows the board while the other can save creatures. Kraken is also cheaper and doesn't care about colored mana, although not tutorable and doesn't combo as well with Recruiter. Since most of my games so far have been without Recruiter, and because of similar reasons to Emeria, Whitemane was axed as a test.
Possible your meta plays faster than my typical ones, but I have been able to force Emeria to be the decider of many games. I feel like it figures in as many as a quarter of my games and is often the first or second thing I get with weathered wayfarer. It really does help that Wayfarer is a free ticket to activating it. Also, I wanna say you have cut sun titan and are playing a lower fetch count; the old cloned Titan has enabled a lot of Emeria shenanigans for me.

I could see playing Sanctuary if I had a bit more of a blue commitment, but the deck has been drifting Blue for the last couple years and is closer to where I would consider it particularly with the higher fetchland count now. I'm not sure I would want to play it just as a value card - maybe if I cut Emeria as you did.

I will say that whitemane lion is lower on my agenda than usual because of soulherder taking over its spot as the #1 Recuriter target. That said, I really, really like the flexibility of being able to go for it when I think someone might sweep or interact with Soulherder. Being able to Whitemane to protect recruiter is important.

Let me know how it works out -- I don't think I could go without a more conservative fetch on recruiter, and recruiter is always so clutch for me.

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Post by MeowZeDung » 1 year ago

I got in another quick game with Ephartifacts today, although unfortunately it was another 1v1, and a bit of a non-game at that. Still, I got a feel for some cards and interactions. First, per your recommendation I added some more ramp:
MZD's Ephara
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Changes 2/28/20
Approximate Total Cost:


MZD's Ephara

Commander (1)


Board Wipes (3)


Planeswalkers (1)


Approximate Total Cost:

I kept a greedy hand of plains/sol ring/gold myr/scroll of fate/sanctum of ugin/pentavus/renowned weaponsmith. I didn't get a blue source on either of my first 2 draws, so no t2 Ephara unfortunately, but it turns out Scroll of Fate is quite a magic card. I got my blue source by turn 5 flipping a manifested alloy myr that I cracked sanctum of ugin to fetch after running out Pentavus the previous turn. Once I started drawing with Ephara and manifesting just about everything I drew for more free draws, the beatdown was on.

Unfortunately, it wasn't much of a game since my opponent stumbled at 4 mana and didn't hit another land until 3 turns later, so it felt like stealing candy from a baby.

Nevertheless, I learned how potent the scroll is, and that's worth something.
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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

scroll of fate is indeed very good especially when you can potentially activate it repeatedly with unwinding clock or clock of omens.

One thing I noticed in your list is that you've got mystic forge but no sensei's divining top. Top will really, really be good in this deck. It's great just as goodstuff in my deck, in yours where you can put it to work.

I really like where that build is going. I don't think you're that far off of where I would be with my design other than balance/budget/card availability choices.

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Post by MeowZeDung » 1 year ago

Yeah, it'll get there with time. I'll slowly upgrade with tezz, academy ruins, o stone, venser maybe, and sigh... top perhaps. I just don't like that card. It's good, real good. I just don't like it. Doesn't make your point any less valid though!
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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

I think I thought of a new benchmark one card intuition → recruiter line with ephemerate that can end the game in one turn cycle.

(3 mana end step)
Cast intuition for recruiter of the guard, reveillark and sun titan. End with recruiter of the guard in play somehow.

(3-6 mana) Cast recruiter of the guard getting spellseeker

(3) cast Spellseeker getting ephemerate

(1) cast ephemerate blinking recruiter of the guard, getting karmic guide at some point

(0) rebound ephemerate blinking spellseeker for enlightened tutor during upkeep

(1) cast enlightened tutor for altar of dementia before Ephara draw/Draw step

Win the game!

Man, ephemerate is a magic card ladies and gents. Anyone see anything off with this sequence?

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Post by MeowZeDung » 1 year ago

Nothing mechanically. But opponents do get to see the spellseeker and ephemerate/rebound coming, so it's definitely open to interaction, especially since it takes a cycle
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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

MeowZeDung wrote:
1 year ago
Nothing mechanically. But opponents do get to see the spellseeker and ephemerate/rebound coming, so it's definitely open to interaction, especially since it takes a cycle
Yeah, for sure. That's part of my goal generally is to make sure the combos are fairly telegraphed and at least somewhat vulnerable.

It's nice to be able to just close a game when I get in driver's seat though. And it's quite efficient too which is nice.

Pretty jazzed to try this; intuition is super gross :)

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Post by MeowZeDung » 1 year ago

pokken wrote:
1 year ago
Yeah, for sure. That's part of my goal generally is to make sure the combos are fairly telegraphed and at least somewhat vulnerable.
Good man.
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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

I got a game in on MTGO the other day; essentially one of those games where I stalled til the combo. I had a little bit of early ramp with an explosive hand - myriad landscape + mana crypt + another land, was able to turn 3 Ephara and draw a bunch of cards. Recruiter for soulherder for spellseeker, spellseeker for rift+mana drain.

I closed this game out by dropping a Teferi and the second player after me's end step, then end step intuition on the 3rd player's for body doble/lark/guide, having previously scried a altar of dementia to the top with charming prince (and drawn it off that ephara draw). Note: charming prince's scry is very good with Ephara since you can draw one of the cards if needed.

This game was pretty interesting in that one player insisted on making me play it out, so I took my time and did the loop where I mill myself to an answer eventually finishing with:
1) they have no graveyard, 6 cards in hand
2) I have teferi and hushbringer out and the combo on the board with the ability to mill myself to venser at instant speed if they somehow had a trick of some kind (though with teferi out I have no idea how they do anything but lose to drawing their card).

The power of the full combo being able to mill yourself to whatever answer is really absurdly cool.

Every time I play this deck I am really pleased with how it plays. It has game against everyone and almost always has just the right number of answers without being an oppressive control deck - stalling through board presence and occasional tricks and such.

I really love how often I am just living on the edge with juuuuust enough interaction or digging just one piece I need out at the last minute.

I'll probably start up streaming some Fridays here since I got that all rigged up. You guys are more than welcome to watch and laugh, and I'll see if I can figure out getting voice chat on discord as well.


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Post by shermanido37 » 1 year ago

The Magistrate is definitely going in my list instead of Meddling Mage. Locks out commanders, Cascades, Muldrothas, suspend and rebound, adventure cards, and even companions if they'll be relevant.

I'm hesitant about the broodmoth. It's great with ETB and with sac outlets, but plenty of our cards have flying, plus it can be difficult to kill our creatures when we want to.

Edit: is also a full lockout with Knowledge Pool. I feel dirty

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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

shermanido37 wrote:
1 year ago
The Magistrate is definitely going in my list instead of Meddling Mage. Locks out commanders, Cascades, Muldrothas, suspend and rebound, adventure cards, and even companions if they'll be relevant.

I'm hesitant about the broodmoth. It's great with ETB and with sac outlets, but plenty of our cards have flying, plus it can be difficult to kill our creatures when we want to.

Edit: is also a full lockout with Knowledge Pool. I feel dirty
I'm torn on the broodmoth as well, but I do think it's a powerful value play - nice way to protect your displacer, and you can displace off the flying tokens which is gross.

It is possible that with Magistrate, playing knowledge pool as a wincon is a reasonable idea for some decks -- with two things to enable it. Probably a different deck tho.

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Post by shermanido37 » 1 year ago

If you play Magistrate, Eidolon, and Teferi, that's three things locking down the board with KP.

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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

shermanido37 wrote:
1 year ago
If you play Magistrate, Eidolon, and Teferi, that's three things locking down the board with KP.
Yup true enough. Gotta be ahead on board but it's not a bad setup.

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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

verge rangers is pretty good. Not sure it's playable for sure but it's very decent with the topdeck manipulation package. Wouldn't mind if it was a bit more oomph but it's got a good body which is nice.

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Post by shermanido37 » 1 year ago

I've always found Future Sight to be pretty bad in commander, since blue is just so broken. Courser is amazing in green because it is modeled as a superb defense, with a card advantage mechanic that the color can already abuse.
In white it is still powerful because of the lack of card advantage, but you can't use the ability if you're not against a green player or missing land drops, so it's more of a mediocre catching up mechanic.
In our deck I think the card is lackluster, but in any nonblue deck it can be great. Just run enough lands.

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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

shermanido37 wrote:
1 year ago
I've always found Future Sight to be pretty bad in commander, since blue is just so broken. Courser is amazing in green because it is modeled as a superb defense, with a card advantage mechanic that the color can already abuse.
In white it is still powerful because of the lack of card advantage, but you can't use the ability if you're not against a green player or missing land drops, so it's more of a mediocre catching up mechanic.
In our deck I think the card is lackluster, but in any nonblue deck it can be great. Just run enough lands.
So it is on a 3/3 first strike body which is significantly better than courser. And it's on a body which makes it way better than future sight for us. Knowing our topdeck is pretty powerful too because we can draw it next upkeep.

I don't think it is something I will play despite all the topdeck manipulation and ways I can make sure I hit my drop, primarily because it isn't that common for me to be behind on lands.

I think you're absolutely right about the being behind thing not being *that* common - my deck hits its land drops really really well and so only green ramp decks get ahead of me and they often don't stay ahead in the mid game because I draw so many cards I'm always hitting them and they sometimes stall.

If it had a foil I'd be way more inclined to try it out :P

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