Ephara, God of the Polis - Flash & Taxes

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shermanido37
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Post by shermanido37 » 1 year ago

I think I'd rather have Ephara in the 99 of Gavi. Hard to believe, but red is actually an amazing asset to her, even without Decree of Annihilation.
Namely: Tectonic Reformation and various cyclable mass removals, and also more miracle spells.
Not to mention Ephara really doesn't do anything if you don't draw any of your cycling engines...

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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

shermanido37 wrote:
1 year ago
I think I'd rather have Ephara in the 99 of Gavi. Hard to believe, but red is actually an amazing asset to her, even without Decree of Annihilation.
Namely: Tectonic Reformation and various cyclable mass removals, and also more miracle spells.
Not to mention Ephara really doesn't do anything if you don't draw any of your cycling engines...
I'd think you would want to play a good number of cycling creatures and some ways to find the engine. My issue with Gavi is the same issue I have with other commanders lol, she's very vulnerable and costs 5 mana. I really do not like baneslayer commanders who cost so much, they die and you take a turn off recasting.

And of course you'd want a healthy number of powerful etb creatures, probably stuff like mulldrifter and what not, maybe reveillark.

On the upside Gavi is a reveillark target, so maybe could do something with that.

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Post by MeowZeDung » 1 year ago

pokken wrote:
1 year ago
I think I might try this out actually as I've really wanted to try a cycling deck.
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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

So I did order a foil drannith magistrate but I'm honestly not sure it's worth it.

I'm still on the fence about luminous broodmoth. None of its combo pieces really appeal to me that much, and it's not recruiterable or larkable and doesn't really interact favorably with intuition. But it's very powerful goodstuff...if people are running destroy sweepers, which are becoming less good.

If the foils get cheap enough I might grab one but I don't think it's right for the deck at the moment.

I am really annoyed that we didn't get a human tutor. I feel like that is not going to happen for a long while if it doesn't happen now while humans are an in-tribe.

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Post by WizardMN » 1 year ago

I agree that Broodmoth might not be the best card for this type of deck. We have other ways to protect our board or even rebuild if we need to.

I know I am going to slot it into Karador though. Cheaper Mikaeus is pretty nice.

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Post by Rumpy5897 » 1 year ago

You should totally run both in Karador. Mike + Mothra = immortality for non-fliers = game over with some sensible ETB :P

I'm surprised Drannith Magistrate may not be worth it?
 
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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

Rumpy5897 wrote:
1 year ago
You should totally run both in Karador. Mike + Mothra = immortality for non-fliers = game over with some sensible ETB :P

I'm surprised Drannith Magistrate may not be worth it?
From a power level perspective I think it's definitely there, I just am not sure I want to inflict it on anyone. I'm already viewed as the fun police and shutting off commanders is nasty.

The main thing that appeals to me is a nice clean answer to cascade and food chain and mystic forge and so on. There're a lot of things I see in casual where magistrate will behave like another copy of eidolon of rhetoric which is something I really like at 2 mana (especially when it's asymmetrical:P).

I would play it in a heartbeat if it not for the commander implication, so that's my main line of thinking.

I run into a lot of games where my hatebears just get to live, and I'm not sure that situation is gonna be fun here.

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Post by shermanido37 » 1 year ago

As long as Magistrate will be at a fair price, he will 100% be going into my deck.
Things he answers:
- Commanders (obviously)
- Casting from graveyard, i.e. Karador, Flashback
- Casting from library, i.e. Cascade, Sunforger, Future Sight effects
- Casting from exile, i.e. Rebound, theft effects, Knowledge Pool

The more I think about it, the more obscene this guy gets. If I wanted to pander to my playgroup I would consciously refrain from him because of the power level, but it's established that my Ephara is a tuned deck and to be treated as such, so there is nothing holding me back from slotting this guy in. Also, except for the last clause, all of the mentioned cases are relevant, and even that last one is very popular so I'll probably run into it.

I think that with this change I will try and slot in Lavinia, Azorius Renegade, and Knowledge Pool, and try to get the lock to be a proper wincon of the deck. It's currently only fetchable via Enlightened Tutor, so I'll have to see if that's not enough.

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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

shermanido37 wrote:
1 year ago
As long as Magistrate will be at a fair price, he will 100% be going into my deck.
Things he answers:
- Commanders (obviously)
- Casting from graveyard, i.e. Karador, Flashback
- Casting from library, i.e. Cascade, Sunforger, Future Sight effects
- Casting from exile, i.e. Rebound, theft effects, Knowledge Pool

The more I think about it, the more obscene this guy gets. If I wanted to pander to my playgroup I would consciously refrain from him because of the power level, but it's established that my Ephara is a tuned deck and to be treated as such, so there is nothing holding me back from slotting this guy in. Also, except for the last clause, all of the mentioned cases are relevant, and even that last one is very popular so I'll probably run into it.

I think that with this change I will try and slot in Lavinia, Azorius Renegade, and Knowledge Pool, and try to get the lock to be a proper wincon of the deck. It's currently only fetchable via Enlightened Tutor, so I'll have to see if that's not enough.

I got my foil for 5 bucks shipped from CSI. It's really, really powerful. I think people are starting to sleep on it.

I expect I will probably play it just to try it out. Given how often I sweep the board, I think the likelihood I can go sweeper → magistrate and then have the game in the bag is pretty high. Two card combo :P



Ikoria and Commander set review

Cards I am definitely getting and may play;


This guy as we discussed is probably the single most powerful hatebear you could hope for other than hushbringer. The two of those makes the deck a brutal hatebears deck on their own, able to transmute muddle the mixture into a horrible lock piece that allows us to take over the game.

I am probably going to play it.


This is a card that does a lot of what Land Tax does; it makes 2 mana plus hawk a keepable hand, where Tax makes one white land a keeper. This alone is probably good enough. Generally speaking if the card is bad, you're probably winning already since you're ahead of everyone else on lands -- that's what ultimately drew me around to this card.

It's a great engine to get to the end of the game with a big mana advantage over most of the table. Not quite as good as as foretold and smothering tithe but close, and it has way more applications as an early drop.

I will most likely replace ponder with it, which has similar applications as early game grease.

There are surely downsides, the mana investment and running into a board state where you can't attack the land leader, etc. But overall I think it's worth trying at minimum. And it'll up our creature count!



I have wanted a free counterspell for this deck for a long time, and not really had the blue card count to support forces and not liked the mana cost of pact of negation. I am not sure what my cut is going to be for this but I think it's basically purpose-made for this deck.

Going back down a creature is the only likely thing here, although I am considering cleasing nova which is a card I have not enjoyed all that much and find to be fairly expensive.



As far as the rest of the set goes, there's really only one card I care that much for and that's Luminous Broodmoth. It's just not quite strong enough with our high flyer commitment. I could see it being played in a deck that wants to win through more beatdowns, and it's a very strong card.

Fundamentally not being able to recruiter for it is the thing that makes it not really even worth trying for me. I don't really need to increase my attack surface to graveyard hate and this card doesn't combo without some kind of additional cards that do not appeal to me.

Not a great set for us but not bad at all.

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Post by MeowZeDung » 1 year ago

pokken wrote:
1 year ago
Not a great set for us but not bad at all.
When will we be seeing Ephara cycle? :cool:
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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

MeowZeDung wrote:
1 year ago
pokken wrote:
1 year ago
Not a great set for us but not bad at all.
When will we be seeing Ephara cycle? :cool:
When all the cards are out I'll probly brew it up on MTGO. Hopefully they aren't too pricy, I really dislike the decision not to tell commander precons on mtgo :(

I will likely brew it a bit when my ikoria decks get here in may, in paper, but I need to decide on a deck to take apart I think since I'm up to like 9 decks atm which is more than I can keep up.

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Post by MeowZeDung » 1 year ago

C20 and IKO both have May 15th-ish release dates in paper right now, yes? I'm currently trying to figure when I'm going to pre-order my pre-cons and if I'm going to wait on IKO singles, if so, how long, etc.
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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

MeowZeDung wrote:
1 year ago
C20 and IKO both have May 15th-ish release dates in paper right now, yes? I'm currently trying to figure when I'm going to pre-order my pre-cons and if I'm going to wait on IKO singles, if so, how long, etc.
Yeah. I got my ikoria commander decks with the coupon on ebay, still looks like ebay is the cheapest tho (saw a set for 140 a while back).

I am definitely waiting on ikoria singles other than the one preorder of foil magistrate. I may get a hawk or something too I guess, since I will want at least 2 or 3.

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Post by MeowZeDung » 1 year ago

I usually buy on TCG player, and they have very few pre-order prices for IKO singles up thus far.

The precons aren't even up on Amazon yet except as a bundle of all five. I was planning on only getting three, and I'd like to get my pre-order in soon, especially with how they've had shortages in years past. It's looking like the Jeskai deck has the highest EV too, which makes me more nervous that they'll be snapped up. I'm just being paranoid I guess :crazy:
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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

MeowZeDung wrote:
1 year ago
I usually buy on TCG player, and they have very few pre-order prices for IKO singles up thus far.

The precons aren't even up on Amazon yet except as a bundle of all five. I was planning on only getting three, and I'd like to get my pre-order in soon, especially with how they've had shortages in years past. It's looking like the Jeskai deck has the highest EV too, which makes me more nervous that they'll be snapped up. I'm just being paranoid I guess :crazy:
Generally speaking if you want more than one I'd buy the set of 5, they're 140 for a set of 5 or you spend 110-120 for 3.

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Post by MeowZeDung » 1 year ago

pokken wrote:
1 year ago
Generally speaking if you want more than one I'd buy the set of 5, they're 140 for a set of 5 or you spend 110-120 for 3.
:hmm: I hope you're right! I'll price check around. Ebay, eh?
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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

I did make a brew of ephara cycling for my more casual gaming group on MTGO. It's still very rough but it did OK in the game it was in.
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There're a few cards from the new commander set I want that are not yet out on MTGO so I'll probly snag those when they come out.

I also forgot to get a Solemnity but I'm not sure if I want it or not. Decree might not be worth running without it tho.

There's also a bunch of wizards and I forgot to put vedalken aethermage in lol.

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Post by shermanido37 » 1 year ago

My thoughts are still that Gavi is 100% a better cycling commander.
Gavi is just way better with the cycling cards on her own than Ephara is on her own, and relying on cycling token generators can be rather weak.
You can have multiple locks on the board, with Eidolon, Lavinia, and Magistrate working with both Knowledge Pool and Possibility Storm, but you don't care about them because cycling gets around restrictions on casting spells. Not to mention that Decree of Annihilation is definitely a wincon if you want it to be.
Already mentioned is Tectonic Reformation.

However, it's definitely nice to know that Ephara cycling can work as well and that it can hold its own.

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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

shermanido37 wrote:
1 year ago
My thoughts are still that Gavi is 100% a better cycling commander.
Gavi is just way better with the cycling cards on her own than Ephara is on her own, and relying on cycling token generators can be rather weak.
You can have multiple locks on the board, with Eidolon, Lavinia, and Magistrate working with both Knowledge Pool and Possibility Storm, but you don't care about them because cycling gets around restrictions on casting spells. Not to mention that Decree of Annihilation is definitely a wincon if you want it to be.
Already mentioned is Tectonic Reformation.

However, it's definitely nice to know that Ephara cycling can work as well and that it can hold its own.
The nice part about Ephara over Gavi is largely the same as why I like Ephara over most of the UW-flash commanders-- just being super resilient. But you're right it's undeniably more powerful. That said, 5 cmc commanders are really not my favorite. I am not sure what it is about the mana cost but I find it just super awkward to design around.

I think Yorion might be better than Ephara just by virtue of how much you can do with the slow blinks with astral drift+yorion protecting your stuff. But you have to play way more card advantage pieces.

Something I found with my Yorion build is that if you don't draw something that draws cards it's super easy to stall out. It's very easy to be spoiled by how just insanely consistent Ephara is as an engine.

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On a completely unrelated note, I am giving some thoughts to making a pretty large shift with Ephara -- cutting the two extra sweepers for more targeted removal (e.g. Heliod's Intervention for Cleansing Nova) and popping the combo out entirely in favor of trying to end the game with locks.

The combo of Ephemerate + Archaeomancer + either Rift or Winds of Abandon ends so many games already that I'm debating just making that the main endgame plan - usually lately by the time I am comboing the game is locked up with something like repeated archaeomancers or chaining multiple Spellseeker etbs.

The other day I set up a lock with soulherder+arch+winds and the table scooped to that.

I did get a game in with Drannith Magistrate. The card is very good. They eventually killed it but the setup was hilarious...I baited them to sweep the board with Soulherder shenanigans and then dropped magistrate and karmic guided my soulherder back.

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Post by shermanido37 » 1 year ago

My meta is still filled with creature shenanigans, and wipes are the absolute best way to deal with those, so I don't think I'll slot them out. However, if specifically artifacts and enchantments are your problem, I can definitely see Heliod's being better than Nova. I think I just wish Fracturing Gust was in our color identity, though there is talk of letting hybrid cards be played as either of their colors.
What's your goal with these changes?

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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

shermanido37 wrote:
1 year ago
My meta is still filled with creature shenanigans, and wipes are the absolute best way to deal with those, so I don't think I'll slot them out. However, if specifically artifacts and enchantments are your problem, I can definitely see Heliod's being better than Nova. I think I just wish Fracturing Gust was in our color identity, though there is talk of letting hybrid cards be played as either of their colors.
What's your goal with these changes?
My main thinking is I think I'd rather try to play most games without sweeping my own stuff up and try to close more games out with combat - which means more one-sided wipes and less wipe wipe wipe combo. I find probably 90% of the time I nova it's the creeping corrosion mode.

It's really hard to give up on the open sac outlet though. I have two major wishes for this deck - a recruiterable open sac outlet (or even powerful enough paid sac outlet) and a functional copy of Collector Ouphe.

Two things I don't love about the current design are 1) the heavy reliance on artifact ramp and 2) the kinda non-synergistic nature of Altar of Dementia as a sac outlet. These kinda go together because Stony Silence and Bane of Progress effects both often hit me pretty hard.

I've been considering something like Mirror Entity but the problem with Entity is it only works with Reveillark.

Another bit of tension is that I tend to have to wipe the board defensively a lot. I really, really hate terminus'ing my team in particular - most of th time I terminus I win, but it's so grindy that it tends to make for really long games that people get tired of.

One of the goals with Windborn Muse that it has served pretty admirably are to let me weather clogged board states better without having to sweep all the time, which is nice.

Unfortunately most of of the other things I've tried to fix stuck board states (Batterskull, Umezawa's Jitte, Stoneforge Mystic ) without wiping are very vulnerable to artifact hate :P

Not sure how cohesive all of those thoughts are just things I've been ruminating on as I play the deck.

My favorite games are, lately, when I Winds of Abandon and everyone goes "Wow I forgot that was a card" and then I kill'em with combat damage :P

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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

All that stuff aside, I have a hopefully simple question:

What would you swap in for Sea of Clouds? Anyone?

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Post by Rumpy5897 » 1 year ago

This might sound a bit hot take'y at first, but Prismatic Vista is a prime candidate. I like fetches for dual acquisition, and only run Vista/Passage in grindtastic Daxos with his Crucible and lowkey topdeck manipulation obsession. You've got four freaking fetchable duals, it seems plausible you'll see less fetches than that in a game :P I shaved painlands at some point, but they're honestly okay. Maybe Skycloud Expanse due to the relative lack of flexibility?
 
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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

Sky cloud is my pick i think. I don't want to cut the virtual plains count for emeria.

I think my mana is good enough not to need expanse...I had it originally when I didn't run all the fetches.

2020/05/10 Update!

Cut Skycloud Expanse
Add Sea of Clouds

Just a small manabase tweak. Since adding the fetches I think I can sustain a slightly more flexible land.

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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

Another card on my thinking list is: Ghostly Flicker

I'm thinking that Flicker+Archaeomancer (maybe additionally Salvager of Secrets ) might be a more synergistic line to victory than Altar/Body double.

And with Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx and some powerful ETB you could use infinite mana to win the game too (say, venser).

Unfortunately I think that line would require giving up on Hushbringer since no sac outlet to get rid of it is a problem. Dunno.

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