Ephara, God of the Polis - Flash & Taxes

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pokken
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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

Recruiterable and permanent is a pretty big edge. I'm not sure I have room for more than one of that effect, but maybe. I ordered one, and an archon.

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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

So I don't feel like doing a full set review so just the three cards I am seriously thinking about (including the one that is lifegain Ephara focused, which is a deck I think is pretty neat):

1. Archon of Emeria

Great hatebear, flying body, awesome one sided land hate. Suffers from not being recruiterable.

2. Skyclave Apparition

This card is probably the best in the set for Ephara, but I have some doubts, it's less clear cut. Very, very powerful permanent exile effect on a recruiterable body. I like it a lot.

3. Angel of Destiny

Lifegain ephara finisher. Super strong, easy way to just overwhelm with lifegain and drive the scariest player out. Paints a big target on itself but a huge payoff with haste enablers unlike felidar.

Most lifegain decks are going to want a stoneforge package with war and peace and batterskull so I think it's pretty reasonable to have greaves..

Really a neat card.

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Post by shermanido37 » 1 year ago

Apparition punishes us for exiling big things. And big battlecruiser fatties are things that people can win games with, like with Overwhelming Stampede effects, Greater Good, Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord sac effects, and more.
However, it is very flexible, permanent, and possibly repeatable removal. It even rewards us for targeting opposing commanders, since if the opponent chooses their commander go to the command zone they don't get to create a token.
On top of that, it's in a relevant creature type - spirits are a strong tribe for Ephara. I will definitely acquire one and look at possible synergies.

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Post by Wallycaine » 1 year ago

shermanido37 wrote:
1 year ago
Apparition punishes us for exiling big things. And big battlecruiser fatties are things that people can win games with, like with Overwhelming Stampede effects, Greater Good, Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord sac effects, and more.
However, it is very flexible, permanent, and possibly repeatable removal. It even rewards us for targeting opposing commanders, since if the opponent chooses their commander go to the command zone they don't get to create a token.
On top of that, it's in a relevant creature type - spirits are a strong tribe for Ephara. I will definitely acquire one and look at possible synergies.
Worth pointing out that it can't exactly hit big things, since it's limited to a CMC of 4 or less.

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Post by shermanido37 » 1 year ago

Frankly @pokken I can't see you keeping Leonin Relic-Warder after acquiring this card. True, it will stop bigger artifacts and enchantments, but those are rather rare, and the plus side of hitting PWs and creatures is very significant.

I saw it wasn't included in the most recent uploaded list, but one has to make sure :P

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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

Yeah Relic-warder's been gone for a while - to test deputy. I do miss having a recruiterable target, but now I won't :)

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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

Changes -

cut
deputy of detention
kor cartographer

add
skyclave apparition
archon of emeria

Coming up, I really want to add two cards:
Keeper of the Accord and Sevinne's Reclamation

Going to need to do some serious thinking about cuts for those. Maybe there'll be more nice stuff in the Commander Legends set too :)

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Post by shermanido37 » 1 year ago

Are we going to talk about Sphinx of the Second Sun? Because I think it's great.

It's super expensive, but it can easily be worth it:
A 6/6 flier can help us finish the game,
Its effect gives us each of the following:
an untap phase (untapping ALL of our permanents, including lands, artifacts, and creatures that attacked)
an upkeep phase (triggering Ephara again)
a draw phase (to draw a card for sure)

As long as it's not countered or killed by Doom Blade, I can live with one round of this effect with relative ease. However each round afterwards that our opponents let it live lets us snowball out of control.
I also see it as another great reason to get in on the Isperia the Inscrutable package.
Not to mention that we can manifest it into play with Scroll of Fate then blink it into play...

What do you guys think?

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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

shermanido37 wrote:
1 year ago
Are we going to talk about Sphinx of the Second Sun? Because I think it's great.

It's super expensive, but it can easily be worth it:
A 6/6 flier can help us finish the game,
Its effect gives us each of the following:
an untap phase (untapping ALL of our permanents, including lands, artifacts, and creatures that attacked)
an upkeep phase (triggering Ephara again)
a draw phase (to draw a card for sure)

As long as it's not countered or killed by Doom Blade, I can live with one round of this effect with relative ease. However each round afterwards that our opponents let it live lets us snowball out of control.
I also see it as another great reason to get in on the Isperia the Inscrutable package.
Not to mention that we can manifest it into play with Scroll of Fate then blink it into play...

What do you guys think?

It's definitely a great example of the type of bomb I am imagining being great in this deck. It's a shame it doesn't have protection of any kind or flash or anything. It's a bit awkward at 8 mana. But it will pretty regularly read 'draw 3 cards and untap all your stuff' which is hugely powerful.

I'll admit I will probably pick up a foil just in case. It's not quite Agent of Treachery but it's great.

The odds that it doesn't survive to your postcombat main phase are pretty low most games, but man it'd be a huge blowout if it did (tap 8 get nothing).

Very interesting card design for sure. I think it triggers Emeria, the Sky Ruin again too which is kinda interesting.

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Post by WizardMN » 1 year ago

I think it is a great effect, but man, 8 mana is exceptionally hard to swing. Since it triggers at the beginning of the postcombat main phase, we do get an untap (and upkeep and draw) step the same turn effectively making it "free" and still leaving mana open for our opponents' turns.

Now, the main issue I have with it, which ties into the expense, is that if it does get destroyed, we are now 8 mana down in a deck that tends to want to be more reactive.

The effect is exceptionally powerful though and I think it is worth a try; but at full cost I have a feeling it might end up being more trouble than it is worth. And then removing something to make it fit can be a hassle too.

On a side note, cloning it or even getting multiple combat steps would allow it to trigger multiple times per turn. Which could possibly get out of hand pretty quickly and might mean it is more at home in a red deck.

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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

WizardMN wrote:
1 year ago
On a side note, cloning it or even getting multiple combat steps would allow it to trigger multiple times per turn. Which could possibly get out of hand pretty quickly and might mean it is more at home in a red deck.
Good lord, how is it not legendary?

Might be worth putting it in a Intuition package with Body Double / Karmic Guide type stuff.

Absolutely filthy.

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Post by pokken » 1 year ago



Welp that's gonna cost. But I think it has to be played; turn 1 Ephara is just too much.

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Post by WizardMN » 1 year ago

I initially thought the same thing and I know it is getting slotted in. However, I am curious if that speed ultimately doesn't do anything though. I mean, we spent a card to get out Ephara faster and we can't re-use the mana for something else. So, we have 2 mana on turn 2 still so if we don't have a good follow up to get Ephara to trigger, she just sits there. I am not sure my deck has enough lot to the ground creatures to really start getting her to trigger that early. Maybe there is enough there.

I am just hoping the restriction isn't too restrictive and the hype isn't overblown.

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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

WizardMN wrote:
1 year ago
I initially thought the same thing and I know it is getting slotted in. However, I am curious if that speed ultimately doesn't do anything though. I mean, we spent a card to get out Ephara faster and we can't re-use the mana for something else. So, we have 2 mana on turn 2 still so if we don't have a good follow up to get Ephara to trigger, she just sits there. I am not sure my deck has enough lot to the ground creatures to really start getting her to trigger that early. Maybe there is enough there.

I am just hoping the restriction isn't too restrictive and the hype isn't overblown.
It's obviously worse than mana crypt or sol ring, but I think it's probably better than Lotus Petal which is probably close to playable.

I think I have a couple more 1-2 CMC guys than you, but not *that* many. But I do have a lot of 2 cmc or less on curve spells, so the odds of me playing something on turn 2 after playing it are very high I think

Odds of me having one of those or a creature of 2 cmc are high, so I think the best case of 'turn 1 Ephara → turn 2 something reasonable → turn 3 creature' rates to happen an absurdly high percentage of the time.

It's frustrating a bit because it's a horrendous topdeck and very miss when it's bad, since I usually do not recast Ephara. I think it might be correct to cut a land for it actually.

The only other super exciting thing spoiled for sure was Preordain ;) Excited to get a cheap foil Preordain.

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Post by WizardMN » 1 year ago

Fair enough. I disagree that cutting a land is correct but I will be curious to see your experience with it. Like I said, I am definitely trying it in a few decks (basically, my 2 color decks) but your points are important: it is a terrible topdeck, we don't often need to recast Ephara, and it can be used with nothing but her. It is 100% worth it to try though; I guess I am just preparing to be disappointed :)

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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

WizardMN wrote:
1 year ago
Fair enough. I disagree that cutting a land is correct but I will be curious to see your experience with it. Like I said, I am definitely trying it in a few decks (basically, my 2 color decks) but your points are important: it is a terrible topdeck, we don't often need to recast Ephara, and it can be used with nothing but her. It is 100% worth it to try though; I guess I am just preparing to be disappointed :)
So my thoughts about cutting a land are that the only reason we really need to hit our 3rd or 4th land are to ensure Ephara when ramping; we can survive quite well on 2 lands + this, especially if we're adding preordain (which I will be), since we have such a huge pile of 2 cmc or less things that accelerate us or help us find lands.

More than likely what I will do is cut one land and one thing for Preordain + Jeweled Lotus and I think that will be most likely right. I probably cut Strip Mine which is likely superfluous at this point anyway.

I will say I *really* like how much this card emphasizes 2 cmc >=4 and 3 cmc >=5 both of which have been really beaten down by the last few years. Here's hoping my analysis is correct :)

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Post by WizardMN » 1 year ago

I suppose with the addition of Preordain, it isn't too bad of an idea. I have 38 lands already and going down to 37 seems wrong, but maybe not.

That is a good call on Strip Mine though. I can see where that might not be the greatest. I am still running Temple of the False God and this might be the reason to cut it.

I have a few changes to make from Zendikar still (I am waiting for this set to be revealed before doing my normal "set summary" for my threads) and trying to find cards for those two Zendikar cards was hard enough. Not sure what I am going to do for the new cards from this set.

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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

WizardMN wrote:
1 year ago
I suppose with the addition of Preordain, it isn't too bad of an idea. I have 38 lands already and going down to 37 seems wrong, but maybe not.

That is a good call on Strip Mine though. I can see where that might not be the greatest. I am still running Temple of the False God and this might be the reason to cut it.

I have a few changes to make from Zendikar still (I am waiting for this set to be revealed before doing my normal "set summary" for my threads) and trying to find cards for those two Zendikar cards was hard enough. Not sure what I am going to do for the new cards from this set.
I am still excited to see how Skyclave Apparition plays - it's friggin 20 bucks online :P

This is going to likely be a set with a lot of options for Ephara but not many autoincludes, I think just Keeper of the Accord and Jeweled Lotus so far?

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Post by WizardMN » 1 year ago

Yeah, I know :( I didn't even bother buying the Apparition online because of its cost. I couldn't believe it was so high. Luckily Linvala wasn't nearly as bad.

But yeah, Keeper and Lotus are the two I have seen so far. As discussed above. I think I am going to try out Sphinx of the Second Sun but it is pretty far from an autoinclude. There might be others I want to potentially test but I can't think of them right now.

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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

WizardMN wrote:
1 year ago
Yeah, I know :( I didn't even bother buying the Apparition online because of its cost. I couldn't believe it was so high. Luckily Linvala wasn't nearly as bad.

But yeah, Keeper and Lotus are the two I have seen so far. As discussed above. I think I am going to try out Sphinx of the Second Sun but it is pretty far from an autoinclude. There might be others I want to potentially test but I can't think of them right now.
Foil Arcane Signet is one I forgot, just added that to my shopping list :)

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Post by shermanido37 » 1 year ago

I for one think the new Lotus is absolutely toxic and should see a ban, and that's even without considering the social aspect of WotC's greedy cashgrab.
True, Ephara is not as explosive as some of the decks that can abuse the card, but you have to admit that if a t1 commander play is considered aggressively medium with this card, it's just not balanced.
The Daretti player themselves even suggested the house ban in our group, because a t1 daretti is just a flat win in many circumstances in a very uninteractive way.

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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

shermanido37 wrote:
1 year ago
I for one think the new Lotus is absolutely toxic and should see a ban, and that's even without considering the social aspect of WotC's greedy cashgrab.
True, Ephara is not as explosive as some of the decks that can abuse the card, but you have to admit that if a t1 commander play is considered aggressively medium with this card, it's just not balanced.
The Daretti player themselves even suggested the house ban in our group, because a t1 daretti is just a flat win in many circumstances in a very uninteractive way.
Yeah I am kinda still on the fence honestly. The really beautiful part of the design is how it rewards playing fewer colors which is otherwise really being discouraged now.

I think it's going to really reinforce the need to have ways to semi-permanently deal with commanders, which has been a bit of a problem in the game for a while now. Maybe reinforce the need for targeted removal a bit too. The pendulum swung pretty far away from that for a while too.

It's hard for me to make toxicity an argument in a format where people gleefully play Mana Crypt. I definitely like that not all decks can take advantage of it, and mostly it's the 'meta' decks of 4c nonsense that get punished.

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Post by Driemer84 » 11 months ago

Hey I'm really happy to have found this deck. I've been looking for a non green value deck like this for awhile and am excited to start tinkering with it.

I see you have a diverse land base full of fetches. Have you considered Field of the Dead and Felidar Retreat? Both of these will make land drops trigger Ephara on your turn and fetches to trigger on opponents turns. It seems like getting a creature into play to draw a card without spending mana would be pretty strong.

It seems like Field would fit in pretty easily into the Emeria slot. 7 different lands seems much more likely than 7 plains.

My apologies if you had reviews this on previous pages of your thread.

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Post by pokken » 11 months ago

Driemer84 wrote:
11 months ago
I see yoU have a diverse land base full of fetches. Have you considered Field of the Dead and Felidar Retreat? Both of these will make land drops trigger Ephara on your turn and fetches to trigger on opponents turns. It seems like getting a creature into play to draw a card without spending mana would be pretty strong.
It's a good question! I think Field of the Dead is definitely defensible in this deck. Felidar Retreat not so much since it's got to compare to the benchmark Sacred Mesa.

My thoughts on Field are that it's probably playable. I have watched for how often I'd be able to trigger it and it's pretty regularly I could set up two zombies in a turn cycle. I think I'd really want to be playing it as part of a package with things like Druidic Satchel Walking Atlas and maybe Crucible of Worlds, and probably Tolaria West and Expedition Map.

I don't think it's worth the risk of another colorless land in my current build, but I do have one in my Ephara binder to try out at some point if I ever think the tools are there for it.

The nice part about Field is it's really hard for people to attack, but what I've noticed lately is that games aren't often going on long enough to really get tons of value out of it. The #1 question I would ask yourself before trying this kind of approach is how long your games go.

For me, currently, my meta is very aggro and fast, and my go-to for closing games is Altar combo by turn 7-8. Field is going to be best in metas where your game length is closer to 12 turns.

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

Some more thoughts on Felidar Retreat - I think in a build that's emphasizing field, this card *might* be better than Sacred Mesa? That build would play both Solemn and Kor Cartographer and have more of an instant blink theme I think.

The ability to kinda go off with those counters as an anthem is really powerful, moreso than my initial thoughts. So I think there's probably a build there. I don't usually have enough creatures on tap and don't have quite enough land synergies.

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Post by Driemer84 » 11 months ago

While I understand the comparison to Sacred Mesa, I think retreat is better by quite a bit.. I don't think keeping 6 mana up to draw 3 cards and create 3 1/1s over a turn cycle Is worth it. I think Mind's Eye would be a better comparison. A bit more expensive up front, but half the activation cost over turn cycles.

In practice you may only be activating Mesa once a turn cycle because you are still going to want to cast other spells and hold up mana for interaction. Retreat relieves you of that cost and sometimes rewards you for fetches. I think the average value of the two would be similar with the advantage going to retreat because there is no activation cost. I'm not 100% sold on it, but these are just my thoughts on that particular comparison.

You're right that retreat will reward a blink build the most, but I think it's powerful enough that I wouldn't fault anyone running it just for the value.

Once I get the build together I will definitely give retreat a try and try to report back!

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