Ephara, God of the Polis - Flash & Taxes

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pokken
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Post by pokken » 10 months ago

shermanido37 wrote:
10 months ago
Any thoughts on Akroma's Will that I mentioned earlier?
I really like that card but I don't think it's quite explosive enough for me since my creatures are so crappy. I do think it is *vastly* an upgrade over the other things people play for anthem effects like Cathars' Crusade. Instant speed pump effects are really good.

It is interesting that it serves as evasion + pump + lifegain, and also serves as defense against destroy sweepers.

The vigilance might really be the thing that makes it worth it since you can just swing out and kill someone then still have blockers.

Y'know it's borderline man. I think that card is being slept on a little. It's damn close to instant speed Craterhoof in white. I'll pick up a foil copy in case I want to try it out.

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Post by pokken » 10 months ago

Maybe a dumb question but occurred to me: is jeweled lotus worse than Mana vault?

Thinking it might be lol. Might be I should be playing both. Meh.

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Post by WizardMN » 10 months ago

pokken wrote:
10 months ago
Maybe a dumb question but occurred to me: is jeweled lotus worse than Mana vault?

Thinking it might be lol. Might be I should be playing both. Meh.
That is actually a good comparison point. I still believe Jeweled Lotus is overhyped, but I am not sure it is necessarily worse than Vault. It really just depends on what you want to do with it. If we try to look at things objectively, these are the main points I would look at:

Lotus does allow a turn 1 Ephara. Mana Vault does not.
Lotus produces colored mana while Vault does not. (sort of the same point if I am being honest)
Lotus is only good for a single card in the deck; Vault can be used for anything
Vault will likely cost life and will disrupt at least one turn with needing to untap it

Without a way to consistently untap it, it gives you one explosive turn, like Lotus, but then you can "recharge" it for later at a fairly minimal cost. When spending the 4 to untap it, you do have the 3 mana available so isn't the end of the world so you aren't just "out" that mana. If you don't need to use it after untapping it, before you get back to your next turn, you are up that mana again and if you do end up needing it, you are really only down 1 mana overall.

So it does allow for a little bit more. I just don't think it ends up being worth it in most cases unless you find yourself consistently having an extra 4 mana to spend that you feel you can use on untapping the Vault to re-use it. I don't think I would ever play it but I don't think it is necessarily wrong if you do. I am still on the side of it, and Lotus, being mostly unnecessary.

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Post by pokken » 10 months ago

If they ever come out with a collector ouphe in white I'll cut most of the rocks but turn one vs turn two does make sense. Having utility for stuff like ramping into agent later being the main advantage of vault.

Ultimately I think it's probably right to play both but think I'm going to give lotus a try first and keep meditating on white stony silence bear.

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Post by shermanido37 » 10 months ago

My thoughts are that Jeweled Lotus is ridiculously powerful for commanders that just want to keep casting, or for commanders who can abuse the artifact. For instance, Korvold, Fae-Cursed King and Kozilek, the Great Distortion. That is even without mentioning the monocolored commanders that will want this card as a must-have, like Selvala, Heart of the Wilds, Omnath, Locus of Mana, and Godo, Bandit Warlord.

Since our strategy is instead to cast Ephara once, or maybe twice tops, the Lotus will not be very relevant unless rampting T1. This is another reason why colorless lands like Strip Mine can really put a damper on our plans, since they really constrict the ability to play Ephara early.

Mana Vault is an amazing card if you can untap it in other ways, or if you want to cast big spells, again like Mairsil, the Pretender and Bosh, Iron Golem.

Since we want to cast a bunch of small spells during different turns, I'm not a big fan of Vault for us.

Examples of commanders who love both cards are Maelstrom Wanderer and Daretti, Scrap Savant.

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Post by pokken » 10 months ago

shermanido37 wrote:
10 months ago
Since our strategy is instead to cast Ephara once, or maybe twice tops, the Lotus will not be very relevant unless rampting T1.
It's worth noting that there are two main powerful sequences with Ephara and Lotus.

1. You cast Ephara on turn 1 or 2 (you may want to sequence Weathered Wayfarer or Ponder before her)

2. You draw Lotus on turn 2, 3 or 4, and it enables you to cast Ephara and a creature in the same turn. This is especially helpful when the creature is an impactful hatebear you would like to get out early but would otherwise have to sequence it before Ephara.

Lotus is good when it's in any of your first 11 cards, sometimes first 14 or so cards if you hit one of your dig-3s in your opening hand.

Additionally, we would almost never Enlightened Tutor for it however as Sol Ring or Mana Crypt are usually better, but it is worth noting it also fixes mana - so if you only have white mana you can E-tutor for Jeweled Lotus instead of Azorius Signet to get blue.

Anyway I am hopeful that it's good but would be thrilled to be wrong honestly, since I think it's a hot garbage of a design.

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Post by umtiger » 10 months ago

Is there really that much of an advantage in Jewel Lotus'ing out Ephara? Ephara doesn't do anything on its own.

If the advantage is significant enough, Mana Vault would be worth considering. However, I typically would only play it in a deck with many ways to reset it (e.g. Brago) or in an artifact deck (e.g. Sai).

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Post by WizardMN » 10 months ago

umtiger wrote:
10 months ago
Is there really that much of an advantage in Jewel Lotus'ing out Ephara? Ephara doesn't do anything on its own.
I think this is where pokken and I disagree. I don't feel that the advantage to getting her out that early is really worth it. Now, I will admit that getting her out turn one to then trigger turn 2 with a few different creatures is relevant; but I think these situations will come up infrequently enough as to not be worth it.

I am still likely going to try out the Lotus in Ephara just to see what it does, but my expectations are pretty low.

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Post by pokken » 10 months ago

umtiger wrote:
10 months ago
Is there really that much of an advantage in Jewel Lotus'ing out Ephara? Ephara doesn't do anything on its own.
The only thing I have to base this opinion on is anecdotal evidence about how powerful turn 2 Ephara is off of the various sequences that get there; the pip requirements in this deck are so high that Sol Ring is not *that* great at accelerating us outside of casting an early Ephara (or ramping out other ramp spells, of which I do not play so many that I see a lot of Sol ring->Signet type stuff).

Generally speaking, if I start triggering Ephara on turn 3 I am very likely to win that game. My creature count is such that I will almost always be casting a 1, 2, or 3 drop creature (of which there are >=20) after Ephara, so while she doesn't do anything on her own she does draw cards for every creature I cast after her - and casting creatures is most of what the deck does.

Turn *1* Ephara is not that great without permanent mana acceleration, but turn 2 Ephara is really good. Still, with all the interaction in the deck turn 1 Ephara into hold up interaction into play a creature is a decent sequence.

Definitely possible I could be mistaken there.

Re: Vault

I think you guys are probably right that with my low bomb count and my lack of ability to reset it that Mana Vault is a miss.

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Post by pokken » 10 months ago

2020/12/02 Update

So I have noticed I have liked Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir less and less as games get more interactive so I decided to try cutting that. It's really a powerful effect, but it's also frustrating and the mana cost is very high. I also have a much higher ratio of flash cards these days so it's worse for the other ability as well. And the body is meaningless.


Cut Add

As I was looking through my binder I see a huge pile of awesomely fun hatebears like Tomik, Distinguished Advokist and Aven Mindcensor and I'm really debating whether I would like another 2 cmc rock in this deck or not -- adding Azorius Signet back might be the right thing also.

Hopefully I'll get some games in as I really like the tuning options available to us now.

I also keep going back to Field of the Dead which I am thinking is very likely I can support, especially with Brought Back and if I were to add a Crucible of Worlds and Sevinne's Reclamation package.

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Post by WizardMN » 10 months ago

I have recently cut Teferi from my deck for much of the same reasons. It is actually interesting how often turning off interaction for our opponents can hurt us. I have had a few situations where I didn't have the right answer but someone else did, but Teferi stopped them from interacting. I doubt you miss him.

Strip Mine has been talked about above by others with more fleshed out opinions, but I am in favor. Niambi is one I can understand even though I am not quite ready to cut ties quite yet.

The Signet swaps are fine. I like Arcane because it just taps for mana. As long as you don't have a ton of "colorless only" lands, the swap makes sense. I think Azorius Signet makes sense if your mana base is higher on the colorless only lands, but that is harder to justify anyway. I plan on picking up a bunch of the new extended art ones and throwing them into decks.

Not much to say about the adds that hasn't been said: Keeper and Hulbreacher are fine; I am still not sold on Lotus; Preordain offers a bit of consistency so I will be watching to see how that goes for you and I may follow in your footsteps there.

I think Field of the Dead needs a little more support so if you did decide to go with it, I think you would likely need things like Brought Back and Reclamation at least. Crucible could work out pretty well if you run the full 9 fetch land package (7 real fetches; Vista, and Passage). Which I think you do.

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Post by pokken » 10 months ago

I have been really surprised by how great ponder and brainstorm are even with 100 cards. Which sold me on trying preordain. Definitely will keep an eye out for it. I like how fast cantrips resolve as opposed to playing more tutors and do similar stuff, dig you to lands or action. Also we just don't have a lot of great tutors in uw heh.

Teferi, yeah, I only ever used him as combo protection and I'd rather not be in that business of protecting my combo with more stuff. My combo is for when people have been beaten into being shields down not to ram through interaction.

I don't run passage but I do think I would with field. And I agree I think field is going to be best with that whole fetch abuse package. One downside to field is I think I might need to cut a couple basics which means emeria or sanctuary probably have to go. Though I can reasonably get 6 diff lands off fetches it'd be at odds with both of those gameplans which want multiple of the same.

I need to keep an eye on emeria especially anyway since it feels like stuff is going faster and it gets worse the shorter the games. Although crucible bb sevinnes package does really enable some fast emeria lol..

Need to get some dang games in! It's very frustrating that I can't really play my exact deck on mtgo because of stupid stuff like hullbreacher which has kinda led to a drop-off in my interest. But maybe I can try to build a different deck there, but I worry that'll disconnect me from this deck..

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Post by WizardMN » 10 months ago

pokken wrote:
10 months ago
I need to keep an eye on emeria especially anyway since it feels like stuff is going faster and it gets worse the shorter the games. Although crucible bb sevinnes package does really enable some fast emeria lol..

Need to get some dang games in! It's very frustrating that I can't really play my exact deck on mtgo because of stupid stuff like hullbreacher which has kinda led to a drop-off in my interest. But maybe I can try to build a different deck there, but I worry that'll disconnect me from this deck..
The last few changes I have made, even in Gisela, usually have a comment about Emeria and I keep wondering if it is worth the mana base "warping" to make it work. Now, being two colors it is easy to justify keeping enough basics, along with the duals, to get it to trigger, but there might come a time where the question is simply "what happens if I never get anything back from Emeria". That is, what if we went 50 games and never got a single thing back from the land. To be fair, I haven't had it trigger in Ephara for a long time (or Gisela now that I think about it) so I am sort of starting to lean towards it not being all that useful in the deck as it is.

I don't think I would cut it anytime soon in my list since I don't have anything to put in its place, whereas you have 5 more fetches than I do so space is at more of a premium.

I don't think I would ever get to the point of cutting Sanctuary though. Only needing 3 Islands to turn on and the effect it has, even as a one-shot, is still decent considering it is a fetchable land.

I have noticed Hullbreacher is now nearly half the price it was a little while ago. I don't have too much hope for it becoming truly reasonable any time soon, but the price is mostly moving in the right direction. I am just glad Lotus is coming down, even though it seems to have plateaued a little.

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Post by pokken » 10 months ago

Just thinking about cards like force of negation and hullbreacher makes me kinda perturbed.

Re: emeria

It's odd but it seems to be very often for me still tho I haven't played in a while. but part of the thing about emeria is it gives us a pretty overwhelming endgame. It's really hard to stop and provides a basically insurmountable value engine (I've locked people out with sun titan chains so many times it's nuts).

The Mana base warping and the play pattern warping where we need to look aggressively for plains both are a drag.

I do remember one time I wayfarered for emeria instead of nykthos and really regretted it.

But any way you slice it I think it's important to keep in mind that even if emeria doesn't win a game for you it places a clock on the game where past a certain point you are increasingly likely to win - because you're advancing on a secondary axis sort of? Like once another deck gets 7 lands they can cast bigger spells but once you do and.drop.emeria you play your best creature from the bin for free every turn. And they need land destruction or grave hate (relatively rare resources both to interact with completely secondary gameplan.

Because it proceeds at no Mana or card cost it's a kind of special gameplan, people have to deal with this overwhelming thing you're doing that costs you almost nothing.

I think ultimately the biggest pull away is the Mana base warping...the more blue bombs they print the fewer plains I can afford.

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Post by umtiger » 10 months ago

pokken wrote:
10 months ago
Because it proceeds at no Mana or card cost it's a kind of special gameplan, people have to deal with this overwhelming thing you're doing that costs you almost nothing.
Can you truly say that it has no cost, if it's pushing you towards getting Plains at a cost of tempo. Or you regret getting it over a bomb like Nykthos?

I agree with you on the no cost, But it only ends up that way, if you truly play it that way. If I was playing Emeria is a deck like this, I would treat it like a CITP tapped Plains most of the time and just sit on it.

If it truly is an inevitable endgame at your table, then just play it that way. Treat it as an endgame and don't warp your line of play to accommodate it. Since Emeria is not necessary to win, just make sure that you build enough Plains into your decklist but just play like getting Plains don't matter.

I play Ponder, Brainstorm, and Preordain in every deck with Blue minus my Child of Alara Lands.dec. Every game I have ever played with 60 cards has informed me enough about them that I knew to include them in 99 card decks.

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Post by pokken » 10 months ago

umtiger wrote:
10 months ago
I play Ponder, Brainstorm, and Preordain in every deck with Blue minus my Child of Alara Lands.dec. Every game I have ever played with 60 cards has informed me enough about them that I knew to include them in 99 card decks.
Well, my original thought was that the turbo-xerox qualities wouldn't really apply well because 4/99 cards is a lot less than 13/60 in a legacy deck or 8/60 in a modern deck. And there's no shortage of other cards I'd like to put in the deck, and obviously they cost some tempo.

Turns out my initial thinking was mostly wrong. You can't count xeroxes quite at the same level as in 60 card decks (e.g. it's more like 1/3 land per cantrip than 1/2, at best ). :)

At the level of power this deck plays, having something to do on turn 1 where my mana is otherwise dead is huge, and later in the game the curve is low enough I can happily spend 1 mana to get a redraw of the best of my top 3.

In mid-high power EDH, there's a serious shortage of 1 drops that are good enough to play, and most decks can't afford to be running the required 15 or so 1 cmc spells to have a good turn 1 play -- so having stuff that you can spend mana on that can become either a land or a good spell situationally is huge. Especially very early in the game when you'd otherwise be having to mulligan for lands or ramp.

Anyway long and short is you right :) The dig 3 cantrips are becoming largely irreplaceable for me,

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Post by pokken » 10 months ago

So I'm kinda torn on that weird tribal birthing pod thing. We have a lot of humans and wizards and some other random synergies but don't think it quite works due to the narrow cmc bands.

I'll have to look and see what the chains are.

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Post by WizardMN » 10 months ago

I know our lists are somewhat different, but I took a look at mine and saw the only real chains were for Humans. And even then I only have 10 Humans. Angels and Spirits can sort of do something, but not really (I don't want to sac my Remorseful Cleric or my Linvala for example). I could sac Angel of Finality or Resto for Karmic Guide but otherwise I can't get to the former two without Linvala and I can't get to my 7 drops at all.

Even the humans seems sketchy. Yeah, sacrificing Snapcaster for Spellseeker for Keeper of the Accord seems nice, but those are few and far between. I don't think it is enough as it really limits what cards start the chain which is a huge departure from Pod that can start with, and get, anything.

Honestly, I think the new Pod basically requires a heavy tribal element. You don't need everything to be the same creature, but you need a lot of the same types. Which I don't think we have.

Of all the decks I have, I think it finds its way into Varina and *maybe* Queen Marchesa but the latter is questionable with 13 humans and 8 Vampires (with some overlap with other types).

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Post by pokken » 10 months ago

The really exciting ones for me are two drop humans into recruiter, and brazen borrower into faerie artisans.

Not having a 4 cmc spirit makes the spirit chain dead but there might be one.

My thinking is there is likely a wizard tribal ephara deck that wants to pod into various wizard combos, likely archaeomancer centric ( podding spellseeker into archaeomancer is a pretty strong chain that lets you go infinite time walks pretty easily ..get ephemerqte blink seeker pod into archaeomancer, second seeker gets mystical tutor for time warp and that's the game).

Interestingly since seeker can get enlightened tutor or mystical for muddle all you really need is spellseeker to start the chain.

Spellseeker for ephemerate which blinks seeker twice in a cycle netting etutor and mtutor, do both with your two draws for pod and time warp if ephara is there to supply the second draw.

Pretty gross :)

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Post by shermanido37 » 10 months ago

I'm actually pretty stoked about the new Birthing pod variant, but I'm pretty sure it will be quite expensive cash wise.
The thing is that while I don't have one theme with a million creatures, I have 2-3 tribes, each with between 5-10 cards. So this could theoretically work, it would just be less powerful.
The fact that puts the strongest damper on this card, though, is that no matter what, we'll want to be running cards that have a completely irrelevant tribe, like Nadir Kraken, and those can be really dead with it.

Also, we can mark Valkyrie Harbinger as the millionth lifegain synergy card with Ephara.

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Post by pokken » 10 months ago

shermanido37 wrote:
10 months ago
I have 2-3 tribes, each with between 5-10 cards. So this could theoretically work, it would just be less powerful.
I don't think this will be consistent enough without being tribal. The more I think about it the more I'm reminded, however, of how boring it is to play survival of the fittest/pod in EDH. too consistent. So maybe the miss rate will make it palatable? I dunno

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Post by shermanido37 » 10 months ago

I'm looking at Ranar the ever-watchful with curious intent. It will likely not be stellar, but it has some great synergies with its last ability, like with Path to Exile or Winds. It's nice that we can generate a blocker each time we blink something.
Sadly does not work with Adventure cards.

I guess we'll have to see what the Foretell ability means.

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Post by MeowZeDung » 10 months ago

I just posted about Ranar the Ever-Watchful in my Kykar thread since I'm interested in him there too. I did immediately think about him in Ephara as well. Seems like he would play well with Archaeomancer/Ephemerate, Soulherder, Eldrazi Displacer, etc. It sort of makes me want to do something nutty with these flicker engines and something like Lumbering Battlement plus bonkers ETB creatures, but that's probably too slow.
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Post by pokken » 10 months ago

MeowZeDung wrote:
10 months ago
I just posted about Ranar the Ever-Watchful in my Kykar thread since I'm interested in him there too. I did immediately think about him in Ephara as well. Seems like he would play well with Archaeomancer/Ephemerate, Soulherder, Eldrazi Displacer, etc. It sort of makes me want to do something nutty with these flicker engines and something like Lumbering Battlement plus bonkers ETB creatures, but that's probably too slow.
So he has the same issue as things like Oketra's Monument in that all it does is generate a token *most* of the time since you're blinking a creature you're already getting the ETB.

However, I think there is a possible angle there for gaining tokens and cards on other people's creatures. The problem is that we don't play that many things that exile other stuff (swords and displacer) and it's super likely Foretell is way too parasitic for us to use.

At its mana cost and being untutorable I don't think it's very likely it works. However it is possible that there's a deck that wants to use him that's more focused on the Containment Priest machine gun effects.

My initial read is it's a definite no for me but it's a neat card. Odds on me playing more than one foretell card are basically infinitesimal however.

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Post by shermanido37 » 10 months ago

Ranar does not work with Containment Priest, since he works only when exiling cards from your hand or the battlefield.
So I'm counting the number of stuff that we run that can exile stuff: I am 100% sure that if Ranar wasn't restricted to exiling cards from our hand or from the field, he would be far more playable. Spell Queller would count, as would Stonecloaker and Snapcaster Mage.

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