Ephara, God of the Polis - Flash & Taxes

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Post by shermanido37 » 9 months ago

As someone who tried to get the BB synergy going and think it has amazing potential, it almost never worked out for me.
Sure, I might have had 1 or 2 games where it gave me 2 extra land drops, which was awesome, but the most common scenario for the card was bringing back only 1 thing only when the stars align.

I am also not ecstatic about Glorious Protector. Its best use is as mass removal insurance for 3, but it's exceedingly slow in that scenario, and inefficient in its other uses. For 4 mana I could be playing the original Restoration Angel, which is way better in my opinion, or even Dust Elemental for a larger, more evasive body, that brings my stuff back to my hand instead of locking it away in exile until it leaves (most likely dies). It also doubles as a more expensive Stonecloaker on an empty board.

In my opinion Myriad Landscape is just a second land to be run alongside Emeria, the Sky Ruin, or even Mystic Sanctuary.

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Post by Rumpy5897 » 9 months ago

By contrast, I've found Brought Back wicked good in Daxos. However, I'm quite deep on the fetch plan - running the full nine and a Crucible of Worlds. That, and the deck's gameplay tends to turn into whack-a-mole with my haymakers. It also helps that Daxos comes out on three and has me greed-hogging any cheap enchantments for subsequent experience, so I usually tend to not have a lot to do turn two. And even if I just catch a solitary fetch with it, an instant Rampant Growth for WW is good enough.

Cosmic Intervention is not Brought Back. You can't set it up for turn two, you can foretell it on turn two and then it just sits there and waits for later. It's not even a complete upgrade to Faith's Reward, as I can envision situations where you eat a bunch of interaction and then just gloriously undo all of it. Meanwhile Intervention has them sandbag further removal for later.
 
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Post by pokken » 9 months ago

shermanido37 wrote:
9 months ago
As someone who tried to get the BB synergy going and think it has amazing potential, it almost never worked out for me.
Sure, I might have had 1 or 2 games where it gave me 2 extra land drops, which was awesome, but the most common scenario for the card was bringing back only 1 thing only when the stars align.

I am also not ecstatic about Glorious Protector. Its best use is as mass removal insurance for 3, but it's exceedingly slow in that scenario, and inefficient in its other uses. For 4 mana I could be playing the original Restoration Angel, which is way better in my opinion, or even Dust Elemental for a larger, more evasive body, that brings my stuff back to my hand instead of locking it away in exile until it leaves (most likely dies). It also doubles as a more expensive Stonecloaker on an empty board.

In my opinion Myriad Landscape is just a second land to be run alongside Emeria, the Sky Ruin, or even Mystic Sanctuary.
Yeah, I played Brought Back a bit in Aminatou and it was often very good but it required a lot of setup that was often kinda tedious. That said, on the occasion I got to pop two fetches and brought back them it was pretty huge. I'm thinking it might be even better in Ephara with more of a white commitment, as that was my main problem with it - my Aminatou deck had a hard time making WW and also its other color requirements.

Glorious Protector's best use is not really mass removal insurance in my opinion - I think it's more as a flash creature you use to trigger multiple ETBs simultaneously through bounce and/or removal and/or blinking. Being able to end step protector, hide all your guys, then ephemerate it, triggering all your etbs, then untap and Ephemerate again triggering all your etbs again, for example, is huge. And you can do it for only 4 mana instead of 6 like Lumbering Battlement with a more relevant body, and at instant speed.

The combination of Eldrazi Displacer and Glorious Protector is going to end games pretty consistently as unlike most cards you can use it to protect displacer.

It does depend pretty heavily on you having a high enough volume of ETBs though.
Rumpy5897 wrote:
9 months ago
By contrast, I've found Brought Back wicked good in Daxos. However, I'm quite deep on the fetch plan - running the full nine and a Crucible of Worlds. That, and the deck's gameplay tends to turn into whack-a-mole with my haymakers. It also helps that Daxos comes out on three and has me greed-hogging any cheap enchantments for subsequent experience, so I usually tend to not have a lot to do turn two. And even if I just catch a solitary fetch with it, an instant Rampant Growth for WW is good enough.

Cosmic Intervention is not Brought Back. You can't set it up for turn two, you can foretell it on turn two and then it just sits there and waits for later. It's not even a complete upgrade to Faith's Reward, as I can envision situations where you eat a bunch of interaction and then just gloriously undo all of it. Meanwhile Intervention has them sandbag further removal for later.
Yeah that is my thinking on BB, the odds of me being able to treat it as white Farseek that is instant is pretty high. This deck would play most of the copies of Farseek it could get its hand on.

My hope for Cosmic Intervention is to use as an anti-boardwipe blowout, but it's also very very good with Altar of Dementia and has a decent application with fetchlands. The floor hopefully is that you can use it as a slower Brought Back but the ceiling is pretty high.

Supposing you have altar, you could conceivably generate two Ephara triggers (next upkeep and the one after) but sacc'ing all your guys then sacc'ing them again after they come back at the endstep, which feels pretty awesome to me. And kinda inclines me to try playing Phyrexian Altar, but gotta noodle on that a little more.

And since it's an instant you could do that during someone else's turn to generate two instant speed Ephara triggers, which is also cool.

But using it as a bad Hunting Wilds or whatever seems OK too. I'm pretty stoked about it.

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Post by Rumpy5897 » 9 months ago

...oh right, the fetch comes back and you re-crack it. Riiiiight. Dammit, that changes my perception of this quite a bit.
 
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Post by pokken » 9 months ago

Rumpy5897 wrote:
9 months ago
...oh right, the fetch comes back and you re-crack it. Riiiiight. Dammit, that changes my perception of this quite a bit.
Yeah, brought back puts them in tapped but intervention does not. Pretty huge potentially.

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Post by Wallycaine » 9 months ago

The fact that Cosmic Intervention can effectively go off twice if the card sacs itself (fetches) or you've got a sac outlet is also pretty huge. That's even stronger than my initial evaluation, and I already thought the card was pretty strong. A line of "sac my board, get all my ETB's on end step, while still in end step, sac my board again, get all my ETB's again during next turn's end step" is wild, and absolutely feasible, especially with it only costing 2 mana if you set up the foretell.

Edit: And you can get even more bonkers with Glorious Guardian letting you double up on your ETB's again both times.

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Post by pokken » 9 months ago

You can indeed create a pretty savage loop there. Makes me wish card kingdom would hurry up grading my junk already so I can order cards before it catches on lol

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Post by Rumpy5897 » 9 months ago

Lemme tell ya, Cosmic Intervention plays super weird, but can get used to with time. At first I dismissed it in goldfishing as it wasn't really contributing anything, sulking at how Brought Back would have been so much better at ramping early and I'm wasting fetch activations. All this changed once I actually resolved an Intervention off a single fetch rather than mentally shortcutting it as cast, and saw all the land in front of me. Suspending on two is not that troublesome most of the time due to Daxos being a three-cost, and a common line off responsible keeps was combining 1-2 CMC of plays with ripping this on turn four.

I'm not sure how this deck tends to operate, but maybe some of this is transferable. I ended up adding it. Thank you.
 
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Post by pokken » 9 months ago

Rumpy5897 wrote:
9 months ago
Lemme tell ya, Cosmic Intervention plays super weird, but can get used to with time. At first I dismissed it in goldfishing as it wasn't really contributing anything, sulking at how Brought Back would have been so much better at ramping early and I'm wasting fetch activations. All this changed once I actually resolved an Intervention off a single fetch rather than mentally shortcutting it as cast, and saw all the land in front of me. Suspending on two is not that troublesome most of the time due to Daxos being a three-cost, and a common line off responsible keeps was combining 1-2 CMC of plays with ripping this on turn four.

I'm not sure how this deck tends to operate, but maybe some of this is transferable. I ended up adding it. Thank you.
Ramping 2 in a turn is absolutely huge for this deck, and I think the likelihood that we can suspend this on 2 then foretell it and double fetch on 3 is pretty high. And on the odd chance you can bank until turn 4 and go up +4 lands, that's insanely good.

Looking forward to trying it and seeing if it gets there.

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Post by WizardMN » 9 months ago

I have been updating my threads with card summaries from Kaldheim and Cosmic Intervention is basically mentioned for every white deck. I think the discussion here that shows that a single fetch land and Intervention potentially gets you 3 lands per fetch land is leaning me towards trying it out in a lot of my decks. Even ones that only have 3 fetches (for various reasons). It might lead me to actually putting in Vista and Passage into things like Karador as well. I think the card is pretty powerful when played at the right times, and still has a pretty good use for saving things against wraths (that don't exile/bounce anyway).

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Post by pokken » 9 months ago

WizardMN wrote:
9 months ago
I have been updating my threads with card summaries from Kaldheim and Cosmic Intervention is basically mentioned for every white deck. I think the discussion here that shows that a single fetch land and Intervention potentially gets you 3 lands per fetch land is leaning me towards trying it out in a lot of my decks. Even ones that only have 3 fetches (for various reasons). It might lead me to actually putting in Vista and Passage into things like Karador as well. I think the card is pretty powerful when played at the right times, and still has a pretty good use for saving things against wraths (that don't exile/bounce anyway).
Yeah I honestly think the fetch interaction is so good I am going to play Fabled Passage as long as I am running Brought Back as well. I'm debating hard on playing Crucible of Worlds.

I'm pretty happy about reanimating lands see so much action in White's color pie because Life from the Loam may be my favorite magic card :)

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Post by shermanido37 » 9 months ago

pokken wrote:
9 months ago
Glorious Protector's best use is not really mass removal insurance in my opinion - I think it's more as a flash creature you use to trigger multiple ETBs simultaneously through bounce and/or removal and/or blinking. Being able to end step protector, hide all your guys, then ephemerate it, triggering all your etbs, then untap and Ephemerate again triggering all your etbs again, for example, is huge. And you can do it for only 4 mana instead of 6 like Lumbering Battlement with a more relevant body, and at instant speed.
I'm sorry, I didn't realize you were playing a Brago, King Eternal deck. :^)
Honestly, with this much ETB shenanigans and spirit tribal in the set, you might as well. Brago has certainly gotten good upgrades in this set.
As for me, I don't think I'll even run this in my Karador. Without an existing board, which is far from given in my meta, the card is just slow and pretty sad. And if you have no way to bounce, flicker or sac, you are effectively removing your own stuff. Not to mention if an opponent runs Containment Priest or such you are pretty screwed.

Am I the only one who's not thrilled about Cosmic Intervention? Sure, your lands enter untapped. Sure, it rewards you for committing to it harder. Sure, if you're in a casual meta, the card is probably pretty good. But is that a good thing? @pokken was the one that said that cards >=4CMC are very tight in the deck, and a new one would have to pull its weight to be considered. I mean, between this and Keeper of the Accord, I'm pretty sure that there is no question whatsoever.

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Post by Rumpy5897 » 9 months ago

I'm admittedly derailing proceedings with my Daxos takes, but this happens to be an active thread with knowledgeable posters and a vaguely tangential deck :P Still, sometimes some parallels between the two emerge. Or I get enlightened that I'm wildly misinterpreting something, like Cosmic Intervention.

So to contribute something meaningful - I think going nine fetches is a good idea, but I don't think this needs Crucible. Ephara is quite a draw-happy deck, no? Do you have trouble hitting land drops? I added Crucible to Daxos back when the deck actively attacked draw, and Orzhov enchantress isn't exactly draw-savvy enough to abandon it given the deck's mana obsession.
 
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Post by pokken » 9 months ago

shermanido37 wrote:
9 months ago
pokken wrote:
9 months ago
Glorious Protector's best use is not really mass removal insurance in my opinion - I think it's more as a flash creature you use to trigger multiple ETBs simultaneously through bounce and/or removal and/or blinking. Being able to end step protector, hide all your guys, then ephemerate it, triggering all your etbs, then untap and Ephemerate again triggering all your etbs again, for example, is huge. And you can do it for only 4 mana instead of 6 like Lumbering Battlement with a more relevant body, and at instant speed.
I'm sorry, I didn't realize you were playing a Brago, King Eternal deck. :^)
Honestly, with this much ETB shenanigans and spirit tribal in the set, you might as well. Brago has certainly gotten good upgrades in this set.
As for me, I don't think I'll even run this in my Karador. Without an existing board, which is far from given in my meta, the card is just slow and pretty sad. And if you have no way to bounce, flicker or sac, you are effectively removing your own stuff. Not to mention if an opponent runs Containment Priest or such you are pretty screwed.

Am I the only one who's not thrilled about Cosmic Intervention? Sure, your lands enter untapped. Sure, it rewards you for committing to it harder. Sure, if you're in a casual meta, the card is probably pretty good. But is that a good thing? @pokken was the one that said that cards >=4CMC are very tight in the deck, and a new one would have to pull its weight to be considered. I mean, between this and Keeper of the Accord, I'm pretty sure that there is no question whatsoever.
Brago is so boring lol, and I don't really have that interest in trying to make him connect. I'd rather just keep drawing cards and not have my commander die all the time.

Cosmic Intervention has a very flexible mana cost where you can make a down payment on it with spare mana, which makes its 4 cmc quite a bit easier to swallow. Also, being an instant really helps. I think the odds of it being as good as Skyshroud Claim are pretty damned high and we would definitely consider playing that - especially if we could pay 2 for it, then 1G later.

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Post by pokken » 9 months ago

Rumpy5897 wrote:
9 months ago
I'm admittedly derailing proceedings with my Daxos takes, but this happens to be an active thread with knowledgeable posters and a vaguely tangential deck :P Still, sometimes some parallels between the two emerge. Or I get enlightened that I'm wildly misinterpreting something, like Cosmic Intervention.

So to contribute something meaningful - I think going nine fetches is a good idea, but I don't think this needs Crucible. Ephara is quite a draw-happy deck, no? Do you have trouble hitting land drops? I added Crucible to Daxos back when the deck actively attacked draw, and Orzhov enchantress isn't exactly draw-savvy enough to abandon it given the deck's mana obsession.
I have thought about playing Crucible of Worlds a lot and my main issue is that the only times I ever want it are when I've failed to hit 4 mana and beyond that I am usually chaining enough draws to not need to worry about it. If we had a white version of Ramunap Excavator I would definitely play it, but not being a creature is a big problem. The non-creature slots are really tight in this deck.

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Post by pokken » 8 months ago

t's gonna be a bit til stuff gets here, but my planned changes are:

Out In Still debating adding Sigrid, God-Favored but I can't find anything I love for it, except maaaaybe Selfless Squire who I really just love - but could be nice to bring that 4-drop curve down a bit.

Regarding the questionable choice here--
As much as I have really liked Smothering Tithe over the time I've played it, I also really like the idea of making enchantment removal basically 100% dead against my deck outside of Ephara and Thassa, Deep-Dwelling (and then only if they use exile removal). Eliminating that attack surface is really valuable in that it encourages people to use those cards on other people. Similarly, I don't have a single artifact I care about outside of Altar of Dementia which is a bit of a special case in that I only really deploy it on a turn I am going to win (and typically have a way to defend it) - vs. needing it to survive multiple turns.

I think that Cosmic Intervention should enable me to generate a more consistent but less overwhelming mana advantage, acting in its floor as a kind of bad Skyshroud Claim most of the time. It also adds the ability to play Faith's Reward that beats graveyard hate, which is a huge neat effect.

Glorious Protector has been obviously discussed to death but it's huge in this deck despite how it steers toward more etb stuff I think its double duty as wrath/mass bounce protection is nice.

One thing I have not noodled on hard yet is whether I would like to add Devastation Tide for the two-card combo with Glorious Protector given that I have strongly considered the card a bunch of times - being able to instant speed sweep for 1U with Sensei's Divining Top is pretty powerful in and of itself.

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Post by shermanido37 » 8 months ago

So I'm running Terminus as a miracle answer card, and it has been stellar. It's been amazing having reset buttons in the form of Mystical Tutor and Mystic Sanctuary, not to mention naturally drawing into it can be awesome - worst case scenario, I Brainstorm or Scroll Rack it back in, no harm done.
However, if I had to set it up with another card to gain anything from it, I am completely certain that it would have been a flop.

The above explanation helps understand why Devastation Tide is a very tempting card to put in the deck, but for me it has been a resounding no, for 2 simple reasons:
1. It's symmetrical and difficult for us to break parity on.
2. It bounces Ephara. This is the most important reason, really.
While your attempt to combo it together with GP is very cute, I find it very unlikely. One, Ephara has to be a creature to hide beneath it. Two, you have no way of tutoring for it. Three, if it's killed in response to its ability, you wasted a lot of mana to bounce the board, and will probably have less mana to get back in the game.
If you're hellbent on comboing with Tide, I recommend cards like Teferi's Protection, Parallax Wave, Aligned Hedron Network, or even cards like Fiend Hunter, Leonin Relic-Warder etc. In fact, if you wanted to slot Relic-warder back in, this would probably be the only good reason to do so, up to a level where I'm getting an itch to try it myself.

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Post by pokken » 8 months ago

shermanido37 wrote:
8 months ago
So I'm running Terminus as a miracle answer card, and it has been stellar. It's been amazing having reset buttons in the form of Mystical Tutor and Mystic Sanctuary, not to mention naturally drawing into it can be awesome - worst case scenario, I Brainstorm or Scroll Rack it back in, no harm done.
However, if I had to set it up with another card to gain anything from it, I am completely certain that it would have been a flop.

The above explanation helps understand why Devastation Tide is a very tempting card to put in the deck, but for me it has been a resounding no, for 2 simple reasons:
1. It's symmetrical and difficult for us to break parity on.
2. It bounces Ephara. This is the most important reason, really.
While your attempt to combo it together with GP is very cute, I find it very unlikely. One, Ephara has to be a creature to hide beneath it. Two, you have no way of tutoring for it. Three, if it's killed in response to its ability, you wasted a lot of mana to bounce the board, and will probably have less mana to get back in the game.
If you're hellbent on comboing with Tide, I recommend cards like Teferi's Protection, Parallax Wave, Aligned Hedron Network, or even cards like Fiend Hunter, Leonin Relic-Warder etc. In fact, if you wanted to slot Relic-warder back in, this would probably be the only good reason to do so, up to a level where I'm getting an itch to try it myself.
The nice part about tide bouncing ephara is that she costs 4 and you can just recast her, it's not horrendous but yeah I think you're right. I don't really have a huge motivation to combo with anything, I just would love to have more generic answers.

Terminus has been good and bad for me; not putting things in the graveyard is a bit of a problem for me tbh, but it was very good sometimes. the main problem is that it doesn't deal with artifacts and enchantments and planeswalkers. At this point I think it's worse than Winds of Abandon and Supreme Verdict and I don't have room for another creature wipe. But I can definitely see it working its way in there especially if I did more topdeck manipulation.

If I ever were to pull back on Karmic Guide / Reveillark toward a different wincon I could see moving in that direction but Intuition has been way too good to me with those cards to enable packages, thus far.

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Post by shermanido37 » 8 months ago

I actually see tucking creatures instead of destroying them as a strict upside. Hour of Revelation is the only mass removal I have that destroys because it wipes everything, and even then there are cases where indestructibles would be left behind as threats, or where the Karador player would go back to having a full board on their next turn. One of the best reasons why I love Winds of Abandon.
But I see your point. I guess 4 mana isn't much of an impediment for us, and since our whole board will be in our hand we probably won't need to draw much more cards.

I'm getting some motivation to test it, but probably in my other 99 list.
In my main list, where more blink shenanigans are afoot, I'm very satisfied with my ability to answer most things in existence, with these cards: Also, my small fliers have done a good job at keeping planeswalkers at bay. I don't find those to be a problem for the deck.

My other 99 list has Archaeomancer plus a bunch of other cards to combo with it, including: Devastation Tide will join as the latest of them. This is starting to feel a bit mean.

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Post by Rumpy5897 » 8 months ago

I like your "other 99" idea. My recent decks have been trying to shy away from some of the obvious includes to moderate power level, so I'm not quite on the same level as that. But I can relate to the sentiment of wanting to do that :)
 
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Post by pokken » 8 months ago

So with all the land rampy stuff I've been nudging in I have been thinking it's pretty likely I ought to play Field of the Dead. The upside there is pretty tremendous.

I can't really think of any land I can lose though, so almost like I would need to cut a card for an ETB tapped colorless source. It's distantly possible I could support cutting a plains, I guess, but it feels maybe wrong?

Myriad Landscape is the only real option there I think, and there are really some hands that it fixes. I dunno. I've definitely bent over backwards to sequence landscape a few times.

The things I have that support field:
Plus all the fetchlands and such. I feel like the odds of me being able to support 7 land names is very high with something like 25 or some odd different land names.

I realize we've talked about this before but I think Brought Back and Cosmic Intervention may have pushed it over the edge.

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Post by shermanido37 » 8 months ago

Granted, field is a powerful card.

However, activating it in a dual-colored deck instead of a tri-colored deck means that there are much less unique lands to choose from and much less fetches to abuse it, and not running green means that we can't double down on efficient ramp cards or decent land recursion to capitalize on.

Also, typically you'd want to reduce the number of basic lands to better facilitate Field, but this means that cards like Mystic Sanctuary, Keeper of the Accord, Myriad Landscape and Emeria, the Sky Ruin become much weaker.

And even after all that, we want to activate field during each opponent's turn for maximum benefit, which most likely means cracking a fetch during each opponent's turn. Both Brought Back and Cosmic Intervention want the opposite - which is to crack all the lands during one turn, in order to get all the lands back. So running both Field and BB effects would drag the strategy in two opposite directions, which feels very suboptimal.

Plus, I'm not paying 25$ for a card that I originally got for like 4$ when it first released. I have that first copy in Windgrace and it's been carrying the deck through some intense games, so there's no way that copy is leaving that deck.

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Post by pokken » 8 months ago

Remember with cosmic you automatically get double field and ephara triggers. You fetch again at end step and they come back next turn. It's slick.

I am thinking that field may be worth giving up on emeria honestly, but kinda want to see it in action first.

(I got a $3 foil for this when it came out that I have available for Ephara:P)




On an unrelated note, I have been making major content and visual updates to the primer that hopefully are cool. I suck with colors so I'm going to go back to the drawing board on my draft "Ephara creatures" image - that was mostly to get the sizing and styling right, figure out how to convert my powerpoint smartart into low size transparent pngs, etc. But basically I'm thinking about making the sidebars visual to help them pop more and decrease the text density a bit.

I'm also going through and pruning some of the other sections and getting rid of content that's too dated, although that's a slow process because I don't want to cut out stuff that's useful even if I am not using it anymore.

Hopefully it's getting more appealing to look at and not less lol :) It's very time consuming doing the detailed CSS work in basically another language that has severe limitations and I can't prototype as fast, but I'm getting there.

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Post by shermanido37 » 8 months ago

Your formatting is interesting. The graphic elements are very interesting and help summarize the main points of the primer, though it's unfortunate that you can't view any cards they mention in text.
In the Lands section, Emeria has a formatting problem.
In the "Mid Game" section, the quote "Who can get rid of my board state and get rid of my enablers or Ephara?" has a pointless card referral on the "and".
I'd recommend you pick a higher resolution image of the Ephara art if you intend to zoom in on her so much.

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Post by pokken » 8 months ago

shermanido37 wrote:
8 months ago
Your formatting is interesting. The graphic elements are very interesting and help summarize the main points of the primer, though it's unfortunate that you can't view any cards they mention in text.
In the Lands section, Emeria has a formatting problem.
In the "Mid Game" section, the quote "Who can get rid of my board state and get rid of my enablers or Ephara?" has a pointless card referral on the "and".
I'd recommend you pick a higher resolution image of the Ephara art if you intend to zoom in on her so much.
Thanks for the feedback. I am thinking of trying to adjust most of the graphics that have cards to use card or cardimg tags but I need some additional formatting capabilities to make that work right. Supposedly we also have something called lightbox, but I need to look into allowing higher res images some of the time and such as well there. Most of the stuff is placeholders right now.

The ephara image at the top definitely needs to be swapped for a higher res banner, it's also something of a placeholder right now - I intend to find a higher res image and scupt it into something a bit more appealing.

Lots of copy editing left to do, I've made it through most of it but lots of old text there from the first version of the primer that needs poking at. I'll fix that one you picked out, is indeed redundant.

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