Karador, Ghost Chieftain - Quest for Control

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Post by cryogen » 1 year ago

Regarding Yawgmoth and unintentional combos, I feel like an Abzan reanimator strategy just leans toward combos that are based around numerous cards that are just individually good synergistic cards. It's pretty hard to run the cards without running into a three or four card combo.
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Post by WizardMN » 1 year ago

That's probably a valid point, but it is still something I want to do my best to avoid. I think I might be accepting of having a combo potential in the deck, due to the reasons you stated, but it still isn't what I want to use to make games end. I will have to see how often it comes up. And, lowering the tutor count is more of an acquiescence to that fact as I understand they might be there, but I would rather work a little harder for them to come about.

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Post by WizardMN » 1 year ago

I played a game with this deck last night against Silas Renn, Seeker Adept & Akiri, Line-Slinger partners, Tuvasa the Sunlit, and Rhys the Redeemed.

I started the game with 4 lands in hand, Wall of Blossoms, Recruiter of the Guard, and something else. I basically just went slow but I cast Recruiter on turn 3 to grab Bane of Progress. I held onto it slightly longer than I wanted due to Tuvasa having a Karmic Justice on the field. There also wasn't a lot I wanted to blow up right away anyway.

Eventually, I blew it up with Qasali, Pridemage so I could cast Bane. They blew up my Yawgmoth, Thran Physician but I was able to cast Bane without a bunch of my stuff getting destroyed. Silas saved their board with Boros Charm but Tuvasa was the real threat anyway so it still worked out.

A few turns later Silas/Akiri was really getting out of control. They had me at 20 commander damage at one point thanks to hitting me once before for 9 and then a swing in for 12 after flashing in an Embercleave. Luckily I blocked with a Yavimaya Dryad so I still lived by only taking 11 damage. I cast Vampiric Tutor for Necromancy (it was the cheapest reanimation I had) and returned Bane of Progress to blow the board. I also got a blocker for Akiri (Bane went away since Necromancy went away) in case they attacked me again. They never attacked me again.

Bane of Progress made one more appearance off of Chainer, Dementia Master and blew up 13 things. I also had an Ulvenwald Hydra that was an 18/18. I used them to get Rhys down to 5. At this time, I also had a Protean Hulk in play. Tuvasa's turn came around and they just went off. They had cast Nyxbloom Ancient the turn before so they had a ridiculous amount of mana already. But then they copied it with Estrid's Invocation. They only started with 5 cards in hand, but they were drawing 2 cards per enchantment so they just kept going.

I basically ended up ignoring them throughout most of their machinations. I didn't care what they did (which is why I let the Ancient live). I realize a couple things could have blown me out but I pretty much just let them run out as much stuff as they could and then I sacrificed Hulk to get False Prophet. I sacrificed Hydra to Momentous Fall (I probably should have sacrificed Bane but I wanted more cards) to draw 18 and gain 18. And then I sacrificed False Prophet to a land to exile everything. I lost a little, but Tuvasa lost a lot.

My next turn I cast Aura Shards and just started picking off Tuvasa's remaining enchantments. Silas/Akira never did anything more from here as they were at 0 cards in hand when this happened. I killed Rhys a turn or two later and was ultimately able to win with Gray Merchant of Asphodel by casting it to make everything lose 10 and then sacrificing it with Mikaeus, the Unhallowed on the field to make everyone lose another 10. That took out both Tuvasa and Silas/Akiri.

Bane of Progress was easily the superstar in this game though False Prophet (off of Hulk) was pretty clutch as well. I did get Yawgmoth again in the late game but he didn't do much beyond add Devotion for Gray Merchant. He did a fair amount early on though, which was nice.

I did have another change for Yawgmoth and Mikaeus to make an appearance together and I again just chose not to combo with them. I naturally drew into Yawgmoth and I think I got Mikaeus off of Hulk towards the end of the game so there wasn't really a chance for them to do much together anyway.
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Post by WizardMN » 1 year ago

I played this again last night against Admiral Beckett Brass. Thraximundar, and Karona, the False God (God Tribal).

I started off with 3 lands, Phyrexian Reclamation, and Farhaven Elf (and a couple other cards). I had no black mana but Elf could get me that. I cast the Elf, tutored for a land, sacrificed it or let it die somehow. I then cast Reclamation, played another black source I drew, and picked up the Elf. I did this a couple times, fueled by a High Market I drew, which ramped me pretty good. The main issue with this was that I spent a lot of life and Karona landed an Erebos, God of the Dead fairly early.

Karona also had a Mogis, God of Slaughter on board so that was costing some life, but I was able to get Karador down and start recasting the creatures I could sacrifice. I ended up with Farhaven Elf, Wood Elves, and Yavimaya Dryad that I did a little with. I didn't really get any big hitters though so I was barely stabilizing and could only do so much against other boards. I ended up at 9 life at one point.

Then, I drew into a Green Sun's Zenith. I tutored for a Protean Hulk and just left it on the field. I wasn't sure what I would need but I figured it would be something. Next turn, I cast a Lifeblood Hydra for X=8. Someone swung into me so I started doing stuff :)

First, I cast Anguished Unmaking to exile Erebos. There was as light misplay here as I maybe should have exiled an opposing Marit Lage token with Swords to Plowshares first (to stop the life gain) but I was still kind of holding out hope they would attack Beckett Brass. It ended up not mattering and I don't think them gaining 20 life would have mattered in the long run anyway.

Second, I sacrificed Lifeblood Hydra to Miren, the Moaning Well to gain 16 life and draw 8 cards. I was now at 22 life. I took 14 I think (or something like that) so I was back down to 8 with an online Protean Hulk and a Crop Rotation in hand for Diamond Valley if I needed it.

I started my turn and decided to sacrifice Hulk for Kokusho, the Evening Star since everything was at very low life totals. I cast Protean Hulk off of Karador. I sacrificed Kokusho and let him die. I then cast Karmic Guide to reanimate him. I sacrificed Hulk to get Mikaeus and then sacrificed Kokusho twice to finish the game since the highest life total was 12 while i was doing this.

I needed 2 turns to do it all since I didn't have that many sac outlets, but it ended up working out well and I ended up winning that game.

In light of the more recent comments I had, the only thing I would want to call out is the tutors. Hulk and Green Sun's were the two that showed up here (granted, Green Sun's got me Hulk) and they basically won my the game. Being able to get Hulk, combined with Anguished Unmaking being able to exile Erebos, was able to gain me the life needed to stay in the game. And, even without Unmaking, Hulk could have gotten me Spike Weaver if needed.

I did end up discarding Birthing Pod at one point due to having Collector Ouphe on the field (which did fantastic work to slow down some of Thrax's equipment as well as a ton of Treasures from the Admiral.

I still won with Kokusho so the finale of my games are tending to repeat, but the journey to get there is still new each time, so far. I am still enjoying the deck as it is.

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Post by cryogen » 1 year ago

WizardMN wrote:
1 year ago
I still won with Kokusho so the finale of my games are tending to repeat, but the journey to get there is still new each time, so far. I am still enjoying the deck as it is.
Karador in a nutshell. Isn't it awesome?
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Post by WizardMN » 1 year ago

cryogen wrote:
1 year ago
WizardMN wrote:
1 year ago
I still won with Kokusho so the finale of my games are tending to repeat, but the journey to get there is still new each time, so far. I am still enjoying the deck as it is.
Karador in a nutshell. Isn't it awesome?
It depends on how you define "awesome" :)

But yes, I think the ability for Karador to have a number of different lines or play patterns as the game goes on is what makes him good. A lot of what the deck does is reactionary so it makes sense that games play out differently during 95% of the game. I just wish I could get the other 5% to stop being "sac kokusho a bunch of times" :P

But, the deck needs an end game and Kokusho provides it so it will likely continue to be the finisher as I need him.

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Post by cryogen » 1 year ago

WizardMN wrote:
1 year ago
cryogen wrote:
1 year ago
WizardMN wrote:
1 year ago
I still won with Kokusho so the finale of my games are tending to repeat, but the journey to get there is still new each time, so far. I am still enjoying the deck as it is.
Karador in a nutshell. Isn't it awesome?
It depends on how you define "awesome" :)

But yes, I think the ability for Karador to have a number of different lines or play patterns as the game goes on is what makes him good. A lot of what the deck does is reactionary so it makes sense that games play out differently during 95% of the game. I just wish I could get the other 5% to stop being "sac kokusho a bunch of times" :P

But, the deck needs an end game and Kokusho provides it so it will likely continue to be the finisher as I need him.
Off the top of my head I don't see any infinite loop combos, have you ran into any? Because with the addition of either Saffi, Revellark, or Goft of Immortality you could probably start longer loops that would have more impact.
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Post by WizardMN » 1 year ago

cryogen wrote:
1 year ago
Off the top of my head I don't see any infinite loop combos, have you ran into any? Because with the addition of either Saffi, Revellark, or Goft of Immortality you could probably start longer loops that would have more impact.
The only infinite loop combo I have, since I have been pretty careful to explicitly avoid trying to include any, is Yawgmoth + Mikeaus + Kokusho + any random creature I can sac to keep bouncing the -1/-1 counters back and forth. I have yet to actually use it, but it is there.

Anyway, I played the deck again last night against Ramos, Dragon Engine, Etrata, the Silencer and Rhys the Redeemed.

I started off with Overgrown Tomb into Vampiric Tutor for a land. I had another land in hand, but I wanted to make sure I got my land drops. I played Sakura-Tribe Elder next. I ended up casting Green Sun's Zenith after tutoring with Wood Elves to get a Satyr Wayfinder. I was still trying to ensure I hit land drops and I figured Satyr Wayfinder was good as it either got me a land or filled my graveyard for Karador so I could recast Sakura-Tribe Elder. Instead, I hit 0 lands and Ulamog so that kind of set me back.

I was able to recover a little and get a decent board state. At one point I had 1 card in hand but drew into Lifeblood Hydra which I cast for X=5. That started turning things around in my favor since, up to that point, was still a little behind.

At one point, I was able to get an Ulamog down which Etrata decided to exile. I decided to let Ulamog get exiled so Etrata would go away too so now I had 2 cards in exile from Etrata. But Etrata was off the board.

All the while, Rhys was really building up their army. They swung out and tried to kill me but Diamond Valley saved me so I was at just 1 life. Ramos then cleared the board so I didn't need to worry about Rhys but then Ramos started getting out of control. They dropped in Sorin Grim Nemesis and, thankfully, chose to minus him to hit Rhys. He then swung at both of us but I had to use Unexpectedly Absent to put the creature attacking me on top. They could have ended it there if they had just swung at me with everything.

But, I knew I was about to die even with that. So, I started digging. I had Underrealm Lich which helped immensely but still didn't get me to where I needed to be. I did make a small mistake in that I tried to cast Lifeblood Hydra from my graveyard for X = 7 to try to dig for a wrath or a fog. But, I knew they had Aethersnatch in hand and didn't think to play around it. I should have dug with Bazaar first which would gotten me either False Prophet or Spike Weaver in hand and the other to the graveyard. They could have then stolen one of them but I would have gotten the other. I still would have had to dodge Sorin ticking up, hoping they hit a land, but it still would have been the right play. Instead, I just got run over.

I don't really think it would have made a huge difference since Sorin was a problem but it felt bad to misplay there anyway.

I didn't really come across anything I really didn't like. Wayfinder was a bit of RNG that got me but, even without hitting the land, if I hadn't hit Ulamog, I might have been in a good spot since I could have potentially cast Karador. Greater Good is still on the chopping block, but I need to find something to put in its place.

Even though I lost, I still liked how well the deck played. Lich dug me through a ton of cards and I may have used a couple of cards a little early trying to get lands but I don't think those were mistakes. I still had a lot going on and I did have to slow myself down a little so I didn't just lose to Etrata. I would say Etrata was likely a bigger factor in this game due to not being able to cast things right away as I didn't have a sac outlet at the time yet.
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Post by WizardMN » 1 year ago

Alright, it is time to go over the potential includes from C20 and Ikoria. Since they are coming out at the same time, I am just going to group them together to make this already long post a little more bearable. So, off we go:

White Cards

Dismantling Wave - This is a pretty good removal spell for Artifacts and Enchantments, though 8 mana is still a lot. Being able to do it at Instant Timing and being (mostly) uncounterable is pretty huge and even the normal casting of it might not be too bad to slow down people with their Sol Rings and early ramp. Being a sorcery in that case is detrimental butI could see it taking the spot of something. In reality, with Bane of Progress and our other removal, it probably isn't really needed but it is a reasonable option

Verge Rangers - We definitely don't need a worse Oracle of Mul Daya in this deck

Drannith Magistrate - Not really the best card for this deck, but in certain metas it can help stop opponents from getting stuff for free. I don't think it is really needed though.

Luminous Broodmoth - This is essentially Mikaeus #2. I am legitimately considering completely replacing Mikaus with this because it costs 2 less, give my stuff evasion when they come back, and doesn't combo with Yawgmoth. This is more of a personal preference since I don't much care for combos in my decks. But, for someone that wants to keep it, this is still a good addition to the deck to complement Mikaeus. They don't quite work together, but it offers some redundancy

Black Cards

Nikara, Lair Scavenger - This card is cheap and a reasonable source of card advantage. It works reasonably well with the counters from Mikaeus but our deck doesn't really do much with counters otherwise. There are more consistent forms of card draw at our disposal.

Kathril, Aspect Warper - I think this might be fine if we ever wanted to run Odric but, as it is, I don't think this will ever be that useful in this deck

Tayam, Luminous Enigma - This isn't the worst card by any means, and fuels itself, but really doesn't do anything to advance our game plan. Vigilance on its own isn't that appealing and the reanimation ability still takes enough hoops to go through considering this card is one of the main ones even giving us counters.

Deadly Rollick - Interestingly, I am kind of 50/50 on this card in this deck. We don't have our general out that often and he doesn't get out until later in the game. So, it will just as often cost the full 4 as it will be free. That being said, it does exile the target which is huge and isn't really overcosted at 4 for that. The main issue is room and I think Swords and Path already do a far better job. I believe I will actually pass on this card but I think it can go either way.

Dredge the Mire - We don't usually care about things our opponents are playing and, if we do, we have Chainer for that. I don't like including things we don't have a lot of control over so I would shy away from this card as not being quite good enough. It might depend on your meta though.

Netherborn Altar - We have almost no problems casting our commander for cheap throughout the game, even at 8 mana, that there is really no reason to run this card. If we aren't getting a discount, our graveyard isn't full, which means we shouldn't be casting him anyway. This is an easy pass.

Species Specialist - We don't have enough creatures that share creature types for this to give us a lot of cards. It is still reasonable enough to give us a couple cards but we have other ways to draw cards that this isn't really worth it.

Titan Hunter - Just no :) 5 mana for a 2 mana activation to sac a creature is not good for us. Even if it does gain us life, or potentially deals damage to players, it isn't where we want to be.

Bastion of Remembrance - Another card that really doesn't do enough. We do have a lot of creatures dying, but to drain 1 from each opponent, and gain 1 life, just isn't impactful enough. It is, effectively, a worse Zulaport Cutthroat

Bushmeat Poacher - This has a great effect but the cost is far too high. And it can't be activated more than once per turn cycle.

Call of the Death-Dweller - Call is a reasonable card, though Sorcery does hurt it. We have a lot of targets that we could bring back with this. However, it just doesn't feel right for the current tone of the deck. I am not sure on this. It can be good to ramp with something again or get back E Witness to get this back so there is a sort of loop that could work here. I am probably going to pass on it, but it can be decent

Dark Bargain - I am only including this here because I like the card. It doesn't really fit this deck but Instant timing draw with filling the graveyard is pretty decent. 4 mana might be too high for most decks still, but I think it has its place in other decks.

Dirge Bat - We have had creature based removal in the past in the form of Ravenous Chupacabra and Noxious Gearhulk but they all ended up getting cut. I think this is ultimately better than Gearhulk but 6 mana is still a lot and is still slow. And it requires another creature. So, I think it doesn't really fit into the deck

Extinction Event - This is a flexible, but then weaker, wrath that could offer us the ability to retain our boards but it then allows our opponents the same. Exiling is huge, but that is what we have False Prophet for.

Mythos of Nethroi - Speaking of removal, this seems really good. It doesn't blow up like Beast Within and Generous Gift, bu it also doesn't give them a creature in return either. I am likely to replace one of those with this

Green Cards

Curious Herd - In a very artifact - heavy meta, I could see this doing something. But, really, we are far better off destroying those artifacts than just getting tokens based on the number they have,

Obscuring Haze - Free fog isn't worth it. We will still to our repeatable fogs in Constant Mists and Spike Weaver

Sawtusk Demolisher - This ends up being a worse version of Beast Within with a much more restrictive casting requirement. However, being a creature is really nice and Karador allows for it to be re - used. It does have to be cast though so no Chainer or Karmic Guide interactions. I think being Sorcery timing, higher cost, and needing another creature on board are enough reasons to skip it

Slippery Bogbonder - This is alright in that it can help protect some of our more fragile creatures but since we are a graveyard deck, we really don't care that much about our stuff dying. And we have other ways to stop things from getting exiled

Barrier Breach - Being able to exile 3 gods (or any other enchantments) is reasonable. I think it is still too narrow, but if your meta is filled with enchantment decks, or Gods, this could be a worthwhile addition. The cycling then gives it some use in the case you don't need to cast it.

Gemrazer - Here is our new Reclamation Sage with better stats. But Needing another creature for it to work means it probably gets a pass. We don't want to be in a position where we have an empty board and something to blow up. Or, if we cheat it out with Chainer or Hulk we can't get the trigger.

Kogla, the Titan Ape - This card has a lot going for it, but the mana cost might be enough to stay away. Fighting (likely killing) something important is good. Then, repeatable Artifact/Enchantment destruction is good. And, finally, being able to recast our humans while giving this indestructible is good. I am going to keep an eye on it but, for now, will not include it. Mostly driven entirely by the mana cost.

Vivien, Monsters' Advocate - Vivien looks like she would be very good in this deck. While we don't really care about the top of our library beyond Oracle, she can give us a bit more utility from there. And since we are relatively creature heavy, it can be effectively the same as drawing cards. Plus, her - 2 gives us a free creature most of the time. I am thinking I will give her a try to at least see what she can do, but I don't realistically expect her to stick around too long

Multicolor and Land Cards

Back for More - I love this card. It is very high at 6 mana, but the effect may be worth it. Being able to reanimate something and kill off something else can be a game changer. And, being able to reanimate an Eldrazi Titan in response to the trigger just seems like fun. I might try to swap Necromancy for this. It is not exact and Necromancy works with Sun Titan, but I think this is worth a try.

Boneyard Lurker - E Witness #2 that is worse, costs more, and more restrictive on when it could trigger? I like the idea, but without a lot more Mutate support, this doesn't quite make the cut

Chevill, Bane of Monsters - When I first saw this spoiled, I was instantly hooked on it. However, I am not so sure now. It is a very inconsistent draw effect and I really cared about it due to the gain life. In either case, getting the creature to die and, more importantly, waiting for it to die, means it likely won't do what is needed.

Death's Oasis - Another utility card that could do good work. Getting our stuff back is good. However, we shy away from self mill due to the Eldrazi Titans and it would feel really bad to have Sakura - Tribe Elder die and lose our graveyard with nothing to show for it. The gain life effect is basically Gain 8 life which isn't enough either

Dire Tactics - This is a fantastic card and I am easily finding a spot for it. Dealing wih Indestructible creatures is a big deal and the life loss is mostly negligable

Eerie Ultimatum - There is no way I am not at least trying the new Ultimatum. It spits out my entire graveyard onto the battlefield with basically no restrictions and gives me a ton of value. It also doesn't exile itself so E Wit can get it back. The cost is high and it is a Sorcery but we can't have everything. It is still very powerful as it is

Necropanther - Another card with a good effect for our deck which is then hampered by the need to Mutate it. Another pass

Nethroi, Apex of Death - This might be a Mutate card worth running. 7 mana to reanimate a few different things could be really good. Especially if we can flash it in. I will likely try it because it looks nice, but it will probably be another that just doesn't stick around. 7 mana for 2 - 4 creatures (most likely) isn't probably enough to warrant keeping it in.

Fiend Artisan - I have made my feelings for Pod known throughout this thread, and I feel that this card is in the same vein. However, being a creature, being able to grow larger, and being able to get any creature are all really nice effects. I am going to swap out Pod for this and see how much it really breaks the game (or how repetitive things get).

Indatha Triome - This is, effectively, a better Murmuring Bosk. Bosk never comes into play untapped, the same as this, but this can also cycle. I don't really want to go down too much on my basics though. I will have to figure out what I want to cut for this because it is definitely going in the deck
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Post by Rumpy5897 » 1 year ago

Mike and Mothra actually work ridiculously well together for non-flying fodder. You sac a thing, get a choice between +1/+1 and flying counter recursion, pick one, sac again, do the other one, keep repeating. Combine a sensible ETB with a free sac outlet and the game's either openly yours or pretty much yours.

That said, given your dislike of combos, this might not be up your street :P
 
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Post by WizardMN » 1 year ago

That is really another reason to think about cutting Mikeaus for me. They do work exceptionally well and are basically like a combo with Woodfall Primus. Except, for everything :)

I doubt I will cut Mikaeus right away, though I do have a lot I want to try out so I am not sure. I am thinking that it is more of an inevitability for me.

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Post by WizardMN » 1 year ago

So, of the list above, here is what I am leaning towards adding:
Now, the main omission here from what I said I might include above is Vivien, Monsters' Advocate. This is because her cost is high, I don't really do much with Walkers in this build, she doesn't work that great with Karador as it is, and I only have so much room. Maybe someday.

And Nethroi is being added as a "well, maybe it could work" type of card. I don't hold out a lot of hope for it and I feel that Ultimatum will just be a far better option in most cases anyway. But, I want to try it and maybe it is better than I am giving it credit for.

The rest all have the same reasoning as I provided above so I won't bother re-hashing that.

So, the question becomes what to cut. This list is relatively tight as it is so some are straight swaps for other similar cards and some are just allowing me to cut down on some cards that I may not like as much anymore. So, here is what I am thinking.

Mistveil Plains - I was originally going cut a Forest, but I don't really like going too low on Basics. And Vesuva could be a reasonable cut (though I still like its interaction with Crop Rotation copying Bojuka Bog. So, I went with Mistveil Plains instead since I can't remember the last time I actually activated it. Especially in this deck since I work out of the graveyard so much as it is and I always have my Eldrazi to get things back in the library if I need them. This just seems like the right cut without changing things in terms of going too far with taplands.

Burnished Hart - This might be the last deck that has Hart in it but as I try to tighten things up and make my turns count for more, it might be time to cut it from here as well. It isn't quite as bad here and I have had a few fun situations where I got to activate it 3 or 4 times in a game. But, and part of this is @pokken's thread (or comments in a thread; I don't remember) about working towards hitting land drops over ramp. Now, I don't want to go too far away from ramp, especially in this deck, but I think there is merit to that. Satyr Wayfinder is already a card that leans into that so I am going to try to go without this for now.

Mikaeus, the Unhallowed - As I have mentioned, I am not a fan of how well Mikaeus works with Yawgmoth. Now, with Broodmoth, I have a way to replicate the effect without the brokenness. It also comes down a little earlier which could help a bit.

Birthing Pod - I have commented on this as well and would like to swap it for Fiend Artisans. I don't really have "Pod chains" in this deck so I think if I want the Pod's effect, I might as well just go with one that can get me anything. It does still have a cost associated with it and can't be used as an Instant so there are some significant limitations in general, but I am willing to try it out due to being a creature and fitting more in line with my philosophy and play style.

Generous Gift - I don't think I really need more removal (though I think I will still be +2 with these changes) so I figure cutting this in favor of Mythos is the right call. It can't hit lands, but doesn't give them a token either. I am willing to try it anyway.

Erebos, God of the Dead - I have been finding Erebos isn't often doing a whole lot. Opponents gaining life isn't usually something I have a problem with, and I am not doing anything specific with Erebos to proactively stop it anyway. And the card draw effect, while useful, has been used less and less often so I think I am fine with trimming him.

Necromancy - As mentioned above, I am going to see if Back for More can be my Instant timing reanimation spell. Being 6 mana is tough, but letting the creature stick around and letting it fight something means it has a higher ceiling. I think it will work out well. The main things I lose out on are Sun Titan loops as well as being able to reanimate something of my opponents'. But, I usually only care about my own stuff anyway.

Protean Hulk - This is likely the hardest cut and the one that ends up making the least sense. I couldn't really come up with anything I wanted to cut, this is high on the curve (a spot Nethroi will occupy for now), and the playstyle it engenders is boring and repetitive. With Mikaeus gone, this becomes less of a problem, but I want to see if the deck can function with Hulk as it is a card I have been not been enjoying seeing pop up in my games.



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Post by shermanido37 » 1 year ago

So I'm not so certain about Eerie Ultimatum. I mean we mostly care about creatures, and except for the benefit of recurring lands, it seems harder to cast and narrower than Rise of the Dark Realms. Why run the Ultimatum over RotDR?

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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

Ultimatum getting all the super powerful enchantments back too is pretty nice but it's also very likely to be closer to 3 or 4 net mana in this deck because the lands come back untapped. Grosssss.

Why on earth Eerie Ultimatum doesn't exile I do not know. If you set up Eternal Witness + Greater Good + Eerie Ultimatum you should be able to pretty much draw your deck most games.

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Post by WizardMN » 1 year ago

I think Pokken hit the nail on the head. Being able to ramp, get back Deed, Phyrexian Reclamation (doesn't do a lot right away considering I just returned all my creatures but still for the long run), Aura Shards (maybe not the best card anymore to be fair), and lands is pretty good. Being 2 mana cheaper is also a consideration. 7 mana is expensive enough; 9 is just outrageous.

As for the added benefit of Rise of the Dark Realms, I have said a few times that I really don't care enough about what is in other people's graveyards. I am either exiling their stuff already or their stuff isn't as good as mine. While Rise offers a bit more "but I could get something super sweet" I don't think I really need it. I would rather focus on my deck doing what I want it to do than adding things in for the off-chance that they might do something big. At some point, it becomes overkill and I don't think the added 2 mana is worth it when there is a very real possibility that just getting my stuff back is enough.

Now, with that all being said, it is still very possible that Ultimatum isn't as good as I want it to be either. I am leaning in a slightly different direction now with the cutting of Protean Hulk so I am trying something a little different. Nethroi plays into that as well. But, if I find it isn't doing what I want then I am certain Rise wouldn't either. So, either Ultimatum is good enough or neither one of them is. At least, that is my line of thinking.

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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

My main concern for your deck with ultimatum is it being too good. That card is frigging nonsense. The pseudo-infinite with witness+greater good is going to be kinda Yawgmoth-esque in my opinion -- so overwhelmingly powerful and hard to interact with that it becomes a go to.

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Post by WizardMN » 1 year ago

I had thought about that as well. There are two things I have been thinking of that would keep it in check though:

I have already gotten close to cutting Greater Good as not being good enough on its own. I have gotten to the point where I am less happy to see it than I have been in the past. The interaction with Ultimatum can't be denied of course. I will have to see how it works.

More importantly though, I only have one way to tutor for it and one way to get it back. Unlike Hulk, which had a bunch of ways to start it off, Ultimatum takes a bit more setup and needs the right pieces. Now, with enough creatures and Greater Good it might not be as tough as I am making it out to be, but I doubt it will become a "go to" that Protean Hulk into Mikaeus was. It is definitely worth watching out for.

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Post by shermanido37 » 1 year ago

A card that I don't get why you're not playing is Vizier of the Menagerie. You seemed ecstatic about Vivien doing the same even though she was a PW, which is much worse for you, and that's even without the fixing part.
In my own Karador, Vizier has been quite impressive, there's hardly a time I resolve it without it letting me play 2 to 3 cards, and the fixing has been decent as well. On top of that it is a fine blocker against aggressors.

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Post by WizardMN » 1 year ago

Which is why I left out Vivien :)

She made it into my original review the way she did because the effect is decent and the -2 is actually pretty good. However, I realized the effects just aren't worth it at 5 mana even with the "free" creature every three turns.

Vizier might be the right call. But I left out Vivien because I haven't felt the need for that effect. I prefer to just draw cards and cast things from hand or just use my graveyard. There are likely scenarios where Vizier would give me a few cards off the top, but with Sylvan Library (which, I admit, works super well with Vizier) and Underrealm Lich I think I have the effects I want to ensure I get cards in hand that I want to cast.

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Post by shermanido37 » 1 year ago

While it's true that Sylvan Library is the pinnacle of green card draw, and almost of card draw in general, I don't see much similar effects in your deck. Most cards I can find are about ramping with a vengenace, and the only true card draw effects I could find were Erebos, God of the Dead, which I'm personally not impressed with, and Yawgmoth, Thran Physician, that you are probably taking out.

I believe that drawing more cards is critical to play more effectively, so I have several of these effects. They have somehow all converged to be 4CMC. Apart from the Vizier and from Yawgmoth, I run Beast Whisperer, Midnight Reaper and others. The former works well in my deck because I have a decently balanced curve, to much the same effect as Vizier.

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Post by WizardMN » 1 year ago

My card draw ends up being:

Wall of Omens
Wall of Blossoms
Greater Good
Sylvan Library
Lifeblood Hydra
Yawgmoth, Thran Physician
Underrealm Lich (sort of)
Momentous Fall

(Erebos is cut, and the cards around Yawgmoth are cut)

Now, a couple are "single" use, depending on what I get back from the graveyard, but this package has been doing good work for me. The main thing is that most of these cards do more than "just" draw: Greater Good, Momentous Fall, and Yawgmoth are sac outlets. Hydra is mass draw coupled with mass life gain. Lich is filtering and fills my graveyard. And I include it here because of the interaction with Karador.

The two Walls are here mostly for being super cheap, being blockers, being easy ways to fill the graveyard, and being good to get back with Sun Titan and P Hulk (which I cut so it isn't as big a deal).

I just don't really feel Vizier is necessary. I generally don't feel like I am in a position where card draw is a weakness of the deck. Perhaps I could use more but that is a far cry from needing more and it isn't something I want to slot in. Your play style is obviously different than mine so I don't disagree with the basic premise. But I am not hurting for cards as it is now and slotting in something that isn't always going to work to "draw" a card is not where I want to be.

Realistically, if I feel I need more I will either move Erebos back in, or I would go with something like Midnight Reaper as it plays better with the overall strategy of the deck.

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Post by WizardMN » 1 year ago

I was able to get a game in with this deck online since I was getting tired of making changes and not being able to test them.

I played against Pako, Arcane Retriever& Haldan, Avid Arcanist, Golos, Tireless Pilgrim, and Gwendlyn Di Corci. I kept a mediocre hand but it 4 lands, ensured more land drops and a card draw with Yavimaya Elder, removal with Archon of Justice, and Eternal Witness to get stuff back.

The Partners got going exceptionally quickly though. They ramped but didn't really get their land drops. Which didn't matter a lot since they got both Partners down by turn 4. Luckily, Gwendlyn wrathed with Last One Standing and then Partners conceded due to only having two lands (even though they were left with Haldan. It is too bad really as we had just started.

Golos cast Captain Sisay, Gwendlyn got down a Sire of Stagnation which Golos Elkified with Oko, Thief of Crowns. We were able to kill Oko with no problem though. I ended up casting Nethroi, Apex of Death without Mutate just to get a creature on board. I left Sisay alone for a turn or two just in case I needed my Archon of Justicejust for something else.

I cast a Lifeblood Hydra for 3 just to refill my hand if needed. Golos did get a Deathrite Shaman which messed with my graveyard but I didn't have much yet so I left it alone. I knew something would get exiled but I hoped to wait a little bit.

Gwendlyn thought Golos was enough of a problem that they had Nethroi fight Golos. We still kept going after Golos though as the got Primevals' Glorious Rebirth and got back most of their board. I stole Queen Marchesa from them so they couldn't get her and now I was the Monarch. Tatyova, Benthic Druid might have been the better call but I still felt Marchesa was good as I could just remove Tatyova later.

The next turn Golos started with 2 cards in hand so I just let them go. I had milled a Green Sun's Zenith with Satyr Wayfinder so I figured I could always just get that back with E Witness to get something that way. Gwendyln then cast Void targeting me and choosing 5. I didn't have to discard anything and I lost a couple creatures. They then scooped and I am not entirely sure why. I did target the Deathrite Shaman with my Archon's trigger so maybe they didn't like that?

Anyway, I got back to my turn and I decided to E Wit for Nethroi. This rebuilt my board reasonably well and gave me some protection against the Golos player. I had also removed both Sisays they had (they had gotten Sisay, Weatherlight Captain as well). They grabbed Nicol Bolas off the last Sisay activation and now they had a Golem from my Cavalier of Dawn blowing up Kiora. I was still in a pretty decent position even with them transforming Nicol Bolas.

They blew up Chainer and I found out Nethroi is a Nightmare :( I ended up sacrificing him before he got exiled though. Just a weird quirk I didn't think of.

When I cast Nethroi Mutated I got back E Wit which got me Green Sun's Zenith. With that I tutored up Underrealm Lich. I really missed not being able to get Protean Hulk here but Lich is good as well. Since I was still the Monarch, I saw 3 cards and got Momentous Fall. Which ended up not doing anything.

Next turn I cast Kozilek, Butcher of Truth but and got Swords to Plowshares, Vampiric Tutor, Necrotic Sliver, and Wall of Omens. On my Monarch draw, I had gotten Phyrexian Reclamation. I was thinking of grabbing Entomb and it turned out I should have. Not only would Cavalier have gotten me Reclamation back, but Entomb would have ended up saving my Kozilek since they killed it with Drown in the Loch.

Anyway, the cards I got did the trick. I tutored for False Prophet, cast it, sacrificed it, cast Necrotic Sliver to deal with Bolas and the opponent scooped.

Nethroi was surprisingly good. Even as just a beater it is decent (it gained me a lot of life) and Mutating it was able to rebuild my board reasonably well. I am not entirely sold on it, but it had a good showing here.

I still miss Protean Hulk which greatly reduces the use of Green Sun's Zenith but I am glad I was able to win without it. I am not sure if that means I should be doing something other than Green Sun's though. It isn't bad but it isn't going to be able to really give me any good "hail mary" lines anymore.

Click here to view game 1 in main post
Last edited by WizardMN 1 year ago, edited 5 times in total.

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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

I bet that Pako, Arcane Retriever deck is the same guy I played with who got his pako killed 3x then scooped. Very glass cannony build.

I'm not really sold on cutting GSZ, it's still t1 ramp and can find any number of nonsense things to help you win games
It's fun seeing you jam games and reading the reports. It stinks that people don't have a lot of mental fortitude sometimes, but is what it is.

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Post by WizardMN » 1 year ago

It could be :)

True. I have been so used to using it for Hulk that the power behind it has been lessened. But one of my concerns with it originally was using it with Hulk all the time so I guess I shouldn't be all that sad that it isn't the same all the time.

Bane, Weaver, and Lich are the main ones I still like it for as well as Fiend Artisan so it definitely has its uses. I will try to play a few more to see if I have any other misgivings with the deck or card choices with the latest changes. I am getting woefully behind in updating my primers so I am hoping I can get these fleshed out so I can update the primer with the newest changes.

I am glad you enjoy them. It is fun to finally take the plunge to actually get the cards online and be able to play the deck. I am probably going to get a few more games in this weekend with both Karador and Marchesa. I really like Karador and I really like trying it in a different meta. I have been making sure I avoid cEDH games but I don't shy away from anything else (such as no infinites or something).

And yeah, the fact that people tend to scoop somewhat early kind of hurts the testing/evaluation. But, not much I can do about that so I won't worry too much about it.

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Post by WizardMN » 1 year ago

I played two more games online and they went very poorly. Both were related to my relative ignorance of the online meta, though the second game seemed like the deck just got a god hand.

I won't go into a lot of detail nor am I going to upload videos since they are pretty boring.

The first game was against Kess, Dissident Mage, Krenko, Mob Boss, and The Ur-Dragon.

I got down a turn 3 Aura Shards and tried to keep players off of Artifacts and Enchantments. I went mostly after Ur-Dragon's stuff since they were ramping hard and seemed like the threat. I took out their Dragon Tempest and Urza's Incubator early on. A little later I took out their Rhystic Study.

However, as the Ur-Dragon player helpfully pointed out, I should have been going after Kess. I am not used to Kess Storm so I left their two rocks alone. So, of course, they went off with 6 mana total. They got down a Thousand-Year Storm followed by Gush and, about 10 minutes later, ended up with about 150 mana. It was ridiculous.

The problem in my mind though is that blowing up their rocks and leaving Ur-Dragon unchecked seemed bad too. And they would have gone off one or two turns later anyway. Maybe we could have stopped them.

The second game was even worse. It was Tymna the Weaver & Kraum, Ludevic's Opus, Nicol Bolas, the Ravager // Nicol Bolas, the Arisen, and Pako, Arcane Retriever & Haldan, Avid Arcanist.

I had a decent starting hand. Nothing spectacular but some removal and Yavimaya Elder to ensure land drops. I dropped the Elder turn 3 after Tymna ramped into Smothering Tithe. I might not have respected it quite enough because next turn they cast Timetwister which they tutored for, did a few more things, and then cast Wheel of Fortune. Pako & Haldan went afk and I ended up just conceding as there wasn't really coming back from them having over 40 mana at their disposal and a full hand of cards.

Did I mention this was turn 3??

Now, the room did say "strong decks" and I think this deck just got a god draw. I don't think they were cEDH by any means, but it was still aggravating.

Fast combo is not something I deal a lot with so I am not sure if it is something I need to worry about more. Now, had I respected Smothering Tithe more, I could have just exiled it with Anguished Unmaking.

So, in both games I think there were plays I could have made to alter the course of the games. I am not sure how much the first game would have changed but I think the second would have for sure.

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