Daxos the Returned - Enchantment Speed Bumps Galore

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Post by Rumpy5897 » 1 year ago

THB Change


Note to self - never, ever set expectations for a set. Not even when you're returning to a plane that previously had a set that gave you six cards for your pet deck, and the early previews reveal the return to feature the crazy mechanic that fuelled most of those includes. Constellation is a massive disappointment in THB. You'd think them putting it on non-enchantments would make them feel okay with trying powerful triggers, but no. The strongest effect in the whole set, aside from the obligatory green enchantress, is Archon of Sun's Grace. Might be of use in some go-wide Daxos take, but not so much here.

THB Change
Approximate Total Cost:

Alseid is one of those silent back line cards. Note it mentions enchantment as an option. I can't count the number of times I've sat behind a Sphere of Safety, Skybind or something of that caliber, thinking I've got stuff under control, only for someone to bust out a piece of spot removal and surgically remove my key defensive piece. This helps prevent that, while nabbing an experience counter. Not too shabby. Taking out eternal stop-gap Blind Obedience, earmarked as one of the deck's weak spots in an earlier post. It's a decent filler card, particularly nice after an alpha wipe that didn't quite take the whole table down with the resulting swing, but it's not a crazy role player. It was reintroduced along with Bolas Rock, with me expecting the extort to become a more relevant player, but it wasn't. Turns out even with Bolas Rock around, it's more useful to spend mana on other stuff. Who knew.

THB produced a second borderline include in Treacherous Blessing. Three mana to draw three is pretty solid, but the drawback is also real. Sure, this can get zany with Cloudstone Curio, but that thing's not guaranteed to show up and Blessing is an active liability in the sort of cast-happy circumstances it encourages. Feel free to point out that I'm overreacting if I am, I'm just a guy slinging cardboard and have previously dismissed subsequent all-star Anointed Procession as winmore. Other new stuff is not anywhere near as tempting. Faith's Shield is preferable to Flicker of Fate due to a wider range of shielding; Sentinel's Eyes is cute and may have seen 2016 or so play, but is too do-nothing for the current incarnation of the deck; Dark Prophecy trumps Erebos, Bleak-Hearted.
 
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Post by erfunk » 1 year ago

Agreed that almost nothing will make the deck. The Aura-payoff theme in THB really seems to have eaten into there being playable cards for us. It seems like they tried to play it really safe, making narrow cards, to avoid the Enchantment set being as broken as past Artifact sets. Notable reprint in Idyllic Tutor, though. Also, sweet sweet basics.

Cards on my watch list, in rough order....
  • Heliod's Intervention - This seems interesting as a multi-disenchant, that doesn't sweep your own board. Probably the card I'm highest on, given my local meta.
  • Shadowspear - Probably playable as way to convert Daxosmen tokens into life, plus trample maybe gets some damage through a board stall. The second ability seems situationally powerful, but our list is incredibly tight already.
  • Alseid of Life's Bounty - Already talked about above, and not much to add. Still seems highly replaceable.
  • Birth of Meletis - Searching out a basic Plains is... fine? I think this card is better than it looks, but still not sure if that's enough.
  • Tymaret, Chosen from Death - Mana-intensive graveyard hate on an Enchantment body. Nice that it's instant speed and has incidental lifegain.
  • Athreos, Shroud-Veiled (buy-a-box) - Theft on an indestructible Constellation-triggering body. Kinda expensive, doesn't really advance our own game plan, but probably powerful as a pet card.
A little too sub-optimal to consider, or notable for other decks....
  • Elspeth Conquers Death - Our creature count is pretty low, and even with a Constellation trigger a 5 mana Utter End is going the wrong direction compared to recent competitor Despark.
  • Omen of the Dead - Similar comment on low creature count. It's nice that it's cheap, is a flash Constellation trigger, and scrys.
  • Erebos, Bleak-Hearted - The 'may' is a useful safety valve, but 2 life and a condition on the card draw is limiting. As a sac outlet he's a bit weak.
  • Minion's Return - I'm high on Enchantments with flash, but this often won't line up with our creatures and as a theft effect is pretty narrow.
  • Sentinel's Eyes - Mostly a boggles card (Pauper, perhaps?). Maybe a budget way to eek out experience, but weak payoff and don't have control over putting it in the 'yard.
  • Eidolon of Obstruction - A hatebear that just doesn't quite get there, maybe too weak to even sideboard. In EDH, perhaps only a meta call if you want to send that one friend a message.
  • Gravebreaker Lamia - Notable for other archetypes. Karador/Muldrotha/Meren having a repeatable Entomb is... kinda good.
  • Nightmare Shepherd - This card opens up a lot of game play for Commanders that have a strong ETB or death trigger, since you still get the token* if you put it in the Command Zone to replace the exile instead of graveyard zone change. *Reference: a tweet from Eli Shiffrin; also, an Oracle ruling on Iname as One.
  • Kunoros, Hound of Athreos, Erebos's Intervention, Labyrinth of Skophos, Woe Strider, Mirror Shield, Soul-Guide Lantern all are either interesting or have varying levels of potential, just probably not for Daxos.
Handy reprints of Field of Ruin & Gray Merchant of Asphodel, too. I haven't reviewed anything outside of the WB color-alignment yet, but I'm sure there's interesting stuff that's beyond the context of this discussion.
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Post by Rumpy5897 » 1 year ago

A good more in-depth look at the innards of the set. Heliod's Intervention is a solid one if your meta calls for it, and I actually got super stoked by Athreos, Shroud-Veiled when he got spoiled. I assembled the group on Cockatrice and did about five games' worth of testing. The most notable thing he did was nabbing an Ulvenwald Hydra once, and was otherwise glacial at six mana. Not unexpected, really, given the whole deck specialisation thing that's been going on in the format for years now. The Kaya's Ghostform dispenser for Daxos did not feel worth the investment. I didn't post in the thread about it, or about my enamouring with the basics (lore-wise these are supposedly some enchantment manifestations in Nyx, so bonus points!), figuring I'd cover it when I wrote the official THB update/swap list. And then I forgot :P

Another card that I tested and dismissed to the point of forgetting to mention it in the post was Nyx Lotus. Could this be the Thran Dynamo killer? Nope. The new lotus flopped around sadly, accomplishing little of note in its ~5-10 test games. Thran Dynamo would have been preferable in every single one of those due to its reliability. The CIPT doesn't help either.
 
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Post by Rumpy5897 » 1 year ago

Adventures with Daxos, Bolas Rock minisode.

The game started out uneventfully. Kept a reasonable, yet slow hand with Land Tax, Crucible of Worlds, Demonic Tutor and a pair of lands. I phased out while making the keep decision and forgot I was going first, so in the interest of minimising brick chances I wasted the Land Tax experience and chased it out immediately, preparing to miss the third land drop and be behind only to claw my way back eventually. Thankfully Intet played a Nature's Lore, turning on my ability to get basics immediately. The Demonic Tutor is earmarked to get Urborg and the basic gets are very Plains-focused, but the Selenia plays an Urborg first. This sets me up quite cutely. Turn three Crucible with a constant stream of basic discard off the Land Tax, turn four Daxos and a mana down the drain, turn five tutor up Coffers and use up the resulting mana on Necropotence + Chains of Mephistopheles. Begin turn six, untap, huh, when did I draw the Bolas Rock? I don't even remember.

Play Bolas Rock. Oh would you look at that Vampiric Tutor on the top. My knee-jerk reaction is to go find True Conviction, but I kind of can't as there's a Tainted Remedy on the field. That's when I realise what the answer is. I resolve the tutor, pay 6 life, Thoughtrender Lamia time! I'm sitting pretty with 30+ life still in me, and a Necro backup to skim gunk off the top. Table groans and scoops. Uncannily fast game termination as far as Daxos goes. Who knew Bolas Rock is good?

If given the option to combine the Mega Bolas Rock Turn with a Lamia, it's likely correct to do so. Having the opposition dribble options as your board state explodes is a decent way to help stick the resulting advantage. Sure, I've previously stated that Daxos's experience nature means the gains off Bolas Rock transcend the resulting permanents, but you can't deny the permanents are a nice thing to have as well :P

Also, a brief aesthetic PSA - now that I've acquired them in person, I can attest that these new THB full arts are a wonderful stylistic fit with Daxos and his horde of dudebros. It's still kind of sad that the return to Theros doesn't offer much beyond the definite basics for the deck, supplanting my convoluted prior attempt at thematically fitting ones (I had 10E reprints of an USG Serra realm plains and INV Urborg'y swamp, as USG swamps were Phyrexian and less fitting), but at least it's something.
 
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Post by Elvisguy » 1 year ago

Hey, thanks for making this awesome thread and primer for Daxos I really appreciate it. I love a lot of things you've done for this deck especially on the value of using a lower CMC and how crucial it is for the deck to run so well. Quick question though, any reason you don't run Remove Enchantments? It's cheap protection against mass enchantment hate like Bane of Progress plus it can destroy auras on your opponent's creatures.

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Post by Rumpy5897 » 1 year ago

Hey, thanks for the kind words. I needed them, this so called "real life" has been on the strenuous side recently :P

Remove Enchantments was suggested in 2017 on MTGS, but back then I shot it down as too narrow. Teferi's Protection is admittedly still more catch-all, so old me wasn't quite wrong, but new me's been pursuing this whole recursion and protection angle quite a bit recently. Maybe it is indeed this card's time to shine? Anything catch your eye as particularly crappy in terms of includes, especially non-enchantment ones? I've got Cathars' Crusade and Righteous Aura still pencilled in as potential cuts from back when I thought THB would actually make a major impact on the deck, but I don't feel comfortable dipping below 30 enchantments.
 
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Post by Elvisguy » 1 year ago

I guess I would cut Cathars' Crusade but I like the card best when there is a lot of green or orzhov in the meta and people are sweeping my enchantments more. For me personally although it's a one of effect I kind of like it instead of Greater Auramancy. Another comparison is with Teferi's Protection and Alseid of Life's Bounty but I think your options are better. It costs a lot less so that's why I used to run it. Now that I think about it the only reason I would put it in is if people are running mass enchantment exile effects a lot.

My Daxos deck doesn't run cards like Oppression, or Thoughtrender Lamia as I don't have the meta that would like those kinds of plays and I don't have some of the cards like Sensei's Divining Top to make them better. As a replacement, I have a few alternate win-cons with Myth Realized, Luminarch Ascension, and Sigil of the Empty Throne. I'm wondering if I should stick with those and have a little more of a go wide theme with some sac outlets and stuff or go for more recursion based wins with cards like Debtors' Knell and Rise of the Dark Realms.

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Post by Rumpy5897 » 1 year ago

Elvisguy wrote:
1 year ago
I guess I would cut Cathars' Crusade but I like the card best when there is a lot of green or orzhov in the meta and people are sweeping my enchantments more. For me personally although it's a one of effect I kind of like it instead of Greater Auramancy. Another comparison is with Teferi's Protection and Alseid of Life's Bounty but I think your options are better. It costs a lot less so that's why I used to run it. Now that I think about it the only reason I would put it in is if people are running mass enchantment exile effects a lot.

My Daxos deck doesn't run cards like Oppression, or Thoughtrender Lamia as I don't have the meta that would like those kinds of plays and I don't have some of the cards like Sensei's Divining Top to make them better. As a replacement, I have a few alternate win-cons with Myth Realized, Luminarch Ascension, and Sigil of the Empty Throne. I'm wondering if I should stick with those and have a little more of a go wide theme with some sac outlets and stuff or go for more recursion based wins with cards like Debtors' Knell and Rise of the Dark Realms.
Crap, I'm sorry, I got distracted, this whole "real life being strenuous" thing had me down in the dumps even before the virus truly spread its wings. I've been dropping the ball on a lot of stuff these past few months, in stark contrast to the relatively focused 2019.

You could go with the go-wide stuff, embrace the Sigil of the Empty Throne, that new THB pegasus thing, it could work. Luminarch Ascension is an incredible trap, it draws unwanted attention to you when you're trying to slide under the radar. Something I'd honestly like to pursue more of is the plain value aspect of Daxos, just cap off the curve with a Song of the Worldsoul, draw a lot and go crazy. Problem is, "draw a lot" drops off in effectiveness pretty quickly after the few best engines. I tossed a putative swap list together some time last year, maybe some of this could be of use. It's going to be objectively worse than going after hands/spells, but also runs a lot lower risk of resulting in salinity.

The dual set reveal has been keeping me pretty busy - I'm part of the team that adds the previews to the site, plus I've got five decks to maintain these days. That said, the fact I've flubbed a few cards from THB in the Daxos discussion of all places has me keeping a meticulous list of anything worth mentioning, in order to mention it. There have been some considerations for Daxos, and currently I have a swap lined up. That said, in the interest of not jumping the gun prematurely, I'll wait for the rollout to complete before doing anything.
 
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Post by Elvisguy » 1 year ago

I really don't mind about it taking you a bit to respond. Magic comes second to life and life has become pretty crazy. I like the way you think about Luminarch Ascension and I'll probably remove it from the deck. I do have some of those go wide cards already so maybe I should embrace it even more. I still need to upgrade the mana base a little but I think that's a good different take on the deck.

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Post by Rumpy5897 » 1 year ago

IKO/C20 Change


Time for phase three precons - we're back up to five, and to differentiate from the original setup we're attached to the plane from the matching standard set. I'm honestly unsure how I feel about this, I liked the various throwbacks and strange explored space of some of the previous editions. The closest this gets to a standalone is the instants deck. I guess we'll see how this idea ages, but I've got mixed feelings about this. Maybe there are more Commander Legends style products around the corner where the prior design space gets to live now.

Daxos actually got some goodies to consider, albeit in C20 only. The closest IKO did to bringing something relevant are its various attempts at cheap creature removal spells, but in a Swords/Path world you have to be really, really special to break through. Onward to the relevant stuff!

IKO/C20 Change
Approximate Total Cost:

So I heard land ramp is good. You play Rampant Hawk turn two, turn three you punch someone and have the freedom of getting Daxos out if the rest of your hand allows you to. That failing, you just redeploy Rampant Hawk, which is also not the end of the world. In test games, I've consistently gotten multiple lands with this thing, even when going first. Turns out the deck doesn't tend to ramp aggressively in terms of land count, who knew. Cutting Orzhov Signet to make room, as a reshuffle in the ramp suite. I'm going to miss the Signet's lovely colour fixing and single-handed enabling of a turn three Daxos plus one mana follow-up. Rampant Hawk is slower in execution, but has the potential to deliver more value. Thran Dynamo survives as it single-handedly gets me to a reasonably cushy mid-game ramp total, granting some level of play flexibility.

Here's the other stuff that merited consideration:
  • Manascape Refractor - The newest trap rock, this thing seems custom chiselled to Daxos specifications. The deck's all about the Serra's Sanctum and other fat mana lands, this copies them! And it only costs three mana to get online! However, the floor of this thing is a CIPT Manalith. As mentioned, Thran Dynamo shines as it helps the games where mana is rough. This does very little when mana is rough. It's admittedly great when it gets going though, but earlier testing of clones in Ice Cream Monk also helped rub in that one needs to be acutely aware of floors when going for this sort of Christmas Land stuff.
  • Deadly Rollick - Similar story to the IKO removal, having the power to poof a creature for one mana no matter what is pretty good. True, zero is less than one, but four is quite a bit more than one and Daxos is not guaranteed to be around.
  • Flawless Maneuver - Creature wipes are only part of the problem, as evidenced by me not running Rootborn Defenses. That's also kind of free, as you populate in a spirit, yet it's not in on account of just not being worth a slot. Still, worth formally pointing out as this cycle is quite impactful on the whole.
 
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Post by Rumpy5897 » 1 year ago

Friendly Branch Activated!


Daxos has been seeing a bunch of play recently, given the Rampant Hawk testing. I sandbagged the Rule of Law variants pretty hard, opting for an all-around pleasant time, and would often sit with literal actual bricks in hand as a result. One game made a particular impact - I got a pretty decent forty setup going, while Illuna and Varolz engaged in an intense value-off that ended with Varolz saccing some 100+ power fodder to Jarad. The Rule of Law sat dead in hand for the entire game, and could have prevented this. As such, after the game I revealed it and explained how it would have been a very valid line of play in those circumstances. I was met with rather jagged vocabulary as a result. After sulking for about a day, I realised that we're not the highest powered group, and play EDH socially, for fun. Throttling people's spell resources doesn't play super well into that mindset, especially as they didn't perceive it as a speed bump but rather a game ruiner. I've made open concessions in my other builds, including the Feather primer, and if I were starting Daxos from scratch around now I'd likely skimp on the Rule of Laws in the interest of social enjoyment.

As such, there's now a new branch in the primer - a friendly version that takes out all the card/spell throttling stuff for the angle suggested in the "Holiday Daxos" swap draft from last year. Jam more draw, go cast happy with Song of the Worldsoul as a newly unlocked high-end bomb. This build is objectively weaker than the classic take, and is offered as a box with swap suggestions. I guess I'm not the only one who might find this relevant, there have been posters both here and on MTGS who found the throttling antisocial in their groups. The most recent one was in fact quite recent ;)

Friendly Branch Activated!
Approximate Total Cost:

The includes largely dance around extra draw (Graveborn Muse, Idol of Oblivion, Liliana's Contract) and mana, be it tangible (Crypt Ghast) or virtual (Song of the Worldsoul). The update heavily hurts the enchantment count, tanking to an all-time low of 26. This stems from two factors: the recent realisation that the high-end haymaker nonsense doesn't hugely care if the spirits that come in are 2/2 or 12/12, and the fact a lot of the new includes are draw that will help see more of the deck and dig up whatever may be needed. Enchantments, big mana, whatever.
  • Crypt Ghast has previously tested positively, but got left out of the deck on account of being a squishy dude who dies to a stiff breeze, and unlike Daxos doesn't come back out. However, assuming a friendlier setting, there should be less wiping and this guy should live. Goes positively ham with Urborg, which is already a very desirable land get target.
  • Graveborn Muse suffers from a similar fragility, but is a double Phyrexian Arena if left to her own devices. She was actually in the 99 for a while, got taken out for the honestly somewhat underwhelming Kaya, Ghost Assassin and never came back. Has brought a smile to my face every time I'd topdeck her, which is a good sign.
  • Grim Tutor is motivated by my realisation I'm perfectly content with sinking three mana into Expedition Map at any stage of the game. As such, make the mana cost a bit uglier, bolt yourself for the privilege, but get anything at all instead if desired. Acceptable.
  • Idol of Oblivion has the upside of coming down before Daxos if able, and is reasonably reliable further down the line at extra refuels. It's not as potent at drawing as the strictly top tier stuff that's in the main build, which kept it out of the 99 at the time of its printing, but it's one of the best draw options not already in the deck.
  • Liliana's Contract looks like a clunker and a half from afar, especially in a world where pretty much every single 4+ drop offers to win the game if left unattended. However, turns out a Tidings-tier refuel is honestly quite decent. There's also the potential for shenanigans with recursion or bouncing, which likely won't happen all that often, but it is there for fringe sequencing.
  • Song of the Worldsoul tested promisingly in a few games last summer, and was excluded on the basis of the core build's tendency to demolish hand size or throttle casting. However, the removal of the throttling pieces opens up some potential for this to do wild things. Extra draw means extra fuel, a tutor can turn into whatever (this thing loves Cloudstone Curio), even Top can tap itself to be drawn and replayed as a two-mana discount on a spirit. The newest in a long line of high-end removal lightning rods, admittedly with the highest brick potential of the bunch but more often than not can be found doing silly things. It takes just two spells for this to pay for itself.
A few other cards were considered/trialled:
  • Beseech the Queen was another putative tutor, but I realised that BBB is a nontrivial cost early on. Meanwhile, 2BB makes this a Diabolic Tutor, which is something I'm just not stoked about running.
  • Blind Obedience could have returned as the eternal stop-gap yet again. But ultimately the decision to lower the enchantment count a bit and go for more draw was upheld.
  • Dark Confidant was trialled to maintain the recent trend of stuff that can come out before Daxos. Prior MTGS trial conclusions held, with the full CMC whammy just being a bit much. Given the fact black draw only typically asks for one life per card, and Bolas Rock casts the thing for the full whammy, he's just underwhelming in comparison.
  • Greed failed to spark joy on being drawn. There are some scenarios where this comes online and does well, but it just does so little early. The three included draw options offer less investment-heavy returns.
  • Scroll Rack qualifies as winmore in the current version of the build. There's just not enough reliable draw to give this a consistent pool of stuff to wade through. The one time I got this online while drawing three a turn and flushing the surplus via Sword of Rampant Growth each time was great, but the other time where I sat on a one-card hand was not. A good include if the draw fattens up to support this.
This new take on Daxos is objectively stronger than the old one in my group, as rather than avoiding playing the throttlers I get worse things I can actually cast. Crucially, the group doesn't mind this version, and as a result I've regained my pet deck and can play it without remorse. It feels like I've put more games on it over the past couple weeks than the prior year. Feels good man. It's also not bad to be rid of the duality nonbos, like encountering Rule of Law while Bolas Rocking or topdecking Mesa Enchantress with Spirit of the Labyrinth out. I will continue maintaining the spell throttle build, and retain the swaps as a sideboard in case I ever venture out into the wide world that might need some Lamia time :P
 
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Post by Tevesh » 1 year ago

Ah, you've metamorphized into my friendlier version of Daxos. I don't know about your current play mates but I found that in a pod of smart players, Daxos would get punished over and over again because otherwise I'd eventually grow out of control.

A card from the new set that I'm surprised you didn't include as pretty good draw is Verge Rangers. It's also the type of draw that gets around Spirit of the Labyrinth style hatebears.

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Post by Rumpy5897 » 1 year ago

This is a topic that's been touched on before. My group's not super removal dense, and when your answers are finite you save them for stuff that won't come back out from the command zone. The more successful pursuit of big mana with the introduction of Coffers a while ago helped out on this front, it often just feels like a waste of a removal for Daxos to just come right back out, relatively unabashed. Meanwhile, if I don't have big mana, I'm almost certainly not the threat. The only time he tends to eat spot removal is with Skybind on the stack, as desperate times call for desperate measures :P

I'm not a fan of the white Courser of Kruphix. Occasionally getting a land off the top if behind is just not something I find impressive at all, given what else the deck can do draw-wise. Even the new includes in the friendly branch, along with all the other options that were considered and dismissed, are far preferable to this one. I remember I was actually somewhat nonplussed upon seeing the card, as it was spoiled prior to Rampant Hawk and I thought this was their attempt at "repeatable white land ramp" :P
 
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Post by Tevesh » 1 year ago

My playgroup is pretty removal dense as there are a lot of threats that get run out that need to be dealt with so I can definitely see the difference.

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Post by Rumpy5897 » 1 year ago

It's a global mindset thing over here that took a few years to arrive at. Games are more fun when people get to do things, so folks moved away from proactively dumpstering anything of note and started surgically removing key pieces or wiping well established boards instead. I followed suit, reducing my spot removal count and leaving stuff like Darksteel Mutation and Nevermore behind. I'd estimate most meta decks run 5-10 pieces of removal/wipes, for context.

The recent bits of protection/recursion also help with resilience to interaction. Crummy looking one-drops like Kaya's Ghostform or Alseid of Life's Bounty happily take a bullet for Daxos while bringing an experience counter on the way in. Combine that with the fact most anything in the 99 that costs 4 or more is a perfectly valid removal target and I've been finding Daxos himself relatively unperturbed.
 
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Post by Rumpy5897 » 1 year ago

The intense Daxos play has continued, and turned into a prolonged anti-streak spanning a few sessions. For whatever reason, things just weren't coming together. Sometimes I'd get out-valued, sometimes I'd pull a punch and lose as a result. There are moments when the deck is piloted somewhat cowardly, as I haven't fully adjusted to the fact people are largely okay with the deck these days. Still, the anti-streak eventually got broken, in a sequence of a funny game and a more stompy one.
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The start of the game is pretty unremarkable, a turn five Bolas Rock sees a land on top and promptly eats a Vindicate. Klothys starts going off pretty convincingly, and I openly collude with Selenia to try to kneecap the draw-happy setup a bit and we both blow spot removal. Serra's Sanctum shows up just in time to power out a board-wide -4/-4 off a hidden Doomwake Giant, eating up most of Klothys's remaining board. Klothys blows a bunch of resources to gnaw through the Greater Auramancy lightning rod en route to the Doomwake, only for me to rip an Extinguish All Hope into a Daxos recast in my turn and subsequently get counter-wiped by Selenia. Things are not looking great, the Sanctum literally doesn't make mana, while Klothys somehow still has a full grip and many lands on the field that are promptly used to rebuild. I miss Rule of Law and draw chokes as proactively kneecapping this sort of value town nonsense is the only real way to fight it, other than outracing it. I recast Daxos, make a guy for no good reason, and chase out Alseid off the single mana Sanctum. Whee.

Meanwhile, Selenia explodes all of a sudden with life swap stuff and both me and Klothys are on one life. Klothys isn't having any of it, barfs some more fat and comes in hot for 34, knocking the Selenia down to three life. Both are tapped out, but Klothys deploys a thick wall of extra blockers just in case before passing turn. I untap, choose not to Heliod's Mattress Emporium anything, and just point the Alseid sac at Daxos. Klothys failed to produce any non-green blockers, so Daxos just slides on by for lethal, and the singleton spirit finishes off the Selenia. Was it a deserved win? Hell no. Was it the stupidest/funniest steal I have done in a while? Yep.
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Still a bit leery at how things have been shaking out with the deck's games, I summon folks the next day to continue trying to get a good game. I open a hand with both Mana Crypt and Sol Ring, plus sufficient lands and an Enlightened Tutor. Maximum fairness and balance. The tutor turns into Necropotence, which starts ripping through the deck aggressively turn three. No big mana or life gain in sight, but the experience counters trickle in pretty quickly. Just in case anybody fancies a go at the key pieces, Greater Auramancy is back on lightning rod duty, but nothing materialises from the opposition. Some bad Crypt flips coupled with Necro costs bring me down to 12 life, and for all I know Rosheen has a fireball with my name on it. There's also a Hydra Broodmaster that's going to go massive soon enough. I'm sitting on Teferi's Protection which can grant me survival from a fireball, but I can feel the pressure and things are starting to look sketchy.

I formulate a somewhat convoluted plan to go forward with - in my turn, Skybind will come in, blink Daxos out of harm's way, and a mega board nuke will be applied via Extinguish All Hope to deal with the hydra that's too big for the Doomwake Giant to handle. However, there's still a risk window, in that the Skybind into wipe plan leaves me with no interaction mana for the Protection or anything else, so while I can start wiping/blinking things pretty easily the turn after there's one go around the table where I'm at the mercy of the (admittedly freshly wiped) opposition. I can also start hiding the Crypt in exile to avoid getting smacked by it, but I won't get to see that many cards. As such, making many bodies ASAP becomes quite important in the interest of clock efficiency. Thankfully there's also Anointed Procession to help out here, but action needs to be taken.

In the end step before my turn, I bite my lip and force the issue by cracking a -4/-4 off Doomwake, obliterating Ravos + Tana's irrelevant board as collateral damage and forcing the issue with Rosheen. There's no Protection mana, but this forces action out of the Rosheen immediately and grants me twelve extra swinger power to use for two combat steps. The table responds by scooping. But my Skybind! :P Given how close this came to self-caused failure, there could be reason to remain unhappy with how things have been going, but I actually felt in control. I'll take it.
It seems that with the Rule of Law effects phased out, Necropotence has become a major player in the list. This is obvious to everyone who isn't me. I somehow never got into the habit of tutoring it, and need to keep this possibility in mind and go for it regularly. It might well be correct to run Idyllic Tutor. Given the spread of various haymaker top-end bombs in the list, coupled with Necro, it should have a pretty good range of options to choose from. Some more life gain would be nice, but nothing really worth it comes to mind.
 
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pokken
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Post by pokken » 1 year ago

Lifegain - deck could probably support an angelic chorus.

More fringe, I have had luck with faith healer in the distant past.

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Post by Tevesh » 1 year ago

I tested Angelic Chorus in my own build and I found it wanting. You're better with Whip of Erebos or another Lifelinker. Chorus happens once based off of the size of the Daxosman; with Lifelink, your life gain is continually being updated with the size of your Daxosmen. Just looking at one, Daxosman that ETBs, you could gain 5 life and that's that. If it is given Lifelink, then that Daxosman at worst can make 5 life over and over again, assuming you never gain another Experience counter again. Once you start introducing more Daxosmen or Experience into the equation, Angelic Chorus looks worse and worse. I was pretty disappointed with it and I paid full price before it got its reprint - it's cheap enough now, maybe test it if you want hard evidence yourself.

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Post by lyonhaert » 1 year ago

Or proxy it and test. But yeah, Necropotence is no joke.

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Post by Rumpy5897 » 1 year ago

Reminder: Necro Is Tutorable (Friendly)


It didn't take long for an appropriate Idyllic Tutor cut to materialise.

Reminder: Necro Is Tutorable (Friendly)
Approximate Total Cost:

The old primer entry and cut discussion for Idyllic Tutor calls it a "late game card" that is "stuck getting bombs like Skybind." This is in the same post that sings praises for Big Ole Raz. I'm not fully following old me's logic here, especially as that update also crammed Emeria Shepherd, but maybe it's something to do with trying to keep the deck operational at every stage of the game. It's possible that the way I played the deck around 2017 was quite a bit different than now. More ways to tutor various key pieces feels valuable. I expect the five most common targets will be Flickering Ward, Necropotence, Skybind, Sphere of Safety and True Conviction. Having access to any of those for three mana feels correct to run.

The cut arose when I realised I can just Idyllic into Necro for six mana. As such, spending five mana on four cards is comparably less flexible and exciting. One can nitpick that the four cards are seen immediately, but as a counterpoint Necro is Necro. It's also nice that with Liliana's Contract gone, I can once again re-assert that if it costs five or more it wins the game by itself if left unchecked. An extra tutor also doubles as an extra source of life gain due to the aforementioned True Conviction reach, which is nice. As you guys can see from the options you brought up and experiences you had with them (thanks for that, by the way!), there's just nothing that exciting waiting to be jammed in. I've got Noble Purpose earmarked as a possible include for those sorts of scenarios, due to the fact the trigger is worded kookily and stacks with actual lifelink. Just in case mega winmore needs to come online or whatever. Some part of me realises that this is impractical thinking, but it's not like Whip of Erebos is that much superior apart from costing one mana less.

Some part of me wants to propagate the new tutors into the spell throttle version of the deck. That build also uses the big mana and haymakers setup that the tutors help out, and likely cuts would be doubled up functionality in the hate suite (so probably Eidolon of Rhetoric and Spirit of the Labyrinth). The tutors can reach the other copy of the effect if need be, or whatever else. The main counterpoint is the potential to slam down those hate pieces early when relevant, so needing to execute a three-mana tutor first would give people a bit more of an opportunity window to do their thing. I'm honestly unsure how to proceed here, this feels like I'm trying to be mindful of scenarios I haven't had to deal with in my group since I moved in 2017. Guess I'll gestate on it some more. Plus it's entirely possible ya'll will have some good thoughts on the matter, like with life gain ;)
 
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Post by erfunk » 1 year ago

Related note: I don't activate it often, but Vault of the Archangel gets stripmined fairly often in my meta. Clearly my opponents are afraid of me gaining life, so perhaps I've been undervaluing it Whip being 4m instead of 5 seems like a big deal, and I'd predict a 20 point life swing is sufficient over hedging for 40. Especially with fringe upside in bringing back a demon friend or Doomwake, on a clutch turn. I'd been sliding away from stax for some time, but the deck felt pretty sub-par. Trying to push the deck into something that protects Daxos into making beaters might be the change-up I've needed.

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Post by Rumpy5897 » 1 year ago

Propagating Findings to Main


So here's the thing. The Rule of Laws give Daxos reach against higher weight class opponents. As such, maximising the effective density of the card/spell throttlers is actually a good idea. Grim/Idyllic Tutor have done fine in the friendly branch and deserve to be promoted to the proper build, and can help with that. I came to my senses after the prior rambling and went looking for cuts elsewhere, as there's stuff in the 99 that's worse.

Propagating Findings to Main
Approximate Total Cost:

Recently I realised that one of the primer's card categories was useless, bordering on actively confusing. I split up the cards within and suddenly stared at super chunky combat/protection sections. Over the course of the prior year, I had added five protective/recursive/lightning-roddy things, and ultimately the deck will survive without Alseid of Life's Bounty. He'd be nicer as a Seal of Alseid, the legs work to his detriment. There's also the long delayed No Mercy cut. The chip damage games where this really shines are lower power, and combat is more minimal and alpha as deck strength increases. As such, in a setting where you actively need to throttle your opposition on cards/spells to keep up, you don't need it as much. I've still kept both of these in the friendly branch, as they're not bad or anything (even if Alseid took over Blind Obedience's old job as designated cut). In fact, No Mercy is now recommended as a measuring stick of sorts for whether you need the throttlers in a couple spots of the write-up.

Another thing of note is that with this change, the deck willingly goes below 30 enchantments. The friendly branch is rocking 25 and doesn't mind at all. The various friendly musings have had a pretty big impact on the list, first via the various lightning rods, now via the tutors. Sometimes you apparently need to shake things up a bit. Maybe there are some other angles worth exploring, even if just conceptually?
 
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Post by Rumpy5897 » 1 year ago

Had a rather interesting game earlier today, which was a pile of nontrivial decision points and trying to manoeuvre through an archenemy situation from the point Skybind landed until the game ended. Time to write it up in needless detail! Did I screw any of these choices? Possibly! If so feel free to let me know.

The start's pretty solid, if slow - turn one Top followed up by a Rampant Hawk. I fish for action with Top as I collect mana with Hawk, and this goes on for a couple turns. At one point the only person who has more lands than me has his Ravos out, and I swing the Hawk and hope for the best. They choose to not trade off their five drop commander for my two drop bird, and I'm tied for most lands at the table. I hit the first decision point - three mana up, Expedition Map in hand, no land drop made this turn, what do? I opt for the Map, which gets cracked for a Serra's Sanctum. No extra land fetching in sight, and this is the best rate of return for a single tutor. Daxos finally emerges turn five, only to get followed up with a Sphere of Safety and Karmic Justice double salvo soon thereafter. This buys me a little extra wiggle room, as Syr Gwyn is getting quite fed with various equipment pieces and beefy swingers. The tax makes some of them go somewhere else.

Top fishing turns up an Enlightened Tutor, resulting in another decision point. There's a True Conviction in hand, waiting for a chunky board to heal back up. The Sphere has stemmed some bleeding, but Gwyn's ramped enough to be able to pay for a mega flier to come through if desired. I ultimately settle on Skybind as another defensive layer - aggressive flicking of the Serra's Sanctum should outprice Gwyn's advances, and even if something does get through I can just flick it out. The other main contender was Necropotence for pure dig potential, but my ~20 life discouraged me from pursuing this plan. Skybind lands to a mediocre setup, revs up extra bodies to grant extra Sphere protection, and eats an Utter End. I didn't have enough mana up to phase out in response, but I don't think it would have been a good use of the shield anyway. I Top-fish and locate Big Ole Raz. Unfortunately, Skybind's demise means I can't go absolutely crazy, but having a Serra's Sanctum that taps for eleven is a pretty good starting point. I chase Raz out, sac a dude, and Raz eats a Pongify in response. Well crap. How much of my board do I eat and for what gain?

I go into the tank for a bit, trying to figure out how much to sac and what to get. I'm sitting on eight active, relatively scrawny swingers, and life totals are pretty respectable. Mana's scarce, apart from the eleven white off the Sanctum there's a solitary dual. Ultimately I emerge from the tank with a plan, sac two more guys and let Raz die. I fish out Gilded Lotus, Whift and Flickering Ward, but only play the Lotus. The remaining six mana goes for the True Conviction, as I figure I should buffer up my health to maximise my chances of walking away victorious. I blast full force into the guy who exiled the Skybind, who perishes and is not happy about it. The Lotus is up for the TefProt if need be, with the extra dual dedicated to Top fishing. Gwyn shunts a pile of equipment onto Gwyn, just about exactsies pays for the Sphere and offers to kill me with commander damage, so I phase out. I go back to the Raz sacrifices and consider if there was something I could have done to avoid this. The True Conviction faux-alpha into the Skybind exiler was kind of necessary, as he was sitting on a Pestilence that could have munched my relatively petite board if he so chose upon untapping. As such, the only realistic alternative line of action would have been to ship an extra dude for a Swords or something, anticipating the Gwyn. Still, I'm ultimately shielded, even if it was kind of clunkily triggered. Jhoira plops down Stormtide Leviathan, which is not ideal.

I untap, let Whift rip, and get it countered. Huh. Countermagic is a rather uncommon occurrence in the meta, so I honestly was not expecting this. My original sculpted Raz line of Whift into repeated Flickering for massive experience and a swift table kill went out the window, as I can't even attack with anything. Thankfully top fishing turned up Doom Whisperer, and there's an Idyllic Tutor in my near future too. Jhoira's hand is still fat as hell after an Overflowing Insight though, and Gwyn just paid for Sphere. As such, I figure I can delay for another turn, when I can pick up with Whisperer and Tutor in hand and likely get one of those lines through, and use up floating mana to go turbo wide and really outprice Gwyn for good (plus bank Sanctum white for next turn). This works, as Gwyn does not attack me. However, Jhoira gets the pieces together to seal the deal. Karn's Temporal Sundering sends the Sphere packing, I die to the Leviathan and Dominus of Fealty pecking me in the sea/sky, and Gwyn falls over to commander damage... from Gwyn, borrowed repeatedly by Dominus.

So ultimately did I punt? I honestly don't know. The written up line looks relatively tidy, and the choices feel justified. I probably should have started chasing Rampant Hawk out again at some point after I missed a couple land drops, but I was probably subconsciously spooked off it after the Hawk's near-death experience of potentially trading with Ravos. Still, it was an interesting game. Given how developed others at the table were, I didn't feel ahead enough of the board to deserve a full on 3v1 assault, especially once Skybind went down, but I guess ultimately my opposition knew that if they killed each other off they'd be easy pickings for me.
 
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Post by Tevesh » 1 year ago

It's a strange balance. You can't get hit too hard otherwise the table sees you as easy beats but you can't put up maximum shields otherwise people fear they can't take you out and go full archenemy mode. I think the best thing to do is ruin one player's entire life but leave the rest alone. They see the example and don't want that to by them, so they go elsewhere, and you haven't pissed them off my nullifying their board so they're looking for revenge once they've got action.

The goal should be to stay under the radar as long as possible, going for Serra's Sanctum probably made them all scared and decided to kill you. Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx would've probably been a good middle ground; you get mana but you're not generating craploads. You want the game to end ideally with your opponent asking "How big?" when it comes to your Daxosmen because you did nothing but durdle all game. Unfortunately, this doesn't work as well against experienced players or ones that see Daxos in action.

At least that's how I found my games to roll out.

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Post by Rumpy5897 » 1 year ago

Oh, this was within my established group where people know the deck inside and out. Hence relatively prompt action on the major haymaker stuff and a counter held for the asymmetric wipe one could smell a mile away once Raz landed, and trying to navigate this maze of expertly placed surprisingly plentiful interaction made this a relatively interesting experience. Typically there isn't that much removal and something high impact sticks. Still, if this were a game with randoms, I'd imagine people would be quite preoccupied with Gwyn's exponentially growing axe collection and other conventionally threatening things.

Interesting piloting thoughts though. This whole "ruin a single player's life" angle seems potentially potent, but I'm not likely to implement it often. I'm the sort of guy who spreads his aggro deck swingers around to not be mean and gets drowned in RGmnath/your nondescript value engine here. Your mega shields turning you into the archenemy observation is particularly accurate though, as Gwyn could have kept swinging in various directions for draw and damage, yet chose not to. This is a common occurrence, with a good Daxos fort just discouraging combat altogether.
 
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