Miraculous Kaalia (Seeker of Zeniths)

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3drinks
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Post by 3drinks » 2 years ago

Kaalia, Zenith Seeker
Authour's Note: This commander is brand new and of course this deck and Primer resource is as well. It's only natural that the material contained within is a work-in-progress to be continually updated and tweaked as more experience is gathered.


Last Deck Update: 8.3.19 [astral slide alpha]
Disclaimer
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  • My decklists are actual paper lists, and do not take budget into consideration. There are a lot of very expensive cards, reserve list or not, because I strive to acquire only the best of the best.
Professional Analysis
Converted Mana Cost: Neo Kaalia's cmc is WBR, which is an aggressively pushed cost for what otherwise is a 3/3 creature with two static abilities, and even more aggressively costed with an enters the battlefield effect stapled onto her that can generate card advantage. Without this effect, she is a very aggressive (but fair) commander, and with it, she is a force to be reckoned with.

Her Ability: The irony is not lost on me that Neo Kaalia's power pales in comparison to the original's. That's to be expected however, as the original's ability to circumvent mana costs is the single strongest trait a player can utilize in any given game of Magic. With that said, Neo Kaalia's ability is still one worth pursuing as she can generate an up to plus three in terms of card advantage. In comparison to the original which needed a steady stream of extra cards to maintain it's strategy, Neo Kaalia can get to the mid-game and even late just by virtue of it's own ability keeping it fueled. This ability is not such an easy ability to manipulate however;

"When Kaalia, Zenith Seeker enters the battlefield, look at the top six cards of your library. You may reveal an Angel card, a Demon card, and/or a Dragon card from among them and put them into your hand. Put the rest on the bottom of your library in a random order."

In the top six cards, we're looking to be able to pick up half of those while shipping the rest to the bottom. That's great, but the cards are specific – we need one angel, one demon, and one dragon specifically, we can't just grab three angels and call it good! We also must be able to cast the cards, drawing extra cards we can't utilize is an otherwise wasted resource. And since we don't have a cheat mechanism built in to our commander, we must be weary of the mana curve of our deck. That's not to say we have to exclusively curve out at four, of course, but we know that the higher the cost, the more weight those cards need to be able to pull in order to be worth a deck slot.

Other Commanders: I don't believe there are any other commanders offering the niche Neo Kaalia is offering that she should be directly competing with other options you could choose. If you want Sneak Attack on a body, I'd recommend referring to my original Kaalia primer as this deck is far, far different from that.

Reasons you would enjoy this deck:

• You love playing with Miracles.
• You enjoy piloting a deck that can build longterm advantage from the beginning of the game.
• You love original Kaalia but are tired of your friends taking a ball bat to your knee caps.

Reasons you wouldn't enjoy playing this deck:

• You prefer a shotgun blast to the face approach rather than an intrinsic value-over-time engine.
• You would rather beat everybody all at once and at the same time.
• You like decks that actually play more than one six plus converted mana cost card.

Incentivizing the Choice to play Kaalia, Zenith Seeker
So, if you're reading this far, by now you must be wondering why you would ever pick this up when you could go Lab Man or Food Chain, or Flash Hulk or even just Eldrazi Sneak your way to victory. Hell, why would you pay retail on these angels, demons, and dragons when you could instead pay zero and get them with pseudo haste? The answer is because you don't want to be obvious about what you're doing in a multiplayer format.

Let's be honest, when someone sits down at the table with a Tymna-Thrasios deck, you instantly know the tryhard alert went off around everyone. When original Kaalia sits down, you know she draws legitimate vile and malice from opponents that are afraid of the unknown. Meanwhile, our deck here can make use of a lot of "under the hood" style of optimizations. What does that mean, "under the hood", right? What I mean by that is that this deck will be making use of a lot of basic card advantage theory to increase the average card quality you see in a given game. You know how you resolve a Brainstorm and then follow it up with a fetchland to create an Ancestral Recall? Yeah, those are the kinds of optimizations I'm talking about here. And here's where the name for this deck comes into play (err...enters the battlefield :P).

Since our commander cares about our top deck, it's not exactly a huge leap of logic to take on a miracle approach. With cards like Sensei's Divining Top and Scroll Rack, in fact with the Rack especially you can generate immense card advantage with the commander by putting the angels, demons, and dragons from your hand back on top, drawing those new cards, and then blinking or otherwise resolving the commander again to draw those cards right back! And, as an added bonus there was probably some cards you didn't care about that could get shipped to the bottom clear and out of your way! Then as an added benefit to go with all these top deck matters strategies, we can go back to "outplaying our opponent with Vampiric Tutor for Terminus to put them on tilt for the rest of the night!" That last sentence is obviously sarcasm, but the strategy is genuine. A one mana tutour to hard wipe all creatures to the bottom for also one mana when the two cards also fit well into our deck's strategy anyway, is quite the potent game plan.

More Than One Way to Skin a Cat: Astral Slide
So miracles aren't "your thing". You don't like to alter your playstyle to accommodate a few cards castable at a discount, and you love enters-the-battlefield effects. You want to take this commander, designed for contemporary longterm play, and turn it into a shotgun blast to the face akin to the original Kaalia. Boy, do I have an idea for you. You see as it turns out, cycling decks have been around for decades now, and have been especially poignant since Scourge block, with the introduction of a little card called Astral Slide. For reference, in case you've been living under a rock;

"Whenever a player cycles a card, you may exile target creature. If you do, return that card to the battlefield under its owner's control at the beginning of the next end step."

"But 3drinks," you ask, "How many cycling cards are actually relevant and not just over-costed niche effects? And how on Earth will we build around one card that doesn't even start in the command zone?" Well as it turns out, there's about sixty or so reasonably playable cards with cycling. Now, of course we're not going to be playing all of those because we have to make room for the actual meat and potatoes of the deck, Slide is just a mechanism to squeeze as much value from the commander as we can. To your other question, fellow reader, cycling is a powerful effect that allows us to both draw through our deck (seeing more cards than anticipated) without actually casting spells which maintains card parity through counterspells. In essence, we get to "cycle" through our deck to find what we need to keep up with any pace of game. To your last concern, how do we rely on one card that isn't our commander. It's simple, for starters we actually do have a functional reprint (though clearly not as good since it doesn't trigger off other player's cycles), but ultimately we are in the colours with the most tutour depth of all, nearing 15% of our deck if we were so inclined. In short, that gives us approximately a raw 17% of chance of the initial 100 to see one of the cards to fetch astral slide, and this chance improves as we cycle through the deck. This number further increases as we play the same "miracles suite" of cards that let us stack or otherwise reorganize our deck for peak efficiency.

That sounds like a lot of bookkeeping. How does it work?
The Deck Lists
(Excuse the mana base discrepancies. I'm evaluating the need for such a dearth of nonbasic fixing in the wake of a ten-fetch base. A higher basic count may enable stronger utilization of Skred, and other snow effects, while also becoming more resistant to non-basic hosery - a goal which any 3c deck could benefit greatly from. Ideally, the only colourless lands necessary should be Ancient Tomb, Strip Mine, & Wasteland, with Hall as a theoretical inclusion but I'm not totally convinced on it).
Slide Kaalia
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Slide Kaalia

Commander (1)


Approximate Total Cost:

Miraculous Kaalia
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Miraculous Kaalia

Commander (1)


Approximate Total Cost:

Deck stats for those that don't want to calculate those on their own: http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/miraculous-kaalia/
Miraculous Changelog
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Alpha changes: -1 Armageddon, Ravages of War, Angelic Overseer, Lightning Bolt, Terminate
+1 Static Orb, Land Tax, Mortuary, Nameless Inversion, Crib Swap

Beta changes: -1 Lightning Greaves, Winter Orb, Static Orb, Bloodgift Demon, Angelic Field Marshal, Butcher of the Horde
+1 Haakon, Stromgald Scourge; Entomb, Anger, Anvil of Bogardan, Faithless Looting, Eternal Dragon
Slide Changelog
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Key Cards to the Deck
Scroll Rack & Sensei's Divining Top: As outlined above, these are corre pieces to the deck's miracles strategy, allowing me to cast powerful cards at an under-priced mana cost, as well as provide assistance in ensuring each Neo Kaalia trigger nets me as many usable cards as possible.

Mortuary: We can stack the triggers post wrath with Kaalia on top, draw her, cast for three and get three threats. Even just casting Kaalia from the CZ will ship the top six, meaning the chances of getting locked out of our top deck is nil with this commander.

More to come with real time field play experience.
Cards to Avoid
Akroma, Angel of Fury: While she can do the same stuff we play Exalted Angel for (it's interaction with Astral Slide), there's a nonbo to the card and that is it's protection from white, which prevents us from protecting it from removal with Astral Slide. Therefore, it's a trap, don't do it!
Effective Strategies
Coming soon with real time field play experience.
Last edited by 3drinks 1 year ago, edited 10 times in total.
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Post by 3drinks » 2 years ago

Experimenting with some of the coding I've scraped from other threads in here. It's purely cosmetical, but I must admit it does add a certain pizazz.
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Post by RowanKeltizar » 2 years ago

It's definitely going to take me a minute to get used to the new site, yikes!

I think it's time to post my revised list. Certainly still a WIP, but I'm liking it more and more. Some cards are stand ins until I find something better. I would characterize this list as being heavier on the ETB side, as well as discard and reanimation. I also have support for the Worldgorger Dragon combo. Even without Animate Dead, WGD also works nicely with Sneak Attack as a battlefield blink for R.

I have carefully selected ADD that are 5cmc or less with some 6cmc exceptions. My feeling is that there are some 6 or even 7 cmc ADD that are worth running simply because of their power level, but I'm not sure what those would be yet. I think I have the ramp and cheat support to get them into play. But anything over 5cmc needs to be an exception to the rule of 5cmc or less.

Some choices are there for budget reasons which is why you don't see a Vampiric Tutor or some of the more expensive lands.


Decklist

HASTE ENABLERS


LAND:


Basics


DRAW/DIG


Approximate Total Cost:


Throwing some more fodder your way for discussion:

Gift of Immortality could have some strong synergy with sacrifice effects, especially the repeatable ones from certain demons, but it works well with any ETB ability. My feeling is that this card could have some nice staying power and really build value for us over time if we are able to build around it a little, perhaps more so than the single use blink effects which I am beginning to question ( I actually took out Feather, the Redeemed and Mirrorwing Dragon simply because I don't think that combo is going to be consistent). My only issue with Gift is that it does next to nothing without some other interaction. But it does give us some nice resiliency to board wipes.

Smothering Tithe - Shiny new card or powerhouse soft lock? It seems to fit well in my list simply because it discourages people from drawing cards knowing it will help us pump more threats onto the table. It combos well with wheel effects or other forced draw effects such as Master of the Feast, but really doesn't need much support from our side to be worthwhile. The idea is to pump as many ADD onto the battlefield as possible and I think this will help similarly to Heartless Summoning.

Avaricious Dragon is something I really think has potential in my list, and I'm excited to give it a try. I like this better than Phyrexian Arena or Bloodgift Demon.

How do you feel about Guardian Seraph? ideal cmc, and decent effect. Noteworthy for nullifying tokens as well as pings from things like Niv-Mizzet, Parun or Spiteful Visions.
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WRBKaalia, Zenith Seeker - Certified Air Raid Material
WBElenda, the Dusk Rose - Drain and Gain
WRAurelia, the Warleader - Tokens/Equipment
URNiv-Mizzet, Parun - Controlled Burn primer
BRGProssh, Skyraider of Kher - One Shotting Since 2013
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3drinks
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Post by 3drinks » 2 years ago

I'd caution you against Avaricious Dragon. It is so very much a trap. The fact you have to pitch your hand first, and then hope you can get it to stick for a turn...

It's not worth it man. Heads up.

I also don't think this is the deck for Gift of Immortality. That doesn't mean it's not good, rather it's not doing anything for our strat.
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Post by 3drinks » 2 years ago

Made some more adjustments, namely cutting the orbs since I don't think I have enough support, which in turn cut the angelic field marshal since that looks kinda silly without the soft lock with static orb. Adding in Haakon, Stromgald Scourge to go with the tribal removals, faithless looting and anvil of bogardan for a more powerful draw (and discard) suite.

I think this makes the deck much more well-rounded, though admittedly makes it a bit harder to utilize my miracles strat.

Next edits will be concerning the mana base. I believe we already have premiere mana fixing, such that the filter lands aren't needed, instead they are show-offs because I have the expo versions of them? I believe if I cut those, I can add in the missing bicycle land, Phyrexian Tower, and one other that would likely be Mouth of Ronom.
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Post by Cyberium » 2 years ago

Remember another poster mentioned using Grenzo, Dungeon Warden to dump creatures from bottom of library to the grave for reanimation. Consider that Kaalia could choose not to add creature into hand, and some variations use many non-tribal creatures, this might be an alternative built.

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Post by 3drinks » 2 years ago

Hmmm. Why Zenith Kaalia, if we're on b/r reanimator, I guess is my question? I'd imagine there's more gas here with the astral slide build, than this grenzo methodology but admittedly I haven't played Grenzo to have an accurate respect of it's power level.
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Post by Cyberium » 2 years ago

3drinks wrote:
2 years ago
Hmmm. Why Zenith Kaalia, if we're on b/r reanimator, I guess is my question? I'd imagine there's more gas here with the astral slide build, than this grenzo methodology but admittedly I haven't played Grenzo to have an accurate respect of it's power level.
Consider it a blessing that #2 is far more versatile than #1. :)

I would not see Grenzo as a key card, rather a sidekick for such decks. Astral Slide build sometimes have cards that would return cycled cards from grave to (bottom of) library, so it's possible to mix Grenzo into the fold. So are you considering using Slide?

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Post by 3drinks » 2 years ago

I am not writing slide off yet, although I do feel the deck is a bit different than what we're looking at, traditionally speaking.
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Post by 3drinks » 2 years ago

Cyberium wrote:
2 years ago
3drinks wrote:
2 years ago
Hmmm. Why Zenith Kaalia, if we're on b/r reanimator, I guess is my question? I'd imagine there's more gas here with the astral slide build, than this grenzo methodology but admittedly I haven't played Grenzo to have an accurate respect of it's power level.
Consider it a blessing that #2 is far more versatile than #1. :)

I would not see Grenzo as a key card, rather a sidekick for such decks. Astral Slide build sometimes have cards that would return cycled cards from grave to (bottom of) library, so it's possible to mix Grenzo into the fold. So are you considering using Slide?
RIP my willpower to withhold buying cards for every different archetype >_<

I just ordered every reasonably playable cycling card in Mardu. 60 or so cards. Luckily everything is sub $1 sans Street Wraith ($2.45) and the big offender Fluctuator ($8.40). Glad I don't have to do that again. Kinda excited to explore an archetype (Slide) that I've otherwise never played before. It's...different, from my usual comfort zone.
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Post by Cyberium » 2 years ago

3drinks wrote:
2 years ago

RIP my willpower to withhold buying cards for every different archetype >_<

I just ordered every reasonably playable cycling card in Mardu. 60 or so cards. Luckily everything is sub $1 sans Street Wraith ($2.45) and the big offender Fluctuator ($8.40). Glad I don't have to do that again. Kinda excited to explore an archetype (Slide) that I've otherwise never played before. It's...different, from my usual comfort zone.
RIP, but awesome!

There are people playing Temur Omnath with almost no elementals too, I think versatility belong to all the tri-color legends this year.

Astral Slide/Drift built offers one thing most Kaalia #2 decks need: Cheap and repeatable ways to blink, the problem with this direction is how we stay alive and productive before we get our Slide/Drift. I'm still championing midrange aggressive tribal build with creatures no bigger than 5 cc, easier on keeping up the pressure. Use cyclable angel/demon/dragon as ways to look for protective spells, perhaps even going a little "Feather"?

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Post by 3drinks » 2 years ago

Feather works, yes. There's quite a few cyclers that work with him. The trick now will be balancing slide with the rest of the deck.

........we should probably be playing Exalted Angel too....
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Post by Sinis » 2 years ago

3drinks wrote:
2 years ago
The trick now will be balancing slide with the rest of the deck.
Do you think you have a slot for Tectonic Reformation? I mean, in the absence of Slide or Drift it... cycles...

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Post by 3drinks » 2 years ago

Sinis wrote:
2 years ago
3drinks wrote:
2 years ago
The trick now will be balancing slide with the rest of the deck.
Do you think you have a slot for Tectonic Reformation? I mean, in the absence of Slide or Drift it... cycles...
I just purchased the ~60 or so Mardu cards with cycling that are reasonably playable (and expanded the definition of "reasonably" to include some fairly generous gauge of power level I think). Tec reformation is much stronger than most these cards so it goes to reason I included this as well. 😉
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Post by Sinis » 2 years ago

3drinks wrote:
2 years ago
I just purchased the ~60 or so Mardu cards with cycling that are reasonably playable (and expanded the definition of "reasonably" to include some fairly generous gauge of power level I think). Tec reformation is much stronger than most these cards so it goes to reason I included this as well.
Well, I look forward to seeing the updated list!

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Post by 3drinks » 2 years ago

Sinis wrote:
2 years ago
3drinks wrote:
2 years ago
I just purchased the ~60 or so Mardu cards with cycling that are reasonably playable (and expanded the definition of "reasonably" to include some fairly generous gauge of power level I think). Tec reformation is much stronger than most these cards so it goes to reason I included this as well.
Well, I look forward to seeing the updated list!
Thanks! This is pretty new territory to me as well so I'm excited to learn slide too. It's a stark contrast from Kaalia OG < tutour < MoC, haha.
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Post by 3drinks » 2 years ago

Came across this zenith Kaalia list here: https://www.mtggoldfish.com/articles/co ... r-vs-yarok

I don't particularly care for it. It reminds me of those terrible OG Kaalia decks with 30+ threats, no interaction, and an overwhelming reliance on the commander. No real synergy with the commander either, but in the interest of data sharing, here.
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Post by 3drinks » 2 years ago

It occurs to me since we enjoy some blink and will no doubt have some higher end threats we'll want to protect, that this deck is a great home for Tawnos's Coffin.
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Post by Cyberium » 2 years ago

3drinks wrote:
2 years ago
Came across this zenith Kaalia list here: https://www.mtggoldfish.com/articles/co ... r-vs-yarok

I don't particularly care for it. It reminds me of those terrible OG Kaalia decks with 30+ threats, no interaction, and an overwhelming reliance on the commander. No real synergy with the commander either, but in the interest of data sharing, here.
How curious, that was my reaction to that list as well when I first saw it. Funny how people cannot think outside of the box.

And here's a list without angels/dragons/demons, so Kaalia literally becomes an omni filter for tribal shenanigan amongst other things: https://archidekt.com/decks/148542#Deck ... ith_Seeker

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Post by 3drinks » 2 years ago

Cyberium wrote:
2 years ago
3drinks wrote:
2 years ago
Came across this zenith Kaalia list here: https://www.mtggoldfish.com/articles/co ... r-vs-yarok

I don't particularly care for it. It reminds me of those terrible OG Kaalia decks with 30+ threats, no interaction, and an overwhelming reliance on the commander. No real synergy with the commander either, but in the interest of data sharing, here.
How curious, that was my reaction to that list as well when I first saw it. Funny how people cannot think outside of the box.

And here's a list without angels/dragons/demons, so Kaalia literally becomes an omni filter for tribal shenanigan amongst other things: https://archidekt.com/decks/148542#Deck ... ith_Seeker
What. I don't understand why someone would build this. It...doesn't do anything.

I'm still learning how to balance the astral slide portion of the deck with the commander ability portion. How many cycling cards is needed to justify fluctuator? How many angels/demons/dragons is needed before you start whiffing on your trigger?
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Post by Cyberium » 2 years ago

3drinks wrote:
2 years ago

I'm still learning how to balance the astral slide portion of the deck with the commander ability portion. How many cycling cards is needed to justify fluctuator? How many angels/demons/dragons is needed before you start whiffing on your trigger?
I don't think Fluctuator is required, consider most cycling cost aren't that great to start, and many still has colored mana cycling cost so they won't reach 0. If we use

As for chance of getting tribal stuff, here's the calculator: http://www.unseelie.org/cgi-bin/cardco. ... t=9&hand=7

Assuming we have 25 of the said tribal and we didn't hit any tribal cards in our open hand and for three turns till you hard cast Kaalia, that's 6 out of 90 cards, the chance of getting at least one with above # is 86.7335465599323%.

With 20 tribal, the chance is 78.9410690526177%. With 15, the chance is 67.6590397498369%.

Of course, if the cards revealed are three tribal fo the same type (e.g. angel), you can only get one into your hand, so an even number of each tribal is still the best for getting cards to hand. However, I find myself wanting to use more angels/dragons than demons, for the former two have more cheaper cc options.

Another factor to consider is that: Changeling spells such as Crib Swap are universal tribal, filling the gap left by Kaalia's own restriction, greatly improve the chance of drawing more than one card by a LOT. If we have a lot of blinks, changelings pretty much guarantee 2~3 cards each time. Their useful in battle is questionable, but for the sake of filtering library as what we have been wanting to do with Kaalia 2, it might be a viable route to take.

If we end up using Tectonic Reformation, that turns all lands into cycling, we may be able to afford even fewer tribal cards in deck since you could blink Kaalia enough times to render that chance nonexistence.

A dedicated cycling deck might find Abandoned Sarcophagus useful, as it re-cycles those spells.

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Post by RowanKeltizar » 2 years ago

Welp, I dropped $100 on a very basic Zenith Seeker deck. I'm missing a lot of dual lands and some of the more expensive pieces such as Land Tax but it is functional. I already had a fair number of cards already.

I think Tectonic Reformation is an excellent alternative to flooding the deck with subpar cycling cards to fuel Astral Slide. It pairs well with Land Tax also. Not to mention this combo has fantastic synergy with Archfiend of Ifnir. Both cards are pretty useful on their own and are below our curve. I think this is a good alternative to Conjurer's Closet. Closet is a little too higher on our curve for comfort.

I also wonder about Warstorm Surge for this deck. I don't like the CMC but it seems powerful. My hope would be that we are already pulling off some good damage from our creatures, but it does circumvent the need for combat damage, getting around things like Ghostly Prison and the like.

While I haven't played the deck against anyone yet, I have solitaired it quite a few times now. Currently I am running 25 ADD which feels pretty good. Kaalia almost always gets me at least one hit. I think increasing the number too far beyond 25 ADD isn't the best route if we are wanting to boost the consistency of the trigger. I think that sacrifices too much in terms of tutors, draw, and ramp. I think abusing the trigger is the way to go.

Lets not overlook Panharmonicon. Looking at the top 12 cards for just RWB is just awesome! If we fill the deck with abusable ETB abilities, we can get a lot of value out of it I think. But the fact that our commander benefits from it so much I think justifies running it. I wouldn't consider it if our commander didn't have a killer ETB ability.

If we are going with Astral Slide I think we are wanting a lot more ETB triggers than just our commander. Unfortunately, some of the best ones are beyond our curve. Demonlord Belzenlok, Rune-Scarred Demon, Thunder Dragon and Angel of Despair come to mind as ones that might be worth slotting in. Don't forget that we have a lot of discard outlets if we don't have the means to field them.

Land Tax can also do some work towards thinning the deck of lands, which is the single biggest contributing factor to diluting our hits for Kaalia's trigger.

Sneak Attack. This card warrants some serious discussion. There are a lot of things going for it. I think with so many creatures in the deck, this is good for similar reasons that Heartless Summoning is good. If we are running a reanimation package, why not? Phyrexian Reclamation is the ideal counterpart to Sneak Attack. This combo means that we can use any ETB ability once each turn for just 1RB and 2 life. Not to mention, with Worldgorger Dragon, it gets ridiculous, resetting our entire board. Sneak Attack, also gives our creatures pseudo flash, which opens us up to some interesting plays. Finally, the ability is not normally counterable. I think it can give us a much needed edge against blue.

My friend reminded me that Final Parting is a card and gives me that much more incentive to run the Worldgorger Dragon / Animate Dead combo. With just Kaalia in play and another creature in our graveyard, we can get our entire horde of ADD onto the battlefield with haste if we include Dragonlord Kolaghan. It's a wincon that we can pull off pretty darn early with the right hand, and there are a lot of paths to get there.

I am definitely liking the feel of the discard lockdown strategy. It seems to work nicely with Kaalia's ability especially if we have a blink engine in play. Sire of Insanity is the main player here but I think we could also use things like Words of Waste. Ill-Gotten Gains is a strong contender as well. It can nuke someone's hand pretty effectively and offers some pretty solid synergy with our own list. Discarding peoples hands keeps them from answering our threats. I'm looking for other solid inclusions toward this end.

Scheming Symmetry is a nice budget alternative to Imperial Seal or Vampiric Tutor. In multiplayer it gives us a diplomatic opportunity but I probably wouldn't consider running it 1v1 for obvious reasons.
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Post by 3drinks » 2 years ago

[mention]Cyberium[/mention] I definitely have the Sarcophagus, and as you see in the list, two changeling removals (with Haakon to back them up). I do think we can artificially up the cycling count if we replace our go to cards with cycling equivalencies - i.e. instead of toxic, covenant, damnation, we can use starstorm, akroma's vengeance, and decree of pain (plus slice and dice!) - now we don't lose any function, but we have better Slide Play. Likely playing angels and creatures that exist only to be cycled won't be good enough since you never want to cast them I don't think (who's excited to cast a six drop 4/4) but then again, increasing our natural Slide Play while also being grabable off the commander is a really good trait.

Funny, I find I'm most lacking in dragons than any other tribe.

I think Tectonic Reformation is a good include, but I think going in too hard on it is a trap as it relies on having Astral Slide and the commander in order to do any business. However, I'm with it since we want to play Land Tax anyway to go with our key card Scroll Rack. Does that mean we can skip the original cycle lands? My gut says no since they can cycle without the aid of another card.

I coulda saved myself $8 on that damn artifact. Well, I guess it isn't the worst thing to tuck away. And it does have some demand obviously as long as decks like Cheerios exist. Though, I do like that all these cycling creatures can make our living death even stronger, I suppose that's win-more though.

[mention]RowanKeltizar[/mention] I think looking at a four mana artifact that doesn't do anything until we have Kaalia things happening is a bad look. And, with angels, demons, and dragons the effects they ETB with are either 1) high cmc, 2) minimal, or 3) much more relevant on damage or attack triggers. Similarly, I think Warstorm Surge is very win-more here, with it's role being a win-con alongside WGD combo. However that is interruptable between every iteration and not reliable, so much. It's also a lightning rod that telegraphs what you're doing - and in this role, Purphoros is strictly superior. I do think you're onto something with the Final Parting idea though, but it's a bit of a telegraph as well unless it goes off in one turn (4BBB). That's not an insignificant cost, and it still requires another piece to end the game - be that the aforementioned Purphoros, Shivan Hellkite, Aurelia's Fury/Comet Storm or etc. As I learned in my forays into this with OG Kaalia, this is a lot of dedicated slots to make for a combo that is in and of itself, very fragile.

I wouldn't justify land tax "because it thins the deck". This is a statistically proven irrelevant deck building metric, but rather I'd consider (and of course it should be played given what we're doing here) it because of the synergy with Reformation (and Planar Birth, if we go heavy on basics) and scroll rack. Playing a card "because it thins the deck" is akin to playing cards like expedite because it cantrips itself (useless because we're not playing it for any other reason). At least Arcum's Astrolabe fixes our colours every turn and isn't locked to a colour. :)

Better than the sneak attack + reclamation combo, I'd play Mortuary instead since our commander breaks the downside of it, always shipping the top six.

I'm really not sure you have enough multiplayer discard options to call it a strategy. And I think these mass options are working against the commander's ability to put and keep cards in our hand at all stages of the game.
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Post by 3drinks » 2 years ago

I added the first draft of Astral Slide to the OP. Thoughts? What did I miss? Is it "too fair"? Convoluted?
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Post by MysticCrusader » 2 years ago

Love the Astral Slide Deck. Going to take your build out for a play later this week. Will let you know how it goes. Just had one question though. Was curious as to how Exalted Angel fits in the category Greasing the wheel. Is there something I am missing?

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