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Author Topic: Grim Long FAQ  (Read 8514 times)
Smmenen
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« on: November 10, 2005, 11:46:18 pm »

http://www.starcitygames.com/php/news/article/10803.html

This is my answer to the questions posed in the Grim Long thread.  I have tried to be comprehensive and this article is pretty massive.  I hope you like it. 
« Last Edit: November 11, 2005, 01:16:45 am by Smmenen » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2005, 10:00:19 am »

Thanks, Steve.  This is easily the most comprehensive article I've ever read on any deck ever.

Thanks for giving a Mana Drain player insight into GrimLong.
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« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2005, 01:58:23 pm »

This was probably one of your best articles. I am suprised that there are so little posts about it on this thread actually.

With the pure power of the deck, I feel it can do wonders on a competitive level. I just hope that players pick it up and don't get intimidated by the fact that it is combo and not Mana Drain. This deck is savage, people, try it.
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« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2005, 06:19:07 pm »

ok steve when I printed out the article it was 15 pages.  I have read 5 so far and its a great, extremely detailed article.  Great job and great info.

I will post more later.
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« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2005, 06:46:20 pm »

This article=the fing nutz

Thanks for an excellent insight on Grimlong and explaining your card selections.  Infinite thanks for showing how to beat Stax.
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« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2005, 09:57:25 pm »

okay I finished the article and have to say it was the Nucking Futs!  I loved it

Great detail and the matchup part was great.

One quick question:  If you played that deck in the same tourney today (same meta) would you run the same list?  What would you change if not?
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« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2005, 10:13:51 pm »

Quote
Consider:
Yawgmoth's Will is now in the maindeck
Demonic Tutor
Mystical Tutor
Vampiric Tutor
Imperial Seal
X Grim Tutors

As compared with:
4 Death Wish
1 Burning Wish

And in original Long.dec:
4 Burning Wish

Quote from: smemmen
You have twice as many ways to find Yawgmoth's Will as before — do we really need more?
This is misleading.  A short trip through the SCG archives will show your above logic isn't relevant.

From http://www.starcitygames.com/php/news/article/6496.html
and http://www.starcitygames.com/php/news/article/8181.html

In truth, it looks more like this:
1 Yawgmoth's Will
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Mystical Tutor
1 Vampiric Tutor
1 Imperial Seal
3 Grim Tutors

As compared with:
4 Death Wish
1 Burning Wish
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Mystical Tutor
1 Demonic Consultation

And in original Long.dec:
4 Burning Wish
1 Mystical Tutor
1 Vampiric Tutor
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Demonic Consultation

From all 3, the one thing I can deduce is that 8 search cards are the right number in these iterations.  Basically, you get to replace 4 burning wish with 3 grim tutor and imperial seal and demonic consultation with yawgmoth's will.  This is obviously pretty good given burning wish's restriction.

I think my analysis here provides a more objective look at the number of ways to find yawgmoth's will.  I would expect, based solely on the ability to find and play yawgmoth's will, that GrimLong will be somewhere between DeathLong and OldLong in terms of pure strength.  Initial estimate = 90% as good as OldLong.

Quote
My first thought was to Duress him and pass the turn, thus setting up a Turn 2 Necropotence. Necropotence is very difficult for a control player to beat, and if it resolves, I almost always win. But there's one risk: if I Duress him, he will draw one more card and be able to possibly Brainstorm into another Force of Will if I take a Force of Will.

I reasoned that it would be better to Duress and then Necropotence in the same turn, if my goal is to resolve Necro. Since Joe had not yet had a turn,, I felt that there was little risk he would do anything threatening. Therefore, I decided to play Imperial Seal for another threat to make sure that I won before he would get a second turn.
If you feared him brainstorming into a FOW, then your solution of duressing and casting necro the next turn will still yield the same chances of him having 2 FOW.  Also, as you saw, not taking his most powerful card turn 1 ended up losing you the game.

Having said that, I think the deck is really strong, and it is obvious that taking it to a tournament for the first time will surprize most people.  I am most amazed by how many utility card spots there are.  There is really a lot of room for maindeck flexibility, and since (as you mention) there are a lot of maindeck tutors, you can find 1 of's easily.  (like Burning Wish for SB sorceries)  I think this will help make GrimLong significantly better than DeathLong. 

Again, I am impressed with how good your combo mind is... 

Thanks for the article.
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« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2005, 11:29:11 pm »

Quote
Consider:
Yawgmoth's Will is now in the maindeck
Demonic Tutor
Mystical Tutor
Vampiric Tutor
Imperial Seal
X Grim Tutors

As compared with:
4 Death Wish
1 Burning Wish

And in original Long.dec:
4 Burning Wish

Quote from: smemmen
You have twice as many ways to find Yawgmoth's Will as before — do we really need more?
This is misleading. A short trip through the SCG archives will show your above logic isn't relevant.

From http://www.starcitygames.com/php/news/article/6496.html
and http://www.starcitygames.com/php/news/article/8181.html

In truth, it looks more like this:
1 Yawgmoth's Will
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Mystical Tutor
1 Vampiric Tutor
1 Imperial Seal
3 Grim Tutors

As compared with:
4 Death Wish
1 Burning Wish

1 Demonic Tutor
1 Mystical Tutor
1 Demonic Consultation

And in original Long.dec:
4 Burning Wish
1 Mystical Tutor
1 Vampiric Tutor
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Demonic Consultation

From all 3, the one thing I can deduce is that 8 search cards are the right number in these iterations. Basically, you get to replace 4 burning wish with 3 grim tutor and imperial seal and demonic consultation with yawgmoth's will. This is obviously pretty good given burning wish's restriction.

I think my analysis here provides a more objective look at the number of ways to find yawgmoth's will. I would expect, based solely on the ability to find and play yawgmoth's will, that GrimLong will be somewhere between DeathLong and OldLong in terms of pure strength. Initial estimate = 90% as good as OldLong.

Thanks for the article.

xrizzo, your logic fails on even the simplest level. In the old lists YawgWill was in the SB, therefore you can't just simply tutor for it with Mystical, Vamp, Consultation etc. Sure you could tutor for the wish, but that was sub-optimal considering that it costs more mana and in most cases had to pass the turn.

The one thing I really miss from the old lists is Consultation  Sad
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« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2005, 01:14:45 am »

xrizzo, your logic fails on even the simplest level. In the old lists YawgWill was in the SB, therefore you can't just simply tutor for it with Mystical, Vamp, Consultation etc. Sure you could tutor for the wish, but that was sub-optimal considering that it costs more mana and in most cases had to pass the turn.

Sure there is an extra step - but there is a trade-off.  Yawg maindeck introduces other problems like drawing it in your opening hand, getting it duressed, extract, rootwater thief, etc.  Adding 1B or U or B to Burning Wish to find it is one of the things you trade-off.  You also lose 1 maindeck spot, and are forced to add regrowth for the factors mentioned above, thus reducing your maindeck flexibility by 2 cards.  Remember, Consulting for burning wish is the same mana investment as a single grim tutor without the life-loss.

Strictly speaking, you only have 4 or 5 cards which directly access it, but effectively, you have 8 in all 3 variants.  It is more complicated than just counting numbers for some of the reasons I mentioned above, but I felt the article exaggerated the 'doubling' of ways to find yawg.
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« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2005, 04:22:59 am »

Thanks again for the article, Steve; it was definitely one of your best.  I'm thrilled to have a really powerful combo deck in the format again.  I have one question for you, Steve:  Do you think there's still a way to make the deck even more powerful than it is now?
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« Reply #10 on: November 13, 2005, 12:39:20 am »

Initial estimate = 90% as good as OldLong.
I haven't done any testing with the newer versions that include Grim tutor as of yet, and I have only seen the list Steve's played at the Chicago SCG P9 tournament due not having a membership at SCG. That said, I do believe that Grim Tutor is better than previous core tutors,. I actually thinks it is better than the original Burning Wish since it isn't removed from the game; therefore, it can be used to find Yawgmoth's Will and then be used again to find Tendrils. Still, I am very hesitant to believe that this new version is THAT good because what made the original version of Long so good was the 5 Black Lotus (Since Lion's Eye Diamond wasn't restricted at the time), and that is something the newer versions still can't substitute effectively. Cabal Ritual in my mind doesn't come nowhere near close to the kind of power level that an unrestricted LED provided. If my memory serves me correct the original version of Long could goldfish turn one wins like 50% of the time; therefore, the reward almost always out weighed any risk. Since I fail to see this version of the deck putting up ridiculous goldfish numbers like the original, it would seem to be more prone to various hate strategies. Maybe I am completely wrong here, but in a format were there are so many spells that make life difficult for storm decks, I fail to see how a land light speed version storm deck that can't win half its matches before its opponent plays a spell will be someone's best deck choice for success. Steve had success with it in Chicago, but I am convinced that success wasn't necessarily due to the deck but rather Steve ability as a player. It is likely he would have done just as well or better with any other competitive deck.
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« Reply #11 on: November 13, 2005, 07:04:58 pm »

okay I finished the article and have to say it was the Nucking Futs!  I loved it

Great detail and the matchup part was great.

One quick question:  If you played that deck in the same tourney today (same meta) would you run the same list?  What would you change if not?

It would totally depend upon the metagame I expect. 

I agree that this deck isn't even close to as broken as original long.  But Long was far more broken then we understood at the time, and was far more broken than most of us still recognize.  I think that DeathLong was probably half as good as original long and this is somewhere around 65% so a marked improvement.  I think this deck is definately viable and I'll field more questions.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2005, 07:07:29 pm by Smmenen » Logged
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« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2005, 10:34:21 am »

I got no response in the other forum, so i will try here:
You mention cutting Crop Rotation, but never give any explanation.  Effectively running a second academy (plus adding a storm count) seems too good not to run.  not to mention you can cast it with ESG after tapping the sacced land for whatever other color you need. 

Frantic search is good for hand filtering (discarding extra lands for spells) and color fixing (e.g. tapping sapphire and crypt to untap city/mine/academy).  Usually the 3cc shouldn't matter, and can even help dig for hurkyls/chain when there's a chalice out.  was it tested?

Would Recoup be good in this deck?  was it tested?  I realize it is narrower than Regrowth, but it seems like it would still be good and could help recover from a crapout or a whiff on a Desire or something. 

Lastly, just to tip the scales on Tutoring, was Personal tutor tested?  I realize there isn't as much cantripping/draw as Meandeck Tendrils had, but yet another card that finds will and ancestral seems good.  and the "top deck tutors" are savage with necro/bargain out (obviously).
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« Reply #13 on: November 15, 2005, 08:26:36 pm »

Frantic Search is craptacular.  Crop Rotation isn't bad, but I needed more ways to capitalize on draw7s.  Therefore Cabal Ritual >>>

I would run Crap Rotation in the board.

Recoup is WAY too slow.

Personal Tutor isn't horrible, but its not good either.

Has anyone tested this yet? 
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« Reply #14 on: November 15, 2005, 10:09:09 pm »

Personal Tutor isn't horrible, but its not good either.

Has anyone tested this yet? 

I tested it...It wasnt all that bad, but the blue is what makes it suck.  (I cant believe I just said that)

But seriously, it looks for Will, Tendrils,  and on RARE occasions it looks for Wheel.  Not bad, but TERRIBLE when going off cuz you cant play it off Rituals. 

In response to TimeWizzle, it only looks for sorceries.  So that means no Ancestral (major strike)

One last note, Personal Tutor > Burning Wish for this deck's purposes
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« Reply #15 on: November 16, 2005, 06:48:58 am »

I would agree with that last statement.  In my testing I have found that  Burning Wish is somewhat subpar and narrow in it application, whereas Personal Tutor can find lots of different things, and is great when replayed during a game winning Will.
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« Reply #16 on: November 16, 2005, 08:48:28 am »

I don't use either card. 
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« Reply #17 on: November 16, 2005, 02:33:20 pm »

Why not just play Grim #4 over Personal Tutor?
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« Reply #18 on: November 16, 2005, 07:56:16 pm »

I tested out Recoup for a bit, It won me a game when I was able to flashback a forced timetwister...but also sat dead in 3 other games (which I actually won anyways, heh...) I could think of a number of cards id rather go for than recoup.

Personal Tutor...blech...this deck has such an easy time of tutoring as is I cant even think of what id really want to drop to fit this in..

The only problems ive had with the deck at all was getting enough blue mana when I dont see Tolarian Academy (bear with me on the next sentance since I dont have premium anymore and havnt read the article) I find myself tutoring for Black Lotus with my first tutor probably well over 70% of the time. Getting the lotus is acting as a mana fixer almost as much as a mana accelerant for something in my hand...

Great deck though smmenen, I really need to get premium because of this to figure out how to get better against stax which im having some problems with at the moment (Gifts is a laughable matchup though, heh)
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« Reply #19 on: November 18, 2005, 04:54:44 pm »

A demonic tutor, or maybe even a grim tutor in the right situation, for a black lotus is often an awesome play.  Really, though, in either this deck or MeanDeath, the latter of which I have much more experience with, I've never found myself with issues of finding the right colors of mana unless I'm just pushing the deck too hard.  Of course it's entirely possible that you've just got horrible luck.
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« Reply #20 on: November 18, 2005, 04:58:26 pm »

How to play Storm combo in less than 5 lines (a perhaps less than complete description):

1) Locate Black Lotus.
2) Figure out what to do with said Lotus.

That's the first rule right there. Smile
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« Reply #21 on: November 18, 2005, 05:02:42 pm »

on a similar note, tinker--->lotus petal won me a game in testing the other day...pretty hot...

(lotus was already used at the time, and I needed the black mana to get into ritual--->yawg will...jet was in play and tapped and I already hit a land drop for the turn...but still tinkering for lotus petal is like the best thing evar!)
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« Reply #22 on: November 19, 2005, 04:15:58 am »

Im pretty sure personal tutor will never be played. you can quote this and maybe someday Ill look like the 60s IBM exec scoffing at PCs. but narrow sorcery speed card disadvantage tutor cant be as efficient as just a draw spell or redundant threat.

grim long is strictly better than death long. death wish is obsolete. this is a very solid combo deck, but I still confident stax has the upper hand in any pure combo match up. my advice to stax players facing this deck is prioritzing learn how to muligan, as your opening hand is pretty much all you have to stop them w. theres not really any other skill needed to beat combo. keep hands that can put out early relevent locks and make them stick. this is the closest thing to poker in magic. read your opponent try to decipher how many turns it will take him to go off, esp when your on draw. the bigger the risk hes taking on a subpar hand, the bigger risk you can take w sketchy hands. most combo players will keep a shit hand w blue source + ancestral. 3 more cards turn 1 is fantastic, obv, but can be a dead end too. Ive found opp who plays turn 1 ancestral, is going to give you some time.
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« Reply #23 on: November 19, 2005, 12:40:03 pm »

Im pretty sure personal tutor will never be played. you can quote this and maybe someday Ill look like the 60s IBM exec scoffing at PCs. but narrow sorcery speed card disadvantage tutor cant be as efficient as just a draw spell or redundant threat.

grim long is strictly better than death long. death wish is obsolete. this is a very solid combo deck, but I still confident stax has the upper hand in any pure combo match up. my advice to stax players facing this deck is prioritzing learn how to muligan, as your opening hand is pretty much all you have to stop them w. theres not really any other skill needed to beat combo. keep hands that can put out early relevent locks and make them stick. this is the closest thing to poker in magic. read your opponent try to decipher how many turns it will take him to go off, esp when your on draw. the bigger the risk hes taking on a subpar hand, the bigger risk you can take w sketchy hands. most combo players will keep a shit hand w blue source + ancestral. 3 more cards turn 1 is fantastic, obv, but can be a dead end too. Ive found opp who plays turn 1 ancestral, is going to give you some time.

I know you addressed this to Stax players facing Grim, but in all seriousness, this is amazing advice for everyone.  Mad props vroman.

When I was playing this deck at SCG, I kept thinkin to myself "My deck is missing something...MORE FAST MANA!" I kept getting good hands with shit mana.  So even between rounds, I was testing 3 Cabal Rituals (and of course taking them back out before the next round).

Low and behold, Smmenen ran 2 CB's in his deck. 

This may be stating the obvious and redundant, but I feel it needs to be made clear.  This deck WORSHIPS black mana, more than 4 Dark Rituals, a Lotus,a Mox, a Petal, and 10 lands can consistantly provide.
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« Reply #24 on: November 21, 2005, 10:01:18 pm »

Im pretty sure personal tutor will never be played. you can quote this and maybe someday Ill look like the 60s IBM exec scoffing at PCs. but narrow sorcery speed card disadvantage tutor cant be as efficient as just a draw spell or redundant threat.

grim long is strictly better than death long. death wish is obsolete. this is a very solid combo deck, but I still confident stax has the upper hand in any pure combo match up. my advice to stax players facing this deck is prioritzing learn how to muligan, as your opening hand is pretty much all you have to stop them w. theres not really any other skill needed to beat combo. keep hands that can put out early relevent locks and make them stick. this is the closest thing to poker in magic. read your opponent try to decipher how many turns it will take him to go off, esp when your on draw. the bigger the risk hes taking on a subpar hand, the bigger risk you can take w sketchy hands. most combo players will keep a shit hand w blue source + ancestral. 3 more cards turn 1 is fantastic, obv, but can be a dead end too. Ive found opp who plays turn 1 ancestral, is going to give you some time.

This is all good advice.

The corallary is also very true. 

If you want to play Grim Long, you must test the hell out of all the Stax matchups.  It is really important you not just test against it, but that you become good at the Stax deck itself.  You need to get a feel for the kinds of hands Stax is going to get so you can better guess the sorts of threats Stax will unload onto the board. 

You also need to know that you are playing percentages.  YOu will lose games - your focus should always be on figuring out how to steal the match.  You need to make very close risk calculations in terms of when to mulligan.  I would not bother reading the Stax player so much as making base assumptions about what they are likely to play at any given point. 

The Stax player won't have much decision making to do on their turn.  The burden of skill will be entirely on you.  Think very, very carefully before making plays.  Think everything through at least twice and explore all options.

Playing against STax is a real pleasure because they do not counter any of your spells.  Therefore, this is pretty much goldfishing for you.

Think about the range of threats stax presents:

tier one threats:
null rod
3sphere

tier two threats:
Shaman
Chalice of the Void
SPhere of Resistence

their three threats:
Wasteland

tier four threats:
smokestack, tangle wire, etc

You need to constantly be thinking about what threats your opponent is likely to play and make plays accordingly.  Make calculations based upon what you have seen so far.
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« Reply #25 on: November 22, 2005, 01:21:35 am »

I'd like to note the unspoken obvousness that the build of Stax has a HUGE impact on the game.  Chalices or no affects the game more than any other variation of the deck.  Null Rod or no also has a huge impact, but at least for me, Chalice or no has been the determining factor on whether the match is above or below 50%
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« Reply #26 on: November 22, 2005, 01:27:38 am »

Remember, Rolands Stax has the following threats maindeck:

3 Sphere of Resistence
1 3Sphere
1 Tinker

1 Shaman
4 Tangle Wire
5 Wasteland/Strip Mine


Pretty terrible.  There are basically only five cards that do anything. 

More traditional Stax has:

4 Sphere of Resistence
4 Chalice of the Void
1 Tinker
1-2 Shaman
1 3Sphere

Much stronger, but once again, that's not alot of cards.

Uba Stax has:

1 3Sphere
3 Null Rod
4 Chalice of the Void
2 Shaman

That's only marginally worse than the traditional stax with Chalices. 

Chalices do make a huge difference, but they have gaping holes.  Chalice for 0 might do nothing as I turn one Rit, Necro or Rit, Rit, ESG Bargain, etc.  Chalice for 1 might not stop: Lotus, Mox, Mox Desire. 

Alot of figuring out how ot play it is knowing what to sacrifice - meaning, knowing what to commit to the board knowing that there is a risk it will die.

For instance, turn one Sphere of Resistence which is answered by:

City of Brass, Mox, Mox risks next turn shaman eat a mox OR Wasteland.  You have to evaluate whether to play the Land and Moxen based upon the risk of those plays happening.  It may still be the right play because you figure he can only take two of the mana sources down and you can drop some more and play a bomb.  These things are tricky and require close decision making. 

On the play, you can either win on turn one, drop a TON of perms so that lock parts don't matter, or Duress the only real threat they have.  On the draw, you just need to be aware of what it is they are probalbly going to do and keep a hand that maximizes your ability to break out of their attempt to lock you down. 
« Last Edit: November 22, 2005, 01:30:48 am by Smmenen » Logged
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« Reply #27 on: November 22, 2005, 01:35:34 am »

3 SoR
1 Trini
1 Tinker
1 Shaman
=6

1 Trini
4 SoR
4 Chalice
1 Tinker
1-2 Monkey
= 11-12

The more traditional Stax has twice as many bad things I really don't want to see than Chang Stax.  Wastes and Tangles are second tier and don't stop me from going off.  Whether or not they include Chalices and the 4th Sphere is the big thing.  The deck can win through spheres unless they get like 3 or 2+cruciwaste.  Winning through 1 Chalice is easy.  The deck can deal with chalice for 0,1, or 2.  Once they get it at 1 and 2, or 0 and 2-it gets really hard to win through anything besides ESG BEATZ.  Null Rod blows to play against, but the deck can just cast infy rituals and win.  This is why I think "Chalice or no" is the biggest determining factor in this matchup.
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Smmenen
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« Reply #28 on: November 22, 2005, 01:39:18 am »

I have beaten multiples Chalices just by getting lands into play and playing shit into Chalices and then Desiring for 4 or 5, revealing a draw7 and being able to drop a little bit of mana to play Tendrils. 

Stax tries to plug holes, but if you design the deck well with a good diversity of mana - like Cabal Rituals and ESG, their plugs become more ineffectual. 

The point I was saying about the traditional stax is that even:

3sphere
4 SoR
4 Chyalice
2 Monkey
and 1 Tinker

isn't really that bad when you think about it. 

If you put together combination of cards, they are definately beatable.   You have a million tutors to find answers and you probably will be able to play a tutor. 
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« Reply #29 on: November 22, 2005, 11:32:42 am »

I wouldnt consider smokestack a bottom tier lock. one of my favorite openings against combo is planting turn 1 chalice @ 0, plus 4 mana and smoky. soft locking them on 1 mana source is an excellent position.
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