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Author Topic: The Many Faces of Control Slaver  (Read 51101 times)
Eandori
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« Reply #210 on: February 03, 2006, 02:29:25 pm »

I suppose I have to agree with most of the last 2 posts.  CS can be metagamed against, and I definately agree that there's a huge difference between playing slaver, and playing it WELL.  Especially when you throw difficult cards like Gifts into it.  That's probably the most skill intensive card I have in my build of CS.

I do disagree about the strip though...  CS does not have more counterspells, and it's not faster then other decks.  A few well placed strip mines can put the opposing deck right back at your pace.  That Oath deck is FAR less likely to win the counter war if he is stuck at 2 blue.  Also, sometimes just HAVING Crucible and strip showing forces my opponent to play differently.  He might slow up a bit, hold an extra counter, wait longer to crack his searchlands, etc.  Those little differences can add up.  Just like you said, CS does not win that fast.  If the game gets into a stalemate, I would far rather draw cards and build up my hand while stripping his mana.  Then we we both "go for it" again, I'll have more cards in hand and his will be smaller since he played lands, OR he will have less mana to "go for it" with.  Strip mine is a powerfull option, and since I'm playing crucible/searchland/2 island, I'm willing to lose that 3rd island for the strip mine.

I'm more likely to agree with you about the Library though.  People in vintage know how to play around a Library well.  Either they waste it, or keep my hand below 7 by forcing me to counter things.  BUT there are times where I do still use the Library or perhaps I just replay it from the GY later to use it.  So I'm closer to cutting the Library for another island, but so far it seems to work out the way I have it.

Edit:  I'm adding a few of my pre-built sideboard lists below.  I'm sure some people will hate my choices, some may like them.  Each of them has come to be after hundreds of games though.  I use the following sideboard lists for a starting place and alter them as needed based on the deck my opponent has.  Note:  These sideboard lists follow with the decklist I posted on page 2 of this thread.

Stax   
-1   Cunning Wish
-1   Platinum Angel
-1   Mindslaver
-1   Fact or Fiction
-1   Library of Alexandria
-1   Gifts Ungiven
-2   Brainstorm
+3   Wasteland
+1   Gorilla Shaman
+1   Triskelion
+1   Swords to Plowshares
+2   Disenchant

Meandeck Oath   
-1   Cunning Wish
-4   Force of Will
-1   Pentavus
-1   Goblin Welder
-1   Brainstorm
+2   Swords to Plowshares
+1   Burnout
+1   Red Elemental Blast
+2   Pyroblast
+2   Disenchant

Dragon   
-1   Cunning Wish
-1   Pentavus
-1   Library of Alexandria
-1   Platinum Angel
-2   Gifts Ungiven
-1   Fact or Fiction
-1   Mox Emerald
-1   Goblin Welder
+2   Swords to Plowshares
+2   Disenchant
+1   Gorilla Shaman
+3   Wasteland
+1   Stifle
+1   Triskelion

Tendrils   
-1   Cunning Wish
-1   Pentavus
-1   Fact or Fiction
-1   Library of Alexandria
+1   Gorilla Shaman
+1   Stifle
+2   Wasteland
   
Gifts Ungiven   
-4   Force of Will
-1   Pentavus
-1   Cunning Wish
-1   Fact or Fiction
-1   Mindslaver
+3   Wasteland
+1   Burnout
+1   Red Elemental Blast
+2   Pyroblast
+1   Stifle

   
   
   
   
   
   
« Last Edit: February 03, 2006, 02:36:25 pm by Eandori » Logged

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« Reply #211 on: February 03, 2006, 02:40:29 pm »

  While I did play with Crucible-Strip mine through a lot of time and testing, I have actually moved on to filling those slots with another basic and a good metagame card to help me win against certain decks. I do not feel that running Crucible with a Strip mine is what Slaver wants, or even needs to do. I feel this even more when Crucible is ran without even a strip mine, which means it is being used to reoccur Fetchlands and protect your mana base. To me, if you aren't running Strip mine and you play your fetches right, you shouldn't need any Crucible to help you out. Your manabase should already have enough basics to be strong. Reusing Fetchlands seems more like a "danger of doing cool things" combo rather than just Slaving and winning. I don't like the idea of running 2 islands in Slaver either.That seems way too risky against most decks in the format right now. I think running three-four islands is ideal. Gifts runs 4-5 and I think that manabase is amazing. Also, cutting Library has been tempting to me, but it has done so much for me also, that I can not cut it.

 Also, why isn't anyone running Tormod's crypt maindecked? Every deck out there right now abuses the Graveyard more than ever. It just seems like a natural addition to the maindeck.
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« Reply #212 on: February 03, 2006, 03:08:00 pm »

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Also, why isn't anyone running Tormod's crypt maindecked? Every deck out there right now abuses the Graveyard more than ever. It just seems like a natural addition to the maindeck.

I've been maindecking one since June, and I strongly suggest that other CS players start doing so as well. As a card type, it is hard to beat a 0 casting cost artifact in a deck with Thirst and Welder. Against Gifts, Crypt is quite often the difference between winning and losing the match -- Gifts Ungiven may be a degenerate spell, unless a Crypt is on the table. In that case, is loses much of the potency that makes it worth running in the first place. I have a very good record against Gifts decks in tournaments, and that card is a key factor in winning the match.

I don't even need to mention how devastating the card is against Dragon. But think of how many decks rely on building up a game-ending Yawgmoth's Will. Quite a few in the format. And Tormod's Crypt is a great way to really hurt the gameplan of those decks. Sure, they can eventually get rid of it -- but it does buy you a few precious turns in a lot of matchups, which is all Control Slaver tends to require anyways.
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« Reply #213 on: February 03, 2006, 03:24:02 pm »

I can't even begin to express the sheer annoyance that maindeck Tormod's Crypt has caused for me playing against Rich. Unless I'm playing Fish or Belcher, I hate seeing Crypt and the fact that it's easily recurrable just makes life even more shitty. I believe maindeck Crypt and Rack and Ruin are some of the best choices for a CS deck currently.

EDIT: basically what rich said.
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« Reply #214 on: February 03, 2006, 04:08:48 pm »

I don't even need to mention how devastating the card is against Dragon. But think of how many decks rely on building up a game-ending Yawgmoth's Will. Quite a few in the format. And Tormod's Crypt is a great way to really hurt the gameplan of those decks. Sure, they can eventually get rid of it -- but it does buy you a few precious turns in a lot of matchups, which is all Control Slaver tends to require anyways.

It's VERY devastating game 1.  As a Dragon player if you're playing somewhere where you need to account for lots of Game 1 Crypts, you should play a different deck, rather than try and play around it.

Game 2 and 3 though you should be expecting something like that and be able to work around that.
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« Reply #215 on: February 03, 2006, 04:10:01 pm »

I think Tormod's crypt was the last card I rotated out of my sideboard list.  Total agreement, it's a huge card in vintage and plays well in slaver.

I think my final reason for rotating it out is that I felt "able" to deal with the decks that the crypt was the most abusive too.  Some may feel differently and want it main deck or in the SB.  I think that's fine.
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« Reply #216 on: February 03, 2006, 06:05:40 pm »

Without testing, obviously, I can say with pretty good certainty that removing your force of wills against Gifts Ungiven (especially Meandeck Gifts) is the wrong play.

In my honest opinion, I think removing your Force of Wills against any deck is the wrong play.  Force of Will keeps their first turn in check when you don't have any mana sources so they don't go first turn "I win" on you (granted that doesn't happen much, but it still can happen").  It also allows you to tap out to play a couple must-counter threats to bait them and then you still have counter backup with Force even though you tapped put.  My favourite reason though is that your opponent must always assume you have it in hand since no matter how much mana you have, you could still counter their win conditions.  Force of Will is just a very strong card that needs a lot of back up to be justified for being removed to the sideboard.

Now stuff like Mana Drain isn't as stapled in the maindeck as Force of Will is, you can take them out for game 2 and 3 of a fish match-up since it isn't that amazing as say against Stax, Gifts, or the Mirror as it can only usually generate about 2 mana.  This is why most players will most likely side at least 2 Mana Drains out in the Fish match-up, sometimes going up to 4.
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« Reply #217 on: February 03, 2006, 07:20:37 pm »

- 4 Force of Wills, especially against Gifts, is now the most retarded thing I have ever read.  This thread amazes me with not only it's lack of intelligence, but also, shear ignorance of things being said.

Wasteland against Gifts?  It runs between 4-6 Islands.

This topic should now be moved to Vintage improvement.
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« Reply #218 on: February 03, 2006, 07:29:55 pm »

Burnout seems worse than pyroblast/red blast too. Drawing a card is really not all that relevant after the counter war is over.
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« Reply #219 on: February 03, 2006, 08:41:48 pm »

Tormod's crypt Main is Very strong and has been in and out.  I have always had 2 Sideboarded and one has come mainboard at times but I didn't want it main at waterbury and my matchups didn't help me wish I had one either.

Eandori, Your Sideboard plans confuse me and I don't see why you would be doing them that way.  Force of Wills are very key in the Drain matchup since you use them like Meandeck Gifts uses Misdirections.  You want to protect and stop Mana Drains from resolving. This is from my playtesting maybe its been different for you.

I have boarded out my Forces Against Fish but I brought in 4 REBS, 2 Pyroclasm, Rushing River and a Rack and Ruin.  That plan did ok but I didn't like not having Force's and Drain wasn't up enough for me to continue using that plan.  I think Forces can come out in the Fish matchup but thats because Fish Cannot go Broken.  Matchups where the opponent can go broken means you want/need free Counters like Force and Misdirection.
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« Reply #220 on: February 03, 2006, 10:36:35 pm »

You have to be careful when considering a card like Tormod's Crypt main. If you decide to run it and Fish and Oath shows up,  you're essentially playing down one card. It's even marginal against other Welder based decks (UbaStax in particular), because  they usually run a significant number of Shamans for back up to nail stuff like Crypt or Needle, or they could stop Crypt with Null Rod or CotV=0. If your meta is Gifts and WGD on the other hand, then by all means, go nuts.

I'm also not sure why people are so ready to vehemently criticize things like Strip Mine or LoA in CS. You sacrifice some mana stability for the occasional high reward (winning the game). From my experience this risk seems to pay off with respect to LoA at least, but I couldn't say with the kind of certainty expressed by some in this thread which is the best way to go.

Quote from: jdizzle
Sorry.  Every deck that has won something is clearly perfect in every single way and should never be criticized.  Winning something twice makes it even more perfect then.  I'll remember that next time.  Guess Vroman has been making a big mistake in making changes to his Uba Stax list then.

Well, that's a fair statement, but from both my perspective and rureddy's your criticism looks like random guesswork. Perhaps you'd like to share how you reached the conclusion that cards like Mana Leak and Platinum Angel are bad? You might be right, but seeing how I was actually there and saw how Ugo's "bad" cards won him games, I'd offer a different conclusion.

Decks that win are not automatically perfect, but by the same token winning decks that are different from "established builds" aren't automatically inferior either.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2006, 10:43:32 pm by dicemanx » Logged

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« Reply #221 on: February 03, 2006, 11:40:16 pm »

Has Anyone Else tried Running 1-2 Pithing needle Mainboard or Sideboarded?  I have found 1 Main and 1 Sideboarded to be So helpful in a lot of matchups.  I don't have any Monkeys Main so naming Monkey can be really helpful too.  I don't think their too narrow and worst comes to worst they get welded out or pitched to Thirst.
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« Reply #222 on: February 04, 2006, 02:47:04 am »

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I'm also not sure why people are so ready to vehemently criticize things like Strip Mine or LoA in CS. You sacrifice some mana stability for the occasional high reward (winning the game). From my experience this risk seems to pay off with respect to LoA at least, but I couldn't say with the kind of certainty expressed by some in this thread which is the best way to go.

I don't like the added instability to a manabase that already has some major issues.  Not having UU up because you had Strip Mine or LoA is not acceptable in my eyes.  LoA is a metagame card.  Monsterous in control metas, but disasterous in Stax/Oath metas.  In the Midwest, you will lose about twice as many games from LoA as you win.

Quote
Well, that's a fair statement, but from both my perspective and rureddy's your criticism looks like random guesswork. Perhaps you'd like to share how you reached the conclusion that cards like Mana Leak and Platinum Angel are bad? You might be right, but seeing how I was actually there and saw how Ugo's "bad" cards won him games, I'd offer a different conclusion.

Mana Leak drives the deck into a total control role.  With 11 counterspells, you have no choice but to play the control role in every single matchup.  While the current meta has driven Slaver into that role in almost every matchup, having so much countermagic makes it more difficult for the deck to switch roles on a dime.  Putting things back into the perspective of "Who's the Beatdown," we already know that choosing the correct role is essential to winning the match.  However, what people often forget is the "the other half" of the Beatdown theory -- when to switch roles.  Slaver is a great deck because it is capable of playing either role, and switching on a dime.  When you add more cards that push you toward one role, you lose the ability to switch easily, and thus lose flexibility.  This goes against the entire notion of why Slaver is such a great deck.

In more practical/real world terms, the problems is that countermagic runs out.  Without as much firepower (caused from the addition of limited cards such as Mana Leak), you have to rely on big spells not resolving, since you can't just choose to goldfish around them and win in the meantime.

Mana Leak also has a ton of antistrategy: it gets weaker as the game goes longer.  Slaver is the deck that plays for the long game.  Any deck that tries to outlast it inevitably fails.  Slaver's goal is to get to the late game where it dominates.  Can Mana Leak help it get there?  Sure.  Mana Leak can waste some time early in the game.  However, it quickly becomes a card that buys tempo in the midgame, and Slaver doesn't really have anything to do with that tempo.  Making an opposing TfK cost 6 can be cute, but what do you plan to do to capitalize on that in the meantime?  A card predicated on doing something early in the game but little in the late is not a sound choice for inclusion in a deck that loves the long game.  Mana Leak then functions similar to Duress.  Great early, weak as the game goes.  Because Slaver is playing for the long game, Duress has been deemed too narrow for hte deck and most people don't run it.

As for Platinum Angel, one StP or bounce spell ends that nonsense.  The fact that it doesn't do something to make your opponent's life hard (Trike killing Welders/Xantid Swarms, Sundering Ben wrecking mana, Pentavus winning the permanent race) makes it inflexible, and thus not a good choice for Slaver.  I understand the strength of statement "You cannot lose the game and your opponents cannot win the game," but something that's not too difficult to remove really only catches opponents who aren't properly prepared offguard.  Such cards aren't "good" in and of themselves but rather "good surprises."  Very different things.

At least, that's what I've observed in my time with Slaver (from both sides of the table).
« Last Edit: February 04, 2006, 02:52:25 am by JDizzle » Logged
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« Reply #223 on: February 04, 2006, 03:33:56 am »

This discussion is good enough to stay in Open T1, although I had to clean up a bunch of posts.
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« Reply #224 on: February 04, 2006, 08:29:31 am »

Thanks Jacob,

Although I do appreciate the replies and different perspectives, some of the posts above were way over the top and they were far into the realm of insulting without adding to the value of the thread.  I'm very glad that the mana drain now has moderators that help keeping that kind of hate off the board.

Back to the subject:

My playtesting has found that Gifts Ungiven does NOT win on turn 1-2 on average.  That deck is far more defensive/reactive in nature then other tendrils or "combo out" theme decks like TPS.  GIfts usually seems to go for a win on turns 3-5 after countering a few things, and dropping a few lands/moxes etc.  From the start of the game, Gifts decks seem to work on 2 things.

#1.  Get their mana on the table (which is why they NEED 4 islands)
#2.  Build up a hand filled with counters/draw/combo pieces

Gifts tends to be better and counterspelling and drawing to recover then Slaver is.   Losing 2 cards by force of willing really hurts slaver because the Gifts deck will recover it's hand faster then you will.  My play testing against Gifts decks showed me that since they don't win on turns 1-2 usually, I can pass on the FoW and try to keep my hand bigger against them by replacing them with effectively 4 REB (2 pyro, 1 reb, 1 burnout)  With drains and my red-NO cards, I have good tools in hand to win a counter war cheaply

The other thing I observed about Gifts decks is that they really capitalize on EoT spells and playing thier bombs in response to your plays.  I fear tapping out on their EoT and casting an early Thirst becaue they might resolve a gifts on me.  In which case it's that much harder for me to win against them.  Keeping my mana open, and ready to counter something the Gifts deck is trying to do is very important!  That plays right into my tactic against Gifts.

Wastelands, Strip mine, REB, Pyroblast, Mana Drain, Burnout, and Goblin Welder are all very cheap plays and can happen while keeping other mana open to stop the  Gifts deck reacting to those.  My game plan is to stop Gifts from doing the 2 things it's trying the hardest to do...  get mana on the table, and build up a really solid hand, ready to "combo out."  Although Wasteland does not hit islands, it does hit everything else.  Keeping the gifts deck on ONLY blue mana, or tripping him up for 1 turn CAN mean the win for me.

Quote
Burnout seems worse than pyroblast/red blast too. Drawing a card is really not all that relevant after the counter war is over.
I absolutely disagree that drawing cards is not relevant after a counter war.  The ONE thing you can DEPEND on after a counter war, is that both decks have smaller hands.  If I had mana open but still ended up pitching that TFK or Gifts to my FoW just to counter something, it would have been MUCH better to instead cast the REB and keep that TFK or Gifts in my hand.

On that note, the Slaver deck is usually forced to be the first one to aggresively play it's Thirst on EoT for the Gifts Player.  That's when the counter war seems to happen the most.  In which case I'll get that next upkeep and draw my card before Gifts tries to combo out.

Why is the burnout not that much worse?  Because counter wars use COLORED mana.  Blue and Red mana are used like crazy in counter wars, but (Jet, Pearl, Emerald, Sol Ring, Mana Crypt, Citadel, Library) tend not to be.  So the odds are I usually have at least 1 non-blue/red mana unused in the counter war that can go into the burnout and replace a card for me. 

If the gifts deck gets plenty of mana on the table, with a handfull of cards, chances are MUCH higher I will lose.  So I do my best to stop that from happening. 

Quote
In my honest opinion, I think removing your Force of Wills against any deck is the wrong play.  Force of Will keeps their first turn in check when you don't have any mana sources so they don't go first turn "I win" on you (granted that doesn't happen much, but it still can happen").  It also allows you to tap out to play a couple must-counter threats to bait them and then you still have counter backup with Force even though you tapped put. My favourite reason though is that your opponent must always assume you have it in hand since no matter how much mana you have, you could still counter their win conditions.
I don't always board out all my FoW.  And the Gifts player really has no clue if I did or I didn't.  So the chances are that he will play against me as if I do have them regardless.
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« Reply #225 on: February 04, 2006, 08:45:40 am »

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I don't like the added instability to a manabase that already has some major issues.  Not having UU up because you had Strip Mine or LoA is not acceptable in my eyes.  LoA is a metagame card.  Monsterous in control metas, but disasterous in Stax/Oath metas.  In the Midwest, you will lose about twice as many games from LoA as you win.
Again, if the meta I was playing in had lots of decks that keep my hand small, I would probably remove the LoA also from my main deck.  Meta game call.  I'm less likely to remove the strip mine though...

Stax rolls over when it's one big game plan does not work.  "Make the casting/mana environment very hard, then work underneath it"  I find it's much easier to strip a workshop and cut off the stax player at the knees, then it is to keep UU on the table and WAIT to drain something.  Stax has MORE threats then SLAVER has counters.  If you fight that battle, the odds are Stax will win.  If you hit Stax's mana, you VERY much disrupt his entire game plan.  Simply put, it's much easier to get to UU on the table if Stax does not have the mana to power out all those threats while your helpless to respond.

Against Oath, I don't plan on WINNING the counter war.  Oath plays more counters, and has more card draw.  What I DO try to do though, is make the counter war hard enough that he empties his hand or taps out.  Disenchant and plow are huge against Oath.  So is 1 activated slaver.  MOST games I win against Oath, he had an Oath on the board.  He probably even activated it 1-2 times.  But he had to fight to get it out, and I won by resolving a plow/disenchant/slaver activation.

Quote from: JDizzle
Mana Leak drives the deck into a total control role.  With 11 counterspells, you have no choice but to play the control role in every single matchup.  While the current meta has driven Slaver into that role in almost every matchup, having so much countermagic makes it more difficult for the deck to switch roles on a dime.  Putting things back into the perspective of "Who's the Beatdown," we already know that choosing the correct role is essential to winning the match.  However, what people often forget is the "the other half" of the Beatdown theory -- when to switch roles.  Slaver is a great deck because it is capable of playing either role, and switching on a dime.  When you add more cards that push you toward one role, you lose the ability to switch easily, and thus lose flexibility.  This goes against the entire notion of why Slaver is such a great deck.
I pretty much agree with everything you said about Mana Leak.  It's a good card, but it's tempo does not fit the style and theme of Control Slaver.

Quote from: JDizzle
As for Platinum Angel, one StP or bounce spell ends that nonsense.  The fact that it doesn't do something to make your opponent's life hard (Trike killing Welders/Xantid Swarms, Sundering Ben wrecking mana, Pentavus winning the permanent race) makes it inflexible, and thus not a good choice for Slaver.  I understand the strength of statement "You cannot lose the game and your opponents cannot win the game," but something that's not too difficult to remove really only catches opponents who aren't properly prepared offguard.  Such cards aren't "good" in and of themselves but rather "good surprises."  Very different things.
Again, I usually don't play the angel and pray she goes the distance.  I use the angel the same way a chess player uses a queen, I force my opponent to work around her.  In doing so, it makes my MAIN tactic that much easier... activate a slaver.
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« Reply #226 on: February 04, 2006, 09:36:00 am »


I absolutely disagree that drawing cards is not relevant after a counter war.  The ONE thing you can DEPEND on after a counter war, is that both decks have smaller hands.  If I had mana open but still ended up pitching that TFK or Gifts to my FoW just to counter something, it would have been MUCH better to instead cast the REB and keep that TFK or Gifts in my hand.

On that note, the Slaver deck is usually forced to be the first one to aggresively play it's Thirst on EoT for the Gifts Player.  That's when the counter war seems to happen the most.  In which case I'll get that next upkeep and draw my card before Gifts tries to combo out.

Why is the burnout not that much worse?  Because counter wars use COLORED mana.  Blue and Red mana are used like crazy in counter wars, but (Jet, Pearl, Emerald, Sol Ring, Mana Crypt, Citadel, Library) tend not to be.  So the odds are I usually have at least 1 non-blue/red mana unused in the counter war that can go into the burnout and replace a card for me. 

What I mean here, is that drawing that card is far less relevant than the one extra mana it costs to play burnout. It is going to be much harder to force through your spells with that extra requirement. I can see why you have it though, since you have Cunning Wish in your deck.

The burnout isn't as disturbing as sideboarding IN Wasteland over, basically, Force of Will against Gifts. I'm pretty sure that is not the correct play. Against a good gifts player you will never get to use that wasteland. They will just fetch out islands until it is time to kill you.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2006, 09:38:46 am by rleidle » Logged
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« Reply #227 on: February 04, 2006, 12:21:52 pm »

Okay, regarding mana leak: In today's metagame, there are so many threats that can be played that make it VERY difficult for slaver to win. Trinisphere (depending on what comes down next), Dark Confidant, Xantid Swarm, Null Rod, and Sphere of Resistance can all ruin your day. Sure, you have mana drain and force of will, but that's only eight counters. So, you can either go the 4cc direction and pack "answers" or you can pack more counters. I don't know which way is correct; they both have merit. All I am saying is that I appreciate having more counterspells at my disposal. I found that having mana leaks in the early game allowed me to hold my force of wills to force MY things through, as opposed to stopping my opponents threats. Having the early leaks also allowed me to keep brainstorms and other blue cards instead of being faced with a decision of what to pitch to force. Also, mana leak in the late game allows me to stall out my opponent a little bit. I won a game because of it just last week, where I made my opponent play 3 more mana for his topdecked yawgmoth's will (I had no other counters in hand, obv) and the result was that he was one mana short of comboing out with tendrils.  Now, with that example I'm not suggesting that it's awesome late game, but it's better than counterspell because it's easier getting mana for on turn one.


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« Reply #228 on: February 04, 2006, 01:00:59 pm »

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The burnout isn't as disturbing as sideboarding IN Wasteland over, basically, Force of Will against Gifts. I'm pretty sure that is not the correct play. Against a good gifts player you will never get to use that wasteland. They will just fetch out islands until it is time to kill you.
Well, if that started happening in my Gifts matchups, I would definately go for a different route and leave the wastelands in the SB.  So far though, I can get him to either only get island, or to get a dual that I'll waste.  Part of this unfolds based on how he and I draw, and whether or not I even let him know I'm holding a wasteland.

The Gifts matchups seem to nearly always be a topdeck stalemate for awhile with both sides waiting for the other to jump.  THen a huge counter war goes off, and somebody wins after that.  I try to edge in as much advantage as I can during the "stalemate" part.  Seems to be my best tactic against that deck.  At least from what i have found.
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« Reply #229 on: February 04, 2006, 02:18:23 pm »

Gifts Doesn't Need 5/4 islands they could be running 3 Volcanic and 3 underground Seas but the fact is it doesn't need its colors so it runs a stable mana base that doesn't lose to wastelands. 
Gifts definitely does stuff early game that matters.  A turn 1-2 Thirst, Ancestral, Time Walk, Pithing Needle Do hurt Control Slaver a lot.  I'm not sure what build you've been testing against but Brassmans List has some crazy shit that REB doesn't do anything against like ->
Demonic tutor, Vamp tutor, Yawgmoth's Will, Recoup, Time Vault, Flame Fussillate, Tendrils of Agony, Pithing Needles
These to me are why Gifts is a scary matchup for a lot of people and then they have more draw power than you to top everything off.  REBS help you win counter wars by Countering Mana Drains and Their Forces.  Taking out Forces Leave you 4 ways to counter a Yawgmoth's Will that they rip off the top or a Pithing needle.  I have seen this happen many times and I can see boarding out a mana drain or 2 for REBS since they cost less but Forces are your way of dealing with Gifts broken plays/Cards.  Gifts can be the Control Deck by setting up a Needle on Welder or Shaman on even your wastelands then they have a few turns while your digging to set up their Win.
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« Reply #230 on: February 04, 2006, 08:02:07 pm »

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Mana Leak drives the deck into a total control role.  With 11 counterspells, you have no choice but to play the control role in every single matchup.  While the current meta has driven Slaver into that role in almost every matchup, having so much countermagic makes it more difficult for the deck to switch roles on a dime.  Putting things back into the perspective of "Who's the Beatdown," we already know that choosing the correct role is essential to winning the match.  However, what people often forget is the "the other half" of the Beatdown theory -- when to switch roles.  Slaver is a great deck because it is capable of playing either role, and switching on a dime.  When you add more cards that push you toward one role, you lose the ability to switch easily, and thus lose flexibility.  This goes against the entire notion of why Slaver is such a great deck.


I think that you are way off the mark in your assessment of Mana Leak. It certainly does not drive the deck into "total control" mode, nor does it make things more difficult for the deck to "switch roles".

To explain: modern control decks have evolved to the point where they *want* to be the beatdown deck in control mirrors. The actual plan that the control deck is trying to execute is so powerful, that it is almost immediately game ending (which is why most control decks are more appropriately labeled combo-control; there aren't any surviving pure control decks anymore unless you count Landstill and 3CC). For instance, Gifts decks that focus on using Gifts to set up quickly for the Yawgmoth's Will are adopting the beatdown strategy. For CS, the beatdown role centers largely around 5 cards - 4 TfK and 1 Tinker (its hard to pursue the big Will as a beatdown strategy in CS). As long as it can get a Welder in play and push through a critical TfK it might have the opportunity to end the game on the spot via Slaver, Titan, or even Platinum Angel (more on that in a sec). It is also noteworthy that the beatdown and control roles are difficult to distinguish in modern control archetypes, primarily because they use their card drawing and disruption in both roles.

This is why cards like Duress and Mana Leak are misanalyzed - their role is not well understood, and often they are discarded or criticized because they are too conditional as pure control elements. That's true. But both Duress and Mana Leak can serve to PUSH through your beatdown plan. I play Duress in Gifts because it is the best tool to use in order to assess whether the beatdown option is available to me and if I can go for the throat with my Gifts Ungiven. If you don't have such control elements available in the control mirror, it might be far too dangerous to misassess the situation and go for the beatdown and get hammered in the process (misassignment of role, with tragic consequences). Another perfect example is Mana Drain. This card has a role in both beatdown (mana generation to fuel Gifts) and obviously as a control card. The disruption base serves both the beatdown and control roles, and cards like Duress and Leak are perfect tools to use particularly if you want to increase your chances of succeeding with the former role.

Specifically regarding Leak: while the power of the card is diminished over time once the opponent reaches a certain amount of mana and can comfortably play around it, it shines at being able to win the beatdown war by helping you win critical counter battles over your beatdown elements (by minimizing the amount of U mana you need to win counter wars). The fact that it stops the opposing control deck early in its attempt at beatdown or playing the control role is an absolute bonus. Even in the later game, you can win counter wars via coupling with other counters (If Leak is counter #2 or #3 in your counter arsenal) and through Gorilla Shamans minimizing available mana. Yes, it will still be conditional and situational, but show me any card that isn't. There's a downside to absolutely everything.

So it seems to me that the role of Mana Leak is to IMPROVE the ability to transition between the control role and beatdown role in the control match-up, because of its ability for you to maintain the momentary initiative that you need to win the game via "beatdown". This is one reason why Gifts can often pummel the shit out of CS - who cares if CS has the ability to chain into card advantage or win the long control games if it loses early because Gifts strips CS of the ability to defend itself with Gift's supposedly "weak" control elements like Duress and beats it with a resolved Gifts for the Will plan. Notice too Mana Leak's dual role in playing as the control deck - it can stop the opposing beatdown plans which the opponent will threaten early in the game.

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I don't like the added instability to a manabase that already has some major issues.  Not having UU up because you had Strip Mine or LoA is not acceptable in my eyes.  LoA is a metagame card.

Is there any reason why you're automatically assuming that LoA takes the place of an Island? LoA is best viewed as a spell, not a mana source (or at least NOT substituting for a U mana source). Why, for instance, don't you argue the merits of say LoA over Mana Vault instead, or some random spell? Alternately, if TAL has room to fit in Tormod's Crypt, is it not conceivable that having a LoA in its place will assist you in the mirrors and against Gifts as much, while retaining the flexibility against archetypes where Crypt would have no point? I don't know, but the point is that perhaps you need to be examining LoA vs spells, not Islands. Furthermore, there's no law that says you must play LoA over basics/fetches if its in your opening hand if you are facing decks like UbaStax or Waste heavy archetypes.

Regarding Strip Mine, I imagine that would only merit consideration in any CS builds with CoW, which offsets some of that mana instability already. The merits of CoW seem quite contentious, and I imagine this extends to figuring out the merits of Strip Mine as well.

Quote
As for Platinum Angel, one StP or bounce spell ends that nonsense.

Examine the top competitive archetypes. How much Platz removal do you see exactly? Aside from Welder based decks (mirror and UbaStax), you'd be lucky to find more than one removal spell; sometimes you might find up to 3 in good fish builds. But even then its beside the point. Platz changes the complexion of the game radically. Your opponent is forced to reach a sitation where he can resolve the bounce spell/removal spell against you, so that puts added pressure when he's taking on the beatdown role as he needs to add that critical component when comboing off. Its much more difficult for the opposing player to take on the control role, because Platz is a clock too.

If you get Platz into play, you can focus on being the control deck and you can wage war on FAR FEWER fronts. Will this strategy always succeed? Hardly. But its tiresome seeing the same lame argument that as long as a deck has a random bounce or removal spell there's no problem or it will put an end to the Platz "nonesense". It's about as valid as calling YWill terrible because you can just "counter it", or calling Ground Seal terrible against CS because you can "play around it", or calling CotV bad against Belcher because it can whiff (statements often made particularly due to scant anecdotal evidence). The point is NOT that a Platz or Ground Seal ends the game - the point is that the nature of the battle is changed, and the less prepared your opponent is and the weaker the opponent is when it comes to transition strategy, you just made your life a whle lot easier and upped your chances of winning. Even if the opponent is at the top of his game and has solutions, he still might be caught in a fight that he has little chance of winning.


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« Reply #231 on: February 05, 2006, 11:53:33 pm »

In terms of it's strengths and weaknesses I believe Slaver compares almost precisely to Jin Kazama from Tekken. Tekken players familiar with Jin will understand why.

This post conveys exactly zero information to people who don't play Tekken. Unfortunately for you, this is a Magic board, not a Tekken board. Warning for spam.
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« Reply #232 on: February 06, 2006, 02:38:53 am »

Well for Waterbury I guess I didn't cut Vault but I never Saw it in the 7 rounds that I played in...  Heres a link to my Decklist from Waterbury and Thanks JD for putting up the list that you had done.   http://sales.starcitygames.com/deckdatabase/displaydeck.php?DeckID=15645

I think burning Wish and Tolarian Academy could be leaving my list once I put Slaver back together.  I never drew Vault during the 7 rounds of Swiss I played in so maybe thats why I thought I cut it and I also cut it from My friends gifts list so I could have just confused the decks.  Academy while being able to go broken also cause me to lose a game cause I didn't get double blue for Drain up in time to Drain a Mage which then named Mana drain.  I have been seeing this happen more and more as time goes on.  Wish was great for me but I hated how I had 4 SB cards just for it and I forgot to put 1-2 Pyroclasm in my board and I saw that after I turned in my Deck Registration so thats my fault for not Sleeping.  I really liked that list and thought it was one of the most solid builds Ive put together in some time.
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« Reply #233 on: February 06, 2006, 03:21:50 am »

To try and explain Quality Bear's post with my own experiences from Tekken 3:

At least from my experience with Jin Kazama, he was a dangerous character who could do a lot of things very well, but was missing a few pieces that would really have been nice to have. In particular, he lacked a low parry (meaning he had to sit back and block low strings instead of stopping it in its tracks, which didn't allow him to counterattack and force the issue as much as he would have liked) and a good juggle-starter. Players had to come to terms with and play around his weaknesses. In the hands of a seasoned Jin player, he could be devastatingly good - he was fast and VERY strong - but to reach a certain level of competence with him tended to take a little longer than it did with some other, easier-to-play characters. One of my friends described a bad Jin player as a "speed bag" (think boxing) because it was so easy to beat them. I was a *terrible* Jin player, incidentally Razz

In terms of Slaver - the analogy is a good one, in my opinion. Slaver is a dangerous deck that does a lot of things well and can be devastating, but has some weaknesses that its players must come to terms with (I'm thinking a slightly-iffy mana base and Null Rod here, and multiple Chalices as well). In the hands of a good Slaver player, it can be an absolutely devasating deck; in the hands of an average player, often the weaknesses are made very apparent, and the strengths are not emphasized as much as they could be.

I'm pretty sure that's what he was getting at, anyway.
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« Reply #234 on: February 15, 2006, 04:37:51 am »

My God dicemanx, you said everything I was trying to say with the Platinum Angel.  But much better then I said it  Smile  She's exactly like the Queen in a Chess game for me.  I use her to pressure my opponent so I can get back to Plan A: Activate a slaver and win.

Full agreement on your comments about LoA and Waste as well.  People always limit themselves by thinking of them as mana.  That's job B for those cards.  Job A is drawing cards or trashing non-basics.  I tend to think of them like a non-counterable spell more then lands.

Quote
I'm not sure what build you've been testing against but Brassmans List has some crazy shit that REB doesn't do anything against like ->
Demonic tutor, Vamp tutor, Yawgmoth's Will, Recoup, Time Vault, Flame Fussillate, Tendrils of Agony, Pithing Needles.
 
The most threatening cards you mentioned in that list I'm running also. (DT, Vamp, Will)

These are Late game-best cards that work better only when you have the right setup.
-Yawgmoth's Will
-Tendrils
-Recoup

Pithing Needle has NEVER EVER shut me down yet.  I have ALWAYS been able to work around it.  CS is a deck with MANY paths to win.

Welders do amazing things to Time Vaults.  So does Monkey, Disenchant, mana drain and FoW.

Finally, MOST gifts decks are almost entirely blue.  REB is good against decks that run 80% blue spells...

Cheers,
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« Reply #235 on: February 15, 2006, 12:48:34 pm »

Just a note to Eandori, against oath you do the following

Meandeck Oath   
-1   Cunning Wish
-4   Force of Will
-1   Pentavus
-1   Goblin Welder
-1   Brainstorm
+2   Swords to Plowshares
+1   Burnout
+1   Red Elemental Blast
+2   Pyroblast
+2   Disenchant

First, Cutting fows agains oath is retarded, you need the more counterspells you can, specially fows, oath will not allow to get UU in order to play mana drain to  oath most of times, beacose of wasteland.
Second, i dont think cutting brainstorm is optimal, and not refered to meandeck oath(cos is outdated) but moderns oath (Gws) dont fear your Rebs/pyros, bring them agains oath and pyro what, an impulse?, Oath dosent need to resolve blue spells in order to win, is often a dead card, you also need to fetch a nonbasic land to cast it.
Anyways, Ive never liked Stp agains oath, you need 2 of them to make it useful, Stp and akroma and die to razia, they buy you 2 turns, your mana base becomes poor and you have sided in cards that just do a little to oath, and if you play them on side, oath creature post side is 2triskelion 1Dsc 1Angel, that mades stp sux. Burnout Sux against oath by the same reason that reb.
Also, platz is a game winner agains oath first game, but 2nd and 3 just sux, can be trisked away or "oxidizes" if they see them on game 1 they can bring a few in order to beat it

Bloodmoon hurt oath, the same of anull and EE, that are the only cards that Cs can have in his side to beat oath
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« Reply #236 on: February 15, 2006, 01:29:08 pm »

I sided +4 Annul +1 Duplicant +1 Gilded Drake, -1 Mindslaver, -1 Trisklelion, -2 Gorilla, -1 Welder, -1 Rack and Ruin against oath 3 times in my first and only Vintage tourney, in which I was playing Slaver.

I won 2 matches, and lost the other only because he topdecked 3x Oath in a row, the first one eating Annul, the second one meeting a brainstorm to dig for annul, and the third one resolving.  I still welded in Duplicant to RFG Akroma though, and then I drew Tinker without another Dup left in my deck.  I quickly lost to a Spirit beating down.

Lesson: You can beat oath with slaver, even though you're running maindeck 1/1s.  Unless he savage rips 3 oaths in a row, in which case you're savagely screwed no matter what deck you're playing.
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« Reply #237 on: February 15, 2006, 05:37:56 pm »

Annul are indeed extremely savage against Oath as is Blood Moon.  Those cards are the biggest pains in the ass ever.

Please cut FoW against me.  I would probably give you a kiss if you did that. 

When I play Oath, I hope my opponent boards in 8 REBs.  That would be awesome for me since it doesn't counter the card that matters.  StP also does jack with a creature base of Trike, Trike, HUGE D00D post board.
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« Reply #238 on: February 15, 2006, 06:14:09 pm »

After board the creatures you want in your deck are ideally Duplicant and Darksteel Colossus.

The cards that you can cut are some number of welders and shamans, additional tutors like Vamp, anything designed to kill little guys like pyro or fire ice, things like Pentavus or Titan.
you can also cut a drain or two.

I would never cut Mindslaver.  Its too good.

My board plan has me bringing in 1 Echoing Truth, 1 Darksteel Colossus, 1 Rack and Ruin, and 1 Stifle.
and boarding out 1 Gorilla Shaman, 1 Sundering Titan, 1 Vampiric Tutor, and 1 Burning Wish.
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« Reply #239 on: February 16, 2006, 04:25:15 pm »

Perhaps other builds of CS play differently for you guys.  But with my build vs. Oath, this is what I see.

My Gifts-Slaver deck does not have as much draw or counter power as most Oath decks.  In fact, of all the games I've played an won against Oath, it usually gets an Oath into play and activates it at least once.  Some of you think me cutting FoW is bad because REB does not stop Oath, or the creatures.

But that's not how I play the REB's against Oath...

Since my deck does NOT have more counters or draw, I typically fall into the roll of "aggro" versus Oath.  Activating a Slaver, or getting Platz into play is very powerfull versus Oath.  So my game plan against that deck is to power through my thirsts and weld a slaver/angel into play.  Thirst is already 2U, a mana drain backing that up is another UU.  With Oath's wastelands and strip, it can be hard to have UUU ready to resolve a Thirst.  It's usually much easier to get 2UR then the 2UUU.

If you compare the FoW to the REB, I'm losing 2 cards from hand to back up the TFK, so it's 2U and 2 blue cards.  I already said I don't have more draw then Oath, so going 2 cards down on top of having less draw overall can hurt really bad and force me into topdecking.  So I would rather not make my existing disadvantage worse and go down even more cards trying to power through my TFK.

Oath almost NEVER counters my welder.  They almost always keep counters in their hand and just use him to help activate their Oath.  Oath also almost never counters my moxes etc.  So from that, a single resolved TFK can lead to the game in my favor.

Also, again, I don't actually board out my FoW every time.  And my opponent doesn't really know if I did or did not.  So I would state that most of my opponents assume I have FoW in the deck still.

I don't find that all Oath players use Razia, and Plow deals with the other Oath staples quite nicely (Spirit OTN, Akroma, DC).

The disenchants might end up stopping Oath's game plan, but they are usually there just to trip him up enough that I can resolve a TFK and win.

Anyways, that's how I have been playing against Oath so far, and it actually works.  My win % is closer to 70% against all the Oath builds I play against.  I worry much more about Stax or Dragon.

Quote
I would never cut Mindslaver.  Its too good.
I almost never do either.  Cutting 1 slaver makes my tinker less valuable because I usually do whatever I can to get 1 slaver in the yard.  Lots of other reasons too, but yeah.  I almost always want 2 slaver in the deck.
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