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Author Topic: [Deck] Drain Tendrils  (Read 64266 times)
RaleighNCTourneys
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« on: February 02, 2008, 06:34:36 pm »

I think that a thread for Drain Tendrils (DT) is well overdue. While many people may not have heard of DT, it has been my deck of choice for about 2 years. I've played in many tournaments with it and tested it extensively. I try to write tourney reports when I do well or have something new to add that was successful, but I never got around to starting a thread about the deck.

First, let's figure out what exactly makes a deck be considered "Drain Tendrils." Well, as far as I know, I coined the phrase Drain Tendrils a while back when I first started playing the deck. The name does not really define the deck, and it is entirely possible someone else called their combo deck Drain Tendrils well before me. However, for simplicity, I will continue calling the deck Drain Tendrils and define the archetype as follows:

(note: this is how I define the archetype because these are what I consider my options to be)

U/B Tendrils based combo that can splash red. The maindeck includes the following cards:

3 Flooded Strand
4 Island
2 Polluted Delta
1 Tolarian Academy
4 Underground Sea 
1 Lotus Petal
1 Mana Crypt
1 Mana Vault
1 Mox Emerald
1 Mox Jet
1 Mox Pearl
1 Mox Ruby
1 Mox Sapphire
1 Black Lotus
1 Sol Ring

1 Ancestral Recall
4 Brainstorm
4 Thirst for Knowledge
1 Skeletal Scrying
1 Fact or Fiction
4 Accumulated Knowledge

2 Intuition
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Vampiric Tutor
1 Mystical Tutor

1 Chain of Vapor
2 Hurkyl's Recall
1 Rebuild

4 Force of Will
4 Mana Drain
   
2 Tendrils of Agony
1 Time Walk
1 Yawgmoth's Will

while these cards can be changed: 1x Tendrils of Agony, 2x Hurkyl's Recall, 1x Rebuild, 1x Chain of Vapor, 1x Skeletal Scrying, 1x Thirst for Knowledge, 1x Fact or Fiction, 1x Mana Vault and the mana base can be altered to include red.

Obviously, all of these cards wouldn't be taken out at the same time... but a few of these cards could be taken out to make room for others. Other cards could include different draw spells, tutors, Empty the Warrens, Tinker/Colosssus, LoA, Dark Ritual, other bounce spells, duress effects, etc.

A more general definition may be UB/UBr Tendrils Control/Combo with the AK engine, TFKs and Drains.

If it's been thought of, I've probably tried it over the years. In all honestly, I'm not starting this thread to get help with this deck or try to figure out how to make it better. I'm happy with where it's at and know my options with it. I feel like I should share my deck with the Vintage community so that other's may enjoy it as much as I have. I am definitiely open to criticisms, comments or new ideas... I'm just saying, that's not why I'm starting this thread.

Here are some articles and reports about DT:

http://www.themanadrain.com/index.php?topic=35243.0
[Report] The Cary Cup #1: TO Report (0th Place) and Player Report (1st Place) by Cody Vinci

http://www.themanadrain.com/index.php?topic=32239.msg465186#msg465186
[Report] Adapting Drain Tendrils: Top 4 Split at Charleston, SC by Cody Vinci

http://www.themanadrain.com/index.php?topic=31087.msg451385#msg451385
[Report] What did I just lose to? StarCity Games Roanoke Day 2 - *1st* PLUS MORE! by Cody Vinci

And here is one by Glix
http://www.themanadrain.com/index.php?topic=32716.0
[Report] What Did I Just Loose To Redux (1/2 Split @ Myriad)

And one by Jori Amat (pizzero)
http://www.team-pataners.com/report-ganador-de-la-lcv47-con-tp-gifts-tendrils/
[Report] Winner of the LCV4#7 with TP Gifts Tendrils (Mataró, 19/07/08 - 62 players) (you can translate on the site)

http://www.team-pataners.com/primer-tp-gifts-tendrils/
[Article] TP Gifts Tendrils by Jordi Amat (you can translate on the site)

http://www.themanadrain.com/index.php?topic=36351.0
[Article] Post-6/20 Drain Tendrils: Staying Ahead of the Curve by Cody Vinci

There was a brief period I tried to add Dark Confidant, Duress and other cards that weren't as successful as my normal maindeck. Here are my complete results (from notes I have taken, to the best of my knowledge) playing DT.

SCG Events:

1 1st
3 top 16
0 non-top 16

NC/SC/GA Events:

1 1st
1 1st/2nd split
2 2nd
1 3rd
6 top 4 split
1 5th
1 top 8
0 non-top 8

I'm presenting these results to establish the decks' credibility and show my long history with it. I don't mean to brag. Smile

All of the different kill conditions with the deck can be found in my tourney reports. I've tried different combinations of Tendrils, ETW and Tinker/DSC. I think all three kills can be successful right now, but I like the 2x maindeck Tendrils kill and Tinker/DSC on the board the best now. Here is my current board (my current maindeck can be found above):

4 Leyline of the Void
3 Pithing Needle
1 Echoing Truth
1 Darkblast
1 Tinker
1 Darksteel Colossus
4 Thoughtseize

Basically, I've gone over the deck and my choices for cards many times in the past. My tourney reports often turn into a discussion about the deck. So, if you have the time and you're interested... I suggest reading the reports, the questions people asked and the replies to those questions.

I invite anyone to ask questions they can't find answers to, make suggestions, comments, or whatever else you may want to say.

I hope that anyone else with experience with the deck can help me answer any questions as well.

Thanks for looking!

Cody
« Last Edit: August 17, 2008, 10:43:45 am by RaleighNCTourneys » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2008, 07:02:03 pm »

This is the last question from my most recent Tourney Report... I wanted to move discussion over to here.

1) Both the previous reports your link to sport a single (then) restricted gush (about which you commented "ZOMG GUSH"). Now that you have access to 4, you ommit it entirely.  Can you explain why you dropped it?  Would you consider gush in your modern build, and if so how many and for what?

Meadbert's reply: In a Gifts/Long heavy meta it was important to be able to race those decks and combo out on turn 3.  In this meta, that race is less important so combo pieces such as Gush, Frantic Search and Dark Ritual were dropped.  Also, running Leylines post board made Thirst for Knowledge better so you could filter dead draws.  When TFK#4 was added something had to go and I believe that was Gush.

My reply: Agreed with everything Bert has to say. Additionally, I don't like the idea of running LoA right now and that was a major benefit of having the one Gush. Gush was a great 1-of. Even if it was unrestricted at the time (and the metagame was hypothetically unchanged), I would have only ran 1. I never wanted to see more than 1 when playing DT, so its restriction was not a problem. It was a unique combo piece that had a unique function: a great combo-enabler by providing free storm and free draw that was combolicious with Yawgmoth's Will. It gave the deck an extra kick when it needed to win on the spot, but it wasn't an engine, and I never wanted it to be. If you are considering playing Gush in Drain Tendrils now, just play Gush Tendrils. It will work out much better for you. Since the unrestriction of Gush, other decks have been created to abuse it (through Merchant Scroll and Fastbond). DT's 1 Gush cannot compete with an engine based around the card, and so it was dropped in order to adapt different strategies. I consider the Sketetal Scrying the replacement for Gush as this is a better card against Gush-based decks than a single Gush.

2) I notice you tried red & ETW as answers to extirpate, which seems decidedly unnecessary now. However, ETW is good versus creatures and Stax.  Have you tried ETW in the current meta?

Meadbert's reply: With Stax back a 3 color manabase can be problematic.  Although Warrens is great against Stax, Rebuid and Hurkles are better.

My reply: Agreed with everything Bert has to say. Islands are hot right now. I don't want to run red and add even more non-basics and inconsistency. Also, many decks are running Echoing Truth and creatures bigger than 1/1. Lastly, I want Duress effects on my board over REBs... making a red splash for just ETW seem silly to me (and I also don't think it's optimal).

3) You're deck sports tons of artifact bounce, but only a lonely chain of vapor to answer creatures (e.g. mm --> tendrials + chalice @ 1 = gl).  Is this not a problem? It seems to me this might make ETW particularly (ahem) warranted.  Other possibilities include darkblast main, cunning wish, crippling fatigue.

Meadbert's reply: Cody played without even Chain for the longest time.  There was a while that he just played 3 Rebuild and 0 Chain.  Mage + Chalie@1 is answered because Hurkles and Rebuild bounce Chalice.

My reply: Agreed. Your example of Meddling Mage on Tendrils and Chalice at 1 is non-problematic and highly unlikely. Most players with Meddling Mage will name something other than Tendrils of Agony unless they have studied my list. However, given your example, it's really not a problem. This is because the Intuition/AK engine is so powerful and left unchecked by your example. If I can convert on my Intu/AK engine... then the kill from that point will be easy (bounce Chalice then Chain of Vapor all my artifacts then Meddling Mage then win). This is another example of why I run so much bounce... I don't want to be tutoring for it or worrying if I pitch it to FOW. It makes the deck run smooth and worry free.

4) How is the deck against dedicated (storm) combo? I'd think that fast decks like Grim Long (now nearly extinct) and flash that can go off turn 2-3 with duress backup would have been tough matchups (which is what kept me from picking up before now).

Meadbert's reply: Oldschool turn 2 Grim Long was a problem.  Basically DT had the same problem that Slaver did.  Drain might not be up in time and without access to Merchant Scroll it is tough to find Force in time.  Now that Long decks are aiming more at turn 3, DT has a much better chance since not only is Drain more likely to be up, but Thirst can draw into Force and Intuition can even tutor for Force in an emergency.  Flash remains a problem because it races Drain.  Having Leylines post board really helps Drain decks though since it is tough to remove Leyline and Flash for the win all before Drain mana is available.  Also the Thoughtseize in the board really help the Long and Flash matchups post board.

My reply: Combo decks are slower so that helps a lot. Basically, if I can make one stop (with a counter) and then untap... I usually win. The deck has so much draw power, and combo decks can fall behind fast against if they don't win early. Also, the deck is a dedicated Tendrils deck (that's the only way it wins)... so if Long Necro's and passes or does a Draw7 and passes... there is a very good chance I can untap and win (this happens all the time). Flash is not a great matchup but I've hardly ever played it. I have a sideboard plan that is effective as well.

Have you tested against the slower storm decks of today, and are the matchups better? These matchups are of particular interest to me, as tropical storm and superlong have been the decks of choice of late of the LSV and David Ochoa, the strongest players in my meta.

Meadbert's reply: This was answered a bit above, but both Tropical Storm and Super Long aim for turn 3 so Drain is more relevant.  Super Long really has trouble because Drain Tendrils easily outdraws it over time.  Tropical Storm can use Gush + Brainstorm to try to keep up with Drain Tendrils, but Drain Tendrils still has a good matchup there.

My reply: Agreed.




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« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2008, 08:46:15 pm »

Where the devil do you get 2 black mana from?  I can see workshop, tkdeeznauts, actually anything running stifles/trickbinds/wastelands/strip being a problem for you.  You have a buttload of counters and an assload of draw but this still doesn not solve the problem of this deck sometimes needing two turns to get the double black needed to combo out.  I can see how the insane draw would more reliably lead you into mox jet/petal/lotus so you can drop the jet/petal/lotus and a sea in the same turn but other than that I can see getting to 2B being sort of rough. 
Wouldn't a basic swamp be at least reasonable in lieu of a sea? 
also, I was wondering how useful a single darkblast out of the board could be.  is it for a random welder?  is it just in case/utility?
also does this deck have too much mana/cards at any time?  I could see draining karn or razormane or stax/wire leading to a bunch of burn at times?
how often do you have to tap out of blue mana just to cast more draw with your drain mana to ensure a full hand of force?
how often does aggro cause you trouble?  What with meddling mage and thorn running around it looks to be a bit daunting.

Just curious is all.  I might try testing this deck.  It does look rather different than mine.  I use 4 confidant, 4 drits and only 2 drains and 2 merchant scroll instead of a full boat. 
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« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2008, 09:03:44 pm »

Where the devil do you get 2 black mana from?  I can see workshop, tkdeeznauts, actually anything running stifles/trickbinds/wastelands/strip being a problem for you.  You have a buttload of counters and an assload of draw but this still doesn not solve the problem of this deck sometimes needing two turns to get the double black needed to combo out.  I can see how the insane draw would more reliably lead you into mox jet/petal/lotus so you can drop the jet/petal/lotus and a sea in the same turn but other than that I can see getting to 2B being sort of rough. 
Wouldn't a basic swamp be at least reasonable in lieu of a sea? 
also, I was wondering how useful a single darkblast out of the board could be.  is it for a random welder?  is it just in case/utility?
also does this deck have too much mana/cards at any time?  I could see draining karn or razormane or stax/wire leading to a bunch of burn at times?
how often do you have to tap out of blue mana just to cast more draw with your drain mana to ensure a full hand of force?
how often does aggro cause you trouble?  What with meddling mage and thorn running around it looks to be a bit daunting.

Just curious is all.  I might try testing this deck.  It does look rather different than mine.  I use 4 confidant, 4 drits and only 2 drains and 2 merchant scroll instead of a full boat. 

A large portion of the time comboing will involve Lotus, at a minimum Lotus Petal. I believe Cody ran a single dark rit, but it looks like he's cut it for more bounce to blow out Shops.

Cody ran Darkblast at one of the SCG's, it's really a meta call.

The deck never seems to lack a drain sink. You've always got TFK or Intuition to sink Drain mana into if it's not fueling a Yawg Will.
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« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2008, 10:28:07 pm »

Where the devil do you get 2 black mana from?  I can see workshop, tkdeeznauts, actually anything running stifles/trickbinds/wastelands/strip being a problem for you.  You have a buttload of counters and an assload of draw but this still doesn not solve the problem of this deck sometimes needing two turns to get the double black needed to combo out.  I can see how the insane draw would more reliably lead you into mox jet/petal/lotus so you can drop the jet/petal/lotus and a sea in the same turn but other than that I can see getting to 2B being sort of rough. 
Wouldn't a basic swamp be at least reasonable in lieu of a sea? 
also, I was wondering how useful a single darkblast out of the board could be.  is it for a random welder?  is it just in case/utility?
also does this deck have too much mana/cards at any time?  I could see draining karn or razormane or stax/wire leading to a bunch of burn at times?
how often do you have to tap out of blue mana just to cast more draw with your drain mana to ensure a full hand of force?
how often does aggro cause you trouble?  What with meddling mage and thorn running around it looks to be a bit daunting.

Just curious is all.  I might try testing this deck.  It does look rather different than mine.  I use 4 confidant, 4 drits and only 2 drains and 2 merchant scroll instead of a full boat. 

Getting BB has honestly never been a problem for me. The deck is not a quick combo deck. If it wins turn 3 then that's amazing. I've had only a handful of turn 2 kills out of hundreds and hundreds of matches. So, what that means is you have time to find BB given the nature of the deck, and it's VERY easy. Workshops are generally the best matchups for me. The reason is that there is no pressure to win fast, and I can get my Islands out and gain advantage without ever having to touch a Sea. If a problem arises then I have 3 return all artifact effects and a 4th bounce in the form of Chain of Vapor. Also, Intuition is a common path to victory... and it almost always will find Lotus when comboing out before a Will. If you have a fetchland out and pass the turn... you have another way of getting BB that is Wasteland proof. I'm really surprised that you called this a "problem." It's never been a problem for me.

If it was a problem... then yes Swamp would be better... but it's not at all so I really need to maximize my chances of getting a blue land. I have tested Swamp, and it's not neccessary.

A single Darklast gives you an amazing return for such a little investment. The reason is that Intuition makes it so good. For one card out of the board, you get a very reliable answer to Dark Confidant and Goblin Welder, which make it worth running on their own. Of course... there are a few other creatures it hits. The biggest advantage is that it's only 1 card in the board, and it does a lot for that 1 slot.

The deck rarely has too much mana. Sometimes it has too much draw in hand and goes above 7 cards in hand on your turn... but that's almost always a result of outdrawing your opponent (which means you're doing pretty good). The deck has a lot of draw... but that's the whole point of the deck... to hopefully have something relevant to do every turn.

I don't understand how you could see the deck burning for mana as a relevant concern? I mean I guess I burn sometimes, but I almost always have spells to use the mana on.

If I have Drain in hand... I usually won't tap out of blue mana to cast draw spells at the expense of Drain... but that's an acceptable trade. If they don't do anything relevant... you have their EOT to cast your draw... so it's not a big deal.     

Aggro is generally not problematic. It's not the best matchup, but it's usually beatable. Meddling Mage is not a concern at all as some people seem to think. There are way too many cards to I have that will get me into a position I need to win and they can't all be named. Two Meddling Mages start to be a problem... but the first one is always too random or just doesn't matter. For Thorn... pick any one of the 4 bounce spells and then win.

Thanks for your comments. I'm not really sure how to answer some of your questions. Let me know how your testing goes and how your concerns about the deck may have changed or stay the same.

Cody

« Last Edit: February 02, 2008, 11:23:31 pm by RaleighNCTourneys » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2008, 02:55:13 am »

I tested 10 matches vs my fiend playing workshop aggro.  I won 7,all pre-board, lossing 3 due to mulling and no opposition to very early threats that were backbreaking.  He resolved turn 1 karn with no reponse by me, all my drawing couldn't find me a bounce spell.  The other lost game he resolved sol ring and welder turn 1.  I countered his slaver but he brought it back and devastated me with it the next turn...friggin singleton slavers in shop aggro...  His last win was by dumping 2 sphere effects turn one and a juggs turn 2, follwed by sofi turn 3.  beats ftw.
    I realized throughout the matches how I had to dance around his wastelands.  I could not afford to activate my fetchlands foolishly.  I had to save them as a very valuable and limited resource.  I did end up getting the black I needed for tendrils but sometimes it was a challenge.  Against decks running this kind of hate I think that a single swamp may warrant inclusion but I also think that very careful gameplay vs them means that you can evade their hate, plus the swamp may be more of a hindrance in other matches.  He was usually able to push through a threat very early due to his preposterous mana base.  I ended up seeing a shit-ton of cards in my library but that didn't always solve my problems.  I did notice that I was taking burn a lot but that can likely be contributed to the overly expensive artifacts he was able to easily cast.  Draining into thirst for knowledge is insane.  Draining into thirst into 2 aks is even more insane. 
   I understand what you mean when you say that this is not a very fast combo deck.  It does utilize tendrils but it doesn't feel like the long builds I am so comfortable with.  I often had to pass the turn when I was in dangerous territory only to pray that he would try and advance his board position, which is when I cast a draw and ripped a bounce spell or cast a drain on his card.  I noticed when he did not make a big drop on turn one I had an immense advantage because drain mana was generally up turn 2 consistently every game and on rare ocassions turn one.  Drain is the engine of this deck as I came to realize.  Instead of using confidant and trading life for cards and the opportunity of beats/blocker you instead use patience and 2U to devastate you opponents turn and jump start your own.  I won a game without ever seeing a drain or intuition..but that was a very close game until I ripped hurkyll's off ak.  I was slepping on this deck with all its draw and seemingly weak draws until I realized that this deck likes to be patient and lay a trap for the oppoenet to walk into, or use their opening to cast great draw spoells and push through with card advatage.
   It is a much slower deck than I am used to but I am glad I took it for a spin.  I am not quit sure I am a convert or not but I do now recognize the potential of this deck.  It has fewer protection spells than I am used to, and far fewer pro-active answers than I think is healthy(duress/thoughtsieze), but it, surprisingly, sees these disruption spells more often and with greater consistency than my own storm build.  I only have to decide on whether i believe these disruption spells are more effective than my own configuration.
   Thanks a lot for posting this deck I had a lot of fun with it.  Feyd
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« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2008, 05:20:05 am »

Just a short comment with my ideas. I didnt read the whole post and have not tested the deck so if something sound unlogical or so just overread it Wink

I was also plannig a draw-based tendrils but i can tell you: If it takes too long to win and you just draw, draw, draw (what this deck really does) you can be overrun by aggro-decks with Goyfs or Dryads. In times of lots of removal and bounce Tinkerlossus just doesn't help so much anymore. Especially when after playing a Tinker you don't have 2 blue open so FoW is your only option to save DSC.

And early Confidant could outdraw you. You play no rituals because you want the extreme draw but I think some Rituals could defintely help. You wait for really fat things to be dropped so Stax decks are maybe favorable (when you don't see the Spheres, but this is highly possible!). How high is the possibility to counter most of the opponents threats with just 8 counters while 4 of them are online mostly turn 2? If you face an opponent who pays attention he won't often face you with the circumstance that he plays a really fat spell seeing you have 2 blue mana open.
Without Rituals I think you run out of gas during the combo. Imo the normal "Intuition Tendrils" would run a bit smoother and faster. Both are Graveyard-dependant, that was why i stopped playing Intuition-Tendrils. The Rituals would help to get some stormcount with Null Rod or Chalice on play. This is why I definitely suggest ETW. In todays meta is seems difficult to get a storm count of 10. Early Duresses would help a lot but i see you want to fetch for basic island turn 1.
I would never cut Rebuild because it bounces your own artifacts, too and gives you an even higher stormcount. Imo Tendrils is only a real threat when the opponent is each trun highly afraid that you drop some of the real bombs like Necro, Bargain, Desire ect.
This was the only kind of Tendrils i was (as a Fish player) really afraid of.

Something like: (sorry for Offtopic, this is just an example):

1 Black Lotus
1 Lotus Petal
1 Mana Crypt
1 Mana Vault
1 Memory Jar
1 Mox Emerald
1 Mox Jet
1 Mox Pearl
1 Mox Ruby
1 Mox Sapphire
1 Sol Ring
4 Dark Ritual
1 Demonic Tutor
4 Duress
1 Necropotence
2 Tendrils of Agony
1 Vampiric Tutor
1 Yawgmoth’s Bargain
1 Yawgmoth’s Will
1 Ancestral Recall
4 Brainstorm
1 Chain of Vapor
4 Force of Will
1 Gifts Ungiven
1 Mind’s Desire
1 Mystical Tutor
1 Intuition
1 Rebuild
1 Time Twister
1 Time Walk
1 Tinker
1 Recoup
1 Wheel of Fortune
1 Badlands
1 Bloodstained Mire
2 Island
4 Polluted Delta
1 Swamp
1 Tolerian Academy
3 Underground Sea
1 Volcanic Island

Sideboard

4 Dark Confidant
2 Empty the Warrens
2 Engineered Plague
2 Pyroclasm
1 Echoing Truth
1 Sundering Titan
1 Rebuild
2 Tormod’s Crypt

The more time you give the opponent the less is your chance to make your way through the hate. Ok, you want to nullify this by outdrawing him, maybe it works i don't know.

Sorry this was destructive but i think you are a bit too exposed to hate because of the lack of speed and removal. If all that is wrong and you dont have prob with Dryads, Goyfs, Confidants, early Spheres, Artifact hate , opponent's Duresses just forget this.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2008, 07:25:02 am by Everrid1234 » Logged
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« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2008, 12:21:39 pm »

The more time you give the opponent the less is your chance to make your way through the hate.

Actually, the way the deck plays out is the opposite. The more time I give my opponent, the better I am able to get ahead and deal with hate. It's only a function of making sure they don't win first. The fact that the deck is slower combo does not mean it's somehow a less superior Long deck. It is much less vulernable to a Duress or two (and counters) and has many more answers to artifact threats. It also has no problem competing with Goyfs or Dryads.

I appreciate your comments, but I would like to keep this thread on the topic of Drain Tendrils. The reason I never started a thread about this deck is because there are many people who (still) think the deck does not work or is not competetive and needs to be changed to Long or Scroll combo. Now, two years later, I have played 15 tourneys with the deck and have the results to prove that the deck works successfully. I'd like people to ask questions or make comments assuming DT works, not how it doesn't work.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2008, 02:18:42 pm by RaleighNCTourneys » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2008, 11:42:07 am »

I'm a Vintage noob, I have been playing DT for about 6 months now...finally getting the hang of it. My questions are:

1. What are the general sideboarding plans (at least for relevant matches not covered in the report)?

2. For a time, I ran Smother/Extirpate to deal with tons of GAT(rookie mistake maybe). It did seal the deal when it worked (3 Smother/1 Extirpate). Do you think Extirpate is viable? It also crushed Flash along with the Darkblast if they hardcast a Sliver, which happened often if Flash kept getting countered.

3. Is Energy Flux a good idea at all, if the meta is flooded with Shop?

4. Have you tested Mind's Desire? I experimented with one, but wasn't too happy so I dropped it.
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« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2008, 01:53:58 pm »

Thanks for the detailed explanations Cody & Bert! A couple of follow-up questions if you don't mind my asking-

1) On Intuition-
This card seems like the heart and soul of the deck. I'm accustomed to seeing 3 in decks running the AK engine, and wouldhave thought 3 TFK, 3 intuition to be the preferred choice (rather than 4 & 2, respectively). The fact that TFK will often net you only 1 card anyway (due to the low artificat count) make this choice even more surprising to me.  Is this because intuition is a late game card? Because its bad in multiples (seems unlikely)?

On a related note, intuition is obviously a very skill intensive card --  could you shed some light on how you use it? The three obvious intuition "piles" that I've sought are: 1) AKx3; 2) MT, VT, DT (for y-win), 3) black lotus, lotus petal, and dark ritual mana crypt (the best pre-will artifact pile) 4) FoWx3 (the "oh sh!t" pile -- I actually haven't had to use this yet in testing, but I know its there).

Are there other common permutations?

2) Should cunning wish be in this deck??
In his article last week Steve raved about cunning wish in tog -- a deck that drain tendrils seems to me to resemble (at least builds running the intuition/AK engine). There are obvious reasons not to play a 3 cc limited tutor that skews your sideboard, but I have to ask -- if cunning wish is so great in that deck (and I'm not sure it is, as I'm no expert on T1 tog), might be solid here also (berserk is the only wish target tog runs tha this deck couldn't).  Is this something you've considered?

3) Speaking of which, have you considered tog itself in this deck's sideboard, as a transformational plan or as an answer to aggro (a matchup you said is fine, but not great)?

4) Why not gifts ungiven?
I know that when you built this deck gifts ungiven was the dominant deck in the format -- reason enough to eschew gifts! But could gifts be a powerful 1-of in this deck, as a super-intuition? Seems like it does everything in this deck that it did before (except get recoup).  You answered a similar question to this before by saying that you couldn't cut a third TFK, but could gifts be better than the 4th TFK, or (less likely) FoF?

5) What's your fundamental turn? That is, on what turn do you find yourself generally winning the game if/when you're forced to race?

Would having dark ritual (without gush & frantic search) speed you up appreciably? (And if so, what might you cut for dark ritual?)

6) You've chosen thoughtseize over duress, contrary to what I believe is the popular choice.  Are you solid on this, or still testing? Is this because aggro is tough? 

7) You correlated cutting library with cutting gush.  Do you really need gush to activate library?  I'm surprised library doesn't make the cut given your relatively minimal colored mana requirements.

Thanks again for all the great information on this archetype!
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« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2008, 03:51:46 pm »

1. What are the general sideboarding plans (at least for relevant matches not covered in the report)?

2. For a time, I ran Smother/Extirpate to deal with tons of GAT(rookie mistake maybe). It did seal the deal when it worked (3 Smother/1 Extirpate). Do you think Extirpate is viable? It also crushed Flash along with the Darkblast if they hardcast a Sliver, which happened often if Flash kept getting countered.

3. Is Energy Flux a good idea at all, if the meta is flooded with Shop?

4. Have you tested Mind's Desire? I experimented with one, but wasn't too happy so I dropped it.

1. 5c Stax, GAT, Gush Tendrils and Ichorid in the report. For bazaar stax... add another Pithing Needle. The board for Long, Oath and Flash is about the same as Gush Tendrils. You may want to bring in Leylines for Flash... but I'd rather have Duress or Thoughtseize first. Workshop Aggro will be similar to 5C Stax... you may want to add Thoughtseize and bring in Echoing Truth for the newer builds with Goyf and Confidant. For Goblins or Fish or R/G Beats... I'd bring in 4 Thoughtseize on the play and probably 3 on the draw for Fish and RG beats and 2 for Goblins as well as Darkblast and Tinker/DSC. Any other matchups you want to know?

You pretty much always bring in Tinker/DSC. There is nothing wrong with running it in the maindeck... I just think that 2x Tendrils is better and post board 1x Tendrils and Tinker/DSC is better because Tinker is a card that is highly dependent on knowing what your opponent is playing to make it effective. That, and it gets stronger game 2 as any creature removal is getting boarded out (if it was being played).

2. I've tested Extirpate with Cunning Wish in the main and it never impressed me. Let's break down the board and figure out what is necessary to be competitive and how much room there is:

4x Leyline
3x Pithing Needle

These 7 cards are the minimum for DT to compete with Ichorid. Anything less is suicide, and I cannot accept a match loss to Ichorid in a tourney. The Leyline also can function as hate for Flash and the 3x Needle are effective against Stax (Welders, Wastelands, Bazaar, Factory). These 7 cards definitely pull their weight and are a neccessity.

4x Duress/Thoughtsize

These 4 cards are needed to be competitive with GAT/Gush Tendrils/Long/Flash postboard. I beleive 4 is the minimum, and 5 may be the right number. Thoughtseize makes these 4 slots even more versatile as a few can come in against Fish type decks.

1x Tinker/1x DSC

Like I've said in the past... Drain Tendrils would not work without Tinker/DSC, and I wouldn't be playing the deck. It sometimes deserves a slot in the maindeck... but at the very least it must be in your board. I board into Tinker/DSC almost every match.

1x Darkblast

This card is way too badass for only taking up 1 slot to be cut. As long as Dark Confidant and Goblin Welder are played, I will likely be running 1x Darkblast.

1x Echoing Truth

This card is mainly to have an answer to ETW... but also comes in against all kinds of aggro decks.

That leaves two Cunning Wish targets on the board. If you want to add extirpate... the only cards that can be cut are Darkblast or Echoing Truth in my opinion. Obviously, Cunning Wish is not viable for this deck right now (and even when it's viable... my testing/results have shown it's garbage in DT). If you want to add Extirpate, it would have to outweigh Echoing Truth or Darkblast. I really don't think it does, but it's an option. I'd cut Darkblast for Extirpate if I HAD to.

3. The deck has a great strategy for dealing with Shops in the form of 5 bounce spells and all of the draw spell support. Energy Flux makes all of your artifacts go away too... which is not good because your artifact mana helps you cast your spells against Shop decks. Energy Flux also hinders your primary kill condition against Shops.... DSC.

4. I've tested the shit out of Mind's Desire in the past. It doesn't work at all.
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« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2008, 04:24:42 pm »

Thanks for the detailed explanations Cody & Bert! A couple of follow-up questions if you don't mind my asking-

1) On Intuition-
This card seems like the heart and soul of the deck. I'm accustomed to seeing 3 in decks running the AK engine, and wouldhave thought 3 TFK, 3 intuition to be the preferred choice (rather than 4 & 2, respectively). The fact that TFK will often net you only 1 card anyway (due to the low artificat count) make this choice even more surprising to me.  Is this because intuition is a late game card? Because its bad in multiples (seems unlikely)?

On a related note, intuition is obviously a very skill intensive card --  could you shed some light on how you use it? The three obvious intuition "piles" that I've sought are: 1) AKx3; 2) MT, VT, DT (for y-win), 3) black lotus, lotus petal, and dark ritual mana crypt (the best pre-will artifact pile) 4) FoWx3 (the "oh sh!t" pile -- I actually haven't had to use this yet in testing, but I know its there).

Are there other common permutations?

2) Should cunning wish be in this deck??
In his article last week Steve raved about cunning wish in tog -- a deck that drain tendrils seems to me to resemble (at least builds running the intuition/AK engine). There are obvious reasons not to play a 3 cc limited tutor that skews your sideboard, but I have to ask -- if cunning wish is so great in that deck (and I'm not sure it is, as I'm no expert on T1 tog), might be solid here also (berserk is the only wish target tog runs tha this deck couldn't).  Is this something you've considered?

3) Speaking of which, have you considered tog itself in this deck's sideboard, as a transformational plan or as an answer to aggro (a matchup you said is fine, but not great)?

4) Why not gifts ungiven?
I know that when you built this deck gifts ungiven was the dominant deck in the format -- reason enough to eschew gifts! But could gifts be a powerful 1-of in this deck, as a super-intuition? Seems like it does everything in this deck that it did before (except get recoup).  You answered a similar question to this before by saying that you couldn't cut a third TFK, but could gifts be better than the 4th TFK, or (less likely) FoF?

5) What's your fundamental turn? That is, on what turn do you find yourself generally winning the game if/when you're forced to race?

Would having dark ritual (without gush & frantic search) speed you up appreciably? (And if so, what might you cut for dark ritual?)

6) You've chosen thoughtseize over duress, contrary to what I believe is the popular choice.  Are you solid on this, or still testing? Is this because aggro is tough? 

7) You correlated cutting library with cutting gush.  Do you really need gush to activate library?  I'm surprised library doesn't make the cut given your relatively minimal colored mana requirements.

Thanks again for all the great information on this archetype!

1) I think if you think of AK as the heart of the deck it may make more sense. The first Intuition is always great (unless there's Leyline in play or something). This will almost always find AK, AK, AK. At that point what do you want a second Inuition for? You usually don't unless you're about to win and have lots of mana. I usually want a TFK over Intuition after the first Intuition. The fact is that Intuition is not always great in multiples. By running two, you minimize the risk of getting suboptimal performance out of them. I always want one Intuition... I sometimes want two Intutions (usually not, though)... and I never ever want to see three. The fact of the matter is that Intuition is not necessary at all because of the TFK support. You can get the AK engine going without using Intuition, and if you pull this off, you get ever more out of the 4 AKs because they all get cast. This is usually facilitated through the 4 TFK. I would not mind seeing 4 TFK in a game... which is why the configuration is 4 and 2.

Yup... you got the 4 main piles with it. The hardest part about playing the deck is having a strong knowledge of every single card in the deck so that you can get the most out of Intuition. While those are the 4 most common piles by far... there are many others that will be more optimal at times. For instance, there have been times I've included Ancestral Recall, Chain of Vapor, Tendrils of Agony, etc. Another pile that could be effective given your hand would be Tendrils, Tendrils, Yawg Will. It all depends on the game state and the information you know at the time. The deck has become very easy for me to play, but Intution will always be a difficult card to cast correctly just as Gifts Ungiven was and is. You can't ever really know 100% that you made the right choice because there are so many different plays to make.

2) See my post above in reponse to question 2.

3) Tog could be a decent one-of if you can find the room on the board. I think it would be best against  Aggro decks, but I wouldn't use it against GAT/Tog/Gush Tendrils/Flash or anything like that. If Ichorid didn't exist, I think it could work (because of board restrictions).

4) I've tested Gifts... but the problem is it's not a super-Intuition for DT... it's a suboptimal-Intuition. What are you going to find with Gifts? You can only get one AK. The problem is there are no piles that are going to be very impressive, and I'd rather just have a 3rd Intuition over a Gifts because Intuition comes online a turn earlier and does more for the deck than Gifts does. The problem with Gifts is that it's not true card draw (I know FoF isn't "true" card draw... but it effectively is). One major drawback of Gifts I've noted is that out of the 4 cards you pick... the two best usually go to your yard... which is a huge blow to DT. The deck is all about chaining draw spells together. Pulling out 2 of the best 4 cards from a Gifts pile can hurt later in the game. My verdict on Gifts is that it's not just not good enough to make the deck. It's pretty close... but I'd just rather have an extra Intuition or Sketetal Scrying. If anyone has time to revist this card as a one-of, I'd be interested to hear your results. I would cut Skeletal Scrying if I were to run it.

5) The goal is to win on turn 3 and sometimes this works. Turn 4 is reliable and turn 5 is probably more realistic. Bert claims the deck should win turn 3-4... but I like to play more conservatively. If I had to pick a fundamental turn it would be turn 4.

6) This is still being tested. I'm not sure which configuration is better or if a mixture is the right call. That's the best I've got right now.

7) I was saying that I don't think LoA belongs in the deck right now. As a result... Gush got weaker. Cutting LoA was not a direct result of cutting Gush or vice versa. There is a lot of Duress/Thoughtseize/Wastelands right now, which weakens LoA a lot. The deck doesn't really care about LoA because it's really just extra draw that's not as good as the true draw spells... The deck has so much draw that it doesn't matter if LoA is in the deck or not. I'm convinced that it doesn't belong because I'd rather get my AK engine or TFK engine going rather than drawing 1 card with LoA... even if it's every turn. Sacrificing turn 2 Drain is also pretty bad.

Thanks for your comments! Let me know if you test the deck and if you agree/disagree with that I've found.
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« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2008, 04:34:59 pm »

Wow. I just spent an hour on a post and lost it when I timed out. Very frustrating. To recap briefly:

I have been testing the deck a bunch.  Love it, generally feel very in-control.  Some follow-up questions:   

1) 9 sphere workshop aggro matchup has been a problem for me.  Tough to develop manabase while keeping drain open; hand gets cluttered with too many tough-to-cast instants versus 2+ spheres / chalice. Not many good sideboard options aside from bringing in tinker-colossus (thoughtseize is weak becuase requires fetching u-sea into wasteland)

This deck is very popular, see Steve's new build for reference. Is this matchup a problem for you? Can/would you shore up the sideboard against this deck?

2) Why do you always sideboard out vampiric tutor?

3) Bloodmoon effects have been slowing me down by denying me access to (sufficient) black mana. Would you play a basic swamp if you expected magus of the / blood moon?

Thanks again for sharing your thoughts and hard work in developing this deck.
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« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2008, 04:53:38 pm »

I have not tested against Metalworker Workshop aggro so I cannot comment on Steve's list.

Against Mono Red Shop Aggro lists that I tested against the key is countering their clock instead of lock pieces.  Let the spheres resolve but keep Juggernaught off the table.  Then once, your manabase is sufficiently developed you Rebuild or Hurkles and then win.

Magus was in the sideboard of the Mono Red Shop Aggro deck I tested against.  Post board you have access to Tinker.  Also you can hold Lotus, Petal or Jet and if you do not draw those you can Intuition into all three of them to get your first bit of Black mana to cast Yawg.

Metalworker decks might be tougher since they can throw out more threats on turn 2.  I really do not have a good sense of whether countering Metalworker itself is a good idea.
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« Reply #14 on: February 07, 2008, 12:02:42 am »

Wow. I just spent an hour on a post and lost it when I timed out. Very frustrating. To recap briefly:

I have been testing the deck a bunch.  Love it, generally feel very in-control.  Some follow-up questions:   

1) 9 sphere workshop aggro matchup has been a problem for me.  Tough to develop manabase while keeping drain open; hand gets cluttered with too many tough-to-cast instants versus 2+ spheres / chalice. Not many good sideboard options aside from bringing in tinker-colossus (thoughtseize is weak becuase requires fetching u-sea into wasteland)

This deck is very popular, see Steve's new build for reference. Is this matchup a problem for you? Can/would you shore up the sideboard against this deck?

2) Why do you always sideboard out vampiric tutor?

3) Bloodmoon effects have been slowing me down by denying me access to (sufficient) black mana. Would you play a basic swamp if you expected magus of the / blood moon?

Thanks again for sharing your thoughts and hard work in developing this deck.

1) I haven't done any testing in recent months... so this matchup could be a big problem. I added the two Hurkyl's to the maindeck for their low casting cost in hopes of playing thru spheres. If the bounce isn't reliable against 9sphere, the Tog you suggested could be a decent answer out of the board along side Tinker/DSC. I think this matchup is highly dependant on who goes first... there may not be much you can do if they start with chalice and/or some spheres.

2) Hmm... I do that a lot, don't I? I often find myself with 1-2 additional cards I want to board in, but no room.  I'm not an expert at vintage by any means... so just because I do something doesn't mean much. I think I got this idea from a tourney report I read a long time ago for a Gifts deck. The pilot of the deck often sided out Mystical Tutor and Vampiric Tutor against control decks so he didn't fall behind by the card disadvantage of initially casting it. So, I tested that out, and I didn't really miss Vampiric Tutor postboard in a lot of matchups (postboard... the deck is so much less combolicious). If the plan is to Tinker ASAP... then I'll leave it in. If there are cards on my board that I want to bring in... Vampiric Tutor often gets the axe because I feel that certain board cards outweight it. But like I said, this is just a something I picked up (kinda randomly) and it seems to work okay. It could be completely wrong.

3) Nope. I've played against blood moon a good bit in tourneys and magus a few times. I've always found black lotus/lotus petal/jet/chain of vapor to be fine. Bloodmoon effects really don't slow down your draw... so as long as you can get ahead... finding answers and finding a way to win comes easy. I don't like the idea of a swamp and I have tried to make it work. Maybe it's warranted now, but I never liked it.

I also thought about Gifts some more. It could be worth testing in place of Scrying and seeing how it goes. I'm going to try to mess around with it again in the near future.

Also...  if you're having some mixed results with the deck... give it some more time. Most of the deck plays itself out... but like Bert was saying... knowing what to counter is really crucial. I will let so many cards resolve that I feel like I hardly ever use my counters. If you feel confident in finding answers and winning the game... let that lock piece or that creature resolve. I would never ever counter a Dryad or stupid Fish creature unless there was serious pressure to do so. But, if something is cast that seriously threatens your winning... then counter that. It's okay to Drain something just to get a shit ton of mana... but make sure you'll draw into another counter (or already have one) next turn.
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« Reply #15 on: February 08, 2008, 06:16:47 pm »

I had a couple of quick questions on playing the deck.  I've sleeved it up card for card as the list you posted at the beginning of the tread sans one Hurkyl's Recall for Frantic Search.  I've played Drain decks forever but I'm new to playing Intuition and Accumulated Knowledge.  With that said,

!) I find myself holding random Accumulated Knowledes at times without others in the grave and without Intuition.  Generally speaking do you persue Intuition to find more AKs, hold the single and hope for more, cantrip it, or toss them to Thirst?  With so much draw in the deck I'm not sure if I should be focusing on Ak as the heart.  I know you mentioned it earlier but...?

2) I'm having a hard time utilyzing Mana Drain of all things.  I'm a long time Slaver player but I feel like Mana Drain in DT is played a little differently.  In Slaver it is used as a defensive tool that will do either one or two other things.  First it will power out Thirst to dump an artifact to be welded in or two it powers out the artifact.  So, let me ask you this: are you using Mana Drain simply to stop the most pertinent threats and then to refill your hand with any number of draw spells or is it to protect your big draw spells?  I would find myself in testing Draining big threats just to have my big draw spell Forced on my turn after tapping out or close to it.  If this happened I found myself helpless to defend a big turn from the oppenent. 

Before you answer the second question let me take a gander at what I think you will say, which I agree with of course.  If it isn't please shed some light on it.   This deck draws more than any other in the format (it's ridiculous in fact), I would guess that you aren't worried about resolving your own draw spells nor will you fight over them because odds are you have more draw spells still in hand or on their way.  It isn't worth going toe to toe in a counter war with a deck like GAT over one of your draw spells because you are likely not to win and your counters may be better suited to stop their big plays. 

My first reaction to this playing this deck is that it works fundementally like Gifts decks of the past.  It spends it's resources turn 2-4 setting up for the kill turns 5-6.  If some or all of your draw/tutor spells are stuffed no worries you've got more. 

Any more tips would be greatfull.

By the way, I really appreciate you sharing this build with the community.  It's more or less what I've been looking for.  I've been bummed ever since Drains weren't "viable" in this metagame. 

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« Reply #16 on: February 10, 2008, 12:53:43 pm »

I had a couple of quick questions on playing the deck.  I've sleeved it up card for card as the list you posted at the beginning of the tread sans one Hurkyl's Recall for Frantic Search.  I've played Drain decks forever but I'm new to playing Intuition and Accumulated Knowledge.  With that said,

!) I find myself holding random Accumulated Knowledes at times without others in the grave and without Intuition.  Generally speaking do you persue Intuition to find more AKs, hold the single and hope for more, cantrip it, or toss them to Thirst?  With so much draw in the deck I'm not sure if I should be focusing on Ak as the heart.  I know you mentioned it earlier but...?

2) I'm having a hard time utilyzing Mana Drain of all things.  I'm a long time Slaver player but I feel like Mana Drain in DT is played a little differently.  In Slaver it is used as a defensive tool that will do either one or two other things.  First it will power out Thirst to dump an artifact to be welded in or two it powers out the artifact.  So, let me ask you this: are you using Mana Drain simply to stop the most pertinent threats and then to refill your hand with any number of draw spells or is it to protect your big draw spells?  I would find myself in testing Draining big threats just to have my big draw spell Forced on my turn after tapping out or close to it.  If this happened I found myself helpless to defend a big turn from the oppenent. 

Before you answer the second question let me take a gander at what I think you will say, which I agree with of course.  If it isn't please shed some light on it.   This deck draws more than any other in the format (it's ridiculous in fact), I would guess that you aren't worried about resolving your own draw spells nor will you fight over them because odds are you have more draw spells still in hand or on their way.  It isn't worth going toe to toe in a counter war with a deck like GAT over one of your draw spells because you are likely not to win and your counters may be better suited to stop their big plays. 

My first reaction to this playing this deck is that it works fundementally like Gifts decks of the past.  It spends it's resources turn 2-4 setting up for the kill turns 5-6.  If some or all of your draw/tutor spells are stuffed no worries you've got more. 

Any more tips would be greatfull.

By the way, I really appreciate you sharing this build with the community.  It's more or less what I've been looking for.  I've been bummed ever since Drains weren't "viable" in this metagame. 



Hey. I'm glad to see more people testing the deck and all the feedback is appreciated. If 9sphere Workshop becomes heavily played (which I think it will), I'd recommend keeping in the extra Hurkyl's. With that said, how is Frantic Search working out?

1) Here is how I play AK (for 1) in the deck:

AK for 1 if there is no other draw spell to cast or you don't have Intuition in hand*.
If you have AK for 1 in hand and Intuition, wait on casting the AK if you have/feel confident you will have the mana for Intuition the next turn.
If you don't have mana for Intuition, cast AK for 1.

*If you have AK for 1 or option for Brainstorm, cast AK first.
But, If you have AK for 1 or option for Brainstorm with a shuffle effect already in hand, go with the Brainstorm.

2) You're right. I hardly ever use counters to protect draw... unless I don't have any more in hand or it's a really big draw spell. Whenever I consider countering something... I think "If I let this resolve... is there a good chance I will still win the game?" If the answer is no then I counter... if it's yes then I don't. A lot of counter decisions are based on a feeling b/c there are so many variables so many turns in the future that a human can't know the correct answer. The best way to make better decisions is to play the deck more since there is no hard and fast rule for what to counter. As an example I used before... I will almost never counter a Dryad. The reason is that the deck should be able to race a Dryad, and I am confident in being able to do so. If I counter Dryad and my opponent doesn't have a counter or fails to engage in a counter war... then I'm down a counter for really no good reason.

Hope that helps some.

Cody 
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« Reply #17 on: February 10, 2008, 05:30:48 pm »

I just tested my first games with this deck. Two times I went 2-0 vs. MUD. I was amazed how incredibly easy it went since prison decks tend to give Storm Combo a hard time.

You simply draw tons of cards until your graveyard/hand are as good as you want them to be and then you bounce his lock components and go for the throat. Having 4 basic islands and not needing any seas to combo out is VERY strong.

Have you ever considered dropping a sea for island #5 or fetch #6? If so, what were your reasons not to do it? I can imagine playing sea #4 over a single swamp, since you want drain up as soon as possible.
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« Reply #18 on: February 10, 2008, 06:55:39 pm »

Have you ever considered dropping a sea for island #5 or fetch #6? If so, what were your reasons not to do it? I can imagine playing sea #4 over a single swamp, since you want drain up as soon as possible.

Yes, I have considered that. I would go for fetch #6 over Island #5 so that the deck would "feel" like it had the same chance to see a black source for an early DT or Vamp game 1 as well as more consistent access to BB (over a 5th Island).

My reason for not doing this is the reason you wouldn't go to 7 or 8 fetches. There has to be some point where you settle for a balance of nonbasics/basics/fetches. This is the balance I have decided is best, which may or may not be correct. In some Workshop matches (particularly ones with Wasteland/Crucible active)... 4 Seas are neccessary to play through Wastelands and win. Further, for post-board games the 4 seas are pretty important for all the black on the board. This is why I would run a 6th fetch over a 5th Island. I really don't think a 6th fetchland over a Sea would be a noticeable change. It could be better than my current configuration... I just don't have all the answers.

So, in conclusion... I think a 6th fetch would work b/c it (partially) offsets the absence of a Sea. I don't think adding a 5th Island is optimal for the same reasoning. It would really be a function of how many stifle effects and wastelands you expect in your meta and if 7 fetchables are enough.
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« Reply #19 on: February 11, 2008, 04:57:48 pm »

I noticed that two guys at Hero Zone in Sandusky, OH picked up DT and piloted their decks to a top 4 split and top 8.

If Josh Morford or Michael Smar roam these boards, I'd love to hear your guys thoughts on the deck. I noticed that one of the lists was the same as mine and one was modified with Merchant Scrolls and surprisingly no Intuition. Very different DT decks with similar results... interesting.
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« Reply #20 on: February 12, 2008, 12:03:09 pm »

I had a couple of quick questions on playing the deck.  I've sleeved it up card for card as the list you posted at the beginning of the tread sans one Hurkyl's Recall for Frantic Search.  I've played Drain decks forever but I'm new to playing Intuition and Accumulated Knowledge.  With that said,

!) I find myself holding random Accumulated Knowledes at times without others in the grave and without Intuition.  Generally speaking do you persue Intuition to find more AKs, hold the single and hope for more, cantrip it, or toss them to Thirst?  With so much draw in the deck I'm not sure if I should be focusing on Ak as the heart.  I know you mentioned it earlier but...?

2) I'm having a hard time utilyzing Mana Drain of all things.  I'm a long time Slaver player but I feel like Mana Drain in DT is played a little differently.  In Slaver it is used as a defensive tool that will do either one or two other things.  First it will power out Thirst to dump an artifact to be welded in or two it powers out the artifact.  So, let me ask you this: are you using Mana Drain simply to stop the most pertinent threats and then to refill your hand with any number of draw spells or is it to protect your big draw spells?  I would find myself in testing Draining big threats just to have my big draw spell Forced on my turn after tapping out or close to it.  If this happened I found myself helpless to defend a big turn from the oppenent. 

Before you answer the second question let me take a gander at what I think you will say, which I agree with of course.  If it isn't please shed some light on it.   This deck draws more than any other in the format (it's ridiculous in fact), I would guess that you aren't worried about resolving your own draw spells nor will you fight over them because odds are you have more draw spells still in hand or on their way.  It isn't worth going toe to toe in a counter war with a deck like GAT over one of your draw spells because you are likely not to win and your counters may be better suited to stop their big plays. 

My first reaction to this playing this deck is that it works fundementally like Gifts decks of the past.  It spends it's resources turn 2-4 setting up for the kill turns 5-6.  If some or all of your draw/tutor spells are stuffed no worries you've got more. 

Any more tips would be greatfull.

By the way, I really appreciate you sharing this build with the community.  It's more or less what I've been looking for.  I've been bummed ever since Drains weren't "viable" in this metagame. 



Hey. I'm glad to see more people testing the deck and all the feedback is appreciated. If 9sphere Workshop becomes heavily played (which I think it will), I'd recommend keeping in the extra Hurkyl's. With that said, how is Frantic Search working out?

1) Here is how I play AK (for 1) in the deck:

AK for 1 if there is no other draw spell to cast or you don't have Intuition in hand*.
If you have AK for 1 in hand and Intuition, wait on casting the AK if you have/feel confident you will have the mana for Intuition the next turn.
If you don't have mana for Intuition, cast AK for 1.

*If you have AK for 1 or option for Brainstorm, cast AK first.
But, If you have AK for 1 or option for Brainstorm with a shuffle effect already in hand, go with the Brainstorm.

2) You're right. I hardly ever use counters to protect draw... unless I don't have any more in hand or it's a really big draw spell. Whenever I consider countering something... I think "If I let this resolve... is there a good chance I will still win the game?" If the answer is no then I counter... if it's yes then I don't. A lot of counter decisions are based on a feeling b/c there are so many variables so many turns in the future that a human can't know the correct answer. The best way to make better decisions is to play the deck more since there is no hard and fast rule for what to counter. As an example I used before... I will almost never counter a Dryad. The reason is that the deck should be able to race a Dryad, and I am confident in being able to do so. If I counter Dryad and my opponent doesn't have a counter or fails to engage in a counter war... then I'm down a counter for really no good reason.

Hope that helps some.

Cody 


That does help quite a lot.

Playing Intuition is tough.  My experience playing Gifts believe it or not doesn't help much with Intuition as they play out differently despite them being frequently compared to each other.  I know you mentioned some piles and that it makes for the most difficult decisions in the deck.  Do you have any general philosiphies on playing it in different circumstances?  For example, do you ever play it in response to a big spell to get Fow/Drain?  Would you include Yawg in the pile considering there is no grave recursion?  I suppose I could continue testing with the deck but you have a two year headstart on playing it and seem willing to share you ideas.

Frantic Search is a pet card of mine.  My initial look at the deck had me worried about producing black mana without Dark Rituals.  I tested with a lone Dark Ritual and hated it.  It would show up in my hand and all I would do with it is to power out a draw spell and it was only ever used for colorless mana.  I didn't deem it worthy.  Frantic Search gave me a way of utilyzing a lone Underground Sea while trying to combo off.  It definately proved itself useful but I'm not sure it's necessary.  The deck has so many other strong draw spells; Frantic Search may not be necessary.  My inexperience with Drain Tendrils may be the reason I look to a crutch to produce black mana.  It may also be that at times I'm trying to win the game before the deck is ready to.  Sometimes I should be waiting until I find Black Lotus, Lotus Petal, or Mox Jet; or maybe making that an Intuition pile. 
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« Reply #21 on: February 12, 2008, 12:47:10 pm »

I don't know much about the deck, but considering I never had problems finding BB for Tendrils in Gifted I don't see why this deck should have. Even though it doesn't set up the GY in the same way, it draws way more cards before winning than Gifted did and shouldn't have any trouble to get two Sea into play.
On another note, as a big fan of Fetchlands especially in decks with Brainstorm, I'd probably replace a Sea with one as was mentioned before.

As for the no-Intuition build, I don't know the player or anything about his thoughtprocess, but when I finished building Shining (quite some time ago), I ran 4 AK md even without having Intuition (I added one later to replace FOF with something better, but well...). In a deck that can already draw a ton of cards, AK is excellent with or without Intuition if one has room. Early it cycles to assure landdrops, late it becomes a bomb. Their are two conditions for this to be true: A) You have to run a rather large manabase so that the mana for cycling it will be available without trouble and without usually costing a turn. Quite obviously, DT does this. And B) you need to have a ton of draw so that it is very likely that you see at least 2 and often 3 during the typical game. With all the carddraw and the added Scrolls, this should be assured for that build of DT, too. Intuition at that point becomes a nice card but far from necessary ime.
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« Reply #22 on: February 12, 2008, 05:05:26 pm »

Playing Intuition is tough.  My experience playing Gifts believe it or not doesn't help much with Intuition as they play out differently despite them being frequently compared to each other.  I know you mentioned some piles and that it makes for the most difficult decisions in the deck.  Do you have any general philosiphies on playing it in different circumstances?  For example, do you ever play it in response to a big spell to get Fow/Drain?  Would you include Yawg in the pile considering there is no grave recursion?  I suppose I could continue testing with the deck but you have a two year headstart on playing it and seem willing to share you ideas.

Intuition pile questions are always going to be hard for me to answer. I guess I have different philisophies, but I don't have them memorized. Whenever I have an Intuition in hand, if AK/AK/AK is not the obvious correct play, I try to think of every single relevant card in my deck and just see what I can put together. As it happens, there really aren't that many choices. Like you'll pretty much never Intuition for TFK/TFK/TFK (or FoF or Scrying) because you have to put 2 TFKs in the yard in order to get 1. Bounce spells are often good choices if you have Tendrils in hand. I've Intuitioned for Drain/Drain/Drain or FOW/FOW/FOW but only when not doing so will be a severe blow to my chances of winning or the direct result of my losing. Other than AK/AK/AK... by far the most common Intuition pile will have Lotus/Crypt/Jet/Petal/Vault or some combination of mana that will win the game. Remember that the deck runs 4 bounce spells. A Mox Jet plus a bounce spell can give you the BB you need to win the game. 

The only times I've ever put Yawg Will in a pile is when I'm very confident I will win. This will usually be a pile of Will/Tendrils/Tendrils (for game 1) where no matter what card I get should result in a win.

Frantic Search is a pet card of mine.  My initial look at the deck had me worried about producing black mana without Dark Rituals.  I tested with a lone Dark Ritual and hated it.  It would show up in my hand and all I would do with it is to power out a draw spell and it was only ever used for colorless mana.  I didn't deem it worthy.  Frantic Search gave me a way of utilyzing a lone Underground Sea while trying to combo off.  It definately proved itself useful but I'm not sure it's necessary.  The deck has so many other strong draw spells; Frantic Search may not be necessary.  My inexperience with Drain Tendrils may be the reason I look to a crutch to produce black mana.  It may also be that at times I'm trying to win the game before the deck is ready to.  Sometimes I should be waiting until I find Black Lotus, Lotus Petal, or Mox Jet; or maybe making that an Intuition pile. 

I've played Frantic for a while, and I really enjoy playing with it. The problem is it's not neccessary to consistently win, and the card it replaces in the deck is probably better than Frantic Search.

I don't know much about the deck, but considering I never had problems finding BB for Tendrils in Gifted I don't see why this deck should have. Even though it doesn't set up the GY in the same way, it draws way more cards before winning than Gifted did and shouldn't have any trouble to get two Sea into play.
On another note, as a big fan of Fetchlands especially in decks with Brainstorm, I'd probably replace a Sea with one as was mentioned before.

As for the no-Intuition build, I don't know the player or anything about his thoughtprocess, but when I finished building Shining (quite some time ago), I ran 4 AK md even without having Intuition (I added one later to replace FOF with something better, but well...). In a deck that can already draw a ton of cards, AK is excellent with or without Intuition if one has room. Early it cycles to assure landdrops, late it becomes a bomb. Their are two conditions for this to be true: A) You have to run a rather large manabase so that the mana for cycling it will be available without trouble and without usually costing a turn. Quite obviously, DT does this. And B) you need to have a ton of draw so that it is very likely that you see at least 2 and often 3 during the typical game. With all the carddraw and the added Scrolls, this should be assured for that build of DT, too. Intuition at that point becomes a nice card but far from necessary ime.

While I agree the deck can function without Intuition, I strongly believe the deck is so much stronger with 2. Just looking at the ability to turn an AK for 1 in a one-sided draw seven warrants at least 2 slots in the deck. On top of that, random kills can easily be constructed with any of the 3 tutors or Will in hand. The list goes on and on for the function of Intuition as I'm sure you know... and running 2 is a really small investment for a huge payoff.



For those who haven't seen it, here is LennonMarx's brief report playing the same DT list in the first post of the thread. His result was a top 4 split at Hero Zone in OH.

Round 1: Nam w/ 5c Stax

Game one he wins the die roll (I didn't get my Rock Lobster/Paper Tiger/Scissors Lizzard until later, and once I did I never lost with it.) and ellects to play. He opens with wasteland, mox, mox, lotus (I call cheatz!) and 3sphere. I have no force and feel compleely desimatied. He drops a smokestack a few turns later and I scoop. However, the only cards he saw of my deck were islands and an AK so (at least according to our banter) he boarded as though I was playing oath.
Game two I'm on the play Nam applies no pressure at all. After a few turns i play a few moxes, rebuild, replay them, chain them back to my hand, replay them, and tendrils for exactly 20.
Game three is epic. He opens with a gemstone mine, then a city and plays a 2sphere. I have basics and a few moxes and am just biding my time. He plays a keg, I force, and he REBs, and trhen he kills my moxes. The next turn he strips me down to 2 land. I play a ruby and pass. He proceeds to tinker for crucible and strip an island. At this point his only mana sources are City and his Mine with 1 counter on it. I have Hyrcles Recall in hand and if I topdeck a land I can recall him and if he doesn't draw a mana source he can't replay the Crucible and I'll have time to get back in the game. I topdeck a Flooded Strand and he does in fact miss the land drop, and opts to play his 2sphere again. By the time he gets mana to do much more I have drains back online and counter the crucible and then a second one. I soon combo him out.
All told, this was my 2nd match with the deck ever, and the win against shops was a good omen.
1-0

Round 2: Twan w/ 5c poop stax
Game one he plays cards like supression field and price of glory. We joke at each other through the game and have a generally good time. Eventually I H. Recall him to get his Orb of Dreams off the field and do broken Will things.
Game two he plays an early mana crypt and it does something like 14 damage to him. At some point I tinker up the big man and he scoops after drawing orb of dreams.
2-0

Round 3 Kyle Paster w/ Flash
Game 1 is akward. He plays an early virulent sliver and I can't find a black mana to tutor for a way to win. I get slowly poisoned Napolian style.
Game 2 I play control all game. A sliver is swining but I'm in no real hurry. He tries to flash me out and I have quadruple counter up. I only need 3 of them to make sure he dies to a pact trigger on his next upkeep.
Game 3 I keep a bad hand because it has leyline. I'm almost in the game for a while, then he chain of vapors the leyline and has 2 pacts for my 2 drains.
2-1
 
Round 4 John Blystone w/ U/R Phid
Game 1 he gets a phid going and I feel as though I need to go for it before I get burried by the phid. I play some draw at his EoT, then Will on my turn. He forces and I force back... and that's it! In his full grip he had but one counter and my Will gets there.
Game 2 I needle phid to shut off his draw(edit: Doesn't actually work. Whoops. Sorry John). We both whittle each others resources down, then I refill with an Intuition for AKs. He can't keep up with the card advantage, and I eventually cast Will for the kill.
3-1

Round 5 Francis Hart w/ Shop Agro.
We are both locks for the T8, so we draw. We play for fun and he beats me 2-1.
3-1-1

Top 8 Coffee Cup with Shop Agro
Game 1 he plays some moxes and some disruption but doesn't apply much pressure. I drain a few guys and get a boatload of mana. Each time I burn a bit, but the mana turns into cards that put me way ahead. I eventually Rebuild and go off.
Game 2 is very similar to game 1. He has red blasts this game, and counters a few of my bounce spells, but at one point he taps out, and I H. Recall him and then cast a massive will. I had to get some extra storm due to him gaining 8 life off Jitte, but it wasn't an issue.

It was a great tourny and all of my opponents were great players and people. Sorry to my round 4 opponent for forgetting your name. All in all, I love this deck and will likely be playing it for some time in the shop heavy field of Sandusky. I hope to see everyone next month: this means you Yang Time and Guhstin!

And here are his thoughts on the deck from a PM:

The deck is amazing. I don't really have anything to add to the discussion that hasn't already been said, but I must say that you created a monster. In a field full of shops I never felt like I was under any pressure at all, and my loss to flash was my fault not the deck's.
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« Reply #23 on: February 12, 2008, 05:47:28 pm »

As I said, I found the deck to be absolutely amazing. Very rarely was I below 5 cards in hand, and when I was it didn't take long to build back up, so Library may be a possible consideration, but I don't think it is any better than whatever it would displace. My only real gripe with the deck was that the artifact count felt low when playing thirsts. Perhaps a thirst could be cut for the Library or Frantic Search or even a 2nd Skeletal Scrying which I found to be amazing all day.
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« Reply #24 on: February 13, 2008, 10:05:04 pm »

So last night on MWS i was playing some kid playing like 16 discard effects and extirpate. pwned.

I plan to take this deck to a tourney this Sat --  hopefully I won't face that deck round 1.

Although, I actually am thinking of putting tinker-colossus main -- not to because of extirpate, but to free up some sideboard space for a tog or 2 and/or (maybe) another pithing needle.  Is that a terrible idea Cody?
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« Reply #25 on: February 14, 2008, 01:36:46 pm »

So last night on MWS i was playing some kid playing like 16 discard effects and extirpate. pwned.

I plan to take this deck to a tourney this Sat --  hopefully I won't face that deck round 1.

Although, I actually am thinking of putting tinker-colossus main -- not to because of extirpate, but to free up some sideboard space for a tog or 2 and/or (maybe) another pithing needle.  Is that a terrible idea Cody?

Sounds fine. I've ran Tendrils and Tinker maindeck quite a few times in the past with equal success as any other build. What matchups do you plan on bringing Tog in for? I'm interested to see how it works out for you... best of luck on Saturday with whatever you play.
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« Reply #26 on: February 14, 2008, 05:41:22 pm »

I had a little bit of free time on my hands, so I had the idea to play 10 straight MWS games with different random opponents. I recorded what deck I played and if I won, which turn that was. I hope this helps some people in seeing what turn the deck can realistically win.

Game 1: Nantuko with TK Deeznaughts
Result: Turn 6 kill off Yawgmoth's Will into Tendrils

Game 2: Lawrence with TK Deeznaughts
Result: Turn 6 kill off Yawgmoth's Will into Tendrils

Game 3: Carnophage with MUD
Result: Turn 8 kill off Tendrils without Will

Game 4: Arcistud with Tog
Result: Turn 5 kill off Yawgmoth's Will into Tendrils

Game 5: Hurns with MUD
Result: Turn 5 kill off Yawgmoth's Will into Tendrils

Game 6: Cadburry Bunny with Tog
Result: Loss

Game 7: Pablo with Long
Result: Turn 7 kill off Yawgmoth's Will into Tendrils

Game 8: Sum91 with Flash
Result: Loss

Game 9: Esgthjy with GAT
Result: Between my turn 3-4, he is unhappy with what he sees with his Duress and replies "F-ing LUCK!!!" and then quits. Win.

Game 10: Pancas with Bomberman
Result: Loss

Overall Record: 7-3
Average kill turn for wins: 6.2

While this very small study has many flaws/bias to it, I learned a lot.

I think that Tinker/DSC may be the flat out better choice in the maindeck in place of one Tendrils. There is a lot of pressure on the deck to win with Will, and winning without it can be very difficult. Because most of the wins are the result of a tutored Tendrils off a Will, 1x Tendrils will usually do the same thing as 2x Tendrils. Playing Tinker/DSC again will make my life a lot easier and help take the pressure off a Will kill. I think I may have gotten a little bored with the deck at some point and wanted to challenge myself by just running 2x Tendrils or something... I'm not really sure.

I think I would pull Rebuild and Tendrils to make room for Tinker/DSC. This also frees up two board slots, which could be a 4th Pithing Needle and a Tog.

Another thought on the deck... Fact of Fiction has pissed me off since I started playing it because it generally sucks to hit Will off it. This is because the Will is usually in one pile all alone, and I usually can't take it if I want to win (especially against control). The result is that I'm forced into a non-Will kill and this takes more time, effort and resources. With Tinker back in the deck, that won't be as big a problem.   



« Last Edit: February 14, 2008, 06:37:12 pm by RaleighNCTourneys » Logged

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« Reply #27 on: February 14, 2008, 06:04:38 pm »

I think adding Tinker/dsc will be very good for you.  Tinker into lotus is always a nice play to have when you want to go for the kill right there as well.
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« Reply #28 on: February 16, 2008, 12:56:37 am »

Do you think that adding Tinker DSC to the main will affect if you play Chain in the main as well?

I'm in the middle of building this deck, I'm very excited about it.
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« Reply #29 on: February 16, 2008, 01:48:34 am »

Do you think that adding Tinker DSC to the main will affect if you play Chain in the main as well?

I'm in the middle of building this deck, I'm very excited about it.

I am too!
I decided to run Tinker->Colossus. I cut the 2nd Tendrils, and a Rebuild. But do you think that cutting the maindeck rebuild is correct?
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