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Author Topic: Lets talk Cerebral Assasin 2k9  (Read 13262 times)
jaeppel
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« on: June 16, 2009, 01:19:54 pm »

Cerebral assasin is one of those rogue decks that just keeps kicking around on the fringes.  Several recent printings add some great tools to this archetype, but as of yet i havent seen a post-alara list out there.  I personally am sort of stuck trying to fit all of the modern goodies into a workable deck, so i wanted to start this thread to gather the thoughts of others as to how the deck could be substantially reworked for the cardpool of right now.

Sen triplets is the first card that comes to mind.  The welder/animate/bazaar engine is perhaps the fastest way to get this on the table.  Once triplets hits its a city of solitude and mindslaver in one convenient package.  The primary flaw, as others pointed out here before, is that if they hit any later than turn 2, the chances of stealing relevant spells or mana drops is rather low.  Assasin has the tools to pop out the triplets fast, and so it seems something worth playtesting.  Sure opponents will try to empty their hand of relevant cards as quickly as possible once they see this guy, but then the advantage is that you force them to toss a bunch of spells before the optimal timing, and if nothing else blocking countermagic is pretty good in the drainmeta.

Another recent dood that has big potential is Sharuum, the Hegemon.  A thick flying body that creates card advantage from welder, nice.  Also conveniently in the same colors as triplets, although hardcasting either should be a once in a blue blood moon event.  Sharuum seems to have already found home in several decks.

Master transmuter is another option.  She has the advantage of being playable via welder, animate or simply hardcasting.  MasterT allows for welders 5-8, and even as a 1-2 its a nice backup plan to welder.

The cornerstones of assasin are welder, animate dead, bazaar.  Dragon is often included, but sometimes sideboard.  Without a deck dedicated to wgd combo, dragon feels more like jank to me.  There simply arent enough ways to to abuse the dragon loop to have a 'win right now' once animating dragon.  Possessed portal is often included and gives 4 squee something to do more interesting than shopping in baghdad. 

Sundering Titan seems to be the most universal choice of beater.  With a manabase of 5color lands the manascrew is one-sided.  Swapping titan in and out of play is a complete no-land lock against so many decks, and 7/10 is a pretty amazing body.  Other than that, trike is often used to be recurred with welder and give a win condition with WGD.  Trike is sadly on its way to the narfed list with the new rules.  While it still may be good, it wont be as amazing as before.

Other than that there are any number of additional utility doods that find their way in depending the meta.  Duplicant, skelevus, platz, and others.  In any case i think a standard list would have to leave two slots for meta-dependant robots of which we have so very many.

Another card choice i think could be explored is magus of the bazaar.  sure its crap, but as an animatable bazaar number 5, i think he could deserve a place.  Magus is a nice out to needle on bazaar, and a reason to run thousand year elixir (welder and masterT being of course 2 others).

Draw: (14)
4   Bazaar of Baghdad
1   Magus of the Bazaar
1   Ancestral Recall
2   Intuition
1   Deep Analysis
3   Squee
1   Entomb
1   Demonic Tutor

Cheating:  (11)
4   Goblin Welder
4   Animate dead
2   Master-T
1   Tinker

Stuff worth cheating: (7)
1   Sundering Titan  (Armageddon)
1   Sharuum  (even more cheating)
1   Sen Triplets  (Take your stuff)
1   Possessed Portal  (blow up your stuff)
1   Triskelavus  (make more ashtrays for welder)
1   Memory jar (so hot with triplets.  draw 14 not too bad)

Disruption: (6)
4   Thoughtsieze
2   Cabal Therapy

Mana: (23)
3   City of Brass
4   Gemstone mine
3   Ancient Tomb
3   Underground River
2   Shivan Reef
1   Black Lotus
1   Sapphire
1   Jet
1   Ruby
1   Petal
1   Sol ring
1   Mana Crypt
1   Stripmine

I dont claim this decklist to be optimal, its really here as a starting point for discussion.  In fact looking back at this brainstorm i see alot of holes in the gameplan.  I am eager to hear from those of you who are playing decks of this ilk, so please post any decklists here which could be considered under the broad archetype of cerebral assasin. 

Or anything that puts the triplets to good use....
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John Jones
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« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2009, 09:31:46 pm »

After using a welder based deck sen triplets have been very underwhelming. I think Jar is a win more card since you're not doing anything broken. I would add a timevault and a key.

have you thouhgt about running a single worldgorger dragon + a single Oona? That way you can combo kill instantly instead of relying on beaters. It will also make people sb wrongly against you.
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« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2009, 09:49:15 pm »

I would actually run 1 more sharuum and 1 more sen triplets. I might also add 1-2 inkwell leviathan, which is an awesome untargetable beater. Then you could cut a couple duress and play with force. and with more sharuum, you have the possibility of getting 1 5/5 and another free guy, possibly cutting a turn from the game. That might also allow you to not run dragon, which I think adds too much to the problem of too many clunky situational cards. here is close to what I would run:

4 welder
2-3 master t
2 sharuum
2 inkwell
2 sundering titan
1 magister sphinx

3 thoughtseize
4 force of will
2 intuition
2 thirst for knowledge
1 animate dead
1 necromancy
1 vampiric
1 time walk
1 ancestral

4 bazaar
3 squee

and a 5 color mana base. perhaps some rifstone portal, to make ancient tomb ( which I think is hot tech) and bazaar produce painless mana.
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Eastman
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« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2009, 11:31:49 am »

I'll weigh in on some of the new and old cards and how I think they'd play in today's meta, then propose a list as well.

Worldgorger Combo:
With the amount of removal in this environment, running this guy is folly.  You're just going to get all your perms removed, I don't think it's worth it.  


Squees:

The current format is much faster then the one in which Squees were good.  It used to be that against control, you could just plan to out-draw your opponent using Squee.  That takes a large number of turns, which used to work only moderately well.  Nowadays they'll use that window to just plunk down vault/key.

The other use for Squee is a hard lock with portal.  Even if you are running portal, you don't need these though.  Welder/portal is a beating in itself, and with the addition of master transmuter and Sharuum, you have a number of other ways to additionally exploit a portal.  I don't think it helps enough there to be worth the slots.  

Force of Will
I used to prefer CA builds with FoW anyway, and would bend over backwards to fit it in.  Now you have a format where I think force if even more necessary, AND you have the advent of the blue artifact.  No-brainer that FoW should be in the deck now.

Sharuum the Hegemon

I think this guy is great.  He pumps your artifact count to allow you to bring in extra dudes (which was sometimes an issue), helps you beat down quickly, pitches to force of will, and can help to exploit possessed portal (if you choose to run it) by increasing your permanent count and letting one welder generate the extra perm.  PLUS he reanimates your portals, which is really sweet.  I think it's worth running a couple.

Sen Triplets
I have my doubts, though I think I'd need to test it.  I'm wary because your opponent has a whole turn to prepare for this effect and to deal with it.  In type 1, many times an opponent can win if they go for broke, and if you signal (as Sen does) that they have to, they will just win in your face.  Or they'll find a way to deal with it.  I doubt you'll steal many sweet spells from them.  Further, the counter prevention doesn't seem particularly relevant when you are already bringing a giant dude into play.  Once you've succeeded in that mission the more important thing to do is to beat them down, quickly.  Sen's body is too small for that, and that's my main concern.  

Master Transmuter

Awesome.  This card is exactly what this deck wants, he puts your fatties right from hand to play without even needing the graveyard.  Backs up welder/reanimate, pitches to force, dodges graveyard hate, and helps exploit portal.  The only question is how many to run.  

Vault/Key
If you're running intuition and 4X welder, I think you just need to run this since the resolution of both is a turn 3 win.  Plus, this deck often had trouble finding enough artifacts to weld out, and the vault and key are pretty cheap artifacts to weld out so they won't really be dead.  

Suggested starting point:

5 Busted
1 Ancestral Recall
1 Time Walk
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Vampiric Tutor
1 Tinker

9 Fix, Smooth, and Drop
2 Intuition
1 Brainstorm
2 TFK
4 Bazaar of Baghdad

10 Fatty-into-play-devices
4 Welder
3 Animate Dead
3 Master Transmuter

10 Fatties
3 Sundering Titan
2 Sharuum the Hegemon
2 Posessed Portal
1 Platz
1 Time Vault
1 Voltaic Key

4 Disruption
4 Force of Will

22 Sources

That's 16 blue cards for FoW, which is plenty with bazaar to filter.  The Sharuum - into - portal plan is actually really nasty, and you might consider making that more the focus of the deck than the 7/10.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2009, 11:34:43 am by Eastman » Logged
jaeppel
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« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2009, 11:59:10 am »

After using a welder based deck sen triplets have been very underwhelming. I think Jar is a win more card since you're not doing anything broken. I would add a timevault and a key.

have you thouhgt about running a single worldgorger dragon + a single Oona? That way you can combo kill instantly instead of relying on beaters. It will also make people sb wrongly against you.

I dont think vault/key/gorger/oona really belong in the same deck.  multiple win right now combos simply take away too much focus.  If i wanted to kill with dragon i would include trike and eternal witness, maybe cunning wish into stroke of genius.  The problem is that there are too many cards competing for deckspace that dont do anything by themselves.  Once i try to run oona kill then there needs to be a good reason not to just dump everything and make a dragon deck.

What i am interested in is running dragon combo as a sideboard switch.  since animate is already in the main, just need to add 7 cards.  the dragons, a win, and additional necromancy.

Memory jar is a win card in here, not just win more.  Cracking jar then dropping land, mox, welder, (something), (discard squee, sharuum, land eot) pretty much sets up a win, in a manner that no other card can do.  welder+jar=draw engine, tinker+jar=wheel/twister, jar+triplets=draw 14+abeyance.  Jar is a broken card all by itself, and so many other cards in this deck make it stronger.  

@boogieman:
The big difference in your build is Force.  its a good card, but i worry about the number of blue cards.  I count 18 blue cards in your list, the minimum to reliably force.  so to raise the blue count high enough you need to run multiple U-artifact beaters.  You have a much more agressive deck there, but i think the creatures are lacking in disruptive abilities.

Of course attacking for lethal damage is very disruptive, and inkwell is the current top win condition.  i wouldnt run 2 though, i think the second one should be something that does something.  

I see that you wouldnt run the sen triplets... is triplet really a terrible card?  its one that seemed to have so much promise, but i dont see anyone using it.  thats what i am really interested in: finding the triplet deck, because i really feel that one must exist.

oh my, while i was writing this eastman chimed in with some fresh wisdom... i will respond to those points later..

I have to agree with you about the squees.. i really just sort of threw them in to fill some slots and stay true to the classic version.  Classics change though, and vault is top dog of artifact wins.  Squee is also eating the space that could be devoted to additional cheap artifacts for welder food.  another good point.  so on my original list i will strike 3 squee for one each vault, key, sensei top.  Top seems like it should be in there, with so many ways to abuse its ability, i dont know why i didnt add it at the beginning.

Your fattie base also is much more focused than mine.  Really thats one of my weaknesses in deckbuilding.. i never keep things on focus and redundant.  its really a personal preferance.  i enjoy playing decks with lots of options and changing lines of play to something redundant and focused.  this is why i run entomb with so many singleton artifacts.  At the same time, i am willing to concede that entomb is a crappy card and redundancy is generally more competitive that silver-bullet jank.

I do like entomb here though.  one black and it gets whatever you want directly into the welder/animate/sharuum zone.  whereas gradually bazaaring through the deck for bombs can take far too long, entomb is bang, right there, out in the open, exactly the thing i want in the yard.

It seems the consensus out there is that triplets just isnt good enough.  makes me sad to see that cool new card go directly to the dollar rare box of almost playables.  Unless there is a really focused deck out there that can really abuse them... i think any such deck would just be not as good as other things.

remand, bounce, draw7's.... and triplets?  now i am already talking about another deck entirely, so ill stop for now.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2009, 05:07:23 pm by jaeppel » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2009, 11:05:48 pm »

I really like eastmans list. the only thing I'd like to see different is

-1 titan
-1 something
+1 magister sphinx
+1 leviathan

not only are both blue cards, but sharuum+ magister is a win on the next turn. And inkwell is as big as titan, but is a better finisher.
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Eastman
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« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2009, 08:22:12 am »

Jaeppel, I was thinking I agreed with you about Entomb before the restricted list announcement.  Now I think we should seriously consider Entomb CA and what that list would look like.  Thoughts?  I think we'd obviously still run bazaars, but the target package should change significantly.  Keep sharuums as 2 or 3 as a way of using animate spells to get portal into play, but then drop the others to 1 or 2 ofs?  Are squees more viable now? 
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John Jones
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« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2009, 02:46:11 pm »

Have you ever thought about running nullstone gargoyle?
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« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2009, 02:52:36 pm »

Have you ever thought about running nullstone gargoyle?
That could actually be pretty awesome with welder tricks but is it better than Possessed Portal? Seems maybe more like a SB card against combo. I've always thought nullstone gargoyle had potential in a deck like this though.
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Eastman
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« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2009, 02:54:02 pm »

Nullstone is an interesting suggestion, I'll give it a shot.

I've been working on the post-update list.  This archetype gets as much or more of a shot from this mornings list as any, since I think entomb is better in CA than in any other deck (unlike dragon, CA doesn't need a second entomb to find the win, it's reanimation targets are often game-ending threats on their own).  A few more thoughts:

1.  I think Squees should definitely be cut now in favor of a single life from the loam.  With entomb you can find the one life from the loam that makes portal a hard lock.  Loam is a lock with portal because both dredge and portal use replacement effects, and you'll be able to pick ordering on your turn and get your draw. 

2. A single ancient grudge should come in as an entomb target to take out pesky time vaults and tormod's crypts. 

3. The mana curve gets a LOT better with intuition out and entomb in, as the deck is almost entirely 1 and 2 costed spells. 

4. Yawgmoth's will, already a smart inclusion in CA, is now a must run.  Entomb helps load the grave for will very productively. 

Not much else to say for now. I am very excited about today's announcement, and will be doing as much work on cerebral assassin as I can over the next few weeks to try to push it to viability in the new meta.  Entomb helps find the best card in the deck, and I think this is now a plan-A possessed portal deck.  My foil entombs are in the mail  Very Happy.  I welcome and encourage any help!

For reference, here is my current working list.  I'm starting with everything in the robot package with the idea of winnowing it down and optimizing it moving forward.

 Key questions are:
1.  FoW or not?
2.  Transmuter or not?
3.  Squee or Loam (loam + portal = hard lock, which is nice, since you can entomb the loam, plus it only takes 1 slot then instead of 4 to get said hard lock as an option in the deck)
4.  Do I bother with dragon, what's the animation target package?

Testing Cerebral Assassin 06/19

8 Animators
4 Goblin Welder
4 Animate dead

8 Bury

4 Entomb
4 Bazaar of Baghdad

9 Robot Package
2 Sharuum the Hegemon   [allowing animates to pull portal, Sharuum + welder = hard lock for portal]
1 Sundering titan  [this should be 2-3 in the end I think, but I want to make room for testing both vault/key and dargon]
1 Posessed Portal
1 Platz
1 Tinkwell Leviathan [U for force, helps to win through opposing welders]
1 Dragon
1 Vault
1 Key

4 Misc.
1 Life from the Loam
1 Darkblast [i just  figure with the entombs and the fact of opposing welders, this is just good]
1 Ancient Grudge
1 Eternal Witness

8 Restricted
1 TFK
1 Brainstorm
1 Tinker
1 Ancestral Recall
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Vampiric Tutor
1 Yawgmoth's Will
1 Time Walk

4 Force of Wil
l  [could and maybe should be duress, this slot may be determined by the number of blue creatures I wind up with in the robot package]


20 Mana (this is a big question, used to run 21, but with entomb instead of intuition, might only need like 18)
5 Moxen
1 Lotus
1 Mana Vault
1 Mana Crypt
1 Sol Ring
4 Gemstone Mine
4 City of Brass
2 Other Manas (academy, 2 painlands)
« Last Edit: June 19, 2009, 03:02:49 pm by Eastman » Logged
nataz
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« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2009, 05:38:40 pm »

with 8 5-color lands and 4 bazaar of baghdad and life from the loam I really want to try some number of crop rotation as well. Not only will they nab bazaar, but they can also snag singletons like strip mine, cabal pit, or cephalid col.

Also, what about runing reanimate instead of animate dead. I realize there is a life loss issue, but if you are going for speed the CC will really matter. I'm sure I don't have to tell you the sharp mana requirements that this deck tends to have, more so since you really want to play out Bazaar early. obviously you would only do this if you droped the dragon combo, but I don't think its a terrible trade. Turn 1 entomb, turn 2 animate off a single black source would be nice. Less mulligans also.

Also, if you end up runing life from the loam (and especially if you run crop rotation) I think we should look into a singleton riftstone portal. 

One last note. With the addition of 4x entomb, and a focus on speed, what about serum powder? It's not like the deck has a lot of early game card advantage, so you starting hand is very important. If we build redundancies into the deck, I think it could def be viable.

I <3 CA
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jaeppel
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« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2009, 03:00:57 am »

So its all a bit to absorb, these new unrestrictions.  Its rough to properly grasp the possibilites with 4entomb.  I think everyones still too in shock to put together the new decks.  I know i am.  That being said i will start by answering the five questions.

Key questions are:
1.  FoW or not?
2.  Transmuter or not?
3.  Squee or Loam (loam + portal = hard lock, which is nice, since you can entomb the loam, plus it only takes 1 slot then instead of 4 to get said hard lock as an option in the deck)
4.  Do I bother with dragon, what's the animation target package?

1.  I say not.  entomb, welder, and animate are all non-blue.  obvious, i know, but with 4entomb the color base shifts too far away from blue.  If entomb is eating up the slots formerly occupied by blue draw spells, there simply arent enough blue cards, unless of course going with an all blue artifact package.  I say thoughtsieze, running animate makes discarding opposing welders tec.

2.  Maybe not.  with entomb the focus is on reanimation, and entomb really doesnt do anything to help the transmuter.  As a singleton, it could be very powerful, but i think more than one is too many, and maybe that is too many.

3.  What about crucible?  Its both an ashtray for the welder and a portal advantage piece.  cheap enough to cast, welds and sharuums in, and opens up possibilies of abusing strip or the threshold lands.  I do like loam over squee though to answer the original question.

4.  Dragon is a hard call.  On one hand it is a target that makes a win right now out of animate.  On the other hand it takes away from the focus of this being an artifact based deck.  wgd is a very focussed deck, and while the unrestriction of entomb will certainly lead to a better wgd, having dragon/witness in the deck makes this less of a 'lock you out with powerful artifacts' deck.

anyways, here is my half-hour pen and paper list, similar but i made some different choices.

Engine: (16)
4  Goblin Welder
4  Animate
4  Entomb
4  Bazaar

Artifacts that do stuff: (12)
2  Sharuum               (the Hegemon)
1  Possessed Portal    (the lock)
1  Nullstone Gargoyle  (i think we should try it)
1  Sundering Titan      (the original)
1  Karn                    (mox killer, chump block with key)
1  ????????
1  Master Transmuter  (the fifth welder)
1  Crucible of Worlds  (in place of loam)
1  Sensei's top      (in place of brainstorm for an extra ashtray)
1  Timevault       (I hear this is good)
1  Key              (but only with this)

Restricted: (6)
1  Ancestral
1  Walk
1  Tinker
1  Demonic
1  Gifts
1  Will

Other Spells:  (6)
3  Thoughtsieze
1  ?????
1  Darkblast
1  Grudge

Mana:  (20)
4  city of brass
4  gemstonemine
3  on-moxen
1  Lotus
1  Petal
1  Sol
1  Crypt
1  Vault
1  Stripmine
1  Academy
1  Barbarian ring
1  Cephalid coloseum

and then a sideboard thats 50% dragon combo and 50% kill-leyline.  could be a plan.
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wiley
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« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2009, 01:51:18 pm »

Quote
Key questions are:
1.  FoW or not?
2.  Transmuter or not?
3.  Squee or Loam (loam + portal = hard lock, which is nice, since you can entomb the loam, plus it only takes 1 slot then instead of 4 to get said hard lock as an option in the deck)
4.  Do I bother with dragon, what's the animation target package?

I have toyed around some with ca builds with sharuum for a while now and I also think the deck has a better chance to succeed with entomb over intuition.

1.  I think the deck restrictions that FoW pushes you into end up being too much of a detriment.  Duress and Thoughtsieze (somewhere between 6-8 total) fit the deck much better (thoughsieze is also good to get a robot into the yard).
2.  No.  It really under performs with anything other than sharuum and sometimes titan.  However, it becomes almost impossible to lose once you have the two out.
3.  With entomb it is situationally better to use loam.  If you weld in sharuum and portal then they can sometime counter the first two times you loam and it stops the lock (sort of.  What you end up doing is saccing sharuum and welding it back in to get whatever you lost, meaning you effectively only have to discard/sac once every other turn, or never with 2 welders).  Neither are completely necessary, but loam may help more against wasteland decks.
4.  I don't think you need to.  Sharuum->portal is often all I ever needed to win with intuition builds, but now it may be harder to get both into the yard.  If it turns out that it is easier on the deck to run a dragon than the possible extra sharuums/portals then that would be the way to go.

EDIT:Working off and old ca list by Samuel Vaillancourt this is what I came up with:

// Lands
    4 Bazaar of Baghdad
    4 City of Brass
    4 Gemstone Mine
    1 Tolarian Academy
    1 Underground River

// Creatures
    1 Duplicant
    4 Goblin Welder
    1 Platinum Angel
    2 Sharuum the Hegemon
    2 Sundering Titan
    1 Triskelavus

// Spells
    1 Mox Ruby
    1 Black Lotus
    1 Mox Emerald
    1 Mox Jet
    1 Mox Pearl
    3 Animate Dead
    1 Mox Sapphire
    1 Possessed Portal
    1 Sol Ring
    1 Mana Crypt
    1 Ancestral Recall
    1 Vampiric Tutor
    1 Tinker
    1 Time Walk
    3 Thoughtseize
    1 Mystical Tutor
    1 Exhume
    3 Duress
    1 Demonic Tutor
    4 Entomb
    1 Darkblast
    1 Balance
    1 Memory Jar
    1 Yawgmoth's Will
    2 Careful Study

EDIT3: Fixed the list up some.  Don't know why I didn't notice it didn't have will :/  With triskelevus you can support portal for the max 4 turns that you need to win every time.  It also serves to kill tez (either the flying or the tokens, which also fly, serve to take it out), which is why it gets the not over pentavus.  Careful study is awesome and lowers the dependence on bazaar.  Balance if the shiznit as it will serve as land destruction and a wrath to your opponent with the added bonus of letting you discard your fatties for reanimation (or being an easy to cast mind rot on them).  I'm not sure on the exhume yet, it is kind of awkward if they are running big fatties too, like oath, but against goyfs everything you have is bigger.  It is letting them get something like kataki that worries me.

EDIT2: Since it can often help to pull inspiration form the past, here are old threads on CA

[Deck] Hadley Cerebral Assassin, Fun + Winning = Awesome
Updated cerebral assasin for 2006
[Deck] Cerebral Assassin
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« Reply #13 on: June 20, 2009, 02:25:14 pm »

I'm working on a list similar to this, Magister sphinx is definitely worth playing, seeing as welding/animating Sharuum with a Sphinx in the grave is a 1 turn clock.  Mindslaver can also randomly win with welder and Sharuum.
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« Reply #14 on: June 21, 2009, 06:54:48 am »

Mindslaver definitely is a card that should be considered. Welding in Sharuum, which then brings Slaver with it sounds awesome to me. Though not the main focus of the ideas presented by now, Slaver offers an alternate way of winning.
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« Reply #15 on: June 21, 2009, 10:32:49 pm »

So my first attempt is trying to work it with Force of Wills.  What do people think of Strategic Planning as an extra blue card to pitch that can do very good things on its own?  So far in testing it has been very good, but I'll admit that the list becomes very tight when squeezing in FoW.

Also I've been very unhappy with Loam, you don't really need it for Portal to be effective.  And I'm not sure that I want to replace with a full set of Squee, as the vault/key format may be too fast for a relatively slow uncounterable draw engine to get you very far ahead.  Maybe 2 Squee with entomb serving as Squee 4-6?  

Oh and as far as my questions  list from earlier, I do think some of my questions have been well answered in just a few days, both through my testing and by the posts on here.  
2.  No.  It really under performs with anything other than sharuum and sometimes titan.  However, it becomes almost impossible to lose once you have the two out.
4.  I don't think you need to.  Sharuum->portal is often all I ever needed to win with intuition builds, but now it may be harder to get both into the yard.  If it turns out that it is easier on the deck to run a dragon than the possible extra sharuums/portals then that would be the way to go.

Totally agree with you Wiley on those points.  Master T just doesn't fit into the maindeck, the curve is too low and it's too situational.   And dragon + witness is two slots spent to add a highly unstable and risky kill to the deck, I don't think it is worth it.

I am finding Sharuum to be a bit of a 'win-more' card when he works to bring another fatty into play, and to be annoyingly useless when he is the fatty i animate alone.  Without Intuition you are usually just dropping one fatty, so I don't think you can fully exploit sharuum.  Are the hands where animating him does nothing to the opponents board (as opposed to 7/10) outweighed by the ones where he backs up portal or does something else nasty?  
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« Reply #16 on: June 22, 2009, 12:25:24 am »

So my first attempt is trying to work it with Force of Wills.  What do people think of Strategic Planning as an extra blue card to pitch that can do very good things on its own?  So far in testing it has been very good, but I'll admit that the list becomes very tight when squeezing in FoW.


I am finding Sharuum to be a bit of a 'win-more' card when he works to bring another fatty into play, and to be annoyingly useless when he is the fatty i animate alone.  Without Intuition you are usually just dropping one fatty, so I don't think you can fully exploit sharuum.  Are the hands where animating him does nothing to the opponents board (as opposed to 7/10) outweighed by the ones where he backs up portal or does something else nasty?  

Force is really good.  Obvious enough.  So the central problem is, this deck is probably better with force, but there is very little space for enough blue cards to exploit it.  Strategic planning was a card i was thinking of myself.  The big weakness is that its only the top three that you have the option of dropping in the yard, so it does nothing if the fattie is already in hand.  In this case careful study would be a better spell, but i think in any other circumstance planning is better.

Intuition is missed here.  Choosing three cards and getting one in hand and two in the yard is nearly the same effect as planning, except that the three cards are random topdecks.  Thats a pretty huge difference.  Resolving intuition leads directly to a win, whereas planning will often just flip the three worst cards or  cycle through extra mana.

Have you playtested Gifts in here?  it seems like it could do alot of the things intuition did for the deck and help to avoid those situations where sharuum is just a mindless beater..  A pile like "sharuum, portal, bazaar, loam" goes straight for the lock, or just gift for four fatties and weld whatever hits the yard.  I think gifts could help make up for the loss of intuition at getting combinations of cards to the yard.  Its also blue and pitches to force.

lets say for 4 force we want 17 blue cards.  assuming 20 mana and 16 or the 4off engine cards (welder, animate, bazaar, entomb), that leaves 7 slots for additional non-mana, non-blue cards.  what are the 16-18 blue cards we could run? 

4  Force
3  ancestral, walk, tinker
2  Sharuum
1  Inkwell
1  Magister Sphinx
2  Careful Study
2  Strategic Planning
1  Gifts Ungiven
1-2 ?????

Thats 16-18 blue cards.  a frame like this with 4entomb-CA engine.  I think something like this could work, although personally i lean toward the duress builds.  Im fairly certain eastman would pwn me with forces  Wink
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« Reply #17 on: June 22, 2009, 08:04:41 am »

So my first attempt is trying to work it with Force of Wills.  What do people think of Strategic Planning as an extra blue card to pitch that can do very good things on its own?  So far in testing it has been very good, but I'll admit that the list becomes very tight when squeezing in FoW.
I would use a full set of careful study before I included the first strat planning.  The reason is the mana.  With 18-19 sources you want to try and do very little that costs two mana, and it should win the game.  There is also the problem jaeppel posed above of having animate targets in the hand when you cast planning.  It might dig one deeper but it is incredibly dumb when it comes to giving options to your strategy compared to study.

Also I've been very unhappy with Loam, you don't really need it for Portal to be effective.  And I'm not sure that I want to replace with a full set of Squee, as the vault/key format may be too fast for a relatively slow uncounterable draw engine to get you very far ahead.  Maybe 2 Squee with entomb serving as Squee 4-6?
Squee has no place in the deck.  The format was slow enough before, but now if you can't abuse bazaar in its card disadvantage/card selection form then your deck will not be competitive.  As far as loam is concerned, it doesn't fit here.  Again, it costs two mana, it also doesn't win the game.  Against the only decks you want to actually cast it, wasteland decks, you won’t be able to.

That said, a dredge card is still good for making an unbreakable portal lock with sharuum and welder.  There is also a particular dredge card that goes way up in ev with the expected increase of bobs in the format with darkblast.  Interestingly enough, bob is the only card that can allow someone to get out of a portal lock, so darkblast adds extra ev on that point as well.  There is also the fact that it destroys opposing welders, which have been known to give the deck fits.

I am finding Sharuum to be a bit of a 'win-more' card when he works to bring another fatty into play, and to be annoyingly useless when he is the fatty i animate alone.  Without Intuition you are usually just dropping one fatty, so I don't think you can fully exploit sharuum.  Are the hands where animating him does nothing to the opponents board (as opposed to 7/10) outweighed by the ones where he backs up portal or does something else nasty? 
I couldn't disagree more.  Maybe if you are entombing sharuum before you go after a board destroyer then you get that result, but as soon as you have that in the yard sharuum does multiple things that nothing else will do.

It reanimates another fatty which reduces the clock by at least a turn, as well as giving you a flier that cuts off tez.
It reanimates duplicant which steals a fatty or awesome utility creature and still leaves you with welder food and the possibility for more tricks.
It reanimates a fatty which means they need two bounce spells/answers unless they have rebuild/recall (in which case you can discard them to bazaar/study and get a third use out of that titan or a second use out of that duplicant).
It reanimates a fatty which increases your welder food, and the probability that you get a higher quality of tricks from it.
It reanimates a portal and feeds it almost by itself, making it so that if the opponent didn't already have an answer they definitely won’t in 4 turns (or less if you reanimate a fatty with your next welder sharuum activation).
It stops the usefulness of enchantment specific destruction like emerald charm and ray of revelation.

The only time it underperforms is when you discard it to bazaar as your only fatty and have no entomb or careful study to get something else in there.  After a full day of testing vs. old remora tez I never had that happen.  There is no win now creature in the deck, only a collection of creatures that make it incredibly hard for the opponent to win.

A better question is if something like inkwell is actually needed.  It isn't like it is in tez where you can counter everything your opponent does for the next three turns, it has no board interaction outside of being a big beater and its only advantage over anything else in the deck is shroud.  It is a card that never has an immediate effect.
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« Reply #18 on: June 25, 2009, 07:24:27 am »

I currently play this build. I just Playtest one MWS. At firstsome card choices:
Platz hasn`t done anything for me yet and was always boarded out (Storm combo plays bounce and i never played Ichorid which is the only deck it shines)
Nullstone Gargoyle can be good, but probabyl theres always a better card available, not sure about him yet.
I am not sure about the whole draw engine but Bazzar, which is amazing

Lands
    1  Strip Mine
    4  Bazaar of Baghdad
    4  City of Brass
    4  Gemstone Mine
    1  Tolarian Academy

// Creatures
    1 [ARE] Karn, Silver Golem
    1  Nullstone Gargoyle
    2  Master Transmuter
    2  Sharuum the Hegemon
    3  Sundering Titan
    1  Triskelavus
    1  Platinum Angel
    4  Goblin Welder

// Spells
    1  Sol Ring
    1  Mana Crypt
    1  Black Lotus
    2  Intuition
    2  Careful Study
    2  Sensei's Divining Top
    1  Mox Sapphire
    4  Force of Will
    2  Possessed Portal
    1  Ancestral Recall
    1  Time Walk
    1  Tinker
    1  Yawgmoth's Will
    1  Demonic Tutor
    1  Vampiric Tutor
    1  Mox Ruby
    1  Mox Jet
    1  Mox Pearl
    1  Thirst for Knowledge
    1  Ancient Grudge
    4  Animate Dead

// Sideboard
SB: 1  Echoing Truth
SB: 3  Red Elemental Blast
SB: 4  Leyline of the Void
SB: 4 [DDC] Duress
SB: 1  Duplicant
SB: 1  Null Rod
SB: 1  Tormod's Crypt

This build and probably most others have huge problems with stax. I stand 0:6 vs it. Null Rod with Wastes is also a real pain, but far better than stax.

What Sideboard slots or maindeck hate can we put in vs stax?
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« Reply #19 on: June 25, 2009, 09:42:07 am »

Are you not running entomb?  I find that with entomb + ancient grudge + darkblast, the Stax matchup is pretty even, and depends almost entirely on who wins the die roll
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« Reply #20 on: June 26, 2009, 01:25:01 am »

Are you not running entomb?  I find that with entomb + ancient grudge + darkblast, the Stax matchup is pretty even, and depends almost entirely on who wins the die roll

@unicoerner:  I agree, the first thing i would do is cut from your monster base and slide in entombs.  -1 portal, -1 titan, -2 intuition, and replace with 4x entomb.  I also think you should run more blue robots if you want to support force.  Replacing your triskelivus and platz for an inkwell and magister sphinx focusses on win hard now, rather than try to stay alive with defensive creatures.  Having both options in the main and side could be good.  In certain matchups the deck could easily morph  between slow control and and fast clock modes.

@CA in general:  Ive been thinking generally that time vault is actually better than timewalk in this deck.  Even without the key, just untaping vault with a portal in play is busted enough.  Running both is a good thing, but timewalk doesnt really do so much here, other than a cantriping lightning greaves for welder.  The potential to just reandomly win off timevault does so much more here, and it even swaps out to bring in robots.  Timewalk does none of these things, so i would run vault before walk (but maybe both)

I also really think that gifts is a better choice than Intuition.  There isnt much space for intuition with the inclusion of entomb.  If i think would i rather have one intuition or one gifts in this deck, i generally would say gifts.  Its just a more versatile card, and with life from the loam gifts can even be a tutor for bazaar. 

The other card i think we should look at is ravens crime.  With entomb its always there when it will be any good.  but will it ever be any good?  thats my final question.
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« Reply #21 on: June 26, 2009, 07:12:15 am »

The other card i think we should look at is ravens crime.  With entomb its always there when it will be any good.  but will it ever be any good?  thats my final question.

I can provide some insight on this card after testing it in a variety of vintage and casual lists ever since it came out.  The card is horrible the majority of the time, it just doesn't make a difference unless one of two conditions are met; 1)  They only have one card in hand and you can recur or draw into lands long enough for an already established clock to take home the prize.  2) You have them under a mana denial lock such as strip lock + sphere and have a way to recur more lands than cards they draw to keep them from build critical mass and casting hurkyl's recall.

In any other situation the card is a dud.
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« Reply #22 on: June 26, 2009, 07:48:26 am »

Or you can just cast Life from the Loam and hit them for 3 cards, assuming you have access to 1GBBB.
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« Reply #23 on: June 30, 2009, 09:57:30 am »

Or you can just cast Life from the Loam and hit them for 3 cards, assuming you have access to 1GBBB.

The situations where that happens and you haven't met the second condition or lost already are incredibly rare.  The card is not good.

As for my list above, the changes I have made so far are:
-1 triskelevus
-1 thoughtsieze
-1 exhume

+1 Duplicant
+1 ancient grudge
+1 Animate dead

I'm trying to find one more slot to cut to put in another darkblast as it has been really good in testing.  The only other card in the deck that I would want to cut is careful study, and I think it is needed.  For a duress based version of the deck, I think the main deck is close to optimal now.  It still has some problems with a tez deck that chooses to ignore it and just assemble the time vault key combo as fast as possible, so there is a definite wall that the duress builds can't climb that may be overcome by the force versions.
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« Reply #24 on: July 02, 2009, 01:15:07 pm »

How did Memory Jar work for you guys? I have the feeling that i really like sth else in mgrave, which matters right now and not sth i have to draw to via Jar.

Di dyou ever entomb a Jar?
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« Reply #25 on: July 03, 2009, 01:39:26 am »

There is a realization ive just had that seems rather obvious, yet had escaped my notice.  Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth is really good here.  Or actually in anything running titan.. Everything is a swamp, thus no land is safe from titan's effect.  This gets around the problem of titan being a vanilla beater in certain matchups.  Aside from that it gets all of your lands tapping for black mana, which is much more useful than riftstone.  I'll take swamp of baghdad over savannah of baghdad any day.

Including Urborg makes it tempting to include some number of crop rotations.  Rotation can get bazaar, urborg, academy, strip, and shop.  If i were to run rotation i think cutting one bazaar for a workshop is a solid plan.  Having access to rotation into shop/academy makes "hardcast huge body" a workable plan B.
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« Reply #26 on: July 17, 2009, 08:45:25 pm »

Here's my current list:

// Lands
    4 Bazaar of Baghdad
    1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
    4 City of Brass
    4 Gemstone Mine
    2 Underground River

// Creatures
    4 Goblin Welder
    3 Squee, Goblin Nabob
    2 Sharuum the Hegemon
    2 Sundering Titan
    1 Duplicant
    1 Triskelion
    1 Magister Sphinx

// Spells
    1 Black Lotus
    1 Mox Emerald
    1 Mox Jet
    1 Mox Pearl
    1 Mox Ruby
    1 Mox Sapphire
    1 Sol Ring
    1 Mana Crypt
    1 Possessed Portal
    1 Memory Jar
    1 Ancestral Recall
    1 Time Walk
    1 Tinker
    1 Careful Study
    1 Vampiric Tutor
    1 Imperial Seal
    1 Demonic Tutor
    3 Entomb
    3 Duress
    3 Thoughtseize
    3 Animate Dead
    1 Exhume
    1 Darkblast

// Sideboard
SB: 4 Ancient Grudge
SB: 4 Ray of Revelation
SB: 4 Show and Tell
SB: 1 Balance
SB: 2 Pithing Needle
 
Keep in mind that all my recent play experience with this has been in the MWS meta.

Notable absenses after testing:

Inkwell Leviathan - Sundering Titan ends up being better in almost every situation. Easily and often hit by artifact sweepers, without the benefits of blowing up land in the process that Titan provides. While it can't be hit by opposing Welders, I almost always managed to take them out with Darkblast or Triskelion anyway, making it irrelevant. In addition, you can't Weld it out for extra land distruction like you can with Titan (for the rare occassion that it's relevant).

Platinum Angel - Magister Sphinx replaces it for me, especially since people appear to be running Rebuild/Hurkyl's Recall.

Tolarian Academy - For me, there's usually not enough artifacts in play for it to be better than Island. Now that Intuition is out in favor of Entomb, there's less incentive to run it. I've been testing a couple of different replacements.

Yawgmoth's Will - I switch between running this, and running other things in its place. It seems better in theory than it ends up being in practice. Early game, I always wish that it was something else. Late game, it's not much better than Regrowth, and shuts down the graveyard interactions for the rest of the turn. I'll probably come back to it, but for now, I'd rather run something more proactive.

Notable inclusions:

Magister Sphinx - It's almost like a hybrid Platinum Angel and DSC. In addition to being able to use it on yourself to run your life total back up, bringing it in with a welded Sharuum ends the game next turn. With an early Tinker, it can work as a psudeo DSC (technically more efficient, as it can deal 15 damage in the same time frame that DSC would deal 11).

Memory Jar - Helps get more stuff out on the field, helps get robots in the yard. Digs deep with the aide of untapped Bazaars in play. Needs more testing before I can be sure whether or not it's a win-more card.

Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth - My current Academy replacement. It provides a way to use Mines without using up counters, it allows alternate uses for Bazaars, and it allows Sundering Titan to hit any land that you want. I've used it in this manner to get rid of opposing Bazaars and the like.
 
Squee, Goblin Nabob - I tried cutting these down, but found that Bazaars were stuck in self-mill mode way too often, which left me wishing that I had included Squees so I could dig for answers. I'd rather have a useless Squee in some instances than to give my opponents free Time Walks in other instances.
 
Triskelion - IMHO, this guy is worth running over Triskelavus due to how tight the mana tends to be.

Sideboard explanation:

Ancient Grudge - In addition to the obvious, it helps provide weld targets when the opponent tries to play around your Welders. Works great with Entomb.

Ray of Revelation -  Hits Leyline, hits the post-board stuff in Parfait/Tax (Humility, Wheel), hits Oath. Oath used to give me trouble, but now that I'm running 4 of these along with the maindeck Darkblast, Oath is much easier to take on.

Show and Tell - Used when you know that the opponent is going to be siding in alot of hate against Welder, Bazaar, and your grave in general. While they're wasting time dropping Needles, Crypts, and Leylines, just walk right past them.

@CA in general:  Ive been thinking generally that time vault is actually better than timewalk in this deck.  Even without the key, just untaping vault with a portal in play is busted enough.  Running both is a good thing, but timewalk doesn't really do so much here, other than a cantriping lightning greaves for welder.  The potential to just reandomly win off timevault does so much more here, and it even swaps out to bring in robots.  Timewalk does none of these things, so i would run vault before walk (but maybe both)

I don't think that Vault interacts with Portal the way that you think it does.

I also really think that gifts is a better choice than Intuition.  There isnt much space for intuition with the inclusion of entomb.  If i think would i rather have one intuition or one gifts in this deck, i generally would say gifts.  Its just a more versatile card, and with life from the loam gifts can even be a tutor for bazaar.

CC is a bit too high for this deck. Intuition was always better before, and now Entomb is better.

There is a realization ive just had that seems rather obvious, yet had escaped my notice.  Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth is really good here.  Or actually in anything running titan.. Everything is a swamp, thus no land is safe from titan's effect.

Thanks for this suggestion. Academy was most useful to me when we still had to run Intuition. Since those days are behind us, I've been quite happy running Urbord in its place.

Including Urborg makes it tempting to include some number of crop rotations.  Rotation can get bazaar, urborg, academy, strip, and shop.  If i were to run rotation i think cutting one bazaar for a workshop is a solid plan.  Having access to rotation into shop/academy makes "hardcast huge body" a workable plan B.

Crop is probably not so good here. The land compliment is minimal here anyway, so risking having them countered at the cost of an existing land seems like it wouldn't be worth the risk. In addition, we've got about as much card-disadvantage as we can take.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2009, 08:52:53 pm by m03 » Logged
jaeppel
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« Reply #27 on: July 19, 2009, 11:09:09 am »



@CA in general:  Ive been thinking generally that time vault is actually better than timewalk in this deck.  Even without the key, just untaping vault with a portal in play is busted enough.  Running both is a good thing, but timewalk doesn't really do so much here, other than a cantriping lightning greaves for welder.  The potential to just reandomly win off timevault does so much more here, and it even swaps out to bring in robots.  Timewalk does none of these things, so i would run vault before walk (but maybe both)

I don't think that Vault interacts with Portal the way that you think it does.

Its not so much that portal interacts with vault... its that giving away a free turn with portal isnt a free turn.  Portal+vault in play, opponent's turn, they draw nothing and sac/discard end of turn.  beginning of turn, untap vault to pass.  opponent goes again, but if they had nothing last turn they end this one with even less.  end of turn, sac portal to itself.  now take two turns with full access to draw phase.. if you havent won yet, weld portal back in and give away two turns.... etc.

vault is really good.  beyond busted actually.  I tend to think the best way to beat it is to join it, so then the tez matchup is more a race to go infinite.  CA can pull this off in a number of ways, getting the vault into play (battlefield) with so much tutoring.  A countered timevault is a bomb waiting for sharuum, while a countered walk is just a decoration on the table (especially if you cut will, which i mostly agree with)

I do like your build though.  glad to see you have some sucess with CA.  i may proxy up your list and try it out.  you are right about gifts btw... i just like to try everything.  the best use of gifts ends up pitching to bazaar....

« Last Edit: July 20, 2009, 12:15:20 am by jaeppel » Logged

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« Reply #28 on: July 19, 2009, 05:18:25 pm »



@CA in general:  Ive been thinking generally that time vault is actually better than timewalk in this deck.  Even without the key, just untaping vault with a portal in play is busted enough.  Running both is a good thing, but timewalk doesn't really do so much here, other than a cantriping lightning greaves for welder.  The potential to just reandomly win off timevault does so much more here, and it even swaps out to bring in robots.  Timewalk does none of these things, so i would run vault before walk (but maybe both)

I don't think that Vault interacts with Portal the way that you think it does.

Its not so much that portal interacts with vault... its that giving away a free turn with portal isnt a free turn.  Portal+vault in play, opponent's turn, they draw nothing and sac/discard end of turn.  beginning of turn, untap vault to pass.  opponent goes again, but if they had nothing last turn they end this one with even less.  end of turn, sac portal to itself.  now take two turns with full access to draw phase.. if you havent won yet, weld portal back in and give away two turns.... etc.

vault is really good.  beyond busted actually.  I tend to think the best way to beat it is to join it, so then the tez matchup is more a race to go infinite.  CA can pull this off in a number of ways, getting the vault into play (battlefield) with so much tutoring.  A countered timevault is a bomb waiting for sharuum, while a countered walk is just a decoration on the table (especially if you cut will, which i mostly agree with)

I know how it works, but if you have a Welder in play, you end up with a pretty similar interaction without Time Vault.

Besides, Vault requires additional cards in order to make it good, Walk does not. Walk helps make other cards in the deck better (Goblin Welder, Imperial Seal, and Vampiric Tutor specifically).  I ran CA for a while last year without Time Walk, and found that it was generally better to include it.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2009, 05:23:00 pm by m03 » Logged
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« Reply #29 on: August 16, 2010, 01:08:11 pm »

Sorry to rez this thread.

With entomb being a 4 of now have any of you tried fitting reanimate in the lists?  I had some success in tournies a few years back running 2x reanimate in my CA lists.

For reference:

Maindeck:
4 Bazaar of Baghdad
4 Goblin Welder
3 Squee, Goblin Nabob
3 Animate Dead
2 Reanimate
2 Intuition
2 Thirst for Knowledge
1 Buried Alive
1 Entomb
2 Sundering Titan
1 Duplicant
1 Triskelion
1 Platinum Angel
1 Worldgorger Dragon
1 Shivan Hellkite
2 Xantid Swarm
2 Echoing Truth
1 Living Wish
1 Tinker
1 Ancestral Recall
1 Yawgmoth's Will
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Vampiric Tutor
4 City of Brass
4 Gemstone Mine
1 Tolarian Academy
1 Sulfurous Springs
1 Shivan Reef
1 Underground River
1 Vault of Whispers
1 Mox Emerald
1 Mox Ruby
1 Mox Pearl
1 Mox Jet
1 Mox Sapphire
1 Black Lotus
1 Mana Crypt
1 Sol Ring  

Sideboard:
3 Ray of Revelation
3 Sacred Ground
2 Red Elemental Blast
1 Worldgorger Dragon
1 Xantid Swarm
1 Possessed Portal
1 True Believer
1 Gorilla Shaman
1 Viashino Heretic
1 Withered Wretch


keep in mind the age of the deck (2005), and the few odd choices such as living wish (hey it won a tournie give me a break ;P) and no duress or fow (for the record I loved duress builds over FoW back then, and was my first change from Eastmans origional list) But some ideas perhaps can be gained from a non-standard version of the deck.

I loved CA and any modernization attempts seem like a good thing to me.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2010, 01:22:53 pm by Lunar » Logged

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