TheManaDrain.com
June 07, 2023, 08:33:22 am *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News:
 
   Home   Help Search Calendar Login Register  
Pages: 1 ... 13 14 [15] 16
  Print  
Author Topic: The Dark Times Primer  (Read 145304 times)
TheWhiteDragon
Basic User
**
Posts: 1644


ericdm69@hotmail.com MrMiller2033 ericdm696969
View Profile WWW
« Reply #420 on: December 18, 2012, 12:29:47 pm »

I figured it was too slow. I've never tested either card though and was curious.

Green gives you a lot of answers at every CMC -- Nature's Claim, Deglamer, Sylvok Replica, Pernicious Deed, etc. I realize Replica is a little expensive at {3}, but it gets around Lodestone Golem and Thorn of Amethyst. It also blocks one Factory/Mutavault and Phyrexian Revokers.

I think the best green card would be abrupt decay generally speaking.  Claims certainly help vs golems/oath.  I was really hoping black would be able to handle it on its own.  I think with the vials and sol/crypt, it has a really big punch vs shops.  I also added 1 cavern of souls, which is nice.  It's extra mana, it's good vs chalice@2 and counterspells.  I mainly push through bobs, not hexmages and then just get big card advantage to overwhelm blue.  The Urborgs also let it tap for black to cast non-bob spells, which I forgot about.  Hex Parasites are okay...1 main, 1 in the SB.  Since it's been a while I'll post the latest decklist:

// Lands
    3  Dark Depths
    2  Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
    1  Strip Mine
    4  Bloodstained Mire
    8  Swamp
    1  Cavern of Souls

// Creatures
    4  Dark Confidant
    4  Vampire Hexmage
    2  Phyrexian Obliterator
    1 ????

// Spells
    4  Duress
    1  Demonic Consultation
    1  Demonic Tutor
    1  Vampiric Tutor
    4  Dark Ritual
    1  Black Lotus
    1  Mox Jet
    4  Thoughtseize
    3  Pithing Needle
    2  Liliana of the Veil
    3  Null Rod
    2  Phyrexian Arena
    1  Darkblast
    1  Extirpate
    1  Surgical Extraction

// Sideboard
SB: 1  Hex Parasite
SB: 1  Pithing Needle
SB: 1  Null Rod
SB: 4  Grafdigger's Cage
SB: 1 [JGC] Mana Crypt
SB: 1  Sol Ring
SB: 3 [V10] AEther Vial
SB: 3  Ratchet Bomb


The parasites are still iffy.  I moved 1 needle to the sb since extirpate/extraction help in the wasteland battle and 3 null rods handle any artifacts I'd shut off with needle.  The SB could still use some tweaks maybe.  Maybe something in the main could be edited too.

**edit**
I realized the reason I originally cut hex parasite.  It sucks with null rod.  So I have 1 still in the sb, but maindeck it is just crap as we will be dropping a null rod 3 times as often until I see what the opponent is running.  He's also crazy slow to get a ML token.  Decent vs shops, but not enough as a singleton to really make a dent in anything.

Considerations are:
Phyrexian arena #3
Pithing needle #4
Phyrexian metamorph (possibly even more than 1)
Something else that I haven't thought of
« Last Edit: December 19, 2012, 07:36:26 pm by TheWhiteDragon » Logged

"I know to whom I owe the most loyalty, and I see him in the mirror every day." - Starke of Rath
ramrodjon
Basic User
**
Posts: 213



View Profile
« Reply #421 on: December 20, 2012, 02:10:07 pm »

I've tried the red splash for Chewer and Heretic, but the Charm could be useful.  Useful vs. Dredge and Goblin tokens, too.  Green has been used by Sean Duffy with some success.  He used Deeds, Deglamer (for Tinker-BSC), and Library.  I really like the idea of Abrupt Decay to fight CotV.  When I was Mono black I tried BB/Gate and it worked...sometimes.  Shops can be rough.  Try Emissary of Despair (I think Glackin did), Vampire Knighthawk, or Tendrils to buy a little time?
Logged

I hear the train a'comin'...it's rolling round the bend.
TheWhiteDragon
Basic User
**
Posts: 1644


ericdm69@hotmail.com MrMiller2033 ericdm696969
View Profile WWW
« Reply #422 on: December 20, 2012, 10:15:05 pm »

The emissaries are just too slow.  Especially with phyrexian metamorph in print, they just copy and block.  With golems too, a 2/1 that even hits for 5 is only matching the speed of one golem.  Golems also add extra spheres to their deck, so tendrils is almost unplayable vs shops.  BB/Gate is just so slow.  The nighthawk was neat, but dies easy and weak.  I thought basilisk collar was better since it could attach to a 2/1 first striker.  But with null rods, they're hard to utilize in the maindeck.  I think after sb with crypt, collar, hex parasite, 3 aether vial, 3 ratchet bomb - I should be fine vs shops.  I could even try dismember again if the precursor versions become big again.  The main concern at the moment is replacing the 1 card slot that was the hex parasite (awful with rods), and making sure the main is optimal overall.  I'll concede shops is the worst possible match, and I basically need to ritual, thoughtseize,  hexmage turn 1, needle (on waste), depths turn 2 in order to win.  That's not undoable actually.  G2/3, I should be in much better shape.

Cards I'm considering are phyrexian metamorph, act of agression, arena #3, needle #4, obliterator #3....though there are many possibilities to add a card.  I just think it can't be any activated artifact.

Red has possibilities.  The charms are solid enough to be main as perhaps a 3x of.  Gorilla shaman, heretic, chewer....all possibilities.  Even dreadbore is an option if I'm going BR.  Lightning bolt and REBs of course have possibilities too.  Even running lotus, ruby, 4 fetches, 2 badlands, and one mountain from the sb though - there are times I'll have a couple red cards in hand and just draw rituals, swamps, and urborgs.  I hate mana screw.
Logged

"I know to whom I owe the most loyalty, and I see him in the mirror every day." - Starke of Rath
Stormanimagus
Basic User
**
Posts: 1290


maestrosmith55
View Profile WWW
« Reply #423 on: February 21, 2013, 09:46:04 pm »

Necro Achieved!

Has anyone considered a BUG version of this deck with Shamans & Cavern of Souls. I was thinking to try this as a first shot:

Dark Times

Land (22):
3 Cavern of Souls
4 Verdant Catacombs
2 Swamp
1 Forest
2 Bayou
1 Underground Sea
4 Wasteland
3 Dark Depths
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
1 Strip Mine

Artifacts (8):
1 Black Lotus
1 Mox Jet
1 Mox Emerald
1 Mox Sapphire
3 Null Rod
1 Pithing Needle

Planeswalkers (1):
1 Liliana of the Veil

Creatures (15):
4 Deathrite Shaman
4 Dark Confidant
4 Vampire Hexmage
3 Trygon Predator

Instants (8):
3 Mental Misstep
1 Abrupt Decay
1 Extirpate
1 Ancestral Recall
1 Brainstorm
1 Vampiric Tutor

Sorceries (6):
4 Thoughtseize
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Time Walk

Sideboard
3 Vampire Nighthawk
1 Cavern of Souls
1 Abrupt Decay
1 Crucible of Worlds
1 Ghost Quarter
2 Nature’s Claim
2 Extirpate
4 Grafdigger’s Cage

The strength here is that this has great game against creature decks and I think d. shaman actually give it a solid enough shop match-up. Against blue you have 3 extirpate post board (I find extirpate to be pretty nasty vs. landstill) and against dredge they are also quite good if you know how to play them properly.

Thoughts?

-Storm



Logged

"To light a candle is to cast a shadow. . ."

—Ursula K. Leguin
TheWhiteDragon
Basic User
**
Posts: 1644


ericdm69@hotmail.com MrMiller2033 ericdm696969
View Profile WWW
« Reply #424 on: February 21, 2013, 10:27:13 pm »

The lack of ritual hurts your speed play, but you get a lot of consistency in trade.  Hexmage on its own is a nice little critter. 2/1 first strike that reads "combo or kill target tangle/jace" is a nice dude to have in a BUG fish deck.  You lose the simple and consistent threat of tarmogoyf for much slower clocks, but gain the one huge clock in trade.  I think this could be a very nice list.  I do wonder if it is a big advantage over the same BUG list with tarmogoyfs in place of depths and hexmage and a couple extra mana sources.  Also, I don't like that you lose 8-10 discard effects for 3 narrow counters.  Granted, those missteps hit plows, repeal, and chain which are the biggest threats, but you still deal with e-truth, oath, and other threats that duress could pull. Then again, you probably don't care if they kill your Merit token when you have so many other beaters as a plan.  It should work nicely.
Logged

"I know to whom I owe the most loyalty, and I see him in the mirror every day." - Starke of Rath
Stormanimagus
Basic User
**
Posts: 1290


maestrosmith55
View Profile WWW
« Reply #425 on: February 21, 2013, 10:40:07 pm »

The lack of ritual hurts your speed play, but you get a lot of consistency in trade.  Hexmage on its own is a nice little critter. 2/1 first strike that reads "combo or kill target tangle/jace" is a nice dude to have in a BUG fish deck.  You lose the simple and consistent threat of tarmogoyf for much slower clocks, but gain the one huge clock in trade.  I think this could be a very nice list.  I do wonder if it is a big advantage over the same BUG list with tarmogoyfs in place of depths and hexmage and a couple extra mana sources.  Also, I don't like that you lose 8-10 discard effects for 3 narrow counters.  Granted, those missteps hit plows, repeal, and chain which are the biggest threats, but you still deal with e-truth, oath, and other threats that duress could pull. Then again, you probably don't care if they kill your Merit token when you have so many other beaters as a plan.  It should work nicely.

I get your aversion to misstep, but this deck is pretty weak to the new Ritual Oath decks without it. It hits Ritual, but more importantly, it hits their Duress which could pull your Thoughtseize. I think that deck is just so blazingly fast and efficient that we need some game saver against them. Extirpate is sorta ok against them at times, but again, it is absolutely not enough. One needs a critical mass of combo hate to not just auto-lose to it.

-Storm
Logged

"To light a candle is to cast a shadow. . ."

—Ursula K. Leguin
StanleyAugust
Basic User
**
Posts: 279


View Profile Email
« Reply #426 on: February 22, 2013, 04:46:14 am »

I would rather go BGW - as I briefly mentioned in the Humans thread.

Deathrite Shaman and Knight of the Reliquary are very good and have amazing synergy with a Dark Times shell. White also gives you Swords and lets you play Qasali Pridemage.
Logged
Stormanimagus
Basic User
**
Posts: 1290


maestrosmith55
View Profile WWW
« Reply #427 on: February 22, 2013, 11:32:03 am »

Ok. Challenge accepted!! I give you:

Dark Times Gold

Land (27):
4 Cavern of Souls
4 Marsh Flats
2 Verdant Catacombs
2 Bayou
3 Scrubland
1 Savannah
1 Swamp
1 Horizon Canopy
1 Bojuka Bog
2 Dark Depths
4 Wasteland
1 Strip Mine
1 Maze of Ith

Artifacts (8):
3 Grafdigger’s Cage
1 Black Lotus
1 Lotus Petal
1 Mox Jet
1 Mox Emerald
1 Mox Pearl

Enchantments (3):
3 Stony Silence

Creatures (18):
4 Deathrite Shaman
4 Dark Confidant
3 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
4 Vampire Hexmage
3 Knight of the Reliquary

Instants (3):
3 Mental Misstep


Sideboard
1 Karakas
1 Thrun, The Last Troll
4 Rest in Peace
1 Ghost Quarter
3 Mindbreak Trap
1 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
1 Stony Silence
3 Qasali Pridemage
Logged

"To light a candle is to cast a shadow. . ."

—Ursula K. Leguin
Random Noob
Basic User
**
Posts: 174


x=0˛


View Profile
« Reply #428 on: March 07, 2013, 01:22:59 pm »

This is what i play currently.

4 Hex Parasite
4 Death's Shadow
4 Vampire Hexmage
4 Dark Confidant
4 Thoughtseize
4 Mental Misstep
4 Grafdigger's Cage
1 Necropotence
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Vampiric Tutor
1 Demonic Consultation
1 Liliana of the Veil
1 Mox Jet
1 Black Lotus
4 Dark Ritual
5 Swamp
1 Strip Mine
3 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
4 Dark Depths
4 Wasteland
4 Verdant Catacombs
SB: 3 Bojuka Bog
SB: 2 Dismember
SB: 3 Null Rod
SB: 2 Snuff Out
SB: 3 Phyrexian Revoker
SB: 2 Duress

I testet with a disruption shell around 4 Thoughtseize, 3 Hymn (Duress), and 3 Misstep. It was fine so far, especially the Hymns to make card advantage against those Snapcasters. But the Snapcaster list which placed 1st in Gencon piloted by Marc Lanigra can't be stopped through disrupt, also Liliana seemed pretty weak, because they can do tricks with eot flashed Snapcasters, and beat her easily down. The secound point is, that you unlikley hit BSC with her Edict Effect, because they play to many critters.

So i decided to play 4 Md Grafdigger's Cage, which do a good job against the field. It stops Kuldothas fetching up Metamorphs killing Marit Lage, slows down Snapcaster decks, keeps Tinker/Bot under control, is fine against Burning Oath, and of course a good card against Dredge.

Sideboard is not worked out, but i try Bojuka Bogs, since i can board them against Dredge, and Mud. To get out a Crucible/Waste/Factory lock is fine, and you play more lands to get around their Spheres.
Logged
Random Noob
Basic User
**
Posts: 174


x=0˛


View Profile
« Reply #429 on: May 30, 2013, 01:59:26 pm »

So since Thespian's Stage combos with Dark Depths, and this here seems to be a good home, whats the way to go?

Things going through my mind, is dropping Wastes for Stage, which means we can't really protect Dark Depths. So maybe we could splash green for Crop Rotation to tutor up a Strip Mine to seal the deal, or just start playing Pithing Needle in numbers.

There are so many new goodies witch the Legandary, Planeswalker rule like on Christmas, but i didn't figuered out how to get optimal advantage.

Has anyone thoughts?
Logged
xouman
Basic User
**
Posts: 1082


View Profile Email
« Reply #430 on: May 31, 2013, 03:15:48 am »

Why do you have to drop off wastes? In a monocolor deck 9 colorless lands are acceptable to me, specially with urborg. Thespian has decent synergy with strip mine and wasteland. Since metamorph does not affect combo, you have to address other problems, as swords. MM is one of the best tools then. Exploration map finds both pieces of combo, could be interesting.

Or go the black-green way, using green to fetch lands and maybe loam to recur them, with raven's crime. Add tarmos to get a solid beater as a plan B. Or just full commitment to combo. Realms uncharted could be a staple? Not the best card to grab the combo but generates card advantage

I think I prefer first option.
Logged
xouman
Basic User
**
Posts: 1082


View Profile Email
« Reply #431 on: January 08, 2014, 09:01:48 am »

Night's Wisper in a budget deck seems anti-synergistic. MWS would probably not be available in a budget deck.

Quote
I found the more controlling versions with the 8 duress effects, a bunch of high impact singletons and the full tutor package was the stronger deck in the end.

yes, I agree with this Smile
Logged
TheWhiteDragon
Basic User
**
Posts: 1644


ericdm69@hotmail.com MrMiller2033 ericdm696969
View Profile WWW
« Reply #432 on: January 12, 2014, 06:00:03 pm »

I found that loading up on stages/depths turned out not to be so great.  If you have option for tutors, black, green, map, or knight, you are better off.  Yes, you have to fight counters more with tutors, but you also don't get the triple stage hand when you could get stage and double tutor.  The ability to assemble the combo through control is greater maxing out on combo pieces, but the times you draw half of the combo in multiples is sucky.  I guess if you find yourself in a field of blue, the ability to just luck draw the win is better than searching for the peices with tutors.  I prefer the consistency, since you can push through with duresses to resolve your tutor (and vs non-blue, you have a fantastic chance of winning FASTER than maxed out combo pieces since you can tutor for hexmage).  Multiple hexmage/stage when you just need 1 depths is awful too.  I usually run 2-3 depths, 1 stage, 4 hexmage, and 6-8 tutors.  Multiple depths without the other half is especially bad because it doesn't even add mana without urborg in play.

I also found that 4x needle is a MUST.  I've said it before, and I say it again.  Waste vs waste is NOT a plan.  The opponent can just draw wastes more than you and they can force you into activating your combo (like during your main phase when they hold a jace).  If you are running 2-3 color versions (I play BG myself), needle also 4-for-1s your opponent's ability to hit your depths, stages, urborgs, and duals.  The extra needles are never a waste as you can pitch them to liliana if you play her or name jace, strip, time vault, sensei top, fetchland (that you don't run but your opponent does), etc.  They are almost never dead.  I've even won games on a land/any color mox hand where I duressed, saw 2 delta's as lands in my opponent's hand, and needled on delta.  WAY better mana disruption than a wasteland there.

I run 1 waste, 1 strip, 4 needle in any version of my DT decks, even with null rods.  Crucibles are okay, but I still don't waste my time with it.  Too costly for a marginal gameplan, where needle protects my combo and manabase for 1 mana.

There's only ONE version of DT where I advocate 4x depths, 4x stage....Shop Depths.
Logged

"I know to whom I owe the most loyalty, and I see him in the mirror every day." - Starke of Rath
boggyb
Basic User
**
Posts: 462



View Profile
« Reply #433 on: March 11, 2014, 12:09:24 am »

Went 3-2 at Undiscovered Realms on Saturday, made top 8, and lost in the first elimination round. The pile:

4 Vampire Hexmage
4 Dark Confidant

4 Duress
4 Thoughtseize

4 Dark Ritual
2 Empty the Warrens
1 Gitaxian Probe

1 Yawgmoth's Will
1 Necropotence
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Vampiric Tutor
1 Imperial Seal
1 Demonic Consultation

2 Liliana of the Veil
2 Lightning Bolt
1 Null Rod
1 Pithing Needle

3 Dark Depths
4 Swamp
2 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
4 Bloodstained Mire
1 Marsh Flats
2 Badlands
1 Strip Mine
4 Wasteland
1 Black Lotus
1 Mox Jet
1 Mox Ruby
1 Lotus Petal

SB: 4 Ingot Chewer
SB: 2 Viashino Heretic
SB: 1 Mountain
SB: 1 Null Rod
SB: 2 Yixlid Jailer
SB: 4 Leyline of the Void
SB: 1 Helm of Obedience


Now, a 6th-place performance in a 17-man is not worthy of a report. So I'll skimp on that -- mainly, I've been tinkering with this deck for a year or so and want to report the list I've come up with, run through my thoughts on building it, and offer some reflections on Dark Times's place in the current metagame.


1. The tournament.

It was a blast! Great to meet so many of you.

As for the games, there isn't much to report. I played well, made two unimportant mistakes. I won two games off my opponents' misplays, and mulliganed, duressed, and tutored right, I think. I opened only one turn 1-2 20/20 all day, unfortunately, in 15 games, which is 2 below expectation. Ho hum. GGs.

Highlights:
  • Making 22 Mons's Goblin Raiders with my opponent at 19 and an active Jitte and Batterskull on board, and swinging twice for the win.
  • Making 8 goblins across two Empties to monochump a Batterskull, making a 20/20, swinging once with it, not winning because my opponent was at 38, having it bounced by a topdecked DT for Jace, then flipping a would-be game-winning Yawgmoth's Will to Bob when at 3 life, to lose, in the top 8. I love Vintage.


2. The deck.

I think this build is strong in and of itself, and love playing it. I've been playing Dark Times for a few years now and developed this variant of it to shore up some of the deck's weaknesses and open new tactical lines for it. I've also developed a Blue version that I think is probably better, especially in the metagame I played on Saturday -- I just didn't have the cards to play it, or I would have. Next time I will. I'll report the list then.

So, the goals I had in mind for the splash were:

Goal 1: Shore Up Shops. The mono-black version just dies to any but the aggroest of aggro shops builds, and the tools available to it are just bad. Hex Parasite, Ghost Quarter, Snuff Out, Emissary of Despair, Phyrexian Tower, Bitterblossom -- these are all just Bad Magic Cards. They're generally reactive, come-from-behind, on-the-back-foot type cards that don't put this deck where it wants to be: dropping bombs and winning on the spot. Emissary kind of does this, but normally he just sucks.

I explored every splash to find a solution for the shops problem, and as it turns out, the two best cards for Dark Times are Energy Flux and Viashino Heretic. Which makes sense: against shops, as against any deck, you want to just drop a bomb and win off it. Additionally, splash colors offer great support for this plan, through cards like Hurkyl's Recall, Steel Sabotage, Ingot Chewer, and Lightning Bolt.

Cards that didn't really work include:
  • Goblin Welder. He's decent, but he's better suited to a control deck that can leverage incremental speed-bump-ish advantage into a game-winning sequence. This is not that deck.
  • Nature's Claim. A great card but not worth the splash, as Green doesn't have a bomb for us. Trygon would do wonders, but this deck is nowhere close to being able to support a 3-color mana base.
  • Serenity/Devout Witness. Meh. Balance, Swords to Plowshares, and Disenchant are cool and all, but the options in Red are just strictly better.

So, normally against shops, your secondary plan (after trying to mainline a 20/20) is to find your bomb and play it, often via Black Lotus. At that point, their deck shuts off and you win eventually. I did this in round 1 vs. Kuldotha shops on Saturday to great success.


Goal 2: Add Storm. Any deck with 4 Dark Rituals, Yawgmoth's Will, Black Lotus, and a tutor package should play a storm card. Tendrils is usually difficult to pull off in the mono-black version, though: without a full suite of artifact acceleration, 10 storm is usually not possible to achieve except through a like turn 8+ Yawgmoth's Will; but at that point, it's usually easier to just make a 20/20 and duress their hand away for the victory.

Red offers Empty The Warrens, which is excellent. Empty turns every random Ritual, Duress, and Lotus Petal in your deck into 2 uncounterable dudes. 6-8 goblins on turn 1-2 is pretty easy to achieve, and, when supplemented with 2/x beats, usually wins the game, or puts you so far ahead that winning is inevitable. And in the late game, Empty + Yawg generally makes 16-30 dudes for a 1-turn clock. Marit is also a 1-turn clock, but having Empty available to you when going off allows you to play around every answer they might have, since there's no overlap in Vintage-playable cards that answers both of them.

Note, Tendrils works in the Blue version, since the added cantrips and topdeck tutors make a turn 4-6 Yawgwin highly doable.


Goal 3: Jam More Dudes. I'm still working on this, but I want to figure out a way to jam 4-6 more dudes into this deck, to really turn on the oh-by-the-way-I'm-tempoing-you-out-with-bobs-and-wastelands-and-duresses plan. As it stands, 8 guys just isn't enough to reliably get there, which is a shame because Hexmage dominates the red zone. Unfortunately, there just aren't any good creatures out there for this deck. Deathrite is too much of a "good stuff" card, Pyromancer is little more than a durdley enchantment, and Snapcaster Mage doesn't have enough targets (3 mana for a Duress is pretty bad here). As the Blue splash continues to develop, Snapcaster might make more sense, but I doubt it. In any case, Empty goes a long way to making this happen, but it isn't quite there. I'm working on it.


So, in all, adding in Red gives the deck a huge boost against shops and tightens up several Blue matchups. The only downsides are that you weaken the mana base, and slightly weaken Demonic Consultation (i.e. you turn off Consult for Swamp, but then turn on Consult for Ritual, and end up making Consultation around 10% weaker). The latter really is a shame, but is worth it, and the former isn't really a problem at all, I've found: if they're trying to waste you off Red, then they aren't wasting you off Marit, so you normally come out ahead in that exchange.

Some misc. notes on the finer details of this build in particular:
  • 2 Empty the Warrens. I am rarely sad to see this card in my opening hand, as it normally implies I can have 6-8 goblins by turn 2 or 3 and win. It is also an excellent topdeck when stalled or behind, as it turns all the Duresses and Rituals rotting in your hand into game-winning enablers. I include two copies to turn on the turn 1-3 mini-Empty plan; having only one would imply I'm aiming to storm them out on turn 8+. In that case, I'd rather have Tendrils, but as I've said, I don't think that's appropriate for the Red splash.
  • 1 Gitaxian Probe. This is a flex slot, for sure. I've gone back and forth between Sensei's Divining Top, Night's Whisper, Nihil Spellbomb, even Relic of Progenitus, here. I found as I started to lean on storm more and more that having access to an interactive cantrip gave that line a significant boost. Turning Seal and Vamp into cheap Grim Tutors is excellent as well, especially during a Yawgwin. I go between either Probe or Top, in final analysis, and tend towards Probe, since it's much better when the deck is doing what it wants to do. Top is too mana hungry for a deck that wants to tap out every turn.
  • 2 Lightning Bolt, 1 Pithing Needle. The extra Bolt and 1 Needle are the 59th and 60th cards here. I hate Needle in principle but always end up coming back to it -- it has some super-valuable interaction in every matchup: it can steal a game 1 versus Dredge, occasionally locks your opponent out by gacking a fetchland, turns Marit into a trump for Griselbrand, and so on. Opening it is usually such a bummer, though -- often equivalent to a straight-up mulligan. The second bolt is included as a mandatory nod to Lodestone, Revoker, Bob, and Jace, honestly, nothing more.
  • 2 Liliana. N.B. two is the correct number.
  • Sideboard Obeyline. This was a last-minute change when I saw a pile of Oaths and Snapcasters in the room. I never maindeck this anymore: Storm is just plain better, in my opinion. A lot better. Normally I'd run 4 of some configuration of Jailers, Ravenous Traps, and Spellbombs in this slot over Leyline, and run 2 Rods in the board instead of 1.
  • No Crucible. This just feels like outdated technology to me. Blue decks' mana bases are a lot more stable nowadays, and they run a lot more maindeck artifact hate, so Crucible + Wasteland + Null Rod is not a reliable path to victory against them. Strip + Crucible + Rod is good, but that's a 3-card combo. Assembling Yawg + Lotus + Tutor -> Storm Card is generally easier and much more reliable.
  • No Grafdigger's Cage. Cage is unfortunately a Bad Card for Dark Times, especially with storm in there. It does nothing to advance the gameplan, so sets you a turn or two behind, and any deck that dislikes seeing it will be full of ways to kill it. Obeylining them is a better plan.


3. Dark Times's place in the metagame.

Basically, I think this deck is close to obsolete. For the time being, at least. Until they print a new black draw engine, another powerful 1- or 2-drop black creature, and/or a new powerful black tutor, I think this deck is a good but not superlative choice in most metagames.

Three reasons for this: Mental Misstep, Snapcaster Mage, and Griselbrand.

1. Misstep. Almost every turn 1 play from this deck involve a Dark Ritual and/or a Duress, which Misstep answers unconsciously. Before, a Blue pilot could only Force one of these openers if he or she wanted to stop it, which was rarely better than letting the Duress and/or Ritual resolve. Now they just take two, cast Misstep, and scream way ahead of you with their cantrips and bombs. Misstep is one of the best cards against Dark Times and EVERY Blue deck has 2-3 of them.

2. Snapcaster. This is less significant but worth mentioning. He bricks Duresses, turns your Bobs into bad Phyrexian Arenas (you can never swing into 2 open mana), chews on your life total, trumps Lilliana, and shields a Blightsteel from an edict. None of these effects is devastating on its own, but when presented in congress, in the end each Snapcaster they draw adds up to something like 3 virtual cards of advantage apiece (at least) against Dark Times. Snapcaster + any other kind of pressure is very difficult to fight through.

3. Griselbrand. Oath used to be a very dynamic matchup -- Marit trumped every Oath creature, so the match was a matter of balancing your proactive disruption against their reactive disruption and racing to your combo while keeping them off Vault and Jace. However, with Griselbrand, Oath now trumps Marit, so you are behind on every angle. This implies that to win, you have to Duress their Oath, AND make Marit through countermagic, AND fade their draw step. It's a very steep uphill battle.

The deck is strong against Combo, Aggro, Dredge, and the more stack-centric control decks, is about even with Delver and/or Deathrite Aggro-Control, is an underdog to Bomberman-like Control and Workshops, and just dies to Oath. In other words, its Blue matchups are on average fair to poor now, when they used to be this deck's great strength. Against Blue, I'd consider Dark Times to be a favorite against only Landstill, Tezz, and non-Snapcaster'd Grixis/Keeper control. Overall, this implies that, while you can have a winning record at a tournament, you will have a hard time cracking into top 8 unless you run well and/or lucksack into favorable pairings. Frankly, I'd rather just play Oath. It feels like a pretty much strictly-better version of this deck.

However. Dark Times is a total blast to play, and is one of the most challenging and rewarding decks to pilot in the format, in my opinion. I'll give it a few more spins before sticking a pin in it, I think. I'll catch y'all next time.
Logged
TheWhiteDragon
Basic User
**
Posts: 1644


ericdm69@hotmail.com MrMiller2033 ericdm696969
View Profile WWW
« Reply #434 on: March 11, 2014, 11:16:16 pm »

So, I too love Dark Times.  It's my favorite vintage deck now (and I am fond of a plethora of archetypes).  But I disgree wholly with several statements you made.  The biggest of which is this:

Quote
Basically, I think this deck is close to obsolete. For the time being, at least. Until they print a new black draw engine, another powerful 1- or 2-drop black creature, and/or a new powerful black tutor, I think this deck is a good but not superlative choice in most metagames.

I think this couldn't be more wrong.  I think the lack of "goodness" has more to do with your build than the deck strategy itself.  I'll elaborate.

Quote
2. The deck.

I think this build is strong in and of itself, and love playing it. I've been playing Dark Times for a few years now and developed this variant of it to shore up some of the deck's weaknesses and open new tactical lines for it. I've also developed a Blue version that I think is probably better, especially in the metagame I played on Saturday -- I just didn't have the cards to play it, or I would have. Next time I will. I'll report the list then.

I don't think that list is particularly strong at all.  I don't say this to be mean.  But objectively, it lacks in several ways.  Gitaxian probe, for one, does nothing that this deck wants to do.  It's a place filler.  That spells "untuned" to me.  Also, the color you picked is the worst complement to black outside of a pure aggro beatdown deck with burn.  This is not that kind of deck.  It's combo.  The combo you run is also critter-based, and the only thing red adds is the ability to fight artifacts.  You still have nothing to fight storm, oath, or anything enchantment-based.  You're also just as vulnerable to counters as monoblack and probably MORE vulnerable to shops because of a weakened manabase, despite your ingot chewers.  You also have sorcery speed answers to shops, and you really need instants.

Quote
I explored every splash to find a solution for the shops problem, and as it turns out, the two best cards for Dark Times are Energy Flux and Viashino Heretic. Which makes sense: against shops, as against any deck, you want to just drop a bomb and win off it. Additionally, splash colors offer great support for this plan, through cards like Hurkyl's Recall, Steel Sabotage, Ingot Chewer, and Lightning Bolt.

Flux is almost impossible to play vs shops.  It costs WAY too much at sorcery speed - and even then, they can just pay 2 and smash you with a golem for 4 turns.  Heretic falls into a similar boat and can even be shut off with revoker which is commonly played in shop decks.  Taking out golems is priority #1 (where bolts are actually good), but cheaply taking out restrictive artifacts (like chalice) is a huge need.  Red isn't the best for this, though it has ample artifact hate.  Red is definitely not the best splash color, and blue is only slightly better (especially if you're not running FoW).  These are actually perhaps the worst 2 of the 4 possible splash colors for dark times.  Other than artifact hate, what does red give you to advance your deck's goal?  Nothing.  Blue can at least draw cards - and has cheaper, better hate, plus FoW for turn 1 golem.

Quote
Nature's Claim. A great card but not worth the splash, as Green doesn't have a bomb for us. Trygon would do wonders, but this deck is nowhere close to being able to support a 3-color mana base.
Serenity/Devout Witness. Meh. Balance, Swords to Plowshares, and Disenchant are cool and all, but the options in Red are just strictly better.

Nature's claim is a good card as it is cheap and versatile and instant.  Green doesn't have a bomb?  How about abrupt decay - perhaps the best all-purpose removal spell to hit print? Smashes through any chalice, instant to play through tangle wire, and cheap.  Hankering for a 3 mana sorcery speed answer like flux or heretic?  How about seeds of innocence?  Wipe their board in one shot - and a couple swings with Marit will negate the life gain while they are sitting on nothing but lands.  Naturalize? Oxidize?  All the tools red has, but it can also hit oath - for just as cheap and at instant speed.  Worried about tinker-BSC?  Green even has deglamer.  Want some more green bombs that ADVANCE your main strategy?  How about crop rotation.  1 mana instant put depths into play.  Sylvan scrying - a green DT for your combo.  Living wish - a DT for the lands or a hexmage (or other answers).  Sylvan library - card draw and filter for bob.  I think Green is infinitely better than red in dark times.  White isn't shabby either with serenity, plow, etc.  Red might have better options for fighting JUST artifacts, but white is better all around for answers.

Quote
Goal 2: Add Storm. Any deck with 4 Dark Rituals, Yawgmoth's Will, Black Lotus, and a tutor package should play a storm card. Tendrils is usually difficult to pull off in the mono-black version, though: without a full suite of artifact acceleration, 10 storm is usually not possible to achieve except through a like turn 8+ Yawgmoth's Will

A deck with all those cards might call for a storm card, but I don't think this deck calls for all those cards.  Why yawg will?  Yeah, it's a bomb in decks with silver bullet wins like tinker or time vault, or with ancestral, time walk, and such.  But why in dark times?  What are you getting back?  A duress?  Bob?  Hexmage?  For the mana and multi-card investment, you'd be better off just running an additional tutor to get a second copy of depths, hexmage, or a hate card to solve problems.  Storm actually doesn't always fit well with Dark Times, and I don't even see rituals as a must.  They are a quick burst, but they are blanked by chalice, spheres, misstep...and if your spell gets countered, you got 2-for-1nd.  One or 2 rituals might be okay, but 4 opens you up to getting hosed and for not much more speed than other options (you have a 1 land, 2 black-mana combo after all).  You want more critters and a mana burst?  Try deathrite shamans.

Quote
Goal 3: Jam More Dudes. I'm still working on this, but I want to figure out a way to jam 4-6 more dudes into this deck, to really turn on the oh-by-the-way-I'm-tempoing-you-out-with-bobs-and-wastelands-and-duresses plan. As it stands, 8 guys just isn't enough to reliably get there, which is a shame because Hexmage dominates the red zone. Unfortunately, there just aren't any good creatures out there for this deck. Deathrite is too much of a "good stuff" card

Yes, the ground army is a better plan B than storm for Dark Times.  I disagree that shaman is too cute.  You can get a turn 1 duress, shaman - turn 2 hexmage, depths....and not need ritual (even turn 1 urborg, duress...turn 2 depths, hexmage is enough reason to not need ritual).  No good beaters for Dark Times?  Tarmogoyf would like to have a word with you.  All the more reason green is way better than red for Dark Times.  Even Scavening Ooze is decent.  I run a 3 color deck myself, but you can easily do well with black/green or black/white (or even black/blue, but not red).

Quote
Red offers Empty The Warrens, which is excellent. Empty turns every random Ritual, Duress, and Lotus Petal in your deck into 2 uncounterable dudes. 6-8 goblins on turn 1-2 is pretty easy to achieve, and, when supplemented with 2/x beats, usually wins the game, or puts you so far ahead that winning is inevitable. And in the late game, Empty + Yawg generally makes 16-30 dudes for a 1-turn clock. Marit is also a 1-turn clock, but having Empty available to you when going off allows you to play around every answer they might have, since there's no overlap in Vintage-playable cards that answers both of them.

Or, you could cut cards that can be randomly useless and not need a storm outlet for them.  No vintage playable answer that hits a board of tokens AND Marit lage?  Echoing truth?  Balance?  Just winning faster (time vault, tendrils)? How about flusterstorm vs empty?  Engineered explosives? There are answers and common ones at that.

Quote
I hate Needle in principle but always end up coming back to it -- it has some super-valuable interaction in every matchup: it can steal a game 1 versus Dredge, occasionally locks your opponent out by gacking a fetchland, turns Marit into a trump for Griselbrand, and so on. Opening it is usually such a bummer, though -- often equivalent to a straight-up mulligan.

So you have a tough time vs shops, yet don't want to run the one card that can shut off all their land destruction for 1 mana?  Even protect your duals with a multicolor manabase for 1 colorless?  If you can shut off wasteland, you have inevitability on your side vs shops.  Don't worry about stopping your own wastes, because colorless mana isn't great for your deck and you are not cutting off opponents' mana with your own wastes and a single null rod.  You should run better things than wastes.  At most, run 1 waste in addition to your strip mine, but run FOUR needles.  The reason other decks compete with shops is because they run fetches and basics now.  If they can survive shop's land destruction with spheres to boot, they can certainly survive Dark Times' feeble attempt to play the mana denial game.  Needles also win vs dredge, turn off time vault, nerf Jace, and solve a TON of problems besides cutting off the one biggest threat to your combo - wasteland.  They also open up sideboard space for you.

Quote
No Grafdigger's Cage. Cage is unfortunately a Bad Card for Dark Times, especially with storm in there. It does nothing to advance the gameplan, so sets you a turn or two behind, and any deck that dislikes seeing it will be full of ways to kill it. Obeylining them is a better plan.

Cage is not at all bad for Dark Times, though it is infinitely worse with the storm addition.  Take out the storm fodder and you now have a sb weapon that has zero negative effect on your deck.  Think obeyline is better?  How good is it vs oath or tinker->BSC?  You admit oath is a tough match, but run a splash color with no enchantment answer and then exclude the one colorless option your deck has to battle oath?  Doesn't seem like a good plan to me.  You don't run it main, you run it in the sb.  It doesn't advance anyone's gameplan, but it is a great weapon to stop decks that are straight up faster than you - which gives you time to actually use your gameplan. If a deck can handle cage, they can also handle leyline (nature's claim, wispmare, chain of vapor, etc.)  And casting a 4 mana artifact plus activating (and having a 2 card combo) is much harder than paying 1 for an answer that can stop oath, tinker, yawgstorm AND dredge.

The deck doesn't need more "bob" creatures - just run more tutors.  it doesn't have to be black either.  Try Sylvan scrying, expedition map, crop rotation...lots of options.  You should also be running at least one thespian's stage which combos with depths just as well as hexmage, except it's uncounterable and tutorable with land-tutors.

You say Dark Times is an underdog to several deck designs and only favorable in a couple.  But I don't think it's true of Dark Times.  I just think it's true of your build of Dark Times.  A solid build with a proper color splash can beat ALL of the other decks.  I play BGw Dark Times and I don't feel like an underdog in ANY matchup, and feel favored in several.  A Black-Red built though, especially with some of the card cuts/inclusions you have made, certainly does feel lacking vs many opposing decks.

Again, I'm not trying to be mean, but trying to really point out how Dark Times can be awesome, but your design has left a skewed perspective on the archetype for you.  Dark Times is very good - in just about ANY metagame.  Your build is not optimal, for all the reasons I explained.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2014, 11:27:34 pm by TheWhiteDragon » Logged

"I know to whom I owe the most loyalty, and I see him in the mirror every day." - Starke of Rath
boggyb
Basic User
**
Posts: 462



View Profile
« Reply #435 on: March 14, 2014, 09:11:30 pm »

Interesting -- thanks for your elaborate response. And you don't sound mean at all. No worries Smile

Do you have a decklist? How have you fared with it in tournaments? What are your strong and weak matchups, and why?

Also, to be clear -- I don't think this is a bad or even necessarily unfavorable deck, just not a superlative choice if you want to win tournaments. I think it's a like 7-3 deck, and can be a 9-1 given some good luck or a soft metagame.

In any case, I think we disagree fundamentally with how the deck operates and what it essentially is. The build you seem to be describing sounds like a Combo First, Tempo Second kind of deck. This is a Combo First, Combo Second, Combo Third, Tempo If It Happens To Come To Me kind of deck. The reason I prefer the latter is, Hexmage is an unimpressive tempo card, Dark Depths is a horrendous tempo card, the tutors all hugely tax your tempo, and the deck lacks a reliable source of card advantage.

Broadly speaking, I don't think cards like Tarmogoyf, Nature's Claim, Deathrite Shaman, Deglamer, Grafdigger's Cage, Abrupt Decay, or Null Rod are "Good Cards" in Dark Times. They are good tempo cards and/or good control cards, but they are not good combo cards. They pressure your opponent's life total (Goyf, Shaman), deny your opponent mana or generate you mana (Shaman, Null Rod), or efficiently trade one-for-one with key threats. These are great effects if you're taking full advantage of your turn through efficient beats or a consistent draw engine, but irrelevant effects if you're trying to find the pieces for and make a 20/20: once you've summoned Marit, the game just ends, and any tempo you may have generated becomes irrelevant.

I include cards like Lilliana, Lightning Bolt, Null Rod, and Pithing Needle because you just straight-up Die way too frequently without them, and they also have the potential to win you the game, Lilliana (alongside Bob) most of all. But they are not good cards. Trading one-for-one with your opponent is not a winning strategy if they have cards like Gush and Jace and Ancestral and Thirst for Knowledge and you have cards like Vampire Hexmage and Dark Depths that make it so you can't reliably take advantage of the tempo that kind of exchange generates.

If you want to play Shaman, Goyf, Needle, Decay, Grafdigger's Cage, and so on -- why not just play BUG tempo? Or Merfolk, for that matter? That way, you aren't saddled by terrible cards like Hexmage, Depths, and Imperial Seal, and moreover can play with cards like Trygon Predator and Snapcaster Mage that let you leverage the tempo generated by Shaman and Goyf much more effectively. Shaman and friends dilute the threat density of your deck and making Hexmage and all the tutors a lot less powerful, because you're frequently forced to decide between advancing your tempo strategy, or finding and executing a combo.

This is the most important point, if I'm reading you correctly. Why play tempo cards in a Hexmage deck? Do you want to play a suboptimal tempo game, and a suboptimal combo game, and win with whichever half of your deck comes to you? I've struggled with this and can't see the reasoning.

I include the splash only to support the combo strategy, which I think is what a Hexmage + Tutors deck wants. And this is why Red and Blue are so good. They feature primo shops hate (Hurkyl's, Sabotage, Chewer, and Bolt) and allow you to increase the threat density of your deck against Shops with Heretic and Flux, thereby improving your worst matchup without sacrificing anything against Blue. Moreover, they enable another tactical line for your deck that is consistent with your main combo strategy, in storm: Red provides Empty, and Blue provides combo-enabling cantrips, superior tutors (Lim-Dul's Vault, Mystical Tutor, Intuition), and a higher spell count to enable a quick Tendrils.

And to elaborate on my "Goal 3" from above -- I didn't mean I want to jam dudes in there as a way to supplement the combo strategy. I want to jam dudes in there to augment the combo strategy, with the side effect of turning on the tempo strategy more reliably if the cards come off the top correctly. I view Shaman, Goyf et al as supplemental to the combo strategy, and find that including cards like them yields bimodal draws that sputter out and die too often.


Anyway, to respond to your particular points:

You still have nothing to fight storm, oath, or anything enchantment-based.

FWIW, the combo matchup is very good. Rods, Duresses, and a fast combo are surprisingly effective against them.

Flux is almost impossible to play vs shops.

Yes, the idea is to either EOT Hurkyl's -> Bomb them, or sneak in an early bomb via mana acceleration and/or a timely Steel Sabotage. Flux is just another bomb, alongside Marit and Yawg. I agree it's tough, much tougher than Hexmage or Heretic. I go back and forth on it but tend towards running it.

Heretic falls into a similar boat and can even be shut off with revoker which is commonly played in shop decks. Taking out golems is priority #1 (where bolts are actually good), but cheaply taking out restrictive artifacts (like chalice) is a huge need. Red isn't the best for this, though it has ample artifact hate.

? Red is most certainly the best at taking out artifacts. Chewer, Bolt, Welder, Heretic are all exceptionally good at that. Claim is also of course excellent, but it's just not as good as Chewer, since it matches up poorly to 6-8 more of their cards in Thorn and Chalice @ 1. This just seems axiomatic to me.

Green doesn't have a bomb? How about abrupt decay - perhaps the best all-purpose removal spell to hit print? Smashes through any chalice, instant to play through tangle wire, and cheap.

Abrupt Decay is an answer, not a bomb. By "bomb," I mean a card or combination of cards that more or less wins the game on its own -- sorry if that was unclear. Abrupt Decay can only function in a bomb-like way if your opponent goes all in on Vault with Force backup or something and you blow them out with it.

How about crop rotation. 1 mana instant put depths into play. Sylvan scrying - a green DT for your combo. Living wish - a DT for the lands or a hexmage (or other answers).

Crop Rotation and Sylvan Scrying are just really, really bad. Grim Tutor is the 5th tutor of choice, for sure, even in a splashed deck. The idea with tutors is to find the piece you're missing to win -- that piece is not always a land or even a creature. You may need a Duress, or Rod, or Lilliana to answer a BSC or to combo with your active Bob, or Necropotence, or Yawgmoth's Will.

And FWIW, Lim-Dul's Vault and Mystical Tutor are both better than Imperial Seal, surprisingly. (Mystical's close but it can get a real tutor, Ancestral, or Yawg so it kind of works. I normally cut it, though.)

A deck with all those cards might call for a storm card, but I don't think this deck calls for all those cards.  Why yawg will?  Yeah, it's a bomb in decks with silver bullet wins like tinker or time vault, or with ancestral, time walk, and such.  But why in dark times?  What are you getting back?  A duress?  Bob?  Hexmage?  For the mana and multi-card investment, you'd be better off just running an additional tutor to get a second copy of depths, hexmage, or a hate card to solve problems.  Storm actually doesn't always fit well with Dark Times, and I don't even see rituals as a must. They are a quick burst, but they are blanked by chalice, spheres, misstep...and if your spell gets countered, you got 2-for-1nd. One or 2 rituals might be okay, but 4 opens you up to getting hosed and for not much more speed than other options (you have a 1 land, 2 black-mana combo after all). You want more critters and a mana burst? Try deathrite shamans.

Yeah, this is really where we depart on our approaches to the deck.

I include Yawgmoth's Will because it's the most powerful card ever printed, period -- it has an unmatched potential to just win you the game all on its own if you can support it, and a deck with 4 unconditional tutors alone is inches away from being able to support it very well indeed.

A typical turn 7+ Yawg in this deck leaves them with an empty hand, you with a Marit on board, and usually one or more of Bob, Liliana, resolved topdeck tutor to set up your next turn, backup Hexmage, etc. to put you even further ahead. It has the potential, again like no other card has, to take you from a 2-3 card deficit losing position (a place this deck frequently finds itself in past turn 5) into a 2-3 card advantage winning position. Another tutor, hate card, depths, etc. in this slot would not suffice.

The obvious response to this is, Why put yourself in a position to be consistently 2-3 cards behind by turn 5? I just think that's inherent to the deck's central components, when you're aiming to 2-for-1 yourself with Hexmage, trade 1-for-1 for counterspells with Duresses, and sacrifice draw steps and/or tempo through black tutors. Those kinds of plays are very powerful, but they have a higher tendency to sputter out, and Yawgmoth's Will is a uniquely potent tactic for mitigating that effect. You have to have a very good reason for deleting it from your repertoire if you want to, and if your reason is, I want to have more consistent mana with Shaman and less of a hard time dealing with problem permanents through Needle and Cage, I have to say, I doubt this is the deck for that.

I disagree that shaman is too cute.  You can get a turn 1 duress, shaman - turn 2 hexmage, depths....and not need ritual (even turn 1 urborg, duress...turn 2 depths, hexmage is enough reason to not need ritual).

This is the number one reason why I discount Shaman: he doesn't interact on the first turn, and this deck's bread and butter are turn 1-3 wins, enabled by proactive disruption. His great power is in a tempo strategy, which again I don't think this deck is best equipped to execute. At best I find him to be a slower but more consistent Dark Ritual that matches up favorably against Workshops -- I'd run him in the board in a monoblack version for this purpose (as well as his splash effect against Dredge). I find the raw power enabled by Ritual to be much more in line with what this deck wants to do.

That said, I think he's a great little dude and is only just barely not good enough here. I just think he's too slow, and operates in a dimension that is mostly orthogonal to the deck's central competency.

No vintage playable answer that hits a board of tokens AND Marit lage?  Echoing truth?  Balance? Just winning faster (time vault, tendrils)? How about flusterstorm vs empty?  Engineered explosives? There are answers and common ones at that.

Only Balance answers both, if they have zero creatures -- I forgot about that, sorry. Fluster and Explosives only answer Empty, and Echoing Truth only answers one or the other. "Winning faster" is not an answer -- I said they're on a 1-turn clock when those resolve, which implies that they need to win on their next turn. Sorry if that was obtuse.

So you have a tough time vs shops, yet don't want to run the one card that can shut off all their land destruction for 1 mana?  Even protect your duals with a multicolor manabase for 1 colorless?  If you can shut off wasteland, you have inevitability on your side vs shops.

Cage is not at all bad for Dark Times, though it is infinitely worse with the storm addition.  Take out the storm fodder and you now have a sb weapon that has zero negative effect on your deck. [. . .] It doesn't advance anyone's gameplan, but it is a great weapon to stop decks that are straight up faster than you - which gives you time to actually use your gameplan.

My argument's the same for these cards as it is for the others -- i.e. Dark Times is inherently a bad tempo strategy. I just wanted to point out that this is where you certainly describe your strategy as tempo-based, in saying these cards 'give you time' to execute your gameplan.
Logged
TheWhiteDragon
Basic User
**
Posts: 1644


ericdm69@hotmail.com MrMiller2033 ericdm696969
View Profile WWW
« Reply #436 on: March 16, 2014, 12:42:04 am »

I have a GBw decklist, but several cards are in constant flux.  I bounce between 6-7 discard, 3-4 decays, and my sb changes all the time.  I only run crop rotation in Legacy.  Chalice @1 is a rarity and mental misstep is banned, so it is a much safer play.  It's almost a guaranteed tutor in most legacy matchups.  In vintage it is FAR too risky to just get 2-for-1nd.  I only mention it as an option.  I also don't run sylvan scrying.  I run Living wishes.  I find them to be basically green demonic tutors.  Have a hexmage?  grab depths.  Have a depths?  Grab thespian stage.  Facing an oath? Grab qasali.  Facing shops or affinity? Grab kataki.  BSC staring you down?  Maze of Ith or Phyrexian Metamorph (one of my slots in constant flux).  So you can see, I have a much more toolbox approach to the deck than you.  However, with 3 wishes, DT, vamp, demonic consultation...I have 6 tutors at minimum (sometimes I add more), so consistently assembling the combo isn't too hard.  I run 2 depths main, 4 hexmage main, and 6 tutors....so not terribly hard.  The rest of my deck consists of confidants, deathrites, spirit of the labyrinth, and decays, plus FOUR pithing needles.  Wasteland is the number one card that is highly played and nerfs your whole combo and pithing needle stops it flat.  Trying to wasteland a wasteland is terrible as you usually get 2-for-1nd in that trade, and at the VERY least, they force you to sac hexmage to make Marit during your turn so they can jace it away, play liliana, etc.  Needle ALSO stops jace, time vault, liliana, etc., etc., etc., so it is never ever ever dead.  At the very least, name polluted delta when you see your opponent has some after a thoughtseize and mana screw them.  Also, consider it as -4 dredge sb cards needed as you have a 1 mana answer to bazaar maindecked.  Also is a kick in the sack to bomberman and tezzerator which isn't awful.

We definitely do differ in how the deck plays.  I see it as combo first, aggro beats second.  The combo IS fast, and can quickly win.  But if you run no disruption of your opponent's plan (duresses are not enough), you will get beat before you win more times than not.  Consider fish, which should be an easier match, runs 4 main swords, sometimes metamorphs, karakas, wastes, and occassionally aven mindscensors (to shut off your tutors) and you aren't guaranteed to stick a Marit even if you make one.  Yes, if they plow Marit, you gain 20....but then you blew your hand assembling it, and they still have a slew of critters on the board, so you probably just got double time walked after blowing your hand -not great.  Blue can also just cast repeal, echoing truth, jace, etc.  Making a token is not a guaranteed win by any stretch.  Then consider sb where you may face karakas, maze, ensnaring bridge, vapor snag, etc., and it gets tougher.  I think the deck is crazy powerful with the combo....but can't consistently win with the combo alone.  I think since you already run 4 bob, 4 hex, the aggro plan can be a natural secondary route that is good at hindering blue, slowing/racing aggro, and beating shops.  Adding a storm kill isn't terrible, but I just don't see it fitting.  It also almost depends on yawgwill or lotus to get any value beyond 4 tokens and I just don't see that going the distance.  If you want a combo first, second, third type deck, then just play belcher with 4 pact of negation.  This deck, to me, should be played more like a disruptive aggro deck that has easy access to an "oops, 20/20 on board".  That gives it the trump over other aggro decks.

Hexmage isn't all together terrible.  It kills any planeswalker for 2 mana.  It cancels a tangle wire if needed.  It can deliver beats and then disappear if an oath hits the board.  It first strikes any opposing 2/2s, like attacking factories.  It has uses.

Cage is not good in dark times.  It's not good in any deck.  It's a sb card.  Considering speedy dredge and oath are two of the toughest matches, cage is a great sb card - especially if you have no dependency on the grave whatsoever.  Null rod and decay are also not good for any deck, but they are great answers against other strategies.  You seem to want a deck singly dedicated to its own cause and mainly ignoring the opponent.  Most decks can't win that way.  You have duresses, but that's about it.  What if they go first and land oath?  What if they topdeck a threat?  Bolt is nifty, but not so hot vs oath or time vault.  I think answer cards are important.  You say if you aren't taking advantage of tempo (which I am in an aggro build) that it's wasted time.  On the contrary, if you don't stop oath or jewelry storm or whatever, you won't get to swing with Marit even if you do make one next turn, you'll be dead before that.  Saying that a Marit onboard is GG is true at times, but hardly a guarantee.  It's easily removed (but they do need that answer within 1 turn).  You're probably right that this isn't the strategy you want if you're mainly playing the deck as a glass cannon - which it seems you are doing.  If you NEED Marit to win more than 90% of the time, then yeah, you probably would be best with TPS or belcher.

It's funny, you say liliana, needle, etc are not good cards, yet you play them so you don't just die.  To me, that means they ARE good.  It seems you are only considering cards that advance your combo as good.  If that's the case, you REALLY would like TPS or belcher as they are almost 100% cards dedicated to their own combo.  There are a plethura of fast decks out there.  If you want to coinflip race, then Dark Times won't cut it.  Decks with any storm kill, dredge, or other glass cannons WILL kill you first.

You can't beat a deck with massive card draw if all you have is bob and not much else.  You can if you have things like spirit of the labyrinth, gaddock teeg, thalia, etc however.  Building Dark Times as a narrow combo is the wrong way to build imho.  I think the aggro complement is best.  In other news, I also don't run tarmgoyf because I prefer disruptive bears, but a 2 mana 5/6 isn't anything to scoff at.

I don't run BUG over Dark Times because when a 20/20 DOES land, it beats all other aggro strategies if you can protect it.  It has the "oops I win" factor that merfolk and such do not.  As I said, Hexmage is not terrible.  Depths is bad, but urborg helps to mitigate it's drawback and I never run more than 2 depths main.  Imperial seal IS awful and I never run it.  Sorcery speed card disadvantage is bleh - plus several hundred bucks for an effect I'd rather was a 4th living wish if I wanted it.

I don't see the approach as a suboptimal aggro (though it is less aggro than say merfolk) or suboptimal combo (though it certainly is less than belcher or SX), but it's a disruptive aggro deck with a big bomb embedded.  You play the disruptive aggro route UNTIL you can get a Marit online.  It's not that you compete to play one strategy or the other.  The one strategy allows the other to work.  If you can blow up oaths and stop opposing draw and block their wastes and jaces, then you can use your 6 tutors to assemble the combo.  That's why I don't use tarmogoyf.  I don't TRY to win with aggro...but I can.  I TRY to stop my opponent long enough to assemble my combo, and if I am able to beat down with 2/1s and 3/1s in the mean time, then so be it.  If you go all in and get a Marit, but don't stop your opponent from winning, then you'll almost always lose before you swing.

I can't argue with blue as a splash color.  You get power cards, counters if you like, and some great anti-shops cards.  I don't see flux as great since it's nearly impossible to cast vs shops' tangles and spheres.  Same goes for any 3 mana sorcery speed hate - almost impossible to cast.  I don't think red is great though, as I said.  Yes, you get lots of good artifact hate....but that's it.  You also need to beat tarmogoyfs, oaths, BSC, etc.  I like white for plow, serenity, disenchant, and Spirit (stops blue draw cold).  I like green because you have just as many answers to artifacts as red (naturalize, nature's claim, deglamer, krosan grip, etc.) but they also handle enchantments and enables you to use decay.  Decay is SO good vs blue decks that kill with time vault, oath, etc., but also handles liliana, tarms, spheres, chalice @2, revoker, meddling mage, etc.  If you REALLY want a 3 mana sorcery to hit shops, then seeds of innocence is even available in green.  You don't care if they gain 20 life, because you crush their entire board and it only costs you 1 more swing with Marit.  Really, the only card you have issues with vs shops that decay can't answer is lodestone. But if you run 3/1 spirits, you can handle them anyway.  Red isn't a terrible color, but if you go with aggro like me, green and/or white is better...and you can hit oath (which is not easy) that red can not.

Tarmogoyf is supplemental to a strategy, not augmental - thus why i don't run them.  Deathrite is augmental however.  It adds a mana boost.  It color smooths to get tutors of either color going.  It also stops opposing strategies to a degree and can give you extended life to win or deal unblockable damage to help with an aggro attack.  Stopping the opponent long enough to help you win is very important.

To your responses:

Duress is decent against combo, and rod is very good.  Rod can get bounced though, so it doesn't altogether stop time vault or bomberman or storm, but it's a start.  Things like burning oath that can switch from storm to oath is a bit tougher though, and duress alone is not enough.  Oath doesn't care about null rod.

Flux and heretic are basically impossible to cast against most shop hands, so i'd rather an extra hurkylls or sabotage at the least.

Red is great at killing artifacts - but only artifacts.  There's more in Vintage to beat than just shops.  For a real bang, don't discount serenity either.

Decay is not a bomb, you are correct.  But it is as good as answer cards get, and living long enough to win is important.  Winning on turn 2 is not always doable with Marit.

See above for tutor discussion - with 3 living wishes, I have 6 tutors for the combo - and even that isn't enough to just rely on a Marit win.

Yawg will is great IF you can cast it for value.  Vs shops, you can rarely do this.  Vs anything else, you usually would be better off with more tutors to just get what you need to win rather than replaying cards.  Vs a thalia, sphere, etc, you can't do much to get value out of will.  And you mention turn 7+ wills where you are getting 30 goblin tokens...what meta are you playing in where you can live past turn 7 with no answer spells AND can bust off an unhindered yawgwill through no spheres, counters, cages, etc?  If you aren't dead by turn 7, you most likely are facing a grindy deck that has thalias, spheres, counters, etc that won't let a yawg will do damage.  To me, yawg will is a dead card early on and an uncastable card later on.  IF you manage to blast each other's resources and get into topdeck mode, then a yawg will can be good - but how are you doing that with just duress and liliana as your answers?

It seems you are looking to get a "belcher" type combo out of Dark times and are really going all in on it.  I think you may need to actually sleeve up belcher for that.  Dark Times isn't that type of deck.  Back in the day, a mono-black Dark Times deck was okay, but never dominating.  It still had tough times vs oath and such, and used helmline as an alt kill (which is STILL better than storm for this deck, imho).  But I still never had much sucess mono-black, and never liked the "combo or bust" designs.  I tried a build with obliterators and negators with monoblack, and it was better, but still not good enough.  Adding G and W, I've been happily able to handle card draw decks, shops, and much more.  With Spirit, Cage and Thespian now available, I actually feel the deck is more primed to do better than ever before.

So in summary - glass cannon DT isn't going to win.  Aggro with a DT combo can, though.
Logged

"I know to whom I owe the most loyalty, and I see him in the mirror every day." - Starke of Rath
boggyb
Basic User
**
Posts: 462



View Profile
« Reply #437 on: March 16, 2014, 11:25:34 pm »

Ok -- thanks for your response. Thoughts:

This is absolutely not a glass cannon approach. Glass Cannon decks have zero or next to zero interactive spells and card advantage cards, whereas this deck has 14-19 interactive cards and 6 card advantage cards preboard. This is how the deck gets to turn 7 (or 5 -- I just made up that number), to answer your question.

You keep referring to how my build does not answer threats well, or suffers from card disadvantage too much, and so on. I just think this is the wrong frame of reference for the deck. It never ever wants to be conceiving of making "answers" to its opponent's threats. It just wants to make a 20/20. If it has to answer something, it will try to, but a deck with such a high density of blowout-win power should not be spending its time trying to answer questions. It should be asking the questions instead. Answering questions is a losing position when your central cards tax your resources so much. You get to turn 7 by asking a few questions that get answered, and topdecking for a while. This isn't in a majority of games, but probably 1/4 of games (of Vintage games in general) drag on when each player expends their hand. In that situation, Yawgmoth's Will is vital.


This quote is very telling to me:

Quote
But I still never had much sucess mono-black, and never liked the "combo or bust" designs.  I tried a build with obliterators and negators with monoblack, and it was better, but still not good enough.  Adding G and W, I've been happily able to handle card draw decks, shops, and much more.  With Spirit, Cage and Thespian now available, I actually feel the deck is more primed to do better than ever before.

I don't think this is relevant. Whether or not YOU had success with the deck is not a claim on its validity. It's a claim on your taste or ability for playing it, which are not to be ignored -- nobody should play a deck they are uncomfortable with -- but it is not a meaningful criticism of the deck as an object. The fact is, skilled players DID have success with the combo-centric approach, which definitionally validates it. Or did, when it won. My point in publishing this list and result is to continue that conversation into today's metagame.

So I repeat: I think Dark Times is close to obsolete as a superlative choice for winning tournaments for the time being. It isn't totally dead, but it's close. I for one will continue to play it, because I love it. But that's just me Smile

FWIW, I hesitate to even call the deck you're describing Dark Times at all -- it's half a fish deck! It's like saying Keeper is the same as Bomberman because they run 30 of the same cards. Their strategies overlap, but their differences are almost more pronounced than their similarities, to the point where it becomes more meaningful to discuss them in separate rather than in tandem.

In any case I am very interested to read your (fluxing) decklist and hear about tournament and matchup experience you've had with it.

3 more small things:
  • Rod, Cage, and Decay are indeed good cards in combo and/or tempo strategies. They trade efficiently and sometimes card-advantageously while you beat face or control the game, and lend to those strategies. By "Good Card," I'm talking about the ones that let you advance your gameplan, that you aren't just playing so you don't die. A prime example of a Bad Card is Hurkyl's Recall, which is bad in most blue decks but which they play just to not die to Workshops as frequently.
  • Marit DOES win more than 90% of the time when he resolves. The reason the deck can work at all is that the format is bereft of answers to him. Once he's summoned, your opponent will have one draw step to either win or answer him, and zero decks have more than 3 or 4 cards that could possibly matter in that situation. Most have 1 or 0, or are banking on runner-runner type draws. That's generally a 90% win rate or more.
  • I think your reference to Legacy may be telling. Vintage frequently operates on a completely unique axis from Legacy, given its high density of game-ending cards (Tinker, Bargain, Necropotence, Yawg and the like). Because of this, the Rock-like approach you seem to be advocating rarely works consistently enough to win tournaments because your opponents have the capacity to just kill you out of nowhere off the back of only 1 or 2 powerful cards. (See M. Solymossy's frustrations at Champs 2012, for example.)
Logged
TheWhiteDragon
Basic User
**
Posts: 1644


ericdm69@hotmail.com MrMiller2033 ericdm696969
View Profile WWW
« Reply #438 on: March 17, 2014, 08:52:14 pm »

I agree with you then that the straight combo version of dark times is ill-suited to handle a robust tourney scene.  It's fun, but it can get thwarted too easily.  I think a fish/combo version is best.  

Glass cannons don't always have necessarily no or few interactive spells.  Belcher often had welder (which only advanced its own plan when belcher got countered mostly), xantid swarm, pact of negation, reb, hurkylls, shattering spree, etc.  It ran empty the warrens too, and sometimes storm entity to dodge belcher hate.  It's still a glass cannon.  I guess by glass cannon, I mean a deck that is hyperdedicated to a single line of play that can be completely shut off by a single card (like revoker to either hexmage or belcher) creating the need for answer cards or a true plan B that doesn't just feel jammed in there.

In a deck so dedicated to Marit as yours seems to be, I can see the reluctance to run answers.  However, if your hand gets expended and your opponent is dropping their own bombs, how do you plan to win first? You point to a situation where you and your opponent are both out of gas...but how would they be out of gas?  Anything they draw and cast will resolve and stick.  The same can't be said for dark times without solid, versatile answers.  DT isn't as unprotected or fragile as belcher, granted, but there are more robust builds.

I love making Marit tokens, but I find it difficult to win with at times.  You say a Marit made will be gg...but fish decks run 4 plows and you have no other targets to absorb them.  Duress is great, but is not an answer always.  While blue might "only" have etruth or chain of vapor to remove Marit, they usually have 4 tutors that can find that spell.  They also can just assemble vault/key or tendrils you out before you swing.  Sensei top also hides their answers from duress.  Even shops has duplicant and metamorph.

But all that is an answer to a MADE token, which isn't so guaranteed to stick.  What about needle, revoker, wasteland, blood moon (or magus), oath, etc that hit you before you make Marit?  Then you are mostly off your big plan and have to switch into a plan that the deck isn't really built to use.  A resolved oath I can't see as anything but gg for you.  If you drop a critter, you pass the turn and they draw 14 and tendrils you out.  If you cast warrens for 1000, you still pass the turn.  All they need to do is play a 2 mana spell to keep you off any win in your deck.  I guess IF you open with black jewelry, ritual, duress, hexmage, depths...AND they have no counters or wasteland, you can win.  But that's a lot of ifs on turn 1.


I'll try to post my list when I get home.  It is half fish, but it does well, isn't dead when the Marit angle gets cut off, and has SIX tutors for combo pieces.  I only mentioned legacy because I run the same deck in legacy (+/-8ish cards) and include 2 crop rotations in that version.  I still consider it DT because I win with hex/depths 70%+ of the time, but perhaps dark fish is a more appropriate name.

I am quite familiar with vintage, btw.  I've played vintage exclusively since 2000, and only dipped into legacy and modern this past year.  I know exactly how bomby vintage can be, which is why I fail to see how a created Marit token just wins.  Sometimes it does, but sometimes the opponent wins in the one turn they have before you swing.  Heck, even a delver is a timewalk vs. Marit.

I understand the merit of being hyperfocused on one strategy, but it adds some fragility.  Also, running duress as your only real answer to the opponent is risky.  You might win first, or they might just have more bombs than you can duress in one turn (or be on the play) and just go off since you have nothing to really stop them.  Vs grindy decks, you probably don't need to worry.  You shouldn't drop many games to merfolk.  But you might just get storm/oath/timevault/tinkercollossused into oblivion before your turn 3 while you are tutoring for hexmage.

Also, my success/failure with a mono-black version doesn't mean I'm uncomfortable with the combo, or even the deck itself...sometimes it's just the deck.  I would play black DT and my opponent would play workshop, ensnaring bridge, pass.  What do you do then?  Or mox, land, oath, pass.  What then?  Sometimes even an opener as simple as island, aether spellbomb, pass (bomberman).  What can mono-black do then?  I love the combo, but not the mono-black version.  It is very fast and can be consistent (especially the spoils of the vault versions), but can also get blasted out of nowhere leaving you virtually no way to win.  I sacrifice a turn of speed for a ton of resiliency and disruption to faster strategies. It's kind of like TPS vs the old SX deck.  SX totally rolled to a sphere and hurt to counters, but it killed on turn 1 a ton and turn 2 the rest.  TPS took 3+ turns to win a lot of times, but could survive almost any opponent and still be explosive.  I prefer to explode often and be hard to kill ever rather than to explode faster but get hammered out of left field often.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2014, 09:13:58 pm by TheWhiteDragon » Logged

"I know to whom I owe the most loyalty, and I see him in the mirror every day." - Starke of Rath
msg67183
Basic User
**
Posts: 929



View Profile Email
« Reply #439 on: November 15, 2014, 10:25:08 am »

Sorry for the Necro, but here is a list I've compiled that I believe is fairly strong:

9 Swamp 

3 Dark Depths 

3 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth 

3 Thespian's Stage 

Strip Mine 

Black Lotus 

Mox Jet 

Lotus Petal 

4 Dark Ritual 


4 Vampire Hexmage 


4 Night's Whisper 


4 Leyline of the Void 

1 Helm of Obedience 

1 Tendrils of Agony 


Demonic Tutor 

Vampiric Tutor

Demonic Consultation 

Yawgmoth's Will 


4 Thoughtseize 

4 Duress 

3 Mental Misstep 

2 Liliana of the Veil 


3 Pithing Needle 


Sideboard:


1 Pithing Needle 

1 Mental Misstep 

3 Yixlid Jailer 

4 Snuff Out 

3 Engineered Plague 

3 Ratchet Bomb 

I omitted Wasteland since I feel you won't win the Wasteland battle most of the time, so I opted for Needles instead. I wanted the Helm Line combo since Leyline seems great right now with Treasure Cruise everywhere. I also omitted Confidant because I wanted Engineered Plague in the board to completely nerf Delver as well as have utility in other matchups. The replacement of Night's Whisper also allowed a single Tendrils as a third win con in the deck.
Any thoughts on the deck or suggestions are appreciated.

Logged

Bloomsburg Tournaments:

1 Win
3 Finals
2 Top 4
2 Top 8

Outside Bloomsburg:

Winter Grudge Match lV Top 4

Creator of The Mana Drain Vintage League.

Website for The League:

http://tmdvl.github.io

Zombies ate your brains!
zeus-online
Adepts
Basic User
****
Posts: 1807


View Profile
« Reply #440 on: November 16, 2014, 09:36:06 am »

.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2015, 04:29:52 pm by zeus-online » Logged

The truth is an elephant described by three blind men.
Brick Novax
Basic User
**
Posts: 5


View Profile
« Reply #441 on: November 16, 2014, 10:27:11 pm »

I would agree that on the surface it looks like it could, but splashing blue would leave you with some awkward opening hands or draws where you have blue spells but no fetchlands or other ways to access to blue mana. In a format such as vintage, being able to be consistent is just as important as being able to do crazy broken things. However, I am definitely not an experienced Vintage player, so please don't put to much weight into my answer.
Logged
xouman
Basic User
**
Posts: 1082


View Profile Email
« Reply #442 on: November 17, 2014, 04:06:47 am »

I agree that broken blue cards could help. The list already suffers from wastelands and already plays needles, so playing USeas seems fine. And I like the Leyline + Helm combo, specially since leyline seems nice against delver. However I think that tendrils is a bad WC, because you can only win with it after playing y.will, otherwise most of the time you are not getting storm enough for a lethal (assuming at least 9 storm needed)
Logged
rcwraspy
Basic User
**
Posts: 22


View Profile Email
« Reply #443 on: November 25, 2014, 12:23:29 pm »

I've been playing around with multiple shells for the Dark Depths combo.  

I first started out with the standard mono-black shell that included Dark Rituals, Necropotence, Bob, Liliana, MD needles and wastelands, and MD leylines and Helm.  That's a powerful shell and attacks decks from a lot of angles, surprisingly enough.  The sheer amount of MD hate is pretty impressive.  But most of it is just that - hate.  There wasn't much to accelerate into the combo, and the tutors were few and far between.  The shell also suffered from an inability to react on the stack.  Specifically, Mental Misstep is a beating.  It hits Ritual, Needle, Vamp Tutor, Sol Ring (which is very good with Stage, obviously), and Consultation.  At that point in the meta I was also running into many Repeals, which is a very clean answer to Marit Lage.  I didn't MD Not of This World because it just hurts too much with Bob, and I felt the deck needed Bob for the card draw and the plan B beatdowns.

So after the feel-bads against Repeal and Misstep I decided to play my own counter magic.  I went UB and made a combo-control shell.  4x Force, 4x Misstep, Spell Snare, Pierce, Flusterstorm, and Misdirection for counters.  4x Preordain alongside the restricted Brainstorm, Ponder, Recall, and Time Walk to dig for combo pieces.  I also included Tinker/Blightsteel and Vault/Key as extra combos.  The deck felt inherently powerful, but I don't think I was a good pilot for it.  I'm not nearly experienced enough in Vintage to adequately play a control shell.  I just don't think I know the format and threat assessment well enough yet.  This might be a good shell, I don't know, but I wasn't seeing much success with it.  I was being out-played by other blue players (I'm in the Boston area, and blue is the color of choice here) and I came to realize that the deck was 2-for-1ing itself too often with Tinker, Force, and Depths combos.  I made it based on some Doomsday lists I see where they play control until the combo turn.  Obviously the Doomsday combo itself is very complex, but I think the control shell in which it resides is also challenging to play and I bit off more than I could chew.

That experience made me think that I should just go all-in on the combo.  Green seems very good for that because of Crop Rotation, Sylvan Scrying, and Into the North.  It's funny how few people realize Dark Depths is a snow land until you put it directly into play with an Into the North.  Round out your basics with snow lands and the card feels pretty good.  It puts the land directly into play (tapped, but that hardly matters with Depths) and it dodges Misstep.  I left out Crop Rotation because of how ubiquitous Misstep and Chalice on 1 are in the format.  I built a list with 4 Depths, 2 Stage, 2 Urborg, 4 Hexmage, 4 abrup decay, 3 sylvan scrying, 4 into the north, 4 wasteland, and the leyline/helm combo main deck.  The deck isn't playing Bob so I also threw in 4x Not of This World.  In a $1k tournament this past weekend (in which I got stomped) I came to realize that unless you're in straight mono-black the leyline/helm combo should be in the side.  I've made some tweaks and I'll post my current list below.  I cut 1 Dark Depths for the 3rd Urborg, moved the 5 card Leyline/Helm combo to the side, and put in 4 Deathrite and the 2nd Night's Whisper in those 5 slots (thank you ChronoExile for the suggestions).  Going down a Dark Depths also encouraged me to cut the 4th Into the North for a 1x Life from the Loam.  The current list:

Lands: 24
4x Wasteland
4x Verdant Catacombs
2x Bayou
3x Snow-covered Swamp
1x Snow-covered forest
3x Dark Depths
3x Thespian's Stage
3x Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
1x Strip Mine

Artifacts: 4
1x Sol Ring
1x Black Lotus
1x Mox Jet
1x Mox Emerald

Creatures: 8
4x Deathrite Shaman
4x Vampire Hexmage

Enchantment: 1
1x Sylvan Library

Instants: 10
1x Vampiric Tutor
1x Demonic Consultation
4x Not of This World
4x Abrupt Decay

Sorceries: 13
1x Life from the Loam
1x Demonic Tutor
2x Night's Whisper
3x Thoughtseize
3x Into the North
3x Sylvan Scrying

Sideboard: 15
2x Grafdigger's Cage
2x Nature's Claim
3x Null Rod
1x Pernicious Deed
1x Toxic Deluge
1x Snuff Out
1x Helm of Obedience
4x Leyline of the Void

In goldfishing I really like what DRS and Loam have added.  I debated over Loam vs. Crucible of Worlds for a while, but I decided on Loam because I felt it would be harder for opponents to exile Loam than for them to blow up Crucible, and therefore Loam added a lot more resilience.  I'll be taking this out for a whirl for a little bit.  Any feedback or suggestions are very welcomed.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2014, 12:27:47 pm by rcwraspy » Logged
keys
Basic User
**
Posts: 173



View Profile Email
« Reply #444 on: November 25, 2014, 06:32:11 pm »

When is the 3rd Into the North better than the 4th Dark Depths?
Logged
rcwraspy
Basic User
**
Posts: 22


View Profile Email
« Reply #445 on: November 25, 2014, 08:02:03 pm »

When is the 3rd Into the North better than the 4th Dark Depths?
the thought was when you're color screwed but of course you need green to cast it anyway. The 4th depths might just be better.  Happy to tease out those little improvements. Thanks for the response.
Logged
Bill Copes
Adepts
Basic User
****
Posts: 925

I don't have an avatar. I am an avatar.

zebraturbosled
View Profile WWW Email
« Reply #446 on: November 26, 2014, 12:48:04 am »

Quote
4x Not of This World
I know this protects marrit lage, but it feels reaaaaaaly narrow.  Have you considered maxing out on thoughtsieze and adding missteps, duresses or (heaven forbid) hymn to tourachs in place of these? More proactive disruption would protect your combo, but also disrupt your opponents gameplan if the situation calls for it.

For instance, if both players are in top-deck mode, would you rather draw Not of this World, wait, and hope to draw into the combo pieces, or would you want to disrupt your opponent's game plain via duress/thoughtsieze/hymn while waiting to win?
Logged

I'm the only other legal target, so I draw 6 cards, and he literally quits Magic. 

Terrorists searching in vain for these powerful weapons have the saying "Bill Copes spitteth, and he taketh away."

Team TMD
Random Noob
Basic User
**
Posts: 174


x=0˛


View Profile
« Reply #447 on: November 26, 2014, 12:28:38 pm »

Quote
(heaven forbid) hymn to tourachs

As far as I am, I have the feeling that discard isn't the strongest currently. TS does not make CA, and targets Snapcaster, or that what is gonna flashbacked next Turn.

Around Hymn and maybe Mind Twist is currently my thought gap- if they are just bad and freeding the new Delve Spells. Maybe an all new Disruptive Shell around Obeyline and xxx is the key. I don't feel that Null Rod will be a thing near time, but Obeyline could attack some niche things from the opposing Engines.

As it is, I think pumping up Stages is the real key, for every Dark Times variant.
Logged
rcwraspy
Basic User
**
Posts: 22


View Profile Email
« Reply #448 on: November 26, 2014, 07:09:51 pm »

Quote
4x Not of This World
I know this protects marrit lage, but it feels reaaaaaaly narrow.  Have you considered maxing out on thoughtsieze and adding missteps, duresses or (heaven forbid) hymn to tourachs in place of these? More proactive disruption would protect your combo, but also disrupt your opponents gameplan if the situation calls for it.

For instance, if both players are in top-deck mode, would you rather draw Not of this World, wait, and hope to draw into the combo pieces, or would you want to disrupt your opponent's game plain via duress/thoughtsieze/hymn while waiting to win?
Thanks for the feedback.  Forgive me if my response seems like fence-sitting, but this is far from a finished, tuned list and a lot of the thought is still just theory-crafting.

The deck has 2 primary problems:
1. It's very mana-intensive.  Adding DRS seems to have helped this somewhat, but the general issue still remains.  Wastelands, Stages, and Depths are in the list to get sacrificed.  This means most other spells become harder to cast.  I know Thoughtseize and Duress are each only 1 mana, but the deck often finds itself in the situation where it needs every point of mana available just to activate the combo.  Perhaps a little patience is best here, though.

2. Once you present combo on board you have to pass the turn.  A lot of combo decks will be able to fire off a hand disruption spell, gauge whether the coast is clear, then combo and win on the spot.  Not so here.  And in this format each fresh draw can be incredibly powerful or help the opponent dig/tutor for their answer or simply win first.  This may read as confirmation bias, but I had a match against ErtaiAdept this past Saturday.  He won the match but in the game I won I played Hexmage and Depths and passed.  I believe he had a Jace on board, but I had Not of This World in my hand.  He spent some time digging, then activated Jace's unsummon, hoping to return Hexmage to my hand.  In response I sacrificed it and created a Marit Lage token.  He proceeded to cast Jace #2 and activate another unsummon ability, this time on the token.  Not of This World saved the day.  Now, that's just one anecdote and a situation that's not likely to come up all the time.  Perhaps TS/Duress could have prevented him from finding that second Jace.  However I do think it's demonstrative of a problem that Not of This World helps solve - we completely telegraph what we're doing, put fragile pieces on the board, and then pass the turn, thereby giving the opponent a full shot at answering.  

Of course, there's a flipside to that argument.  Later in the very same tournament I played against Doomsday (Chris Ferry).  I presented my combo and passed.  Instead of finding a way to disrupt my combo he proceeded to combo off and win before I could get another attack step.  Thoughtseize/Duress would certainly have been much better than Not of This World in that scenario.

I agree it's a narrow card.  It was initially slotted in there with the thought that the deck would do 3 things: combo as quickly as possible, protect it, and attack.  The thought was similar to something like Show+Tell in Legacy - most of their blue cards are there to dig for the combo but the FoWs protect it.

I do see your point, though.  I'll play around with dropping the 4x Not of This World for the 4th Thoughtseize and 3x Duress.  Thanks again for the feedback.



Unrelated to Not of This World, I'm also thinking of changing the 3x Sylvan Scrying and one Into the North to 4x Living Wish.  1 Depths, 1 Stage, and 1 Hexmage would be in the board (with 3 of each main).  The 4th Hexmage's slot could be Fastbond.  That would leave me with 2 Into the North in the deck which can be cut for something like Lilianas or Pithing Needles.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2014, 07:12:45 pm by rcwraspy » Logged
TheWhiteDragon
Basic User
**
Posts: 1644


ericdm69@hotmail.com MrMiller2033 ericdm696969
View Profile WWW
« Reply #449 on: November 26, 2014, 09:59:00 pm »

So, I realize I never posted my BGw list.  However, it seems people are coming around to dropping wastes for 4x needle and running 4x living wish like I suggested.

I did see some worries about mana due to the "worthess lands".  Run Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth. I run 3 main.  Might even try 4.  Run needles over wastes too, so you don't have that as colorless lands.

And, I somewhat agree/disagree on seize/duress.  I run 4 seize.  They are useful.  You get knowledge and pull their best card.  BUT you don't want to be drawing multiples of discard later game...especially in topdeck mode.  The Depths/Stage combo shrugs off counters anyway, so you don't need to clear the path so much.  Worried about removal?  Stop playing worthless cards like Not of this World and run the best spell wall ever - spellskite.  You can even living wish for other copies.

So, delayed, but here's my list (updated for containment priest):

// Lands
    1  Strip Mine {this card is a great land in every deck}
    4  Verdant Catacombs
    2  Swamp
    3  Bayou
    2  Scrubland
    1  Karakas {the best white land since I'm running white anyway - also an answer to a copied Marit Token via image, metamorph, etc}
    3  Dark Depths
    3  Thespian's Stage
    3  Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth {makes depths/stage not suck, also enables turn 2 hexmage/depths without moxen}
    1 [EVG] Forest

// Creatures
    1 [ARB] Qasali Pridemage {versatile, adds to clock, kills oath/TV/ensnaring bridge/etc}
    1  Spellskite {blocker for weenies to buy time and a set-it-and-forget-it spell wall for Marit}
    4  Dark Confidant {great engine in a deck whose highest CMC is 2}
    4  Vampire Hexmage
    1  Containment Priest {perhaps one of the best white creatures printed to date - more in the sb}
    3  Spirit of the Labyrinth {rather than discard/counter draw engines, just stop the whole thing cold}

// Spells
    1  AEther Vial
    4  Pithing Needle {hands down better than wasteland.  Turn 1, G1, needle on wasteland - always.  Good in multiples too.}
    1  Demonic Tutor
    1  Vampiric Tutor
    1  Demonic Consultation
    4  Thoughtseize {enough to disrupt, but not so much that you'll be drawing them instead of business}
    3  Living Wish {grabs either combo piece and a plethura of AWESOME creature answers - nice with vial@2 as well}
    1  Mox Emerald
    1  Mox Jet
    1  Black Lotus
    1  Mox Pearl
    4  Abrupt Decay {best 2cc answer ever printed - hits everything qasali hits plus more}
 

// Sideboard
SB: 1  Dark Depths
SB: 1  Thespian's Stage
SB: 1 [ARB] Qasali Pridemage
SB: 2  Spellskite
SB: 3  Containment Priest
SB: 1  Kataki, War's Wage
SB: 2  Grafdigger's Cage
SB: 3  Null Rod
SB: 1  Reclamation Sage


The deck  finds the combo fast, but has a very effortless plan B that doubles as hindering your opponent enough to make your plan A go off without much trouble.  Crap load of tutors plus 3/7 maindeck combo.  Lots of disruption, just not in the form of counters/discard.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2014, 10:07:50 pm by TheWhiteDragon » Logged

"I know to whom I owe the most loyalty, and I see him in the mirror every day." - Starke of Rath
Pages: 1 ... 13 14 [15] 16
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.199 seconds with 20 queries.