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Author Topic: [KTR] - Narset Enlightened Master  (Read 7547 times)
MaximumCDawg
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« on: September 02, 2014, 05:11:23 pm »

Remember Keranos, God of Storms?  Remember how we were talking about how the ability was really very powerful, but the cost might push it out of Vintage contention?  Well, I've seen Keranos actually getting played in some Grixis lists.  It also sees play in Modern, and I wouldn't be surprised to see him grinding out slow matchups in Legacy soon, too.  I think he demonstrates that a sufficiently powerful ability at a high, but not completely insane casting cost actually can matter in eternal formats.

Enter the card spoiled from Khans with the most bonkers, over-the-top ability so far:

Narset, Enlightented Master
3WUR
Creature, Human Monk
3/2

First strike, hexproof

Whenever Narset, Enlightented Master attacks, exile the top four cards of your library. Until end of turn, you may cast noncreature cards exiled with Narset this turn without paying their mana costs

http://www.mtgsalvation.com/cards/khans-of-tarkir/23357-narset-enlightened-master

Look at that ability.  It is very close to "Cast Mind's Desire with Storm 4 every turn."  In one way it's better, because you can sequence the cards however you want during the rest of your turn, and in another way it's worse because you can't cast creatures you flip.  Even so, I think everyone here would admit that triggering this ability even once is potentially very valuable.  Triggering it twice or more probably ends the game.  For me, the question is this:  At six mana, and three colors to boot, is this card just too expensive to matter?  Or is this card, like Yawgmoth's Bargain and Mind's Desire, actually playable because the ability is just that strong?

Okay, so first let's get the timing and value issues out of the way.  I'm assuming you cast this off Caverns or have heavy countermagic for protection to get past the counterspells.  They didn't give this Monk haste, so absent running some really janky cards you cannot get value out of this little lady the first turn you drop her.  This isn't as big of deal as you might think, though.  Hexproof ensures that you do not risk losing the dork during your opponent's next turn to anything commonly played in Vintage -- even Jace can't touch her.  You have three worries in most metagames: Pyroclasm, Toxic Deluge, and Massacre.  That's a pretty fringe subset of removal.  The upshot of all of this is that Narset is slow, yes, but she is also fairly reliable.

Similarly, First Strike ensures she trumps combat against basically everything in Vintage that isn't a game-ending disaster anyway.  She even passes the (critical) Lodestone Golem test.  It is not unreasonable to assume that Narset will be able to attack more than once if she sticks.

So with that out of the way, let's look at what you get.  I assume you run this in a Delver-style list with some small number of creatures, say, maybe 2x Narset, 4x Delver, 4x Snappy and then a bunch of spells.  Assume something like 25 mana sources, so we have 25 non-creature spells in the deck, give or take.  Narset is going to usually flip over 2 spells then, sometimes more, slightly more often less.  In most Delver-style lists, your spells are going to cost you no more than 2 mana, so Narset is generating somewhere around 3 mana, on average, and "drawing" you 2 cards, and pushing you past 2 creatures or lands you didn't want to draw.

So let's consider the benefits/drawbacks based on how many times Narset gets to do her thing:

Attack once:  Gain 3ish mana, draw 2ish noncreature spells, exile 2ish lands/creatures.
Attack twice: Gain 6ish mana, draw 4ish noncreature spells, exile 4ish land/creatures.
etc

In other words, once you've attacked with her twice, she makes back the mana investment; from there, it is gravy.  Even the first time she attacks, generating that much mana and digging that deep while having a very decent creature is not bad at all.  If you get to attack a third time, gosh, why aren't you winning?

Now, if you're running Blue, presumably you run countermagic.  That's just fine with this Legendary Creature.  Sure, you can't save the counterspell to use defensively during your opponent's turn, but you can use it offensively to help force through whatever else you need to do -- for free -- on your second main phase.  And you are still drawing normally, so you're getting whatever countermagic you would want otherwise.

The sticking point, for me, is whether the casting cost is actually so high that no deck can realistically cast it honestly.  If that's true, then obviously Narset cannot compete with Emrakul, Blightsteel, or Grislebrand when it comes to ending the game immediately.  I don't know if that's true here, though.  Is six mana really a deal breaker, even when you get Mind's Desire with legs for the price?
« Last Edit: September 03, 2014, 04:04:33 pm by MaximumCDawg » Logged
serracollector
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« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2014, 05:22:08 pm »

I immediately saw this as an oath creature. Its half the cards of gripslebrand but they are free and dont cost you life.
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« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2014, 05:26:29 pm »

I immediately saw this as an oath creature. Its half the cards of gripslebrand but they are free and dont cost you life.

Yikes, I don't know if I'd go that far.  Gristlebrand puts 7 to 14 cards into your hand when you need it, and you can do it as much or as little as you need to, at instant speed.  Narset casts little mini Mind's Desires for you starting the turn after you summon her.  It's not really the same kind of thing.
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« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2014, 06:41:54 pm »

Legacy Sneak and Show maybe? Put her into play of sneak attack, cast 2 revealed cantrips to find Emerakul.
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« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2014, 02:31:25 pm »

When I first saw the thread, I saw the card's CC was listed at 2WUR and I thought it might merit a spin or two.  At its actual cost of 3WUR, it's competing unfavorably with things like Consecrated Sphinx, Yawgmoth's Bargain, Sun Titan, Primeval Titan, Inferno Titan, Ruric Thar, and even... Arcanis, the Omnipotent I suppose.  If it had haste, lifelink, or a more reasonable CMC, it would be more appealing.  I'm not thrilled that they used the word "cast" instead of "play" which is a deliberate decision to prevent anyone from (God forbid) putting a land into play.   
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« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2014, 02:39:31 pm »

Yeh not really playable at 6 mana.  OP needs to be updated to reflect the cards actual cost.
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« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2014, 02:39:53 pm »

I had originally dismissed this as being too expensive and lame for vintage; OTOH, it might be nice in a cavern-bomberman kind of shell with trinket mages to accelerate out Narset.  IDK if you really want to run the bomberman combo but it might be right.  Also it lets you run grand abolisher, which I think you want to make sure your cheaty fatty spells resolve.

The comment about emrakul is right on...  too bad you can't cheat out emrakul.  Is it bad that Jace is the best spell I can think of to flip to Narset?  Omniscience always seems like a lame 2-card combo; also the deck can't really be based on finding a one-of creature wincon when you're likely to accidentally exile that creature.

maybe it'd be nice to stack your deck full of extra turns a la temporal mastery.  Cast for cheap as an early explore, cast for free with the flip off Narset.
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« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2014, 03:07:13 am »

I'm not sure this would see play in vintage, but definitely ban worthy in commander.
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« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2014, 05:55:31 am »

1) Mind's Desire costs just 2 Blue instead of 3 different colours, gives you potentially more cards, doesn't have to wait a turn until it does anything.

2) Yawgmoth's Bargain costs 2 Black instead of 3 different colours, give you an absurd ammount of cards, doesn't have to wait a turn until it does anything.

3) If you ever Oath into this when I expected a Griselbrand, I'll just say "Thanks for the free Time Walk you gave me, I'll put it to good use".

The comparisons made in this thread are hilarious, to say the least. Not playable, not even if it cost 1 mana less. For 4 total CMC we could start thinking about investing that much coloured mana and tempo into a card...
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gkraigher
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« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2014, 08:00:44 am »

This card has too many restrictions on it to ever amount to anything.  it costs 6, involves 3 colors that are rarely played in vintage together, it has to find a way to attack, then it can only cast non-creature spells.  yuck.  

as an edh general, have fun.  
« Last Edit: September 04, 2014, 01:01:34 pm by gkraigher » Logged
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« Reply #10 on: September 04, 2014, 08:42:48 am »

1) Mind's Desire costs just 2 Blue instead of 3 different colours, gives you potentially more cards, doesn't have to wait a turn until it does anything.

2) Yawgmoth's Bargain costs 2 Black instead of 3 different colours, give you an absurd ammount of cards, doesn't have to wait a turn until it does anything.

3) If you ever Oath into this when I expected a Griselbrand, I'll just say "Thanks for the free Time Walk you gave me, I'll put it to good use".

The comparisons made in this thread are hilarious, to say the least. Not playable, not even if it cost 1 mana less. For 4 total CMC we could start thinking about investing that much coloured mana and tempo into a card...

It's not even like there's a really great shell for this that already exists. Is there currently any competitive deck that's UWR? For a mana cost this high you need to be winning the game immediately.
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MaximumCDawg
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« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2014, 11:34:51 am »

So, just like Keranos, it looks like Narset is threatening to do scary things in Modern.  The insight someone had -- Travis Woo wrote the article, but I think things were floating around before that -- is that if your deck is crammed full of extra turn or extra combat step attacks, it is pretty easy to activate Narset many times in a row, locking up the game or ending with an Emrakul.

The current shell is doing something which is awesomely cute, but too cute for Vintage:
Use Serum Powder to exile Narset from your hand.
Cast Pull from Eternity to get her in your yard.
Cast Goryo's Vengence to get Narset into play.
Attack and hope you flip an extra turn or extra attack phase.

In Vintage we have much easier ways of getting Narset on the battlefield, but its not exactly Vintage-friendly to cram your deck full of Time Walk effects.  Probably. 

Can you make a janky deck with this?

Breaking Narset Effects (11)
--------------
1x Time Walk
4x Temporal Mastery
4x Stitch in Time
1x Mind's Desire
1x Time Spiral

Combo Pieces (11)
--------------
3x Narset, Enlightened Master
2x Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
4x Reanimate
2x Exhume

Tutor (5)
----------------
4x Entomb
1x Demonic Tutor

Permission (15)
--------------
4x Force of Will
4x Flusterstorm
2x Misdirection
2x Spell Pierce
3x Mana Drain
4x Thoughtseize

Mana (18)
----------
7x Solomoxlotus
4x Polluted Delta
4x Underground Sea
2x Island
1x Swamp

I mean, I get that this is basically a worse reanimator deck, but the concept is interesting.  Do we have enough density of decent take-another-turn effects to make this work out?
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« Reply #12 on: October 21, 2014, 04:20:41 pm »

I dunno... this guy makes Dream Halls look like a reliable and cheap way of casting your huge spells. I don't think the payoff is worth the hoops you have to jump through to get Narset into play, unless you're playing a deck with huge spells that can somehow pay the cost reliably (i.e. a Commander deck).
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« Reply #13 on: October 21, 2014, 04:46:23 pm »

The reason why the modern deck works is because it abuses gemstone caverns and serum powder by playing pull from eternity.  That makes the deck more reliable.  In Vintage, you almost never want to be on the draw, and you never want to be on the draw on purpose in game 1.  

The modern version of the deck also plays a lot of clunky cards like relentless assault that let you keep attacking with narset.  The time walk effects are certainly an upgrade, but they are also very expensive.  

Since cage is already a heavily played card, I don't see this deck gaining any traction in vintage.  You could have played Iona, Shield of Emeria in an entomb deck before, but no one did that.  You could basically have this exact same list with iona, shield of emeria but no one either 1) tried it or 2) succeed with it.  

The modern version of the deck also has the luxury of attacking with narset as fast as turn 2.  I think goryo's vengance is an important card because it gives narset haste, and i strongly dislike having to wait an extra turn with reanimate.

Also with all the counter magic cards in your deck, you have an increased likelihood of swinging and missing on narset.  Then you are just attacking with a 4/3.  that's not good. 

« Last Edit: October 21, 2014, 04:48:58 pm by gkraigher » Logged
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« Reply #14 on: October 21, 2014, 07:25:11 pm »

Also no-ones packing 14 counters in their modern deck.
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« Reply #15 on: October 21, 2014, 08:49:49 pm »

Also no-ones packing 14 counters in their modern deck.

This modern deck is garbage.  A tarm on turn 2 with a land, sorcery, instant, creature (fetch, thoughtseize followed by tarm and an instant) kill the gameplan.  A lightning bolt or path to exile kills the gameplan.  A grafdiggers or RiP or LotV kills their deck.  A counterspell sets them back a whole hand where they now need 1 of a 3x of to go off again.  I've seen them running spoils of the vault only to die before hitting Goryo.  Deck is worse than Ascendancy, which is also uber-brittle.
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« Reply #16 on: October 21, 2014, 09:28:17 pm »

Also no-ones packing 14 counters in their modern deck.

This modern deck is garbage.  A tarm on turn 2 with a land, sorcery, instant, creature (fetch, thoughtseize followed by tarm and an instant) kill the gameplan.  A lightning bolt or path to exile kills the gameplan.  A grafdiggers or RiP or LotV kills their deck.  A counterspell sets them back a whole hand where they now need 1 of a 3x of to go off again.  I've seen them running spoils of the vault only to die before hitting Goryo.  Deck is worse than Ascendancy, which is also uber-brittle.

A) Narset triggers on the attack step so you still get to cast up to 4 cards which may or may not win the game
B) Narset has hexproof so Bolt and Path do not work.
C) These cards aren't incredibly common in Modern.

I am not arguing that the deck is good, consistent, or viable in Vintage...
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« Reply #17 on: October 22, 2014, 11:13:35 am »

Ahh...forgot the hexproof...but yeah, still stand by the argument.  A decent sized blocker, a counterspell, a graveyard killer...all just shut the deck down cold.

I HAVE had an opponent on the play rfg 2x SSG, cast faithless looting, cast goryo, and just win on turn 1...I've also more often seen them flip 4 wiff cards and lose.  The deck is just super fragile to any interaction and also loses quite easily to itself flipping lands, SSG, and another Narcet or other "not win now" spells.  If the deck gives you a turn or 2 to have any mana on table, it's pretty much dead in the water.
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« Reply #18 on: October 22, 2014, 07:10:26 pm »

If I were to start fooling around with Narset, I would start with Cavern of Souls for uncounterable and Hall of the Bandit Lord to give it haste and I would have a high density of spells like Seize the Day, wheel effects, draw and mana to keep it going and just try to get to a position where you get off a proper Mind's Desire storm into something like a Tendrils end game. The biggest problem is that it doesn't change the timing on spells, so it might be hard to actually continue attacking. I believe that you'll get the trigger to resolve and can cast some kind of wacky unblockable or shadow granting ability before you get to blocks so that it can go through, but I doubt that enough cards are there to make it worth it.

How many cards does Mind's Desire need to flip in order to generally win the game? That's kind of the crux of the issue here, how to get to whatever that quantity is, considering that there will be a number of bricks beforehand just so that you can set up your deck to attempt it.
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« Reply #19 on: October 22, 2014, 11:22:34 pm »

Quote
How many cards does Mind's Desire need to flip in order to generally win the game? That's kind of the crux of the issue here

not really.  even if both of these cards were for 4 cards, mind's desire would almost always be better because the deck that it is in has synergy.  you could rip dark ritual, ponder, land, land with mind's desire and potentially still go off because of the ponder, all the while, all those cards are respectable.  

With this card, you have to play a lot of non-synergistic cards when you are flipping the 4 cards.  lets say you do get to swing with narset and flip reanimate, narset, force of will, land.  that's terrible and does nothing.  

So it is as much a matter of quality as it is quantity.  the deck as a whole is clunky compared to other combo decks.  
« Last Edit: October 22, 2014, 11:25:44 pm by gkraigher » Logged
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