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Author Topic: Jeskai Ascendancy  (Read 22239 times)
gkraigher
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« on: October 01, 2014, 10:18:19 am »



Turns out this card is broken.  

This deck is showing up in Modern and claims a 75% win rate by turn four.  In Vintage, I am sure we can do a lot better than that.

4 Noble Hierarch
4 Birds of Paradise
4 Sylvan Caryatid

3 Jeskai Ascendancy
4 Glittering Wish
4 Gitaxian Probe
4 Cerulean Wisp
4 Serum Visions
4 Sleigh of Hand
3 Treasure Cruise
3 Manamorphose
2 Noxious Revival
2 Crimson Wisps (or Wind Zendikon or Fatestitcher)

4 City of Brass
4 Mana Confluence
4 Gemstone Mine
3 Forbidden Orchard

Sideboard :

2 Swan Song
2 Pact of Negation
2 Noxious Revival
1 Treasure Cruise
1 Flesh//Blood
1 Jeskai Ascendancy
1 Manamorphose
1 Fiery Justice/Abrupt Decay
1 Guttural Response
1 Maelstrom Pulse/Detention Sphere
1 Treasured Find
1 Scarscale Ritual

Basically the deck plays Birds, then Jeskai Ascendancy, then keeps playing more spells to give the Birds +1/+1 and generates more mana while cycling through the deck.  Eventually attacking for the win.  We have access to many, many better cards than this deck is running.

This is a stock list.  I personally would have found room for Wheel of Sun and Moon and Vexing Shusher in the board.  

Edited title for capitalization - Prospero
« Last Edit: December 03, 2014, 10:36:25 am by Prospero » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2014, 11:19:45 am »

What separates this deck from the other storm decks in Vintage?  For that matter, what makes it better than Belcher, even?
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« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2014, 11:31:29 am »

It feels to me like a 4 color elves deck in that it works by cascading elves out untill the board is overwhelmed and then winning with either a combo or a big alpha strike.

So first off tell me why this is better than elves?
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« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2014, 12:02:27 pm »

this card does all the work it needs to do on its own.  unlike other combo decks, this card is both the engine and the combo piece.  

consider a line like this, game 1:  

turn 1:  land, noble heirarch, go.

turn 2:  land, jeskai ascendancy, play mox ---> combo starts.  

That seems really fast, and masked on turn 1!


4 Noble Hierarch
4 Birds of Paradise
4 Sylvan Caryatid  (there has to be something better than this)

5 moxes
lotus petal
mana crypt
sol ring
black lotus
brainstorm
ponder
ancestral recall
4 gitaxian probe
4 preordain
4 force of will
4 sleight of hand
4 manamorphose
yawg will


you can even play enlightened tutor to get the card, then when you are comboing out use enlightened tutor to put black lotus on top.  You play a lot less lands than the modern deck, and get to replace them with noncreature spells like MOXEN
« Last Edit: October 01, 2014, 12:12:27 pm by gkraigher » Logged
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« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2014, 12:07:01 pm »

Interesting. I have to test this out. gk, I recommend adding Time Walk.
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« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2014, 01:21:19 pm »

Ensoul artifact could be great in this deck.  The ability to turn a mox into a creature means you get to untap it with ascendancy.  It also triggers ascendancy itself, and can get around the summoning sickness problem that could come up.  Just making a 5/5 dude should buy you some time. 
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« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2014, 01:43:32 pm »

Ensoul artifact could be great in this deck.  The ability to turn a mox into a creature means you get to untap it with ascendancy.  It also triggers ascendancy itself, and can get around the summoning sickness problem that could come up.  Just making a 5/5 dude should buy you some time. 

Dunno about the deck as a whole, but Mox Diamond seems pretty spiffy to up your mox count if Soul is the way you want to go.
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vaughnbros
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« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2014, 01:48:49 pm »

Ensoul artifact could be great in this deck.  The ability to turn a mox into a creature means you get to untap it with ascendancy.  It also triggers ascendancy itself, and can get around the summoning sickness problem that could come up.  Just making a 5/5 dude should buy you some time.  

This seems legit, but you'd need a blue or 5 color mox to really make it work since all your draw is U.  A zendikon might work a little bit better to achieve this, although they could be playing them in modern.

The deck definitely needs to be playing ancient grudge and/or hurkyl's.  Chalice at 1 pretty much stops the deck from doing anything.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2014, 01:54:44 pm by vaughnbros » Logged
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« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2014, 02:11:58 pm »

Remand and Repeal seem like cards that can both offer protection pre-combo and enable cycling post-combo. 
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« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2014, 02:17:57 pm »

I would try Obsessive Research in this shell, just because madness was such an awesome mechanic, and I've been looking for an excuse to play it. Plus it nets you a card with the engine active.
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« Reply #10 on: October 01, 2014, 02:26:14 pm »

Obsessive Research seems pretty good with that second ability, while also working with the first.

What about just doing something completely different since we have access to more creatures? I mean maybe it's not the best, but we do have things like Metal Worker that can do some absurd things especially when tapping and untapping. Cunning Sparkmage also offers a kill without having to attack while providing a lot of utility against most of the creatures in the format.

Basically any creature with a tap ability can be considered.
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« Reply #11 on: October 01, 2014, 02:31:20 pm »

I was helping someone playtest this in standard. It wasn't consistent till turn 5. You need more than one card draw. With just cantrips you can stall out with dead draws very easily. You need more than one creature to go mana positive and you'll only need 10 "storm" not 19. He was using Nylea's Presence but Abundant Growth would be better.
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gkraigher
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« Reply #12 on: October 01, 2014, 02:39:47 pm »

I was helping someone playtest this in standard. It wasn't consistent till turn 5. You need more than one card draw. With just cantrips you can stall out with dead draws very easily. You need more than one creature to go mana positive and you'll only need 10 "storm" not 19. He was using Nylea's Presence but Abundant Growth would be better.

not really.  vintage has a lot of spells that cost 0 mana to cast, like moxes.  Gitaxian Probe is another great example, where it costs 0 and you draw a card.  Obsessive search looks amazing in this deck because it turns that discard into draw 2, discard 1. 
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« Reply #13 on: October 01, 2014, 02:43:14 pm »

I was helping someone playtest this in standard. It wasn't consistent till turn 5. You need more than one card draw. With just cantrips you can stall out with dead draws very easily. You need more than one creature to go mana positive and you'll only need 10 "storm" not 19. He was using Nylea's Presence but Abundant Growth would be better.

not really.  vintage has a lot of spells that cost 0 mana to cast, like moxes.  Gitaxian Probe is another great example, where it costs 0 and you draw a card.  Obsessive search looks amazing in this deck because it turns that discard into draw 2, discard 1. 

Isn't it draw 3 Discard 2 because casting it for madness is still casting it, triggering the enchantment again.
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« Reply #14 on: October 01, 2014, 03:03:30 pm »

Look, I'm a huge fan of rogue decks and strange strategies.  I'd love to see people tinker with this.  But there's just no way this becomes anywhere near top tier in Vintage.

1. The deck dies to everything that kills Storm.

Admittedly, storm hate is kind of at an all-time low right now, but that's because half the meta is an Anti-Storm deck.  How does Ascendancy deal with Shops any better than, say, Tendrils?  In fact, it seems worse than Tendrils because it needs to resolve a 3cc, 3 color enchantment before it can go off.  That's like requiring resolution of Necopotence before you can win.  Moreover, since it runs lots of mana dorks instead of purely artifact mana, it is more vulnerable to being hated out by a single Lodestone.  I guess they dodge Thorn...?

This also seems more vulnerable that Storm to countermagic.  All the blue mage has to do is wait for your Ascendency and block it.  Nice one.

2. There are better ways to combo win with 3 mana or less and a single card.

Tinker.  Oath.  Heck, at 3 colors of mana, Im not convinced that Ascendency is not better compared to 4cc cards like Jace.  Unless you're doing it for the lols, why would you run Jeskai over these cards?

3. It makes you put together a mostly bad deck.

To fuel this sucker you need to devote something like 12 of your slots to mana dorks that are not named Deathrite Shaman.  As Protoaddict pointed out, the only deck that gets away with that is Elves, and that's because they have a good backup plan in case the combo doesn't work out.  Since when has it been okay to jam that many creatures in a Gush or Tendrils shell?  What kind of cantrips are you going to play that are not basically worthless on their own? 

I don't see it.  Not in Vintage.  Our options are just better.
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« Reply #15 on: October 01, 2014, 03:16:00 pm »

I've been gold fishing builds for a few hours...the following is very consistent.  It is a fragile strategy, but seems interesting

4 Birds of Paradise
4 Noble Hierarch
3 Sylvan Caryatid
1 Ancestral Recall
2 Enlightened Tutor
1 Noxious Revival
4 Obsessive Search
2 Thought Scour
1 Manamorphose
4 Gitaxian Probe
1 Ponder
4 Preordain
4 Glittering Wish
1 Time Walk
4 Treasure Cruise
1 Black Lotus
1 Chrome Mox
1 Lotus Petal
1 Mox Emerald
1 Mox Pearl
1 Mox Ruby
1 Mox Sapphire
3 Jeskai Ascendancy
2 Cavern of Souls
4 City of Brass
4 Mana Confluence
   
Sideboard
1 Abrupt Decay
1 Flesh // Blood
1 Meddling Mage
2 Rakdos Charm
1 Treasured Find
2 City of Solitude
1 Detention Sphere
1 Jeskai Ascendancy
1 Teferi's Realm
4 Ingot Chewer   
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« Reply #16 on: October 01, 2014, 03:18:40 pm »

That's why I kind of like the idea of Metalworker, it lets you go heavy on artifact mana, it nets you mana quicker,  and there are plenty of 2 drop cantrip artifacts like Ichorwellspring or Chromatic Sphere which gives you coloured mana while cantripping. The issue is that you're then kind of heavily reliant of Metalworker, but I guess Palladium Myr can act as a pseudo Metalworker while you're going off?

I'm not really sure how you win with this plan, but at least even if you don't get Ascendance you can generate a lot of mana on the back of Metalworker and still play a bunch of spells in one turn, while still having a decent game against something like Shops as you're running so many artifacts.

You're also producing a ton of mana once Ascendancy is out.
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« Reply #17 on: October 01, 2014, 03:25:52 pm »

4 Sylvan Caryatid  (there has to be something better than this)

Harabaz Druid also taps for any color, and it can attack.  Same with gemhide/manaweft sliver.  You lose a 3 toughness hexproof body though.
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« Reply #18 on: October 01, 2014, 03:49:01 pm »

Probe + Obsessive Search is draw 3 discard 2, twice.


Totally forgetting about mana. Every non-cantrip you cast or draw puts you -1 effective cards in hand. You need 3 for setup. That leaves you 5 left on turn 2. You need to cast 10 spells on a turn to win. I'm not sure how to work the filtering from the draw / discard trigger into the percentages to see how many cantrips you need in the deck.
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« Reply #19 on: October 01, 2014, 04:17:08 pm »

Look, I'm a huge fan of rogue decks and strange strategies.  I'd love to see people tinker with this.  But there's just no way this becomes anywhere near top tier in Vintage.

1. The deck dies to everything that kills Storm.
2. There are better ways to combo win with 3 mana or less and a single card.
3. It makes you put together a mostly bad deck.

I don't see it.  Not in Vintage.  Our options are just better.

1. Advantages over storm:
     a. Your mana accelerators are all permanent based, allowing you to not only more easily set up a hurkyl's into win.
     b. You can actually play through spheres.  For each sphere your opponent has you just need 1 more creature that can tap for mana in order to negate it.
     c. You don't need to do all of your damage on 1 turn.  You can pull off multiple mini "storms" or attacks in order to kill your opponent.

2. Advantages over single card strategies:
     a.  The cards that are played to stop oath, tinker, and yawgmoth's will have no impact on this combo.
     b.  Theres nothing actually stopping you from playing jace, tinker or yawgmoth's will in this deck, although they may be suboptimal. 

3. I'm not sure what qualifies as a bad deck...  Cheap draw card spells are usually pretty good.  Cheap mana accelerators are usually pretty good.

I personally think this deck has potential, but it will probably have to look pretty tremendously different from the modern version.  Remember that this isn't even a perfected version of the modern deck yet...
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« Reply #20 on: October 01, 2014, 04:18:41 pm »

Has the really specific color requirements ever been a problem?
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« Reply #21 on: October 01, 2014, 06:10:52 pm »

Quote
b. You can actually play through spheres.  For each sphere your opponent has you just need 1 more creature that can tap for mana in order to negate it.

Great point!
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« Reply #22 on: October 01, 2014, 07:45:32 pm »

I don't think I'll believe it till I see it. It still has weaknesses compared to elves that really stand out to me including:

  • It's Mana dorks are worse and not tribal, so cavern of souls is not as strong
  • Virtually plays 5 colors, many of its cards are very color demanding if you don't have the right dork out.
  • No haste, so if your dude gets bolted it is fully a time walk
  • It spends a god damn ton of life to get where it needs to go, almost to the point where an aggressive shops deck may get a single loadstone out T1 and threaten game off one swing
  • Chump Blocking still works, and a lot of the cantrips only serve to cycle and pump a creature and do not do much else for a lasting game plan
  • Wastelands
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« Reply #23 on: October 01, 2014, 08:48:13 pm »

Quote
I don't think I'll believe it till I see it.

I agree.  I don't know what will come from this deck, if anything.  I posted it up because I feel the card certainly deserves a conversation and some attention.  I think this card will be banned in modern before pro tour DC in February. 

Just wanted to make sure you all knew it could be a thing. 
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« Reply #24 on: October 01, 2014, 09:02:07 pm »

I agree the card merits discussion.  If it proves that any deck including it is inferior to those existing, we're no worse off for having gone through the analysis.  Where I do see the most potential theoretically would be for a deck that takes the "Tarmo-Twin" approach as opposed to "All-in Twin."  Such a deck would capitalize on the multitudes of accelerants and use Jeskai Ascendancy as one its must-counter bombs, but with several alternate angles of attack, rather than revolving around the card entirely. 
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« Reply #25 on: October 01, 2014, 10:53:19 pm »

I agree the card merits discussion.  If it proves that any deck including it is inferior to those existing, we're no worse off for having gone through the analysis.  Where I do see the most potential theoretically would be for a deck that takes the "Tarmo-Twin" approach as opposed to "All-in Twin."  Such a deck would capitalize on the multitudes of accelerants and use Jeskai Ascendancy as one its must-counter bombs, but with several alternate angles of attack, rather than revolving around the card entirely.  

Agreed that this doesn't have to be in a glass cannon combo deck, but they are always fun to goldfish.

The second ability is a fairly strong effect as it triggers with ANY noncreature spell, I remember people trying to get riddlesmith to work and this is just completely superior.  The first ability can add up a ton of extra damage over multiple turns (if you think of it as 1 extra damage per spell cast per creature you have in play), grant vigilance, and create alpha strikes.  The two abilities combined have incredible synergy with cards like welder, Deathrite shaman, and grim lavamancer (untapping them, putting cards in the yard, and making them combat worthy).  The abilities also stack making it not bad in multiples.
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« Reply #26 on: October 02, 2014, 10:19:15 am »

My first thoughts on the card were something involving Goblin Welder and Myr Battlesphere to make A LOT of tokens easily.  A simple red white and blue deck couldn't utlize this with other tap abilities than mana ones?
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« Reply #27 on: October 02, 2014, 01:58:23 pm »

I don't think this card is real for us.  That said, since I do like wacky things, may I present my current brew?  I call it, "Minus Three," for reasons which the discerning Vintage aficionado will quickly uncover.  Now, mind you, I am mostly un-powered, so some my card choices reflect that.

The Combo (12)
------------------
4 Birds of Paradise
4 Noble Hierarch
4 Jeskai Ascendancy

The Tutors (6)
------------------
2 Enlightened Tutor
1 Vampiric Tutor
1 Demonic Tutor
2 Green Sun's Zenith

The Dig Spells (5)
-------------------
1 Brainstorm
1 Ponder
1 Preordain
2 Treasure Cruise

Win Conditions (2)
------------------
1 Grapeshot
1 Yawgmoth's Will

The Disruption (9)
------------------
4 Force of Will
3 Flusterstorm
2 Misdirection

The Lands (18)
-----------------
4 Mana Confluence
4 Forbidden Orchard
2 City of Brass
4 Misty Rainforest
1 Scalding Tarn
1 Underground Sea
2 Tropical Island

The Other Mana (8)
-----------------
1 Mox Emerald
4 Mox Diamond
1 Sol Ring
1 Mana Vault
1 Lotus Petal

Sideboard Plan A (15)
----------------
Theory: use this sideboard if your meta is light on shops and you expect people to bring in enchantment hate or BUG removal (abrupt decay) against your combo.
-----------------
4 Hermit Druid
4 Narcomebia
1 Laboratory Maniac
1 Angel of Glory's Rise
1 Azami, Lady of Scrolls
1 Dread Return
1 Green Sun's Zenith
2 Quasli Pridemage
(Comes in to replace birds, ascendencies, e.tutors, and mox diamonds)

Sideboard Plan B (15)
------------------
Theory: Use if your meta has lots of shops or you expect creature hate (grixis?) to be your primary problem.
------------------
4 Oath of Druids
1 Show and Tell
1 Channel
1 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
1 Blightsteel Colossus
2 Dragon Breath
2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
3 Swan Song
(Comes in to replace all Combo cards, Zeniths, and grapeshot)

------------------
Goldfish Results
------------------

The Vintage tournament last night didn't fire, so I cannot give you exact results in a tournament setting.  So I ran a bunch of goldfish games with the deck in it's initial configuration, and I noticed a few things.  With all this acceleration, the deck can pretty reliably try to go off pretty early.  Since you tend to have a few cards in hand when you start, I found that only 5 dedicated dig spells was tolerable.  Almost everything else in your deck triggers Ascendancy, even if it puts you down a card.  The endgame is typically to have some spare mana and hit Will or a tutor for Will, from which you can combo out pretty easily.  This configuration did have a fairly high fizzle chance, though.  I think I went off 5 times and fizzled 2 of them in a vacuum.

More dig spells would be ideal, but when you start diluting the deck with crap that is terrible until you're comboing out, I think you're pricing yourself out of Vintage.  I previously had the full playset of Preordains in the deck, and that might be the right way to go.  I took some out for e-tutor and a second Cruise because this deck does didlly crap until you land Ascendancy, and because while I never wanted a Cruise initially, I always wanted to hit one mid-combo.  Hitting cruise after you've cycled a bit almost guarantees a win.

Obviously the goal here is to play game 1 against an opponent who has no idea what you are doing and try to sneak a win.  Then, when they board against your storm combo, you switch to Druid or Oath to try and sneak Game 2 in there.

I like Zenith over the third mana dork because of the flexibility and sideboard options it presents.  I also do not like spells that do nothing other than cantrip because, in a combo deck, this makes mulligans much more difficult.  If you don't run duress or cabal therapy, don't run probe.

Finally, if you want to brew with Ascendancy, I think omitting Yawgmoth's Will is a mistake.  Once you've cycled a little bit, that card is an absolute house and wins you the game just as well as it does in Tendrils.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2014, 04:59:47 pm by MaximumCDawg » Logged
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« Reply #28 on: October 02, 2014, 04:56:56 pm »

interesting board swaps.  Doesn't this one:


4 Hermit Druid
4 Narcomebia
1 Laboratory Maniac
1 Angel of Glory's Rise
1 Azami, Lady of Scrolls
2 Green Sun's Zenith
2 Quasli Pridemage

need a dread return?

playing forbidden orchard is tough.  the 1/1s can block your noble heirarch, but it's a nice board swap into oath.  I honestly like plan A better, because you either make them play graveyard hate or not.  It might even be best to play hermit druid main, and sideboard into the jeskai ascendancy plan to get around boarded in graveyard hate.  

Hermit druid and treasure cruise seems good.  

I'd also find room for at least 4 moxen (jet can potentially get passed on)
« Last Edit: October 02, 2014, 05:01:49 pm by gkraigher » Logged
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« Reply #29 on: October 02, 2014, 04:58:15 pm »

interesting board swaps.  Doesn't this one:


4 Hermit Druid
4 Narcomebia
1 Laboratory Maniac
1 Angel of Glory's Rise
1 Azami, Lady of Scrolls
2 Green Sun's Zenith
2 Quasli Pridemage

need a dread return?

Whoops!  Yes, there's only one Zenith and a Return.  I mis-remembered the deck.
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