I’m at a deckbuilding crossroads. More Bone Thugs n Harmony than Devil Came Down to Georgia. I’m pulled in three directions: tighten up curve by shaving clunky fun cards; pull out mana-intensive haymakers that often snowball out of control to sub in more “weird, wonky, fun” cards; or more or less do nothing, just keep tinkering.
Here’s the deck that really brought this issue to my attention. Ghave Junkchantress is one of my stronger decks, I guess, but it’s just one of those not-quite-a-combo decks that is pretty powerful if it gets moving with one “go-nuts” piece plus Ghave, Guru of Spores. The point of the deck is to do enchantressy things, but mainly around jamming in all the pieces that make Ghave into a giant killer.
As you can see, it’s fine. No Ad Nauseum, neither of the altars, no dark mike, none of the other super-busted mana rocks, only the most expensive drainer, and only one, infinite-cmc tutor.
There are lots of easy edits to become closer to “competitive,” as well as easy still-not-competitive upgrades, like swapping in Carpet of Flowers, Utopia Sprawl, and Wild Growth for Mana Bloom, Black Market (card is nuts, but it’s so slow and grindy, and the idea of being able to make and sac Ghave saprolings to power it up is pretty mana-intensive and win-more for a five-mana enchantment that has literally zero impact on the game until you untap with it, but only sometimes), and something else.
On the other hand, I have a number of things that I’d like to pull: the redundant Grave Pact effects that are either do nothing or brutal, no in between; Sigil of the Empty Throne, which is a trap in this deck, since the whole point is to cast a Ghave and make it giant, not accrue value from little enchantments; or Requiem Angel, which is one of the weaker doublers in the deck, a card I’ve played a ton of, and one that costs a bajillion.
The crossroads issue is that making the deck “better” at defeating my opponents doesn’t seem like it will make games more fun for me or anyone else. I’m kinda at the point where I either want to do something creative, new, splashy, and story-worthy, or I want to take off the gloves and just play a full-on competitive game. This sorta half, pussy-footing around it where I tune up to the edge (the invisible edge) without crossing it, good but not too good, isn’t where it’s at.
For a while, the deck’s mechanical point got me there in terms of new and fun, because I hadn’t seen a Ghave enchantress deck, nor one that tried to assemble a pseudo-Voltron Ghave to win via Commander damage (vs comboing out).
But it’s losing its luster for me. The interesting wrinkly is I really only play with a group of 6-8 people in our little playgroup, so I don’t have the element of tuning against a larger, open, unpredictable environment. I know how hard they/we like to go (not very btw. This deck is basically how hard we go, if not dialed back a few notches), and I know what we all find fun.
So for now I’m just going to make swaps for cards I like without powering up. But I’m curious what the optimum, max-fun thing is that one could do with this deck.