Happy Monday, everyone.  I was able to sink a ton of work into my decks this weekend (owing to the fact that my son goes to sleep at about 7pm and my wife was away for a bachelorette party), so I put in some time slotting changes I’ve been compiling in pretty much every deck I own.  (Well, except mono-white angels.  That thing just is what it is; to be fair, it did manage a pretty decent win this past week in a game that was not Horde, so maybe I’m giving it the short end of the stick.)

I also put the wraps on a brand-new deck in the process; stay tuned for details.  It’s a project style I haven’t attempted before, and it’s kind of close to my heart.

What we’re going to look at today, however, are some thoughts and potential changes to Momir Vig, based on what came of last week’s first post on the deck.

(For those of you just tuning in, the idea here is to tune a deck that can handle the GenCon metagame.  If you’re not familiar with that and haven’t read anything I’ve written over the past year or so, imagine an EDH tournament with a large cash prize on the line.  Multiple rounds, Swiss parings, winner of the final table takes it down. 

Put more simply, egregious combo-central distilled into EDH form.)

First, here’s the updated list (Changes in bold):

COMMANDER: Momir Vig, Simic Visionary

LANDS

8 x Forest                    

8 x Island                   

1 x Command Tower

1 x Tropical Island

1 x Breeding Pool

1 x Hinterland Harbor

1 x Simic Guildgate

1 x Terramorphic Expanse

1 x Evolving Wilds

1 x Misty Rainforest

1 x Thespian’s Stage

1 x Vesuva

1 x Winding Canyons

1 x Temple of the False God

1 x Tolaria West

1 x Strip Mine

1 x Reliquary Tower

1 x Academy Ruins

1 x Alchemist’s Refuge

1 x Miren, the Moaning Well

1 x High Market

+1 Mystifying Maze

CREATURES

1 x Consecrated Sphinx

1 x Mulldrifter

1 x Coiling Oracle

1 x Yavimaya Elder

1 x Solemn Simulacrum

1 x Trinket Mage

1 x Seedborn Muse

1 x Eternal Witness

1 x Sakashima’s Student

1 x Phyrexian Metamorph

1 x Tidespout Tyrant

1 x Blightsteel Colossus

1 x Sakura-Tribe Elder

1 x Duplicant

1 x Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre

1 x Acidic Slime

1 x Mystic Snake

1 x Draining Whelk

SPELLS

1 x Sol Ring

1 x Darksteel Ingot

1 x Cultivate

1 x Kodama’s Reach

1 x Nature’s Claim

1 x Concentrate

1 x Tooth and Nail

1 x Mystical Tutor

1 x Sensei’s Divining Top

1 x Sylvan Library

1 x Fact or Fiction

1 x Rhystic Study

1 x Blue Sun’s Zenith

1 x Scroll Rack

1 x Beast Within

1 x Oblivion Stone

1 x Krosan Grip

1 x Devastation tide

1 x Cyclonic Rift

1 x Cryptic Command

1 x Force Of Will

1 x Spell Crumple

1 x Misdirection

1 x Time Stop

1 x Desertion

1 x Commandeer

1 x Twincast

1 x Mana Drain

1 x Mindbreak Trap

1 x Trickbind

1 x Voidslime

1 x Spelljack

1 x Mimic Vat

1 x Jester’s Cap

1 x Damping Matrix

1 x Gather Specimens

1 x Leyline of Anticipation

1 x Regrowth

1 x Spelltwine

1 x Relic of Progenitus

1 x Knowledge Exploitation

1 x Reins of Power

1 x Bribery

1 x Rite of Replication

1 x Time Warp

Here’s the change log:

– Riftsweeper

– Scavenging Ooze

– Woodfall Primus

– Voidmage Husher

– Hunting Wilds

– Skyshroud Claim

– Urban Evolution

– Explosive Vegetation

– Spitting Image

– Crystal Shard

– Praetor’s Counsel

+ Island

+ Forest

+ Mystifying Maze

+ Tidespout Tyrant

+ Blightsteel Colossus

+ Tooth and Nail

+ Sakura-Tribe Elder

+ Kodama’s Reach

+ Nature’s Claim

+ Concentrate

+ Jester’s Cap

The first thing I did was add lands to the list to get it back up to a healthy count of 36.  Another pair of basics accomplish this, along with Mystifying Maze, which is there over Maze of Ith because it provides me with early mana and late-game protection.

I took the suggestion a few of you made as far as cheaper mana acceleration goes, swapping out my four-cost options for a pair of twos and a three.  I also added in Jester’s Cap as a way to proactively hate out specific combos (although this may be better as the far-quicker Extract – I’m open to your thoughts here) and covered the loss of draw from Urban Evolution with Concentrate.  (This is also largely open to discussion as well.  Is this better at four mana than the extra card from Tidings at five, or the instant-speed of Jace’s Ingenuity?  Is there a better draw spell in general for this slot?)

And that gets us to the big finishers.  I had threatened Blightsteel Colossus, and here it is.  It’s a pretty straight-forward choice, if also a debatable one.  For the second slot, I went with Tidespout Tyrant.  A flying 5/5 beater that offers removal seems solid, and this plays exceptionally well as a lock-down finisher with Rite of Replication.  I like the balance.

Finally, Tooth and Nail makes a return as a way to get at the big-cost stuff that is also tutor-able in this deck.

The stuff that came out was mostly ineffectual; the biggest hit was Woodfall Primus, which is very hard to cast to begin with and didn’t make enough of a splash to matter.  The removal bases are covered, so I decided that a mana investment of that magnitude needed to be a legitimate win condition. 

Voidmage Husher and Riftsweeper leave as options that seem like they could be relevant on paper but never really do anything in practice.  And lastly, the Crystal Shard (due to a lack of targets that matter in the deck) and Praetor’s Counsel (which usually plays out as a ‘win-more’ card in this deck, and is damn expensive to cast.)

Before we talk about the other possibilities, let me know how these changes look.  Is it enough to get the job done?  Does Blightsteel cross the line?  Is Woodfall too good to pull?  Extract over Jester’s Cap?  I pulled Scavenging Ooze; is it a mistake to go to less grave hate options, even if they’re very mana-hungry ones?  How does Tidespout fit here? 

Should I look to other options altogether?

THE BIGGER QUESTIONS

First, let’s talk about Vig.  As I’ve said, the general needs to be fast and relevant, and have a passive ability to really matter.  Otherwise, anything that fits the colors will do, since I’ll never consider casting it. 

So…Vig.  There was a concern that my creature base isn’t large enough or specialized enough to support him.  However, I’m not necessarily looking for a general that will be a main strategic focus…I just want one that can provide a cost-effective assist.  Does Vig do that? 

Is it potentially good enough if all he does is come down and tutor up Mystic Snake once?  For five mana, I’d argue that return is just fine.  Riku was a problem because he effectively cost more like ten or eleven mana; he had to hit play (five mana), leave up two mana to copy something, and then still leave me enough mana to play something relevant and copy-able.  And this had to happen the turn he hit play to avoid just losing while tapped out; turn five is pretty much critical mass in a tournament like this. 

The other option in Simic is Prime Speaker Zegana.  If there aren’t enough creatures to support Vig, there really aren’t enough to support Zegana.  There’s a real risk that six mana buys me a cantrip stapled to a 1/1 body.  On top of that, Vig is a turn quicker, and finds me exactly what I want after the first green creature is cast.

What’s better?  I realize that sometimes I could make late-game and get to play Zegana the turn after I Draining Whelk a Genesis Wave.  There is that.  But if I can stave off early combo and accelerate Vig on turn four, followed up by anything green to find a counterspell on legs…that seems strong.

 

 

On that note, let’s talk about adding colors.

ADDING COLORS 

I’ll admit that I’m enjoying the ease of fixing mana for two colors.  The question of the day is simply this:

Does adding a third color provide enough of a benefit that to offset the added mana issues it will bring?

 

When I say this, I need to understand specifics, and they need to be in the context of the metagame.  While I liked Riku, ways to copy spells exist in blue as well, and the finishing options don’t seem much better.

Black gives me some hand disruption, but I’d have to give up other options in the process.  In the face of a deck that wants to discard everything like Hermit Druid combo, Duress is terrible.  I will admit I like a turn-zero Leyline of the Void there, and Shadow of Doubt will act as a cantripping counterspell in many cases.  But is it better than the ease of a two-color manabase?

White still packs the most appeal to me, with the large number of “hate bears” (think Ethersworn Canonist or Linvala for example) available.  I think it pushes me into Angus Mackenzie for the same reason I slotted Mystifying Maze above. 

But again…is this better?  I want to hear your input here for sure.  And keep in mind what I’m facing and how fast it will be.

 

 

And what about the win-conditions?

THE WIN-CONS

This is still going to be a point of contention, and I’m in no way convinced that Blightsteel is the right call.  But what about Tidespout?  Is Avenger of Zendikar too slow here?  I really want haste in order to take advantage of tokens, and without red, I lose out on that in a big way.  (Basically, if I can’t play In the Web of War first, I typically don’t want to go to Avenger.) 

I don’t know…I feel like there have to be some options I’m missing here.

 

Finally, the “sacred cows” thing…
THE SA…ah, you get it.
I’m trying to feel this.  One of the joys of Mulldrifter and Solemn Simulacrum is that they’re both solid on a Mimic Vat.  In particular, Mulldrifter kills itself off, so it’s really easy to get a solid draw engine active by turn four.  And Solemn’s acceleration/draw combo is hard to pass up.

For those of you who suggested this (or agree with it), what are the “cows” that need to go, and what replaces them?

CLOSING TIME

What do you think?  Step in the right direction, or abomination?  What are the next steps?  Either way, I want to thank you all for the help so far.  I love the feel of this thing as it plays out as a community project, and I’m really looking forward to seeing where it goes from here.  This is going to be a blast when it finally comes time to set it loose. 

Speaking of, it’s a shame Cockatrice is out of the picture; I would have loved to get a test gauntlet going with you guys.  That would have been really solid.

Thanks again, everyone.  See you in a few.

àCass