Tonight, I’m going to detail the next iteration of changes that have been made to the Momir Vig GenCon Metagame-Hate decklist, look at some upcoming options that I’d like to bring to the table, and give you all a little taste of the deck in action.
Before I get started, though, I wanted to drop a note on the article that went up Monday from Mr. P on his mono-blue deck project. It seems like he struck a chord with many of you, as the comments were very active. He’s incredibly thankful to all of you for all the action, and a little bird told me that he’s planning on brewing up some options based on the suggestions, giving them a test run this weekend (EDH at Mr. Ps House Night this Saturday), and then writing part two for next week.
This is a good thing; Patrick will do a wonderful job of running with this project, documenting it, exploring options and letting GDC readers share in the development, and them likely actually keep the deck around and play it more than a few times before throwing in the towel and taking it apart in order to use the pieces for some other builds. Part of this is because he has an enormous collection and can support having 37 or so decks all at once, and part of it is because he likes his options. You all will get some good coverage out of this. (I’m wanting desperately to refute the poke about my Xiahou Dun project from his article.. Sadly, can’t on account of it being true. You win this round, sir…but get ready for the return of Kuon, Ogre Ascendant!)
Anyway, moving on-
THE GENCON METAGAME DECK
I’m happy to admit when I’m wrong. In this case, I was apparently way off on how good Prime Speaker Zegana is, even in a deck like this that doesn’t run many creatures.
First, the change list:
-Momir Vig, Simic Visionary (General)
-Relic Of Progenitus
+Prime Speaker Zegana (General)
+Stroke of Genius
-Tooth and Nail
+Momir Vig, Simic Visionary (In the main deck)
Here’s the thing about control decks. (Prepare to be shocked.) They really need to keep their hands full.
Prime Speaker fills two important roles in one slot, as she draws a ton of cards in the right situation, and likewise provides the deck with another good win condition (Well, she will at GenCon, where general damage is a thing.) I found that having her on tap at any given time prevents the deck from running out of gas and getting stuck in topdeck mode, as it can with Momir Vig at the helm on occasion. So far, this seems to be the right general for the job.
The other thing about control decks is that they want to tap out to draw cards during the end step of the player to the immediate right…not during their main phases. Concentrate got the axe for this reason, and Stroke of Genius came in to replace it. Having a second scalable draw spell to match Blue Sun’s Zenith seems like the way to go over fixed draw like Jace’s Ingenuity, as it just gains so much horsepower later in the game where it will likely matter (and wait to be cast) anyway.
I went for Extract over Jester’s Cap due to the casting cost and the ability to be thrown to my pitch counters. Time will tell on this one, and it’s possible that Cap might return as well. So far, Extract is solid. Read on for details.
Lastly, Tormod’s Crypt over Relic of Progenitus. The more I think about it, the better I like this change; Crypt can be transmuted for with Tolaria West, and since it targets one player, I gain the ability to not nuke my own graveyard, and I can still recur it if I need it. This seems like the right call as well, but it is one of the changes that I’m watching for the time being.
I’m considering pulling out Blightsteel and Tooth and Nail. This feels like the right call, as the question of how ethical (or worse yet, hypocritical) BSZ is when my stated goal of ‘taking the high road’ against broken combo decks no longer needs to be asked. Tooth may still stay, since it still finds me my win conditions, but I’m not sure it will be so critical anymore without a finite one like Ol’ One Shot.
I still want Momir Vig in the deck, and the switch might be Vig for Tooth, since it gets my tutoring online much sooner. By the time Tooth comes online, Vig has already chained some utility guy into a Mystic Snake into Tidespout Tyrant. That might just be better. Granted, it does lack the late game explosiveness Tooth can provide. I’m kind of on the fence, and I’d love to hear your opinions on the topic.
Finally, the more I think about it, the more Snapcaster Mage makes sense in this deck. With all the control-oriented business spells I’d want second access to, it just makes sense. Again, pitches to counters, and also goes nicely on Mimic Vat. This probably occupies the Blightsteel slot, and I think that’s an upgrade.
The trick here is going to be talking Mr. P into trading me one of the foil copies he has…
THE QUESTION OF COLOR
I think I’m locked in on straight Simic at this point. The unbelievable ease of assembling the correct mana for anything I need is too compelling, and the overall power and utility of the deck seems to be such that I won’t miss the extra stuff I’d get in white, black, or red. For the record, I still like the idea of the hate bears white offers, but I recognize the need to solidify on an angle and go for it. We’ll see through testing and discussion if this is the right call.
SPEAKING OF TIDESPOUT TYRANT…
I got in a game last week with the deck in current form. It certainly validated the changes. Here are some of the functional highlights:
-Turn one, I had the Extract in hand and the land to play it with pitch-counter backup. As it turns out, I needn’t have worried, as Keenan had removed the Exsanguinate from his Wrexial deck already, but it’s good to know that I had the turn one access to it. This makes me feel a ton better about dealing with the combo decks I plan on facing.
-By the time I got Prime Speaker mana, I had managed to already play a Phyrexian Metamorph targeting a Rune-Scarred Demon. Demonic Tutor plus a personal draw-seven put me in a great place mid-game to keep control of things.
-I won two separate counter wars. Again, it’s good to know that this thing has the ability to control the game-state and not end up depleted and vulnerable.
-I was also able to utilize my permission to keep Seedborn Muse on the board for most of the game. This is a huge trump play, and likely won the game for me; it’s hard not to win when you’re taking a turn with every other player in the game in addition to your own, after all. It’s nice to know I can protect important elements if I need to while not losing any real tempo otherwise.
(Important related note – I’m still a bad player, and half of the preparation for this is going to be re-learning how to properly play a control deck. It’s been a long time…)
-Now, the fun part, and the reason I don’t think I will miss Blightsteel. I tabled Alchemist’s Refuge, played Tidespout Tyrant, and passed the turn. Seedborn untapped me, I spun my Sensei’s Divining Top, and the third card down was Rite of Replication.
Let me tell you, kicking that targeting Tidespout at instant speed is pretty life-altering.
Anyway, at this point I was able to do pretty much anything I wanted. When your counterspells also effectively say, “Return six target permanents to their owner’s hands.”, you can pretty much run the show, and thirty power worth of flying attackers is pretty strong as well. Playing an overloaded Cyclonic Rift in response to Keenan targeting one of the copies with an un-overloaded version sealed the deal, and my opponents conceded.
Tidespout is a pretty solid win-con, apparently.
WHERE IT’S AT SO FAR…
This deck is a strong deck, but it plays strong cards fairly. I’m liking where this is headed right now, but there are still four months to go, so there’s plenty of time for really tuning this thing.
What do you think? What am I missing right now? Is this going in the right direction, or should I still be considering other options?
Let me know what you think. See you all next week!