Command Tower (EDH/Commander)[Brewing] B/x Recursion

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[Brewing] B/x Recursion

Post #1 by DocLawless » Mon May 12, 2014 6:38 pm

I am convinced that I will never stop deck building. I've decided to just embrace that.

Chainer is developing nicely, but I think it can be a little more than it is by adding White to the pile. White adds even more powerful recursion sources and provides access to Enchantment removal, which is something Black lacks. Additionally, I want to explore solutions to some of the things I don't like about Chainer.

1) Getting Chainer to go off requires a lot of pieces that all broadcast what I'm going to do. I need a lifegain engine, or a good head start. I need sac outlets. I need dudes in my 'yard. I need a redundant source of recursion. Big mana helps too... and I need to play control while I dig for them all. I want a more subtle approach to a win that can happen really fast if I need it to.

2)
Chainer is a slow war of attrition, and I have almost no alternate win conditions aside from reanimation to either beat face or create a life drain loop with ETB effects. I like multiple paths to victory, and a few explosive options.


Vish Kal, Blood Arbiter

Some potential win conditions:
- Drain effects; Exsanguinate/Debt to the Deathless, Sanguine Bond into one of those/Beacon of Immortality, etc... Xiahou Dun makes the drain spells reusable. Still needs a ton of mana, which I don't find optimal.
- Life gain into Storm Herd or Storm Herd into Mirror Entity for X>1 to aggro win, or life gain + Felidar Sovereign/Test of Endurance and still having 40/50+ life after going around the table. [card]Glacial Chasm[/card:
38140an0] could help make sure I see my next upkeep with a winning life total.
- General damage; Vish Kal + Vish Kal's first ability, or that + Lashwrithe/Nightmare Lash. Storm Herd sac'd to Vish Kal, or Storm Herd into Mirror Entity for X>1, sac'd to Vish Kal.
- Optional combo win with Xiahou Dun, the One-Eyed + Living Death with Kokusho the Evening Star and/or Gray Merchant of Asphodel in my 'yard. Shouldn't be the primary win-con, as it requires the most pieces and setup.
- In a different group than my primary one, Cabal Coffers tapping for more than 5 mana + Deserted Temple + Rings of Brighthearth can generate infinite mana for a game ending Exsanguinate/Debt to the Deathless, or Living Death loop.


It's not a
deck yet, but it's a start. I feel like finding a way to actually close out the game without needing an overly complicated board state is something I need to work on, so advice/suggestions in that regard are welcome.
Last edited by DocLawless on Wed May 14, 2014 10:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post #2 by DroppinSuga » Tue May 13, 2014 6:29 pm

I think the easiest way to go with Vish Kal is to focus on token generators and sacing them to pump Vish and win via Commander damage. You will also have your back up win cons, but in BW, token generators aren't hard to come by and you can always use things like Trading Post and Thopter Foundry to pump out a bunch of critters
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Post #3 by DocLawless » Tue May 13, 2014 8:30 pm

I considered that as an option. It's certainly not off the table as one. I do have a board wipe heavy meta, so I'll have to be able to come back from one of those. I can't use Thopter Foundry with Vish Kal, though, because it's Blue too. But you're right, it's not like BW is short on token generators.
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Post #4 by DroppinSuga » Tue May 13, 2014 8:42 pm

I forgot about the Foundry having blue in it. Have you considered running Athreos, God of Passage? It's so at home in a Vish Kal deck.
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Post #5 by DocLawless » Tue May 13, 2014 9:07 pm

Definitely. I'm trying to trade my Ajani, Mentor of Heroes for one. Nobody has gone for it yet. I might just have to buy one.
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Post #6 by DroppinSuga » Tue May 13, 2014 9:12 pm

May want to look for undying creatures as well. Getting to sac creatures more than once is always a plus.
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Post #7 by Azrael » Tue May 13, 2014 9:33 pm

Well, if you're looking for explosive options, but also sneaky options, what we're really talking about is building either enough mana that you can do really abusive things at your leisure, or running strategies that cut people off at the knees before they can mount a defense.

That partly depends on what kinds of things your metagame is good at defending against. Do they run a lot of mass removal? Do they run a lot of countermagic? Hand disruption? Do they run utility to deal with graveyard strategies?

Generally speaking, I think blue for the extra turn effects, red for haste or land destruction, and white for equipment that provides haste and mass land destruction, maybe with black to stitch those things together, and artifacts or green for ridiculous amounts of mana, are the kinds of things that do a good job at that. That, and I'm sure there are any number of combos you could attempt to put together using black
and white and a sac outlet. Somebody out there has made that thread, I'm sure.

Generally, if you aren't running some combination of those things, it's not very hard for players to find some kind of answer to any given-creature based strategy. So tokens and general damage doesn't seem like a very sneaky or explosive route.

If Vish Kal is what you're sticking to, you've got a number of issues to resolve. Number one, is that black and white aren't exactly the best colors for mana development. Even with a ton of rocks added in, your mana is going to suck compared to what other colors are capable of doing (whether they make full use of that in your playgroup or not, I have no idea). Problem #2 is that Vish Kal costs seven mana. Seven! So building your strategy around a seven mana dork, when you have colors that aren't the great at ramping you up - probably not going to be the wisest course of action.

So how about starting with a graveyard recursion framework, with some nifty ETB effects to make
use of Vish Kal, some creature combos that can do awesome stuff like straight up kill people if they're reanimated together (Trike/Mikeaus), and to add insult to injury, sprinkle in some Armageddon effects that you can potentially hard-cast in the same turn to prevent people from dealing with your awesome post-reanimation board state?

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Post #8 by DocLawless » Tue May 13, 2014 10:37 pm

That's actually exactly what I do have. I've been running a mono-black Chainer deck (part-time Xiahou Dun deck) with a recursion based shell to abuse ETB/LTB effects from things like Kokusho and Gary. My goal is to make that deck better by adding white for better recursion options and more answers to enchantments. The catch is that my group doesn't allow infinite combos, stax/stasis decks, taking an excessive number of extra turns, or mass land destruction. If someone takes an extra turn here and there, or if someone drops Armageddon after the green player goes T4 Explosive Vegetation into T5 Boundless Realms, they let it slide. But those are the rules I have to play around.

Lack of acceleration is definitely a thing I don't like about it. Enough that I've considered running Junk colors and playing Teneb or Karador just for the ramp. There's already a Karador deck at the table though. I tend to not pick generals other
people are playing, but that's just me. There's no rule against it. I haven't totally committed to Vish Kal, he's just a different commander than Chainer to add white while staying in the same theme.

The table is pretty full of creature based strategies, which people answer by running a lot of board wipes. Tucking happens once in a while. Countermagic is common enough that we keep an eye out for untapped blue mana. Spot removal is very common. Hand disruption is almost non-existent, aside from Nekusar, who runs a lot of wheel effects a lot. Nobody really runs a lot of graveyard hate, but everyone in black has a Bog. Mainly everyone just focuses on what their deck is going to do, being purely reactionary until someone's deck does go off. Then there's a game of Magic and someone wins.
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Post #9 by Azrael » Wed May 14, 2014 6:48 am

So we're pretty wedded to the idea of reanimation, but not necessarily committed to this color combination?

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Post #10 by DocLawless » Wed May 14, 2014 2:14 pm

Yeah, pretty much.
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Post #11 by DocLawless » Wed May 14, 2014 10:26 pm

Actually... going with black and green to get access to mana ramp is a way better idea than going with black and white to get access to more of what the deck already does. Maybe I should revisit Glissa.

Also, can I get a mod to move this thread out of the multiplayer decklist subforum and into the general EDH forum where it should be?
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Post #12 by Azrael » Thu May 15, 2014 3:51 am

Maybe Damia or Mimeoplasm? Damia doesn't mind running ways to dump fatties from your hand into the yard, since that essentially amounts to extra card draw. And Mimeoplasm speaks for him/her/itself.

With green access, both are pretty good at hard-casting the fatties in a pinch, and running blue doesn't hurt in EDH.

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Post #13 by DocLawless » Thu May 15, 2014 5:22 am

I have been wanting to build a Damia deck. And BUG seems like a good combination.

I'm not the world's strongest blue player. What are some staples I should look for here? Draw spells seem redundant if I'm drawing off Damia. A few counters could be nice, I suppose, but I have to take it easy with the extra turn spells.
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Post #14 by Azrael » Thu May 15, 2014 3:11 pm

DocLawless » Thu May 15, 2014 4:22 am wrote:I have been wanting to build a Damia deck. And BUG seems like a good combination.

I'm not the world's strongest blue player. What are some staples I should look for here? Draw spells seem redundant if I'm drawing off Damia. A few counters could be nice, I suppose, but I have to take it easy with the extra turn spells.


I might be able to run up my list of Damia sometime - it's not going to be a direct analogue b/c I played it straight ramp rather than reanimator, but it might have some ideas you could borrow. The trickiest thing with Damia is building to ensure you don't have a ton of awkward cards stranded in hand, clogging up your draw engine.

I did back off on card draw a tad
relative to other decks, but if you cut it too close to the bone, you can't reliably ramp up to the mana you need to run the deck and get Damia to stick on the table. For the most part, I changed the kind of card draw I ran, rather than reduced the quantity of slots.

Card draw with discard attached like Frantic Search, Careful Consideration, Compulsive Research, Thirst for Knowledge - that stuff should be great. It not only gives you good ways to dump fatties, but it clears your hand of chaff like extra lands you can't play quickly, and every time you discard it's card draw/selection on your next Damia activation.

I don't run much in the way of counterspells in my particular version. A few, but I prefer Damia as more of a tap-out/ramp style deck. The more proactive you are in developing your manabase and clearing out your hand, the more dividends you reap. Same goes for removal - if you run it, you should be able to clear it out quickly if need be.

Weighting the curve a little bit lower can be
helpful too, although there were times early on that I took that too far. If you're ramping up, you need a good solid top-end to make use of that muscle.

For ramping, options like Skyshroud Ranger, Sakura Tribe Scout, Exploration, and Burgeoning are better than usual. They start you ramping early and often, and late-game, they burn off your extra land drops.

In terms of blue staples, I hijacked the sixth post in the commander staples and commonly used cards thread. Should be handy.

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Post #15 by DocLawless » Thu May 15, 2014 10:21 pm

How do you feel about Fact or Fiction/Sphinx of Uthuun here? They don't give me discard, but they basically have no disadvantage if I can go back into my yard to get whatever I pitch. And recurring Sphinx can basically be draw on demand.

I like both Rite of Replication and Progenitor Mimic if I'm going to stick to the abusive ETB theme.
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Post #16 by Azrael » Fri May 16, 2014 4:06 am

Pretty big fan of Fact or Fiction in the deck, yup. Having it on a stick seems good too, although potentially, you can do more damage with a seven mana slot than that. Rite's good, Mimic I'm not that much of a fan of. Has to make it around the table to be broken - always a dicey prospect.

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Post #17 by Azrael » Fri May 16, 2014 4:32 am

Damia, Sage of Stone
38 Land
[cards]Ramp
Mana Vault
Burgeoning
Carpet of Flowers
Exploration
Sol Ring
Joraga Treespeaker
Lotus Cobra
Worn Powerstone
Azusa, Lost but Seeking
Fabricate
Thada Adel, Acquisitor
Mana Crypt
Somberwald Sage
Overgrowth
Thran Dynamo
Tezzeret the Seeker
Gilded Lotus
Mana Reflection

Card Draw/Tutors
Demonic Tutor
Frantic Search
Phyrexian Arena
Fact or Fiction
Jace the Mind Sculptor
Harmonize
Concentrate
Compulsive Research
Ambition's Cost
Insidious Dreams
Deep Analysis
Careful Consideration
Tidings
Recurring Insight
Mystical Tutor
Vampiric Tutor

Control
Rapid Hybridization
Pongify
Dismember
Mana Drain
Go for the Throat
Gilded Drake
Slaughter Pact
Liliana of the Veil
Seal of doom
Counterspell
Exclude
Putrefy
Maelstrom Pulse
Beast
Within
Damnation
Glen Elendra Archmage
Treachery
Decree of Pain

Action & Other Stuff
Lightning Greaves
Bribery
Tooth and Nail
Green Sun's Zenith
Diluvian Primordial
Knowledge Exploitation
Memnarch
Avenger of Zendikar
Time Stretch
Kozilek, Butcher of Truth
Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre[/cards]

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Post #18 by Azrael » Fri May 16, 2014 4:34 am

Oh, wow. I just realized how well Bottled Cloister could potentially work with Damia.

So long as it isn't blown up at the wrong time, anyways. Also, I should probably be running Force of Will.

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Post #19 by DocLawless » Fri May 16, 2014 3:36 pm

Carpet of Flowers is interesting. I will have to look at the table the next time I play to see how often I can make use of that.

I'm getting ideas, I think. I like recursion that costs 2 or less, unless it's going to have an above the curve effect on my board or it comes on a stick that I can recur.
Animate Dead
Dance of the Dead
Eternal Witness
[card]Life // Death[/card]
Necromancy
Nostalgic Dreams
Reanimate
Regrowth
Victimize

The other exception being recursion I cast to try and end the game.
Living Death
Rise of the Dark Realms

For ramp, I like spells that put me 2+ turns ahead or
ramp on a stick. Ideally not ramp on a stick that does nothing after it's been played, but I'll take what I can get if it's good enough.
Mana Reflection
Oracle of Mul Daya
Prophet of Kruphix
Skyshroud Ranger
Sakura Tribe Scout
Exploration
Burgeoning
Explosive Vegetation
Expedition Map

And rocks...
Sol Ring
Thran Dynamo
Chromatic Lantern
Gilded Lotus

Tutor is easy enough in black, so sticking to the Demonic/Vampiric Tutor and Rune-Scarred Demon staples, and gaining Mystic Tutor in blue. I don't need to go overboard with it like I did in mono-black because I have access to draw engines now.
nFact or Fiction
Thirst for Knowledge
Careful Consideration
Compulsive Research
Frantic Search
Harmonize
Phyrexian Arena
Future Sight

And Damia herself, of course.

Ponder and/or Preordain? Normally safe bets in blue but they seem underwhelming in this deck.

Rhystic Study? Consecrated Sphinx?

I think you're right about being able to do more damage with a 7 cmc slot than with Sphinx of Uthuun. It occurs to me that Damia is a 7 cmc draw engine too, and I can cast her whenever I want. I can use that slot for something to win the game with instead.
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Post #20 by DroppinSuga » Fri May 16, 2014 3:51 pm

Hell, I'd play both Study and Sphinx. If you're diligent with Study, you'll draw a ton of cards because no one ever wants to pay 1 to stop you. Sphinx is just a beast in EDH and should be played in every blue deck.
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Post #21 by DocLawless » Fri May 16, 2014 3:58 pm

Oh, they'll pay 1 to stop it. There's another guy who runs it in Oloro who really annoys people with it. "Do you pay the extra? ... Do you pay the extra? ... Do you pay the extra? ..." They'll pay it to spite me until I get over the hump of having so much draw the extra cards just don't matter to them. But it is a really good draw engine, and if they do pay the extra I guess slowing them down is good too.
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Post #22 by DroppinSuga » Fri May 16, 2014 4:06 pm

Yeah, my group never seems to care which makes it a wonderful inclusion. The Sphinx is an insta-kill though
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Post #23 by DocLawless » Fri May 16, 2014 4:41 pm

Yeah, I'm learning that I really have to evaluate things assuming they won't make it around the table. Immediate impact or bust.
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Post #24 by Azrael » Fri May 16, 2014 4:50 pm

DocLawless » Fri May 16, 2014 2:36 pm wrote:Carpet of Flowers is interesting. I will have to look at the table the next time I play to see how often I can make use of that.

I'm getting ideas, I think. I like recursion that costs 2 or less, unless it's going to have an above the curve effect on my board or it comes on a stick that I can recur.
Animate Dead
Dance of the Dead
Eternal Witness
[card]Life // Death[/card]
Necromancy
Nostalgic Dreams
Reanimate
Regrowth
Victimize

The other exception being recursion I cast to try and end the
game.
Living Death
Rise of the Dark Realms

For ramp, I like spells that put me 2+ turns ahead or ramp on a stick. Ideally not ramp on a stick that does nothing after it's been played, but I'll take what I can get if it's good enough.
Mana Reflection
Oracle of Mul Daya
Prophet of Kruphix
Skyshroud Ranger
Sakura Tribe Scout
Exploration
Burgeoning
Explosive Vegetation
Expedition Map

And rocks...
Sol Ring
Thran Dynamo
Chromatic Lantern
Gilded Lotus

Tutor is easy enough in black, so sticking to the Demonic/Vampiric Tutor and Rune-
Scarred Demon staples, and gaining Mystic Tutor in blue. I don't need to go overboard with it like I did in mono-black because I have access to draw engines now.
Fact or Fiction
Thirst for Knowledge
Careful Consideration
Compulsive Research
Frantic Search
Harmonize
Phyrexian Arena
Future Sight

And Damia herself, of course.

Ponder and/or Preordain? Normally safe bets in blue but they seem underwhelming in this deck.

Rhystic Study? Consecrated Sphinx?

I think you're right about being able to do more damage with a 7 cmc slot than with Sphinx of Uthuun. It occurs to me that Damia is a 7 cmc draw engine too, and I can cast
her whenever I want. I can use that slot for something to win the game with instead.


Oooo! Nostalgic Dreams. I've always wanted to find a good use for that card. That and Holistic Wisdom.

For the ramp engine, you're definitely on target with aiming for slots that put you two ahead. If you're skittish about creature-based ramp like Somberwald Sage & co., there's still a bunch of other options that I would rate higher than Explosive Vegetation, or Oracle of Mul Daya. Thada Adel, Acquisitor, Worn Powerstone, Skyshroud Claim, Overgrowth if Strip Mines aren't overly plentiful. I'd still recommend trying out the creature based options though, because even if they get blown up from time to time, the tempo advantage they provide, even if temporary, well outweighs the risks. Three mana towards your general or other creatures, each turn? Third or 4th turn Damia? Hard to turn down.

I don't play Ponder or Preordain or Sphinx of Uthuun except in my Riku list. I might be in wrong, but
I'm a fan of the little cantrips either, when I could guarantee having something a bit more meaningful in that slot. And in my meta, a 5/6 Sphinx body is the next best thing to irrelevant, when people are fighting over Avenger of Zendikars or eldrazi.

I played Consecrated Sphinx in all of my blue decks for the longest time. These days, I think it's been cut from all of them (maybe Mimeoplasm still has it? Maybe.). I found that too often, me tapping down for a Consecrated Sphinx meant that it was going to get passed around the table by a series of steal effects, drawing each of them cards along the way, or reanimated by an opponent, or "countered" by a spot removal spell. and I'd rather have a card draw slot that couldn't be so easily turned against me, or blown up, or turned into a font of mythos . Not to mention the double Consecrated Sphinx scenario that can be very much a double-edged sword. And it's a bit more fragile than some of the other threats I prefer to run. I also think the
synergy with Damia is a bit poor, here. He wants to draw cards in mana slots 1-4, maybe 5. But by the time he's casting Damia, he's just fine with an empty hand.

If he can pitch the Sphinx consistently, maybe that's a different story though. But I don't think its an automatic choice.

Future sight might be better here than it is elsewhere. I've cut that card from my lists as well, b/c I'll often need to get all the cards in my hand immediately in order to find an answer or extra turn effect rather than have to dig for the right cards by spending mana and hoping, and as a permanent, it's also vulnerable to getting zapped, though less so than Sphinx. But it's nice that it gives you card advantage without filling your hand.

Carpet is pretty sick. It's only in my Damia list right now, b/c I build my decks for dueling as well as multi, Damia doesn't mind an occasional dead slot so much as long as it's also cheap. But when I ran it more widely, it was really obnoxious in multiplayer. If you
have people who play mono-blue, or people who use a lot of dual lands and fetches, it's terrific.

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Post #25 by Stardust » Fri May 16, 2014 5:42 pm

Just one commet: I personally prefer [card]Sisay's Ring[/card] and [card]Ur-Golem's Eye[/card] over Worn Powerstone. Reason being that they actually cost 1 mana less on any turn after turn three. If early game ramp is specifically what you need, then the Powerstone might be better, but when you're just looking to dump your hand after a Damia trigger, the 4 drops really only cost [mana]2[/mana].
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Post #26 by DocLawless » Fri May 16, 2014 6:12 pm

Nobody at my table plays the titans, which is why I want to. Speaking of fatties...

Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur (Not for drawing, but for locking out the table.)
Sheoldred, Whispering One (Also recursion.)
Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger (Also ramp.)
Avenger of Zendikar
Kederekt Leviathan
Lord of Extinction
[cards]Wurmcoil Engine[/cards]
[cards]Kokusho, the Evening Star[/cards]
Keiga, the Tide Star
Artisan of Kozilek (More recursion.)
Ulamog
Kozilek

Non-fat creatures...
Duplicant (Recurable exiling.)
Solemn Simulacrum
Phyrexian Metamorph
[card:
39hwp7o5]Nirkana Revenant[/card]/Crypt Ghast (Black ramp.)
Sepulchral Primordial
Deadeye Navigator
Kira, Great Glass-Spinner ??
Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir ??
Glen Elendra Archmage ??

I feel like I need more threats, maybe? I've focused a lot on ramping and defense. In Chainer I ran Exansuinate. I think I love that card. I've won out of nowhere with it a few times. Genesis Wave? I don't know that I run few enough non-permanents.
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Azrael
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Post #27 by Azrael » Fri May 16, 2014 7:55 pm

DocLawless » Fri May 16, 2014 5:12 pm wrote:Nobody at my table plays the titans, which is why I want to. Speaking of fatties...

Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur (Not for drawing, but for locking out the table.)
Sheoldred, Whispering One (Also recursion.)
Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger (Also ramp.)
Avenger of Zendikar
Kederekt Leviathan
Lord of Extinction
[cards]Wurmcoil Engine[/cards]
[cards]Kokusho, the Evening Star[/cards]
Keiga, the Tide Star
Artisan of Kozilek (More recursion.)
Ulamog
Kozilek

Non-fat creatures...
[card:
3q5t4p04]Duplicant[/card] (Recurable exiling.)
Solemn Simulacrum
Phyrexian Metamorph
Nirkana Revenant/Crypt Ghast (Black ramp.)
Sepulchral Primordial
Deadeye Navigator
Kira, Great Glass-Spinner ??
Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir ??
Glen Elendra Archmage ??

I feel like I need more threats, maybe? I've focused a lot on ramping and defense. In Chainer I ran Exansuinate. I think I love that card. I've won out of nowhere with it a few times. Genesis Wave? I don't know that I run few enough non-permanents.


Well, you'll likely need more than the eight slots of threats that's in my above build, b/c that number is pared down due to the presence of extra turn effects and tutors make anything more than that a
bit redundant. Probably between 12-17 slots is about right, if you're not running Time Stretch.

Aside from the cards you mentioned, you might try:
Bribery, Green Sun's Zenith, Knowledge Exploitation, Tooth and Nail, Diluvian Primordial, Chancellor of the Spires, Rampaging Baloths, Sphinx Ambassador, Army of the Damned, Pathrazer of Ulamog, Consuming Aberration. Maybe Trench Gorger or Liege of the Tangle.

Myojin of Night's Whisper, Myojin of Seeing Winds, and Worst Fears, if we're talking utility instead of threats.


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