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 Post subject: Selesnya tokens
PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2018 9:26 am 
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For reference standard decklist is:

2 Ajani, Adversary of Tyrants OR Shalai, Voice of Plenty

4 Adanto Vanguard OR Thorn Lieutenant
3 x Emmara, Soul of the Accord
4 x Venerated Loxodon
3 x Trostani Discordant

4 x Saproling Migration
4 x Flower // Flourish

4 x March of the Multitudes

3 x Legion's Landing
4 x History of Benalia
4 x Conclave Tribunal

1 x Arch of Orazca
4 x Forest
8 x Plains
4 x Sunpetal Grove
4 x Temple Garden


I'm currently at ~70% win rate with the deck.

Strengths:
1. Innately strong strategy. Left unmolested you build a huge board very quickly. Something like Emmara into History into Venerated Loxodon means your board spirals out of hand really fast.
2. You make one-to-one removal look utterly embarrassing. The only good target is Trostani.
3. Did I mention you end up with a huge board very quickly? Your board gets so big that you can convoke Venerated Loxodon and March of the Multitudes and still have bodies to chump block the opponent's biggest attackers.
4. 21 land deck. Yes, you will mana screw some of the time, but you also flood less since Flower//Flourish is a real spell later in the game. It's not the best imaginable spell, no, but I've won my share of games by casting the Flourish side with a big board already in play.
5. You get to run utility lands Legion's Landing & Arch of Orazca. Having said that, I'm at almost 20 games with the deck and neither has really mattered yet, because either opponent is dead or I don't have the time to activate the utility lands (neither ability can be convoked, either).
6. March of the Multitudes is very powerful. March into March can dump like 15 tokens into play at instant speed, and they even have lifelink.

Weaknesses:

1. Loses to board sweepers. Bleagh. Adanto Vanguard helps to some extent, but all the tokens disappear instantly to the likes of Cleansing Nova & Ritual of Soot. You can rebuild quite fast, but there's no good way to play around the sweepers. GW has no Duress or Negate against these cards, either.
2. Ajani has the curious weakness of not being able to -2 very often since the only return-able 2-drops are Emmara and Adanto Vanguard. Vanguard tends to stay on the battlefield, leaving just Emmara. However just the +1 mode is still quite good (buff the lifelinkers & History of Benalia knights), you tend to have loads of chump blockers to threaten the ultimate (although I've yet to actually reach it), and the alternative of running Shalai means you die even worse to Cleansing Nova.
3. Weak to flyers. You can't block them, and there are only four Conclave Tribunals. Only thing that can be done is gain life to offset the damage.
4. Against another deck that looks to sit there and go off, you can't interact much. I got annihilated by an elves tribal deck that went Llanowar Elves into Marwyn into Steel Leaf Champion (speaking of which this card is also deadly since it's not chumpable).

Weakness #1 coupled with #2 makes me want to switch some cards, but I can't think of what to switch. Gideon, Ally of Zendikar would be great instead of Ajani, but of course it's not legal. Maybe Make a Stand? That would have to be a sideboard card though, because it's significantly worse than other pump effects like Pride of Conquerors (and even that is not worth running - just run more token makers & rely on Flower//Flourish or Venerated Loxodon or Trostani to punch through damage).

I wonder what the standard sideboard plans with this deck is. Control is the obvious worst matchup, and I imagine the standard anti-control cards are The Immortal Sun and Vivien Reid (+ Adanto Vanguard if not already running it). Both are very far from ideal though: TIS since it's 6 mana, and Vivien since it doesn't synergize with the deck's gameplan. There aren't even that many cards for Vivien's +1 to hit. What else? Decks that do weakness #4 aren't very common so I can accept that as a bad matchup. Some cheap removal I imagine to use against Goblin Electromancer, Adanto Vanguard, Healer's Hawk, Ajani's Pridemate, etc. Aside from these, what else is there?


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 Post subject: Re: Selesnya tokens
PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2018 4:04 pm 
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What about Kraul Harpooner? Can be gotten back by Ajani, is a decent blocker and kills fliers.


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 Post subject: Re: Selesnya tokens
PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2018 6:54 am 
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It'd be a sideboard card. I don't see what it's that good for however: the only flyers you're reasonably fighting is Rustwing Falcon / Healer's Hawk / Siren Stormtamer. It's not like it's a good blocker either: it can't block Lyra, Tempest Djinn, etc. I see many published lists running this card in the sideboard, but I'm skeptical other cards aren't better (unless I'm missing something).

I've lost several more games now but the win rate is still solid at ~70%, and it feels like the deck does really powerful things so after having played it a lot, I don't regret spending the wildcards. I do want to try the GW midrange deck at some point though, not sure if I want to craft that first or fill out the sideboard first.

Also lol I beat the Boros "super nut draw". Opponent went Healer's Hawk into Ajani Pridemate into Healer's Hawk + Ajani's Pridemate into a third Pridemate. His board was extremely intimidating. But I was able to hold off the Pridemates with my little tokens with Loxodon backup (they couldn't attack favourably given what the backswing would be), and then had back-to-back March of the Multitude. Result, opponent died from 28 life in one attack, and I didn't even have an anthem effect.


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 Post subject: Re: Selesnya tokens
PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2018 7:08 am 
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I don't get it. With 2 creatures in the yard it kills Lyra, with 1 loxodon trigger it easily chumps and kills Djinn.


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 Post subject: Re: Selesnya tokens
PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2018 3:46 pm 
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Yeah, but it's not easy to get two creatures in the yard. Many of the deck's "creatures" aren't actually creatures - History of Benalia, Saproling Migration, Trostani tokens ...


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 Post subject: Re: Selesnya tokens
PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2018 5:06 pm 
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Of course it’s not optimal. Other than that you can run ixalan or settle at 4 cmc and hit creatures/all single targets or seal away at 2 cmc and hit problematic creatures. Dunno what the biggest problem for GW is, as I have never played it.

Other than that if you want to race (what I don’t believe) youhave kinjalli’s sunwing in white.

Btw. Any reason to splash black for some goodies?


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 Post subject: Re: Selesnya tokens
PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2018 7:22 pm 
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Quick thoughts after bringing tokens to competitive constructed:

1. Nullhide Ferox is quite mean against control decks. It costs at least 4 mana to answer if not countered. The Dimir/Grixis versions would even need 6 mana (Vraska's Contempt + pay for ability), with all the sweepers ineffective as well.
2. Kraul Harpooner actually has some use against Drakes. With a Trostani in play, or simply with chump attacks, it kills a Drake (and monoblue flyers of course). 3 power still really isn't ideal though. I get the feeling it's showing up in sideboards because it's a reasonably-sized creature with some utility, something you can board in against the likes of Goblin Chainwhirler. Nonetheless, 3/2 still dies to Golden Demise and Fiery Canonade.
3. The deck's weakest matchup by far is control. I wonder what can be done. Adanto Vanguard and Nullhide Ferox are a start, but Ajani isn't a good threat vs. control even though it's a planeswalker. The Immortal Sun sounds like it's good, but it also turns off Vivien Reid. Maybe run Karn?


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 Post subject: Re: Selesnya tokens
PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2018 10:44 pm 
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Banedon wrote:
Quick thoughts after bringing tokens to competitive constructed:

1. Nullhide Ferox is quite mean against control decks. It costs at least 4 mana to answer if not countered. The Dimir/Grixis versions would even need 6 mana (Vraska's Contempt + pay for ability), with all the sweepers ineffective as well.
2. Kraul Harpooner actually has some use against Drakes. With a Trostani in play, or simply with chump attacks, it kills a Drake (and monoblue flyers of course). 3 power still really isn't ideal though. I get the feeling it's showing up in sideboards because it's a reasonably-sized creature with some utility, something you can board in against the likes of Goblin Chainwhirler. Nonetheless, 3/2 still dies to Golden Demise and Fiery Canonade.
3. The deck's weakest matchup by far is control. I wonder what can be done. Adanto Vanguard and Nullhide Ferox are a start, but Ajani isn't a good threat vs. control even though it's a planeswalker. The Immortal Sun sounds like it's good, but it also turns off Vivien Reid. Maybe run Karn?


I wouldn't worry about that. You don't need Vivien if you have Immortal Sun sitting on board. You'd have the card draw engine, the reduced casting costs, and opposing planeswalkers would be shut down, too. The Immortal Sun is absolutely excellent and I could see an argument for it being main-deckable.

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 Post subject: Re: Selesnya tokens
PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2018 4:57 pm 
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Well, although I've sided in The Immortal Sun several times already I've also literally yet to draw it (I only have one copy since it's legendary) so I can't say :D

Tell me what you think of siding in Nullhide Ferox vs. Golgari? Pros: it's a 6/6, it can often attack into Wildgrowth Walker and Doom Whisperer, and it trades with Carnage Tyrant. They're also unable to kill it easily since it survives Find//Finality and Golden Demise. Chupcabra, Vraska Relic Seeker and Vraska's Contempt all can't target it either without an extra 2 mana to spare. However, the drawback is serious since the deck runs lots of noncreature spells, and unlike vs. control where just having Nullhide Ferox is good enough, against Golgari, Selesnya tokens wants to keep adding to the board. I sided it in once, to mixed results.


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 Post subject: Re: Selesnya tokens
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2018 2:31 am 
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There's no reason not to run multiple copies of good legendaries in your deck, it's common practice all around. Also as you don't want Nullhide in Selesnya since the drawback is far greater than the advantage with all the non-creature spells you still need to play.


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 Post subject: Re: Selesnya tokens
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2018 6:03 am 
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Yes the tokens deck already runs multiple Emmaras & Trostanis. But The Immortal Sun is a 6-mana legend, and there're only so many 6-mana cards you can have. Besides, it doesn't die easily. With Emmara if I really, really need to play another Emmara I can always chump attack; with Trostani if she's sticking on the board I'm probably winning, but there aren't many cards that kill The Immortal Sun. Teferi or Vivien could answer it with their -3's, except they can't even use their -3's. I dunno. I've boarded in The Immortal Sun several times and still haven't drawn it.

Nullhide Ferox is, I think, completely worthy of a sideboard slot. It might even be a 4-of. In the matchups when he's at his best, it doesn't matter if I can't cast any other spells because as long as he stays on the board I'm winning. 6/6 is strong enough to attack through Lyra and Niv Mizzet, and threaten to trade with Doom Whisperer + Carnage Tyrant. 6/6 is also large enough to finish off the game in a few hits. It's the card I most want to see against control. I almost ****ed myself once though by playing Nullhide Ferox intending to use him to convoke Conclave Tribunal. It was really bad since my opponent tapped out for Doom Whisperer and I had enough mana to convoke Conclave Tribunal before casting Nullhide Ferox ...

Also I need to refine that sideboard plan. Maybe I'll start a thread in the main forum about standard sideboard plans against all decks.


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 Post subject: Re: Selesnya tokens
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2018 11:39 am 
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Quote:
I dunno. I've boarded in The Immortal Sun several times and still haven't drawn it.

That's why I would suggest 2, double your chances :) And about Nullhide, sure, if you test it and it works, why not! But I have my doubts.


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 Post subject: Re: Selesnya tokens
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2018 12:50 pm 
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Ferox really punishes Dimir Campaign and Grixis Dragons, but I'm doubtful either deck is prevalent enough to worry about. It hurts Golgari but its not better than Honour Guard or even Vine Mare

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 Post subject: Re: Selesnya tokens
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2018 3:39 pm 
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Ferox also works against Jeskai and Esper by virtue of it being a big hexproof creature. I did think of Vine Mare but a sideboard card that dies to Deafening Clarion is likely not good enough.


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 Post subject: Re: Selesnya tokens
PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2018 7:08 am 
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Ugh, I need help with sideboarding strategies with this deck. Is Karn good against Golgari? Do I board out Venerated Loxodon whenever I board out Saproling Migration (which is like 100% of the time, it's the first card I cut)? What about boarding out Ajani for the same reason? If I'm cutting Saproling Migration, do I also cut Legion's Landing since both cards share the same weaknesses? And then there's Adanto Vanguard - do I cut that against Golgari (since Golden Demise kills it too)?

It feels like the sideboard I have is rather all over the place, and maybe Tocatli Honor Guard deserves a slot too somewhere, maybe even as a 4-of, since monored and Golgari are both quite common. Things I'd like in the sideboard:

4 Tocatli Honor Guard
4 Nullhide Ferox (per above)
2 Carnage Tyrant (someone pointed out to me that this might just be a better version of Nullhide Ferox, especially in a deck running so many noncreature spells; however 6 mana without convoke is a big ask)
2 The Immortal Sun (maybe)
3 Knight of Autumn (gotta have enchantment hate somewhere)
4 Thorn Lieutenant (preferably, to switch Adanto Vanguard in the matchups where it's bad without ruining the curve)
2 Karn (for when I want to grind)
2 Vivien Reid (ditto, also answers flyers)
3 Baffling End (to answer Wildgrowth Walker, Runaway Steam-Kin and Goblin Electromancer)

Kraul Harpooner feels weak against anything except monoblue, so I doubt it's worth a slot.

Hooray for 26-card sideboards!


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 Post subject: Re: Selesnya tokens
PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2018 7:40 am 
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Don't forget the Harpooner kills Lyra with 2 creatures in the graveyard. Not such a weak card.

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 Post subject: Re: Selesnya tokens
PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2018 8:34 am 
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Banedon wrote:
Ugh, I need help with sideboarding strategies with this deck. Is Karn good against Golgari? Do I board out Venerated Loxodon whenever I board out Saproling Migration (which is like 100% of the time, it's the first card I cut)? What about boarding out Ajani for the same reason? If I'm cutting Saproling Migration, do I also cut Legion's Landing since both cards share the same weaknesses? And then there's Adanto Vanguard - do I cut that against Golgari (since Golden Demise kills it too)?

It feels like the sideboard I have is rather all over the place, and maybe Tocatli Honor Guard deserves a slot too somewhere, maybe even as a 4-of, since monored and Golgari are both quite common. Things I'd like in the sideboard:

4 Tocatli Honor Guard
4 Nullhide Ferox (per above)
2 Carnage Tyrant (someone pointed out to me that this might just be a better version of Nullhide Ferox, especially in a deck running so many noncreature spells; however 6 mana without convoke is a big ask)
2 The Immortal Sun (maybe)
3 Knight of Autumn (gotta have enchantment hate somewhere)
4 Thorn Lieutenant (preferably, to switch Adanto Vanguard in the matchups where it's bad without ruining the curve)
2 Karn (for when I want to grind)
2 Vivien Reid (ditto, also answers flyers)
3 Baffling End (to answer Wildgrowth Walker, Runaway Steam-Kin and Goblin Electromancer)

Kraul Harpooner feels weak against anything except monoblue, so I doubt it's worth a slot.

Hooray for 26-card sideboards!

Honor guard is good, there will be a LOT of Golgari, is my bet. Pick also one of the top-end cards, either Carny or Sun (I'd go for 2x Carny, there will also be plenty blue control). Knight of Autumn is also a very good toolbox to have in your SB, 3 seems decent. I would not side in Thorn Luitenant, but some Karn/Vivian (2 in total) can be very good for the grindier matches. A few last slots could be Baffling end, or perhaps Seal Away (depending on if you expect enchantment hate). I think you can trim it down to 15 this way?


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 Post subject: Re: Selesnya tokens
PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2018 8:57 am 
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One question - why don't you play Huatli, Radiant Champion? She seems nice for a go-wide deck. Get to ultimate the next turn she enters, draws you a **** of cards, because the creatures just need to enter the battlefield, don't need to be case. You can pump something to infinity etc.


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 Post subject: Re: Selesnya tokens
PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2018 6:14 pm 
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Paying attention to my graveyard, there're usually no creatures there. Looking at the list there are 14 creatures, of which only 3 come into play early and die easily (the Emmaras). Harpooner cannot reliably hit for four damage, which is critical against drakes, so I don't see the point in them.

Huatli feels like a win-more card. If I have a big board before I play her, great, I can ultimate next turn and likely win. But if I'm behind or if my board is weak, she's just mediocre. At least Ajani can buff some 1/1 lifelinkers.

I need to spend more time thinking to craft a coherent sideboard ...


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 Post subject: Re: Selesnya tokens
PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2018 2:38 am 
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Thinking of varying the build. Drop Saproling Migration for Thorn Lieutenant, since the Lieutenant is very strong vs. monored. Saproling Migration seems pretty weak - it's just some 1/1s until 6 mana. For the same two mana, one could put 2/3 worth of power on the board instead. Later in the game with an anthem effect the two tokens would be 2/2s, but they're still just 2/2s. Compared to, say, Trostani tokens or March of the Multitude tokens, those actually have lifelink. Thorn Lieutenant can block more things - e.g. 2/3 is enough to block a Seeker's Squire which Saproling Migration won't be, and it's just as good against targeted removal. Saproling Migration isn't part of the most busted draws either. For example the Selesnya tokens nut draw is Legion's Landing into 2-drop into Venerated Loxodon. This becomes:

Saproling Migration
One unused mana on turn 3, 4/4 Loxodon, 2/2 lifelink, two 2/2 saprolings

Thorn Lieutenant
All mana used, 4/4 Loxodon, 2/2 lifelink, 3/4 Thorn Lieutanant

The latter result isn't much worse. The former result has one extra mana, but what is one going to do with it? The only one-mana spells are Legion's Landing and Flower//Flourish. I suppose one could play another Legion's Landing and have an even better board, but that would go from nut draw to really nut draw. Later in the game Saproling Migration making four bodies could be something, but there are other strong uses for 6 mana - The Immortal Sun, Carnage Tyrant, activating Shalai, activating Thorn Lieutenant, casting big Marches.

After that, also thinking of switching out Ajani for Shalai. This definitely makes the deck weaker against control, but that's already a bad matchup (it does make one immune to Settle the Wreckage however). In return this improves the deck against many others, especially monored (lol if they have to nuke themselves with Viashino Pyromancer). 3/4 flyers can also attack through the largely-ground B/G, and block drakes/monoblue flyers as well especially if it's pumped. Losing Ajani means pumping Shalai is harder, but it's still possible with Loxodon & Trostani. Or maybe run one of each 4-drop (Ajani should get better with Thorn Lieutenant as a return-able 2-drop also).

The deck certainly becomes weaker against control with this, although it really isn't that bad, since the key card pre-board against control is Adanto Vanguard and there're still four copies of it. This would also free up more space in the sideboard for anti-control cards since monored hate is less needed now (i.e. probably fewer Knight of Autumns). Perhaps something like:

4 Nullhide Ferox - the allure of this card is that you can play it on curve and it's almost immune to sweepers; makes it hard for opponents to sandbag a sweeper to clear your little creatures
2 Carnage Tyrant - more control hate
2 Vivien Reid - moore control hate
2 Treasure map - mooore control hate
1 The Immortal Sun or Karn - moooore control hate, only space for one
2 Knight of Autumn - Vivien substitutes a little for the enchantment removal
2 Baffling End - Runaway Steam Kin is still a very scary card; the others are much less of a problem

I wonder ...


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