Since the last blog update the maindeck has gone through a single change in the form of a Repeal over the 4th opt. This change was made due to the prevalence of more decks maindecking cards that completely lock us out (e.g. Leyline Of Sanctity) and are not handled by Unsubstantiate. The reason this is not a more efficient bounce effect is due to the card draw so that “fail mode” of the card is still kind of an opt with a bit of tempo attached. Another small benefit of the Repeal main is that we now have 2 creature bounce effects we can gifts for a package that works with a random plus Noxious Revival.
In the sideboard though we have only 3 changes but they do have quite the impact on many matchups postboard, which will be well illustrated below in the sideboard guide portion. The change that has been in for a bit is the Engineered Explosives over the Echoing Truth. This was due to Echoing Truth being a it weak and also looking for a mass removal effect that can hit non creatures. Another advantage is that it does not care about the size of the creature so we can also get use out of it where we had missed dismember before, such as against jund. Not being able to be found with Pieces of the Puzzle is a downside but the utility provided is just unmatched.
The more interesting change though is the reintroduction of Pyromancer Ascension. The cards removed to make way for these were the 2nd Gigadrowse and 2nd Shattering Spree. First I will talk about what was removed as we have been quite happy with two of both for a while now. As for Shattering Spree we have a good mathup against affinity already and Engineered Explosives helps fill the gap of having a second piece of artifact hate. The second Gigadrowse though is still quite great for the plan that we were using for control with waiting until we can tap them out and go off. But with the addition of Pyromancer Ascension we now have another axis to attack control so we can shave down on cards for the matchup. Plus we only really like to board in a single copy of Gigadrowse in non control matchups anyway.
Now to address the reason that Pyromncer Ascension was selected for the board is that it is effectively another enabler, like the bears, but can only be hit by a couple pieces of interaction that they have instead of just anything that can handle a creature. Now since our main deck is not perfectly configured for turning the Ascension on with almost all cards being maxed out on copies, we will really only want it when we are in a slower grindy matchup. One thing to also note is that pieces basically requires one to board in the 4 pieces to create a more consistent engine so they can in general be looked at as a package. This is due to the above mentioned non optimized main deck so we can put lots of things in the graveyard to turn it on mid game reliably.
In many grindy matchups we will see a fair amount of graveyard hate, which is why we usually bring in pieces anyway, so it may seem a bit counter intuitive to want Ascension but it is still quite good in the face of all graveyard hate besides ones that eliminate the concept of us having a graveyard, such as Rest in Piece or Leyline of the Void. This is mainly due to Ascension not having an intervening if clause (like Valakut) so even if the card in graveyard is removed Ascension still gets a counter. Another thing to note is that in all situations where Ascension is boarded in it will serve a similar role to the medallion bears but can be jammed with basic impunity with the upside of creating a subgame similar to how Empty does. Also treat the Ascension as similar to bears in that its importance to sculpting our game plan is very situational and should just be set out to achieve, like we did with gigadrowse before in control matchups.
Here I will be posting an update to all same matchups as the previous post (as well as a few new ones) and will give updated strategies for ones where they have changed or are completely new.
In: 1 Wipe Away,
In: Everything except 1 Spree and 1 Explosives
Out: 4 gifts, 4 baral, 2 electromancer, 1 Past in Flames, 2 remand
In: 1 spree, 1 wipe away, 2 empty, 1 explosives
Out: 1 noxious, 3 opt, 1 grapeshot
New Postboard Plan: Now that we have repeal we are going to rely on gifts to brute fore through any hate as we can get Spree, Explosives, Repeal, Wipe so answer anything then just go off. Plus this means we now have our best engine intact so we can punish stumbles even more as well. Note that also now gifts cant be countered by Warping Wail so we can always resolve getting answers.
In: 1 wipe away, 1 Explosives, 3 Bolt
Out: 3 opt, 2 remand
In: 3 bolt, 2 Empty
Out: 3 Opt, 2 remand
In: 4 Pieces of the Puzzle, 1 Empty the Warrens, 1 wipe away, 1 Gigadrowse, 2 Ascension
Out: 2 gifts, 1 noxious, 2 electromancer, 1 grapeshot, 1 Unsubstantiate, 1 Pyretic ritual, 1 Baral
New Postboard Plan: Here the major change in tactics is that we can basically just slam an Ascension on 2 with impunity (or through a suitable opening later) which then can just take over the game. Thus we now are less all in on going the gigadrowse route which in turn makes it even harder on them to effectively combat it. Other than this shift though the matchup stays the same in that it is just wait until we have the showdown turn super late.
In: 4 Pieces of the Puzzle, 2 Empty the Warrens, 1 wipe away, 1 Gigadrowse, 1 Ascension, 2 Bolt
Out: 3 gifts, 1 noxious, 2 electromancer, 1 grapeshot, 1 PiF, 1 Unsubstantiate, 1 Pyretic ritual, 1 Baral
In: 3 bolt, 1 gigadrowse
Out: 2 opt, 1 grapeshot, 1 gifts
In: 4 Pieces of the Puzzle, 2 Empty, 1 Explosives, 3 bolt
Out: 4 gifts, 2 electromancer, 1 noxious, 1 PiF, 1 Remand, 1 Grapeshot
In: 1 wipe away, 1 empty, 4 pieces,
Out: 4 gifts, 1 noxious, 1 grapeshot
In: 1 spree, 3 bolt, 1 Explosives
Out: 2 remand, 3 Opt
In: 3 bolt, 1 Explosives, 1 wipe away
Out: 2 remand, 3 opt
In: 4 Pieces of the Puzzle, 1 Empty the Warrens, 1 Explosives, 2 Lightning Bolt, 1 Ascension
Out: 2 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Noxious Revival, 2 Goblin Electromancer, 1 PiF, 1 Unsubstantiate, 1 Grapeshot, 1 Baral
New Postboard Plan: Here they are upping the number of copies of Scavenging Ooze while also having less targeted hate. Thus the main postboard plan now it to just play an attrition war (while also being able to exploit windows earlier if given to us) where we keep Ooze off the board and build up to a huge PiF or Ascension.
In: Everything but 1 Spree and 1 Wipe Away
Out: 4 gifts, 4 baral, 2 electromancer, 1 Past in Flames, 2 remand,
LIVING END (Traditional)
In: 4 Pieces of the Puzzle, 1 wipe away
Out: 4 gifts, 1 noxious
In: 3 bolt, 1 Explosives, 1 Wipe Away
Out: 3 opt, 2 remand
In: 4 Pieces of the Puzzle, 1 spree, 2 Empty, 1 wipe away, 2 Ascension, 1 Explosives
Out: 4 gifts, 1 Grapeshot, 2 remand, 2 Goblin Electromancer, 1 Unsubstantiate, 1 Noxious Revival
New Postboard Plan: Here not much changes but the Ascensions function as ways to either just oops and win or more commonly be something that can make all our cantrips blast through the lantern lock
In: 4 Pieces of the Puzzle, 1 spree, 1 empty, 1 Explosives
Out: 2 gifts, 1 noxious, 1 PiF, 1 electromancer, 2 Opt
In: 4 Pieces of the Puzzle, 2 empty
Out: 4 gifts, 1 Repeal, 1 PiF
In: 4 Pieces of the Puzzle, 1 Empty, 1 gigadrowse, 2 Ascension
Out: 2 gifts, 1 noxious, 1 PiF, 2 electromancer, 1 Grapeshot, 1 Baral
New Postboard Plan: Here Ascension plays a big role in that they really cant deal with it outside Cryptic Command but due to our deck configuration is hard to turn on. This here is control matchup where Ascension is weakest due to them being able to switch to aggro much easier and having multiple Spell Snares
In: 4 Pieces of the Puzzle, 1 empty, 1 gigadrowse, 1 wipe away, 2 Ascension
Out: 2 gifts, 1 noxious,1 grapeshot, 2 electromancer, 1 PiF, 1 Repeal, 1 Baral
New Postboard Plan: Same as Blue moon except they also have a combo finish that makes their great pivoting ability even scarier
In: 4 Pieces of the Puzzle, 3 bolt, 2 Ascension
Out: 4 gifts, 1 noxious, 1 PiF, 2 remand, 1 grapeshot
BR Hollow One
In: 4 Pieces, 2 Empty, 3 bolt
Out: 4 gifts, 1 PiF, 1 Noxious, 3 Opt
In: 4 Pieces of the Puzzle, 2 Empty, 1 gigadrowse, 1 wipe away, 1 Ascension
Out: 2 gifts, 1 PiF, 1 Noxious, 1 Grapeshot, 2 Electromancer, 1 pyretic ritual, 1 Unsubstantiate
IN: 4 Pieces of the Puzzle, 2 empty, 2 Ascension, 1 Explosives
Out: 1 Unsubstantiate, 2 remand, 2 electromancer, -3 Baral, -1 repeal
New Postboard Plan: Before we were all about either Empty or build to a PiF. Now we have a 3rd dimension in Ascension that they have almost no way of dealing with and will just winn on its own.
LIVING END (Mono Blue)
IN: 4 Pieces of the Puzzle, 1 Wipe Away, 1 Gigadrowse
OUT: 4 Gifts, 1 Noxious, 1 PiF
IN: 1 Wipe Away, 1 Explosives, 1 Spree, 1 Empty
OUT: 1 grapeshot, 1 PiF, 1 remand, 1 opt
IN: 3 Lightning Bolt, 4 Pieces of the Puzzle, 2 Empty the Warrens, 2 Ascension
OUT: 4 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Past in Flames, 1 Noxious Revival, 2 Goblin Electromancer, 1 Repeal, 2 Baral
IN: 3 Lightning Bolt, 1 Wipe Away, 1 Explosives
OUT: 2 Remand, 3 Opt
IN: 4 Pieces of the Puzzle, 1 Wipe Away, 1 Explosives
Out: 4 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Grapeshot, 1 Noxious Revival
IN: 1 Wipe Away, 3 Lightning Bolt, 1 Shattering Spree
OUT: 1 Past in Flames, 1 Grapeshot, 3 Opt
MONO BLUE TRON
IN: 4 Pieces of the Puzzle, 1 Gigadrowse, 1 Shattering Spree, 1 Ascension
OUT: 2 Gifts Ungiven, 1 Past in Flames, 1 Grapeshot, 2 Goblin Electromancer, 1 Noxious
Hate: Scavenging Ooze, Relic, Cage
IN: 3 Bolt, 4 Pieces, 1 Wipe Away
OUT: 2 Gifts, 1 PiF, 1 Noxious, 1 Grapeshot, 3 Opt
Game 1: In the first game they only have Thought-Knot Seer and Ooze to truly interact with us so we do have quite the upper hand with just a normal strategy. One thing to note is that they have 6 cards that kill our bears so we have to be a bit more careful about casting them than against Eldrazi Tron.
Postboard Plan: After board not much changes except that they have very consistent hate for the graveyard due to Ancient Stirrings in addition to Oozes. Thus we should always just assume our graveyard will be offline unless proven otherwise. Also they board Kozilek’s Return so via the same logic as above Empty is very unreliable.
Hate: Chalice, Relic, Surgical
IN: 4 Pieces, 2 Ascension, 1 Explosives, 1 Wipe Away, 1 Spree
OUT: 4 Gifts, 1 PiF, 1 Grapeshot, 1 Noxious, 2 Electomancer
Game 1: This is basically a more aggressive Eldrazi Tron deck from our perspective game 1 that is more consistent in its goal. Just beware the playsets of Dismember and Chalice.
Postboard Plan: they bring in 4 ratchet Bomb and 4 Relic and Surgical Extraction and can “hard” mulligan to a very hateful hand. Thus we can view this as basically a harder Eldrazi Tron matchup where they always get to have some hate.
IN: 1 Wipe Away
OUT: 1 Repeal
Every Game: They are way faster than us and we can usually interact. So we just pray for the turn 3 kill or noxious revival draw
Hate: Relic, Counterspells
IN: 1 Wipe Away, 1 Gigadrowse
OUT: 1 Grapeshot, 1 Opt
Game 1: Basically here we are playing against a clunkier UR Breach deck from our perspective as they are not chock full of efficient interactive spells and have an avg turn 5-6 combo that may not even kill us from 20.
Postboard Plan: Same as preboard only now we can more consistently interact and they usually dont have much that directly hates on us.