11/12/09 From the Lab: Odds and Zends

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This thread is for discussion of this week's From the Lab Article, which goes live Thursday morning on magicthegathering.com.
Gravelord is really the best of the quests in Zen Limited, because 3 things hit the graveyard pretty quickly and a 5/5 is one of the biggest creatures in the format.  Gemblades is also crazily overpowered, but the key is they have to have a creature to put the counters on, so if you can prevent them from using it right away (by killing all of their creatures) then they can't use it until next turn and not hit you with the buffed up creature for another turn after that.  (Then hit them with removal for icing on the cake.)
Why not add a Drowner of Secrets to the lullscape deck? Then you'll have a second win tactic, and if your opponent doesn't play any spells, you just mill them.

Oh, and if Dovescape is in play, aren't you unable to play any counterspells? Cause according to my logica, Dovescape would turn the counterspells in pretty 1/1 flying doves, who do not counter spells.
Repeatedly the best column for M:TG. I don't know where the Extended cut-off is anymore, but I thought the last deck would be a cute and appropriate home for a single copy of Laquatus!
I'm either missing something, or reading the card wrong, but doesn't Dovescape give its bird tokens to the person whose spell got countered, and not the owner of the enchantment (which could be the same person, but not necessarily)?

Or is the intention here to counter your own spells in order to flood your field with mer-birds?
You are Red/Blue!
Why not add a Drowner of Secrets to the lullscape deck? Then you'll have a second win tactic, and if your opponent doesn't play any spells, you just mill them.

Oh, and if Dovescape is in play, aren't you unable to play any counterspells? Cause according to my logica, Dovescape would turn the counterspells in pretty 1/1 flying doves, who do not counter spells.



I assume the counterspells are there to synergize with Lullmage Mentor before the Dovescapes come down. Afterwards, you'd want to exchange them for bird tokens.

I'm either missing something, or reading the card wrong, but doesn't Dovescape give its bird tokens to the person whose spell got countered, and not the owner of the enchantment (which could be the same person, but not necessarily)?

Or is the intention here to counter your own spells in order to flood your field with mer-birds?



Dovescape does grant birds to whomever has their spells countered by it, but you're always the controller of it; everytime it counters a spell Lullmage Mentor grants you a merfolk, no matter who ends up with doves. 
And yes, I think the idea is to overwhelm your opponent by being better able to abuse Dovescape.


My question for the deck would be why NdC chose to splash black for Conspiracy when he could have stayed in U/w with Artificial Evolution? 
Another fun idea for this deck; Kira, Great Glass-Spinner + Gigadrowse + Lullmage Mentor = tap one U put a 1/1 merfolk into play.
My question for the deck would be why NdC chose to splash black for Conspiracy when he could have stayed in U/w with Artificial Evolution? 



Because you can never play Artificial Evolution on Dovescape.
I know its a Johnny standby, but Intruder Alarm would be a hard lock for nearly everything.
My question for the deck would be why NdC chose to splash black for Conspiracy when he could have stayed in U/w with Artificial Evolution? 



Because you can never play Artificial Evolution on Dovescape.

Apart from with Dovescape on the stack...

My question for the deck would be why NdC chose to splash black for Conspiracy when he could have stayed in U/w with Artificial Evolution? 



Because you can never play Artificial Evolution on Dovescape.




Just hack the Mentor to interact with birds before you ever cast Dovescape. 
The paragraph on Quest for Ancient Secrets is confusing. I would plan to use it like Qft Gravelord; that is, drop it early and forget about it until it's ready to go. 

 "Discard would do this as well, and eventually you will have enough cards in the graveyard to both enable and warrant a quest for ancient secrets"

This sounds like he's suggesting actively pushing cards into the graveyard... only to dig them up again, and return them not to your hand, but to your library. Why bother?

For the record, I think Qft Gravelord is a lot better, since it confers an instant benefit. Shuffling your graveyard back into your library is only any use if you are immanent danger of being decked; can search your library more easily than your graveyard (not unlikely in a blue deck); have massive card drawing abilities, or have used most of your good cards and been unable to seal the deal, in which case you're probably doing something wrong in the first place.

In summary, what's the point in Qf Ancient Secrets, and surely you don't want to use it as aggressively as  Noel suggests in any case?
In the Lullmage deck, I love Sigil Tracer in there. You can use it to tap down stonybrook schoolmaster and copy any spell for 1B. If you tap two schoolmasters then you can copy the spell twice for 2BB. Consider this: Cast Summon the School, copy twice with Sigil Tracer tapping Schoolmasters and the tokens they create, tap four tokens to return Summon the School to your hand. That's 8 tokens for 8 mana that you can repeat indefinitely. Not to mention you can keep copying it as long as you have mana and creatures to tap down. And that's without dovescape in place. With dovescape in place it helps to counter the tokens your opponent  gets (simply copy their spell, which is countered by dovescape, and you gain the same number of tokens they do or more is Lullmage is out) which can make the game unwinable for them.

I also have a Jund deck (I call it Quest-jund) that runs 3 of the quests together: Gravelord, Gemblades, and Pure Flame. It really came from the idea of making a quest deck (it originally had the Ascensions and the common quests in there) and turned into this when I decided to try and play it at FNM so its not really a pure Johny deck, but it's not really a pure Timmy/Spike deck either.

Quest-Jund (It's a joke, see?)

Creatures:
3 Mycoloth
2 Goblin Razerunners
4 Putrid Leech
4 Goblin Bushwhacker

Other:
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Terminate
4 Blightning
2 Quest for Pure Flame
4 Quest for the Gemblades
4 Quest for the Gravelord
3 Jund Charm

Basically the simple version of the plan is play out Quests, activate them, win. The more complex idea is play out early quests, use putrid leech to get them charged either by swinging at the opponent for Pure Flame, or trading with other early creatures for Gemblades and Gravelord. Use your other spells to control the board as best you can help find a Giant Zombie. You then play out a Mycoloth or Razerunners and let the carnage begin. Instead of having to sacrifice creatures for Mycoloth (or land for Razerunners), which you can do if it will net you a Gravelord activation, you use Quest for the Gemblades or a late game Jund charm to put counters on your creature and start pumping out a hoarde of saprolings (or dealing damage). Once you get out a Quest for Pure Flame with 4 counters on it, that's pretty much game. Throw out 4 saprolings at the begining of your turn, play a Bushwhacker, pop a Quest for Pure Flame, swing for 20 damage. That doesn't include your 10/9 mycoloth. Or any 6/5 hasted zombies you can raise up on that turn.

I'd love to find a way to work in a couple of the Acsensions, namely Beastmaster and Bloodchief, and maybe Khalni Heart Expedition to make this even more questy, I just don't know what I would drop. I suppose I could drop out the Razerunners or the Mycoloths but its just so darned fun when you literally flood the board with tokens or lava axe your opponent at the end of each of your turns. If anyone has any ideas to improve this please feel free to comment (either making it more competitive or Johny-tastic). It's standard, as that's generally what I play, but I would like to know what people would do in an extended format.