05/04/2011 BoaB: "Ascending All Over Again"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Building on a Budget, which goes live Wednesday morning on magicthegathering.com.
To be honest I question the effectiveness of pyroclasm.  Would slagstorm not be the better option here?  It's cheap and deals three.  Also, can you choose different modes when playing it and copies?
I like fun, but competitive decks. So I might not play what is optimal but they have normally been tested to have a 2/3 winrate.
Splinter Twin ain't budget any more, bro.  At 9 bucks a pop, you're better off just getting the fetchlands.

One combo he didnt mention was the Archive Trap, Trapmaker's Snare Combo( In case you dont know how it works, they crack a fetch land/Fauna Shaman/ do what valakut does, Play the snare, search for BOTH archive traps, play them both, ,mill for 52... GG) So as I see it Pyro has three ways to play it out ALL with legitimate strengths and weaknesses.. so why not play them all?

3  Scalding tarin

11  Island

21 lands

0 creatures

Burst Lightning
Call to Mind -
3  Tezzs gambit
Gitaxian Probe
Into the Roil
Lightning Bolt -
Mana Leak
Pyromancer Ascension
See Beyond
Spell Pierce -

39 other spells


Deceiver Exarch
2  Archive Trap
4 Trap
Splinter Twin

2 Mental misstep OR Pyroclasm

Been brainstorming what combo goes where... please help me and tell me what your thoughts are

Twin – mono white, RUG, Kudoth, Eld Green, elves?,

IT’S A Trap – Valakut, vengevine, boros, RUG (?),

Straight burn – Vamps, Cawblade. BUG, Elves, Aggro infect, B/U infect control, UW control, Pyro

To be honest I question the effectiveness of pyroclasm.  Would slagstorm not be the better option here?  It's cheap and deals three.  Also, can you choose different modes when playing it and copies?

If you copy Slagstorm with Pyromancer's Ascension, the copy will have the same mode as the original.
With every article of yours I read, I always wonder if you have any idea about what it means to do a budget deckbuilding article. I don't want to just come on here and flame, as I hate when people do that. So I'd honestly just like to put a few questions forth.

In terms of budget, it seems you have no system like people that have come before you. It also feels like you don't check prices. In this article alone you told people to play the Splinter twin combo out of the sideboard, but Splinter Twin is now 9/10 dollars a pop due to an increase in demand for this card. Did you bother to look up prices prior to writing this article? I Edit at a Finanial website, and I know I would never let my writers talk about cards this far off base when it came to prices, but my website has different priorities than this. As far as I'm concerned though, a 9 dollar card does not fall into budget range. As someone else before me said, you'd be better off getting the fetches for the deck than getting splinter twins unless you already had them.

And this isn't the first time pricing has been an issue for your budget articles. You write about pauper on occasion, but it is very clear you don't bother to check and see how much these cards are on mtgo, the format where these are played. Many staple commons in the pauper format are 5-10 dollar cards because of limited supply and huge demand, and building a pauper deck does not immediatly make the deck a budget choice. It's become a competetive enough format that card prices are rising to meet demand and decks are becoming over what I would perceive as the threshold for a budget deck. You cannot assume that this format is cheap because its all commons, write an article and not worry about pricing. Your intended audience doesn't have the ability to dump 50-80 dollars on a deck like the pauper storm deck you built a few weeks ago. Unless I misunterstood where you were getting all of your singles from. When talking about an mtgo only format, you should stick to tix pricing, and doing a search for pauper cards will show you just how expensive they are anymore.

My other large concern is that you don't really encourage deckbuilding so much as say, "Here's a deck, give it a shot". For me, watching a deck evolve over time through trial and error was always the draw to this style of article. It taught players how to build decks instead of giving them decks to try out, and that was beneficial to players who didn't have a budget as well as those that did. You do revisit decks on occasion, but its often just to add new cards into them when a new set releases or to update the deck when the format it was in rotates. This isn't instructing anyone on how to build so much as to give them a deck and let them fumble their own way through it. Showing slow progression of a deck into a cohesive whole can help people who are new to the game to get a better understanding of how to put something together. As it stands, there is a bar to entry that your readers have to meet. They need to be able to play at a certain level to get any kind of help from this deck, and they need to be willing to copy someones 75, which I always felt wasn't the intended audience of an article like this.

As for your game analysis, you typically do somewhere between 1 and 3 games, with little to no changes to your original deck design. I could understand if your goal was to let your readers evolve the deck their own way, but you often finish with a statement like "This deck is good against such and such decks in the metagame, and therefore is a good call for your local fnm". This may be true, but most people that are reading this article probably don't have the time to test the deck themself (And would therefore benefit from a greater number of varied mathcup analysis) or don't care about playing in a competetive environment. You mash you deck up against standard top tier, and always seem to win the majority of your games. It just feels like we don't see enough trial and error and just get the all upside view of your deckbuilding.

I may be completely off base, but that's why I put up this post. I'd rather talk about what I see as the problems then get on here and rant. If I can be proven wrong, then that's fine with me. I more want to start a discussion than anything.
Well, Luminarch Ascension has a lot of use. If your opponent goes for one turn without damaging you (which an infect player will gladly do), you can get a counter and then proliferate that counter over and over again. Then come the angels.

While I wouldn't call Sorin Markov "budget", since he hasn't gotten the attention Jace has, but he'll go for about $10, he combos well with Bloodchief Ascension.

By the way, Myr Galvanizer + mana Myr = infinite mana = a lot of level counters. Or just an Eldrazi.
139359831 wrote:
Clever deduction Watson! Maybe you can explain why Supergirl is trying to kill me.
---- Autocard is your friend. Lightning Bolt = Lightning Bolt
"It just isn't possible to play games with cards that don't exist."

What, is your printer out of ink?
Seriously, you're the budget writer... you can play with proxies...
I personally don't see why people seem to find a need to complain about this man's articles week after week. This is a thread for DISCUSSION, not COMPLAINING.

Does he evolve a deck constantly in a single article? No. That is for the reader to do. If you complain that he doesn't walk through the evolution of a deck, then you are displaying that you cannot do that yourself. I personally have used different versions of his decks myself, even if I had the ability to make them the same to a "T". Why? I played them, tweaked them, and often in the very process of pulling them together I would see something that I wanted to change and would do so. The essence of this column is to give a deck that you can use if you have the necessary parts and to evolve if you don't.

Yes, he uses cards that aren't cheap, but he's trying to maintain a balance between budget and power. If this column's reader base changed from the predominantly Spike-oriented tournament and FNM players to a more Johnny or Timmy appeal column then I would see reason to complain. As it is, he is trying to find reasonable alternatives to extremely expensive and powerful cards that cost MUCH more. Additionally, if you find that every deck of his is too expensive to play, then why do you play Magic in the first place? It is not an extremely cheap hobby to pick up, and if you really wanted to build a decent jag of his budget decks, then all most people would be required to do is skip out on a draft or two or abstain from their next pack-binge to buy the cards. If they wanted the deck. I'll admit that some of his decks have been too expensive before, but by and large, most aren't prohibitive, and no where does it say that you are required to make it or buy every card for it.

Also, he says that many of his readers have been sending emails involving the Splinter Exarch combo, indicating at least to him that a lot of the people who this deck would appeal to already plan on acquiring or have acquired the Splinter Twins necessary for the deck.

My argument basically boils down to one major point: you can't have your cake and eat it too. This column is one of the more Spike-oriented columns. He does his best to find the cheaper routes to a good competitive deck, but that is relative to the decks in the metagame. If you don't like reading a Spike column, then just don't read Building on a Budget in the first place and head to Mr. Styborski's amazing casual column or Mr. deCordova's hilarious Johnny column.

Now that I have ranted, I'd like to throw in my two cents on the Archive Trap combo. I use this as a sideboard combo that I find works amazingly well against multicolored decks using fetch-lands, though you always have to be a little careful to spring it just right. It is fun, though. Another sideboard option that works well is a transformative board that brings it close to a Red-Blue deck using Neurok Commando and Kiln Fiend which can be supremely fun if they board out their removal.
Anyone that works with websites knows that Jacob didn't write today's article last night. It was sent in to be edited etc. so how is he supposed to know what splinter twin will be priced at when it finally gets published today? Not only that, but Jacob wrote about the splinter twin combo in last week's article. Why should it matter what it's worth today when he told you a week ago about it? In fact, if you had picked them up when he first said something, you'd be thanking him today when you traded them for the fetchlands to use in place of the evolving wilds for this deck.

In a standard environment where many decks run tons of $30+ cards, Jacob shows decks that can compete for a lot less. That is what this article series is. It isn't a continuation of Ben's work. Quite frankly, it is entirely unreasonable to think that when one writer leaves a column, the next writer is supposed to parrot the previous guy's style. I didn't read Ben's stuff because it wasn't very useful to me. I don't care about the things you specifically want to see. Jacob's series is one of the few on this site I read anymore. When Jacob leaves, maybe the next guy will grab your attention and lose mine. I won't write a novel about it.
These are the kind of responses I was looking for. Thanks 12three45 and LeoRiser. Gave me plenty to think about in regards to the way I looked at the article. I think the problem I was seeing was I was coming at it from to much of a johnny/timmy point of view because Its what I expect when I come to a budget column, but thats not fair to impose that view on anyone whos writing the articles. And as for it being a novel, sometimes I get writing and just can't stop =D
I appreciate that you, unlike some whiners I have seen in the BoaB threads over the weeks, can accept the criticism of your post when you were told to try a different perspective. I'm predominantly a Johnny player myself with a strong splash of Spike, so I can see how the articles can be a bit off-putting to some people. It took me a bit to realize just how much cheaper he is working his decks to be compared to the decks that are running Mind Sculptors and the like. If everyone would accept that this isn't a Timmy/Johnny column and use it as a springboard for a good tournament deck or as inspiration for a good casual deck (My Master Transmuter toolbox being an example: the only card in common with his Transmuter builds is the Transmuter) then this thread would be able to have much more productive discussions.

Now, in the spirit of those discussions, what does everyone think of Staggershock? I can understand his hesitance to run it in the face of the Exarch, but I personally believe that it still has plenty of home in the deck.
I ran Pyrocension two weeks ago at a local FNM finishing in the money.  It was my first time playing the deck and it did exactly what I wanted it to do, though not against who I wanted.

I ran something along the following:

4 Bolt
4 Burst
4 Arc Trail
4 Slagstorm
4 Mana Leak
4 Pyromancer's Ascension
4 Preordain
4 See Beyond
4 Call to Mind
4 Into the Roil

4 Scalding Tarn
8 Mountain
8 Island

3 Steel Sabotage
4 Spell Pierce
4 Dispel
4 Pyroclasm

I defeated a decent Goblin deck, a bad Mono-White weenie deck, a good G/W Quest/Vengevine deck and lost to my own play errors/nuts draws against a mono-white Quest deck (my opponent wasn't very good, the loss was my fault, it was my first round with a deck I'd never played before).  I also lost to a mono-Black infect deck I helped a friend build, but I saw none of my bounce spells for his Crusader/Piston Sledge, it happens.

While playing the deck I wanted more bounce for sure, Into the Roil was an absolute house for me.  I do believe the deck gets better with Gitaxian probe.

I think the deck is in a good spot for the current meta as it can fight with Caw-Blade and Valakut with careful play and should have a good run against various aggro decks IMO.  The Blade and Kut matchups may not be easy though.
If any one is looking for a new combo from the new set you should try Bloodchief Ascension and Mindcrank. With an active Bloodchief any damage or card dieing is lethal. I came up with this rough deck list using mostly the article posted back in November. Anyways, I think it's a neat combo and  would enjoy seeing a Building on a Budget about it.

4  Blackcleave Cliffs
1  Lavaclaw Reaches
8  Mountain
10  Swamp

4  Goblin Guide
4  Pulse Tracker
4  Vampire Lacerator
4  Slavering Nulls
1  Blind Zealot

4  Mindcrank
4  Bloodchief Ascension
4  Burst Lightning
4  Lightning Bolt
4  Staggershock
If any one is looking for a new combo from the new set you should try Bloodchief Ascension and Mindcrank. With an active Bloodchief any damage or card dieing is lethal. I came up with this rough deck list using mostly the article posted back in November. Anyways, I think it's a neat combo and enjoying seeing a Building on a Budget about it.

The combo was one of many featured in the From the Lab article "Compleat Combos" from May 5.  Good take on it though.
If any one is looking for a new combo from the new set you should try Bloodchief Ascension and Mindcrank. With an active Bloodchief any damage or card dieing is lethal. I came up with this rough deck list using mostly the article posted back in November. Anyways, I think it's a neat combo and enjoying seeing a Building on a Budget about it.

The combo was one of many featured in the From the Lab article "Compleat Combos" from May 5.  Good take on it though.

Thing is the Bloodchief combo has already been around with archive trap and no one has been using it.  I dont this this combo will consistantly work without tutors or card draw.  Theres no room for Dark Tutelage or anything so idk if it will work
ok ive got a question. in what situation would you sideboard in the deceiver twin combo? I know when it would be obvious to side in the trap combo (whenever they are searching) but my biggest question here is this....what on earth would you take out? This is always my hardest problem with sideboarding, chosing what to board out. Escpecially in a deck like pyromancer ascension, because almost every card is a gear in a very well oiled clock that makes the deck tick like it should....any advice fellas?
@Massakre: Sideboarding is situational and the answer depends on what deck you are facing. It also depends on what is least useful for you in the matchup, as not all decks that focus on a certain card are the same (ex. different ascention decks in this thread). I don't have a lot of experience playing blue, but i'd board out the 3 copies of Foresee and one of something else for the exarchs. I feel matching the mana cost of what goes out with what goes in is important; in my example, the exarchs are slightly cheaper. There are other cards that peek at your library and let you draw cards. I would not board out any of the burn, bounce or cancel cards as these are essential whatever matchup you play.

@LeoRiser and 12three45: Thanks for your answers to Twilightsown. I had similar feelings about this article and would be just as open to criticism.
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