Fixing Koth's Strength of Stone

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Let me start by saying that I am very, very pleased with Duels 2012 overall.  I know that some folks think I'm all about hating on Duels, but I'm not, and besides Duels 2009 had some of that coming.  Most of it, really.  But I'm pretty damn happy with the new game.  In fact, you can read my review over at xblafans.com to see just how happy I am. 

Unfortunately, there's one major problem, the Duels 2012 version of Claws of Vengeance: Koth's Strength of Stone.  Balance is so much better in this game, except for this particular craptacular deck.  Near as I can figure, this deck was put together through an amalgam of three ideas: 1) unblockable creatures plus pump enchantment and equipment could equal win, 2) Koth should focus on elementals, mostly, and not direct burn, which is more Chandra's thing, and 3) big fatties are impressive, just like they are in Ancient Depths and Apex Predators.

The problem is that the deck just doesn't cohere those three ideas into one complete whole, so it fails on the theme level, and the mana curve is just a killer.  While Ancient Depths and Apex Predators have lots of big, superfat fatties, they also have lots of ways to drop extra land in a turn.  Indeed, the almost obscene ability to drop land in Ancient Depths is what makes it one of the top decks.  In addition, these decks have fatties with interesting abilities.  With Strength of Stone, by contrast, you get a deck with lots of fatties, little to do at lower mana levels, and no way to quickly or assuredly draw and play the land needed to play most of the decks creatures.  On top of that, many of the big fatties at 5 CMC have NO interesting ability. 

Let's just contrast this with some other decks:  At 5 CMC in Strength of Stone, you can cast a 4/5 Earth Elemental with no special skillz.  In Wielding Still you can drop a Baneslayer Angel.  Dragon's Roar can toss out a Voracious Dragon.  Apex Predators can unleash either Garruk's Packleader or Stomper Cub.  These aren't even close to commensurate cards.  Earth Elemental gets pwned by all of them. 

In general Strength of Stone lacks any clear position in the meta-game.  There is no match up for which Strength of Stone is a better choice than some other deck.  And the reason for this should be clear: the deck itself has no synergy.  How do you square Fault Line with a deck that has no natural fliers?  How do you explain a lone Spikeshot Elder with no way other than enchantments and 2 equipment to boost its power?  Why unlock a Hero of Oxid Ridge when there are so few weenies in the deck that might take advantage of the Battle Cry?  The theme and the mechanics don't gel.  There's no strength from, for, or of stone here.  It's Claws 2.0.

I also believe two things are true: 1) Wizards has made deck edits before and is willing to do so again, and 2) Community Support is going to be better this time around.  With that in mind, I want to propose a couple of very minor deck edits that I think will have a major impact on Koth's place in the Duels 2012 environment.  I'm working under the assumption that we can only use cards from Zendikar block, Mirrodin block, and Core 2012.  Here are the suggestions.

1) Replace Fault Line wth Tectonic Rift.  The lone ability to destroy a land may be useful in some circumstances, maybe not, but the ability to prevent blocking for a turn could be a game changer, even a game winner.

2) Replace Vulshok Heartstoker with Tunnel Ignus. This is the most important change - the Heartstoker does little for this deck. It's an overpriced common with little utility given the lack of cheap burn.  But Tunnel Ignus suddenly makes this deck one of the most interesting decks to use in a match-up with Ancient Depths and Apex Predators.  If we can't get realistically quick mana with a mono-red deck, at least we can punish those decks that do have quick mana.  It's thematically consistent, and serves a more interesting and flavorful function.

3) Replace Earth Servant and Hero of Oxid Ridge with Mycosynth Wellspring.  Not only does this allow at least some greater chance of getting much needed land to match the mana curve, but it replaces two low-value, low synergy cards with a high-utility card, and also adds synergy with Oxidda Scrapmelter.

These are relatively minor changes, but we would end up with a Strength of Stone deck that had a much more interesting position in the meta-game, and would be adding much needed flavor.  I know some of these could be addressed in DLC, but the truth is this deck will be very far behind even with DLC, because rather than add variation and flavor to particular deck synergies, we would be using DLC to actually enable synergy in this deck, when every other deck is already much better off in this regard.  So Wizards, please, think about it.
Well written.

Some ideas for the deck:

Oxidda Golem
Jaws of Stone
Turn to Slag
Oxidda Golem

IMAGE(http://i46.tinypic.com/2b5wr5.jpg)

I agree, i just finished unlocking the cards for strenth of stone and i found it a real pain. I quite like some of the cards that are in the deck but like you say it has no synergy. I think its main focus should be on Haste creatures and i don't think there are enough, especially early on. I think your replacements sound like a good idea, I think it could maybe do with Ruby Medallion to help out with its high costing creatures. I really hope Wizards look at this thread and make some changes to Strenth of Stone as i was really looking forward to playing with it, and now i am a little disappointed with it.
2xSlagstorm
1xCyclops Gladiator
1xStuffy Doll

Unlocks for the first DLC.

Doesnt seem to really help much. Stuffy Doll is nice, but the deck has plenty to "turtle" with already without it.

I have to agree with you completely. This is the only deck I was unable to really get into. It was fun enough to play with, but it just seems lacking compaired to all the other decks.

First off, other then Claws of Valakut, which was the card that won most games for me, the cards in the deck that honestly proved most useful in actually WINNING games were the Goblin Mountaineer and Koth's Courier, which is pretty sad if you think about it.

I think some sort of ramp and/or some decent 2CMC creatures with some sort of evasion would help out a great deal. From my experiences by the time you get your high cost creatures out you have either already lost, or the nature of the creatures Earth Servant, Tephraderm,Earth Elemental,Rockslide Elemental leads to a game of turtling, which usually doesnt end well since the deck doesnt have too many real FINISHERS outside of Claws of Valakut, Conquering Manticore, and maybe Spire Barrage(which suffers from the decks problems with getting land on the table).
"I have existed from the morning of the world and I shall exist until the last star falls from the night. Although I have taken the form of Gaius Caligula, I am all men as I am no man and therefore I am a God."
So after playing through and unlocking the entire deck, I just NOW realized that Strength of Stone has exactly ZERO 2CMC creatures.

I noticed that no matter what I did it I always seemed to start of slow but didnt make the connection till right now.

So yeah, no mana acceleration or cost reduction, no 2CMC creatures, and lack of decent finishers slow this deck down alot, That is all without even getting into the fact that half of the creatures are agro based and the other half are control based...
"I have existed from the morning of the world and I shall exist until the last star falls from the night. Although I have taken the form of Gaius Caligula, I am all men as I am no man and therefore I am a God."
I admittedly haven't played much with the Stone deck yet, but when I have Hero of Oxid Ridge has been a game winner for me on at least a couple of occasions. If they get rid of that, it will be really tough to finish off the opponent before they can get their defenses all the way up because at that point you're screwed.
It's like they're punishing me for wanting Spire Barrage.

There's really not a whole lot of love for the Earth-side of red in Magic anyways. Best I could come up with to get some things out earlier and still stay on flavor was Vulshok Morningstar, Vulshok Sorcerer, and Wall of Earth/Wall of Stone. Magma Jet and Chartooth Cougar would be debatable.
i'd be fine keeping Hero of Oxid Ridge and getting rid of Lavaborn Muse.  That card may have even less relation to the rest of the deck.  But regardless, something like Mycosynth Wellspring or Ruby Medallion is necessary.

I hope Wizards is thinking about this.
i'd be fine keeping Hero of Oxid Ridge and getting rid of Lavaborn Muse.  That card may have even less relation to the rest of the deck.  But regardless, something like Mycosynth Wellspring or Ruby Medallion is necessary.

I hope Wizards is thinking about this.



I agree about Lavaborn Muse. It's a good card but has zero synergy with the deck.

This deck is in dire need of Brighthearth Banneret.

Akki Rockspeaker would help fill the 2CMC slot and could help get the decks mana up to speed.

Rockshard Elemental, Greater Stone Spirit and Rock Hydra would all be interesting additions.

Ground Rift may be fun.

Rock Slide should replace Fault Line

Shard Volley and Shard Phoenix

Mudslide?

Caterwauling Boggart

All viable options I would think.
"I have existed from the morning of the world and I shall exist until the last star falls from the night. Although I have taken the form of Gaius Caligula, I am all men as I am no man and therefore I am a God."
I like a bunch of those, but I've gotten the impression that Duels 2012 is a bit more committed to the standard card pool, give or take, than was its predecessor.  I could be wrong about that, but that's my impression.
Yeah, I was just sort of looking for cards that would benefit the deck while still remaining within the general theme. Was actually kind of fun trying to find decent earth based red spells, let alone ones that have some sort of synergy with the deck.

I still think Brighthearth Banneret would be absolutely perfect though. It's 2CMC so fits in nicely right where it is needed. Lowers the cost of your elementals, which make up most of the meat of the deck, and can be sac'd late game if needed to save a creature.
"I have existed from the morning of the world and I shall exist until the last star falls from the night. Although I have taken the form of Gaius Caligula, I am all men as I am no man and therefore I am a God."
I think there could be better cards than Brighthearth Banneret. There's like 9 elementals in the deck, plus I'm sure a bunch of people take out some Earth Elementals to add some of the unlock finishers (which are non-Elemental). Unless we are drastically changing the creatures to elementals, there are better 2 drops to consider in my opinion.

Personally, I think this whole "earth/rock" flavor is pretty vague. Like almost any red creature that isn't fire related could fit this theme. Orges? Minotaurs? Viashino? I'm sure some goblins live in the mountains. They need to choose another theme besides "earth" in my opinion. Heck, why not use more battlecry. It's a mechanic found in the set Koth was released in, yet it's just splashed around in a couple of decks. There's definately building potential there.

Otherwise, they should just think of a way to do a Big Red list. I'm sure they could incorporate cards like Geosurge and other red rituals if they can add Mox Sapphire to the game. Add in a couple cards like Cyclops Gladiator, Obsidian Fireheart, and Lord of Shatterskull Pass along with whatever "rocky" finishers you can find. Fill out the rest with whatever the earth "burn" they already use.
It's sad that this is just a repeat of what happened with the first DotP.  I think the most bothersome thing about this deck, at least for me, was the almost complete lack of two drops.  Pretty much every match this deck will never do anything on turn 2, which makes this the saddest Red deck.  Like others have said, I feel like the best thing for this deck would be to get replace of some of the worse fatties with some good 2 CMC cards.
3
some 2 cmc creatures that would fit the theme and add synergy

Plated Geopede
Smokebraider
Sunflare Shaman
Brighthearth Banneret
Tunnel Ignus
I was very disappointed when I realised to only card I was exited for in this entire deck was the phoenix. All the other cards are just meh unfortunately. I guess you can't win em all. 9 outta 10 ain't bad.
This deck has crazy synergy in Tephraderm alongside both the Magma Pheonix AND Fault Line. Not only is Tephraderm one of the few creatures you have to actually survive but it also deals damage back to you at the same time.

My suggestions pulled and pooled from other's suggestions:
+1x Grim Lavamancer - Fits the theme, honestly why most people wanted to play this deck.
+1x Spikeshot Elder - Another great repeatable removal chump.
+4x Mycosynth Wellspring - We have a mini lands-matter theme because, well, this is a Koth deck, these help it work, fill a needed slot, and synergize with our scrapmelters.
+ Rock Slide/ - Fault Line - I almost never want to cast Fault Line because I don't want to lose my own drops, either I have repeatable removal in Lavamancer or Elder, or I'm struggling to pump Rockslide Elemental. Rock Slide is still decent thematic removal, and this iteration of the deck has removal. Plus it's fun to run alongside Rockslide Elemental.
- Vulshok Heartstoker/ + Molten Ravager/Rockslide Elemental - Thematic and beaters, the heart of this deck.
- Lavaborn Muse/Vulshok Beserker / + Oxidda Scrapmelter/Obsidian Fireheart - Scrapmelter's take out our mycosynths and give us artifact destruction, which red should really have. Firehearts give us another thematic beater, and can turn a game around in a stalemate.
- Tephraderm / +Flowstone Overseer - As pleasantly surprised as I was originally to see Tephraderm they just don't pull their weight, and have anti-synergy with sweepers in the deck. Their power level is dated. Flowstone overseer is more repeatable removal and pump for the beaters, at 6 creatures with repeatable removal this seems pretty sound.
- Spire Barrage/ + Jaws of Stone - Ups our curve a little, but 1 more mana is definitely worth it for the versatility.
+ Molten Influence - Fun off-color/on-theme effect.
- Conquering Manticore/ + Greater Stone Spirit - On theme top of the curve finisher, puts our lands matter theme to use. As much as I love Manticores (and Masticores) I would rather see on theme here, as it is a unique theme, not tribal or just laid out.
+ Artillerize/Shrapnel Blast - The final way to sacrifice our Mycosynths, Shrapnel blast is probably too strong/narrow here though. Artillerize may clog the 4 spot, with 4 mycosynths that may not be a problem.

What do you guys think?
57170298 wrote:
Borrowing the East Wind (P3) - Haha, it's like Hurricane but for horsemanship? That makes hilariously little sense. "Oh man, the wind is so much worse up on this horse."
57044478 wrote:
Jon Finkel can win a Magic tournament with a ham sandwich. That doesn't mean ham sandwiches are now the metagame breaker.
97820278 wrote:
Koth: I'm the first viable red planeswalker. Who are you? Tibalt: I'm a two-mana red planeswalker. Koth: I'm the last viable red planeswalker.
It just ocurred to me that 4xVolcanic Hammer would be on-theme for this deck, and would also fix a majority of its problems.
lots of good suggestions although I don't really mind the deck as it stands now. I played it through to Karn and I didnt find it any harder to win with that deck compared to others. It seems very thematic to be; all the cards have an earth theme or are vulshok and any changes they make should keep consistantly to that. To get round the acceleration I subbed out alot of the bigger cards.
Its main weaknesses to me are lack of fliers and acceleration and some of the vulshok cards feel a bit weak such as the beserker and the heartstoker but you have no alternatives for that position in the mana curve. The deck includes lots of removal plus some surviverable creatures and some nice creature buffs and I found if I focused on the mid-game the deck did pretty well. The heartstokers also double as removal against Jace's deck. Spire barage performs a similar role to blaze or lava axe for the last bit of damage.

If they do tool up the deck though, I would like to see a few changes:
1) sub out a goblin mountaineer for another spikeshot elder (maybe add in a couple of buffs in addition to the existing 6?)
2) a couple of microsynth wellsprings would be nice too plus another scrapmelter and artilerize to interact with it
3) remove the vulshok beserkers and replace with the cheaper vulshok refugee (who would survive red wraths but couldnt be buffed)
4) some more red wrath effects such as 2 slagstorms (aparantly these will be unlockable in the new DLC)
5) 2 jaws of stone as an unlockable upgrade

The strategy would remain similar but the slagstorms and the faultline would wipe out weenie defences while keeping the elementals alive. It would still lack fliers but includes alot of removal to hopefully keep fliers in check
Speaking about the DLC cards, Slagstorm really improves the deck. So does Cyclops Gladiator. At least 3 more crappy cards can go to the sideboard. At the moment my deckbuilt includes 13 cards, that I would love to remove, so more DLCs are needed. With a fourth DLC the deck will run rampant Wink
And the deck's still missing a 2-drop. Doesn't seem we get one.
I was giving it some thought and if they really wanted to beef up the deck to a point where it would dominate the mid game but still be vulnerable in the early and late games (and therefore balanced within the meta) they could make these changes:

1) sub out a goblin mountaineer for a spikeshot elder
2) sub out the vulshok beserkers for vulshok refugees (cheaper and protection red)
3) add in an extra copy of lavaborn muse
4) add in slagstorm (which they seem to be doing anyway)
5) sub out tephradon (bad synergy) and add in 2 copies of caldera hellion instead
6) maybe sub in jaws of stone
7) subbing out act of treachery for blind with anger would be better too

using this setup, the deck is loaded with mid-damage sweepers that spare your elementals but kill the majority of enemy blockers - they won't wrath players fatties effectively so the Koth deck should be looking to win in the mid-game

The presence of so many sweepers and the muses would deter opposing players from going all out at you in the early phases of the game too (unless they are gambling that they can take you down before you draw a sweeper card).

With this deck setup both acceleration and card draw become less important so cards like microsynth wellspring would not be required imo
You know what, I used to think this deck was awful, but after unlocking everything it's actually pretty versatile and cool to play, and might I say, quite decent. All it really needs are some better 1-2 mana creatures.
You know what, I used to think this deck was awful, but after unlocking everything it's actually pretty versatile and cool to play, and might I say, quite decent. All it really needs are some better 1-2 mana creatures.



Hmm, with more Board Sweepers available you won't even need more small creatures. Let's say about five or six copies to constantly get one in your starting hand. Either the blue/white/black/Elves opponent won't come full out in fear of losing everything or you can really screw him with a Slagstorm on turn 3 or 4. You win time to get to mid-game either way. Then you can laydown your superior creatures like Cyclops Gladiator or Flowstone Overseer and control the field with the help of your target removal. I like that playstyle, so I'm really looking forward to Slagstorm in DLC 1.

Unfortunately while Slagstorm is great and Fault Line is decent, Cerebral Eruption is very unreliable. I lost a game yesterday because of hitting a land two times in a row. I wouldn't exclude the card, it can bring down a Simic Sky Swallower, but more Fault Lines or maybe Earthquakes (hey it fits the theme!) would be great!
Anybody else besides me think the Magma Pheonix is a waste of a rare in the deck?  
You mean an extremely costly weak flyer that will usually only stave off the fatties your damage-based removal can't deal with while wiping your side of the board clean and killing you in the process is a wasted slot here?
57170298 wrote:
Borrowing the East Wind (P3) - Haha, it's like Hurricane but for horsemanship? That makes hilariously little sense. "Oh man, the wind is so much worse up on this horse."
57044478 wrote:
Jon Finkel can win a Magic tournament with a ham sandwich. That doesn't mean ham sandwiches are now the metagame breaker.
97820278 wrote:
Koth: I'm the first viable red planeswalker. Who are you? Tibalt: I'm a two-mana red planeswalker. Koth: I'm the last viable red planeswalker.
You mean an extremely costly weak flyer that will usually only stave off the fatties your damage-based removal can't deal with while wiping your side of the board clean and killing you in the process is a wasted slot here?



You're forgetting that you dont have so much weenies, bur Gideon, Nissa, Sorrin and Jace have lot's of them.
Just kill Phoenix and finish off the surviors.

I consider Grim Lavamancer, Spikeshot Elder, and Rockslide Elemental the best creatures in the deck, and if you have a fat Rockslide elemental or an online Lavamancer or Elder you really don't need the sweep anyways. I would rather just have 1 more Lavamancer and 1 more Elder, maybe 1 more Claws of Valakut to make it work. That way I don't need to sweep my good creatures to kill their weenies. The only things that survive your Phoenix, Slagstorm's, and 3+ Fault lines (I find 2 normally is enough though) are the Ravagers, the Tephraderms that hit you for 3, and the Manticore and Flowstone Overseer, who are top of your curve.
57170298 wrote:
Borrowing the East Wind (P3) - Haha, it's like Hurricane but for horsemanship? That makes hilariously little sense. "Oh man, the wind is so much worse up on this horse."
57044478 wrote:
Jon Finkel can win a Magic tournament with a ham sandwich. That doesn't mean ham sandwiches are now the metagame breaker.
97820278 wrote:
Koth: I'm the first viable red planeswalker. Who are you? Tibalt: I'm a two-mana red planeswalker. Koth: I'm the last viable red planeswalker.
Grim lavamancer is nice but he's not that great in this deck as I find I don't end up with many cards in the graveyard - I might be able to use him 3 or 4 times at best.
Spikeshot elder is great but he's also a top priority kill target so he's not likely to see much play against decks with removal anyway.
Obviously its best to let rockslide elemental grow a bit before using slagstorm and then it should help him to grow huge.
Mountaineer, heartstoker, scrapmelter, and beserker all die to sweeps too but thats a price worth paying in many cases if your facing  a crap load of elves or vampires etc.
With regard to magma phoenix, I'm not saying it's a great card but I think it's quite playable and it gives this deck access to a 2nd flier, which saves having to use removal just to keep fliers at bay. It can defend against much bigger fliers due to it's explosion effect. You can also retrieve it from the graveyard for an extortionate mana cost but if you have mana to spare in a turn then thats acceptable. Against decks with lots of fliers it provides very good defence and it also provides another sweep effect too. I suspect the deck designers wanted to avoid using another dragon as there's loads of those in the other red decks and wanted to use something different. It's not as good at dealing damage as a dragon but it still provides a counter to them. The card has some flexibility I think.
I have yet to be able to use Lavamancer more than 3 times in a single match, and I use Koth almost exclusively for 2HG matchups. 

Spikehsot Elder gets killed pretty much when it comes into play, or right after you equip or enchant it.  And given the high mana curve, and non-existent mana acceleration, 3 CMC for an activation cost means real slow down on other mid-game creatures.  If there were a few of the elders, and some lower cost and higher-value boost cards, then Spikeshot could be really useful, but like most of this deck, it's another rare without a cause, much less a suitable context.

I know some folks enjoy a pyschological proclivity for pointing out that decks that are objectively worse than the other decks (objective in the sense of mathematical probabilities) are in fact the awesome if only you knew how to play them, but the consensus seems pretty overwhelming that the deck needs serious work, and that while the first DLC is a move in the right direction, it's not going to do enough.

And I think this discussion has been really useful about what could be changed in this deck.  To my mind, the best suggestions are these:

1.  The addition of Mycosynth Wellspring.  I'm biased toward this because it's mine, though I'm happy to triage my other earlier suggestions.  Three of these cards would do absolute wonders toward the probability range affecting the mana curve, and would work thematically and synergistically with other cards.

2.  Vulshok Refugee, at least 2-3.  Credit for this goes to dgb, who suggested replacing the 2 Vulshok Berserker with 2 Refugees.  I'd love another in the unlocks.  This suggestion is so brilliant and so elegant a solution, because it suddenly makes the various sweepers do something more than just clean out all creatures in the hopes you can then beat them down with an Earth Elemental.  Instead it gives board advantage while blunting the opposition's weenies.  This is hugely important against decks with readily buffed creatures, like Gideon's and Nissa's decks.

3.  There's still the problem that this deck is readily outclassed late game by Apex Predators, Wielding Steel, Unquenchable Fire, Dragon's Roar and Ancient Depths, in terms of what creatures can do.  And Jace's Illusion deck has some nice fat fliers that would cause problems for Koth.  So we've got some real drawbacks here.  The solution is either to speed the deck or provide more Spitting Earth cards or have a better closer (not sure one exists for red).  Not sure we have an answer here.

4.  The two-drop problem.  I think the best solution would be 2-3 Zektar Shrine Expedition.

Imagine this card pool setup for a Koth:

Core:

1 Bloodfire Colossus
4 Earth Elemental
2 Flameborn Hellion
3 Goblin Mountaineer
1 Grim Lavamancer
2 Koth's Courier
2 Oxidda Scrapmelter
2 Rockslide Elemental
1 Spikeshot Elder
2 Vulshok Refugee
2 Vulshok Heartstoker

2 Act of Treason
2 Claws of Valakut
1 Fault Line
1 Mycosynth Wellspring (used to be Earth Servant)
2 Spire Barrage
3 Spitting Earth
2 Zektar Shrine Expedition (used to be Molten Ravager)


Unlocks:
1 Cerebral Eruption
1 Conquering Manticore
2 Darksteel Axe
1 Flowstone Overseer
3 Golden Urn
1 Hero of Oxid Ridge
1 Magma Phoenix
2 Mycosynth Wellspring (used to be Tephraderm)
1 Spitting Earth (used to be Assault Strobe)
2 Volcanic Strength
1 Vulshok Refugee (used to be Lavaborn Muse)


Seems to work a lot better.
Only "downside" I see with Vulshok Refugee is that is makes your Auras useless with him. Not sure how many people would run them with the proposed changed list, and I'm sure some people try and save Claws of Valakut for other creatures. Just wanted to point out the tiny lack of synergy in that department, but if they start adding more sweepers, it makes more sense.
There are only 4 auras in the deck, even post DLC 1.  There will be at least 6 sweepers by then.  I'll take the 1/10 odds over the 1/15 odds any day, and it would be easy for folks to punt the refugees if they wanted a different deck build.
True, I was being kind of nitpicky. I like the Refugee, I was just thinking that there isn't a whole lot of sweepers at the moment to abuse it. It's also 5 sweepers by the way since Cerebral Eruption is only one sided. You could also argue 4 since Bloodfire Colossus is so expensive and rarely gets played in a match (1v1). Even Magma Phoenix isn't guaranteed to sweep if it doesn't die.

Sorry, I'm being nitpicky again.

Vulshok Refugee is a better choice than a lot of the cards, but I think we could at least find substitutes for the Auras to help create even more synergy within the deck since you've actually removed a lot of targets in your update. You've removed a bunch of creatures for the Wellsprings and the Shrines, and the pro red Refugee. Not to mention they become worse if we start sweeping the board as we might destroy the Aura attached to a creature we kill. Why keep those cards if we are just reducing the usefulness of them in the long run?

I actually liked the suggestion to create more outs for Mycosynth Wellspring by adding cards that want to sacrifice artifacts. Maybe the deck would be better suited to try and add a few more artifacts and sacrifice effects? We could sneak in Ichor Wellspring this way for some colorless card draw.
Thanks for the credit on the refugee Kenrufo. With regard to the wellsprings I feel they need sac outlets to be worthwhile because you really want to be drawing 2 lands from them - I personally think the wellsprings would be better as DLC for the machinations deck along with esperzoa and the existing mirrorworks, sundial, and golems hearts but thats another topic thread. Without sac outlets we should just use armiliary sphere - not very flavourful though.

So if we were to use the more geomancy wellspring we need a geomancy sac outlet and I think a prime candidate would be magmaw. I would sub out 2 copies of earth elemental and sub in 2 copies of magmaw. This card would make an excellent fit with the wellsprings but would also have good interaction with other cards such as act of treachery, rockslide elemental, and magma phoenix. Instant speed sac and ping is so useful in so many situations I feel this more than offsets the lower defence.

The deck should also include caldera hellion, which would be a great fit in this deck and I think it should keep the earth servant and the molten ravagers as they are the more surviverable creatures and benefit greatly from the buff cards, particularly earth servant with claws of the valakut. They also survive the sweeper cards.
I don't like the shrines idea at all (especially since the generated token is a lightning elemental which doesnt fit the flavour of the deck) and I think if the issue is 2 drop spells then it would be much better to have 3 wellsprings in the opening deck with caldera hellion replacing tephraderm. 3 wellsprings helps the deck reach the top of it's curve and get to the flameborn hellions (not sure we should keep them really as there are better alternatives for the top end)

I agree that assault strobe could go as it doesnt add a great deal  but I think an extra spitting earth is pretty unexciting and I think we can be more creative than that. Perhaps genju of the spires would be a good fit with the extra mountains drawn from the wellsprings? If you think it should be removal then I'd like to see blind with anger (Vulshoks are a tempermental bunch )

Not sure about a 3rd refugee as an unlockable either, I personally like how this deck has a broad range of creatures and variety. A different card would also give more options too not sure whether it should stay as the muse or be changed. I personally like lavaborn muse and wouldn't mind seeing two copies but lots of other people on here want her pushed out so maybe a better alternative can be found.

I would also like to see greater earth elemental in here, it fits the flavour of this deck perfectly.

One more thing, bloodfire colossus is pretty steep imo - for 8 mana I want something that can win the game but he's only 6/6 and liliana, kiora and chandra all get titans as 6 drops - pretty unfair when you think about it that way. Insurrection is also 8 mana and provides a definite finisher - perhaps one to consider as koth's ultimate to match koira's mass polymorph but it's not very earthy unfortunately
I figure this deck isn't supposed to have really big bombs, just big slightly inefficient bombs.  I like the magmaw idea - the synergy with Rockslide Elemental and Act of Treason is fantastic.

So what about something just like this:

1 Earth Servant -> 1 Mycosynth Wellspring
2 Tephraderm -> 2 Mycosynth Wellspring
2 Molten Ravager -> Zektar Shrine Expedition
1 Lavaborn Muse -> Magmaw

Then politely request another Magmaw in DLC 2?

I think that would be a much more reasonable deck.  And with relatively minor changes.  Microbless?  Make it so! 

I'll buy you some "Vikings Blod," if that helps.

I'm playing each full deck through the challenge to learn them. I'm on my forth, Koth's Strenght of Stone, and I'm up to Chandra (destoryed her) and I'm finding it pretty powerful. It's breezed through, so far I'd rank them by effectiveness:


1. Illusions
2. Wielding & Koth tied with Koth coming on strong

10. Apex Predators (real disappointment)


My Koth sideboard is:

Golden Urn x 2
Fault Line
Earth Elemental x 2
Flowstone Overseer           
Spire Brigade x 1 (will probably sideboard the other)
Tephraderm x 1 (will probably sideboard the other)
Bladefire Colossus
Lavaborn Muse
Hellions are not sideboarded but headed there.

Spitting Earths are pretty devastating and Koth's Courier + Claws of Valakut is basically and instant win against a forest deck.

If find most if not all of the 5+ mana cards to be worthless really. So far they're not needed.

I've been playing against Revenge Koth and I think Koth will be pretty strong after the expansion. The key is slag storm which helps immensely to keep Koth from getting overwhelmed by weenies. Fault line is fine too but it's too bad there's only one in the original deck
I decided yesterday that right now, the problem with Strength of Stone is that it's kind of trying to execute on two strategies and coming up short on both.  With the current cards, IMO you can build it as either:

A control deck without good finishers and not quite enough removal.

OR

An aggro deck with no 1-2 drops.

As you can imagine, neither works out well (the former can keep the board under control for a few turns, and then just runs out of gas and has few ways to get back in the game; the latter just can't consistently put the pressure on fast enough, and requires you to run terrible cards like Goblin Mountaineer just so you have some cheap guys to put auras/equipment on and start attacking before turn 4-5).

More sweepers sounds like a really good step towards allowing the deck to play a decent slow, controlling game, but it also needs more high-impact cards at the top end for that plan to work.

I've been playing against Revenge Koth and I think Koth will be pretty strong after the expansion. The key is slag storm which helps immensely to keep Koth from getting overwhelmed by weenies. Fault line is fine too but it's too bad there's only one in the original deck



With Fault Line in the starting hand you have a good match-up against every aggro deck. I would never exclude that card. 2 Slagstorms in DLC 1 will increase the chances for a board sweeper in your starting hand.

DireWombat you're right, you don't have the most impressive finishers in Strength of Stone, but against most Weenie decks (that's most of the decks in DotP 2012, right?) your creatures with higher toughness together with your good target removal will be enough to control the later game.

Against Chandra and Garruk Koth already has a good match-up. Ancient Depth is bad, but every deck has its weakness.


So all in all I would be happy with 1-2 more board sweepers (DLC 2!?).

Tried playing the Koth deck against the upgraded revenge decks yesterday and thats when the decks weaknesses really begin to show. I'm thinking the deck could really benefit from a couple of loxodon warhmmers as it doesnt have much lifegain but it has high power creatures that could really use the trample and lifelink and this would help Koth to survive his own sweepers. It's still kind of on theme as the vulshok are craftsmen and lox warhammer is a mirrodin card (he's also Koth of the Hammer ).

Lox warhammer could make the difference against the upgraded vamp deck I think.

@Kenrufo - Zektar shrine expedition requires several further lands to activate and it doesnt interact with the equipment and enchantment buffs. If the issue is 2 drops to defend against attackers mobbing Koth's deck in the early stages of the game then perhaps wall of earth is the answer.

I also think cerebral eruption is too unreliable and another slagstorm or volcanic eruption would be better

I've been playing against Revenge Koth and I think Koth will be pretty strong after the expansion. The key is slag storm which helps immensely to keep Koth from getting overwhelmed by weenies. Fault line is fine too but it's too bad there's only one in the original deck



With Fault Line in the starting hand you have a good match-up against every aggro deck. I would never exclude that card. 2 Slagstorms in DLC 1 will increase the chances for a board sweeper in your starting hand.

DireWombat you're right, you don't have the most impressive finishers in Strength of Stone, but against most Weenie decks (that's most of the decks in DotP 2012, right?) your creatures with higher toughness together with your good target removal will be enough to control the later game.

Against Chandra and Garruk Koth already has a good match-up. Ancient Depth is bad, but every deck has its weakness.


So all in all I would be happy with 1-2 more board sweepers (DLC 2!?).


Yeah.. That's what I meant. Not that slag storm is that much better than fault line but just that you need more board sweepers total for the deck to be consistent