08/17/2011 BoaB: "Modern, by Popular Demand"

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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.
Ow, my head hurts.

I'm not sure my playing ability is technically sound enough to play something like this.
wait,  what?
Excellent article. THIS is the kind of interesting stuff I expect from an eternal format, and something I'd been feeling Modern had been lacking. My brewing enthusiam is renewed.
I love complicated, but that is pushing it even for me. I think I can understand how the deck works, but wow that is a lot of work. Still, it seems like a lot of fun, and clearly, their are people that love that kind of stuff.

I'm hoping that some time soon you do a more conventional modern deck, since I'm sure their is still a demand for one.
I'm with Blaze...love the complicated setups; but I felt like I was sitting in a trig class somewhere, as my eyes glazed over... lol.  I'd love to watch this thing a few times, then maybe I could get the flow.  But you did a great job with the article, and the out-of-the-box thinking is sweet!
I loved this article and I love this deck even more. (though as a math major, I guess I do fit the definition of a "math nerd") Anyway, I plan on building this deck.
OK, maybe I'm just dumb.  Can someone explain to me why to run Ghost Quarters over fetchlands?  Is it because they also double as pseudo-Wastelands?  If so, why is this necessary?  Is there some sort of nonbasic land in the format that can lock out our combo, that we need Wasteland against?

I mean, yeah, GC puts two lands in the yard and a fetch only puts one land in the yard.  But when you Sunrise, one of those lands you're getting back is a GC which only goes to fetch more lands, right?  Or is it because at the end of the combo you have the flexibility to use the GC for mana?

This is puzzling.

Is it just because this is BoaB and GC's are $4?  :P  Because I've plenty of fetches but no real desire to buy GC's unless they're actually *needed*.

If it's just the budget issue:  how many fetches would you suggest?  the full boat of all 8 (tarns & rainforests)?  Or some amount between 4-7?

Thanks!

P.S.  I also note you chose to run 4x Preordain and only 2x Ponder.  Is this because you feel Preordain is better due to its digging power?  (And aren't you disregarding the fact that a Ponder shuffle can put a Baubled card higher up in the library?)  And if you feel Preordain is better, and Ponder is just "Preordains #5-6", then would you say it's always better to Preordain over Ponder if you're holding both? 
Ah, sunny side up again. I remember when you piloted this to an even split during the Pro Tour (budget version too). This deck can most certainly make a splash in the modern format. Personally, the combo deck I would rather pilot would have to be Breach-Hulk; one uses through the breach to cheat out a protean hulk. From there, you can grab a bunch of combo pieces. I saw a brew on tcgplayer that used body double, reveillark, viscera seer, and mogg fanatic, and I have to say it looks like a fun little combo deck. My Doran-rock deck comes first though :D and FUUUUUUUUUU @ gifts ungiven. I should grab a playset of those before the price jumps.

Ghost quarters help you recycle your used lands via second sunrise by sending them to the graveyard (that's what I think anyway).

Edit: The price of Grove of the Burnwillows, cryptic command, AND tarmogoyf have all spiked since the tcgplayer 75k. Get your staples before the price jumps by x4.
When you GC your land, GC and the land come back untapped, so you get back 2 untapped lands.  With fetches, you'd only get 1 untapped land after Second Sunrise.  I don't know if the fetches are better because they might thin you out faster.  When you start comboing, you just need the Blooms.
OK, maybe I'm just dumb.  Can someone explain to me why to run Ghost Quarters over fetchlands?  Is it because they also double as pseudo-Wastelands?  If so, why is this necessary?  Is there some sort of nonbasic land in the format that can lock out our combo, that we need Wasteland against?

I mean, yeah, GC puts two lands in the yard and a fetch only puts one land in the yard.  But when you Sunrise, one of those lands you're getting back is a GC which only goes to fetch more lands, right?  Or is it because at the end of the combo you have the flexibility to use the GC for mana?

This is puzzling.

Is it just because this is BoaB and GC's are $4?  :P  Because I've plenty of fetches but no real desire to buy GC's unless they're actually *needed*.

If it's just the budget issue:  how many fetches would you suggest?  the full boat of all 8 (tarns & rainforests)?  Or some amount between 4-7?

Thanks!

P.S.  I also note you chose to run 4x Preordain and only 2x Ponder.  Is this because you feel Preordain is better due to its digging power?  (And aren't you disregarding the fact that a Ponder shuffle can put a Baubled card higher up in the library?)  And if you feel Preordain is better, and Ponder is just "Preordains #5-6", then would you say it's always better to Preordain over Ponder if you're holding both? 



You Ghost Quarter your own lands, so every time you go through the loop you gain a little more mana to allow for the combo off.

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Ghost quarter has several advantages over fetchlands...

No loss of life
Is still useful after there are no islands in your deck (although you won't be able to search for anything, you can still put islands into your graveyard so you can reanimate them untapped)
Can legitimately be used on the opponent (Next Level Blue used to run Tarmogoyf with no Forests, so if you ghost quartered their duals they couldn't kill you)    
Best. BoaB. Ever.

I don't think I've ever been as excited about a competitive deck before in my life. I just wish I had the cards to build it.
76125763 wrote:
Zindaras' meta is like a fossil, ancient and its secrets yet to be uncovered. Only men of yore, long dead, knew of it.
When you GC your land, GC and the land come back untapped, so you get back 2 untapped lands.  With fetches, you'd only get 1 untapped land after Second Sunrise.  I don't know if the fetches are better because they might thin you out faster.  When you start comboing, you just need the Blooms.

They both come back untapped, yes, but if you want to GC again, you're still only getting 1 mana and 1 land search, same as a fetch.  So basically GC is better if a.) you need a wasteland or b.) on some later turn you need extra mana and are done thinning, you can tap the GC for 1 generic.  As for thinning I think they're the same; whichever one you activate (GC or a fetch) only strips 1 land out of your library.

Gonna test without and see what sort of results I get.   Basically all I have to do is be careful to count & remember how many basics are left in my library before each time I fetch.  At that point, sadly, recurring the fetches will cease to give value...  slightly tempted to run a singleton Urborg just to fix that.  :P

Also, what do y'all think of Time Reversal in this?  Whenever I run the deck it seems like my hand gets clogged with worthless lands and lotus blooms while I'm going off, when I'd rather be drawing more reshapes and spellbombs and second sunrises.  It would also obviate the need to Bauble -> Ponder.  Just resolve a Sunrise and then Reversal.  The 5 mana would really only be doable off double Bloom though.  :\

Finally, what do you folks think about Grinding Station as an alternate win-con?  You can easily return 15+ artifacts per Sunrise once you really get going.  At that rate, you can cause millout in two sunrises with Grinding Station.   It's also less mana intensive than Pyrite (you can still win with Pyrite even if all your Blooms get extirpated - but it requires careful management of chromatic eggs).  Whereas Grinding Station fits the deck perfectly and costs no extra mana to operate once it's online.  Also, if the Station was our engine it might be feasible to replace Flask with Ichor Wellspring, since we would have a sac outlet.  Reshape could find the Station when the time came.

Opinions?
Wow, what a fantastic deck! I want to play it, I want to play against it, and I need to build it. Would've liked to see a play-by-play against some super aggro deck in addition to the fishbowl, though. Great work.
This is probably the best budget article I have read in a long time.  It is a budget deck that is interesting to play and the detail JVL goes into is mindblowing.  I really want to build this deck just to try and understand the intricies of it.
This is a great deck and all but I play standard... oh well I'll come back next week lol :P
When you GC your land, GC and the land come back untapped, so you get back 2 untapped lands.  With fetches, you'd only get 1 untapped land after Second Sunrise.  I don't know if the fetches are better because they might thin you out faster.  When you start comboing, you just need the Blooms.

They both come back untapped, yes, but if you want to GC again, you're still only getting 1 mana and 1 land search, same as a fetch.  So basically GC is better if a.) you need a wasteland or b.) on some later turn you need extra mana and are done thinning, you can tap the GC for 1 generic.  As for thinning I think they're the same; whichever one you activate (GC or a fetch) only strips 1 land out of your library.

Gonna test without and see what sort of results I get.   Basically all I have to do is be careful to count & remember how many basics are left in my library before each time I fetch.  At that point, sadly, recurring the fetches will cease to give value...  slightly tempted to run a singleton Urborg just to fix that.  :P

Also, what do y'all think of Time Reversal in this?  Whenever I run the deck it seems like my hand gets clogged with worthless lands and lotus blooms while I'm going off, when I'd rather be drawing more reshapes and spellbombs and second sunrises.  It would also obviate the need to Bauble -> Ponder.  Just resolve a Sunrise and then Reversal.  The 5 mana would really only be doable off double Bloom though.  :\

Finally, what do you folks think about Grinding Station as an alternate win-con?  You can easily return 15+ artifacts per Sunrise once you really get going.  At that rate, you can cause millout in two sunrises with Grinding Station.   It's also less mana intensive than Pyrite (you can still win with Pyrite even if all your Blooms get extirpated - but it requires careful management of chromatic eggs).  Whereas Grinding Station fits the deck perfectly and costs no extra mana to operate once it's online.  Also, if the Station was our engine it might be feasible to replace Flask with Ichor Wellspring, since we would have a sac outlet.  Reshape could find the Station when the time came.

Opinions?


What you seem to be missing with Ghost Quarter  is that when you sac it to destroy one of your Islands and get another one, casting Second Sunrise  will return both the Island and the Ghost Quarter, netting you +1 land after you use the GQ again.
A Scalding Tarn, however, will only ever come back on its own, never with another Island.

For example: Lets say you have 1 GQ and 1 Island. You tap the Island for U, then destroy it with GQ, getting another Island you can then tap for another U. Reshape  shenanigans usually occur here. When you get around to casting your Second Sunrise, both the Island and GQ will return to the battlefield, meaning you are now at 2 Islands and 1 GQ (1 Island should be tapped). Each time you go through the loop, you get +1 land all untapped, and the GQ can destroy to tapped one to get another untapped Island. This number grows since they all return untapped each time.
Substituting in a Fetch for GQ results in you getting a new Island into play each turn, but all previous Islands are already tapped and cannot be reused. None reach the graveyard to be returned by Second Sunrise.

I hope that made sense, if not, I can try again...
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ProfN:  Fetches wouldn't work here because they don't put another land into your 'yard.  When comboing, you use GC to not only thin the deck, but put basics into your graveyard so they come back untapped when you start casting Sunrise.  The deck is mana-sensitive, and you're not always going to start with two Blooms on the table.  The extra blue mana you get from returning Islands untapped can help push you to where you need to go.  Yes, with fetches, you can still sac them and search for more basics, but you that's actually less mana than a GC generates.  Here, let me give you an example:

Situation: a basic and the relevant land on the field, about to cast your first Sunrise.

Tap basic.
Sac a fetch, grab a basic.
Tap basic.
Play Sunrise.  Returns the fetch.
Sac the fetch again, get another basic.
Tap basic.
Done.  Net mana from the two lands you started with: three.  Lands in the graveyard for next loop: one.

Tap basic.
Sac GC, targeting the basic.  Search up another basic (untapped).
Tap basic.
Play Sunrise. Returns the GC and the basic.
Tap basic.
Sac GC, targeting the basic.  Search up another basic (untapped).
Tap basic.
Done.  Net mana from the two lands you started with: four.  Lands in the graveyard for next loop: two.

As mentioned in the article, this is a deck of percentages.  One mana can make a bunch of difference.  The ability to use it as a wasteland is non-trivial, and the lifeloss in the (expected) aggro format of Modern can make an impact when you might not get started before turn four and can fizzle.  Having two guaranteed lands in the graveyard, both of which can produce mana, is important, as the deck may need to loop several times non-infinitely to get the pieces it needs to go infinite, and you may run out of lands before that happens.  If it's a fetch in your graveyard, it will actually stop producing mana at some point, and all the lifeloss could kill you.


On another note, I probably wouldn't use Grinding Station simply because it by itself can't be used as an Egg if you need it.  One of the things about the Spellbombs is that they are not only win conditions but also puzzle pieces; replacing them with something that doesn't serve that purpose weakens the deck when it relies on those little interactions to push through.  Also, the deck already has an alternate win condition with the white spellbomb; it can make infinite life and sit on a looping deck until your opponent runs out of cards.



Bluecash: play-by-plays with this deck  are largely useless, as the entire deck is dedicated to the combo, and it generally doesn't interact at all until it has already started going off.  It has no creatures, it has no counterspells, it has no kill spells.  It sits there and takes anything and everything the opponent's deck throws at it until it explodes, then it prays you don't know what you need to counter to stop this particular explosion.
In Paperworld: Death by shuffling.

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And remember: no man is an Island!
It seemed very off to me that he didn't mention why the deck is called Eggs in the first place.  For players who don't know the history, it isn't obvious, and he's not using an actual Eggs in the deck!  For anyone confused on that point, I recommend checking out the Sungrass Egg cycle in gatherer.  I think an historic deck list for reference would have helped make the article more accessible, and putting the solitaire game before the play advice would have helped make the article more interesting, as the sample game gives context to the advice.

Overall though, I loved the deck!
People really asked for this article?  Ugh...
When I saw the picture for Second Sunrise, I assumed it was going to be Time Sieve. Then I read, and I enjoyed this article more than any other I've seen for a while. 

MORE COMPLICATED COMBO DECKS, I DEMAND THEM! But seriously, if you've played Time Sieve before, then this shouldn't be too hard to grasp. Or maybe its just that I'm always trying to play combo-esque decks that my brain is just wired to understand this.

(at)MrEnglish22

As of today this deck costs under $50 to build....though I expect SCG to raise the price of Lotus Bloom as soon as they read this article...lol.

Not a bad deck, but like all combo decks it's fairly vulnerable to disruption; and as tight as it is there's not a whole lot of room for side boarding without slowing the combo down considerably.
I remember Eggs back when it was using Darkwater Egg and such. It's sure come some way since then It is a delightful deck, and exceedingly intricate.

What's a bit of a pity is that it's so uninteractive. It's an astonishing combo, but it's basically just trying to win on turn 3-4 before getting killed. So I'm not sure I can agree that "Eggs is one of the most interesting decks in the history of the game" when it's so uninteresting for the opponent (after they've seen it once or twice!). It really does seem like a solitaire deck.
What would sideboarding look like in a meta that was 40-50% zoo, 10-20% 12-post, 10-20% other combo (e.g., pyromancer's ascension), and 10-20% blue based control?

It seems like you'd want something against Chalice of the Void.  Maybe Echoing Truth or Wipe Away?  And something to protect Second Sunrise, maybe Spell Pierce?

Or to be cute, Throne of Geth to put more counters on Chalice. 
What I don't get about Ghost Quarter is why it's abbreviated as GC.  Laughing
Duuuuuuudeee!  Johnny is foaming at the mouth here.  Wait...this is BoaB?  This reaction feels like what I get from a good FtL.

What would sideboarding look like in a meta that was 40-50% zoo, 10-20% 12-post, 10-20% other combo (e.g., pyromancer's ascension), and 10-20% blue based control?

It seems like you'd want something against Chalice of the Void.  Maybe Echoing Truth or Wipe Away?  And something to protect Second Sunrise, maybe Spell Pierce?

Or to be cute, Throne of Geth to put more counters on Chalice. 



I don't know if It's possible to board with a combo deck that utilizes its entire deck to go off...

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From Mark Rosewater's Tumblr: the0uroboros asked: How in the same set can we have a hexproof, unsacrificable(not a word) creature AND a land that makes it uncounterable. How does this lead to interactive play? I believe I’m able to play my creature and you have to deal with it is much more interactive than you counter my creature.

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Post #777

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MaRo: One of the classic R&D stories happened during a Scars of Mirrodin draft. Erik Lauer was sitting to my right (meaning that he passed to me in the first and third packs). At the end of the draft, Erik was upset because I was in his colors (black-green). He said, "Didn't you see the signals? I went into black-green in pack one." I replied, "Didn't you see my signals? I started drafting infect six drafts ago."

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MaRo: I redesigned him while the effect was on the stack.

I think what I loved most about this deck was your manabase. 11 Island, 4 Ghost Quarter? So sick. Great article!
Best. BoaB. Ever.

I don't think I've ever been as excited about a competitive deck before in my life. I just wish I had the cards to build it.



What he said. I love this build
This is ridiculously awesome! And I didn't even understand half of what was said! This is why I love Magic. So many possibilities.
I see how it's working, but by the time you get to the end, wouldn't a well timed counter just wreck the entire deck? If you counter the last [C]Second Sunrise[/C], they can't bring anything back. One would assume that by the time you have this combo set up, the opponent would understand what is going on. You'd end up decking yourself.

I realize that every deck has a weakness, but this deck has a giant monkey wrench staring it in the face. 
Wow, what a fantastic deck! I want to play it, I want to play against it, and I need to build it. Would've liked to see a play-by-play against some super aggro deck in addition to the fishbowl, though. Great work.

A play-by-play against an aggro deck wouldn't likely give you much more than a solitaire report. This is supposed to be a solitaire deck. Game one, you simply don't have to care about what an aggro opponent is doing other than "he's going to kill me faster that I will kill him, I must take the risk to go off now with less ressources than I would ideally". Against some blue decks, you have to plan around counterspells. Against decks with discard, you may need more digging time and digging fuel. But that's it for game one interaction, typically.

The more interesting interactions with the opponent that you get with that kind of combo deck typically comes from the sideboards of the two decks : their answers to your combo, your ways to circumvent their answers. The article is interesting as is, but if I had to add something to it, it would be sideboard strategy. Granted, the format is brand new and the metagame is unbuilt, but I'd start with what would allow me to best combat the greatest possible number of cards that could beat the deck. This probably implies splashing a color or two, but that shouldn't be too difficult even on a budget; don't forget that a lot of your artifacts fix mana.  I'd start with artifact/enchantment removal, since there is a very wide selection of such permanents that beat the deck : Leyline of the Void, Tormod's Crypt and its ilk (yes, it can sacced in response, but it does them no good if you get rid of it and the end of their turn before going off), Damping Matrix... That's only the tip of the iceberg of course. You need your sideboard to not dilute your game plan too much, so pick what's most synergistic... Once you know how to pilot the deck, the sideboard is where the challenge is.
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I'd probably throw in a Gitaxian Probe or four just to make sure I'm not wiping my board and then scooping to a Negate.
Hold on there.  Step 5.  You sacrifice a Lotus Bloom that never was played or suspended.  How is that, exactly?
Hold on there.  Step 5.  You sacrifice a Lotus Bloom that never was played or suspended.  How is that, exactly?



In Step 4, he used Reshape to get that Lotus Bloom, sacrificing a Chromatic Star.

As everyone has said, great article :D Can anyone give an example of a sideboard for this deck? It seems like it would be really hard to sideboard and still have much of any hope of comboing off.
Opinions on Pact of Negation?

Hold on there.  Step 5.  You sacrifice a Lotus Bloom that never was played or suspended.  How is that, exactly?



In Step 4, he used Reshape to get that Lotus Bloom, sacrificing a Chromatic Star.



Ah, I missed that Reshape puts it directly into play.  Thanks for responding.

BItter ordeal gets around well time counterspell without needing to go through the whole deck, also showing Wotc that yes, even graveSTORM is broken
I can understand the appeal of this deck when playing it a single time; however, this is the exact kind of combo deck that gets old and annoying quickly and that makes you wish it weren't there all the time. I'm hoping it becomes a tier 2 deck because otherwise I will be praying not facing it in any match (still be laughing if this pawns some monored burn players).

So, interesting to revive the Eggs deck when the conditions are ripe for it. I'm not the target reader for this kind of decks but every once in a while is allowed.
If Limited gets in the way of printing good Constructed cards... Screw limited
turn 2, chalice of the void for X=1. gg. An intelligently played pithing needle is also going to suck.
M:tG Rules Adviser
"Eggs is a powerful and consistent COMBO deck that WINS THE GAME ON TURN THREE or four by looping Second Sunrise and cheap artifacts that tap to draw cards."

September 20: Second Sunrise is Banned? =/