10/19/2011 BoaB: "Stalking Stalkers"

36 posts / 0 new
Last post
This thread is for discussion of this week's Building on a Budget, which goes live Wednesday morning on magicthegathering.com.

This seems like a pretty solid idea.  I knew there was something I liked about thrummingbird.
I was considering building a mono-red vampire deck that ran Curse of Stalked Prey as well as all the slith vampires. I almost pre-ordered the cards for it, back when Stromkirk Noble was listed for about $1.49 a copy. I regret it now, seeing his current price.

Anyway, splashing blue for the option to cast Tezzeret's Gambit for mana instead of life, and for Thrummingbird, is a good idea. I've always wanted to give U/R a shot, and I guess this looks like the type of deck I'd enjoy it in.
IMAGE(http://images.community.wizards.com/community.wizards.com/user/blitzschnell/c6f9e416e5e0e1f0a1e5c42b0c7b3e88.jpg?v=90000)
Point the first - this is a very exciting deck idea, I just might have another deck to build for this Standard, which is turning out to be the most fun I've had deckbuilding since Llorwyn.  Point the second - It's time to start a drinking game every time a card is described as being "real" or "very real".  It would be a very real drinking game.
~ Current Decks I'm Playing or Building ~ (Click a deck's name to see list) [] CorpseJunk Menace/Township Counters (Standard) [] Reanimation/Clerics Theme Deck - Commander: Ghost Dad [] Devouring Tokens (Planechase, Multiplayer) [] Krark-Clan Ironworks: 2012 Edition (Modern) [] Azorious Turbo Fog (Modern)
Point the first - this is a very exciting deck idea, I just might have another deck to build for this Standard, which is turning out to be the most fun I've had deckbuilding since Llorwyn.  Point the second - It's time to start a drinking game every time a card is described as being "real" or "very real".  It would be a very real drinking game.


At this point I'm thinking he keeps doing it to elicit a response on the forums. It surely can't be coincidence that he's called cards (or decks) "very real" so often of late.

...Or can it?
IMAGE(http://images.community.wizards.com/community.wizards.com/user/blitzschnell/c6f9e416e5e0e1f0a1e5c42b0c7b3e88.jpg?v=90000)
I like the deck concept a lot, but I find his sample playtests quite disheartening.  He has one fight that works, albeit slightly slowly.  Then his second match consists of a lot of chump-blocking and relying on the shrines for the kill, which is, after all, just a sideboard card and not really part of the deck concept.  Then, the second match was complete fail.  It's an honest report, but a more descriptive match might have been better.


Do I drink when you describe your drinking game as "very real" or not?  
This deck is freakin' awesome. Some tweaking of the numbers and I might build it.
The current lack of defense against enchantments that is mentioned in the article, and the existence of many powerful enchantments such as nevermore and oblivion ring, leads me to post this suggestion for an enchantment deck:

U/W enchantment deck:
Lands:
4 glacial fortress
4 seacrome coast
9 plain
6 island
23 lands

Creatures:
4 Mesa Enchantress
4 Auramancer
8 creatures

Other:
4 gitaxis probe
4 negate
4 bonds of faith
4 forced worship
4 nevermore
4 oblivion ring
2 angelic destiny
3 Volition reins

Notes: Using negate instead of the more common mana leak makes it possible to nevermore manaleak. The win condition can be any of the creatures + either bonds of faith (both creatures are human) or angelic destiny, or maybe the opponent plays a card that can be taken with volition reins. Consider Day of Judgment in the sideboard against aggro and token strategies.

A more fun, but probably less playable variant is the W/R variant using curse of the pierced heart as a slow win condition, and/or using the combo personal sanctuary + manabarbs to stall the opponent. 
I ran a build similar to this last week at FNM, trying to decide if it was worthy to play at states.  Some big differences:  Stromkirks instead of Neonite.  2 Heroes of Oxid Ridge instead of Neurok Commando.  Also added inkmoth nexus to lands (made for good win conditions at some points).  Didn't have any control (counterspell magic) in main, that was for board.  Tez Gam and Volt charge were good, but I had think twice as well.  The deck was ok.  Went 2-2.  Lost to poison and sculpted steel which showed that the deck needed to handle bigger dudes.  That is the decks weak spot.  All the creatures except falkenrath and heroes are 1/1, so if there's a bigger blocker out, you sit and do nothing.  I've made some adjustments with this in mind and enjoy playing the deck, but not sure that it will ever be a tier deck.  I will say, that adding Hero often had me putting my opponent at 3 on turn 4.  Volt charge for the win!

At this point I'm thinking he keeps doing it to elicit a response on the forums. It surely can't be coincidence that he's called cards (or decks) "very real" so often of late.

...Or can it?




It appears to be an idiom of the pros. They consider cards in a variety of categories, including the following: "broken", "good", "real", "a card," "not a card," and "garbage".

For example: "I picked Jace cuz he's broken and everything else in the pack wasn't really a card."



 
An honest match report that shows most of what will happen with this deck. That is at least better than what we have had previously, and i quite like the deck idea too. 
How to Autocard
card: [c]cardname[/c]-> [c]Vampire Nighthawk[/c] -> Vampire Nighthawk
I liked the deck idea. I had been building a Vampire deck after drawing a lot of good vamps out of my fat pack. It's super fast, especially against control and ramp decks that can't/don't do a lot in the first few turns. If you can get a Noble or a Neonate out early and unblocked, your opponent is in a bad position. The problem with  the deck is that if your opponent has lots of early removal or can chump block in turns 2-3, you're in trouble.

The U/R idea gives  the deck some more survivability and does away with the problem of removal, but it's still overly reliant on certain cards to win. If you can't get a Stalked  Prey out you're in trouble. The deck needs some more powerful later draws. Marauders is nice, but I've found that often you'll hit for 2 and then it will get removed on the next turn, which  makes it essentially an expensive Shock. I'll probably pick up a playset of Thrummingbirds and try this out, though. 
Take out the Tezz's Gambit and side the Negates for 4 copies of Forbidden Alchemy?
Take out the Tezz's Gambit and side the Negates for 4 copies of Forbidden Alchemy?


You'd also need a source of black mana to make the Forbidden Alchemy most efficient. Since the deck doesn't really want to send things to the graveyard, though, I don't really think the Alchemy is worth running over Tezzeret's Gambit, which proliferates all the +1/+1 counters your creatures will be picking up.
Forbidden Alchemy isn't as good as Ponder in this deck because you need to dig for your key enchantment (or a key creature) early, and casting Alchemy turn three means you're waiting until turn four to drop whatever you needed to dig up, which is going to be too late most of the time.
IMAGE(http://images.community.wizards.com/community.wizards.com/user/blitzschnell/c6f9e416e5e0e1f0a1e5c42b0c7b3e88.jpg?v=90000)
Just feel like the deck needs more selective digging since it really requires the curse to make the opponent worry a lot. Not sure if there is anything else outside of that and Ponder, sadly.
Seems like he has a strong preference for UR.  Just about every deck he has posted has Lightning Bolt and Ponder in it, or whatever the best red burn and best 1cc blue dig there is in standard at the time.  He also seems to put a lot of counters into blue decks that don't seem to really rely on counters.  Not a criticism, merely an observation.  Perhaps that's a testament to the fact that burn, counters, and draw are some of the best things you can do with commons.  A simple budget counterburn deck may be nice in the future.

Onto this specific deck...I would have like it more with Rakish Heir, Stromkirk Noble, and more vamps.  Stromkirk pushes the budget envelope, but is something that may be very powerful in a deck like this.  Rakish Heir is well within budget, fits the theme, and could get redonkulous with enough vamps.  I'd prefer a more aggro-vamp theme in there with the commandos coming out of the side versus control than his more bluish build.   
I actually have a red-black vamp deck set up right now. I do like the synergy between the stalker and the curse tho, mainly becaues I've been dying to do something with the stalker and 1) I don't want to waste money on swords 2) ancient grudge. Haven't had much luck.

Stormkirk is NOT a "deck on a budget" card imo, being like $10 +. I don't mind seeing decks that suggest using it, but it isn't cheap. (Although I bought 3 o_O)

Although my vamp deck is RB, the only real reason I have Black is Lord of Lineage. (Can't remember the face up name...) It could fairly easily change to mono-red or R-something with a bit of effort.

Also, in my opinion, curiosity > commando. Throw it on the stalker and you get a hexproof unblockable 1/1 that draws a card every time it deals damage.

Lastly, Devil's Play is awesome. Can make a good finisher for enough Mana. I'm no expert but I'd rather play it over Giestflame. X damage VS instant speed.
I honestly think the deck may work better if it's more offensive.. Possibly some panic spellbombs, ruthless invasions or Nightbird's clutches instead of mana leaks and ponders since the neonates can get +1/+1's anyway.. That and add some rakish Heirs... Hell, pretty much mono red.. Thoughts?
No matter how you run it, the deck needs to be better against aggro matchups.  Without any way to deal with an aggro hoard, the deck is sluggish at best.
i was trying this deck out with some vault skirges.  turn 1 skirge with the turn two curse seems nice.
i was trying this deck out with some vault skirges.  turn 1 skirge with the turn 2 curse seems nice.
Stormblood Berserker. Enough said.



A singleton Koth could be pretty good here too.

i've been playing around with this deck and i like some of the tweaks you've made; quick question: why the inkmoth nexuses?
Additional threats. It creates a threat they have to answer, or else. And they will probably have used their point removal on other items. It is effectively a metagame decision.
Stormblood Berserker. Enough said.



A singleton Koth could be pretty good here too.



This is more along the lines of what I was thinking. Stormblood still works with the proliferate in the deck, plus it's another creature that's difficult to block. 
Would be interesting to use blighted agent instead of / as well as invisible stalker.  4 turn clock instead of 6. And then there's the poliferation.
And steady progress which is has more synergy with the deck than divination.  
Agent doesn't have the Hexproof going for it though, which is a big deal.  Most of the damage in the deck is, well, damage, not infect.  And you don't want to rely on having a Curse in play.

As to Steady Progress vs Divination, I'd say neither.  Gambit can be cast for 3, just like Div, and gets you proliferate.  But what you'd probably want is Forbidden Alchemy.  The best of 4 cards is most likely more useful than drawing two.  Instant speed, so you can hold back counter or Volt Charge mana.  And it will be much more effective at helping you find a Curse.
Stormblood Berserker. Enough said.



A singleton Koth could be pretty good here too.




Stormblood Berserker seems iffy in this deck. If you don't do damage before casting it, which may be difficult if your opponent hits early draws, then you have a 1/1. 


Here is my thought:

[deck]
8 island
7 mountain
4 Sulfur Falls
2 Inkmoth Nexus

4 Bloodcrazed Neonate[/deck] OR Stromkirk Noble
[deck]2 Falkenrath Marauders
4 Invisible Stalker
2 Ludevic's Test Subject[/deck] / Ludevic's Abomination
[deck]4 Thrummingbird

4 Curse of Stalked Prey
2 Shock
4 Mana Leak
2 Negate
4 Ponder
2 Tezzeret's Gambit
3 Volt Charge
2 Shrine of Burning Rage
[/deck]

SIDEBOARD
[deck]
4 Flashfreeze
2 Shrine of Burning Rage
3 Turn to Frog
3 Shatter
1 Tezzeret's Gambit
1 Volt Charge
1 Ludevic's Test Subject[/deck] / Ludevic's Abomination

My big change Mainboard was to get rid of the Neurok Commandos for Ludevic's Test Subject/Ludevic's Abomination. In the early game, it can do some simple blocking. In the late game, it can run over anything your opponent has. It works with Proliferate and causes bad plays by your opponent. 

I also moved 2 of the Shrines to the Mainboard, as they seem to be a great alternate win. Most of my changes are about the alternate wins. From Ludevic, to the Shrines, to the 2 Inkmoth. Thhey all work well with the deck, and are completely independent of each other.

The sideboard has most of my changes. I felt the BoaB sideboard was too slow (and contained the ever present Dismember that I find annoying). I kept the Flashfreeze, but switched the Manic Vandal's for the basic Shatter. Turn to Frog is a great way to bring down a creature too big for you to handle in replacement of the Dismembers.

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." ******************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************** MaRo: During a playtest, I played a Reaper from the Abyss. I attacked each turn, while my opponent would chump block (he had a lot of fliers), and then I killed a second creature. This happened until he had only one creature left. I attack, he blocked, and then the following dialogue occurred: Him: Kill your demon. Me: What? Him: My guy died so you have to kill a creature. Me: Yeah, but why would a demon kill himself? Him: I don't know. He's depressed there's no one left to kill. Me: That doesn't make any sense. Him: I don't care. It's what the card says. I then take out my pen, and wrote "non-Demon" on it. Him: You can't do that. Me: I redesigned him while the effect was on the stack.

Ok there is my version.


Creature:16
4x Stromkirk Noble
4x Stormblood Berserker
4x Thrummingbird
4x Invisible Stalker
 
Spell:18
4x Shock
4x Volt Charge
4x Mana Leak
4x Ponder
2x Negate or Dissipate(that your choice)

Enchant:4
4x Curse of Stalked Prey

Land:22
4x Sulfur Falls
4x Inkmoth Nexus
7x Island
7xMountain


That the decklist what he should have show without inkmoth nexus. you can have the deck for less then 40 tix online if your enough lucky, i try it and he work pretty well. Tezzeret's gambit was just a garbage in that deck due to his hude mana cost and lose of life. Neurok Commando pretty strong threat if your oppenent play slow. Most of the time gambit and commando slowed me such that i wasn't able to kill my oppenent. Why shock then geist pretty simple you can kill every thing at 2 power and less , like the white human deck or rdw. that my 2 cent's     
     
Just put the deck together and played some test hands. If you don't have a CoSP the deck has no gas. About two thirds of the time my starting hand was garbage, I had to  mulligan down to five before I got something even remotely playable. I think the deck needs more Vampires so it doesn't rely so much on CoSP.

Stromkirk Noble x4
Bloodcrazed Neonate x4
Thrummingbird x4 
Rakish Heir x4
Falkenrath Maraudersx2
18 creatures

Curse of Stalked Prey x4
Mana Lea x4
Ponder x4
Volt Charge x4
Frost Breath x3

23 lands 
my problem with this deck is that the vampires are really weak. i ran the deck with the Stromkirk Noble and if you don't get him on turn one, he's basically garbage and will never get damage through. Same thing for all the other suggested vampires: if they aren't out early, they don't pack enough punch (and the Falkenrath Marauders cost 3RR, so they are certainly not coming out early).

Another commenter posted that the Stormblood Berserkers are risky...quite the contrary. There wasn't a turn I didn't deal damage, either from a burn spell, the Invisible Stalker or the Thrummingbird. The Berserker always came out pumped up.

Also, I have won the game without ever having the Curse of Stalked Prey out. With enough burn spells and invisible stalker getting hits in, I was able to manage it.

The problem for me, most games, was this was a really fast deck and I could get my oppenent down to 5 or less life every time...I just didn't have a good enough end game. I typically had too few creatures out, so even though I was set to always win on the next turn, I'd lose huge chunks of life the turn prior (usually cuz my few creatures out were swinging every turn) and lose. 

Anywho, I've tweaked the deck quite a few times (i.e. it's gone through many permutations). Here's the latest (it's at 62 cards):

Sulfur Falls x4
Inkmoth Nexus x4
Mountain x6
Island x7

21 lands

Hero of Oxid Ridge x3
Stormblood Berserker x4
Invisible Stalker x 4
Thrummingbird x3

13 creatures

Curse of Stalked Prey x4
Volt Charge x 4
Incinerate x3
Curiosity x2
Ponder x4
Tezzeret's Gambit x2
Steady Progress x2
Mana Leak x2
Dissipate x2
Psychic Barrier x2

27 instansts/sorceries/enchantments

So, I think I definitely need more creatures; I just am not sure what to cut from the other spells to make room (and what to add).

Thoughts? and Thanks!

I ran a build similar to this last week at FNM, trying to decide if it was worthy to play at states.  Some big differences:  Stromkirks instead of Neonite.  2 Heroes of Oxid Ridge instead of Neurok Commando.  Also added inkmoth nexus to lands (made for good win conditions at some points).  Didn't have any control (counterspell magic) in main, that was for board.  Tez Gam and Volt charge were good, but I had think twice as well.  The deck was ok.  Went 2-2.  Lost to poison and sculpted steel which showed that the deck needed to handle bigger dudes.  That is the decks weak spot.  All the creatures except falkenrath and heroes are 1/1, so if there's a bigger blocker out, you sit and do nothing.  I've made some adjustments with this in mind and enjoy playing the deck, but not sure that it will ever be a tier deck.  I will say, that adding Hero often had me putting my opponent at 3 on turn 4.  Volt charge for the win!



I, too, thought about the weakness of the creatures, so before I played some casual games against a friend I put in 4x Runechanter's Pike (also bringing in 2x Gitaxian Probe) . In the few games that I played against a WW Humans deck, having first strike seemed to help a bit in the later stages.
Some thoughts I've had after reading through this, and having gotten some Standard games in (though not with this deck).

1) I think this deck will do better if it tries to err on a quicker side of the build. I.e., more one-to-three drops, fewer above four.

2) As a result, and as a benefit, the deck will need less land. That means drawing more action cards.

3) Given the number of instants this deck wants to play, I don't entirely understand Tezzeret's Gambit over Steady Progress. Okay, I sort of get it, two cards instead of one. Still, I think holding mana open for a counter, burn, or threat thereof outweighs the one card.

4) Given how much flashback there is in Standard, I definitely prefer Dissipate over Negate, and possibly even over Mana Leak.

5) Geistflame? Incinerate, Gut Shot or Arc Trail are all possibly better, I think (though I'd avoid the last - Sorcery).

Here's what I'm loooking at right now. It's not my ideal build, but they're the cards I have:

1x Stromkirk Noble (I'd prefer 4)
4x Bloodcrazed Neonate
4x Invisible Stalker
4x Thrummingbird
3x Rakish Heir
1x Ludevic's Test Subject/Ludevic's Abomination (this addition greatly amuses me, but would probalby be removed for a S. Noble.)

17 creatures

4x Ponder
4x Curse of Stalked Prey
2x Incinerate
3x Mana Leak
3x Dissipate
2x Steady Progress
4x Volt Charge

22 Ench/Instant/Sorcery

11 Island
10 Mountain

21 Land

Hopefully I'll get a chance to test this out in a couple of days. I don't normally get a chance to play Standard, but this deck idea really intrigues me. Sadly, based on how little there is posted here, it doesn't sound like it intrigues too many others.
I really do quite like the concept of the Stormblood Berserker.  I mean, if you're not hitting them early on, you're probably losing anyways.

One card that I haven't seen brought up here at all, that I think is a pretty awesome pick for this deck, is Mindshrieker.  It comes out cheap (1U), it has evasion (flying), and the opponent either has to create a bad block or avoid blocking at all.  It can also close out games, because it can very easily become 7/7 if it flips a Titan.
Mindshrieker seems like a terrible idea to me. It doesn't add anything to the rest of the deck, and it requires mana each turn to maybe be useful. If they block the flier, you must use the pump ability or lose card advantage, possibly paying twice if you flip a land the first time, and your opponent can still use instant removal if necessary. Then you're that much closer to being tapped out on your opponent's turn. I'd much rather hold back mana for instant counter/burn. Plus, given the graveyard recursion in Standard, I'm really not very interested in putting someone's Titan in their graveyard for them.
As constructed, this deck is marginally competitive. I played it online a bit and my primary issue is it starts strong and fizzles out. There isn't a closer in the deck. The Marauders are intended to be, but by the time I'm getting them on the board, my opponents usually had a way to lock them down after a turn or two. I'd often get someone down to 8 life, 4 life, and then stall. They'd establish board position and mount a comeback. That happened against a variety of decks.
Depending on the draw, this deck can start very strong, but can't bring it home.
I'm going to try some of the suggestions here and tweak it a bit to see if I can get some wins.