GWU Aggro/Aggro-Control (Bant Crashers/Bant Crusade, etc.)

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****Thanks a lot to Neberus for the banner

What is this deck all about?
This deck uses Rafiq of the Many and/or Finest Hour to make our creatures much more threatening. Combined with explosive and evasive 2-drops in Jhessian Infiltrator and Shorecrasher Mimic, the deck can deal a large amount of damage during a single turn, regardless of the defense an opponent may have. Assisted by acceleration from Noble Hierarch and/or Birds of Paradise, the deck is capable of winning very quickly.

Since the deck is running blue, it also has the option of running more control elements, like Cryptic Command or Broken Ambitions. This can help the deck control the board after a fast start, or deter early threats before dropping a lethal Rafiq.


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Creatures
1CC:
Birds of Paradise – Acceleration + mana fixing, plus it can swing if you're running any Exalted/Equipment
Burrenton Forge-Tender -- Stops Volcanic Fallout, blocks Figure of Destiny, safe from Ajani Vengeant.
Noble Hierarch -- Auto-run this. Basically Birds of Paradise + exalted.

2CC:
Gaddock Teeg -- Stops Cryptic Command, Wrath of God, Broken Ambitions, etc., but remember he stops your spells too.
Jhessian Infiltrator -- New Gaea's Skyfolk! Awesome with Rafiq/Finest Hour, and against all the token decks out there.
Meddling Mage -- Not very aggressive, but stalls potential game breakers like Volcanic Fallout.
Qasali Pridemage -- Exalted + can destroy that pesky Anthem/Sculler/Bitterblossom.
Shorecrasher Mimic -- Also nuts with Rafiq, and we have plenty of green/blue spells.

3CC:
Dauntless Escort -- Saves your creatures from sweepers/spot removal, helps you come out ahead in combat.
Jenara, Asura of War -- Good topdeck, avoids Fallout, but can get chump blocked by flyers.
()() Kitchen Finks -- Life gain, persist, etc...
Rhox War Monk -- High toughness, life gain can be nuts with all the pump we have access to.

4CC:
Rafiq of the Many -- Makes your creatures much, much more threatening.
Sower of Temptation -- Effective against other aggro decks with little spot removal like Doran or G/W.
[/] []o Anel[/] -- lo don ao/oken. /> [m]()()() Wilt-Leaf Liege -- Pumps everything, and helps a lot against Blightning.

5CC:
Battlegrace Angel -- Decent finisher
Mulldrifter -- Gives the deck some very much needed card draw. Should probably be run with Lark.
Reveillark -- Works nicely with Mulldrifter, but remember it can also bring back Mimic/Infiltrator/etc.

6CC:
Cloudthresher -- Sweeps the sky while leaving your creatures in tact (except BoP).


Noncreature Spells
Removal/Counters:
Bant Charm -- Very versatile card, play 4
Broken Ambitions -- Best cheap counter currently
Condemn -- Cheap, but the life gain is unfavorable
Cryptic Command -- Very powerful, likely auto-include if you're playing control
Negate -- Cheap counter that stops big spells like Cruel Ultimatum and Wrath of God.
Oblivion Ring -- Removal, plus takes care of enchantments
Path to Exile -- Probably the best spot removal in the format
() Snakeform -- Cantrips, takes care of Reveillark, persisters, etc.
Wrath of God -- Kills all those tokens, gets even better with Dauntless Escort

Pump:
Behemoth Sledge -- Like Warhammer, except it also brings your creature out of Fallout range
Giant Growth -- Cheap, efficient, devastating with Rafiq/Finest Hour
Loxodon Warhammer -- Trample + Lifelink is always good
Might of Oaks -- Great for the surprise final blow.

Card Draw:
Not too much we can do here aside from possibly Mulldrifter...

Planeswalkers:
Elspeth, Knight-Errant -- Pump out creatures post-wrath, and bust fat creatures through with her +3/+3 and flying ability. Too bad tokens fly....
Jace Beleren -- Can potentially net you a lot of cards, but usually ends up being a really bad cantrip.


Land
You generally want to avoid too many CiPT lands in an aggro deck, so you'll likely be running painlands alongside some filters, with some Reflecting Pools.

Alara does give us a good CiPT land in Seaside Citadel, though you still don't want to run too many. The deck should also include some Treetop Village, which is especially good with Rafiq. Remember to include plenty of land capable of producing on turn one, in order to drop your Birds of Paradise or Noble Hierarch.



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Decklists
Lists from States






Lists from PTQ Austin/Regionals 2009


Chris Cannon, 2nd Place - Atlanta, Georgia Regionals
[deck=Deck]// 23 Land
4* Treetop Village
3* Brushland
3* Yavimaya Coast
2* Wooded Bastion
2* Reflecting Pool
2* Seaside Citadel
1* Mystic Gate
2* Adarkar Wastes
2* Forest
1* Island
1* Plains

// 26 Creatures
4* Noble Hierarch
2* Birds of Paradise
4* Shorecrasher Mimic
3* Gaddock Teeg
4* Rhox War Monk
2* Jenara, Asura of War
4* Rafiq of the Many
3* Wilt-Leaf Liege

// 11 Other Spells
4* Bant Charm
3* Path to Exile
2* Negate
2* Finest Hour

// Sideboard
4* Flashfreeze
3* Guttural Response
3* Hurricane
3* Naturalize
2* Glen Elendra Archmage[/deck]

Ryan Barr, 4th Place - Atlanta, Georgia Regionals
[deck=Deck]// 21 Land
4* Brushland
4* Yavimaya Coast
4* Treetop Village
2* Mystic Gate
3* Reflecting Pool
1* Adarkar Wastes
3* Forest

// 30 Creatures
4* Birds of Paradise
4* Noble Hierarch
4* Jhessian Infiltrator
4* Shorecrasher Mimic
4* Dauntless Escort
4* Rhox War Monk
3* Rafiq of the Many
3* Wilt-Leaf Liege

// 9 Other Spells
4* Bant Charm
2* Negate
3* Finest Hour

// Sideboard
4* Burrenton Forge-Tender
3* Qasali Pridemage
3* Oblivion Ring
2* Behemoth Sledge
2* Path to Exile
1* Negate[/deck]

Devin Low, 5th Place - Seattle, Illinois Regionals
[deck=Deck]// 23 Land
4* Brushland
4* Yavimaya Coast
4* Treetop Village
3* Mystic Gate
2* Adarkar Wastes
5* Forest
1* Island

// 28 Creatures
4* Birds of Paradise
4* Noble Hierarch
4* Jhessian Infiltrator
4* Shorecrasher Mimic
4* Dauntless Escort
4* Rhox War Monk
4* Rafiq of the Many

// 9 Other Spells
4* Bant Charm
2* Elspeth, Knight-Errant
3* Finest Hour

// Sideboard
4* Kitchen Finks
4* Burrenton Forge-Tender
2* Battlegrace Angel
3* Negate
2* Sower of Temptation[/deck]



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Matchups
Will be updated soon
Uhm....why am I not seeing Rafiq of the Many? Or Shield of the Oversoul/Steel of the Godhead?

I somehow forgot about Shield of the Oversoul.... sooo

-4 Wilt-Leaf Liege
-2 Loxodon Warhammer
+3 Murkfiend Liege
+3 Shield of the Oversoul

I'm not sure why I opted for Wilt-Leaf over Murkfiend in the first place. Does this sound good?

Also, about Rafiq, I somehow missed him because I hadn't seen this card yet. It does seem like he can be pretty amazing with Jhessian Infiltrator, and with Stoic Angel in play. I'd love to include two of him, but what should I drop?
I'm not sure why I opted for Wilt-Leaf over Murkfiend in the first place. Does this sound good?

Probably because it comes out a turn earlier, which can be important for dedicated aggro. But your deck seems slightly more midrange, and the Murkfiend Liege combos nicely with Stoic Angel. Cryptic Command seems kind of out of place, since you only have that for counterspells. Unless you have it there for some other purpose, I would either work in more counterspells, or drop it. Austere Command seems pretty out of place also. I would take it out also, and maybe put in Gaddock Teeg (probably sideboard) to protect against Wrath.
Wilt-Leaf Liege >>> Murkfiend Liege. Especially in this deck, where you run Finks and Shield. Synergy with Stoic Angel shouldn't make you run bad cards.
Photobucket Banner by zpikduM - typo also by zpikduM. =) Skide Fuld - Problem of Evil by frontsession Currently playing Standard: TurboJund Legacy: Zoo Block: Hahaha, good one! 1000th post on August 28, 2009 at 6:08PM
IMO Wilt-Leaf Liege is better option here. I know Murkfiend Liege has the untap benefit here, but he also costs 1 more. For the cost, I would go with the Wilt-Leaf Liege, especially with Kitchen Finks around.
Thanks for the replies.

@Shephard_105: Cryptic Command isn't there to counter. It'll tap the opponent's creatures to lock down with Stoic Angel. Gaddock Teeg sounds like a good idea though.

And about Wilt-Leaf vs. Murkfiend:

Rhox War Monk and Stoic Angel get pumped +2/+2 by both. Stewart of Valeron (formerly spoiled as Elvish Visionary) and Finks get +2/+2 from Wilt-Leaf while Jhessian Infiltrator gets +2/+2 from Murkfiend, which also has synergy with Stoic Angel. Murkfiend does indeed cost 1 more, but I have 7 creatures that produce mana. So once again I'm torn between the two.

For the sideboard, should Chameleon Colossus be Oversoul of Dusk? That would probably influence the Liege deal a bit.
I'll post my take on this in a moment..
Stoic Angel and Cryptic (probably) should go. You are playing Aggro, not "Control with a lot of creatures so I can't adequately use Wrath of God".

Rafiq of the Many is a four-of. So is Deft Duelist.
wat about steel of the godhead, since u r playing many blue/white or white/x creatures. also noobstick could go in here.
@MrIndigo: I'll think about Rafiq. I definitely do want to get maybe two copies of him in there (somehow), but I don't know about replacing Stoic Angel.

To me it just seems that Angel is for effective. Rafiq gives me one double striking attacker a turn, Angel gives me two attackers (more if I have multiple Angels, Treetop or Stewart of Valeron) while locking down my opponent if they happen to be playing creatures. To me it just seems that Angel does the same job better. Plus, Rafiq is a legend, so 4-of sounds iffy. One problem that Stoic Angel is giving me is that it urges me to run Cryptic Command, which is messing with the mana base. It almost makes me want to run Thoughtweft Gambit.

Also maybe it's just me, but Deft Duelist looks very underwhelming. Since it's W/U it'll probably only get as big as 3/2 with no evasion (since I can't even slap an Aura on it). Other opinions?

Sooooooooo we also have:
Rafiq vs. Stoic Angel
(sideboard) Chameleon Colossus vs. Oversoul of Dusk
Shield of the Oversoul vs. Loxodon Warhammer vs. Steel of the Godhead
Murkfiend Liege vs. Wilt-Leaf Liege

This is pretty interesting... (I vote Angel, Oversoul of Dust, Shield, and could go either way on the Lieges)
Heres my take:


[/deck]

Can potentially swap to more control when you need it, just make sure you don't over extend into your own Wrath...

Its basically a jack of all trades, which I may be a bit worried about...
@MrIndigo: I'll think about Rafiq. I definitely do want to get maybe two copies of him in there (somehow), but I don't know about replacing Stoic Angel.

To me it just seems that Angel is for effective. Rafiq gives me one double striking attacker a turn, Angel gives me two attackers (more if I have multiple Angels, Treetop or Stewart of Valeron) while locking down my opponent if they happen to be playing creatures. To me it just seems that Angel does the same job better. Plus, Rafiq is a legend, so 4-of sounds iffy. One problem that Stoic Angel is giving me is that it urges me to run Cryptic Command, which is messing with the mana base. It almost makes me want to run Thoughtweft Gambit.

Also maybe it's just me, but Deft Duelist looks very underwhelming. Since it's W/U it'll probably only get as big as 3/2 with no evasion (since I can't even slap an Aura on it). Other opinions?

Sooooooooo we also have:
Rafiq vs. Stoic Angel
(sideboard) Chameleon Colossus vs. Oversoul of Dusk
Shield of the Oversoul vs. Loxodon Warhammer vs. Steel of the Godhead
Murkfiend Liege vs. Wilt-Leaf Liege

This is pretty interesting... (I vote Angel, Oversoul of Dust, Shield, and could go either way on the Lieges)

The problem with Stoics is that you are building an aggro deck. Rafiq is miles better in an aggro deck. You dont want your guys to be restricted by angel at all if you are playing aggro. Midrange is different, but then you'd want a LOT less creatures I would think. Rafiq also makes Deft Duelist a 3/2 shrouded double striker and the infiltrator a 3/3 unblockable double striker. Thats 6 damage a turn. Throw on Shield and you're golden. Oversoul over Colossus and Shield over the rest.

I'd probably go like this:

Creatures:

4 Deft Duelist
4 Jhessian Infiltrator

4 Rhox War Monk
4 Kitchen Finks

3 Wilt-Leaf Liege
3 Rafiq of the Many

2 Oversoul of Dusk

Non-creatures:
4 Oblivion Ring
3 Shield of the Oversoul
4 Bant Charm
2 Elspeth, Knight-Errant

Land:
2 Treetop Village
2 Yavimaya Coast
4 Bant Triland
3 Mystic Gate
2 Flooded Grove
2 Wooded Bastion
1 Adarkar Wastes
4 Brushland
3 Reflecting Pool
-4 birds, +1 deft duelist, +1 2/2 unblockable, +1 kitchen finks, +1 rhino monk dude.
Murkfiend and Stoic seem a bit out of place to me. Other than that it looks nice.
@ConvictedRaven: I can see your point about running Stoic Angel with a whole lot of other creatures. But doesn't Rafiq restrict you in the same way? Once he hits the table, you're only going to be able to attack with one creature at a time anyway. At least with Angel you'll be able to keep their creatures tapped down to reduce chump blocking. Rafiq's also the only creature with exalted in your list, and he's a legend, so you won't be getting huge boosts from him.

Also, for your new list, Cryptic Command probably is a little more out of place without the Stoic Angel. Maybe drop them for more 2 Liege, and a Jhessian Infiltrator? Or maybe some card draw.
sygg, river cutthroat might go in here i mean he's card draw and he's a 1/3 speedbump so they have to waste a 3 dmg removal on him and they can't terror him or anything, but just a suggestion.
sygg, river cutthroat might go in here i mean he's card draw and he's a 1/3 speedbump so they have to waste a 3 dmg removal on him and they can't terror him or anything, but just a suggestion.

If playing with stoic, this may not be a bad idea. They have to waste burn on him.
@ConvictedRaven: I can see your point about running Stoic Angel with a whole lot of other creatures. But doesn't Rafiq restrict you in the same way? Once he hits the table, you're only going to be able to attack with one creature at a time anyway. At least with Angel you'll be able to keep their creatures tapped down to reduce chump blocking. Rafiq's also the only creature with exalted in your list, and he's a legend, so you won't be getting huge boosts from him.

Also, for your new list, Cryptic Command probably is a little more out of place without the Stoic Angel. Maybe drop them for more 2 Liege, and a Jhessian Infiltrator? Or maybe some card draw.


Rafiq is there because when he is the only creature on the board, he can swing for 8. He makes the two drops ridiculous, and has just as much synergy as (if not more than) Stoic Angel with Shield and over all is just better in an aggro deck. The second he drops turn 4, swinging with a shielded infiltrator is usually game then and there. You dont really need exalted creatures other than him.

I do agree with cutting cryptic, and I kinda want more card draw but im not sure what to put in. I want to test out Elspeth though....She can pump our infiltrators to 5/5, make Rafiq omega cool...well +3/+3 flying makes alot of people cool and is very useful (Turn 3 Monk, Turn 4 Elspeth = 6/7 flying lifelinker!). And if it even happens (big if) her ultimate just seals the game basically. I'm looking at -4 birds +1 duelist, +1 infiltrator, + 1 bant charm, +1 Finks. -3 cryptic +2 Elspeth, +1 Liege?

Rafiq is there because when he is the only creature on the board, he can swing for 8. He makes the two drops ridiculous, and has just as much synergy as (if not more than) Stoic Angel with Shield and over all is just better in an aggro deck. The second he drops turn 4, swinging with a shielded infiltrator is usually game then and there. You dont really need exalted creatures other than him.

Point well taken. Maybe I have some weird attachment to Stoic Angel, but due to the one-attacker-per-turn thing, I do think running them together would be great. Maybe that would be better for a less aggro, and more aggro-control list though. I'll think about it and post a list if I can come up with one.

I do agree with cutting cryptic, and I kinda want more card draw but im not sure what to put in. I want to test out Elspeth though....She can pump our infiltrators to 5/5, make Rafiq omega cool...well +3/+3 flying makes alot of people cool and is very useful (Turn 3 Monk, Turn 4 Elspeth = 6/7 flying lifelinker!). And if it even happens (big if) her ultimate just seals the game basically. I'm looking at -4 birds +1 duelist, +1 infiltrator, + 1 bant charm, +1 Finks. -3 cryptic +2 Elspeth, +1 Liege?

Elspeth does sound very interesting.... I'm tempted. If you're only running a couple though, I would have to say maybe just upping Shield of the Oversoul and Liege to 4 would be a better idea for consistency?

I still don't see why Deft Duelist is so amazing. Sure, it's solid, but in these lists, we can't slap the Shield on it, and regardless of whether you run Wilt-Leaf or Murkfiend, it'll only get +1/+1 from it since it isn't green. Elspeth wouldn't help it out either.
Elspeth does sound very interesting.... I'm tempted. If you're only running a couple though, I would have to say maybe just upping Shield of the Oversoul and Liege to 4 would be a better idea for consistency?

I still don't see why Deft Duelist is so amazing. Sure, it's solid, but in these lists, we can't slap the Shield on it, and regardless of whether you run Wilt-Leaf or Murkfiend, it'll only get +1/+1 from it since it isn't green. Elspeth wouldn't help it out either.


It looks pretty consistent enough to me. I never liked Lieges at 4 so maybe its just personal preference. You wouldn't really ever want her in multiples and she is a bit more complimentary to the deck than fundamental. Deft Dualist is good because it is a solid 2 drop that cant be hit by spot removal, kills finks and survives, kills 2/2 Figures and survives, doesn't die to 1-2 blossom tokens, is wonderful with Rafiq and gets MUCH better with the liege pump. 2/1 first strikers with shroud for UW shouldn't be underestimated.
Elspeth is again, a Control card. Ajani is better for an Aggro deck at the same cost.
I'd say a big no to Murkfiend Liege, 5 for a 4/4 just seems underwhelming, and we don't really care about its effect.

Sceanario a): You run Stoic Angel, you play Stoic Angel and want to make it a 1 sided effect, it already is, if you've played Stoic Angel then you've gone into control/mid range mode and won't be mass attacking with your weenies.

Sceanario b): You don't play Stoic Angel, whats the point?

IMO Cryptic is good, EoT Cryptic Command tap all their stuff, bounce something/draw a card, next turn swing for win.
Elspeth is again, a Control card. Ajani is better for an Aggro deck at the same cost.

I know that, but the way I see it, in this deck, you'd probably get more out of her second +1 ability than Ajani's -1 ability. In Kithkin definitely Ajani would win out, but I think that her specialized more powerful pumping would work well with "sure hit" creatures (Infiltrator, Oversoul) and Rafiq. I could actually see Ajani more in a Stoic Angel build than this one.
I'd say a big no to Murkfiend Liege, 5 for a 4/4 just seems underwhelming, and we don't really care about its effect.

Sceanario a): You run Stoic Angel, you play Stoic Angel and want to make it a 1 sided effect, it already is, if you've played Stoic Angel then you've gone into control/mid range mode and won't be mass attacking with your weenies.

Sceanario b): You don't play Stoic Angel, whats the point?

IMO Cryptic is good, EoT Cryptic Command tap all their stuff, bounce something/draw a card, next turn swing for win.

If you are running a Stoic Angel build (which would probably be more controlish) I'd actually run Seedborn Muse
over Murkfiend just to have all mana open during opponents turns for counters/flash tricks.
Not enough to flash, bit too costly IMO for how I'm going to use it. Late game by 5 mana I'm almost always going to leave 2-3 mana open for a counter or something.

Not enough stuff to flash either.
Wait, Elspeth has two +1 abilities? I thought it was +1, -2, -8.

EDIT: Also, for any deck using a lot of small creatures (and this deck shouldn't be running Stoic Angel. To do so makes you a UGW Control deck that loses to the Mirror's Wraths and to Aggo for not having your own), Ajani is unparalleled. Ajani wins Aggro matchups immediately (all your guys effectively have evasion and prevent the opponent from racing), and allows you to stall out in much the same way as Elspeth against Control, only you can turn an empty board into a short clock with the -8.
I'd say a big no to Murkfiend Liege, 5 for a 4/4 just seems underwhelming, and we don't really care about its effect.

Sceanario a): You run Stoic Angel, you play Stoic Angel and want to make it a 1 sided effect, it already is, if you've played Stoic Angel then you've gone into control/mid range mode and won't be mass attacking with your weenies.

The reason is that with Stoic Angel, Murkfiend lets you swing with the entire army turn after turn. Without it, you'll be stuck with Angel and the creature you choose to untap. It also pumps Infiltrator, which may be the easiest way for this kind of deck to get damage through.

However, I do see that the effect not quite necessary and the 1 mana less that Wilt-Leaf is a pretty big deal.

Again, Deft Duelist looks like a solid creature, the lack of potential for it to have any evasion just turns me off a bit. It seems more defensive than offensive compared to the rest of the creatures we're choosing to play.
The reason is that with Stoic Angel, Murkfiend lets you swing with the entire army turn after turn. Without it, you'll be stuck with Angel and the creature you choose to untap. It also pumps Infiltrator, which may be the easiest way for this kind of deck to get damage through.

However, I do see that the effect not quite necessary and the 1 mana less that Wilt-Leaf is a pretty big deal.

Stop constructing your aggro deck around a clearly Control creature. Stoic should not be here.

Think about it this way. If you construct an Aggro deck that's good, but has the one-person-only attack system, it just means that you'll be able to handle the inevitable UGW Stoic Control matchups you see.

Doesn't mean Angel should be in your lists.

Again, Deft Duelist looks like a solid creature, the lack of potential for it to have any evasion just turns me off a bit. It seems more defensive than offensive compared to the rest of the creatures we're choosing to play.

First Strike -is- evasion. It's even better with Ajani.
Wait, Elspeth has two +1 abilities? I thought it was +1, -2, -8.

EDIT: Also, for any deck using a lot of small creatures (and this deck shouldn't be running Stoic Angel. To do so makes you a UGW Control deck that loses to the Mirror's Wraths and to Aggo for not having your own), Ajani is unparalleled. Ajani wins Aggro matchups immediately (all your guys effectively have evasion and prevent the opponent from racing), and allows you to stall out in much the same way as Elspeth against Control, only you can turn an empty board into a short clock with the -8.


Yup. Thats what makes her good. I do understand your argument for Ajani and agree that he is really good in Aggro against Aggro, but it seems to me that pumping with Ajani and then swinging with your dudes (in this deck) isnt efficent enough as you probably wouldn't have that many creatures out as WW would. With Elspeth, you'd be able to sit back an send a single flying lifelinked War Monk into the air each turn for 6-14 damage a turn (Elspeth + Rafiq) and have them on a clock with a comfortable defense. And while doing this, ramping up to her ultimate. Ajani's may win games from an empty board, but Elspeth's turns stalemates into a win.
Stop constructing your aggro deck around a clearly Control creature. Stoic should not be here.

Think about it this way. If you construct an Aggro deck that's good, but has the one-person-only attack system, it just means that you'll be able to handle the inevitable UGW Stoic Control matchups you see.

Doesn't mean Angel should be in your lists.

I'm realizing that. I was explaining my past logic to a previous poster.

First Strike -is- evasion.

I'm in no place to question you, but can you explain this? A first strike creature can be just as easily blocked as one that doesn't have first strike.
Hmmm. I wonder on a rules point with Elspeth; when you use her ultimate, does it make subsequently played permanents indestructible, or just the ones in play when she activates it? In the same way that Infest only affects the creatures in play when it resolves, subsequently played things are unaffected.

In any case, I still think Ajani is the more powerful option if you were to run a Planeswalker, but really I'm not sure this deck needs either.

EDIT: An explanation on why First Strike is (in an admittedly limited sense) evasion:

Evasion, fundamentally, is simply a way to avoid blocking. Trample is a form of evasion, because it maintains damage-dealing despite being blocked. Because of that, it means people are less likely to block the trampling creature at all (only if they can nullify all the damage and/or kill the trampling creature will they block). Thus the evasion works even better. (It also has the fringe benefit of forcing them to throw away their biggest creature if they are trying to soak up the damage, rather than 1/1 tokens or something, but i'll ignore that for now).

Similarly, Ajani's ability makes all your creatures 'evasive' because it removes the point of the opponent blocking by making your creatures slightly bigger than theirs with the pump. Consider the following (contrived and simplified for demonstration purposes only, the principle can be extrapolated) example:

WW v. Merfolk
In play, I have a Wizened Cenn (2/2), and two Goldmeadow Stalwart (3/3).

You control a Stonybrook Banneret (2/3), Silvergill Adept (3/2), and Merrow Reejerey (2/2).

I topdeck and play Ajani, activating his -1 Ability. I attack with my 3/3 Cenn and 4/4 Stalwarts with Vigilance. How do you block?

You can get rid of the Cenn by trading your Adept, but doing so won't kill either of the Stalwarts post-combat, and I still have Ajani.

You could throw out your Banneret and Reejerey as chumps but then you lose key parts to your engine, and my Stalwarts will both survive and hit for 4 or 5 each next turn.

You could double-block a Stalwart and block the Cenn, but by doing so you leave me not only with an untapped 3/3 after being hit for 4, but another hit coming on the following turn because I still have Ajani, plus whatever other gas is in my hand. Not to mention you now have an empty board.

You could also not block at all, and just take the 11 damage. Had I played a Cenn or Liege rather than Ajani, this may have been the optimal plan. You fall to 9, untap, chain out another Banneret, two Reejerey, and then suddenly you're alpha striking me for the win. But with Ajani, you can't even take the hit to leave me open because none of my guys are tapped down.

Basically, you're left in a situation where you can block everything, lose your board and then suffer a bigger swing the following turn; you can block some of my stuff and pull trades, but I'm still sitting on bigger dudes and Ajani and you can't keep it up forever because you are letting at least one creature go unblocked every turn; or you can take the whole hit, keep your board but are rendered incapable of striking back through my fat blockers and the situation will repeat the following turn.


Similarly, First Strike acts as evasion in the early game. Noone wants to put their 2/2 in front of it (except Blood Knight, but who attacks with a white 2/1 into that?) because it will just kill it and survive, and net them down a card and play, and up 2 life. Noone will consider that worthy so in the first few turns, before the fat gumpf hits the tables, First Strike is equivalent to evasion.
Well, for the rest of the game would indicate that all permanants regardless of when they were played would be indestructible. What would you have in her slot instead? Not sure where good card draw would fit though and Steel seems really redundant here. Maybe Colossus? Sygg for card draw?
Well, for the rest of the game would indicate that all permanants regardless of when they were played would be indestructible.

Yeah, that's my first instinct, but it could just mean "The permanents you currently control are indestructible for the rest of the game."
@MrIndigo: Good explanation. Understood

I'm working on the Angel-less list, but I won't be able to finish it for a few hours. I'll update the first post when I do finish. Thanks everyone for all the replies.
Hmmm, how about Battlegrace Angel in the Elspeth slot? Its a bit higher on the curve but she compliments Rafiq wonderfully turn 5 then turn 6 swing with her and she is a 6/6 double striker in the air. Not bad I'd say. Either that or card draw. Maybe primals?
@MrIndigo: Good explanation. Understood

Another, less useful way to think of it is:

"Whenever this creature attacks and isn't blocked, it's unblockable."

EDIT: Actually, Battlegrace Angel as a 2-of at the top of the curve, above 3 Raquis or something, that seems pretty good if you're going the midrange route. I could see that being workable.
One thing I think this deck should really need is CA, we have both Green AND Blue to get CA, someone prop up a list.

Top of my head:
Masked Admirers
Sower of Temptations
So I updated the opening post. Tell me what you think.

I did notice the mention of Battlegrace Angel as a 2-of. Should that go in over the Oversoul of Dusk I currently have sitting at the top of the curve?

I still have BoP in my list, and I feel it does make the deck run better. Since a few others are excluding them from their list, this is probably another thing we can discuss.

Sygg, River Cutthroat has been mentioned a few times. It sounds like a great idea, especially with Jhessian Infiltrator. Any more thoughts on this?
Sygg was actually one of my original CA ideas, but one card for 3 life loss didn't seem that well in the end compared with his cost...

I thought it was probably better to play Masked Admirers, DAMN YOU HARMONIZE WHY MUST YOU ROTATE OUT
Masked Admirers costs quite a bit more. I don't want to tie up 4 mana (and more after it hits the graveyard) a turn at sorcery speed for a single card draw.

Sygg is also starting to sound less like a good idea to me. 3 a turn should be very easily done. But then again, if we're able to do that, the extra few cards shouldn't be necessary to win the game. Maybe we just toss a couple of Tidings in just to fill up our hand when we run out of gas in the late game.....

We still only know about half the set. Maybe there's some new Ninja of the Deep Hours or Ohran Viper coming up.......
I'd probably go 2 Battlegrace, 2 Oversoul because both are absolute houses with Rafiq. If you had to choose one though...I'd probably go with Battlegrace since it also pumps your infiltrators.

On the CA for the deck...Tidings doesnt really appeal to me for this deck. Five mana is kinda up there...Sygg was only suggested because he is a 2 drop that doesnt cost mana for the ability and is a slight aggro roadblock, but I can see why not to run him. Yeah, Harmonize would have been perfect. Maybe that merfolk thing that has island walk? Could be possible...

EDIT: Maybe that new elf? Elvish Visionary?
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