Given the successful results of the efforts made in the R/x Aggro thread (who was basically a think-tank thread more than a thread discussing a specific decklist) in coming up with lists strongly resemblant of Demi Red (later becoming the most successful RDW variant) I decided to make a similar think-tank thread about Tokens variants.
I was mostly attracted by this because the circumstances resemble exactly what happened with RDW: there is obvious potential in the cardpool, but the meta seems unforgiving to non-optimized variants of this deck.
It would be interesting then to analyze the reasons of these difficulties and overcome them coming out with something really solid, like we did with Demi Red.
-----------------------TOKENS: HISTORICAL AND PHILOSOPHICAL REVIEW---------------
Tokens decks were born with Lorwyn, when boggarts promoted a new "infestation" mentality for RB decks as opposed to the classic burn/disruption based approach.
Later, as the meta evolved, it departed more and more from the original boggart tribal theme and proved strong in a metagame of mostly tempo and midrange decks, where your pace in laying threats on the table became more important than your capability of removing said threats.
The core philosophy of Tokens decks was to place a superior quantity of threats on the table, and then recover the quality disadvantage with effects that made numbers matter (Grave Pact, Nantuko Husk, and such). It was effectively a midrange deck that played a pack of little critters rather than one single, big fat.
While this philosophy proved deadly effective against UB Fae and UW Folk, as well as against other midrange decks (Elf Rock, Doran Rock) it suffeed a lot from mass sweepers. While Tokens had some representatives at the Pro Tour Hollywood (Nassif-All-Critters, Stu pact, and others) they still weren't a dominating force in the meta.
To solve its weakness to the rare control decks in the format, two road has mainly been tried.
One has its result in William Cavaglieri's Torrent-Tokens which played 16 highly disruptive cards between MD and SB (Thoughtseize, Magus of The Moon, Fulminator Mage, Avalanche Riders) 12 of whom were effectively doubled thanks to Torrent of Soul's presence.
The other path has been tried with a Giant-tribal variant in Lorwyn/Shadowmoor Block Constructed, with Furystokens, a deck capable of refilling a just Wrath-ed field with a single card.
With the rotation of TSP, the deck lost a few cards, but gained others which seems obviously synergic with the basic concept. Hence why the concerted efforts to traslate Tokens in the new Lor-Sha-Ala metagame, even if we still have to figure out the optimal suits and even the main colors.
As for my previous archetype thread, I don't list cards by card types, nor by cost. I rather group them for the use they have in the deck. Many of those cards do, however, have multiple purposes, and will be therefore listed in more than one sblock. Here I'll also list things that are not necessarily linked to the concept of the deck, but could nonetheless end in the deck as they are fairly solid.
Also, given that curving is somehow important, you will nonetheless get a final sblock where I list cards by cost.
Rhys, the Redeemed : while somewhat clunky, it's still a 1-drop that your opponent will be forced to deal with, sooner or later.
Bitterblossom : strongest fabric in the format, and the main reason to go with Black in the first place. A bit easier to remove in this multicolor metagame than it was in the past, but still extremely solid.
Dragon Fodder : not the old Mogg War Marshal, but has the virtue of being fast at placing blockers on your side.
Necrogenesis : conditional, but a card to keep in mind in case a graveyard-based deck arises.
Goblin Assault : resilient vs Control, but crumbles to a single blocker. Has potential, but it's risky as it negates you options.
Sprouting Thrinax : insane, and the main reason to go Green. Stalls attackers, sanctions removals, and if he doesn't have anything else to do, it goes for the beats.
Spectral Procession : the main reason to go White. This and thrinax are the best 3-drops for the deck but their manacosts fight one with the other. Still, great CA, great post Wrath (or anything similar), great to stall aggro, great in general. The manacost is the only excuse for not playing this.
Marsh Flitter : like Fodder, her main virtues lies in how fast she is to get into gear. Pay mana, get tokens, period. She is also incredibly splash-friendly and allows some weird trick when blocking.
Hunting Triad : not very interesting, but can end up in your deck either for color reasons or to follow a tribal theme.
Elspeth, Knight-Errant : sort of a worse Bitterblossom for most of the games until it eventually her last effect trigger and things gets ridicolous. Definitely worth consideration, especially if White is your main color.
Ajani Goldmane : as a fabric, this guy sucks. You'll get a tokens from him in, like, 1 games out of 20. However, if you are playing him, it's not certainly for the King Leonidas token.
Garruk Wildspeaker : requires an heavy commitment in Green, but he's generally reliable and flexible, much like Elspeth, and can make a grand finale for you.
Sarkhan Vol : generally he makes tokens much more rarely than his fellow 'walkers, but doesn't matter since you're not playing him from the token production.
Creakwood Liege : kinda the the opposing philosophy of Fodder and Flitter - does nothing immediately, but becomes increasingly broken in the long term. It stresses both the deck's strong suit and weak suit, so it's a very risky call.
Mycoloth : same concept as liege, except ten times as risky. Card disadvantage if he's killed immediately.
Knight-Captain of Eos : a way too narrow effect for a maindeck card, but it's an eventual option to break Aggro mirrors. His best trait is that if the opponent sees him, it will fire even a Flame Javelin at him because it can prevent even 10 demigod damage.
Siege-Gang Commander : if your curve hits 5 mana, this is the best fabric you could be playing. has synergy with an absurd number of cards and enables broken plays. In some rare cases he also casts removals. Needless to say, great to play post Wrath.
Cloudgoat Ranger : White's idea of a mildly worse Siege-Gang Commander. Not to overlook.
Broodmate Dragon : I discourage reaching 3 with the curve, but if you do, you do for this guy.
Rise of the Hobgoblins : while it pales in comparison to some other options, it still gives you more tokens than anything else in a late-late-late game. This can be an advantage in some instances, like endless mirror matches.
Nantuko Husk : incredibly synergic with Sarkhan Vol and Grave Pact, but needs tokens on the field to do anything. A lot weaker than in the past, in this age of mass sweepers.
Grixis Charm : cheap and flexible, but it would be the only reason to go Blue, which is a huge, huge Con.
Sarkhan Vol : another good reason to go Green. Fires of Yavimaya + tokens = good. Just remember to leave a blocker for him, but then again, this applies to all walkers.
Garruk Wildspeaker : chosing between the tokens and overrun is annoying, but overrun effects are always good.
Elspeth, Knight-Errant : she often pumps a single one, or makes all invincible; I don't see her ultimate trigger too often, but it's very painful for control. Then again, control decks should be able to remove walkers without attacking into them.
Ajani Goldmane : defensively speaking, the best pumper around. His effect is also cumulative, making it an effective "good game, mate" if not solved immediately. The problem is that without tokens on the fields it does just nothing, unlike all the other cards in the list.
Creakwood Liege : pumps some things, namely faerie tokens, flitter and her tokens, saproling tokens, thrinax, and of course... other lieges in your deck. The drawback is that you have to run a slow fabric like him.
Furystoke Giant : as a pumper effect, not so great as it's temporary. But he has other applications that make him worth a thought.
Torrent of Souls : once a staple, less so today. Pro1: faster than any other pumper at turning tokens into damage; pro2: if you don't have tokens, he brings back a token-fabric into play. Con1: costs five; con2: forces you to run at least 18 creatures no matter what.
Profane Command : does a lot of things, but does them damn slowly. Worth a consideration, though.
Ranger of Eos : he doesn't really "recur" your guys, but if you are playing certain creatures (Figure, Fanatic, Forge-Tender) he does essentially the same thing. Interesting, although it demands a certain commitment in deckbuilding.
Reveillark : very strong with some cards, namely Knight-Captain, Siege-Gang, Figure of Destiny. Like Ranger, it's very powerful if you tune your deck for it.
Torrent of Souls : if you play recursion, this is probably the best option due to the added effects, although Lark beats this as far as just recursion goes.
Vexing Shusher : like Guttural, but more vulnerable to removals. It's essentially worse than Guttural vs Control, and better vs Tempo. Also, recurrable with Lark and has been Lark's buddy in the past season.
Tidehollow Sculler : like Thoughtseize, good vs Tempo decks, but will often just die vs Control decks. Larkable, but you'd prefer it not to die anyway.
Runed Halo : stops Demigod of Revenge and man-lands, but it's underwhelming in many other applications.
Oblivion Ring : slow but terribly versatile. Very appealing if you are in White, especially since the deck has not many other ways to remove artifacts and enchantments.
Fulminator Mage : strong, but needs other land-destruction effects to be paired with. Can't reliably destroy lands all alone. He's also not good if you cannot recur him with, say, Lark or Torrent.
Grixis Charm : same thing we said before - cheap and versatile, but forces you to Blue all alone. Your choice to make.
Naya Charm : not really much interesting except for the "tap all" effect. Perhaps it will win games?
Murderous Redcap : used to be much, much better in the past metagame, but he's still worth a mention. Also: Larkable guy.
Sarkhan Vol : "threaten" is not technically removal if you don't run a sac-engine (with Husk being currently the only candidate) but comes handy sometimes. Besides, this guy is at the same time a pump effect, a token fabric and an occasional utility spell. What do you ask more than this?
Grave Pact : while it allows you to wrath the other side of the table, it requires a heavy Black committment and tokens on the field, to work. An hard choice to take, as he can literally win you games that you would otherwise lose, or sit in your hand doing nothing.
Furystoke Giant : Red's idea of a Grave Pact. Has just the same virtues and the same problems, but a different mana cost.
Caldera Hellion : a Wrath that leaves a body, but also a Wrath that costs 5 and doesn't kill everything. It's woth it? Time will tell.
Shriekmaw : crazy with Torrent, but a bit outdated now that he hits a lot less creatures in Standard than it did. It can't thouch Oona, Demigod, Gouger, Colossus, and artifact creatures.
Spitebellows : see Shriekmaw, except this kills a lot more things but costs more.
Primal Command : can be heavy lifegain, land destruction, creature tutor, and such. Usually you don't need these things, but it's always good to know it's out there.
Profane Command : as previously said, it's powerful (as a recursion tool just like as a removal) but quite costy.
Birds of Paradise , Llanowar Elves and mana accel in general: useful if you want to run a "Fires"-like variant, or if you want to set Green as the main color to speed the deck up. Garruk also helps, and VERY occasionally Imperious Perfect could pump Llanowar Elves.
Figure of Destiny : demands a committment in RW and rewards you with one of the best creatures in T2.
Arguably the defining force of the new meta, neo-control decks play a combination of cheap beaters used to block, 5+ mass sweepers, varied disruption and some draw engine and lastly a variety of the best cards in the played colors.
These decks include Stoic Control, artifact decks (often Tezzeret-centric), post-rotation Lark but, first and foremost, Quick’n’Toast.
Due to the combination of its typical elements, Neo-Control can be a real pain for Tokens deck if not designed and playing optimally; luckily the matchup can be stressed to the point of being mildly favorable.
The golden rule is that both your playstyle and your build should allow you to force the player to waste one of his answers for just one of your cards. As soon as you don’t overextend you will force them to play an answer each turn without advancing their gameplan or drawing cards, until they run out of fuel and you win.
To put it shortly, against these decks anything that can win the game on his own is recommended, especially if it needs special, specific answers to be deal with.
Matchups with Aggro vary a lot from deck to deck, but the core principle is always the same. Keep enough tokens on the field to stall them and attack with all the tokens that you don’t need to keep untapped to block a creature the following turn.
From White Weenie to burn-based Sligh the rule to follow is always the same – keep blockers, attack with others; the speed at which this happens depends on the particular Aggro you face. Of course anything that plays favourably into this strategy (like Ajani or Knight-Captain) is worth considering, and so is Grave Pact for obvious reasons, assuming you can pay its mana.
A noteworthy different Aggro matchup is Demi Red. It is fast enough, and has access to a sudden “Ops, I win” topdeck that can screw a carefully planned game where you fought hard to live until the lethal double/triple Demigod. Of course having the White removal that deals exactly with Demigod (Ring, Halo, Unmake) is the best you can hope, otherwise the next best thing is having something in the air that can rival Demigod itself (blossom tokens, dragon tokens, whatever). The point is that you must play the whole game expecting Demi to come out of nowhere.
Currently we don’t have combo decks on the horizon, but Midrange decks (even an unconventional one like this) have a traditionally bad matchup against Combo since the dawn of times. It’s necessary to warn you that the eventual presence of a strong combo decks in the future WON’T be good news for Tokens, and probably demand heavy disruption in the SB.
Very much like Control, you aim at exhausting their answers. The difference is that you’re a lot more favored here as this deck was actually born to feast on Tempo decks like UB Fae or UW Folk. They have less answers than control, and more specific one – thus usually even 3 tokens on the field will create a chain reaction of problems that will be hard to solve, and lure them into many misplays.
The only important thing is that against Tempo speed is a lot more important, and therefore a costy must-answer threat (like, say, Demigod of Revenge) is less optimal than a “fake” threat, meaning a card that just eliminates an answer (Thoughtseize) as the latter traditionally cost less, and thus grant you a better pace.
At the moment, however, Tempo is virtually absent from the metagame and, as of such, you should prioritise tuning your build against Control.
The way to deal with these decks, such as Tokens itself, Elf Rock, Doran Rock or the new Mana Ramp with White, resembles Aggro a lot, with a few differences.
The positive part is that Midrange develops its offensive in a way slower fashion than Aggro, and thus your counter-strategy of stalling until you strike back is naturally favored.
The negative part is that Midrange decks are sometimes capable of tricky plays that you’d never see vs Aggro, like Doran/Thoctar + Infest/Firespout (very detrimental as it negates every defense for at least a turn), “mass fear” with Profane Command to everyone and alpha strike for the kill, and such. Most of these backbreaking play can be neutered with experience against these decks.
Sometimes however there are just big, bad problems. An Ajani on the opposite side of the table for instance, is a real pain. Even more painful is the dreaded Loxodon Warhammer, which can prove a devastating SB against us for just any Midrange deck (mirror match included). These kinds of permanents are really bad for this deck and, in this case, decks effectively prepared to deal with those specifically (with O-Ring or eventually Needle) have a way better chance of not crumbling to a simple, sad Lox Hammer.
Comment to the card Nurturer Initiate: [QUOTE=phaseshifter;15594671]She can suck as much as she wants, she's hot
Edit:.....wow, I just realised what I just said...[/QUOTE] --------- [QUOTE=reedbee]I can't count on both hands the number of times I've woken up next to a gorgeous girl after she came up to me and asked to get a better look at my Wumpus.[/QUOTE] ---- [QUOTE=Beanman1000;17774354]Naw man, you just walk around with a messenger bag with a trade binder and some decks, then use amazing magic pick up lines like "Hey baby, I'd tap that" and "Hey honey, wanna see me use giant growth?"[/QUOTE] ---- [QUOTE=Dr_Kraid;18066052]I want to be banned for laying my ween0r on my opponent's deck and posting pictures on the Internet [/QUOTE] ---- On Master Transmuter: [QUOTE=namdoolb;18132994]Nah, I'd rather send her packing on my flame javelin .[/QUOTE] ---- [QUOTE=Caldera42;14735749]And I'm not a jerk to myself.[/QUOTE] [QUOTE=Islands;14771286]You're missing out.[/QUOTE] ---- [QUOTE=Axl_Strife;17032267]I'm Matt Gottlieb b*tch! *banhammer*[/QUOTE]
Moral of the story... Serra is the kind of angel you marry... She's very loyal and always there for you both to attack or block. BSA... Well, she's the kind you call up every now and then to do all those things Serra won't do on some random Friday night.
Well heres my current decklist. I tried Sarkhan but he seemed rather ineffective to me. I think mycoloth is extremely under rated mostly because I havnt seen terror being played in weeks. You get a huge beater (in this deck usually a 10/10+) that can make 7 saprolings a turn, assuming hes a 10/10 which isnt hard for this deck. This followed by a furystroke is auto GG.
So far its been pretty consistant. Sprouting Thrinax is amazing, and hes my favorite Bone Splinters target, which has also been working well it seems. I wish instead of Nantuko Husk I could fill that spot with another token producer...but I cant think of anything.
1.) This thread is for discussion of tokens as a whole, correct? Because last time we had at least three competitive decklists being discussed, interspersed with other people trying to get comments on their FNM decklists, and everyone (including me) was running around selfishly only trying to promote, test and comment on their own build, and it was close to chaos. Maybe, what I meant by the question is, what should be done to prevent this? Should, or can we make individual threads for each attempt, since they're so widely different? Or would that just be bad?
2.) Okay, I guess all my questions are in question #1. Sorry about that.
Umm, so I don't really frequent these forums any more, but I do blog for my website Greatplay.net.
Also, continuing conversation over from the previous thread:
Because I wanted to make sure it is perfected before I post it. With my yesterday testings, however, I'd say it is.
Will we, or I, be able to see the manabase at any time? I won't be able to make anything more than vague statements based on what I'm guessing until I can test the list, and I can't test the list until I see the manabase.
If it's like some super secret tech secret for States or Uncon, I understand.
First off, Furystoke and Torrent are not similar cards. The only points they have in common are the cost and the fact that that they net 2 more damage per tokens in the final stages of the game, but apart from that, they do completely different things.
Well, that one similarity was why I was lumping them together. They're both mainly blowouts against aggro and mid-range, but not against QnT; Furystoke definitely more-so than Torrent.
I see a great argument for Torrent (the whole Torrent back SCG or Thrinax) so I'm in agreement with you on that. However, Furystoke really needs to get benched in the board.
Essentially I disliked the fact that the original Furystoken (BLOCK) build has two 2cc removals (Maw and Inversion) while I would be playing two 3cc removals (Bello and Ring), so I tried to lower the curve with Halo. But things probably won't stay this way.
While Halo seems useful, Oblivion Ring seems more useful in many more scenarios, from everything to killing an Oona to destroying Bitterblossom to smashing Sarkhan in the mirror.
The point is that we have various cards rewarding you for having tokens - Pact, Giant, Torrent, Husk, Ajani, Vol. Out of all these, however, I chose Torrent and Vol because they actually restock you if you don't have tokens. All the other cards rely on you having tokens instead, and do nothign if you don't; that's why I run as less as possible.
Arguably Sarkhan won't protect himself with extreme adequacy, but I agree that Torrent and Sarkhan (but not Furystoke, which I note is actually omitted from your list) are the best choices.
I know, but I found a bit disturbing to make a token deck leaving the best token cards home. And once you splash B and G, Figure is a lot less affordable.
I don't recommend you run Figure, of course, I just want you to know what you're missing. I definitely am aware of the many merits your deck has that my/Karthage's build is missing, though.
I look forward to testing your list soon.
Umm, so I don't really frequent these forums any more, but I do blog for my website Greatplay.net.