Tag Archives: standard

Brewing with Blossoms

Recently I was bitten by the Eidolon of Blossoms bug, and found myself idly thinking about how to build around it in Standard. I then was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to play with it in Draft. Lets just say that didn’t help this condition, even with the amount of support my deck had for it. Today, I’d like to go through the process of building a deck around Eidolon of Blossoms and try to reach its full potential.

4 Eidolon of Blossoms
4 Courser of Kruphix

This seems like the default core of any Eidolon deck. Beyond the obvious synergy of Courser triggering Eidolon, Courser also filters lands off the top of the deck, helping ensure the Eidolon continually draws into impactful cards.

Sticking with just Green for now, let’s examine what the deck wants. Some early game ramp is probably desired (Elvish Mystic, Sylvan Caryatid), along with some more Enchantments to trigger Eidolon (Boon Satyr, Nylea). Finally, the deck would like some decent finishers so you actually have a way to win the game after drawing a million cards (Polukranos, Primeval Bounty). With all this, the first iteration of the deck looks like this:

4 Elvish Mystic
4 Sylvan Caryatid
4 Voyaging Satyr
4 Scavenging Ooze
4 Boon Satyr
4 Courser of Kruphix
4 Eidolon of Blossoms
4 Polukranos, World Eater
1 Nylea, God of the Hunt
1 Primeval Bounty
3 Setessan Tactics
23 Forest

At this point, it seems obvious that the deck is sharing some similarities with the Mono-Green Devotion variants that exist out there. The deck already contains Voyaging Satyr, Nylea and Polukranos. Perhaps we should encourage the Devotion aspect while using Eidolon as a value card. This will involve a few changes (Kalonian Tusker, Garruk, Nykthos).

4 Elvish Mystic
4 Voyaging Satyr
2 Sylvan Caryatid
4 Kalonian Tusker
3 Boon Satyr
4 Courser of Kruphix
4 Eidolon of Blossoms
4 Polukranos, World Eater
2 Nylea, God of the Hunt
2 Garruk, Caller of Beasts
1 Hydra Broodmaster
3 Setessan Tactics
19 Forest
4 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx

Ultimately though, the problem with a mono-Green build comes down to consistency issues. The green devotion builds are fairly prone to drawing too much mana with nothing to do with it, or opening hands with too many high-end cards that are forced mulligans. On top of this, Lifebane Zombie is a card that poses massive problems for green decks, and it usually comes with it’s friend Thoughtseize.

Splashing a colour to give the deck a bit more game seems like a great idea. Doing so will also allow the deck to play some temples, helping to improve draws, as well as interacting nicely with Courser. Let’s return to the four-of Courser and Eidolon shell.

If you can’t beat them, join them, right? Black offers a very appealing set of cards for this deck. It provides access to a very nice disruption package in Thoughtseize + Hero’s Downfall, and the deck also gets to run Brain Maggot as additional disruption that plays nicely with Eidolon. Herald of Torment is also an excellent enchantment creature that can help push through damage, even if bestowed on something like a Courser of Kruphix. Courser even helps mitigate the life loss!  Black even gives the deck the option of Doomwake Giant, which could be a very effective card against Elspeth, and Pharika, who makes enchantment tokens.

4 Elvish Mystic
4 Sylvan Caryatid
3 Brain Maggot
3 Herald of Torment
4 Courser of Kruphix
4 Eidolon of Blossoms
3 Polukranos, World Eater
1 Pharika, God of Affliction
4 Thoughtseize
3 Abrupt Decay
4 Hero’s Downfall
4 Temple of Malady
4 Overgrown Tomb
7 Forest
5 Swamp
3 Mutavault

Odd numbering is due to testing a new deck. Doomwake Giant was excluded in this build, although it might just be really awesome with Pharika, and it’s possible the deck should lean more in that direction. The sideboard for this deck also seems really good, and would include hits like Golgari Charm, Bow of Nylea, and Mistcutter Hydra. A single Whip also seems like it could be reasonable in this build.

What if we were to go maximum greed, however? White provides a sweet removal spell in Banishing light that also happens to be an enchantment, and allows the deck to use Elspeth as a top end win condition.

4 Sylvan Caryatid
2 Loxodon Smiter
4 Courser of Kruphix
4 Eidolon of Blossoms
3 Polukranos, World Eater
2 Archangel of Thune
2 Ajani, Mentor of Heroes
3 Elspeth, Sun’s Champion
4 Thoughtseize
3 Abrupt Decay
4 Hero’s Downfall
2 Banishing Light
4 Temple of Plenty
4 Temple of Malady
2 Temple of Silence
2 Overgrown Tomb
2 Godless Shrine
6 Forest
3 Swamp

This is easily the most midrange (and the most greedy) of the versions we have, and the one most pulling away from the Eidolon plan. It seems very likely to me that this deck wants Underworld Connections as its card advantage source instead, freeing up more slots for game-winning threats. A straight Green/White version of this deck might exist, but I feel like that’s basically worse then just playing Hexproof and killing people (Unflinching Courage is pretty good).

Ultimately, the Green/Black version looks like the most interesting to me. The Eidolon offsets the 1-for-1 nature of cards like Thoughtseize and Hero’s Downfall, allowing you to get ahead and force through damage with cards like Herald and Polukranos. The deck also has enough interaction with spot removal spells, and the sideboard should be capable of handling anything other decks can throw at it. I’m genuinely excited to actually try building that list and see how it plays.

While this was a fun foray into Constructed, I feel like talking some more Limited! Journey into Nyx has had plenty of time to show it’s influence on the format, so in the coming weeks, I’ll be talking about those changes, reviewing my initial impressions from the preview season, and showcasing the most fun decks I’ve played in the format so far.

Until then,

Random

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Devoted To Xenagos

Unfortunately, our last FNM didn’t have an appropriate number for draft, so we ended up doing a 12 person pod. Sorta clunky, but no big deal. I ended up opening a Xenagos, God of Revels, and forced Red-Green despite the person to my right also being in red/green. That’s some real devotion.

Xenagos, God of Revels

And you thought he was good in Constructed…

I ended up with the following decklist:

1x Sedge Scorpion
2x Spearpoint Oread
2x Kragma Butcher
1x Minotaur Skullcleaver
1x Noble Quarry
2x Nylea’s Disciple
1x Nylea’s Emissary
1x Ill-Tempered Cyclops
1x Cyclops of One-Eyed Pass
1x Fanatic of Mogis
1x Snake of the Golden Grove
1x Nemesis of Mortals
1x Vulpine Goliath
1x Coordinated Assault
1x Dragon Mantle
1x Mortal’s Resolve
3x Time to Feed
8x Mountain
9x Forest

My sideboard had some interesting cuts, including a Titan’s Strength and a second Dragon Mantle. I was expecting to pick up some Satyr Hedonists in the Theros packs, but unfortunately the person to my right ended up picking two, maybe three of them. One mistake I made in the drafting was picking the Fanatic of Mogis over a Voyaging Satyr. I was aware I needed the two drop acceleration, but overestimated the number of red mana symbols I had at that point (I ended up being heavier green). Overall, the deck was somewhat clunky, but I was happy with it.

I was fortunate enough to draw Xenagos at least once in all for matches, and the guy is completely and totally insane. There were a number of cool interactions with the creatures here, including Kragma Butcher getting a higher pump, Noble Quarry becoming a death machine, and Cyclops of One-Eyed Pass becoming a legitimately scary threat. I also managed to get the achievement of curving Xenagos into Vulpine Goliath, but my favorite play probably goes to bestowing Noble Quarry on the Sedge Scorpion to remove both blockers in play.

So after being bitten my the Xenagos bug, I’ve decided to take him out for a spin in Standard. Not to mention I still haven’t decided on what I’ll be playing at GP Melbourne. That in mind, I’ve taken a basic G/R Monsters list and tweaked it slightly to my liking:

4x Elvish Mystic
4x Sylvan Caryatid
4x Courser of Kruphix
4x Ghor-Clan Rampager
3x Polukranos, World Eater
4x Stormbreath Dragon
2x Xenagos, God of Revels
1x Flesh//Blood
3x Mizzium Mortars
4x Domri Rade
2x Chandra, Pyromaster
1x Xenagos, the Reveler
10x Forest
5x Mountain
1x Mutavault
4x Stomping Ground
4x Temple of Abandon

The interaction between Courser of Kruphix and Domri is something I’ve been keen to try since the card was spoiled, so I’m very much looking forward to that. Outside of that, this is a pretty typical “play dudes and hit them” style of deck, which I’m a fan of. I’ve always been a fan of these styles of decks, as I find presenting the threats is harder to get wrong then needing the specific answer in hand. While I think this deck might be a little soft to a Pack Rat, I’m definitely keen to see how this goes.

While obviously others have far more experience with the deck then me, I thought I’d go over my tweaks compared to a “stock” GR list:

23 vs 24 land: Most of the lists I’ve looked at have 23 lands, which seems pretty loose for a deck that wants to hit 4 and 5 mana as soon as possible. While Courser could make this a little smoother, some lists might not even have him, as we’ll get to below.
Mutavault: On top of that, I’ve been seeing two Mutavaults as the standard. While I definitely want at least one to make Xenagos God better post verdict, I’m hesistant to go to two for the time being, although that might be right.
More Forests: The major change I’ve made is the addition of more basic Forest. You want to get your engine online as quickly as possible with turn one Elf into one of your 3-drops, and more untapped green sources help facilitate that. Beyond that, I’d rather have a smoother early game between Mystic, Caryatid, and Courser then draw too many Mountains. In the end, most of my manabase changes resolve around being more conservative, though it’s definitely possible it could be pushed further.
Fanatic vs. Courser: The “second 3-drop” besides Domri is a clash between these Fanatic of Xenagos and Courser. I’ve seen Fanatic used in a few playtest videos around the internet, and it doesn’t seem too impressive. I’d rather generated some pseudo-card advantage against other creature decks in order to get ahead.
Chandra vs. Xenagos: I normally see Xenagos as the 4-drop ‘walker of choice. While I understand he makes a Desecration Demon really sad, I think I’d prefer to have a Chandra in play. Her +1 allows you to push through damage and close out a game, and her 0 ability also has excellent synergy with Courser of Kruphix. I’m still keeping in Xenagos in order to test both, however.
1 or 2 God Xenagos: Most people seem to be playing conservative and only bringing 1 Xenagos to the party. However, from both my own experience and playtesting videos, Xenagos is absurdly powerful and you definitely want to increase your chances of drawing one. Besides, stuff like Detention Sphere and Revoke Existence exist. To this end, one Polukranos was cut in favor of Xenagos two, but that might jsut be wrong (also, I don’t have a complete playset of Polukranos).

I haven’t yet finalized a sideboard, but I expect it’ll be fairly stock (Unravel the AEther, Plummet, etc).

That’s all for now. This article style was a little different, so I hope it was enjoyable. With any luck, I’ll draft a decent deck tonight and be able to break it down for the blog.

Until next time, Random.