Deck List Updates - EE7


Hey everyone! Here to provide some insight on some of the deck changes over the last few months. If you follow my spreadsheet you'll know that I test different things quite frequently, always trying to find the best list for the metagame. Since I track deck versions and all of the information is public, I receive a lot of messages and emails asking about things I am trying.

I don't answer these questions as I often don't have strong opinions or any opinion on what I'm testing at the time. I ask that everyone holds their questions until I release an article such as this one. If you absolutely cannot wait, sign up for a TES Tutoring Session and we can run through things one-on-one.

Deck Lists

What happened to the fourth Burning Wish?

BurningWish
The fourth copy of Burning Wish was originally cut as a way to test fourteen lands in the main deck. The alternatives were to cut the third Chrome Mox, but to me, that messes with your primary engine too much (Ad Nauseam) or remove the Empty the Warrens from the main deck. Which in my opinion, is a terrible idea as Empty the Warrens is very strong in the metagame (you'll read more on that in a bit) and without it, you lose a lot of games to not having a quick four mana line with Infernal Tutor. Anyway, so I threw away my fourth Burning Wish - who needs it anyway!I tested fourteen lands for a few weeks and ultimately I moved off of it (skip to this testing), at this point I tested the fourth copy of Cabal Therapy (seven discard spells total). Since this switch, my win percentage has been 4-5% higher than the other lists. I think the reason these lists are performing better is the metagame is very hostile at the moment to storm and the more early and quick interaction you have – the better. There just isn't time to Burning Wish for the sideboard discard spell in a lot of situations.

It's not that the fourth Burning Wish is bad, it's that metagames change and our deck list is very tight on space. Which I believe is something people often don't consider enough, an idea from three years ago might not have been great for that time, but it might work now. I'm rambling a bit at this point, but you'll see it tie in more below.

Where's Defense Grid?

Defense Grid
Cabal Therapy
Hymn to Tourach

You would think with Abrupt Decay not seeing a whole lot of play and Czech Pile/4c Control playing only two copies of Kolaghan's Command (which are often sideboarded out), that Defense Grid would be very good in the metagame. Surprise! It's not.

Control decks are currently packing lots of discard spells, in the form of Hymn to Tourach and Thoughtseize. This makes Defense Grid laughably bad at the moment, where Defense Grid shines is against Blue & White control decks which aren't seeing as much play at the moment (could always change).

There's also Tempo decks, where Defense Grid is great at stopping things like Stifle or Flusterstorm. The issue is, Stifle isn't nearly as popular as it was three months ago. Cabal Therapy has been trend the last few months as it's very strong when paired with Young Pyromancer. There's also the issue that Defense Grid isn't easy to resolve against the Wasteland and Daze decks.

Empty the Warrens in the Metagame

Empty The Warrens
Since the banning of Sensei's Divining Top (Immediately after the banning, I wrote this), Empty the Warrens has been at it's best in a very long time. It's pretty easy to understand why, creature sweepers are at an all-time low. There's also the fact that discard is very popular the moment (mentioned above) and Empty the Warrens needs less resources to combo off than other engines in the deck. With discard seeing more play, Stifle while still played, isn't as common or the standard as it once was also making this plan more appealing.In the last few months I've returned to a full compliment of Empty the Warrens in the seventy-five. But I think we should start off by explaining why I stopped, this plan is only as good as your opponent allows it to be. If they're prepared, it's very bad. The opponent can use counterspells to protect their copies of Stifle and/or Flusterstorm or even keep cards like Marsh Casualties or Golgari Charm on top of their deck. Making Goblin tokens feel very bad. Essentially, this plan is best with very few people being aware of it.

There are ways of countering these styles of play from your opponent though. The first would be a full set of Cabal Therapy in the main deck to pair with your Goblin tokens, this helps to ensure your tokens get to the table and then disrupts their hand even more. We weren't doing this the first time around. The second thing would be, use their plan against them. It's simple, if they're going to Force of Will a Duress to protect a Toxic Deluge, cast Ad Nauseam and then kill them.

"What!?! Ad Nauseam and three Empty the Warrens?!" Yeah, you read it right. I've been siding out an Infernal Tutor and a Burning Wish for the additional copies of Empty the Warrens. This help keeps the mana curve lower to the ground, but it also helps fight cards like Surgical Extraction. The EPIC Storm still has eleven pieces of artifact mana to help you win from Ad Nauseam, which is something to take comfort in. Also, when you do the math, the mana curve is still lower than Ad Nauseam Tendrils. I've ran this plan for awhile now and it's rock solid.

I'll have to reevaluate this plan in a few weeks to see how the metagame has adapted to it and then figure out if it's still worth it.

Green Splash & Mana Bases

Abrupt Decay
Bayou
Island

For those of you that are unaware, Counterbalance in Miracles has made a resurgence in the online metagame. Mainly thanks to the Mercadian Masques uncommon – Soothsaying. In testing against this list, Counterbalance was inconsistent and I was able to win through it in some of the games. As a counter measure, I attempted to play Abrupt Decay again. I use the word attempted, because after fifty or so matches, I decided to cut it again.

The reason was simple, the mana base is better off without it. On fourteen lands, there's no easy way to support Badlands, basic Island and then a green dual land. You end up with 2 fetch lands in your deck that can't search for a few of your lands, which is really awkward at times. I found a solution, don't play the basic Island. This would allow for a full set of Bloodstained Mires in the deck again and your fetch lands can search for everything.

The basic Island was sorely missed against decks like Grixis Delver, Lands and Death & Taxes. I'd rather have the consistency to win against several decks than one fringe deck that you're capable of winning through anyway. I'm willing to accept losing a match every fifty or so to a deck with Counterbalance if it means I can win five from having better mana.

While we're talking about consistency, let's talk about land counts! I did a lot of testing on thirteen versus fourteen lands in the last few months. I expected my average combo turn to increase, my mulligan percentage to decrease and I was very interested to look at the win percentage. What I found was nothing changed.

The results were all very similar. This is what caused me to put the seventh discard spell back in the main deck, if the number of lands isn't impactful and neither was seven or eight "Tutor effects" then I should try something different. This has given me my most successful configuration yet (I'm sure Jim Baxter would agree at this point!).

Cards I've tested recently

Wipe Away
Night's Whisper
Consign / Oblivion

Echoing Truth vs Perilous Voyage

Echoing Truth
Chain Of Vapor
Perilous Voyage

For those of us who play Grixis Storm, this has been a hot topic. I don't believe the answer is one or the other, but both. I plan on testing two copies of Perilous Voyage along side a pair of Echoing Truth. This would mean no more Chain of Vapor, which is slightly worse against Taxing effects but you gain some consistency from the scry effect.

"Why not just run one over the other?" Because Perilous Voyage does something very unique, it's removal that then provides card quality. This is important because in most matches where you're bringing in Echoing Truth, you side out Ponder. Perilous Voyage would be making up for some of that consistency loss. There's a few issues with Perilous Voyage though, the first being that it doesn't answer multiple hate pieces which is actually relevant and the second being that it's difficult to become hellbent with. There's a clause with Perilous Voyage that you can only target your opponent's permanents, meaning that unlike with previous bounce spells, you can't play out artifact mana and then return them to your hand to help you become hellbent.

A card like Hurkyl’s Recall could be played over Echoing Truth to answer multiple hate pieces, but the issue I see with Hurkyl’s Recall in today's metagame is that it's too narrow. I need this slot to be effective against more than a few decks, I often bring in Echoing Truth against Death and Taxes or even Turbo Depths on top of all of the Chalice of the Void type decks.

Wrap-up

While I didn't perform incredibly well at Eternal Extravaganza VII – Jim Baxter did (finishing in the top 8)! Congrats Jim!

With the deck list above, I've had a lot of success between paper and online Magic with a win percentage of 67%. I even won a 2k event a few weeks ago. I'm likely to stay on this list until Perilous Voyage is legal, then I'll need to reevaluate sideboard space.

As for the website, over the next few weeks I'll do my best to update the sideboarding guide as well as other materials.

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Sideboarding Guide

A guide for sideboarding against each Legacy archetype – explaining what to take out and bring in against those decks. Keep in mind that this is a rough tutorial and sometimes straying from these instructions… Read More »