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Eldritch Moon Updates and Modifications

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Hello, folks! Welcome back to all things Eldritch Moon. Hey look, we all do it. After a new set’s full spoiler, or actual release occurs, we look over the various cards and figure out what we are going to do with all of this. What decks see cards in here as useful additions to what they are already doing?

And, now that the cards from the set have reached our actual hands, the “what if?” becomes a reality.

So, I want to do just that. My goal is to grab cards for my various decks, Cube, projects, and more. Now, if other cards play well, they can certainly play their way into these decks. And the opposite is true. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m expecting the mana-flip Werewolves in this set to be really good at the kitchen table (especially as you can flip them at instant speed, during combat, or at the end of another person’s turn when you have mana left). But what if guys like Smoldering Werewolf or Tangleclaw Werewolf don’t play as well as I expect them to?

Obviously, I need to ready to yank them. Meanwhile, I need to be aware of a card like Campaign of Vengeance that might play better than I expect it to. Decks are organic, and rarely locked. There’s always something out there to tie into.

That’s the beauty of this game, right?

So let’s tie into that, shall we?

Commander Cube

By now it’s probably no secret that I have a Commander Cube. It’s currently at 1036 cards. Most of the time, I have to pull something else out if I want to add something.You can check it out over at CubeTutor.com. (I’d recommend drafting 6 packs of 15 cards each. You can set that when you go to draft).

There are a few cards in Eldritch Moon that are very enticing. What will be an automatic cut and swap

In Blessed Alliance; Out Wing Shards

Blessed Alliance
Wing Shards

I like Blessed Alliance as a potential replacement for Wing Shards. It’s very rare you get the Storm of Wing Shards to fire off. Even when you do, you aren’t guaranteed to get real cards. Most of the time this is a 3-mana, attacker-specific Diabolic Edict. Blessed Alliance will be that at two mana, not three. And splashable to boot. And you can also invest mana for untapping creatures or gaining life if you need to and/or have the extra mana. That trilogy of options is more flexible that the Shards, and it's rare that the Storm of Wing Shards works as well as I want in my White builds. So Blessed Alliance it is!

In Stromkirk Occultist; Out Manic Vandal

Stromkirk Occultist
Manic Vandal

I was looking at pulling out Prophetic Flamespeaker, but there’s something to be said for the double strike of the Flamespeaker combined with that trample. On the other hand, the Manic Vandal is certainly playable, but we have better artifact hate on Red creatures (like Viashino Heretic or Batterhorn already there). This is another slight upgrade with a better beater and a stronger long game. From Boros Aggro Beats to Izzet Control (which really wants the card advantage) to Gruul ramp, the Occultist is a better fit in most of my archetypes.

Consider the following other options:

Docent of Perfection — It's a 5/4 flyer for 5 mana, so you get a beater up front. The ability to churn out Wizards works in both my Azami, Lady of Scrolls Mono-Blue deck and my Izzet sorcery/instant matters deck. So it fits nicely, and it's decently sized to boot.

Cryptolith Fragment — I’m thinking about just tossing this into my Cube wholesale. We could use the additional mana making.

Is Emrakul's Evangel better than Loaming Shaman for this deck? Both are 3/2s for 3 mana, and both have some usefulness as slippery adjuncts to various strategies. The Shaman is both a bit of a foe against reanimation but also can be used to reload some goods for you. Plus, it works with the Bant Blink shell. Our good Centaur is a founding member of the Cube, and has been one of the few cards to stand the test of time, never getting pulled, despite how much you might think it. The Loaming Shaman is one of the durable survivors of my Cube. But is the Evangel a better choice? Do I have more of a need for another sacrifice outlet in my Gogari, Gruul, and Jund sacrifice builds?

Hanweir Battlements — I currently run the better Flamekin Village as it taps for Red and makes the hasting for a Red + tap activation. Plus it can come into play untapped rarely but occasionally. It’s the better card, usually. But if I can find space for Hanweir Garrison, which is a perfectly fine card on its own, I think that’d be a fun combo to try and find!

Can I build a deck around Ishkanah, Grafwidow as a useful variant to my current Golgari stuff? I want all of my legendary creatures that have multiple colors to suggest certain builds. That way if you draft Rafiq of the Many or Jor Kadeen, the Prevailer you won’t be disappointed by the lack of support. Is there support for Iskanah? I’m not sold. But our good Spider leader certainly seems to be fun!

All right, bye Cube stuff!

Pox

Smallpox

As a few of you might recall, I adore Pox as a deck for Legacy. In fact I talked a lot about how Vessel of Malignity might be a great addition to that deck as Shadows over Innistrad was released. (It is — I like it as a nice two-of option in certain metagames) I love me the Poxing.

There’s another Pro-Pox card on my radar from Eldritch Moon. Can you see it?

No?

Well, let’s make this multiple choice:

A). Tree of Perdition — It’s a great 4-drop, comes down and blocks everything, and swaps with life to keep dropping someone.

B). Liliana, the Last Hope — Cheap 3-drop Planeswalker that kills small stuff early, Raises Dead in the mid-game, and provides a major threat later.

C). Collective Brutality — You can discard a card to get to a good discard number of Pox, kill something, strip a card from a hand, and occasionally bleed someone as well. Mana sensitive too.

D). Oath of Liliana — Great Edict ability, stays in play, and can be used to give you blockers or beaters later as you find and play your ‘walkers such as Liliana of the Veil.

E). Prying Questions — The combination of life lost and putting a card on the library instead of a pure discard is awesome.

F). Geier Reach Sanitarium – Looting when you need it, without sacrificing a card to add that ability to your deck, should really help later when you are top decking.

So which is it?

It’s the Brutality.

In Pox, you need to be sensitive to having the “right” number to maximize your effectiveness. When you go to cast Pox, there’s no difference to having 4 or 3 cards in your hand. You’ll wind up with 2 post-resolution. You want to drop your foe to 3X+1 and the Brutality is a great trick to that. I can strip a card from your hand to bring you to the right number, discard cards from my own as needed, and use them to -2/-2 something. Sometimes Pox gets mana-flooded, and it’s also nice to have a discard outlet as well. I see this as more of a useful sideboard option that works in decks were the -2/-2 is pertinent removal. But using this to hit a Deathrite Shaman and to strip a card from the hand on the 2nd turn is pretty cool.

Standard Mono-Red

By the by, in Standard, I’ve been rocking a mono-red deck. I noticed that we had a large amount of quality red card drawing on aggressive sticks. The best of the lot is StromkirkOccultist. You can smash and get the red card drawing trigger quite easily. Layer that with both Sin Prodder and Abbot of Keral Keep. I like Zurgo in this deck in a few numbers, as you tend to flip a lot of cards and get some cheap beaters to stick. You have a full slate of the new Bombardments for similar death spinning. The goal is to drop some burn early to keep the lanes clean, and then to swing with your card drawing machines, especially the Occultist, and get in some hits. The Sin Prodder’s menace is good as hoping to get in some hits, and we have very strong removal options right now. And don’t forget the Hanweirs who are strong, and the Goblin Dark-Dwellers are solid as well. Anyways, here’s my current deck:


I’ve tried it out at some FNM level stuff and its fine. It’s good mid-range fun. I find Roast to be pretty good against a lot of the field. I’m debating back and forth between the last two spots at creature, and have tried Smoldering Werewolf, Impetuous Devils, Mirrorwing Dragon, Chandra, Flamecaller and more. I’m currently running Thunderbreak Regent as a solid go-over-the-top creature, but I find this deck typically wants to play an Abbot, 3-drop, or a burn spell on turn four. That’s why I’m running Collective Defiance as a great turn four play. Play it, escalate it once to make it a 4-drop, and not only can you shoot any creature for 4 mana and burn it, you can also either hit your foe for 3 damage or (rarely) do the whole discard-and-draw-that-many thing. (I also like Savage Alliance in a similar role, but I think we all agree that the Collective Defiance is better).

If you wind up running some Planeswalkers, you might find Oath of Chandra better than Incendiary Flow. But that removes your ability to hit the dome.

Cards I still want to experiment with include Avaricious Dragon instead of the Regent, Dragon Whisperer, Exquisite Firecraft, and Molten Vortex. Shoot, maybe even Pia and Kiran Nalaar would like that 4-drop spot.

Anyways, back to other deck swaps and projects, already in progress!

Let’s start with Commander Decks!

Commander

What cards are on my short list to get pulled?

5-Color Planeswalkers: Yes, I have a 5 Color Planeswalker deck. Like a lot of folks. But mine has two sets of “fun” enchantments to make up for it: the “Honden” cycle (like Honden of Seeing Winds) and the “Sanctuary cycle” (Like Ana Sanctuary). That gives my deck a bit of a dose of character.

Anyways, I run one of the Oaths: Oath of Jace. The others were never good enough to entice me. But what about Oath of Liliana? It’s immediate removal, and it gives you Zombie tokens over time. Both give my deck a lot of value. I could also run Deploy the Gatewatch and drop some useful ‘walkers right on out to the battlefield. That’d be fun!

Meanwhile, is Tamiyo, Field Researcher good enough to run in the deck as another Planeswalker ally? My deck tends to have the best of the best of Commander play specifically and multiplayer casual fun times generally. Tamiyo has played well in the one game I’ve gotten with her thus far, but will she hold her serve?

I have no idea!

Edric:So, I have an Edric deck that wants to drop 1-mana evasive creatures of various sorts across the first couple of turns, and then drop Edric, Spymaster of Trest turn three, attack, draw some cards, and keep up the pressure. It has a bit of a tempo element to it as well, and can drop creatures en-masse with the cards drawn to blow up quickly.

I want to swap Mausoleum Wanderer in for Young Wolf. I still have Young Wolf in here as a strong 1-drop that stays around post-mass removal for a 2/2 beater. I wanted to have a few answers to that. But the Wanderer is better than the Wolf normally, and I can sacrifice it to Force Spike a Wrath of God, which basically sets the mass removal player back a turn for reliably resolving their reset button. So this is already one of the best creatures in the deck.

Nether Shadow: Another of my projects is a Mono-Black deck that uses a bunch of cheap, self-recursive creatures that come back from my graveyard, as well as some sacrifice shenanigans, to get them there in the first place. Space in the deck can be tight — you’d have to be a great variant on something like Buried Alive to be considered. But there is one card from this set that I like for it:

As for Voldaren Pariah, I’m still unsure if it’s making the cut. But sacrificing three creatures to flip it and forcing one of my foes to do the same is crazy good. You sacrifice Nether Shadow, Ashen Ghoul, and Reassembling Skeleton for your opponent’s 3 powerful bodies quite easily. And you get a 6/5 flyer from the deal, ready to smash.

Abe’s Deck of Happiness and Joy

Finally, I have my iconic deck!

Abe’s Deck of Happiness and Joy just keeps on growing! Thousands of cards. Only basics are repeated. It’s downright epic in scope. What is making the cut from Eldritch Moon?

Happiness and Joy Additions:

That’s a lot of stuff! And there are four more cards I’m looking at, but unsure of:

And that’s it folks! New sets bring new cards and that leads to new games.

Are you ready for an Eldritch Moon tonight?


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