Epic Struggle

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James
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Epic Struggle

Postby James » 30 Oct 2014, 20:16

So, if you were watching us on the LRRMtG stream this evening (Oct 30th) you would have seen us "go off" with this fantastic card.

Image

I want to create a token based deck that has this as one of its win conditions. With the backup plan being I smash face with a butt load of tokens if I never draw it (but that's boring, so I'll need tutor effects)

My question to you, who should my commander be, thus dictating what colours I should play.
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Re: Epic Struggle

Postby Prospero101 » 30 Oct 2014, 20:17

Trostani? Just gain so much life that nobody likes you?
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Re: Epic Struggle

Postby UnspokenKibbles » 30 Oct 2014, 20:45

I did a quick trawl through the legendary creatures that are at least white and green, because you're going to want both of those as that's where all the good token generators are. Here are your options, assuming I'm interpreting correctly that you want to go wide:

Derevi, Empyrial Bird Wizard. No, it doesn't do anything particularly token-related, but Derevi is just kind of boringly excellent as a commander, combo-ing really well with... pretty much anything. Hell, combo it with Squirrel Nest for two squirrels a turn.

Trostani, for the above-mentioned reason of life gain and the populate ability.

Emmara Tandris is... okay. It doesn't prevent your tokens from dying to board wipes and other straight destroy effects, which is a problem, but does help with the punch-in-face plan. Honestly for this particular effect I'd rather have Avacyn, Angel of Hope as one of the 99. Maybe include Emmara as well as one of the 99? I don't know.

Rhys the Redeemed. He's kind of like Trostani, but without the life gain and better in some ways as he makes tokens multiplicatively instead of additively. He also doesn't need other token generators to get going and comes down for a paltry one mana the first time you play him.

Roon of the Hidden Realm. Again, maybe better as one of the 99 if you end up going Bant, but assuming you'll want to play cards that bring in tokens when they arrive a la Mardu Hordechief, flicker effects wouldn't be bad. However, I probably would just put something like Conjurer's Closet in there.

And now, my personal favorite: Ghave, Guru of Spores. Ghave lets you bring in my personal favorite color (black) and thus enables both tutors and Spider Spawning, to get additional token value off of your guys with ETB effects once they eventually die. You also get to run both Teysas, and while Envoy of Ghosts is merely pretty good, Orzhov Scion is absolutely nuts. All that AND suddenly you've got Vampire token generation from things like Bloodline Keeper and Sorin, Lord of Innistrad. Ohhhhh yeah. I like it.

So that's my little review for this deck. Personally I'd go with Ghave, but if you'd prefer one of the others that's your call.
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Re: Epic Struggle

Postby Tinfish » 30 Oct 2014, 21:08

Emmara Tandris or Trostani would seem to be the obvious choices. Other possibilities might be Hazezon Tamar (RWG, makes counters when he comes into play), Nath of the Gilt-Leaf (GB, spits out elves when opponents discard cards), Nemata, Grove Guardian (green, produces saprolings for 2G), Pharika, God of Affliction (GB, turns creatures in graveyards into snakes with deathtouch), Rhys the Redeemed (GW, spits out an elf for 2G/W and tap; copies all your creature tokens for 4G/W G/W and tap) and a bunch of less interesting ones. I think the best choices are probably Trostani, Emmara, or Rhys; Rhys in particular can produce exponential tokens, and allows you to run other crazy token producers like Spirit Bonds and Brimaz.

However, I do have to say that personally I don't think alternate win conditions are particularly fun; poison counters, Spawnsire of Ulamog, or Epic Struggle (and the similar win-if-you-have-20-artifacts dragon) seem, to me, like they don't offer enough opportunity for your opponents to interact with them. Even more so if you're running Lab Maniac and milling your way to victory, I guess. They have an onanistic quality that seems out of place in a multiplayer game.
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Re: Epic Struggle

Postby Lord Hosk » 30 Oct 2014, 21:32

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Re: Epic Struggle

Postby Kapol » 30 Oct 2014, 21:44

Ghave would be my choice. There are a lot of cards that boost him. He's in Abzan colors, and that entire clan seems to be built around him to me. Getting 20 creatures shouldn't be that hard in that deck either. You also get to have black for tutor effects, white/green for token generators and selesnya stuff, and green for the token doublers. Overall, he's pretty fun and I think the deck would run that card.
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Re: Epic Struggle

Postby Havtorn » 31 Oct 2014, 01:56

As much as I love the RTR-block Selesnya legendaries, I second Ghave. Being in black gives you access to a multitude of Tutors, while the Selesnya portion vomits out tokens and gives them counters.

Suggestions for the 99:
Greater Auramancy - because you're going to want a lot of enchantments, I think
Parallel Lives and Doubling Season - both halve the time you need to win, Doubling Season twice over thanks to Ghave
Pentavus
Vigor and Forgotten Ancient are both solid creatures that don't exactly make tokens but allows Ghave to do so.
Mycoloth - The combo with Ghave here is kind of obvious.
Shrine of Loyal Legnions - Because having a bunch of Myr tokens on layaway is sweet. And it basically gives you +1 towards your wincon every turn.
Voice of Resurgence - Solid creature that at least leaves behind a 1/1 after Wrath effects.
Seance - Maybe this could be a bit fun? Depends on how many actual creatures you're going to have.
Sporemound - Effortless tokens are allways going to be good here.
Saporling Symbiosis
OG Elspeth - Dat Ultimate.
Squirrel Nest - SQUIRREL!
Growing Ranks - Nothing wrong with a free populate every turn. Funny with Seance out.
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Re: Epic Struggle

Postby susu.exp » 31 Oct 2014, 04:23

Hazezon Tamar
Gives you access to red for Empty the warrens, Krenkos Command, Dragon Fodder, Hordeling Outburst, Purphoros (just another win con for a token strategy), Some X burn spells to blow up your own Hornets Nest... AND makes tokens himself.
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Re: Epic Struggle

Postby asteriskreaper » 31 Oct 2014, 06:07

the answer is clearly Ghave, guru of spores
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Re: Epic Struggle

Postby jkefka » 31 Oct 2014, 08:17

Emmara Tandris gives you access to the white mass-token-producers, but so does Ghave. The black in Ghave is kind of meh in this deck concept, give or take a couple of zombie token engines.

My partner has an Emmara Tandris deck that she calls "autopilot", because it's basically a bunch of upkeep-triggered token producers that require almost no input from the player if they reach critical mass. Emmara herself is definitely helpful but she's more of a bonus rather than an essential component of the deck

Parallel lives and doubling season are both very very good in this deck.

If you want to go way left field, get Gahiji or Hazezon Tamar and go into red, bring in some of the goblin engines. Notably, Mogg Infestation, which can either wrath your opponent's two huge guys or immediately double the number of creatures you control
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Re: Epic Struggle

Postby Prospero101 » 31 Oct 2014, 08:27

The new C14 set has a number of things that seem like auto-includes for your 99. Freyalise, Sylvan Offering, Nomads' Assembly, Deploy to the Front...
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Re: Epic Struggle

Postby chetoos » 31 Oct 2014, 08:30

I suggest Sprout Swarm. If you have enough token generation, such as with parallel lives, doubling season and I think there's something else that doubles creature tokens, it can go infinite. Also, if you're running squirrel nest, you might as well run earthcraft.
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Re: Epic Struggle

Postby jkefka » 31 Oct 2014, 09:54

Primal Vigor is the third token-doubling enchantment. It's "fixed" doubling season.
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Re: Epic Struggle

Postby JayBlanc » 31 Oct 2014, 10:23

Don't forget that as well as amassing those tokens, you need to cement the win-con. So pick out from some of these.

1) Enchantment tutoring to get Epic Struggle into your hand.
    Academy Rector
    Enduring Ideal
    Enlightened Tutor
    Idyllic Tutor
    Lost Auramancers
    Plea for Guidance
    Sterling Grove
2) Give Epic Struggle Flash to play it on end of turn of the player before you.
    Vernal Equinox
    Vedalken Orrery
3) Protect Epic Struggle or be able to bounce it back to your hand or library.
    Indestructibility
    Fountain Watch
    Greater Auramancy
    Sterling Grove
    Harmonic Convergence
    Remove Enchantments
    Disempower
    Dawn to Dusk
(Maybe consider graveyard retrieval.)
4) What's better than one crazy win con? A second crazy win con powered by all those Llanowar Elves you've been duplicating.
    Helix Pinnacle
6) Llanowar Elves, Llanowar Elves, Llanowar Elves!
    Freyalise, Llanowar's Fury
    Llanowar Mentor
    Awakening Zone (The single use self-detonating Llanowar Elves)
7) The Backup Instant Win Combo, when someone just board wiped all your tokens, but you still have that doubling season out so you play,
    Ajani, Caller of the Pride.
(And boom goes the Ultimate.)
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Re: Epic Struggle

Postby RytelCSF » 31 Oct 2014, 22:05

I suggest Darien, King of Kjeldor as one of your 99. With this on the field, one of two things will occur:

1) Opponents will attack you, giving you Soldiers and making it easier for you to get to 20. Good.

2) Opponents will recognize your plan and not attack you, buying you additional time for you to draw/generate your combo. Also good.
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Re: Epic Struggle

Postby JayBlanc » 01 Nov 2014, 03:55

RytelCSF wrote:I suggest Darien, King of Kjeldor as one of your 99. With this on the field, one of two things will occur:

1) Opponents will attack you, giving you Soldiers and making it easier for you to get to 20. Good.

2) Opponents will recognize your plan and not attack you, buying you additional time for you to draw/generate your combo. Also good.


If you're running Darien, then the obvious pick for commander would be Trostani. But that'd force choice 2, since no one is ever going to deal direct damage or attack you with both of them in play. (Unless they have lethal or commander damage.)
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Re: Epic Struggle

Postby JayBlanc » 01 Nov 2014, 04:30

So, to go back to the original question... Let's start listing the pros and cons for potential commanders.

Derevi, Empyrial Tactician
Roon of the Hidden Realm
(...)
    Pros: Generic all round Commanders on colour for Epic Struggle. Does not give away your strategy. Allows you to pick a wider colour than the assumption of G/W.
    Cons: Doesn't directly help the strategy. Low number of combos with what'll be in the 99.

Trostani, Selesnya's Voice
    Pros: Built in token copying. Life gain keeps you in the game till Epic Struggle cooks off. Strong combos with token generation and particularly Darien and Ajani, Caller of the Pride. Probably part of the 99 even if not commander.
    Cons: Everyone knows to hold back the board wipes for you now. Only one token copy a turn.

Emmara Tandris
    Pros: Tokens never die.
    Cons: That's all she does. Probably better as one of the 99.

Rhys the Redeemed
    Pros: Very efficient way to generate tokens.
    Cons: Everyone will try to kill you early. Everyone. Maybe better as one of the 99 for that reason.

Ghave, Guru of Spores
    Pros: You get a whole extra colour of mana to play with than all those two colour commanders. Much more tokens can be made than Trostani. If you have enough mana you can drop twenty tokens onto the board in one turn. Minor protection value from being able to sac tokens to buff blockers.
    Cons: *If you have enough mana*, not as efficient as Rhys. Ghave's protection value isn't as good as Trostani's life gain. Most of black's part of the colour pie seems to go counter to the win con, some token generation but it's less efficient than green and white's.

Hazezon Tamar
    Pros: You get a whole extra colour of mana to play with than all those two colour commanders. Produces tokens.
    Con: Not only do all the Sand Warrior tokens you produced with him go away if he ever leaves the battlefield, *all* Sand Warriors on the battlefield are exiled. And that's exiled not destroyed, so Tandris doesn't help. That's a really really big Con against this card, because you can't use him as a token generator by flickering or return from the command zone.

Nath of the Gilt-Leaf
    Pros: Produces one token per turn. Produces tokens when an opponent gets milled.
    Cons: But you won't have any blue in your deck to do much of that. You won't have access to all of White's token fun, or cheap enchantment tutoring. Again, being in black doesn't seem the right combo with Epic Struggle.

Pharika, God of Affliction
    Pros: Produces as many tokens per turn as you have the mana for, so long as there creature cards in any graveyard on the table. They're also deathtouch tokens, include some fight cards to keep those bins stocked.
    Cons: You won't have access to all of White's token fun or cheap enchantment tutoring. Again, being in black doesn't seem the right combo with Epic Struggle, but that con is discounted somewhat by being a really efficient token generator on it's own.

My opinion so far, it's between Trostani and Ghave. And leaning towards Trostani because of the strong Doubling Season and Ajani, Caller of the Pride combo that needs works better the higher your life total.
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Re: Epic Struggle

Postby Asthanius » 01 Nov 2014, 08:08

I say go ham and make it a Sliver Queen deck.

Run things that make 2 mana to continually make tokens with Sliver Queen:
Palladium Myr
Sisay's Ring
Sol Ring
Temple of the False God
Thran Turbine
Ur-Golem's Eye
Worn Powerstone

Then run a bunch of tutors that don't make you reveal what you get. You don't want your opponents holding up a bunch of counterspells:
Diabolic Intent
Diabolic Tutor
Grim Tutor
Increasing Ambition
Ring of Three Wishes

And run awesome token-generators like these:
Empty the Pits
Storm Herd
White Sun's Zenith

And you'll want those tokens to have the Sliver creature type for maximum value, so use:
Hivestone
Conspiracy
Xenograft

You'll also need things to let you cast Epic Struggle with flash, so:
Alchemist's Refuge
Leyline of Anticipation
Vedalken Orrery
Vernal Equinox

And finally, for the other cards that you should definitely use:
Brood Sliver
Sliversmith
Sliver Hive
Sliver Hivelord
Sliver Legion
Sliver Overlord
Gemhide Sliver
Homing Sliver
Lymph Sliver
Mesmeric Sliver
Necrotic Sliver
Pulmonic Sliver
Quick Sliver
Root Sliver
Telekenetic Sliver
Constricting Sliver
Crypt Sliver
and possibly Crystalline Sliver
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JayBlanc
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Re: Epic Struggle

Postby JayBlanc » 01 Nov 2014, 09:49

Sliver-queen herself is efficient token generation... But then you have to be in five colours. And be a sliver deck. Which are directions that I think substantially weaken the concept of the deck.

Practically *every* commander deck idea could be turned into a sliver deck. And then they're sliver decks, not the original idea.
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Re: Epic Struggle

Postby eltrov » 01 Nov 2014, 14:04

"Wort, the Raidmother" could make for an interesting commander.

Image

Going into red give you access to lots of Goblin token generators and Wort's conspire ability would make getting to 20 creatures a bit easier.

Plenty of token generating spells in Green and Red to fill out the other 99
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Re: Epic Struggle

Postby ZePancakes » 01 Nov 2014, 17:48

Also of note: Emma Tandris only prevents damage so WoG and Decree board wipes still are a big hit to the combo.

"Prevent all damage that would be dealt to creature tokens you control."
Oh-h-h-h SNAP... Concede.

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Re: Epic Struggle

Postby Kapol » 01 Nov 2014, 20:21

JayBlanc wrote:*snip*


To be fair, black adds the most in one thing he asked for: tutors. Black will give access to the largest number of tutors for his win-con for the deck, as well as the most card draw outside of going blue. It also gives access to more 'graveyard' creatures that can come back. Your Bloodsoaked Champions, Undying creatures, etc. That will help with losing creatures overall, and will allow for sac shenanigans that don't hurt him. It also allows for more creature recursion. Ghave also has the benefit of being a good commander for avoiding tuck effects and the like, as you can sacrifice him for a single mana.
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Re: Epic Struggle

Postby Atifexe » 01 Nov 2014, 20:39

Black also adds Tombstone Stairwell, which is a decent way to gain creatures if you can pair it with some way to make all your creatures indestructible. Eldrazi Monument; Mycosynth Lattice + Darksteel Forge; Elspeth, Knight-Errant; or Avacyn, Angel of Hope are all the methods I can think of off the top of my head.
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Re: Epic Struggle

Postby hascow » 01 Nov 2014, 22:26

The con of Ghave is that everyone hates playing against Ghave and will target you first. I vote anything except Ghave :P

My token deck is Emmara, and I really enjoy it. There's lots of good stuff in GW that synergizes.
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Re: Epic Struggle

Postby JayBlanc » 02 Nov 2014, 00:51

Kapol wrote:To be fair, black adds the most in one thing he asked for: tutors. Black will give access to the largest number of tutors for his win-con for the deck, as well as the most card draw outside of going blue.


However, you don't need full-spec tutoring, just enchantment tutoring. Which is white's thing. You only really absolutely have to tutor for the win-con. And it's best to keep it out of hand for as long as possible to avoid discard, so we don't absolutely need a deck so full of tutoring it's always in the opening hand.

I concede, keeping the hand stocked is an issue... Buuuuut, green has Soul's Majesty and Harmonize. And if running Trostani, we can use spare enchantment tutoring to dig up Sylvan Libary and turn excess life into card-draw. Maybe have a copy of Skullclamp to emergency dump tokens into, but that works against the win-con. And there's a variety of artifact draw who's only downside in EDH is mana cost, but since the stuff to progress to the Win Con is all cheap, spending excess mana on card draw is fine.

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