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[MTG] Standard UBg Phenax

The Admiral

solid state survivor
This is something I'm working on brewing for Standard. It definitely needs some adjustments, though. Also, I'm missing a sideboard. I don't know all of what I need for that, but Unravel the Aether seems to be one of the cards I could stand to have there.

LAND BASE
4x Breeding Pool
1x Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
4x Overgrown Tomb
4x Temple of Deceit
4x Temple of Mystery
4x Watery Grave

CREATURES
2x Consuming Aberration
4x Hover Barrier
4x Kiora's Follower
4x Murmuring Phantasm
2x Nightveil Specter
3x Phenax, God of Deception
4x Prophet of Kruphix
4x Sage's Row Denizen
3x Siren of the Silent Song
4x Wall of Frost

OTHER
2x Breaking/Entering
1x Mind Grind
2x Tower Defense
 

Kamotz

God of Monsters
The problem I see is that without Phenax, you don't do much of anything...You're very soft to board wipes and larger creatures that can attack through your walls (or into them) without much care. Consuming Abberation can get very big, but can be chump-blocked by pretty much anything. You're lacking pretty much any kind of removal, which is usually pretty key for a black/blue-based deck. And you have no countermagic or disruption spells. You also have no draw-spells...meaning that you have no way to dig through your deck to try and find Phenax (your sole win condition).

Then there's the fact that you're playing Green but not playing any sort of Ramping effects beyond Kiora's Follower. No Elvish Mystic, no Sylvan Caryatid.
 

The Admiral

solid state survivor
The problem I see is that without Phenax, you don't do much of anything...You're very soft to board wipes and larger creatures that can attack through your walls (or into them) without much care. Consuming Abberation can get very big, but can be chump-blocked by pretty much anything. You're lacking pretty much any kind of removal, which is usually pretty key for a black/blue-based deck. And you have no countermagic or disruption spells. You also have no draw-spells...meaning that you have no way to dig through your deck to try and find Phenax (your sole win condition).

Then there's the fact that you're playing Green but not playing any sort of Ramping effects beyond Kiora's Follower. No Elvish Mystic, no Sylvan Caryatid.

All good points. The deck is marked by some serious monomania.

Testing points out that the Sirens are generally not that helpful after a time, if they ever are (easily chumped by even the crappiest creatures with Reach or Flying, and even then, the disruptive effects without Phenax and Prophet on board are miniscule). I also didn't draw Nykthos once, and it's probably useless anyway. Nothing in the deck is expensive enough that there will really ever need to be a legit use for it (and I'd hope that by the time I have enough devotion to cast a huge Mind Grind, I've already cut out a lot of their deck), so I can probably just sub for something else.

On Consuming Aberration: the main purpose of this is to grind more than to be of any use in combat. If there were a cheaper, non-creature version, I'd just use that. Five mana is a lot to be investing in a deck when usually you should be ending the game.

Sage's Row Denizen feels like it might be a little underpowered, and Nightveil Specter is probably meaningless, since it only nets +1 card per hit, mills for 3 off of Phenax, and really, Phenax doesn't even need to be animate to be a win con. Not sure on Denizens just yet (though I think those are the next to go), but the Specters can definitely go.

I'm probably going to need a good amount of digging for sure. Commune with the Gods and Read the Bones both seem very, very helpful here. As to the other bits... one thing at a time.
 

Kamotz

God of Monsters
All good points. The deck is marked by some serious monomania.

Testing points out that the Sirens are generally not that helpful after a time, if they ever are (easily chumped by even the crappiest creatures with Reach or Flying, and even then, the disruptive effects without Phenax and Prophet on board are miniscule). I also didn't draw Nykthos once, and it's probably useless anyway. Nothing in the deck is expensive enough that there will really ever need to be a legit use for it (and I'd hope that by the time I have enough devotion to cast a huge Mind Grind, I've already cut out a lot of their deck), so I can probably just sub for something else.

On Consuming Aberration: the main purpose of this is to grind more than to be of any use in combat. If there were a cheaper, non-creature version, I'd just use that. Five mana is a lot to be investing in a deck when usually you should be ending the game.

Sage's Row Denizen feels like it might be a little underpowered, and Nightveil Specter is probably meaningless, since it only nets +1 card per hit, mills for 3 off of Phenax, and really, Phenax doesn't even need to be animate to be a win con. Not sure on Denizens just yet (though I think those are the next to go), but the Specters can definitely go.

I'm probably going to need a good amount of digging for sure. Commune with the Gods and Read the Bones both seem very, very helpful here. As to the other bits... one thing at a time.

I think you'll want digging and disruption. Doom Blade, Hero's Downfall, Ultimate Price, Bile Blight, Drown in Sorrow...this are all things to think about. Then there's digging: Pilfered Plans, Divination (I'd run them over Read the Bones--even though RtB lets you scry, it'll cost you more life. Which I'm not sure you want).
 

The Admiral

solid state survivor
I think you'll want digging and disruption. Doom Blade, Hero's Downfall, Ultimate Price, Bile Blight, Drown in Sorrow...this are all things to think about. Then there's digging: Pilfered Plans, Divination (I'd run them over Read the Bones--even though RtB lets you scry, it'll cost you more life. Which I'm not sure you want).

Yeah, I'll definitely want at least some disruption main board. Some point removal will go main board, mass removal in side? Then again, Drown in Sorrow is only really going to get rid of my Followers, which is probably an acceptable loss, depending on board position.

I completely forgot about Pilfered Plans; running that over Divination is very, very doable. I still think Read the Bones is a far more powerful card, and really, two life is probably an acceptable loss.

(I still think Commune with the Gods is usable. Maybe not a 4-of, but it seems like a decent way to dig for Phenax. Kind of a waste if he doesn't come up, though.)
 

Kamotz

God of Monsters
I think you're trying to do too many things. If you plan on milling them out, just play UB. It's easier on the mana-base and it's more consistent. If you want to play more of the Control/midrange game, then BUG works, but only if you're playing the Control/Midrange cards. Cards like Kiora, Vraska, Jace, spot-removal, counterspells, etc (for control), or Polukranos, Reaper of the Wilds, Desecration Demon, Right now it seems like

If you're playing Commune with the Gods, you should be playing a more graveyard-interactive strategy. Stuff utilizing Whip of Erebos, Angel of Serenity, Deadbridge Chant, Varolz, etc. Something to really take advantage of what you put in the graveyard with Commune. Otherwise you're trading 5 cards for 1.
 

The Admiral

solid state survivor
To be fair, I probably would be better off getting a fourth Phenax in there than just substituting with digging.

The main purpose of green is to run Prophet of Kruphix, which speeds up the deck's kill. Then again, test runs showed that it only sped things up by one turn. And even then, it could probably be covered nicely by Tower Defense. So, really, the amount of green probably should be adjusted.
 

Kamotz

God of Monsters
Prophet is great when you want to jam the midrange game. Force your opponents to play reactive, but on THEIR turn. Jam something like Polukranos or Arbor Colossus at instant speed. Then Drop Prime Speaker and draw a TON of cards. That's probably what you WANT to be doing with the Prophet. Something absurd: Turn 3 Kiora, into Turn 4 Prophet, into opponent's-turn Big Fatty, into turn 5 Zegana. In that sort of Deck, the Prophet is a strong play, but it doesn't make up the cornerstone of the entire deck.

The problem with the deck is how much it hinges on Phenax. Without Phenax you're playing basically a bunch of do-nothing cards. Even if there's a 4th, you can't do anything without it. Your entire deck plan is "Draw this 5-drop and hope to cast it." Otherwise you're just playing walls, essentially. There are some cards that will start jamming hard-to-deal with threats by turn 3. And huge ones by turn 4. Turn 2 Domri, Turn 3 Polukranos, Turn 4 Xenagos, God of Revels. Without playing another card they can attack for 10 each turn. How many times can you block that efficiently? Especially without spot removal. Or how do you deal with something like UW control? Where they just start building up resources, holding up counterspells, and then wrathing your board?

I don't think Mill works very well. You're essentially playing a Burn deck, only your opponent starts with ~53 life. Sure, your spells generally do more dmg (mill) than actual burn, but real burn also doubles as removal for their threats.
 
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