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 Post subject: Casual Ramses: assassin tribal(ish)
AgePosted: 2015-Jul-11 12:42 am 
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Joined: 2011-Jan-02 5:25 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Costa La Haya, capital del ducado Holanda
Hello all,

I've had this deck for a few years now. I don't play it often, I take it out when I'm facing people I don't know. Usually this means I get my ass handed to me because the deck is underpowered, but for a first impression I think it's better not to bring out the big guns immediately ;) The deck can be a lot of fun to play, because it has some cards you don't see very often. It was my intention to make a deck that scales well: I'll play your cards, not mine. So if your cards are good, I'm having a good time. If you don't have an answer, I'm screwed.

The Core
Ramses Overdark
Dragon Shadow
Dragon Wings
False Demise
Fool's Demise
Unhallowed Pact
Shade's Form

I went with Ramses because I wanted a Legends OG. This card has an interesting design, but a 4/3 for 6 CMC with a situational ability won't win you any battles. The aura's are pretty good though, you could even put these on your own creatures.

As Ramses is an assassin, and Royal Assassin has been one of my favorite cards since I started (somewhere before Ice Age was released), I thought these cards should go in the same deck.

Assassins
Suq'Ata Assassin
Big Game Hunter
Royal Assassin
Dark Impostor
Wei Assassins
Nekrataal
Agent of the Fates

Shriekmaw came out for Agent of the Fates. I had to rework the deck to make that card work, but with Willbreaker around I wanted more stuff that targets anyway. As a general rule I take out non-theme cards when I want to add theme cards. Avatar of Woe and Visara the Dreadful went out some time ago. No, I don't think that makes the deck better either...

Assassins need tools. I could pretend I was looking for thematic equipment, but that'd be a lie. To some extent... I did add Cloak and Dagger and Whispersilk Cloak (which has a version mentioning assassins), but I need shroud/hexproof to keep my stolen creatures (somewhat) safe. I found Glistening Oil to be thematic, as there's some thematic overlap with assassins and poison. It's also good with Ramses, but I found it's not so good on my own weenies.

Tools of the Trade
Lightning Greaves
Cloak and Dagger
Thousand-year elixir
Whispersilk Cloak
Thornbite Staff
No Mercy

The deck has more cards that didn't really have a place, but I turned this into a theme.

Favorites
Nevinyrral's Disk
Sword of Fire and Ice
Shadowmage Infiltrator
Damnation

Cool utility
Sol Ring
Solemn Simulacrum
Oblivion Stone
Skull of Orm
Crystal Chimes
Doomwake Giant - need to keep the tokens off my back

Theft is the main strategy of the deck.

Steal
Talent of the Telepath - trying this because it's new
Vedalken Shackles
Dominating Licid
Silent-Blade Oni - ninjas are basically assassins
Willbreaker
Domineering Will - the best reason to play blue... plus it untaps my assassins

Rite and Stolen Identity got added for Willbreaker, and coincidentally they trigger Agent of the Fates as well. The Metamorph is a prerelease promo, so I have to play it.

Copy/Paste
Rite of Replication
Phyrexian Metamorph
Stolen Identity

From cards like Fool's Demise you'll end up with River Kelpie pretty soon. This engine is what I love about the deck. The other card draw just happens to be cards I like for nostalgic reasons. Sygg could be the general if I wanted to switch. That, or Lazav.

Draw
Sygg, River Cutthroat
River Kelpie
Fact or Fiction
Deep Analysis

Morphs are fun. With Royal Assassin you're hanging back anyway, so something random on the table makes me less of a target. If I'm no threat, and nothing will good from attacking me, then at least I won't be dead soon. I had more morphs in the past.

Morphs
Vesuvan Shapeshifter
Chromeshell Crab
Willbender
Kheru Spellsnatcher

Grave robbers
Ink-Eyes, servant of Oni
Geth, Lord of the Vault
Memory Plunder
Puppeteer clique
Altar of Dementia
Consuming Aberration

Reduce Reuse Recycle
Kokusho, the evening star - it didn't have a home, and it's good with False Demise
Mimic Vat
Cauldron of Souls - added this with Willbreaker, heh
Necromancy
Beacon of Unrest

Mana
Burnished Hart
Mind Stone
Wayfarer's Bauble
Expedition map - first card is always Academy Ruins...
8 Island
7 Swamp
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
Maze of Ith
Command Tower
Creeping Tar Pit
Dimir Aqueduct
Dreadship Reef
Drowned Catacomb
Lonely Sandbar
Polluted Delta
Salt Marsh
Secluded Glen
Sunken Ruins
Tainted Isle
Temple of the False God
Underground River
Underground Sea
Minamo, School at Water's Edge
Volrath's Stronghold
Academy ruins
Tolaria west
Terramorphic Expanse
Jwahr island refuge
Rogue's Passage

There's never enough space in a deck for all the cards I want to play. I'm contemplating Staff of Domination: it's an Icy Manipulator, it untaps my Royal and it triggers Willbreaker. Stronghold Assassin is high on the list. I'm looking for a promo Overtaker. Sepulchral Primordial and Diluvian Primordial make sense in the deck, but I try to keep the curve low. Random cards I like: Havengul Lich, Hedonist Trove (as I'm light on graveyard hate as well...), Infernal Offering, Oona, Queen of the Fae, Lazav, Dimir Mastermind, Necropotence

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 Post subject: Re: Casual Ramses: assassin tribal(ish)
AgePosted: 2017-Oct-10 10:16 pm 
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Joined: 2011-Jan-02 5:25 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Costa La Haya, capital del ducado Holanda
I want to update this deck, but I don't know which direction to take it. There are three things prompting me to make it better:

1. It still sucks. That's kind of okay, but since people tend to play better decks nowadays maybe it should get better. I thought about a shapeshifter subtheme to make the deck scale better, but that leads me on the path to Lazav as general. I don't want to ditch Ramses.
2. I read about a nifty rogue tribal deck with Sygg, and that seemed pretty slick. The message of the article was something like "pick a theme, figure out what the deck wants". That deck wanted to attack, and rogues can do that (because you can't block them). The thing is, assassins don't want to attack. One thing I learned is that a lot of rogues are human. Who would've thought?
3. Kindred Discovery

So I figured out that besides assassin tribal, I could just as well go with human tribal. I think that's funny, because it seems opposed to the idea of tribal. U/B doesn't have human tribal synergy, so there's that. But as long as I can claim it's a tribal deck I'm okay with it being nothing more than a goodstuff deck. I can't figure out what'd be a U/B human goodstuff deck though, mainly because I have no idea "what the deck wants". What I want is to draw cards, that's why I ended up with Kindred Discovery.

From there I thought about Equilibrium, Cloudstone Curio, Panharmonicon. But how do I get from there, to triggering the attackers clause, and to dealing enough damage to win? I don't know.

So I'm open to suggestions. Plus random mentions of U/B humans worth running. To finish: is Rishadan Brigand/Cutpurse/Footpad any good? I played during MM block, and all I remember is that they sucked.

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 Post subject: Re: Casual Ramses: assassin tribal(ish)
AgePosted: 2017-Oct-11 12:19 am 

Joined: 2008-Aug-08 6:34 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Rouen, France
So what do you need help with: Your assassin deck, your UB Human rogues deck or the pirate stax build you've got going on at the bottom?

No Kiku, Night's Flower in the assassin's build? :cry:
The deck looks nicely placed: underused tribe with a couple of fun interactions that won't scare anyone. Do you really want to win with this? I'd keep the Assassin theme and put some more dimir guild-specific cards in there to beef it up a little. Wear a cloak at the table and keep talking about "contracts" instead of your turn. If you don't get arrested, it could be fun.


For your human rogue deck, do you want only human rogues, only rogues or only humans? There's alot of humans or rogues you could make a deck out of if you stayed in UB but human & rogue is a pretty uninspiring list. What do you want your deck to do?


The MM pirates are ok. You have to work to get them to make opponents sacrifice anything. It's easier now with Panharmonicon but you're always waiting for the right moment to play a 1/1, 2/2 or a 3/3 that can only block fliers. They are really good when you are adding taxing effects and annoying cards like Static/Winter Orb or some sort of combo like Earthcraft + Animar + Cloudstone Curio + another dork. If you're going that way, it could be more interesting than just playing lots of Eldrazi but it's still stax or combo.

If it's really just Equilibrium, Cloudstone Curio, Panharmonicon with no additional enablers and you're paying full price all the time, sure, that could be ok. But, in the end, even if you do manage to tax someone a permanent, they get to choose and it's never the one you want. That's a lot of set-up for not a huge amount of payback and a lot of annoyed opponents.

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Current decks:
Mimeoplasm Goodstuff Foils
Sydri Artifact Foils
Gisa & Geralf Zombie Horde
Atraxa Superfriends
New-zilek Eldrazi (5C Devoid)
Norin Goblins
Marath Legends
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 Post subject: Re: Casual Ramses: assassin tribal(ish)
AgePosted: 2017-Oct-11 1:01 am 
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Joined: 2011-Jan-02 5:25 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Costa La Haya, capital del ducado Holanda
zimagic wrote:
So what do you need help with: Your assassin deck, your UB Human rogues deck or the pirate stax build you've got going on at the bottom?


I don't want to make a human rogue deck, I figured I could make a human deck by adding some useful rogues/wizards/other bipedals to the human assassins already in the deck. For instance, I would have an excuse to run Wharf Infiltrator, enabling Big Game Hunter in the process.

zimagic wrote:
No Kiku, Night's Flower in the assassin's build? :cry:


I have it in there in the current list.

zimagic wrote:
The deck looks nicely placed: underused tribe with a couple of fun interactions that won't scare anyone. Do you really want to win with this?


I need to put my mind at ease knowing that there's a way to win. My decks have to look good on paper, otherwise I start pondering about it.

zimagic wrote:
What do you want your deck to do?


I'm not sure, but I have some thoughts. The initial goal of the assassin deck was to hide behind Royal Assassin and deter attacks. That works to some extent, but it doesn't scale well in the endgame. Or better: the game doesn't have an endgame. The main issue I have with the deck is that it's pillow fort on the one hand, but on the other hand tries to sneak in creatures to enable the ninja's. To make it worse, the creatures that want to attack are saboteurs (like Shadowmage Infiltrator (human!), Nightveil Specter) that you don't want to bounce/ninja at all. This combination of minor goals doesn't make sense. I could streamline the deck by cutting the ninja's or the saboteurs, but I like those cards.

About Equilibrium etc: I don't want a stax build. I don't really want to play premium for my creatures either, but if I look at blue cards I like I come up with Equilibrium. I never play blue decks, the only blue I've ever had in any of my decks was in UG madness or UB reanimator. If Equilibrium is perceived as a stax card, I have to look elsewhere. But I thought chaining/bouncing cheap humans would be a way to draw cards.

One road I thought about is to go with poison: I've already had Suq'Ata Assassin and Glistening Oil in the deck, Grafted Exoskeleton on an evasive tiny human can take someone out quickly. It would fit the assassin theme, but it would make me a target. And that's not so smart with an underpowered deck.

So I don't know what the answer is to the question "What do you want your deck to do?" I think the answer is similar to the answer "how do you win with Royal Assassin on the table?". I knew the answer to that one 20 years ago, but it's not exactly the same game anymore. The answer could be "Grave Betrayal and Animate Dead".

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 Post subject: Re: Casual Ramses: assassin tribal(ish)
AgePosted: 2017-Oct-11 1:45 am 

Joined: 2008-Aug-08 6:34 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Rouen, France
Sorry, checked again, no Kiku. Copy/Paste issue?

Right, gotcha. For anything that taps to assassinate, 1000 Year Elixir, Puppet Strings, Bone Crank? It's low-level board control but allows you to do your theme stuff.

I like your Wharf Infiltrator suggestion. I see no issue with adding cards to set up your theme. Is it worth it for so few cards or are there other madness effects that you can add?

Instead of thinking "big end game", what about more grinder-esque cards that give slow advantage like Circu, Lifeline, (the Kamigawa legend that brings back 1/1s?). You could position yourself as the counter/control player until the game reaches a point where you can use a human to give everyone horsemanship or similiar game ending effect?

On the infect/poison theme, Blighted Agent is a human.... Not a huge fan of Grafted Exoskeleton though. Are there any relevant -1/-1 or +1/+1 effects that proliferate could be an option? Liliana is a human (Is Tezzeret a vedalken or human? He's probably not relevant enough either way.) She's not very assassin-y, but she is very take-advantage-of-things-your-assassins-kill though.


I'm just spitballing here, I've never built a UB humans deck. There are about 600 excluding artifact support so there's probably some gems in there.

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Current decks:
Mimeoplasm Goodstuff Foils
Sydri Artifact Foils
Gisa & Geralf Zombie Horde
Atraxa Superfriends
New-zilek Eldrazi (5C Devoid)
Norin Goblins
Marath Legends
Sidisi MBC


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 Post subject: Re: Casual Ramses: assassin tribal(ish)
AgePosted: 2017-Oct-11 4:11 am 
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Joined: 2011-Jan-02 5:25 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Costa La Haya, capital del ducado Holanda
zimagic wrote:
Sorry, checked again, no Kiku. Copy/Paste issue?


Ah. No, it's in the current list, but the list in the OP is over two years old. I think there are about 10 different cards in it compared to this list. Less morphs, more primordials. Plus Skeleton Key, and I'm smug about that find.

zimagic wrote:
Right, gotcha. For anything that taps to assassinate, 1000 Year Elixir, Puppet Strings, Bone Crank? It's low-level board control but allows you to do your theme stuff.


You mean Icy, right? I'm running something along this line (Staff od Domination), and Dismiss into Dream. It costs a ton of mana, but it makes sure stuff dies. Considering untapping: I even considered Paradox Engine.

zimagic wrote:
Is it worth it for so few cards or are there other madness effects that you can add?


Maybe not madness, but reanimator. Or just delve them into Treasure Cruise. Tortured Existence is a nice card to build around (and torture is assassins).

zimagic wrote:
You could position yourself as the counter/control player until the game reaches a point where you can use a human to give everyone horsemanship or similiar game ending effect?


Funny you mention this. I read an article yesterday that mentioned Sun Quan, Lord of Wu. There are more human horsemen. Xiahou Dun, Vela or Keeper of Keys. That plus Nighthowler (=aura) surely can finish a game? I like that.

zimagic wrote:
I'm just spitballing here, I've never built a UB humans deck. There are about 600 excluding artifact support so there's probably some gems in there.


I appreciate it. I need the help, not much of an U/B player.

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 Post subject: Re: Casual Ramses: assassin tribal(ish)
AgePosted: 2017-Oct-11 9:11 am 
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Joined: 2012-Nov-27 4:39 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Midgard
In your current list, do you have Heartseeker? Sort of makes every creature an assassin if they aren't already. Anyway...

I'm still looking at what's been said, but I couldn't help noting the Rishadan cards skyrocketed in price recently. Something about a Channel Fireball writer or something making a troll deck, and people believing it is somehow Legacy valid. :shock:

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 Post subject: Re: Casual Ramses: assassin tribal(ish)
AgePosted: 2017-Oct-11 2:44 pm 
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Joined: 2011-Jan-02 5:25 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Costa La Haya, capital del ducado Holanda
No Heartseeker, good flavor suggestion.

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 Post subject: Re: Casual Ramses: assassin tribal(ish)
AgePosted: 2017-Oct-12 3:12 am 
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Joined: 2012-Dec-03 3:16 am
Age: Elder Dragon
So I have been inspired to build a similar deck, once I get a few games in I will report back!

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