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Author Topic: [SCD] Serum Powder  (Read 5169 times)
Lochinvar81
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« Reply #30 on: September 01, 2010, 09:29:04 AM »

And Brainstorm does not create card advantage.

Serum Powder, I played with Brainstorm; I resolved Brainstorm; Brainstorm was a friend of mine. Serum Powder, you're no Brainstorm.
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meadbert
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« Reply #31 on: September 01, 2010, 09:38:09 AM »

Fine, then top 8 with a Shop deck using Brainstorm since it is your friend.

Serum Powder is a free, uncounterable, one-sided draw 7 that can be played on 0.  It also functions as a Mox while in play and better than a Mox while on the stack.

Serum Powder's lone drawback is its casting cost of 3 which is heavily mitigated when you have a Mishra's Workshop in play.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2010, 10:25:12 AM by meadbert » Logged

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Lochinvar81
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« Reply #32 on: September 01, 2010, 10:29:24 AM »

Okay, I think we're both being disingenuous if we're trying to compare Serum Powder to Brainstorm.  They do different things, serve different roles, and are used in different decks.  Just as having Serum Powder in play or in your hand won't let you dig for an answer to your opponent's turn six Yawgmoth's Will, Brainstorm will never attack for three with Karn.

Quote
Serum Powder is a free, uncounterable, one-sided draw 7 that can be played on 0.  It also functions as a Mox while in play and better than a Mox while on the stack.

Serum Powder's lone drawback is its casting cost of 3 which is heavily mitigated when you have a Mishra's Workshop in play.
The thing is, I don't want that in my deck.

I think Serum Powder is a great card for decks that want to be at their finest in the early game and expect to end the game early on a regular basis.  Especially game one, if Ichorid gets a Bazaar in its opening hand, it is likely to win the game handily.  Likewise 2CM can expect to end the game quickly with a good hand; Serum Powder helps put one of two two-card combos together in that deck.

MUD is simply not that kind of deck.  You're much more likely to have to grind out a win, especially if you draw cards that don't do anything for several turns in a row (e.g., redundant Crucibles, Null Rods, lands).  To play Serum Powder, you're necessarily cutting either more useful artifacts or more useful mana.  No, Serum Powder isn't a complete blank, but nine times out of 10 I would rather have it be almost anything else (the 10th time is when I need the non-Shop mana to activate something, in which case drawing a land would have been better since it can't be countered).  At least then I can feel like, "Well, this card would have been useful in some other situation, but it won't help me here," rather than "Ugggggggggggghhhh..."

If you keep a seven-card hand with Serum Powder, great.  Serum Powder could have, again, been a more useful artifact or another land.  Mishra's Factory, for example does many of the things that Serum Powder does: produces mana, is non-Workshop mana, attacks, blocks sacs to Smokestack, taps to Tangle Wire, etc.  It's also better in multiples.  If you're already playing Factories, why not consider Mutavault?  Or Ghost Quarter, Bazaar (also helps find important pieces!), or Rishadan Port.  If you want more artifacts, you could be playing Sculpting Steels or Pithing Needles or max out on Null Rods and Crucibles.  If you aren't running Null Rods you can play more Karn, Expedition Map, Jester's Cap, Sensei's Divining Top (also helps find important pieces!).  After mulliganing, any of those sound better than Serum Powder.

If I was confident that a game would be over with the first seven cards in my hand, I would be happy playing Serum Powder.  That's just not the case with MUD, though.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2010, 10:37:47 AM by Lochinvar81 » Logged

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« Reply #33 on: September 01, 2010, 12:10:27 PM »

Serum Powder is a free, uncounterable, one-sided draw 7 that can be played on 0.

You make a leap of logic here Meadbert. A mulligan is not a draw 7. The way to capitalize on draw 7's is by playing out your hand first, which is impossible if serum powder only draws 7 on turn 0.
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meadbert
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« Reply #34 on: September 01, 2010, 01:20:36 PM »

So Espresso Stax has been tearing it up with 4 Serum Powders and no Black Lotus.
Most recently Vincent Forino got 4th at Gencon I think.

How can this be?  He pulls out the best card in magic and then adds 4 Pokemon cards and top 4s at Gencon!

Either Serum Powders are really good in Stax, or we all have to admit that the NYSE guys were right and Black Lotus really is suboptimal.
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« Reply #35 on: September 01, 2010, 02:52:42 PM »

I was going to mention that the results don't lie but meadbert beat me too it. It's hard to claim a card is 100% useless, possibly  a detriment to a particular deck, then see the deck post such good results with it. I feel like the longer a match goes on the chances of stax pulling out a win ( not counting someone who won't just call it when fully locked out) get smaller and smaller due to the opponent gathering permanents and finding answers. If this is true then setting up the strongest possible opener is much more important for stax then most people have said. Serum powder helps you in that case. Sure it can be a dead draw late but as was said so are moxes an other accelerants later, the only difference is at least with karn it's not a total throw away.
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zeus-online
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« Reply #36 on: September 01, 2010, 03:01:15 PM »

So Espresso Stax has been tearing it up with 4 Serum Powders and no Black Lotus.
Most recently Vincent Forino got 4th at Gencon I think.

How can this be?  He pulls out the best card in magic and then adds 4 Pokemon cards and top 4s at Gencon!

Either Serum Powders are really good in Stax, or we all have to admit that the NYSE guys were right and Black Lotus really is suboptimal.

Those 2 things might possibly not be connected at all.

I mean i can make two graphs for you that show a similar trend, however i don't really think that the production of nuclear warheads has anything to do with the financial problems in the world.
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« Reply #37 on: September 01, 2010, 03:09:05 PM »

So Espresso Stax has been tearing it up with 4 Serum Powders and no Black Lotus.
Most recently Vincent Forino got 4th at Gencon I think.

How can this be?  He pulls out the best card in magic and then adds 4 Pokemon cards and top 4s at Gencon!

Either Serum Powders are really good in Stax, or we all have to admit that the NYSE guys were right and Black Lotus really is suboptimal.
Those 2 things might possibly not be connected at all.

I mean i can make two graphs for you that show a similar trend, however i don't really think that the production of nuclear warheads has anything to do with the financial problems in the world.
I prefer the "Lack of Pirates = Global Warming" graph myself.
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« Reply #38 on: September 01, 2010, 03:33:24 PM »

So Espresso Stax has been tearing it up with 4 Serum Powders and no Black Lotus.
Most recently Vincent Forino got 4th at Gencon I think.

How can this be?  He pulls out the best card in magic and then adds 4 Pokemon cards and top 4s at Gencon!

Either Serum Powders are really good in Stax, or we all have to admit that the NYSE guys were right and Black Lotus really is suboptimal.
Those 2 things might possibly not be connected at all.

I mean i can make two graphs for you that show a similar trend, however i don't really think that the production of nuclear warheads has anything to do with the financial problems in the world.
I prefer the "Lack of Pirates = Global Warming" graph myself.

Yes, i love that one aswell. I just wanted to be original Wink
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nineisnoone
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« Reply #39 on: September 01, 2010, 10:43:06 PM »

Serum Powder is a free, uncounterable, one-sided draw 7 that can be played on 0.  It also functions as a Mox while in play and better than a Mox while on the stack.

This sort of indicates you missed my point completely.  It's not a draw 7, that is a complete misstatement of it's ability. 

generally I have found that +1 card advantage is not worth a card slot. 
Am I misunderstanding you, or are you suggesting you would not happily start with 8 cards in hand at the cost of having a Pokemon card in your deck?

LOL.  Would you rather go first or go second and draw a card?  I'd rather go first....
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« Reply #40 on: September 01, 2010, 10:45:09 PM »

So Espresso Stax has been tearing it up with 4 Serum Powders and no Black Lotus.
Most recently Vincent Forino got 4th at Gencon I think.

How can this be?  He pulls out the best card in magic and then adds 4 Pokemon cards and top 4s at Gencon!

Either Serum Powders are really good in Stax, or we all have to admit that the NYSE guys were right and Black Lotus really is suboptimal.
Those 2 things might possibly not be connected at all.

I mean i can make two graphs for you that show a similar trend, however i don't really think that the production of nuclear warheads has anything to do with the financial problems in the world.
I prefer the "Lack of Pirates = Global Warming" graph myself.

Lack of Pirates is serious business.
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« Reply #41 on: September 02, 2010, 02:50:35 AM »

I personally play too many silver bullets in my stax decks for serum powder to be worth including. 

All the mono brown jank rolling around lately pretty much have to rely on serum powder to have the explosive opening hands, however.
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meadbert
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« Reply #42 on: September 02, 2010, 01:01:49 PM »

I personally play too many silver bullets in my stax decks for serum powder to be worth including. 
I have slightly run into this.  For instance I once wanted to tutor up my Maze of Ith only to remember it had been RFGed.
Also this used to happen with Strip Mine.  For Maze I might go to 2xMaze and 0 Tabernacle just for this reason.
I probably will not add Ghost Quarter since Rishadan Port is so good.
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« Reply #43 on: September 02, 2010, 01:46:05 PM »

I personally play too many silver bullets in my stax decks for serum powder to be worth including. 

All the mono brown jank rolling around lately pretty much have to rely on serum powder to have the explosive opening hands, however.

It does seem that the extremely high % of possible turn 1 locks in stax(the highest ever on record at like 14 in mud) should mean that the deck can survive until turn 2 by just what it can play off land+ mox(the original intent of the deck)...and not be reliant on powder.  I like the idea of having it to get rid of a crappy start, but you have better chance of mulliganing into early locks without it than all of thisdecks predecessors...and I hate the idea of ripping it midgame.

I think it's most useful for finding sideboarded leylines to shore up a crappy matchup, and past that I dare say "win-more"
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« Reply #44 on: September 02, 2010, 01:51:27 PM »

I played a board with 8 leylines and 4 serum powders. I was not impressed.
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« Reply #45 on: September 27, 2010, 01:28:31 AM »

I hate Serum Powder in my Stax deck, I remember way back in the day reflection was toying around with it as a way of more reliably starting every game with Shop->Trinisphere in your opening hand before Trinisphere got the axe, but I think because of the high density of comparable quality lock pieces in the deck this is no longer necessary. Basically, the way I see it is that there are four possibilities for Serum Powder:

Event A: You have a Serum Powder in your opening hand.
Event A': You do not have a Serum Powder in your opening hand.
Event B: You have a good hand.
Event B': You have a bad opening hand.

Event AB: You have a good hand that has been diluted by one by the presence of Serum Powder. Maybe Serum Powder isn't a "dead" card, but a 3cc spell that produces a colorless mana is definitely suboptimal card usage.
Event AB': This is the ideal scenario for Serum Powder, it effectively nets you +1 card at no cost and reduced the number of suboptimal cards in your deck to 3.
Event A'B: You have a good hand, but there are still 4 suboptimal cards in your deck waiting to be drawn.
Event A'B': You gain no benefit from having serum powder and still have 4 suboptimal cards in your deck.

There are a few other scenarios like later mulligans and having multiple powders in your opening hand, but those are of relatively minor consequence. It should also be noted that if you remove a hand without a workshop in it you've increased the likelihood of drawing a workshop in the subsequent mulligan hand.

Some things to note: Having Serum Powder will lead to more bad opening hands and make it appear as though it is being more effective than it actually is. I think it is common for people to fail to consider the hand with the card that would be in place of that Serum Powder, maybe that's the card that would have made the hand more palatable with that extra mana source or business spell.

I guess what really gets under my skin about this card is that even if you absolutely live the dream with it and mulligan a complete loser hand and get into a nuts draw the effect of the card was still just netting you one card in your opening hand that a traditional mulligan would not have and for the drawbacks of this card that's not nearly enough benefit for me.

I think the comparison to dredge isn't really a fair one as pretty much all dredge decks are completely ineffective without Bazaar of Baghdad, there are plenty of Shop deck hands without MWS that can function effectively. Also, the possibility of "drawing dead" is a non-issue for dredge decks where I think it is a considerable concern for a traditional MWS based deck that has no means of sculpting it's hand.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2010, 01:33:38 AM by Meddling Mage » Logged

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