Thalía is only better than Lavinia against Xerox. That’s already a good matchup (most of the time). BUG is probably the most challenging because of DRS and Narset/Leo. Thalía isn’t very valuable there. That’s why I say don’t worry about playing it. I don’t think it is helping any relevant matchups.
If I were playing Hogaak Survival again this weekend, I'd make one functional change to the deck guaranteed:
- -1 Green Fetchland
- +1 Dryad Arbor
Someone on the Nic Fit Discord, the source of all good Vintage inspiration, mentioned the importance of Dryad Arbor in a recent straight Black/Green build of Nic Fit as a land that taps to pay for Hogaak. Dryad Arbor can convoke for Hogaak as a green source of mana whether it's sick or not thanks to Convoke. Hogaak Survival already was running a heavy land count of 19 lands, so I don't think the swap for a "utility" land will hurt that much.
Dryad Arbor offers some strategic benefits for Hogaak Survival. With a combination of Survival and the seven remaining green fetchlands, it's by far the easiest creature to tutor for. Additionally, you can create good heads-up plays with Dryad Arbor and Hogaak. With another Black/Green creature in play alongside a fetchland and four Delve "mana", you can crack the fetchland to find Dryad Arbor and cast Hogaak. Your opponent will have to respond to the fetchland activation on the stack, the last moment of priority, if they want to avoid Hogaak being cast. This isn't an intuitive line for opponents that may be unfamiliar with what you're up to, although it may be now that I've said something. Your mileage may vary.
In addition to the Hogaak synergy, there is the Bloodghast synergy. While not as impressive, Dryad Arbor is a land that can be tutored for with Survival. There will be lines of play, although probably not often, that involve creating a Survival chain where you find some number of your Bloodghasts and end the chain with a Dryad Arbor that can be played to return them all. You may also want the option to tutor for a land for future turns to set up for free Hollow Ones or other similar lines. Just keep in mind that playing Dryad Arbor doesn't count as casting a creature for Vengevine.
This weekend is hopefully the last weekend that the metagame will look the way it does today, and I wanted to get this information out there for interested pilots who wanted to try the deck this weekend. Happy Gaaking!
@Mike-Noble: I don't plan on playing Hogaak. I'd bet I'm wrong and that Gaak is optimal, but I can't help but feel that Survival doesn't need more clock. So I'm attempting to hate and interact and such.
@wfain: You brought up EXACTLY the issues I was pondering. That's why Squee and Dark Confidant were the card advantage sources of choice.
I think we may have some interesting things to discuss with this new B&R.
It's safe to say the counterspell builds range from difficult to impossible to build with Mental Misstep restricted.
Workshops is not dead. Keep those Collector Ouphe numbers high for the return of Ravager Shops and the uptick in DPS and PO players.
That's all I have for now. I really have to jam some leagues to figure out what everyone is up to.
@Mike-Noble: what's DPS?
Anyways, turnout was pretty low, but it could have been worse.
I went 1-1-1 to make T4. Lost Round 1 to Dredge (excellent pilot), drew round 2 against an excruciatingly slow Jedi Knights pilot, and crushed PO round 3. Lost in T4 to the same dredge guy. Damn that deck is intense.
I didn't get to do much by way of Bazaar or Survival shenanigans, which was unfortunate.
If super fast combo decks are now less likely (with the exception of Dredge), maybe I should cut white for a more stable and consistent plan. Maybe go to 3 or 4 Leovold in the 75 instead. And play some Ravenous Traps!
I think this B&R announcement was probably close to the best possible. And Yeah, I think I'd go back to the original thalia builds too. Blue seems really hard without misstep to help keeping the count up for FoW. Actually I've always thought misstep was better than fow in the blue version, but anyways.
There's still the green force and the ouphe as good cards we got since we went away from the thalia versions and those will probably come in.
I played some matches yesterday after a few weeks with almost no play and wasn't really excited. Matches felt too trivial (blue decks), too stupid (but I guess dredge is not dead yet) or too uncontrollable (karn). But now things look nice again, and maybe even fun!
@wfain yeah, pyroblast seems great but I'm really not sure about the red splash. Tried a 4c without black yesterday with thalia, the very old version with grudges and felt kinda bad. I tried something along the bant version that was around, with the amount of relevant permanents deputy seems pretty good and Lavinia has always been. So far played only 1 match with it but seemed better. Got to fight the otherwise almost unbeatable sphynx and Lavinia is kind of a must counter against blue decks.
Fastbond is pretty serious, got beat up badly yesterday against IAmActuallyLvl1 with a amulet titan with infinite mana turn 2 (t1 amulet into t2 bounceland and fastbond). The deck seems pretty good and it's probably not even close to ideal.
1 chalice and 1 misstep sound good to have too.
I had a 3-2 yesterday with Hogaak Survival, the exact 75 laid out in my update to the deck (-1 Fetchland, +1 Dryad Arbor). Both of my losses were to the same Spy/Informer pilot, which seems unwinnable especially when MODO crashes during sideboarding. I hope the glass cannons dwindle as the metagame shakes out.
I decided on Hogaak Survival because I wanted to play a non-brew and hoped the lack of Mental Misstep would make Deathrite Shaman seem stronger, which certainly felt true. Going forward I would take more of @GutoCmtt's approach. Lavinia is a fish that's so good that even Xerox and PO play it, and I'd rather use disruption that plays to the deck's core strategy than push for things like Pyroblast. I'm still torn between stretching the mana for Deathrite Shaman, but would keep the deck GWU otherwise. Three colors seems to be the sweet spot for a deck that get access to ~13 non-Bazaar lands.
Unfortunately I won't have time the rest of this week to play. I feel the league results will be huge to inform the format what's good and what's not by the time I get to log on again.
@wfain I’ve tested Jund and it felt really strong.
Wheel has always felt really strong to me. You also get faithless looting which can give you a lot of action in certain situations and let you have some selection later in the game.
Also Domri Felt really good in those colors especially in post board grinding matches
Also get ancient grudge and the new Red madness creature that lets you pitch your hand and draw three cards. Which I really want to test.