Good article. I might have mentioned the interaction with pyroblast and Dack's ultimate to steal any permanent, since you already mentioned pyro. Otherwise, a pretty complete list of tricks. I do like the block with Jace Vryns prodigy and then activate to flip before lethal damage would kill him trick, but realistically flip Jace doesn't see much play.
I'm just starting to think about this deck so forgive me if this is silly, but for the blue version has anyone just tried snapcaster mage and/or spellseeker? These add to the blue count, can be found by survival, and let you tutor for and replay ancestral and time walk. Might this be better than treasure cruise if you already run ancestral?
I've always really liked your take on Dredge. I noticed this iteration removes the dark depths SB package in favor of hollowed one. Do you find this to be fast enough against PO decks and other fast decks in games 2/3 where they are also SB'ing? I really liked how your older lists could use LftL to recur Depths/Stage through Containment Priest and Grafdigger's cage. The current SB seems much more susceptible to the usual hate. What have been your experiences with this SB in comparison?
I think the combination of
2 Karn, Scion of Urza
1 Tezzeret, Artifice Master
2 Dack Fayden
1 Daretti Ingenious Iconoclast
is definitely a new planes walker package worth considering over the more traditional
2 Jace, the Minsculptor
1 Tezzeret, the Seeker
2 Dack Fayden
1 Time Vault
1 Voltaic key
in Grixis control decks.
The newer set takes up less card space, stays on mana curve, has much better board presence for a control deck, much better synergy, and fewer dead cards. Although it looses the occasional Tez, the Seeker into vault or vault/key oops I win factor, it has less variance and more utility as each of the newer cards are good by themselves, where as time vault by itself is bad, key is not great, and Tez is ok without vault if you can get enough artifacts to ultimate or find utility artifacts as needed.
I have been testing the above package in an otherwise normal Grixis control list (with a bit more artifact mana/ancient tomb and especially Tolarian Academy) with Tinker and Myr Battlesphere as the tinker target, which is also amazing for pumping Karn constructs, for drawing 2 with new Tez, and producing artifacts to sac to Daretti. Not to mention, few things are more fun than ultimating Daretti on Battlesphere for 3 copies. Finally, although @ChubbyRain already mentioned the synergy of Dack, Tez, and Karn, Daretti is actually a great choice for control decks too as he provides a permanent immune to pyroblast that repeatedly destroys artifacts or oath targets over a long game without spending mana and is very synergistic with the aforementioned cards. Finally, I'm not sure anyone has mentioned Myr battlesphere yet as the tinker target in this kind of deck, though the synergy there is pretty powerful from pumping constructs, keeping new Tez at draw 2, or providing a great target for Daretti's or Tez's ultimate.
I would love to hear what others have discovered in play testing too, but i think there is something to these cards in combination worth exploring.
PS - Sorry for the stream of consciousness post, but I'm severely sleep-deprived at the moment.
I thought the wording suggests that the dealing double damage is a replacement effect keyed by "instead" and the second ability was a triggered ability, "if it would deal damage, halve it rounded down" without a replacement i.e. no "instead". Is this not true? I'm not sure there is an issue here with two replacement effects. If one is triggered and the other a replacement then in scenario 1) each Gisella does 10 damage as there is only one replacement effect for each Gisella (no stack for replacement effects) and the triggered abilities then resolve dropping them back to 5 damage and both creatures die at end of combat. In the metamorph scenario, the activated ability puts 1 damage on the stack targeting the opponent, which gets replaced to two damage (no stack), then the opponents Gisella halves it to 1 as a triggered ability that resolves after the now 2 damage activated ability resolves, so the opponent takes one damage. If I'm wrong, then I'm so sorry for making this all more confusing.
There are some cards that I think this deck might want to consider.
With all the flashback spells, situational spells, extreme card draw, and soul fire for lifelink, firestorm is surprisingly not bad. It's similar to his sb firespout except for one red you can discard 3-4 cards and target the opponent or a planeswalker, and his creatures without touching yours and gaining a good amount of life.
This card is borderline playable normally. Here it gets lifelink possibly, and if you ultimate dack, ice plus taigam and mystic retrieval can steal a lot of permanents. Also, ice on precursor golem if that's in your meta is awesome in general.
With all the token generating planes walkers, does this really not warrant testing?
Cavern of souls
Not a big deal but uncounterable taigam is great. Then you can counter removal on him without fear. Also helps cast soulfire and mentor if you play it. Edit: should have specified that this is a one-of given other mana requirements.
Most of these calculations use the hypergeometric distribution. For example, not including cavern of souls you have a 60 card deck with 9 white mana sources. By turn 5 you will see 11-12 cards depending upon play first/draw first and assuming you draw one card per turn. You want the probability of drawing into at least 2 white sources. Using a hypergeometric calculator (http://stattrek.com/online-calculator/hypergeometric.aspx) and assuming 12 cards, for this example, the probability is 58%. This jumps to 80% if you include cavern of souls so that the number of white mana sources jumps to 13.
I think there are a lot of exceptions. It's more important to consider where the opponent is in their mana development and what they might play. In the above example, an ancient tomb means that their an eldrazi temple away from thought-know seer or a workshop away from fleet wheel cruiser. If I didn't have an answer in my hand to that possible play, I might find it worthwhile to waste a tapped land before my opponent gets another main phase. Having said all of that, in this particular case, I agree with let the thorn resolve and play wasteland and ruby with mana for FoW. On the next turn, I would plan to counter his first big play (fleetwheel or thought-know seer), then play my land drop and preordain using fetch (island) plus ruby and waste his land that produces the most mana in hopes of cutting them off another big play now that my hand is out of answers, assuming the preordain didn't result in anything that changes the analysis.
Has anyone tried Glissa, the Traitor in the SB or less likely MD?
Glissa, the traitor GGB
First strike, Deathtouch
Whenever an opponent's creature dies, you may return an artifact from your graveyard to your hand
The first strike and death touch combination means that it kills thought-knot seer and reality smasher before receiving combat damage and its ability can allow you to recur baleful strix against eldrazi, tormod's crypts against dredge, engineered explosives against mentor, etc.
Loam is an interesting inclusion over Crucible, and they fundamentally do the same thing, and adding JvP adds value to the dredge, but I don't think you would cast it more than once (KO'ing 3 lands is usually enough).
Just to be clear, although you might cast it once for the purposes of destroying your opponents lands, you might very well cast it again just to have lands to discard to Dack Fayden's +1. In this respect, it works like Gush to increase the value of looting as more pure card advantage. I made the changes discussed in the original post because I think this deck is well positioned in the metagame, but I wanted more control elements than traditional BUG decks and after playing decks like Sylvan mentor, who doesn't want to discard lands and draw off Dack? Loam has much more synergy in the deck than crucible, but if all I wanted was land destruction, I wouldn't play loam.
I tried fatal push and there are times when it's really good, especially with 4 wastelands it's easy to hit cmc 4 creatures. I just didn't want a card that couldn't hit reality smasher. I actually think the best plan is layered removal on curve, something like Fatal push x2, abrupt decay x2, toxic deluge x2. This way you have answers on the early middle and late games that improve in power level. I just couldn't find room for everything.
I definitely considered ancient grudge, painful truths, and Explosives (and also think it is the best mass removal spell at the moment) but I made cuts to get down to 60 cards. Several inclusions like null rod and intuition were concessions since I ran out of room in the SB with all the oath cards. What do people think about post board ways to deal with eldrazi and aggro shops with BUG control? I feel like this is a tough match up. That's why I contorted the deck to fit oath in the SB. Also, in general what do people feel the good and bad matchups are and what are the key cards in these matchups?
I felt like the deck is good against mentor but not aggro shops or eldrazi.
For example key cards, I think Leovold is strong against mentor and paradoxical outcome, but I want null rods against outcome. Against eldrazi and shops, I want land destruction and removal, although a black moat would be nice.