Friday, 25 September 2015
Getting the balance of curve and acceleration right is one of the trickiest things about a rock deck. Too much ramp and land and you will flood. Too little land and your ramp isn't doing what you want it to. The mana curve is low enough on this list that 16 lands (with the Wayfinder, Wall, Nissa and Courser) is fine. Given the mana curve however this list has a lot of ramp cards. This means I am not only very consistent but also very bursty, I should have a lot going on by turn three. Most bursty decks quickly run out of options and gas where again Leap shines and lets you carry on playing magic toe to toe with grindy control and midrange decks. Partly this is because, despite having a curve most similar to an aggro rock deck the cards it plays are those you would find more in midrange and control rock lists (and of course those found in all of them!). Bow of Nylea ruins any slow deck, Leap allows you to burn through your things very quickly while Bow lets you reuse those cards endlessly. Decking yourself or not winning in time is a real concern in 40 card decks. The nature of Leap in a deck like this with more weaker smaller creatures is that you will run out very fast. Without the Bow to support your Leap you are not as willing to over extend, not for card advantage reasons but simply through not having enough threats left in your deck.
Birds of Paradise
Elves of Deepshadow
Sakura Tribe Elder
Wall of Blossoms
Liliana, Heretical Healer
Nissa, Vastwood Animist
Courser of Kruphix
Bow of Nylea
Tasigur, the Golden Fang
16 Lands (Including no less than 3 Forests for Nissa and a Swamp for the Tribe Elder)
This list is also very flexible. You could change the Courser into a Yavimaya Elder, you could throw in a Scavenging Ooze instead of something and the deck will function much the same. There is a heavy sacrifice theme going on which supports the new Liliana very heavily but also allows you to play Abyssal Persecutor without concern. It is exactly the sort of reach card decks like this need to punch through and actually win a game. The creatures are far too utility focused in a deck like this to be able to outrun any problems like a Gruul deck so easily can. A Gruul deck with a similar curve to this will be able to close out a game without having evasion or specific threats like you find in a control deck. While this is not a control deck as such it does need to play creatures with the specific aim of being able to win a game rather than just gain advantage or solve a problem. Siege Rhino is a good card in this role, as are planeswalkers like Sorin the Solemn Visitor, Elspeth the Knight-Errant. Titan's also get it done and can be found outside of white! Persecutor probably would have wound up as a Titan if I didn't have the abundance of sac outlets for it. Flesh Carver is also a reasonable means to break a stalemate or close a game while also being a good support card for the deck and a great stand alone card.
I do not often pack both Shriekmaw and Skin Render in the same list however Leap only finds creatures making it poor if you are looking for removal effects. I wanted to be able to find a broader range of utility while saccing guys to the Leap hence playing both. The same logic applies to the Den Protector and Eternal Witness in the list. The applied enough pressure that I was a little overkill on the lifegain and should have cut the Thragtusk for something like an Acidic Slime, again for the same removal utility logic.
Ophiomancer is nutty good with Evolutionary Leap and was an oversight for this list. I'm not entirely sure what I would cut for it but it is a worthy inclusion. Vampiric Rites would work well in this list too although it wasn't even spoiled when I made this deck. The Leap is much better as you have such a good and diverse creature count for one however it is mainly because you are deck planning on Leaping a lot and a Leap is half the mana to activate than Vampiric Rites.
This deck looks a lot like a Recurring Nightmare deck and indeed shares a lot of the same cards. You could happily play the Nightmare in this list and it wouldn't be bad at all. You could also tweak the list a bit and have Nightmare be very good indeed! The thing is, while Nightmare is a lot more powerful than Leap, it takes a lot more setting up and is narrower in what you want to play with it. Leaping fits in a lot better with just doing normal stuff. This allows the Leap deck to be able to generate a smooth, cheap, and ongoing advantage while doing what it needs to be doing. Nightmare can be clunky, it is usually the only thing you are doing in a turn (aside from the effects of the creatures entering and leaving play).