Wednesday 20 February 2019

Bogles .dec

Slippery BogleI recently did a similar deck to this which I imaginatively dubbed "auras". While it was quite cool it felt a little bit unfocused. It was a little too caught up in the card draw elements of enchantment heavy decks and that detracted from the speed of the deck. Given that in practice this sort of deck is a combo aggro hybrid speed is your friend and lack of focus not so much. Here is that list;

With what was learned from that experience and with what modern Bogles lists can teach us I ran a more focused version. Rather than try and setup a situation where I would draw cards as I buffed up dorks I thought I would just skip the disruptible card draw dorks and play near exclusively hexproof stuff. By increasing the power level of the auras a little you can fairly reliably create a pretty lethal threat without need of drawing a whole bunch of extra cards. This list is both quicker and less vulnerable than my previous attempt.

24 Spells

Ethereal Armor
Gladecover Scout
Slipery Bogle
Wild Growth
Abundant Growth

Hyena Umbra
Spider Umbra
Gryff's Boon

Ethereal Armor
Cartouch of Solidarity
Curious Obsession
Green Sun's Zenith

Silhana Ledgewalker
Invisible Stalker
Ancestral MaskBasra Tower Archer

Daybreak Coronet
Cartouche of Knowledge

Armadillo Cloak
Unflinching Courage
Ancestral Mask

Troll Ascetic
Geist of St Traft
Dungrove Elder

Thrun, the Last Troll

16 Lands including;

Dryad Arbor
Lumbering Falls
Horizon Canopy

Daybreak CoronetA big part of what makes this deck good is how little it cares about what you are up to. It literally only cares about a couple of things and they do not include opposing creatures, opposing damage output or spot removal. Your lifegain and oversized evasive dorks will comfortably race almost any aggressive draw. Your pure suite of hexproof dorks will make you safe in doing so and provide some duds for your opponents.

This deck does still like to draw cards but it does so in a far cheaper, quicker and safer way. It skips the Enchantress step which is slow and often vulnerable and it uses  cantrip cards and Curiosity effects to do so instead. While Curiosity is limited to one draw per Curiosity enchant per turn that is still plenty for your needs. I wanted to play more with Sixth and Keen Sense on offer but felt that was my bias towards wanting to draw card at play and doing so would likely be overkill. Snake Umbra is probably the next inline on that front as it is dual purpose with the protection elements. The cantrip Cartouch and Abundant Growth are nice cute little ways of helping to thin the deck and maximize your key cards turnout.

Abundant GrowthBeing a deck than needs lands and action but having that action split into fairly limp halves on their own adds to the deck building problem. If you draw all auras you do nothing at all and if it is all dorks you are wildly under powered. A mix is essential but this is quite hard to do. You can use card quality to get there but it is going to slow you down a lot. The blue stuff would be best as it is the only reasonably priced things that find you lands, creatures and auras. Just getting 2/3rd of those things as per Adventurous Impulse or Commune with the Gods isn't enough help to make it worth it. The issue with using blue cards is the mana base, you really want to be heavy green and light blue. The best solution appears to be simply focus. By running no disruption or dedicated interactive cards you can make your whole deck lands, auras and hexproof dorks and in an appropriate ratio so as to maximise your chances. Just a couple of cards that are not part of the combo such as a Path to Exile significantly increase the odds of a dud draw. Each more so than the last. As you are a deck than is fairly resistant to disruption while also caring about very little and being pretty quick and proactive you are one of the few decks that can go bare naked into the night and run no disruption. Given that you have limited dig and draw as it is you are pretty unlikely to have the right piece when you need it anyway so when you are going all in you should go all in! Answers, interaction and disruption can all live in the imagined sideboard of this beast! If I were to run disruption it would likely come in a form like Incubation // Incongruity or Cast Out as both are effectively things you can cycle away to some degree and thus hurt your consistency least.

Green Sun's Zenith
A major concern I had for this deck was lack of one drops you can play on turn one with only the two hexproof dorks available. This is a big part of why the Zenith Dryad combo is in the deck although having played with it a bunch now it is pretty obvious you run this regardless. The value of having Dryad Arbor in the deck is huge as you can find it with sac lands and toss it to Edicts which are one of the only good counters to this deck. That is why the white Cartouche is there as well, just good anti Edict tech, the only removal type you are all that vulnerable too. The other solution to the lack of one drops is the use of the mana auras Wild Growth and Utopia Sprawl. I only played the Growth but both would be fine includes. While I want these to be Noble Hierarch in a lot of ways conserving the lack of spot removal targets is a good thing. You also get a mild boost to the Ancestral Mask and Ethereal Armor with them which isn't nothing. It does sadly make me really want to pack things like Argothian Enchantress and the more vulnerable Kor Spirit Dancer to milk that potential value! Although the curve looks like it doesn't need ramp it sadly kind of does. It has to lead with a hexproof dork and with nearly half of those in the deck being at three mana you really want a ramp when you don't have the cheaper options. Your first meaningful attack should be on turn three. Despite having two mana sources in my spell count I ended up running a land heavy list given the CMC of the deck. You cast all your stuff quicker and thus win quicker when you curve out all the way to four mana. A deck with this CMC average that was aiming to win on turn 8 or something should play far less lands or a bunch more filtering and mana sinks. Given we are trying to end things a good three turns before that we can happily run a higher land. My concession to this high land count was the pseudo cycling Horizon Canopy and the Lumbering Falls.

Thrun, the Last TrollI actually found I was more creature heavy than I needed to be. As the deck can't do much of anything without a hexproof dork I played nearly every single option at 3 or less mana. There are some low power Portal: Three Kingdoms ones at three in green that I don't have and that probably cost an arm and a leg to get .There is also Witchstalker, Sacred Wolf and arguably Jungleborn Pioneer at three. The Pioneer comes with its own Edict protection which might make it good but it also might be awkward in the face of something like Evacuation. The smattering of Edict protection combined with the apparently high creature count made me feel sufficiently safe in that department. I tried the deck out against a deck pretty much tailored to handle this list and despite facing three Edict effects and recursion that aspect of things felt fine. I would absolutely cut Dungrove Elder, I only had enough Forests to make him a 7/7 and he was usually a 2/2 on cast. I don't think he needs replacing either although Witchstalker would be my first choice to do so with. You could try and streamline by cutting both Thrun and Dungrove and adding in the Stalker but I actually quite liked Thrun in this deck. He is that much meatier that you can make him incredibly threatening with less enchantments and as such he is a reasonable recovery tool if you eat something devastating. The partial mass removal and combat protection found on the Trolls in this list was nice and lessened the burden on totem armor and other protection effects.

Armadillo CloakThe suite of auras I ran was pretty spot on. I liked the range of costs and spread of effects. I would change little about that side of the deck. There is just the right balance of card that protect and cards that buff, those that give evasion and those that make racing you impossible via lifelink and arguably vigilance too. There are a couple more playable totem armour cards I would consider with Snake at the top of the pile. There are some cheap cantrip auras like Frog Tongue but these do not do much without a dork to play them on and so they don't have the perks of consistency that Abundant Growth gives. Without Enchantress effects the cheap do nothing cards lose a lot of value. Battlemastery is perhaps the only hard hitting encahntment I would consider but it is a bit win more and does little on its own. Mask of Law and Grace would be a fantastic hate card stopping blockers and preventing damage but as your stuff is hexproof the value of protection is diminished. That is partly why there is no Flickering Ward in this list either. It just doesn't reliably do enough and has some negative synergies. This list already has all the good synergy auras, those that scale appropriately and those that are unreasonably powerful for their cost. This deck is a good 90% locked in with very little wiggle room to try and improve it (beyond the Dungrove change to probably Snake Umbra). Being so specific and so pure of a decklist I can state that pretty extreme claim with decent confidence.

Invisible StalkerThis deck is sufficiently narrow that it is only going to be viable in singleton constructed and open draft formats but it is a good one. It is so pure, quick and hard to interact with. It is like a burn deck but without any fear of lifegain. It does trade some consistency for this but not an amount that offsets the power gains. Although there are sideboard tools that can be used against this kind of deck they are not all that effective or can be countered by your own sideboard tools. You really stretch peoples sideboards by running a deck like this. Often the returns on boarding against a list are not worth the slots and so people just forgo it and accept the loss or try and luck out against you. The one thing I have against this deck is that it is no real fun for anyone to play. As the pilot of this deck you are limited in options and game plan. You just make the dork you can and put on the buffs you can in the best order you are able and start turning sideways. Your opponent usually just gets to watch that unfurl and try and race you. If you want to win this deck is a good one to have in the repertoire but if you are all about the fun games this is not the direction to go in.

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