The Metaworker: Teferi, Part 2 James LaPage February 8, 2017 The Metaworker 7 You may have noticed that this episode comes to you a little late. Never fear! I’m back after having some minor surgery that kept me from typing. In the last episode, we looked at /u/Radiophage’s Teferi deck, and did a preliminary tuneup of his manabase. After a lot of feedback from the /r/competitiveedh community, I’d like to mention right here at the beginning that what we’re left with after this tune-up is not going to be an optimal list. I am a firm believer that to play an EDH deck effectively, you have to get a good idea of which cards are good or bad, and how they fit into your local meta. The best way to do that is by playing it, and thinking about the results of each game critically. If you’re the type that likes to skip the journey and head to the destination, I’ll include some top-tier resources at the end of this article. I’m certainly not beyond acting on good advice, and some of this advice was really great. In that light, I’ve cut Khalni Gem, Lotus Vale and Hedron Archive from my original lists after some compelling arguments by some very skilled deckbuilders. To refresh everyone’s memory, here’s what the mana base for this deck currently looks like: 1 x Academy Ruins1 x Ancient Tomb1 x Chrome Mox1 x Copy Artifact1 x Fellwar Stone1 x Gilded Lotus1 x Grim Monolith22 x Island (335)1 x Lotus Petal1 x Mana Crypt – Book Promos1 x Mana Vault 1 x Mox Diamond1 x Mox Opal1 x Phyrexian Metamorph – Launch Promo1 x Sculpting Steel1 x Seat of the Synod1 x Sol Ring1 x Soldevi Excavations1 x Thran Dynamo1 x Voltaic Key1 x Worn Powerstone Buy This List Without any further stalling, I’d like to jump right in and talk about one of the fundamental ideas of competitive deckbuilding: If you are finishing the game with a combo, the combo should be as streamlined as possible, resilient to disruption, and available to you as consistently as possible. This means we’re going to be including tutors and combo protection. Our deck is going to be built with as many cards as possible that push us towards winning by successfully executing the combo. What kind of combo are we going to use to end the game? We’ve already discussed the interaction between The Chain Veil and Teferi, but I always like to include a redundant combo. You never know when you’re going to get Bitter Ordealed or have to stare down a Gaddock Teeg, and putting all our eggs in the Chain Veil basket can backfire really badly. In this deck, I’d like to include Basalt Monolith and Rings of Brighthearth, which interact to generate infinite mana, as well as Enter the Infinite as an alternative way to draw our entire deck. 1 x Basalt Monolith1 x Enter the Infinite1 x Rings of Brighthearth1 x The Chain Veil Buy This List 50% of our combo is in the command zone! This means that we always have access to it, and we can focus our tutoring efforts on the other piece – The Chain Veil. In this light, I’d like to include a tutor package of 10 cards – 7 of which can tutor for The Chain Veil. The other tutors are just smart utility cards that help the deck accelerate or grab responses when we need them most. 1 x Fabricate1 x Inventors’ Fair1 x Merchant Scroll1 x Mystical Tutor1 x Reshape1 x Tezzeret the Seeker1 x Tolaria West1 x Transmute Artifact1 x Trinket Mage1 x Whir of Invention Buy This List Whir of Invention is some pretty incredible tech that was giftwrapped to Teferi players everywhere recently, and the fact that it puts the tutored artifact directly onto the battlefield is pretty incredible. This puts it up there with Tezzeret, Transmute Artifact, and Reshape as potential game enders. They’re essentially more expensive copies of The Chain Veil. Once we get our combo online, how do we close out the game? Unfortunately, picking up a good chunk of our library and/or making infinite mana doesn’t end the game by itself. We need to take one extra step to actually kill our opponents. That’s where our wincons come in: 1 x Stroke of Genius1 x Ugin, the Spirit Dragon1 x Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur Buy This List Jin-Gitaxias can be hardcast relatively easily with a few mana rocks and Teferi’s -1. Ugin is the most accessible wincon to slam down after The Chain Veil has given us several dozen Planeswalker activations, and Stroke of Genius serves as a sink for infinite mana generated by Basalt/Rings. Other people tend to want to stay alive This is one of those nasty realities of competitive play – people are going to want to try to interact with us while we’re either executing the combo or trying to utilize the resources we’ve created. How do we finesse a win in a sea of disruption? That’s where the protection package comes in! 1 x Buried Ruin1 x Chain of Vapor1 x Cyclonic Rift1 x Force of Will1 x Hurkyl’s Recall1 x Mystic Remora 1 x Pact of Negation1 x Spell Pierce1 x Spellskite1 x Swan Song1 x Dispel Buy This List Not all counterspells are created equal /u/SirOzzsome has written a really great piece on counterspells, and with his guidance I’ve selected a few counterspells to protect our combos and wincons. As an aside, I would highly recommend reading this piece (https://www.reddit.com/r/CompetitiveEDH/comments/5k0tef/a_lexicon_of_cedh_counterspells_and_some/?st=iyuwfshz&sh=ad00297d) if you’re interested in cEDH. It will help you develop an idea of what you’ll be up against when you sit down against a control or combo deck. It’s worth noting, as well, that certain counterspells (like Pact of Negation) work better as protection for your combo, and some (like Mana Drain) work better as disruption against your opponents. Speaking of Disruption We really can’t pretend like we’ll be the only one at the table. A disruption package helps us throw a wrench in our opponents’ finely-tuned machines, clearing the way for our combo turn: 1 x Back to Basics1 x Counterspell1 x Cursed Totem1 x Delay1 x Ghost Quarter1 x Grafdigger’s Cage1 x Mana Leak1 x Mental Misstep1 x Muddle the Mixture 1 x Negate1 x Overburden1 x Pithing Needle1 x Stasis1 x Static Orb1 x Tangle Wire1 x Unsubstantiate1 x Winter Orb Buy This List We’ve already talked about lock pieces like Stasis, Winter/Static Orb, and Tangle Wire. These are pieces that synergize with Teferi to form an asymmetric lock, reducing our opponents’ access to their own resources. A few notable absences here – Imi Statue and Mana Web. I felt these were running contrary to our own game plan, rather than advancing it, so I’ve replaced them with Cursed Totem (to deal with Nin and a few others) and a more robust counterspell package. Pendrell Mists has also become Overburden, a much more efficient piece of disruption that essentially accomplishes the same goal – delaying creature-based decks like Karador and Yisan and forcing them to make some pretty tough decisions. What’s left? With 11 cards left, I’ve included a small package of utility cards. These are cards designed to generate card advantage, increase card selection, and ensure that we’re able to make our land drops and get Teferi onto the board on time: 1 x Brainstorm1 x Fact or Fiction1 x High Tide (Tucker)1 x Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy Flip1 x Memory Jar1 x Ponder 1 x Preordain1 x Reliquary Tower1 x Sensei’s Divining Top1 x Snapcaster Mage1 x Windfall Buy This List Windfall is really important in any blue deck that utilizes a fast mana strategy – one thing you don’t want is to dump a hand full of artifact mana, only to have nothing to do with it once it’s on the board. What we’re left with is a deck that’s much closer to handling a competitive meta: Artifacts1 x Basalt Monolith1 x Chrome Mox1 x Cursed Totem1 x Fellwar Stone1 x Gilded Lotus1 x Grafdigger’s Cage1 x Grim Monolith1 x Lotus Petal1 x Mana Crypt – Book Promos1 x Mana Vault1 x Memory Jar1 x Mox Diamond1 x Mox Opal1 x Pithing Needle1 x Rings of Brighthearth1 x Sculpting Steel1 x Sensei’s Divining Top1 x Sol Ring1 x Static Orb1 x Tangle Wire1 x The Chain Veil1 x Thran Dynamo1 x Voltaic Key1 x Winter Orb1 x Worn Powerstone Enchantments1 x Back to Basics1 x Copy Artifact1 x Mystic Remora1 x Overburden Instants1 x Brainstorm1 x Chain of Vapor1 x Counterspell1 x Cyclonic Rift1 x Delay1 x Dispel1 x Fact or Fiction1 x Force of Will1 x High Tide (Tucker)1 x Hurkyl’s Recall1 x Mana Leak1 x Mental Misstep1 x Muddle the Mixture1 x Mystical Tutor1 x Negate1 x Pact of Negation1 x Spell Pierce1 x Stroke of Genius1 x Swan Song1 x Unsubstantiate1 x Whir of Invention Creatures1 x Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy Flip1 x Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur1 x Phyrexian Metamorph – Launch Promo1 x Snapcaster Mage1 x Spellskite1 x Trinket Mage Planeswalkers1 x Tezzeret the Seeker1 x Ugin, the Spirit Dragon Lands1 x Academy Ruins1 x Ancient Tomb1 x Boseiju, Who Shelters All1 x Buried Ruin1 x Ghost Quarter1 x Inventors’ Fair22 x Island (335)1 x Reliquary Tower1 x Seat of the Synod1 x Soldevi Excavations1 x Tolaria West Sorceries1 x Enter the Infinite1 x Fabricate1 x Merchant Scroll1 x Ponder1 x Preordain1 x Reshape1 x Transmute Artifact1 x Windfall Commander1 x Teferi, Temporal Archmage Buy This List Now, thinking back to the purpose of this article, I’d like to close by listing a few things for Radiophage (and really any competitive deckbuilder) to think about while playing. The answers to these questions will help him weed out the cards in this list that are still sub-optimal, and decide on which tools are more appropriate to deal with his specific meta: Was I unable to interact with several important spells this game because my counterspells in hand were too narrow? This may be an indication that the counterspell mix is ill-suited to the meta. Even though it may increase the deck’s ACMC, we might consider picking some counterspells from the more general list in SirOzzsome’s list. Did my lockdown/prison pieces effectively prevent people from executing their game plans? If not, it might be time to tweak the mix of lockdown pieces. Was this loss due to my misplay or due to not having the right tools in my toolbox? This is one that I ask myself after every single game. When you lose, it can be very tempting to deflect responsibility. Someone might have had a god hand, or the perfect piece of hate to use against you, but remember that in competitive metas, people are putting a ton of effort into increasing their chances of winning. God hands and lucky topdecks happen, but they happen more often to people who ask themselves this question often. Finally – and this isn’t a question so much as it is a recommendation – get some reps in! Play your deck against as many different decks as you can. Understanding your own deck inside and out is incredibly important. When you draw a tutor, you should immediately know what that tutor should be grabbing out of your deck to maximize your chances of winning. This doesn’t come easily – it comes through repetition and a lot of losing. That’s it for this week! Thanks for reading, and we’ll be back in 2 weeks with another case study in Metaworking. As promised, I’d like to plug this list as one of – if not the – most solid Teferi list I’ve come across in my research for this article. I had an opportunity to talk to the author, and I don’t find myself wanting to argue with any of his card selections. The guide is well-written and explains the deck well. If you’re looking to get as close to optimal as you can possibly get, this is where you should be looking: http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/chain-veil-teferi/ If you are struggling with a problem in your local meta, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with a detailed description of the dominant threats in your meta. Be sure to include the commander (and archetype if applicable) as well as the pilot’s preferred ways of closing out the game. Also include your decklist, budget, and any deckbuilding restrictions you’ve imposed on yourself (themes, house rules/banlist, and overall spikiness of your playgroup). Your situation may be solved in a future installment of The Metaworker. 7 Responses Mike February 9, 2017 There are several white cards listed in this article that are probably supposed to be other cards (e.g. stasis cocoon is most likely just supposed to be stasis). Reply James LaPage February 9, 2017 Right you are! I’ve fixed this up. Thanks. Reply Geoooorge February 9, 2017 I tell you hwat. Austen Hoey February 9, 2017 damn autocorrect! alex February 8, 2017 Blah blah blah. More pauper articles!!!!! :p Reply alex February 9, 2017 sorry james. the article is good for sure. I swear it had Austin’s name on there when it first went up so I was making a poke at him. commander isn’t normally my thing but my friends like it and it’s good to know what’s out there. Reply Austen Hoey February 9, 2017 That was my mistake, i accidentally uploaded it with my name, my bad my bad Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName Email Website Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.