Congrats on the 4-0! Nice job.. Interesting take with the Ancestral Vision. It's a card I would've thought to try in this archetype. I've been brewing sultai again recently and I've really liked Nissa actually, even alongside the more traditional PWs
Quote from Scissors x »Hey everyone Little local fnm report with my take on sultai midrange. Went 4-0 (8W-2L) and played againts MonoR phoenix, Abzan rock, UW control and Bant spirits.
The deck :
DeckMagic OnlineOCTGN2ApprenticeBuy These Cards Creatures (12)
2 grim flayer
2 snapcaster mage
2 tireless tracker
2 kalitas, traitor of ghet
2 nissa, steward of elements
4 ancestral vision
4 inquisition of kozilek
1 yahenni's expertise
1 maelstrom pulse
3 fatal push
2 abrupt decay
2 assassin's trophy
4 mishra's bauble
4 polluted delta
4 verdant catacombs
2 creeping tar pit
2 field of ruin
2 overgrown tomb
1 blooming marsh
1 botanical sanctum
1 watery grave
1 breeding pool
3 nihil spellbomb
2 unmoored ego
1 pulse of murasa
1 feed the clan
1 yahenni's expertise
1 flaying tendrils
2 collective brutality
1 scavenging ooze
1 disdainful stroke
Some card choices :
Mishra's Bauble : The main reason why this card is in the deck is to grow Tarmogoyf some and to activate Grim Flayer more consistently. It also randomly helps "scrying" for Nissa's 0 activation and acts as a pseudo-opt most times. Im not too happy about this card, but it is not too bad.
Grim Flayer : This card also seemed underwhelming when I was building the deck, thus why only 2 copies. In reality, the fact that this is a 2 drop is relevant. It also felt way more oppressive seeing how my opponents always wanted this card off the battlefield. I could see switching these and dropping the baubles with them, but they've been good beaters and the surveil 3 is the real star here.
Ancestral vision : AV was good when it came up. This is my way of getting card advantage without big money planeswalkers like Liliana OTV or Jace TMS. I've had this on turn 1 maybe 3 out of 10 games, mostly because I've sided it out against some faster decks. It was great against Abzan and UW and, according to my opponents, the reason why I won those matches. More on that later.
Yahenni's Expertise : Guys, read this card. This is like a worse version of what we sometimes want in this kind of deck. I feel like this deck has trouble once it's a little behind againts aggro decks, so this card helps alot. It also tags along a 3 mana card which can be awkward sometimes, because of how tapout empty handed most games end up to be. The big deal here, though, is the fact that it can cast Ancestral Vision! It has helped me a few times and merits its spot in the deck especially playing AV, but it also restricts the creatures that see play; there are no Scavenging Ooze in the main and only 2 Tireless Tracker in the deck for that reason. Those 2 creatures are really powerful against most matchups so I'm still unsure of the numbers.
Creeping Tar Pit & Field of ruin : I want more of these, they were great. Tar pit was great against Liliana, since she's mostly always obligated to tick down. Field triggered tracker a few times and was very useful in the grindy matchups killing Celestial Colonnade and Treetop Village., very nice! Not having to use removal on lands against another rock deck is very precious. I'm not sure the manabase can handle more Field of ruin though, considering the amount of double colour cards this deck plays (the removal, flayer...).
Nissa, Steward of Elements : This card is in where Liliana of the Veil and Jace, the Mind Sculptor would be. This is mainly a budget reason, but the card did do some work. The scry is really nice and putting a creature in for free with some scry and baubles is really good as well. But then again, this card is very little immediate impact. I'm not sure if it would be better just as Tireless tracker #3 and 4 or maybe some Scavenging oozes.
The sideboard is a mess, please send help.
Tournament report :
Round 1 vs MonoR phoenix
Game 1 I kept a standard hand with inquisition, Tarmogoyf and a mostly painless land suite. My opponent quickly sends me to only 4 life dealing with my Goyf. The game ends a few turns after I cast Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet and kill their Monastery Swiftspear.
Game 2 I kept a hand with 2 Goyfs, Feed the clan, some discard and a Mishra's Bauble. My opponent played Soul-Scar Mage, bolted and Gut Shotted my goyf to oblivion. I played the second goyf followed by gain 10 in response to another deal 3 to my goyf. My opponent was never able to catch back up, ever after dealing with my creatures and swinging with 2 prowess creatures. The bauble was key in this game for ferocious.
The manabase was great both games, 5 basic lands really helped and I drew the right half of my deck for the matchup.
Round 2 vs Abzan rock
Game 1 went as most Abzan matches go : we trade resources for the first few turns of the game. Eventually we trade blows with manlands; their Shambling Vents meant that they were winning the race (I was at 5 at some point with them at ~10). I eventually find Nissa, Steward of Elements and start scrying for cards. The shambling vents was never able to really put pressure on my planeswalker and I end up scrying over 20 cards of my deck, with occasional 0 activation to put a goyf and some other creatures with the help of bauble. My opponent somehow deals with my Nissa, but I drop the 2nd one to seal the deal.
Game 2 : I don't remember what happened this game, but I got run over I think.
Game 3 I have Ancestral Vision on 1. My opponent played Liliana of the Veil and Liliana the Last Hope which were both dealt with by Creeping Tar Pit. Eventually, I resolve the Ancestral Vision which finds me another AV and Yahenni's expertise. Another AV off of the Expertise next turn gets me the game.
After this game, I felt pretty medium about Nissa and very highly about Tar pits. Nissa did scry me 20 and occasionnaly put some creatures into play, but a JTMS or LOTV in her stead would've just won me the game in a few turns.
Round 3 vs UW control
Game 1 : I have a good hand with 3 discard spells and lands. I tag most things in my opponent's hand and deploy some creatures. My opponent played 2 Search for Azcantas which were met with abrupt decays. The game goes on for a little while with them killing my stuff and eventually deploying Jace, the Mind Sculptor. I deal with the planeswalker with some form Tar pit attack I think? I then resolve AV and drop a goyf with both of us on topdeck mode for a while. The goyf was a 7/8 due to them playing planeswalker and enchantment. Celestial Colonnades were also not a problem here thanks to Field of Ruin
Game2 : I think I went AV on 1 followed by discard + AV on 2 with my opponnent on a mulligan to 5. I also cast Unmoored Ego to name JTMS. Through discard, I know they have Teferi, Hero of Dominaria in hand, which they decide not to play on 5. Great move, since I have negate in hand. They're eventually forced to do it when I Thoughtseize their Cryptic Command.
After the games, my opponent tells me they don't think they can win with my version of the deck playing AV and how their deck was built. They were not playing the big card drawing spells so could not keep up with the card advantage AV provided.
Round 4 vs Bant spirits
Game 1 : I keep a great hand with discard, Fatal push, tarmogoyf and a mostly painless lands. My opponent plays Mausoleum Wanderer on 1 followed by Selfless Spirit on 2. I push the Wanderer in response to try and stay on par with them as much as possible. I decide to kill the wanderer here to preserve life but also to be able to play my spells when things matter more in the later turns. One could argue that killing the Selfless Spirit and letting them sac their Wanderer is the right play, but I would rather not let them choose which spell I get to cast. The game goes my way with a 4/5 goyf and a Kalitas in play and a lot of removal for their spirits. They play Collected company as a last ditch effort with lethal on my side of the board and them at 1 point from lethal. They don't find anything particularly relevant and we go to game 2.
Game 2 : I keep an ok hand with 2 tarmogoyfs and some removal. They play Mausoleum Wanderer, Selfless Spirit and Drogskol Captain. I deploy goyf and some removal. They then play Rest in Peace and I never am able to catch up with my baby tarmogoyf. Creeping tar Pit did get them to ~5 life but their Collected Company beat my already dead sultai deck.
Game 3 : This game was interesting. The game goes as usual : spirits into removal. I Collective brutality twice on 2 different Drogskol Captains. They get to hit me a few times with a Rattlechains (if I remember right...) for 3 off the back of a Noble Hierarch and deploy a Rest in Peace once again. This game though, I saw no goyfs and deployed my Grim Flayer and a Tireless Tracker. We trade resources with my still at a low life total, but tireless tracker draws me some sweet sweet gas and I get there.
Final thoughts :
This deck was real sweet. The Ancestral Visions we're super sweet and the creature package also felt reasonable. I think I got to play against a good spread of decks and the deck showed that it can grind properly as well as deploy a lot of disruption against creature strategies. I think going on, I would test more Assassin's Trophy if the Tron matchup is miserable (which it certainly might be) or if more planeswalkers and Gurmag anglers show up. I don't think this deck plays well when behind, so overloading on answers is very necessary with how I play the deck.
I would also try to find the correct threat suite. Some have talked about Dark Confidant instead of Grim flayer and I see how that can be a good idea; most matches came down to a grind in topdeck mode and I think bob serves the same role in those games - it is a 2drop must answer threat that draws me gas if it "connects". The difference is the power/toughness and the fact that it randomly loses life. I was really happy with the lowpain manabase so I don't think shelling $$ for Dark confidant is a good idea. Especially since JTMS would be a better upgrade path for the deck I feel.
I would maybe also go up to 24 lands if I drop Grim Flayer and bauble, but for now it felt reasonable.