@swiftwarkite2 Sure, I saw your post and needed more time to respond and ended up forgetting, sorry about that.


I probably undersideboard against it, only bring nature's claim (now with skullclamp it's viable, as they got usually only few hate pieces) and assassin's trophy. I side out always phantasmal image and hollow one as I don't always enjoy playing it against the possibility of dack.

I think it's mostly about how you play the matchup. FoW is usually protection to try to deploy your gameplan, and sometimes I FoW pyromancer in the beginning of the game if I don't have anything going on.

Here the 'playing normal magic' hands are better. If you have some misstep, shaman, leovold and stuff like that you can keep those hands. Leovold is extremely powerful here. I've sometimes kept hands with black lotus into vengevine turn 1 and protection, and won the game. You usually have some amount of stuff to do. I don't know how to explain the way to play this deck, but here you have to let go some stuff a lot of times. Wonder is awesome as they usually don't have grave removing hate, and sometimes you can just ignore dack stealing your hollow ones and go upstairs FTW.

I've had games where I ignored the combo hate from my opponent and tried to stop THEIR gameplan. Shaman exiling stuff, blockers against peezy and tokens, leovold stopping everything, while the 9 counters-package did it's work. I like a lot this matchup because every match feels different, and it should be played differently. But one thing is for sure: Leovold is a star against them. If you have it, most of the times you can deploy and protect it, and you probably will be just fine.

PS.: I saw ChubbyRain made a stream with Lavinia Survival and did 5-0 with it. Didn't have time to catch up to that yet, but sounds promissing. I shouldn't be playing until next week, and the one I posted is an old list (with just Lavinia as an addition, but I don't think it will hold). The next attempts will probably be with the 3rd Leovold somewhere in the SB and no Lavinia (probably back to deep analysis), and then maybe try a little bit Matt's take on Lavinia Survival.

last edited by GutoCmtt

I'm not finding very many situations to use elvish spirit guide in. Are there important cases where you tutor for her with survival besides exactly GG available and 2 creatures in hand?


I cut ESG from the Mox Diamond list and have missed it a couple of times against the mirror or a combo deck where it's essentially a race and the extra activation is the difference between a lethal and nonlethal chain. I don't think it's a good enough draw by itself though, especially without other non-Survival uses for the green mana.

An example situation I came across where I wasn't sure what to do:


Do I get rootwallas + hollow one here or just leovold? Would it be different if my opponent didn't have the voltaic key?

@inkfathombiomage Yeah, I would probably get Leo on this board. It forces the opponent to basically top deck key or an answer and shuts off Land into PO. There isn't a sequence that wins next turn through the crypt as far as I can tell.

Where has everyone landed following the new set? I haven’t been able to play in several weeks (months?). Is BUG still considered the best iteration? Has the UW bear shown up to make an impact?

I haven't played a lot too, I think it was about 5 leagues since I came back this year. I still feel BUG being awesome. I looked at the lavinia survival with mox diamond and didn't like it that much compared to the bug version, but more in the playstile sense. It's way more all-in, doesn't have DRS to control better the game, etc. It's more of explosive and combo-oriented, while the bug version is better as a midrange deck, and I feel like I win a lot of games with that role of midrange deck. The Lavinia list sounds more explosive, and have a relevant chance of deploying Lavinia turn 1, which can by itself just win some games. I'm still doing well so far with bug, this week got 2 4-1's losing both times to guttershark on storm. I think both versions are good at slightly different things, I would definitely keep an eye at how the lavinia version goes.

But Lavinia in the BUG version (which... is also white) didn't work out. With that setup having DRS instead of mox diamond, we can have lavinia or leovold turn 2. And in that scenario, leovold is way better.

I wonder if the Lavinia/Mox Diamond version actually wants Thalia too? Instead of trying to be FoW based.

I'm not sure about that. With already 4 lavinia in the deck, plus recall and time walk, you already have 6 blue cards. If you put 4 fow and 4 misstep (which is kinda the basic fow package) you have already 14, then you can put somethings like phantasmal, fluster, deep analysis, treasure cruise. I mean, you don't get to that point where you have to stick awkward blue cards (as the bug version also don't).

One weird and which makes thalia bad IMO is that with thalia, free spells cast 1. I'd rather pay 1 for a spell that would be free, than not be able to play it at all. There's that other clause that's still pretty good (non-creature with cmc>land can't be cast), but you lose half of the Lavinia's power. And I dare to say, you lose the best part of her. They are both hatebears, but instead of stacking they are bad together.

Now I think we have kinda 2 main ways to go, which are counter or thalia. Unless we get to a third way, Lavinia will probably be played with fow.

BTW, Just played against PO with Lavinia+karakas. That's definitely something to watch out for, Lavinia is awesome against PO but for combo decks it also protects them against fow/misstep, and in our case, rootwalue and hollow one too. It's not lights out, but its a pretty good card against survival.

Considering they have both karakas and lavinia (which are both strong against the leovold survival), I'll stop bringing in nature's claim and instead board in assassin's trophy against PO.

That being said, do you think the Dark Confidant/DRS version might be better? Still has Leo but leans on Ancient Grudge and Pyroblast to fight PO? I liked that version better against Shops and the mirror anyways.

@wfain I'm not sure. Honestly I've having very few problems in terms of deck we're facing with this list, mostly dredge and storm. Xerox decks have been pretty favorable to me, PO is at something like 55-45, the mirror it's also very favored. I think it may be something worth trying, but as I recall it was better against shops and xerox. Maybe it's variance, but shops also is feeling pretty favorable lately, and it wasn't worse than 50-50 before as I recall correctly.

I don't think I'll play that version soon as the matches it's better against, are already favorable to me.

PS.: when I say mirror, I say versions people are playing lately, which aren't the bug one for some reason. This version is favored mostly due to DRS and misstep, what I mean is that against versions without it, it's favored.

last edited by GutoCmtt

I think my record with the Mox Diamond version is 9-1 right now. Rich put up a 4-1 on stream and Andy put up a 5-0. The deck is more aggressive, but is capable of grinding in games 2-3 with the Life from the Loam package. It is certainly a different style of play and the BUG variant continues to be good (probably better in the mirror though Lavinia has been quite good against Wallas and Hollow Ones and not having mana dorks means missteps really don't do much against you).

I wouldn't run Thalia with your Lavinias...they are a bit of a nonbo. I also dislike the Hatebear versions of Survival but that's never been my style of play. I found them easy to beat when I was running PO or crazy decks like Experimental Frenzy, beating board states with 3 Rods, a Thalia, and a Thorn or something stupid like that. I think the whole turn 1 Bazaar into 4+ power line plays well in a Delver-like Tempo deck, which is why I've been keeping the counterpackage and trying to add things like wastelands.

Banged out a quick 4-1 this morning, losing to Dredge and beating Survival, Colorless Eldrazi, UW Eldrazi, and BUG. Games that were interesting:

  • The game two loss against Dredge was weird as I was mana screwed but stalling effectively with containment priest and tormod's crypt. I used Life from the Loam to keep the opponent off of Cabal Pit mana but probably should have been more aggressive at using Loam at trying to find Bazaar or additional mana sources (I only had Strip Mine and Portal in yard).
  • I won game three against the UW Eldrazi pilot in spite of suboptimal on my part. The game plan of sticking an early Hollow One and then Life from the Loam + Wasteland locking the opponent out of the game is just really strong against Eldrazi. My opponent had a ton of hate in turn 1 Containment Priest, Grafdigger's Cage, Revoker on Survival, and both Thalias, but those don't stop Loam.
  • Game 1 against BUG involved a turn 1 Lavinia on the play and a turn 2 Basking Rootwalla with Wasteland. That was pretty much it. I had Force of Will back up but these hands are surprisingly effective at getting there. It just gets down to the Tempo game plan and Lavinia forcing the opponent to play at a crawl. Wasteland being synergistic with Lavinia was also worth noting.

I continue to build competency with Life from the Loam and Bazaar, but I keep noticing and picking up on new interactions. It's been fun, honestly.

List for reference:

alt text

@chubbyrain How is the xerox match being for your list? It's pretty bad for me when they have leyline on G2/G3 (even with trygon, claim, trophy), yesterday I played the challenge and won 2 matches and lost 1 in the swiss of the challenge against xerox, and when I lost it went poorly because my opponent managed to get leyline on both G2/G3 without mulligan, and answered everything I had.

On another game I was in a pretty bad spot, with like 15 life and a rootwalla that was holding the pyro back since the beginning of the game, my opponent with pyro, 5 tokens, cards in hand when all of a sudden: leovold showed up and completely bricked my opponent off: both in spells and combat. I feel like I can win either going off (a lot or just something like vengevine+rootwalue+hollow one in the early game) or having leovold. There were some games when I had almost no hope, and leovold managed to stop my opponent from doing anything relevant until I could take over the game back again.

I haven't had any games against Leyline out of Xerox but my strategy is almost always just to ignore whatever hate they board in against me and just adopt my game plan accordingly. I never board in Claims unless they have crazy things like Moat and As Foretold/Rest in Peace. If they hit Leylines in back to back 7s (20% chance), then I typically just try to get the job done with the other parts of the deck, using Bazaar to pitch the dead draws and casting Vengevine as a Slash Panther. Then again, I avoid cards like Treasure Cruise and Deep Analysis that get hosed by Leyline, I don't always board in the Life from the Loam package against Xerox, and will trim some Vengevines or even board in Containment Priests to up my creature count.

Leovold is better against Xerox, I agree, but I found him too slow against PO. Doesn't make either approach wrong, just makes it more of a metagame call. Frankly, I'm having a pretty tough time getting a grasp on this metagame so I don't know what approach I would recommend to someone trying to maximize their win rates.

@chubbyrain Yeah, I usually don't board in claim against them unless I see either leyline or skullclamp, in which case I board in only assassin's trophy. Though we can make our gameplan without graveyard, it's pretty tough to beat pyromancer that way. Getting caged is one thing, we can still execute our gameplan with squee and wonder being active against xerox, but without even it, their aggro/control gameplan is usually better. Considering they have claim and pithing needle it's hard to get survival online games 2 and 3. Way too hard to get more than 1 activation.

Btw, how are your numbers against PO? One thing that is pretty relevant is the difference between the leagues and the challenges meta. In the last 3 leagues I faced AT LEAST 3 xerox decks in each one of them (this was 3, the one before 4, and before it 3). Also in this one I faced 2 PO. I'm hitting the good part of the variance against PO lately, the last 5 matches were win, but I'm aware that it's no more than 55% chance of beating PO with BUG survival. I love this bug version but maybe yours is better depending on the meta (in the same way as the dark version was better than the bug for some metas)

Has anyone a link to a list of the Mox Diamond version?

Apologies if these cards have been suggested before, but I think you ought to consider:

1x Vengeful Pharaoh

You have a lot of ways to discard this guy for profit, and when that's true he makes any sort of disruptive aggro deck way, way worse. He's bad against pure aggro because you do take the damage, but where the opponent is investing in their creatures being well-protected or having disruptive effects, Pharaoh should be considered

1x Gigapede
He has a very Squee-like effect vs controlling decks and is also a huge threat against them once you hit enough mana. I'm not as confident about Gigapede as Pharaoh, but I think he merits consideration

What deck exists where you want Pharaoh? He isn’t helpful in the mirror and isn’t very good angainst Shops. What other creature decks even matter? I guess if Eldrazi were to become more popular it would be a fine way to fight them.

  • 878
  • 237137