How do I beat a sphere-heavy shops hand when I'm on the draw without FoW?
Good discussion, all. I honestly didn't want this to devolve into a restriction convo, and I'm glad it hasn't.
Without divulging my whole list (it's in flux), I will say it is white and comprised of:
lotus, crypt, ring, 2x moxen
21 mana lands, 3 of which are ancient tomb, 4 of which are basics, and 4 fetches
5 "2cmc land tutors"
1 strip mine, no wastes.
I also run main deck null rods with 4 tutors that can get them and have even tried maindeck kataki (ballista just owns him and academy/tombs just shrug him off).
I run few creatures, but balance hasn't even helped much.
I also run a main crucible to help fight wastes, but I can rarely get to 3 mana beyond sphere taxes.
SB, I have like 6 anti-shop cards, including serenity. Casting anything that costs up to 3 mana past spheres is the tough part.
If my opponent opens with any non-sphere hand or a hand with just 1x sphere (without a slew of waste/strips) and a bunch of non-revoker bots, I will win without much problem.
I think my toughest games are when the opponent opens with a sphere, follows with a sphere (thorn, golem, metamorph), follows with revoker on the moxen I paid to cast, follows with a waste, etc. etc.
I think my main issue is how to "dig out" from a sphere avalanche when additional sphere effects (by my count, there's trini, 4x SoR, thorn, golem, 4x metamorph, Karn tGC, 4x revoker - losing a mox is as good as a sphere) and strip/wastes happen each subsequent turn. When this happens, a pair of factories or revokers alone can go the distance, and on the draw, I've found no good way to beat it.
For reference, here is the deck I'm testing AGAINST:
// 60 Maindeck
// 16 Artifact
1 Black Lotus
1 Chalice of the Void
1 Mana Crypt
1 Mox Emerald
1 Mox Jet
1 Mox Pearl
1 Mox Ruby
1 Mox Sapphire
1 Sol Ring
4 Sphere of Resistance
1 Thorn of Amethyst
1 Sorcerous Spyglass
// 24 Creature
4 Arcbound Ravager
4 Foundry Inspector
1 Hangarback Walker
1 Lodestone Golem
4 Phyrexian Metamorph
4 Phyrexian Revoker
3 Steel Overseer
3 Walking Ballista
// 18 Land
4 Ancient Tomb
4 Mishra's Factory
4 Mishra's Workshop
1 Strip Mine
1 Tolarian Academy
// 2 Planeswalker
2 Karn, the Great Creator
// 15 Sideboard
// 10 Artifact
SB: 4 Grafdigger's Cage
SB: 3 Null Rod
SB: 2 Sorcerous Spyglass
SB: 1 Mycosynth Lattice
// 4 Creature
SB: 2 Chief of the Foundry
SB: 2 Precursor Golem
// 1 Instant
SB: 1 Dismember
Even Spyglass on the play can shut down a fetch. Smartly, my 4x fetches are all different ones that can get plains. I bolded every card that is essentially a sphere (reduces my mana by 1+). Even in the current B&R environment, it's still quite a lot of mana-denial effects
Again, there is little point in speculating on a plan when we don't know the particulars of your deck.
In general, Tomb is assumed to be a good card against Shops but in actuality has tested poorly. The life loss often accelerates the clock more than the additional colorless mana helps prevent dying. Multiples in particular are quite awkward.
Balance is horrible against Shops, yet again people think it would be good for some reason. Shops breaks the resource game by running a land that taps for 3 mana and dumps its hand on turn 2. A balance leaves both players hellbent, the Shops player with access to 3+ mana in play and the first draw, and the caster with 1-2 lands and maybe the ability to cast the spells they draw if lucky. Just play a more reliable removal spell...
Null Rod is bad against Shops if you can't trump their creatures with larger creatures. It's tempo negative...you are losing your own mana artifacts and still leaving them with their own creatures in play with no way to stop the attacks. It's a different story if you can throw a tarmogoyf in front of something. Even a DRS can do work.
Serenity is slow. Giving Ravager Shops an additional turn does not normally work well. Dredge can use it because their deck forces Shops to dilute its game plan and board in Dredge hate. Your deck deals with the optimized disruptive/beatdown variant that is the Shops maindeck.
There is a reason White Eldrazi has a sub-20% match win rate against Shops. They are trying to do many of the things that it looks like you are attempting with your Enlightented Turor deck or whatever. It just isn't a coherent game plan and basically comes down to throwing hate and hoping Shops has a bad hand.
You're right in that having my decklist would help with my particular issue - but I don't want to tie discussion to my list so much as the problem I'm facing (which I think has some universality). The deck I run is 4x ET, as you guessed. But my main purpose in noting white was that I tried kataki, balance, and serenity...and they all severely underperformed.
But what if I wasn't on white, particularly? Would a base of 1 strip, 17 other tap-for-1 colored mana lands (4 basics and 4 fetches) and 3 tombs be decent enough? Is there a way to reliably dig out of the mana-denial pile-on when on the draw? Play around it with dredge or counter it with FoW seem like the only options I've found thus far, and I don't like those as the only 2 outs.
Perhaps I need more creatures to leverage my null rods. Bazaar -> Hollow One seems a decent way to mash a blocker/threat through a sphere. "Free" shatters like abolish seem good in theory, but a 1-for-2 when 1 of those cards is my mana seems not hot. A card like pulverize seems like it could do some duty, but I'd have to be on mono-red to pull that off. Things like serenity ARE slow, and something like Dust to Dust will just never have enough mana to be cast. Could adding main wastes or field of ruin help to hit their shops? Or is it too slow and irrelevant once they dump an inspector, mox, shop, sphere hand?
Who has successfully dug out from shop's spheres, on the draw, without needing dredge to do it?
Shops is an aggro deck... you need to play removal and larger creatures. Or combos that are faster than them.
@vaughnbros As is my case, I am on a dark depths deck. I can get a turn 1 Marit sometimes, and a turn 2 Marit often. The trouble is casting anything through the spheres. Even if I have a hand like urborg, ritual, depths, lotus, hexmage...on the draw I will never get to assemble that combo.
Even if I were on PO and had an ancestral, PO, sapphire, sol ring, ponder, island, academy hand...they open with inspector, sphere. I play island, sapphire. They play revoker on sapphire, thorn. I play academy, they waste it...so on and so forth.
Yes, there will be games they play inspector, ravager, overseer, pass, and I just explode in their face. GG.
But the games where they lead with sphere, follow with sphere, then sphere with legs, etc...those are the games I need to figure out how to win sans FoW or dredge.
The dark depths deck was played out of the format years ago due to a bad shops matchup... this isn't a universal problem. You picked up a deck that has a horrible shops MU.
@vaughnbros Perhaps, perhaps not...but this is exactly why I didn't want to reveal my deck. I don't want this to be about how depths can beat shops (it can and does). I want to figure out how to get out from the sphere-into-sphere sequence when on the draw with ANY deck (sans FoW or dredge). As I noted, if I was on PO and had a bomb hand like ancestral, PO, sapphire, sol ring, ponder, island, academy, a "sphere"-a-turn strategy when I'm on the draw would just bury me. That's the universality I'm referring to.
One thing I do actually like about depths is that it can win through spheres - sometimes. If they don't draw a strip/waste, I can play stage, tomb, depths and get a turn 3 Marit through 10 spheres and revokers. It doesn't happen often because it seems they always have the waste (or multiples...and yes I know this is just a "bad-taste-in-my-mouth" bias). But it is a fast combo that shirks spheres. Despite wasteland being rough, I love a "go big" combo that disregards counterspells and spheres and oaths.
Bazaar->Hollow is another sphere shirker. Dredge as well, but I specifically dislike playing this archetype. I'm interested in knowing "what else shirks sphere after sphere after sphere?"
Play green in your deck. Add Tarmogoyfs. Add Nature’s claims. Add Engineered Explosives.
@vaughnbros I actually have green in mine. I considered EE and might go that route. Goyf is an interesting addition. I tried Seeds of Innocence too...but the problem is hitting 3 mana. Claim is decent, but just a 1-for-1 and that kind of a trade rarely works - they are so redundant that hitting any one artifact is usually negligible.
I'm guessing just loading up on enough 1-for-1s is okay, but seems like a losing proposition.
Is damping sphere a possibility? Gets through golem, doesn't require color, isn't shut off by rod or karn, and turns tombs/shops into derp-lands. Has anyone tested this?
Mangle Horn, Swords, Path to Exile, Tabernacle, Fragmentize, Nature's Claim, Fatal Push, The black swords for artifact creatures, Snuff Out, Ingot Chewer, Trygon Predator, Bolt, Shock, Shattering Spree, ESG/SSG, Engineered Explosives, Powder Keg, Steel Sabotage, Dack Fayden, Annul, Hurkylls, Tin Street Hooligan, Tarmogoyf, half the Echo spells, and many others.
MuD has only artifacts, and it's facing 5 colors that all now have hate for it's aggro archetype. You have choices a plenty besides drege and FoW.
Depends on how fast they're killing you. If the kill itself is super-fast, the lock pieces are probably light, so something like Serenity or Spree might be enough. Conversely, if they have heavy lockage, you have time for something that gives you incremental advantage to edge out from under the lock.
Sounds like your deck is maybe only 2 colors? In which case, give Thawing Glaciers a try. Assuming you have time to Thaw twice, this can ramp your Mana consistently to beat spheres. Maybe run a complementary plan to beat fast hands (Swords/Fragmentize/Serenity).
@serracollector tabernacle, EE, goyf, hurkylls...those all work. Any of the others you name are 1-for-1s, and that's not going to get there. I doubt tabernacle is even that hot as Kataki taxes more than just their creatures and they can easily pay through him with tombs and academy. They can also waste tabernacle even easier than they can ballista kataki, and kataki gets rolled pretty easily.
I've been thinking about how turbodepths in legacy play ESG and crop rotation to be even more turbo. It feels like if you play ESG then seeds of innocence gets a lot better. But i guess crop rotation is to big a liability with so much misstep around.
@josefk In my deck, I run Into the North (depths is a snow land!) and Sylvan Scrying. I also run 1 Expedition Map since I have 4x ETs for it. Crop Rotation is a huge liability with missteps and FoW in abundance. It's also tempo-negative as you spend 1 card and 1 land to get just 1 land. Into the North actually gains you a land (I sometimes grab a snow-covered plains just to ramp mana) for only 1 more mana, dodging misstep and not being devastating if FoWed. ESG is too much of a narrow lotus petal to me. I guess it has uses, but it's such a negative-value play beyond turn 1, that I rarely find it useful.
So...I didn't want to post my deck (even though it's been on RomancingTheStones tourney post) because I don't want this to be about MY deck, so much as how to get out from under a sphere-a-turn sequence when shops is on the play against ANY deck. The 1-for-1 answers don't seem that viable. I run fragmentize, and even that is often too slow or just doesn't hit enough to get value. I think I'm looking for "free" answers (bazaar-hollow one, tabernacle, EE, etc.) that have a big impact. Goyf seems interesting, but as a vanilla beater in a matchup against a deck with no instants or sorceries, it seems he'd be a 2/3 far too often. Costing 2 mana might also just be too expensive when you are on the draw and face the sphere, revoker, golem, metamorph sequence with waste/strip thrown in just because. Serenity is probably the cheapest wide-sweeping answer, but at 2 mana, it may never be castable.
Anyway, since this keeps coming back to what MY deck can do, despite that being secondary to my main question, I'll post it here in hopes that it facilitates thought and discussion without pigeon-holing the focus. This is my latest iteration of Selesnya Depths:
// 8 Artifact
1 Mox Pearl
1 Black Lotus
1 Crucible of Worlds
1 Mox Emerald
1 Mana Crypt
1 Sol Ring
1 Sorcerous Spyglass
1 Expedition Map
// 6 Creature
4 Spirit of the Labyrinth
1 Mother of Runes
1 Kataki, War's Wage
// 10 Enchantment
3 Phyrexian Unlife
2 Stony Silence
1 Ghostly Prison
// 8 Instant
4 Mental Misstep
4 Enlightened Tutor
// 25 Land
4 Thespian's Stage
1 Strip Mine
4 Dark Depths
4 Snow-Covered Plains
1 Arid Mesa
1 Flooded Strand
1 Marsh Flats
1 Windswept Heath
2 Ancient Tomb
// 4 Sorcery
2 Into the North
2 Sylvan Scrying
SB: 3 Grafdigger's Cage
SB: 1 Sorcerous Spyglass
SB: 2 Containment Priest
SB: 1 Sylvan Safekeeper
SB: 1 Mother of Runes
SB: 1 Tomik, Distinguished Advokist
SB: 1 Rest in Peace
SB: 1 Stony Silence
SB: 1 Seal of Cleansing
SB: 1 Serenity
SB: 1 Disenchant
SB: 1 Fragmentize
First, as I said before, you can assemble the thespian/tomb/depths combo fairly quickly beneath a slew of spheres, so I like that.
Solemnity is also a bomb. Not only does it completely erase 12 of shop's creatures, but it makes 4 more (overseers) into vanilla 1/1s. If I play lotus/pearl+tomb/plains+crypt/mox+sol ring + plains into a turn 1 solemnity, Shops typically is DOA. They have golem, revoker, factory, and inspector and 13-16 dead creatures (ravager, balista, hangarback are all 0/0s). Solemnity also shrugs off tomik, negates a blightsteel, and can lead to turn 1 Marits. A common line in this deck is land into ET turn 1 for lotus or solemnity, turn 2 solemnity + depths. It's solid. Y'all can say it sucks as much as you want - it doesn't.
The combo with Unlife has also won many games and it's just a nice secondary card since I'm already on 4x solemnity for Marit and have 4x tutors to get the 2nd half. Alone, Unlife also means I can't die to tendrils and get a time walk vs a lethal attack at the worst.
So, as you can see from the list, I have:
- A combo that can activate under spheres
- 5x tutors for land
- basics, fetches, and sol-lands
- Crucible to recur killed lands
- main kataki
- 2x main stony, 4x main solemnity + 4x main tutors for them
- sideboard full of 1-for-1 artifact removal (seal is tutorable)
- A sideboard serenity as a tutorable nuclear option
...and yet it's not enough. When I'm on the draw and the opponent opens with sphere, then revoker + sphere, then wasteland + metamorph, etc., I can't win too often.
How do other decks do it? What can I add to make my list have a fighting chance? What other strategies altogether will do it?
So far the best options seem to be tabernacle or EE. Goyf is intriguing, but I doubt I can cast him through the line I described above since it costs 2 mana.
Grizzly last edited by
I somehow get the feeling that you want to beat the shops nut draw. In your examples you always talk about 2+ spheres and 2+ wastelands. So either you need to land your full jewelery on turn 1, so you can actually cast something on turn 2, or you play something that gets by all the spheres, namely ee for 2, which conveniently kills most of their threats aswell.
Other than that, I really don't see how any deck can beats the shops nut draw, since you never have access to any mana at all, except dredge or force of wills on the first turn.
@grizzly I think that's exactly what I'm looking for. I'm not saying I can't beat shops. I'm saying I find it very hard to beat shops when I'm on the draw and they get the nut hand+follow-up draws. It may be that everyone has this challenge. That's what I'd like to solve - and not just for my depths deck.
If I'm on the play, I have more than enough to disrupt them. If they play an all-aggro hand, I can play through it fast enough and win. The hands I want to beat is when I'm on the draw and they get a hand that either makes my stuff cost 1 more or removes 1 of my mana sources every turn, turn after turn. The answer may just be "outside of dredge/FoW it can't be done," and that's fine...but I'm hoping there are ways.
Tabernacle seems like a way. 0-mana EE seems like a way. Stage/tomb/depths is a way, but as fragile as tabernacle. Bazaar-> Hollow One (or 2) is a way. Abolish is a way, but that's really a bad 1-for-2 trade. Not sure what else works.
Hrishi last edited by
@grizzly I'm saying I find it very hard to beat shops when I'm on the draw and they get the nut hand+follow-up draws.
This isn't just you. If any Vintage deck gets a nut hand you're not likely to win unless your draws are also stellar in many cases. I'm sure you could beat a nut hand from shops with your own nut hand, but you can hardly expect your average draws to get there.
Have you tried SFM with 1 batterskull/jitte? Those 2 coming into play "free" off SFM seems it would solve a lot of your issues.