Building Thieves for War meta

Not sure if I should be necroing an existing thread, but none of them seemed directly relevant!

There's a paper event coming up (I'm expecting most like 30-40 players) and It's looking like I'll be on Thieves. I'm aware it's not as competitive as a xerox variant (what I'd gravitate to otherwise), it's just a deck I find really enjoyable. I'm not expecting to take the day, at this point I'm just aiming to maximise whatever wins I can scrape out.

I've played it a bit online and was reasonably comfortable in the pre-war meta, but haven't really had much of a chance to test in the post-War meta. The list I've been using is cribbed mostly from Moatzu. I've included what I plan to run below, but wouldn't mind some feedback. I've been considering changing gifts out for a Narset (could possibly swap a Jace out as well, but I think I, in theory, prefer the Jace). There's a cratermaker in the main as a hedge against Karn, plus it has some fairly broad utility. There's also possibly an argument for changing tremors into the board for Notion Thief, but I'm expecting to see more nonsense like Eldrazi or other hatebear decks. There's also some consideration in changing the second fluster into a pyroblast or even a spell pierce for better game against opposing Narsets. I'd love to hear any suggestions

1 Abrade
1 Blightsteel Colossus
1 Brainstorm
2 Dack Fayden
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Dig Through Time
2 Flusterstorm
4 Force of Will
1 Hurkyl's Recall
2 Island
1 Mana Crypt
2 Mana Drain
3 Mental Misstep
1 Notion Thief
2 Polluted Delta
1 Pyroblast
4 Scalding Tarn
1 Sensei's Divining Top
1 Sol Ring
1 Strip Mine
1 Tinker
1 Tolarian Academy
1 Treasure Cruise
2 Underground Sea
1 Vampiric Tutor
3 Volcanic Island
1 Voltaic Key
1 Yawgmoth's Will
1 Goblin Cratermaker
1 Subterranean terrors
1 Snapcaster Mage
1 Gifts Ungiven
2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
1 Library of Alexandria
1 Time Vault
1 Mox Emerald
1 Mox Jet
1 Mox Pearl
1 Mox Ruby
1 Mox Sapphire
1 Ancestral Recall
1 Black Lotus
1 Time Walk

1 Abrade
2 By Force
1 Mindbreak Trap
1 Mountain
1 Pyroblast
1 Yixlid Jailer
1 Notion Thief
1 Goblin Cratermaker
2 Tormod's Crypt
2 Grafdigger's Cage
1 Ravenous Trap
1 Pithing Needle

Maybe a pet peeve of mine, but I've never been a fan of Vault-Key. Every time you draw one of the components of the combo, make a note as to whether you'd rather have something else. I've played against Vault Key many times and only lost to the combo once IIRC; can't remember how many times I've smiled inwardly when my opponent dropped Key or Vault, but didn't have the other piece, and gave me virtual card advantage. Synergy is great, but these cards do almost nothing of value on their own.

I'm also not huge on Top, as it requires you to constantly sink mana into it and generates no card advantage by itself.

These thoughts are probably at least somewhat heretical; as always, think through what makes sense for you and test things out.

Edit : Just scanned through your list again. Hurkyl's seems a bit suboptimal; you'll buy yourself one turn vs. Workshop, and then what? You aren't a combo deck, so your opportunities at that point seem underwhelming. Maybe a By Force or Shattering Spree (tho probably not enough red for that one).

last edited by Dr. J

I'm not sure what the correct build looks like. I run the cantrip package and one draw7. 2 Narsets help the Thieves out in disrupting the opponent. (My meta is very Xerox-heavy).
I don't like Vault/Key's consistency issues either. I'cut the whole Tinker package before but then struggled to end games solely with Thief and Snapcaster. Tinker feels at least somewhat important.
Vault/Key could have it's place, but you might want both draw7s. (Not sure if that's correct either.)

I think that if you're playing Thieves you should explore the synergies between Narset and the usual thieves package of Notion Thief, Dack and Draw7s. Overloading on Dack now that you can play Narset seems pretty good.

edit: also, you should be worried about Karn too. Packing ways to deal with PWs directly seems good. I don't know if The Elderspell is playable or if you want a reliable bounce spell like Chain or Echoing Truth.

last edited by fsecco

@fsecco said in Building Thieves for War meta:

I think that if you're playing Thieves you should explore the synergies between Narset and the usual thieves package of Notion Thief, Dack and Draw7s. Overloading on Dack now that you can play Narset seems pretty good.

edit: also, you should be worried about Karn too. Packing ways to deal with PWs directly seems good. I don't know if The Elderspell is playable or if you want a reliable bounce spell like Chain or Echoing Truth.

I started here and ended up straight RU w/out the thieves package.

@khahan said in Building Thieves for War meta:

I started here and ended up straight RU w/out the thieves package.

Yeah, Narset is just better than Notion Thief.

last edited by fsecco

In regards to vault-key, it's tough to cut without a a complete re-build of the deck (a rebuild that would end up looking more like xerox, I suspect) as it's very light on real win-cons. It also gives outs to what would normally be unwinnable game states. FWIW, it's also something that can be pitched to Dack and re-bought later with will as necessary.

Top IME is very strong, although obviously this is matchup dependent. Hurkyl's has been useful in that it was a tool against both shops and outcome, but with less outcome, I think you may be right

I've actually tried the cantrip package and my main issue is that it takes a lot of space in a deck, and draw 7's I think are likely better in a build more like the version cosmo t-8'd with during eternal weekend. I do like the elderspell suggestion however, possibly as board tech for Narset decks (cratermaker is currently my main removal piece for Karn)

I think the comments suggesting drop the thieves package altogether are bang on, although that probably leaves me playing some kind of xerox shell, which is really where I expect to head after this event

Cratermaker seems awesome!
My point about the thieves package is not that you should cut it, but that you should play Narset over Thief. Granted, you don't draw 14 after resolving Twister, but drawing 7x1 is already game winning and Narset is a better card on her own. I'd like to see a new thieves with 4 Narset instead of 4 Notion Thief. Also if Wrenn and Six sees any play, Thief is going to be very hard to defend.

Cratermaker is secretly one of my favourite cards at the moment. It really helps smooth out xerox matchups, works wonders against eldrazi and Karn and is just an all round hero (I haven't hit enough shops lately for some reason for me to know for sure how he goes there). Helped a lot by the fact no one in their right mind would force him.

For anyone curious, this is what I've been toying with post misstep ban and with a bit more time to brew. It's pretty obvious there's been some inspiration drawn from the current xerox decks, although this is heavily driven by the tendency of current blue meta decks to be even more planeswalker focused than ever before (grumblegrumblerestrictnarsetplease). It's possible bolt should be a misstep or even just a different piece of interaction and there's also room for Jace to be trimmed to 1, although I have concerns about going that low on win cons.

Still early days in regards to testing so I expect more changes, to the sideboard in particular.

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