TKS Moon



  • Blue Moon has been among my favorite decks for over a year. Until recently, I struggled to craft a list that performed well in the current meta; I tried a wide variety of options and none of them performed adequately.

    Inspired by Desolutionist's inclusion of Thought-Knot Seer in a Gifts Ungiven deck, I tried out Thought-Knot Seer in Blue Moon. I initially did so as a lark. I didn't anticipate that Thought-Knot Seer would actually be a viable card in the deck given its inherent tension with Blood Moon. After all, Blood Moon effects are often employed against the Eldrazi menace.

    The dis-synergy between Blood Moon and Thought-Knot Seer has hardly been an issue at all. In my experience, I've found it less problematic than Thought-Knot Seer and Mishra's Workshop. Before Blood Moon drops, Ancient Tomb, Shivan Reef, colorless mana rocks, and the occasional Mana Drain fuel out Thought-knot Seer quite nicely. After Blood Moon, a full suite of Trinket Mages is enough to summon the necessary sources of colorless mana. It is often desireable to play Thought-Knot Seer before Blood Moon anyway so as to ensure the latter's resolution.

    So, what began as dumb fun ended up as a list that I am quite comfortable with. For those of you who play on Cockatrice, you may have seen me playing variants of this deck ad nauseam. It has been doing quite well for me on that platform.

    Yesterday, I went 4-0 at a small event at Gaming Etc in Acton, MA, playing against Jeskai Mentor, Storm, Delver, and Paradoxical Academy.

    In any case, here is the list:

    4 Force of Will
    4 Mental Misstep
    4 Trinket Mage
    4 Thought-Knot Seer
    3 Blood Moon
    1 Magus of the Moon
    2 Mana Drain
    2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
    1 Dack Fayden
    1 Ancestral Recall
    1 Time Walk
    1 Chandra, Flamecaller
    1 Consecrated Sphinx
    1 Keranos, God of Storms
    1 Sensei's Divining Top
    1 Engineered Explosives
    1 Ponder
    1 Brainstorm
    1 Mox Emerald
    1 Mox Jet
    1 Mox Pearl
    1 Mox Ruby
    1 Mox Sapphire
    1 Black Lotus
    1 Volcanic Island
    6 Island
    4 Scalding Tarn
    1 Flooded Strand
    1 Sol Ring
    1 Mana Crypt
    1 Mana Vault
    1 Mountain
    2 Ancient Tomb
    2 Shivan Reef

    Sideboard:

    3 Grafdigger's Cage
    2 Hurkyl's Recall
    2 Containment Priest
    4 Ingot Chewer
    1 Tormod's Crypt
    1 Engineered Explosives
    1 Tundra
    1 Rolling Earthquake

    I believe that Thought-Knot Seer addresses one of the key tensions of prior Blue Moon iterations, which is choosing between slamming threats or holding back disruption. Thought-Knot Seer ameliorates this tension by serving as both disruption and an appreciable clock. It also helps clear the way for other haymakers, such as Consecrated Sphinx and Chandra, Flamecaller.

    Thought-Knot Seer also plays a crucial defensive role against Eldrazi, Shops, and creatures.dec. Prior versions of Blue Moon were susceptible to being overrun before it could get its footing. If necessary, Trinket Mages and Thought-not Seers can gang up on a Reality Smasher.

    Some notable exclusions:

    1. Treasure Cruise/Dig Through Time: This is not a high velocity deck, and the graveyard does not fill quickly enough to fuel these out early. I've found that this deck plays best aggressively. For that reason, I've valued early threats over slower draw cards. I almost always prefer to have a Thought-knot Seer in my opening than these cards, especially because playing it turn 1 - 2 is not uncommon.

    2. More Dack Faydens: Blue Moon lists typically feature 3 Dack Faydens. Aside from Dack's obvious utility against Shops, he's great at breaking the top deck wars that are inevitable with Blue Moon. However, the lack of any meaningful card draw in this list means that his filtering is far less valuable. I substituted a Dack for a Keranos, who likewise filters dead land draws in the late game and also doubles as an admirable threat.

    I certainly don't claim that this list is optimal, or even that it is tier 1. But I have experienced good results with it and find it fun to play, so I thought I'd share it nonetheless. Perhaps greater deckbuilders than I can do something with it.

    In any case, thoughts, feedback and criticism is appreciated.

    Edit: shout outs to @ChubbyRain , @SeanOhh, and JP Kohler, whose innovations with Blue Moon I've followed for a long time, some of which are incorporated into this deck.



  • I saw you play TKS yesterday and I was surprised that no one had really explored that option before. I too love me some Blood Moon and you are correct to identify a weakness in the deck as we try to ramp threats from 3 mana (Trinket Mage) to the larger 5 or 6 mana "closers". TKS is perfect for finding the right balance so long as you can cast it under a Moon. Trinket helps find Sol Ring/Mana Crypt, so that is a reasonable solution.

    I'm curious how many times you used TKS to set up Blood Moon though. Seems that is an ideal way to get Moon deployed without having to resort to Probes or hold up countermagic.

    Edit: Have you tried the new Chandra in place of Flamecaller?



  • @enderfall

    Yesterday specifically, TKS set up a Blood Moon twice and Chandra once, all three times by absorbing a Force of Will. These instances were over a two turn window; that is, play TKS, next turn drop Moon or Chandra. More generally, it ate a lot of countermagic and disruption, clearing the path for other threats over the course of longer games. It also got targeted by a Snuff Out, which allowed me to play a Consecrated Sphinx unopposed.

    In my general testing, setting up a Blood Moon, or a closer, in this way is fairly common. I also almost never have problems resolving it under a Blood Moon. In all fairness, I do try to resolve the TKS first, or, if I have two, delay the Moon until I deploy both. So I do go out of my way to avoid this issue. The sequencing is often key.

    I haven't tried the new Chandra yet. However, I'm reticent to try her over Flamecaller. The Flamecaller ends games, often quickly. Nothing else in the deck can close the game that fast. The board wipe is also frequently relevant. In desperate times, her draw ability has dug me out of nearly unwinnable spots. My intuition is that in this list, Flamecaller gets the edge. It could be that the new Chandra has a place in a different list; perhaps it could in this one, as I have not tested it.

    What are your thoughts on the new Chandra? What roles do you think she would fill?


  • TMD Supporter

    Have you had a chance to try out Keranos?


  • TMD Supporter

    This is a really interesting idea. You should consider talkioro your tournament organizer and submitting the event results to MTGGoldfish. Doing that helps me use your list in an article if I decided to. I do like the idea a lot and would definitely consider playing and/or featuring the list in an article.



  • @mdkubiak

    I've been playing Keranos on and off over the last year. He's consistently been an excellent threat. Were it not for Thorns, I'd likely be playing a second Chandra instead. Given the robust mana base and resistance to Thorns, it's not difficult to sneak Keranos in against Shops or Eldrazi. Not being a creature (usually) and indestructibility are also key assets given the ubiquity of removal these days. You can even keep him in against Oath.

    Yesterday, Keranos was crucial in defeating Delver by picking off Aberrations and Pyros. There was no way for the opponent to interact with him.

    @Islandswamp

    Thank you, I appreciate the kind words :). Unfortunately, the TO did not collect decklists for this event, so I imagine submission onto mtggoldfish would not be feasible? In any case, I do appreciate you even considering writing about the deck at all, even if you ultimately do not. I'd also like to thank you for all of the vintage content you've put out. I've been reading your articles since you began.


  • TMD Supporter

    @Senor_Bisquick said:

    @mdkubiak

    I've been playing Keranos on and off over the last year. He's consistently been an excellent threat. Were it not for Thorns, I'd likely be playing a second Chandra instead. Given the robust mana base and resistance to Thorns, it's not difficult to sneak Keranos in against Shops or Eldrazi. Not being a creature (usually) and indestructibility are also key assets given the ubiquity of removal these days. You can even keep him in against Oath.

    Yesterday, Keranos was crucial in defeating Delver by picking off Aberrations and Pyros. There was no way for the opponent to interact with him.

    @Islandswamp

    Thank you, I appreciate the kind words :). Unfortunately, the TO did not collect decklists for this event, so I imagine submission onto mtggoldfish would not be feasible? In any case, I do appreciate you even considering writing about the deck at all, even if you ultimately do not. I'd also like to thank you for all of the vintage content you've put out. I've been reading your articles since you began.

    Thank you very much!

    Perhaps next time you're at the store, mention that we're collecting data from paper Vintage events now. I can enter data into the website for you guys if that helps, I just need a few details like lists, dates, etc

    I'm always looking for fresh ideas because I like to show the outsiders that we have a vibrant metagame.



  • So Thought-Knot Seer on the restricted list next update?

    Jokes aside, I'm glad to people doing more exploring instead of just sticking to "what works."


  • TMD Supporter

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  • @Soly

    First of all, I'll take my weeks of testing over your conjecture. Unsurprisingly, you're as biased as usual against anything you didn't choose or play.

    Second of all, it seems much of what you do is trash other people's opinions. There are ways of disagreeing that do not involve your lack of manners.

    Third, I never claimed this is tier 1. Read the post.

    Fourth, this is the first time I have ever posted content of my own on TMD. If this community is going to thrive, newcomers should not receive this kind of toxic response.

    Edit: To be clear, I never claimed that this deck will break the format, or is even a top-level competitor. It's just a deck that I enjoyed playing, have been doing better with it than I thought I would, and wanted to share it.

    Edit 2: About Thirst for Knowledge: The deck is designed such that you play proactive threats as quickly as possible. Holding back a Thirst is antithetical to that plan. I'd much rather put something on the table with this list.


  • TMD Supporter

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  • TMD Supporter

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  • @Islandswamp

    Yes, I have no issue with criticism. I do take issue with rudeness. This is a community, and we're here for fun.



  • How good was Mana Vault for you? Is it just in as a colorless Lotus?

    With the decline in Bolts play, have you considered running more Magi of the Moon over Blood Moon to compliment your other creatures? Or is that too susceptible to Plow against Eldrazi?



  • @WashableWater

    Mana Vault has been in primarily because of Thought-Knot Seer. It is critical for resolving it when Blood Moon is on the table and helps resolve it early. It also helps powering out Consecrated Sphinx and Chandra on occasion. Overall, it's been great.

    I did consider more Magi of the Moon for precisely that reason. However, there have been so many Swords to Plowshares around that the opponent can simply float a white mana and remove it immediately. Other cards like dismember are also an issue. I chose Magus over a 4th Blood Moon because multiple Blood Moons are often dead draws, whereas the Magus at least provides you a body.



  • @Senor_Bisquick That's all true. I see you've also cut the Chalice, which is how I usually protect my Magi



  • @WashableWater

    Yes chalice is problematic since I rely on 1 drops to get TKS on the table after landing a Moon.



  • @Senor_Bisquick Chalice is just so great in that deck that I would probably run it somewhere in the 75. You just need to be mindful of sequencing more often



  • @WashableWater

    It is extremely powerful. I used to run it as well. It's great against Gush decks and Storm and likewise great at locking the opponent out of colored mana if you land Moon early enough.

    I think if I were to run chalice, I might have to reduce the 1 drops and go for a more expensive selection or draw suite. Definitely something to consider. You may be right that it belongs here.


  • TMD Supporter

    @Senor_Bisquick said:

    @Islandswamp

    Yes, I have no issue with criticism. I do take issue with rudeness. This is a community, and we're here for fun.

    True. I mean, TKS very well might just be better in a big blue shell without Moons, but I applaud anyone who tries new things. Sometimes you have to try a lot of bad ideas before you find that perfect one. Thomas Edison tried a ton of different fillaments before he found one that worked for his light bulbs, for example.


  • TMD Supporter

    Okay: Constructive:
    Why are you running the 6CC Chandra and not something like Wurmcoil Engine or something that's castable and gives more value than just 3/1s (that can be blocked for days by pyromancer with a net negative effect).

    Also, Dack Fayden was one of the best reasons to play the original blue moon. I'd highly recommend 2 f not more.

    You Could fit a Wastes or two into this deck. it's a basic land that taps for colorless under Moon Man. They're probably better than the Ancient Tombs in my opinion (I thought that was the worst land in the original blue moon deck).

    Chalice should be mandatory, as well. The whole concept of Blue Moon is to not get into the Mistep trap. Without your own misteps, you don't effectively shut off Swords to Plowshares. Chalice shouldn't be problematic, since you can tutor up MAna Crypt to resolve your ThoughtKnots (which I still feel are not needed).

    It isn't about being toxic, it's about being right. But I forget that now everyone has to be 'nice' and 'friendly' on the internet, even if that means lacking truth.


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