[casual, standard] Fungusfire

Discussion in 'Casual Decks/Variants/Etc' started by Ephraim, May 30, 2007.

  1. Ephraim New Member

    Creatures (21)
    4 Essence Warden
    2 Soul Warden
    3 Selesnya Evangel
    3 Thallid Shell-Dweller
    4 Psychotrope Thallid
    3 Tamanoa
    2 Nullmage Shepherd

    Spells (17)
    3 Search for Tomorrow
    3 Scatter the Seeds
    1 Sprout Swarm
    1 Recollect
    3 Searing Meditation
    4 Lightning Helix
    2 Prismatic Lens

    Lands (22)
    1 Kher Keep
    2 Terramorphic Expanse
    1 Battlefield Forge
    2 Brushland
    2 Karplusan Forest
    6 Forest
    4 Mountain
    4 Plains


    The core of this deck is, rather obviously, a saproling engine but that was not actually how the deck began. The card that inspired Fungusfire was Tamanoa. When I saw it, I realized that it had synergy with Searing Meditation, which is another card that calls to me. The deck that I first built didn't generate any saprolings, though. I don't even think that I was using Essence Warden or Soul Warden at the time. That deck, in a word, sucked.

    On a completely different train of thought, I was also building a Greater Gargadon deck. Greater Gargadon likes to have expendable permanents in play. I figured, "What's more expendable than fungus?" I built a deck with a similar core to the one above, but with Greater Gargadon and Fury Charm instead of the red cards that are currently featured in the deck. That deck, in a word, sucked.

    I knew that the Gargadon deck just wasn't going to work, so I pulled out the Gargs and the Charms and it was then that I realized that I could take Searing Meditation and Tamanoa out of that failed deck and add them to this one. The result is still rough around the edges, but I can tell already that it handles better than either of the parent decks.

    Here are my thoughts regarding the current state of this deck:

    If you haven't picked up on it yet, the key interaction in this deck is between Essence Warden and Searing Meditation. I have numerous mechanisms of generating saproling tokens, which in turn cause a life gain via Essence Warden, which triggers Searing Meditation. Optimally, this deck operates as an aggro-control deck. Searing Meditation and Lightning Helix allow me to maintain a dominant board position so that my Saprolings can attack unhindered. If Tamanoa seems like a bizarre inclusion, consider carefully its interaction with Searing Meditation. If I gain life for any reason, that triggers Searing Meditation. Dealing damage with Searing Meditation triggers Tamanoa.

    The mana base is robust. I frequently have the land to play a Tamanoa on turn 3 or turn 4, should I have it in my hand. I started off with Boros Garrison, Gruul Turf, and Selesnya Sanctuary in the deck, but land destruction is too popular in standard right now for "karoos" to be very effective. (I play many of my casual decks at Friday Night Magic, so I have to be somewhat concerned with the state of the environment.) I have not regretted removing the karoos.

    I have a distinct fondness for the interaction between the pain lands and Tamanoa. With two Tamanoa in play, I gain life by using pain lands. With three Tamanoa in play, it's actually worthwhile for me to take mana burn!

    Psychotrope Thallid is good. It starts off slow, but it can quickly grow to the point where it is a very reliable draw engine. I can tell that my opponents think that it's good, too, since they kill it with extreme bias. Thallid Shell-Dweller on the other hand is of mixed utility. Sometimes, it's very nice to have a source of "free" saproling tokens, when I want to activate Searing Meditation multiple times in a turn. On the other hand, Wall of Roots or Carven Caryatid may provide additional functionality that is not already so well covered by other cards in the deck.
  2. Limited Yes, but we won't care

    The interaction between Tamanoa and Searing Meditation is insane indeed, and only limited to the amount of mana you have. I would suggest adding another Search for Tomorrows and a fourth Tamanoa (and perhaps even add another two Prismatic Lenses). This leaves less room for the Saproling part of the deck, but I think you'd be okay.

    Perhaps these two themes don't fit in just one deck? I'd think a deck totally committed to the Searing Tamanoa combo would be able to pull it off more consistently.
  3. Ephraim New Member

    Note the first paragraph of my commentary. The deck that I initially constructed to try to abuse Tamanoa + Searing Meditation was very poor. It is probably that I was trying too hard to get the combo without concerning myself with pesky details like defending myself. Marrying the combo to a source of expendable creatures and life gain made the deck considerably more effective.

    It is unfortunate that the emphasis has been drawn away from Tamanoa, but I get much more utility now out of Searing Meditation. One of the important facts to consider about Searing Meditation is that you can't ignore the 2-mana activation of the ability. As you noted, even when I have the combo in play, it is limited by the amount of mana that I have. I probably won't be able to kill my opponent immediately and it is likely that I will have to deal with my opponent's board position before I can move in for the kill. That amounts to time for my opponent to find an answer for my combo. Secondly, expensive sources of life gain, such as Faith's Fetters, are pretty useless with Searing Meditation. I'd need six mana available to take advantage of it. Saprolings and the Wardens are very efficient sources of life gain, which allows me to maximize activation of Searing Meditation.

    One solution that I certainly could try, however, is to place one copy of each of the combo pieces into a Wishboard along with a variety of other multi-coloured spells, and then use Glittering Wish in the deck. I already own two Glittering Wish and I would enjoy having access to miscellaneous goodies, such as Selesnya Guildmage, Master Warcraft, or Glare of Subdual.
  4. Limited Yes, but we won't care

    Just out of curiosity: do you have a decklist for the original version?
  5. Ephraim New Member

    I was mistaken. The original list did include Wardens -- lots of them. Unfortunately, I think that it lacked reliable means of triggering them. The best plan, if I remember correctly, was praying that you'd draw another Warden. Here's the list, anyway:

    Creatures (15)
    4 Essence Warden
    4 Soul Warden
    4 Tamanoa
    3 Wall of Roots

    Spells (18)
    4 Faith's Fetters
    4 Lightning Helix
    4 Searing Meditation
    3 Sulfurous Blast
    3 Harmonize

    Mana Sources (27)
    1 Boros Signet
    1 Selesnya Signet
    1 Gruul Signet
    3 Battlefield Forge
    3 Brushland
    2 Karplusan Forest
    6 Plains
    5 Forest
    5 Mountain
  6. Limited Yes, but we won't care

    Ouch! 27 mana sources and a lot of 1/1 creatures.. you weren't leaving yourself any backup plan at all were you? ;)

    I remember that when Ravnica came out, me (and several of my friends) created Boros-Control decks that were really strong in multiplayer. They basically all had the same basis:

    3x Firemane Angel
    4x Sunhome Enforcer
    3x Honden of Cleansing Fire
    3x Honden of Infinite Rage
    4x Lightning Helix
    4x Searing Meditation

    Perhaps you could fit your Tamanoa/Painlands combo in here?

    (Sorry for trying to steer the deck away from the Saprolings/Warden combo, but it still seems like these ideas would work better in separate decks)
  7. Ephraim New Member

    I think that you have worthwhile ideas. Firemane Angel, after all, is the card with which I initially saw Searing Meditation paired most frequently. Sunhome Enforcer has also proven its value to me on more than one occasion. They're both more reliable aggressors than Saproling tokens.

    I can't use Hondens because I'm trying to keep this legal in the current Standard environment, but supposing that I can get my hands on some Firemane Angels, I could find room for them. For right now, however, I recently replaced Thallid Shell-Dweller with Carven Caryatid. Perhaps putting Sunhome Enforcer into that position instead would be an even better idea.
  8. Limited Yes, but we won't care

    It would fit the lifegain theme better (Sunhomey instead of the Caryatid)..

    Wait, if you had a Saproling/Lifegain deck, why aren't you playing Mycologist?
  9. Ephraim New Member

    I seem to recall that I gave up trying to play with Mycologist a while ago. It does seem like a natural fit in this deck, though. What do you think I ought to replace? Kicking out Soul Warden seems like it might be a possibility. If I cut both Soul Warden and a Psychotrope Thallid, that leaves room for three Mycologist.

    In other news, I think I gave my Sunhome Enforcers to my ex-girlfriend. Bummer. Maybe I'll find some more when I clean off my desk. Oh well! I guess I'm sticking with Carven Caryatid for the time being.
  10. Limited Yes, but we won't care

    I'd think swapping two Soul Warden and two Psychotrope Fungi for four Mycologists would be a good move. Mostly, because it replaces four 1/1's with 0/2. Not a big improvement, but still.

    Too bad about the Sunhomey; hope your desk provides with unexpected treasure!
  11. Ephraim New Member

    I think that 3x Psychotrope Thallid, 3x Mycologist is the "right" ratio. Life gain is important to the deck, but there are other sources of life gain. Card-drawing, on the other hand, is basically essential to any quality deck, so I don't dare skimp too much on the deck's only card-drawing engine. (You will note that the deck no longer makes room for Harmonize. If it did, then it would be much easier to cut back to 2x Psychotrope Thallid.)
  12. Limited Yes, but we won't care

    I just think that Psychotrope Thallid isn't a very reliable source of carddrawing.. How would you feel about using something symmetric like Fecundity? Or perhaps Slate of Ancestry?

    It is of course up to you: Card drawing is pretty important and if the Psychotrope Thallids are working for you, go for it :)
  13. Ephraim New Member

    Psychotrope Thallid is actually pretty amazing. People are willing to put up with the drawback of Phyrexian Arena, for example, on a fairly regular basis. If you happen to have Selesnya Evangel in play, Psychotrope Thallid gets you that extra card each turn for the bargain price of 2 mana. Unlike Phyrexian Arena, however, Psychotrope Thallid won't ever kill you, it lets your creature horde serve double duty, and it can be used more than once each turn in a pinch.
  14. Limited Yes, but we won't care

    Perhaps its because of the decks I face in multiplayer, but usually a 1/1 doesn't stay on the board very long. Savage Twister, Wrath of Good, Damnation and Crovax all remind you that Psychotrope Thallid is only 1/1.

    But maybe I've judged too soon. I wanted to build a new Fungus deck, so I guess I should start with four Psychotropes and see where they lead me.
  15. Ephraim New Member

    You're absolutely right that Savage Twister, Crovax, or Pyroclasm will completely ruin your day. In this particular instance, though, Mycologist doesn't fare much better. Savage Twister and Pyroclasm show up a lot more than Crovax, in my experience, and they'll kill Mycologist just as easily as they'll kill Psychotrope Thallid and the rest of your Saproling army. This deck really isn't well-equipped to handle mass removal, which is a critical and lethal weakness. (In some regards, Psychotrope Thallid is even better in this case because you can sacrifice your Saprolings before they die to refill your hand. I would generally consider that more useful than gaining a bunch of life, unless you have Searing Meditation down to really abuse it.)
  16. Limited Yes, but we won't care

    I guess I've been seeing a lot of Crovax recently.. but I get your point: carddrawing allows you to re-establish board control after mass removal.

    Perhaps something like Ghostway would be a nice way to dodge mass removal? Total bombo with the tokens and counters, but it gains you a lot of life if all your Wardens come back into play simultaneously.
  17. Ephraim New Member

    Ghostway is a possibility. It works well in tandem with Psychotrope Thallid, if I have enough mana. I can start sacrificing saprolings to dig for a Ghostway if I don't have one or I can refill my hand and retain the most important components of my board. This is a very mana-intensive solution, so one or more Utopia Mycon may be order. If I were going to add 2 Utopia Mycon and 3 Ghostway, though, what would I replace?
  18. Limited Yes, but we won't care

    Perhaps you are moving away from the Searing Meditation + Tamanoa interaction, and towards Essence Warden + Searing Meditation.. so you'd need only two Tamanoa's? Or perhaps you don't need them at all? It is a great combo (and would be a great backup plan) but cutting them might be worth a shot.

    Next, if you are playing Utopia Mycon you might not need both Prismatic Lens & Search for Tommorows. I wouldn't know which one to drop though..
  19. Ephraim New Member

    Now that I think about it, Recollect is really only filler anyway. I think that I could safely remove Search for Tomorrow if I were going to add 2 Utopia Mycon to the deck. Between the cuts and the addition of Utopia Mycon, I have two spaces free for Ghostway. Cutting one more card for a third Ghostway will be tricky. I definitely don't want to cut Tamanoa. Even if it is no longer the focal point of the deck, I derive great pleasure from playing with such a quirky card. (I could cut back to two, but I just went out and bought a third one.)

    I think I'm going to mull over this change for a while before I commit to it. Ghostway would shore up a weakness of the deck, but its utility will vary depending where on the casual/competitive spectrum my opponent falls. Against a lot of casual opponents, Ghostway will be a dead card.

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