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 no fauna shamans? that card probably sucks... pt. 3

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workshoptelescope

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PostSubject: no fauna shamans? that card probably sucks... pt. 3   Fri Aug 13, 2010 3:01 am

fauna shaman sucks. outright, two things need to be said to qualify that: however good all the pros think fauna shaman is, it isn't that good; and, it's still a pretty good card, nonetheless. in the last month since its release, fauna shaman has been revered as the best two drop in standard. which puts in competition with what? cobra, wall of omens, and putrid leech? "best two drop in standard" is bunk. fauna shaman isn't that card. "best two drop in standard" is barely a real category. the best two drop in standard remains either spreading seas or mana leak. period. are they blue? that makes them better. are my metrics for saying this highly circumstantial? yes. so are the metrics on fauna shaman. so, without further ado, the abstract and the problem with all the metrics on fauna shaman:

in the abstract, what's better? turn three baneslayer or turn four bloodbraid elf and vengevine?
in the abstract, what's better? turn two 4/4 creature or turn four bloodbraid elf and vengevine?
in the abstract, what's better? turn four bloodbraid elf and vengevine or denying your opponent the mana to cast bloodbraid elf, drawing a card, and still having counterspell mana available?

given these hypotheticals, i'd like to mention a few things. question 1 is basically lotus cobra vs. fauna shaman. when comparing these two cards, some things need to be considered. in a protracted and drawn out conflict, fauna shaman's value remains high and might gain value as the game goes on. however, that is highly dependent on you not running out of things either to discard or tutor for. this is a real problem because blightning still exists, esper charm still exists, and mind rot still exists. so there are some vital conditions, variables that inform evaluating the card's value. lotus cobra's value plummets after the first five turns. initially, cobra's value is higher than shamans in the first five turns but, again, that value is dependent on holding or drawing ridiculous things to play.

this is what is so bothersome about the way cards like this are usually evaluated. in the second hypothetical, jund's turn 2 play vs. a two drop that enables your turn four is actually better. putrid leech's value doesn't drop over time as dramatically as cobra's does, while not retaining the long game versatility of fauna shaman. even so, it is an overpowered, undercosted ass kicker that's whole value is simply dependent on how much life you have to spare (i recognize that naya's match up against jund is impossibly amazing right now but nonetheless, we're talking about abstracts right now. i'll get to the particulars later) and, furthermore, is played in a deck that actually has removal.

the third hypothetical really demonstrates what i'm concerned with. spreading seas is good at any stage in the game. it still cantrips. it will still affect a relevant nonbasic late game, be it man-lands or an unused tectonic edge. it becomes less mana intensive as the game goes on, allowing for playing it and worrying less about available mana for other things. even when it is bad, against mono colored decks, it isn't completely useless, though i'm sure siding it out is the right decision. the point is: spreading seas is a two drop that isn't dependent on highly intensive conditions to give it value. fauna shaman is. lotus cobra is.

currently, however, and more to the point, fauna shaman is almost entirely playable because of the already extant synergy between bloodbraid elf and vengevine (in spite of the fact that mythic conscription is playing her, too, that deck is less good these days. really. i could run numbers on it and post a decklist or two but i won't. mana leak helps ruin its day, among a number of things.). now, this interaction is argued to be one of the most powerful in the current standard. while i am ultimately not disputing that fact, i am disputing fauna shaman's intrinsic power, when compared with the rest of the format (not to mention a coming format without bloodbraid... or ranger of eos, for that matter. what could/will possibly enable this bitch to keep kicking out the jams? squandron hawk? i've tried it. it's not great. much less good. or bad. it's kinda just awful. i mean, maybe i'm just not building it right and that's totally possible but it still would mean that i'm playing a deck that's g/w without ranger of eos in it. and noble hierarch is going to rotate, too. so, everything about that sounds horrible.)

so, fauna shaman does still turn my late game bird of paradise into a baneslayer or realm razer or sovereigns of lost alara or something cute. i get it. seriously. i have it. i'm totally invested in playing bloodbraids, vengevines, and shamans until rotation. but you know what even naya shaman players are beginning to realize? their deck sucks if it doesn't PLAY TITANS!!! seriously, here's a brief chronology of a selection of top 8 naya shaman decks:
8th place, pittsburg ptq 7/184th place, australia nats 7/252nd place, italian nats 8/011st place, spanish nats 8/0/
Maindeck:

Artifacts
1 Basilisk Collar
1 Sword of Vengeance

Creatures
1 Baneslayer Angel
1 Birds of Paradise
4 Bloodbraid Elf
3 Cunning Sparkmage
4 Fauna Shaman
4 Knight of the Reliquary
3 Lotus Cobra
4 Noble Hierarch
1 Realm Razer
1 Stoneforge Mystic
4 Vengevine

Legendary Creatures
1 Linvala, Keeper of Silence

Basic Lands
4 Forest
2 Mountain
2 Plains

Lands
4 Arid Mesa
1 Evolving Wilds
3 Raging Ravine
2 Sejiri Steppe
3 Sunpetal Grove
2 Terramorphic Expanse
4 Verdant Catacombs

Sideboard:
1 Basilisk Collar
1 Behemoth Sledge
1 Caldera Hellion
1 Kor Firewalker
1 Qasali Pridemage
1 Sun Titan
1 Thornling
2 Oblivion Ring
4 Path to Exile
1 Linvala, Keeper of Silence
1 Bojuka Bog
Maindeck:

Artifacts
1 Basilisk Collar
1 Sword of Vengeance

Creatures
2 Baneslayer Angel
1 Birds of Paradise
4 Bloodbraid Elf
4 Cunning Sparkmage
4 Fauna Shaman
1 Inferno Titan
4 Knight of the Reliquary
4 Noble Hierarch
1 Obstinate Baloth
2 Qasali Pridemage
1 Realm Razer
1 Stoneforge Mystic
4 Vengevine

Basic Lands
5 Forest
3 Mountain
3 Plains

Lands
4 Arid Mesa
1 Evolving Wilds
1 Misty Rainforest
2 Raging Ravine
1 Sejiri Steppe
2 Stirring Wildwood
1 Sunpetal Grove
2 Verdant Catacombs

Sideboard:
1 Basilisk Collar
1 Baneslayer Angel
3 Obstinate Baloth
1 Qasali Pridemage
1 Tajuru Preserver
3 Oblivion Ring
3 Path to Exile
2 Linvala, Keeper of Silence
Maindeck:

Artifacts
1 Basilisk Collar

Creatures
1 Baneslayer Angel
2 Birds of Paradise
4 Bloodbraid Elf
3 Cunning Sparkmage
4 Fauna Shaman
4 Knight of the Reliquary
2 Lotus Cobra
4 Noble Hierarch
1 Obstinate Baloth
1 Realm Razer
1 Stoneforge Mystic
1 Sun Titan
4 Vengevine

Planeswalkers
2 Ajani Vengeant

Basic Lands
5 Forest
2 Mountain
2 Plains

Lands
4 Arid Mesa
1 Evolving Wilds
3 Misty Rainforest
2 Raging Ravine
2 Sejiri Steppe
1 Stirring Wildwood
2 Sunpetal Grove
1 Tectonic Edge

Sideboard:
1 Cunning Sparkmage
3 Dauntless Escort
2 Obstinate Baloth
2 Qasali Pridemage
3 Manabarbs
3 Celestial Purge
1 Linvala, Keeper of Silence
Maindeck:

Artifacts
1 Basilisk Collar

Creatures
1 Baneslayer Angel
3 Birds of Paradise
4 Bloodbraid Elf
3 Cunning Sparkmage
4 Fauna Shaman
4 Knight of the Reliquary
4 Noble Hierarch
1 Obstinate Baloth
1 Qasali Pridemage
1 Realm Razer
1 Stoneforge Mystic
1 Sun Titan
4 Vengevine

Planeswalkers
2 Ajani Vengeant

Basic Lands
5 Forest
2 Mountain
2 Plains

Lands
4 Arid Mesa
3 Misty Rainforest
2 Raging Ravine
2 Sejiri Steppe
1 Stirring Wildwood
2 Sunpetal Grove
1 Tectonic Edge
1 Terramorphic Expanse

Sideboard:
1 Cunning Sparkmage
3 Dauntless Escort
2 Obstinate Baloth
2 Qasali Pridemage
2 Realm Razer
3 Celestial Purge
2 Naya Charm

so, the first list showed how underrated the titans were for general application. primeval titan had obviously shown "build around" potential but the others weren't regarded as real "built-in" players, aside from grave titan, who is probably worth splashing for in every deck. rdw might get better if they played him. oh, and jace the mind sculptor. he should be played in everything, too, because it's the best card ever printed or something. but what all the naya players obviously began to realize is sideboarding a sun titan is really stupid. as in basically registering a 14 card sideboard stupid. but maindecking it is really only worth the singleton. but it's really worth it. it rebuys sideboard cards like dauntless escort or pasquali pridemage or oblivious ring. it does silly things with tectonic edge. blah blah blah. we've all thought deeply about what sun titan could do. we all thought it was the best titan for like ten minutes until we realized it wasn't. then it was grave titan. but it turned out to be primeval titan or something. i don't know, i wasn't really paying attention to that. i was apparently busy not buying-then-sort-of-believing-the-ultimately-retracting-previous-excitement-about-the hype about fondle shaman.


anyway, for as many games that i have won with the deck (well, actually it hasn't been that many), a turn 2 fauna shaman i even get to untap with gets outclassed by... darn near everything. sure, it can do some silly things. it occasionally eats a removal spell that might have been spent elsewhere but here's the thing: that only happens when your opponent doesn't know how to play against it. the simple solution: don't path the shaman when you're holding day of judgment. path the vengevine, then day the next turn. simple. then the bloodbraid they tutor for, the shaman, and whatever stupidity that came with that cascading wench will go in the bin anyway. really that easy. or just turn 3 spreading seas the red mana making land. solves the bloodbraid elf problem easy. either way, you still can play day of judgment way later than you think. unless you aren't playing white. or titans. then... i don't know... uh, play a fauna shaman?

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Ran

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PostSubject: Re: no fauna shamans? that card probably sucks... pt. 3   Fri Aug 13, 2010 9:36 am

Fauna Shaman is just being pushed into greatness too early. She's maturing slowly, but once she gets better tools at her disposal that solve real problems, she'll be queen of her house. Realm, obstinate, and spark combo... laughable answers. I see her as a new chord of calling, only not as dramatic. She'll fill out, baby just needs time to find her sexy.
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PostSubject: Re: no fauna shamans? that card probably sucks... pt. 3   Fri Aug 13, 2010 11:09 am

Ran wrote:
Fauna Shaman is just being pushed into greatness too early. She's maturing slowly, but once she gets better tools at her disposal that solve real problems, she'll be queen of her house. Realm, obstinate, and spark combo... laughable answers. I see her as a new chord of calling, only not as dramatic. She'll fill out, baby just needs time to find her sexy.


lol. while you might be right, i still think that vengevine+bloodbraid elf seriously might be as good as it gets. and, as i said, while powerful, it doesn't in itself win you the game. if i were to speculate on this one, financially speaking, now might be the time to sell. she's at $15 on starcitygames.com and i honestly can't believe she'll see more than that. with rotation, u/w control will be a real force to be reckoned with, as there are versions that already don't play eslpeth and really only lose path to exile. naya disintegrates after rotation and vengevine and fauna shaman drop in price dramatically. unless they reprint wild mongrel, that is. which would be hot. but it won't happen.

i do suppose some kind of g/w/b junk deck could be considered. squadron hawks, bloodghasts, vengevines, birds of paradise, and this silly lady. but even then, that deck loses knight of the reliquary and noble hierarch. none of this seems good.
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PostSubject: Re: no fauna shamans? that card probably sucks... pt. 3   Fri Aug 13, 2010 11:20 am

Ran wrote:
Fauna Shaman is just being pushed into greatness too early. She's maturing slowly, but once she gets better tools at her disposal that solve real problems, she'll be queen of her house. Realm, obstinate, and spark combo... laughable answers. I see her as a new chord of calling, only not as dramatic. She'll fill out, baby just needs time to find her sexy.

I would agree with this for the most part. I think the necessary ingredient here though is some sort of creature-kill attached to a creature. Gatekeeper doesn't count, and if you don't count him we start to see things like Heatstabber Mosquito as a one of option. (Please no!) But what other choices do we have? its silly, this card doesn't give you the true toolbox. Not like tezzeret actually offers you right now. Tezzeret using the negative ability to get any sort of removal (Dispeller's Capsule, Brittle Effigy, Pithing Needle) I'm just not sold on her yet. That discard is pretty steep in my books unless you run black to revive. So maybe a good res deck will come up soon.
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PostSubject: Re: no fauna shamans? that card probably sucks... pt. 3   Fri Aug 13, 2010 12:44 pm

Quote :
its silly, this card doesn't give you the true toolbox. Not like tezzeret actually offers you right now. Tezzeret using the negative ability to get any sort of removal (Dispeller's Capsule, Brittle Effigy, Pithing Needle)

i'm really glad you've considered this too. i'm really astonished at how good he might be at the moment. it even makes mono-blue that more attractive, in a weird way.


as far as reanimation, i've seriously considered running an iona/rise from the grave package in the sideboard of a g/w/b deck.
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PostSubject: Re: no fauna shamans? that card probably sucks... pt. 3   Mon Aug 16, 2010 11:26 am

zombie angel tribal, anyone?
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workshoptelescope

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PostSubject: Re: no fauna shamans? that card probably sucks... pt. 3   Mon Aug 16, 2010 11:35 am

Jason wrote:
zombie angel tribal, anyone?

lol... for real. that shit would be scary.
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PostSubject: Re: no fauna shamans? that card probably sucks... pt. 3   Mon Aug 16, 2010 3:14 pm

deathful-deathless angel FTMFW
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magic jesus

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PostSubject: Re: no fauna shamans? that card probably sucks... pt. 3   Sun Aug 22, 2010 2:09 pm

workshoptelescope wrote:
Ran wrote:
Fauna Shaman is just being pushed into greatness too early. She's maturing slowly, but once she gets better tools at her disposal that solve real problems, she'll be queen of her house. Realm, obstinate, and spark combo... laughable answers. I see her as a new chord of calling, only not as dramatic. She'll fill out, baby just needs time to find her sexy.


lol. while you might be right, i still think that vengevine+bloodbraid elf seriously might be as good as it gets. and, as i said, while powerful, it doesn't in itself win you the game. if i were to speculate on this one, financially speaking, now might be the time to sell. she's at $15 on starcitygames.com and i honestly can't believe she'll see more than that. with rotation, u/w control will be a real force to be reckoned with, as there are versions that already don't play eslpeth and really only lose path to exile. naya disintegrates after rotation and vengevine and fauna shaman drop in price dramatically. unless they reprint wild mongrel, that is. which would be hot. but it won't happen.

i do suppose some kind of g/w/b junk deck could be considered. squadron hawks, bloodghasts, vengevines, birds of paradise, and this silly lady. but even then, that deck loses knight of the reliquary and noble hierarch. none of this seems good.

tell that to the head buyer from starcity who told me they're expecting it to hit 25-30 dollars when the dregevine gets big. Oh you guys might not have known, but theres this sweet deck called dredgevine it was probably the second biggest metagame coup at Nats and fauna shaman is a big part of it. The only deck that came any more out of left field was soul sister, and thats just silly.
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PostSubject: Re: no fauna shamans? that card probably sucks... pt. 3   Sun Aug 22, 2010 2:36 pm

Magic Jesus wrote:
tell that to the head buyer from starcity who told me they're expecting it to hit 25-30 dollars when the dregevine gets big. Oh you guys might not have known, but theres this sweet deck called dredgevine it was probably the second biggest metagame coup at Nats and fauna shaman is a big part of it. The only deck that came any more out of left field was soul sister, and thats just silly.


i must say i am glad to hear fauna shaman will stay up as far as price goes, what with me being so heavily invested and all. i will note that the dredgevine deck loses a few powerplayers with rotation: merfolk looter (they seriously didn't reprint this bitch?!), noble hieararch, and most importantly, extractor demon. it's probably still a playable approach but we'll just have to see what we can carve out of scars when it comes out. bloodghast or reassembling skeleton (painfully suboptimal) might be included but the mana gets wonky when you want to play t-1 crab, t2 bloodghast. we wait with bated breath....
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PostSubject: Re: no fauna shamans? that card probably sucks... pt. 3   Sun Aug 22, 2010 3:43 pm

workshoptelescope wrote:
Magic Jesus wrote:
tell that to the head buyer from starcity who told me they're expecting it to hit 25-30 dollars when the dregevine gets big. Oh you guys might not have known, but theres this sweet deck called dredgevine it was probably the second biggest metagame coup at Nats and fauna shaman is a big part of it. The only deck that came any more out of left field was soul sister, and thats just silly.


i must say i am glad to hear fauna shaman will stay up as far as price goes, what with me being so heavily invested and all. i will note that the dredgevine deck loses a few powerplayers with rotation: merfolk looter (they seriously didn't reprint this bitch?!), noble hieararch, and most importantly, extractor demon. it's probably still a playable approach but we'll just have to see what we can carve out of scars when it comes out. bloodghast or reassembling skeleton (painfully suboptimal) might be included but the mana gets wonky when you want to play t-1 crab, t2 bloodghast. we wait with bated breath....

it already runs ghast.
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PostSubject: Re: no fauna shamans? that card probably sucks... pt. 3   Sun Aug 22, 2010 4:42 pm

Magic Jesus wrote:
workshoptelescope wrote:
Magic Jesus wrote:
tell that to the head buyer from starcity who told me they're expecting it to hit 25-30 dollars when the dregevine gets big. Oh you guys might not have known, but theres this sweet deck called dredgevine it was probably the second biggest metagame coup at Nats and fauna shaman is a big part of it. The only deck that came any more out of left field was soul sister, and thats just silly.


i must say i am glad to hear fauna shaman will stay up as far as price goes, what with me being so heavily invested and all. i will note that the dredgevine deck loses a few powerplayers with rotation: merfolk looter (they seriously didn't reprint this bitch?!), noble hieararch, and most importantly, extractor demon. it's probably still a playable approach but we'll just have to see what we can carve out of scars when it comes out. bloodghast or reassembling skeleton (painfully suboptimal) might be included but the mana gets wonky when you want to play t-1 crab, t2 bloodghast. we wait with bated breath....

it already runs ghast.

the lists that top 8'd at nats were bloodghast-less but i have seen other lists run it and eldrazi monument, which is pretty a pretty devastating play.
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PostSubject: Re: no fauna shamans? that card probably sucks... pt. 3   Mon Aug 23, 2010 1:50 am

While she remains in standard there could very easily be more creatures printed that not only have an effect through your graveyard so you can discard them, but are amazing to be searched up and played. She will stay good and has the flexibility to get better.
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PostSubject: Re: no fauna shamans? that card probably sucks... pt. 3   Mon Aug 23, 2010 8:05 am

Inez wrote:
While she remains in standard there could very easily be more creatures printed that not only have an effect through your graveyard so you can discard them, but are amazing to be searched up and played. She will stay good and has the flexibility to get better.

I totally agree, I don't think her upside has nearly been reached
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