FABLES FROM KITCHEN TABLES – THE TOP SOLDIERS OF – SIMIC

Hello, readers! In this week’s article, I wrap up the dual-color combinations of my Top Soldiers Of series with arguably the most anticipated color combination. For those who aren’t familiar with the Top Soldiers Of series, it’s where I take specific combinations of two or more colors and pay homage to some of that color combination’s most prominent spells and creatures, as well as the top three choices for generals if you’re looking to make a deck in those colors. I hope, in the aftermath of this series, that I’ve perhaps inspired you in the midst of the deckbuilding process (which often times can be the most difficult part of EDH).

This week, I take a look at what is arguably the best two-color combination in the format, with great creatures, fantastic card advantage, and degenerate infinite combos. Of course, I’m referring to the combination of green and blue that is Simic.

Simic is a color combination that encompasses some of the strongest elements of what make a winning deck; it can pour threats without losing too many resources should those threats be dealt with, it can tutor effectively, ramp, draw cards, and the color combination is infamous for containing many powerful infinite combos. In general, Simic has a lot going for it.

Simic’s general weakness is fast, aggressive starts, but if you can’t destroy them quickly and clip their card advantage engines, they’ll overwhelm you with card advantage very fast. Unlike most control decks, they aren’t restricted to colorless ramp sources, which is what makes Simic control shells very scary.

That being said, there are a number of spells for all sorts of strategies in this list. We kick it off with:

#10 – Coiling Oracle

Coiling Oracle

Coiling Oracle is, on the surface, a rather unimpressive card. It’s two colors of mana in a 2-drop for a 1/1 that, at worst, draws you a card. While you’re getting a 1/1 body, paying double colored mana to get this effect can be really restrictive on the surface, especially when you factor in that your opponents know what card you drew.

That being said, Coiling Oracle‘s best-case is absolutely ridiculous. In the best of situations, Coiling Oracle gets you an untapped land which lets you cast another spell, hence, gaining you insane amounts of tempo. That in and of itself is a factor that sells many people who want to just ramp themselves silly, as Coiling Oracle is one of the best (and one of the few) 2 CMC ramp spells in the format. Being an ETB doesn’t hurt, either. (Hey, Deadeye Navigator!)

#9 – Mystic Snake

Mystic Snake

Mystic Snake is one of the better 4-CMC counterspells you can consider for your deck. It’s very comparable to Venser, Shaper Savant in that you get a surprise 2/2 body attached to a powerful ETB, and the latter means Deadeye Navigator bonds quite well with this little lizard.

Another interesting thing to note is that it has 2 power, making it a prime target for Reveillark shenanigans in Bant-aligned strategies. Much like Coiling Oracle before it, it’s not needlessly complex or flashy and powerful, but it’s solid, and has a few silver lining interactions that make it equal parts powerful and frustrating.

#8 – Gilder Bairn

Gilder Bairn

What boggles me about this little Ouphe is the fact that it was printed after Planeswalkers were first introduced 9 months prior, but really, if Doubling Season doesn’t make your Planeswalkers immediately use their ultimates, this certainly will, and to top it all off, this will also let them do it twice.

That’s not to mention that it does silly things with such shenanigans as Pentad Prism and Animar, Soul of Elements, but really, Planeswalkers are the big grab here. While it may seem difficult to enable through tapping, Tradewind Rider, Opposition and Nullmage Shepherd will all do the job just fine, helping you continuously double your counters and do ridiculous shenanigans. The original Vorel of the Hull Clade, there’s a reason they restricted the permanent types.

#7 – Plasm Capture

Plasm Capture

It’s no secret to anyone that Mana Drain is a broken card. To say Plasm Capture is restrictive is an understatement, but for making the mana any combination of colors you want, it’s well worth the price. Often times, you can win the game outright just by getting lucky and countering a massive bomb and using the mana to combo off on the next turn.

Obviously, though, Plasm Capture can’t just fit in any deck. You have to be a type of deck that can make the use out of the mana. Whereas you can just shove Mana Drain in any blue deck that can run it, Plasm Capture is at its best with X spells or a powerful mana sink, or right on turn 4 with a devastating followup on turn 5 to accelerate you right out of the gate. That being said, underestimate the power of fast mana at your peril; even countering a 4-drop on turn 4 means you have 9 mana on turn 5, which is scary to see in Simic.

#6 – Spitting Image

Spitting Image

In general, Clone effects are pretty powerful in EDH, but this is up there as one of the better ones. A big grab about what makes Spitting Image so great is how accessible it is as a resource. Retrace in general is a fantastic mechanic, and this is arguably one of its best cards. (Notice how this is the fourth week in a row that a card with the mechanic is on a top 10 list?)

Overall, though, any repeatable Clone effect is generally going to be pretty powerful. It helps make use of lands when they inevitably become a lategame drag to draw, turning them into whatever the greatest threat on board is. Six mana is a rather large drawback, but it’s a resource that beats both discard and a wide array of countermagic, making it equal parts powerful and flexible.

#5 – Voidslime

Voidslime

Arguably one of the best counterspells in the format, Voidslime‘s true power can be a little hard to spot at first, but really, being a combination of Counterspell and Stifle, despite how heavily color-restrictive it is, is incredibly powerful just due to sheer flexibility.

Sure, being an unrestricted Counterspell is nice, but the flexibility of countering abilities is also great. There are few activated abilities, aside from fetchlands and sacrifice abilities (Pernicious Deed, Mindslaver, Planeswalker ultimates, etc.) that you’ll want to stop, but stopping ETB’s is massive; this thing is a pain for Deadeye Navigator, among other things, to be put up against. Overall, a combination of power, flexibility and a cheap, albeit restrictive casting cost put Voidslime on the list.

#4 – Trygon Predator

Trygon Predator

Arguably one of my favorite creatures ever printed, this thing is an monstrous workhorse. It has one of the absolute best damage-dealing triggered abilities ever printed, and to top it all off, it’s even tacked with evasion in the form of flying. (Did you know it’s a flying creature?) It’s aggressively-costed, extremely efficient, and impossible to ignore.

What makes it fit into aggressive-oriented strategies so well is the fact that it doesn’t do much damage, but the utility it provides by getting rid of key permanents from your opponents makes it extremely hard for opponents not to want to block, letting your more terrifying attackers through for those crucial points of damage. At 3 toughness, it also tends to beat most of the decent fliers in the crucial turns it’s required to do damage, such as Kaalia of the Vast, Mulldrifter and Glen Elendra Archmage. Overall, it’s a fantastic combat creature that’s one of my absolute favorites in the format.

#3 – Progenitor Mimic

Progenitor Mimic

Whereas Spitting Image before it touted as one of the format’s best Clone effects, it’s hard to argue that the Mimic isn’t one of, if not the best Clone effect in the format. It clearly has its restriction in that copying a legendary creature is rather ineffective, but this thing does ridiculous things on its own if you untap with it, working with ETB’s and rattlesnakes alike.

What’s hilariously innocuous about Progenitor Mimic is that if it copies a persistent threat to the board, killing just it doesn’t actually solve the problem; on the flipside, copying an ETB and then dying doesn’t really do much to stop the ETB itself. Whereas it, like all Clones, suffer from being vulnerable to sweepers, Mimic’s ability to steal games on its own akin to Assemble the Legion makes it an incredible asset to any Simic deck and a terrifying presence in nearly any board state.

#2 – Master Biomancer

Master Biomancer

Clearly, I’m a little biased, but alongside Aurelia, the Warleader, Biomancer is up there as one of my absolute favorite cards printed for EDH in recent years. The sheer amount of shenanigans the Biomancer is capable of is comparable to the pressure it adds to board states.

For one, Clone effects, like the ones we’ve covered already, are absolutely fantastic with the Biomancer, stacking its power and making every concurrent creature you cast a monster. For two, it plays well with any sort of power-boosting spell such as Collective Blessing, a Sword or Primeval Bounty, which also help to boost not only its power but the power of the rest of your later creatures as well. Last but certainly not least, it plays incredibly well with tokens; Kessig Cagebreakers, Avenger of Zendikar and Rapacious One are all very powerful alongside it. Overall, it has a lot of fantastic interactions, and it’s overall a very powerful card.

#1 – Prophet of Kruphix

Prophet of Kruphix

There really can be no other. I specifically remember multiple times seeing the play of entwining Tooth and Nail to grab Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir and Seedborn Muse simply to get flash creatures in addition to untapping. Nowadays, if you’re casting that Tooth and Nail, you tend to just grab this and Consecrated Sphinx and get right to work!

Really, though, I’ve spoken at length on how good a card this is. If you haven’t clued in yet, it’s by far one of the best cards printed for EDH in years, and of course, no other combination of colors but Simic is granted such a privilege. Being able to untap and give your entire army flash just applies insane amounts of pressure, and if you can keep streaming threats through the aforementioned Consecrated Sphinx, Garruk’s Packleader, Soul of the Harvest or worst yet Momir Vig, Simic Visionary, then the Prophet can bury entire tables in the stream of creatures it lets you cast. While it has the tendency to incentivize overcommitting to the board, that’s a risk well worth taking, especially in Simic, where you can easily just draw cards if your army dies.

In addition to having powerful nonlegendary creatures, Simic also has a wealth of powerful generals at its disposal as well. We begin with:

#3 – Momir Vig, Simic Visionary

Momir Vig, Simic Visionary

Momir Vig is a very powerful card for a number of reasons. It’s also a very complex card, and as someone who’s still learning the subtle nuances of what it’s capable of, let me share with you what I’ve learned so far.

Its skill floor is simple; green creatures let you Worldly Tutor, blue creatures give you the opportunity to draw more creatures. Playing a creature that’s both green and blue offers an Eladamri’s Call as a bonus. Obviously, the incentive to play a heavy creature-based list is ever-present whether Momir Vig is your general or a part of the 99.

There are a number of interesting interactions where Momir Vig begins to show an interesting skill ceiling, and most of the truly testing ones lie with Cascade. I use Momir Vig to great effectiveness in my Maelstrom Wanderer list, where Momir Vig allows for some very powerful, very silly turns. When casting Maelstrom Wanderer, it can sometimes be wise to peek before tutoring, as you get Momir Vig’s trigger on cast, which allows you to stack it on top of Cascade to let you setup a brutal Cascade chain. There’s also the interaction that works with when your creatures have flash, as it lets you tutor your response of choice (such as Mystic Snake) should your opponent attempt to dislodge you.

Momir Vig is very reputable to a wise table, however, and will not allow you to run rampant with shenanigans. While most lists don’t attempt Palinchron / Deadeye Navigator combos, even without silly things like that, Momir Vig can just create disgusting board states by himself, making him a prime target for hate. Powerful as he is, prepare for hate should you choose to use him.

#2 – Prime Speaker Zegana

Prime Speaker Zegana

Prime Speaker Zegana is an engine of card advantage equal parts powerful and hilarious. On her own, she’s great at keeping your hand full and helping you stream constant threats to drown your opponents in.

When enabled either as a general or in a flicker deck like Roon of the Hidden Realms, she can draw you absolutely absurd amounts of cards. Maro variants such as Psychosis Crawler or Multani, Maro-Sorcerer can draw you upwards of 20 cards off a single trigger if you’ve tuned your deck properly enough, and then just plop Laboratory Maniac down, combo off with something like Deadeye Navigator, and win the game on the spot. That in and of itself is something terrifying just because of how fast this can sometimes be achieved in the Simic color combination through mana accleration, and is why Zegana earns her spot as one of Simic’s top players.

#1 – Edric, Spymaster of Trest

Edric, Spymaster of Trest

There’s a reason this guy is banned in 1v1; Edric is what embodies Simic: card advantage through creatures. Spamming evasive, cheap threats and getting hits in is the name of the game, and while this guy hates Wrath of God as much as he hates Spell Crumple, there’s a good reason for it; his reputation as a snowbally aggro legend is comparable to Kaalia of the Vast.

The game plan of most multiplayer Edric decks is simple; stick multiple evasive critters, draw into a Time Walk / Overrun combo, cast it, and turn all your little critters into mammoth finishers. It seems like a simple game plan, but if Edric’s given enough breathing room, it’s a very scary reality, and a mix of that power level in addition to reputation helps Edric top the list.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

There you have it, the long-awaited Simic article! This concludes my dual-color combinations for the Top Soldiers Of series. Next week will likely be my return to the Let’s Build series, but if not, I’ll begin three-color combinations with Bant. Stay tuned!
~L

Check out my previous articles here:

Adapting to EDH Metagames:
Part 1 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1177
Part 2 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1252
Part 3 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1317
Part 4 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1370
Part 5 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1454

Building on a Budget:
http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1522

Choose Your Champion:
Part 1 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1594
Part 2 – http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1868
Part 3 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2539

Dragon’s Maze Prerelease Weekend:
http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1810

Guidance:
http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2548

Hits & Misses of:
Dragon’s Maze -http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1870
Innistrad - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2586

M14 –  http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2295
Theros - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2508
Born of the Gods - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2800

Legen-Wait for It-Dary:
http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2264

Let’s Build:
Part 1 – http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1606
Part 2 – http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1595
Part 3 – http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2214
Part 4 – http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2278
Part 5 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2303
Part 6 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2310
Part 7 – http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2323
Part 8 – http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2336
Part 9 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2341
Part 10 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2525
Part 11 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2617
Part 12 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2691
Part 13 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2822

Let’s Talk M14:
http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2228

Let’s Talk Theros:
Part 1 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2362
Part 2 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2378

Painting a Target:
http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2631

Planeswalking and You:
http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2184 

Resource Management:
http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2200

Stacking Up Commander 2013:
http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2561

The Slippery Slope:
http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2440

The Top Soldiers Of:
Azorius - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2640
Boros – http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2854
Dimir - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2653
Golgari - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2760
Gruul - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2669
Izzet- http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2710 
Orzhov - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2681
Rakdos - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2663
Selesnya - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2677

Trial & Error:
http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2089

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