Tweaking the Jace Exert Influence Deck

tdellaringatdellaringa Age Unconfirmed Posts: 89
I've been running this Jace deck for awhile now, and it works pretty well, except when it doesn't. Wondering if there are any suggested improvements.

The obvious strategy is getting the Exert Influence loaded and stealing your opponent's powerful creatures, while locking them down. An ideal draw gives me either Day's Undoing or Talent of the Telepath to tutor for Exert. Both will load it up with mana (either 3 or 6). Talent can be used to pull other needed cards as well, and using Day's gives you a hand with mana advantage just in general.

I'm only running two creatures, Tower Geist to also help pull needed cards and Jori En to get more cards when needed - although that rarely seems to be a problem.

Rush of Ice is nice, except that it often inadvertently eats mana you'd rather not use. I lock them down with Sanctum and Mind Sculpt, which slows most decks down to a crawl.

Full list:

Creatures (2)
Jori En, Ruin Diver
Tower Geist

Supports (2)
Jace's Sanctum
Claustrophobia

Spells (6)
Exert Influence
Day's Undoing
Disperse
Turn to Frog
Talent of the Telepath
Rush of Ice

Thoughts on how to make this better? Sometimes if I steal a creature that was held by my Claustrophobia, he won't activate until that support gets shattered, which can be an issue. I may not need Tower Geist's ability at this point, or Jori En's, there may be better creatures to support the strategy here.

Comments

  • Mainloop25Mainloop25 Posts: 1,646 Chairperson of the Boards
    Any reason you use disperse and not anchor to the ether?
  • tdellaringatdellaringa Age Unconfirmed Posts: 89
    I don't think I have anchor - I will look and see. It's better?
  • IrvingIrving Age Unconfirmed Posts: 95
    You do have to time the Dispel just right to get use out of it, whereas Anchor will deal with things that have already been cast. It *is* really useful to have a draining effect if you have one as cheap as Scatter to the Winds, but I imagine if you had that you'd be playing it instead icon_e_smile.gif

    Do you have either of the creatures that bounce an opposing creature (Harbinger of the Tides or Reflector Mage)? Those do double duty - a spell plus a creature - and would be a great replacement for Geist or Rush of Ice. Rush of Ice slows the other deck down for a turn, but that's not all that helpful for a deck like this that isn't trying to rush in and deal damage quickly - and the awaken ability is so painfully expensive, it mostly just sucks up extra mana from your cascades.

    I tend to agree with you that the card draw from Jori En isn't that critical for a deck like this - especially if you add Anchor, which draws a card when cast. A creature with high power that puts the opponent on a clock might be wise. The best non-rare or mythic option is probably Aberrant Researcher, but other great choices if you have them are Soulblade Djinn, Nephalia Moondrakes, Alhammaret, High Arbiter.

    This deck also can't do anything about Runaway Carriage, unfortunately, unless you get lucky enough to steal something that has defender. True-Faith Censer (or Haunted Cloak, if you have it) might be an option.

    I happen to have Dreadwaters, so I play a strategy in which I almost never use Jace's first two abilities - just race to mana draining with his ultimate and Dreadwaters. Meanwhile I'm bouncing things with Harbinger and Reflector and Anchor, killing them with Gone Missing and Turn to Frog (Scour from Existence is a good alternative if you don't have one of those), or stealing them with Exert Influence. Soulblade Djinn helps make sure I'm actually proceeding toward victory and not just stalling. Once you get mana drain gems on the board I like to avoid matching them myself at all costs, so Shrine of the Forsaken Gods is a nice way to keep mana coming in. That's five rares and two mythics, but I was playing similar strategies successfully before I had them all. Now I have to add something to handle the Carriage, though!
  • tdellaringatdellaringa Age Unconfirmed Posts: 89
    Thanks for the awesome feedback! I'm at work now, but I will dig into my inventory tonight to see what I have. This is super helpful.
  • tdellaringatdellaringa Age Unconfirmed Posts: 89
    Okay been playtesting, I removed Rush of Ice and Geist.

    I added in Reflector Mage, and replaced Jori with Thraben Gargoyle as a test. I just don't have any of the other stuff you mentioned. For Rush, I replaced it with Corrupted Graftstone since this can tend to be a slow deck.

    First, the Graftstone is great. It gives me the cascade that Blue generally can't get, and has been loading me up with mana. Speeds up the deck nicely.

    Reflector is good, although if I am slowing down my opponent enough, he often has 6 cards, negating the ability. He feels a bit expensive for what I am getting.

    The Gargoyle is interesting. The downside is he needs to be activated, and if you have trouble with that it's a bummer, because he is disabled until then. The Graftstone helps with that a bit. When he's activated, he sets that ticking clock though vs. just waiting around. It's probably not the best solution, but until I get more cards, it's what I have.
  • Buret0Buret0 Age Unconfirmed Posts: 1,591
    Roil Spout will bounce the creature to the library, which is far more helpful in your situation.

    Incubator Drone will give a card back and play two creatures with defender for only 7 mana.

    Try this:

    Exert Influence
    Talent of the Telepath
    Incubator Drone
    Jori En Ruin Diver
    Roil Spout/Gone Missing
    Brawler's Plate
    Sphinx's Tutelage
    Turn to Frog
    Corrupted Grafstone (my only problem with cascades is that they kill your traps)

    If you are relying on getting big creatures from your opponent, you can choose not to put any in your deck.
    Instead you can add any of:

    Day's Undoing (not as good with a Sphinx's Tutelage strategy of keeping the CC too high to cast)
    Jace's Sanctum
    Oath of Jace
    Dreadwaters
    Bring to Light
    Mirrorpool
    Tamiyo's Journal
    Runaway Carriage
    Prairie Stream/Sunken Hollow
    Welcome to the Fold
    Adverse Conditions

    Play the deck as you described. Save your power for Mind Sculpt (though sometimes Ingenuity to grab a spell you just cast again, like ToT, can be useful.) Make sure you always have room to keep drawing cards, so exile to make room for whatever you are going to draw.
  • tdellaringatdellaringa Age Unconfirmed Posts: 89
    Some interesting ideas. Roilspout seems a bit expensive, although getting it to the library is good, agreed. I've found that I really only want one creature in my deck, I think - something I can win with. I've been running something a bit unconventional I think.

    Graft, I agree, can damage some of my supports, but I think the gain outweighs the loss. In some cases, it helps get rid of claustrophopia when I need to, in order to activate the stolen creature. I am thinking of running without it in fact.

    Right now the only creature I am running is Stitchwing Skaab

    StitchwingSkaab.png

    Pulled the other creatures out and added in Murderer's Axe for a +2/+2 either on Skaab or stolen creatures. The deck seems even faster now. Been playing QB, and beat Koth like 3 times in a row even though he was cascading like crazy. Haven't lost in awhile.

    I have thought about using Oath for awhile. I might swap it for the Axe as a test.

    So right now I am running
    ---

    Day's Undoing
    Exert Influence
    Disperse
    Turn to Frog
    Talent of the Telepath
    Murderer's Axe

    Claustrophobia
    Corrupted Graftstone
    Jace's Sanctum

    Stitchwing Skaab

    It's working well. Going to try it in the event and see how it goes.
  • Buret0Buret0 Age Unconfirmed Posts: 1,591
    I still think an incubator drone will work better for your needs than the Skab.

    Three mana returned from the drone, seven cost to cost, two defenders, and draw a card. You can even murderer's axe your drone to get its power up to three, then it returns nine mana.

    The other alternative is to play a creature that void gems your opponent's gems. That helps to slow them down and cripples their cascades. I had a Bane of Bala Ged that I would usually draw using Bring to Light (knowing it was there with Talent of the Telepath).

    Again, I was using card draw and Sphinx with my traps and Dreadwaters to slow the opponent down, which I find works better than dispersing the mana, because the AI will pick a favorite card and keep trying to cast it, even when I've got the CC up to 50+.
  • tdellaringatdellaringa Age Unconfirmed Posts: 89
    I'll give the drone a try. It definitely feels like one creature is the way to go.
  • tdellaringatdellaringa Age Unconfirmed Posts: 89
    So - no, the drone work awful. The first problem is it takes up too many spaces with two creatures when you are trying to steal. Or once you have stolen and are full up, you don't want to replace something good with a drone. It's also too weak in the early game when getting it out to do any real damage. The mana gain for losing them wasn't really helping out, especially with the Graft running. Definitely going back to the Skaab.
  • ReaganstormeReaganstorme Age Unconfirmed Posts: 334 Mover and Shaker
    How often do you find the resurrection ability of Stitchwing Scaab triggering?

    For one more mana there's Aberrant Researcher (4/3) / Perfected Form (5/4). Both have flying.

    Also at 9 mana are Tower Geist (4/4 flying, pick a card on cast), and Jhessian Thief (3/5, pumps on spells, draws cards when dealing damage to a PW)

    If you have it, Thing in the Ice / Awoken Horror would work too, though it is Mythic.
  • tdellaringatdellaringa Age Unconfirmed Posts: 89
    The Skaab ability is a rare trigger. I don't really count on that, it's more that with the Axe, he's a big flyer that begin hitting my opponent before I steal a good creature. With the ability to go through the deck faster now, I've been able to reinforce him and Axe him to a fairly big critter fairly quickly. And if he does die, he can come back.

    I don't think I have Aberrant, but it looks good.

    I've already discarded Geist and Thief as not needed and not having good flow with this deck.

    Not saying Skaab is the ultimate answer, but so far it's working the best in my testing.
  • ReaganstormeReaganstorme Age Unconfirmed Posts: 334 Mover and Shaker
    Daring Sleuth / Bearer Of Overwhelming Truths would probably be too small (3/2 --> 4/3) and too slow then, even though its cheap at 5 mana. It does pump and investigate so its more like Jhessian Thief.

    Have you tried Sigiled Starfish yet? No evasion but does draw you more cards.
  • tdellaringatdellaringa Age Unconfirmed Posts: 89
    I don't need card draw at this point. With Days and Talent, I have all the cards I need. What I need out of that single creature spot is a threat to the opponent. Any extra ability is a bonus.
  • tdellaringatdellaringa Age Unconfirmed Posts: 89
    Been tweaking this and trying to make it better, still having some trouble with some of the tougher multi planeswalkers. I pulled Carriage, and swapped that in for the Skaab, and that has helped a lot. I was trying Gone Missing, but seems out of place and too expensive. I finally also pulled an Anchor to the Aether so replaced Displace.

    Working better now. I need a card for Gone Missing, I think.

    blue.png
  • BarrelrollaBarrelrolla Age Unconfirmed Posts: 289
    I don't know, I love Gone Missing. Not only you can return his ultra powerful, high cost Mythic back in his hand (which means if it has any destroy effects they will not be triggered) but you also get a clue, so you draw a card. Card draws in PQ are not as strong as they are in paper, but don't hoard your cards, discard them when you don't need them and draw better ones for your current situation.
  • McjordanMcjordan Age Unconfirmed Posts: 82 Match Maker
    I don't know, I love Gone Missing. Not only you can return his ultra powerful, high cost Mythic back in his hand (which means if it has any destroy effects they will not be triggered) but you also get a clue, so you draw a card. Card draws in PQ are not as strong as they are in paper, but don't hoard your cards, discard them when you don't need them and draw better ones for your current situation.

    Gone missing returns the opponents creature to his library, not his hand so in theory it's better. I haven't used it since I thought it was too pricey, but maybe I'll give it a shot.
  • BarrelrollaBarrelrolla Age Unconfirmed Posts: 289
    Mcjordan wrote:
    I don't know, I love Gone Missing. Not only you can return his ultra powerful, high cost Mythic back in his hand (which means if it has any destroy effects they will not be triggered) but you also get a clue, so you draw a card. Card draws in PQ are not as strong as they are in paper, but don't hoard your cards, discard them when you don't need them and draw better ones for your current situation.

    Gone missing returns the opponents creature to his library, not his hand so in theory it's better. I haven't used it since I thought it was too pricey, but maybe I'll give it a shot.
    Yeah, that's what I wanted to say, that's the reason I find it great, it's not dependent on current hand size. Don't know why I wrote what I wrote.
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