Karoos are greater than good. Period. Actually, I suppose there is more to it than that. Sure, by now almost everyone realizes that the Ravnica Block Karoos (Azorius Chancery et al) are powerful (ever draft before?), but the are still not being utilized to their full potential. There is a Karoo for every Guild now, so why do only about half of players run them? (Heartbeat, you get a pass.)
To fully appreciate the Karoos, one must first determine just what they really do and at what cost. First, let's look at a hypothetical card that helps put Karoos in perspective.
Comes into play tapped. When comes into play, search you library for a Plains and put it into your hand. T: Add U to your mana pool.
Oh, obviously that card is broken. Wizards of the Coast is waiting to print it in the set when they reprint Mana Drain. It is like an Island that costs one (comes into play tapped) in exchange for drawing a Plains. That is cheap, uncounterable, card advantage and color fixing.
Is Azorius Chancery really that different? By removing a land of yours in play and tapping for UW, the Chancery is akin to a Skycloud Expanse (though more vulnerable to land destruction, which we'll get into in a minute), which is a reasonable dual land and might be desirable for a multicolor deck, if that was all you had. However, Karoos' real strength is that the land that gets removed from play goes to your hand, not your graveyard. This is akin to "drawing" a land.
This means your dual land is effectively drawing you a card (which is always a land). To balance things out a bit, Karoos come into play tapped, which may appear to cost you two mana, though it really only costs one because you can use the land you bounce. This is essentially paying one mana to draw and select a card. Mise.
Now we must investigate the other hidden costs. Most obviously, you put yourself at risk of "Lotus Vale syndrome." By committing two cards in one (a land that taps for two), you are doubly vulnerable to land destruction or bounce. However, this risk is not as great as many assume, because the extra card you were "committing" to the Karoo is the "extra card" it gained for you in the first place. All you are really risking are the one mana and the land drop. What you potentially gain is especially valuable versus mana denial strategies. It's an extra mana! Fortunately, there are no Rishadan Ports these days, and most land destruction spells cost four.
The other major cost is the risk of discarding, due to the "extra card you drew," if you are going second and haven't played a spell. This can obviously be overcome. Play some cheap spells! Besides, if worse comes to worse and you discard, you still aren't "down" cards.
Osyp Lebedowicz once predicted that Karoos would force control decks to adapt or perish. I agree and suggest they add Karoos themselves, play enough cheap spells including some new mana acceleration (Signets), and "cheat" on land. To cheat on land is to play less than you would otherwise if it were not for some other dimension of your deck (in this case Karoos) that allow you to develop your mana with a lower percentage of lands.
Many deck builders, such as Michael Flores and his 20-20-20 Boros deck, have taken advantage of Karoos to "cheat" on land in aggro decks. This effectively gives them 67% business instead of 60-63%. However, this theory has been around for at least a decade. When Visions was the latest set, Legendary deck builder Alan Comer developed Turbo Xerox, a mono-Blue aggro-control deck with tons of counters and library manipulation, allowing him to somehow get by on 17 land. Years later, he took it to the next level, playing only 8-12 land in Miracle Grow. The secret? Cantrips that can search for land let you cheat on it. Then later in the game, when you are drawing off the top, you have a greater chance of drawing action.
Karoos are effectively lands that cantrip and always hit a land. They clearly should count for more than one mana when building your deck. How much is debatable, but probably between 1.5-2 (assuming your deck is built to take advantage of them). Of course, this is only true in moderation, as you clearly cannot play thirteen Karoos.
If your deck needs 28 mana to be effective and you play 28 land, that leaves you with about 53% action. If you play four Signets, four Karoos, and 15 other land, you are left with about 57% action, as well as the potential for faster draws (Signets), uncounterable card drawing (Karoos) and color fixing (both). Four percentage points is huge. This means you are effectively drawing one extra business spell every 25 cards. That means about 2/3 of the time you will have "free" cards (not counting the inherent card advantage of a Karoo) by turn 9.
Imagine if your opponent mulliganed 2/3 of the time! If you can manage all the little issues involved in Karoos, this is what the payoff will be like just for having a higher percentage of action. The card advantage when you draw a Karoo is just gravy, and should give you an extra card most of the time you draw it, though not action. An extra card is often enough to win a game, whether it's that final threat, finishing burn spell, or counter to seal the deal.
Karoos may look like they just make mana, but with careful deck building, they can provide you with a plethora of benefits including uncounterable card advantage that generates action over time (think Thawing Glaciers).
Karoos fit most easily into aggressive decks that want to ramp to four. Aggressive decks generally have a spell to play before playing the Karoo. Turn 3 is an ideal turn to play it, since a two-drop is then mana efficient, and you go straight to four, with three lands.
However, control decks benefit a little more from them, even if it involves more effort. The reason is that control decks care more about extra cards.
Here is one attempt at a control deck using many old school strategies, but also harnessing the power of Karoos to "cheat" on land:
The main deck is very straightforward. There is almost a perfect three-way split between permission, board control, and bombs. Remand, Mana Leak, and Hinder are cheap, versatile, and reliable, primarily for buying time to start drawing bombs.
Condemn, Wrath, and Faith's Fetters are the best board control cards available. Again, the goal here is just to buy time to start playing five and six drops. You don't need to establish complete control.
Meloku, Keiga, and Yosei are so much more powerful than most anything else, this deck doesn't mind tapping out to play one because what is the opponent going to do that is that good? Tidings supplies a bit of potent card drawing, giving the deck and extra dimension (though truth be told, I suspect one will become another Keiga or Yosei).
As far as the mana goes, I actually ran the circuit for dual lands (no, Cloudcrest Lake doesn't count) and ran all sixteen (including Signets). This allowed me to play four colorless lands that can help generate even more action while still playing exceptionally reliable mana (19 of each color).
I ran the deck through the Standard gauntlet of Husk, Heartbeat, Gruul, Vore, Zoo, and Firemane to expose it to a little of everything. U/W played first in odd games and drew first in even. I did not test sideboards.
Matchup 1 - Ghost Husk
Husk mulligans. Turn 1 Hound, turn 2 Rusalka are the clock, Castigate is Remanded, then Hindered. U/W plays Tidings into Yosei. Husk attacks and Mortifies Yosei before combat, knocking U/W to three. Meloku drops and forces Husk to sacrifice everything during combat, killing both sides. Husk drops a Hound, but is down seven cards. U/W eventually plays another Meloku, who is immediately Needled. Another Tidings ensures no more from Husk, and Meloku does 20 the hard way. U/W wins.
U/W has a turn 2 Karoo and must discard despite holding a Condemn for Hound (due to Mikokoro being the other land). Husk's turn 2 Dark Confidant is undone by a turn 4 Wrath. I thought he was why people were scared to play U/W. Yosei is Mortified, giving Meloku time to take over. U/W wins.
U/W mulligans. Husk has turn 1 Hound, but it is Condemned. A Castigate forces through Ghost Council, but Husk has no other men and it is Fettered. U/W is stuck on four land, but Husk can only manage 1/1s for three. Eventually Husk plays Bob to speed up the clock and try to generate some action, but U/W Wraths. Husk plays some Promises, but U/W drops all three of its aces and wins in the air. This is brutal. Husk is very vulnerable to one for one removal since its creatures rely on each other for strength. Also, Castigate is Husk's only relevant disruption. U/W wins.
Early counters and removal slow attack, and Yosei hits. However a Ghost Council and many spirits combined with Mortify break through. Keiga probably would have won it. U/W loses.
Triple Remand plus a Condemn let U/W start dropping Dragons. A couple of Tidings seal the deal. U/W wins.
Husk mulligans and gets stuck on two lands. U/W wins.
Husk can't afford to have its Ghost Council Wrathed or Fettered, so it waits until turn five (U/W had a Fetters). Husk Castigates Tidings instead of Meloku, with two Mortify in Hand. U/W tries every trick in the book to stop the Ghost Council (except a Dragon), but eventually succumbs on the strength of Pontiff versus Illusions. An interesting lesson on knowing your plan and sticking to it. Husk knew its only hope was the Ghost and played around Wrath and Fetters giving it the win. U/W loses.
Turn 1 Hound is Condemned, turn 2 Rusalka is ignored, turn 3 Husk is Ignored. This sure feels like Mons's Goblin Raiders and Gray Ogres versus Swords to Plowshares and Wrath of God. Bob finally joins because a seven-turn clock is no good. Wrath, obv. Another Bob sticks, as does a Ghost, but when the Ghost is Fettered the dilemma arises. Bob or no? Husk keeps Bob, as a Durkwood Boar is too vulnerable with no cards in hand and no other men. Husk Necros like crazy and gets a Mortify to free the Ghost. U/W sends Keiga on offense anyway - and defense thanks to Minamo. Husk must sac Bob. Husk will win the race by one point, but U/W Mikokoros into Quicksand to prevent damage. U/W wins!
8-2? Are you serious? What happened to the Dark One? This matchup felt at least 80% due to incredible creature control, two-mana counters, and better Legends. Don't get me wrong, Bob and the Ghost are great, but too many goblins and ogres spells defeat.
Matchup 2 - Heartbeat
I settled in for what I expected to be a gruelling contest (as opposed to a Gruul contest, which comes next). Both sides just play land, while Mikokoro gives U/W play, allowing it to draw Blue cards to replace all these terrible White ones. Sensei's Divining Top is wrecking U/W, though, and Heartbeat just waits until it can force through Weird Harvest. U/W loses.
U/W mulligans, keeping five land and Meloku (was this bad?)... After much Reaching, Heartbeat forces through Weird Harvest, winning easily. U/W loses.
U/W Remands Reach twice and drops a turn 5 Yosei, figuring it needs a clock. Each draw favors Heartbeat. U/W holds breath, with Hinder in hand and tapped out... and doesn't die, though Heartbeat Reaches and Elders. Next turn Heartbeat forces through a Heartbeat, but had to tap out to do so. This only buys a turn, and Heartbeat goes off on the next. U/W needs to sideboard something fierce... U/W loses.
All of Heartbeat's cards are tutors, mana, and combo parts. A third of U/W's deck is terrible. Heartbeat just slow plays U/W. The long game clearly goes to Heartbeat (and by long, I mean about turn 8). It's not even close. U/W loses.
Heartbeat's cards cost 2-3 mana and do stuff. U/W's cost 4-6 and do nothing. U/W loses.
U/W decides it has to change the plan, or it will never win. Now it will only counter kill cards and Weird Harvest, though it will still Leak where it makes sense. The plan starts working immediately as Heartbeat mulligans. After the initial build-up, Heartbeat tries to Harvest, but it is double Hindered with two Heartbeats in play.
U/W recovers with Tidings and drops Keiga. Soon it is sitting on two Remands, a Leak, and four blanks. Heartbeat draws a Drift and has a Mountain, no Swamp, and twenty-one mana in play. Heartbeat is at ten and Keiga is in play, with U/W at fourteen. Does Heartbeat try to Torch him out and pray for no Leak, or does he Stroke himself for twelve and leave three to protect this? Leak? Maybe nine and protect versus double Leak... Since U/W has seen twenty-two cards and played no Leaks, Heartbeat Strokes for nine, figuring that will win it for him if it resolves. It is Remanded and U/W draws Hinder to clinch it. Finally! U/W wins!
Heartbeat keeps a one-land hand with a Forest, Top, and Elder. Then it discards five times before drawing a land. You gotta keep that playing second, right? U/W wins.
U/W draw no Remands or Hinders. Heartbeat easily wins despite three Leaks. Maybe U/W should mulligan into permission. All of its other cards are worthless. U/W loses.
Boomerang on Chancery buys time to force through a Stroke for ten. U/W loses.
A long struggle involving three Remands, two Hinders, and two Tidings ends with a 20/20 Maga heartbeat has two much action pre-sideboarded. U/W loses.
This is just terrible (2-8), but honestly I don't think it should be quite that bad. Still, Heartbeat mulliganed or was manascrewed in both of U/W's only wins. The silver lining should come with sideboarding. U/W has enough action in its sideboard (up to twelve cards) to give Heartbeat serious trouble. Heartbeat will probably have to transform, so how much Removal should you U/W keeps in will be a guessing game. The Guildmage and all the Legends should help on defense, so taking out all but a couple should be safe.
Matchup 3 - Heezy Street
U/W's turn 2 Karoo is a lifesaver. Every creature Heezy can manage is Condemned, Fettered, or Wrathed. Oh, how beautiful these White cards are versus creatures. Moldervine Cloak is worthless, as everything keeps dying. U/W is still holding four counters or removal spells when it starts the Tidings. A total blowout... U/W wins.
Heezy's dorks get Wrathed. Heezy tries playing more. They get Wrathed. Gruul is left with only a Kird Ape when Yosei hits. Gruul has two Chars and U/W is at nine, but with only four land in play triple Remand prevents Gruul from finishing the job. U/W wins.
I'm not really sure how Gruul expects to win the matchup. I guess the plan is Solifuge after the Wrath, but the Condemns, Fetters, Quicksands, cheap permission, and ridiculous legends take the pressure off of it.
Scab-Clan Mauler is terrible in this match, as Gruul has trouble connecting with creatures and is often suck with 1/1 Maulers. Yosei eventually hits, but Gruul has two Giant Solifuges and two Chars. Gruul trades an Ape and Char with Yosei by necessity, and then starts dropping Insects. The third one (off the top) finally sticks, and U/W plays Keiga. A few Tidings later and U/W wins with a full grip. U/W doesn't need this much removal. Note: Gruul has dealt nineteen damage in three games.
Turn 1 Hurloon Minotaur is Plowed. Gruul puts together a decent clock, with Solifuge to follow the Wrath. U/W just soaks damage, holding Wrath, but is stuck on four land and decides to Wrath rather than discard. An Insect hits and then another; U/W Wraths again, but dies to a third Insect and a Flames. Not an impressive win for R/G. U/W loses.
So, the plan is triple Solifuge. Interesting. Gruul mulligans... Not part of our plan. Gruul finally manages a 3/3 Scab-Clan on turn two, but it is Remanded. A Quicksand on the Goblin prevents it from being 3/3 next turn, adding injury to insult. Gruul summons a bunch of creatures. Azorius kills or counters them all, then drops Yosei. He puts Heezy out of his misery. U/W wins.
Gruul's turn 3 Shaman is Remanded, then Leaked. A Rusalka gets a Cloak, but this is no good versus Meloku. Side note: U/W won this game off the strength of Chanceries. U/W wins.
U/W double mulligans. Gruul has turn 1 Goblin, turn 2 Scab-Clan, turn 3 Cloak. Two Condemns stabilize and U/W drops a Meloku. Gruul promptly Chars the Moonman. A couple of Condemns later and Gruul is at ~40 life. Tidings draws into Keiga. After the 85th time a creature with a Cloak dies, Heezy vows to never Dredge again. There are very few cards in U/W's deck that aren't good versus Cloak. U/W wins.
The triple Kird Ape draw! With no Condemns, U/W succumbs. U/W loses.
Gruul curves Kird Ape, Dryad, Cloak... but is met with Fetters and Condemn. Tidings puts U/W in the driver's seat and card advantage takes over. U/W wins.
U/W mulligans into the turn 5 Keiga, turn 6 Yosei draw. U/W wins.
Like Husk, Heezy is no match for Classic U/W's removal, cheap counters, and bombs (8-2). Heezy may have many decent men, but he also has many lame ones (one power) With so little burn, Heezy's only plan is to draw all Kird Apes, Solifuges, and Chars.
Matchup - 4 Vore
U/W counters most of Vore's land destruction though Wildfire resolves. A Chancery helps U/W recover quickly and Keiga hits. Vore has no way to race, due to Condemn. U/W wins.
Vore mulligans, U/W double mulligans. Vore casts many Blue cards, while U/W is stuck with White ones. Eventually Vore finishes U/W leaving him with no permanents. U/W loses.
Vore mulligans. U/W counters LD then plays Tidings into Keiga. Keiga is pretty much the hard lock. Eye of Nowhere only buys him a turn. U/W wins.
Vore gets the turn 2 Eye, turn 3 Stone Rain, turn 4 Stone Rain, turn 5 Stone Rain, turn 6 Tidings draw (into more land destruction). U/W cast zero spells this game, but probably would have won going first. U/W loses.
Leak on Stone Rain to protect Chancery leads to turn 4 Meloku, which is "not bad" versus land destruction (if you can resolve him). U/W wins.
U/W counters land destruction until it can win with Yosei. Azorius Chancery was clutch because it provided extra mana, which can really hurt land destruction. If you can play your cards, you will generally win. You risk tempo, but you stand to gain extra mana, which is so important. Being able to protect your Karoo is obviously key. As a side note: U/W effectively has thirty mana in his deck, despite only playing twenty-two land. This is very potent versus land destruction. I wonder what Vore would be like with four Signets and four Boilerworks...
Vore destroys land and starts hitting with a 7/7 thanks to a Leak for the Condemn. Leaking a Signet early was key. U/W loses.
U/W mulligans, making a turn 2 Eye of Nowhere less potent. Vore is stuck on three land, but has several Stone Rains. Thanks to Oboro, U/W gets a chance to drop a Signet and starts developing his mana, countering a Demolish. A Meloku is eventually Wildfired, but Yosei sticks and U/W wins.
U/W counters the land destruction, the usual recipe for victory. Both sides Tidings, but U/W drops Yosei and takes over.
Vore has turn 2 Sinkhole, but can only follow up with some Researches. This gives U/W the open to get countermagic ready for the land destruction. Vore eventually Researches four times and plays Tidings three, winning a long card advantage game. U/W loses.
With a solid 6-4 win, U/W has a small edge on the strength of twelve counters, plus Condemns for the Magnivores themselves. U/W's threats are also devastating if they ever hit.
That said, U/W is certainly vulnerable to disruption, especially when playing second. Also, Vore has significantly more card advantage capability.
Sideboarding should be helpful as Wrath and Fetters are mostly dead... Though keeping a few is fine. Long story short, if U/W can counter a land destruction spell or two, it will usually win.
Matchup 5 - Zoo
Zoo's creatures are all systematically countered or removed, leaving Zoo with a few burn spells and U/W with Tidings, Meloku, and Yosei. Zoo tries to put together enough burn to win, but having dealt only five damage with its creatures, doesn't have enough. U/W wins.
Zoo leads with Lion, Wolf, Hound and U/W Wraths them turn 4... but three more men drop and Zoo quickly finishes. U/W loses.
A Kird Ape and Watchwolf are Condemned. A Hound is Leaked. Then Zoo Volcanic Hammers four times, Helixes and Chars twice. U/W loses.
Unlike Husk and Heezy, Zoo has a huge amount of burn, which is far more difficult than creatures late game (assuming U/W takes some early game damage to pull it into burn range).
Zoo mulligans and Leaks with Hound, Lion, and Seal into turn 4 Wrath, turn 5 Fetters, turn 6 Keiga, turn 7 Tidings. U/W wins.
Turn 1 Kird Ape, turn 2 Lion plus Goblin followed by burn. With no White removal, U/W quickly perishes. Do you mulligan a hand with no White removal here? U/W loses.
Zoo double mulligans into a no-creature hand. U/W easily sets up with Meloku. Zoo's inconsistent mana base strikes again. U/W wins.
Standard game of removal and counters for men. Eventually Meloku hits, getting Charred, but making three friends in response. Yosei follows later. U/W wins.
Turns 1-3 were filled with Apes, Hounds, and a Watchwolf. Despite two Condemns and a Wrath, Zoo knocks U/W to one. Down six cards to zero, Zoo eventually draws burn, and gets it through before losing to a Dragon. U/W loses.
Removal. Counters. Dragons. U/W wins.
This time a simple turn 3 Wrath followed by Legends is enough. U/W wins.
While not as overwhelming as the other creature matchups, U/W still has a noticeable edge at 6-4. Twenty burn spells puts a lot of pressure on twelve counters, but fortunately the manabase is not painful and the removal prevents a lot of creature damage.
Matchup 6 - Firemane
Firemane plays Gifts on turn 6, forcing through Zur's Weirding on turn 7. U/W has no threats and only 8 in the deck... U/W loses.
An early Chancery gives U/W a mana advantage, but Firemane eventually forces through Zur's. U/W has a Yosei in hand and enough permission to protect it from cards in Firemane's hand, so Firemane must deny land. Eventually Firemane runs out of life. U/W wins.
Firemane eventually gets a Zur's, but both sides have a lot of action. After twenty minutes of planning, U/W knows what he must do. Firemane draws an Angel next turn and ruins everything. U/W loses.
Firemane drops Zur's with life at 51-16, though U/W has a full grip. Both sides have tons of mana and Firemane has an Angel coming back every turn. U/W can't break through blockers and is decked by Compulsive Research. U/W loses.
After much mana development and card drawing, U/W has Keiga, Yosei, Mikokoro, Miren, Minamo, and Eiganjo. Three Angels, obscene life, and Compulsive Research deck U/W despite it dealing 45 damage. U/W loses.
An hour-long marathon with U/W up half a dozen cards, but getting decked by Research... again. U/W loses.
Firemane mulligans and U/W decides to go beatdown, tapping out for Meloku (dead) and Yosei (dead); Tidings and Keiga stick. U/W wins. U/W is definitely "the beatdown."
Firemane has three early Angels, kills some legends, and drops Zur's. U/W loses.
U/W mulligans. Though a Chancery helps recover. Firemane's removal is useful whereas U/W's is wretched. Firemane Angel itself is unstoppable (just don't ever attack). U/W loses.
Firemane mulligans. U/W's double Signet, double Chancery draw is huge. Tidings, then Meloku, then Yosei win before Firemane's life gets out of hand. U/W wins.
A terrible matchup (3-7) simply because Firemane has more useful cards, plus Angels are trump. U/W does have more counters plus better card drawing. Sideboarding out most of the removal should help oodles.
Matchup 7 - UrzaTron
U/W mulligans. Urza has ten mana on turn 4 and starts the Tidings. A total blowout. U/W loses.
This time it is U/W that accelerates mana with two Signets and a Chancery. Each side drops a turn four Keiga. Each side plays Tidings. Eventually Meloku plus Eiganjo Castle prevent Wildfire and go on to win. U/W wins.
A long game of mana ramp and card drawing for both sides... Eventually U/W has seven cards and eight mana. Urza has one card and nineteen mana. The one card is Demonfire. U/W loses.
U/W's Keiga is Repealed three times and Remanded twice. A twenty point Blaze ends it. U/W loses.
Every game is the same. Build resources, Demonfire for twenty. U/W loses.
Both sides mulligan. U/W's turn 5 Keiga does twenty before Urza can get a colored mana. Leaking a Signet won the game for U/W.
U/W takes control, drops Keiga with a full grip, and gets Demonfired for twenty. U/W loses.
U/W counters a Signet, plays one of its own, and drops two Chanceries to build a mana advantage. Tidings into Yosei wins it. U/W wins.
Urza double mulligans into turn 3 Tron, but has no colored mana. While Urza is defenseless, U/W casts fives and sixes. U/W wins.
While U/W's 4-6 record wasn't "terrible," it felt very hard. Two of its wins were on color-screw (Urza's big weakness, I suppose). Wraths and Fetters were dead. All six of Urza's wins were Torch-outs. His Keigas can never break through.
The key is that Urza has more card drawing and more mana. Sideboading out four-mana White cards for Jushi and Muddle will help, but this isn't the matchup to hope for.
Final result: 36-34
The results seem to say that Classic U/W is fine for an aggressive field, but a sketchy choice given the popularity of UrzaTron.
The results were particularly slanted versus aggro decks, so if there are many in your metagame (particularly Husk, Heezy, etc.) you may want to give a close look at Classic U/W.
On the other hand, a combined 5-15 record against Heartbeat and Firemane is definitely a bad look. Most of the sideboard is for non-creature strategies. Perhaps the maindeck should feature a little less removal, and a few more cards that are good versus non-creature strategies. It depends on your metagame. Still, the massive sideboard may be enough, though sideboarding is a guessing game against both, since you don't always take out all of your removal.
In any event, I haven't tested sideboards so I am only conjecturing about the strength of the two-drops and Needles, though they should be quite strong. Your biggest problem in these matchups is dead cards.
Many have already tried building U/W decks, and I by no means claim this to be The Weissman Deck Incarnate. However, I think it has a more sound foundation that the majority of Azorius decks that have been played recently. It is almost a hybrid of Flores Blue (stall and start dropping bombs) and CounterPost (Plows, Wraths, and Disenchants backing permission).
One change I would definitely consider to the maindeck would be to add a Dimir Aqueduct. Even thought he Black mana is not used, the Karoos are so good that I think it could be worth it. I think you may want to cut an Island or Quicksand, though Faith's Fetters is an option.
I would actually try cutting the Island or Quicksand first, but keep an eye on your mulligans. With a deck like this, it is normal to mulligan at least 10% of the time.
I would also recommend cutting a Tidings for a Yosei. He is better versus the decks where you need help, because in these matchups you are the beatdown. Tidings is nice, but just dropping Legends is what this deck wants to do.
I am interested in what you have to say on this build (and U/W control in general). Any suggestions on how to improve the game versus combo and control, while retaining a nice edge on aggro, would be key. Feedback on results in other matchups, such as Ghazi-Glare, Dovescape, Boros, B/W Control, etc. would also be appreciated.
Thank you for taking the time to check out some ideas with me. I hope I was able to be of some help.
PS: I wrote this article before Michael Flores posted his White Wafo-Tapa deck. While I think the most important part of this article is the discussion on Karoo card advantage and how to take advantage of these lands, I now like Mike's deck better for the metagame.
PPS: I just got a chance to look at the forums for Shredder and Information Cascades. Thank you for all your comments.
It would appear there is enough interest in Extended and other "non-relevant" formats that I will visit them semi-regularly (though I will probably only look at tournament formats).
I cannot realistically play Limited, so nearly 100% of my articles will be on Constructed or general ideas, such as Information Cascades. Speaking of which, there is clearly a demand for articles that touch on less well-established intangible aspects of the game. I will research some ideas and do more articles in this vein, on occasion, though I feel it is paramount to do this kind of article "right." This will necessarily limit the frequency of these types of articles.
Ben, it is particularly moving to have your approval, given the choice of proof. I would like to clarify by stating:
a) Ghost Dad was a productive innovation
b) It was fun and affordable
c) There was a metagame where it was "okay," though it was not as good as its advocates claimed
d) It is rare that such an unusual strategy can have such an impact on the game itself (how many people tried Shining Shoal in non-Ghost Dad decks as a result?).
e) And finally, I do not disrespect Ghost Dad. It suffers from some of the same problems as Britney Spears does. She is not nearly talented enough to justify that much popularity, making her an ideal target (though I like Britney Spears, for the record).
For more of the psychology of group behavior, you may want to check out "The Tipping Point" by Malcolm Gladwell, or anything by Ivo Welch, one of the original Information Cascade theorists.
As far as weathermen predicting a 30% chance of rain and it raining 30% of the time, that is a very high compliment to the profession of weather forecasting. Weathermen and professional bridge players are not overconfident, typically, unlike most people (only in relation to their field).
It is true if the ceiling is 25% if everyone plays the same thing, it is still a useful signal if there is another choice that is circumventing the ceiling. For instance, if everyone plays Necro, all matchups are 50-50 despite it being the best deck, and only one will win. However, if you run Turbo-Stasis, you obviously have a chance to post a better percentage than Necro. This conveys the useful information that Stasis performed better, proportionately.
As far as Shredder goes, lots of good ideas. Four Leylines of the Void will be huge. I will try a Shred Memory build again at some point. I will also test versus other popular decks and share my experiences, when I revisit Shredder.
Join me in a week or so, when I don't look at a Standard deck.