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The Gathering Deck Garage
A little known, recently implemented rule of Magic is that -1/-1 counters and +1/+1 counters cancel each other out. If a creature has both kinds of counters on it, remove one of each kind until all of one or both kinds have been removed.
This will be important later, as you will see.
First off: hello! I wanted to try and make a deck using persist for a while and started trying to come up with a deck list. So far, this is it.
1 x Novablast Wurm
1 x Austere Command
13 x Forest
Any thoughts or ideas on what to put in, take out, or add or subtract more of would be most helpful. On a side note, if you do have card ideas, can you please only post ones that are from Kamigawa black and forward? I have some weird mental thing about using stuff before that. thanks!
Where to begin, where to begin? Well, first of all, if your deck is based on a strong creature presence, you should have a larger percentage of the deck be creatures. And where you have a lot of one-of's, your best bet is to look at what cards aren't working well for you and pull them. I suspect Flourishing Defenses is on the short list to be pulled, but after that it becomes less clear.
Next, I personally prefer Cauldron of Souls over Cauldron Haze. The Haze has the element of surprise, but the Cauldron can be used turn after turn.
Now for the additional cards to consider adding. It seems downright sad to me that you're not using Juniper Order Ranger. With the Ranger out, any creature of yours that persists back in will be cleansed of its -1/-1 counter, and the Ranger will incrementally grow with each iteration. Grazing Kelpie is another persister whom you might benefit from. The 2/3 body for four mana is nothing impressive, but it can spot-remove cards out of an opponent's graveyard if something tries to reanimate them or whatnot, and it can put cards in your graveyard back into your deck if you should so need. Plus, the fact that it has persist and can sacrifice itself means that with this card and Juniper Order Ranger together, you can effectively spend green mana to put +1/+1 counters on the Ranger at will. Kithkin Spellduster can do a similar thing, as well as having the added benefit of flying, but only as long as there's enchantments for it to destroy.
You may also want to think about Congregation at Dawn. Searching your deck for three creature cards is a powerful effect. It allows you to set up the Quillspike/Devoted Druid combo (even if it does then broadcast that you're going for it), it can fetch you a Novablast Wurm if you need to wipe your opponents' creatures off the map (or even just if you're prepared to keep bringing yours back), and can make absolutely sure you draw what you need for the next three turns.
Speaking of searching your deck for things, Safewright Quest might be of use to you to make sure your mana works out okay.
I also notice you've got two Oblivion Ring, two "Disenchant/Naturalize" (which is it?), and two Smite as your removal spells. Personally, I'd replace at least two of the O-Rings and Disenchant/Naturalizes with Acidic Slime or Woodfall Primus. The Slime is cheaper and has the added benefit of basically working like a Smite as well, with its 2/2 deathtouch body. The Primus is more expensive, but is a bigger attacking body, can target planeswalkers, and has persist and thus fits wonderfully into your strategy.
If you've got a few dollars to drop on this deck, Ajani Goldmane's second ability works beautifully in a persist deck. Though if you want to just keep it casual, or want to make room for more creatures, I couldn't fault you for not using it.
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Magic the Gathering Deck Fixes