Kokusho’s return

Last week, I played Kokusho at our local PTQ and started out strong, then fell back behind the pack. After some thought, I have my revised Kokusho build for next weekend’s PTQ, assuming I make it to that one.
More in the extended.

Here’s the new build:

17 Creatures:
Sakura-Tribe Elder
Wall of Roots
Eternal Witness
Maga, Traitor to Mortals
Kokusho, the Evening Star
21 Spells:
Kodama’s Reach
Death Cloud
Primal Command
22 Land:
11× Swamp
11× Forest
15 Sideboard:
Ghost Quarter
Cranial Extraction
Night of Souls’ Betrayal

What’s out?
Well, I removed the four Thoughtseizes. They suck against extended aggro builds, and didn’t do enough to disrupt anything else. All around poor card. Very disappointing. I also yanked the Shamans, Stomphowler, and random Duress from the sideboard. The Shamans tended to be warm bodies most of the time, and the Stomphowler only played a really valuable role once. Sort of.
What’s in?
Instead of Thoughtseizes in the main, we now have a quad of Putrefy. Putrefy increases my percentage against aggro matchups, and gives me maindeck help against early Signets, just-resolved Lotus Blooms, and gigantonormous, frenzied Ravagers and Atogs. Zap. It also kills Vedalkan Shackles. And it kills Frodo. All around, I think that’s superior to the occasional turn one Thoughtseize.
The maindecking of Putrefy lets me ditch the Shamans. In tossing the Stomphowler, I give up on my one nominal solution against enchantments…but I honestly don’t think that’s the approach I want to take against Ideal. Not that there was a lot of Ideal at the last PTQ.
Instead, I use the space I’ve opened up in the side to add in four Ghost Quarters, and to bump my Extractions up to four. After Gifts, I think Extraction may be among my favorite cards, ever. How cool is it to just be able to say, “Let’s just yank your key cards out of your deck, before you even have a chance to draw into them.” That just makes me so happy.
With that in mind, here are my current sideboarding notes:
This is the default configuration, so no changes.
+3 Night of Souls’ Betrayal
+3 Cranial Extraction
-4 Smallpox
-2 Death Cloud
The concept here is that we bring in the Nights to kill off Goblin swarms and the Extractions to yank out Patriarch’s Bidding, with secondary targets such as Goblin Matriarch. I feel like four Extractions might be overkill here, but maybe not. In that case, I’d pull a Reach as well.
This uses the default configuration.
+4 Extirpate
+4 Cranial Extraction
-4 Smallpox
-4 Kodama’s Reach
My hope here is to be able to Extirpate early and then follow that up by preemptively Extracting all the major threats. The Elders provide some game against Bridges, but the Extirpates are the real play against an early Dredge rush.
+4 Ghost Quarter
+4 Extirpate
+4 Cranial Extraction
-4 Wall of Roots
-4 Damnation
-3 Primal Command
-1 Death Cloud
I don’t want to side out lands for the Quarters — they’re meant as uncounterable land destruction, rather than lands themselves. Damnation is unnecessary, especially in light of the new maindeck Putrefy quartet. The Primal Commands are probably not as useful in this matchup as the Extractions, so they’re out, too.
TEPS, Ideal
+4 Ghost Quarter
+4 Extirpate
+4 Cranial Extraction
-4 Damnation
-4 Putrefy
-3 Primal Command
-1 Death Cloud
This is very similar to the Tron matchup, but instead of losing the Walls, I lose Putrefy. I want to keep the Walls in, as both Wall and Elder accelerate this deck into a third-turn Extraction. Against Ideal, Extraction for Form of the Dragon seems good. Against TEPS, we’ll go for Mind’s Desire (perhaps followed by Cunning Wish — I haven’t tested this matchup). Heartbeat is almost like TEPS, but I wouldn’t side in the Quarters because they’re dead cards (so keep the Commands and Clouds). I haven’t practiced this matchup yet, so I may change my mind.
NL Blue / PL Blue
So far, I haven’t felt a need to change away from the default configuration for this matchup.