[SCD] Iona, Shield of Emeria

  • #1
    Iona, Shield of Emeria

    I've gotten a lot of grief for playing this card lately so I needed a bit more input. I've been running it in Kaalia so there have been games when it comes down early and people don't seem to know how to answer it. Given that I'm running WBR, arguably the weakest color combination in EDH, I personally feel like I need every bit of power I can get out of my colors.

    Most of the complaints I get come from mono color players who whine when I name their color. I occasionally get some upset bicolor decks when I name their removal color(like White against GW). Apparently even some of these 2c decks don't plan on being hit by Iona and often find that all of their removal is of one color and they have no answers. I personally think it's a fair card.

    When you sit down to start building any mono color deck you should always be wary of your colors weaknesses. Going mono color gives you a faster more resilient mana base than 2+ colors, the trade off being you only get to use cards from one color. If you ignore your colors weakness and don't plan accordingly than I think you deserve to be locked out. For the sake of argument I've constructed a rough list of colorless answers that any deck can run.

    Predator, Flagship
    Karn Liberated
    Spine of Ish Sah
    All is Dust
    Oblivion Stone
    Nevinyrral's Disk
    Duplicant
    Brittle Effigy
    Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre
    Steel Hellkite
    Last edited by Vault756: 7/11/2012 11:31:07 PM
    Quote from splashing black
    Unfortunately every try hard from Sacramento to Shanghai preaches from the top of their 27 lands + Mana Reflection that Tooth and Nail and Time Stretch are fine to play in the same turn but Armageddon is unfair.
  • #2
    She's a completely fair card. Good? Certainly. Broken? Certainly not. If you're playing mono anything, you had opportunities to disrupt the Kaalia player before Iona shut you down. Countering Kaalia, or removing Kaalia prior to combat is probably your best bet. Do that consistently, and if you work at it you should be able to, and Iona is what she is - a 7/7 for 9 mana, who can still be countered. In 1v1, this does put a lot of pressure on you, but all of this doesn't fall on your shoulders in multiplayer, as pretty much anyone who is running a mono or 2-color deck is going to be working to keep Iona off the board for fear of getting their color called. Some games you won't be able to do anything about it. Just shuffle up and start over. Iona can't hit the board early every game. It's a good card, but it's certainly not an impossible one to deal with.
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  • #3
  • #4
    Brittle Effigy is one option.

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  • #5
    I knew there were more, I also added Ulamog and Steel Hellkite to the original post, I don't know how I forgot those since I'm running them. On topic I have one mono color EDH deck and I might be working on colorless soon. In my mono black deck I have included 8 answers to Iona since I knew that I would need them. Granted there is no guarantee I'll have one when Iona drops but it still helps to have them in the deck. I've seen plenty of greedy players who just ignore their weaknesses in favor of more synergy and then they just complain when they get blown out.
    Quote from splashing black
    Unfortunately every try hard from Sacramento to Shanghai preaches from the top of their 27 lands + Mana Reflection that Tooth and Nail and Time Stretch are fine to play in the same turn but Armageddon is unfair.
  • #6
    Just remember, if you play in a regular group, that Iona is Bribery target #1.
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  • #7
    Quote from TheEvilCliff
    Just remember, if you play in a regular group, that Iona is Bribery target #1.


    Not even. When there are goodies like Avacyn in my deck, and stuff like Prime Time, Terastodon, and Con Sphinx around. I have never been bridery'd for my Iona before.
    Quote from splashing black
    Unfortunately every try hard from Sacramento to Shanghai preaches from the top of their 27 lands + Mana Reflection that Tooth and Nail and Time Stretch are fine to play in the same turn but Armageddon is unfair.
  • #8
    Quote from Boros_Archangel
    Not even. When there are goodies like Avacyn in my deck, and stuff like Prime Time, Terastodon, and Con Sphinx around. I have never been bridery'd for my Iona before.


    Yeah I agree. If you're playing on a table where all or almost all colors are represented, locking one of them out of the game (with a permanent that's relatively easy to kill) probably doesn't accomplish much other than annoy everyone.
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  • #9
    When I ran Iona (cut her later), it was in a group of folks who knew their way around a deck, and I found she honestly wasn't very good when all 5 colors were represented and people only rarely played mono color.

    She could hose 1 person (generally the weakest player there), but overall I felt she was less impactful than other cards at that CMC. Most of my complaints around Iona come from the whole "Ban goddamn Sol Ring and Mana Crypt already!" argument, so I don't really mind her. The best way to deal with her is to diversify your deck and reach out to other colors. The colorless answers to her, as you've already shown, are mostly rather mediocre. It's better to reach out to another color or have someone else get rid of her unless you've got a Duplicant handy.
  • #10
    I had this argument with my brother-in-law, who also argued the monocolor point. There are enough colorless answers to Iona, but people don't seem to like them, because they are "inefficient."
  • #11
    Quote from Eriol
    I had this argument with my brother-in-law, who also argued the monocolor point. There are enough colorless answers to Iona, but people don't seem to like them, because they are "inefficient."


    Well, Duplicant, Spine of Ish Sah, and All is Dust are reasonable pieces of removal. Outside of those, the options are just too inefficient to sit down and consider as first tier options when you're constructing your deck. So, if you show up at a table with your mono colored deck and someone drops Iona on your face, I guess you better hope you have one of those three options in your hand or that you turn it up pretty quickly. Why someone would remove Iona for you is beyond me. I'd just leave you locked out of the game until you manage to wriggle yourself out of that situation, if you can. Makes it easier for me to win, as far as I'm concerned.
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  • #12
    It's a complete douchebag card and you deserve blocking if you play her, IMHO. In fact, it's probably the worst designed card in the history of the game. Evan Avacyn isn't nearly as abusive as this witch. You have to remember, EDH is supposed to be casual fun, and this card is as far from casual fun as you can get.
  • #13
    With me currently building my first 2 mono colored decks, that card scares the **** out of me. O.O

    Is it possible to respond to the ability of Iona when it is put onto the field with Kaalia's ability? I'm not sure how the rulings work in a case like this.

    If I can, my mono decks have plenty of answers for when it does hit the field. I just have to be careful with the timing...
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  • #14
    Quote from Eriol
    I had this argument with my brother-in-law, who also argued the monocolor point. There are enough colorless answers to Iona, but people don't seem to like them, because they are "inefficient."


    And to a certain extent they are very inefficient. 7 of the 8 colorless cards listed cost more than 5 mana to drop & activate, and the disk takes 2 turns.

    In a tuned situation the Kaalia player will tutor for a Lightning Greaves early, Bring Kaalia out very fast, and then potentially have or tutor for Iona early as well (or some other nasty threat). It's tough as a mono player outside of Green to keep pace with that speed. And you can't counter iona when she comes into play from Kaalia, you can only counter Kaalia. And if you can't deal with Kaalia before she gets her lightning greaves on her, it's going to be very difficult to deal with Iona. Mono black may have some disruption ready to force Kaalia player out of a good hand, but Mono G,W,R don't exactly have those options either.

    in Mono Red, Black, White, you're not going to keep pace at that speed and be able to "effectively" remove Iona with a Spine of Ish Sah. Mono green you could definitely be able And you're going to struggle to counter Kaalia without blue.

    I'm not advocating against Iona, nor am i saying she's a broken card. i run her both in my own Kaalia deck and Mayael too. And i don't like the argument that someone should suffer for chosing to play mono colored EDH. Just a devil's advocate.

    Iona is definitely an threat worth considering while deck building, even building a mono color deck you need to consider ways to get around her or remove Kaalia before she starts her shenanigans. The suggestion for mono players to consider tapping another color is a good one but at the end of the day you are responsible for the struggles of your own deck.
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  • #15
    When you sit down with Kaalia--ALWAYS expect the worst. Never think that she's probably just gonna drop Rune-Scarred Demon, smack you for 8 and say go. "But Iona and Avacyn etc. are just two cards! What are the odds they have them in the opening turns of the game?" Your gamble: if you play it, you can't complain when you get curbstomped.

    After you kill Kaalia twice, she's fairly prohibitive to play again, and by that time you should be stabilized and ready for anything else she's got. Smile

    Outside of Kaalia, she's even easier to deal with. Cheating it into play via reanimation or something like T&N is slower and more expensive than Kaalia. Random opponents on cockatrice or whatever aside, you should know your group's decks after a while. If you refuse to tweak your deck to have a chance at countering their big wins, that's your problem.
    Last edited by Tathata: 7/12/2012 10:23:52 AM
  • #16
    Quote from Hammer
    It's a complete douchebag card and you deserve blocking if you play her, IMHO. In fact, it's probably the worst designed card in the history of the game. Evan Avacyn isn't nearly as abusive as this witch. You have to remember, EDH is supposed to be casual fun, and this card is as far from casual fun as you can get.


    I wish people would stop using fun as this definitive term for EDH. Me shutting you completely out of the game so I can win is pretty dang fun for me. Does that count?

    Quote from The Shang
    With me currently building my first 2 mono colored decks, that card scares the **** out of me. O.O

    Is it possible to respond to the ability of Iona when it is put onto the field with Kaalia's ability? I'm not sure how the rulings work in a case like this.

    If I can, my mono decks have plenty of answers for when it does hit the field. I just have to be careful with the timing...


    Unfortunately for you in that case, you can't. From the rulings:

    "Once the color is chosen, it's too late for opponents to respond by casting spells of that color. Iona is not yet in the battlefield at the time the color is chosen, so, for example, there's no way for an opponent to destroy it by casting Doom Blade if the chosen color is black."
    Quote from Phil
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  • #17
    Quote from sH0opdAwoOp
    I wish people would stop using fun as this definitive term for EDH. Me shutting you completely out of the game so I can win is pretty dang fun for me. Does that count?




    No, you are right, you will have 'fun' shutting out other players, but then why are you surprised when you are blocked? It's the same as any strategy that involves you playing solo, i.e. infinite turns, ad nauseum combo, etc. Sure, one can play them, but then everyone else has the right to block you as well.
  • #18
    Quote from sH0opdAwoOp
    I wish people would stop using fun as this definitive term for EDH. Me shutting you completely out of the game so I can win is pretty dang fun for me. Does that count?



    Unfortunately for you in that case, you can't. From the rulings:

    "Once the color is chosen, it's too late for opponents to respond by casting spells of that color. Iona is not yet in the battlefield at the time the color is chosen, so, for example, there's no way for an opponent to destroy it by casting Doom Blade if the chosen color is black."




    Thanks.

    That means, basically, as a mono player that you are screwed if Iona is cheated into play. Unless, ofc, you manage to play one of the artifact removal spells listed in this thread.

    Bummer. I guess only blue can have effective ways to counter it, and that is only if Iona is hardcast. Of course, with Kaalia, you can see such a play coming from a mile away.

    Iona basically says 'So you use only one color? Well **** you!' And that sucks hard. Thank god none of my friends have this card and that I'm the only one that really uses white in my playgroup. They might though when see this card Smile

    Could be a nice challenge.
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    BBGGJarad's Rotting FriendsGGBB
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  • #19
    Quote from Hammer
    No, you are right, you will have 'fun' shutting out other players, but then why are you surprised when you are blocked? It's the same as any strategy that involves you playing solo, i.e. infinite turns, ad nauseum combo, etc. Sure, one can play them, but then everyone else has the right to block you as well.


    I wouldn't be. I fully expect anyone and everyone at the table negatively affected by Iona to direct all their aggression towards me. It's part of the calculated risk of playing her.
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  • #20
    Quote from sH0opdAwoOp
    I wouldn't be. I fully expect anyone and everyone at the table negatively affected by Iona to direct all their aggression towards me. It's part of the calculated risk of playing her.


    So what is the point of this thread then? You understand why others block you/flip the table with you play her. Were you hoping people would reply and say how unfair your playgroup is or something?
  • #21
    Quote from Hammer
    So what is the point of this thread then? You understand why others block you/flip the table with you play her. Were you hoping people would reply and say how unfair your playgroup is or something?


    It's not my thread :p.
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  • #22
    I had started a similar thread a while back, and there were a few more colorless options discussed there, but I think Brittle Effigy was the cheapest one at 4 + 1 to activate.

    http://forums.mtgsalvation.com/showthread.php?t=422895
  • #23
    Chalk up another for the "this card is really lame and sucks the fun out of EDH" vote.

    Guys may say cards like Avacyn are more powerful, and maaaaaybe they are, but they aren't prohibitive to other players. Other players may think twice about attacking or blocking while Avacyn is on the board, but they can still play the game the way they want.

    This might be another can of worms... but I feel the same way about Armageddon. "Congrats you managed to get out a decent creature or two before me, then cast Armaggedon, you win, gg". Not really cool. It's a bit of a different story in 4 player multi, where it's just going to cause you to get gang banged if you don't kill everyone quickly, but in 1v1 it's just a lame lame lame play. Ruination doesn't bother me really, its the risk you take for running expensive land, and it's the one card that low-cost decks have over expensive ones usually. Ajani Vengeant's ultimate doesn't bug me either. You see that card get played, and it takes time to charge. If you don't deal with it, that's your own fault.

    I played in a grp that had Iona on their ban list, and while I didn't agree with some of the other cards that were banned, I fully agree with the Iona ban, and Kaalia is one of my 3 main EDH decks Smile
  • #24
    Quote from Hammer
    It's a complete douchebag card and you deserve blocking if you play her, IMHO. In fact, it's probably the worst designed card in the history of the game. Evan Avacyn isn't nearly as abusive as this witch. You have to remember, EDH is supposed to be casual fun, and this card is as far from casual fun as you can get.


    Some guy plays ONE creature that doesn't win outright, and you advocate blocking him?

    Grow up.
  • #25
    Quote from Hammer
    No, you are right, you will have 'fun' shutting out other players, but then why are you surprised when you are blocked? It's the same as any strategy that involves you playing solo, i.e. infinite turns, ad nauseum combo, etc. Sure, one can play them, but then everyone else has the right to block you as well.


    Iona is about as Timmy of a card you can get. She's a 7/7 flying angel in white, that does what white's piece of the flavor pie does best: lockdown ("I am the law" type cards). She also has good artwork.

    Iona is a very fun timmy card. Considering that EDH is easily a combo-fest, I hardly can imagine decent players finding Iona troublesome at all. I think that the same "other players" you're referring to would rather Iona name one color than have all their lands destroyed or combo'd out by Ad Naus.

    In a multi-player game, against prepared opponents with decent decks, an early Iona never shuts down enough people to where you can glide to victory.

    Kaalia is a very dangerous general but very weak and vulnerable. If anything, your playgroup should just play more removal spells to account for a general that needs to attack before it even does anything.
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