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The Magic Market Index for June 23, 2017
 
Treasure Cruisin' with Monogreen Stompy
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    posted a message on Decks that disappoint
    Adamaro, First to Desire is the poster child.

    I always find it difficult to build Voltron decks that I like, but Adamaro was the pinnacle. He did one thing, and even though he did it moderately well, it was not as fun in practice as it was on paper. Playing all the Chrome Moxes and Simian Spirit Guides and Dwarven Ruins just to slam him turn 1, then give him a Rush of Blood or Winter Orb or whatever to end the game before it starts.

    Either the opponent does nothing, or they have an answer and I do nothing. Bleh.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
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    posted a message on Paradox Engine
    Related story about Paradox Engine in a four-player game today.

    On turn 4, the elf player drops a Paradox Engine with an active Priest of Titania and some other mana dorks, then vomits his hand onto the field. I take 20 damage, but spend my turn fetching Reclamation Sage to blow up the Engine.

    The next turn, the Mishra player plays a Paradox Engine, with an active Grim Monolith and Mox Diamond. Vomits his hand onto the table and plays Wheel of Fortune, and vomits all that onto the table as well. My turn, I jump through a bunch of hoops to recur Reclamation Sage and blow up his Kuldotha Forgemaster; I have to leave the Paradox Engine alive.

    The next turn, the Breya player drops a Paradox Engine with a bunch of Signets etc., then vomits his hand onto the table and does some Breya shenanigans. My turn rolls around again, and I force the Mishra player to pop Nev-Disk and take care of all this nonsense.

    Keep fighting the good fight.
    Posted in: Commander Rules Discussion Forum
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    posted a message on Oracle Text vs. Card Text
    One thing that has really bothered me when cubing is that most players are not necessarily familiar with the latest oracle text on a card. How is the average Magic player supposed to know that Waterfront Bouncer is a merfolk, or that Walking Atlas is actually an artifact creature, or whether or not Winter Orb works as printed, or that you can't activate Marath, Will of the Wild for zero?

    How do you clearly indicate which cards have functional errata, without giving away information during the draft?

    I always try to get the latest copy of a card if possible, as long as it's not horribly ugly, but sometimes that is not good enough. I have considered maybe putting a small dot inside the sleeve for cards with functional oracle text changes, or physically writing on the card/sleeve, or even printing off proxied cards or text boxes.

    How do you handle it?
    Posted in: The Cube Forum
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    posted a message on Fast quitters
    Quote from d0su »
    I was playing in a tournament against an older gentleman rated 500 points higher than me. He had the white pieces, and after opening with 1. e4, we went into a sharp Scandinavian defense position. He dropped his d-pawn to a tactic on about move 10, and he immediately resigned, saying, "I don't want to play this game."

    They come in all shapes and sizes, folks, and they play every game you can imagine.
    To be fair, I think the implications of acting selfishly are different in a one-v-one game than they are in multiplayer.
    Well sure, but as long as it's a question of sportsmanship, I think the comparison holds up.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
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    posted a message on Fast quitters
    I was playing in a tournament against an older gentleman rated 500 points higher than me. He had the white pieces, and after opening with 1. e4, we went into a sharp Scandinavian defense position. He dropped his d-pawn to a tactic on about move 10, and he immediately resigned, saying, "I don't want to play this game."

    They come in all shapes and sizes, folks, and they play every game you can imagine.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
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    posted a message on Sasaya's Satisfying Somersault
    Quote from weltkrieg »
    I also run a sasaya deck, though mine is more big mana control into an obnoxious 18 card infinite turn combo. Of course, when I'm tapping a land for 20 mana, doesn't really matter how much the combo costs to get off.

    I see you already run abundance, same as I do. It is arguably the strongest card in the deck. Once I start doing things, it is almost guaranteed that I am going to do something obnoxious very quickly. Recycle is an option, though a dangerous one. I don't drop it until I am ready to go off. Two colorless options that make the deck absolutely absurd and do beautiful things with sylvan library (you'll get all 3 cards every turn since abundance is a draw replacement), but memory jar and teferi's puzzle box are absurdly good in this deck. Much of the time, you don't mind putting your hand on the bottom and drawing a fresh handful. With an abundance active, you'll basically be tutoring the next few cards. Memory jar+abundance is instant general backflip.

    The single most broken card in my deck is the great aurora, however. I tend to draw 20 to 40 cards with it with a few hundred mana floating. Since it allows you to put a bunch of lands back into play and mostly shuts off your opponents lock pieces, it's pretty good.
    I agree, Memory Jar needs to be in here. Scroll Rack probably deserves a try, too.

    I am not sure I agree on Teferi's Puzzle Box, though -- this deck has so much hand sculpting, it feels like Puzzle box might be backwards progress. I also hate that I need to pass the turn in order for it to do anything, since I typically aim to flip Sasaya and do stuff all in one big turn.

    Funny story with Abundance: Playing a game a few weeks ago, I had nearly cut Abundance from the deck, but decided to give it a few more chances to prove its worth. I was at ~80 life with Aetherflux Reservoir, and domed one of my opponents for 50 before passing the turn. The turn cycle had gone halfway around the table when someone mentioned something about Mindcrank, and to my horror I was like, "Holy crap, was I supposed to mill 50 cards for activating Reservoir?!" So with no deck and no reshuffle effects available, I was ready to concede... until I noticed Abundance was in play, and I could replace all of my draws. YES! XD

    I would love for The Great Aurora to be in here, but I cannot seem to make it worthwhile. Can you post your decklist so I can get some ideas?
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
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    posted a message on The impossible choice: Oona vs Circu vs Phenax for lantern control
    I have tried this idea with Phenax, God of Deception, with Lazav, Dimir Mastermind, and again with Silas Renn, Seeker Adept. Some important things I gleaned:

    You can't count on the Lantern combo being a lock like it is in 60-card Magic. You have multiple opponents instead of just one, and even if you manage to make it so that players draw nothing relevant, they can still usually cast and recast their commanders, and at least one of them will be a problem more often than not. If you go for this, you can guarantee that all of the hate they DO draw will be pointed your way.

    Ensnaring Bridge is still fine, but it is not the universal lock piece that it is in Modern. The card pool is just too large. Plus, having no cards in hand really limits your options here.

    IMO, Phenax is 100% the way to go. You can build a more typical Phenax deck, but adding some Lantern of Insight effects give you an another powerful, disruptive angle of attack. In other words, don't try to build a full-on Lantern Control deck, but make a proactive deck with prevalent Lantern Control elements. You can do what you want, this is just my 2 cents.

    I still have an Italian BB Field of Dreams if you need one. Also, Zur's Weirding may be a useful tool, depending on the direction you choose to go.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
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    posted a message on Clues to identify Magic artist without looking at the bottom of the card
    Art by Nils Hamm usually has complex textures and smatterings of all kinds of colors you wouldn't expect to be there. Baleful Strix, Briarhorn, Coursers' Accord, etc.

    Definitely my favorite Magic artist.
    Posted in: Magic General
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    posted a message on Paradox Engine
    Four of my five decks do not want Paradox Engine at all. The fifth, however...

    Last week, two of my friends borrowed my Selvala, Explorer Returned deck for one game each. The deck has no way to tutor for Paradox Engine, but they drew into it both games, and both games ended on turn 3 as a result.

    Now admittedly, the deck is pretty much tailor-made for Paradox Engine, and is a far cry from the casual battlecruiser idea anyway, usually trying to end games on turn 4 or 5. But wow, what a power bump Paradox Engine turned out to be! It is definitely a kill-on-sight kind of card, sort of like like Mind Over Matter.
    Posted in: Commander Rules Discussion Forum
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    posted a message on Double This, Double That (Squee, Goblin Nabob)
    Yup, Insult // Injury is just as good as expected. It is a much needed out to Deflecting Palm, which some folks have started saving just for me. You just have to remember it turns off your Glacial Chasm. I cut Mana Flare for it, which was easily the most situational card in the deck.

    Other than that, Squee is still chugging along. It nicely straddles the line between casual jank and competitive threat. If I could only have one M:tG deck, it would be this one.
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
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    posted a message on Arcane Denial in Mono-Blue
    Quote from DSF »
    Pretty sure Arcane Denial saw tournament play back when it was printed.
    Well yeah, but I mean, so did Dwarven Trader... Wink
    Posted in: Cube Card and Archetype Discussion
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    posted a message on Gifts Ungiven
    Thanks for the feedback, Sheldon.
    Quote from cryogen »
    Quote from Sheldon »
    One of the major issues of 'win out of nowhere' we see with Gifts is that it's an instant (and relatively inexpensive to cast). We see it as an overly-easy "EOT, go get all the pieces" situation which doesn't require much else and gives far less of a chance for other players to react/interact than, say, a nine-mana sorcery does. Obviously, it's difficult to look at the way players play the card since it's been banned for quite a while, but it was our observation back then that no one was playing it for just value. If any local groups have allowed the card, we'd certainly listen to their experiences.

    I think it's only fair to point out that since it was banned there have been a lot of cool cards that want to get stuff into the yard, like Sharuun, Bruna, Mimeoplasm, Body Double, Spelltwine, etc. And sure, some of these have broken interactions that can be fueled by Gifts just as easily as with other legal cards (well, maybe not quite as easily), but new mechanics like Spell Mastery and Delerium have also shown us that there is fun stuff to do with Gifts as well.
    I agree with Cryogen that there is much more to Gifts than its combo potential. Furthermore, I think it is only fair to point out that since graveyard hate has much improved over the years, and was cited for the unbanning of Kokusho, the Evening Star and Protean Hulk, those considerations should extend to Gifts Ungiven as well.

    Quote from Yatsufusa »
    I feel like neither the consistency (and speed) of game-winning aspect of the card doesn't matter. Even if it is the fastest, most consistent combo in the entire format (and that's debatable, although I'm not going into the subject), can it be regulated by the Social aspect of the format? I mean plenty of fast game-ending combos are eventually shunned by players over a long enough period of time.

    My concern is with two other aspects, one being how often and consistently can Gifts assemble a lock rather than a win. Insta-wins combos are one of the easiest things for the social aspect of the community to deal with, but lock/stax is an aspect of the format that while can also be dealt with socially, also tends to worsen the experience of the game much more than outright winning does and as a result has a higher chance of irritating people to the point they'll rather just leave the format than finding solutions (especially if each failed solution is a torturing game by itself). On top of questioning said consistency and despite me saying that it is more harmful, I did say it can be socially regulated, so at the end of the day, exactly how many people bother to do so (especially when you can outright-win with the card anyway and since that is generally socially regulated...)

    The other concern is the how centralizing the card will be - I'm not talking Primeval Titan-kind of centralizing, because as an instant rather than a creature I doubt the card itself will be re-used all that much by other parties (although it isn't completely out of the question). I'm talking about how much the game itself centralizes around dealing with what Gifts Ungiven brings along with it, be it self-recursion or combo. Does playing it solely for value (even badly) elevate the status of its caster so much that the game centralizes around that player (and hence technically Gifts) instead and the same question, how often does that happen?

    Sheldon has posted here that what the RC has observed were generally unfavorable likely in regards to what I already mentioned here, but simultaneously at the same time he did admit that it has been quite some time the card was banned (and hence statistically there isn't enough information for an actual observation)... so basically it's sort of like a Protean Hulk case all over again?
    I agree the speed and consistency of a tuned Gifts Ungiven combo deck is outside the scope of the discussion.

    I don't think a "value Gifts" pile necessarily pushes the game into archenemy territory, any more than other powerful cards that are already legal (e.g. Survival of the Fittest with GG up, Necropotence to draw 7, casting Kaalia of the Vast, etc.). Nor do I think that the game going into archenemy territory is a problem! That's just part of multiplayer Magic, and it happens regularly.
    Posted in: Commander Rules Discussion Forum
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    posted a message on Sasaya's Satisfying Somersault
    I dunno if it's your style but various x spells seem really good with sasaya. Hurricane, for example, will just win if you have the most life (or if you play glacial chasm). There's also the various hydras and even stuff like Stream of Life if you're feeling janky. tho tbh you've probably heard all that before

    overall it looks like a pretty sweet list, i think it's a good call with the instant-speed land grabbers. how consistently are you able to flip Sasaya?

    the only thing i'd add would be more pay-off cards so that you can win fast after getting to mega mana land. that's what I was thinking with hurricane. sprout swarm is also another option, since you can use it to make a ton of saprolings at instant speed and surprise kill someone (there's gotta be an +x/+x to all creatures spell?). it also goes great with aetherflux resevoir

    book of rass is slick tech. try also tower of fortunes for big mana draw

    anyway just some thoughts, digging the deck!
    Well let me first say that I am a fan of your mono-green control deck, along with the Hurricane/Squall Line endgame. I am not playing those here for two reasons: I am not confident I can always get Glacial Chasm into play on the big turn, and more importantly, my mono-red Squee deck already uses X-spells with Glacial Chasm as the main wincon. Grin

    Sasaya flips by about turn 6, I guess? It's not blazing fast, but it's consistent enough. Sometimes it comes earlier, and sometimes it gets hated out with discard spells or whatever, but at least it doesn't "lose to itself" very often!

    I cut Sprout Swarm in a previous revision of the deck, but I had never considered the interaction Aetherflux Reservoir! I'll probably bring that back in, thanks!

    Tower of Fortunes might make an appearance in place of Mirari, soon. I guess this could also be a Kozilek, Butcher of Truth (with an Eye of Ugin in the deck), but Tower is way cooler.
    After giving your list a look I have to confess that I really like the way in which you approach reaching your seven land in hand quota. The interaction between effects that put lands into your graveyard like Harrow and Crop Rotation combined with the recursive cards like Nostalgic Dreams is something I think I appreciate. There are quite a number of cards like Sprouting Vines and Wildest Dreams that feel like they have a home here whereas most other decks would prefer different cards.

    Some thoughts:
    • Have you considered playing the admittedly goodstuffy Oracle of Mul Daya and Courser of Kruphix? They allow you to play land cards from the top of your library, so you can continue to make land drops each turn without decreasing the number of lands you hold in hand for Sasaya.
    • Creeping Renaissance may be a card you're interested in. Groundskeeper exists as well.
    • I'm not a fan of most of the cards in your tech category. If this were my deck, I would consider new ways to spend your vast trove of mana once you've acquired it. There are a lot of interesting ways to spend a million mana.
    Also, sweet gif.
    Thanks for the feedback!

    Courser of Kurphix and Oracle of Mul Daya may not help as much as it might seem at first glance. I may not need to spend cards in my hand, but if I am using Courser or Oracle to hit my land drops, then the only way I would ever draw land would be if there are multiples in a row -- in other words, I would also draw many fewer lands than I would otherwise. Oracle might be good enough anyway thanks to the post-flip land ramp aspect, but Courser is pretty much a no-go.

    I played Creeping Renaissance and didn't like it -- I found that once I have the mana to cast it, I am banking pretty heavily on instants and sorceries. Groundskeeper might be good enough, though. I'll give it a try in place of Gatecreeper Vine and see how it goes!

    I suppose the lack of mana sinks is just deckbuilding preference. card]Knowledge Pool[/card] used to be my primary game plan, if you'd believe it! I would also play more offbeat stuff like Gelatinous Genesis and Jade Mage in addition to Wolfbriar Elemental, but I found that they were kind of redundant. I would rather have several solid options from which I can choose, than a few more options overall but with less choice -- right now I've got:

    Aetherflux Reservoir -- simple direct damage that feeds off otherwise useless land grabbers, plus lifegain on the side
    Ursapine -- any unblocked dork from anyone is lethal. Great political tool!
    Grinning Totem -- Fills in any gaps, hopefully, and straight-up decking people out is possible with E-Wit recursion.
    Wolfbriar Elemental -- token beatdown as a backup idea. I might supplement it with Sprout Swarm like aslidsiksoraksi suggested.
    Temur Sabertooth/Eternal Witness/Beast Within/Masticore -- Trying to avoid MLD if possible, but this is still on the cards if I am really scraping for outs

    If you have any recommendations or preferred wincons, I am definitely open to ideas! The deck is still very much in flux.
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
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    posted a message on Gifts Ungiven
    Quote from Sheldon »
    Sean made a compelling argument (although his point that Gifts = Vampiric Tutor is simply wrong), and it's worth considering. As far as it fitting into existing criteria, that's easy. Under Creates Undesirable Game States: "...Warning signs include massive overall resource imbalance, early-game cards that lock players out, and cards with limited function other than to win the game out of nowhere." I assume someone is going to inevitably Tooth and Nail; I also assume they can see the difference between a nine mana sorcery and a four mana instant.
    While Cryogen and everyone else delve into how bad Gifts can be if you build around it, do you mind elaborating on your bolded statement above with regards to Gifts? Just about every article about Gifts Ungiven talks about how versatile the card is, so there seems to be some disconnect.

    At the very least, it seems fairly off base from a card evaluation standpoint, but I want to give you a chance to defend your viewpoint.
    Posted in: Commander Rules Discussion Forum
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    posted a message on [Offtopic] Community Thread
    I was looking through my old photobucket album, and came across this gem.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
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