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Unstable Q&A with Mark Rosewater
 
The Dos and Don'ts of Silver-Border Commander
  • posted a message on Dreamcrusher (Child of Alara)
    It's been awhile since I've gotten to play with the deck, but I do have some quick thoughts.

    Everyone's running Altar's Reap since it's obviously insane, but no one else seems to be running Skulltap or Primal Growth, the sorcery-speed equivalents. The fact that they can't counter your "removal spell" for Child is a pretty high upside, and getting the extra cards/lands is just pure value. They're cheap enough that you can easily leave up countermagic and have utility outside of killing Child.


    For people looking for life gain, I've been playing with Kabira Crossroads for awhile, and Capsizing that has won me a ton of games without taking up a spell slot. I really wanted Wandering Stream to be good, but I just haven't liked it. Maybe Gnaw to the Bone is a reasonable thing to try? Seems like on average it'd gain as much or more life as Wandering Stream, with flashback and at instant speed.


    @TheOrangePet

    Have you considered Deprive or Syncopate instead of Cancel or Stoic Rebuttal? I haven't seen too many people playing with either of those two counters, but they've both been very good for me, especially Deprive. Because of the spell-lands like Halimar Depths and Bojuka Bog, Deprive often feels like a 2-for-1, and seems much better than Cancel, at the least.


    I also want to know how the Blue Blasts have been. I really like having as many one-mana ways to kill Child as possible, and the REBs are sweet because they hate on the best color, but the blue blasts just seem excessive. How good are they if people are only playing red as a secondary or tertiary color? That just seems a little too narrow to me.


    I like the idea of Scrivener and Vedalken Aethermage. The biggest problem I see is that you're making room for that by cutting all of the utility spells like Qasali Pridemage and Rend Flesh. Can you deal with problematic permanents without Child of Alara or Capsize? What do you do if you have to Wrath early and then someone casts another threat that must be dealt with? The card selection and additional recursion is nice, but doesn't seem like it does much if all you can find is more card selection.
    Posted in: Variant Commander
  • posted a message on [Primer] Living End
    I picked up the deck pretty recently, and have felt pretty comfortable against most of the creature matchups. I've had some difficulty with some Next-Level faeries and Teachings decks, and have been looking for ways to solidify the matchup post-board.

    Fulminator Mage and Beast Within have been doing a pretty good job, and Psychotic Episode has been okay. I've been thinking about trying either Mulldrifter or Mournwhelk out of the sideboard to try to overload their countermagic a little more. Is that remotely reasonable, or am I trying a little too hard?
    Posted in: Modern Archives
  • posted a message on Child of Alara explosion build - tips and strategy
    I think the point is that there are a couple cards that are only good with very particular cards (i.e. Bloomtender and Umbral Mantle). Neither of the cards are that good on their own, and are only really any good when you have both AND no one has any way to interact. Why not just play cards that are better all of the time?

    Unburial Rites seems like an obvious inclusion, since it's two free rebuys of Child. I'd seriously consider changing the focus of the manabase from forest-duals and low-impact non-basics to Plains, so you can run Emeria, the Sky Ruin.

    I'd cut your Oblivion Stone and All is Dust. The point of having Child as a general is that you don't have to run cards like that. It frees up slots.

    I'd also cut the less efficient tutors, like Shard Convergence, Conflux, and Long-Term Plans. YOu can do better with cards like Sylvan Library and Sensei's Divining Top.

    The real problem that I see is that you don't have an end-game besides Ulamog and vulnerable two-card combos. Add something like Kessig Wolf Run so you can get in for general damage with Child of Alara or some such.
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on [SCD] Crucible of Worlds
    Quote from love_blanket
    I started a thread about Crucible vs. LftL not too long ago and the general consensus was that a deck that wants one really wants both. I found this to be true in my decks, even though LftL can make Crucible unnecessary at times, I appreciate having both.



    I feel like this isn't entirely true. LftL is an engine unto itself that stocks your graveyard while enabling land drops. It's not something which needs to be built around, necessarily, it does all of the work. Sure, it's better when you have a ton of sac lands and whatnot, but you can always cast Loam for zero lands, and then start dredging it to find lands and other spells that you can rebuy later.

    Loam has the capability of doing very different things than Crucible, and so I don't think that comparing the two is necessarily valid.



    Regarding Crucible of Worlds, I don't think that there's a set number of sac lands and cycle lands that makes Crucible playable. A better question to think about is "how frequently will there be lands in my graveyard, and how much value do I get from replaying them?", regardless of how they got there.

    An Ib Halfheart, Goblin Tactician deck wants Crucible, even with zero sac lands or cycling lands. An Azusa, Lost But Seeking deck probably wants Crucible even if it only runs Terramorphic Expanse and Evolving Wilds.

    In these cases, your general means that consistency of land drops is incredibly valuable, so the upside on Crucible will be way higher than the downside, and it's probably worth running.

    Decks that don't consistently get value from Crucible due to interactions with their general need to think about the kinds of lands they're running, and whether the value/tempo/cards generated by your lands are worth using a slot to stabilize your mana. How high is the upside, and how bad is it if the card does nothing?

    If I'm running Mono-Red artifacts, for example, and am heavily reliant on Buried Ruin, I'm going to add Crucible to take advantage of that. From there, I'll probably add Terramorphic Expanse/Evolving Wilds and Mouth of Ronom, think about the various cycling lands, to make it less dead when I don't have Buried Ruin. If the Crucible/Buried Ruin interaction is everything I wanted it to be, then I'll probably be happy, since the upside is what my deck needs, and the downside isn't too bad.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Mass Removal Problems
    For single, giant creatures, lands like Mystifying Maze[/card, Kor Haven, and Maze of Ith are probably your best bets.

    For creature swarms, you can use effects that discourage attacking you, especially with large hordes of creatures, like Ghostly Prison and Propaganda.

    The other thing you can do is just go over the top of them. Make more creatures faster or bigger. Something like Hazezon Tamar could be good, as could something like Wort, the Raidmother casting gigantic spells.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Help me evaluate these cards for mono red
    you want to be able to pump a ton of mana into Ashling, and to be able to cast her as many times as possible, so 46 lands is pretty necessary, and you don't want to kill too many of them, if you can help it.

    I think that Anger and Urabrask are your best options for haste, but if you need more, I'd consider Mass Hysteria before Need for Speed. Lands are important for Ashling, since she's so mana hungry, and I wouldn't be too willing to sacrifice them.

    I don't know that I would play a ton of land destruction or effects that sacrifice lands, like Impending Disaster, Keldon Firebombers or Devastating Summons. All you need to do is get in for a little bit of damage and then cast Ashling a bunch of times, and lands are very important for that.

    Tahngrath is fine; though he might have some trouble getting too much done without equipment. He's probably better than Cyclops Gladiator though, since his ability can be activated at instant speed.

    Bloodfire Colossus is also fine, though I'm not sure if it's better or worse than more burn like Molten Disaster or Rolling Thunder.

    Burning Sands is VERY good, and you should almost certainly be playing it. While you have lands to spare, and won't be too creature heavy, besides ashling, you can put other players in a position where it's difficult to cast their important spells. The key is to minimize it's impact on yourself by limiting the number of creatures you're running.

    Lastly, Gargadon is fine if you really need to protect your general, but I'd run lands like High Market and Miren, the Moaning Well first.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on ~Multiplayer~ 5-Color Combo (Help Wanted)
    as you go more and more all-in on the combo, I sort of question the inclusion of counters that cost more than 2 or 3. You could replace the counters that cost more with things like Dispel, negate, Force of Will, and Pact of Negation to be more mana efficient.

    How good is Personal Tutor? Is it better than Academy Rector? If you add more sacrifice outlets, you can easily cast the rector, then drop Pestermite/Deciever and sacrifice the Rector to win. People are more likely to let the Rector live than to let you resolve a Splinter Twin.

    I'd consider adding both Diamond Valley and Phyrexian Tower, since neither of those cards cost additional mana to use, and let you use Child of Alara as a Wrath of God as will.
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on Whats your beef with extra turns?
    I don't have a problem with people playing extra turn spells, but I personally avoid it, because I don't like how the effect changes in multiplayer.

    Once you have 3 or more players, Time Stretch doesn't read "Take two turns after this one," rather, it reads "your opponents skip their next two turns," which is subtly different, but the distinction is important.


    Add to that the fact that about half the time, the extra turn spell ends the game on the spot with some kind of recursion or combo, while the other half you waste 5-10 minutes watching someone play solitaire. Regardless, all they do is prevent other people from playing, much like Armageddons and Obliterate, which also draw a ton of hate. When put in this kind of light, I think it's at least reasonable to understand why people don't enjoy playing against the effects.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Realms Uncharted?
    Realms is not only in the color of Life from the Loam, but also Tilling Treefolk and Regrowth effects. The card certainly works best in the Child of Alara Lands archetype, since you can get Petrified Field, Tolaria West, High Market, and another land, and be guaranteed a sacrifice outlet for Child, but you can do similar tricks in other decks for other types of lands.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Cromatic Child An EDH deck that needs help
    It's not that those cards don't have uses. Every card has a function. The problem is that they don't actually accomplish much. Rather than just having a function, there needs to be a reason that your deck wants that function.

    For example. Elixir of Immortality lets you shuffle up your graveyard and gain a small amount of life. Why is that better than just using Regrowth or some such and leaving your graveyard in tact?


    Now, the issue that I see is that this deck has a ton of top-end cards, and not a lot of synergistic interactions. There isn't a theme, or goal; there isn't a lot of redundancy. That makes it difficult for someone who isn't familiar with the deck to pick out which cards and interactions are important.


    Some things that I would think about changing:
    -With Child of Alara as your general, you essentially have an easily-recurred board sweeper as your general, which means you don't need as many sweepers in your deck. That gives you more space to do something proactive instead of reactive.

    -You have a ton of top-end cards that don't actually DO much. Firemane Angel, Damia, Riku, etc. They're all fine, but unless you get to the super late game, they don't do anything, and they don't interact favorably with one another. Generally, if you're looking to run just the most powerful cards, people jump to things like Terastodon, Avenger of Zendikar or the Praetors from New Phyrexia, like Sheoldred, Whispering One.

    -If you want your deck to be this top-heavy, you absolutely have to have more ramp spells and more lands. Make space for basics so you can run things like Kodama's Reach, Cultivate, and [card]Explosive Vegetation. If you cut the M12/Innistrad lands for fetches, you can easily cut the 5 color lands and some shock lands for basics. You probably want 40 or 41 lands plus more ramp spells. Pure color fixing like Joiner Adept and PRismatic Omen seems just worse for your deck than straight-up ramp.


    Besides that, decide what themes and cards are most important, and edit in a little summary into the first post, so that people can see what you're looking for.
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on Let's Create a Community Banlist
    Quote from DramaTurtle
    I don't if know you're being serious about the Goblin Game, but that card is just awesome (even if I've never seen it resolved).

    It's no secret that I hate Sharuum because of how strong she is. I do believe her to be the most powerful pure control/combo list in the format.


    Sharuum banned as general... interesting. Any thoughts on this?


    Seems completely unnecessary. Sharuum is powerful, but fun when you're not trying to combo. When you are trying to combo, it gets disrupted by spot removal, graveyard hate, and countermagic. The combo itself isn't that insane, it's the enablers that allow you to easily set up your combo and force it through with countermagic.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on ~Multiplayer~ 5-Color Combo (Help Wanted)
    I'd consider a few things.

    First: Pestermite and Splinter Twin, just for redundancy's sake.

    Then I'd consider a couple of different things.

    Mystical Teachings finds half of your combo or countermagic to back it up. It's probably better than Conflux.

    I'd also consider cutting some of your top-end spells that don't actually do anything, like Praetors' Counsel and such. At that CMC, you could just win the game instead, so why not just do that instead of buying back your graveyard?


    Birthing Bod gives you a way to turn any 2 or 3 drop into winning the game, if you were to add a few more creatures. You pod away your 2 drop into Deciever or Pestermite, untap the Pod, then Pod away your 3 drop and get Gravedigger or Entomber Exarch, rebuying your Pestermite. Then you cast the 3 drop, untap pod, and Pod away your 4 drop into Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker and win.

    Survival of the Fittest is another easy way to set up your combo.



    Cryptic COmmand and Dismiss are two counterspells that should probably make the cut if you're looking to play mostly countermagic. I'd probably cut some of the Dream Fracture or Cancel effects for these, and some cheaper countermagic. Things like Force of Will and Dispel which help force through your combo.

    Last, I'd add some more sacrifice outlets, like Phyrexian Tower and Miren the Moaning Well. Diamond Valley if it's not out of budget.



    Hopefully some of these suggestions are helpful!
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on 5-Color Deck Issues with Sundering Titan
    Crop Rotation -> Bojuka Bog is a sweet way to hate on graveyard decks. Crop Rotation has a ton of utility as a way to find the awesome utility lands that 5c decks should be running anyway.

    This is the best way I've found to add GY hate to decks without actually dedicating slots to it.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Adun Stax
    Lock pieces buy you time to drop more lock pieces, but have to lead into a hard lock or be backed up by threats. It doesn't matter much if you can put the table under a soft lock if you can't back it up with a clock of some kind; if you provide them with infinite time to break out, eventually someone will.


    That's why I'd look into guys that destroy lands and then stay on the battlefield. Or more token generators, like Goblin Assault. Cards that let you proactively disrupt people and drop threats are even better; something like Sword of Feast and Famine, for example, could be very powerful here.


    If you're willing to skew your mana base more towards basics and mana rocks rather than duals, you could run Destructive Flow, which is a powerful lock piece.


    Depending on what your metagame looks like, Terravore, Countryside Crusher and Detritivore could be sweet finishers that aren't too difficult to cast, even under lock pieces.


    I'd be pretty interested in finding ways to jam Tectonic Edge into the mana base, as well as Deserted Temple and Rishadan Port as additional ways to keep the pressure up.

    You could add Manlands as ways to up your threat density without having to dilute your lock pieces.
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on Adun Stax
    The important question is this: What cheap spells do you care about?

    90% of the spells people are casting that cost < 3="" are="" cantrips,="" counterspells,="" or="" ramp="" spells="" of="" some="" variety.="" of="" these,="" the="" only="" ones="" that="" really="" matter="" are="" rap="" spells,="" since="" they="" let="" people="" get="" out="" from="" under="" your="" lock="" before="" you've="" got="" it="">

    Sphere of Resistance is a guaranteed timewalk against most decks if you drop it early, where a lot of decks can just ignore Trinisphere. Sphere buys you time to drop more lock pieces, which compounds the effect. Backing up Sphere effects with land destruction like Impending Disaster, Wake of Destruction, Boom/Bust, and Wildfire legitimately locks people out of the game, whereas Trinisphere only locks them out of low cc spells, and assumes the rest of your deck is working.

    In vintage, where everyone's curve tops out at 4, and is mostly condensed around 0 and 1, Trinisphere is insane. In multiplayer Commander, where curves are condensed around 4, 5, and 6, and 6 top out at 7+, the card is infinitely less effective.


    Sculpting Steel seems like something that's missing. Copying Tangle Wire or Sphere of Resistance is very powerful. Lodestone Golem puts a clock on the board and taxes them. The sheer redundancy of taxing effects are what make an archetype like this work.
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
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