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Unstable Q&A with Mark Rosewater
The Dos and Don'ts of Silver-Border Commander
Word of Command: Un-believable
  • posted a message on Emrakul Aeons Torn Commanderdeck - Fun to play?
    I have a Kozilek deck (I switch between the two version of him depending on the type of game I'm playing), and building around a huge colourless creature can be fun, and it's definitely effective, but there are a couple of important things to consider. Firstly, is that I'm running the good mana rocks - not just Sol Ring, but also more expensive things like Mana Crypt, Mana Vault and Grim Monolith. Without cards like this the deck would be much slower, and as a result significantly less enjoyable to play, as I'd just be sitting there waiting to cast my general. Secondly, my general give me a hand refill on cast, meaning that I can afford to take openers with nothing but ramp and still have a solid long game without feeling I'm overcommitting and risking the blowout of having my commander answered. While Emrakul is even more disgusting than Kozi if she sticks around, costing 5 mana more and not having the hand refill particularly if you're lacking the good ramp, is gonna hurt.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on [[Official]] Unreleased and New Card Discussion
    So the Captain's Hook turns out to cost 3 and as a result is pretty useless when compared to the competition at that CMC. Kinda disappointing really, as, as I remarked when we first saw the text box, at 2 it could've been a decent little card.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Mono Blue Ramp
    Quote from GloriousGoose »
    The issue is between the start of the game and turn 6 I feel naked, slow, unresponsive.
    This has less to do with your ramp package and more to do with your mana curve and card selection. You're already running most of the best ramp cards on color but your list is incredibly top heavy so it feels like you're not running enough. Rather than jamming in bad ramp like Eye of Ramos I think you'd be better served by reducing the number of expensive haymakers you run and replacing them with card draw, which your list is sorely lacking in.

    Also, I understand the urge to not run Counterspell because it isn't reduced by Baral, but it's still better than, say, Dissipate.

    Yeah, bad curve was my first thought on looking at the decklist. Get more things like Ponder, Preordain, Impulse, Brainstorm and so on in there, and cut some of the 6-10 drops. The cheap, filtering cantrips are among the most powerful blue cards ever printed, you should be running them.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Help with W/U deck
    I'll second Dragonlord Ojutai as a good commander. It's a decent threat, hard to remove and provides not just card draw but card filtering. It also doesn't tie you into a particular strategy the way some generals do - while he's perfect at the helm of a control deck, pretty much anything you're doing in this format can benefit from a decently costed beatstick that gets you cards.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on [[Official]] Unreleased and New Card Discussion
    There are some cool interactions with Brass's Bounty, but it's 7 mana. Can't really ever see myself wanting to pay that much for a spell like this (I consider Boundless Realms to be pretty bad for the same reason)
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on [[Official]] Unreleased and New Card Discussion
    Very dependent on what the Hook ends up costing - at 2 or less, it could be a decent cards: 2 points of power and evasion for a total of 3 mana to play and equip is solid for a voltron deck (I'd probably give it a test in my Akiri/Tymna deck). At more than that, you're getting into Sword of X&Y territory, at which point it looks more than a little outclassed....
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on The Grouphug Discussion
    Quote from Onering »
    Again, it depends on the hug deck and how its built. Gahiji is a particularly strong hug commander, because you concentrate on giving out creatures and letting Gahiji incentivize your opponents to attack each other. The key is that he only hugs on one axis, dudes, and doesn't give access to a ton of card draw or mana. The lovers of Meletis can be very strong, as their ability gives you the biggest advantage and you can build them as a "one for you, two for me" type of deck. I've played against good versions of that deck several times and it just generates so much advantage for the owner, but of course it's a mix of group hug cards and cards that only give you an advantage, like mana reflection and miraris wake. I have a Queen Marchesa deck that has a light hug subtheme, mainly focused on using the lure of the monarchy to get players to attack each other while sitting on my token generation. It mixes in a few other hug effects with pillowfort and mass punishment, with the goal being to use the hug effects to fuel my opponents attacks. I only give out cards with the monarchy, so combo players are generally the least capable of taking advantage of that as they are the least able to grab the monarchy, while aggro and Timmy decks benefit most because they can easily grab it with their creatures. The extra draw fuels their board, making them more of a threat except to me, sitting behind something like solitary confinement, until someone wraths. Once everyone weakens themselves fighting each other, I finish them off.

    I wouldn't really call those group hug decks and I doubt many people would really object to playing that kind of thing. They give out resources, yes, but it's part of a coherent strategy to advance the game in your favour (Gahiji which incentivises the opponents to use the resources to hurt each other) and/or as a drawback for giving yourself more resources (such as the Lovers giving your opponents one thing and yourself two).

    I have an Edric, Spymaster of Trest deck that will let my opponents have more cards as an effect of having my general out. It's not a group hug deck in any way - that card draw for my opponent is a drawback (one that I would happily do without, but accept it as necessary as it's the only thing keeping the card remotely balanced, as I'm typically drawing 4-5 cards a turn off him).

    Group hug, as I understand the phrase, is more along the lines of "I'll give everyone resources because it'll make the game more fun" (which it almost inevitably fails to do) without any real intention of advancing the game state in your favour.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on [[Official]] Unreleased and New Card Discussion
    Those 'walkers are....actually not as horrible as you would expect for PW deck ones. They're not anything remotely amazing, but they're getting at least close to being playable.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Very Cryptic Command has Multiple (Randomized?) Printings
    I suspected they might do 5 Secret Bases, but having initially been very disappointing by the VCC, I'm now loving what they've done to it. Very clever idea and the kind of thing that should be appearing in an Un set.

    The Target Minotaur being attacked by a wide range of things is also a really nice little touch.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on Commander Matter/Command Zone related cards
    I don't like the "do stuff in the command zone" cards (Oloro, Eminence) due to the lack of interactivity - while you can stop a single trigger with Stifle and co., you can't stop it re-triggering next time the condition is met. If you actually have to put in significant effort to get these effects, (e.g. planeswalker emblems), I don't mind, but to always have it from the word go is bad.

    I'm also against "bypass core EDH mechanics" like Derevi. Being able to deal with problematic commanders by making them unfeasible to cast is part of the format and having a card that can ignore that is really frustrating to play against. Command Beacon is just about OK due to being a 1 use thing, but having this effect as a reusable ability is not what I want to see in EDH.

    Although they're better than the previous two, I'm not madly keen on experience counters - again, the lack of interactivity with the counters goes against what I enjoy about magic. If there were reliable and versatile (i.e. they're useful even if an opponent isn't playing an exp counter commander) ways to remove counters from the players with them, I would be much more positive about them, but again, an easy to acquire thing that can't be removed is awkward. Once someone's got a few counters, you're basically reduced to having to immediately kill their commander with instant speed removal.

    The effects that trigger off the amount of mana spent (Prossh and friends) are probably my favourite, because, while they're obviously oriented towards EDH they're not completely dependent on the format and it's mechanics to work - you get the effect even just spending the cards normal cost, and there are non-commander tax ways of increasing cost (Sphere of Resistance). It also leads to interesting decision making for the opponents of the card's controller as to whether removing it is a good thing (although when looking at Prossh himself, I do feel they need to be a bit more careful with the balancing...).

    Number of casts from command zone (Opal Palace) are interesting, though in general, if a card can be balanced for the previous type of ability, I'd prefer it.

    Partners I like, it opens up some very interesting scope for design, although I hope if they do revisit it, they're more careful to make "build around" type partners (e.g. Reyhan) and less "goes with almost anything" (Thrasios & Tymna) as the latter just become the default options for deckbuilding as you get a useful effect, lots of colours and a slight bit of deck consistency form having less cards.

    Lieutenants and other cards that care about having commanders in play (Bastion Protector) are cool, definitely want to see more of them, particularly the latter as they don't care whether the commander is yours or not (Control Magic is fun).

    Planeswalkers as commanders is another one I like - I wouldn't really want the format opened up to all 'walkers, but having the specifically designed ones available is interesting.

    And in general, while there is certainly scope for more mechanics that specifically interact with the format, I'd really rather Wizards revisit some of the existing ones. It annoys me when there's a cool mechanic, and only half a dozen cards in the entire game with it....
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Your favorite panic buttons
    Quote from kolayhe »
    I Disallowed a Narset swing trigger last week. Was pretty priceless to see the reaction after he got her down turn three, hasted her and then... did 3 damage.

    Now if you really want to ruin a Narset players day, you use Silence in response to the trigger. They still have to exile the (often carefully prepared) top four cards, but they can never cast them....
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Titania, Protector of Argoth
    I hadn't actually looked at your list when I replied to shermanido, but having done so I am somewhat inclined to side with him on Greenwarden of Murasa not being great in the deck - you're not running Birthing Pod or Eldritch Evolution, so you haven't got the line of saccing Titania (or another CMC 5 creature) into him and as such, while it's not a bad card by any means, I can't see much justification for running him over Seasons Past in the CMC6 recursion slot (even with those cards, I'd lean towards SP being better, but without, there's no real contest in my books).

    Also, as a minor change, if you can get one, Three Visits is strictly better than Rampant Growth in a mono-G deck.
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on Titania, Protector of Argoth
    Noxious Revival is one of the best green spells in the format - it's instant speed, manaless recursion that can be used as grave hate in a pinch.

    Buried Ruin isn't an auto include, but can get back Crucible of Worlds and Zuran Orb, both of which are incredibly powerful in this deck (and thus instant targets for anyone with removal), and the sac trigger of course synergises with Titania.

    Avenger of Zendikar really doesn't do much for this deck - making a pile of tokens is what we do already, except our tokens are 5/3s instead of crappy little plants. If I was running T&N - it's a good card, but doesn't quite make the cut for me as I find other tutor effects are much more flexible, and I've got enough of them - I'd sooner get something like a Sylvan Safekeeper to go with Hoofy rather than waste a deck slot on a card like Avenger. I used to have it in the deck, but it pretty much did nothing I couldn't do much better already.
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on Titania, Protector of Argoth
    I much prefer Reap and Sow to Ulvenwald Hydra. While the latter might be better late game (although as the land ETBs tapped, it's not actually great for doing stuff like getting a Cradle to win with) Reap and Sow is far more valuable early on - it's not a 6 mana spell, it's a 4 mana spell you can staple a Sinkhole onto if you've got some spare mana. Casting it guarantees (barring interaction) that you can cast Titania the next turn with a fetchland in the 'yard. Which, for me at least, is the primary goal of the deck early game - it gives me ramp and 10 power on the board. Overall, Reap and Sow is stronger than the hydra when I most need that type of card to be strong.

    Just as a comparison, if you have an opening hand with 2 forests, Nature's Lore, Reap and Sow and three random other cards, you're probably taking it - you only need 1 more land from your first three draws to hit a T4 Titania with a fetch available to recur. Swap it for the Hydra, and you're mulliganing.

    Re: Traverse the Ulvenwald, while I haven't tried it, I have had a look at how often I have delerium too see if I should pick one up and overall, I feel the mechanic is just too clunky for me unless I absolutely need the effect (e.g. Reaper of Flight Moonsilver in my Saffi Eriksdotter deck as there are no other free repeatable sac outlets on GW creatrues). Consistently getting 4 card types is actually pretty hard unless you're going out of your way to fill your 'yard.
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on The stax primer
    Yeah, Stax is not universally accepted in EDH, and even among those of us who do enjoy playing against it, we often don't want to do so every game. I wouldn't suggest your first deck be a Stax one, especially if you don't know the meta you're going to be playing in.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
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