After putting it off for almost a decade, I finally pulled the trigger and decided to start making a Commander deck.
Ever since I saw Damia, Sage of Stone I knew I wanted to have her as my Commander. My main issue of all things is knowing what ratios to use. Since I've been slowly hoarding random cards that I thought would be useful for EDH, I've collected a pile of "goodstuff" that I would imagine are EDH staples or just good cards for the format.
Following is NOT a decklist, but a collection of cards that I have at my disposal for use in EDH that I thought would be good. The might not be. Reasoning will follow:
Pact of Negation: Emergency counter. Mana Drain: It's Mana Drain. Disallow: "I never want this ability to resolve" counter. Dissipate: "I never want to see this recur from the Graveyard" counter Fated Infatuation: Copy my best thing, plus Scry 2 if I want. Might cut this. Fact or Fiction: I originally ran this aside Gifts Ungiven until I learned it was banned. As for now it gives me value plus can put stuff in the Graveyard for later if I need it. Probably will cut this. Insidious Will: A lot of options for one card. Probably will use the second and third modes more than the first. Cryptic Command: Value town. Dig Through Time: Delve is broken. UU to draw 2 of 7 cards. Do I need bonus card draw with Damia? Probably not, but greed is the name of the game. Slaughter Pact: Emergency kill button. Vampiric Tutor: Control my next draw to be whatever I need at Instant speed. Chord of Calling: Follows up well to Chasm Skulker dying. Currently don't have much for it to hit though. Putrefy: Flexible kill spell or artifact breaker. Sultai Charm: Flexibility. Rite of Replication: Clone the best creature on the board (and late-game, do it 4 more times). Ugin's Insight: U[mana][mana]B[/mana]G[/mana] has some fatties available to it so why not capitalize on that fact and help stack my deck?
Future Sight: Play a card draw a card. A bit expensive though and with how much card draw Damia provides I might not need it. Necropotence: I'm already skipping my draw step. Might as well capitalize on it. Grave Pact: Good card. Not much synergy at the moment. Khalni Heart Expedition: Free ramp for playing the game. Sylvan Library: Draw manipulation or straight up draws if I like what I see. Growing Rites of Itlimoc: 3 mana to possibly draw a dude and turns into massive ramp if I get ahead in the game or crash Chasm Skulker into something.
Like I said, these are just bones. With these bones I hope to understand how to construct a skeleton, and later onto that skeleton graft flesh with other useful cards for the deck. But to continue the analogy, I have too many bones, and need to know which bones don't fit, and which bones I should use instead.
Normally I wouldn't make a thread for this, but looking at the Damia primer and a lot of other Damia decks, they're all a few years out of date. In those few years we've gotten hundreds of new cards for the potential toolbox and posts from 2-3 years ago won't take those and the possible synergies they bring into account.
I used to play Damia, Sage of Stone back in 2011 when it first released. Recently, I have been wanting to build Damia once again. However, in 2020, the format is radically different than it was almost a decade ago. There are a few problems that I am even facing as a seasoned player of the format. Nowadays, most commanders play significant roles in winning the game by enabling you to do something. Damia's ability is pretty archaic in this sense, because all it really does is draw you cards. This is why you are seeing old and outdated lists, time has not been kind to these generic Commanders that don't inherently offer you a way to win a game, written in their textbox.
Establishing your Endgame
The first thing I would do, is establish how you are going to win - is it a combo? Commander damage? Regular combat damage? Is your intention to even win, or just group hug it? This is probably, at least in my opinion, the most important part of building your deck. You want the deck to be coherent regardless of what direction you take it. Consistency and redundancy is key.
Achieving your Endgame
Once you have an idea of how you want to win, work out how you are going to get there. When I have too many cards to pick from, I will reduce this part to deciding if I want the deck to be completely streamlined or if I want it to be splashy and exciting. The latter means cards like Praetor's Counsel and Rune-Scarred Demon are on the table. The former means that I will instead have to think about tutor cards that are lower to the ground and avoid anything over 2 mana and maybe fudge for a Grim Tutor, but also running creatures of significance at your top-end. If you are scraping together what you have and making do with that, you are probably in the camp to the latter... and honestly I think that is where most the fun is anyways.
The other important part here, is that having a grasp on what your endgame is means you can determine if cards like Itlimoc, Cradle of the Sun are even going to be impactful or not. I view Damia as being best when you are playing more of a passive game and grinding out a win using classic control fundamentals, so something like Growing Rites of Itlimoc isn't going to do much for me when I flip it. That does not mean you cannot make a creature heavy version of Damia, Sage of Stone though.
If you are going to take the goodstuff approach in Commander, it is important not to get trapped evaluating a card simply on it own value but rather the value it provides to everything else within the deck. As I said before, consistency is key in commander and redundancy is your best bet of getting the deck to function as intended. Random Shardless Agents and Cryptoplasms should generally be avoided unless you deck is constructed around similar things.
For reference, my Mimeoplasm deck which is a midrange/control deck uses:
The Mimeoplasm is a very different card than Damia, Sage of Stone, but I would structure the skeleton pretty similar. I want to be drawing cards, playing bombs, and keeping mana up while I recur some of those bombs over the long game - since Damia doesn't inherently offer a way to win the game otherwise. If you don't want to use the recursion stuff, take those slots and turn them into additional creatures for toolboxing, or even planeswalkers that can help provide a board through sweeper or removal effects. Anyways, those are just my thoughts as someone who has once played Damia, and is looking to rebuild her in 2020/2021
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