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  • posted a message on Tolaria West (and other utility lands)
    Quote from An"she »
    Also it can tutor for:
    lots of cards
    Now you tell me, would I want to ever have the option for tutoring for just a 0-drop with such options avaible?

    Well, this kinda goes to the core of the versatility argument. There are a lot of cool things it can get but there's an opportunity cost of an ETB tapped land, being sorcery speed, and being fairly inefficient.

    Most of those things can be tutored for with one of the variety of 1-2 CMC tutors, many of which are instant speed. Or can spread their cost for multiple turns (e.g. map). Or can be tutored for with Trinket mage, or count as an artifact for purposes, or can be recycled.

    Putting a land back in your hand is quite a bit more difficult than putting a spell back in your hand, so using TW as an engine is pretty hard vs. something like Vampiric Tutor.

    All things being equal I always find myself cutting Tolaria West unless I have really important cards that are core to my gameplan that it can get, that my color combination struggles to find. I think it's somewhat more niche than you have suggested. But that's just my opinion of course.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Tolaria West (and other utility lands)
    re: Versatility

    Versatility is a really tough thing in EDH. I see the appeal. For my part I usually will not play cantrip spells that are inefficient mana-wise. Dismiss for example is just not a card I would put in a deck. But a lot of that comes from the way I build, I tend to want very efficient consistent card drawing engines at the core of my deck (tuvasa, gitrog, ephara) -- or to play a high ratio of strong draw spells (Inalla). With that kind of design efficiency in cards is usually more important than drawing a card with an effect.

    (This is not intrinsically wrong)

    But this Pheldagrif deck is really instant heavy and focused on playing reactive spells politically, and a lot of its value comes from being able to leave up mana and react and refill its hand with reactive stuff.

    I think that's why painfully slow cards like Arch of Orazca seem pretty good in it. It's almost always keeping mana up to do something reactive and being able to use that becomes efficient. Similarly getting a card when it has to react is good. It also seems to want to play a very slow game which rewards those types of endgame lands.

    I'm not sure how I feel about the construction but in the context of the deck I think I understand those types of cards.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Tolaria West (and other utility lands)
    Sorry, I was looking at your budgetless build with 41 lands and 9 colorless.

    My Ephara build runs 37 lands...but it runs:
    land tax
    weathered wayfarer
    and 4 mana rocks that make colors
    32 lands that produce colored mana

    There are only 21 some blue lands, but +3 fixers and +3 mana rocks that always make blue Smile And the deck has a very low blue commitment relative to white. So closer to 27.

    And that's before considering the card draw element, or the distribution of cards.

    But if we're talking about the budget build then I'd have to re-look at that.


    In the budget build, you're running so high on lands that I think it's reasonably fine. That said I just don't understand the construction of the deck well enough to speak to it I don't think. The land count is very high, and the value count is a little low, so I have to assume it's something to do with the sheer volume of reactive spells you're playing that you play all those lands instead of filtering spells.

    I really struggle to imagine that arch of orazca is going to be better than, say, Mystic Remora? Or even Ponder.

    I feel like you could probably shave 2-3 flex lands and add some more card draw, but I'm probably really misunderstanding how the deck works. Sorry

    Not trying to be preachy at all just trying to give you my perspective on the way flex lands fit into a manabase Smile Which honestly probably isn't that helpful I guess since it's so intrinsically tied to how a deck functions, and I just don't get this one Smile
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on commander damage
    Why do you need a d22, just use a d20 and when it needs to be 21 they dead?

    I just track it. It's easy. I started using a boogie board which has proven much better than dice. I'll offer to track for others sometimes if needed.

    I don't think it needs a fix much. If someone doesn't track we just try to reconstruct how many hits there were since usually someone will be paying attention :p

    Posted in: Commander Rules Discussion Forum
  • posted a message on Tolaria West (and other utility lands)
    Re: # of fetches
    I tend to be a little more conservative in fetches than the strictly best to cut down on shuffling. With 9/7 fetches you are always drawing one, which is good, but in addition to drawing one you often draw 2, 3, or 4 and that adds up to a lot more shuffling. So I err on the side of more fetches than most people but not the full boat just for convenience reasons.

    ETB tapped lands
    With 4 your chance of drawing >=1 in your opening 10 is 35%
    With 2, it's 19%

    1 in 3 games or 1 in 5 games. And in your opening 10 that almost always means you're forced to play it. So I try to aim for 2. Just my preference. 0 would be better Smile

    Re: Colorless sources
    With 9 colorless sources in your deck your chances of drawing >=2 in your opening 10 cards become around 22%. This is is pretty regularly and it can make your hand very light on colors. It end to highly prioritize being able to cast my spells without drawing into colored sources.

    I get that I'm more conservative than most but these cards add up to a lot of awkward hands in my experience.

    If you look at CEDH decks as an example (since one of your points of reference is 9 fetches = solved), they typically run 30-ish lands and almost no colorless sources, in addition to a bunch of color producing accelerants. Your manabase doesn't run that many more color producing mana sources than CEDH Teferi (mono blue), for reference.

    (which has 26 color producing lands and 6 or so mana producing accelerants for a total of 32, vs. your 32 or so in the budgetless build -- and this is a mono blue deck with an artifact theme, and a crapload of cantrips)

    Obviously it's not a CEDH Deck but it may help some perspective on my color caution Smile
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Tolaria West (and other utility lands)
    My quick whatsit:
    Tolaria West I mostly go to if it can find me a powerful 0 drop as well (e.g. tormod's crypt, mana crypt sometimes, etc.). I don't usually play it unless I have both lands and 0 drops that I want. That splice draw spell is pretty cool if you're playing an arcane deck too.

    I love Vesuva, but only in a deck with cabal coffers Wink Maybe another lands deck but too many lands I want are legendary (cradle, nykthos, etc.). It's cool as a second maze of ith sometimes in my frog deck too. Two mazes can really lock a game out sometimes. I rarely have space for this, only in my lands deck.

    I don't like any of the deserts except Scavenging grounds, but I don't build a lot of decks that can tolerate tapped lands or sacrificing lands for small benefits at expensive mana costs. The mana costs on most of the deserts are way too high for me, and the cycling ones I think are pretty weak in general.

    Mikokoro I could see in group hug decks but I rarely want to spend 3 mana to draw a card in EDH.

    I would never play Soldevi Excavations but I'm really gun shy about playing something that is gonna get me double stripmined. Maybe in a deck with lots of crucible effects.

    My general philosophy is to play 3-4 colorless only lands at most in a 2 color deck and 1-2 in 3 color decks unless I have tons of filtration (e.g. I think I run 3 in my grixis deck that runs so many cantrips and the good black tutors). Similarly I try to keep the ETB tapped lands very low (not more than 2-3 in most decks).

    I tend to run fairly fetch heavy manabases (3-5 in 2 color decks and 5-8 in 3) so I place a premium on basics as most of my decks can reuse those fetches one way or another (playing crucible or sun titan or similar). That's just my manabase style though I guess.

    I try to get as close to 20 basics in a 2 color deck and 12+ in a 3 color deck as I can. Both my Inalla and Tuvasa decks have 15 which is huge for a 3 color deck, but managed through careful color focus and lots of fetchlands.

    Your Pheld deck looks extremely vulnerable to blood mooning. Which seems fine I guess, just not where I would want to be. Your spell slection is pretty light on pips mostly, not super greedy, but the lack of any color fixing amp and minimal filtering makes me inclined against playing quite so many utility lands.

    You do run a ton of fetches, and a very strong selection of duals, so that's probably why it works. 9 fetches is a crapload.

    I am notoriously conservative about manabases, though, so it might just be me, but I don't see anything in your mana base that I would want to swap out for those lands before I'd add a few basics.

    Tolaria is probably the best of them, because you play so many utility lands, but man it sure is a lot of mana and it's another ETB tapped guy in your list which is not ideal if you have to play it.

    Your deck has soooo many reactive elements that I'd really like to see you cut a couple etb tapped lands. I got my INalla deck down to I think 2 (tar pit and temple of deceit) and it's been very good to me.

    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Discussion Thread for the Rules Committee Commander Advisory Group
    Quote from Sheldon »
    That's like saying it rubs you the wrong way that people are chosen as heart surgeons with a strong bias toward medical degrees (okay, the metaphor is a little strained, but you get the idea). I'd be happy to listen to how we might develop selection criteria for people who we literally have no information about (and I mean that with no sarcasm).

    I disagree with your comparison. Writing about magic doesn't imply much about how you play magic - lots of people are good magic writers but have middling success as players, and produce popular content but are not necessarily the kind of people I would want to play with.

    The metaphor is definitely strained, as you point out, because it's a lot more like choosing heart surgeons based solely on the popularity of their journal publications with the general public Smile Which is probably a pretty bad idea.


    My suggestion would be to:
    1) Solicit applications (perhaps during an annual window to keep the workload down)
    2) Interview people
    3) Review their references
    4) Invite people who are recommended to you to apply (e.g. people like Cryogen)

    This makes for a lot of work; but you can assign your newly minted CAG to review resumes/applications to spread the workload.

    Creating a few gating criteria to make it easy to shelve certain applications, such as, someone must have ONE OF THE FOLLOWING:

    -A recommendation from a sitting CAG or RC member
    -L2 or higher judge with a proven track record of running large events
    -A strong portfolio of content
    -A recommendation from WOTC
    -Be a pillar of the community (e.g. tournament organizer at a large store, something like that)

    Those are just some ideas off the cuff, but I think you're seriously selling the committee short by not taking applications. It's work, but it's worth it. You're going to get a very narrow view of the world if you don't have less visible people in my opinion.

    (I don't know if this needs to be said but I have no interest and don't fit any of those criteria, so this is not about me in any way)
    Posted in: Commander Rules Discussion Forum
  • posted a message on [[Official]] General Discussion of the Official Multiplayer Banlist
    Quote from MRHblue »
    Quote from Pokken »
    I have two metas of reference, one in Phoenix and one in Erie. The Phoenix one had a lot of 75% players who have been emboldened to pick up PE since it has dodged banning so much.

    Why do you feel its that PE 'dodged bannings' if other cards like Winter Orb have not?

    PE has been extensively discussed for bannings, with multiple RC members weighing in not completely against, and they've identified that it's a card they have talked about IIRC.

    I don't think I've ever heard anyone seriously suggest banning winter orb but I am sure it's happened.

    Quote from Kelzam »
    It's like Ashnod's Altar, because both are dead on an empty board; both enable you to go infinite with 2 or 3 other cards; except Paradox Engine is actually less ubiquitous than Ashnod's Altar because people jam ETB/Death triggers and Creature-centric strategies in Commander more than anything. Yes, the two are actually comparable, which doesn't so much show how powerful Ashnod's Altar is as much as that how Paradox Engine doesn't need the torches and pitchforks.

    You may have missed the discussion on Rings of brighthearth but Ashnod's altar is basically the same -- it's not a card with a lot of fair uses, and it doesn't really generate the same level of mana as quickly, or go infinite with as many combinations of cards. If you use AA as a "fair" way to generate mana it usually is at the cost of your board state, vs. PE and Metalworker which do not have to go down cards to get there.

    The page where I analyzed the types of scenarios that generate explosive mana turns with PE or Metalworke may also be informative for you -- Ashnod's Altar will not generate tons of mana in early turns in very many scenarios, so at least in terms of mana production it's not really very comparable (3 card combos happen much less often than "draw a few mana rocks").

    Generally speaking AA sees play only in focused combo decks or rarely as an open sac outlet for aristocrats type decks (that almost always have a combo or two as well).

    Paradox Engine is a little further left on the "has fair uses" spectrum so in my opinion it's a bit more likely to be problematic; it is very good in fair decks that play a lot of rocks or dorks, and doesn't really need to "combo" to be strong.

    At least, that's my opinion you're welcome to disagree of course. There's surely a kind of "how spiky is this card" spectrum where the RC is willing to just let combo pieces go - but the broader the appeal the more problematic, generally.
    Posted in: Commander Rules Discussion Forum
  • posted a message on Discussion Thread for the Rules Committee Commander Advisory Group
    Something strikes me as really wrong about the strong bias toward content producers but I'm not really prepared to make a strong case. Just rubs me the wrong way. Plenty of pillars of communities that don't write crap on the internet. I get that it's the easiest thing to review their body of work.

    Not sure what my counter suggestion would be, it just sniffs wrong to me.

    Sorry that's kinda vague.
    Posted in: Commander Rules Discussion Forum
  • posted a message on Scorpion God - Waste of a bunch of perfectly good mana rocks
    So I've been brewing this deck for a long time, basically as a place to put all my spare expensive mana rocks. Most of the Scorpion God decks I've seen are very synergy driven and I wanted to avoid that for obvious reasons (I am a goon and can't be arsed to build things the obvious way ever).

    So I rounded up every mana rock and mana doubler that was even vaguely reasonable to play and put them in a deck (29 mana accelerants is too much right?). The goal here is to make a truckload of mana, murder everyone's creatures and win through attrition and huge bombs like Massacre Wurm or Rise of the Dark Realms, or even The Scorpion God voltron since he's so annoying to get rid of.

    This deck has it all - mono black good stuff, a little bit of red good stuff, some ridiculous cards like Thran Turbine and even Heartstone. There is a little bit of artifact synergy but mostly it's just a pile of mana rocks and really hopes that the opponent has creatures because otherwise it's going to be rather unpleasant. Please, put creatures in your deck.

    I've got a few things on order that I'll probably play at some point and I will eventually find a burnished hart in my crap, I know I have a few. I may put a few more sac outlets like something to spam Spine of Ish Sah with.

    As far as suggestions, I'd love to hear whatever you think, but the only thing I am not particularly interested in is all the synergistic stuff, e.g. Soul Snuffers.

    Things on my list to think about right now:

    * Do I need more creatures, maybe a few mana myrs to maybe enable Phyrexian Tower a little more? Maybe a couple theft effects? It's mostly there to help protect Scorp from exile/theft effects right now.

    * Are there any huge black (or red with low color requirements) bombs I'm missing that should be in there for sure?

    * Any really great ramp spells I'm not thinking about? I considered trying Mana Geyser.

    * Any cards in there you think are not "good stuff" enough?

    Thanks for reading!
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on Discussion Thread for the Rules Committee Commander Advisory Group
    Why is the focus on content producers?

    Just a for instance but if there's a long standing high level judge, or a popular personality who isn't necessarily a writer, why not include them in your net?
    Posted in: Commander Rules Discussion Forum
  • posted a message on Teysa Karlov - Aristocrats
    She's generally better than any second creature sweeper in my experience, since she doubles as a wincon and protects herself with both modes. I'd consider swapping her for damnation.
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on [[Official]] General Discussion of the Official Multiplayer Banlist
    Quote from Dunharrow »
    Thanks for the summary.

    Regarding undesirable game states - I am not sure that durdling forever without winning is an undesirable game state. Stopping people from being able to play is undesirable. In that sense, Winter Orb seems like a bigger offender, but is still tolerable.
    I played PE in standard. If you know what you are doing, even without infinite combos, you should be able to end the game. But, in EDH, it is so easy to go infinite I would have a very serious conversation with people in your meta who are just wasting time.

    I find it strange that your meta has so much PE. It is a spikey meta? I used to play at a LGS for prizes, and though I have not played there in over 2 years, I would presume that people all have 1-2 PE decks with them every night. I would call that meta a 90% meta.
    cEDH plays a lot of PE, but I do not think cEDH should be considered.

    I have two metas of reference, one in Phoenix and one in Erie. The Phoenix one had a lot of 75% players who have been emboldened to pick up PE since it has dodged banning so much.

    It figured in every other game there approximately. One night I remember had 4 of 5 games i played end with PE via combo or durdle.

    In Erie I have not played enough to have a great sample but I have seen 3 PE decks in 3 nights out at the shop. So I figure it is probably common.

    I feel like strong combo wincons that appeal to popular deck types but also are encouraging to durdly lines are bad. But may be just me.

    I also think the more casual the deck the more prone to flaming out. So as casuals play it more it'll likely get worse rather than better.

    And the longer it's legal the worse it'll get.

    But that's just my take ofc. A buddy of mine who still plays in Phoenix said he's seeing it more and more but third hand anecdote is what it is Smile
    Posted in: Commander Rules Discussion Forum
  • posted a message on Can PoK return after a few years in exile?
    Quote from An"she »
    The issue is just simply how much mana you actually have than appear to.

    Say you only have five lands with PoK out in a four player game. You basically have equivalent of 20 lands worth of mana that is broken in increments of 5 across 4 turns. Have a Llanowar Elf out alongside PoK? Equivalent of 24 lands of mana in increments of 6 across 4 turns. Everyone else might be at 4-7 lands with 0-3 mana rocks, but they aren't multiplying their mana based on how many players exist within the game while also vomiting the creatures from their hand during every player's turn unless they are also running PoK.

    Too much mana too quickly is definitely one of the ban criteria that pok is an offender for imho. Probably a 3-4/10 but definitely a part of its banning if I had to guess. It has a ton of issues.
    Posted in: Commander Rules Discussion Forum
  • posted a message on Can PoK return after a few years in exile?
    Sorry, I thought I was leading back there with the 'support' discussion which is that PoK requires less support than most cards and less than some others on the ban list already.

    One could make a pretty strong argument that Balance and Tolarian Academy require more deckbuilding support than PoK, and these are among the more serious offenders on the banlist.
    Posted in: Commander Rules Discussion Forum
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