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  • posted a message on Combatting Ramp
    I don’t understand what you mean by “good for the table.” When is any kind of board wipe symmetrically good for every in the game?
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Combatting Ramp
    I mean, obviously you have your mind made up on the topic, so it’s probably best we agree to disagree.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Combatting Ramp
    Quote from Ken Carson »

    I think the problem you are having is that you think the argument is binary. Either MLD is good or it is bad. My stance is that it can be bad and also it can be good. It’s a spectrum. It is up to the player to assess situations and deploy it or hold it.

    I have yet to see a situation where MLD good sides outweight its bad sides.
    I think the problem you are having is that you think only about your perspective and not about other players also. "Yeah i stopped the ramp player with my armageddon, he was going to win""But i had two counterspells in my hand, i could have stopped him too, no i have to sit down for several turns doing nothing".
    Using a wildfire just to kill a ramunap or a mul daya for example will get you o much hate from the table... and for the right reason. The ramp player will still have more land and the others won't be able to do anything.
    I agree it's a great a tool, in fact you were able to keep coffers/urborg and become the ramp player yourself. So it wasn't actually a move made for greater justice or to make everything fair, it was just to make you win. Don't complain if other people want to stop you from winning, so they want to stop wildfire.

    All the situations you are pointing out feels a lot like magical christmas land. Yeah a player was able to ramp until 9 just with cultivate and rampant growth variants (while the other players have what? 6 lands? 5 lands? 4 lands?), cast tooth and nail, assemble a combo and win without any other player having counterspell or removals?
    Many safepoint where you can stop the player without needing MLD and restarting the game.

    The only convincing argument you made is about Omnath and similar decks. MLD can really be the best strategy against them.

    As for you "never seeing the good outweigh the bad," I wrote an instance that happened to me yesterday where it killed 14 creatures and made my opponents' commanders uncastable for several turns while leaving mine on the battlefield with no blockers in the post you quoted. Trust me, it was good.

    I also never would play a Wildfire just to kill an Oracle of Mul Daya or an Excavator. I was asked to give a reason why to play a smaller version of MLD like Wildfire and used those creatures as examples of things that are good to sweep away when blowing up lands.

    And yeah, I never said I play MLD for "greater justice," so not sure where you got that. The goal is to win the game. I don't run out LD as a panic move. It's a way to combat my opponents (plural) and put myself in the best position to win the game.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Combatting Ramp
    Quote from cryogen »

    Buffsam makes a good point. Can we focus less on the social aspect of playing MLD and get back to the original intent of the thread, please?

    Everytime someone tries the pro MLD players still talk about the social aspect.
    I have yet to hear:
    - why MLD is better than single-target land destruction against lands like cradle/coffers
    - how can MLD help against other forms of ramp. Mana crypt + Mana vault surely is a lot worse than farseek + cultivate
    - how can limited MLD (like wildfire) stop the ramp player
    - why harming the other players is better than all together ganging on the ramp player
    - why you can't use removal or theft effects against the ramp player.

    i'd really like to hear the answers, but i bet the only thing i will get is "you are too entitled because you think land are sacred, they are resources like everything else" or something like that.

    - MLD is better than targeted in some situations because many ramp decks are fetching basics. Taking out an Omnath or Maelstrom Wanderer deck’s whole mana base in one fell swoop prior to the commander coming down is better than removing that Stomping Ground and delaying the general one turn. Again, it is better in SOME cases.

    - MLD does help against Mana Vault, as the vault becomes much less likely to be untapped. But the question here is more of a red herring. No one is arguing that you run MLD in lieu of answers to artifacts. The argument is to run them in tandem. There are a myriad of targeted and mass artifact removal effects that everyone agrees is fine to play.

    - Wildfire can deal with multiple types of ramp. It wipes Ramunap Excavator, Oracle of Mul Daya, and a whole host of mana dorks. I play it in my deck where my commander has 5 toughness, so she survives and slowing down the game is beneficial to me. Just yesterday, I used it to slow down a ramp player, while also wiping 13 Zombies cast off a Jeleyva trigger, wiped Jeleyva and made it so she could not be cast again that game. I left myself with Coffers/Urborg and a Mountain, plus Herron Archive and Rakdos Signet. In SOME situations, it’s a great tool. If you can’t see that, then you’ve probably never had it in your hand.

    - You can certainly gang up on the ramp player. Just because I have MLD in hand doesn’t mean I can’t try politics first. However, there is no guarantee that the other players will play along. Have you never sat at a table where you think the whole table needs a threat assessment recalibration? I prefer the ability to take matters into my own hands if necessary.
    - You are assuming theft and removal just always work. How about an Entwined Tooth and Nail for Avenger of Zendikar and Purphorous? Or a hard cast Emrakul the Promised End? Or any of the other hundreds of things a player can do with tons of mana that removal and cloning fails to solve?

    I think the problem you are having is that you think the argument is binary. Either MLD is good or it is bad. My stance is that it can be bad and also it can be good. It’s a spectrum. It is up to the player to assess situations and deploy it or hold it.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Combatting Ramp
    The reason they get nuked all the time is because it’s normal for them to get nuked all the time.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on If you were to house ban the best tutors, which would you ban?
    Ban all tutors that put a nonland card, two or more cards into your hand, or put one or more lands unto the battlefield. All other tutors (Vamp, Mystical, Enlightened, Worldy) must be played at sorcery speed.

    You could also functionally errata all tutors to be sorcery speed and go to the top of your library. Expect to see a lot of Codex Shredders though.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Xantcha, Winning with Flavor... Wins

    Xantcha, Winning with Flavor... Wins

    Of Xantcha and Lore
    Xantcha, Sleeper Agent pays homage to one of the truly great characters from Magic's lore, introduced in the card Sleeper Agent in Urza's Saga. There is some rich lore with Xantcha, a Phyrexian newt created in the vats of Phyrexia as part of the invasion of Dominaria. She is sentenced to be executed by her overlords because she possesses free will, but is saved by Urza. The two bond, and she helps Urza invade Phyrexia, though Xantcha uses this opportunity to steal her Heartstone, which eventually becomes the core for Karn, Silver Golem. Urza comes into possession of that Heartstone when Xantcha sacrifices herself to save him, immortalized in the original art for the card Victimize. Her story arc is incredibly well-crafted, and the version we get to play in EDH is dripping with that flavor. Like a good little saboteur, she feeds us information until the opportune moment and KABOOM... we take everyone out in one gigantic shot.

    Important: Rules and Interactions
    Xantcha has a lot of text. And honestly, it's all very confusing for people who have never had it explained to them. So let's take it line by line:
    - "As Xantcha, Sleeper Agent enters the battlefield, an opponent of your choice gains control of it."
    Xantcha's effect is very similar to Clone in that it is not a triggered ability and it does not target. Basically, if Xantcha resolves, you decide which opponent will control her and she enters the battlefield under that opponent's control. She will not trigger any ETB effects on your side of the battlefield, but she will trigger any effects for your opponent. Additionally, there is no moment in time when abilities can go on the stack while she is resolving. You cannot enchant or equip her, nor can your opponents activate her ability while she is in transit. The unfortunate thing is that when that opponent leaves the game, the replacement effect that put Xantcha under that opponent's control ends, and she returns to your side of the battlefield. You can find that ruling here on the official WOTC release notes. One of the major implications of this is that creating infinite mana with Xantcha alone is not an instant win, as we will kill ourselves with her ability once we have vanquished her previous controller. Due to this, I do not run infinite mana combos in this deck.
    - "Xantcha attacks each combat if able and can't attack its owner or planeswalkers its owner controls."
    This is nice. Giving your opponent a 3cmc 5/5 with pseudo-haste would generally be a bad thing. However, Xantcha knows who she really serves and steers clear of not only you, but also your planeswalkers. Cool!
    - "3: Xantcha's controller loses 2 life and you draw a card. Any player may activate this ability."
    I strongly recommend that you not only read this line out to the table, but also explain it. Anyone at the table can pay 3 to draw a card, and the player controlling Xantcha loses 2 life. I've seen players mess up every piece of this, whether the person activating the ability tries to lose 2 life, or Xantcha's controller thinks they get to draw a card. I've even seen people kill Xantcha even when they don't control her because they just don't understand how she works. Take the time to make sure the table understand how she works.

    What is this deck, and why would I play it?
    The deck is a Rakdos toolbox deck that uses Xantcha's card draw ability to fill our hand with answers until the opportune moment we need to win the game. It is both proactive and reactive, using static effects to create hurdles for our opponents while holding up interaction. It's also got some tasty flavor morsels that might appeal to you if you want that out of your EDH experience.

    You will like this deck if:
    - You like crafting boardstates that prevent your opponents from winning.
    - You like being the player everyone turns to to see if you have an answer.
    - You like playing politically and making deals.
    - You like killing everyone at once with a huge spell.
    - You like holding up mana and drawing cards.
    - You like big mana decks.

    You will not like this deck if:
    - You like to attack with creatures.
    - You like to play from ahead.
    - You like winning in a unique way every game.
    - You like winning through an infinite combo.
    - You have a rule against playing land destruction.

    Why Xantcha?
    Beyond the aforementioned flavor reasons, Xantcha helps address one of the major drawbacks of playing an answer deck by both giving you an outlet for your mana when you don't need to deploy your answers and by refueling your hand when you do. None of the other Rakdos commanders can give you access to cards, with most interacting in some way with sacrifice effects/the graveyard or direct damage. With Xantcha's help, we'll continue to hit our land drops, answer various threats and deal chip damage around the table to get everyone in range of one of our finishers.

    CAUTION: One huge weakness
    Xantcha is fairly strong as a commander, but not being in control of her can be very difficult to deal with. I've included some utility lands to help mitigate this, but once you give Xantcha's reins over to another player, you are at their mercy. Instead of taking 5 free damage by swinging at a player with no blockers, they may choose to run her into an opposing 6/6. This becomes even more devastating when any number of your opponents have sac outlets, as Xantcha becomes a major liability. Try to give her to UGW. Opposing BRx decks are quite risky. I once gave her to a fellow Rakdos player, who promptly cast Victimize, returning two huge monsters. I was obviously bummed about getting blown out, but the flavor win was real, as Xantcha was sacrificed by a card bearing her likeness.

    DeckMagic OnlineOCTGN2ApprenticeBuy These Cards
    Lands - 38
    1x Arcane Lighthouse
    1x Barren Moor
    1x Blighted Fen
    1x Blood Crypt
    1x Bloodstained Mire
    1x Bojuka Bog
    1x Cabal Coffers
    1x Canyon Slough
    1x Command Tower
    1x Desert of the Fervent
    1x Desert of the Glorified
    1x Dragonskull Summit
    1x Forgotten Cave
    1x Grave Cairns
    1x Luxury Suite
    1x Maze of Ith
    6x Mountain
    1x Myriad Landscape
    1x Mystifying Maze
    1x Rakdos Carnarium
    1x Scavenger Grounds
    1x Shinka, the Bloodsoaked Keep
    1x Shizo, Death's Storehouse
    1x Smoldering Marsh
    1x Sulfurous Springs
    4x Swamp
    1x Temple of Malice
    1x Temple of the False God
    1x Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
    1x Wooded Foothills

    Creatures - 12
    1x Burnished Hart
    1x Crypt Ghast
    1x Demon of Dark Schemes
    1x Harsh Mentor
    1x Kaervek the Merciless
    1x Keldon Firebombers
    1x Massacre Wurm
    1x Meteor Golem
    1x Neheb, the Eternal
    1x Rampaging Ferocidon
    1x Solemn Simulacrum
    1x Zo-Zu the Punisher

    Artifacts - 13
    1x Ankh of Mishra
    1x Expedition Map
    1x Fellwar Stone
    1x Heartstone
    1x Hedron Archive
    1x Mind Stone
    1x Nihil Spellbomb
    1x Rakdos Signet
    1x Sensei's Divining Top
    1x Sol Ring
    1x Talisman of Indulgence
    1x Thought Vessel
    1x Vedalken Orrey

    Enchantments - 10
    1x Black Market
    1x Outpost Siege
    1x Painful Quandary
    1x Pestilence
    1x Phyrexian Arena
    1x Polluted Bonds
    1x Sulfuric Vortex
    1x Theater of Horrors
    1x War's Toll
    1x Wound Reflection

    Sorceries - 14
    1x Blasphemous Act
    1x By Force
    1x Chain Reaction
    1x Damnation
    1x Demonic Tutor
    1x Exsanguinate
    1x Gamble
    1x Languish
    1x Mana Geyser
    1x Read the Bones
    1x Torment of Hailfire
    1x Toxic Deluge
    1x Vandalblast
    1x Wildfire

    Instants - 11
    1x Bedevil
    1x Chaos Warp
    1x Comet Storm
    1x Curtains' Call
    1x Electrodominance
    1x Hero's Downfall
    1x Rakdos Charm
    1x Sudden Spoiling
    1x Terminate
    1x Vampiric Tutor
    1x Word of Seizing

    Planeswalker - 1
    1x Karn Liberated

    Cards by Category
    Most of our spells fall into a generalized category, and sometimes straddles multiple categories. There is a redundancy to some of these effects so that hopefully you will have access to one in order to put up some barriers to victory while you sculp your hand.

    You'll need a sizable amount of ramp to be competitive in EDH. It is almost always preferred to ramp instead of playing Xantcha if you have the option.
    Land-based Ramp: Myriad Landscape/Temple of the False God/Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth+Cabal Coffers
    1cmc ramp: Sol Ring
    2cmc ramp: Fellwar Stone/Mind Stone/Rakdos Signet/Talisman of Indulgence/Thought Vessel
    3+cmc ramp: Burnished Hart/Hedron Archive/Solemn Simulacrum/Crypt Ghast/Black Market/Neheb, the Eternal/Mana Geyser

    Card Draw
    Xantcha is our main source of card draw, but we will need more cards to sustain our answer density. Note that ramp is significantly more important, because more mana equals more cards with Xantcha.
    Hedron Archive/Outpost Siege/Phyrexian Arena/Theater of Horrors/Read the Bones

    Board Wipes
    Black is fantastic at wiping the board of creatures, while red excels at artifact removal. The two of these combine very nicely. Additionally, some of our creatures function as board wipes for decks with small creatures. Note that both Languish and Wildfire will leave Xantcha alive, and both Chain Reaction and Toxic Deluge can be properly calibrated.
    Blashpemous Act/By Force/Chain Reaction/Damnation/Languish/Pestilence/Toxic Deluge/Vandalblast/Wildfire/Demon of Dark Schemes/Massacre Wurm

    Spot Removal
    Sometimes you just need to pick off one or two problem permanents. Fortunately, Rakdos has some modal spells that can deal with non-enchantment permanents. However, the fact that enchantments are difficult to kill is often a problem and so we need to bring along Xantcha 2.0 in Karn Liberated. Other targeted removal includes:
    Bedevil/Chaos Warp/Curtains' Call/Electrodominance/Hero's DownfallRakdos CharmTerminate/Meteor Golem

    Win Condition Hurdles
    Probably my favorite part of the deck is setting up little barriers to engines that can frustrate players. Of course, this does come with the downside of being a target if you go too far down this path, so it's important to not overdo something. However, certain types of cards are more prevalent based on how commonplace certain strategies are:
    Anti-Land Ramp: Ankh of Mishra/Keldon Firebombers/Zo-Zu the Punisher/Polluted Bonds
    Anti-Graveyard: Nihil Spellbomb/Scavenger Grounds/Rakdos Signet/Bojuka Bog
    Anti-Life Gain: Sulfuric Vortex/Rampaging Ferocidon
    Anti-Token: Rampaging Ferocidon/Massacre Wurm/Demon of Dark Schemes/Rakdos Signet
    Anti-Infinite Combo: Harsh Mentor/Kaervek the Merciless/Rampaging Ferocidon/Painful Quandary/Sudden Spoiling
    Anti-Counterspell: War's Toll

    Win Conditions
    The deck largely wants to control the game with hurdles and spot removal, building up mana and refilling the hand as necessary, until it can tutor up a way to win at the opportune moment. This strategy relies on chip damage via Xantcha activations, attacks, and some incremental damage from our various punishing effects. Once the window opens, we need a tutor to go get the win.

    Tutors: Vampiric Tutor/Demonic Tutor/Gamble
    Note: Sometimes you'll tutor for mana, and that's OK.
    Win Conditions: Comet Storm/Exsanguinate/Torment of Hailfire/Wound Reflection
    It's certainly possible to win via other means, especially if our opponents do some of the hard work for us and knock each other out. However, most games end in a win when we put a Torment of Hailfire on the stack where X=20.

    Generically Good Cards
    No deck would be complete without a few generically good cards. I find that a couple of these slots are interchangeable and could be anything. The one exception is Heartstone, which will remain in the deck forever as a flavor win. Plus, it really makes a huge difference in drawing copious amounts of cards. Just be forewarned that all creatures have their ability activation costs reduced, so this could get dicey for you. Don't run it out into danger. Other generically good cards include Sensei's Diving Top and Vedalken Orrey, which basically make any deck better so long as they can fit into the deck. With our 6 fetchlands, Top is a very good filterer, while Orrey just has the game on easy mode. Finally, Word of Seizing is a pet card of mine that leads to some pretty hilarious stories. It can be just an expensive Act of Treason, but it can also save your life or even interrupt a player comboing off.

    A note on Land Destruction
    It is well known in EDH circles that land destruction occupies a controversial space. Personally, I find it to be just one of the tools that have been given to us by the game designers, which we can use to our benefit. This deck in particular runs numerous ways to take advantage of a mana starved table, not the least of which is Xantcha's activated ability. Add to that the fact that land-based ramp is often the best strategy to play, and I feel fully justified in packing some mass land destruction. However, it is important to have the "LD" conversation with your playgroup before you sleeve up spells that destroy more than a single land. I always have Incendiary Command and Strip Mine on hand to replace these cards in case of a more casual playgroup. Your mileage may vary.

    A note about combat
    I've seen various Xantcha builds that include augmenting her into some kind of Voltron that you don't control. I think this is a trap. Yes, she swings each turn, and 5 damage does add up. However, it's hard enough to kill someone with commander damage when you actually choose who the commander attacks, much less when another person is controlling that commander.

    I do include certain lands, however, to protect Xantcha in combat so that I can continue drawing cards with her. Both Shinka and Shizo allow you to interact with Xantcha and make her harder to block or kill. Mystifying Maze is also a nice threat of activation against someone who might be tempted to block and kill Xantcha, as you can threaten to send her over to that commander. Maze of Ith can simply save her at the cost of tapping, which is useful in a pinch.

    I find the deck to be very entertaining throughout the game. Of course, winning with a giant X spell isn't necessarily all that glamorous, but I take pleasure in embodying the sleeper agent role, constructing obstacles for my opponents, slowly whittling their life totals down until they leave themselves vulnerable to a vicious thrust. On top of that, I get to play with one of my favorite characters from lore, building in some nice flavor with the Heartstone pictured on her C18 card, and her future self, Karn Liberated. I also enjoy running a fairly unique deck in terms of Rakdos generals.
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on Combatting Ramp
    Quote from MRHblue »
    Quote from Ken Carson »
    You are not limited to one land per turn, as you can use one of many spells to get another one. There are lots of cards that allow you to play additional lands per turn as well, including one for 3 cmc that can be in your command zone. Just like a creature deck doesn’t have to run out every single creature into a wrath, you don’t have to run out every land into MLD.
    You seem to be purposely conflating ramp and playing one land per turn as the base rule. I am quite aware you can get multiple lands into play. Under the normal rules you can play one per turn, no such restrictions exist for other card types. If you suspect a board wipe is coming, you can hold back creatures and play as many as you like, limited by mana, post wipe. That is patently untrue about land. And again, you do not need those other card types to play the game, you need land. Post Wrath games still function fluidly, and people rebuild. Post Armageddon games turn into 'draw go' very often, because people can't play anything.

    I have zero issue with targeted LD, and even agree MLD is a strategy you can leverage to win. It being possible, and it being fun, are very different animals.

    Here's a line of play:
    - Turn 1 Forest
    - Turn 2 - Island, Rampant Growth getting Forest
    - Turn 3 - Forest, Skyshroud Claim getting two Forests, Farseek get Island

    The player will untap with 7 mana on turn 4. Every other player needs to hold up mana to respond or risk getting totally buried in advantage by the ramper. Now, if that player has to assume that MLD could be coming, then that player is free to sandbag a ramp spell and a couple lands and recover from a 'Geddon. Instead, because of this notion that lands are sacred, a player can aggressively tutor lands out of their library and fix their mana, setting up for huge turns with no downside.

    Contrast that with
    - Turn 1 Forest
    - Turn 2 Island, Simic Signet
    - Turn 3 Forest, Cultivate, Elvish Mystic

    This player will untap with 6 mana, plus a land drop, and whether there's a Wrath of God, Shatterstorm or Armageddon, the player will be able to rebuild their mana. This player also may understand that you can;t just assume your mana will stay intact, so instead of running 4-5 versions of Blue Sun's Zenith the player is running a Divination to refuel.

    If people don't like MLD, I get it. People don't like Wrath. People don't like Vandalblast. These are all hurdles one should expect to overcome. If you leave yourself extremely vulnerable to losing all of your mana because you have no diversity or you play out all of your mana, that's on you.

    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Combatting Ramp
    Quote from MRHblue »
    Quote from PhroX »
    If a player (or players) has a significant proportion of their mana generation tied up in artifacts, is it against the "social contract" to play Bane of Progress? Likewise for a bunch of elves and a Wrath of God?
    (and I'm not meaning this as a "gotcha". I'm genuinely interested what peoples' thoughts on attacking non-land mana sources, and, if they are OK with it, why they view them differently from lands)
    You are not limited to one artifact or creature per turn by rules. You don't have to have artifact mana or dorks to play the game. You must have lands, and there is a limit per turn, to start any sort of meaningful game (with a few corner cases). You do not turn off people's ability to play the game with destruction of artifacts or mana dorks. In a format where we are supposed to care about others having fun, that should matter.

    You are not limited to one land per turn, as you can use one of many spells to get another one. There are lots of cards that allow you to play additional lands per turn as well, including one for 3 cmc that can be in your command zone. Just like a creature deck doesn’t have to run out every single creature into a wrath, you don’t have to run out every land into MLD.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Combatting Ramp
    Quote from JWK »
    The pro-MLD folk here seem to be very much ignoring the social contract aspect of the game. If MLD is cool in the group you are playing with, good. But it is also okay if they are not okay with MLD. Insisting that people should be okay with MLD is essentially saying everyone should want to play the game the way you want to play it, and that is about as asocial a stance as one can take.

    People who don't want MLD in their EDH games are not bad players or wrong or whatever. They just want a different sort of game than you would prefer, and that is okay.

    People who like MLD are also not bad players or wrong or whatever. They just want a different sort of game than the majority of EDH players want - and yes, like it or not, MLD guys, most EDH players are not big on MLD. That's just a fact. But you aren't wrong for wanting what you want, either. NEITHER side is wrong, they just prefer different sorts of games, which is completely okay. That's part of the whole "social contract" thing. Same with people who prefer a more cEDH vs. those who prefer things to be much less competitive. Some people just want to win. Other care less about winning than they do about having a fun, social game where everyone has a good time. Nether is wrong, they are just different.

    The solution is for people who like MLD to play with other people who are cool with MLD, or to play a range of decks and not play your MLD decks with people who aren't cool with MLD.

    And again, to get back to the original question of this thread, MLD is actually not a very reliable way to deal with ramp decks. MLD is a control strategy akin to stax. Claiming otherwise is at best erroneous, at worst dishonest. 3Drinks is honest about it... it is a strategy he uses to win games. That's a more competitive approach to the game than a lot of EDH players prefer (and most pro-MLD people do fall further to the competitive end of the casual/competitive continuum), but he isn't wrong for liking that, so long as he doesn't insist on bringing that to the table when playing with people who want a less competitive game.

    I get what you are saying, and I think that a conversation prior to a game is always critical.

    However, the issue becomes when people who say “No MLD” also think it’s cool to play Boundless Realms. It’s akin to someone playing combo and saying “No counterspells” or Elfball combo and saying “No board wipes.” If a deck’s strategy is to vomit as many lands out as possible and do something huge, I’m going to pack answers for that.

    And again, it’s important to remember that land destruction spells are spells on the hands of players. You cannot blanket say that every time someone plays MLD that X happens. I play Wildfire in my Xantcha deck because she survives the damage, small blockers get wiped, and it sets a boardstate that often requires Xantcha activations for players to dig to mana sources. All those things help my deck win, and since I have the spell in my hand/deck, I can craft a situation where it benefits me. My answers are cheap, so I can operate on fewer mana sources, and I run a land count on the higher end to lower the probability that I fail to recover if I have to deploy it early.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Combatting Ramp

    I don't understand how wildfire can punish ramp
    The player with 11 lands still has 7 lands and can still cast fatties
    The player with 7 lands still has 3 lands and can cast cultivate
    The player with 4 lands now has nothing

    First, if one player has 11 lands and another has 4, that game is already over. So your premise is moot.

    Second, Wildfire doesn’t play itself. It is played by a player who is strategically deploying cards. There are situations in which it is very bad, and you do not need to play it. There are other situations in which it is very good. Here’s an example:

    I have Wildfire tucked under a Spinerock Knoll. Xantcha is out, and I have Coffers/Urborg and 9 lands, while the ramp player has out 12 lands. Both other players have 8. Ramp player Strip Mine’s my Coffers. In response, I activate Xantcha 4 times and cast Wildfire. When the dust settles, the ramp player has 7 lands, I have 5, and the other players have 4. I wiped the board except for Xantcha, and now everyone is strongly considering using Xantcha’s ability to draw and dig for more mana. Again, the card is a tool in the tool box, not a “Well, I’m at 6 mana, hue hue hue, cast Wildfire. LOL!”
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Build a Xantcha Deck
    Sorry to necro this, but I’ve built a Xantcha deck and I’ve found a couple ways to help get her through (or at least keep her on the table). Many of them are lands.

    Shizo, Death’s Storehouse is the best as it can give Xantcha fear, getting through a lot of blockers for just 2 mana. It the best of the bunch. It also is an untapped black source, which is fantastic for a utility land.

    Shinka, the Bloodsoaked Keep has a cheap activation that can shrug off smaller creature double blocks so Xantcha survives. Again, it’s an untapped colored mana source.

    Mystifying Maze is a nice threat of activation card. You can basically tell an opponent that if they block and try to kill Xantcha, you can flicker her onto their board. And Maze of Ith can cheaply ensure that she survives combat.

    The other thing you can do is control the board so that blockers cannot get in her way. Languish removes anything with a smaller butt than Xantcha. Same with Wildfire which comes with the added benefit of people needing to activate her to draw more lands. You can also calibrate Toxic Deluge to kill off everything smaller than her.

    In a pinch, you can also use some spot removal, though honestly as long as Xantcha stays on the field, I wouldn’t worry about whether or not she is connecting. She’s card draw on a stick that doubles as a win con.

    As far as sacrifice, yeah it sucks. Best you can do in that situation is pick your spot so she hits the board and you can draw a few cards. Otherwise, you need to go the “player removal” route.

    You can definitely incentivize people to use Xantcha by making people need to use her (discard, resource denial) or by making it too lucrative not to through something like Heartstone which notably affects all creatures with activated abilities, not just ones you control. 3 mana for a card is steep, but 2 mana for a card is the rate you get when pumping 6 mana into Blue Sun’s Zenith.
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on Combatting Ramp
    I’ve become obsessed with beating land-based ramp, so I’ve built out a Xantcha deck with Ankh of Mishra, Zo-Zu the Punisher and Polluted Bonds. I also run Wildfire as it conveniently leaves Xantcha alive while putting everyone in a situation where they need to activate her to rebuild.

    Obviously, the deck also includes plenty of ramp of its own with Solemn Simulacrum, Burnished Hart and Myriad Landscape, plus Coffers/Urborg. To win, im going to need a mana advantage, usually, just like anyone else.

    I guess where I’m at is that a decent number of people in my playgroup treat lands as sacred, where as I treat them as threats needing to be answered. I also run some single target land removal, but I need answers to the deck that plays T2 Rampant Growth, T3 Cultivate, T4 Nature’s Lore/Explosive Vegetation.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Combatting Ramp
    I recently caught up with some old Command Zone podcasts, specifically their stats episodes, and one thing that stuck out to me was the overwhelming advantage that decks with the most lands in play have in winning.

    Generally, people see any land based ramp spell as fairly non-threatening, but getting ahead in mana and therefore spending more mana over the course of the game is the single biggest predictor of winning according to the episode.

    All that said, what are some ways to combat these strategies? MLD generally would do it, but it’s frowned upon even by non-ramp players.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on looking for cards to help me
    You could try Dire Undercurrents. It doesn’t target, but when the zombie tokens ETB it will cause a discard for each one.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
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