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  • posted a message on July 2019 Ban List Update
    Thanks for replying! Here we go :3

    To defend the position about random bans, let us look at what I personally see as the RC's mistakes in a relatively ordered series (which you're free to disagree with me on but I'm by far not the only one who sees most or all of these as incorrect):

    -Planeswalkers still not legal as commanders (no good reason available and people definitely want it).
    -Paradox Engine banned (note that I've never played with the card, only against it).
    -Protean Hulk unbanned while Flash is unbanned (this is very obviously not ok).
    -Prophet of Kruphix banned (this card is and was strong but fine as long as people run removal).
    -Banned as commander removed because EDH players are ostensibly too stupid to read two tiny lists.
    -Metalworker unbanned (this card is incredibly not safe).
    -Tuck rule changed (no non-emotional reason given to take away the ability to answer broken generals).
    -Sylvan Primordial banned (was annoying but never a problem).
    -Kokusho banned as commander (was never a problem and in fact got unbanned later).
    -Primeval Titan banned (was very good but in lower power games but never a problem).
    -Worldfire banned (completely safe joke card).
    -Sundering Titan banned (was annoying but never a problem).
    -Tolarian Academy banned while Gaea's Cradle remains legal (I can see banning both or neither).
    -Staff of Domination banned (was never a problem and in fact got unbanned later).
    -Painter's Servant banned (noting that I agree with the recent swap-ban)
    -Sol Ring not banned, Mana Crypt not banned, Mana Vault not banned, Ad Nauseam not banned, Hermit Druid not banned (if banning format breakers is a concern, which they claim it is).
    -Winter Orb not banned, Static Orb not banned, Contamination not banned, Armageddon not banned, Ravages of War not banned, Jokulhaups not banned, Obliterate not banned, etc. (if banning 'unfun' cards is a concern, which they claim it is).
    -Coalition Victory banned, Gifts Ungiven banned, Library of Alexandria banned, Recurring Nightmare banned, Sway of the Stars banned, Upheaval banned (these are all incredibly silly for various reasons).

    As for the CAG's involvement in the PE ban, do you consume any media put out by CAG members? There really wasn't a lot of support for the PE ban among them, and it appears that the RC acted unilaterally on that one against the opinions of more informed and community-active advisors. Most people seem to realize that PE was just one more in a long line of high-cmc combo pieces (albeit a really good one) that is both outclassed by still-legal cards and easily answered. There was dramatically more support for banning Cyclonic Rift (which I find hilarious, but it would definitely be a more reasonable ban due to ubiquity than PE in spite of being silly on its face).

    To the point of WotC's divisive initial foray into a Commander banlist, I'd say that their attempt was 1) a way better first stab than the RC's by a large margin, 2) always doomed to failure because MTGO is a horrible place to play EDH since you lose the social aspect and it devolves into mono-cEDH, 3) always doomed to failure because human beings despise sudden change.

    The reality is that WotC has a much more vested and active interest in seeing EDH be a healthy and flourishing format, where the RC has proven that they don't really want to have their hands in it except to make emotional decisions based on their own narrow set of experiences. Hell, Sheldon has admitted fairly recently that he basically lives in an EDH bubble, and that he would both be trying to get outside of said bubble and seeking outside advice for the format (read: the CAG). Unfortunately he seems intent on ignoring his new sources, and everything he's said recently re: combo on social media smacks of a cave hermit hissing at the sun after seeing it for the first time in a decade.

    As far as that survey goes, the current numbers tell me the following:

    -There is a statistically significant contingent that think many of the things I listed above about the change-log are true. Not the majority, but a large percentage none-the-less.

    -Human logic (ie: people hate change) would dictate that PE/Iona/PS numbers are inflated right now, but the flip-side of that is absolutely all of the 'no change, things are good as is' votes are exactly as likely to be suspect.

    -Less people are 'very satisfied' with this announcement than any other option, and the majority of people who have an opinion either way are unhappy about this.

    -Approval ratings for the RC are lower than happiness with the format as a whole, indicating that people love EDH, but the consensus is that that RC could be doing a better job.

    My opinion that faith in the RC is at an all-time low is not based in data (as yours isn't, we don't have a history of polling to look at) but from observing reactions in all the communities I'm a part of. I work and live in the absolute center of Magic, and my casual players are upset that their fun toy got taken away while the cards that make them sad keep getting a pass, my 75%ers are confused by the decisions being made, and my cEDH folks are laughing about how out of touch the RC is with what is actually broken about the format.

    Variant formats are cropping up left and right of late, indicating a desire for change in the core EDH format. The popularity of Oathbreaker speaks to the desire for planeswalkers to be legal as commanders, the rise of Canlander speaks to the desire for more sane power-level management, and the very existence of 2DH speaks to unhappiness with the balance of what is playable in the format.

    These are anecdotal bits of information, but given that I play at one of the top-rated LGS's in the world, work in the industry, and regularly break bread with high-profile content creators and WotC employees, I feel like my anecdotal evidence is relevant. Yes this is vague and very 'my dad works at Nintendo' of me but I love my job and would like to keep it.

    At the same time, and perhaps more telling, the rhetoric from content creators who have historically been extremely supportive of the RC has shifted as of this announcement, and on multiple occasions the opinion that bans are made kinda randomly has been floated on air in front of huge online audiences. You can tell that in their response video that Command Zone's Josh Lee Kwai was restraining himself from calling the PE ban stupid, or venting his frustration that the CAG's voice was ignored on this one. He even went so far as to distance himself from the decision and say he had no part in it. This is a line-toeing member of the CAG (not a spicy dissenter) saying that a mistake was made and subtly implying that the RC is not doing their job right. Hell, Saffron (the most insanely and utterly casual of casual players) said the same things. Whether these guys are indicative of the opinions of the playerbase as a whole is less important than the way their opinions will in fact shape the opinions of the playerbase.

    Confidence is absolutely lower than I've ever seen it, regardless of the exact numerical value being above or below 50%.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on July 2019 Ban List Update
    Faith in the RC is definitely at an all-time low after this one.

    The PE ban follows a long trend of random bans that don't adhere to any sort of consistent logic, and even EDH content creators are finally beginning to grumble about it. Hell, the scions of casual EDH from Command Zone and Goldfish mentioned in their recent videos that they don't agree with the PE ban and feel like these decisions are made using inconsistent metrics.

    When people playing at the lower levels think you're banning the wrong stuff, and you aggressively proclaim that you don't care about people playing at the higher power levels, who exactly is your audience?

    Definitely time for WotC to take over.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Sheldon's Thoughts on infinite combos
    To put the 'data' coming out of that Command Zone video in perspective since it keeps coming up:

    They are at something like a 2-3 out of 10 on the power-level scale, and most of the games they pulled from are in the same ballpark. They also have a demonstrated bias against hard combo, control decks, and blue in general, preferring soft combos that simply produce an overwhelming but not insurmountable board-state (instead of immediately ending the game). This is absolutely understandable, given that the way they choose to play results in more dramatic and entertaining gameplay videos.

    Their data points are not entirely useless, but they're definitely not indicative of the format as a whole. Not by a long shot.

    That said, I wouldn't take anything Sheldon says about the format too seriously either: as people frequently point out, he speaks like someone who lives in a bubble of exceptionally low-powered friends-only games where everyone just plays big dudes and turns them sideways, which is only one way to play the game. His rhetoric is dangerous for you if you like to play high-powered, heavy-interaction games, or if you like to play pick-up games with randoms, but at the end of the day his opinions are just opinions, not gospel.

    The reality is that Magic is a game where the goal is to win, and EDH is a format therein where you're given a different set of tools and hurdles to work with, but it is still fundamentally a game of Magic. The goal is -always- to try to win, whether you're also taking into account other potential goals or not (flavor, doing something funny/cool, etc.) If you're not trying to win at all, you're not really playing the game. It's like that one guy who plays Kirby in Smash Bros. just to eat people and jump off the stage. It's funny once or twice, but that person doesn't get invited back if that's all they do.

    Combo is simply the most efficient way to put a game away, and it always will be unless the banned list becomes gigantic. In order to level the playing field (even a little) lowering starting life totals wouldn't be a bad idea. It would also help if newer players weren't so interaction-averse, packing more answers instead of more fatties, but that's impossible to police. Combo would still be king, but things might be a little closer if you can actually race.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Combatting Ramp
    Exactly this. After an Armageddon it's like the beginning of the game again, except you have what is likely a bad hand and some stuff on the board (which seems like a reasonable tradeoff). Just draw-go until the game kicks into gear again, it is really not that horrible, it starts up again pretty quickly. Unless the MLD player had a commanding board, in which case yeah it might be over.

    Re: the ramp player recovering first... What you'll generally find is that they've stripped their deck of so much land in the early turns that they have a lower chance of drawing it. If they're running a bunch of rocks, well, isn't everyone? I don't see how that's a problem. The first person to recover is most often going to be the deck with the lowest mana curve (which is in most cases the most competitive deck at the table). If the ramp deck in your group is recovering from MLD faster than you, then your curve is probably too high relative to the amount of ramp -you- are running.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Ultimate Masters & Box Topper Promos + PSA regarding sealed Box Topper Boosters
    fwiw: anyone saying that keeping volume low and value high is the way to do business (in singles/sealed/whatever) doesn't understand economics at. all.

    The most successful retail companies in the world do insane volume at razor-thin margins. This is a verifiable fact. Printing sets as long as people are buying is the correct business move for WotC. Yes, sure, you don't want to overprint (and thus sit on piles of product) but underprinting is leaving money on the table, and at the margins they're making selling to distributors they'd rather overprint a -tiny- bit than underprint at all. The fact that they ever do limited print runs of insanely popular products (Battlebond for one recent example, and likely UMA given the preorder data) baffles me. Their business analysts are clearly hacks.

    Distributors operate on similar principle: move as much as you can as fast as you can.

    Singles retailers operate on exactly the same principle. Moving a thousand .10 cards is the same as moving one 100.00 card, and it is -way- easier to sell a thousand units of chaff than it is to sell one heavy hitter. Trust me, I sell gigantic piles of nigh-worthless EDH cards at an exponentially faster clip than I sell legacy staples. Sitting on expensive pieces of cardboard is an extremely slow, relatively safe way to make money way down the road, but moving them from one person's hands to another's and skimming a little profit in the transaction is -way- more profitable. Then you can use that money to do it again. And again.

    Opportunity cost is real.

    Investing is a coward's game.

    People buying to play > people buying for value, as far as sheer volume of sales.

    Oversaturation isn't great. Sure. But you want to get as close as you can to that line.

    I hate that WotC has the gall to charge what they're charging for this set, but the early numbers are making it look like the demand for UMA is going to easily outstrip the supply. As such ordering as much as you possibly can is looking like a winning bet. I'd prefer to move it all immediately and not be stuck with any overstock, but even then you can just raise the price a little when supply inevitably dries up and recoup the lost opportunity cost.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on Random Card of the Final Day: Maelstrom Nexus
    Card is solid, and I run it in a few decks, but you should be exhausting your options for good 0-2 mana counterspells before playing this. The extra mana means a lot. As for 3 cmc counters, I prettymuch always run Unwind over this.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Why isn't Magus of the Library an EDH staple?
    The card is really quite bad, and appropriately rated by the community. It's an absolutely awful mana dork stapled to a very situational draw spell. Library is good because it can come down early enough to reliably draw you a couple cards. Magus cannot do that unless you're twiddling your thumbs and not unloading your hand, and also has the added fragility of being a creature.

    A good deck would always rather have a Llanowar Elves or Sylvan Library, or any number of other similar cards. It's so far down the list of options it's not really worth considering. The one thing Magus has is that it's cheap, but financial cost should never factor in to power level assessment.

    You're alone in this one OP. It's fine to have pet cards, but I'm not going around telling everyone that Mystic Snake is an amazing card that goes in every UG deck, I just quietly enjoy playing my stupid bad snapcaster snek with the full understanding that it's not great.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Do people like infinite combos?
    A question for everyone who mentions some ephemeral 'creative' or 'original' combo: What qualifies?

    Is there really any combination of cards that could -ever- qualify, unless it's the very first time you (personally) have seen a combo using some brand-new card? And why does it matter? This concept confuses and enrages me.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Do people like infinite combos?
    Honestly anyone who has a problem with combos isn't running enough interaction *shrug*

    Most of the decks in my various playgroups have an 'unfair' game-ending combination of cards, infinite or not. This is fine, and any good deck builds to something that ends the game, be it T&N for AvengerHoof, or MikeTrike, or a Stasis lock, or any kind of infinite mana kill. This does not mean that our games end in 10 minutes. When everyone is trying to kill everyone else as quickly as possible while stopping them from doing the same, the games tend to go long. Pure 'put stuff on the table, turn it sideways, hope no one touches my stuff long enough for me to grind out 120 damage' decks are -objectively- the most boring to play with and against. Interaction is what makes Magic fun. The tension of 2-4 players who could kill the table at any moment is exhilarating, and you get the deepest, most satisfying interactions in games like that. And when you've had enough experience with the game, you realize that nothing is unique, everything has been done before, and no card or strategy should surprise you (unless it's hilariously bad), so you can focus on building the most powerful decks and making the tightest plays. Or just -obviously- screwing around. That's good too.

    Obviously it is optimal for everyone at the table to be at the same power/skill level, and a game between Craw Wurm.dec and a deck with Lab Maniac in it isn't terribly fun, but I've found that as my players are challenged by powerful strategies, learn to overcome them, and develop their play and deckbuilding skills, the decks and games slowly evolve to the point where everyone is capable of murdering the table within 5 turns if their draw is good and no one tries to stop them. But someone usually does. And then talks smack about it for the rest of the night. It's beautiful.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Official MTG Facebook (APAC) Preview - Leave (to) Chance
    Oh this is very, very good in EDH. Notice it says 'own'. You can clean up control effects, reuse etbs, and rescue your best critters from removal. The rummage tacked on is extremely welcome in Boros as well.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on Decks that disappoint
    My case is just a playgroup issue, where the decks I build don't end up fitting in despite my best efforts.

    I come from a very competitive playgroup in Seattle, where everyone runs U/x combo decks with average cmc ~2.5

    I went to EDH night at a bar in Fremont and started with my weakest deck, Archangel Avacyn, which is a combo deck but it's a -boros- combo deck so it's pretty terrible.

    Proceeded to wreck the meta.

    So I set about building some -serious- jank, and came up with Roon blinky valuetown, which had no clear path to victory and no combos, besides Roon being a pretty bad general.

    Proceeded to wreck the meta.

    This week I'm going to bring Vialsmasher with just a bunch of instants and no good path to victory other than smasher herself.

    ...I'm trying so hard...
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Archenemy Nicol Bolas - New Info and Product Image
    Nothing worth parting these out for for anyone in any format, which is a bummer and a missed opportunity to fit some still much-needed reprints for modern/EDH. Definitely just a $60 board game, and I can think of better ways to spend $60 on a 4-player party experience.

    Archenemy was widely reviled the first go around, I really wonder why they decided to bring it back if not to reprint cool stuff. Oh well, at least this product will put the format to bed for good once it flops.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on How Many Counterspells Should I Have?
    Mana Leak usually doesn't counter threats, it usually counters interaction. You tap low (but not out) for a threat, leaving up interaction mana for other players' turns, and leak eats your interaction. Early game it's obviously a hard counter.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on How Many Counterspells Should I Have?
    Quote from ChazA4 »
    Quote from Cranky »
    ...

    For reference, you should be running something along the lines of the following before considering other options:



    I would have been with you up to this card. Tax-type counterspells are very weak in EDH for so many reasons, the biggest of which is that you'll rarely have them when they're strong(early game), and they don't do enough(if anything) late game. My feeling is, if you get down to 'tax counters', you either have plenty of counterspells in your deck already, or you need to revisit other possibilities. However, Mystic Confluence is an exception to the rule, given that you can stack the three taxes on them for a big hit; even late game, 9 is nothing to sneer at.

    MRdown2urth makes a good point: versatility is the name of the game. It's frustrating to hold on to cards that have one narrow frame. That's not to say Counterspell or Negate don't have their uses, but being able to pull off shenanigans on a spell you allowed with Insidious Will, or getting someone just after they breathed a sigh of relief with Cryptic Command is its own level of satisfying.

    Creedmoor, I would say that 10 is a magic number, dependent on what your general does. Start from there, and see what else may work well with your general's own mechanics.


    Different metas then. Mana Leak is better than Counterspell in competitive playgroups. PhroX makes the point on this that people tap out for stuff in EDH.

    If your opponents are routinely leaving up gobs of mana, you're probably winning anyways from sheer mana efficiency.

    @MR: If you start leaving up 3 mana every game, I'd take that trade for having a semi-dead card in my deck every bloody time. Triple stone-rain and I don't even have to spend mana or a card? Yes. Please.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on How Strong is too strong?
    Your deck is fine, if your opponents aren't children they'll tune and adapt their decks to catch up.

    It is always a good idea to have 3-4 decks, not necessarily of different power levels, but of different playstyles. See, even if all your decks are powerful, switching them up constantly breaks up the accumulation of any feelbads you'd accrue from crushing with the same deck over and over.

    If you're going to pull your punches at all, I'd do it at the general selection level. Always optimize your lists, but if your general is weak or has weak colors, you can have a lower powered deck without feeling like you're sandbagging, which makes you bored and honestly insults your opponents.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
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