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  • 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)
  • posted a message on Kaya, Ghost Assassin
    Quote from Xcric »
    Quote from Cranky »
    She's really, really, extremely bad and you should avoid playing her in any but the goofiest of casual decks.

    ... like really bad dude.

    on what rationale?

    her blink effect can push some pretty hard value though its slow, her life gain is ass, and she's probably going to die the turn you use her to draw cards... but you're using her to draw cards and replace herself

    she's not stupid good or broken or anything, but i'm not really seeing her as "like really bad" she's more of forgettably average. decent if there's no real alternatives for what you're trying to use her for. i don't know, i feel like we're always so quick to proclaim a card as 'like really bad dude' when its more that they're just not great.

    Her blink effect is -way- too slow to accrue value in all but the durdliest of decks. Immediately blinking something is good. Waiting until your next upkeep relegates this ability to removal duty, which it does quite poorly compared to everything else WB has to offer.

    She's a planeswalker, which is one of the easiest card types to answer in EDH. Like most planeswalkers, unless she's well protected, you're not likely to be getting more than 1.5 activations on average. And if she -is- well protected, I can think of a bunch of other walkers I'd rather have in play.

    Her card advantage mode is unimpressive compared to a wealth of alternatives in black. Syphon Mind never comes close to making the cut in any decent deck, and her average case is Syphon Mind with minor upside and a more restrictive mana cost.

    If she was of 'average' quality for WB I'd be very concerned about how terrible both of those colors are. She's got two bad modes, and one nearly unplayable one. I'd compare her to a bottom-tier charm or a command but at least those are instants. She is really, really bad.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on How Many Counterspells Should I Have?
    As stated above, it really depends. If you're running counters at all, around 10 is where you tend to start running out of -really- good ones, but your deck's makeup should determine how your counter suite looks. If you're not running a lot of removal you probably want to up the count, perhaps extremely so, and if your general makes counterspells better (Rashmi/Baral) you can run even more.

    Your concern about their utility in multiplayer is valid, but that's more about a necessary shift in your playstyle than a shift in deckbuilding. You can't counter everything, so don't try, and eventually you'll develop a good sense of threat assessment which will help you ration your interaction. Is this going to be an unanswerable problem later? Is this going to seriously stifle my gameplan? Does it behoove someone else to answer this instead of me? All things to consider.

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

    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
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