2019 Holiday Exchange!
A New and Exciting Beginning
The End of an Era
  • posted a message on Is This Format Too Dependent on Netdecking?

    Generally, 'creative' and 'unique' in the context of EDH are synonyms for 'bad' so I don't really value those things. Additionally, believing that your specific card choices are somehow special is fairly pretentious. In general, everything you're doing has probably been done before. There are exceptions of course, but those exceptions eventually become the standard and the next guy sees a 'creative' choice from a year ago as 'netdecking' today. It is a never-ending cycle, one which accelerates as technology improves and the player base expands.

    Since the format's inception there have been tools available to aid in deckbuilding (we just used Gatherer back in the day) and believe me, there was the same vocal minority of folks complaining about people using those tools as there are today. Its best to ignore them, they're like the anti-vaxxers of Magic.

    If finding cards that you think no one else is playing turns your crank, by all means enjoy yourself, but its not something most people are hung up on.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on The 7 offensive cards
    Banning the cards really hurts no one, since they're all fringe playable at best, and makes a portion of the playerbase more comfortable in the community. Seems like a no-brainer win-win to me. Obviously there is a financial motive on WotC's part, but their heart is in the right place too, I know and work with a lot of these folks and this really did come from a good place.

    That said, I definitely had to have a few of them explained to me, but they all make sense after that:

    Invoke Prejudice: Obviously KKK imagery, from an avowed and vehement racist, with 1488 (a neo-nazi dogwhistle) as its gatherer number. Ouch.

    Cleanse: A white card (ok). That destroys black creatures (ok). Named Cleanse (...ok?). Ethnic cleansing (oooooooh).

    Stone-Throwing Devils: Apparently an old middle-eastern pejorative, and once you know that the art is super obviously a racist caricature.

    Pradesh Gypsies: 'Gypsy' is basically the N-word for the Romani people. It has been appropriated to mean something fairly benign in modern media, but its roots are that of baseless bigotry towards an out-group. A lot of folks with that heritage have repappropriated it and use the word proudly, but at the same time a lot of folks still find it offensive.

    Jihad: Name and art reference real-world racist, violent religious war/massacre. Let's not do that.

    Crusade: Name and art reference real-world racist, violent religious war/massacre. Let's not do that.

    Imprison: What appears to be a starving black man in a torture mask, with a card name that sniffs of slavery.

    Both Cleanse and Imprison are a bit of a stretch, but honestly they toe the line enough and are unplayably bad enough that it feels free to axe them just to be safe.

    Speaking to the newly found value of these cards, its a temporary bubble with two types of people participating. 1) Speculators who knew that the banning would spike interest due to FOMO, and 2) Actual full-blown racists who want to collect and protect racist iconography. Eventually the price on these will go back down as folks lose interest, and we'll be left with slightly richer speculators and slightly poorer racists, so it all works out. Invoke itself may very well hold its price, since it is the rarest of them and holds a sort of freak-show novelty, but the rest will absolutely fall off a cliff and take a lot of stupid peoples' money with them.
    Posted in: Magic General
  • posted a message on Secret Lair: The Path Not Travelled (Alternate Lives of Planeswalkers)
    Holy hell what a miss. Horrendous art, no value, what were they thinking here? Could've absolutely done this theme more justice by picking better walkers and/or getting decent art for them. Feels like they just had these arts laying about as jokey warmups from the artists and decided to sell them instead of letting them rot in a file.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on Help a newbie out? Nethroi, Apex of Death
    Not trying to be mean, but you might have better luck getting advice for a casual deck in the main forum. cEDH players really aren't going to be able to help you with your Nethroi build, and casual players aren't going to come to this part of the forum to see your post.

    The only advice I can give you is that if you specifically want Nethroi to be 'competitive' you're going to have to be as cutthroat as possible and maybe not focus so much on the commander, since the card is extremely far from playable competitively (mutate as a mechanic, really) and not having a good commander is a huge handicap.

    Prossh is actually a decent 7-8 on the power level scale if built properly, so if you liked that deck at all I'd consider revisiting it (and get a copy of the card Food Chain).

    Other than that, consider going to EDHREC.com and looking up what others are doing for ideas.
    Posted in: Competitive Commander (cEDH)
  • posted a message on Planeswalker Points are being removed at end of May
    Well that's fun. With the advent of Planeswalker Points I dropped from top 100 in WA to somewhere in the thousands, and now that's gone too. /salt

    That aside, this was always going to happen, but it is a bit obnoxious that they didn't merge them. Not sure why they didn't, actually. Obviously this is going to also funnel people past Arena's window when they sign up, while cutting a nostalgia cord between the player and their LGS, so it's a win-win-win for WotC.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on My playgroup won't politic
    You're going to find that a lot of groups find constant politicking obnoxious (I know I do). Politics seriously alter the way the game is played, on par with Planechase or Archenemy, and by my reckoning most people don't enjoy those formats because they obviate deckbuilding and play skill. Enjoying the game and politics are not correlated in any way, shape, or form, but if your enjoyment of the game hinges on wacky random stuff happening every game you're unfortunately going to need to find a new playgroup I think. Trying to force a group of people enjoying the game their way to enjoy it your way is both selfish and ultimately futile.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on [IKO] Dana Fischer the Magic Planeswalker preview - lead the stampede
    What makes you say that? It has been legal in EDH since 2011 and it hasn't made much of a splash yet.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on [IKO] Lurrus of the Dream-Den
    Oh *****. Now THAT is a companion. I was worried that the only one that would be even modestly playable would be the banned one lol. Good stuff.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on [C20] Cartographer's Hawk— Sheldon Menery preview
    I mean, this probably passes in budget mono white, but in any other color combination it gets cut pretty quickly for something much better. For example, Azorius has Azorius Signet, Talisman of Progress, Arcane Signet, Fellwar Stone, Sol Ring, Mana Crypt, Mana Vault, and Knight of the White Orchid that beat this for the slot just off the top of my head. Hell, Wayfarer's Bauble is better and I already don't play that in anything.

    Hawk is like... 10th string at best, and you're not super happy about it when it makes the cut.

    Flash would've made this playable.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on [C20] Woodland park zoo preview (commander edition) - Eon Frolicker
    This card should've probably cost U or 1U.

    You're giving someone else a 5-mana effect in order to get a 4 mana 5/5. Sure there's some politicking you can do, and some two-card combos that get you a 4 mana 5/5 with no downside, but at the end of the day you're giving away a Time Walk in order to get an already appropriately costed body. Truly atrocious.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on [IKO] Obosh, the Burrower
    It's more than a little frustrating that, aside from the one that's already banned, these companions are severely underpowered relative to the severity of their deckbuilding restrictions. Hopefully at least one of the unspoiled ones will be playable, otherwise the entire mechanic will have been wasted. Such potential...
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on Let's talk Companion and EDH
    The mechanic on its face is fantastic! Having a little buddy tag along that you can call in once is a really feel-good effect. It's sad that the RC is so short-sighted and seems to have selective vision (Sol Ring as you stated is also an auto-include, along with many other cards).

    My one concern is how to prove you've met the restrictions (which to my knowledge WotC hasn't addressed?).
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • 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)
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