Because there are already a lot of allied two-color generals, I'd really want any allied two-color commander decks to be specifically designed to support strategies that are in-color, but not well supported by existing commanders. That means that the UB deck isn't mill, the WG one isn't tokens, and so on.
WU is maybe the two-color combination that has the widest array of commanders. Potentially a deck could be built around tap/untap tricks, or feature commanders that interact with artifacts or fliers in a different way than Hanna and Isperia.
UB has basically one job, which to be not a mill deck. Maybe a deck with -1/-1 counters (and other counters) that's built around proliferate?
If BR has an issue, it's not that its commanders aren't that diverse as much as it is that its commanders, with a couple of exceptions, just aren't that good. They tend to do things that just aren't scaled to EDH as a format. A general with something like Pain Magnification might be interesting. You could also do some sort of a recursion theme, or even something off the wall like things that grant deathtouch + pingers. Wizards likes Act of Treason effects + sac outlets in this combination, although there are already okay generals that support that. You could also open things up with some kind of demon/devil tribal thing.
RG is another combination with a good general spread. If it's missing one thing, it's cheap general options. Some kind of fight lord might be interesting - Foe-Razer Regent has played around in this space.
GW is a slam dunk. Enchantress.
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Jan 25, 2016Joyd posted a message on Thought Experiment: Designing the Next Commander SetPosted in: Commander (EDH)
Jan 18, 2016Joyd posted a message on [[Official]] General Discussion of the Official Multiplayer BanlistRule 4 always felt like a relic to me - something that ended up in there when the time came to formalize the rules, more than something that was doing much of anything important for the format. It certainly was never intended to provide actual advantages. It makes sense for it to go. The announcement mentions that the RC seems to feel that the rule had some flavor value (as with many of the RC's ideas about flavor, I disagree; it was a highly-meta kludge of a rule that represented nothing and violated player expectations), but I'm glad that they didn't let that get in the way of making a good change.Posted in: Commander Rules Discussion Forum
Jan 14, 2016Joyd posted a message on Breaking in-game agreements and deals: should this be acceptable behavior?The consequences of breaking a verbal deal are (and should be) however bad the backstabbed party (and the other players) decide they'll be, and there's no way to change that. If the backstabbed player decides that it means nothing, it means nothing. If the backstabbed player decides that it means they'll never make deals with you again (or won't make deals with you for a while), then that's the consequences of backstabbing. The rest of the table is free to let the backstabbing affect their future deal-making as much or as little as they like. Deciding you won't make deals with a player who habitually backs out of them isn't being a bad sport; it's intelligently evaluating the probable value of that player's word, the same as you'd evaluate any other part of the game state.Posted in: Commander (EDH)
Whether a deal that's not-broken on a technicality ("I said I wouldn't destroy your creature, not that I wouldn't reduce its toughness to zero, causing it to be placed in the graveyard as a state-based effect") counts as a betrayal is similarly up to the betrayed party. I avoid doing that. (I'm a linguist professionally, so I'm totally jaded when it comes to playing games with interpreting sentences in a non-obvious manner.)
When I make deals, I try to make them explicitly as short-term as possible and as clear as possible, to reduce the chance that someone feels like I broke the letter or the spirit of the deal down the road. I feel like all long-term deals carry an implicit "...until it's just the two of us left, in which case the deal is off," but I throw that into long-term deals if it's unclear. I try to save my deal-breaking for situations where breaking the deal allows me to win on the spot; people in general are a lot more understanding of that sort of deal-breaking, and because it comes with an immediate re-shuffle, there's no time to stew about it.
Jan 8, 2016I know the thread is still in progress, but a few notes about the cards I have some experience with:Posted in: Commander (EDH)
- Brimaz doesn't really "guarantee at least two Cat Soldiers." People rarely randomly swing into Brimaz for no reason.
- Fetchlands do nothing in Darien. He triggers off of damage, not life payments.
- Jazal isn't "suited best in a deck that relies on beefing up creatures in order to overwhelm the foe." Jazal IS the beefing up creatures in order to overwhelm the foe, and neither requires nor particularly benefits from other effects of that type. A tokens deck needs two things: a way to generate tokens, and a way to turn having a bunch of tokens into a win. Jazal is the second, and the rest of the deck only needs to focus on the first. The note about tucking is presumably left over from before the rules change.
- Kemba also still mentions tucking.
- Sidisi does not make you "lose out on creatures that might otherwise be helpful." Self-mill doesn't make you lose cards, and in almost any Sidisi deck you'll have some access to your graveyard anyway, so the milling is a positive, instead of a neutral effect like it'd otherwise be.
Also, I realize that different people are looking for different things out of a thread like this, but the last version of this thread suffered a bit (in my opinion) in that it sort of indiscriminately included cards that nobody would ever seriously consider for an EDH deck in the spawning/support/buff sections. Anybody can do a gatherer search for the word "token" if they want to see every single card that produces a token, regardless of whether the card realistically supports a token strategy or is even close to EDH-playable. A useful resource is one that does some of the work of filtering that down. I don't think that the thread needs to be only the very best cards, but the old thread included things that would never make the cut even in extremely casual, extremely budget decks. It also included things that technically make a token, but don't support any sort of token strategy in any real way.
Jan 7, 2016One of my favorite cards in mono-white is Mana Tithe, not because it's good in a vacuum (it's okay, but not great), but because nobody thinks of leaving W open as representing a counterspell. I can sort of imagine Warping Wail playing a similar role. Someone scanning the table to see if it's a safe time to play a large sorcery can easily scan over, say, a mountain and a Homeward Path or something and assume that Tooth and Nail or Austere Command or a game-winning Exsanguinate will resolve.Posted in: Commander (EDH)
That may be too cute, and not enough reason to actually play Warping Wail, but I think there's some extra value in instants with effects that people don't think of particular mana combinations as representing.
Jan 4, 2016The huge edge that Deadeye Navigator has over Eldrazi Displacer is that it can protect itself, at least some of the time. DEN requires instant-speed removal cast at the right time, mass removal, or waiting for its controller to tap out. (Which is a very wide category of things, of course, but we've all been in situations where DEN was annoying to get rid of.) Eldrazi Displacer can by removed by any creature removal at any time. Displacer is still a fantastic card, of course, maybe even better, but it's easier to deal with.Posted in: Commander (EDH)
Jan 2, 2016I thought about Stoneforge Masterwork in Darien, and I may try it out, but what it comes down to is that a deck only needs so many cards that help seal the deal when you're already doing great and do little or nothing when you're not, and there are a lot of good seal-the-deal options for Darien. The issue with Stoneforge Masterwork in EDH is that it's bad when you have no board and it's still bad when you don't have much board. Even if I stick four creatures, it's just a discount Vulshok Battlegear, and I wouldn't play that. It's only good if I've got a ton of stuff on board, and if that's the case there are cards that do more to put the game away than giving one of my guys a big P/T boost but nothing else.Posted in: Commander (EDH)
Dec 31, 2015Tazri is basically perfect. You can play any number of colors in any density as long as one is white, and she helps ally decks with some of their biggest issues (consistency, running out of gas, and sealing the deal) without being over-the-top. I guess I sort of wish she could find Crib Swap, but that's a minor beef.Posted in: Commander (EDH)
Dec 30, 2015Imagine four people are playing commander or some other chaos multiplayer format. The turn order is A, B, C, D.Posted in: Magic Rulings Archives
Player A plays Ashcoat Bear, and ends the turn.
Player B plays Reflector Mage, and targets Player A's Ashcoat Bear with the ETB ability. The bear is returned to Player A's hand, and Player A cannot play cards named Ashcoat Bear until Player B's next turn. Player B ends the turn.
Player C kills Player B with Lava Axe. Player B is now out of the game.
Which of the following things is true:
- Player A can immediately replay Ashcoat Bear.
- Player A cannot play Ashcoat Bear until the place where Player B's turn would have been if Player B was still in the game. In other words, when Player C's next turn comes up, Player A can play Ashcoat Bear.
- Player A cannot play cards named Ashcoat Bear for the rest of the game, because Player B never gets a "next turn."
Dec 24, 2015Joyd posted a message on So how are the Commander 2015 Confluences treating everyone?Mystic Confluence and Wretched Confluence are great because regardless of how useful the other modes are at any given moment, you can always cash out any extra choices you have for a card. Verdant Confluence can usually be used to get cards with any extra choices you have left over, but that's sort of all it's good for, and it's expensive. I won't say no to triple almost-Regrowth, but I think it needs a deck where at least two of the three modes have greater-than-normal value to be a really quality include.Posted in: Commander (EDH)
Righteous Confluence and Fiery Confluence are the two that I have the most experience with, and I think they're much harder sells. Neither has a mode that's reliably worth a card. Fiery is better, I think; there's usually enough artifacts and small things around to make it reasonable value, although I think it's still dead or weak more than some of the others. I've never used it this way, but having the full Lava Axe option available to finish someone off is nice. Righteous Confluence isn't very good, I don't think. Like Fiery Confluence, it doesn't have a mode that you can just cash in for a card, so after you're done exiling whatever dangerous enchantments are sitting around, you're left making little tokens or gaining life, neither of which are really effects that are particularly well-scaled for EDH. I do think the card is EDH-Reasonable, meaning that I wouldn't totally boggle at someone playing it, but it feels like a meta call more than an EDH staple. Its highest-value mode depends a lot on what your opponents are doing.
Dec 1, 2015If there are any enchantments that are really perfect, you could put them in the deck and then just play them when Daxos isn't in play. If the rest of your deck orbits Daxos, it's likely that your opponents will be happy to give you windows of time where Daxos is in the command zone, and you're probably running some board clears or maybe some flicker effects yourself. Things like Stonecloaker have general utility anyway, and can let you slip in enchantments without getting counters. It's kind of convoluted, but any enchantment-light/less Daxos deck is probably a bit of a crazy deck to begin with.Posted in: Commander (EDH)
Nov 4, 2015I have no idea what's going on with Anya, Merciless Angel. It's definitely not even close to what I was hoping for; it's a potentially big indestructible beater, but only that. Pretty boring, and I can't imagine what sort of deck I'd ever want to build around her. I guess she does sort of encourage deckbuilding around a particular goal, combos with Heartless Hidetsugu, and vaguely punishes decks that spend their life really fast, but it doesn't do any of those things well enough that I'd ever want to use her as a commander, and realistically it's a very tough sell as a member of 99 because it just doesn't do anything except hit. The commander damage rules also don't interact favorably from a strategic standpoint. If there's a commander that can become an indestructible 13/13 flier provided a condition is met, "everyone has taken 20 damage" is a strategically un-synergistic condition. I'd be very interested to know how this card ended up so wrong.Posted in: Commander (EDH)
It's a real shame that the color combination that most needed interesting and innovative commanders that push in new directions got redundant, boring commanders. Anya doesn't even fill a real flavor role, as there are way better R/W angel commanders that want to do the same basic sorts of things. This is probably the card I was holding out the most hope for, and it's a letdown in every way possible.
Oct 4, 2015Joyd posted a message on I think what we need most from the new commander set is a powerful Boros general.We know that red and white are allowed to do things besides make your team better at hitting people, because there are plenty of mono-white and mono-red legends that have effects that are not just making your team better at hitting people. The RW generals, for the most part, cluster very heavily around doing just that, however. (Brion Stoutarm being the only general that really pushes in a different direction.) There are generals like Anax and Cymede and Jor Kadeen that put some additional constraints on what goes in the deck in order to turn them on, but their payoff is still just making your team better at hitting people.Posted in: Commander (EDH)
I very much doubt that they'll print a RW commander that centers around lands dying, though. For that to make any sense, either the deck would have to be long on land destruction or contain a lot of lands that you sacrifice for an effect, and I can't see them doing either of those things in what's supposed to be an introductory (to the format) product. I suppose it could maybe be the backup commander.
If I had to guess, I'd guess that they go with some kind of Tamanoa/Searing Meditation angle. There's just not a ton of R/W overlap theme that's well-scaled for commander. (It could potentially also be a tokens deck, and artifact/equipment deck, or just another swing-with-the-team deck.)
Sep 27, 2015Joyd posted a message on swords to plowshares/path to exile... 4/6 man pods... opinions neededIn a total vacuum, Path is a one-for-two (albeit one that's typically extremely favorable compared to other one-for-twos). That makes one huge assumption, though, which is that whatever you're removing is only going to be worth one card, which is a horrible assumption in EDH. Almost every EDH deck plays tons of creatures that, left unchecked, will generate more than one card worth of advantage. There are obvious, straightforward examples like Consecrated Sphinx, but in context there are lots of cards that can be removed with Path to prevent more card advantage than if you hadn't used it.Posted in: Commander (EDH)
Of course, playing only one-for-two removal spells isn't a way to win, which is why only the most flexible, powerful, and efficient ones are even playable, nevermind good. (Path, Song of the Dryads, etc.) Nobody should be playing Flesh Allergy or something. The card disadvantage is a drawback of Path and cards like it - it's just a drawback that's on a card that's powerful enough to still be worth playing.
Sep 21, 2015Blue doesn't have as much to offer as some other colors, in terms of either allies or support for playing a bunch of guys who end up dying, but it does have the majority of the clone effects, which I think makes it worth considering. There's only a handful of allies that have EDH-scaled effects, and being able to clone them (or Rite of Replication them, especially) is handy. I don't know if that puts blue in the top three colors, though, especially after BFZ, which has no blue cards that care about allies (and only a few blue allies period.)Posted in: Commander (EDH)
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Dec 26, 2010No and no.Posted in: JuggMonger Blog
In the first case, it doesn't work because Isochron Scepter creates a copy of the imprinted card. The copy is still red, and so it can't even target the Silver Knight, because one of the things protection means is that it can't be targeted by things that are that color.
In the second case, still no. Protection stops exactly five things - Targeting, Being Equipped, Being Enchanted, Damage, and Blocking. In this case, damage is the relevant factor; something with protection from red can never be dealt damage by a red source, even if no targeting is involved.
Sep 28, 2010Unfortunately, the Chrome Mox trick doesn't work. It taps for one mana of any color that the imprinted card is, not one mana of each color the card is. So if you imprint the angel, your mox taps for W, U, B, R, or G each time, but doesn't tap for WUBRG all at once.Posted in: sjgjnr Blog
Oct 19, 2009Technically, the reason that you have more time to rebuild is because you have 40 starting life, not 99 starting cards.Posted in: rickskies Blog
It's a casual format, and what's important is that people are having fun. If a lot of the group finds Armageddon effects unfun (but feel that they need to play them to compete), sit down and chat with your group about scaling back on such effects.
Oct 1, 2009I'm not sure where you're looking, but if you're looking at actual decklists, like I am, then you're not seeing that many Baneslayers. The top 8 from the last five PTQs (the last five visible on Wizards' site) have 41 maindeck Baneslayers and 3 sideboard Baneslayers spread across the 40 decks represented. That's an average of one angel per deck. In only one case did a deck with any Baneslayers in it at all finish better than 4th. Only a minority of decks are playing Baneslayer at all.Posted in: legacy dude 345 Blog
Sep 29, 2009I don't love the mythic rarity myself, but nowhere in the history of official statements made about mythic has anything remotely like "just ment for casual play" been uttered. There's never been anything like a promise to never print a card as strong as Tarmogoyf again either. (Tarmogoyf was stronger than intended, and there's no way they can promise to never print a card that turns out to be better than they anticipated. It's not possible.)Posted in: legacy dude 345 Blog
I'm not happy about mythic, but the idea that the rarity was ever intended for only cards that wouldn't be popular tournement cards is pure delusion and doesn't have any basis in anything an official source has ever said.
Equally incorrect is the notion that Baneslayer Angel is played in "90% of the tier one decks". A simple glance at PTQ decklists show that that's completely untrue.
Mar 16, 2009Joyd posted a message on Magic is going in a direction I don't want to follow...I love it too when cycles and mechanics are connected by art cues; I suspect that the only reason it isn't done more is that it requires the set of cards that bear the mechanic to be fairly locked down by the time the art is commissioned, otherwise you get some cards that should have the cue and don't, and vice versa. (It's also possible to overkill it, I think; Suspend art started to look kind of samey after a while.)Posted in: Xanth Blog
I agree that Ravnica's "Who's side are you on?" flavor (and hip urban fantasy look) really helped catapult it into stardom, but the mechanical identities of the guilds certainly helped. (In many ways, the guild division was Rav's largest and most important mechanic.)
I suspect that, based on statements made on the WotC site, you'd find a lot of sympathizers within the company with regards to nostalgia for the Weatherlight saga, but relatively few outside. The problem, at least as they've put it, is that cards are not a good medium for telling a story. You can't guarentee that people will see all of the cards or any of the cards in a specific order, and out of context, many of the cards have very weak or confusing flavor. (I personally like to pick on Jilt, which not only has dorky flavor text, but has very little logical connect between the art, name, flavor text and especially the mechanics.)
In the You Decide! legend contest, the Weatherlight crew and their nemeses, as well as the legends of Legends, got largely beaten to a pulp in the voting. Part of that is probably due to recency; the poll ran while Ravnica was the new thing, and even though few Ravnica-ers made the bracket, people who hadn't been playing long were more likely to remember cards from Kamigawa or Onslaught than from Tempest. Part of it was probably also that a lot of the important story characters are on distinctly unexciting cards. Whatever other factors played a role, nostalgia for the Weatherlight wasn't enough to keep the crew from getting mostly eliminated in the very first round. Supposedly-beloved Squee got bumped off by no-thing Cromat, Hero Gerrard fell to B-List villian Ambassador Laquatus, and Karn got knocked off by Mageta the Lion, who I'm not sure is even a real character. (Being an angelic or demonic woman on a kick-ass card is apperantly the road to popularity; the final four were Akroma, Ink-Eyes, Visara and Reya Dawnbringer. Niv-Mizzet and Mageta the Lion were the only dudes to even top eight, and they had soft matchups.)
Personally, while I'm merely ambivalent towards the characters, I'm so glad they've shifted away from trying to tell a story on the cards. It just didn't work. The flavor works much better when the cards are a window into a world than when they're a window into a story. (I believe that there's a strong correlation between how closely tied a card's flavor is to the Weatherlight saga and how much of a flavor dud it is on its own. If the cards were really beautiful in how they told a story when you put them together, it'd be worth it, but they really aren't. (Okay, so the little guy with no pants is stabbing the big guy...I guess that's his verdict?...Wait, stabbing is discard and lifegain? What?))
Mar 15, 2009Joyd posted a message on Magic is going in a direction I don't want to follow...Sweep is technically an ability word, which is basically a keyword that doesn't have any rules meaning because the full text of the rules would have to be on there anyway. For all nonmechanical purposes, keywords and ability words do the same thing, which is label mechanics. Sweep has been admitted to be a mistake in retrospect; the Kamigawa mechanic that should have gotten an ability word was spiritcraft. (Whenever you play a spirit or arcane spell, do X.) The reason for ability words is a simple one - it gives mechanics that serve all the same functions that keyword mechanics do, but don't really need keywords to work equal billing.Posted in: Xanth Blog
Ability words get frowned at, I think, partially because they didn't get off on the right foot. The first ones were Sweep and Channel, which were not very popular mechanics at the tail end of a set not popular for its mechanics, and they were then followed up by radience, seen as the weakest and least interesting of the 4 guild mechanics in its set. It wasn't until hellbent that an ability word was tied to a popular mechanic. Nevertheless, ability words do everything actual keywords do in terms of grouping cards together, making a mechanic easier to promote, add some flavor, and so on. People like mechanics with names. Masques has lots of mechanics, but none with names, so it seemed like a set without any innovation. Some largish mechanics - rebels, slivers - are sort of incidentally self-naming, but things like the Invasion gating creatures don't stand out as a unified mechanic. (Gating would be ability worded today.)
Agreed on "Here I Rule". That's too dorky even for me. Shudder.
I think Tribal cards were sort of a neccesary evil; I think what everyone would have really wanted was just "Instant - Faerie" in the typeline. I guess there's some fiddly stuff in the Magic rules that breaks things if subtypes are allowed to mingle, though.
I don't see any correlation between number of keywords in a block and how well it's received; in particular, Ravnica had eight keywords, two ability words, a novel mechanical aspect (hybrid) a returning mechanical aspect (split cards), and is both my favorite block and one of the most popular blocks of all time.
Mar 15, 2009I believe that either Aaron or Maro addressed this somewhere, possibly in a "The Magic Show", but the gist was that they didn't expect players to view Shadowmoor as a multicolor set to the extend that they did, and so instead of it looking like multicolor is a popular theme that they return to once in a while, it looks like we can't go two years without having a multicolor set. Despite the fact that heavy hybrid and heavy multicolor play very differently and the sets use them in different ways, it really does seem like every single set, practically, is a multicolor one.Posted in: Surging Chaos's Realm of Ruination
That said, in the same interview, Aaron or Maro (wish I could rememember; I think it was Aaron) said that Fall 2009 is a theme that they've genuinely never done before.
Nov 21, 2008The Orzhov precon has advantages against other precons because it has a fair amount of removal as well as cards like Souls of the Faultless that effectively keep many creatures from attacking. Most precons are on some level trying to win by attacking with creatures and have a few key card, and the Orzhov deck is very well qualified to handle things like that. No precon deck is especially fast or consistant, and the Orzhov deck can prey on that. (I wouldn't normally leave such a rambly comment, but I once played the Orzhov deck in a precon league.)Posted in: Orbifold Blog
Oct 30, 2008I don't know if its something that appeals to you, but there are lots of niches in art where it's advantageous to have some background in computers and vice versa. As someone who started in computer science and stayed there, there's a lot of times I wish I had more of an art background.Posted in: Xanth Blog
Sep 10, 2008Really? You complain that you only get colorless mana on turn one with the fetchland. If you played the mountain on turn one, you would have had a colored mana, and your turn two would have been the same. If you didn't have a turn one play, then the fact that the land only produces colorless mana doesn't matter, and you should have played the CIPT land on that turn anyway, which would have negated its drawback entirely. There's no reason at all to play the Panorama as your first land -ever-, unless you have a one-mana artifact you can play with it or unless it's the only land you have in your hand, in which case you should not have kept a one-land hand. It's not especially complicated; not only is the order described not the best way to play the fixers out, it's hard to think of an order that's worse. (It's also unclear why, upon getting the ability to cast a CDE spell, you'd use that mana to cast an Obelisk.)Posted in: Confessions of a Rouge deck builder
Is this the best non-rare mana fixing in a set ever? No. Ravnica's was probably better. (Signets and Bouncelands are both very nice.) But you can make about any combination of cards look bad with senseless play.
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