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  • posted a message on Thought Experiment: Designing the Next Commander Set
    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.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on [[Official]] General Discussion of the Official Multiplayer Banlist
    Rule 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
  • 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.

    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.

    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Everything Token 2.0
    I know the thread is still in progress, but a few notes about the cards I have some experience with:

    - 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.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on [[Official]] Unreleased and New Card Discussion
    One 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.

    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.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on [[Official]] Unreleased and New Card Discussion
    The 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)
  • posted a message on [[Official]] Unreleased and New Card Discussion
    I 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)
  • posted a message on [[Official]] Unreleased and New Card Discussion
    Tazri 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)
  • posted a message on Reflector Mage in Multiplayer games
    Imagine four people are playing commander or some other chaos multiplayer format. The turn order is A, B, C, D.

    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."
    Posted in: Magic Rulings Archives
  • 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.

    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.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Daxos the Returned with no enchantments?
    If 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)
  • posted a message on [[Official]] Unreleased and New Card Discussion
    I 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.

    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.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • 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.

    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.)
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on swords to plowshares/path to exile... 4/6 man pods... opinions needed
    In 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.

    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.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Best colors for allies in EDH
    Blue 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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