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  • posted a message on Monoblue beatdown
    Step aside fools, I've come with a real suggestion:

    Sun Quan, Lord of Wu

    The dragon of the south may seem a bit overcosted, but he's more like an overrun almost. You lay him out after the army assembles and then use his horses to alpha strike!
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on EDH. 3 color mana base help
    Quote from Sharpened »

    It's a fine card. It's definitely not the second best land after Command Tower.


    I don't even think command tower itself is close to being #1 or #2. Gaea's Cradle is legal. And cradle isn't even #1 in its own cycle.

    Exotic orchard and CT are top 30, sure, but top 5?!?! When I can play strip mine and volrath's stronghold? Taiga, tundra, etc?
    No way, get real.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Random Card of the Day: Vesuva
    Quote from jonnybgood23 »
    Pillarfield Ox? The legend returns.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Please help my Mizzix live to see anither turn!!!
    Clout of the dominus is really quite good. But also recognize your commander of choice falls into the category of "Kill-Me-OR-Die" generals and her natural lack of resiliency is part of how she's balanced as a card.

    My suggestion is to streamline your deck towards suiting the scenarios in which she survives and enjoy the glass cannon she's meant to be.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Going Infinite and "I Win" Combos Outside cEDH.
    Quote from DirkGently »
    I used to play Magic with a Pheldagryff guy fairly regularly, and he was pretty much Purple Man/Killgrave from Jessica Jones at the multiplayer table. Players followed his suggestions like they were orders, against all semblance of self interest. It was unreal.
    What would you dooOOOooo for a hippo token? (to the tune of the klondike bar jingle)

    I tend to favor a lighter touch of merely manipulating the board state to motivate people to do what I want. But sometimes people need a little hippo-shaped incentives to do my bidding. Muhaha.


    This is why the Hippo is evil. Every time I see one, I happen to be playing aggro/something apolitically dangerous, and I lose to the politics, nonsense, and machinations produced by a purple 4,000 lb. semiaquatic mammal flying on the leathery batwings of Hitler's whimsy.

    Every. Single. Time.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Going Infinite and "I Win" Combos Outside cEDH.
    Quote from DirkGently »
    Quote from Yatsufusa »
    I can tell where you're coming from and how my structure feels like it's going against some sequence of logic. Let's start with this: "The primary plan is primary plan because its the best one." There we have our first disagreement - the primary plan is the way you hope to win with, the janky brew idea(s) you intended as the deck's base and not necessarily the "best" one. The "Combo" is the backup because its the one that needs the least components in order to technically win, but if you win with said combo you are actually just "closing the game proper" than actually "winning", because you've failed to win via the primary objective.

    Yes, at the start of any given game, the backup "combo" is inherently more powerful because you can tutor for it straightaway and win, but as I said, closing the game without accomplishing your primary objective is "pointless" so to speak. Doing so while your primary objective pieces have not been disposed of is doubly insulting to the deck's brewing purpose. Of course, this is only within context of decks of equal or lower calibre - if plunged into complete cEDH, it becomes your typical logic of "best plan = primary plan... or rather, given the prevalence of removal... the decoy plan."

    I can already feel your potential cringe of the start being like that - I'm spending resources (draw, tutors) building on a weaker plan, but at the same time I'm also forced to spend the same resources on removal and the like to deal with threats (and combos if combos are someone's primary plan). By the time the primary plan is worn down to be impossible, not only do I lack the resources to promptly just summon the backup, part of several combos might have already been spent since it's important to make sure your combos aren't just "two cards stuck into the deck", each and every piece must also have synergy with the primary weaker plan.

    Let's use the zombie plan as an example (since I actually have one) - My primary plan is to beatdown with as many zombie (preferably the 2/2 tokens I collect) as possible. I do have my share of counterspells to stop wipes, but the secondary plan against wipes is to sacrifice them and let Plague Belcher/Vengeful Dead do the job (likewise, against pillowfort and the like, Shepherd of Rot is also a secondary plan). The kicker comes in when I know I have run out of resources to reliably ensure I can muster enough zombie (tokens) for either plan against the opponents' plans and/or life totals in time - now I need to use whatever resources I have (usually draw, not tutor) to find Gravecrawler and Phyrexian Altar (or Rooftop Storm and some sac outlet) and I'm potentially still screwed if either Belcher or Vengeful is completely out of the realm of recovery.

    If we're playing cEDH within the closer group and/or the new player outright declares cEDH and/or tells us to play our best, gravecrawler, altar and plague belcher might be out as early as first to third turns (depending on draw/tutors) and it would still be answered safely. In such games, the "backup" plan becomes the "decoy" plan because you expect it to fail and it's actual purpose is simply to exhaust the opponent's resources. The primary plan usually still retains because we're spending each other's removals on each other's "decoys" (hence the actual need for several backups/decoys in some decks). If I walked into a casual game doing that it would be a three-turn game at most that doesn't even accomplish the decks' primary goal because the decoy won... so it's a decoy victory and essentially as worthless as a backup/closer one (which is why they're the same).

    If I removed the teeth of the decoy/backup plans, all I'm left is the midrange grindfest that honestly makes the primary plan itself boring (especially since the combos are also interweaved into the theme - Gravecrawler is equally useful in sac-lose-life plan even when not infinite and Altar is great ramp for the deck regardless, I could replace Altar with Ashnod's instead, but it falls to the Magic Feather argument - I have the Phyrexian which is better why "cripple" myself during deckbuilding instead of when playing? Sure in theory I could swap Altars depending on the players, but in practice I usually play with people of the same caliber and my resources are already split across multiple decks of around the same level (so they can form an apocalypse constructed cube), so that means having to double unsleeve and double-sleeve the altars (and bringing said decks with each other all the time, I'm not cherry-picking cards from several other decks to form a sideboard).

    As for the "fragile part" - we're in multiplayer edh, with me tilting towards the competitive end... nothing is durable, there are answers for everything by anyone on the table (even for protective measures). The value of a decoy/closer is in how many pieces it requires to assemble so it can either outspeed removal (in cEDH), dispose of removal for the future at a low cost (decoy function) or assemble successfully in the window of opportunity that both draw and removal resources were halted by the primary plan doing well enough to demand all the attention in order cripple it down (backup/closer function). Yes, there are bad times where everything just fails and you just sit there twiddling your thumbs, but the whole design philosophy is to minimize such cases from happening, without decoys/backups, it a whole lot more common than one would imagine.
    See, if it were me, I think there are loads of things you could do to prevent the main plan from running out of gas. There are quite a few mass reanimation spells, in case of a board wipe. There's big and/or recurring draw to reload if you're low on gas. There's your own board wipes and hand wipes in case your opponents are getting ahead of you on board or hand, to bring them down to your level. Granted, you'd have to draw them for it to be relevant, but the same is true for a combo. And at least each of those pieces is effective on their own. Phyrexian altar is a pretty weak topdeck if you've got no board. There's also plenty of cards that are reasonable standalone wincons - geth, lord of the vault comes to mind. Razaketh. Sheoldred. Necropotence. If you're building your deck well, I think it should be pretty unlikely you'll ever be totally out of the game.

    But ignoring the specifics of your deck, one thing you've mentioned a couple times that I disagree strongly with is the idea of being relegated to a "kingmaker" because you've run out of gas. In any reasonably-balanced game, every player should have some impact on who wins the game, even though obviously most of them won't win it for themselves.

    Take, for example, a game I played the other day. I'd been missing a lot of land drops over a long game, so my 2 remaining opponents (rakdos and nikya) were sitting on 10+ lands each while I only had 6. All of us were at relatively low life. I knew I couldn't win a 1v1 against either of them, so my goal became to prolong the game. Rakdos player attacks the nikya player for 5, and since I left it up (myself being at 9) and having nothing else to use it on, I used kor haven to prevent the damage, because I deduced that my best chance to win the game was in prolonging their conflict, so that they might exhaust each others resources and give me a fighting chance against the victor. Well, rakdos didn't like this tactic and so targeted me with rakdos's return for 8, putting me to 1 with no cards in hand. On the next turn, nikya killed him with a card he had in hand.

    Now, if I'd not been there rakdos definitely would have won, he had the damage and the ability to strip his opponents hand. But he played badly, targeting me because I annoyed him rather than targeting the real threat. Does that make me a kingmaker? Well, if I'd been targeting the rakdos player with the goal of helping nikya win, then yes. But I would argue that, so long as you're acting with the goal of maximizing your own chance to win the game, you can't be a kingmaker. If you're in topdeck mode hoping to draw into one of the cards I mentioned before, and someone overextends attacking you and gets killed by another player, that doesn't make you a kingmaker either. The only time someone is kingmaking is if they intentionally help another player win. And nothing about being on the ropes forces you to do that.

    Now, at the end of the day, having fun is the only real goal of commander. Playing to win is merely a path to that goal. If your group really enjoys playing this way, then go nuts - nothing I say can change that, if it's what you really truly prefer. I still suspect that you might have more fun if you all built decks that were maximally fun when played to win, rather than decks that need to be misplayed to be fun, but I really have no way to prove or disprove that conjecture. What's more important is that everyone is on the same page. Even if that page is WRONG. Grin
    Quote from Cainsson »
    Wrong. I've lost count of the playgroups I've played in where your deck was called cutthroat even if it was all dumb french vanilla creatures just because you happened to have a Bayou.

    Casual can't be defined. What's casual and fun to me is finding suboptimal ways to win even if I have access to better plays. Wheter or not that's casual to you isn't very relevant because we don't play each other.
    I've been playing dual-lands in commander decks in many different groups (hell, in multiple countries) for years, and no one has batted an eye. I'm not even sure if anyone even hardly noticed, or at least they didn't say anything. You can certainly make a decent manabase (at least for 2-3 color) without them, though, especially duals. I can't exactly refute your experiences, but I also find it hard to believe you'd need to have a combo backup plan in a group where people are losing their minds over a slightly blinged-out manabase.

    I have no idea why having better ways to win that you don't use would make anything more fun, but ok. At the end of the day, as long as everyone is having fun, that is what counts. For me, I find playing to win at all costs, provided the deck is constructed properly, creates difficult puzzles, interesting interactions, and an overall satisfying experience, win or lose.

    But maybe you have more fun if you know you could win in the back of your head. Make sure to let your playgroup know about it next time. Then you can find out if their definition of fun is the same as yours.
    This is I think the source of all this dissonance of opinion: You appear to believe people are usually strictly logical beings. We are not, hence why the study of modern economics (founded on realtively simple logical principles) is rarely practical and often only theoretically applicable.

    Very often we place what we want over what might be "optimal" because we simply prefer it. Therefore, telling us that our in-game reasoning is stupid in an idiosyncratic, unsanctioned game mode where social settings influence the rules (and their supporting logic) is only a stone's roll away from "My fun = best fun" or "everyone should play like I do", and I know you know those are fallacies.
    I don't think logic really factors into this at all. Logically there's no real reason to play commander in the first place, except fun, which is of course subjective. My assertions are based on my experience that the most satisfying and fun way to play commander - or any format - is to play to win, because it takes all the nonsense that happens during the game and turns it into an adventure of discovery. When you terminate your own creature to prevent your opponent gaining life off a hexproof lifelink creature, and then kill them on the next turn - that's fun because you're discovering strange things about the game, like sometimes killing your own creature can be the right play. If you terminated your own creature just "for the lulz" then you really haven't discovered anything. And multiplayer commander amps this up tenfold - realizing that giving your opponent back a counterspell with shieldmage advocate is a way to stop a tooth and nail is an interesting new dimension, a whole new direction to explore that doesn't exist in the 1v1 game of magic. If you're not playing to win, then none of this is interesting anymore because it loses its context. Stopping the tooth and nail isn't important because letting it resolve isn't a problem, if your goal isn't to win.

    BUT, that's just what I find fun about the game. Maybe you find something else - like holding back on a superior plan because it would result in an unsatisfying game, while still keeping that plan in the deck because you can't (for some reason) balance that deck without it - to be more fun. There's nothing objectively wrong about your position. But, as with the other posters, I'd recommend you share your perspective with your opponents, and let them know you may well have a way to win that you aren't using. If they also agree with your method of achieving fun, then mazel tov, it's a match. But don't expect me to want to play with you.

    EDIT: having thought about it some more, I think a lot of the enjoyment I get from magic is from viewing it as a puzzle, where the goal is to find the best plays in order to win. I think it could be also fun to have some other goal that you're trying to puzzle towards, but you'd probably best make sure the rest of your group is cool with it.

    This is probably why I don't enjoy tabletop RPGs - they're less about trying to solve a puzzle, and solving them in the same way one tries to solve magic is generally viewed as metagaming and frowned upon.


    I understand your position, but I don't feel like I play in a blowout combo meta. It was just the paradigm I walked into at my LGS; to pack extra hollowpoint bullets but hold them until we're bored of fireworks. Dunno why it's like that, dunno who started it.

    But after a couple years, you figure out how other people play and play what you know is acceptable and effective.

    P.S. I wouldn't really want to play against you either (despite the vast statistical unlikelihood and my appreciation for you as a regular poster). A picture of Pheldagriff is what you'd really find if you shaved Damien Thorn's head and that's one satanic migraine I would merrily avoid.


    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Combatting Ramp
    Quote from Buffsam89 »
    I play "MLD Tribal". There's not a single time where I resolve one, that it doesn't end the game in my favor.


    Wait, I though MLD was used to rein in the ramp player? I thought it was to police those high curve decks from getting out of control? MLD isn’t some tactic to “help” anybody from the ramp guy, it’s a win-con for you. I thought the point of this discussion was how to handle ramp, not how to win with MLD. See, entitled. So the guy can’t ramp to 100 and win, but you can blow sh** up and win.

    In short, you aren’t playing Armageddon to slow down ano ramp player, you are only playing it to win.


    Alright, say I'm in a war against you. By the very nature of the war, our strategies and resources are in contention. So if I build an army of Panzers to roll over your borders and meanwhile, you nuke my capital city, you have a) beaten my tanks because my entire government is dead and unable to lead, and b) won the war. Drinks is saying combating ramp and winning are not mutually exclusive, which is a pretty goddamn sound and valid statement in context of a card game, no?
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Going Infinite and "I Win" Combos Outside cEDH.
    Quote from DirkGently »
    The primary plan is the primary plan because it's the best one, the one with the best chance of winning. The backup plan is the next best chance of winning. And so forth. You switch to the backup plan when the chances of the first plan succeeding become lower than the backup. All these decisions are predicated on trying to win the actual game, though, and playing your best. If you've got your better plan as your secondary, then there's no logic to when you switch plans - because logically you should switch the moment the game begins.


    This is I think the source of all this dissonance of opinion: You appear to believe people are usually strictly logical beings. We are not, hence why the study of modern economics (founded on realtively simple logical principles) is rarely practical and often only theoretically applicable.

    Very often we place what we want over what might be "optimal" because we simply prefer it. Therefore, telling us that our in-game reasoning is stupid in an idiosyncratic, unsanctioned game mode where social settings influence the rules (and their supporting logic) is only a stone's roll away from "My fun = best fun" or "everyone should play like I do", and I know you know those are fallacies.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Going Infinite and "I Win" Combos Outside cEDH.
    Quote from DirkGently »
    Well, not using combo, it's the only way I can be satisfied. If I use a combo...tch, over too quickly.

    Apologies to Mandy Patinkin.

    I have complicated feelings on combo.

    On one hand, I find (at least well-known efficient combos) to be a really boring way for a game to end. I think people who are play competitive decks in casual games, especially if they don't make any disclaimer or apology about it, to be in poor taste at a minimum. I think that combos are the easiest way to win at basically every level of deck strength because it reduces the opportunity for your opponents to respond - and the tide of threat and response is a big part of what makes magic great, so limiting that ability, especially in combination with cards like teferi or conqueror's flail, significantly reduces the enjoyment I get out of those games. But it's definitely very strong.

    But what's interesting is that, while I think some people gravitate towards combo because they're building too competitively, I find a lot of people include them - or at least claim to include them - for almost anti-competitive reasons. A lot of them are in this thread. Generally the reason is given as something like "I don't tutor/play it early, but if the game is going on too long and it needs to end, then I'll tutor/play it." That is, they presumably have games which they could have won but chose not to, in the name of creating an enjoyable game. Which is kind of fascinating to me, since it's almost treating the game like it's D&D or something - about trying to create an experience first rather than an actual competition. Which I'm sure is how some people see the format, but for me, I like commander because the competition first, which creates an experience that I enjoy. And I hate tabletop RPGs because it feels too much like making your own fun. If I knew how to have fun I'd just be doing that. Games give me a structure that I can understand, and then fun naturally happens while following that structure (if it's a good game).

    Personally I almost never feel like the game has gone on too long. I can happily play a game that lasts for hours and hours. But I also generally pack combo-breakers and I can threat-assess like a champ. Which might be why my games always last so long, come to think of it.

    Anyway, I basically never pack combos. The vast majority of people I've played commander against - and I realize this is going to sound condescending as hell - aren't really at the same level as I am, in terms of how much time they spend on magic in general or commander in particular, or how well they "get" the game. In limited I have plenty of opponents that are on a similar level, but commander I usually feel like an adult playing against children. I win too many games already. If I played combos I'm pretty sure I'd be completely insufferable.


    Emphasis mine. As someone who stated prior in this thread an opinion aligned with the faction you're referencing, I can tell you it isn't for "anti-competitive" reasons, just acknowleding practical realities. I can go play EDH at most twice per week for about 4 hours each time. If one game takes the whole four, or even just three, I get to play that many fewer games in an already limited window.

    Furthermore, by reserving combos as a mutually agreed late game tool, it adds a cold war fear to the game that I find intriguing. The land war rages on, but secretly we're all building nukes. It's spicy IMHO.

    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Going Infinite and "I Win" Combos Outside cEDH.
    I think Combos are like a nice little hollow point in your bandolier for finishing up an otherwise untenable situation. On the other hand, I believe in the exhaustion of my preferred methods before moving into that territory.

    In general though, I think one/two maindeck combos is just good form as they constitute a viable plan B with a minimal deck construction cost. Too often I see players complain that their deck has been made 'pointless' and they 'can't win' because their plan A is getting sat on by X stax card, Y strategy, or Z whatever. Devoting 4-6 slots to preventing that scenario is pretty easy.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on League Issues
    So here's the question I think you need to ask yourself and sort of what ISBPathfinder was getting at (I think): Is lock out/extreme stax welcome in your league at all? Because if the strategy is a) competitively viable and b) operating within all the other parameters of the league, I think you should leave it be. It's not really much different than wiping a table with a combo, except the onus of the losses is on the players who choose (prematurely or otherwise) to consider themselves beaten.

    Either way, I don't think punishing the competent player is the correct situation in an admittedly competitive, prizepool-oriented environment like a league.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on I need suggestions for an agro deck...
    Goreclaw can present lethal as early as turn 5 with a good hand and practically vomits creatures with a greater good. That's my 2 cents.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on What Card Do You Wish You Owned for a Deck?
    I've always wanted play Darien, King of Kjeldor but I hear Mana Crypt is a must...
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Random Card of the Day: Vesuva
    My favorite part is the Dali acid trip background.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Can EDH be 'Almost (or somewhat, even minimally) solved'?
    Quote from MRdown2urth »
    Ban tutors.


    You're really out to die on this field, aren't you? I don't even think that makes sense in response to the OP's question. This is a question of "can", not "should" and Ban tutors is approaching it at an angle that's tangential at best.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
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