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  • posted a message on Controlling Dissidents (Kess, Dissident Mage)
    A quick comment on Primal Amulet, note that the flip is a may ability and make sure you can use the mana it produces to cast something before an opponent gets priority, there is no shortage of land destruction in edh and most decks run at least a little (if only a ghost quarter or something). That being said, it has won me every game its managed to stick on the battlefield for and several where it hasn't stuck (because even copying the right thing once is good enough).

    Flipping it isn't a problem in my Kess deck at least, plenty of low mana spells I'm playing every turn anyway, the mana cost of the card is higher than I'd like and there are times it sits in my hand for a few turns because other things are more important to do, but its usually worth it in the end.

    Overall I recommend the card if you are taking advantage of a lot of 1-2 mana spells.
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on Controlling Dissidents (Kess, Dissident Mage)
    Quote from NedB37 »
    Played my first couple of games with Kess last night (decklist below, for reference) and while it felt good. I ended up quite hamstrung by playing against an Ayli deck that had sac effects. Without Kess on the table often/for long, the value wasn't there and my finishers were not around long enough to do much.

    It made me think i should be running a couple of 'reanimate' effects and maybe more protection? Also, maybe more splashy spells? I think i need to retool the deck a little as felt quite fragile. I definitely had answers but, quickly ran out of value without Kess being around. Feels nearly 'there', just needs some tweaks.


    Looking through your deck quickly, we're taking fairly different paths so everything I type here should be taken with a grain of salt but hopefully these suggestions can be of some help.

    A couple reanimation spells certainly wouldn't hurt you but I would be careful not to go too overboard there, you don't have a lot of reanimation targets and Kess already draws graveyard hate. I'd aim for spells that can hit opponents' graveyards as well as your own such as the titular Reanimate or Beacon of Unrest.

    As far as protection goes, Mizzium Skin and Veil of Secrecy feel like the weakest points in your protection and could easily be replaced by additional counterspells (which effectively do the same thing and more most of the times it matters) or more direct removal to deal with threats on the board. I don't know what your meta looks like outside of some sac effects but there is certainly room for more meta-specific answers here as well.

    You might also look into having a couple of alternate wincons such as Aetherflux Reservoir, Exsanguinate, or Mana Geyser (to fuel your Torment of Hailfire, get an early Insurrection/Mizzix's Mastery, or just cast enough to take control of the board); just make sure any wincon you add benefits the deck as a whole outside of just potentially winning the game.

    Lastly I have to ask about Secrets of the Dead; I know a lot of Kess players are trying it but it is both slow and very reliant on having Kess out for what it does, there is far better/more consistent card draw/filtering out there such as Mystic Remora, Monastery Siege, Search for Azcanta, Rhystic Study or Phyrexian Arena (to name a few).
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on Controlling Dissidents (Kess, Dissident Mage)
    Quote from Paulo Dechosa »
    I don't know if this card is good but Abrade might also deserve some merit as well as Yahenni's expertise. Is it better if i remove the expertise for anger of the gods though?

    Ive been running Yahenni's Expertise for awhile and am slowly coming to the same question. Its a good card but it really comes down to the targets you have available for the free cast. Looking through your deck though you have much better targets for it than I do so I'd guess its probably worth it for you to keep at this point, but keep an eye on it as you modify the deck and be sure your targets don't decrease too much in their desirability to use in combination.
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on Controlling Dissidents (Kess, Dissident Mage)
    Not sure how good Shaman's Trance actually is since I've somehow managed to never draw it, very curious to see how well it plays (because where else am I ever going to use it?) and I am going to play it with Magus of the Will/Yawgmoth's Will at least once before I even consider cutting it :P. Otherwise yeah, Praetor's Grasp was generally useful and won me a game once (stealing Eldrazi Conscription to cast with Mana Geyser).

    I have a copy of Acquire I'll probably be getting in soon along with Memory Plunder (which I'm a bit concerned about solely due to my current land base being a bit slower and less reliable to produce such a heavy combination of blue and black at all quickly), Bribery sadly has to wait until I have money to spend on magic again.

    Metallurgic Summonings has been on my list to try since I started making the deck but I've somehow misplaced my copy of it; once I find it/give up and order another copy I'll probably give it a try. Early runs of the deck I played Inspiring Statuary with Trail of Evidence, Trail was good but felt slow given that I was already running a bunch of other draw spells and the combination of them never came up so I ended up replacing them both.
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on Controlling Dissidents (Kess, Dissident Mage)
    First of all, thanks for making this thread, I had a hard time thinking of what I wanted to do with Kess and this was a good starting point. So let me provide my list and my own experiences playing this sort of Kess deck in the hope that someone can take something away from it.

    I spent a good chunk of this last week testing my Kess deck against a bunch of other decks in 4 person games so here are some takeaways from that.

    You can find my decklist here: http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/25-08-17-kess-dissident-mage/

    Broadly speaking the deck performed very well; I won the majority of the games I played with it. The early game was easily the most dangerous point in the game but the suite of removal spells mostly kept me from being a target once I started consistently killing things that attacked me and I had enough artifact removal to deal with things like Swiftfoot Boots and Lightning Greaves (though I do need to get an Arcane Lighthouse into the deck). Some of this will likely be less of an issue once I can pull a better land base together for the deck to get going faster. Once I had the mana up to cast things the deck quickly took control of the board and it was just a matter of beating people down, burning them to death, or going off with Aetherflux Reservoir. The biggest things stopping the deck were, as expected, enchantments; I only have a few answers (mostly Chaos Warp and Steel Hellkite realistically), so I'm considering running a couple of things like Memory Plunder or Bribery to help find answers to enchantments from elsewhere when I need them, though Aura Flux or Steal Enchantment might also be good options as a stronger solution, I just worry that they might be too specific.

    • Niblis of Frost -- Every time this was on the field I was completely safe and had complete freedom to beat people down, its so easy to play enough spells to tap anything you don't kill that poses a threat even slightly and I was often able to chain enough spells together to make it a ridiculously strong beater in the air. It does eventually start to draw removal, but I always got some use from it and that's one less removal spell targeted at Kess herself.
    • Dack's Duplicate -- I wasn't sold on this when I put the deck together, stunt double seemed better if I wanted a clone effect at all, but the dethrone ability on the duplicate pushed it over the top, it got me my opponents' best creature and then swung in, got a counter, and no longer was something that would trade with the thing it copied most of the time. If there wasn't a great target I just held onto it until there was and spent the turn spending mana on something in the graveyard.
    • Increasing Vengeance -- I truly thought I'd be cutting this card pretty fast but playing it with kess from the graveyard is always worth it and a number of my draw spells throw it into the graveyard for me when I don't need it early game.
    • Keranos, God of Storms -- To nobody's surprise lightning bolt is good and Keranos is a free lightning bolt most turns as well as a decent attacker/blocker, not to mention drawing another card on land draws.

    • Talrand, Sky Summoner -- Yes, I'm running board wipes that wreck him but he's a strong card and I figured I'd give it a shot. Turns out he just doesn't work well here. I rarely wiped him out myself (though it did happen), but he doesn't attract removal so much as he does the use of board wipes which get Kess killed. The few times I managed to get a decent number of drakes off of him were strong but they weren't game winningly so.
    • Hypersonic Dragon -- Giving flash to sorceries turns out to not matter enough to be worth 5 mana, even if you attach a 4/4 flyer with haste to it. The air presence is nice but there is probably something better to take the spot, even if I don't know what that is yet.
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on [KLD] Which one Masterpiece do you want and why?
    I couldn't bring myself to keep any of the expeditions I opened so I'm sure I won't keep any inventions either but....

    I love crucible of worlds and the swords, static orb is probably the most likely thing I'd keep though because its not going to jump up massively in price and still fits into one of my edh decks
    Posted in: New Card Discussion
  • posted a message on Commander Precons - a good way to get new players into the game?
    I'm a big proponent of going out and picking up the free 30 card starter decks for new players initially to learn (since those are fairly well balanced against each other and simple in mechanics, could also look up deck lists of those online, you probably have most of the cards, or similar enough, that go in them already), I do think the smaller deck size helps a lot in getting use to the game.

    From there, I'd point your friends toward the deckbuilder's toolkit, which, if you each get a copy, provides a fairly balanced base upon which to build a variety of decks in any given colors that will be relatively balanced against one another (depending on deck building skills), I think the limited card pool there helps a lot in getting use to how things work and eventually figuring out what color(s) they like more and would want to make more serious decks out of. Though as others have said, if you have the people in your area who play it, pauper is a really nice and inexpensive way to get straight into a more competitive magic setting.

    But basically, start small, expand outward and introduce them to new formats slowly, maybe take them to the Kaladesh prerelease in a couple weeks once they've learned the game a bit. Commander is fantastic, but you really need a solid grounding in the game before you play it.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Oloro, Ageless Ascetic Esper Stax *Revival*
    Quote from Kylar »
    so a new card got spoiled, Underhanded Designs looks good to me.


    It's interesting, especially since I'm running thopter spy network in place of Sorin lord of innistrad in my Stax deck, but I don't think it does enough to take up a slot in the deck, it's only hugely useful after I'm set up and well defended, any earlier and I'd rather have almost any other card, and late game I'm focused more on getting some combination of cards that will secure the win, which underhanded designs can't do fast enough. Thus far the only kaladesh card I'm grabbing a copy of for my deck is inventors fair.

    Anyway, interesting pivot you made between the last deck you posted Kylar and the current, curious to see that none of your previous changes seem to have survived.

    My only real thought on your new list is questioning whether academy rector actually works or not, seems a bit expensive, and game state dependant, wonder if idyllic tutor or just straight out running Zur the Enchanter would be better for the purpose.

    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on PAX Kaladesh Spoilers - Saheeli Rai, vehicles, energy, other mechanics
    Haven't seen it mentioned here but we have 3 videos on their youtube channel with commons/uncommons in them I haven't seen listed here:

    Fabricate spotlight, Glint-sleeve Artisan, Aether tradewinds instant, servo creature token

    Energy spotlight, shows the energy reserve token, nothing else that hasn't already been mentioned here

    Vehicle spotlight, some commons/uncommons, another vehicle

    Don't have time to pull out stats or images on stuff right now, nothing incredibly impressive, but hey more cards.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
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