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Nov 14, 2018Excellent analysis regarding third place being the safest position. I hope you're able to find a new group overseas.Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
Nov 11, 2018Posted in: Commander (EDH)
I know you didn't do this intentionally, but this is seriously one of my biggest pet peeves: people telling me what I can and cannot compare. Because, as a matter of fact, I can compare apples to oranges.
I don't know what it is about the kinds of comparisons I make that makes people react this way, but it gets under my skin because my comparisons are in good faith, and they are about as straightforward as I can possibly make them. Yes, Armillary Sphere can be compared to Divination. Easily. They both put two cards in hand. They both cost about the same. They both are one time uses. Armillary Sphere and Divination are more alike than they are unlike. Armillary Sphere and Hedron Archive are obviously much more different, but the only reason I even brought that card up was to demonstrate that, if what you want is ramp, you could do significantly better given the same amount of mana.
If the colored sources are important, you could still play virtually anything else that provides colored mana, and you would still come out ahead. Armillary Sphere may have been an acceptable card for Conflux limited where the five-color theme was prevalent, but it's scraping the bottom of the barrel when it comes to Commander.
It doesn't miss the point at all, and if you believe Divination and Think Twice aren't two cards that can be closely compared, you're living in crazy town.
I agree that powerful decks can create miserable games of Magic, at least provided that their competition isn't up to par. I don't think you really understand where I stand on this topic though.never playing Sol Ring.
See, my stance on Commander is that players should ultimately just play what they find fun. Now, given that, the nature of good deck construction is going to necessitate that players sometimes also play cards that are boring or otherwise uninteresting just because it makes their deck play smoother (which, in turn, makes their deck more fun to play). I liken these cards to axle grease, and Golgari Signet is a perfect example of that. There's nothing intrinsically interesting about Golgari Signet. All it really does is make mana, but it is powerful, and because it's powerful, it makes for relatively effective axle grease.
This is sort of the same space Armillary Sphere occupies. There's nothing about the card that's incredibly novel. It's just putting two land cards into your hand. Not exciting. Axle grease is important though. My beef with the card is merely that it's also terrible at being axle grease, so there's really no compelling reason to play the card at all. It's a boring, uninteresting card, and it isn't good at doing the job that other boring and uninteresting cards fill.
I disagree. Mono white is one of the worst colors you could put Armillary Sphere into since mono white already has access to some of the best land drawing effects in the game due to cards like Land Tax, Gift of Estates, and Tithe. Those sorts of cards greatly overshadow Armillary Sphere to the point where, if you ever actually wanted that effect, Armillary Sphere is so far down the list you should really never play it.Quote from Onering »It's reasonable enough in mono white, but that's it.
Nov 11, 2018Man, I hate this card, and I probably wouldn't even hate it so much if other people didn't like this card as much as they do since I wouldn't be exposed to it as often as I am and therefore wouldn't have to even think about it. See, here's my train of thought:Posted in: Commander (EDH)
Armillary Sphere is a card that costs four mana (potentially across two turns) and draws two cards. Now, at four mana, drawing two cards is bad. Really bad. Divination isn't already making the cut in any of my decks, and this is noticeably worse than that. Granted, at the earliest stages of the game, drawing two land cards could potentially be better than drawing two random cards, but even that's debatable, and once you leave the early game and enter the mid game and later, drawing random cards gets significantly better than drawing lands since the value of basic land cards tends to taper off quickly once you can make all the mana you can realistically use.
If what you want are lands, you could literally play any basic land card instead of Armillary Sphere. Yes, it would effectively be a random land if you were to draw it, so it wouldn't be quite the same as choosing your basics, and yes, it would only be one land, and not two, but considering you can basically get half of this card's effect for no mana at all, paying four mana for the rest is outrageous.
Alternatively, if what you want is ramp, this obviously isn't that either since the lands Armillary Sphere gives you go straight into your hand and not onto the battlefield. Maybe you often find yourself in the unfortunate position where you don't have any other lands in your hand to play, so you can just play one of the lands Armillary Sphere would give you for the turn, likening it to a Rampant Growth, but if that's the case, you could still do better for four mana by playing something akin to Hedron Archive. (Not to mention, you should probably be playing more lands.)
Now, I do have a disclaimer to make since I understand my critical analysis of the card is likely to ruffle some feathers. I like to call it the synergy argument.
Commander decks run the gamut, and perhaps while Armillary Sphere is in and of itself a *****ty card, maybe your deck synergizes so well with it that it's better than most other cards you could be playing. If that's the case, hey, go for it. I'm sure there's a deck out there that's perfect for Scornful Egotist too, and there's nothing wrong with that. Different decks will do different things and sometimes those things will make cards like Armillary Sphere look impressive enough to play. Having said that, as a standalone card, Armillary Sphere sucks, and you should probably avoid it like the plague.
Nov 11, 2018Dirk, have you given much thought to Howling Mine? I suspect your deck may be the perfect home for it since 1.) it masquerades as an innocent group hug card, and 2.) it helps keep you topped off while simultaneously fueling opponents who are much more likely to use their resources against one another than they are to use them against you (due to the construction of your deck), subtly making it an even more powerful Phyrexian Arena.Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
Something I find myself asking quite often is "What cards are the best of their kind?" Like, what cards are the best at gaining life, ramping, etc.? Often, these questions are difficult for me to answer, and determining which cards are the best at drawing cards is no exception, especially given the existence of cards like Howling Mine.
See, I find Howling Mine rather peculiar. At 2 mana, Howling Mine boasts one of the most impressive cards-drawn-to-mana-spent ratios for its CMC. Few other cards are as good as the Mine at drawing that don't also cost buckets of mana. Provided you can't tap the Mine however, the fact that it also funnels cards to opponents can't be ignored, especially given the multiplayer nature of Commander. But if, somehow, it were possible to ensure the cards it gave couldn't be used against you, Howling Mine's downside wouldn't be a downside at all. In fact, it would be a tremendous upside. Opponents pouring gasoline on each other would only further your own goal.
This is why I find cards like Howling Mine and Forbidden Orchard so intriguing and so difficult to evaluate. While their potential downsides may look terrible, it may also be possible that furthering your opponent's goals also furthers your own goal, making cards of this sort better than virtually anything else you could play in their respective categories (since the downsides of these cards are obviously used to balance their upsides, mana efficiency in Howling Mine's case), and I can't think of a deck more likely to be in that position than your take on Phelddagrif.
Nov 10, 2018I've tried to stay on top of this the best I can (I like to know who's running the show.), but the Rules Committee likes to stay rather aloof about this, and I can't exactly blame them. Anyway, to my best understanding, there are currently four members on the Rules Committee, which include:Posted in: Commander Rules Discussion Forum
Sheldon Menery (Sheldon), retired L5 judge
Toby Elliott (papa_funk), current L3 judge. I believe he was also an L5, but Wizards did away with L4 and L5 in recent years
Scott Larabee, current Organized Play Manager at Wizards of the Coast
I don't know who the fourth member is, though if memory serves me right, Devon Rule (obsidiandice) had to step down for one reason or another.
Nov 9, 2018I'm surprised nobody has mentioned this yet, so I'm going to say it now. Prophet of Kruphix will almost certainly never be unbanned because the Rules Committee is extremely reluctant to unban anything.Posted in: Commander Rules Discussion Forum
Now, that's not to say the Rules Committee has never unbanned cards. They certainly have, and we have the relatively recent unbanning of Protean Hulk as evidence of that, but given just how long it's taken the Rules Committee to unban cards like Protean Hulk, Kokusho, and Worldgorger Dragon, cards that, for the longest time, weren't anywhere near as problematic as perhaps they once were, there's little to no chance that a card like Prophet of Kruphix will be unbanned anytime soon since it is still perceived to be a problem (and rightfully so). Currently, we've still got cards on the banned list like Panoptic Mirror and Painter's Servant that still are very much like the Kokushos, and Worldgorgers of yesteryear, and if the Rules Committee has yet to address those cards (or continues to perceive them as being problematic), then Prophet of Kruphix isn't going anywhere.
Nov 9, 2018At this point, I'm going to take my leave. I could take a stab at worming my way through this new combo, but I'm not particularly interested in doing that since my goal from the beginning has been to prove that the combo you've been bragging about post after post is not the perfect, unbreakable machine like you've been claiming it is. And I've proved that. Twice now. With both your simplified and expanded combos, even after you made revisions to them.Posted in: Commander (EDH)
Well, here's the thing. You're using Cyclonic Rift and Sunder to justify the precondition that opponents can't control permanents. (And there are other similar "holes," but I won't get into those right now.) And sure, in practice, Cyclonic Rift and Sunder tend to get the job done, but if you're trying to build an unbreakable lock, those cards create vulnerabilities because there's nothing about how those two cards interact that prevent opponents from controlling permanents after they've been cast.
For example, imagine if an opponent presumed control of some card that was enchanted by Song of the Dryads prior to your assembly. When you cast Cyclonic Rift, Song of the Dryads would return to its owner's hand, but not the card it was enchanting. Then, once Sunder resolves, all lands would return to their owners' hands, but not the card Song of the Dryads was originally enchanting because that card is no longer a land. Similarly, a card like Thragtusk leaves a 3/3 beast token behind whenever it leaves the battlefield. Thragtusk in and of itself isn't a problem, but that doesn't mean some other card couldn't be because the way you justify your precondition that opponents can't possess permanents isn't rock solid.
This is why a page ago I said that trying to keep a lock like this confined to a single color is incredibly naïve. If you only have one color to operate with, you're probably not going to find the tools you need to adequately justify your preconditions. And sure, you don't need to justify those preconditions. You could just say, hey, this lock only works provided you don't control any permanents, and that would fly, but I think you'd also feel like that isn't really satisfying since those are such narrow parameters. That's a lot like saying, hey, you're trapped in a room, and you need this key to get out of it, so try and find the key in your room that unlocks the door, but you know full well that there's no exercise to be had in the first place since the key you need is outside the room to begin with.
And again, it isn't like you need any colors at all to make an unbreakable lock. Omen Machine will do that all by itself if the preconditions are absurd enough, as I've mentioned twice before, so arbitrarily limiting your colors only translates into having to implement more constraining preconditions.
But to answer your question, given no board state at all, I'm not sure. It appears as though there's no solution, but looks can be deceiving, as I've already illustrated with your previous examples. I certainly can't think of anything off the top of my head that will work on an empty board, but that doesn't mean no answer exists, only that no answer is apparent. I've certainly built locks that looked unbreakable only to discover a solution months later.
I'm glad you're finding it exciting because that shows you're more interested in finding truth than you are winning a petty argument.
If you remove Stasis, phased out permanents are going to give you a bad time.
Nov 9, 2018Posted in: Commander (EDH)
In case you're not satisfied by this answer alone, here's another answer that doesn't require Spelljack shenanigans.
Play Dryad Arbor for the turn. Cast Welding Jar, triggering Jace's emblem and Knowledge Pool. (Whether the Jar is ultimately countered by the emblem or exiled by the Pool doesn't really matter.) Next, discard Elvish and Simian Spirit Guide to flashback Acorn Harvest. How Acorn Harvest initially got into the graveyard is unimportant. Perhaps it was always there from the beginning. Perhaps it was discarded to hand size after Cyclonic Rift was overloaded. Maybe you got above the limit by naturally drawing a card each turn, discarded a Grave-Troll, and then filled your grave from there. It doesn't matter.
After Acorn Harvest resolves, sacrifice both squirrels and your Dryad Arbor to flashback Dread Return. Dread Return will then put The Mimeoplasm onto the battlefield. It will become a 17/17 copy of Crystalline Crawler by exiling Crystalline Crawler and Impervious Greatwurm. From there, remove five +1/+1 counters to flashback Past in Flames.
At this point, you can dismantle the combo in a number of ways as you now have 11 mana in any combination of colors with which you can use to cast instant and sorcery cards. (14 if you decide to flashback Increasing Savagery.) Play of the Game is, again, fairly straightforward.
Nov 8, 2018Posted in: Commander (EDH)
Well, provided I previously Spelljacked a Play of the Game or similar such card earlier in the game, I can disrupt the combo by casting that from exile after baiting out the Jace emblem with something like Welding Jar.Sunder to the cards to cast.
- Omen Machine
Of course, we talked about breaking the combo only after is assembled not meanwhile or before (which we know is too easy to do in endless ways), so now try to break it in a scenario where you can indeed draw all the cards you want, but you are starting with zero lands with a Stasis and Mind Over Matter combo in play (or even better, let's add also a Frozen Aether just to be sure, since I'm playing the Omnitell combo anyway).
I don't understand what you're saying here. Are you suggesting that a Possessed Portal plus a Wheel of Fortune and some other resource generating card will create an inescapable hard lock? Because, if so, you're way off. I mean, all anyone would need to do to disrupt that is destroy the Possessed Portal with some kind of activated ability (like Gorilla Shaman). That, or kill the Possessed Portal's controller.Quote from illakunsaa »I don't really get why you guys are going for such convoluted combos. Possessed portal + wheel and some way to generate resources means opponents can't draw their way out of the lock. So as long as you can counter their answer they currently have (which is pretty easy with counter spells) they are locked out of the game permanently.
Nov 8, 2018Posted in: Commander (EDH)
Ignoring the fact that your Omen Machine doesn't play nice with your Arcanis and that you still need to find some way to fuel Mind Over Matter endlessly (evidence that you haven't actually thought this through and really are just spitballing here), I'll nonetheless grant you bottomless cards with which to activate Mind Over Matter because it's not going to matter anyway.
Take your time to solve it I'm not in a hurry
Suppose I control the following cards since they are all lands and therefore immune to the prior Cyclonic Rift:
Life and Limb
Starfield of Nyx
Copy Enchantment, copying Starfield of Nyx
Conspiracy, naming saproling
A face down Grand Abolisher, manifested earlier that game with Soul Summons
An Oblivion Ring that previously exiled a Kederekt Leviathan
Some number of other saprolings.
None of the above listed cards initially interfere with any part of your combo's ability to function, and therefore none of them ought to be precluded as legitimate solutions. A Cyclonic Rift still happened. Nothing has shroud/hexproof and can still be tapped at the mercy of Mind Over Matter. I'm just beginning this exercise with these lands in play.
Begin by sacrificing two saprolings on your turn to Utopia Mycon, adding WW to your mana pool. This is a mana ability and cannot be responded to as it does not use the stack. Proceed to use this mana to turn your face down Grand Abolisher face up. This is a special action and also cannot be responded to as it does not use the stack. With Grand Abolisher now face up on the battlefield, Isochron Scepter and Mind Over Matter can no longer activate their abilities.
From there, sacrifice Oblivion Ring to Utopia Mycon. Oblivion Ring's second ability will trigger, returning Kederekt Leviathan from exile to the battlefield. Kederekt Leviathan will then trigger his first ability when he enters the battlefield and return all other nonland permanents to their owners' hands, dismantling the combo.
Let me know if I overlooked something by accident. Everything appears to check out from where I'm standing.
Nov 8, 2018Posted in: Commander (EDH)
Good point indeed. And now you're moving the goalposts. This is exactly why I asked you to clearly demonstrate your combo in the first place because now, after having literally just disproved your "perfect and unbreakable" combo, you're having to double back and revise it. Huh. That's strange. It's almost as if your combo was never perfect or unbreakable in the first place like I've been saying this whole time. How peculiar.
And your combo is still breakable even with the inclusion of Land Equilibrium. What if I have a Roiling Horror or Benalish Commander suspended with a million time counters on them? Those will kill you. How about if I possessed any phased out permanents prior to my first turn? You wouldn't be able to Cyclonic Rift those. And what about Kheru Spellsnatcher? What if I previously Spelljacked some card, and the card could still be cast from exile without paying its mana cost? You don't seem to understand just how wrong you are about this. And I didn't even touch on emblems.
So, now what are you going to do now that I've unraveled your lock again? Are you going to move the goalposts even further? Maybe you want to make the ridiculous restrictions you've given me even more restrictive by also removing my library? Or my exile? I'm fed up with you, man. Just admit the fact that you were wrong about this. Anyone can make a "perfect lock" given just an Omen Machine if the pre-existing restrictions are absurd enough as I pointed out here. Your lock isn't built as well as you believe it to be.
Is it annoying? Because what I find annoying are condescending attitudes from people who think they know what they're talking about but really don't have a clue and are too juvenile to admit it when evidence floats to the surface.
There are several ways to unravel this, but I need a bit of time to put them together since they're quite convoluted. Stay tuned. I'll have a solution to come.
Eot opponents for overload Cyclonic Rift, then starts my turn with Teferi, Omniscience, Enter the Infinite (I won't use Show and Tell since it could give unnecessary troubles to resolve).
So you got at the point all your deck in hand and cast everything for free, so that makes magicalchristmasland a viable reality.
Cast Teferi, Temporal Archamge[/card, The Chain Vail to start the infinite PW activation combo. Get the Jace, Reveler of Secrets emblem
Cast Mind Over Matter and then Stasis. You got all the deck in hand, so it's not a problem to tap and untap an endless amounts of times to make sure all permanents opponents got will be tappes ASAP (of present and future) and untap what you want all the times you want, mainly for the following reasons:
- Attacking with Teferi, the legend
- Making work the Teferi combo if somehow the Teferi PW minus ability itself isn't enough.
- but most of all, to make sure to make at istant speed any amount of endless casting of Trickind imprinted on a Isochron Scepter, so you'll always stop basically any ability possible at any time.
But how I will be sure to make a non-finite amount of triggers of Mind Over Matter at any time of the game? I will absolutely have cards to discard each time, and what should I do for the next turns anyway where I could eventually run out of gas? That's why I will cast also Arcanis, the Omnipotent, the Thousand-Year Elixir and the original Kozilek or Ulamog to make sure that no matter at what speed I discard the cards, I will always have the chance to reshuffle at any time any amount of graveyard in the deck and draw again thanks to Arcanis to make this a really endless draw and discard engine.
Cast obviously Omen Machine and Knowledge Pool to give Teferi a sense to prefer him as general.
And pass the turn.
At this point, in this scenario we have the opponents which can have all the cards of this world in hand, graveyard, exile, preminence abilities, emblems (except the famous Narset Transcendent of course) or lands to put on battlefield without ever gaining a single benefit from it, because every spell will be nullified either from the Knowledge Pool+ Teferi or Jace Emblem and every single activated or triggered ability from lands or other sources will be always shut down thanks to the Stasis and Isochron Scepter combo, working in conjunction with Mind Over Matter
Well, you're welcome to check out my signature. I wouldn't have wasted my time writing this out if I didn't already know all about this topic.
Nov 8, 2018Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
Haha. Just be glad I stepped down from the Primer Committee. I was like their strictest member.Quote from DirkGently »New version is up! Mostly just making the glossary prettier, in order to curry the favor of the primer committee. I can't believe how much work this takes =/
Nov 8, 2018Posted in: Commander (EDH)
Too lazy? Or too unwilling to expose your precious baby to harsh reality?
Anyway, let's see this new and improved version.
Seriously? This is it? What an absolute joke, dude. All I need to dismantle this lock are lands. By putting five Snow-Covered Mountains and a Mouth of Ronom onto the battlefield off Omen Machine's triggered ability, I can kill Teferi, and then go from there. Hell, I don't even need to do that. I could just kill Teferi's controller with two Islands and a Faerie Conclave. And all of that is coming from an extremely restricting position in which I'm denied permanents, a graveyard, and a hand. You're not anywhere close.Cyclonic Rift, Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir, Omen Machine, Sunder and then Temporal Cascade choosing the first mode. Then pass the turn.
And here you go the perfect and unwinnable lock after you manage to set-up all the pieces together. Only 5 cards and always staying in monoblue. I don't think we can do something more elegant than this.
And sure, could you add cards to your combo to stop the solutions I've presented? Absolutely. But that's just the thing. I've only presented you with two solutions. There are way more solutions than that. I didn't even have to get creative about it.
And again, you're dead wrong. A Tezzeret emblem would completely undo you. A Last Hope emblem would be more than just "mildly annoying." It would kill you. I didn't even have to scour the list of available emblems to know that what you're saying here is wrong.Narset Trascendent emblem, and could be mildly annoying the few ones that makes tokens from nothing, but aside that the rest of them are completely irrelevant after the lock is set up.
Whenever folks espouse bull***** like you do, I'm going to call you out on it because I genuinely know what I'm talking about, and I refuse to let it go unsaid that what you're claiming is absolute nonsense.
Nov 7, 2018Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
Eh, I boiled down human psychology into a single sentence, so I probably didn't do any justice explaining their behavior.Quote from DirkGently »I have to say that your opponents sound unlike most people I've played. Generally if I have something that makes me near invincible (constant mists for example, which I cut for that reason) I find my opponents are all the more motivated to find a way through, especially before it becomes 1v1 and they have no way to win. I'd expect them to be attacking with at least their commanders, provided no one else is a bigger, more immediate threat. Not to just go "well screw it, may as well play for second". Although really, 100 life isn't that crazy, I'm sure most decks can still beat that if they have a reasonable endgame.
Something I've noticed from playing years of Commander is that there's this interesting point where players will often attack me if I have too much life because it looks threatening (or the most life. That's a fun excuse ), but if I have an excess of life to the point where attacking me feels futile, opponents will usually direct their attacks elsewhere. I guess this is because, at a certain life total, the strategic benefits of attacking one opponent with 20 life are much more apparent than attacking a different opponent with 300 life. I was wondering if the same principle might apply to a card like Seasons Past.
I get what you're saying about Constant Mists though. Cards like that can potentially serve as deterrents, but seemingly have the opposite effect instead. Recently, I built a Memnarch deck, and Memnarch possesses similar qualities. While he could serve as a deterrent by threatening to steal my opponent's most valuable cards if they aggress me, more often Memnarch intimidates my opponents to the extent that they aim all of their firepower in my direction (and rightly so) since they fear Memnarch will create some kind of insurmountable advantage if they don't collectively work to stop him.
Nov 7, 2018arrogantAxolotl posted a message on Looking for big spells with unpredictable yet cool effectsFor whatever reason, Ignite Memories comes to mind. It isn't "big" in the sense that it's super expensive to cast, but the card is both powerful and unpredictable given a large enough (but not too large) storm count.Posted in: Commander (EDH)
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Sep 12, 2017Posted in: Articles
I don't think this is an entitlement thing for most folks. I think folks are just being skeptical about the change and aren't sure if they can trust Curse because they don't understand the imperative for the change.Quote from Ertai Planeswalker »As much as I dislike this change as the next guy, I do want to remind everyone that if you did not pay for anything, you are not entitled to anything.
Everybody who paid for your MTGS account, raise your hands
Sep 11, 2017Posted in: Articles
Would you be willing to elaborate on why this is true? I know that I'm being skeptical here and that the question I'm asking is pretty technical in nature, but I'm failing to see why this is the case. What makes the account merging more secure for users here? Aren't you still just dealing with the same number / types of accounts anyway?
Sep 11, 2017This is... huh? What? I don't understand what's going on here at all.Posted in: Articles
I don't use Twitch. I don't even like Twitch. Why do I have to merge my Salvation account with a Twitch account all of a sudden? Molster says it's because it provides more streamlined account security, faster user support, and an easier log-in process, but this is still baffling to me. Easier log-in process? How much easier could logging in be? My home computer already logs me in automatically. Everywhere else... it's just a simple username/password system. How could that process possibly be made any easier?
Maybe this is a security thing, and admittedly I know absolutely nothing about security, but how does merging Salvation accounts to Twitch accounts make things more secure? And why Twitch of all things? Why now? What's the prerogative for this change? Maybe I'm just being some cranky, old man whose resistant to change regardless if it's for the better or not, but I honestly just don't understand why this even needs to happen. I don't want a Twitch account.
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