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Magic Market Index for April 20th, 2018
 
Pauper Review: Dominaria
 
The Limited Archetypes of Dominaria
  • posted a message on Question Regarding Vanquisher's Banner
    Assuming you are not playing games where people try to win before turn 5, then it is a serviceable card for Edgar Markov.

    Here is the thing, at least in my Edgar Markov deck, I have dedicated slots for different effects. My lands, ramp, card draw, instant speed spot removal, graveyard hate, anthems, protection, and the vampires themselves. Whenever possible, cards will overlap like in this case.

    For anthem effects, I prefer to use the following:

    Puphoros, God of the Forge - EtB triggers are more important, but it can double as an anthem.
    Door of Destinies - A dead card late game, it is so strong early that it is worth using a fast tutor to find on turns 1-3
    Glory of Warfare - that +2 power boost is so strong that I have thought about Dictate of Heliod and Obelisk of Urd
    Sorin, Solemn Visitor - The lifelink is why I am wiling to pay 4 for this. It keeps us in games
    Eldrazi Monument - I use this because it grants indestructible, and often forget that it also gives flying.
    Vanquisher's Banner - This is the worst anthem in my deck, yet still makes the cut over other anthems.

    ============================================

    here is the thing, Glorious Anthem only costs us 3, so we are paying two more for the potential card draw, which also slows the deck down. That is two more turns you won't get the benefit, which matters, and that you normally don't have nor do you want to follow up by casting a bunch of creatures from you hand to benefit from the card draw.

    That being said, Edgar Markov can take more advantage from this card than my wife's cats deck. We are rewarded for casting our creatures with free 1/1 tokens (now 2/2 or larger), and the deck is filled with one, two, and three drop vampires. this also allows us to chain creatures and card draw in a single turn and flood the table and still keeping a full hand.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Who do you think are the top Commanders in competitive multiplayer?
    Look8ng at that list, I am surprised at what was once some of the best decks have fallen to 2 or below.

    Zur has been near the top going back to 2007 and maybe before. He has never been unseated.

    I remember when Azami, Dralnu, Oona, and Narset were all once at the top or darned near the top.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Is Commander killing Magic?
    I do think that EDH/Commander has failed to invoke the kind of nostalgia that most players felt about the game circa 1993/1994 while it was still in it's infancy because back then everyone was on a level playing field with no race toward the bottom.

    What nostalgia are you talking about? As I illustrated earlier, at the competitive level, the best players found the best decks really fast. The rest of the casual players were sitting around having no idea what they were doing and making terrible decks out of garbage cards. How is that any different today? There are plenty of garbage decks and inexperienced casual new players who have no idea what they are doing either today.

    Yeah it sucks when you play against Brian Weissman's "The Deck" or Turbo Stasis but that's the price you pay for that nostalgic feeling that isn't present in EDH/Commander. To some former Magic players it's the only desire to play anymore, EDH/Commander doesn't even come close.

    Again, how is that any different today? You can still make a terrible deck to play with your friends, and then take it to a store and get dominated by good decks. What nostalgic feeling are you talking about? You sure are vague here. No real examples.

    Everything about MTG nowadays has become too formulaic (...)

    Again, it always has been with Inquest magazine, but shared knowledge and article took longer to spread the information around. A perfect example is the Sly deck which established the basic ratio of lands, spells and creatures for a fast aggressive burn deck that is still copied to this day.

    The game is always evolving. When I started laying, "Draw-go" control was the only real way to play control for years. only in more recent times has that style completely died and been replaced with "tap out control," which is thanks to better cards being made. Cards with can take an active role in control instead of just a passive one. Blue Black Faeries was the start, but it certainly set the new standard of that style of play, where you can cast game changing creatures and take active control of games. Before faeiries, Sea Stompy was toying with the idea, but never took over Standard. The seed had been planted though and it grew from there. The game is always evolving and generally getting better. Are you nostalgic for the days of Ebony Rhino? I don't get it.

    (...)with illustrations becoming too "politically correct"(...)

    I can ONLY assume you mean cards like from alpha showing a pentagram, with its bondage faerie, and how magic got rid of demons and replaced them with horrors oops demons were brought back over 15 years ago. Maybe you are talking about how there are finally gay and transgender characters? If so, then you are coming off as bigoted, which I will happily assume you are not, as that would be the dumbest thing to complain about and make everything else you say irrelevant.

    (...)where the "Magic" that a lot of players and collectors felt 25 years ago is dead and gone.

    You really had ought to read more about resonance and the design philosophy from Magic 2010 onward. In a nutshell, when the first sets came out, they had a ot of resonance. Then over the years, with the creation of brand specific intellectual property (IP), that resonance was lost. Everyone knows what an angel, vampire, demon, dragon, elf, goblin, lightning bolt, fireball, and so forth are. When you hold one of those iconic cards, without even knowing the rules, you have certain expectations as to what they will do in game. Howeve,r what is a new player to the game going to think when they open a pack of New Phyrexia going to think? What is a Phyrexian? I have never heard of one of those outside of magic.

    You see, they can get away with it with Eldrazi as cosmic eldritch horrors stolen from HP Lovecraft, Unicron fro transformers, Galactus from Marvel Comics, and so forth. Even the Titans from Greek myth. Old gods who have returned and you are but an insignificant ant to them.

    The point being, that magic over the last 9 years or so has made a big push to return resonance to the game, and that you couldn't be further from the truth. Be it Innistrad and out return, Ahmanket's Egypt theme, Khans/Dragons of Tarkir, and so forth. The sets ooze story and resonance more than any sets since maybe Arabian Knights.

    I'm sure Sheldon Menery had good intentions to revive whatever creative spark was left from MTG in order to help cure the monotony of netdeckers ruining creative thinking when it comes to deck building but at the end of the day his format isn't as widely respected as some people like to believe. It's becoming too competitive to the point for all the reasons why nobody wants to break into Legacy and Vintage. Old School 1993/1994 Magic may be too expensive due to how scarce the cards are with all the Reserved List staples but it still beats the kind of high variance you'd get from EDH/Commander where the low variance aspect isn't as toxic as the current environment for Standard, Modern, and Legacy.

    You are no longer complaining about commander. You have become the "Old man yells at cloud" joke in the Simpsons at this point. You are just complaining about how you see magic as a whole,and you are demonstrably wrong. Comically wrong. "I can write a 10 page essay showing you how wrong you are but don't want to waste my time because it isn't worth it" kind of wrong.


    There's an argument as to whether or not If Old School 1993/1994 Magic is the best place to put your time, money, and effort into compared to EDH/Commander. (...) Even If you're a newcomer that missed the boat on Old School Magic back when it was played 25 years ago you can still print off proxies with an ink jet printer.


    No, there isn't. If I cared enough, i would ask to meet you on Magic Workstation to play old school 40 card 1993 magic with you and just win turn one all the time while you can play lands and Savannah lions or what ever casual jank you want to play and then you can run away with some excuse or complaint. Otherwise, you will also play a competitive turn 1 win combo deck and it comes down to who wins the coin flip, and we really might as well not even play magic... or we can use a ban list. oops, now we are going down the slippery slope that real magic went down that led us to today.

    Maybe you want to play 60 card 4x copy magic? I will still beat you turn one every game with power 9 + Demonic tutor, channel, fireball, and so forth. Maybe we still need a ban or restricted list.

    Shall I continue? Magic was far more broken back then that it is today.

    You are tugging at the heart strings of nostalgia for a day when you and your friends played with bad cards and didn't know any better. That has nothing to do with the era of magic, but your own ignorance. Once you open Pandora's box of knowledge, there is no closing it.

    ==============================================

    When it comes to commander, the lack of variance is the result of tutors. the ability to consistently get what you want from your deck is what makes games repetitive and streamlined. If you want to play commander with higher variance, then just start a group where the best tutors are frowned upon and everyone agrees to play without them. After all, when you can't go find anything you want in a 99 card singleton deck and are at the mercy of what you draw, then redundancy becomes king, and still some of the variance vanishes because you have percentages of similar effects with different names, and some being more powerful than others.

    That is the nature of this game. You cannot change that, no matter how much fist waving at the sky you want to do about these darned kids and their elder dragons and their highlanders.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Is Commander killing Magic?
    I do think that EDH/Commander has failed to invoke the kind of nostalgia that most players felt about the game circa 1993/1994 while it was still in it's infancy because back then everyone was on a level playing field with no race toward the bottom.

    What nostalgia are you talking about? As I illustrated earlier, at the competitive level, the best players found the best decks really fast. The rest of the casual players were sitting around having no idea what they were doing and making terrible decks out of garbage cards. How is that any different today? There are plenty of garbage decks and inexperienced casual new players who have no idea what they are doing either today.

    Yeah it sucks when you play against Brian Weissman's "The Deck" or Turbo Stasis but that's the price you pay for that nostalgic feeling that isn't present in EDH/Commander. To some former Magic players it's the only desire to play anymore, EDH/Commander doesn't even come close.

    Again, how is that any different today? You can still make a terrible deck to play with your friends, and then take it to a store and get dominated by good decks. What nostalgic feeling are you talking about? You sure are vague here. No real examples.

    Everything about MTG nowadays has become too formulaic (...)

    Again, it always has been with Inquest magazine, but shared knowledge and article took longer to spread the information around. A perfect example is the Sly deck which established the basic ratio of lands, spells and creatures for a fast aggressive burn deck that is still copied to this day.

    The game is always evolving. When I started laying, "Draw-go" control was the only real way to play control for years. only in more recent times has that style completely died and been replaced with "tap out control," which is thanks to better cards being made. Cards with can take an active role in control instead of just a passive one. Blue Black Faeries was the start, but it certainly set the new standard of that style of play, where you can cast game changing creatures and take active control of games. Before faeiries, Sea Stompy was toying with the idea, but never took over Standard. The seed had been planted though and it grew from there. The game is always evolving and generally getting better. Are you nostalgic for the days of Ebony Rhino? I don't get it.

    (...)with illustrations becoming too "politically correct"(...)

    I can ONLY assume you mean cards like from alpha showing a pentagram, with its bondage faerie, and how magic got rid of demons and replaced them with horrors oops demons were brought back over 15 years ago. Maybe you are talking about how there are finally gay and transgender characters? If so, then you are coming off as bigoted, which I will happily assume you are not, as that would be the dumbest thing to complain about and make everything else you say irrelevant.

    (...)where the "Magic" that a lot of players and collectors felt 25 years ago is dead and gone.

    You really had ought to read more about resonance and the design philosophy from Magic 2010 onward. In a nutshell, when the first sets came out, they had a ot of resonance. Then over the years, with the creation of brand specific intellectual property (IP), that resonance was lost. Everyone knows what an angel, vampire, demon, dragon, elf, goblin, lightning bolt, fireball, and so forth are. When you hold one of those iconic cards, without even knowing the rules, you have certain expectations as to what they will do in game. Howeve,r what is a new player to the game going to think when they open a pack of New Phyrexia going to think? What is a Phyrexian? I have never heard of one of those outside of magic.

    You see, they can get away with it with Eldrazi as cosmic eldritch horrors stolen from HP Lovecraft, Unicron fro transformers, Galactus from Marvel Comics, and so forth. Even the Titans from Greek myth. Old gods who have returned and you are but an insignificant ant to them.

    The point being, that magic over the last 9 years or so has made a big push to return resonance to the game, and that you couldn't be further from the truth. Be it Innistrad and out return, Ahmanket's Egypt theme, Khans/Dragons of Tarkir, and so forth. The sets ooze story and resonance more than any sets since maybe Arabian Knights.

    I'm sure Sheldon Menery had good intentions to revive whatever creative spark was left from MTG in order to help cure the monotony of netdeckers ruining creative thinking when it comes to deck building but at the end of the day his format isn't as widely respected as some people like to believe. It's becoming too competitive to the point for all the reasons why nobody wants to break into Legacy and Vintage. Old School 1993/1994 Magic may be too expensive due to how scarce the cards are with all the Reserved List staples but it still beats the kind of high variance you'd get from EDH/Commander where the low variance aspect isn't as toxic as the current environment for Standard, Modern, and Legacy.

    You are no longer complaining about commander. You have become the "Old man yells at cloud" joke in the Simpsons at this point. You are just complaining about how you see magic as a whole,and you are demonstrably wrong. Comically wrong. "I can write a 10 page essay showing you how wrong you are but don't want to waste my time because it isn't worth it" kind of wrong.


    There's an argument as to whether or not If Old School 1993/1994 Magic is the best place to put your time, money, and effort into compared to EDH/Commander. (...) Even If you're a newcomer that missed the boat on Old School Magic back when it was played 25 years ago you can still print off proxies with an ink jet printer.


    No, there isn't. If I cared enough, i would ask to meet you on Magic Workstation to play old school 40 card 1993 magic with you and just win turn one all the time while you can play lands and Savannah lions or what ever casual jank you want to play and then you can run away with some excuse or complaint. Otherwise, you will also play a competitive turn 1 win combo deck and it comes down to who wins the coin flip, and we really might as well not even play magic... or we can use a ban list. oops, now we are going down the slippery slope that real magic went down that led us to today.

    Maybe you want to play 60 card 4x copy magic? I will still beat you turn one every game with power 9 + Demonic tutor, channel, fireball, and so forth. Maybe we still need a ban or restricted list.

    Shall I continue? Magic was far more broken back then that it is today.

    You are tugging at the heart strings of nostalgia for a day when you and your friends played with bad cards and didn't know any better. That has nothing to do with the era of magic, but your own ignorance. Once you open Pandora's box of knowledge, there is no closing it.

    ==============================================

    When it comes to commander, the lack of variance is the result of tutors. the ability to consistently get what you want from your deck is what makes games repetitive and streamlined. If you want to play commander with higher variance, then just start a group where the best tutors are frowned upon and everyone agrees to play without them. After all, when you can't go find anything you want in a 99 card singleton deck and are at the mercy of what you draw, then redundancy becomes king, and still some of the variance vanishes because you have percentages of similar effects with different names, and some being more powerful than others.

    That is the nature of this game. You cannot change that, no matter how much fist waving at the sky you want to do about these darned kids and their elder dragons and their highlanders.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on What is Draconic Dominance Missing?
    Yeah, trample and artifact removal are important.

    I had a game this morning into the earpy afternoon which came down to his Scion deck and my vampires.

    My Eldrazi Monument, and his inability to destroy it or trample over me is why I won.

    My vampires all got flying and cpuld chump for days. Door of Destinies got up to 6 counters on it quickly because my deck is filled with vampires witch a converted mana cost between 1 and 3. Dark Prophecy was a synergy with the Monument. I sacrifice a token, lose a life to draw a card which was often a vampire, play it and get a counter on the door and a token, which were all larger and eventually stopped chump blockig and were 8/8 or larger.

    A simple artifact hate spell could have taken out the monument, then plague wind effects would have eneded it for him.

    I cannot overstate how important Rakdos Charm is.

    That thing kills an important artifact, can be instant speed graveyard hate to stop a combo like infinite turns or anything else nasty, and the 1 damage option has caused my wofe to second guess when she should try to combo with infinite tokens. She is still mad at me for knocking her out of a game like that.

    That is what I see as missing in your list. You don't need a lot of answers, but it doesnt seem like you have enough. Many games are won onnthe backs of stopping a combo or answering a nasty artifact or enchantment. Especially in Commander.

    You might take a look at Aura Shards. That wpuld go well with Broodmother and constatnly trying to cast one or more dragon every turn if able.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on What is Draconic Dominance Missing?
    Quote from Gashnaw »

    Fist of suns. you seem to miss the part that it is all my spells for WUBRG not jut creature spells. So spells like In garruk's Wake, Plague Wind and Rise of the dark realms have their cost reduced by 4.

    No, I literally counted that. As I said, there were 13 cards in the deck, 8 of which were creatures, which benifit from the Fist. Obviously those are the 5 non-creature spells, and as I said, that is not nearly enough cards to benefit mathematically to justify having that card in your deck. At least, not in my opinion. Not to mention that you are not trying to play those spells on turn four (with ramp) or five, as they are not nearly as impactful. The turns you are ready to cast them, you should have the mana for them and they should pretty much win the game for you on the spot without really needing to save a few mana on them. I cannot see myself ever wanting to draw and cast Fist of Suns in a deck like this. I think it goes a lot better in Ramos.

    =======================

    As for the other dragons, I did not read any compelling argument for them. As in, if I were trying to copy your deck and optimize it, they would be gone without a hint of regret. Saying something is "bait" is really weak. Every creature in your deck should be "bait," especially in Dragons, where every greature is a battle-cruiser threat. There are better dragons than those, and the deck already has enough good threats while needing to clear up room for more support... they are the easy cuts to make room for said support.

    Remember, i am not trying to be negative, just make constructive criticism . I actually like how tight the list is and how few obvious weak points there are. I have shared the list with my best friend so he can study it and steal ideas he likes.

    When I am pointing out 10 cards out of 99 and two of them are lands you are already changing, that is a credit to the deck. I just think you can get more value out of improving those other eight slots.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on What is Draconic Dominance Missing?
    Quote from Gashnaw »
    snip


    Alright, great.

    Looking at the list, here are the cards that stick out to me as bad, and why:

    Crystal Quarry - This loses you one mana to get you five colors. Getting your colors should not be a problem in this deck. I would rather have City of Brass and Mana Confluence

    Pillar of the Paruns - This doesn't have the option to add colorless for mono colored spells or artifacts, so this is the other card i would cut to make space for City and confluence.

    The rest of the lands seem obvious and perfectly fine. If there was any problem, it is that you will roll over and die to Blood Moon, but i think we worry about that when it becomes a consistent problem, not before.

    Fist of Suns - How often are you casting 6+ casting cost spells for only 5 with this? how many Dragons which cost 7+ are you cheating into play instead of using your normal cost reduction and just hard casting them? Mathematically, there are only 4 non-creature spells this cheats the casting cost of. As we know, your 6 drop dragons are really 5 drops because of The Ur Dragon, so it doesn't even help them. that means only 8 creatures and the commander benifit from this artifact. That is a total of 13 cards + The Ur Dragon. to me, that is not nearly enough cards to make it worth it. Moreover, it doesn't get around commander tax:

    Fist of Suns doesn't replace any additional costs or cost increases, so you still have to pay the Commander tax. In game terms, Fist of Suns provides an alternative cost [CR 117.9]. The Commander tax is an additional cost [CR 903.10].


    Channel the Suns - This is basically a ritual that gives you +1 mana for the cost of a card. Unless I am missing something, you are not doing anything to abuse this spell. You are not reducing the cost to a single green. You are not copying it cheaply to add 10 or more mana, or going infinite with it. I wouldn't ever want to draw this or burn a card from my hand to cast it. To me, this is an easy cut.

    ===========================================================================

    That is not many "obviously bad" cards, so I give you a lot of credit for building a solid list.

    Here are the dragons I question, and why:

    Kolaghan, the Storm's Fury - I understand that the +1/+0 stacks with each Dragon, but he is a "win more" card. When he is the only dragon, it doesn't matter, and if you have three or more attacking... you are already attacking with three or more dragons, does the +3 or more really matter at that point?

    Scion of the Ur-Dragon - If you are not interested in having him as your commander, then how excited are you to draw him in the 99? This deck isn't really built around him, so how much good is he doing you in the 99? He doesn't benefit from cost reducers, and you need seven mana if you want to activate him with haste, which also cannot be reduced. I think he need to be cut for something better too.

    Dragon Broodmother - Maybe I am undervaluing this creature, but it doesn't look like you are taking advantage of Devour 2. You are not using Dragon Fodder or anything like that. That must mean you are just creating 1/1 dragons for EtB triggers and when you attack like with Kindred Discovery. That seems alright, but very slow. It also doesn't benefit much from your additional colorless cost reducers either. I just cannot imagine being excited about top decking and casting this.

    Dragonlord Kolaghan - In commander, his second ability will never trigger, so this is only really in the deck to give haste. That's alright. I guess it is a redundancy.

    Tyrant's Familiar - How often do you have this and The Ur Dragon in play? How often don't you? That 7 damage to a defending creature is very nice. Just how often is this just a 5/5 for six (or less with other cost reduction)?

    Draco - I assume this is in here because you have a cool looking foil. I get it. It costs 10 less once you have all five basic land types, then an additional 1 or more less thans to The Ur Dragon and other cost reducers. Casting a 9/9 flyer for 5 or less is for real. However, unless you get one of your +1 power effects online, that 9 power sits at a funny place mathematically. At 10 power, you cna kill someone in four attacks, but at 9 power, it will take five turns without other help. that may seem trivial, but it isn't. especially when multiplied by two or three opponents. That means two or three more turns to kill people. That adds up. Still, a 9/9 for five is nasty. A Skullclamp and/or Loxodon Warhammer would really make a difference in the deck, and especially here. Suddenly you would have a 10/8 with life insurance, or a 12/9 with trample and life link.

    ===========================================

    I only see six cards that really give you card draw. I like all of them, but are they really enough? I assume that your tutors are used to find Kindred Discovery, because that is your best card draw by far. It helps that you have the two tutors, and once you get Kindred Discovery going, I am sure you snowball into card advantage. Still... I like to have more draw in my decks.

    There was a great artcle on the Wizards of the coast forums before they were taken down a few years ago that did the math of commander. It talked about four kinds of cards: Lands, ramp, draw/tutors, and "action spells." It showed the math between a deck with only lands and action spells vs a deck with 34 lands, 11 forms of ramp, 12 forms of card draw/tutors, and 42 action spells. It demonstrated that over the course of 10 turns, that despite having fewer action spells in the deck, the one with ramp and draw will see far more action spells each game and have access to more mana to cast those action spells (in addition to mana spent on ramp and card draw) than a deck without it. The main point was that players don't use enough ramp or enough card draw, and until you are hitting those numbers or higher, you probably are not playing enough.

    Again I know that Kindred Discovery can go crazy, but what about when you don't have it or a tutor? then what? Additional draw spells will help you dig deeper, and I might cut some of the weaker dragons in favor of more draw. that way you hand isn't full of weaker dragons and you can dig deeper to the dragons you want.

    Finally, I see nothing to answer nasty artifacts or enchantments other than Steel Hellkite. It seems like if someone plays any kind of meaningful defense against you, you are done for. You have zero outs... and are in five colors. That just wouldn't work for me.

    ================================================

    I hope that helps. It is just my opinion from my experience. Take it for what you will.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on What is Draconic Dominance Missing?
    Quote from Gashnaw »


    Not usre if I mentiond it but the reason I play dragons is because of the Ur-Dragon. Prior to ur-dragon i did not like the only 5 color option i had (Scion) s i had heistated heavily on building dragons.
    Upon teh spoilers for the Ur-Dragon i was hyped. Having never been able to play Dragons before due to only having Scion, I was psyched.

    SO If i did build scion i would focus on a much more aggressive play style with consistent win cons and a much faster ramp package. But i was not aiming for the re-animator build, and I like having the ur-dragn in my command zone, that -1 helps a lot more than you may think (But my deck has a lot of -1 or -2 effects. It gets to the point where I am casting dragons for colors only, or in some cases (Like Steel hellkite and Draco) cast em for free.


    Hey, that is great. I did not read every post, mostly because it was started back in like august or something and had been brought back to life several days ago.

    Well, the other typical advice i can give and was giving to my best friend while he wanted to focus on The Ur Dragon was to have lots of ramp to compliment the cost reduction, and signets are my favorite because they help fix your mana and give you hints on which dual lands or shock lands to fetch up on those early turns.

    As I said in my last post, you have to evaluate your play groups as well. If you games are ending on turn 4, there is not much we can do to help you. Otherwise, I suggest you have 12-14 ways to draw cards or tutor for card draw. With a lot of ramp and cost reduction combined with the desire to play a lot of dragons, you need to back that up with quality card draw to refill your hand and keep you from running out of gas.

    You never posted a deck list on the front page in the opening post for us to follow your changes like most people do, so I am not sure what your deck looks like right now.

    I will quote Tomer Abramovici from his article Budget Commander: $20 Draconic Domination Upgrade from Oct 09, 2017. Even what I cut and paste below is just a sampling and the highlights of what he wrote. He literally answers the question you pose in the title of this thread.


    Right out of the box, Draconic Domination is a beatdown deck that's all about playing big splashy Dragons, usually casting one per turn, and swinging in for big damage. There are tons of heavy-hitting Dragons that get even deadlier with more of their brethren on the battlefield, such as Scourge of Valkas and Kolaghan, the Storm's Fury. If you manage to stick just a few of these Dragons on the board together and they don't get answered immediately, chances are you'll win the game in short order.

    Since you'll be playing relatively few cards per turn and each card is a sizeable threat, Draconic Domination is well-suited to survive tables full of board wipes (e.g. Wrath of God) but may struggle with targeted removal (e.g. Swords to Plowshares) and sacrifice removal (e.g. Grave Pact). The deck does run Scalelord Reckoner and Monastery Siege to help protect against targeted removal and runs some graveyard recursion, but nonetheless it's a weakness to keep in mind.

    (...)

    I can't help but grin like an idiot when I look at The Ur-Dragon; this card is just plain epic! Huge mana cost for a huge, flashy as hell card, the epitome of Battlecruiser Magic in my eyes. The Ur-Dragon would've instantly been my top pick for a commander back when I was a wide-eyed Timmy new to Magic, and even now as a crotchety old man this card warms my cold, pessimistic heart. The Ur-Dragon is the ideal leader for a Dragon deck that wants to cast Dragons, which is a stark contrast to how Scion of the Ur-Dragon wants to play.

    Is The Ur-Dragon a good commander for Draconic Domination? Yeah, absolutely! Dragons are a high-cmc tribe, so unsurprisingly the deck has a whopping average 4.37 converted mana cost! For reference, my decks generally have a 3.5 average cmc. That's insane! Because of the crazy high cmc of your spells, The Ur-Dragon's mana cost reduction is a huge help, reducing the cost of 28 cards in the deck. The mana reduction is honestly the main draw of The Ur-Dragon; it will sit in your command zone for the vast majority of your game, passively helping ramp out your big Dragons. Yeah, it has a huge powerful effect when it enters the battlefield, but at a whopping 9 cmc, The Ur-Dragon won't spend much time on the battlefield.

    If you're looking to upgrade the deck and building specifically around The Ur-Dragon, the goal remains the same: casting big Dragons and winning with them. You're playing The Ur-Dragon for its eminence; casting it is just the cherry on top.


    What Is The Deck Lacking?

    As I often explain in my Budget Commander articles, every time I build a rough draft of a deck, I make sure I have a certain ratio of mana, interaction, card advantage, etc. This gives me a reference point to compare to the deck and see which areas may need improvement. My general ratio is:

    50 mana; lands and ramp; usually a 38-12 split
    10 sources of "card advantage;" I use this term loosely, but mostly looking for card draw or any spell that nets me 2+ nonland cards in hand / directly into play
    6 targeted removal split between creature / artifact / enchantment removal
    3 board wipes
    2 recursion
    2 flexible tutors
    1 graveyard hate
    1 surprise "I Win" card

    That's always my starting point, which is then tweaked to suit the individual deck's strategy, and further tweaked with playtesting. I always find it immensely useful to figure out some quick ways to improve the deck in question. Let's see what the rough ratios are for Draconic Domination and how it compares:

    54 mana/ramp: 37 lands and for ramp we've got The Ur-Dragon is an enormous one and counts more than anything else since it's always available, Dragonlord's Servant, Dragonspeaker Shaman, Farseek, Cultivate, Kodama's Reach, Sol Ring, Wayfarer's Bauble, Armillary Sphere, Commander's Sphere, Darksteel Ingot, Fist of Suns, Dreamstone Hedron, Frontier Siege, Curse of Opulence, Curse of Bounty, Herald's Horn, Ramos, Dragon Engine
    9 "card advantage": Intet, the Dreamer, Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius, Teneb, the Harvester, Painful Truths, Elemental Bond, Palace Siege, Curse of Verbosity, Herald's Horn, Kindred Discovery, you can count Dreamstone Hedron too but I don't
    7 targeted removal: Scourge of Valkas, Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius, Ojutai, Soul of Winter, Tyrant's Familiar, Rain of Thorns, Frontier Siege, Fractured Identity, and there's also Scalelord Reckoner / O-Kagachi, Vengeful Kami but those rely on your opponents so I don't count them
    6 board wipes: Ryusei, the Falling Star, Silumgar, the Drifting Death, Steel Hellkite, Deathbringer Regent, Crux of Fate, Fortunate Few
    4 recursion: Teneb, the Harvester, Bladewing the Risen, Palace Siege, Haven of the Spirit Dragon; Boneyard Scourge gets itself back but that's not what I want
    1 tutor: Scion of the Ur-Dragon
    1 graveyard hate: Nihil Spellbomb
    1 surprise "I Win" card: Hellkite Charger can let you take a bunch of extra combat steps with Savage Ventmaw or Curse of Bounty, which should be enough to deal lethal damage to all your opponents

    It looks like Draconic Domination covers most of the ratios very well. It has above-average mana/ramp, which makes sense given its high average cmc. It has a good deal of interaction, including particularly good ones like Crux of Fate leading to one-sided board wipes. Even the mana-fixing is pretty solid, which is surprising considering how many people were complaining about the "poor fixing" the deck comes with. The deck covers its bases well, even if some of the card choices are subpar, like Dreamstone Hedron and Fist of Suns in the role of ramp.

    The biggest weakness in the deck would be the lack of tutoring. The deck runs a lot of situationally great cards, from Nihil Spellbomb to ruin Reanimator decks to Silumgar, the Drifting Death locking down Go Wide strategies. However, you really need tutors to make sure you find those cards at the right times. Scion of the Ur-Dragon is fantastic at temporarily becoming a Dragon answer to a problem, but that's only one card in the deck.

    I also feel the deck's card advantage department needs restructuring. The deck is built so you won't be casting more than one or two spells per turn, so you typically won't have an empty hand but you still want some raw card draw to make sure you're hitting your land drops and have options on what you can cast. Big cards like Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius draws cards, sure, but you're paying a lot of mana for that 5/5 body; you'll want a couple more mana-efficient ways to draw cards like Painful Truths.


    That is kind of it. A five color dragons deck doesn't have to be a strict reanimator deck, but if you are not abusing your graveyard to your advantage, then you are not playing the deck to its fullest potential.

    I hope some of hat helps.

    Oh, and how many people are you playing again? If you are playing 4 player games and your win loss ration was 4-4 like you said in your opening post, then you are doing well. Any 4 player situation should have a 25% chance of victory with all things being equal... which they never are. Having a 50% win ratio (double of what should be expected).
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on What is Draconic Dominance Missing?
    I would like to just share my experience:

    My wife bought Wizards and Cats, I bought vampires, and my best friend bought Dragons. He is newer to magic and Commander, but I have been holding his hand and helping him the best I can along the way.

    He is buying shocks and fetches, and I directed him towards getting all 10 signets as ramp. One goal was to play turn 2 ramp so you can follow up on turn 3 by casting a five drop dragon. That plan helped him out a lot to open games up. Over time, he began to find better support cards, card draw, removal, etc.

    We eventually got to a point where I showed him how much better it was to swap Scion with The Ur Dragon. Now he is able to cast a turn 4 Scion consistently. he follows that up with a turn 5 activation, turning Scion into The Ur Dragon, attacking, drawing a card and slapping down a nice permanent for free, and smashing for 10 commander damage.

    Depending on the board state, one move is to go for Atarka, World Render and the double strike Commander knock out punch. Getting in for 22 flying commander damage by turn 6 is quite good and forces opponents to dig for spot removal.

    Another goal is to just get Teneb and reanimate The Ur Dragon.

    When we play, the toolbox nature of Scion also bails his deck out of games. Silumgar, the Drifting Death has done wonders at slowing down Vampires and getting Dragons out of tight spot.

    =======================================================

    Really, everything depends on what your play group looks like.

    For example, I have seen Animar, Soul of Elements cast on turn three and combo his creatures out and win on turn 4. I also notice that Narset, Enlightened Master ramps out on turn three, then attacks on turn four and almost always wins with what she reveals, between mass land destruction, extra turns and extra combat steps. My own Mizzix deck can consistently ramp into Mizzix on 3, dig & tutor up a combo on 4 and go off on turn 5.

    If that is who you are playing against, neither Scion nor The Ur Dragon are really a deck you should be playing. On the other hand, if you are playing games that want to go to turn 8 or later, I have found the deck can be quite powerful.

    The thing O reminded my friend was:

    • Wizards want to slow the game down and play defensive control until they find a combo or otherwise take over the late game with a single powerful turn.
    • Vampires like to swarm the table and then pump their army
    • Dragons, on the other hand, want to hit like a ton of bricks. One powerful strike, often with a trigger for attacking or dealing combat damge.
    • Cats (depending on go tall, go wide, or go equipment) are somewhere in the middle. They are not as fast as vampires, but they hit harder, but not as hard as dragons. Being in GW, they tend to have some of the best answers of all the decks, with plenty of artifact, enchantment, and creature exile while still swinging for a lot.

    This advice helped him understand his role at the table. I told him that he cannot expect to just churn out a swarm of creatures in the first three or four turns like Cats or Vampires, but when his deck does get rolling, it tends to make big splashy changes to the game state.

    In fact, because he is using Scion of the Ur Dragon as his commander now, he has actually begun to find an entire reanimation sub theme.

    in fact, because of the play line where he goes for The Ur Dragon as his first transformation, this has resulted in The Ur Dragon seeing more play time on the battlefield than it ever had when it was leading the deck.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Random Card of the Day: Sword of Light and Shadow
    Power Sink and Spell Burst were all-stars in my storm/combo Mizzix of the Izmagnus deck. For a U (maybe a bit more earlier in the game) you can shut down a player for a turn. Other than that deck, It'd be hard to run it due to how big X needs to be often enough, maybe in Kruphix where you can bank mana.


    I was going to say the same... so let me echoo those thoughts as well right here:

    In Mizzix, X counter spells are really nice for several obvious reasons:

    They will always give you an experience counter.
    You almost always cast them for only colored mana and do not have to add to the X, though you can if you wish.
    Most of the deck is played at instant speed, so you are not just holding mana up for counters. The truth is that you really wanted to chain together a series of spells which let you dig through your library.

    In Mizix, counterspells are normally used to protect your commander and your spells rather than trying to play permission control.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Is Commander killing Magic?
    I enjoy lurking these forums and contributing here and there. I even replied a couple times in this thread, but man oh man does this non-stop conversation loop give me a headache after a while.

    It seems like the same talking points get brought up again and again every few months or so for the last 10 years or however long it has been. We have really hit it all. Complaints about competitive play vs casual, what each individual sees at thier LGS or the places they travel to compared to what other people see, complaining about net decking and so on.

    I don't even know where to begin, and part of me thinks I will delete this whole response or close my tab before hitting "post reply" because I know I am wasting my time in the first place, but I want to get a few things off my chest.

    People here show that they do not really know the history of magic and make up their own history. Look, the article are out there. The youtube videos, the interviews, and so forth. There are opinions, and there are facts straight from the horse's mouth.

    When Richard Garfield invented Magic: the Gathering, his target audience was D&D players who wanted something to do while waiting for the rest of the party to arrive or when they otherwise had some down time to kill. He has gone on record many times saying that they knew in play testing how good Ancestral Recall was and that is why it was the only card in the "3 for 1" cycle to be moved from common to rare (the other 4 being Lightning Bolt, Dark Ritual, Giant Growth, and Healing Salve). he said that they also knew black Lotus was too powerful. He said that they were okay with printing them though because they anticipated that a play group (not an individual, a whole group of friends) would likely buy a few starter decks and some packs and that was it. They figured that play groups were unlikely to open multiple copies, if any at all, and that how few that were opened would be its own restriction. He then went on to say that in the worst case scenario, the game was popular and there were tournaments and they could just ban the cards... and in that case they would all be rich, so who cares? Either way, there is always a solution.

    They wanted the set list to be a secret (impossible) and for people to discover cards as a collective mystery, which is why they did NOT have collector numbers or early lists of the set run.

    They wanted to have each expansion to be its own unique form of the game that stood alone, and it was a late night last minute phone call that convinced Richard and the team to NOT use a different back for Arabian Nights (look it up, it was supposed to be pink in color), and instead designed a last minute set symbol that could be faxed (yes, faxed to the office) to indicate the cards were separate from "limited" (alpha/beta). Heck, Magic: "the Gathering" was supposed ot be the first set and each expansion would be named "Magic: Arabian Nights," "Magic: ice Age" and so forth.

    What the game was intended to be, and what it has become are very different, and that is not a bad thing.

    =============================================================

    In terms of netdecking, it has been existent in one form or another since the very start, and every single competitive thing is subject to the same "copycat" mentality. From games to war, if you are not the best, then you copy them or innovate to counteract them.. and likely do both.

    In war, they say he biggest folly is when generals and armies try to fight the last war.

    In sports, and I will use the NFL and American football as the best example I know about, it is said that there are really only 3 different offensive schemes, and even those bleed together. The real difference is the terminology used. The difference between good an bad teams is how well they are coached and how well they execute their plays.

    I watched a video about an AI company who made a bot that could beat the worlds best DotA2 players in 1v1 games. The AI had learned so much in 6 months time that none of the worlds best players could beat it, and they all were willing to pay for access to the bot so that they could practice against it and learn to adapt and improve their play. They said it was using tactics they had never thought of, and upon talking about it, asked themselves "Why are we not doing this?!"

    It also existed in the very start of magic. When this game came out, decks only had to be 40 cards and there was no 4x card limit. The best deck was something like 19 Black Lotus, 18 or 19 Wheel of Fortune, and 2 or 3 Feldon's Cane. you play your free mana rocks, wheel a bunch of times, shuffle your graveyard back into your library and keep doing that until your opponent loses. It has something like a 99% win chance or something crazy like that. You just see who goes first, draw 7 and likely win off of that.

    Something had to change. Okay, 4x copies of cards except basic lands! Okay, 8 of the power 9 + Wheel and Feldon's Cane. All 5 mox + 5 lotus is still enough explosive free mana, along with extra turns, recall to force your opponent to draw their final cards, and the cane to shuffle the lotus, wheels and extra turns back into your deck. Thanks for playing. We need a restricted list. Oh, and Channel Fireball is a thing too.

    The list goes on and on of players finding the best decks and the game being broken into pieces from the very start. Have you ever heard of Brian Wiseman? he literally wrote the book, or I guess article, on card advantage and built the first Esper control deck with fast free mana, Mind Twist and a single copy of Serra Angel to smash face in 5 turns. it was literally called "The Deck." Stop pretending that net dekcing is a new problem, or even a problem at all. It isn't.

    ============================

    This takes me to my next point. If you play casually, then great. I am happy for you. I play casually too. I quit playing competitive magic a long time ago. the stress isn't worth it to me anymore, and I could not care less about the prizes offered. However, you have no right to complain, criticize or condemn players who do play competitively and how they choose to play... unless they are literally cheating, which is a whole other topic.

    If you play competitively and still like to complain about how others build their decks and how hard they try to win with consistency, then you have a lot of reading to catch up on. Well, even before I give you a single link on what to read, you need a heart felt message from Herman Edwards on games and playing to win.

    Now that Herm Edwards has helped you to better understand the finer points of higher level competition, I suggest you read David Sirlin's "Playing to Win," which is availble online on his website to read for free. Seriously, bookmark it and read it front to back. Read it several times.

    Once you have woken up to the way competitive games are played and how to be a better player, but you still want to brew your own decks and prove to the world how amazing and original you are, then take the time to read Patrick Chapin's "Next Level Magic" and "Next Level Deck Building." Those are not free, but they are well worth the money for either a digital or printed copy. If you finished David Sirlin's "Playing to win" and enjoyed it, you will enjoy Chapin's books as well.

    You see, I used to play competitive magic. Not just magic, I played other games competitively too. The individual tactics change, but the mentality to succeed does not. Losers think like losers. They complain and make excuses. Winners learn and adapt and compete.

    Finally, not everyone has the skills to create innovative decks. However, that does not make them bad player. In fact, if you cannot beat those players with your home brew, then clearly you are not either... because if you were, then you would learn the meta game and create a home brew that can beat the field. I know because have done it a few times in my short lived competitive career. So rather than being salty, do something about it.

    ===============================

    And this continues the circle of this conversation.

    I quit competitive magic back in 2008. I got tired of the stress that comes with staying on top of competitive play. I was no longer enjoying myself. I was grinding and competing and playing way too seriously. I discovered EDH in December 2007 long before these sub forums existed and never looked back. As with other magic players, I wouldn't even be playing magic anymore if it were not for Commander.

    As I said before, casual 60 card magic is a mess, and commander is the perfect solution. It can be competitive for those who want to be competitive. It can be causal for those who want it to be casual. It can be budget for those who want it to be budget.

    From my personal play experience, to watching Youtube videos, following forums, and my friends on Facebook who live in other states, I have seen it all. Commander is NOT broken, but your playgroup might be. Yes, there are powerful decks that can win on turn 0 or turn 1, but more consistently and commonly on turn 4. that doesn't mean the format is broken. It simply means people have found optimal ways to play, and good for them. For the rest of us, we enjoy playing slower games with a theme and certain style. You play a role in cultivating the play group and play style you want.

    For me, the sweet spot of commander is when players use turn 1 to put lands into play tapped or drop utility like Relic of Progenitus or Top. They tend to follow up turn 2 with ramp or more utility. Turn 3 might start to see threats and card draw. Turn 4 tends to see removal and the stage being set. It is turn 5 when game truly begin, not end. If games end of turn 8, 12, 20 or later all depends on how many players there are, what styles and responses there are, and so forth. The most enjoyable games don't have to be the ones you win. They can easily be the ones where cool things happened that you want to tell stories about, or at least you had a great back-and-forth resource war and battle of wits.

    ================================================

    Commander appeals to players on so many levels.

    In my 13+ years of experience, I have seen patterns and stories retell themselves from all over. many old school players started with no idea how ot play, just a starter deck and a rule book they didn't understand. Countless newbies make the same mistake. I cannot tell you how often i have seen someone with a 73 card three color deck with 16 or 17 lands. They began with some theme deck, bought boosters, added cards they liked and "made room for them" by cutting lands, then continued to pack more cool stuff in until it became the dumpster fire in front of them.

    I cannot tell you how many times someone has seen my Magic: the Gathering pin on my bag at work or on the street and told me how they play magic too and that the beat all their friends with the samurai deck or red burn deck... and we are not talking about an optimized sly deck. We are talking something that has Volcanic Hammer and Lava Axe or whatever some 5-15 year old burn spell is from when they started playing.

    Not everyone who plays this game is a fanatic who lurks forums, reads article, watches youtube videos and strives to improve their play. Many of them just like to play a card game with their friends.

    Commander appeals to Timmy who loves to cast big creatures and finaly has a format where games realsitically get to turns where they can actually cast them.

    Commander appeals to Vorthos, who loves to tell a story with their deck.

    Commander appeal to Spike who likes to break it in half and pretend they are the biggest fish in their little bowl.

    Commander appeals to Johnny, who is forced to only have one of each cards and tries to assemble their crazy combo.

    Commander is where the guy who wants to use skull clamp can without it being over powered.

    Commander is where someone like my wife can get a pre-con deck and build it on a budget over time and watch it grow into something all her own and be proud of it every step of the way.

    Commander is perfect just the way it is, and if you or your playgroup have a problem, then you might need to take a look in the mirror and ask who is doing something wrong, because it isn't the format itself.

    ===========================

    Oh, and before I go, there is nothing wrong with the cards WotC designs for Commander. True Name Nemesis was a mistake to design put in a commander product because it made one deck impossible to find on the shelves, but that is the only meaningful mistake.

    Players want to complain about Oloro, Animar, Kaalia, and Derevi, yet some of the best commanders are apparently narset, Arcum Dagson, and Zur. not just them, but the point is that normal legendary creatures before Commander was a product have remained some of the best commanders right up there with the pre-con commanders.

    The Professor from Tolarian Community College and many others like to complain and pretend that the commander product makes cards which change this format from "99+ your commander" into "98 + your commander, command tower." not only is that the logical fallacy of a "Slippery Slope," but it is demonstrably untrue. Mono colored decks don't want command tower. Mono brown decks do not want command tower. That alone is proof that not every deck wants or uses it. This argument ignores that commander deck lists are already dominated by Sol Ring, Lightning Grieves, Skullclamp, and that each color has their own must have spells like Blue with Cyclonic Rift. None of those are commander products, yet are staples. Additionally, any deck that really wants command tower also wants City of Brass and Mana Confluence, neither of which are commander product cards, and City of Brass was an auto include back when our format was called EDH. It is a hollow argument, and it becomes more difficult to take their other points seriously as well.

    The same people (the professor and others) who made that argument went on to complain in 2015 about the Confluence cycle, and specifically Mystic Confluence. yet here we are in 2018, and EDH rec has only 7,794 decks with that card registered. By comparison, there are 181,443 decks with sol ring. Yeah... Mystic Confluence really took over the format.

    The same is true about the pre-con Commanders. They are at least two hundered thousand commander decks registered online for EDHrec, and only about 1,600 are Animar, a well known turn 4 combo deck. That is literally 0.8% of the meta at best, but if you see it all the time at your local shop (and my good friend who runs Elder Dragon Society in Las Vegas uses it as his best deck), it can feel like it ruins the format. (Whisper voice: and you can pretty much swap put animar for whichever commander boils your butt at the moment, the stats all tell the same story).

    So stop it. Just stop it with that argument. You are demonstrably wrong.

    ============================

    We haven't even talked about the Aaron Forsythe "Between Ravnicas" talk from 2012 on the Magic Cruise. That is a seriously amazing video. It tells us so much about how WotC thinks, learns from mistakes, and confirms what a lot of us felt in our guts but never had access to the numbers to prove.

    Really, do yourself a favor and go to youtube and search "magic tv: extra magic cruise 2012" there is so much gold in there. More from Patrick Chapin, Richard Garfield talking about luck vs skill and a Q&A where he answers magic questions, a sit down interview with Aaron Forsythe, Kenneth Negal and so many others. They just drop knowledge on us left and right.

    So many wrong "opinions" can be put to rest with facts. It is so funny to read what people feel and think and are just so sure is the truth when it isn't. WotC is not 100% transparent, but they are BY FAR the most transparent game company I have ever interacted with in my life. They don't publish lies to make you feel good like other companies. They are raw and real with us. They sell up the good but are also honest in retrospect about the bad. They make mistakes and they own them like a company should, but far too few do.

    There are countless resources out there for you if you care to look. I have shared enough for one evening. I have given all of you enough homework and links to read and watch. What you do with it is up to you. Enjoy.

    You know, what, that is the main point... enjoy the darned game. It is nit perfect, but it is so much fun. That is why we are here.

    There is nothing wrong with complaining about a problem you want fixed, but you have to be open minded enough to see that what you precive as a problem might not actually be one... and the problem is YOU. Sometimes you need to step back and reevaluate your perspective.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Is Commander killing Magic?
    Quote from Jusstice »
    Take a card like Loxodon Hierarch. Game-changing card it’s not, but is it played in Standard? Yes? Instant $15 card. Doubling Season? Not played, crap, junk bin rare. Dark Confidant, seems interesting but not played in Standard. Junk. Chord of Calling. Cloudstone Curio, Privileged Position? Who cares what the cards actually do, are they played in Standard? Even Umezawa’s Jitte went from a $25 card to the sub $10 range overnight after the Standard rotation, and now it’s up again with no perceivable demand other than casual and EDH.


    I don' want to derail your point, but your eamples are poorly chosen.

    I got into magic right before Ravnica released. Hierarch was never over $12. Zoo is why it had any value, and it was dropping shortly after Coldsnap.

    Dark Confidant held a $10-$12 prce tag from relase all the way until 2009 or so, where it went up. Not because of Modern. Vintage and Legacy palyers knew it was great. It just took the 2008 and 2011 price spikes of all cards to make it's price go to $20+ all the way up to the $75 or so it hit because of a lack of reprints.

    Doubling Season was $20 on release and never dipped. That card has been a Timmy card since before planeswalkers were ever a thing. The Lorwyn planeswalkers didn't have super scary ultimate effects, but once future planeswalkers did, the value of doubling season continued to grow.

    I don't know where you ever found Umezawa’s Jitte for under $20. Even after standard rotation and Time Spiral, it was useful in extended and legacy lists. Even Vintage fish decks ran it in the side for the mirror.

    Maybe you had an LGS which did not care about the online secondary card market price, but where I am from in Northern California, card prices were a part of my life for several years. I would speculate cards for a good 3 or 4 years. I remember grabbing up goyfs at the Time Spial pre-release and release events for $2-$5 and was worried I would lose my shirt on them... then thought i struck gold and flipped them at about $50 right before standard rotation. I made a huge profit and got out WAY too early. Such is life.

    Your overall point is alright, though extended was replaced by Modern, but the same ideas remained: Only eternally playable card have any value... and most eternally playable cards are either cheap to cast or cheat mana costs some how.

    Commander has done a lot for allowing otherwise worthless cards to get a spotlight and for old school classics to retain and increase in value.

    Honestly, as far as the market is concerned, players have discovered the value and reprint rate of cards. For example, Modern Masters sets focus on specific sets witha few throw in cards to reprint from. If your card wasn't reprinted, then it likely won't be for years. Mikaeus, the Unhallowed sat at $5 doing nothing until a while after Commander 2014 came out and the demand for mono black zombie decks rose thanks to the mono colored decks they released for commander. Then when MM2 came out and did NOT reprint him, everybody knew that he is unlikely to get a reprint for 5+ years. Maybe in a bigger eternal set at best. I am glad I got mine at $5. That is not the only card that has happened to. it is as important to see what is NOT reprinted as it is to see what is.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Is Commander killing Magic?
    Look, there are so many reasons why magic is hurting and Commander might have a little bit to do with it, but lets be honest: WotC has made many bad chices over the last 10 years that has taken us down this path.

    1) Watch The Professor and his Tolarian Community College video about Planeswalker Points and getting rid of the old DCI system. Watch as he talks about removing the player rewards cards, and how terrible FNM has become.

    2) Rudy from Alpha Investments talks about the poor card quality we have seen, going as far as the curled non-foil cards from Iconic Masters. He also has a video where some Chinese counterfeit cards which actually look better than real cards from WotC. Cards which have clear sharp text and more vivid art... and are not curled up.

    3) The multiple emergency banning of cards, including cards which really are not that strong in standard and modern has hurt customer confidence.

    4) The Magic Man Sam has talked about the backlash of Wizards getting rid of the Magic Invitationals and the cards created as a result. Some of the games most iconic cards come from that program. Shadowmage Infiltrator was once a $20 rare that has fallen flat, but will always be remembered. Dark Confidant, Snapcaster, Sad Robot and so forth.

    ================

    This is all off the top of my head.

    I started in 2005 and magic seemed like this amazing sustainable game with a great company and a great community. They only thing that has changed is the company.

    At every opportunity, they have pulled out of and dumped their best programs for supporting their players, and they have now suffered a 40% decline in the player base. What a shock!!! (sarcasm)

    Who wants to go to FNM to get a double sided foil token? I personally don't even like foils, but back in the day I was able to win them and flip them for something of value to me. heck, when I was playing, we had things like Cabal Coffers, Lightning Grieves, Remand, and Thirst for Knowledge. Eventually they started giving out garbage commons and eventually cut it completely. Why even go? Why buy packs?

    I would much rather save money, buy singles to improve my commander decks and buy into the new Commander 2018 decks whenever they come out. I have loved the 2013-2017 sets. I got Esper and Bant in 2013, mono black and Mono blue in 2014, Blue Red and Black Green in 2015, Red Esper and the Group Hug deck (though I wish I had gotten Saskia instead in hindsight) in 2016, and this year I have the Vampires while my wife has cats and Wizards and my best friend got the Dragons deck. I expect we will fall in love with the 2018 decks as well.

    Despite having tried it, competitive magic was never something I ever really enjoied anyway. This is a fun game. I don't like the stress of competitive events. I can play commander for 5 straight hours, but if i have to travel to an event, play with a timer where I have to manage bathroom breaks and every turn has stress/pressure to not make mistakes because money and prizes are on the line... no thank you. Especially when I don't even care about the prizes. I much prefer showing up on my time to sit down and sling spells with friends at an LGS, or more importantly throw down at the kitchen table on the weekends.

    I know that I am not alone.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Mizzix Spellslinger WiP (Work in Progress)
    Mizzix of the Izmagnus

    I am looking for advice and direction to improve my deck.

    Lands - 34


    NOTE: When I can afford and find Steam Vents and Scalding Tarn, I will add them. That is obvious. I also understand the value of adding each of the U and R fetch lands. I doubt I will ever have Volcanic Island. I want to know if there are other two color lands worth running and why. I do not like it when my lands come into play tapped. I don't really care about the man land(s). I also want to know if maybe my ratio of blue to red can be better and if I might need more lands. That kind of stuff.

    Mana Rocks - 9

    NOTEs:
    • Lands and Mana rocks combine for 43 mana sources. That feels too light, yet mizzix reduces mana costs and I haven't had any problems I can recall in terms of mana screw.
    • I already owned expensive mana rocks before I bopught this deck. i knew hey would work great here.
    • Do you think I have too many rocks sn and not enough land? Not enough rocks? My goal is to ramp on turn 2 ramp into a turn 3 mizzix if possible and then start casting spells and getting experience.
    • Should I use my Mana Vault and Grim Monolith?

    Protection - 3


    NOTE: Should I play more protection like Pemmin's Aura and maybe even Robe of Mirrors? Other ideas? Maybe I shouldn't play any? I can win without my commander, but she makes a huge difference and is what the deck is built around. It is really important that she stay in play.

    Counterspells - 8


    NOTE: I love Josh Lee Kwai's opinion about using X counterspells in this deck. As he says, each spell will add experience not matter what, and the X value increases as the game goes on. Suddenly you can counter something for a single blue, and more when needed.

    Should I make space for Force of Will? Misdirection? Should I look for and add Clash of Wills? All opinions are welcome.

    Muddle he Mixture doubles as a tutor for my combos. Fuel for the Cause is so nice in here.

    Creatures - 3



    These creatures trigger off of our spells. Young Pyromancer's elementals are often token chump blockers to buy time. Guttersnipe helps me end games when I go infinite turns. Talrand, Skysummoner is a little bit of both. The 2/2 fliers can actually beat opponents down far better than the 1/1 elemental tokens can on the ground... but they can also be quality chump blocks to buy turns.

    I have tried other creatures, but they never did anything for me. Goblin Electromancer never mattered, not did any of the other creatures who reduced spell costs. If I didn't get Mizzix going, I lost even with my other cost reduction effects. if mizzzix was in play, they didn't matter. After enough games, they were all eventually cut.

    The same is true with Docent of Perfection. The five casting cost starts to just be too rich for my blood. We are already pushing it at 4 with Talrand, Sky Summoner. At least with Talrand, I can cast him on turn 3 off of turn 2 ramp. Docent eats my resources and can't be played until later turns when I want to be doing something else.

    Removal - 9



    I feel removal is important, both spot and mass removal. Sometimes you have to stop your opponent from winning and slow down their roll. We do not have W or B, so quality removal is at a premium. Some cards like All is Dust and Scour can be free, or nearly free and add to out experience. Blasphemous Act gets cost reduction in two ways and is very nice.

    Combo pieces - 12

    NOTES:
    • A ritual + Reiterate + Experience = infinite Reiterate. this is why we have Shock. Sure, we could play Bolt or the "free" Gut Shot. I just love the flavor text on the M12 version: "The beauty of it is they never see it coming. Ever." - Razzix, Sparkmage. Not only is it true, but it references a sparkmage, making it a flavor win.
    • Enter the Infinite is a one card combo. Draw my deck, play lab man and a card draw spell with all the counter magic I could ask for.
    • Mystic Retrieval + Runic Repetition = getting any spell back, such as Time Warp. We tend to take infinite turns with a creature like Guttersnipe and the game is over.
    • Past in Flames and Mizzix's Mastery are two cards which should win the game when you are ready to cast them in one way or another.

    Tutors - 5

    NOTE: These find my win conditions and allow me to set up the win, or find counter spells as needed to protect the win. Are there others I need? I don't like Gamble. Maybe it is just me.

    Draw and dig - 16


    NOTE: These are the cards which tend to add to my experience as I dig into my deck to find what I want.

    ==================

    This is nothing new. it is straight forward: mana, ramp, removal, card draw, tutors, win conditions, counter spells to protect my combos.

    how are my ratios? Any other suggestions or ideas I might have missed? I appreciate it.
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on "Buiding this deck was a bad idea!"
    Kynaios and Tiro of Meletis

    I bought it with the vision of playing a four colored Theros themed enchantment fun deck. Instead, it is a pile of garbage with no direction and a Commander which has no meaningful "build around me" abilities. I like what Josh Lee Kwai said about it in The Command Zone podcast: Out of the box, you ramp up yourself and everyone else, except it feels like other players ramp up to something big, while you never do. It just never goes anywhere. I was able to get shock lands, fetch lands, signets and ramp. I was able to color fix and ramp with ease. It just never built up to anything big or useful.

    When I look up combos that people play with it, they suggest mono colored combos like Mind Over Matter + Temple Bell and maybe Laboratory Maniac and/or Darksteel Colossus shuffle clause to keep from losing to your own loop. Another deck suggested a landfall combo, which was again mono blue with Retreat to Coralhelm with Walking Atlas and some karoo lands or whatnot.

    I continued to try and find some reason or excuse to be playing four colors without black ,adn the best I saw was a dedicated "all-in" combo deck built around green mana dorks and Jeskai Ascendancy. That was the most appealing to me, but i do not have access to most of the cards on the list, and am also not a fan of a one trick pony kind of deck. Instead, i like it when a deck has a few different paths to victory.

    The next thing i was looking into was more of an enchantress control deck with fun alternative win conditions like protecting Azor's Elocutors or casting Approach of the Second Sun twice. these are again mono white or blue white win conditions, and I ask myself why I am not just playing blue white control. What are green or red even doing in this deck?

    Something that appealed to me on the surface was using "Everyone fight each other and leave me alone" cards. I like the idea behind Rite of the Raging Storm and Gahiji, Honored One. that really got my attention. I thought, "Now we have something." I could use green G for ramp, fixing and multicolored support cards, blue U for card draw and more multicolored support, and then Boros WR colors would give me token swarms and bolster my army. I really liekd this idea. My commander is a soldier. They have an army and combine forces. Maybe even a soldier sub theme with Elspeth, Sun's Champion and Darien, King of Kjeldor. Yeah... yeah... no. I can never seem to get it to work. It just doesn't pack a punch. It doesn't slow down or stop combo decks from going off. It doesn't punch through control. It doesn't out race agro. It doesn't do a darned thing.

    I hate this commander. I hate this deck. I feel helpless.

    ===========================

    Compare that to my Mizzix deck, which every card fits the flavor and goal of the deck: Cast instant and sorcery spells or cards that care about them until you win the game. Use Past In Flames, Mizzix Mastery, a Reiterate combo, maybe Enter the Infinite + Laboratory Maniac (who feels like someone who would work for the Izzet if he lived on Ravnica), or how about Runic Repetition + Mystic Retrieval to get any spells you want back over and over? The list goes on and on. Each hing fits a theme and many do not even need the commander in play to win, but get better if you do have her.

    Compare that to Breya, Etherium Shaper. That deck can be a hard core artifact combo deck, but is also just a lot of fun with Esper and Kaladesh cards. Red splashes in perfectly with goblin Welder effects and everything just interlocks smoothly and is fun no mater how casual or competitive you make it.

    Compare that to my Edgar Marov deck. While I tried to make a soldier army sub theme in Kynaios and Tiro of Meletis, my Vampire Tribal deck steals the show. They can really come out of the gates swinging and never relent, thanks to my commander's Eminence ability. The synergy is built right in and every color in his identity makes sense and matters.

    Compare it to my Ghoulcaller Gisa deck. Thi is more of mono black good stuff control. The Commander is an army in a can and allows me to get away with under used artifact equipment without being a Voltron deck. I can actively use Deathrender by sacrificing a creature for profit and putting a bomb into play for free. it is a deck filled with so many good cards which just so happen to work even better when paired up.

    I get none of this with my Commander 2016 deck and i will never get back all the stress and heartache I put into it for over a year. I eventually gave up.

    In the back of my mind it still haunts my thoughts and I still want to make it do something. I may never truely let it go. That is why I am posting here.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
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