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  • posted a message on Control decks: How do you stay alive against the whole table attacking you early?
    Quote from Sephon19 »

    Where is this picture originally from? I can see it's from SCG, but I couldn't figure out how to reverse search the article. I can tell instantly from the picture that I'll love the article.

    Next Level Deck Building by Patrick Chapin. Send me a PM.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Infinite combos and strong synergies - now under new management
    I just figured this out while at work:

    Thousand-Year Storm + a red ritual or anything which untaps + Reiterate = Infinite mana, infinite storm count, infinite Reiterate of any other spell.

    For example:
    Cast Pyretic Ritual
    Thousand-Year Storm triggers at zero (0)
    Cast Reiterate with buyback and target Pyretic Ritual
    Thousand-Year Storm triggers and will copy Reiterate once. That copy also targets Pyretic Ritual.
    The stack begins to resolve and you will have RRR from the TYS copy of Reiterate, then you will have RRR from the original Reiterate with buyback, resulting in the six red mana needed to cast Reiterate with buyback from your hand.
    This will now have Thousand-Year Storm trigger twice and begin giving you positive red mana.

    If you have an untap effect like Reset, Reality Spasm or maybe Dramatic Reversal and enough mana from mana rocks to net at least 2R to keep recasting Reiterate (the second copy resolving will give you the second red you need), then you can also go off.

    This can be a mana intensive loop to get started, but I play Mizzix of the Izmagnus, and that deck has several redundant cost reducers such as Goblin Electromancer, Baral, Chief of Compliance, Jace's Sanctum, Sapphire and Ruby Medallion and so forth.

    With a cost reduction of 1, two spells means it cost 2 less to go off. Suddenly Pyretic Ritual + Reiterate only costs the same six mana to go off as was needed to cast Thousand-Year Storm. That means it is not in the realm of turn 12+ magic Christmas land either.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Is Evolving Wilds worth playing in 2 colour decks // Optimal land base for 2 colour deck
    There are so many great replies in here that I am hesitant to even add my own.

    I am a believer in using proxies if you own the card and it is an expensive staple. For example, I own one of each fetch land, especially thanks to Khans and Modern Masters 2 or what ever set it was. I keep them in a small binder with other powerful staples I proxy in multiple decks and can show them if needed. Having fetch lands changes the game. More so since check lands were printed. It took me a while I get my hands on them, but in my three and four color decks, the play line which involves a fetch land into a shock land and following that up with check lands is smooth. I cannot justify the cost of a full set of fetch lands for each deck, nor do I feel I should punish myself and only use them in one deck, nor do I want to swap them in and out between decks either, which I could and would just waste time. Especially for a kitchen table format without prizes.

    Lands are the perfect example of where MtG is "pay to win". Sure, you can use cheap commons and slow play, or use a ton of basics and suffer color screw, or you can buy expensive singles from the secondary card market and have a fast and smooth experience.

    So much of what I wanted to write was some variation of all the above, be it our holistic detective, Pokken the cat and others.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Control decks: How do you stay alive against the whole table attacking you early?
    As somebody who loves control and combo more than aggro or mid-range, I guess that I will share my experiences and thoughts.

    To begin with, there are several different types of control, and this wheel might help you pinpoint what kind you wish to play. Knowing what style you want, as opposed to the blanket term of "control" will also help you get better answers.

    It is my opinion and my experience that traditional "draw-go" control is only viable in duels, and even then, it has been outclassed by "tap-out" control for the last 10-15 years or so. I agree with 75chan, when they said:
    Quote from 75chan »
    Classic draw-go doesn't work as you can't one-for-one the table and people will hit you in the face.

    "Lock" control is straight forward, as your aim is to just lock the the table out with something like Rule of Law + a flipped Erayo's Essence or maybe Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir + Knowledge Pool. these kinds of deck goals tend to put a target on your back in future games, which I do not recommend in the long term.

    Combo control is a term I struggle with. Isa combo deck with control back up a combo-control deck? Or is it a control deck which has a combo or twoto win the game? Is it both? Regardless, combo leaves a bad taste in the mouth of some people and is the topic of debate in a few other threads, including something Sheldon wrote about recently and has become an 8+ page thread.

    So, if you want to play control, but not be a combo deck or a lock-out style, then that really just leaves tap-out control.

    There are many ways to build such a deck, though the most successful ones I have seen tend to be "super friends" planeswalker focused decks. Not every walker can protect itself, but many can. Walkers can often create enough self defense and incremental advantage that they take over games, especially when combined with quality enchantments, static artifacts, and powerful sorcery spells. In my experience, it is not a specific planeswalker that you are trying to Ultimate, but simply getting one or more to their ultimate can often be game winning, and with so many coming into play each turn, it sometimes feels like there is an air of inevitability.

    The only control decks I have ever had real success with in Commander have been mono-black control (MBC) and my Roon of the Hidden Realm deck which uses EtB triggers for value. I am not saying that they are the only way to play, but they are the only ways that work for me. Roon defends itself by being able to block and flicker and get value each turn until the game ends. MBC is a deck which can play arch enemy and win. The access to board wipes, mass discard, and Drain Life effects (see what I did there?) such as Exsanguinate and Gary keep you alive, and can often double as win conditions all their own.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Sheldon's Thoughts on infinite combos
    I agree with what people are saying is the intention of the format, but the progressive slide is inevitable in my experiences.

    When I began in late 2007, it was the bulk rare and common/uncommon box fodder format. Nobody was using their good cards. Nobody was breaking apart their legacy or vintage decks to use original dual lands and fetch lands. However, it did not take long for that to change.

    Even in the most casual of EDH games, it still feels bad to hold a 6cmc spell you are dying o cast and you top deck a land which has an EtB tapped clause and are set back a whole round at the table. As a result, it become a priority to invest in a stable and consistent mana base. Before you know it, your deck(s) are not budget anymore and the feeling you get from "The sunk cost fallacy" creeps in. It doesn't even have to be an arms race, but simply justifying the cost of what you have invested in.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Sheldon's Thoughts on infinite combos
    In other news, this was posted yesterday and I have not seen it shared, nor a new thread opened about it:

    The Latest Commander Philosophy And Banned List Update

    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on I hope Emminence comes back for C19. Roast me :D
    Throughout magic, there have been many mechanics which are either worthless or too powerful and no real middle ground. Storm, Phyrexian Mana, and Eminence among them.

    My best freidn bought the Dragon's deck, my wife Wizards and Cats, and I took Edgar Markov's vampires. The Ur Dragon was quickly replaced with Scion of the Ur Dragon as the original commander was weaksauce. Edgar Markov is banned in duels and is quite strong as both a beat down deck and a combo deck because of the free tokens. Inalla has multiple combos built around her triggered ability. The cats deck s a pile of trash, and The Ur Drgaon is much better in the 99 of a Scion of the Ur Dragon deck rather than leading it.

    Either the ability is super strong or total garbage. It does nothing good for the game. let the past die. Kill it if you have to.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on 7/8 Banlist
    I will not mourn the loss of either card. I agree that Iona doesn't deserve to be banned.

    I like to read how other people build their versions of my favorite commanders, and I certainly got sick of seeing Paradox Engine as the go-to and build-around card in almost all of those decks.

    Mizzix of the Paradox Engine.
    Breya, Paradox Engine Shaper.
    Inalla, Paradox Engine Ritualist.
    Roon of the Hidden Paradox Engine.

    Okay, we get it, the card is good, but maybe we can get back to those deck following their central theme instead of being PE clones?
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Sheldon's Thoughts on infinite combos
    1) Take my like/+1/Thumbs up or whatever.
    2) I gave the hulk combo as an EXAMPLE of how combos can be turn 0, which proves that they cannot get faster than that, but they can get more consistent. The fact that Hulk Flash was banned in EDH for a long time is irrelevant to the existence of such a combo. I was simply proving my point that eventually a combo can and will reach the critical mass of winning before player one can even draw a card to begin the game.
    3) As I wrote in the comment, "git gud" is the internet joke reply when somebody says it is impossible or unlikely to do something which can in fact be done if you really wanted to.


    I don't know. My perception of life and gaming might just be different. In my time involved in my hobbies, I am proud to say that when I really put my mind to something, I accomplish my goals and do not believe in "can't". If you want something bad enough, then make it happen.

    You might not like the solutions or methods. Maybe you find that you do not want it bad enough to change it. Maybe you learn something new and realize it does not need changing, but rather that you were the one who needed to change. Such is the process of life.

    I have come to terms with the state of Commander, my favorite format, and quite enjoy it. There are things about it which I think could be better, and some of he ways I implement that is by cultivating my play group.


    I hope everyone reading this has a great and peaceful weekend.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Sheldon's Thoughts on infinite combos
    Before I quote anybody, allow me a moment to state a few things.

    1) Logically, yes, combos are getting faster. When a set comes out, only one of three things is possible: Combos get slower, do not change at all or get faster. Well, that first possibility is absurd. Combos cannot get slower. Even if almost every set did NOTHING to make a combo fast, eventually some sets and cards will.

    2) That being said, what are comparing when we say "faster"? I am being honest here, as you can have an opening hand with Gemstone Cavern either of the two spirit guides, Flash and either Protean Hulk or Summoner's Pact to get Hulk and win the game before the first player can draw their first card on their first turn. Effectively a turn zero win. It literally cannot get any faster than that, and that combo has existed since 2007 and how WotC/DCI reverted the errata on Flash to make it work like it was printed again. While highly unlikely to have such a hand and then players just say "Cool story bro, now draw a new 7 so we can play, because the rest of us haven't done anything and are effectively already ready to start game two." you cannot get faster than that, and that was 12 years ago.

    What we mean is that other combos have become more consistent and/or require less mana to pull off. However, I contest that the most consistent combos are going off at a rate no different than they have been for years. It is my understanding that the consistent cEDH combos were executed as early as turn three, but more frequently as turn 4. Disruption and interaction would try to prevent them from achieving their goal, but when protected, they won games that early. Traditional/casual EDH games tended to see combos as early as turn 8 to my understanding. Am I wrong in that assessment? Are they now happening at a consistent rate sooner? I do not know. What is your experience?

    You can tell someone to play more interaction but I'll tell you exactly what they say, "But that doesn't mean I'm going to draw it." A player doesn't do anything meaningful an entire game, but gets his one impactful play on turn 10 dealt with instantly who then complains about how the control deck counters/removes everything.
    Being able to tell when/if it's time to help a player improve at magic and what/how to say/do is important in a community.

    I want to start my reply to you at the bottom by saying that just because I disagree with you on serveal points does not mean I have any hard feelings (which can be common online),and any jokes I direct in a reply is more a part of my humor than attacking you directly. Also, I start here at the bottom by complimenting you on a part I agree with most.

    So, in response: Haters are gonna hate and complainers are gonna complain. That is the way of human interaction. Rules changes will do NOTHING to stop this kind of behavior.

    Quote from umtiger »

    Blue is the strongest color.
    I do not wish to derail this topic about debating which color is the best. I will state my opinion thusly:
    Blue is very powerful.
    Blue is also overrated.
    I do not feel that any one color is the best. Not black nor blue nor the others.
    I feel that white has proven to be the worst of the five, but the other 4 have proven to have strengths in various aspects which make them quite powerful, and history has shown that as well.
    When given raw data which suggests that blue might not even be the second best color in Commander, you are quick to dismiss the findings. How scientific of you.

    (Y)our presumption about aggro is incorrect. Aggro is not considerably more viable in other formats. Aggro is not viable in Vintage (besides Shops/Eldrazi, which aren't aggro in a sense but simply just means to abuse Mishra's Workshop and Eye of Ugin).

    MtGTop8 disagrees with you. The data disagrees with you.

    Aggro makes up 57% of the format. This is not just a matter of what shows up at events, but what makes top 8. Moreover, look at the results of the last 10 events and pay attention to which decks are winning and taking top4 as well. It is not like Combo is winning 50% or more of those events, because it isn’t.
    Also, it is funny how you say that an aggro deck isn't an aggro deck because... reasons. It is not a combo deck. It is not a control deck. It is not a combo/control deck. It is by all means aggro. Aggro is not exclusively the realm of Savannah Lions and Lightning Bolt. I know that you know that, but I had to be a little hyperbolic for a moment.

    It's also not viable in Legacy.

    Oops, wrong again. It makes up a solid third of the format. Combo does not makeup the other two thirds. Infact, according to mtgTo8, Legacy is balanced between all three archetypes with a roughly 33% of each.

    It's also not viable in Modern.

    Apparently 46% of the format is not viable. Compared to the 28% of combo and 26% of control, how could I be so stupid? My mistake.

    You must be delusional if you think that it's the case that aggro decks have fared well in any format other than Standard for a long time.

    I must be delusional indeed. Except the funny thing about science and facts is that they do not care what you feel or believe. mtgTop8 doesn't have an agenda. They just collect and present the data from real events. The numbers show that you are wrong. Prove otherwise, as the burden of proof is on you. I back my claims up with facts/data. You have not.

    And even then, aggro in Standard has needed considerable amounts of playable red burn to be winning GP's and PT's.
    I do not pay any attention to standard. I just know that when I watch YouTube videos, content creators like TCGplayer and their series “Pretty Deece” has complained about the Rakdos/Mardu Vehicles from Kaladesh last year and later Goblin Chainwhirler. I really have no idea, but Standard is traditionally known as a healthy format when people are crashing creatures into one another and an unhealthy format with a need for bans when it is not.Also, mtgTop8 has aggro at 64% and combo at 2% right now. Also, if you use the option to look back in time at other standard eras, you will find over the last two years it was in the 72%+ range.

    Lowering (the life totals) should happen even if it won't. But I'm okay either way.
    I have felt from the start that 40 life is too much for a 4 man pod, but also understood that 40 life was chosen because it was originally a 200 life poor for 5 players, which came to 40 life each and just stuck. I felt back in 2007 that 30 would have been a better balance and that 40 life was too much of a buffer when the game was designed around the math of 20 life. However, the talk of lowing the life total is also something separate which should be held separate from the topic of “Is too much combo bad for commander, and if so, what is the solution?” which is what I interpret this thread to be about. To argue that one wants life reduced to 30 or even eventually 20, it belongs in another thread which I would be happy to join in and comment on. It just is not a solution to the problem being discussed at hand, which I also do not think is a problem in the first place.
    I don't think my anecdote supports you at all. Even if you want to try to turn it against me. I'm sure that more than a reasonable amount of players will view 3 players having to full-on attack one specific player for an entire game...not particularly effective.
    …and I am sure I will find a lot who agree with me that this is exactly part of the social contract. That Commander is by nature not a competitive format designed to be won at all costs and has prize support and player rankings. Who wins and loses does not really matter. The point of commander is to have fun playing magic, and when someone is causing the rest of the group to have less fun, one of the solutions is to talk to them and punish them IN GAME and make sure they take the hint. They can keep their deck and play it when the time is right. If they feel strongly against you, they can talk to you about what they want out of commander and blah blah blah. Does this really need to be explained? I guess so, though I tire of it quickly.
    Sure, we eliminated him but if his deck was more dedicated to combos, we probably wouldn't have be able to.
    So, maybe git gud?

    More seriously, what do you expect as an answer here? If you want to win more often, then win harder. I already wrote about how one of my favorite decks is Edgar Markov, inspired by ISBPathfiner's list. I also know that stax control decks are another way to kill combo. That is their purpose. When combo is everywhere, play stax. When stax is everywhere, run aggro. Magic is rock-paper-scissors, especially in a healthy format.

    One of the reasons why we didn't just go for a faster combo instead of attacking him was because we didn't want to switch decks. It wasn't because of what you're saying. Sheldon wasn't talking about the arms race as some instantaneous thing that you are suggesting that it is. But if that game leads someone to go, "Hey next time I'm bringing something else just like that." That's what Sheldon's talking about.
    Oh look, a different interpretation. Well, then mine is wrong and yours is right because mine is mine and yours is yours. It must be nice that this is how the world works.

    I understand how a slippery slope works.
    I understand the language he was using in his comments.

    It did not have to mean that the next game you try to go off faster, which is very much a thing which happens psychologically. Even JLK from the Command Zone talks about how when he sees competitive decks, then he knows it is time to bust how his big guns to play along.

    We both know that an arms race does not have to happen at the table between games. Instead, it often happens in the deck building process. However, it can also happen at the table by choosing different decks or by choosing play lines which are more likely to find your combo and execute it.

    Going back to Sheldon's comments, which feel like they are being picked through like religious scholars debate the words of Christ or Constitutional lawyers pick through the writings of the founding fathers of the USA...
    I'm not talking about competitive decks that want to go infinite as quickly as possible, but even more casual builds--and most of them have an eventual infinite combo of some kind. It's not "go infinite," it's "do some stuff for a while, then go infinite."

    This reminds me of the video from Gameplays by Clonehead where one player used Venser, the Sojourner to flicker Eternal Witness to recur Time Warp and take infinite turns. This was a video (no spoilers of which one) had interesting game play and tension which was abruptly ended by an infinite turn combo. It was very anticlimactic and left me with a bitter taste in my mouth as a viewer. Sure, it is part of the game, but a once interactive game suddenly took a left turn and came to an abrupt end. As a spectator, I wanted to se the game continue and play out in the manner with which it was headed.


    Yeah i'm pretty sure it was so easy to combo with Mephidross Vampire since that combo couldn't even hit players Rolleyes
    Genuine error or intellectual dishonesty?

    I just did a simple search of old school Tooth and Nail Combos and that was rated as the most popular back in extended and was very successful. The comments talked about how you essentially resolve Tooth and Nail, get that and win. There are many paths to victory, and in the end, the point still remains that TaN is a one card combo. Resolve TaN and win, or you are doing it wrong. That did not start with Mike and Trike. They just became the most effective combo.

    Quote from DirkGently »
    I agree and have taken issue with how valid the data is, but it is also the only data we have for non-competitive commander. Even they acknowledged that in their video.

    However, the StarCityGames vs series does have higher end competitive games mixed in with pre-con games. MtgMuddstah also has a fair share of players and decks which do mostl what you said. I love Mizzix of the izmagnus and was watching a video with her asa commander. The Mizzix player went turn one Mystical tutor and did NOT use it to find Intuition to set up a combo, yet the player still won around turn 7 or 8 by casting a nasty spell chain and everyone quit against a giant Epic Experiment which did not even get a chance to resolve. Heck, even The Command Zone's most famous episode of Game Knights is the Shadowborn Apostle game which ended in a critical mass combo with Blood Artist. So, yeah, regardless of the hypothesis of what kinds of games would be featured, those kinds of games are there.

    They also said that they were listing how players were knocked out of games, not how games were won. Non-infinite combo was also listed separately from combo.


    In the end, I just fundamentally do not see a problem with the format, nor the direction it is headed. I hope that this year's commander 2019 product is a lot better than the trash they gave us last year, especially for the price, as that was the first year I refused to buy even one of the decks offered. I do not see the need to make rules changes or add cards to the banned list, or come out with some PSA to stop going for combos so often.

    As I said pages back, "Oh, look... it is this thread again." We have been talking about this since before a Commander sub forum has existed. At least the community had a much needed split between EDH and cEDH. We also had a revolutionary idea of the 75% commander deck back in 2014 which also helped to solidify deck building and the aims of the format. Yet... here we are again. We will likely still be talking about combo in commander 5 years from now.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Sheldon's Thoughts on infinite combos
    Quote from umtiger »
    Combo is WAY, WAYeasier than before. I mean, back in the old days, making infinite mana was the goal of most playable infinite loops...and then you'd do something with the mana (e.g. Stroke of Genius). Now, you don't even need infinite mana often. The combo pieces themselves go infinite and provide the win-con.
    Not even close to true and you should know better.

    Yes, infinite mana has been a go-to for decks, but so has infinite turns, infinite damage, infinite storm, infinite etb/sacrifice, infinite tokens and so on.
    Changing life totals is not about stopping 2-card combos or decreasing how often they are played. It will always be the fastest way to win no matter what they change. That's not going to change. Just like how one color has always been better than the others.
    Wow, a lot to unpack there, but I will try to be brief. Least important point first, when you said one color is better than the others, yet fail to state which one, I bet that you want us all to assume that it is blue because that is the stereotype. When asked, people overwhelmingly voted blue as the number one color. However, as the numbers played out, it was shown that is not even close to true. When calculated out, White was said to have hurt a deck's chances of winning by -4%, blue sat in the middle at +3% and black was at the top at +5%. While not far and away better, even green outperformed blue. In terms of mono colored decks, black also came in first place and blue surprisingly came in second to last, ahead of only white. When paired, Simic is the first guild to even have blue and shows up as the third place behind Rakdos and Golgari in first place. So, no, there is no one best color, especially if you thought it was blue. If you thought it was black, like I did, well... kind of? But not far and away the best.

    Next, you even acknowledge that lowering life totals is not about combos, but making aggro decks more viable, yet fail to miss my entire point that despite aggro being considerably more VIABLE in other formats, they still are not being played at a proportionally higher rate. Even before Commander was a format, people played star magic and casual free for all at 20 life with 60x4 decks and combo/stax decks were still the most effective decks. Asking to lower the starting life total is crying into the wind. It is not going to happen, nor should it happen, and you have failed to give any evidence that it would make any meaningful difference, regardless of your reason to want it.

    I feel like talking about how combo is bad for the format or that combo is growing rampant is a straw man. The point of lowering starting life total is not to hobble combo. It's about giving attacking more value in EDH.

    It's important in any game to communicate with people you play with. But how do you communicate with that player when 40 life x 3 or 4 to them feels unsurmountable? And honestly, it is to most players. They're just not going to be able to close out a game.

    3 players in a 4-man pod archenemy'd a player for two games after he went infinite in the first. He wondered how come? We said it was because of his infinite loops. He replied, "I have to play infinite loops because everyone attacks me." We explained, "The infinite loops are the only reason we're attacking you first all the time. Unless someone else has something crazy, we're just going to attack you first." Then he said, "I won't win many games without the combo."
    That anecdotal story just supported my position perfectly and worked to disprove what Sheldon wrote.
    Sheldon is/was worried that the response to an infinite combo is that other player will try to go for their combos, and try to go for them as quickly if not faster than the person they lost to. Instead, you and your group teamed up and attacked the combo player. but why would you do that if attacking is not viable? Especially at 40 life? Additionally, you wrote that if another player had tried to do the same, they would be treated the same. These statements further prove that of a 4 person pod, 75% do NOT go for combo and instead choose attacking or some other method. It seems to me that the problem is one player who is too dense to figure out the solution to a problem when you even spell it out for them, yet you seem to feel that this story supports your position rather than destroys it. Had you told a story of how game two resulted in you and your friends racing to try and combo off before the guy who won game one, then you would be evidence of what Sheldon fears. Instead, the "social contract" is working, but one player ails to realize what is happening even when confronted about it. maybe your personal issue could be solved by proposing lending them a deck without a combo, then playing a game where he is not targeted right away by 3 players.

    There's a reason why infinite loops are clutches/safety-valves. Notice how defensive cards or interaction (e.g.Force of Will, Nature's Claim, etc.) aren't the defacto safety-valves for these types of players.
    The fact that players use too few interactive/reactive/defensive cards to stop combo is a whole other topic and more of a problem than combo is.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Sheldon's Thoughts on infinite combos
    Quote from Pokken »
    Thank you, and I agree that your points are valid.

    Instead of disagreeing, I would like to point out that that doesn’t change the fact that even back then, people played 5 color good stuff to combo and that when they won with Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker, they were more often likely to use green ramp and Tooth and Nail for 9 mana and one card rather than your example of 10 mana and needing both cards.

    Moreover, you raised the bigger and better point about how flexible a combo is in a deck, meaning that instead of being forced to play a specific color combination, even Mono Red could go off with the Goblin Shaman. However, I would also point out that it has not resulted in a surge of mono red decks. Instead, when you search for the top 5 mono red commanders on EDHRec, you get the following:

    #1 Krenko, Mob Boss - Where Zealous conscripts doesn't even appear on the page despite having 36% of decks with Kiki-Jiki.
    #2 Daretti, Scrap Savant - Where Kiki-Jiki is nowhere to be found.
    #3 Neheb, the Eternal - Where Kiki-Jiki is in 10% of decks and the combos again are absent.
    #4 Zada, Hedron Grinder - Where Kiki-Jiki does not appear (again).
    #5 Purphoros, God of the Forge - Which is the first time the combo really shows up, yet Zealous conscripts makes up less than 30% of lists.

    As a result, I am forced to conclude that you are right and it is more viable, the numbers do not support the hypothesis that ease of access has led to tangible action by those playing red. They could, but they are not in any meaningful quantity.

    Instead, a search for Kiki-Jiki as a card on EDHRec shows up in only 7% of all possible deck. Not in all registered deck, but in all decks which have redand can use him. Sure, that is not really fair. Edgar Markov COULD use him, but never really would. Instead, let us dig another level deeper and see which decks are using Kiki-Jiki. Of the top 18 commanders in which it is found, #1 is mono red (very interesting) led by Iizuka the Ruthless. this is followed by 4 color partners, a pair of Rakdos decks, then 6 of the next 8 are also mono red (also very interesting), and the rest appear to be 3 or 4 colors. Of those mono red commander, we actually see the ones I covered above which do not appear to be using Kiki-Jiki to combo. Even the number one deck, Iizuka the Ruthless, does not have Zealous Conscripts anywhere to be found. (control + f to search and paste the name). So, again, the data seems to point that the hypothesis has been disproven.


    What I was getting at with the quote in bold you referred to is that when you compare the best and most common combos of 2007, 2011, or even 2018, you will find that are just as fast and consistent as they have always been.

    Hermit Druid has always been Hermit Druid. Foodchain Prossh and Animar combo have existed since they were spoiled and brewed. Doomsday has gotten some more possible piles, but it has been able to end games since before EDH left the confines of the judges table. Sure, some piles are better, but Dark Ritual or Lion's Eye Diamond into Doomsday ito GG has not changed, no matter which path was taken to get there.

    The list of old combos which are all cheap and fast is quite long and there is literally a thread in these forums dedicated to them.

    I agree that players have more combos to choose from and can fit certain combos into more decks. However, they seem to be more a matter of flavor anddeck choice rather than power level. I can take infinite turns with my Roon blink deck thanks to Eternal Witness, but I don't. I like to just getEtB value and win that way. Instead, I prefer to take infinite turns with Mizzix because I have mroe fun using Mystic Retrival and Runic Repetition, a pair of obscure cards which see almost no play in the format. Runic Repetition literally shows up in 169 decks accordingto EDH rec. That isa far more enjoyable way to take infinite turns than the old fashioned and well known Eternal Witness route, despite the result being the same.

    I kind of do not know how to end this, and really appriciate your feedback. I have to go to lunch and then get t least some work done this afternoon, so I am just going to stop now and just post what I have. Thanks again.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Sheldon's Thoughts on infinite combos
    Attached below, you will find a screen shot of the statistics from The Command Zone's episode "Exactly How Good is Sol Ring? Commander Gameplay STATS (pt1) l CZ#238 l Magic the Gathering EDH" which was found at the 1 hour, 8 minutes and 45 second mark.

    We can argue how valid their numbers are or how much stock you want to put into their findings, however, it does give us some interesting information to work with.

    This thread began with anecdotal evidence from Sheldon's observations and valid concerns, though I feel he also uses the slippery slope logical fallacy. It is my opinion that:

    1) His personal observations are not a true representation of the format. We have raw data to look at which contradicts it, and until somebody is able to collect more/better data, this is what we have to go off of.

    2) I began playing not long after reading The Aardvark's article "Elder Dragon Highlander: There Can be Only One Hundred" which cause the first big explosion in popularity of the format, as there were no forums and nobody playing (in California where some of the best magic players in the world are from), yet afterwards all of the sops up and down Northern California had play groups and eventually this very sub forum popped up. The second big explosion was obviously in 2011 with the WotC Commander precon decks and the format went international, as non-English speaking countries (like Peru where I live now) first heard of it.

    I give all of this back ground to get to my point, which is that in all this time, two card combos have been a thing, yet throughout all of these years, the more things change, the more they stay the same. People were using Tooth and Nail for Kiki Jiki, Mirror Breaker and Sky Hussar before Mikaeus, the Unhallowed had ever been printed. Heck, before mike and Trike, Triskelion used to combo with Mephidross Vampire. Combos are not any easier, faster, or more appealing than they have ever been. So, when Sheldon writes:
    The problem comes from the tendency to want to do it a little earlier next time because someone beat you to it. And then earlier after that. Arms races lead to bad places.
    This, in turn, forces me to ask what it is that he thinks might be causing a "sudden" (yet immeasurable) push towards combo that we have otherwise yet to see in all of this time? The evidence provided by The Command Zone indicated quite the opposite to be true.

    3) Changing life totals will NOT make a meaningful difference in the propensity to use combo decks. Yes, higher life totals leads to longer games, which was part of the point of the format (5 players 200 life means 40 each). Longer games (compared to 60 card duels) is also the appeal of the format. It is why EDH/Commander is home to so many cards which are staples now used to spend years buried inside cardboard long boxes of bulk jank. However, the reason players use combos is not ONLY because of the high life totals. Combos are used in 20 life duels, which is literally the most aggro-friendly environment there could possible be, at least in terms of the life total argument. Players are not choosing to use combo is 20 life 60x4 magic because the life totals are too high. Players have chosen combo in Modern where fast tutors do not exist, and of the best combo decks of their day, only KCI used fast mana rocks like Mox Opal, which is doesn't seem to be in any danger of being placed on the ban list. So, it is not the fast mana or the fast tutors which cause players to chose combo either. Well then, what could it be that causes players to choose combo over other decks, when you don't have fast tutors and don't have/need the fast mana, and you only need to kill one player who is at 20 life? maybe... just maybe, it is because combo is resilient and often times fun to pull off (unless it is eggs. I have found that most eggs players hate eggs).

    Furthermore, according to every resources I have found, even 20 life duel Commander still tends to favor combo/control match-ups at the top tables more than anything else. Players tend to play the back-and-forth blue battle to dig through their decks, exchange counterspells and try to power out a combo far more than they are to just beat down an opponent. Now, if you have contradictory evidence, then please be polite and share it rather than be a troll and tell me that I am an idiot for not knowing better. I tried to look up the raw numbers from mtgTop8, Channel Fireball's article on competitive duel commander, and the forums and posting talking about the top decks and that is the conclusion that I have come to.
    So how do games of 1v1 EDH play out? What can you expect from a typical game? For the most part, 1v1 games play out like a slug-fest between counterspells and attrition. Both players engage in a tug-of-war of resources, land drops, and value. (snip) Typical control games aside, you can also encounter fast combo decks. Usually, these combo decks will also employ counterspells and removal to back up their combos and engines, so be prepared. You will rarely see many glass cannon combo, and more of a combo/control fusion.
    As a result, I yet again see evidence that reducing the life total to 30 and even 20 has no demonstrable change in the play pattern and propensity to choose aggro decks more over combo.


    So, in summary:
    1) I am dubious of the validity of the claim that combo is a growing trend, nor that if it is, then it will spiral out of control, or even that it if both of the previous two statements are true, that it is bad for the format/game.
    2) The proposed solution of reducing life totals has no evidence supporting that it would solve the "problem" of too many combo decks.
    3) The proposed solution of banning fast tutors and/or fast mana will also fail to have the desired results, again backed up with evidence from formats where they are banned/not in the card pool to begin with.
    4) (Insert witty joke here, everybody laughs)
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Sheldon's Thoughts on infinite combos
    Quote from hyalopterouslemur »

    (I still say I'll never play Imperial Seal, topdecking at sorcery speed is bad, guys.)
    You cannot be serious. Turn one Imperial seal is NEVER interacted with. After turn one, and decent deck has draw and treats it no differently than Mystical Tutor when trying to go off: Find what you need, then cast a cantrip and win.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Sheldon's Thoughts on infinite combos
    Quote from Carthage »

    Having played out similar situations to this many times, what actually happens:

    One player dies, then the board is wiped, then the game goes on and the aggro player has no cards in hand. The player that went all in is unhappy because they have nothing to do with the empty hand, and the player who was eliminated is unhappy because the game can last for an hour after that.

    That is laughably and demonstrably incorrect and it is obvious that you do not play with nor against Edgar Markov... or your opponents are super scrubs. Maybe a bit of both.

    Casting three one drops is NOT over extending, nor does it leave your hand empty. The mass card draw that the deck has also means that you are NOT left with an empty hand.

    Opening hand, 7 cards, draw to 8, play a land and a one drop down to 6 cards.
    Turn two draw to 7, play a land and two one drops. 4 cards.
    Turn 3 draw up to five, play a land and shared animosity go to three cards, kill a player because you swin for 36 and they have paid life and you have attacked on turn two.
    Thy wrath you with three cards, you untap and draw up to 4 cards. Strange... that is not an empty hand, and with the 12-14 ways of tutoring and/or drawing available, it is very easy to rebuild both your board several times each game. It is not like decks run endless board wipes either. I have won multiple games against 4 or more board wipes and attempted wipes.

    Not to mention that Scapegoat and Boros Charm are real cards which are complete blow outs against a board wipe attempt. Oh, the board is clear and I have all of my creatures. GG?
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
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