- Crypt Rat
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Member for 11 years, 5 months, and 22 days
Last active Mon, Feb, 19 2018 01:45:00
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Feb 15, 2018Crypt Rat posted a message on Good hidden gems that aren't super specific or narrowJailer is autoinclude in every white deck I have except Marchesa, because what white deck doesn't want more ways to draw cards? Also Monarchy is just a healthy mechanic that encourages players to push the game state forward.Posted in: Commander (EDH)
Feb 14, 2018Crypt Rat posted a message on Good hidden gems that aren't super specific or narrowDepending on the power level and meta you're going for, Laccolith Rig can do a lot of work. It lets you turn any large creature into repeatable political removal and the turn you play it to kill something, it only costs you 1 mana. You can also plop it on an opponent's large creature which is pseudo removal as long as anyone can block the large creature since you still control the enchantment.Posted in: Commander (EDH)
Again, depending on the deck, meta, and power level, Krosan Restorer is a pretty nice mana rock that bumps up when you get a karoo and then bumps up a lot later in the game. It can also be a political tool by untapping someone else's mana.
Jan 14, 2018Posted in: Commander (EDH)
I have never seen Howling Mine-type Group Hug effects actually affect everyone equally. Certain decks benefit from them far more than others and it feels like decks running more combo-type win conditions or decks with the biggest top-end benefit the most. Certain decks are just fed far more than others and don't have to do any work to do so.Quote from blkh »What bad play pattern?
Edric similarly feeds certain decks hard while others struggle to keep up with the value he generates. It's certainly good that he encourages playing creatures and attacking, but it is my opinion that his scaling has undesirable consequences.
Jan 14, 2018Posted in: Commander (EDH)
I have not seen Edric be a political commander in the games I've participated in. It was a tuned mana dork deck that was drawing 2-3 cards per turn very early and then snowballing into some value engine while people were still setting up.Quote from TheC2 »Edric is a great political card. In multiplayer. In 1v1, the Edric player holds all the advantage while his opponent gets nothing.
Ludevic feels far more political (though I would argue that it is technically still not) and far more balanced.
Edric is more of an non-symmetrical Howling Mine that benefits whoever is going wide the hardest (and also not attacking Edric) and has all the bad play patterns that most group hug decks do.
Jan 13, 2018Posted in: Commander (EDH)
I'm definitely looking to avoid wheels. They have a completely different play pattern from what I'm looking for.
Ah super. I knew there was a looting equipment somewhere, but this is much better, yes.Equipment wise you also have Mask of Memory. A fair bit better than Rogue's Gloves.
Definitely outside of the budget I want to spend on this deck. I have Weathered Wayfarer which can grab cycling lands forever, but I want to move it to another deck.
I always forget these exist. I really never want to play them. The versions that let you play lands from exile are much better than those that don't, but even so, they punish you for having expensive or reactive cards in your deck that end up exiled forever. I have not yet built a deck that would be happy playing these.Finally, while it's not exactly draw, Outpost Siege does give you an extra card to work with each turn.
I guess there's also Mentor of the Meek and Bygone Bishop I technically have Mentor as a non-tutorable skullclamp that can use the same token fodder, but it's not really a one-and-done handfixer like Lifecrafter's Bestiary. I guess I should just buckle down and buy some of the DFCs from Ixalan. The map is quite nice.
Looking at these, Dowsing Dagger and Treasure Map seem desirable.
Jan 13, 2018It's not a secret that this color combination has trouble with card draw and it remains a fundamental problem my Tajic runs into. I'm looking to update my Tajic deck, to try to be "less good". Given what Commander is, I've found another deck I enjoy playing more. I keep coming back to Tajic if I need a deck that needs to provide a basic, mechanically simple experience, but it's still fundamentally inconsistent in a way that is unpleasant. I am looking to improve the quality of this deck but I still need repeatable card draw effects.Posted in: Commander (EDH)
These are all I can think of. Skullclamp exists though is a bit too strong for what I'm aiming at, though it may be at a more modest spot once I'm not actively supporting it. I actively want to cut Staff of Nin for being expensive and encouraging a passive play style. I may eventually cave and put in Palace Sentinels despite not liking it, simply because it's another cheap source of Monarchy.
Before I resort to red's inefficient looters (and I may do that anyway), are there any other sources of repeatable card flow at 4 or less in these colors?
Jan 7, 2018As previously discussed, I enjoy building decks designed for everyone to play from as a way to generate portable, self-contained play experiences that allow for spontaneous games without concern for other players bring decks or concern for bad match ups. I'm hoping in this post, I can show you that this method of play/deckbuilding can produce a wider variety of decks and to show my thought processes as I update them.Posted in: Homebrew and Variant Formats
While my early forays in this were 2-player decks, more recently I've been focusing exclusively on multiplayer play. The current deck is the most recent iteration of the first theme I explored after my first pass through building a deck for each color: mill. The idea of each player playing a deck with the expectation of the deck running out and threatening death was always extremely fascinating to me as it upends a lot of fundamental aspects of Magic strategy. The original 2-player deck resulted in game play that was far more puzzle-like than traditional Magic as it was more about finding and using pieces in the right way than about attacking and tempo.
Through numerous play sessions, the patterns that have become obvious are the following: Simply attacking your opponent to death is safer, since if you mill the deck out, they can flip it around on you and kill you. This introduces a disparity of cards which are better in the early-midgame and cards that are at their best in the end-game or empty library. The emergent play which has turned out to be most satisfying is using aggressive creatures to pressure the opponent into using cards like Gomazoa to stay alive during the mid-game rather than saving them for when the library runs out. This lets actual hard removal be saved for other threats. During the end-game, random large bodies lose almost all of their value as they don't help you stay alive through an empty library, so getting value out of them in the mid-game is important.
Another fascinating aspect of the 2-player deck was the use of cycling and other key cantrips to fight over key dredge cards, most notably: Darkblast. I also liked seeing the flexibility of cards with cycling come up as a way to fight over the best cards on top of the library, a subgame, I was happy for the Panglacial Wurm deck to later explore with Mul Daya Channelers.
A surprising aspect of this environment was that pure mill cards were either just too bad or too oppressive. Archive Trap was cut because despite it being castable early for free and hardcast later, it had a pretty poor play pattern. Either it was just card disadvantage or it was a blowout out of nowhere when you empty the deck with an opponent's cycling trigger on the stack. Killing someone this way was cute the first time, but it's not good game play to support. False Memories is much closer to keepable, both with the reliably easy casting cost, but also the added utility of graveyard hate. The reduced number is more in line with the possiblity of a dredge trigger removing the library out of nowhere, meaning that at 7 or less, the library being emptied will be played around far more.
Ultimately, the basic play patterns settles down into this: The player who draws the better aggro bodies will try to mill the deck very little and just aggro the other player to death. The player who draws the better mill and end game cards will try to mill the deck faster to invalidate the board advantage and will try to prevent the aggro player from flipping the empty library.
Notable mechanical effects of this environment:
- You must evaluate anything that puts cards back into the library very differently.
- Griptide effects can be equivalent to Mind Control.
- I do not run instants with flashback as that creates very awkward priority passing scenarios.
- Elixir of Immortality is a card the Aggro deck values more since it adds many turns to the game.
- Gomazoa and similar cards let you stay alive on an empty library indefinitely, but they can get milled out after activating during upkeep.
- Cathertic Adept and similar cards are repeatable mill, but more importantly let you kill people trying to stay alive during the end game. Killing them is essential if you're trying to stay alive with Gomazoa, for example.
- Reckless Scholar must be dealt with before the library empties or it will just kill someone.
- The graveyard is likely to be shuffled back into the library one or more times. After that first time, players are mostly drawing spells. Cards getting exiled matters.
- In the 2-player version a high percentage of the cards were milled each game, in the multiplayer version, most cards are drawn, so certain cards like Elixir of Immortality are far more likely to be cast than end up in the graveyard from the library. The 2-player play pattern is likely due to dredge being both a higher precentage of the cards in the deck and overall stronger to do.
- Cards that are relevant from the graveyard will eventually make it there. You can count on them showing up every game, but whether they are drawn or milled and when during the game they show up will vary between games. Filth, is the most notable card in multiplayer, cards with dredge and cheap flashback were notable in 1v1.
With that out of the way, this post will be discussing the most recent update to the 4-player mill deck. You can read more about earlier versions in this blog post. First, here is the list I was working from prior to the changes:
What is clear to me from this old list is that it's hanging onto far too many aspects of the old 1v1 deck. It's trying to keep the curve artificially low, which isn't inherently bad, but clinging to cards like Viscera Dragger which don't have very stellar gameplay isn't all that great. Another aspect is that the deck tried to keep the Darkblast relevancy with all the tiny creatures and just making up for the larger card pool by adding a bunch of -1/-1 effects. This continues to keep the creatures from being replaced with anything bigger since the removal just won't be able to handle it.
This is most readily noticeable with Rancid Earth which is trying to play the role of board wipe and utility land hoser. This snapshot is taken just after Creeping Tar Pit and Ghost Quarter were removed from both lists, so there's fewer interactive reasons to include Rancid Earth for this role anyway. The 1 damage to everything was intended to have the play pattern of a board wipe since most of the end-game relevant bodies would die to it and you could also nab a relevant land.
Spiketail Drakeling is symptomatic of another problem. It's a bandaid intended to make it easier to fight key spells at any time without having to leave mana open so you can continue to deploy your hand. As it is here, the deck has too few ways to stay alive on an empty library and too many ways to stop people attempting to do so. The deck also has a lot less aggro than would be needed to kill people off regularly in multiplayer.
Nearly a third of the deck was changed in this most recent update, though cards I wanted to include had been stockpiling for a few sets. The Panglacial Wurm updates and a key realization were the catalyst of this overhaul. With it, the similarities of the existing 2-player deck and the multiplayer deck will now diverge, though it's possible that the 2-player deck would be more healthy if it went down this path as well. The highly complex puzzle-style of the old method was only really suitable for playing with players that could easily grasp the deep strategy and adjust to the radically different context easily. The changes happening make the deck much more accessible to people learning to play it since it's just a lot harder to die to mill.
(View on TappedOut)
So there's quite a bit going on here.
First, the mana base contains many duplicates now. I decided that it wasn't worth buying a bunch of different dual lands if there were some that had decent in-deck play. Cycling will never not be good and the option is handy and also removes the need for Evolving Wilds which, while it was nice to occasionally shuffle the deck, becomes bad when the land gets put back in the deck but there are no more basics to find. The scry lands also greatly increase the number of situations where you get to peek at the top of the deck before deciding if you want to cycle or loot. Sunken Hollow might get changed over to copies of Drowned Catacomb or Dismal Backwater eventually depending on how the number of untapped lands shakes out. I'm additionally trying out the Desert Tribal effects of Inpu Rivulet and Ifnir Deadlands with their accompanying cycling deserts over Cabal Pit and Nephalia Drownyard. Drownyard in particular was too oppressive against end game cards like Gomazoa which can be dealt with in many ways already and the land won't be possible to interact with as I'm taking out the last of the land destruction effects.
(Also of note here is that I am now totally willing to double up on cards that have the gameplay I'm looking for. The viable card pool for this kind of deck is incredibly small.)
Second, almost all of the graveyard hate is gone. Bojuka Bog, Nihil Spellbomb, and even Delve, to a degree were all dampening the reliability of certain graveyard effects. Gravepurge in particular has always had reliability issues with the number of turns you could add to the game with it. Bojuka Bog wasn't necessarily the most oppressive effect here since it would only ever happen as a sorcery, and when drawn in the opening hand, would often have to be played out. Nihil Spellbomb was the oppressive one here since it could just sit in play all game and get rid of everything at the end, which shuts off far too many end game cards. Even Bloodcurdler was doing too much at safely exiling things from the graveyard. Instead, we're now trying Graven Abomination, Corpse Lunge, and Ruin Rat. This change is a buff to aggro decks since every graveyard shuffle will always be putting back a lot of cards. It's possible I'll put Bojuka Bog back in at some point to introduce more variance.
The main reason for this rather large change to graveyard hate is the third: The graveyard is now intended as a mana sink much as the Panglacial Wurm was intended. I want there to be things in the graveyard that the player who floods out can do. Undead Gladiator, Champion of Wits, Forbidden Alchemy, and Sever the Bloodline all fill this role. I would like 1-2 more quality cards that are good enough to cast without the flashback and can be a helpful late mana sink, but existing cards don't quite do what I'd like. These cards required the graveyard hate nerf in order to fulfill their role of being available when a player floods out.
With those overall changes in place, I'll now go over specific cards.
Commit / Memory is the most notable inclusion replacing Memory Lapse. It is a reliable end game copy of Metamorphose while still doing things in the mid game. However, it has a flashback Timetwister. This is a single-use reshuffle effect that will reliably show up each game, but it also resets everyone's hand size and could theoretically cause the last player to draw to die from an empty library. With the graveyard hate changes, it's not clear how likely this will happen or the general implications of giving everyone seven fresh cards. It obviously encourages players to play out their hands and play lands and as a shuffle effect, it adds time to the aggro clock. It will be the card I'll be watching most closely.
Sequestered Stash was a cute find that just adds a simple end game relevant land. Grabing Conjuror's Bauble or Elixir of Immortality is likely going to be the most common plays with it, though Expedition Map can be useful of a shuffle is expected to happen.
Subtle Strike is replacing Lose Hope and intending to be a more aggressive card that can 2-for-1 on board.
Rancid Earth is cut. I considered replacing it with Wail of the Nim as a similar effect but with a combat trick component on top but decided against it since average creature size is going up quite a bit. Slum Reaper replaces Fleshbag Marauder as a slightly bigger creature that dodges removal aimed at 1/1s. It's intended that this body is intended as an upgrade to one of your creatures. It's possible that this deck really just wants something closer to Barter in Blood instead. Fixed mass sacrifice feels better than a board wipe since it simply cuts numbers down rather than hating on certain things.
Liliana's Elite replaces Bloodcurdler to join Jace's Phantasm as a small creature that gets big from mill, but then shrinks back down when more time is added to the game due to a shuffle effect. I like this play pattern overall. Liliana's Elite instead of Whight of Precint Six because it feels like it's going to be rather large rather easily, though compared to Jace's Phantasm, it doesn't get to grow from spells, but it can grow sooner and in combat using removal.
Cathartic Adept and Selhoff Oculist become Vortex Elemental and Grizzled Angler. Cathartic Adept was a bit too oppressive in the endgame for a 1-drop that also messes with draws in the midgame. Grizzled Angler picks up that activated ability but can only use it once towards the end, so getting use out of that single activation will be tricky. It also transforms into a big body that will retain value after a shuffle back, feeling powerful. The Occultist was just odd ambient mill that other players could trigger, but it really didn't do very much as a 2/3. Vortex Elemental is a very good 1-drop I always had eyes for that has the same good game play as Gomazoa and Void Stalker: It's great on an empty library and your opponents can pressure you into using it early.
Thorn of the Black Rose replaces Viscera Dragger. The old 3/3 was not that attractive. It wasn't enough of a threat to bother casting and it just didn't do much outside of the 1v1 deck. Monarchy is highly interesting in this deck as one can get stuck drawing 2 cards on an empty library and dying. The extra cards are always valuable, so it will be interesting to see how the dynamic shapes up, especially when life totals get low. (I did add a rule in the attachments.)
Filigree Familiar replaces Runed Servitor. I used to think Runed Servitor was the best thing ever for this sort of thing, but trading off a 2/2 in multiplayer is not good and the game play of trying to kill everyone with its trigger was undesirable. The fox also introduces a spec of life gain to the deck that can be recurred by desperate players.
Bloodsoaked Champion replaces Gravecrawler. Zombies were always a rarity and one of the few things that made the unearth creatures worth casting. Raid is just more reliable to make use of with those bad creatures going away. It's possible that the ambient damage this provides won't be needed with the other buffs to aggression and nerfs to mill.
Nevermaker replaces Spiektail Drakeling. Still flies in the air for 2, but can 2-for-1 sometimes on defense and also will always at least "trade" with a 5/5. It has a spec of end-game relevance but needs to be killed and an opponent can do that, though you still get to remove something else in play when that happens.
Wasteland Strangler & Kindly Stranger. These are two value bodies that have been added that are very strong draws. Kindly Stranger is better since you control when the removal happens, though it's far less relevant after a shuffle. The strangler is decent removal and also introduces a way to get back cards from exile. Filth is the most notable candidate for this, so this slot will have to be monitored. These two are a bit strong, though as a multiplayer environment, I'm hoping the dynamics will dampen the power spike of drawing these. They will be valuable targets of theft and reanimation for all players so it's not clear what the implications of that will be in practice.
Corpse Churn replaces Plunge into Darkness. As with Archive Trap, Plunge turned out to be a bit too anticlimatic. It was a pretty decent, if costly card filter spell, but Corpse Churn should just be the clean version of what we want. With the removal of the fetchlands, it's possible I'll switch Grim Discovery over to a second copy of Corpse Churn just to get a bit more cards in the graveyard. It does have a little bit of counterplay against Filth.
Winds of Rebuke replaces False Memories. Instead of graveyard hate, this provides bounce, which is mechanically relevant on those key turns when the library is empty. It can also protect creatures from removal or mess up a combat trick. I like that this helps mill a decent chunk and is at present the biggest mill effect of any singular card. It's very possible I'll double up on this eventually.
Outside of that, there are some cards I'm having trouble finding suitable replacements for. Peek, Deep Analysis, Soratami Cloudskater, Consign / Oblivion are all cards I'm not really satisfied with. Peek was more relevant when it could dredge Nightmare Void when powerful spells were more of a thing. Now it's just a road bump cantrip and there are few times when you care about choosing when to draw a card. Even if there were, cards with cycling offer more options. Of note: Removing cantrips in bulk will make the deck larger, more varied, and harder to mill out.
Deep Analysis just needs to go. I don't even really want to replace it with a draw spell since there's a second copy of Words of Wisdom now and I don't think a second copy of Flux would do much. I feel like I'd want something that makes it harder for aggro decks since they've gotten so much better, preferably something that's close to a dead draw when an aggro deck draws it, though I don't want a pure mill spell.
Soratami Cloudskater hasn't transitioned well from 1v1 where it was still fairly tame. Monarch makes it better somewhat, but stunting mana development is just very weak now and looting away lands is less necessary.
Consign / Oblivion was a trial at the beginning of these changes but it's very quickly become apparent that the play pattern here is not working out. I believe this will be replaced with Barter in Blood in short order.
Jan 7, 2018No one format will appeal to everyone.Posted in: Commander (EDH)
If Standard and Modern were the only way to play Magic, I would almost certainly stop playing. I stopped building casual 60-card decks years ago because the matchups those generate is miserable. One of the things keeping Magic alive is that there's a huge variety of ways people can play.
If you are pondering whether it's cost-effective to produce booster packs when Commander-oriented players are unlikely to consume them, consider that they started producing 100-card products specifically for this demographic and that first year was so successful, they decided to continue doing it every year. They seem to sell well despite the hefty price point and looking only at the costs of cardstock and ink, they should be more profitable for wizards despite not capable of being the bulk of the sales.
Now, Commander might be a factor in the reduction of precons for normal sets. It used to be each set would come with 4 decks around that set's themes that could entice players to buy packs to improve. I could easily see the rise of Commander competing with that product and it changed to two planeswalker-oriented decks, likely for a mix of factors.
If Commander were the only means of playing Magic, I feel like it would have a shorter lifespan.
Magic is not Standard. Magic is not Modern. Magic is not kitchen table casual. Magic is not Commander. Magic is not 60-card. Magic is not 100-card. Magic is not booster packs.
Magic is a common set of rules that all those games use with different subsets of cards. Those rules are more likely to continue to exist if there are a lot of different games using them. If the monetization/distribution needs to change, it will.
Jan 5, 2018So, this is more or less Ambush Viper that doesn't die to tokens but it is super pushed if you're playing aggro pirates, but only if you're playing Aggro pirates.Posted in: The Rumor Mill
If you're playing an aggressive deck, the deathtouch makes it really hard for midrange to stonewall you. If you're playing on defense, they can just shock it out of the way.
If they're going to push a card into standard, I like that they chose Ambush Viper because it has a lot of push/pull to it.
Even so, it feels super weird to see a bear pushed so much, though in the grand scheme of things, this is not Dark Confidant.
Incidentally, can we have an exact black-shifted Ambush Viper? I want the game play without the wordiness to use elsewhere.
Oh hey. This is a good target for Mutiny.
Jan 5, 2018Posted in: Homebrew and Variant Formats
I like that you do this, though do consider designing something specific to this style of play. The cards drawn are always relevant in the context of other cards that could be drawn or could be on the other side of the table, unlike the random storm 1-of or cube-focused combo piece. I expect there's a lot of replayability with the cube as it's very large. I assume it's only something you can do at a game shop since the cube is likely very valuable and hard to transport.Quote from FuneralofGod »We simply shuffle the cube (that itself is not simple, for anyone who knows cube) then each draw our hands from the cube. So far we've done anywhere from 2-4 players (my cube is 240 cards). The cube is the communal deck, a single graveyard is shared, and the "owner" of card is considered to be whoever last controlled it. There are only nonbasic multicolor, multifunctional lands in the cube, and they are only maybe 15% of the entire cube, so a modified rule is that any player may place any card from their hand face down as a land card, and lands placed in this manner produce any color of mana.
It makes for quick games, crazy interactions (since everyone can be running 5-color), and unusual lines of play, since you need to consider that your opponents may reuse cards you dump into the graveyard if they get Snapcaster Mage or Unburial Rites.
Overall I give your thread a big fat +1.. great work
Building something more focused also lets you focus on very specific mechanical themes, like a madness or morph deck which really need a high percentage of the cards with the mechanic to work well in their respective environments. It can be useful for revisiting old mechanics that played well.
It's close, yes. I used to label what I do as stacks or microstacks, but that name is not very useful for getting the point across. Telling someone that this is basically a board game more clearly communicates that they don't need to have their own deck without even explaining that the library is shared. Also Stack and Type 4 have very different rules regarding mana than what I build, which is always built intending players to draw lands. This does introduce the possibility of mana screw which is bad for a board game to have, but I definitely work on that by trying to include both mana sinks and ways to get lands or make lands valuable in general. The landcyclers that Wizards has printed are usually pretty good about playing well.Quote from heroes182 »Isn't that just Stack?
I don't like deviating from normal Magic too much. The game play of finding your splash color and off-color activations is something I like. I'm likely also building at a lower power/complexity level than most Stacks do. I think Type 4 also includes something about infinite mana?
One other thing is that this deck is a perfectly functional casual deck is nearly Commander-legal as is, albeit very low-power level. I like that flexibility if I'm bringing it along.
Certainly if you and your play group prefer playing something, by all means do so!
Jan 3, 2018Crypt Rat posted a message on another Journey to Nowhere variant .:. starting with A or B .:. not fully translated .:. who reads Japanese?Posted in: The Rumor Mill
Jan 3, 2018The Red-Blue one really looks weak by comparison, but the decks it goes it are probably already degenerate and just playing it as a 4-mana Academy.Posted in: The Rumor Mill
This and the green-black one look super strong and not that hard to make work. Admittedly, this does need a lot of mana to remove threats where you could do the same for cheaper. Being able to pull things back later definitely gives this another angle from a pure removal spell, but the play pattern there is slow.
I'm sure there are local metas where the exile and recursion abilities being uncounterable will be huge.
Dec 30, 2017I don't think any decks have been a bad idea to build as they haven't caused any lasting problems for having played them, indeed, my favorite deck was built out of the ruins of a deck that had a fundamental problem.Posted in: Commander (EDH)
There is a combo I thought would be cool to build into a deck that in retrospect was not a good idea. While Jace's Archivist + Kozilek the Great Distortion is cutesy, anything that involves repeatable / free countermagic is not long for this world. It ended up involving Phyrexian Reclamation instead, which just killed the card after one game.
If you took out the Dead-Eye Navigator and the Peregrine Drake and replaced Eternal Witness with Skullwinder, I feel like the deck would end up far more palatable for your opponents. I run Skullwinder over Eternal Witness in Derevi for exactly that reason: You can't flicker it in any degenerate manner because the table will just punish you for it.Quote from Tigerpawx »Roon of the Hidden Realm - It was just a deck that keep blink blink blink, get lots of value, or have Deadeye Navigator and Peregrine Drake to get infinite mana, blink Eternal Witness to keep getting back Counterspell to counter my opponents, I got bored of it quickly and people disliked it as well.
I also ended up taking out Mystic Snake for Venser, both to help the flicker theme, but mainly to make repeatable countermagic less punishing. I would have gone with Draining Whelk due to the nature of my repeatable triggers being flashing in more clones and having large fliers instead of a 2/2 snake would hopefully make the game end so fewer things would need to be countered. I ended up acquiring a Venser first and have found him to be perfectly serviceable. It's not really worth cloning him ever but I can still flicker him here and there to unstick threats or delay spells.
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Dec 6, 2017A fair chunk of recent changes are aimed at finally replacing holdover cards from the 1v1 version of this deck. Many of those cards played decently well in 1v1 but just have too much variance when it comes to multiplayer. Overall these changes balance out the power of removal. Older removal was a bit more niche than was healthy and utility creatures were a bit too strong compared to the amount of answers to them.Posted in: Crypt Rat Blog
• Scattered Groves replaces Temple Garden
• Ash Barrens replaces Safewright Quest
• Jade Mage replaces Selesnya Guildmage
The +1/+1 mode just isn't as good when the core creatures are growing to be more spread out. Repeatable 1/1 chump blockers is the most appealing part of this and doubling at 6 and 9 being achievable makes this a good swap.
• Gnarlwood Dryad replaces Death-Hood Cobra
With multiplayer, this is attacking less, so having to hold up mana for deathtouch makes the snake pretty bad, even if it can block fliers. This one turns into a threat when drawn late to help end games.
• Deathcap Cultivator replaces Avacyn's Pilgrim
This solves the problem of bad mana dorks. In smaller settings, 1/1 bodies can be made relevant fairly easily. This setting needs more longevity when flooding out late. Deathtouch is natural even if this change prevents the deck from moonlighting as a commander deck.
• Clear Shot replaces Dromoka's Command
This is a questionable change, but it makes it harder for this to 2-for-1 combat tricks, allows it to BE a combat trick, and allows deathtouch creatures to damage big creatures without dying. The blow out scenario is also lessened with awkward interactions with removing aura-based removal in combat.
• Choking Restraints replaces Contagion Glasp
This interacts with a slightly different set of threats. Instead of being expensive and targeting utility creatures, it's cheap, and stops big creatures before being a mana sink to deal with creatures with abilities late.
• Provoke replaces Detainment Spell
Doesn't answer threats as easily, but allows social play and deals with utility creatures with no card cost.
• Blessed Alliance replaces Martial Law
This interacts with a slightly different set of threats but does untap creatures tapped down by tappers. Detain is awkward and was ultimately just a 1 for 1.
• Faith Unbroken replaces Vow of Duty
This has better gameplay as the vow typically clogged the board and didn't answer utility creatures. This cleans up utility creatures decently, especially those that accrue value over time.
• Elder of Laurels replaces Seedcradle Witch
This is less-dependent on the ability to ward off early plays and is less of an oppressive ability.
• Unstable Obelisk replaces Selesnya Keyrune
This is more tension and ramp-desiring / pay off. This may be less useful midgame though. This is one of the few remaining ways of getting an aura off your big threat.
• Become Immense replaces Beast Within
This targets combat rather than being efficient, flexible removal. This slot no longer destroys auras and doesn't leave behind a 3/3 token to be dealt with.
• Prepare // Fight replaces Test of Faith
Untap combat trick has more play to it than a flash aura that eats deathtouchers.
• Ainok Bond-Kin replaces Phyrexian Revoker
Early game 2/1s are just bad now and utility creatures are less important than in 1v1
• Heliod's Emissary replaces Wiltleaf Cavaliers
Aggro needs a bit more assist than beefy vigilance. This is now a mana sink and adds to delirium
• Benevolent Offering replaces Briarhorn
Testing out flying tokens and life gain. Might be too much of a liability, but Briarhorn was always too much of a blow out.
• Dragonscale General replaces Auriok Bladewarden
Trying something new.
• Sentinel of the Eternal Watch replaces Coalition Honor Guard
Flagbearers are significantly more awkward in multiplayer where they prevent opponents from killing each other's creatures.
• Conifer Strider replaces Acidic Slime
• Domesticated Hydra replaces Kavu Primarch
Golgari Decoy is now on the watch list because there are very few things it can actually interact against in a satisfying way compared to before. I think there are fewer permanent buffs it can acquire but it still may have enough buffs for it to be usable.
Jun 15, 2016As I'm not presently able to edit the post, here are some recent changes:Posted in: Crypt Rat Blog
•Dromoka's Command replaces Selesnya Charm
•Divine Verdict replaces Radiant's Judgment
These cards ended up sandbagging without good targets and ultimately could only get used against the big top end threats. This generally meant that the midrange 4/4s would rule the game. The change opens up more removal options to the midranged threats.
•Death-Hood Cobra replaces Seeker of Skybreak
•Lace with Moonglove replaces Vines of Vastwood
Dromoka's Command hates on smaller creatures and rewards larger ones, so these changes are there to remove some of the cards that scale with large creatures and provide a bit more strength to the small ones. Lace With Moonglove in particular is excellent at making a random 1/1 relevant.
•Citadel Castellan replaces Qasali Pridemage
With the inclusion of Dromoka's Command, I'm looking to prune some of the enchantment hate as it is a buff to threats, particularly the biggest ones. I want to cut Acidic Slime as well, but not just yet.
•Sickleslicer replaces Oracle of Nectars
This is a better mana sink and is more relevant later. The life was only really meaningful in the 2-player version where it could easily be oppressive.
•Skyhunter Skirmisher replaces Apex Hawks
While the Hawks are a natural mana sink, the double striker scales better with buffs, both own and other. This is a test, but may be reverted if the Vow enchantments prove to be too aggressive on it.
•Obsessive Skinner replaces Gigantomancer
Gigantomancer was a poor payoff for top end. It's very likely that Obsessive Skinner is too strong. Either way, with both of these top end cards becoming efficient cheap spells, I need to be mindful of including more mana sinks or just more large top end creatures.
•Avacyn's Pilgrim replaces Bloomtender (Needed Bloomtender for another deck)
•Canopy Vista replaces Sapseep Forest
•Topplegeist replaces Angelsong
•Banishment Decree replaces Awe Strike
Angelsong was a cute idea as a political tool and a way to punish someone for going all in on a kill but could also be cycled if need be, which was a cute interaction with Mul Daya Channelers. However, this was generally a trap card and just bad. Awe Strike was much the same way, though in a world with more deathtouch, damage prevention spells could theoretically be more potent. I'll have to keep an eye on Test of Faith which will likely help protect big creatures from deathtouch far more than it will be used in a double block something like Terrifying Presence would be a more welcome deathtouch-relevant combat trick since it lets the smaller creature eat the bigger one. Banishment Decree now introduces Mind Control into the deck and is particularly relevant given that it can steal removal auras or large threats.
Oct 7, 2013As an afterthought, I've noticed that the Stacks I've enjoyed the most create interesting and complex board states with cards that offer interesting and meaningful choices to players.Posted in: Crypt Rat Blog
I also like it when more of the lands players draw are relevant. Either there are things for players to do with more mana. Or the lands turn into spells. Or the lands provide a rare splash color.
I prefer splashes to give bonus options on cards that have already been played, affecting as many cards as possible while still being reasonable cards without the added effect. I will allow few cards that outright require the color and such cards must provide extreme utility in the context of the deck.
Aug 1, 2013Looking a bit closer at the interactions available, I need to add Needlepeak Spider and probably will have to cut Tuktuk. Dragon Egg would probably substitute for Tuktuk, though it pushes the focus away from artifacts (which may or may not be a good thing).Posted in: Crypt Rat Blog
If the combat tricks and their increased relevance aren't enough to deal with Tuktuk and it IS cut, I can probably cut Scrap as well.
Keeping Tuktuk in would be similar to keeping Shivan Dragon in core set limited. Sometimes, you just need some players to get free wins. The dragon can be dealt with, but not easily. However, Tuktuk shows up far more often than a draft bomb, is cheaper to cast and has been rather swingy as to whether you could deal with it or not.
Needle Drop and Grifter's Blade only give +1 damage, so in a square stats world, for them to work out, the size spread would preferably be small. Most of the creatures don't have square stats, though, so I'm not sure how this will end up working out. Needle Drop could end up being irrelevant.
Aug 1, 2013As far as 1-drops go, I think Stonewright might work for now. I was tempted on including Dragon Hatchling, but given that the (R/G) lands are going to become forests, Dragon Hatchling would be very inconsistent at both attacking and trading. Were it a 1/1, it would have been in for sure. The deck's top-end toughness at 4+ is not helping it any either.Posted in: Crypt Rat Blog
Stonewright, while not having flying, is a bit more flexible in how it allows you to trade up.
I still want an evasive creature. I was tempted on Goblin Balloon Brigade, you have to pay mana for the flying. Goblin Fireslinger can't block fliers, so combat tricks don't work on it. I think I'm really going to just have to find space for Needlepeak Spider or Crested Craghorn.
Kird Ape is another possibility, and with 4 forests and Fiery Fall, won't be too inconsistent. However, as a 1/1, it doesn't do ANYTHING unlike Flinthoof Boar.
Tattermunge Duo is a card I looked at a while back, but it seemed too strong then. Without all the instant speed burn, it might be fine, though it's still very hard to block.
Gruul Keyrune was another card I considered, but I'm not sure about. I like that it's a green source that asks you to get another green source, but by itself it's not that impressive. The ramp isn't needed from 3->5. I like the 3/2 body though. Copper Myr was another possibility here, though unlike Guardian Idol, it doesn't trade with anything.
Jul 30, 2013I would also note here that I have tried a lot of different removal options over the course of this deck's life. The original version had Fatal Attraction (which I'm going to try again) and Galvanic Arc.Posted in: Crypt Rat Blog
Fatal Attraction was not the best top deck which I'm going to be keeping an eye on. However, if it's one of the few good removal spells that remain, it should still be something that you'd want to draw. A new interaction, though is that the new green cards allow the enchantment to be destroyed before your upkeep which can make it harder to kill larger creatures with it.
The first strike on Galvanic Arc made creature size too relevant. You had to play it on something that couldn't be burned in response and then that creature had to be dealt with using removal, which was harder based on its size.
I tried Flame Slash briefly, but it turns out that tempo is a thing. ^^; Requiring 3-5 mana for hard removal is something I look to do now.
Jan 14, 2010Crypt Rat posted a message on The Top 10 Keyword Abilities Ever - #1 and Wrap-UpWhere's Kicker? o.oPosted in: Improbable Things
In any case, Equip wouldn't do that bad in a beauty contest. Compared to the old atrocious artifacts like Runesword, Equip is positively fabulous. It fills the flavor niche that would be vacant without it.
Now, if only problems with Auras could be ironed out...
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