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  • posted a message on What stories have stayed with you over the test of time?
    Once was running a Ruric Thar deck in a 6 player game at an LGS. Had Defense of the Heart in play but nobody had more than two creatures. Then one guy plays a creature or two to turn that on, including Ob Nixilis, Unshackled. And I don't have anything like Avenger + Craterhoof or anything. I fetch for Homura, Human Ascendant and Giant Adephage, then sacrifice Homura who comes right back turned so that my Adephages would be 9/9 fliers. Somebody Noped the entire board of creatures before it got back around to me, though.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Chainer, Dementia Master (Mono Black Reanimator)
    You seem to have a good grasp of your meta.

    If Azusa is going to keep recurring Scavenger Grounds and Primal Command then having a bit of your own graveyard removal could be handy, even if it's "target card" stuff like Withered Wretch or Crook of Condemnation — the latter also having an "all graveyards" out and not getting sacrificed to Teysa's pacts.

    I play the only reanimation deck. There are other decks with graveyard synergies of course, but no real reanimation.
    Cool, I was definitely most curious about other decks that could use opponents graveyards. For example, it's one thing to have a Meren deck at the table who is just fiddling with their own graveyard, but Chainer just looks at it like a buffet and can respond to her trigger.

    Chainer (as well as pacts/edicts) definitely loses some advantage with creature-light decks around, so I can see why you said you might focus on using your own graveyard.
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on Chainer, Dementia Master (Mono Black Reanimator)
    I slightly rearranged some quoted paragraphs by topic. Also, I wrote most of this several hours ago before FearDReaper went into discard option, but I'm leaving that section anyway.
    Quote from tarotplz »
    I'm unsure about the stax cards tbh, they feel like they do nothing else but slow the game down. I know that's what we want to accomplish, but I just wish there was another way to do this without playing some of those cards.

    Silent Arbiter could be cute tho. Might have saved me last night, when I was run over by a horde of tokens from Beacon of Creation. Turns out that card is pretty decent when you have 30 lands on the table Rolleyes
    Basically anything that would hinder opponent actions enough to slow the game is going to be a control element, and stax can be thought of as a passive form of control (as opposed to board wipes, for example). Your assessment that they do nothing but slow the game down is pretty accurate.

    Silent Arbiter could also have simply eaten removal. Green decks are pretty good at artifact/enchantment removal, and Arbiter has a reputation for annoying people more than Crawlspace/No Mercy/Propaganda-style stuff would because it affects everybody rather than just making you slightly more trouble than somebody else. A bunch of tokens (as long as they're not pumped too high yet) is also a good time for Massacre Wurm.

    Quote from tarotplz »
    Yeah, I'm pretty sure I'm gonna cut Bloodchief Ascension from the deck together with Mindcrank and Altar of the Brood.

    I like the idea of more discard a lot. Why take my opponents resources from their deck, when I can take them from their hand.
    Both are good, really. Using discard to the point of making your opponent's hands useless is going to draw a lot of hate your way because you're keeping them from playing the game, so what you use and how often is going to be pretty dependent on your group's reaction. If your actions don't get you farther ahead than the rest of the table ganging up on you, you'd just be shooting yourself in the foot by becoming Arch Enemy.

    Quote from tarotplz »
    On that note, what do you guys think are the removal creatures that I should run anyway? Plaguecrafter is a given ofc, but do I want more of the same? Fleshbag Marauder and Merciless Executioner would be easy additions, but I'm not sure how many times I want that kind of effect.

    Same with the Ravenous Chupacabra type. Do I run Faceless Butcher in addition to it, do I replace it?
    One or two targeted removal is pretty good for my uses, but variety can be useful (targeted vs global). Faceless Butcher is a bit of a pet card for me due to my theme choices and because I can also play politics by saving somebody else's creature, too (or killing them indirectly with their own Zegana or Phage). Chupacabra is pretty straightforward, as opposed to being dependent on having a sac outlet for turning Faceless into permanent removal.

    A lot of decks run multiple Fleshbag-style creatures to make sure they either see at least one just from drawing or to cast those at the appropriate time. It's probably pretty uncommon to activate Chainer to reanimate one of those unless what's guaranteed going to die as a result is really important enough to be dead. Sometimes they can't guarantee that kind of death so targeted stuff removes the opponent's choice, but on the other hand giving the opponents a choice could be used in negotiations, though (e.g. if they sac something you want them to sac instead of provoking a board wipe). I have some questions about your group's psychology below.

    Quote from tarotplz »
    No, I haven't tried Painful Quandary. At 5 mana it always felt a it expensive to me. Maybe I'm wrong on that.

    Since I'm trying to add more discard to the deck anyways, what are some other pieces of discard you'd suggest?
    Oppression is cheaper mana-wise, is symmetrical, and lacks the 5-life "opt-out" on the discard. Could draw less ire if it's their choice what they discard (versus cards where you choose what they discard) and you're under the same effect. But if there's a lot of graveyard removal then having to discard yourself could just mean losing those cards.

    For other discard pieces, there's sac outlets in the form of Sadistic Hypnotist and Mind Slash, there's hand-wreckers like Mind Shatter and Mind Sludge, there's upkeep-based ones like Bottomless Pit and Necrogen Mists, and there's enters/dies stuff on creatures like Liliana's Specter, Entomber Exarch, and Vindictive Lich. There's quite a lot of choices out there, but I can't predict what will work best for you and in what proportion — but I can say that you'll be picking based on the scope of the effect (random vs opponent's choice vs your choice; everybody vs just opponents vs target opponent; etc.).

    Quote from tarotplz »
    Attrition seems like it could be great if I do end up taking the deck in a slower direction.

    The thing with the removal creatures in my meta is that I'm unsure wether I have enough time/life to actually recur a whole bunch of those and still have enough time/life left to then go on to win the game.

    Maybe replacing some of my removal with instants would help me put less of a toll on my life total. The creatures do seem a lot better tho, since they're reusable.
    I have my doubts that you'd need to use them that many times (and part of why I like Noxious Gearhulk because it alleviates the life cost and I can point it at my own creatures). What things are you typically pointing your removal at during games?

    Quote from tarotplz »
    Also there has been quite a bit of graveyard hate recently. No Rest in Peace or anything like it, but Scavenger Grounds tends to find its way onto the board most games...


    Something I've noticed is that no matter what you reanimate you draw tons of hate. Last night I reanimated a Meteor Golem a couple of times. I got rid of some stuff, but ultimately it left me low on life and vulnerable. I kinda feel like I would've done better that game if I just tried to get bigger threats and not care as much about reanimating removal.
    Kindof depends on what you removed. If what you removed would have shortened the game or shortened your time in the game then it was probably a good call. Ultimately the goal of any changes you do to adapt this deck to your meta is in the interest of surviving long enough to win a fair share of the games. If any change to the list changes your threat profile with them enough that they go after you more aggressively than before, then it's not a beneficial change. Even if it increases your chances of winning by a greater margin than it increases the aggression toward you, then it's possibly just making it more of a glass cannon.

    I do feel like some talking about your playgroup could take place, though. Some of your adaptations in the deck will depend on them.
    • Approximately what percent of games do you win, as a player? What percentage of games where you're piloting Chainer are you the victor?
    • Is yours the only reanimation deck and they're focusing you because they don't like that style?
    • Or are there other reanimation decks, but they don't steal from opponents? Are other kinds of theft that are targeted just as much as Chainer is?
    • Or are they instead just protective of their graveyards and don't like other people using their cards? In that case might they also be quite put off by anybody else messing with their hands?
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on Shirei or chainer?
    I haven't run a Shirei deck before, but based on the timing of the delayed trigger I bet it works somewhat like Marchesa, where you amass a value engine that overwhelms your opponents. Shadowborn Apostle is also a fun twist on it.

    Chainer can be activated whenever you want, but the toll of 3 life per activation adds up quickly. You don't spam that ability but end up using it very judiciously. You could very well end up treating him like an 8-CMC commander in regard to not casting him until you can also activate him immediately (or at least still have the BBB available to activate him up until your next turn). It's a very Mono-Black Control kind of deck for me, where most of the times I activate Chainer are in response to something or at the opponent's end step just before my turn.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on When your deck is perfect and you realize it is terribly unfun for opponents
    Quote from Dragoon91 »
    Quote from materpillar »
    Also, how you win is important too. It sounds like your friends don't enjoy being slowly ground to a find powder after being completely locked out of the game with a winter orb. I'm unsure of if that's because you've locked them out of the game, or because you've locked them out of the game and then take forever to actually end the game. You should figure this thing out. For example, (in my opinion) casting obliterate in edh isn't ok. Casting obliterate while you control Avacyn, Angel of Hope is ok. One of those grinds the game to a halt, one kills everyone in less than 5 minutes.

    I know it isn't directly related to the subject but your comment reminded me of a situation I encountered. Someone casted Jokulhaups with an Avacyn, Angel of Hope on board, obviously going for the win. I also didn't consider it a bad play, but here's the deal: I had one white mana available and a Swords to Plowshares in hand. I had the choice of either letting him win, or exile Avacyn and make the game go on for who knows how much longer. I ended up doing nothing as I felt I would have been "that guy". What do you all think of that kind of situation? Smile
    LOL — I'd have Sworded the Avacyn and let Mr. Jokulhaups eat crow. Then I'd have proposed we simply end the game as a draw and start another.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Chainer, Dementia Master (Mono Black Reanimator)
    +1 for selective discard.

    And the more you get into sacrifice outlets like Attrition that have a controlling effect (or if you use any pacts), the more you might consider self-returning creatures like Bloodghast, Reassembling Skeleton, or Nether Traitor as enablers, or reusable recursion that's cheaper than Chainer like Phyrexian Reclamation, Oversold Cemetery.

    In my case I haven't had much of a problem with rattlesnaking removal creatures in my graveyard. If my friends start running more graveyard removal I will likely have to adapt to some hidden instant removal like Hero's Downfall. I have to consider that part of the reason they haven't is that I tend not to destroy everything I can, but rather to use my removal creatures when something comes at me or to dodge graveyard removal and target something belonging to whoever pointed graveyard removal my way.

    I wouldn't be surprised if your meta is more aggressive about taking a little punishment to get rid of a known threat sitting in your graveyard, but you know them better.
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on Chainer, Dementia Master (Mono Black Reanimator)
    Quote from tarotplz »
    Yes, I run basically no stax pieces at all. Instead I tried to speed the deck up a little by running a lot of ramp instead. I'm not sure if this approach is working as intened, as it does leave me open to being hated out of the game early.

    On the other hand I really don't want to be the guy who locks up the table with all the stax. Something like Contamination would probably be too much for my playgroup. I am willing to try out some less degenerate ways to slow down the game tho.
    Yeah, you don't have to lock the table, just put some speed bumps in their way. Some examples of 'softer' stax: Tangle Wire/Storage Matrix/Orb of Dreams instead of Winter Orb; Defense Grid/Conqueror's Flail/Mana Web instead of Contamination. I don't like locking out the table, either, but things like Contamination can also be held until you're ready to win just to mitigate interference for that turn (although that does make it a dead card the rest of the time). I actually have a pile of disruption among my deckbuilding stuff that do various things to fork with my opponents in case I want to try any out. For example, after a game with Chainer that involved an opponent running a Kozilek deck with Storage Matrix on the table, I found I did fairly well just choosing to untap lands most of the time since I could reanimate for blockers. And anything that makes spells cost more usually isn't going to hurt us much.

    And then you've got interactions, too. Mana Web might encourage your opponents to overextend their board state by tapping out each turn and not wanting to waste the mana — right into a board wipe. Noetic Scales is friends with discard. Oppression or Defense Grid might cause your opponents to slow down their pace if they don't want to lose cards or want to leave the extra 3 mana open (which ends up telegraphing louder than just leaving UU open). There's a lot of experimenting with your friends' psychology and how they react to different incentives/penalties.

    And of course there's negotiation. And there are harmless things like Crawlspace and annoying speedbumps like Silent Arbiter.
    Some, of course, won't work well with Chainer or are more niche:
    Quote from tarotplz »
    In regards to the wincons, you're definitly correct. I've found I only really go to my opponent's graveyards if there are answers there to things I couldn't deal with otherwise. Say a Reclamation Sage or something along those lines. Winning off of a big reanimated threat has not been the norm. That much is true.
    This is actually part of the reason, why I'm thinking it might be better to just focus on my own graveyard and maybe even forgo the pure mill efects like Altar of the Brood and Mindcrank.
    I love it when there's a green player at the table (Eternal Witness, Acidic Slime, etc.).

    There's other passive mill, too, such as Mesmeric Orb that will affect you, too (which is still a test card for me since I haven't used it yet). Dark Deal can sortof be thought of as mill, as well as Memory Jar (which plays well with Myr Retriever and Rings). Rings can also double-up both Chainer's activation and Altar of Dementia and you can always aim that at yourself to self-mill, even using opponents' large creatures to do the work (which are also good subjects for Disciple of Griselbrand).

    Quote from tarotplz »
    Bloodchief Ascension feels like it might be on the chopping block. You're definitly right that it takes a lot of time to activate in a deck like this.
    I originally added it as another way to gain life, also thinking "Hey, this combos with Mindcrank anyway, it has to be good here". Turns out it doesn't actually do a great job at gaining life at all. It takes too long to activate to really help with a life shortage in the short term and forces the table to sort of team up on me, which I can't deal with all that well, since like we said, I don't play stax pieces.

    You actually hit the nail right on the head with this. I don't think my list is terribly unfocused, but these are the exact things I meant. Ultimately I think I might have to accept that I can't speed the deck up enough to where I might not need any stax at all. Especially at a table with Azusa, Lost but Seeking and Oona, Queen of the Fae setting the speed level of my meta to "actually pretty damn fast" Sweat
    Yeah, they know the combo and it paints a target on you. That's possibly good enough reason not to run Mindcrank by itself, either.

    It's a more casual card, but Profane Memento could help with life in coordination with the mill (and other things since "from anywhere") if it's a creature-heavy meta. Then there's other death-trigger lifegain like Falkenrath Noble (Blood Artist #3), Deathgreeter, and Dross Harvester. You already know about Disciple of Griselbrand, but there's also Loxodon Warhammer and Whip of Erebos which make yet another good use of opponents' creatures that aren't game-enders.

    Stuff like Polluted Bonds cold be handy against Azusa. Might not stop or slow her but it might give you fuel. Maybe Orbs of Warding against Oona. I figure your goal will be to slow them down enough you have a decent shot if you play well. Another boardwipe or two might not hurt, either, and buy you some time (Kagemaro, First to Suffer is a favorite), but you may also have to dip into a pact effect or two more than just Plaguecrafter. One bit of advice I remember reading regarding Chainer is that, if you want to cast him then activate, you have to think of the curve like he's 8-CMC — so wipes like Life's Finale can be considered on-curve with that approach.

    Edit: Almost forgot Torpor Orb in the disruption kit.
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on Chainer, Dementia Master (Mono Black Reanimator)
    Quote from tarotplz »
    I feel like I might need to focus my list on one of these aspects, as it can feel a tiny bit all over the place at times.
    I don't think it's spread thin. I don't know exactly why you feel like it can be a bit all over the place — it could just be having cards for A and B in hand when you want cards for C. You might feel better about it after tweaks to the balance of these effects, but I don't think you need to focus any of those effects out of the deck to favor one because you could find yourself holding a glass cannon.

    MBC has a need for certain effects because it has weaknesses and has to hustle on multiple fronts to make up for them. Card draw (among other things) is painful, so we need life and often have to leech it. We can't rely on counterspells to protect our own bombs save for one so we rely on surgical/wholesale removals from hand and library. We don't have good land ramp so we have to lean on more vulnerable options like mana rocks and ritual lands, and we slow down the other players with various kinds of stax. You have hardly any stax, really — Mindslicer is probably the biggest but that's more of a bomb you save for protecting an attempt to win than something you loop a lot.

    I'd like to visit your list of wincons, actually:
    Quote from tarotplz »
    We can win in many ways with this deck:

    1.) We can reanimate a big game ending threat from one of our opponents graveyards
    2.) We can loop reanimate a creature like Gray Merchant of Asphodel or Kokusho, the Evening Star over and over and drain our oponens out.
    3.) We can assemble an infinite sac/rez loop with Chainer, Dementia Master, Abhorrent Overlord or Wurmcoil Engine and Phyrexian Altar or another sac outlet with Pitiless Plunderer on the board. These win with Blood Artist or Zulaport Cutthroat.
    4.) We can cast a big Exsanguinate or Torment of Hailfire
    5.) We can assemble an activated Bloodchief Ascension and Mindcrank
    Chainer needs 3 things: mana, life, and targets. Your ramp and rituals to race things out satisfies mana, almost all of your sources of life support are themselves win conditions, and milling may sometimes feel like a side act but the sooner you get that rolling the sooner you might have good targets for instant-speed support of your goals (not to mention also being a win condition itself). But you know this stuff.

    From my point of view, #1 here feels like the last choice. Your list feels like it's focused on #2, #3, and #4 such that #1 probably won't come up unless there's a target of opportunity that ends things sooner because the main three aren't online yet (like, Craterhoofing a bunch of harpies, or somebody elses Gary/Koko). Personally, I love these sort of grab-bag, what-toys-have-my-opponents-brought-me wins. With a sac outlet and enough devotion for Overlord or both Phyrexian Altar and Pitiless Plunderer for Wurmcoil Engine — and enough life, of course — you can make armies of your own already, too. Your life support pieces for looping this indefinitely probably kill your opponents before a token army can, though.

    However, #5 now feels like a fifth wheel to me. I think this is mostly because all of your methods for turning either of them on are themselves win conditions. Gary and Koko turn it on really easy, but at that point you should be winning with them probably. Blood Artist or Zulaport Cutthroat can whittle at opponent life to help gradually turn Bloodchief Ascension on or make Mindcrank mill, but the former seems to require more work on your part repeated over three separate turns to make sure a couple creatures die each of those turns as there doesn't seem to be anything else whittling at opponent life passively, or things passively knocking down opponent creatures to keep Blood Artist/Cutthroat buzzing, in order to get those quest counters. That's not terribly hard with a Chainer deck just as you do your thing, but it's still possibly three trips around the table. Maybe your opponents help turn it on pretty consistently. If I'm wrong about this, I'd like to hear how this usually plays out for you.
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on Chainer, Dementia Master (Mono Black Reanimator)
    Quote from tarotplz »
    The mono back crowd is exactly who I want in this thread though, since presumably you guys know what works and what doesn't Thumbs Up
    I figure that can be somewhat playgroup dependent. Like how much stax they can tolerate, hahaha. Mine's a little bit more off the beaten path since I've set some restrictions for myself. The decklist database has the list of other Chainer threads if you ever want to dig through other perspectives on it.
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on Ruric Thar SMASH!
    Mirage Mirror is one of my favorite cards. Smile
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on Chainer, Dementia Master (Mono Black Reanimator)
    Quote from tarotplz »
    Chains of Mephistopheles would be a great fit, unfortunately I don't own a copy and I don't think I'll be able to get one in the forseeable future Shocked
    Same. Far too pricey. Plus I rationalize not wanting it for the chore of explaining how it works every time.
    Quote from tarotplz »
    Thanks for the great responses btw guys! I'm glad that there seems to be a good amount of interest in the deck Smile
    Well, at least from the handful of MBC fans. LOL
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on When your deck is perfect and you realize it is terribly unfun for opponents
    These days I would probably bench the deck for a while, not playing it, and think about what aspect was making it unpleasant for myself or opponents. Was it how I was playing the deck? Was it certain cards and/or certain effects that were too oppressive? If I remove or limit those, how does that affect the deck's goals and by how much? If I think my friends are having an unfun time in a game (because of me), I like to talk to them either right then (if it's really bad) or right after that game ends. That kind of feedback ended up shaping my overall approach to the game, not just specific builds — not that I try to win any less, but that it's just as much about managing the other players' perceptions and expectations as it is managing the battlefield/graveyards/etc.

    If I think I can rebuild in a way that will be better, I'd then lay the deck's cards out into their groups and figure things out. I'm pretty optimistic that most decks that end up containing some sort of lockout can still work without the lock. Sometimes a change such as using card draw for variability instead of tutors helps make a deck feel different enough. Some types of decks it's harder to find the balance, certainly.

    A few weeks ago a friend requested that I put Norin back together because he wanted to play against it. It went pretty much how he remembered and wasn't fun, so we just stopped mid-game and started over with different decks. Pretty much confirmed why I'd taken it apart to begin with.

    The other plus side is that, while you still run strong cards, victory is more in your lines of play than the cards you put in your deck. That's part of the fun.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Chainer, Dementia Master (Mono Black Reanimator)
    Ah, now this is my kind of thread. One of my favorite commanders.
    Quote from tarotplz »
    Imp's Mischief can be a bit strange at times. There are games where it's one of the best cards and there are games where it sits dead in my hand. Overall I think the effect is still desirable to have, since mono black doesn't really get many effects like that. That being said, I might end up replacing it with smoething else eventually.
    Yeah, it's a very niche card that is either going to save you when nothing else will or it will do nothing because the situation didn't come up. I've gone back and forth on it a bit, but currently don't run it since I'm trying more discard.
    Quote from tarotplz »
    Myr Retriever and Junk Diver are actually the newest addition to the deck, so I don't have much data yet to tell you how good the've actually been. I agree that they might be kinda redundant, but I think the fact that I can reuse them with Chainer and a Sac Outlet makes them pretty decent. I might end up cutting Buried Ruinfor something else if they end up being as good as I hope they are.
    You could probably test just one of Junk Diver/Myr Retriever. I recently re-added Myr Retriever to mine to see if at any point I think, "I wish this had flying". If that happens I'll change it to Diver. I would keep Buried Ruins, though. It's good to have multiple ways, I think.

    And if you ever add Crucible of Worlds, it makes fetches better since you already run Rings. It also gives another type of card you can pitch to Bog Witch without actually losing anything.
    Quote from tarotplz »
    Maybe it's the fact that we can't really run out of resources with Chainer, since there will always be some creatures in a graveyard somewhere and the short term card disadvantage of the rituals ends up not mattering as much in the long run?
    I wouldn't say that's always true, depending on the decks in your meta. How would you deal with a spellslinger deck like Mizzix, for example? Mindslicer and creature removal seem your best tools there, but I think you could use one more piece of graveyard removal such as Agent of Erebos or Withered Wretch.

    Anyway, some other tech to consider:
    • Mirage Mirror, though it won't do much of anything for Caged Sun or Extraplanar Lens, there are some other good interactions.
    • Noxious Gearhulk. I was also surprised you aren't running an exile option like Duplicant.
    • If you ever have to Unearth Corpse Connoisseur, anything that exiles it and returns it to the battlefield gets around the last part of Unearth that cares about it leaving the battlefield. Any flicker effect will do, even if you're stealing somebody else's Flickerwisp.
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on Incorrect card name
    Wasn't sure where else to put this: Tamiyo, Collector of Tales is spelled correctly but doesn't work because the actual entry has 3 Ls in 'Collector': Tamiyo, Colllector of Tales.
    Posted in: Forum Software Feedback and Bug Reports
  • posted a message on Banned card etiquette
    Also had this recently with a friend using Prophet of Kruphix in a Kaseto snake tribal deck. We just played through it since it wasn't used brokenly. My friend knows it's on the banlist now, but we probably still wouldn't mind too much if it popped up again, at least with that deck.

    But for other situations where it could be problematic I like both the "treat it as a land" and the "RFG (not just exile) and draw" options.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
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