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  • posted a message on Is This Format Too Dependent on Online Resources?

    1. You ask if people think that there is too much reliance upon online resources for EDH.
    2. You ask if Wizards might consider releasing another physical book with all of their cards in it.
    3. You reveal that the reason you want a physical book is because the presence of cyberattacks shows that the infrastructure of the internet is weak to the point where failure is imminent (while simultaneously claiming that nobody who could verify your claims is able to "look under the hood", as it were), assert that the collapse will be done not as part of a cyber attack from an enemy nation but for the express purpose of showing us how vulnerable our infrastructure is for the purpose of driving us toward a "new internet", predict that nobody would want a new internet that more effectively monitors and controls us... and report that you would still want to be able to brew commander decks effectively under those circumstances.
    I've gotta admit, I did not expect this twist!

    I thought this was just another "oh no the internet is ruining EDH!" thread (understandable, but fallacious IMO) and then, bam! Nope, it's a tinfoil hat thread! Brilliant!

    Also, Sir Tim is inventing a new internet? I'm dubious, but maybe he will do a better job this time. I mean, have you looked at HTTP?

    Also also, humans are... psychic? So we don't need the internet in the first place?

    10/10, this is the best thing I've heard since they claimed the Earth was round.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Deck price should be a major discussion point when talking about Rule 0 for Commander.
    I kinda have to echo everyone else. Deck price is completely irrelevant. Talking about it is neither necessary nor sufficient when trying to establish a good, fun game of Commander. At best, it's somewhat correlated with power level, but a more expensive deck is not always more powerful, nor more anything-else-that-matters. It's about as useless as asking for "power level 7".

    Also, I play online, on Cockatrice. Sometimes people complain about me playing "expensive" cards, when I've spent a grand total of $0. (Side note: $100 for a deck is crazy-talk! I could buy entire games for that, not just one person's pieces!)
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Ideas to fix non-competitive Commander?
    I've started to think that splitting EDH is the only thing that makes sense. A game where you're supposed to handicap yourself in some unspecified way doesn't really make sense; I've had too many games where people have gotten mad because I played a particular card or whatever and, conversely, games where I've had no fun because the game wound up being too competitive. As far as the rules are concerned, all EDH is cEDH since all those strategies are legal; people try to say "oh but that's not power level 7" or whatever, but that doesn't actually mean anything.

    Like others, though, I would question your proposed banlist.

    Banning cards based on price doesn't make a lot of sense. Certainly from a game design/mechanical point of view, price is irrelevant.

    Banning cards with combo potential is really hard. Yes, a lot of the cards you list can be used in combos but a) many of them are fine on their own and b) I'm pretty sure you can fine "worse" combos than those listed. Knowledge Pool for example is an awesome card that just happens to have a degenerate combo with a couple of others; honestly you'd be better off banning those things, IMO. Also, 6 mana! Why not Isochron Sceptre and/or Dramatic Reversal? Same with Doubling Season - it's pretty mana-intensive as combos go (and actually the more sensible thing there would be for it simply not to work with planeswalkers somehow). It's widely regarded that Exquisite Blood combos are pretty tame, too. Personally, I'm not a fan of combo in general, but I think you just have to accept that it's part of the game, and combos will exist; I wouldn't be too sad to see Exquisite Blood so, but it's non-trivial to pull something like that off and I don't think it's oppressive. Heck, I would kill Craterhoof way before that!

    You're also listing cards like Expedition Map(!) or, say, Deadly Rollick there (I get the whole "free spells" thing, but a one-shot removal is hardly gamebreaking), but not Sol Ring (one of the biggest offenders!). And, does White really need to lose Smothering Tithe?

    For the record, you're talking about "all this madness", but a lot of the biggest offenders IMO are very old cards. Yeah, they made a few questionable design choices recently (*cough* Hullbreacher) but I think you may have some rose-tinted nostalgia there. Honestly, games in general I find to be more fun when you don't really know what you're doing, and you may just be remembering days before you or the people you played with really knew about the more powerful strategies.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on [IKO] Top 10 Ikoria Cards
    Late reply, but I just saw the Zendikar one and, hey, why not?

    1. Snapdax, Apex of the Hunt - I've had a lot of fun mutating this guy onto e.g. a Vampire of the Dire Moon. I just wish his mutate wasn't two white.
    2. Almighty Brushwagg - The mightiest card in Ikoria, which you know because it's the only one with "almighty" in its name. Also, just look at him!
    3. Shark Typhoon - Pretty much my only wincon in my ranked deck for a long time.
    4. Escape Protocol - The little-known core of a whole bunch of janky decks, it's actually potentially really good and opens up hilarious combos with things like Midnight Clock and Wishclaw Talisman.
    5. Grimdancer - Cool, and flexible!
    6. Extinction Event - A one-pip sweeper which always hits at least half their value (usually more) and exiles to boot! It usually doesn't hit everything, but it would be way too good if it did.
    7. Yorion, Sky Nomad - I almost feel guilty using him, but the value burst you can get when he enters is potentially immense - let alone the combo with Charming Prince, Thassa, Deep-Dwelling or Flicker of Fate.
    8. Unpredictable Cyclone - As janky and fun as Escape Protocol, if not more so, but lower down the list because it's sadly just not that good. Still awesome, though.
    9. Chevill, Bane of Monsters - He is the dude (usually at least functions like a Revitalize - so replaces himself in your hand - which also trades for a creature, and often a lot more).
    10. Alert Heedbonder - A surprisingly solid defensive card, it's a 2/4 blocker with vigilance and capable of pretty good lifegain even with no other vigilance cards.

    Honourable mention to all the tri-lands (because multicolour jank for the win... I just wish there was an Esper one) and all the Ultimata, which are if nothing else pretty darn cool.

    I do like Sea-Dasher Octopus, too, and Parcelbeast.
    Posted in: New Card Discussion
  • posted a message on [ZNR] Top 10 Zendikar Rising Cards
    I still haven't grokked even half the new cards but, OK, I'll give this a shot. Thinking Standard here.

    1. Coveted Prize - There aren't many tutors in Standard right now so you have to compare this to Grim Tutor, and with 0-1 party members it's not really as good. However it's totally still playable and the ceiling is pretty high - it's a one-mana tutor and play any 4-mana card for free (and it doesn't even have to be the card you tutored for!).
    2. Lotus Cobra - Given how rampant ramp is at the moment, this will definitely see use. Also being able to play Beanstalk Giant for free on T3 is pretty neat.
    3. Nullpriest of Oblivion - I just think that this is cool. Lifelink + menace is nice and the kicker is a four-mana return-to-the-battlefield which is cheaper than pretty much any equivalent card (you do also have to spend the 2 mana for the creature itself but conversely it's not costing you an extra card). Plus the effect is a later-game one anyway, when you'll actually be able to afford it.
    4. Zagras, Thief of Heartbeats - Flying, deathtouch, haste on a 4/4 is a nice body, plus deathtouch for all creatures? Obvious combo with Hooded Blightfang. Wants a party, but is hardly necessary; it will be easy to play him for 5 rather than 6 and he hardly seems unfair for that, and if you can play him for 4 or 3, awesome!
    5. Zareth San, the Trickster - Ninjustsu is cool but, also, given the crazy amounts of mill in blue/black Rogues you will pretty much right away be able to steal something useful from someone's graveyard.
    6. Feed the Swarm - Yes, it's targeted enchantment removal in black! Also really flexible as enchantment removal which can also be used vs creatures. Comparable with Mortify, I guess.
    7. The six modal two-colour lands - a cool design, a way to fix mana without playing taplands, so a fair trade for the shocks. But, why only six? Does anyone know what the actual pattern is here? Why three for white and red? Where are my blue/white and black/green lands?
    8. The other modal lands - I think that actually most of these will not be relevant in most decks, because coming in tapped they can't really replace regular lands, and the spells themselves tend to be a lot weaker to compensate. I do think it's a cool idea, though, and the flexibility to play a card as a land at least gives you a worse-case-scenario backup if you're mana-starved and might occasionally be useful if you don't really need the land right then but have better things to play. The ones which can come in untapped for 3 life will probably see use; that's a hefty cost, but it's worth having the option.
    9. Ancient Greenwarden - If you're doing landfall you probably have the ramp to play this guy anyway, and he'll be pretty mental with Fabled Passage/Evolving Wilds as you can replay one of those every turn for four landfall triggers.
    10. Murasa Rootgrazer - Just because it's nice, with landfall, to have a way to return lands to your hand; this essentially gives you a guaranteed landfall trigger every turn and potentially e.g. a scry or just a bonus mana (tap, return, play, tap again). Plus you can ramp with it too.

    Honourable mentions:
    All the new planeswalkers, obviously. Nissa could be pretty mental, letting you play huge creatures for free (kind of Fires of Invention-esq, even), potentially even on the turn she's played (thanks to landfall). Nice that she's in green/black and not just green, though.
    Tajuru Paragon will see a home in pretty much any party deck that can afford to play green.
    Lithoform Engine can probably be abused; watch this space.
    All the "snap-on" equipment looks interesting, and Akiri has a fun synergy (attack with an equipped critter, draw a card, remove the equipment to give it indestructible - at a minimum, repeatable card-draw every turn even if they have strong blockers).
    Skyclave Shade looks a bit like Silversmote Ghoul and can be kicked from the graveyard.
    Shadows' Verdict is not quite a Ritual of Soot replacement, but close. I would probably top 10 this if we'd been in the same block as War for the Spark to get rid of all those annoying 3-mana planeswalkers in control decks.
    Nighthawk Scavenger is definitely going to show up in some horrible aggro-type decks.
    Deadly Alliance just because it laughs in the face of Finishing Blow and, like some of the other party cards, potentially has a pretty high ceiling. Less good because you are just saving mana when you likely need it less but, still, unconditional removal is good.

    Some thoughts on the mechanics...

    I really like Party. I see it as a more difficult (and therefore sophisticated) form of something like tribal; you're rewarded for actually being smart about deckbuilding rather than just stuffing it full of cards of the same type. I fear it won't be worth it outside of specific decks as compared with "dumber" but more powerful strategies.

    Landfall is cool - I had a lot of fun with the Evolution Sage/Fertilid combo which is essentially that - but with the amount of ramp in Standard at the moment, I suspect it may just be kind of busted, in an un-fun way (plus that thing about "dumber" strategies again). It seems a bit crazy, after banning Growth Spiral, to then add a bunch of ramp cards in M21 and then a bunch of cards which make ramp even better in the very next block.

    There seems like there's a lot of mill in blue/black, especially Rogues. On the one hand, why is mill even a win condition, and why would you want to print more of it? On the other, there are lots of cards this time which actually make use of stuff being in the graveyard (without it being an all-or-nothing wincon), with the "at least 8 cards" thing showing up a lot more. In conjunction with things like Thieves' Guild Enforcer and Drown in the Loch this could make for some fun enemy-graveyard-based strategies (shame that we are losing Mnemonic Betrayal, though).

    Kicker doesn't seem like anything special but it strikes me that between it and the modal lands, they are making a specific effort to make cards a lot more flexible, perhaps changing one of Magic's biggest long-standing "quirks" which is the whole mana starve/mana flood thing. This is possibly a very stealthy but very major shift in the design of the game! Honestly, I think this is a good thing, as Magic's pretty luck-reliant as it is. It will be interesting to see how this pans out, anyway.
    Posted in: New Card Discussion
  • posted a message on Standard is terrible right now.
    Honestly, Cat Oven is the one I find most obnoxious, especially on Arena where you have to click through all the triggers.

    But I also just find rush strategies and really fast ramp ones less interesting - the game is often over before it's even possible to cast any of the cool spells, and for aggro especially it's mostly just about dealing damage quickly. I might also be a bit bitter about getting done over by a turn three Nissa, Who Shakes the World then her hitting her totem with an Evolution Sage on the board.

    (I was playing a slow deck with few creatures and, frankly, poor planeswalker removal - but still, there was not a lot of time to respond to that)
    Posted in: Standard (Type 2)
  • posted a message on Standard is terrible right now.
    It's interesting that Growth Spiral seems to be considered so great but the mana crystals are not. I guess a big difference is that you can play Growth Spiral on turn 2. If you don't have a spare land in hand, though, it's pretty useless.
    Posted in: Standard (Type 2)
  • posted a message on Standard is terrible right now.
    I'm pretty new to MtG, just started playing on Arena recently, so I don't have much to compare it to... but I do find some of this offputting. I don't mind planeswalkers so much because at least they tend to make the games a bit more interesting and tactical, though finally managing to do away with someone's mythic rare Teferi and them popping out another the very next turn the very day after M21 dropped felt a bit annoying for a newbie who has almost no planeswalkers unlocked yet. I find the Cat Oven far more obnoxious, and also boring. What's the point in even playing if you just load up someone else's deck and go through the exact same motions over and over? Admittedly, I started building my own decks before I even knew the rules and maybe most people don't think like that, but it just doesn't seem fun to me.

    Coincidentally I read this article the other day which talks about the design of Uro and Kroxa. Apparently they used to have more powerful "enters the battlefield" effects but they found people just used them as sorceries so weakened them. Seems like they didn't go far enough with Uro; people mostly seem just to spam it for ramp, often several copies.

    Winota I also hate not just because she seems too powerful but because her ability is entirely passive. You can be facing down a couple of relatively weak creatures and then, bam!, suddenly there are twice the threats and all attacking, and you have no warning. That doesn't seem like great design. It wouldn't be so bad if she had to attack too (for example) as at least you'd get a turn of warning, and your opponent would have to risk her dying to attack with her.
    Posted in: Standard (Type 2)
  • posted a message on UG/x Mutate
    I see loads of this type of deck on Arena. Paradise Druid -> Migreathorn -> Auspicious Starrix seems to be the main idea, but it's a bit boring; In your version, Sea-Dasher Octopus feels like the most fun part (I like mutating but find black/white/red far more interesting - Vulpikeet or Snapdax, Apex of the Hunt(!) onto e.g. Vampire of the Blood Moon is far cooler).

    I've tried using Mysterious Egg but it feels slow, and you're not getting anything except +s from it. Maybe those +s are worth it if you're mutating a lot but abilities are more interesting (also Paradise Druid wins for hexproof, but everyone is doing that). People use Umori a lot but giving up everything that's not a creature feels sucky.

    Is it worth splashing red just for the Everquill Phoenix? It doesn't seem like it's key to your build.

    Would an Emergence Zone be useful in a mutate deck? Pouncing Shoreshark and Octopus are probably the only things which really benefit from flash and they already have it.
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Standard)
  • posted a message on Dovin's Acuity Deck Help
    I'm pretty new to Magic, just started playing Arena a while ago (because, well, coronavirus...) but I much prefer building my own decks (plus I only have so many cards unlocked at the moment). This one actually seems to work but it's not quite right so I'm looking for some help. I'm doing mostly Standard, best-of-one matches (did try best-of-three but haven't done many).

    The idea is to use Dovin's Acuity along with instants so that you can spam it for life and cards, and other cards which benefit from it being played over and over (e.g. Shark Typhoon, Archon of Sun's Grace). Unsummon works well with it so I also put in a lot of creatures with enters-the-battlefield effects as you can always unsummon your own. Because a lot of things were giving life I originally added white lifegain stuff (Heliod and Pridemates) but this felt like a weird worst-of-both-worlds decks so I replaced them, took out most of the creatures, and added bigger win cards like Sharknado and Mass Manipulation.

    I keep switching stuff in and out but the current version looks a bit like this:

    I tend to prefer more one-offs as IMO it's more interesting and with Mystic Sanctuary/Mission Briefing you get a bit more choice, but this is a little bit of a mess and I certainly feel like some of these cards are not as good as others. I'm not very happy with Quench (I used to have Sinister Sabotage) and I'm not even sure about stuff like Dawn of Hope (which I really like but I'm not sure fits here).

    Main problems:
    It's slooow. It struggles early on and even a few turns in, popping and re-casting Dovin's is cool but it eats a lot of mana. The extra card draw does help you keep our lands up in the later game (and you can make use of them) but I sometimes find myself struggling around T3-5 or whatever, being able to cast things but needing and being unable to cast several things in one go.

    I die to rush decks a lot, especially stuff with Haste (where soft removal like Unsummon doesn't help). I tried Swallow Whole but I have few creatures of my own to use it with. I can sometimes gain enough life to pull out of it and a lucky Time Wipe can basically win it but I only have one of those - should I have more (and/or Shatter the Sky, etc)? I deliberately didn't put in many counters because I wanted instants which could pop Dovin's but it feels like I'm left with a bad control deck.

    Planeswalkers can be a pain as I have few creatures and little direct removal. Mass Manipulation can be devastating against them but at 6+ mana it's not really a plan (especially when people have multiple copies of several different powerful planeswalkers). Narset, Parter of Veils pretty much kills me entirely and I can't usually deal with people like Ugin or Bolas fast enough.

    There are a whole bunch of other card I've tried or considered and some I would sideboard (if I were doing Bo3) but they all have their drawbacks so I'm not quite sure what to go with or what to cut. Can this deck be saved?
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Standard)
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