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  • posted a message on Tolaria West (and other utility lands)
    Quote from DirkGently »
    Personally I wouldn't classify cradle as a utility land since it only generates mana
    That's fair, but I think the point I was using leading to about staples not fitting in every deck still stands.

    Quote from DirkGently »
    And while it might be a little asinine, I don't think I'd reeeaaally consider manaless lands like bazaar a utility land either
    We are just going to have to disagree here. My definition of a utility land is a land that land that does something than just tap for a mana. Tons of players run Maze of Ith and classify it a utility land and not a spell. By that same guideline, I also consider Gaea's Cradle and Cabal Coffere more as "rituals" than regular lands, but I acknowledge that this is a personal viewpoint that is only shared by a couple of by card buddies.

    Quote from DirkGently »
    I find it somewhat contradictory that you acknowledge that very few, if any, commander decks are truly perfected, yet argue that perfection gets more clear the closer you get. To which I argue - hell no it doesn't.
    I don't see a contradiction here. Players constantly tune their decks to get them to play more the way they want those decks to function... That is by that very definition a player perfecting their list. And the more you tune a list, the easier it becomes for you to define cards that don't fit or don't coincide with what that deck is trying to do. If people weren't trying to perfect lists, you wouldn't have decklist threads where people are actively looking for ideas to make then better.

    The reason few decks are perfected, is because either the environment shifts creating new needs for the deck, or new sets come out, making people reevaluate it the deck can be further refined.

    Can lists ever get tuned to the point a player stops tuning it... yes, at least until the next set release. To use your point, pros put in so many testing hours for the sole purpose of perfecting their deck, and when a deck becomes optimized to the point that it becomes oppressive, cards get banned.

    The think the reason most players haven't found that golden spot for their lists, where they can say "I'm done" with pride and not frustration, is that they dont spend the astronomical amount of time and effort it takes to do so, and move on to the next shiny object instead of working through and solving the existing kinks to get that deck to truly be an extension of themselves. That takes passion. Those are the pet decks players can't put down, and the ones players keep coming back to. Few players have the passion to do the work. Those that do, wind up becoming experts on those decks, and of the few that do, even fewer put in the time to share their work and progress. That's why it's rare.

    Quote from DirkGently »
    Crop rotation is a fine card and I've considered it in the deck as well, although I think you're misunderstanding the deck that you think ambushing people with lands is particularly valuable for the deck (With the possible exception of scavenger grounds). Kor haven? I'd rather have it out already to send the attack elsewhere.
    It was just an example, and an explanation for why I'd do it, nothing more. The fact you're explaining to me that my example of crop rotation use suggests a misunderstanding of what your Pheldagriff deck is trying to do speaks exactly to my previous point about the deck perfection process

    But like I was saying before... you value apples, I value oranges. Neither one is wrong, just different playstyles. Personally, I'd never play Pheldagriff cuz I hate kingmaker style decks, and so does my group. We also don't like playing a super long games, as we have wives and kids, and our free time is precious.

    To each their own.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Tolaria West (and other utility lands)
    @DirkGently - I get what you're saying but I don't think it rings on the inflection point I was trying to make, so I'll reword / elaborate on what I said. I make my point based on the assumption that we all can agree that EDH decks(and I'm not including cEDH decks in this discussion)are mainly driven / incentivised to be value based decks (based on the multiplayer aspects of the format, and how the benefits of card/tempo advantage are uniquely difficult to obtain and preserve against multiple oppnents). I am also assuming that, we are looking to find edges in card advantage, because we are discussing using utility lands, which have the sole purpose of creating such advantage with little to no cost in card slots, risk, or game play.

    From that perspective, I'll take your points one-by-one.

    Quote from DirkGently »

    I think it's pretty unrealistic to expect a utility land to be as powerful as a spell doing a similar thing. They are free, after all, and usually pull double duty as a mana producer (minus maze of ith, tabernacle, etc). Strip mine and cradle are aberrations, but I don't think that winding canyons is remotely in the same category. Not that it's a bad card, but I would only consider it in a small number of decks, and it's certainly less powerful than the spell equivalent (vedalken orrery, for one). Not that I wouldn't still play it over orrery in some decks, because it fits into that land slot, but if what you want is flashing in creatures then Orrery is definitely better at that particular job.

    I don't think it's unrealistic that a utility land be as powerful as a spell. In Sharuum, I had the option of playing Attunement[/card} or Bazaar of Baghdad. Attunement sees me more cards and technically has a lower percentage of card disadvantage over multiple turns. However, because the deck plays a ton of mana rocks, losing a land drop for the effect was more advantage for that deck than the ability to dig deeper and generate, potentially, more explosive plays at the rick of tapping out more often to do so. Owning a Bazaar, I would not make that same decision in a Mimeoplasm decck: The deck begs to be much more color intensive (by the nature of not being artifact-based), and so missing land drops (especially those that generate mana) hurts much more. That leads me to prefer using Attunement in that graveyard-based deck every time, even if I have to pay 2U every time to use that effect. If you consider Bazaar to also be an aberration of a card, consider this: If you were playing Kestia, the Cultivator and wanted another explosive mana source besides Serra Sanctum would you first slot Gaea's Cradle or Rites of Itlamoc? i thnk most can agree that, Cradle is 99% of the time the better card in decks, but in once that can't get insane mana off of it until you are already vastly ahead, Itlamoc is the far better card here, although comparatively much weaker in a vacuum. For me, evaluating whether a spell land serves as good a role as a spell in a deck is only 1/3rd the equation. I also take into account the deck construction opportunity cost (how does that modify the other slots in the deck, and how/when they are used) and my play environment.

    I also disagree that Winding Canyon is not the same category of card: I personally feel it is criminally underplayed. I've been playing EDH before Veldalken Orrey was a thing and can attest that, were it more widely available, would be more busted than Orrey strictly because of the lack of opportunity cost to play it. Jumping the turn cycle and your creatures evading sorcery speed sweepers is insanely valuable, and it is much easier for most decks to generate an additional2 than to play a sorcery speed 4 drop and protect it. Given that LD use is dicsouraged in EDH, I'd argue the card is much more abusive. I guess we'll have to agree to disagree

    Quote from DirkGently »
    But I'd totally include yavimaya hollow as being quite strong, and not having a very direct spell equivalent. Maybe broken fall, but that's clearly much worse in almost any scenario. If I'm in green and playing very many creatures, that's a utility land I'd be very likely to include. And Thawing Glaciers is very slow, but it's pretty efficient at what it does if you can afford the tempo hit. Plus it does hilarious stuff with land untappers, especially stone-seeder hierophant. Not something I play in many decks, but a far cry from what I'd consider a bad utility land. I would have gone with something like, idk, blighted gorge that belongs in very few decks. Or something like maze of shadows that belongs in no decks at all.

    I see your similar arguments for Y. Hallow, but I still disagree. I have multiples rotting in binders and only include it in one of my decks. In my eyes, its only good in decks where you only need one threat to stick to close out the game, and that deck better be at least 50% green based or more. If I have a deck, where, keeping a Thrasios or an Etali on the board will usually ride me out to victory, then I'll run it. But if I need a ton of creatures to stay on the board to get me ahead like most (Gb or GW decks I have seen and played), then Hallow is better off being another colored producing land, in my estimation. To me, this is a card that is better in a vacuum but worse in actual gameplay and gets used more than it maybe should. I will also say that, due to the amount of tuck sweepers, Cyclonic Rifts and exile effects i play against, I'm sure it affects my opinion some. I play EDH in NYC and North Jersey, which are far enough to not overlap playgroups and I'm seeing the same thing with both areas...

    Regardless of our individual perspectives, I see many players jamming EDH "staples" into all of their decks and claiming hierarchies for cards that, to to me, don't exist. If Gaea's Cradle made black mana, it wouldn't see nearly as much play as it does, and possibly less than Coffers. Cradle is played in many decks where it isn't producing 4 or more mana every turn. When I see that, I'm thinking there's a better card for that slot in that list, but because of lack card availability, reps, net-decking, or even just not caring much to do something about it, these opportunities for find hidden gems for that deck is lost. I also understand that EDH decks are highly personal to the players that build them and that we humans, being creatures with failingly fragile egos, will rarely concede that our decks are less than optimal, unless that pilot's goal is to find that optimization. And that's understandable: most people don;t want to hear, "your deck is built wrong," even if we know it is.

    On a side note, for many players, finding the right playgroup definitely involves whether that player is willing or able to listen and play against that kind of criticism, and to what extent or purpose. Optimization can take many forms. Players can optimize their decks for synergy (the reason I build mine), to win (which can be mutually exclusive with synergy... look at cEDH, but doesn't have to) or to garner a preferred play experience. I think a lot of discussions on EDH threads (and not just on this site) don't do well in outlining what kind of optimization that pilot is looking for, which would help keep discussions more concise and productive. but I digress, as that's not what I was responding to...

    Quote from DirkGently »

    It's fairly obvious to say that some utility lands are better in some decks than others, but I don't think it's a clear black-and-white between good enough for the deck and not. There are enough potentially playable utility lands out there that most decks can't run more than a handful unless they're very heavy on lands or monocolor, so things do generally get whittled down to just the very best. But there's always going to be a fuzzy line somewhere in the manabase where it's hard to say whether a utility land is better than a fixer or vice versa.

    I agree with what you said here, but I'm going to split hairs for clarity, and will go a step further. I dagree that there is no clear black and white between what makes something good enough, but i also see that line the way I see perfection: the closer you get to it, the better defined it becomes. And the more time a pilot devotes to their deck, the less fuzzy that line becomes, to the point that other people start to see that line define itself too (the fact we have Primers on this site are proof of that). Should every deck run utility lands?


    Should decks question whether they can, or whether their utility lands be better served by other cards?

    Most definitely.

    Are most players running format acknowledged "staples" that would be better served by better, more effective yet more niche cards?

    I'd bet my Cradle on it. If I was able to justify, and show/replicate that understandin in other players that, Trinket Mage was a cuttable slot in a deck devoted to broken artifacts running tons of 0 and 1 drops, then I'll bet my ass that if others devoted the time and effort i did for their decks, they'd find their own discoveries too, and net-decking wouldn't be as relied upon.

    With all that said, the OP wants to put in Tolaria West in his Pheldagriff deck. Because my focus is on deck optimization, personally I wouldn't, and I'm not going to fault the OP for doing so. He wants to use TW to tutor the card into his hand. You're saying Pheldagriff uses a lot of utility lands, making it a good choice. I'm not going to knock that either. I personally would run crop rotation over TW,to not telegraphy my play and burn a land drop of that land, 2 be able to use that land as an actual spell (because it isn't telegraphed and can be "tricked" into advanatge) and because, since his deck is mostly instant speed, I'd rather pay G and burn a land to have the instant speed than tap our 3 mana as a sorcery and announce an on-board trick to the whole table. I also understand that he's playing for a certain experience while I'm a utility purist, so we are look at this like apples vs oranges.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Tolaria West (and other utility lands)
    Thanks Cryo... Its been too long. but I have a kid now, no longer a step-dad,and young kids take up a lot of your time. I just had my rotator-cuff repaired Thursday, so I have more time to check out the threads since I'm resting up. I still visit the site every now and then, though not as often because I didn't have as much time to delve into discussions and respond quickly. It doesn't help that my Sharuum engine-based deck has gotten 0 love since Mirroden Besieged came out, and haven't had any relevant updates since.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on EDH taking too long
    I've experienced this issue in multiple playgroup. These were the most effective solutions in my experience.

    1) Using shortcutting for tutoring: 2 of the groups I play with honor players cracking fetches and use top activations before waiting to get to the player-to-the-right's endstep with the premise that, if a game action or change in game state would change that choice, they can without penalty. For fetches, that's physically denoted by shuffling the library, finding the land, and jamming it into the corner of your library so it sticks out.
    This speeds up the end of turn delays while actively engaging that player on other people's turns, which has shaved off up to 10 mins in a six player game to turn 10.

    2) Introduce reward mechanics to entice players to act. Playing cards that give monarch is huge, as everyone knows how badly player will want to draw cards. The same is true for running cards like Edric and Curse of Opulence; work really well and dont water your deck down by running them.

    3) Play bigger threats for creatures. When player play with cards like Etali, Con-Sphonx and the like, players are incentivised to act because not acting is just going to give the game away. Oftentimes, the bigger the threat that resolves, the more a table has to wiri together to beat it, and that can mean trying to kill that player before they untap. This is especially true if someone flashes Brago, Grand Arbiter Augustin, Derevi, or other such commanders at the start of the game.

    4) Play more lands. There are so many times that mana scree forces 15 minutes of mulligans until everyone is ready to start a game. When in doubt, add the extra land, and games will actually start on time. This took much longer to sink in with one group, but now that everyone has been tightening up their mana bases, games have been more enjoyable and there have been less feel-bads overall.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Reveille Squad
    If non-green decks had a way to sneak this into play (like Call of Cording) or with flash, I'd definitely consider playing this, but without that, it just doesn't do enough.

    If this card had flash, it would be much better and see some amount of fringe but consistent play.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Tolaria West (and other utility lands)
    My thoughts on utility lands:

    I'm a purist when it comes to cramming utility effects in edh, as I want the maximum amount of options / decision trees when I shuffle up at the table. I like utility lands and how they allow you to conserve deck slots where you would otherwise slot a spell for that same effect. I also feel that not all utility is created equal, and as such, a utility card (land or otherwise) that works really well or synergistically in one deck wont have that same compatability in a other.

    When I play utility lands, they often play a very specific role that I feel needs to be filled to shore up my deck. Personally, I rarely play a Tolarian West over a actual Tutor: I rarely play a deck that is looking for a 0cmc card or an X cmc spell, and prefer the increased targets that come with a less narrow Tutor. By that same token, I play Mirokoku when in decks that play both notion thief and Con-Sphinx, Bojuka bog in decks with bouncelands, and prefer Thesbian's stage over Vesuva because I can still copy other lands if needed when the gamedtaye changes . I wouldn't slot a tolarian west if my deck didnt hinge on specific 0 drops to run properly.

    With that said, sculpting the perfect 99 is hard, and it's a great way to get the deck down to 99. My utility lands will typically also change my spell slots to ensure that I get the most synergy and value possible from it and the rest of the deck. When the land works as well as or better than the spell you'd slot to replace it, that's when it warrants serious consideration. To me, that's the reason why people gravitate to Strip, Wasteland, Cradle and Winding Canyons, and dont rush to play Soldevi Excavations, Yavamaya Hollow, Thawing Glaciers, or their ilk with the same ferver.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on N.Y.S.E. Open VI - 7/20/19 - Long Island, New York
    This is one of the best Vintage tournaments of the year, and one of the most well attended. I would highly suggest that if anyone plans to play at North America Vintage Worlds, they attend as it is one of the closest tournaments in size and talent to Worlds, and great practice for it.
    Posted in: Vintage (Type 1)
  • posted a message on N.Y.S.E. Open VI - 7/20/19 - Long Island, New York
    Are you ready for one of the best Vintage events of the year? THE N.Y.S.E. is back, and will be taking place in June. For anyone interested, the details are below, as posted on Facebook and


    N.Y.S.E. Open VI

    15 proxy, non-sanctioned Vintage tournament.

    Prize support for this year's event is going to be different, though still excellent, and I'd like the feedback of the community. In the coming days, I'm going to post, and ask for feedback from the community as to what you, the players, want for prize support. It's the NYSE Open, so I want to give out power, and I want to give out Workshops. Let's figure out what works for the greatest number of people in putting together another great event.


    Saturday, July 20th 2019
    9:00 am registration
    10:00 am start


    The Four Points Sheraton
    Address: 333 S Service Rd, Plainview, NY 11803
    Phone: (516) 694-6500

    Pre-Registration & On Site Registration

    NYSE Open V featured pre-registration at $125 that was available online through roughly one month before the event, and day-of registration that was available at $150. This year will be the same. Pre-registration will go live as soon as possible.

    As with past years, the NYSE Open will be capped. Max cap will be double-checked, but should be 153.


    Most everyone on these forums knows what a proxy is. A proxy, for the N.Y.S.E. Open, will be defined as the following:

    A Magic: the Gathering card with the full name, card type (instant, sorcery, land, artifact, creature, enchantment, planeswalker), full mana cost and text clearly displayed. This can be done in one of two ways:

    Using a Sharpie, not pen or pencil, to fill in the required text on a card where it can clearly be read. Revised lands are excellent for this, new commons and uncommons aren't usually, as they're darker, and far tougher to read.

    Using acetone to remove certain text from a card that's close to the intended proxy (i.e. Lotus Bloom, with certain words removed to proxy a Black Lotus, Ancestral Visions with certain words removed to proxy an Ancestral Recall).

    Take pride in your proxies! Your opponents should know at all times what your proxies are.

    Using 15 Swamps to make your proxies is a bad idea, as it's going to create confusion. If you're proxying Moxen, please use a land from each appropriate color to make a proxy for each according Mox (i.e., your Mox Sapphire is on an Island, your Mox Jet is on a Swamp, your Mox Pearl is on a Plains, etc.).

    Please use your best judgment when creating your proxies; we know what will and what won't be easily recognizable.

    Your opponents should not ever be at a disadvantage because you don't own the cards. There is nothing wrong with using proxies as you slowly pick up the cards that you need to play Vintage, but please consider your opponents while you're making them, as we're out to make this an enjoyable experience for everyone involved. One of my favorite aspects of the Vintage community is that we look out for each other, whether it's constant vigilance to counter potential thievery, or the day to day stuff that mostly goes unnoticed. Let's all do what we can to make this event as special as we can for our fellow aficionados of Magic's greatest format.

    If you're worried that your proxies may not pass muster, please speak to the head judge of the event before the event starts. Leave enough time to create new proxies, if necessary.

    Using paper printouts of card faces and gluing them to cards is not acceptable! This alters the thickness of the cards, making the cards marked for all intents and purposes. Please don't do this, as the judges will be instructed to consider these as marked cards, and enforce punishment according to DCI Competitive REL event regulations!

    Site Security:

    Theft is always a concern, even if theft has never been a problem at one of my events before. I feel that the security that we have had at all my N.Y.S.E. Opens was what was needed.

    All players will be given wristbands that will be used to associate them with their corresponding bags. You will not be able to leave with someone else's bag, and any time you leave the venue, your wristbands will be checked. If you feel like it's a hassle, please remember that this is a measure that is meant to ensure that you, and all your friends, leave with everything that you brought. Security is helping keep this a positive experience for everyone, so please be kind, and remember that they're just doing their job!

    To any potential thieves, God help you if you're caught stealing. There are cameras recording every corner of this venue; you will be caught, you will be arrested, charges will be pressed, it will be a horrific experience for you and it will stay with you for a while. Let's not walk that path.


    There are a lot of details with the NYSE Open that I love; the Vintage FNM, the altered Karns, the trophies, etc. There is a lot that goes into this event, and there are a few more complications with this year's event than events in years past, so I'm not rolling out everything at once. There will be polls, a lot of feedback from the community, and a great event. There will be many, many, many free giveaways, as I've been collecting cool things for a while now. I can promise you that this event will be the best event that I can make it.

    I hope to see you there!
    Posted in: Vintage (Type 1)
  • posted a message on I Ghave You Teysa the Divine
    Teysa made me also want to revisit playing Ghave as she is super synergistic with most of what Ghave wants to be doing. I would think streamlinig the deck to make it a more evenly balanced between tokens and death-triggers would be the most ideal way to sidestep the most extreme hate for anyone avenue the opponent can attack. Teysa seems really good as a commander but insanely busted as one of the 99; being able to double protean hulk triggers being just one of the most egregious. The factthat her other ability also gives the saproling tokens much better value is a strict upgrade. Let meknow if you want to brainstrom, as I love decks that are efficient value engines, and I havent seen potential like this in a very long, long time.
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on SB help to counter flusterstorm
    I recently took down a vintage FNM with DPS. Defense grid was amazing, and allowed me to limit my opponent's Flusterstorm and Mindbreak Trap shenanigans. I had all 4 boarded and brought them in for my duress effects (I play 6).

    Grid allowed me enough protection to also wiggle my way through an on Board Leovold.
    Posted in: Ritual-Based Combo Decks
  • posted a message on New Card Discusion: Hollow One in Dredge
    I also didn't consider the applications this card as with Survival of The Fittest. While nothe tier 1, the ability to play a free 4/4 after a Survival tutor chain that has synergy with Welder is not to be overlooked.
    Posted in: Vintage (Type 1)
  • posted a message on New Card Discusion: Hollow One in Dredge
    Hallowed one allows Dredge to play the "bazaar to filter into lands and hate and hard cast your dudes game" even better than it does. When facing LoTV or Rest in Peace, bazaar is used to dig into your hate pieces, and the hard-casting of spells allows for dredge to play a very terrible but surprisingly effective beat down role vs blue control

    Hardcasting dudes is especially important vs cage and containment priest, since, bridges still activate under those two pieces of hate, especially when Stinkweed Imp holds down creatures very well with its deathtouch and thug can be usedc to recycle binned hate creatures like wispmare and ingot chewer. Hallowed one allows the deck and efficient peatdown role, and its ability to be played past thorn and sphere is not to be underestimated. Shops often board out it's weaker creatures in the matchup to make space for cards like tormod's crypt and cage. Hallowed one puts increased pressure by shotnerning the clock.

    I'm pretty sure it will see play. Won't likely revolutionize the archetype, but if Prized amalgam was able to see play, this certainly will make an impact.
    Posted in: Vintage (Type 1)
  • posted a message on NYSE Open V - 6/24/2017 in Long Island, New York
    Did not have time to post the stream due to not having internet service in the play area. However, the stream should be saved. it can be found at
    Posted in: Vintage (Type 1)
  • posted a message on NYSE Open V - 6/24/2017 in Long Island, New York
    They will be streaming this event tomorrow. If I can find out the details, I will post the adress here.
    Posted in: Vintage (Type 1)
  • posted a message on Shop Class Vintage article series
    This article is about the Gush re-restriction my predictions of what we should expect to see, and my concerns with the format movibg forward. It took a while to get up due to site issues, but was published on 6/5/2017
    Posted in: Vintage (Type 1)
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