A New and Exciting Beginning
The End of an Era
Exclusive: Sword of Truth and Justice
  • posted a message on N.Y.S.E. Open VI - 7/20/19 - Long Island, New York
    We will be streaming the event. It can be found at

    Posted in: Vintage (Type 1)
  • posted a message on Sharuum, Everyone's Favorite Kitty
    I've gone close to 4 years where I have not played Sharuum on a regular basis. Having been turned off by the lack of printings that directly affected the deck while other archetypes were getting exciting new pillars for their respective commanders.

    It has been frustrating to see Sharuum's primary engines receive meaningful printing at a glacial pace while other commanders receive printing that felt they were customized specifically for them, and whose impact has taken those decks from a power level of a 4-5 to a power level of 8-9, seemingly overnight.

    I have always said that when it comes to broken artifacts, WoTC tends to print them in 4-6 year cycles. It took a while, but there is finally a threshold or artifacts and artifact synergies to seriously revisit and bring meaningful change and improvements for the Sharuum engine-based deck.

    In addition, there has been a bigger shift with the format overall. With Commander being the most successful format in Magic, WoTC has been tailoring printings every set specifically for the format, slotting most if those printings in the rare and mythic slot, and now as buy-a-box promos, to help sell packs and boxes along-side the needs of the competitive crowd.

    This has created a shift in the format where decks are stronger, faster, and the majority of commanders now have pillars that are independent of one another. While commanders share format pillars, the cards that make one commander strategy tick are often different from ones that make another tick within the same archetype, now that sufficient printings have fine-tuned the specialized needs for most commanders. This means that the needs and pace for our engine-based deck has also changed. This is what has led me to revisit old tech while looking to evaluate newer cards within a wider scope.

    I have finally been able to get a string of games together among different play groups, letting me first get a feel of what the deck needed/was missing, and what was underperforming.

    I have recognized a few things about the format since I've begun playing commander more consistantly:

    1) The pace of the format has sped up. With the constant stream of printings that are constantly breaking commanders, decks are becoming more proactive; game states are becoming more "answer now" and the windows of opportunity to respond to these game states are becoming smaller and smaller over time. I am finding that as a general rule, being proactive is strategically better than being reactionary.

    2) I am finding that the prevalence of individual archetype staples has diversified and tapered off while format staples have consolidated across decks. Gone are the days where every deck susceptible to mill ran an Eldrazi legend for the shuffle effect, but conversely almost every deck that can support format staples (such as Cyclonic Rift, Paradox Engine, Protean Hulk and Teferi's protection) runs them. As such, part of winning the game is being able to shape the game to make these format staple cards as harmless as possible. The way you beat these staples is to force your opponent to play them to prevent him/her from losing as opposed to allowing your opponent the opportunity and time to weaponize these cards to solidify a win. This gameplan plays into the proactive tendencies the format is being pushed towards. It also changes the playstyle that the deck was previously built towards, which also changes the application and value of the slots in the deck.

    I started by piloting the original list, which took quite a few lumps in those first games (it took a while to get the rust off, no pun intended). If you need to find the original list, it can be found here. After having played a solid number of games, I have finally settled on a direction strong and consistent enough to guide the deck towards.

    Bolas's Citadel - I feel that Bolas's Citadel is a build-around card for this deck. As a cog-based deck, the life payment is negligible for almost half of our artifacts which are mana rocks or 0-1 cost artifacts. However, our deck makes the sacrifice ability very relevant. It plays very well with Magister's Sphinx, which resets and opponent's life to 10, where Bolas's Citadel just finishes the opponent from there. Sharuum has multiple ways to gain life, which allows us to get additional mileage out if the Citadel if needed.

    Smothering Tithe - I've spoken about this card previously, but I'll reiterate my points:
    It generates free artifact permanents for the deck, making it a "must answer". Tithe serves as ramp if played early, easies color requirements and has brutal synergizes with many cards in the deck.

    For this update, I will be focusing on the synergies between Magister's Sphinx, Bolas's Citadel and Smothering Tithe as the compass guiding my decisions for the deck, as the synergies that branch between these 3 cards, and independent from these 3 cards, feel like a strong enough base to retune the deck's engines around. That is not to say this is the best course for updating and improving the deck... time will tell whether this is the case. I do feel though, that this is a solid foundation for moving forward with credible ideas for improving the deck.

    Here is my latest Sharuum update:

    Spells - 65
    Creatures (10)
    (4) Phyrexian Metamorph
    (5) Kudoltha Forgemaster
    (5) Karn, Silver Golem
    (6) Sharuum the Hegemon
    (6) Noxious Gearhulk (new)
    (6) Steel Hellkite (revisited)
    (6) Marionette Master (new)
    (7) Magister Sphinx
    (7) Myr Battlephere
    (8) Sphinx of the Steel Wind

    Mana Rocks - 14
    Cog Mana Rocks - 8
    (0) Lion's Eye Diamond
    (0) Lotus Bloom
    (0) Mana Crypt
    (0) Mox Diamond
    (0) Mox Tantalite (new)
    (0) Mox Opal
    (0) Mana Vault
    (1) Sol Ring

    Non- Cog Rocks - 6
    (2) Azorius Signet
    (2) Dimir Signet
    (2) Grim Monolith
    (2) Orzhov Signet (revisited)
    (3) Coalition Relic (revisited)
    (5) Gilded Lotus

    Draw Effects - 6
    (3) Day's Undoing (new)
    (3) Timetwister
    (3) Windfall
    (4) Whispering Madness
    (5) Memory Jar
    (6) Time Spiral (revisited)

    Tutors - 6
    (1) Entomb
    (1) Vampiric Tutor
    (2) Artificer's Intuition
    (2) Demonic Tutor
    (2) Transmute Artifact
    (3) Intuition

    Cog-Based Utility - 10
    (0) Tormod's Crypt
    (1) Aether Spellbomb
    (1) Altar of the Brood (revisited)
    (1) Dispeller's Capsule
    (1) Executioner's Capsule
    (1) Expedition Map
    (1) Nihil Spellbomb (revisited)
    (1) Sensei's Divining Top
    (1) Skullclamp
    (1) Voyager's Staff

    Additional Utility Artifacts - 3
    (2) Sword of The Meek
    (3) Crucible of Worlds
    (3) Ensnaring Bridge (revisited)

    Resource Conversion Engines- 8
    (2) Thopter Foundry
    (2) Time Sieve
    (4) Clock of Omens (revisited)
    (4) Smothering Tithe (new)
    (4) Tawnos's Coffin
    (4) Trading Post
    (6) Bolas's Citadel (new)
    (6) Salvaging Station

    Spell-Based Recursion - 3
    (5) Unburial Rites
    (6) Open the Vaults
    (7) Roar of Reclamation

    Spell-Based Removal - 3
    (2) Cyclonic Rift (new)
    (3) Bitter Ordeal (revisited)
    (7) All is Dust

    Planeswalkers - 2
    (5) Tezerret the Seeker
    (7) Ugin, the Spirit Dragon

    Lands - 35
    5-Color Lands- 6
    City of Brass
    Command Tower
    Mana Confluence
    Reflecting Pool
    Spire of Industry
    Tarnished Citadel

    Artifact Lands (Cog Lands)- 4
    Ancient Den
    Darksteel Citadel
    Seat of the Synod
    Vault of Whispers

    Fetch Engine - 9
    Flooded Strand
    Godless Shrine
    Hallowed Fountain
    Marsh Flats
    Polluted Delta
    Underground Sea
    Watery Grave

    Filter Lands - 3
    Fetid Heath
    Mystic Gate
    Sunken Ruins

    Utility Lands - 9
    Academy Ruins
    Buried Ruin
    Cavern of Souls
    Emergence Zone (new)
    Geir-Reach Sanitarium (should be Bazaar)
    Blast Zone
    Inventor's Fair
    Strip Mine
    Mirror Pool (revisited)

    Ramp Lands - 5
    Ancient Tomb -f
    City of Traitors
    Crystal Vein
    Gemstone Cavern -f
    Mishra's Workshop

    Salvaging the Station Engine: I've needed to reevaluate the engine Components, consolidate what I could and get rid off what was no longer necessary.

    Mox Tantalite - Strict upgrade to Lotus Petal, which was the weakest mana rock in the list. Mox Tantalite is now the third mana rock that can combo with Karn, Silver Golem and Salvaging Station to create infinite death triggers for the deck.

    Altar of the Brood - With the popularity and revitalization of library based combo strategies (Protean Hulk, Zur, Arcum, Yisan, and now Prime Speaker Vannifar) I chose Altar as an easily tutorable way to threaten an infinite (via mill) while being very serviceable in breaking up opposing infinite combos. As it increased the lethality of graveyard based decks, I've added a second graveyard hate piece in Nihil Spellbomb to compensate.

    Elixir of Immortality - Was cut as the deck is no longer looking to prolong games to outgrind the opponent. As such, using Elixir to protect specific combo pieces from timely graveyard hate is a bridge too far and so it's been cut.

    Voltaic Key - This one was a tough cut. It's a cog and so it plugs in with the engine, but like Venser, a one time untap doesn't do enough for enough games, and so it has been cut for Clock of Omens, which has been putting in more work.

    Recoupling Combo Engines:
    Thopter / Sword Combo - Generates life and permanents for Bolas's Citadel, and still can fog combat steps and threaten life totals with enough mana.

    Time Sieve - Can generate free turns via Smothering Tithe, plugs into Thopter/Sword combo to end games, great lightning rod for targeted artifact hate.

    Clock of Omens - Creates tons of mana with Smothering Tithe without losing the treasure, helps Salvaging Station and Tawnos's coffing blink creatures multiple times in a turn

    Tawnos's Coffin - Still amazing at rebuilding your board with your commander, blinkable creature suite has been tweaked to work better with Citadel

    Trading Post - Smothering Tithe created the mana and fodder to make TP more efficient, gets better with Clock of Omens

    Salvaging Station - Still amazing at generating permanents for the deck, and recycling utility permanents to disrupt opponents. Cogs used for the engine are easy to play via Citadel and Station helps rebuy those permanents.

    Cultivating the Draw Engine:
    With the focus on Smothering Tithe, I am choosing to use Draw 7s as my defacto card advantage spells. Smothering Tithe will grow me free lotus petals, while Clock of Omens allows me to empty my hand if I have a few mana rocks at my disposal. Additionally, overlapping multiple twister effects will help in protecting my graveyard from incidental hate. The spellbombs go a long way with the draw 7s as they will tuck whatever they hit back into that player's library, where it is harder for most decks to access, and the synergy between them and Cyclonic Rift is too good to pass up. So far, these options have been mostly better: there have been times where I've missed the binning effect of cards like Thirst for Knowledge and Fact or Fiction, but the benefits have been very good.

    Toy Soldiers: The creature suite in the deck has also been modified to plug into the value engines and game plan of the deck. I have now gone to 10 creatures in the deck.

    Phyrexian Metamorph - The all-star if the deck, metamorph plays star roles in multiple engines, while also doubling as my opponent's best artifact ir creature, Magister Sphinx #2 or another jet in the airforce plan.

    Kudoltha Forgemaster - Smothering Tithe makes free sac fodder for him, and he helps Tutor for the other half of many of your engine pieces. Super strong.

    Karn, Silver Golem - Everything discussed in the Karn clinic is still relevant today. We can now include "efficiently destroys treasure" to that section.

    Noxious Gearhulk - Replaces duplicant in this slot. The life gain is helpful in a pinch. Menace can also close out close games

    Steel Hellkite - Helps contain boards which has become increasingly important now that treasure is so easy to come by.

    Marionette Master - Older card that's gotten a new look. Marionette Master creates free permanents for Bolas's Citadel, but the counters can also drain opposing life totals with Citadel. Citadel sacrificing 10 artifacts with a Marionette Master on the table with 3 +1/+1 counters will drain a player for 40. Also remember, Tawnos's coffing can not only create more servos, it can also force Marionette Master to accumulate additional +1/+1 counters.

    Myr Battlephere - Efficiently makes artifact permanents for Citadel and can threaten to kill anyone Magister Sphinx has sneezed at. Due to updated damage rules, you can no longer swing at a player/planeswalker and burn out a second planeswalker with the triggered damage: it all goes to the attacked player / permenant.

    Sphinx of the Steel Wind - For those times when a games devolves into a dragged-knuckle, no-holds barred, on-board fist fight, accept no substitutes.

    What's been cut:
    Mind's Eye - Because the faster pace of the format and the increased number of "must answer" cards, it is dangerous to sit back and rely on stalling out your opponent's turns to refill your hand. As such, I've pulled Mind's Eye from the list for more effective cards.

    Venser, the Sojourner - Venser's main use was to blink permanents, which worked great with Sharuum, but more commonly, allowed you to untap your tapped mana rocks, especially those that dont untap as usual. The minus ability was also great when you've has the time to create an army of thopters to kill a player. We don't have the time to make the second ability useful, and a one-time blink ability isnt impactful enough, so it's also cheering the deck on from the sidelines.

    Karn Liberated - Has since been replaced by Ugin, which is a much better sweeper, and has a more relevant ultimate.

    Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas - Due to the changes in deck construction, this Tez doesn't hit enough of your bombs consistently enough to warrant the slot. Also, since we run fewer planeswalkers, it's less relevant to make the 5/5 body to protect them. It's still a solid card, and I can definately see it making it's way back into the deck if some new printings allow us to make a multiple minor tweaks to the deck.

    Rings of Brighthearth - Rings is a card that allowed our loop engines to be kicked into overdrive. For that to happen, we needed time to pair it with those engines and abilities. It gave additional value to our value engines. With the amount of efficient artifact hate available, we dont have the time to sit back and milk Rings for value. As such, it's taking a back seat to better utility cards for now.
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on Sharuum, Everyone's Favorite Kitty
    Hey guys...

    I've been gone for a few weeks as things have gotten busy, but I've gotten some good testing in. It's been difficult in the beginning to jam games with my work schedule, but I've made progress with testing. What I'm seeing is that the engines in the deck are diverging from one another, and as such, I've revisited old tech to reenter the deck to then test new slots. This has proven to be far more effective in providing adequate card testing and evaluating. Since tomorrow is a major day off, I'm going to try to put my thoughts down on paper to give you all my thoughts on what I've been seeing.

    With that said, I still haven't 5ested everything, as some of the newer cards have made me look to older tech in ways that are either new, or have been underutilized in the past.

    I look forward to sharing that with you soon.
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on Sharuum, Everyone's Favorite Kitty
    I wanted to chime in since it's been a few days and I've had a few more games. Smothering Tithe is still very strong but I've scaled back the number of changes from.the original list. I will be posting the new updates soon, when I get a chance. So far, the changes are solid. I'm really trying to get a solid number of games in in 2 different areas so I get a better cross-section of commander games. I'm hoping the upcomming holiday will let me do just that.
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on Sharuum, Everyone's Favorite Kitty
    I've seen the spoilers for it, and I think its going to be insane in vintage as a tinker target. It can go kill a table in an artifact shell with Aetherflux Reservoir, especially with Top managing life totals to start.

    I had mixed results with Sharuum during the last meet-up. In one game, I drew only 8 artifacts during the hour long game, missing all my engine pieces after having to burn a vamp Tutor to get my 3rd land and having drawn no other tutors. The next game, Sharuum did what she needed to do. I need more games to test the changes and see if the removal of Thirst and FoF is stalling the deck out more that is acceptable. I need more games under the belt.
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on Sharuum, Everyone's Favorite Kitty
    Have more commander games this evening. I'll take more notices to give feedback on any issues and possible improvements.
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on Sharuum, Everyone's Favorite Kitty
    Quote from serrasin »
    So I guess my question is, where do you see the deck belonging along the competitive slope? In my experience Sharuum doesn't keep up with a lot of other competitive decks.
    That's a great quesation,and I don'tyet feellike putting a rating on it yet, as I haven't gotten enough games in to give one with confidence. With that said,I felt Sharuum was an 8.5 at it's height 5-6 years ago, and had dropped down to a 5. The few games I played made it feel like at least a 7, with a few playlines feeling like a 9 and ending the gaame immediately. I've only gotten in a few games, having only faced the following commanders:

    Teferi Planeswalker (cEDH build)
    Atraxa Superfriends
    Ezuri, Claw of Progress
    Prime Speaker Vannifar
    Teysa Karlov
    Breya, Etherium Shaper
    Derevi, Empyrial Tactician (prison build, not sure if cEDH)
    The Gitrog Monster (cEDH build)
    Narset, Enlightened Master
    Muldrotha (Prison)
    Najeela, the Blade Blossom (cEDH)

    I lost my first 2 games with the new updates, and have not dropped a game since. (a big part of those 2losses were due to not being familiar with where many of the new play lines would take me, and changes to the weight/value in your opening hand/mulligans). I did not honestly think the changes would have produced such good results, butthere is definately more tinkering that might be done. I need many more games to be able to feel confident in a rating and provide more substantive arguements for it, cuz once I do, people will understandably want to challenge my assertions (and I would continue to welcome them to help optimize Sharuum). That said, I feel this is a good cross-section of strong commanders and that makes these preliminary results very promising.

    Quote from Stefouch »
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and your updated list.
    I was hesitating to include Smothering Tithe because it wasn't artifact, but now you convinced me.

    Why the removal of Bazaar? It's a choice I don't understand.

    and What are your thoughts about including the new revealed Karn the Great Creator?
    I see it as an interesting recursion (getting back exiled combo pieces) and even a combo piece himself with Mycosynth Lattice (my playgroup even allows 10-cards wishboard, but maybe that exception will not last with this new Karn).

    Bazaar plugged into a few different parts of the deck but one of the main synergies was in being able to drop your hand to lock out combat under an Ensnaring Bridge. This, by extension, was done to protect your planeswalkers and amass your thopter army to win via combat through your own bridge. With bridge gone, I didn't think it was good enough to justify not trying something else in its place. It may go back in, but I don;t miss feelingrequired to run both Urborg and Chromatic Lantern to not get mana screwed on Bazaar hands. It may go back in, but I definately think with Smothering Tithe in the list, Geir-Reach Sanitarium may be just as good.s Or, it could be that Smohering Tithe makes is that Urborg is nolonger needed. Time (and testing) will tell. All I know is that,as SmotheringTithe is not an artifact, it is not a card I want to lean on too heavily. I don't mind using it to close the door on games, but I don't feel confident in using it to pry a game open (if that makes any sense).
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on Sharuum, Everyone's Favorite Kitty
    Additional thoughts

    There are a few cards I really wish I could slot into the deck, but I don't have / haven't identified the space to do so without making the deck weaker.
    Here are those cards and my reasoning for wanting to slot them, in order.

    Veldalken Orrey / Leyline of Anticipation: As I've been playing other decks in the abscence of major Sharuum updates, I have grownto really appreciate the power of instant-speed interaction. Being able to jump the turn cycle on playing spells and triggering effects makes decks both more resilient to removal and better able to out-value the table

    [card]Pithing Needle/card]: I've wanted to slot this in the deck for years, but now that cards have gotten more hyper-efficient, I feel Needle is primed to make huge waves in this decck.

    Mirrorweave: With the ease by which you makec creature tokens in this list, I love this card for it's aggressive and defensive applications in a world overrun with efficient removal.

    Marionette Master: This card has been on my radar since it came out, but has always felt underwhelming in that it's one-degree of interation too far removed to be reliably amazing. What piques my interest now, is that your treasures now deal free damage to opponents. Combine this with Tawnos's Coffin's unique ablility to keep the blinked counters counters onto the Marionette Master, and those degrees of interactionare get closer to wherew you want them to be.

    Praetor's Grasp: What's not to love

    Notion Thief: With all the draw 7's running around because of Smothering Tithe use, it's a great blow-out. You don't get all the mana, but you get all the cards

    Since this deck runs more colorless spells than most,[/left] we have an easier time with running utility lands than most decks. Here have been my observations over the years:
    • Gemstone Cavern is great at almost any point you draw it. It's definately a keeper for me.
    • Academy Ruins and Buried Ruin have been great at recursion for the deck. No complaints here whatsoever.
    • Cephalid Coliseum has been increasingly underwhelming with the release of increasing better graveyard hate. I'm considering replacing this with Geir-Reach Sanitarium, so I'm looking for a copy to test the swap.
    • With Bazaar no longer in the deck, I've found less reason to run Urborg, as I don't want to turn on my opponent's Coffers. I run Thespian Stage to be able to copy their Coffers or other broken mana. I prefer it over Vesuva because it doesn;t come into play tapped and can protect itself from Wasteland and its kin.
    • I've weaned off Wasteland use until I eventually cut it. There is never a point in the game where you will ever search for this over Strip Mine.

    Tezzeret, Master of the Bridge seems like it may be a good inclusion to the list. Mass lifedrain is never bad, and the other two modes are useful The potential to play alongside a number of other cards to make slotting Aetherflux Reservoir is starting to shape up (cards like Thopter Foundry, Tezzeret AoB and Noxious Gearhulk are some that come to mind. I'm most excited for the newly spoiled Emergence Zone.
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on Sharuum, Everyone's Favorite Kitty
    Sharuum, the Hegemon 2019 update

    Spells - 64
    Artifact Creatures (9)
    (4) Phyrexian Metamorph
    (5) Kudoltha Forgemaster
    (5) Karn, Silver Golem
    (6) Sharuum the Hegemon
    (6) Duplicant
    (6) Steel Hellkite
    (7) Magister Sphinx
    (7) Myr Battlephere
    (8) Sphinx of the Steel Wind

    Mana Rocks - 13
    Cog Mana Rocks - 8
    (0) Lion's Eye Diamond
    (0) Lotus Bloom
    (0) Lotus Petal
    (0) Mana Crypt
    (0) Mox Diamond
    (0) Mox Opal
    (0) Mana Vault
    (1) Sol Ring

    Non- Cog Rocks - 5
    (2) Azorius Signet
    (2) Dimir Signet
    (2) Grim Monolith
    (3) Chromatic Lantern
    (5) Gilded Lotus

    Draw Effects - 5
    (3) Timetwister
    (3) Windfall
    (4) Whispering Madness
    (5) Memory Jar
    (5) Mind's Eye

    Tutors - 7
    (1) Entomb
    (1) Vampiric Tutor
    (2) Artificer's Intuition
    (2) Demonic Tutor
    (2) Transmute Artifact
    (3) Intuition
    (3) Whir of Invention*

    Utility Artifacts - 21
    Cog-Based Utility - 10
    (0) Tormod's Crypt
    (1) Aether Spellbomb
    (1) Dispeller's Capsule
    (1) Elixer of Immortality
    (1) Executioner's Capsule
    (1) Expedition Map
    (1) Sensei's Divining Top
    (1) Skullclamp
    (1) Voltaic Key
    (1) Voyager's Staff

    Non Cog Utility Artifacts - 10
    (2) Sword of The Meek
    (3) Crucible of Worlds
    (3) Rings of Brighthearth
    (3) Sculpting Steel

    Resource Conversion Engines- 7
    (2) Thopter Foundry
    (2) Time Sieve
    (4) Clock of Omens
    (4) Smothering Tithe
    (4) Tawnos's Coffin
    (4) Trading Post
    (6) Salvaging Station

    Spell-Based Protection - 2
    (3) Bitter Ordeal
    (3) Teferi's Protection*

    Spell-Based Recursion - 2
    (6) Open the Vaults
    (7) Roar of Reclamation

    Spell-Based Removal - 3
    (2) Cyclonic Rift
    (5) Martyr's Bond
    (7) All is Dust

    Planeswalkers - 3
    (4) Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas
    (5) Tezerret the Seeker
    (5) Venser, the Sojourner

    Lands - 36*
    5-Color Lands- 6
    City of Brass
    Command Tower
    Mana Confluence
    Reflecting Pool
    Spire of Industry
    Tarnished Citadel

    Artifact Lands (Cog Lands)- 4
    Ancient Den
    Darksteel Citadel
    Seat of the Synod
    Vault of Whispers

    Fetch Engine - 9
    Flooded Strand
    Godless Shrine
    Hallowed Fountain
    Marsh Flats
    Polluted Delta
    Underground Sea
    Watery Grave

    Filter Lands - 3
    Fetid Heath
    Mystic Gate
    Sunken Ruins

    Utility Lands - 9
    Academy Ruins
    Buried Ruin
    Cavern of Souls
    Cephalid Coliseum
    Command Beacon
    Inkmoth Nexus
    Inventor's Fair
    Phyrexian Tower
    Strip Mine
    Thespian Stage

    Ramp Lands - 5
    Ancient Tomb
    City of Traitors
    Crystal Vein
    Gemstone Cavern
    Mishra's Workshop

    * Please note: The base might be primed for an overhaul. I'm using the existing mana base because it is proven, but the resulting changes may allow us to further refine the mana base for optimization, allowing us to conserve more slots currently dedicated to mana rocks or even shave on lands. More testing will be required to determine whether this is the case.

    If anyone wants my bio update, here it is. I suspect most can skip this section, but it's here for consistency.
    I am a primarily a Vintage Player, and began playing the game in 1994. I along with Teammate Ici Li created the Mono-Red Bazaar Stax list we called MRC (Mono Red Control) that was later dubbed "Bazaar Stax" and "The Truth". The deck dominated the Vintage metagame between 2008 and 2011. Deck lists and reports can be found on various sites across the internet (If anyone would like to see them for reference, I can edit them in, but for right now, the discussion is about Sharuum and not Stax, and it is currently 1am in the morning). I started as a blue control / combo pilot that began learning to play Shops in 2003, and have posted solid finishes in quite a few tournaments. By 2009, my proficiency with playing Shops became renouned in the Northeast. After the closing of Neutral Ground in NYC, I organized Vintage tournaments for almost 1 1/2 years, before turning my focus to family.

    After having taken a break from Vintage to raise a family, I got back into the format in 2015, top 8'ing my first local event back from a 5 year hiatus with an old list from 2011, a 40 person 1k event. I top 8'ed many more local events, and came in 46th place at my very first Vintage World Championship in 2016 - the highest placing Goblin Welder list at the tournament. Since then, I've continued to place well at events on the rare occasions I can attend them, having a very strong run with colorless prison until the Thorn of Amethyst restriction, before finally giving in to playing Ravager Shops. My last strong finish being 10th place at the 96 player Eternal Extravaganze 4 event. I currently play Ravager Shops and Ritual Storm in Vintage. My other current EDH decks consist of Lord Windgrace (prison), Saffi Eriksdotter (creature Sharuum), and Zedruu, the Greathearted (non-prison, non-engine deck). As an aside, I split the finals of a M19 store championship during an out of state visit to my parents, not having drafted a standard set for at least a year before that event.

    Deck Building Methods and Philosophy updates
    My build has always been centered around being the most efficient possible, while still maintaining an air of decency at EDH games . I get much less play-time than I used to. With stat said, currently play with 3 different groups (two of which play at a very high level of technical play). My 20 years of experience with playing various combo, toolbox, and artifact-based decks have been vital in creating and updating my lists. For the last 3-4 years, there have been so many strong Commander printings, the format feels to have redistributed power to other strategies that previously had not had their current lever of strength and consistency. Disjointed Sharuum printings have have kept me from playing and updating the deck as often and rigorously as I used to. Major props to Berderndern for motivating me to solve these issues

    1. History has shown that the optimal ratio of artifacts to non-artifacts for tuned engie-based Sharuum builds rests at the 50/50 mark. This offers the best cross-section for this style of deck: maximal value within and across the deck's various engines while limiting the amount of chaff and vulnerability that comes with relying on artifacts. This version currently rests at 48 artifacts/52 non-artifacts. This becomes key to consistency as it dramatically decreased colored spell mana count and increases colorless spell mana count in the deck, which in turn increases the quality and consistency of your lines of play and virtually lowers your curve ( You worry less about hitting the right colors of mana, and focus more on hitting the right amount of mana... and this deck generates a metric f***-ton of mana).
    2. Play threats over answers. My playgroup has an established meta-game, but being part of two almost-separate playgroups, that allows my deck the most flexibility to be able to play my game, regardless of whoever I sit with at my table. This also allows me to play blow-for-blow with whichever opponent decides that the turn 2-5 masturbation-into-early-combo-kill is fun. Being able to disrupt this kind of player earn me more allies and accolades from the table than any other gesture of good will. With the prevalence of nuclear-option cards like Cyclonic Rift, players cannot realistically expect to win games by stilling back and playing reactively. In my experience, the best way to beat cards like this is to force them out in such a way that your opponent isn't using them to win the game, he or she is using it to keep from losing. It also allows me to play my game under the next philosophy...
    3. Bluff like poker, but play like chess. Playing answers over threats allows me to play with knife-like precision, but at the expense of making play mistakes and sub-optimal play more costly, as with Chess. I always want to develop my game. Most commander games are played like tennis. A player drops a threat, and another player plays and answer, then someone answers that play, then the next play... and the game looks like four rackets volleying for position. When you have an abundance of threats, you not only can match or overshadow your opponent's threat, but now they have to answer yours, often at their own expense (whether it be permanents or tempo). And, every time they only play an answer without a follow up, they fall behind. Previous examples in this thread of why I chose to play Karn Liberated over Spine of Ish-Shah illustrates this perfectly. Every play you make should both extend your game plan and balance / leverage the current board or game state. That ensures that opponents have to overextend to reset the board or press ahead. That generates natural card advantage over the course of the game, which, when playing a recursive general such as Sharuum, should naturally net you enough cards and advantage to press ahead.
    4. Card engines generate more card value than individually powerful cards. This is intuitive to anyone who plays combo decks. Most people will misconstrue this to mean playing combos both large and small, and that is wrong. If anyone here has taken Environmental Science courses, they would understand the concept of a feedback loop. I feedback loop occurs when multiple scenarios work in conjunction with each other to create a perpetual system, thus completing the loop (Example: It rains, rain water from the ground evaporates, evaporated water creates clouds, and saturated clouds rain). This phenomenon when applied to similarly behaving synergies in Magic would be your combo. When multiple feedback loops work together in unison, they create an environment. Card engines working together function as an environment, and so should a Sharuum deck. Thopter Foundry works across a ridiculous number of feedback loops. Phyrexian Core works with far fewer. Both will save your general from exile, but you know intuitively which one is stronger. Lastly, when environments are balanced, their feedback loops create a system of checks and balances to maintain their equilibrium. A balanced deck should function the same way
    Each card in a Sharuum deck should have multiple uses, and most preferably, should have purpose and work across multiple feedback loops. Using the breakdown of my list above, let's say I want to prevent an artifact of mine from being exiled with a Return to Dust. What options do I have?

    Dispeller's Capsule, Time Sieve, Thopter Foundry, Trading Post, or a Karn, Silver Golem activation in conjunction with Executioner's Capsule, Voyager's Staff, Aether Spellbomb, will all address this solution, while creating triggers or board changes that will feed many other synergies in this deck. Top can cheat extra draws with Voltaic Key and Rings of Brighthearth, when animated and targeted by Tawnos's Coffin, or when animated.. sacked.. and revived by Salvaging Station. And, each of the other mentioned cards above all work with multiple other engines and feedback loops in the deck.

    The same way that a tutors, draw spells, and card filtering in a combo deck create a system of feedback loops within a respectable curve to siphon a threshold of Dark rituals, kill conditions, and lethal storm count for a tendrils kill; each card in your deck should feed itself into as many systems as possible, at as many points in the game as possible (taking your curve into account), to create a machine that will consistently churn synergies to carry you into a win. The easier a combo deck accomplishes this, the more balanced the deck is. If you find that this same deck is very draw dependent, or that it is not "going off" consistently when going through the motions, the deck is not balanced and needs more tinkering.

    Recent Changes

    With the insane amount of power-creep experienced over the last few years, games swings are the biggest they have ever been this format. In addition, there have been many commanders that were printed to be laser-focused and pre-packaged one-card engines. Combine this together with an increase in efficient hate and you get an environment where waiting to sculpt the entire can, and often will, earn you a game loss. The removal and protection packages needed to evolve to keep up . Many changes have also created new, more explosive play patterns for the deck to abuse, to take advantage of the bigger swings more commonly found in the format across a larger number of decks and strategies.

    Smothering Tithe - This card is just insane... and that's if it's used fairly. We won't, and it's all explained here:

    Smothering Tithe provides the deck with a ton of interactions, ranging from very solid to ban-worthy. The following is an in-depth analysis on Smothering Tithe's interactions and reason for inclusion. In order to understand the interactions, one must have a good grasp of the comprehensive rules, in order to know when and how it would be beneficial to use these applications. I will break down the interactions with card by card type and/or engine where applicable.

    [spoiler=The Power of Smothering Tithe]
    We all know Smothering Tithe forces your opponents to either abandon their board development or allow you to gain mana and permanents for free, which is why it ranks so high among Commander players. While most decks mainly use Treasure to produce extra mana, our engine-based deck is uniquely positioned to extract much more value from this card. Remember that Treasure tokens are artifacts, and so every aspect of their existence (token creation to trigger artifact ETB effects, residual mana, the 0 CMC, their use can force death triggers, free artifact permanents to pay for effect costs ) plug into multiple engines and conversions that are highly relevant to the deck.
    I was very skeptical in incorporating a non-artfiact card to work as an engine in the deck, despite it's power being a known quantity. What makes Smothering Tithe uniquely positioned, and the reason I decided to include it as the only non-artifact engine piece in the deck, is because can convert select non-artifact resources (instants, sorceries, turn based effects, opposing value triggers, etc.) into mana and artifact permanents for engine fuel and resource conversion.

    Smothering sets up a trigger whenever an opponent draws any card, and it triggers for each card drawn. If an opponent is instructed to draw multiple cards, that player draws all of them before deciding how many times to pay for Smothering Tithe’s triggered ability.

    Smothering Tithe makes Treasure tokens that generate mana, and so it follows all game rules governing tokens and mana use.

    110.5. Some effects put tokens onto the battlefield. A token is a marker used to represent any permanent that isn’t represented by a card.

    110.5a. A token is both owned and controlled by the player under whose control it entered the battlefield.

    110.5b The spell or ability that creates a token may define the values of any number of characteristics for the token. This becomes the token’s “text.” The characteristic values defined this way are functionally equivalent to the characteristic values that are printed on a card; for example, they define the token’s copiable values. A token doesn’t have any characteristics not defined by the spell or ability that created it. The resulting token has no mana cost, supertype, rules text, or abilities.

    110.5c. A spell or ability that creates a creature token sets both its name and its creature type. If the spell or ability doesn’t specify the name of the creature token, its name is the same as its creature type(s). A “Goblin Scout creature token,” for example, is named “Goblin Scout” and has the creature subtypes Goblin and Scout. Once a token is on the battlefield, changing its name doesn’t change its creature type, and vice versa.

    110.5d. If a spell or ability would create a token, but an effect states that a permanent with one or more of that token’s characteristics can’t enter the battlefield, the token is not created.

    110.5e. A token is subject to anything that affects permanents in general or that affects the token’s card type or subtype. A token isn’t a card (even if represented by a card that has a Magic back or that came from a Magic booster pack).

    110.5f. A token that’s in a zone other than the battlefield ceases to exist. This is a state-based action; see rule 704. (Note that if a token changes zones, applicable triggered abilities will trigger before the token ceases to exist.)

    110.5g. A token that has left the battlefield can’t move to another zone or come back onto the battlefield. If such a token would change zones, it remains in its current zone instead. It ceases to exist the next time state-based actions are checked; see rule 704.

    605.1a. An activated ability is a mana ability if it meets all of the following criteria: it doesn’t
    require a target (see rule 114.6), it could add mana to a player’s mana pool when it resolves, and
    it’s not a loyalty ability. (See rule 606, “Loyalty Abilities.”)

    605.2. A mana ability remains a mana ability even if the game state doesn’t allow it to produce mana.
    Example: A permanent has an ability that reads “{T}: Add {G} for each creature you
    control.” The ability is still a mana ability even if you control no creatures or if the
    permanent is already tapped.

    605.3. Activating an activated mana ability follows the rules for activating any other activated ability
    (see rule 602.2), with the following exceptions:

    605.3a. A player may activate an activated mana ability whenever they have priority, whenever they
    are casting a spell or activating an ability that requires a mana payment, or whenever a rule or
    effect asks for a mana payment, even if it’s in the middle of casting or resolving a spell or
    activating or resolving an ability.

    605.3b. An activated mana ability doesn’t go on the stack, so it can’t be targeted, countered, or
    otherwise responded to. Rather, it resolves immediately after it is activated. (See rule 405.6c.)

    Karn, Silver Golem: Treasure can both pay for Karn's activated ability and be used by it to create death triggers for the deck. In addition, Karn allows us to neuter or beat opposing Smothering Tithes, by letting us use our mana to actively destroy opponents' treasure at half the cost it would take them to deny us ours. This is yet another avenue for Karn to force Salvaging Station to untap for repeated use.

    Kultotha Forgemaster: Provides free sack fodder . Each turn cycle will generate enough treasure to Tinker out any artifact from your library.

    Steel Hellkite: Smothering Tithe generates enough mana to allow Hellkite to more reliably destroy higher CMC permanents with ease and gains additional reach on opponents with respectable life totals.

    Memory Jar and Timetwister: Smothering Tithe allows your draw 7's to net you anywhere from 7 to 28 treasure tokens per effect played.

    Whispering Madness and Windfall: These will typically generate you less treasure, but can potentially net you much more. In rare instances where these cards are chained after a Cyclonic Rift, it can easily generate enough mana to find non-deterministic lines to win the game on the spot.

    Mind's Eye : You can stack the triggers such that, if the opponent fails to pay for their draw, your Smothering Tithe will pay for Mind's Eye trigger and let you draw cards for free.

    Transmute Artifact : Treasure provides the sac fodder and pays to climb the CMC chain for the search.

    Whir of Invention : Treasure provides fuels Improvise cost reductions to save that treasure for your tutor target.

    Time Sieve : Treasure provides fuels free extra turns.

    Whir of Invention : Treasure provides fuels Improvise cost reductions to save that treasure for your tutor target.

    Clock of Omens : Smothering Tithe provides free artifact permanents for clock activations, kicking it into 3rd gear.

    Trading Post : Converts treasure into creature tokens or cards.

    Bitter Ordeal : Stockpiled Treasure can surgically extract multiple threats and answers out of your opponent's libraries, rendering their decks powerless.

    Martyr's Bond : Keep opposing artifacts off the table.

    Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas : Treasure provides allows you to easily and quickly snipe players out of the game.

    Tezzeret, the Seeker: Treasure accumulation allows the Tezzeret ultimate to more easily threaten lethal to all opponents at once.

    Inventor's Fair : Allows Inventor's Fair to trigger and activate in a turn cycle, typically with no additional help.

    ... and finally, for the rest of the updates

    Steel Hellkite - This is a card that has often made its way in and out of the format, but now with Karn Liberated being too slow and the risk ofUgin, the Spirit Dragon exiling critical pieces off your board in the name of defense being a little too high, Hellkite is back to assist with removal duties.

    Whispering Madness - This card has actually been in my list for quite some time, but I don't think I added it to any posted lists on this thread, and so I'm doing it now. It also pairs extremely well with some of the new additions we will soon discuss. The fact that it has encode is great, but you can always chose to not encode the card if you think you will need to recycle the card for later use in the game.

    Whir of Invention - For the longest time, I did not like this card as improvise does little to cheat this card's cost to reliably get what you need, when you need it. With the next two additions, this card becomes much stronger, warranting serious testing.

    Clock of Omens - Many players have had this card bounce in and out of their lists, including me. This card has traditionally been used to squeeze many portions of engines into second gear, but not enough of them with enough consistency to cement itself across all decks. With the increased tutors and the addition of the next card, this card may now be strong enough to do just that.

    Teferi's Protection: Hyper-efficient protection and one of the few ways to protect yourself from Cyclonic Rift. Also, rules updates to Phasing now allow your tokens to phase back into play.

    Cyclonic Rift: This is the best card in the format. The fast we also play draw 7's makes it even better. Added to supplement the removal package.

    Martyr's Bond: New inclusion I'm testing to supplement the removal package, while exerting a good degree of board control.

    Mana Confluence and Spire of Industry: These have been included in my list since they were released, but I am including them on the list for clarity as I have not denoted their inclusion previously. They are Upgrades to existing 5-color lands.

    Command Beacon: Back-up effect in case buried ruin gets exiled. Because we also use Academy Ruins, this may not be necessary, but testing for completeness. Will most likely be replaced by another more unique utility land.

    Thespian Stage: New testing slot. Looking to see how effective this card is.

    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on Sharuum, Everyone's Favorite Kitty
    Massive updates are coming...
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • 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)
  • To post a comment, please or register a new account.