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  • posted a message on [RETIRED] [Admin] bobthefunny's Strategic Chalkboard
    Quote from FlossedBeaver »
    I'd really like to get your thoughts and impressions on this post:

    Quote from H3RAC71TU5 »

    ... but a lot of the threads you mention being locked got started because people on the political right posted off topic and heinous comments. We've been directed by the mods to just ignore these posts and not talk about politics at all, then in different instances been told it's okay so long as it stays respectful, which is of course impossible if one side's view is inherently disrespectful. If the policy is to ignore these types of posts, then in practice the effect is that people make these remarks, they're eventually deleted or snipped, and the other side's point of view is not expressed. In other words, the policy is actually not neutral and unbiased; right-wing narratives will continue to be expressed and the counter points will not. Locking threads does not actually solve the problem so it continually recurs, leading to an overall forum community annoyed with political posts. But there's another reason why this is the approach used. Right-wing players are a sizeable audience on this site. Locking threads does not threaten their continued ad-viewership, but keeping threads open might.



    Hi FlossedBeaver,

    Thanks for your question! First off, I would like to apologize for the delay in responding to you. I have been out of town, so my personal thread here has been unmonitored during my absence.

    Political threads continue to be a difficult topic to approach, and even trickier to handle properly. Ideally, we wish to distance ourselves from politics as much as possible - as this is not a political site, and not intended for political debate. It is of course difficult because nothing is ever so easily divided, especially as several recent decisions by Wizards have reached into political spheres. We of course wish to allow discussion of Wizards' decisions and their impact. This makes monitoring that line of where discussion is Magic appropriate to be a difficult case, and needing evaluation on a shifting basis as new topics and decisions are introduced. We hope to maintain the standard to discussion that remains Magic related and oriented however, and not open the site to political rallies.

    The American political spectrum today is very divisive, and the post quoted does make the valid point that not all stances are inherently respectful or equal. This is one of many reasons we wish to not engage or encourage these discussions on this site. This is a family friendly site, and disrespectful and dismissive views can not, and should not be tolerated here. As such, those posts need to be deleted in order to maintain a family appropriate content.

    This however also touches on one of the difficulties of moderation - visible moderation leaves a record and example of content that gets infracted - but leaves also unacceptable content on the site where minors or other vulnerable demographics can see the content. Deleting or otherwise removing the content allows the discussion to continue without the objectionable deviations, however there is then no visible action shown and people may assume no moderation is taking place. Removing content can also give the impression of implicit censorship, or silencing of a specific viewpoint. This is especially difficult in a political sphere, where as the user stated, not all sides are inherently equal or respectful. It is always a struggle as to how to best handle each and any given situation. Building and fostering a community is always a difficult task, for all those involved. From the moderators who volunteer time and have to take action, but also to the very members of the community who shape the community and discussion in the messages they choose to post and spread, as well as reporting what they feel objectionable and detrimental to the community.

    As far as the view that the site is leaning in one direction or another - there have always been allegations of various viewpoints that the site leans in a direction opposite of where the user feels they personally stand. This is often the case when trying to hold a centrist or non-partisan position. We have been accused of being anywhere and everywhere on the political spectrum, from allegations of far-right, to allegations for far-left extreme liberalism. The hope is that the balance of these allegations shows that we do hold that central line. Historically speaking, I believe that the majority of the staff has tended to lean slightly to fairly liberal, all things considered, however the staff has had representation from the full spectrum of political beliefs. We have never had any sort of "official" survey on the matter, however our off topic chats, as well as various discussions on how to handle certain tickets (especially political) has shown that we are a fairly diverse group in terms of beliefs.


    I hope this answers your questions as to our general views, and why we take the stances we do on political discussions.
    Posted in: Staff Helpdesks
  • posted a message on Running Command Tower in a monocolored deck?
    There's no point in mono-colored deck, and even less in a colorless deck. Up that basic count so you can ramp more.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Infinite combos and strong synergies - now under new management
    Quote from Abel88 »
    sadly the jegantha sword combo doesnt work. it can't pay for generic mana

    I do know there was a combo piece that allowed for infinite blue as well... I'll have to see if I can remember what it is...
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Cards that are surprisingly effective
    Are there any cards that you have played with recently that just seem to perform better than you expected? I don't mean things like hidden gems that tend to be niche finds that fill a specific role for a Commander... I'm talking about cards that you slotted in, perhaps even well known ones,

    I slotted Commit // Memory into a deck as I wanted a catch-all removal spell akin to Beast Within or Chaos Warp. Usually I prefer those catch-all cards to cost 3, but I figured I'd let Commit // Memory slide since it would also serve as backup card draw and hand replenishment.

    What I found was far more favorable however. Since Commit pseudo tucks, it handles indestructible targets, which Beast Within or Generous Gift would not. Since it can also target spells, its counterspell capabilities have been quite clutch in preventing powerful effects. The hand replenishment has been quite useful, and since the deck I put it in has a propensity to excessively draw, the Memory half has saved me from decking out by re-shuffling my graveyard at key moments.

    In similar vein Beanstalk Giant // Fertile Footsteps has been a solid addition to several decks. While 3 mana is a bit slow for a Rampant Growth effect, the ability to not be a dead card is valuable in the later game. I worried that the lack of any keywords at all would make him drastically pale in comparison to something like Ulvenwald Hydra, but granting Trample is practically second nature in green, and the Giant ends up being a prime target for Vivien, Champion of the Wilds or a mutate target for Gemrazer. The split aspect of the adventure allows me to increase both the ramp and threat density in a deck, as well as keeping an available 'free play' on the side should I ever need it.

    I also have to give a strong approval to Once and Future. Initially I simply considered it as a Regrowth stapled to a Reclaim (with maybe an upgrade to a double Regrowth), but it ended up being so much more. Having twice the effect on a single card is quite large. Instead of simply replacing itself with another card, keeping your hand even, Once and Future actually gives you card advantage, not just quality. Even more important, the regrowth effect is now at instant speed. Whether it's getting back an important piece in response to grave hate, or being able to set up a play at the EOT and saving some mana from your main turn, or even getting back chief responses when needed, Once and Future has been more flexible than I initially anticipated.

    Finally Kogla, the Titan Ape has been a nice package of value when played. Aside from just being a large fatty, the removal on entering means that he trades at least card for card, and the ability to break things on attack is fantastic. I've gotten good mileage out of him even without having humans to protect him. Haste obviously makes him that much better as well, should you run Surrak, the Hunt Caller, or splash into red for Rhythm of the Wild.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Infinite combos and strong synergies - now under new management
    Quote from TEREBUD »

    Jegantha, the Wellspring + Freed from the RealorPemmin's Aura = Infinite colored mana unless blue
    Swap with Sword of the Paruns for all colors! Reading the cards can be important folks! Grin

    Swap lab man with Thassa's Oracle for a straight up win with just locust + sage of the falls on board, as they'll find thassa's during the draw.

    Since the sage of fables is a may, you can loot until you hit thassa's oracle, and then choose to stop. Since the Oracle is non-human, casting it starts the chain again, even if your devotion isn't high enough. You could also stop to cast lab man, but since he's a human he won't re-start the chain, and you'd need to start it with something else.

    You could also pause to cast Purphoros, God of the forge or Impact Tremors, and if you have an eldrazi titan in deck, you go infinite.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on What's going on lately?
    Quote from Xcric »
    What exactly is happening around this forum lately?

    I know it can be a tough gig to be a moderator, and that we lost a lot of people when the forum was sold. there was the threat of it being closed for good and a lot of people jumped ship but just what exactly has this place become?

    Hi Xcric,

    I apologize that we did not see this earlier, and that it has taken so long to answer these questions you've raised. I do not have alerts raised on this forum, so this post was only brought to my attention recently. If you seek immediate answers, the staff inbox is always a great way to get our attention, as many of us have alerts set there.

    I will try to answer your questions as best I can.

    Quote from Xcric »
    1. I'm seeing ad-bots constantly.

    The threads they start are left up for days on end before they're locked. Its especially true in the rumor mill. Do moderators just not go into the forum any more at all? personally, i'm in there multiple times throughout the day. why are the moderates not also active throughout the day? if they are, why are these threads left up so long? I know reporting those threads helps however; they're blatantly obvious without even clicking them. it shouldn't even get to the point of needing to be reported most of the time if moderators are active.

    I also ask why there isn't a waiting period for new threads on accounts. It wouldn't take much, 5 replies before you get new thread privileges. This goes on at other forums so why not here? it would stop the ad-bots pretty fast. there could be a limitation i'm not aware of with this particular style of forum, but as that's been a pretty standard practice everywhere else i'm not entirely sold on that.

    As you have surmised, both a large number of users, as well as a large number of moderators have had turnover. This has compounding effects. The lower number of moderators is most evident - this is a large site, and each of us has the parts that we frequent most often, while trying to check through the other forums to the best of our ability. The second is a bit less obvious - with fewer users, there are fewer new posts/threads, which increases the visible density of the adbot posts. This also means there are fewer users reporting the adbot posts to us.

    The rumor mill in particular was hit hardest. The Rumor Mull is one of the forums that tends to be highly active, and has historically had a large number of moderators, however all original moderators of the Rumor Mill have left. This leaves only our reduced number of admins to browse and answer any reports that arise in that forum. In fact, even before the forum split, we've had active application requests on that forum non-stop for several years. Today we are looking for moderators in several open forums, and Rumor Mill is one of the major ones we'd like to fill. If you happen to know some level-headed rumor mill regulars who you would like to nominate - we are all ears.


    One issue with adding a delay to new users is that we get a lot of people who come here for rulings questions - they need to be able to ask questions immediately, and get eyes on their question and answered as quickly as possible. This is true in other forums as well, such as the Rumor Mill, where sometimes someone needs to post from an alternate account to not associate some of their information with their main name.

    A threshold also doesn't really deter the bots, but rather moves their posts into the threads as well, where they can be harder to catch. On the user side, the threshold simply encourages new users to spam "I agree" style posts to reach the threshold as quickly as possible.

    Captcha's have limited success as well, as sophisticated bot farms are actually able to outsource captcha solving to actual human captcha farms. I've raised the question with our techs again though, as we do seem to currently have an increase in activity.

    Quote from Xcric »

    2. I see there's a disclaimer thread about what the forum won't tolerate regarding sexism, racism, and all that other jazz.

    My question here is... why is that only in this sub forum where no one even bothers to go?

    Why is that post not stickied in every single forum across the entire place? Now more than ever that post (or one like it) should be stickied at the top every single forum and sub-forum. If you put it out there everywhere you can better hold people to it. You make the values and standards known. Making that statement helps make the environment here healthier, and helps make the playerbase healthier too. Hiding those values and standards away is almost if you're condoning those negative behaviors. Why hide that statement? Why be silent? Is now not the time to say we won't stand for this here, and if its not, why stand for it at all?

    That thread should be an announcement in every forum. Attached for example is how I see it in the Rumor Mill forum. If this is not the case for you, please let me know so I can forward that to the techs.

    Quote from Xcric »

    3. What's going on with moderation in the general forum?

    General should be a place for general discussion no?

    Why do we see so many threads locked up, and people getting infractions for being "political"? This has been especially true when discussing decisions made by wizards regarding magic that are... well... political. If they can't be discussed there, then where? There is no way to separate the politics of those discussions from the discussion because they're so political in nature to begin with. If those threads are being locked up when legitimately discussing the politics of those topics, well then what's left to discuss? is this a forum for speaking on ideas, or nothing more than a news blog?

    I understand when its flaming, or trolling, that's legitimate (though there hasn't been much action in holding people accountable to that either). When its a politically charged topic, in a general discussion forum, what exactly is the rationale behind locking the threads for being "too political"? even more so when we take into account that the statement on racism and such is buried deep in the bowels of this place where you actively have to look for it and that there is virtually no other forum to filter that kind of discussion into.

    so... what gives? is there anyone behind the wheel here any more?

    Political discussions have been a difficult line to judge at present. You are absolutely correct that Wizards has made some political decisions, and these decisions, and their impact on the game, should absolutely be grounds for discussion on this site - it is Magic related.

    Our line is when the discussion strays from that - when the discussion is no longer about the game, the decision itself, or the effect of the decision overall, but rather when the conversation turns to whether that political stance is valid, or into a diatribe about certain topics, or even a soapbox platform of trying to convert people to a specific political stance. This site isn't intended to be that type of platform, and we are not equipped to handle those topics adequately.

    A while back, we had a political discussion forum. It did not particularly address the needs well, and was a horrendous upkeep on a moderation staff that was considerably larger than today. Even then, the forum often devolved into straight arguments and insults. By the end, some topics seem to have been created solely for the purpose of argument, or potentially trolling. Users treated it as a 4chan lite, and we have no need or desire to be a 4chan lite.

    To return to the point - we are fine with the discussion as long as it remains centered on Magic, the decisions that Wizards in particular has made, or how it affects Magic or the Magic community. When it devolves into attacking or arguing the merits of a political stance, questioning the validity thereof, or into a soapbox recruitment platform - the conversation has ended.
    Posted in: Community Discussion
  • posted a message on Budget Staples for Newer Players
    Prior to our shutdown, I was discussing my Linden deck with a member of my LGS. He then mentioned that he felt that the only reason the deck worked was because of some of the expensive staples (Land Tax), and it could never be built on a budget. Now, the current list is a bit outside of budget at $400, but can easily be brought to $200 by removing a few non-key cards with easy replacements (as it is a mono-W deck, the fetch lands are not necessary, and Sword of Light and Shadow is easily replaceable with some other recursion, such as Emeria Shepherd). That's still not quite 'budget', but is certainly achievable by my estimation, but then I was surprised to hear him say that he did not consider Sun Titan budget at that time, as it had then crept up to $3-5, and claimed that most of his decks sat under $100. This obviously went to show that every person's 'budget' can be quite different.

    Well, Sun Titan has again been reprinted, and that brought back up that old discussion in my mind. Since a number of my LGS players tend to be on a stricter budget, I decided to notify my Facebook group of recent reprints and good new cards that were good budget considerations.

    I figured I would share those findings with you. Even if it's not something that applies to you directly, you can also pass along the information to other new players who might not be as easily connected. Or, maybe you have a few favorites that I've missed.

    I hope to go into Single Target removal and Ramp soon enough in the future, to really round out what can be good additions for new players to help improve their decks.

    Recent Reprints!

    With Commander 20 and M21, a number of high profile Commander cards have been reprinted and have dropped to decent prices:

    Recent Card Draw Additions!
    Continuing from my previous post with some other new budget cards, focusing on card draw!
    • Mazemind Tome is 50 cents. If your deck is outside of normal card draw colors, consider this one.
    • Mentor of the Meek is reprinted yet again in Jumpstart. Down to 75 cents. If you want to make a white weenie deck, you might need one.
    • Keruga, the Macrosage is 25 cents. Companions took a deep dive after their massive nerf, but they may be good considerations for in the 99. Keruga in particular seems to be a decent creature version of Shamanic Revelation (.60). Won't count llanowar elves and basic tokens, but will count mana rocks or some enchantments.
    • Speaking of Enchantments, Garruk's Uprising is 50 cents. Elemental Bond ($1) has proven to be a powerful card, and Uprising is a second copy, with several upsides. The full-field trample is nice.
    • And Shamanic Revelation is 60 cents, as well.
    • Soul of the Harvest is 75 cents. This guy was even in an intro deck for a bit, but remains a good Titan stat line of card draw.
    • Garruk's Harbinger is 20 cents. Showcase version as well. In a creature heavy deck, it's a decent early statline.
    • Beast Whisperer is $2. (down from 3-4).
    • Lifecrafter's Bestiary is $1.
    • Liliana's Standard Bearer is 25 cents. More card draw. The Flash makes the card. Whether you drop it after someone elses wrath, or combo it with your own for a build your own Decree of Pain ($3), or even just use it to refuel off of sacrifice shenanigans. You can draw a bunch of cards after blocking a token onslaught, or even when someone attacks me!
    • Disciple of Bolas is 40 cents, thanks to being reprinted yet again!
    • Species Specialist is 75 cents. You don't even have to be playing tribal. It counts tokens, or you can pick your opponent's creature type and go on a murder spree. Heck, pick your opponents' Commander types (especially if multiple commanders share types), since those might even get recast! Choose Human or Warrior, and he'll trigger himself. Reanimate or Blink to reset!
    • Silversmote Ghoul is 30 cents. This guy might take a bit more work/buildaround to make work - but if your deck runs any amount of lifegain (maybe a loxodon warhammer?) you can consider if he's worthwhile. Self recurring is always powerful.
    • Reconnaissance Mission is a better Coastal Piracy, for 25 cents! Coastal Piracy has been reprinted in Jumpstart, so the price is down to $3.50, from 6+! Of course, Bident of Thassa is still $1.50, so really coastal piracy is the 3rd version you want, unless you're building pirates.
    • undefined are 50 cents. Reprint for Ramp AND Draw.
    • Skullclamp was reprinted in Commander 2020, as well as mystery booster after having missed 2 years (last printed C17). It's at $3.50 - not super budget, but costs less than a pack for any token or small flood decks - looking at you, our 3 resident Edgar Markov decks!
    • Solemn Simulacrum is at $1.25. Our resident persistent sad robot isn't necessarily a shining star in any deck, but is always a solid dependable tool.
    • Ghostly Pilferer is 25 cents. Apparently this powerhouse is seeing CEDH play (believable for the cheap cost), and is also a free discard outlet if you need that!
    • Idol of Endurance at 25 cents. I'm still experimenting with Idol, but it looks to be an interesting source of recursion, allowing for pseudo-protection to cards in GY, and instant speed casts.
    • Honorable mention: Liliana's devotee is 15 cents. Not actually card draw, but with Black's propensity to self sac into card draw, fresh sources of bodies aren't terrible, especially not on a Zombie Lord type of creature.

    Budget pickups: Mass Removal Edition

    I looked up some of my favorite wraths in each color, as well as a few alternates to find what's in 'budget' range. It's quite surprising.

    • Rout - 75 cents. Probably still my favorite wrath. 5 mana remains an acceptable cost, but the instant speed capabilities seal the deal.
    • Tragic Arrogance - 50 cents. Contender for my favorite wrath. You chose what remains, and it doesn't target, and it sacrifices. No pesky hexproof/shroud/indestructible. The only issue is that it does no good if your opponent has a singular threat in a category.
    • Hallowed Burial - $1. 5 mana, no indestructible shenanigans.
    • Terminus - $1.50. It's Hallowed Burial, but more expensive, but also with a HEART OF THE CARDS mode. If you're playing with top, you might be able to squeak in instant speed shenanigans!
    • Descend upon the Sinful - 40 cents. 6 mana to clear out indestructibles is still fine, especially since they're gone for good. You might even get a thing!
    • Evacuation - $3. With Cyclonic Rift ($20) being stupid expensive, and usually primarily concerned about the creatures, more people should consider Evacuation for instant speed bounce.
    • Whelming Wave - 30 cents. 4 mana. Bounce.
    • Crush of Tentacles - $1. 6 mana. Bounce everything. Everything. 1 mana less than cyclonic, for sorcery speed, is still very good. We've just been spoiled by how stupidly costed Cyclonic is.
    • Mutilate - 50 cents. This tends to scale down above 2 colors in a deck, but at that point you have far more options for wraths anyways. For a 4 mana wrath that kills Indestructible creatures, this remains quite good.
    • Dead of Winter - 75 cents. While snow lands are not a free include into a deck, at 75 cents-$1, they're no longer restricted to crazy decks either. This makes Dead of Winter a rather playable 3 mana wrath effect, which is amazing. It's not a Toxic Deluge ($30), but 3 mana wraths are few and far between.
    • Crux of Fate - $2. An auto-iclude in Dragon decks, Crux of Fate can also be played outside of them. It might miss changelings, or weird things might happen against decks with Dragons in them. It's not a Damnation ($35), but makes an acceptable alternate.
    • Deadly Tempest - 50 cents. While Deadly Tempest clocks in a bit expensive at 6 mana, it has the added benefit of adding a bit of injury to the person you were trying to clear out anyways, and might even kill a token deck.
    • Decree of Pain - $3.50. Decree of pain clocks in quite mana hungry, but also has massive upside. The cycling is a powerful mode as well, since it can't be countered and needs to be stifled instead.
    • Finale of Eternity - $1.50. Ok, 3 is not "all", but it still does work, and has a lot of upside. It's my list.
    • In Garruk's Wake - $1. 9 mana is a lot, but this is essentially Black's 'cyclonic rift' of 'not my stuff'.
    • Arcbond - 25 cents. Arcbond can be blanked by single target removal, but the upside of a 3 mana instant speed wrath is pretty high. Just don't miss opportunities of casting it on an opponents' creature as well if the timing is right. Note that the creature does the damage, so deathtouch and lifelink shenanigans can apply.
    • Blasphemous Act - $2.50. This is what we compare the others to these days.
    • Chain Reaction - 50 cents. One wrath in your deck is not enough. Chain Reaction is still good.
    • Bonfire of the Damned - $2. When you really need to torch one player in particular. Don't get too hung up on the Miracle cost. Sometimes you just want to wait until you need to clear someone's tokens.
    • Rolling Earthquake - $3. The problem with most X spell earthquake variants is that they leave those pesky flyers alive. Enter P3K's Rolling Earthquake, because Horsemanship.
    • Sudden Demise - 25 cents. Another X spell, choosing a color might be able to make this one sided, or it might just mean that it's ineffective. Note that color choice is on resolution, so copy effects can let you choose different colors for each copy, should that be needed.
    • Wave of Vitriol - 75 cents. This cleans up a lot of things, and sacrifice gets around all those pesky indestructible gods.
    • Whiptongue Hydra - $5. At the cost of a pack, this is the highest price I'd put on a budget list. Green tends to have issues with mass amounts of flyers, and the Hydra turns that on its head. Adding a Whirlwind onto a sizable reach body is capable of turning the tides.
    • Whirlwind - 50 cents. If the Hydra is too rich for your blood, Whirlwind has remained a decent inclusion for my mono-green decks in the past. You can also be cute with Predator, Flagship effects to launch enemies into the air.
    • Apex Altisaur - $2. Fight. Rage. Fight more. The mana cost is expensive, but Apex Altisaur can clear boards. You can even keep it around to clear more stuff later, or simply save the biggest hit for last for maximum trades.
    • Thorn Mammoth - 25 cents. At first I was put off by 7 mana for a 6/6, but repeated murder turns out to be very very powerful. It keeps opposing Commanders off the board very very well, and with token makers is very easy to trigger on opposing turns.
    • Kogla, the Titan Ape - 50 cents. Again, not "mass" per se, but bending the rules for green. Removal on entering, and then removal on subsequent attacks. A solid creature even if you don't have humans, and a massive threat if you do.
    Merciless Eviction gets its own section. (it deserves it)
    • Merciless Eviction - $3 - Highly comparable to Austere Command, you lose some flexibility for the power of exile instead.
    • Oblivion Stone - $4 - Colorless. Removal. Recent reprint puts it under a pack.
    • All is Dust - $3.50-4.50 - Colorless. Removal. Recent reprint puts it under a pack.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on June 2020 Rules Update - no functional changes
    Find the full update here:

    It’s been a busy few months in Commander, so let’s start with the easy bit: there are no changes to the Banned list this quarter.

    We know that, for many players, keeping up with rapid changes can be frustrating. A number of other things have changed since our last quarterly update, so we’ll recap those events below and strive to stick with scheduled updates in the future. The world is in flux though and Magic is no exception; we’ll continue to monitor the experiences of Commander players and adapt if necessary.

    Two events which don’t impact the format but we hope will be of benefit to the community are
    • The introduction of regularly streamed games by the RC (http://twitch.com/CommanderRC) where we chat with the audience and play games on camera. We play every Thursday evening (8pm EDT), with pickup games throughout the week as time permits. The primary focus is to increase visibility and two-way communication with the player base, talking about how and why we do the things we do. We also host special guests from Wizards of the Coast and the Commander community.
    • The creation of a Commander RC Patreon through which players can contribute funds towards both the costs of running the format, and a number of great 3rd-party content creators.

    Both are part of our 2020 focus on building connections between the RC, the CAG, and you… the players who make Commander the great format it is!

    Rules changes since April 1st, 2020:

    Commanders now “die” like other creatures.

    TL;DR – Commanders being put into the graveyard from the battlefield trigger “dies” abilities.

    Previously, the “Commanders go the command zone when they die” was handled using a replacement effect — a piece of MTG technology which entirely replaces one event with another. A side effect of that rule was that cards like Grave Pact wouldn’t trigger if someone’s commander was destroyed. This was played incorrectly by many players, so we’d been looking for a way for commanders to behave “more normally” for many years. It turns out the templating for that rule was tricky… more-so than 99.9% of us realized. Fortunately, the RC’s Toby Elliott and WotC’s Eli Shiffrin are really good at clear, clean rules and working with Sheldon Menery (at the time with a foot in both worlds), they found a way to make “dies” triggers work correctly without any significant corner cases.

    Technically speaking, the solution is a stated-based action (SBA), the things the game does to “clean up” each time someone would get priority, like exiling a token from the graveyard or destroying creatures which have lethal damage. The new SBA now says “if a commander is in a graveyard or exile, and was put there since the last time SBAs were checked, its owner may choose to put it in the Command zone.”

    This means a commander first goes to the graveyard, triggering abilities (of itself or other cards which say “Whenever X dies”), then goes to the command zone.

    Some clarifications
    • The owner only gets to make this choice once… if your Commander is being exiled “temporarily” (e.g. by Oblivion Ring) you have to choose immediately if it is going to the CZ or staying in exile, in hopes of being brought back by whatever card put it there.
    • The replacement effect remains in effect for zones like the hand or library, so the commander will never arrive.

    Commander no longer uses the Vintage banned list as a basis for our banned list.

    TL;DR – Lurrus is still legal, nothing else changed.

    The Companion mechanic has made waves in every format, and Commander was no exception. When they were first released, we removed Lutri because its lack of additional deck building restriction made it a “free card”. As sad as it made us, we hoped that would be the end of it. Unfortunately, Companion was so impactful on Vintage that it resulted in the Wizards banning a card in that format for a combination of mechanical and power-level reasons, something which hasn’t happened in more than a decade.

    While it’s a big deal for Vintage, Lurrus is just fine in Commander. In fact, it’s probably one of the stronger handicaps in a format with an average mana cost near 4, so it doesn’t make sense for it to be banned in the format. That raised the question of whether we should continue using the Vintage banned list as the basis for Commander, with other cards banned over-and-above.

    Historically, The Vintage (nee Type I) banned list has been used as a shorthand for “Cards which aren’t viable because of practical, physical-world considerations.” With the addition of Lurrus this wasn’t true anymore so we needed to make a philosophical decision. Where possible, we prefer to let people to play their cards in Commander, so we decided to sever Commander from its Vintage roots and instead explicitly call out:
    • All oversized cards
    • All cards which don’t have black or white borders
    • All cards which mention the Ante Mechanic
    • All subgame and conspiracy cards

    Shortly thereafter, Wizards removed some culturally offensive cards from constructed magic.

    There are some cards which just shouldn’t be played around, or by, friends — they can be unnecessarily, even if accidentally, hurtful. Wizards of the Coast took a look at the message some of its cards were sending, and decided Magic would be a better game if those cards just weren’t around anymore.

    Perhaps even more than tournament formats, Commander is about social connections so it only made sense for us to follow WotC’s lead and remove those cards from our format.

    The full list of excluded cards is:
    • Invoke Prejudice
    • Cleanse
    • Stone-Throwing Devils
    • Pradesh Gypsies
    • Jihad
    • Imprison
    • Crusade
    As with other cards on the Banned List, we encourage players to avoid these cards, and any others which make your group unhappy.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on [RETIRED] [Admin] bobthefunny's Strategic Chalkboard
    Quote from Banned1 »
    I saw your recent post regarding unacceptable behavior on the forums, and I have some followup questions:

    Where do you, as a moderation staff, draw the line between political discourse and sociological discourse? The former you clearly believe belongs elsewhere (despite the fact that MTGS is not an island, nor does it exist apart from the larger Magic community), but social issues affect us all - even here, and whether we want them to or not. We simply cannot ignore that posters here are human beings, not digital abstractions, and there are real life issues that also affect us as Magic players. Yet it seems as though the mods are content to enforce a set of rules that would treat us otherwise. Why is that?

    Do the MTGS site owners believe that black lives matter? If so, why have they not come out and addressed the issue directly, instead of skirting it by repeating that political discourse is heavily discouraged? If they believe that black lives matter, they should be able to say so unequivocally, either through some general announcement or asking the mods to sticky a declaration to that effect. Or are the site owners content to passively encourage systemic racism with their silence on the matter? Is there some other reason why they won't follow Wizard's lead on this topic?

    What about you, Bob? Do you believe that black lives matter? If the site owners asked you to say or do something that you personally believed to be morally reprehensible, would you comply, or would you step down as site admin?

    Thank you for your concern, and your questions.

    No online discourse area is ever a perfect island - but we can try to keep things focused, if possible. Let's take a different subject - if someone were to suddenly hijack a thread to talk about gardening, that too is off topic. There are real life issues that affect us all, and there are even some off-topic areas to discuss issues that are affecting people. However, the expectation is that people be able to discuss things calmly and rationally, and pertinent to the topic at hand. Some recent topics have certainly blurred, or included the lines of political discussion to an extent - but even then those lines need to be respected. This site is not a political soap box, nor a person's personal platform to yell at and attack others. When this occurs, the topic is closed, or other appropriate actions are taken. We expect all members to be able to maintain composure and speak rationally, and without racism or prejudicial remarks. Those that are unable to do that, will be asked to no longer participate.

    Every conversation I have had with the owners suggests that they are aware and do support black lives, and are against the atrocities being committed. We have gone through several drafts of our statement before releasing the current one which you read - our goal was to clearly state the sites non-tolerance of racism, bigotry, and prejudice, while also attempting to cool down the situation. As this is not a political site, we did not want to initiate a political rally.

    I believe that Black Lives Matter. The systematic racism that plagues America is very real, and has persisted for a ridiculously long time. It amazes me that you can turn on a comedian from the 1970's and hear the very same political discourse and fear of cops and chokeholds that are being talked about today.

    The great part about volunteering for MTG Salvation is getting to know the community and help foster and give back to the community I care about. Quite simply, if I did not believe in or care for this community, there is no way that I could continue to volunteer to help it. I do believe that the ownership knows this, respects it, and even values that type of commitment. We are granted a good amount of leeway, input, and support in managing the site - within reason. If the ownership were to ever ask something contrary to this, then this would not be a place I would be comfortable volunteering my time for, and I would indeed have to step down.

    Posted in: Staff Helpdesks
  • posted a message on Mono color destroy everything
    White and Black are the home to most wraths, and from a mono color would make the most sense. Depending on your meta, any color can reasonably compete as a mono-color deck. I've personally built several of each non-blue color, and I'd say red is the trickiest to get right so far.

    Mono black would be the easiest to build, as black is proficient in card advantage and removal. The only issue is you may find some issues with artifacts and enchantments. You can fill in with some of the colorless removal, but it can get a bit pricey on the mana cost. Black has the advantage of having good recursion as well, which lets you reuse some powerful creature-based wrath effects like Massacre Girl or Kagemaro, First to Suffer (who could even be the Commander).

    Mono White has the most wraths, and can easily deal with all permanent types, both single and mass removal. I'm a huge fan of Tragic Arrogance and Rout. As others have noted, Avacyn, Angel of Hope is a synergistic option, although Zetalpa, Primal Dawn can fit that theme as well. White doesn't recur spells quite so easily though, and doesn't have as many mass-wrath creatures as black - but does have a good host of reanimation. You could instead run something like False Prophet or Magus of the Disk and recur them fairly readily with cards like Angelic Renewal, Angel of Serenity, Emeria, the Sky Ruin, and Emeria Shepherd. White is also great at recurring artifacts, so you could also make use of the artifact wraths as well.

    Mono Red actually has a good amount of damage based wraths, such as Arcbond, Blasphemous Act, and Chain Reaction, among others. On top of that, red is great at recurring artifacts, so you could again make good use of the artifact package.

    Green doesn't have much in the way of built in wraths. Green is pretty much limited to Ezuri's Predation, Apex Predator, Thorn Mammoth, and Wave of Vitriol. Mostly if you want to use green, you're hoping to utilize Green's ramp and card advantage to get solidly ahead for the wraths you do have, and you can use some of green's limited recursion to bring it back. Kamahl, Fist of Krosa would be a standout commander if you really wanted to up the 'jerk' quotient, as you can then pop off opposing lands with some of your wrath effects.

    Blue again doesn't have much outside of mass bounce, but does have a few X/Strive spells such as Curse of the Swine and Hour of need - not great, and quite pricey mana-wise. Again, you'd be hoping to bank on blue's artifact recursion, which while weaker then red, is at least made up for with blue's raw card-draw.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Inclusion in the MTG Salvation Community
    MTG Salvation is a community for discussing Magic: The Gathering. Towards this end, we try every day to help build a community with a culture of inclusiveness and non-discrimination. It is important to all of us here at MTGSalvation that all can feel welcome to share their thoughts and love of the game here. However, we are only the beginning. Everyone is involved in making a community come together — from the posts each of us make, to helping monitor and report posts that breach our ideals to help foster the kind of community we all want to have.

    We will say this simply and up front: Racism, Sexism, Misogyny, and any other forms of prejudice or predatory behavior is not welcome here. We extend our hand to the community: help us spread these values in the positive messages we post, and report any posts that violate these policies and ideals. If you have any doubts about whether a post violates our rules, or there is something that makes you uncomfortable on the site — please talk to us in the Staff Inbox, or message a moderator or admin directly to let us know of your concerns.

    In general, we try to keep MTG Salvation free of in-depth political discussion. These discussions often have little bearing on Magic: The Gathering topics, and this is not the place to debate contentious issues or convince others of your viewpoint. However, sometimes the reality is that the two can get caught up together. When this occurs, the moderator team tries to keep the topic focused on the impact to the game first and foremost as much as possible — while closing threads that get too heated or go too far afield. While we know that these are passionate topics, we ask you to please help us in keeping the discussion level headed and on the topics of how these topics influence the game.

    It has been two weeks since Wizards of the Coast has removed racist depictions from their site by removing the art of several problematic cards. It has been brought to our attention that our own databases still maintained the old art. As racism has no place on this site, we are following Wizards' example, and are likewise removing the art of the following problematic cards:

    MTG Salvation is a gaming forum, and we want to foster a community that welcomes a wide variety of views. Posts and comments that hinder this goal are not welcome here.

    Posted in: Community Discussion
  • posted a message on The Command Zone #335 'Mythbusters'

    How often do you cast your commander?

    I think this is a different answer based on a few things:
    • How dependent is your deck on your Commander?
    • If your deck is highly reliant on your Commander - say a Meren, or Nemata, Grove Guardian deck, you may be more likely to play it more often - especially if it's a Commander that can ensure you insane value the longer the game goes on?
    • How much value do you expect to get out of your Commander?
    • Casting Isamaru, Hound of Konda for the third or fourth time may not be quite so exciting - Commanders like Meren only get better as the game goes on, so replaying Meren late game to recur a massive end-game threat can still be quite valuable.
    • How much card draw do you run?
    • If you run out of things to do, you're more likely to have that extra mana lying around to replay your Commander. This is especially true if you've actually cut card draw, because you're relying on your Commander to provide some of the Card draw for you. Even if your Commander isn't central to the deck, you may be more likely to replay it if it's a key part to getting that engine running.
    • How much ramp do you run?
    • Quite simply, if you have 30 mana lying around, and extra 2-6 might not mean that much.

    How many board wipes are played in a game?

    So the way this is worded makes it sound like people shouldn't play around board wipes as much, but I take this result to mean that people need to play more board wipes overall.

    I tend to run 3 boardwipes per deck, if able - it can shift a bit depending on the deck, and go anywhere from 2 to 5, but 3 is my starting point. I also like to draw cards, and occasionally run some narrow tutors. Often I look for boardwipes with synergy, and that I might be able to recur.

    If I see a third of my deck in a game (which, given starting 7 cards, and say... 10 turns, and that I should be trying to draw at least one extra card per turn (in order to play both a land + card per turn) - seeing a third of my deck is not unreasonable. Given those assumptions - I should, on average, see a board clear in my hand.

    Now, each of the other three players should be doing the same - which means in theory - each of them should see a board clear. In theory, there should be roughly 4 available board clears in any given game.

    I'll be the first to say that that theory doesn't match up with what I see played. Partially, because I know that some of my opponents aren't running 3 board clears. Some of them aren't drawing enough cards. If they die to not having a boardwipe - they should probably look into that.

    How many turns does a game last?

    This is highly dependent on the meta. In fact, all of the other question's answers are HEAVILY influenced by this question alone. If you're playing a turn 5 tuned meta with combo - everything changes compared to a turn 10-15 battlecruiser slugfest. More turns = more mana, and more opportunities to do ANYTHING.

    Also, this is the most useless question there is. There is no reason to average a battlecruiser turn count with a tuned combo meta turn count, and that's not even getting into cEDH. I've played games that have gone over 25 turns. I've played some that ended at turn 5. They were very different metas, and very different ideas of fun, and they belong nowhere near to influencing each others metrics in this category.

    How many attacks are made in a game? How many by a single player?

    I feel this answer changes if you're in a combo meta or not.

    How man my spells which cost 6+ are cast by a player or in the while game?

    I... question this one. Frost Titan is a 6+ cost spell. Ulvenwald Hydra is a 6+ cost spell. Are they specifically talking about instant/sorcery haymakers? I might get behind it if it was only non-creature spells, but even then a good number of upper end wraths can fit in the 6+ range, and those aren't game enders.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on [RETIRED] [Admin] bobthefunny's Strategic Chalkboard
    Thanks MikeyG for the in depth reply. I'm alerting the owners to it, so they can take a look. The conversation is ongoing, and this will give us much to think about.

    Thank you!
    Posted in: Staff Helpdesks
  • posted a message on [RETIRED] [Admin] bobthefunny's Strategic Chalkboard
    Quote from mikeyG »
    This thread has, once again, gone completely off course. This is a gaming forum. While this decision by Wizards has political ramifications, the conversation should remain tied to what this decision means in terms of the game.

    This is NOT the place to hold your political rally.

    This thread is locked.

    I'm curious if the staff has a plan in mind for how this discussion can be facilitated? It was expressed numerous times in both threads that members feel racism and bigotry within the fandom (and this community, to be pointed about it) needs to be discussed and both times rather than try to facilitate the discussion, the staff has killed it instead. In my opinion, the staff are doing more harm than good by doing this. Not only does it cut off dialogue that is long overdue (and undertaken by most in good faith), it only teaches the few acting in bad faith that all they have to do to cut the conversation off (therefore keeping things just as they are, which serves their desires to not address bigotry like racism) is nudge things off topic - easy in a dialogue as emotionally charged as the subject of racism.

    This feels like a job for strategic pruning and encouraging things to grow in healthy directions, but the tactic employed is just to cut the tree down. Why is that?

    Hi MikeyG,

    Thanks for your concern and input. I agree that this is an important discussion to have - but I am not entirely convinced that THIS is the place to have it - which is the viewpoint currently shared by the owners. This is first and foremost a Gaming discussion site - for mtg. While a conversation about how racism currently is in the playerbase might be valuable and supported - currently none of these discussions has managed to contain itself to that topic, and instead becomes a person's personal platform. That does not help anybody.

    However, we would love to have your take on it. I will share your current words with the owners, as a different viewpoint. If you have additional feedback you'd like to share, please respond and I will pass it along as well.

    I would also like to add that the site did at one point have a political/news discussion area available - it had to be shut down due to the high amount of moderation resources it required - that would be even more true today.

    If you could:
    • How would you see such a discussion taking place?
    • Where would you put the limits on such a discussion?
    • How would you think moderation of such a discussion should go? How far should moderation go towards pruning problematic viewpoints, without seeming to push a particular viewpoint/agenda?
    • How would you recommend keeping people on topic, and respectful?
    • Any other feedback on how you think this discussion/forum should look?
    Posted in: Staff Helpdesks
  • posted a message on Don’t know if this is the right place to put this.
    This thread has, once again, gone completely off course. This is a gaming forum. While this decision by Wizards has political ramifications, the conversation should remain tied to what this decision means in terms of the game.

    This is NOT the place to hold your political rally.

    This thread is locked.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
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