Magic Market Index for Dec 28th, 2018
Magic Market Index for Dec 21st, 2018
Ultimate Masters: MMI Review
  • posted a message on Can EDH be 'Almost (or somewhat, even minimally) solved'?
    I think a lot of people in this thread aren't using the same definition of "solvable" that I would. Just because there are a lot of factors doesn't make it unsolvable. Even if, to have a definitive result, you had to compare every legal combination of 100 cards - a number I wouldn't want to calculate - pitted against every other combination for a billion games each match - that still doesn't make it unsolvable. Maybe unsolvable to our current level of technology, but theoretically some computer could do it.

    1v1 EDH I would assume is as solvable as any other 1v1 format.

    Multiplayer gets a lot trickier. I think you could theoretically write an algorithm for "optimal play" and pit different combinations of decks against each other until you found the decks that won the most matches. But there are a lot of factors that are hard to take into consideration that can matter in multiplayer a lot moreso than 1v1. For example, niv mizzet is a strong commander when combined with curiosity (or at least, let's say). But, because this knowledge is widely known among the edh community, the table is likely to be more scrutinizing of this player and be especially vigilant for that combo. By contrast, some less powerful deck might attract less attention, and thus increase its chances of winning. Presentation becomes important. Sometimes strictly worse cards can be better, because they attract less attention.

    If you wanted to make a bot to replicate this effect, it would have to have some sort of learning involved - as one deck or card shows itself to be particularly potent in testing, the other simulated decks would need to take this into consideration and focus more attention on that deck or card. So the format becomes somewhat self-correcting.

    Saying X deck is the best multiplayer EDH deck is a bit like saying X is the best guild in draft - it may well be the best in a vacuum, but these things don't exist in a vacuum (except in arena draft, lel). If everyone knows X is the best guild, it'll be overdrafted and might lose to worse guilds that were open. If everyone knows X is the best EDH deck, that deck will draw attention and might lose to decks that aren't as threatening. Theoretically it should flatten out quite a bit, at least among the decks of reasonable power level. I would expect that among perfectly-played games, many decks are at essentially the same tier.

    So is it solvable? I think there may be a way to determine some optimal metagame, but I think the "solution" is that all decks power levels are known and the game becomes almost perfectly balanced, with power being perfectly equalized by attention.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on What Card Do You Wish You Owned for a Deck?
    Pretty sure my collection is worth 200-400% more than when I paid for it. Doesn't get much more pragmatic than that.

    If I sold everything now I might have netted money from playing magic. Crazy to think.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on What Card Do You Wish You Owned for a Deck?
    Hmm, I have all those cards and I never play them. I've ran my timetwister in...I think 1 deck.

    Except shichifikujin dragon. If I had that I'd stick it in zirilan for lulz.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on The Zirilan of the Claw Compendium
    I haven't played scourge in recent versions, but skarrgan hellkite looks disappointing to me. It's really weak off zirilan, albeit passable when hardcast. There are so many dragons that do better damage when fetched off zirilan, if I'm never going to fetch it off zirilan I don't see the point of including it.

    Mono-red dragons keep being 5 drops these days. Ugh.
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on Which Azorius Commander?
    The main reason i'd go for Rasputin Dreamweaver is that he's such a rare sight and if i had such unusual, yet workable, commanders i'd brew the ***** out of them - looking at you 100€ Hazezon Tamar Love . A CMC 6 commander is always steep, but one that carries 7 can make up for himself unless hit by Sudden Death or Wipe Away.
    manA abilities dodge split second. Although ofc if he's removed when you have no use for the mana then it doesn't matter.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Which Azorius Commander?
    All strong and fun choices.

    Raff seems like draw go control

    Ojutai similar, but more voltron focused

    Rasputin tends to be ramp and blink

    Ephara tends to be token focused although it goes well with flash too.

    I think Rasputin will be the most unique. Raff seems like the most fun to me, though. I've played ephara and ojutai and they're also both good and fun too, though.

    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Is it too Early to discuss c19?
    Quote from tstorm823 »
    I think you may have misspelled terrifying. Karona is terrifying. It's like 5-color command zone craterhoof.
    I'm assuming you're mostly kidding, but I'll take the bait:
    -+3/+3 is a far cry from +x/+x
    -not trample is a far cry from trample
    -needing same type creatures is a far cry from not needing that
    -attack triggers are a far cry from Etbs
    -dying to any sac outlet or bad attacks on enemy turns is a far cry from not
    -getting killed by your own commander is a far cry from not

    That or you misspelled jazal goldmane.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Random Card of the Day: Treasury Thrull
    I remember this card being new when I started playing magic and thinking "holy crap that card is insaaaaane." And then I saw visara the dreadful and lost my mind.

    Anyway 6 is too much to pay for a big (medium) ball of semi-hexproof semi-unblockable stats these days. Maybe makes the cut in cat tribal or something but otherwise naw.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Random Card of the Day: Treasury Thrull
    Man, people really got stop overusing the quote feature. Reply works just fine most of the time. If you ever quote a post that's longer than a quarter page, the interface really ought to ask "are you sure? It's going to make the thread really annoying to read."

    Anyway, high tide is a boring combo card and I don't like it.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Orzhov or Mardu political commander
    Commanders I would deem political:



    Having played Marchesa, she's not especially political imo. She gives people a reason to attack you, after all. Having a deathtouch blocker, or a couple of them, is a decent deterrent, although she's not very effective against evasion or wide tokens.

    I think the most political award goes to Athreos, since he gives you the ability to either ally with someone who will help you by never paying 3 life (there are some pseudo-infinite combos you can do in this vein by sacking free creatures), or punish one player in particular by always targeting them to make them pay 3 life (or eventually choose not to, which is also ofc good for you).

    Mathas is an interesting one too, which I haven't played (in the command zone, at least). He's a little group-huggy since you can only exclude one person from the draw, but he seems good if there's one person in particular you want to bring the hammer down against. I think the other thing I dislike about him is that his ability is pretty slow-acting - by the time the creature dies, its controller may no longer be the threat, and you might wish there was another player you could prevent from drawing a card instead. But he does seem fun.

    By far the most political commander of all time is Phelddagrif. Gives you the ability to reward and/or punish, any player, at any time, in various ways, for a minimal cost. Plus he's immortal, draws very little hate, and is an excellent blocker and passable wincon to boot. But it's nonblack, unfortunately. /MandatoryPhelddagrifPlug
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Which creatures are the best at blocking?
    See, that's just it. I'm not sure that is the point of blocking. I mean, yes, redirecting attacks that might otherwise be directed at you is certainly advantageous, but at what cost? Because it seems to me you pay a heavy price to do so. The way I see it, the goal of having good blocks is not to leverage opponents into possibly damaging one another; it's to mitigate damage. If your opponents do happen to fight one another, great. That's wonderful, but that's just icing on the cake.
    I'm not sure what you mean about a "heavy price", but sure, damaging an opponent is, broadly speaking, 1/x as important as preserving your own life, where x is the number of opponents, so generally self-preservation is more important. But on the other hand, dealing damage > gaining(/preserving) life. And sometimes in casual formats people develop grudges against each other for attacking and then you're even more likely to be ignored, and it just generally raises their threat profile. So sure, directing attacks elsewhere is the lesser of the two, but it's a pretty thick and rich icing imo.

    I think it's also worth mentioning that you can have the best defenses without simultaneously being the archenemy though.
    Agreed, I think it's all a matter of context. Ideally you've got the best defenses by a nose, but significantly less offensive power, in order to win the "least likely to be attacked" award. Keeping yourself in the right position in these regards is a key part of smart politics imo.

    I find this really interesting. Did you end up winning that game? This may sound provocative (and that is not my intention), but rather than making too many, I suspect you may not have made enough snakes.
    Well it was all I could make (I played liliana's influence), if I could have made more I would have. At that point I assumed I'd be the biggest threat, but in a way that would make it very difficult to mess with me profitably. Which was true, but it didn't stop people from doing it. So yes, more snakes would definitely have been better at that point since I was already the threat. Possibly fewer snakes would also have been better to avoid making me the threat, although idk how many fewer would have been necessary. Hard to be sure. I think I also have a bit of a rep for winning frequently, even if I don't play anything frowned upon. So that also makes it more likely I'll attract ire.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think you and I both understand that there's this valley one can enter where, by accumulating power, one becomes a target. What's interesting about this valley is that, at its nadir, you're actually more vulnerable than if you hadn't entered it at all since, despite your collection of power, you've now drawn the attention of each of your opponents, and the not-insignificant-but-not-significant-enough power you've obtained isn't enough to stop your collective enemies, so you usually end off worse for having traveled there.

    What I believe you're concerned about is entering the valley. You don't ever want to reach the nadir. After all, it's possible to accomplish your goals without ever going there in the first place. You need only install minor deterrents, as you've already pointed out. I'm on the opposite side. I'm not concerned about entering the valley. I'm concerned with not crossing it. I understand that, once you reach the nadir, there's nowhere to go but up. If you've already drawn the ire of all your opponents, you can't draw out any more ire; the valley only ascends, so every further bit of power one accumulates comes without cost.

    Some strategies (like combo decks that win out of nowhere) have the luxury of never having to appear threatening. Other strategies don't have this luxury; they broadcast exactly how well they are doing to the entire table. But sometimes it doesn't matter if you're broadcasting this because there's nothing your opponents can do about it. Maybe everyone at the table understands you're a problem, but no one can do anything about it, so they just resume playing, and everyone plays their cards to the best of their ability given the situation anyway. It doesn't mean the most powerful person will always be on the receiving end of every card. Sometimes you're in a powerful state, everyone knows it, and not much can be done about it, but the game isn't over either.
    Oooh, these are really good observations. You've put them into words very nicely. The valley metaphor is uncannily apt (:P), so now I'm going to abuse the hell out of it.

    Generally I think once you're in the valley, most likely you're going to get dragged out of it by the table ganging up on you. Most of the time, if you're able to make it to the other side of the valley, it's because you jumped straight over it with some burst of power - a combo, a strong synergy, or maybe just one particularly nasty bomb, most often. If you're legitimately at the nadir of the valley I think you've usually got a hard time getting up the far side. Maybe you can tiptoe up to the edge of the valley and then jump over before people are paying too much attention, but to make it from the nadir back up I think is very hard, because from the nadir onwards everyone is ganging up on you. If you do make it out, I think most of the time it's because you weren't really at the nadir at all, but some ways up the far side.

    Part of why I like to play how I play is because it appeals to what I think feel like "earned wins". I used to play, for example, my child of alara deck. It started wiping the board around turn 4-5 and basically just does it every turn until the game is over, and it's pretty hard to dismantle since it has tons of recursion and protection built in. And it was kind of fun for a little while, but pretty quickly it got boring because my group just wasn't really capable of beating it. I made it to the far side of the valley, but it wasn't very satisfying. I think the same thing about making most combo decks. If you're playing it well against an average LGS commander group, I think it's almost trivial to win. In a cEDH group ofc it isn't, but most LGS players won't have answers, and if they do they won't have many and they probably won't leave them up at the critical time, especially if they haven't seen the deck before.

    Maybe a better example is something value-oriented, like maelstrom wanderer. When I played maelstrom wanderer I was usually archenemy from around turn 3-4 and never really stopped being so, and I still usually won. At that point it seems like I won just because my cards/deck was so much better(my collection contributes a lot to this, ofc), not because of any skill. In medium-powered commander I think it's pretty easy to make it up the far side of the valley with either a powerful deck or something that jumps you over quickly, but if that's your only objective then I don't think that's an interesting goal for exactly that reason. So instead, I like to focus on how to win without ever feeling unfair or overpowered, but trying to find ways to win that rely as much as possible on skill, and as little as possible on having better cards. Usually this means it's very advantageous to stay on the near side of the valley for as long as possible, since I lack cards and combos that can easily catapult me over to the other side.

    Of course I realize that isn't necessarily how much people like to play, but everyone who isn't playing cEDH has to draw their own line in the sand for how they're going to limit their deckbuilding.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Cards Most Needing a C19 Reprint
    Ooh, another thing - more alternate art. C18 was pathetic in this regard. Give players who already own the reprinted cards something to care about.

    Although tbh if they knocked it out of the park with the new cards, I'd be fine with literal garbage for reprints.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Random Card of the Day: Treasury Thrull
    For a draw-go deck that doesn't mind getting some value of its lands, I like it.

    My biggest gripe is that they had to go putting "basic" in front of "land" instead of "land type". So the gw version, whatever that's called, is way better for decks that support it.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Which creatures are the best at blocking?
    Not necessarily. Maybe you can't attack or block your other opponents profitably, but you can pot shot a guy with a wall.
    You can always be out-defensed by the other players. That said, if you can't attack or even block the other players, and one guy is sitting there with some walls, I feel like maybe you should be allied with him instead of hitting him, generally-speaking.

    I'm not entirely convinced you don't not want to be a threat at all times anyway.
    If the goal of having good blocks is that it sends attacks elsewhere, then there's certainly a point of diminishing returns where your defensive power is too strong to be ignored and attacks can't reasonably go elsewhere. Even with something purely defensive like constant mists (especially with a way to consistently fuel it), if one player has no way to beat it, then they'd be an idiot to attack the other players. They need to either ally with your opponents to kill you first, or convince the other players to help dismantle your defenses.

    I've had similar situations in, for example, hapatra brawl where I created a dozen deathtouchy snakes or so. I'd hoped that would push attacks elsewhere, but instead this display of power showed the other players that I needed to be dealt with, even if it meant significant losses against my snake horde, and the attacks intensified rather than diminished. Whereas if I'd only had a couple snakes I may have seemed like a less significant threat that could be ignored until later. I think the goal is for your opponents to think you're vulnerable enough that you won't be an insurmountable problem later, while being nasty enough that you're not worth taking on right now.

    Oops, now I'm just talking about Phelddagrif :p
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Which creatures are the best at blocking?
    Ofc there are consequences, your creature is tapped and you missed the opportunity to attack someone else. Imo you want a gentle nudge towards attacking others, not a rough shove (I.e. constant mists). Then you're just a threat.

    Interesting new card for blocking from allegiance is mesmerizing benthid. Creates multiple tokens that suck to attack fatties into, and it's a good reliable blocker for small stuff and/or an equipment magnet. Doesn't look edh-focused on the surface but I think it'll play better than expected.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
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