That's a big informant...
Anyway it's limited fodder. Which, as a limited player, is a major part of my diet. Nom nom.
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Mar 20, 2019DirkGently posted a message on Painter's Servant.. is it really all that bad..? worse than helm/RIP or teferi/knowledge pool?Posted in: Commander Rules Discussion Forum
He's talking about the lock with Iona. Which costs 9 mana, not 2-3, and is therefore much slower than teferi lock. It also doesn't prevent instant-speed interaction like teferi does (well, iona does for certain colors if she hits first, I suppose).Quote from DonRon »2) 2-card combo that costs 2-3 mana each. What does Teferi/Knowledge Pool(costing 5-6 mana each) have to do with this?e
Mar 20, 2019I used to run avarice totem a lot, way too much I'm sure (back in like 2010 or so, my early days of commander). Haven't run it in a long time, but I think it really shines here for 3 reasons:Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
-We get to fairly high mana pretty quickly (obviously aiming for 7 but 10 isn't far off, which is usually how much you want to start toteming).
-We have plenty of low-impact cards to trade off (all the 2-drop mana rocks).
-Maybe most importantly, once Kaervek is on the field, we oftentimes don't have much useful to do with all our mana. So having a mana sink like totem gives us something really impactful to do with that mana.
So yeah, I'm excited to give it for a spin after all these years. Soul conduit is a new inclusion, but I think it can be really tricky to play around, I recall getting wrecked by it at the prerelease, funny enough, which in fairness was before I was any good at limited. But I think Kaervek especially plays nicely with it so I'm eager to give it a shot.
Chaos wand is mostly just a card I think is sweet and does the whole toolbox thing (albeit one where you aren't sure which tool you're pulling out). Praetor's grasp is a really reasonable inclusion as an effective 4-mana rock hitting sol ring, but the BB requirement is steep enough that I cut it. I think it's totally reasonable, obviously like all tutors it has the benefit of hitting higher-impact stuff as the situation demands, but the fact that it doesn't fix mana does limit it a fair bit. But yeah, a totally reasonable card to include. I just had to cut something.
Of course how Sorin works best is going to vary. If you've got a good attack, take the good attack. I don't think you can feel confident that Kaervek triggers will kill someone, they could easily enough have STP in hand and deal with him easily, so always take an opportunity if you've got it. Especially since, if they use their stp to kill him on attack you could potentially recast him, which won't work if they stp him eot (although presumably you already cast sorin in the same turn, so maybe it's a pipe dream to pay 10BBBBR+ in one turn).
Mar 19, 2019I think, while this used to be considered a staple, it's become harder to include. For me, when I'm thinking of the play patterns of the deck, ramping up to 9 mana is usually not a priority for me. I'm a lot more concerned with getting to somewhere between 4 and 7 mana usually, so this is just overkill that costs an amount of mana where I'd really rather be doing more proactive things. And even in, for example, Geth, where the whole point is just to ramp to absurdity, I cut it because there are other "big ramp" options that make significantly bigger impact in mono-color, like caged sun, gauntlets, coffers, crypt ghast, doubling cube, etc.Posted in: Commander (EDH)
It's by no means a bad card, but I think it's at its best in ramp-heavy decks looking to cast very big but not arbitrarily big spells - your expropriates, your tooth and nails. Which, I don't know, it feels a little tired and played out to me. But then I was never really a fan of that kind of commander. I know there are plenty of people who still prefer that style.
Mar 19, 2019Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
Cards I considered, but I decided against them (although I could change my mind, who knows). Except Bedevil, Bedevil seems good, and that's in there.Quote from JamesTheIV »Yea. I totally started thinking about Vial Smasher value cards. It was late at night.
Captive Audience does look good here
offering double triggers as a favor
fill an opponents hand with answers that ultimately help you. I just personally love playing this in any black build
could be a viable win con. would limit your 1v1 opponents spell casting to 10 cmc tops. They have 10 cmc to answer it while you can also swing in with Kaervek. There's a decent voltron package here already. This may be how you get around life gain combos also.
Captive audience, as mentioned, seems like a slower version of Sorin to me. I have a hard time thinking of a play pattern where it's remotely as good as Sorin - if it's pre-1v1, then it's basically a declaration of war against one opponent, since once they're set to 4, especially if Kaervek is on board, they're basically guaranteed dead. So they're heavily incentivized to kill Kaervek, kill me, or kill the enchantment before that happens. The goal of the deck is to use Kaervek in a political way to drive down life totals and control the board - putting captive audience on them is unlikely to leave them wanting to play nice with me. In 1v1 it's a lot better, but it's still pretty slow, and I generally shy away from cards that are only intended for the 1v1 part of the game. Also the other two modes are kind of mediocre for me, imo. If after testing, Sorin is the bees knees then maybe I'll consider branching out with audience or torgaar, famine incarnate.
Strionic I think is just a little underwhelming. Compare to gratuitous violence that requires no extra mana and doubles all damage, not just a single cast trigger. I've already got a lot of enhancers right now, I think Strionic would be excessive.
Headgames could be added for sure. I much prefer it over discard since you can stock enemy hands with big boms that make Kaervek shine. Still, it doesn't feel like it accomplishes a core part of the strategy of the deck, so for now it's out. I could see adding it to the "alt wincons" section if some of those underperform, although that's kind of a stretch for what it actually does.
grafted exoskeleton I think I like less than glistening oil as a way to give kaervek infect. Maybe I'm a little too gun-shy about the "grafted" clause that makes our commander dead to artifact removal, but it always scares me off. Granted, oil can get 2-for-1ed as well if kaervek gets killed out from under it while it's on the stack, but it doesn't make kaervek himself vulnerable to more things.
All that said, I should probably try infect, but I'm kind of skeptical. Firstly, people tend to freak out about it, making us a potentially major threat before we've even dealt any infect damage. I'm also really nervous about tactics that leave me attacking along a different avenue than damage - whether that's infect, mill, or even to a certain extent commander damage, because it means that (1) you can't piggy back of other peoples' efforts unless they're using the same avenues, and (2) it sets you up to be a singular problem for opponents. I'll explain - if someone is at low life and Kaervek is on board, people will naturally want to kill him, but they can't ignore other threats that could also kill them, which takes heat off Kaervek. Whereas if he's dealing infect damage and no one else is (which they probably aren't) and someone is almost to 10 poison, they're going to prioritize killing Kaervek above anything else, because he's the only thing threatening to kill them in this way. Non-infect creatures aren't a problem for them, so they won't consider them as alternative removal targets and will focus on Kaervek - and by extension, the person playing Kaervek, namely me.
I think Sorin is probably best(?) option for preventing lifegain from getting out of control, although of course Kaervek can just beatdown for 21 damage, especially with Shizo, Gratuitous Violence, and equipment at his beck and call. If lifegain becomes a major issue I could revisit but for now those are my two backup plans if someone gains too much life.
Mar 19, 2019This is the new version of the list! Will be trying it out either tonight or Thursday.Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
I don't think it makes sense here. Getting zombies is pretty useless to me, and discard is kind of the opposite of what I'm about. Setting to 4 is great, but it's a really slow way to do that. And also, it's not something I'd usually want to do until the game was nearly over. Sorin works much better as a way to do this, since it cuts out the long delay and removes most of the opportunity to interact, even if he sets the life total a little higher.
Mar 19, 2019Hey, glad you like the deck! Unfortunately, I think you misread Kaervek, though - he only counts enemy spells, so although I definitely hope my opponents cast spells like soul spike, it doesn't do me a lot of good to focus on high cmc spells. I wish, though, that'd make it way easier to abuse my commander.Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
Runechanters is definitely a way to close out games for Phelddagrif, but I'm probably going to be reducing the number of instants and sorceries in the deck with my newest incarnation (me? reducing the number of instants? impossible), so I doubt it'll be reasonable (also of course Kaervek doesn't have Phelddagrif's excellent flamply evasion, so even if pike gave him a big boost it'd still be fairly easy to block).
Ogre is a maybe, although thinking about the way the deck aims to curve out, I think it's probably worse than sisay's ring, although with the lifelink in the deck maybe it's better than I'm giving it credit for. I'll see how the ramp section is looking when I get there.
Mar 18, 2019So after Geth's revival was a little lukewarm, I've come back to this deck because I want to build a third perma-deck and Kaervek was one of the most interesting recent decks I've built, plus Taylor half-finished an alter of Kaervek for me that features him holding a scroll with my "rules" on them (only the scroll itself is finished, but it looks really good - sadly the air compressor broke so we need a replacement before she can finish).Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
Anyway, so right now I'm in the middle of working out a revised list, and I'm mostly thinking about what sorts of cards I want to include.
Ramp is a given. He's a 7-mana commander. I think we need to aggressively target a T4 cast without fast mana, meaning t2 rock, t3 bigger rock, t4 kaervek - and of course faster if I hit fast mana. This also means a hefty land count since we probably can't afford to miss a land drop until at least turn 5, and ideally we'd land at least a few more to recover if he's killed, and to shore us up if artifacts get wiped.
Enhancements are obviously a big part of the fun, the main ones being deathtouch and double damage. I think in general we'll want to stay away from enhancements like scythe of the wretched because, while awesome, they really incentivize people to kill kaervek since it transforms him from a tool for board control useful to everyone, to a tool for my own power consolidation useful mostly to me. That said I could still use stuff that's a little more obliquely enhancing, such as repercussion, burning sands, and death pits of rath, as well as the enticing possibility of helm of the host, although that might get a little too threatening very very quickly.
Naturally protecting him is still important, although I do want to consider paying more attention to recursion as an option. In particular, volrath's stronghold is an easy way to ensure that he doesn't balloon in cost and saves me from needing to commit to being able to cast him for 11, 13, or 15 mana, which could get rather difficult if people are blowing up artifacts with any regularity.
Tutors are going to be really important too, both to ensure I get useful enhancements reliably, and (in the case of demo/vamp/seal/gamble/etc) the option to hit fast mana more reliably and effectively count as extra ramp spells - demo is functionally a 2-mana sol ring thanks to mana crypt, for example, so that greatly increases the chances of casting kaervek t3-4, while still being good draws when I've stuck him and want to make him stronger or more durable. I'm looking at tutors mostly as either the really cheap ones, which double as efficient ramp, and the more expensive ones that can take advantage of my big mana to get a host of lategame power, such as diabolic revelation. Between those two extremes I don't think there's much point.
So all that looks pretty similar to my previous list, but then we're down to the section for simple "control" cards and "cards I like", and those two sections I'm interested in applying the most scrutiny to.
I think there is some value to having targeted removal, since the current rules prevent me from using kaervek directly as removal except in specific situations. The removal does let me exercise control over the board unhindered by political restraints. But, I also think as I transition this from a "social experiment" to a more fully-fleshed deck, I want more avenues to success than just Kaervek himself. So, what sort of cards should I be looking for?
Well, I'm open to suggestions, but right now I'm focusing on a few primary categories - the first is rather straightforward game-closer-outers, like insurrection and comet storm, which are basically there to just finish what Kaervek started by killing off those last few life points. The downside to these is that they feel a bit cheap, to me, and also don't really provide an alternative game plan to Kaervek, just an enhancement of the existing one. If Kaervek fails to stick, or if someone pulls off a combo that gives them a hundred or more life rendering direct damage ineffectual as a tactic, both of my strategies are going to be neutered simultaneously and leave me with not much of anything. So that's kind of a problem. There are some cards, like Sorin Markov, that aim to solve this problem by basically forcing Kaervek to become relevant again instead, though. So there are a few angles to try this tactic from.
The second category is something I'm calling "army of one" cards, which are basically just very flexible cards that aren't obviously threatening but can do a lot of work in various ways. Best example I have for this camp is mirage mirror, which can sometimes be better as a single permanent than several very powerful permanents owned by opponents, but is still only really threatening because of other threatening things. So it gives me a powerful tool on the field without necessarily drawing a lot of hate. Another classic of the genre is mimic vat, although it's more hateable since it can't be neutralized by removing another mirrored threat like mirage mirror can, and because it's just a lot easier to kill than mirage mirror. Other cards include Chaos Wand, Avarice Totem, and Captivating Crew. There's also cards like Olivia Voldaren that might fit in here, although she's certainly very threatening and can't really fly under the radar like mirage mirror can, same for dark imposter and nezumi graverobber. So I'm still sort of figuring out how I want to define this category and what sorts of cards I want to try in it. But safe to say mirage mirror is making it in. I love that freaking card.
The one last kind of card I want to mention is cards that aim to more effectively trap my opponents in a situation where they can't do anything without killing themselves, which has always been a funny way to win with Kaervek for me. Cards like spellshock and manabarbs for instance. The main reason I think I want to avoid these is that they largely disincentivize casting spells, which is not what I want. I want people casting spells to their hearts content, while Kaervek quickly burns down their life totals. But their spells have to be burning down OTHER people's life totals, or they wouldn't want to cast them. If they're taking damage from manabarbs at the same time they're shooting someone else, suddenly casting a spell is a lot less of an obvious positive for them, and the more I look like a problem. These cards work great in a 1v1 game, but I don't think I want cards exclusively for that - if I did, probably easier to just use the aforementioned burn spells to close things out.
Anyway, that's my ramblings. I'll be doing more work on this tomorrow and hopefully have something thrown together, although I imagine I'll keep tinkering with it for a bit before I commit to a perma-decklist. I hope it's as fun as I remember it being.
Mar 18, 2019True enough, I think chaos warp works as an arguably better comparison, although I was hesitant to mention it since obviously the drawback makes a direct comparison a lot more difficult. But anyway it's not like you can't run both.Posted in: Commander (EDH)
I think my crosis' charm has yet to see play (I've made 3 grixis decks, one of each 4-color, and a few 5-color), but I could see it making the cut somewhere. It's by no means a bad card, but if it's played I think it's more indicative of how restrictive the color combination is noncreature-removal-wise, since virtually any other 3-color combo can find something approximating "destroy target permanent" (or at least nonland permanent) somewhere within its identity at a reasonable cost, what with white and green being the naturalize/disenchant colors.
Mar 17, 2019All three modes are relevant BUT they are usually all trying to do approximately the same thing - remove something from the battlefield. So despite having 3 modes, it mostly plays like a LESS versatile version of anguished unmaking, which only has one "mode". Yes, you can choose to bounce your own permanent, but that's pretty rare to be the right play. Making it even tougher is that it's 3 colors, which drastically reduces the places you might play it. So overall...it's fine. But I wish one of the modes did something a little less targeted-removal-y. Bant Charm did it way better.Posted in: Commander (EDH)
Just for fun, the other charms, since they also have annoying design flaws imo:
darigaaz's charm - the design is cute - pick an iconic spell from all three colors and made it modal - but the fact that all three source spells are 1 cmc kiiiind of makes this a bad deal for 3 mana in 3 different colors. Still fine for limited and the versatility is pretty decent, but none of the modes are impactful enough to justify in commander imo, even with the flexibility.
dromar's charm - This is one of the ones where one mode is clearly better than the rest. Counter target spell is a great mode, even if it's not exactly a great standalone card as a 3-mana cancel. But that's where you'd hope flexibility would save it. And we get...an effect that's rarely playable at 1 mana and an effect that's not playable at any cost. You tried, Dromar.
Rith's Charm - Rith's might be the second best balanced of the cycles - destroy a nonbasic is on-par for the cost, and 3 tokens is pretty decent too. The damage prevention is a bit boring, but when you need to not die you really need to not die. That said, as a 3-color card where the most frequently useful mode is making a reasonable but not amazing number of tokens, it's a pretty niche card.
Treva's Charm - Ok seriously, what is that third mode doing? You paid 3 mana to end up down a card? Was it supposed to be draw 2? The other two modes are both decent, but basically just a mirror of Crosis (conditional creature removal + noncreature permanent removal) with a terrible third mode instead of the always-useful-to-some-degree boomerang mode on crosis. Crosis' might slip into some builds at least as a budget option, but given how strong of removal white has, there's really no reason to run this over other options.
In final analysis, I think most of the charms from this cycle have gotten pretty eclipsed by other options, and I'd be surprised if I wanted to run them for something other than flavor.
Mar 16, 2019Woo, finally got my cards moved to England!Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
First deck out is a rehash of a deck I made a long time ago, Geth, lord of the Vault. The deck is totally focused on the commander as a wincon, with roughly 70% of the deck dedicated to lands and ramp, and the remainder primarily removal (to stop nasty stuff and get the ball rolling for Geth) and tutors to hit the best mana ramp, or the right removal if necessary.
So far the results have been...mixed. Game 1 I didn't draw any small ramp, and couldn't do anything significant until turn 6, at which point the game was basically over. Game 2, I hit early ramp, got wiped, get more ramp, got even more ramp, took like 30 damage in one turn to yuriko, and then ground the game to a halt making sure I didn't make a lethal mistake, counting up annoyingly difficult to add sums of mana, and looking in everyone's graveyards at once.
So...it's a really fun deck idea in theory, but it does require a lot of mental work to keep track of everything. Maybe I'm just a little out of shape, commander-wise. Trying to track 3 graveyards, tons of stolen permanents, along with keeping track of very large mana totals is really a major headache, though. I was planning to make a version of this my third perma-deck (alongside Zirilan and Phelddagrif), but now I think I might repurpose some of the cards I'd acquired for it into Kaervek instead.
Mar 16, 2019DirkGently posted a message on Queen Marchesa - These are a Few of my Favorite ThingsWhenever people ask about the best political commanders, Queen Marchesa tends to come up. I've long held that Phelddagrif is the alpha and omega of politics in commander, but far be it from me to hold an opinion based on ignorance, so I figured I should try the Queen.Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
So this is a bit different from my normal decks, insofar as it has no intentional synergy. Basically, it's just a collection of cards that I like, cards that I've been curious to try out, and some glue to hold it together (not nearly enough, though, tbh - the curve is absolutely atrocious, it desperately needs more mana rocks).
It did surprisingly decently considering - a lot of the cards have a high ceiling and the deck can pull off some powerful stuff lategame despite a near total lack of synergy. It's dependent on the board taking care of itself for the first couple turns, since it really don't start doing much of anything until turn 4 usually.
So here's the deck.
As far as the conclusions -
There were a few cards that massively overperformed (orzhov advokist being the posterchild, I'd assumed that card would be kind of terrible but it was amazingly good in mid powered metas).
The queen herself? Well, tbh she sat in the command zone more than I would have liked, frequently just not having enough impact to justify over other cards that were more proactive. Politics-wise, she did almost nothing. She's an ok card draw engine, but the idea that people will kill each other to get the monarchy or whatever is mostly a pipe dream. Once someone avoided attacking me because they didn't want to give me assassin tokens, which was funny but definitely just a misplay on their part and not indicative of the actual strength of the card.
Queen Marchesa should count her lucky stars that Fiora isn't a democracy, or Phelddagrif would beat her in a landslide
Mar 16, 2019DirkGently posted a message on $110 in store credit, what staples to get and any smaller yet big upgrades for my first non-precon build?Where is this $22 mana crypt? I'm only seeing $150+.Posted in: Commander (EDH)
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Apr 30, 2018Was anyone really saying legends is a bad set? It's iconic as hell and has tons of powerful cards, maybe only second to alpha (although urza's saga puts up a good fight).Posted in: Articles
Not sure I'm convinced the legends rule is good (I don't even really see an argument that it is). Flavor-wise, it is (or at least used to be) a big win. These days...idk man. Having both versions of jhoira is fine, but having 2 of the same version isn't? Maybe it's supposed to be a multiple timelines thing, but then why can you and your opponent have one, but one poofs as soon as one switches sides? It feels like a top-down rule that's proven to be bad for gameplay, and at this point wotc is just trying to pay lip service to the flavor motivations while essentially destroying everything mechanically important about it.
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