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Treasure Cruisin' Gifts Storm
 
The Role of Ecosystems in Fantasy Worldbuilding
 
Life's Legacy: Delving into Delver
  • posted a message on Do you see this as a funny story or an example of bad sportsmanship?
    How do you feel about this interaction among Commander players at a LGS? What characters, if any, do you sympathize with?

    Preface: I was at a LGS one time observing an EDH game with 4 players that were distant acquaintances that had only played together once or twice.The game was a good game, pretty close, these players were much less competitive than the average player here or myself. I would say they had 50% or 60% decks. The players weren't new to the game but weren't experts and frequently made misplays.

    Scenario: One player was playing Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir as their commander, his deck wasn't optimized (he was using cards like Spellbook and Lay Bare) but it was the only blue deck in the game. Eventually he ended up tutoring for and successfully casting Knowledge Pool. The Teferi player grinned widely, eagerly waiting for his opponents to concede. One of his opponents said "alright, cool, you win, we're going to keep playing without you though because we came here to actually play our decks." The other players laughed and agreed. They then proceeded to ignore him and went on with their game.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Understanding Oracle of Mul Daya/Exploration effects, playing lands and priority
    I'm trying to get a better understanding of the concept of priority which seems to be a constant theme in Magic the Gathering that is often skipped in announcing because it seldom is relevant. I have a few questions.

    1. I play Oracle of Mul Daya and reveal the top of my library. It is a nonland card. Then I cast Rampant Growth and shuffle my library. I reveal the top card of my library and it is a Forest card. Then my opponent casts Lightning Bolt targeting Oracle of Mul Daya. Can I play the Forest card on top of my library (or one from my hand) before my Oracle of Mul Daya is dealt damage and dies?

    2. I play Oracle of Mul Daya and reveal the top of my library. It is a Forest card. I play it from the top of my library. The card on top of my library is now a Wasteland. My opponent casts Go for the Throat targeting Oracle of Mul Daya. Would this prevent me from playing the Wasteland from the top of my library?

    3. I control six lands and before I play a land, I cast Nissa, Vastwood Seer during my main phase and fetch my library for a forest. Can my opponent remove Nissa, Vastwood Seer before I play a land and she transforms to Nissa, Sage Animist?

    4. It is my main phase and I control 6 lands and Nissa, Vastwood Seer. I play a land and transform her into Nissa, Sage Animist. Can my opponent Lightning Bolt her before I use her plus ability to reduce her loyalty to 0. My understanding is that I would be able to use her plus ability first. If this is true, please explain why because that doesn't seem intuitive because planeswalker abilities are only to be activated as if they were sorcery spells. I think this has to be with priority but I want to be able to understand it so I can explain it.

    Can someone please explain in detail what happens in these scenarios and why? Please cite specific rules if possible. I would also appreciate analogies or metaphors that aren't exactly related to the rules but may help me understand how this works better.

    Also feel free to include any other rulings or interesting rules that may not be intuitive regarding Oracle of Mul Daya/Exploration effects, playing lands, or responding to planeswalker loyalty abilities.
    Posted in: Magic Rulings
  • posted a message on Good hidden gems that aren't super specific or narrow
    Mana Tithe is very underrated. It's really fun to "get people" with it. It's very often relevant as players tend to tap out in the format a lot, including in the mid to late game when paying the commander tax. It's not a card people expect to see so people don't think to play around it.

    For that matter, blue counterspells that are soft counters are also underrated. There are so many times when Mana Leak functions as a Counterspell.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on What are your thoughts on preemptive deck counter picking?
    Quote from blkh »
    What does the percentage mean??

    It indicates the level of competitiveness to which a deck is tuned. If you're throwing any old thing in Jhoira's deck, it's obviously less than 100%. Mass LD and Eldrazi? Much closer to 100%.


    Correct, a 75% Jhoira deck would probably still run some Eldrazi, but it wouldn't be a 100% deck running cards like Mana Crypt and Mana Drain. It would play Sunken Hollow over Undergroud Sea, but unlike a 50% deck, it wouldn't play Jwar Isle Refuge

    As far as a Teferi deck, it might be a control deck that doesn't play Knowledge Pool or it might play it but it wouldn't play it alongside Fabricate and Treasure Mage. It could win with big creatures it could flash in at end of turn.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Mini Announcment day
    I have a couple of predictions for the Commander 2018 planeswalker decks:

    1. One of the commanders will be a 5 colored planeswalker.

    This is low hanging fruit. Tribal planeswalker decks are a popular theme that players love building around. What is better way to encourage tribal planeswalker decks than a 5 color planeswalker? I imagine it will have at least one ability that will support other planeswalkers (i.e. [[Ajani Steadfast]]).

    2. We will finally see unexplored design space used on planeswalker cards.

    There is plenty of design space that has yet to be explored that Mark Rosewater says is in the works and we'll see eventually. I expect to see some of that stuff here. Examples of design space we may see for the first time include planeswalkers with static abilities, activated abilities or triggered abilities that are separate from loyalty abilities. We might even abilities see abilities that work when your planeswalker is in the command zone or being cast (similar to the Eminence cycle for Commander 2017 or the Commander 2013 cycle that rewarded you or made it easier to play your commander from the command zone multiple times).
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on What are your thoughts on preemptive deck counter picking?
    Quote from Jusstice »
    In this Teferi v Jhoira example, I wouldn’t take that much of an issue with it, given no other facts. I would actually take issue with the Teferi player if they had possibly built their deck just to shut off Jhoira, given that it is 75% EDH (whatever that means to people these days). It’s just not fun to be in jail all game, especially like this where you know all this player needs to do is leave mana up 4 turns down the line.

    That said, I can’t honestly think of another scenario where one Commander shuts down the functionality of another this way. The closest I can think of is Anafenza, the Foremost and any graveyard-loving general (Chainer, Karador, BUG Sidisi, Scarab God, etc). That discussion has been had before, and it tends to be drawn along the lines of which groups are ok generally with high volumes of hate cards. And particularly, graveyard strategies are more accustomed to dealing with hate. Maybe Kataki, War’s Wage against Breya, Etherium Shaper? I’ve yet to see anybody play Kataki.

    What I’d be wary of for this question really is an unrestricted right to change decks whenever a player feels like it. These extreme examples are one thing, but it’s not too far from situations like putting away an elf-ball deck just because someone sees a deck they know has a lot of Wraths in it.

    Also, what’s stopping that player from switching deck’s in reaction to the first player’s switch, and so on and so on? Do all players need to agree on what the others are playing before the game starts? Maybe this isn’t a problem for some groups, but most players would be turned away from the game generally if they’d understood that their development of decks will always be up to their opponents to ban out by fiat.

    I know this concept gets repeated a lot, but I think the playgroups that are good at managing this already are, and for those that aren’t there is little that we can offer them to help out. The cards are legal, so you will have a bad time now and then. Try not to invest 2+ hours in these instances of bad times you are bound to have in this format, and brush yourself off from time to time.


    The way I see it, Jhoira can come down before Teferi and Jhoira has access to removal and counterspells so she can keep Teferi at bay. Additionally there are two other players that can keep Teferi at bay.

    Besides, do you really want to have sympathy for a deck that's primary goal is to cheat out Eldrazi and land destruction spells? I think a 75% Jhoira of the Ghitu deck should be able to handle Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir and changing decks because it now can't derp its way to cheating out Obliteration and Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger on turn 5 is a really slimy move.

    Also, what’s stopping that player from switching deck’s in reaction to the first player’s switch, and so on and so on? Do all players need to agree on what the others are playing before the game starts?

    There is nothing to stop that from happening which is why I believe players should play with their commanders face down until the game begins.

    I also think an Elfball player shouldn't change decks because they realized one of the decks they are playing against is a mono black control deck. You shouldn't only play a deck if its smooth sailing and no bad match ups for you.

    I'm curious how you would feel about this example:

    Example 2: As soon as Jamie realizes Morgan is playing Oloro, Ageless Ascetic, Jamie changes from playing Anafenza, the Foremost to Erebos, God of the Dead.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on What are your thoughts on preemptive deck counter picking?
    In my opinion, if feels like an unscrupulous action that is poor sportsmanship.

    In the exampe, Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir is just one of four commanders in the game. While Jhoira of the Ghitu's activated ability that enables suspend is negated while Teferi is out, Teferi won't always be on the battlefield and he can be removed. Additionally, a deck should be able to function without relying solely on its commander.

    I might have more sympathy if the player that is preemptively counter picking initially was playing a substantially weaker deck or the deck they were concerned about was incredibly resilient (i.e. a mono black control deck against Sigarda, Host of Herons). However generally speaking, preemptive deck countering picking is akin to cheating.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on What are your thoughts on preemptive deck counter picking?
    How do you feel about preemptive deck counter picking when playing Commander? Explain your reasoning.

    Preemptive deck counter picking is when a player changes the deck they are playing right before the match begins solely because of a specific deck an opponent is playing.

    Preemptive Deck Counter Pick Example: Jamie, Morgan, Robin and Taylor all have 75% decks and are about to play a four person game of commander. All players begin shuffling their decks and are about to begin playing momentarily. Robin was preparing to play a Jhoira of the Ghitu deck but realizes that Taylor is playing a deck that has Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir as its commander. Robin says "Oh, actually I've changed my mind, I am going to play my Oloro, Ageless Ascetic deck instead of Jhoira of the Gheitu."

    In this scenario, Robin changed decks because Jhoria of the Gheitu is hindered when Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir is on the battlefield. Robin believed the game would be less fun because of this, hence the change in decks.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Good hidden gems that aren't super specific or narrow
    Quote from DirkGently »
    I'm going to have to strongly agree with GloriousGoose over DirkGently here. Saying Spell Swindle is better than Countersquall is similar to saying Slice in Twain is better than Nature's Claim (it's not). Mystic Confluence is a very good counterspell, but again, it costs 5 mana.

    I think value wise Countersquall is fantastic, and I believe two mana counterspells are usually much better than three mana ones. Forbid is a better spell when abused in the right deck, but for the vast majority of spells that can run both spells, Countersquall would be better. Force of Will isn't nearly as good in Commander than it is in Legacy. Force of Will is especially unreliable in 3+ color decks. Delay is underrated, probably a hidden gem, but it's not a hard counter like Countersquall is. As a counter, Muddle the Mixture isn't better than Countersquall, as a tutor, it's pretty good though. Dream Fracture is not better than Countersquall. Negate counters way more things than Trickbind does.

    Circling back to my hidden gem commander criteria, Countersquall meets the criteria and I still stand by saying it is a criminally underplayed card considering it's power level in relation to its converted mana cost.
    You do realize the goose also said countersquall was significantly worse than negate and he would only play it in a deck with 15+ counters....? Also you've already made your position clear, you don't have to re-agree with your position. That's just tacky.

    I think it's super weird that you think FoW AND dream fracture are somehow BOTH worse than negate.

    FoW costs 2 less mana (in the default mode) but puts you -1 card relative to negate, with added flexibility. So I guess you think saving 2 mana isn't worth losing a card, fine.
    dream fracture costs 1 more mana but puts you +1 card relative to negate (well, I guess more like +2/3 of a card technically), with added flexibility. So I guess you think saving a card isn't worth spending an extra mana.

    Wait, what?

    I can understand having one of those positions, depending if you value tempo or value more, but not both. Pick a side.

    (and all of that is ignoring the minor bonus of being able to counter the most common spell type in the game, and FoWs little-known ability to be cast for mana if you're flooded).

    You'll also note that I didn't bring up spell swindle as one of the unimpeachably better counterspells. Personally I think it's better but it's more complex to argue. Trickbind simply counters different things, but there are many scenarios in which it's far superior. I listed it as arguable anyway. Of course you've still totally ignored counters like arcane denial that are objectively better than negate, let alone countersquall.

    Although it's not really important, 2k is far from hidden imo. FFS Kess is only in 1300 decks, does anyone think Kess is "hidden"?


    I don't think I'm totally sure of what your primary point is. Are you arguing that Countersquall isn't a particularly good spell or that Countersquall isn't a hidden gem?

    Negate is played 9 times more frequently than Countersquall even though the cards do the same thing for the same converted mana cost. I understand that Countersquall requires an additional color, but given that Negate is a very frequently played card even in decks with both blue and black, while the same can't be said about Countersquall indicates to me that is underplayed considering its power level.

    I did gloss over GloriousGoose's point that s/he believes casting Countersquall is much more difficult than casting Negate. Maybe for a 4 or 5 color deck this could be the case, but if a two or three color deck can cast Counterspell, Disallow, Cryptic Command, or Supreme Verdict, it should have no issues casting Countersquall. This is similar to how a Golgari or Abzan deck shouldn't have issues casting Abrupt Decay. If I was playing a draw go control deck with Wydwen, the Biting Gale as the commander, Countersquall would be an obvious inclusion and personally I think it would be odd to omit it.

    What PhroX said earlier about Negate and Countersquall surmises my perspective well. PhroX's point as I understood it is that Negate should be played over virtually all 3 mana counterspells which overall puts it high on the counter spell tier list. Countersquall isn't as good as Negate because it has a less restrictive cost, but I can't think of a good reason a blue black deck that is running Negate shouldn't be running Countersquall.

    I believe Dream Fracture is worse than Countersquall because it's easier to keep up two mana than three mana and it's very nice to be able to counter a spell on turn 2 which Dream Fracture can't do. I don't think replacing itself is worth costing more mana. Similarly, I don't think Slice in Twain is better than Krosan Grip/Naturalize or how Smash isn't worth playing over Smelt/Shatter.

    Force of Will is a great card, but it's much better in Legacy than it is in Commander. In a 3 color deck, it can often be difficult to pitch a blue card to Force of Will. In a mono blue deck, or even just a two color deck, Force of Will is an excellent counterspell but there are certainly instances in the early game where you end up having to pitch a spell to counter something even though you would have had enough mana open if you would have had Negate/Countersquall in your hand.

    Arcane Denial isn't strictly better than Negate. Sometimes giving an opponent two cards is a bad thing, even if you get one. That being said, Arcane Denial is a very strong counterspell. Two mana hard counters are very strong. Negate and Countersquall can counter all spells except for creatures which are often less of a problem for a control deck (especially one that has access to black mana)

    Kess, Dissident Mage is a multicolored legendary creature that is not even a year old. Countersquall is a counter spell is a card that has been in the format since practically its inception. In less than 1 year, Kess, Dissident Mage has seen nearly as much play as Countersquall has in its lifetime in the format. Dream Fracture is a card that isn't even played very often, it certainly isn't a blue staple, and it sees play in nearly twice as many decks as Countersquall. Trickbind is a niche counterspell that by no means is a staple and it still sees more play than Countersquall.

    Lastly, the condescending tone isn't really necessary. I re-read my post where I quoted you and I don't recall being negative or critical, but if I was, I am sorry for that. We can disagree without being snarky.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Good hidden gems that aren't super specific or narrow
    I'm going to have to strongly agree with GloriousGoose over DirkGently here. Saying Spell Swindle is better than Countersquall is similar to saying Slice in Twain is better than Nature's Claim (it's not). Mystic Confluence is a very good counterspell, but again, it costs 5 mana.

    I think value wise Countersquall is fantastic, and I believe two mana counterspells are usually much better than three mana ones. Forbid is a better spell when abused in the right deck, but for the vast majority of spells that can run both spells, Countersquall would be better. Force of Will isn't nearly as good in Commander than it is in Legacy. Force of Will is especially unreliable in 3+ color decks. Delay is underrated, probably a hidden gem, but it's not a hard counter like Countersquall is. As a counter, Muddle the Mixture isn't better than Countersquall, as a tutor, it's pretty good though. Dream Fracture is not better than Countersquall. Negate counters way more things than Trickbind does.

    Circling back to my hidden gem commander criteria, Countersquall meets the criteria and I still stand by saying it is a criminally underplayed card considering it's power level in relation to its converted mana cost.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Good hidden gems that aren't super specific or narrow
    Quote from DirkGently »
    Countersquall hasn't been mentioned yet and it is truly fantastic.

    It essentially functions as a second copy of Negate plus it hits our opponent for a little bit of damage.

    Any time I build a deck with blue and black if I run more than two counter spells I always run Countersquall
    Not to pick on you specifically (this is really more directed at the OP), but this is exactly why this sort of list is doomed to become both uselessly long and a nightmare to manage.

    Countersquall is a moderately played card. It's got almost 2K hits on EDHrec, which is a pretty respectable number, certainly a lot more than other, more deserving (imo) cards that can be in the hundreds or even tens of cards. Just to pick one I was looking at this morning, painbringer - not a particularly great card, but if you're dredging a lot he's basically a 4 mana visara the dreadful that kills indestructibles, and he's got 36 hits. Again, not an amazing or versatile card, but just to give an idea of how buried some gem-like cards can be. 2K hits is practically celebrity status by comparison.

    Countersquall itself is, no offense, but nothing special. Negate is a barely playable counterspell in commander as it's competing with the likes of arcane denial, mana drain, forbid, counterspell, force of will, disallow, etc., all of which are vastly superior at a similar cost, not to mention the more expensive value counters like cryptic command and mystic confluence. Adding 2 life lost is barely worth the mana restriction even if you're straight-up UB in a format like commander (especially when you're presumably playing a control deck with some more reliable wincon than slowing pinging people down for miniscule amounts of damage). Without a list in front of me, I'm guessing countersquall ranks somewhere in the 20s or 30s in terms of the best EDH counterspells, if not lower.

    So is it a hidden gem? I mean, I'd obviously argue no. It's not particularly hidden and it's certainly not a gem (imo). But I'm willing to bet that others would disagree. And then there's a big discussion over one card. At the end of the day it's pretty subjective what constitutes both hidden and a gem. And there's twenty-thousand cards or so, at this point. If you just take the easy way out and add everything you'll have a hopelessly long list, like the old one. If you don't manage the list at all and just let people post what they like, then it becomes both long and impossible to search.

    These sorts of lists are just not useful imo. For every truly hidden gem (which I'll agree submerge is, for the record) there are a hundred pseudo-gems that people like but aren't actually very good, or very rare, or either. The line is blurry as hell and it's next to impossible to draw and stick to. EDHrec is great because it provides a totally objective view of what people are using. Sure, it's limited to the meta as it exists today, but if you dig deep enough you'll find someone doing something clever. At the end of the day I think everyone has to dig as deep as they want to, and decide for themselves what constitutes a hidden gem.


    I'm going to disagree with a lot of this. Negate is one of the best counterspells in the format. Probably top 5. The only ones that are obviously better are Counterspell and Mana Drain. The other better counterspell is Cryptic Command which costs twice as much and many decks wouldn't want to play it. I would play Countersquall over Dissolve or Dissipate practically any day. Forbid is a good counterspell, but it doesn't outclass Negate. Negate counters all card types except for creatures for 1U.

    Countersquall is a better Negate that isn't in the top 50 played EDH multicolored spells or even in the top 50 played EDHREC blue black spells. Even among Oona, Queen of the Fae, arguably the best blue/black control commander in the format, Countersquall isn't a frequently played spell. To put that in perspective, Negate is a top spell played in Oona lists and is a top played blue spell.

    Countersquall has one reprint, it has never been printed in a Commander set and it hasn't been in Standard in nearly a decade. Considering how strong and useful the spell is, it is surprising it doesn't see more play. Countersquall is a hidden gem.

    Submerge is played less than Countersquall, but considering how strong Countersquall is, it should be seeing much more play and frankly it's weird that it's not. The only reason it isn't seeing play is because of lack of knowledge and/or scarcity.

    I think a good rule of thumb for determining is a card is a hidden gem is if it meets the following criteria:

    Commander Hidden Gem Cards Criteria

    1. A hidden gem isn't a card that is listed on EDHREC's top most played cards lists.
    2. A hidden gem should be good for several decks and arch types, rather only useful than niche commanders and narrow decks.
    3. A hidden gem isn't a card that has several reprints.
    4. A hidden gem most likely wasn't printed in a Commander set.
    5. A hidden gem is a card you don't encounter frequently when playing at local game and card shops.

    Based on this criteria, Countersquall, Cursed Totem and Submerge are hidden gems. Frontier Siege, a card mentioned earlier in this thread, does not meet this criteria. Faerie Artisans was another card mentioned that meets this criteria (with the exception that is was printed in a Commander set) along with Delay and Ashes to Ashes.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Good hidden gems that aren't super specific or narrow
    Countersquall hasn't been mentioned yet and it is truly fantastic.

    It essentially functions as a second copy of Negate plus it hits our opponent for a little bit of damage.

    Any time I build a deck with blue and black if I run more than two counter spells I always run Countersquall
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Good hidden gems that aren't super specific or narrow
    Quote from plushpenguin »
    For a deck in green that has a low mana curve and wants to play multiple spells a turn, there's Frontier Siege. It's four extra mana a turn for four mana if you can spend it all.


    Good card but not exactly a hidden gem.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Good hidden gems that aren't super specific or narrow
    Quote from Moshiman »
    Here is a list of when this topic was brought up a while ago, it has an extensive list, but might be a bit outdated.

    Some of my favorites are Thran Turbine and Hua Tuo, Honored Physician alongside Call of the Wild

    https://www.mtgsalvation.com/forums/the-game/commander-edh/204388-share-your-hidden-gems-first-post-contains-a


    The hidden gems list contains dozens of cards that are only good with a niche commander or a narrow archetype similar to Ashnod's Transmogrant. Thran Turbine is another card that is only good in a narrow set of situations because you have to have a mana sink and it has to be a mana sink that is useful specifically during the upkeep phase.

    Hua Tuo, Honored Physician is kind of neat in tandem with Sylvan Library but not sure it's worth a slot.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Good hidden gems that aren't super specific or narrow
    What are cards you play in the Commander format that are underplayed or underrated but are still worth playing? Be sure to explain why the card you are naming is a good hidden gem.

    I'm NOT interested in hearing about cards that are very good but only with one niche commander or archetype. For example, Ashnod's Transmogrant is card most players have never played against and it has fantastic synergy with Padeem, Consul of Innovation. Otherwise the card is quite mediocre. For the context of this discussion Ashnod's Transmogrant is NOT a hidden gem.

    Instead, I am interested in hearing about hidden gems that could fit into a wide variety of decks and strategies. Hidden gems are cards that are rarely played. They certainly shouldn't be listed on EDHREC's top most played cards lists and they should be cards you rarely encounter when playing at a LGS.

    Examples of good hidden gems in my opinion:

    Submerge: Submerge a removal spell that is free provided your meta has players that use Forest cards (i.e. virtually all play groups). It gets around indestructible effects and it is great in response to our opponents using tutors and fetch lands which are very common in the format. I think any deck that mono or two color blue deck should be running Submerge and even some three colored decks depending on their mana base.

    Cursed Totem: Cursed Totem hates on mana ability creatures like Birds of Paradise and Llanowar Elves while also preventing power commander abilities from being activated like Mayael the Anima, Azami, Lady of Scrolls and Teysa, Orzhov Scion. It also hoses powerful utility creatures like Spore Frog, Mother of Runes and Viscera Seer. It does impact your own creatures, so it would be better suited for a control list with limited creatures or a list without activated abilities but it is incredibly powerful and if it isn't removed it can totally change a game.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
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