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  • posted a message on Lutri, the Spellchaser preemptively banned
    Quote from lunde »
    That being said, It's also a pretty broken combo deck with Twinflame


    'fraid not.

    There's this little phrase "if you cast it" you may have missed. Sometimes WotC learns from their mistakes.

    Anyway I think the possibilities added by playing companions as companions is well worth the cost of not getting Lutri in the 99 or CZ, especially considering it's mostly just a worse dualcaster mage.

    The thing I like most about them is how they seem like a natural way to self-limit your power. If you've got a deck that's just a little too good for your meta but you're having a hard time toning it down in a fun way, just put a companion requirement and you'll get a cute reward in exchange for making your deck suck a lot more. So you don't feel like you're depowering it arbitrarily.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on [IKO] Woodland Park zoo - Thieving Otter
    Too weird that woodland park zoo gets spoilers. I used to go there when I lived in Seattle.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on Commander decks with "other goals".
    I guess it depends on what stage you're accomplishing your "other goal". Are you building a deck that doesn't have a good win condition, and instead plays a bunch of cards that do ____? Or, once you've picked up the deck, are you playing the game in order to do ____ rather than win? Or both?

    The first I think is totally fine, no problems whatsoever. Looking at your deck, it looks like you've got plenty of ways to win, even if they're not very reliable. You could sit and down and play that deck to win, and probably end up doing ____ in the process of winning. Mission accomplished!

    If you sat down and said "I'm not trying to win this game at all, I'm just going to do ____ and that's my only goal" then I might have a problem with that. But that's just me, others might not.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Lutri, the Spellchaser preemptively banned
    I have no idea why you'd think that would happen. The RC has said companions will work as normal and rule 11 will change slightly.

    I certainly hope they don't disable companions, I think it'll be fun to try building with them, even if they're probably all terrible.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Lutri, the Spellchaser preemptively banned
    Well, to be fair, he's a worse dualcaster mage...that can sit in the command zone.

    We'll see what the rules update looks like, but I doubt it's that messy. The only reasonable defense I've heard of rule 11 is that it risks people flipping through binders of cards or whatever, and that's obviously not a concern with companions. Rule 11 is a rule for simplicity's sake, not because it's fun or cool, and that simplicity doesn't apply to companions. The only argument I hear against them is "but that's not what the rules currently say and the rules should never ever change!"

    Who cares about the specific wording of the rules. Commander is cool because you get to play a commander in big, long, casual multiplayer games with your friends, not because of the nitty gritty of rule 11. Companions will open up some fun, probably terrible, deckbuilding challenges. Seems cool to me. IDGAF what happens to rule 11, I don't play commander for rule 11. I play commander to have fun, and companions looks fun.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Commander decks with "other goals".
    I think you can create some unpleasant situations when you're trying to do something besides win. Like imagine you're all about to die, and you have a board wipe to save you, but if you cast some other useless card it'll achieve whatever goal you've set out for yourself. I'd be pretty annoyed if I was one of the other players and you did your dumb play. Or if I won, I wouldn't feel like I really won.

    I have experimented with what I like to call "AI-like behavior", where I use some element of automation to dictate my moves. For example, I had a stack of (non-magic) cards that said things like "whoever controls the most creatures" that I'd flip over on my upkeep, and then that would be the person I attacked that turn. It was kind of funny. I could see someone finding it annoying though.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Let's talk Companion and EDH
    I think they should just allow wishboards TBH. The "but then your deck is bigger than 100 cards!" argument sounds ridiculous to me. It's like how feldon's cane used to be restricted because you'd be able to shuffle your power 9 back into your deck and use them twice. I guess it's true, but simply being more than 100 cards doesn't make your deck better. Wishes aren't free to include (like lutri is), they cost mana and you could be playing something else. None of them are anywhere near what I'd called broken. I mean sure, it's kind of annoying to put together a wishboard and find a box big enough to hold 115 cards or whatever, but you only have to do that if you want to use wishes. If you don't, then don't.

    Anyway, that's neither here nor there. I'm kinda glad the companions are an option, just for format diversity. I suspect they'll all be pretty crap in terms of actual power level for the cost of the restriction, but it'll be fun to try rebuilding old decks with some of these restrictions to see if it's doable. Of course, if they DO print one that's OP then that's obnoxious. But then they've already printed tons of OP commanders and the sky hasn't fallen yet.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Let's talk Companion and EDH
    I really think people are making a mountain out of a molehill. None of the ones spoiled so far, except Lutri obviously, are worth the heavy restrictions they impose upon your deck. They're going to be kinda fun to try as gimmick builds - try remaking your favorite deck, but now with this restriction! - but unless there's a big spike in power they're going to be a sign that your deck sucks more than anything.

    Lutri is obviously good here, but in standard I'm pretty skeptical that the restriction is worth it. So Lutri isn't really a power spike, just a bad fit for commander.

    Quote from FunkyDragon »
    Sol Ring is not an auto-include, no matter how many times people say it is. In Feather, it is an actively bad card and should never be run, as the deck is so color hungry. In most decks, it's a good idea to run, but it's a pretty bad top deck late game in just about every deck. In those decks, the gain of fast early mana is offset by the opportunity cost of drawing a useless mana rock late game. Lutri completely ignores the idea of opportunity cost and needed to not function in Commander as a Companion.

    I agree with your concern about proving the restriction. Do we just go on faith, and then an hour in declare that the player auto-forfeits because they had one card that broke the restriction? Do we have to do deck checks beforehand? It's a stupid, stupid nightmare of an ability in paper.
    Hey, I played sol ring in my feather deck. Sure, not as good as many other decks, but there's still cards that need colorless. And when you T1 a boros signet, that's good feeling. But I agree, not a total auto-include. I didn't run it in my child of alara, for example, since it would just blow it up immediately. Maybe I still should have ran it, but it's at least a question. With lutri there's literally no question, you just run it every time. Not great for format diversity, and could easily become expensive and then creates unpleasant pay-to-win situations. Plus it's just another card you "have" to acquire to optimize any RU deck. I do wish they'd picked a different criteria for lutri. Ah well. Seems fun for standard I guess.

    Proving the restriction argument is ridiculous, though, for two reasons.

    1) nobody demands to check that everyone else's deck is singleton in advance. We just assume we're not trying to cheat. In tourneys, there's deck registration to verify that.

    2) since you have to reveal your companion at the beginning of the game, if you put anything that violates the rule into your deck, your opponent will instantly know you cheated when you try to cast it. You could put them in your deck and never cast them, I guess, but what would be the point?

    If someone accidentally violates the rule, I'd do exactly what I do when someone accidentally has a banned card - tell them to exile it and draw another card (not triggering any draw triggers ofc, no getting sneaky with niv mizzet lol). If they violate it before they cast their companion, I guess I'd let them pick whether they want the card or the companion, if I was feeling generous. In either case, I'd tell them to fix their deck before the next game. Not a huge deal.

    If someone already cast their companion, time passed, and then it later turns out they had a ton of violating cards in the deck...that would be weird...depending how many they had, maybe I'd tell them to just quit and fix their deck. Outside of intentional cheating I can't see how that'd happen, though.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on The Zirilan of the Claw Compendium
    Quote from Narvuntien »
    The second gift of the spoiler season that is extremely rare

    Purphuros, Bronze-Blooded 4R

    5 mana is awkward but more redundancy is always welcome. With this and sneak attack, I think I might need to put Sarkhan's triumph back into my deck.


    I really like Purphoros. As his own deck. I don't think he really fits here. The curve out is just too awkward with Zirilan, 5 mana is really tough. I don't even really like kiki-jiki anymore tbh.

    I've been working on a massive retooling of this deck, really diving in deep. Some of the takeaways so far:

    -I think the recursion concept, which was my initial interest in the deck, is dead. As is perming - a few tools are ok, but as a general concept it's not worth the effort. At this point, enough powerful dragons have been printed that redundancy is the way to go. It means you can cut all the useless sac outlets, you don't get as rekt by drawing the wrong dragon, and you don't waste so much time setting up fragile engines. And as a bonus, we have a much stronger backup plan in the form of just playing dragons normally.

    -With that, I'm also cutting the theft elements of the deck. They're clunky and don't work without sac outlets. Instead, more ramp to ensure Zirilan hits the board ASAP.

    -An interesting/important note for combo: flameshadow conjuring, minion reflector, and kiki-jiki, mirror breaker all go infinite with WGD. Reflector is even tutorable off hoarding dragon via zirilan. On the plus side, for combo, the commander is now a 1-card-combo win. On the downside, for those of us avoiding combo, we have to choose between those cards and WGD.

    If there's anyone interested in this list, lmk. I've been posting on nexus, but so far no Zirilan players have popped up over there. Would love to talk in-depth play-pattern analysis.
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on Phelddagrif: Show Weakness to Hide Your Strength
    One of this group of cards (pulsemage advocate, not a good fit for this deck, obviously) came up as a random card of the day discussion on mtgnexus recently, so I've put a little thought into my experiences with them.

    Conceptually they're really strong: give multiple answers to a friendly opponent, while hurting an unfriendly one. In practice...they're a lot less good than that. Here's a few reasons.

    1) They're on-board tricks. So people aren't just going to play into them and go "oh darn, you killed my crucial artifact with your nullmage advocate, oops". I mean, they might if they're terrible, but competent opponents won't. More likely they'll try to either remove the offending creature, or remove YOU. This is why I'd generally have something in-hand, so they don't know to play around it. Plus they have summoning sickness to deal with, so anything they've already resolved is going to require a full turn around the table before you can kill it, which is not ideal.

    2) One of the strengths of this deck is that it really doesn't care about removal, hardly at all. The few targets it does present aren't generally worth removing, and creature wipes are almost guaranteed to do next-to-nothing against it. In 1v1 this is called virtual card advantage: your enemy has those cards in his hand, but you're making them functionally useless. In multiplayer, this can be even better, because instead of being simply useless, now they're getting aimed at your other enemies. Once you start playing creatures for reals, though, suddenly enemy removal can actually hurt you. You don't get virtual card advantage, you don't get to redirect their removal at your other opponents, and you don't get to ignore board wipes - including your own. That's a pretty big sacrifice imo.

    3) I think I mention this in regards to forbidden orchard, but utility and politics don't always work great. You'll also notice this if, for example, you're activating Phelddagrif abilities for utility purposes (say, to return him before wiping the board, or giving him flying to chip in for damage). Some players will be happy to grant you future favors in exchange for being targeted with Phelddagrif, but many won't, and honestly it's oftentimes more trouble than it's worth. You really want to use Phelddagrif abilities in direct exchange for something: "remove his X, I'll give you 3 hippos" kind of thing. When you need the utility, there's usually not something you need politically, and vice versa. So it's usually more of an "or" than an "and", as regards the advocate cycle. Sometimes they recur cards for political purposes, but don't do much with their primary purposes. Sometimes they use their abilities for their primary purpose, but you don't really want to recur anything. Especially tricky for spurnmage since he needs a legal target, so you can't reliably recur whatever you want, whenever you want to.

    4) unfortunately, in my experience it's often true that players are packing a lot fewer answers than you'd like. And sometimes those answers are more of a hindrance than a help - stax pieces, board wipes (which will kill your advocate, at a minimum), etc. So frequently you just don't have anything positive to recur at all.

    That said - they are fun, and they are cool. If you want to play a less serious version of the deck, I'd encourage you to experiment and make up your own mind. I usually build Phelddagrif towards being as competitively-viable as possible, though, and I think they're a mistake in that context.

    As far as what I'd cut...uh, kind of depends on what list you're using. From my current list, probably some value piece or a board wipe - but as I've always said, this is not a deck about specific cards, for the most part. The construction of this deck is more about finding the right balance to keep control of the game. You want a big chunk of removal, a big chunk of wipes, a big chunk of counterspells, a big chunk of value - and the exact number is going to depend on meta, playstyle, and personal preference. Pick a category you think you've got too many of, and cut the worst one of those - that'd be my advice for making any changes to the deck, really. You want to find the balance that's right for you.
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on Phelddagrif: Show Weakness to Hide Your Strength
    The goal of the deck, when players are starting to be eliminated, is to try to help the person who you'll have the easiest game against. So if someone has a huge hand (I'm assuming reliquary tower or something, most 7 card hands are totally answerable) you should probably be trying to help their enemies, so that either their enemies win, or they win but they have to use a lot of their best resources to do it. Part of that is likely to be trying to eliminate their card advantage engines, although you should generally try to let them have as much as you can still reasonably handle in the 1v1, since you don't want to attract too much attention or become the threat.

    Enemy counterspells can be a real pain, and being aware of enemy counterplay is very important. When I'm preparing for the 1v1 game, the #1 thing I'm hoarding is counterspells, so that I can ensure an answer to both their threats and their counterplay. Counterspells are generally weaker than other answers in multiplayer because they force you to act very early, and thus don't let you see which direction the threat is going before deciding to answer. Plus they require you to HAVE that answer at the right time. But late-game, 1v1, they're easily the strongest answers because they answer (nearly) anything, and answer it completely. Most games end with me holding a grip of counterspells, just in case.
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on Cards that fill their text box?
    I'm also enjoying the info, as I'm working on an alexander clamilton list. Which might be a good option for a commander for you as well, samzeman, if you don't mind playing an un-commander (and restricting yourself to 2 colors).
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Phelddagrif: Show Weakness to Hide Your Strength
    The vast majority of games don't go to a nexus "combo" win, so there's no dastardly intentions to notify people of. This deck isn't trying to trick anyone, it's just creating game-states where it's in everyone's best interest to leave you alone.

    Generally enemy CA hasn't been a huge problem. It can be when it gets to 1v1, but before then, it's extremely hard for a single player to outpace the rest of the table's draw + mana, especially with you throwing out wrenches at them and hippos at their enemies. I'm usually totally fine with someone drawing a bunch, it just paints a target on them. When it's 1v1, you may feel more obliged to counter big draw spells or remove draw engines.

    Easiest rule of thumb for wiping would be "when I wouldn't be able to control it if something unexpected happened." If someone is sitting on enough damage to kill me and I don't have any fogs or enough removal to handle it, I'll wipe in case they decide to take a swing at me. Or maybe they have quite a few creatures, and I suspect they might have counter backup for a craterhoof...really just depends on how well you can control the situation. If you're sitting on a fog, some targeted removal, and some counters, you can probably let the board go for a pretty long time, whereas if you're low on answers you might want to wipe sooner. Also, if I have several wipes in hand, I might fire one off just to slow people down and get some CA, so I don't end up with a grip of wipes clogging my hand. And, of course, if someone has a vendetta against me (or it's 1v1) I'm more likely to treat the scenario like a 1v1 game and use wipes whenever it's most advantageous in my judgment.

    As far as handing out hippos, it's a fine art. Generally I don't try to force aggression unless there's good reason - if X is clearly up to something scary and needs to be stopped, I might give hippos to people for hurting them - but X, in this situation, would understand why I'm doing it and wouldn't get mad. He's the archenemy for a reason.

    If the game is fairly balanced and low-key, Phelddagrif is a pretty solid deterrent, as are utility lands like kor haven. Once someone has something scary (say an eldrazi...something I could deal with but would rather see attacking my opponents instead of eating my removal) I don't tend to say "attack X and I'll give you hippos", I tend to say "just don't attack me and I'll give you hippos". This works on a couple levels - it's not going to annoy X, and it's less likely to make me look like a puppet master, and more like someone who just doesn't want to get hit, and is lucky enough to have a good motivator for avoiding it. It helps cultivate that impression of vulnerability.
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on Phelddagrif: Show Weakness to Hide Your Strength
    Well, as I've said, the nexus thread is the one that I'm more active on. I check salvation every once in a while - you got kinda lucky tbh.

    Personally, I'm a big proponent of magic as a biathlon between deck construction and deck playing. I don't think anyone can really master a deck without having spent time building it. Hence, I intentionally made the guide open-ended, so that you can customize the deck to your budget, meta, and preferences. Simply put, there is no ideal list, especially since so much of the effectiveness is going to depend on how your opponents react to you plays. Is loam engine too scary and threatening, or is it fine? Depends entirely on the power level of your opponents, and how they react to what you're doing - and how they view you specifically. There's no way I could make a list that works optimally for all players and metas. You can copy one of my example lists, or (as I'd suggest) build your own. Maybe start with a budget version and try out cards as you get a feel for how you want the deck to play, if you want to jump in.

    Ah, yes that's just an earlier version of the deck. I build and disassemble decks constantly, so sometimes I'll revisit a deck after I've long since disassembled it. In Phelddagrif's case, I came back to it a couple times, before finally making a permanent version which is now separate from the normal deck churn I go through, though I still tinker with it from time to time, and evaluate new cards in regards to the deck. Right now I've got a lot of new legends I'm brewing with, though, so I haven't played Phelddagrif much recently. I've made ~10 decks in the past month, and am working on 4.

    Search for Azcanta is one I'm trying out. I think it can work, but it requires judicious usage - for example, not activating it if you already have a full grip. It's an effect I really like, so I'm doing my best to make it work. Whether you can "sell" it is up to you and your meta.

    Intuition is incredibly powerful, as an instant-speed tutor. Fetching loam engine is a powerful piece of that, but also it's ability to reliably fetch a board wipe or counterspell, while dumping two cards into the graveyard, is really useful. With Phelddagrif's ability to "pay" people, it's almost always a 3 mana tutor with upside.

    LFTL: you can use it just for fetches, that'd be a pretty tame use for the card. That might be worth doing if you want to keep its threat level low.
    Usually when I play it, I'm looping cycling lands to generate big CA in the late-game. I don't run the lonely sandbar cycle, though, as they're too efficient imo and can look too threatening - so I just run the cycling deserts and bicycle lands, all of which cycle for 2. Efficient enough to generate decent CA, but not TOO efficient. But YMMV of course. If you can get away with running lonely sandbar, go for it.

    nexus of fate I think I talk about in the glossary, but basically it's an out to mill (which can otherwise be hard for us to interact with) and a way to guarantee the win if the game goes sufficiently long. You can dredge loam like crazy to go infinite ASAP, but I wouldn't recommend it since it'll look pretty threatening. But if it's one of those 30 turn games, well, sometimes it's just gotta end. It does sometimes catch flak, but I always tell people it's basically just an explore in this deck. I've had it get countered before...obviously I didn't really care. If you know your meta and mill isn't going to happen you can probably ignore it. But going sight-unseen into a meta, I like to have the out. It doesn't really cost much to run since it's a fine draw once you have the mana for it.

    Board wipes can gum up the hand, for sure. I think 10 is probably too many, I've planned to cut it to 8, but as I said I've been busy with other decks. They don't usually get too much anger, since usually the players who were behind are happy to see the board get cleared. Constant board wipes are a problem though, and can make people feel annoyed that they can't get anywhere - which is why I think 10 is probably too many. But there are also lots of board states that really necessitate a wipe to get back under control, so being able to find one when needed is often crucial.
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on Phelddagrif: Show Weakness to Hide Your Strength
    First, thanks! Glad you enjoyed it.

    Second, the more updated version is on mtgnexus, which includes my current list (https://www.mtgnexus.com/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=550&start=25). Although current by no means implies it's the best. It's probably too heavy on value engines, but I had a bunch I wanted to try. I've posted piecemeal updates in the thread, rating new cards, but the primer as a whole needs a bigger update. I've just been lazy. Maybe I'll get around to it today.

    Thirdly, if you're already the consistent archenemy and have been for some time, I might suggest an even more aggressive option to reset the balance - my go-to when I feel like I just absolutely dominated the last couple matches is to bust out an unmodified precon for a game or two. Phelddagrif is more designed for an environment where you're going to at least be given a fair shake to see how threatening you are, and if you're already assumed to be the most threatening, it could lead to a downward spiral where you're forced to kill threat after threat after threat because they're ALL coming at you. Which will still likely result in you losing, but it also won't fully dispel the aura the aura of archenemy because you still killed a lot of their stuff on the way out.

    If you think your playgroup is likely to approach a new deck fairly, then maybe Phelddagrif could still work, but from the way you've described it, I'd be a bit hesitant.

    Fourthly, I'm not sure what you mean by "performing"...but it sounds like you're basically asking "how do I threat assess" which is difficult to talk about because I don't really think there's any obvious cut-and-dried answers. It's something you accumulate from playing the game.

    But in general, the first thing I tend to do when threat-assessing is to try to get a bead on how scary enemies are as a whole. How good is their manabase? Are they playing many sub-par cards? Are they playing scary cards that might combo in the future? How good is their deck's synergy, does it seem like it has a cohesive game plan? How well are they playing, are they making a lot of dumb misplays? And how aggressive are they being towards me specifically? That's going to color a lot of my threat assessment, because if their deck is jank and they're playing it badly, then I probably don't really care if they draw twenty cards off rhystic study, especially if they're not aiming them at me.

    An important part of your strategy when playing Phelddagrif is letting enemies get "out of control" in a way that will distract enemy threat assessment away from you, while ideally still being something you CAN get control of again, if you need to. So you want the deck getting out of control to be something that isn't going to throw too many scary curveballs at you.

    Lastly...I have absolutely no idea what you mean about dominance through vulnerability. It sounds vaguely familiar but a google search turned up nothing. Link?
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
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