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Whoops, I Did It Again…

Well that’s certainly my bad deed for the day.

SOOOOOO how about that content, huh? Yeah, uh, well….

Now, I wasn’t foolish enough to make any New Year’s Resolutions about keeping this thing here active, but I did make a resolution to finish off my Deck Building Challenge of Doom – one deck of every currently legal colour combination. For those of you following along at home, this is what I have so far:

Mono Colour (4/5)
White: Kitsune Mystic (allowed in my playgroup), Enchantments
Black: Lim-Dul the Necromancer, Zombies
Red: Jaya Ballard, Task Mage, Burn and Jaya themed (every card with Jaya Ballard flavour text that can legally go in the deck. Yes, including Mystic Compass and Melting…)
Green: Omnath, Locus of Mana, OMNATH SMASH (General Damage deck)

Allied Two Colour (2/5)
Red/Green aka Gruul: Radha, Heir to Keld, Tribal Elf/Warrior
Green/White aka Selesnya: Tolsimir Wolfblood, Tokens

Enemy Two Colour (4/5)
Black/White aka Orzhov: Ghost Council of Orzhova, Blink/Tokens
Blue/Red aka Izzet: Nin, the Pain Artist, hurting you for drawing cards. And making you draw cards.
Black/Green aka Golgari: Savra, Queen of the Golgari, Sacrifice and board control
Green/Blue aka Simic: Edric, Spymaster of Trest, Rogues and Superspies

Shard (3/5)
Blue/Black/Red ala Grixis: Jeleva, Nephalia’s Scourge, Tribal Vampires
Black/Red/Green aka Jund: Sek’Kuar, Deathkeeper, eating my own dudes for Fun and Profit and Face Smashing
Red/Green/White aka Naya: Mayael the Anima, My Friends Are Bigger Than Your Friends

Wedge (5/5) (C’mon Wizards name these things already)
White/Black/Red: Kaalia of the Vast, Demons and Dragons and Angels OH MY
RUG: Animar, Soul of Elements, Big Creatures on the Cheap
Black/Green/White: Doran, the Siege Tower, I Like Big Butts (vaguely Treefolk tribal)
Red/White/Blue: Zedruu the Greathearted, Take My Stuff
BUG: Damia, Sage of Stone, I Drop My Hand, I Pick It Up Again

I haven’t built 5-colour or colourless yet…

Since I made my resolution, I actually finished some of the half-built decks I had lying around, so these decks are now built but haven’t been tested yet:

White/Blue aka Azorius: Isperia the Inscrutable, toolbox fliers
Green/White/Blue aka Bant: Rafiq of the Many, A Rafiq Deck Like Every Other Rafiq Deck

And I’ve also started and ordered cards for Black/Red (Rakdos) which is Wort, Boggart Auntie, Goblin Tribal, and have sleeved up the White/Blue/Black (Esper) C13 Precon with Oloro, Ageless Ascetic at the helm, which I’ll be tweaking here and there. The Isperia and Wort decks make up for the otherwise lacking Allied Colour Pairs listing.

So what do I have left?

Mono-Blue
Blue/Black
White/Red
5 Colour
Colourless

Not too bad (although I am cheating on the Esper deck a bit since at this point in time it is literally just the pre-con deck).

So, I need some ideas for what I have left. Time for a poll!

The Mono-Blue options

  1. Ixidor, Reality Sculptor. I’ve tagged this one “Ixidor’s all signing, all dancing, all morph, 3-card Monte of DOOOOOM”. As many mono-U morphs as I can fit in, and as many ways to turn them face down as I can find (so far limited to Ixidron, Master of the Veil, Weaver of Lies and maaaaybe Backslide. If I’ve missed any – aside from ones that can turn themselves face down like Vesuvan Shapeshifter and Mischievous Quanar – please let me know!). This was my first idea for a mono Blue deck; I’m not a fan of decks that just counter everything and I’m a bit of a Timmy/Johnny so constantly flicking morphs up and down amuses me… Turn Weaver of Lies face up, flipping all my other morphs back down, one of which is Master of the Veil to turn Weaver of Lies face down… do it all again… But that doesn’t really get me anywhere.
  2. I have mentioned this guy before:

    I don’t think any more needs to be saidšŸ˜›
  3. Born of the Gods gave us this guy

    And this spell..

    Again, not too much more to be said, I think. Leviathans, Kraken, Octopi, Serpents and Merfolk, AHOY!

The other colour combination I’m considering is Red/White. Again I have three options:

  1. Gisela, Blade of Goldnight. YAWN. But I have been thinking about this one for a while, so I’ve pretty much got it mapped out in my head. But it will look like everyone else’s Gisela deck, and that’s not a good thing.
  2. Anax and Cymede. I keep seeing all these “two target creature” spells and thinking “Hey….” This one will be about 50/50 Heroic and Battalion, and I think could be interesting… Right up until all the little solder dudes get outclassed by every other creature on the board (sometime around turn 6)…
  3. Aurelia, the Warleader. Also known as ATTTTTTACK!!!!!! ATTTTTACCKKKKK!!!!!!

So, gentle reader, I give you the chance to help me decide. Hit me up in the comments, and/or vote in the polls below!!!

Until next time (whenever that is)!

 
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Posted by on January 24, 2014 in Challenge of Doom, EDH/Commander

 

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Small update

So, I’m in the middle of typing my next epic masterpiece (Transforming Nin into Nekusar) andĀ I realise my links to me decklists in the pages up on the top right of this site link to an OLD version of deckstats, and therefore old versions of my decks – and that the “new” version of my deck on deckstats isn’t up to date either…

Looks like I have some updating to do. Feel free to have a look at those decklists as a general guideline (the decks haven’t changed that much) but let’s consider them guidelines rather than the actual contents of the decks.

In other news the post I’m working on is turning into a bit of a monster – I’ll post it when it’s ready but that may not be for a couple more days yet… stay tuned, gentle reader!

-Stan. Uh, I mean, Matt.

 
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Posted by on October 30, 2013 in EDH/Commander

 

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Commander 2013 – good, better, best?

Much like General Damage Control, (who coincidentally have just made a very similar post to this one…) there’s nothing I like more than to complain how Wizards has dropped theĀ ball on one thing or another, or how certain decks/cards/players are unfun or whatever.

So, here goes my list of complaints about the upcoming Commander 2013 product:

  1. Oversized Generals. A complete waste of cardboard.
  2. It’s not out yet. Why is it not out yet?
  3. Uh…….

I think this one is going to fit firmly in the “credit where credit’s due” camp. This product looks FANTASTIC. I cannot wait to get my hands on these things (and at MSRP too, thanks to my very FLGS*!)

So, for each deck I’m going to highlight my favourite new card, favourite reprinted card and (because I like to complain) my “what the hell is that in there for?”. And because I have not much of the self control, there’ll no doubt be a few honourable mentions too…

Let’s get to it!

Eternal Bargain (aka Esper, WUB)

New Card Hotness: Act of Authority

Oblivion Ring on steroids, it took me a couple of reads of this before I figured out it doesn’t have the “when Act of Authority leaves the battlefield” or “for as long as Act of Authority is on the battlefield” clause. At worst, this is a 3 mana exile spell. More than likely you’ll get to exile two things and the new owner will (possibly) exile Act of Authority, or they will continue the chain and exile something else for you. I’m very keen on this for my Zedruu deck (since it gives itself away) and also for my Kitsune Mystic enchantment deck (although it’s quite good against my Kitsune Mystic enchantment deck, so maybe not…). A very, very cool multiplayer effect, and (in my humble opinion) EDH Politics Done Right.

Old Card Sexiness: Lim DĆ»l’s Vault

Hands down. Every time I read that card I’m like “no way can it do all that for only 2 mana, and at instant speed!” Yet, here we are. I’ve often thought of picking one of these up and throwing it in a deck just for the sheer awesomeness of it. To be honest I’m not sure where it will go (my only U/B decks at the moment are Garza Zol/soon-to-be-Jeleva, and Damia) but I’m certain it’ll find a home.

Honourable Mention: Spinal Embrace. Creepiest. Art. Ever. And a hell of a combat trick.

Say What?!?

I really want to complain about Transguild Promenade in here. It’s a land that will never see play, ever… it puts you back two land on the turn you play it, even if it’s all things to all people after that. However, the fact that that’s pretty much the only card in here that is outright bad (Wall of Reverence? Marrow Bats? Not so bad in this deck) says a lot about how good this one is. Well played WotC, well played.

Nature of the Beast (aka Naya, RGW)

That New Card Smell: Tempt With Discovery

To be honest I struggled with this one – all the new cards in this deck are pretty good (and I know a lot of people are going ga-ga over Marath) but I’m just not excited about any of them. I like this (and the rest of the “Tempt with” cycle) as a MUCH MUCH MUCH better idea than Join Forces, and this one in particular; at worst it’s the non land-destruction version of Reap and Sow and at best you get 3 or 4 lands out (any land, and untapped!) while other people search out their Urborg or Cradle or Strip Mine or whatever. I like.

That Old Card Nostalgia: Eternal Dragon (NOW WITH NEW ART)

And ain’t it sexy? I only have one Eternal Dragon and it’s in my Mayael deck;Ā somehow I managed to get a Japanese one and it’ll be nice to get my hands on an English version. Plus I love that art!

Honourable Mention: Wrath of God. The one, the only, when everything must die at bargain basement prices. Accept no substitutes.

Huh?: Tower of Fortunes

I get that this deck is (reasonably..) low on card draw, but this seems out of place. The only mana acceleration I can spot is Cultivate and the Tempter, above – there’s lots of landcycling and Sprouting Vines, but they don’t actually accelerate you any. The Tower is ridiculously expensive and comes right at the time when you’d want to be landing Big Huge Creatures, not something that you have to sink 12 mana into to get four cards. A real head scratcher, for me.

Power Hungry (aka Jund, BRG)

Hot New Thing: Prossh, Skyraider of Kher

Prossh has the honour of being the only General on the front of the box to make this list (although it’s very close in UBR’s case, see below). Having said that, he’s not going to be at the head of any of my decks; he is however going straight into my Sek’Kuar deck as a source of multiple creatures and a free sac outlet. He will (in all likelihood) only ever make 6 Kobolds, but a 5/5 flyer with six little sacrificial buddies isn’t exactly a bad deal. I like me some Dragons and this guy is pretty cool, even if he’s not exactly the most powerful Angry Red Flier ever printed.

Honourable Mention:Ā Fell Shepherd. This guy is going to be reasonably insane in my Savra deck.

Old Flame(s): Waaaay too many to choose from

But I’m going to go with Goblin Sharpshooter. I’ve been after one of these for a really long time and getting him in a modern border is just icing to go on the pew-pew-pew cake. He’ll be going into my BR Wort deck when I build it but for now he can also go into Sek’Kuar, a deck where the untap potential of this guy is just this side of (does the math) lots and lots.

Honourable Mentions:Ā Hoo boy. Endless Cockroaches, Hua Tuo, Foster, Goblin Bombardment, Night Soil in a new border, Reincarnation (in a new border and with fixed wording) and Tooth and Claw. This one’s a doozy! Also a big shout out to Silklash Spider who may be my favourite green creature ever.

I don’t geddit: Hunted Troll

Sure I get the appeal of an undercosted beater and in multiplayer you can give the Faeries to a friend, but compared to the rest of this deck he seems to be in here for no really good reason. I guess the same could be said for Jund Charm too – none of it’s modes are particularly relevant to the game plan, and it seems like it’s in here because it’s the right colours. These are, however, small concerns.

Mind Seize (aka Grixis, UBR)

This deck is weird. It doesn’t seem to have a plan. All the rest clearly do but this one seems to be a strange, clunky combination of stall, card draw and creature kill. Does it want to win with Jeleva exiling everyone’s libraries? Is it a mill deck? Does it want the opponents to die of old age? I have no idea.

New and Improved: Nekusar, the Mindrazer

The star of my last post, and the reason I started posting again. This guy is going to vastly improve my Nin, the Pain Artist deck by taking over as General. Perfect fit for what I want that deck to do, which is make my opponents draw cards and punish them for it (what some people call “Group Slug” as opposed to “Group Hug”). Windmill slam, get-out-of-my-thoughts, perfect strike.

Old and Reliable: Strategic Planning

Looking at this decklist, it’s by far the one I’m the least excited about. The only other card I’m really excited to see in here is Decree of Pain in modern border for the first time (no, I do not count Commander’s so-called Arsenal). Seeing the Portal Reprint in here is pretty cool, and seeing three cards while stocking your graveyard (even in blue) is pretty good.

Dazed and Confused: Most of the rest of the deck…

But especially Vampire Nighthawk. Not sure what this guy is supposed to achieve…. also I get why Arcane Melee is in there, but Arcane Melee and Cruel Ultimatum are not BFF’s. Or Grixis Charm. Or Crosis’s Charm.

Evasive Maneuvers (aka Bant GWU)

New!: Djinn of Infinite Deceits

This is pretty much exactly the kind of creature I’m looking for for my Zedruu deck. A big flying wall that not only gives stuff away, but takes yours at the same time. This deck has a lot of very good cards, but I’m not that interested in good cards… Angel of Finality, Restore, and Unexpectedly Absent will all see actual play, but it’s the big janky flyer that intrigues me.

Old!: Lu Xun, Scholar General

Another portal card that I would never be able to get my hands on (and I live in one of the few parts of the world that Portal Three Kingdoms was actually available, albeit before I was playing), this guy is going straight into my Edric deck.

Honourable Mentions: Karmic Guide, Mirror Entity, Rubinia Soulsinger (in a new frame with very nice new art), and Thousand-Year Elixir, which for some reason is still a $5 card. Oh, and Borrowing 100,000 Arrows, even if only for the name.

Bad!: Leonin Bladetrap

The number of times this is going to be relevant is on the conservative side of 1. Bad, bad card.

Well, that’s more than enough from me. What are you looking forward to? What don’t you like? Hit me up in the comments!

*That’s Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price, and Friendly Local Game Store, in case you were wondering
 
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Posted by on October 22, 2013 in EDH/Commander

 

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He’s not dead, he’s restin’!!

(tap tap tap) This thing on?

Holy Mother of Pearl, can this be content? Well, I guess only you can tell me that…

Things have been… hectic… over the last year. I’ve missed posting on here though and have been tangentially keeping up with the EDH world, mostly through mtgcommander.net and generaldamagecontrol.com. I’ve just started playing EDH again, and have been teaching it to my girlfriend – it’s really interesting getting a new player’s perspective on the format, especially one who is (practically) new to Magic. I’ll be posting more about that – and may ask her to write a guest piece – sometime soon. (Update: I’ve asked her and she’s keen – upcoming post sometime in November after final exams)

What has finally pushed me over the edge though, and forced me to start posting here again, is this guy:

Where was this guy a couple of years ago? The last time the Commander Precons came out, a lovely little lady called Nin, The Pain Artist was released onto the unsuspecting world. I ended up choosing Nin as my R/U general for my Deck Building Challenge of Doomā„¢ – one general of each (legal) colour combination. Nin’s general theme is “here, have some cards. Now HOW DARE YOU HAVE CARDS I KILL YOU” with Psychosis Crawler, Sudden Impact, Molten Psyche, and friends.

While making that deck I came across such fun cards as Phyrexian Tyranny and Spiteful Visions and Underworld Dreams and thought “Wow it would be great if there was a Black/Blue/Red General who cared about card draw…”

AND NOW THERE IS

The problem (and it’s very much a “first world problem” problem) is that my Nin looks like this:

(Alter done by MTG Card Extensions on Facebook. Check out her work here)

Also, I already have a UBR deck – Tribal Vampires, headed by Garza Zol. It’s not a great deck, but it is fun to play and I was going to swap out Garza Zol for the other new hotness in the upcoming UBR deck, Jelava:

Now admittedly Jelava doesn’t have a lot to do with my deck other than her creature type, but she’s new and exciting and the art isn’t as bad as Garza Zol (hint: Nothing Is), and she’s considerably cheaper. However, I’m reasonably fond of the Vampire deck as it is. I could theoretically drop the blue out of it and run it as a B/R build, since I don’t have a B/R deck. The planned B/R deck was going to be a Wort, Boggart Auntie goblin tribal, but I haven’t actually started to build it yet, although I have a number of ideas and I’d quite like to build it.

Basically I can’t make my damn mind up. I really do want to add black to my Nin deck – do I just suck it up and have two (completely different) UBR decks? That would leave a hole in UR, plus I’d have an altered Nin who wouldn’t be the general. If I make the Nekusar deck do I retire Garza Zol? Do I make Garza Zol RB (probably with Olivia Voldaren at the helm) and forget the Goblin Plan?

Whoever said options are a good thing?!?

So, to the polls! (This is also a not-very-sneaky way of seeing if I can stimulate some interest in this blog againšŸ˜› ) Vote for as many options as you like; Should I keep or change Nin? Should I have two UBR decks? If not, should I have to RB decks? Vote early and often!

Footnote: If anyone can tell me how to do those fancy mouseover card images on this site, I’d be mighty appreciative. As far as I can tell, it needs Javascript, and I can’t run Javascript on this (free) site, but can if I move to wordpress.org and host it on my own server – except I don’t have one of those, and have no intention of getting one. I’m pretty happy to stick with the links to magiccards.info for now, but if some clever clogs out there knows a better way, please do let me know!

Cheers all, good to be backšŸ™‚

Matt

 
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Posted by on October 16, 2013 in Challenge of Doom, EDH/Commander

 

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Deck Analysis – Radha, Heir to Keld

Hi again folks,

Well the votes are in and as you can see from the lovely lady with the extra head above me, the deck you want me most to talk about (thanks to the people out there that voted!) is Radha, Heir to Keld. I have this deck built at the moment, but it’s unique amongst my decks in that I already have a stack of cards I want to put in, and I’m not really sure what direction I want to push her in.

Radha is somewhat unique in another way; I’ve only read one Magic novel in my entire life, and that is the Time Spiral novel in which Radha plays a reasonably large part. In the novel Radha is all fire and action, and is obsessed with proving her worth through battle. It’s also revealed that she has the beginnings of planeswalker spark, although that obviously doesn’t go anywhere (Hey WotC! Let’s see a R/G Radha, Planeswalker of Keld!).

My original thoughts were to make a pretty basic Red/Green aggro deck, using Radha’s ability to make mana in the combat phaseĀ to power Tricksā„¢. Unfortunately the “new” rules changes (this is an old ideašŸ˜› ) mean that the mana she provides is generated and must be used during the Declare Attackers step, which reduces the surprise value somewhat. Actually it reduces the surprise value to nil, which is a real downer….

What I’ve ended up with is a Red/Green kinda aggro semi-tribal Elf/Warrior/Beserker mess, including such all stars as Lovisa Coldeyes and Raging Goblin. (OK so the Raging Goblin is in there because I love me some Raging Goblin…) I’ve played it a few times and as soon as it runs out of steam – and it does that fairly quickly – it’s full of 2/2’s and 2/1’s and 3/3’s that everyone can pretty much ignore. (My Damia deck has a similar problem, but for a different reason – it’s full of mana dorks to help me get to Damia ASAP – but once they’re in play, they tend to be somewhat irrelevant.)

The other idea I had is a super ramp deck (Radha isĀ a mana source, after all) and build up to massive X spell after massive X spell, preferably assisted by Radha’s mid-combat mana-adding ability. Most of the spells in the “sideboard” are these X-spells; but there are some in the deck already as well, along with such cards as Rosheen Meanderer. (Who, you may note, is not an Elf, a Warrior, or a Beserker. I is good at the theme decks!). The other, similar but different,Ā option is to build an EDH version of “Elfball” – a deck which utilises a ton of mana producing elves, and ways to untap them, to build up to arbitrarily large amounts of mana and use a Fireball (or Comet Storm, or similar) to take out the entire table at once. I have some of those cards in here as well.

The list as it currently stands is missing a lot of good Warriors – most notably Imperious Perfect, Wren’s Run Vanquisher, and Bramblewood Paragon. Apparently I’m also good at the giving away playables… I swear I have them in the Black Hole that is my hobby room… somewhere… but I’m still looking for the last kid I sent in there to get something for me.

I’ve done a bit of searching (on mtgsalvation and mtgcommander) for other Radha lists, and there areĀ a few popular archetypes for Radha decks. For some reason the most common one I can find is a combination mana ramp/land destruction build; since Green and Red have the best LD spells, I guess. This is a type of build that interests me about as much as pulling my own fingernails out with a pair of pliers; if I had to sum up my personal EDH philosophy in one phrase it would be:

Let people play their deck

(For the record, yes I run decks with counterspells and creature destruction and board control. I run Faerie Trickery, but not Forbid. If you can’t see the philosophical difference between those two spells, this blog ain’t for youšŸ˜‰ )

Other types of Radha decks floating around are:

  • A quite cool and tricksy Life from the Loam/Crucible of Worlds/Seismic Assault/Storm Cauldron deck (but really, this could be any R/G general)
  • Goodstuff Aggro/Ramp… accelerating into Avenger of Zendikar and friends. How exciting!!!
    • Having said that I did find one deck which had quite a cute idea with Birthing Pod, Weatherseed Treefolk and/or Shivan Phoenix; basically you can pull every 6 or 7 drop out of your deck (one per turn) since the Treefolk and the Phoenix just keep coming back
  • Elfball (as described above, and in more detail below)
  • Elf-without-the-ball – all the big mana but only used to power out more and more Elves, usually killing with Ezuri or Kamahl, Fist of KrosaĀ (not that he’s an elf)

ElfBall (from someone who clearly doesn’t know how it works)

The general idea with the old-school Elfball lists that were floating around in casual land since forever is that you use an Elf that taps for a lot of mana (typically Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary or Wirewood Channeler) and some way to continually untap him that costs less mana than he produces, making an arbitrarily large amount of mana and Fireball everyone for the win (hence ElfBall). Most of the decks I’ve seen in action splash blue for one or both of Pemmin’s Aura or Freed from the Real, as they only require a single mana to untap. In red and green, your options are limited somewhat:

  • Umbral Mantle (requires the creature to tap for at least four mana)
  • Sword of the Paruns (ditto)
  • Aggravated Assault

There are other ways the ElfBall works as well; the most common that I’ve found is to make an infinite storm count by using Cloudstone Curio and Heritage Druid, along with two other one-drop elves. It works a little like this:

  • Have Cloudstone Curio in play, and Heritage Druid either in play with one other one-drop Elf, or in your hand with two other one drop Elves.
  • Play the Elf in your hand (Storm 1)
  • With the Cloudstone Curio trigger on the stack, tap three Elves to make GGG
  • Return a tapped Elf to your hand
  • Play that Elf (Storm 2, GG in mana pool)
  • Return a tapped Elf to your hand
  • Play it (Storm 3, G in mana pool)
  • Return the last tapped Elf to your hand
  • You’re now back at stage one – You have two untapped Elves + Curio in play, and a third in your hand

Things get even wackier if one of your Elves is Nettle Sentinel – because it untaps itself when you play another Elf, you don’t need to return it to your hand. This means you make green mana out of the deal, which leads to infinite storm, and infinite green mana (essentially it’s another way to ElfBall). Finish off with your choice of Ignite Memories or Grapeshot (or Haze of Rage or Hunting Pack if you’re feeling weird, or Volcanic Awakening if you’re feeling like a dick…)

ElfBall Pros

  • It’s about the only way to make Elves relevant in EDH
  • It comes out of left field (at least the first few times)
  • It’s reasonably resilient
  • It doesn’t require the combat phase to win
  • I don’t play a lot of combo – this will only be my second combo deck (the first being Animar, which is more a U/G creature deck with some combos in it. It has a grand total of 3 red cards, as I write this, and two of them are only there to give haste to my team.)

Elfball Cons

  • It’s not particularly interactive. ThisĀ of course applies to most combo decks
  • It needs all it’s pieces (and it needs lots of pieces) at once which means either a) tutors, or b) lots and lots of waiting
  • Being R/G, it won’t have a lot of ways to protect itself
  • It’s much harder to get the right bits assembled when only one of them is in the deck.
  • It will pretty much play out the same way every game

Another option is…

Warrior Tribal!

There are some great Warriors in Magic. The vast majority of them are in Green and Red. This seems relevant, since Radha is herself a Warrior. (As an aside there are 5 legendary G/R warriors. A 4/4 First Striking, Legendary Landwalking lass for 6, a 4/6 Rampage: 1 for 6 (wow…), Radha, A 3/4 guy who comes with his twin for 6, and a 4/4 Trampler for 5, with a mid-combat pump. Radha seems best to me, although a couple of these guys could sneak in.)

Lorwyn block really is the star here; it gave the Warrior tribe a lot more late-game punch with the addition of Giant and Treefolk Warriors (as well as Goblins, Elves, and Elementals). There are 68 Green and/or Red Warriors in Lorwyn/Shadowmoor block alone! They did need the help though – there are only 183 Warriors in the rest of Magic history, and most of them are…. sub-par (Akki Raider, looking at you here…)

After going through the list, these are the ones I thought may actually be worth playing:

Elf Warriors

Allosaurus Rider
Bramblewood Paragon
Elvish Skysweeper
Elvish Vanguard
Imperious Perfect
Joraga Warcaller
Lys Alana Huntmaster
Nath’s Elite
Nettle Sentinel
Talara’s Battalion
Winnower Patrol
Wren’s Run Packmaster
Wren’s Run Vanquisher

Goblin Warriors

Bloodmark Mentor
Boggart Ram-Gang
Goblin Bangchuckers
Goblin Wardriver
Zo-Zu the Punisher

Elemental Warriors

Brighthearth Banneret
Inner-Flame Ignitor
Nova Chaser (if enough Elementals)
Vengeful Firebrand

Giant Warriors

Boldwyr Heavyweights (requires Stranglehold?)
Boldwyr Intimidator
Countryside Crusher (requires mana acceleration, or some way of getting lands from graveyard to hand or play)
Furystoke Giant
Hamletback Goliath
Hotheaded Giant

Treefolk,Ā Human,Ā Troll,Ā Vampire,Ā Cat, WolfirĀ and Snake Warriors Oh My!

Ambassador OakĀ (brings an Elf WarriorĀ friend!)
Champion of Lambholt
Drumhunter
Falkenrath Marauders
Hunted Troll
Jedit Ojanen of Efrava
Kargan Dragonlord
Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs
Markov Blademaster
Matsu Tribe Sniper
Nacatl War-Pride
Petrified Wood-Kin
Sosuke, Son of Seshiro
Splatter Thug
Viridian Zealot
Vulshok Battlemaster
Wolfir Silverheart
Zealous Conscripts

While it’s not a particularly impressive list, there is some potential there. However, I think a lot of the work will be done by only a few of the creatures; notably Bramblewood Paragon and Boldwyr Intimidator. Everything else either makes more creatures, or make themselves or others bigger. There’s a distinct lack of evasion, which I guess for Warriors isn’t a huge surprise.

Aggro decks in EDH just plain don’t work – there is one aggro deck I can think of in our playgroup that is any good, and it’s a G/R Stonebrow deck that ramps up to big trampler after big trampler, usually with Savage Beating (THE most appropriately named card in all of magic) to finish. Having a bunch of 3/3’s and 2/3’s simply doesn’t cut it against the haymakers most EDH decks are throwing around, and that’s before the somewhat inevitable board wipes. So in order to make a tribal deck work, you have to be able to FINISH HIM!!

So, I thought to myself… what if I could combine the two decks? Have an Elfball Tribal Warriors mashup?

Such a deck would have a game plan kinda like this: In the early game throw out some threats in the form of Warrior beatdown, as well as a fair bit of ramp-age (turns out that word needs a hyphen, otherwise it’s just rampage, which is kind of appropriate I guess). In the mid game it’ll prey on targets of opportunity while setting up for the Big Finish, which will be a large X-spell of some variety. Cards like Earthquake in this scenario are fine, since if the early game has gone well I’ll be on more life than anyone else.

For this strategy (and I use that term loosely) I’ll have to cherry pick only the very best Warriors, and the ElfBall cards which are essential to creating large amounts of mana – although it must be noted that I don’t have to have the ability to go InfiniteĀ – if I get to X=20 or so, that should be more than enough. First let’s look over the Warrior list above for cards which also work in ElfBall:

Nettle Sentinel.

Hmm. This could be harder than I thought. There are a few good Warriors which can act as mana sinks for Arbitrarily Large Amounts Of Mana (Wren’s Run Packmaster, Joraga Warspeaker, Boldwyr Intimidator, Inner-Flame Igniter (sort of), Vengeful Firebrand, Kargan Dragonlord (although he “only” needs RRRRRRRR)). The trouble is, if I draw all (or worse, only some of) my Elfball stuff too early, I have nothing to do in the early game. If I don’t draw it at all, I’m just going to sit around with a bunch of outclassed creatures. Still it’s not all doom and gloom. I think I can build enough resilience in – without resorting to a bunch of tutor effects – that Fun Times will be had. So, this will be my initial build:

General: Radha, Heir to Keld

Warriors: (sorted by converted mana cost)

  1. Elvish Skysweeper, Joraga Warcaller, Nettle Sentinel
  2. Bramblewood Paragon*, Brighthearth Banneret, Goblin Wardriver*, Kargan Dragonlord*, Matsu-Tribe Sniper, Varchild’s War-Riders*, Wren’s Run Vanquisher, Viridian Zealot*
  3. Boggart Ram-Gang, Champion of Lambholt*, Imperious Perfect*, Inner Flame Igniter, Markov Blademaster, Mirri Cat Warrior, Zo-Zu the Punisher
  4. Ambassador Oak, Hunted Troll, Lys Alana Huntmaster, Sosuke Son of Seshiro, Vengeful Firebrand, Wren’s Run Packmaster
  5. Nath’s Elite, Stonebrow Krosan Hero, Vulshok Battlemaster*, Zealous Conscripts*
  6. Nacatl War-Pride
  7. Allosaurus Rider, Boldwyr Intimidator, Hamletback Goliath

*Cards I don’t actually own… Champion of Lambholt incidentally makes all my dudes unblockable if I cast an infinite number of Elves in a turn. Handy!

I considered Nova Chaser here but I only have three other Elementals – not good odds.

Counting that up we have 32 Warriors. Pretty good numbers for a semi-tribal deck, and still plenty of room to add the ElfBall pieces. So far, so good! Adding to that, Elfball pieces (remember, I’m not trying to go infinite, but simply Largeā„¢

Combo Number 1: Infinite Mana: Rofellos Llanowar Emissary, Elvish Archdruid, Priest of Titania, Wirewood Channeller, Umbra Mantle, Sword of the Paruns. Finish with Comet Storm, Earthquake, Hurricane, or something else that gets everyone at once, preferably at instant speed.

Combo Number 2: Infinite Storm Count: Cloudstone Curio, Heritage Druid, any two other 1-drop elves (currently Elvish Skysweeper, Joraga Warcaller, and Nettle Sentinel). With Nettle Sentinel this also gives me Infinite G mana. I’ll have to put in more here – getting Heritage Druid and 2 out of the other three one-drops in play at once seems pretty unlikely. Candidates are: Arbor Elf, Centaur’s Herald, Copperhorn Scout, Elvish Lookout, Essence Warden, Gladecover Scout, Greenseeker, Joraga Treespeaker, Llanowar Elves (and maybe Fyndhorn Elves), Quirion Ranger (this guy is a shoe-in, given the next category), Skyshroud Ranger, or Taunting Elf (although he probably wouldn’t survive long enough!). That’s 12 more to choose from. After the infinite storm, I will have Grapeshot, Ignite Memories, and Hunting Pack (hopefully with a haste enabler like Fires, see “Other bits” below…). I really want to throw Haze of Rage in here, but without something else to help it out, whatever dudes I have (that will be infinitely large power, but no more toughness than normal) can just be chump blocked.

“Combo” Number 3: Big Enough: Rather than generating an “arbitrarily large” amount of mana, this uses the mana producers from Combo 1 above to generate merely “enough mana to kill you all”; Quirion Ranger, Wirewood Lodge, Magewright’s Stone, Scryb Ranger, Seeker of Skybreak, Seize the Day, Thousand Year Elixir, Wirewood Symbiote.

The idea here is that I have approximately 30 cards to work with after including the 32 Warriors above; after a little jiggering around this is what I’ve decided on:

ElfBall Package, sorted by Converted Mana Cost:

0. Wirewood Lodge
1. Essence Warden, Fireball, Hurricane, Heritage Druid, Joraga Treespeaker, Llanowar Elves, Quirion Ranger, Skyshroud Ranger, Taunting Elf, Wirewood Symbiote
2. Comet Storm, Fault Line, Grapeshot, Magewright’s Stone, Molten Disaster, Priest of Titania, Rofellos Llanowar Emissary, Rolling Thunder, Scryb Ranger, Seeker of Skybreak, Squall Line
3. Cloudstone Curio, Elvish Archduid, Sword of the Paruns, Thousand Year Elixir, Umbral Mantle
4. Wirewood Channeler
5. Aggravated Assault, Ignite Memories
7. Hunting Pack

Altogether that’s 62 cards. That’s what you get for trying to shoehorn two different decks into one – ideally I want to run 35-37 lands (the curve is reasonably low) so I have zero, one, or two cards left… and no real way to deal with anything my opponents are doing (short of killing them dead, of course).

This is what the deck looks like so far (I added Stomping Ground, Rootborn Crag, and Basics).

I’m tempted to call it there and play a few games with the deck as it is; partially because I want to see if it’ll work at all, partially to see if I need to add things like Fires of Yavimaya, and partially because this post is nearly 3,000 words long and has taken me nearly a week to writešŸ˜€ (That also explains the somewhat sporadic card tags… If you need to see what a card is click the link in the previous paragraph and just hover over the card namešŸ™‚

What do you think? Does the complete lack of meaningful interactions with the rest of the table kill this off? Does the complete lack of mana ramp sink this deck before it takes off? How can I play a Radha deck without Bang Veggies!? Stay tuned! Comments as always, welcome!

 
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Posted by on November 23, 2012 in Challenge of Doom, EDH/Commander

 

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Konda, Lord of Eiganjo; a study in Theme Deckery

I find myself with nothing to complain about. This is a sad state of affairs indeed, and so I must turn to more creative endeavours! Thank you to the voters in my poll from the last post (vote now!) and I’ll be looking at one or more of those decks in the near future. In the meantime, I’m going to go through a theme deck I’ve been building off and on for a while now – a second Mono-White deck whose general (uh, Commander, I guess, but come on, he’s ACTUALLY a General!) is this guy:

Bit of a beast, this fella. A 3/3 Vigilant dude for seven isn’t exactly at the top end of the power curve. A 3/3 Vigilant indestructible dude, if we’re honest, doesn’t really cut it either (see for reference: Avacyn, Angel of Hope. For one more mana you get +5/+5, and flying, and she makes all of you shizzle indestructibizzle, my nizzle. Ahem). Bushido 5, while impressive and the highest Bushido ranking of any creature in the game, currently, is not usually going to be relevant.

So why this guy? Flavour. Story. Badassness. This is the fella that started THE war. This is the guy that brought down a plane. This is the guy who just plain refused to listen, and Kept On Fighting. One of the very few white villains in the MTG Multiverse, Konda don’t take no shit from no one.

How to best represent this? Well, I figure he’s the type of guy who’d take on the world, by himself if need be, to get the job done. He’ll put on his armour and grab his weapons, and go out and win this damn war. So that’s more or less what I’ve done with this deck. It’s a Voltron style, General damage inflicting deal, full of things a Warlord is going to need to get the Job Done(tm).

Of course no man is an Island (not after they errata’d Island Fish Jasconius, anyway…), and so Konda is going to need a little help. I’ve restricted myself to either people that are directly related to him – in one case literally! – or work with him in the storyline (OK, so I haven’t actually read the story. Wikipedia is my friend, right?). I’ve also added a few creatures that help with the Equipment and Swing gameplan. In I dived to my collection, and pulled out:

Konda, Lord of Eiganjo
Konda’s Hatamoto
Opal-Eye, Konda’s Yojimbo
Konda’s Banner
General’s Kabuto (actually going to be reasonably important; it’ll stop most Exile andĀ TuckĀ effects)
Eiganjo Castle
That Which Was Taken

I would have added Isamaru, and Michiko Konda, but I don’t own any – I will be attempting to trade for them soon.

Next on the list o’stuff were some supporting characters – some from Konda’s own story, and some from other realms. Because I’m trying to make this as themey (it’s a word!) as I can, the extra creatures here must either fit well with the deck, or with the theme. So in go:

Characters from Konda’s storyline and setting:

Masako the Humorless
Kami of Ancient Law
Takeno, Samurai GeneralĀ (making that Bushido 5 of Konda’s actually useful!)
Eight-and-a-Half-Tails
Nagao, Bound by Honor
Myojin of Cleansing Fire
Samurai of the Pale Curtain
Yosei, the Morning Star

Now, you may notice some spirits on there. “What gives!” you might be screaming impotently at your computer screen. “Konda started the war against the spirits!” True, but in the story I’ve been able to find Yosei actually helped defend Eiganjo castle when the big spirit attacked it. Kami of Ancient Law has a quote about Konda right there in the flavour text, and the Myojin is a taste of things to come… more on that later. (Also, That Which Was Taken + Myojin of Cleansing Fire = BFF’s, amiright? IrightšŸ™‚ )

Other dudes that aren’t from Konda’s timeline

Stonehewer Giant
Mageta the Lion
Brass Squire
Kor Outfitter
Magus of the Disk
Puresteel Paladin
Steelshaper Apprentice
Taj-Nar Swordsmith
Stoneforge Mystic

So basically, dudes that get equipment, or dudes that kill everything… for some reason. Okay, so after all the dudes, the rest of the deck is Weapons of War and Killing. Everything. Hell, if I’m paying seven mana for a 3/3, I’m going to equip him up and make sure he connects! Keeping to the theme as much as possible, I’m only putting in equipment suitable for a General. With that in mind, this is the initial list:

WEAPONS
Oathkeeper, Takeno’s Daisho

Bonesplitter
Warlord’s Axe
Vulshok Morningstar
Trusty Machete
Tenza, Godo’s Maul
O-Naginata
No-Dachi
Leonin Scimitar
Hammer of Ruin
Dead-Iron Sledge (seems good when you’re indestructiblešŸ˜€ )
Banshee’s Blade
Greatsword
Inquisitor’s Flail
Loxodon Warhammer
Sword of Kaldra
and of course (you knew this was coming, right…. Worldslayer

ARMOUR

Slagwurm Armor
Vulshok Battlegear

SHIELDS

Kite Shield
Pariah’s Shield
Shield of Kaldra

OTHER WARGEAR

Vulshok Gauntlets
Golem-Skin Gauntlets
Swiftfoot Boots
Champion’s Helm
Helm of Kaldra

Now we’re just about ready to go on the warpath. All we need is some way of getting through with the damage; white isn’t too big on trample effects, but there is one thing it is good at:

KABOOM

I could dick around with Protection style unblockability, but really let’s just keep blowing the world up while my indestructible General takes large chunks out of your life totalšŸ˜‰

Day of Judgment
Wrath of God
Rout
Austere Command
Phyrexian Rebirth
Sunscour

plus the Mageta, Magus, and Myojin I already have. Should do the trickšŸ˜‰

Adding those up, I have 57 non-land cards, including Konda. Normally in a mono-coloured deck I’ll try and cheat on a land or two, since it’s only the number, and not the type of land that’s going to be important. In this case though, I need to get to seven mana reliably, and then have a bunch of equip costs on top of that. So I’m going with 37 land, plus a mana rock or two. That only leaves me about 6 cards to play with. On a whim I did a search for “Metalcraft” since it seems this deck will have a lot of artifacts at any given time. In go:

Auriok Edgewright
Dispatch
Dispense Justice
Etched Champion (if I can find one)
Indomitable Archangel (ditto)

One space left…. I think I’ll just chuck in Day of Destiny, just because it ain’t going in any other deck…

The manabase is going to be pretty standard – Eiganjo, Drifting Meadow, Secluded Steppe and Emeria the Sky Ruin. And lots and lots of plains.

And there we have it. Konda, in all his blasty, screw-you glory. I don’t expect this to be a good deck – if I was trying to make it good, I’d play Swords of Stuff and Junk* and Umezawa’s Jitte, and card draw and artifact removal and all that good stuff. I don’t usually play decks with this many sweepers in them, but I don’t plan on using them until the Big Guy hits the table and starts swinging.

So what’d I miss? What should I have put in? What shouldn’t I have put in? Comments below!

*Swords of Stuff and Junk (c) Cassidy McAuliffe 2011

 
4 Comments

Posted by on November 9, 2012 in Challenge of Doom, EDH/Commander

 

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Getting back on the EDH Bandwagon

Hi folks,

That’s right, it’s me! After a somewhat long hiatus, I’ve decided that it’s time I started my particular brand of whining on the internet again. This here post here is going to beĀ a mishmash of stuff I’ve nearly posted but haven’t, after which I’m gonna try my best to get more content out there. After all, my voice is important, right? Of course it is. So without further ado, on to the Wisdom!

Return To Ravnica: Pre-Release

I loved me some Ravnica block. It was the first successful block that wasĀ releasedĀ while I was running my game store (I opened during Fifth Dawn. Then came Kamigawa Block. Ugh…) As a result I have a real soft spot for Ravnica, and have resolved (and so far, succeeded!) to participate in every draft I can, just like the good ol’ days. However, that’s getting ahead of myself a bit. First, there was the pre-re! I signed up for all 5 pods that our LGS had set up; the first kicked off at midnight on the Fri night, so given our timezone (GMT +13, in New Zealand) it was entirely possible that we were one of the first people in the world to (legally) crack into the cardboard. Can I just say here that the “guild booster” was an inspired idea, and one that worked pretty awesomely well all weekend (apart from that one time when I was Selesnya, and… well.. it’s the worst pool I’ve ever opened. But it happens). I was randomly assigned guilds, but got all 5 over the weekend.

My first guild was Rakdos. And boy did it smash face! I went 3-1 (all our pods were 4 rounds, in order to save a bit on time) and the match I lost was against another Rakdos player. I kid you not, this was how Game 1 went:

And this was game 2:

Smashed ’em bro!

Ah well. Over the course of the weekend I went 3-1 (Rakdos), 1-3 (Selesnya, with the worst pool you… ah never mind), 3-1 (Golgari), 1-3 (Azorious), 2-2 (Izzet). My Azorious deck was fragile but conditionally good, while my Izzet pool could have been explosive but instead resolved to colour screw me. What really annoyed me was in my 36-odd packs I got one Shockland (my fifth Steam Vents) and no Guild Legends at all. (Obligatory sob story: I’m opening my Izzet box, and the guy across the table from me – who got the very next Izzet box – goes “Hey! Foil Overgrown Tomb! And Steam Vents in the same pack! And oh hey, Hallowed Fountain in this one!” FML….)

All in all I had a blast at this event, and will be doing the same come Gatecrash. Come on, Simic!!!

Return to Ravnica: Draft

With two drafts in the books, how’m I doing? Well, I 0-3’d the first one with what I thought was a fairly solid G/B/w deck… although I opened a Jace in Pack 3, so not complaining too hard. Then I went 2-1 in the second with a very solid G/B deck, which people kept gifting me cards for. I got a Golgari Guildgate LAST PICK in pack two. That’s not right, right? I really want to pick up some other cards, but people keep passing these Golgari things to me. Everyone’s in love with U/W skies or U/R Burn or G/W populate it seems. Having a bunch of 2/2’s isn’t that bad people. Oh and a pro-tip – the 3/4 Hexproof Rhino guys are REALLY good if you have a lot of scavengešŸ˜‰

EDH Bannings

(Yep, it really has been that long since I’ve posted…)

– Worldfire: Can’t get behind this one quickly enough. If this is what WotC think Commander players want, they are waaaay out of touch (see next rant…) I’m glad the RC jumped on this one. Nothing says anti-social like “I don’t give a flying f**k what’s happened so far. I’m gonna nuke you all back to the stone age.”

Primeval Titan: OK so I can see why they did it, but I’m not sure the combination of ubiquity + power was enough to actually bring the hammer down on this guy. Sure, in our playgroup we don’t abuse him as much as we can, but even for those who do, the argument “the game revolved around him” doesn’t really hold any water for me. I only got my hands on three of these (they were in Damia, Animar, and Mayael) so I’m not too disappointed but I don’t think it deserved the banhammer. Ah well.

+ Kokusho, the Evening Star: Love it. Love everything about it. This shouldn’t have been a surprise to anyone. I ordered a couple before the announcement hoping Koko was going to come off the list. Huzzah! The reasons why Kokusho deserved to come off the list have long been debated everywhere so I won’t go through it again, but I will sum up with: Other creatures have caught up. Not as format defining as she was previously. (She? Really? How do you tell?)

So now they just need to unban Protean Hulk, and I’ll be happy. (Yes, combo. Yes, broken. They unbanned Worldgorger Dragon, and it’s not exactly causing any problems.)

Commander: Arsenal (aka The Arse)

Hoo boy. After my last post on this subject (see here), and several other people adding their much better formed arguments (samples here, here, and here), and pretty much everywhere that talks about EDH (especially mtgcommander and mtgsalvation) I don’t think there’s a lot to say about this one. It’s a huge miss, as far as I’m concerned, and the cards in it will simply push the prices up beyond what the average EDH’er can afford. As it turns out, that’s what they were going for; this from Mark Rosewaters blog (Now called BlogAtog, previously Tales from The Pit):

sentancedtosaturnus asked: What was it about the original Commander Pre-Cons that made you (I know it wasn’t you) decide that a “luxury product” was a good follow up? Usually when a car dealership sells out of a affordable mid-sized sedan, they don’t respond by ordering Luxury car. I have faith in Wizards and I know there has to be better reasoning than that in the case of Commanders Arsenal. Was there some need to use an all-foil product due to printing arrangements or something else that we don’t know?

Commander came out last year. It was a huge success. We realized it should be something we do every year, but due to our lead times the quickest we could get it out was 2013. So we decided to make a smaller product that could be made much quicker.

Due to the much shortened lead time, we made a product capable of being made in the time allotted. That product couldnā€™t have a lot of cards which greatly limited our options. We made a list of items that we could make and a luxury items for high-end Commander players who like to ā€œblingā€ out their deck was picked.

I understand that a lot of Commander players want more cards for Commander. Weā€™re making that product – as something annual even – but thatā€™s not what Commanderā€™s Arsenal is. The product you want is coming out just not until next year.

Here’s hoping next year’s product is the same price as the original pre-cons (or close), and at a much, MUCH higher print run…

In the interests of full disclosure; I am currently on the waiting list for one of these; mostly because it does have cards I want, and also (and most importantly) our very FLGS is selling it for retail (well, NZ retail) prices. That doesn’t make the product any better, and it’s still a significant (but obviously cost-effective) outlay for me that will curtail my Magic budget for quite some time.

Deck Updates

I have not been sitting idly by these last few weeksĀ  – most of my decks have been through a little rebuilding process, especially considering the release of Return to Ravnica. (Although having said that, my Nin, Tolsimir and Isperia decks haven’t picked much up. Savra got a bunch of new cards though – 12 in all – and that’s without the Jarad that I haven’t manage to trade for yet). When I run out of things to complain about – which probably won’t be for a while – I’ll run through a detailed analysis of one of my decks. This is where you (the four of you that still read this) come in – there’s a poll! Vote for which one of my decks you’d like to know more about. I’ve limited the options somewhat, as the decks below are the ones I want to talk aboutšŸ˜‰ ) So without further mucking around – if I were to talk about a deck, which one would you like to hear about?

Welp, that’s all from me for now – I’ll be back (this time I mean it….)

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2012 in Challenge of Doom, EDH/Commander

 

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