My Banned List

20 May

The Banned List. Never has a topic been so continuously debated on every forum dedicated to EDH. EDH uses the Legacy Banned list, but also adds its own cards. Ostensibly the three criteria for banning a card are:

  1. Its power level in multiplayer EDH is signficantly higher than both what’s expected for its mana cost AND it’s power level in other formats (due to different rules or game sizes).
  2. it’s dollar cost is prohibitive for most players and the card usually detracts from the playing experience of everyone in the game
  3. it belongs to a class of cards which can’t be consistantly interpreted by all players

(the above is from a very old post on

Also recently Sheldon Menery posted this:

1. We can’t ban every card someone finds offensive because the list would be too large.
1a. Banning Card B because Card A is already on the list isn’t a slippery slope, it’s an impending avalanche.
2. There is no 100% solution because card evaluation is subjective. Ergo, there will never be a player-base consensus list. In other words, no matter what the list looks like, there will be complainers.
3. “Power level” in and of itself is subjective, and not necessarily the only criteria for banning.
4. We will never publish an objective flowchart on how cards get banned because 1) it’s close to impossible and 2) a 0% win for us. We’ll endeavor to explain why a card gets banned based on which criteria we’ve used, to wit:
5. The two major things that will get a card banned are 1) it creates too much mana too early in the game (Tolarian Academy) and 2) it makes for bad games even when players aren’t trying to abuse it (Biorhythm).
5a. Individuals will interpret those two criteria differently.
6. Creating a “balanced” tournament environment is not a factor.
7. 1v1 play is not a factor.

Of particular interest to me is statement number 5 – especially part 2. Essentially it says “cards which ruin games will get banned.”

Now I’m not entirely convinced about the price argument. I know that the Rules Committee want EDH to be accessible – which is to say it would be tough to come up against a deck that goes “Land, Mox, Mox, Mana Crypt, General, go” – but that’s as much of a God Hand as you’re likely to get in Magical Christmas Land. In theory my Damia deck can go Land, Sol Ring, Mana Vault, Signet, Signet, Signet and cast Damia next turn but that’s never happening either. If someone really wants to put their Mox Emerald in their EDH deck (a card which by itself is worth approximately any 5 of my decks), I say more power to them.

I mostly agree with the remainder of the reasons given. If I were on the Rules Committee (RC), I’d have criteria something similar – but not identical.

EDH is a format that is supposed to be broken – but equally importantly, if not more importantly, it’s supposed to be fun/casual/social. Doing broken entertaining stuff is fine; doing broken boring/unfun/antisocial stuff is not. It’s also supposed to be a format about variance; there is a 100-card, 1-of restriction for a VERY good reason. That’s not to say I’d ban tutors, but there are certain types of spells (notably buyback but others as well) which destroy this idea. My other main criteria for the banhammer is “cards that stop players from playing the game”. There’s a somewhat nebulous line in there somewhere, but what it boils down to is any card which bombs the game back to the stone age – most notably complete (and that word is important) boardwipes and total land destruction.

If I were on the Rules Committee (and several people are probably very glad that I’m not), this is what I’d do to the banned list.

Cards Currently on the Banned List That Would Stay There

  • Cards banned in Vintage (the complete list is here; they are the “Dexterity Cards”, Ante Cards, and Shahrazad)
  • Balance
  • Biorhythm (it’s not a social way to win; it requires virtually no setup)
  • Coalition Victory
  • Channel
  • Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
  • Fastbond
  • Karakas (has a pretty significant impact on the format)
  • Limited Resources
  • Metalworker
  • Recurring Nightmare (played properly, this is just Zombify with Buyback, except cheaper. See my comment about EDH being a 100 card, 1-of format)
  • Sway of the Stars
  • Time Vault (unlimited extra turns pretty much equals “not letting the other players play” in my book)
  • Tinker
  • Tolarian Academy
  • Upheaval
  • Yawgmoth’s Bargain

Now obviously there are a number of differences from the official banned list. I’ll discuss each of those in a second. But for now:

Cards Not On The Banned List That I Would Add

  • Sundering Titan. Possibly the most antisocial creature ever printed. Most arguments I’ve seen against it’s banning go something like “it keeps the ramp decks in check!” Bollocks. Most ramp decks are 1 or 2 colours, leaving the Titan to hit at least one other player. And it hits BASIC LANDS. This is not the kind of Land Destruction I would like to see in this format (thankfully no one in my playgroup plays this guy). Papa_funk, Rules Committee member, interestingly said recently that a card as “obviously antisocial” as Sundering Titan wouldn’t be banned because it is so obvious. The problem with that is, players are playing it; which would suggest it’s not so obvious to them. (To balance the karma here; he also said, in the same thread, “Doing broken things in the appropriate spirit is what attracts people to Commander and why it was created in the first place.” Of course his next sentence is “The banlist can only be used to steer people away from things that might unexpectedly wreck games played in the appropriate spirit, not stop people from doing antisocial things if they want to.” Which is interesting – they have banned Emrakul, and I don’t think that guy has ever unexpectedly wreck(ed) games. If Emmy deserves the Banhammer (and it does), so does this guy.
  • Iona, Shield of Emeria. Speaking of ruining games – yes, it’s hard for Iona to shut down an entire table. However, this gets the hammer from me for two reasons:
    1) She stops a player (or players) from playing the game. This is not a Good Thing(tm)
    2) I’m unbanning Painter’s Servant. If you can’t see the synergy there there’s no hope for you
  • Forbid and Spell Burst. These two break my reason for banning that applies to every other card on this list (see below) in that by themselves they’re pretty fair, and need help to be busted. However, this help is pretty easy to arrange and can result in an extremely unfun game for one player (at best) and the whole table (at worst)
  • Worldpurge. Up there with Sway of the Stars and Upheaval, except you can’t even float mana to take advantage of it yourself. I’ve played against guys who have Wildfired because they were behind, dragging everyone down to their level. I can see Worldpurge being used the same way.
  • Armageddon and Ravages of War. For exactly the same reason as above. “BUT!” I hear you cry “THE RAMP DECKS! They will be allowed to run rampant!!” (pun intended πŸ˜‰ ). I have but one question for you: Who is most likely to recover from a land-wipe? The ramp deck.
  • Jokuhaups and Obliterate. More of the same.

There’s a bunch of similarities here; all of these cards drag down the game. Some cards (and I’ll get to this more in the “Cards I Would Unban” section, below) are completely and utterly broken in half – if you build your deck to abuse them that way. There are entire categories of cards that will win you the game on the spot if you resolve them and your deck is built “right” (Hermit Druid and Ad Nauseum, I’m looking at you) but they can be used for fun and profit too (if I had a Hermit Druid, he’d go STRAIGHT into my Savra deck as way to fill up the graveyard). None of the cards above (with the VERY SLIM possibility of Forbid and Spell Burst), can be used fairly and the simple fact is they are antisocial as printed.

There are also a fairly large number of spells which are similar (for example, but far from limited to Razia’s Purification, Cataclysm, Constant Mists) but just different enough that I don’t think they’re banworthy. That list is very long indeed, and I think it’s this that Sheldon alludes to as “the avalanche” in his quote up there near the top of this post.

Cards I Would Unban (and Why)

Welp, let’s get the bigs ones out of the way first:

  • The Power 8 (all of em) I don’t think being “the best at what I do” is reason for banning, neither do I think (for reasons stated above) dollar value should set a precedent for banning. I do think fast mana needs to be carefully watched and for that reason Black Lotus is AWFULLY close to staying banned, but the moxes can be favourably compared to Sol ring (makes one more mana than it costs). Yes, there are OBVIOUS differences, the two most obvious being zero-cost and taps for colour. Would these go into every deck that can run them? Sure. Will that lead to degenerate games? Occasionally yes. But most of the time, topdecking Mox Emerald on turn 10 is every bit as bad as topdecking Sol Ring on turn 10.
  • Gifts Ungiven. This card has the dubious honour of being the only card I’ve put into an EDH deck because I didn’t know it was banned. This (and the next entry, and to be honest most of the rest of this particular list) are easily breakable – if you set out to do so. I had no intention of doing so, and in fact had put my copy into a terrible U/B Szadek mill deck. It was fun, and I used it as such.
  • Protean Hulk. I love this guy. He just has value written all over him. Anything that makes your opponent really have to choose between killing it, or trying to deal with whatever he can come out with, is all good in my book. Again, you can break this if you try. I don’t believe you can accidentally break it – you have to set out to do so.
  • Painter’s Servant. With my ban of Iona, this becomes a much more interesting card. Yes, it creates a hostile environment for creatures in a Teysa, Orzhov Scion deck. EDH is already a creature-hostile format. A Wrath will kill Teysa, the Servant, and all the tokens. Likewise with Grindstone; if you’re putting Painter’s Servant and Grindstone together in a deck you already know you’re a douche… Leyline of the Void + Helm of Obedience is legal, and I don’t see those played either.
  • Staff of Domination. Infinite mana combo with any creature that taps for 5 mana (typically Rofellos). With infinite mana comes infinite life and infinite card draw. So I play this and then win the game? Well, no. First you have to have a creatures that taps for five mana in one go. Then you have to have the Staff. Then you have to “go off” (admittedly Krosan Grip is the only way to truly “interrupt” this process). Then you have to win, as the Staff doesn’t provide you with a win con of it’s own. I admit this is pretty close to the line as far as power goes, but infinite life isn’t the be all and end all of EDH games.
  • Panoptic Mirror. Listen, I know how good this is, especially with extra turn effects. Again, if you’re the one doing that, you’re not doing it accidentally. You could do a lot of fun things with this card.
  • Library of Alexandria. Yes, this goes into every deck that can conceivably run it. Chances are if it’s not in your opening seven, it’s a land that taps for colourless mana. People better at the Magics than me have tested this and declared it broken and ban-worthy; perhaps it is, but I just don’t see it.
  • Kokusho, the Evening Star. With Recurring Nightmare still on the list, I think this guy deserves to come off. This has been debated ENDLESSLY on the EDH forums and I don’t plan to debate it here again. However:

Cards I Would Ban As General

  • Kokusho, the Evening Star. No point making him too easy to get, now is there? πŸ˜›

Now, it’s late and I’m sure to have missed something; I reserve the right to edit this post at any time (although I promise to indicate when I have done so.) That’s my banlist. Comments?


Posted by on May 20, 2012 in EDH/Commander


Tags: ,

36 responses to “My Banned List

  1. Elpeo Ple

    May 21, 2012 at 6:19 am

    I see more games ruined by consecrated sphinx and primeval titans than Armageddon and Obliterate.

    • Viperion

      May 21, 2012 at 7:45 am

      Aaand I just won my bet with myself about which two cards would be the first two mentioned πŸ™‚

      Prime Time and Con Sphinx both give their controller pretty significant advantages. However, “all” they do is accelerate the game towards the finish – and in my opinion that is exactly what cards should be doing, especially at the CMC 6-9 end of the scale. The cards I would ban are the ones that slow the game down, not the ones that would speed it up.

      Are they powerful? Of course. Are they too powerful? I don’t believe so. Our group plays with multiple decks with both of these guys and although they’re pretty ubiquitous, they certainly haven’t ruined the games they’ve been played in, in my experience. I have had all my lands blown up, and that did ruin the game for me.

      It all depends on your definition of “ruined” – does someone landing Prime Time automagically make them win? It certainly doesn’t in our group. Does someone landing Con Sphinx suddenly make your hand and board position worse? Not that I’ve seen.

      • Gene Taylor

        May 21, 2012 at 2:01 pm

        Doesn’t Panoptic Mirror go against being a 100 card 1 of format, all it does it allow you to cast the same spell over and over again. When you are using this card in ‘fun’ mode it is no worse than a using recurring nightmare ‘fairly’

        • Viperion

          May 21, 2012 at 2:16 pm

          Yeah, it does a bit. However there’s a couple of relevant points;

          If Panoptic Mirror is banned, then Isochron Scepter should probably be too, since it’s practically the same card

          You don’t (usually) cast Recurring Nightmare once per turn.

          You’re right in that it leads to the same spell being cast multiple times, which can be frustrating, but that depends on the spell (obviously).

          Essentially it’s a risk/reward thing. There’s a fairly high risk for high reward with the mirror (artifacts are easily disposed of, and once it is the spell you were using is exiled), where RNightmare is low risk/high reward (it’s really only vulnerable to counterspells and discard)

  2. Angus

    May 21, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    yeah… i remember the games when emmy was kicking round. They were super less than fun… I don’t thing Sunder tits is even in the same league. sure he wipes five lands when he comes in and when he leaves. but he carries no protection and doesn’t get shuffled into your deck. if your just playing him in your deck opposed to in a deck designed to abuse creatures like him then he’s a dude. and not a great one. But emmy is just in the category of ‘there is no fair way to play him’.

    The same goes with panoptic mirror i just don’t think there is a fair/fun way to play it.

    Also all of the power? cause time walks lead to fun games i hear…..also it’s widely admitted (atleast in our play group it seems to be) that sol ring should probably be banned it’s just not cause it ‘s so much fun πŸ˜€

    • Viperion

      May 21, 2012 at 3:13 pm

      Although I didn’t explicitly say so in the post, my basic philosophy for what’s banned and what’s not is “don’t be a dick”. If you’re going to imprint Time Walk on a Panoptic Mirror you’re not going to win a lot of friends. If you imprint Fog on Panoptic Mirror, it becomes a completely different card (also note the timing on Panoptic Mirror – fog is not really an optimal play πŸ˜‰ ) Cards that are in and of themselves “dickish” and – in my opinion – can’t be played fairly are the ones that got the axe (S Titan, Iona, board (especially land) resets). Panoptic Mirror can be fine if you’re not a dick about it. Time Walk is fine if you play it once. Iona is always a dick.

      The thing that really gets me about Sundering Titan is it always gets 10 lands, and more often than not basic lands at that. If it was a “goes to graveyard” trigger like Koko, I’d be much less against it (although it’d still be busted as hell with a sac outlet)

      • Angus

        May 22, 2012 at 1:04 pm

        I think it has been said else where in reply but i’ll just say it again… really name me a fair/fun thing that anyone would ever imprint on a panoptic mirror? Even just something as stupid as a harrow is just going to get out of hand waaaaay to quickly

        • Viperion

          May 22, 2012 at 1:56 pm

          Storm Herd. Army of the Damned. Rise from the Grave. Buried Alive. Gorilla War Cry. Wheel of Fate. Primal Command. Stonewood Invocation. And that’s only from my mono-colour decks. Tidings (as mentioned – sure it’s good but you’re paying 10 mana initially for it).

          The once per turn restriction and initial mana investment really does keep it in check, IMO. As far as I know it’s banned solely because of the interaction with extra turn cards, which we’d be pretty quick to stomp on, in our group.

  3. murkymercy

    May 21, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    I’ll swap Tundering Sitan for Staff of Dominance any day of the week πŸ™‚

    • Viperion

      May 21, 2012 at 10:48 pm

      To use it, or to break it?

  4. joe doe

    May 22, 2012 at 1:13 am

    The unban list suggestions made my shook head. First, there are the power 9, and yes Time Twister is a real card. Second, Protean Hulk. Suggesting it means you probably have no idea what Flash Hulk was (go ahead google it). Third, Painter Servant. At least you mentioned the combo.

    Fourth, to answer your question about Ravages and Armageddon: Aggro decks curve out in the fashion they’re build in and ramp decks recover only their mana faster, but the get the short end of the stick over all.

    I came to the conclusion you a) have no idea what you’re talking about or b) the whole post is pure irony (if it is: well played Sir). You suggest banning recurring counterspells and some land destruction (probably because unfun) and want to unban some of the most degenerate combo pieces ever printed. I’m still shaking my head..

    • Viperion

      May 22, 2012 at 7:50 am


      Folks, my first very own troll! I’m so happy! To answer each of your condescending points in order:

      First, Timetwister is already legal in EDH. Therefore of the Power 9, 8 of them are banned. Therefore, unbanning the Power 8.

      Second, Protean Hulk. Flash Hulk is a real combo that I already know about. If you want to go ahead and build a combo deck and play with yourself, go right ahead. You can already play any number of two card combos which finish games in EDH – if you build a douchebag deck, you’re a douchebag and you’re not really playing EDH. Your playgroup will self-police such behaviour. There are several thousand creatures Protean Hulk can go and fetch, the vast majority of which provide fun and entertainment.

      Third, Painters Servant. You don’t actually make a point here. Again, it’s a two-card combo. With Teysa, creatures die. With Grindstone, you kill a player. Well done! Do you really think the purpose of EDH is to kill your opponent in the most efficient manner possible? (Hint: It’s not. That’s what Legacy and Vintage and Modern and Standard are for)

      Fourth, Ravages and Armageddon. Yes, they are good tools for aggro decks that want to press home their advantage before they get overwhelmed by better quality creatures. However, stopping the other players from being able to cast spells is, once again, not a feature of the EDH format.

      I came to the conclusion that you want to play 100 card Vintage and you have no idea what EDH is supposed to be about, or your entire post is irony, in which case, you need more smilies πŸ™‚

      Decks don’t combo by accident; if you have a game ending combo in your deck you put it there on purpose. If your plan is to combo out the table on turn 4, UR DOIN IT RONG.

      (On a more serious note, please be more civil next time.)

      • Steve

        June 16, 2012 at 3:50 am

        Thank you for responding so well to that poster – it took the burden of doing so out of my hands.

        I would just like to add that the RC states clearly on their website that “fair play” exceptions to the banlist are encouraged. Essentially this means everything on your unban list, if played the way you describe in your premise, is ALREADY CONSIDERED ACCEPTABLE by the powers that be.

        I also played a banned card without realizing it for awhile – Protean Hulk. Now he sits in my binder and I remember how fun it was to play him and find a bunch of utility dudes. I have petitioned my playgroup to errata him to exile himself is you use his ability.

    • thaumaturge

      May 23, 2012 at 5:16 am

      I fully expect our estemed blog owner Viperion to delete this comment, because I cannot refrain from feeding the troll here, but Joe Doe, you sir are a (expletive deleted) moron. You are the one who has no clue what you are talking about. Your post is the one that has me shaking my head… you are a bad person and you should feel bad.

      (Sorry, Viperion, I can’t help myself. My blood pressure literally shot up so high I got dizzy when I read this guy’s ignorant post, so for the sake of my health I had to retort. Feel free to delete if you like).

      Editors note: Aside from that one word that I’ve edited out, the post is fine… although I’m obligated to ask you to be civil just as I did for Joe. (Also glad I wasn’t the only one to have that reaction πŸ˜‰ )

      • thaumaturge

        May 24, 2012 at 3:04 am

        Thank you for being cool about it. I understand your decision and accept it. I just need to point out that being civil, in this case, would not have helped to calm me down at all.

        I really need to get some blood pressure medication. 😦

  5. Brad Houston (@herodotusjr)

    May 22, 2012 at 8:26 am

    I have never, ever, ever seen someone imprint something non-broken on Panoptic Mirror. Not ever. It barely even makes sense to do so, because you have already paid a 6-mana premium on top of the cost of the spell (on top of EXILING the spell as an additional cost), and you want to have an effect that is good when repeated, so you want to be sure you are getting your money’s worth from the spell. This almost always means Sweeps, Extra Turns, or Mass Card Draw (On the level of Recurring Insight or Tidings), as most of the rest of the repeatable effects you can put on this thing aren’t that good (I suppose you COULD put a tutor on it… or you could just play Planar Portal). Even Mass Card Draw is barely worth it, particularly in the colors where imprinting such a spell is even possible… which leaves the choices as Sweeps (boring) or Extra Turns (even more boring). I have seen this thought process play out so many times in 60-card casual constructed that there is no doubt in my mind it would be the same if it were unbanned in EDH. Just a bad idea. (Also, Panoptic Mirror is NOT the same as Isochron Scepter… If Time Walk were legal and an instant, then maybe. But the most ‘broken’ thing I can think of with Scepter is Orim’s Chant, and that’s not even necessarily a game-winner in this format.)

    I think much of the rest of your list is OK, though my feelings on Painter’s Servant are well-known, so I won’t rehash that argument, and I have never seen Worldpurge even PLAYED in EDH, let alone abused. I do think you are undervaluing mass LD as a ramp deterrent, though. It’s true that those decks are more likely to be resilient to mass LD anyway, but many of them are also basically combo decks– they shoot their ramp-wad in the first few turns and then crap out if they somehow fail to win– and you have to have SOME way to combat those effectively, particularly now that they can use both Boseiju and Cavern of Souls to protect their finishers.

    • Viperion

      May 22, 2012 at 9:31 am

      Some good points there (and I’m noticing a theme with Panoptic Mirror…)

      The thing I really hate about Mass LD is that it bombs everyone, and that’s more likely to hit the non-ramp decks harder than the ramp ones. You’re right in that the ramps decks tend to “shoot their ramp-wad” but chances are they still have ramp spells left in their decks, where the other decks are left playing catch up for the rest of the long, drawn out game. I’m fine with pretty much all targetted LD, and “selective” mass LD such as Ruination, although I’m aware those rarely hit ramp decks too hard as they tend to get basic lands.

      My main philosophy for my list (which I hope I’ve been fairly consistent about) is that if it can’t be played fairly, it gets banned. If it can be broken, it stays legal and I rely on playgroups to monitor it’s own social contract. I realise this makes for a potentially very cutthroat environment in some places, but if that’s what those groups enjoy, more power to them. I just think the current RC’s list (“these are the sorts of things you shouldn’t play with. It’s not all the things you shouldn’t play with. Just some of them”) is a bit weird and leads to a whole lot of “If Card X why not Card Y” endless debates. (Incidentally, that’s why I banned Worldpurge even though it’s not being used, anywhere. It’s just not something that can be played nicely, IMO.)

      • thaumaturge

        May 23, 2012 at 5:20 am

        I hate Mass LD too, so even though I really don’t think it’s NECESSARY to ban it, I will support you in principle because I would not shed a tear to see it gone.

        However, I gotta echo the many others who have argued against the unbanning of Panoptic Mirror. It’s far too warping, and I just think it’d have profoundly negative effects on the format as a whole.

        Other than that I mostly agree with your overall philosophy… I just don’t think Pan Mirror fits that philosophy. It will basically always be absurdly broken, no matter the intent behind using it.

        • Viperion

          May 23, 2012 at 7:53 am

          There certainly seems to be a consensus there πŸ™‚ I’ll give some serious thought to it (cos you know, this stuff is important πŸ˜› ) and get back to all y’all

  6. Sam

    May 23, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    Lol at the troll. Must be right? Surely someone couldnt misread an article that bad.
    I agree with what you said. No experience with Panoptic MIrror, but more than happy to take peoples word for it.
    Land destruction without a guaranteed win that turn or in the next one or two turns is just stupid. If your deck does something to minimise its affect on your own permaments and then almost IMMEDIATELY win then its ok.
    If you blow up all lands and then ping people with a Savannah Lions then you should make a new deck and/or play a different format.
    However, not land destruction – not going to cry.
    Mind you, I find counterspells really really annoying in EDH. There is something about an opponent stopping my perhaps one play for each five to ten minute round (Depending on how slow they and other opponents play) that is very annoying.
    Happily ‘our’ playgroup, much many others I suspect, had/has? a player who was more than capable of deciding on sketchy grounds at best to monotonously wreck one opponents game through repetitive buyback countering of their spells.
    This has made me STRONGLY dislike counterspells in EDH. Mind you, realising that not all players are like that means I dont see the need for banning them.

    • thaumaturge

      May 24, 2012 at 3:08 am

      I really friggin hate countermagic in any format, but I’ll put up with it with minimal complaint in any format save EDH. In EDH, I can’t stand it. I tried to get over my prejudice by playing a smattering of Countermagic in my Edric build… two nights ago I cut all the counterspells in the deck for creatures and some more ramp (I was getting mana screwed a bit more than expected).

      Creatures and ramp, son… creatures and ramp. That’s what EDH is all about, ain’t it? πŸ˜‰

      • murkymercy

        May 24, 2012 at 8:30 pm

        Fuck that. The next time I get complained at for slamming a counterspell on someone’s Genesis Wave for infinity million I’m going to powerbomb that person through the table.

        • thaumaturge

          May 26, 2012 at 1:49 am

          No one in my group plays combos or giant X-mana spells. G-Wave and Exsanguinate either don’t get cast in my group, or their for like x=8 or something reasonable. So the lack of countermagic doesn’t hurt anything, because every possilbe win-con in my group is a permanent of some kind, and can be interacted with via removal.

          If we did have combo decks and Exsanguinate-type spells, we’d definitely be more inclined to allow countermagic, as counterspells are the only real way to interact with such spells. Fortunately, my group hates infi combos as much as they hate countermagic… so it’s all pleasanly self-regulating.

  7. Sam

    May 24, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    Well the next time (which is probably a long time in the future at this rate) someone counters all my spells or in fact any of my spells for some stupid ass reason while ignoring spells which turn the game into a quagmire of boredom or actually end the game in someone elses favour I will rabbit punch their throat.

    • murkymercy

      May 25, 2012 at 11:36 pm

      Rabbit punch! Love it πŸ™‚

  8. Sam

    May 24, 2012 at 10:17 pm

    Not meaning counter my genesis wave for a million btw Jock – your cool πŸ™‚ Counter that s**t up

  9. murkymercy

    May 26, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    I guess I just don’t see a big difference between counterspells and removal. If no one plays counters and no one plays mass LD (which I completely agree with btw), ramp runs, well, rampant.

  10. Sam

    May 26, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    To be fair – if no one plays mass LD and counterspells, AND no one builds a genesis wave/valukut/sundering titan/eldrazi ramp monstrosity, then ramp simply allows players to play the big splashy awkward mana cost spells. The problem comes when there are savage ramp decks,and then people build savage control decks to stop them, and then take the aforementioned counter deck into a game full of non-ramp decks and proceed to wreck the other players night.

    Pretty sure this conversation has been had before in this blog. 90% of the problem is people not correctly judging the mood and decks of the table. Just because its really ‘fun’ for you to genesis wave for 20, or be the arbiter of what gets played, doesnt actually translate to a good game of EDH

  11. murkymercy

    May 26, 2012 at 11:13 pm

    I feel there is room in the format for people to play big splashy spells and for people to play counterspells. I’m not meaning Forbid and the like, more like Draining Whelk and Desertion. I don’t like getting beaten down by a big dumb creature like Multani, why shouldn’t I counter it?

    • Sam

      May 27, 2012 at 9:53 am

      Yep fair call. I think we are probably on same page but maybe not paragraph.

  12. Briffert

    May 27, 2012 at 12:30 am

    While I might concede the argument to being at most in my favour as “a matter of taste” where Spell Burst is concerned, I would like to leap to defense where forbid and counterspells in general are concerned. The problem with spell burst is that even mono blue is actually capable of playing ramp in EDH. But in my experience playing the card (I only put it in the deck because I was providing myself with an additional handicap anyway) if you sit there doing nothing except countering one spell per round, and that is all you’re really able to do, you will eventually get beaten to death by a jungle lion anyway.
    However, I think that forbid provides enough innate card disadvantage to warrant its existence. I think that you are so rarely going to be able to buy it back and not stare longingly at your graveyard in regret at a later stage in the game. You really have to be playing a very specific deck to be able to do it forever (and again, forever at about once a round) and before you say “any ‘specific’ deck with blue in it” I say no, only decks with millions of draw spells, which therefore, aren’t doing anything else relevant.
    Also, you have talked a lot about playgroups self-managing. Well, counterspells provide a medium for playgroups to self manage while actually at the table. Don’t like sundering Titan? Counter it. Counter it EVERY game. Save one for it whenever you play that person. Tell them that that is what you are doing and why you are doing it.
    On top of that, as someone else pointed out, I REALLY do not see the difference between permanent removal and counterspells. Yes, most of the permanent removal has the drawback of only being able to hit selective types where as counterspells can hit any type. EXCEPT that there are already a million cards that counter-counterspells (thrun, boseiju, eyes of the wisent) AND they also have the drawback that they can’t effect anything after it has already hit play. And if people are playing there permanent removal properly then they will just remove it at the end of your turn. And is that brief moment of hope that you will get to untap with your whatever really worth not knowing and being able to plan for the rest of your turn? Also, why is that artifacts, creatures, enchantments, lands and plainswalkers should all be able to be removed but NOT instants and sorceries? That just straight up doesn’t make sense, ESPECIALLY if you want your games to be all about the combat step.
    The thing is, blue (just about, thanks confiscate/volition reins) cannot deal with permanents in any other way. So cutting out powerful counterspells would just make mono blue decks close to unplayable, which shuts off a whole bunch of generals, which shuts off a whole bunch of fun. And that isn’t what EDH is about.

    As to other, less counterspell, things:

    Is sundering titan that much of a problem? I mean, you can probably frustrate someone if you ramp into it, or demand dealing with (either the card or the player) if it is repeatedly recurred. But the guy still gets STP’d like anything else. And I don’t think I have ever seen it single handedly win, or even dominate a game. – Having said all of that, I also can’t remember it ever making a game actively better. I can’t say I would care if it got banned, but I kind of feel like you’re yelling at a T-towel for being wet, I mean, it’s not really the T-towel’s fault πŸ˜›

    I am so-posi-lute-defi-abso-lutely in favour of switching the ban from painter’s servant to Iona. PS opens up weird and wacky things. Iona does something other than that.

    Thanks to our American friend, I have played against library of alexandria. Its not very fun. That card is pretty stupidly good.

    I was slightly surprised when I first built an EDH deck that mass LD wasn’t banned. I mean, we always banned it playing regular highlander and it doesn’t seem to add much to the game. Having said that, I like it in cube, so maybe there is a fun way to play it.

    I couldn’t agree with you more about the power 8. Seriously, I’ve tried. I actually can’t do it. I mean, if someone sat down opposite me and put there MoX EmeralD (true moxin are so holy they have the first AND last letters capitalised) down on the table I would be like “Omigodohmigodohmigod! Is that Real? Can I touch it?! Seriously, you are shuffling that card, just so you can play it with ME? I am. . . honoured. Can I touch it?” Except, you know, even more creepy than that.

    Is this longer than your blog yet?

    • Sam

      May 28, 2012 at 8:50 pm

      You counterspell argument is convincing. My only fear/rebuttal is that in my experience they are not often used the way you say. The suck games are the ones where for whatever reason the guy with counters chooses to use his or her one counter every round on one player. Sure he is going to lose to the other players, but they can ignore him and let him screw the other player. Meanwhile the victim (?) of counter spells can do jack if – because they are playing EDH – they can only really play one spell a turn.
      The other problem – which has happened – is sitting down to play and realising of the 5 decks at least 3 are running a significant amount of counters. Now they could spend them time counter warring, and sure that happens. However, they will also take the time to stop the two non-counter decks doing SFA. Pretty un-fun EDH IMO.

      Rabbit punch.

      • murkymercy

        May 29, 2012 at 10:28 pm

        That is nothing to do with counterspells, that is the players. The person with lots of creatures COULD spend his time attacking everyone but what if he spends his attack step only on one person? Probably not much fun for that person so should we ban creatures?

        • Sam

          May 30, 2012 at 7:19 pm

          Dammit man rabbit punch! Yer players – who wants them

  13. murkymercy

    May 31, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    I’m of the opinion that EDH is a game best played alone. I vote we all just goldfish from now on.

  14. Sam

    July 2, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    No more posts!?


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