Thanks for dropping back in, everyone. I had a fairly busy extended weekend, and was unable to get in here until today, so I apologize for the absence. I’ve got quite a few pans in the GDC fire at the moment, but today I’d like to do some quick housekeeping, and then dive into something that I’m not quite comfortable sitting back on.
First things first, pleasepleasePLEASEplease check out my Thraximundar Contest if you haven’t already. It’s for a fantastic cause again in Commandercast.com‘s Gifts Given charity drive (go over there and donate while you’re at it!), and getting a card alter of your choice out of the deal free of charge ain’t too shabby either. All you need is a decklist and a way to e-mail it over to me at email@example.com.
While we’re at it, HUGE thanks to my brother Jon for the amazing header work for the site. I’m so stoked on this thing! For more of his work, please check out his site at McAuliffe-Art.com.
So…on to the business.
For those of you who don’t already know of him, Sean McKeown is a regular columnist over at StarCityGames.com. His regular Monday column, “Ask Azami”, is a bit of a “Dear Abby” write-in for Commander; people submit their problem EDH decklists to Sean, and in his weekly article he dissects and repairs the lists in a very thorough and explained fashion. It’s a pretty fantastic model, and besides the help to the individual players, it offers a regular helping of Commander content to consume, which is never a bad thing. Sean is an all-around good guy, friend to the format, and has been on CommanderCast as a guest contributor as well.
I don’t always agree with everything Sean suggests; I think my personal EDH compass is calibrated a bit farther towards the casual side of things than his is, so occasionally his suggestions are a little too intense for my tastes. Usually, though, he’s spot-on with his suggestions; this is why I was more than a little surprised with his article this week.
“Dear Azami” this week is an ode to what Sean views as a problematic card for the format in Ad Nauseum. Entitled “The Worst Thing You Can Still Do To People”, Sean documents quite thoroughly the problematic combo engine he sees in Ad Nauseum. His article calls out the issues with the power level with the card in the Commander format, details several concepts in building around it for maximum competetive effect, and then delves into his desire to have it removed from the format by the EDH Rules Committee. It’s this last part that left me with a very bad taste in my mouth.
Sean has essentially decided to fight fire with fire by breaking the card as much as humanly possible with a mono-black Maralen of the Mornsong build that seeks to tutor up and play AdN as soon as possible on the back of some hand disruption and heavy mana acceleration, and simply crush the table via a number of outs like Exsanguinate or Tendrils Of Agony. Warning bells were already going off in my head as I read through the article; I recently detailed a similar situation with an Erayo player essentially doing the same thing Sean was proposing to do here at GenCon.
Essentially, Sean built the list to take to an EDH game, beat some other players silly with it, and then be able to point to that as proof that the RC should ban AdN.
There are so many different levels that I am opposed to this gameplan on..
If you love something…kill it with fire?
Things take a turn for the worse early on with the revelation that Sean was approached by another player to build “…the worst thing possible to ‘get even’ with a local Commander player who liked his combo deck parts just a little bit too much.” This subtle revenge theme seems to come back later on when Sean himself sleeves up the list after an unsatisfying showing at SCG: Baltimore: