Here I am, burning the oil once again. Let’s hear it for insane real-world work and poor planning otherwise! But I can’t leave you all hanging, so sleep can wait for now. (I’m thinking sometime tomorrow around . Once of the perks of my new job title is an office with a real door…)
While we’re on topic, let’s talk schedules! GDC currently updates every Monday and Thursday. I’m pretty sure that I picked those two days because at the time StarCityGames was publishing EDH material on Wednesdays and every odd Friday or so. Obviously, that’s changed up a bit as of late, including my ‘Dear Azami’ article that goes up every odd Monday or so.
The other piece of this equation will reveal itself tomorrow. (Er…Friday, for those of you that aren’t still awake in the next hour or so, anyway.) For now, I’ll simply suggest that you head over and check out what’s going on at LegitMTG.com tomorrow. Or Friday. Or whatever.
More on that to come…
So for now, what does everyone think? Monday and Thursday still good? Should I shift either/both to new slots? Should I also plan to work on writing *before* on the day I’m supposed to actually be posting something here, so that updates hit at a reasonable hour? (Rhetorical, people. Keep moving…)
In all honesty, please sound off in the ‘Comments’ if you have a feeling one way or the other.
Before we move on, a couple of quick shout-outs:
If you’re in the mood for more EDH content, head over to ChannelFireball.com and check out Eric Levine’s “Raging Levine” column. I’ve been getting into it for a while now (If you know anythin about my personal EDH philosophy, you can take my word that Eric is one of the ‘good guys’), and I was a little surprised when he showed up in person to Worlds Apart this Wednesday for EDH night. Turns out he’s attending grad school at UMass, and will be in our neck of the woods for the foreseeable future. Thanks for the game, Eric! It was great to meet you. (And yeah, Bruna took me out too.)
I also need to give some incredible props to Patrick, AKA Mr. P. You’ve seen a ton of his content here on the site in the last few months, and the truth of the matter is that he’s involved in most everything EDH-related that I do. He’s an incredibly important part of keeping GDC going, and I can thank him enough for that, among many other things. Patrick, much thanks. I owe you something shiny.
THE KING IS DEAD! LONG LIVE THE…ER…DRAGON?
By now, most everyone should have seen the September Banned List Update handed down a few days back by the EDH Rules Committee. (If not, check it out here.)
Let’s go through what went down piece by piece.
Unbanned – Kokusho, the Evening Star
I won’t lie…this is the part that has me most excited about the announcement. Those of you who keep up with Sheldon Menery’s SCG series probably saw this coming for a bit, and to be honest, I procured a copy of Kokusho a few months back in preparation.
Yes…I got him into play twice on Wednesday night.
Yes…I gained twenty life.
Yes…I still died in a spectacular fashion.
Here’s the thing about Kokusho…they basically reprinted him very recently anyway. The only real difference is that the new printing is a sorcery with an ‘X’ in the casting cost, and it ends games immediately nearly all of the time it’s cast, instead of being a creature and ending games once in a while when it dies.
I’m with the RC on this one…it’s not that big of a deal. I’m not saying it’s not powerful (it is), but it’s completely manageable currently. I’m sure some of you are brewing up ways to abuse KoKo for a quick reanimator-style win, and that’s fine. (I’m sure you enjoyed Griselbrand and Emrakul as well.) Regardless, the jury is still out, but I just don’t think this is as big a deal as people made it out to be.
Well, as people would have made it out to be, if it wasn’t completely over-shadowed by another part of the announcement.
Banned – Worldfire
Honestly, for all the hype when it was released, I still have yet to see it played at all. I think there was one guy who said he put it in his Jhoira deck, and I’m equally sure that he gets instantly hated out of every game he plays anyway, so for me, it’s a total non-issue.
For the record, I am happy it got hit. I’m not thrilled at the prospect of ever facing that effect in a game. Still, this card speaks to the power of the ‘social contract’ concept that underpins this format. I simply haven’t seen the card.
It does bum me out that I can’t be angry enough at it anymore to light copies I open on fire. What can you do?
Banned – Primeval Titan
Here’s what you all came for. I’ve mulled it over for the last two days, and I’ve only really come to one conclusion, and that is that if anyone wants three slightly-played copies, I’m selling them at roughly buylist prices plus a few bucks for an envelope, hard sleeves and postage.
Seriously, that’s it.
I wanted to get worked up about this one way or the other. I headed over to Sheldon’s SCG article as soon as I could yesterday, fully prepared to lend my cry to one side or the other in joyous celebration or blistering defeat.
In the end, I decided (and posted) that the best thing about the announcement was the fact that the RC spent time clarifying the criteria for banning cards and shed some better light on the methods they use.
If I was pressed to dress one way or the other on the issue, I’d be leaning towards “Happy it’s gone.” I basically agree with the reasons that Sheldon revealed; games have a bad tendency to devolve into an all out PrimeTime Grab/Kill/Copy-Fest whenever it hits the board, and I sure would rather enjoy the actual game itself instead. If I wanted to play alternate games mid-EDH, I’d play Planeswalker Karn and Shahrazad. (Yeah, yeah…I know. I need a punch-line here, okay?)
I also won’t miss the old Tooth and Nail for PT/Avenger of Zendikar re-run, and I am pretty thrilled that green ramp decks take a solid hit in this area. If there’s a strategy I’m sick of these days, it’s that one.
But on the other hand, there’s a part of me that isn’t happy about this either. I’m actually a large proponent of keeping the Banned list as light as possible, and Primeval Titan is about as close to a perfect green fatty as you can get. Big, all trampl-y and stuff, and he finds lands…if that doesn’t translate into a poster-child for green in this format, I don’t know what does.
So I’m glad it’s gone. But I won’t be unhappy if it ever comes back.
Unless someone takes me up on my sell offer, anyway.
. . . . .
For now, I’m going to call it a night. I actually have a whole article in the works on the meat of this announcement as it relates to the newly-refreshed criteria for banning. I’ve raked the RC over the coals in the past for the outdated methods they used in the past, so I’m really excited with what was explained with this announcement. It’s worth a serious focus, and I intend to give it exactly that on another day.
For now, I’m off to manage a few other things, so I’ll see you all on Monday.
Or Friday. Or Whatever!
BONUS CONTENT! Losing PrimeTime – by Patrick
They banned Primeval Titan. It’s about time. Honestly, he should probably have gotten the axe in June, but the RC accidentally spelled his name “Sundering Titan“, and we all got to live the dream of PrimeTime into Boundless Realms into you lose for an additional three months.
I’d like to say that I objected to the broken power of PrimeTime, and therefore I didn’t run him in anything. The problem with this is that it’s not true. While he was not in every green deck I have, he was in several of them. This means I get to update everything, two weeks before Return to Ravnica comes out and I get to update everything again. Good times.
With this in mind, here’s what happened.
Why I was running PrimeTime in the first place: I’m a strong believer in the contrarian theory of staples, which states that you should have a good explanation of why you are running staples, not the other way around. So anyway, this deck was running PrimeTime because it wanted to have insane mana ramps, just like every other mono-Green deck you’ve ever played against. What not start with the boring decks I never play anymore? Cass was recently explaining his Genesis Wave Theory to me, which is basically that if your deck is running Genesis Wave, your deck is really about Genesis Wave. This is 100% true, all of the time.
What I replaced it with:
OK, so all I had with me at the store tonight where I’d done this was my standard binders, so that’s why everything got replaced with semi-random cards from recent sets. In the mono-Green deck, PrimeTime became Predator Ooze, which seems substantially worse but also about 1,000,000,000-times more awesome. Upgrade!
Why I was running PrimeTime in the first place: My Animar deck falls into the category of “novelty deck that never seems like a novelty deck.” The novelty is that it is entirely creatures and lands (61 creatures, 38 lands). The reason it never seems like a novelty deck is because in order to establish the same level of utility, it runs a whole suite of creatures that are just good. PrimeTime was there as part of the ramp suite that includes Coiling Oracle, Bloom Tender, Wood Elves, Silverglade Elemental, and a bunch of other things that are just good anyways. PrimeTime usually found two sacrifice outlets when he came in, and then did mana-fixing and ramp the rest of the way.
What I replaced it with: In interest of keeping the mana fixing present, PrimeTime became Somberwald Sage, which is clearly worse but on-theme and easier to cast early game. Downgrade, but workable.
Why I was running PrimeTime in the first place: Because this deck was mana-hungry like you read about. My
deck runs a heavy “proliferate and counters” theme, and good lord does it want a ton of mana all the time.
What I replaced it with: This was the hardest deck to find something with which to replace PrimeTime, specifically because it already features so many cards from standard. With this in mind, it got a soft replacement with Karn Liberated; I say “soft” because of all the changes I made, this is the one that is most likely to be changed again in two weeks when I get access to Return to Ravnica cards. Whatever.
Why I was running PrimeTime in the first place: Because it found High Market and
. This deck wants free sacrifice outlets like you read about.
What I replaced it with: Realistically, this should have been either Jarad or Kokusho, but I am already tired of playing against Jarad and he’s been out for like a week. Kokusho will probably go into the deck eventually, although this seems like exactly the sort of deck that wants her to be banned; I’m not sure being able to recur and sacrifice her every turn is really a good thing. Instead, I replaced PrimeTime with Kessig Cagebreakers, who are strictly worse but pretty awesome, especially in a deck that usually has a full graveyard. Should be less good, but more fun.
Why I was running PrimeTime in the first place: Because he’s big and dumb and trampl-y.
What I replaced it with: Vorapede. He’s big and dumb and trampl-y.
My 1st EDH (Tolsimir Wolfblood)
Why I was running PrimeTime in the first place: My 1st EDH is a green/white deck I made specifically to loan out to help new-to-the format (or game) players. On this level, PrimeTime helped players to learn about finding lands that did stuff. The first few times they would always find
Forest and Plains; eventually they would realize that they should find and Emeria, the Sky Ruin instead.
What I replaced it with: Instead of learning about mana ramps, Yeva, Nature’s Herald is going to help new players learn about playing things end-of-turn at instant speed. Upgrade!
My 1st Metalcraft (Jenara, Asura of War)
Why I was running PrimeTime in the first place: Because My 1st Metalcraft needs all the help it can get. Unlike My 1st EDH, which is all about bashing with gigantic stupid things, My 1st Metalcraft (my other “loaner” deck) is trying to leverage Splicers for some random reason. (Honestly, the entire deck exists because I had a foil Ezuri’s Brigade that I wanted to play.). This deck is pretty fun, although it runs a bunch of bad cards and has a terrible mana base (because it was like my 43rd deck and I had run it of duals by the time I made it.)
What I replaced it with: Herald of War, which honestly seems kinda awesome because the deck runs a bunch of Humans (Splicers), and because the deck has a small Doubling Season sub-theme. This may be the change I am most psyched about.
Why I was running PrimeTime in the first place: My Damia deck is based around getting the general out, and then playing a bunch of 1-for-1’s (and then reloading). I actually rather enjoy this deck, because it runs a whole suite of cards that I consider to be absolutely terrible in EDH. This deck is extremely general-dependent, meaning that it often wanted to dig out Winding Canyons and Alchemist’s Refuge in order to cast Damia EOT to get at least one use out of her, because she eats removal like a champ.
What I replaced it with: This was another difficult swap, partially because the Damia deck already sucks at going aggro (although it can grind all day), and partially because I ended up replacing PrimeTime with Spelltwine, which is awesome but not at all aggressive. This deck needs more aggro.
Why I was running PrimeTime in the first place: The final deck I had PrimeTime in was Momir Vig/Edric, which is a bunch of value creatures with Vig to find more value, or with Edric to draw more value. PrimeTime is pretty much the ultimate value creature.
What I replaced it with: This deck wants to draw fifteen cards for five, right? Thanks, Creeping Renaissance!
I’m not sorry they banned PrimeTime. While taking him out has made my decks worse, it has given me a chance to slot in some things that are less good, but more interactive.
What about for you?