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Defending the Commander Social Contract

Tag: card evaluation (Page 2 of 3)

Three Cards Deep 2:12 – May 23, 2014 – GREEN VALUE

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Three Cards Deep: The Good, The Bad, and the EDH Ugly

After a long-ish break (ok just one week but it felt long) we’re back for the last Three Cards Dep of the season. I might take a week off and post something else I’ve got written while I let next season perc-you-late. It’s gonna be a doozy. This week, green tutory value engines!

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Three Cards Deep 2:11 – May 12, 2014 – Things That Ping

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Three Cards Deep: The Good, The Bad, and the EDH Ugly

This week it’s “Things that ping,” a suggestion beamed up by courtesy frequent contributor and reader Ryan Swaney. The “context card” theme is a little flimsy for this, but whatever. Just pretend it’s season one. (Oh yeah, and we’re hitting up Monday this week because important editorials on theories that are nice but wrong and problematic combined with technical difficulties to make Friday not an option. Expect extra spice for the rest of this week’s schedule as well.)

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Dissecting “A Unified Theory Of Commander”

An article on Commander entitled “A Unified Theory of Commander” hit the interwebs over at Brainstorm Brewery this week, and it seems to have struck a chord with the community. I wanted to take some time to weigh in with my thoughts here; I think the author, Jason, came with a solid angle, but might have lost sight of the forest for the trees in the process.

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Three Cards Deep 2:10 – May 2, 2014 – Mountain

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Three Cards Deep: The Good, The Bad, and the EDH Ugly

This past week I had the Magical fortune of playing a few EDH games with the homies, rounding out the night in a four-person pod with two(Two TWO 22222222) mono-red players. And thus, BASIC Mountain.

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Three Cards Deep 2:9 – April 25, 2014 – Captain Sisay

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Three Cards Deep: The Good, The Bad, and the EDH Ugly

Three things happened to make me want to talk about Captain Sisay tonight. First, she did pretty well in the GDC March Madness Tournament. Second, a certain Jud/Doug/GUDoug badmouthed tutors during a conversation on Twitter (I basically agree with him btw). Third, I was toying with a number of different builds involving the Captain. So here we go. Let’s Rad Bad Sad.

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Three Cards Deep 2:8 – April 18, 2014 – Journey into Nyx

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Three Cards Deep: The Good, The Bad, and the EDH Ugly

We’re returning for the second half of TCD Season Two with something slightly different. Tonight we’ve got a two-parter – Gods and Marquee Cards of Set Mechanics. The format is Hit, Miss, Quit and this week it’s all about Journey into Nyx.

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Three Cards Deep – 12/13/2013

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Three Cards Deep: The Good, The Bad, and the EDH Ugly

Three cards:

  • One is Rad: Surprisingly awesome card you’d be just as happy to see an opponent slam down as you would to rip it off the top.
  • One is Bad: It’s a bogeyman. Take a trip to frown town with these fun suckers, whether you’re casting or being tortured by them.
  • One is Sad: Often popular inclusions, these cards tend to let you down.

I noticed something funny going through TCD archives. First I was hot, then cold on Exquisite Blood. It’s even funnier because in each instance I was referencing the experience of seeing it played by the same playgroup homie, Ryan, and basically in the same deck. The towel I’m using to wipe the egg off my face has the word “CONTEXT” written in big letters. Go figure.

The Rad – Dispersing Orb

This card was the final nail that won the game for an opponent in a game last week. I actually hated how it played out – boatloads of mana from doublers and Nykthos, then using Spine of Ish Sah and Phyrexian Metamorph in conjunction with the orb to nuke or bounce every permanent on the board. But the secret tech of it was sweet. Even outside of busted synergies like this it seems really cool and I’d love to play it in a UR shell that steals stuff.

Verdict: Seems fair but ripe for mechanical creativity.

The Bad – Capsize (I’d also accept Tidespout Tyrant.)

I love me some Capsize. That being said, even just using it slightly well in EDH leads to boring game states and a lot of repetitiveness.

Some people (if you read comments on SCG) believe that Cyclonic Rift is the worst offender as far as busted blue bounce, but I think a blue Austere Command is fine. [Card]Capsize[/card] is much more expansive – it can be just annoying or anything up to scoop-worthy.

Fun story, once when I tried to bounce a guy’s general he had the sac outlet (onboard misplay), and that “Fizzles the buyback” Harsh.

Verdict: “Capsize with buyback again?” “Yep.” “ugh fine….”

The Sad – Temporal Adept

Yet another in the long list of of cards I’ve tried to make work and never not found disappointing. Maybe it’s because I’ve never played mono blue, but this card always seems to rot. In my hand, on the table, in the yard, whatever – it’s never the best place to devote resources. I’m really hoping to hear from readers who have loved this card so I can learn how to use it correctly.

Verdict: Why not just play any other bounce effect, say, Echoing Truth for example?

Weekly Lesson: Magic Online has, surprisingly, infused a ton of fun into EDH for me. I’m playing with basically no budget because I don’t want to spend money on digital objects, so my weird, limited collection of whatever bots give away free has forced me to be much more creative. It harkens back to my first days getting to know the format when nearly any card was viable so I could play with all that weird junk I love. The lesson is restrict yourself. Weaker decks that play weird cards and do cooler things can be very entertaining.

<3
Dave
@MdaveCs

Three Cards Deep – 12/06/2013

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Three Cards Deep: The Good, The Bad, and the EDH Ugly

Three cards:

  • One is Rad: Surprisingly awesome card you’d be just as happy to see an opponent slam down as you would to rip it off the top.
  • One is Bad: It’s a bogeyman. Take a trip to frown town with these fun suckers, whether you’re casting or being tortured by them.
  • One is Sad: Often popular inclusions, these cards tend to let you down.

Have you heard this song? It’s cool to hate.

The Rad – Torpor Orb

This isn’t the first time I’ve written about #teamtorpororb and I’ll probably accidently feature it again. But basically “who you gonna call when boring value creatures run rampant and Deadeye Navigator got you down?” Seriously. Just play Torpor Orb.

I see it a lot because Ryan, a homie that I play with on the regular, runs it in Erebos. But I loved it even before that. Here’s what happens. 1. Someone plays the orb. 2. All the rest of us have to get creative to deal with this enforced “state of physical or mental inactivity.” And it hoses blink goodstuff.

Verdict: Creativity enforcer and a goodstuff slayer – What’s not to love?

The Bad – Winter Orb

Do you like casting spells? Do you prefer the subtle pressure of “I could wait for a while to untap enough and maybe by then we’ll draw an answer” or would you rather scoop to a ‘Geddon? Seriously. I get that it has strategic value – I used to run the heck out of 10 land Stompy with orbs out of the board.

But let me tell you, the one time a GAAIV player resolved this (and the other time the random Captain Sisay lockdown guy drew it) I was just bummed. It seems like it could be super cool to build a synergistic deck around non-land mana sources, but then you realize that preventing everyone from doing anything doesn’t make for a good time at most tables.

Verdict: Why not just play Stasis for better art?

The Sad – Exquisite Blood
(Honorable mention to Witchbane Orb for being weak and being an orb. Too bad it doesn’t see enough play to qualify.)

I’m not 100% committed to this verdict, but it’s worth feeling out. Here’s why I think it’s sad. Once people have played against this a few times, they realize the effect is not small or subtle. It’s a big deal. So instead of letting the Exquisite player gain life on every attack, they just gang up and attack until s/he reaches single digits land or death. I don’t generally include cards that put a target on your head by being good, but this is almost like cursing yourself. “Curse of if you attack anyone else I gain life” It is neat if you don’t care and just want to change the pace of the game, but not great if you are bad at blocking and can’t otherwise recoup the life points.

Verdict: Curse of “attacking me makes the most sense” seems bad.

Weekly Lesson: Don’t be a jerk who thinks he’s Mr. King of Knowing EDH Stuff. When a new player is generally having fun but losing, maybe don’t run the “Let’s look at your deck” move when they’re eliminated. Then you won’t have to hear your friend say “Maybe he thinks his deck is fine” and then hear your inner voice go “Yeah <expletive removed>stain. Unsolicited advice is the worst.”

The precons have new players entering the format. There is a fine line you must walk between helpfully explaining why Hysterical Blindness is really a wasted slot and flipping their deck over saying “Cut this, this, this, this, this, and this, aahahah aoh and definitely this.”

<3
Dave
@MdaveCs

Three Cards Deep – 11/29/2013

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Three Cards Deep: The Good, The Bad, and the EDH Ugly

Three cards:

  • One is Rad: Surprisingly awesome card you’d be just as happy to see an opponent slam down as you would to rip it off the top.
  • One is Bad: It’s a bogeyman. Take a trip to frown town with these fun suckers, whether you’re casting or being tortured by them.
  • One is Sad: Often popular inclusions, these cards tend to let you down.

So I love dudes and I love turning them sideways. My whole playmat is a red zone. So this week, anthems. Make my anemic dorks good please!

The Rad – Muraganda Petroglyphs

Weird, build-around, semi-reader, domination. Here’s the thing. You pretty much have to play tokens, bear tribal, or centaurs to make this good. And if you’re playing tokens, probably snore. But if you do figure out a cool way to play tokens (I happen to think my Nemata, Grove Guardian deck is on the cool end of the spectrum), then you get twice the points for slamming down the glyphs and beating down with your super vanilla dorks.

Verdict: This ain’t no Tahitian vanilla bean. This is straight up McDonald’s vanilla ice cream good.

The Bad – Cathar’s Crusade

This could just be a meta-specific thing, but I’ve seen this card played exactly twice. Once in Ghave, Guru of Spores and once in Rhys the Redeemed. So it only does stupid, stupid things that are a huge pain to resolve. Yes, it’s just another card on the list of threats that are super powerful if they go unanswered for an untap or two.

But what’s worse is that dealing with this card when it goes off is SO BRUTAL. I have to be honest. I did it in Ghave once two. Turns out giving your general “1: make a Sap that has one higher P/T than the biggest sap on the board” is super, super good, but also leads to soo many dice and tokens on the board being tracked. Ugh. It is stupid.

Verdict: Dream the Dream, sure. But then just play Kraj if you want to durdle with dice.

The Sad – Glorious Anthem

I have an unusually strong dislike for essentially vanilla “your team gets +1/+1” anthems. It’s funny though, cuz the Planar Chaos-d green one is much better because of the relative scarcity of permanent anthems in green.

I love making my guys bigger. But modern technology has just obsoleted this Gloriousness. [Card]Marshall’s Anthem[/Card], [Card]Angel of Jubilation[/Card] (fun fact when I edited this I noticed I had typed “angle” instead of “angel.” What’s you’re “angle of jubilation”?), [Card]Spear of Heliod[/Card], and [Card]Mikaeus, the Lunarch[/Card] are all very close to strictly better. Plus, for some reason I just feel sad investing a card in an enchantment with one measly little static ability like this, most of the time.

Verdict: Power Creep Is Not a Thing. We Promise.

Weekly Lesson: Last week I knocked on Bloodline Keeper. I stand by my evaluation, because I think the nuance I suggested covers the points made in the comments. However, the other day a guy crushed with a turn-two keeper off of a turn-one Sol Ring. This week’s lesson was being reminded just how true the Menery Rule (referenced two weeks ago) actually is. “Gentlemen don’t cast Sol Ring on turn one.” Because things can get seriously bonkers even in EDH when that happens.

<3
Dave
@MdaveCs

Three Cards Deep – 11/22/2013

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Three Cards Deep: The Good, The Bad, and the EDH Ugly

Three cards:

  • One is Rad: Surprisingly awesome card you’d be just as happy to see an opponent slam down as you would to rip it off the top.
  • One is Bad: It’s a bogeyman. Take a trip to frown town with these fun suckers, whether you’re casting or being tortured by them.
  • One is Sad: Often popular inclusions, these cards tend to let you down.

The Rad – Increasing Devotion 

I love this card. I play it in a few decks and I have only seen one other person play it. Also, this is my horn and this is how I toot it. When I increase my devotion (btw I hate flavor fails, especially when WotC probably saw this one coming during early Theros design…) it always works out well.

I like getting five power in five bodies for five mana because they are awesome chumps and sacrifice great. I like getting another 10 p/t over 10 bodies for nine mana even better. The best part is that the first five almost always help you stall so you have enough mana for the flashback. Internal synergy FTW.

Verdict: 15 1/1s for 14 mana???? Sign. Me. Up.

The BadRite of Replication 

A sorcery that makes multiple token clones if you pay the kicker isn’t inherently unfair. I’m all for Rep kicked targeting like Rampaging Baloth or something. But this card has two problems that mean it usually gets used for busted things that are boring:

  • It’s blue so it’s in a deck that can recur and reuse it a bunch;
  • It’s hugely efficient for the mana cost and scales with the power of the (ETB effects on) creatures people play.

What’s worse: Kicked RoR on Archaeomancer getting back Rite and Time Stretch and three copies of Peek to take all the turns and win in whatever boringest method, or Kicked Rep on Sylvan Primordial so everyone loses five lands and the caster gets every Forest ever printed in play? Trick question. They them in sequence after stacking up like 30 turns to just be dick bags.

Verdict: Friends don’t let friends abuse reasonable cards to create a stagnant format.

The Sad – Blodline Keeper

Yet another dud on my list of cards I tried so many times. I’ve cast this on turn three off ramp and still not felt like it had a significant impact. I think my repeated attempts stem from a love for ripping him pack one in triple Innistrad. Spider Spawning was for the hipsters anyway.

Seriously though, it seems like a free 2/2 flyer a turn and the chance to get an anthem and then keep pumping them out would be totally awesome. Turns out the subtext on the keeper is that it’s only good if you play a vampire subtheme so you can flip him before you’ve had him in play for six upkeeps.

Verdict: Bummmmmmmmmmmmers. I guess I’ll add vamp tribal to my list.

Weekly Lesson: Last week Cass and Mr. P guested on CommanderCast and did a live version of Three Cards Deep. Cass’s sad card for reanimation was Living Death while Mr. P’s sad “card that has to do with stuff dying or whatever” was Nim Deathmantle. Those two got the most robust discussion, as is usually the case with my sad cards – see last week’s comments about how there are totally applications for The Freaking Borderposts…

There is always a niche application and if it’s worth talking about, there’s someone in EDH who loves it. The lesson for the week is Elder Dragon Highlander Is The Best Magic: The Gathering Format Of All Time Not Close 🙂

<3
Dave
@MdaveCs

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