Defending the Commander Social Contract

Tag: Deck Construction (Page 2 of 3)

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


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


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


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


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


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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GDC Podcast #4: Things are getting serious


Check out GDC Podcast #4 for your listening pleasure, available to download here.

This week Cass and Sean (@swordstoplow) added Dave to the mix for a discussion of mana curves in EDH and a debate on the 75% concept for deck building proposed by Jason Alt on

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Three Cards Deep – 12/13/2013


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.


Sydri, Galvanic Metal Beats Stomp Out Louder

I love metal.

…Let me start again.

Flash of Iron, Leather, Spikes, and Swords!  (OK…so what you have to imagine is me and my homie at Amherst doing our radio show and jumping on the desks and indie rock couches head banging to this song by ourselves once a week. That’s about how pumped I am for this deck.)

So I’ve never brought the brown beats, and Sydri was all it took to get me on the rock-metal plan. The Esper Terese Nielson 2/2 was spoiled, and I dreamed of hitting in with Darksteel Ingot for exactsies. Ported Sharuum the Hegemon I knew this would not be.

They’d throw parties for me, I’d have a giant float in the Thanksgiving parade, and all the cool kids would high five me for fighting the good fight and winning while adhering to a strict, and arguably weak theme.

Thus was born Galvanic Metal Beats.

There are a bajillion good artifacts, and an Esper artifact deck may be the actual easiest shell in which to accidently go combo, so I expanded on my dreams by establishing a restriction: no “dudes.” I ultimately relaxed that a bit for Karn, the Original Sad Robot, and Hannah, whose captain flavor has very little to do with her card mechanics.

Then of course, the restriction of no unbounded loops (infinite combos) was a must because snore. None.

I spent about two weeks on Gatherer, Excel, and TappedOut trying to put something cool that worked together. A bunch of cuts later, here’s the list.

[Deck title=Galvanic Metal Beats]
1 Blinkmoth Urn
1 Chromatic Lantern
1 Clock of Omens
1 Crystal Shard
1 Darksteel Forge
1 Darksteel Ingot
1 Darksteel Plate
1 Elixir of Immortality
1 Gilded Lotus
1 Howling Mine
1 Ichor Wellspring
1 Icy Manipulator
1 Illusionist’s Bracers
1 Krark-Clan Ironworks
1 Meekstone
1 Memory Jar
1 Mimic Vat
1 Mind’s Eye
1 Mirrorworks
1 Mycosynth Wellspring
1 Nihil Spellbomb
1 Noetic Scales
1 Planar Portal
1 Portcullis
1 Prototype Portal
1 Reito Lantern
1 Rings of Brighthearth
1 Sculpting Steel
1 Sensei’s Divining Top
1 Sol Ring
1 Spine of Ish Sah
1 Staff of Nin
1 Strionic Resonator
1 Surveyor’s Scope
1 That Which Was Taken
1 Thopter Foundry
1 Thornbite Staff
1 Thran Dynamo
1 Trading Post
1 Vedalken Orrery
1 Ward of Bones
1 Bident of Thassa
1 Blind Obedience
1 Crackdown
1 Dream Tides
1 Leyline of Anticipation
1 Overburden
1 Spreading Plague
1 Tainted AEther
1 Tempered Steel
1 Austere Command
1 Beacon of Unrest
1 Black Sun’s Zenith
1 Decree of Pain
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Merciless Eviction
1 Cyclonic Rift
1 Frantic Salvage
1 Return to Dust
1 Spin into Myth
1 Swords to Plowshares[/spells]

1 Sydri, Galvanic Genius
1 Hanna, Ship’s Navigator
1 Karn, Silver Golem[/Creatures]

1 Academy Ruins
1 Arcane Sanctum
1 Bojuka Bog
1 Buried Ruin
1 Command Tower
1 Darksteel Citadel
1 Evolving Wilds
1 Godless Shrine
1 Hallowed Fountain
1 High Market
7 Island
1 Marsh Flats
1 Mystifying Maze
1 Phyrexia’s Core
5 Plains
1 Strip Mine
5 Swamp
1 Temple of the False God
1 Terramorphic Expanse
1 Thespian’s Stage
1 Vesuva
1 Watery Grave[/Lands][/Deck]

For a deeper look, check out this TappedOut link. The “sideboard” contains the combo pieces and creatures I deliberately excluded. Aside from completeness, this ensures I don’t brilliantly “rediscover” one and jam it in thoughtlessly. When a combo popped up by accident, like Basalt Monolith and Rings of Brighthearth, I kept the cooler or more useful of the two and benched the other. (Although this deck can actually do zero things with infinite mana anyway.)

The “Maybeboard” is a bunch of other random stuff that was in but got cut for being weak, a non-bo, unnecessarily redundant, or something else.

I think it’s fairly obvious what the deck does. My metalhead dorks swing for two, but they aren’t creatures – oh and by the way, yours all don’t work like you want. There are some synergies to draw cards and recur stuff, and my muddy rocks can kill a fatty. I’m gonna need a LOT of blue mana. [Card]Crackdown[/Card] and [Card]Spreading Plague[/Card] look just not-staxy-enough that playing them won’t get me blacklisted. At least that’s my hope. I’m really excited about Noetic Scales. I also enjoy the subtheme of getting housed by the first spell-based combo deck that sits down.

Also, you’ll note just Demonic Tutor. No others. This is because I wanted every non-artifact to have a very good reason for its inclusion. This spot was actually Enlightened Tutor, but those are $12 and I have a few copies of DT so budgets won out.

So the question is, what now? I haven’t sleeved it up because I’m short a few cards and not ready to drop the dough on what I’m missing – yet – because it just doesn’t feel quite right. Goldfishing it online, it seems like it doesn’t do anything. So without obliterating my restrictions, help me out.

1. What tech am I missing?
2. Are there imbalances? Where?
3. Would you throat punch me after playing against this?
4. How can I make it hum a bit more and still be weird and fun?


@ MdaveCs

Three Cards Deep – 12/06/2013


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.”


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