Sorry for the gap in coverage on Monday, folks. One of the side-effects of editing for LegitMTG.com is that I’ve managed to start developing a fundamental understanding of how WordPress works, and that is helping tremendously when it comes to designing GDC 2.0.
Sometimes, it also means that I forget what day it is and end up coming home just in time to put in some time discussing the design with interested parties, before realizing that I should be writing some content way too late at night to do anything about it. Sorry about that.
This is, however, not the reason I am a douche. More on that in a bit.
First up: The sky is falling, Wizards of the Coast jumped the shark, I’m selling/burning/eating my collection, and so on…
THE M14 RULES ANNOUNCEMENT
While I was sitting back last night, trying to figure out some way to attack into Keenan with an Acidic Slime and ninjutsu in a Sakashima’s Student as a copy of Visara the Dreadful without both copies immediately dying as a state-based effect, Matt Tabak was busy taking care of my problem (and simultaneously becoming one of the most hated names in Magic at the same time) with this announcement.
The Tl;dr version is this: With the M14 rules update, duplicate legendary permanents controlled by different people no-longer “legend-rule” each-other to death as a state-based effect. The corollary is that duplicate legendary permanents controlled by the same player force that player to choose one copy to retain, and he or she must sacrifice the others.
This means several things-
-The 800-pound gorilla in the EDH room is that Clone effects no-longer destroy generals. Hexproof generals are quite a bit better now. Sigarda, Host of Herons is way better now, as she now only dies to board sweepers.
-You should be playing with 100% more Evil Twin.
-You aren’t Strip-Mining an opposing Miren, the Moaning Well with your own copy anymore.
-If you play Dark Depths and then activate Thespian’s Stage to make it a copy, it will become a Dark Depths with zero counters on it. If you correctly choose the original one to sacrifice to the “legend rule 3.0” effect, you will then be the proud mother or father of a giant bouncing baby Marit Lage.
-That awful thing I did last night by kicking a Rite of Replication targeting my opponent’s Reaper King would leave us both with a copy in play. Well, other than the fact that it would then immediately still be scarecrow-Vindicated, anyway. (Yes, this is partially the reason I am a douche. Read on…)
This is ruining the lives of other formats, but I happen to find it pretty cool for EDH. Sure, we’re losing a line of play that gives us access to some unorthodox removal options, but I think the gains more-than make up for it. As I said above with the Dark Depths thing and the Sakashima’s Student thing, there are some really interesting new interactions that are now possible.
And I don’t have to pretend that I honestly meant to play that Miren on purpose to blow Mr P’s copy up…
Now, it does serve to make some things harder to deal with. Legends that have hexproof gain from this announcement, as does Avacyn, Angel of Hope. Contrary to popular belief, this actually makes blue better rather than worse, because mass-bounce effects will now be at a premium.
Dunno…I rarely make the Clone-as-removal play, so I really don’t seem to mind this at all. It seems fun and interesting more than anything else.
Oh yeah…the same kind of rule now also applies to planeswalkers. This will likely be even more of a corner-case issue, but that one time, I saw someone play a Jace to kill off another Jace. I guess there’s that.
Also, something else happened regarding something called a “sideboard.”
I’d love to hear some thoughts on this one…any takers?
THOSE THINGS THAT HAPPENED
Okay…last night I apparently decided to go completely off the reservation. I played two games; one featuring my Prime Speaker deck, and one with Melek. I won both. The first one took three hours to indulge Keenan and I playing a control-on-control slugfest, and the second involved me making plays that broke nearly every single one of my EDH moral values.
(Yes…this is the part where I explain why I’m a douche. Thanks for sticking around!)
The Zegana Game-
I was seated with Keenan and his Wrexial, the Risen Deep deck, and two newer players. (I really suck with names, guys, but I know you’re reading this. It was a pleasure to meet and play games with you both, and deepest apologies for what went down. Please feel free to introduce yourselves in the comments.)
Keenan’s Wrexial deck is a strong-but-fair control deck, and we’ve had some seriously great matches as a result. Coupled with the fact that a Reaper King was unveiled next to me, I figured it was a good time to break out Prime Speaker and have a game.
By the time things ended, I had eleven cards left in my deck, and the better part of fifty in the exile zone. I was able to stick an early Damping Matrix to buy some time to set up, but Keenan wasn’t letting me keep Leyline of Anticipation and Seedborn Muse both in play. We traded down on some counter wars, the board was Cyclonic Rift-ed and Oblivion Stone-d a few times, and while life totals slowly dwindled, everyone stayed in the game.
Knowing that I needed to make a move, I played Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre. It was met with a Detention Sphere and a Pithing Needle naming the Oblivion Stone I had just put on top of my library with Academy Ruins from Reaper King.
Waiting for my moment, I activated my Scroll Rack a few times to sculpt a hand, and had Spelljack ready for an opposing It That Betrays. After exhausting Keenan’s counterspells and doing the math, I popped the Oblivion Stone on the end of his turn, getting back Ulamog. I activated Alchemist’s Refuge, played It That Betrays, copied it with a Sakashima’s Student, and copied it again with Phyrexian Metamorph. Untapping, I was able to kill the entire table in that attack phase for the win.
Pretty epic game, and even though it was a bit of a control grind, I feel like everyone was in it al the way. Style points go to Reaper king, for resolving Taurean Mauler about seven times throughout the game.
The Melek Game-
Here’s where the moral train leaves the rails. I decided to play the Melek deck, giving Keenan my Skullbriar list to try (he asked for something that beats for a bunch and plays Skyshroud Claim.) The other guys played Reaper King again, and Questing Phelddagrif. The Questing player explained that he needed something with Bant colors for a general, and never really played the general anyway, so we let him continue with the non-legendary choice. At this point, I was fearing some sort of solid control/goodstuff list, but decided to see what Melek could do.
Ah…and Luke. Luke also joined with Maga, Traitor to Mortals. This is critically important.
-The first offense:
Luke suspended a Curse of the Cabal. Now, I don’t particularly like effects that do that much damage to an opponent’s board state. You all know my feelings on Armageddon effects at this point, and the same rules apply; Curse is just a really effective way to just effectively shut a player out of the game.
Clearly, the right call is then for me to expend several tutor effects to enable the following play:
-Luke puts Curse on the stack.
-I Hinder it, retaining priority.
-In response, Reverberate Curse, targeting Luke and retaining priority.
-In response to that, Twincast Curse, targeting Luke.
Yeah. School is in session. Luke goes to three swamps and a Crypt Ghast. Kind of awesome in theory, but I guess I just effectively responded to a strategy that I dislike by doing it myself. Twice.
In one turn.
There’s a moral lesson in here somewhere.
-Interlude – Awesomeness all around as the second offense is averted:
Fast-forward ahead a bit. Questing Pheld is putting together some pretty scary things; Scroll Rack and Sol Ring and (possibly, although I’m pretty tired and not remembering straight at this point) something like Mimic Vat, amongst other things. I start sculpting my hand again through Mystic Retrieval on Mystical Tutor.
At this point, he plays Memory Jar. I don’t like where this is going. It resolves, and there is some discussion as to how to stop a Memory Jar.
Stifle and Trickbind are suggested. I helpfully suggest just killing off the player in response to the activation.
On Keenan’s turn he plays a Woodfall Primus. In response, reaper king strangely activated Alchemist’s Refuge to play Mana Reflection. This is a very odd line of play, but I am enthralled as much as I am confused. Keenan is as well, but holds the course and targets Jar. Questing blows the jar.
“I have so many responses to that.”, I announce.
I decide to go for it. I’m going to see if I can kill him off in response. The play angel is something like this:
-High Tide, copied with Fork, followed by Turnabout, allowing me to target Questing with a 19-point Blue Sun’s Zenith. This is followed by Cerebral Vortex, which is then copied with Increasing Vengeance and a few other Fork effects.
Questing has the counter for one copy. He thinks, then Spelljacks Increasing Vengeance. Instead of taking 80 damage, he goes to ten and has a free Fork effect. That was a seriously epic swing play to take me down a peg or two.
-The third offense:
A few turns later, Questing goes for some huge effect that may have been an Avenger of Zendikar, followed by Time Warp.
I Wild Ricochet, redirecting it to me and copying it.
In response, he casts my free Increasing Vengeance, targeting his Time Warp.
I let it resolve, and it goes to my yard. I then flash it back, getting two copies of Wild Ricochet, targeting his two Time Warps and copying them all over again.
This stack resolves, and I proceed to take a handful of turns, killing Questing and Keenan off with a kicked Rite of Replication targeting that Woodfall Primus and leaving Luke and Reaper alive.
-The fourth offense:
Things start to get blurry here. It’s now after , and we’re in archenemy mode, with Luke and Reaper trying to take me out. Reaper eventually finds his general, and when he goes to cast a scarecrow, I Reins Of Power in response. Luke targets me with Maga for a handful and passes.
I untap and find my freshly-purchased Timetwister. This finds me Rite of Replication.
I kick this targeting Reaper King. When the dust settles, Luke is down a Maga and a swamp, and Reaper has zero permanents in play.
If this were a league game, I’d be at about negative twelve points by now. Also, I am probably going to hell.
-The final offense:
Luke finds Sorin, and I go to ten. I decide to go for it, and tutor up Epic Experiment.
On my turn, I tap out because I’m a terrible player and resolve it for 21. It is not particularly exciting, but it does have a few lines of play.
First, I play Knowledge Exploitation and Fork it, targeting Luke. I find Sorin’s Vengeance to go back to 20 (taking Reaper to 10 in the process), and just because I’m that guy, I get Curse of the Cabal targeting Luke again. A Flame Wave goes towards reaper, at which point he decides (completely reasonably) that he has had enough, and packs it in. Sudden Impact takes Luke down a few points, but he’s still at about 48. I Wheel of Fortune and pass the turn
He untaps, targets me with Sorin and Maga-s me back down to five.
I untap, and take one of those turns:
-Guttersnipe. Luke points Dismember at it; I Prophetic Bolt in response (Luke, take two from Guttersnipe, plus four more), finding Hinder (two more, put that Dismember under your library), and playing Talrand, Sky Summoner. Rattle off a few more spells (take another ten, make five guys), and Shattered Perception draws me into Temporal Mastery.
-Untap, swing for fourteen. Play some more spells, taking him to four with Guttersnipe. Play Blast of Genius (‘Snipe trigger on the stack), counter it with Counterflux for the win.
So, to recap:
In the space of one game, I took about five turns in a row, forced one player to sacrifice half his permanents three different times with his own spell, forced another player to sacrifice all his permanents, and took a crazy, half-asleep and mistake-riddled epic turn that still managed to get the job done, but probably took way too long in the process.
For a deck that was built to not have any serious combo shenanigans and be reasonable in power level and fun to play and play against, I think this thing might possibly need a slight retooling. Just saying.
I feel so dirty…