Arcades, the Strategist
Legendary Creature — Elder Dragon
Whenever a creature with defender enter the battlefield under your control, draw a card.
Each creature you control with defender assigns combat damage equal to its toughness rather than its power and can attack as though it didn't have defender.
|Have (2)||, Forkbeard|
Printings View all
|Core Set 2019 (M19)||Mythic Rare|
Combos Browse all
|Commander / EDH||Legal|
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Arcades, the Strategist Discussion
10 hours ago
I find it a bit amusing how not two months ago there was posted a thread specifically dedicated to brew card ideas for the remaining 3 Swords of X and Y and then this shows up.
DemonDragonJ I would agree that having three abilities would break the pattern.
There is already token generation with Sword of Body and Mind.
Personally I think the Sword should do something a bit different than that. Please keep in mind that the Swords have generally been designed to be beneficial to most colors and multiple strategies - hence why a Sword like Sword of Body and Mind is generally considered the worst/most niche, closely followed by Sword of War and Peace. The latter because it doesn't affect the board and lifegain is... only relevant in certain situations. If you make a token generator + Populate effect, it works by itself but is generally not useful for many decks.
Take a Sword like Sword of Truth and Justice. It plays well by itself by enabling its own scaling when you have multiple creatures. However you can also utilize the Proliferate on poison counters, -1/-1 counters, planeswalker loyalty counters. It has built-in support for multiple strategies.
A card like Sword of Sinew and Steel is more niche, but it has some very powerful removal effects to compensate. In addition the protections are very on-point in protecting against most targeted removal and all of red's board wipe repertoire.
Tokens for the sake of tokens is often not that impressive. That's why I would suggest to aim for something else than basic token generation.
If you are hellbent on the token generation I would consider granting a different incentive:
Alternative A Show
"Whenever equipped creature deals combat damage to a player, you may create a 1/1 green saproling creature token. If you do, then create a copy of a token you control. If you don't, create a Treasure token."
Hmm... I checked the wording on Populate, and for some reason WotC opted to make it copy only creature tokens. The word does make more sense to be used in tandem with creatures but this feels like a missed opportunity.
This grants purpose outside token strategies by giving you the option to opt for just a Treasure token and the swing after, if you kept the Treasure token, you can get another with the copy effect. Because there's a condition on getting some of the effects, I think it'll pass the "only allow 2 effects".
Alternative B Show
"Whenever equipped creature deals combat damage to a player, create a 1/1 green Saproling creature token. Until the beginning of your next turn, the first spell you cast has Convoke."
This effectively grants you a mana dork (with indirect haste) AND it plays well with broad strategies that is not necessarily token strategies. It grants potential chump blockers to certain decks that can double as mana - alas only for the first spell after the trigger. The card could be buffed a bit by granting convoke to the first spell each turn until your next turn - granting you more flexibility and use of its ability.
I don't think it has the same power level as Sword of Feast and Famine but it is somewhat closer to its power level, which I don't think is a bad place for a Sword to be in.
If we're being honest, most of the swords don't see play and those that do are mostly Sword of Feast and Famine and Sword of Fire and Ice. I've seen a fair bit of Sword of Truth and Justice as well. I think hitting around that spot would be ideal.
If we aim for something else than basic token generation, we could aim for some tech options.
Delve deeper Show
Green has the ability to look at what's to come and grab specific cards, with cards like Commune with the Gods, Commune with Nature, Commune with Dinosaurs, and many similar. White has had this effect as well, as seen in Acclaimed Contender, Board the Weatherlight, Courageous Outrider, and Militia Bugler. White's piece is more conditional and limited, whereas green is more flexible.
White has had treasure generation through taxing with Smothering Tithe. Green is the ramp color. The Sword could possibly create a treasure token.
White is usually the keyword hoarder, so what if they started being generous? With the introduction of keyword counters from Ikoria with something like Crystalline Giant, the Sword could have a trigger that spreads its keywords to another creature.
"Whenever equipped creature deals combat damage to a player, if equipped creature has flying, you may put a flying counter on target creature. Do the same for deathtouch, double strike, first strike, hexproof, lifelink, menace, reach, trample, and vigilance. The rest of the ability..."
By itself this doesn't do anything, and usually that would be a deal-breaker as an effect on this card. However I think there are enough Swords that are conditional on something else to get their effect. Usually not something that is particularly difficult to attain. Like Sword of Light and Shadow require a creature card in your graveyard to make use of half its effects.
This ability would also make it stronger in White, as White already has keyword soup creatures where this effect would be very strong, and even more so in Boros. You could use cards with the keywords themselves, equipment or auras that grant it or use buff cards that grant it temporarily. The latter can even be used in tandem with the Sword to permanently grant the equipped creature those keywords.
There are a few evergreen keywords missing, most notably indestructible. But there's also defender (could be used in a Arcades, the Strategist or similar deck to dish out defender counters) and haste (usually wont make a difference after combat step) - yes yes, there's also Flash but who cares when it's on the board. So a way to increase this ability's power could be to include indestructible at the very least.
I went in a big fat circle around this one, as I really don't think enchantment removal should be given on a repeatable colorless source like this. I know Sword of Sinew and Steel does it against artifacts and planeswalkers, and if I'm being frank it would be pretty easy for WotC to throw a Demystify on a Sword and something else and call it a day. However I really hope that wont be the case.
Brought Back but as a delayed trigger without target (to enable that you get back something you lost during combat damage step).
"Whenever equipped creature deals combat damage to a player, at the beginning of your end step you may return a permanent card from your graveyard to the battlefield if it was put there from the battlefield this turn."
This one kinda feels like it's impeding on Sword of the Animist's territory, but it is part of green's color pie. It could be differently implemented like:
"Whenever equipped creature deals combat damage to a player, look at the top five cards of your library. You may reveal up to one land card and up to one creature, aura, or equipment card from among them and put them into your hand. You may play an additional land this turn."
This is more a soft-ramp that can fail. Instead of granting additional land drops it could just put a found land onto the field tapped.
"Whenever equipped creature deals combat damage to a player, look at the top five cards of your library. You may reveal a land card from among them and put it onto the battlefield tapped. You may reveal a creature, aura, or equipment card from among them and put it into your hand. Put the rest on the bottom of your library in a random order."
Anyway, that's at least a little brainstorming on what else those two colors have to offer.
3 days ago
1 month ago
Heyya Sheldaconda! Fellow Arcades user here, love the deck and the flavour! I have a few suggestions.
Ensnaring Bridge: "Us advocates feel this overpass can't be overcome!"
The Bridge works in both ways, allowing us to attack under it with our 'low-power' creatures and stifling other players by not letting them over it. Note also the incredible card advantage of Arcades and his leagues of bulwarks may stymy you somewhat.
Axebane Guardian: "Our efficient bane to our opponents!"
Axebane Guardian is similar to Overgrown Battlement in that it supplies a Cradle-esque effect dependent on the number of defenders you control. However, it adds any colour you choose, making it a defender all-star!
If you have enough defenders, Axebane goes infinite with High Alert. But as the deck is staying casual, you may want to omit this suggestion.
Brago, King Eternal: "Blink and you'll miss him!"
If you do decide to swing in, Brago can be a big help with built-in evasion and the ability to flicker all our creatures (for draws off Arcades, the Strategist) and artifacts such as your Sol Ring for double usage.
Various STAX card with various effects. They can play off your mana generating creatures as well as your artifacts. The best one for you here is Static Orb which shuts everyone down equally while you keep up strong creatures for big punts.
These dorks can trigger Arcades due to being defenders as well as tapping for mana or in some cases giving us immediate mana. They also play well with STAX cards that tap lands down as you won't need them anymore!
I have many more suggestions, but this is all for now. If you like these and want more, say so!
1 month ago
If you need draw, maybe you should consider to add green.
Arcades, the Strategist gives you the needed draw in line with your big defenders and enables them to attack.
2 months ago
Note: I know this is casual, but if you're trying to win with mazes end or door to nothingness its usually better to go for a prison shell since defender creatures only stops some decks from killing you, so your win condition and main theme don't really synergize with eachother. It's probably better to either focus on mazes end + door to nothingness or just drop them for the toughness assigners and beat face with defender creatures as your win con
2 months ago
2 months ago
Arcades, the Strategist: Provides solid card draw with literal walls to protect your walkers (many of which can fly). I've seen some disgusting Superfriends builds with this guy specially buing in green to ramp to Karn Liberated and Ugin, the Spirit Dragon.
Lavinia, Azorius Renegade: Good stax commander. Slow down the board to a crawl and just get the emblem for every azorious planeswalker out there. I have a Lavinia stax deck with a Superfirends sub-theme (8 walkers) and it is not challenging to get their emblems.
3 months ago
My friend got me an awesome Arcades, the Strategist playmat for when I was building my first commander deck around him (Arcades, not the friend ;D), it really fired me up to finish the deck!