Back to Basics


Format Legality
Tiny Leaders Legal
Noble Legal
Magic Duels Legal
Canadian Highlander Legal
Vintage Legal
Custom Legal
Vanguard Legal
Legacy Legal
Archenemy Legal
Planechase Legal
1v1 Commander Legal
Leviathan Legal
Oathbreaker Legal
Unformat Legal
Casual Legal
Commander / EDH Legal

Printings View all

Set Rarity
Ultimate Masters (UMA) Rare
Urza's Saga (USG) Rare

Combos Browse all

Back to Basics


Nonbasic lands don't untap during their controllers' untap steps.

Back to Basics Discussion

dingusdingo on Yeva Draw-Grow

1 week ago

Gotta agree with Soren841 about Prismatic Vista being a nigh auto include. Any amount of deckthinning for effectively free is useful to the pilot. Let me use some examples for easy analysis here.

You are in a game where you have 15 fetchlands on the field, and your deck is exactly 100 cards (hypothetical!). You have 30 more lands in your deck. If you pop no fetchlands, the chance of drawing a land on any given draw is 30/100, or 30%. Now imagine you have popped all 15 fetchlands at the same time. You have grabbed 15 lands out while reducing the library size by 15, so your chance of drawing a land is 15/85, or 17.6%. If you don't want to draw anymore lands then the fetchlands have helped.

What if we only use 5 of the fetchlands? Chance to draw a land then becomes 25/95, or 26.3%. Our chances to draw a non-land are better with more lands removed from the deck, despite the deck size dropping overall.

To use an even more absurd example, imagine you have 3 cards in your library and one fetchland in play. 2 cards in your library are lands. If you use the fetchland, your chance of drawing the nonland goes from 1/3 (33%) to 1/2 (50%).

Combining our two examples, deck thinning increases your chance to draw any specific card in your library by reducing the overall library size. It is more effective with less cards in library, so every fetch that happens after another fetch or after any draw has greater impact on the % of lands to non-lands than any previous draw or fetch. You also have to consider that you're raising the chance to deck thin too. You have a higher chance to get a deck thinning land, and also greater significance from every deck thinning card added.

The downside to running the fetches are -1 life and possibility of getting caught by stacks pieces, giving them lower value than regular lands. In a 40 life format where people win by comboing, the -1 life is negligible in a deck that doesn't use life as a resource (i.e. Ad Nauseum). The chance to get caught by stax pieces is scarier, but the amount that specifically effect Prismatic Vista that WOULDN'T effect a basic Forest are:

Also, many non-basic hate simply doesn't work on it due to timing. Ruination or anything that isn't a constant effect the Prismatic Vista can just sac in response.

You should 100% run Prismatic Vista in cEDH. And if God forbid they ever print a fetchland that fetches fetchlands, you should run that too.

Dischord on Ancient Power (Kozilek, the Great Distortion)

2 weeks ago

Have you considered running Krark-Clan Ironworks ? It's a fantastic card that works pretty well with that Scrap Trawler /Artifact package you got in there.

I'd replace the tron lands with basic Wastes though - you'll almost never get the three tron pieces without tutoring for them, and having more basics is beneficial against cards like Wave of Vitriol or Back to Basics , or for cards like Veteran Explorer .

Decrepit_Angel on [Primer] Colored Mana is for the Weak

2 weeks ago


Sorry for the late response. I was caught up with finals at University and haven't had the time to play much magic or keep up with the game much at all.

The deck has gone through quite a few iterations, several of which were due to meta calls and what hate pieces were best at the time. Winter Orb effects were absurdly good in my meta at the time, hence the inclusion of Candelabra of Tawnos but I think that you are right in it being unnecessary for most metas. Helm of Awakening is also a relic of the old build that still had occasional use but again, I think you are right in cutting it. Krark-Clan Ironworks is a difficult one for me to justify cutting as it makes Spine of Ish Sah far worse without combo potential. I guess that dropping both would give a slot for the new Ugin and Karn without even messing with the mana curve so I will likely try that and see if I end up missing the old cards.

As for going down even more Wastes , that is a meta call but I personally feel like 5 is the right amount. Solemn Simulacrum and Burnished Hart get worse with less basics and when I originally ran 4 Wastes , I had more than one situation where I ran out in deck making the aforementioned cards nearly useless. Also, given how commonplace it is to see Assassin's Trophy nowadays, and given that everything this deck does is good at terrifying people into using all of their removal on you, I don't think I would go down any. Honestly, if I can find space for it, I think I would go up one more Wastes as all of the 4 color partner decks make Blood Moon and Back to Basics effects far better and far more common. Blood Moon is almost always just a mild inconvenience but Back to Basics can be game ending if you don't have enough artifact mana out (and was another consideration for why I ran Candelabra of Tawnos ).

Blast Zone is definitely better than Sea Gate Wreckage in most scenarios so I will swap that out. Zhalfirin Void is fine but I'm not sure what I would cut for it. If nothing else, I can add it to the budget options list.

Ugin, the Ineffable will probably find his way into the list (especially because of the synergy he has with Ashnod's Altar when he doesn't have to be used to break stuff) but I am far more interested in Karn, the Great Creator . Even if his minus 2 is basically useless excluding niche situations such as getting back your exiled stuff, his static ability is more than enough to justify his inclusion. (also, his plus kills Mana Crypt s and Mox Diamond s/ Mox Opal )s/etc. I might even experiment with the hard lock he has with Mycosynth Lattice .

As for Tormod's Crypt and Haunted Cloak , I will likely end up cutting Haunted Cloak due to the deck being less focused on the combat win than it was originally when I added it and wrote the primer. I am not sure about just swapping Tormod's Crypt for Grafdigger's Cage but I will think about it. Grafdigger's Cage is better at stopping Protean Hulk shenanigans (and a lot of other similar win-conditions) as well as stopping Yisan, the Wanderer Bard and Captain Sisay decks, both of which are already bad matchups. Tormod's Crypt is better against storm decks and anything that relies on Timetwister loops as well as just guaranteeing that certain problematic cards are removed instead of temporarily shut down. I might just end up running both if I can find space. I'll experiment with what I can and if I get the chance to play some games, I'll add my experiences with the new cards. Expect an update some time in the next week or so to the primer.

And thank you for all of the advice. I fell a bit behind on the primer due to college so if you have any other advice for potential cards or things to cut, I would appreciate it. I really haven't gotten to play much magic since the start of the new year and I am sure that the meta has changed quite a bit.

el_mao on Blue You're My Boy!

2 weeks ago

Oh and Back to Basics is a thing!

LeonSpires on

2 weeks ago

@ AdNauseam12 Thank you so much for your comment!!!

Yeah the more I look at Urza, Lord High Artificer the less I am impressed by him. We'll see what time does for him. I'll probably delete this deck list soon as I plan on using the cards I've ordered for this deck to help build Chain Veil Teferi. I think I will enjoy Teferi a lot more...

The deck list I based this one on is Urza Paradox Scepter so a few of the "interesting" choices are thanks to that list and I was planning on testing them myself.

Your right Trinket Mage should probably be run over an Island

You sound like you have a very fast meta. Your meta needs more stax players. They would probably do well.

The only fringe situation for not running fetches would be if you have Back to Basics and an opponent plays Kismet , Loxodon Gatekeeper , Orb of Dreams , or Thalia, Heretic Cathar . But the upside of deck shuffle and fetching after Brainstorm or Sensei's Divining Top makes them worth it. The real reason is that all my fetches are in Simic Moonfolk Landfall and that deck being a lands matter deck is very hungry to run the fetches.

Thank you for the complement on my alters. All of them (other then Narset, Parter of Veils official alternative Japaneses art) are hand painted on real copies of the cards (I do have unaltered copies of all the cards in this list to run in tournaments). Have you seen Klug Alters. His stuff is amazing and he is my card altering idol.

SideBae on Kira

3 weeks ago

You seem to be running two copies of Voltaic Key ... I don't think that's allowed in EDH.

If you're playing Mono-Blue good stuff, I highly suggest Mystic Remora as a source of early card advantage.

I also suggest running Counterbalance in conjunction with Sensei's Divining Top and Jace, the Mind Sculptor .

Preordain is good in conjunction with Ponder .

Windfall is good, like your Timetwister with Narset, Parter of Veils .

Clever Impersonator , Stunt Double and Phyrexian Metamorph are better than Clone . You should consider them.

If you've got the budget for Timetwister , Invoke Prejudice is pretty stupid good.

I think Cyclonic Rift is better than Nevinyrral's Disk .

Deserted Temple has REALLY good interactions with Thawing Glaciers . You should consider running it. Also, I think a basic Island is better than Halimar Depths .

In mono-blue, you might want to consider Back to Basics .

If you're running Academy Ruins , I suggest Mindslaver . It's a... good combo.

I think Blast Zone is better than Powder Keg .

I don't think you should run Bonehoard , because your general counters the first equip activation.

If you want to run Ancestral Vision , I suggest As Foretold . As Foretold also has the added benefit of being able to cast a counter spell for free on each opponent's turn.

It depends on how much you feel you need to hold up counter magic, but I think Stroke of Genius is better than Mind Spring , if only because you can cast it on an opponent's end step.

Strip Mine is useful as a 1-of effect to take out The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale or other obnoxious lands. I don't think you need the Wasteland as well; you may have more luck with just a basic Island , especially if you choose to run Back to Basics .

Mana Maze is good in mono-blue decks, as is Sapphire Medallion .

Consecrated Sphinx is good as a value blue card. The card advantage is just nuts.

Dig Through Time and Treasure Cruise are great for late-game card draw.

Good luck with deck building!

SideBae on Breya, Artifact Shaper Synergies

3 weeks ago

marn3us: I suggest removing Ancient Den , Vault of Whispers , Great Furnace and Seat of the Synod . My experience with the artifact lands has not been good, as (at least in my meta) Stony Silence , Null Rod , Back to Basics and Blood Moon are all over the place. However, even if this is not the case, artifact lands still die to any Shatter effect, meaning that they are especially vulnerable with little upside. In a deck like this, I don't think hitting a critical mass of artifacts will be an issue, so I think the three on-color slow fetches would be good instead. I also advise running at least one off-color slow fetch, probably Grasslands because you have more white than red, because it will still fetch your Hallowed Fountain and Godless Shrine , making it effectively a dual land. If you don't want to run off-color fetches, I advise adding another shock of a color combination you don't have yet, like Sacred Foundry or Blood Crypt .

dingusdingo on Urza, Lord High Artificer cEDH *Primer*

3 weeks ago

Okay lets break down the justifications you gave, because I still think they merit changing.

Choosing not to run Mishra's Workshop in a deck that combos and staxs with artifacts is just silly. The problem is far more with your deck building choices of running 20 artifacts in an artifact commander oriented deck than the card itself. I shouldn't have to explain the value of 3 extra mana going towards your paradox engine or a stax piece like trinisphere, but apparently I do. Getting to winning pieces faster is better, run it. You also have the luxury of a mulligan on hands when its dead, similar to how Gaea's Cradle is a great card but dead in some hands.

Seat of the Synod combos with Mox Opal Transmute Artifact Inventors' Fair Reshape Unwinding Clock and is pullable for X=0 from Tezzeret the Seeker or Whir of Invention , meaning you can ramp in mono blue. Also recoverable from GY with Academy Ruins . Meanwhile, it nonbos with Back to Basics . Do some cost/benefit analysis and come back to me on that one.

Expedition Map is tutor density, which is your single biggest problem. If you are in a creature heavy meta, it functions as Tabernacle #2, why would you not run it? The value engine with Academy Ruins is icing on the cake. It's also part of a tutor chain using Inventors' Fair which leads to winning lines. Calling it cute without realizing it gives you more consistency with another winning line that also grinds value is just ignorant. Similar to Seat of the Synod , look at your own cards before rejecting inclusions.

Legacy's Allure is 100% a bad card. Assuming you somehow land that on turn 1, it still isn't anywhere close to live until turn 3. Unless the opposing creature is already on the board turn 1, your opponent will remove it before they play whatever creature they need that you would steal anyways, and if the creature is on the board turn 1 you should remove it before turn 3 anyways. Many stax creatures are symmetrical, so stealing one does nothing because those decks are designed to work around the effects. Also Gitrog is a 6/6 so assuming turn 1 Allure it still won't be live until turn 7, at which point Gitrog has already won. You can make the argument for proliferate, but you aren't running any. Aether Spellbomb is faster, combos with your commander, can turn itself into a cantrip if there aren't good creature targets, synergizes with that giant list of cards I talked about with Seat of the Synod, and is less color intensive. If you really need another theft effect, Vedalken Shackles is significantly better and combos all the same ways.

Howling Mine grinds values in longer games. Even if you give your opponent 1 or 2 cards, if you end up drawing 6 or 7 cards from it you are getting a better advantage. It works better in a stax build over a combo build, but then that leads to my next point. If you're really scared run Blinkmoth Well

You should build this as a stax deck. Compare this to an Arcum Dagson deck. The reason that is able to be a fast combo deck is because it has a tutor in the command zone that leads to winning lines. Meanwhile, Urza generates mana and expensive card advantage from the command zone, which benefits you when games go longer. Why would anyone build this deck with these pieces when Arcum does the same thing but better? They are the same CMC, but Dagson is less color intensive so its easier to ramp into with mono blue.

Even if you are trying to run this as fast combo, you aren't making good choices. Why are you running Fact or Fiction and not Frantic Search ? Why is your counterspell density so high when you should be tutoring or drawing to win? 13 counterspells with the meme new Narset spell for 14? Why? The card advantage your deck generates isn't high enough to sustain a package that big. If you're trying to fast combo why are you focusing on playing defensive? You don't need that many counterspells to protect your own combo.

Why are you running Power Artifact but not Basalt Monolith ? Otherwise power artifact is literally a dead draw if Grim Monolith is gone or unavailable. It opens up more options to get infinite and win with Urza

Cut Future Sight . Focus on assembling infinite mana to use Urza as an outlet. Not a single cEDH list runs it for a reason, expensive and slow. If you have infinite mana to plow through your deck with Future Sight you can just do the same with Urza. Wasted slot.

Running Isochron Scepter Dramatic Reversal and Copy Artifact but you aren't running Winds of Rebuke . It has high value outside combo, and high value inside combo. Currently you only have one method of drawing deck outside Urza (Paradox + Voltaic Key + Sensei's Top), which means you are very liable to be hit with Meddling Mage or Pithing Needle or Phyrexian Revoker or Cursed Totem , all of which see play and make your Jace and Labman into dead draws. You should also consider Blue Sun's Zenith for similar reasons, gives an outlet for infinite mana if Urza is turned off or unavailable.

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Back to Basics occurrence in decks from the last year


All decks: 0.29%

Commander / EDH:

All decks: 0.02%

Blue: 0.38%