Balance

Balance

Sorcery

Each player chooses a number of lands he or she controls equal to the number of lands controlled by the player who controls the fewest, then sacrifices the rest. Players discard cards and sacrifice creatures the same way.

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Trade

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Printings View all

Set Rarity
Eternal Masters (EMA) Mythic Rare
Vintage Masters (VMA) Mythic Rare
Masters Edition IV (ME4) Rare
From the Vault: Exiled (V09) Mythic Rare
Fourth Edition (4ED) Rare
4th Edition Foreign Black Border (4EDFBB) Rare
Revised Edition (3ED) Rare
Revised Foreign Black Border (3EDFBB) Rare
Unlimited Edition (2ED) Rare
Collector's Edition (CED) Rare
International Collector's Edition (CEI) Rare
Limited Edition Beta (LEB) Rare
Limited Edition Alpha (LEA) Rare
Promo Set (000) Rare

Combos Browse all

Legality

Format Legality
Tiny Leaders Legal
Magic Duels Legal
Canadian Highlander Legal
Vintage Legal
Oldschool 93/94 Legal
MTGO Legal
Vanguard Legal
Leviathan Legal
Archenemy Legal
Planechase Legal
Duel Commander Legal
Unformat Legal
Casual Legal
Oathbreaker Legal

Balance Discussion

dingusdingo on How to design white card ...

1 month ago

The most effective card draw pieces happen with a trigger. You see this with cards like Runic Armasaur , Sylvan Library Rhystic Study and Dark Confidant , all powerful cards that see competitive play. We can divide most triggers into periodically (every upkeep/draw step/whatever) or upon event (When you play a type of spell, etc.).

Should you have to invest mana past the initial to draw cards? Any extra mana investment beyond the initial for the permanent significantly lowers the power level. Consider a card like Dawn of Hope . I was excited to brew when I initially saw, but paying for a draw eats up one resource to replenish another (in this case, mana for cards). White isn't particularly known for having explosive mana available, or ramping mana either. I think this option is definitely the weakest route, and the most likely to see printed.

Compare to competitive EDH powerhouse and annoying trigger generator Rhystic Study or Mystic Remora . Instead of costing you, it generates advantage by forcing opponents to spend resources or fall behind in a different type of resource.

If mono white does ever receive a face lift treatment for card draw, I see it being a non-periodical trigger that serves to equalize advantage or negate advantage. What do I mean? Imagine Rhystic Study except it fires off an opponent drawing a card. The opponent either gives you resource parity (they draw a card, you draw a card) or must spend resources ( mana to stop you from drawing a card) to negate the parity. It is also easy for me to imagine an offshoot creature of Runic Armasaur for white that fires off of different triggers. Opponent casts an artifact or enchantment? Draw a card. You have elements similar to a card like Balance without giving white a spell they can recur continuously to blast past their opponent.

Imagine Sandstone Oracle effect as a mono white sorcery. It would function similar to how people have abused the card Windfall throughout MTG history, with the exception that only the mono white player is doing the drawing. Any kind of recursion, fast mana, 0 cost permanents, and cheap utility permanents are going to make the card a headache. Consider its application outside of the mono white context. A Red White storm deck could use it with cards like Fork to draw far more cards than intended if you have mana available to dump instant speed cards between the two refill your hand spells. I think this effect printed at a playable cost (anything around ) would cause more problems than it solves.

How about gaining effective card advantage, say a card like Stitcher's Supplier ? I also imagine this to be a future out for white draw, especially when combined with anything that brings multiple permanents back from the GY. I consider the highly underrated Return to the Ranks to be an example of this. The problem is, flavoring cards going to the GY to suit the white color pie. I'm imagining a card similar to Oath of Lieges but counting cards in GY before milling yourself. Another route would be a permanent that triggers self mill upon life gain, a wholly white effect (and possibly holy too).

griffstick on How to design white card ...

1 month ago

White has the identity of wanting "fair" play. With that being said.

White doesn't need card draw. White wants enchantments, life gain, and equipment. If you play a white deck that cares enough about one of these things then you will have card draw. But if you want card draw to be fair (and whites all about "fair" play) then Balance type effect spells are the only way to design such a card for white. Other wise since white is "fair". Well there's always Howling Mine , Font of Mythos , Temple Bell and other artifacts you can use that act "fair".

shadow63 on How to design white card ...

1 month ago

White is about Balance now that's normaly represented as pushing everyone down but I'd rather see stuff that pushes everyone up. Something like

WW2 sorcery

Chose target player with more cards in hand then you each player draws cards until they have that many cards in hand

shadow63 on How would you "fix" white

1 month ago

White is the color of Balance and is usually illustrated by bringing everyone down to the same level. White could get more stuff like Alms Collector one that somehow balanced lands would be really nice. Something like

Whenever an opponent has a land enter the battlefield under their control besides their first one each turn you get a treasure token

Magnanimous on How would you "fix" white

1 month ago

Continue with the following styles of cards: flickering, Venerated Loxodon , Squadron Hawk , tokens, banishing ( Banisher Priest , Oblivion Ring , Spell Queller ), destroy the powerful ( Balance , destroy creatures with power 4 or greater, 1/1 gets buffs).

Make the following effects white/more prevalent in white: Creature tutors ( Chord of Calling for example), enchantress effects, color-pie matters ( Fry , Veil of Summer )


Opinions on white as a color

I really like some of white's old mechanics that just kinda went missing. Land Tax effects, for example, are powerful, interactive, and fun to build around. Armageddon will not be returning, but maybe white could have some other way to punish players for ramping, a spot Leonin Arbiter only somewhat fills.

One of the biggest reasons why I think white is failing is because a lot of its color identity is being stolen by green to make green more interesting. Enchantress effects are more white than green in my opinion. Creatures matter cards are also more likely to be green than white even though white's identity is largely based around creatures. Collected Company and Chord of Calling represent raising an army of small creatures and a collective effort to search for a specific creature, both give off white vibes (while Honor of the Pure effects are less powerful and could be green).

SynergyBuild on How would you "fix" white

1 month ago

Do you mean for standard? EDH? I mean, in supplemental products like modern horizons or commander products we've gotten Teferi's Protection , Ranger-Captain of Eos , Giver of Runes , and specifically for EDH, Smothering Tithe , and the dominant card of it's standard, Gideon, Ally of Zendikar all in mono-white, outside of that, multicolored white spells are some of the best, with Dovin's Veto , Teferi, Time Raveler , Teferi, Hero of Dominaria , Kaya's Guile , Siege Rhino , and Deafening Clarion .

For standard Seal Away , cards like Benalish Marshal , Legion's End , the nearly ever-present-since-printed aggro based Venerated Loxodon builds in selesnya or mono-white, as well the base of removal for a while between Settle the Wreckage , Seal Away , and Cleansing Nova .

Even more recently Kaya's Wrath and Time Wipe have been the go-to sweepers. The number-one deck rn is Jeskai Fires abusing Kenrith, Teferi, Clarion, and Justice Strike , Azorious control using Planar Cleansing (a triple white card) is very popular too, and with decks like Mardu Knights, Selesnya Adventure, etc. you'll see white isn't out.

But sure, I would like white to be more powerful, for Vintage, unrestrict Balance , that'd do the trick, for Legacy, just print a 1 mana hatebear for 1cmc instants. Super specific but it'd crush the delver and storm builds that keep it in it's place. Give it protection from instants too so they need a different removal package to deal with it. For Modern, give white a way to deal with tron that is difficult to splash, something like Tomik mixed with Damping Sphere that isn't a human, otherwise that 5c deck will take it.

That and the legacy dude can help some mono-white list beat Shadow, Infect, Eldrazi Tron, Normal Tron, Dredge once they bring in their Axes/Dark Blasts to beat the weenie strategy.

In Pioneer, Humans and Azorius Control are already good.

In standard, give a mono-white strategy some way, that though splashable isn't easy to do so () that hates on graveyards while being good, and some unsplashable way to hate on big creatures. Think The Wanderer if it was good and like or something. Both of these cards need to be decent even without the hate, and with it it suddenly is mainboardable as hate against Cat-Food and Fires respectively.

enpc on White's issues in Commander

1 month ago

Tzefick: I read through the original post, but I want to circle back to it later. And you will have to excuse the order in general, I was responding to this across the course of a day.

On artifact removal

There are a few points to unpack here. The first, and most importantly, is that removal is a big part of Magic, the Gathering and honestly, is what makes games (and deckbuilding) interesting. IF MtG was just about amassing board states and then slamming big creatures into other big creatures, the game would be much more boring (not to mention take much longer). But your argument here basically boils down to "artifacts are bad because they die to removal". I get that there are a bunch of good artifact removal cards, but that doesn't mean that we should stop leaning into artifacts because of it.

As for dealing with removal (especially mass removal) - there are still many options that white already has access to which does actually allow them to ramp. Wayfarer's Bauble , Burnished Hart , Solemn Simulacrum , Kor Cartographer , Knight of the White Orchid are all perfectly valid land ramp cards. Sure, the average CMC of these spells is higher than their green counterparts, however green is THE ramp colour, so it would be expecteded that there would be hihger costs/more contitions to be met for other colours to do a similar thing. And that's without even touching on cards like Sword of the Animist or Explorer's Scope which are both equipment and what white excels at.

In addition to this, while not ramping, white already has access to cards like Weathered Wayfarer , Land Tax , and Tithe which allow you to consistently hit your lands. While not as good as outright ramping, if you're hitting your lands each turn, you're genereally not doing too badly. And when combined with other ramp effects, by mid to late game you still end up with as much mana as most players.

Now onto the artifacts. Yes, there are a lot of good artifact removal effects which can slow players down. But I would also point out a few things here too.

Mana dorks are a very common form of ramp in commander. Most green decks will run a bunch of them and there are even strategies (elf ball) which almost solely relies on them. But just as artifacts can be hated on, white has some of THE best creature removal in the game. This includes both single target but also mass removal, which can severely hamper your opponents with regards to ramp. And unlike green (who is the main comparison point here), white doesn't rely on mana dorks, leaving you relatively unaffected from a mana standpoint.

In addition to this, white has a lot of ways of protecting your stuff from being destroyed, whether it's indestructible, hexproof, just an outright Teferi's Protection (which yes you did mention), or more importantly shutting down an opponent's removal source using Torpor Orb effects, of which white has many. Sure, this doesn't stop everything, but it can shut down a lot of (especially green) big bad ones. We are seeing a lot of these printed in new sets, to the point where WotC are really trying to drive home the point that "this is what white does".

Ok, now circling back (And I will do this more than once) and picking up on my previous paragraph. On the topic of land ramp - white is very good at shutting down this. between all of the MLD, Balance type effects and library shutdown effects like Aven Mindcensor , white hating on green's land ramp is to green hating on artifacts (i.e. white's main ramp source). Again I reiterate, this is what white does. It has been made abundantly clear, since we have time and time again seen printing of cards that equalise the board, to take away other players' advantages. So again I push the point that white is capable, however the issue here is that it's not the way you (or some other casule commander players) want it to be. But again, that's not white's shortfall.

On Graveyard Recursion

This topic follows on from the whole artifact removal thing. Yes, white is very strong in graveyard recursion. And just to touch on one of your points, even recently white got a bunch of graveyard recursion via cards like Daring Archaeologist and Restoration Specialist . Not repeatable sure, but still decent. And let's face it, any mono-white commander product is going to see Sun Titan reprinted. But back to the whole recusrion thing in general - while white is good at recursion, it's permanent based, not specifically land based. Yes, this overlaps (especially in the case of Sun Titan ) but here it's just a bit of nice value.

Land recursion is very much a green thing (I'm not even going to list the cards) and that makes sense. But for white, the recursion is generally symmetric if en masse. And again, this makes sense. White is good at wrecking stuff, so it's also good at bringing stuff back. But the point is that just because you wreck stuff and bring it back symmetrically doesn't mean that you can't exile a graveyard or two in the middle. Ok, but what's my concern with what you're recommending (both across the board but let's talk specifics)?

So, fundamentally I have no issues with the release of white cards which can return permanents from the graveyard to the battlefield, and fundamentally I have no issues with pairing these cards with any kind of fetchlands to ramp. As you mentioned, we have the new Sevinne's Reclamation and Brought Back alongside Sun Titan and Profound Journey .

Where I have issue in this case is not with the concept of having a cheaper spell that hits smaller stuff, but in this case your suggestion. Unforntunately, ther is a fine line between being able to be used early game for ramp purposes and just being broken. The card you proposed is similar in effect to Unearth , though it being able to hit any permanent for 2 mana (yes, even CMC 2 or less) is super good. That means that in legacy it can hit cards like Young Pyromancer , Snapcaster Mage (to get other spells even at sorcery, like itself for example), Thalia, Guardian of Thraben , Wasteland , etc. as well as potentially getting another permanent too. It just seems way too powerful. Sure, we could start tweaking the mana costs/effects but I think you would end up with effectively a functional reprint of Sevinne's Reclamation . And look, if that's what you're going for then that's fine. But that's the danger with working under the guise of returning permanents while focusing on lands.

As for the land sepcific recursion effect though, this just seems out of charater (and heavily moving into green's territory). Just because one card was printed, which again did a symmetric effect (almost seems good with Armageddon + Tormod's Crypt ...) does not mean that it's a shoo-in for more cards to be printed like that. Planar Birth was printed inthe same set as Catastrophe and it seems like those cards were designed to play well with each other. As for hitting land drops each turn, I have no issues with this (hell, I even mentioend it before) and to aid in the available "non-good fetch" fetches, you have Terramorphic Expanse , Evolving Wilds , Myriad Landscape , Grasslands , Flood Plain , Bant Panorama , Esper Panorama , Naya Panorama , Warped Landscape , Terminal Moraine and Thawing Glaciers . That's a pretty good collection of budget fetch effects that already exist. And between Scaretiller , Sun Titan , Sevinne's Reclamation and Crucible of Worlds (and in conjuction with other ramp) there are already options there.

Again, I will double down on my argument that if you look, these cards already exist and can be made to work together in a deck. Yes, Crucible of Worlds has ~$25 USD price tag (at the time of writing this) however that is not too exorbitant for a strong EDH card.

On Other Colours

I get that each colour has its strengths and weaknesses and that when you put all of them alongside each other there will always be a worst colour. But I don't think that's a bad thing. White is an incredibly powerful colour outside of commander, and as a second colour, white is still super good. But mono-white has to have a weakness. In this case, it's slow. Buat again, that's done for a reason - because white represents balance. White might be slow, but it will do a really good job of slowing you down with it. And again, I get that ther will be a group of players who don't want to play all of the stax cards for fear of getting other poeple's backs up. But what about the players who don't care about that? you've now just armed a bunch of people with ramp and draw with their existing supply of stax. Think of how much worse that will be.

Now onto red (since you touched on it) - yes, WotC have come up with a nice balance for red's card advantage (in that it matches red's ramp style) - momentary bursts of value. Rituals and exile - you use it or you lose it kind of effects, which makes sense (and which you pointed out). But it's all done within the bounds of the colour pie still. But everything about white screams that it's card advantage is making sure your opponents don't have cards.

On Budget

While I believe that commander should be avaialble to anyone, there are some cold, hard facts: Some people can spend more than others, and, not everybody within a playgroup has the same budget.

The cards I listed before were budgetless and in most cases, the best of the best. And I understand that only a small portion of commander players actually own said cards. But there are always alternative cards at all budgets, they just may not be as desirable. But that's where my double standard comment came in, which is "if you want to play a colour that doens't have good ramp, but still want the best ramp then either pay the money to buy the good (read "expensive") stuff or deal with the fact that you can't/won't buy it." I don't think that's an unfair statement, and it's a slippery slope once you start pandering to it.

But again, if ther is a budget discrepency within a playgroup then I also don't think that it is WotC's responsiblity to fix it. This is something that the players have to own and is an entire discussion point in an of itself, so I will leave that there. But I think most players would agree with me on this.

On Other Players

Here's where we get to brass tacks (if we haven't already), I wouldn't agree with you on the comment that "a large portion of the commander community" thinks that mono-white needs fixing. Ther eare some poeple, sure. And those people might make a lot of noise about it, but that doesn't mean it's the majority of players. I know that most players who I interact with would agree wiht my viewpoint on it.

And don't get me wrong, I play both casual and competitive lists, I work full time and have funds available to afford nicer cards. A casual list for me sits in the $400-500 range. But before you discount my opinion becasue fo that, hear me out. I have looked at many, many, many lists on tapped out, ranging from <$100 to >$5000 and have learnt a lot over the years. Typically the things I notice is that the kinds of poeple who complain about a lack of XYZ have also employed a lot of bad deck-building practices (no, I'm not implying this on your lists). Really heavy mana curves, little ramp to begin with, high CMC ramp, lack of focused win conditions, all that good stuff. And I'm not saying that the decks are completely unplayable, but a lot of them are really clunky and slow. And I won't begrudge people for building those decks. But if your average CMC is 4.5 and then you're complaining that your deck is slow, that's becasue of the card choices you made. However bad deckbuilding is not WotC's fault.

So compared to those poeple, I will be a bit arrogant and say I undstand balance better than them, yes. But, and more importantly, so does WotC - because they seem to be printing more stax cards for white as sets come out, but not more ramp and card advantage which would fix the non-problem.

Tzefick on White's issues in Commander

2 months ago

This thread is mainly concerning Commander and especially some of the issues that pertain to certain colors, this thread will focus on white. The color's strengths and weaknesses and what they share with other colors. If you just want to see the heart of the thread and skip the pretext, jump down to the segment named "The suggestions".

First of all I'd like to direct attention to TappedOut's Berryjon and his articles of Pattern Recognition concerning some of white's color pie identity in the following links. If you need to refresh or get a better understanding of what white is all about, please go read them, they are quite good:

http://tappedout.net/mtg-articles/2019/apr/4/pattern-recognition-105-white-crust/

http://tappedout.net/mtg-articles/2019/apr/18/pattern-recognition-106-zoo/

http://tappedout.net/mtg-articles/2019/may/2/pattern-recognition-107-lifegain/

http://tappedout.net/mtg-articles/2019/may/23/pattern-recognition-109-white-filling/


This is a brief summary of those articles;

White is the color of status quo and Balance . "No one should pull too far ahead , we should be equal" - that could be a motto for white.

It is a color of community and unity, as seen with Anthems , promoting going wide rather than green's strong. As an effect of this white usually has smaller creatures but they often have keywords like first strike, lifelink, vigilance, indestructible, and others. As a consequence, white has the largest collection of evergreen keywords as a primary identity, sitting at 7 keywords, where the next highest is blue at 5.

(source on keywords: https://mtg.gamepedia.com/Evergreen)

Most group-hug cards are also using white's color pie in some fashion.

White is also a color that desires lifegain for the sake of lifegain. Whilst a color like black likes to gain life to use it as payment for other effects, white simply hoards life for the sake of hoarding life. White shared this feature with green in the early days , but green has since moved on to something a bit different . In the earlier days white also had a variety of prevention mechanics but it got phased out, mostly because it wasn't a very good mechanic and caused nothing to happen in a match.

White is in many ways "peaceful" but can also be destructive. For creatures the destruction is total and symmetrical or very specific but at an alternative "cost" that is not exacted on you but rather benefits your opponent.

White loves and hates artifacts, as shown by some of their early cards and some they have retained throughout the years .

And the same is mostly true for enchantments. White has an affinity for auras, but as most know, auras have a glaring issue that so far hasn't been solved without pushing the auras extensively. White shares the love / hate of enchantments with green.


White's strengths can be roughly summarized in

  • Going wide and buffing wide

  • Large collection and occurance of keyword abilities on creatures

  • Gains life the most efficient

  • Destroys everything in equal measure, ensuring a "balance" (can be offset by granting indestructible or simply ghosting them away )

  • Can deal with pretty much any permanent

  • Affinity for artifacts and enchantments

White's weaknesses can be roughly summarize in

  • Little to no card draw, if there it is conditional

  • Little opportunity for interaction with instants and sorceries, meaning white often just takes the punishment, with some exceptions

  • Going wide often clashes with their desire for balance that blows everything up

  • Lifegain outside aggro match ups is often not that valuable by itself

  • Their spot removal is often not very efficient without having some significant kind of drawback , even though they are flexible


Of white's strengths, they share lifegain with black and green. They share mass destruction with black and red. Their removal options on creatures is general for all, but black does it better, and red can conditionally be more efficient but generally not for Commander. Red can perform better on the artifact removal and in the more flexible artifact/enchantment removal, white gets bested by green, especially at multiple spot removals. Blue (and to a certain degree red) can utilize artifacts better, and green utilizes enchantments better.

There's a lot of white's strengths that they share or can be found in another color. As such white is a very flexible color but the old saying is also jack of all trades, master of none.

However the biggest strike white has in Commander is the lack of resource acceleration, this can both be mana ramp but to a larger degree it's card advantage. Blue is obviously master of straight card draw, black has a long list of trading something for card draw, green can get it through dropping creatures (or enchantments ), having many creatures or in rare occasions to off their own creatures , and red has recently been getting a push for temporary card draw or card draw while at a disadvantage . White is still kinda stuck on having mostly cantrips and a few weak conditional card draw engines . Other than that, they have to rely on artifacts for their card draws.

This combination of master of none and no real card draw is one of the reasons why white struggles in Commander as a singular color.

The Command Zone produced an analysis of over 300 games of mostly 4 players, and white came out as the color with the least win rating. And not just monocolor, but decks that contained white.

(Link to a Reddit-hub for said analysis, showing both data and video analysis: https://www.reddit.com/r/EDH/comments/9r4emn/full_data_dump_from_the_command_zone_statistics/)

However this data and analysis is incomplete and cannot be used as a definitive way to compare the colors, as the amount of games is only 316, differing power levels may occur and some conditions may apply to the play groups. However differing power levels and soft-bans is also part of what Commander is, it is first and foremost a casual format.

I've seen a few people argue that white could look like that because one of their stronger archetypes, resource denial, is frowned upon or directly banned . I don't quite agree and frankly I understand the reasoning behind frowning on effects that grinds the game to a halt. If you can lock and kill your opponents easily with Armageddon , then I don't mind it as much. But I would rather not just wait around for that player to slowly grind the rest of the players out. And there's no bearing in "well, you could just concede" - which is basically saying you might as well not play.

As such I really hope white's multiplayer strength does not have to come from mass land destruction, but instead that we can find ways to make white better in the format.

We have recently received Sevinne's Reclamation which some have speculated could be a way for white's color pie to indirectly gain mana ramp through lands, by returning low CMC permanents from the graveyard.

Now, that was a lot of pretext to get to the heart of this thread:


The suggestions:

White in Commander or perhaps multiplayer in general needs some way to gain card advantage. Every other color has come up with ways to achieve it and white is kinda still stuck.

So far white's card draws have been conditional on doing something else that results in a card draw.

Mentor of the Meek , Dawn of Hope , Puresteel Paladin , Kor Spiritdancer , and Sram, Senior Edificer are the only real card draw engines in white. They are all quite narrow or have a cost associated with it. I don't believe white should just get straight card draw, but they need something less constricting/more generic to help out white as a whole.

Suggestions on card draw Show


Another issue I see with white is how they have a lot of cost expensive cards but no real mana ramp outside artifacts.

Green is obviously covered, black usually cheats mana costs, red is not that heavy on costs but do have some rituals to grant quick mana and in some scenarios the Braid of Fire . Blue has been getting a lot of mana boosting through non-mana artifacts with Urza, and they tend to untap their permanents, generating mana. White is again getting the short end with less to show for direct mana ramp.

As mentioned before, we have recently gotten Sevinne's Reclamation (and Brought Back ) which could be an indirect source of mana ramp, by restoring lands from your graveyard. I think this would be a fine way to utilize white's color pie and their ability to restore permanents.

Let's get to some suggestions

Suggestions on land ramp Show

So with all that said and done. What is your experience with white in Commander? Can you recognize these issues? What do you think needs to be done?

And of course, you're more than welcome to share your ideas and suggestions of cards and mechanics that can help white in multiplayer formats and Commander.

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