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|Masters Edition IV (ME4)||Rare|
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Candelabra of Tawnos
, : Untap X target lands.
Candelabra of Tawnos Discussion
4 days ago
2 weeks ago
@ jeacaveo Hey, thanks for dropping by. I've certainly been finding that high quality card advantage sources are tough to come by for this deck and that this seems to be perhaps the most necessary addition for the deck to be as competitive as possible against the top tier decks in the format. I'm not finding that Urza is a deck that has too much trouble against tier 2 and 3 cEDH decks, but as with most decks in the format the tier 1 are pretty troublesome and they seem to simply out grind in a meta that has become very grind oriented.
Power Artifact is in as one more means of redundancy and resiliency. It's relatively easy to fetch with a handful of tutors, and can be used on either Isochron Scepter or Grim Monolith to good effect. In a meta where every last single U/B deck in competitive play is now running Ashiok, Dream Render it's vitally important to have redundant engine pieces in the event that some are exiled. The very printing of that card is perhaps the most fundamentally format warping aspect of this new set in cEDH. Long gone are the days where decks could feel comfortable running one primary win condition and one secondary win condition. Multiple layers of redundancy are a must to be competitive at this point. Until testing demonstrably proves an acceptable degree of redundancy Power Artifact is in to provide it.
Karn, the Great Creator does indeed have a hefty price tag, but this is perfectly acceptable in the new meta we find ourselves in. Also long gone are the days where Turn 3 was the all encompassing turn and cards with higher converted mana costs didn't have a role. In this new, long, grindy as all hell meta, Karn shines as a way to asymmetrically disrupt the best opposing PS decks in the format as a passive hate piece (as well as destroying any 0 cmc artifacts opponents have in play while ticking up), and a way to actively recover important required combo pieces that might be exiled with Ashiok or even Praetor's Grasp (as Karn does not differentiate between face up or face down exile). He is deceptively tough to remove from the board as being at 4 cmc means Abrupt Decay can't hit him, has a rather high loyalty count making removing him via combat also difficult. Meanwhile the best decks in the format will find he is a piece that typically needs to be removed in order for them to effectively combo off as he completely shuts down all Isochron related lines, SDT related lines, etc. If the format meta at the top levels was still as fast as it was a year and a half ago he probably would not have a place, but the fastest decks in the format have long since been supplanted by superior decks in the intervening time that are better at controlling pace of the game and the best grinding deck in the meta is the deck most likely to win these days. Karn can help in that regard, and he has performed admirably in testing in a surprisingly wide range of match ups.
Mishra's Workshop is actually a card I'm a bit on the fence over. I do not, by any means, consider this card to be a requirement for this deck. There are even some situations as you so astutely recognize where it's drawback can be significant (there are times where you cannot cast a turn 2 Urza if Workshop is one of the lands in an opening hand). I will say that the situations in testing where it has been effective have been terrific, however. Turn 1 Astral Cornucopia , Mox Opal , Mana Crypt into Turn 1 Urza is extremely powerful. Turn 1 Trinisphere is extremely powerful. And it certainly never hurts to cast Paradox Engine off Workshop mana. I'll need more testing with it in before I determine whether it's use cases are too narrow for play, or if they are flexible enough to warrant an inclusion. It seemed like an interesting thought so for now it's in to be tested.
Howling Mine does indeed need Urza in play, but since the deck sort of revolves around having him in play and protecting him to keep him active it's not usually a case where the symmetrical effect is a drawback. I've been much more concerned with it's level of performance overall as a card advantage piece for Urza than I have with the rare moments it acts as a card advantage piece for opponents. I did try some other pieces that could turn it off ( Merchant's Dockhand for example), but ultimately found them lackluster and the times where they would be needed quite rare overall. Quite frankly, I'd prefer better card advantage sources, but in mono blue the options are rather limited in terms of quality.
Genesis Chamber is a new addition, it's being used with Skullclamp and other token pieces to see how that package performs in terms of providing a grinding advantage. I don't think I honestly expect it to perform at the level I'm looking for, but I also don't want to overlook any potential options in the quest to optimize Urza against the top tier decks, so it's going to get a fair shake in testing.
Elixir of Immortality is important for a few reasons. Ultimately, it's a layer of redundancy (recall the issue present at the moment in the meta with Ashiok) that enables looping, and it is a card that can be retrieved with Karn (even if all spells, every single one, are exiled from this list as long as the deck has Karn it has the ability to retrieve every required piece of at least one engine to combo win). Mostly it was included at first as a way to circumvent a particular looping issue however. Consider: in a deck where looping is the way to finish off opponents that only one real option can win on the turn where Urza combos off without having to wait a turn cycle to attack with Swans, Apes, or Constructs; Windfall. Only the deck could not actually perform this function as the only viable way to loop is Narset's Reversal + Timetwister . Using that loop enabler would restore the graveyards of opponents and the Windfall win line would not be possible. This means we would need to run an alternate immediate win con, but Lab Man, Jace, and Aetherflux Reservoir are all REALLY bad cards in cEDH being completely dead outside of comboing off. The better, more efficient option, is to simply run a mana efficient loop enabler that at worst is a 1 cmc mana rock. Urza doesn't mind cheap mana rocks, in fact, Urza likes those, and on occasion Elixir can also directly protect the graveyard from an Ashiok activation. It's inclusion was a natural progression of this line of thinking. The Elixir might ultimately be cut if I decide the deck is redundant and resilient enough without it, but I'm betting against that being the case with the way the meta has changed post Ashiok's printing.
Cryptic Command and Archmage's Charm are certainly on the expensive side, but again, as the format has slowed down significantly and grindier, more interactive decks are the prohibitive favorites in any given pod, these cards have a warranted slot in testing and testing has so far proven them to be very solid inclusions. I don't know about you, but I LIKE stealing an opponents Mystic Remora . It's far better than just destroying it. I LIKE stealing an opponents Sol Ring . Dack Fayden is still run in some cEDH lists and primarily is used to steal away mana rocks outside of being a win on a loop. The Charm is an even more flexible version of what he does and the mana cost isn't going to be tough for a mono blue deck based around a commander that turns all artifacts into blue moxen. Cryptic Command is also ideal on a loop to return all opposing permanents to hand in the event the deck must wait a turn cycle to attack with an infinite army as the risk of having that army destroyed or disrupted is much less if opponents have no board state at all the turn they need to disrupt it. A year or more ago, these are likely not cards I would have expected to perform well in the meta, but in the current meta these are cards with significant value.
Academy Ruins is the all important tutor land. I initially had Tabernacle in here in the original iteration before discovering that including that hate piece at all was extremely counterproductive and not an ideal direction for a deck that ideally wants Urza in play on turn 2 as often as possible. But when I cut the Tabernacle I didn't cut the land tutors because I noticed a particularly nifty interaction with, at first, Aether Spellbomb . Urza is not a deck that can operate like other PS decks where it tries to stutter start it's engine by using it's commanders ability to chug along on a slim mana margin until it eventually hits the pieces required for critical mass to begin generating infinite mana in a deterministic fashion. The process simply isn't as efficient as Thrasios and Tasigur and most often results in a fizzle and tapped out board state. This means Urza MUST already be able to generate infinite mana in a deterministic fashion using resources already available to it rather than relying on top deck RNG to find the proper resources. One good way I found to do this was to simply recast spells the deck already had access to (Crystal Shard being the most important method of doing so) and reliably being able to get Academy Ruins into play with Candelabra of Tawnos and Paradox Engine allows the deck to repeatedly cast Mind Stone or Aether Spellbomb and generate infinite mana from a deterministic line. The same 6 or so mana that might be used to blindly activate Urza's ability and hope and pray the deck hits (which the math proves, undeniably, is a lower percentage chance than a misfire) could instead simply be used to sacrifice a known quantity, hold priority on it's draw trigger, replace it on top of the library, draw it, and replay it to untap everything and proceed with the loop indefinitely. As long as the loop produces 1 net positive mana the loop succeeds in winning the game. The land tutors are in as ways to reliably enable this back up plan in the event it is required, which hasn't been too common in testing but it has happened a significant number of times.
High Tide and Extraplanar Lens were actually both in my original iteration of the deck and it was only after about 10 games of testing that I realized these cards don't actually do anything for this deck. Urza doesn't care about land mana generation, it runs off artifact mana generation. Dramatically more often than not these cards wound up simply being dead spells that didn't provide any value at all and the times where they did provide value it was of a negligible amount. Ultimately I realized neither of these cards was important to the way the deck wanted to operate and so I cut them. I do not expect I will return either to the list at any point, Urza, at least as constructed, isn't a Storm style deck that regularly makes use of untapping lands to generate extra mana and in the situations where this can be done it means the deck has already untapped a half dozen or dozen artifacts that are providing the mana needed. Essentially, these cards were identified as "win more" in function and summarily cut. Unwinding Clock was another cut in the same vein, dead out side of winning and only helped win harder as opposed to just helping win.
Back to Basics is a worthwhile consideration, but I've never felt like this was a particularly difficult hate piece to navigate when playing against it. Urza already has more universal means of locking down opponents resources that aren't limited to just lands and these means also don't care about land type, and are also able to be tutored for and more reliably employed where Back to Basics cannot. Rhystic Study is a card I am less and less and less enthused about in the current meta. It's a card that is essentially dead outside of playing it on Turn 1 or Turn 2, and Urza has things it already wants to be doing on those turns. If I get desperate for card draw sources this is a card that could make it's way back onto my list, but I'm going to have to be very desperate indeed as this card is no longer cEDH worthy. If you want to understand why just watch the most recent Lab Maniacs S3 gameplay video on YouTube. Sigi's Rhystic Study legitimately generated no value at all and sucked up 3 mana to play. Not a position I want to be in and yet that is the type of position this card puts players in given the state of the meta at the moment. Verity Circle has significantly out performed it in testing, dramatically so the longer a game goes on. Trail of Evidence is out for the time being while I test some other card draw sources. It performed acceptably well, it just didn't stand out and I was curious if I could do better. I think this is a card that could very likely make it's way back into the list, but I want to give every other potential option a try as well in testing so for the time being it's relegated to the bench.
Well, that was a lot of words! Thanks for dropping by though, it's always worthwhile to vocalize and consider the reasons for various inclusions and go over the reasons behind the choices. I expect a number of ridiculous seeming ideas will be tried in my attempts to make this list as competitive as possible and I fully expect most of these ridiculous ideas to prove unworthy in testing, but anything that has some degree of potential should be looked at and verified in practice or else I'd still be running cards like Rhystic Study blindly believing they would improve the overall deck performance. I'll certainly keep you posted on what worked out well and what silly ideas proved to be rather too silly as testing continues and I hope you'll return the favor with the things you test.
2 weeks ago
@rphill82 Paradox Engine is one of the most efficient infinite mana generating combo pieces every printed in mtg. All 3 of the top tier cEDH decks (PS Thrasios/Tymna, PS Thrasios/Smasher, and PS Tasigur) run on the primary combos of Paradox Engine (plus mana rocks/dorks) and Scepter+Reversal. These combos are both card slot efficient and mana efficient which leaves more card slots available for interaction and supporting elements. The reason Urza lists are running Paradox Engine is the same reason these top 3 decks are running it, its extremely effective and efficient at what it does and does not require additional card slots devoted to combo pieces. All cEDH decks will already be running fast mana sources and other spells, which are the only other elements required.
As far as your assertion that the order matters, you are actually 100% correct here and a ton of players are mistakenly under the impression that an Urza deck can begin it's shenanigans without already having reached critical mass in the same way that Thrasios and Tasigur PS lists can, stuttering along on a slim mana margin until you eventually hit the cards to generate critical mass and reach a deterministic line. This cannot be done with PS Urza for a number of reasons: Urza shuffles the library so the top cards can not be set up to increase the chances of hitting the necessary next piece, Urza requires a greater mana investment to initiate the process at 5 mana, and you see less cards with Urza (1) than with Thrasios (2) and Tasigur (2 go to the grave and you are assured of receiving a spell back). The overwhelming majority of the time an Urza deck attempts to use the same process to stutter start it's engine the way these other decks do the attempt will result in a fizzle and a tapped out board state leaving Urza decks extremely vulnerable to a game losing situation as most lists are going to be running about 40-50 cards that cannot be cast off Urza's exile ability (lands are never cast, no paradox trigger, and counterspells require a target). Your assumption that you must generate infinite mana first BEFORE attempting to combo off is absolutely correct, and thus, the ordering of plays is critical.
The majority of PS Urza lists I'm seeing lately are continuously building this flaw into their decks and it is extremely sub par. The best solution to the problem is to ensure the deck has ways of continuously re-using a spell or card it already has access to. Crystal Shard is the most efficient means available as it only requires Paradox Engine, itself, and your commander from the Command Zone which should always be available to you. Repeatedly casting and recasting Urza generates an infinite number of tokens with that engine in place and these in turn generate infinite mana. The tokens themselves are a win condition, but you must wait a turn cycle to attack with them, so the infinite mana generated should then be used to exile the deck, cast spells to return everything to opponent's hands (Cryptic Command, Boomerang) via looping, and then attack when the cycle returns to you. The other option to win immediately is to loop Windfall and deck opponents but this requires you to run a loop enabler that is NOT Timetwister+Narset's Reversal (I use Elixir of Immortality , the most mana and card slot efficient card for this purpose). There are other loops aside from using Crystal Shard that can also achieve this infinite mana generation to ensure a deterministic engine line but they are less efficient to utilize ( Candelabra of Tawnos + Academy Ruins + Aether Spellbomb with Paradox Engine and 6 mana available from mana rocks for example) and should not be relied on as the primary means of infinite mana generation, which is fine as most decks will run Scepter+Reversal and Monolith+Power Artifact as supplemental primary engines alongside Paradox Engine.
In any case, very astute of you to realize that Urza PS lists cannot operate the same as top tier PS decks due to the way Urza's ability works. It is absolutely, fundamentally incorrect to attempt to do and yet is probably the most common thing I'm seeing despite it not being a viable cEDH tactic for this deck.
2 weeks ago
I have difficulties with competitive players at my LGS that make more money and have more free time than me.
For the most part, I use cards I have on hand, but if there's something that has good synergies with my entire deck/strategy, and it's less than $50 I'll buy it, but I won't buy a Candelabra of Tawnos or Moat because it'll let me go infinite or whatever.
I haven't had a chance to playtest it, since I'm taking a couple weeks off to spend more time on the weekend with my family before I have to change shifts from swing (2:15-10:45 pm) and I'm going to a brand new shift (3:00-11:30 am) after the 4th of July weekend.
3 weeks ago
1 month ago
Hey there Demonio_de_Laplace thanks for the comment!
1: Cavern of Souls ; Good point! at the moment most Mono blue list except for Arcum don't play caverns at all. within a meta where blue is more dominant, this indeed is a very good slot!
2: Stasis is a gameplan you can't really work around with Urza because unlike Teferi, for example, he can Untap artifacts and make it somewhat asymmetrical consistently and abuse it way more than Urza could. if you feel like you need to stall more and want a Stax heavy build you could go for it as it's still better than Trinisphere for this deck and you could prolong its lifetime if you keep drawing into castable artifacts.
3: Candelabra of Tawnos is undeniably a good utility card in storm/tide decks. It is Not essential, but it smooths your storms turns out a lot and makes High Tide lines really really effective. Of course, this is not a number one priority card for the deck and shouldn't be considered first if you're going to spend money, You should be better of getting fetches, duals, ramp artifacts and all that first before i would recommend someone to get one as you'll really commit to the deck by then...
1 month ago
If you need help with knowing how much/what ramp to use, you might want to check out https://www.mtggoldfish.com/articles/brewer-s-minute-ramp-math
I am not an expert in mono, but for you I recommend adding:
Myriad Landscape can go in almost any edh deck
Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx is solid in any one- or two-colour deck
Lake of the Dead has a downside, but you won't care when you're using it (trust me)
Petrified Field to protect valuable lands.
I'm not sure how I feel about Temple of the False God , but it is an EDH classic.
Other mono ramp
I ended up finding so many mono ramp cards I thought I might as well make a more full list.
Solemn Simulacrum is a good catch-all
Nirkana Revenant is good in the right deck
Bog Witch is kind of weird, but has fringe uses
I haven't thought hard, but you might be able to do some flicker shenanigans with Priest of Gix
Worst case, an edh deck can always load up on rocks. These are some of the best ones for mono black
Sol Ring every edh deck should include this
Pillar of Origins for tribal decks
In most games, these do the same thing: Commander's Sphere , Cryptolith Fragment Flip, Cultivator's Caravan , Darksteel Ingot , Hierophant's Chalice , Honor-Worn Shaku , Mana Prism , Manalith , Orazca Relic , Phyrexian Totem , Powerstone Shard , Pristine Talisman , Seer's Lantern , Serum Powder , Skull of Ramos , Sol Grail , Spectral Searchlight , Vessel of Endless Rest , Victory Chimes , and Chromatic Lantern
Thought Vessel if you fill your hand
Chrome Mox is usually worth the card disadvantage
Mox Amber if you usually have your commander/a legendary thing out
Mox Diamond if lands in your graveyard is a good thing
Mox Opal if you have 2+ extra artifacts
Black Market is good if you tend to sacrifice/kill a lot of creatures
Liliana of the Dark Realms is nice with proliferate, and makes sure you don't miss land drops in the mid/late-game
Sword of the Animist is best with one-mana creatures, and if you attack often, but might be justified even if not
Carnival of Souls is fun with some creature-based combos
Crypt of Agadeem works, but only if you consistently have 4+ creatures in the graveyard
Phyrexian Tower eats your creatures
Cabal Coffers is a staple
Cabal Stronghold is great if you can't afford many nonbasics, and might be good enough besides.
1 month 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.
Candelabra of Tawnos occurrence in decks from the last year
Commander / EDH:
All decks: 0.01%