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(3), Tap or (Blue), Tap: Return target creature to its owner's hand unless its controller pays (1).
Crystal Shard Discussion
1 week ago
@ ToffMcSoft The PE ban certainly hurts the more control/staxy variants of Urza and significantly decreases the value of Crystal Shard in particular. The storm variants are much less affected as they already make better use of cards like Sai, Master Thopterist while employing lines enabled with Hurkyl's Recall and similar effects. I don't think this kills the Urza decks, but it might push them into a different play style to remain effective in the meta.
2 weeks ago
** Forgot to mention Crystal Shard is set to arrive this week for her.
2 weeks ago
Crystal Shard performs the same function as Deadeye Navigator at a lower mana cost and with the ability to be tutored for in a mono blue deck. It's actually a better win con than just about anything else for Urza decks, and is useful to protect Urza or interact with an opponent's board on occasion as well. It'd also be worth considering removing Jace and Aetherflux Reservoir as these are very bad win cons that add two dead cards to the deck outside of actually comboing off, just including them makes the deck less consistent. You've already got the pieces in place to loop wins, so these 2 pieces don't offer the deck much. It'd be more efficient, consistent, and resilient to swap them for Elixir of Immortality (which at worst is a 1 cmc mana rock as opposed to a 4 cmc mana rock) and any random piece of cheap interaction or card advantage. Walking Ballista also adds nothing to the deck, but it does make it less consistent. Any cheap piece of interaction or card advantage would be a better use of that slot. These changes would slightly improve overall deck performance without drastically upping the power level and are replacements that don't require huge investments.
3 weeks ago
What's the goal of the deck? It seems pretty unfocused. I can see Codex Shredder , Crystal Shard and some other strange choices in there. Whats your budget? Cuz some easy improvements are removing cards that dont further your game plan like: Vedalken Humiliator War Tax why not Propaganda or a bounce-/Counterspell? Unsubstantiate for instance. Nezahl, is he your wincon? Shouldnt your wincon be tied to Urza, the biggest of chunguses? I know it may not make sense, but Brainstorm is way better than Lorthos because you can cast it vastly more often, amongst other stuff.
And these guys aren't necessarily bad Trophy Mage Trinket Mage Tribute Mage But why are you running them? You should have targets in mind, and cut the ones that don't further your game plan, which is, I presume, absolute crushing victory!
Just cut some of the higher costed stuff that don't add to your game plan like Deadeye Navigator and add in stuff like Torpor Orb , Cursed Totem and Chain of Vapor (pulls double duty as a potential ritual effect).
If any of this seems rude, I apologize. I am rather drunk and looking to help a bit. Urza is rad and I hope you enjoy playing him!
3 weeks ago
@ TefflonDice Sounds like your wife has already hit on the most effective means of abusing Urza. Paradox Engine or not, tell her to give Crystal Shard a try. It's hands down the best method of abusing Urza's etbs, helps to protect him from removal, is an outright win condition in the situation where it's activations can be looped, and can even interact with an opponent's board in a pinch. For cEDH Paradox Engine lists the card is essentially THE must run win condition, for decks lower on the power spectrum its just plain good as an inexpensive to acquire piece that ramps up the potency of any Urza brew.
3 weeks ago
@ jeacaveo Hey, just finished on my list so I'm here to discuss some choices I see on yours!
First and foremost I want to start with the card that most intrigues me in your iteration: Tidespout Tyrant . There is a part of me that absolutely loves this idea, it performs the same relative function as Crystal Shard and helps the deck generate deterministic lines. I'm just curious about the mana investment and how reliably you are able to find this piece in game. It feels like a card that will certainly decrease opening hand consistency as any opening hand with it will likely have to be shipped, but the upside of it to close out games seems incredible. It's one card that can perform both the roles of Crystal Shard and Cryptic Command at the same time in the same situation and I find it fascinating. I really hope you'll let me know how it performs for you in games over time.
Codex Shredder is a card I considered as this seems like a simple win condition, but there are relevant decks where it can't perform this function (Gitrog Monster for example) and winds up relegated to the same role as Elixir of Immortality with worse functionality in those situations. Ultimately I went with the Elixir as it enables the same win line (via Windfall ) with less downside in certain matchups.
Mystic Forge and Future Sight are interesting ideas to me. I haven't tried them out and they seem awkward, but I'd be really keen to know what kinds of situations these cards offer advantages for you in play testing and what kinds of situations aren't ideal for them.
Storage Matrix is something I've considered, but realistically speaking I just want out the Static Orb + Tangle Wire lock and devoting another card slot to a similar but less effective hate piece felt like a mistake to me. I haven't tested it though, so any updates you have on it's performance would be of interest to me as well.
Arcum's Astrolabe is definitely not a card I would want to run. Functionally it could perform the same role as Chromatic Sphere but is more difficult to cast and cannot be looped with something like Candelabra + Academy Ruins to generate a deterministic infinite mana line. This inclusion seems really sub par compared to other options that might be available and is probably the very first card I would replace in this list.
Neither Null Rod or Cursed Totem are going to be hate pieces I consider for an Urza list, but I think this is more out of personal bias than anything. I feel like they are just too disruptive to Urza's own game plan, too difficult to break parity on, and too easy to remove from the board in situations where you actually would like them to be in play. I hate Abrupt Decay , except when I love it.
Unwinding Clock can get really degenerate, but I only ever found it to have a "win more" function and ultimately I cut it since it only helped me to win harder than I already was winning rather than just help me win. I think there is some version of Urza that can make ideal use of it, but I haven't figured out what it would be yet and most Urza lists, I think, will find this card's performance unsatisfactory.
Dig Through Time and Recurring Insight aren't cards I'm really keen on. I want some serious card advantage for the resource investment and I'm not sure these options reliably offer the degree of advantage needed to compete with the best grinding decks while also being riskier plays due to the resource investment made to play them. I feel like there is some sort of more optimized route to gaining significant card advantage and this is definitely what I'm working on for my list at the moment, but I must admit I haven't found a solution that is truly ideal. It could certainly wind up being cards like these two in the end.
Merchant Scroll is a card I included in my original lists but I found it to simply be too ineffective. It's terrific for searching up a combo piece, but a lot of times there's an Ashiok out and about and I can't tutor any ways and even if I could I could probably get the same reward from a different card that offers additional value in a different situation and would be more flexible. I don't think your list can make use of Spellseeker , however, given it's construction, so this is probably the right card for this list given the parameters.
Memory Jar is something I have to keep an eye on as it's a great way to reload. Let me know how it performs for you as this is a card I intend to test at some point and just haven't gotten around to trying out quite yet.
3 weeks ago
3 weeks ago
I don't agree at all, I've played this deck serveral times, and I've never had a problem winning off lean mana. Granted I'm not a cEDH player and I play in an Optimized/Tuned pod but I almost always win by T5. I will say Crystal Shard , does seem like a very effective card, but I just think it's not something I've needed.
Crystal Shard occurrence in decks from the last year
Commander / EDH:
All decks: 0.01%