|Commander / EDH||Legal|
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|War of the Spark (WAR)||Uncommon|
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Creature — Human Wizard
When Elite Guardmage enters the battlefield, you gain 3 life and draw a card.
Elite Guardmage Discussion
2 weeks ago
3 months ago
InutilisVisEst: I see. For the lower cmc, I do run Baleful Strix which serves a similar function as Elite Guardmage . Probably the only creature I could see challenging Cloudblazer 's spot is Riverwise Augur .
3 months ago
3 months ago
This is a cool brew, it's definitely powerful once you have the engine in place. I playtested a few games against one of my creature-heavy decks & yours seemed to have trouble getting the right mana out, with some cases being the wrong color & others just being missing land drops early. I'd recommend upping to 26 lands given your high curve & how important it is to hit at least your first 5 land drops to get into your wraths. If you can't swing the shocklands right now, you might want to also use some gates instead of basics since you can probably afford a few lands to come in tapped.
The one other thing that seemed to be missing was life gain. Assuming Hydroid Krasis is out of the budget, some ideas that also contribute to the rest of the strategy are Depose / Deploy , Dovin, Architect of Law , Elite Guardmage , Gift of Paradise , and Knight of Autumn .
As far as what to take out, I think you could just reduce the number of copies of a few cards. Wilderness Reclamation is an awesome enabler but doesn't have any benefit in multiples, so I'm thinking just 2 of those, then depend on your draw power to see it consistently. Tamiyo is another one that seems a little much as a 4-of, maybe just 2 or 3 of her. Finally having Dovin's veto as a 4-of in the mainboard seems risky since it can be a mostly-dead draw in some matchups.
4 months ago
Again I have to emphasize that without something tangible to compare to, I don't know what makes your Soulbond idea work better than the idea of Caretaker. Please provide some tangible ideas of how you would make this mechanic and put it on some creatures.
"First-off, it’s too similar to old Naya."
- Well... you do actually want to make it feel like it came from Naya, don't you?
"But more importantly, it doubles down on what made Naya the least popular shard- that is, that “power 5 or greater” is really tough to secure because most creatures in that range cost four or more mana, which basically disqualifies it from most competitive environments. It’s just too slow to be functional."
- Are you seriously saying that 4+ CMC is non competitive? In what format? Modern, Vintage and Legacy? Sure in most settings hard casting a 4 CMC dumb Beast is likely not something you want to do in those formats, but are we really designing cards for the sole purpose that they should appear in competitive eternal formats? In Standard? No way is that too slow.
I strolled through War of the Spark standard decks on MTGtop8.com. We have a group of Esper Midrange who utilizes fringe amount of Hostage Taker , a bit more uses Elite Guardmage and all uses Teferi, Hero of Dominaria . That's a midrange deck with no efficient ramp access.
And these are just the most present aggro decks and only one of whom utilizes mana ramp. If I go to UR aggro (next in line) they have Arclight Phoenix (although they may not actually cast it) and Crackling Drake
So I think it's wrong to say that 4 CMC cards are non-competitive.
It's also quite possible to make cards with the Caretaker idea that is definitely going to see play in eternal formats. It's just a matter of pushing the cards far enough.
Additionally the border for Naya's threshold doesn't necessarily need to be at 5. It could be at 4 instead to push the mechanic as a baseline a bit more.
But as you said yourself; "Not only that, but both the power # and whether it’s “greater than X” or “less than X” makes it very broad design space, and gives me a lot of good knobs to work with. It’s also the furthest thing I can think of from a parasitic mechanic (which one could argue old Naya’s “power 5 or greater was, given nearly all of the decent power 5+ creatures below 4-5 mana were from Naya at the time, and kinda still today- most are either flip cards or have a serious downside)."
The Power X or greater/lesser than X does grant a certain amount of design space.
I also fail to see how a shifted Soulbond that forces a particular pairing (you said yourself you wanted it to be restrictive pairing) is a better transcending mechanic outside block than a mechanic that have you play lower CMC creatures that can bounce themselves to gain a powerful effect when you play a higher CMC creature.
Thematically, Caretaker plays into the same space as Exploit, except it's the other way around where you first play the mechanic and THEN the enabler, and you only lose tempo and not resources like you do with Exploit - which was a liked mechanic on the Storm Scale.
Based on MTGTop8.com's historic data, the only Soulbond cards who ever made it to competitive eternal formats (here Modern, Legacy, Vintage) are: Deadeye Navigator and Silverblade Paladin . Deadeye is used in 1 Legacy deck back in 2013, and ended up in rank 5-8 out of 8. Silverblade has occurred a few more time, 4 in Modern (3 of whom back in 2012 - 1 year after Modern launch) and 4 in Legacy (mostly in Death & Taxes decks).
Now these data are all taken from one source, granted, but Soulbond as a mechanic doesn't seem like it has shown much competitive potential or at least result. One of the present cards is a combo component. The other is a Double Strike enabler on a body. Double Strike is an incredibly powerful keyword, especially when you can grant it to any creature. The best alternative is Battle Mastery for a permanent Double Strike ability.
Actually looking at it, Spellbreaker Behemoth has 5 entries in Modern but it dies there for him. Woolly Thoctar had 4 in Modern and 2 in Standard. So either the data is just not there for Alara Standard or they made more splashes in Modern than in Standard. Ah and Woolly made 41 entries in Extended (yeah, it was back in those days). I think Naya was kinda overshadowed by the Naya zoo archetype featuring Wild Nacatl .
As for Soulbond's entrance on the Storm scale, MaRo states that the mechanic is very popular but the design space is medium. The template for Soulbond is mostly in P/T upgrades, Evergreen Keywords and occassionally other abilities. Another hindrance is that both paired creatures gets the same effect.
They also say their data may be skewed toward more enfranchised players who are more likely to be competitive. In Standard Soulbond was used quite a lot, especially Wolfir Silverheart , beating Silverblade Paladin but sharing a lot of decks too under Aggro. However Wolfir shows up nowhere in competitive eternal formats.
They haven't made a Storm Scale article about Shards of Alara (or they have hidden it beyond the reach of Google) so where do you get your data on Naya's Power 5 being unpopular with the players? I'm genuinely curious.
The Storm Scale is also a strange way to measure popularity TBH. It kinda pitches the block's mechanics against each other, so if there's a mechanic that overshadows the rest, then you may get a skewed picture compared to considering the mechanics individually. Food for thought I guess.
In conclusion, I don't think a restrictive Soulbond is that much better of a mechanic than what you could do with Caretaker and "Gargantuan". I do however think there's a flavor break on using Soulbond - I don't see the soulbonding between a massive beast and their worshippers. Unless the beasts somehow got way more sentient and actually starts having empathy for their worshippers.
I think you yourself have a dislike of the Naya Power-5 mechanic, so a mechanic that goes somewhat close to what it was is something you dislike. Unless you provide some sauce on the unpopularity of Naya's Power-5, I don't think it's right to say it is disliked as a mechanic. It may not have been a competitively pushed mechanic, but that doesn't mean the mechanic is disliked.
4 months ago
Thank you very much for the advice Silverdrake!
I will be sure to keep an eye out for some of those counterspells and maybe swap them in for the Lazotep Plating .
Hopefully in the next few drafts I will pick up some more Elite Guardmage s as I think the card draw and life gain are essential for playing the long game with this deck in it's current form.
5 months ago
You should play 1-2 copies of Naban, Dean of Iteration . He seems like straight gas, and curving him into Deputy of Detention into Elite Guardmage seems absolutely game-winning against any creature aggro/midrange deck.
5 months ago
I was Looking around for a deck like this because I had a very similar idea to yours. I don't actually have the cards to build it, online or paper, so I thought I would ask how this build is going for you. The variant I came up with runs Naban, Dean of Iteration , Augur of Bolas , Deputy of Detention , Elite Guardmage , and two Niv-Mizzet, Parun for creatures. 20 Ins/Sor so that Augur can function, and Solar Blaze because it only kills Naban and Niv. It leans more towards control than yours, But if you don't mind I'd appreciate your input.
As for your deck, I would probably main-board Lava Coil / Justice Strike or Lightning Strike / Shock as additional removal. Niv is fantastic against most any deck and wins if you can protect him. Naru Meha, Master Wizard is also an interesting option. As for your sideboard, hmmmm... Well the new teferi and Narset are great against control. I really like Narset's Reversal over Dovin's Veto , let alone Negate , especially if you have Expansion / Explosion to work with. Also, she may not be a wizard, but Lyra Dawnbringer is kind of a good card against aggro.
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