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Target opponent reveals his or her hand. You choose a creature card from it. That player discards that card. Scry 1.
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Harsh Scrutiny Discussion
1 month ago
Alright, awesome! I don't know your meta, so let me know if these suggestions aren't right for you and your playgroup(s).
First off, this is straight up Midrange. A couple counters and removal/control magic cards doesn't make it control.
Secondly, I would focus first on your mana base. The distribution of your lands will depend on the end result of the deck, as in how many black/blue/white symbols are on the card adn how early they appear. Some cheaper lands for esper are Fetid Pools, Irrigated Farmland, Sunken Hollow, and Prairie Stream. These are great choices as they have the basic land types and are able to be fetched with fetchlands, and the cycle effect on the first too can be really hand late game. I'd go with one or the other though, and those also turn on lands like Isolated Chapel, Glacial Fortress, and Drowned Catacomb. If your group plays lands that can be troublesome, cards like Ghost Quarter and Field of Ruin are some great ones that aren't straight up land destruction. I would heavily suggest Field of Ruin over Ghost Quarter though, as it doesn't set YOU back on mana. I would also strongly recommend playing at least 8 basic land cards and at least 25 lands with the amount of high cost cards you have as well.
This kind of deck really does not need Expedition Map, and Elixir of Immortality is really only good if there is an opponent on mill, there are better options if you need life gain. Cards like Wall of Omens, Ruin Raider, Twilight Prophet, Dusk Legion Zealot, Phyrexian Rager, Thassa, God of the Sea or Kefnet the Mindful are all great creatures that can help you draw cards and lands if needed. Spells like Preordain, Serum Visions, Impulse, Painful Truths, Discovery / Dispersal (which can act as removal as well, if need be), and Esper Charm are all well and dandy. If you choose to run any of these, with the kind of deck you're on, I would recommend choosing one of the 1 or 2 cost ones and running four, then run two copies of the 3-cost ones at max.
As for your enchantments, Sorin, Solemn Visitor, Sorin, Lord of Innistrad, or Elspeth, Sun's Champion, and Elspeth, Knight-Errant would all be better than True Conviction as they come down much faster (except Sun's Champion), are far easier to cast in a 3-color deck (W-Bla is much easier than WWW), they also give you creatures to flood the board.
The problem with Control Magic, is that it is far easier to get around than regular removal, but if you're adamant on stealing your opponent's toys, Entrancing Melody, Exert Influence for smaller creatures and Connive / Concoct which can double as rebuying a dead creature of yours, or Confiscation Coup paired with cards like Glimmer of Genius, Glint-Sleeve Siphoner, and Aether Hub. I recommend this because Control Magic can be destroyed by enchantment destruction effects adn let your opponent get their things back, especially if you don't have Privileged Position out, speaking of which
I wouldn't run it. Run more counterspells in its place. You don't want to broadcast the whole 'hit me, i'm setting up a hexproof Exquisite-Sanguine combo' and give them targets for their removal. You need to slam those things down and then protect them. Cryptic Command is amazing, and 3 is good enough. Depending on how your playgroup does with counterspells, og Counterspell, Mana Leak, Supreme Will, Ojutai's Command, Silumgar's Command, Negate, Essence Scatter, and Dissolve are all good. Arcane Denial if you want to be nice about it. You want to make them spend the mana on their way to answer your threats and then Dash Hopes (don't play that one, it's funny but not good). With Counterspells, you generally want to spend less mana on it than what you're countering, and they're better in multiplayer games than discard.
If you're playing 1v1 matches, you could go with discard effects over counterspells, but choose one or both. Cards like Duress, Thought Erasure, Divest, Harsh Scrutiny, Persecute, Arterial Flow (bonus points if you're playing with Twilight Prophet and friends with this one), Inquisition of Kozilek, Thoughtseize, Castigate, Blackmail, and Hymn to Tourach. You also have Kitesail Freebooter, Tidehollow Sculler, and Brain Maggot. From what you said with liking how your creatures take control, this is the route I would recommend for you, especially Kitesail Freebooters and Thought Erasures since one is a creature and the other can help fix your next draw step.
Once again, run Counterspells or Discard, and preferably counters in multiplayer. The simple reasoning is with discard you spend mana and resources and they don't spend mana and lose resources, counters you both spend mana and resources with you, preferably, spending less mana and quality of resources, and you don't want to tax your mana and resources doing both.
Don't run Riot Control. Don't do it. Run Eerie Interlude instead of Rootborn Defenses as it will trigger and enter the battlefield effects when your creatures come back and get you advantages that way.
Jace is cool, but run those Sorins and Elspeths I mentioned earlier instead, they fit better in your kind of deck.
Some way better creatures for you are Dragonlord Silumgar, Dragonlord Ojutai, Cloudblazer, Restoration Angel, Ravenous Chupacabra, Isareth the Awakener, Vona, Butcher of Magan, Nightveil Predator, Thalia, Heretic Cathar, Hostage Taker, Regal Caracal, Thraben Inspector, Noxious Gearhulk, Torrential Gearhulk, or Cataclysmic Gearhulk. There are so many options out there, and in the end it's your deck so you can make it however you would like. I hope this was at least a little bit of help.
Also, definitely find some room for Swords to Plowshares and Anguished Unmaking. Life is a resource and don't be afraid to spend a little bit or give your opponent some more if it means not letting them win or letting you win.
2 months ago
I really liked Harsh Scrutiny for that free opt, which is why I was more ready to main deck it. For right now I'm thinking about adding Divest as a sideboard against decks that are really heavy on creatures.
The reason I use Essence Scatter is I want a balance between having discard, removal and counter options. Removal spells aren't very effective against creatures with really good Enter the Battlefield effects. I also learned that Hostage Taker can backfire on you for that same reason if you're not careful. In the old meta Walking Ballista made me really regret having my deck focused so heavily on pure removal options. Once Ballista has already hit the field, it's too late to do much about it.
Discard spells are good at stopping a dangerous ETB creature from ever hitting the field, but the advantage a counter-spell has is that it forces the opponent to spend all their mana. In that sense, it slows them down a lot more than discard spells.
Thus, if I lean too hard on discard I run the risk of falling behind because I'm spending mana getting rid of their spells, but they can just choose to spend their mana on other things instead.
2 months ago
3 months ago
Hey, great looking deck. These are my kinds of builds. I've played with a bunch of these cards, so here's what I'd suggest.
Raven's Crime is a great card, but getting one early is less than ideal since it's not targeted discard. The retrace feature is solid, but I wouldn't recommend running a playset of them. You only need one of them in the graveyard to get the real benefits. I'd say two max, and add a couple Duress or Harsh Scrutiny depending on the decks you play.
If your opponent is able to get any sort of creature down before you strip their hand, you have no response other than Funeral Charm and Smallpox which can hurt you as well. I'd suggest adding a couple targeted removals to the main board. This is one of black's strongest features so you have plenty of options to choose from. Best budget options are Grasp of Darkness and Victim of Night, but you need two swamps to run them, so I'd probably move to a one of each of those legendary lands.
I also like playing Vampire Hexmage in place of Hero's Downfall because it can hit more than just planeswalkers and it adds to your Arterial Flow flavor as a vamp for one less mana. But also needs two black mana to play, so not ideal if you're going to be running four colorless lands.