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Heat of Battle
Whenever a creature blocks, Heat of Battle deals 1 damage to that creature's controller.
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Heat of Battle Discussion
3 weeks ago
A less virtual (but still only figurative) wall of text coming trough:
Marvell: You mentioned not getting much mileage out of Alliance of Arms a while back, maybe trade it out for a good old Hunted Dragon? Some more evasion (and haste!) seems nice to me and it's still in the spirit of the deck, if not as much as giving everyone 4+ weenies for the same amount of mana (it's too bad that in this case, Join Forces doesn't give people much incentive to spend their instant-speed lunch money...) Varchild's War-Riders is also an option, even if it's token gifting takes a while to pick up speed. (Alternatively, you can solve things in the fun and janky way by complementing Alliance with any of Invasion Plans, Bedlam, War Cadence, Battle Strain/Heat of Battle, Magistrate's Veto, No Quarter(with e.g. Gahiji), Tempting Licid, Brigid, Hero of Kinsbaile or even Assault Suit + e.g. Archetype of Courage or Champion of Lambholt(also mooches off any creatures entering during its stay) so the attacking weenies survive(while still tapped and unable to block) and/or cause damage and/or cause the deaths of their defending counterparts so that those can't block in the future. Already-present Curse of Predation works too, if only on one person.(Obviously, you still need a way to make people to attack each other.))
awalloftext: (Rivals response-response)
Huatli, Radiant Champion: yeah, in order to fit in the deck she'd probably need to be complemented by more evasion and/or one-to-many effects, e.g. Legion Loyalist or Dragon Throne of Tarkir (I would have taken the chance to mention Elemental Mastery yet again (or Pollenbright Wings for that matter), but with that emblem I'm afraid things will get out of hand [SpongeBob laugh]) (On a related note, I keep giving Praetor's Counsel longing glances before sighing at that 8 CMC...)
Continuing an apparent crusade against high CMC flying creatures: Is Hornet Queen worth it if you don't put too much value on maintain the get-as-many-creatures-as-possible theme? Yes, it's an important holder of evasion in the deck (and deathtouch + flying is pretty spicy, esp. when Rhys hits the floor) and it greatly benefits from various anthem effects (16 sum power with Gahiji alone is far from bad), but I feel that at 7 CMC it's not quite enough. Possible alternatives I'm contemplating myself would be the ones mentioned in the Evasion Package variant, other CMC-affordable trample-giving creatures, Akroma's Memorial (on one hand, pretty bomb immediately, on the other, as expensive as the Queen, redundant with Iroas and anti-synergetic with Mirri's defensive aspect due to vigilance (ironically) unless you complement with some artificial source of tapping) or maybe even Eldrazi Monument (I'm kinda afraid of not reliably producing enough disposable creatures for it). (Too bad you can't just murder Homura, Human Ascendant with a Skullclamp, eh) (I won't whine about Gisela though, since she manages to honor the spirit of the deck while still being one of its few bombs)
Maybe I'm being simplistic here, but I feel that all other things being equal, (beatdown) players tend to attack the opponent with the most life in order to avoid being outlasted in the long run. To take advantage of this, I'm thinking of replacing Rootbound Crag with Grove of the Burnwillows(bonus: slightly more reliable ramp!) and/or Lifecrafter's Bestiary with Sylvan Library(yes, I know it's already mentioned in the primer); this could work as another way of influencing attacks while still fulfilling the vital roles of ramping & card advantage. (If only Armistice was less bad...) Main concern would be that since the Library is such a high-profile card it could be counterproductive, in the sense that people might be more eager to ping you in order to hamper your progress. Furthermore, bringing your life down too much could cause people to smell blood and see an opportunity to kill you, and in the deck's current state it only has two ways to get life back (well, technically three, but you'd have to be pretty desperate to use Swords to Plowshares for that purpose), and I dunno if there's a non-awkward way to squeeze in more lifegain cards (Archangel of Thune? Angelic Skirmisher? Pride Sovereign(maybe in that hypothetical cat tribal variant)? Mavren Fein, Dusk Apostle??). (At least there's the silver lining of Sunforger being able to fetch Benevolent Offering in a pinch, because what doesn't that hammer do?)
Finding myself increasingly intrigued by Regal Behemoth after reading Queen Marchesa: Politics, Aikido, and Control as it pointed out the attractiveness of being the monarch encourages conflict (and being attacked once in a while might not be all bad either, see below), but it would probably need to be complemented by a land untapper like Nature's Will since you'd otherwise would kinda have to hold your mana base back until post-combat whenever you want to get the monarch back in order to take advantage of the Behemoth's Mirari's Wake effect, and the 6 CMC is still prohibitive. (Also: of course monarch drawing happens at the end step, duh)
Finally, here's probably my most questionable musing yet: So for similar reasons to the aforementioned M. Queen deck I inspected this,
,which included the following paragraph:
Why omit Propaganda and Ghostly Prison? Simply put, these enchantments were awesome when they were "new technology," just like Rhystic Study. Everyone was on Level 0, refusing to attack for a cost when they could attack for free elsewhere. At level 0, these are insanely good. With numerous blogs, webcasts, articles, and Wizards support, Commander is developing enough of a hivemind that these cards are starting to generate the opposite effect: putting a cost on attacking makes some players feel like they're being tricked, so they make it a point to show you taxation without representation is not a valid defense. The mana cost is a tempo loss, but not enough of one. Opponents are now on Level 1, where the option of paying 2 makes them feel like they're investing in threat management (and they're right!) These are valid if you run a heavily meta-oriented deck where your opponents have lots of creatures. A combination of all 3 propaganda effects along with enchantments like Reverence and Lightmine Field are an effective barrier. Beware of the "Challenge Accepted" mentality."
Now, the quote can probably be disagreed with for more than one reason, but it kinda got me wondering if some of the cards in the deck aren't a bit counterproductive. The ones I'm thinking of are Michiko Konda, Truth Seeker (I know we've talked about it before), Serene Master and, rather heretically, Ghostly Prison.
First, on a very obvious level, all of these cards more or less work by dissuading people from attacking you by threatening to deny them resource denying your opponent some resource whenever they attack (i.e. a sacrificed permanent/judo'd fatty/handful of taxed mana). Now, maybe I've given the above quote and the previously mentioned thing about high life points inviting attacks too much thought & credit, but I wonder if this particular flavor of pillow fort/rattlesnake cards end up making you more of a target by virtue of heavy-handedly threating to outlast the competition and/or blow up their respective stuff in particular (in the sense that the effects of the cards can't readily be directed at someone else when relevant, more on the alternative later). This might make opponents might feel inclined to take you out anyway ASAP and/or cut the Gordian Knot by just using removal on the offending permanents.
Second, on an even-more-obvious-yet-somewhat-distinctive level, all of these cards more or less work by denying opponents resources when they attack you, which I feel is kinda wasteful because they could potentially use those resources on other people later (and if said resources is a grave concern then burning a removal spell might be safer )
Finally, without proper support they're all more or less purely defensive (I feel Michiko, having only 2 toughness and lacking evasion or even Mirri's decent First Strike damage, is prone to being focused on when attacking since that could be profitable for the defending player in the long term), which is also kinda bad since the deck is beatdown-minded.
(I'm (even more) unsure about Windborn Muse seeing as it provides a decent flying offense to complement its taxation. Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs is too cool for me to consider kicking out, especially since opponents can just chose to give you ogres.)
Where I'm going with this is that I'm wondering if there's cause for replacing one or more of the three above with cards which (1) don't automatically retaliate when you're attacked, (2) gives an offensive benefit when it does happen (which when combined with the first point also arguably gives you an information advantage over your opponent since they don't necessarily know what you'll do with it) and (3) have a bit better attacking capabilities of their own:
Broodhatch Nantuko: More flexible but less powerful Hornet Nest(which I btw don't have a problem with). Synergizes a bit with the mind games of Den Protector if you have the mana to spare. (Brimaz, King of Oreskos has already been mentioned and is less explosive but arguably more reliable)
Requiem Angel: After contemplating the deck's lack of haste sources (and to a lesser extent, evasion), this one intrigued me because it takes advantage of the rampant summoning sickness among a lot of the deck's (token) weenies by letting you block with them to their deaths on an attacking opponents turn and then replace them with a bunch of fliers that will be ready to go on your turn. The steep CMC is the obvious concern.
Darien, King of Kjeldor: Similar thoughts here to Requiem Angel with regards to bypassing the need for haste but also the CMC.
A bit of a compromise which I'm also intrigued by is Archangel of Tithes. The designers probably wanted people to give it vigilance somehow in order to have their tax cake and eat it too, but I'm liking the idea of being able to toggle between defense and offense for the purpose of manipulating attacks. The evasion-by-taxation effect is a bit of a mixed bag though; it could lead to the resource-threating problems I blathered about earlier, but it could also be highly effective by virtue of letting you force control players to chose between holding back their instant-speed mana or be punched in the face, while at the same time plain punching trough the defenses of less mana-rich people. Aside from these worries, the WWW in the cost could also require more mana fixing. ((Relatively) old-school & colorless Thunderstaff is a pea from a similar pod which I haven't counted out yet either, although another commenter already mentioned it back in the end of august.)
(A further compromise would just be to kick one of the three out in favor of Grenzo and relying more on goading to keep you relatively safe.)
So in summary I guess I'm proposing a variation which could be charitably be described as "bold" and less charitably "reckless", where you rely more on cards which provide a "softer" defense (including e.g. Gahiji and the Curses) and/or are more versatile with the hope that it would somewhat unintuitively lead to taking less damage, but CMC concerns definitely keeps me from standing by the whole package (the deck's current curve is pretty elegant)
7 months ago
Sorry it took me so long to take a look. Thanks again for your comments on my take on our zombie cow friend.
A card I always like having in any deck where I need to attack is Dolmen Gate. Being able to attack and not worry about blockers is a real blessing. I would probably replace Pyramid of the Pantheon with it... your commander will be generating absurd amounts of mana as long as he sticks around and the pyramid is more of a color fixer, which you shouldn't need in mono color. Its just kind of slow for what it does.
Two other cards I'm mulling over are Battle Strain and Heat of Battle. I probably won't run both but it gives the deck another way to ensure some type of damage to a player even if they have blockers for days. They also wreck token decks that plan on chump blocking a lot.
I'm still digging through cards looking to top off my deck. I will let you know if I find anything else that seems to fit!
11 months ago
Here's some idea's you may not have considered. Obviously your meta-game is different than mine, but in my multi-player commander games, we get a lot of board wipes. As a result, I tend to ignore 'number of creatures you control' effects because they don't help much when you don't have any. Mana Echoes is cute but I think there are better uses of that card slot.
I hope you like these suggestions. Good luck.