Painful Quandary

Legality

Format Legality
Noble Legal
Leviathan Legal
Magic Duels Legal
Canadian Highlander Legal
Vintage Legal
Modern Legal
Vanguard Legal
Legacy Legal
Archenemy Legal
Planechase Legal
Duel Commander Legal
Unformat Legal
Casual Legal
Commander / EDH Legal

Printings View all

Set Rarity
Scars of Mirrodin (SOM) Rare

Combos Browse all

Painful Quandary

Enchantment

Whenever an opponent casts a spell, that player loses 5 life unless he or she discards a card.

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Painful Quandary Discussion

Daedalus19876 on The Deadly Embrace of Mogis

18 hours ago

Hi, came here from FB :)

Personally, I'd run Pyrohemia over Pestilence (or both). Combat Celebrant seems a little odd here, since you have relatively few combat triggers. It's only good when you have Kiki-Jiki, and I would stick with your Zealous Conscripts line (since it has utility outside of the combo). Have you considered Painful Quandary as an additional oppression piece? I'm surprised Ruination isn't in here; I find it to be a vicious board wipe in my meta. Trinisphere is another way to lock down combo decks. I'm always partial to a good Hymn to Tourach, but I understand if it's not your cup of tea :) Have you tried Black Market here to pair with your land/artifact/creature wipes?

Looks good! You definitely get a +1 from me :)

eleventhend on Muldrotha EDH

1 week ago

Couple of notes up front (might just be due to ongoing edits):

  • You have 2 copies of Victory Chimes in the list
  • You only have 96 cards in the list (including the duplicate above) instead of 100

Design Strategy

Want to suggest a couple of deck strategies to consider focusing in on (they are all fairly synergistic but it might help to pick one to focus on to help the deck feel like it has a clearer win condition):

Mill-Value

With your current list of mill-value and beats, the missing pieces only seem to be ways to close the game.

Potential Additions

Discard Group Slug

I think this is a really interesting avenue for Muldrotha: running cards like Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur, Waste Not, Oppression, Mindslicer and Myojin of Night's Reach to clear out your own and opponents' hands while benefiting from Muldrotha and other graveyard recursion effects to allow yourself to keep making plays. It would be a deck unlike any other at our table so far.

Your win conditions could be both mill, using cards like Keening Stone to close, or life-loss with cards like Liliana's Caress and Bloodchief Ascension mixed with some mild creature beats.

Other solid cards that support this archetype:

Graveyard Theft or Pure Recursion

This concept would run recursion spells like Boneyard Parley to steal the best things from opponents graveyards. In this case, Muldrotha allows us to consistently run targeted recursion from our graveyard, and we can focus our deck construction on the grave-robbing package. Because of Muldrotha's ability, we want to focus primarily on "theft on sticks" which we can repeatedly cast as needed, likely leaning heavily into Black.

Theft on Sticks examples

Self-recursion

Homelessguy on Need some help with ideas ...

3 weeks ago

Can't do better than Painful Quandary!

StopShot on Queen Marchesa: Politics, Aikido, and Control

4 weeks ago

@precociousapprentice, Well, I was going to suggest that if you insisted on keeping Vampire Nighthawk that Thornbite Staff makes a strong synergy with it.

If you're going to use only one copy spell I'd suggest using Fork over Reverberate. While they're very similar and neither is strictly better or worse than the other one common scenario Fork has over Reverberate is when copying counter spells and turning them red. This can be significant, because in past times when copying counterspells I've had cards like Red Elemental Blast, Pyroblast, and Guttural Response used to counteract my Reverberate when copying a blue counter spell or draw spell. Most non-blue decks that can run those cards will likely run them more-so than not and Fork bypasses that issue easily when needed.

It seems your meta is thoroughly diverse. Hand and deck disruption can be a strong asset for taking down a combo deck, but I wouldn't consider Praetor's Grasp or Wheel of Fortune strong enough effects since combo decks can always run back-up combos to rely on. What really hits combo is repeatable effects and some of the strongest you could probably run would be Mind Slash and Bottomless Pit which a lot of combo players would find nasty. (Painful Quandary is a close third place and can stop storm decks pretty effectively as well.) Also if you're going up against non-graveyard strategies Mesmeric Orb is a ballistic nightmare in any singleton format it's put in which would be the only effective mill card I'd ever recommend when hurting combo.

Do note graveyard-based combos are a little more resilient to the card suggestions I've given above, but so long as you have something like Rest in Peace and/or Planar Void you can easily avoid this issue without giving them any fuel to burn.

Given your meta I would imagine Torpor Orb would lift a lot of weight for you especially against Purphoros, God of the Forge, Palinchron/Deadeye Navigator, and whatever ETB effects the Muldrotha, the Gravetide deck is probably abusing.

One aspect about blue I've never liked was it's use of counter spells. If you find Reverberate helpful I'd recommend also using cards like Seal of Cleansing, Sinister Concoction, Gate to Phyrexia, Aura Fracture, Aura of Silence, and Umezawa's Jitte. Not only do they serve as good rattlesnake cards that deter your opponents from just putting their bombs on the field, but I've noticed blue decks only hold up counter spell mana on turns they might need it on. If you drop one of these early when they're not ready their counter spells won't be able to stop the card effects, and I can verify from past experiences that the blue players I go up against when using the cards I just mentioned hate them fondly because they know I save them for their combos which makes their job of combo-ing out much more complicated. In fact one card I've found more success with than I'd ever give credit to is Molten Vortex, because the number of utility creatures and win-cons it hits without needing to use prime removal spells is pretty big and as I said before it's another one of those spells that if resolved the blue decks are going to have troubles playing around with. The Vortex can remove Mizzix of the Izmagnus, Laboratory Maniac, Norin the Wary, Hermit Druid, Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker, etc. and even when I don't have a land to pitch to it I've found it's presence alone is enough to deter plays entirely. Shattering Spree also plays well against blue, because not only can it hit multiple targets, but you can hit the same target twice or three times which would require more than one counter spell to stop a key combo piece being removed if needed.

As for multiple combat steps or a super massive army being swung your way you already can use Ghostly Prison, but if you need more options Norn's Annex can also work as well as Orim's Chant which not only stops combat but can also be used but can also stop storm or certain combos if you cast it at the right moment. It should also be noted that Rule of Law as well as the aforementioned Damping Sphere also does a marvelous job of stopping storm as well. Lastly if your opponents gaining life is an issue I think Rampaging Ferocidon makes a good option, because it can also punish your opponents if they try to build an army, so it fits two functions rather well, and I find the menace handy if you ever need to punch into a super-friends deck.

Dumgoldfish124 on Discard/Mill/Hosing Deck Need Help!

1 month ago

While a mill deck in commander is hard to create, as most of the usable/good mill cards target, it is a lot of fun to play. Discard is a little easier, but not by much. Also, the best colour combination for this type of deck is U/B and Atraxa has two extra colours that don't really help as well as her ability not synergising very well with mill or discard. Anyway, you asked and I shall try to deliver.

First the milling essentials: Glimpse the Unthinkable is the best mill spell bar none and is required. Secondly Increasing Confusion is quite good for commander, as mana totals will get quite large. Thirdly, Mind Funeral is great, as is Mind Grind. Fourthly, Mind Sculpt and Tome Scour mill for 7 and 5 respectfully, which is not too great, so only run them if you feel like that small amount of mill is extremely useful. Fifth, Hedron Crab is a great one drop due to the mill 3 per land you drop. Also, speaking of one drops, Jace's Phantasm is a good creature that soon becomes great with mill and discard. Sixth, Nemesis of Reason is stupidly good as it mills 10 per attack! It doesn't even need to cause damage! Startled Awake  Flip is a nice mill spell and recurs too. Another great creature, and my recommended commander, is Szadek, Lord of Secrets. His milling will get massive really fast. All you need to do is get him in unblocked. Use Rogue's Passage or Whispersilk Cloak. Some good beaters are Consuming Aberration and Sewer Nemesis. If you don't care about price, then Jace, the Mind Sculptor is awesome, but if budget is a thing Jace Beleren is a nice cheap replacement. Now onto the milling combos! Traumatize and Fraying Sanity completely destroy an opponent, as does Keening Stone and Fraying Sanity. Archive Trap and Ghost Quarter are great together, as is Maralen of the Mornsong and Archive Trap. Also, Ghost Quarter helps get rid of land for Mind Funeral and Mind Grind. Lastly, Jace's Erasure and any card draw is quite nice. Thats about it for mill, now onto discard!

First off you need Waste Not. It is beautiful. The Rack works when you have made them discard down to 2 or less, which is one of your goals. Quest for the Nihil Stone and Shrieking Affliction are like The Rack - dealing small damage when opponents don't have hands. Liliana's Caress and Megrim do small amounts of damage per discarded card, which is nice. Bottomless Pit helps keep opponents hands empty, as does Necrogen Mists. Oppression is awesome, as is Painful Quandary, and both together is god-tier. Underworld Dreams is nice little 'screw you' after they loose their hands. Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur murders everyone but you late game. Nath of the Gilt-Leaf is goddamn beautiful and breaks even more when you have Sadistic Hypnotist, Nezumi Bone-Reader and/or Mind Slash out. Another awesome combo is Mindcrank plus Bloodchief Ascension with three counters and any discard to an opponent means you kill them. With Dark Deal or similar you win. While these two things are great and all, you need some utility and a way to keep you alive when you suddenly become the target.

To stay alive, you need some pillowforts like Propaganda and Ghostly Prison. Cards like Frozen AEther and Kismet will help keep the opponent's board from becoming too overwhelming and Standstill will prevent spells for a small while. Psychic Spiral is another great spell that gets back all of your mill spells and it also mills an opponent for a little too. Talrand, Sky Summoner is fun with all the spells you are slinging, and he provides an alternate win condition. Another alternate win is through infection. Cards like Flesh-Eater Imp, Hand of the Praetors, Phyrexian Crusader, Phyrexian Juggernaut, Necropede, Putrefax, Plague Stinger and Corpse Cur all win you the game when they deal 10 damage to an opponent. Also, Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon is a good option but is quite expensive. Cards like Giant Growth make you win harder. Infect is where Atraxa shines due to the added poison counters to each opponent every time you finish your turn. Adding Contagion Engine might even make your opponents scoop.

Good God, that is a big slab of writing. Here is a deck list I made for you: Atraxa makes you loose your mind!. Tell me what you think!

DerektheRed on Bad Decisions

1 month ago

I'm not super impressed with Ludevic, Necro-Alchemist as a commander, but he encourages opponents attacking each other - similar to Gahiji. Might be suitable as a partner?

There aren't many legendary creatures that do this, but lots of enchantments, so you could go with an enchantment deck? (e.g. Painful Quandary)

Could be fun to look at the Tribute cards from Theros block. Nothing suitable for a commander, but good flavor.

Dumgoldfish124 on Dominaria's Most Ancient Evil

1 month ago

I feel like Liliana's Caress and Megrim should be in here for the damage when you make your opponents discard by swinging and hitting with Bolas. Painful Quandary could also work as a buffer to any removal. Also, you could also give Nicol Bolas Grafted Exoskeleton or Phyresis to kill the enemy faster and Whispersilk Cloak or Infiltrator's Magemark to make him unblockable. Finally, Cruel Ultimatum should be in here for the sweet, sweet flavour.

Darkshadow327 on Darkness is his ally

1 month ago

I don't know if this is the direction you want to go, but I find that Painful Quandary can be a decent control card. If it doesn't really control, it can be an annoying nuisance to your opponents.

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