Look at the top three cards of your library, then put them back in any order. You may shuffle your library.
Draw a card.
|Have (4)||, TheAnnihilator , , gildan_bladeborn|
|Want (13)||tloor27 , Etinifni , Drogon5 , The_Raging_Bagel , Sabisent , BSwCDo , nconiglio , jpv , kirito616 , harrymanback , Blackswan968 , MarkTaylorTSax , calypzo|
Printings View all
|Commander 2018 (C18)||Common|
|2012 Core Set (M12)||Common|
|2010 Core Set (M10)||Common|
|Promo Set (000)||Common|
Combos Browse all
|Commander / EDH||Legal|
Ponder occurrence in decks from the last year
All decks: 2.41%
Commander / EDH:
All decks: 0.15%
WU (Azorius): 1.52%
UR (Izzet): 1.21%
UB (Dimir): 1.27%
GU (Simic): 0.53%
WUB (Esper): 0.81%
UBR (Grixis): 0.79%
5 hours ago
So I think you should run Preordain in addition to your Ponder. It's a similar effect and is a powerful t1 play. I wouldn't run Brainstorm until you run at least three more fetches, though they don't have to be Zendikar/Onslaught fetches to work; consider Terramorphic Expanse, Bad River or even Prismatic Vista.
I think you should run Toxic Deluge, though it can be a bit pricy. Have you considered running snow-covered lands and Dead of Winter? I'm a big fan, even though it gives you less control than Toxic Deluge.
In general, I do not like 3-mana mana-rocks at all -- 2-mana mana-rocks are common enough, and 3-mana mana-rocks feel like they're just a turn behind. In that vein, I think you should cut Darksteel Ingot and Dimir Locket for cards like Dimir Signet, Coldsteel Heart, Sky Diamond or Charcoal Diamond. These are especially good if you lead with a t1 Sol Ring or choose to run Ancient Tomb.
So, I think you should definitely look at running Eater of the Dead. It's a REALLY old card (1994), but it's actually kinda funny in Phenax, God of Deception. You can use its ability to exile a creature you've milled and untap him, then tap him using Phenax and repeat.
You could consider running Lantern of Insight or (if you got $$$) Field of Dreams. These can give you intel as to whether you want to mill an OP before they draw or on their end step, which in turn lets you choose their draws for them. (In modern/some legacy, this is called 'lantern control.')
One thing that I notice frequently going wrong with decks with generals who don't directly produce card-advantage is that they often simply run out of cards. I highly suggest bringing Fact or Fiction in from your maybeboard, and potentially running things like Chart a Course, Night's Whisper, Treasure Cruise, Necropotence, Dig Through Time, Chemister's Insight etc. to make up for this.
Right. That's all I got. Good luck.
17 hours ago
Hey, some good cards here for a budget concept.
The concept of ramp with Kess is interesting. It's not the direction I would go with Kess, but it's a unique concept. The Thraximundar + It That Betrays interaction seems good. For the concept this interaction and Architect + Pili infinite mana combo are the best parts of your deck. Consider expanding on each of these parts and how Kess can be better used with them?
Kess has an advantage for ramp with rituals. Rituals make mana when they resolve. They make more mana than they cost to cast therefore they make ramp. You can cast instant or sorcery rituals from your graveyard with Kess resulting in making a lot of mana to cast big creatures or other spells. You can use the mana you make with rituals to cast that same ritual again from your graveyard with Kess.
Rituals to consider adding:
These are good rituals in Commander and they're all budget cards. Dark can make 5 black mana when cast and then cast again with Kess. Song can make 7 red mana when cast and then cast it again with Kess. Geyser is good in multiplayer Commander because it looks at all your opponents tapped lands which if you have three or more opponents can be a lot of mana especially when you can cast it again with Kess.
The mana these rituals make is either all red or all black which would be fine to help to cast most Eldrazi, but can be problematic if you want to cast a spell that's blue. Signets lets you use any colored mana to then make different colors of mana.
These two drop mana rocks are staple budget ramp and color fixing in Commander. Thief of Sanity because it has flying can be repeatable stealing of your opponents cards. Sanity is a powerful card in multiplayer Commander because you'll have many opponents to choose from to attack. Cards you steal with Sanity can be cast by you using any colors of mana. Red and black ritual mana can be used to cast cards you steal with Sanity.
High Tide and Bubbling Muck are one drop spells that make more blue or black mana when you tap an Island or Swamp until end of the turn. These spells are better in mono blue or mono black decks than three color Grixis, but they can ramp.
Sorcery tutors are good with Kess because you can cast them again from your graveyard. These cards can help to assemble Architect + Pili or get an Eldrazi into your hand after assembling the combo. The best tutors are not budget cards, they're expensive prices, but there's a few tutors that are budget.
Another way to help to find important cards is to dig for them and draw them. Dig spells that Kess can cast from your graveyard can let you see a lot of cards.
Reanimation can be used with Kess. Reanimation is a way cheat big creatures onto the battlefield. It's also a way to assemble Architect + Pili by either cheating them onto the battlefield or getting them into your hand via your graveyard. Instants and sorceries that enable reanimation and reanimation spells have interaction with Kess because she can cast them again from your graveyard.
- Buried Alive
- Whispering Madness
- Unearth: reanimates either Architect or Pili. With Kess reanimate both of them for two black mana.
- Faithless Looting
- Stitch Together
Buried can tutor for three creatures and put them into your graveyard. It's among the best enablers for reanimation. Madness is called a wheel and what that means is all players discard cards and then draw cards. It's good with Kess since she has flying, you can cipher Madness to her after you cast it. When it's ciphered to Kess then any time she does combat damage to a player then you can cast Madness without paying it's mana cost. The wheel effect is a way to fill your graveyard with spells to cast with Kess as well as drawing cards.
If you have any questions I offer more advice. Good luck with your deck.
5 days ago
I have a few suggestions, if you're interested:
Your rocks could use improvement. I've never been a fan of Primal Amulet Flip, if only because it's 4 mana and needs time to flip. You'd probably be better off running something like Talisman of Progress or even just Fellwar Stone. My inclination would be to run a bunch of two-drop rocks, since they'll let you cast your general turn three.
5 days ago
The deck is in the 'help' section so I'll leave some ideas... I hope I'm not being presumptuous:
You may want to consider running all the relevant Zendikar fetches; I see you're missing Marsh Flats, for example. They're expensive, but you're running Underground Sea so I'm assuming budget isn't really a problem. The reason I say you should run them is that a. they'll make your Jace, the Mind Sculptor's Brainstorm ability that much better, and b. they'll let you run ACTUAL Brainstorm effectively. I've found cantrips to be really effective in EDH, and I think in addition to Brainstorm you should run Ponder and Preordain in pretty much any blue deck.
I think Murderous Rider is likely better than Hero's Downfall. It does tuck itself when it dies, which means reanimating it could be a little tricky, but having the extra value of being able to cast it as a creature seems a strict upgrade from just an instant.
If you do end up running Jace's Archivist from the 'Maybeboard,' consider running Geth's Grimoire, Waste Not and/or Bone Miser. I've always been a fan of the discard subtheme in EDH, and it goes pretty well with reanimation strategies. If you do consider running those cards, it's worth noting Windfall, Liliana of the Veil, Raven's Crime and Words of Waste are also really synergistic with them.
Lastly, I think Graveborn Muse has a spot in this deck. I know you said you aren't looking for zombie tribal, but she's at worst a Phyrexian Arena and you're tangentially making more zombies anyway. I feel like most of the time she'll draw you somewhere between 2 and 4 cards, which seems like it makes her worth it.
Right. That's all I got. Good luck!
5 days ago
So this deck is marked under 'help,' so I'll list my recommendations. Feel free to ignore any/all of them:
Some of your choices of countermagic seem questionable. Is there a reason you're running Withering Boon over something like Remove Soul or Essence Scatter? I guess the blue spells can be Pyroblast-ed, but I feel like not having to bolt yourself is worth it for the marginal added risk.
You may wish to consider running Preordain in addition to your Brainstorm and Ponder. Like in Legacy Delver decks, it isn't as good since you'd need to top both cards with the scry to guarantee a high CMC flip off Yuriko, but I feel like one-mana cantrips are likely good enough to run regardless.
There are some evasive creatures worth running in Yuriko because their ETB effects are good and ninjutsu bounces the creatures. I'm thinking of things like Baleful Strix, Snapcaster Mage (if you want to invest money), Trinket Mage (which can fetch Sensei's Divining Top, Sol Ring and any other 1-cmc artifacts you want to run), Spellseeker... If you want to go deep, Thalakos Seer works well with Ninjutsu, too...
You might also consider running Conspiracy or Arcane Adaptation. I like Arcane Adaptation a lot more (it costs less mana) but both are good, and if you need a third version Xenograft works. They'll make things like Gingerbrute trigger your Yuriko.
Some 4-cmc instant-speed card-draw seems alright; you leave up mana for a counter, and if you don't need it you get a draw. Consider things like Fact or Fiction, Chemister's Insight, Glimmer of Genius, Frantic Search, Gush, Thirst for Knowledge, Inspiration... They'll ding your opponents off a Yuriko flip and give you something to do with mana you don't need on their end steps.
Idk how competitive your meta is, but consider running Narset, Parter of Veils and/or Ashiok, Dream Render. These two hose card-draw and fetches/tutors, which are all very common as you go higher in deck power level. I especially like Narset, Parter of Veils with Windfall or Timetwister, but that'll depend on your particular moral compass.
Lastly, if you up the amount of artifact ramp in here you can lower the land count and make flipping a land off Yuriko less common. While it may be dangerous to go lower than 30 lands if you're not running things like Mana Crypt, Mox Diamond or Mox Opal (which you should run if your groups allows proxies), you may have luck running things like Talisman of Dominance, Arcane Signet or Fellwar Stone. If you don't land a turn-two general, these'll ramp you for the later game; and even if you do, flipping them off Yuriko's trigger is better than flipping a land.
Right. That's all I got -- let me know if you have any questions.
6 days ago
Hey, you're welcome :)
Good eye, Naru + Flicker + Phenax + Elixir to tap Naru to mill before it's blinked with Flicker, nice work. You're right, Altar of the Brood combos with Naru + Flicker and it's also a good card outside of the combo since it's repeatable. In fact Altar could replace Apprentice or another creature that has an ETB mill ability because outside of the combo these creatures are less good then what Altar does.
A reason to add more mana rocks is because the avg. CMC is high, rounded up it's 3.7 and there's a lot of four drops. When you have a lot of four drops then being able to play turn two ramp is very helpful. Phenax + Eater + Elixir is your main combo and it's a mana expensive combo. If adding Naru + Flicker combos then having more ramp makes them better too because the combo costs seven mana. Dark Ritual is a card to consider adding.
Cards to consider cutting to add Naru, Flicker, Altar, Zenith and Zone:
- Submerged Boneyard
- Mirko Vosk, Mind Drinker
- Keening Stone
- Into the Story
- Dauthi Embrace
I think you can push your deck a lot further even with the low budget. Ideally if you're playing combos you want tutors especially since you're playing black, but I understand not including them because of the lower budget. Scheming Symmetry and Diabolic Tutor are both worth adding. Mana efficient draw spells or repeatable draw sources can't completely replace tutors, but they can sure help.
- Mystic Remora
- Whispering Madness
- Read the Bones
- Drift of Phantasms
- Muddle the Mixture
These cards can be excellent support because they help to draw into or find the better cards in your deck. Wheels are good with Notion Thief and Psychic Corrosion. Madness can be repeatable with cipher. Drift can transmute to get one of Elixir, Flicker, Freed or Alarm. Muddle can transmute to get one of Guildmage, Greaves, Mindcrank, Orb or Rift. If not transmuting then both Drift and Muddle are fine since Drift has 5 toughness/flying and Muddle is a pseudo Negate.
With the lower budget draw spells and mana rocks are your best early game plays. These can help to setup combos, make land drops and have ramp for mid and late game, the stages of the game when your deck performs the best. Consider streamlining the creature base? Keep the creatures that are part of combos and cut a lot of the others?
Streamlined creature base example:
Bonehoard is the best card of the cards that are creatures who have power/toughness equal to all creatures in all graveyards. Because of it's ability to equip to another creature then in my opinion you don't need to also play Wright, Mortivore, Nighthowler. Hightower (flying, huge power/toughness) and Abrerration (mill, huge power/toughness) are the better high CMC creatures who are not part of combos because they can become huge and do something without having to attack.
1 week ago
Magic is a game with elements outside your control. Your deck is bigger than your starting hand size. This randomness helps balance skill between deck building as well as piloting, and has been noted in a few places. Simply put, even a deck that is only winning 25% of games against a 75% winrate deck still is getting wins when the great deck gets bad hands, or bad draws, and the weaker deck can have their own great starting hands or lucky top decks.
Tutors are seen as one of the ways to reduce variance, and increase skill. If I have 1 card that says "I win when I cast this" and I have 1 Vampiric Tutor, my deck now has 2 cards that lead to winning. If I add Demonic Tutor to the mix, now I have 3 cards that are leading to winning.
Drawing extra cards has a similar effect, but that effect is much more pronounced in a 60 card format with 4x of any specific card. By running cards like Brainstorm or Ponder you gain access to more cards, and get to make meaningful choices about the cards available to you. To put it another way, you're reducing variance in available resources from your total possible resources. Tutors do the same thing. Tutors reduce variance in the game overall, by dramatically increasing the card quality of available cards for a small premium on whichever card you wish to play. A Llanowar Elves that was fetched by a Demonic Tutor cost you to cast, and there were two different points in getting the Elf from the library onto the battlefield where a player could have interacted with you. Big shout out to TypicalTimmy for also understanding this and putting it in a concise way. All tutors do is improve your card quality or give you access to cards. The thing you should be looking at are the combos themselves, and culling the ones that are too hard or too cumbersome to interact with.
Tutors also give information to opponents, especially in EDH where information can be used by more opponents than a 1 on 1 game. Consider the following: Outside of Vampiric Tutor Imperial Seal Demonic Tutor Grim Tutor and Diabolic Intent (and a handful of others), all the other tutors are conditional. Being conditional, the opponents have to know you satisfied the condition for searching. What do these have on common? The word reveal. If someone uses a Worldly Tutor to fetch Protean Hulk, all of their opponents have just received very important information about the options available to the pilot. Any player worth their salt will use this information to hold up counterspells or prioritize playing pieces that shut off Hulk combos, like Cursed Totem
Tutors serve as the missing piece. Sometimes it can be correct to tutor up your combo as fast as you possibly can and cast it. Other times, I expend tutors on finding more mana (I literally used Imperial Seal to find Command Tower three hours ago at my LGS). Sometimes I'll use that tutor to get Dark Confidant early, to help me control other players and stay ahead in cards. Other times I search up protection like Pact of Negation. As it turns out, double tutoring is a BIG TELL for opponents, and anyone who has played this game for a couple years is going to make the intentional choice to hold up mana to stop you. Simply jamming and racing doesn't work in every game, or every deck, even decks designed to do exactly that.
Tutors cost the same mana as Counterspell and all the other 0 or 1 or 2 mana variants that counter spells. You're getting more points during the process of the combo to use that counterspell. Many combos can be stopped by easy includes like Tormod's Crypt or Disenchant or whatever. Many players choose not to slot cards that interact with other players, and this is why tutors are seen to be a problem. If you basically let players Goldfish for 5 turns in a row, they can assemble a win. I don't think players really understand how meaningless inflicting damage to players is when you have to do 120 to win. That is 6x what you do in every other format, and cards are balanced around 20 life, not 120. When you get 30 damage to them by turn 5, they've drawn and tutored cards willy nilly without you busting them apart by killing their creatures, or removing enchantments/artifacts, or forcing them to discard cards or turning off their combos. They can just, combo off.
I firmly believe that tutors are very healthy for the format. If I know my opponent is capable of assembling and executing a combo, it forces me to consider how I'm going to react or respond to them. Opponents who tutor cards are broadcasting their ability to win, and this causes interesting dynamics around the table about expending or saving mana. It causes more dynamic interaction besides simply attacking and blocking. I don't know about you, but games of Magic are more fun when players interact with each other and threaten to win and stop other players from winning.
1 week ago
Hey man! Good first draft! I like some of the ideas in here. I have some constructive criticism for you, so, as brutally honest as I will be with my suggestions, keep in mind I’m just offering my best advice on how to improve this list. I tested this deck a bit and here’s some thoughts I have:
More Tutor / Draw: You’re running very little card advantage, which I noticed when I was testing this deck. There isn’t enough dig or deck manipulation going on here. Basically every time I found myself durdling. Here are some suggestions:
- Sensei's Divining Top
- Scroll Rack
- Crystal Ball
- Courier's Capsule
- Wheel of Fortune
- Stroke of Genius
- Mystic Remora
- Jace Beleren
- Long-Term Plans
- Land Tax
- Academy Rector
- Idyllic Tutor
- Madblind Mountain
- Fetch Lands. Literally any fetches.
More spot removal: Your deck doesn’t have a lot of ways of dealing out targeted removal. Mass Land D and other sweeper spells are great and all, but you also need ways of handling individual problems as they arrive. Here are some suggestions I have:
- Path to Exile / Swords to Plowshares
- Seal of Cleansing / Dispeller's Capsule
- Return to Dust
- Crush Contraband
- Shattering Pulse
- Shattering Spree
- Chaos Warp
- Lightning Bolt
More Persistent harassment: You’re running MLD, Tax, but you aren’t running a whole lot of effects to consistently torment the opponent. Smokestack, Pendrell Mists, Kataki, War's Wage, Manabarbs keep pressure on your opponents. Even just running more stuff to slow things down (Winter Orb, Tangle Wire, Kismet, Rule of Law, Stranglehold etc.) would be useful here.
Consider less creatures, more enchantments: Hatebears are cool, but consider the fact that they are easier to kill than their enchantment counterparts. Magus of the Moon dies much easier than Blood Moon and you want these effects to have a good return on investment. This one is more food for thought than actual criticism.
Suggestions for cuts: Hall of Heliod's Generosity (?): It’s a great card, but right now you aren’t running enough Enchantments to justify it. Most of the time it’s going to just tap for colorless. If you run more Enchantments, it’s a keeper! (I think I’m going to try and find a slot for my own deck)
Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain: This is pretty vestigial. It’s not really pulling much weight. Cut it.
Karn, Silver Golem: See above.
Tomik, Distinguished Advokist: I get what you’re going with here, but you’re blowing up your lands anyway, making them untargetable is kind of moot. There’s a bunch of hatebears I’d rather run in this slot.
Saltblast: This card is kind of bad. Costs waaay too much for targeted removal. Also, is completely dead against decks that run white. I’d honestly remove this and replace it with Wrath of God instead.
Karn, the Great Creator: Not doing enough. I see the combo with Mycosynth Lattice, but Hellkite Tyrant is a much better combo.
Empowered Autogenerator: Too slow, too expensive. It’s not as good as it looks. Ideally, rocks should slot into the 0-3 CC range. If you desperately wanted something in the 4 slot, why not just run Thran Dynamo instead? It’s more consistent.
Firemind Vessel – See above.