|Commander / EDH||Legal|
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As an additional cost to play Scarscale Ritual, put a -1/-1 counter on a creature you control.
Draw two cards.
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Scarscale Ritual Discussion
15 hours ago
So this deck won't do very well as it stands because you have no way to profitably interact. Your removal is a -1/-1 counter or maybe 2. That doesn't answer a lot of threats, compared to something like Fatal Push. You also have no way to interact with combo to slow them down, or speed to race them. And no resilience versus control to survive their 2-1s etc. 20 lands isn't enough either, especially given how you have no draw, fixing or anything to let you pull ahead.
I think the idea could work though for a casual FNM level. But I also think you want to be 2-3 colours. Green is the obvious pairing colour, as Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons as she synergises quite well with Nest of Scarabs to produce multiple tokens. Devoted Druid also provides some ramp, as well as allowing you to make multiple tokens. The green also gives access to Kitchen Finks, a solid card as it is 4 life, a 3/2 and a 2/1 over multiple bodies who triggers the -1/-1 synergy. Skinrender is also a solid 4 drop that triggers your various -1/-1 counter synergy, has an OK body and kills something.
For consistency, you need a way to chain creatures together or get deeper into your deck. Evolutionary Leap could be useful if you are using persist, as a way to turn various tokens into more cards. Or if you go blue for tempo type cards, Scarscale Ritual might help as a way to trigger the abilities and draw some cards, though it requires you to have creatures on board.
For removal, go out of the gimmick into Fatal Push type stuff. Depending on your colours I can advise you on that and stuff.
Red and white don't give you much for the -1/-1 stuff, besides a combo/self protection from -1/-1 counters with Vizier of Remedies. They do however give you a bunch of decent value and sideboard cards.
2 weeks ago
Not sure if you know, but Shield of the Oversoul, Travel Preparations, Bioshift and Scarscale Ritual cannot legally be used in this deck. Skullbriar's color identity is , and you've included symbols. Even if it's a split cost like , it can't be used. Same for the flashback cost on Travel Preparations - it isn't reminder text, so it counts as identity.
903.4. The Commander variant uses color identity to determine what cards can be in a deck with a certain commander. The color identity of a card is the color or colors of any mana symbols in that cards mana cost or rules text, plus any colors defined by its characteristic-defining abilities (see rule 604.3) or color indicator (see rule 204).
903.4b Reminder text is ignored when determining a cards color identity.
903.5c A card can be included in a Commander deck only if every color in its color identity is also found in the color identity of the decks commander.
Example: Wort, the Raidmother is a legendary creature with mana cost . Worts color identity is red and green. Each card in a Wort Commander deck must be only red, only green, both red and green, or have no color. Each mana symbol in the mana cost or rules text of a card in this deck must be only red, only green, both red and green, or have no color.
1 month ago
When you look to conceive of and design something new in any field, Magic being but one example, it's a good idea to compare your idea to other ideas functioning at the same level. In Magic, there are mechanics, cards, steps, phases, turns, games, and formats (and this is only a simplified, high-level list). If your objective is to design a new step, you would be best served by comparing your ideas to the steps that already exist within the game. Taking inspiration from a card is fine, but your proposal will ultimately have to function in the context of every other step, as well as within the phases and overall turn structure. An idea that works at the card level may not translate well to a macro view of the game (for reasons I'll explain in more detail in a moment).
So we come to the "forgo step":
- Forgo is inserted into the combat step
- Forgo is between the beginning of combat step and the declare attackers step
- Only the active player may forgo a creature (best explained as a turn-based action)
- The active player may forgo one creature per combat phase
- The active player may only forgo a creature with haste or without summoning sickness
- The active player may only forgo a creature with toughness 3 or more
- The active player may only forgo a creature he or she controls
- When you forgo a creature, you either (1) put a -2/-2 counter on that creature or (2) move a -2/-2 counter from another creature you control onto a different creature that meets the forgo restrictions
- At the end of the turn, the active player draws a card for each -2/-2 counter on creatures he or she controls. (This is phrased as a trigger, but could also be proposed as a turn-based action.)
So the mechanic does meet your stated criteria of expanding gameplay insofar as it adds a new element to gameplay. And it could be said to be interesting, at least as a theoretical exercise. But the question you need to answer is, "is it worth it?" And in order to answer that question, we need to determine whether the added value justifies the added complexity.
The real value is that forgo is an interesting way to allow players greater access to resources. This has the potential to accelerate games and also to mitigate issues related to card availability (notably, mana screw is less problematic if you have significant draw capacity, although you'd need to be able to field creatures to get the draw).
Adding something new to the game, however, cannot be assumed to be valuable in and of itself. Likewise, being "interesting" is an entirely subjective affair, and it doesn't present value in and of itself when value needs to be considered in terms of the proposal's practical implications and applications. "Adding another layer of depth" is also not necessarily valuable; this is merely another way of saying it adds complexity. The depth needs to be justified (e.g., by an observed lack of depth in the current state that needs to be remedied by creating greater depth).
On that topic, the complexity:
Timing The forgo step does not need to occur in combat. It doesn't appear to make any sense in the context of combat, as it's not directly (and is only vaguely tangentially) relevant to attacking or blocking, so inserting it after the beginning of combat is unnecessary. It also creates strange interactions with effects that create additional combat steps, and strange interactions were a stated criteria for avoiding other design choices.
Sprawl The forgo step, rather than being self-contained, results in a trigger (or, with a slight tweak, a turn-based action) in the end step. It doesn't make sense for a decision to be made at one point in the turn if it will only be relevant much later on in the turn. Why not just make the decision during the end step? Or the draw step? Or at least draw the card immediately upon forgoing? Forgo's premise requires a game step to have both an immediate, visible effect on the game that sets up a delayed, less visible effect. Consider this in relation to other steps, which are compartmentalized and relatively easy to understand in a vacuum. The current turn structure can be described rather simply: untap everything, draw a card, play spells, attack, play spells, discard if necessary (you can even skip the upkeep in a very simplistic explanation because it typically only matters if a card specifies that something happens in the upkeep or if an ability is used). Further exacerbating this issue is the potential for a removal spell or other effect to kill the creature with the -2/-2 counter in the time between you forgoing it and you drawing cards for those counters. What have you gained in this scenario? Nothing.
Use of counters Forgo uses -2/-2 counters, which are used by almost no other mechanics in the game and need to be tracked independently. As a general rule, sets are designed such that they include either +1/+1 counters or -1/-1 counters as a measure to reduce complexity, especially in Limited formats (which are intended to cater to new players to a greater degree than Constructed formats do). Adding what is effectively a new kind of counter at the step level introduces complexity to every game played (well beyond the scope of a particular set). And I don't think it can be reasonably argued that -2/-2 counters are "just as alien to new players as +1/+1 counters or -1/-1 counters are"; the latter two are referenced by vastly more cards and are incorporated into the design of many sets, especially new sets. They're also much more intuitive to represent. It's not actually clear why counters need to be used at all; the use of counters presumes that the effect is meant to be more enduring than an until-end-of-turn equivalent, but is it necessary for that to be the case here? In some respects, it helps remember that a creature has been foregone, but this is only necessary because of the aforementioned sprawl phenomenon or if the advantages of forgo need to be balanced by permanence (a tenuous proposition, in my opinion). If all activities relevant to forego occurred simultaneously or sequentially, there wouldn't be a need to remember something.
Moving counters You allow that -2/-2 counters may not only be placed but may also be moved. As a result, forgo, despite being phrased as a "may" effect, is not really binary. There are three options available to players: (1) choose not to forgo a creature, (2) choose to forgo a creature by placing a new -2/-2 counter on it, or (3) choose to forgo a creature by moving a -2/-2 counter from another creature onto the foregone creature. Each of these has a different effect on the board state. The non-binary nature makes for a difficult time explaining how this "may" effect is different from the vast majority of its peers, which offer only binary choices with the "yes" option having one explicitly-described effect on the game ("you may . If you do, ."). With a purely binary choice (place a counter or don't place a counter; no moving of counters), forgo is at least reasonably linear: if you choose to forgo, you get an additional counter that will very likely net you an additional card; if you don't, you don't. With the third option (moving an existing counter), you may now decide to forgo a creature without actually impacting the net draw. The benefit instead exists in another form: it allows you to change the impact of a previous decision to forgo. This means that the decision to forgo one creature may impact another creature as well, and the cost-benefit analysis of your options becomes more complex with the addition of a third, nonparallel option.
Toughness restrictions Because the counters are -2/-2 counters, and because your proposal depends on creatures still being alive during a different step for the player to realize any benefit, you've also created a toughness restriction on which creatures can be foregone. This in itself creates complexity, but it also means that some decks will simply not be able to take advantage of this step since they rely on creatures with predominantly toughnesses of 2 or less. This is, by some accounts, sub-optimal; those decks tend to be aggro decks that could really benefit from the additional draw. Further, the immediate drawback of a -2/-2 counter on any creature that can survive it is still fairly steep. -2/-2 is less manageable than -1/-1 in almost all practical scenarios (and is also less intuitive to players). As mentioned before, this toughness restriction is related to sprawl (as is the case with the counters themselves). If forego was a single, turn-based action in which the creature got -2/-2 (either through a counter or a static effect), you could draw the card immediately and it wouldn't matter if the creature died because its presence wouldn't need to be measured later in the turn.
Stacking On that note, the forgo mechanic stacks if you get multiple -2/-2 counters on creatures you control. This means that the number of cards you draw during any given turn can fluctuate as a result of the turn rules themselves. Whereas the draw step always nets you one card, with any differences being attributable to a card's effect, forgo requires you to calculate card draw based on a shifting game state, which is more complex.
Miscalculation The combined potential challenges of (1) stacking, (2) sprawl, and (3) tracking a specific type of counter that is similar-but-dissimilar to other, common kinds of counters means that there's real potential to miscalculate or even miss the draw effect. And misplays related to cards in hand tend to have a more severe adverse effect on the game than those related to, for example, missing a tap.
Debuffing It's not entirely clear why the foregone creature needs to receive a P/T debuff at all, apart from your having started with Scarscale Ritual as inspiration. It might be more interesting if you instead had to tap some number of your creatures (preventing them from attacking or blocking during the coming turn cycle), which would affect your board position in a manner less permanent but still tactically significant. Additionally, new players (who are, appropriately, used as a standard test for complexity) will likely have trouble navigating the cost-benefit analysis necessary to understand how forgo could be useful. The sprawl issue means that the payoff for forgoing a creature is non-immediate, and players may be inclined to view forgo as weakening their creatures for very little reward. Consider how many players already have trouble justifying the 1 life for fetch lands or the 2 life for shock lands. Now imagine that you're one of these players on turn three and are just now playing your 3/3 for 3. You have the option to turn it into a 1/1 for the potential to draw a card. Would you do that? Likely not.
Lack of reference Lastly, consider that many mechanics, which you correctly identify as other sources of complexity, are printed either with reminder text or in such volume and with such templating that their function is generally known to players. If a card instructs you to take a complicated set of actions, you can follow the instructions that are actually printed on the card. In the case of new mechanics, cards featuring those mechanics are always printed with reminder text explaining the basic function of that mechanic in as short a space as practical (this is done precisely because of the value of having something spelled out when learning it). However, if a step requires a complex set of actions that can't easily be summarized (consider how many lines it actually took to explain all of the rules for forgo, including restrictions on what creatures can be foregone, plus the sprawl issue from above), it presents more of an issue.
Being a step Ultimately, I have to come back to the basic assumption that what you're proposing even needs to be its own step. See the sprawl issue above; nothing I've read in this thread indicates to me that forgo needs to be a step in the combat phase, and I'd argue that it doesn't need to be a step at all. The spirit of your idea can probably be better captured by adding one rule to an existing step rather than trying to insert a new step into the turn structure. If the idea is ultimately to offer a new way to draw cards, why not consolidate it under the existing draw step?
Given all of the above, I have to conclude that your proposal's complexity does not justify its potential value. Extrapolating a mechanic or card to the step level is difficult. That's not to say it's not worthwhile or that it can't be done well. However, this particular proposal doesn't present a compelling case. As a mechanic printed on a card, the idea is much more interesting and workable. But as part of the turn, it is cumbersome and inelegant.
So what could be done to make it more feasible? Here's one alternative that I think would remove much of the unnecessary complexity described above:
As you draw the first card during your draw step, you may tap any number of creatures you control with total power 3 or more. If you do, draw an additional card.
This would get rid of the -2/-2 counters (and debuffs altogether), eliminate the sprawl issue with effects being tracked over multiple steps, and place the draw effect in the same step as the existing turn-based draw. The end result is merely one additional rule for an existing step rather than a new step altogether. It certainly still presents some challenges, but it's much more manageable overall and doesn't necessitate those complexities it can reasonably avoid.
1 month ago
(First of all I'd like to state I am not a judge on any level, however given the simplicity of my idea for a new turn phase/step I implore you not to declare this a rules nightmare until you've read until the end of this post. Thank you!)
Before I start, the concept for this phase/step was inspired by the card Scarscale Ritual. The phase/step I'm proposing is much different from the Ritual, however; I bring it up because it will be faithful to the card's theme and I feel it can add more depth to playing Magic the Gathering. Do keep the theme of this card in mind as I go on.
The "Forgo Phase" (for lack of a better name) or (more accurately) the "Forgo Step" starts after "The Beginning of Combat Step" and before the "Declare Attackers Step."
Just like declaring an attacker or blocker for their respective steps the "Forgo Step" allows the active player to "forgo" a creature of their choice. (Or they can choose not to forgo similar to choosing not to attack or block as this is a non-mandatory action.) There are a few restrictions before a player can declare to forgo a creature:
.) The active player can not forgo more than 1 creature per combat phase.
.) The active player can not forgo a creature with summoning sickness unless that creature has haste.
.) The active player can never forgo a creature with toughness 2 or less.
.) The active player can never forgo a creature they don't control.
.) A player can not forgo a creature on another player's turn. Only on their own turn.
So what happens when you forgo a creature? By forgoing a creature the active player simply places a -2/-2 counter onto it or moves a -2/-2 counter from one creature they control onto another so long as the creature receiving the counter meets the above restrictions. Then at the end of the active player's turn that player draws a card for each -2/-2 counter on all creatures that player controls. (This ability always checks for -2/-2 counters at the beginning of that player's end step even if there are no creatures with -2/-2 counters that player controls and/or if that player didn't forgo a creature that turn. This ability doesn't trigger every end step for the same player, only on their own end step.)
So why on earth -2/-2 counters? Well as hideous as a -2/-2 counter sounds they're the best in terms of not causing unintended interactions. If under the same scenario it was two -1/-1 counters, creatures with undying would become incredibly advantageous and there would be ways to generate more -1/-1 counters through spells and abilities which would result in broken card draw. -2/-2 counters don't cancel out +1/+1 counters and there aren't any spells or abilities that can generate these counters either. (With exception to proliferate and Ebon Praetor, neither of which being efficient enough to be game-breaking under the parameters set.)
While designing this concept it was important that it would expand upon gameplay rather than narrow it. I understand that the effect to draw cards is powerful if designed poorly and that it can result in rapidly shifting metas, steer to unbalanced gameplay, and may eliminate the practicality of certain cards and/or entire deck archetypes altogether. To this extent, under these parameters set I feel this phase/step may fortunately lean more on the impractical side of usefulness. Nonetheless, I think adding a phase/step like this would be more interesting in multiplayer games like EDH and may add another layer of depth to how players manage their creatures and resources when playing the game.
Any thoughts on this concept or any concerns in terms of balance and design are well appreciated.
1 month ago
@The_2ndpanda if it wasn't for 4 Mulldrifters and 3 Scarscale Ritual all being discounted by Sunscape Familiar, plus I'm actually missing a Dream Stalker, AND the list is very tight. I've had Inspectors on hand for a long time now, but actually fitting them in the deck seems impossible without losing answers.
2 months ago
Maybe add a couple Swan Song in the side.
Scarscale Ritual in the side could possibly help with draw.
Flesh / Blood could be an alternate wincon in the side
2 months ago
3 months ago
Kheru Dreadmaw seems pretty over-costed and bad, I would replace them with more Ammit Eternals. With very little graveyard interaction, Oath of Nissa is probably better than Grapple with the Past here, especially since you've got so few things to do on turn 1. Also, Scarscale Ritual might be better than Read the Bones in this deck.