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Activated abilities of creatures you control cost up to less to activate. This effect can't be reduced to less than one mana.
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Training Grounds Discussion
16 hours ago
Very, very cool idea! +1! Just got a couple of quick suggestions:
I think you may have too many one-ofs. Funeral charm, Tezzeret, training grounds, and Kalitas all seem nice, but as one-ofs you probably won't draw them when you need them. Off the top of my head, I think maybe cutting Training Grounds and Funeral Charms to add in more Tezzerets or a few Muddle the Mixtures would help consistency.
1 day ago
I know cavern harpy can bounce mairsil "as many times as you want" but why not just play Shrieking Drake so you need less mana to bounce mairsil the same turn you play them the first time?
Definitely needs more tutors, if you're going to run demonic and buried alive you should definitely play Entomb, Vampiric Tutor, and maybe a multi-tutor like Demonic Collusion which synergizes somewhat with caging graveyard targets?
If you are playing Heartless Hidetsugu as a line of play you need to have a damage doubler that is opponent-specific which I can't find, maybe I'm blind?I wouldn't bother with effects like Magus of the Jar that require you both to have haste on field and sacrifice the creature in order to get immediate value. You aren't profitting from discard or draw directly and it feels like you can play something with a more consistent effect that represents a better target for Mairsil.
You have access to blue so swap Heartstone for Training GroundsAlso definitely think you need to go easier on the colourless ramp, your spells just don't cost that much and you could use more colour fixing since you're limited in terms of rampability. I find Khalni Gem is great for non-green colour combinations since you get your mana back right away AND it keeps your land-drops consistent. AS a mairsil target it can also give you blue mana for many of your activated abilities like knacksaw clique, which you must be aware goes infinite since I see you have quicksilver elementalMaybe you could write a primer explaining the various combos and synergies you're going for? I think some of them are weak lines of play you should cut for interactivity with your opponents instead.
Would also recommend trying to have at least one or two value backup plans that don't need your commander to resolve in order to win, especially since Mairsil requires quite a bit of setup to be a game-ender.
1 day ago
I was going to talk about something else, but since we're briefly talking about tier placement, I'll provide some quick thoughts before getting to the important stuff:
General Tazri - Fast, consistent, resilient - everything you'd want in a combo deck. Obviously tier 1.
Jeleva vs Kess - At first I thought that Kess was better by leaps and bounds since her ability is consistently stronger than Jeleva's in a vacuum. However, Magic is not played in a vacuum, and through discussion Jeleva's other strengths have been made manifest. For now we should keep them roughly equal until a really stand-out list for either one (most likely Kess since Jelva's been around for years now and is mostly solved) emerges to push one over the other.
Prossh, Skyraider of Kher - I tend to agree with lilbrudder and others who have said he should be moved down. He just can't interact as well as Sidisi or Tazri, Tazri has more tutors, and Sidisi has better backup lines. That said, moving him below tier 1.5 would be denying his raw strength, speed, and resiliency. He has access to the best 3-color manabase in the game and Food Chain augments it. This idea that he has limited access to interaction when every Prossh deck ever has run REB, Pyroblast, City of Solitude, Abrupt Decay, Nature's Claim, Vexing Shusher, Autumn's Veil, etc. is a gross overstatement. Prossh isn't the king of Food Chain anymore, but that doesn't mean he's not still a big threat.
Teferi, Temporal Archmage - Obviously complete garbage. 6 mana for a commander? How horrible. It also completely folds to Blood Pod and needs to run horrible cards like Expedition Map and Silent Arbiter to contend. It's a deck that really is limited by its color identity. It wants white for Humility, Enlightened Tutor, Rest In Peace, Supreme Verdict, etc.; it wants red for Goblin Welder, board wipes, wheel effects, etc.; it wants green for additional ramp and card draw; and it wants black for...well, anything really, but it can't run any of these colors and so you're stuck with a mediocre "adaptive combo" (whatever that means) deck. You'd have to be some kind of moron to play Teferi these days.
Thrasios, Triton Hero - Best infinite mana outlet in the game and Partner makes him very flexible. Obvious tier 1, possibly the best commander legal today. No other commander pushes other decks out of the meta like Thrasios does.
Tymna the Weaver - 6 months ago I would have been fully against placing Tymna anywhere above tier 3. I would have ranted and raved about how Thrasios carried her just like he carries all the other partners, and that getting a free Ambition's Cost every turn is a scenario that is too unlikely to actually happen. However, the success of Blood Pod has proven me wrong. Aside from Zur, she's easily the best WBx commander in the game for her ability to create value from very little and she absolutely deserves to be tier 1.
Yidris, Maelstrom Wielder - If there is a consistent Yidris deck that's better than Thras+Smash, I haven't seen it. His effect and color identity are still strong enough to keep him out of tier 2, but not strong enough to keep him at the very top. He's a lot like Breya - fundamentally a UBx storm deck with a few build-around cards that is just barely outclassed by Zur, Jeleva, and now Kess.
Zur the Enchanter - As long as Necropotence is legal, Zur will be tier 1. Even if Necropotence gets banned, Zur would probably still be the best WUB general since tutoring for removal is more valuable than doing Sharuum loops or gaining 2 life a turn.
Animar, Soul of Elements - I feel like the reason why people are relatively harsh on Animar is because the deck hasn't really changed in many meaningful ways since Ancestral Statue was printed. They got Walking Ballista and Vizier of the Menagerie, but that's about it. The lack of black is a bit of an issue, but when the deck is mostly creatures your green tutors are all you really need. The disruption suite is small and sometimes greedy (if you count Ulamog), but for a combo deck you can only run so much disruption before it starts to encroach on ramp, card draw, and tutors. Animar has actually gotten stronger with the additional tools he's gotten over time, but the rest of the metagame has changed more drastically so he looks weaker by comparison. I think this evens him out relatively speaking and thus he should stay where he is.
Brago, King Eternal - Brago is kind of similar to Animar in that he gained new tools in Recruiter of the Guard and Sanctum Prelate (and Oath of Jace to a lesser extent) but the rest of the meta has evolved around him in such a way that he is no longer a strong choice for a commander. Both decks are also heavily reliant on their commanders and run combo finishes in colors that don't have access to the best tutors. The difference between the two is that although both are reliant on their commanders, Animar has access to better ramp, comes down earlier, and has protection from two common removal colors. Animar also has a big advantage in speed - a fast combo from Animar can catch players off-guard wheras fast leads from Brago don't really happen. Brago also has a severe case of summoning sickness while Animar doesn't. A better comparison would be Tymna, who is also the lead of a hatebear-focused deck, but can generate value the turn she hits the board as long as you have an attacker. Speaking of Blood Pod, Brago is also quite weak to Stony Silence and Null Rod because of his extreme reliance on mana rocks, and a fast reanimated Elesh Norn from an Abzan or Blood Pod deck can basically ruin his entire gameplan. What you end up with is a build-around stax deck that is weak to other stax decks, which doesn't make for a particularly strong deck. Tier 2 is a fine home for him.
Grand Arbiter Augustin IV - I could talk about most of the same stuff I mentioned in Brago for why GAAIV isn't viable because most of it still applies. The weakness to Null Rod, the lack of tutoring limiting the win conditions, etc. it's all true. The big difference is that while Brago relies too heavily on its commander, GAAIV is kind of incendental to his own deck. On the one hand, this is a sort of weird advantage that allows GAAIV to run more creature hate than normal, with most lists typically running WoG, Supreme Verdict, Humility, Cursed Totem, and Torpor Orb at the very minimum. On the other hand, this also ends up being a sort of disadvantage since GAAIV will never really be anything more than a mana rock. If GAAIV gets killed at any point during the game, he'll probably never be cast again. This isn't really what you want out of a stax commander. I don't want to make a blanket statement and say that UW Stax isn't a competitive strategy anymore since they have really strong hate pieces like Humility, RiP, Aura of Silence, Back to Basics, etc., but it's hard not to look at Brago and GAAIV and not see how they're outclassed by Derevi. Tier 2 is a fine place, and that's almost entirely based on his color identity.
Karador, Ghost Chieftain - He's just outclassed by Tymna in every way, whether your pairing her with Thrasios or Tana. Even Tymna+Reyhan/Sidar Kondo/other BG partner would probably be better I could honestly see him dropping all the way down to tier 3, but that's probably too extreme.
Razaketh, the Foulblooded - I have been saying ever since this card was spoiled that if it does end up being good, it'll be because it's strong in the 99 and not on its strength as a commander. 8 mana and multiple creatures in play is just too much to ask for when other decks could be jamming Ad Nauseam 2 turns earlier. He's still better than most pubstomp decks, so tier 2.5 seems like a good place to have him. An optimized Razaketh deck would probably try to jam Ad Nauseam as soon as possible and only use Raz as a backup line. The problem with that is that there's already a very strong mono-black Ad Nauseam deck. It's very fast and very consistent and fairly resilient despite the color identity restrictions. It's headed by a certain commander who you may have heard of. She's pretty strong in her own right and could possibly even function reasonably well without Ad Nauseam. Her name, of course, is Gallowbraid.
Scion of the Ur-Dragon - In a post-partner, post-Ballista world, Hermit Druid decks no longer need 5 colors to have access to an infinite mana outlet and good tutors. Tier 2 seems like a reasonable home, but I could see him going lower.
Sidisi Brood Tyrant, The Gitrog Monster - These are the two big ones I could see moving up to tier 1. Their speed and consistency is excellent, they run plenty of interaction, and they've shown very good results over the past year. I don't think they're quite there yet, but we should definitely keep an eye out on them.
Atraxa, Praetors' Voice - Atraxa is awful. I know I said the same thing about Teferi earlier, but back there I was just joking around. I really mean it this time, Atraxa is horrible. She has been getting way too many free passes just because of her color identity, and in that color identity she's outclassed by Thrasios+Tymna. Oh wow, Atraxa gets one more card, big whoop. If any one of her colors were removed, everyone would easily dump her in tier 4 without a second thought, and the fact that people still haven't done so after almost a year is astounding. Tier 3 is more than she deserves, but it's probably where she belongs.
Azami, Lady of Scrolls - This is another commander to watch since she's peen posting good results lately. Don't think she should move up just yet though.
Mairsil, the Pretender - Tier 2 is way too generous. Are people forgetting about the "once per turn" clause? That severely hampers what he can do, to the point where you'd have to jump through a ton of hoops to make a combo with him actually work. You could just put him at the head of Grixis storm, but he's outclassed by Jeleva and Kess there.
Oona vs Dralnu - Personally, I think they're similar in terms of power level, with Oona only being just barely better. Both of them are in a somewhat limited color identity and both of them are directly outlclassed by other commanders. Oona is outclassed by Thrasios who only needs 2 colored mana to cast and combo off while Oona needs 6. Dralnu is now explicitly outclassed by Kess and before that was outclassed by JVP despite the color identity difference. So in reality, both are pretty bad. However, it's easier to make infinite mana than to play a 5 drop and protect him from Fire Covenant or Rolling Earthquake. So their current placement is probably the right place to put them. Nobody plays Blasphemous Act in CEDH btw.
Baral, Chief of Compliance - After more thinking, I think we can safely move Baral down to tier 3. For a while he was one of the top 5 High Tide commanders, but with Kess that's no longer the case. Additionally, he's pretty all-in on that strategy and accruing value over time with his passive ability is a lot harder to do in multiplayer.
Now that we got all that boring stuff nobody cares about out of the way, let's talk about the important issues: The Johnny, Combo Player decklist. As you know, I made a list about a month ago with Johnny as the commander entitled Johnny Magic. The win condition was to get infinite colorless mana, play Johnny, search up Stroke of Genius and Lotus Petal, deck the opponent, Timetwister, and repeat. It's a tried and true strategy that has been passed down the mono-blue family for generations.It also ran just about every good blue card in the format as well as some potential for Paradox Engine lines using things like Training Grounds and Heartstone to reduce Johnny's tutoring cost and chain rocks together to find combo pieces, similar to an Arcum deck. I also didn't see many other Johnny lists on Tappedout that weren't Un-legal decks or other gimmick decks. I was very surprised, then, when I saw that when this list was last updated that another Johnny player beat me to the punch. I try to keep an open mind about these things, so I looked into his list and found some interesting design decisions. I could go into detail into all the differences, but the gist of it is that the posted list is just generally built around having as many combos as possible, even bad or clunky ones, rather than actually making a good deck. It even includes Donate+Illusions of Grandeur, which is not a lethal combo in a 40 life format. The list is not completely without merit and there are good inclusions in it. Strip Mine is a good tech choice, Palinchron and Lab Maniac are great inclusions that should probably be in my list, Brain Freeze is a good alternate win condition with infinite storm even if Aetherflux Reservoir is better, and Evacuation is good creature hate. Otherwise, there are a lot of weird decisions in the deck. The most glaring ones I see are in the draw engine package. The deck lacks mono-blue card draw staples like Brainstorm, Ponder, Preordain, Mystic Remora, Impulse, JVP, Thirst for Knowledge, Timetwister, Memory Jar, Time Spiral, and Dig Through Time. The deck also lacks a tutoring package, omitting Mystical Tutor, Transmute Artifact, Muddle the Micture, Fabricate, Intuition, and Tezzeret the Seeker, let alone Reshape and Whir of Invention. It also lacks interaction in general, with no Chain of Vapor, Dispel, Flusterstorm, Mental Misstep, Repeal, Spell Pierce, Swan Song, Cyclonic Rift, Into the Roil, Mana Drain, or Negate. Instead, the deck jams as many infinite combos as possible in with no regard to how clunky they are, greedy draw spells, and board wipes, and tries to compensate by running redundant parts and about 6 more lands than necessary. It honestly seems less like an optimized list and more like a paper list, which is not what the purpose of providing a sample decklist on here is for. My only other guess besides that is that the deck creator plans to play a "value Johnny" and use him as the sole tutor for the deck to grab whatever pieces of various combos are missing from the opening hand. I believe it is much more effective to instead build a shell around 3 or 4 infinite mana combos that hopefully have multiple redundant pieces and use Johnny as an infinite mana sink to grab Stroke (and the rest of your deck). Also, the guy's running Mycosynth Lattice with no March of the Machines? Come on, man.
I don't believe that my list for Johnny is an optimized list, and considering how few people actually care there may never be an optimized list. However, I strongly hope that you take my list into further consideration instead of the list that is currently there.
4 days ago
Have you thought of Pack Rat as a cage enabler? With Training Grounds it B + discard a card (maybe the creature you want to cage) to make a token, trigger the ETB, exile the token and then cage something. Pili-Pala also works as a backup Staff of Domination. Entomb and Intuition allow you to get the artifact combo pieces into your Graveyard.
1 week ago
Zur the Enchanter is pretty good at that with things like Counterbalance, Stasis, Necropotence and Training Grounds. I don't really know a lot of commanders, but he's the first that springs to mind given your constraints.
Atleon on Scarab EDH
1 week ago
Sick! Love me some zombie tribal. Some cards to consider:
Training Grounds will allow you to hold up countermagic AND reanimation easier--yum
Altar of the Brood could chain into some cool stuff
Black Market is fed and feeds Scarab
Jace, Memory Adept's +0 isnt actually the worst here
Scarab god is absolutely delish