In Which Adam Styborski Condemns Sol Ring

Commander (EDH) forum

Posted on Feb. 10, 2017, 11:13 a.m. by Agunman

article in question.


I 100% agree with him. I'm so goddamn tired of hearing the Thada Adel, Acquisitor player say "What do you mean you don't have a sol ring?"

Well, for this exact reason.

February 10, 2017 11:18 a.m.

NecroPony says... #3

Why does he care so much? Let people play what they want. Don't like Sol ring, don't play it. I don't understand the point of the article.

February 10, 2017 11:59 a.m.

brokendwarf says... #4

"Here's a list of things I don't like:

  • ramp
  • tutors
  • board wipes
  • mana rocks

If you play these you are bad."

Sorry if some of us like having a little consistency in our 100-card deck.

February 10, 2017 12:22 p.m.

Epochalyptik says... #5

I think the article is maybe passable advice if you're trying to play a casual game with some friends. Which, based on his pointer to Sheldon's philosophy, is probably the kind of advice he's trying to give.

I think it's patently terrible advice for competitive or semi-competitive circles.

February 10, 2017 12:29 p.m.

golgarigirl says... #6

I think the point is that people need to look past the 'auto-include' moniker a lot of cards get, especially in EDH. But on the flip-side, there are -reasons- these cards have gained that moniker. I do like the idea that, hey, there are -tons- of options out there for board clears and multi-colored lands. But the ABU duals and Damnation are the things you work towards. Sol Ring...I've seen just as many games where it puts people ahead as where it really doesn't do much at all. All up to personal preference.

February 10, 2017 12:44 p.m.

The_Raven says... #7

The article... The article is a troll, right? I mean, the author basically says, "don't play ramp at all"... Like, he can't be serious. Ramp is pretty much the essence of every commander game. Furthermore, he also mentions how, "Kirtar's Wrath is actually a really nice two-mana upgrade over Wrath of God in most cases". This quote should clearly indicate that the article is a joke. Maybe I'm totally wrong, but Kirtar's Wrath is nowhere near as good as Wrath of God.

Or am I all wrong? Am I missing something?

February 10, 2017 1:45 p.m.

GearNoir says... #8

I understand the article to be saying that EDH has moved more into being just another pimp my deck, kill everything as fast as possible format rather than the fun, explorative, creative, janky, social format it is meant to be. EDH (to some) is a what-if format not a netdeck format like all the others (except casual/kitchen table perhaps).

February 10, 2017 1:57 p.m.

iAzire says... #9

I expect that he was trolling with his article. There is no way he could possibly believe such things. Some examples:

  1. Get rid of all Ramp and Artifacts if you aren't an Artifact deck.

  2. Get rid of good lands for bad lands, (not Badlands).

  3. Get rid of good cards for bad cards.

  4. Get rid of Tutors. If your deck doesn't have card draw available to it due to colors or strategy, suck it up, that's just a part of Magic. (Because Tutors aren't a part of Magic after all.)

The moral of the story, he is either trolling or a complete idiot. What it sounds like he is really trying to do, is add a cap of $1 per card in your deck and banning anything he deems unfun or unfavorful, like Sol Ring.

February 10, 2017 2:23 p.m.

MagicalHacker says... #10

Love it. LOVE it. I wish we had some commanders that completely shut off tutoring. Like a 3-drop, half-Stranglehold for white and/or red would be a dream come true. I would snap build that deck, honestly.

February 10, 2017 2:29 p.m.

iAzire says... #11

I don't understand why you say you love it MagicalHacker. Could you not get with your playgroup and say you would like everyone to build decks with a limit of $1 per card?

In short, that is what he is saying in the article. Any playgroup could do this, it's not like it would even be expensive for people to build the decks.

There is even a YouTube channel that builds decks specifically with that $1 cap in mind, (I'm personally a big fan). Budget MTG Decks, All Magic fun, All cards under a dollar!!

While the idea itself isn't bad, to attempt to push such a philosophy on the entire Commander format, like the article is doing, is simply ridiculous.

February 10, 2017 2:40 p.m.

Phaetion says... #12

What I don't understand (so much) is why the hate against ramp. Yes, it's tutoring, but you're going for lands, not a 2-piece (chicken) combo. I know there are ramp cards that deserve the light of day (Rampant Growth and Hunting Wilds being examples), but come on.

The One Ring (see what I did there?) I can understand because it is literally everywhere, but it really only matters for the first few turns before it comes mostly a dud draw.

It's cool to see some weird cards every now and then (ex. Gaea's Bounty, which I'm currently running in Sasaya), but there's the issue of drawing the line between must-run's (staples) and other must run's (cards necessary for the deck).

Otherwise, play how you want to play. Why give a damn, and blow it out of proportion?

February 10, 2017 3:40 p.m.

MagicalHacker says... #13

His advice is sound: if you want you and your friends to have fun playing the most fun format in its original design, choose cards that synergize more with your deck than others instead of jamming in staples.

February 10, 2017 4:04 p.m.

The_Raven says... #14

But, seriously, what ramp card synergies with like Alesha, Who Smiles at Death or with like Nekusar, the Mindrazer? As far as I know, there is no such ramp. In this case, should I simply not run any ramp cards? That's kinda ridiculous.

February 10, 2017 4:58 p.m.

MindAblaze says... #15

"While I hope my hyperbole shines here, I'm curious for your take on questionably common cards and staples that seems to make Commander into the same game every time."

I think the big thing here is, if you're bored of the way you and your group plays magic, start questioning your card choices. If your Meren deck plays Cultivate over Call the Scions ask yourself why. If every deck becomes "race to the win con and don't die along the way" then of course 90% of all Grixis decks are going to look the same, whether they're Nekusar, Crosis or He Who Paints the Earth Red.

Have fun building your decks, and if you play in a 75% meta, suggest dialing it back to a 50-60% and see how the "fun" changes. My commander league actually had an "achievement" that actually punished players for not casting their commander. "I didn't need them" was not acceptable, your deck should need them. That's the point isn't it?

February 10, 2017 5:09 p.m.

Eiti3 says... #16

I play commander for one simple reason: I can use almost any card I want that has ever been printed (minimal ban list and the un-sets as exceptions). And thus far, those who've dealt with the banned list have their debatably good reasons for banning the less than 40 cards out of the 16468+ cards printed thus far. I mean, the only format I know of that has less banned cards is Casual, but I know nobody who plays casual in my area.

I'm unable to understand people's thought processes. A format created for fun, with access to nearly every card allows for near infinite, if not infinite, possibilities to play the format. Some stick to how they were introduced to Magic and the EDH format and want it to be fun. So they create decks to have fun. If they aren't having fun, they should talk to their playgroup about fixing the issue or find a new playgroup to have their fun.

I can't possibly understand how saying "No, you need to (do something, such as: not run specific cards or themes) because I'm not having fun!" fixes your issues. You are neither offering others to have a chance to sympathize with you and converse appropriate actions to keep the game fun for all, nor providing incentivizing actions to keep the game fun. This thought process is literally saying "no, do this" for no other reason than what you feel. For all you know, the other players may be having fun playing the game as is. Maybe it's you who needs to change: attitude or playgroups.

EDH is about crafting what YOU want to play. If you want to have a consistent deck that does an awesome combo or play, ramp and tutors help with that. Staples help with that. I'm sorry if you either can't afford those cards yourself or find them boring to play against. Although, not really as I really enjoy playing what I want to play, despite what others are playing (stax and group slug as exceptions, although I've had quite a few fun games against them).

Now cEDH (competitive EDH) is a whole different story. cEDH isn't focused on fun, it's focused on winning or in some cases, making others lose. While some elements of fun are still there, we all know how not fun it is when you die to a dull and uninspired infinite combo on T1, T2, or T3. cEDH, imo, is pretty much all netdecking with just a few tweaks. And I've never had fun netdecking.

So maybe I need someone to elaborate extensively on how having someone who is convinced that certain cards and themes make the format less fun can make a format that is fundamentally fun to begin with more fun by restricting literally thousands of more cards. I'd also like to note that I don't find either Modern or Standard fun, at all. I do not know if that has an effect on my perspective of the subject, however, I'll mention it in the limited case that it might.

February 10, 2017 6:36 p.m.

Megalomania says... #17

Just a reaction on the part against the use of tutors.

I am bothered by the idea that EDH is a format designed to be janky. I am not very familiar with the origin of the game and the intent of its original designers but I doubt this is the case.

I see jankiness/randomness not as a goal of the 99-card singleton format but rather a challenge most of us try to overcome through deckbuilding. Whether it is through adding redundancies, creating synergies or through tutors, all of these are geared towards reducing the increased randomness the format throws at its players.

February 10, 2017 7:08 p.m.

DrLitebur says... #18

Sol Ring is an iconic card, at least to me. I have some of the Unlimited ones from my oldest playing days, sitting in my binder, and they are never going anywhere. Why? Because I remember playing 4 of them in the old days in a deck, and ramping the crap out of the deck with them and Dark Rituals. The card is honestly, it should be part of something like the secondary Power 9. It is that good. There are several cards that are on par with it, like Mana Crypt, Mana Vault and the like, and very abusable with other cards, but for sheer power, the Sol Ring is just...yeah. I know people are going to disagree, and that is just fine. But that is how I feel.

February 10, 2017 9:14 p.m.

Die4Dethklok says... #19

I think he has a point in some way. I haven't been playing MtG long, and everyone told me that commander is a fun format. So I did some research, watched some vidoes on The Mana Source and TCC (I didn't know about Tappedout yet), and thought, yeah, this should be fun. My first commander deck was Alesha, Who Smiles at Death, I started playing just before the Origins release, so me and my friends (only one or two had played in the past) mostly had Khans block cards. It was great fun. Then we stopped meeting up as much, I started playing at game shops, and boy was commander unfun.

"Oh it's all about having fun", says the stax player while wiping the board with their foil Damnation, and recasting Force of Will. "It's a casual format, great for new players. Tap my Gaea's Cradle for 10 mana."

Yeah.. Right.

I don't think the aforementioned cards are unfun, I'd play them if I had them, but unless you're playing with friends, the game is going to be unfun for someone. Having been both the new player with a $50 deck, and the experienced player dominating a 4 player game, neither of those situations are actually fun unless you get sadistic pleasure in making a kids game unfun for other adults.

There isn't really a solution to this issue, commander should just come with a disclaimer for new players that states it is, and can be a VERY competitive environment. Don't jump into a game with people you don't know. It will be soul crushing.

February 11, 2017 12:07 a.m.

iAzire says... #20

I think there are some serious issues with the points being argued here. First off Cultivate is a far better card than Call the Scions. It gives you Lands which can be different colors for mana fixing. Scions give mana and are a one time use. I'm not saying Call the Scions is a bad card in Meren, as it does give Experience counters, I am just saying Cultivate is a better card.

I think the argument about Grixis color is bad too. The Commanders being named play extremely different. If someone is building Grixis decks all the same way, they are fairly terrible at deck building.

Please explain how Nekusar, the Mindrazer, Crosis, the Purger, Thraximundar, and Jeleva, Nephalia's Scourge play the same deck. If you're saying the mana base and the Ramp base, well sure but that's the extent of it. Why would I want to cut Signets and Talismans for other rocks? Why would I do that?

These Commanders are also at very different levels in terms of Competitive play. A true Nekusar deck is fun, (FUN AS HELL!!), but will never be able to compete with Jeleva. Thraximundar is also fun but should be able to properly wreck Nekusar as well.

I feel other colors might play more similar decks, but the Grixis example is absolutely horrendous as Grixis has some great variety in its Commanders. What I'm seeing though is comparable to saying Zur the Enchanter and Oloro, Ageless Ascetic play the same deck.

Do you even deck build bro?

February 11, 2017 12:41 a.m.

@Die4Dethklok: Fun is subjective. Some players have fun playing random, non-optimized decks. Some players have fun playing in tight competitive games. The beauty of Commander is that the social nature of the format allows you (in theory) to find a playgroup that fits your philosophy. That's the key to having fun: playing games with like-minded players who have the same expectations as you do.

Most of the stories I hear about bad experiences with Commander are due at least partially to a difference of philosophies between players. Someone is trying to play a more casual game and someone else is trying to play a more competitive game, or someone is being a jerk, or someone is whining about unfairness.

I wrote an article about all of this a while ago.

February 11, 2017 12:55 a.m.

MindAblaze says... #22


Hyperbole: exaggeration for the sake of emphasis.

My point, before I get spaghettified, was that any given color scheme in Commander has a wide range of cards available to it. To play the deck without the perfect mana, most efficient mana rocks, card tutoring/filtration and most typical interaction is objectively choosing to neuter your deck. Of course I think it's obvious that your end game will have different cards that contribute to the strategy, that goes without saying. The "fun" part in building a given commander (according to the article) is choosing to eschew the norms and neuter your deck; play Call the Scions over Cultivate because you really want those two experience Counters and don't care that there are objectively better cards. It's not about "strictly better," it's about choosing an objectively more narrow card because it might create a subjective experience more in line with what one is looking for. Because they can.

February 11, 2017 2:45 a.m.

iAzire says... #23

MindAblaze I understand what you are saying but I feel this still links back to the Sol Ring vs Mana Crypt thread. If you're playing Meren of Clan Nel Toth, the question I would have to ask would be, why would you not run BOTH Cultivate and Call the Scions? Yes one is better, but both provide you with stuff you want to do. Both are easily great cards for the deck. Why force yourself to pick one when you can have both?

I personally don't find it fun to purposely neuter myself. Like I mentioned earlier in the thread, I'm all for it if you get with your playgroup and have everybody build their decks according to the same restrictions. Then it wouldn't hurt to neuter yourself. That would make it fun to build such a deck, but to do so just for the hell of it? No.

I also disagree with the idea that this is what Commander players should do. The format allows for a lot of different play, by no means should we build every deck by this philosophy.

I understand the exaggeration but it still goes over the top. For me at least it invalidates the entire argument. It would work better if a more serious approach was taken and it wasn't said to replace good cards with relatively garbage cards.

Here are some examples, why play Sunken Ruins and spend all that money when you can play Darkwater Catacombs? I could understand something like that, not stuff like replace Wrath of God with (insert crap boardwipe here). There are even points to be made like, if you're playing Daxos the Returned why don't you save some money on Damnation and use Extinguish All Hope instead? I would understand that point. It fits the flavor and actually benefits you more for that specific deck. The suggestions made in the article remind me of when my 5 month old daughter got into my Magic cards. I'm not building a deck out of whatever random jank she decided she wanted at the time.

I'm sorry, but any article that tells me, exaggerating or not, I would have NERF a Precon deck before Commander will be fun is absolutely ridiculous and all points made are null and void. Besides the fact that if you remove exaggerated points, was there a single good point made in the entire article? The article fails because it doesn't bring up any relevant discussion, and can be reduced to terrible trolling.

February 11, 2017 3:25 a.m.

pskinn01 says... #24

I think the basic concept of the article is valid, but the points made are not good. I have many edh decks (currently 18 sleeved up and 5 others, and some in pre-construction phase), and I don't always build my commanders the way most people would. I don't do this to neuter the deck, I do it so it is my creation. Now some of my decks have very "unfun" interactions, like my Attraxa deck being capable of shutting down most of the decks I play against on turn 1 if I get a great hand. But my Oloro deck is an Artifact build, my Captain Sisay is cat themed. I build some decks to be competitive, but lot of time I use cards that are in there cause I like them or they fit a theme, not because they are the best cards at my disposal.

February 11, 2017 7:02 a.m.

shaistyone says... #25

I definitely want this article to be less of a 'grenade'. Instead of trying to get tons of people yelling at each other, how about making some serious points about fun enhancement?

For me, I follow my own codes pretty exclusively. And it has led to an awesome EDH experience across the vast majority of my decks.

My Philosophy:
- Other players' experience is important. While any play could incidentally make another player miserable, intentionally doing so (and building for that purpose) is sad.
- There are no 'staples'. There also is no such thing as 'unplayable' (well, mostly :) )
- To further that, there is also no place for generic, overused, absurdly boring decks.
- 'Bam!' and 'Kapow!' are the thoughts I want to have for big plays.
- 'Consistency' is just an excuse for not wanting to think creatively.
- If a game goes by where an opponent doesn't have to read some weird card I play, I have failed.
- Tutoring for mana, for answers, for threats, etc,.. all fine. Tutoring for combo pieces smells like desperate insecurity.
- Being 'Mr/Ms. Moneybags McGee' and having an insanely expensive deck is fine. But don't be a dick about it (like assuming everyone else around you can build a >$1k manabase).

However.. the key to a format like EDH is that it is about freedom. None of these constraints I place on myself have to be relevant to anyone else. It would be 100% wrong to try to force this kind of thinking on other players; this is what I do to ensure I enjoy my time playing.

February 11, 2017 10:48 a.m.

CChaos says... #26

From the Article:

"In no particular order, here are five cards (and their most similar and overused alternatives) that you just need to stop playing."

He should either stop playing commander or find a group which believes in his set of rules. Otherwise he will struggle with his enjoyment of the game.

February 11, 2017 11:46 a.m.

MindAblaze says... #27

I guess I just feel like if you take his words with a grain of salt and take home "evaluate your card choices," and "don't be afraid to cut a staple in favour of another card if it makes sense to you," you'll survive this.

I wouldn't cut Sol Ring for another basic land, or my shocks/duals for guildgates either, but I value the ability to say "this is what I think is fun, maybe you could/should try it."

February 11, 2017 1:26 p.m.

MrAptronym says... #28

I have to disagree with a fair amount of his reasoning, but I do agree with some of his points. I believe the key to playing commander well is having a playgroup that can agree on what their idea of fun is. I don't think competitive commander players are wrong to do what they do, I just never want to be at a table with them. So these cards really shouldn't be in everyone's decks. Maybe in the more competitive decks, but people shouldn't be afraid to cut out their Sol Ring or Damnation if it's not something they find fun to play.

Obviously there are a lot of decks that justify large amounts of ramp, I think it is silly to say that people shouldn't be running it. (Though certainly, some decks don't need to.) But finding fun alternatives to popular cards can be enjoyable and adds some variety as well.

I'm, obviously, a casual player and I follow a lot of these rules myself. I hate tutoring effects and rarely run any. I agree that the inconsistency and unpredictability of commander is a purposeful feature of the format. For me it is probably the second biggest appeal of it after vorthos stuff. I also hate how long the shuffling adds to games. Shuffling and watching people shuffle are both slow and boring. Land Tax has to be one of my least favorite cards in the entire format just for the time it wastes. (I disassembled my Thada Adel deck just because I got sick of the time spent sifting through other people's decks.)

I also enjoy playing slightly unusual variants of staple cards. Especially when they are more in my theme, even if they are worse. As he said, EDH is the only place you can break them out. Kirtar's Wrath isn't a solid upgrade, but if someone likes it for some reason, they should go for it. I've been playing a long time, and I have plenty of cards I never used until I could fit them into an EDH deck. When I make decks I try and keep four questions in mind:

  1. Are there cards that I could only find a use for in this deck?

  2. Will any of these cards make anyone else at the table have signifigantly less fun?

  3. In my particular group, is this deck good enough to sometimes win, but not so good as to always win?

  4. Is this deck interactive with the other players?

February 25, 2017 6:35 p.m.

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