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AlexoBn That's pretty funny lol, my playgroup is different since a lot of our players are on a pretty tight budget. We could still play competitive but a lot of our players would rather be able to just play silly/flavourful cards instead, which is fun but can also sometimes slow the game down
August 9, 2017 12:35 p.m.
AlexoBn I think that's my favourite way to play politics; Screwing people over but in a way that screws over the guy that was screwing everyone else over the most. Unfortunately once people realize that their deck needs to be toned down this isn't as much of an option... It's the best feeling though
August 8, 2017 6:08 p.m.
I wanted to have a discussion about the good, the bad and the ugly of EDH politics since there definitely are some effective and ineffective ways to play the politics game. For example, I have a Phelddagrif group hug deck (my first deck - How to Have Fun in EDH - Phelddagrif Surprise) and a Ludevic, Necro-Alchemist + Vial Smasher the Fierce grixis group slug deck (Your Best Evil Friend - EDH Tempting Deals), and in terms of politics, the grixis deck surprisingly wins most of the time. I've realized that this is because so many group hug decks end up taking away a lot of control away from most of the other players, so they end up being unhappy in the long run because they aren't in control of the game. My grixis deck in contrast features a lot of effects like Illicit Auction in which everyone at the table has a say. Despite still running cards like Cruel Ultimatum in the deck, I am letting people have a lot more fun and I'm not hiding my intentions, so people feel like I'm not as big of a threat.
Anyways, this thread is for anyone who has had some first-hand experience with commander politics, or anyone who thinks they may have some insight on how to be a more effective EDH politician. Share your stories!
August 7, 2017 2:11 p.m.
Oh hey! It's always great to see somebody getting into group hug, I feel like I've had a fair amount of experience playing group hug and politics in general (My first deck was How to Have Fun in EDH - Phelddagrif Surprise) and from my experience I've noticed that people tend to love group hug in the first game that you play, and slowly gravitate towards disliking it. I'm here to help you with preventing that slow decline, because after playing a lot of other decks I've realized that it is preventable if you play the game with enough tact.
The decline in "fun" was partially due to the way I was playing, but also due to the fact that with group hug a) it can make the games last a lot longer, b) people start to become wise to your tricks and the fact that you have win cons in mind and c) group hug can cause the game to change significantly, which means that people sometimes don't get to play their deck the way they wanted to play it. Here is my explanation for each:
a) While it might seem nice and innocent to prevent damage dealt to people and/or give them life (using Avacyn, Guardian Angel for example), all it is really doing sometimes is prolonging the inevitable, and taking away the impact of attacking (see part c). Drawing a lot of cards is fun, but then the control player might end up with an answer for everything. Getting lands/creatures is fun, but it can cause a full-board stalemate. In addition, generally when people have more options/resources, they end up taking a lot longer to play through their turn.
b) Cards like Felidar Sovereign can really turn off players to the idea of group hug, since it sort of removes the veil of friendliness from the deck. The problem is that if you put obvious win cons in the deck, players will start to get suspicious of your every move. For example: If you start giving a player life/hippos, instead of thinking "wow what a nice guy" they might start thinking "hmm, they are probably trying to buy some time since I bet they have a win con soon"
c) I think your deck is a lot better for this than mine (since mine was just all-out group hug with no remorse or concern for limits), but generally I've noticed that when you give players a lot of resources, their initial plans go down the drain; the control player now could have a lot more ways to prevent things from happening, the Johnny now has an army of hippos to block while he searches for his janky combo, the Timmy is complaining because he keeps slamming down awesome creatures, only to have them countered, and that one guy with the really bad deck is still struggling because no matter what resources you give him, everyone else is still benefitting a lot more.
Now there is a very clear rebuttal to all of these: "Well I don't necessarily have to give EVERYONE resources, just the people that need help/are being nice". This is a fairly sound argument for a few games, but then people will get tired of playing "Be the group hug player's friend or lose the game". This is why tact is extremely important.
My advice: Go ahead and have fun: the deck looks fun, the archetype plays fun, but don't go all out every game. Give yourself one game to get to that sweet sweet group hug singularity, but after that practice a bit of self-control. It will help you a ton in the long run.
For example, try limiting yourself to only activating each of Phelddagrif's abilities once per round (or once per player per round) or reconsider using Avacyn, Guardian Angel because it might come back to bite you when people want the game to end, or at least try to leave yourself tapped out sometimes.
Another piece of advice from me is to try to make your win cons more well-hidden. For example, try putting in a Prosperity and a Elixir of Immortality instead of a Felidar Sovereign, then use some group ramp spells like New Frontiers to give yourself enough mana to use it for lethal in an emergency (but of course that was't the intent of putting it in, just something you realized later, right?). I'd suggest removing some of your pillow fort cards like Collective Restraint and Ghostly Prison so that people aren't avoiding attacking you because they can't, but because they don't want to. Giving people choice is the best thing to do
And that segways into the most important thing about politics in EDH: People want control. The reason why so many combo decks aren't fun, the reason why control/stax decks are just so annoying, the reason why people can get so upset at having their creatures killed are all because it took control away from that player. This is why cards like Swans of Bryn Argoll are so freakin effective, because the resources aren't just there - you have to work for them, and it pays off when you get them. Unfortunately, most group hug decks don't realize this, which is why there is such a huge gap between group hug and politics sometimes. Take my grixis control/group slug deck as an example: (source: Your Best Evil Friend - EDH Tempting Deals) Grixis, Control, Group Slug, but somehow heavily political; It's because so many cards that I use give the opponent options, and in the end THEY are the ones making the decision to (with Ludevic's ability), attack somebody other than me or even hurt themselves to draw cards. Mages' Contest is an objectively BAD counterspell in a blue deck (aside from the ability to use red mana), but it puts the burden of having one's spell countered on my opponent's shoulders, making it a surprisingly GOOD card for politics. Other counterspells are still used, but only when the control player already tried to interfere or somebody is getting obviously oppressive/out of hand. This is why vows (ie Vow of Flight, Vow of Wildness and Vow of Duty) are so effective: people can't attack me, but they still gained something, and they still have the same (or even more) control over the outcome of the game. Other players don't like it? Well hey, I'm just trying to keep myself from dying. Have some cards as compensation. Fecundity is also great for this, depending on what kind of decks you are playing against. You don't have control over who gets to draw cards, but it is a nice little present to the guy who just had his stuff killed, and it makes for a funny reaction when a boardwipe comes down.
Anyways, I hope through this random amalgamation of thoughts I was able to help in any way, I usually don't write this much but I have so much to say about politics in commander. It requires a lot of finesse but it pays off to see your friends having fun while you still have a big impact on the game. I hope you have fun, and let me know if you want any card suggestions! I didn't want to make this too much bigger which is why I left a lot out. poorpinkus out
August 6, 2017 10:41 p.m.
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