Creature — Sphinx
Whenever an opponent draws a card, you may draw two cards.
|Have (3)||, metalmagic , Forkbeard|
|Want (3)||ThrelNari , Abbner , booradleypwns|
Combos Browse all
|Commander / EDH||Legal|
Consecrated Sphinx occurrence in decks from the last year
Consecrated Sphinx Discussion
2 months ago
The Magic Mirror is some pretty INSANE card draw and we'll have a lot of instants and sorceries to get that cost down, but the ever-increasing non-optional card draw gets me worried about decking myself, so I don't think its necessary either. Once you're drawing even 1 or 2 extra cards a turn, you're really no longer concerned with needing more card advantage. That's why I love the consistency of having Kwain in the Command zone to come down on turn 2 every single game.
Shabraz, the Skyshark was another one that I was actually considering running as the commander before Kwain got spoiled because I liked the life gain and card draw. And I liked the vibe of sitting down at a table and intentionally playing partnerless. But Shabraz is a bit expensive at 5 mana and I doubt he'd ever live for long because of how fast he'd end up getting HUGE and scary and threatening with Flying.
I also considered Gwafa Hazid, Profiteer, but he's not actually as political as I wish he was. I wish he only stopped your opponents creatures from attacking you, like a pseudo-goad effect where we bribe their creatures with cards to not attack us. Alas, he basically just acts like a bad Banisher Priest.
As for Dream Trawler, Shabraz, Consecrated Sphinx and some of the other big creatures I mentioned before, you can definitely run them if you want, you just have to politic a little differently. Instead of playing the fun-loving group hug spectator, treat your creatures more like just another way to protect yourself. Save attacking with them as a last resort, or make sure you ally yourself with the rest of the table to fight against whoever is the biggest threat at the table. You just don't ever want to be that person being ganged up by everyone else, and the problem is that a lot of those creatures tend to end up quickly becoming the biggest threat. I'd say make sure to include a Rogue's Passage so that you can make sure to land the final alpha strike when you need to. People will almost assuredly have bigger boards then you, so we need a guaranteed way of getting through. Glaring Spotlight could be a good include to help you get through hexproof when you need to, or sac it when you want to go for the win.
One of my favorite aspects about this deck though is how we're playing on a completely different access from everyone else. We're here to have fun, speed things up, but also stall things out until we can combo off. Staying off everyone's radar until its too late is its biggest strength. Even if your playgroup KNOWS what your win condition is, our job is to let everyone else be bigger threats for them to have to worry about while we bide our time and set up for the win in our hand.
See, the battlefield is all about transparency. Its where most people play the game from, slowly building up boardstates and engines and scrapping back and forth here and there. Everyone can see what's in play, and who they should be concerned about. That's why I try to keep everything we put into play as unconcerning as possible, meanwhile all of our actual threats, removal, counterspells, and our win conditions, sit invisibly in our hand where no one can see them, so they don't know what to be afraid of, but everything on our battlefield tells them they probably have nothing to worry about, especially if they just leave us alone.
Telepathy is a pet card of mine that I always kind of want to find a way to fit back into the deck because it serves this purpose incredibly well. Everyone ELSE plays with their hands revealed, while you get to keep yours secret. Being able to see EXACTLY what your opponents are capable of and what you might want to save a counterspell for is GREAT for us, but its even better for our opponents to be scared of one another when they get to see every card everyone draws except for you. As good as it is for us, its not a very fun card to play against and people tend to get pretty mad about it and try to get rid of it quickly.
There's a similar issue with Zur's Weirding that seems like it COULD be an interesting inclusion with some fun politics involved, but basically every time it ends up playing out more like a STAX card that stops everyone from drawing cards and loses everyone a bunch of life instead. Its pretty unfun to be honest, and it can most likely be used against us to stop us from drawing our important combo cards, so I didn't include it either. Telepathy I'm still on the fence about.
I also tried out Approach of the Second Sun for a bit, but it had the same issue as Jace and Lab Maniac, its not good on its own, its a bit slow and obvious, and its otherwise kind of a dead draw cuz its not very good on its own. Seeing it in your opening hand is just gross. I think the concern over having a backup plan is understandable, but ultimately kind of unnecessary. I don't think I've really expressed it before, but this deck is consistent. We draw through so many cards and have so many ways of protecting ourselves and our combo that this deck tends to win a lot more than the average 25% of the time if I'm being honest. That's why I think its so important that you make sure the games are fun for everyone at the table and let everyone draw tons of cards and actually play their decks. Its why I like this specific combo too. Everyone ends up with almost their entire decks in their hands and it becomes one final ultimate showdown battle where everyone is furiously digging through their massive hand-libraries to try to find a way to stop you, and for you to try to stop them back. And if they do manage to do it, good for them! They deserve it!
2 months ago
I definitely have a lot of experience playing a LOT of different group hug, pillowfort, and political style decks. I put a lot of thought into how these cards actually play out and how people react to them.
For example, Archon of Coronation does seem like a really cool card, and I DO love the Monarch mechanic! But I don't think the Archon will work the way you're hoping. Being the Monarch encourages people to want to attack you because they want that free extra card draw. We really don't want that kind of attention on us. The Monarch is actually a lot better for us when someone else has it, so that everyone else is busy attacking each other to try to get it and leaving us alone. Its why I actually ended up cutting a lot of Monarch cards from this deck. So if we're not the Monarch, then Archon second ability doesn't actually do anything for us, its just looks like another one of those Blazing Archon/Platinum Angel/Worship style effects that draws a lot of aggro, but doesn't actually help us much. Also, we don't really need the card draw, and when other people are drawing 3 or 4 cards a turn because of our group hugs, they might not care as much about the Monarch either.
The free counterspells are expensive, but very useful for this deck in particular, but could be easily swapped for other options, you'll just have to make sure to keep your mana up and cast them wisely. Same for the mana rocks, there's a lot of cheaper options like Mind Stone,Fellwar Stone, Talisman of Progress, etc.
Archmage Ascension will DEFINITELY turn a few heads in your direction, and with Opposition Agent coming out now, its actually really dangerous for us. I even ended up cutting Enlightened Tutor and Mystical Tutor from my deck because I'm just not such a big fan of tutors. Digging out one exact specific card and showing everyone what it is telegraphs that you're up to something, and they get suspicious. Besdies, we have enough card draw to eventually find whatever it is we're looking for anyway.
Still not too big of a fan the Isochron Scepter combo as it requires two specific cards that don't do much on thir own and don't really have any back up copies, but maybe that's just me.
2 months ago
Thanks for the feedback. I definitely think you're right, some of those cards just make people mad and you definitely need to be off people's radars with this deck. I do think that ultimately I'm going to cut a lot of those Drannith Magistrate style cards. I knew something about my list seemed a little off and I think it's because I'm mixing up some of these cards that are fairly counterproductive. I think with my play circle I'm going to try to keep specifically Consecrated Sphinx and see how they react to it, mostly because I do like the synergy.
I think your thoughts on mass bounce effects rather than full wipes is clever, mass wipes might just make people mad. I'm very used to playing Roon of the Hidden Realm and Multani, Maro-Sorcerer and my main decks so things are often pretty one sided, so I'm not entirely used to thinking about the group hug side of things; this is mostly just a great learning experience for me.
I did cut the Archmage Ascension and I also realized that while it does have great potential it does put a decent sized target on my back.
I do agree that the Isochron Scepter puts a mild target on me but I figured not playing it until the exact turn I want to combo will hopefully avoid that target from being on my back. That being said this very well might change depending on what my playgroup would think and might just get cut. Though in terms of other new things I'm wanting to try I think Archon of Coronation does a good job being someone pillow fort (though admittedly it's mostly that I have a strong love for the monarch mechanic in commander).
Personally I'm having to be a little more budget conscious, (my collection is mostly modern) though things like Force of Will and Mana Drain I think are just perfect for the deck. I will say this is probably the first time I've looked at another persons list and could really find too much to disagree with, it's super well thought out.
2 months ago
Thanks for the compliments!
One of Kwain's biggest strengths, I think, is how friendly and nonthreatening he is. There's no way to break or abuse him, even with infinite untapping with Isochron+Dramatic Reversal, your opponents get the option to just not draw if they don't want to.
If you're playing group-hug, I think its incredibly important to be as friendly and non-threatening as possible. I had cards like Consecrated Sphinx and Archmage Ascension in the deck originally too, because, like you said, it seemed just too good to pass up. But your opponents will see that too, and like it or not, its a threat. Its scary. Its why I've taken such care in picking the least threatening cards I can find. When people see an Isochron Scepter, they know you're up to something cuz its a pretty well-known combo.
IMO, trying to slow the game down is kind of the opposite of what a group hug deck does. By drawing everyone extra cards for free, we're naturally going to be speeding everything up. Cards that stop people from doing what they want to do like Drannith Magistrate only make people mad, and when they're drawing extra cards, they'll end up finding removal for it pretty quickly.
That's why instead, its important to lay low, and play the role of the arms dealer. By making sure we don't play anything threatening, our opponents will be too preoccupied dealing with each others' threats. In a multiplayer format, there's just no way that we'll be able to get a hard control over everyone and everything. You can't stop every threat, you're simply outnumbered. Instead, you want to make sure that your opponents are aimed at each other and friendly towards you.
Our control of the board has to be very subtle and purposeful. Board wipes are our biggest and best way to slow the game back down, and my favorite are actually mass bounce spells. Bouncing everything back to everyones' hands is much better for us than destroying everything. Destroying everything they've played makes them mad, but bouncing slows the game down and resets the board. The cards they want to play aren't gone, they're in their hand, and now they have to waste time playing them back down again. Their hands will already be pretty full of cards, so returning even more cards to their hands makes them have to make tough choices what to keep and what they have to discard. And anything we bounce that we don't want to come back down, we can save a counterspell of piece of removal for.
I think THAT is how you want to slow the game down, not with onboard threats and hatebears, but with instant speed responses to our opponents. Its the same philosophy you want to use with your single target removal and counterspells. You can't just stop anything that looks scary. Let your opponents be scared of it. Keep yourself safe. Keep your guard up and keep your answers ready. Don't react unless you absolutely have to. The only threat you want to be posing is an invisible one, that is, a board full of open mana and a hand full of 7, 10, 20 some cards. No one will dare to attack you when you can easily AEtherize their board away. As long as you stay on their good side, and they stay on yours, you're safe. Step number 1 to winning is not losing.
The reason I love the Prosperity combo is because those cards seem harmless enough on their own. They're just group hug cards, and everyone wants to draw a huge pile of cards. And when you're doing nothing but helping everyone, people are much friendlier about letting you have those Smothering Tithe and Rhystic Study triggers. Once you get that Smothering Tithe down and cast that Prosperity for X=10 or so, they don't know it, but you're about to win. You really want all 4 of Prosperity, Minds Aglow, Skyscribing, and Fascination, so that you have the highest chance of drawing into another one. Then, once it resolves and you draw those 10 cards and get those 30 Treasure Tokens, its already too late. Now you're loaded with cards and mana and counterspells. No one should be able to contest you. Then you cast the next X Draw spell for 30, get 30 more cards, 90 more treasure, and then you finish the game from there.
Its a really awesome, really unique combo that nobody sees coming. Even with your opponents drawing cards too, its very unlikely they'll have the ability to actually stop you, especially if you time it right and wait for everyone to be tapped out. Even if they do have an answer, you have counterspells, which is why I have so many cheap/free counterspells like Force of Will. They aren't necessary, but they help us defend ourselves even if we're tapped out and our guard is down.
Hullbreacher is the new addition to the deck as a backup Smothering Tithe. It does the same thing, but without your opponents actually drawing any cards, and it has Flash. Its important not to use this aggressively. Don't just play it for value, everyone will hate you for it. Save it for when you want to win, and you have the cards to protect it.
2 months ago
Howdy! I'm also working on a Kwain list and your list has been really helpful with inspiration. I really like the idea of using mass draw with Hullbreacher and Smothering Tithe, and I'll probably throw a couple of those draw effects in considering the latter two should be in the deck anyway. Here's some of the cards I was also considering, though my list isn't entirely together and so far it's all just floating ideas. So my list is leaning a little closer to the "slowing the game" a bit but not stacks. I've got Aven Mindcensor and Drannith Magistrate so far which help with that. Consecrated Sphinx is traditionally a little mean, but I feel that the upside it has with Kwain is too good to pass up. Similarly I've got Alhammarret's Archive and Teferi's Ageless Insight for similar reasons. I've also got a few counterspells written down but considering I usually hate playing against those I'm probably going to trim them down to just 2 or 3 that can also serve other purposes, such as Mystic Confluence. My main wincondition going into this list was Isochron Scepter + Dramatic Reversal. This plus any sort of mana rock(s) and Kwain means everyone draws their decks, or at the very least infinite mana. If you have the most amount of cards left than great, but if not Fascination can finish the job or Thassa's Oracle. In terms of slightly "spicier" options I've written down Knowledge Pool shenanigans as it works with Teferi, Time Raveler and also Lavinia, Azorius Renegade, though I'm considering cutting those as I'm not the biggest knowledge pool fan, but was just food for though. I've also got Archmage Ascension which is certainly a little weird but definitely could be powerful. Anyway I like your take on the deck a lot and will definitely be stealing some of your ideas for sure. I think in the long run I would like my list to play a little bit more like yours; kinda taking a friendly position until people realize I can actually win somehow.
2 months ago
When the player who controls Consecrated Sphinx goes to draw a card, Plagiarize will replace that with their opponent drawing a card, triggering the Sphinx again. The player with the Sphinx can say yes to that trigger until the Plagiarize player loses the game as a result of decking. As far as I can tell from reading the rules regarding a player leaving the game, the effect of Plagiarize will still apply, replacing any remaining draws with nobody drawing cards, but if someone can find a rule that contradicts that, the controller of Consecrated Sphinx should be able to draw cards up to twice the number the controller of Plagiarize initially had, with the ability to actually stop themselves if they like.