Activated abilities of creatures can't be played.
|Have (2)||sonnet666 , kpral|
|Want (6)||KetamineMedic , Shankmaster4k , BSwCDo , Axiomatix , GrandeKhan , MarkTaylorTSax|
Printings View all
|Classic Sixth Edition (6ED)||Rare|
Combos Browse all
|Commander / EDH||Legal|
Cursed Totem occurrence in decks from the last year
Commander / EDH:
All decks: 0.02%
Cursed Totem Discussion
3 days ago
As a personal take, I don't really like the Mycosynth Lattice. It only marginally increases the value of Time Sieve and All That Glitters. If you draw into it without those two cards, you have a six mana "do nothing" card that really opens you up to artifact wipes and the Stony Silence effects. And truly, if you are taking extra turns with the sieve because of the lattice, you should be winning that game anyways if you have the opportunity to sacrifice 5 permanents and it not set you back too much.
1 week ago
Magic is a game with elements outside your control. Your deck is bigger than your starting hand size. This randomness helps balance skill between deck building as well as piloting, and has been noted in a few places. Simply put, even a deck that is only winning 25% of games against a 75% winrate deck still is getting wins when the great deck gets bad hands, or bad draws, and the weaker deck can have their own great starting hands or lucky top decks.
Tutors are seen as one of the ways to reduce variance, and increase skill. If I have 1 card that says "I win when I cast this" and I have 1 Vampiric Tutor, my deck now has 2 cards that lead to winning. If I add Demonic Tutor to the mix, now I have 3 cards that are leading to winning.
Drawing extra cards has a similar effect, but that effect is much more pronounced in a 60 card format with 4x of any specific card. By running cards like Brainstorm or Ponder you gain access to more cards, and get to make meaningful choices about the cards available to you. To put it another way, you're reducing variance in available resources from your total possible resources. Tutors do the same thing. Tutors reduce variance in the game overall, by dramatically increasing the card quality of available cards for a small premium on whichever card you wish to play. A Llanowar Elves that was fetched by a Demonic Tutor cost you to cast, and there were two different points in getting the Elf from the library onto the battlefield where a player could have interacted with you. Big shout out to TypicalTimmy for also understanding this and putting it in a concise way. All tutors do is improve your card quality or give you access to cards. The thing you should be looking at are the combos themselves, and culling the ones that are too hard or too cumbersome to interact with.
Tutors also give information to opponents, especially in EDH where information can be used by more opponents than a 1 on 1 game. Consider the following: Outside of Vampiric Tutor Imperial Seal Demonic Tutor Grim Tutor and Diabolic Intent (and a handful of others), all the other tutors are conditional. Being conditional, the opponents have to know you satisfied the condition for searching. What do these have on common? The word reveal. If someone uses a Worldly Tutor to fetch Protean Hulk, all of their opponents have just received very important information about the options available to the pilot. Any player worth their salt will use this information to hold up counterspells or prioritize playing pieces that shut off Hulk combos, like Cursed Totem
Tutors serve as the missing piece. Sometimes it can be correct to tutor up your combo as fast as you possibly can and cast it. Other times, I expend tutors on finding more mana (I literally used Imperial Seal to find Command Tower three hours ago at my LGS). Sometimes I'll use that tutor to get Dark Confidant early, to help me control other players and stay ahead in cards. Other times I search up protection like Pact of Negation. As it turns out, double tutoring is a BIG TELL for opponents, and anyone who has played this game for a couple years is going to make the intentional choice to hold up mana to stop you. Simply jamming and racing doesn't work in every game, or every deck, even decks designed to do exactly that.
Tutors cost the same mana as Counterspell and all the other 0 or 1 or 2 mana variants that counter spells. You're getting more points during the process of the combo to use that counterspell. Many combos can be stopped by easy includes like Tormod's Crypt or Disenchant or whatever. Many players choose not to slot cards that interact with other players, and this is why tutors are seen to be a problem. If you basically let players Goldfish for 5 turns in a row, they can assemble a win. I don't think players really understand how meaningless inflicting damage to players is when you have to do 120 to win. That is 6x what you do in every other format, and cards are balanced around 20 life, not 120. When you get 30 damage to them by turn 5, they've drawn and tutored cards willy nilly without you busting them apart by killing their creatures, or removing enchantments/artifacts, or forcing them to discard cards or turning off their combos. They can just, combo off.
I firmly believe that tutors are very healthy for the format. If I know my opponent is capable of assembling and executing a combo, it forces me to consider how I'm going to react or respond to them. Opponents who tutor cards are broadcasting their ability to win, and this causes interesting dynamics around the table about expending or saving mana. It causes more dynamic interaction besides simply attacking and blocking. I don't know about you, but games of Magic are more fun when players interact with each other and threaten to win and stop other players from winning.
enpc on Oracle Core
1 week ago
I know that the preferred option is Cephalid Illusionist + Nomads en-Kor over Blood Pet. I'm guessing the primary reason is for the inclusion of Jace, Wielder of Mysteries, since the two creatures work well with him outside of the hulk combo. I also understand that the benefit they provide is that once Flash resolves, you don't have to cast any more spells (meaning that you can rock Boseiju, Who Shelters All if you really want to, which this list does).
On the topic of Blood Pet though, the comments say it is a dip in card quality outside of combo. Is this purely due to Cephalid Illusionist's ability to prevent damage? Outside of this ability, I would have thought that Blood Pet actiing as a "for future use" mini Dark Ritual was actually the better of the abilities.
On top of this, generally the deployment lines for hulk are either Nomads en-Kor, Cephalid Illusionist and Thassa's Oracle (+ any 1 drop creature); or Blood Pet, Spellseeker (getting Consultation) and Thassa's Oracle. This would imply that the two creature pairs for the combo are either pet/seeker or illusionist/nomads, since you only need one of the two to make the combo work. Of the two of those pairings, the otuside of combo value pairing to me would heavily lean towards seeker/pet as you have a mana source and a tutor on a stick. On top of that, against cards like Linvala, Keeper of Silence or Cursed Totem, you just need to add to make the combo work. And while I know the pet/seeker line gets shut down by Rule of Law type effects, I would think that a stax deck would either run both (Blood Pod) or would rahter shut down creature abilities (GAAIV) rather than limit their spell count.
So is the main tipping point here ultimately just the ability to pair with Boseiju?
On a semi related note, how does this change with addition of red to the deck, since Wild Cantor can take the place of Blood Pet (and is a much stronger card). I recently put together a (completely untested) list for Najeela, the Blade-Blossom which sports the cantor/seeker hulk line: Najeela Fish Hulk and is running sans Jace. In this case, is the cantor/seeker better than the iilusionist/nomads line here or am I still better off swapping?
2 weeks ago
With the recent addition of everybody's/nobody's favorite fish Thassa's Oracle, the competitive scene has been in a tizzy trying to figure out how to adapt and react. Most brewers have been fixated on adapting two lists to fish, specifically TnT Flash Hulk and Najeela Consultation Hulk, which are arguably tier 0 deck builds and are head and shoulders ahead of other tier 1 competitive decks because of the printing of Oracle. I think most people have missed a third well known commander who benefits massively from the printing.
Kess, Dissident Mage is very promising in this new meta, and I would like to present the argument that Kess is a tier 0 build in par with TnT Fish Hulk and Layered Najeela.
For those unaware of how the combo works, here we go.
- Start with Kess, Dissident Mage in play
- Use Demonic Consultation or Tainted Pact, naming Thassa's Oracle. We now exile until we find Oracle
- Play Thassa's Oracle. We let it resolve, and we put the trigger on the stack.
- We hold priority, and use the ability from Kess, Dissident Mage to play a spell from our GY. The spell we pick is either Demonic Consultation or Tainted Pact.
- We resolve the forbidden tutor, naming or digging for a card that isn't in our deck, effectively exiling our entire deck.
- We resolve the winning Oracle trigger to win.
DO NOTE: We must have no duplicates of basic lands in our mana base to use Tainted Pact. While competitive pact players may know this, it is worth restating for the purposes of education and discussion in the thread.
If we are holding Oracle + Pact in hand, we don't need Kess to reuse. We can simply Oracle, then in response to ETB use the pact.
- Thassa's Oracle is cheaper to cast by .
- We do not need to run a draw spell with Oracle in order to win, while we do with Labman. This most likely saves us another mana, and it definitely saves us being required to hold another card to cantrip to win.
- The combo is safer to resolve if we face interaction. We resolve Oracle first, the trigger goes on the stack. A trigger is much harder to counter than a spell. Once the trigger is stacked, anything that happens to Oracle we don't really care about, since we can win with 0 devotion assuming 0 cards in library. Previously, a Laboratory Maniac could be removed in response to whatever draw would cause you to win, meaning you would lose instead.
- Fish Consultation allows you to attempt another win if stopped. Lets say we are on Labman + Pact. If our Tainted Pact resolves, but our labman is countered, we are most likely going to lose. While using Oracle + Pact, if our Pact is countered, we still have our library and can attempt another win. Similarly, because we resolve the Oracle first to get the ETB trigger stacked, we aren't in danger of Oracle getting countered and then us using Pact and being left with no library.
- If you have Kess in play, you can execute the entire combo for 4 mana. If you already have both pieces, you can execute the entire combo for 3 mana and ignore graveyard hate.
So how is this any different than Fish Hulk? Simple. Kess, Dissident Mage can turn a single tutor into a winning line. The ability to use Demonic Consultation or Tainted Pact allows us to assemble and execute the entire combo from a single tutor, as the component that exiles for us also tutors the second card needed for the combo. This means that Kess + Forbidden Tutor is a winning line, similar to how Najeela has a few different one card combos with the commander for winning. Before the Oracle printing, a Kess deck would also have to stock up on cheap "draw a card" spells to supplement the Consultation strategy. Now that need is gone, and the overall strategy can be executed much faster due to the lower mana cost requirements and also card requirements. This means that you have more ability to simply race other decks if that is the best gameplan. The value nature of Kess allows you to go longer in grindier games or match ups. Most decks are pigeonholed into all-in combo or grindier control, but the speed and resilience of the combo paired with being able to reuse our GY really gives Kess the best of both worlds.
I would also argue that new printings have added resilience and more consistency to the build as well. Spellseeker is another way to find the 1 card wincon. Dark Petition is certainly more fringe but could very well see play, especially in lists that skew Ad Nauseam for Bonus Round. Scheming Symmetry is another new topdeck tutor, and the symmetry can be broken on it by cantripping, then immediately starting the winning line. The deck will continue to benefit from any new usable tutors, removal, or card draw that is printed, and these new prints won't invalidate lines or cause grief when making changes for them.
The final piece of the puzzle is the large amount of flex slots in a Kess deck. If you want an additional combo, you can slot it pretty easy and there are good choices. If you want more hate pieces because you see Fish Hulk every pod, you can grab things like Cursed Totem very easily. Lots of green dorks or creature heavy boards you can get Pyroclasm and friends. Kess is blue, and already slots a good amount of counterspells and interaction. On top of protecting the combo, you can also choose to play a more midrange game and stop win attempts early, and grind value before comboing out later. Alternatively, you can just jam the combo if you have the tutors and mana to make it work. While Flash is easier to cast, Flash Hulk does require two pieces in hand to get the combo rolling, making it easier to see coming and harder to assemble.
Of course, Fish has other applications. Hermit Druid spiked in price for a reason, as did Sacred Guide. A card like Hermit Druid also requires haste enablers to make it go, which lowers your overall card quality and puts the pilot into awkward binds of either jamming the Druid and passing a rotation, or holding Druid in hand and trying to assemble Greaves + Druid or Banditland + Druid. Sacred Guide similarly hurts deckbuilding, mostly by requiring that a color in the identity be completely ignored for the sake of the combo. They are also basically worthless outside of the combo. Tainted Pact is an enabler and a tutor at instant speed, as is Demonic Consultation. You can always use them to fetch Pact of Negation or Force of Will in a pinch, should you have no other options to stop an opponent from winning. While it is unlikely you are going to win after exiling 0-99 cards in order to find whatever you name, you are being improved from "losing" to "most likely losing". The most important part of it is though that the forbidden tutors are actually tutoring while exiling, serving a dual purpose in the deck and improving slot efficiency. This even has a leg up over other Consultation builds, where the forbidden tutors are seen mostly as dead-draws for A + B for winning.
TL;DR Consultation Kess is also arguably a tier 0 build and was a big winner from the Fish printing.
on EDH vs cEDH
2 weeks ago
What about graveyard exile effects a la Deathrite Shaman or Rest in Peace? Those are pretty common in competitive lists. And we play things like Aven Mindcensor and Cursed Totem that affect how our opponents can play. Opus theif lists run as many Wheel of Fortune effects as they can reasonably jam and I would say that is interacting in the way you are speaking about. Even extra turns spells could have a reasonable case made to say that they are interactimg with the table by changing the turn order temporarily. Najeela can interact by making more combat steps and dealing more damage to opponents, even without making them infinite. Kenrith with his ton of abilities can make all sorts of things happen to interact. Brago bounces his own permanents that make it so a creature cant attack or is exiled or any number of degenerate things one can bounce. Oona can mill players straight to exile and get attackers out of doing so. Blood pod decks toolbox out hatebears. There are so many great ways to interact in a competitive environment. Not all are the same, it is just currently being homogenized by the near unstoppable sheer power that is sushi hulk. #banflash
4 weeks ago
If you can get your hands on some of the 0 mana artifacts some are quite expensive but they definitely beef up the raw power of the deck; I'd proxy before buying any, some have a hefty price tag
Additionally, stax pieces really help you stay in the game
Last but definitely not least some degenerate finishers
1 month ago
You clowns slapped a new commander on top of CVT and called it a day. I know that these authors are treated as if they walk on water around these parts, but at a certain point this is just getting ridiculous. Compare the lists between Chain Veil Teferi and this one. Do you really think the two commanders are that similar? There are probably less than 10 cards of difference between these lists. Do you really believe that a PW commander and an artifact centric commander should have a 90% overlap in their lists?
You guys seriously have to stop slotting Legacy's Allure . Its a slow meme card that only performs if its in your opening 7. It is a complete dead draw later in the game. It doesn't advance your own position. Its relevance on the board turn 3 and 4 depends largely on your position in the turn rotation. The card type makes it the worst for interactions in your own deck. It isn't guaranteed to land against important creatures, because it is based on Power. It crumples to creature buffs while its on the stack. This is a pet card, and I'm extremely tired of seeing it pop up in lists because some noob saw it here first. Aether Spellbomb outperforms this immensely in an Urza list, especially since this particular list runs out of gas and struggles with card draw. Spellbomb also can activate itself via tap when Urza is out. Spellbomb also adds further resilience in this deck by not relying on creature stealing effects, which can be negated via Homeward Path . Having this AND drake shut off by a card that can be grabbed by Crop Rotation is poor deck building. Especially consider that this deck runs ALMOST NO WAYS to handle resolved threats, but more on that later.
Recurring Insight is another pet card inclusion. Its a dead card in your hand until turn 4 or 5, dependent on opponents resources for functionality, and is sorcery speed. Slotting this card while slotting other big 4, 5, and 6 cmc spells like Fact or Fiction Time Spiral Future Sight and Tezzeret means you are going to have far more hands that require mulligans due to having multiple of these cards in hand. Insight also proves to be garbage when playing against any decks that run handstax effects, Oppression Necrogen Mists Bottomless Pit Mindslicer Sire Of Insanity and more.
I find it telling you do not run Mishra's Workshop . The artifact density in this deck is far too low for an Urza deck. Its also why it has problems with gas later. If you had proper artifact support and leaned heavier into stax pieces, you could activate Urza casually for card advantage while still advancing board position. Workshop lets you hit the board with extreme speed and build a presence. Unfortunately, there is nothing for Workshop to ramp to, because the authors are so absurdly worried about not being able to protect Urza while holding 12 counterspells. Pro tip: Your list would actually gain resilience from slotting greater synergy between the 99 and the commander, as well as adding ways outside of the commander to access large amounts of mana.
Speaking of the commander, and returning to removal, this deck folds to a resolved Pithing Needle Phyrexian Revoker Sorcerous Spyglass Cursed Totem or Linvala, Keeper of Silence . The lack of layering and the lack of permanent removal mean if any of these permanents hit the table naming Urza, this deck might as well as scoop. The tutors you do run lead mostly to artifacts, and there aren't slotted artifacts that can handle this problem. This deck can answer problems in one of four cards outside counterspells, namely Gilded Drake (good) Legacy's Allure (bad) Chain of Vapor (good but temporary) and Cyclonic Rift (also good but temporary). There is a single card that can tutor into these, Mystical Tutor . Seriously hope you're holding one of 5 cards in your 99 while piloting, or else you're going to look like a joke when turn 1 Needle shuts off your entire gameplan. Your combo outside of Urza is tedious to assemble, and you're simply not going to be able to outrace real combo decks.
The decision not to include Rings + Monolith is silly. Especially when you're having gas problems, adding in additional A + B pieces and layering with other pieces increases resilience and will allow you to, you know, win faster. You'll have more dead opening hands, but if you cut out the garbage like Recurring Insight your overall starting hand strength will raise. Rings is an especially good piece, as it allows complete combo tutor off Muddle, and allows value generation from fetches and various effects like Inventors' Fair . Also consider Rings + Monolith as a combo versus Grim + Power Artifact. Rings has MUCH better usage than Power Artifact outside the combo, and the speed benefit from Grim is marginal compared to Basalt.
Speaking of Fair, it also shocks me that Expedition Map is not in this list. Map -> Fair -> Scepter is a line kids, and having pieces that fetch into the line means greater resilience and layering. Map also has value in fetching Tabernacle against Tymna decks, since this list runs pretty much 0 other answers to Tymna.
This deck is missing some artifacts that should be shoe-ins. Howling Mine is a no brainer. Even if Urza isn't on the field the entire game, receiving 7 cards during the game while giving 2 to your opponents is still beneficial to the pilot. Ensnaring Bridge should also be a no brainer. Slow beats from Pod decks, and stop Tymna, and shut off some infinite creature swinging combos. Trinisphere is another no brainer. It is such a massive slowdown piece. It doesn't matter if you decide to turn it off for a rotation. The pilot gets the decision of when to turn it off, not the opponents. I should not have to explain the benefit here. Even turning it off, the pilot still has the choice between stax effect or mana every time they use it. Even if its turned off on turn 5, if it delayed a turn 4 spell to turn 5 when its turned off it has done significant work.
This is without a doubt the most uninspired and phoned-in list I've seen attached to your names sickrobot ShaperSavant Lerker LabManiac_Sigi. Congratulations on building a $4000 turn 9 combo durdle machine, would give this a downvote if I could.