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|Commander / EDH||Legal|
|Commander: Rule 0||Legal|
|Pauper Duel Commander||Legal|
Lapse of Certainty
Counter target spell. If that spell is countered this way, put it on top of its owner's library instead of into that player's graveyard.
4 weeks ago
Turbo fog! Neat old strategy that doesn't get utilized enough in EDH.
2 months ago
I replaced Mana Tithe with Reprieve. Yes, no one expects the Mana Tithe with a ceiling of not letting them get a recast on the spell, it can also make the opponents leave 1 land untapped every turn if they are playing around it, and it feels amazing pulling it off. The floor of Mana Tithe feels so incredibly bad in the late game where mana is commonly plentiful and you have to hope your opponent sequences their play so that they cast the spell you want to counter last. I have died too many times with Mana Tithe in my hand lol.
With Reprieve, no worries if the opponent has mana left, it does not give your opponent the option of paying 1, and the floor on it doubles the mana cost of their spell, and you cannot forget the value of card draw in white. Using Reprieve also delays uncounterable spells and harder to play around compared to Mana Tithe. Just like Remand, you can target any spell, like on a spell you are casting that’s about to be countered, or using politics to save an opponent’s spell from getting countered.
There’s argument to remove Lapse of Certainty for Reprieve, but I cannot get over the ability to counter any spell regardless of how many mana they have left up. Sure, lapse costs more than Mana Tithe, but I like that it takes up their next draw (making it similar to making them lose a turn if used on a spell that the opponent spent all their mana to cast. In many cases, it may also stop them from using shuffle effects as well. If it’s a game winning spell, it gives the whole table time to find an answer to it too.
6 months ago
Spoiler season starts at May 30
So this is one of the few UB:s I'll reluctantly admit that I kinda like, since Tolkien's work doesn't clash too much with MTG's more generic fantasy flavor. From what I'm seen, I'm actually kind of dissapointed that that they're not doing more to differentiate their character designs from the Jacksson movies?
My card thoughts Show
The One Ring: Eye of Vecna on steroids, which is pretty fitting. A serious consideration for mono-white life gain decks; cast it for four mana, tap it to draw one, pass, then tap it on your next turn again to draw two more. That's like a slow Concentrate, which isn't bad at all (and that's not even getting into tapping it more times). The ETB Progenitus-protection means it's not a bad late-game topdeck either.
Gandalf the Grey: Yeah, I feel white-blue would have been more appropriate flavorfully? He's a good guy yet also a trickster. Also even though he's the become the standard model for wizards, IIRC Gandalf doesn't actually cast much, in part because AFAIK doing magic in LOTR permanently drains your power. Also, the topdeck ability gives me anxiety thinking about stuff like Portent.
Sam, Loyal Attendant: Gingerbrute and Golden Egg can now be activated for free. (Please try to contain your excitment.) Anyway, seeing as the "Food and Fellowship" precon is WBG, I'm guessing Frodo will be WB and have some sort of life payment to take advantage of the cheap meals? (Also, I feel Frodo was more dutiful than Adventurous.)
Radagast, Wizard of Wilds: I was going to complain about Istari color philosophy again because I feel Radagast is mono-green, or even red-green considering how he kinda irresponsibly and eccentrically abandons his mission, but turns out his real name literally means "Friend to birds", so I'll have to give this a pass.
Gollum, Patient Plotter: You know, he just looks like a Shadowmoore kithkin, if a bit old and underdressed.
Samwise the Stouthearted: IDK why they didn't just template it as "return up to one target permanent..."? Anyway, Ring temptation is as intriguing as it is vague.
Frodo, Sauron's Bane: I don't really feel like Frodo leveled up much, especially in comparsion to the other hobbits. And he kinda didn't end up being the Bane of big daddy S seeing as he fell to tempation at the end (while Gollum just plain fell).
Tom Bombadil: Kind of unsure if the second ability leaves a window of vulnerability where the first ability isn't active? Anyway, Read Ahead-Sagas seem pretty good here.
Sauron, the Lidless Eye: Kind of dissapointing in both flavor and mechanics. I feel he's philosophically more mono-black in LOTR, while his old self was more UBR. ETB Threaten isn't all that exciting either.
Aragorn and Arwen: I'm not generally against race bending, but in this case I can't help but think of the black numenorans . Anyway, the card's actual abilities are OK at six mana.
8 months ago
(cont.2) I also included some "draw enablers" and "mana enablers" so that you can use the changeling loop to draw into and play anything you need, such as a wincon (the cards listed in the first comment), or a counterspell if an opponent tries to disrupt your plans:
Some of the enablers require changelings with certain conditions (e.g. power 4 or greater) to work. Since Pulmonic Sliver's ability is optional, you can ignore it and sac changelings until you hit the right one for the enabler to start working.
Land's Edge + Wheel of Sun and Moon + a draw enabler allow you to win without decking yourself. The Wheel functions as a substitute Pulmonic Sliver as well. It also lets you counter all your opponent's spells alongside the changeling loop combo + draw enabler + mana enabler.
If an opponent tries to get rid of Pulmonic Sliver or Atla with targeted removal, you can respond by paying 0 into Mirror Entity's ability to fizzle the removal. This works by turning all your creatures into sliver eggs but also killing them, lifting the target off them and allowing them to re-enter via Pulmonic's + Atla's abilities. This also works against mass removal if you pay 1 into Mirror Entity in response.
10 months ago
I am hoping for some community feedback on something. My plan has been to cut Harsh Mercy for Darksteel Mutation, as I found the former didn't help much, and in situations where I wanted it more single target removal was what I wanted. Mutation can also sideline annoying combo commanders, and so I intend to add it. I also intended to add Smuggler's Share in place of another card draw piece, but have had trouble deciding which one. Currently Smuggler's Share is in in place of Harsh Mercy since those situations are set, but I need to go back and cut the draw piece so I can put Darksteel Mutation in. Here are the options as I see them-
Critics of my earliest list didn't seem to care for this card, but I've found it to perform well. It is 3 cmc, which makes it a perfect turn three play, and it allows us to net clue tokens for free every turn since we are pretty much always attacking. Additionally, replacing this with Smuggler's Share wouldn't do anything to lower our curve, whereas cutting a pricier card would. While we do, of course, have to pay each time we want to sac one for a card, I've found that we can often do this and are often happy to do so. With our low curve we often may want to hold mana open for removal, Lapse of Certainty, board protection pieces like Cosmic Intervention, and even creatures with flash. If we don't need to do any I have often been glad to make use of it by drawing cards on my opponent's end step right before my turn. I've also found this card incredible in a blowout. When everything has been destroyed, it is great to be able to spend a bunch of mana and re-draw our hand to keep in the game. It has saved my game at least once. As such I think I am least inclined to cut this one, but I am putting it out there as it is still nowhere near the most superior tier of card draw, which in this deck would be Mask of Memory.
When playing with Mangara I have found him to be a powerful draw engine. His first ability rarely comes into play since I usually have big vigilant blockers that deter attacks. Still, it is there. His second ability has been amazing though. In my playgroup at least, most players are casting at least two spells per turn by the mid game, and I have got a lot of cards off of him. I've found his lifelink ability situationally good as well, since his toughness allows him to attack more often than one might think. The weaknesses of Mangara are that he costs four mana, which is more than we like to pay for an engine piece, and that as a creature he is arguably the most fragile permanent type. I haven't found in my experience that he gets hit with targeted removal too much since I usually have more threatening pieces on the board which draw that. He does die to board wipes though, which is not really true of most of our other draw pieces. That being said, when he dies to board wipes, I have usually already drawn several cards off of him, justifying the four cmc I put him on the board with. As with Thorough Investigation I am not inclined to cut him, but he is four cmc and thus deserves to be considered.
Some might consider it a heresy of sorts that I even suggest cutting this card as it is a staple draw engine in most tribal decks. In my mono-green elf deck it is incredible and makes for one heck of a draw engine. It essentially turns every angel we cast into a cantrip- we draw a card to replace it. We'll usually draw at least one card during our turn off of it, and sometimes we'll draw two. There is also the anthem, which we always appreciate in an aggro deck even if we don't need it. That being said, it's nowhere near as good here as in my elf deck. There I have gratuitous amounts of mana, more creatures than lands, and very cheap creatures, allowing the card to take over the game if not answered. Here our resources are more limited, the 5cmc is felt more, and our ceiling isn't so high. We therefore have to more carefully consider the downsides. The most obvious is that at 5cmc this is our most expensive draw piece. Paired with that, it is a pretty fragile permanent type, as players tend to pack lots of artifact hate. Moreover, this is precisely the type of permanent players tend to remove, as it keeps our tank full of gas in the long run just by doing what our deck does. The floor for this card is that our opponents blow it up before we draw a single card off of it, putting us back a turn at a point we can't afford that. It would be worth it if we could play it and draw two cards off of it the first turn, but at 5 that this is highly unlikely, meaning it has to survive a turn or two before we can get a return on our investment. Also, this is just a personal consideration, but if I cut it I can put it in my Trynn and Silvar deck where I think it will do great work and draw less hate. This card as such is much higher on the cut list than the prior two.
At the outset it is worth mentioning that this card has a bit of a symbiosis with the last card on the list. When I initially made this deck one focus was on using lifegain for card draw, but since then two of these life-draw pieces, Dawn of Hope and Cosmos Elixir have been cut. As such, cutting either of these last two cards would pretty much eliminate this theme. With that noted, onto the card. This card has almost always been on the chopping block as I revise the deck, but so far it has always made it through, and not for nothing. To begin with, as an enchantment it is a more resilient permanent type. People tend to pack less enchantment removal, and when they have it in hand they are wise to use it on truly game-winning enchantments. I always chuckle inwardly while playing my Teysa deck when someone blows a Disenchant effect on one of my mana rocks just before I play Necropotence or Bolas's Citadel. Needless to say, if they have it they probably aren't wasting it on this card, which will probably last the whole game. This card is essentially an Angel's Feather stapled to a Phyrexian Arena, albeit without the life loss and with a limitation on the draw instead. As such its ceiling is simply drawing a card every turn and gaining some life. It's floor, on the other hand, is just having an over-costed Angel's Feather on the field, which is still just fine. This card as such furthers two of our gameplans- life gain and card draw, and as we cast lots of white spells it will gain us quite a bit of life, especially if Angel of Vitality is on the field. I've found it almost always draws me the card as well. This card will almost never wow us, but Phyrexian Arena continues to be a staple card not because it wows us but because drawing an extra card per turn turns out to be pretty great. Another argument in favor of this card, and this has only to do with flavor, is that it belongs in an angels deck. We have both Bruna and Gisela in the deck, so if we can't have Sigarda herself we might as well have one of her spells. You can also pick up a beautiful, full art foil of this card for about a buck, making it a cosmetic delight. As such I am pretty reluctant to cut this, though I have always considered it.
I have wanted to play this card forever, and this deck was the first commander deck where I had enough life gain to make it worthwhile. I think in considering this card, we need to do a ceiling-floor-middle analysis. The ceiling for this card is incredibly high. We swing in with a crazy amount of lifelink damage, and then dump our mana into drawing a ton of cards. The floor is like with Vanquisher's Banner- we play it turn four and it immediately gets blown up before we draw a single card. Even then, we spent four mana on it and not five. The middle though is really good though, as at per card we will draw lots of cards even with small lifelinkers, and this could arguably be called the most powerful draw piece in the deck for that reason. As an artifact, it is a pretty fragile permanent type and will likely be targeted for removal. That being said, the mid to late game comparison to Vanquisher's Banner is useful. Let's say I have eight mana available and a single big lifelinker in the air. I can play this for four, swing, and then immediately draw four cards off of it when I gain the life. This will usually have made the turn worth it even if the card gets blown up afterwards, and of course, of it does not get blown up, we'll probably win that game. Banner on the other hand would draw us one card if we could cast an angel after it, but wouldn't do much more than that. As such, given this card performs well at most levels, I think it's more likely than not that I keep it in, but it is on the list.
1 year ago
I must not have re-optimized mana well after the previous session because I only drew three lands over the course of the entire first game. That being said, I still won! Even with only three mana and Giada the curve allowed me to do most of what I wanted to do and put most of my angels out, so the curve and the deck's ability to put up a board state quickly even with limited resources is great. The all-star of the first game was Crashing Drawbridge, which, as I suspected, is great in this deck. I finished by playing out Serra Avenger and Angelic Curator (with plenty of counters) and then swinging with them and all of my other angels for lethal because of drawbridge. It helped me close out the game before my opponent could stabilize and hit me with a wipe, which would have set me way back due to my lack of lands. Another great combo was Righteous Valkyrie which is every bit the powerhouse you'd think it would be in this deck and Resplendent Angel, which ensured that tokens were bolstering my army and that my life total was more than padded.
The second game was much more evenly matched and could have gone either way, but I pulled that one out in the end as well. This would not have happened if Eerie Interlude hadn't saved my cast angels from Curse of the Swine, attesting again to the importance of board state protection in this deck. Quite critically, interlude was the only thing in my deck currently that would have saved me from that (other than Lapse of Certainty, so I was glad to have it! The absolute all-star in this game was Thorough Investigation. Wow! What a card! I thought it might be good, but the whole enter-the-dungeon mechanic seemed a bit cute to me and I was ensure if I would want to pay to sac clue tokens. The answer is yes! I amassed so many tokens from Investigation (as well as a couple from Angelic Sleuth when I blinked it with Interlude) that I knew I could refill my hand at any point, which I did! I'm going to put this card in all of my aggro decks- its a hidden treasure! Angelic Skirmisher is also a must-run in the deck. Everyone plays Lyra Dawnbringer but some don't play this card, which I feel like is better. While the life-link aura is the thing in this deck and two copies of it was great, I definitely experienced the utility of the first strike aura when I wanted to swing with Valkyrie Harbinger but was afraid to lose it to a large flying blocker. First strike made it so that he didn't want to block! Vigilance is also great, and Thraben Watcher was already making sure I wasn't in danger on the crack back in this matchup, but Skirmisher could situationally help with that as well. I finished it out by clearing away all of his blockers (including some absurdly large creatures) with Winds of Abandon. He put 13 lands onto the battlefield, but died to my Angelic Armada.
In both of these games, as with in the previous ones I've reported on, the life gain was real and powerful! I finished the second game with 98 life and the first one with life somewhere in the 70s, so this deck works amazingly well that way. I also played a turn one Soul Warden the first game and was quite thankful for it. I wasn't totally sure about the soul sisters in this deck, but I think I am glad for them. Another huge success in several games so far are the Angelic Accord effects. Having four of them makes it a consistent subtheme, and even a couple of free giant angel tokens goes a long way to killing opponents. I think my issues with card draw aren't that I don't have draw or that it doesn't work, just that this deck is hungry for more of it, which I will address in the first revision coming soon. I've already ordered some more cards based in part on suggestions I've received here from some of you, so thanks for those! I will post the revisions once they are made and my reasoning for them. I'll also update the primer and the acknowledgements to offer credit where credit is due!
1 year ago
Hi Dazard! What a great question! I avoided aggro strategies for awhile for this reason, but as my sneaky combo strategies are hard for some groups I play with to decode, I decided to make some good old honest aggro decks, and I think I've figured out a good balance.
To begin with, don't play like in a 60 card, 1v1 format. In those games you have little incentive not to go for broke all the time, and to commit all of your resources right away. In EDH there are several key principles of good aggro play.
One of them is controlled growth. Even if you can commit all of your resources to powerful plays early you shouldn't do so. You need to make sure that you set up card draw engines and other things to keep your tank full in the long run. You should be attacking, but keep in mind you don't need to attack with everything. Chip away at peoples' life totals rather than hitting one person hard. Once you slam one person you will be the archenemy of all, so don't do that till you are a turn or two from winning or they will destroy you. Knocking out an opponent early doesn't necessarily help as that person is a target for someone else and can help keep someone else under control.
A second principle is try to win all at once via pump effects. Its almost better to keep your tokens as 1/1s as long as possible and then suddenly in a single turn make them gamewinning with Coat of Arms, Shared Animosity, Jazal Goldmane, or Mirror Entity. Don't play these cards early either! Your opponents will just kill them, so play them the turn that you can win. Surprise is one of the most powerful things in EDH. If they know you can kill them you are a threat, if they don't see it coming you will win.
Thirdly is politics via threat assessment, not deals. Sometimes people just think of politics as bribery, but its better to simply point out what other opponents are doing. "Hmm..he just played Ashnod's Altar. That's a combo piece. What's he up to?" is far more powerful than promising not to attack someone. This is self-interested, but it is also helping your opponents play better by noticing more than obvious threats. When I play against aggro I might have a board wipe, and yet hold off if I'm not afraid of imminently dying to let the aggro player do some of my dirty work for me and keep attention away from the combo I am putting together. My one friend who has been quite good at aggro has become adept at pointing out what I am doing and keeping things honest. It's also a good idea with early attacks to take turns attacking different opponents for only a small amount of damage, or even rolling the dice to see who you'll attack first. If your opponents wonder why you're holding back you can just say somewhat honestly that you're trying to spread the love around and keep blockers and critical pieces in play.
A fourth principle is board state protection. Others mentioned Unbreakable Formation and Teferi's Protection as helpful cards. Don't forget also about Make a Stand, Flawless Maneuver, and Cosmic Intervention. The latter won't save your tokens, but it will save other pieces. The same is true with Eerie Interlude and Semester's End which can also dodge even a Cyclonic Rift. Lapse of Certainty can also delay a board wipe for a turn and waste your opponents' investment, and is good tech as well. Eldrazi Monument is also a good card, because you'll have endless tokens to fuel it, and all of your stuff will be flying and indestructible, keeping your opponents from easily stopping you. One final way in your deck is just by making board wipes painful, which you can do with aristocrats. Blood Artist and Syr Konrad, the Grim will make your opponent think twice about wiping the board. Again, don't commit too many resources at once, and hold up mana for protection. This helps with controlled growth and helps you rest easy during your opponents' turns.
A fifth principle that is great is to always have a backup plane for when things go wrong. One way to do this is to have a single infinite combo to win out of nowhere when things are down. When you're playing aggro opponents are always looking at your board state, but they can be taken by surprise when you combo the win. For Markov the best one is probably Exquisite Blood and Sanguine Bond. If your opponents can win with this stuff then its only fair that you can in a pinch too! This also fulfills the old idea talked about on MtgGoldfish that you should always have a way to win out of nowhere. The other and more honest way to do this is just to have a way to recover your board state. Patriarch's Bidding and Haunting Voyage can help you recover all of your creatures in a single turn. Having these backup plans will make life easier.
Don't get discouraged, aggro is better than ever in EDH today due to new board protection and recovery tech Wizards has printed and reprinted in the past couple of years. All you need to do is master the playstyle and you'll have a lot more fun and success!
1 year ago
My point was that i feel your aggro strategy is better geared towards midrange. If you want to build a true aggro deck, lower your curve. Cut out these wacky 1-2offs that represent conflicting strategies and overall weaken your deck. For example, Lapse of Certainty. If, when you put this in your deck, thought "yea ill cast this" you are very clearly not playing nor brewing an aggro deck. Lapse of Certainty is basically unplayable on this format, let alone a aggro deck, period. I understand that it is kitchentable and that cards like Fog and Lapse of Certainty are basically eye candy but just replace these cards with actual creatures and you will preform 20x better.