Zacama, Primal Calamity

Legendary Creature — Dinosaur

Vigilance, reach, trample

When this enters the battlefield, if you cast this, untap all lands you control.

: This deals 3 damage to target creature.

: Destroy target artifact or enchantment.

: You gain 3 life.

legendofa on Why are people calling for …

1 month ago

I'm far from an EDH expert, so get your grain of salt ready, but I don't think it's anywhere near bannable. Sure, it's a big pile of removal on a big creature, and it's in good control colors, but it's also MV 7 and has no self-protection (ward, hexproof, regenerate, etc.). It can basically make one person's life miserable for a while, or everybody kind of miserable, but that's it. Xander is a big scary finisher, in the style of Zacama, Primal Calamity or Beledros Witherbloom.

I don't think it's WotC's style to stealth-hype or astroturf a specific card. If there was a mistranslation, that wouldn't help, but I think it's knee-jeek reaction.

AggroWithAShield on Cascade or not ?

2 months ago

Not sure the title is on point, but my inquiry has something to do with my cascade deck.

So, I have built my cascade deck about two weeks ago and I have had the feeling that it's missing something (Here's the list I am referring to Cascade).

The point of the deck is to play Apex Devastator and Genesis Ultimatum which are my two favorite cards at the moment, what I feel is missing is bigger monstrosities and just bigger threat in general, stuff like Zacama, Primal Calamity to untap all my lands and allowing me to cast more stuff or Gisela, Blade of Goldnight to double the damages and reduce the crack back when I swing out.

My friend told me I should switch my strategy to a Jodah, Archmage Eternal with a big mana theme and keep my cascade strategy and add Maelstrom Nexus so that even if my first spell does not have cascade, I will be able to get it.

Here are my two questions.

Would changing into a Jodah deck and mixing a big mana theme to a cascade theme really work? I am afraid that a big mana theme would require of me to play higher cmc spell and hinder the cascade side of the deck which requires cmc spells with lower values to cast them.

Other than the two other creatures I mentioned earlier and an Avacyn, Angel of Hope is there other cards with white and/or black I should think about integrating to the deck? Maybe Timesifter to go with all the high cmc spell I would add to the deck?

CardTyrant on Ixalan Park

3 months ago

Thanks for all the suggestions. Sorry I haven't been very active on replying, been dealing with personal stuff so all I've been doing is Deckcycling my deck. So here we go, time to reply.

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Mortlocke: Gishath is so far the only commander that cares about Dinosaurs. Zacama, Primal Calamity is great, but has not one line of text saying dinosaur, Atla Palani, Nest Tender has a similar effect to Gishath, but she only gets one creature and again, doesn't care if it's a dinosaur or not. Morophon, the Boundless is a good commander for tribal, but I feel like Morophon should aid tribes that have zero support or commander options. Kaheera, the Orphanguard is a good lord, but she loses red. So yes, as of right now Gishath should be the end all be all dinosaur commander in my mind.

The comment about the counter triggered ability, so far there are only 9 spells that counter a triggered ability and most of them only do that or activated abilities, so I don't see them being used against me or more then once. I also have a burning hatred for blue players and tend to target them until a bigger threat arrives. But yes, every effect can be countered. I will go and change that in my description.

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BmoreBeast: I would run Urban Daggertooth, but I feel that the next time dinosaurs get a real boost, they won't be using enrage (hopefully I am wrong). That's why I am slowly moving away from enrage triggers and more so towards trample effects. If the next time dinosaurs get support and it is with enrage triggers, I will think about adding Urban Daggertooth to the deck. I've also been wanting to move away from Planeswalkers and focus more so on dinosaurs.

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iwulf411: THANK YOU! Thank you for playtesting the deck. I love hearing people testing out my deck and giving me feedback. Warms my cold heart. :D

Titanoth Rex is in the deck because he is a large trampler and I have been slowly morphing the deck towards dinosaurs with trample. Siegehorn Ceratops is in the deck because she's a 2/2 for 2 with enrage that makes her bigger. So early game I can drop her in and cump block if need be and make her stronger. Raging Regisaur is on the coping block if we never see anymore dinosaurs with enrage. Taurean Mauler can come out without any argument from me. I will find a ramp spell to replace it.

I tried to cut lands in my commander decks, but everytime I do, I always get mana screwed in the get go. 38 just seems to be my sweet spot. I will consider going down to 36, but 34 just seems way to low for me. Ancient Tomb is a great ramp spell, yes it hurts me, but 40 life means I can use it 10 times before it gets too scary for me. If I ever get an original dual land, this will hands down come out for one of them. Bonders' Enclave & War Room, you are right but I lacked room in the deck for card draw, so I threw them in. These two would be switched out for original dual lands. Cavern of Souls is simply in the deck because I HATE blue. Forbidden Orchard has been on the cutting board several times, however, its always survived because I normally use it as a political tool or if I'm in a game with my wife, to keep her alive. Yes I know, nepotism, but I am a Mardu player at heart.

Skyshroud Claim will defiantly go back in. I cut it early on but you have a point, especially if I ever get my hands on an original dual land. Cultivate or Kodama's Reach were both in the deck at the start, but the more I played the harder it was for me to justify them because I kept cutting basic lands to the point where there were times where I could only find one land. Growing Rites of Itlimoc  Flip is a pet card of mine, but I cut it from the deck long ago because a lot of times I never could get it to flip due to never having enough creatures. I will consider adding it again. Elemental Bond I will consider re-adding as well. Birds of Paradise will be a maybe, if I don't go pure dinosaurs but Bloom Tender will be a no because she requires perms to be out. Fauna Shaman and Elvish Piper will be a maybe again because I have been considering going pure dinosaurs.

Thank you again for playtesting the deck.

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bushido_man96: I'd love to see your list! I always like seeing what others come up with.

I run the reduce cost creatures to get Gishath out earlier or if a high costing dinosaur gets stuck in my hand for I have no ways of cheating them out anymore or returning them to the deck. However, your comments have won me over and the next time dinosaurs get support (I've heard rumors that Ixalan may be getting a new set next year), I will turn it into a pure dinosaur build.

-=-=-=-=-

Thank you all again for the comments. Once things calm down in my personal life and I return to work and pay off these medical bills, I will defiantly take a look at revamping Ixalan Park with your suggests and some of my own. Till then, keep the comments rolling and the upvotes a coming. :D

Niko9 on Who are the Commanders you …

3 months ago

I guess rather than commander to commander, I tend to like to play against decks that are active on the board. So something like Gallia of the Endless Dance is awesome because it's a low cmc commander who will always be doing things. I like having an ever evolving puzzle to try to play into, and I really enjoy watching the boardstate grow into it's own monster every game.

What I have trouble playing against is something like Zacama, Primal Calamity that will just sit back and ramp and boardwipe until Zacama comes out and then win. It's not a puzzle to solve, it's like a card to solve, and I don't hate hate it, but I do find it much less fun to play against.

Even if I lose to someone who is actively progressing their boardstate and doing lots of things, it doesn't ever feel bad. Because you can analyze that and learn and figure out what you need to be doing on your turns to do better next time. But the play pattern of, ramp, wipe, wait, then do one big thing, that feels like, yeah, the way to stop that is to hold up interaction, which just makes the game even more inactive.

Honestly, I love Zacama in theory, just in practice, not so much : )

Omniscience_is_life on Wait wait wrong egg WRONG EGG | **Primer**

5 months ago

Some cuts/adds I'm pondering at the moment, getting back into this deck:

  1. My whole recursion package needs to go. Emeria Shepherd doesn't have enough Plains to function properly, and the days of the Zacama, Primal Calamity combo are long since past. Once and Future is overcosted and replaceable... with the lovely Noxious Revival. This is probably the most direct upgrade, all the other cards I'm cutting (e.g. Shepherd) don't have straight-across replacements.

  2. Nyxbloom Ancient may well be cut if I decide a card like Protean Hulk, Treeshaker Chimera, Voice of Many, or Combustible Gearhulk is better. The Ancient is just a generic value piece, and I'm trying to cut down as much on those as I can. It does, however, allow for some of the crazy-long turns that I take to work, so I'm really unsure if it's gonna go or not.

  3. Brainstone, Kavu Lair, and Flawless Maneuver are all looking really spicy right now. Unsure as to what cuts would allow them to come in.

  4. Greater Gargadon might come out for Towering Titan, as cracking into a vanilla 9/7 is a bit underwhelming. The Gargadon is great at being an uninteractable sac outlet, but I do like the trample grant on Towering Titan. Again, unsure.

Niko9 on Why Do Some Players Dislike …

5 months ago

I mean, I think we can all agree at least that the deck should always be considered. There's not a ton of reason to run many rocks at all in something like elfball, where Zacama, Primal Calamity would want to ramp to the moon. These are extreme examples, but in my opinion, what your deck wants to do should always be considered. Auto including things because they are auto includes is only consistency in that it's consistently limiting.

For example, I play a Bruna, the Fading Light  Meld edh deck and over time I've taken out a ton of ramp to add interaction. I would have thought that ramping out Bruna was the way to go, but it has been much better to wait to cast her into a more favorable board state. Removing threats, milling my deck, setting up, and then dropping Bruna one time to go for the win has been significantly better than rushing her out.

Each game is different and each group is unique. I feel like it's not so much what is good and what is bad, but what works. It's fun to debate better or worse and to evaluate cards vs each other, but in the end, answers are simply decisions.

Mana_Mythic_Legendary on Pursuing Perfection, Part 12: Orzhov …

6 months ago

I have built five different orzhov commander decks in my time playing magic. Whenever dipping into standard, I generally find myself running this pairing. There are a number of reasons for that. Orzhov ties the White life total surplus with the Black propensity to use life as a resource, essentially minting your own money. Adding White widens Black’s tight focus on creature removal to cover almost everything. It gives you access to creature tokens that you can either use with White or abuse with Black. Perhaps most importantly, it offers a profound level of synergy between all three relationships. There is a lot on offer here, and the commanders illustrate that.

I may well be discussing more powerhouse commanders here than in any article to date. Orzhov has delightful themes to it, and almost too obvious. There are ten commanders in this pairing that create or boost creature tokens in some way, nearly twenty that have lifelink or an interaction with life. This, out of only 33 valid Orzhov commanders: believe me, there's a fantastic roster that didn't make the article. However, I’ll not be discussing these themes directly: they’re so intrinsic to the pairing that discussing them is nigh redundant. Instead, let’s get a little more granular and talk about interactions that are specific to these pairings, which I’ve fondly titled Death, Taxes, and Vindication. As always, please bear in mind that our focus here is not necessarily competitive but rather on thematic, archetypical commanders.

Death

For those of you who don’t follow the lore, Orzhov is also called the Guild of Deals: essentially, a bank specializing in the harvest of souls as collateral for their predatory lending practices. Two of the keywords on Orzhov cards reflect that: Afterlife gives you souls after death, and Haunt, well, lives up to its name. Thematically, every time something dies the Orzhov player should be getting their cut, and these generals are experts at seeing you make bank.

Athreos, shroud-veiled

Starting this theme with a bang, Second Athreos is a favorite of mine. Yes, you can steal your opponent’s critters, but there are so many fun things you can bring to the party yourself. Consider the consequences of repeatedly sacrificing your own Kokusho, the Evening Star, Sun Titan, or Ashen Rider. The counter ability goes on the stack, so it pairs beautifully with things like the Whip of Erebos. Dig up some ways to cheaply recur your guys for a turn, only to have Athreos cheat the deal? That’s making the system work for you!

Elenda, the Dusk Rose

For those of you inclined toward commander damage but still keen on killing stuff, I submit to you Elenda. There is a fair collection of cards like Divine Reckoning in White that will turbocharge the lady while leaving her intact, and once you reach that point killing her becomes a frightening prospect for your opponents. Don’t believe me? Consider the cost of killing her, only to see the pilot drop a Sanctum Seeker.

Teysa Karlov

We can’t discuss this theme without talking about at least one version of Teysa, and it's a doozy. All the death triggers you can pack into an Orzhov deck, and there are a lot of them, get turbocharged when Teysa is out. Grave Pact effects, Blood Artist and that entire collection of pain, Bishop of Wings and all the accompanying angelic bullshitery. This is TERRIBLE. I love it.

Taxes

There are a lot of ways to death-by-a-thousand-cuts someone. Goblin Bombardment, Ayara, First of Locthwain, Walking Ballista. White doesn’t have the option of itself, but does lead in forcing opponents to pay extra to play the game. In a word, Staxs. Black has the unique attribute of stealing life from opponents. Combining these is where things get both hilarious and hateful, by which I mean that you force opponents to pay life for the pleasure of playing with you. Whether your favorite approach to the game is predatory capitalism, you’re on a quest to micromanage the table’s life total, or seek to win via “stop hitting yourself,” Orzhov is the safe bet.

Athreos, God of Passage

Shame on you. Fie, and shame (I don’t really mean it: I love the tactics here). I don’t think I need to go into detail in making this work: the bastard all but sings of forcing opponents to make bad, bad choices. The worst part is wording on the final line: target opponent. Screw you in particular, chosen target.

Kambal, consul of allocation

Both less and far more direct than Athreos. Creature-heavy decks won’t mind so much, but Blue players are going to weep tears of blood if they can’t get this guy off the board. The lifegain is a very nice touch, giving players who lean toward lifegames more material to work with.

Liesa, Shroud of Dusk

Ok, real talk. When I read the lore behind Liesa, the already smoldering dislike I had for Avacyn went up like a bonfire: I had to wait years for this luminous beast to hit the roster just because the archangel of Innistrad doesn’t approve of getting one’s hands dirty, the hypocritical vampire barbie. Paying life instead of commander tax would be a joke to either color in the right context. With both, it’s beneath notice, as is dealing with Liesa’s triggered effect. Other decks, though, will not be happy at all.

I’m going to be quiet now, because I adore this card and you don’t need to hear about it.

Vindication

The oldest card with the text “Destroy target permanent” isn’t Vindicate, it’s actually Desert Twister (if my five minutes of research is correct). There are only twenty-two legal cards with those exact words, and they are all more convoluted, expensive, or both. Vindicate, though, has served as a paragon of cheap, efficient removal for twenty years. Three mana to knock absolutely anything off the board is a great deal, and even knock-off, caveated parallels like Beast Within or Anguished Unmaking are staples in the game. Orzhov has stood by its trendsetter and even set up a few commanders with parallel effects on a stick, though even the meanest justifiably added the condition “non-land.”

Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim

Here’s another example of the intrinsic relationship between Orzhov, creature tokens, and lifegain. Spam tokens and token embiggeners like Ghoulcaller Gisa, Coat of Arms, and Cathars' Crusade. If you don’t slaughter the board by going wide with your piebald weenies, exile the board instead. And, at two mana for a 2/3 deathtouch creature, Ayli’s wonderfully accessible.

Karlov of the Ghost council

Karl is a little too mean and repetitive for my taste. I built him, but I didn’t like it. To be just, compared to other decks I put through that process he had a frightening winning streak. The profusion of recuring tiny lifegains in Orzhov can quickly turn Karl into a monster, and a sprinkling of evasion ends games right quick. The removal is almost unnecessary. Almost. Like Ayli, he only costs two mana, but unlike Ayli nobody will see Karl hit the field and handle it with anything like grace.

Vona, Butcher of Magan

This guy’s a little calmer, costing more than twice the others and requiring a tap AND seven life to blow up something. However, he’s also immediately usable, lack of haste notwithstanding, and paying life won’t hurt an Orzhov player nearly so much as their opponents keeping lynchpin cards. Also, you don’t have to pay mana, so if you can take repeated use on the chin you can absolutely wreck house with the Thornbite Staff, some tokens, and an aristocrat of some sort.

And, for my personal favorite…

Triad of Fates This is a departure from my usual favorites: I love the mythology behind the card but disdain the card itself. I want this to work, but have trouble seeing a way forward that would satisfy me as a player: you can only say “thornbite staff” so many times before it starts getting stale. Crunchwise, the tap attached to all three abilities is ruinous. Maybe if the first ability was a boardwide ETB effect, or triggered boardwide at the beginning of your upkeep? They measure the fates of ALL THINGS, and keeping the second two tap effects would keep it reasonable, right? Maybe parallel Zacama, Primal Calamity/Shattergang Brothers and raise the costs of the second abilities, or go hard into flavor and make the first triple partner legends: one to spin, one to measure, and one to cut, just like the myths. I like that idea! could even make some sort of assembly line, like the station cycle!

Station

But with old, warty women... Eh, I’m no designer, but I can comfortably say they didn’t do the fates justice here.

Whinging about rules text aside, building this solely for flavor’s sake would be a fantastic bit of fun and, as I’ve said, I’ve always enjoyed the multicultural mythos behind three women knitting humanity’s fate into being.

That's it for this round. Thoughts and questions are welcome. I hope you enjoyed it, and will come back soon for Izzet!

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