How powerful is this deck? How much more potential does it have?
Posted on March 21, 2021, 12:20 p.m. by legendofa
I've been updating this deck in bits and pieces, but I haven't had the opportunity to actually put it on a table for a long time now. I'm also pretty bad at judging the strength of an EDH deck at a glance. So, I ask the community, how strong is this deck? How much stronger can it get under its current concept, and how do I maximize its potential?
Commander / EDH
SCORE: 6 | 10 COMMENTS | 1063 VIEWS | IN 1 FOLDER
For a quick overview of the deck, it's my most dedicated to actually winning in EDH, rather than messing with people or using a gimmick. Start with basic ramp and protection like Propaganda and Leyline of Sanctity , then drop equipment, planeswalkers, and support until I can attack with something like a 15/10 flying, lifelink, double strike, deathtouch, trample, hexproof, indestructible, vigilance Atraxa, Praetors' Voice . (Yeah, I like long lists of keywords.) It doesn't rely on the proliferate ability, but can take advantage of it with cards like Fathom Mage and Everflowing Chalice .
The deck seems decently powerful.
The mana base is very solid, looks like you won't be missing your colors anytime soon.
You have exactly the suggested amount of ramp, so that's good but pushes you towards the median power-level-wise.
Your card draw is where things start to go downhill. I count very few sources, and this is one of the pillars of deckbuilding we're talking about here!
You do have a lot of tutors, though--that tends to push the power up a notch by virtue of consistency.
One large issue seems to be the seeming four different directions you're trying to take the deck. To make it more powerful, you're going to need to halve that number, or even take it to one if possible.
But as to how powerful it is: that's pretty hard to say. For any deck, honestly, but especially one I haven't played (against).
March 21, 2021 1:12 p.m.
Omniscience_is_life Thanks for checking it out! I do have to ask, what are the four directions you're seeing? I'm intending the main direction to be be battlecruiser--early protection, building up to a powerful creature. What else are you seeing? Or is that strategy by itself diluting the deck?
Also, do you have any specific suggestions for card draw?
March 21, 2021 1:46 p.m.
Good question! I see Voltron, Pillow Fort, Superfriends, and a touch of other counters (mainly +1/+1) to proliferate.
I don't play an Atraxa deck myself, and I'm sure some of the resident experts could give you a better hand than this--but here are some of the better draw effects of the format:
Phyrexian Arena (I don't love that one, but I would catch SO much flak if I didn't include it here)
March 21, 2021 2:17 p.m.
voltron is an all eggs in one basket kind of strategy making it inherently weak. It's definitely strong for a casual play group but even dipping your toes into a fringe competitive pod will prove arduous. For what you're aiming to do it's about as good as it can get with maybe a few upgrade here and there potentially.
Casual groups 8/10
Mid power 7/10
High power 6/10
Fringe competitive 5/10
Teir 2 competitive 4/10
Tier 1 competitive 2/10
Tier 0 competitive 1/10
March 22, 2021 4:10 p.m.
RNR_Gaming Thanks for the feedback! I've only used it casually, and I remember it having a decent win rate. Sounds like I'll need to pull something else together if I want to go above kitchen table, but honestly, I'm pretty happy there with EDH. I'm definitely not ready for hardcore competitive...
March 22, 2021 9:57 p.m.
The biggest thing that sands out to me is the deck's curve. I always get a bit nervous when I see a deck where the CMC curve (i.e. quantity of cards at each CMC) keeps going up until the 4 or 5 mark. Granted, I am a pretty heavily combo player, but as a general rule you want to give yourself more to do the first few turns. This could be more ramp, or could be setting up card draw engines, but having a curve peak at 4 means that that the deck will be slower. And if you're trying to lean into voltron, then that's not great as you get into more competitive spaces (since here was a question about deck improvements).
I also think that you're trying to do too many things here. I'm always a fan of every deck having some sort of out if the main plan isn't working (i.e. some sort of combo that you don't lean into) but I think you're speading yourself too thin here. You have some planeswalkers and some pillow fort and som voltron and some combo. In addition, your combo feels really tacked on and adoesn't follow the theme of the rest of thedeck.
I would pick one central theme and focus on that and then try to pick cards which lean both lean into the theme but also can give you that out. Otherwise you end up with a deck that can mediocrely do 4 things.
I would also look at increasing your ramp package (not by much, but by a few). With the reprinting of Three Visits and with Nature's Lore and Farseek , adding some land ramp will let you leverage your decent landbase.
March 22, 2021 11:30 p.m.
enpc Okay, so more ramp. Noted with gratitude.
I do have to ask, though, since a couple of people have mentioned it. I'm specifically not trying to do anything Superfriends-ish, and I tried to pick planeswalkers that would support my main strategy. I acknowledge having more than the usual amount of planeswalkers, but they're not really the win condition. Is there a recommended limit to how many planeswalkers I should be using?
March 22, 2021 11:40 p.m.
legendofa: Quality should always be your guide. If you were using all 10 planeswalkers on a single (non-superfriends theme) like for example if they all pumped out tokens and then buffed them, that would be fine. But here you effectively have:
Ajani Steadfast - Really slow way of making your commander a bit bigger. Plays into pillow fort, but pillow fort is not a win condition.
Garruk, Apex Predator - really expensive removal spell.
Kaya, Ghost Assassin - super slow way to draw a card.
Liliana Vess - super slow way to tutor a card.
Nissa, Voice of Zendikar - Her pump ability is a neg ability. That's annoying.
Sorin, Lord of Innistrad - I guess his plus makes tokens and he's not stupidly costed, so that's nice. Do you care about tokens though?
Teferi, Hero of Dominaria - He's at least card advantage. A bit expensive but it's a card each turn (let's face it, you don't give a crap about his other abilities 99% of the time) so this is probably a good keep.
Tezzeret the Seeker - A decent equipment tutor, on hte fence about this one. You don't take a huge amount of advantage of artifact untapping, but you've got some decent equipment so eh.
Looking at the planeswalkers, that's kind of what I see here. And don't get me wrong, repeatability is great. But you have to weigh that up against mana cost and frequency of repeatability.
March 23, 2021 12:05 a.m. Edited.
enpc Great detail, and I appreciate the insight. For some reason, I had thought Edric, Spymaster of Trest was banned. I'll work on clearing out some of the high-cost-low-function stuff, add a touch more ramp and draw, and see what happens. I guess I'm going to have to focus more on either Voltron or pillow fort.
As an aside, I'm poking around on EDHrec, and Atraxa seems to be most popular as the Superfriends/counters commander. Am I overvaluing the first four words in the text box, even as a potentially Voltron commander?
March 23, 2021 12:16 a.m.
legendofa: People like +1/+1 counters and planeswalkers (casual edh has a bit of a collective hard-on for planeswalkers depsite them being very hit and miss) and so people gravitate to that.
The thing is, the keyword soup that Atraxa brings is really nice, but at hte end of the day, voltron cares about one thing, dealing 21 commander damage to each opponent. So while keywords are nice, you really care about damage output, evasion and survivability. Now that being said, Atraxa also brings access to 4 colours to the table, which is not trivial. While Rafiq of the Many or Balan, Wandering Knight are on the surface some of the better voltron commanders, having access to tutors, ramp and counterspells (if you choose to run them) is not to be scoffed at.
As a side note (and an error that I see commonly enough), pillowfort is not actually a win condition. Running pillowfort is akin to running counterspells. They keep you alive and protected, but don't actually win you the game. If you are wanting to run some sort of pillowfort strategy, you will need to also decide how the deck will win. Normally this is done by having a few big beaters or via combo, but this needs to be factored into the card pool.
March 23, 2021 12:28 a.m.
enpc Yeah, I tend to prefer defensive control decks. I completely understand that "not losing" isn't quite the same thing as "winning". But with my filthy casual flag flying high by now, I have one more question: Does the "battle cruiser" idea of protecting yourself while setting up a single massive creature actually work in anything above kitchen table? Or should I pick between Voltron and pillow fort and go all in on that?
March 23, 2021 12:54 a.m.
Bttlecruiser should still focus on multiple creatures, not just one. Otherwise you're effectively playing crappy voltron where you don't get the commander damage discount.
The inherent flaw with battlecruiser is that basically, the creatures are what they are. While you can pump a few big creatures, you get a lot more bang for buck with a swarm of tokens. At the end of the day, hitting a Worldspine Wurm on curve is great and all (after all, it's a 15/15 Trampler), however dumping a bunch of mana into Secure the Wastes and then putting a +1/+1 counter on each of the creatures will do a lot more than putting a +1/+1 counter on the wurm. So unless you're playing Xenagos, God of Revels then you'll get more bang for buck going wide, since buffing a bunch of 1/1's doubles their power.
I've found (and I'm not an expert on beatdown, after all I'm a combo player, though I would like to think I have enough experience with it) that going square is generally better than just going wide or just going tall. just going wide makes your stuff to fragile, but just going tall makes you to susceptinle to single target removal. Having a mix meanas cards like Craterhoof Behemoth do solid work, but you're not entirely relient on craterhoof to close the game out.
March 23, 2021 1:09 a.m. Edited.
March 23, 2021 1:18 a.m.
legendofa: Happy to help. As I mentioned, I'm not a battlecruiser player (though am trying to force myself to get better at it) and heavily play combo, however I would recommend having a look at this list (my wife's, not mine):
She much more prefers to play beatdown decks but this is a good example of a list that goes square. Now don't get me wrong, it's not budget in the slightest and is designed for a competitive meta (where the average power of creatures is slightly less) however it's designed to ramp early and get Sisay down early (turn 2 is the target, or turn 3 with haste). From there, get threats. Now obviously having a tutor general is super powerful as well (as it means more consistency) but the balance of cards still stands pretty well. If nothing else, it might give you some ideas about balances of cards and front-ending ramp.
As a general rule, if a commander can do something (like draw or tutor) we consider it to be worth having approximately an addtional 5 of that card in your deck (though this is a very loose rule) so keep that in mind when comparing card quantities.
March 23, 2021 1:27 a.m.
I'll dig into it, give it a couple of playtest and see how it feels.