cEDH is going to have a big problem for the coming year

Commander (EDH) forum

Posted on April 6, 2022, 12:19 a.m. by jaymc1130

At least, that is what some of my preliminary data is suggesting. There is a particular 15ish card package that fits into any deck with green that covers a deck's ramp needs, control needs, and combo win needs while also having synergy with each of the independent components leading to some unbelievably robust and powerful play patterns. Right now, in a limited sample size mind you, this package is winning better than 40% of it's games.

There aren't many instances of this occurring in our group's data set. In fact, there are 3.

  1. Paradox Engine. Before this card got banned we were seeing a vacuum win rate potential for this card of 40%+, which was absurd. We assumed it would get banned, about 6 months later, it was.

  2. Hullbreacher and Opposition Agent. When these cards were spoiled our group knew immediately they would eventually be banned, they are that fundamentally broken in cEDH settings. Sure enough, this 2 card package instantly began posting vacuum win rate potentials of 40%+ (over 50%+ before we learned play patterns to cope with how abusive the play pattern of this package was). Hullbreacher got banned, Oppo Agent is awaiting it's inevitable ban hammer.

  3. The Inception Package. This was a concept focused around using Extract and targeted discard to neuter fast glass cannon combo archetypes back in the hey day of the Flash Hulk meta. The concept dominated the meta completely and utterly 4 and 5 years ago and posted vacuum win rate potentials of 40%+ because the cEDH community had yet to realize that running 10+ critical cards devoted to a single combo line of play was very ineffective in the face of any exile effects hitting those critical combo pieces and turning the remaining 9+ cards into dead card slots for the remainder of the game. Over time, as more new cards were printed, the resilience of the metascape improved and the printing of Veil of Summer largely brought the Inception package back to parity within the metascape. Post Flash banning the concept became a less enticing option. Lucky break, no bans needed.

Which brings us to the current issue. The Summer Bloom package that has been powered up as of late with new card printings. It's too soon to tell if this package is problematic enough to require a ban, but it's possible that Summer Bloom should simply get the axe at some point, it is a degenerate combo card after all. The crux of the issue is that the play pattern enabled by this package covers every requirement of a competitive deck within these 15ish cards. Accelerated board development, covered. Combo win line, covered. Card advantage, covered. Consistent deployment of primary game plans by turn 3, covered. Ability to interact with and control opposing board states, covered. Now, it's not too much to ask for all these things from a set of 15 cards in competitive settings, but usually these 15 cards won't all work together to enhance each other's effectiveness and make those 15 cards feel more like 30 cards worth of value in game. This could be a real problem in due time, particularly since the package can be used in any deck with green as a color at the moment, which means the package can be ported into a wide variety of shells.

The package in question: Bala Ged Recovery  Flip, Life from the Loam, Summer Bloom, Azusa, Lost but Seeking, Dryad of the Ilysian Grove, Lotus Cobra, Tireless Provisioner, Gaea's Cradle, Boseiju, Who Endures, Strip Mine, Cloudstone Curio, Crucible of Worlds. Personally, I recommend a supplement to the package of Green Sun's Zenith, Dryad Arbor, and at least 5 mana dorks. Utopia Sprawl and Wild Growth can also be used to supplement the ramp efforts, but aren't critical to the concept and are, in fact, vulnerable to opponents who employ the concept themselves.

Why is this package a potential problem and why is it posting win rates over 40% at the moment in testing? Well, it largely boils down to some fundamental principles of cEDH. Those principles? Playing more cards than opponents is good and improves the odds of winning, seeing more cards from your deck than opponents is good an improves the odds of winning, and using fewer cards than opponents to achieve a desired result is good and improves the odds of winning. Conversely, opponents that see fewer cards, play fewer cards, and who use more cards to achieve desired goals also improve your odds of beating those opponents. This particular package hits along each of these axes, it plays a lot more cards because it keeps reusing the same cards over and over again, it sees a lot more cards because it's constantly thinning it's deck as part of this play pattern reusing lands in particular, and it gets to save space because the core components every competitive deck needs are included already in just these 15ish cards meaning it needs to use less card slots to achieve more things, and the gameplans are consistently able to be deployed and put into place in the early turns of a game. Simultaneously the play patterns of this package are an extreme hinderance to opponents because their board states have a very tough time developing into useful configurations when their lands, artifacts, and enchantments keep getting wiped every turn cycle.

Again, it's very early in this, and I would hesitate to say it's Boseiju that's putting this package over the top right now, but something about this set up is very clearly problematic for the health of the format. I'd abuse this set up while you have a chance, the cEDH community is incredibly slow to adapt to new trends so there's a good chance this package will be abusable for a couple extra free wins per 100 games played for about a year or so. At some point I kind of expect some portion of this package to get the ban hammer, but I don't expect it soon. It took them almost a year for Hullbreacher and Golos after all, and I thought those were cards that ought to be preemptively banned from the format the day they each got spoiled.

enpc says... #2

While I can appreciate your enthusiasm for the combo and new cards coming out which work with it (I think most people get excited when new cards come out that are instant upgrades to their deck), I don't think that this will be meta changing and as much as I know you're very proud of your combo, I don't think it's going to have a big impact on EDH above and beyond the standalone impact of Boseiju, Who Endures.

We've had combos like Strip Mine + Crucible of Worlds + Azusa, Lost but Seeking for years and yet this hasn't been flagged as banworthy. And while Boseiju has some untility above being a removal spell, using cards like Assassin's Trophy to form win condition removal loops has also been around for a long time with no issue. So while this is a nice boon for mono-green decks, it's not a game changer.

Additionally, while you get extra utility from having cards which work in the deck outside of combo, the number of card slots you have to devote to making the combo work is still very high - even if you are using your described Squandered Resources lines. Plus even those lines have lynch pin cards, typically in the form of recursion pieces like Crucible of Worlds or Ramunap Excavator - remove these and you've killed the entire bloom line in the deck. Even if the deck can pivot to another combo line (like Dramatic scepter) that would be the case if you'd have included any two mutually exclusive combo lines so the point of the argument is more around combo density than it is around the specific bloom combo.

As I've said in the past, I think it's a very viable combo line and I do like the fact that many cards pull double duty however I just don't think that the combo is going to make waves above and beyond the impact made by Boseiju, Who Endures as a standalone card. And I'm happy to be proved wrong. But compared to cards like Thassa's Oracle (which don't get me wrong, I'm not a fan of) which have become such a staple in the cEDH world due to the ease and compactness of the combo, I don't think you're going to draw the ire of the ban hammer. Ultimately though, isn't that a good thing? And if we do see bans due to Boseiju, I would expect that it's Boseiju itself which is more likely to see the ban than any of the other cards listed.

April 6, 2022 2:46 a.m.

jaymc1130 says... #3


There's a whole lot wrong with this statement. Most of it simply is not accurate, or fails as it is working from assumptions based on casual/amateur players playing with cEDH decks.

It's like looking at the recent Marchesa tournament and concluding Magda is an overly powerful archetype because of it's win in that tournament. As far as I know, this was not a professional level MtG event, I do not know of a single professional caliber player that attended. It was an amateur event almost exclusively participated in by amateur level players, and the level of competitiveness is very unlikely to be something one could consider "competitive" in a true sense. Now, you know I have a high standard for competitive play coming from a professional level of play myself over my MtG career, so sure, there is some debate that could be had about where that bar should be set, but, quite frankly, as with any sport or game or competition true competitiveness doesn't really begin until you're talking about the top <1% of players in the world. As a multi time world rank 1 player myself of games like Terraforming Mars I can attest to the simple fact that 99% of my games were, and still are not, competitive in nature. There are about a dozen players in the entire world who can play that game at a truly competitive level out of the 100s of thousands that play. Same goes for, say, the MLB (another thing I tried my hand at competitively that you are aware of as it was a professional baseball career that was my primary focus in highschool which lead to my lackluster performances at professional level MtG events during that time span). College level baseball is simply not competitive in a true sense, it's competitive relative the level of skill of the players participating. The same goes for A ball, and AA ball, and even AAA ball. If I'd been capable of true competitive level play you'd be talking to a multi millionaire celebrity as opposed to a card game enthusiast. So that's first and foremost thing that ought to be addressed.

Secondly, the fact you state graveyard recursion of Strip Mine being around for a while and not being a problem exemplifies the aforementioned inability to discern true competitive level concepts from powerful concepts. Strip Mine recursion lists are the absolute most dominant lists in the meta currently, and have been for well over a year. You can ask SynergyBuild if you want another opinion on how effective that particular concept has been. The true competitive meta for most of the last year has been warped by Bloom and Farm decks, with the Bloom Farm decks that combine the archetypes putting up some pretty insane win rates. Strip Mine isn't going to become a problem because of these new cards, Strip Mine has ALREADY BEEN a huge problem in true competitive settings for over a year, and, as usual, the average casual/amateur player hasn't noticed at all. There's a reason a handful of folks like SynergyBuild and myself are constantly 2 years ahead of the meta changes that occur, and you've got all the evidence you need of this fact here, on this site, with a bevy of posts from just the two of us over the years highlighting meta shifts months and years ahead of them actually happening. And we are by no means the only ones on this site, there are a small handful of others as well.

Thirdly, you've failed to understand how resilient the Bloom concept combos have now become if you think the critical weak points are Crucible of Worlds and Ramunap Excavator. Bouncing lands to hand with Trade Routes or Cloudstone Curio forgoes a need for the combo to have access to the yard at all for some very specific loops, and certainly access to playing lands from the yard in the vast majority of them. These are not unique critical points of failure any more, where 2 and 3 years ago they would have been. That portion of the combo has become so robust it is not viable to attack it from that angle, the best bet is to simply exile and remove the Summer Bloom itself as it is the only unique portion of the combo that is now required.

Now, will these things mean the combo starts to become immediately pervasive throughout the meta? No, as stated, the cEDH community is glacially slow to adapt and learn new things. All people look at is what channels like PwP or LM do on youtube and think that stuff is competitive in nature. It is not. Those are exclusively amateur players playing in a mostly amateur fashion. In fact, from a level of gameplay perspective, most of their videos are unwatchable because the level of play is just plain terrible. It's fine to use those places as resources for the most basic of fundamentals, but that's not how the cEDH community uses those resources. The larger community thinks that IS high level play, and the reality of the situation is that it's slightly above average amateur level of play. So no, as stated in the OP of this thread, I don't expect things to change radically, because, historically, change has usually been extremely slow. You can add to this the fact that Dauthi Voidwalker is a very powerful deterrent to the Bloom archetypes because it blanks most of the value portion of the play patterns and should be an auto include in any deck with Black, but it remains to be seen just how impactful this card can be. The Bloom archetypes have been dealing with graveyard hate this entire time and still managing best in format win rate potentials, so I'm personally interested to see if these factors offset, or favor the Voidwalker or Bloom side of the matchup. The biggest problem is that the exact decks best positioned to make use of the Voidwalker are also the same decks currently employing the Bloom combo, the Sultai midrange attrition based shells.

Of the cards that work as a part of this package, I think you've hit the nail on the head with Boseiju being the one perhaps most likely to be banned. There are really only two choices to hit if this package does prove problematic, and it's the Bloom at the center of it all, or Boseiju that cranks up the power a couple of notches. Personally, I don't have enough data about performance yet to lean one way or another in terms of which I'd find more likely to get the hammer, but it almost assuredly would have to be one of these two.

April 6, 2022 3:22 a.m. Edited.

enpc says... #4

jaymc1130: I think the easiest way to address your comment is directly.

"There are about a dozen players in the entire world who can play that game at a truly competitive level out of the 100s of thousands that play."

I would say that this comment pretty adequtely sums up the point you're trying to make in paragraph one. The biggest flaw I see here is that you're basically claiming that there's so few "actual" cEDH players that it boils down to you and your playgroup. And sure, if that's the premise of your position, then I can't challenge that argument as I'm sure the card has made a big splash in your playgroup. But the problem you now have is sample size. If your definition of the meta is only the players you deem as "competitive" then you your data is going to be massively skewed, regardless of how good your combo is.

Your second point around Strip Mine being the dominant meta deck falls into the exact issue as I raised in the previous paragraph. And while I'll admit that I'm not 100% up to date with every little thing with regards to cEDH, I have seen little to no Strip Mine/Azusa, Lost but Seeking across the greater decklists I have seen. And I am by no means calling myself the be-all and end-all of cEDH (by a large margin) however if it was such a dominant stragety you'd think it would be much more heavily played.

"Thirdly, you've failed to understand how resilient the Bloom concept combos have now become if you think the critical weak points are Crucible of Worlds and Ramunap Excavator."

I understand that the combo can have plenty of resilience if you add more cards, however your original post never talked about Trade Routes. Using it as an argument now does indeed increase the redundancy in your deck, but at the cost of card slots. Similaryly I could put together a commander deck that had 10-15 points of redundancy, but at the cost of the vast majority of card slots. Additonally, the point I made around lynch pins with Squandered Resources was in direct refernce to your deck T&T Bloom Scepter [cEDH Primer] which runs neither Crucible of Worlds or Trade Routes and which was updated 1 day ago so I would assume is up to date.

"All people look at is what channels like PwP or LM do on youtube and think that stuff is competitive in nature. It is not. Those are exclusively amateur players playing in a mostly amateur fashion. In fact, from a level of gameplay perspective, most of their videos are unwatchable because the level of play is just plain terrible."

First off, I will preface this by saying that I occasionally watch these videos and by not means am drawing on them as my sole inspiration for deckbuilding. I will state however that for the vast majority of players, this is what they consider cEDH, along with Labmaniacs and a few others. And while you can poo-poo this all you like, we then come back to the "sample size" argument.

My issue though with your spruiking of the combo comes down to adoption rate. While you did make the comment that "the cEDH community is glacially slow to adapt and learn new things", cards like Thassa's Oracle were immediately adopted by the community as a whole which somewhat disproves this. Even cards like Codie, Vociferous Codex are being heavily played now as very strong commanders. And again, while I have said before and will happily say again that I do think your combo is a good combo package, I would challenge your insinuation that the only reason the entirity of the cEDH community isn't playing it is becuase they're all just slow (insert ItsTheChildrenThatAreWrong.gif).

As a side note, and this is entirely personal advice - take it how you want, I think that part of the reason you're having certain issues with people taking your deck seriously comes down to perceived attitude. I have seen you on tapped out for well over a year spruiking this strategy of yours, however the problem I see is that A) you cosntatly talk about the combo package with little to no explanation about how it works (or even a reference to a deck which explains it) and B) have a habit of talking down to people who disagree with your opinion.

On the point of A - I understand that there are a lot of moving parts in the combo and I understand that it's an advanced combo to pilot, but you're not winning any friends by attempting to set the bar to entry as "if you don't understand it from the pile of cards then you're not good enough to play it and not worth my time". I'm not saying that this is your intention, however I have read multiple posts on multiple threads from you about this and this is the vibe that I pick up repeatedly. And I'm not saying that you have to be on the other end of the spectrum either, but you will definitely help change others' opinions about the strategy if you first help them to understand it and the many layers it has.

On the point of B (which I have kind of covered above) - coming at every discussion about the strategy with an air of arrogance is generally going to drive people away, not make them eager to learn more. As for your professional MtG prowess, I understand the importance of anonymity on the internet, however the double edged sword is that people talk a lot of crap on the internet that may or may not be true. And while I don't want you to think that I'm straight up calling you a liar, I'm sure you can understand that many people take others' comments with a grain of salt, lest be continously deceived. It might also be the Australian in me but generally here people who talk themselves up repeatedly get called a lot of four letter words.

Edit for clarity - In general I don't think that there's an issue with your interactions on other places on the site and I have even seen you leave a lot of helpful advice for others. I am referring specifically to conversations around this particular topic of discussion.

As for the MLB thing, I did not know that at all, but that's pretty cool. I'm personally not a baseball fan (it's not big here) but I have met quite a few athletes in my day who performed at the kind of level you're talking about in other sports, so I know that's a big achievement.

April 6, 2022 4:36 a.m. Edited.

jaymc1130 says... #5


"you're basically claiming that there's so few "actual" cEDH players" - I'm not basically claiming it. I'm claiming outright that there are so few cEDH players out there that the data available for the public at large is, essentially, nothing. It has nothing to do with our playgroup, it's a statement of fact that sanctioned competitive level play that produces reliable and useful data points is, literally, nonexistent. That does not mean data does not exist, it means that there is none available for public consumption. Hence the benefit of searching out and appreciating players who have that type of data where they can be found, a large reason why the collaboration between myself and Synergy was so productive.

"If your definition of the meta is only the players you deem as "competitive" then you your data is going to be massively skewed, regardless of how good your combo is." - Of course it is... I've stated exactly this how many times now? Our data set is heavily biased because it only includes OUR games. I don't know how many times I need to make this point and state that this is insufficient for statistical relevance, that data must be collected from wider sources and pooled together to reach truly insightful conclusions, that each other player out there should start to collect their OWN data from their games and keep track of it to begin adding to that pool.

"however if it was such a dominant stragety you'd think it would be much more heavily played." - I have to admit, I'm unsure why you'd think you'd see a strategy that only a small minority of the strongest players are playing more often if these are not things promoted by platforms with a viewership base and wide enough reach to disseminate the information. It's a bit like being an officer in the Iraqi military saying in 2005 "Well, we had no idea that Stealth technology was instrumental to military success in the modern era." Or being a first time Wall Street investor in 2008 and saying "Well, we had no idea that the housing market was such an important factor in the global economy." Well yeah, of course that officer and that investor didn't know, they didn't ever bother to attempt to seek information that WAS available that would have improved their circumstances from expert sources. None the less, those expert sources existed and to them this information was all old hat, they'd been dealing with that reality for some time. And, here is probably the most critical factor, from a competitive perspective it was NOT beneficial to those experts to share that information with any one "outside the know" as this would diminish the advantage they had acquired through hard work and effort. The best don't share secrets, that helps everyone else catch up to them and it makes staying on top harder. That's where I come in, I'm the confidential informant, the guy who sees the inside of the machine, but isn't qualified or capable enough to be part of it. So I share those secrets, the Edward Snowden of cEDH.

"the only reason the entirity of the cEDH community isn't playing it is becuase they're all just slow" - I understand you don't want to believe that's the reality you live in, but it is. And not with just MtG, it's every aspect of life mate. Those of us in the 99% don't know jack about 99% of the things that happen in the world. Once in a while we might be privileged enough to sneak a peek behind the curtain. Best to make use of those opportunities when they arise.

"A) you cosntatly talk about the combo package with little to no explanation about how it works (or even a reference to a deck which explains it" - https://tappedout.net/mtg-forum/commander/the-new-channel-legend-lands-are-very-capable-performers/ ??? I might have been worse about providing a link in the past, but I don't think I'm repeating that mistake these days mate...

" B) have a habit of talking down to people who disagree with your opinion." - I wasn't good at this 3 or 4 years ago the first time you made this point to me. I'm better at it these days, but I'll never be good at this. Normal human social interaction is something I have always, and always will, struggle with. I don't intend condescension, or even try for it, it's simply a natural element of discourse where I am included. When you're bipolar with a genius level IQ it comes with the territory. My therapist hates it too. Rather, therapists, because they have all universally panned that character flaw. You know the Big Bang Theory? I'm Sheldon, but even less approachable and inferior intellectually.

"And while I don't want you to think that I'm straight up calling you a liar, I'm sure you can understand that many people take others' comments with a grain of salt, lest be continously deceived." - WotC used to have a web page dedicated to career accomplishments and performance at professional level events. Kind of hard to be on that page if you didn't attend and play... Yeah, I was at the bottom with a big ole goose egg in the Pro Points column, but my attendance and participation is a matter of fact that can be checked in the records. Not much I have to prove here. Not that my MtG performances are the only thing that can be checked. You can clip newspaper articles from Houston about my baseball career if you'd like, that is also a matter of public record. Same goes for almost every competitive venture I've attempted in my lifetime, League of Legends, Terraforming Mars, Splendor, the list goes on and on. All matters of public record, and each instance a top <1% player in the world aside from baseball where my failure to graduate and play in college prevents any possibility of providing evidence that I could participate at that level of play (mostly because, quite frankly, I just wasn't that good compared to that level of skill).

"As for the MLB thing, I did not know that at all, but that's pretty cool." - Really? I humble brag about that all the time and often relate my experiences playing ball and growing up playing with Koby Clemens, Brad Lincoln, James Loney, Josh Beckett, and Scott Kazmir just to name a few. I figured for sure you'd seen some of my discussion before of my days as a failing prospect. Turns out I just didn't have the discipline or work ethic required, even if I had some degree of raw natural talent. Probably didn't help that my late adolescence was a train wreck of emotional and mental instability. Bipolar Disorder was not very well understood and heavily stigmatized in the late 90s and early 2000s. Not that this disorder is an excuse for bad behavior, just relating a cause for the effect people see on occasion. Working on this aspect of myself is a life long process that can never be completed. Best that can be done is making incremental improvements as often as I can.

Hopefully none of this comes off as offensive in your mind, or belittling or insulting, or anything of that nature. Truthfully I've had a very pleasant chat and almost always enjoy our conversations, I always learn a lot, but I know that (and I'll repeat this ad infinitum) my social interaction skills are, shall we say, not good (though I would put forth the notion that "absolute garbage" would be more accurate).

April 6, 2022 5:31 a.m.

enpc says... #6

jaymc1130: while I don't think we're going to come to an agreement on this, I'm glad that the conversations are in good spirits. And I do appreciate the 200% increase of the word 'mate' :P

I will just warn you, it is a very highly contextualised word ( I know what context you were using it in so in this case you're good) but it's similar to "yeah, nah, yeah". Just be careful with it as it can mean anything from "friend" to "let's sort this out in the parking lot". Australian is a complicated language :P

April 6, 2022 7:03 a.m.

jaymc1130 says... #7

enpc Lol, I think we've had that talk before! I think, iirc, I mentioned that I picked up the habit of using "mate" as my pronoun of choice over a decade ago. It's gender neutral and seemed to have a minimal amount of negative connotations associated with it so I noticed an improved response from conversational partners when I would use "mate" as opposed to "bud" or "guy" or "man". Habit stuck, now I can't get rid of it mate! Lol.

April 6, 2022 7:11 a.m.

plakjekaas says... #8

Well I've sleeved up the Najeela list on jaymc1130 's profile, and took it to my playgroup. Disclaimer, I'm one of the casuals dipping their toes encouraged by Play to Win and sorts. I've had a little success with a Marwyn, the Nurturer list from the cEDH decklists database, but never played anything blue before. I haven't been able to come close to comboing, which is probably a limitation of me, not of the deck, but I got wrecked by Krarkashima and Godo without much effort. Only the Tymna&Malcolm midrange player was doing consistently worse '^^.

It looks like a fun engine to build your deck around though, I'm definitely keeping it, but I haven't been able to see why it's as powerful as you keep advertising. Which, again, is probably my fault. But if I can't make it work, I'll have a hard time "abusing the setup while having the chance".

I might just tinker around with a shell a bit more, to adapt to what's actually being played at the tables I'm at. How do you feel about Valakut Exploration as a way to recast the Summer Bloom after the Mystic Sanctuary etb, and effectively drawing your deck in the process? It would win the game too, if you have more cards in deck than opponents have life total.

April 6, 2022 9:31 a.m.

jaymc1130 says... #9


Honestly, the blue mid range archetypes that happen to be the most powerful in the format are also the hands down most difficult to pilot. For less highly competitive metas I typically tend to recommend a simpler race oriented deck, like Yisan, K'rrik, Godo, Teshar, etc. Generally most players will find more success with these archetypes as the ease of execution of those strategies is a big benefit. There aren't very many complicated decisions to make, the game plans are very straight forward, these race archetypes just do the one thing, they put the pedal to the metal and try not to blow the engine block.

The control oriented decks, in edh, are crazy complicated to pilot by comparison and minute errors in judgement or game state evaluation can lead to massive consequences that may not be entirely obvious. When playing the control role it's critical that the pilot properly identify exactly and precisely the game state the game is in at all times. You need to know what the biggest threat is, how you intend to stop it, and how to profit from the position afterward. You'll need extensive knowledge of every possible combo that can be utilized in the format from the entirety of MtG's history. You'll need exacting knowledge of your own deck and the lines of play that best suit the particular game state you find yourself in. You'll need exacting knowledge of each opponents deck and how those decks play so that you can anticipate your opponents' lines before they begin to travel down those roads. Playing blue in EDH is a suicide mission, for the most part, if a player steps into those shoes unprepared, because the typical blue play pattern of spending a card to deny an opponent's card is counterproductive in multiplayer settings (you and that one opponent are now both down a card compared to the other 2 players and are therefore at a disadvantage compared to both of them, you're both less likely to win from a fundamental theory perspective because you're both down resources compared to the opponents who invested no mana or cards in the interaction). This means your 1 for 1 permission and interaction elements need to be spent sparingly and ONLY on critical game winning threats, never for value. Yes, it's good to Mental Misstep an opponent's Sol Ring, unless the next player in turn priority plays a Sensei's Divining Top, for example. The Sol Ring certainly had some potential to put a player into an advantageous position, but the SDT has the potential to outright win the game and is much, much, much more difficult to remove from the board than a Sol Ring. Just tapping the incorrect land once can lead to catastrophic consequences.

In a pod with Krark/Sakashima, Tymna/Malcom, and Godo the first thing to do, on turn 0, before the game has even started, is to identify the fastest threats at the table. These are your priority considerations as these are typically going to be decks that are consistently faster than you to deploy a combo win line. However, these decks are usually not good at recovering. So looking for an opening hand that can trump the standard Godo play pattern (ramp with rocks, maybe an ogre, cast Godo, search up Helm, equip, swing for the win) is a priority. An opening hand with Swords to Plowshares is going to be much stronger in this type of situation than it might otherwise be because it will slow the Godo deck down, perhaps even eliminate it from contending entirely until turn 5 or 6, for the low investment cost of 1 card and to stuff their line of play that will require significantly more mana and card investment. This will create a situation where you profit since the resources you've invested were minimal, while the Godo deck has already shot it's one real bullet and spent most of the resources available to it to do so, only to have the attempt stuffed.

That should be priority one, not anything your deck can do, but rather stopping the opponent's first bullet because reloading that gun is a difficult and time consuming task.

The Krakishima deck would be the next fastest deck, and the typical play pattern involves some ramping with artifacts (notice the weaknesses both of these first two archetypes have? A heavy reliance on artifact ramp to play their strategy reliant commanders) into dropping Krark and a non legendary clone of Krark, potentially with a thumb alongside it. The main priority here is to just make sure they can't assemble the whole squad and have them in play all at the same time. If Krark hits the board then it becomes a priority to prevent the Sakashima cast or copy effect, and again, that Swords to Plowshares is going to do a lot of work here. But you can't use the Swords (or your interaction piece of choice for this particular example) for them both, now can you? So you need to judge which one is presenting the faster threat and use the Swords as needed, you'll have to find a separate solution to the other issue. Fortunately the deck has a game plan in mind for this that is consistently deployable in the opening turns. One of those opponents will present a faster threat, typically, and the other will present a slower threat. It's very rare both decks will ramp out super hard at the same time, usually one might and the other will have more average opening turn development. In this spot it tends to be best to spend the mana denial game plan resources (ie, the Strip Mine style lines of play) on the slower developing opponent and prevent them from doing much of anything while you handle the faster opponent first. Then you can swap to using the attrition gameplan on the faster opponent once their initial combo win attempt has been stuffed to prevent them from being able to recover effectively. And you basically juggle these responsibilities for the rest of the game until you secure an overwhelming board and game state advantage when you will finally begin to deploy your own game winning assets. If you aren't playing the consistently fastest deck at the table then trying to force an aggressive combo line attempt is generally going to be the fundamentally wrong choice, those decks do that better than blue midrange decks, but the blue midrange decks grind out wins better in games that go longer than 3 turns by an absolutely massive margin. So your priorities are first to stop the fastest opponent from winning, then to stop the second fastest opponent from winning, then to begin to edge them out in the battle of attrition for resources (cards in hand, cards in play, cards in the yard you might want access to), and THEN to position for a win attempt yourself. It's some of the most common mistakes I see from players with a blue deck in a pod, they try to force a race (which they will lose due to deck construction play pattern issues) and they spend their interaction on the first spells any random opponent casts without regard for what lines of play actually present a threat to win the game.

With so much cheap and effective interaction in the format it's nearly impossible for the first player who attempts a combo win line to succeed with that attempt in true competitive settings as long as the correct game state evaluations are being made by the interacting players and they aren't wasting critical spells on non critical issues. Essentially, when playing the interactive deck in the pod, the ONLY things you want to spend your interaction on are critical threats that represent an immediate potential to win the game. The strength of the Bloom concept lies in the fact that the pilot is able to spend their mana and card resources on nothing but developing their board state and stuffing opposing win attempts while the mana base development handles pruning opponents' board states.

As for Valakut Exploration as part of the Bloom combo line, this is a fine iteration of the combo to utilize and one I've tried out myself. It fits rather nicely into the Temur shells that utilize the concept to help enhance it, but isn't a critical component of the combo line as there are a multitude of options in those colors that represent the ability to return Bloom to a zone it can be cast from. Any of these options (draw a card, return directly to hand, play Bloom from the top, etc) can work, and the best bet to know which is best for you in your meta is to test out the options and find out which ones succeeded the most often and how difficult that success was to achieve. Valakut might not be the best option if you expect to face a Drannith Magistrate, but it might be a terrific option if you expect to face a Narset, Parter of Veils, for example. If you have advance knowledge of the meta game, use it to your advantage, if you don't, then build in some flexibility so the deck can handle a wide range of game state situations.

April 6, 2022 10:38 a.m.

griffstick says... #10

I love data like this jaymc1130. I'm a lil bit of a mtg investor. So when I see the data of this list. I instantly know that these cards are good cards to invest in. Buying a bunch of Summer Bloom today.

April 6, 2022 10:49 a.m.

griffstick says... #11

Damn bro, don't you get tired of writing?! @jaymc1130

April 6, 2022 10:58 a.m.

jaymc1130 says... #12

griffstick Historically, I've been better at identifying meta shifts than I have at identifying investment opportunities, but my last mention of a card to buy (Birgi) has indeed doubled in price since I made mention of it about a year ago to a whopping... 5 and a half bucks. Lol. Maybe don't take my advice in investment terms, that feels like playing with fire as I don't exactly have a track record for success in that regard. Nathan and Kevin from my playgroup growing up were the better financial aspect guys and there's a reason we let them handle the collective trade duties of the playgroup when we'd travel for events. They always managed to turn profits.

And yes, I do get tired of writing, but I NEVER grow tired of a spirited debate or an engaging conversation.

April 6, 2022 10:59 a.m. Edited.

griffstick says... #13

All good mate. People tend to listen more when less words are used. You know what I mean?

April 6, 2022 11:18 a.m.

jaymc1130 says... #14

I do indeed. Because I only seem able to write novels, most of which come off as stiflingly arrogant, and the only people who can usually stand to interact with me are the folks who've already been doing it for 2+ decades.

April 6, 2022 11:22 a.m.

DrukenReaps says... #15

I can't speak to the competitive side of things as I am far from a competitive player. I do see your package has a lot going for it but in the cards you've presented I just don't think they would ban any of them. Even if they do ban one it seems like most are easily replaced. So the ban has to fall on one of the linchpin cards, obviously I suppose lol.

The package as presented Bala Ged Recovery  Flip, Life from the Loam, Summer Bloom, Azusa, Lost but Seeking, Dryad of the Ilysian Grove, Lotus Cobra, Tireless Provisioner, Gaea's Cradle, Boseiju, Who Endures, Strip Mine, Cloudstone Curio, Crucible of Worlds. Suggested additions to it Green Sun's Zenith, Dryad Arbor, at least 5 mana dorks, Utopia Sprawl, and Wild Growth.

Of these Strip Mine, Crucible of Worlds, Azusa Lost but Seeking, and Gaea's Cradle stand out to my casual eye but consider the committee has said they don't want to ban things for cEDH in the past. Since the formation of their advisory group they've relented a little on their stance on cEDH but still... I wouldn't really expect them to ban any of this. Their usual reasoning boils down to "unfun" to play against or absurd value from a single card. The most absurd card here, again to my casual eyes, is Cradle. Which has always been an absurd card and the only card which has a similar example already on the ban list.

Not going to say it is impossible for something here to get axed though or that, if the package is as effective as proposed, something doesn't need to be axed. It'd just likely have to directly impact a large number of casual players too.

April 6, 2022 11:56 a.m.

jaymc1130 says... #16

A ban would be a heavy handed response, and we can't be entirely certain there is a real problem yet. All we've got is some preliminary data that suggests there could be potential for one from a competitive perspective given our playgroup's track record of instances of 40%+ win rates over large sample sizes. We don't even have enough games for a moderate sample size yet, so it's way too early to tell if anything needs a ban, and probably too early to tell if there's a true issue yet. I only mentioned this little tidbit of our data as a continuation of my thread from the other week about the new channel lands and figured this has a tangential connection that might be interesting to some folks. The fact our playgroup has a 4th outlier data point in a data set with thousands of data points was definitely curious though, as the only other things that had posted results in line with this outlier data point were themselves things that did prove to be an issue and when 2 of those were banned it's certainly something that makes one pay a bit more attention.

Not much to make from the specific data about the package yet though, not with a 19 game sample size of the archetype being played with the new cards. I'll want at least a 100 game sample size before I start to really worry and there's a good chance we see this package's win rate reach a more normal equilibrium state as we improve our understanding of the play patterns and how best to navigate them. That's been pretty normal in our testing sessions over the years, a lot of times (the majority in fact) a card or concept might start out on a hot streak but as we learn ways to combat it the last half of those 100 games show a decline in performance from the first half of those games.

Just something that's on my watch list at the moment, ya'll know if it turns into something truly ludicrous in a reasonable sample size I'll update you on it, probably in an overly dramatic fashion if my posting history is any indication of future potential posts.

April 6, 2022 12:24 p.m.

plakjekaas says... #17

To be fair, Summer Bloom is banned in modern because it broke that format too

April 6, 2022 12:42 p.m.

jaymc1130 says... #18

It is a degenerate combo card, that's for sure. Lol. Fast mana and rituals have historically always been difficult to balance, but Summer Bloom presents a bit of a unique challenge in that each new set release has a significant potential to add more utility to lines of play utilizing Summer Bloom while the enhancement of other forms of fast mana are generally printed less frequently than lands and land enhancers will be. The utility flexibility that's built into the "fast mana" that is Summer Bloom is where the issues are going to crop up for the most part.

Krark, for example, revolutionized the ways in which it's possible to play cards like Rite of Flame, but when was the last time a card got printed prior to Krark that revolutionized the way ritual spells got played? Isochron Scepter maybe? Hard to say, but when it comes to upgrading the functionality of Summer Bloom we get new tools almost every single set release.

April 6, 2022 1 p.m.

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