People's Thoughts on Mommy Norn?

Commander (EDH) forum

Posted on Dec. 24, 2022, 9:22 a.m. by DrukenReaps

So I guess Sheldon and maybe a few others from the Rules Committee aren't happy with Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines. You can listen to or read Sheldon's thoughts in this link, his article is in video description - Elesh Norn Potential Ban?!

I find myself, maybe not for the first time, but actually wanting to build mono-white. She's interesting to me if maybe generic. I at least have a group that will let me play her regardless of the Rules Committee.

But I'm curious what other people think about this opinion piece by Sheldon? And I have to ask, why so hard on Elesh Norn when Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur and Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger exist. I don't really take issues with those cards myself but they are much more threatening imo than the new Elesh Norn. Heck I think the old Elesh Norn is more threatening, Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite. I guess you can argue the lower mana cost of Mommy Norn but mana doesn't mean much to Vorinclex. Trust me, that one is coming for you xD

I guess I'm just interested in y'alls thoughts? Do any of these get anywhere near what you think of when you think bans?

TypicalTimmy says... #2

White has prison effects.

White has taxes and tax evasion.

White loves to control.

How is this a problem? She doesn't protect herself (Indestructible, hexproof, ward and the long forgotten shroud {or you know, protection itself}). She doesn't have an absurd level of keyword abilities. Only vigilance and let's face it, her other two abilities are far beyond superior to the 4 combat damage you'll deliver. So she's never going to be used as an attacker anyway, thereby rendering vigilance moot. Mono-white mostly also only has two real ETB effects; Gain some life or blink a target. Neither of which directly help you "win" the game. Slow it down, certainly. But not outright win outside of wincon pieces such as Felidar Sovereign and Aetherflux Reservoir. To which, uh removal?

Her final ability certainly harms the rest of the table, but ask yourself this question: If a card has an ability that it makes the rest of the table struggle, is that ban-worthy? No. Because what are you supposed to do, sit there like a good little boy or girl and lose the game? Playing for fun or to win aside, you shouldn't be actively trying to lose. Winning may not be your priority if you just want to have fun and sling spells, but you shouldn't actively be seeking out a losing position, either.

So what, white can't have good cards? Hogwash. Sheldon's just a crybaby. (oh and hominem real mature)

He cries all the time about cards he's unhappy with. Dudes a man child.

December 24, 2022 9:39 a.m.

Caerwyn says... #3

Like with most things Sheldon says, I find myself agreeing with some things he writes, but find he goes a bit far in his analysis and find his overall writing style a tad petty, hostile, and often makes the problem worse.

Here, for example, he could have left it at “we are keeping an eye on this card because of these mechanical reasons.” Instead, he did things like:

  1. Go on a rant about the “social” problems with the card. While it is true the social difficulties of a card play a huge part in whether it gets an EDH ban, the fact he was complaining about something’s social difficulties before it has ever been used in a social setting comes off a bit problematic. This is particularly true in light of Sheldon frequently making posts where he seems to think he knows the game’s social compacts better than the players themselves, which is not a great look for him.
  2. Even as he says Wizards is welcome to not consider Commander when designing cards, he calls them “naïve” for not considering Commander. Another bad look, considering both non-Commander and Commander players alike have been upset with how focused the game has been on Commander recently.
  3. Talking about how he begged Wizards not to print the card. Again, similar issue to point 2 - it just feeds into the narrative that Commander is having too much control over the game if its founder is begging to keep designed cards from release.

The guy really needs a PR person to go over his posts before writing - I cannot recall a single thing I have read from him where he did not play into the hands of people who are upset with his leadership of the format.

Overall, I do think there will be some problems with it - just not as much as Sheldon seems to think. While ETB abilities are common, I don’t think they are so common that Elesh Norn will be slotted into every White deck - decks without a critical density of ETBs will not want a 5 mana creature if there are not sufficient payoffs. Likewise, while it may hose some decks, the majority of decks are not going to be compleatly stopped by Norn, so I doubt this will be as apocalyptic as Sheldon thinks.

December 24, 2022 9:42 a.m. Edited.

Abaques says... #4

It's a very powerful card. Better Panharmonicon and a one-sided better Torpor Orb is a lot of power on a commander. It can obviously be backbreaking to some decks that depend heavily on ETB or landfall effects. I think if you play Elesh Norn as your commander you should expect people to try to remove it as soon as it hits the battlefield. But is it in the same league as Leovold, Emissary of Trest? No, I don't think so. Rule 0 discussions should mean that new Elesh Norn decks aren't played too often against decks that can't deal with it in some ways anyway. Those discussions have kept Tergrid, God of Fright  Flip from getting a ban and I think Tergrid is a much more annoying commander from a social aspect.

I do think there is a risk if more cards of a similar power level start being printed regularly. If every set has something equivalent in power and as potentially annoying to play against then the format might start having a problem. I don't have a huge problem with a card for Elesh Norn being very powerful. She's the leader of the Phyrexians! She should be crazy powerful! I just don't want it to become a trend for cards.

December 24, 2022 11:36 a.m.

aholder7 says... #5

I have two different play groups that i usually do edh with. one of them plays high powered near cEDH decks regularly the other a far weaker pool with pretty casual decks. I don't see either group having a problem with this card's existence. She is not hard to remove and while some decks can be shut out by the card they also get shut down by Torpor Orb. yeah it has the upside of doubling your etbs like Panharmonicon but neither of those cards is in any danger of a ban. Is it better than torpor? yeah, which is why it will probably see play, but I still don't think it reaches a level that would warp the format. If it does, i'd argue the fact that the implication is that people need to pack removal and etb effects aren't relatively uninterruptable then I don't even see that as a bad thing.

December 24, 2022 4:17 p.m.

Yisan says... #6

Personally I'd prefer cards to actually exist, be in the hands of players and actually being used before someone like Sheldon starts running their mouths. Would it have actually been a problem? No way to know now. Will its popularity rise now that it's getting all sorts of attention? Guess we get to wait and see. Regardless, it's a creature, vulnerable to all removal, it's fine. Rule 0 exists, it's fine. Let's wait to find out how much a problem it is, till then it's fine.

December 24, 2022 8:10 p.m.

plakjekaas says... #7

That's what you get when you complain for five years that white is not good enough in commander. You'll get powerful cards that excell in what white does well. You'll get asymmetrical stax pieces that cripple the game, from the command zone. Can we finally stop bullying white as the weak color in commander?

It might be as problematic as Tergrid, God of Fright  Flip, which is on the same watchlist for the rules committee and therefor might regulate itself. Doesn't mean it's not miserable to play against. Torpor Orb is miserable to play against, and that just disables creature etbs. This even disables an Obscura Storefront. It's literally the same mana value as Yarok, the Desecrated, does the same thing, and then some.

This is as much a big middle finger from the command zone as I've ever seen. A quick search for the oracle text "when" "enters" "battlefield" gives 3781 results. That's about 17% of all unique cards printed. About 1 in 6 cards printed ever is hosed by this card . I understand the worries the RC has, even if they present them in an unbecoming way.

December 24, 2022 9:11 p.m.

Gleeock says... #8

Almost reads like it is written from a meta perspective & then applied to the format as a whole. Hard for me to figure how impactful it will be. A lot of people saying it will be a table wide removal target, yet I see it a different way; I see myself playing one of my many decks not relying on ETBs, meanwhile all those Yaroks, Omnaths, Runes, Bragos will be distracted while I just play my game

December 24, 2022 9:45 p.m.

DrukenReaps says... #9

plakjekaas "That's what you get when you complain for five years that white is not good enough in commander. You'll get powerful cards that excel in what white does well. You'll get asymmetrical stax pieces that cripple the game, from the command zone. Can we finally stop bullying white as the weak color in commander?"

This sounds like a victory to me, not a bad thing.

December 24, 2022 9:53 p.m.

plakjekaas says... #10

DrukenReaps it sounds like you've never played mono white stax before. Crippling the game from the command zone is a good thing? This as a commander single-handedly halves the amount of games you can play in a night, annoying your opponents in the process.

I've never played a game where Torpor Orb wasn't universally welcomed with groans from all players who didn't cast it. It's fun... once. Just once. See what happens and then disband the deck or be sternly lectured by the playgroup. Take it from someone who played Hokori, Dust Drinker and Lavinia, Azorius Renegade long ago with the same vibes '^^

cEDH players will probably think it's fine, the higher power your meta, the better your answers to a threat like this, or at least the better your ability to play around it. It's as much mana as Ad Nauseam after all. But at casual tables, this card screams very loudly: "DOUBLE MY FUN, NONE FOR YOU ALL" which is a sentiment I don't associate with white in the color pie, nor with a nice game of casual commander '^^

It really is on the same page as Hullbreacher, Opposition Agent, Narset, Parter of Veils, Notion Thief, Drannith Magistrate, Karn, the Great Creator and the like. It's going to punish opponents just for trying to play their deck, even without any other deckbuilding effort. It's at least as punishing as the old praetors, but for half the mana.

If you go against this deck, play blue and make sure you can Clone it, so that everybody is equally unhappy and all can learn from the terrible experience ;)

December 25, 2022 12:13 a.m.

DrukenReaps says... #11

plakjekaas It will be miserable for some, yes. Lots of ETBs exist in commander and stax isn't generally what I'd call fun. I played a lot of colorless stax in the past. I don't think the stax part of Mommy Norn is really a factor in the deck building. It'll counter certain decks and cards. Frankly it counters some other "problematic" cards. Like Dockside Extortionist and some landfall decks that otherwise people don't always have good responses to. I wouldn't generally expect folks to build Stax Norn though.

The thought of this landing on the ban list when we've had Vorinclex all this time is what has me questioning Sheldon here. Like that's a card that effectively cuts mana in half for your opponents and doubles it for that player. I could go on and on and on with examples of things I'd consider banning before even looking at Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines.

White starts doing white things well and some folks start freaking is how this article has come across to me tbh.

December 25, 2022 5:51 a.m. Edited.

Tur says... #12

I agree with Sheldon to some extent.

First, it's incorrect to compare Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines's abilities to Panharmonicon and Torpor Orb. It's permanents not creatures.

(Nobody should care about the first ability, Yarok, the Desecrated is the second most popular Sultai commander and has been around forever. It's just extra stuff.)

It's the second ability which is problematic. Assume you play Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines. Not only do your permanents prevent your opponents permanents from triggering, it also prevents your opponents permanents from triggering from their own permanents. This is the first card in all of Magic: The Gathering with this effect.

Here are just some examples, I got from scrolling through the most popular commander Atraxa, Praetors' Voice on EDHREC (I do not own an Atraxa deck.) which would be effected by Elesh Norn:

Just thinking about all kinds of interactions which are possible gives me a headache.

Honestly, the Painter's Servant interactions are much easier to understand and that was a card which was banned for the interactions being too much.

If Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines had the errata to "Permanents you control entering the battlefield don't cause abilities of permanents your opponents control to trigger" it would be much more manageable.

December 25, 2022 6:25 a.m.

DrukenReaps says... #13

Tur a card that turns off Doubling Season? SOLD!

December 25, 2022 7:32 a.m.

Tur says... #14

Sorry that is incorrect, I made an oops...

Doubling Season is a replacement effect, not a triggered ability. It doesn't turn off Doubling Season.

Elesh Norn does not effect replacement effects.

December 25, 2022 8:07 a.m.

plakjekaas says... #15

"As ... enters the battlefield" or "... enters the battlefield with" are not triggered abilities. The Khans Sieges and Everflowing Chalices are fine. It's the line "when ... enters the battlefield,..." that will be stifled by Elesh Norn.

December 25, 2022 8:41 a.m.

DrukenReaps says... #16

Well now I'm sad.... Tur got my hopes up...

December 25, 2022 9:17 a.m.

I think part of the issue is the same general value around the Ivy, Gleeful Spellthief banning discussion: it's a commander whose value is independent of its impact on the table. It interferes with the game in an offhanded yet immediately problematic way.

However, unlike Ivy, Elesh is five mana in a color that is known for having low amounts of ramping (granted, this is largely offset in cEDH with cards like Jeweled Lotus or Mana Crypt to quickly accelerate it out). Once removed, like most of the Praetors, it struggles to regain board presence. And unlike Ivy, it doesn't eat protection effects and auras.

And I don't even think Ivy should be banned, just that it has been considered. I think the ruckus about Mommy of Machines is a bit premature but I understand where the concern comes from, it's definitely a card to keep duly noted for the future.

December 25, 2022 10:30 p.m.

TypicalTimmy says... #18

My notable toxic post up top aside, my opinions on a ban list at this time is that the game will self correct.

Is it unfair if a single, financially well off player in a group, has overtly powerful cards? Yes. But we are in a day now where proxies are essentially verified as suitable replacements by WOTC.

So go proxy that Necropotence or Mox Diamond. Get that value so you can have fun.


Anyway, the game should be challenging and fun. And there's always Rule 0. For example, I would prefer if Winter Orb never saw another table in the whole of it's existence. But it shouldn't be banned because there are high levels of play where others can and do use it. Harming their fun for the sake of my own isn't right.

I can always Rule 0 and politely ask for Orb to not be played. Or, it is played and I lose the game in glorious fashion, and then ask that opponent to retire their deck and use something different next.

Alternatively, one REALLY FUN thing many players fail to consider is just ask if they can run that deck next.

  • "Dude, that Oloro deck is sick! Man I couldn't do a damn thing for like, seven turns. Mind if I try it? Always wanted to learn Esper Control."

The best solution, in my opinion, is to merely ask politely.

Don't harm tens of thousands of players and ban their beloved cards because you have a gripe about them.

Ask them politely to use another deck, AFTER they get to have their fun. Don't be an asshole and target them as public enemy #1 for the rest of the night, either.

Let them have their well deserved win, then ask if they can move forward. Or see if they'd like to play Commander: Archenemy. Or Commander: THG.

Or ask to play their deck and try it out.

Ask. It's literally that simple.

December 26, 2022 9:08 a.m.

Gleeock says... #19

& sometimes you just get bad luck on a matchup, I have one deck that is truly harmed by Machine Mother: Kardur, Doomscourge. My playgroup brings out our decks at the last second, so no one is cherrypicking matchups & sometimes you just say "well that is going to be a big hill to climb" - that will probably be my attitude if I ever see that.

Then again, alot of my decks have a 2ndary theme instead of leaning all-in on one efficiency mechanic. It can water down a deck; but it can boost the resilience, gameplay variability, your ability to always have some sort of impact on a game. That way you don't find 1 stax piece shutting you down like Machine Mother here.

Her 1st text is strong, but mono , as commander, you shouldn't see as many game-ending ETB effects. More like burying everyone with efficiency (but at a 5 mana value). 2nd text only truly shuts you down if you put way too many eggs in the ETB basket... I can see it being a problem where 90% of your removal is ETB-based.

I think the point the RC has though is that anything that has a "I can __ 2x better" & "you can't" has the chance to create a 4x-16x disparity depending on how much of the field is affected, seeing as how she is global. But, the argument that I see applied tends to look at it from the perspective that all players will be affected by the stax effect, which is not necessarily true. Again, I can see her running out of hand easily, but I can also see games where I am still doing my thing unaffected

December 26, 2022 10:31 a.m.

plakjekaas says... #20

So the solution to 3 people watching a 4th have fun while they're heavily hampered themselves, is to ask: "Could you please all repeat the miserable experience we just went through for 90 minutes, but watch me have all the fun this time?" That doesn't really sound right to me '^^

I agree the game will mostly self-correct, I even described how it will happen earlier.

It's not the cards I have a gripe with, it's people. People who devise strategies that aim at leaving other players unable to play the deck they built in a social format. The "I boardwipe every other turn then win with Approach of the Second Sun"-decks. The "let me steal all your stuff"-decks. The "I know you like to play lifegain, so here is an Erebos, God of the Dead"-deck. I spent hours to balance, combine and cut cards to end up with the deck I want to be playing, and someone else is dedicated to denying me all the fun. Go back to competitive 60-card formats if that's what you want to do to other players. And this new legendary creature enables those people too easily to do that. And I hate that I have to be miserable and loudly complain about that for at least a few games before that message sinks in with those people, when even the arbiters of the format could see this coming 6 weeks before the card is actually released. I appreciate that their visceral reaction is: let's save people that misery. They have no control over what cards get printed, and they care about optimizing the play experience for all players involved. And I'm appalled they're called some nasty names for caring.

December 26, 2022 11:15 a.m.

TypicalTimmy says... #21

I brought up Oloro because a competitive Oloro deck will make it so you can't draw, you can't untap, you can't cast spells, and you can't attack since you need to pay mana to attack, which you can't do since you can't untap.

Your turn boils down to;

  • Draw. Discard. Pass.

There is nothing more miserable than that. Which is why, after the game has concluded, I recommend you politely ask the Oloro player if they could use another deck for the next game. One that isn't so oppressive. Alternatively, ask the Oloro player if you can use it.

Similarly, you can modify Commander to play as Archenemy or Two Headed Giant. In this case, Archenemy is preferable. You may not have the Schemes and Ongoings cards, but it's the same.

  • Archenemy goes first and draws on their first turn.
  • Then, all three other players take their turn together. They share the same upkeep, draw, mains, combat and end steps.

Trust me. Commander: Archenemy is TONS OF FUN and you'll really watch a deck, like Oloro, crumble.

There's also the option of simply not playing with that person. Sure it can be hard if you have a small group of friends, yes. But in an LGS setting if you sit down and play against someone who has several insanely powerful decks, you always have the option of simply not playing with that one individual.

While negative player experience is a thing, we must also consider the players who we are banning cards from. Now sure, there are cards so outrageously one sided in their power that making a ban argument is simple. Or cards that combo so well together that they become an unbreakable lock on the game. But to suggest that a single card should be banned for tens of thousands of players, because one person complained about it online? That's just silly.

Does Norn dramatically hurt the table? Oh absolutely yes she does.

But going back to my original point: What, white can't have good cards? We have seen it almost develop into a meme. A cycle comes out and blue or black is outrageously overpowered and under costed, green and red are hilariously Timmy traps, and white is your 30 cent mythic rare you can use as a table shim.

Now, white finally has a card that deserves that mythic title and the response is to cry like a baby online about it. No. White deserves just as much love as blue, black, red and green.

And if WOTC continues to refuse to print solid draw AND ramp for white, then the least they can do is print solid evasion and prisons.

Saying white can't have prisons is like saying blue can't have counter spells, black can't have discard, red can't have burn and green can't have creatures.

Each color excels at something unique. Let white have what it's best at and move on.

December 26, 2022 11:41 a.m.

Gleeock says... #22

To me it is misleading to say she even dramatically hurts the table or that she will have all the fun while 3/4 of the table is unable to. She CAN do those things in the right circumstances. But, again, that is more like a meta-dependent argument being applied to all of commander. If you (& your entire table) are relying on ETB's that much sure: it is not your lucky day, if you are playing one of the many other strategies available or your ETB deck is diversified with a secondary theme, then you just shift strategies accordingly. Now Leovold, Emissary of Trest was extreme, since card draw is near-ubiquitous... Even then, I actually never had that much issue playing him in the new age (rule 0 Leovold), what with how many other options I run beyond "draw out of problems", but certainly, at the time, I can see how he would be considered as dramatically hurting entire tables.

December 26, 2022 12:05 p.m.

Coward_Token says... #23

Yeah I'm kinda surprised about the controversy

What Caerwyn said about her supposedly being "Too generically good". I don't see myself including her in many of my decks, if any. She is not Smothering Tithe. I don't think comparing her to Hullbreacher or Drannith Magistrate is appropriate, as they're going to come out and shut down the board much quicker due to their low cost.

What aholder7 said about ETBs needing more answers.

Yarok is a three-color commander, while Mommmy Norn is mono-white, which still lacks good draw (yes, BRO tried). As a commander she'll have problems keeping up with having enough protective cards available. To be fair though, while she lacks an explicit self-protection ability like hexproof, she is immune to a lot of creature- and enchantment-based removal, e.g. Amphin Mutineer and Grasp of Fate.

December 26, 2022 12:32 p.m.

TypicalTimmy says... #24

She's a great roadblock for decks that combo off to go infinite. You know the ones, where you chain together ETB effects to garner infinite tokens / draw / mana / burn. I'm at work and can't specifically cite anything in particular but we've all seen them either in person or online with YouTube.

As non-infinite combo players, the most Norn does is hinder an occasional benefit. For example, she shuts down shocklands, correct? Because when the land ETB you can pay 2 life. With her, no you can not.

Big deal. So she slows the game a turn for each opponent.

But combo players? She wrecks your shit hard. And I'm sorry, does that mean that combo players are the ones who take issue with her? Didn't realize Magic was a one-sided game.

If the players who take the worst offense with her are the ones who are actively attempting to lock the game out and go infinite, then I actively encourage everyone to play her because the only thing worse then being told "You need to wait a turn" is being told "You need to sit there for an hour while I win the game."

And obviously I'm being a bit hyperbolic in nature, but you understand the point.

If YOU, yes you who is reading this, do not rely on ETB effects to win your games in general, than Norn has zero effect on you.

If YOU, reading this, are the kind of player who kicks off infinite combos to win because it's fun locking players out of the game while you play by yourself, then it's a good thing she's being printed because it puts combo-heavy decks in check.

We all know combo needs more answers.

Which leads me to believe combo players are the ones complaining the loudest. Which, if that's true, makes me love Norn even more.

December 26, 2022 12:43 p.m. Edited.

Gleeock says... #25

TypicalTimmy you know... until they print better punishers with upside :) . What I want = more punishers that are difficult to remove & don't completely stop actions, but cause repetitive actions to have harsher consequences or scaling consequences. But, they also need an upside to the player casting them, otherwise they are simply a do-nothing punisher that wasted a card slot or waits to eat removal from the affected player. I think of how effectively I've used crappy Cindervines & that has the upside of removal attached if it is about to be targeted.

December 26, 2022 1:04 p.m.

TypicalTimmy says... #26

So, Gleeock, you want cards with more value?

Ladies and gentlemen, the power creep. ;)

December 26, 2022 1:29 p.m.

Gleeock says... #27

Punisher's with upside is not much for power creep, Cindervines is not exactly a powerhouse. Descent into Avernus is not too contentious. Liesa, Shroud of Dusk isn't overpowering the format. A little creativity on our groupslug/punishers is all I'm asking for. If you are looking for a "fair" way to punish storm-outs & solitaire play - tacking small advantage onto those "policing chip dmg" is a relatively lightly explored avenue. Roiling Vortex was a good attempt, except the "benefit" doesn't really put the caster ahead any & it still sits there until it eats removal on the player that it affects most. If a whole plethora of removal pieces can cantrip, I would think a few punishers could, at the very least, cantrip or have a more spicy benefit.

Stax with upside (as being disputed here) is much more contentious than cards that still allow options, just make you bleed a little for that decision.

December 26, 2022 2:05 p.m.

Tur says... #28

Combo players, in semi-competitive, do not care about this card. It will never be a road block to their combo decks. It will die right away or be countered. Boom and that's all they wrote. Counterspell cards would be more effective against combo players.

Again, I do not care about the Yarok, the Desecrated part of the card. That really doesn't matter too much.

The problem which I have with Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines is the very large amount of judge rulings, player errors, and misrepresentation which will occur.

It is inevitable these will occur.

How many times have you seen someone in your play group do any of the following actions:

In a casual meta takebacks are generally acceptable. Assuming not too much time or actions have past.

Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines is a engine for these kind of effects. Unless you're a very sticker for the rules, half the time you'll have to deal with so many takebacks. It's a headache.

I'd probably just scoop to this card if I don't have an out in-hand.

At least Winter Orb isn't going to cause massive takebacks.

December 26, 2022 2:06 p.m.

TypicalTimmy says... #29

Scooping to a card that just negates ETB effects? Are you that reliant on them that you can't play the game without them?

December 26, 2022 2:20 p.m.

Gleeock says... #30

I think it is more appropriate to say: I want "punisher's that have some value whatsoever" - so many of them only serve to police the game without shutting down the game & yet you can't keep up with the competition when you are doing that. It is WoTC all-or-nothing approach that makes problems: print stax pieces (all-or-nothing because either you can or you just can't) & then you also tag a massive upside onto an all-or-nothing card. If this effect was "x lifeloss tax effect on opponent's ETB's" it would be so much less contentious to then include a strong ETB bonus text -- Though for this card that is a moot point since that is not really a mono effect.

Just saying punishment or tax is the "fair" way to go (it still allows an option, even if you are gouged for it).

All, this said, but as a mono praetor it doesn't really bother me that much, they typically are designed this way instead of my example of what I would like to see in the format in general.

December 26, 2022 2:21 p.m.

Tur says... #31


Haha. No, my decks are well built in getting most situations. I just don't want to have to be the judge police for the playgroup and say "that doesn't work" over-and-over-and-over again. I'd rather go get a soda.

December 26, 2022 2:28 p.m.

plakjekaas says... #32

No, she doesn't shut down shocklands. Paying life for your shockland is not a trigger. It does not use the stack, you cannot react to it, just like you can't react to the creature type being named with a Cavern of Souls. Because the oracle text says "As ... enters the battlefield" not "When ... enters the battlefield".

It looks like the people defending her never played with Tocatli Honor Guard, Hushbringer, Torpor Orb or Hushwing Gryff and have no idea what the oracle text actually means. And Norn is worse, since it's every permanent entering the battlefield, not just creatures. Like Strict Proctor.

TypicalTimmy I looked at your Miirym deck, here's the "occasional benefits" Elesh Norn is actually going to shut down or interfere with:

Astral Dragon

Bramble Sovereign

Ganax, Astral Hunter

Nesting Dragon

Patron of the Arts

Purphoros, God of the Forge

Rapacious Dragon

Red Dragon

Scourge of Valkas

Skyline Despot

Swashbuckler Extraordinaire

Terror of the Peaks

Dragon's Hoard

Spinerock Knoll

Dragon Tempest

Flameshadow Conjuring

Garruk's Uprising

Guardian Project

Impact Tremors

Kindred Discovery

Temur Ascendancy

Warstorm Surge

That's a lot of synergy, ramp, carddraw and wincons shut down by a commander. About 1/3rd of all your nonland cards. And that deck is going to have a hard time removing her too, by the looks of it.

Now there are a few cards that get better playing against Norn: bouncelands like Boros Garrison don't return lands to hand anymore, Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger doesn't need to sacrifice itself, but effects like those are not enough to catch up with the Norn player.

What's this "no game-winning effects in white" everyone is talking about? Cathars' Crusade will end the game in a hurry, especially if you pair it up with something like Blessed Sanctuary. Double up on every O-ring effect. Stonehorn Dignitary will keep you alive, especially if you play Teleportation Circle and Conjurer's Closet, as one definitely will in this deck. Felidar Retreat and Emeria Shepherd with all your Land Tax effects will snowball into an enormous boardstate easily. Solitude will rule the table. Sun Titan is still one of the most played white creatures for a reason. For carddraw that white wasn't supposed to have, Spirited Companion, Carrier Pigeons, Combat Thresher, Farsight Adept, Inspiring Overseer, Mentor of the Meek, Priest of Ancient Lore, Resistance Squad, Roving Harper, Rumor Gatherer, Search Party Captain, Skyscanner, Thraben Inspector, Wall of Omens all double up with Norn. Because everyone memed that white is a bad colour, nobody seems to know what the color has to offer. It could already hold its own without such a saltmine of a card for the command zone, and if you need this middle finger to half the popular deck archetypes to even consider building it, you do you, but prepare to be avoided.

December 26, 2022 2:31 p.m.

Gleeock says... #33

That still is alot of engine/incremental advantage pieces listed though & yes, Cathars' Crusade already rocks people without doubling up on it. Growing white weenie will get better in this deck doubling on some stuff white weenie already does, but isn't seemingly bannable to me. Doubling up on card-draw with white weenie is potent, but again, not game-endingly potent.

I think I saw some of the same discussion with Yasharn, Implacable Earth & his ETB benefit + nasty stax from the command zone, he turned out being fine. It will be interesting to see though, if you are correct & this does end up being busted as a commander.

December 26, 2022 2:59 p.m.

DreadKhan says... #34

I also feel deeply weird about people acting like 5 mana in White is not a major barrier, and that somehow negating opponent's ETBs is better than some of the actual hard Stax out there, stuff like Stasis, Rule of Law and Static Orb are hilariously nastier than Elesh, almost regardless of what you've built those cards just poop on your dreams, and they tend to be pretty one-sided in practice, even if they are symmetrical. If nobody is seriously wanting Stasis banned how can we not laugh when people talk about banning Mother of Machines (I don't want Stasis banned btw), there are much stronger effects that are played.

Is this Praetor a Casual Commander? I don't think so, that may not be a 'top 10' Stax effect, but it's definitely salt inducing to Casual players who often use more creatures in their decks, and ETB based decks aren't unusual in Commander. It's not like people would run Torpor Orb in Casual, that's already clearly inappropriate, so a better Torpor Orb that can also clock your opponent is obviously not Casual material.

Is this new Praetor truly competitive compared to other White decks? I feel like it's a good card in White, but I feel like if you try to include too many cards that aren't universally good you'll badly dilute your card pool, you need to run tons and tons of ETB stuff or your Commander is probably bad. When I compare it with the OG Elesh, it's easy to notice that with OG Elesh in cEDH, you just ran the best White cards, and your Hatebears become finishers after your Commander comes out, this is a viable deck even if it's not super-popular. I don't think it's as good as either Heliod fwiw, and I suspect there are other Commanders you'd play anyways. Also, I'm pretty sure most decks in cEDH care more about -2/-2 to their bodies compared to losing ETBs, obviously some key exceptions like Dockside exist, but Elesh is terrifying in cEDH.

I think where Elesh will shine brightest is in otherwise permissive High Power pods, where people run 3 or 4 versatile removal effects per deck and if Elesh runs ~20 ETB based ones that are getting doubled.

I firmly expect some rando to now run Elesh Mom and win some cEDH tournaments to 'prove' that new Elesh is better or something. JLK on Gameknights did a decent job of showing that it's got some big mechanical advantages in a pod that is otherwise lean on removal (since White has a bajillion ETB based enchantments that can now remove 2 cards), if your pod has people who each are running lots of removal those cards start feeling really weak again, so there are meta issues with the power level of the card.

December 26, 2022 3:01 p.m.

Epidilius says... #35

A lot has been said already, but my two cents:

Will she absolutely destroy my casual Inalla, Archmage Ritualist Wizard ETB tribal deck? Yeah. I have ways to deal with it, but if the table wants to scoop I'd probably say "Let me see if my draw step can deal with it, if it can't I'll scoop with you".

Will she destroy my Yarok, the Desecrated ETB combo deck? Maybe. It has three main ETB combos that it turns off, but the deck is also full of removal for things like this.

Will she hurt my two other fav decks; a hardcore combo focused Teferi, Temporal Archmage and a super casual Daxos of Meletis? Not really. I have some ETBs that can win me the game or make big swings, but otherwise this kind of effect doesn't do anything.

I brought up scooping in response earlier, and would like to go further into detail about it. This kind of conversation would probably be brought up two or three turns after no one can do anything, and honestly none of us would get salty about it. It happens all the time. The Grixis discard gets their "No one has hands unless they deal with X on their upkeep" combo, we scoop. The Simic value engine start going, and the pilot casts Genesis Wave for 20, we scoop. The stax player starts pulling ahead too much, we scoop. The Gitrog player gets a T2 combo going, we congratulate them and scoop.

Conceding the game is part of the game, who cares. If someone is oppressing the table for more than a few turns, we'll just move on the next game. Yeah, we could spend the next hour trying to draw one specific card (or in the case my Inalla deck, hoping that another player deals with Norn), but honestly why would we? We can recognize the incredible board state that was achieved, and just start a fresh game.

December 28, 2022 12:19 a.m.

Gleeock says... #36

Thats too bad you have so many scoop games. Sounds like the meta is a bit all-or-nothing. If that is how the game works for you & your meta, that sounds like an ok arrangement for you. Here & there I have played a game like those you described, but fortunately (for me) metawise there is seemingly an unspoken preference towards more resilience & midrange decks & 2 groupslug players, so that really shakes up the ability for locks to happen in my usual playgroup. We have had so many games where anything can happen, likely it will be more of the same with the Mother of Machines here in my playgroup anyway.

December 28, 2022 8:43 a.m.

Epidilius says... #37

I may not have gotten my point across if you think we have a ton of scoop games. We play tons of games, so conceding will be a part of them. We have high power decks and casual decks, with different archetypes and strategies. We don't run any cards that hate on a specific card or deck, because it would just be a dead card most of the time.

We trust each other, and know what kinds of deck we would each build at this point. So when I get out The Chain Veil in my Teferi deck, I'll just say "I have Force in hand, anyone have two answers?" If everyone says no, we scoop up our cards and move to the next game. If the Yarok pilot demonstrates a 4 piece combo that draws a card but doesn't win, we'll say "Can anyone deal with this?" If no, we move on. If the Oloro deck has Arbitrarily High Life, but no win con out yet, we don't scoop. If the Akroma deck gets a T3 Akroma, we don't scoop. If the Nekuzar deck wheels everyone to 3 life, we don't scoop.

If we are playing our more casual decks, conceding is just never an option. We only do a mass concession if one player is clearly the winner and no one has an answer. So, we're not so much saying "I concede early" as we are going "In response to your wincon on the stack, I concede."

Its a little different with stax style decks, because they don't exactly present a wincon, instead they say "No one can do anything but me, eventually I will figure out a win." Once that kind of lock is in place though, we can all recognize that lock and say "None of us can break free, the Grixis Discard deck will win in 30 turn cycles, lets admit this and play again." Fortunately (?) there are only two stax decks in our rotation, so it doesn't come up often.

December 29, 2022 12:03 p.m.

Epicurus says... #38

"She's a great roadblock for decks that combo off to go infinite. You know the ones, where you chain together ETB effects to garner infinite tokens / draw / mana / burn. {...} we've all seen them either in person or online with YouTube."

I was looking through all of my decks, both decks that I own and prototypes, and found very few that Big Momma Norn actually shuts down. There are a few that she hinders, there are a couple interactions in each of them that she denies, but the only ones that I see her as a scoop-worthy opponent to are my Yarok decks and my GW Soul Sisters deck. Which brings me to why I quoted the paragraph above from a previous comment.

As other users have already stated on this thread, I also don't play infinite combos. I do have one such combo in one of my decks, but (a) it happened by accident, (b) it's a 3-card combo in a deck that doesn't run tutors, (c) it doesn't have anything to do with ETB triggers, and therefore isn't nerfed by Ma Norn, and (d) is absolutely not necessary for the deck to win. Is that deck effected by Norn being on the board? To some extent, absolutely. Can it win against a Norn deck? Again, absolutely.

(The deck I'm referring to is Mazirek's Nut Sac, in case anyone wants to look at it and argue otherwise).

I can see this card being a nuisance if all or most of your decks rely heavily on ETB triggers, or if you play infinite combos that require ETB triggers, but for no other reason. And honestly, I'm glad if the latter is the case.

Honestly, on a different note, I don't see her shutting down more decks than Kunoros, Hound of Athreos does. And did Kunoros flood the format? Absolutely not. Why not? Because there are too many decks that operate perfectly fine in it's presence. It only attacks one specific archetype, and only slightly hinders others. That's why you see Kuranos much more often as part of the 99 than as commander. If Ma Norn is different, it's only because there are way too many decks being played in the format that absolutely depend on ETB triggers. In that case, she'll really only serve to help diversify the format, which is exactly the opposite of what gets a card banned.

Cards get banned because they flood and homogenize the format. Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary was banned because, at the time, you couldn't keep up with that deck, so there was no reason to play anything else. Leovold, Emissary of Trest was banned because drawing is one of the most fundamental aspects of the format, and therefore wrecked every single deck archetype, and subsequently became a "play him or lose to him, your choice" kind of commander. I could go on, but basically the ban hammer comes down when a very large percentage of decks are built around that card, thereby rendering most other decks obsolete. It's really more of a business decision than anything, because flooding a format with one card means less sales of anything else. It's also just not any fun for people who want to build anything else to know that they're going to see that one deck over and over and can't beat it. Again, cards become banned when they enter the category of you have to play them, or you're going to lose to them.

On that subject, I personally wish that Thassa's Oracle would be banned. There are way too many of those decks out there, and they're not any fun to play against. I'd also like to recommend Cyclonic Rift for the hammer, because it is my number one hurt feels card (it's not just a board wipe, it's a one-sided middle finger for everyone). And no, neither of those can be in the command zone to start the game. However, both are infinitely less situational than Ma Norn. They're both devastating to every single deck archetype, not just the most popular ones.

And my final thought on the subject is that there are many other better and more versatile Stax commanders. Tegrid has been mentioned a lot on this thread, and for good reason. Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir could be added to that discussion. Grand Arbiter Augustin IV might not shut down any decks, but puts you at a +2 or +3 mana advantage, which is much less situational than the advantage Ma Norn gives you. Shit, even Archelos, Lagoon Mystic, a very underrated commander, whom a lot of people overlook, has much more of a capability of shutting down a much wider category of deck archetypes than does Ma Norn, and has a much better color identity if you want to play Stax. I'm not saying that Archelos is a better card, not by a long shot. I'm just trying to illustrate how dumb it would be to cry for the hammer to come down on Ma Norn before she ever even sees the command zone. She's not going to flood the format, won't wreck the game, and really just makes mono-white a viable option and nothing else.

Anyway, that's my rant.

December 29, 2022 1:57 p.m.

Made_Compleat says... #39

Oh no! A functional monowhite commander! EVERYBODY PANIC!

Alright. I get that Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines is a big deal. A decent statline, vigilance, Yarok, the Desecrated as one ability and a much, much, much better version of Hushbringer as the other. She's certainly a powerhouse. But should she see the hammer? I think not.

I'll not say that Machine Mom isn't disruptive. She can shut down a good amount of popular cards in the format, such as Bramble Sovereign, Terror of the Peaks, and the notorious combo piece Palinchron. She can and will double up monowhite Oblivion Ring style effects. Honestly, I think that doubling Seal Away type cards is going to be the stax-ier part of Mama Machine. She doesn't shut down many combo decks (unless they use the aforementioned Palinchron), and really doesn't answer most cEDH decks. She hates out on ETBs, sure, but Yasharn, Implacable Earth hates out on sacrifice, arguably better. Gaddock Teeg is just absurdly good stax, and both Gaddok and Yasharn grant access to Green.

If you want to make Elesh Norn stax, then, ok, that's probably a deck that will give everyone a headache. But... are we going to cry "BAN HER!" for one way of building around Machine Mommy? If you want to run stax, go and buy a Hokori, Dust Drinker or Oloro, Ageless Ascetic. They're much better depriving everyone of fun than New Norn. Elesh Norn can do so much more than just stop everyone from having fun.

Honestly, a lot of the complaints that I see here are against the Stax archetype in general, not Norn. And I get that Norn seems like a good Stax commander, but... If hate stax, than complain about Hokori, or Oloro, or yes, even Archelos, Lagoon Mystic. Stax has its place: cEDH and masochistic playgroups.

Something that no one here is referencing is the Game Knights video in which Josh Lee Kwai played with a (proxied) Elesh Norn, and his deck was oppressive, but nothing too bad. Notably, Norn's restrictive ability saw a lot less use than her double ability, which was used to double small value abilities, as well as oblivion ring effects. The deck won the game, but it was very close and I wouldn't say it made Norn look banable. Not by a long shot.

So, in conclusion, Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines is a powerhouse, who certainly can be a problem, but probably isn't the worst card in EDH. Really, a lot of the complaints about her are complaints about Stax in general.

Thanks for reading my rant.

Also, did anyone else notice the fact that Navani (from Brandon Sanderson's Stormlight Archive) and Elesh Norn have the same epithet? That always makes me crack up.

January 10, 2023 6:22 p.m.

Epicurus says... #40

Thank you, Made_Compleat.

For a lot of things, but amongst them, giving Archelos some love.

May I break this thread by ranting a little bit about Power Creep?

Headline: It Isn't a Bad Thing.

I've been playing since I was 13 years old, in 1994. You know what was the first thing that pissed me off about the game? When Dark Banishing was released in Ice Age, in 1995. You know why? Because, at that point, not a whole lot of shit had been printed that made any of my decks better.

And there was Dark Banishing. A shell of its predecessor, Terror. A card that basically did the exact same thing, but cost one more. Yeah, it killed artifact creatures, but what the hell good did that do anybody back then. And nothing else added to it that made it even close to as good. And, in my mind, I thought, "is anything ever going to make my decks better?" Or are they just going to keep making worse versions of existing cards?

I quit playing the game. Stopped buying packs. Kept my cards, because I never thought they'd be worth anything. Occasionally I would find someone who played, would bring out my old what then began to be called "Legacy" decks, and inevitably trounced them. And, do you know what made me want to start buying cards again? At some point, I started to lose games.

Ok, so I first started buying cards again for the Urza block, because of the fast green creatures with Echo, and because I thought Squirrels were cool. Then, I bought a lot of Mirrodin years later, because I liked both the Affinity mechanic and Equipment subtype therein. I was utterly disappointed with 5th Dawn, but there I was. And I bought a lot of Kamigawa block after that, solely for the flavor. But I quit again after that, because I still owned those decks from long before that were my best, and nothing had made them any better.

I stopped buying cards for many years after that, and then Lorwyn was released in 2007, and I started losing games. Power Creep had set in.

I honestly don't know what it was. Nobody I played with used planeswalkers, so their introduction couldn't have been it. Maybe I had just missed too much in all those years, and new archetypes had emerged. Whatever it was, suddenly my Legacy decks, that hadn't changed much in more than a decade, weren't competing. I had to start buying cards, lest my stance that "new cards will never compete with the old ones" was proven obsolete.

And the hits kept hitting, for years thereafter. I was elated. FINALLY! The cards that were being printed could create decks that could compete with decks that had existed more than a decade ago. And no, I'm not talking about Power 9 decks, but even they could be improved by newly printed cards! There was something better out there, possible and new, to give me a reason to want to continue playing the game!

And by "playing the game," I mean continuing to give my money to WotC. And/or my LGS, TCGplayer, or whomever (way back then, there was a website called, where I bought all of my singles, but I don't think they exist anymore). Finally, WotC was printing cards that competed with existing cards! Finally, there was a reason to expand my collection! Finally, WotC wasn't just trying to push Standard format for the sake of getting new players to feel like they could keep up, and instead was making old players - like me - feel excited about buying packs again!

And then there was commander. Some of you might not know or remember, but EDH stands for "Elder Dragon Highlander." "Elder Dragon," because in the beginning your commander had to be one, and "Highlander" because that was already the existing name for singleton format ("There can be only one!"). True story: 100 card singleton format existed in 1996. It was called "Highlander" back then. There was no commander. There was no command zone. Just a 100 card singleton deck that forced you to use all those less powerful reprints like Dark Banishing, because the deck was 100 cards and you could only have one Terror. And sometimes, in my experience, your starting life total was still just 20. The wild fuckin west, brah.

And with Commander came a revitalization of a lot of previously overlooked cards. For instance, those 8 copies of Rhystic Study that I had pulled from packs many years prior were suddenly worth a shit. Hard to believe now, but they hadn't been before. Just bulk rares. So at that point, not only were there more and better cards being released frequently, but my old cards that even I had dismissed were becoming relevant. It was like Christmas times 1000!!

So please, don't complain about new cards being too powerful. You don't have any idea what it was like when all that bullshit was being printed in the late 90's. Be grateful that WotC keeps you on your toes. It's a lot more of a beneficial strategy to us players than the creation of the Standard format, where they basically said "we're not ever going to improve on existing cards, so you aren't allowed to use them anymore. Here's a load of less powerful garbage. Please keep buying cards." It keeps us interested in what's being released. It keeps us from taking years-long hiatuses, like I did many times in the past. It keeps new releases relevant, for more than just flavor or shiny new mechanics.

Now we have to grow our collections in order to compete. We have to buy those new cards to keep up. We can't just keep playing that graveyard deck that we built in 1994 and expect to win against these kids that just started playing. We have to adapt, and that keeps the game interesting. Even if it's only changing a card or two in the deck every year. And yeah, if a card comes along every now and then like Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines, that completely wrecks all of the decks that you spent so much time and money building, so be it! That just means that the game is improving, diversifying. It means that there's an avenue for what you already own to get better.

It is a good thing. Get over it.

January 10, 2023 8:58 p.m.

vasarto77 says... #41

Functionally she seems powerful, but with her mana cost and her being mono white I doubt she will see much play. I can see her being used in some decks and being useful, but she isn't overly powerful. I honestly think her first iteration is far more powerful and far more useful than this ability as since she is mono white, using her has a commander would be no where near as effective as using her in the 99 much like her counterpart and unlike her counterpart it doesn't have the ability to royaly screw your opponents regardless of whom they are, but only if they are using heavy etb effects. The extra triggers are great but meaningless if you don't build around it and even less meaningless if your opponents are also not relying on etb cards. I could see this being a maybe 10 dollar card once the prices drop.

January 31, 2023 12:56 a.m.

Khahan says... #42

For the people in favor of the ban - is based on Norn being the commander so she can be repeatedly cast without being searched or is it based simply on her existence?

February 14, 2023 11:48 a.m.

Abaques says... #43

I played against Mommy Norn last week at my LGS's commander night. It wasn't an optimized deck, but the card has a real gravity on the game. My deck only contained a handful of ETB effects, but was none-the-less hurt by it being in play. I think the other two non-Norn players were impacted a bit more, but it certainly changes the way that you play. Oblivion Ring type cards are just sooo much value.

In the end we hated the Elesh player out of the game because none of us felt we could beat them one on one. I think that's likely going to be the case for most times Momma Norn gets played as a commander and I think that's why it doesn't deserve a ban. It will get soft-banned by the community.

I think it will be less impactful in the 99, but none-the-less will put a target on your head once it's on the battlefield.

February 14, 2023 4:06 p.m.

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