Posted on Oct. 13, 2021, 4:11 p.m. by Yisan
Legendary Enchantment Creature Elf God
As long as you control 5 or less elves, Eilistraee isn't a creature.
Other elves you control have Ward1
If Eilistraee is a creature, you may cast Elf creature cards from your graveyard
This would be my dream Elf graveyard commander. I wanted her to have conditional indestructible to make it fair...ish. I also wanted her to protect her followers so ward is again a more fair hexproof. And I wanted to show case her desire to raise the drow from the under dark and free them.
Too powerful? Did I nerf it?
Just to make her look a little more like a Magic card, and updated to work with the game's current rulings:
Legendary Creature - Elf God
Eilistraee has indestructible as long as you control five or more Elves.
Elves you control have ward as long as you control seven or more Elves.
You may cast Elf creature cards from exile or from your graveyard.
October 13, 2021 4:16 p.m.
Casting from exile is probably a bit much. Only card I know off hand is the Kaldium Kaya planeswalker that gives you an emblem to cast legendary spells (once on upkeep). But, with a planeswalker there is typically more work to get the emblem and your creature could start doing this immediately in most situations.
October 13, 2021 5:30 p.m. Edited.
A couple of thoughts on the "cast from exile" bit:
Maybe have an extra cost associated with the casting. Mana is basically free to a good elf deck, so how about "You may cast Elf creature spells from exile or from your graveyard. Spells cast this way cost an additional 3 life to cast." Wording could use some work, and I'm guessing at the life payment.
Another option is to limit how often you could use it to only once per turn. "Once each turn, you may cast an Elf creature spell from exile or your graveyard."
October 13, 2021 6:02 p.m.
This has a bit of a WhyMTGCardSmith feel to it (for those of you who remember that blog). While this is a lot better in that these are at least conditional, it still feels like it's encroaching on the "Indestructible, hexproof, doublestrike" territory.
Additionally, the cast from exile ability basically makes this one of the best Food Chain commanders on the market as all you need is an Elvish Visionary and you win the game. But becuase you're an elf deck, you don't have to go all in on that.
I think the idea of a WBG elf would be really good, but I think that you might want ot rethink the abilities to make it feel more like an elf commander and less like a "nobody can ever remove my stuff" commander.
October 13, 2021 7:03 p.m.
I guess maybe I underestimated the power of the cast from exile thing. I guess I thought limiting it to just creatures and just elf creatures at that chilled it out enough. And I really don't get the overloaded with keywords comments. You have 2, ward and indestructible and both are conditional. How's 2 too many?
October 13, 2021 9:04 p.m.
Yisan It just makes it really hard to interact with, and Elves are famous for multiplying quickly. Ward + indestructible is pretty close to "This creature can't leave the battlefield." It's not really the number of keywords, but how they interact. It's a lot stronger combination of keywords than, say, first strike and haste.
October 13, 2021 9:10 p.m.
So would it be better if it said "other elves get ward2"?
October 13, 2021 9:14 p.m.
Yisan: legendofa hits the nail on the head. While I have seen some truely ridiculous keyword soup cards, the common theme is that people want a (sometimes uncounterable) commander that has indestructible and hexproof, so that they can basically never have it removed. And while I understand the sentiment of "my commander is the figurehead for hte deck so I always want access to them", just making the commander impossible to interact with is not the right way of doing it.
Even giving other elves Ward 2 still creates the problem that your commander is indestructible (so a lot of removal still doesn't work) and then provides a form of protection to the thing that's giving it indestructible in the form of ward. It's no hexproof, but it's still very strong.
The last ability just doesn't feel like an elf ability either. I get that you want the ability to play your dead/exiled cards, but again, it feels way too much like you want your little bubble of protection that you can just do whatever you want in.
October 13, 2021 9:27 p.m.
I guess I get saying the last ability "doesn't feel like an elf ability " but that's exactly what eilistraee is trying to do in the lore, pull the drow up an out of the under dark. Exile feels closer to that then graveyard. Would it be better if you paid 3 or whatever to return them to your hand? Would it be better if you could only do it if you controlled 7 or less Elves? But that really doesn't make sense as gods tend to be more powerful with more followers. Not that wizards has portrayed them that way on a card.
October 14, 2021 noon
Yisan I think think a variation of the "more followers = more power" was kind of represented by devotion in Theros, by the "can't attack or block unless" in Amonkhet, and by... not much of anything in Kaldheim. Devotion is "How deep is your faith?" The Amonkhet thing is "Are you willing to work for their favor?" So the flavor isn't quite number of followers but how faithful you were to them.
I have to admit, I don't really know the lore of Eilistraee, but a few seconds of looking comes up with some traits. She is benevolent, she wants to lead the drow out of the Underdark, and she's a protector, warrior, hunter, and musician. She doesn't want to personally intervene in the lives of her followers, but will give them hints and nudges that will let them find solutions for themselves.
The "cast from exile or graveyard" ability can be flavored as returning from banishment, but it's usually more about bringing back the dead (graveyard) or an unnatural mysticism (exile).
At this point, I'm going into my own thoughts and opinions. I think a repeatable ability similar to Elvish Harbinger or Wirewood Herald would be appropriate, instead of the cast from graveyard or exile. Or "Whenever you cast an Elf creature spell, you may draw a card." similar to Primordial Sage. Change the Ward to a stat buff, maybe +1/+2 or something.
October 14, 2021 1:11 p.m.
I should add that I really like the idea of a tribal god that gets more powerful as the tribe gets bigger.
October 14, 2021 1:13 p.m.
Apologies for the triple post, but were you basing this off Svyelun of Sea and Sky?
October 14, 2021 1:24 p.m.
Svyelun was an inspiration yes, I was looking to make an elf tribal karador mixed with svyelun that worked as a mana dump while doing things elves lack like recursion.
October 14, 2021 7:05 p.m.
The problem with making an elf tribal Karador is that from a balancing point of view, you're making it so that there is no drawback of the deck:
Your commander has access to green, white and black.
Your commander has indestructible. While it's conditional, all you need is a few other elves. And elves are very good at playing lots of elves.
Your commander protects all the things that make it indestructible. Again, it's not hard hexproof, but it's still soft hexproof. AND it affects your commander too.
Your commander (as per the original design) has the ability, with no drawbacks or conditions, to let you play elf cards directly from the graveyard or exile. Even Karador, one of the graveyard commanders doesn't do that.
Your commander costs 5 mana, in a tribal deck known for turn one ramp spells.
I understand that you're basing this off of some sort of lore, but regardless of that you're creating a card that can do all of the things, in a tribe that can already do most of the things. There's nothing here that makes you have to work for anything. there's no balancing act you have to play. Elves already do most of the work and now you commander does the rest.
Put it this way, imagine sitting down to a table where you're playing against this thing and think about how fair that would seem. Especially in a pubstomp setting. And that's not even taking into account a comannder that synergises stupidly with Food Chain.
If you want an abzan elf graveyard commander, then focus on that. but as it stands you're just trying to do too much in one card.
October 15, 2021 2:06 a.m.
I guess I get your points mostly. But if card designs took into account food chain and doubling season, how many cards would not have been created? Your objections to the first 2 abilities, svylunn exists. She has a much easier casting cost, she has a much less conditional indestructible, and she just gives away ward 1 for free. Nobody flipped a wig over that. I suggested walking it back on eilistraee to other elves AND keeping it conditional, but that's not enough evidently. I also suggested dumping the from exile bit but that's also not good enough? Let me edit it and then look at it
October 15, 2021 4:22 a.m.
so, rather than flood the area with bricks of text, I've broken my thoughts on this down into 3 issues:
Svylunn is a monochromatic deity in a tribe that branches into all 5 colors; while all merfolk are at least a little bit blue, lorwyn and morningtide had white merfolk, eventide & Shadowmoor had black merfolk, and now ixilan has green merfolk (then there are the 4 izzet merfolk that nobody really uses for tribal). Yet the sole merfolk god only exists in mono-blue. As such, there is a restriction for what you can or cannot build a deck with her as a commander.
Likewise, elves were white in shadowmoor / eventide, but black in lorwyn / morningtide. but for Alara they were red, and for simic they were blue. And as a regularly reoccuring tribe, they had even more support than merfolk, what with vedalken, humans, and faeries edging in on their turf.
Heck, if you limit the colors and focus in on what elves do, the closest elf god comparison actually already exists - Ezuri, Renegade Leader - protection for other elves (better than ward 1, I'd argue), and a mass-pump built in. He doesn't do card draw, but before green stole a bit of everone elses stuff on the color pie, that was blue's schtick.
It feels a waaaay to good to work. Even if you remove the cast from exile, Gisa and Geralf only lets you cast a single zombie from the graveyard each turn, for a single mana fewer.
While I like the concept of needing elves to make her indestructible, it would make more sense to make her closer to a Thero's gods; requiring elves to be a creature and maintain indestructibility at all times. Instead, have a passive ward 1 for elves, but only let you cast from graveyard while she is a creature. Just spitballing here for what might work better.
So, lore wise (assuming drawing from forgotten realms, as the name implies), she really only accepts drow that have rejected their subterranean heritage and reverance of Lloth. as such, she would make more sense to have something akin to:
Whenever a black elf comes into play under your control, target opponent gains control of it. it gains "when this creature leaves play, its owner puts a green copy of it into play under their control".
or, if you want to feature her aspect as a deity of retemption:
Your deck may contain elves of any color. Any non-green, non-white elves are green. You may spend white mana to cast elves as if it were mana of any color.
While she was banished to the underdark, she went willingly to try and redeem her mother's followers. This is not he act of a selfish being - quite the opposite. As such, while I have no issue with the , the in her mana cost really doesn't belong.
Just my 2 Cents
October 15, 2021 3:02 p.m.
I kind of prefer the "devotion to elves a la theros" [email protected]_only. I agree with your color issues to a degree. In terms of existing mtg depictions of drow lolth is monoblack and lolth loyal drow are monoblack. The nonlolth Drow are dipicted as green and white. I think based on what I have read about drow all of them are a little black. The only one who arnt are the converts who ran from lolth. Sort of like a drug user who gets clean and can't be around anything or anyone close to their previous life. I also think eilistraees mom was always g/b even before the fall and her dad was g/w. So it made sense to me.