The Pragmatist's Pet
As more cards are added to the game of Magic, each bearing the modern design philosophy that urge them to be relevant in near to all formats, there comes the time for a player to edit their decks.
I shall confess that I primarily dwell in the realm of Commander, but this is an argument that can be made for all methods of casting spellls. (Mostly Commander)
Within each set is a card that is fated to find a home in a specific archetype, yet this entails that another piece of the machine is removed. I have a mono-black discard deck built around Chainer , but they have since printed Tinybones , Tergrid Flip, and Tourach . Each of these are more potent in the command zone, but Chainer is closer to my twisted heart and nocent at shackling my foes.
This especially pertains to the list below the commander, such as Murderous Rider over Hero's Downfall , Fierce Guardianship over Counterspell , Usher of the Fallen over Savannah Lions , and the list goes on for eternity. I enjoy adding asinine old artifacts to lists (see: Temporal Aperture and Phyrexian Portal ), yet felt as if I had no choice but to cut Moonring Mirror for Sevylun .
My query of this thread is when do players feel obliged to cut cards from lists despite any strong emotions towards maintaining their inclusion? When can the poignant piece of cardboard at last meet anguish? When does power eclipse pet?
Note: This is not a question of whether it is correct or not to snuff the asinine spell. Optimization is a separate topic than what is meant to be discussed here.
It was perhaps among the saddest days of my life when I decided to cut Verdurous Gearhulk from my ever-more-powerful Atla Palani, Nest Tender deck. But in the end, I decided that beautiful card from one of my favorite set wasn't enough to counterbalance the mechanical weakness of it--IN THAT DECK, specifically. However, I bought a Vance's Blasting Cannons Flip to go in my Reyav, Master Smith deck (a decidedly sillier one than Atla), purely for the art and for the fact that it came from another of my favorite sets.
But I digress--um... actually I have no clue where I'm going with this.
June 15, 2021 5:47 p.m.
For a very long time, I ran Damia, Sage of Stone as my primary commander and even resisted switching to Tasigur, the Golden Fang . With the release of Thrasios, Triton Hero and Tymna the Weaver there was enough incentive to change over, but it was still a hard choice.
As for the examples you've given though, I still feel like there's a bit of a disconnect between your existing commanders and the new example commanders. Sure, Zacama, Primal Calamity is naya an interacts with lands, but it's still a very different deck than Hazezon Tamar .
Just like how using Chainer, Dementia Master is about being able to abuse reanimation (which may or may not be abusing discard ETB effects). So while the deck may have a heavy discard theme (which on quick inspection looks like it does) however a lot of the card choices in the deck would still look different with someone like Tegrid, God of Fright leading it.
I also think that there are two distinct questions here:
1) When do players feel it's the right time to replace cards in the 99, and;
2) When do players feel it's the right time to replace their commander
I feel like question 2 is a lot more difficult of a question, as geenrall you're not just swapping a pet card in/out - you're effectively restructuring the deck at this point (even if you are keeping the theme the same).
June 15, 2021 7:50 p.m.
enpc - . A better example for me would have been Karametra against Sythis or Jodah against Golos . I build around a lot of old commanders that do not really have direct replacements, but these were just predicaments of consideration. I would take the statement of the 99 more to heart than the commander.
June 15, 2021 8 p.m.
Are you playing at a power level that necessitates you changing out your pet cards? If not, I don't see a reason to swap cards around at all unless you really want to. I am also very biased though; variety and unique flavor is a challenging aspect I really enjoy. I would much rather see your favorite classic cards rather than the same, modern, staple-packed, homogenized shell that everyone else seems to run in every deck - but that's just me.
June 16, 2021 1:40 a.m.
My opinion is that depends on what you are getting out of playing. If you're purely playing for the social aspect, then by all means keep the original cards and enjoy them as much as you can. If you're in it for the competition aspect, then update away. I know the decisions are tough to make sometimes, but in the end it's all good. Perhaps there is even a way to make room for both cards in some cases (dependent on the deck obviously).
One thing I know a few of my lgs friends do is make theme decks (like certain blocks or guilds) as a format and use those places for pet cards. Just an idea.
Either way, I hope this helps in your decision.
June 16, 2021 2:05 a.m.
Peoyogon - I stray towards the asininity of the old as athwart to the efficacy of the new. Adun Oakenshield leads my Jund aristocrats list over Korvold , despite the fact of the dragon's innate power level, but I enjoy the deck far more due to the fact.
June 16, 2021 2:22 a.m.
June 16, 2021 3:23 a.m.
I once built a Nahiri, the Harbinger deck until I got to a point, months later, that the deck is actually better without it.
It boils down to:
1) Do I want a theme deck?
2) Do I want the most optimal deck?
June 16, 2021 4:34 a.m.
Environment dependent. If its casual edh and I have a sentimental connection to a card/deck I probably won't tear it all apart. If it's a sanctioned format and the deck is meant for tournment play 100% cutting suboptimal cards. I love lantern control and everytime the list got new toys you best believe I made the upgrades.
June 16, 2021 9:58 p.m.
I take immense joy in showing my pet commanders can take on powerhouses. Let's be real, Savra, Queen of the Golgari barely shows up at casual tables, much less cEDH, but every time I can make Muldrotha or Korvold bow, I am happy.
Not saying I don't play some powerhouses. My Alesha is probably more a pet build instead of running any pet cards.
I think a lot of times 'pet cards' are the cards I'm known for, kind of like signatures. Like Warstorm Surge in all my red decks.
My group is casual enough to allow suboptimal card choice...I don't see this kind of thing being a factor in cEDH or any competitive scene unless it can give an edge.
June 17, 2021 10:17 p.m. Edited.
Most of my commander decks were built for fun and casual play, and built with some lore aspect or tribe flavor. Sometimes, in order to make them more competitive, I have to replace some of the fun cards for stronger and better cards.
Recently I was sad when I had to replace Unwind with Mana Leak in my Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain deck. I know Unwind is bad counterspell, but it has Jhoira on it! I also had the Weatherlight and Jhoira's Familiar in this deck, but they had to make room for other more useful cards...
But I keep record of those removed pet cards and I have them all in a special box with intention to put them back for funny non-competitive games.