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Ghave, Guru of Spores feels like a no brainer.
January 17, 2022 4:48 p.m.
While the additional talking points here have been really good, I thought I would just weigh in on the original question with my 2 cents: Generally Swords to Plowshares is the better of the two removal pieces, however the difference between it and Path to Exile is not very much. If you only had a Path and not Swords, you are not doing yourself a disservice running Path.
While both have drawbacks and yes, giving your opponent an additional land is generally worse than giving them a bunch of life, the upside of exiling a creature is almost always worth it (presuming that your target prioritisation is good). And there are scenarios where giving your opponent 1 land is a much better option than giving them a massive chunk of life (if your opponent has some sort of way to buff their creature). Especially when cards like Ad Nauseam come into play or if you rely on combat for example and you exile a Malignus which was being buffed by a Xenagos, God of Revels, the one land can seem like a much better tradeoff. this is why assessing the cards in a total vacuum doesn't entirely work - in a vacuum the downside of each card doesn't matter and so they're identical - pick whichever one you like the art of more.
At the end of the day though, why not run both? EDH as a format is very much focused around creatures, so you may as well take advantage of more high efficiency removal and double your chances of drawing it. As hejtmane puts it:
January 17, 2022 12:24 a.m.
It just depends on the meta. In the LGSs I used to play in (I haven't actually sat down for a game in quite a while) removal was commonplace. You'd see Cyclonic Rift, but most decks would also be packing stuff like Nature's Claim or Anguished Unmaking. Some playgroups defniitely do like the "Big army smash aginast big army" games and in those, people don't typically want to dedicate slots to removal when they could just run more smashy-smashy.
But in a more combo heavy meta, removal is a necessity. And while I probably run a bit more than most (I had a reputation for always having some piece of removal in hand, even when I didn't) but seeing enchantment removal is not uncommon. But the otehr thing is that typically at those levels of play, commander removal isn't as important as win condition removal.
January 16, 2022 10:22 p.m.
TypicalTimmy: Which is only true if your opponent is playing their commander on curve. Buf if your opponent has land ramped or has held off a turn or two to cast their commander then even without the land, pathing their commander just delays it a turn.
But that's the nature of commander removal - the RC have made it very hard for a player to lose access to their commander, short of something like Gilded Drake or Drannith Magistrate. And Swords to Plowshares suffers almost as much against commanders.
January 16, 2022 6:37 p.m. Edited.
One other quick comment about Lavinia, your link references a deck, not the card.
One thing about the article that I think is worth mentioning is that just like tapping, untapping as an ability is affected by summoning sickness. I know this is just part of the rules, but a decent chunk of players don't know that.
January 15, 2022 3:40 a.m.
I would recommend swapping Displace for Ghostly Flicker. Flicker is just better, as you can also flicker lands/artifacts. This means that outside of combo, you can still run the Archaeomancer loop but can flicker a land/Sol Ring to reduce the cost of the loop. Also, while your deck is primarily instants/sorceries, Eternal Witness would still be the better choice as it's cheaper but also can return anythying.
January 14, 2022 10:18 p.m.
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January 14, 2022 5:08 a.m.
dfbenj: happy to help. I personally run a Tymna/Tana casual beats deck: I'm Still Not Blue if you were after a bit of inspiration. It's not designed to be competitive however there are definitely some changes that could be made to the list to make it stronger (adding some gravepact-like stax effects would defineitely help). I run an infinite combo in there with Nim Deathmantle + Ashnod's Altar and any ETB token making creature, though you could easily nix the Deathmantle. I don't know if this helps for what you're after, but I enjoy playing it.
January 6, 2022 12:10 a.m.
Nonary27: Most decks will still lean into particular cards to win a game, whether they be particualr big beaters or specific "I win" or "You lose" cards. Even in battlecruiser decks, not all cards are there just to be turned sideways.
One thing I will point out about you comment: "While some commanders rely on certain cards and strategy, if you don't have those cards or stradgy then the top tier deck may easily crushed by some lower tier decks" is that yes, If a combo deck is top decking rubbish then they will struggle, there's a more general theme of "If a deck is not functioning as it should, then it will struggle against decks that are functioning". But that's typically why combo decks especailly (though all decks do) lean into card advantage via draw/tutoring to aid in getting what they need. Sure, a battlecruiser deck doesn't have to be as picky about getting a specific beater, though it's much more efficient with the Blightsteel Colossus than it is with the Wurmcoil Engine for example. But while your claim is correct that "the deck that is working beats the deck that isnt", it's a bit of a reductionist statement.
January 5, 2022 11:49 p.m.
Many times I have seen people make statements along the lines of "I don't like infinite combos" or "We don't play infinite combos in our playgroup". But then I see these same people running cards like Avenger of Zendikar + Craterhoof Behemoth.
Similarly, I'll see poeple who are against infinite combos pack decks full of extra turn spells.
I'm not saying that any of this is bad (as a combo player myself), however in my mind a game ending Avenger + Craterhoof is the same as a game ending infinite combo, or casting Thassa's Oracle + Tainted Pact (which again isn't an infinite combo).
So where do you draw the line? How do you feel about game ending combos that are technically not infinite? Are they the same or different, and why?
January 5, 2022 11:31 p.m.
dfbenj: What's your definition of infinite combo? A lot of decks win using Tainted Pact + Thassa's Oracle which technically isn't infinite. Other decks use Approach of the Second Sun, which again isn't infinite but is still just an "I win" card. You could look into Edric, Spymaster of Trest decks which attempt to chain together multiple turn spells and win through amassing an anrmy of beaters. Yuriko, the Tiger's Shadow is the same idea (though can run Pact + Oracle as well). Again, none of these are technically infinite but taking multiple uninhibited extra turns still very much feels in the same vein.
If you're after fair and balanced magic, you might want to look into something like a Tymna the Weaver + Tana, the Bloodsower bloodpod stax deck. A lot of these run a Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker + Felidar Guardian birthing pod/Yisan line, though you can just omit the combo for more beaters/stax if you want.
January 5, 2022 11:17 p.m.
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