Saturday, July 28, 2012

Let's Get Bolas!

Nicol BolasNicol Bolas:
  1. Controls creatures
  2. Manipulates planeswalkers
  3. Casts powerful destruction spells
  4. Outmaneuvers others
  5. Wins in a sneaky way
I am working on that last one, but 2-card and 3-card-combos would fit the bill. The idea is to appear to be losing or holding your ground then - blamo! Combo everyone out. But I'll need several different combos so that I can get some mileage out of the deck by switching it up.

Notes on the Commander Format

I was looking through some old emails and came across these notes. I thought I would share them here.

A couple of points on Commander:
  1. Any of us can build a deck that stomps other decks into the ground. The point of the format is to do it with style. :)
  2. Cards that are good in competitive formats are by-and-large good in this format, despite what you might read elsewhere.
  3. Strategies that are good in competitive formats are by-and-large good in this format, except that synergies matter more and redundancy is harder to come by.
  4. Several strategies that are unique to the format are available to you, including the availability of your Commander.
You may be surprised at how fragile creatures are. Speed matters. Land matters. Ramp really matters. Thrax costs 9 mana after he dies the first time. When will you hit 9? (Yes, you can dump him in the graveyard and reanimate him, but graveyard hate is all over the place.)
Personal notes:
I have a burning hatred for lands that come into play tapped or cause a bounce. Speed matters. And when your turn only comes around every 10 minutes, I hate dropping a land and saying "go."
I go overboard on land because the only thing worse than dropping a land and saying "go" is NOT dropping a land and saying "go." 

Bombs swing the game. Where are yours? 
I was playing EDH with Chris. I cast All Is Dust and wiped the board, then played a Demon. Chris was out of cards and I had it locked down. He top-decks Stormherd, counts his mana, casts it, and drops 42 tokens on the board. I don't draw an out the next turn, so I lose.
I lost in a similar fashion several times to Andrew when he took all my creatures and proceeded to kill me with them the turn before I would have killed him.
That's the real fun of EDH: winning or losing in a spectacular fashion! Your job is to create situations where those situations happen more often.

Friday, July 27, 2012

A New Day for Nefarox

The mono-black Griselbrand deck took quite a hit when they banned Griselbrand from the Commander format. :) But, it's a new day and just about time for Nefarox to Overlord all over Grixis.

The few remaining legendary vampires that were holding place for demons are out. Geth is out. Scroll Rack came out, too. As did the Quicksilver Amulet.

Bojuka Bog is in. Take that! Basilisk Collar is in. Disciple of Bolas is in (and looks saucy). Nefarox, Woebringer Demon, and Harvester of Souls - all in. This should make for a demoney good time.

Nefarox, Overlord of GrixisWoebringer DemonHarvester of Souls

If you didn't catch the Nefarox deck at, you should. I like the "isolated" slant the deck takes, using several of the newer cards that I also found to be interesting. Why I am not running Phyrexian Arena is beyond me.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Sometimes, It's All About the Colors

Scion of the Ur-DragonEvery once in a while, I return to a full 5-color deck. My favorite deck of all time is The Deck. It's still my go-to deck when I'm feeling high-powered and I want to see a mox or two in play.

This deck (5C Dragon Toolbox) is not The Deck, by a long-shot. But it scratches the 5-color itch and it's a start. Check it out!

I realize that Scion + Dragon Tyrant (for example) is a beating. So is Scion + Hellkite Overlord. I get it. But, that's not what this deck is about. I just wanted to see a lot of legendary dragons flying around. Killing your opponents too fast cuts down on the flying time.

Artifact (14)

Sorcery (13)

Enchantment (3)

My Pet Card: Temporal Aperture

Temporal ApertureThe card I try to fit into every deck. The card I'm (almost) always pleased to draw. The card that's awesome, even when it only gives me a land. My pet card: Temporal Aperture.

I've liked this card ever since it came out. I still have the copy I got when Urza's Saga was released (foreign!) and I try to cram it into every big deck I make. Nearly half the time, I turn over a land. But the other half of the time I turn over something awesome.

Because it costs 5 mana to activate, once it's out I have a tendency to ignore anything in my hand and activate the Aperture every turn. It's like crack. Once you start, you just can't stop. And just like crack, it'll lead you down some winding roads. Sometimes I waste three turns tapping out to reveal lands. But sometimes... Eldrazi! It's like a pinata! Full of monsters!

What's your pet card?

Monday, July 9, 2012

Sure, it's legal but is it fun?

Arcanis the OmnipotentKozilek, Butcher of Truth

I tested out the Arcanis / Eldrazi deck over the weekend in a few 1vs1 matches. The deck is not unbeatable, but there are a few issues with playing it.

Two of the main themes are Eldrazi (with Annihilator) and stealing creatures. The Eldrazi take a while to show up due to the high casting costs, so stealing creatures seemed like a good way to go as I was laying lands. The problem is that players don't want their creatures taken from them. It's not "fun." Neither is having to sacrifice permanents due to the Annihilator trigger. Since I play to have fun (not to win), that's two strikes against the deck. I have fun when everyone is having fun.

A third strike is that based on testing I feel compelled to add counter magic to protect my position once I get the Eldrazi out. It takes a while to set it all up, so having it all wiped away with a random sweeper isn't cool. But counter magic is also not "fun." Plus, it's not my style. I'm usually checking out the cool artwork and missing all of the opportunities for countering spells anyways. And I almost always tap out. :)

Blue can be a very frustrating color to play against. Between counter magic, bounce, and stealing creatures, it's difficult to advance your own plan against a blue deck. Maybe Eldrazi would be more fun to play against in a different shell. A black deck or red deck with Eldrazi might be more direct. But Annihilator is Annihilator, no matter what color the deck is.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Arcanis is holding down the fort


I put together this framework for Braids with Arcanis at the helm right now. I am still selecting cards, so this is a deck that consists of cards I actually own.

Oh, and how could I forget about Ovinize?

Land (40)

Instant (8)

Sorcery (4)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Funny Cards for Braids

Braids, Conjurer Adept

I'm still building card lists for a Braids, Conjurer Adept deck. With the right build, ramping up to cast big spells can happen quickly. In other words, using Braids to cheat out big creatures isn't strictly necessary.

So, what to do?

Since Braids gives everyone a chance to put out something big, I'd like to take advantage of that by stealing my opponents big creatures. That's a good start. But I'd also like to run a handful of cards that I think are funny to keep things from getting too serious. Having your creatures taken from you can be pretty disappointing.

There are a bunch of funny cards in Magic. The developers certainly have a sense of humor. But I'm stuck with blue (U) and colorless cards with Braids at the helm. Here are a few cards I'm thinking of including any why:

Turn to Frog
There will be quite a few creatures around when Braids hits the field, so having a few wizardly tricks up my sleeve will help keeps things fun. I like the idea of my opponent dropping a hasted dragon with Braids' ability, attacking me with it, and then boom. Frog time.

Turn to Frog

A step up from Turn to Frog but with the same idea, Pongify is not only funny to say but lets me put on my wizard hat and turn an opposing creature into an ape... permanently.


This guy makes turns creatures into sheep. Plus, he looks like Tim from The Holy Grail movie. I had a G/U deck back in the day with this guy, some wolf creatures, and lots of ways to play extra lands. There is nothing quite like attacking into a herd of sheep with some wolves.


Disrupt (Weatherlight)
The Weatherlight edition of this card features some funny artwork. The flavor text should have been, "I have a lantern on my head!" Instead, we get a line from a movie. Still funny. But it could have been even more funny.

Can you think of any other funny blue or colorless cards for my Braids deck? Post them in the comments.