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By: Doctor Anime, Tomer Abramovici
Jun 11 2014 11:00am
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I’ve played Commander for over two years now. I love it and spend way too much time playing, thinking or writing about it. The format is fun and infinitely accommodating due to the unique social contract at each playgroup. That said, there are things moving forward that I’d like added, along with things that I pray will not be repeated or expanded upon. 
 
Don’t get me wrong, I think Wizards is doing a helluva job so far with Commander. Ever since it was officially adopted, we’ve seen a ridiculous amount of support from these fine folks. We get a Commander set each year and every new set that comes out has a large chunk of cards clearly designed with Commander in mind.
 
What really impresses me isn’t just that we get tons of new content on a regular basis, but that Wizards likes sneaking in cards that act as silver bullets against powerful strategies. More checks and balances in our card pool means a healthier environment for all. Some recent examples include:
 

Erebos, God of the Dead - We got this card right on time for Oloro, Ageless Ascetic. Black decks now have a powerful tool against lifegain strategies. Erebos is the strongest anti-lifegain card printed so far, like a better Forsaken Wastes, as it doesn’t stop your own lifegain, is indestructible, draws you cards, and sometimes even turns into a 5/7 beatstick!

 
 
 
 

From the Ashes - There are tons of incredibly powerful nonbasic lands in Commander, including (Gaea’s Cradle), (Serra’s Sanctum), Cabal Coffers, and Maze of Ith. The ability to mass wipe all of them is therefore incredibly potent, and red already has that with Ruination. However, the problem with Ruination is it goes doesn’t just kill those powerful lands, but can outright cripple your opponents, which may not be your intention and may not be suitable or fun for some playgroups. So I really dig that Wizards created a more casual-friendly version for us to play with.

 
 

Glaring Spotlight - One of the only methods of directly dealing with hexproof creatures. If your playgroup struggles against cards like (Uril the Miststalker) or Sigarda, Host of Herons, then this can be an excellent way of interacting with them.

 
 
 
 
 
 
Wizards has clearly been offering up new answers to our ever-evolving metagames. Never before has the company been paying so much attention to Commander and the health of the format.
 
It’s this high amount of attention from Wizards that makes constructive criticism all the more meaningful, because hey, maybe they’ll actually listen to this sort of stuff? Doesn’t hurt to try, right?
 
 
SUGGESTIONS FOR CASUAL TO SEMI-COMPETITIVE, NOT ULTRA CUTTHROAT
 
Before we begin, I want to clarify what perspective of Commander I'm coming from. I like to focus on multiplayer, casual to semi-competitive playgroups. Decks in these environments range from silly jank to strongly optimized machines that can sometimes beat tables in a hurry with the right goldfish but can't do it consistently. I am not talking about the ultra-competitive Commander scene that mostly focuses on 1v1 tournament play, where decks approach Legacy levels of power and consistently go off in the first 3 turns of the game.
 
So when I talk about new cards I'd like to see in the future, I have casual to semi-competitive metas in mind. Also note that when I'm talking about strong strategies that I think deserve more answers, I'm not saying these strategies are "overpowered" or a "problem." In a casual environment, no card or strategy is a problem, because the playgroup can choose to simply exclude it. But that doesn't mean there shouldn't be better answers to strong strategies! 
 
So, here are some things I hope Wizards starts implementing potential answers to:
 
  
PUT IN GOOD ANSWERS TO GREEN RAMP!
 
 
We’re playing a format dubbed “battlecruiser Magic.” The creatures are huge, the spells are flashy, and the ramp is excessive. That’s a major draw of the format and something I absolutely love and hope never changes.
 
However, I’m also a firm believer that every tactic deserves good answers.
 
For almost every tactic, there are good answers to shut something down. Here are a couple of the most popular Commander tactics and the answers for them:
 

Graveyard Shenanigans - Every deck has access to Relic of Progenitus, (Tormod’s Crypt), Grave Scrabbler. Almost every color has access to giant graveyard hosers like Rest in Peace, Leyline of the Void, (Groundseal), and Nihil Spellbomb.

 

 

 

Artifact-heavy - White, Green, and Red can mass wipe artifacts away. Austere Command, Return to Dust, Krosan Grip, Creeping Corrosion, Into the Core, and Vandalblast are some of the most popular but seriously the list is crazy long. Even Black can kill artifacts with Gate to Phyrexia!

 

 

 

Enchantment-heavy -  White and Green are kings here with the same stuff again but let’s also toss in Bane of Progress, Cleansing Meditation, Calming Verse, and Back to Nature for good measure.

 

 

 

Creature-heavy / Swarm -  Creature strategies are most easily dealt with by White and Black, but Red has a few powerful options as well and Blue has powerful bounce. Hallowed Burial, Damnation, Blasphemous Act, Evacuation, are examples.

 

 

 

Flash / Countermagic / Control -  Mana Web is universal. Cavern of Souls and Boseiju, Who Shelters All are also universal ways to make sure your important stuff isn't countered. Red and Green are the best though with cards like Price of Glory, City of Solitude, War's Toll, Hall of Gemstone, Vexing Shusher, Dosan the Falling Leaf, and Stoneshaker Shaman.

You can also ruin a control deck's day with (Teferi's Puzzlebox) and Elkin Lair, not allowing the control player to carefully sculpt his hand. WOTC has even been slowly introducing anti-tutoring cards, specifically Stranglehold and Widespread Panic joining Mindlock Orb.

    
 
For Artifact, Enchantment, and Creature strategies, every deck has access to colorless removal in the form of All is Dust, (Nevinyrral’s Disk), and Oblivion Stone being the big ones.
 
The point is, no matter what crazy thing your opponent is doing on his side of the board, there’s an answer out there – for nonlands, at least.
 
 
THE PROBLEM
 
But the “I ramp a lot with lands and then drop super crazy big stuff on y’all” strategy? There’s no good answer to that in the game. None. Zip. Nada.
 
And guess who does land ramp the best in the game…
 

“Look at all these lands you can’t touch! Turn 5 I'll Genesis Wave for 10! Teehee!”
 
With ramp being so huge in basically every Commander deck out there, Green has an absurdly strong advantage over the other colors by not only having the best ramp, but also being relatively immune to any potential backlash of over-committing resources to a land ramp strategy.
 
Gilded Lotus will be destroyed. Mana Reflection, too. But Forest? There is no answer to my 12 Forests on Turn 5! Now I cast Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre and equip Lightning Greaves to it…
 
No bueno.
 
We do have a few staple land destruction cards, namely Strip Mine and Wasteland. These are encouraged in many playgroups to deal with incredibly powerful nonbasic lands such as Maze of Ith. But they don’t deal with land ramp strategies at all.
 
You might be thinking, "well, what about Mass Land Destruction?" And yes, MLD does put a lock on land ramp strategies, to an extent. But the problem with that strategy is it cripples everyone at the table, not just the land ramper. I'd say the majority of Commander players would prefer if you didn't play with MLD in the first place, as many consider those cards "unfun." So I don't consider MLD a viable answer.
 
 
POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS
 
There needs to be a way to punish a Green player that is over-committing to land ramp in the same way that over-committing creatures, artifacts, enchantments on the board can be punished.
 
The closest examples I can find of “fair” land destruction to deal with Green Ramp is two cards: Keldon Firebombers and Land Equilibrium. Both deal with land ramp in their own way, though Firebombers probably leaves people with too few lands and Equilibrium is too ripe for abuse for most playgroups.
 
Keldon FirebombersLand Equilibrium
 
It could be a decent model for future “anti-land ramp” cards, however. What about a Firebomber that let everyone keep 5 lands instead of 3? What about a Land Equilibrium that put the cap at the average number of lands per person, instead of basing it on just the owner?
 
We can also go a totally different route and introduce cards that increase in effectiveness based on the number of lands your opponent controls. The idea came about when I saw this card:
 
Terra Ravager
 
This isn’t a true answer to land ramp, but the idea here that a card gets better based on the number of lands your opponent controls, that might be the ticket!
 
“Where X is equal to the number of lands target or defending player controls” has a ton of potential.
 
Examples:
 
“Siphon Mana deals X damage to each opponent, where X is the number of lands that player controls. You gain life equal to the life lost this way.”
 
“When Really Big Dragon attacks, it deals X damage to the defending player and each creature he or she controls, where X is the number of lands defending player controls.”
 
“Each player discards 7 cards, then discards X cards, where X is the number of lands he or she controls.”
 
 
So yeah, give us answers to land ramp strategies like we have answers for everything else, please!
 
 
PRINT MORE JESTER'S CAPS!
 
Jester's Cap
 
Infinite combos are powerful and popular win conditions in Commander. Every color has access to some and there’s a huge variety of infinites out there. Sanguine Bond + Exquisite Blood. Curiosity + Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind. Basalt Monolith + Rings of Brighthearth. There’s a staggering, ever-growing list of combos out there. This thread at mtgsalvation is outdated and incomplete, but just look at how many they amassed.
 
What I like about most combos is that they are "fair" in the sense that most of them can be interacted with and disrupted. Creature removal, enchantment removal, and artifact removal deal with the majority of them. But the strongest combos are ones that are very difficult to disrupt, either you have access to Blue’s countermagic or you can’t stop them.
 
However, there is one, universal answer to stopping any combo in the game: you yank it out of their deck before they can even play it!
 
Enter (Jester’s Cap). At one point in Magic’s history, the Cap was considered a really good card. I don’t know why. I do know that when I started getting into Magic during Ice Age, my older brother cherished his Shivan Dragon, Hypnotic Specter, and (Jester’s Cap) over all else. Nowadays it still fills a very unique and powerful role in Commander, taking out powerful combos before they even happen.
 
I feel like Jester’s Cap is still playable, if a bit too costly in mana. I think it would be far more enticing to play if the total cost was 4 or so, not 6. Black already has a much better version in Sadistic Sacrament, a card I love sleeving up in black-heavy decks.
 
Sadistic Sacrament
 
What I really want, however, is a more multiplayer-friendly version of Jester’s Cap. A card that targets ALL opponents! Let me exile 3 cards from each opponent!
 
Something like this:
“5, exile Fool’s Cap: Search each opponent’s library for up to 3 cards, exile them, then that player shuffles his or her library. Draw a card.”
 
This doesn’t kill dedicated combo decks since good ones tend to run many combos, but it does help deal with decks that focus too much on a single combo.
 
More deck lobotomy cards, Wizards!
 
 
PRINT RED/WHITE CARD DRAW!
 
Notion Thief
Should've been a red card.
 
Of all the monocolors, Red and White struggle the most for card draw, White especially. Red has a few Wheel of Fortune effects which are fine. White has.. hmm.. Endless Horizons is sweet card draw, and after that you're grasping for straws with things like Inheritance. The only thing that really props up these colors for card draw are artifacts. Mind's Eye, Skullclamp, Staff of Nin, and Sword of Fire and Ice are big ones.
 
It would be sweet if Red and White found ways to draw cards without breaking the color wheel. I think it's perfectly doable. Blue draws cards the best because it's a Blue strength. Black draws cards from things dying or in exchange for life. Green has seen a surge of new card draw options, generally focused on creatures: when they come into play, their size, when they die, etc. So why not White and Red?
 
An idea for Red could be cards that "steal" excess card draw from other players. I can imagine a gang of dumb Red barbarians needing some card draw, so they go over to their neighboring blue player and take his card draw while raping and pillaging as they go. Something like Notion Thief, perhaps. Or maybe a Browbeat effect -- a much better Browbeat. "GIMME YOUR STUFFS OR I HURT YOU REAL GOOD!"
 
Browbeat
Something like this, but better. Much, much better.
 
For White, they're all about laws and orders that suit their own ideals. How about a card tax? We already have Land Tax, why not make something similar?
 
"Card Draw Tax. Enchantment. At the beginning of your upkeep, if an opponent has more cards in hand than you, you may draw a card."
"Rule of Draw. Enchantment. If an opponent would draw a card except for the first two he or she draws each turn, instead that player skips that draw and you draw a card."
 
White keeps things "fair" and "orderly" -- as long as the rules suit their own needs!
 
 
EASY ON THE INSTANT STAPLES!
 
Wizards is churning out, what, over a thousand new cards each year? Some huge number. It’s amazing to think that the vast majority of them, like 99.9% of them are balanced and not overpowering.
 
But then, every once in a while, Wizards likes throws out something like this:
 
Sylvan Primordial
 
 

Remember Sylvan Primordial? When I saw him in the Gatecrash spoilers, I thought it was a fake card. It was so absurdly powerful, and hot on the heels of the Primeval Titan ban, I refused to believe Wizards would print something even more powerful than the other green giant. But it was real.

 

 
 

I don’t understand the design process behind this card. It was made in a Primordial cycle, so you'd think it was meant to be balanced around the other ones, right? But it's so, so much more powerful than the other Primordials that it's mindboggling to think WOTC could've thought it all matched.

 

 
Diluvian PrimordialLuminate PrimordialMolten PrimordialSepulchral Primordial
 
 

The other Primordials are all very good, very worthy of Commander play. They all have potentially very powerful ETB effects attached to big butts. But note that these ETBs are potentially, not always, great. Their strengths are entirely dependent on the current board state. Sepulchral Primordial could reanimate an Avacyn, Angel of Hope alongside Gisela, Blade of Goldnight. Diluvian Primordial could cast Plague Wind and Time Stretch. But these magical christmasland situations are few and far between, and sometimes they'll be total blanks. That's the fun of these cards! They're inconsistent and exciting, sometimes blowouts sometimes fizzles!

 

 
And then there's Sylvan Primordial.
 
Sylvan Primordial isn't conditional. You never whiff on an opponent. Your opponents will always have a juicy target to blow up -- their lands! So you always get full value from its ETB.
 
This also makes Sylvan Primordial ripe for abuse. Bouncing, blinking, and reanimating the other Primordials runs into diminishing returns. Their first ETB will grab the best targets. Repeating their ETB, you're only getting a second-best target, if there is any. You can't really keep going because very soon there won't be any targets left. Not Sylvan Primordial. There's always more lands to destroy. And if there's no more lands to destroy, guess what -- you've won! Hurray!
 
On top of having the very best ETB out of the lot, the Green Giant takes it a step further and rewards you for blowing stuff up by ramping you heavily in the process. Wait, what?! Green's modern shtick about blowing up permanents is that there's a downside, not a further upside. See Terastodon and Beast Within -- they give your opponent 3/3's at least. Even Luminate Primordial gives your opponents life if you exile a creature, like Swords to Plowshares. Sylvan Primordial, will you give your opponents 3/3's or something? NOPE! Instead you get ramped heavily.
 
TerastodonBeast Within
Green usually has a downside when blowing things up so efficiently. Usually...
 
The end result with this poorly designed card was that every single Green deck would run it. Instant staple, no questions asked. Each time it would be ramped out and give an enormous lead as soon as it hit the board. Then it would be bounced, blinked, and reanimated, even by non-green players, because of how strong blowing up ~3 noncreature permanents is.
 
In general, WOTC has been very good with not doing that recently. In fact, there are few big staples that I can think of. Cyclonic Rift could be one, but even that one isn't in the same league as this Theros baby:
 
Prophet of Kruphix
 
I can only wonder how Wizards pitched the idea for this one:
 
Employee A: You know what colors could use a nice boost in Commander?
Employee B: Red, maybe some better card draw for White? Boros?
A: Nope! Green and Blue. Simic, specifically. It's definitely the weakest color combination of the lot.
B: Of course!
A: I was thinking, Seedborn Muse is one of the most powerful Commander cards in the game, so how about we another one for Green to run as well and make it even better?
B: I like where this is going.
A: So we take Seedborn Muse, and we add the ability to Flash in creatures on top of it! That way the card is twice as good and most certainly an instant staple in every UG deck. We’ll call it Prophet of Kruphix!
B: Genius! And those poor underpowered UG decks can run fair and balanced cards like Seedborn Muse, Consecrated Sphinx, and Prophet of Kruphix all in the same deck. All these pieces can be protected with blue's countermagic. I’m sure that’s balanced, right?
A: ABSOLUTEY BALANCED AAAAARHSJFSHDFJS WHY DO YOU PRINT THESE THINGS
 
 Consecrated Sphinx
I let this one slide because it was designed before Wizards started caring about Commander
 
Sure, in theory Prophet of Kruphix isn't that hard to deal with. Why, it's in Lightning Bolt range, so it can't be that bad! "Surely one of the other players must have a bolt in hand or some other instant speed removal to deal with it easily, right?" That's a popular argument for Prophet being not so amazing.
 
Except there's a reason why many players loathe seeing this card. People don't fill up their decks with instant speed removal. In 1v1 competitive Commander, yes, in multiplayer games, no. Your average semi-competitive deck has ~3 instant targeted removal cards? Out of 99 cards? Really, what's the chance that someone will have the answer immediately before Prophet gets out of control? And are you factoring the fact that, as a blue player that wants Prophet to stick, he or she probably has at least one Counterspell in hand as protection?
 
Yeah, sometimes Prophet gets played and it's immediately hit with Swords to Plowshares and that's the end of it. The same can be said about Consecrated Sphinx. But the chances of this happening are far lower than most people realize, especially when the Blue player has the option of countermagic to protect his or her investment. And if these creatures aren't dealt with immediately, they win you the game. Done. So it's not that easy to deal with it. If it was, this wouldn't be an insanely good card, now would it?
 
 

Now at this point you may be thinking I’m some sort of anti-Green racist. I would like to assure you that this is not the case. In fact, I have many Green friends, like Kermit the Frog. I'm not calling for bans on cards either. I don't think Prophet of Kruphix or even Sylvan Primordial warps the format so much that they deserve bannings. But I'd still like for them to at least test cards they're pushing hard for staple status and make some better tweaks. For example, if Prophet cost 8 mana instead of a mere 5, it would still be an instant staple in all UG decks due to the raw power of the effect, but a smidgen less ridiculous. Or make them Red cards at least. Insurrection wants company.

 

 
That’s about it! Pretty short for a list, actually. As I’ve already mentioned, I feel like Wizards does things right by me 99% of the time. But there are some minor holes they can still fill in the Commander format that would make me even happier.
 
What do you guys think? What do you want to see in future Commander cards?
 
 

6 Comments

Uhm, I feel like you're by Kumagoro42 at Thu, 06/12/2014 - 07:23
Kumagoro42's picture
5

Uhm, I feel like you're equaling green ramp to Boundless Realms. One of my most successful Commander decks is Kamahl, and it certainly uses ramp spell like Wood Elves, Cultivate, Skyshroud Claim and Hunting Wilds, but the real deal is the triad of Mana Reflection, Caged Sun and Vorinclex (on top of the most effective mana rocks). If you let me keep 5 lands and those, I can still easily power up 200+ damage out of Kamahl.

But can't you just answer anything that comes out of the ramp? It's just a mean to an end, not a wincon in itself. Blue does Show and Tell into Ulamog. You need Hallowed Burial. Green ramps into Ulamog. You still need Hallowed Burial. In fact, if you don't have something like Hallowed Burial, you'll also lose to an Uril deck casting Uril.

Red has card drawing in the form of looting. Red draws card by discarding cards. It's pretty powerful and pretty common.

White doesn't have card drawing because it already has everything else. There's nothing white can't deal with. If you gave card drawing to white, it'd be the king of colors. Plus, it's due to white philosophy, white is ordered and rigid, it lacks the chaotic surge, the random intuition, and the willing to recycle resources the other colors have, and that lead to them drawing cards.

I don't share your view on Sylvan Primordial. I still think it was a weird ban. I can admit it became an instant staple, but not a particularly crucial one. It doesn't even start to compare with Primeval Titan (the difference between them is well represented by the difference between $20 and $0.1). The Titan fetches you endgames. The Primordial in late game does next to nothing besides the removal, which is healthy just as effects like Decimate are, keeping everyone in check. And if it's a matter of abusing it, well, you can just abuse Woodfall Primus instead (by the way, green has literally dozens of noncreature removals with no downsides. Beast Within has a downside because it hits creatures, and Terastodon has a downside because it can be used to destroy a single player. I can't think of other cases where green destroys a noncreature and gives something in exchange).

What really warranted a ban was the main enabler of such abuse, which is Deadeye Navigator. Here's an obscene card for you. And one which pretty much ignores the ban of Primordial, just like most green decks did - they used the Primordial as an answer, now they're back to one of the many other options in that slot.

I'll tie to your article in mine tomorrow, giving my personal answer to what I'd like for the future of Commander.

I'm not equating all green by Doctor Anime at Thu, 06/12/2014 - 11:35
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I'm not equating all green ramp to Boundless Realms. I'm pointing out that, unlike your Caged Sun, Vorinclex, and Mana Reflection, there's too few ways for players to interact with an opponent's abundance of mana in the form of basic lands. Your other 3 mana sources can and will be destroyed, which balances out the risk vs. reward cost of them. Ramping with Cultivate is no risk, all reward.

You can answer everything Green throws out... if you're Blue. Then you can use Countermagic to stop things like Sylvan Primordial and Genesis Wave. Otherwise no, there's quite a few things Green can ramp out to that you have little ways of answering efficiently.

Looting isn't really card advantage. Like I said, the Wheel cards are very good, because you can use them when you have no cards in hand to really get ahead. Red is also getting real card advantage in the form of "exile for a turn" triggers like new Chandra and Prophetic Flamespeaker. It's a step in the right direction.

My own experience, and I know others can back me on this, is that mono White is the weakest monocolor you can play in Commander. No other color feels so frustratingly limited in power and it's all due to running out of gas. Artifacts help prop the color up in ramp and card draw but that's still leagues behind the other colors, too much so.

White does have the best removal, it's true, but go ahead and play mono-color White and tell me you couldn't do better as mono Green, Blue, Black, or even Red. I think not allowing White to have card advantage is an outdated concept that lacks creativity. I'm not saying give them the BEST card draw, but they should have something. Mentor of the Meek is one example of card draw within the color pie. I'm sure there's more options out there to explore.

It's unfair to compare a card that sees use in competitive formats to one that was banned in the format it was made for. Sylvan Primordial was worse than Primeval Titan ever was. You play it, fetch Maze of Ith and a regular land, and.. ? Then you get two more lands when you attack next turn if nobody has an answer? Meanwhile Sylvan comes in, blows up 3 important things, ramps you 3 lands, immediately. The only answer was countermagic. And you didn't even need to abuse it, you just did what Green always does. Turn 2 rampant growth / nature's lore / whatever. Turn 3 explosive vegetation / azusa / oracle / skyshroud claim. Turn 4 Sylvan Primordial, blow up 3 lands, ramp 3 lands, and you've taken an enormous lead. That's not abuse, that's exactly how Sylvan is meant to be played.

Green has dozens of ways of blowing up noncreature permanents, but none so stupidly efficient as Sylvan, especially not while ramping you as well. Sylvan Primordial costs less than Woodfall Primus even, and it blows up 3 things instead of 2 (eventually) and ramps you 3 lands for the fun of it. And Woodfall Primus is very strong and heavily played.

Deadeye Navigator is a combo card that requires 8 mana before you can safely put him on the field, and even then you still have a turn to find an answer before he does any real work, unless the player is going infinite mana. Sylvan Primordial is a one card enormous game swing can't be disrupted outside of countermagic / torpor orb for 7. That's the difference to me.

Man, you're really worked up by Kumagoro42 at Thu, 06/12/2014 - 14:55
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Man, you're really worked up about Sylvan Primordial. :)
I can see now where Menery came from. These opinions are totally out of my experience, and at the end of the day, with Commander, it's all about that (which is an issue when you attempt to have some kind of organized play as opposed to kitchen tables).

I can only tell you that in my own experience, which involves 75 competitive multiplayer events organized in the past year and a half, featuring a pool of about 100 different players, Sylvan Primordial was essentially an afterthought, nobody ever won a table because they had it in the deck, nobody complained about it when it was legal, nobody complained when it was banned (mostly the reaction was, "Uh? Really?"). It was just there, now it's not, nothing changed in the dynamics of the decks or the meta of the tournament.

Whereas I've got to the point where tomorrow I'll have to ban Deadeye Navigator (along a few other things) because it's become just too disruptive in the meta. Ramping a few basic lands when you already have 7+ mana is one thing, but you don't win out of a couple basics; Navigator/Palinchron ends the game right there, and with the tutoring power of Simic (or 5-color, many Commander Spikes like to use Sliver Queen just because they'd like to have Demonic Tutor and Stoneforge Mystic in there), the question is not even if you'll get there, but just how many turns the other players have to kill you first.

I'm a committed green player, and I can tell you I don't particularly miss Primordial, while I'm more excited about the M15 guy who's a monogreen Harmonic Sliver (something that I sorely missed).

As for white, you were talking about card drawing, not generically card advantage. White has plenty of card advantage. Mesa Pegasus, Hero of Bladehold, Sun Titan, and so on. It also has a few great tutors that feel specific of the color. Monowhite is not played much, but in general they're not pushing towards monocolored commanders – they actually push towards 3-colored ones, in the tradition of the original Elder Dragons. Elesh Norn decks are played in SUNCOM, anyway, won tables and one event.

I'm not sure where you're by Doctor Anime at Thu, 06/12/2014 - 15:58
Doctor Anime's picture

I'm not sure where you're getting that I'm worked up about Sylvan Primordial, but okay? My problem with it is poor card design. As I've already said, I don't even want it banned, I just don't want these type of cards to be a recurring trend by Wizards.

I'm a bit shocked that Deadeye is getting banned by you and more curious about the meta. I agree that it's an incredibly powerful combo enabler, particularly because it's so hard to disrupt. I don't know about competitive multiplayer, but I do know a bit about the 1v1 french scene, and without that ban list surely people should be able to combo out in the first 3 turns fairly consistently? Are things like Ad Nauseum / Sol Ring / Mana Crypt allowed? I would think that people would be winning with other methods before Deadeye even became relevant.

I mistyped on the White, I did in fact mean card draw, not card advantage. Sun Titan and Mesa Pegasus are all well and good but they are no substitute to refilling your hand, hitting more lands, drawing into more answers, etc. And I get that tricolor generals are being pushed but I don't think that's a good enough justification to restrict potentially sweet monowhite commanders from having nice things like, well, every other color. I didn't hear grumblings about color pie when Mentor of the Meek came out so I think it's safe to say White can be allowed to draw cards sometimes.

I know nothing about 1v1, by Kumagoro42 at Thu, 06/12/2014 - 16:29
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I know nothing about 1v1, except it's probably a cutthroat nightmare. Something akin to Vintage with 100 cards, if you don't properly regulate it (which is what the 1v1 league on Gatherling did). It's part of the discussion I'll publish tomorrow about my wishes for the future of Commander.

Trust me, Navigator is insane. It's the endgame of those decks, mostly with Momir at the helm, so it's very quick to get online. And the difference is that when an effect like that gets online, it's over. If you drop, say, Ulamog, that doesn't guarantee much if not a strong board position and a big target on your back. It's an all-in, you either work towards a win, or you're wiped out of existence.

Instant-wins are just nasty, they leave a bad aftertaste even in a competitive environment (there's a whole range of competitive players, not all share the same ideas, of course). Think Helm of Obedience. You use Zur, fetch Rest in Peace, then you have probably a dozen tutors for the Helm between white, black and blue, and conterspells to back it all up, and then it's over.

Or things like Zur fetching Bitterblossom, then Contamination and possibly locking everyone else out of the game. These are annoying things, it's okay to have them around for a while, but at some point enough is enough. I already had to ban every Time Walk variant, because TimeWalk.dek was so annoying, generating very long games where just one player was actually playing (in some of those decks, the endgame was Laboratory Maniac! Can you imagine how annoying it is to wait until they get there? And you have to hit F6 every extra turn, so you can't even go away and come back later).

Sylvan by Dawwy at Fri, 06/13/2014 - 10:15
Dawwy's picture

The main difference between sylvan and primeval titan was that sylvan hurted every opponent equally. With primus and terastodon you can actually hit only the strongest player. Sylvan had to hurt everybody - if you were mana screwed before, you will be destroyed after sylvan