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By: stsung, Jaroslava Stefankova
Aug 02 2017 12:00pm
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Wizards of the Coast created 1v1 EDH Leagues on Magic Online on 10th May this year. I was very excited about it. While a few people tried to wish me a happy birthday I was dusting my Tasigur deck off and playing some of this new format. Since I had only 20PP and no tix I started with two-player queues and later entered several Leagues. I couldn't express how happy I was. No matter if I was winning or losing, it didn't matter. I could play decks I love. Decks I couldn't play for quite some time in paper EDH tournaments were suddenly free from cards banned. While my article I wrote about 1v1 was  not calling for a bans I knew that bannings would soon follow. I didn't want to write about my fears about the format. I expected the meta be either full of Tasigurs/Leovolds, Barals and Titanias, or Vials/Kraum and Breyas. Fears put aside I was very glad the banlist wasn't too restrictive.

EDH Leagues are one of the most wonderful things that happened on Magic Online. When I looked at the names of the players with Trophies in the League there were no surprises. Those people that play many formats, are competitive and like the thrill of EDH entered it. There was an exception a new player joined the ranks of known players that are regulars at PTQs, MOCS and other premier events. That player got 1 Trophy soon, then 2, 3, 10, 40 and was leading the leaderboard since the beginning. Some players might wonder, who this person is? Where do they come from?

I had the honor to play against him and he's one of the players I'd be willing to play all day, a very good player who is friendly, nice and loves fun. Unfortunately it seems that we do not live in a similar time zone and for that I couldn't play against him that often.

We played 100CS together and sometimes ran into each other at events. I observed his love for Grixis and a few cards I'd never consider playing which also shows how dedicated he is to these three colors. 4c Blood is the deck I'd go for if I weren't playing UWb Combo-Control in this particular format and obviously Dawts feels similarly since 4c Blood is also the deck he plays with. Grixis in reality, in the competitive environment, is actually not that well positioned. The deck doesn't have the sheer power to win compared to more midrangy decks running more value cards (notably planeswalkers). Grixis is very difficult to play and very decision intensive. Every single misstep can lead to a loss. For some players, playing this deck would be closer to torture than fun but for select few this is the epitome of fun.

When 1v1 EDH Leagues went up, we could see his number of trophies getting higher and higher. I expected him to play Vial Smasher with Kraum since that was the best Grixis EDH deck out there. I expected him to win a lot. I wasn't wrong. Those of you who entered EDH Leagues could see his name at the top of the leaderboard for most of the time and for that I decided to interview him.

Who is this dawts that 5-0ed so many Leagues in this format? 

Hello dawts,
In the world of Magic Online we are usually just a screen name and a deck. That sometimes gives a tell about the player but often not. Those who encounter you online know you as dawts or dawtz. Could you tell us something about yourself?


I'm just an avid gamer who enjoys how Commander games can be so different every game relative to the non-limited formats. My name just originates from the acronym dots = damage over time, being a weird way to spell it.

When and how did you actually start playing Magic and when how did you start playing on Magic Online?

I started playing Magic during Onslaught block all the way till Shadowmoor and took a break and came back in Magic Origins. Think that was three years ago now. Magic Online, it was through simple peer pressure from a buddy of mine to play MTGO during Magic Origins.

How did you grow your collection on Magic Online?

Well mostly by playing in events. That's how you can generate the largest amount of tickets but I think learning to sell your cards well is important. I don't really speculate very often, but I always try to sell my cards to whatever bots paying the most. It will save you tickets overtime although its a bit time consuming checking every bots buy prices and comparing to mtgowikiprice I think its worth it. Also if you plan on keeping certain cards for a long time considering getting foils if the versions of the card are cheaper (a lot of the time they are cheaper online) be aware they are harder to sell back though so make sure its something you want to keep for a long time (for example my dual lands are mostly foil since I don't plan on selling them ever and they were cheaper than regulars for me).

I haven't seen you play any format that allows to play 4 or more copies of a card in a deck. So I'm wondering if you actually play any. Are there other formats you play other than singleton/highlander formats?

I have played every format except Vintage at some point Online. Only drafts, Pauper and Modern had the most success. In Modern when I played that a couple years ago I would farm QPs with Burn and Affinity but I would eventually get bored. Every game felt too much the same, not that there is anything wrong with that, it just doesn't appeal to me as much. Pauper was even worse for me, got bored much faster when I played that since the cards were a lot less complicated. At one point when I was just playing to try and go "infinite" I would get frustrated when I would have a losing night and just quit and play other games. Therefore I think its important to make sure you have fun with what you're doing if you plan on grinding tickets, with whatever format anyone plays. Currently I just play Commander and drafts.

We share the love for Grixis and I was wondering if the reasons for it are the same, could you tell us why you love Grixis so much?

I just like attacking from a "fair" angle when I play Magic. Attacking, blocking or countering stuff, similar to UGW Threshhold of old, Delver decks of nowadays in Legacy, but I don't mind aggressive strategies as well. I've always tried my best to avoid playing the super unfair strategies that win in one turn examples being Reanimator, Storm, Belcher type decks. In general I like having game against everything and no auto losses if at all possible.

Vial Smasher and Kraum, Ludevic's Opus partners are the generals that brought you majority of your trophies. The Goblin general was banned recently. What is the deck, you'd consider playing post-ban? Tasigur?

I like Tasigur/Leovold I think Tymna/Kraum looks like a promising deck, I haven't given this one a shot yet. I think whatever I choose is going to need an extra card or two devoted for artifacts because of Breya.

Could you compare the two decks (Vial/Tasigur)? Also in terms of mirror match, because that is something that happens a lot in 1v1 EDH.

I think it depends a lot on the kind of build for Tasigur but they are similar in the fact they both have counters and disruption, I really hated the Tasigur mirror matches when I played that deck. It would stalemate often since both Tasigurs couldn't kill each other and both players would recur counterspells, that would happen some amount of the time. The mirror match for Vial/Kraum was a lot of fun for me, was usually a lot of back and forth.

I think that everyone expected Strip Mine to be banned the first and if I'm not mistaken it was your thought as well. How about the rest of the cards though? What do you think about Wizards banning cantrips first over one mana tutors and fast mana? Was it a mistake to ban Vial Smasher and not Breya as well?

I think the cantrips being banned before Vampiric and Demonic Tutor is simply weird, I can see why they would do that for color diversity reasons, but I just don't think banning the cantrips really does a whole lot so I don't like it very much but it's not unreasonable. I didn't like the Vial Smasher ban not because I thought it wasn't strong enough, but because I think Breya was very near its power level so I thought they should have gone together, perhaps I'm too biased to comment on this I always thought Breya was quite strong before the last bans and was sometimes main decking By Force before Vial Smasher got banned. My favorite ban was actually the Treachery ban. I think that card although is a "fair" card and doesn't cheat on mana as hard as something like Vampiric Tutor or Ancient Tomb. I think that card turned around more games in Commander than Force of Will or even Jace, the Mind Sculptor considering how popular blue is, I think that's impressive. Control Magic effects in general in 1v1 Commander are quite powerful they are not just 2 for 1s but if they don't have an answer to get the Commander back its usually game. I think it was a big reason I wasn't just running Treachery but also Legacy's Allure, Control Magic, Sower of Temptation (sometimes) was a strong choice when mono green was popular and Order of Succession is always strong in the right shell, same thing with the dreaded Vedalken Shackles this card is crazy powerful.

Stealing opponent's general is often game breaking in many matchups. In Tasigur mirror matchup it's even more devastating!

Given the operative distinction in EDH, that we have a recurring threat that is readily accessible to us, outside of a select few cards that prohibit the play of specific cards, should a player try to play anything, but Blue based decks?

Well personally I'll try to gravitate towards blue but I think non blue strategies can work such as mono green commanders, mono black Sidisi, or partner commanders I'm sure there a ton of other things that I didn't mention that is decent as well. Just make sure you try to tech in one or two extra artifact hate cards.

Is there any advice you'd give to players that would decide to try this format out?

Just have fun with it and if you're on a budget, don't try to force playing Breya or another expensive deck with budget options just play something cheaper like Baral or Jace, Vryn's Prodigy or Sidisi, Undead Vizier or something mono colored. Also don't be afraid to try new cards out, no list is perfect.

Thank you for your time. Good luck and have fun in your events!

-S'Tsung (stsung on Magic Online and @stsungjp on Twitter)


Thanks for the article. by Paul Leicht at Wed, 08/02/2017 - 19:11
Paul Leicht's picture

Thanks for the article. Always nice to get to know yet another mtgo luminary. If there is one thing I miss about writing articles on here, it is writing about other magic players. I think the interviews I did stand on their own but it is great to see other people bringing the cool to the site, this way.

I agree about the Breya ban comment. Seems like they were going for cautious surgery rather than making sure they got all the broken stuff.

Jace hardly seems like a budget option but I guess mono blue in general is pretty cheap. I'd be worried about lackluster draws in this format though. While mono blue has great draw cards in the format, it can also just durdle a lot. Also seems like a more advanced strategy than I'd recommend to a newcomer.

Thx for the comment. As for by stsung at Thu, 08/03/2017 - 16:01
stsung's picture

Thx for the comment.
As for Jace or other mono colored decks. Those usually cost about 200-300 tix and there are few cards like three that in total cost 150 in total or something. For example in mono blue it would be Force of Will, Mystic Confluence and Misdirection, in mono green let's say Karn, Exploration, Wasteland but you can usually do ok without those so Jace can be a budget option if you are willing to pay 30 tix for the general.

Actually in our community many new players were usually picking up JVP for some reason. I never asked why a new player was always starting on that (if people start with Legacy they usually start with Burn, so this is the Burn in EDH). On the other hand I've seen those players play the deck while not really knowing what to do and they were doing just fine. The deck is linear and strong enough to do something...On Magic Online I'd probably be more wary about what deck to pick at the beginning. I'd rather go for Sidisi if I were new to the format.

excelllent by laffyFleur at Sat, 08/05/2017 - 13:05
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excellent, thanks so much for doing this! I read about dawts in JClaytor's posts and became curious as to who this person is, & i'm very glad to read more about them.