Author Topic: Magic the Gathering/TCG thread: Secret Lairs and Oko scares  (Read 566 times)

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commandercool

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Magic the Gathering/TCG thread: Secret Lairs and Oko scares
« on: March 08, 2020, 06:03:39 PM »
Anybody playing any TCGs? This thread is for Magic, Yu Gi Oh, or whatever else you got if it's pieces of paper or JPEGs that you shuffle and spend too much money on.

 I've been playing a ton of Magic lately, as usual. Mostly super casual Commander and some Brawl, the Pauper scene in my area seems like it kind of fell apart (I'm assuming because Tron is way too oppressive in Pauper and Wizards doesn't feel like doing anything about it), and I want to build a Pioneer deck soon. Pioneer is looking pretty spicy, I like the look of Orzhov Vampires, but some of the key cards have been spiraling upward in price lately.
hot breadsticks is what we bake
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Re: Magic the Gathering/TCG thread: Secret Lairs and Oko scares
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2020, 01:11:29 AM »
I kind of want to do a monogreen deck for Pioneer like the budget one I used to have in Modern but I'm not sure what if anything could replace the lack of Rancor in the list.

I've mostly been playing draft for the last few months and I am ultra-hyped for Mystery Booster next week. Really been loving Theros, but I keep drafting it wrong and dismissing cards like Final Death that are solid removal because I mistake them for overcosted

commandercool

  • altered ego
Re: Magic the Gathering/TCG thread: Secret Lairs and Oko scares
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2020, 01:35:55 AM »
I only did a couple of Theros drafts but the removal seemed crazy powerful. I pretty much just unilaterally grabbed all the removal I saw and it took me reeeeal far.

Yeah, the mystery boosters sound great. I'm much more interested in them now that I know they're $5 a piece. I might even buy a box if my tax return comes in on time.
hot breadsticks is what we bake
we don't bake pie and we don't bake cake

Re: Magic the Gathering/TCG thread: Secret Lairs and Oko scares
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2020, 02:14:37 AM »
I only really play cEDH anymore myself.

commandercool

  • altered ego
Re: Magic the Gathering/TCG thread: Secret Lairs and Oko scares
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2020, 01:24:07 PM »
Aw man I was going to go to Magicfest Detroit tomorrow but it got canceled.

I only really play cEDH anymore myself.

Oh yeah? I'll admit I'm one of those casuals who silently judges competitive Commander players because I've never been able to wrap my head around why spending a ton of money to break an ultra-casual format that isn't really meant to be balanced would be fun or worthwhile, but I haven't ever really given it a chance.

Is it fun? I guess it must be or you wouldn't play it. What's the benefit of playing Commander competitively over playing Legacy?
hot breadsticks is what we bake
we don't bake pie and we don't bake cake

Re: Magic the Gathering/TCG thread: Secret Lairs and Oko scares
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2020, 04:29:24 PM »
Commander inherently has more interesting features to it, imo. There's a lot more room for creativity when you're not forced to put in a bunch of 4-ofs into a 60-card deck-- and there's a lot of charm in the 4 player system. Games can be intense and extremely interactive and that's also probably the biggest draw.

Not only that, but it eliminates all power level arguments, which is my biggest quibble with EDH at large-- no one can agree on what is "fair". Some people think infinite combos are okay, others will throw a fit. Some people throw fits if you cast counterspells or kill spells. Some people throw fits if you play blue at all. In cEDH, everything is okay-- outside of the banlist there's nothing that isn't allowed-- and the philosophy of the subformat is that you should be playing as optimally as possible and there's no hard feelings if you lose-- in fact it's more insulting to your opponent for you to hold back. People incorrectly seem to think that cEDH players are a bunch of pubstompers and that couldn't be farther from the truth-- the vast majority of us don't even want to play our decks against casual decks because the power level is too different and it won't be as fun for anyone involved.

So basically, it's vintage-legacy-lite, but in singleton which means you only ever have to buy one copy of a card, 100 card decks which provides more variance and thus more interesting games, and the commander concept lends itself to a lot of interesting combos and strategies.

Don't get me wrong, I can play lower power levels too and have some decks built for that purpose! It's just the really slow battlecruiser EDH that doesn't interest me much.

cEDH even has a solid, strong meta too, though with the printing of Thassa's Oracle the Flash Hulk combo kind of has the format "solved". A lot of us are calling on the RC to ban Flash since it's not really played casually but it's kind of homogenizing the tippy-top of the format, but Sheldon isn't a fan of agreeing with the way we see things.

My main deck is the "Opus Thief" deck-- running Tymna the Weaver and Kraum, Ludevic's Opus as commanders and seeks to gain the most brutal form of card advantage: it plays things like its commanders, Rhystic Study, and Mystic Remora to draw cards earlier on in the game, then drops cards like Smothering Tithe and Notion Thief (the other namesake of the deck) and throws down cards like Windfall, Wheel of Fortune, etc. Wheel and Thief together basically say "all of you discard your hands, and I draw 28". Then it finishes off the game with a Demonic Consultation or Tainted Pact line, obliterating what is left of my deck and then finishing with Laboratory Maniac or War of the Spark!Jace (and more recently Thassa's Oracle).

In cEDH the archetypes of aggro, tempo, control, and midrange aren't really a thing-- it's more "Proactive", "Reactive", or "Adaptive". My deck is in the Adaptive line-- I can take charge and try to combo off into a win (proactive), or I can sit back and throw down stax pieces and hold off opponents' combos before going off myself (reactive)-- and can pivot in either direction if needed.

Re: Magic the Gathering/TCG thread: Secret Lairs and Oko scares
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2020, 09:34:31 PM »
You might be interested in learning about the Canadian Highlander format which is a similar high-power 100-card singleton format, but uses a points list to limit extremely high-power cards rather than relying on outright bans. I hear about it a lot because I follow a lot of LoadingReadyRun's MTG content and they're one of the huge proponents of the format.

Re: Magic the Gathering/TCG thread: Secret Lairs and Oko scares
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2020, 11:15:55 PM »
I've heard of Canadian Highlander, except no one around here plays it. EDH is huge here and because of that, it's rare I can't find some cEDH folks around in my area.

commandercool

  • altered ego
Re: Magic the Gathering/TCG thread: Secret Lairs and Oko scares
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2020, 02:56:04 AM »
I'm sure this isn't a hot take, but it seems like a lot of it just comes down to why you're playing Commander. What you're describing with competitive Commander sounds like poison to me, but I don't care if I win so much as if I have a dynamic game where everyone gets to do something crazy and that makes a good story. "Win with Thassa's Oracle" isn't an especially interesting story, so it sounds like it would bore me to tears. But if you want to win then the way my group and I play Commander would probably frustrate you quite a lot. I would make rather put 72 +1/+1 counters on all of my hydras with Strength of the Tajuru and lose than just combo off the same way I've already won twenty times and win, but I'm sure that's not the way everyone feels, and fair enough.

I'm still not sure I understand why Commander over Legacy if you want to be competitive aside from the multiplayer aspect (which does count for a lot I guess) but it's probably a matter of degrees. It doesn't sound to me like you're getting much of the variance that makes Commander so much fun if you play a ton of tutors and try to end every game with Thassa's Oracle, but relative to a Legacy deck maybe you do.
hot breadsticks is what we bake
we don't bake pie and we don't bake cake

Re: Magic the Gathering/TCG thread: Secret Lairs and Oko scares
« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2020, 04:47:09 PM »
We're clearly in two different psychographics, then. I'm a Spike/Melvin through and through, so my core motivation is to win while appreciating the level of detail and intricacies of the gameplay mechanics offered in MtG. cEDH is a fantastic environment for that.

It's got far, far, far more variance than Legacy or Modern does-- yeah, we use tutors, but you'd be surprised at how inconsistently you get what you need and it forces you to come up with a different plan on how to survive before someone else goes off. We still get our interesting stories, too-- except... you could say ours are more like epic sports moments than long narratives. We're hyper-interactive and it all really happens on the stack.

You're also selling it short-- "win with Thassa's Oracle" is an end, just like "swing 10 72/72 hydras for the win" is an end-- the means is much more interesting. And that's not the only win condition, even though it's one of the most popular-- though admittedly, games are rarely won on the combat step and game-winning combos are typically the go-to. cEDH is a haven for people who love combos and the concept of having a 100-card singleton deck with a commander. You get to play so many more combinations that aren't legacy viable. And contrary to popular belief, cEDH decks don't HAVE to be expensive-- there's plenty of primers out there with budget suggestions-- not all of us have Timetwister and the ABUR duals and a bunch of Reserve List staples. Those definitely improve a deck but it's the concept of low-curve high-impact cards that are at the heart of cEDH-- trimming the fat and finding the cream of the crop. Some people even find nifty pet cards that, in most cases, aren't ideal but work splendidly in their meta.

Think of it this way. A typical EDH game can create a rich story akin to an RPG quest leading up to a big battle to see who has the biggest dudes in the end. In cEDH, think of it more like a contest of "who can build a doomsday device* the fastest while everyone's out to sabotage each other's construction"?

*may or may not actually use the card Doomsday

And there's a whole bunch of different archetypes in the subformat as well. If you're interested I can explain more. But believe me when I say that it's not as cut and dry and simple and boring as you think.

You'd still probably not enjoy it as much since it's not your playstyle, but it scratches all the right itches for me. I'm a disaffected modern player who got sick of the rock-paper-scissors feel of a format that became very toxic and not-fun to play, especially when all your decks want to do is push out the same 4-ofs over and over and over. There's a lot less... artistic freedom in building 60-card constructed decks than you get in EDH. So EDH also allows more for personal expression a lot more. You don't actually HAVE to play the top of the top commanders. In fact I'm in the planning phase of a commander that I rarely see and that's a big reason why I want to use it, because I'd probably be the only one in my meta playing it.  (It's Alela, Artful Provacateur. She's far from what a typical cEDH commander wants, but there's a few... cruel ways to use her. >:D  Stax. It's a stax deck.)

And again, I have other EDH decks that are far more casual.

Queen Marchesa: A pillow fort deck-- the slow paced "if you mess up my plans I'm gonna throw a fit" battlecruiser EDH is something I don't enjoy at all, so that's what I whip out against those to spice things up. You wanna win? Come at me! I'll win by turning your creatures against you.

Karlov-- mostly just a bunch of cheap lifegain cards that make Karlov big and beefy with a hatebears subtheme.

Zada, Hedron Grinder-- a bit more aggressive; focuses on exploiting Zada's ability to pump up other creatures and draw a TON of cards. It's probably too aggressive for a very casual table, but it gets blown out way too easily against high-powered decks or cEDH decks.


My other cEDH decks:
Chain Veil Teferi-- focuses on stopping other people from going off with counterspells and stax pieces while using enormous artifact ramp to push out Teferi and The Chain Veil to generate unbounded planeswalker triggers and mana and draw my deck to finish people off with Stroke of Genius/Blue Sun's Zenith or unbounded Ugin, the Spirit Dragon triggers to just bolt everyone to death.

Anje Falkenrath-- the definition of glass cannon. Anje comes out early and I can draw out a huge portion of my deck rummaging out Madness pieces with the core goal of discarding a Worldgorger Dragon and reanimating it with one of three Animate Dead effects to generate unbounded mana and ETBs-- or to be able to cycle through my whole deck with Anje on the battlefield as she has haste and gets reset every WGD cycle-- and then basically burning everyone to death with Fiery Temper, then discarding Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre to reshuffle my graveyard, draw those two cards again, burn again, reshuffle, etc. Can also use the unlimited mana to win with Avacyn's Judgment. I don't use this deck much because it crumples to any kind of graveyard hate and the alternate wincon is Dualcaster Mage + Twinflame or Heat Shimmer which is so much slower.

Before I tuned my Tymna/Kraum deck to be the "Opus Thief" build, I actually ran a different build. The core combo is super spicy-- there was only 2 creatures in the deck: Spellseeker and Swans of Bryn Argoll. What you do is get the commanders on the board (or use a card that generates some tokens) and cast Divergent Transformations to sacrifice two creatures and cycle through the deck to put Spellseeker and Swans on the battlefield. Spellseeker tutors up Chain of Plasma. I cast Chain of Plasma to deal 3 damage to Swans-- which is prevented and I draw 3 cards. I discard one to copy Chain of Plasma, and loop this to draw out my deck and throw down a win condition.


Ultimately I feel the combos in cEDH are super interesting and fun to play and honestly the more interesting bit than just the win condition itself. The wincon just ends the game-- the fun lies in building your perpetual motion device or death ray or doomsday machine and making it work and surviving the fight to sabotage each other. It allows us to skip the power level conversation and allows us to play the cards we actually want to play without anyone getting fussy about it. It's very liberating to be able to build what I want without anyone saying "that's not fair"-- because here, everything is fair.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2020, 04:50:25 PM by Framboise »

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Re: Magic the Gathering/TCG thread: Secret Lairs and Oko scares
« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2020, 07:06:31 PM »
cEDH has been really fun to watch and I've even sold out of all constructed to make a 75% power deck. Unfortunately Thassa's Oracle has kind of broken it a bit and made flash hulk way too powerful as well as just being a dumb card in general

commandercool

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Re: Magic the Gathering/TCG thread: Secret Lairs and Oko scares
« Reply #11 on: March 16, 2020, 08:46:38 PM »
Oh don't get me wrong, I'm sure I'm selling it short. I'm definitely not claiming to be informed.

I get that on a fundamental level "winning with combat damage every game" is the same as winning with a linear combo every game, but if I won by dumping a ton of counters onto hydras at instant speed every game I would get bored. Sometimes it's that, sometimes it's a huge Hadana's Climb+Kiora Behemoth Beckoner turn, sometimes it's blowing up my own huge Hooded Hydra, etc. One guy in our group somehow back-doored into a deck that always ends up winning by making a million copies of Murkfiend Liege and he completely restructured the deck after like the fifth time it happened because it was too repetitive. Winning with combat damage in new and stupid ways is preferable.

Do stax decks slow down the game? I know the defense is always that people who grind games to a crawl with them are just playing them wrong, but my main point of experience with stax is in powered cube and the stax jackass in those always drags the event on for hours past when it would have ended by making every game they play take twice as long as anyone else.
hot breadsticks is what we bake
we don't bake pie and we don't bake cake

Re: Magic the Gathering/TCG thread: Secret Lairs and Oko scares
« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2020, 09:42:02 PM »
cEDH has been really fun to watch and I've even sold out of all constructed to make a 75% power deck. Unfortunately Thassa's Oracle has kind of broken it a bit and made flash hulk way too powerful as well as just being a dumb card in general

While one can argue LabMan effects like Oracle are overpowered, I don't think it deserves the ban-- the enablers do. In my opinion, Flash absolutely needs to go (because if it's not an Oracle combo, there are countless other instant-win combos with Flash Hulk), and probably Demonic Consultation (as much as I love the card). Tainted Pact too, maybe, but Pact decks have the weakness of having to build a singleton manabase and gets shut out hard by stax like Blood Moon and Back to Basics.

Oh don't get me wrong, I'm sure I'm selling it short. I'm definitely not claiming to be informed.

I get that on a fundamental level "winning with combat damage every game" is the same as winning with a linear combo every game, but if I won by dumping a ton of counters onto hydras at instant speed every game I would get bored. Sometimes it's that, sometimes it's a huge Hadana's Climb+Kiora Behemoth Beckoner turn, sometimes it's blowing up my own huge Hooded Hydra, etc. One guy in our group somehow back-doored into a deck that always ends up winning by making a million copies of Murkfiend Liege and he completely restructured the deck after like the fifth time it happened because it was too repetitive. Winning with combat damage in new and stupid ways is preferable.

Do stax decks slow down the game? I know the defense is always that people who grind games to a crawl with them are just playing them wrong, but my main point of experience with stax is in powered cube and the stax jackass in those always drags the event on for hours past when it would have ended by making every game they play take twice as long as anyone else.

I think we're ultimately arguing taste as far as wincons go-- most cEDH decks don't have just one win condition and part of the challenge is knowing when to go for your combo or when to pivot into a more defensive position while you search up a safer but often more expensive combo line.  There's plenty of times cEDH games win with something stupid. Not all the time, but it's not uncommon.

As far as stax goes, yes-- the whole point is to slow things down and there's no better format for stax than cEDH in my opinion. Playing control against 3 other players is sisyphean-- there's not enough counterspells in a deck to keep everyone from going off. Stax are symmetrical hate pieces that stop the fast combo decks from going off while you get time to assemble your own combo. In many cases, good stax decks will have ways to break parity so that they are not equally yoked by the hate pieces. For example, running graveyard hate when none of your cards care about the graveyard; running creature hate when you run few creatures; running artifact hate like Null Rod/Collector Ouphe when your deck doesn't revolve around artifacts, and so on.

The stax I mentioned in my Chain Veil Teferi deck, specifically, revolve around Stasis and Back to Basics. I break parity HARD on Back to Basics because the vast majority of my manabase is basic Islands. I break parity on Stasis with Teferi on the field, as one of his abilities allow me to untap permanents, which allows me to keep it up for a good long while.

A stax deck whose only goal is to lock the board up so no one can play-- including themselves-- is stupid. A good stax deck has a plan to play around the restrictions while everyone else is gummed up.

EDIT: Stax are not always heavy "You can't do this" restrictions, either. Cards like Rhystic Study and Mystic Remora are great because either your opponents play around them (the right decision), or ignore them while the user gains great advantage (the wrong decision). Taxes are very valid. That's the reason why I like my Tymna/Kraum deck-- Kraum himself is a very deceptive stax piece that says I draw a card if an opponent chooses to play more than one spell a turn. Same goes for Smothering Tithe, aka "one of my new favorite cards in recent history". No one wants to pay for drawing a card, so you gain tons of treasure, especially if they start playing greedy draw spells.

Basically, stax is anything that punishes greedy plays. Sometimes it's light like taxes with choices, sometimes it's as backbreaking as Stasis.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2020, 09:47:28 PM by Framboise »

commandercool

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Re: Magic the Gathering/TCG thread: Secret Lairs and Oko scares
« Reply #13 on: April 21, 2020, 05:38:47 PM »
Well, looks like Flash is finally banned in Commander. And Lutri, which a bunch of people on Twitter seem to be outraged by and I can't really figure out why.

The Ikoria Commander decks have a controversial cycle of free spells in them, I guess they're really good but none of them seem so high-impact that I'm worried about them ruining my casual games. I don't know how competitive players feel about them. And we got a Sultai hydra commander shortly after I finished my Kruphix hydra deck, so I guess I gotta figure out how to make room for a third color.
hot breadsticks is what we bake
we don't bake pie and we don't bake cake

Re: Magic the Gathering/TCG thread: Secret Lairs and Oko scares
« Reply #14 on: April 21, 2020, 07:10:57 PM »
I haven't really touched Commander at all lately due to not having a venue to play it in, but the decks look good. Kathril looks like my favorite out of the bunch.

I've played a lot of Ikoria draft since it launched and I'm having a lot of fun with it so far. There's just something about how this format works that makes it really satisfying to piece decks together

commandercool

  • altered ego
Re: Magic the Gathering/TCG thread: Secret Lairs and Oko scares
« Reply #15 on: April 21, 2020, 07:19:29 PM »
Yeah I haven't updated Arena in a while because my laptop's wireless card is on its last legs and I don't want to subject opponents to my shaky connection, but I've really been enjoying watching Ikoria streams. I hope there'll be a chance to play paper sealed with it some day. It looks fun. Potentially pretty complicated, but fun.
hot breadsticks is what we bake
we don't bake pie and we don't bake cake

commandercool

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Re: Magic the Gathering/TCG thread: Secret Lairs and Oko scares
« Reply #16 on: May 16, 2020, 12:56:04 AM »
Just opened my Ikoria box. My box topper was the forbidden Spacegodzilla, the box itself was okay. Three triomes, five mythics, nothing TOO crazy, but definitely fine. I was really hoping for an Ozolith and didn't open one, but a buddy did so I'm sure I can get his once trading becomes a thing again.
hot breadsticks is what we bake
we don't bake pie and we don't bake cake

commandercool

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Re: Magic the Gathering/TCG thread: Secret Lairs and Oko scares
« Reply #17 on: July 01, 2020, 08:39:48 PM »
So what do you guys think of the hubbub around changing the hybrid rule in Commander? Saffronolive keeps arguing "The only argument against it is just saying 'But color identity!' and that's not a real argument", but like... I feel like it kind of is? People like Commander because deckbuilding restrictions are fun and interesting, so I feel like chipping away at them isn't super worth it unless the upside is huge. The upside of allowing hybrid cards in any matching color identity doesn't seem like it has huge upside. I dunno, I wouldn't be super upset if the rule got changed, but I would prefer it not change unless there's a big reason to that I'm not seeing.
hot breadsticks is what we bake
we don't bake pie and we don't bake cake