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Unstable Q&A with Mark Rosewater
The Dos and Don'ts of Silver-Border Commander
Word of Command: Un-believable
  • posted a message on Crowing the Board with Storm Crow [Casual Build on a Budget]
    So with Unstable coming out in a little while I have been playing with the thought to make a casual deck that runs Crow Storm, though obviously that means running Storm Crow as well as it needs a win condition. The deck primary aim is to stick Eldrazi Conscription onto a Crow and go ham, alternatively its going wide with the aforementioned Crow Storm and/or a kicked Rite of Replication on Storm Crow.

    First of all, it's meant to be a fun deck on a budget so I am keeping the mana base fairly basic. I still need to tweak the ratios a bit, as the current numbers are more or less to reserve card slots for lands while putting this initial build list together.

    Now, first issue is getting Eldrazi Conscription out there since I only run two copies in order to maintain a fair budget, so card draw and/or tutor effects will be somewhat key. To solve this I opted to go with the combo of Lost Auramancers and Hex Parasite, since it lets me cheat Eldrazi Conscription into play. Trinket Mage helps us find Hex Parasite, but at the same time can fetch Sol Ring which enables potentially hard casting Eldrazi Conscription. Brainstorm is there to help the deck dig for cards, as well as to put Eldrazi Conscription back on top of the deck should we draw into both copies too quickly.

    Dispel and Judge's Familiar are there to protect our Crows when we go to put Eldrazi Conscription on them, while Journey to Nowhere serves as removal in a pinch.

    Mulldrifter helps with some draws as well but can also be used as an alternative target for Eldrazi Conscription, much like Judge's Familiar. This is of note, because drawing into the Storm Crows can at times be a little issue. And Azorius Charm just adds a little bit more fixing since I am running a very basic heavy mana base.

    Finally, Crow Storm can provide the deck with additional crows, still contemplating if a third copy would be worth it as the deck isn't set to really exploit the storm mechanic. Instead, I am running Rite of Replication as an alternative means to flood the board with Storm Crow tokens.

    So this is my initial build and plan on goldfishing it for a little bit to see where it needs tweaking. In the meantime, I am hoping to get some suggestions on improving this list as well, though as a guideline don't try to suggest cards that are like over a $1 each. This deck is just for fun after all.
    Posted in: Casual & Multiplayer Formats
  • posted a message on Donald's Edric, Spymaster of Trest
    Quote from Delandel »
    Looking over people's lists and comments it seems for ramp lots of people are running mana dorks like Arbor Elf while staying away from non-creature sources of ramp like Harvest Season, with the exception of Druids' Repository since it works well with land stax cards like Winter Orb.

    What about the Explore Dorks like Elvish Pioneer, Sakura-Tribe Scout, and Skyshroud Ranger? We have low land counts so they can't immediately give us value like a Llanowar Elves always can, but once we start drawing cards we always have extra lands to drop, and when we don't they are still creatures to attack with (assuming someone is open). Are they still good or have people moved away from them?

    Edric pretty much relies on having weenies to swing in with, either with Overrun-like effects or by chaining turns, so mana dorks eventually become potential damage dealers as well, where spell based ramp only provides mana sources. Running low costed creature based ramp is just more favorable in this kind of deck.

    Winter Orb will limit what Explore Dorks can do, since you are limited on what you can untap. Though to be honest I felt Orb limited me a fair bit and without Reliquary Tower it made chaining turns a bit more challenging, so I dropped Orb from my list. Furthermore, these dorks do rely on you having a land in hand. Most Edric lists will run Exploration already and when you get multiple effects like this it just does less. Sure, being able to churn out lands has a great upside, but regular mana dorks are just a tad bit more consistent in what they do.

    The Ranger is probably not too bad, but Pioneer only has an ETB trigger and thus you can end up playing him without getting anything out of it, making it somewhat worse than a mana dork if you can't bounce him. Sakura-Tribe Scout just has less relevant subtypes, not being an elf or rogue is something to take in account as well.
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on Favorite color combo out of Mono/Guild/Shard/Wedge/4/Partners/5
    I think that I recently accepted that I'm a Simic kind of guy after toying around with various other combinations I tend to enjoy playing Blue and Green the most. Blue for the clone effects and card draw, while Green gives me ramp and is one of the main colors of my favorite tribes: (were)wolves. Ever since I forced myself to step up my game the latter has been less important but still its a reason why I'm enjoying the color.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Growing Rites of Itlimoc
    Another interesting aspect to look at for Ikea's Cradle is the ways to fetch it, as Gaea's Cradle has enough tutors hitting it in green as well as Expedition Map. While this is far more limited for Ikea's Cradle, forcing you to run either black or white to get some decent tutors that manage to hit the enchantment, which certainly will hamper certain decks.

    Not saying its a bad card, as been enjoying it so far as a budget alternative to the real Cradle in my Meren Druidball deck. But will say that running it is one of the reasons why I am in two colors, which makes the deck perhaps a tad less consistent compared to a mono green build.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Donald's Edric, Spymaster of Trest
    For me, Orochi Leafcaller is there to help generate Blue mana when Winter Orb is out, with several mana elves creating green it felt like a good way to fix color a bit. Even more so since I only run a handful of duals. Though indeed, for those that have Cradle they can turn that to Blue mana as well.

    I'll probably be adding Bident of Thassa and Coastal Piracy as well for redundancy, just need to do some trading first to make up for the Mox and getting the remaining cards that I want. Aside from the two card draw effects, I'll probably see if I can find a Walk the Aeons as well to bump up the taking turn package just a little bit. It's one of the more affordable ones that doesn't exile itself after all. Noxious Revival is another card I'll be looking for soon.

    Also am considering trying LabMan in the deck, the deck does enjoy drawing those cards so might be an option.
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on Donald's Edric, Spymaster of Trest
    So been spending a bunch of time to work out a draft for having my go at Edric. It's a more budget build so the mana base is still quite basic, I'm not running that many extra turn spells and obviously I had to make some substitutes due to budget limitations. The mana base will likely be the first thing to be upgraded next though it will be unlikely for me to be adding fetches to the deck. So might consider Back to Basics as well down the road. For now though its about acquiring a bunch of these cards and starting to familiarize myself more with the deck's strategy.

    Here's what I plan on running:
    I'm always open to suggestions and tweaks to my list, just keep in mind that I'm currently relying on a budgeted build.

    Edit: Went to my LGS to see if I could pick up a few cards for the deck and they had a Chrome Mox and Back to Basics there, so ended up getting those as well. Wasn't really planned or budgeted, so will have to do some extra trading this weekend to make up for it.
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on Donald's Edric, Spymaster of Trest
    Currently looking at putting an Edric deck like this together as well. Looks like a nice way to add a more aggro styled deck to my line up while being able to build fairly decently on a budget. So will be digging through this thread for inspiration for sure, while working on a list of my own.
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on Azami, Lady of Paradoxes
    Made a minor tweak to the deck this last weekend, which mainly came down to taking out Galecaster Colossus. It's a decent card but I felt it was competing too much with Azami when it comes to tapping down Wizards. Furthermore, Capsize just fits the deck a bit more than the Colossus did, so felt it was just better to side it out.

    Instead I brought in Copy Artifact, which can serve multiple purposes in this deck. It can become a mana rock or a copy of any other key artifact on the board. And with that it also forms an alternative win condition for the deck in combination with Dramatic Reversal, Isochron Scepter and Swan Song to create 'infinite' bird tokens. So since I am already running those to begin with it feels like a decent inclusion for the deck.

    Path of Ancestry might be going as well, the scry is interesting but so far I found the fact that it comes in tapped more as a nuisance. It's good in your opening hand but beyond that its too slow for this deck. So probably will just replace it with a basic island.
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on your dex and their purpose
    Azami, Lady of Scrolls - My heaviest combo deck and the one I deem the most 'competitive' out of my decks, it's not perfectly tuned due to budget constraints but still can get there thanks to the various lines of play it has.

    Meren of Clan Nel Toth - The newest deck in my EDH line up, which is pretty much a green elfball/druidball combo deck which splashes black for a little bit of utility. Tends to get there through infinite mana and overrun effects, making it far more straight forward than my Azami deck.

    Keiga, the Tidestar - My go to casual deck right now, which pretty much tries to steal my opponent's stuff through Keiga by cloning him numerous of times.

    Kari Zev, Skyship Raider - Pretty much a Voltron style deck that actually focuses on doing as much damage as possible with Ragavan.

    Riku of Two Reflections - A deck I don't play that much anymore, but was pretty much my first EDH deck that worked decently. It's mainly a wolf themed deck that slightly tries to make Timberpack Wolf work in a singleton format. It's a fun deck nonetheless and flavorwise something I do enjoy, it just doesn't win a lot and mostly serves a casual and nostalgic purpose now.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Meren - Druidball Combo
    Ixalan looks to give me at least one spicy addition for this deck in Growing Rites of Itlimoc and since original Cradle is far beyond my budget for some time to come, this card already hit my preorders. One downside is that I have land tutors and creature tutors, so I need something to be able to dig for this as well. It took a lot of contemplating but I think I'll be looking out to get a copy of Demonic Tutor to help with this situation.

    Because of that I'm more likely to take out Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth, I already contemplated it's inclusion but it will make up a little for getting the tutor. Additionally, I might be cutting Sheoldred, Whispering One as well, she is undoubtedly good but also has a big target on her and so far I've not gotten to a point where Meren could bring her back. Trading her in with Urborg definitely helps with the budgeting.

    Also, to help lowering the curve a bit, I am contemplating taking out Kindred Dominance. Taking out a sweeper might not be that good, but gives another slot to try things with as want to try and run Viscera Seer in the deck as an additional sac outlet.
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on Picking a Fitting Tutor
    Quote from Azurhawk »
    I know you're looking for non-creature tutors but I found Survival of the Fittest to be the strongest tutor/engine Meren could ever wish for.
    It is about as expensive as Demonic Tutor I think, but if I had to pick only one for this Commander I'd play it over Demonic tbh. But maybe that's just me.
    It's banned in the MTGO 1v1 commander though, if that matters to you.
    Ehm, Survival can only look for creature cards so that isn't going to help me as much as to grab some non-creature cards. The card is definitely good just not a part I'm looking to invest in right now.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Picking a Fitting Tutor
    Quote from Lithl »
    Considering the general, my first recommendation (with budget consideration in mind) would be Jarad's Orders. The vast majority of the cards you want to tutor for in Meren are creatures, a creature in the graveyard is often better than a creature in your hand, and JO gets you two creatures that you want.

    If you've already got JO or you want something to tutor noncreatures, I would go for Rune-Scarred Demon. With Meren, it's easily reusable, and its mana cost is irrelevant if you're reanimating it.
    I'm actually taking out Jarad's Orders for this new tutor, mainly because I want and somewhat need a way to get non-creature cards. Meren more or less provides incidental recursion for the deck, so I'm not sure if I will build up enough experience counters consistently to be able to cheat out Rune-Scarred Demon.

    I think that with all the feedback so far, I'm currently leaning towards potentially acquiring a Demonic Tutor. Mostly because it simply lets me both search up the card and gives me more chance of being able to cast it as well the same turn.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Picking a Fitting Tutor
    I know some people find running that running tutors is boring and while its not a full on competitive deck, it is quite combo-centric so it needs ways to get to the cards that I need. To me it depends a bit on the deck on how much tutors I run in it and so far I'm accepting the amount that is in it currently, I just feel that the deck needs one more all-round tutor over a creature only one.
    Quote from MikePemulis »
    Just spend $12 on a beat up Demonic Tutor from Revised. Diabolic isn't even close. Look around on eBay and various Facebook groups where cards and bought and sold.

    Go dig through your bulk and buylist stuff if the $12 Is a problem. I went through last night and found $275 worth of mostly dollar rates. Now I've got credit for cube and EDH upgrades for months.
    Most my bulk tends to be moved on quickly already due to my limited budget, so not that much for me to gain there. Think the only way for me to free up a fair amount would be by disassembling one of my other decks and currently not looking to do so. That said, around here its harder to move around a more played version of a card. So if I'd go for a Demonic then I'd probably see about getting a version I can at least trade easily enough as well.

    My deck indeed runs too little black to make Dark Petition a worthwhile inclusion, which is why I pretty much already omitted it from my options. It's a good point in that Demonic Tutor offers more versatility down the road compared to Diabolic Intent, especially with Tutor only being several bucks more. So something I'll be keeping in mind.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Picking a Fitting Tutor
    This is probably an issue most people whom splash black will run into and that is choosing a decent tutor for your deck. I'm currently considering adding a good all-round tutor to my Meren deck, digging for creatures isn't that hard with green but I'm looking for something that can get me any needed card and not just a creature. Though in doing so I'm slightly constrained by two factors. I have a limited budget and thus making an investment in a pricier card needs to be more justified, sometimes just being the best option might not be enough. Furthermore, in my deck black is a splash and it's not a fully dedicated Meren build, so there is a chance the deck might end up going mono green at some point and that is another reason to be perhaps more conservative with my budget. Especially since this is my only EDH deck running black at the moment. So hence why I'm looking to opinions on what people would do in my situation and which cards are being under consideration.

    • Demonic Tutor or Vampiric Tutor
    • Probably not going to get better than this and its a likely response to a question on which tutor to run when you have access to black. Thing is that they aren't cheap and its not an investment I want to see end up just sitting in my binder. So as good as they might be, cheaper alternatives are probably a better choice for me.
    • Diabolic Intent
    • Slightly more friendly on the budget than the previous two cards, with a draw back that is probably less worrying in my deck. So at least something I'm currently preferring over the previous mentioned cards.
    • Rune-Scarred Demon
    • The tutor on a stick. Obviously fairly affordable and with the potential of recursion this can do a decent amount of work. Meren does lend itself quite well to the demon but since my deck leans more towards a elfball/druidball kind of list, the recursion is slightly more limited. Additionally, the card does cost 7 CMC and definitely hits the top of my curve, which is something I want to keep in mind since I still have to acquire a copy of Tooth and Nail as well.
    • Diabolic Tutor
    • Not ideal but would do the trick for cheap, as well as provide some more time to evaluate which tutor I should get as an upgrade for it. So pretty much a placeholder.
    I know that there are other cards as well but I think that it pretty much comes down to these options, with Diabolic Tutor being mostly there as a means to fill the slot until I can make a better decision or until my budget is decent enough to make Vampiric/Demonic Tutor something I can afford a bit more. Either way, I'm hoping to get some advice and suggestions on this, as I do want to make a calculated decision on what card I should get without wasting my budget.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Ragavan Voltron (with Kari Zev)
    Continued my tweaking of the deck by bringing in Bludgeon Brawl and Nevinyrral's Disk. To make place for them I took out Ib Halfheart, Goblin Tactician as he was more hampering me with its first ability than benefiting me with his second ability. Additionally I took out Inspiring Statuary while it looks promising with all the artifacts in the deck, there isn't that much to sink that mana into once it really starts generating. Nev's Disk will help putting the brakes on some people until it gets popped, while Bludgeon Brawl will help the deck pack more of a punch.

    I've also started looking for any other potential cuts for the deck, as I do want to have a tad bit more interaction in the deck. So figured it was best to see which slots I can work with and then decide what the deck needs most, after which I compiled an initial list of cards that I can maybe cut. I'm open for other suggestions as well, but for now these are on my 'watchlist':
    • Heroes' Podium
    • This definitely is gearing towards being one of the worse cards in the deck, even more so with some Legendaries being cut. The CMC of five is a tad costly but since it was one of the cards which the deck was initially built around I'll leave it in for now.
    • Darksteel Forge
    • Potentially cutting this feels a bit controversial, even more so with having just added Nev's Disk. However, it is a nine drop and still leaves our creatures vulnerable, one bit of removal still renders most stuff unusable until you reequip them. So I am pondering on whether this has a place in the deck.
    • Norin the Wary
    • Norin is one of those cards that can do a lot in the right circumstances, but beyond that it does little. It's a nonbo with the Podium and since the deck doesn't run any tutors and is light on card draw, getting Impact Tremors and Purphoros, God of the Forge reliably isn't something happening soon. So yeah, it needs to be replaced with something which provides a more consistent use.
    • Grenzo, Havoc Raiser
    • Another Legendary that is probably getting cut. Again this goblin looks interesting on paper, especially the second option but when behind it will be a challenge to get damage through and when ahead it probably just feels like win more. So far only had him out at times where I couldn't get damage through, so its currently a consideration to get cut in favor of something that contributes a little more to the deck.
    As far as considered additions go. Foremost, I'm looking at adding in Pyroblast, having your own little counterspell at hand can be nice. Though when it comes to the casual builds in our group I don't think I want to run it's cousin Red Elemental Blast along with it. So for the time being it will be just Pyroblast.

    When cutting both Grenzo and Norin, I feel I might get a tad light on creatures. So while I am looking for interaction I still am considering bringing in Mogg War Marshal just to bring out so goblin tokens to hold the fort.
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
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