Choose two — •Choose one — •Target creature gets +2/+2 until end of turn. •Target creature gains flying until end of turn. Untap it. •Target creature gains hexproof and indestructible until end of turn. •Choose one — •Search your library for an instant or sorcery card, reveal it, then shuffle your library and put that card on top. •Search your library for a creature card, reveal it, then shuffle your library and put that card on top. •Search your library for a land card, reveal it, then shuffle your library and put that card on top. •Choose one — •Counter target spell. •Draw two cards. •Put two +1/+1 counters on target creature. •Choose one — •Untap two target lands. •Return target land to its owner’s hand. •Put a land card from your hand onto the battlefield tapped.
Choose one — •Choose two — •Commanding Charm deals 4 damage to target player. •Commanding Charm deals 4 damage to target planeswalker. •Commanding Charm deals 4 damage to target creature. •You gain 4 life. •Choose two — •Creatures without flying can’t block this turn. •Creatures you control gain first strike until end of turn. •Untap all creatures you control. •Creatures you control get +1/+1 until end of turn. •Choose two — •Exile target artifact. •Exile target enchantment. •Exile target creature with power 4 or greater. •Exile target nonbasic land.
Man I’m just spitting out new post types aren’t I? This is a kind of post that I think I’ll probably do more of in the future because let’s be honest, sometimes it’s not just a card that annoys us, but the whole deck it’s in.
And MAN where do I even begin with this monstrosity of a deck archetype? For any of you who don’t know, this is a deck that took modern by storm, putting no less than SIX copies in the top 8 of Pro Tour Oath of the Gatewatch (different flavors but all the same style of deck). The deck is extremely powerful and super annoying because of how it breaks the game and any idea of what deck type might apply to it.
Throughout the history of Magic, the absolute most degenerate decks have been the ones that abuse the mana system. Sometimes this comes in the form of storm decks, which produce huge amounts of mana for tiny costs, other times in the form of decks like Tron that use a more straightforward approach of playing a “ramp” strategy. Eldrazi falls into the Tron camp, but in a much more degenerate way. Much of the deck revolves around two lands: Eye of Ugin and Eldrazi Temple, with Eye producing the most insane results. Using these lands, the deck takes advantage of the cheap Eldrazi that were printed in the newest Zendikar sets. Why is this degenerate? Mainly because those two lands produce 2 or more mana for no cost. Compare this to Ancient Tomb. The cost of using Ancient Tomb adds up very quickly, causing huge amounts of damage, and even then the mana advantage it creates is enough to make it a powerful card in every format it’s legal in. Temple and Eye have no such drawback, only requiring a dedicated deck of Eldrazi, which have much more options available now with the new printings. In addition to this, Eye itself can produce effectively 2 mana per Eldrazi spell cast in a turn. This can consistently get up to 4-6 mana for the deck. A land that produces 6 mana for no cost? Does that sound broken to anyone else?
But of course this (insane) mana advantage means nothing without spells to cast. So what are the culprits that make this deck so strong and annoying? The main culprits are Eldrazi Mimic and Reality Smasher. Smasher is the real problem card here. This card can come down as early as turn two (I’ll explain how in just a little bit) and immediately sets the clock running. The trample clause makes it impossible to block well as it outsizes almost every card played widely in modern, and the haste makes the clock start as soon as it comes into play. Even this would be not too bad if it weren’t for the fact that the card is impossible to interact with favorably. Unless you’re running Shriekmaw somewhere or have a counterspell, the card is guaranteed to get a 2 for 1, even if you have an instant speed removal spell to stop the beat down. Couple this huge, easy to play body with Eldrazi Mimic and you have an absurdly fast clock, usually two or three turns as soon as the swings start. It’s fast, it’s hard to interact with, and there’s no way you’re beating this in combat. The deck just does unfair things super quickly.
Back now to what I mentioned about deck types. The three main flavors, as you know, are aggro, control, and combo, with midrange and tempo oriented decks floating somewhere in there as well. But Eldrazi breaks the mould by bringing the best aspects of every archetype with no downsides. The speed of an aggro deck? There is a possible turn 2 kill with this deck (albeit very unlikely), and a much more consistent turn 4 or 5 kill, plus it adds being hard to interact with to the mix. The explosiveness of a combo deck? The deck is so focused on synergy that, possible turn 2 kills aside, it can produce degenerate board states just from mana production and immediately puts the pressure on to have a way to disrupt it. The late game potential of a control deck? The deck runs a 5/5 with trample, haste, and protection, which again outclasses most modern creatures. It just happens to play it as a 3 drop most often. Some flavors run even more big Eldrazi finishers, but for the ultimate late game potential look no further than Eye of Ugin. Want to make the game drag out long, try to survive the initial onslaught to be on a level playing field? Watch as your opponent gets to tutor up threats every turn. Combine these three aspects and you have a deck that is practically impossible to play against in any feasible way. The best you can hope to do is survive the initial burst of activity and kill them before their true late game potential catches on, which is no easy feat considering how well the deck blocks. It’s so annoying to play against because there’s no counter to the deck. People have been legitimately considering playing Painter’s Servant just to counteract the mana advantage the deck generates so as to slow it down a bit. It’s warping the format around itself.
I haven’t even gotten to the worst part yet though. Y'know how I mentioned the deck doesn’t fit into any archetype neatly? Well this allows it to break the game by running cards meant for the sideboard in the main deck. The deck wants to produce mana and create big threats easily, so it runs Simian Spirit Guide to produce that one extra mana that can push it over the top (especially because the color doesn’t matter). The deck runs no one drops, so it runs main board Chalice of the Void to counter aggressive decks and prey on the rest of the format (possible turn 1 Chalice on 1. Sounds fun to play against right?). Playing colorless creatures? May as well play Spellskite to beat out decks like Bogles that may actually be able to put together a defensive creature base. The deck can run all these situational cards (a lot of which have been featured on this blog) because it doesn’t fold to any of them and doesn’t lose any advantage by playing them. It’s insane and so frustrating to play against because it’s impossible to play against. You can’t expect to win against an opponent who can equal parts kill you on turn 2, kill you on turn 20, counter most of the spells in your deck, and be hard to interact with. It’s just completely unfair to play against. The deck produces huge amounts of mana and uses it stupidly well, and then gets to use the rest of the space to play what might as well be pre-sideboarded cards. You don’t get to play Magic while your opponent is playing an absolutely unfair amount of Magic.
The deck denies you from playing and doesn’t have to be slow to do it. It’s no fun to play against in any way, and one of the worst parts is the absolute lack of counter play. The best cards that counter the deck literally only slow it down. Even Blood Moon, the quintessential aggravating card which preys on decks that run nonbasic lands, doesn’t do much against Eldrazi besides take away the explosive start (the deck even runs a couple copies of Wastes to get around this). When literally 6/8 decks in the top 8 are the same archetype, you know it’s broken. In my opinion the deck might be balanced if Eye of Ugin was banned. Not only would this take away much of the deck’s super explosive nature, it would also remove a lot of late game potential, forcing the deck to play a more feasibly counterable midrange strategy. If Wizards really wanted to kill the deck, it would probably only take the banning of Eye and Temple. But in my opinion, something has to go. The deck is way too strong as it stands, and man oh man is it no fun to play against.
You say that the concept of the mana pool is "a concept you don’t need to learn until well past being a beginner." I disagree with that. I've seen people use the life lands from KTK as fetchlands, thinking of their land base as a mana pool (I've corrected them when I saw them do it). Nonbasic lands are an essential part of even very casual games (their presence in the Planeswalker decks attests to that). IMO mana pool vs lands in play should be a very early thing taught.
No, it should not. Game one of teaching you should teach them only the absolute basics and make it about having a good time not learning all the intricacies of the rules.
We have done numerous focus groups teaching beginners over the years and the number one stumbling block by a wide, wide, WIDE margin is giving them too much information.
I went to play mtg tonight, but there’s a local loudmouth player that decided to say there’s a new commander rule that you can play any nonbasic land in commander now.
I asked him to tell me the rule, and where I can find it, but he couldn’t remember.
I told him that the rule about color identity was that the mana symbols needed to be present on the commander, but he countered, laughing, saying “lands don’t have a color identity, they’re colorless, man!” and I told him we need that printed out so people can read it, because that would be a pretty big deal. It would mean sliding a lot of nonbasics around, and I told him it didn’t sound correct.
He brushed it off.
So, I need resources that I can bring with me about this. If it’s true, then we need to explain why it is true so players can understand it. If it is false, I want the information to shut this loudmouth down.
Is there an entire common, uncommon and rare nonbasic land cycle? There is just so many special (un)common nonbasic lands in this set plus all the rare dual lands, and the expedition lands, SO MANY LANDS O-o
"August 18, 2015 saxtirical asked: Where are nonbasic lands with basic land types on the storm scale?" "2. It's something we do infrequently but it's something we do." This is one of reason I love Blogatog. :)
No. 1 most underrated card in EDH. Makes you nearly guaranteed to make any creature unblockable against any player mainly because nearly everyone will have a nonbasic land. It costs roughly $0.10 and since it is colorless, it fits. I’m not saying Whispersilk Cloak lost its place but I think Shroud is a tough call during EDH because even you cannot target your own creature with that on.