petition to make this an official format
4x Swords to Plowshares
4x Rune Snag
4x Dark Ritual
4x Ashen Ghoul
Steps to success on Tumblr [as is apparent to me.]
Post self-shots of ugly mug holding magic cards.
Gain additional subscribers.
Something, something #commanderselfies
HANDS TO SMALL! TO MANY GENERALS! IMPROVISE DAMNIT! Also, should not have done faces…shouldanotdoneit.
Well, the post for that, I was already typing up when you message me, so I short-cut that I guess. as for selfiies, sure, why not :D
Commanderselfie? I’m a little tired right now, so I can’t really think clearly - but could you possibly explain a bit more?
A history of…Joz’s EDH and how I “grew up” into the world of Multiplayer EDH (or some other title that actually fits what this article is about.)
Aka - How I play, “The Game,” of Thrones…eerr…”The Game of Politics.”
A long, long, long time ago, in a hospital somewhere in St. Paul, I was born. And that’s the end of the intro, moving on! I first started Magic as just a collector, didn’t play, but I loved the art, and the fantasy feel of the cards, my cousins were in the very first group of players to pick the game up and start gouging eye-balls and milling decks. They eventually taught me how to actually play in 1994; but being young as I was, I still thought just because a card looked cool, had to mean it was super powerful – oh yea, Hurloon Minotaur baby! I played on and off all through elementary, high-school and college, until a few years ago when I started playing at Level Up Games in South St. Paul and really kicked myself into gear.
I became, and to be humble about it, a near-master of EDH (also known as Commander, but I don’t talk about that.)
So, what have I done with a half-decade of EDH? Well, lets take a look.
My first ever EDH deck was a Tetsuo Umezawa “junk” deck, and I don’t mean the “good stuff junk”, I mean the “trash” that I could barely afford on a meager budget being a full-time student with a shit job and expenses to pay. I had traded in my old casual mono-black 60-card deck, Demigod of Revenges, Solemns, Coffers, and Mutilates (when they where all $5-10) and that $100 or so dollars got me started with Tetsuo…which lasted all of about two months before I got a better job, less expenses and switched to….
Kiku, Night’s Flower and for a time, one of the best decks in the group I played with at Inver Hills. A control deck at heart, it lasted for nearly 4 years before morphing into a Mirri the cursed Voltron; and boy that was a fun deck :D. No one ever sees the rabid cat as a threat until its too late. However, even Mirri wasn’t enough to slake my thirst for a growing “sadism” and eventually morphed into a combo-tastic control deck helmed by Xiahou Dun, “The Combo King.” Which I occasionally take out and rock with a few times a year. No one seems to appreciate the Contamination lockout though; or infinite Praetor’s Grasp/Temporal Extortion/Game-Restarting-With-ALL-Your-Things that it can do with Karn now…. [ http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/xiahou-combo-king-dun/ ]
At the same time as I was assembling Kiku, I also fell in love with the idea of using Rayne, Academy Chancellor as my general; and I have been known as the original Rayne player in many forums and locales; while I don’t really play into the “enchant Rayne for more value” line, the deck itself featured what I like to call “Infinite Time Stop Lock,” which essentially, meant the entire deck was in play creating a lock against all opponents with a combination of infinite mana, morphs, bounce, and repeatable use of Time Stop itself (yes, that is possible; and without Venser.) The deck has changed little over the years, but notably with some very powerful and obnoxious Legends enchantments. I rarely play the deck, as the amount of sour it generates could choke a titan. [ http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/rayne-control-murcy/ ]
Now, after mono-black and mono-blue and while I was going to school in Wisconsin, I was widely known online, and in person as a non-green player. I looked with scorn at the “rampers” that just wanted to mana flood into and cast Tooth and Nail as soon as possible. There was just…NOTHING subtle in green. Elves and Fat, that’s it. Lame and Lamer. So, a few years ago, I decided that Azusa would be the perfect deck; and OH BOY….did I quickly change my line of thinking. Whoooboy. I designed and built what I liked to call “the vomit deck”, it contained zero cards like Kodama’s Reach, or Explosive Vegetation and relied only on Azusa, Oracle of Mul Daya, and ETB effects to get lands into play fast. In addition, it was just packed full of value and it wasn’t uncommon for me to have upwards of 10 mana by turn 5 or 6; a true monster of a deck in its day – made only more powerful after I found out about Cloudstone Curio and its abuseability with various things in the deck already. Another deck I rarely take out anymore, but the sheer disgustingness of it has been called “it’s magical” on many an occasion. Of course, the change to the land rulings kinda nerfed it…hard. [ http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/azusas-awesome-agenda/ ]
Now, we move into the last few years where my collection of decks exploded; the first batch, brought about by needing less comboish decks lead to Kiki-Jiki “noncombo” red goodstuff, a Grixis sacrificed themed deck driven by either Thraximundar or Garza Zol, and a Xira Arien big-plays-theme deck. Each of these three mostly-casual decks excel in certain ways and are always fun to play. Kiki-Jiki is just lots and lots and lots of mana and getting mountains into play to fuel wacky things like Flowstone Slide, Flowstone Overseer, pumping Red Akroma, Inferno Titan, Petradon and and doing sick, sick, sick things with Sundial of the Infinite, and Reiterate. [ http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/kiki-jiki-janky-kanky/ ] (There is a Zealous Conscripts, but I don’t combo with it; copy it only once per turn cycle is my personal rule.)
Thrax/Garza is just a new spin on my oldest (and most terribad) of decks; heavily featuring bad versions of other-colors good cards; its a fun and janky deck to bring to the table; mostly headed by Garza Zol these days; and my only deck featuring heavy use of mana rocks – though I do think I need a few more, and a couple more lands too. If I had to claim one of my decks as the least powerful of the bunch, it would be this one. [ http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/twin-gods-of-grixis/ ]
Xira on the other hand, is a thematic big-plays deck and lots, and lots, and lots of ramp. I am, the only person in my group to play Crush of Wurms, Hydra Broodmaster, and maybe even the only one playing Broodmate Dragon, but damn, are they fun to hit people with! This deck sometimes suffers from poor draws; but Xira’s ability is actually very useful in every game I’ve been in (other then that one Ruination game…) I purposefully chose Xira over “better” options like Karrthus, Kresh (and I won’t even touch Proosh) simply because…no one else was – and I have a soft spot for three mana cost generals. One of my favorite decks simply because there is nothing subtle about it, it doesn’t try to hide anything and it loves to just pack that mana together and overextend with massive plays. One day I’ll get a Mana Reflection for it, and then it will really shine :D [ http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/xira-mistress-of-miseries/ ]
Now, between Thrax/Garza and Xira, there where two other decks; and they are among the two most hated and reviled of all my designs, Damia, Battlecruiser Sage, and Lady Evangela(now partnering with Oloro.) The Esper deck was the first of the “sisters”; with Damia coming shortly after the first precon release. And these two decks, well….woah.
Lady Evangela/Oloro was taking the “land control” theme from 5CCC (Five Color Child[of Alara]Control and making it strictly Esper; and “value matters” theme. Packed with sac outlets, value creatures, utility lands, and even Walking Atlas, the deck is well known at my LGS for being a tough nut to crack … late game. If I can get it to last beyond the midgame, and get the right lands and do the right plays with removal, the deck can very easily leverage the full power of its land-based control in the form of Maze Lands; and with a total activation possibility of almost a dozen ways with just lands alone, to control combat it often is able to stay out of major confrontations and focus on building up even more control with versatile utility spells and creatures. It also has no basic lands – a theme I decided to go with for the hell of it, and because it was more fun that way. [ http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/twin-generals-of-esper/ ]
Damia, Sage of Stone, or “Battlecruiser Magic”; is the other nightmare child. While most people were thinking that The Mimeoplasm was the BUG general to beat during the initial release of the original commander Precons, I quickly latched onto Damia and a strategy from far-out-left field. Instead of trying to quickly rush into abusing her draw ability; I opted for a much slower and apparently, far more powerful concept; the Battlecruiser Sage; (detailed in greater depth here: http://mtgjoz.tumblr.com/post/66993581628/edh-deck-tech-damia-battlecruiser-sage ) As with my Evangela/Oloro deck, I knew lands were going to be important; but I wasn’t even close to prepared to the sheer overwhelming might of just getting as many extra land drops as I could. Sakura-Tribe Scout, Walking Atlas, Urban Evolution, Explore, regular basic and forest ramp, the Doubling Cube-Mana Reflection synergy, and a host of powerful beaters that even came to include such cars as Mindleech Mass, Pharika’s Mender and Silent-Blade Oni. Truly, I had created a monster of a deck, versatile, resilient, with enough power early and mid game to take it to my goal – the late game; my home field. There are only a few “natural archenemy decks,” that aren’t pure control or combo decks in my group, and the Battlecruiser Sage ranks highly among that elite few. Sometimes, overwhelming to absurd levels, it is more then capable of also sitting back and trading favorably into the dusk of the evening. My favorite deck of all time, I think. [ http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/damia-battlecruiser-sage/ ]
Now, moving on from that, Kaalia and Radiant, sisters in arms to the greater glory of the winged armada! Kaalia is – from what I can tell – a unique take on the general, no mana rocks, and only a single mass-LD that I don’t think I’ve ever played, and no Master of Cruelties. Strong and resilient enough to eventually start hard-casting DADs all over the place (Dragons, Angels, Demons.) I mostly cast my general just to soak up removal, though it is fun to drop her in with haste off Lightning Greaves or Hall of the Bandit Lord and plop down a Lord of the Void and start snatching things with it on turn 4 – rarely as it happens. And I finally got a Sneak Attack for it :D That is a lot of fun :D [ http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/kaalia-mistress-of-the-host/ ]
Now, her sister, Radiant, is only a few months old as of this post, but quickly proving her worth as a solid mid-range and late-game contender; with some rare early-game bursts. A small but powerful equipment suite and control spells, help the “flying” theme matters get going. But, the most fun thing of all? Having Radiant out; and unblockable, followed by a Storm Herd for a few dozen extra 1/1s with flying that boost Radiant :D. If only I had some way to play Greater Good in this deck, I’d be sooooo happy. Still, it makes for a good multiplayer deck; but not single player. [ http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/radiant-archangel-of-armies/ ]
After Kaalia however, I decided that Goblins should be a deck in my collection; and enter Krenko. A pretty much standard Goblin EDH combo/aggro deck. Really isn’t anything special to say about this one in particular…well, I lied. Goblin Assassin is hella fun :D; as is the occasional turn 3 infinite haste goblin horde. As as Five-Alarm Fire; but I guess I shouldn’t surprised with how effective that card can actually be in this sort of deck. Simple, but somehow elegant, Krenko is a mean master and doesn’t forgive mistakes easily. [ http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/krenko-mobfather/ ]
Now, since we are talking about tokens a bit, with Radiant and Krenko; there is a Hazezon deck too! Another slightly-off-the-beaten path from the norm; and another mid-to-late game deck design. The first focus is Ramp and Stability. Drop enough fluff and fat to keep alive; and enough ramp to actually have enough stuff to turn an attack in another direction. While not as focused as some of my other late-game decks; Hazezon has proven his worth time and time again, often times going a dozen or more turns into the game before he even gets cast for the first time, and that’s usally all it takes to get the snowball going. While I dislike using Purphoros, he’s in the deck to provide the quicker kill against combo decks, should they decide to pop out of their owner’s deck box(s.) Maybe, one day I’ll see how Storm Herd does in this; but for now, I’ll just enjoy the look of disgust and confusion on people’s faces as I drop down and recur Burnished Hart in a green deck. Funny story, almost killed someone with their own general thanks to Sarkhan Vol and Sunhome :D. “Stop hitting yourself!” Well, he just stopped casting his general when he hit 18 commander damage from his own dude. [ http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/hazezons-horrible-hundred/ ]
Right after I completed the first “gathering” of cards for Hazezon, I quickly moved into building a Wanderer deck; and only because I had a copy of Wanderer I picked up just as he was spiking in price. Packed full of cards just out of my binder (and very little trading or post-deck-pile tuning.) A few notable plays include having not only my own Alchemist Refuge, but two opponent’s Alchemist Refuge as well. I’ve also Selective Memoried every cascadeable-target between 0 and 7 mana, other then Bane of Progress, just to get that one win in style (and a 20/20 something Bane.) Of, and of course, Rampaging Bolaths into a 12 land Boundless Realms hit (*whistle.*) While on paper, this particular build of Maelstrom doesn’t seem particularly impressive, it has some incredible explosive power, and I (bragging incoming) am a skilled enough player to understand when I actually need to play Wanderer; not just when I have the first 8 mana to do so. [ http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/wanderers-wacky-whamies/ ]
Now, I do have three more completed decks after this, Michiko [ http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/michikos-many-miseries/ ]; an enchantment/artifact prison and lockdown deck, that gets nothing but hate from everyone sane. A Talrand (no online deck list) featuring mostly 1-mana cantrips and a few other spells to fill the gap (and only one other creature…Signal Pest.) and an Angus McKenzie (no online decklist) that was trying to be a Bant version of my Epser deck, but failed miserably due to a lack of certain cards that just made the Epser version better. None of these three decks really see a lot of play; Michiko because it is just pure-un-fun; Talrand because the deck really, really sucks, but it is funny when it works; and Angus…because…Bant decks bore me.
I do have several other decks in the words, in various stages of “started”, “almost there,” and “just need $500 more for this.” Maralen, Ad-Nauseum combo [ http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/edhmaralen-fast-n-safe/ ], Rosheen “X-Spells” [ http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/rosheen-meanderer-x-makes-the-world-go-round/ ], OloRoll, an Oloro deck featuring cards with life loss/gain on all the cards but basic lands [ http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/oloroll/ ]. And, another mono-black deck with Chainer (and Braids, because…its evil, and I like evil.) [ http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/chainer-edh-deck/ ]
Well, that’s the story so far. Win some, lose less. If you know nothing else about me and how I play after reading this and looking at my deck lists; here is what I used to describe my play style “I don’t play to win, I play to survive to the end.” Or, the other less often used quote “I play to make you scoop in frustration from my control of the game.”
-The Not-So-Skilled-Puppet-Master of Politics.
Today I learned, tigers have two sets of eyelids.
Bloody hell with tumblr and gifs!
There, click that and be happy.
Deep down inside us Magic players; there’s a monster struggling to get free into the world. It doesn’t want money, nor glory, it doesn’t crave power over us. What it just wants to punch a motherfucker in the face for playing slow ass control decks.
Yep, second of five tri-lands has been spoiled…and ….I guess it fits in art and flavor for those three colors..kinda?