Tagged: green

Don’t Play Your Hand, Play the Situation

This article will discuss a problem unique to muliplayer Magic.  To borrow a phrase from hockey, it’s like skating through the neutral zone with your head down — you gotta watch the play, not watch the puck, or you’re going to get leveled.  In Magic terms, you have to play the situation, not play your hand!

It’s not necessary in two-player Magic to do what the multiplayer crowd calls “threat assessment”.  Threat assessment is understanding who is the biggest threat at the table.  In a two player game, you only have one threat — your opponent.  100% of their resources are devoted to stopping you from winning, killing your shit, and winning the game.  Multiplayer Magic is infinitely more complex — temporary alliances can form and fall apart, the most powerful player at the table varies sometimes by the turn, and occasionally it’s better to leave people alive than it is to kill them. 

Consequently, multiplayer Magic is significantly different from two-player Magic in how one should evaluate their lines of play and pick when to play their cards.  Multiplayer Magic forces us to understand the dynamics of many players all trying to win the game at the same time.  There are many more threats on the table and potential threats in players’ hands, and you simultaneously must not lose to all players, all the time.  Meanwhile, they’re trying not to lose to you as well.  Remember: the single most important factor in winning games of Commander is not losing games of Commander.  Not losing is really hard — everybody is out to kill you!

The potential problem that arises when confronted with this much information is to stop looking for lines of play and evaluating the dynamics of the game, and instead just play out your hand as though you’re goldfishing.  This, in my opinion, is not only a bad play strategy, but it also is the single most important factor informing why people hate combo and land destruction.  Because players are not reading the table and instead are just trying to play the cards they see in their hands, when somebody comes along and stops what it is they think they’re trying to do, they get upset.  And rightfully so, given this mindset — games of Commander can take hours, and when your strategy gets disrupted by somebody suddenly winning or you having all your lands destroyed by an Armageddon, it’s a big kick in the nuts.

But, had you been paying attention, you could have seen this coming and avoided it — or, at least, mentally and Magically prepared yourself for the eventuality.  Here’s how to do that.  But first, a quick scenario on how important this is.

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Cardz of the Week: Colorless Card Drawing

I’m reversing the schedule this week because this article is done and the other one isn’t.  Deal widdit.

Is your deck having a hard time drawing cards?  For the most part, card drawing is limited to blue and black, with a little bit sprinkled here and there in other colors.  White in particular has a very difficult time drawing cards, and Red tends to have to discard as many cards as they draw (though that’s not necessarily a bad thing).  Well, there is help out there, but it can be hard to come by.  There aren’t a lot of card advantage cards with brown (or grey) borders, but here is a list of all of them I can find with my pearls of wisdom scattered throughout.  Enjoy!

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Card of the Week: Lotus Cobra

After a couple of cardz of the week, we’re back to a single-card column today.  I’m trying to rotate through all the colors so I don’t just talk about blue cards and artifacts all the time, so let’s move on to everybody’s favorite Commander color, green.  Today’s card is a great little mythic from Zendikar: Lotus Cobra.  I think this card is quite underplayed in Commander and I think he’s a great little dude.

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Cardz of the Week: Sweepers!

This Friday’s CotW is a bonus feature covering ALL the sweeper removal in Magic!  Well, most of it, anyway.  It’s a pretty broad category, and some cards can only be considered a sweeper if you stretch the definition somewhat.  The definition I intend to use for this article is that a sweeper is a card that removes (destroys, exiles, bounces, etc.) all permanents of a certain type, even if there is a condition attached, and that does so by not targetting them or dealing damage.  The condition is often based on converted mana cost (e.g. Pernicious Deed).  As such, Mutilate is a sweeper, but Violent Ultimatum is not.  The definition is pretty fuzzy, as Overwhelming Forces can either be a sweeper or not by these criteria, but you get the idea.  It’s mostly a “feel” thing.

I’m going to go in categories based on what card type the sweeper removes.  The goal is to give everybody an idea of all the options they have in certain colors to get rid of all kinds of permanents at the same time, which is obviously a great thing to do.  Using one card to get rid of a whole bunch is just Good Magic.  I’m also going to leave out Planeswalker ultimates, because, well, they never happen.

Monday’s column will be a strategy article on just how many of these type of cards to include, to tie in with this one.  With that said, here we go!

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Deck Salad Surgery: Damia, Sage of Stone

Welcome to the third installment of Deck Salad Surgery.  Today I’m going to be building a deck from the ground up.  I mentioned the first concept back in this post, where I noted I was inspired by a legacy Show and Tell Griselbrand deck.  Of course, Grizzy’s been banned, but if I let a little thing like banning the centerpiece of the deck stop me, where would I be in life?

(Answer: probably still writing a Magic blog.)

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Deck Salad Surgery: Jenara, Asura of War

Alright friends, Romans, countrymen!  (And if you don’t belong to one of those categories, GTFO.)  It’s time for the first instalment of my Deck Salad Surgery* column!  And I even have a user-submitted deck for the feature.  Things are just coming together like jello in the fridge here, people.

(*  This is an ELP reference.  I’d hate for you to miss it.)

Today’s column features a Jenara, Asura of War deck chock-full of Bant-colored good stuff.

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Captain Sisay

Captain Sisay

Commander (1)
Captain Sisay (Japanese Foil)

Artifact (15)
Coalition Relic
Crucible of Worlds (Portuguese Foil)
Lightning Greaves
Oblivion Stone
Selesnya Signet
Sensei’s Divining Top
Sphere of Resistance
Sol Ring
Talisman of Unity
Tangle Wire
Thorn of Amethyst
Thousand-Year Elixir
Worn Powerstone

Enchantments (8)
Aura of Silence
Aura Shards
Ghostly Prison
Living Plane
Mana Reflection
Mirari’s Wake
Mirri’s Guile
Shield of the Oversoul

Creatures (21)
Azusa, Lost but Seeking
Crovax. Ascendant Hero
Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
Eternal Witness
Gaddock Teeg
Hokori, Dust Drinker
Iona, Shield of Emeria
Kamahl, Fist of Krosa
Knight of the Reliquary
Kataki, War’s Wage
Linvala, Keeper of Silence
Lodestone Golem
Magus of the Tabernacle
Mangara of Corondor
Myojin of Life’s Web
Primeval Titan
Saffi Eriksdotter
Solemn Simulacrum
Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger
World Queller

Spells (16)
Beast Within
Eladamri’s Call
Enlightened Tutor
Explosive Vegetation
Green Sun’s Zenith
Hallowed Burial
Kodama’s Reach
Krosan Grip
Primal Command
Realms Uncharted
Skyshroud Claim
Tooth and Nail
Lands (39)
Ancient Tomb
Eiganjo Castle
Flagstones of Trokair
Hall of the Bandit Lord
Kor Haven
Krosan Verge
Mistveil Plains
Okina, Temple to the Grandfathers
Oran-Rief, the Vastwood
Razorverge Thicket
Secluded Steppe
Strip Mine (French Antiquities)
Sunpetal Grove
Temple Garden
Temple of the False God
Tranquil Thicket
Windswept Heath
Wooded Bastion
Yavimaya Hollow
10 Plains

Savra, Queen of the Golgari (retired)

Savra, Queen of the Golgari (retired)

Commander (1)
Savra, Queen of the Golgari

Planeswalkers (1)
Liliana Vess

Artifacts (11)
Cauldron of Souls
Eldrazi Monument
Golgari Signet
Grim Monolith
Lightning Greaves
Memory Jar
Nevinyrral’s Disk
Phyrexian Altar
Sol Ring

Enchantments (6)
Grave Pact
Oversold Cemetery
Pernicious Deed
Phyrexian Arena

Creatures (29)
Abyssal Gatekeeper
Acidic Slime
Ant Queen
Braids, Cabal Minion
Butcher of Malakir
Creakwood Liege
Deadwood Treefolk
Deranged Hermit
Endrek Sahr, Master Breeder
Eternal Witness
Hell’s Caretaker
Indrik Stomphowler
Krosan Tusker
Lord of Extinction
Melira, Sylvok Outcast
Oracle of Mul Daya
Primeval Titan
Puppeteer Clique
Sadistic Hypnotist
Seedguide Ash
Seedborn Muse
Sengir Autocrat
Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger
Woodfall Primus
Yavimaya Elder

Spells (14)
Barter in Blood
Beacon of Unrest
Demonic Tutor
Diabolic Intent
Krosan Grip
Momentous Fall
Perilous Forays
Primal Command
Primal Growth
Lands (38)
Ancient Tomb
Barren Moor
Cabal Coffers
Crypt of Agadeem
Gaea’s Cradle
Gilt-Leaf Palace
Golgari Rot Farm
High Market
Llanowar Wastes
Miren, the Moaning Well
Oran-Rief, the Vastwood
Overgrown Tomb
Phyrexian Tower
Polluted Mire
Tainted Wood
Temple of the False God
Tranquil Thicket
Twilight Mire
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
Verdant Catacombs

Azusa, Lost but Seeking (retired)