Patriot Games

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

General Discussion

I woke up this morning and reached for my phone to be told that Mike Boon had made a new post in the Sheffield MTG Facebook group.  This is not actually a big deal as Mike makes lots of comments in the group (check it our here) but the fact that he had made the post 4 hours ago and it was now 7am made me wonder what the hell he had to say at 3am on a Tuesday morning – generally speaking “snore” and “fart” are the only noises I am known to make at 3am, but then I am an old man.

I was interested to read Mike’s deck list for his Azami deck, despite the idea of “EDH Elite style” being on a par with Mountaineering in Peterborough and 10 places in Barnsley you must visit before you die.  As my next scheduled blog is about next weeks format which is casual legacy (more mountaineering in Peterborough) I thought his worked as a good counterpoint to it.

Elder Dragon Highlander is a casual format but in a similar way to Legacy the number of cards available to it makes it potentially broken.  A lot of the more hideous cards are banned, yes that includes you Griselbrand, but that still leaves an awful lot of stuff to abuse out there.

"Sorry Mr Griselbrand you're not on the list..."

EDH can be really great fun and does tend to be the home of ridiculous combos.  Some older cards in Magic are still expensive solely because they are so good in EDH (Doubling Season would not be £16 if not for its ability to be abused in EDH, especially as it makes Planeswalkers come in with double loyalty counters).

However, Mike’s blog did start me thinking and has inspired me to reply with a casual guide to EDH.  I know some newer players are looking to get into EDH and thought that this might help a bit.

So what makes a good EDH deck?  What are the pitfalls?  What should be in every EDH deck?  How do I avoid the other 3 or more players beating the living tar out of me because I played Azami/Nath of the Gilt-Leaf/Gaddock Teeg/Zur the Enchanter as my general?

Let’s start with the pitfalls as this leads into what makes a good deck.  The first pitfall is that there are 100 cards in your deck and all of them, bar basic lands, are one of a kind making it mathematically unlikely that you will draw what you need.  This will lead you to putting a number of cards into your deck which have similar effects; many of these may be board wipes like Wrath of God or Akroma’s vengeance.  The high number of board wipes makes it difficult to consistently build up board presence and use any firm strategy with your deck.  It also leads to games that go on for 4 hours or more where nobody really does much.  Generals in EDH usually require 2 or more colours to play them.  It is real easy to get colour screwed in EDH and sit there as you opponent plays all his sweet spells while you draw into yet another swamp, knowing that you could actually be a part of this game if you only had a forest…

So cards that actively work against these restrictions (search and draw tech) are even better than usual in EDH.  This is one of the reasons Azami is so horrible because she is the draw engine from hell (now there is an idea for them at Wizards, new card for M14 – “Hell’s Draw Engine" – UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU Instant, Draw every card in your deck” the art work could have a picture of Azami being horribly tortured for all eternity).

This also means that mono colour decks are far more consistent than multi-colour, but I’m guessing you knew that right, while search/draw tech gives you the power to circumvent the whole idea of having a hundred card singleton deck. 

The fact that players have 40 life instead of 20 also means it is possible to play a slower game and not die on turn three.  However this also means that things that circumvent that restriction are incredibly good too.  This makes infect really horrible in EDH as you still die with 10 poison counters on you.  With the cards available in EDH you can be staring down a turn 2 Skithryx, the Blight Dragon with Haste! 

Here is a list of the cards to avoid if you want to have fun games of EDH:

Mind slaver – in combination with Academy Ruins means your opponent will never get to play in the game again, wow great…

Jokulhaups – blow up the world, make life miserable…

Obliterate – blow up the world, make life miserable and you can’t do anything about it…

Hive Mind – What!  You played an instant/sorcery spell!  Ho-Ho-Ho now everybody has a machine gun too!

Rhystic Study – Every time one of you guys plays a spell I draw a card unless you force spike yourself…

Disciple of the Vault – I blow up all my crappy artifacts and kill you in the process!

Contamination – cause everyone secretly wants to play mono black…

Magister Sphinx – hey you know you get 40 life in EDH, well you don’t now cause I just made yours 10!

Sheoldred, Whispering One – your creatures die mine keep coming back from the dead.  Got no creatures?  Play at least 2 a turn or they just die!

Felidar Sovereign – I trick this into play turn two and win as I have 40 life, good game…

Sorin Markov – So combining Magister Sphinx and Mind Slaver was a good idea to someone?

These cards are best avoided if you want to have fun games of EDH as are the generals I mentioned earlier.

So what can you play in your EDH deck?  Well pretty much anything you like that is not on the banned list.  The best way to approach EDH is find a general in the colours you like playing and then look for cards which have synergy with what your general does.  Playing cards that allow you and your opponent to draw cards are a good way to stay alive longer; “Oh I won’t kill him he’s not doing much and he is letting me draw cards.”  Avoid the horrible things listed above and make your combos smart rather than devastating – if people think it is a clever way you killed them they are less likely to gang up on you than if you kill them with an infinite mana fireball!

"Yay!  Everyone draw a card!"

For all of you who would like to give EDH a go but don’t have a deck I have arranged with Jim that we will have a “Give it a go day” for EDH this Sunday 29th July 2012 at Patriot Games Sheffield from 11am – 4pm.  I will have a selection of EDH decks for people to try as well as the store copies of the Wizards Commander decks that came out last year (and are amazingly good value). 

Come back for the next instalment on Thursday, entitled “So this is REAL Magic?” and I hope to see you down the shop on Friday and Sunday.

1 comment:

  1. sweet am glad that both Elite and Casual blogs can work to gether, i was bored and thought it would be good to right about it.