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Many cards and effects are contentious in EDH. Armageddon, Stasis, Iona, Scrambleverse…the list is long and varies depending on your playgroup.
On this episode we’re discussing a recent article by Commander Rules Committee member Sheldon Menery and asking the question: Are there cards you shouldn’t play?
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I'd probably call it eithet "skirmish packs" or "booster blitz" as others have suggested. Just one question, what do you do when one of the games between decks ends up in a draw? Do you just go on to the next game? And if so who starts?
I run an Iona in my Kaalia, but I play it conditionally. I don't play it against a mono player unless we're the last 2 in the game. Last time I used her it was against a 5 color, a Mardu, and an Azorius, and I chose white. Slowed everyone down, but everyone got to play. Also she was exiled a couple turns later. It's all about context.
The comment about "meanness level". I remember recently in a game I was running Kaalia, and on turn 6 I was cursed. I told the curses owner on my turn that I had two options to remove it, one that was really mean and would take him out (Master of Cruelties) and one that wasn't (Angel of Dispair). He told me to play my best card, and I headshotted him on turn 6. Each play group and player is different, even though I agree with a lot of this list.
The thing about ban lists in general (not just commander) is that you don't have to do what they say unless you're in a competitive scenario or your group wants competitive rule sets. When I played yugioh in high school no one complained when pot of greed was played. House rules always trump ban lists.
Loads to unpack here and there's a great conversation going back and forth. I'm just idly going back through a lot of old videos and this one struck me as pretty interesting so my takeaway is....
Roughly 90% of the cards that were brought up in the article, to me, encourage "solitaire" magic in what's intended to be a multiplayer format and the entire article comes from a guy who's basic "job" is to make sure the format stays interactive. When I hear "when I see lands untap I feel like going infinite is not far behind" coming from this cat, what he's really talking about is something that Josh himself talks a lot about hating - a long, likely uninterruptible processes that ends with "and then I win". There are exceptions in the article to this, but palinchron, armageddon, and mindslaver all come rapidly to mind. You guys are absolutely correct that a "good" deck needs some answers to these problems and that on their own, these cards aren't *super* format warping. The issue that's being brought up (to me, anyway) is the idea that "my deck does this and I'm going to do it when you guys can't stop me and so I then win". I would ten times rather see someone counter or remove my big thing that's going to make me win than spend 6 minutes sitting at a table while someone explains to me why I lose... which I think is a pretty common thought process throughout commander. I could be very wrong, and a lot of what you guys do leads me to think that I might be a *little* wrong given your playgroup and the focus on "super explodey turns" rather than incremental advantages based on "if I do this, will I be considered too much of a threat".
Basically I agree with what you guys say individually with each card, but I think the article itself basically boils down to "don't be a dick; here's what I think a dick looks like in commander, but your dick may be much different than mine."
I think the way Sheldon is trying to protect a certain mentality rather than really see the real problem. The problem is the playgroup. There is no amount of ban that will fix it.
Looking at the banlist and some of the cards that are allowed, some are just too arbitrary in the sense compared to the pool that is allowed. I mean, lot of cards on that list deserve it, so lot of cards that are allowed as well.
Personally I'm annoyed by people who hog their turn/the stack and do not win the game. I'm OK with stax. I can just concede if the lock is achieved and I can't deal with it (alone or in conjunction with others) and I consider it as a valid win con. I'm even OK with people who don't play to win (like group huggers), just wanna screw the board. I'm not OK with people doing nothing in their turn like Sensei a gazillion times and playing with triggers that do nothing much. I rather have a game that last 2 minutes than play 5 turns in 2 hours.
I'm annoyed by cards that make a lot checks to every single action. Still I'm OK with that in the end.
If we try to protect everyone's fun, in the end it may muddle the game. Sheldon is allowed an opinion like everyone else, but maybe he should keep some of it not in public. Even if he is being as careful as he can, I don't think he needs to share the "negative" ones. It's good to know how the thought process goes, but maybe he shouldn't be that specific about his (playgroup) likes and dislikes.
I'm not gonna lie Josh totally nailed this whole conversation about agreeing or disagreeing with the rules committee. I'll say I used to play Yu-Gi-Oh! and I left because of the changes they made to the game: Master Rule 4, patching the first player drawing rule out, and stuff like that drastically changed a game that a lot of people were already very comfortable in going through the motions for. I switched to Magic and specifically commander because not only is it a lot of fun, it's so reliably consistent that I never need to worry about something so drastic happening that I can't enjoy the game further. Do I want a few cards off the banlist? Sure, but when your card pool is literally thousands of cards as an eternal format and only a few dozen are banned; I'm not gonna complain much.
Just wanted to mention that i think there was a misconception in this discussion that wasn't at some point corrected, and the opposite was actually used as an argument 'against'; and seeing you can't both have your pie and eat it … *I think it's GREAT to know what this guy thinks about cards* … because, if he doesn't share how he thinks, i know EVEN LESS about what goes on in that committee. NOW at least i know the position he takes on these cards, and what types of cards HE thinks are maybe not entirely good for the format overall. (So, you can not say 'i do not know whats going on there and that is bad' AND SAY 'this guy shares his opinion and i think it's bad cuz i fear he will do something with it'; those two arguments are entirely opposite of each other. Either you want to know what and how these guys think about the game, and thus sort of the topics of their discussions, OR, you think it's bad they do not share their thoughts…)
Do like the gist of the discussion though ! … but i will play my pre-release promo paradox engine in my probably jack artifacts deck regardless. But i am still doubting about Nath as one of the 99 in my B/G elves deck.
There is nothing wrong with infinite combos.
Having an ‘Oops I win’ button in a deck means you can just start playing a new game sooner.
If you have a pod of 4 players, all without combos, you’ll get the long play game times of like 3+ hours.
Having access to combos in your deck means you can fit more games in.
Like in my Tiana Ships Caretaker deck I have Godo and Aurelia with Helm of the Host as an oops I win combo to just end the game and start up a new one.
The main problem with "lock"-decks like Derevi (+ Stasis/Winter Orb/Kismet etc.) or "Stax"-decks like Augustin is that the game doesn't actually *end*. You will always have at least one player who has a disenchant in hand and "only" needs to hit runner-runner lands to cast it, so he/she doesn't concede - and now you're sitting here for the next 45 minutes while the Derevi player keeps tapping newly played lands and trying to bungle his way past your other opponent's deadly recluse to eventually win.
I try to keep it as fair as possible. Really hate stack/taxes and infinite combo decks. Granted I play reanimator, but not to the stupid extent that I could. I really love unique types, and to see what people can come up with. Really agree with this list, these can be some seriously irritating effects. These and similar cards are just the worst to play against.
I do play a jank infinite counterspell combo in a hanna deck. I do make sure everyone knows how it works and what it is before playing and if they're cool with it, just so it doesn't come out of left field. It's also purposefully super janky and disruptable.
It’s edh / commander for a reason... it’s a free for all type of format! Get better or get wrecked! I like to play against other players to make me better.. I find ways to overcome other cards. I don’t sit and complain about what people play..
commander is a joke format full of whiny kids for people who cant hack real magic. Put artificial limits on a game because you gave me unlimited access to a legendary and expect it not to go broken.... Play multiplayer STANDARD with decks built for multiplayer experience, no broken shit to worry about and most of all its fair and balanced.
DJ do you think they should bring back Leovold and Prophet? My thoughts are that they are broken af
- from a player who ran prophet in every single commander deck from the time it was released until ban
Imo infinite combos ARE the HEART of Commander.. it’s not Commander, if you can’t go infinite [in the most convoluted and interesting way possible]. That’s what I love about Commander, absurd board states and combos..
I hate combo decks. I’m the kind of person that never runs counter-spells, because I would much prefer to let people play their deck and see how crazy it gets. My favorite deck is my Omnath deck that just ramps like crazy. I don’t think playing a tutor for an infinite mana combo is fun. I took out Umbral Mantle from my Omnath deck, even though it is great when equipped to a Karemetra’s Acolyte, Elvish Archdruid or Priest of Titania and gives Omnath Infinite power. Does anyone else agree that this is the most fun way to play?
The thing I read with Sorin is that their total is now 10. So like both cases that they're above or below it becomes 10. No real loss. I've seen cards like this in yugioh that makes it so the total changes but it was neither paid for cost or dealt in damage. I'd have to see the ruilings in mtg
sheldon has no clue what commander is. and if he bans cards because of personal opinion it will cause an uproar and it will be ignored and replaced by someone else's commander banlist like duel, french , leviathan and so on...
I'm comfortable saying that Iona is a jerk card for jerks. My playgroup has an informal but well-known rule stating that, if you play Iona, the other people at the table get to punch you in the dick. Other than that though, you can pretty much play what you want.
If we unban biorhythm than unban Balance. Im tired of people talking shit about white being a weak color in commander than bitch about serra ascendant, Iona, Armageddon. Excuse my language its just absolutely infuriating!!!
My unsolicited 2 cents: I feel like some of the resentment aimed at some of these cards and combos is a matter of expectations. If you're a Johnny or a Spike, every format in the game is open to you. If you're a Timmy, EDH is really the only format where you can make timmy plays, and having someone go infinite just feels terrible.
Having said that, even though I don't like combo I don't ban it or get angry, I simply target that player first. With everything. I have even put some infinite combos into my decks specifically to get rid of players who do things like tunnel vision and cheat lab maniac into play. The meanest one was the animate dead, worldgorger, comet storm; I'd generate infinite mana and deal infinite damage to the one combo player.
Cards like Serra ascendant and forbid, don't feel nearly as oppressive to me, but I can see why people don't like them. I've been on both sides of a turn 1 Serra ascendant (and worse: turn 1 sol ring into lightning greaves, turn 2 ascendant and a fleshbag marauder to clear the way) and while getting hit is worse, swinging with it doesn't feel particularly good. It's like I'm not playing especially well, I just won the opening hand lottery, and that card can do some serious work before someone draws an answer to it. Forbid only feels like a jerk card if you're playing 15 counters and one of them is forbid (the deck that I have that runs forbid uses it instead of 10 counterspells; the other 2 counter cards I have are primarily for another purpose, perplex for transmute, disciple of the ring for tap/untap shenanigans). Otherwise the person with forbid is losing the card advantage war to deny me a powerful card.
Sorry for my third comment, haha.
Biorhythm is not fun for any deck who's primary wincon is not combat damage. If I'm playing against you with my Melek spellslinger deck and I just so happen not to have any creatures on board when you okay this card, I automatically lose, simply because I wasn't playing enough creatures. I want to play magic, and this card prevents me from doing that.
Also here's my take on the "what's the point of a ban last":
Sure. If ignoring the ban last will help you enjoy the game, do it. But only other people who also disregard it will enjoy playing that game. The rules are in place to promote a healthy experience for the largest number of players.
But that's just my take on it
I feel like the thing these cards all have in common are "people don't get to play the game that they set out to play". People sit down to play a game of commander, with clear and established rules and guidelines in place, and then someone decides that you don't get to do that anymore, and that isn't fun. Therefore, you shouldn't play these cards if you want a sustainable pay group.
I'm quite surprised Deadeye Navigator was not mentioned. Many cards, such as Palinchron, are good, but are only "broken" when teamed with Deadeye. In fact Deadeye is the second half to sooo many combos, many of which are instant game wins.
Also, fuck Vorinclex..
I don't understand some of the cards that you all not like to play?
Death Cloud is a great card! It doesn't hit non-creature, nonland stuff. You still have a board. The this carding can be great! Pair it with Waste Not and you have a massive plus by refilling your hand, getting 2/2 zombies, and black mana.
Knowledge Pool is hell of fun and can be a great way to spice things up! Now you have to pay more attention and actually think about what you doing and weigh what your getting to what you could be giving up.
Also i think that was a messed up move you did to that player and all the rest of players in that story were you got Iona locked. Why not play it out and see it the rest of the players could/would help you? What about using your political skills (that you love so much) and engage with the rest of the players.
You don't even need to get mana doublers or ridiculous quantities of land to get Palinchron to start giving you extra mana. All you need is a Deadeye Navigator. Tap seven lands, spend two of that mana to flicker Palinchron via the soulbond ability Navigator grants, and get those seven lands untapped. Repeat, for five mana (or more) net each time.
I play commander on mtgo and I know I play at least one card that people don't seem to like fairly often and that card is Eye of the Storm. I've had people concede when I play it before and it honestly takes me a few turns for it to be worth it because mostly my instants are just forks. I mostly play Eye of the Storm for better access to my opponent's deck as part of my copy magic theme, and it's really easy to have an answer to because of how it works. I've also been known to play possibility storm along side it however and that's a little more mean.
As far as cards I refuse to play in edh, I don't play land destruction, it's not fun to be mana screwed. I don't play warp world, even as a chaos player (Ok maybe it's in one deck, but I think that one is mono red) I rarely play counter spells (mostly because they hurt me with Eye of the Storm in play since it would turn every instant into a counter). I don't play cards that give extra turns (messes with Eye of the Storm, and I've seen people concede to extra turns only for the extra turn player to waste their extra turn). I also don't play Eldrazi, mostly because they end up being land destruction. I do play infinite combos, and chaos and I've had people instant speed concede to both when I wasn't going to win that turn, yes I had a clear advantage but my win wasn't assured.
I have one deck where Paradox engine isn't just a boring insta win, my mono blue wizard tribal deck. There is a bunch of wizards that want to tap or tap other wizards, it is super powerful but at least I don't just combo... I probably win but I don' just go inifi!
our group plays with no land destruction, Single trarged land is ok, but once you get into land destroying loops or AOE, we cut that shit off. Its not fun playing a game and sitting htere doing nothing beacause your behind on hte curve or have wno mana
Got'ta say, Deadeye Navigator is the most abusive card I have ever had to deal with. Either in my own decks or in others. 1U and you can untap 7 lands with palinchron, kill a creature with noxious gearhulk, destroy a non-creatue with woodfall primus. Any creature with an ETB Trigger can be abused with this one card, I am all for powerful cards but this one is just too abusive/oppressive, especially when you can make it blink itself and protect it from any targeted effect. It just isn't fun to play or find a solution to it hitting the field.
So whenever I go to a game shop I haven't been before I always let the people there know that I run a competitive deck before playing with them and there always fine with it. So just let people know what you run before you sit with them
Lol I have 6 commander decks and 2 of them have infinite combos, another is athreos so it basically goes infinite. It’s fine because my playgroup knows that I have that possibility so they often beat me up right off the bat
Seedborne Muse isn't banned but Profit of Kruphix is i know it gives your stuff Flash but they pretty much do the same damn thing I run Armageddon in my Brago deck i only use it if i know i can get my lands back easily like with Sun titan or Pilgrims Eye is on the field
I think what Sheldon is talking about is the morality of playing the game for the attrition based core of the game where you reduce your opponents life total to 0 rather than establish an "I win" scenario or lock a player out of the game.
I keep to one main rule. If I would find it unfunny to play with/against myself, I will remove it from my deck/not put it in in the first place. (I don't play mass land destruction, don't play infinte combos, don't play stax type stuff (I used to have Opposition + Seedborn Muse in my Riku Squirrel deck, but after managing to lock out the whole table, both cards got pulled))
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