My 5 Cents on… the 1/17/2016 Rules Updates

I don’t normally comment on rulings updates. The only times they’ve really ever bugged me were when they Banned Tolarian Academy the week after I started playing EDH (which was a corner-stone of my Kangee Deck and my Niv-Mizzet deck) and when they Bannned Emrakul right after I bought one for my Brother as a Christmas present (And we just house ruled her to be legal when we play together).

This most recent set bugs me though, so I thought I’d vent here.

  1. The Mulligan Rule Change  (now it’s Vancouver instead of Paris): Doesn’t bother me, since I never did Partial Hand Sculpting.  I will continue to mulligan as I always have: Draw 7. If it’s not playable (at least 3 lands or 2 lands and something that could be cast by turn 3) check the top card, and if it’s  not a land, Shuffle and repeat.  I don’t Sculpt. I look at lands and for a playable card.  I’ve kept 6 land hands because of this. I don’t care if other people want to sculpt scry or whatever.
  2. The Mana Color Generation Rule Change:  I think it’s a flavor fail and it waters down the color-identity rules a bit.  Kozilek-Mana (cards requiring colorless costs) are not going to be that prevalent beyond this one set.
  3. I fear that the Mana Color Generation rule change is going to lead down the Slippery Slope that MaRo is in favor of: letting hybrid cards into decks where they don’t belong.
  4. Prophet of Kruphix Banning: is dumb.  There are far worse cards out there (which I don’t think deserve banning) like Praetors, Consecrated Sphinx, Deadeye Navigator, Skittles, the new Eldrazi that mills 2 when a player land-falls.  Not a hard card to deal with either (2/3, not huge like Prime Time or Sylvan Primordial, and she didn’t hurt other players ability to play the game (like Sylvan Primordial, or Iona) or give them direct consequences to their actions. Most importantly she was a budget replacement (with less playabilty) for Seedborn Muse, who:
    1. Costs over $10
    2. Is playable in 12 deck combinations (instead of 5)
    3. Untaps artifacts  (and the usually less relevant, Planeswalkers and Enchantments) too.
    4. Is harder to Kill
    5. Is easier to Cast.

    And the art on the card was really cool.

  5. Henceforth, in all of my decks that run a Prophet of Kruphix, I am now considering her to be a Proxy for Seedborn Muse. I only have one or 2 Muses (and they’re in non-blue decks) and I can’t affort to buy more Seedborn’s to replace the Prophets that I have in my UG decks, and I don’t feel like digging them all out and looking for other replacements.

So that’s that. I see the the first two changes as more WotC’s normalizing influence (Which has other slippery slope implications) but the banning was just dumb.

Game #185: Mizzix of the Izmagnus

Game #185: Mizzix of the Izmagnus
Date: 2016-01-05
Location: Red Castle Games, Portland, OR
vs.: Melek; Vorosh; Ghave;
Result: Fun Win?!

Mizzix of the Izmagnus, Magic, Commander 2015vsMelek, Izzet Paragon, Magic, Dragon's MazeVorosh, the Hunter, Magic, Planar ChaosGhave, Guru of Spores, Magic, Commander

I wanted to play my Mizzix deck, so the Mizzix player from the previous game switched to his alternate commander, Melek, Izzet Paragon. I kept a 2 land hand, using Teramorphic expanse to grab an Island to go with my mountain, and played a Quest for the Goblin Lord on turn 2.

Ghave tutored for an Oracle of Muldaya, Vorosh played an early sword of the animist.  I missed my turn 3 land drop, but played a Goblin Recruiter. I missed turn 4 land drop and played an Obstinate Familiar.  Ghave was getting crazy with Sylvan Library, Kitchen Finks, Cathar’s Crusade and a ton of Ramp, into an Avenger of Zendikar followed by a Boundless Realms for more than 10. I am still at 2 lands.  Melek pulls out a Time Stop to keep us alive, and uses a Blasphemous Act to wipe things clean.  Vorosh continually pounded on Ghave, gaining counters.

By about turn 8 or 9 I’m able to draw a 3rd land and start casting things, and I draw a few more mountains after that.  Melek tries to Epic Experiment for 11 but it gets countered. Ghave blows a Pernicious Deed and plays an Avenger of Zendikar with 22 lands on the board (I ahve about 5 lands by this point), but Ghave does to a big Vorosh swing (or a Melek tricks). I play a Shared Animosity and an Empty the Warrens for 4 goblins and swing at Vorosh, but I get Spider-fogged.  Vorosh has a ton of Creakwood Liegesf due to a kicked Rite of Replication, but I use the Blasphemous act I’ve been holding since Melek played his (so I didn’t have to), and Melek Scours a 19/19 Vorosh from existence.

I had set up my hand with a Goblin Recruiter followed by Distant Melody.  I played Goblin Warchief, Krenko, Mob Boss and a Siege Gang Commander. I tap Krenko to have 15 goblins that all have haste, and swing with enough (thanks to the Quest and the Shared Animosity) to win.

This was a game where at one point someone had 10x as many lands as I did. There’s no way I should have won this game, but somehow I did. At one point I almost scooped. Good thing I hung around.

About the Deck: When I first saw Mizzix, I was not excited. 1. She was not a UR Artifacts general, and 2. She was going to fuel lots of degenerate storm or other combo decks.   I couldn’t figure out an angle to make her fun, until I realized: “hey, she’s a Goblin!”  Thus I built a Goblin Tribal deck.

Her ability does come into play, making things like Haze of Rage (which, aside from Empty the Warrens, is the only Storm spell I play), or Buyback spells cheaper.  This is also a deck with a “sub-commander,” Miss Zada the Hedron Grinder, who is also super fun. Thankfully goblins have some decent ability to tutor for themselves, so it’s easy to pull her up as well, and then start targeting her to buff my whole team of goblin tokens. Thinkgs like Crimson Wisps become massive draw spells, and Seething Anger gets extra crazy. There are a few X spells, but it really only needs 3-4 experience counters to get ridiculous value.


Game #184: Ezuri, Claw of Progress

Game #184: Claw of Progress
Date: 2016-01-05
Location: Red Castle Games, Portland, OR
vs.: Vorosh, the Hunter; Sen Triplets; Mizzix of the Izmagus
Result: Fun Loss

Ezuri, Claw of Progress, Magic, Commander 2015vsSen Triplets, Magic, Alara RebornVorosh, the Hunter, Magic, Planar ChaosMizzix of the Izmagnus, Magic, Commander 2015

First games of the new year, after a long break from playing new decks.

Everyone played just lands for the first three turns. On turn 4 I played Ezuri, who was immediately stolen by Vorosh’s Gilded Drake. The triplets played a Propaganda. On my next turn I played a Sylvan Offering for 3 giving Mizzix 3 elves and Triplets a Treefolk so we could gang up on Vorosh.  The triplets play the new eldrazi that mills when you play a land, and Vorosh copied it with Evil Twin.  I played an Aether Mutation on Ezuri to get him back, but the land situation made it hard to recast.  I was able to attack with a rogue and cast Notorious Throng for it’s Prowl Cost, but it didn’t even get me the land I needed.  Thankfully the triplets cast a wrath.

I started to rebuilt with a Cold-Eyed Selkie, but it got bolted.  I was stuck at 6 land for the whole game, and only 1 green. I had good plays with Ezuri, but needed multiple green to make them. I ended with 2 experience counters. Vorosh had stolen a Fable of Wolf and Owl from my deck.  Sen Triplets had to leave early.   Then Mizzix copied a Havengul Lich and used it to become a Mirrormad Phantasm and mill his entire library into a Mizzix’s Mastery with let him do ridculous shenanigans and win the game in a pretty fun fashion.

About the deck: I like Ezuri’s ability.  I didn’t get to creative with this one, though pretty much every creature in the deck will give me an experience counter.  There’s some unblockable/infect stuff, I do play the remove-counters-for-extra-turns guy, and token generators and stuff like that.  The cool thing is that once you get good experience, you can just make anyone a super-beater.

Game #183: Jaya Ballard, Task Mage

Game #183: Jaya Ballard, Task Mage
Date: 2015-11-24
Location: Red Castle Games, Portland, OR
vs.: Nekusar; Surrak; Uril the Miststalker
Result: Neutral Scoop Loss

Jaya Ballard, Task Mage, Magic, Time SpiralvsSurrak Dragonclaw, Magic, Prerelease CardsNekusar, the Mindrazer, Magic, Commander 2013Uril, the Miststalker, Magic, Alara Reborn

(it’s been awhile since this game was played, so details may be fuzzy)

It was a long night and I wasn’t going to get the chance to play again for awhile, so I decided to try to get one more game in.  I drew a hand that was a ton of mountains and a ruby medallion. I played a Magebane Armor on Turn 3, and Illusionists Bracers and Guttersnipe on Turn 4.

Uril had an early Kor Spirit Dancer and Luminarch’s Ascension, Nekusar had a Howling Mine and a Font of Mythos, Surrak played Sarkhan Vol. Uril played a Bear Umbra and had an Active Ascension, Sarkhan ultimated  and then Nekusar cast a Teferi’s Puzzlebox.  At that point I knew that there wasn’t going to be much I could do (especially since the few things that would have saved me were in my hand at the time, and thus going away), and I really didn’t feel like wasting time with puzzle-boxing, so I scooped and called it a night.

About the Deck:  Many people have done the “Jaya Ballard with lots of cards with Jaya Ballard flavor text” deck, but I figured that I would too.  I like getting to play pyromancer’s gauntlets and goggles in the deck.  There are some of that cheap Jaya knock-off Chandra in the deck as well. Magebane Armor is a fun self-protection trick for Jaya (and it’s fun to throw Illusionist’s bracers on her too to Inferno for 12).

Game #182: Noyan Dar, Roil Shaper

Game #182: Noyan Dar, Roil Shaper
Date: 2015-11-24
Location: Red Castle Games, Portland, OR
vs.: Borborygmos; Kaseto; Wort
Result: Fun Loss

Noyan Dar, Roil Shaper, Magic, Battle for ZendikarvsBorborygmos, Magic, GuildpactWort, the Raidmother, Magic, ShadowmoorKaseto, Orochi Archmage, Magic, Commander 2015

(it’s been awhile since this game was played, so details may be fuzzy)

I started with 3 lands, into a Merrow Commerce, Manalith, and Jace’s Sanctum on turn 2,3,4.  However I missed lands on turn 5 and 6.  Though Noyan Dar came out on turn 5 and Meloku, turn 6.  Everyone else started out with lands. Kasero dropped some Ninjas and Wort had a Solemn Simulacrum, and then a Seedborn muse.   Borborygmos got huge with hardened Scales and a Runes of the Deus.

I was able to start bulding up lands into big creatures, and using Meloku to get other creatures to block with. I played a Merrow Reejery.   Kasero put a quietus spike on a Wake Thrasher, and Wort was Wurm Calling a whole lot.  Borborygmos smashed Kasero down to 7.  Borborygmos died to something.  I did a decent job of hanging on for awhile against Wort, and built up more land creatures, but I think I ultimately died.

About the Deck:  The goal is to build up lands via Noyan Dar and other Awaken spells. Xenograft is also used to make everyone Merfolk (and I think I also try to make them all Blue as well). Lots of buyback spells to keep fueling Dar’s pseudo Awaken abilities.  I didn’t think much of Noyan Dar at first, but after putting in a ton of land-protection spells and creature-untapping stuff, I think he’s pretty all right.

Game #181: SilverHivelord*

Game #181: Sliver Hivelord(or Karona… Colorless)
Date: 2015-11-24
Location: Red Castle Games, Portland, OR
vs.: Derevi; Roon; Seton
Result: Neutral Loss

Sliver Hivelord, Magic, Magic 2015 (M15)vsDerevi, Empyrial Tactician, Magic, Commander 2013Roon of the Hidden Realm, Magic, Commander 2013Seton, Krosan Protector, Magic, Odyssey

(it’s been awhile since this game was played, so details may be fuzzy).

Seton started with a Level-up guy, Derevi had a fiend hunter.  I started with a 3 land hand, and played a Fathom Feeder on turn 3, and a Benthic Infiltrator on turn 4.  Despite having decent mana, everyone else came out of the gate a bit harder.  Roon had an Elemental Bond and Knight of the Reliquary (and used Jace’s archivist to make me discard a ton of cool stuff).  Seton managed to get a Wild Pair and a Nykthos out. Derevi tried to do some stuff, but by turn 7 Seton Chord of Calling-ed for a Craterhoof Behemoth that ended the game.  Despite only lasting 7 turns, this game took a LONG time (other people’s turns, not mine).

About the deck:  This deck is the Colorless Eldrazi deck. Basically I just threw my favorite Eldrazi from the new block into a deck.  Sliverhivelord is a boss for the colors (and lets me play Hivestone as a back-up), but Karona is just as useful.  Not a whole lot of thought went in to this one, and as of this writing, I haven’t thought about if/how I will adjust it after Oath comes out.