The Comboist Manifesto Discussion Thread

Discussion in 'General CPA Stuff' started by Oversoul, Apr 3, 2014.

  1. turgy22 Nothing Special


    Just kidding. I never heard of a lot of those cards. The only one listed that I played with in any reasonable capacity is Equilibrium. I bought a playset about the time I started getting back into Magic because of it's combo potential with EtB creatures, though I can't remember the exact combo I was trying to pull off. I built a UG deck with it, but was disappointed in the results.
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  2. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    False Dawn is an interesting one. Not something I usually think of when looking for combo components. The card is obviously based on Celestial Dawn, which I included on this list as the representative from Mirage. I hadn't thought about it, but False Dawn probably has more utility in combo decks than Celestial Dawn.

    Well, I guess it's a good sign that my list of cards I didn't use consist mostly of obscure cards. At least, that appears to be true for the oldest sets. We'll see if the trend holds as we get into less ancient stuff.

    I mentioned that I associated Equilibrium with other powerful Exodus enchantments that were infamous in competitive Magic. I forget how or why I came to that conclusion, but because of that, I didn't pay any attention to it for the Casual Card Hall of Fame. I nominated Spellbook, just because I'd used it a lot and everything else that looked good was also notoriously overpowered. It was a rehashed Library of Leng using only the boring ability and not the cool one, but it was free. Not really that interesting. When the Committee chose to induct Mogg Assassin, a card I don't like at all, they made a note about how disappointed they were with the quality of the nominations from the set, citing Equilibrium as an example of the kind of card they'd expected to see. I was going to rebut that I was disappointed with the quality of their stupid faces, but I held back because I was embarrassed for not having nominated Equilibrium, a card that's way more interesting than Spellbook.
  3. Psarketos Metacompositional Theoretician

    I think Spidey held your article for the week in retaliation for all those mean things you said about Wizards. Pretend to be less critical so we can see more!
  4. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    In my experience, Spiderman is merely forgetful, not retaliatory. :p
  5. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

    My bad! I know, I know... it was forgetfulness, brought on by a fairly busy and short week. I'll get one up today and if I remember :rolleyes:, one on Friday.
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  6. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

  7. Psarketos Metacompositional Theoretician

    I have never used or played against any of those cards. They are a window of time in Magic outside my experience, and I am curious to compare that to the next set chronologically.
  8. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    My prediction for the Starter set was about right. I have already built and played with a Canadian Highlander goblins deck at a local game store. I have drawn the card, but I don't think I've cast it yet. My record is poor but I'm just starting out in the format. Looking into some more powerful deck options.
  9. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

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  10. Psarketos Metacompositional Theoretician

    I have a story that contains two of those cards, and it happens to be central to my return to this very website. When Hedron Crab came out, I was both interested and amused. A small blocker on turn 1 that also has nuisance value? Sign me up!

    This was the first year I was teaching Magic to kids after school, finding the rhythm of what we should play, what the spectrum of interest and skills were, et cetera. My Hedron Crab deck was amusing and almost always a contender while also almost always losing just when an opponent library state was looking dire.

    Me being me, I thought my perennial thought - "What if one were to add recursion?" Thus was born what the kids nicknamed, "Wombo Combo." It would turn out to be the first version of four, each in a different color (the others were blue [Fabricate Krark-Clan], red [Reforge the Soul!], and white [never actually introduced because it is too powerful for the current meta and too pricey to build outside proxy - Enduring Renewal with X artifacts and Altar of the Brood]).

    This is the version I gave as a graduation present to one of my favorite students, who was always patient and willing to test my wacky ideas:

    24 Swamp

    4 Heartless Summoning
    4 Myr Retriever
    4 Beseech the Queen
    4 Bitter Ordeal


    In time, Altar of the Brood would be released and become the de facto mill strategy for my designs, but Bitter Ordreal has an appeal and a power all its own. Particularly useful in going after specific sideboarded cards and combo pieces opponents might rely on before your own combo is in place. This deck, and the blue version 2 deck, saw a lot of play over two and a half years. We retired and disassembled version 2 just before Krark-Clan made a reappearance in Modern tournaments fairly recently, so that will probably be an interesting rebuild and compare for the future. And all of that comes back to the adorable and occasionally infuriating Hedron Crab.

    In other news, Leyline of Sanctity is my favorite card that I have never gotten to play (because prices for Modern cards that do powerful things is ridiculous).
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  11. Melkor Well-Known Member

    Most of my group, including myself, got around to making Pyromancy decks at some point. I have one now (though I never play it), which features Pyromancy and Galvanoth and a bunch of Delve spells, plus Searing Wind.
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  12. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

  13. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    Well, in addition to Goblin Settler, I suppose that I can check another one off the list. I just played Pack Rat in one of the forum games against Spidey. In that game, it wound up being a 1/1 creature the whole time, but that's beside the point!
  14. Psarketos Metacompositional Theoretician

    I am currently playing an Indestructible Hatebears homebrew and really liking it (Knight Exemplar + Angelic Overseer). Was going to use Grand Abolisher copies, then saw that they have shot up past the price for my budget themed decks. Thanks to your theory feedback though, I can confirm that playing even a single copy of Grand Abolisher (in Balefire) rocks :)
  15. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

  16. Psarketos Metacompositional Theoretician

    Your hatred of hexproof and your love of Grixis-Heavy-Control-and-Oh-Hey-Heres-a-Combo-Finisher! are connected, you know ;)

    Amonkhet is a great set because cycling. Devastation is a great set because Hour of Revelation / Glory / Devastation. Scarab God is a bad card and a bad deck in the tradition of Dimir decks and their entire concept being bad (*disclaimer - I have and continue to argue that counter discard are the elements that make Magic a worse than it needs to be game).

    While I have played Approach way more than I probably should, at the end of the day I think its fun factor is weighed down by relying, if it is playing to win, on one or both of those Dimir elements. Which I dont like on an aesthetic level.
  17. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    I don't think so. I'm not specifically attached to Grixis. It is one of the stronger three-color combinations in Eternal formats, and I've put some focus on Eternal formats over the years. But given the option, I'd take Sultai as my three-color combination. And when possible, I'd prefer to play dedicated combo rather than control with a combo finish. My preferred style of combo deck hasn't gotten much to work with lately and it seems like the competition gets more new tools with every set release. So I'm going back to my control roots somewhat. I mean, there's more to it than just that, and I dabble in all sorts of things. My main format lately has been Canadian Highlander and my decks so far have been aggro goblins, monoblack control (scrapped for now), monobrown ramp/control/goodstuff pile-I-threw-together-haphazardly, and Jeskai Splinter Twin. But overall, I have interest in a diverse array of archetypes. I've become something of an advocate for combo in part because it's among my favorites and in part just because there's an unfair stigma attached to it that I find poisons discourse around the game.

    My beef with Hexproof, which I did touch on but perhaps not enough, is that it replaced Shroud. Shroud was a mechanic with inherent balance to it. If I have a Zephid, you can't kill it with Dark Banishing or whatever, but also, I can't enchant it with Rancor. It is, in a very real sense, fair. The fun part, the part that makes the game interesting, is to take that fair thing and work with it, to try to exploit it. Hexproof is the whiney, petulant child version of Shroud, screaming "I wanna be able to target my guy and I don't want you to be able to!" When it came to interactivity, to counterplay, Shroud was far more interesting. And yet WotC caved in and replaced the balanced mechanic with "It's OK, you can have your cake and eat it too."

    There are certain individual Hexproof cards that I actually like. Lich's Mastery, for instance. And if WotC had made Hexproof, not as its own Evergreen mechanic or whatever, but just some ultra-special concept to appear on cards where it made sense, then I'd be fine with that. But I think when it comes to discussions of design space and such, they backed themselves into a corner by replacing Shroud with Hexproof. It creates a conundrum. Either the Hexproof creatures have to be weak/overcosted or creature-boosting auras/sorceries/instants have to suck or creature removal spells have to move away from targeted killing. Otherwise, you can just use your good boosts on your good Hexproof creatures and win.

    It's not that any particular Hexproof card is even too good in the grand scheme of things. Most of them aren't that powerful and even the few that are really good don't dominate formats or anything. It's that the mechanic unnecessarily constrains design. Like, you mention discard spells. One thing balancing them is that they're sorceries, so you can't use them on anything your opponent just draws and immediately casts. If they made those discard spells instants instead, then it would cause problems because you could hit cards as soon as they were drawn. You might be able to find a way to mitigate that by making them cost more or by enabling opponents to rely more on instants, but it's better to just not go down that road.

    I did enjoy some of the cycling stuff in Amonkhet but it just wasn't enough to win me over, I guess. I am still messing with some of that stuff, actually. But so far, I'm definitely more enthusiastic about the use of cycling in Onslaught Block than in Amonkhet Block.

    You praise Hour of Glory, which can exile cards from your opponent's hand, and then in the next sentence criticize the existence of discard spells? Anyway, I make my assessment of Hour of Devastation as a lackluster set based on my perception of the quality of the 199-card set, not on a few rare sorceries. And I didn't get into it, but that's a weird call to make, really. I mean, if a set consists mostly of pretty good cards but doesn't have much in the way of awesome build-around stuff, how does that compare to a set with low-quality bulk cards but a handful of great ones? I could see that comparison going either way, but yeah. No set is all bad cards. No set is all good card either, for that matter. I'd generally rate Hour of Devastation as a poor set. It did have some good stuff, but not enough to make up for the low level of viability of most of the cards. I was unhappy with the set. It was a disappointment. But I do like Hour of Revelation. That's a cool card.

    I probably disagree with you on The Scarab God, but I'm unclear on what sense of "bad" you're using here. Is a "bad card" one that is weak? Popular opinion seems to place it as one of the most powerful cards in the set. Is a "bad card" one that causes problems with rules confusion of design space limitations? I'm not aware of issues with The Scarab God in those areas. Is a "bad card" one that you just don't like? It's fine not to like something but I'm wary of "bad" as a label in that context because general colloquial usage patterns tend to imply that badness is correlated to some objective standard and it is misleading to interlocutors expecting such a thing if a wholly subjective standard is implemented. Perhaps that's too pedantic. I don't know.
  18. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    As far as countermagic and discard spells are concerned, I guess I'm not sure what your scope is. I mean, it's theoretically possible. We talked about the mana system and how it has been used in interesting ways despite some fundamental flaws that probably wouldn't be used in a game by a designer who was cognizant of those flaws. I remain tentatively neutral on the subject of whether such established game concepts as discard and counter should be in a game being built from scratch. It's possible that we'd be better off with those replaced by some other, different mechanics. I'm open to such an idea, although it'd probably be a hard sell for me. But when it comes to Magic as it is? No, I enjoy both countermagic and discard spells. Used properly, they contribute to a kind of ecosystem of Magic concepts. Countermagic can disrupt fast combo or attempts to ramp into big spells, serving as a check on their potential in an environment. Discard can sabotage countermagic and slow engine-building stuff, serving as a check on the potential of those. They have, or can have, appropriate strengths and weaknesses. Also, both provide different styles of interaction that appeal to certain segments of the population. There have always been people who want to say, "No." They want to have an answer, a means of stopping you from doing what you're trying to do. And there have always been people who want to say, "Let's see what you've got. Counterspell? Yeah, that's not gonna happen." They want to gain the advantage by taking cards away before they're even used. I think history has shown that both of those demographics are big enough that it makes sense to give them something worth pursuing.

    It's kinda like what Mark Rosewater has often said about "tribal" stuff and how there was some internal discussion over whether it would be a good idea to emphasize creature types mechanically in new sets. Even when it was bad, a lot of players still tried to make it work. And that says something for it. There will always be plenty of people trying to do whatever it looks like the most powerful, successful thing to be doing is. But when so many people are trying to make something work even when it's not optimal, that shows a level of interest, of appeal that should be incorporated into gameplay. So I think even if there is some hypothetical alternate-reality version of Magic that doesn't specifically have cards like Counterspell or Duress, it should still have some elements that appeal to the portions of the population who have affinity for those things.

    Since you keep associating those elements with "Dimir" it makes me think that it really is personal preference you're talking about. Of course, we all have our preferences: you've probably seen more than you want to of mine if you've read through all five of my recent articles in that "I Have No Memory" series! I think I'm fairly cosmopolitan in my tastes, but there are some themes and mechanics that I'm not personally interested in. When it comes to the guilds of Ravnica, for instance, I generally liked the Dimir stuff but could never really get into the Simic, in either Ravnica block. I found the Gruul and the Golgari to be a blast, so it's not that I didn't like the green. And I liked the Izzet and the Dimir, so it's not that I didn't like the blue. But the stuff on offer when blue/green was the combination? Not my cup of tea. I know some people loved the Simic. Similar response with the Temur on Tarkir. I found their stuff mostly boring, but I know some people loved them.

    Anyway, I figured you'd have something to say about Approach. I still haven't actually used it. I did pick up all of the "Challenger" decks including the "Second Sun Control" precon. I was wondering if you'd seen it and what your reaction was, but I'm guessing that since it leans on countermagic, you're not a fan...
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  19. Psarketos Metacompositional Theoretician

    With the upfront caveat that I am intentionally being provocative with my Dimir stance :) - Hour of Glory is not the worst offender for my contradictions of what I run in my physical Approach deck. Doomfall is one of my favorite cards in ages, and another major point for the set in my view. It is discard that graveyard focus, and even a lot of dedicated anti-discard, can't play around. More than that, it is an awesome complement to Fumigate and similar sweepers. Miss their one undying or indestructible hexproof monstrosity with a sweep? Not to worry...

    For the MtG Arena beta, I have gotten to Gold 2 so far almost exclusively playing a zero nonland permanents Jeskai Approach deck. The current version is only running a playset of Countervailing Winds, but I have Hornswaggled and Essence Scattered plenty of Scarab Gods while Negating a Cancel cast in response. I have no trouble baiting out control decks and engaging in stack wrestling bursts of casting after a dozen rounds of draw-go.

    This comes back to me, and from the Arena forum feedback many others, looking for a Magic 2.0 that exists as though permission and hand shredding were not concepts that made the cut in the game design process. What I reallly want is to play Approach in that game. Having said that, a huge swath of opponents express contempt for Approach even as a card concept, both in person and in Magic Online. They just find "I win" as a sorcery "stupid," and "something that should never have been printed." I would like to think that is in part a holdover from the frustrations about control elements, though in many cases I think it would remain even if those Dimir elements did not. I always sympathize, because given my thoughts on Thoughtseize, I have plenty of empathy to draw on.

    Hour of Glory, Doomfall, Countervailing Winds, Lay Bare the Heart, and Mana Tithe are all great cards, as great at least as Approach of the Second Sun. My personal aesthetics are such that I wish a game or format existed like Magic in which those cards did not factor in, and I can tell you that a "No counters or Discard" queue, in Magic Online or Arena or even a local store table for FNM is always going to be a clamored for option. There are people who love Dimir, including but not limited to Spikes who love being the fun police (I kid, mostly) - they have every right to play and compete. Wizards seems deeply reluctant to give people an officially sanctioned escape from counter discard control in any space, however, and I cynically think it is their bottom line talking - they fear a real schism would occur between the casual game and the hypercompetitive jostling that sells Snapcasters and whatever latest tech they have released for Snapcasters to fetch. They think they need the game to revolve around Spikes to sell cards, and counter discard, on mathematics and game theory grounds, will always be a core staple of what Spikes want and how they define the game.

    I have to think that at some point (the Eternal card game maybe?), someone will achieve what Hearthstone has not and give that clamoring section of the Magic fanbase (me included) a game that has its level of nuance, complexity, and wildly broad choice range without including the counter discard elements that render that theoretic choice range almost entirely irrelevant in competitive practice.

    Those are my (conflicted, likely highly unpopular in many corners) dreams for Approach of the Second Sun :)
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  20. Psarketos Metacompositional Theoretician

    Though I hinted at it above I did not outright say it - Approach decks are best in Abzan, especially in multiplayer. Hit the counterspell players hand early and you win the secondary benefit of table goodwill for the information and security you just provided them with for free (hidden cost - giving you space to casually win the long game).

    Jeskai Approach second best. Boros sweepers with blue control light enough to be there when you need while not feeling oppressive or weighing down your whole game to reactivity (cycle that Renewed Faith on your turn, if you arent looking for a Terminus).

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