The Hall of Illuminating Magic Decks

Discussion in 'Casual Decks/Variants/Etc' started by Psarketos, Jan 12, 2018.

  1. Psarketos Metacompositional Theoretician

    Bumping this thread in the hope that the next year may have a new submission that reveals odd, illuminating, or esoteric Magic mechanics for the Hall!
  2. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    Oh, I'll definitely have more offerings in the near future. I've been getting into cEDH and some of the archetypes well-known to players in that environment, including some highly successful ones, do some pretty strange things. Haven't gotten around to presenting them in this thread, but it's coming.
    Psarketos likes this.
  3. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    So like I mentioned, I've been getting into cEDH (competitive 4-player Commander). Some of the decks that are notably rather strong in the cEDH setting are also highly unusual in other respects when it comes to how Magic decks work and what they do. The 100-card singleton constraint would, on its own, would seem to mostly rule out illuminating decks. But the combination of the 40 starting life total, the massive card pool, and the commander mechanic go some way to turning that around. Before I begin, I want to provide a brief note about cEDH and why I find it worthwhile. The competitive version of what was originally envisioned as a casual multiplayer environment has been much maligned. The thing is, casual EDH as a format is actually rather, well, bad. The format's "official" Rules Committee and Wizards of the Coast have repeatedly worked at cross purposes, with the Rules Committee making changes to guide the format one way while WotC prints new cards in commander products that pulls the format in a different direction. The ban list is haphazard and early iterations of it came with a constant caveat of something about how it was all just suggestions to help you out but if cards are a problem in your local playgroup, you should ban them. That pretense has since been dropped, but I've never known commander players to play primarily within a specific local playgroup that curates its own separate ban list. Essentially everyone is using the official list with all of its quirks. The format is rather broken and players run into problems of disparate power levels all the time. Sol Ring might not seem overbearing in a precon, but it's rocket fuel in a finely-tuned combo deck. In all of this unfortunate chaos, some players either with substantial investment in their decks or with proxies, focus on taking commander power levels to the extreme. And so they've got an extremely fast-paced format that is dymanic, with lots of interaction and different strategies. These decks aren't meant for casual commander games: they're not even optimized to beat the decks in casual pods! In general, a cEDH deck would be potent in a casual pod, but it wouldn't be the best weapon to take down casual games anyway. These decks are better optimized to battle each other, and in that context, maligning them strikes me as pointless. I think a lot of the hate thrown at cEDH is based on the incorrect assumption that the guy being a scumbag moron with a powerful deck trouncing local casual scrubs is using a cEDH deck. But he's probably not and his deck would probably lose badly against true cEDH decks.

    I don't know how many of these decks I'll try to include in the Hall, but at least a few are ones I've found to be illuminating. Decks in cEDH run a gamut from ones that absolutely rely on their commander to ones that are basically 99-card decks and only have the commander as a distant backup plan. Surprisingly, neither approach is truly superior. Anyway, while this is primarily a casual site, I suspect that cEDH is one competitive environment that most of the people here would at least find intriguing to observe, although you may or may not participate in it yourselves...

    Let's start with one I already touched on here at the CPA.

    Deck Name: Chain Veil Teferi
    Magic Format: cEDH
    Insight: In 2014, Wizards of the Coast created special planeswalkers that are allowed to serve as commanders. Earlier that year, they'd made The Chain Veil, an artifact that lets planeswalker abilities be activated extra times in a turn. This deck exploits a loop in which Teferi, Temporal Archmage is cast from the command zone repeatedly, but generates enough extra mana to continuously pay the commander tax and recast it. The loop requires some sources that tap for 2+ mana and some knowledge of the counterintuitive rulings on the functionality of The Chain Veil, but this is the only loop I know of that exploits both a planeswalker and the command zone. The combo is successful in cEDH because it is a compact and flexible kill condition that can be assembled in multiple ways, so it forms the core of the most popular monoblue control-combo deck in cEDH.

    Deck List (05/27/2019)

    1x Teferi, Temporal Archmage

    1x Academy Ruins
    1x Ancient Tomb
    1x Back to Basics
    1x Baral, Chief of Compliance
    1x Basalt Monolith
    1x Blast Zone
    1x Brainstorm
    1x Buried Ruin
    1x Chain of Vapor
    1x Chrome Mox
    1x Copy Artifact
    1x Counterspell
    1x Cursed Totem
    1x Cyclonic Rift
    1x Delay
    1x Dig Through Time
    1x Dispel
    1x Fabricate
    1x Fact or Fiction
    1x Fellwar Stone
    1x Flooded Strand
    1x Flusterstorm
    1x Force of Will
    1x Gilded Drake
    1x Gilded Lotus
    1x Gitaxian Probe
    1x Grafdigger's Cage
    1x Grim Monolith
    1x High Tide
    1x Impulse
    1x Intuition
    1x Inventors' Fair
    21x Island
    1x Legacy's Allure
    1x Mana Crypt
    1x Mana Drain
    1x Mana Vault
    1x Memory Jar
    1x Mental Misstep
    1x Merchant Scroll
    1x Misty Rainforest
    1x Mox Diamond
    1x Muddle the Mixture
    1x Mystic Remora
    1x Mystical Tutor
    1x Narset's Reversal
    1x Narset, Parter of Veils
    1x Negate
    1x Pact of Negation
    1x Polluted Delta
    1x Ponder
    1x Power Artifact
    1x Preordain
    1x Pull from Tomorrow
    1x Pulse of the Grid
    1x Reshape
    1x Rhystic Study
    1x Rings of Brighthearth
    1x Sapphire Medallion
    1x Scalding Tarn
    1x Sensei's Divining Top
    1x Sleight of Hand
    1x Sol Ring
    1x Spellseeker
    1x Stasis
    1x Stroke of Genius
    1x Swan Song
    1x Tezzeret the Seeker
    1x The Chain Veil
    1x The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale
    1x Thran Dynamo
    1x Time Spiral
    1x Timetwister
    1x Transmute Artifact
    1x Trinket Mage
    1x Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
    1x Verity Circle
    1x Whir of Invention
    1x Windfall

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