06/14/2011 SF: "Go Away! Or I Shall Taunt You Again a Second Time!"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Serious Fun, which goes live Tuesday morning on magicthegathering.com.
Good gracious, man. Norn's Annex!!
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Budget Duals and Fetches in Multiplayer
CadaverousBl00m's Guide To Multiplayer Artifice
Multiplayer Tribal Format

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Kitchen Table Pricewatch: Rise of the Eldrazi Post-Rotation
Kitchen Table Pricewatch: Worldwake Post-Rotation
Kitchen Table Pricewatch: Zendikar Post-Rotation
Previous Multiplayer Concoctions
Elemental, My Dear Watson (Rainbow Elementals)
Watch The Little Birdies! (Bird Tribal with Proliferate)
Kavu Kavu Kavu Banana (Kavu Predator aggro)
Faerie Bleeder (The "Death By A Thousand Cuts" Faerie deck)
Braaiiins! (Mono-black Zombie control)
Verhexterring (Jinxed Ring / Grave Pact)
Flourishing Blowflies ( -1/-1 Counters)
Ghostly prison and Norn's annex are a nonbo with Bassandra. Attempt to attack Adam and neglect to pay-creature is unable to attack despite Bassandra's  best efforts. Good try though. Kazuul and lightmine field work much better.
Ah, oops! Ghostly Prison/Norn's Annex is indeed a nonbo. Thank's for pointing that out; I passed those over the first go (as well as keeps you from attacking Ensnaring Bridge) but promptly forgot why later. XD
Adam Styborski Writer for Serious Fun Follow me on Twitter: twitter.com/the_stybs
Ghostly prison and Norn's annex are a nonbo with Bassandra. Attempt to attack Adam and neglect to pay-creature is unable to attack despite Bassandra's  best efforts. Good try though. Kazuul and lightmine field work much better.

I thought the creatures were required to attack if able - so if they can't attack Adam (because you're not paying), but could attack someone else, then that's not a legal attack declaration and you need to try again and declare them as attacking someone else?  In other words, the point of Norn's Annex isn't to drain an opponent's mana/life, it's to make sure that those creatures Adam is requiring to attack will go after some other player.
Thanks to everyone who helped with the design of the plane of Golamo in the Great Designer Search 2!
My Decks
These are the decks I have assembled at the moment:
Tournament Decks (4)
Kicker Aggro (Invasion Block) Sunforger/Izzet Guildmage Midrange (Ravnica/Time Spiral/Xth Standard) Dragonstorm Combo (Time Spiral/Lorwyn/Xth Standard) Bant Midrange (Lorwyn/Shards/M10 Standard)
Casual Multiplayer Decks (50)
Angel Resurrection Casual Soul Sisters Sindbad's Adventures with Djinn of Wishes Sphinx-Bone Wand Buyback Morph (No Instants or Sorceries) Cabal Coffers Control Zombie Aggro Hungry, Hungry Greater Gargadon/War Elemental Flashfires/Boil/Ruination - Boom! Call of the Wild Teysa, Orzhov Scion with Twilight Drover, Sun Titan, and Hivestone Slivers Rebels Cairn Wanderer Knights Only Gold and () Spells Captain Sisay Toolbox Spellweaver Helix Combo Merfolk Wizards Izzet Guildmage/The Unspeakable Arcane Combo Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind and his Wizards Creatureless Wild Research/Reins of Power Madness Creatureless Pyromancer Ascension Anarchist Living Death Anvil of Bogardan Madness Shamen with Goblin Game/Wound Reflection Combo Mass damage Quest for Pure Flame Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle/Clear the Land with 40+ Lands Doubling Season Thallids Juniper Order Ranger Graft/Tokens Elf Archer Druids Equilibrium/Aluren Combo Experiment Kraj Combo Reap Combo False Cure/Kavu Predator Combo Savra, Queen of the Golgari Sacrifice/Dredge Elf Warriors Eight-Post Sneak Attack Where Ancients Tread Zur the Enchanter with Opal creatures Tamanoa/Kavu Predator/Collapsing Borders Esper Aggro Mishra, Artificer Prodigy and his Darksteel Reactor Theft and Control Unearth Aggro Soul's Fire Vampires Devour Tokens Phytohydra with Powerstone Minefield Treefolk Friendly? Questing Phelddagrif Slivers Dragon Arch Fun I'm probably forgetting a few...
Ghostly prison and Norn's annex are a nonbo with Bassandra. Attempt to attack Adam and neglect to pay-creature is unable to attack despite Bassandra's  best efforts. Good try though. Kazuul and lightmine field work much better.

I thought the creatures were required to attack if able - so if they can't attack Adam (because you're not paying), but could attack someone else, then that's not a legal attack declaration and you need to try again and declare them as attacking someone else?  In other words, the point of Norn's Annex isn't to drain an opponent's mana/life, it's to make sure that those creatures Adam is requiring to attack will go after some other player.




It's a nonbo.  Relevent Rules text:



508.1. First, the active player declares attackers. This turn-based action doesn’t use the stack. To declare attackers, the active player follows the steps below, in order. If at any point during the declaration of attackers, the active player is unable to comply with any of the steps listed below, the declaration is illegal; the game returns to the moment before the declaration (see rule 716, "Handling Illegal Actions").





508.1b If the defending player controls any planeswalkers, or the game allows the active player to attack multiple other players, the active player announces which player or planeswalker each of the chosen creatures is attacking.


...


508.1d The active player checks each creature he or she controls to see whether it’s affected by any requirements (effects that say a creature must attack, or that it must attack if some condition is met). If the number of requirements that are being obeyed is fewer than the maximum possible number of requirements that could be obeyed without disobeying any restrictions, the declaration of attackers is illegal. If a creature can’t attack unless a player pays a cost, that player is not required to pay that cost, even if attacking with that creature would increase the number of requirements being obeyed.






The choice of which player/planeswalker to attack is made before the decision on whether or not to pay costs occurs.  The key here is that 508.1 requires the steps to be followed in the order they are presented.




Edit:  Beyond that, great article btw.

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From Mark Rosewater's Tumblr: the0uroboros asked: How in the same set can we have a hexproof, unsacrificable(not a word) creature AND a land that makes it uncounterable. How does this lead to interactive play? I believe I’m able to play my creature and you have to deal with it is much more interactive than you counter my creature.

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Post #777

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MaRo: One of the classic R&D stories happened during a Scars of Mirrodin draft. Erik Lauer was sitting to my right (meaning that he passed to me in the first and third packs). At the end of the draft, Erik was upset because I was in his colors (black-green). He said, "Didn't you see the signals? I went into black-green in pack one." I replied, "Didn't you see my signals? I started drafting infect six drafts ago."

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MaRo: I redesigned him while the effect was on the stack.

Ghostly prison and Norn's annex are a nonbo with Bassandra. Attempt to attack Adam and neglect to pay-creature is unable to attack despite Bassandra's  best efforts. Good try though. Kazuul and lightmine field work much better.

I thought the creatures were required to attack if able - so if they can't attack Adam (because you're not paying), but could attack someone else, then that's not a legal attack declaration and you need to try again and declare them as attacking someone else?  In other words, the point of Norn's Annex isn't to drain an opponent's mana/life, it's to make sure that those creatures Adam is requiring to attack will go after some other player.



508.1d states: "The active player checks each creature he or she controls to see whether it’s affected by any requirements (effects that say a creature must attack, or that it must attack if some condition is met). If the number of requirements that are being obeyed is fewer than the maximum possible number of requirements that could be obeyed without disobeying any restrictions, the declaration of attackers is illegal. If a creature can’t attack unless a player pays a cost, that player is not required to pay that cost, even if attacking with that creature would increase the number of requirements being obeyed."

Since the player is not required to pay for Norn's annex or ghostly prison to increase the number of requirements being obeyed, declaring a player that controls these cards at being attacked and choosing not to pay the cost does not make the attackers illegal so the game does not back up.

Ghostly prison and Norn's annex are a nonbo with Bassandra. Attempt to attack Adam and neglect to pay-creature is unable to attack despite Bassandra's  best efforts. Good try though. Kazuul and lightmine field work much better.

I thought the creatures were required to attack if able - so if they can't attack Adam (because you're not paying), but could attack someone else, then that's not a legal attack declaration and you need to try again and declare them as attacking someone else?  In other words, the point of Norn's Annex isn't to drain an opponent's mana/life, it's to make sure that those creatures Adam is requiring to attack will go after some other player.




It's a nonbo.  Relevent Rules text:



508.1. First, the active player declares attackers. This turn-based action doesn’t use the stack. To declare attackers, the active player follows the steps below, in order. If at any point during the declaration of attackers, the active player is unable to comply with any of the steps listed below, the declaration is illegal; the game returns to the moment before the declaration (see rule 716, "Handling Illegal Actions").





508.1b If the defending player controls any planeswalkers, or the game allows the active player to attack multiple other players, the active player announces which player or planeswalker each of the chosen creatures is attacking.


...


508.1d The active player checks each creature he or she controls to see whether it’s affected by any requirements (effects that say a creature must attack, or that it must attack if some condition is met). If the number of requirements that are being obeyed is fewer than the maximum possible number of requirements that could be obeyed without disobeying any restrictions, the declaration of attackers is illegal. If a creature can’t attack unless a player pays a cost, that player is not required to pay that cost, even if attacking with that creature would increase the number of requirements being obeyed.






The choice of which player/planeswalker to attack is made before the decision on whether or not to pay costs occurs.  The key here is that 508.1 requires the steps to be followed in the order they are presented.




Edit:  Beyond that, great article btw.


The order in which the steps are taken is irrelevant.

If I have a creature that "attacks if able", and Adam has Blazing Archon on the battlefield, then my creature has to attack someone other than Adam (assuming there is another player who can legally be attacked).  If I try to attack Adam, that is an illegal attack because it violates a restriction.  If I try to not attack anyone, that is an illegal attack because it violates a requirement and there exists an attack that does not violate any requirements.

If you replace Blazing Archon with Norn's Annex, the situation is exactly the same, except that I also have the option of paying the cost to attack Adam.  If I try to attack Adam and don't pay the cost, that is an illegal attack because it violates a restriction.  If I try to not attack anyone, that is an illegal attack because it violates a requirement and there exists an attack that does not violate any requirements.  If Adam were the only other player in the game, I would not be forced to attack him, because I am not required to pay the cost for Norn's Annex.  However, I can attack another player without paying any costs, so I must do so.
Here's what the Commander FAQ says about Bassandra:

Basandra, Battle Seraph
{3}{R}{W}
Legendary Creature -- Angel
4/4
Flying
Players can't cast spells during combat.
{R}: Target creature attacks this turn if able.


* While Basandra, Battle Seraph is on the battlefield, players can't cast any spells during the combat phase, including permanent spells with flash.


* Players may still activate abilities during combat.


* If, during a player's declare attackers step, a creature is tapped, is affected by a spell or ability that says it can't attack, or hasn't been under that player's control continuously since the turn began (and doesn't have haste), then it doesn't attack. If there's a cost associated with having a creature attack, the player isn't forced to pay that cost, so it doesn't have to attack in that case either.


* If, during a player's declare attackers step, a creature is tapped, is affected by a spell or ability that says it can't attack, or hasn't been under that player's control continuously since the turn began (and doesn't have haste), then it doesn't attack. If there's a cost associated with having a creature attack, the player isn't forced to pay that cost, so it doesn't have to attack in that case either.

Sure.  That works well for Leviathan - Basandra targets it, but you don't have to sacrifice the Islands necessary for it to attack.  However, your Grizzly Bears can attack without paying a cost - they just can't attack Adam without paying.  Since they "must attack if able", and they are able to attack without paying a cost, they must do so.  Of course, if all of your other opponents have Propaganda too, then your Bears are off the hook - now they truly can't attack without paying.
Thanks to everyone who helped with the design of the plane of Golamo in the Great Designer Search 2!
My Decks
These are the decks I have assembled at the moment:
Tournament Decks (4)
Kicker Aggro (Invasion Block) Sunforger/Izzet Guildmage Midrange (Ravnica/Time Spiral/Xth Standard) Dragonstorm Combo (Time Spiral/Lorwyn/Xth Standard) Bant Midrange (Lorwyn/Shards/M10 Standard)
Casual Multiplayer Decks (50)
Angel Resurrection Casual Soul Sisters Sindbad's Adventures with Djinn of Wishes Sphinx-Bone Wand Buyback Morph (No Instants or Sorceries) Cabal Coffers Control Zombie Aggro Hungry, Hungry Greater Gargadon/War Elemental Flashfires/Boil/Ruination - Boom! Call of the Wild Teysa, Orzhov Scion with Twilight Drover, Sun Titan, and Hivestone Slivers Rebels Cairn Wanderer Knights Only Gold and () Spells Captain Sisay Toolbox Spellweaver Helix Combo Merfolk Wizards Izzet Guildmage/The Unspeakable Arcane Combo Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind and his Wizards Creatureless Wild Research/Reins of Power Madness Creatureless Pyromancer Ascension Anarchist Living Death Anvil of Bogardan Madness Shamen with Goblin Game/Wound Reflection Combo Mass damage Quest for Pure Flame Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle/Clear the Land with 40+ Lands Doubling Season Thallids Juniper Order Ranger Graft/Tokens Elf Archer Druids Equilibrium/Aluren Combo Experiment Kraj Combo Reap Combo False Cure/Kavu Predator Combo Savra, Queen of the Golgari Sacrifice/Dredge Elf Warriors Eight-Post Sneak Attack Where Ancients Tread Zur the Enchanter with Opal creatures Tamanoa/Kavu Predator/Collapsing Borders Esper Aggro Mishra, Artificer Prodigy and his Darksteel Reactor Theft and Control Unearth Aggro Soul's Fire Vampires Devour Tokens Phytohydra with Powerstone Minefield Treefolk Friendly? Questing Phelddagrif Slivers Dragon Arch Fun I'm probably forgetting a few...
Hi Adam,

I really liked this article for a number of reasons.  First and foremost, we got to see a little bit of what goes on in your head when you build a deck.  I liked seeing how you evaluated things and what cards you decided to go with, even if you didn't give us a final decklist.  This stuck out in my head because for the last few months, I can't really remember you walking us through your thought process on building a deck from scratch (I could be wrong, but these were just my first thoughts as to why this article stood out).

Second, as a multiplayer fan who's never played Commander (and I've been playing Magic for about 8 years now), this article helped give me a little more insight into building a deck and thinking about the overall strategy.  Building with singletons is something completely different, and for players new to Commander, this was a big help.  It would be nice for you to talk about a mana base/curve as well, as those are things that change from the 60 to 100 deck.

Third, your excitment really came through in this article.  This wasn't just a draft deck you were tinkering with to win, you really wanted to play with Basandra.  I think that makes all the difference in the writing.

For the future, I would really like to see more decks like this, and even some play reports with you playing this deck.  I would also enjoy if you built an Archenemy and Planechase deck to support your Basandra Commander deck.  I think games of all three together would be amazing, and I feel like there's not much talk about Archenemy or Planchase anymore.

Overall, great article!
Fear Of The Dark, Fear Of The Dark, I Have A Constant Fear That Something's Always Near; Fear Of The Dark, Fear Of The Dark, I Have A Phobia That Someone's Always There- Iron Maiden Fear of the Dark shall be feared no longer! Let him be praised instead! (Many, many thanks for all your hard work!) - darkwarlock I am Red/Green
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Hi Adam,

I really liked this article for a number of reasons.  First and foremost, we got to see a little bit of what goes on in your head when you build a deck.  I liked seeing how you evaluated things and what cards you decided to go with, even if you didn't give us a final decklist.  This stuck out in my head because for the last few months, I can't really remember you walking us through your thought process on building a deck from scratch (I could be wrong, but these were just my first thoughts as to why this article stood out).

Second, as a multiplayer fan who's never played Commander (and I've been playing Magic for about 8 years now), this article helped give me a little more insight into building a deck and thinking about the overall strategy.  Building with singletons is something completely different, and for players new to Commander, this was a big help.  It would be nice for you to talk about a mana base/curve as well, as those are things that change from the 60 to 100 deck.

Third, your excitment really came through in this article.  This wasn't just a draft deck you were tinkering with to win, you really wanted to play with Basandra.  I think that makes all the difference in the writing.

For the future, I would really like to see more decks like this, and even some play reports with you playing this deck.  I would also enjoy if you built an Archenemy and Planechase deck to support your Basandra Commander deck.  I think games of all three together would be amazing, and I feel like there's not much talk about Archenemy or Planchase anymore.

Overall, great article!



Well thank you! I play Archenemy and Planechase still, but I also play Vanguard. Piling all four together is something I've done before and it is a total blast. If Basandra is as fun as I believe she will be, a follow up with planes and schemes can certainly happen.

Thanks again! 
Adam Styborski Writer for Serious Fun Follow me on Twitter: twitter.com/the_stybs
Hi Adam,


Second, as a multiplayer fan who's never played Commander (and I've been playing Magic for about 8 years now), this article helped give me a little more insight into building a deck and thinking about the overall strategy.  Building with singletons is something completely different, and for players new to Commander, this was a big help.  It would be nice for you to talk about a mana base/curve as well, as those are things that change from the 60 to 100 deck.



I'd second this. Building for commander is very, very different from building for 60 card decks, and if you've never tried building for 100-card singleton before it's fairly awkward and difficult, even if you're a genius deckbuilder. I'm nowhere near a genius, and it took me quite a lot of practice for getting good at developing a "commander mindset", where you can look at a legend and think ah, let me start pulling up a list of what I can do with you... I don't mean post a list of staples for each color though, because any fool can do that (not to mention there's a list floating around the internets of just that) but also because that's not very helpful for someone looking to get into the format. Knowing they should always have Solemn Simulacrum, Sol Ring, and Greaves if they've got them doesn't impart much permanent and useful knowledge of the format.

A comprehensive introduction to deckbuilding for the commander format - general rules of thumb, curves, archetypes, notable abilities/spell types that are deceptively powerful to the 60-card player, and so on - would go a long way, I think.

- Sean 
You'll forget you ever read this the minute you look away.
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88318561 wrote:
76783093 wrote:
there is nothing "epic" about a turn one victory. ever. or really any magic game, for that matter.
So this one time, I wanted to play a game of Magic with my friend, but he was in another country and neither of us had Magic Online. I hitchhiked my way to the coast, barely fending off hungry wildlife when I couldn't get a ride, nearly dying of thirst crossing deserts, and posoning myself half to death foraging for food. At one point, I was taken hostage by a group of kidnappers, only managing to escape after a week of careful planning thanks to careful application of a rusty spoon. Once I reached the coast, I had no money to buy a ticket across the ocean, so I built a boat using my own two hands, and spent months sailing across the waves, nearly losing my deck as I swam to the shore of a desert island in a storm after being capsized by an enormous wave. Nearly delusional after so long with no human contact (the notches I cut in the single tree to tell time had long since felled the thing) I was eventually rescued by a passing ship, where I was taken aboard as a crew member. We sailed around the world, seeing many exotic places and having great adventures, before we finally arrived at my friend's country. Once more I stumbled across a desolate landscape, riding on train or car when I could, and going on foot when I could not. Eventually, weary to the bone, seven years after I started my journey, I arrived at my friend's house, clutching my well-worn and weathered deck to my chest. We shuffled up our decks, I won the roll. Gleefully, I laid down my cards. Black Lotus. My friend looked quizzically at me, wondering what I was about to do. After so long, he no longer knew what deck I had brought with me to this game. Flash. A knowing smile appears on my friend's face as the knowledge slowly returns to him. Protean Hulk. My friend extends his hand, knowing the game is over before it even started. And finally, after so many trials, the sweet taste of victory is mine.
56866178 wrote:
108166749 wrote:
So no one else is upset with the stunt Wizards just pulled to drive sales?
Drive sales of what? Non-Jace, non-Mystic cards? I'm pretty sure people already own more than eight Magic cards. If you don't, I feel for you. Maybe you can trade those Stoneforge Mystics, which are still quite valuable, for some.
A comprehensive introduction to deckbuilding for the commander format - general rules of thumb, curves, archetypes, notable abilities/spell types that are deceptively powerful to the 60-card player, and so on - would go a long way, I think.

- Sean 



While I personally find spreadsheets and data tables exciting, it's a bit tricky to bridge that into something everyone can find amusement and joy in.

I'm not saying an introduction to Commander format deck construction is off the table, I just need to think about it a little more to find the right mix of cold, hard facts and feel-good intuition to scope it with.

Thanks for sharing! 
Adam Styborski Writer for Serious Fun Follow me on Twitter: twitter.com/the_stybs