The Primordial Problem

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As most of you know, Gatecrash introduced the Primordials, a cycle of creatures with big bodies and powerful ETB effects that hit each opponent.  There has been a great deal of discussion about them, their power level and their design.  They were clearly designed for multiplayer/EDH.  Some players I've talked to refuse to run any of them as a point of pride.  Others think they're teriffic.  Some have even lobbied for a ban of Deadeye Navigator.

Personally, I'm torn.  I like big splashy effects and fatties, but it kind of feels like Wizards is taking some of the nuance out of it.  One of my favorite things about EDH is finding cards and making them work for the deck and the format.  I'm a bit hesitant to run them because...they just make it so easy; it's a "no brainer" as it were. 

Thoughts? 

And for easy reference:
Luminate Primordial
Diluvian Primordial
Sepulchral Primordial
Molten Primordial
Sylvan Primordial

University of Charleston School of Pharmacy, Class of 2016

My Peasant Cube: A Cube for the Commoners

The only one i've found to be coming up in games and discussion is Sylvan Primordial. He tends to do significantly more than the others even though each one is a total bomb.

I will agree with your point though. One of my favourite things about EDH is the deck building aspect. It's always fun finding old cards that surprisingly support the idea you're conveying. Having these huge auto-includes being released for the commander format are ruining people's deckbuilding skills.
I'm always happy for more playables, but I'm not terribly thrilled by this cycle.

Red, and white are lame. Blue is iffy. Black is decent. Green is pretty good.

 

3DH4LIF3

Considering that this is a multiplayer format, the green one is pretty bonkers. It ramps you and nukes a non-creature for each opponent. In a 4 player game he's ramping you 3 lands. It's pretty easy to abuse enter the battlefield abilites. Its only downfall is it's 7 mana and that's not a big deal at all in this format. I'd rank it in similar power to Deadeye Navigator. Both good cards that need help to feel broken. Sylvan needs a bounce engine. Deadeye has seemed to be too mana intensive to be worth while without ramp support.

I'd rank them best to worst: Green Blue White Black/Red tie. Don't know why everyone is going crazy for the black one. There's usually not many creatures in graveyards in my meta. But that's my meta. Usually when creatures die, they are really being exiled. I can see the black one, more often than not, getting 1-2 creatures in a 4 player game. Assuming it gets any worthwhile ones.

Blue one mana ramps and steals extra turn cards (which also helps shut down extra turn combos). Heck it can Wrath if the situation calls for it.

Anyways, Green one is most likely the best. What's better after that is meta dependant.

On a side note, why are these even in this set? Shouldn't these be a core set thing? Are they even in the story at all?
This is nothing new, and Rx expect to see every set from now on have something specifically for EDH. Wizards has been putting old cards into new ones for years, either by updating the ability and making a new card, or as in this case, taking some old utility spells and just throwing them onto a creature as a come into play effect which is basically what we have in the primordials.

swords to plowshares
animate dead, living death, take your pick of black recursion. 
insurrection
and the blue one, i can't think of a card specifically like it at the moment, but I know it's out there! Wink

the green one is garnering the most attention as it basically combines two cards, whereas the others are just one. The two cards being primeval titan and terastodon.

I also don't think they are a clear "no brainer" as you say (but  i'll be playing them I believe). Sure, they're pretty obvious to use, but, I think a person who plays primarily 1 v 1 wouldn't and would probably be better off playing the singular spell. I play primarily multiplayer, so for me to use them makes total sense. 

I think the red is the worst, the blue, black and white are tied (but all three infinitely more useful than the red) and the green is by far the best...what green deck isn't going to play Mwonvuli Beast Tracker now?
I see the red one outright winning games...  The others are control-ey.   Green is the best one by far, though.  No question.  They are all boring, though.  No thought, just some casting idiot with a mindless ETB effect that doesn't break colour pie because all of R&D are chickens.  Slap a gold rarity on it and bingo:  Another cycle of pointless cards that seems to pander to a specific group.
and the blue one, i can't think of a card specifically like it at the moment, but I know it's out there! 



Perhaps it's Spelltwine that you are thinking of?

Although, it's not old, now that I think of it. 
and the blue one, i can't think of a card specifically like it at the moment, but I know it's out there! 



Perhaps it's Spelltwine that you are thinking of?

Although, it's not old, now that I think of it. 




more like Memory Plunder
The last thing EDH needs is more auto include fatties with sweet ETB abilities. This cycle sucks for exactly that reason.
The green one will slide right back into Prime Times slot, and EDH becomes play green or die again. Barf. 
The green one will slide right back into Prime Times slot, and EDH becomes play green or die again. Barf. 



I think that's being a little too dramatic.  It's nowhere near as good as Titan Prime.  But it is solid. 
Threw the green one into my blink deck, summoned it, completely wrecked the game and made it no fun for anyone, took it out.

That's my thoughts. 
Would it be the same way with Woodfall Primus, though?  The trigger isn't new, however I can imagine the land trigger to be overwhelming.
Would it be the same way with Woodfall Primus, though?  The trigger isn't new, however I can imagine the land trigger to be overwhelming.



It was mostly the hit all aspect, i made one player unable to play the game just from splash damaging their deck. (they had a bad hand and were running an artifact deck.) 

It also sucked all the fun out of my deck which is designed to do lots of blink tricks into "blink primordial" being my best choice 9/10 times. Swagtusk and primetime don't/didn't warp my play in this deck, because they don't present a universal answer to most situations as good as they are.


The land accel wasn't so bad, it's just more acceleration which commander decks have in spades. 
True.  I can see that.

Question, then, do you think that, as MRH_Blue suggests, this guy will be the go-to Zenith target rather than Titan Prime?
and the blue one, i can't think of a card specifically like it at the moment, but I know it's out there! 



Perhaps it's Spelltwine that you are thinking of?

Although, it's not old, now that I think of it. 




more like Memory Plunder



Agreed!
The green one can serve much the same role as primeval in the same decks, but has the upside of not being as valuable to your opponents unless they too are running forests...the downside being it costs 7.

In animar I think it will be fun.

3DH4LIF3

and the blue one, i can't think of a card specifically like it at the moment, but I know it's out there! 



Perhaps it's Spelltwine that you are thinking of?

Although, it's not old, now that I think of it. 




more like Memory Plunder



Agreed!



i concur...was actually looking at that to put in my Lazav deck...I think i just might!!! LOL, i knew the blue primordial's ability was familiar
True.  I can see that.

Question, then, do you think that, as MRH_Blue suggests, this guy will be the go-to Zenith target rather than Titan Prime?



well, seeing that prime time was banned, yeah, this will definitely take it's place...it was pretty much made exactly for that.

I disagree because this card does not have the ramp power that Prime had...
I disagree because this card does not have the ramp power that Prime had...



totally agree, but since prime time can't be used at all (unless people play with house rules), this will probably be what people use to take it's place...sure the primordial is not as good as primetime, but still knocking off a couple of permanants and getting a couple of lands is still good. you get two effects for one.
There seems to be a lot bitterness running around in this thread.

Some guy lost because he had a bad hand? Really? Tell me more...but seriously, am I the only group that actually adheres to the Partial Paris Mulligan?
I don't prefer it, but we use both. If you want to Paris or just shuffle and draw a new had we say go ahead. We even let people check their first three draws with two land hands... whatever gets the game started.

3DH4LIF3

Okay, dunno if this is 'Partial Paris'(still not down with terminology, lol), but my meta allows one free mulligan, then standard mulligans after.  Rarely do we have people go down to 5 or less cards, because most of us will take pity on someone who has a rough start mana-wise.  That's beside the point of this thread, though...

Sylvan Primordial is, in my opinion, a bomb, but nowhere near 'zomg! thehax0rs!' level.  First off, no trample.  Reach is relevant, but it's not a game changer.  Second, Sylvan does nothing after it enters the battlefield, unlike Prime Time.  Now sure, you can blink it, but it won't take long before people catch on to what you're doing and put a stop to that(either by exiling the problem, or making you 'that guy').  A Rite of Replication targeting it would be nasty, but no worse than targeting a Terastodon.  Plus, 7 mana...by that point, you really should have something ready to nail it to the wall(if you're not replicating it yourself).

Molten Primordial is an interesting one...given enough flicker effects, you could turn it into an Insurrection body...but even if you don't, grabbing your opponent's biggest creatures is usually enough.  Not strong, but not weak either.

Diluvian Primordial...well, 'nuff said.  As long as your opponents don't run ONLY X cost spells, I'm sure you'll be able to find SOMETHING you want...

Luminate Primordial; well, we're all aware that it's better to exile than destroy.  Luminate provides that option.  I think it's pretty strong in that regard, and seeing as it's in a color that can easily flicker, I expect it to get to at least pretty good status.

Sepulchral Primordial is iffy...in my meta, there's not much mass GY hate, and what there is, is usually reserved for one deck(and he fights to prevent us from using it, lol).  That's not the case in all metas, obviously...but tell me you wouldn't be tempted to throw down this guy and take several big bomb creatures(or perhaps even generals?) after a board wipe?  Plus, you keep those creatures until they die, no matter what happens to the primordial...always a bonus

Sorry if I'm covering ground that's been tread before, but I'm just not seeing Sylvan reach banning status yet.  Aside from forests, he can only search out the Rav shocklands, and the alpha duals, as opposed to Prime, who pulled every utility land that locked the board state down...and I dunno about you, but if I see someone pull alpha duals, I start worrying about other things besides having them flicker a creature...:D

Addendum:  Dunno if anyone bothered to look it up, but Diluvian and Sepulchral were interesting, and fit quite nicely with their themes...
Diluvian:
adj.
Of, relating to, or produced by a flood.
Sepulchral:

adj.
1. Of or relating to a burial vault or a receptacle for sacred relics.

2. Suggestive of the grave; funereal.



In Commander specifically, I think Diluvian Primordial would be the most powerful unless your opponents don't play good spells, in which case you should win anyway. Cast it, and you get a decent-sized flier, plus you might Cultivate, Swords to Plwshares someone's threat, cast an Insurrection just because someone else tried that alread and you countered it, and maybe even animate something. You can cover your bases in a large game, and unless all you have to target are x-spells and ccounters, you'll get your mana's worth out of it. And, on top of all that, if your opponent might be on a Flashback kick or otherwise recur Time Warp and the like, you get to know that the ones you take are exiled as well.

That's a whole load of utility in this one dude, I think.

The white one is as easy to put in a deck as Angel of Serenity to take out some threats, and the green one has already been explained best as a dual Terastodon/Primeval Titan sort of guy, useful in any deck with forests. The black and red ones to me are very good, but not made for every deck I play with those colors. I do dislike casting Sylvan though only to get hit by an Armageddon shortly thereafter...

If I cast any of these and my group can't deal with it, then it is an off-game. We all play strong decks with plenty of removal and ability to reset after bombs start dropping. We adapt to a dynamic game, and play with our new toys like that's why they get printed.
If I'm right, I'm right. If I'm wrong, I still believe I'm right. Think of it as religion. dubito ergo sum.
This is nothing new, and Rx expect to see every set from now on have something specifically for EDH.


That really wasn't the point.  I'm aware that they've been making stuff for EDH, but the design of this cycle seems obvious and kind of boring.  It lacks even the slightest subltety.  

University of Charleston School of Pharmacy, Class of 2016

My Peasant Cube: A Cube for the Commoners

This is nothing new, and Rx expect to see every set from now on have something specifically for EDH.


That really wasn't the point.  I'm aware that they've been making stuff for EDH, but the design of this cycle seems obvious and kind of boring.  It lacks even the slightest subltety.  




Nothing slightley subtle about  tooth and nail either, but I never complain about that.

But seriousley I do see your point.  This is kind of a boring sycle and yes predictible.  That being said the Green primordial is really inferior to prime time and mainly because it only grabs forests.  That means no turn 5-6 prime time and having Urbog/Coffers online.  No cradle, tower, or maze.  Plus if you happen to have greives in play thats a four land swing. 

Here is a real game scernio Playing Damia on a Great draw turn one sol ring greivs turn two cultivate turn three Prime time equip greives swing get Urborg Coffers, Cradle and Underground sea.  From there the game was pretty much over. 

I dont see the abuse potential for the primordial. Sure you can play blink tricks but you have to build around those.  Will it take the place of Prime time in some of my decks... Sure but not in all that run green.  I would rather run crop rotation in Riku.  and at 7 mana it dosent really fit into the curve of that deck. 

That was the other great thing about Prime time and that whole cycle of titans they alwyas fit in your curve. 

So Are the primordials good creatures for EDH?  yeah.  Are they boring and unorigianl? I think so.  Are they game breaking? not really.  And I do not think they will make the game un fun.  Except there are a lot of creatures that  if you build around abusing can make the game unfun. 
I don't prefer it, but we use both. If you want to Paris or just shuffle and draw a new had we say go ahead. We even let people check their first three draws with two land hands... whatever gets the game started.




we do both type also, the brittany, and paris...but, if you chose one, you have to stick with it..for example if you paris as your first mulligan, you can't brittany the second.   

I think I'm going to try them out and see how my playgroup reacts, and how much they influence the direction of the game.  Personally, I find them all strong and useful.  I'd be more willing to run the red one because it seems powerful without being absurd.

University of Charleston School of Pharmacy, Class of 2016

My Peasant Cube: A Cube for the Commoners

I'm torn on the issue. While it's nice that commander/EDH gets some cards each set, I'd prefer it if thoose cards would increase player interaction and/or be more on the weird/junky side instead of "OMG, AUTOINCLUDE!!1!ONE!!ONE!!1!ONE!!1!".

While the primordials are pretty strong, I'll have to see how they impact my group before making up my mind. Also, Torpor Orb.

 

To autocard: [c]Killer Whale[/c] ⇒ Killer Whale

I think they're all useful, but not game breakers.  Flicker effects do allow multiple uses which will get silly, but let's be honest, if left unchecked, flicker effects always get silly.  But I don't feel like any of them are massive threats. 
I think they're all useful, but not game breakers.  Flicker effects do allow multiple uses which will get silly, but let's be honest, if left unchecked, flicker effects always get silly.  But I don't feel like any of them are massive threats. 


My guess is the average EDH game is about 4 players? Look at the green one. It ETBF and blows up 3 things and nets you 3 land. 1 flicker will blow up 3 additional things and ramp 3 more land. That's 3 (or 6 if you count the lands too) times better than any other crature. You don't need to have a flicker engine for it to get out of hand. You just need to cast a flicker card to push it over the edge. It's also a good reanimator card. If it gets out early game you're setting back everyone a land and ramping for each opponent. That's pretty devastating.
I don't fully understand the hatred/fear of these. Sylvan primordial is pretty sweet, but it's no primeval titan. It doesn't fetch busted nonbasic lands. It doesn't run away with the game all on its own if left unchecked. And it costs more...the difference between 6 and 7 mana is huge.

And the 'scales with # of players at the table' mechanic is nothing new either. Remember syphon mind and blatant thievery? Or heck going back further, remember when mind rot already existed and they printed unnerve? I don't think the primordials are bad design, and I don't think they're overpowered. Just more sweet fatties that I can't wait to play with/against.
I don't fully understand the hatred/fear of these. Sylvan primordial is pretty sweet, but it's no primeval titan. It doesn't fetch busted nonbasic lands. It doesn't run away with the game all on its own if left unchecked. And it costs more...the difference between 6 and 7 mana is huge. And the 'scales with # of players at the table' mechanic is nothing new either. Remember syphon mind and blatant thievery? Or heck going back further, remember when both unnerve and mind rot were standard legal? I don't think the primordials are bad design, and I don't think they're overpowered. Just more sweet fatties that can't wait to play with/against.


I like your view on this. I enjoy a challenge, and when I end up with a surplus of good cards I give them to my opponents to up their game too. It makes it more interesting to know they could pop out a primordial or just a big vanilla (or otherwise relatively harmless) creature, and I have to hope its the latter. On Sunday a guy was complaining to me that my Obzedat deck ran too many rares and mythics, and he was playing stuff like Force of Nature and boring vanilla uncommons. He said his deck took skill to play, and while I agree, I said mine does too since I generally play with people using higher powered decks than his. As expected, he lost, and his weak cards didn't help. Power is power, and if we all have it, we all are equals and skill comes back into play. If an opponent won't play power and I will, I will win at least 75% of the time.

The primordials aren't a problem, they are an added aspect of your own skill level in deck design and making the choice to either play them or not, and to have answers for their effects (if not for the cards being cast from the start {Gather Specimens, Desertion, Counterspell, etc.})
If I'm right, I'm right. If I'm wrong, I still believe I'm right. Think of it as religion. dubito ergo sum.
I don't fully understand the hatred/fear of these.


I don't think it's hatred or fear.  It's dull design.  I know WotC wants to make even more EDH/casual stuff, but if this is the approach they're going to take, I'm not all that amped about it.  I'll say that the Primordials are fine, but I wouldn't want too many more cards like this.  Just my opinion though.  However, I do think it would be fun to reanimate other Primordials with Sepulchral Primordial.


The primordials aren't a problem, they are an added aspect of your own skill level in deck design and making the choice to either play them or not, and to have answers for their effects (if not for the cards being cast from the start {Gather Specimens, Desertion, Counterspell, etc.})


I don't think you need even the slightest bit of deckbuilding talent to recognize the value in this cycle.  That's kind of the problem, for me anyway.  It's like they practically beat me over the head and said "Use these."  Of course, the sky isn't falling, but I remain wary.

University of Charleston School of Pharmacy, Class of 2016

My Peasant Cube: A Cube for the Commoners

got to a 5 player game where the 1st player casted his green primodial on turn 5 , then the 2nd player copies it, and the 1st player reanimated it after it was killed imediately.. what's left of the 3rd/4th 5th player was very little land left and the 1st player was ahead with 15 lands. game was practically over, no one git close to tickle him.
wouldn't have been any different if he cast blatant thievery, had it forked, and then regrowthed it.
I just had a turn 4 thran dynamo into worn powerstone. Played turn 5 blatant thievery stealing a cabal coffers, karoo, temple of the false God, and a phyexian arena... they did not recover and I won with arcanis and mind over matter in short order.

Big plays win games... who knew.

3DH4LIF3

I'm actually fairly excited to use some of these. I just put together a Karador deck...and could conceivably play 3 of them. I think, however, that I will only pick 1...possibly 2. So far I like the black one the best. I'm already playing Sun Titan and Elesh Norn so I'd like to go for something that's not white...