11/26/2013 SF: "Ten Commander Commandments"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Serious Fun, which goes live Tuesday morning on magicthegathering.com.

#5 seems hypocritical next 10, 7, and 4. "Don't do these things that I don't consider fun, but don't complain when I do things that you don't consider fun."

I disagree about white bordered lands. Deck building is a creative endeavour in self expression not only in terms of the functionality of cards you include, but also the edition of cards. This is especially true for basic lands as most people will be forced to include many of these in every deck and the only choice here is which version to use to acheive the mood that you're after. White bordered lands are legitimate cards and I like the art of some of the older set lands. Perhaps it's the nostalgia of when I first started playing, but I like to see the old revised edition lands in front of me. And yes, perhaps I do like showing off how old some of my cards are.


Using them to cheat is of course a big NO NO, but not everyone who uses them is a cheat. I don't see how it's at all reasonable to tell someone off for using the wrong edition of a card in a deck. If I offend someone's sense of asthetics because of my card choices, they just need to learn to toughen up instead of trying to ruin my fun.

kajillion wrote:

#5 seems hypocritical next 10, 7, and 4. "Don't do these things that I don't consider fun, but don't complain when I do things that you don't consider fun."


Exactly! It could just as well say


7. "Thou shall not freak out over Entering the Infinite." It happens, deal with it. #tencommandmentsofcmdr #CMDR


I liked these commandments until this point. Now it's just one man's hypocritical pile of bull. 

I disagree with #8.  While white bordered basic lands may make sense for this statement it does not apply well to nonbasic lands.  Of particular note are the original dual lands and the Ice Age dual lands (before 10th edition).  The original dual lands (Tundra etc...) were printed in a black border form, but the black border form is many times more expensive to aquire than the white border.  I am not going to shell out a greater amount of money to follow this rule.  The Ice Age duals ([c]Adarkar Wastes[c] etc...) were primarily reprinted in core sets other than their original printing in Ice Age.  It would be nonsense to simply shell out money for ice age versions if I already have others.  I may also prefer other land art as well.




I've never understood the problem with white-bordered lands myself (although I didn't know it was a cheatin' issue until now).  I guess I just don't look as far as the border, mostly.

Everybody repeating that black border is better does not make it true, especially in commander where bling is de rigeur.

I don't post often, and I came to say just this!


White bordered lands are part of my deck pimping. People roll foils and promos, so why shouldn't I be able to use white bordered lands? For some of us, EDH is a way to build that dream deck that would never work in any other format. When making Urza decks, or Weatherlight story decks, I like to pimp it out with lands that bring me back. Most of the decks I play are just flavor and really don't have a win-con worth cheating for (and I hate cheating, because why even play?). 

I agree with #4, in that you really SHOULD have a strategic reason to cast Armageddon et al. You shouldn't just blow up everyone's lands because you can do it. I remember one game where I had a Desolation Angel in my hand for a number of turns, but I saved casting it  for when I was a turn or two away from getting to Liliana Vess's ultimate.


I disagree with about half of these "commandments", but the ones I find the most odious are #9 and #8. Regarding #9, hasn't this guy heard that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery? If you see a strategy or theme to a deck that you find compelling, why not use it? If your friends are going to castigate you over something as innocuous as building a similar deck to one of theirs, they're not being very friendly. Besides, what if you're building a deck with limited strategic options? Sometimes there are commanders or strategies that lend themselves to specific card interactions. It's not a sin to netdeck, no matter how much some people turn their nose up at it. I don't see why imitating a friend's deck is anathema.


As for #8, using white-border lands (or any cards for that matter) is perfectly legitimate. I'm actually baffled as to why the guy would take issue with it. Sometimes white-border cards are the most economical choice, like GreenBuster said for dual lands. Another example is Demonic Tutor. A black-bordered copy of the card is at least twice as expensive as the Revised edition. I'm not going to begrudge someone for using the one that costs around $10. The other thing is that I like white-border cards. There are basics from 5th-9th edition that I find aesthetically appealing. The Anson Maddocks illustration for Llanowar Elves is my favorite. Besides, shouldn't everyone be using sleeves? I don't know about anyone else, but I'd feel more uncomfortable about shuffling up 99 cards that weren't protected than I would about cheating.


These commandments seem a bit lacking, overall.

8. "Thou shall not use white bordered lands."


As politely as I can - get bent. 



My collection goes all the way back to Revised. Picking up core sets used to be a great way to fill out collections (back when they were all reprints) and if that means an important card is white bordered, so be it.  I realize there are some who can pick out border colors from a distance, so I would be behooved to fill out the deck with other white border cards, and that would include lands. (Hell, most of my Urzatrons are from Chronicles). 

Proud member of C.A.R.D. - Campaign Against Rare Duals "...but the time has come when lands just need to be better. Creatures have gotten stronger, spells have always been insane, and lands just sat in this awkward place of necessity." Jacob Van Lunen on the refuge duals, 16 Sep 2009. "While it made thematic sense to separate enemy and allied color fixing in the past, we have come around to the definite conclusion that it is just plain incorrect from a game-play perspective. This is one of these situations where game play should just trump flavor." - Sam Stoddard on ending the separation of allied/enemy dual lands. 05 July 2013

the main thing that bothers me in EDH games, especially when it's a league format where you get points for doing things other than just taking people out, is someone ending the game too quickly.  yay, you won, congrats.  You only got 2 more points than the guy that went out first and everyone else is stuck with 0, but hey, good job.  The last EDH league I was in there was a player who was obviously playing someone else's deck and kept telling people "wait, I would have done this if I'd known you were going to do that" and being mostly good-natured we let it slide for a bit, then she set up complete domination with her commander.  After deliberating for ages about how to milk the most points out of the 5 player game, she decided to go for the "leave an opponent at 1 life" point first, in a league where 2 players out of the pod means game over.  She knocked 2 of her 4 opponents to 1 life that turn, one of which had a perm that hits him on upkeep, and the other was NOT the guy with a commander that pings.  Game over before her next turn, and then her whining really went into overdrive.  In the 2nd round there was a guy that set up an 0/11 Doran the Siege Tower by turn 3 or 4 and removed any other creatures that came out, then just took turns taking out the other players with commander damage.  The first game ended badly, and was kinda annoying in progress, but at least it went on for a little while.  The second was just a mass snuffing.


I play to have fun.  No game that ends by turn 5 is fun to me, no matter whether I win or lose, which is why I don't play modern/vintage.  EDH seems like the perfect opportunity for Timmys like me to see epic battles that ebb and flow, and often it is exactly that.  And it is glorious.  Sadly it's also pretty often a situation where you have a group of players looking to have fun and 1 player looking to fire off his infinite instant-win combo.

I love how the guy whining about Consecrated Sphinx and white-bordered cards (really??) is at the same time telling us to "deal with it" when our commanders get tucked. Tuck is one of the lamest ways to shut somebody down in Commander--but it works, so we use it. Guess what? Consecrated Sphinx works too, so I use it. I could care less whether or not that gives me a bit of an advantage--first of all, I could whine all day about single cards that give people advantages over one another in Commander, and second of all, I'm well aware of potential hate that could be thrown my way when I play a card like that, but that's the game. Commander is about big, awesome cards. Consecrated Sphinx is a big, awesome card. It looks like this guy just picked the card he lost to most recently so he could bitch about it on Twitter. Oh, and using "It could be cloned and used against you" as an excuse to not play a creature is about the dumbest thing I've ever heard. Why even play Commander at all, then?


I do agree a bit with the infinite combo thing, to the extent that I think decks that try to win on turn 3 don't really have a place in this format. You have Legacy, Vintage, Modern, and Standard to play around with your insta-kill nonsense. Commander is supposed to be fun. I can deal with Sphinx, tuck, etc. What I hate are people who try to destroy the entire table as quickly as they can just so they can prove they can win at something. Probably trying to compensate for the fact that they think they're so smart and good at everything but still suck in competitive formats because *gasp* other players are good too.

I don't find columns like this one useful; they're just long lists of personal opinions on what is and isn't fun. I could read that on any forum. 


Goblin Artisans
a Magic: the Gathering design blog

I agree. I'm not sure what the guy has against white bordered lands...what about white bordered spells? Is there a Commandment for that too? I've been playing Magic since revised/4th edition. I have so many white bordered cards in my collection, both lands and spells. I like playing with the older versions of cards because the art work is usually better than the reprints and also the fact that the originals (for me this is revised/4th edition) are very nostalgic to me...for example, the original Hypnotic Specter (through 4th edition) is light years better than any of the reprints...same goes for Shivan Dragon, Serra Angel, etc....


I think this guy is either jealous that he doesn't own any dual lands from revised or unlimited, or is new to Magic and has never seen white bordered cards before..and when he saw some he thought someone was cheating....lol

Hey everyone, this is Christian & the Commandments were my idea. Thanks for all the feedback (both positive & negative) on the article.


As far as the white boarders lands thing goes.... East Coast Commander was setup to be a regional site to promote the Commander format in eastern Canada & north eastern USA. That being said it has expanded to be so much more than that in the short time we have been online, & I am incredibly thankful to our community for supporting the site.


Sometimes my ideas stay in their narrow focus around my local playgroups & the whole white borders lands thing stems from a player here locally that runs old, beat up crappy white bordered BASIC lands. It's a hilarious running joke around here and it made it's way into the Commandments as sort of an inside gag that got a lot of laughs from my friends. I meant no insult to people that don't have black bordered duals, etc. After all my duals are white bordered


While some people have really taken to some of the more universal ones like Commandment  #1, most of the list is meant to be a fun discussion topic.


Thanks everyone for reading the article and thanks to everyone that has started following me on twitter or liked the Facebook page. It's an honour to be mentioned on DailyMtG and I'm happy to have contributed.


Christian - East Coast Commander

I don't care what boarder lands you are using, so long as you aren't cheating. Most people don't cheat, and most cheats are more devious than a simple boarder stacking.


In casual games, I have always tried to help out my noob opponents. When they cast a spell with a bad target, I give them hints on what they should target instead. I've even told them before my game winning turn that they need to be able to stop me this turn or lose. I feel this helps them develop as well as increases the difficulty of that game. 


I love to go infinite. There is something satisfying about using the phrase "arbitrarily large amount of..." My favorite is my Kaldra deck. But, never would I play an infinite deck in any casual multiplayer. Those games go long at it ruins the fun.


Land destruction is always annoying. Nuking lands just to nuke them is a game killer. It sucks.

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." ************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************MaRo: During a playtest, I played a Reaper from the Abyss. I attacked each turn, while my opponent would chump block (he had a lot of fliers), and then I killed a second creature. This happened until he had only one creature left. I attack, he blocked, and then the following dialogue occurred:

Him: Kill your demon. Me: What? Him: My guy died so you have to kill a creature.

Me: Yeah, but why would a demon kill himself?

Him: I don't know. He's depressed there's no one left to kill.

Me: That doesn't make any sense. Him: I don't care. It's what the card says. I then take out my pen, and wrote "non-Demon" on it.

Him: You can't do that.

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

I also love all the rudeness getting tossed at people that comentators don't even know. "Oh he's jealous that he doesn't have original duals!" "He's so dumb, he thought white bordered cards were cheating!" "He's just whining aboust Sphinx!" "Get bent, I play how I want!" I guess most people missed commandment 1, which basically said, "Curb your natural tendency to be a prick."


I like most of these. Infinite combos *aren't* generally a whole lot of fun for anyone but the person doing it. I'm not interested in your 7 minute turn of amazing mana loops. Should the rest of us sit around bored so that you can impress yourself with the non-interactive Rube Goldberg machine you built?


I don't like massive land destruction unless it's going to win you the game promptly, just like I don't like sitting under a counterspell wall or a hard lock unless you're going to win the game promptly. If it's going to win you the game, nice work. If you just want to sit there and play solitare for 20 turns while I do nothing and play nothing, why did you ask me to play in the first place?


As to the white bordered lands, I kinda like 'em. Lots of the younger players weren't playing when white-bordered cards were a thing. I have a fond nostalgia for them, just like I have a fond nostalgia for the old card face.

I think a better list of commandments goes roughly as follows:


1) Have fun.  If you are not having fun, then stop playing and go do something else.

2) Don't stop other players from having fun.  These players are typically your friends, remember that.


Everything on the original list is either a specific version of these two rules, or is not worth following.

Social cotnract is tied to your group. As casual as EDH is at its base, we don't believe in watering down our decks. Using all the tools, in the best iteration possible, and competing against people of equal or better skill is the only way to up your game. Our EDH scene here in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada grew from a few people slinging random decks to focused groups of 30+ attending tournaments and fine-tuning their stacks into deadly weapons. It's likely contrary to EDH's intention but we're cutthroat as hell and we love it.


Strongly disagree with #1


If we're going to single out a sphinx that ruins the game, it should be Magister Sphinx.  Everyone knows that card is a burden on the game, and should be banned from the format.  The only people that don't see this obvious truth, are the ones that run the card themselves and simply don't care to admit it to themselves.  If it was fair or justified to play that card in EDH, it would have likely seen a reprint in the commander decks, as it fit perfectly with the theme.  Wizards opted for Sphinx of the Steel Wind instead, for multiple reasons that should be obvious to anyone that's been on the receiving end of the fun-ruining "Go to 10." 


It's seriously infuriating to me that any sphinx can be seen as more threatening to the integrity of this format than one that reduces your life total by 75%.  At least when someone plays or copies a consecrated sphinx at the table, we can all have a good laugh about the chaos about to ensue.  There is no laughter in my playgroup when a Magister Sphinx hits the field.  In fact, the fun stops immediately.  Someone knows they're about to be cheated out of their gaming experience immediately.  Again, Consecrated Sphinx doesn't do that.   Consecrated Sphinx needs time, usually a trip around the board, to wreak havoc.  Magister Sphinx does his damage the moment he hits the field.  It's done.  Someone got cheated, and it's game over for them.

Further, If someone steals a consecrated sphinx, fun is still being had, the target simply switches to the guy who had the gall to take it.  Stealing a Magister Sphinx accomplishes nothing...again, the damage has been done.  Someone is already basically out of the game.


Also, bouncing a Consecreated Sphinx?  Acceptable strategy.  Bouncing a Magister Sphinx...yeah, not so much.  In fact, assuming you're the one that initially got set to 10, you just made an enemy out of everyone else at the table who's afraid they are the new target when he is recast.


I've stolen magister sphinx from his caster before, or at least been able to willbend his triggered ability back at the caster, setting him to 10 instead.  I've even taken to putting Hidetsugu's Second Rite in my red/blue deck to teach anyone that runs that card a much needed lesson, but let me tell you, it's not fun.  I still feel cheap that I had to win that way.  it still sucks that the game became centered around Magister Sphinx and it's OP ability.  The only difference is I used my opponent's card against him, and in my opinion, that play style gets very old, very fast. 

                    My (Favorite) EDH Decks                                                  EDH Decks in the Works

                         Epiphany                                                                  Gahiji                                                                                                

             New Phyrexia                                                     Mage-Bane
                   Harsh Judgment                                                            Erebos Rising
             Lambs to the Slaughter                                             Crovax's Redemption
                  Vig's Electric Jungle                                                        The Academy
         Nekusar's Revenge




You are Red/Blue!



Chaos_Redefined wrote:

I think a better list of commandments goes roughly as follows:


1) Have fun.  If you are not having fun, then stop playing and go do something else.

2) Don't stop other players from having fun.  These players are typically your friends, remember that.


Everything on the original list is either a specific version of these two rules, or is not worth following.


I actually don't think you need #2. Because if player A stops player B from having fun, player B will evoke rule 1 and do something else than playing with player A

So rule #1 is all that you need =D

TobyornotToby wrote:


Chaos_Redefined wrote:

I think a better list of commandments goes roughly as follows:


1) Have fun.  If you are not having fun, then stop playing and go do something else.

2) Don't stop other players from having fun.  These players are typically your friends, remember that.


Everything on the original list is either a specific version of these two rules, or is not worth following.



I actually don't think you need #2. Because if player A stops player B from having fun, player B will evoke rule 1 and do something else than playing with player A

So rule #1 is all that you need =D


Rule 4 of the original (blowing up lands for no reason) is a valid rule, it steps on some toes in the fun-having department, but it ultimately there as a specific instance of my rule 2.  There are other cases where it comes up.

Chaos_Redefined wrote:


TobyornotToby wrote:


Chaos_Redefined wrote:

I think a better list of commandments goes roughly as follows:


1) Have fun.  If you are not having fun, then stop playing and go do something else.

2) Don't stop other players from having fun.  These players are typically your friends, remember that.


Everything on the original list is either a specific version of these two rules, or is not worth following.



I actually don't think you need #2. Because if player A stops player B from having fun, player B will evoke rule 1 and do something else than playing with player A

So rule #1 is all that you need =D



Rule 4 of the original (blowing up lands for no reason) is a valid rule, it steps on some toes in the fun-having department, but it ultimately there as a specific instance of my rule 2.  There are other cases where it comes up.


Say there's a table of 4 players. 3 of them find Scrambleverse hilarious. 1 of them does not. So now, as one of the 3 players, should you not cast it because of #2? Because there's that 1 player who'd stop having fun if you cast it? I don't like that line of thinking. Now if you follow rule #1, it become's that 1 player's responisbility: he can accept he's playing at a table with Scrambleverses or he can pack up and play with someone else. His decision.

There needs to be a balance. Goofy guy can play Scrambleverse, because Srsbns A can play Mikaeus/Triskelion, because Srsbns B can play Hinder, and Powerbomb can Tooth And Nail for Ulamog/Kozilek, which is fine cuz the Policeman Path/Swords everything.

Regarding tuck: It's a reasonable "commandment" as things go. It does happen, and there's no sense complaining about it. However, it (as well as the other "Don't play this way" commandments) could really use some changes. It's not that you shouldn't Armageddon/Consecrated Sphinx/Tuck/Go Infinite, but you should do so judiciously and delibatately. Play the tuck because you need it to shut down particularly odious ommanders, not because it's a good way to ruin everyone else's fun and steal a win. Use the Armageddon when you have a board full of artifact mana and a fatty on the board.  The game goes both ways: Don't complain about things, but also don't play things in a way that ends up so annoying that your opponents can't help complain.


On dice: d20 is vastly superior to 2d6 in most cases. However, if you roll 2d6 and multiply the result, the chances for ties are greatly reduced. I typically use a d20 myself, but it's another option.

Rules Nut Advisor

One the value of tucking commanders:


In my not so humble opinion, I think the argument that "tuck" is useful to deal with generals themselves is problematic.


1. Inclusion of cards that are put there solely to fight a person's general is to deny the opponent the advantage you yourself intend to partake of. The value of a card you can always have access to is offset already in the game by the application of a tax and the multitude of other cards designed to either neuter, kill, or negate the cards being played. For example, Nevermore, [c[Phyrexian Revoker/c], can be used to prevent some generals from simply functioning, but they do not deny the option of playing them, or having them.


2. The negative regard to "odious" generals is not restricted to them. There are a large host of odious creatures in this game, and many of them defy playgroups' attempts at "reasonable" and "fair" considerations, but are optioned for use and "tuck" is but one method to handle them. Yet, despite this, "tuck" is primarily optioned NOT to deal with those cards but for the general. And not because that general is every really "odious" but becuase it's a general. This despite people consistently tutoring up the same creatures in most games (e.g., Hermit Druid, Stoneforge Mystic, Oracle of Mul Daya, Sheoldred, Sylvan Primordial, Glen Elendra Archmage, whatever) which renders the specific negation of someone's general via tuck useless.


3. There are times when players, especially mono-White world-nuking-happy decks, will use any and all "tuck" available whenever a player drops a general. There are times when some players will use their occassional blue "tuck" (Spin into Myth) solely to take out a person's general. Even if it's Lady of the Mountain. Why? "Because it's his commander." Logic and reason are thrown out the window in order to wage a more psychological war against someone else. And after doing that, should the person concede because inordinate measures are being taken against someone "just cause" then the player is mocked for leaving the table. I've seen this so many times it's just not reasonable to assume the "tucking" player has the right of it. This behavior is griefing, and the value of the cards used to do this diminish.


Of course, not all players do this. But there's a number that will go to any length to prevent others from dropping any general for its own sake, and will justify this any way they can: "I was defeated by a Sir Shandlar of Eberyn deck just last game!" they'll lie. Turns out, it was a Saffi or Sisay deck, with a decoy general, or they are just lying.


4. The general is sometimes, but not always, a lynchpin card. Some players build their deck around the function of the general, a factor seen in Uril, Bruna, or Hazezon decks, even Zur and Sharuum. My Seizan deck utilizes the general as a crux for many mechanics, but I can do well without. But deprive a player of a crucial card, and their deck crumples, so the value of taking out that one card is good. Problematically, this can be one of any other card in the sequence. Kiki-Jiki combo is only as good as the creature it wants to duplicate: Take out the duplicatee before Kiki can "tap it" and you destabilize the combo. But some decks don't care. Zegana, for example, is the latest evolution of the Momir Vig deck that is pretty high on my list of most unfun decks I've ever played against. It is one of the few groups of decks (GU control/grow) that I will go out of my way to make the board realize they need to go after immediately; and I will sacrifice my ability to win that game to make sure they do not. (Politics helps; I try to be a competant political player.) Yet such decks are practically immune to "tuck," as they have multiple means of tutoring the general back up, especially with Fauna Shaman which they already use to fetch up Snakes, Whelks, Archmages, etc. Decks that can find particular elements of combos are practically immune to this vaunted technique, and are also prone to using it. Being Blue, they will utilize Hinder, Spin, and Spell Crumple, and these are almost invariably pointed at generals.


5. "Tuck" has its best place in political games where you play with (not against) 3 or more other people where you yourself run the risk of disadvantage. I prefer such games where people have to make cost benefit analyses on the fly about the value of their plays, rather than card inclusion that is always upside. Games in which the latter occur are like trudging uphill through the snow in a blizzard and the hillside is covered in Alabama molasses. And you're barefoot. There is no value to playing these games without developing alliances with others.


6. You cannot necessarily "police" your group or rely on the social contract when it comes to MTGO. Anonymity for many players gives them license for the most atrocious behavior imaginable, a formulation of the Greater Internet F**kwad Theory: Person + Anonymity - Consequences = Douchebag. This psychological effect is also termed the online disinhibition effect, but is part of the general theory regarding the position of power with anonymity and the absence of consequences that come with it, and the depraved behavior that results, as demonstrated in the Stanford prison experiment. But the rules for online and paper play should be the same (though they clearly aren't, depending on formats that the Online MTG staff has refused to handle for over 6 years now, especially how EDH and 2HG interact versus online. So the larger result of this is people have to either "deal with it" or they walk away and stop playing. Not eveyrone, even if they have a LGS, have the option to play as they wish if they are more casual or less prone to such douchebaggery that might result in such games. Got a group that plays Stax and control all the time but you wanna play tribal atogs? You're out of luck. Players spending a lot of money to bling out their decks or get the most ridiculous cards possible are at an extreme advantage, and some of these players won't play anything else.


I've known a few players online at least that only play ONE deck, and haven't changed this for years. Everythign in the deck is bent toward one direction or another, and it is never "fun" or "casual" however the terms might be defined. "I want to win!" they say, and they'll do so at any cost.


In sum:


"Tuck" is a mechanic that is useful, and, like most useful abilities, abuseable. But the abuse of these abilities far outweighs the value they present to the group. This perspective is true regardless of LGS, paper vs online. Yet in some venues it is flexible, modifiable; online, this is not the case. You have a limited pool, and that pool can bring anything, so players are told to modify their decks to take all of it into account. You have to bring tutor, stuff that nukes lands, stuff that stops that, stuck that shuffles your graveyard in, stuff that stops your opponents doing that, etc. The laundry list of "staples" to deal with the format's size is so large that one wonders where one can fit a "unique" deck into it. How many slots you have to devote to these staples including all the nonbasic lands is immense. Of course, not everyone does it. Tuck is all part of it. My White decks run Oblation, but I typically don't point it at generals, and often at my own stuff to stop that crap. "Tuck," like all mechanics, is abuseable, but in its abuse it is fairly consistent: You use it to go after others' generals. And this attitude, I think, runs counter to the primary goal of, and indeed namesake to, the format itself.

"Possibilities abound, too numerous to count." "Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969) "Ever since man first left his cave and met a stranger with a different language and a new way of looking at things, the human race has had a dream: to kill him, so we don't have to learn his language or his new way of looking at things." --- Zapp Brannigan (Beast With a Billion Backs)

From the newer article


When I saw Trick's email explaining that this week was Devotion Week, I felt a little guilty. I hadn't done a weekly devotion in years, let alone the daily devotions that were expected during my religious upbringing. Daily devotions, ugly uniforms, and nuns wielding metre sticks are all powerful memories of my Catholic school upbringing. And now my guilt over abandoning my daily devotions is rising up. Thanks for the reminder, Trick!



This week's theme wasn't meant to send us down Memory Lane to the days of cold classrooms and soccer at recess. I'm pretty sure Trick wanted us to focus on Magic. Rather than tell you about my experiences with Pious Kitsune and Bloodthirsty Ogre, I thought I would focus on the devotion theme in Theros


I misread that as:


This week's theme wasn't meant to send us down Memory Lane to the days of cold classrooms and soccer at recess. I'm pretty sure Trick wanted us to focus on Magic rather than tell you about my experiences with Pious Kitsune and Bloodthirsty Ogre. I thought I would focus on the devotion theme in Theros


Which has a very different and much funnier meaning. :D

Very fun deck.

Only thing it was missing was Gravecrawler.

Yes, this is not an aggressive deck, but..... Gravecrawler is a very cheap devotion fuel that keeps coming back.

Most of your creatures are zombies to start with so casting him for 1 from graveyard should be doable.

"Gary" aka grey merchant... yeah. He wins 1v1 games with the EtB effect as well. I was playing a MBD variant with a splash of green in the local tourney a few weeks back, and was in game three of the round against a RW deck. My board position was basically hopeless- although I had two underworld connection and a whip of erebos in play, my opponent had systematically destroyed all my creatures, and had two Boros Reckoner, an Assemble the Legion with several counters, and Hammer of purphoros with several golems. Oh yeah- and he was at 14 life, me at 5. Basically, if he untapped, I was toast. I tapped one connections to draw an abrupt decay, then proceeded to my turn. I drew Nykthos, shrine to Nyx and looked at my hand, which included hero's downfall and a land. Then I looked at my gray merchant, chained to the rocks in exile (which I assume he'd done to keep me from whipping it out of the graveyard.) And I thought for a good long while. Then tapped two lands to abrupt decay the Chained to the Rocks, bringing the merchant back onto the battlefield. I then played Nykthos, tapped it and two more lands, and generated 8 black mana. Used three to cast Hero's Downfall on my own merchant, and 4 of the floated 5 to activate the whip and bring the merchant back from the grave. Times gray merchant was cast that turn- zero. Times entering the battlefield, two. Total damage it dealt that turn- 16, for a complete turnaround victory from nowhere.


No wonder Gary has a non-family-friendly nickname :D

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