Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Right Amount of Random

I’ve made it pretty clear that I like a certain amount of random in my EDH decks. Cards like kaboom, ruhan, and tariel have all gotten the thumbs up on this blog. There is however a clear line that can be crossed - where random becomes giant nuisance, such as chaos moon. I recently tried to jam as many “random” effects as I could into an intet the dreamer deck; from clear the land to explosive revelation to stronghold gambit. It has its moments, but while I like the cards I’m not sure I like a deck that is just doing the dice-roll effect turn in turn out.

I think I like it better when I’ve got some random impact cards sprinkled into a “normal” deck - for example in my Axelrod Gunnarson deck I’ve found a slot for this little beauty:

I’d like to run the card in zedruu or intet but the triple red can be painful for a 3 colour deck, so for now its confined to Axelrod. The deck plays some dubious creatures (starting with the general) so donating them can sometimes mean the joke’s on the receiver as they try to optimize play with Pavel Maliki.

What’s cool about risky move is that it doesn’t steal creatures - it gives them away. That’s such a better mechanic for EDH than the usual ray of command effect. It means that as long as you have a lousy creature around, the card doesn’t really hurt you, but if you’re the joker playing a 20/20 uril the miststalker and nothing else shit just got real.

I think what I like most about this card are the decision points - which creature do you want to risk, and who do you want to risk giving it to? You get to play a little politics. I also love that it affects everyone, so that each player in turn faces the same decision. While it messes with the board, the 50-50 nature of the effect resolving means you can still play your awesome creatures out even if they’re your only dude.  

Macaroni or Cheese

While I should probably wait to actually see this in action, I feel like I know how it’ll go and that it’ll be a hoot each time a player chooses a creature, a player, and rolls the dice. Risky move mixes things up while still keeping the game sane. No question, this is elbow macaroni!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Commandments and “Good Advice”

If you look at the top right hand side of this blog you’ll see the “multiplayer commandments”. These three things go a long way to creating a common understanding of how to play EDH and ensure you have good games and good sessions. While these represent the irrefutable principles of the game, there are also lesser versions that are more like good advice. For example:

1. Play your own cards.
I brought my deck to play with, and no I’m not really impressed that you bribery, confiscate, act of treason, animate dead, or insurrection my stuff. I’m not saying never use those cards, but use them sparingly and judiciously. It’s applause-worthy if you take someone’s darksteel colossus, hit them with it, and then sac it to your bloodthrone vampire. It’s not hilarious when you just take it so that you can use it instead of them.

2. Spread the Hate.
Sometimes you have to hit one player hard because if you don’t they’re going to win or do something truly nasty. Most of the time though, everyone will breathe a little easier when you take your 37 trample damage and scatter it around the board.

3. Don’t be a Nuisance.
Avoid playing cards that are difficult to track or massively slow the game down. Don’t try to make 57 different types of tokens. Don’t play grip of chaos. Don’t even play chaos moon (I have it and I always want to, but never do because of the nuisance factor). You basically never want to ask “what’s in your graveyard” or “how many cards in your graveyard”. This also means don’t be wasting everyone’s time tutoring, combing through all of the spells in your deck looking for the perfect one.

4. Don’t replay the same cards over and over again.
Genesis+eternal witness anyone? We know you can loop your cards, we don’t care. Mix it up, do something different, try the other 97 cards in your deck. Capsize has buyback, yes and so does reiterate, but no, we’re not having fun seeing you replay them every. single. turn.

5. Be a threat
Don’t let my love of bad cards fool you, I’m still playing to win. Your deck should be regularly capable of dishing out increments of 5-6 damage per turn. Sitting on your ass wrathing the board hoping people die of boredom so that you can eventually play your general and win is not the right way to do it. If you’re gonna play jandor’s saddlebags, it should be so you can double up your heartless hidetsugu, not your ghost-lit redeemer.