Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Tsabo's Web In Every Thing (Commander)

One of the cool things about playing for a long, long time, having a relatively extensive collection of Magic and perpetually updating decks is that occasionally I'll have something snap together in my brain. In this case, I saw something while I was putting away some cards in Invasion block and thought: that never really did work out, did it?

Two days later, I'm playing a Commander game with stonethorn and Merrick and getting my ass kicked by a Vault of the Archangel, wondering why land destruction isn't in every color. Then today, it hit me.

Why is this not the go-to solution for all the crap that we put up with in Commander?

Tsabo's Web never really found a home back in the day, despite doing exactly what it was supposed to as an effective hoser. It is cheap, it cantrips (replaces itself), and it can fit into any deck because it's an artifact. At the time, though, most of the cards that the Web had an impact on weren't in Standard and the cards the Web has an impact on now didn't exist, as lands weren't as well understood as card type as they are now. On top of all that, since the effect was symmetrical you could find yourself hamstrung by your own hoser.

None of those things matter in Commander. It's not difficult to make a deck that doesn't need or has minimal use of those kinds of lands, special effects are all over the format so the Web is always going to be relevant, even if it seemingly isn't the draw effect will replace it, and because of Commander's stronger multiplayer focus the impact on the board is going to be much bigger than the two mana investment. Since it's a symmetrical but largely not-gamebreaking effect and still allows people to tap lands for mana, the possibility that you will draw aggro from playing Tsabo's Web ought to be pretty minimal.

Yet I don't see anyone talk about how useful this card is and the price is only $.49 at Starcity. This suggests to me that there is an opportunity to get some pretty big bang for the buck.

On top of all of that, this provides me with a truly useful answer to the question: what else do I add here? Sometimes, decks just don't want to build themselves and it can be hard to see what goes in next. A card like Tsabo's Web interacts with so many cards in the format, there's hardly a reason to exclude the it. It's just less mental work that needs to be done on my part.

I've got close to twenty Commander decks and four copies of Tsabo's Web. Time to make some tiny adjustments.

I doubt there will be much Magic playing this week or next, as much as I might want to. Sporadic updates (if any) until Jan 7th, but I'll get rolling again after that. Happy holidays, everyone!

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