Thursday, December 21, 2017

The First Adds-

So after a weekend...well, OK, a frantic Sunday night...spend looking at the internet and paging through some binders, here are my current card choices and a short explanation for them, for Licia:

Orbs of Warding-why attack me? The damage is blunted. And I can't be targeted... (possible duplication: Urza's Armor)
Celestial Force-let's gain life every turn. This will automatically-3 the cost for Licia. Possible duplication effect: Venser's Journal.
Aurification-signal: attack somewhere else.
No Mercy-ditto, just in black
Teysa, Envoy of Ghosts-ditto, just in black/white
Sensei's Divining Top-without blue, here's a good way to do some card filtering.
Subterranean Tremors-Artifacts are dumb and should go away. Maybe I can get an 8/8 out of the deal.
Windbrisk Raptor-a big maybe card but a flyer with lifegain fits in the Commander meta.
Congregate-It's just really good lifegain. Possible add to make cool: Scout's Warning.
Debt to the Deathless-also substitutes as a win condition.
Chandra's Ignition-win condition, inspired by posters on Reddit's EDH forum. 

Is this good? I don't have the slightest idea. I have run it through the analyzers at and and what it's looking like at least for now, is that there might be a little too much black mana in there. But with an average mana curve close to 4, I should have a lot of flexibility in terms of what I can cut or swap out.

There are definitely a few more cards to look at, too: Pawn of Ulamog for example, but I think I've got a way to start playing and that will do. Theory only gets you so far: I have to run this deck through the grinder, too.

To that end, I'm going to take the rest of the year off of blogging. I want to take some time to just play games and take notes, and I also need some time to just not write, too. So happy holidays, everyone and I'll see you Jan 2, 2018.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The Kinds of Mistakes

A very good article at Starcity about the general kinds of mistakes made.

The third category of mistake is the one I find myself making frequently: the one where I just don't envision the consequences completely.

I didn't really have a name for it until now, but I like the way it's framed: What kind of mistake it is. Because I have found myself visualizing more plays as of late, trying to see my way out and not including all the necessary consequences.

Funny enough, I've started trying to map things out a little further while playing Star Realms. I frequently have to play the app version of the game (I don't know enough players in realtime!) and the available information is much greater, since you can tap on an opponent's deck and see what they have in it.

Nevertheless, it's a good game to practice the consequences exercise, especially since those consequences often show up soon but not immediately. Thinking about the future state a few turns from now, as opposed to right away is a worthy mental exercise and I hope that will help improve my game in both Star Realms and Magic.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Commander Licia, Sanguine Tribune

This...ought to be a little weird. We'll start with the unchanged list.

Licia, Sanguine Tribune 1 Kindred Boon
1 Blind Obedience
1 Black Market
1 Sanguine Bond
1 Underworld Connections
1 Outpost Siege
1 Curse of Vitality
1 Curse of Disturbance

1 Teferi's Protection
1 Crackling Doom
1 Return to Dust
1 Swords to Plowshares
1 Go for the Throat
1 Skeletal Scrying
1 Mortify
1 Blade of the Bloodchief
1 Door of Destinies
1 Well of Lost Dreams
1 Heirloom Blade
1 Boros Signet
1 Orzhov Signet
1 Rakdos Signet
1 Skullclamp
1 Sol Ring
1 Worn Powerstone

1 Edgar Markov
1 Mathas, Fiend Seeker
1 Kheru Mind-Eater
1 Patron of the Vein
1 Bloodsworn Steward
1 Crimson Honor Guard
1 Anowon, the Ruin Sage
1 Bloodlord of Vaasgoth
1 Blood Baron of Vizkopa
1 Butcher of Malakir
1 Captivating Vampire
1 Dark Impostor
1 Drana, Kalastria Bloodchief
1 Malakir Bloodwitch
1 Sangromancer
1 Skeletal Vampire
1 Vein Drinker
1 Bloodline Necromancer
1 Blood Artist
1 Bloodhusk Ritualist
1 Falkenrath Noble
1 Pawn of Ulamog
1 Vampire Nighthawk
1 Rakish Heir
1 Stromkirk Captain
1 Tithe Drinker
8 Swamp
4 Mountain
3 Plains
1 Path of Ancestry
1 Akoum Refuge
1 Bloodfell Caves
1 Bojuka Bog
1 Boros Garrison
1 Boros Guildgate
1 Cinder Barrens
1 Command Tower
1 Evolving Wilds
1 Forsaken Sanctuary
1 Kabira Crossroads
1 Nomad Outpost
1 Opal Palace
1 Orzhov Basilica
1 Orzhov Guildgate
1 Rakdos Carnarium
1 Rakdos Guildgate
1 Scoured Barrens
1 Stone Quarry
1 Terramorphic Expanse
1 Urborg Volcano
1 Wind-Scarred Crag
1 New Blood
1 Disrupt Decorum
1 Kindred Charge
1 Fell the Mighty
1 Blood Tribute
1 Consuming Vapors
1 Damnable Pact
1 Merciless Eviction
1 Ambition's Cost
1 Read the Bones
1 Syphon Mind

So why Licia? Because she doesn't get a lot of attention. What am I going to do? Well, change things up because I already have a vampire commander deck.

Lauriel and Matt have both been working on what she called "spikey fort decks"; decks that want to steer you away through discouragement. I like this concept and will probably play it up a bit for now, as it gives me a star to steer the ship by. The vampire subtheme can stay: Edgar doesn't have anywhere else to go but a commander deck and Mathas can be fun. However, it means that for now, some obvious cuts should be made.

Teferi's Protection
Kindred Charge
New Blood
Door of Destinies
Bloodlord of Vaagoth
Kheru Mind-Eater
Rakish Heir
Patron of the Vein
Anowon, the Ruin Sage
Captivating Vampire
Malakir Bloodwitch

I'm not sure what will go in next, so that's this weekend's research project!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Now's Not Forever

It was only one match against Fuz, but after he mulliganed down to 5 cards, the board state eventually looked like this:

And I don't care what you think, this is pretty damned impressive.

After I made this attack, I was up to 43 life-he untapped, played three lands, and was able to swing for 48.

Sometimes you get the bear, sometimes the bear gets you.

That said, I did end up taking the match: the lifegain, removal and additional Sunscorch Dragon made plenty of difference. I can tell that Hope is going in a good direction.

This streak sustained itself while playing Matt last night; again, I had some consistent, strong showings. I also found myself slowing down, trying to think ahead: what should my next move be if nothing happens? What should it be after he makes a play? What does it suggest about what he's got in his hand?

I don't know how well it's working yet: I've just started this process and there are still lots of decks to play and situations to encounter. It's working so far though, so I'll take that.

In the meantime, I think I'll call Hope Is A Passenger good. I feel like I've improved the deck in every way that matters. When I build a sideboard, Devout Witness might be worth relegating to it but in the meantime, it can stay. I still have Jason decks to beat and the Witness can always carry a Behemoth Sledge.

Here's the final list:

4 Well of Lost Dreams
4 Sunbeam Spellbomb
2 Behemoth Sledge 
3 Ageless Entity
3 Kavu Titan
4 Quirion Elves
2 Devout Witness
4 Essence Warden
2 Dragonlord Dromoka
2 Sunscorch Regent 
2 Armadillo Cloak 
2 Blessed Alliance 
8 Forest
2 Selesnya Sanctuary
9 Plains
2 Temple of Plenty
1 Blossoming Sands
1 Graypelt Refuge 
2 Solar Tide
1 Fumigate

Thursday, December 7, 2017

More For The Cube

Once again, back to the Garbage Cube. Updated additions are as follows:

From Hour of Devastation-
Fervent Paincaster
Tragic Lesson
Lethal Sting
God-Pharaoh's Faithful
Graven Abomination

Some of these are pretty obvious: glass-jaw creatures, overcosted effects, but in the case of Lethal Sting, I have an effect that doesn't play nice with the rest of the cube.

From Ixalan-
Sailor of Means
Dive Down
Ancient Brontodon
Emergent Growth
Glorifier of Dusk
Bright Reprisal
Spreading Rot
Blight Keeper
Trove of Temptation
Rowdy Crew
Elaborate Firecannon

Some of these cards aren't as obvious and I think it's coming from, in part, the improvement of the quality of cards. Sure, I haven't heard raves about Ixalan as a draft set, but that doesn't mean the card quality hasn't improved, just that the synergies in this set aren't as robust as Llorwyn, another tribal set, was. (Personal theory: 4 creature types isn't enough to make it work and even then, tribal generally works best in constructed).

Other cards, like Trove of Temptation, are clearly just awful and need workarounds to be good.

I may have to shift some of these cards; evaluation isn't my strongest suit. But for now, this is what I'm adding. 

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Thinkin' That You're Big

After playing a few games against Matt on Monday, he took a look at Hope.

"I like what you've got going on here," he said.

So what do I have going on here, exactly?

Well, I think it's got a nice curve happening, with the deck nicely front loaded to the 1-3 CC spot, but some nice bombs going at 5+.

Against Matt's deck that wanted to give opponents creatures and make them suffer via Batwing Brume, I actually won out, something I don't often do against that deck.

I've also been testing a single Sunscorch Regent, for similar reasons. The card that has been standing out as unhelpful: Sword of Light and Shadow.

It just never seems to be useful when I need it. Plus, my creatures don't have much in the way of "enter the battlefield" effects, so returning creatures to hand isn't as awesome as I'd like. I'm thinking another Regent might be in order.

I've also added one Fumigate, because after the lessons learned with I Hate It When That Happens To Me,  know that a Fumigate can be REALLY awesome.

Still, I want to keep the Solar Tides in, because they can take on the decks that go wide with a lot of tokens, and leave me with some giant monsters.

Or, if all there are are giant monsters, I can destroy them, equip a tiny elf and go to town. Either way, I like my options.

But what to do about the Sword....

A second Sunscorch Regent is an obvious choice and probably wouldn't be a bad idea. It wouldn't disrupt the curve much and another threat is always a good thing.

Part of me, though, wants to run Deathgorge Scavenger. Because dinosaurs.

I know, I know: consistency is better than power in most of my decks. But dinosaurs!