Monday, October 24, 2016

Updates abound!

Well well, folks, strap in 'cause we got lots to talk about!

I've been silent too long, again. This time it was just because I had too much going on with Magic! Too many ideas whirling around, half-formed, not fully percolated yet. Too many sets coming out in too short a time, too many new cards to digest, etc. I wanted to wait until things settled down a bit, so I could talk about things that were concrete... but with C16 spoilers starting today, I've just run out of time, and a lot of shit is still in flux.

So, where to begin?

I know! I am now on Instagram. Ugh, I cannot believe I just typed those words. Kill me now. Or, follow me. I don't care. But you can find me on the accursed social media app as darkthaumaturge. My profile pic is Pinhead from the Hellraiser films, just so you know you got the right one. I would link it, if that's even possible, but I can't figure out if it is, or how to do it. 

EDIT: Figured it out. Here.

Getting to actual Magic business, I guess I will start with Rashmi. With the release of Kaladesh, I realized I wasn't enjoying Edric as much as I used to (still a fav, but perhaps a bit played out for now). Got to talking about Rashmi on the EDH forums, mostly just trying to help another player theorycraft some ideas for his sake, but the more I talked about Rashmi with others the more I realized I was pretty excited and interested in her myself.

Of course, once I cracked a Rashmi in my Kaldesh boxes, I knew I had to put her to work. I retired Edric for the time being, and retooled the existing deck to suit its new commander. After playing a game or two, I was pleasantly surprised, but the deck was a little awkward, being partially formed from the remnants of an Edric list. At that point I figured it was worth just rebuilding from the ground up.

I will have a list later this week. For now I just wanted to make you all aware that it's coming. I'm still tweaking it, of course, and while its first few games where really impressive, as my group adjusts to it and learns to play around and against it, it has become noticeably less consistent. Such is the way of most decks, though.

Moving to the next topic, my realization about Edric getting a bit dull, led me to a larger realization. I have 24 decks and while I generally like all of them, I noticed I was really favoring some and shunning others. Aurelia, for example, is a perfectly fine deck, but I barely ever played it. Almost never, actually. Same for my recently rebuilt Wrexial deck. I just couldn't get super motivated to play it over, say MW Dragons or Queen Marchesa, or whatever.

So I had some decks I actively tried to play as much as possible, some I just kind of ambivalently picked up for something different to do, and others I was avoiding outright. The next step was of course to identify and categorize my decks to really figure out which decks were working, which where not. In the end, I had picked out 4 decks that, for whatever reason I was treating like a redheaded stepchild. I will do a more in-depth post about this later, hopefully tomorrow, where I'll break it all down for you.

Suffice it to say, there are 4 decks in my stable that are on the chopping block. The de-sleeving process is already underway! Couple of kinks in the plan, though. First off, for three of the decks I'm culling, I have no immediate or concrete ideas as to what is going to replace them. I already spoiled Aurelia as one of the decks I'm jettisoning, but I've already built around damn near every R/W Legend out there, and besides which they're all basically the same damn thing anyway. Boros decks just want to smash into the red zone. Am I bored with Swords of Power and Value? Am I bored with Doublestrike creatures? Have I just gotten fed up with the Attack Phase altogether?

To any one of those questions I'd instinctively answer "Hell no!" but if that's true, why is Aurelia the very last deck in my deck box to see the light of day? Even Stonebrow, and arguably worse version of the Big Stupid Smashface deck gets more play.

Well, I don't really know the answer, and that's the problem. If I don't know what is making me shun Boros (more like Bore-us, am I right? LOLOLOL), then how can I fix it? What can I do differently to avoid making another boring Boros deck? NO IDEA! But we're going to figure it out together.

So here's the other little kink in my plans: of the 4 decks I was planning to retire for the time being, the one I actually generally liked and though of as a solid deck was Karador. This one I was mainly just giving a break as a public service to my playgroup as it's kind of an annoying deck to play against. Well, if I'm honest I have a fair few decks that annoy my group, so I just wanted to be nice and pick one of the deck that I felt was on the more obnoxious side, and give it a break. I picked Karador simply because of all my annoying decks, it's the one that's been around the longest, and is most familiar to myself and the group. It might not be as obnoxious as Grand Arbiter, but it's been obnoxious for far longer, and has long since proven itself as a well-tuned deck.

So I didn't want to cut a deck that hasn't really had time or opportunity to prove itself to be worthy or a failure. Plus, Kaladesh came with a pretty heavy +1/+1 counter theme, adding to the Abzan thing I'd already tried to make work. I just kind of idly hoped that Kaladesh's support would be just enough to push it over the line from jank to viable. So, since I actually had a idea in mind for WBG and it was the most well-worn of my "annoying" decks, Karador got the nod of disassembly.

"What exactly is the problem here?" you ask... well, as I said my idea was to revisit Anafenza and give her another shot, with the hope that since I gave up on her and went back to tried-and-true Karador, enough further +1/+1 themed-cards had been printed to make the deck a little more reliable/consistent/fun/poweful/etc. Last night I de-sleeved Karador and began mentally brainstorming a new Anafenza list. My one quibble with Ms. the Foremost is that graveyard-hosing rider she carries.I just kinda hate hosers of that magnitude. I don't mind Bojuka Bog or Tormod's Crypt, but just making the person playing a GY deck feel like they can't participate at all is rude. Anyway, getting back to the topic at hand, I was all set to work through that point of contention and just let her do her thang.

Then, today, this happened:

Yeah. This badass chick is better than Anafenza in just about every way. Atraxa just straight up preempts Anafenza, no question. I get to do everything Anafenza does, PLUS I get to do some Simic stuff too. No annoying graveyard-hosing rider that doesn't make sense or add anything to the theme; instead we get a veritable smorgasbord of keywords. Oh, and she doesn't have to risk her life attacking to give a counter to one thing, she can just sit back and chill and give counters to everything.

Sorry Anafenza, but you are SO fired. Karador... congratulations, you got your job back. For now.

Alas, now I have only 3 decks getting shuttered, and need a 4th. Well, I guess I don't need a 4th outside of some arbitrary insistence on nice, neat, divisible numbers. More importantly I need some ideas on what should replace the 3 or 4 decks I scrap. I have no idea what to do in Boros that I haven't already tried. And now, in a couple of weeks, I'm also going to have to figure out what the heck to do with a bunch of rando 4-color decks. At least I already have one figured out right off the bat.

Well, the good news is, all this hullabaloo is good fodder for content. The bad news is finding time to write about it all is going to get harder, not easier.

And that kinda segues us back to that silly Instagram thing. I tend to loathe most forms of social media, but I have just figured out that Instagram could be sorta useful for someone in my position. I'll continue to do the big set reviews, deck lists, etc. here. Basically I'll continue to do EVERYTHING I already do, here. But Instagram is a great platform for short, quick bursts of though, particularly during spoiler season.

Here, I endeavor to provide thoughtful, insightful analyses of cards after a suitable amount of time that I'm not just throwing out purely emotional, knee-jerk response. But if something like, say, Atraxa gets spoiled and I just can't wait to barf up some immediate response, or if you just can't wait for my big set review to see what I think of a particular spoiler, that's what Instagram will be for.

I'll also try to occasionally post pics of board states from particularly epic games, maybe show off some of my pimped out cards, etc. Whatever. I don't know. Basically, if I want to say something Magic related, but it's not worthy of a full-grown blog post, I'll just dump it on Instagram for you to consume or ignore at your own discretion.



  1. One thing that has helped me make more distinct decks is having decks with different purpose. My Boros deck for example is 2 decks made for 2hg play. I have a few normal commander decks. I have a deck for heavier competition. I have an emperor deck. Tribal night, commander damage night, etc...

    1. Yeah but I only ever play with the same 3 people so I'd have zero opportunity to play a 2HG deck or a competitive evk etc. Otherwise I'd dig your idea.