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Subject: Tweaking the Commander decks for 2p... Suggestions? rss

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Todd Pytel
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While I would love to play more multiplayer Magic of any variety, it's much more common that it's only my wife and I. Most of the time we draft, but every now and then we like to play (as she calls EDH) "Wacky Magic".

We have all 5 Commander precons - we aren't interested enough to build decks completely from scratch for this. The precons work well enough apart from the Zedruu one. But there are a half-dozen cards or so cards in each one that are clearly designed for multiplayer, like the Join Forces ones (which don't even seem very good there, TBH). So I'm looking for suggestions for swaps. I'm sure folks here have some good ideas. My requirements...

1) Not too expensive - I don't mind adding in one or two cards to each deck that cost maybe $5-$10, but I'd prefer to stick with cheaper cards for the most part. This goes hand-in-hand with...

2) Not too powerful - I like the overall feel and power level of the decks. I don't want to add new cards that completely steal the show. Most of the multiplayer-ish cards included in the precons are not game-enders in the first place.

3) Similar roles - I'd prefer to stick with cards that serve at least slightly similar purposes, as I don't want to have to completely rebalance/redesign the decks. But I'm flexible.

4) Thematic - The precons are mostly close to a theme, and I don't want new cards to stick out.

5) Available in the new card face - For similar reasons as #4, plus the fact that newer cards are somewhat less likely to be complicated, busted, expensive, poorly worded, or all of the above.

Basically, if WotC had designed the Commander decks for 1-on-1, what would they have done?

I'm starting with the Devour for Power deck (The Mimeoplasm, UBG), because I happen to have played it last night. I pegged the following cards for removal, with some possible substitutions noted...

Sol Ring out for Darksteel Ingot (Not a multiplayer card, but generally regarded as too powerful one-on-one.)

Vow of Wildness out for some other removal or a green trick? Maybe Beast Within?

Vow of Malice out for Doom Blade (GfT is almost always better with the precons, but maybe a little too unconditional to be fun.)

Vow of Flight out for Into the Roil (I don't like this - Into the Roil is a great staple, but bounce doesn't feel very thematic for this deck. Any suggestions for something removal-ish in Blue that fits the theme?)

Tribute to the Wild out for Naturalize (Should probably be Krosan Grip or something fancier, but Naturalize is simple and generic in theme.)

Shared Trauma out for Forbidden Alchemy

Minds Aglow out for ???

Windfall out for ???

Syphon Mind out for Promise of Power (?)

Unnerve out for something like Mind Rot, but more interesting?

Syphon Flesh out for Liliana Vess (I'd like one not-too-busted walker in each deck, and Sorin is pretty busted in EDH.)

Changes? Suggestions? Thanks!
 
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Tommy Occhipinti
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Mindrot but more interesting... Sounds like Gruesome Discovery.
 
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Todd Pytel
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delirimouse wrote:
Mindrot but more interesting... Sounds like Gruesome Discovery.

Hmm... I like Gruesome Discovery, but I don't really have a good way to trigger Morbid here (unlike, say, a sac-and-recur token deck or something). The theme doesn't feel quite right either. Thanks for the suggestion, but I think I'll keep looking. I did some more searching...

The card itself doesn't quite fit and simply isn't good enough, but I love the feel of Cryptwailing. Too bad...

I think I'm leaning towards Strands of Undeath. It seems fitting, and always felt like a decent value card to me. It does rely on having a suitable early creature out as a target, though. But then even if it only hits one card, you still get the regen out of it.

Good old Hypnotic Specter seems reasonable, too - it's a creature, but it's a nice one for the Mimeoplasm to copy later. Also on the "useful body" list could be Mournwhelk. I always find those Lorwyn elementals pretty strange-looking. But I'm guessing he's simply the strongest, most abusable play: Turn 4 evoked Mournwhelk, Turn 5 Mimeoplasm copying him = Discard 4 for a single card. Ouch.

Even Mind Shatter seems like it could be decent with all the mana ramp in EDH decks. Pretty dead late-game though.

Dimir Guildmage definitely needs to be in here somewhere too. I'm surprised he wasn't already. He might replace one of those blue spells.
 
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Todd Pytel
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OK, did a little more thinking and researching. I think I'm going with this...

Sol Ring out for Darksteel Ingot
Vow of Wildness out for Rampant Growth
Vow of Malice out for Doom Blade
Vow of Flight out for Cancel
Tribute to the Wild out for Naturalize
Shared Trauma out for Forbidden Alchemy
Minds Aglow out for Preordain
Windfall out for Mind Spring
Syphon Mind out for Cauldron of Souls
Unnerve out for Dimir Guildmage
Syphon Flesh out for Liliana Vess

I think I like these well enough. I'm very much aware that there are better-for-EDH options available for some of the staples (Hinder > Cancel, GfT > Doom Blade, etc.), but for casual precon-vs-precon play I'd rather keep staple effects relatively simple. There's more than enough going on everywhere else already. The only really unusual (and slightly expensive) card in the bunch is Cauldron of Souls, which is both perfectly thematic (cookin' with souls, servin' up Mimeoplasm!) and great for repeatedly saving The Mimeoplasm from destruction.

I think I'll do Heavenly Inferno next, but I might be playing some real EDH tonight and need to see if I can scrape together a real deck.
 
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Tommy Occhipinti
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Why don't you like Windfall? It is so perfect for that deck, and is so powerful it was banned in many formats. Did you think it was too good?
 
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Todd Pytel
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delirimouse wrote:
Why don't you like Windfall? It is so perfect for that deck...

For 2 player? Am I missing something?

edit: Looking at it again, I can certainly see the potential for abuse. I just don't think this particular deck is in a position to abuse it properly in a 2p game.
 
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Tommy Occhipinti
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tppytel wrote:
delirimouse wrote:
Why don't you like Windfall? It is so perfect for that deck...

For 2 player? Am I missing something?

edit: Looking at it again, I can certainly see the potential for abuse. I just don't think this particular deck is in a position to abuse it properly in a 2p game.


It certainly isn't banned in Legacy for being abusive in multiplayer. You might, perhaps, prefer Jace's Archivist which is incredibly abusive and has a similar effect. It gets especially abusive when you do it every turn during the draw step. The effect is great at filling graveyards, and you can always choose to do it when it will put you up cards. I think it is a classic example of a card that is just way more powerful than it looks, and this deck has some synergy with it.

All that said, I'll stop pushing it, but Windfall is one of my favorite cards.
 
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