On trading (Tasigur Analysis pt 2)

tasigur banner

While my deck doesn’t specifically contain Tasigur’s Cruelty, I got a bit tired of the usual art. Besides, he looks so happy in this picture. I’m not saying I’m in love or anything, I’ll leave that bit to Black, our very own black-aligned planeswalker.

When I set out to make the deck around Tasigur, I simply wanted most of the deck to consist of good stuff spells, to promote interaction with my opponents and to create interesting political decisions around the table. Some like to build Tasigur as some sort of combo deck with umpteen lands, Ad Nauseam and any random combo to kill the table. Some like to build him with lots of redundancy, sort-of like a Gifts Ungiven deck, through putting in cards like Go for the Throat, Ultimate Price, Doom Blade etc.

The thing is – common wisdom in EDH dictates that one-for-one trades are generally bad. The reason for this is that while trading one-for-one in general is fine in regular formats, it leads to mutual card-disadvantage. For example, if I use a Doom Blade to kill one of player A’s creature, then both me and Player A are out one card, while Player B and Player C are up one card on the both of us. It’s not a good trade-off if there are several people at the table still in the game, and especially not if the aim is control (i.e. overwhelming card-advantage).

That said, I do have a few one-for-one countermagic in the list:disdainfulstroke.full
1 Counterspell
1 Cryptic Command
1 Dimir Charm
1 Disdainful Stroke
1 Flusterstorm
1 Muddle the Mixture
1 Swan Song

Cryptic Command is one of the most flexible control spells in the format and doesn’t really need any defence, and since Dimir Charm can also work as removal and as filter both for myself and my opponents, it gets away with flexibility. Muddle the Mixture can find Sylvan Library, Exsanguinate, Snapcaster Mage and other important spells, meaning there are really only four one-for-one counterspells in the deck. The rest are straight one-for-ones, and the loosest one is probably Disdainful Stroke, but I like it – it’s easy to cast and very Sultai in flavour.

On the removal side, there are a few one-for-ones:sultaicharm.full
1 Murderous Cut
1 Putrefy
1 Sultai Charm
1 Maelstrom Pulse

Maelstrom Pulse can, technically, be an X-for-one, depending on the board state. It’s fun blowing up people’s Sol Rings for example, but most often it’s a 1-for-1. It gets away through flexibility, since it can take care of any nonland permanent, not just creatures. Putrefy and Sultai Charm are both able to blow up boring stuff like Pithing Needle on Tasigur while still being able to kill most creatures, and lastly – Murderous Cut is very non-descriptive about what it can target and it also helps cleaning the graveyard from chaff like ramp spells I no longer need, making Tasigur’s ability more effective.

The main reason why I play these cards despite the fact that I know that the trades are bad is that they can all be used diplomatically – and I think that’s the way to go if you want to cast removal spells in EDH. Make some offering around the table, to deal with that Sheoldred that bugs everyone but you, and in return, someone else takes out that blasted Rest in Peace.

There’s no shame in admitting you want to win eventually, but that goes for everyone around the table, and putting aside the self in favor of the group – seemingly – only to turn around and benefit in the long run, is a very Sultai thing to do.

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3 Comments

  1. Grim Lavamancer

     /  April 9, 2015

    Well, EDH is a very social format. As such I think it’s quite necessary to build decks that allow you not only to play a good game yourself, but also actively interact with the other players. Sometimes it is better, as you’ve written above, to forfeit cards that might be better suited to the deck in order to play with cards that encourage diplomatic play.

    At the end of the day I at least tend to remember the games where awesome and/or wacky stuff happened, but not necessarily the games that I personally won.

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