The New Mulligan rule in EDH

city of shakar

I am about fifteen games or so deep into the new mulligan rules, in paper and online (on Cockatrice). In case you haven’t caught up, EDH has left the old Partial Paris mulligan rules – that is, draw 7, set aside any number of those, draw up to 7 again, repeat as wanted, drawing one card fewer than set aside each time after that. These days, we mulligan like any other multiplayer format – if we’re unhappy with the first 7, we shuffle again, draw 7, then 6, then 5 and so on and Scry 1 if we end up with less than 7 cards.

In my local paper metagame, there were a few players who voiced concerned that this would lead to more mana screws, myself included in this group.

However, after these first dozen-plus games I haven’t had any serious troubles due to mulliganing badly. What are your experiences? Leave a comment!

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An unjust victory

zegana bannerAs I’ve stated previously before, on this blog, I’ve spent quite some time online, playing EDH against the blokes from the Commanderin’ podcast, and I’ve had great fun. Cockatrice and Skype together works really well, and some of the games have been extremely exciting.

A couple of nights ago, I was testing a new build that I’m putting together in paper, Prime Speaker Zegana (link to decklist: click!). Opposing me this night was friend-of-the-show Nick playing a Bant Superfriends deck, and Sean “Copain26” Whatson playing a brand new Eldrazi deck featuring the new Kozilek as the general. More OGW-goodness! On paper, our decks were actually quite similar, we both wanted to ramp a lot, cast our generals to get back some cards, and then win through big creatures. oblivionsower

Sean was ahead all game, and it didn’t help that I, foolishly, delved away a bunch of lands, even though I had bounced an Oblivion Sower just a turn or two before, meaning he got a whole bunch of lands from recasting it.

In the end, however, I won a game I had no business winning by casting a kicked Rite of Replication targeting Sean’s Pathrazer of Ulamog, and I did this at the end of Sean’s turn, through Alchemist’s Refuge. Untapping with five 9/9 Annhiliator 3 creatures that are very difficult to block allowed me to win on the spot.

Fair? Not really. EDH-y? Yeah, very.

The new toys in OGW

city of shakarI had the explicit pleasure of playing against both Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim and Mina and Denn, Wildborn. I want to share some of my experiences with the games, since they were in many cases very fun. This was also the first night I’ve played paper EDH with the new mulligan rules.

Ayli:ayli
Ayli was commanding a black-white goodstuff deck with lots of removal, and lots of other answers to problematic permanents. Initially, I expected the deck to be based around the general’s abilities, and utilize lots of sacrifice good-stuff things. My other opponent in these three-player games was Dakkon Blackblade (Esper Landfall, of all things)

In the first game, I was playing Edric, and won the game quite quickly off of a bunch of small dudes and both of my extra turn effects. Ayli was off to a pretty slow start and didn’t get into the game.

I was playing Meren the second game, and had troubles playing around his incidental graveyard hate – specifically Stonecloaker. Ironically, Dakkon was reanimating a lot more things than Meren, since Meren was shut down by Ayli. I’m not quite sure who won this game, but I believe Dakkon did after a long and grindy game.

In short, I think Ayli has potential to be a very good commander, but needs a deck constructed around especially the first ability in order to function properly.

Mina and Denn:minaanddenn
We played a couple of four-player games later that evening, when another friend of ours showed up with his new Mina and Denn deck. The first game he opened with land – Exploration – land – Sol Ring. Meanwhile, I, on Edric, had kept a pretty weak opener with no cheap creatures, but lots of control elements and both colours of mana. Our two other opponents, Dakkon and Ezuri1, got better starts than I, but not great ones.

Mina and Denn rolled the table with Avenger of Zendikar into ridiculous amounts of landfall triggers followed by a Thunderfoot Baloth making all the plants 16/17 with trample!

In the second game, Mina and Denn again played a turn one Exploraiton, but I got a much better start and killed Mina and Denn with an army of flying 6/6’s the same turn as I dropped Beastmaster Ascension, hitting him for his exact life total, 36, in the air. Then the board wiped, and the game got grindy, but I got there in the end. Edric is ridiculous, even more-so than Mina and Denn.

Especially the Gruul twins impressed me that evening – it’s neat to have an aggro deck at the table to keep things from stalling too far. What are your experiences with the new Commanders from Oath of the Gatewatch? Leave a comment!

New Commander rules

city of shakarThe Commander rules committee (RC) presented three changes to the Commander/EDH format yesterday:

  1. The Commander specific “partial Paris” mulligan rule is removed entirely.
  2. Rule #4 regarding mana (i.e. if you were to add mana to your mana pool of a colour not in your general’s colour identity, it becomes colourless instead) is removied entirely.
  3. Prophet of Kruphix is removied entirely.

Source: MTG Commander forum.

I won’t add much on point three, Prophet of Kruphix is – as the RC explains – one of those cards that tends to warp the game around itself – once a Prophet of Kruphix hits play, the other players are forced to kill it, steal it, copy it, or lose to it. It is by all acounts disgustingly powerful, and the ban is well deserved. As the RC also points out, this is the first card ban in EDH for two years, the ban list is thus growing at a slow pace.

Regarding the first point, about changing to the multiplayer variant of the Vancouver mulligan – meaning that you will draw an opening hand of seven cards, mulligan into a new seven if you’re not happy, then six, then five and so on, and scry 1 if you end up with less than seven cards, I’m not sure what to think. Sheldon Menery came back on to Commanderin’ for another interview episode which was released yesterday as well, and in it he explains the process. Apparently, two of the other players in the RC are great with maths, and they constructed a script for computing starting hands. The difference of the number of “unplayable opening hands” was negligible between the partial Paris variant and the Vancouver variant, in a couple of hundred thousand games.

On paper, all is well. I recommend that you give the episode a listen, I even get a good answer to my question about the “spirit of the format”.

15Regarding the second point, I think the change is justified thanks to the new colourless spells in Oath of the Gatewatch. Previously, if you tapped a City of Brass and chose “white” in your Edric, Spymaster of Trest deck, the mana would become colourless instead – a slight upside these days.

This rule also meant that Zedruu could lock non-white decks out of playing most of their spells with Celestial Dawn (all the spells are white, but the lands tap for colourless mana instead), thanks to rule #4. Pretty counter-intuitive, and I’m not sad to see this go. The change actually makes Celestial Dawn a pretty good card still – but in Sen Triplets instead of Zedruu.

So overall, two good changes, and one that at least streamlines the rules between EDH and other formats. All said and done, good job by the RC, as usual.

What do you think of these changes? Leave a comment below!

Secret Santa 2015!

zedruu bannerEach year, a member of the Swedish Magic community SvenskaMagic organises a Secret Santa among the members. It works just as expected, you put your name on the list, you are randomly assigned a person to send a package to, and you will recieve one from a member who has randomly been assigned your name.

There is a minimum limit of about €10 for the package, I sent a package worth a fair bit more than that, since I have a pretty big collection and I like giving away things. However, I didn’t recieve a package in return at all. After a few e-mails back and forth with the member in charge of the project, it was clear that the letter intended for me had gone missing in the mail. Bummer.

Late last week, however, I was contacted directly by my secret santa, on Facebook. Apparently, the letter hadn’t gone missing in the mail, he had accidentally left it in his bag. How lucky! He sent it on Friday, I think, and it arrived today, and it was well worth the wait:

letter2The back of the letter. I just hope the text doesn’t mean I shouldn’t’ve opened it till Christmas of 2016. Jokes aside, this is what I opened:

sheoldred2The first card that shows up when I opened the letter. Mind blown. So much awesome. Sheoldred is one of those cards that my Meren deck would love, but a card I’ve always found too expensive. Thanks a lot, Santa! And the rest of the gifts were very, very impressive:
the restYou can’t tell from that picture, but the Felidar Sovereign is foil! Kokusho is another card I’ve needed for a long time, as are the rest, especially the Chromatic Lantern and the Clifftop Retreat. Now I just have to make lots and lots of cuts to all my EDH decks! I think I will play the Council’s Judgment in EDH as well, I like the political implications of Will of the Council in this case.

And last, but definitely not least, Mother Christmas herself:

the alterAbsolutely brilliant. The change to the flavour text is the cherry on top of the cake.

Many great thanks, Secret Santa, I’m humbled by the gift!

Now I’m going to re-build Zedruu in order to keep the chain of giving going, and I’m also going to try and do even better at this year’s Secret Santa!

Mentioned on the Commanderin’ podcast

city of shakarThe guys at the Commanderin’ podcast were kind enough to give me a shout-out in their latest (full-length) episode, prompting me to introduce a brand new tag to the blog – GoyfWars in other medias. Link to the episode, they mention the blog at around 37:20 in to the episode, though I wholeheartedly recommend that you listen to the episode in its entirety.

Also, happy new years!