Vorthos vs. Spike

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Being a great teacher is sometimes about making sacrifices. It’s not uncommon to have a lesson planned for which the teacher thinks he or she is worthy some prize. Then, if the class is uncooperative, it might all fall apart. Something that the teacher thought might be on par with the class’ general knowledge might prove too difficult or too easy. Things like that happen, all the time. To be a great teacher is to adapt. It is either to adapt oneself to the environment, or to adapt the environment to oneself.

Being a great teacher is understanding what a pupil thinks she or he knows, identifying what the next step would be, and then reaching twice as high.

dragonlordojutai.fullDuring my first playtest session against my paper metagame, Ojutai felt hopelessly outclassed right from the get-go. Granted, I had a pretty lousy game, but in a format where even short games take around half an hour, and many last for three or four times that time, having a single miserable experience is hard to shake off. It’s not that I lost, badly, it was that I spent the entire two hours of the game feeling underpowered compared to the other decks around the table.

As such, I was willing to try another approach. Fewer obvious “this is here because of flavour reasons”-cards, and more cards that fall into the camp of both powerful and flavourful. For example: I cut Ertai, Wizard Adept in favor of Mystical Tutor. I cut Barrin, Master Wizard in favor of Enlightened Tutor. Both cuts were hard to make, and neither makes me feel proud, but the replacements are powerful enough. Mystical Tutor finds any of the slew of instants or sorceries in the deck, ranging from removal, to sweepers, to card-draw, to countermagic. Enlightened Tutor serves to find any voltron-piece for the general, which helps out a lot. Both the tutors are also flavour-wise tutors, meaning there is a clear connection to learning and schooling. Feel free to call me a cop-out.

brainstorm.hqBut this is my point – it’s easy to see the appeal of a well-thought-out, well-executed theme deck in the works. But what use is a theme deck if it can’t at least stand up to the metagame? I’ve played six games with Ojutai so far, and I’ve been the last teacher standing a couple of times. This isn’t that important in a casual multiplayer format, but playing an underpowered list and being miserable all evening as your friends are doing broken things is simply awful, good theme or not.

In the end it’s about having a good time, and having a good time at an EDH table, for me, depends on having a fighting chance against all the decks. My new version of Ojutai, which you can see here: link to TappedOut.net decklist, has a fighting chance against a metagame which is what I was looking for.

To summarize, it’s not a question whether to go “vorthos” or “spike”, but rather, it is a dance between the two. They exist on a scale when it comes to theme decks in EDH, and I feel alright being somewhere in the middle.

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1 Comment

  1. Grim Lavamancer

     /  April 13, 2016

    I can empathize with this. When I build a new deck I usually throw in a couple of flavor cards for the fun of it, but they usually end up as deadweight on my hand and are quickly dropped from the list in favor of better cards.

    I definitely agree that the enjoyment of a game decreases when you don’t have the ability to influence the match. One of my first decks in EDH was a full on flavor deck that was by far the worst in my playgroup. Sure, it would snatch a win every once in a while, but it gets rather boring when you’re just floating along at the whim of your more powerful opponents. In my opinion every player needs to have an impact on the board for a game of EDH to be really enjoyable.

    Liked by 1 person


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