UB vs. BUG (and others)

city of shakar

Related to my appearance in this week’s episode of the Commanderin’ podcast, I got the following tweet:

Skärmavbild 2016-07-28 kl. 21.25.13

This is a very interesting question indeed – and taken on surface value, one obvious answer would be “nothing”. But this is a slipperly slope, of course; if we disregard the drawbacks that come with extra colour(s) in EDH, and disregard important aspects like available commanders, then five colour decks would beat out every non-five colour deck.

perniciousdeed.hq

But considering the colours as-is, a few noteworthy things arise. In general, Sultai (black-blue-green) tends to ramp way better than Dimir (black-blue), because green is the undisputed king of ramp in EDH. And, as most people would have you know, ramp is one of the two most important aspects of a deck in EDH (the other being card-draw).

Another thing that Sultai does way better is dealing with some problematic enchantments. Spot-removal such as Krosan Grip and Beast Within can help to deal with problematic resolved enchantments and artifacts, and one of my favourite cards of all time – Pernicious Deed – is available to Sultai.

And further, green brings some pretty neat creaures into the mix, the big beaters in the format belong there, and some of the best utility creatures as well. Two notable examples are Eternal Witness and Deathrite Shaman.


All is not just gravy and ramp, however, because Sultai comes with three downsides that I’d say makes it different enough from Dimir to consider playing Dimir over Sultai in the format.

  1. tasigurThe fact that partial paris mulligans was removed from the format means that the manabases in the format must be constructed with a bit more care, and that’s always easier with a two-colour deck than a three-colour deck, even if the third colour is green. Getting color-screwed the first couple of turns is unlikely in a two-colour deck, but a bit more common in a three-colour deck. This isn’t a huge deal, though, and it’s not specifically a downside of Sultai vs. Dimir of course, but it is a downside. Every game where you get stuck on lands or colours will suck, because we’re talking multiplayer, and you’ll likely lose very slowly.
  2. Three-colour decks will suffer more from budgetary constraints. Even on a budget, most cheaper dual lands will make for a stable mana base, but in order to minimize the threat of the above issue, one ought to play with the fetch lands and dual lands available to Sultai. It’s not a huge divider, but it is to be considered.
  3. The available commanders. This is a big deal. Looking at the Sultai commanders available (link to EDHREC), there are only five of them, and there are a few similarities between them. Sultai is good if you want to interact with graveyards, but they can also be good goodstuff decks, or combo. Dimir, on the other hand (link to EDHREC), has some twenty listed and a few more that are too unpopular to even be mentioned there, but there is a wider range of strategies available – Dimir can do most anything. This is a huge upside that cannot possibly be ignored, especially not these days when tucking isn’t a thing anymore and building around your commander isn’t as dangerous anymore.

In the end, like all things in EDH, it comes down to personal preference. As for me, I almost always start my deck building with a commander that I want to try or build around or haven’t seen in my local paper metagame, and if that commander happens to be Sultai, I go Sultai. On the other hand, if that commander happens to be Dimir, I go Dimir.

Which do you prefer – two or three colour? Leave a comment!

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1 Comment

  1. crazyaboutmtg

     /  July 30, 2016

    I think that all your points: commander choice and mana consistency are both good reasons to play a certain set of colors.

    If everyone could play any archetype of deck with five colors, and never get mana screwed, then we would do it, but that isn’t possible.

    Like

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