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 Post subject: Two or Three Looks At Breya
AgePosted: 2017-Mar-08 12:19 pm 
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Two Looks At Breya

The above is another interesting article from Sheldon on StarCityGames outlining two different decklists for Breya he and Toby have constructed. There's certainly a lot of good choices made in the decklists, and I think there's a number of them I included in my build. I like the direction of both decks. I just like artifact decks, honestly.

One interesting thing to note, though, was this: "although I seem to recall some discussion about it being the weakest of the Commander 2016 commanders."

I curious what people's thoughts are on the weakest Commander 2016 commanders. We look at Atraxa, Saskia, the Couple, Yidris, and finally Breya, and I want to think Yidris may be the most powerful. Cascade is a strong ability, and placing it onto a creature allows for some incredibly powerful plays all the way from combo city to value town. It's very good in just about every build its in, and often goes over the top.

Atraxa seems to have been the crowd favorite. +1/+1 counters and planeswalkers are both really popular themes in Commander, and I think Atraxa takes it to the next level. While I don't think planeswalker.dec with Atraxa is quite as powerful as people wanted it to be, Atraxa herself is a force to be reckoned with. It takes very little time for Atraxa to go from 0 to 100 with +1/+1 shenanigans.

Breya, for me, represents the available range of artifact insanity. While each of her abilities might seem too small in isolation they each have their place. 3 damage to an opponent doesn't mean much against a player's formidable 40 life (and even less when taking multiple opponents into account), but an incredible power of artifacts is to return each other to play for multiple passes. 3 damage can quickly become 9 damage to finish an opponent off out of the blue. Gaining life is notoriously weak in Commander, but 5 life is often a saving grace which can make damage calculation problematic. And the -4/-4 also creates problematic damage calculation while also taking out the majority of commanders and all utility creatures--through indestructible. Finally, there's something really important about being able to frequently keep your commander out of the commander zone by leaving it in the graveyard. By Breya being both an artifact and a creature, there's so many opportunities to return it, you very frequently don't need to pay the commander tax.

That comes down to the Couple and Saskia for me. I think I'm just not terribly good at building Group Hug right now without just regurgitating key cards. So while I'm not great at Group Hug, I think there are ways to make strong Group Hug and the Couple is the essence of that. Saskia though...she seems so straightforward. Field guys and then bash. Saskia definitely provides an extra nuance to the combat-focused Commander deck which can bring a lot of surprise. That being said, I have to wonder if Saskia is slightly overrated. I've built the deck a few different times now, and I've frequently found it to have the Sliver problem: needing to dedicate too much to the board to make the strongest amount of impact. If I had to choose the weakest Commander 2016 commander, then I would probably pick Saskia at this point in time.

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 Post subject: Re: Two or Three Looks At Breya
AgePosted: 2017-Mar-09 1:18 am 
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I agree that Saskia is an easy build but weakest? Prossh is any easy build but is he weak? It was too easy to get rid of two weak players with her then double up damage on the last one. With a bit of control, Saskia is easily top 3 strongest in C16.

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 Post subject: Re: Two or Three Looks At Breya
AgePosted: 2017-Mar-09 2:12 am 
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scatteredsun wrote:
I agree that Saskia is an easy build but weakest? Prossh is any easy build but is he weak? It was too easy to get rid of two weak players with her then double up damage on the last one. With a bit of control, Saskia is easily top 3 strongest in C16.

I don't think Prossh is a good comparison, since doesn't it typically play more like a combo deck rather than an aggro one? And if you presuppose two weakened/weaker opponents, then any of these five are going to look super strong. So I don't think that makes for a particularly good argument. If you think you have a really solid control list for Saskia, I'm interested to see it. Without Blue, classically speaking you're left with hand disruption and board control (mostly). Then again, hand disruption is significantly weaker in Commander and typically gets you painted as the target.

Would you also put Breya as the weakest?

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 Post subject: Re: Two or Three Looks At Breya
AgePosted: 2017-Mar-09 4:35 am 
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Segrus wrote:
scatteredsun wrote:
I agree that Saskia is an easy build but weakest? Prossh is any easy build but is he weak? It was too easy to get rid of two weak players with her then double up damage on the last one. With a bit of control, Saskia is easily top 3 strongest in C16.

I don't think Prossh is a good comparison, since doesn't it typically play more like a combo deck rather than an aggro one? And if you presuppose two weakened/weaker opponents, then any of these five are going to look super strong. So I don't think that makes for a particularly good argument. If you think you have a really solid control list for Saskia, I'm interested to see it. Without Blue, classically speaking you're left with hand disruption and board control (mostly). Then again, hand disruption is significantly weaker in Commander and typically gets you painted as the target.

Would you also put Breya as the weakest?


Definitely not! Breya is a strong contender. It was strong out of the box and I've seen it take over a few games. That 3 damage adds up quick!

I was definitely talking board control with Saskia. Mayael builds I've seen typically have the same style of board control.

I wasn't comparing Prossh to Saskia based on playstyle. I was referring to the fact that both have an easy build path and both are very powerful.

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Phenax, God of Deception -> Grave Rats
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 Post subject: Re: Two or Three Looks At Breya
AgePosted: 2017-Mar-09 6:37 am 
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Personally, I think the argument of strongest/weakest among the 5 is a bit moot, because they're all pretty damn powerful.

If I had to make a guess, I'd put the Bro Kings at the 'weakest' of the five, as their least likely to take over a game via their own merit. That said, they're likely the general most likely to overwhelm based on card advantage. Price of Progress, Treacherous Terrain, Reins of Power, Insurrection, Cyclonic Rift and other cards that are usually great are even better in that deck.

Saskia specializes in "life total disruption." In our circle, it's been referred to as "bludgeoning you to death wielding an opponent's life total." While Atraxa and Breya are starting their value engines, Saskia and her brand of "leave it out on the table" is doming them for 16 apiece. It's incredibly difficult to stop a Saskia player from killing you when they can just attack someone else to do it.

Breya and Atraxa both reward very linear strategies- -granted, Atraxa can fuel many different linear strategies- -but these two feel alike when you're on the other side of the table from them. They're simliarly powerful, share the three best colors for removal, and can build up to a staggering advantage given time. Whether it's a Goblin Welder exchanging Thopters for Combustible Gearhulks (putting more value into the bin!) or Atraxa spinning up +1/+1s on all of her critters and -1/-1s on all of the opponents' simultaneously these two play for the long game, every game.

Yidris is the most powerful in a vacuum. Free stuff is always problematic, and Yidris is Maelstrom Wanderer's little angry son with a chip on its shoulder and daddy issues. In my experience, this is the commander that has the biggest difference between winning and losing of the five (with Saskia a distant second). It's really hard to 2-for-1 every spell you play and still lose.

For what it's worth, Breya is the strongest when all of the commanders face off- -she kills Saskia, Atraxa, and Yidris with one activation, and the Bro Kings with two.

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 Post subject: Re: Two or Three Looks At Breya
AgePosted: 2017-Mar-09 11:31 am 
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scatteredsun wrote:
I wasn't comparing Prossh to Saskia based on playstyle. I was referring to the fact that both have an easy build path and both are very powerful.

But based on what? You can say Prossh is easy to build and is typically powerful, but Ambassador Laquatus is easy to build and isn't typically powerful. So while Prossh is an example of both, you haven't really provided how that relates to or proves Saskia is powerful. Maybe I'm just misunderstanding, which is entirely possible, since I've already said I don't see Saskia being as powerful as at least three of the others.
Jeyal wrote:
Personally, I think the argument of strongest/weakest among the 5 is a bit moot, because they're all pretty damn powerful.

They certainly all are pretty sweet.
Jeyal wrote:
Saskia specializes in "life total disruption." In our circle, it's been referred to as "bludgeoning you to death wielding an opponent's life total." While Atraxa and Breya are starting their value engines, Saskia and her brand of "leave it out on the table" is doming them for 16 apiece. It's incredibly difficult to stop a Saskia player from killing you when they can just attack someone else to do it.

Saskia can have a really strong opening, dealing a lot of initial damage, but I haven't seen that carry her into the end game nearly often enough. You know? I'm not arguing she can't hit like a truck (or make other creatures hit like a truck), but the moment removal hits the board she seems to fall apart. That may only be my experience or my perception.

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 Post subject: Re: Two or Three Looks At Breya
AgePosted: 2017-Mar-09 2:36 pm 
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Segrus wrote:
Saskia can have a really strong opening, dealing a lot of initial damage, but I haven't seen that carry her into the end game nearly often enough. You know? I'm not arguing she can't hit like a truck (or make other creatures hit like a truck), but the moment removal hits the board she seems to fall apart. That may only be my experience or my perception.

She has both green and black at her disposal - the best colors for recursion. She has white and green, the best colors for protection. It seems like you should be able to build a very strong and resilient aggro deck around Saskia.

Jeyal wrote:
If I had to make a guess, I'd put the Bro Kings at the 'weakest' of the five

I agree with this. They offer a big butt for blocking and a steady flow of cards, but A: They also give cards to your opponents, which means they're a net card DISadvantage, even though you get to do both parts every turn and B: they don't impact the game or the board nearly as much as the other four.

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 Post subject: Re: Two or Three Looks At Breya
AgePosted: 2017-Mar-09 3:39 pm 
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Sid the Chicken wrote:
Segrus wrote:
Saskia can have a really strong opening, dealing a lot of initial damage, but I haven't seen that carry her into the end game nearly often enough. You know? I'm not arguing she can't hit like a truck (or make other creatures hit like a truck), but the moment removal hits the board she seems to fall apart. That may only be my experience or my perception.

She has both green and black at her disposal - the best colors for recursion. She has white and green, the best colors for protection. It seems like you should be able to build a very strong and resilient aggro deck around Saskia.

This is sort of what I thought too, going into building for Saskia, but I haven't gotten it to work cohesively yet. The recursion ends up feeling a little cumbersome alongside tough, often low-cost aggro creatures. And maybe I don't dedicate enough spots to protection, but that's only due to how many cards are clamoring to get into the deck.

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 Post subject: Re: Two or Three Looks At Breya
AgePosted: 2017-Mar-09 7:33 pm 

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Segrus wrote:
This is sort of what I thought too, going into building for Saskia, but I haven't gotten it to work cohesively yet. The recursion ends up feeling a little cumbersome alongside tough, often low-cost aggro creatures. And maybe I don't dedicate enough spots to protection, but that's only due to how many cards are clamoring to get into the deck.


What protection are you running? Boros Charm, Second Sunrise, Ghostway, Faith's Reward, that sort of thing? After the pretty obv. mutation of my Bant walkers deck into Atraxa, Saskia is the other 4c Legend I wanted to build (and will most likely end up replacing Marath at the head of my current Naya Legends deck.)

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 Post subject: Re: Two or Three Looks At Breya
AgePosted: 2017-Mar-10 11:05 am 

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I'm surprised to hear that people think Breya is weak. Pretty much all I heard (and saw at my LGS) was people jumping on the chance to take the typical Sharuum combo deck and add red into the mix.


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 Post subject: Re: Two or Three Looks At Breya
AgePosted: 2017-Mar-10 11:54 am 
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zimagic wrote:
What protection are you running? Boros Charm, Second Sunrise, Ghostway, Faith's Reward, that sort of thing? After the pretty obv. mutation of my Bant walkers deck into Atraxa, Saskia is the other 4c Legend I wanted to build (and will most likely end up replacing Marath at the head of my current Naya Legends deck.)

I didn't necessarily want to turn this into a deckhelp thread, so I'm not going to go into depth on my current build here. Suffice it to say I don't have a lot of protection in favor of card advantage and some cheat-creatures-into-play effects.
cryogen wrote:
I'm surprised to hear that people think Breya is weak. Pretty much all I heard (and saw at my LGS) was people jumping on the chance to take the typical Sharuum combo deck and add red into the mix.

My thought too, which is why I made this thread hoping to hear from someone who does consider Breya to be the weakest.

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 Post subject: Re: Two or Three Looks At Breya
AgePosted: 2017-Mar-12 1:02 am 
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After a deeper look, I'm not sure I consider Breya the weakest, but I still find it the least interesting.

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 Post subject: Re: Two or Three Looks At Breya
AgePosted: 2017-Mar-12 10:13 am 

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Sheldon wrote:
After a deeper look, I'm not sure I consider Breya the weakest, but I still find it the least interesting.

That's interesting. For me it was Atraxa. Wizards hit a home run on a playable group hug general, as well as two interesting generals that required getting into the red zone in order to be threatening. Breya was decent as a toolbox general, but she at the same time dialed the "artifact combo.dec" up to 11. Atraxa for me just didn't have any draw except taking a goodstuff shell and adding some stuff to proliferate.


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 Post subject: Re: Two or Three Looks At Breya
AgePosted: 2017-Mar-12 11:49 pm 
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Sheldon wrote:
After a deeper look, I'm not sure I consider Breya the weakest, but I still find it the least interesting.

Fair enough. My purpose in making this thread wasn't to call you out on anything, just wanted to hear people's thoughts. I've felt a little isolated from what's going on in the Magic world lately, so this has been nice.

As far as least interesting, I would probably have to go with Atraxa as well. The thing I do like about Atraxa though is her art and feel as an angel horror. But in terms of actually playing her, there's not a lot of meaningful directions for her outside of voltron/aggro and planeswalker builds. (Although in might be convinced a sapling deck with her could be fun.)

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