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 Post subject: New Phyrexia's Impact on Infect as a Strategy (Spoilers)
AgePosted: 2011-Apr-21 1:30 pm 
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Joined: 2011-Apr-21 7:15 am
Age: Wyvern
Location: Philly
As the Rules Committee has made clear multiple times, the time for a decision to be made about the fatal (game ending) number of poison counters being modified has been set aside for discussion until after New Phyrexia is released, and with it, the remainder of the Infect/Poison cards that we can expect. Now that the spoiler is COMPLEAT we can begin speculation on the impact these new creatures and spells will have on the Commander environment.

As someone who successfully pilots and LOVES his Mono-Black Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon EDH deck in both 1v1 and multi-player, I can say that there are a number of cards that I am well and truly excited about, but I fear that the newest wave of Phyrexian Infection may justify a new poison counter limit.

And in the greatest of ironies, its not even a black card that I'm worried about.

Triumph of the Hordes
2GG
Sorcery
Until end of turn, creatures you control get +1/+1 and gain trample and infect.

This card seems like it takes mediocre board positions of one/two medium guys or 3 little utility dudes and randomly ends games outright. I won't be adding it to my Momir Vig deck because of the lack of synergy, but any deck with green mana can make unreasonably large amounts of mana and/or bodies, but pushing through 10 trample damage is metric ton easier than 40.

The other major inject card I am excited about is Caress of Phyrexia
3BB
Sorcery Uncommon
Target players draws three cards, loses 3 life, and gets three poison counters.

This card is an Ambition's Cost/Ancient Craving for one more mana for the first half of the game, and then once your opponent has 7, 8 or 9 Poison counters, it just kills them, outside of combat, for five mana. Its not a janky artifact that needs mana to work, its just a spell that, when properly cast, will simply end someone at the table.

I'm not calling for bannings, just wanted to see what other players think of the impact of these new cards and whether or not it will push the infect strategy too far.

Edit: Spelling & crap

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Last edited by Momar Vig on 2011-Apr-22 12:01 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: New Phyrexia's Impact on Infect as a Strategy (Spoilers)
AgePosted: 2011-Apr-21 1:58 pm 

Joined: 2010-Sep-28 8:44 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Hamilton, ON
I agree, both of these cards really push the power level. I'd be very tempted to ban the first one in EDH- it seems to be just like some of the big end the game right away spells that are banned. The second one is strong, but not nearly as bad as the first I think. 10 trample damage is nothing.

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 Post subject: Re: New Phyrexia's Impact on Infect as a Strategy (Spoilers)
AgePosted: 2011-Apr-21 1:59 pm 
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Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Momar Vig wrote:
Now that the spoiler is COMPLEATE we can begin speculation on the impact these new creatures and spells will have on the Commander environment.


ARCHAIC SPELLING FAIL :mrgreen:

Anyway. I agree that the cards you have identified are the cards that are most likely to be problematic. Triumph of the Hordes in particular is going to ruin a TON of Limited games, and will likely have some spillover effect in EDH as well. However, with the possible exceptions of Glistening Oil (which is a 1-to-1 Phyresis replace in most cases) and Phyrexian Swarmlord (which has very real potential to become disgusting quick in multiplayer) I don't see anything else that the infect deck really gains in the spoiler. Granted, it doesn't really NEED more than those four, but the quantity of cards with infect is still such that you usually have to go all-in if you want to win with poison, and that still means playing with a ton of terrible cards. (Though you can be sure that the 1U unblockable guy and/or the repeatable proliferate guy is going in for Vatmother in my Vorosh deck.) My guess is that TotH will see play as a finisher a la Tainted Strike, Caress of Phyrexia might be played for some additional card draw (since most decks AREN'T playing infect, 3 poison is usually irrelevant), and everything else is going in the dedicated poison decks.

In terms of the unbalancing factor, I like the way that someone in the other thread put it that aggro now only has to deal X*10 rather than X*40, which is a much more difficult task than X*21 (Voltron/Control decks) or Card 1+ Card 2 (combo decks). Will being able to Overrun-Infect put this over the top from 'easier' to 'trivial'? Maybe. Worth keeping an eye on. But certainly not worth preemptively changing the rules of the format.

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 Post subject: Re: New Phyrexia's Impact on Infect as a Strategy (Spoilers)
AgePosted: 2011-Apr-21 2:06 pm 

Joined: 2010-Sep-28 8:44 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Hamilton, ON
herodotusjr wrote:
Momar Vig wrote:
Now that the spoiler is COMPLEATE we can begin speculation on the impact these new creatures and spells will have on the Commander environment.


ARCHAIC SPELLING FAIL :mrgreen:

Anyway. I agree that the cards you have identified are the cards that are most likely to be problematic. Triumph of the Hordes in particular is going to ruin a TON of Limited games, and will likely have some spillover effect in EDH as well. However, with the possible exceptions of Glistening Oil (which is a 1-to-1 Phyresis replace in most cases) and Phyrexian Swarmlord (which has very real potential to become disgusting quick in multiplayer) I don't see anything else that the infect deck really gains in the spoiler. Granted, it doesn't really NEED more than those four, but the quantity of cards with infect is still such that you usually have to go all-in if you want to win with poison, and that still means playing with a ton of terrible cards. (Though you can be sure that the 1U unblockable guy and/or the repeatable proliferate guy is going in for Vatmother in my Vorosh deck.) My guess is that TotH will see play as a finisher a la Tainted Strike, Caress of Phyrexia might be played for some additional card draw (since most decks AREN'T playing infect, 3 poison is usually irrelevant), and everything else is going in the dedicated poison decks.

In terms of the unbalancing factor, I like the way that someone in the other thread put it that aggro now only has to deal X*10 rather than X*40, which is a much more difficult task than X*21 (Voltron/Control decks) or Card 1+ Card 2 (combo decks). Will being able to Overrun-Infect put this over the top from 'easier' to 'trivial'? Maybe. Worth keeping an eye on. But certainly not worth preemptively changing the rules of the format.


This is a good analysis, and I do think that banning TotH woudl be better than changing the poison total if it does become problematic.

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 Post subject: Re: New Phyrexia's Impact on Infect as a Strategy (Spoilers)
AgePosted: 2011-Apr-21 2:24 pm 

Joined: 2008-Nov-30 12:36 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Personally, the one I'm most excited about is the blue 1/1 Unblockable... he's going straight into Rafiq as soon as I get one (which I WILL NOT leave the Prerelease without one, guaranteed).

The card I'm most "worried" about is the Triumph of the Hordes one... seems excessively strong, but time will tell. I still think all of the worst offenders have already seen print: Skittles, Putrefax and Blightsteel are easily still the best Infect cards overall, but one or more of these new options COULD realistically push Infect over the edge and force the RC into action.

I remain skeptical, but optimistic that the problem will sort itself out, and no change will be needed.

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 Post subject: Re: New Phyrexia's Impact on Infect as a Strategy (Spoilers)
AgePosted: 2011-Apr-21 2:41 pm 

Joined: 2011-Apr-21 11:23 am
Age: Wyvern
Infect was by far one of the most damaging and un-fun mechanics to come out since cascade.

However, it is not the power level of infect that caused it to be un-fun, it is simply the fact that non-inactive effects that say "I win"(battle of wins, test of endurance, etc) are simply an anti-climatic and ultimately unsatisfying conclusion to a game of magic. In EDH, it is both un-fun AND leads to degenerate and a compromise of the spirit of EDH.

Sure you can remove the creatures or prevent the damage, but you can't do anything about the counters, thus the non-interactivity of poison. In a format like EDH, that is intentionally trying to stretch out games long enough for interesting interactions to happen, infect is particularly damaging.

This has all been said before, but it bears repeating, because make no mistake about infect easily RUINS casual EDH. Sure competitive decks are too fast, too controlling, or too degenerate by themselves to worry much about infect, however, casual EDH is very much a different beast.

If I had it my way, poison counters would simply be converted into 2 damage in EDH, and while your at it, ban Sorin and magister.

However, since people seem to love everything I hate, a more balanced approach would to be set lethal poison counters at 21, the same as a commander kill. In this way there are still many interesting poison strategies out there, but they would be forced to play the same game as everything else, something poison is otherwise very poor at.


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 Post subject: Re: New Phyrexia's Impact on Infect as a Strategy (Spoilers)
AgePosted: 2011-Apr-21 8:23 pm 

Joined: 2009-Jan-23 11:34 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Zebu wrote:
Infect was by far one of the most damaging and un-fun mechanics to come out since cascade.

However, it is not the power level of infect that caused it to be un-fun, it is simply the fact that non-inactive effects that say "I win"(battle of wins, test of endurance, etc) are simply an anti-climatic and ultimately unsatisfying conclusion to a game of magic. In EDH, it is both un-fun AND leads to degenerate and a compromise of the spirit of EDH.

Sure you can remove the creatures or prevent the damage, but you can't do anything about the counters, thus the non-interactivity of poison. In a format like EDH, that is intentionally trying to stretch out games long enough for interesting interactions to happen, infect is particularly damaging.

This has all been said before, but it bears repeating, because make no mistake about infect easily RUINS casual EDH. Sure competitive decks are too fast, too controlling, or too degenerate by themselves to worry much about infect, however, casual EDH is very much a different beast.

If I had it my way, poison counters would simply be converted into 2 damage in EDH, and while your at it, ban Sorin and magister.

However, since people seem to love everything I hate, a more balanced approach would to be set lethal poison counters at 21, the same as a commander kill. In this way there are still many interesting poison strategies out there, but they would be forced to play the same game as everything else, something poison is otherwise very poor at.

Infect is primarily a Red Zone mechanic. By its' very definition it forces more interaction, not less. Having creature presence on the board will negate 90+% of Infect issues. There are very few Infect cards which are game breakers, and most of them require a dedicated, linear approch to a Commander game.
That being said, I can see Triumph being an issue in token based decks. Will it blow out some games? probably. Will it be the straw that breaks Infect? NIMO, but we'll wait and see how it develops, I guess.
As for setting Poison to 21 ... I don't like it. part of the reason Commander damage is at a good place at 21 is because Commanders are always accessible (barring being Tucked). Setting Infect to the same damage total for a win as Commander damage essentially nerfs it. No Infect threats come even remotely close to having the same persistence as your Commander.

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 Post subject: Re: New Phyrexia's Impact on Infect as a Strategy (Spoilers)
AgePosted: 2011-Apr-21 8:34 pm 

Joined: 2008-Nov-30 12:36 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
I agree that Infect is very interactive, at least when creature based - something like that new Draw 3, Infect 3 spell would be a different story, if there was enough of that to make creature-less Infect viable. And it MIGHT be viable in U/B with Proliferate... but I strongly doubt it.

Most of the Infect cards that will be played will either be creatures, or depend on creatures to do their thing. I'm of the opinion that anything Red Zone oriented is by default interactive. The only possible issue is Infect being to FAST to give most decks the time to interact.

My Rafiq deck is already demonstrating this kind of speed... however there aren't enough cards to make it CONSISTENTLY that fast. I've had some games where Putrefax ended things so quickly even I felt cheated, despite winning.

But in the big picture I don't see the one or two possible NPH additions breaking it in half. Right now I feel like leaving it at 10 is correct, but upping it to 15 would not make Infect unplayable, so I'd be fine either way. 21 would hose Infect too much and only dedicated Skittles decks and Blightsteel would remain viable.

Also, for the record, Cascade is fun as hell in EDH - it just ruined Standard for a good long while.

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 Post subject: Re: New Phyrexia's Impact on Infect as a Strategy (Spoilers)
AgePosted: 2011-Apr-22 4:46 am 

Joined: 2008-Aug-02 10:17 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Momar Vig wrote:
As the Rules Committee has made clear multiple times, the time for a decision to be made about the fatal (game ending) number of poison counters being modified has been set aside for discussion until after New Phyrexia is released, and with it, the remainder of the Infect/Poison cards that we can expect. Now that the spoiler is COMPLEAT we can begin speculation on the impact these new creatures and spells will have on the Commander environment.


Speculation is great and all, but things don't change because of theories. Right now people will only use these cards to fit what they want (POISON IS BROKENZ!! NO IT'S NOT!).

Let's just wait and see what the impact is on games, not fora.

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 Post subject: Re: New Phyrexia's Impact on Infect as a Strategy (Spoilers)
AgePosted: 2011-Apr-22 5:28 am 
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Joined: 2010-Mar-03 10:07 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Milwaukee, WI
thaumaturge wrote:
Personally, the one I'm most excited about is the blue 1/1 Unblockable... he's going straight into Rafiq as soon as I get one (which I WILL NOT leave the Prerelease without one, guaranteed.)



Oooh.... I didn't think of this interaction. That's nasty. Suppose it makes sense since Jhessian Infiltrator was a linchpin of the relevant block deck. This doesn't change my assessment of the likely impact, but it does put me on lookout for something else to watch for in Rafiq.
Zebu wrote:
If I had it my way, poison counters would simply be converted into 2 damage in EDH, and while your at it, ban Sorin and magister.

Zebu wrote:
However, since people seem to love everything I hate, a more balanced approach would to be set lethal poison counters at 21, the same as a commander kill. In this way there are still many interesting poison strategies out there, but they would be forced to play the same game as everything else, something poison is otherwise very poor at.


I think I could probably live with poison being set at 15 (though I don't think it's necessary right now). 21 is too much though. The whole appeal of poison is that the aggro player now has a way to do his thing that doesn't involve his general or a bunch of tokens with pump effects, and setting it to 21 potentially puts it out of reach again. I suppose there's a consistency argument to be made, and the argument of how "It's a 4x clock, not a 2x clock as Wizards intended", which is fair... but Thaum's point about resilience is a good one. Plus: Red Zone mechanic. If you can't deal with creatures you aren't trying hard enough.

(Full disclosure: Vorosh has a lot of kills that don't end with swinging in, due to the critical mass of proliferate in that deck. At the same time, it usually GETS to 8 or 9 poison by swinging. I've tried to go the "Ichor Rats, proliferate 9 times" route a couple of times... it does not end well, unless my opponents are dumb enough to let Inexorable Tide stay on the board.)

In any case, the RC has said numerous times that their default position is to avoid changing further rules of the game itself (as opposed to deck construction rules, and the general is of course a special case), so I'd be very surprised if they make this change. I see a couple of cards that may or may not be problematic, but I see no critical mass of poison cards, nor any cards that in themselves break the game open in poison's favor.* I'm with 24x30cl-- wait and see.

(*What would such a card even look like? I'm thinking something like the following:

Poison Generator 6
Artifact
All creatures you control have infect.

(Only really likely to be format-warping if colorless... if it has a color identity it's a lot less scary.)

Alternately:

Poisonfire XR
Sorcery
If X is 5 or greater, Poisonfire can't be countered.
Target player gets X poison counters.

But I think even that is only good in 1v1 or if you have a way of recurring it. Maybe:

Poisanguinate XBB
Sorcery
All opponents get X poison counters. You lose poison counters equal to the number given this way.

THAT card might be an argument for bumping up the poison threshold to 15 or 20. But this is all academic; they demonstrably didn't print those cards.)

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Animar: All-Creatures, All The Time (Silly stompy-aggro)
Sen Triplets: Robots! (Proliferate Control/Combo)
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Zedruu, Group Pickpocket (Pillowfort Test of Endurance deck. You heard right)
Ghave, Guru of Dumb (Token Control)

gaijinguy wrote:
As for blue- being boring/infuriating by crushing everyone else's fun until it assembles a cheeseball combo is pretty much what it DOES.


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 Post subject: Re: New Phyrexia's Impact on Infect as a Strategy (Spoilers)
AgePosted: 2011-Apr-22 5:50 am 
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People die to mill all the time, I don't want to pander any more to that crowd that sees poison as a false win condition.

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 Post subject: Re: New Phyrexia's Impact on Infect as a Strategy (Spoilers)
AgePosted: 2011-Apr-22 7:58 am 

Joined: 2008-Nov-30 12:36 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
24x30cl wrote:
Poisanguinate XBB
Sorcery
All opponents get X poison counters. You lose poison counters equal to the number given this way.


I was very much expecting to see a card like this in NPH (it would obviously have to be costed differently to see print) but the idea of an Infect X-Spell was something I actively dreaded seeing, knowing that it could never be TOO expensive for Cabal Coffers to cast! Thankfully they didn't go down this road. But, the 5 CMC Sorcery that puts 3 Poison counter on a player is pretty non-interactive, when used as a finisher. It's "counter-or-die" for only 5 mana. I still don't see it being ban-worthy, but it's definitely a lame card.

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 Post subject: Re: New Phyrexia's Impact on Infect as a Strategy (Spoilers)
AgePosted: 2011-Apr-22 9:21 am 
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In general, changing the rules of the game is a bad idea.
However, I'm not sure that it applies here, seeing as wizards already set the precedent by the 2HG poison count to 15. After that, it almost seems more strange to NOT change it then to change it.

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 Post subject: Re: New Phyrexia's Impact on Infect as a Strategy (Spoilers)
AgePosted: 2011-Apr-22 10:12 am 

Joined: 2009-Nov-28 7:07 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Multiplayer: you still have to get past multiple players panicking about your poison strategy.


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 Post subject: Re: New Phyrexia's Impact on Infect as a Strategy (Spoilers)
AgePosted: 2011-Apr-22 10:44 am 

Joined: 2011-Apr-21 11:23 am
Age: Wyvern
Poison is not an interactive process. It is also not a very fun process.

Comparing poison to RDW and the going further and saying it causing more interaction is an error. Fast decks are the opposite of interaction, that eliminate an untold number of possible decks from the playing field, simply because quick win conditions require quick answers. Quick answer require a huge commitment in a 100 card singleton deck and results in a shift from card quality to quantity of lesser costed answers. this is exactly the reason why Rofellos, despite access to numerous answers, was always broken.

And yes, the inability to combat poison counters except for one very bad white card and the stopping the creatures is certainly an obviously attack on interactivity, is somewhat negated in standard because poison only doubles the power of your creatures rather than quadruples it. But in EDH, it is obviously overpowered. A giant growth that reads +6/+3 in standard on a infect creature is now +12/+3 for one mana? Jitte, on the lowliest infect creature is now +16/+4? Hatred is still an autokill if the creature connects, but now with almost no risk now..

But the the above is just my response to what I have seen in this thread, and it still not the crux of my argument for 21 poison counter suggestion.

My main opposition to poison is still that it is an unfun mechanic that denatures the spirit of EDH, much like magister and sorin, who thankfully, are only a couple of individual cards, rather than an entire genre of cards like infect.

By making the count 21, it fulls into line with the command damage line of the game, and even skittles is still a viable choice, as other creatures can be treated as adding "commander" damage in his case. It also brings poison in line with it's original design parameters.

Lastly, the change protects the spirit of EDH but does so in a concise manner, with little to no collateral damage, and would not significantly burden the average new EDH player with variant rules noise.


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