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 Post subject: Which (WBG) Arcane spells are worth running in Commander?
AgePosted: 2015-Jun-23 12:11 pm 
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Location: Northamptonshire, UK
Hey everyone.

Last night I started putting together a Karador, Ghost Chieftain Spirit tribal deck. A lot of the Spirits in the deck have a "Whenever you cast a Spirit or Arcane spell..." triggered ability or something else that goes off of Arcane (e.g. Long-Forgotten Gohei), so I started looking at Arcane spells to see if I could find some nice synergies. The only spells that I felt I really wanted were Kodama's Reach for ramp, Devouring Greed as a potential finisher. and maybe Cleanfall for Enchantment hate. Am I missing anything here?

Are there any other useful Arcane spells in White, Black, and/or Green for Commander? I'm looking for synergy with my creatures but I don't want to take obviously substandard spells just for the sake of synergy (as they deck will be filled with Spirits anyway).

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 Post subject: Re: Which (WBG) Arcane spells are worth running in Commander?
AgePosted: 2015-Jun-23 1:10 pm 
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Choice of Damnations is a card that I've had fun using before. Not sure if it's flavorful though.

Footsteps of the Goryo and Goryo's Vengeance are both solid cards that probably fit with Karodor, although you'd need to pair a sac engine with them.

Otherworldly Journey can go well with a lot of ETB effects of you're into that.

Terashi's Grasp is a slightly better Disenchant effect, as can be Wear Away.


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 Post subject: Re: Which (WBG) Arcane spells are worth running in Commander?
AgePosted: 2015-Jun-23 1:47 pm 
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Uktabi_Kong wrote:
Choice of Damnations is a card that I've had fun using before. Not sure if it's flavorful though.

Footsteps of the Goryo and Goryo's Vengeance are both solid cards that probably fit with Karodor, although you'd need to pair a sac engine with them.

Otherworldly Journey can go well with a lot of ETB effects of you're into that.

Terashi's Grasp is a slightly better Disenchant effect, as can be Wear Away.


Choice of Damnations is a card I use in my Nicol Bolas deck. It's fun but it's not terribly great even in that deck (which is designed around forcing opponents to make choices for themselves).

As you say, the two Goryo cards would need sac outlets, which I'm not too certain I have. Plus, thanks to recent Modern tournament wins, Goryo's Vengeance is way out of my price range.

Otherworldly Journey is something I could certainly go for.

Terashi's Grasp and Wear Away seem a little too narrow for my liking. Not that Disenchant effects aren't worth using, but because they're targeted. I prefer my Commander cards to have a little more effect than a one-for-one. Still, if I pick up enough Splice Onto Arcane cards I could certainly get some reuse out of some of them.

You've definitely given me a few things to think about. Thanks :-)

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 Post subject: Re: Which (WBG) Arcane spells are worth running in Commander?
AgePosted: 2015-Jun-23 4:12 pm 
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My Karador Spirit tribal is currently running:

Swallowing Plague
Devouring Greed
Kodama's Reach
Rend Flesh
Otherworldly Journey
Spiritual Visit

You don't need a ton of arcane, because all of the spirits will also trigger those abilities too (I have 33 spirits in the deck).

Also, sac outlets get great mileage in the deck, because you not only have Karador to recast, you have soulshift spirits and creatures like Nether Shadow, Nether Traitor and Bloodghast that return on their own. Also, I use the Iname, Death Aspect into Living Death as a back-up so I don't mind being able to fill the yard, if needed.

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 Post subject: Re: Which (WBG) Arcane spells are worth running in Commander?
AgePosted: 2015-Jun-24 12:18 am 

Joined: 2011-Sep-30 6:08 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Death Denied is a real Magic card. Depending upon how dedicated you are to spiritcraft, Death of a Thousand Stings gives you repeatable triggers and a Splice platform. (This is only for very theme-heavy decks. Obviously the base power level of this card is extremely low.)

Also remember that Nameless Inversion is a Spirit.

Depending on how much your meta utilizes the Red Zone, Shining Shoal is a fairly good way to win combat, especially if you can cast it for free. (And, again, for DEEP Arcane builds, Kodama's Might is fine.) I also like Strength of Cedars a lot if I'm killing people with damage. Late in the game, you can just casually 30 somebody with a double strike creature or pop them for a boatload of general damage.

Also, please note that the number of Aura's you need in your Spirit deck for Tallowisp to be good is roughly 2.

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 Post subject: Re: Which (WBG) Arcane spells are worth running in Commander?
AgePosted: 2015-Jun-24 2:44 am 

Joined: 2013-Aug-20 4:37 am
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Horobi's Whisper is a pretty good way to add some value to your arcane spells. I assume you will be filling your graveyard in some way since it is Karador, so there should be some lands/spells you can exile for the splice.

In the same vein as Nameless Inversion, there is also Crib Swap for another worthwhile tribal instant.


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 Post subject: Re: Which (WBG) Arcane spells are worth running in Commander?
AgePosted: 2015-Jun-24 4:40 am 
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Masked Thespian wrote:
Terashi's Grasp and Wear Away seem a little too narrow for my liking. Not that Disenchant effects aren't worth using, but because they're targeted. I prefer my Commander cards to have a little more effect than a one-for-one.

Turning your nose up at spot removal is a bad idea. You don't want to need to take out all your own artifacts just because someone dropped an Eldrazi Monument that you really need to answer, just as it's often bad to play Wrath of God just because your opponent played their threatening general and now you have to blow away your own creatures to stop it.

Fortunately in G/W/B there are plenty of modal or universal spot removal spells that can help. Putrefy, Mortify, Maelstrom Pulse, Vindicate, and Beast Within are all useful additions that can kill problem creatures and other stuff as needed. Plus you have access to Austere Command and Merciless Eviction in the sweeper department.

EDIT: I'm assuming you're sticking to the tribal theme, and therefore stuff like Angel of Despair is off the menu.

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 Post subject: Re: Which (WBG) Arcane spells are worth running in Commander?
AgePosted: 2015-Jun-24 8:28 am 
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crokaycete wrote:
(And, again, for DEEP Arcane builds, Kodama's Might is fine.) I also like Strength of Cedars a lot if I'm killing people with damage. Late in the game, you can just casually 30 somebody with a double strike creature or pop them for a boatload of general damage.

Oh wow that brings back memories! I had a B/G Ramp/Beatdown spirits deck in CHK/RAV standard (I mean, it was bad, but it was fun) that killed a lot of people with Strength of Cedars :D

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 Post subject: Re: Which (WBG) Arcane spells are worth running in Commander?
AgePosted: 2015-Jun-25 3:52 am 
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Joined: 2013-Nov-04 2:12 am
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Treamayne wrote:
My Karador Spirit tribal is currently running:

Swallowing Plague
Devouring Greed
Kodama's Reach
Rend Flesh
Otherworldly Journey
Spiritual Visit

You don't need a ton of arcane, because all of the spirits will also trigger those abilities too (I have 33 spirits in the deck).

Also, sac outlets get great mileage in the deck, because you not only have Karador to recast, you have soulshift spirits and creatures like Nether Shadow, Nether Traitor and Bloodghast that return on their own. Also, I use the Iname, Death Aspect into Living Death as a back-up so I don't mind being able to fill the yard, if needed.


I know I don't need a ton of Arcane, but I figured that it might be nice to have the ability to use an Arcane Instant to trigger some abilities outside of my turn sometimes, as well as increasing the density of cards that triggered such abilities whilst also including some decent (or so I hoped) spells.

I hadn't considered any sac outlets. I'd figured that the deck would run off of incremental card advantage mostly provided by Soulshift. I hadn't even considered Karador's ability (he was in the three colours that Soulshift exists in and he had the right creature subtype) nor any kind of graveyard abuse. Living Death sounds like a good plan as well as some of those creatures you mentioned. Some kind of graveyard strategy does seem like a good idea in this deck.


crokaycete wrote:
Death Denied is a real Magic card. Depending upon how dedicated you are to spiritcraft, Death of a Thousand Stings gives you repeatable triggers and a Splice platform. (This is only for very theme-heavy decks. Obviously the base power level of this card is extremely low.)

Also remember that Nameless Inversion is a Spirit.

Depending on how much your meta utilizes the Red Zone, Shining Shoal is a fairly good way to win combat, especially if you can cast it for free. (And, again, for DEEP Arcane builds, Kodama's Might is fine.) I also like Strength of Cedars a lot if I'm killing people with damage. Late in the game, you can just casually 30 somebody with a double strike creature or pop them for a boatload of general damage.

Also, please note that the number of Aura's you need in your Spirit deck for Tallowisp to be good is roughly 2.


I did see Death Denied. It seemed okay but I wasn't sure how much use I'd get out of it (having never really used cards like that before). If I'm going for something of a graveyard theme then it's probably a good pick for me.

Death of a Thousand Stings is something I've considered in the past, albeit for another deck. I'm not too sure how many times I'll be able to recur it in this deck and I'm not too sure whether I'm aiming to do a lot of Splicing, but it's certainly something I'll keep in mind.

Nameless Inversion was one of the first things I thought about including once I decided to do the Soulshift deck.

This deck is being built in a vacuum; I don't currently have a meta as all of my Magic playing friends have moved away. I hadn't considered Shining Shoal as I didn't think it would be all that good, but then I don't have a great deal of experience with cards like that. Those other cards seem more interesting than I'd given them credit for, though.


JJackson wrote:
Horobi's Whisper is a pretty good way to add some value to your arcane spells. I assume you will be filling your graveyard in some way since it is Karador, so there should be some lands/spells you can exile for the splice.

In the same vein as Nameless Inversion, there is also Crib Swap for another worthwhile tribal instant.


Both seem pretty good, though I'll be discussing single target spells momentarily.


Sid the Chicken wrote:
Masked Thespian wrote:
Terashi's Grasp and Wear Away seem a little too narrow for my liking. Not that Disenchant effects aren't worth using, but because they're targeted. I prefer my Commander cards to have a little more effect than a one-for-one.

Turning your nose up at spot removal is a bad idea. You don't want to need to take out all your own artifacts just because someone dropped an Eldrazi Monument that you really need to answer, just as it's often bad to play Wrath of God just because your opponent played their threatening general and now you have to blow away your own creatures to stop it.

Fortunately in G/W/B there are plenty of modal or universal spot removal spells that can help. Putrefy, Mortify, Maelstrom Pulse, Vindicate, and Beast Within are all useful additions that can kill problem creatures and other stuff as needed. Plus you have access to Austere Command and Merciless Eviction in the sweeper department.

EDIT: I'm assuming you're sticking to the tribal theme, and therefore stuff like Angel of Despair is off the menu.


It's all good and well to say that turning your nose up at spot removal is a bad idea, but pretty much everything I've read on the subject of Commander suggests that any kind of card disadvantage is bad in the long run, and spot removal means that you're down a card, the owner of the target is down a card, and everyone else isn't down anything. I don't know whether this philosophy is correct or not, but it seems reasonable to me.

I've also had a bunch of versatile spot removal in one of my other decks posted online (things like Utter End, Mortify, and Putrefy) and I've had people recommend I take them out. Some people tell me that I shouldn't include them and others, like you, are telling me I should and I don't know which line to follow.

I'm a fan of having spot removal for creatures but less so for any other types of permanents due to not knowing the environment the deck will be played in. I may well stick the cards you mentioned in, as I do feel that a well rounded set of removal is a good idea. It just seems more efficient to play a sweeper like Cleanfall and simply play no enchantments, though.

Whilst I'd like to stick to the tribal theme, something like Angel of Despair might fit. I'd probably rather try and get as much out of Soulshift as I can, though.


Overall, everyone's given me some ideas and made me re-evaluate cards that I'd previously dismissed. Thanks everyone :)

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 Post subject: Re: Which (WBG) Arcane spells are worth running in Commander?
AgePosted: 2015-Jun-25 5:36 am 

Joined: 2013-Aug-20 4:37 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Boston
Masked Thespian wrote:
It's all good and well to say that turning your nose up at spot removal is a bad idea, but pretty much everything I've read on the subject of Commander suggests that any kind of card disadvantage is bad in the long run, and spot removal means that you're down a card, the owner of the target is down a card, and everyone else isn't down anything. I don't know whether this philosophy is correct or not, but it seems reasonable to me.

It is a sound philosophy. This is why you don't want too many spot removal spells. You will want a few, preferably with some combination of these attributes: cheap, instant, versatile, synergistic with your deck, some additional upside, or a better than 1-for-1 exchange rate.

Something like Swords to Plowshares or Path to Exile is a good example of cheap and instant, Crib Swap has additional upside (exiling) and is possibly synergistic (in tribal decks), Hull Breach and Return to Dust are good examples of providing better than 1-for-1 trades, and Utter End is a very versatile instant.

Your deck will probably run out of steam if you constantly trade 1-for-1, but having access to a handful of effects that will let you take out a specific problem without nuking the board is worthwhile.


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 Post subject: Re: Which (WBG) Arcane spells are worth running in Commander?
AgePosted: 2015-Jun-25 11:11 pm 
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Masked Thespian wrote:
pretty much everything I've read on the subject of Commander suggests that any kind of card disadvantage is bad in the long run, and spot removal means that you're down a card, the owner of the target is down a card, and everyone else isn't down anything.

While that's generally true, there are many situations where playing a sweeper to deal with a threat will hurt you worse than your opponents. Also most sweepers are not instant speed, and sometimes you can't wait until your next turn to play your answer. That's why it's good to have a mix of spot removal and boardwipes. If I've got Lightning Greaves on the table, and I cast Ulamog, you need to deal with that NOW, not when your turn comes up after he's already shrouded and hasty and has annihilated 4 of your things.

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 Post subject: Re: Which (WBG) Arcane spells are worth running in Commander?
AgePosted: 2015-Jun-26 5:17 am 

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I agree with Sid. Spot Removal allows you to leverage your developed board position by removing only the thing that threatens you most. If you have a SLIGHTLY better board position but can't quite get through, Wrathing in this case is pretty stupid. You want a bit of spot removal to swing the advantage a bit more in your favor, giving you the surgical opening to get through defenses.

Wrathing to deal with everything is better card advantage, but solving every problem with a nuke rather than occasionally a sniper is strategically unsound.

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 Post subject: Re: Which (WBG) Arcane spells are worth running in Commander?
AgePosted: 2015-Jun-27 10:18 am 
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Not to mention that sometimes wraths will turn into card disadvantage. Say you are up on creatures by a lot, but your opponent has a Kozilek or something that will destroy you if it doesn't die soon. If you've got nothing but wraths, you will have to be down cards to take this thing out.


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 Post subject: Re: Which (WBG) Arcane spells are worth running in Commander?
AgePosted: 2015-Jul-08 7:49 pm 
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Location: Saskatchewan
I have this exact idea you are using, and I will tell you that it is a blast.

The Arcane spells I know are worth having:

Kodama's Reach
Choice of Damnations
Soulless Revival (It's even an instant!)
Rend Flesh
Wear Away
Horobi's Whisper (I've been surprised at how much I've used it's Splice)
Rending Vines (Biggest all-star in the world for this deck)
Terashi's Grasp

I played with Death Denied some, but found I rarely ever used it except to a Crypt effect, and it wasn't always in my hand when that happened. I still haven't replaced it yet, but I've been very "meh" on it. I think Devouring Greed is going to replace it.

Also, a huge shout-out to Hana Kami. Him with Karador is bonkers, and he is also a 1 mana spirit, to trigger off so many other effects you may end up with in the deck.


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