Login | Register


All times are UTC - 7 hours


It is currently 2019-Dec-13 7:47 am




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 48 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Spirit of EDH and Deck Design
AgePosted: 2015-Jan-23 3:13 pm 

Joined: 2012-Nov-21 3:29 am
Age: Drake
This is something I've been thinking about lately. What does the Spirit of EDH really mean, and how can you build a powerful deck without violating it? Is there some point where a deck is just too powerful for a meta, even if the other people are trying to be Spikes, but lose anyway?

For example, I have a deck I designed with the following restrictions:

1) No infinite combos (except one 4 card one that I intentionally avoid)
2) No counter spells.
3) No mass land wipes.
4) No stax stuff.
5) Not too much brain dead stuff (Tooth and Nail for Craterhoof Behemoth and Avenger of Zendikar is the best example of brain dead stuff).

I feel like the deck still is frustrating to a decent section (20% or so) of the other players, but at what point do I just play my deck and conclude they're whiners?

Is it just a money thing? Does restricting the value of the cards help make more *fair* decks without making weak junk?

Or is it better to just throw in high risk, high reward cards?

There's the flip side of this too. I want to win; it seems fair to have my chance of winning influenced by my investment in the game (time, money, etc.) I don't think my opponents are following very strict guidelines on not doing antisocial things, so should they really have a place to complain to begin with?

Obviously the banned list is a guideline to the Spirit of EDH, but it's impossible to codify it in the rules completely. At what point are you in, and what point are you out? It seems like a hot, warm, cold situation.


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Spirit of EDH and Deck Design
AgePosted: 2015-Jan-23 3:27 pm 
User avatar

Joined: 2012-Nov-27 4:39 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Midgard
There's no cut-dry solution to these problems. Literally everyone is different, so there's no way to spell out exactly where the boundary line is in terms of what is fun and what isn't fun.

An easy way to get around all of this is by simply having a number of different decks with different builds/strategies/power levels. When you need a more powerful deck in order to compete with the rest of the table, play a deck designed to compete that way. When you need a weaker deck (maybe a bunch of newer players want to join in), then have a theme deck prepared--something with a ton of flavor, a few powerful plays, but overall average.

Switching up decks of a similar power level is also a nice way to keep games from getting stale.

_________________
Current:
Decklists are posted here. They can all be found in the Decklist Forum.


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Spirit of EDH and Deck Design
AgePosted: 2015-Jan-23 3:44 pm 
User avatar

Joined: 2012-Dec-03 3:16 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Cody wrote:
Is it just a money thing? Does restricting the value of the cards help make more *fair* decks without making weak junk?

Or is it better to just throw in high risk, high reward cards?

There's the flip side of this too. I want to win; it seems fair to have my chance of winning influenced by my investment in the game (time, money, etc.)


I think that the money thing is easy to see and therefore it is popular to point the finger at. However, some of the more oppressive cards are not that expensive Smokestack is under $7, Armageddon can be bought for less than $3, Counterspell can be had for less than a dollar. Some of the Legacy/Modern combo pieces are more expensive but they are not the only ones out there.

I agree that the more you invest (time and/or money), the more you should be able to get out of the game, otherwise why are you investing in it? The good thing about magic is that there is enough random so that you can win, but you can control (to some degree) the outcome of the games.

If people continue to whine, I have found that sometimes giving people what they want shows them that it was not a great idea. A few years back, people were complaining that I was winning because I had spent more money on the game. I built a pauper deck with Psychatog that won more often as was less fun to play against. I didn't even have Upheaval to make it completely degenerate.

Of course, you just cannot please some people and if it is not fun playing against them, then sometimes you just gotta rip the band aid off and go play elsewhere.

_________________
Shabbaman wrote:
The usual answer is "the social contract", but I guess that is not what you are looking for. Try house rules.


With perfect mana, reasonable removal, disruption, and card advantage, we're back to pitchforks and torches. And it's about to get worse for those who do not enjoy the game as Richard Garfield intended, playing as few win conditions as possible and prompting concession after all hopes (and spells) are lost. - Shaheen Soorani


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Spirit of EDH and Deck Design
AgePosted: 2015-Jan-23 7:45 pm 

Joined: 2013-Oct-09 7:02 am
Age: Elder Dragon
The spirit of EDH doesn't exist. Just do whatever everyone is comfortable with.


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Spirit of EDH and Deck Design
AgePosted: 2015-Jan-23 7:54 pm 
EDH Rules Committee
User avatar

Joined: 2007-Jan-05 12:58 am
Age: Elder Dragon
I don't think that the spirit of EDH has much of anything to do with power level. The spirit of EDH only cares that you keep your opponents in mind as you're choosing your strategy. If your opponents can enjoy winning against you OR losing to you, it doesn't really matter how much sheer power you're packing. Similarly, it doesn't really matter if you only win 1/10 games, if all you ever do is try to gum up the board, restrict your opponents' options, or generally just say "no" a lot. In fact, decks that are too weak are just as bad as ones that are too strong. Your opponents are playing Magic because they want you to challenge them. Easy wins do not a game night make.

Proper EDH deck design isn't about saying "no" to your own choices, either ("no counter spells, no stax stuff, no uber-bombs"). Everything is fine, in moderation and given the right group. The key ingredients to whatever your building are always the YES's. Just because your deck is entirely inoffensive doesn't mean it really has a reason to exist, if you know what I mean. Why is it THIS stack of 100 cards, and not any other? If, while you're brewing, you don't have a clear answer to that question, crafting an answer to that question should be the next thing that you do.

If you want advice, I have a set of guidelines I use when I'm planning a new deck:

1. Choose two reasons for your deck to exist, two main themes that'll be the center of gravity for everything your deck is about. Not too broad ("Ramp and card draw!"), but big enough that they can fill substantial deck space. One theme is too few, because your deck will be too linear and repetitive, but too many makes it to too scattered.

2. This is the most important one, imo: Make sure BOTH themes cause problems for your opponents to solve AND solve problems caused by your opponents. Make sure you're playing with your opponent, rather than around them.

3. Make sure both themes are completely intertwined. Every major spell in your deck should be related, on average, to 1.5 of them. This'll make sure your decks have strong personality, and force you to dig deep into your collection for those underplayed gems.

4. Add 3 or 4 subthemes that are all linked strongly to each main theme. This part is less necessary, but if you can manage it the subthemes will keep things fresh and fun for way longer, as well as giving you a bunch of unique potential for play when your main game plan is disrupted (we're still trying to win, here).

Hope this helps!

_________________
Blog - Twitter


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Spirit of EDH and Deck Design
AgePosted: 2015-Jan-23 10:11 pm 

Joined: 2008-Aug-08 6:34 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Rouen, France
Ban Ki-moon wrote:
If you want advice, I have a set of guidelines I use when I'm planning a new deck:

1. Choose two reasons for your deck to exist, two main themes that'll be the center of gravity for everything your deck is about. Not too broad ("Ramp and card draw!"), but big enough that they can fill substantial deck space. One theme is too few, because your deck will be too linear and repetitive, but too many makes it to too scattered.

2. This is the most important one, imo: Make sure BOTH themes cause problems for your opponents to solve AND solve problems caused by your opponents. Make sure you're playing with your opponent, rather than around them.

3. Make sure both themes are completely intertwined. Every major spell in your deck should be related, on average, to 1.5 of them. This'll make sure your decks have strong personality, and force you to dig deep into your collection for those underplayed gems.

4. Add 3 or 4 subthemes that are all linked strongly to each main theme. This part is less necessary, but if you can manage it the subthemes will keep things fresh and fun for way longer, as well as giving you a bunch of unique potential for play when your main game plan is disrupted (we're still trying to win, here).


I think you put a huge amount more work into building decks than other players do! That's an impressive to-do list!

From my experience, players tends to start with a very broad idea like "Zombies!!", "Artifacts" or "+1/+1 counters" and go from there with the best cards they can put their hands on.

If you're disposed to do it, would you care to expand on your criteria with an example of a deck you have built using this method?

_________________
Current decks:
Sydri's random pile of cards with "Artifact" on them
Scarab God Zombie Horde
Sissay 5c Superfriends
Morophon Eldrazi (5C Devoid)
Grenzo's Goblins


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Spirit of EDH and Deck Design
AgePosted: 2015-Jan-23 10:57 pm 

Joined: 2012-Mar-31 11:52 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Ban Ki-moon wrote:
I don't think that the spirit of EDH has much of anything to do with power level. The spirit of EDH only cares that you keep your opponents in mind as you're choosing your strategy. If your opponents can enjoy winning against you OR losing to you, it doesn't really matter how much sheer power you're packing. Similarly, it doesn't really matter if you only win 1/10 games, if all you ever do is try to gum up the board, restrict your opponents' options, or generally just say "no" a lot. In fact, decks that are too weak are just as bad as ones that are too strong. Your opponents are playing Magic because they want you to challenge them. Easy wins do not a game night make.

Proper EDH deck design isn't about saying "no" to your own choices, either ("no counter spells, no stax stuff, no uber-bombs"). Everything is fine, in moderation and given the right group. The key ingredients to whatever your building are always the YES's. Just because your deck is entirely inoffensive doesn't mean it really has a reason to exist, if you know what I mean. Why is it THIS stack of 100 cards, and not any other? If, while you're brewing, you don't have a clear answer to that question, crafting an answer to that question should be the next thing that you do.

If you want advice, I have a set of guidelines I use when I'm planning a new deck:

1. Choose two reasons for your deck to exist, two main themes that'll be the center of gravity for everything your deck is about. Not too broad ("Ramp and card draw!"), but big enough that they can fill substantial deck space. One theme is too few, because your deck will be too linear and repetitive, but too many makes it to too scattered.

2. This is the most important one, imo: Make sure BOTH themes cause problems for your opponents to solve AND solve problems caused by your opponents. Make sure you're playing with your opponent, rather than around them.

3. Make sure both themes are completely intertwined. Every major spell in your deck should be related, on average, to 1.5 of them. This'll make sure your decks have strong personality, and force you to dig deep into your collection for those underplayed gems.

4. Add 3 or 4 subthemes that are all linked strongly to each main theme. This part is less necessary, but if you can manage it the subthemes will keep things fresh and fun for way longer, as well as giving you a bunch of unique potential for play when your main game plan is disrupted (we're still trying to win, here).

Hope this helps!

This is amazing. Do you mind if I quote this over on Sally somewhere (or possibly in a few spots)?


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Spirit of EDH and Deck Design
AgePosted: 2015-Jan-23 11:28 pm 
User avatar

Joined: 2012-Dec-25 1:37 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Ban Ki-moon wrote:
2. This is the most important one, imo: Make sure BOTH themes cause problems for your opponents to solve AND solve problems caused by your opponents. Make sure you're playing with your opponent, rather than around them.

I agree, this is the most important consideration you should have when building decks. It's one of the reasons I hate infinite combos and lockdowns: you can't interact with your opponents unless in extreme corner cases. Tooth and Nail for Avacyn, Angel of Hope and Archetype of Endurance may seem cool to you, but it is hell for your opponents because you limited the way they can interact with your board by a lot (unless, of course, this lockdown is not a problem for them at all. My Vela deck wouldn't have that much of a problem with it because I could just bypass all your creatures with ninja skills, for example). I've discovered that my most enjoyable Commander games are those where the game is constantly going back and forth: one moment you're going to win the game with sneaky ninjas, and next thing you know a huge army of tokens is facing you with a mean look, just for the blue player send everything back to the AEther on the next turn with Cyclonic Rift.

Also, flavor. Make sure the theme of your deck isn't simply 'goodstuff', that it actually has a proper theme with which opponents can interact in a meaningful way, both inside and outside the game. Goodstuff decks barely create themes of conversation, while tribal decks are often the center of "Elves vs. Zombies" or "Dragons vs. Angels, who will win this eternal fight?". Flavorful decks also make you look for cards outside the box that neither you or your opponents have ever played with before, which create more interesting moments than cards you're constantly seeing doing the same thing every game.

I'm going to give you one example that illustrates these two points perfectly. My Karrthus deck is built with a very strong dragon theme. Every card in the deck is either related to dragons or to Jund. I don't run druids because Jund has shamans, I don't run Asceticism because dragons are very bad at protecting themselves, I don't run cards that shuffle other cards into their owner's libraries (like Chaos Warp or Unravel the AEther) because dragons love to burn and consume the world around them. I didn't create these restrictions because they make the game unfun somehow, I did it simply because they didn't match the flavor of the deck. My best way to interact with my opponents is to destroy or exile everything threatening that they play. At the same time, my opponents can easily deal with my dragons because I have no way to protect them (I can, however, reanimate them later on). And even with all these restrictions, this is the most powerful deck I have on my arsenal. So yes, you can still win with decks packed with restrictions and flavor that still interact with your opponents while letting your opponents interact with you back. It's just a matter of finding a theme you love and build around it :wink:

_________________
Name: Night of the Ninja
General: Yuriko, the Tiger's Shadow
Archetype: Aggro

Name: Enraged Wilds
General: Marath, Will of the Wild
Archetype: Aggro-Control

Name: Draconic Domination
General: The Ur-Dragon
Archetype: Midrange


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Spirit of EDH and Deck Design
AgePosted: 2015-Jan-25 7:55 pm 
EDH Rules Committee
User avatar

Joined: 2007-Jan-05 12:58 am
Age: Elder Dragon
cryogen wrote:
This is amazing. Do you mind if I quote this over on Sally somewhere (or possibly in a few spots)?

Of course not. Go for it.

zimagic wrote:
Ban Ki-moon wrote:
If you want advice, I have a set of guidelines I use when I'm planning a new deck:

1. Choose two reasons for your deck to exist, two main themes that'll be the center of gravity for everything your deck is about. Not too broad ("Ramp and card draw!"), but big enough that they can fill substantial deck space. One theme is too few, because your deck will be too linear and repetitive, but too many makes it to too scattered.

2. This is the most important one, imo: Make sure BOTH themes cause problems for your opponents to solve AND solve problems caused by your opponents. Make sure you're playing with your opponent, rather than around them.

3. Make sure both themes are completely intertwined. Every major spell in your deck should be related, on average, to 1.5 of them. This'll make sure your decks have strong personality, and force you to dig deep into your collection for those underplayed gems.

4. Add 3 or 4 subthemes that are all linked strongly to each main theme. This part is less necessary, but if you can manage it the subthemes will keep things fresh and fun for way longer, as well as giving you a bunch of unique potential for play when your main game plan is disrupted (we're still trying to win, here).


I think you put a huge amount more work into building decks than other players do! That's an impressive to-do list!

From my experience, players tends to start with a very broad idea like "Zombies!!", "Artifacts" or "+1/+1 counters" and go from there with the best cards they can put their hands on.

If you're disposed to do it, would you care to expand on your criteria with an example of a deck you have built using this method?


Sure thing. First of all, I'd like to note that those three ideas aren't necessarily bad ones (except for "artifacts", which might not be precise enough). Tribal stuff, certain game mechanics, or particular aspects of card types like 'artifact' are perfect themes, since they give you a solid logic or narrative to follow while making design decisions. Sure, a generic Zombies!! deck might be kinda bland and predictable, but that's why I suggest choosing two things to work with. If you can take both zombies and, say, +1/+1 counters and really marry them together, find out why zombies care about counters and why counters care about zombies, then it can get pretty interesting pretty fast.

For the example, I'll use my Numot deck, since I've already written a lot about how its different moving parts fit together. You can read about that and find an older version of the decklist here.

1. The two main ideas are recycling cheap artifacts (trinkets) and recycling EtB effects (blink). On the spectrum from "too narrow" to "too broad", the trinkets idea is on the narrow side, since there are only a small number of key cards that I can use to really enact that game plan, while the blink plan is a lot broader, since just about everything has an EtB ability these days and it risks feeling too generic. They're both entirely within the acceptable range to me, though.

2. Both ideas by their nature offer me a lot of play with and against my opponents. The trinket suite is packed with annoying bits of disruption that allow me to poke small holes in opponents' game plans, while recursion of my trinkets is a source of crushing card advantage that really needs to be answered. Similarly, the blink suite comes pre-packaged with lots of efficient, annoying effects that my opponents have to play around, and while those EtB creatures usually aren't the largest or most numerous dudes on the board, the flicker spells and recursion effects make them a very resilient and reliable clock for my opponents to deal with. Note that few of my threats do a whole lot on their own, and few of my answers say "stop that, no matter what". Almost everything I do depends on what my opponents are doing.

3. There are a huge number of cards that overlap between the two ideas, which is really what gives the deck its personality. I don't want to list them all, check the link if you're really interested, but the lifeblood of the deck is made of cards that straddle both, like Voyager Staff, Trinket Mage and Sun Titan, as well as second-level role players like Goblin Welder, Triskelion, Rings of Brighthearth and Sunforger. There are (almost) no cards left in the deck for which you have to stretch to explain how they're on theme.

4. Beyond individual cards, there are plenty of subthemes, packages and toolboxes in the deck that tie the thing together. The Sunforger package, equipment stuff, and general artifact synergies all have healthy relationships to both trinkets and blink. Check the link for more detail on that as well.

_________________
Blog - Twitter


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Spirit of EDH and Deck Design
AgePosted: 2015-Jan-27 1:19 am 

Joined: 2014-Apr-03 3:46 am
Age: Drake
Cody wrote:

For example, I have a deck I designed with the following restrictions:

1) No infinite combos (except one 4 card one that I intentionally avoid)
2) No counter spells.
3) No mass land wipes.
4) No stax stuff.
5) Not too much brain dead stuff (Tooth and Nail for Craterhoof Behemoth and Avenger of Zendikar is the best example of brain dead stuff).



I must really ask why?

When I make a deck it always based on some idea. Excluding some card types (eg counter spells) "just because" seems really silly.


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Spirit of EDH and Deck Design
AgePosted: 2015-Jan-27 4:17 am 
User avatar

Joined: 2009-Aug-20 7:49 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: New Hampshire
illuknisaa wrote:
Cody wrote:

For example, I have a deck I designed with the following restrictions:

1) No infinite combos (except one 4 card one that I intentionally avoid)
2) No counter spells.
3) No mass land wipes.
4) No stax stuff.
5) Not too much brain dead stuff (Tooth and Nail for Craterhoof Behemoth and Avenger of Zendikar is the best example of brain dead stuff).



I must really ask why?

When I make a deck it always based on some idea. Excluding some card types (eg counter spells) "just because" seems really silly.

Because he's trying to build a deck that won't piss people off by excluding a lot of the things that commonly piss people off.

_________________
"The President's job - and if someone sufficiently vain and stupid is picked he won't realize this - is not to wield power, but to draw attention away from it." -- Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide tot he Galaxy Radio Transcripts predicting the future.


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Spirit of EDH and Deck Design
AgePosted: 2015-Jan-27 6:59 am 

Joined: 2010-Sep-11 12:19 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Sid the Chicken wrote:
illuknisaa wrote:
Cody wrote:

For example, I have a deck I designed with the following restrictions:

1) No infinite combos (except one 4 card one that I intentionally avoid)
2) No counter spells.
3) No mass land wipes.
4) No stax stuff.
5) Not too much brain dead stuff (Tooth and Nail for Craterhoof Behemoth and Avenger of Zendikar is the best example of brain dead stuff).



I must really ask why?

When I make a deck it always based on some idea. Excluding some card types (eg counter spells) "just because" seems really silly.

Because he's trying to build a deck that won't piss people off by excluding a lot of the things that commonly piss people off.

/100, 000% agree.


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Spirit of EDH and Deck Design
AgePosted: 2015-Jan-27 9:20 am 

Joined: 2012-Nov-21 3:29 am
Age: Drake
illuknisaa wrote:
Cody wrote:

For example, I have a deck I designed with the following restrictions:

1) No infinite combos (except one 4 card one that I intentionally avoid)
2) No counter spells.
3) No mass land wipes.
4) No stax stuff.
5) Not too much brain dead stuff (Tooth and Nail for Craterhoof Behemoth and Avenger of Zendikar is the best example of brain dead stuff).



I must really ask why?

When I make a deck it always based on some idea. Excluding some card types (eg counter spells) "just because" seems really silly.


I think everyone already answered this, but ya. I'll go even further: cards like that are often boring to me too, so I don't want to cram a game full of stuff I wouldn't like.

I mean using a few doesn't hurt, but if you get into that mentality, you're actively homogenizing your deck; at some point, what's the point of even playing it or using it if it's goldfishy and/or dull? EDH isn't a high stakes tournament. Sure, you need ways to win, but balance it out with interesting stuff.

I really want to go back and change my Reaper King deck some more, but I've been busy IRL and haven't had a lot time to post here or innovate. I barely got a bare bones write up of it, and what the purpose of the cards was. I want to add more high risk, high entertainment cards (Panglacial Wurm is an example of a cool card that doesn't suck in EDH).

I have enough good stuff poison as it is (Legendary Eldrazi). I'm going to try to push some of it out (Eternal Witness and Defense of the Heart are two of the most mindless includes in existence).


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Spirit of EDH and Deck Design
AgePosted: 2015-Jan-28 5:36 am 
User avatar

Joined: 2011-Jun-02 1:03 pm
Age: Wyvern
Location: Portland
To the OP:
If the deck avoids ALL of those things that people dislike, what is it doing that still bothers people? Who is the General?

Do you have other decks that you can rotate through? Sometimes the problem isn't "Counter/Combo/Stax/LD/Extra Turn/Brain Death" but is the fact that your opponents keep seeing the same thing every game. Variety can be a cure.

_________________
EDH Deck Count: 203!!!! (and counting !)

I'm playing through all of them in order at: http://edh100.wordpress.com
Decklists Here: http://tappedout.net/users/Nickel97/deck-folders/.

Powerful cards aren't the problem, Spikes are.


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Spirit of EDH and Deck Design
AgePosted: 2015-Jan-28 6:54 am 

Joined: 2012-Nov-21 3:29 am
Age: Drake
Decklist. It has a pretty strong Changeling and Goblin theme.

I need to rewrite this because it's badly explained, but I typically kill people with Mirror Entity, Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite, and/or Sun Quan, Lord of Wu with Goblin Tokens.

Sometimes I also kill people with Chameleon Colossus, Reaper King, Sun Titan, Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre, or Marit Lage.

It's not particularly consistent with what threat kills someone. It could be any of them; I could care less. I just want to be able to have a fighting chance against anything I run into.


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 48 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4  Next

All times are UTC - 7 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 25 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to: