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 Post subject: Color balancing, and commander selection
AgePosted: 2018-Nov-11 12:58 am 

Joined: 2011-Jan-03 4:23 pm
Age: Drake
1. Concern minor: How balanced do colors in mana costs need to be? I'm feeling a bit obsessive about making the mana amounts match as exactly as possible (e.g. my current Yasova chart has 30.5 green symbols--hybrid symbols count as 0.5 of each component color--30 blue symbols, and 31.5 red symbols. I'm itching to see if I can get one more blue symbol in there.), probably out of a feeling that each color should shoulder the same amount of the burden, and that doing so will make mana drought less of a problem. Only I've seen on TappedOut quite a few decks that are at least somewhat lopsided towards one color in particular...

2. Concern major: Is there a consensus on how to choose a commander? Right now I'm divided between philosophical cohesion (as determined by the guild quiz at the back of the Dissension player's guide; Jenara, Roon), potentially interesting mechanics in the 99 (Shu Yun, to get at both combat manipulation a la Invasion Plans and Boros Battleshaper, and at detainment things like Martial Law and Archon of the Triumvirate), and most appealing commander ability (Yasova).

It doesn't help that with Yasova, my main idea for 99 theme is itself combat manipulation (long story short, while thinking about Intet on her release, I was trying desperately to find red cards that appealed to me; burn didn't. Then I found Invasion Plans...). Although balancing that with steal-and-sacrifice shenanigans (including steal-and-smash-against-their-own-comrades) isn't proving easy.


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 Post subject: Re: Color balancing, and commander selection
AgePosted: 2018-Nov-11 4:58 am 
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Joined: 2009-Aug-20 7:49 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: New Hampshire
In my mind color balance is not a concern at all, so long as your mana base supports what you're doing.

As for choosing a commander... I don't know that there's a rule for that - I just pick ones that seem interesting to me, either because the commander itself is neat, or because the deck it leads to seems like fun. And sometimes, like with U/R artifacts before very recently, you just have to pick something random that fits the colors you want.

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 Post subject: Re: Color balancing, and commander selection
AgePosted: 2018-Nov-11 8:40 am 

Joined: 2015-Jan-14 2:58 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
I’d say color balance in the sense of equal numbers of mana symbols is a non-issue. Uneven color distribution can be solved at the manabase level fairly easily, by weighting your colored mana sources appropriately. It’s even likely you may decide that you increase the sources of one or more colors over their natural proportion because they are particularly important early game (e.g. green ramp) or have difficult colored mana costs (looking at you, BBBlack).

As for commanders, it’s really up to you. I tend towards the strategy of picking a Commander with an ability or characteristic I like and doubling down on it. Some of my commanders just allow the deck to function without defining that function, though. Personally, I will never choose a Commander for colors alone, but your methods may vary.

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 Post subject: Re: Color balancing, and commander selection
AgePosted: 2019-Jan-30 4:31 pm 

Joined: 2019-Jan-30 2:43 am
Age: Hatchling
If it's any consolation on the first point, I play a 4-color deck and it's 50% Blue, 33% Black, 9% Green, and 8% Red. Color balance doesn't actually matter.

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 Post subject: Re: Color balancing, and commander selection
AgePosted: 2019-Jan-31 7:48 am 
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Joined: 2011-Jan-16 5:36 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Toronto, ON
1. Not at all. Once a deck reaches around 3 colours and includes red, I find that I have about 8 red cards in it. I've even started to keep track which cards those 8 are (it varies a little); almost always present are Blasphemous Act, Chaos Warp and Vandalblast. Anyway, yeah, I wouldn't worry too much about that. There's no rule around it, and realistically you should play the cards that you like playing. (Or, if you enjoy that kind of symmetry, build for that! It's up to you, bottom line.)

2. The consensus should be: Play what you want. I think people play different commanders for different reasons. Some play 'just for the colours', others will play for a specific mechanic on their commander, and some will play for purely aesthetic reasons.

Sometimes we have ideas that don't work out. I recently built Ishkanah, Grafwidow with the aim of having many dead creatures as possible, but it didn't work out. I couldn't trigger Delirium consistently, even while the cards that wanted a pile of dead bodies didn't work consistently or well (think Oversold Cemetery and Tombstone Stairwell). It just... didn't work. I changed the build to be much more even across card types, with token generators and it works much better. Sometimes you just have to try something new.

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 Post subject: Re: Color balancing, and commander selection
AgePosted: 2019-Jan-31 11:56 am 
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Joined: 2010-Dec-10 12:16 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
1) The deck should determine if color balance matters. Some decks will naturally skew (e.g. Vampire or Fungus tribal) and can only be ruined trying to enforce "balance." Other decks will naturally balance (or come close - e.g. Bant enchantress) and some it will depend on the colors employed for the theme (e.g. Proliferate/counters matter will generally balance in Abzan, but skew in Grixis). I will say that I have found it easier to match land base and deck when the deck's color balance is either balanced across all colors or heavily skewed to a primary color with a splash of the other colors.

-Examples: My Ghave Fungus tribal is very bGw (probably 65-70% green, splash white and black) and my Karona Avatar tribal is fairly well balanced on the five colors (sub theme is avatar cycles) and both of them were easier to balance the manabase than my Gahiji Beast tribal, which is RGw, but not just a splash of white since most of the white symbols are on gold cards (56%G, 31%R, 13%W - Spread as 1W, 9R, 30G, 10RG, 2RW, 3GW, 5RGW).

2) As said previously, commander choice should be driven by what *you* find to be the most enjoyable, intriguing and fun build. I enjoy tribal, so the vast majority of my decks are inspired either by a tribe I want to build around (e.g. wanted beast tribal for years, but hated Uril - finally Gahiji came along) or a general that inspires new look at a tribe (e.g Nin, as a wizard tribal for "Tim"s).

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 Post subject: Re: Color balancing, and commander selection
AgePosted: 2019-Feb-18 4:01 am 
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Joined: 2017-Mar-11 6:43 am
Age: Dragon
1. Depends on a myriad of factors, not limited to but including... Commander color identity, number of fixing tools, opportunity cost of cards with prohibitive mana costs, number of discard outlets etc. I never recommend playing Cryptic Command in 3-5c, because the amount of time required to get it reliably online in an average game is often prohibitive. There are exceptions all of the time, but as you add colors, spells with heavy mana weights become more and more difficult to cast, and their opportunity cost is weighed against multicolored alternatives.

2. My own outlook is that Commander choice is always a double edged sword. It's almost always correct to choose a Commander who wants to be built around for gamestates you enjoy. That said- there are a number of Commanders which simply draw ire; it's up to the pilot to determine how to overcome this, but usually it involves expecting the table to turn against you- and managing to play a good table villain.

Ex: I love playing Turbo Magic- even when it means giving my opponents access to more of their resources (Temple Bell is one of my favorites.) So, my Commanders atm are Ephara, God of the Polis, Prime Speaker Zegana, Selvala, Explorer Returned, and Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni. None of them have a particularly frightening table presence in groups of longtime players, and each of them pushes towards fairly high power pivot plays that are absolutely satisfying. I enjoy playing with players of all experience levels, but especially like to angle my decks for punishing combo-oriented decks the most.

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