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MTG Commander/Elder Dragon Highlander • View topic - A Healthy Discussion on Tolarian Academy

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 Post subject: A Healthy Discussion on Tolarian Academy
AgePosted: 2010-Jan-28 9:15 am 
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Joined: 2008-May-04 6:05 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Wisconsin
Tolarian Academy is arguable the best land of all time, and if not the best, definitely top five. Now, I love artifacts and lots of mana to cast and activate them, but Tolarian Academy is a card, I feel, this format can do without. Don't go all berserk (as people seem to do when a card is brought into discussion) but I think this card needs to be further evaluated on how it effects the game. With the recent unbanning of Crucible, land destruction alone isn't enough to deal with an opposing Tolarian Academy. Crucible can be recurred with Academy Ruins and various other spells. It can be recurred by any basic Regrowth-like spell. Even graveyard hate sometimes isn't enough. The reuseable Reito Lantern is one way around it. I've seen people go as far as to include Rift Sweeper or Pull from Eternity just to make sure cards like Tolarian Academy don't stay out of the game for too long. One can easily defend his or her academy simply because of the advantage it gives them. So if the Academy can't be removed easily, why not try bashing in the face? It can happen, but the rest of the players are racing against an inevitable combo that will end the game, (whether it be Mind Over Matter, Palinchron, or other untapping shenanigans). Mass artifact removal is another option and I would say, from my experience, the most effective. However since so many decks rely on artifacts as a functional part of their deck, it doesn't necessarly gain you allies. On top of that, mass artifact removal is fairly rare in each color. Many of the decks I've seen run Roar of Reclaimation and Open the Vaults as a way to reccur multiple artifacts anyways so it also isn't always that effective. It is really an intricate process to knockout a player with a Tolarian Academy. I think it is time the EDH community discuss the power level of this card.


Last edited by American_Kid on 2010-Jan-28 12:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: A Healthy Discussion on Tolarian Academy
AgePosted: 2010-Jan-28 9:22 am 

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 Post subject: Re: A Healthy Discussion on Tolarian Academy
AgePosted: 2010-Jan-28 10:09 am 

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I think there's something to this argument.

Tolarian Academy is one of the best cards in the game for producing huge amounts of mana for little investment. Sure, you need to play a lot of artifacts...but Metalworker requires a much higher proportion of artifacts to be good, and he still got banned. Tolarian Academy is also much less fragile than Metalworker. I know I'd take Tolarian Academy over Metalworker any day, in any deck that could play both.

Tolarian Academy would be a very reasonable ban, in my opinion.


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 Post subject: Re: A Healthy Discussion on Tolarian Academy
AgePosted: 2010-Jan-28 10:42 am 
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 Post subject: Re: A Healthy Discussion on Tolarian Academy
AgePosted: 2010-Jan-28 11:11 am 
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 Post subject: Re: A Healthy Discussion on Tolarian Academy
AgePosted: 2010-Jan-28 11:16 am 

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The only deck that usually plays enough artifacts to support Metalworker and does NOT play blue is Karn. Karn is not remotely broken. I assure you, Metalworker is much more restricted in the decks it fits in than Tolarian Academy is.

Academy is played in many more decks than Metalworker was ever played in,


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 Post subject: Re: A Healthy Discussion on Tolarian Academy
AgePosted: 2010-Jan-28 12:39 pm 
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Location: Michigan
As much as I love my Tolarian Academy in my Sharuum deck, I'm going to have to agree. It's the card first tutored for, it's the card that allows the deck to do abusive things, and it's extremely hard to get rid of. Tolarian Academy turns otherwise powerful artifact decks into artifact decks that can just win on turn 4 or 5, without going infinite, though in some decks it makes going infinite a lot easier as well.

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 Post subject: Re: A Healthy Discussion on Tolarian Academy
AgePosted: 2010-Jan-28 12:49 pm 
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is a strong card, but it is not too strong. Here's a couple reasons why:

1) It requires artifacts to even make any mana. I've seen a number of times where it's just a legendary with a different name, and usually it's only making 3-4 mana. While this is still a lot of mana, it's only mana. Mana doesn't win games (nor does it lose them anymore, given M10 rules). The reason that requirement of artifacts is such an issue is that every color except black (and if you're playing mono-black/any black, you've probably got , so quit complaining) has ways of dealing with artifacts, and even without , decks with those colors would still run those cards. , , and any number of blue bounce and/or counter spells come to mind for spot removal, not to mention , , , , and their ilk to deal with lots of artifacts.

2) While it can make tons of mana, it still only makes mana. That means that it requires something else in order to accomplish anything positive, which means that opposing players have an opportunity to deal with whatever issue. Just as the artifacts that empower can be dealt with, so can the permanents or spells being used to win with Academy.

3) It requires running blue, which means that if you're playing against it you can run some of the best color hosers ever. , , , , and tons of others. Not to mention and kicking it in the junk.

4) You should probably be running at least one // effect anyways, which means you should be able to deal with the Academy itself. In fact, usually when I see a used, it isn't targetting Academy because there's usually a bigger land to detonate.

5) It's just as easy to amass critters in a green deck to abuse , and while it seems that blue should be a more dominant color, I've seen decks do waaaaaaaaaay more damage with critters + Cradle than Academy, and I've seen some pretty dickish Academy plays.

So, in my opinion, Academy is fine. It makes mana, which is fine. It doesn't say "you win the game". It requires other peices, all of which can be answered.


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 Post subject: Re: A Healthy Discussion on Tolarian Academy
AgePosted: 2010-Jan-28 1:20 pm 
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Location: Wisconsin
To respond:

1. As I said in the topic statement, mass artifact removal isn't enough in most games to check the power of Tolarian Academy. Even if you cast a spell that destroys all artifacts you have to ask the following questions:
a. Do they have countermagic?
b. Do they have Roar of Reclaimation or Open the Vaults?
c. How does this effect the rest of the players on the field?
See, you can't just say, "oh mass artifact removal, problemed solved." There are many results of playing any spell in a game of multiplayer magic, and some carry more of an effect than others. Typically, cards that do things to all players are going to get a much greater response than single target spells. Plus cards like Rack and Ruin, Return to Dust, and the other respectable x-1 artifact removal spells are simply not enough. Removing a couple of artifacts will not stop the Academy's power.

2. Yes it makes mana, that is the problem. There are X amount of things someone can do with lots of blue mana. There are, however, few ways that someone can gain that mana so quickly and efficiently. Every artifact that player plays not only pumps Academy, it helps set up their board position and gives them many options on how to knock the other players out.

3. Boil is completely irrelevant once the Academy is in play. Even if they don't have Academy up, again you have to ask how it effects the rest of the players. Plus, most decks are not mono blue and hardly run that many islands anyways. Red Elemental Blast is a 1-1. Don't get me wrong, its a good card but it does relatively nothing other than stop a single blue spell or permanent when they are playing multiple spells per turn (some of which won't even be blue). This is also true for Sirocco. Lets assume they have 4 instants in there hand. That is 16 points of damage assuming they don't do anything about it. The question at hand would be, does life matter at the point Tolarian Academy is online? Seedtime is a respectable answer but what will the extra turn accomplish? Are you able, right then on that turn, to gain such an advantage, an advantage greater than the Academy is producing for your opponent? Finally Blood Moon and Back to Basics are cards that answer Academy, but I can guarentee you won't have many friends after playing such cards. Lots of decks run less than 10 basics lands and I think that 10 should be more like one of each of their general's colors if the General's colors are greater than three.

4. Heres the problem with Stripmine and the like. Crucible... See no matter when you Waste or Strip the Academy, they can recur it during their Main Phase. (If you wait until the main phase then you are doing them a favor.)

5. Gaea's Cradle is in no way a comparison to Tolaria Academy. GC is much less reliable because there are plenty of more Wrath effects available then their are mass artifact removal spells. And I'm sure Yawg would agree here, blue mana is more powerful than green mana.

In conclusion, Academy does not say win the game directly, but it is one the most efficient and consistant routes to winning the game. Any card can be answered, however some are so efficient and easily accessible/recurrable/abuseable that too many answers are needed in order to stop it.


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 Post subject: Re: A Healthy Discussion on Tolarian Academy
AgePosted: 2010-Jan-28 3:58 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: A Healthy Discussion on Tolarian Academy
AgePosted: 2010-Jan-28 4:09 pm 
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Location: Michigan
After talking with some people I have revised my position on the matter. I don't think Tolarian Academy warrants banning. I think a few factors contribute to the power that Tolarian Academy enjoys:

1. Players don't run enough artifact removal. I've seen time and time again that artifacts, and enchantments, go unanswered for long stretches, or fail to be answered at all. Playgroups need to realize that these two permanent types have the potential to do some serious damage if not dealt with. In short, run more artifact/enchantment hate, people!

2. Players don't run enough graveyard hate. You don't have to run a lot, but running one or two cards that can deal with problematic graveyard shenanigans is generally a good idea.

3. The decks that want Tolarian Academy are set up to maximize its use. Whether it be Sharuum, Arcum, Sens Triplets, or other artifact-themed decks, these decks are the ones where Tolarian Academy actually becomes ridiculous. It's probably okay that a card be ridiculous in certain themed decks.

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 Post subject: Re: A Healthy Discussion on Tolarian Academy
AgePosted: 2010-Jan-28 4:40 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: A Healthy Discussion on Tolarian Academy
AgePosted: 2010-Jan-28 10:50 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: A Healthy Discussion on Tolarian Academy
AgePosted: 2010-Jan-29 6:54 am 
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Honestly, as far as combos go, some of those don't seem amazingly insidious. Granted, Beacon + Planar Portal is a dick move, but that's where stuff like Wild Ricochet shines, as well as responding to the Portal activiation with something like Seek or Jester's Cap.


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 Post subject: Re: A Healthy Discussion on Tolarian Academy
AgePosted: 2010-Jan-29 7:42 am 

Joined: 2008-Aug-08 6:34 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Rouen, France
Ok, I'm going to be a little less trite this time around.

Honestly people, who here (apart from the OP) has been sitting contemplating the detrimental and warping effects of Tolarian Academy in the format?

Yes it is very strong. So is Gaea's Cradle (probably even moreso) and I don't see threads starting debating the potential for banning (because let's face it, that's what's happening right here) of the Cradle.

Who went to their last EDH night and sat across from Academy going "Hell no! That's gotta leave this format!"? Nothing has changed since the spoiling of Zendikar or WWK that warrents this consideration (though I accept that a set that's coming out in 9 months time may have the potential to cause us to reconsider it but until then, can't we just let it lie?)

I'm all for healthy discussion but this thread is a motor for a ban call on Academy. It's an attempt at scare-mongering and that's just wrong.

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