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MTG Commander/Elder Dragon Highlander • View topic - New Phyrexia's Impact on Infect as a Strategy (Spoilers)

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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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Joined: 2010-Mar-03 10:07 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Milwaukee, WI


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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

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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


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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

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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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Age: Elder Dragon
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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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Joined: 2008-Nov-08 5:27 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Canberra
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

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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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Joined: 2010-Mar-12 3:20 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
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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Current Commander Decks:
Alesha, She who Smiles at Death.....Atraxa, Praetors' Voice.....Eight-and-a-Half-Tails.....Gonti, Lord of Luxury.....Karametra, God of Harvests.....Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker.....Kozilek, the Great Distortion.....Prime Speaker Zegana.....Rubinia Soulsinger.....Thrasios, Triton Hero + Vial Smasher the Fierce

My general commander philosophy: Using your opponent's degenerate cards against them is far more satisfying than playing degenerate cards yourself.


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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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