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 Post subject: Brainstorming decks for my wife and daughter
AgePosted: 2018-Nov-17 6:53 am 

Joined: 2015-Sep-02 2:49 am
Age: Drake
Location: Connecticut
I have an Endrek Sahr, Master Breeder deck. Endrek is far and away my favorite legend - a perfect storm of form and function - a story in a card. My wife enjoys playing Magic, but not against me because our decks were never on par. My daughter is similar. My Endrek deck is a fairly janky brew based around value for sacrifice. It’s full of cards like Blood Artist, Fleshbag Marauder and Gravepact, with no shortage of sac to destroy or sac to force discard outlets - a pretty decent strategy to control those thrulls - a fair bit of recursion to hand, because Endrek is on cast, not etb. For a good time, does anyone have suggestions for strategies that don’t simply nullify one another or play through one another that would lead to the kind of games my family like but I never offered? Thanks a bunch.


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 Post subject: Re: Brainstorming decks for my wife and daughter
AgePosted: 2018-Nov-17 8:27 am 
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Joined: 2009-Aug-20 7:49 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: New Hampshire
That deck sounds obnoxiously oppressive. The kind of thing that the fast combo decks of the world will just ignore, but that will turn a more relaxed game into an unpleasant slog. No offense intended, but it's hard to have a good time when your opponent has Grave Pact + Sac Outlet and an endless stream of sac fodder.

I guess a deck that spams so many tokens out that you can't control them along those lines would be one way to go. Sigarda, Host of Herons as a general would do the trick, although maybe a bit TOO good against that sort of strategy. Mazirek would make you think twice about how much you abuse those abilities as well. Yard hate to defend agains the recursion? Elesh Norn to make it so the thrulls never see the light of day? It's hard for me to say where the line between "stands up to you" and "runs you over" is.

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 Post subject: Re: Brainstorming decks for my wife and daughter
AgePosted: 2018-Nov-17 10:18 am 

Joined: 2015-Sep-02 2:49 am
Age: Drake
Location: Connecticut
Your post is full of good points. I made an honest effort with Endrek to get back to my roots. He’s technically a C-list Commander at best, and my deck runs 125.00 on TCG, so it’s hardly budgeted to be unstoppable. I was shooting for the Commander mantra here. I’ve begun feeling like needing to win has gotten in the way of having fun. I learned very early on that sacrifice was my favorite form of removal because it bypasses defense unless you build very specifically. It would be ironic if I built a deck that only beats people looking to have fun when I intended to have fun for the first time in years.


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 Post subject: Re: Brainstorming decks for my wife and daughter
AgePosted: 2018-Nov-17 1:00 pm 

Joined: 2012-Jun-07 5:38 pm
Age: Drake
The problem is that there are plenty of creature focused decks out there (voltron decks being the most vulnerable to your strategy). Like Sid said, there's going to be a very fine line between hosing you entirely and "playing fair." Sigarda and Mazirek are potentially strong counters to your strategy. As are enchantress decks, spell-based decks, combo decks and stax decks.

As long as there's a decent count of permission/removal available to draw into, it should help keep you from getting degenerate with things like Ashnod's Altar/Grave Pact/Dictate of Erebos, etc.

I would strongly suggest giving them a shot in making their primary color green or white. Certainly don't make their primary color black, as it's lack of ability to interact with enchantments and artifacts (without spending stupid money on old reserved list cards), will leave them with feel-bad's when you start to go off and they can't fight it. I might be presuming a lot, but the key pieces in your deck are likely enchantments and artifacts that let you combo/synergize very well.

Giving them the possible answers to those pieces is likely to give you the best compromise of Them feeling like they have a chance and having fun and you feeling like you're not steam-rolling them and that the games aren't so one-sided.

I'd suggest a 2 color deck. Something to help cover the weaknesses of mono-color, offer the right amount of complexity to prevent them from getting bored (potentially), and avoiding the consistency issues with a 3+ color deck. The cost of a consistent mana base for a deck with more colors may or may not be something you're willing to invest in/trade for. Budget options for a 3+ color deck are mostly ETB tapped lands, which won't do you any favors for their morale when most of your lands are swamps and come in untapped.


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 Post subject: Re: Brainstorming decks for my wife and daughter
AgePosted: 2018-Nov-17 3:00 pm 

Joined: 2015-Sep-02 2:49 am
Age: Drake
Location: Connecticut
I think my best bet is to build two decks in tandem designed to be interesting, like WotC would do for a duel-deck. Endrek has been my go-to commander off and on for years, but there are other interesting legends out there.


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 Post subject: Re: Brainstorming decks for my wife and daughter
AgePosted: 2018-Nov-17 11:45 pm 
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Joined: 2017-Mar-11 6:43 am
Age: Dragon
Anecdotally speaking- I do not think the problem is Endrek Sahr; but that it is likely a multifaceted system of variables that directly effect the quality of gameplay you're experiencing. I've been having similar issues with a new playgroup.

I. Commander has the highest execution barrier in MtG. It's Magic with weights, extra rules, the largest available cardpool, and the most fluid sense of "what's good". In both play and deckbuilding; the more experience you have with Magic, the more likely Commander is to shine a harsher-than-usual light on it. If you and your family members have different amounts of experience- you need to account for that. In my new playgroup, for example- my deck in our pod will often represent more than half of the removal at the table- so this group isn't used to regular punishment for greedy play.

II. Endrek sounds like a "developed" deck. You likely fidget with individual pieces semi-frequently; but the deck's core (which hopefully includes a large number of ways to utilize your tools to just finish the game like Exsanguinate, Profane Command etc.) has likely been the same for a while now. This can create lots of problems in communication- where you can likely account for what you are and are not playing- but the rest of the table may have to fumble with cards, read etc. The usual answer to this for a playgroup is the brew as a group; so you might want to box up Endrek until your playgroup have developed their own commander decks that run well- and have been played enough, and experimented with enough for their pilots to always feel like what they play matters.

III. It may come down to simply reserving Endrek for tables of similarly experienced players at your LGS, and making simpler EDH decks for home. Simpler doesn't mean boring; or without powerful cards- but it means to shortcut the combo-oriented nature of Magic once it obtains a sufficiently large cardpool. For these, you want to emphasize certain rules concepts throughout the deck; without necessarily pushing it towards explosiveness- and you can emphasize basics like running sufficient amounts of removal and good land counts; without confusion regarding recursion, effect looping etc. The Rube Goldberg Machine isn't as fun to watch if you aren't able to see it, and interact with it before it goes nuclear. Endrek is very rarely a combo deck in the classic sense of the term- but "Aristocrats"-style decks, and recursion oriented strategies create too many complicated interactions which can make someone who isn't familiar with every single interaction check out. Often, with recursion in General; you want to introduce it to your playgroup in very bite-size amounts (though, I've often seen players go ham once they "get" recursion- and overcommit themselves to it; which leads to many other feelbad complications. Good cards to introduce recursion as a concept with are Restock, Unburial Rites, Archaeomancer etc. You should seldom start with the most efficient versions of these; because recursion can be difficult to play around with or against.

IV. I view a very large part of Commander being about expression; I don't think it would be wise to develop more powerful decks and ask your family to play them- but it would be prudent to allow them to develop interest in their own favorite Legendary Creatures; and help them find what they want to do with that Commander; and develop that very specific sense of gameplan to be confident at the table.

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 Post subject: Re: Brainstorming decks for my wife and daughter
AgePosted: 2018-Nov-18 1:26 am 
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Joined: 2016-Nov-27 2:39 pm
Age: Dragon
Baron Cappuccino wrote:
I think my best bet is to build two decks in tandem designed to be interesting, like WotC would do for a duel-deck. Endrek has been my go-to commander off and on for years, but there are other interesting legends out there.

Having played against decks with a similar game plan, I think that is the best course of action. You can still play against Endrek elsewhere when the occasion arises. Sid is spot on with how oppressive those decks tend to feel to play against. Sacrifice based removal is pretty awesome, but building an entire deck around constant removal can be a bit much and makes it difficult to feel like you're getting anything done when you're playing against such a deck. That's a big ask to expect a less invested family member to play against for fun bonding time.

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Beloved precons: Atraxa, Praetors' Voice; Saskia the Unyielding; Freyalise, Llanowar's Fury.


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 Post subject: Re: Brainstorming decks for my wife and daughter
AgePosted: 2018-Nov-19 8:06 am 

Joined: 2015-Sep-02 2:49 am
Age: Drake
Location: Connecticut
I took everyone’s advice and won’t bother trying to make an unfriendly concept a little more friendly. I’ll return Endrek to his former very thematic “75%” self and work on motivating family Commander separately.


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 Post subject: Re: Brainstorming decks for my wife and daughter
AgePosted: 2018-Nov-19 11:43 pm 
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Joined: 2012-Sep-16 3:17 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Baron Cappuccino wrote:
I took everyone’s advice and won’t bother trying to make an unfriendly concept a little more friendly. I’ll return Endrek to his former very thematic “75%” self and work on motivating family Commander separately.

I think it's a great concept that with a few twists can become super casual. I find one of the issues is that the term Janky isn't really descriptive of the power level.

You if scale back some everyone sac outlets for Thrull tribal with a sac for value engine you'll find it's more enjoyable to play against.

See if you can get a decklist from your wife and daughter and we can look at making some suggestions to help thing get on par.


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 Post subject: Re: Brainstorming decks for my wife and daughter
AgePosted: 2018-Nov-21 5:43 am 
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Joined: 2010-May-09 10:39 am
Age: Elder Dragon
So we had a similar thing in our group when new players would come and they had just the pre-cons.
So I built a purposefully weaker deck around Jasmine Boreal. Themes were "Peace" and "Vengeance/Retribution", from the flavor text: "Peace must prevail, even if the wicked must die."
It has Peacekeeper, Rebuke the Wicked, Akroma, Angel of Wrath, Fyndhorn Pollen (jasmine being a flower, there is a nature sub-theme).

It doesn't win a ton of games but it's fun and my opponents have fun.
It can get ugly if I meld Gisela and Bruna, but that doesn't happen too often. :D

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Generals:
Jasmine Boreal - Flower power! Nature/Justice/Retribution themed casual fun.
Radha, Heir to Keld - All white-bordered!
Xantcha, Sleeper Agent - cEDH discard/attrition.
Pre-Modern:
A Denying Wind.
Duel Commander:
Nissa, Vastwoord Seer - Ramp ramp ramp into Ugin+Painter's Servant.
Kari Zev, Skyship Raider - Unbridled Aggro

Find me Saturdays at the Wizard's Tower - Ottawa and occasional Mondays at Westboro Legion for Duel Commander.


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 Post subject: Re: Brainstorming decks for my wife and daughter
AgePosted: 2018-Nov-21 11:29 pm 

Joined: 2009-Apr-21 3:38 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Palm Springs Area, CA
My sons have enjoyed commander centric decks. Two specifically:

Maelstrom Wanderer- ramp, and dudes. Turn em sideways.
Lord of Tresserhorn- tokens and trample with commander.

Mt wife has ennoyed Stonebrow. Again, ramp and dudes. Turn em sideways.

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 Post subject: Re: Brainstorming decks for my wife and daughter
AgePosted: 2018-Nov-23 11:21 am 

Joined: 2015-Sep-02 2:49 am
Age: Drake
Location: Connecticut
Tim Proctor wrote:
Baron Cappuccino wrote:
I took everyone’s advice and won’t bother trying to make an unfriendly concept a little more friendly. I’ll return Endrek to his former very thematic “75%” self and work on motivating family Commander separately.

I think it's a great concept that with a few twists can become super casual. I find one of the issues is that the term Janky isn't really descriptive of the power level.

You if scale back some everyone sac outlets for Thrull tribal with a sac for value engine you'll find it's more enjoyable to play against.

See if you can get a decklist from your wife and daughter and we can look at making some suggestions to help thing get on par.


My wife and daughter don't actually have commander decks yet. Well, my daughter technically owns the Orzhov precon helmed by Daxos the Returned, but it's been long disassembled for parts. When they played Magic with me in the past, it was 60 card and I had a burn deck. They enjoyed Magic against one another with large board states and some back and forth. They hated being irrelevant as I cast my seven bolt-likes and counted to 21 like they weren't playing. I see Commander as a format to redeem myself, but starting us on par will require me to at least build two other decks. If they build their first commander decks, which will effectively be building their first real decks, I'd have years of experience and tuning on my side. Should I finish three brews, I'll list them in the forums for input on their parity.


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 Post subject: Re: Brainstorming decks for my wife and daughter
AgePosted: 2018-Nov-27 11:34 am 
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Joined: 2010-Dec-10 12:16 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Baron Cappuccino wrote:
They enjoyed Magic against one another with large board states and some back and forth


If you can give us an idea of some of their 60 card decks, it might be easier to suggest commander decks they might like.

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Seshiro the Anointed - Snake Tribal
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