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 Post subject: Discard in EDH
AgePosted: 2019-Aug-25 9:36 am 
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Joined: 2012-Dec-03 3:16 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Hello all, so I was talking with Sheldon and as he was looking at my Karador deck he was very curious why I have some discard (3 cards) in it. Burglar Rat, Black Cat and Syphon Mind in case it matters. He asked me why and I think I explained it very poorly. I use them to help dictate the speed of the game. If people think they will have to discard a lot they are more likely to play things sooner rather than waiting for the absolute perfect time. Case in point, if you knew you had forever to hold on to Decree of Justice, you likely will not cycle it for 5, you will play it for 7 of those sweet 4/4 angels.

The example that I used poorly, is that if I want to try to slow down the game I will counterspell something within the first 3-4 turns. Something like a Kodama's Reach or something else that is not game breaking but good enough that people think I am playing 400 other counterspells... but discard is a way for me to speed up the pace.

Now I get that sometimes people will call my bluff, or even worse get upset that I made them discard something and target me for the rest of the game. I am not advocating that we play Duress or some other 1 for 1, even Hymn to Tourach generally doesn't get you enough to warrent inclusion. But a spell creature in Karador, or Syphon Mind in every deck with black just makes sense to me.

So, what are your thoughts? Am I a savage for daring to play discard? Is there a better way to speed up some games? (Just to be clear, I am not talking about ending the game in 3 turns, I am talking about getting people to play spells so we don't have 9 rounds of land-go).

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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


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 Post subject: Re: Discard in EDH
AgePosted: 2019-Aug-25 10:29 am 
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Joined: 2009-Aug-20 7:49 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: New Hampshire
If your group doesn't catch on to your head games, it seems reasonable.

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 Post subject: Re: Discard in EDH
AgePosted: 2019-Aug-25 11:40 am 
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Joined: 2010-Dec-10 12:16 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Generally speaking:

Incidental discard (where it happens to be on a card/creature that is in the deck for other reasons) is the least annoying to me (such as Black Cat in a Cat tribal under Lord Windgrace).

Discard as part of a theme or subtheme is more acceptable to me that discard for the sake of discard.

Also, targeted discard (look and choose what they discard, or discard <something> when you know they have drawn or you have bounced <something>) is really just another form of removal, and is also less bothersome to me that random discard.

Discard locks, trying to make sure I never have cards in hand, is where I would definitely not play against that deck (and/or possibly player) again.

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 Post subject: Re: Discard in EDH
AgePosted: 2019-Aug-25 2:39 pm 
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Joined: 2012-Feb-07 4:15 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Generally speaking, there is exactly one reason I will run discard, and that is if it accomplishes some other peripheral goal. That goal is 99.94% of the time reanimation or other GY shenanigans, but other possible reasons include:

- Cards like Fiend of the Shadows where it's functionally more of a steal effect.
- Cards like The Eldest Reborn or Angrath, the Flame-Chained where the discard effect itself is periphery.
- If I'm building a wheel or group hug deck God I hate wheel decks, and group hug decks aren't far behind.

And when I intentionally run discard, I do as much as possible to make it all opponents, not targeted. Not only does targeted discard tend to be more of a punch below the belt, I think it's just bad. Swords to Plowshares is bad enough card disadvantage, and it gets rid of something that's a threat right now, usually permanently. Targeted discard costs you a card to hamper one person out of the 3+, in a way that is very often either trivially easy to come back from or unbearably crippling, with very little room in between.


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 Post subject: Re: Discard in EDH
AgePosted: 2019-Aug-25 4:07 pm 
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Joined: 2008-Mar-24 12:14 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Oakland, CA
My Lazav, Dimir Mastermind deck is very happy to cast Cabal Conditioning or Ill-Gotten Gains or Seer's Vision or even Recoil; it also runs Sadistic Hypnotist although I'm considering replacing it with Scandalmonger or maybe something completely unrelated.

I also have a soft spot for Dimir Cutpurse and Fungal Shambler.

On the topic of influencing the pace of the game, there are other ways to interact with hand sizes, like Iron Maiden, Viseling, Price of Knowledge, Adamaro, First to Desire, Vicious Shadows, and more of these effects. I suspect having a discard-when-dies trigger in play would be a little too subtle for some playgroups to change their plays, but these more direct punishers might work.


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 Post subject: Re: Discard in EDH
AgePosted: 2019-Aug-26 12:21 am 
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Joined: 2008-Feb-29 5:57 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Duvall, WA
its been said already, but discard only really sucks when it keeps me on 0 cards in hand. discard isnt a problem, not being able to play IS


Last edited by Shoe on 2019-Aug-28 11:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Discard in EDH
AgePosted: 2019-Aug-28 5:54 am 

Joined: 2012-Mar-31 11:52 am
Age: Elder Dragon
I think single discard effects like Black Cat are mediocre in a vacuum. In something like Karador I would much rather play Sadistic Hypnotist or Mindslicer.


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 Post subject: Re: Discard in EDH
AgePosted: 2019-Aug-28 11:59 pm 

Joined: 2019-Apr-29 9:42 pm
Age: Drake
So I have thoughts on this.

Many people have different reactions to your form of control which is anywhere between, “this is acceptable” and “this is unfun or gamebreaking”. So it’s best to keep that in mind that I am not playing at some specific power level or meta that you might agree with.

With that outta the way I think the best discard in the game are effects that target all opponents or all players such as mind slicer or sire of insanity. Another variation of this would be something like cabel conditioning.

To me playing mass discard or even picking cards outta hands using something like vendilion clique is a vary under utilized part of edh. More often then not people rely on using high variation of control or combo (usually a mix of both) to win. These kinda of strategies are only more viable because far to little is done to those individuals save for beating them up in the early game with creatures or spot removing specific cards to slow them down.

Another way to achieve this control over the game is to know who your playing against and target them with something like bitter ordeal. This stops someone from using cards like Protean Hulk , purpohrous or other high win rate cards forcing them to rely on slower or more easier to remove conditions to win the game.

The people who usually win off sandbagging cards and trying to get others to remove threats will always hate discard but it’s a natural part of the game and maybe they shouldn’t play their Necropotence on turn three in their mono black deck just to basically lock themselves out of the game turn 5 or 6 because someone plays a sire of insanity. The greed should cost them something or they could just play different cards for the meta.. btw I would also qualify emrakul as a sorta distribution/discard card.

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 Post subject: Re: Discard in EDH
AgePosted: 2019-Sep-02 4:09 pm 

Joined: 2014-Jul-26 11:35 am
Age: Elder Dragon
I agree with your sentiment but not your examples. Mass discard effects are fairly close to stax effects, with sire of insanity being a more oppressive rule of law as long as it's in play.

In a similar fashion mindslicer is probably turning this effect up to 11 when a solid 7 should be more than adequate. I think the examples in the OP, especially siphon mind, are a perfect response to a meta of slow rolling control/combo decks.

Additionally I really like your suggestion of bitter ordeal. I used to have that card in a deck as a win-condition, but I think it might be work me putting back in a few decks to strip combo pieces. I have always been of the opinion that a combo deck has to be able to function against a jesters cap and if more people played those effects we might see people developing more diverse decks.

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 Post subject: Re: Discard in EDH
AgePosted: 2019-Sep-03 1:47 am 
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Joined: 2012-Dec-03 3:16 am
Age: Elder Dragon
cryogen wrote:
I think single discard effects like Black Cat are mediocre in a vacuum. In something like Karador I would much rather play Sadistic Hypnotist or Mindslicer.


I agree that would be a way to take it to a more competitive level, but...

specter404 wrote:
I agree with your sentiment but not your examples. Mass discard effects are fairly close to stax effects, with sire of insanity being a more oppressive rule of law as long as it's in play.

In a similar fashion mindslicer is probably turning this effect up to 11 when a solid 7 should be more than adequate. I think the examples in the OP, especially siphon mind, are a perfect response to a meta of slow rolling control/combo decks.


I have tried out 3 different stores in the past 3 months, the one that was the most fun is about 2 hours away. I found 2 more that are within 30 minutes from where I live so I will try them out at some point the next month or so but for right now I don't think I want to be that competitive.

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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


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