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 Post subject: Re: Planeswalkers as Commanders
AgePosted: 2015-Apr-24 1:39 am 
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I'd like to see Planeswalkers be allowed as commanders as a general rule, which would make the special rule on the 2014 Commander redundant and I don't think it would be bad overall.

While I agree that some planeswalkers would be not very fun to play as a Commander, like Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded, I also think there are plenty of legendary creatures that are just as bad and don't see play because of it (like a ton of legendary creatures from Legends and Kamigawa block).

There is a decent case to be made about simplicity vs. complexity for allowing planeswalkers and I am sympathetic to such cases, but I would favour of the idea of removing unnecessary rules from the format to put this one in so that overall rules complexity is kept roughly the same.

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 Post subject: Re: Planeswalkers as Commanders
AgePosted: 2015-Apr-24 2:46 am 
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Karn Liberated as a commander would be the worst thing in the entire universe

cheethorne wrote:
There is a decent case to be made about simplicity vs. complexity for allowing planeswalkers and I am sympathetic to such cases, but I would favour of the idea of removing unnecessary rules from the format to put this one in so that overall rules complexity is kept roughly the same.


I'm not sure what you mean here since allowing all planeswalkers to be commanders would be more complexity and an additional rule, not less. What rule would you remove to make room for planeswalkers as commanders????

Flavor-wise, I kind of see it I guess (They are named creatures and powerful opponents in their own right, and many of them do have legendary creature cards as well), but mechanic wise? Can you imagine playing against someone who can just keep recasting Ajani Vengeant? Sorin Markov? (furthermore, would his 2 ping count as commander damage? There's a fair amount of confusion to justify it in either direction considering the precedent of Heartless Hidetsugu.) Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker? GOD.

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Last edited by Ziontific on 2015-Apr-24 3:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Planeswalkers as Commanders
AgePosted: 2015-Apr-24 2:57 am 

Joined: 2015-Mar-04 12:43 am
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cheethorne wrote:
While I agree that some planeswalkers would be not very fun to play as a Commander, like Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded, I also think there are plenty of legendary creatures that are just as bad and don't see play because of it (like a ton of legendary creatures from Legends and Kamigawa block).

I don't remember anobody arguing that some planeswalkers are too sucky as commanders and should not be accepted as such for that reason.
Actually, it's rather the contrary that worries people. As Ziontific has explained, there is a fair number of planeswalkers that would probably be just too obnoxious to play against over and over.


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 Post subject: Re: Planeswalkers as Commanders
AgePosted: 2015-Apr-24 3:58 am 
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lumination wrote:
I don't remember anobody arguing that some planeswalkers are too sucky as commanders and should not be accepted as such for that reason.

This is the quote that I was referring to:

JJackson wrote:
Of the currently existing non-commander planeswalkers, some are fine to lead a deck and others would make for a really miserable experience to play against.

Sadly, I misread the quote and I thought the poster was saying that some planeswalkers would be miserable to play, not play against. Even then, it is debatable if the poster was even trying to make a point about whether the rule should be changed instead of just making a general observation. So, bad on me.

Either way, I don't think it would matter. Some planeswalkers would be terrible to play and no one would play them as Commanders and some may be too good and need to be banned. Such is the way of all legendary creatures.

Ziontific wrote:
Karn Liberated as a commander would be the worst thing in the entire universe

I doubt that. The player is limited to colourless cards, which means it is going to be an artifact deck. Is Karn Liberated really so much more terrible to play against than a well tuned Kozilek, Butcher of Truth or Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre deck? So the opponent has a recurring source of permanent removal. That's quite nice, but I doubt it rises to the level of "worst thing" in the universe.

Ziontific wrote:
I'm not sure what you mean here since allowing all planeswalkers to be commanders would be more complexity and an additional rule, not less. What rule would you remove to make room for planeswalkers as commanders????

I wasn't especially clear. Sorry about that. Adding planeswalkers would definitely be adding complexity to the rules, I agree and I was trying to say that.

As for what rule to remove, the one I would choose is limiting the colour of mana you can produce during a game to be based on your commander's colour identity (rule 4). One less thing to tell people in exchange for one more thing to tell them.

Ziontific wrote:
Flavor-wise, I kind of see it I guess, but mechanic wise? Can you imagine playing against someone who can just keep recasting Ajani Vengeant? Sorin Markov? Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker?

What's wrong with Nicol Bolas? He costs seven mana and does one thing when he comes into play and he costs eight mana to cast the first time you try to cast him. This is a multi-player game and blowing up one thing a turn or taking control of one creature a turn doesn't seem back breaking.

Sorin's life setting ability is more troublesome, but you are then limited to a mono-black deck that is competing in a very similar space as Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon and Sorin requires a lot more time between each use of his life setting power than the blight dragon does.

For Ajani, it would give R/W a decent control-based commander. That doesn't seem like a bad thing and there is no way that this is anywhere close to as bad as the really powerful commanders out there right now.

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 Post subject: Re: Planeswalkers as Commanders
AgePosted: 2015-Apr-24 4:01 am 

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 Post subject: Re: Planeswalkers as Commanders
AgePosted: 2015-Apr-24 4:05 am 

Joined: 2013-Aug-20 4:37 am
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cheethorne wrote:
JJackson wrote:
Of the currently existing non-commander planeswalkers, some are fine to lead a deck and others would make for a really miserable experience to play against.

Sadly, I misread the quote and I thought the poster was saying that some planeswalkers would be miserable to play, not play against. Even then, it is debatable if the poster was even trying to make a point about whether the rule should be changed instead of just making a general observation. So, bad on me.

I was arguing that the rule should not be changed for the general case, but that if you build a cool PW-lead deck that your group can probably be convinced to give it a shot in that specific case.

As an aside, Tibalt is actually the PW that I would be most likely to build a deck around specifically because he is so low in power level.


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 Post subject: Re: Planeswalkers as Commanders
AgePosted: 2015-Apr-24 4:07 am 
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lumination wrote:
Actually, it's rather the contrary that worries people. As Ziontific has explained, there is a fair number of planeswalkers that would probably be just too obnoxious to play against over and over.

I want to single this out again, because I think this point is important to talk about.

When looked at in a vacuum, a card like Ajani Vengeant, for example, seems really strong if you can always get it as a Commander. It does strong things. It is a powerful card. But the cards don't live in a vacuum and the planeswalkers have to be compared to biggest threats already available and I don't think Ajani is the thing that is going to cause a Red / White deck to blast ahead of decks like Zur the Enchanter or Derevi, Empyrial Tactician or Prossh, Skyraider of Kher.

In fact, I doubt any of the planeswalkers, no matter how good they are as cards, are going to do that. Think of any of the mono-blue ones, specifically Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Jace is a great and very powerful card, but in terms of playing against a a mono-blue commander, is he worse than seeing someone with an Arcum Dagsson deck? Or an Azami, Lady of Scrolls deck?

And I think all of the planewalkers are going to end up like that. Good decks, yes. Powerful cards, certainly. Worse than the top decks out there right now, I highly doubt it.

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 Post subject: Re: Planeswalkers as Commanders
AgePosted: 2015-Apr-24 4:52 am 
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cheethorne wrote:
lumination wrote:
Actually, it's rather the contrary that worries people. As Ziontific has explained, there is a fair number of planeswalkers that would probably be just too obnoxious to play against over and over.

I want to single this out again, because I think this point is important to talk about.

When looked at in a vacuum, a card like Ajani Vengeant, for example, seems really strong if you can always get it as a Commander. It does strong things. It is a powerful card. But the cards don't live in a vacuum and the planeswalkers have to be compared to biggest threats already available and I don't think Ajani is the thing that is going to cause a Red / White deck to blast ahead of decks like Zur the Enchanter or Derevi, Empyrial Tactician or Prossh, Skyraider of Kher.

In fact, I doubt any of the planeswalkers, no matter how good they are as cards, are going to do that. Think of any of the mono-blue ones, specifically Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Jace is a great and very powerful card, but in terms of playing against a a mono-blue commander, is he worse than seeing someone with an Arcum Dagsson deck? Or an Azami, Lady of Scrolls deck?

And I think all of the planewalkers are going to end up like that. Good decks, yes. Powerful cards, certainly. Worse than the top decks out there right now, I highly doubt it.


Very well said. I agree with you.


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 Post subject: Re: Planeswalkers as Commanders
AgePosted: 2015-Apr-24 5:30 am 
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Comparing some of these planeswalkers to current commanders that are, arguably, overpowered and easy to break isn't exactly selling me on it. I'm not saying they would necessarily be THE most powerful commanders in that particular slice of color, but that many of these cards are purposefully very powerful because they are so easily killed that to have constant access to them would not be intended for the power level of most planeswalkers.

Also, I meant that Karn Liberated games would take 10000000 years - constantly restarting the game every time it went south - that's why it would be completely terrible.

I purposefully singled out two 'walkers (Nicol and Ajani) that have the ability to take out lands as specifically un-fun to play against, but everyone's tastes run differently.

It's also not necessarily about the powerlevel of them - it's also about creating format-specific errata to make it available, and then having to tack on extra rules and create a bigger ban list as fallout from the change. Something like that is generally best avoided.

But - as mentioned - build the deck you wanna build, check with your group if you can use your favorite planeswalker, and just keep a backup general. No real harm there.

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 Post subject: Re: Planeswalkers as Commanders
AgePosted: 2015-Apr-24 5:46 am 
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Ziontific wrote:
Comparing some of these planeswalkers to current commanders that are, arguably, overpowered and easy to break isn't exactly selling me on it.

But comparing them against mediocre or weak legendary creatures would not be an accurate comparison and could skew things badly. Knowing that planeswalker X is better than some random and bad legendary creature doesn't give any kind of useful information.

Ziontific wrote:
I'm not saying they would necessarily be THE most powerful commanders in that particular slice of color, but that many of these cards are purposefully very powerful because they are so easily killed that to have constant access to them would not be intended for the power level of most planeswalkers.

The same is true for all legendary creatures (that don't have some kind of built-in recursion). The death tax is supposed to compensate for the recursion.

Ziontific wrote:
Also, I meant that Karn Liberated games would take 10000000 years - constantly restarting the game every time it went south - that's why it would be completely terrible.

It takes three turns for Karn to be able to perform his ultimate ability and doing even one damage adds on an extra turn to that. If a table cannot inflict one point of damage against Karn in three turns, I think the table is having some bad problems. Even if Karn played cards that could shave a turn or two off of that it is still quite slow to pull off and should be just as easy to disrupt as any game winning combo that takes several turns of on-board presence to disrupt.

Ziontific wrote:
I purposefully singled out two 'walkers (Nicol and Ajani) that have the ability to take out lands as specifically un-fun to play against, but everyone's tastes run differently.

Nicol kills one land a turn starting when the player has 8 mana and when doing so is not killing anything else or stealing any creatures. Ajani has to get to his ultimate and even then only destroys all the land of one player leaving all of the other players intact. And this is in a Red / White deck, a deck with plenty of access to mass land destruction spells and effects.

Ziontific wrote:
It's also not necessarily about the powerlevel of them - it's also about creating format-specific errata to make it available, and then having to tack on extra rules and create a bigger ban list as fallout from the change.

What format-specific errata? Just change Rule 1 to say "legendary creature or planeswalker", the cards themselves don't have to change at all. Now, there are a few more things that would need to be clarified, like how damage from a planewalker is just like non-combat damage from a commander, but that's not too wordy to do.

As for possibly expanding the ban list, this excuse was brought up against allowing Memnarch and friends be used as commanders and it was brought up when changing the tuck rule. Sometimes you just have to let the ban list do what it does. Unless you are willing to say that most planeswalkers would be banned, I certainly think it would be a net positive even if one or two did have to be banned.

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 Post subject: Re: Planeswalkers as Commanders
AgePosted: 2015-Apr-24 6:03 am 
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cheethorne wrote:
Ziontific wrote:
Comparing some of these planeswalkers to current commanders that are, arguably, overpowered and easy to break isn't exactly selling me on it.

But comparing them against mediocre or weak legendary creatures would not be an accurate comparison and could skew things badly. Knowing that planeswalker X is better than some random and bad legendary creature doesn't give any kind of useful information.

Ziontific wrote:
I'm not saying they would necessarily be THE most powerful commanders in that particular slice of color, but that many of these cards are purposefully very powerful because they are so easily killed that to have constant access to them would not be intended for the power level of most planeswalkers.

The same is true for all legendary creatures (that don't have some kind of built-in recursion). The death tax is supposed to compensate for the recursion.

Ziontific wrote:
Also, I meant that Karn Liberated games would take 10000000 years - constantly restarting the game every time it went south - that's why it would be completely terrible.

It takes three turns for Karn to be able to perform his ultimate ability and doing even one damage adds on an extra turn to that. If a table cannot inflict one point of damage against Karn in three turns, I think the table is having some bad problems. Even if Karn played cards that could shave a turn or two off of that it is still quite slow to pull off and should be just as easy to disrupt as any game winning combo that takes several turns of on-board presence to disrupt.

Ziontific wrote:
I purposefully singled out two 'walkers (Nicol and Ajani) that have the ability to take out lands as specifically un-fun to play against, but everyone's tastes run differently.

Nicol kills one land a turn starting when the player has 8 mana and when doing so is not killing anything else or stealing any creatures. Ajani has to get to his ultimate and even then only destroys all the land of one player leaving all of the other players intact. And this is in a Red / White deck, a deck with plenty of access to mass land destruction spells and effects.

Ziontific wrote:
It's also not necessarily about the powerlevel of them - it's also about creating format-specific errata to make it available, and then having to tack on extra rules and create a bigger ban list as fallout from the change.

What format-specific errata? Just change Rule 1 to say "legendary creature or planeswalker", the cards themselves don't have to change at all. Now, there are a few more things that would need to be clarified, like how damage from a planewalker is just like non-combat damage from a commander, but that's not too wordy to do.

As for possibly expanding the ban list, this excuse was brought up against allowing Memnarch and friends be used as commanders and it was brought up when changing the tuck rule. Sometimes you just have to let the ban list do what it does. Unless you are willing to say that most planeswalkers would be banned, I certainly think it would be a net positive even if one or two did have to be banned.


well said.


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 Post subject: Re: Planeswalkers as Commanders
AgePosted: 2015-Apr-24 6:54 am 

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i was writing a very long and well thought out essay, then it occurred to me that my opposition to planeswalkers as commanders (even the precon ones) comes down to one very simple point (and gloriously sums up my enmity to the theros pantheon. bonus!)

The are a different card type.

Sure it doesn't seem like a big thing, but every card type comes with its own set of design rules. Every type has its own list of possible interactions. A Commander's elevation of status and recurablity means that it must be give special attention by deckbuilders when thinking about how to use it, and how to be prepared against it.

Planeswalkers aren't creatures. They don't die in normal wraths. Most removal doesn't get them. They must be interacted with in a way unique to their card type (being attacked, and cards that target planeswalkers).

When designing a commander deck in the pre-2014 precon environment, the designer had to acknowledge that each of his opponents would have a creature they would almost always have access to that their deck was shaped around in some way. Which means that creature based removal should be included, or at the very least a reliable means of blocking to stop those 21 fatal points of commander damage.

Now that walkers are occasionally allowed, that assumption has to grow. Now in design you have to prepare for the possibility of a creature OR a planeswalker, and with few rare removal that targets both (Hero's Downfall, Dreadbore, Vindicate, Utter End, O Ring, Banishing Light, Beast Within, Some Burn [technically], probably more, list not meant to be all encompassing). Every permanent type you add increases the burden on deck designers.

The Theros Pantheon is similar. Since they are always indestructable, and sometimes enchantments, it is necessary to add another layer to your "general answers" section of your deck. A layer that doesn't exist in every color.

The more things we have to assume could always be a threat in every deck, the more room has to be devoted to general survival, and the less room one has to work with for deck theme and function.

Not all colors have equal access to removal for other permanents. Maro and the Devs have repeatedly stated that creatures are the core of magic, and build the game around them. Green fights with them (both keyword and in combat), other colors have their own removal methods and combat. Other permanent types aren't as universal. Red and black are blanked against Enchantments. Black doesn't fair well with artifacts. Blue gets largely temporary removal for creatures. Planeswalkers operate differently, and while they can be attacked, the behave like a different player in combat. Effectively splitting the attackers resources. This works fine on a one use card. But with the repeated recursion of the commander becomes problematic. Enchantments even escape the combat option, forcing red to use Chaos Warp or artifacts to interact.

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 Post subject: Re: Planeswalkers as Commanders
AgePosted: 2015-Apr-24 7:39 am 

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I am happy this isnt going to become a standardized thing across the format. I think the 5 that were specifically created were... neat... but as a personal preference I like the creatures on those decks as the commanders quite a bit more. Daretti might be the lone exception, but Feldon is still really cool. Daretti is a lot of fun though. However, there would be planeswalkers that would be a lot of fun as commanders. Gideon Jura would be a very good one. I agree that this should be done as a house rule only. I have noticed that the decks that run PW as commanders tend to have some longer more drawn out games.


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 Post subject: Re: Planeswalkers as Commanders
AgePosted: 2015-Apr-24 8:01 am 
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redcarddraw wrote:
i was writing a very long and well thought out essay, then it occurred to me that my opposition to planeswalkers as commanders (even the precon ones) comes down to one very simple point (and gloriously sums up my enmity to the theros pantheon. bonus!)

The are a different card type.
This may be so, but to me Planeswalkers have always felt like "Legendary+", and so have always felt to me like they're more appropriate as commanders than Legendary creatures are.

redcarddraw wrote:
Planeswalkers aren't creatures. They don't die in normal wraths. Most removal doesn't get them. They must be interacted with in a way unique to their card type (being attacked, and cards that target planeswalkers).
[...]
Now that walkers are occasionally allowed, that assumption has to grow. Now in design you have to prepare for the possibility of a creature OR a planeswalker, and with few rare removal that targets both (Hero's Downfall, Dreadbore, Vindicate, Utter End, O Ring, Banishing Light, Beast Within, Some Burn [technically], probably more, list not meant to be all encompassing). Every permanent type you add increases the burden on deck designers.
There are several problems with your reasoning:

1) Every Commander deck does have ways of dealing with PWs - creatures. Your own commander if nothing else.
2) So, not all board wipes hit the PWs - that's not that big a deal, since they gain two larger weaknesses to make up for it: Every creature can be considered potential PW removal, and PWs cannot be reliably equipped or enchanted like other commanders can.
3) You complain that you have to prepare spot removal for creature or PWs as generals, and then list some cards that can hit both - but people are often already running these cards, as an enemy PW is already often as big a threat as the general, and the flexibility of those cards is good for the deck.

redcarddraw wrote:
The Theros Pantheon is similar. Since they are always indestructable, and sometimes enchantments, it is necessary to add another layer to your "general answers" section of your deck. A layer that doesn't exist in every color.
I'd say the Gods are far, far worse. There are a lot of decks that cannot deal with the Gods, especially if they don't turn into creatures. Every single commander deck I've ever seen run can deal with PWs.

redcarddraw wrote:
The more things we have to assume could always be a threat in every deck, the more room has to be devoted to general survival, and the less room one has to work with for deck theme and function.
Except, as I've already said, I've never seen a deck that couldn't already deal with planeswalkers, and 99% of those can deal with planeswalkers more efficiently than with creatures.

redcarddraw wrote:
Not all colors have equal access to removal for other permanents.
However, all colors already have options to deal with planeswalkers, often better than their options for dealing with creatures - especially since the PW type comes with removal options you cannot avoid like you can with creatures. A hexproof, indestructible commander is made barely harder to kill (creature and burn kills take it out just as easily), but a hexproof, indestructible creature is a nightmare.

redcarddraw wrote:
Planeswalkers operate differently, and while they can be attacked, the behave like a different player in combat. Effectively splitting the attackers resources. This works fine on a one use card. But with the repeated recursion of the commander becomes problematic.
I'd say it's less problematic than a recurrable creature. If I swing in with my creatures and kill your PW, I still can have those creatures around when you recast your PW. I've lost an attack, but no cards from my hand. If I spot remove your creature commander, I'm down a card - and will have to hope I have another spot removal in hand when you recast (and be down another card). With PWs, I can just swing and kill every time it hits the field.

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 Post subject: Re: Planeswalkers as Commanders
AgePosted: 2015-Apr-25 3:01 am 
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Willbender wrote:
1) Every Commander deck does have ways of dealing with PWs - creatures. Your own commander if nothing else.
2) So, not all board wipes hit the PWs - that's not that big a deal, since they gain two larger weaknesses to make up for it: Every creature can be considered potential PW removal, and PWs cannot be reliably equipped or enchanted like other commanders can.
3) You complain that you have to prepare spot removal for creature or PWs as generals, and then list some cards that can hit both - but people are often already running these cards, as an enemy PW is already often as big a threat as the general, and the flexibility of those cards is good for the deck.

1) That's less convincing since we're talking about PW as commanders -- and very few of them can become a creature to attack another planeswalker. Just because you have a PW as a commander doesn't mean I might not -- which then reduces the chance of either of us having a creature to 'remove' the planeswalker commanders.
2a) Fair
2b) Not every deck wants to do that, so that's not a huge balance point. In fact, very few of my commander decks (one out of five I think) would consider equipping something to the commander anyways.

Willbender wrote:
I'd say the Gods are far, far worse. There are a lot of decks that cannot deal with the Gods, especially if they don't turn into creatures. Every single commander deck I've ever seen run can deal with PWs.

Yeah, I do agree, I dislike the Gods being commanders more ... but that takes a rules change to alter that (fortunately, not been a big issue in my local group yet)

Willbender wrote:
Except, as I've already said, I've never seen a deck that couldn't already deal with planeswalkers, and 99% of those can deal with planeswalkers more efficiently than with creatures.

But being able to deal damage in the red zone really depends on the defensive deck as well. So just because a deck may have creatures to 'deal' with planeswalkers, doesn't mean they'll be able to easily connect.

Otherwise, I do see some validity in your points.

Doesn't mean I like the idea of allowing them in (other than the ones specifically made to be commanders)


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