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 Post subject: New Emrakul and Ulamog
AgePosted: 2016-Dec-15 1:02 am 
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Joined: 2008-May-04 6:05 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Wisconsin
I don't post here very often primarily because I don't care enough about EDH bans to voice my opinion. However, lately, my enjoyment of the Commander format has been dwindling and after some reflection I think it's linked to two recent printings Emrakul, the Promised End and Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger.

Now, I'm all for casting large obnoxious spells, although admittedly some are getting a bit out of hand. The key for a casual format, in my opinion, isn't fun. It's interaction. Interaction leads to fun because each participant is casting spells and making decisions. When interaction is removed from the game, decisions go with it, and so does fun.

Lack of interaction is my biggest gripe with Emrakul and Ulamog. "Enters the battlefield" effects are one thing, cast triggers are another. There are few ways to interact with cast triggers, most fall in blue. Sure we can get creative and run Jester's Cap effects or Humility, but when push comes to shove there is a very small subset of cards that allow player's to interact with the cast triggers.

And these cast triggers are brutally powerful, especially Emrakul's, but Ulamog's is no joke either. I need not say much about Mindslaver effects. They slow the game down tremendously. In our group, we just tell the enslaved player to do as much damage to themselves as possible because it's simply faster. Then there's the extra turn. Meanwhile everyone else twiddles their thumbs.

As for Ulamog, exiling two permanents for ten mana sounds somewhat fair, I admit. Yet, that ten mana uncounterable removal spells comes with a 10/10 indestructible 4ish turn clock attached to it (either by damage or attack trigger). I've found that once Ulamog is on the stack the game becomes about Ulamog. The same can be said for Emrakul. If he can't be exiled within a turn or two (god forbid there's a Lightning Greaves in play), then I'm afraid someone will lose before they really had a chance to interact. And this is after you've been mindslavered or had the two best permanents removed from the battlefield.

What else can I say? Both of these cards are relatively cheap in terms of CMC for their effects on the game. I see Emrakul frequently cast for 7-8 mana. New Ulamog at 10 is almost strictly better than old Ulamog (who was much more fair in my opinion). They are colorless (i.e. go in any deck) and can sit in graveyards unlike their former selves. Yes, I realize the cast triggers don't occur with reanimation effects, but the fact they are easily accessible from the graveyard is frustrating.

I have a particular disdain for non-interactive cards. Don't get me started with the "experience counter" commanders, but at least you know what your getting into before you start the game. For all you know, any deck can contain Ulamog and Emrakul and I'm sick of seeing both. Non-interactive cards are fun vacuums, and both these fit that bill perfectly.


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 Post subject: Re: New Emrakul and Ulamog
AgePosted: 2016-Dec-15 3:25 am 
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Joined: 2006-Dec-31 12:26 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
I've not faced them much, but here's my take.

Ulamog: Not non-interactive. Sure, it has a short clock, but that doesn't mean it's not interactive. It requires the player to attack to end the game. Meanwhile, you can interact with the creature. Indestructible just means you need non-damage/destroy ways of interacting with it. It doesn't have shroud/hexproof, so you can still target it with things that exile it, or pacifism-style effects.


Emrakul: Yes, extra turns are kind of boring -- but do you ban Time Warp & other effects? If so, then this Emrakul should also be locally banned. If not -- then what's the difference between him taking control of a turn and giving an extra turn, and someone casting Time Warp? Players will be twiddling their thumbs just as much there. Also - protection from instants doesn't mean it's non-interactive.

As for the cast-triggers -- yup, they suck, and it mostly requires blue to counter them. But just because you can't counter something doesn't mean it's not interactive. So I don't really see your "These cards are causing a lack of interaction" argument.


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 Post subject: Re: New Emrakul and Ulamog
AgePosted: 2016-Dec-15 5:52 am 

Joined: 2012-Apr-11 7:17 am
Age: Elder Dragon
I have to agree, they are like a ton of other cards: They suck and we shouldn't have to deal with them from people who want to play a fun game with us. But we cant ban all of them without a major overhaul to the format.

They don't meet an current ban criteria, so we have to self-police it like we do Zur or Time Warp effects.

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 Post subject: Re: New Emrakul and Ulamog
AgePosted: 2016-Dec-15 6:25 am 
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Joined: 2008-May-04 6:05 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Wisconsin
I want to wait a bit longer before I reply, but I think it's important to note there's a big difference between Mindslaver and Time Warp effects.

Mindslavers almost always takes longer: It's much easier to play your own deck and make it perform the way intended. It's an entirely different game when an opponent is trying to optimize turning the deck on itself.

Mindslavers feel worse then extra turns: It's one thing to twiddle your thumbs while someone takes an extra turn. It's another to twiddle your thumbs while an opponent is taking yours. In Emerakul's case it's worse because not only is there a mindslaver effect, but an entire turn is added as well.


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 Post subject: Re: New Emrakul and Ulamog
AgePosted: 2016-Dec-15 9:15 am 
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Joined: 2006-Dec-31 12:26 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
American_Kid wrote:
I want to wait a bit longer before I reply, but I think it's important to note there's a big difference between Mindslaver and Time Warp effects.

Functionally - sure. Practically ... not so much. If mindslaver effect is taking a lot of time, perhaps it's a player issue? Tell them to just hurry up and make a decision instead of looking for the worst thing that they can do?


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 Post subject: Re: New Emrakul and Ulamog
AgePosted: 2016-Dec-15 3:34 pm 
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Joined: 2009-Aug-20 7:49 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: New Hampshire
American_Kid wrote:
Mindslavers feel worse then extra turns: It's one thing to twiddle your thumbs while someone takes an extra turn. It's another to twiddle your thumbs while an opponent is taking yours. In Emerakul's case it's worse because not only is there a mindslaver effect, but an entire turn is added as well.

Well, that extra turn is yours, so if you're the one getting "mindslavered" by Emrakul, you don't sit through that extra turn. Everyone else does, sure, but they didn't just get slaved.

That said, I make a point of killing anyone I know or suspect has a mindslaver in their deck. I hate that card with a burning passion. It is without question the least fun card ever to plague magic, and anything similar is nearly as bad, although all the other versions of the effect are MUCH harder to abuse.

But that's off-topic (somewhat). As far as the topic goes, if all the eldrazi titans (all 3 original versions and all 3 new versions) were to suddenly get banned, I would shed no tears. They are all obnoxious and over-played. I don't think any of them (besides original Emrakul) NEED a ban, but I sure wouldn't miss them.

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 Post subject: Re: New Emrakul and Ulamog
AgePosted: 2016-Dec-15 10:05 pm 

Joined: 2013-Jun-23 10:18 am
Age: Elder Dragon
You have an odd choice of targets here, speaking as someone who uses both of these cards frequently.

Firstly, I assure you that you want these cards to be cast triggers, not ETB effects. I acknowledge it's hard to interact with such triggers outside of blue, but the alternative is allowing these cards to be blinked by Brago endlessly, reanimated for their full value, and so on. Imagine, if you will, Emrakul paired with Deadeye Navigator.

As Carthain says, New-Ulamog is not uninteractive. His "clock" in the average game of EDH is at least three turns, probably four, and that decks one player. If the unlucky target of an Ulamog cannot find a way of removing him whilst still being able to cast everything in their hand/point out to the other players that they're next and get them to help/untapping three times with whatever they have in play, I'm inclined to think the problem isn't Ulamog.

Spells of this mana cost should not merely be powerful- they should put a clock on an opponent or the game as a whole. And Ulamog is a significantly fairer clock than many other examples of such cards. Compare Insurrection. If one casts Insurrection at the broadly correct moment, often at least one person is dead- usually several. And the window for interaction with Insurrection, Omniscience, big-mana Exsangunates, Craterhoofs, etc etc is usually much smaller than with Ulamog, because more often that not these cards will just kill you then and there if you don't handle them immediately. And none of these cards are banworthy, so I'm not sure why Ulamog would be.

Emrakul is a different case. Is it irritating? Certainly. Non-interactive? No. It dies to a significantly greater number of cards than Ulamog does, is probably the fairest Mindslaver that exists since it gives you the extra turn back afterward, and has a clock that's even slower than Ulamog's in a lot of cases (since it relies on damage rather than Ulamog's guaranteed decking). Though it is often cheaper than Ulamog is, I don't think the charge of centralising sticks here. Cloning or stealing Emrakul is, whilst not pointless, certainly less value than a lot of things you could often be doing. If you just mean that when Emrakul drops people immediately try to get it off the board, this is true, but that is also true of a myriad of other cards- Avacyn 1.0, Consecrated Sphinx, Blightsteel Colossus, Iona, etc, etc.

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 Post subject: Re: New Emrakul and Ulamog
AgePosted: 2016-Dec-15 10:27 pm 
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Joined: 2013-Aug-06 1:27 pm
Age: Drake
I think they're interactive, but they're also really obnoxious.


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 Post subject: Re: New Emrakul and Ulamog
AgePosted: 2017-Jan-11 4:01 pm 
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Joined: 2016-May-16 12:03 pm
Age: Dragon
Location: The Blind Eternities
The old trinity of Eldrazi titan cards are vastly more annoying to be honest and by far more broken which is why Aeons torn is banned across a few formats. The infinite gyre and butcher of truth have the ability to put graveyards back into decks and what not.

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 Post subject: Re: New Emrakul and Ulamog
AgePosted: 2017-Jan-12 12:10 am 
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Joined: 2009-Aug-20 7:49 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: New Hampshire
RaiRai wrote:
The infinite gyre and butcher of truth have the ability to put graveyards back into decks and what not.

While you can use that ability as a form of graveyard protection (very annoying with Survival of the Fittest), it's important to remember that it also prevents them from being cheated out by reanimation spells (unless you can do it at instant speed, of course).

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