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 Post subject: Is creature theft a frail tactic?
AgePosted: 2018-Mar-27 4:51 am 

Joined: 2011-Jan-03 4:23 pm
Age: Drake
While looking for comparisons between Yasova Dragonclaw and Rubinia Soulsinger, I chanced upon this discussion: http://tappedout.net/mtg-forum/commande ... -new-deck/. One of the commenters referees to both of their abilities as too “weak” to have much effect. Interestingly, they also noted that creature aggro wasn’t a viable strategy either (referring to Drana, Liberator of Malakir). I’m wondering if it’s related.

Commanders that they did deem particularly high-end were Meren of Clan Nel Toth, Karador, Ghost Chieftain, and Captain Sisay, for the record.

I am wondering if the “problem” with Rubinia and Yasova is that they’re only as strong as what the opponents have on the board, and thus aren’t as consistent as less interactivity-dependent commanders. (Never mind that the Yasova deck I’m charting is more about messing around with combat and blockers available.) Only nuisance is that override of permanents seems to be an extremely appealing tactic for me (cloning and reanimation also ranked high).


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 Post subject: Re: Is creature theft a frail tactic?
AgePosted: 2018-Mar-27 5:55 am 
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Joined: 2012-Feb-07 4:15 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
First off, based on the generals you named they're probably cEDH players, which will vastly color what they describe as "too weak". Examples of other generals who are "too weak" in cEDH: Kaalia, Maelstrom Wanderer, Omnath, Nekusar, Alesha, Ghave, Zegana, both Ezuris, Jhoira of the Ghitu, Kiki-Jiki, Krenko, Purphoros, and Dark Mike.

Leaving that aside, there is no real problem, particularly with Yasova. A 4/2 trampler for 3 is almost viable as an aggressive general just on its own, and her theft effect leaves all sorts of room for extra damage and sac engines and other ways to mess with your opponents.

And I particularly love the fact that theft effects involve your opponents' cards. It prevents games from becoming stale, and also allows you to combine deck slots quite a bit. After all, Control Magic is both a threat and a removal spell. Three of my favorite decks are my Kynaios and Tiro, Thada Adel, and Geth decks, all of which depend on theft to function properly. Thada gets away with it by stealing from the library, Geth is just designed to dump everything the opponents own into the yard, and the duo has a group hug ability to ensure my opponents actually have cards for me to steal.

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 Post subject: Re: Is creature theft a frail tactic?
AgePosted: 2018-Mar-27 11:17 am 

Joined: 2017-Oct-19 12:02 am
Age: Drake
Skyknight wrote:
While looking for comparisons between Yasova Dragonclaw and Rubinia Soulsinger, I chanced upon this discussion: http://tappedout.net/mtg-forum/commande ... -new-deck/. One of the commenters referees to both of their abilities as too “weak” to have much effect. Interestingly, they also noted that creature aggro wasn’t a viable strategy either (referring to Drana, Liberator of Malakir). I’m wondering if it’s related.

Commanders that they did deem particularly high-end were Meren of Clan Nel Toth, Karador, Ghost Chieftain, and Captain Sisay, for the record.

I am wondering if the “problem” with Rubinia and Yasova is that they’re only as strong as what the opponents have on the board, and thus aren’t as consistent as less interactivity-dependent commanders. (Never mind that the Yasova deck I’m charting is more about messing around with combat and blockers available.) Only nuisance is that override of permanents seems to be an extremely appealing tactic for me (cloning and reanimation also ranked high).


The problem stealing stuff from your opponents is that nobody wants to be the victim, quotting Nicolas Maquiavelo "men forget more easily the death of their father than the loss of their patrimony" it works the same for Magic, normally people will be less angry if you attack them with a huge creature and kill them in one turn than stealing their stuff.

I know that for a fact, I tried once to build a non combo Sen triplets deck and I can assure you that I wasn't able to do much, people will kill the triplets as soon as they ETB to prevent the stealing of a land, creature or spell and they may be focusing you.

All that said for a "stealing creatures" commander these are my suggestions

1. Empress galina
2. Menmnarch
3.Merieke Ri Berit
4. Sen triplets (if you make this work plz pass the list)

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 Post subject: Re: Is creature theft a frail tactic?
AgePosted: 2018-Mar-27 11:59 am 
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Joined: 2010-Dec-10 12:16 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
There's no problem with Rubinia or Yasova. U-Kong (He-Kong?) hit the nail when he said that player's perception likely stems from a more competitive environment (is cEDH the new name for French 1:1?), and/or Alexev spotting the irrational hate that stealing brings. At a given table, I "borrowed" an opponent's Prophet of Kruphix (back when they were everywhere) at EOT, then sacked her on my turn. That player reanimated it. The next player exiled it with StP. The player came raging after me the rest of the game for stealing the Prophet, and ignored the player that actually exiled it. That's why I now prefer my Shapeshifter Tribal Halfdane deck, to outright theft.

That said, when discussing "theft" decks, you kind of have to narrow down the scope. To me, ther are three main "theft-deck" subtypes, and they tend to draw different reactions, in general (though playgroup specifics may vary):
1 - "Traditional" Theft (e.g. Sen Triplets) - these decks steal and keep things to advance their board position and agenda. These draw Sith-level hate.
a. - The "Steal everything" combo subtype of this deck (e.g. Memnarch) is the worst version of this deck, and players trying to combo-out to steal every permanent (or creature) on the table deserve what they get. Preferably it involves an ambulance and stitches... not that I am bitter (there was a solid year that I couldn't get a single night on MTGO without at least one player trying to run a version of this deck)
2 - "Removal" Theft (e.g. Merieke) - these decks want to take your stuff to sac for profit. The net result is much like removal (more Reaper King, repeatable removal than basic targeted removal spells) but with profit for the thief. These decks can go either way. If players think of it like removal - that rarely exiles, the hate may not be as strong as a traditional Theft Deck; or they think of it as theft, without a chance to get the critter back and get even more angry than normal.
3 - "Borrow" Decks (e.g. Yasova) - these decks "share" resources by stealing... but only until end of turn. These tend to draw the least hate of the theft decks (which may still be quite a lot).

In any of these cases, the decks aren't "weak" or "unplayable" unless your meta is either very competitive or very retaliatory against theft. Oddly, clone decks, in my experience, draw much less hate simply because "we both have X" rather than "you took my X."

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Hazezon Tamar - Manland theme
Seshiro the Anointed - Snake Tribal
Jedit Ojanen of Efrava - Cat and Warrior Dual Tribal
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Karona, the False God - Backstabbing Hug


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 Post subject: Re: Is creature theft a frail tactic?
AgePosted: 2018-Mar-28 10:27 am 

Joined: 2011-Jan-03 4:23 pm
Age: Drake
I’ll admit I was also thinking of the paucity of decks helmed by Rubinia or Yasova.

—Bant: Rubinia comes in at a mere 380 on EDHRec. Compare Derevi (1808), Roon (1445), and Rafiq (1132).
—Temur: Yasova helms just 588 decks, compared to Animar (1755), Riku (1613), Maelstrom Wanderer (1240), and Surrak Dragonclaw (1057).

I can see Roon’s toolkit appeal, but I’m not seeing at first glance what the heavy appeal of the others is (unless Riku also deals in EtB). Are the >1000 commanders more amenable to some sort of abuse, or lending themselves to mere goodstuff? I’ll be the first to admit that Rubinia and Yasova aren’t about immediately overwhelming power.


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 Post subject: Re: Is creature theft a frail tactic?
AgePosted: 2018-Mar-28 11:16 am 
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Joined: 2010-Dec-10 12:16 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
It's important to note that popularity =/= strength.

Many of the generals you mention are in the 1000+ club because they were in a Commander Pre-Con. That doesn't mean they are weak, but it is an indication of the number of players that *only* have pre-cons (with some changes), rather than access to tens of thousands of cards to use and choose.

_________________
V/R

HK

Hazezon Tamar - Manland theme
Seshiro the Anointed - Snake Tribal
Jedit Ojanen of Efrava - Cat and Warrior Dual Tribal
Doran, the Seige Tower - Wall Tribal
Progenitus - Hydra themed Proliferate Deck
Karona, the False God - Backstabbing Hug


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 Post subject: Re: Is creature theft a frail tactic?
AgePosted: 2018-Mar-28 2:10 pm 
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Joined: 2017-Mar-11 6:43 am
Age: Dragon
I want to elaborate that in EDH, it's less often about what you're doing- and more about how you're doing it. Creature theft is weak to many combo decks which don't have many creatures to rely on. So, if it's one of the tools at your disposal- there are powerful things to do with it, but they want to be blended into other elements to feed into a larger gameplan (like sacrificing and generating for value.)

I like Yasova in particular, because she's an easy-to-protect general that gives you lots of different avenues to make high impact plays through- which makes her entirely more flexible (which is strong in a different way) when compared to Maelstrom Wanderer. Rather than looking for the closest thing to an objectively powerful commander, the joy of the format is in utilizing the many faces of complex commanders effectively. Often, a high end deck made for regular EDH plays well with cEDH decks, because EDH's terminal power level is MtG's net terminal power level- but the combo kills don't give you the weakness of being caught out with your fair win condition. This is why decks in EDH are described to be on a scale of competitively built- where a 7 or an 8 may be able to swing with 9s and 10s, but is more compatible with 4s and 5s (juiced up precons.) Some players like decks that are entirely novel, even (though, to me- Commander is about building the deck that best captures "the song of their people"- which requires both synergy and flavor.)

This doesn't mean, however- that you should find a cEDH group, and drag along a bunch of 7-8 pet decks, either. Often those communities aren't trying to enhance the tension of the game, but expect better positioning and play at all times. Even if your deck is powerful, if it doesn't interact well with their meta, they could feel disrespected, or might just ask that you sit out the cEDH games in favor of their casual games afterwards.

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 Post subject: Re: Is creature theft a frail tactic?
AgePosted: 2018-Apr-05 2:00 pm 
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Joined: 2009-Aug-20 7:49 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: New Hampshire
alexev wrote:
The problem stealing stuff from your opponents is that nobody wants to be the victim, quotting Nicolas Maquiavelo "men forget more easily the death of their father than the loss of their patrimony" it works the same for Magic, normally people will be less angry if you attack them with a huge creature and kill them in one turn than stealing their stuff.


100% this. "I steal everything" decks are goddamn annoying.

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 Post subject: Re: Is creature theft a frail tactic?
AgePosted: 2018-Apr-09 12:12 pm 

Joined: 2012-Oct-24 8:05 pm
Age: Drake
I have a Sen Triplets deck focused entirely on copying and stealing my opponents' stuff. I run some creatures, but not ones that are particularly combat effective for their cost. I think Gonti, Perplexing Chimera, and Uyo (which I intend to replace) are the biggest. It can be pretty effective, but the lack of generic goodstuff like wraths, tutors, reasonably costed counters, card draw, and ways of protecting my commander keeps it from being consistently oppressive. Still, some players in my group prefer not to play against it.

I've been meaning to create decklists for my decks, so I'll link them when I get around to it.


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 Post subject: Re: Is creature theft a frail tactic?
AgePosted: 2018-Apr-11 6:38 am 

Joined: 2017-Oct-19 12:02 am
Age: Drake
NMS wrote:
I have a Sen Triplets deck focused entirely on copying and stealing my opponents' stuff. I run some creatures, but not ones that are particularly combat effective for their cost. I think Gonti, Perplexing Chimera, and Uyo (which I intend to replace) are the biggest. It can be pretty effective, but the lack of generic goodstuff like wraths, tutors, reasonably costed counters, card draw, and ways of protecting my commander keeps it from being consistently oppressive. Still, some players in my group prefer not to play against it.

I've been meaning to create decklists for my decks, so I'll link them when I get around to it.


I know the feeling, I wanted to build a "fair" triplets deck, but because you steal things then you are the focus, so if you want to win some games you end up building a more opresive deck that most people consider unfun.

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Oloro, Ageless ascetic The current updated decklist is here
Yennett, Cryptic Sovereign The current updated decklist is here
Phelddagrif The current updated decklist is here


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