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 Post subject: Why do I need to build a deck that does everything?
AgePosted: 2019-May-28 3:17 am 

Joined: 2011-Jun-22 8:08 am
Age: Drake
Hello!

While some members of this forum might argue that there are many different ways of building a deck, and strategies are vast in a format like commander...I hold the simpler view that there are two main archtypes of decks in commander, and everything else just further divides these two broad categories.

1. Decks that attempt to win by doing something specific.
2. Decks that interfere with the win conditions of others until they can win in a nonspecific way out of many optional versatile ways.

I was recently told by a few of the friends that I play with, that while my decks are versatile, and responsive to board state, they relied somewhat on my opponents "running out of steam/weakening each other" They encouraged me to build an aggro/creature heavy deck, or a deck with a set win condition...and boy am I miserable.

The first deck I tried to build that was creature heavy/dependent was Arcades, The Strategist with a bunch of low cost cantrip walls, some card draw mechanics, and then some ways of making them unblockable and giving them big plusses to their toughness. Even some methods of creature wrathing that doesn't affect my board...like "Dusk/Dawn". It actually feels good to pilot...until you sit down with your friends.

No artifact/enchantment destruction on your walls, and not running control magic, so your opponents start dropping their veldaken orrey, akromas memorial, Greater Good, and Mirrari's Wake...and you are sitting there hoping to god your opponents are running enough answers to take care of each other....but...they aren't.

Then your next game is against a GY Reanimator Meren, with Spore Frog and Mikeaus preventing all combat damage always...that sacrifices creatures in response to your removal, and is butcher of malakiring everyone's fields. And you don't have any graveyard hate/removal in Arcades, because that doesn't fit in your strategy.

Then you play against a heavy removal strategy, that removes your general the moment he hits the board....making your deck of defender walls about as useful as a brick. Actually I take that back, a brick would be more useful because you could knock your friend the f out with it.

So now you are sitting with your deck making changes. Well you need an Austere Command, and a Bane of Progress. Can't forget about Return to Dust, oh! Don't forget relic of progenitus and a scavenging ooze for some graveyard destruction....Oh and then lightning Greaves, swiftfootboots, and aceticsim to protect the general...

Next thing you know...your creature deck that is going for a straight forward win...is just a weaker than average control deck...and there aren't enough defender creatures to make Arcades worth playing.

What should I do differently?

CanadianCole.


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 Post subject: Re: Why do I need to build a deck that does everything?
AgePosted: 2019-May-28 5:42 am 
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Joined: 2016-Nov-27 2:39 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
I gotta ask, what kind of thing are you specifically asking us about? You're asking us about some majorly different things:

- Do you want us to theorise on how we can have a deck that does literally everything (every function, every possible win condition)?
- Do you want us to advise on how you can diversify your creature-based decks to withstand the kinds of situations you see?
- Do you want us to advise on how you can have your original decks not simply rely on opponents running out of steam? (You haven't discussed those at all, though.)

We're going to be open to advising you but you might want to pick something to focus our energy on. Someone's definitely going to take up an invitation to do wild theorycrafting of that first thing, and your title's absolutely inviting someone to do that, but it's not necessarily going to be helpful or practical or relevant to the other things.

Edit: and I've just noticed the title says "why do I need", not "what do I need". Oops. That makes things a bunch simpler. :oops:

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


Last edited by spacemonaut on 2019-May-28 9:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Why do I need to build a deck that does everything?
AgePosted: 2019-May-28 6:01 am 

Joined: 2011-Jun-22 8:08 am
Age: Drake
I guess I am just looking to have a discussion with other players who have been trapped in a similar place as me. The feeling that "If I don't run answers, My opponents will go out of control while I am helplessly watching"

I don't need advice on building decks that are ultra-responsive, as I have several already that perform reasonably well in that regard. I guess I want someone to make a recommendation of a deck to build for a player who needs to break their addiction to Control.

I built a chaotic Maelstrom Wanderer deck, but my friends thought it was too strong...and they didn't like it. Then a Kresh deck with stalking vengeance, pandemonium, fling etc. My friends are running higher than average numbers of Artifact and Enchantment cards nowadays...

I am looking for an idea for a deck that will be fun to play that doesn't feel compelled to answer my opponents, either by winning despite their jank, or having internal flexibility so that I can affect the board state as a side product of the deck without having to build for it specifically?


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 Post subject: Re: Why do I need to build a deck that does everything?
AgePosted: 2019-May-28 7:08 am 
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Joined: 2012-Dec-03 3:16 am
Age: Elder Dragon
I have certainly had a similar issue. It felt like I had to be the fun police, because no one else was running any types of removal.

I have also been in groups where one player was known as the strongest player and so whenever that person would "help" with threat assessment, my thing would be killed. Now most of the time I would actually be the threat, or close enough that it was somewhat subjective... but yeah hoping someone else will fire off a Wrath of God is a terrible place to be, at least for me.

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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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 Post subject: Re: Why do I need to build a deck that does everything?
AgePosted: 2019-May-28 7:27 am 
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Joined: 2007-Mar-28 12:38 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Otaria
My approach towards "aggro" of late has been tap out, play stuff, make other people need the answers. As soon as other people start losing because they're not playing Wrath of God or Shatterstorm or whatever convenient answer card we want to throw out, they'll start playing those cards.

Semi-related tangent on attitude:

Personally, I've adopted a bit of a laissez-faire attitude towards removal- -if it's not incredibly thematic/strategically intrinsic, I don't go super-heavy on it. And sometimes I lose because of it. Shrug, 'guess I'll die,' shuffle it back up. Someone else wins, and that's okay. Games that end mean more games.

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The last thing we need is more Cromat decks running around, and if keeping CV banned accomplishes that then I'd call it a win.


Current Deckbuilding Project(s):

Izoni, Thousand Eyed (Elf Tribal-ish)
Building $15-25 Intro to Commander Decks for my Local LGS


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 Post subject: Re: Why do I need to build a deck that does everything?
AgePosted: 2019-May-28 12:58 pm 
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Joined: 2010-Jan-25 4:50 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
I go with sub optimal but on theme removal if at all possible with a handful of go to removal spells. It's good to have at least 10 slots dedicated to removal, even in aggro decks, so that you aren't dead in the water when the board reaches a certain board state.

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Derevi (Manlands)
Marchesa (Modular)
Retired:
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Zedruu the Christmas Goat (group hug)
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 Post subject: Re: Why do I need to build a deck that does everything?
AgePosted: 2019-May-29 3:43 am 
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Joined: 2010-Dec-10 12:16 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
CanadianCole wrote:
I was recently told by a few of the friends that I play with, that while my decks are versatile, and responsive to board state, they relied somewhat on my opponents "running out of steam/weakening each other" They encouraged me to build an aggro/creature heavy deck, or a deck with a set win condition...and boy am I miserable.

The first deck I tried to build that was creature heavy/dependent was Arcades, The Strategist with a bunch of low cost cantrip walls, some card draw mechanics, and then some ways of making them unblockable and giving them big plusses to their toughness. Even some methods of creature wrathing that doesn't affect my board...like "Dusk/Dawn". It actually feels good to pilot...until you sit down with your friends.


Well, first off I would say that trying for a defender theme as an "aggro/creature heavy deck" is probably not the best first move in learning the joys to be found outside of control. Don't get me wrong, I love the theme and have two similar decks myself (Doran, defender theme and Sapling treefolk tribal/toughness matters), but it isn't really an "aggro" deck theme on the best of days - more like "control lite" based on pillow-fort with a "turn sideways" wincon.

CanadianCole wrote:
I guess I want someone to make a recommendation of a deck to build for a player who needs to break their addiction to Control


I would say you should look at a theme or plan where your creatures can double as your removal or removal-on-theme is an option (so you have some, but aren't running "all the good stuff answers") and/or able to put enough pressure on that the playgroup also starts running answers and learning threat assessment. In fact, there are a lot of great "theme-cards" outside of goodstuff that you can tinker with that will hopefully help them to learn some threat assessment themselves (e.g. Cream of the Crop - nobody's calling for the ban hammer here, but used well and in the right deck, the playgroup had better learn threat assessment or it can really propel an aggro deck's position, especially when you start synergizing with things like Lurking Predators)

I do believe that examples can say more with less, so for the cause:

Partial Decklist for my Beast Tribal. Answers in the form of creatures like Flowstone Overseer, Fight mechanics, Mold Shambler, etc. Additional removal based on theme, like Harsh Mercy (advantage to tribal), Predator, Flagship and Thrash // Threat with just a few slots to fill holes (like Hull Breach since the curve was already fairly high).

Of note, Theme =/= weak or totally eschewing strong/goodstuff cards. By limiting those cards to when they are on-theme, the playgroup can usually accept when and why they make a decklist, besides "this is great". In this deck, Beastmaster Ascension is such a card.

General: Gahiji, Honored One

Beacon Behemoth
Bull Cerodon
Craterhoof Behemoth
Flowstone Overseer
Garruk's Horde
Garruk's Packleader
Ghor-Clan Rampager
Godsire
Grave Sifter
Greater Gargadon
Gruul Ragebeast
Gurzigost
Krosan Warchief
Lumbering Battlement
Meglonoth
Mold Shambler
Paleoloth
Phantom Nishoba
Rakeclaw Gargantuan
Rampaging Baloths
Roaring Primadox
Shaleskin Bruiser
Shivan Wumpus
Siege Behemoth
Skyshroud War Beast
Spearbreaker Behemoth
Spellbreaker Behemoth
Terra Ravager
Thunderfoot Baloth
Vagrant Plowbeasts
Wirewood Savage
Zhur-Taa Ancient

Predator, Flagship
Aether Charge
Cream of the Crop
Beastmaster Ascension
Lurking Predators
Mana Echoes
Nature's Blessing
Primeval Bounty
Spawning Grounds
Hunting Pack
Ride Down
Thrash // Threat
Chandra's Ignition
Ezuri's Predation
Harsh Mercy
Hull Breach
Pulse of the Tangle


This example is a partial decklist for my rogue tribal deck. Not as much removal is integrated into the creatures as the beast deck, but the volume of unblockable creatures allows a theme of "when deals combat damage" effects and also uses pressure to "encourage" the rest of the table to start running removal.

General: Sygg, River Cutthroat

Quag Vampires
Vampire Cutthroat
Disciple of Deceit
Frogtosser Banneret
Hada Spy Patrol
Lurking Informant
Oona's Blackguard
Quickling
Tetsuko Umezawa, Fugitive
Corrosive Mentor
Daring Thief
Deathcult Rogue
Lawless Broker
Moriok Rigger
Neurok Spy
Thada Adel, Acquisitor
True-Name Nemesis
Gonti, Lord of Luxury
Latchkey Faerie
Master Thief
Notion Thief
Sakashima the Impostor
Skatewing Spy
Stinkdrinker Bandit
Wizened Snitches
Blade Juggler
Earwig Squad
Infiltrator il-Kor
Keeper of Keys
Deepchannel Mentor

Stoneforge Masterwork
Cloak and Dagger
Prowler's Helm
Rogue's Gloves
Heirloom Blade
Herald's Horn
Vanquisher's Banner
Bitterblossom
Cover of Darkness
Kindred Discovery
Thieves' Fortune
Distant Melody
Notorious Throng
Kindred Dominance
Knowledge Exploitation
Skull Storm (because Sygg will die repeatedly)
Open into Wonder

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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: Why do I need to build a deck that does everything?
AgePosted: 2019-May-29 6:29 pm 
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Joined: 2011-Jan-02 5:25 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Costa La Haya, capital del ducado Holanda
I read your thread when it has no replies, as I don't have much to say about Arcades. I figured that perhaps you just needed a second deck, but from your later reply I get that that is not the issue. It seems your issue is that your friends have an issue. Well, control decks can be boring to play against, so I can see why they want you to have some way to end the game. Or, more likely, they just want you to stop blocking and let them kill you. Lowering the wall count by adding removal is one way to give them what they want, but do you think you need removal or do they think that? I can see that you CBA about their threaths as you are hiding behind your walls. If that is the case, congratulations, you broke the metagame.

Starting from there, having a way to make your deck inevitably win is something I try to achieve. Having no knowledge of Arcades or your specific deck is a poor starting point for deck advice, but like I said, I thought about it for a day. Your deck needs a secondary theme besides walls. I'm these colors I'd do something with Replenish, but perhaps lifegain with some alt wincon is an option. Or Helix Pinnacle or something like that. Or just some combo, if your group is open to that. I like hiding combo pieces in my graveyard until Replenish ;) Blinking walls or Cloudstone Curio/equinaut

To answer the question you posed in the thread's title, no your deck doesn't have to do everything. I think it is perfectly fine to open yourself and have a vulnerability, but that would mean someone could exploit that and then you'll loose. That doesn't work out well in a competitive group. But sometimes on theme answers are easily incorporated (think Aura Shards in case of Arcades and lotsa walls), and since that is a very specific answer you can ask a very specific question when you post a deck list. As for going cold turkey on control, again think of a route to beat you that you'll leave open: consider that Replenish deck that'll be destroyed by graveyard hate. Do you need to stop that graveyard hate? No, but playing it in a group with heavy yard hate is not the smartest thing to do. It is good to answer common threats, but even then I'd value more draw over more answers. With multiple opponents there's just no such thing as "enough answers". That is one reason competitive decks are usually combo or prison, because that limits the option for interaction. If that is what you are up against, Arcades seems like a poor choice (because blocking is good in an aggro meta).

Wow, that's a lot of text.

Anyway, formulate what you want your deck to do and stick to that. You get your satisfaction put of watching your deck pull that off. Once. Twice. After that, you expect the hate.

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 Post subject: Re: Why do I need to build a deck that does everything?
AgePosted: 2019-May-30 2:24 am 

Joined: 2011-Jun-22 8:08 am
Age: Drake
I will post my Arcades decklist later tonight, but I am running Aura Shards. To answer just one question, the type of Problem I have is with enchantments like Luminarch Ascension.

If left unanswered for long enough, that player will win the game. I am sure you have seen it. Is your advice to just honorably lose to that over and over until my other friends start putting enchantment removal into their decks?


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 Post subject: Re: Why do I need to build a deck that does everything?
AgePosted: 2019-May-30 2:37 am 
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Joined: 2012-Feb-07 4:15 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
CanadianCole wrote:
I will post my Arcades decklist later tonight, but I am running Aura Shards. To answer just one question, the type of Problem I have is with enchantments like Luminarch Ascension.

If left unanswered for long enough, that player will win the game. I am sure you have seen it. Is your advice to just honorably lose to that over and over until my other friends start putting enchantment removal into their decks?

If you're the only one who puts enchantment removal in your decks, dealing with those types of cards becomes your problem.

If nobody puts enchantment removal in their decks, dealing with those types of cards becomes everyone's problem.

I can guarantee that your fellow players will also get sick of losing to the same cards over and over because they're not willing to put in the bare amount of removal to fight them. And unless literally all of them are in Rakdos colors, there's no excuse.

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 Post subject: Re: Why do I need to build a deck that does everything?
AgePosted: 2019-May-30 7:28 am 
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Joined: 2010-Jan-25 4:50 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Uktabi_Kong wrote:
And unless literally all of them are in Rakdos colors, there's no excuse.


That's not even an excuse anymore with chaos warp, oblivion stone, perilous vault, Scour from existence, all is dust, unstable obelisk, blast zone, Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre, Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, Karn Liberated, Ugin, the Ineffable, Ugin, the Spirit Dragon. It's somewhat selfish deck building to not include at least a handful of answers in any color.

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Derevi (Manlands)
Marchesa (Modular)
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Zedruu the Christmas Goat (group hug)
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 Post subject: Re: Why do I need to build a deck that does everything?
AgePosted: 2019-May-30 9:02 am 
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Joined: 2011-Feb-07 3:37 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Danbury, CT
CanadianCole wrote:
I hold the simpler view that there are two main archtypes of decks in commander...
1. Decks that attempt to win by doing something specific.
2. Decks that interfere with the win conditions of others until they can win in a nonspecific way out of many optional versatile ways.


I get where you're coming from on this, but I'm gonna throw out a third option for you (if you can stick with an extended metaphor... I tend to ramble in my old age).

What you want is to run the veer. It's a classic play in American football... Usually when the offense lines up to make a play, the quarterback chooses either to throw the ball to one of a versatile array of receivers, or the offensive line attempts a specific blocking scheme to spring a runner loose. (If you're a football fan, don't throw things at me; I know I'm oversimplifying.) Meanwhile, the other players on the offense try to block whatever defensive play the other team brings.

The veer works a bit differently. Instead of blocking evenly along the line of play, everyone in the offense runs towards one side of the field, leaving the other side unblocked. And instead of having a variety of different receivers, the quarterback only has three options for the ball: keep it and run, or toss it to one of two other players.

So it sounds like you want to translate that into Magic. You don't necessarily want a specific 2- or 3-cards trick in your deck that wins the game; you want about 3 reliable paths to victory. Similarly, you don't need to block everything your opponents are doing; you just want to block the specific avenue that you need to win.

For an example, follow the link in my signature to my Rith enchantress list. It's a surprisingly brutal mid-range beatdown deck that can win with commander damage, direct damage via Impact Tremors or Purphoros, or godly attack steps. It's also got a ton of hate for other people's artifacts and enchantments. But it doesn't have much creature removal; for the most part, opposing creatures aren't really relevant to the decks game plan, so I just ignore them.

CanadianCole wrote:
What should I do differently?


Browse some decklists and comment on ones that seem interesting.
Or post your own decklists so we can poke holes in them.

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