Memnarch, Stealer of Games

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benjameenbear
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Post by benjameenbear » 5 months ago




Memnarch, Stealer of Games






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Table of Contents



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Introduction

Memnarch is one of the more storied characters in Magic: The Gathering Lore, being a secret villain and manipulator during the events of the first Mirrodin block (Mirrodin, Darksteel, Fifth Dawn) where his character card was actually printed. His impact was felt even in the Scars of Mirrodin block, with his Memnites still scuttling around the plane. But his history actually extends far beyond the Mirrodin storyline, because Memnarch is in fact the sentient incarnation of the legendary and subtly dangerous artifact, the Mirari.

Being the chief plot device of both the Judgment block and the Onslaught block, the Mirari was an incredibly powerful artifact that was able to translate desires into reality. It was responsible for the uncharacteristic growth of the Krosa forest and its inhabitants. It was responsible for the tidal wave that Aboshan, Cephalid Emperor summoned in order to extend the cephalid empire, drowning a third of the continent of Otaria. It was responsible for mutating the corpse of Ambassador Laquatus into a massive monster that nearly defeated Kamahl in combat. As its flavor text indicates, this power was massively dangerous and ruined the continent of Otaria and had a lasting impact on the plane of Dominaria. Not only did the Mirari drive Chainer to madness and cause his own death, it was also responsible for the fusion of Phage the Untouchable, Akroma, Angel of Wrath, and Zagorka into the False God, Karona. The awe and absolute power she held over the inhabitants of Otaria caused war and destruction on a truly massive scale, eventually leading Kamahl to kill her with the Mirari sword. These events are responsible for creating some of the major time rifts on Dominaria that threatened the Multiverse as a whole and required the Mending in order to prevent the Multiverse from collapsing into Chaos.


The Mirari, in turn, is the creation of one of the most powerful Planeswalkers in the MTG universe: Karn. Karn himself was one of the key pieces of the Legacy Weapon, the collection of power artifacts that Lord Urza himself assembled and created to defeat the (arguably) most powerful villain in MTG lore: Yawgmoth, Father of Machines. With the death of Karona by two of her un-men, Karn (acting as Lord Macht) took Karona away to his artificial plane of Argentum in order for her to heal and disassociate into her three constituent women. Karn transported the three women back to Otaria on Dominaria, but for the Mirari Karn had a special purpose. The Mirari was granted sentience and was assigned to be the overseer, steward, and protector of Argentum, the plane that we would come to know as Mirrodin and the personal creation of Karn himself. Over time, the remnant of mysterious oil that Karn unknowingly carried and spread in his Phyrexian Heartstone infected Memnarch with madness and the curse of phyresis. Memnarch, under this curse and losing his sanity to it, began to create a scheme whereby he would be able to ascend to Planeswalkerhood to travel with his master and Creator, Karn. To this end, Memnarch transformed Mirrodin into a giant terrarium and Spark-transferring machine and populated it with creatures stolen from other Planes in the hopes that one of these creatures would be born with The Spark.

So that he could Steal it for himself and inflict his will on other worlds.

And he was nearly successful.


With this kind of awesome pedigree, it is only natural to see how powerful Memnarch is as a card. His power is nearly limitless and, before his death in Mirrodin's Core caused by Glissa Sunseeker, he had absolute control over any type of metal that he could see. Memnarch was so powerful that even the Kaldra Avatar bent to his will without a fight at all, devastating the hope of the heroes of Mirrodin in dethroning the Mad Golem. His favored tools of destruction and death included such fearsome creations as the Leveler, the Eater of Days, and the Mindslaver.


Are you looking to play a Commander that has potentially more history than any other character in the lore of Magic: The Gathering? Do you want to play with a Commander so powerful that he was almost able to artificially become a Planeswalker? Do you want to play with a ruthless genius who was able to handle, with impunity, the combined might of the Sylvok, the Leonin, and the Neurok?

Welcome, friend, to the power of Artifice and the Primer dedicated to the perfect embodiment of it.

"It is all in my grasp. Every petty dream, every grand scheme, every soul, every fear. It all flows through me and from me." -Memnarch, here




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Commander Analysis

"But benjameenbear, there are other Commanders I could be playing!" That's a very true statement. Since there are quite a number of mono-Blue Commanders, I'll list the ones that I've used or have seriously considered, a brief description of their strengths, and why I chose not to use them.
  • Arcum Dagsson
    Arcum Analysis
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    Arcum is a really strong combo deck that uses Arcum's activated ability to string together Tinker effects until you put an infinite combo into play. He is a tutor on a stick, with newer lists assembling the Paradox Engine + Citanul Flute combo and winning on the spot once he's been activated once. I don't prefer him because he is not good in a vacuum if you are missing artifact dudes to sac and requires quite a bit of deck space to be dedicated to having enough artifact creatures to consistently activate him. I've found that I don't really want to cast him in hand, when he was in my decklist long ago, and he doesn't fit my personal play-style.
  • Urza, Lord High Artificer
    Urza Analysis
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    Urza was finally printed!! And there was much rejoicing. Urza plays very similarly to Memnarch but actually resembles Teferi Chain Veil in execution. Being able to tap down the various Orb effects to turn them off (i.e. Trinisphere, Winter Orb, and Static Orb) allows Urza to play a similar Stax/Combo strategy that Teferi does. Being able to turn any and all Artifacts into Mox Sapphires is inherently powerful and he also puts a large body into play. In all honesty, Urza is probably better than Memnarch; I just love Memnarch more since I've got a longer history with him.
  • Azami, Lady of Scrolls
    Azami Analysis
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    Azami draws cards like nobody's business. She turns those durdling little Wizards that you played on turns 1-4 into sources of continuous card advantage. She also loves Mind Over Matter like her big brother Arcanis. I don't play her mostly because my best friend does, and because I like Memnarch better as a general. Azami has become much more powerful with the printing of Paradox Engine, and that card has seriously injected her with some astronomical power.
  • Teferi, Temporal Archmage
    Teferi Planeswalker Analysis
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    Teferi is BRUTAL, straight up. He is a super efficient combo commander probably rivaling Azami and Arcum in potency with its one card combo. Memnarch is actually an inferior choice in this case since Teferi plays a high amount of control and board control (via Stax pieces). Memnarch is simply a Commander that I've played for a lot longer with fonder memories with. Memnarch's abilities are also a lot more interactive than Teferi's and I prize the removal aspect that Memnarch allows for my deck. I must say, after getting in more than 50 or so games with Teferi in paper, that he is probably the best mono-Blue general out there on the cEDH scene. The compactness of his win condition and his ability to break the symmetry of Stax effects is ridiculously powerful, and he is definitely deserving of his perch as a Tier 1 Commander. He's just as storied a character as Memnarch and has the ability to manipulate time, which is a really cool ability.
Ok, so you've decided that you want to sleeve up this mechanic madman as your general. Congratulations for choosing an awesome general! Now, let's evaluate some of the pros and cons of our ruthless wizard. Or, you can skip this part because you already know the pros and cons and accept them. Or you simply believe in the awesomeness of Memnarch!

Pros
  • Memnarch is a wizard and so he can be run to great effect alongside other Wizard tribal synergies. Riptide Laboratory and Azami, Lady of Scrolls are the cards that immediately come to mind.
  • Memnarch is also an artifact creature that takes advantage of mana. He can be tuned to take advantage of fast mana and mana doublers, most of which are artifacts, while also incorporating an artifact theme for the deck. Arcum Dagsson style lines of play could easily be considered and supplemented in the deck.
  • He is removal in your command zone. Not only that, he's the best type of removal: permanent theft. He turns things into artifacts and persuades them to do things against the actual owners of the spells that he just stole. It's really hard to lose when you have Memnarch in play and 7 Islands and you just stole a Seedborn Muse. This is the primary reason that I chose Memnarch as my commander, because he allows me an answer to resolved permanents, an issue that Blue has a lot of difficulty with generally (bounce doesn't solve the problem permanently, I would argue). He can steal things at instant speed, which allows an incredible control game, and fits right into my preferred play-style. You can leave mana untapped during your opponent's turns, threatening countermagic, and if they don't do anything that immediately threatens you, steal one of their permanents.
  • Memnarch is an infinite mana outlet directly in your Command Zone. This is magnificently efficient from a deck-building perspective since we don't have spend dedicated card slots on actual win conditions. The win conditions that are listed in the decklist are used as secondary or tertiary options in the case that Memnarch is unavailable to us for some reason.
  • He's got pretty good stats, so he can block a decent amount of things and if he really has to, he can turn sideways for combat damage
  • You can very much win the game without ever playing him in the first place. Welcome to mono-U, where combos and control reign supreme in the Commander scene.
Cons
  • He's an artifact, which means he dies to utility removal that targets enchantments and artifacts in addition to the normal removal spells. That can be bad depending on your meta.
  • He is rather expensive to cast the first time, and gets progressively harder to cast the more times he dies. This is a legitimate concern and so that's why it's recommended that we play Memnarch with some counterspell backup and/or protection. Or just make infinite mana and not care at all about his casting cost. In addition to being costly CMC-wise, his activated abilities are VERY expensive as well. Utilizing Memnarch effectively necessitates that you build an abnormally high number of mana sources into your decklist. I've tried to convert that into a strength through the design of the decklist, but these facts still need to be stated.
  • People just don't like having their stuff stolen. From the get go of flipping over who your commander is, people will probably be gunning for you in order to protect their cards. Depends on how scared people are of mono-Blue and your perceived role as a player at the table. I want to emphasize this aspect quite a bit. As of 9/2017, it's been interesting to hear all the negative feedback about my Memnarch decklist. My list was very frustrating to play against and warped my playgroup significantly, so do be considerate about playing our mechanic Overlord.
  • The style of play, for this playlist, is such that you are playing a control game with a combo finish. This might not be the best strategy for the people that you play with regularly or for your own playstyle. This decklist requires a thorough understanding of what your opponents are playing and knowing how to stop them from executing their strategy. This decklist also requires tight play and skilled timing for spells and effects, both of which come with practice and play experience. Sometimes people have an irrational hatred of U. Just accept that they're paranoid and embrace their weakness!
The ur-golem etchings begin by celebrating Mirrodin's creator, a golem of almost limitless power. They end by cursing its protector, a being called Memnarchhere




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Deck History

I've been playing Mono-U for a very, very long time, since late 2009. I had originally decided to build an Island deck after seeing my friend's Azami deck steamroll the table but decided that I wanted to build around a different Commander than him while that was totally unique to my playgroup. Enter Memnarch, and my love of all things U began.

The primary thing that first attracted me to Memnarch was his ability to steal permanents. One thing that I had learned after playing Commander obsessively for months was that your Commander generally needed to be able to produce some sort of card advantage. Azami was the best of the bunch at the time, but I decided that I really liked the angle of card advantage that Memnarch offered, since it also solved another problem that Islands have generally had a problem with: resolved permanents. Memnarch gave me a unique identity in our playgroup and, as Memnarch became better and better, a reputation that has stayed with me until the present day. I'm the Mono-U guy in my playgroup, and I have a preferential towards Artifacts and hatred towards Artifact neutering cards.

This decklist evolved from a High Power list to an even Higher Power list in 2014 until it became the cEDH monster that it is now. It's proven quite consistent and has an incredibly powerful end-game that is, in my opinion, unparalleled in the cEDH scene.




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Current Decklist

Scroll down just a bit further to see the decklist I'm currently running. I personally find it easier to see each card sorted according to function, so I've listed the decklist accordingly.

An important thought before the decklist is presented. I do not claim that the one presented below is the absolute end-all-be-all of Memnarch decklists for two reasons:
  • The list below is a selection of the cards that have been most effective in the games that I have played. There might be cards that work for your playstyle better than others, and the list below is a reflection of what has been most optimal given my game experience.
  • I believe that competitive Commander is an exercise in metagaming; no list you read online will be perfect for your own hometown meta, and too many primers online insist haughtily that their list is the best possible list, with no exceptions. That's an unhealthy mindset that stifles creativity and flexibility in deckbuilding, and I won't allow that nonsense in my thread.
Memnarch Architect Scepter Combo Decklist
Approximate Total Cost:

"Secrets are meant to remain secret." -Memnarch, here




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Alternate Decklists

So, because many of the cards in the optimized decklist are now insanely expensive, the decklist below is for you budget minded players. It sacrifices speed in order to maintain the density and efficacy of its core strategy. I think it's average win turn will be around turns 6-8 instead of turns 3-5 of the cEDH list, but the resulting decklist should be quite solid and have a lot of fun synergies to play with.

The core philosophy of the deck is to generate infinite mana via Dramatic Scepter or Grand Pili-Pala. Once infinite mana is achieved, you can then cast Memnarch and steal the rest of the permanents for the rest of the game. There's a substantial ETB theme present in the deck as well, with Agent of Treachery being a particularly awesome card with a Blink effect.


Souls and steel, the essence of Mirrodin. Memnarch lacks one but has an abundance of the other. - here




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Card Choice Discussion

IMPORTANT NOTE: Bolded cards are the ones that are currently in the main decklist. All other cards are worth mentioning as strong considerations for the purposes of a comprehensive Primer and are not bolded.

Creatures
Creatures
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  • Snapcaster Mage - great utility card that recycles instants and sorceries. Most frequently he likes to flashback a counterspell of sorts so that I can win the play that I need to. Since a large portion of the deck is instants/sorceries, Snapcaster is a great recursion piece in the deck. Very important. Also likes to draw cards with Azami, Lady of Scrolls and loves being returned to hand or blinked.
  • Pili-Pala – this little scarecrow is so cute. Not so much when it's making infinite mana with Grand Architect, though (for an explanation, see combo list at the end of the Primer). It should be regarded in similar fashion as Palinchron, which doesn't do very much when it's not making infinite mana in some fashion. Also, with the return to the artifact-centric list, this piece has additional utility with Metalworker and Arcum Dagsson.
  • Gilded Drake - a cheap removal spell that invalidates the most problematic general at the table. We don't care about our opponents getting a 3/3 flier, as long as we make their general inaccessible on our side of the table. I don't know what they were thinking with the Urza's block, but this card is fantastic at being cheap removal for the most threatening creature on the board.
  • Aphetto Alchemist - it helps to untap those important mana rocks so that you can accelerate into a bigger spell, most importantly Grim Monolith. It also interacts well with Arcanis the Omnipotent and the other creatures that tap for an effect, but most notably goes infinite with Illusionist's Bracers and a mana source of some kind.
  • Grand Architect – an interesting artificer, the Architect provides some very important ramp for Memnarch and more importantly also provides mana for his activated ability. It is a very good card in this deck, generating mana for the critical spells of the deck and also creating another infinite combo with Pili-Pala.
  • Metalworker - it can generate an obscene amount of mana with its ability. It does require that your deck have a certain density of artifacts, however, and I've found that threshold to be about 23+ artifacts in order for the 'Worker to be a mana positive rock. It's great and can fit into the deck, it just doesn't have a ton of synergy with my deck currently.
  • Trinket Mage - a great tutor effect in mono-Blue, it can find quite a number of targets in here. Usually it finds Sol Ring and its kind, but it also has the added benefit of getting Top and Expedition Map to ensure card advantage or some more tutoring effects. I'm pretty sure this is a staple card in mono-Blue.
  • Spellseeker - I'm pretty sure that this is the card that every U mage has ever wanted, almost as much as Snappycaster. Because she finds instants AND sorceries, she can literally find us any effect that we need. Need a counterspell to protect your combo next turn? Go tutor it. Need a removal spell for that annoying general? Go tutor for it. Need a draw spell to get back into card advantage? Go tutor for it. Need a tutor to find the last combo piece? Go tutor for it. An AWESOME utility creature, she is gratefully welcomed to the decklist.
  • Phyrexian Metamorph - great clone effect that can clone some of your high output mana rocks, i.e. Thran Dynamo, Grim Monolith, or Gilded Lotus, for awesomeness and heavy mana acceleration. This card is simply great and I think any deck that plays blue has it somewhere in their deck.
  • Venser, Shaper Savant - this all-around removal card is great. He says no at instant speed, helps to make problems go back to hand where they're more easily countered, and likes to lock people out of games with Deadeye Navigator. A fantastic card that has some great Wizard synergy. Highly recommend him.
  • Glen Elendra Archmage - she has two Negates stapled into her little flying body. Yes please. She ensures that your game ending plays are actually game ending by protecting them at the paltry cost of U. Very useful and I'm frequently happy to draw her. Wizard synergy and can be reset with Deadeye Navigator and Riptide Laboratory.
  • Padeem, Consul of Innovation – being able to give your artifacts hexproof is very important in ensuring that you maintain your mana resources throughout the course of a game. Padeem is even better once he's been transmuted into an artifact via Memnarch's first ability, creating a permanent shroud effect for all of your artifacts. The card draw is a nice long-game card advantage engine, but it's the hexproof ability that we want in this deck to be able to secure our vital artifact ramp pieces and our glorious Mechanic Overlord.
  • Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir - beats control match ups by disdainfully sneering at them. Really a great card in my playgroup, where counterspells are just as common as ramp and more common than removal. Playing him at the EOT of the opponent before you to check for counterspells is great. They either tap lands to counter him or lose to him. Either way, I win. Great card here that again has Wizard synergy.
  • Azami, Lady of Scrolls - card advantage machine. She turns Wizards in play into continuous draw spells and has combo potential with Mind Over Matter. In my mind she's a must have in my deck. I like her quite a bit and she's proven her worth time after time in games that I've played. Paradox Engine has made her an incredible card advantage machine, and even with only her and Memnarch in play you can accrue an incredible amount of cards.
  • Consecrated Sphinx - probably one of the most ridiculous card advantage creatures I've come across in a long time. It's so good. Not much needs to be said here as if its effect goes across the board for one turn cycle you're just drawn 8 cards for 6 mana. It even has good toughness to block things if it needs to. A fantastic card that I personally slide into every blue deck that I can because to me it's that good.
  • Duplicant - it's removal on a stick, it can be recurred with Ruins, and it can get blinked for basically machine-gun removal. Being able to excuse certain creatures out of the game is very useful. And sometimes it grows to become a threat too if you exile something fat enough.


Sorceries
Sorceries
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  • Preordain – an efficient and useful card advantage piece. While not glamorous, it has a very important job of being able to proactively filter out bad draws. It's a great card to see in your opening hand as it digs very deep and doesn't put you into awkward Brainstorm locks. Efficient in both card advantage and CMC, it has become an auto-include in U decks I play.
  • Ponder – similar in function to Preordain, Ponder has a little more utility in the fact that you can get a fresh top 3 cards if you don't like what you saw. It replaces itself as part of its resolution, so it's a very effective card advantage piece.
  • Transmute Artifact[CARD] - goes and gets whatever artifact you need in order to develop mana advantage or find a combo piece. An expensive tutor dollar-wise, the fact that you pay the difference as the spell resolves is nice so that you aren't totally blown out by a counterspell. It's CMC is particularly attractive, for [CARD]Muddle the Mixture Transmute shenanigans, and being able to find the right piece at the right time is great. It's even convenient in that we can sacrifice Memnarch himself, or any transmuted creature that he's stolen, to go and get whatever artifact we need at the time.
  • Reshape - another tutor effect to find the game-changing artifacts needed to win the game. It most frequently finds Isochron Scepter or Paradox Engine to win. It's functional at what it does, so it earns a slot here.
  • Fabricate - goes and finds Paradox Engine, more often than not. But the flexibility to grab any artifact is nice, occasionally finding the missing artifact for Apehtto Alchemist, Grand Architect, or Dramatic Reversal. A highly efficient tutor, it's an absolute must in any artifact based deck. Plus, it's originally printed in the Mirrodin set.
  • Windfall - this is a very interesting card. In the early game with a fast mana hand, you can cast all of your spells into Windfall to draw more cards and simultaneously disrupt your opponent's hands. It digs deeper through the deck to find the essential combo pieces and is great during the Storm turns. A recent addition that I've been very impressed with, it helps explain why Combo Winter was so oppressive during its reign. Wikipedia the phrase if you're not sure what I'm referring to, as it helps explain why U is the dominant color in MTG.
  • Timetwister - I've slowly come around to the draw 7 effects that litter competitive Commander decklists. It still makes me cringe inside to watch everyone else draw a fresh 7, but we can usually get ahead in mana advantage while being able to recycle any dead combo pieces that might have ended up in the 'yard. Its CMC is what makes it so attractive, as there is a strong potential to be able to play the 'Twister on T1 or T2 and thus disrupt our oppoennt's carefully crafted opening hands.
  • One with the Machine - we're playing an ARTIFACT Commander with a CMC of 7. I would love to draw 7 for a mere 3u, thank you very much. I think this card is one of the best Artifact centric cards to be printed in recent memory (excepting Paradox Engine, of course). Play it and don't look back.
  • Time Spiral - another card draw spell, it also has the benefit of being able to recycle spent combo pieces that have been countered or killed over the course of a game. It refuels the deck during essential turns and isn't a bad top-deck in the case you ran out of cards, giving you a fresh seven to get back into the game. Its ability of untapping lands as it resolves is great, as sometimes the only colored sources of mana on your board are your Islands, so being able to reuse them during a critical Storm turn is great.
  • Recurring Insight - card advantage TNT. Casting this will put you really far ahead in the game and when it resolves a second time it's hard to lose. I secretly think that this is one of the most underrated U cards for EDH, because it has the ability to draw you so many cards. 'Tis sorcery speed, but the explosiveness of the card is worth it. It can also be recurred in the rare instance that you didn't win by Snapcaster Mage.
  • Mind's Desire - the payoff card for spending your turn casting a high volume of spells. Being able to put cards into play for free is great, and being able to do it multiple times is even better. The ideal Storm count for the card, in my experience, is about 6-8, as that almost always ensures you draw into ramp and card advantage. My friend DeathDiamond, whose Azami Storm list I host, has never lost a game with a Storm count of 10+, and I've gotta say, as his opponent, that is true. A great card during the Storm turn, I've also had it rot in my hand while I only cast 1-2 spells in a turn, making its Storm count not as exciting. A luck-based card, it's fun to play and is very effective with Paradox Engine.
  • All is Dust - a hard wrath effect that leaves most of our board unaffected. A bit expensive, but in multiplayer it's worth it and with the mana generation that this deck can field it's not difficult to be able to cast this on time in the early game when it needs to happen. A good card that's helped me in games past.


Enchantments
Enchantments
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  • Mystic Remora - depending on your meta, this little fish (which should be a creature) can you draw you quite a number of cards in the course of a game. If your group plays lots of artifact ramp in the early game than you'll be flooded with card advantage. And if people win with non-creature spells and protect them with counterspells, you can again accumulate ridiculous card advantage. A very good card.
  • Counterbalance - a very good card against cEDH decks, where the curve clusters around CMC1-CMC3, as Sensei's Divining Top and Counterbalance is potentially a source of free counterspells. And since our curve is heavy at the 2-3 CMC, where most of the popular cards are, it pretty likely that we will be able to counter 1-2 spells over the course of a game. It gets better with fetch-lands, Brainstorm, and tutor effects, and it's fairly consistent in being able to counter free spells.
  • Power Artifact – this card is notorious for its combo potential with Grim Monolith and Basalt Monolith in making infinite colorless mana. It isn't as dead as it would be in other decks because it can also reduce the cost of Memnarch's activated ability, so it is a strong inclusion. However, I need infinite colored mana, not colorless, so I don't currently run it at this time, although it is being heavily reconsidered.
  • Rhystic Study - card advantage that requires simply an initial investment and then draws me on average 5-6 cards over the course of the game. It's interesting that it actually gets better the later the game goes because people are trying to pack more spells into their turns to try and win the game. An EDH staple as far as I'm concerned that I've played ever since I got into the format and started playing U.
  • Back to Basics - playing against any three colored decks? I do. All the time. Want to watch them do nothing while you do everything? Play Back to Basics. It secretly has about 5 Time Walks written in the subtext of the card. What? They're not there? Huh. I'll have to check again...
  • Invoke Prejudice – this enchantment has caught my eye as of late. Its CMC is pretty steep, being UUUU, but its effect is powerful. This would be an incredible inclusion if we focused on an even more controlling build than what we have here, but I really like my creature suite. And since blue is far and away the most common creature color in my group, Prejudice would do nothing for me if I want to have a non-artifact creature in play. I don't think I will run this card, but it is noteworthy and should be considered in this Primer.
  • Future Sight - is soooo good. Turns Sensei's Divining Top into a card advantage machine and helps put lands from your deck to play to increase your card quality. With the printing of Paradox Engine, Future Sight has turned into an incredible card advantage machine because it allows you to cast things from the top of your deck and net mana from your mana rocks. In combination with Top, it has now become a very powerful source of card advantage in the deck.
  • Treachery - a very good card that usually steals the best creature on the board or otherwise steals opposing generals to make sure that a particular opponent is slowed down. Stealing a Damia, Azami, Arcum, or Animar is always a good play. And the fact that it untaps lands upon resolution makes it essentially a free spell, so it has even better use there.


Instants
Instants
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  • Pact of Negation - a free counterspell is always great when combo-ing off and this is a good one. It's also really nice to have when you're tapped out and someone else tries to win. Be careful about the upkeep tax, though. I've seen my friend lose enough times to it to be wary of it.
  • Brainstom - this might be the most commonly played blue card of all time. And there's a really good reason for that. Being able to dig three deep at instant speed is great. Combine with fetch-lands for maximum usefulness.
  • Mental Misstep - in competitive playgroups, almost all of the most dangerous cards are at 1 CMC. It gets Sol Ring, High Tide, Carpet of Flowers, Vampiric Tutor, Candelabra of Tawnos, etc. It's absolutely fantastic in the early turns and isn't terrible in the late game either.
  • Swan Song - another 1 CMC counterspell, it usually wins the counter war or stops some of the more powerful spells from resolving. A great inclusion for the deck as it becomes more competitive.
  • Mystical Tutor - the best tutor for blue, far and away. It puts it on top of our library, but that's just as good as drawing it. And being able to find an answer and a way to win the game is also really important. I'm pretty sure it's one of those auto-includes as well.
  • High Tide - this is kind of like Dark Ritual for mono-Blue. It can jump us so that we can make a play that our opponent's weren't expecting and also makes Palinchron very happy if you have at least 6 Islands. Good ol' Islands. They should probably ban them.
  • Rapid Hybridization - because sometimes spot removal is what it is. And you need it. Answers are as important as winning and this one mana, instant speed removal spell has been very useful. Kills Animar dead and turns it into something significantly less threatening. Pongify is its predecessor and is also in the main decklist at this time because spot removal has become significantly more important.
  • Cyclonic Rift - this card is really quite amazing. Rumor has it that it's power level is comparable to that of Consecrated Sphinx. I find that a little hard to believe, but this card is so cool. EOT, clear the board and all of a sudden people are usually far behind in tempo. It's almost like a Time Walk if timed right.
  • Arcane Denial - two mana hard counter spell with additional card draw. Yup. It's good. And being able to cast it for one Island less than what people expect? Plans within plans can be formed and executed.
  • Counterspell - duh.
  • Muddle the Mixture – a functional Negate that has the ability to Transmute for some useful spells. The notable ones are Grim Monolith, Isochron Scepter, Snapcaster Mage, Mana Drain, Illusionist's Bracers, and Pili-Pala.
  • Mana Drain - see Counterspell above; but then add some mana ramp to that, you say? Why, I think I'll take it! Every day. All day. Such a great card. It can help accelerate a win condition or something else dumb.
  • Dramatic Reversal - it is both a combo piece as well as a value piece. Being able to untap spent Monoliths or get some additional card draw with Azami is very useful and when imprinted on Isochron Scepter with a mana rock in play, it's a source for infinite mana.
  • Mana Leak - you'd be surprised how relevant 3 is at all stages of the game. Early game, it's basically another free counter. It helps you win counter wars in the late game, but scales down in how effective it becomes. I would include it if my meta were to get faster, as it's currently in a good control/combo atmosphere.
  • Trickbind - this little gem stops most other people's infinite combos pretty hard. Activated abilities are almost at the heart of every infinite or broken combo I can think of. Split Second is a pretty good mechanic for halting things solid. I just recently won a game off of this card, so I think it's going to stay.
  • Remand - not quite as awesome as Counterspell, this card is very useful nonetheless. It can protect a spell of yours that's being resolved or it can cause an opponent to lose tempo. And it even replaces itself with new card. How thoughtful, Remand.
  • Negate - a somewhat conditional counter that stops many relevant things. It wins counter wars, it stops lots of things. When a new hard counter gets printed for two mana, it will probably replace this card. EDIT: Replaced with Sword of Feast and Famine as a test card.
  • Impulse - card draw that helps to filter through draws into combo pieces or just good control cards. It has been excellent in games that I've drawn it, so it has found a more permanent home in the decklist as it stands.
  • Reality Shift - good clean removal that exiles a problem creature. And since EDH is mostly about creatures, this card is fantastic. The upside of putting a permanent that your opponent can't un-Morph is also marginally useful at times. It has additional interactions with Isochron Scepter.
  • Into the Roil – a versatile removal spell, it can be Imprinted onto Isochron Scepter and has a kicker ability to replace itself when you do cast it. It's not a very high-profile card, but it does its job well.
  • Pull from Tomorrow - the new instant speed draw X spell, it's really as good as people say it is. You get to draw one more card off Tomorrow then either Blue Sun's Zenith or Stroke of Genius, which is surprisingly relevant. Discarding an excess land is almost always what happens, and I've never been disappointed with it since adding it in. Drawing a mass amount of cards is important for the deck with the addition of the Storm package, since Paradox Engine makes the deck very card advantage hungry in order to maximize the Engine's potential and mana output.
  • Whir of Invention - it's a Chord of Calling for blue!Go and find the missing piece for a combo or go and find a utility artifact, like Vedalken Shackles or Senesi's Divinig Top. great addition from Aethor Revolt and it's incredible.
  • Disallow - it's Voidslime for blue. A great situational counterspell, it's a great addition for the control elements of the deck.
  • Blue Sun's Zenith - instant speed card draw that puts itself back so it can be drawn gain. It can target players to effectively draw them out with infinite mana. The flavor text can be fitting at times, too. A good card. Lacks some synergy with Snapcaster Mage and Archaeomancer, but it's still good.
  • Thirst for Knowledge - suggested by Rowan, it has proven useful in the games where I've drawn it. It digs some cards deep and filters unwanted chaff away so that you can either get the answer you need or the way to win the game. And it has reference to blinkmoth serum, Memnarch's favorite beverage. I wonder if it's carbonated?
  • Capsize - all-purpose removal that has the potential to turn infinite mana into permanent board emptiness. Except on your own field, of course. It's dug me out of a few holes, even if not used with Buyback.
  • Mindbreak Trap - this card doesn't counter things; it EXILES them. Yes! It wins counter wars, stops silly storm spells, and is frequently cast for free in the games that I play. A very important card, in my mind.
  • Fact or Fiction - this is great. If you're really good at mind tricking with your opponent's, you pretty much always get the card that you want. And if you're political enough, you can sometimes get the best piles: five and zero.
  • Cryptic Command - called the Blue Wrath, this card is so good. Personally, I think this is what dominated the format when Faeries was around. It can basically be anything that you would ever want to do in Blue. Such a great card. Highly recommend in control decks as all of its modes are highly relevant at multiple stages of the game.
  • Force of Will - this card is really great because it's a free counterspell. See the Legacy forums as to why this card is so good; every deck in that format requires that you play around Force. While exiling a card can be steep, the ability to interact with our opponent even when we don't have available mana is absolutely vital. Many games actually end with this question: "Does anyone have a Force of Will? No? Then I win."
  • Mystic Confluence - I was hesitant to give this card a go but saw it pop up in a lot of 1v1 EDH decks. I decided to acquire it and give it a try. It has not disappointed. My favorite modes are countering someone's spell, returning another player's general, and then drawing a card. It's almost like another Cryptic Command in U.
  • Evacuation - mass removal at instant speed that can create a board lock with Archaeomancer. It stops attacking armies cold and makes combat steps an interesting decision for those silly people who like Craterhoof Behemoth. Take that, Animar.
  • Misdirection - it was another free counterspell in a counter war, but more often than not I wished that it was a hard counter. We love to protect our things, but I like being able to do that AND have functionality when non-instant non-sorcery cards are cast that win the game for my opponents. It got cut, but could easily come back in the future.
  • Dig Through Time - this card digs super deep into the deck to find the pieces that we need to combo off or control the board. There's a reason it's banned in the Legacy format, and this card's power cannot be denied in Commander either. This is a great card selection machine, and I highly recommend it.


Planeswalkers
Planeswalkers
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  • Tezzeret the Seeker - it finds artifacts and untaps them. It's pretty cool to have that kind of functionality in a card, especially in mono-Blue and he is most frequently used as a tutor for my more important artifacts, most notably Sol Ring, Vedalken Shackles, and Sensei's Divining Top. A great inclusion that I think is pretty important to the deck. And he's everything that Memnarch wants to be!
  • Jace, the Mind Sculptor - great in 1v1, but not so much in multi-player. I used him in previous iterations of the deck and I never really liked drawing except for the fact that he's Jace. A 2UU Brainstorm or Unsummon is all he would really be, and that didn't quite cut it. If I had him again, I don't think that I would run him.
  • Teferi, Temporal Archmage - I've been so enamored of him lately (with my cEDH Stax list), that I've tried to find room for him in this deck. His untap ability is fantastic, allowing you to untap mana rocks to steal more stuff with Memnarch or play more spells in a turn. Being able to untap spent ritual artifacts i.e. Mana Vault, Grim Monolith, and Basalt Monolith is great, and there are additional synergies with Azami, Lady of Scrolls and Grand Architect. He draws cards over the course of several turns in the case that everyone is in top-deck mode, and the fact that the ability doesn't say "draw a card" has been relevant against opponent's Notion Thief or Nekusar, the Mindrazer. I've really enjoyed him in the list, as he adds an additional Storm count and untaps lands when he does hit play.
  • Karn Liberated - Memnarch's creator, it is only fair that he be listed in the list. He has powerful abilities and can chunk up his loyalty very fast. The ability to Exile permanents is also very good. It turned out that he would die just as frequently as Jace, so he became a 7 CMC removal spell that lasted a turn. He could easily make his way back into the list, but for now, he is not in the list. He's having some, uh, spiritual issues as the image shows.
  • Ugin, the Spirit Dragon - a recent addition based on my experiences with him in my Teferi StaxCombo list, this planeswalker is fantastic at wrathing the board and then sniping of utility creatures with its Lightning Bolt breath. Especially since so much of our permanents are artifacts, ramping into him is almost, sometimes even better than, casting an early Memnarch. If you can get to his ultimate (surprisingly not difficult), that should usually put you in a fantastic position to win.


Artifacts
Artifacts
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  • Mana Crypt - fast mana. Pretty Straightforward. While its price tag is indeed very steep, the explosiveness that it can generate in advancing our board state is worth it. It is easily found via Trinket Mage and is a free spell to activate Paradox Engine.
  • Mox Opal - another mana rock, the metalcraft is pretty easily obtained here. It acts as a land and should be evaluated as such in opening hands. It is very important to this list as it is one of the few ways to actually generate colored mana for when Paradox Engine is going crazy.
  • Mox Diamond – sometimes there are not enough lands in our hand to be able to actively cast the Diamond. However, in those fairly common moments when we have 1-2 excess lands in hand this card is great. Another source of precious colored mana, its cost is steep but well worth it.
  • Chrome Mox – a 0 cost colored mana producing mana rock, I've come around to playing this card after playing with Storm and other combo cards. The fact that it can produce colored mana is quite important to the deck and its 0 CMC is useful for Engine turns. Secretly, this deck acts more like a Storm deck than a hard control deck and this Mox is important for for getting a really fast start. With the fairly recent inclusion of Timetwister and Time Spiral (as well as opposing Wheel effects), there are quite a few ways to mitigate the card disadvantage that the Mox triggers. So we're ok with the inclusion of this Mox in our deck.
  • Sol Ring - I don't know of an EDH deck that doesn't have this card. Fast mana that's really cheap.
  • Pithing Needle - as my meta has evolved, and with the addition of Freyalise and her artifact destroying ability particularly, this card just gets better and better. I frequently name Palinchron since its activated abilities, whether its own or the one inherited through Deadeye Navigator are the most common ways that the blue-based decks in my playgroup win, even though that shuts off one of my own win conditions.
  • Mana Vault - fast mana, but my least favorite one. I dislike the life loss that just happens and it's difficult to untap to be able to reuse it. With the addition of Paradox Engine, this is now one of the better mana rocks in the deck. I'd really like a Masterpiece version because that art is gorgeous, but not now.
  • Sensei's Divining Top - a great card quality insurance piece, it's an EDH staple for a reason. It also becomes more potent with Counterbalance and other top of deck tutors and fetch lands. Becomes a draw engine with Future Sight and is just a good card.
  • Fellwar Stone - mana rock that taps for U since there is ALWAYS someone playing the best color in MTG at the table. Its cheap CMC and its ability to create colored mana is what makes this card great.
  • Sky Diamond - mana rock that taps for U. ETB tapped is a downside, but the colored mana is worth it.
  • Coldsteel Heart - mana rock, mana rock, it's a mana rock that taps for U
  • Grim Monolith - mana rock that gets tapped and doesn't untap again until later in the game. Unless Aphetto Alchemist helps it out!
  • Isochron Scepter - a recent inclusion, it is a powerful way to get additional uses of a spell, especially with the counterspell suite that is in the deck. There are 14 targets for the Scepter, all of them being card advantage or a counterspell in some form or fashion. I've been really impressed with this card as of late, and with the density of targets, it's ok to imprint the Scepter for value to gain control of the game.
  • Azor's Gateway - like everyone else who saw the flip-side of this card, I knew that I had to try it. I think that it's well suited to this deck, particularly since there's Aphetto Alchemist, Tezzeret the Seeker, Dramatic Reversal, Voltaic Key, and Paradox Engine to make it work and ideally flip it within 1-2 turns. And if you ever get to flip it... It's pretty much game over, since that's probably going to be equivalent to 2-3 permanents stolen with just a single permanent. I'm definitely testing this card out, in place of the very lackluster Pyramid of the Pantheon.
  • Worn Powerstone - more mana rocks!
  • Basalt Monolith – a mana rock that has a lot of combo potential with Rings of Brighthearth and Power Artifact, it is a pretty well costed mana rock to power into those game enders a little bit faster. It doesn't untap during your untap step, though, and Grim Monolith is a little bit faster CMC-wise so I am not currently running it. This is an easy inclusion, however, due to the fact that the combo pieces that can be run in conjunction to it are naturally so synergistic with Memnarch.
  • Vedalken Shackles - I don't know why I wasn't playing this card. Maybe I forgot it existed or something. It's a fantastic blue card that steals creatures. It's great in my playgroup because it steals the Azami that is played frequently in my group and can also take other generals and utility cards. It scales better as the game progresses and as I drop more Islands. So good. EDIT: This card is absolutely one of the best cards in the deck. I might consider it a staple as I am never, ever sad to see it in any game I've played so far and there have been a number of times when I wished I had it.
  • Thran Dynamo - one of my favorite mana stones, it generates 3 and untaps every turn.
  • Oblivion Stone - sometimes you just need a good, hard wrath effect. This fits the bill nicely. It can be tutored for with Tezzeret the Seeker, which can be very relevant at times when the table needs to be controlled. Less good now that there are more artifacts in the build, as this card destroys everything I own too, which is a non-benefit for the deck strategy I subscribe to.
  • Aetherflux Reservoir - this is the new Storm kill-card on the scene, since it translates casting spells directly into life-gain. This is a great ability, since it helps to mitigate any Aggro-based damage that you may have taken over the course of a game, and it helps turn incidental spell-casting into a legitimate kill with its activated ability. It helps to diversify the threats in the deck, alongside the infinite mana combos, and when you're chaining spells together with Paradox Engine's trigger, mana rocks, and the massive amount of card advantage in the deck it turns into a win condition. I love that this card and the Engine make nearly any deck a viable Storm deck, as long as it has enough card-draw spells in its color.
  • Memory Jar - a recent addition that's been considered before, this card draws a fresh hand in the middle of the important Storm turn and helps dig deeper through your deck to find important pieces. Being colorless is great, as the mana generation in this deck is primarily colorless. It has synergy with Academy Ruins and Consecrated Sphinx and is generally a good card in drawing a fresh hand. If only Ad Nauseam were blue...
  • Gilded Lotus - it's secretly a great tempo play, but being able to add UUU to your mana pool from a mana rock is great. It's been a great addition to the rocks that I already run.
  • Paradox Engine – one of the most powerful artifacts printed in recent memory, this makes any and all mana rocks in the deck work overtime. It helps to get the frozen artifacts (i.e. Grim Monolith, Mana Vault, and Basalt Monolith) untapped, but more importantly, allows us to output a ridiculous amount of mana just by playing the game. Card advantage spells, with this artifact, become absolutely critical in executing a single game-winning turn, and it's very possible to use the Engine to go infinite with Future Sight, Isochron Scepter, or Capsize. UPDATE: This card has been banned and is no longer in the deck.
  • Coveted Jewel - I've been highly pleased with this card in Memnarch currently because it allows any of the artifact tutors in the deck to turn into Card Advantage AND Mana Advantage by tutoring for this card. This is one of the first Artifacts I actively tutor for during the Engine turn and being able to draw 3 cards has been massively important to continue the Engine turn and generate obscene amounts of mana.
  • Mycosynth Lattice – this is a pretty ubiquitous card in most Memnarch lists, so I would be remiss in not mentioning it at least. It turns all the things into artifacts which cuts out an entire activation cost for Memnarch. When I initially ran it, there was a lot of artifact hate in my group so this card was just…awful. So bad. When Nature's Claim can Vindicate anything, life just becomes really scary for me. My meta has shifted, however, so this card might be good again. Bane of Progress now becomes a lot worse because it nukes everything, including itself. The Lattice has the power to convert infinite colorless mana into colored mana for Memnarch, so if you are running the infinite colorless mana combos than this is a necessary inclusion. Run alongside Darksteel Forge and Nevinyrral's Disk to win games an additional way.
  • Caged Sun - the best mana doubler for this deck. Fetch-able with Treasure Mage, it is just a good card all around for mono-colored decks. Mana-doublers are particularly attractive for my particular configuration since I am focused more on the control aspect of the game.


"The Knowledge Pool knows. Memnarch understands." - here




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Deck Philosophy

So the philosophy of this decklist is that of being a Combo-Control deck. Memnarch lends himself very well to a control style of play, by enabling you to play an almost draw-go style with him in play, which is actually what I love doing. This means that I will favor keeping my mana untapped during my opponent's turns so that I can interact with them when I need to and makes me a mana-hungry and card-hungry player. Hence, this list is designed around these requirements. Memnarch particularly shines as a general here because he allows me to convert my unused mana at end of turn into cards without expending any of my own.

To delve a little further into the philosophy of Magic: The Gathering, this game is ultimately a game of math, statistics being the most predominant. I won't go into the technicalities of probabilities and statistics (because I find it boring and because I don't have a great grasp on the math) but the two things that restrict this game, generally, are mana availability and number of cards drawn per turn. Every deck, that is top-tier and competitive, finds some ways to overcome these restrictions. I won't go into the structured play of Standard, Modern, or Legacy, and simply focus on EDH. EDH is a wonderful format where these restrictions are prohibitive since we are running singletons of every card except basic lands. This means that we need to fill in redundancy of card effects without being able to use multiple copies of a particular card. This necessitates a vast breadth of knowledge of the available card pool in MTG and what is good, which is a side benefit of playing EDH.

As a control deck, however, these restrictions are especially prohibitive because we are trying to maintain card advantage and card parity with not just one opponent, but most likely three or four opponents at the same time. The more mana that we have, consequently, the greater our opportunity to interact with each of our opponents. If I have 6 mana sources that allow me to cast a number of cards equal to 8 CMC, I can spend 1 card on my first opponent's turn to Counterspell or Negate his play (or bluff him into doing nothing) and still have 4 mana sources that can generate 6 CMC worth of card effect on my other opponents' turns. Card advantage also becomes very important because if we are trying to answer each of our opponents' plays with one of our own, we are going to run out of cards supra-fast. I will call this term card-parity (shout-out to razzliox for this concept in an excellent post that can be found here).

The more infamous cEDH decks that are played are usually Ad Nauseam Storm variants (i.e. Jeleva/Kess Grixis Storm or Zur the Enchanter Storm) because they play all the fast mana rocks and rituals available (to maximize the amount and colors of mana available to them in the early stages of the game) and also the most advantageous card draw spells that are legal in the format, the most recognizable of which are Ad Nauseam, Necropotence, or Timetwister. Because they play all the best cards in the best colors for combos, ramp, and card advantage, they overcome both of these balances and sit atop the Competitive Commander scene.

UPDATE: With the unbanning of Protean Hulk, there has been a sharp increase in the number of decks that utilize the fat Combo-Pig in order to find an infinite combo of some sort. Breakfast Hulk/Shuffle Hulk decks are now a little more populous as the competitive Commander deck of choice because the win condition is so compact; you typically only need to activate Hermit Druid once or cast Flash with Hulk in hand. Since this can theoretically be done on T2-T3 with some consistency, Hulk variants are very effective at winning the game because you can shortcut the typical mana constraints of executing an infinite combo for just 1g or 1u.

Enter Memnarch. This is a card that allows you to turn unused mana sources into "acquired" cards for you, resulting in positive card parity for you (by using one of your own cards to gain another card) and negative card parity for our opponents (they're losing a card that you've stolen through Memnarch). If this process can occur frequently enough, our opponents will be depleted of their mana advantage, limiting their interactions with you for the remainder of the game and allowing you to win at will through combat damage or other means. Memnarch's ability is very important to discuss, since activating his ability enough times with enough mana will cause your opponents to fall irreversibly behind. There have been a high number of games where I don't need to go infinite because I can steal enough permanents to compound my mana production and strip my opponents of their own mana generation or board development. An opponent can't cast spells without mana, and Memnarch does a great job of stealing a player's permanents, and therefore halting the execution of their game strategy, better than any other Commander currently available.

Stealing enough opposing mana sources in one turn will simultaneously advance your own mana production while taking your opponent's back to a T1-T2 board state. From there, it becomes easy to steal their remaining permanents and exert total control over the remainder of the soon-to-be short game. This particular strategy is one that makes Memnarch unique as a commander, and a particularly strong strategy at that. Memnarch is my favorite general and I love stealing games away from my opponents. In comparison to Azami, Urza, Teferi, and Arcum, the other Top-Tier Mono-Blue generals, I think that Memnarch is the big-mana general of choice and has a stronger overall control element as part of its game strategy.

Speaking of this Control Element, I'd like to provide a guideline on how I have learned to play control in Commander. The information I share here is quite long and based on my experience, so I'll leave it as a spoiler for your additional reading.
How to Play Control in Commander
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This section will be an attempt to give you some guidelines on how you can be the best Control player at your table and ensure that you always have the best chances to end up winning the stack so that you can win the game.

It is very important to me that I give you Laboratory Maniac user Cameron a specific shout out here, since this section is an expansion/adaptation of a section of his Tasigur Primer that can be found here. Cameron accurately captures the primary points of critical thinking that is necessary for evaluating threats at the table and I humbly admit that I stand on his shoulders for this section.

I'm going to assume that you are familiar with the decks that your opponents will be playing and, more importantly, familiar with your opponents themselves. Understanding how your opponents think will allow you the best chance to call their bluffs and generally squeeze every benefit possible out of a game. So, how do you know what to interact with?

This question series is something that I mentally go through every time a major, or what appears to be a major, spell hits the stack or the battlefield. It's helped me a great deal in knowing what spells to counter and which ones to let slide so that I can conserve my resources and win.
  • Do I Care About the Spell/Permanent? – this is the first thing I ask myself. Does the spell/permanent (which I will nickname 'Action' throughout this discussion) immediately affect my board state? If an opponent is destroying a mana rock that I need in order to complete my own combo lines or board development, I probably care A LOT about that Action. If it's a mana rock, the answer would be 'No', so I would probably let the Action slide. The next question, of similar import, is does the Action affect my own gameplan? If it does hinder my ability to execute my win condition/combo lines, then I probably should care about the Action and do something about it.
  • Is the Action a Threat? – following the judgment about whether or not I care about the spell, the next question to ask is "Will this stop me from winning?" If it does, you should again interact with the Action if you can. The ultimate goal of Commander is to win and defeat your opponents. Anything that hinders that goal needs to be interacted with if possible. If this means that a substantial amount of your board state is destroyed/invalidated, you should probably interact with the Action. In a similar vein of thinking, you should also ask yourself "Does this Action allow an opponent to win the game RIGHT NOW?" If yes, interact with them to disrupt the Action so you can complete the primary goal of the game. If no, then you can probably let it slide.
  • Does it hurt other opponents? - Once you've identified that you care about the Action and have deemed it a threat, it's then important if this kind of threat hinders our opponents even more than us. A common example of this type of evaluation is a Wrath effect. Generally speaking, you have creatures in the deck because you care about their usefulness and value to helping you win the game. Typically your creatures are an important way that you execute your combo. However, if it hurts an opponent even more than you, and isn't a MAJOR threat to your ultimate goal (winning), then it might be a good idea to let the Wrath occur because it hinders one of your opponents even more than you. Anything that hinders your opponents will help give you more opportunities to achieve the ultimate goal.
  • Who deals with the Action? – turn order matters in this particular question. If you're third in line to respond to the Action, it might be that an opponent that can respond earlier than you will respond to the Action. If the Action occurs and you're next in turn order, is there another Blue deck behind you that can interact/prevent the Action? If so, will they perceive the Action to be a big enough Threat to them to stop it for you? If a Blue player behind you has mana open, a significant number of cards in hand, and has only interacted a few times during the game, it might be wise to pass priority so that you force this Blue player to spend a resource to interact with the Action if it's a threat to them. This is how you can conserve your own resources and create windows of opportunity to win the game for yourself.
  • How do I deal with it? – if the responsibility to interact with the Action unavoidably falls to you, you then need to ask how you can deal with it. The goal of a competitive Commander game is to win, and we usually do this by fizzling out the Fast Combo players, allowing Stax pieces to hit the board that are tolerable to our own strategy and board development but oppressive to our opponent's strategies/board states, and to maintain card and/or mana advantage over other Control decks. Seems like a tall order, no? Well, it is. That's why you're reading this, presumably. Knowing how to conserve your resources and when to interact is a critical skillset that you need to learn. You then need to evaluate how you need to deal with it. Does the Action need to be answered on the stack? Can we use resources that are already on our board to stop/hinder the Action (Vedalken Shackles is a great way to steal out a combo creature out from underneath a Combo player, for example). You generally want to conserve Counterspells for the spells that are most Threatening, the ones that you CANNOT let resolve. Ad Nauseam or Flash are prime examples of Actions that demand a Counterspell. Targeted Removal spells, like Chain of Vapor or Blink of an Eye, we try to reserve for High Value permanents. Mass Removal is generally used when the resource or board development of our opponents is superior to our own and we need to reset them and cost them more time and resources to redevelop that board state.
  • Is this the Right Opportunity? – sometimes, if you interact with an Action prematurely, you simply allow a player before you to untap and execute their own combo line and win if you cast/interact too soon. Understanding Table order is important in this assessment, as you generally want a player behind you to answer the Action if at all possible so that you maximize your own chances of winning on your turn or of keeping ahead of a player before you in turn order from executing their own combo. The resources at the table are finite, so you want to try and use timing and politics to maximize your ability to have your opponents respond to Actions and conserve your resources.
I hope that this question sequence is relevant to you and helps to shed some insight on how I personally evaluate any Action that occurs within a game.
"An imperfection in a perfect world? We can't allow that." -Memnarch, here




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Deck Strategy

Opening Hands and Mulligans:

With the new rules change in going to London mulligans, it's important to understand what hands are keepable and which ones are not. An ideal starting hand consists of 1-3 lands, 1-2 mana sources, 1-2 removal effects, 2-3 card advantage or tutor effects, and a combo piece too if you're lucky. The goal is to be able to quickly develop a board state and establish control on the game at an early point. Some sample hands are included here for demonstration purposes.
Sample Hand #1
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This is not a good hand, but not a terrible hand. Unless you're playing against some slower decks that are also focused on controlling the game, this is not a hand I would keep at all. The action spells are too expensive to be effective on T2-T3, and there isn't any removal to help supplement the Arcane Denial. Ship it off for a fresh 7.
Sample Hand #2
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This is a fantastic hand. It has a ton of ramp, a card advantage piece, and an early-game interaction piece. This hand translates into a very quick Memnarch so that you can start stealing permanents as quickly as possible. Keep this hand for sure and threaten an early Memnarch as safely as possible.
Sample Hand #3
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This is another great hand. We have some early ramp, but more importantly we have Paradox Engine in hand. This will allow the Vault to go into overdrive for mana production and can even allow a T3 Ugin, depending on what you draw. We even have Mana Drain to keep a deck under control and convert the mana into an early Ugin or Memnarch. Another great hand, keep this.
Early game:

The idea of the early game is to just build your base and handle the hyper aggro and hyper combo threats at the table. Everyone knows that you're playing mono-Blue. They're not dumb. And you can be sure that they'll be keeping an eye on you throughout the game. So, try to be unassuming in the beginning of the game so that you aren't targeted and crippled at an early period that puts you behind. However, if you have a crazy awesome hand of acceleration followed by a powerful draw spell, great. Be the threat and remind people why the U symbol is the tyrant of Magic the Gathering.
A good opening hand will want to consist of 1-2 counters, at least 3 lands, a mana rock, 1-2 draw spells, and a card of your choice. It's important to get some sort of cheap draw that will help you dig for answers and accelerate your game plan. The early game is what sets the pace for the rest of the match. Sample hands are shown above for your reference.

Mid Game:

This is the time when you want to set up some sort of consistent engine to keep the card advantage flowing. As the philosophy of the deck states, mono-Blue lacks hard tutors so the more draw power that you can accumulate the higher your chances, statistically, of drawing into a game-ending combo. I've sometimes accidentally won in the mid game before, drawing combo pieces like a champ. Anyways, handle threats as they come with removal and counters. I've tried to include a decent amount of removal to handle any type of threat that is trying to resolve. The counterspell density is also pretty high in my list as it stands. Don't be the policeman. If you do, you'll burn your resources trying to control other players and leave yourself defenseless when you want to try and win. Counterspells flying, Removal will be re-occurring, wraths common in this stage of the game. Allow plays that aren't game ending to resolve and stop the dumb ones, like Consecrated Sphinx, Bane of Progress, or Craterhoof Behemoth. Those are really bad cards to see on the other side of the table, if for some reason you're out of answers. Allow wraths to happen if it clears the board of threats but kills a valuable creature of yours. Learn to recognize when it's ok to sacrifice a powerful card in order to get to the End Game and win. Sometimes letting one of your powerful cards in play will cause people to think that you're suddenly out of the game. It can be a strangely political move, in other words, to let your cards die so that you can surprise the rest of the table and win with a combo of destiny.

Sometimes it's at this stage of the game where you can cast Memnarch. If there is an opportunity to do so, take advantage of that opportunity. The reason I call Memnarch the Stealer of Games is because if you can have him survive for a turn he can begin to steal permanents in a draw-go fashion. This results in tempo loss for your opponent's and tempo acceleration for you; this game effect is the reason that I play Memnarch as my general. Stealing those valuable, game winning enchantments (Mana Reflection, Mirrari's Wake, Asceticism, etc.), artifacts (Sword of Feast and Famine, Thran Dynamo, Caged Sun, etc.), and utility creatures can put you far enough ahead that your opponent's will be spending their resources trying to destroy the cards you stole. That's totally fine, and indeed encouraged. Try and make it a point to steal artifacts first because they are generally ways to make mana, most of the time. Spend 3U to get ahead on your own mana production and simultaneously deprive an opponent of theirs. I love this ability, personally. Memnarch allows you to turn mana into card advantage and tempo gain without expending any cards that you have in hand. That it's also instant speed allows you to play a great control game. Having access to this kind of ability at any time is very valuable to me and helps to solve some of the problems that mono-Blue sometimes has (like how to kill/answer resolved permanents). Memnarch is an outlet for infinite mana, removal for any type of permanent, tempo loss for my opponent's if he sticks, and tempo acceleration for me if he steals some stuff. It is very easy to literally steal games away from your opponent's. The newly printed Urza, Lord High Artificer also does a great job of accelerating you into the late game and is a welcome sight to your side of the battlefield. Being able to tap Memnarch for mana to fuel his own ability is EXCELLENT, and Urza has not disappointed in the slightest!

The current package of 2-card combos that are in the deck were also selected because of their CMC efficiency. Each combo costs less than 6 mana to assemble and execute, so there is a very high probability for you to be able to play a combo, protect it, and execute the infinite combo within the same turn to win the game in the Mid or Early game. This deck is designed to be as efficient as possible in its answers and win conditions, so it's very reasonable to expect that you can win on T4 or T5. Memnarch can be patient as the Archenemy, but sometimes it's best to close the door on the game when all of your opponents are busy developing their own board states.

End Game:

Ideally, you've sculpted the perfect hand of counters and combo pieces to win in one turn. With the card advantage that you should have accumulated in the mid game, victory should be assured. If you've cast Memnarch and stolen some permanents, fantastic; that will have vaulted you into this stage much more quickly. Tight playing is required here, however, because people know that mono-Blue is combo-tastic, so it's very necessary to forecast at least a turn ahead, frequently two. Try and keep an eye on which players are playing politics and who are conserving their own resources. They'll be the ones who will try and stop you. It basically becomes a giant game of chess. Whoever decides to react first and start the slew of combos and counter wars usually loses unless you can plan enough turns in advance. Try and bait counters with spells that you can afford to throw away. This is a reason that I like Memnarch. He becomes a powerful piece of bait on the board that can quickly cripple a player or two and advance your own board state without expending cards in your hand. Steal the other blue players' lands if he somehow resolves and sticks. You want to be the Blue Tyrant, the Panama Canal of Permission, the King of Counters.

This is my personal favorite stage of EDH. Planning around your opponent's cards, strategies, and psyches is awesome and is what I play this game for. Politics and mind games are always thrown down here. If you can provoke the other blue player(s) to misuse their counters correctly, you can then win. My most common wins usually involve Isochron Scepter or Grand Architect to either create infinite mana or make a large enough amount of mana to permanently cripple my opponents. After humming the circus song, you then quietly scoop up your cards and nod your head while everyone else mutters "Stupid islands..." Yes, it is ok to relish their implied groveling. You've successfully stolen another game because you're playing the best color and they should too. But try and be dignified in your victory. It's poor manners otherwise.

"All memory of your existence will be wiped from reality. You will die, and no one will mourn." – Memnarch, here




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Opposing Commander Match-Ups

While it's really hard to quantify a Tiered Competitive Commander list, our friends the LabManiacs (check out their YouTube channel here for excellent deck commentary and fantastic game matches!) have done some data mining and have created a rough list of the competitive Commander decks that are most frequently played. I will be listing the match-ups for Memnarch accordingly, based on the list that is found and maintained here.

Shuffle Hulk/Breakfast Hulk
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A very fast deck that uses the old Cephalid Breakfasat combo (Cephalid Illusionist + Nomads en=Kor to mill its deck into the 'yard in order to reanimate Laboratory Maniac in some fashion. It uses the signature combo of Flash and Hulk to also supplement this strategy and usually includes Hermit Druid. With the many angles of attack that this deck has, it's best to either counter the Dread Return, if able, or to go and find Grafdigger's Cage as quickly as possible. While it's no guarantee of stopping them for long, it should buy you enough time to try and assemble your own combo. This is a very hard deck to disrupt and it can quickly and consistently. Conserve your counterspells and look for an opportune moment to hold them off long enough to try and assemble your own combo.
Grixis Storm
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This deck tends to revolve around Ad Nauseam in a pretty dedicated fashion. If you can counter their mana rocks or, better yet, the Nauseam itself than you should be able to overpower them with your removal effects and Memnarch's ability. Otherwise, be prepared for a REALLY long turn until they either find Dramatic Reversal and Isochron Scepter, shoot you down with the fishbowl laser of death, or functionally draw enough of their deck to win with Laboratory Maniac. The card advantage and high density of Wheel effects will make it likely that they will be able to draw into enough tutors to find one of these win conditions, so don't let them Wheel to frequently.
Teferi Chain Veil
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Teferi is faster than Memnarch and has a ton of Stax pieces that make it hard to play against him. The good thing about this matchup is that Teferi is dependent on casting and retaining control of an artifact. This makes Memnarch a VERY powerful threat if he resolves and stays around, since you can literally steal away Teferi's win condition in response to its activation. Otherwise, this is going to be a control matchup where you are looking to win a counter war over the casting of his Teferi or the casting of your Commander. It's a tight matchup, and be wary of Cursed Totem. That card is the real deal in competitive Commander games.
First Sliver Food Chain
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This deck revolves around Food Chain and exiling a Cast From Exile Creature (Misthollow Griffin and Eternal Scourge usually) to generate infinite mana and then cast The First Sliver a bajillion times to win via recycling every spell in the deck or win via Jace, Wielder of Mysteries or Laboratory Maniac. The goal is to keep Food Chain off the table and find one of those Stax pieces to put them into play. That will buy you enough time to either Memnarcha way their permanents or find your own infinite mana combo. This is a really tough matchup though since they're so fast.
Zur Shimmer Storm
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This is a Storn variant that has the ability to use Zur to put Necropotence directly into play and start drawing cards on top of the normal tutor chains and Wheel effects. Zur can be fast but is removal lite, so you should be able to protect a Memnarch and threaten to steal their win condition, usually Laboratory Maniac or Aetherflux Reservoir. It's a resilient deck and a little infamous in the EDH world for its consistency and power. Counter Zur if you can and be very proactive about stealing the mana rocks of this player.
Yisan Stax
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Yisan is a really tough matchup for us. Once he resolves, he basically sits back and does nothing, activating his ability at someone's End Step or in response to one of our abilities. And most Yisan lists usually have artifact removal at every Verse, which means that you can expect your mana rocks to die and die frequently. However, there are some Stax pieces that will hopefully shore up this matchup for you: Mindlock Orb, Pithing Needle, and Grafdigger's Cage. Each of these cards stop Yisan from being anything but a nice 2/3 creature. Find one of these tutors proactively and try and protect them until you can either combo off or get Memnarch online so you can steal Yisan. This is a tough matchup, so play conservatively and try using politics to get Yisan off the table if he resolves.
Kaalia Stax
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My wife's deck is just straight up bad for this deck. The Stax pieces matchup very well against our deck and Kaalia naturally plays Hellkite Tyrant which can actually win the game for your opponent if they steal enough of your artifacts. Because this Kaalia deck attacks our strategy on two primary angels - heavy Stax and the basic Kaalia Aggro plan- it becomes really hard to manage her board state. Honestly, politics is really important in this matchup and keeping Kaalia off the table will help reduce the effectiveness of her Aggro plan. If you can survive into the late game, you should be able to get Memnarch into play and start stealing away her Kaalia targets and really turn the tables on her.
Thrasios & Tymna Paradox Scepter
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Because the two primary win conditions of this decklist are artifacts, we like this matchup. If we can steal away one of their win conditions in response to their attempt to win, you'll probably win the game since we use the same win conditions. Thrasios + Tymna variants are the most common, and because they have access to more colors they have a better removal suite and a better card draw card in Ad Nauseam. Lodestone Golem is really good, and keeping Tymna off the table to minimize their card advantage is a good line of play if available. Otherwise, try and hold up counterspells for their most powerful cards and beware of the EOT Nauseam.

EDIT: With the banning of Paradox Engine as of 7/8/2019, I'm not sure if this strategy will remain.
Brostorm Selvala
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Selvala is super fast and can combo off before you're even ready for her to do so. Therefore, kill her as quickly and as often as possible. If Selvala isn't on the battlefield, then the deck looks like a bad mid-range deck that has some pretty good creatures with no powerful ETB abilities or activated abilities. Hold on tight and if you can get Ugin, the Spirit Dragon into play and exile the board, go for that line. Otherwise, counter Paradox Engine so that Selvala can't Storm off and draw into an infinite combo.
Tana & Tymna Blood Pod
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The bane of any cEDH deck because of the sheer amount of Stax that it plays, this matchup is pretty miserable. They have access to all the best pieces of hate that slow our game plan down to a crawl. Lodestone Golem is a great card here since we can tax them out of their own game plan with it in play. Otherwise, counter the most damaging Stax pieces if possible. If Stony Silence resolves, then you're going to have a REALLY hard time of winning the game until that card is off the table. Otherwise, you're just trying to find an infinite combo so that you can close the game out as quickly as possible. You'll be doing the table a favor if you do that, haha.
Tasigur Control/Combo
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Tasigur is basically doing what we want to do, but with access to better colors and removal options. Tasigur's activated ability provides card advantage to its controller and the strong removal suite and political nature of his activated ability is very powerful. With the addition of mana dorks as well, Tasigur can develop its mana advantage and board state pretty quickly. Try and counter Tasigur in the early game, after they've Delved away most of their 'yard, so that he becomes more difficult to cast in subsequent turns. Play tightly, as this game is definitely going to be a cat and mouse game over who can resolve and protect their Commander first.
Gitrog Monster Combo
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One of the stronger combo decks because it attacks the game from such a unique angle, there's really only one of two things you can do: kill the Monster or counter their discard outlets. Because of the unique way in which they mill their deck with Dakmor Salvage, it's really hard to disrupt the way that they combo off. The upside is that this deck doesn't play counterspells, so you should be able to force through your own combo without having to worry about disruption. Stealing the Monster is a FANTASTIC play as that pretty much stops them cold.
Even the clouds bend themselves to Memnarch's will, eager to swallow those who oppose him. -here




.
Credit & Thanks

Thanks and Credits go to a lot of people for the creation and development of this thread.

First, I'd like to thank the Mods who initially approved this OP as a Primer for the MTGSalvation community. With the transition over to MTGNexus, I feel like I should respect the platform that I initially had my start on. It's been rewarding to write and respond to and I appreciate all the feedback I've received.

Next, I'd like to thank you, dear reader, for reading this Primer. This was created with you in mind, and I hope that this Primer has been informative and well-written for your enjoyment. There's lots of other decklists and threads out there for our Glorious Mechanical Overlord, so thanks for taking the time to check out MY thread!

I would also like to publicly acknowledge the Laboratory Maniac user Cameron for his contribution to the "How to Play Control in Commander" spoiler. His writing is excellent and I proudly redirect you to his thorough Tasigur thread, which can be found here. Cameron accurately captures the primary points of critical thinking that is necessary for evaluating threats at the table and I reiterate that I stand on his shoulders for this section.

I'd also like to humbly thank my playgroup, my brother Samuel, and my wife Katie. Playing against this deck is challenging and at times disheartening, but you've continued to play against it and keep offering games. Many of the developments and cards are included as a direct credit to you and the games that you've played with me.

Lastly, I'd like to thank each and every person who comments on this thread. I love to talk about this Commander and different card choices to maximize his strengths and the deck strategy. It's because of your responses that the decklist has evolved into what it is today!
Karn's creation is now his master.here




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Change Log

These are the Changes that I've made to the OP since the initial creation of the OP.
7/8/2019
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Overhauled the OP to ensure that it meets the MTGNexus coding requirements and preferences.
8/5//2019
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Changed some sizing coding to make sure that the Primer fits on various sized screens and for a clean reading experience.
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Post by Jivanmukta » 5 months ago

Praise the almighty Island and thank you for this.
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Post by benjameenbear » 5 months ago

Jivanmukta wrote:
5 months ago
Praise the almighty Island and thank you for this.
Of course! Us U players stick together against the unenlightened Gruul mages that, strangely, continue to exist.
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Post by benjameenbear » 5 months ago

With the banning of Paradox Engine as of 7/8/2019, this deck lost an incredibly powerful combo and mana production piece. While the core strategy isn't directly affected, the Engine's banning makes the deck a little more fragile since it depends on 2 different combo lines exclusively whereas the Engine could act as a pseudo-combo piece to generate infinite/semi-infinite mana.

Goodbye, Engine. It was great to play with you while you lasted...
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Post by MuzzleMuffin » 4 months ago

Nice primer. Glad I found this, bear.
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Post by benjameenbear » 4 months ago

Muzzle Muffin wrote:
4 months ago
Nice primer. Glad I found this, bear.
Thanks! I'll be making a formal post in all of my threads and moving the content over to Nexus sometime tomorrow. I'm all-in on Nexus and I encourage everyone to make the switch if possible.
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Post by Rumpy5897 » 4 months ago

Quick visual note - the thread's clipping on the right, like some other threads that came before it. Percentage box widths did the trick for me, and have been recommended by Darren elsewhere to good effect.

That said, I commiserate with you on the Pengine loss. I'd imagine it'll hit you harder, with you being openly cEDH and whatnot. Is it more of a big deal in Urza? The Command Zone guys kept echoing the Pengine like mad in their preview video of him, but they're not necessarily dead on the money with their 99 predictions.

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Post by benjameenbear » 4 months ago

Rumpy5897 wrote:
4 months ago
Quick visual note - the thread's clipping on the right, like some other threads that came before it. Percentage box widths did the trick for me, and have been recommended by Darren elsewhere to good effect.

That said, I commiserate with you on the Pengine loss. I'd imagine it'll hit you harder, with you being openly cEDH and whatnot. Is it more of a big deal in Urza? The Command Zone guys kept echoing the Pengine like mad in their preview video of him, but they're not necessarily dead on the money with their 99 predictions.
Good point. The box widths happily translate to my laptop screen, but that may not be true for smaller screens. I'll have to update that.

The banning of Paradox Engine is definitely a sad day for the cEDH community. It knocks Urza down a bit in power level since the Engine acted as a key combo piece in most cEDH lists. However, it will most likely be replaced with Power Artifact since Urza runs all of the relevant Monoliths/Mana Vault to take advantage of infinite colorless mana. I'm not particularly impressed with The Command Zone and their interpretation/analysis of cEDH cards, but the banning of Engine makes certain Thrasios + Tymna strategies worse. Overall, it hits the cEDH community hard but doesn't necessarily completely invalidate the top-tier strategies. Dramatic Scepter is the go-to combo piece of choice that deterministically wins the game whereas the Engine was not quite deterministic but really REALLY likely to win you the game upon resolution.

It makes me legitimately sad, but I was honestly surprised that it lasted as long as it did. As soon as I saw the card spoiled I knew that it was broken and pre-ordered a copy of it, anticipating that it would be banned within a short while. The fact that I got to play it for about 1.5 years is awesome and created some awesome win streaks. It was almost a strictly better Omniscience in function that was WAY more easily tutorable and castable in the best color in the game.
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Post by Rumpy5897 » 4 months ago

Sorry to hijack the thread, feel free to tell me to go away, but you got any more of these "this is going to be banned" vibes coming in from anywhere else? I'd rather not lose Bolas Rock in Daxos, for example, and the new banning guidelines are so broad that they can hammer just about anything :pensive:

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Post by benjameenbear » 4 months ago

Rumpy5897 wrote:
4 months ago
Sorry to hijack the thread, feel free to tell me to go away, but you got any more of these "this is going to be banned" vibes coming in from anywhere else? I'd rather not lose Bolas Rock in Daxos, for example, and the new banning guidelines are so broad that they can hammer just about anything :pensive:
Haha, no worries. I actually think Bolas's Citadel is a well-designed card. It has two very major and VERY significant stop points if it's in play by itself: 1) a land on the top and you've already played your land for the turn 2) your life total. Without actively tutoring for Aetherflux Reservoir to offset the compounding life payments, you're limited to the inherent variance of shuffling your deck and how that dictates the card order of your library. There have been MANY times in my Yawgmoth deck where I play the Citadel, play 1-2 spells, and hit a stop point. There are also times when I flip over the Reservoir or Tendrils of Agony and am able to continue a bit longer, but I ALWAYS inevitably find a land on the top and have to stop my combo turn. Granted, there's usually an inherent board advantage I gain via the Citadel that makes it hard to lose after having a Citadel turn, but overall I think it's a fair card. However, it only takes an interesting lifegain spell density to make it broken, and if it becomes pervasive I can see the Citadel being banned for resource imbalance rationale.

Otherwise, I truly think that Mana Crypt and Timetwister are likely to get the ban at some point. The 'Twister because it's a piece of the Power 9 and shouldn't have been enabled for the format in the first place and the Crypt because it's an egregiously powerful card that will most likely affect a very small group of Commander players. And the RC and CAG correctly do NOT cater to the cEDH crowd, so if they were to ban these two cards I wouldn't be surprised or sad.
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Post by MuzzleMuffin » 4 months ago

What are our thoughts on Tidespout Tyrant?

I ask because I noticed this video on the combo the other day: Tidespout Tyrant Mana Rock Combo

I have seen discussions of people using Polymorph as a way to search for this puppy. My personal opinion is that this does not benefit me because I am still running the Grand Architect, Pili-Pala, Metalworker combos.
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Post by benjameenbear » 4 months ago

I think it's another solid way to build Memnarch, but I don't like the high CMC cost of the Tyrant initially. But that's really it, since it DOES serve as a pseudo Paradox Engine by resetting mana rocks, albeit very indirectly.
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Post by Kemev » 4 months ago

Why isn't Rings of Brighthearth in this list?

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Post by benjameenbear » 4 months ago

Because it has narrow applications and has been a dead card too many times in the past. And Memnarch doesn't particularly enjoy infinite colorless mana, seeing that he needs U in his activated ability to win the game.
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Post by Kemev » 4 months ago

benjameenbear wrote:
4 months ago
Because it has narrow applications and has been a dead card too many times in the past. And Memnarch doesn't particularly enjoy infinite colorless mana, seeing that he needs U in his activated ability to win the game.
Ok, that makes sense... I wasn't thinking about needing infinite blue. I'd still be tempted to sneak in rings + Staff of Domination, but I guess you don't really need it. (I realize staff hasn't seen much play the last couple years, but I think it's ready for a comeback now that paradox engine is gone.)

Speaking of PE, will selvala still be a deck worth mentioning?

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Post by JinShootingStar » 4 months ago

Kemev wrote:
4 months ago
Speaking of PE, will selvala still be a deck worth mentioning?
PE was just one more win condition in Selvala, she is still very strong and consistent.

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Post by benjameenbear » 4 months ago

Agreed. For Selvala particularly, there are enough singular untap effects in mono-Green a la Scryb Ranger and Revitalize that the loss of Engine shouldn't disrupt the combo lines too badly. It does weaken her somewhat though since the Engine was a consistent and repeatable way to untap Selvala.
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Post by MuzzleMuffin » 4 months ago

Welp, looks like we have to find room for the new Arcane Signet. I know it is going to fit perfectly in my list.
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Post by benjameenbear » 4 months ago

Sky Diamond is an easy cut for the new Arcane Signet. That's what I'll be doing when Eldraine gets released.
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Post by benjameenbear » 3 months ago

Formal set review for Commander 2019!
  • Sudden Substitution - a VERY powerful effect in cEDH, we don't have the density of creatures to make this card worth it. This card is particularly awesome in a mana dork heavy deck, and that Split Second is no joke.
  • Leadership Vacuum - besides never being able to spell vacuum correctly, this card is decent. It replaces itself and acts as Commander removal. Not quite as versatile as I would like.
  • Empowered Autogenerator - this card is a trap. It takes 3-4 turns to output more mana than Lotus or Thran Dynamo. Cool card design, it should have ETB with at least 1 counter to make it worthwhile.
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Post by insomnia » 2 months ago

thanks for this resource bear, it has been a great help building https://deckstats.net/decks/112328/1319 ... ed-mind/en not cEDH speed but still very powerful

question though, i was took another win in multiplayer on xmage (5th out of 8 games) today with the above IRL list and got into the situation of memnarch stolen from me twice, managed to get him back and win (Padeem, Consul of Innovation saved the day preventing any of my things being stolen the second time around)

but the really odd effect was that whenever memnarch was stolen by the other blue player, all the artifacts that were stolen with memnarch also crossed the table to him

is that an xmage bug or does memnarch own the artifacts stolen rather than myself?

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Post by lyonhaert » 2 months ago

insomnia wrote:
2 months ago
but the really odd effect was that whenever memnarch was stolen by the other blue player, all the artifacts that were stolen with memnarch also crossed the table to him

is that an xmage bug or does memnarch own the artifacts stolen rather than myself?
That definitely sounds like a bug. Players control on-battlefield objects, not other on-battlefield objects.
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Post by insomnia » 2 months ago

lyonhaert wrote:
2 months ago
That definitely sounds like a bug. Players control on-battlefield objects, not other on-battlefield objects.
hi, thanks for the confirm, that was my understanding aswell :grin: had me concerned :omg:

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Post by benjameenbear » 2 months ago

@lyonhaert is correct. Sounds like an xmage fluke, since Memnarch gives control of his stolen permanents to you, his controller. Odd that such a thing would even occur!

@insomnia I'm glad the Primer was helpful to you! While Memnarch isn't as fast as Urza or the other top tier cEDH decks, I find that Memnarch has a great chance to steal games because of how powerful his activated abilities are. As people expend their interaction on each other, it often opens up an opportunity to safely cast and resolve a Memnarch. And then you just slowly steal all the things at instant speed while holding up your own interaction.
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Post by insomnia » 2 months ago

@benjameenbear the best thing with him is that he stops what is basically a combo control deck being a one trick pony (well 3 trick in my case) since without the combo it still has a ton of ramp and theft.

Interestingly he reminds me of playing good old Mimeoplasm (way better due to the instant speed and not depending upon a graveyard) in that every game is different down to what gets stolen (or spliced in mimo's case).

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