Will & Rowan Kenrith - Sparks of Ice and Fire (Superfriends)

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darrenhabib
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Post by darrenhabib » 2 years ago

VirgilKaineisthename wrote:
2 years ago
The deck is very strong in a 3-player game. It's much more difficult to win in a 4 or 5-player game. Which changes could be made for this ? Any suggestions ?
Excellent question!

I have a game theory where the difference between player numbers rank the same level of difference between dueling and 3 player, to then going to 4 players, and so forth.
We lump the term "multiplayer" to categorize anything that is not dueling, but the dynamics between number of players is just as dramatic a change between dueling to multiplayer, and it's a topic that I haven't seen at all in threads.

Now where as 3 player is still skewed towards early advantages still, a 5 player game is often about attrition. Almost certainly the first player who tries to "combo" off is going to be invariably met with ways to be stopped. After all you have 4 other players at the ready.

Now especially with planeswalkers incidental damage from the other 4 players creatures is also a lot harder to get traction.

The answer is that it's much more about building up to a threshold of mana and to pick a spot where you combo off in one big turn (likely a row of turns with the extra turn cards).
What I mean is that it's unlikely that you stick an early Will Kenrith and Rowan Kenrith for example and are able to ride them out for an extended period of time.
So it's more of a patience game and dealing with the worst your opponents are doing and trying to find the right spot to then try and do a lot of things in a sudden burst.

Most of my games are 4 player. So this deck is more or less tuned for that.
The first thing to change for say a 5 player game, is to reduce the number of planeswalkers, as simply put they are less likely to gain you continuous value.
On the same note with higher number of players, if it's not your planeswalkers that are being attacked, then it's your life total. This is a very creature light deck and your opponents will learn to target you as you'll be far less likely to have blockers. The thing is that opponents don't need to commit that much to the board. If you have 4 other players who put 4 power for example say each, then you are potentially being attacked for 16 damage each turn if they decide that you are the most likely to remove them.
So where as I'm definitely not normally a fan of defensive cards like Propaganda, in a 5 player setting it can really help to stall out the game long enough for you to setup the big turns that you will need.

Setting up the big turn(s) requires having enough mana to do a number of things. PLUS you want to only do this at a stage that you feel or know opponents are not holding up too much disruption. This is where patience is needed and often wait for another player to have tried a big sequence of plays to have the other players firing off their counterspell and removal, etc. OR simply when you get most opponents tapped out.

There are a few things you can do to achieve this. Being able to cast more things at instant speed, means that you can do a number of things before your turn freeing up mana.
Leyline of Anticipation and Emergence Zone are the best candidates for doing this.
The idea is that you can setup a lot easier by casting planeswalkers before your turn, so that in your turn you can cast a lot more cards.

Now the more players there are, the more of an attrition battle it becomes, so having more disruption can be beneficial as well. There is a lot of mass creature removal in the deck, but it's far more likely that your opponents bounce back because often players are less likely to commit too much to the board knowing that it's more likely that there is going to be mass removal several times during the game.
It's also more likely that there are more counterspells floating around at any stage of the game, and unfortunately (or fortunately depending on your point of view) it's beneficial to have more of these in the deck for yourself.

All of this is meta dependent as well, if you have a more competitive environment then counterspells become a lot more necessary, but if your playgroup is quite creature attacking focused, then you are better off having more defensive cards.

But here goes these are the sorts of changes I would look to make for a 5+ player groups.

You'll notice the addition of card draw engines in Mystic Remora, Rhystic Study, Ever-Watching Threshold. You might ask "why not just have these in the deck normally?". The answer is that often I don't find that I'm lacking for spells to cast during a 4 player game. But resources in hand becomes more important as the game skews towards attrition, so you can expect more removal, thus drawing a few more cards is more important, and obviously these cards become better when you have more opponents to trigger them.

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VirgilKaineisthename
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Post by VirgilKaineisthename » 2 years ago

Thanks for your very interesting answer !!! This helps me a lot. Only remark: Collective Restraint allows your opponent still to attack your Planeswalkers. Right ? Perhaps War Tax is better here ?

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Post by darrenhabib » 2 years ago

VirgilKaineisthename wrote:
2 years ago
Thanks for your very interesting answer !!! This helps me a lot. Only remark: Collective Restraint allows your opponent still to attack your Planeswalkers. Right ? Perhaps War Tax is better here ?
Both Propaganda and Collective Restraint only protect your life total and not the planeswalkers, correct.

But I'll reiterate that the game plan is less about trying to play your planeswalker and have them survive rounds of opponents turns. Your trying to survive a longer game where you can perhaps play a planeswalker AND cast mass removal. Or cast a planeswalker AND cast an extra turn card to get traction.
The Propaganda and Collective Restraint are simply to stall the game out so that as opponents commit more creatures to the board, your own mass creature removal becomes more effective.

War Tax might be a good option, but at the same time it does actually tax you of your own mana, so might not be the best? Honestly never tried it.

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Post by Admiralzachbar » 1 year ago

I love the primer! Really well done. I have a similar deck that I am trying to tune as much as I can. Your thought process definitely helped me make some decisions on what to cut.
I was wondering if you ever got a chance to play Planebound Accomplice. It seems like a way to combo out faster than only having cloudstone curio out. I have yet to draw it in any of my games, so I don't have any experience with it yet.
The second card that I wonder if you have considered is Portcullis. It has done work for me every time I have played it. It has become a destroy or counter on sight in my meta.
Thanks again for the primer! Great work!

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Post by darrenhabib » 1 year ago

Admiralzachbar wrote:
1 year ago
I love the primer! Really well done. I have a similar deck that I am trying to tune as much as I can. Your thought process definitely helped me make some decisions on what to cut.
I was wondering if you ever got a chance to play Planebound Accomplice. It seems like a way to combo out faster than only having cloudstone curio out. I have yet to draw it in any of my games, so I don't have any experience with it yet.
The second card that I wonder if you have considered is Portcullis. It has done work for me every time I have played it. It has become a destroy or counter on sight in my meta.
Thanks again for the primer! Great work!
Thanks :)

I have not tried out Planebound Accomplice at all. If you could use it on Will & Rowan from the commander zone then it would be more appealing. The deck isn't super heavy on the planeswalkers, and I've kept a lot of them on the lower mana curve side of things as well.
I think if I was running more of the expensive planeswalkers then it would have a better place.
The thing with the Cloudstone Curio is that I've already selected walkers who have mana abilities, so they take card of themselves on the whole.
If my planeswalker selection was different then I'd be much more keen. Say for example others like; Jace, the Mind Sculptor, Tamiyo, the Moon Sage, Jaya Ballard, Jace, Memory Adept, Tezzeret, Artifice Master, Karn Liberated, Ugin, the Spirit Dragon.
The most appealing play I think with Planebound Accomplice is using it to put multiple PW into play and then casting Deepglow Skate to ultimate them. You can even activate the Planebound Accomplice at the end of opponents turn (as it checks at "beginning" of end step) so that you have more mana to cast the Deepglow Skate perhaps with counterspell backup.
The best play would be ultimate Tamiyo, the Moon Sage so that you get all the planeswalkers back to hand after you have to sacrifice them.

Anyway let me know how it plays when you do get to use it. Also what planeswalkers do you have in your deck?

I am a proponent of Portcullis and it actually made my list of "underused" cards in the thread I posted in the main forums.

viewtopic.php?f=24&t=12528
It's like the 12 post down.

I should put my words into practice and give it a test for sure. I'll try it over one of the other removal spells.

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Post by Admiralzachbar » 1 year ago

Thanks for the reply.
My hope is to be able to use it to drop a Walker and ult it the same turn. Much like you said. I do play a few of the higher cmc ones. I imagine using it to drop Ugin, -7 him, and still have mana open to drop stuff afterwards.
Another card on my list that might be helpful is fatespinner. I find that people tend to skip combat more often than drawing or a main phase. I guess I play a little more control and stax than you do, but this is a card worth considering.

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Post by SirGregarious » 1 year ago

Admiralzachbar wrote:
1 year ago
I love the primer! Really well done. I have a similar deck that I am trying to tune as much as I can. Your thought process definitely helped me make some decisions on what to cut.
I was wondering if you ever got a chance to play Planebound Accomplice. It seems like a way to combo out faster than only having cloudstone curio out. I have yet to draw it in any of my games, so I don't have any experience with it yet.
The second card that I wonder if you have considered is Portcullis. It has done work for me every time I have played it. It has become a destroy or counter on sight in my meta.
Thanks again for the primer! Great work!
I've been playing a version of this deck since Will and Rowan were spoiled. I run Planebound Accomplice in mine. It's vulnerable to instant speed removal and opponents can sometimes easily 2-for-1 you by killing it in response to you sneaking in a Planeswalker that you intended to bounce. The combo lines with it are pretty rigid. There's four main lines I go for with it.

1. Planebound Accomplice + Cloudstone Curio + 2 Planeswalkers that generate RR. This is most easily pulled off with a Chandra, but it can be done with other walkers as well. It requires three pieces to hit the board and stick, but it creates infinite activations of whichever walkers you have. Chandra, Ral or Ugin can burn people out. Will or Dack can mill people out. Most combinations of walkers will win the game off of it.

2. Planebound Accomplice + Tezzeret the Seeker + 1 Planeswalker. This requires some mana to start with but can easily win the game. 2R for Accomplice, R for Tezzeret to fetch Cloudstone Curio, R for Planeswalker, R for Tezzeret to fetch one mana rock, tap rock for Planeswalker, R for Tezzeret again to fetch another mana rock, tap rock for Planeswalker, R for Tezzeret one more time to untap both rocks, infinite. It's a little long-winded, but it can win the game out of no where. It's also easier to assemble if your other planeswalker makes mana or untaps things (Ral, Chandra, etc.) or if you already have mana rocks on board to untap with Tezzeret.

3. Planebound Accomplice + Deepglow Skate + Planeswalkers. Very straight forward, sneak in Planeswalkers then ult them. Tamiyo, the Moon Sage and Jace, Architect of Thought are my favorites, but almost anything that comes out of this line will end the game in one way or another.

4. Planebound Accomplice + Ugin, the Ineffable + Artifacts. This is a less flashy play because it doesn't end the game, but it can be pretty powerful. You pretty much treat Ugin's static ability as a ritual by paying R to flash him in then dump out some key combo pieces or just some mana rocks. I've had games where I've brought Ugin in to play on turn 4 with Accomplice then dropped 10 mana worth of rocks out of my hand and assembled a winning position the following turn.

Another useful thing it can do is transform your Planeswalkers into sorceries. Paying R to sneak in Ugin, the Spirit Dragon for the mass exile can be pretty gross. Paying R to sneak in Ral Zarek just to untap your Gilded Lotus like a ritual is also useful sometimes. Planebound Accomplice is often just a blocker, but sometimes it can turn into game ending combos or enable some situational removal or rituals that you might need. I think it's a worthy include from a power perspective, a versatility perspective, and a fun perspective.

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Post by SirGregarious » 1 year ago

Hey Darren. Have you been running Mystic Sanctuary? Modern and Legacy have been all over it. Its power isn't exactly a secret, but turning your fetches into Time Warp or Cyclonic Rift is really strong.

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Post by Admiralzachbar » 1 year ago

Thanks for you summary of planebound accomplice! Those are exactly what I was hoping to use him for. That does make me want to add him. It also makes me want to find room for Ugin the ineffable. You can also sneak in Narset when others are trying to wheel, just a note.

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Post by darrenhabib » 1 year ago

Admiralzachbar wrote:
1 year ago
Thanks for the reply.
My hope is to be able to use it to drop a Walker and ult it the same turn. Much like you said. I do play a few of the higher cmc ones. I imagine using it to drop Ugin, -7 him, and still have mana open to drop stuff afterwards.
Another card on my list that might be helpful is fatespinner. I find that people tend to skip combat more often than drawing or a main phase. I guess I play a little more control and stax than you do, but this is a card worth considering.
I'm big on making sure I find all the angles on stuff, so decided to dig a little deeper and figure out what can be done with Planebound Accomplice. I looked up cards that can return cards to hand in indefinite ways; Tidespout Tyrant, Dissipation Field, Words of Wind.

If you have Will Kenrith and another planeswalker that can produce three mana (two of them red) then you can look to go infinite with Planebound Accomplice and Words of Wind.
You can use Will Kenrith [-2] draw and use the replacement effect to return both Will and the mana producing planeswalker. This in turn will eventually return all your opponents permanents..good game.
Walkers that can do this are; Koth of the Hammer, Teferi, Temporal Archmage. Tezzeret the Seeker, Saheeli Rai and Ral Zarek can do it with Gilded Lotus or Coveted Jewel.
Now even if you have Chandras that produce rr, Chandra, Novice Pyromancer, Chandra, Torch of Defiance, Chandra, Bold Pyromancer, you can still do this loop at the cost of one mana each time. That will mean returning X opponents permanents for as much mana as you have spare. The neat thing is that because you are using Will Kenrith [-2] ability, you can just cast the Chandras for their normal cost (only the last time), so won't lose them to Planebound Accomplice sacrifice.


[EDIT]
I got the math wrong, you need 4 mana for the following sequences. I struck out the incorrect statement above, and the below paragraph is the correct math. Sorry if I put you wrong.

If you have Will Kenrith and another planeswalker that can produce at least 2rr then you can look to go infinite with Planebound Accomplice and Words of Wind.
You can use Will Kenrith [-2] draw and use the replacement effect to return both Will and the mana producing planeswalker. This in turn will eventually return all your opponents permanents..good game.
Walkers that can do this are; Koth of the Hammer, Teferi, Temporal Archmage and Tezzeret the Seeker.

Now even if you have Chandras' that produce rr, Chandra, Novice Pyromancer, Chandra, Torch of Defiance, Chandra, Bold Pyromancer, you can still do this loop at the cost of 2 mana each time. That will mean returning X opponents permanents for as much mana as you have spare. The neat thing is that because you are using Will Kenrith [-2] ability, you can just cast the Chandras' for their normal cost (only the last time), so won't lose them to Planebound Accomplice sacrifice.
Saheeli Rai and Ral Zarek can do similar things with Gilded Lotus or Coveted Jewel, meaning you can spend an additional 1 to loop this, returning opponents' permanents for each 1 you invest.

Of course the math is changed if you have The Chain Veil with an activation, it's going to be easy to go infinite with any of the mana producing planeswalkers with Will Kenrith and Planebound Accomplice and Words of Wind.

Also if you have a Rowan emblem then you can easily go infinite, as you only need to activate Planebound Accomplice and it will trigger twice, allowing you to put 2 planeswalkers into play. Then you only need to activate Words of Wind once and it'll trigger twice. This means that you can loop for just 1r returning Will Kenrith and a mana producing planeswalkers, and opponents will eventually have to return all their permanents.

Of course the math is changed if you have The Chain Veil with an activation, it's going to be easy to go infinite with any of the mana producing planeswalkers with Will and Planebound Accomplice and Words of Wind.

Tidespout Tyrant requires cast triggers, so actually a bit trickier. But still very feasible to combo off. If you are using Will [-2] ability then the cost reduction and draw is likely to get you cheap casting spells.
You can return Will and mana producing planeswalker to keep putting them back into play and probably generate mana to cast other spells. It's not as deterministic, but likely to combo off indefinitely.

The only thing I could think of for Dissipation Field is that you can combine it with Planebound Accomplice and Chandra, Bold Pyromancer to produce rr at the cost of 2 damage to you each time if you use the [+1] to target yourself. Not the best but Dissipation Field is a playable card at larger tables (say 5-6 players) as it can deter attacks on you to save your life total which matters.

The other element I researched was exile and return to play cards, as this can save them from Planebound Accomplice sacrifice ability. The only cards in Izzet that I could find are Release to the Wind and Teferi's Time Twist.
Now Release to the Wind is actually a super powerful card I figured out on it's own.
With Will Kenrith you can [-2] to reduce the cost of Release to the Wind so that it only cost u and target Will. You can recast Will for nothing and use his [-2] again (or [+2] if wanting the defense). But if you can imagine that means cost reduction of 4 mana to your instants/sorcery/planeswalkers, you can cast out Rowan for rr and get traction with casting other spells as well.
It can also be used defensively as well. Say the board is fill with creatures. You can cast out Will and then exile him, and then wait until your next turn to cast him so that you have much more mana available. It might even be that you cast it in response to opponents attacking him (or any planeswalker) to save him.

The other thing with Words of Wind is that you can use it by itself to save permanents if you have instant draw and available mana to activate it. At the moment my only instant speed draw is Brainstorm, Mystic Confluence, Sensei's Divining Top.

The last thing to mention is that Sundial of the Infinite is a card that can prevent you from having to sacrifice "end of turn" stuff. This will include Planebound Accomplice ability and a few others like Saheeli Rai [-2] artifact/creature and Chandra, Acolyte of Flame 1/1 tokens. If you wanted to get more mileage out of Sundial of the Infinite then you can look to use the cheap extra turn cards in Final Fortune, Last Chance, Warrior's Oath.
Normally scary stuff but again you can back up the "lose the game" with other cards that can counter triggered abilities; Disallow,
Nimble Obstructionist, Stifle, Tale's End, Trickbind



I'm actually pretty keen to try out some of these combinations to see how they fare. Having these incentivized trying to use Chandra, Bold Pyromancer for it's mana ability again.

Haste is an element that has always been a problem when protecting your planeswalkers, and I put Fiery Confluence as both a creature removal spell, but also to remove artifacts. This specifically meant that I had another solution to equipment that can give haste and protection, like Lightning Greaves, Swiftfoot Boots, etc.
With trying Portcullis, this will give more protection against haste creatures, so I feel better about taking it out.

I took out Coveted Jewel from the deck basically when Paradox Engine was banned as it didn't have quite the same role. But now with potential more combos with Words of Wind and Planebound Accomplice I want to reuse it. I'm just going to go with the higher upside, but less early game consistency of taking out Coalition Relic.

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Post by Admiralzachbar » 1 year ago

I am glad you are trying out my suggestion. I hope it works out as well for you as it does for me. I really appreciate your detailed write ups for all the changes you make to gets. It really helps me think about why and how I picked the cards that I use.
Out of curiosity, how often do you get to play this deck, and what kind of meta do you play it in?

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Post by darrenhabib » 1 year ago

SirGregarious wrote:
1 year ago
Hey Darren. Have you been running Mystic Sanctuary? Modern and Legacy have been all over it. Its power isn't exactly a secret, but turning your fetches into Time Warp or Cyclonic Rift is really strong.
Actually yeah I've been theory crafting the bajebus out of it. I even made a thread alerting people to it => viewtopic.php?f=24&t=21132

I added it to my Aminatou deck (can check out in my signature) and even made a deck list specifically around it. Check out my in depth explanation around the card there.

I've even made a whole entire deck around the card. It's a Golos, Tireless Pilgrim helmed deck. I actually have started a thread on it, but haven't posted it yet.
[EDIT]
I've posted the deck list with details in that thread now.

I have added it to my Will & Rowan Kenrith build, but I just obviously forget to post the change here. My bad. Just a straight swap for an Island.

Nice job on explaining Planebound Accomplice interactions in above post :)

Remove
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Post by darrenhabib » 1 year ago

Admiralzachbar wrote:
1 year ago
I am glad you are trying out my suggestion. I hope it works out as well for you as it does for me. I really appreciate your detailed write ups for all the changes you make to gets. It really helps me think about why and how I picked the cards that I use.
Out of curiosity, how often do you get to play this deck, and what kind of meta do you play it in?
I usually play on Magic Online, but also play paper with a group of friends once a week. It's a competitive play group, we literally have all the cards, we've been collecting since 1994, so if you can imagine we like playing with power.
The thing is that we have a pool of about 70 decks between us and we just all end up using a randomization method to select a deck between all of them. This means that you often will play another persons deck. Makes it varied and interesting, and also people don't get to pick decks to try and counter directly another persons selection.

Anyway saying all that I don't play it all that much later, simply because it's a tried and true deck that I've thrashed, and if you can tell from my signature I am always brewing new decks.

If I make a change then I normally give the deck a whirl about 4 times on Magic Online. Due to the randomization of my paper playgroup you only get to play a deck normally like every 3rd or 4th week.

But often if a "competitive" queue is on Magic Online I will often join with my Will & Rowan deck for the challenge. People hate extra turn decks online, so you can't just go joining any game otherwise the salt get's thrown around...which is fair enough.

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Post by Admiralzachbar » 1 year ago

Playing in a "competitive" game, do you feel like you have enough interaction to keep up with the rest of the table? In my version of the list, I more or less cut the extra turn spells for a little more interaction. Otherwise, I have found I can't stop the faster combo players. Do you run in to this problem at all?

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Post by darrenhabib » 1 year ago

Admiralzachbar wrote:
1 year ago
Playing in a "competitive" game, do you feel like you have enough interaction to keep up with the rest of the table? In my version of the list, I more or less cut the extra turn spells for a little more interaction. Otherwise, I have found I can't stop the faster combo players. Do you run in to this problem at all?
A complicated topic. The main purpose of the deck and thread is to have a unique angle on play, and as such you are not running all the cards that might actually win you more games.
This is the trade off, more unique games at the cost of perhaps winning more against the stronger decks that can be played in the format.

For example I actually have a "cEDH" version of Will & Rowan which does have more interaction. But the trade off is that it's way more vanilla and boring in approach (in my opinion). Which is why I don't advertise it in any way.
Spoiler
Show
It basically has more fast mana and more counterspells. It also has cheaper to cast creature removal to reflect the mana dorks you see in cEDH staple decks (Like Arbor Elf, Deathrite Shaman, etc). So Pyroclasm, Sweltering Suns Anger of the Gods tend to be enough to wipe up the board in most cases. In more varied queues these can't guarantee that.

It has far less planeswalkers as well, and doesn't look to combo them in the same manner.

I also run a lot of the draw 7 cards and combine this with Narset, Parter of Veils. I'm also expecting a lot of opponents decks to be running these as well, hence more fast artifact mana because your hands tend to get filled up again more often. Also why the curve is lowered,as you'll have less time to cast bigger spells.

Jace, Architect of Thought is also a reflection of coming up against a lot of mana dorks, so his -1/-1 ability is usually quite relevant.

I still run the same number of extra turn cards, they are just so key to winning.
Will & Rowan cEDH version

Commanders


Plansewalker support/combo


Mass removal


Tutors


Approximate Total Cost:

Also counterspells like Mental Misstep, Pyroblast, Mystical Dispute are a direct reflection of the meta you can expect in cEDH games.

I'll probably add a section onto the primer which will explain meta changes you can make for expecting stronger metas, especially cEDH.

Now don't get me wrong. What happens is that if a queue specifically says decks for "Power 7-9" (out of 10) I'll run the primer version in this thread. After all it is the more fun and challenging version. Simply trying to counter every big spell starts wearing thin as far as game play, if you play that style for too long.

But for "cEDH" queues (Power 10) I'll run this slightly different version. This is to reflect running into particular combo decks as well as expected creature bases.

I hope this helps you? You can definitely configure the deck differently to be stronger against other combo decks. But if you run all that counterspell disruption in metas that don't have so many cheap combos then you won't actually be proactive enough in many cases.
It really is a meta thing.

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Post by Admiralzachbar » 1 year ago

Thank you again for your detailed responses. Those were the tips and advice I was looking for. My play group wants to try taking non cedh commanders as close to cedh as possible, so this is very helpful. I'll take another look at my list, see if I can add those cheap counters.

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Post by SirGregarious » 1 year ago

darrenhabib wrote:
1 year ago
Admiralzachbar wrote:
1 year ago
Playing in a "competitive" game, do you feel like you have enough interaction to keep up with the rest of the table? In my version of the list, I more or less cut the extra turn spells for a little more interaction. Otherwise, I have found I can't stop the faster combo players. Do you run in to this problem at all?
A complicated topic. The main purpose of the deck and thread is to have a unique angle on play, and as such you are not running all the cards that might actually win you more games.
This is the trade off, more unique games at the cost of perhaps winning more against the stronger decks that can be played in the format.

For example I actually have a "cEDH" version of Will & Rowan which does have more interaction. But the trade off is that it's way more vanilla and boring in approach (in my opinion). Which is why I don't advertise it in any way.
Spoiler
Show
It basically has more fast mana and more counterspells. It also has cheaper to cast creature removal to reflect the mana dorks you see in cEDH staple decks (Like Arbor Elf, Deathrite Shaman, etc). So Pyroclasm, Sweltering Suns Anger of the Gods tend to be enough to wipe up the board in most cases. In more varied queues these can't guarantee that.

It has far less planeswalkers as well, and doesn't look to combo them in the same manner.

I also run a lot of the draw 7 cards and combine this with Narset, Parter of Veils. I'm also expecting a lot of opponents decks to be running these as well, hence more fast artifact mana because your hands tend to get filled up again more often. Also why the curve is lowered,as you'll have less time to cast bigger spells.

Jace, Architect of Thought is also a reflection of coming up against a lot of mana dorks, so his -1/-1 ability is usually quite relevant.

I still run the same number of extra turn cards, they are just so key to winning.
Will & Rowan cEDH version

Commanders


Plansewalker support/combo


Mass removal


Tutors


Approximate Total Cost:

Also counterspells like Mental Misstep, Pyroblast, Mystical Dispute are a direct reflection of the meta you can expect in cEDH games.

I'll probably add a section onto the primer which will explain meta changes you can make for expecting stronger metas, especially cEDH.

Now don't get me wrong. What happens is that if a queue specifically says decks for "Power 7-9" (out of 10) I'll run the primer version in this thread. After all it is the more fun and challenging version. Simply trying to counter every big spell starts wearing thin as far as game play, if you play that style for too long.

But for "cEDH" queues (Power 10) I'll run this slightly different version. This is to reflect running into particular combo decks as well as expected creature bases.

I hope this helps you? You can definitely configure the deck differently to be stronger against other combo decks. But if you run all that counterspell disruption in metas that don't have so many cheap combos then you won't actually be proactive enough in many cases.
It really is a meta thing.
Will and Rowan are definitely good enough for cEDH if you build them a little less "fun" like you say. The number of essential combo pieces is pretty low and Izzet control shell is always strong because of how flexible it is. My environment isn't quite cEDH because there isn't a lot of blue and most of my play group's decks are more linear stompy stuff with minimal interaction. My personal list is somewhere between your primer list and cEDH list, mainly because I don't need all the counter spells and they end up as dead cards most of the time. I also don't get much value out of Mystic Remora because of how many creature heavy decks are in my environment. Jokulhaups and Obliterate are favorites of mine as well. You pretty much win if either resolve while you have a planeswalker on board. I don't have the Mox either just because the price on them is ridiculous and I feel like Chrome Mox and Mox Diamond always hurt me more than they help because they end up in me getting 2-for-1'd off artifact removal a lot. That's just my mileage though, the Mox are definitely worth running if you have them. Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs also gets to stay in mine because the Godo Helm player can't touch him. If I had one, or if it were reasonable for me to ever obtain one, I would definitely run Timetwister and the Narset Wheel package. If there were more four and five color decks at the table then I would run Blood Moon. There could be some consideration to Chaos Warp and Reality Shift if you need more single target removal. There's just so much to consider about your meta when it comes to cEDH that it's hard to make a specific deck list for it.

Jace, Architect of Thought doesn't kill dorks because it only gives -1/0 and only does it to attacking creatures, but Rowan Kenrith's minus ability is surprisingly powerful against tables like mine with a lot of green. The first time I used Rowan's minus ability, it killed twelve mana dorks and then my entire table said "Wait, she's a board wipe too?" You could probably make an easy cut on that Jace and replace him with another power card like Jace, the Mind Sculptor or Rings of Brighthearth or just another interaction piece. I'm not a huge fan of Mind Sculptor, but I know a lot of other people are and it's hard to deny how strong he is. Fiery Islet is notably missing from your land list, you could probably replace an Island with it to see some marginal benefit. Those are pretty much the only objective upgrades I could give because your cEDH list looks super solid.

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Post by darrenhabib » 1 year ago

SirGregarious wrote:
1 year ago
Will and Rowan are definitely good enough for cEDH if you build them a little less "fun" like you say. The number of essential combo pieces is pretty low and Izzet control shell is always strong because of how flexible it is. My environment isn't quite cEDH because there isn't a lot of blue and most of my play group's decks are more linear stompy stuff with minimal interaction. My personal list is somewhere between your primer list and cEDH list, mainly because I don't need all the counter spells and they end up as dead cards most of the time. I also don't get much value out of Mystic Remora because of how many creature heavy decks are in my environment. Jokulhaups and Obliterate are favorites of mine as well. You pretty much win if either resolve while you have a planeswalker on board. I don't have the Mox either just because the price on them is ridiculous and I feel like Chrome Mox and Mox Diamond always hurt me more than they help because they end up in me getting 2-for-1'd off artifact removal a lot. That's just my mileage though, the Mox are definitely worth running if you have them. Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs also gets to stay in mine because the Godo Helm player can't touch him. If I had one, or if it were reasonable for me to ever obtain one, I would definitely run Timetwister and the Narset Wheel package. If there were more four and five color decks at the table then I would run Blood Moon. There could be some consideration to Chaos Warp and Reality Shift if you need more single target removal. There's just so much to consider about your meta when it comes to cEDH that it's hard to make a specific deck list for it.

Jace, Architect of Thought doesn't kill dorks because it only gives -1/0 and only does it to attacking creatures, but Rowan Kenrith's minus ability is surprisingly powerful against tables like mine with a lot of green. The first time I used Rowan's minus ability, it killed twelve mana dorks and then my entire table said "Wait, she's a board wipe too?" You could probably make an easy cut on that Jace and replace him with another power card like Jace, the Mind Sculptor or Rings of Brighthearth or just another interaction piece. I'm not a huge fan of Mind Sculptor, but I know a lot of other people are and it's hard to deny how strong he is. Fiery Islet is notably missing from your land list, you could probably replace an Island with it to see some marginal benefit. Those are pretty much the only objective upgrades I could give because your cEDH list looks super solid.
The other thing about the "Moxes" is that you really do want more big draw cards (like Wheel of Fortune, Timetwister, etc) to back them up in a more meaningful way, as you 2-for-1 yourself with them. That's why in a cEDH environment where often opponents will play these draw 7 cards as well, playing them is more beneficial. However in more normal games of commander you can't guarantee this. Doing a mulligan a few times and having "Moxes" in your opener can be pretty bad. So yeah that's why I don't have them in my primer list, as they are effectively not that good given the amount of draw in the deck during the early game.
Plus I want my primer to feel accessible to readers to put together. Sure there are lots of money cards in my list, but people can normally find a medium ground for replacements. But once you start adding all the Moxes people feel like it might be essential to the plan.

I mean't to say -1/0 for Jace, I just type really fast and don;t proof read. So I didn't mean to kill them off in that statement, just as protection against the often played mana dorks you see in a lot of lists.

I'm not a fan of Jace, the Mind Sculptor in the deck either, the fact that the ultimate can't be reached with Deepglow Skate puts me off him. He is great in duels, but just not very good in multiplayer.

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Post by Elywood » 1 year ago

Love the primer! What do you think of Mana Geyser? I've been running that and makes for some really explosive turns. Mostly letting you get that big red mana for Rowan and also some of your other PWs that generate more red mana

And also Inexorable Tide for some extra proliferate

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Post by darrenhabib » 1 year ago

Elywood wrote:
1 year ago
Love the primer! What do you think of Mana Geyser? I've been running that and makes for some really explosive turns. Mostly letting you get that big red mana for Rowan and also some of your other PWs that generate more red mana

And also Inexorable Tide for some extra proliferate
I've stayed away from the "rituals", but I can see Mana Geyser being the king daddy of all of them. Costing 1rr with Will Kenrith [-2], I'm sure you'll net 10-15 mana on like turn 6 quite easily.

Interestingly I've been using Underworld Breach in a number of decks, but currently the superfriends deck is missing a renewable mana source to make it viable.
By that I mean something that will produce more mana than you invest. For example Dramatic Reversal or Turnabout. Mana Geyser fits into this as well, however I really would want something that produces blue mana.

I literally had Inexorable Tide in the first version of the deck, but found it too slow at 5 mana. Flux Channeler at 3 mana and potentially a blocker in a pinch has been more worth while.

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Post by darrenhabib » 1 year ago

I did a massive amount of theory-crafting around Underworld Breach yesterday and wrote an entire article covering most color combinations which you can check out here.

I used my Zacama and Will & Rowan Kenrith as case studies to show how Underworld Breach can become a powerful tool for decks.

The conclusion is that with some adjustments you can use Underworld Breach not only as a way to recover a few key cards in a pinch, but you can use also use it as a combo card.
As I've already written about it extensively, I won't be too detailed here.

But the general concept is that you can use some cards to fuel your graveyard in order to keep recasting particular cards for the escape cost with Underworld Breach.
Wheel of Fortune, Windfall, Frantic Search and Fact or Fiction can all be cast with Will -2 cost reduction.
As long as these cards keep putting cards into your graveyard, that means that you can keep recasting these, or other spells to keep advantages going.
You can also use Dramatic Reversal or Frantic Search to keep generating you mana if you keep recasting with Underworld Breach.
Reverse to the Winds can also be continuously recast on mana producing planeswalkers to net you mana.

With the inclusion of Wheel of Fortune and Windfall I've also added Narset, Parter of Veils as a way to potentially make opponents discard their hands and only draw a single card.
Also Isochron Scepter is part of a combination used with Dramatic Reversal for infinite mana with enough artifacts that produce more than 2.

Not all the changes in this post have happened all at once. You'll notice the inclusion of Ward of Bones. I tried this card on a recommendation in the thread.
As part of that I wanted to remove as many creatures from the deck, just to make it more effective. So out comes Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs, Planebound Accomplice, Flux Channeler.
And honestly removing the creatures just means that I can freely cast removal and not worry about card disadvantage on myself.

The inclusion of more competitive staples like Mox Diamond, Chrome Mox, Mystic Remora, Rhystic Study, is really a concession to not needing to make the deck "so unique" that I give up on just really good cards. I feel like I've played it enough and patented some of the concepts well enough that I'm still happy that it still has its own unique take on commander.
Mox Diamond and Chrome Mox also help to make Dramatic Reversal a bit better as well.
Of course I'm wary that these types of cards are not for the causal player to afford in general, but its not like they are essential, so still confident that players will be able to make intuitive changes themselves if looking to use my list as inspiration.

The removal of most of the Chandras' really just comes down to conditional use. Were they good all the time? No unfortunately. Their abilities just were not good enough across the board.

I guess one of the takeaways from these changes is that a lot of the cards that I've been trying over the last 6 months or so. Core 2020 came out and I got excited to try the new planewalkers.
And in this respect I'm happy to give lots of concepts new goes, and even out if long term they are the perfect fit or not.

But as you can see Underworld Breach is the hotness for me at the moment, and trust me it should be for you as well.


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Post by Elywood » 1 year ago

A little sad to see the inclusion of the Moxes in the deck :( I did love the uniqueness feel of the deck without running the cedh staples and dramatic/scepter win-con, but I do get the need to be more competitive depending on your meta.

Do you still think it's worth making those substitutions (and including Underworld Breach) without adding moxes (for budget reasons)?

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Post by darrenhabib » 1 year ago

Elywood wrote:
1 year ago
A little sad to see the inclusion of the Moxes in the deck :( I did love the uniqueness feel of the deck without running the cedh staples and dramatic/scepter win-con, but I do get the need to be more competitive depending on your meta.

Do you still think it's worth making those substitutions (and including Underworld Breach) without adding moxes (for budget reasons)?
Yes you can play those other cards without the Moxes. Dramatic Reversal still stands up on its own a couple of artifacts down.

You could play other artifacts like Fellwar Stone, Coalition Relic, Firemind Vessel, Nyx Lotus and be happy.

Yeah I held out for as long as I could, I do feel a bit guilty about putting the build into the more competitive zone and pricing people out of seemly playing it.
But at the same time, if people have the cards already then might as well show them an optimal build with still most of the same ideas.

Another change I made since the last post was removing Coveted Jewel. This was mainly in the deck as a source for producing morr mana from planeswalker in Saheeli Rai, Ral Zarek, Tezzeret the Seeker, Teferi, Temporal Archmage.
Being an artifact that comes into play untapped meant that Saheeli Rai [-2] could copy it to make a combo mana source for the Cloudstone Curio combo.
The thing with artifacts like Firemind Vessel or Nyx Lotus is that because they come into play tapped you can't use them with Saheeli Rai [-2] for mana.
I also used to have it to make Paradox Engine better but of course that's gone.
So I've just found that I've spent too many game not having a window to deploy it. You have to treat it as a combo piece that you'd hold in hand until you are ready, and I've just found that too much of an ask over many games. I've added and removed Coveted Jewel a few times actually, but I think I just need to let it go.

Haste and hexproof/shroud continue to be a bane of this deck, and so I've decided to start playing Arcane Lighthouse as a way that I can target creatures with Will Kenrith [+2] ability.
Getting a bit sick of Lightning Greaves still causing me issues :P I've played against Narset, Enlightened Master enough times that if I could target her, it would shut their deck down.


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Post by Kelzam » 1 year ago

darrenhabib wrote:
1 year ago
Yeah I held out for as long as I could, I do feel a bit guilty about putting the build into the more competitive zone and pricing people out of seemly playing it.
But at the same time, if people have the cards already then might as well show them an optimal build with still most of the same ideas.
Hey darren, just wanted to confirm something I had the impression of - but you pretty much exclusively play on MTGO, right? I feel like hear you mention that more than any LGS gameplay examples or anything, and particularly when you've mentioned the amount of testing you've done on some of your decks that don't seem feasible in paper. The biggest reason I ask is when talking about price point, etc., MTGO is generally way more affordable than paper Magic. I wanted to know if I was wrong in that impression or if you do actually play the decks in your primers at a table top somewhere :) Plus for consideration since MTGO doesn't really have a "meta" to speak of like most LGS do.
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Post by darrenhabib » 1 year ago

Kelzam wrote:
1 year ago
darrenhabib wrote:
1 year ago
Yeah I held out for as long as I could, I do feel a bit guilty about putting the build into the more competitive zone and pricing people out of seemly playing it.
But at the same time, if people have the cards already then might as well show them an optimal build with still most of the same ideas.
Hey darren, just wanted to confirm something I had the impression of - but you pretty much exclusively play on MTGO, right? I feel like hear you mention that more than any LGS gameplay examples or anything, and particularly when you've mentioned the amount of testing you've done on some of your decks that don't seem feasible in paper. The biggest reason I ask is when talking about price point, etc., MTGO is generally way more affordable than paper Magic. I wanted to know if I was wrong in that impression or if you do actually play the decks in your primers at a table top somewhere :) Plus for consideration since MTGO doesn't really have a "meta" to speak of like most LGS do.
95% of my play is online.

I do have a paper group I play with about every second week. We've all been playing since about 1994 so have a lot of the good cards from over the last several decades. We are all collectors.
However I'm the poorest among them, so will proxy a lot of my cards, especially newer cards. The others have followed suite somewhat and will just print out cards if wanting to test something new for the decks, rather than wait to purchase. And of course nobody cares among friends.

The price of digital cards in general is of course a fraction of the cost, although sometimes you get the opposite.
Imperial Seal is $5 on MTGO, where its $400 IRL.
But you get odds things like Lord Windgrace is $52 on MTGO and $4.20 IRL.

So budget is basically no restriction for me in both MTGO and for paper. I have been wary in the past about just jamming every single expensive mana rock and tutor into my threads, as it sort of doesn't resonate with most players, but at the same time I find it hard not to find the optimal build within the stipulations I have for the concepts of the decks. So in the end budget doesn't become a factor.

Most of the decks I post in the forums are aimed at online experiences, rather than my paper group.
The reason is that stax and control does dominate a lot of the builds for my paper meta and trying to make decks to always fit around certain prison strategies isn't that relevant or interesting for most commander players.

I specifically don't play "casual" queues online with most of the decks I have listed on the forum.
That is I'll wait for queues that have comments like "power 7-9", "competitive", "anything goes".
Now granted peoples ideas of what this means can be a little off, some people still join with under-powered decks for the perceived level of competition.
But I think that people just want to test their decks against more competitive decks to see how they handle and realize that they are still way off.

I also won't join "cEDH" queues with these decks either. I have cEDH decks that I'll use for top tier queues (Zur, Thrasios/Tymna).

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