This entry is part 24 of 37 in the series Generally Speaking

By Imshan AKA Sinis

In the second episode of this season of the podcast, there was a free-for-all round table on the direction of art in Magic.  While I never like to retread podcast topics in written content, I feel like the people who liked old art got a bit of a short shrift.  There was a fair bit of talk about the advantages of the new art for the purposes of flavouring a set, how it creates a brand, and what sort of feelings the new style of art might evoke.

But, what about the old art?  Some of it is not particularly compelling, yes, but there were good aspects to old art.  Old art lent a different feeling to the game, and arguably, it enhanced the experience when compared to new art. Read the rest of this entry »

This entry is part 23 of 37 in the series Generally Speaking

By Imshan AKA Sinis

One of the cards that turned some heads when M13 was spoiled was Worldfire.  The reaction from the internet community was understandable in a lot of ways.  Commander players often think that if a card costs more than six mana, it’s a “big n’ splashy” meant for Commander, rather than for Standard, and definitely not intended for use in Legacy, Modern or Limited.  Setting that conceit aside, the community reaction to Worldfire was largely negative, and playing it was predicted to be another acrimonious thing to do in Commander.

Worldfire received more official attention as well.  Before the official Commander forums went down – ironically, in fire of its own at the site’s hosting facilities – the Rules Committee stated that they had no intention of banning Worldfire pre-emptively, and that they intended to ‘watch it closely’.  Mostly this means two things: firstly, it is widely accepted that it has the potential to be unfun, and second, if you follow the letter of the Rules Committee ban list, it’s totally legit to burn the world down. Read the rest of this entry »

This entry is part 22 of 37 in the series Generally Speaking

By Imshan AKA Sinis

More than half the Commander decks I have ever built are mono-colour.  It’s not that I’m particularly partial to the idea of a deck with a single colour.  Rather, I tend to be attracted to generals first, and colour identity second.  Many of the generals I happen to find the most interesting were created during Kamigawa block – like the cycle of Ascendants I wrote about during seasons 4 and 5 of the podcast – or just happen to be mono-coloured, like Hakim, Loreweaver.  There are a lot of good reasons to build mono-colour decks: many mono-colour generals are cool, some are extremely powerful, your mana base will be easy on your wallet, and you don’t really have to worry about whether you’ll have the right distribution of mana to pay for the most demanding spells in terms of colour requirements, like Temporal Extortion or Cryptic Command.

However, mono-coloured Commander decks are not especially powerful compared to three or even two-colour decks because they simply lack the card pool of decks with more colours.  Part of the problem is that there aren’t always answers for some card types, and that there doesn’t seem to be much reason to play mono-colour in the first place compounds that. Solutions to these problems are closer than one would think. Read the rest of this entry »

This entry is part 21 of 37 in the series Generally Speaking

By Imshan AKA Sinis

The Commander products have been out for a little over a year now, and I see more than a few decks from EDH players, new and old, build around the wedge generals from the Commander boxes.  Some of them, like Kaalia of the Vast and Animar, Soul of Elements I am downright sick of. While I think the Commander products released by Wizards were a smashing success in terms of their business and a great boost to the size of the community, part of me wonders about whether the old ‘power’ generals continue to deserve the bad reputation they possess now that the game has seen another year’s power creep.

There was no question that the likes of Zur the Enchanter and Sharuum the Hegemon deserved their reputations beforehand.  Since the release of the Commander products and Innistrad block, it isn’t entirely clear that the old guard are still the most overwhelmingly powerful decks around and deserve the maligned attention they still might receive. Read the rest of this entry »

This entry is part 20 of 37 in the series Generally Speaking

By Imshan AKA Sinis

Back when I was creating a deck for each creature in the cycle of ascendants – Legendary flip creatures from Saviours of Kamigawa – I became enamoured with Neverending Torment.  Specifically when I was making the Kuon deck, I began to think of Neverending Torment as a spectacular win condition for a deck in the prison archetype.  The particular Kuon deck that ended up in the article was not supportive of Neverending Torment because it played a large amount of symmetrical discard effects, which would result in poor copies of Neverending Torment during my upkeep.  Even so, the black epic spell remained on my mind.

Why was Neverending Torment so compelling?  To me, it’s a very elegant win condition for prison style decks.  First, it will inevitably cause other players to lose.  Second, it continually reinforces the prison deck’s position.  Once you understand why these things are the case, it’s easy to see how this would be appealing in any prison deck: you exile all answers in each opponent’s library until they lose the game. Read the rest of this entry »

This entry is part 19 of 37 in the series Generally Speaking

By Imshan AKA Sinis

On the show, Andy and many other co-hosts and guests have voiced their disdain for the Archenemy format.  The experience for many seems to be one-sided: Archenemy games are never good, never enjoyable.  The reasons are pretty varied; the schemes didn’t do anything or the schemes did too much, the archenemy took some land hits and got destroyed or the archenemy inflicted some land hits and destroyed the table.  However, the value of the conversation is pretty much the same: Archenemy isn’t any fun, and you should probably play something like Planechase instead.

Occasionally, a guest will say how much fun they’ve had with Archenemy.  Players in this camp tend to simply say that they had fun with it, that it there were some epic struggles, and then there was a victor.  I’ll be honest, I find myself nearer to the players who have not enjoyed Archenemy, but, there must be something to the players who do. Read the rest of this entry »