This entry is part 5 of 6 in the series No-Show Monday

 

You, last week.

 

You, this week.

 

 

Hey Folks,

 

You got double the podcasts last week and zero podcasts this week, so it’s kinda like we’re still on schedule?  Life happened, and we needed to reschedule recording times, so instead you get a healthy dose of my text-based wonderings about Commander this week.  It’s like a podcast for your eyeballs.

 

 

So, I just preordered Explorers of Ixalan, because it’s selling for a good $10 below MSRP on Amazon at the moment (and because I’m a sucker for any mix of board games and my favorite brand of CCG narcotics), and as I was casually skimming through the deck lists I noticed that this actually marks a strange milestone in my Magic career/addiction:

 

For the first time, I’ll actually own a copy of Time Warp.

 

As the unapologetic Timmy on the ‘cast, I’ve never seen much use for extra turn effects unless they were suitably hilarious or required some extra level of effort to “earn the turn,” so to speak.  As such, they were limited to the nonsense below:

 

 

Notice that only the last card on this list is Blue, and even then it requires combat damage to trigger, because of course it does.  Otherwise, I probably wouldn’t play it.  It just wouldn’t feel “fair,” even though applying that term in a format where Sol Ring is not only legal but might as well be the official mascot makes about as much sense as skeletons riding sea turtles.

 

Now that I’ll finally get a chance to play around with the card that nobody’s ever excited to see come out during a game of EDH, I started to wonder what exactly the line between “fairly” sucking up time and turns from other players like Augustus Gloop sucking down a river of chocolate and just farting out 2-to-3 lands at every conceivable opportunity actually is in our favorite format.

 

In this simile, the river is just the precious moments of your life that you’ll never get back. No biggie.

 

To put a fine point on it:

What’s the difference between ramping out into oblivion and taking extra turns?

 

Whatever your answer is, let’s all just admit that it’s probably not based on a rational or logical line of reasoning.  Even in a game where individual cards can, and often do, break the rules, we rarely put up much of a stink when they do.  If you look at it objectively, there’s no reason why every deck shouldn’t run a Vedalken Orrery, but it’s not anywhere near the Top 100 on EDHREC. (Interestingly, it is about twice as common as Time Warp, as it’s featured in 12310 decks as opposed to TW’s meager 6076.)  In fact, there aren’t any extra turn effects at all in the Top 100, but it’s absolutely shot through with ramp effects; Cultivate comes in at #6 and Kodama’s Reach weighs in at #9.

 

So if casting powerful spells well before you’re generally able to and tossing the Instant/Sorcery speed distinction right out the window don’t make you a social pariah, why all the feel bads around Time Warp effects? Let’s descend into arbitrarily categorizing things, because that’s what the Internet does:

 

 “We came to play a game, not watch you play solitaire”

 

Sure, I get this one.  I also think this could apply to literally every combo deck I’ve ever played against.  Now that I say that, though, an awful lot of those decks do play around with extra turns… Hmm… This could also (somewhat less aggressively) apply to ramp, as once they flop down their 14th land for the turn you know you’re going to be there for a while watching them assemble the army that inevitably smashes you in the face.  Somebody break out a stopwatch at your next game night and tell me I’m wrong here.

 

“Ramp is just the accumulation of extra resources, not the accumulation of extra time to deploy those resources”

 

Well, yes and no.  One of my all-time favorite uses for extra mana is Kamahl, Fist of Krosa.  You can get similar effects in lots of other ways (I’m looking at you, Ezuri, Renegade Leader), but what they all have in common is closing out the game quickly.  However, if you’re doing it right, taking those extra turns at the right time is all about closing out the game quickly.  Anybody can durdle away on their side of the board while everyone else checks their phone a thousand times – I’m guilty of doing this constantly with any deck that does anything with counters – and yet nobody outright groans the way they do when somebody Twincasts a Time Stretch.

 

I think it might just be watching someone else go through all the steps and phases that you ought to be going through triggers some reptilian fairness complex deep within our subconscious.  Several years ago, a jet black Lamborghini pulled up next to me at a stop light and – despite the fact that I give zero shits about cars – I had that momentary twinge of jealousy mixed with sour grapes that only rises to the surface when you see someone doing something that you’d like to be doing at that moment.  This may or may not doubly apply to anyone in my social media network that has ever gone on vacation to anywhere when I”m stuck at work.

 

This feeling never rises up when I watch people ramp steadily over the course of several turns, but it certainly comes to the forefront whenever someone pops a Time Stretch.  Maybe it also has to do with the fact that I’m sure I’ll see that spell cast again if I can’t exile their graveyard, etc., but how many times do we all watch people do literally nothing else besides ramp an extra land or two on their turn?  No, the ramp isn’t actively taking anything away from you right this minute, but just like a shitty tax plan it surely will over the long term.

 

In any case, chime in with your thoughts in the comments section below.

 

 

Until next week–

 

–Mark

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