This entry is part 303 of 542 in the series CommanderCast

Hello everyone and welcome to CommanderCast Episode 291! We’re your weekly source for Community, Strategy, and Technology, hosted on and our homesite:! This week Mark and Adam think your cards are sexy. So sexy, in fact, they’re going to tap that. They’re going to tap it so hard your creature isn’t gonna be able to move until your next upkeep, baby! Basically, they’re going to be going over how to build and play a Stacks deck. I hope you got on some warm underwear to help keep your Winter Orbs safe or you might end up suffering from some blue… mana… I can’t do this anymore…. 

So if you’re down with that all you have to do is click the IB!!!


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CommanderCast Episode 291

Posted: July 24, 2017










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“The Line”: What’s the line between playable and unplayable in EDH?



  • Vanilla creatures (maybe French Vanilla)
  • Strict upgrades (Dark Banishing to Murder one is obviously better)
  • Creatures played mostly/only for efficiency’s sake (Tarmogoyfs, Wild Nacatls, Kird Apes)
  • Most combat tricks (Giant Growth = sad face)
  • Most life gain spells (Let’s be honest, people…)


Not worth the card slot = one-time use cards lead to card disadvantage over the long term.




Tappin’ Commanders and Tappin’ strats


Are we just playing stax?  YEEAAAH we are.  



Also: Vigilance is pretty good (the keyword, not the card.  The card is total shit.)

Waaah… nobody loves me…




What cards work best in a “tappin’ things down” deck?








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And a big thanks to everyone here at the CommanderCast Network. We’ll see you next week with more community, strategy, and technology. Until then, LET’S GET IT!

Series Navigation<< CommanderCast Ep 290 – Strictly Tier 1CommanderCast Ep 292 – Too Niche For Its Own Good >>

11 Responses to “CommanderCast Ep 291 – I’d Tap That”

  1. Jeremy Parsons said

    Alas, Mark is dead to me for his art reviews. Amy Weber’s Icy Manipulator, the Bonecrank, is the one with the most character. I suppose Mirrodin’s is at least icy seeming, and what is up with the latest incarnation? No no, if I were to run it, I’d have to dig for my Bonecranks.

    I’m so sorry for your loss Adam, I hope you’ll be able to keep the show going by yourself.

    Playables in EDH is always interesting. It’s why we’re always looking to eke out efficiencies in decks where we can. Modal, flexible cards, and the like. Our life totals by the nature of focusing on commander damage naturally weed out other strategies unless they hit hard. And our higher curves, the life totals, and the size of our creatures really hurts burn strategies.

    On the flip side, a lot of what we focus on playing in EDH technically are a lot of marginal cards glued together by mechanics, synergies, or a handful of overly potent cards combined in a deck. Individual Slivers are terrible cards, a few specific ones are critical, and you need a way to stitch these all together in a workable deck.

    The entire dissing of lifegain is much the same as the discussion of burn. Many decks will go meh. A few will go, oh yeah I really should watch my life total a little. And then there’s going to be the Aylea and Karlov decks that outright weaponize it. And in a similar way I do run Lightning Bolt in my Gisella list because it’s possible to drop the angel then sneak in a burn spell where R do 6 damage is some good creature removal. Or in a pinch, cast Bolt and then Knollspine Dragon to pick up some extra cards.

    This it why it’s occasionally easy to see someone do some amazing use out of a card. But then when you put it in your deck, you never hit the situations where it’s much good at all. (A recent case in point would be my disappointment in Sire of Stagnation, maybe I should just make a Sultai group-hug deck.)

    Things I look for in EDH cards:

    Options – Whether the card is modal, or can fill multiple roles because it’s 2 or more effects stapled together. Modal spells, lands with additional abilities, permanents with ETB effects, spells that can be used twice, etc. This is why there’s so much ETB effects in EDH. You get a body, and a spell effect, and the chance to reuse the body most readily.

    Impact – I want my cards to really influence the game in some way. Big dumb beaters that keep getting chump blocked have a limit on how impressive they are.

    Efficiency – Efficiency has some interaction with Impact, I’m willing to play some things that cost more, but only if they have sufficient Impact. The discussion on Pyromancer’s Goggles is a good example of this. Normally I want my 5 drops to do more than be a mana rock, but then getting free copies of other spells is absolutely amazing. There’s a lot of 5-6 drops that people play, like Bloodgift Demon which I don’t find efficient or impactful enough. I tap out for it, it’s big enough to draw fire, then I don’t get to draw for it. Compare this with everyone’s favorite Sphinx that usually gets to draw at least 2 cards before it dies.

    • Mark Mahler said

      I actually laughed out loud this morning when I read the top of your post, Jeremy. Well done, sir.

      That said, I’ve never wanted to play an Un-card more than I have against anyone crazy enough to play an Amy Weber Icy Manipulator.

      • Jeremy Parsons said

        Of course in all this, I find it hard to make Icy Manipulator a playable card. I really feel I could find better cards if I really needed to tap something. Especially since that feels like it starts looking for niche cases. Wreck a super-mana land? Why aren’t you running Ghost Quarter and equivalents. Tap your own Howling Mine? Clock of Omens, Inspiring Statuary.

        I will say making your opponents stuff enter tapped is amazing utility. Especially against some of the big green and big Grull decks. I copied one players Urabrask the Hidden, and while they still won the game overall, it still took them another couple of turns to get all their ducks in a row because they couldn’t just drop their entire deck into play and attack for lethal with hasty creatures.

        • Mark Mahler said

          Icy is almost certainly on the “unplayable” side of EDH; at the very least, it’s highly questionable, as there are so many other choices that do what it does more efficiently. Honestly, the only reason I run it in some decks is nostalgia, but it does have the occasional side benefit of frustrating my opponents with some 20+ year old tech. (And I’m a sucker for the original art…)

  2. Josh Jurgensen said

    I’m about a half hour in – pretty good so far.
    Combat tricks that I have found to be worth it:
    Appeal (to Authority)
    Howl from Beyond
    Mercadia’s Downfall
    Tainted Strike

    I can’t recall any others that aren’t super-niche or just flat out suck.

    • Jeremy Parsons said

      Nice touch on the Mercadia’s Downfall that’s a cute variant of Trumpet Blast I’d not remembered. In this vein there’s also Condemn, Aetherspouts, but also Temur Battle Rage.

      • Josh Jurgensen said

        Trumpet Blast Variant? There must be a lot more nonbasics in my meta…

        • Jeremy Parsons said

          Oh we have a number of non basics running around. Very few go wide and hit you decks though. And Trumpet Blast was the closest other card I could think of.

          I admit the decks I have that go wide rarely play pump effects. Frankly it’s too hard to maintain board state in my populate deck to begin with and its not a worthwhile thing to spend a card on in my U/B beatdown deck. And the Sultai deck under Vorosh is too busy durdling with its graveyard.

          I need to play that last one more, recently put in a few more things that are evasive to get some movement in its games.

  3. Josh Jurgensen said

    Stax is pretty awful – at best, It’s a waste of everyone’s time. At worst, it’s a great way to get blackballed out of groups.

    Piracy is not good – they can tap their mana with piracy on the stack and you can’t use it.
    Drain Power is better – even if they tap their mana in response, unless they have an instant-speed mana sink, you’ll get all of it.

    • Mark Mahler said

      Very true, Piracy sucks. I think I drunk bid for that card on eBay or else someone must have slipped it into my binder out of shame, because other than that I have no plausible defense for owning that card.

  4. Kinghonkey said

    I play Darkness (a.k.a. CHARLIE MURPHY!) all of the time just because it comes out of left field. I have a couple of different fog effects in black in my Toshiro Umezawa deck, mainly because it’s creatureless and I need that defense that black does not readily deliver. Stuff like Simulacrum, and Darkness are reasons why we keep searching through the 30,000+ cards to find those rare gems/jank that normally wouldn’t be playable, but find a home in particular EDH decks. I run an Arjun deck and Twiddle works just fine because it functions as a free spell that untaps a land and allows me to cycle through my deck. I also like using Blustersquall in the same deck because it’s cheap, and even though I own Cryptic Commands, I’m only ever going to play them in mono blue, or maybe a two color deck. That dedication to those three tear drops in the top right hand corner make Blustersquall a more desirable option in three color decks or more.

    As I was listening, I took a trip back to 1995…the first deck I ever won a tournament with involved Norrit and Royal Assassin. This was back before hexproof or even shroud, so that combination of being able to kill important creatures so easily probably gave Royal some of it’s deserved “Oh, snap!” factor. Seriously, White Knight used to be played so often because it couldn’t be killed by Royal Assassin.

    I don’t play any kind of Stax or tap down decks, although I have tried. It’s just not what I want to be doing to my fellow players or how I want to spend my time. The closest thing I have is my Gahiji deck that is all creatures and land and nothing else, and plays nearly all of the hate bears in those colors. Because of those limitations, it’s one of the very few times where I don’t feel bad for playing Gaddock Teeg or Linvala, Keeper of Silence.

    I remember the first time I saw Icy Manipulator, and I was in awe of it. Only one guy in our play group owned one, and I’m pretty sure he misplayed it and ignored the fact that it said it was a “mono artifact”. The artwork was all shiny and hearkened to M.C. Escher’s self portrait. So, when Ice Age came out and I was able to finally own one myself, it was a huge let down. So, maybe that’s why I’m not a fan of the Rube Goldberg Goblin Slushie Machine that Amy Webber has oh-so-brownly painted. Seriosuly, it’s the brownest art in all of Magic. Brown on a brown background….Brownzilla, meh.

    Here’s my take on why counterspells get more bad feels than removal. And this is probably pretty obvious, but Disqus has been banning me from conversations on this page lately, so I just want to blather.

    I blame Wizards.

    Nope. Seriously.

    As creatures (and Magic cards in general) have gotten so much better with the power creep, Wizards has increased ETB effects to such a high degree that not only do counterspells stop you from playing the creature, it stops all coincidental value. So, when I try to cast an Inferno Titan and you counter it, you not only counter my 6/6, you stop the 3 damage from it entering the battlefield, you stop the 6 damage it would have done from Warstorm Surge and my Hamletback Goliath doesn’t get 6 counters and now I can’t play Rakdos, Lord of Riots because there were no loss of life triggers.
    20 years ago, you Counterspell my Frost Giant or you Terror it, pretty much the same thing just happened.

    I understand that stopping things on the stack is important, but I don’t think we can pretend that it’s the same sort of resource denial.

    Hey, shameless plug, come follow me on Tappedout. The name is the same. I would love to see people’s decks and you can look at mine and wonder what the hell I’m thinking. It will aslo give me an excuse to keep the decks updated.

    Great show as always, Adam and Mark.

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