Sunday, January 3, 2010

Johnny and the Elder Dragon of Highlander

I have a very mixed opinion of EDH. I very much enjoy playing it, primarily because Spike isn’t allowed in the door. Sure, people can play Condemn and Hallowed Burial, but that also makes them a dick and people won’t play with them. Part of the reason is that EDH has somehow solidified itself as a very casual format (I would posit that it is where Timmy shines the most, being a slow format with a multiplayer slant with a different game every time) and being such is not inviting to play when the experience is ruined. Sure, there’s the guy who Cheatyfaces out a Gleemax, but other than that it’s usually ok.

Another reason is that since EDH is almost always a multiplayer extravaganza, you have to pay more attention to staying alive than killing the opponent. This comes partially in ignoring those Spikey rules that you have to learn to win otherwise (lifegain is useless, always attack, etc), but also in just not being an annoyance or an outright jerk. Avoid those creatures that ping someone for a little bit each turn and focus more on the big bombs, don’t play things that will make everyone want to kill you. However, if the effect (though annoying) is suitably hilarious or if it hurts everyone (including yourself) equally, then it can stay. A perfect example of this is Grip of Chaos, one of the cards that I will probably put in every red EDH I ever play.

I also really like the whole general-focused part of EDH. When building one, I look at every card and wonder “How will this combo with my general? Is there any good synergy there?” I built a Jenara, Asura of War EDH and was bored by it because it was just a turn 3 general that needed protection, then a bunch of Bant cards since she would be the only attacker I ever used. But when I built an Experiment Kraj EDH, I loved it because every single creature I put in was for an ability to steal or for putting counters on creatures. Sure, it didn’t win as often, but it was much more fun to play.

I do get a bit annoyed because every card has to combo with the general, not necessarily with each other. I have a Doubling Season in that Kraj deck, but I had to cut a bunch of cards that I realized I had thrown in just for the sake of that crazy enchantment. But still, for the most part I get to build a synergy deck.

Another great aspect is that I don’t have to fill the deck with the traditional control cards, because (and this is terrible) I trust that other people will have them. Why run Wrath of God when I know some other player will get annoyed if someone has a bunch of creatures and cast it himself? I run very few Counterspells in EDH unless they are suitably hilarious.

The big annoyance for me is the building of the deck. Some decks are easy (Reaper King? Throw in every Scarecrow and Goat Scarecrow. Done.) but others can be daunting. I find a general and then look for cards to go around it until I have about 400 cards that could all fit perfectly, then I have to cut that down to 60. Not a fun task, especially after cutting hilarious cards over and over. Limiting myself to cards under 2$ helps a lot, but occasionally I splurge for something great.

This is all a way of saying that I recently built my very own Jhoira of the Ghitu deck. She was my second proxied EDH, but now I’ve rebuilt her for realsies with cards and everything. She’s a fun general because finding cards for her was basically going onto Gatherer, filtering Red and Blue and sorting by CMC, then sticking in all the cards at the top.

I haven’t cut the last couple cards, but once I do I shall order it and hilarity shall ensue. Here’s a slightly premature decklist for those who care.

Total: 104
General: 1
Jhoira of the Ghitu

Lands: 37
Smoldering Crater
Miren, the Moaning Well
Oboro, Palace in the Clouds
Minamo, School at Water's Edge
Terramorphic Expanse
Darksteel Citadel
Kher Keep
Gods' Eye, Gate to the Reikai
Soaring Seacliff
Remote Isle
Crumbling Necropolis
Mountain x8
Reliquary Tower
Shinka, the Bloodsoaked Keep
Grixis Panorama
Forgotten Cave
Spinerock Knoll
Magosi, the Waterveil
Cascade Bluffs
Izzet Boilerworks
Zoetic Cavern
Lonely Sandbar
Island (8)

Mana Sources: 2
Izzet Signet
Darksteel Ingot

Spells: 41
Clout of the Dominus
Fury Charm
Alexi's Cloak
Magebane Armor
Mizzium Transreliquat
Whispersilk Cloak
Double Negative
Invoke the Firemind
Wild Ricochet
Rekindled Flame
Psychic Possession
Shivan Meteor
Paradox Haze <--4 turns becomes 2 turns? OK!
Mind Control
Spellweaver Volute
Rush of Knowledge
Fool's Demise
Grip of Chaos
Jokulhaups <--- in here purely for the name
Overwhelming Intellect
Urza's Armor
Flame Wave
Blatant Thievery
Knowledge Exploitation
Eye of the Storm [This card should be banned --Lee :/] [You ban Condemn, Hallowed Burial, and that one counterspell thing, and I'll ban this. Deal? - DHaas]
Temporal Cascade
Insurrection <-- this should be in every red EDH ever built because it is too good
Decree of Silence
Searing Wind
Eternal Dominion
Decree of Annihilation
Sway of the Stars

Creatures: 23
Capricious Efreet
Rift Elemental
Jhoira's Timebug
Sakashima the Impostor
Summoner's Egg <-- remind me to show you a combo deck I have around this card
Magma Phoenix
Empress Galina <--- a mainstay of blue EDH
Mindwrack Liege
Homura, Human Ascendant
Uyo, Silent Prophet <--he needs an EDH of his own
Draining Whelk
Knollspine Dragon
Stalking Vengeance
Tidespout Tyrant
Lorthos, the Tidemaker < --surprisingly cheap for a Mythic
Bloodfire Colossus
Living Inferno
Denizen of the Deep
Kederekt Leviathan
Inkwell Leviathan
Deep-Sea Kraken

[I wanted to throw in a Worldgorger Dragon, so that it could come out of suspension at the same time as a Decree of Annihilation, but appaaaaaaaarently it's banned. Lame.]

I’ll write a report of what happens if I get to play it with a large enough group any time soon (unfortunately MWS doesn’t support multiplayer, so there are only 2 EDH’S worth playing because they win consistently and are boring and sucky to play against.