Elder Dragon Highlander: On Bannings and M10 Rules Changes

At the stroke of midnight tonight a number of bannings will become effective in the elder dragon highlander format (here’s a sick link to the rules homepage for any unfortunate souls who have not heard of this fantastic format).  This time around, the chariot turning into a pumpkin is braids, cabal minion, who is now banned for use as a general.  Keep in mind that this does not preclude you from playing braids main, but only as using her as your general. 

Braids was generally considered to be among the top tier of generals in the format, along with zur the enchanter, arcum dagsson, and rofellos, llanowar emissary.  The dreaded early ritual or fast-mana artifact into braids, along with all the tricksy token generating cards and hidden gems like gods’ eye, gate to the reikai, were just brutal and disheartening.  As a rofellos pilot, I can attest to the tension the presence of braids brings to the format, making cards which incidentally produce multiple permanents (or at least artifacts, creatures, and lands) all the more appealing.  I never had a chance to pilot braids myself, so I’m slightly sad about this banning.  I haven’t had to play in an area overrun with the deck, so maybe that’s what I’m missing?  I think it’s early to say who benefits from the change… I guess maybe some of the slower generals can become viable again, but they’re still facing zur, rofellos, and arcum.  Incidental permanents return to their normal currency.

That, and Cao Cao, Lord of Wei becomes hands down the best monoblack general.  He’s just slightly better than haakon. </joke>

No, all jokes aside, monoblack does still have maga, traitor to mortals as a general with some following.

Also, gifts ungiven and fastbond both hit the chopping block.  Gifts is obviously a superb card in a singleton format with so many combo options and such a deep card pool generally.  Gifts has been a huge part of vintage for some time, a format, let us not forget, in which gifts is restricted.  I have played primarily rofellos up to this point, and can only drool, green with envy, if you’ll pardon the expression, as my opponents from zur to scion of the ur-dragon toss back their hair and go frolicking through their deck with glee, plucking only the finest wildflowers there for the offering.  Meanwhile in my meadow, so green it hurts, have to just remain thankful for primal command, worldly tutor, and summoners pact and such… mere childrens toys compared to gifts, I’d say.  The barefoot hippy mage in the forest that summons friendly creatures and beautiful lands, compared to the eerie aloof moonfolk in her tantalizing pose, contemplating the fate of her magic’s riddle.  Bah.  Gifts is awesome, take my word for it.  Probably good enough to ride the pine for a while, guys mm’kay?  With the amount of combos this thing enables?…

Speaking of combos… Then there’s fastbond.  People, I play rofellos, so I have every reason to want this card to be legal.  I remember the first time I realized I wanted to play rofellos, and it wasn’t primarily about rofellos.  I decided I wanted to build around fastbond, crucible of worlds, and strip mine, and rofellos just happened to have become unbanned at roughly the same time in an announcement just like this one.  Rofellos was previously the only benched general not on the outright ban list, the position old goggle-bitch is taking (ding, dong the witch is dead!).  Anyway, the thought of chain-gunning everyone else’s lands every turn forever and ever, amen, is all well and good before you try it, but the first time I pulled it off, it felt pitiful and cheap, like a well-intentioned shit-talk or insult that went too far and hurt the person you said it to or something.  You felt bad for doing it.  You felt dirty.  It’s basically fucking cheating, let’s be honest.  That shit ain’t right.  It’s stupidly, ridiculously wrong.  Obnoxiously good.  Probably-not-much-fun-to-play-againt good.  So yeah, I’m down with chucking fastbond too.

So yeah, fastbond is outa here!  Seeya!  Sayonara!  Good riddance!  That card is so unfair!  Good call!  It’s about time.  <shakes head disapprovingly>  We should be ashamed for allowing it to go on so long.  (meanwhile, in hushed tones, “please don’t ban my general, please don’t ban my general, etc.”)

And hey, did you hear about the M10 rules changes?  I have been following a ton of debates about the changes.  It seems like a lot of chicken-little the sky is falling type stuff with a smattering of genuine concerns which I think will work out just fine.  We saw a similar phnomenon with the 6th edition rules changes.  But I haven’t really been thinking too much about how they affect edh.  Initially I think manaburn might be more important than the combat damage stack issue, as I can’t think of a general who was primarily enticing due to combat damage stack efficiencies / tricks.  With manaburn gone, I know that I can just ramp like hell with rofellos without worrying whether I might go infinte or lethal before I’ve found a mana sink.  As with the other formats, I think I oppose the new manaburn rule change (that is, its removal), although I support the rules changes in general and tend to believe that a large squad of game designer dorks like the one they have over at WotC R&D probably knows better than me what’s best for the game.  They’ve had a record of good and ever-improving stewardship too, I reckon.  So this is like my way of rationalizing an acceptance of this particular rule change which otherwise leaves a bad taste in my mouth.  I mean, I just liked the idea that mana was this energy drawn from the land, and once drawn, it had to be expended or it had this dangerous damaging quality… like you stifle a sneeze while floating some mana and your head explodes.  It just felt cooler I think… with mana burn that is.  I guess it was causing problems for newer players… or that was the explanation offered by their announcement.  If any of you can think of compelling cases in which the rules changes bear relevance to EDH, please give us a shout out in the comments section.

That’s all from me today.  In the near future, I’d like to talk about mana bases for EDH, as well as some staple colorless cards, then someday I’ll walk us through the new Jenara, Asura of War deck I’m making for my beautiful and talented wife.  Cheers!

2 thoughts on “Elder Dragon Highlander: On Bannings and M10 Rules Changes”

  1. i don’t’ know much/anything about EDH but i’m a bit sorry to see manaburn go as well. i don’t quite understand why it’s being ditched. manapools emptying between every step and phase is harsh as well. generally a lot of new play mechanics to adjust to. not floating mana will be rough.

    is it not possible to just “remove” braids? why was she such a difficult card to deal w/? even w/ only 1 of’s, there should be plenty of different removal spells available that can deal w/ braids. no?

    the LD.dec seems fun. maybe i’m sadistic but i always thought LD was a pretty funny way to control a match.

  2. Yeah, no mana burn + Rofellos seems really good. After a few tournaments I’m finding out that I’m pretty bad at EDH, lol. You’ll have to give me some advice one day.

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