Ender’s Game: M10 Evaluation and EDH Deckbuilding

Over the course of the next month many changes will be coming to Magic. Most of these changes will take effect at the Pre-release and Release events for M10. The first of these, rules changes, I already weighed in on during Deck Builder Radio Podcast #28. That leaves the content of M10 to discuss.

**Spoiler Alert**

If you are one of the few that does not like seeing the cards before they are released, it would be best to check in next week.

I love what Wizards is doing from a flavor standpoint. Instead of being limited to cards with very basic keywords and abilities, R&D has expanded to include cards like Darksteel Colossus. I don’t think I would every play Colossus in a tournament, but its inclusion in M10 is just plain cool and nostalgic. It really feels like I am starting to see some of my old favorites coming back. During Time Spiral I didn’t get to fully appreciate the nostalgia of the set because I hadn’t been playing long enough. At the same time M10 is not all reprints; it includes brand new cards. Finally I think Wizards has reached a medium between printing a whole set worth of new cards and a set of all reprints. Much like I want to run 26.5 lands in my 5CC deck, I want to see 3.5 sets per year.

That being said, there are a few cards that pique my interest in the set or that are receiving a lot of press.

Planar Cleansing 3WWW

Sorcery

Destroy all nonland permanents.

A new beginning requires a clean slate.

A new beginning requires a clean slate.

A new beginning requires a clean slate.

With the inclusion of Planar Cleansing comes the departure of Wrath of God. The full effect of this change won’t be understood until Zendikar. At the moment there are numerous Wrath type effects that distort the importance of Wrath. This includes Firespout, Volcanic Fallout, Pyroclasm, Hallowed Burial, Austere Command, and probably a couple that I am forgetting. Wrath is also outclassed by Hallowed Burial due to the persistance of Persist (pun intended) in the format. Cards like Dauntless Escort don’t help its cause either.

Planar Cleansing itself looks like a solid card. It is definatley a boon for 5CC because it kills Planeswalkers and any Bitterblossoms or Glorious Anthems in play. Overall, solid.

Harm’s Way   W

Instant

The next 2 damage that a source of your choice would deal to you or a permanent you control this turn is dealt to target creature or player instead.

Harm’s Way has been receiving pretty good reviews. Much like Path to Exile I think there is more to it than meets the eye. When evaluating cards I prefer to think about how it affects pretty regular game scenarios. In control it seems lackluster for two reasons. First, more and more creatures have three toughness or armies in a can. Against tokens it prevents damage from a Spectral Token and kills another. Against Jund, it doesn’t kill Putrid Leech, Boggart Ram-gang, or Chameleon Colossus. The evaluation of Harm’s Way in a creature based deck is far more complicated. Against control the only real targets are Kitchen Finks and Bloodbraid Elf (assuming we are talking along the lines of Stan’s deck from the GP). Against tokens Harm’s Way again seems mediocre. If we consider something like a Putrid Leech facing off a Knight of Meadowgrain it only ensures that Putrid Leech dies. Against a Boggart-Ram Gang it is merely a removal spell. Harm’s Way shines in multicreature combat, where it compares favorably to Agony Warp. Judging by its effect on Faeries, I think it will certainly be a role player but certainly not as good as many think it will be. I base this on the fact that Faeries has been craving for decent playables. Agony Warp is finding its way into more and more decklists but its impact hasn’t ever pushed the deck over the top. (When do “tricks” ever push a deck over the top? – Stan)

Lightning Bolt  R

Instant

Lightning Bolt deals 3 damage to target creature or player. Lightning Bolt deals 3 damage to target creature or player.

The return of Lightning Bolt looks to be pretty cool. I am not really a red mage at all, but Shock was very lacking. From a control player’s viewpoint I don’t like it but overall its good for the game. Red seems pretty bad right now and Lightning Bolt might give it the boost it really needs. When are they going to shave the one mana off Cancel and reprint Counterspell?!

I have also received multiple questions about EDH. After a couple months of Stan and me playing EDH local players are finally interested and almost everyone wants to build a deck. Many players have asked “Who should my General be?” and “How do I build my deck?”

The first question is a matter of personal preference. My General at the moment is Sharuum the Hegemon. I chose him because first, I love playing blue. Second, I enjoy playing control decks that have combo like interactions. With the Sharuum deck, it seems like you are sometimes playing a combo deck.

Yesterday I played a game where I cast Intuition for Mindslaver, Mystical Teachings, and Deep Analysis and ended up getting the Mindslaver. After that I cast and activated it, then Sharuumed it back, and finally cast Stan’s Spin Into Myth on Sharuum to get it back (I missed the play but Stan reminded me). That playstyle made Sharuum a very easy pick.

Once you know your playstyle or combination of colors that you want in your EDH deck you need to choose a General. The easiest way to do this is to use Gatherer (http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Default.aspx). Once at that URL click advanced and use the search parameters to narrow down to your colors and legendary creatures.

The second part of the process is building your deck. I found it easiest to scour EDH forums for decks with the same General as you. There are plenty of EDH forums throughout all the major sites in addition to the dedicated site for EDH. The dedicated site can be found at http://edh.truespace.ca/EDH_Forum/index.php. The idea isn’t to copy a decklist (although you can if you want to), but to find cards and combos that you want to play. It might take a while but you should have about 35-40 land and the rest spells to make a 99 card deck plus your General. Keep in mind that this format is purely for fun. You don’t have to pick a General because it is good, only because you like it.

Over the next few days I am also going to be adding sections to TheMagicArena.com’s EDH forums that will help in the process of making a new deck. I plan to include threads that discuss the top 25 cards of each color as well as the most common/best General’s for each color combination. Hopefully by making it easier to build a deck it will get more players involved and grow the community. So far between Stan, Bryan, Kasandra, Aaron, and Shannon we have had a blast with EDH. This week’s article was a little short and light on tournament player information but I think it is definately worth it. Since we don’t quite have the whole spoiler, testing Standard won’t accomplish much, so I’ve taken to tuning my Sharuum deck. If a cutthroat PTQ player like me is interested in a casual format like EDH, you know there must be something special about it!

Pedro “Ender” Rodriguez

Post comments and check out the EDH forums!!!

One thought on “Ender’s Game: M10 Evaluation and EDH Deckbuilding”

  1. I’ve been doin’ this for a bit now, Just played a ten player match last night. Epic win with my Telepathy, Font of Mythos, and Akroma’s Memorial…

    Reccomend this format for anybody, doesn’t even matter if you haven’t played for more than a year or two since they’ve been banning all the most broken of the old cards. I mean, I’ve been playing for a century now and most of the cards in my deck were printed within the last two-three years.

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