Category Archives: Elder Dragon Highlander (EDH)

Vorosh, the Hunter Commander (EDH)

Ever since I first laid eyes on Nebuchadnezzar I was hooked.  The idea that they could make a Magic card out of a specific character was awesome to a kid who played D&D regularly.  The Babylonian king was my fist encounter with a Legend.   I always get a big kick from new Legendary cards and somewhere along the line I decided to try and collect one of every Legend.  I am happy to say that I own more than half of all the 532 Legendary cards out there.  I wish I would have had some sort of income back when I started playing.  There are definitely some glaring holes in my collection The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale being a bit pricey and the low print run of Portal: Three Kingdoms has been harsh, but I am pretty proud of my collection.  

My wife wanted to make a new EDH deck since she kept forgetting which slivers to tutor for in her Sliver Overlord deck and I thought it would be fun for her and I (mainly I) to go through my Legend binder and check out what Generals would be interesting.  My binder is currently in alphabetical order so we started with good ol’ Aboshan, Cephalid Emperor and worked our way from there.  It was a great way for my wife to show interest in my favorite hobby and we had a blast making fun of Grandmother Sengir.  My wife really got going once we finally came across Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon

“Does infect work the same in EDH?”
“Yup, ten poison.  You might want to go green and black for the best mix of infect guys.”

Finally, my wife settled on running Vorosh, the Hunter so she could get a good mix of infect and proliferate. 

Creatures

My wife wanted ways to pump her guys and ways to get past blockers and came up with a nice mix.

Pump/Evasion

Then she added some removal and a few other cards that could break open any stalls.  A few tutor spells round it out.

Good Stuff

The Mana base is pretty straightforward

Lands

The bad thing about this deck is that my wife and I play one-on-one a lot and she can poison me out pretty fast.  Infect seems much more fair in a multi-player environment where it is way more difficult to poison out the whole table.  NPH gave this deck a whole bunch of goodies my favorite being Viral Drake.  I am really pumped by the new Legends in NPH and want to start building my Jor Kadeen, the Prevailer metalcraft deck.

The Championship Chronicles – Part 5 (EDH)

For those of you that haven’t been keeping up, the following links might prove useful.

Part 1 – Standard
Part 2 – 2HG Draft
Part 3 – Team Trios (Legacy)
Part 4 – M11 Draft

So here we are. The final game. The final event. We’ve been competing with and against each other for almost 3 months, and we are now down to 5 players. The format? Star Eternities Map EDH. That’s pretty convoluted for players who aren’t familiar with all the great variant formats magic has to offer, so I’ll run down the rules.

Star
Star is a multiplayer format which is inspired by something we’re all very familiar with – the back of a magic card. Simply put, you play a free-for-all multiplayer game, but you don’t have to defeat very single other player. You need only defeat the players directly opposite from you to win. This does mean that 2 players can win at the same time (such as if they eliminate 1 enemy each and then their common enemy loses), and Matt (The TO) was kind enough to create different prize scenarios depending on how the game ended (i.e. how many winners and losers).

Eternities Map
A variant on Planechase, the Eternities map gives you a bit more control over what planes you walk to. I can’t really give a better explanation than this.

EDH
Since its inception by a group of judges many years ago, Elder Dragon Highlander has become one of the most popular magic variant formats. Players pick a legendary creature to be their “general” and can only play cards which contain mana symbols of their general’s colours. More information can be found here.

Without further ado, let me introduce you to the players of the finals of the 2010 Wizard’s Comics Championship.

Zak
That’s me! I came in as the second seed from the Edmonton store, and I’ve been running pretty well in this tournament. For the EDH portion I played Zur, the Enchanter, one of the most-powerful generals in the format.

Buddy
Buddy was the 5th place seed from the Sherwood Park store and has teamed up with me twice in this event (2HG and trios). He was really miffed at the final format being such a wacky format, but he brought Progenitus to the table.

Matt
Matt was actually the 10th place Sherwood Park seed but because of scheduling conflicts with the top 8 he got a berth into the championship passed down to him. He’d never played EDH before today, and chose to use Sen Triplets as his general.

Jim
Another EDH novice, Jim is my normal 2HG partner and has got through this event by the skin of his teeth, being on the cusp of elimination in pretty much every event, although he came in as the third-place seed from the Edmonton store. He didn’t think he would be advancing to the finals, and thus didn’t have an EDH deck prepared. I knew something like this would happen, so I was happy to lend him Doran, the Siege Tower for the finals.

Adam
Adam is a player whose strength lies in limited, but he is trying to break into constructed. He’s a fine player who chose to bring Jenara, Asura of War to the table. He was the 7th place seed from the Edmonton store.

We started out on the Pools of Becoming plane, where I rolled chaos, excited to get some huge advantage from the top 3 planes. Of course I whiffed and hit Stronghold Furnace, Fields of Summer, and Sanctum of Serra. I was all the more upset when Buddy also got a chaos roll on that same plane, and all the more relieved when he whiffed as well.

Jim resolved a Skullclamp and then tried to roll a planeswalk symbol to get over to Goldmeadow so he could harvest his goats for cards. Luckily he didn’t get it and Adam quickly walked in the other direction to Horizon Boughs. I rolled a chaos and got to triple-Rampant Growth.

Buddy cast a Diabolic Tutor to get something mysterious on his turn, and Adam resolved an Ant Queen, which had insane synergy with Horizon Boughs, letting him make multiple ants on each player’s turn.

I cast my Zur, the Enchanter and pass the turn, while Matt casts Mystical Teachings for Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir. On his turn he cast Enlightened Tutor for Wound Reflection and brought out an Erayo, Soratami Ascendant. This was the starts of Matt’s offence, and we knew that we would need to find away to other break the potential lockdown from Erayo, and the massive life loss induced by the Reflection.

When play passed back to Adam, he started bashing in with his army of ants. I attacked with Zur, and fetched Vanishing, to make the number of ways he could be dealt with extremely small. Buddy gets rid of the potential troublesome Erayo with a Comet Storm, and Jim planeswalks to Celestine Reef. Matt plays a morph face down, and then flips it up to reveal Vesuvan Shapeshifter, which is pretty much one of the few ways that could possibly kill my Zur. Adam proceeds to roll chaos 3 times in a row, eliciting laughter from the rest of us, until he finally planewalks to Undercity Reaches and draws 13 cards from his ants.

On my turn, I draw an Eldrazi Conscription, which I could have played by fetching Arcanum Wings, had my Zur survived.

The game takes an interesting turn when play passes back to Buddy, who’s done nothing but tutor a few times and play a few removal spells. He casts a Hive Mind and it resolves, as the blue mages at the table are either tapped out or don’t have countermagic in hand.

I’m ready to scoop it up to a Pact when something even worse happens. Buddy casts Shahrazad. I’ve never seen the card in person before, and quickly understood the implications of what was about to happen. 5 Shahrazads meant 5 subgames, each of which could take an hour or more. Not to mention that in the regular game buddy had ways to rebuy the game-creating sorcery, and he could even do it from inside the subgame with a Burning Wish.

This cause a great ruckus and we all stood up and took a break while we decided what to do. Those of us that take public transit couldn’t really afford to stay at the store for 5 hours, and when Matt (The TO) called the store owner, he impressed upon us that we would not be able to stay very late, as the store was already closed for the day.

With the Shahrazads on the stack, Adam declared his concession, as he had school the next day and had to get home sooner rather than later. Here I realized my opportunity, as I also declared my concession. Both of us conceding meant that Jim would get the win, and it was a win we could share in. Him winning would be like me winning, as we’ve helped each other out in order to make sure we both got this far: lending cards, talking strategies, brewing decks, and if I had to surrender that last game, I was glad Jim would get the win.

When this fact was realized, Matt also scooped, meaning that both Buddy and Jim would win. However, there was a tiebreaker that needed to be made, and so Jim and Buddy sat down to play 1 game of MiniMaster to decide the Wizard’s Comics Championship.

So before I continue, time for another rules segment!

MiniMaster a.k.a. Pack Wars
MiniMaster is a format where each player uses one sealed pack of Magic. The players open the packs without looking at the pack and take out the token/tip card. They then shuffle in 3 of each basic land to comprise a 30 card deck, and play 1 game with 15 life apiece. Some player like to use this as a way of gambling packs, where the winner takes the contents of both packs.

This MiniMaster game was rather unexciting, as Jim had never played it before and to say he mulliganed aggressively would be an understatement. He went to 3 or 4 looking for an early creature drop, whereas most players never mulligan in MiniMaster, and keep any hand with a mix of lands and spells, regardless of colour.

Jim’s mulligans did him in, as Buddy cast 2 creatures early on and that was enough to take him all the way. For his troubles, Buddy received a large amount of store credit, as well as a year’s VIP membership to Wizard’s Comics, meaning that for any large tournaments (Prerelease, Launch Party, GPT, etc.), he would receive free entry. I got a fair bit of store credit and an intro pack for my troubles, and a fair bit of enjoyment out of the day.

To end this series, I feel like I must address Buddy’s last play that preemptively ended the game. Buddy was so dead-set against the format of EDH that he built his deck to prove a point – that we shouldn’t have played EDH for the finals. However, he did it in a way that left a sour taste in pretty much everyone’s mouth.

From Dragonhighlander.net, the official EDH Source:
[EDH] is founded (and dependant) on a social contract, otherwise known as a gentleman’s agreement. Unsporting conduct (whether extreme or simply “being a jerk”) should not be tolerated by players.

Now the question here is whether or not the Shahrazad-Hive Mind constitutes unsporting conduct. Now neither card is banned in EDH and is such a legal play, and I have to admit that Buddy played a deck designed to fulfill a very particular purpose. Had Buddy cast something like a Pact of the Titan, causing everyone else to lose the game, I would have been a great deal less upset. That is a combo which remains entirely within the dimensions of the game, and is a legitimate (although abrupt) way to win that is very decisive.

However, the Shahrazad way to win is different. This combo breaks the bounds of the game. Real-life commitments now become a factor into how a game of Magic is played out. Obviously this is sometimes unavoidable if a player has to leave due to other obligations, health problems, etc. However, playing the Shahrazad combo is this scenario has fairly large implications. The store owner gets an angry call from the security company if anyone is still in the store past a certain hour, and those players who have school and jobs to attend to need to be able to go to bed at a decent hour to perform at their best. If this was a Saturday night and we were planning on playing Magic until all hours of the morning with relatively little at stake, that would be different. Unfortunately, this was 5pm on a Sunday, and anyone who has played 5 player EDH knows that those games aren’t exactly quick.

The end result of this combination of real-life time constraints and obligations and in-game effects results in players involuntarily conceding the game. Did I want to play this game to completion? Of course, it was a championship that I (and many others) had spent 3 months qualifying for and 2 days playing, and we had to concede in the finals. When I came home that night and my family asked me how I had done I couldn’t say “I lost fair and square to a player who outplayed me”. No, I said “I conceded in the finals so that I would get home before midnight”.

So now, we return to the original question. Was this unsportsmanlike play on Buddy’s part? I have to say yes, as instead of outright winning the game (which he could have done with a Pact), he chose to put everyone else in an uncomfortable position and get people to concede to him. There is a difference between being competitive and “being a jerk”, although many players treat the two as being synonymous. It is my belief that opting for a game plan with the sole intention of inconveniencing the rest of the table falls under the “unsportsmanlike” label, and that last game was one of the few negative experiences I’ve had in a game of Magic.

If you’re reading this Buddy, don’t take this as an attack against your person. You’re a fine player whom I respect, but I do think that you could have been more considerate when choosing the Shahrazad kill instead of a Pact.

That pretty much wraps this article series up. I’m going to have some videos posted soon, and I’ve already made my travel arrangements for GP Toronto. If any of you guys are going to be there, find me (I’ll be in the bright orange Power 9 Pro T-Shirt) and say hi.

Cheers,

Zak

EDH General: Vhati il-Dal / EDH Decklist

Work has held me hostage the past few months but I could no longer resist the pull of Magic.  I needed to find something that would get my non-work self pumped again.  I decided to dig through my Legendary binder (I collected Legends before I ever heard of EDH, yay for me) to see what would jump out at me.  I was almost to the end of the binder when I saw my old pal, Vhati il-Dal.  Vhati is a political General that can really shine in multi-player.

I was excited to run green/black and started pulling out cards that interested me.  I dug deep into my card collection trying to come up with combos and never seen before interactions.  What I ended up with was a giant stack of cards and only 99 (!) open slots.  *sigh* 

stack-baloon It seemed like an impossible task; how do I choose between Strip Mine and Wasteland?  How can I fit all of the most broken cards ever printed in Black/Green in to one little 100 card deck?  I can debate card choices with myself all day long.  I feel it is much easier just to stuff the cards in and replace what doesn’t work later (for EDH). 

Since I had access to green I felt that 36 land slots would be perfect due to land search effects.

Lands (36)

The next step was thinning down the creatures I had marked for the deck.  With so many options in both black and green, not to mention multi-colored, the choices were tough.  After some quick assessing, I ended up with this:

Creatures (27)

Some strange choices and some no-brainers.   For me, part of the fun with EDH is using cards that rarely see play.  My favorite choice here is Cuombajj Witches, not only for the “what?” factor, but also because of the synergy with Vhati.  Krovikan Horror serves the same purpose, reusable creature kill.  I like the devour creatures in the deck, since I have put many recursion effects in; Mycoloth is way too good combined with Skullclamp.  Gleancrawler, Solemn Simulacrum and Woodfall Primus all combo nicely with devour as well.  Maybe I should up the count of devour creatures, Marrow Chomper perhaps?  Maybe not.  The critters that don’t seem to fit too well are Heartwood Storyteller, Birds of Paradise and Ohran Viper.

It was time for some back up.  Green/black has a great selection of enchantments for EDH.  I feel that every deck running green should run Sylvan Library.  Being able to stack your draws is really important in a Highlander format.

Enchantments/Planeswalkers (10)

Wild Pair is one of my all time favorite enchantments.  Some thought needs to go into your deck construction to thoroughly abuse its power.  Let’s check the synergy with Wild Pair so far; seven creatures have a combined power/toughness of four, four have a combined eight, and three have a combined twelve.  I like the idea of playing Monger and bringing Primus along for the ride. 

Now I needed the utility spells; removal, tutors, card drawing, etc.

Card Drawing/Tutors (11)

EDH is all about tutor effects.  The easier it is to find your answer/threat the better.  It is important to have some degree of deck manipulation.  Crystal Ball is perfect for EDH.  The format tends to be slower (now that Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary has been banned again) allowing incremental development a chance to pay off.  I play the Journeyer’s Kite in my other EDH deck and really like it.

In EDH you need to be able to answer multiple and various things.  Having a broad removal package is very important.

Removal (10)

Rancid Earth has great synergy with our General once we have threshold.  Morbid Bloom is definitely the odd man out, I added it to give myself more devour targets.  I know Maelstrom Pulse seems like a poor choice in EDH, but it is almost a Vindicate and it wrecks tokens.

Extra Bits(5)

The extra stuff can all be dumped, except for Restock.  The Sword is in because its new. Imp’s Mischief, as the name suggests, can create plenty of ways to mess with the other players, fitting nicely with the political nature of Vhati il-Dal.  Berserk can be a great finisher.

As I look over this list I can see a bunch of holes and cross purpose selections.  Why don’t I have Crucible of Worlds in here?  Why Worm Harvest without Life from the Loam?  Keep in mind this is a casual, multi-player deck.  That being said, I would love any Feedback the readers could give.  Until next time.

EDH deck building: The Coalition vs. Phyrexia

Getting started in EDH can be a daunting task for newer players.  Fortunately for those newer players, Wizards of the Coast releases special products, such as the Duel Decks series that showcase many older cards.  The newest line in the Duel Decks series is Phyrexia vs. The Coalition.  This product is a great jumping off point for newer players who want to try their hand at EDH packed with all sorts of EDH goodies.

Let’s take a look at what the mechanized armies of Phyrexia give us.  One of the coolest reprints in a long time, Phyrexian Negator has prompted some serious debate about Wizard’s Reserved List.  The Negator is an amazing option for an aggro deck but EDH is more about longevity and combos than about quick beatdown.  Remember life totals in EDH are 40 not 20.  Still, this guy can be decent for you if you are lean on options.  Sacrifice outlets allow for some interesting tricks and Phyrexian Plaguelord fits the bill nicely.  For card draw, Phyrexian Arena is really good, abusing that big life total.  Another nice addition is Phyrexian Processor.  Pumping out a threat every turn for a minimal resource commitment is awesome.

One of my favorite reprints is Voltaic Key.  This card was amazing back in the days of Urza’s Saga and offers great potential with good artifacts floating around (like the Processor above).  Worn Powerstone and of course Phyrexian Colossus also play nice with the Key.  Another card I was excited to get was Lightning Greaves.  I cannot think of a card that is more useful in General-centric strategies than the Greaves.  Whispersilk Cloak, Hornet CannonPhyrexian Vault, and Phyrexian Totem are all playable cards that can help a beginner with EDH.  Living Death and Slay are pretty good as well.

Taking a look at the good guys we find that the Coalition has a bunch to offer.  One, two, three, four…four Generals come in this deck!  Darigaaz, the IgniterGerrard Capashen, Rith, the Awakener, and Treva, the Renewer.  That’s a lot of Legendary goodness.

The Coalition give us some great utility creatures as well.  Thornscape Battlemage, Sunscape Battlemage, and Thunderscape Battlemage all offer some usefull abilities.  Yavimaya Elder  = card advantage (cool new art too).  Armadillo Cloak, Coalition Relic, and Power Armor are decent goodies as well.  The Coalition also gives us a great finisher in Urzas Rage.  This big spell laughs in the face of counter-magic and the foil treatment it got is superb.

If you are new to EDH, or if you know someone who wants to get into it, then the Phyrexia vs. The Coalition Duel Deck is a great place to pick up some awesome older cards.  Use this as a springboard to take the plunge into the EDH waters.

Worldwake EDH: Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs

A while back I took a look at new EDH Generals from Worldwake.  I decided to make a deck-list featuring Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs.  I wanted to go with a build that was full of flavor, using the imagery of the powerful ogre warlord.  In most cases of card selection I used flavor as the deciding factor.

The premise of this deck is that the mighty Kazuul is marshaling a vast horde of evil humanoids to raid and plunder.  I stuck with some good ol’ fashioned D&D concepts; ogres bullying smaller orcs and goblins to do their bidding, which in this case means WAR!  Last time I mentioned Deathforge Shaman, Initiate of Blood, Heartless Hidetsugu and Rustmouth Ogre as possible options so I am going to put them in.  I took another look at Gatherer to see how many different ogres were in red.
Ogres (7):

Now that our ogre taskmasters are in place we need some orc and goblin minions to fill out the army.
Goblins (24):


Orcs (5):

All of these little guys form the backbone of our army.

No ogre warlord worth his salt would go into battle only relying on puny orcs and goblins, so Kazuul will have some hired giant muscle.
Giants (4):

Our horde is in place, so we need some gear to make our General and friends more formidable.
Equipment (8):

Now our army has plenty of fodder and gear so all we need is a way to promote our General’s ability.  Our plan is limit our opponents mana base by eliminating key lands and mana producing artifacts which are very common in EDH.
Land Hate(10):


Artifact Hate (3):

We have thirty eight slots for our own land and mana producing artifacts.

The deck is complete. It looks like Kazuul’s enemies are in for a rough time as his horde pillages the countryside. Can anyone stop the Tyrant of the Cliffs? Now this deck is not perfect but it has answers to problem artifacts and lands and can generate creatures early.  I think this is a good starting point for a really fun and flavorful EDH deck. Until next time.

New EDH Generals from Worldwake

Elder Dragon Highlander is one of my favorite formats to play.  The rules of this format allow for some very exciting interactions with cards that would be rarely played in any other format.  The most important aspect of EDH is the General.  Any Legendary Creature can be the General for your EDH deck with very few exceptions ( Braids, Cabal Minion is banned for example), and with the release of Worldwake some new potential Generals join the fray.

Anowon, the Ruin Sage is a strong new General for mono-black EDH decks.

Anowon has an ability that reminds us of the Abyss.   Mono-black is a strong color in EDH and with the addition of Anowon, vampire themed decks get a power boost.  There are plenty of Vampires running around in Magic but the fact that their creature type lets them dodge a bullet from Anowon makes them really shine.  Vamps that work well on team Anowon include Ascendant Evincar which can destroy token strategies; Repentant Vampire shines against other decks running swamps; Mephidross Vampire is a house when you start turning your opponents team with Krovikan Vampire and Soul Collector.  Anowon’s Worldwake friends are also welcome additions to the army: Bloodhusk Ritualist, Butcher of Malakir and Kalastria Highborn.

The next addition to the EDH world is Thada Adel, Acquisitor.

Thada Adel will give any opposing player fits as most decks run very powerful artifacts.  Thada will see play not only as a General just for the chance to steal things like Mindslaver, Nevinyrrals Disk, Rings of Brighthearth, and Oblivion Stone.  Even nabbing a Sol Ring can be devastating.

Next up is Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs

Kazuul is not quite as impressive as an EDH General as Anowon and Thada but it’s ability can be good.  Red has access to Land destroying effects that can make it more likely for Kazuul’s ability to resolve.  I like the idea of adding Pandemonium to prevent people from attacking you with swarms.  If you wanted to try an Ogre themed deck pick up Deathforge ShamanRustmouth Ogre, Initiate of Blood and Heartless Hidetsugu (who makes a good General himself).

Representing Green we have Omnath, Locus of Mana

The great thing about this General is that its low casting cost ensures that it will hit the battlefield early and often.  Cards like Early Harvest, Extraplanar Lens and Gauntlet of Power make this Elemental a beatstick.  Omnath’s best friend is Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary.  Mana ramp is a must when playing Omnath, so be sure to have Staff of Domination and Helix Pinnacle for alternate win conditions.

Last on our list of new EDH Generals we have the killer Kraken Wrexial, the Risen Deep

Big body, evasion and a relevant ability makes sure that Wrexial wrecks stuff.  Using a semi-mill strategy can ensure plenty of juicy targets for our sea monster friend.  Glimpse the Unthinkable, Mind Funeral and the other deep-sea threat Nemesis of Reason go perfectly with Wrexial.  Other graveyard loving cards that can go along with our General are Beacon of Unrest, Memory Plunder and Puppeteer Clique. Sexy Wrexy definitely has a lot going for it.

EDH just got more exciting with these new Generals.  I wish there was a new white Legend to round out the list.  Out of all of these newcomers I feel that Anowon and Thada will have the biggest impact, but that won’t stop me from putting Wrexial in my Szadek, Lord of Secrets deck.