The Rise of Invisible Stalker

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The Rise of Invisible Stalker

On Mage-Blade and the increasing use of Invisible Stalker in Standard.

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Nicely written article on the rise of mage-blade and delver decks in general. On what card is going to be going into it from Dark Ascension the most likely candidate is Thought Scour

It's an additional instant speed card draw that let's you filter off the top two cards of your library aswell for example if you saw a dead card in upkeep from delver (even if it was something to make it flip) you can graveyard it and hopefully draw something a little better.

Answer to the question of the week

I'm 85% sure on that.

Wow. The jargon-level of this article is so high my n00by brain just exploded. Any chance of a supplementary article explaining the game/issue for novices?

EvilPicnic:
Wow. The jargon-level of this article is so high my n00by brain just exploded. Any chance of a supplementary article explaining the game/issue for novices?

Sure, I'll be happy to do some supplementals here in the forums if you wouldn't mind letting me know where I lost you in the article. I'm happy to elaborate on whatever you need!

TheGuy(wantstobe):
Nicely written article on the rise of mage-blade and delver decks in general. On what card is going to be going into it from Dark Ascension the most likely candidate is Thought Scour

It's an additional instant speed card draw that let's you filter off the top two cards of your library aswell for example if you saw a dead card in upkeep from delver (even if it was something to make it flip) you can graveyard it and hopefully draw something a little better.

Answer to the question of the week

I'm 85% sure on that.

Yep, you've got all of the requisite steps, to be sure, plus some really handy extras like Step 1. Check to see if you have Priority. I still see occasional errant removal getting thrown around in my playgroup without priority which tends to result in a long-winded re-explanation of how priority works. I may try to introduce this step to spellcasting locally and I'll be posting my list later today.

Also, I hadn't really considered Thought Scour until now, but it plays well with Delver, Ponder, and Pike which makes up almost 20% of the deck. I'll definitely be keeping an eye on this!

Something else I'm really liking is Tragic Slip, though obviously not for Mage-Blade. It's only been a few days and I've already lost a half dozen Titans to it, so I know it's powerful. I'm just keen to see if it gets adopted in Standard at large, or if it'll be fringe.

I got a question for your next article. I can only guess from what you implied, it will be about the stack, priority and how abilities and spells are resolved.

Look at the ruling for http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=222007
According to the ruling, it can be used to permanently exile a creature by abusing the stack. Cast a spell like http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=245296 when the banishment ability is already on the stack but hasn't resolved yet and the other creature will be exiled permanently.
What is your thought on this? Obviously it is exactly how the stack works, according to the rules/ruling.
However, personally I think this is borderline abuse of broken/buggy game mechanics. It could be used to highlight some of the problems of the stack.

About the Invisible Stalker... yeah, it is a really strong card and it synergizes very well with many equipments of Innistrad/DKA.

I have a question:

Does alternate ways to cast spells (like from graveyard with flashback) interact with the ongoing effect of Null Profusion and allow you to draw a card? I reckon it would, but people argued that casting these cards in such a way is not playing then, but using an ability in them. What is right?

SandroTheMaster:
I have a question:

Does alternate ways to cast spells (like from graveyard with flashback) interact with the ongoing effect of Null Profusion and allow you to draw a card? I reckon it would, but people argued that casting these cards in such a way is not playing then, but using an ability in them. What is right?

You still get to draw. Null Profusion checks whenever something changes, whether it uses the stack or not. It asks these two questions of the change and if you get a yes to both of them you draw a card:

1. Are you a card? If yes go to 2. This means it won't trigger off of copies of spells etc
2. Were you played? The only times this won't be a yes is for things like the creature entering the battlefield from quicksilver amulet, through the breach and other such effects that bypass a card being played and it just going onto the battlefield.

It doesn't care about where the card was before it was played or how it was paid for so flashback etc don't matter as it is still a spell and flashback is an alternate cost (specifically two replacement effects, one for the total cost of the spell before any kickers,X etc and another to make it go the graveyard after it leaves the stack). It also triggers each time you play a land.

Encaen:

Something else I'm really liking is Tragic Slip, though obviously not for Mage-Blade. It's only been a few days and I've already lost a half dozen Titans to it, so I know it's powerful. I'm just keen to see if it gets adopted in Standard at large, or if it'll be fringe.

Ahhh Tragic Slip. Easily the best common removal spell in standard right now. I expect it to see a lot of play at the Pro Tour this weekend in UB control, Esper Control, Conley ramp and Mono black Zombies that I reckon at least one of the Channel Fireball team will play because like you say it destroys Titans and Inkmoths and Delvers (oh my!). I've been trading for foil ones at about 2.50 each the past week along with foil Black and Sanctuary cats (those ones simply because I want a page of nothing but cats foil cats with Zombie ones on the reverse in my trade folder).

edit: And yeah with the priority stuff. It usually happens to me after I've put a spell on the stack and am wondering whether to put another on there before shipping priority when they just mana leak. I've started reminding them they can't do that yet and end up playing around what they've just tried to do and altering my plans around it on the fly.

rofltehcat:
I got a question for your next article. I can only guess from what you implied, it will be about the stack, priority and how abilities and spells are resolved.

Look at the ruling for http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=222007
According to the ruling, it can be used to permanently exile a creature by abusing the stack. Cast a spell like http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=245296 when the banishment ability is already on the stack but hasn't resolved yet and the other creature will be exiled permanently.
What is your thought on this? Obviously it is exactly how the stack works, according to the rules/ruling.
However, personally I think this is borderline abuse of broken/buggy game mechanics. It could be used to highlight some of the problems of the stack.

About the Invisible Stalker... yeah, it is a really strong card and it synergizes very well with many equipments of Innistrad/DKA.

As a Johnny I have to say that this isn't that broken/abusive. There are many, many more abusive ways to bend the rules so much they look like pretzels in the game and half the fun of brewing up a good deck for me is figuring out exactly how the pieces slot together to go nuts. For example Sudden Dissapearance + Sundial of the infinite does it to all your opponents creatures, and oany other non land card they have to boot. Knowledge pool + Curse of Exhaustion + Grafdigger's cage (If facing ancient grudges) prevents your opponent from ever playing a spell... ever. Went 5-0 at last week's FNM with this in a U/W Control shell.
You are right though in that some combos can be unfun and Wizards does try to prevent them from coming into being but sometimes card interactions sneak past them like Splinter twin/Deciever Exarch and Past in Flames/Storm do and are found by players like me who adore things like this.

Actually, I think wizards like putting in "broken" combos in the game. As you said, you enjoy finding these combos, and you're definitely not alone; finding weird/awesome combos is definitely a part of the game.

Also, invisible stalker+Butcher's cleaver is the most degenerate combo there is in limited. 8 points of lifeswing per turn? Yes please.

rofltehcat:
I got a question for your next article. I can only guess from what you implied, it will be about the stack, priority and how abilities and spells are resolved.

Look at the ruling for http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=222007
According to the ruling, it can be used to permanently exile a creature by abusing the stack. Cast a spell like http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=245296 when the banishment ability is already on the stack but hasn't resolved yet and the other creature will be exiled permanently.
What is your thought on this? Obviously it is exactly how the stack works, according to the rules/ruling.
However, personally I think this is borderline abuse of broken/buggy game mechanics. It could be used to highlight some of the problems of the stack.

About the Invisible Stalker... yeah, it is a really strong card and it synergizes very well with many equipments of Innistrad/DKA.

I don't think it's that broken when you have cards that do the same thing for cheaper, Celestial Purge.

Slycne:

rofltehcat:
I got a question for your next article. I can only guess from what you implied, it will be about the stack, priority and how abilities and spells are resolved.

Look at the ruling for http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=222007
According to the ruling, it can be used to permanently exile a creature by abusing the stack. Cast a spell like http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=245296 when the banishment ability is already on the stack but hasn't resolved yet and the other creature will be exiled permanently.
What is your thought on this? Obviously it is exactly how the stack works, according to the rules/ruling.
However, personally I think this is borderline abuse of broken/buggy game mechanics. It could be used to highlight some of the problems of the stack.

About the Invisible Stalker... yeah, it is a really strong card and it synergizes very well with many equipments of Innistrad/DKA.

I don't think it's that broken when you have cards that do the same thing for cheaper, Celestial Purge.

I think the only thing is in a limited environment like DKA sealed or the current draft format you can exile two creatures permanently and a third semi permanently with just those two cards. Like most things though, in constructed there are just cheaper/more efficient ways to do it already.

TheGuy(wantstobe):
I think the only thing is in a limited environment like DKA sealed or the current draft format you can exile two creatures permanently and a third semi permanently with just those two cards. Like most things though, in constructed there are just cheaper/more efficient ways to do it already.

True, though in the sealed or draft format your chances of getting critical mass and/or having them both in hands are certainly going to be diminished.

No offense to your title of course, but Hexproof is definitely my least favorite mechanic in Magic right now. At least with shroud there was a penalty for shutting down the large majority of removal spells.

With the popularity of hexproof and indestructible, they might as well make cards that say "X can't leave the battlefield", you wouldn't want new players to be worried about removal or anything. -__-

Sorry, just pointlessly ranting. Good article, keep it up. :)

rofltehcat:
I got a question for your next article. I can only guess from what you implied, it will be about the stack, priority and how abilities and spells are resolved.

Look at the ruling for http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=222007
According to the ruling, it can be used to permanently exile a creature by abusing the stack. Cast a spell like http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=245296 when the banishment ability is already on the stack but hasn't resolved yet and the other creature will be exiled permanently.
What is your thought on this? Obviously it is exactly how the stack works, according to the rules/ruling.
However, personally I think this is borderline abuse of broken/buggy game mechanics. It could be used to highlight some of the problems of the stack.

About the Invisible Stalker... yeah, it is a really strong card and it synergizes very well with many equipments of Innistrad/DKA.

I actually really like this kind of interaction, as it fosters knowledge of the subtleties of the game. If you know how the details play out, you can draw more advanced conclusions about interactions from them, so it rewards this kind of wisdom. As you said, once you've read through it, this is exactly how the Stack works. It's definitely abusing the mechanics, but to that end, Sundial of the Infinite is basically a card that does nothing but abuse mechanics!

Also, as promised, here's my answer to the Question of the Week. It doesn't acronym well, like "DEBT" for protections (Damage, Enchant/Equip, Blocking, Targeting, in case you're not familiar.) so we've got AMT-DCP (Announce, Modes, Targets, Division, Cost, Payment)

Sadly not article-related, but a question I have nonetheless; I'm currently building a casual deck built around Undead Alchemist and Lich Lord of Unx. Aside from "zombies", "the obvious milling cards", and "counterspells 'cause you're playing blue", are there any cards you can suggest that might prove interesting? Thanks in advance.

Glass Joe the Champ:
No offense to your title of course, but Hexproof is definitely my least favorite mechanic in Magic right now. At least with shroud there was a penalty for shutting down the large majority of removal spells.

With the popularity of hexproof and indestructible, they might as well make cards that say "X can't leave the battlefield", you wouldn't want new players to be worried about removal or anything. -__-

Sorry, just pointlessly ranting. Good article, keep it up. :)

I'm with you. Whenever someone across me summons the Invisible Stalker I just sigh and groan a lot. If he gets something out that leaves all my threats helpless and incapable of attacking him, he can just pummel me into submission in 2-3 turns with a creature I literally can't do anything against short of a wipe that'll harm me a whole lot more than him. Then he only needs to cast summon another Invisible Stalker and re-equip.

This is a trend since artifacts came into play. Since then, enchant creatures pretty much became obsolete since investing heavily into a creature became relatively risk-free, since you'd preserve everything that was making it strong if it was removed from play somehow.

Then that wasn't enough and they came up with indestructible. Now you barely had to worry about that important creature of yours be destroyed, since your opponent could only deal with it by using specialized removals that are thoroughly inefficient (especially if you were black, that somehow lately have just given its place as the removal deck to white, with more efficient, more permanent and more versatile removals).

After that they came up with shroud. Now you can't even target the damn thing. You can't weaken it, you can't prevent it, you can just suck it. But at least it was a creature that only functioned on its own, the enemy couldn't save it if you surprised it somehow with your own shannenigans with your creatures. If that ground-bound creature of yours could suddenly fly to catch that shrouded peacock or whatever it was going to graveyard. Goodbye. It was a threat you could calculate what it'd cost you and you knew you could deal with it without the opponent say.

Then Hexproof. Now, you're just fucked. You can't do anything about it, they're somehow more efficient than shrouded creatures off the bat, and they can be equipped, enchanted, enhanced and assisted by their owners at their leisure. No more must green worry about Blue simply stealing a creature if they make it too big. Mindlessly bloodgeoning is now not only possible, but somehow encouraged.

Its just like protection! But without any of the limitations and negatives! Except it can die in combat, but if you can affect it with your spells and it is getting into combat anyway, you're a moron.

I worry WotC will simply come up with an effect like what you say... except a creature that simply can't leave the battlefield is still worse than one with hexproof. At least you can render it impotent with Pacify or permanent -x/-0 or keeping it tapped or something.

Glass Joe the Champ:
No offense to your title of course, but Hexproof is definitely my least favorite mechanic in Magic right now. At least with shroud there was a penalty for shutting down the large majority of removal spells.

With the popularity of hexproof and indestructible, they might as well make cards that say "X can't leave the battlefield", you wouldn't want new players to be worried about removal or anything. -__-

Sorry, just pointlessly ranting. Good article, keep it up. :)

I personally like the name. It means that these articles can never stop unless something major happens, like the Escapist suddenly disappearing.

And that's why I always have a tab open with the comprehensive rules.

As far as Stalker goes, I've been having a bunch of fun with him and Delver in an Elbrus/Stoneforge deck. Turn 3 is usually when Elbrus connects so it's pretty damn fast.

SandroTheMaster:
*SNIP*

Shroud came out a long time before hexproof and indestructible. Also, ever since we got Tragic Slip for black, killing indestructible things is as easy as chump blocking with your 0-drop and spending B.

I'm going to try as hard as I can not to rant about how terrible Invisible Stalker is as a card....OK I can't take it.

There is no fucking way to beat T2 Stalker, T3 Cleaver in draft other than having the rolling tremblor and 3 lands IN HAND to start the game. Whoever decided to make an absolutely unstoppable bomb when combined with any of 10 different cards in the draft environment at UNCOMMON is evil beyond belief.

I really don't care much in Standard. 2 Geth's Verdicts, 2 Black Sun's Zeniths, and 2 Day of Judgements (plus Oblivion rings for swords and the like) keep me pretty well covered.

That said, I'm building a new Standard deck, I haven't gotten it hammered out yet (still trying to put together the cards for it and I've really only spent about an hour thinking about it), but it's going to be fun!

It's a very rough list. Basic gameplan is to drop a couple of Rites mill them out with Increasing Confusion, Blue Sun's Zenith, and Undead Alchemist; while surviving with a ton of Fog effects and recursion. If I had more than one Jace I'd put another in there, and I put in Dissipates as the only counterspells because I'm basically draw/go until I get huge amounts of mana and I want to exile those pesky flashback cards.

Nihil Spellbombs in the sideboard nuke the Graveyard to prevent flashback shenanigans, and I have a creature package to bring in once they lose all their removal. Creeping Corrosion is there for this deck's worst matchup: Tempered Steel.

It seems like this deck cannot possibly lose against ramp or control, but aggro might be a bit more of a toss up.

Invisible Stalker is likely the most ridiculous 2-drop blue since Blighted Agent from New Phyrexia. The fact that it has hexproof is just absolutely ridiculous. A friend of mine plans to run it in his mill deck. Just slap a Trepidation Blade on it and you're good to go.

Encaen:
Question of the Week:

In order, what are the steps to casting a spell?

Can't speak for anyone else, but personally I'm pretty sure it goes something like this:

* Anticipation
* Planning
* Confusion
* Re-planning
* Casting
* Arguing about effects
* Attempting to take it back, then
* Regret

Encaen:

EvilPicnic:
Wow. The jargon-level of this article is so high my n00by brain just exploded. Any chance of a supplementary article explaining the game/issue for novices?

Sure, I'll be happy to do some supplementals here in the forums if you wouldn't mind letting me know where I lost you in the article. I'm happy to elaborate on whatever you need!

Haha, you lost me at 'Blue Black Control Build' actually - although Google is my friend and I've now worked out what you mean!

I've watched Magic being played, and am quite interested, but am a complete novice when it comes to more than just the very very basic rules. I enjoy reading these types of tactical discussions about any game (and often the tactics are transferable), but I don't have much of a frame of reference to decipher terms with in this case. Would it be possible to include more explanatory asides or hyperlinks to definitions in the articles?

A general newcomers guide would be appreciated too :p

Can you explain exactly how the Opalescence + Parallax Wave/Tide combo works? I know how the whole thing performs- and I abuse it in my EDH deck- I'm just really really poor at explaining the rules behind it.

For reference Opalescence, Parallax Wave, Parallax Tide.

Also, I'm loving the hell out of Thalia with my group right now. They all love playing Solar Flare. As of now, I drop Thalia and they're pissed, because I usually follow up on t3 with Grand Abolisher.

Mahorfeus:
Invisible Stalker is likely the most ridiculous 2-drop blue since Blighted Agent from New Phyrexia. The fact that it has hexproof is just absolutely ridiculous. A friend of mine plans to run it in his mill deck. Just slap a Trepidation Blade on it and you're good to go.

Invisible stalker is more obscene than blighted agent. Blighted agent can be targeted. Most colors have a way of dealing with him after he's in play, even if it's not a good one.

White - Day of Judgement, life gain, artifact removal, prevent combat damange
Green - Artifact removal and life gain, prevent combat damage
Red - Blasphemous Act
Blue - Counter it
Black - Curse of Death's Hold, Geth's Verdict

Of course, there are other more complicated(or outside of standard) ways. The reason I mentioned artifact removal and life gain is because the combination of the two are typically what makes it dangerous. If you gain more life per turn than it does in damage, it's not that dangerous.

Nevermore tends to slow down future attempts at Invisible Stalkers, provided you can get rid of the first one.

So... my illusion deck was transformed into a Delver Deck, then I realized I have two swords of body and mind, and a rune pike that were going unused... so then my Delver deck transformed into a Mage-blade deck.

That being said... I am so happy the invisible stalker is finally seeing some play. That was my "I love this card and want to make it work" card for last set.

My "iltcawtmiw" card for THIS set is tragic slip (wont be hard... card is pretty beast), undying evil and Rootbound geist

I bought a Box and it was very loving to me. I pulled 8 mythics and the money rare.

Sorin
Huntmaster
Foil Huntermaster
Lich
Demon dagger
Vorpede (Got the vorpede and the Demon Dagger out of the same pack! Go go double mythic pack! Didn't beat my friend's Double mythic Sorin, huntmaster pack though)
Mind control Bitch blue mythic
Dragon

And my MVP honorable mention was a foil Drogskol Captain. That card just looks amazing.

The money rare is the Grafdigger's Cage

EvilPicnic:

Encaen:

EvilPicnic:
Wow. The jargon-level of this article is so high my n00by brain just exploded. Any chance of a supplementary article explaining the game/issue for novices?

Sure, I'll be happy to do some supplementals here in the forums if you wouldn't mind letting me know where I lost you in the article. I'm happy to elaborate on whatever you need!

Haha, you lost me at 'Blue Black Control Build' actually - although Google is my friend and I've now worked out what you mean!

I've watched Magic being played, and am quite interested, but am a complete novice when it comes to more than just the very very basic rules. I enjoy reading these types of tactical discussions about any game (and often the tactics are transferable), but I don't have much of a frame of reference to decipher terms with in this case. Would it be possible to include more explanatory asides or hyperlinks to definitions in the articles?

A general newcomers guide would be appreciated too :p

At least he didn't say "UB control". Here's a short reference list to commonly used color combinations and their meaning:

R - Red
G - Green
B - Black
U - Blue
W - White

so, G/B - Green/Black and so on.

A lot of people refer to certain color combinations by proper names of organizations that used those color combos in the lore. I'll bold the more relevant ones:

Ravnica block guilds:

Boros: R/W
Dimir: U/B
Selesnya: W/G
Golgari: G/B
Orzhov: W/B
Izzet: U/R
Gruul: G/R
Azorious: U/W
Simic: U/G
Rakdos: B/R

Shards from Alara block (these are all commonly used):

Bant: U/G/W
Esper: U/B/W
Naya: R/G/W
Jund: G/R/B
Grixis: U/B/R

You also need to know a bit about the formats:

Blocks generally contain 3 "sets" of cards that are released 3 times a year. The new Block always starts in the fall (late Sept, early Oct) and one set is released every 4 months. Every year there's also a "core" set which includes a very simple set of cards designed at new players that is also legal for play in that year. Core sets tend to come out around the end of summer (Aug/Sept).

Standard - The current block and the last block along with the current year's core set. Right now, the Scars of Mirrodin block that started in Sept. 2010 and the Innistrad block that started in Sept. 2011 (and is set to end with Avacyn Restored in May) are legal as well as the Magic 2012 core set that came out in August 2011. This is by FAR the most common format.

Modern - Modern is a format that includes every card with a "new" card frame. What this basically means is that every card that came out starting with the "Mirrodin" (the Scars block from last year was a throwback to this one that was released in 2003) set is legal. This is a new format that is quickly becoming very popular.

Legacy - Every card ever released in a normal set (not the "Theme decks" or "Commander" series and the like) with a significant banlist that can be found on the Wizards website. Basically all of the super, ultra rare overpowered cards from the beginning of the game (known as the "Power 9") as well as a bunch of other cards that are parts of infinite combos are banned.

Vintage - Every single card is legal, although the Power 9 are restricted to one each per deck. This format is crazy.

Commander - Unofficial format that has recently picked up steam with official endorsement. There is a small banlist, but deck construction is very restricted. You must have a 99 card deck with no more than one copy of any card except basic lands. In addition, you must have 1 Legendary Creature as your "Commander" and may only play cards that are the same colors as that Commander. Everyone starts at 40 life instead of 20 and you can only take up to 21 damage from an enemy Commander. The format is made to be played with more than 2 people and is ridiculously fun.

Deck Archetypes:

Control - focuses on counterspells and removal to stop your opponent from playing anything relevant until you drop a game ending creature/spell and just win from there.

Combo - focuses on getting a few specific cards that create an infinite (or significantly large) advantage.

Aggro - focuses on aggressively costed small creatures and spells that increase their power (such as spells that give all creatures +X/+X collectively known as "anthems" after the card Glorious Anthem) to kill your opponent QUICKLY.

Ramp - focuses on getting as many lands out as possible and using them to fuel huge spells or land-based strategies.

Tempo - focuses on getting early threats down, then preventing the opponent from dealing with them. It's basically reverse control, instead of controlling the early game to win late, they try to win early and control the late game.

deth2munkies:

Commander - Unofficial format that has recently picked up steam with official endorsement. There is a small banlist, but deck construction is very restricted. You must have a 99 card deck with no more than one copy of any card except basic lands. In addition, you must have 1 Legendary Creature as your "Commander" and may only play cards that are the same colors as that Commander. Everyone starts at 40 life instead of 20 and you can only take up to 21 damage from an enemy Commander. The format is made to be played with more than 2 people and is ridiculously fun.

No mention that Commander's real name is Elder Dragon Highlander (EDH)? I am disappointed. But yeah, it's a hell of a lot of fun. I love my Hannah deck, I also have a Norin deck that I'm not allowed to play with my group anymore, it took about 4 games with it to get banned. I also have a Thraxamunder deck that they looked through and said they wouldn't play against it. During play testing I managed to get a chain of 30 turns in a row, plus I got an extra turn after every other person's turn.

Berenzen:

deth2munkies:

Commander - Unofficial format that has recently picked up steam with official endorsement. There is a small banlist, but deck construction is very restricted. You must have a 99 card deck with no more than one copy of any card except basic lands. In addition, you must have 1 Legendary Creature as your "Commander" and may only play cards that are the same colors as that Commander. Everyone starts at 40 life instead of 20 and you can only take up to 21 damage from an enemy Commander. The format is made to be played with more than 2 people and is ridiculously fun.

No mention that Commander's real name is Elder Dragon Highlander (EDH)? I am disappointed. But yeah, it's a hell of a lot of fun. I love my Hannah deck, I also have a Norin deck that I'm not allowed to play with my group anymore, it took about 4 games with it to get banned. I also have a Thraxamunder deck that they looked through and said they wouldn't play against it. During play testing I managed to get a chain of 30 turns in a row, plus I got an extra turn after every other person's turn.

Wizards has officially named it Commander, but I guess some people do still call it EDH <_<

Norin is annoying as hell, but I've been using an Olivia deck to great effect recently. Nothing like stealing all your opponents' stuff.

Alex:

Encaen:
Question of the Week:

In order, what are the steps to casting a spell?

Can't speak for anyone else, but personally I'm pretty sure it goes something like this:

* Anticipation
* Planning
* Confusion
* Re-planning
* Casting
* Arguing about effects
* Attempting to take it back, then
* Regret

You must have watched The Escapist staff play one another. Obviously.

A nice way to counter Invisible Stalker would be a RB deck with battlefield clearing cards, like Pyroclasm or Black Hole.

deth2munkies:
Snip.

I couldn't have said it better myself. Great write-up!

EvilPicnic:
Haha, you lost me at 'Blue Black Control Build' actually - although Google is my friend and I've now worked out what you mean!

I've watched Magic being played, and am quite interested, but am a complete novice when it comes to more than just the very very basic rules. I enjoy reading these types of tactical discussions about any game (and often the tactics are transferable), but I don't have much of a frame of reference to decipher terms with in this case. Would it be possible to include more explanatory asides or hyperlinks to definitions in the articles?

A general newcomers guide would be appreciated too :p

deth2munkies posted a great newcomer's guide above, so definitely check that out and you should be about up to speed. I'll definitely look to include more explanation in the articles themselves going forward!

Draconalis:
So... my illusion deck was transformed into a Delver Deck, then I realized I have two swords of body and mind, and a rune pike that were going unused... so then my Delver deck transformed into a Mage-blade deck.

That being said... I am so happy the invisible stalker is finally seeing some play. That was my "I love this card and want to make it work" card for last set.

My "iltcawtmiw" card for THIS set is tragic slip (wont be hard... card is pretty beast), undying evil and Rootbound geist

I bought a Box and it was very loving to me. I pulled 8 mythics and the money rare.

Sorin
Huntmaster
Foil Huntermaster
Lich
Demon dagger
Vorpede (Got the vorpede and the Demon Dagger out of the same pack! Go go double mythic pack! Didn't beat my friend's Double mythic Sorin, huntmaster pack though)
Mind control Bitch blue mythic
Dragon

And my MVP honorable mention was a foil Drogskol Captain. That card just looks amazing.

The money rare is the Grafdigger's Cage

Nice! I was so pleased when I pulled Sorin, but alas, now I have to get more to make a deck, and I have to wait for him to drop in price before I can actually trade for him. So much trouble for one little card! Lingering Souls is no joke, though. I've eked out several games thanks to that flashback already, and my tokens deck is still in its infancy.

On that topic, what do you think about Bloodline Keeper in a BW tokens build? I'm on the fence, since he's double black to cast, but it's so good once it hits the board. Once I get my Isolated Chapels back, it should be a bit better, but I'm running something like 12 Plains, 9 Swamps, and 3 Vault of the Archangel at the moment, and it's still really hard to land a Keeper.

Berenzen:
Can you explain exactly how the Opalescence + Parallax Wave/Tide combo works? I know how the whole thing performs- and I abuse it in my EDH deck- I'm just really really poor at explaining the rules behind it.

For reference Opalescence, Parallax Wave, Parallax Tide.

Also, I'm loving the hell out of Thalia with my group right now. They all love playing Solar Flare. As of now, I drop Thalia and they're pissed, because I usually follow up on t3 with Grand Abolisher.

The Opalescence, Parallax Wave/Tide combo isn't too complicated, rules-wise, I don't think. I'd just perform the actions slowly the first time you do it, and be sure to call your floating mana. This will help ensure that they see that you get back to your starting position with mana in your mana pool, and then you can repeat as necessary.

Some relevant Rules quotes that might help:
110.6b Permanents enter the battlefield untapped, unflipped, face up, and phased in unless a spell or ability says otherwise.
and
702.30a Fading is a keyword that represents two abilities. "Fading N" means "This permanent enters the battlefield with N fade counters on it" and "At the beginning of your upkeep, remove a fade counter from this permanent. If you can't, sacrifice the permanent."

For anyone that's not familiar with the combo here, Opalescence turns your Parallax Wave and Tide into creatures, making them both legal targets for Parallax Wave. You tap lands to float mana, exile the tapped lands with Parallax Tide, then get them back untapped by using Parallax Wave on the Tide and itself, which returns both to the battlefield with 5 Fading counters. Rinse and Repeat.

Encaen:

Berenzen:
Can you explain exactly how the Opalescence + Parallax Wave/Tide combo works? I know how the whole thing performs- and I abuse it in my EDH deck- I'm just really really poor at explaining the rules behind it.

For reference Opalescence, Parallax Wave, Parallax Tide.

Also, I'm loving the hell out of Thalia with my group right now. They all love playing Solar Flare. As of now, I drop Thalia and they're pissed, because I usually follow up on t3 with Grand Abolisher.

The Opalescence, Parallax Wave/Tide combo isn't too complicated, rules-wise, I don't think. I'd just perform the actions slowly the first time you do it, and be sure to call your floating mana. This will help ensure that they see that you get back to your starting position with mana in your mana pool, and then you can repeat as necessary.

Some relevant Rules quotes that might help:
110.6b Permanents enter the battlefield untapped, unflipped, face up, and phased in unless a spell or ability says otherwise.
and
702.30a Fading is a keyword that represents two abilities. "Fading N" means "This permanent enters the battlefield with N fade counters on it" and "At the beginning of your upkeep, remove a fade counter from this permanent. If you can't, sacrifice the permanent."

For anyone that's not familiar with the combo here, Opalescence turns your Parallax Wave and Tide into creatures, making them both legal targets for Parallax Wave. You tap lands to float mana, exile the tapped lands with Parallax Tide, then get them back untapped by using Parallax Wave on the Tide and itself, which returns both to the battlefield with 5 Fading counters. Rinse and Repeat.

I was more talking about the way that you can permanently exile your opponent's creatures and lands to piss them off. Where- by having parallax wave exile itself after exiling a bunch of creatures- it brings itself back in, and the rest of the targets remain permanently exiled.

Berenzen:

Encaen:

Berenzen:
Can you explain exactly how the Opalescence + Parallax Wave/Tide combo works? I know how the whole thing performs- and I abuse it in my EDH deck- I'm just really really poor at explaining the rules behind it.

For reference Opalescence, Parallax Wave, Parallax Tide.

Also, I'm loving the hell out of Thalia with my group right now. They all love playing Solar Flare. As of now, I drop Thalia and they're pissed, because I usually follow up on t3 with Grand Abolisher.

The Opalescence, Parallax Wave/Tide combo isn't too complicated, rules-wise, I don't think. I'd just perform the actions slowly the first time you do it, and be sure to call your floating mana. This will help ensure that they see that you get back to your starting position with mana in your mana pool, and then you can repeat as necessary.

Some relevant Rules quotes that might help:
110.6b Permanents enter the battlefield untapped, unflipped, face up, and phased in unless a spell or ability says otherwise.
and
702.30a Fading is a keyword that represents two abilities. "Fading N" means "This permanent enters the battlefield with N fade counters on it" and "At the beginning of your upkeep, remove a fade counter from this permanent. If you can't, sacrifice the permanent."

For anyone that's not familiar with the combo here, Opalescence turns your Parallax Wave and Tide into creatures, making them both legal targets for Parallax Wave. You tap lands to float mana, exile the tapped lands with Parallax Tide, then get them back untapped by using Parallax Wave on the Tide and itself, which returns both to the battlefield with 5 Fading counters. Rinse and Repeat.

I was more talking about the way that you can permanently exile your opponent's creatures and lands to piss them off. Where- by having parallax wave exile itself after exiling a bunch of creatures- it brings itself back in, and the rest of the targets remain permanently exiled.

Ahh, yes. I figured the inclusion of Parallax Tide meant you were going for mana. This is definitely a bit more rules-intensive. Sorry about that!

Here's how I see it(someone please feel free to chime in here if I've got anything wrong!):

You use Parallax Wave's ability targeting one of their creatures. While this is still on the stack, you exile Parallax Wave itself. The last ability resolves first, and Parallax Wave exiles itself, triggering its second ability which goes on the stack. The Triggered Ability resolves, returning Parallax Wave to the Battlefield(with 5 Fading Counters). Finally, the first ability on the stack resolves, permanently exiling the target creature.

This is much like the Fiend Hunter shenanigans mentioned earlier in the thread, where you trigger the "return" ability before the original ability resolves.

Relevant Rules quote here:
112.7a Once activated or triggered, an ability exists on the stack independently of its source. Destruction or removal of the source after that time won't affect the ability...

and the ruling from Fiend Hunter: If Fiend Hunter leaves the battlefield before its first ability has resolved, its second ability will trigger and do nothing. Then its first ability will resolve and exile the targeted creature indefinitely.

Encaen:

Berenzen:

Encaen:

The Opalescence, Parallax Wave/Tide combo isn't too complicated, rules-wise, I don't think. I'd just perform the actions slowly the first time you do it, and be sure to call your floating mana. This will help ensure that they see that you get back to your starting position with mana in your mana pool, and then you can repeat as necessary.

Some relevant Rules quotes that might help:
110.6b Permanents enter the battlefield untapped, unflipped, face up, and phased in unless a spell or ability says otherwise.
and
702.30a Fading is a keyword that represents two abilities. "Fading N" means "This permanent enters the battlefield with N fade counters on it" and "At the beginning of your upkeep, remove a fade counter from this permanent. If you can't, sacrifice the permanent."

For anyone that's not familiar with the combo here, Opalescence turns your Parallax Wave and Tide into creatures, making them both legal targets for Parallax Wave. You tap lands to float mana, exile the tapped lands with Parallax Tide, then get them back untapped by using Parallax Wave on the Tide and itself, which returns both to the battlefield with 5 Fading counters. Rinse and Repeat.

I was more talking about the way that you can permanently exile your opponent's creatures and lands to piss them off. Where- by having parallax wave exile itself after exiling a bunch of creatures- it brings itself back in, and the rest of the targets remain permanently exiled.

Ahh, yes. I figured the inclusion of Parallax Tide meant you were going for mana. This is definitely a bit more rules-intensive. Sorry about that!

Here's how I see it(someone please feel free to chime in here if I've got anything wrong!):

You use Parallax Wave's ability targeting one of their creatures. While this is still on the stack, you exile Parallax Wave itself. The last ability resolves first, and Parallax Wave exiles itself, triggering its second ability which goes on the stack. The Triggered Ability resolves, returning Parallax Wave to the Battlefield(with 5 Fading Counters). Finally, the first ability on the stack resolves, permanently exiling the target creature.

This is much like the Fiend Hunter shenanigans mentioned earlier in the thread, where you trigger the "return" ability before the original ability resolves.

Relevant Rules quote here:
112.7a Once activated or triggered, an ability exists on the stack independently of its source. Destruction or removal of the source after that time won't affect the ability...

and the ruling from Fiend Hunter: If Fiend Hunter leaves the battlefield before its first ability has resolved, its second ability will trigger and do nothing. Then its first ability will resolve and exile the targeted creature indefinitely.

This same feature also sets up a very nifty infinite combo with Suture Priest, Leonin Relic-Warder, and Phyrexian Metamorph.

You cast the Metamorph with a Suture Priest and Relic-Warder in play, have it exile itself. The return trigger happens before it gets exiled, so you bring it back as Relic-Warder exiling itself again. Every time he comes back into play, you gain 1 life from Suture Priest, so it puts you at as much life as you want (I always say "infinity minus one").

FilipJPhry:
A nice way to counter Invisible Stalker would be a RB deck with battlefield clearing cards, like Pyroclasm or Black Hole.

Also, I just noticed this:

The card is "Dark Hole" and it's a Yu-Gi-OH card. Pyroclasm also isn't Standard.

The most common ways to kill it are Geth's Verdict, Tribute to Hunger, Black Sun's Zenith, Day of Judgement, and Slagstorm.

Honorable mentions to Blasphemous Act, Rolling Temblor, and Curse of Death's Hold.

I've been having success against all the iterations of Delver decks with a deck similar to this: http://sales.starcitygames.com//deckdatabase/displaydeck.php?DeckID=43699 , except the Ratchet Bombs were Snapcaster Mages and the Tragic Slips were Go for the Throats.

Berenzen:

deth2munkies:

Commander - Unofficial format that has recently picked up steam with official endorsement. There is a small banlist, but deck construction is very restricted. You must have a 99 card deck with no more than one copy of any card except basic lands. In addition, you must have 1 Legendary Creature as your "Commander" and may only play cards that are the same colors as that Commander. Everyone starts at 40 life instead of 20 and you can only take up to 21 damage from an enemy Commander. The format is made to be played with more than 2 people and is ridiculously fun.

No mention that Commander's real name is Elder Dragon Highlander (EDH)? I am disappointed. But yeah, it's a hell of a lot of fun. I love my Hannah deck, I also have a Norin deck that I'm not allowed to play with my group anymore, it took about 4 games with it to get banned. I also have a Thraxamunder deck that they looked through and said they wouldn't play against it. During play testing I managed to get a chain of 30 turns in a row, plus I got an extra turn after every other person's turn.

I'm sorry but this really bothers me. Is your general one of the Elder Dragons (ex. creature Nicol Bolas)? Are the others used by everyone else in your playgroup? Unless both are true, then it's called Commander.

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