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 Post subject: What is your stance on From the Ashes/Wave of Vitriol?
AgePosted: 2017-Jun-17 2:27 am 
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Age: Elder Dragon
A week ago, I was playing a (supposedly) casual six-player game of Commander. Everything is going fine until the mono-green player casts Wave of Vitrol. A discussion starts. Then it starts escalating to the point where two players left the game. Their arguments were the usual "mass land destruction isn't fun, it's not casual", to which the other players, myself included, replied this wasn't really MLD, it was more like "destroy your shenanigan lands and replace them with non-shenanigan lands). One of the players who conceded said he didn't play basic lands, to which I replied "well, that's your problem for wanting to run expensive mana bases; you should be prepared for effects like this, even in casual games". The discussion continued on further, but of course, nobody reached any conclusion or changed their opinion.

So this is my question to you, because I was honestly surprised these two cards would create so much controversy. What is your stance on them? What alternatives would you propose to their existence to deal with nonbasic lands if even these types of effects are not okay?

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 Post subject: Re: What is your stance on From the Ashes/Wave of Vitriol?
AgePosted: 2017-Jun-17 3:16 am 

Joined: 2009-Apr-21 3:38 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Palm Springs Area, CA
I don't play wave of vitriol (notice its not wave of kindness), because we havent had issues with lands being crazy.

But when I saw cabal coffers and Gaea's cradle more often it was appealling.

Playing zero basics is risky. I generally run at least 1/2 basics in my 3 (and fewer) decks, but found 4 colored hard to manage that way.

Against 4 and 5 colored decks I wouldnt play vitriol. It turns into a green Keldon Firebombers. Against other decks it should be fair. As artifact and enchantment removal I would rather play something cheaper.


Also, what was the other card? you said two cards, but I only see Wave of Vitriol.
Edit: I see its in the title.

I would totally play from the ashes in monored. Seems a legitimate thing Heartless Hidetsugu would do in a casual game, say over Ruination.

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 Post subject: Re: What is your stance on From the Ashes/Wave of Vitriol?
AgePosted: 2017-Jun-17 3:26 am 
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Disclaimer: I don't think Mass Land Destruction is bad for the format.

I agree that WoV/FtA are fair game. If there's a mono-red deck at the table who is only running 1 mountain and 1 snow mountain for the sake of being "true highlander" and one of these effects land, I'm happy to house-errata those cards to "nonbasics become the basic type of their controller's choice" as long as nobody abuses this.

As for alternative methods to keep Urborg Coffers in check, I am a big fan of punishing with damage. If you run Wilderness Elemental and Anathemancer and Mercadia's Downfall and Primal Order and Price of Progress, and your opponents still complain, I suggest you just don't play with them anymore. There's also Tsabo's Web, which hits annoying utility lands but leaves most pure mana fixing unaffected (although sadly punishes cycling lands), but it doesn't hit many of the strongest big mana nonbasics.

You can also go the surgical route, rather than mass-destruction. Helldozer is excellent, and Dust Bowl is usually seen as "fair" in most groups provided you are not abusing it with Azusa Crucible. Detritivore is on the weaker side but still pretty effective. Shivan Harvest does not fit in just any old deck, but when it works it works well.

Ultimately, my opinion is just that. What I feel is fair doesn't change how your playgroup will react to cards, and you have to work within your playgroup to find a balance at which everybody can have fun. I would like to find a trusted playgroup where Ruination is fair game, but I would never bring it or Armageddon to a new group and then act surprised or entitled if someone complained.


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 Post subject: Re: What is your stance on From the Ashes/Wave of Vitriol?
AgePosted: 2017-Jun-17 3:36 am 
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Age: Elder Dragon
I won't run Wave of Vitriol or From the Ashes because, even though they replace with basic lands, the average Stomping Ground or Temple of Malice is not a target that generally *needs* removal. I prefer to have targeted land removal, even if it is multiple lands, such as Ghost Quarter, Crumble to dust, Volcanic Offering , Bramblecrush, even the occasional Hydroform (on a Cradle, in response to WoG). I prefer to save my LD for targets that deserve it.

That said, I don't aggressively oppose others playing them. They are both better than Ruination and friends (or true MLD like Armageddon). I won't go below 10 basic lands in a two color deck or 12 basics in a three color (usually 10 basics in my 5 color decks) and usually have a bit more than that. I think they are safe includes for playing in a random group; but some playgroups may want to negotiate them to the "don't play" list (and that should be fine if that group all agrees).

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 Post subject: Re: What is your stance on From the Ashes/Wave of Vitriol?
AgePosted: 2017-Jun-17 8:09 am 
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It depends on the playgroup, honestly.

I've found that EDH decks are built with so much inherent mana ramp that it's a non-issue. Infact, I'm actually a fan of From the Ashes because it only punishes 4-5 color decks or super greedy 3 color decks- which is a far-cry from Ruination and Blood Moon that are much less cuddly. It's just the sort of difference between Ghost Quarter and Dustbowl using Flagstones of Trokair as fodder.

That said, mana denial strategies can be especially punishing if newer players/less experienced players are at the table. Much like issues that come up with Stax when someone is just getting their feet in the format, LD can lead to odd situations where a player wins by taking advantage of a newer player's misunderstanding of the tool (albeit, to much less of a degree than Stax, where the categorical misunderstanding of the strategy bends the game.)

Ashes and Wave are a nice middleground, and are a great way to introduce players to LD without crushing them. It can encourage you group to build their manabases in ways that are less greedy. But I don't dig Wave as much because it gets around the usual LD weakness of manarocks. It just rips up manasources outright- but w/e, it's a big ole green spell.

Fun fact, I keep a Flashfires in one of my binders as a joke about Plains being my favorite basic type.

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 Post subject: Re: What is your stance on From the Ashes/Wave of Vitriol?
AgePosted: 2017-Jun-17 10:49 am 

Joined: 2012-Mar-31 11:52 am
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I think it's disingenuous to say that running nonbasics means you have shenanigans or expensive mana bases. Like Treamayne said, shocks and Temples of Whatever shouldn't be punished necessarily.

My biggest issue with the card is that it gives the caster a false sense of justification for running it. "Well it's not my fault you don't fun more basics." they declare smugly even though they built their deck to bypass the downside of this card.


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 Post subject: Re: What is your stance on From the Ashes/Wave of Vitriol?
AgePosted: 2017-Jun-17 12:43 pm 

Joined: 2016-Aug-15 1:21 pm
Age: Drake
I'm mostly against mass land destruction. Destroying someone's mana base stops them from playing, sort of like how locking them out of a hand stops them from playing (and got Leovold banned). I've seen a lot of decks 'with too much' land ramp, but I've only ever encountered one 'tutor for land fetches' deck.

Honestly, I only see three 'types' of lands, regardless of basic or nonbasic. The first type is anything that taps for one mana, which is what I think most lands are. The second type is lands that tap for more then one mana, which are the middle ground of 'I could hit it with land destruction, but just because I can doesn't mean I should'. The third type is lands that actually do something other then produce mana, and if they don't fetch another land, they're probably worth hitting with land destruction. Kor Haven is the first one that comes to my mind.

I mostly prefer stuff like Reap and Sow for my land destruction, because it does something other then land destruction. I normally say running no basic lands is a risky move that's not usually worth it. I know some people can pull it off, but I don't consider myself one of them.

As for Waves of Vitriol, I would say it crosses the line, because it's a sacrifice effect. From the Ashes just destroys lands, which does have some counter play to it, like Indestructible.

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 Post subject: Re: What is your stance on From the Ashes/Wave of Vitriol?
AgePosted: 2017-Jun-17 9:08 pm 
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cryogen wrote:
I think it's disingenuous to say that running nonbasics means you have shenanigans or expensive mana bases..


Who said that? Just about every poat I've read is about the dynamics of large scale LD.

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 Post subject: Re: What is your stance on From the Ashes/Wave of Vitriol?
AgePosted: 2017-Jun-18 1:23 am 
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Mr Degradation wrote:
cryogen wrote:
I think it's disingenuous to say that running nonbasics means you have shenanigans or expensive mana bases..


Who said that? Just about every post I've read is about the dynamics of large scale LD.


Maluko wrote:
to which I replied "well, that's your problem for wanting to run expensive mana bases; you should be prepared for effects like this, even in casual games".


That certainly sounds like "you deserve to have all your non-basics blown up because you want to have some 2 or 3 color lands."

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 Post subject: Re: What is your stance on From the Ashes/Wave of Vitriol?
AgePosted: 2017-Jun-18 3:05 am 
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Treamayne wrote:
That certainly sounds like "you deserve to have all your non-basics blown up because you want to have some 2 or 3 color lands."

No, no no, that's not what I meant. My argument was more along the lines of "this is why you should run basic lands, because when you don't, things like these may happen". And I stick with it. Feel free to run whatever lands you like, but also be prepared for the consequences of doing so. Don't blame Wave of Vitrol for this. The same way you shouldn't blame the Meren player for winning >50% of your games, you should blame yourself (and the other players, eventually) for not running enough graveyard removal to deal with it. This is different from, say, Armaggedon, because you have to go to great lengths to modify your deck to deal with mass land destruction spells. That is not the case with Wave of Vitriol, where you only need to run a fair amount of basic lands, which are cheap and accessible to everyone.

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 Post subject: Re: What is your stance on From the Ashes/Wave of Vitriol?
AgePosted: 2017-Jun-18 3:06 am 

Joined: 2011-Aug-18 3:35 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
cryogen wrote:
I think it's disingenuous to say that running nonbasics means you have shenanigans or expensive mana bases. Like Treamayne said, shocks and Temples of Whatever shouldn't be punished necessarily.

My biggest issue with the card is that it gives the caster a false sense of justification for running it. "Well it's not my fault you don't fun more basics." they declare smugly even though they built their deck to bypass the downside of this card.


It's NOT anyone's fault but the builder that someone is running a deck without basics. Even legacy and modern decks run basics for exactly this reason. Ghost Quarter, New Frontiers, and any number of other spells are a thing. Basics matter. If you're intentionally being greedy with your mana base you deserve to be blown out by effects like this. What else can you call it when you're aware of the risks and choose to ignore it? You absolutely deserve it. The other chunk of the games you're playing you're hugely benefitting from your greed. Everything in magic has a counter, even lands. Declaring lands off limits is just adding to the already ridiculous power of green in the format.

The only "justification" needed to run cards like that are lands like cradle, urborg, coffers, Nykthos, and Maze of Ith. Making everyone else have slightly worse fixing is just a bonus. There's a HUGE difference between the listed cards and cards like Ruination.

If someone is playing zero basics and doesn't have "expensive" (fetch/revised dual) lands, they're playing with far too many tapped lands and need to fix that anyway. Such a slow mana base would perform better with basics already.


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 Post subject: Re: What is your stance on From the Ashes/Wave of Vitriol?
AgePosted: 2017-Jun-18 5:31 am 
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Epsilon wrote:
Even legacy and modern decks run basics for exactly this reason. Ghost Quarter, New Frontiers, and any number of other spells are a thing. Basics matter. If you're intentionally being greedy with your mana base you deserve to be blown out by effects like this.
Except that if you're running around 3-6 basics in your deck (for a "true highlander" deck), you're being unfairly punished at the table for a stylistic choice - not a power one. And neither of your examples equate to the nastiness that is the land destruction of Ruination & friends. Ghost Quarter hits a single land, and New Frontiers will only ramp other players, not cause a one-sided Armageddon.

If you had a player at your table with an oldschool (pre-BfZ) Karn, Silver Golem deck, would you still say Wave of Vitriol is fair?

The simple fact of the matter is that any of these build-around MLD effects are going to completely ruin the game for players in a large number of the games they're played in. What's worse is that they don't even kill the player (like Price of Progress would), but instead effectively remove them from the game without removing them from the game - this means the player either sits there for an hour+ doing effectively nothing to the game state, or they rage quit. And that's just it - you've just pushed one or more players into a horrible game experience (boredom or ragequit) with a single card, often after they've already invested an hour+ into the game.

Saying "well, don't run so many non-basics" is like dropping an Iona, Shield of Emeria and telling players, "well, don't run mono-colored decks." The response you're going to get is typically going to be "fuck you", and for good reason.

These cards may be fine for a more competitive meta, but if they're being played in a casual game (like the OP claimed their game was) they're not. Casual games should not make you build around cards that will force you into a sit-here-bored-for-hours-doing-nothing-or-ragequit situation. They cause arguments, they cause fights, and they generally just ruin playgroups. I've even had players quit playing Commander altogether over issues like this.

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 Post subject: Re: What is your stance on From the Ashes/Wave of Vitriol?
AgePosted: 2017-Jun-18 5:41 am 

Joined: 2012-Mar-31 11:52 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Sure, if you build a deck with no or only a few basic lands, then your own deckbuilding choices left you vulnerable. However, that wasn't the point I was trying to make.

My problem with Wave of Vitriol and From the Ashes is that because they have the additional clause of possibly replacing the lands they blow up, players are more likely to run them than they would Ruination. But why? In both cases the caster gets to smugly feel a since of rightness because "shoulda run more basics it's your fault as a deckbuilder. But only with these two cards does the caster not have to feel burdened by the social contract for running a form of MLD, even when the end results are largely similar. Wave is even worse because it hits more things, so there is little reason not to run it aside from the casting cost.

Now, these aren't cards which I think should be banned, and I'd laugh at anyone who wished to banned them, so don't misunderstand my stance on this. I simply think that they are cards which are deceptive to players who wish to adhere to the social contract of ensuring everyone at the table gets to have an enjoyable game despite of the actual winner.


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 Post subject: Re: What is your stance on From the Ashes/Wave of Vitriol?
AgePosted: 2017-Jun-18 7:33 am 

Joined: 2016-Aug-15 1:21 pm
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Willbender wrote:
Saying "well, don't run so many non-basics" is like dropping an Iona, Shield of Emeria and telling players, "well, don't run mono-colored decks." The response you're going to get is typically going to be "fuck you", and for good reason.


I would completely agree with this. Monocolor decks are not as easy to build as multicolor decks in my experience, and it's mostly because with multiple colors, people usually have a bigger pool of cards that are clearly better then most other options.

Lands are a completely different story. Better lands usually cost a lot more per card then basics, while prices for other cards usually stay within a more reasonable range. It just doesn't always look like that, because decks run less lands then other cards (I run 38 lands in my commander decks). Then we can add that basically every deck runs lands, but some decks can be built to not run one of the other card types: creatures, enchantments, artifacts, or even instants and sorceries. I would honestly like to see if someone could put together some kind of deck list for commander that doesn't run any lands. I've seen a sixty card deck pull it off, so I know it's to some degree 'possible'.

Lands are definitely more important then the argument 'well, run less non-basics because I want to use X card'.

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 Post subject: Re: What is your stance on From the Ashes/Wave of Vitriol?
AgePosted: 2017-Jun-18 11:51 am 
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Maluko wrote:
cryogen wrote:
I think it's disingenuous to say that running nonbasics means you have shenanigans or expensive mana bases..

Mr Degradation wrote:
Who said that? Just about every post I've read is about the dynamics of large scale LD.

The OP said that:
Maluko wrote:
... to which I replied "well, that's your problem for wanting to run expensive mana bases; you should be prepared for effects like this, even in casual games"...

Treamayne wrote:
That certainly sounds like "you deserve to have all your non-basics blown up because you want to have some 2 or 3 color lands."


No, no no, that's not what I meant. My argument was more along the lines of "this is why you should run basic lands, because when you don't, things like these may happen". And I stick with it.


Glad you didn't mean quite that, but that begs a question... (see below)

Epsilon wrote:
It's NOT anyone's fault but the builder that someone is running a deck without basics. Even legacy and modern decks run basics for exactly this reason. Ghost Quarter, New Frontiers, and any number of other spells are a thing. Basics matter. If you're intentionally being greedy with your mana base you deserve to be blown out by effects like this.



Okay, for the sake of clarity and to ensure we are all talking about the same things, could somebody please define what constitutes a "greedy" or "expensive" manabase? Do lands deserve to be blown up because they can produce more than one color? Is a manabase "greedy" for having one or two heavy cards; or only if more than 50% (ish) of lands are "greedy"?

To be clear, I agree LD is necessary. The Cradles, Coffers, or even things like Vault of the archangel sometimes need answers. I also agree that decks should always run some basics (especially since finding basics with ramp is far easier and cheaper that searching nonbasics).

To help facilitate mutual understanding, here are two of my manabases as examples. Are either or both of them "greedy"? If yes, why? If no, what would make them "greedy"?

Example 1: Tribal Werewolves



Example 2: Tribal Elementals


Edit PS: How and why did Cavern of Souls get so overpriced? I didn't think tribal was that popular...

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Jedit Ojanen of Efrava - Cat and Warrior Dual Tribal
Doran, the Seige Tower - Wall Tribal
Progenitus - Hydra themed Proliferate Deck
Karona, the False God - Backstabbing Hug


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