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 Post subject: Is White really that bad in your playgroup?
AgePosted: 2018-Oct-29 11:21 pm 

Joined: 2017-Dec-23 4:51 am
Age: Wyvern
Hello people!

After seeing Command Zone video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ttGjuNXWxpY about "Which Color is the Strongest", a lot of people are complaining about how White seems abandoned in terms of new good cards for Commander.

I particularly believe that a "color strenght" analysis is simply too complex for being concluded in a "who wins more games" analysis without any concerns about deck construction. The authors couldn't even name White wincons. In my playgroups, for example, we don't see that enormous difference attested by the statistical analysis presented by Command Zone.

What about your playgroups? Do you actually believe or see that decks playing White are in serious disvantage? Can you point out the reasons?


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 Post subject: Re: Is White really that bad in your playgroup?
AgePosted: 2018-Oct-29 11:57 pm 
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Joined: 2016-Nov-27 2:39 pm
Age: Dragon
There's a few issues that stand out to me:

- White gets virtually no card advantage, like red.
- White gets no ramp and little access to cost decreasers (https://scryfall.com/search?q=o%3A%2Fco ... %2F+ci%3Aw) other than the stuff anyone gets access to, like mana rocks.
- White is largely based around many smaller synergistic creatures in constructed play, which is a frightening tactic but also vulnerable to removal. EDH gives everyone access to a lot of board sweeping.
- White cares a lot about auras, which are a weak kind of card.
- White cares a lot about equipment, but everyone can access equipment.
- White cares a lot about artifacts, and they're the easiest non-creature type to destroy.
- White's counterplay options are largely proactive "can't" effects, which draws a target on them for opponents who want to do the things they can't do.

BUG has been typically considered the most powerful three colors in EDH because all three of them even independently get access to all of the things: removal, card advantage, ramp or cost reduction of the things they care about.

Red gets shafted because it can't handle longer term games. White gets shafted because all the things it cares about just aren't as effective in EDH. It's still effective, just that BUG gets more relevant things.

White has awesome cards, but they are at their best when they can be used beside other colors to assist those colors' strengths and address their weaknesses.

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Last edited by spacemonaut on 2018-Oct-30 12:05 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Is White really that bad in your playgroup?
AgePosted: 2018-Oct-29 11:58 pm 
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Joined: 2008-Dec-26 7:50 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Amsterdam, Holland
I've had a Lin Sivvi deck for a long time. In its current incarnation it has rarely lost (I put it together in a very different form initially, played that for like half a year and its current incarnation has been around since around '10). The problem I found was that while the deck was very good at stabilizing it was actually pretty bad at actually winning if the opponents didn't just give up. It would eventually happen, but it'd take many turns, leading to many opportunities for opponents to make a come back. Obviously the deck could include more cards to win with, but that would dilute its ability to survive to that point. I've found other colors and particularly combinations of colors to have an easier time to wrap things up.

Of course that's just a single deck. I also have 2 decks with white as one of the colors. In Mayael white mostly provides mass destruction and the ability to keep things alive. In Gaddock Teeg it provides some recursion, mass destruction, defense and search. In both decks it plays and important, but mostly supportive role.

Obviously that's just my experience, there are likely white decks I'm not aware of and it obviously depends on your meta.

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 Post subject: Re: Is White really that bad in your playgroup?
AgePosted: 2018-Oct-30 2:51 am 

Joined: 2017-Dec-23 4:51 am
Age: Wyvern
spacemonaut wrote:
There's a few issues that stand out to me:

- White gets virtually no card advantage, like red.


Yes, that's a big issue and it's being discussed on the past few days on MaRo's Blogatog. White's card drawing is very restricted to specific strategies (Auras, Equipment, Enchantments, Life-gaining, small creatures), and WotC seems too scared of giving White more options on that matter.

Quote:
- White gets no ramp and little access to cost decreasers (https://scryfall.com/search?q=o%3A%2Fco ... %2F+ci%3Aw) other than the stuff anyone gets access to, like mana rocks.


On this specific point I must say that this is only partially true. White can't compete with Green on this matter but there's a a lot of White cards for searching Plains or lands in general, some of them putting the cards directly onto the battlefield (Knight of the White Orchid, Kor Cartographer, Boreas Charger) but mostly into your hand (Tithe, Weathered Wayfarer, also Boreas Charger, Oreskos Explorer, Endless Horizons, Gift of Estates, Land Tax).

Quote:
- White is largely based around many smaller synergistic creatures in constructed play, which is a frightening tactic but also vulnerable to removal. EDH gives everyone access to a lot of board sweeping.


I think that lots of smaller synergistic creatures are much more frightening in 1x1 matches than on multiplayer games, and that's a big problem with the phylosophy of White on the color pie.

Quote:
- White cares a lot about auras, which are a weak kind of card.


And have only three Aura-caring generals ):

Quote:
- White cares a lot about equipment, but everyone can access equipment.


Everyone can access but White's the best color for tutoring, putting onto the battlefield equipped and synergizing with Equipment. Although, again, just a few generals for equipment-based decks (5).

Quote:
- White's counterplay options are largely proactive "can't" effects, which draws a target on them for opponents who want to do the things they can't do.


And for playing effectively with "can't" effects you must build a REALLY annoying deck...

In my opinion, much of White's weaknesses comes from the fact that 1x1 phylosophy encourages players to build white aggro decks for EDH, but they're not really effective. For longer matches, I believe that White's stronger playing a Control strategy: lots of board wipes, lots of graveyard recursion cards (Ressurrection, False Defeat, Miraculous Recovery, Marshal's Anthem, Faith's Reward, Emeria's Shepherd, Emeria, Profound Journey, Return to the Ranks...), lots of damage prevention, lots of "players can't cast...", spot removals, etc. And only when your opponent's resources are scarce you jump for their throat.

That's the way I play Boros on EDH (RW bus mostly W): my Tajic deck is basically based on deffense, graveyard recursion and Commander damage.


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 Post subject: Re: Is White really that bad in your playgroup?
AgePosted: 2018-Oct-30 1:10 pm 
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Joined: 2011-Feb-07 3:37 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Danbury, CT
pi wrote:
...the deck was very good at stabilizing it was actually pretty bad at actually winning...


Yeah, pretty much this. White has powerful defense, but not much in the way of haymakers.

That aside, white is powerful as a 2nd or 3rd color. I'd agree that the Sultai wedge is strongest, but Abzan is only a hair behind, and Esper and Bant only slightly behind that.

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 Post subject: Re: Is White really that bad in your playgroup?
AgePosted: 2018-Oct-30 8:50 pm 

Joined: 2011-Feb-15 7:09 am
Age: Drake
Kemba was my first real attempt at an edh deck. As well as all the reasons cited above it gets extra attention because of the perceived threat from equipment. I dialed back the equipment but even so it struggles to get to a viable late game posture, misses some kind of game ender. Despite going wide with cats you never really arrive at an alpha strike moment and small attacks just get you spite back. I'm considering some kind of 3 card combo ender, but finding room for the tutor support would no doubt wreck the whole deck balance.


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 Post subject: Re: Is White really that bad in your playgroup?
AgePosted: 2018-Oct-31 2:06 am 
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Joined: 2012-Feb-07 4:15 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
The other thing to keep in mind is that white's most powerful attributes in EDH tend to also be ones that are rather antisocial in play. Mono-white is virtually nonexistent in cEDH for the reasons stated above alongside others, but there's a lot of really popular W/x decks (original Selvala, Brago, GAAIV) and 3-color decks with white are everywhere. The reason why is simple: white has a lot of really powerful antisocial cards. Stony Silence, Rest in Peace, Armageddon and friends, hatebears, the list goes on. Most EDH players don't use white's best assets, because those assets tend to lead to uninteresting and boring games.

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 Post subject: Re: Is White really that bad in your playgroup?
AgePosted: 2018-Oct-31 2:54 am 
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Joined: 2017-Mar-11 6:43 am
Age: Dragon
In all forms of EDH, and in Magic in general; White's just really difficult to play (would definitely consider myself a "White Player"- since most of my decks use it.) I've been wanting to make a post about this- for players wanting to adjust; but here's what it boils down to.

i. White thrives in turbo conditions: Howling Mine almost always works in your favor, if you're playing White- because White cards tend to carve up your opponent's position on the board through division, as opposed to subtraction. White's ability to break tempo is unrivaled- but it's ability to see enough cards to make that matter is a massive hurdle in making that work. This is counter-intuitive, and so players avoid cards like Temple Bell and Oblation- because they fear giving their opponents more resources; which runs antithetical to simply playing White at all.

ii. As Uktabi mentioned- White has many anti-social ways to sort of lock up, or gum up the game. There's a tendency for players to overload on these, rather than making a few specific ones particularly strong. For example, Rule of Law is very strong, but when you get cheeky and try to combine it with Ghostly Prison, Hushwing Gryff, and Hokori, Dust Drinker, the table WILL turn on you quickly- and the position is fragile at best- where just choosing redundancies and building the deck to play under conditions like Rule of Law/Eidolon of Rhetoric will make the opponents only want to slow you down as needed- as opposed to a complete shutout. Inexperienced players have a hard time "picking a lane" with white's passive disruption, and under-prepare for how they'll get ahead under the same conditions... Once again, dragging the game out, frustrating everyone at the table; and having nothing to show for it.

iii. Cards like Hokori, Dust Drinker and Winter Orb are usually played at the worst time possible (IE: as soon as they are castable)- so they often effect the player negatively over the course of a regular game; even though they absolutely ruin the early turns. The card evaluation problem that comes into play here- is that these cards are much better as clutch plays once you've developed a position worth defending. A turn 3 Dust Drinker, vs. a turn 12 Dust Drinker is a massive difference in EV- and if you aren't eliminating players as soon as it touches the board, or otherwise forcing the game to progress considerably- you're just irritating everyone.

iv. White has access to a deep pool of high-power recursion, and like many white cards; they reward you for maintaining a neutral, or losing position- throwing these out there too quickly is almost assured to get you blown out. Many tables cannibalize Brago, King Eternal decks on this alone- where a Brago developed too early doesn't have the tools to make it's value plays- and then it costs more each and every time your opponents become afraid of Brago interacting with whatever you play.

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 Post subject: Re: Is White really that bad in your playgroup?
AgePosted: 2018-Nov-01 11:19 pm 

Joined: 2017-Dec-23 4:51 am
Age: Wyvern
I agree with both Mr Degradation and Uktabi. One aspect of the control strategy I mentioned is about the optimized use of "hate cards". The other, which can also make other players really annoyed, is making yourself so hard to kill - using lots of damage prevention, damage redirection, "can't attack you", etc. - that you end up gathering forces to end the game in an alpha strike. That's not something too difficult once you have access to decend mana production (maybe using mana rocks, maybe using recursive resources, maybe using Nykthos) and cards like True Conviction, Jazal Goldmane, Cathar's Crusade, Secure the Wastes, Goldnight Commander, or even pure Commander damage.

My main EDH deck is a RW Tajic deck based on three pillars:
1) Removals (mass and spot);
2) Damage prevention;
3) Graveyard reccursion;

I don't use much card advantage options (and I've never thought about that first argument you pointed out, Mr Degradation), but I use so much of those resources that lacking it is rarely a problem. I also use equipment tutors and my favorite card in EDH, Sunforger, to bring all my instant-speed answers at any time I need, and as I have means to put those instants back in my library (Epitaph Golem and Mistveil Plains) I can make my defenses work indefinitely. That is also a problem because once other players have witnessed the "infinity engine" working the target is automaticaly put in my forehead. But it's worth the hate.


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 Post subject: Re: Is White really that bad in your playgroup?
AgePosted: 2018-Nov-02 2:17 pm 

Joined: 2014-Sep-13 7:28 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Uktabi_Kong wrote:
there's a lot of really popular W/x decks (original Selvala, Brago, GAAIV) and 3-color decks with white are everywhere.

White/x/y/z is #1 number, Tymna is a powerhouse


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