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 Post subject: Zedruu Lockdown?
AgePosted: 2017-Sep-04 10:01 am 

Joined: 2016-Aug-15 1:21 pm
Age: Drake
I run Zedruu the Greathearted as the commander of a chaotic, unpredictable deck that runs a lot of cards that were introduced to my play group by the deck. Earlier today, the board state forced difficult decisions on my play group, and not the decisions like Curse of the Cabal and friends.

My board state was Hive Mind, Leyline of Singularity, Confusion in the Ranks, and a Perplexing Chimera equipped with Lightning Greaves, and my only other creature was a Consecrated Sphinx that had been under an Oblivion Ring-type card the moment it came out (both were pulled with Warp World). That's when my play group said they were done because my Zedruu deck runs too much lockdown. My question is, was this really lockdown, or was it only lockdown because they let it be lockdown?

I'm wondering if it's normal for people to choose to react the same way with these kinds of cards on the frequency they show up: Choosing not to play anything until they draw an answer that may or may not come? I didn't think a deck that forces interactions would be considered lockdown, so is it just my play group choosing not to take risks that might help other people, or is this style of play actually considered lockdown because of the decisions it forces?

For more explanation on how the deck runs, most of my removal is like Blessed Reincarnation/Polymorph, and I run things like Wild Evocation, Possibility Storm, Gate to the Aether, Eye of the Storm, with Warp World as my back-up plan.

_________________
Commanders:
-The Ur-Dragon-Five Color Dragon Tribal Deck
-Nekusar, the Mindrazer-Hardcore Mill Deck
-Nahiri, the Lithomancer-Monowhite Soldier/Equipment Deck
-Sharuum the Hegemon-Esper Artifact Themed Deck
-Karador, Ghost Chieftain-Kamigawa Spirit Reanimator Tribal Deck
-Zedruu the Greathearted-Predictability is Weakness Themed Deck
-Nissa, Vastwood Seer/Nissa, Sage Animist-Monogreen Land Based Deck


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 Post subject: Re: Zedruu Lockdown?
AgePosted: 2017-Sep-04 1:47 pm 
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Joined: 2010-Dec-10 12:16 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Well, there are generally two types of decks that can be considered lockdown. The first, and most common is Stax; which this deck is not.

The more generalized definition is any deck that prevents players from playing their own decks as intended; and often includes high "chaos" decks. That's where this deck falls. It's being perceived as "lockdown" because (based on the board state you described) any permanent that would allow them to break your lock has to be traded away with Confusion in the ranks; and any spell they may use to break your lock can be snuffed by stealing it with Perplexing Chimera (and you likely have a Homeward Path or similar in there somewhere to get your things back). Thus, if I (as your notional opponent) can't play my deck the way it should be played then I have been locked out.

Generally speaking, most playgroups can tolerate one or two "chaos" cards at a time; but too many in the deck or too many out at once becomes burdensome, tiring and/or boring. I have many of those cards in my decks, but not all bunched up in the same deck. Basically, if you need a flowchart to know how any given spell resolves based on two or three permanents, you may have gone overboard. If I were against this deck, I would probably ask to never see it again unless it was significantly changed.

PS: I love Hive Mind and Warp World together - but only on MTGO where it resolves in seconds - resolving that in paper is a nightmare...

_________________
V/R

HK

Hazezon Tamar - Manland theme
Seshiro the Anointed - Snake Tribal
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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 Post subject: Re: Zedruu Lockdown?
AgePosted: 2017-Sep-07 12:07 am 
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Joined: 2016-Nov-27 2:39 pm
Age: Dragon
I agree with Treamayne, that's a very effective summary. I'd consider your deck a form of lockdown.

I suggest also that when you're playing among a consistent group of friends, "they let it be lockdown" and "it is lockdown" are functionally identical. If they're not skilled or experienced enough to recognise how to break the lockdown, or if they find it too tiring or are otherwise unwilling, or so on, that's functionally no different to a true lockdown: they are unable to stop it. If they don't have enough of the cards in their deck to deal with yours, that's also asking them to change each of their decks just to account for yours, which it appears they don't want to do, or have already done but it's not working, which we can tell because they chose "we don't want to play against that deck anymore" instead of further in-game or deckbuilding adjustments.

Since your friends have voiced their disagreement, I'd take it as functionally the same thing, be merciful, and take that deck apart to build a new one.

This wouldn't necessary apply in just any group, but I think it does apply if you have a relatively consistent friendly game group.

Related food for thought as you look into making your next deck:
  • I've played the Yidris, Maelstrom Wielder deck a handful of times. It is also a chaotic and unpredictable deck. I find that more often than not I wind up setting the board state backwards with it -- I reset things. I wheel hands, disrupt plans, destroy threats, and overall just wind up making everyone (including myself) less likely to win anytime soon. It sounds like your Zedruu deck goes to even greater extremes, such that nobody is likely to win anytime soon (except by sheer randomness) and there is no end in sight to the game. Myself, I want to reconfigure my Yidris deck so that its chaos advances the game state more often than not -- in other words, pushes someone, probably myself, closer to winning with most actions it takes, and not further away.
  • A friend of mine plays both Spreading Plague and Bloodchief Ascension together. When they're out, those two cards alone are enough to make the game wholly just about that deck and overcoming its effects. There is, however, a limit of how often I'd be willing to play with the same deck that makes the game about itself, and a limit to how many times total before I get tired of seeing the same deck. I want a more vanilla uncontrolled experience more often than not.

(I recently brought a game to an end with that Yidris deck because I used Past in Flames to cast a Windfall whilst the current person dominating the game had an enormous hand and a small library. That milled everyone out except for myself and one other person, who then swung at me for lethal. Everyone including myself genuinely enjoyed that ending, even the person who had been in the lead because they found it funny. I want to do more stuff like that.)

_________________
Decks: Chaos colored dragons, Mathas, the Instigator (politics and mayhem).
Beloved precons: Atraxa, Praetors' Voice; Saskia the Unyielding; Freyalise, Llanowar's Fury.


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 Post subject: Re: Zedruu Lockdown?
AgePosted: 2017-Sep-07 4:02 am 

Joined: 2016-Aug-15 1:21 pm
Age: Drake
Treamayne wrote:
If I were against this deck, I would probably ask to never see it again unless it was significantly changed.


I've never been one to just give up on something, so I think this is what I'll try first. One key problem I think I had was that Lightning Greaves and Confusion in the Ranks together protected my deck from disruption enough to turn it into a hard lock.

spacemonaut wrote:
If they don't have enough of the cards in their deck to deal with yours, that's also asking them to change each of their decks just to account for yours, which it appears they don't want to do, or have already done but it's not working, which we can tell because they chose "we don't want to play against that deck anymore" instead of further in-game or deckbuilding adjustments.


This is one of the problems with my play group. Most of their decks are built for the same slow build up that turns it into a waiting game: either someone pulls a field wipe and resets everything, or someone draws that card that lets them overrun the rest of the table with attacking creatures. I've been trying to build decks that don't do this, but my Zedruu deck is the only one that's been able to actually survive without turning it into an archenemy game (which is what my Nekusar deck does). I can't just ask my entire play group to change how they build their decks, but building all of my decks around playing their game just turns it into more waiting and less actual interaction.

I don't see lockdown as being fun, which is why I try to avoid it if possible, but I'm struggling to find ways to change my decks to be able to handle the rest of the table without it turning my deck into the problem. Finding a new play group without driving for an hour one way isn't much of an option either.

_________________
Commanders:
-The Ur-Dragon-Five Color Dragon Tribal Deck
-Nekusar, the Mindrazer-Hardcore Mill Deck
-Nahiri, the Lithomancer-Monowhite Soldier/Equipment Deck
-Sharuum the Hegemon-Esper Artifact Themed Deck
-Karador, Ghost Chieftain-Kamigawa Spirit Reanimator Tribal Deck
-Zedruu the Greathearted-Predictability is Weakness Themed Deck
-Nissa, Vastwood Seer/Nissa, Sage Animist-Monogreen Land Based Deck


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 Post subject: Re: Zedruu Lockdown?
AgePosted: 2017-Sep-07 8:30 am 
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Joined: 2010-Dec-10 12:16 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Drrakus wrote:
I don't see lockdown as being fun, which is why I try to avoid it if possible, but I'm struggling to find ways to change my decks to be able to handle the rest of the table without it turning my deck into the problem. Finding a new play group without driving for an hour one way isn't much of an option either.


If you want decisions and interaction, maybe you should try "punisher decisions" rather than "chaos decisions." Cards like Angel's trumpet, War's toll, various curses, Bident of Thassa, No Quarter, Powerstone Minefield, etc.

Basically, look for cards the incentivize or force interaction, and cards that make those decisions difficult. Just don't take away their ability to plan and play.

_________________
V/R

HK

Hazezon Tamar - Manland theme
Seshiro the Anointed - Snake Tribal
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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 Post subject: Re: Zedruu Lockdown?
AgePosted: 2017-Sep-07 8:39 am 
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Joined: 2016-Nov-27 2:39 pm
Age: Dragon
I had a similar group: build up and wait instead of being aggressive.

It inspired me to make a deck based around manipulating combat. I suggest you check out my combat phase manipulation list (due to be reformulated soon, but the whole second half is relevant to you). A Goblin Spymaster or Fumiko the Lowblooded or Avatar of Slaughter is total chaos for a "sit and wait" game plan, and might teach your group it's ok to take risks with that attack.

I built different cards on that list into a Mathas, Fiend Seeker deck - click here for its list and game plan. This one coerces and invites people into combat, and occasionally forces them into it. I prefer that over forcing, and universal "everything attacks" cards actually work out badly for that deck's game plan since it wants creatures blocking, and they can't do that if they've been used to attack. So far I'm really enjoying my Mathas deck.

I agree with Treamayne: you need to incentivise and punish, not have a random chaos deck. Pick whatever you see too little of and find cards that encourage or make it happen.

Something that might help you is an 8x8 method: have 8 piles, devote each one to a purpose. Three of them are predefined: one is draw, one is ramp, one is removal. The other five, pick a purpose and add cards for that purpose.

In that Mathas deck I devoted two piles to one purpose - instigating and incentivising combat, one and a half to defense, half a pile to win conditions. So I messed with the 8x8 method a bit, but it warranted messing with in that deck and worked out.

_________________
Decks: Chaos colored dragons, Mathas, the Instigator (politics and mayhem).
Beloved precons: Atraxa, Praetors' Voice; Saskia the Unyielding; Freyalise, Llanowar's Fury.


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 Post subject: Re: Zedruu Lockdown?
AgePosted: 2017-Sep-07 9:14 am 

Joined: 2016-Aug-15 1:21 pm
Age: Drake
Treamayne wrote:
punisher decisions


The first card I think of when I see these two words is Curse of the Cabal. I know at least one B/G deck in my play group runs a bunch of cards that are like it, or that become like it with the reanimator theme. It's also the deck that runs Sadistic Sacrament, can reanimate Fleshbag Marauder a maximum of eight times per turn, and can sit safe behind a Spore Frog for a tremendous amount of time (Spore Frog is the most overused card in my play group). It's definitely the strongest deck in my play group, strong enough that it's hard to punish without outright shutting it out of the game.

I think I can try the manipulate combat theme, but I'm not sure how it will work out considering I have to plan for a Spore Frog being at the table half the time, sometimes with multiple people running one, and usually with some way to get it back.

_________________
Commanders:
-The Ur-Dragon-Five Color Dragon Tribal Deck
-Nekusar, the Mindrazer-Hardcore Mill Deck
-Nahiri, the Lithomancer-Monowhite Soldier/Equipment Deck
-Sharuum the Hegemon-Esper Artifact Themed Deck
-Karador, Ghost Chieftain-Kamigawa Spirit Reanimator Tribal Deck
-Zedruu the Greathearted-Predictability is Weakness Themed Deck
-Nissa, Vastwood Seer/Nissa, Sage Animist-Monogreen Land Based Deck


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 Post subject: Re: Zedruu Lockdown?
AgePosted: 2017-Sep-07 10:02 am 
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Joined: 2010-Dec-10 12:16 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
What are they using to get it back at instant speed?

Seems like a simple Prodigal Sorcerer/Pyrohemia killing it at the EOT before you untap solves that. Also, increase your GY removal - there's a whole resource thread about it here. I'd imagine incentivizing more attacks would wear away the ability to consistently recur the frog and other fog effects. Then there is Excruciator and all the other creatures whose damage can't be prevented - or just Everlasting Torment.

Conversely, Spore Frog can't help against non-combat damage. So, things like the previously mentioned Angel's Trumpet will still wear them down I they don't attack. And if they do attack, they use up there fog resources.

_________________
V/R

HK

Hazezon Tamar - Manland theme
Seshiro the Anointed - Snake Tribal
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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 Post subject: Re: Zedruu Lockdown?
AgePosted: 2017-Sep-07 12:56 pm 

Joined: 2016-Aug-15 1:21 pm
Age: Drake
Treamayne wrote:
What are they using to get it back at instant speed?

Seems like a simple Prodigal Sorcerer/Pyrohemia killing it at the EOT before you untap solves that. Also, increase your GY removal - there's a whole resource thread about it here. I'd imagine incentivizing more attacks would wear away the ability to consistently recur the frog and other fog effects. Then there is Excruciator and all the other creatures whose damage can't be prevented - or just Everlasting Torment.

Conversely, Spore Frog can't help against non-combat damage. So, things like the previously mentioned Angel's Trumpet will still wear them down I they don't attack. And if they do attack, they use up there fog resources.


Part of the problem is Spore Frog is one of the person's favorite cards, so running enough removal to make something stick is too disruptive for the rest of the deck. They also have enough tutors to pull out whatever can help protect their board state, whether it's Asceticism to prevent hitting Spore Frog when it's out, Archfiend of Depravity to force defensive plays, or Mikaus to force expending more resources to take out one card until the commander (Meren) reanimates it. And it runs a lot of boogeymen cards like Sheoldred, Vorinclex, the previously mentioned Mikaus and Archfiend, and a few others I probably don't remember. Using up removal on Spore Frog makes it harder to deal with whatever they pull out after it gets hit by something.

It's just a difficult deck to deal with when it shows up, and the decks they've had for a while are all fairly well tuned, which has meant the rest of my play group has tuned their decks up to be closer to it then casual decks. I'm able to bring some of my decks up to par, but doing that with every deck would be....expensive. It's one of the reasons my Zedruu deck is one I like to use, because it doesn't need to run the best cards I have to keep up with the better tuned decks in my play group. The only other deck I have that can keep pace is my Nekusar deck, but that turns into an archenemy game very fast.

I'm starting to think half my problem is I'm trying to keep up with less casual decks without being able to afford the expensive upgrades that I would need for most of my decks to keep up. But I'm hoping that can be more of a deckbuilding challenge then....the alternative(s).

_________________
Commanders:
-The Ur-Dragon-Five Color Dragon Tribal Deck
-Nekusar, the Mindrazer-Hardcore Mill Deck
-Nahiri, the Lithomancer-Monowhite Soldier/Equipment Deck
-Sharuum the Hegemon-Esper Artifact Themed Deck
-Karador, Ghost Chieftain-Kamigawa Spirit Reanimator Tribal Deck
-Zedruu the Greathearted-Predictability is Weakness Themed Deck
-Nissa, Vastwood Seer/Nissa, Sage Animist-Monogreen Land Based Deck


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 Post subject: Re: Zedruu Lockdown?
AgePosted: 2017-Sep-07 6:03 pm 
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Joined: 2016-Nov-27 2:39 pm
Age: Dragon
If everyone's running enough spore frogs that nobody can have effective combat and you're trying to fix that, you could also ask that spore frog get banned in your local group because it's a major problem.

_________________
Decks: Chaos colored dragons, Mathas, the Instigator (politics and mayhem).
Beloved precons: Atraxa, Praetors' Voice; Saskia the Unyielding; Freyalise, Llanowar's Fury.


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 Post subject: Re: Zedruu Lockdown?
AgePosted: 2017-Sep-07 8:38 pm 
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Joined: 2010-Dec-10 12:16 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
So, it sounds like they want to complain about your deck's oppressive nature without acknowledging their own oppressiveness. Zedruu lockdown? Try Vorinclex lockdown! That card should never see the light of day in a casual meta. Fortunately, the answers to Spore Frog don't have to overlap with answers to other threats. One Pyrohemia/Pestilence will nuke the frogs all day long. at 1 mana for an activation, you can respond to anything they do to protect almost every time, and hexproof means nothing.

Quote:
I'm starting to think half my problem is I'm trying to keep up with less casual decks without being able to afford the expensive upgrades that I would need for most of my decks to keep up. But I'm hoping that can be more of a deckbuilding challenge then....the alternative(s).


I see this sentiment often, and I just can't agree. Creative deckbuilding will trump fat wallets almost ever time (with the probable exception of mana bases - if they can speed to a turn 2/3 victory then there isn't much that can stop them except godhand luck).

For example, you could go wit a creatureless (or nearly so) deck - and now Spore Frog means nothing. Super cheap ($, not Mana) synergies like Death Pits of Rath/Hecatomb (sacking tokens of course) can control a board. But the more we discuss, the more I think the answer is to sit down with them and tell lthem straight up "This is not fun. I don't want an arms race. If you think Zedruu was lockdown and unfun; that's how I feel about Vorinclex and over-used Fog effects. How about we all back it down a notch and find the fun again?"

_________________
V/R

HK

Hazezon Tamar - Manland theme
Seshiro the Anointed - Snake Tribal
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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