Are There Cards You Shouldn’t Play? l The Command Zone #241 l Magic: the Gathering EDH

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Show Notes:

Many cards and effects are contentious in EDH. Armageddon, Stasis, Iona, Scrambleverse…the list is long and varies depending on your playgroup.

On this episode we’re discussing a recent article by Commander Rules Committee member Sheldon Menery and asking the question: Are there cards you shouldn’t play?


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Mark Mendoza says:

I am pretty much on board with Josh’s philosophy here. I do play Vorinclex in a Damia deck though. That deck also has the other praetors in color, and a Ulamog, and x spells. My play group is heavy on removal and answers so we all have fun anyway. I have discovered it really comes down to how the decks interact, and if we all have power stuff, but are still vulnerable to interaction, Salty giggles are well received.

Alpha Scorpii says:

Call it pack-war of pack-stance. Nice format;)
Our playgroup also does not like the mass land destruction, Vorinclex and Iona…..oh and the Spore Frog in my Meren deck;), but they should just attack me more in a 4-player game, right…it’s not a broken frog per se (maybe 1v1).
What do you think of Eminence? Too much advantage?

EndlessMystify says:

Does Sorin actually do damage/life loss with his ability? I thought it was just him setting it. If that counts as damage/life loss, then I’ve been playing him completely wrong.

Drifting Abstract says:

Sorin Markov… what about Magister Sphinx and blink effects…

Patrick Lee says:

All infinite combos are bad. Change my mind.

Michael Ogle says:

You guys make watching game play actually fun to watch.

Drifting Abstract says:

I have a deck for every situation. I have no problems with combo. I have more of a problem with orb effects, I would rather watch someone combo off than have everyone tapped down and the game just lasts forever. 5 turn 15 minute games are more enjoyable than boring 3 hour stalemate games.

Joe de Casanove says:

The rules committee’s power is very limited. Commander is often a casual, house rules based format. For example, everyone at my store still plays partial Paris because most prefer it and nobody gets all high and mighty about the rules committee rulings. I think that’s why they’re hands off because they want it to be anarchistic and let the format self-govern. I’ve always understood the rules for commander to be guidelines, particularly the ban list. Biorhythm is probably banned for the same reason worldfire is, it’s been deemed that it warps the game too much. That doesn’t mean you can’t play it, as long as your playgroup is happy for you to. I personally don’t like it because a game could be going completely differently and it could suddenly win the game out of nowhere. That’s not an effect I feel a single card should have on its own.

Joshua Taylor says:

I think that if a person who is in a power position and has been in that position for a while and changes haven’t been implemented for long periods of time it may be if it’s not broken don’t fix it. I also believe as humans we all don’t like something and sometimes we just want and have to speak it but we may never act on it. I myself have had to vent about a card like mesmeric orb that I don’t like but I won’t say don’t play it but it will be exiled when I see it.

Celty says:

I think the feels bad that comes from darevi is both her abilities AND her abilities in the bant colors. Idk, like y’all said; shes powerful. There are better tho…
Edit: speaking from a standpoint of someone who used to dislike her, then… grew up lol like in a casual setting sure; in any store she’s eh

Daniele Odorico says:

Stax and combos are part of the game from 1994. If your idea of Magic is just to play creatures and ability sinergies you’ll better play Pokemon or Earthstone.

Trilli says:

There is a ESPER Sphinx who also set the Life Total at 10. you can Flicker dat XD

The Command Zone says:

Yo! Where all my alternate Pai Gow Magic name ideas at? Reply here so I can find em easily. -JLK

Lazav says:

This video title said “here’s a list of cards to throw in a progenitors led edh deck”, right?

bloominater says:

I was shocked to see Havoc Festival not mentioned.

kazuma drewsin says:

my group is to mean for modern. we once had a ladder or standings where we all had 2 set decks. one had to stay the same and was your mascot deck, your ace combo or whatever. you would get one point for a kill and one for the win. so a 4 player game was 4 points and so on. you could bet points during games and after a month it fell into chaos. some players tried to use they 2nd deck to sideboard a kill attacking combo on a one on one basis and would make bad decks just to spite one guy or stop one kind of deck. most of us saw quickly that kill stealer or saving people during a game could easily keep the bad players on the bottom but not help a good one all the while. the top players in my group and I, find it hard to get a good game in just from the skill gap alone. work too much to hit the lgs. you have helped give a more structured play to our playgroup.
the card that was the worst was this lvl creature that allows you to take a turn after this one if it’s not your turn. my brother had a white-blue rhino deck with a bunch of copy creature and unkeep effects, a do what you’re doing deck. another friend (not a good player) had built a deck to steal and shut down others not to win but steal kills and not let other get points. in this game, he had stolen random creature from of all and somehow the game went on for 40 min with him and my brother passing the turn back and forth like they were in a pocket game in a game. my brother stomps him and returns to our shared game a Tatian and ends us. this game showed me that extra turns and copying is ok, but taking away and holding it against your till end game always feels bad. this guy never wanted to win just stop you from winning.

Plural Kumquat says:

So before watching the video, but after hearing the cards listed, I have this to say. I agree with most of that list and disagree with some of it. I don’t feel like Seedborn Muse or Paradox Engine are that bad of cards. They are very powerful indeed but by themselves won’t win you a game. I can see where he’s coming from with Derevi, what with the ability to completely avoid commander tax. I WHOLEHEARTEDLY AGREE that prison effects and land destruction are not fun and refuse to play with someone who literally stops me from playing Magic. Now on the other hand, I don’t feel like Emrakul or Prophet of Kruphix need to be banned.

Geldarion Degana says:

I love Paradox Engine, but only in my combo Jhoira deck (not storm, I win with Darksteel Reactor). I do, however, hate mindslaver effects, especially Emrakul. At least with Paradox Engine, Vandalblast kills it. You definitely lose your turn to Emrakul. No way to avoid it. That feels bad.

RebootThis says:

So if I were to ever play a game with this Sheldon, I need a Derevi Tax deck

Steven Elliott says:

Biorythm should 100% stay banned. It’s 10 mana kill X players who don’t play many creatures. It’s banned because it’s not very fun to play against. Much like Worldfire or Sway the Stars.

Jakub Schiffel says:

I try not to play Sol Ring and direct tutors. First either gives me such an explosive start that I win without opposition or I become the target of the table and none of those is a fun expirience. Second usually tends to go grab the same thing over and over, then win in the same way over and over. This is why I don’t play with Craterhoof for example – I know I would warp my decks around it and I would be winning mostly with it – this would also become boring really fast.
I recently built a Niv-Mizzet, Parun deck and after last night’s game I took out Curiosity.

Eternal Musings says:

When I got my friends into commander, they eventually complained that board wipes were “unfun”, so I took out the board wipes in my deck. For quite some time it was genuinely more fun, because our decks werent fine-balanced to the point wipes were necessary. Might seem weird, but edh is a social experience for us, and we adjusted for the experience that yielded the most enjoyment.

I mean, eventually our decks became more and more tuned so we agreed board wipes were okay, but that was simply an adjustment to our play group’s “meta”.

Stefan De graaf says:

Is it just me or did these guys miss out on the fact Derevi stax is a thing? All of the cards mentioned here fit into Derevi. Except black (duh).

zotha says:

I played a new Chainer deck, I had Contagion in the deck to enable a combo turn.. First time I drew it I felt I needed to cast it to slow the game down and realised as the game went on that I probably shouldn’t play the card in the group I’m with.

Daniel Blackketter says:

Instead of Pai Gao. What about Split second magic or Haste Magic? Reference to a mechanic. Its super fast. Seems to fit

Daiyz says:

Contamination completely shuts down about 60% of decks and usually doesn’t effect the user. I’m generally against playing that card.

andersrolig says:

Of my 20 decks i Play Paradox in two. I owned just one commanderdeck when I opened a Paradox Enigine Masterpiece. And that card is still in that one deck. Then I have one more in my Breya deck.

Michael Ogle says:

543 maybe. 5 life 4 games 3 cards

Ethan M says:

Ive given my play group ptsd when I say sorin -3

Grey Shirt Guy says:

I didn’t even know Biorythm was a card… looks awesome. Also, I mostly play Commander on MTGO and I noticed that when annoying stuff happens it actually makes the games more interesting and since the game does alot of the backend stuff it’s not as frustrating as playing on paper can be.

Austin Growney says:

Hey Josh! Awesome show! Cards I do not play with? Well, used to play Doomsday Oloro, did not find any enjoyment out of it. I used to run Test of Endurence, and Felidar Sovereign. Did not enjoy those wins. Used to run Aetherflux Resovoir….same thing, cut the card. Now, I still get targeted for playing Oloro but I am ok with that. Have 3 builds. An general Oloro build that I call Oloro Gaino Draino, an Oloro Creatureless Stax, and Oloro Prison/Planeswalkers. Also built a deck around Yennet, Cryptic Sovereign. Loved it, had super fun, but dint playbit very much for the sheer fact that nobody enjoys it

Gennaro Sole says:

Hey Josh and dj! Long time watcher of game knights but new to then podcast. Wanted to comment on something you stated in this podcast. So it was about would reflection and sorin markov. And please correct me if I’m wrong because it would be good to know if it does work like that. But I don’t believe would reflection would trigger off of sorin’s ability. Because it’s not a loss of life (ie lightning bolt/blood tithe + safe passage type card. Safe passage would prevent lightning bolt damage but not blood tithe’s loss of life). And using that logic or the literal Oracle text sorin states that a player’s life total becomes 10 it is not a loss or a gain or damage. Just wanted to touch on that 🙂

Anyways, I’m with you guys on most of these points. I’m ok with most of these cards if I have a deck build of the same caliber. It’s not fun to play a very casual deck against someone’s super competitive deck. And people in my play group also plague the group as you described (can deal it out but can’t take it) and that’s not fun either. And I have a friend who plays thieves auction / possibility storm, and a bunch of cards like that. And it is annoying and he eventually stopped playing it.

We’re all adults! I agree with the discuss what you want out of a game session and play based off that! Love you guys, keep up the great work!

Michael Ogle says:

Viii to represent the 5 life 3 card game.

fryinryan01 says:

Anyone else notice Josh sang “wall scroll” when doing the sponsor stuff in the intro?

Karel says:

I don’t get it. You are critical of Sheldon’s articles but do your own list of cards you don’t play. You make choices based on the same reasons Sheldon does, but criticise his list AND go on to rant about the RC when that has nothing to do with this conversation . You encourage people to make choices based on their playgroup but still don’t understand why Sheldon thinks some cards are not ok for the hypothetical playgroup they are gearing the ban list towards. As I said, this was a very weird episode to me. Also, DJ, I recommend you read Sheldon’s articles. In particular some of the old ones to better understand where he is coming from and what is the aim of the RC with the ban list. It seems to me you dont get it. You can be critical of it, I am totally ok with that and I might even agree with you on some points, but you seemed to not understand how the RC works or what is their philosophy. And I also don’t get why people believe they are not transparent. Every single decision they make is explained and written about, they have told 100 times at least which is the process they use, who they are and what is their aim. Please get the information, it is out there, easily accesible. I don’t play that much Commander and I even know this.

Ninjafridge says:

I kinda feel bad flickering magister sphinx now…

Pantfourlife says:

I dont play with creatures with anihilator because i think its boring.

David Page says:

Biorythm is banned because it’s a 1 card I win now, especially in a format that has a lot of boardwipes, and also it’s not on a creature so only blue can interact with it

Kanga Talus says:

Just play decks where Sorin’s ability actually gives you life, aka aggressive.
No ban list.

PeaceAndLard says:

This is one of my favorite videos you’ve put out. Just the sheer passion and the fact that you both argued like adults, and could handle having different opinions. Great job.

Mystic Night says:

My biggest gripes in that article’s list are Derevi and Thieves’ Auction. The rest of the cards aren’t too bad either. There’s plenty of commander tax workarounds and Derevi isn’t the worst of them all in my opinion, maybe the stigma of being the first “official” commander workaround gave the card a bad name? Thieves’ Auction just sounds fun, despite being slow, I think that’s purely a playgroup thing. Going infinite takes some time and can be countered. Even if someone goes infinite, good game, on to the next one. Mindslaver lock is definitely unfun, so I can see the point on that one. Lands untapping is still even a valid strategy to use, despite being slow and annoying. The only card I have a stigma against is Felidar Sovereign, just because it’s a pure “kill or lose” card in good life gain decks in my playgroup, but at least it ends the game, not make it an unwinnable slog.

Ben Landau says:

Cephalid constable

Joshua Taylor says:

Real quick maybe call it Triforce, I was thinking about it being called tri fourths pack wars due to three cards and four decks but as a zelda fan, I figured I would see if you liked it.

Skreeves says:

About DJs “bringing the deck up to base level” and “Oh you’re the kind of person who plays DT” – the PlayEDH Subreddit has ruled my Riku deck – which is clone tribal, with almost 40 clone effects, no infinite combos (no Kiki-jiki or Twin or anything) as “Competitive”, just because I play with original Duals. A Volcanic Island makes clone tribal competitive.

James Moran says:

Ah yes, wound reflection, a 6 mana enchantment, isn’t healthy for the format.

But Ad Nauseam? Ad Nauseam is fine!

PonderingLotus says:

I find it ironic how personal it feels DJ was taking this. Also he thinks Iona should be banned and dislikes “shutting out entire deck types” but doesn’t get why Bio Rhythm is banned.

Strom Clark says:

How are Iona and Vorniclex not number one and two???

Flowey the flower says:

My favorite deck is my Oloro hardcore control deck, this is my favorite play style but people in my group don’t like playing against it and constantly complaining about it so most often I just pick up one of my other decks. This is pretty annoying because i built the my Oloro deck to play the archetype I like most but I didn’t actually got play it for a long time now. Also, sometimes I feel that this is one of my only decks that can handle the combo decks.

Trickreiche says:

You forgot to mention one of the most annoying and overpowered cards: Glen Elendra!!! It doesn’t look very scary at first, but who ever played against a Muldrotha Deck and let a Glen Elendra resolve, will definitley know what I mean :/

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