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The 75% Community Audit

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As much as people treat me like the authority on 75% Commander deck-building because my name is on the byline of the article series, I’ve always seen this as a collaboration between myself and the community. That could be because I’m completely out of touch, but I think the reason is that I’ve never been afraid to incorporate feedback. I had a very laissez-faire attitude about a card like Possibility Storm as a possibility for cheating Eldrazi into play while still preserving “cast” triggers that we would lose if we cheated the card into play a different way. A lot of my readers suggested the possibility that anyone who played Possibility Storm was a monster and the possibility that I do something anatomically impossible involving my head and rectum.

Possibility Storm
Okay, so that last part didn’t happen, but maybe my head was already firmly inserted when I (even flippantly) suggested you play Possibility Storm when it violates the most sacrosanct tenet of the 75% Edh ethos: It’s better to punish people for doing things than to prevent them from doing them. One could argue that you’re punishing them for trying to play spells by forcing them to play different ones, but I’ll leave it up to “one” to try to make that argument because I sure won’t. Whatever—I’m not married to the stupid card. My readers are sharp, and they understand that Possibility Storm has no place in a 75% deck, and some even suggested the card should do something anatomically impossible involving the card’s rectum.

Good. It’s more than arguing with me, it’s about taking ownership of this concept, taking it back to your own build space, and incorporating the stuff that I have managed to convince you is important. I hope I’ve managed to convince people all of the tenets of this ethos are equally important. (I kept the number manageable to make sure there isn’t too much. I can’t say whether I deliberately avoided the number ten to avoid having them referred to as “commandments”—I hadn’t thought about it until just now.) Sometimes, people read a few articles and all they glean is, “Don’t be a dick,” and I’m okay with that. It’s not the complete point I’m trying to convey, but it’s certainly not a mischaracterization of how I feel about things, so I let it slide.

When people interpret this series and take some ownership of it, I’m glad because it means the idea has legs. Not only that, but I sometimes get to see the decks they make, and they comprise a great acid test. If I make a deck and call it 75%, not a ton of people are going to argue with me, and I think it’s far more interesting for a reader to come up with something so we can see if the second stage of this little telephone game of ours is going to result in a garbled mess or some crystal-clear communication. Luckily for me, people are more than willing to share their lists. Sometimes people just, well, nail it.

This week, someone nailed it.

/u/silksmokingjacket posted that he was looking for a 75% Tasigur, the Golden Fang list, and /u/DrKillenger (my curiosity is automatically piqued by any and all Venture Brothers references) came through for him. Not only did he post his list and offer it as a potential 75% deck, I feel that he nailed it. Like, I’m not going to post my own decklist after I post his. That’s how nailed it was. I’ll talk a bit about how much I like the deck as a 75% deck after you see the list.

75% Tasigur, the Golden Fang ? Commander | /u/DrKillenger

  • Commander (0)

There are a few cards here that I nit-pickily disagree with, but there are quite a few that I think are perfect, so let’s get being catty out of the way and get to the ’mirin’ portion of the article.

I don’t like Forbid, and that could be because some dude made his wife cry with Forbid or it could be because I don’t feel that counterspells like that are necessarily right for 75% decks. I explained in the comments of the reddit post.

I think Forbid discourages judicious use of countermagic. People are more likely to counter spells just for the sake of it if they can buy them back. I think a counterspell should be used to keep your own strategy afloat or to prevent opponents from casting a game-winner, like a kicked Cyclonic Rift or Insurrection. I don't like when a counterspell is used to counter a mana rock or ramp spell just because you have the mana. I like Desertion a lot more than I like Cryptic Command.

Forbid
I like clunky counterspells. I realize that Forbid serves as a discard outlet in this deck, but I’m still not a huge fan of the buyback. In a Tasigur deck specifically, I might play Dismiss, but it almost doesn’t make sense to do that. There are 2-mana counters in the deck, and I actually advocate them in a deck in which you can easily accidentally dredge them. At that point, you’re playing a very political game. You’re having your opponents let you bring it back to counter someone else’s spells, or you’re not getting it back at all. And as long as we’re being diplomatic, Arcane Denial can make everyone happy. I’m not sure what I would cut Forbid for, nor am I sure we need to do away with it necessarily. This is a deck in which your card advantage is granted to you by your foes to an extent, so we’re not keeping a grip of twenty-three cards and countering the next eleven spells people try to resolve. I might jam a Miscalculation in there just for the cycling and how it’s more likely to counter something huge played early and greedily, but Forbid might be just fine in the deck. I’d cut it and jam a counter you have to rely on them to get back.

Sunder is dirty. Don’t run Sunder. I realize it’s powerful, and I also think it’s lazy. It makes games take longer, but this deck doesn’t even really make it clear how it would capitalize on Sundering opponents besides vaguely claiming, “I will have card advantage,” and playing what’s essentially Armageddon won’t make you any friends. You don’t want to tilt the table if you’re trying to get people’s help letting you bring spells back. You should be teaming up with people to keep someone from resolving Insurrection by having them let you bring back Counterspell, not making X−1 enemies, where X is the number of players in the game. /u/DrKillenger said the deck has begun to elicit some groans. Sunder may contribute. Groans aren’t bad for a 75% deck—it just means you may want to consider tuning to the playgroup rather than a vague, undefined playgroup like a 75% deck is supposed to. I’d cut Sunder and run something else that does something entirely different—maybe a creature. Skaab Ruinator would be cool in this deck, for example.

Doomsday
Hermit Druid is so hard to evaluate because I don’t often see it outside of the ridiculous, Tier 0.5, Holy Grail of Commander, five-colored decks with ten Alpha/Beta/Unlimited duals that people hold up as the ideal Commander deck archetype. Hermit Druid is less obvious here, and I’m not sure we really need milling that efficient. If you insist on running him, I hope he never lives to untap. The again, this deck runs Doomsday.

Doomsday is a card that could be a problem but that I’m not sure is a huge problem here. True, it can become a boring I-win-with-Lab-Maniac combo deck, which is why I worry a bit about Tooth and Nail, but ultimately, Laboratory Maniac is just one way to win. Still, I can see why his group chafes a bit, and maybe if we take out cards that KO our library in one hit, we can make a game of it. I like Living Death as a win condition, and I’d rather try to edge someone out with Phenax, God of Deception than with Lab Maniac cheese, but absent too many tutors, Druid and Doomsday seem to be more luck than skill, and there’s a chance you’ll be grinding your deck manually. You need to check yourself also. Is the deck too consistent? If so, cut something. Lab Maniac is usually first on my chopping block, but if you cut that, Doomsday starts to really suck. I think that’s fine. Take out a questionable card, and the cards that were relying heavily on just that one card start to identify themselves.

I don’t think “anti-social” cards that a lot of people hate, such as Deadeye Navigator (the deck doesn’t even have that many cards to abuse Navigator), Consecrated Sphinx, or Prophet of Kruphix, are necessarily wrong for a 75% build, least of all this one. Laboratory Maniac is more of a problem card here, but if we’re not tutoring for Doomsday (or running Dread Return), I think we’re unlikely to get the combo more often than 1 ÷ X games, and it won’t even succeed every time even with counterspell backup.

If you run the deck that way and go all-in on a combo finish, that’s your choice. However, it seems that it could be fun to do what the designer said he does with it.

Wanna be that guy whom everyone turns to for help when the Zur the Enchanter player is trying to resolve Replenish? Or did that nasty Kaalia of the Vast player just put Master of Cruelties into play? Well, look no further—Tasigur, the "B.S. Police," is the commander for you . . .

Tasigur provides a way to play politically in Sultai, something that was never really possible in these colors before (Damia, Sage of Stone and The Mimeoplasm tend to scare the crap out of people). Being able to broker deals with other players in exchange for the cards you want back from your bin is very powerful card advantage; plus, it makes you feel devious.

This sounds cool to me. Tasigur can bring back card-draw like Vision Skeins, removal like Murderous Cut, and countermagic with the blessing of another player, allowing you to wheel and deal and make sure no one does anything too cheesy. If we take out our cheese cards like Sunder, we can concentrate on grinding out a ton of card advantage and going over the top.

Vision Skeins
Murderous Cut
Arcane Denial

While this deck is on the strong side of 75%, I feel that there are omissions here that would have made the deck too consistent, and those omissions show a dedication to the 75% ethos on the part of the deck-builder. I like that. I feel that there are enough paths to victory that the Lab Maniac plan is just one of the many possibilities, and I feel that homogeneity is almost impossible if you dredge greedily and rely on making allies to see what you can bring back.

What do we think? Is it easier to tell on paper if a deck is too weak than to tell if it’s too strong? Is this a rare Goldilocks deck submitted by a community member? What does your Tasigur deck look like? Leave it in the comments section (the place where you tell me how much you hate Possibility Storm and I laugh). Until next week, keep the submissions coming, and thanks for reading!


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