EDHREC News Update 4/24/17
Welcome to our first news update here at EDHREC. Since we want to become your one stop shop for all things EDH we wanted to give you a quick rundown of recent events in the EDH world. Yesterday was a huge day for us! In case you missed it, here is a link to the chaos that set off a whirlwind of activity. Just in case the link is still broken from everyone overloading the site Sheldon Menery gave us a TL:DR here:
— Sheldon Menery (@SheldonMenery) April 24, 2017
So Long and Thanks for All the Wheels
From the announcement:
"We had hopes for Leovold and gave him every opportunity to prove that he would be strong but safe in the format. He simply wasn’t. Leovold violates the tenet of creating undesirable game states by easily locking other players out of the game. We prefer to encourage situations in which everyone gets to play, and it’s too easy for Leovold to create the opposite, even unintentionally."
We had fun while it lasted...oh wait no it sucked
Anyone who has played against Leovold, Emissary of Trest decks know how quickly things can get out of hand. Leovold's static ability of opponents only being able to draw one card a turn shuts down several common strategies in the format and keeps decks from being able to dig out of an early hole as well.
A Series of Undesirable Board States
Some of the undesirable board states that Sheldon mentions have to do with cards like Howling Mine effects letting the Leovold player load up on cards for themselves while keeping the rest of the table out in the cold. The real issue is where the Leovold player can play cards like Teferi's Puzzle Box or Windfall effects that leave opposing players empty handed.
Lock pieces? How do you unlock a puzzle? Just solve it?
Board states where opponents get soft-locked out of the game obviously are no fun to play against, and even as a Leovold player myself they aren't very fun to create. Yes, that was not a typo. I myself have built a Leovold deck. Sheldon Menery often talks about the format being "self-policing," where individual playgroups are able to keep out overly oppressive or undesirable decks. Sometimes this works and sometimes this doesn't. This obviously puts a lot of trust in the player base, and this time it required a Fatal Push in the right direction. Ultimately, even though I lose a deck to play with my more competitive friends, this is a very good thing for EDH because it's just too hard to play a "fair" Leovold deck.
A Future So Bright
So what does this mean for us as EDH players? Well for one it's a huge monkey off our backs. We don't have to worry about sitting down with a group of strangers and one of them pulling out a deck of fun police Windfall effects and the game taking three hours because the Leovold player has all control but no actual way to close the game out. The Sultai colors remain one of the best combinations (in my personal opinion at least), but now Sultai players need to do it a little less...crappily.
From the announcement:
"On the other hand, we feel as though it’s time to let Protean Hulk off the leash. A number of factors led to this decision. Support within the community has been tilting toward Protean Hulk for quite some time. Inside the Rules Committee, we have been leaning in that direction for a while as well, but didn’t have enough of a consensus. Now we do. We acknowledge that the card will be strong, but are of the opinion that it won’t be the centralizing factor it once would have been. Back when Protean Hulk was banned, both creatures and graveyard control were nowhere near as strong as they are today. We know combo possibilities exist with the card, but they need to be specifically built around, so to us it becomes a great value card instead of a dangerous combo piece in casual environments. We suspect that Protean Hulk will be much like Kokusho, the Evening Star when it was unbanned: powerful but not broken in the current Commander landscape."
I really forgot how ugly this mug is....
Now this is what lots of people are excited about. One of my buddies in our playgroup has a pet Karador, Ghost Chieftain deck and immediately asked about the best way to break it. The EDHREC authors had a lengthy chat as well, discussing the merits and ways to integrate Protean Hulk into current decks.
For those that don't play Modern, there has been a deck for a while the creeps in and out of top tables at events which plays Protean Hulk along with Reveillark and Body Double to create a loop to sneak in an assortment of creatures able to kill opponents. In the context of EDH, it creates a huge opportunity for players to sneak a tool box full of creatures in at instant speed.
The Jolly Green Combo Giant
So what decks can best take advantage of our new hulkish friend? I think any deck built to take advantage of graveyard shenanigans is a great place to start. Obviously the already mentioned Karador, Ghost Chieftan is an prime benefactor. Since Karador can hulk out once per turn and sacrifice him to the slew of different outlets those decks typically contains means your local Karador player is going to quickly get a LOT of value.
The current EDHREC page for Protean Hulk shows the only two commanders that play it as Mayael the Anima and Shattergang Brothers. Both generals certainly seem like solid starting places. That list is sure to grow daily now that the hulk is loose. Other early ideas that came up in conversation in the EDHREC secret compound are graveyard/death trigger centered commanders like Adun Oakenshield and Meren of Clan Nel Toth. I agree that both seem primed to take advantage of a great new toy to fill the creature toolbox strategies.
— Rachel Agnes (@baetog_) April 24, 2017
It probably is worth mentioning in our news update that Sensei's Divining Top was banned yesterday for play in the Legacy format. While this doesn't directly affect EDH, it does mean that LOTS of Legacy players will be selling their Tops. After the reprint in Eternal Masters this creates a way for Tops to get cheaper for anyone who was waiting on buying one. If your area had any Legacy play you should start seeing it show up at your LGS, hopefully at a cheaper price than before. It's win/win as far as I'm concerned. I hate playing against the top's main abuser deck, Miracles in Legacy. Just remember everyone, you do NOT have to activate your Top in response to EVERYTHING. Harsh Mentor exists now. Don't let it get you!
What do you all think of these bans? Will Protean Hulk end up too powerful and end up back on the ban list? Will ANYONE miss playing against Leovold, Emissary of Trest? Anyone at all? Let us know what you think in the comments below!