Elder Dragon Highlander Gives Veteran Players A Nostalgiagasm

15 Aug

Okay, so… I know I haven’t been updating very much in the last couple months, and I apologize for that. -.- I’ve been doing a lot of traveling lately, and between seeing the sights in D.C., Philadelphia, and Las Vegas, I haven’t had much time to even think about online stuff, for the most part. It was pretty much limited to “checking in nightly to tell my friends how my day went.” Posting on here? Not so much a priority.

*ducks tomatoes* Ack! o.O What? I have a life, too, you know… And look on the bright side: Since I’m gonna be in front of a computer screen on most days working on other stuff for the next X months, that means I’ll get bored more often and will probably have more material for this blog in the future.

Now, last time I was here, I was pretty much bitching like a somewhat bitter old maid who thought her Friday nights were in jeopardy of becoming much lonelier because of the new rules changes to Magic: the Gathering following the release of the 2010 Core Set. Well, it didn’t happen exactly as I feared.

The good news is, nobody I know is quitting the game. I got the best-case scenario there. ^^ Everybody bit the bullet and is making adjustments to their play based on the rules changes that matter most. It turns out that, 99% of the time, the game isn’t any different as far as we’re concerned. The changes to lifelink and deathtouch have largely gone unnoticed, and despite the new flavorful terminology, most of us find ourselves still saying “in play” and “RFG” as opposed to “battlefield” and “exile.” Oddly enough, the one change that has had the biggest impact on my group is the one that Magic designer Mark Rosewater said would probably be noticed the least: The lack of mana burn. (Seriously, did MaRo even read Elvish Archdruid…?)

The bad news is, it seems like, more and more, every Magic player I know is longing for the Good Ol’ Days. And what I mean by that is, all the focus lately has been on the Elder Dragon Highlander format, which uses olde-with-an-e cards. You know, cards that would get you killed (or worse, expelled!) if you tried to play them in the Standard, or even Extended, environment. Anything printed with the old pre-8th-Edition typeface. Yeah, stuff from the so-called Golden Age of Magic. Those are the Good Ol’ Days my group is longing for.

Now, for those of you who don’t know what Elder Dragon Highlander is, let me either refresh your memory and/or catch you up with the times. Elder Dragon Highlander is a casual form of 100-Card Singleton (a.k.a. “Highlander,” because “there can be only one” copy of each card in your deck other than basic land) where you begin the game by searching your library for a legendary creature of all your deck’s colors, setting that creature aside, and declaring it as your general (a.k.a. “Elder Dragon,” because the old Elder Dragon cards are all three-colored and make very good generals). You can only add mana to your mana pool that is either colorless or shares its color with your general and you can only cast spells that are either colorless or share all of its colors with your general. Sources that would add mana to your mana pool that isn’t one of your general’s colors add that much colorless mana instead.

Follow so far? Good, because it’s about to get weird. <.<

At any time you could cast a creature spell, you may cast your general from the exile zone as though it were in your hand. While it’s on the stack, it behaves as any other creature spell would, and while in play, it behaves as any other creature would, except it doesn’t die as a result of the Legend rule (all other Legends of the same name do). When your general leaves play or is countered, you may choose to let it go to the zone it’s being sent to, or you may choose to remove it from the game and put a marker on it. If you want to cast your general again, you need to pay two more colorless mana for each marker on it. So if it left play twice, you have to pay an extra 4, and if it left play three times, you have to pay an extra 6, and so on. There’s also a bunch of house rules that have caught on, like… If, throughout the course of the game, your general deals a total of 21 damage to a player, that player loses the game regardless of his or her life total… Oh, and there’s a ban list, and Coalition Victory is on it… There’s also a separate ban list for generals, like you can have a Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary in your deck, but not as a general… Oh, and there’s probably an exception to the “no alien mana colors” rule for effects like that of Sen Triplets…

Yeah, we get into a lot of rules arguments for this format. -.-

Now, I’m not entirely against EDH as a format, but I do have some problems with it. For example, Tutors are really freaking broken. In a form of Magic where you start off with a 99-card library, with each card other than basic lands being unique, you’d be crazy not to load your deck up with Tutors. There’s also the matter of having to deal with some really annoying and powerful generals, like Progenitus, who is actually easier to recur because the game rules say you can prevent him from ever trying to touch the graveyard. But probably the biggest problem I have with it is that multiplayer games can take 3 or 4 hours to finish. Seriously. -.- I’ll have my friends over to play, and they’ll all bring their EDH decks, and I’ll be hosting them well past 9 in the evening.

Still, EDH seemed like a fun, gimmicky thing to do when everybody got tired of playing their regular constructed decks, so I built this crappy green-white EDH deck with Tolsimir Wolfblood as my general, just so I wouldn’t feel left out. But after a while, EDH caught so much fire with my group that people have started building decks for the EDH format and nothing else. >_> Now I feel even more left out, because my collection of old cards is not that big, and I’m not willing to spend a crapton of money just to get cards that are only usable in one format my group plays. But I may not have a choice. It’s almost like I have no reason to buy the new cards anymore because the new cards aren’t getting any use!

Unfortunately for me, the part about EDH that makes it so appealing to veteran players is that you can use any card in Magic’s history, including the stacks you’ve had stowed away in your closet since Tempest block fell out of the Standard rotation. So while I’m bouncing my knees wondering what new, possibly Indiana-Jones-themed goodness Zendikar will bring (more on that in a future article), my friends are all biting their nails wondering when their Sliver Queens, Heartstones, and Ashnod’s Altars will come in the mail. The divide between my friends and myself, it seems, is purely generational. I have become “the new player” once again. In the end, all my complaints amount to, “RAWR I DONT HAVE OLD CARDS THIS FORMAT SUCKS WHARRGARBL >o<”

But oh well. I’m sure Wizards of the Coast, who seems to be hellbent on bringing new players into the fold at the cost of certain traditions, understands my plight and will soon be revealing more incentives to buy Zendikar stuff. ^^ Full-art textless lands? I’m in! That’s a real promising feature. Now let’s see what else is…

Wait… What’s this…? Planechase…?

*reading* …You have a plane card in play and you roll the planar die any time you could cast a sorcery, and it costs an extra 1 to the roll the die every turn… Preconstructs come with cards from throughout Magic’s history…

…Oh, screw you, Wizards. e_e

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Posted by on August 15, 2009 in Gaming, Random Ramblings



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