When Your Deck Is the Problem

This past weekend I had a game with my Lorthos deck that ended up with both of my opponents under a Capsize lock. I had two Extraplanar Lens cards and my Snow-Covered Islands were tapping for 3. I looked up during the next few turns to see both other players unhappy. The Social Contract wants to make sure that everyone at the table is having a good time. Most people in my playgroup drive over 30 minutes for our casual Sunday games. With the opportunity cost being pretty high, making sure everyone has fun matters. After the game was over I had to ask a question about my favorite deck, is my deck fun to play against?

There answer was that the deck is fine, but Capsize is proving problematic. Now what? My argument for Capsize in the deck is: that it’s not the true problem. The real problem is that I’m able to maintain one or more Caged Sun type effects. I could very easily keep Capsize in the deck and try to push the group to run more artifact removal. That would be a fine answer, but it isn’t what I’m doing. I’m cutting Capsize. Why? Well, there are a few reasons.

The first is to help protect the group and protect our Social Contract. I do want to make sure everyone has as much fun as possible in as many games as possible. There are many other things players could do on a Sunday afternoon and I’d like to keep playing Commander. Remember that the people you regularly play Commander with are likely your friends. Friends are more important than a single Magic card.

The second, and more of the reason, is that I agree with them. Over the last year I’ve spent some time tuning Lorthos making it a little lower to the ground and upped the card draw/selection. The result is that the deck’s win condition has shifted. Lorthos and of the other sea monsters are rarely the best play anymore, even with all the extra mana. Sifting for Capsize is becoming the best thing the deck can do. The last few times the deck has one has been just that. Survive and dig for Capsize and Caged Sun, lock the board, and win off a concession. That’s not what I want Lorthos to be. The deck already makes it a little challenging for my opponents to fully play Magic. So Capsize gets the axe. It’s a real loss to the deck as the card replacing it is likely Repulse. The good news is winning isn’t the most important thing, having fun is.

Ultimately, I don’t think Capsize is a busted card. It isn’t going on a local banned list or anything like that. I plan on adding it to the Tasigur, the Golden Fang list that I’m slowing working on. It’s easy to espouse the Social Contract when you are the one getting protected, but what do you do when you’re the one violating it?

Until next time, happy brewing.

– Cowboy Kyle

P.S. In later discussions my opponents said they would be making changes to their decks to add more answers and that Lorthos may need the extra win condition of Capsize. I’m still cutting Capsize. I want the deck to want to play it’s Commander and right now it’s more of an afterthought. I’ll keep an eye on the deck to see if the loss proves too great.

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