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In Favor of the Sylvan Primordial Banning, and a Discussion of the Social Contract in Commander
Sylvan primordial has finally
received a banning by the
committee. After having recently
experienced the power of this card
first hand, I can breathe a sigh of
relief knowing I wont face it again.
This seven mana avatar is
exceedingly good at locking other
players out of the game and gives
you an unreasonable mana advantage
that only scales better the more
players you have in a game and was
oppressive. This card bears the
distinct difference from its cycle
that this one is not a may
but a must, you must blow up Tom’s
only land, you must screw up other
players mana bases if they don’t
have tempting other non-creature
permanents. This card could have
most likely avoided the ban hammer
in my own opinion, if it granted
players the choice to not mess with
someone only sitting on a 1/1
creature and 4 lands. This change
would create more choices and
opportunities for players and turn
it into a powerful but fair tool.
This card has no politics, no
subtlety, and is just a big crude
gesture to players and another
fortunate addition to the ban list.
The game when this creature hit play
degenerated into who could clone it,
recur it, produce tokens of it, the
game literally devolved into Sylvan
Primordial: The Gathering. While I
type this my eyes glisten with tears
of joy, salty, salty, salty tears.
Sylvan Primordial spanked me and
knocked multiple mana bases out of
the game. May I never see him again.
Some options to replace Sylvan Primordial in your deck include the following each highly recommended by yours truly.
Terastadon: A solid body and the ability to blow up three permanents, it includes lands but provides elephant tokens to those unfortunate enough to get hit balancing it somewhat more so than Primordial. Also doesn’t require blowing things up so if you don’t want to make enemies feel free to blow up one permanent and have a nice fatty.
Woodfall Primus: My main treefolk man, this guy blows up singular perments and can return and do it again. Outside of combo shenanigans this card provides tons of value and is more of a pin point removal card although requires a larger commitment to green.
Bane of Progress: Wipes the entire board of artifacts gives you a large creature, fantastic board wipe for troublesome permanents. Doesn’t touch lands, a much fairer but still powerful card in comparison to Sylvan Primordial.
Acidic Slime: A solid defensive body as a 2/2 deathtouch creature and still holds its own in the commander format, being a budget option aside this card is still one of the best green creatures in commander.
Brutalizer Exarch: This guy serves as a fine tutor or an expensive disruption to troublesome permanents, this card has value in that its versatility makes up for the slightly lower power levels of cards along with a decent mana commitment.
Now that I have opened the discourse
here on Sylvan Primordial I feel the
need to state my views on the spirit
of EDH. A social contract that can
be retrieved from
The relevant key to take away from this is Commander is designed to promote social games of magic. Now the game by its definition is a social experience you are participating in with your friends. Social games in this context can be expanded to mean games that do not primarily focuses on the most cut throat strategies or winning one hundred percent of the time. This being said however I don’t power down decks and I don’t purposely build decks I don’t want to compete, multiplayer commander is however much more than a game of Magic, it’s about cultivating an atmosphere of mutual respect and enjoyment for the players involved, your buddies. Sylvan Primordial spit in the face of this attitude and the result was a ban. There exists a fine line between playing to win and playing for fun, and in the era of more net decking than ever and where cut throat competition seems to be bleeding into our kitchen tables we have to remain vigilant to not forget the true nature of commander, having fun with your friends. Fun is highly variable and what is fun for one individual may not be fun for another, however there is a general and widely regarded consensus of what constitutes and is accepted. This ban list as well various house rules keep these unhealthy and disruptive presences in check. Commander is an experience an outlet for creativity and over the top plays and the utilization of cards considered bad elsewhere. In light of this recent banning it is more important than ever to become self-aware of why you play Magic, if it’s an expression of your personality and a way to have fun with friends and provide an intellectually challenging competition than commander is once again your promised land.
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