Specifically, I play a format called Historic Brawl. Historic Brawl is effectively just Commander/EDH, but using all cards available in MTGA. About two weeks ago, Historic Anthology Six was added to Arena, and one card in that set was Go-Shintai of Life’s Origin. It is being used as a commander a lot. Perhaps too much?
So in order to answer this question, I played 50 games of Historic Brawl this weekend, across several different commanders. I’ll link the full dataset as a CSV at the end of the article. First off, I want to look at my own commanders very quickly.
There are two things to note here. First off is that I’m not playing any commanders that are traditionally considered S-Tier/top tier by the community. Second is that a majority of my commanders are from the Baldur’s Gate: Alchemy set.
Here are the commanders my opponents used.
Go-Shintai certainly feels like an outlier, with more than twice as many games as any other single commander. However, that’s not proof by any means. This is a small sample of only 50 games. I also haven’t done statistics in close to 8 years, so I’ve completely forgotten how to do a student’s T-Test, or even know if that’s the right type of analysis to do here.
The other interesting thing I noticed is that while I had a large number of games against Go-Shintai on Friday and Saturday, after one point on Saturday I stopped seeing the deck. I haven’t seen the deck a single time today. So it’s also possible that the matchmaker was updated in the middle of collecting this data set.
(The different matchups on different days is one of the things this data doesn’t show, because while I intended to include timestamps for the start of each game, I didn’t actually record them. So instead there’s an unhelpfully blank column in the spreadsheet.)
Overall, there isn’t a satisfying answer. It’s not clear to me that Go-Shintai’s frequency is actually statistically significant here (because I can’t do stats), but certainly stands out as being played quite a lot. If anyone is able to do actual stats, here’s a link to the data in a csv, and I’d love to know what you find.
One of the stupidest things I’ve ever read about games was written by David Sirlin, a very smart game designer. He wrote it in a book that I picked up out of curiosity, and early on I encountered this quote.
I believe there is a great deal more of this “fun” to be had while playing to win than while only playing casually, but there is no use in entering that debate now.
This was the quote where I put his book down, because it speaks to me of a fundamental misunderstanding about human beings. I’m going go through a fair number of anecdotes here, but I think every single one of them demonstrates that his point is wrong. They illustrate a variety of examples where Sirlin has completely ignored human behavior.
If you had board games or video games as a child, and had younger siblings, you likely had to play games with them. And if you did, you likely chose to throw games to keep them happy. Perhaps David Sirlin likes making his siblings cry. I didn’t. There’s no fun in crushing, or being crushed. This brings me to my second example.
In college, the dorm I lived in had Wii-U in the communal space, and it was used primarily for two things: Smash Bros and Just Dance. There was a set of two players who were simply much, much better at the game then everyone else present, and would often play against each other. At one point, one of them moved out, after which a funny thing happened: virtually no one wanted to play against that second player. The gap was simply too wide.
We often played Magic, AKA M:TG, in the dorm. Quite a few people played, and many had a variety of decks. One of the more popular formats was commander. I remember one particular game with 8 players, in which I got the following combo out.
For anyone keeping score at home: this combo destroys every single other card each player had in play, and would continue doing it every turn until someone stopped it.
Unsurprisingly, everyone scooped, and started a new game. I would not describe it as very “Fun”.
A few more quick ones: games like Diablo Immortal, where “Winning” is temporary, and based on spending cash. Playing games against newer players who you’re trying to introduce to the game.
There’s a reason that the Magic: The Gathering personas are Timmy, Jimmy, and Spike. Not every player is going to derive satisfaction from winning all the time. Sirlin’s thesis seems to be that “Every player should strive to be a Spike” which is one of the stupidest fucking things I’ve ever heard.
So why am ranting about this now? Sirlin’s book is 20 years old, there’s a zero percent chance anyone ever reads this post, and it’s not like any of this is relevant.
Well, I’m mostly ranting about this because of something someone said to me recently. I’ve been making Historic Brawl decks while trying to use every possible legal commander as a commander, and I got some feedback that I should make fewer decks, and more “good” decks. To this I have two responses.
First off, yes. Part of the reason I’m doing this is that it makes “easy” content. It’s much less effort to sit down, build a deck over a day or two, and then live stream myself playing it to YouTube 5 times a week than it is to spend a month tweaking and tuning a single good deck. Because guess what? I’ve spent two years writing things for this blog, doing interesting interviews, and here’s the sad truth: no one reads it.
I can play an entire fascinating indie game, spend a week doing a writeup, post it, tweet it, and it makes not GOD DAMN iota of difference. Nobody fucking wants good content. Everyone wants easy consistent content. We’d all rather have grey sludge every day than chocolate chip cookies once a week.
So yeah, if making shitty Magic decks every day and posting about them is what it takes to get an audience, I’ll do it. I started this blog so that I could avoid being shafted at conventions because I’m not an “influencer.” Don’t think for a second I’m not super passionate about games. If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t still be writing this.
My grey slurry is making historic brawl decks with cards that aren’t good historic brawl commanders.
And secondly, some cards are just BAD. I ranted about how much I hate Jaxis as a commander recently. I’m currently trying to make a deck with Korlessa, Scale Singer. Not counting Korlessa, there are 26 TOTAL dragon cards in green/blue/colorless. Of those 26, maybe 6 are actually worth playing as bombs in Historic Brawl. So congrats, you go make a “good” deck based around a commander that offers absolutely nothing except the ability to see the top card of your deck, and do nothing with it.
I’d be in favor of arguing that Korlessa is just a worst version of Falco Spara, in both colors, statline, and abilities. There’s not even any REAL reason outside of flavor for Korelssa to be legendary. What are two copies gonna give you, two 1/4’s?
So when I encounter Korlessa, I have two choices. I can build a deck with those 26 dragons, and Maskwood Nexus/Whir of Invention, and I can try to do something interesting to show people.
Or I can build slurry. I can stuff the deck so full land ramp, return to hand, and counterspells that you could swap out commander to be Gretchen Titchwillow, and there would be literally no difference in playing the deck, except it would be better, because guess what, Gretchen Titchwillow is a better commander!
At which point, why bother? It’s not a Korlessa deck. It’s blue/green good stuff.
In conclusion: Winning is not always fun. Winning is not necessarily good content. David Sirlin is much smarter then me, a very good game designer, and his book reads like the 80 page manifesto at the end of Atlas Shrugged in terms of its relationship to a majority of the population.
Usually when I hate a card in a card game, it’s because I hate playing against it. Jaxis is special because I hate playing her. Let’s back up a minute for a bit of context.
I’ve been doing streams on YouTube where I make Historic Brawl decks for MTGA. Specifically for every legendary creature in Streets of New Cappena. If you haven’t played Historic Brawl, the format is effectively paper magic’s commander format, with two differences. First, the card pool is limited to MTGA cards, obviously, but second you can use planeswalkers as commanders.
That’s not relevant to this discussion, though. No, this discussion is purely about Jaxis, and why I hate trying to play her as a commander.
So instead of continuing to rage and throw my matches, I’m going to quickly go over why I hate this card, and why I hate her as a commander.
So let’s start with the simplest one: She’s monocolor. Historic Brawl has a much smaller card pool than regular commander, and the easiest way to take advantage of her ability is copying cards with strong “Enter the Battlefield” abilities or strong “When this creature dies” abilities. But surprise, surprise, red doesn’t have a huge number of those abilities, and many of them are on higher costed creatures.
Being monocolor isn’t a death sentence, though. Magda, Brazen Outlaw is monocolor, and one of my favorite Historic Brawl commanders.
The second issue with Jaxis as a commander is speed. Jaxis is a 4 drop without haste. (Yes, you can blitz her, but ignore that for a moment; we’ll come back to it.) This means that the fastest she comes out is likely turn 3 off either treasure, or a mana rock. In addition, the fastest she’ll copy something is turn 4, but her activated ability costs mana, meaning even if you hit your drop you’ll only copy another 4 drop. In addition, since her ability can only be activated at sorcery speed, you can only do it on your own turn, and it’s only useful prior to combat in most situations.
Compare her to Magda for a second. Magda comes out on turn two, can generate a treasure on turn 3, and can immediately come back on turn 4 even if she gets removed. Magda also provides her ability to generate treasure with dwarf tribal the second she comes into play. A fast Jaxis doesn’t do anything until turn 4.
Now, some people here are going “Well, you’re completely ignoring her Blitz mechanic!” Okay fine.
Blitz is a good mechanic. I like it a lot in draft.
But its an absolutely terrible mechanic to put on a commander, and it becomes downright horrible on a mono-color commander with a limited card pool. There’s no easy way to dodge the sacrifice trigger, meaning that even if you blitz her in early, the second she dies, you’re not playing her again until turn 6. And her ability costing mana means even if you hold her, she costs 3 mana to make a copy of another creature.
But are highly costed cards unplayable? Hardly. Lets take a look at a card that isn’t in Arena, and is effectively just a better version of Jaxis.
Kiki-Jiki is effectively just a much better Jaxis. This is despite having a much worse stat line, and higher mana cost. So why is he better?
Well, there’s a bunch of reasons. Kiki-Jiki inherently has haste, meaning you can use him the second he comes into play. So Ii he resolves, he’s at least going to do something. Secondly, even though he doesn’t make you draw any cards, his activated ability doesn’t have any costs associated, so he can also copy a six drop.
And perhaps most important: YOU CAN USE HIS ABILITY WHENEVER YOU WANT. You’re not limited to sorcery speed activation, meaning that he can function offensively and defensively, and can be held until the needed moment.
So, in conclusion, here’s why I hate Jaxis in a nice list.
High mana cost, without immediate ability to have an impact on game state when played, meaning she can get removed without doing anything.
Blitz makes her useful at high speed, but as a commander, it mostly just makes her die super fast, and runs her cost far up past what a red deck can support
Small card pool limits ability to manipulate her blitz ability, or provide powerful targets to copy
Ability timing is highly conditional, making it only useful as an offensive tool, and relatively heavily costed when compared to equivalents.
I’m going to go do a stream with the deck I did make for her now, and just going to accept that I don’t have a good way to use this card.
Customer support is the Satan’s asshole of white collar jobs, along with any job prefixed or suffixed by “Quality Assurance.” I want to lead with this statement because I want to make it clear who I’m pissed at when I write this, in case some bigwig at Amazon reads this.
Lets be clear Mr. or Ms. Imaginary Bigwig: the problem is not your customer support “team members” or their leadership. Your customer support does not need additional morale support, or to all be fired and replaced. What they need is something that only you, upper management, can give them, and that is tools to actually be able to do their fucking job.
And I am pissed at you, the upper management, for not fucking doing that.
Let’s back up for a moment. I’ve been playing a shit ton of Lost Ark recently, and one incredibly frustrating thing that I’ve encountered at least twice is the game mishandling instance clears and loot rewards. There are multiple things in the game that use an MMO reward system, where you can only clear them once a day/week. And if you crash after clearing one of these events, but BEFORE getting the loot, you’re just straight up locked out, because you already racked up a clear.
And if you try to contact Lost Ark support, be it via Amazon’s own customer support service, or via a forum ticket, you will be told albeit in a slightly more polite tone, to pound sand.
The thing about customer support, and the Customer Support Representatives who have honor of serving as a combination punching bag and mouthpiece for whatever cosmic horror corporation they work for in exchange for a barely living wage, is that they don’t have much ability to help you outside of the prescribed boundaries that have been set for them.
Ed Note: this is also why you shouldn’t be a dick to CSR’s. They have nothing to do with whatever inane policy has you frothing at the mouth when you try to contact them. Being polite and patient with someone is far more likely to result in them trying to see what tools they have at their disposal to assist you. Being a dick means they’ll feel no guilt about maliciously complying down the path of least resistance, which is canned emails and deflecting responses.
Thing is though, right now it seems like Lost Ark customer support doesn’t have any tools whatsoever. It should not be difficult for a gamemaster to look at a player’s gameplay logs from less than 24 hours ago, check the state of an event, and then check if loot was acquired. If it wasn’t, run a script that grants the appropriate loot for said event.
Ed Note 2: Okay, so maybe actual RNG drops and stuff would be a bit much to ask T1 support to generate, but I’m talking specifically here about an event that gives out ONLY event specific currency, and the exact amount of it each time. Adding 200 Winter Coins to a player’s inventory IS something your support team should be able to do.
Being told “We’re sorry the game broke” is frustrating in most games. Maybe I’d tolerate in a fresh release MMO, but this isn’t a brand new game. It’s a four year old game that Amazon imported to publish and localize. It’s also a game where progression to new content in the late game is heavily time gated behind limited run content. It should be obvious that things like this would occur, and they should have had a plan in place to resolve them.
Running a live-service game is more than just (poorly) localizing game text, hiring a few voice actors, spinning up an AWS instance and raking in the money. They need customer support teams, and gamemasters that can take action to address problems. They need to empower those folks to be able to address problems.
Amazon as a company has a reputation for stellar customer service with their online shopping, and it’s surprising to see that they do not seem to value it in their games division.
Or maybe not all that surprising. I mean, of their games, we’ve had one cancelled, one released then unreleased, and then a MMO that lost most of its player base over duping bugs and and economy that was mostly currency sink. We’ll see if Lost Ark has staying power, or if Amazon Games just sucks at making and managing games.
TLDR:Failing a Ghost Ship uses your clear attempt for the week. You can only enter a Ghost Ship once a week. You can only enter a Ghost Ship whose level is at or below your item level. While on Ghost Ships, you will be afflicted with a massive fucking debuff to your movement and attack speed, but this debuff can be removed by using the ship Eiberns Wound with the Crew Member Berald. Without this, you will likely be killed by an instagib mechanic. The three ghost ships are available at 460, 960, and 1370.
Getting Eiberns Wound
Complete Bleak Night Fog at Least Once
The Eiberns Wound ship is a reward for completing all tiers of the daily quest “Bleak Nights Fog”.
In order to complete Bleak Night Fog, you need to do the following:
Accept the Daily Quest
Use the item the daily quest gives you with F5
Enter a Ghost Ship and defeat a Ghost Ship Captain of any tier. For safest results, targeting the 460 Ship for this is suggested.
2. Complete Bleak Night Fog 11 More Timesand get Eiberns Wound
Once you have completed Bleak Night Fog once, you can complete it with Una’s Task Instant Tickets.
The quest requires a total of 12 completions to unlock Eiberns Wound. If you don’t use instant completion tickets, this means it will take you 12 weeks, assuming you clear the ghost ship each week.
It is advised you do not do that.
3. Getting Berald
Berald is an Eibern’s Wound Exclusive Crew Member, and cannot be used on any ship other than Eibern’s Wound. He comes in 3 rarities. The lowest rarity will completely cancel out the debuff. The higher rarities are better value for the coins you will spend on them, and buying them instead is heavily suggested.
The fight on the Ghost Ship consists of two parts. First, there is a large amount of Trash to be cleared. This portion of the fight presents no issues, even with the debuff.
The second is a fight against the captain of the Ghost Ship. This part is hard.
IF THE CAPTAIN OF THE GHOST SHIP KILLS YOU, HE WILL HEAL. DO YOUR BEST NOT TO DIE.
The Captain of the Ghost ship has an attack in which he will spawn circles on the floor. These circles will do heavy damage, and knock-up. Because of the knock-up, if you get caught by a circle, it is possible you be chain stunned and die.
The Captain of the Ghost Ship will enter the center of the ship, then attack with a rotating laser. It does a massive amount of damage, and if it hits you, and you are not shielded, you will likely die. If you die to the rotating laser, wait until the attack pattern is finished before you res, or you risk dying multiple times to the same attack.
You can drink non % based potions during this fight. Chug those motherfuckers like an insecure freshman on pledge week.
JOIN A PARTY FOR THE FIGHT. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, JOIN A PARTY.
Screw this fight, and screw the lasers, who the fuck puts an instagib mechanic in a 30 person, once per week or you’re fucked raid.
If you believe I have made a mistake, please contact me on discord. My username is EricKyleGeorge#5790. Please identify that you are attempting to share information to update this guide, and not one of the 10,000 bots attempting to convince me to invest in cryptocurrency.