Inside a Johnny’s Mind – Sygg EDH

Your work is like poetry...

Whenever someone asks me to explain Magic I tell them it’s like Chess with cards, but like Mousetrap, where it’s a puzzle and not everyone has the same pieces as you. After I show them a couple of cards and how they work off of each other, then they understand it.

But not everyone’s mind works the same way as mine, the world would be really scary. Everyone’s mind works differently at the game of Magic, which is why it’s so many thing to so many people. I am a Johnny/Spike/Melvin meaning I like opened ended good cards that make sense flavorly. Cards I like are: Undead Gladiator, Eternal Witness, Oblivion Ring, etc.

How does that relate to designing cards? Imagine what most of my card designs are: Opened ended good cards that make sense flavorly. People design what they know and love. You get a player who is a Timmy profile and they’ll design Timmy type cards. Keep this in mind when you’re designing a set, not everyone loves big creatures and not everyone loves proficient spells, you need to have a wide variety to make it a really good set (which is why I personally believe that once person can’t design a whole set and make it work beautifully. But that’s another topic for another post).

So, while putting together a new EDH deck, I noticed that most of the parts were interconnected in one way or another. Does that mean that every deck should have such synergies? No, but it amazed me how alot of the deck works together. This is just to give you non-Johnny’s what someone with this frame of mind thinks when they put together a deck. If you don’t know how EDH works, then please read this and come back.

Oh General, my General...
Oh General, my General...

My General: Sygg, River Cuttroat
At the beginning of the end step, if an opponent lost 3 or more life this turn, you may draw a card.

With only Blue and Black cards, I went out and see what made sense for losing 3 life a turn. Some of the cards are enchantments (Sanguine Bond, Words of Wind, Megrim, Underworld Dreams, Subversion) that I can’t tutor out as easily as some other cards. Alot of times when you make a deck with Megrim/Bond, you have to wait around until you have it for it to be effective, which could be the downfall of those decks. Luckily, with this deck having so many outlets to do various things, I can alter my play style depending on what they have in play on the battlefield and what I have in my hand.

The whole key with the deck is to make your opponent lose 3 life a turn. I’m not trying to make them lose more then that as Sygg’s ability doesn’t trigger for every 3 damage you do. You want to do damage on your turn and on their turn. Some of the enchantments (Dreams/Subversion, Bond) work well during multiple parts during multiple turns so it can hit as many times as possible. But you don’t want it to be super annoying so people don’t target you to get rid of you (Multiplayer politics).

As with many decks, this one is ever changing and as new cards get released or cards aren’t working as well and you’d hope, it’s easy to change and substitute. There are a few cards that barely missed the cut (Amnesia, Words of Waste, Mind Bomb) that might find their way in here at some time. Just like when you test for other formats, you play around and see what works.

What follows below is the actual chart I have on my computer. The connections of straight lines and cured don’t mean too much only that they interact with each other. Each of the cards is placed into groups: Along the right side is discard, bottom is life gain, bottom left is draw and left is life lost. Sprinkled along are cards that are unattached, but belong in that area (Beacon of Unrest is in the discard because I can go get an opponent’s creature they discarded). I didn’t include the lands because very few of them do other stuff then produce lands or combo with Crucible of Worlds. Really, who wants to see lands connect to everything anyway? Every card that is yellow can be transmuted with Clutch of the Undercity. You should know what cards Mystical Tutor and Mystical Teachings should fetch.

Click for the full picture.

Sygg Connections

See how everything is connected with other things? Sure, some cards that would normally be good in a U/B deck aren’t in there (Hinder, Tainted Pact), but that’s ok, I’m trying to make everything synergistic with each other.

How do you guys design your decks (coping from a website and playing them is not designing)? It doesn’t matter what format you guys play, but I’m interested in hearing about what you create.

That’s it for today. If you guys like this post, please vote below (You don’t have to register or anything). It gives me an idea of what you want more of.

If you’re in the Seattle area this weekend and have a chance to go to Brian Baker’s Memorial Tournament on Saturday, please do so. He was the T.O. at the store I play with so both as players and friends we’re still reeling a bit harder then most people. He was a good guy, one who wanted to make sure everyone had a good time playing Magic, whether you were new or had been playing for years.

One of my favorite memories of him was during States when Time Spiral first came out. He was playing and not judging and he decided to bring a fun deck: Restore Balance and Greater Gargadon. For counters, he had a huge bag of gummy bears and when a Time Counter came off, he ate it. Luckily, I was paired next to him for three rounds, so we snacked on gummy bears the entire time laughing. As my own personal tribute to him, I’m bringing a bag of gummy bears for counters this Saturday.

We miss you Brian.


One thought on “Inside a Johnny’s Mind – Sygg EDH”

  1. I’m not convinced one person can’t make a good set. Magic sets tend not to make everyone happy. The newer sets have greatly neglected the “modular” design that it started with. So, a “good set” shouldn’t have to be perfect or make everyone happy. I agree that multiple perspectives (when done by experts) is helpful at making good sets though, and could improve upon any set that would otherwise be made by one person.

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