My Take on Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines for 60 Card Formats

I guess they really don’t want people to play Standard.

If you are not familiar with the card, here it is:

That seems like something you need to deal with immediately. And I think it promotes very bad patterns of gameplay.

First, if it is strong, you will see it everywhere. In these cases the game is going to be about who can stick their Elesh Norn or if both players have one, the game is just going to be a weird standstill.

Let’s use our imaginations. What do you want to play with Elesh Norn? Creatures with ETB effects or maybe enchantments with ETB effects. Now, the creatures with ETB effects tend to be smaller, as you are paying for the effect as well. So, a 4/7 will be a wall that just isn’t something you can run through. If you are playing Oblivion Ring effects, they will be strong if you have Elesh Norn on the battlefield, but if your opponent does as well, they will be completely shut down.

Removal in general is not going to be very good, if your opponent has plenty of ETB effects. While you might gain an advantage in mana, your opponent will always gain value if they have ETB effects and you use a card to kill those creatures. You can’t get ahead that way. So, you need to play creatures as well, but since you know there might be an Elesh Norn running around, you need to play removal. It just might sit in your hand unplayed, because you don’t have good targets for it. You have to avoid playing ETB effects yourself as well, because your opponent might play ELesh Norn, and you can’t deal with it, because you didn’t happen to have the removal in hand, because you can’t really play that much of it, so many of the stronger creatures are now unplayable, because there’s a chance they just won’t do anything.

Much of the removal is useless against Elesh Norn anyhow. None of the red and much of the white spot removal does nothing against it, so you need black removal, which again limits the number of playable decks massively.

So, you need to play counters and mass removal, both of which are largely hated by the newer players. Also, it means that you have to keep mana open and not overcommit to the battlefield. So, you need to play control, which is something newer players don’t want to play against. The end result is just going to be plenty of early concessions and a lot of glass cannon decks.

Wizards must really, really hate Standard.

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