Paradoxically Hot

Paradox Engine
Remember the Commander Heat Index? Well it's back! In pog form. I was inspired today by the Banned list announcement for Commander, namely that nothing was being banned. While some feel that cards like Deadeye Navigator are on borrowed time (Good luck banning a creature that can blink itself out of existence at will) I feel like there is only one card that seems to have dodged a bullet, here. I think we all know which card I'm talking about. I've written enough to know by now that there's probably a huge image of the card I'm talking about, so even if you couldn't figure it out, you're looking at its art right now. I don't know why I even bother trying to deceive anyone for even a paragraph. It's Paradox Engine. You happy? This is why we can't have nice things.

Speaking of "Can't have nice things", Paradox Engine is really ruining lives out there. I didn't even bother trying to jam it in any of my 75% decks and the one deck I have that runs it, Kydele and Thraisos, is such a departure from my normal decks that I almost want to take it apart. It's not that it's too good and that's why I don't like it, I think it's too linear. It's so easy to generate infinite mana and draw your entire deck with Thraisos that it feels like a waste of time to do anything else. Remember the period of like 2 months where we thought we would have to use Umbral Mantle on Kydele like peasants to get infinite mana? Ha. Now with as few as 1 mana rock and a spell with buyback, we can get there. Thanks, Paradox Engine!

I decided to do a special "Paradox Engine" edition of the Commander Heat Index so we can talk about just how badly you're going to bring the wrath of the table down on your head depending on what you pair with Paradox Engine. Let's get into it!

Transgression: Trading Post
How That Will Be Interpreted: "Wat r u doin"
Commander Heat Index Score: 1/10
Notes: The 1 is because they're going to wonder why you aren't doing something more powerful with a card like Paradox Engine. That's going to make them a little suspicious, but not a lot. I'm just getting us started off with an easy one.

Transgression: Endbringer Shenanigans
How That Will Be Interpreted: "You could be doing anything else right now"
Commander Heat Index Score: 2/10
Notes: If this is all you're doing, don't expect to keep your Engine around long. I have had a lot of fun with Endbringer and Engine, though. It's durdly but it sure is fun.

Transgression: Captain Sisay Shenanigans
How That Will Be Interpreted: "That's more value than I like to see"
Commander Heat Index Score: 4/10
Notes: You're doing your thing and you're tutoring like a machine, but you're not exactly comboing off and killing people. Your deck is doing its thing and doing it well, but they can't be TOO mad. They're still free to do their thing.

Trading Post
Captain Sisay

Transgression: Playing Paradox Engine
How That Will Be Interpreted: "Something I don't like is about to happen. More than once"
Commander Heat Index Score: 4/10
Notes: People aren't going to try and kill YOU if you play this card, but they will try to kill it. Don't play this and expect it to sit around for a few turn cycles so you can durdle on their upkeeps — you play this and go off or you don't play it at all. This card scares people. Enough for a ban next time they do that? Maybe. Maybe not. But while this card by itself isn't so bad, this with other cards can be.

Transgression: Metalworker
How That Will Be Interpreted: "That's too much mana for any one person"
Commander Heat Index Score: 2/10
Notes: Half of the table will be more worried about removing Metalworker than they will be with removing Engine. You're pretty safe but don't expect to keep that board state forever.

Transgression: Your commander is Phenax, God of Deception
How That Will Be Interpreted: "I regret mocking mill as a legitimate strategy"
Commander Heat Index Score: 5/10
Notes: They're not going to immediately switch to murder mode, but if they're laughing that you have a durdle commander like Phenax, this will wipe the smile off of their face. In general, don't underestimate Phenax players. There are more combos possible than just with Paradox Engine, but this turns every Ponder or Brainstorm into milling you for like 40 more cards.

Paradox Engine
Phenax, God of Deception

Transgression: Your commander is Azami, Lady of Scrolls
How That Will Be Interpreted: "As if that deck wasn't bad enough"
Commander Heat Index Score: 5/10
Notes: Azami was pretty annoying to begin with and this can make it go from a "slow, inevitable defeat" to a "quick, inevitable defeat" and half of all players appreciate that, hence the score.

Transgression: Playing Sprout Swarm with Paradox Engine
How That Will Be Interpreted: "You're doing nothing but you're doing it well . . . "
Commander Heat Index Score: 7/10
Notes: If you're making infinite sprouts for some fell purpose, they may be lenient if your plan isn't readily apparent. If you're like me and you're buying this spell back to keep untapping your mana rocks, they're going to be cross. I do like the idea of killing them with Goblin Bombardment, but as far as buyback spells go, this is pretty tame.

Transgression: Playing Capsize with Paradox Engine out
How That Will Be Interpreted: "I'm killing you first next game"
Commander Heat Index Score: 9/10
Notes: If you can untap enough rocks to keep buying Capsize back, you can bounce every permanent on the board. If you can kill everyone the turn you do this, it's a 9/10 on the heat index. If you can't kill everyone and they have to spend a bunch of turns watching you durdle while they have to discard all but 7 of their cards, it's more like a 12.

Azami, Lady of Scrolls
Sprout Swarm

Transgression: Put ANYTHING on an Isochron Scepter
How That Will Be Interpreted: "I'm experiencing a Dramatic Reversal in how I feel about you as a person"
Commander Heat Index Score: 7/10 - 10/10
Notes: This is one of those instances where the best thing you can do is combo off and kill them instantly. If you're durdling around just casting Fog every turn, they're going to get pretty upset. Just put a Lightning Bolt or something on there and get it over with. It's funny that the heat index seems to turn up the worse you are at killing them right away.

Transgression: Arcum Dagsson shenanigans
How That Will Be Interpreted: "That's more value than I like to see. I think I'll kill you, now."
Commander Heat Index Score: 7/10
Notes: This should be exactly the same as Sissay. It's not, though. Whenever artifacts are involved, people get weird. Maybe they remember combo winter, maybe they know what happens in Vintage — who knows? All I know is that this brings way more heat.

Transgression: Elves
How That Will Be Interpreted: "You better have a way to kill us all this turn"
Commander Heat Index Score: 7/10
Notes: They'll know you have elves before they know you have Engine. Once they see that you can untap a ton of mana producers at will, they're going to be pretty hostile. Again, if you can't kill them right away, expect to be at the bottom of a dogpile by the end of the next turn cycle.

Transgression: Staff of Domination
How That Will Be Interpreted: "I don't like where this is headed"
Commander Heat Index Score: 6/10
Notes: You would think this card was kind of innocuous, and on its own, it kind of is. When you can use it a lot in a turn, though, you're going to bring the heat. It could be personal experience, but people don't like seeing these two cards on a mat.

Isochron Scepter
Arcum Dagsson
Staff of Domination

I'm sure your experiences with Paradox Engine have been a little different. Let me know in the comment section! Which number was way off? Which interaction have you blown people out with, or had played against you? Let me know in the comments! I hope this was as much fun to read as it was to write. I'll see you all in a week. Until next time!

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